Latitude Egress Stream “To Restore the Pride to Petravore” from New Album To Take up the Cross

Posted in audiObelisk on September 22nd, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster

latitude egress

To Take up the Cross is a debut, of sorts. For German one-man outfit Latitude Egress, it marks a significant change. Formerly known as Licht Erlischt, the band released two albums of depressive black metal, moving away from the conventions of the subgenre over the course of 2009’s The Narrow Path and 2012’s …And Below, the Retrograde Disciples until, with To Take up the Cross, the shift required a name change. So, To Take up the Cross arrives as the first Latitude Egress offering, released on Oct. 27 via Art of Propaganda, comprising seven stylistically varied songs named in thematic keeping with the album’s title that hold firm to a rich, emotionally resonant drama while consistently defying expectation.

The roots are in black metal. Some of the underlying bed of guitar distortion from multi-instrumentalist/vocalist Niklas “Nerrath” Thiele (Horn, ex-Chemosh) gives that away, but Latitude Egress is stubborn in its refusal to be easily pigeonholed. In its pacing and melancholia, it’s no less indebted to classic European doom, and shades of death/doom appear alongside Thiele‘s synth theatricality latitude egress to take up the crossand clean, commanding, at times Nick Cave-esque singing style. Earlier cuts like “To Take up the Cross When through it You Can Win a Kingdom” and “To Cast a Spot upon the Death of Your Death” might bring to mind some of Primordial‘s post-blackened impulses, but the personality and mission behind Latitude Egress is different, and songs move fluidly between raging and contemplative quieter passages, never quite departing a full-band feel but giving a sense of personal expression from Thiele all the same.

Slotted as the penultimate inclusion, sixth of the seven, “To Restore the Pride to Petravore” builds over its first couple minutes subtly behind Thiele‘s vocals and guitar until at last boiling over to a push of shouts and distortion that, topped with a mournful lead guitar, serve as a fitting emblem of To Take up the Cross‘ doomed side, a memorable airiness of tone seeming sentimental for former glories until the piece seems to collapses, resigned, into itself and ends, giving way to closer “To March along the Desolate Peripheries of Mind,” which enacts the final stretch of bleakness in Latitude Egress‘ heavy-hearted salvo.

As much a work of emotional as sonic weight, you’ll final “To Restore the Pride to Petravore” on the player below. Please enjoy:

Latitude EgressTo Take up the Cross is due out Oct. 27 on Art of Propaganda. More info at the links.

Latitude Egress on Thee Facebooks

Art of Propaganda’s website

Art of Propaganda on Bandcamp

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Albez Duz Premiere “Mictlan” from The Coming of Mictlan

Posted in audiObelisk on September 12th, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster

Today marks the release date of Albez Duz‘s second album, The Coming of Mictlan, on Iron Bonehead Productions vinyl and Archaic Sound CD. The sophomore outing from the Berlin-based two-piece follows a 2009 self-titled debut and is a subgenre spanning work of depressive and extreme doom metal, seven tracks spread across two vinyl sides running a gamut from morose goth theatricality to deathly growls grueling rhythmic lurch, all with a sense of the grandiose and a dose of classic melodic melancholia to accompany. Propelled by the collaboration of multi-instrumentalist Eugen H. (also drums in black metallers Dies Ater) and vocalist Alfonso Brito Lopez, it is encompassing and masterfully conceived.

Beginning with the mystic drones and spoken word intro “Heaven’s Blind,” The Coming of Mictlan isn’t without its ritualized side, a cultish tendency and neofolk influence emerging on the album’s second half with the subdued “Drowned,” some classic prog coming late into that song with emergent keys (they also covered Black Widow on albez duz the coming of mictlanthe first record), but Albez Duz utterly refuse to be pinned to one style or another. An early rocker like “Fire Wings,” which still boasts plenty of twists and turns, sets the stage for further branching out on the subsequent “Mictlan” and “Feathered Snake,” unifying Aztec themes emerging across the record’s flowing course until the closing Tanita Tikaram cover “Twist in My Sobriety” redoes the moody New Wave pop-folk of the original as dark rock downerism.

To coincide with the album’s release, today I have the pleasure of hosting “Mictlan” for streaming. It’s not a complete summary of everything Albez Duz accomplish on The Coming of Mictlan, but it does demonstrate over its eight minutes how coherently the band ties its varied elements together, creating something individual from them and balancing an experimental sensibility with progressive songwriting. Do yourself a favor: When the song is done, and the keyboard-topped doom march has reached its conclusion, hit play again and go back to the start to remind yourself of just how far you’ve come and in how relatively short a time.

Enjoy:

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

Albez Duz‘s The Coming of Mictlan is available now on Iron Bonehead Productions LP and Archaic Sound CD. More info at the links.

Albez Duz on Thee Facebooks

Albez Duz on Bandcamp

Iron Bonehead Productions

Archaic Sound

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Wight Get Literal with “Through the Woods into Deep Water”

Posted in Bootleg Theater on September 8th, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster

wight

The good news is that German trio Wight are getting ready to embark on their third record. The not-necessarily-a-downside-but-one-feels-compelled-to-make-it-a-contrast-anyway news is that means leaving their second outing, 2012’s continually-appealing Through the Woods into Deep Water (review here), behind as they move forward. Much to their credit, I think Wight are doing so in grand style. While it seems they’ll continue to play at least some of the material live, guitarist/vocalist René Hoffmann, bassist/saxophonist Peter-Philipp Schierhorn and drummer Thomas Kurek have nonetheless decided to give Through the Woods into Deep Water a sort of Viking funeral, taking the album’s title-track out into the forest for a ritual farewell.

In keeping with the full-length’s organic nature and psychedelic sprawl, Wight play “Through the Woods into Deep Water” live in their new video, with sound captured by Hoffmann (he’s done live audio for Monster Magnet, among others) and direction by Johanna Amberg. The woods in which they’re jamming are located in Eutersee, Hesseneck–Schöllenbach, and they seem to have found the perfect clearing among all the old growth to jam out. The purging is complete when, as the song winds its way toward its languid conclusion, Wight jump in a lake and wash themselves clean, a literal portrayal of going through the woods and into deep water of a mind with the slow movement of the track itself.

Through the Woods into Deep Water was a huge leap forward from Wight‘s 2011 debut, Wight Weedy Wight (review here), and the two were really only separated by one year. Since the three-piece’s next one isn’t likely to show up before 2015, that’ll be nearly three years between their second and third albums, so it should be fascinating to hear the direction they take their sound. One more to look forward to hearing in the New Year, and in the meantime, a stellar goodbye to this era of the band.

Enjoy:

Wight, “Through the Woods into Deep Water” live in the forest

Wight on Thee Facebooks

Wight on Bandcamp

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Wedge to Release Self-Titled Debut on Heavy Psych Sounds

Posted in Whathaveyou on September 3rd, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster

The track “’61 SG” from German classic heavy rock power trio Wedge starts out with pretty standard guitar-as-girl lyrics, and it’s not until it gets to the two-line chorus that the band really shows just how tongue-in-cheek the spirit of the song is. I won’t spoil the punchline, but it’s a good one and the ’70s-worship boogie that accompanies is no less enjoyable. Wedge will release their self-titled debut in November through Italian imprint Heavy Psych Sounds, joining an expanding roster helmed and curated by Gabriele Fiori of Roman fuzz rockers Black Rainbows.

Wedge – comprised of vocalist/guitarist Kiryk, drummer The Holg and bassist/key specialist David — formed earlier this year, so I guess you could say they’re off to a solid start. They’ve already done a few festivals, and in the days and months to come, they’re set to share the stage with Seven that SpellsHeatBelzebongAqua Nebula Oscillator and fellow Berlin natives Kadavar, who seem to be a key influence under which Wedge are working.

Always up for a good time, Heavy Psych Sounds announced the news earlier, heralding the arrival of vintage grooves in limited vinyl editions, which, you know, is kind of how it goes these days. Dig the video too, if you’ve got a minute to watch:

wedge

HEAVY PSYCH SOUNDS Records is Proud to announce the signing of

***WEDGE***

for their upcoming selftitled LP out in November in Vinyl and Digipak.

The vinyl will be released in ltd ed in 150 copies in clear blue, and white.

The band was formed in early 2014 by Kiryk (vocals & guitar), The Holg (drums) & David (bass, organ & electric piano), three dedicated musicians and party pals from Berlin, Germany.

They play a Vintage-Retro Rock n’ Roll inspired by bands as The Who, Cream, Groundhogs, Cactus, MC5 and recent Kadavar and Wolfmother.

www.heavypsychsounds.com
www.WedgeBand.com
www.facebook.com/WedgeBand

Wedge, “’61 SG” official video

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The Obelisk Questionnaire: Christian Peters of Samsara Blues Experiment

Posted in Questionnaire on August 28th, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster

christian peters

For more than five years now, Berlin-based guitarist/vocalist Christian Peters has been working ceaselessly to bring his band Samsara Blues Experiment to the forefront of heavy psychedelic consciousness. From touring the West Coast of the US before they even had an album released to graphic design work to founding his own label, Electric Magic Records in order to bolster other acts — having an outlet for a collection of solo recordings released under the name Soulitude didn’t hurt either — to playing fests like Roadburn, the Desertfests, Freak Valley and many more, as well as touring, SBE has taken the harder road of getting their name out. At the same time, Peters has been at the fore of Samsara Blues Experiment‘s creative development since the start, their three albums — 2013’s Waiting for the Flood (review here), 2011’s Revelation and Mystery (review here) and 2009’s Long Distance Trip (review here) — showcasing a fluid psychedelia both creatively open and propelled by rich tonality. On both levels, the work of Peters and his bandmates has begun to pay off.

When I sent him the Questionnaire to fill out, Peters was on a well-earned vacation — no computer — but back to the grind, he wasted no time in sending back his answers, which I think you’ll enjoy reading:

The Obelisk Questionnaire: Christian Peters

How did you come to do what you do?

I started playing guitar at the age of 10. My father, more or less, forced me to learn an instrument at that time, so you can imagine how “happy” I was back then with playing Folk and Classical guitar. Every day at least one half-hour was my torment as a kid, really. I didn’t touch my guitar for one year when I was around 15 or 16, but then got finally addicted to music and so started to teach myself E-Guitar and all (or most of) the other instruments I play today.

Describe your first musical memory.

Singing tradional German Folk songs in the car with my Mom and Dad, all together. I may have been around 4 or 5 years old.

Describe your best musical memory to date.

First rehearsal with my first band, back in 1999. First professional recording, later then. Releasing a first LP record with Terraplane in 2007. Playing in San Francisco with SBE in 2009. Well, there seem to be plenty of good memories, but these are the best up to date.

When was a time when a firmly held belief was tested?

All the time, somehow.

Where do you feel artistic progression leads?

Happiness perhaps? For instance I am seldomly really happy with recordings. But then sometimes I am not even sure if there´s much progression left for me, haha. Then I sometimes feel like being trapped in that certain picture, even if the frame seems pretty wide.

How do you define success?

Being happy with what I do.

What is something you have seen that you wish you hadn’t?

All the things I´ve seen make me who I am, not all was pretty. I have seen sickness, poverty, lethargy, loneliness and death and more. It´s what most of us see in their fair share — some more, some less, some earlier and some later. Life isn´t always pretty, so let´s deal with it and write some songs about it to ease the pain. That´s how I try to get along.

Describe something you haven’t created yet that you’d like to create.

Much better albums. So let´s progress!

Something non-musical that you’re looking forward to?

NFL season 2014 and of course my next meal ;-).

Samsara Blues Experiment, “Shringara” Live in Athens, May 2014

Samsara Blues Experiment on Thee Facebooks

Electric Magic Records

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Friday Full-Length: Samsara Blues Experiment, Waiting for the Flood

Posted in Bootleg Theater on August 22nd, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster

Samsara Blues Experiment, Waiting for the Flood (2013)

There was a lot I liked about Samsara Blues Experiment‘s third album, Waiting for the Flood (review here), but nothing quite so much as the surprise factor. After their second full-length, Revelation and Mystery (review here), came out in 2011, I felt like I had the Berlin outfit more or less figured out. They had shifted away from the jamminess of the preceding 2009 debut, Long Distance Trip (review here), and I assumed they’d continue along in that direction, toward a straightforward heavy rock vibe, maybe still with some psychedelic elements, but more or less working in traditional structures toward traditional ends.

Well, along comes Waiting for the Flood. Four tracks, not a one of them under 10 minutes long. Just these huge, sprawling, cosmically gorgeous jams, deeply progressive but still swinging and loose, and everything I had expected from the band went right out the window. I loved it last fall when I first heard the record, and revisiting it today, my reaction is much the same. I’ve gone back to the album periodically since it came out — some records I review and they never get put on again; that’s not the case here — so I’m not at all flying blind, but I still feel a sense of spontaneity coming from the extended instrumental sections, the then-foursome letting various movements flesh out and go where they will, and I’m still enthralled with how well Samsara Blues Experiment are able to give the tracks hooks and definite verses and choruses amidst all this space-groove meandering. Trying to predict where these guys might go in their progression isn’t a mistake I’ll make again, particularly now that they’re pared down to a single-guitar trio, but if they wanted to use Waiting for the Flood as a foundation from which to continue to build stylistically, they gave themselves a lot work with.

More than that, though, I really like the album. It’s one I put on when I just want to drift out for a bit and it hasn’t failed me yet in that regard, up to and including the last 10 minutes, which I apparently just spent staring at the screen while opener “Shringara” moved into the title-track. Rock and bliss.

Tonight, I’m driving to Connecticut. Tomorrow, I’m driving to Pennsylvania to see King Dead, King Buffalo and All Them Witches, which is something I’m very much looking forward to. I haven’t been to Stroudsberg in years, and I expect it will be a good time. I’m driving back to Connecticut immediately after the show (I think?) in order to maximize the efficiency of getting back to the Boston area in time on Sunday to go see Sleep at the House of Blues with Earthless/Heavy Blanket opening. I have no doubt this will be one of the best weekends of shows of the year, and I can’t wait to hit the road and make it happen. I’ll have reviews and whatnot next week of both.

Also think I’ll probably review that Earth record, since that’s pretty well ingrained in my consciousness, and maybe Pallbearer, since that seems to have struck such a nerve with the entire planet. We’ll see. I’ve listened to that a couple times through already and it’s good, but I’m not sure I’m on board with the holy-fuck-this-is-the-best-thing-ever crowd. I wasn’t last time either, but so it goes. That band works hard. I don’t begrudge them what mainstream acceptance they’ve garnered along the way.

I was going to do a round of Radio Adds today, but every sentence I wrote in the earlier part of the day felt like pulling teeth — nothing against what I was writing about; it’s me, not you — so I just decided to have some fun and do that Earth guest singer thing instead. It was the right decision. Sometimes I get so bogged down in the little routines I make for myself that I forget that the reason The Obelisk is what gets me out of bed most mornings is because I enjoy it, not because I’m obligated to it. If you know what I’m talking about, you know that’s a huge difference.

Anyway, I gotta go pack so that when The Patient Mrs. gets home from whatever joyful social obligation it is that she’s out meeting we can hit the road south once again. Good times ahead.

Hope you have a wonderful, disaster-free weekend. Thanks to everyone who donated to the Small Stone fundraiser this week. I know a lot of you already gave, but it would be amazing if we could knock our way up to 10 grand in the next week or so, just because the dude needs the money to get his office cleaned up sooner rather than later. If you don’t know what I’m talking about, check that link or just scroll to the top of the frontpage.

And when you’re done donating, please check out the forum and radio stream.

The Obelisk Forum

The Obelisk Radio

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On Wax: Ragged Barracudas, Living the Dream b/w Cheap Allure/Motor Jam 7″

Posted in On Wax on August 19th, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster

ragged barracudas living the dream

The swing and analog garage fuzz of Ragged Barracudas‘ debut 7″ are immediate. Putting on “Living the Dream,” the A-side, is like unearthing a relic. Something you stumbled on from the stage just before punk became punk, when rock was heavy without realizing it, and the drugs were friendly but the vibe still a touch dangerous. They’re a modern trio from Germany, and you’d be right if you called them retro, but Ragged Barracudas sidestep most of the tropes and Sabbath/Graveyard-isms of the modern European throwback movement in favor of an acid rock sound more obscure, and ultimately, more original. Vocals and drums are blown out and the bass and guitar — layered in the first quick solo part — are warmly toned and more or less daring your stereo system to be older, but drummer/vocalist Christian Dräger, guitarist Janik Ruß and bassist Tom Weiten show off something of a jammy sensibility as well, both in the later stretches ragged barracudas singleof “Living the Dream” and deeper into side B’s “Cheap Allure/Motor Jam.”

Pressed in an edition of 600 black-vinyl copies and released through an assortment of labels that includes Unholy AnarchyCardinal Fuzz, At War with False Noise, and Who Can You Trust? Records, the 7″ really gets down and dirty on the B-side. Listening to the record — that is, the physical version — I couldn’t even tell where “Cheap Allure” ended and “Motor Jam” started, but it became clear with the stream on Who Can You Trust?‘s Bandcamp. “Cheap Allure” slows down some of the jet-engine stutter in the main riff of “Living the Dream,” but is catchy in a subtler way and, with a stop preceding an instrumental finale, puts its boogie tradeoffs into a different perspective — just because you see the shuffle coming doesn’t mean you don’t still want to get down. Ruß trips out a psychedelic soul-o and Dräger holds back on vocals to dedicate himself more fully to the forward drive, which stomps to a finish before “Motor Jam” announces its arrival proper with dueling layers of ultra-buzzsaw riff fuzz with some sweet low end buried underneath. That part of the B-side is less than two minutes long, but I’d ragged barracudashave been fine if Ragged Barracudas had filled the whole side with it. That’s not to take away from “Cheap Allure,” which most definitely lives up to its title, just to say that “Motor Jam” — named for the Netherlands’ Motorwolf Studios in Den Haag, where the single was recorded — gets locked in during its short runtime and sounds like the band could’ve easily carried that vibe further.

They don’t, however, and ultimately, “Living the Dream and “Cheap Allure/Motor Jam” conk out after 11 minutes or so of raw righteousness. Probably best for Ragged Barracudas to keep it short, since the classic spirit they’re going for — and, I’d argue, attain — did likewise, but I’d be interested to hear how they manage over the course of a longer release, even if it’s just a 10″ EP, and if their analog-worship holds up as their methods expand. For now, and for this single, the simpler they go, the better off they are, and in capturing a raw, heavy, proto-punk sound, DrägerRuß and Weiten show that there’s room for nuance both in primitivism and in traditional structures. Bonus points for the killer Adam Burke cover art.

Ragged Barracudas, “Living the Dream” b/w “Cheap Allure/Motor Jam” (2014)

Ragged Barracudas on Thee Facebooks

Ragged Barracudas at Who Can You Trust?’s Bandcamp

 

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Heat Announce European Tour; New Video Posted

Posted in Whathaveyou on August 13th, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster

Berlin classic heavy rockers Heat are gearing up to release their second album, Labyrinth, Aug. 29 on This Charming Man Records, and once they do, they’ll set out on a tour that will encompass most of September, playing in their native Germany as well as Denmark, France, Spain, Portugal, and Switzerland. In accord with the final announcement of the confirmed tour dates, which is below, Heat also have a new video for the song “Loving Devotion,” which is the penultimate track on the new record and one of its catchiest songs.

The video uses clips from the German independent road flick Trip, in which the band’s music is also featured. Trip has been screened at a number of rock festivals in Germany this year, including the Berlin edition of Desertfest and Void Fest earlier this month. As you can see, the cars and the music are pretty well suited to each other.

Info off the PR wire:

HEAT Tour Dates | Brand new video for ‘LOVING DEVOTION’

Featuring former members of The Hara-Kee-Rees, Samsara Blues Experiment and Grandloom their self-titled debut on Electric Magic Records was a heavy-blues driven journey into the very heart of the 1970s. Which, regardless of your particular predilection for classic rock saw the Berlin five-piece strike every chord.

On their follow up – much like Swedish hard rock revivalists Graveyard and Horisont – Heat continue to revel in the buzz of audacious twin guitar solos, Hammond organs and telepathic band jams.

Driving tracks like ‘Siamese Smile’, ‘Free World’ and ‘Barbarossa’ pack unabashed guitar spectacles atop big drum fills, rolling bass lines and Patrick Fülling’s strutting vocal front, often over extended compositions that run the gamut of twentieth century rock history. Bursting with shuffling bluesy boogies and dark, introspective moments that owe a sizeable riff or two to Deep Purple, Wishbone Ash, Atomic Rooster and Jerusalem Labyrinth is an unstoppable force for fans of British prog, hard US rock and NWOBHM.

Labyrinth will be officially released on 29th August 2014, along with the reissue of the band’s debut (with exclusive new artwork) via via This Charming Man Records.

TOUR DATES:

23/08/14 – Sala Teatru Brama, Goleniow, Poland
4/09/14 – Record Release at Austerclub, Berlin, Germany
5/09/14 – Sky High Festival, Frankfurt, Germany
11/09/14 – Monster Records, Hannover, Germany
12/09/14 – 1000Fryd (w. Jex Thoth), Aalborg, Denmark
13/09/14 – KB18, Kopenhagen, Denmark
15/09/14 – Hafenklang, Hamburg, Germany
16/09/14 – Waldmeister, Solingen, Germany
17/09/14 – Heretic Club (w. Aqua Nebula Oscillator), Bordeaux, France
18/09/14 – San Sebastian, Spain
19/09/14 – Hard Club, Porto, Portugal
22/09/14 – Rocksound, Barcelona, Spain
23/09/14 – Brin de Zinc, Cambery, France
24/09/14 – Schüxenhaus, Ins, Switzerland
25/09/14 – Coq d’Or, Olten, Switzerland
26/09/14 – Backstage (w. Orcus Chylde), München, Germany
27/09/14 – Sound n Arts (w. Orcus Chylde), Bamberg, Germany
10/10/14 – TCM Fest Gleis 22, Münster, Germany
29/11/14 – Deep Sound City Festival, Halle, Germany

https://www.facebook.com/events/1469399363311082/
heatberlin.bandcamp.com
www.facebook.com/Heatthelights
instagram.com/heatberlin

Heat, “Loving Devotion” official video

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Wino Wednesday: Wino & Conny Ochs Cover Joy Division, Live in Germany, April 2012

Posted in Bootleg Theater on August 13th, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster

According to the numbers — and you’d best believe I go by the numbers rather than my own memory of such things — this is the 150th Wino Wednesday post. In a few short weeks we’ll celebrate three full years of the feature, and I’m glad to say that I think I’ve only missed one week in that time. It’s become a staple in my consciousness, which band, what song, live or studio, what’s out there to find, what’s new, etc., and I’ve enjoyed trying to chase down something different each time out, even if it’s just another live version of “Born too Late” or something like that, bound to be familiar no matter what the source is.

This week we dip back to 2012 for some Wino & Conny Ochs. They were on tour in Europe that spring, having played Roadburn in the all-too-appropriate church setting of Het Patronaat (review here), and it was as comfortable on stage as I saw them, though by the time they got around to doing US dates afterward (review here), the collaboration seemed no less fluid. Supporting their Exile on Mainstream debut, Heavy Kingdom (review here), they offered a look at raw folkish troubadour traditionalism, of course tempered with Ochs‘ bleeding emotionalism and Wino‘s inescapable heavy rock edge.

It might be the folk that comes most to the fore on “Isolation.” A cover of Joy Division, “Isolation” comes from that band’s 1980 swansong, Closer, and aside from extending it, Wino and Ochs take the British outfit’s post-punk/pre-New Wave melancholy and replace it with a righteous acoustic strum, so that “Isolation” sounds more like a public domain railroad song than something Ian Curtis penned before taking his own life. The build at the end is true to the original, but there’s room made for a solo that extends into a jam with the two guitars before bridging back to the chorus and finishing out, making “Isolation” — which also appeared on the Wino & Conny Ochs Latitudes release, Labour of Love – all the more distinctive in this interpretation.

The clip was recorded in Würzburg, Germany on April 3, 2012 at Cairo. Hope you enjoy:

Wino & Conny Ochs, “Isolation” Live in Germany, April 2012

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Larman Clamor Reveal Details for Beetle Crown and Steel Wand

Posted in Whathaveyou on July 28th, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster

It’s always fascinating to see what Alexander von Wieding has come up with next for his one-man project, Larman Clamor, now getting ready to issue the fifth outing under the moniker, Beetle Crown and Steel Wand. The Hamburg-based artist/musician continues to work at a speedy clip, and the latest full-length and third for Small Stone will also be the follow-up to 2013’s Alligator Heart (review here). One never knows quite where von Wieding might be headed at any given moment — the last offering stripped down some of the more elaborate arrangements of 2012’s Frogs (review here), but a pleasingly strange trip into swamp blues is almost assured, and like last year, the year before, and the year before that, a welcome journey whenever undertaken.

No solid release date as yet, but if Beetle Crown and Steel Wand gets out before the end of 2014, that would give von Wieding five releases in the four years, which even for a one-man show is an impressive pace.

Here’s the album info, hoisted from the Larman Clamor Thee Facebooks page:

Friends of the Clamor, it is that time of the year again to announce a new album!

The musical journey continues with “Beetle Crown & Steel Wand”, Larman Clamor’s 5th album.

There is no fixed release date as of yet, but it will most likely be out on the mighty fine Small Stone Records this fall or near the end of 2014. Let the chips fall where they may and let the spirits speed my hands to get the artwork done.

In the meantime, here you all have a peek at the album cover and the tracklisting.

Feel free to spread the good news.

Larman Clamor – Beetle Crown & Steel Wand
1. Beetle Crown & Steel Wand
2. My Lil’ Ghost
3. Eggs In The Sand
4. Wilderness, Wilderness
5. We Shine Alright
6. Caravan Of Ghouls
7. Tangerine Nightfall
8. Alter Yer Ways
9. Bleak Heart’s Night Waltz
10. Drone Monger
11. Aurora Snarling
13. Her Majesty, The Mountain
13. She Was Born A Sorceress

Thanks for your support!

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Larman-Clamor/132397233457898
http://larmanclamor.bandcamp.com/
https://smallstone.bandcamp.com

Larman Clamor, Alligator Heart (2013)

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Friday Full-Length: My Sleeping Karma, Satya

Posted in Bootleg Theater on July 25th, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster

My Sleeping Karma, Satya (2008)

I was fishing through YouTube as I sometimes do looking for something to close out the week, and once I got to My Sleeping Karma‘s Satya and got about two seconds into opener “Ahimsa,” I knew I had no reason to search any further. The German heavy psych instrumentalists’ second album, released in 2008, was the first record I ever reviewed for this site (review here; though honestly it’s so needlessly packed with internet snark that I’m almost embarrassed to post the link), so obviously it has sentimental value there, but considering how hard My Sleeping Karma has worked on the two albums since, 2010’s Tri (review here) and their 2012 Napalm Records debut, Soma (review here), to push themselves creatively and further their craft, I think there’s plenty of aesthetic value as well. More than I appreciated at the time, and I liked Satya plenty when I first heard it. I guess I was figuring out how to do this and thought the only way to go about it was to be a wiseass about everything. Hindsight makes fools of us all.

Satya, however, only sounds richer with the context of the subsequent years, the Aschaffenburg four-piece blossoming in that time into one of the forerunners of the European heavy psych movement, moving beyond the jammy Colour Haze influence that marked their earliest work and emerging with a character all their own that, by now, has become a point of influence for others in their wake. I’m not sure they had such lofty ambitions six or seven years ago when Satya was coming together, but listening back to it now, their grip on their aesthetic was firm and they knew how to elicit movement within individual songs while also creating an overarching full-length flow. They had some stuff they were still figuring out — experiments with vocals, samples, etc. — but you can hear the heart of what My Sleeping Karma has become in this material, and more than that, right now, it’s really hitting the spot.

Should go without saying at this point, but I hope you enjoy it.

Apologies for the lack of posts today. Not looking for sympathy or “sorry for the loss” or anything like that — just letting you know what’s up — but I had an uncle pass away this week and after driving back up to Jersey last Sunday, had to come back down on Tuesday. Wrote the obituary, actually, and sort of ghost-wrote the eulogy with my cousin, which was an experience. Anyway, this afternoon and this evening was the wake, so pretty much the whole day went to that. Not much I could really do about it and sometimes that kind of thing just needs to take priority. I appreciate the understanding, and if you were looking for more posts, stick around next week because there’s a lot coming.

I’ve been asked to do another Red Kunz premiere. The last one went so awesomely well, that there’s another live video I’m in talks with the labels to get going. It might be Monday or might be later on or of course the whole thing could fall through and they could go a completely different direction, but I’ve got my hopes up it comes together, since that EP has a really cool sound and is worth getting the word out on as much as possible. Anyway, fingers crossed.

Also next week, I’ve got other family stuff going Wednesday, so I’m going to try to put together a podcast and get it posted, but that’ll probably be it for that day. I’m backed up on Radio adds, so those will go up, and I’m planning on posting the bio I wrote for the new Lo-Pan album, and a review of the new Karma to Burn. I’m so backed up on reviews it’s sad. I was thinking maybe of taking one week and just putting up 300 words of everything on the pile, doing that and nothing else, each record its own post, just to plow through everything and get back to square one. Not sure I’ll ever be that brave, but if you’ve sent something in, please know I’m doing my best. It’s been a time the last few months.

After the memorial tomorrow, though, I’m driving back up to Massachusetts. I’ll hopefully have time to stop off at home, or at least empty out the car, but then it’s off to the airport to pick up The Patient Mrs., who returns from Greece tomorrow night. It’s been a long month and I can’t wait to see her. This will have been the longest we’ve ever been apart since we first got together almost 18 years ago, and I survived, me and the dog, but with the move and everything, it’ll be so good to have her home and I feel like I’ll be able to get my head on straight a little bit for the first time in at least a couple weeks. Point is I can’t wait. The thought of seeing her has been carrying me through the past couple days.

Before I forget, I also passed the 1,000 followers mark on Twitter this week. That’s more than I ever thought would care enough to click the button, so thank you to everyone for the support there.

I hope you have a great and safe weekend. I’ll be back home on Monday and we’ll pick up then. Right on.

Please check out the forum and the radio stream.

The Obelisk Forum

The Obelisk Radio

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Rodeo Drive, Morbid Beauty: Setting the Balance

Posted in Reviews on July 22nd, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster

According to the liner panel of the digipak, Morbid Beauty, the debut full-length from Berlin-based DIY heavy rockers Rodeo Drive, was recorded in “October 2014.” Certainly anything’s possible, and if the album does indeed hail from the near-future, it’s got a modern take on fuzz and flourishes of heavy psychedelia to match what one might expect. Featuring Samsara Blues Experiment‘s Hans Eiselt on bass and vocals and recorded by Richard Behrens, formerly of the same outfit and currently handling low end in Heat, Rodeo Drive hit on classic power trio methods and present them with a newcomer act’s intensity of purpose. Joined in the band by guitarist Friedrich Stemmer and René Schulze on drums/synth, Eiselt takes some cues in patterning vocals from his main outfit — one might recognize throaty, echoing shouts from Samsara Blues Experiment‘s earlier days — but on the whole is more stylistically geared toward straightforward, traditional stonerisms. Stemmer leads the charge throughout most of Morbid Beauty‘s eight tracks/41 minutes, but moments of adventurousness shine through and Rodeo Drive show a bit of boldness in their choices throughout, like opening with “Stoner of Mass Destruction,” a six-minute instrumental that, until closer “Snuff Eater,” also proves to be their jammiest stretch. Even there, however, what Rodeo Drive most specialize in their first time out is establishing a riff, working around it, and then returning to it in bigger, sometimes slower form. “Stoner of Mass Destruction” does this effectively, as do “All in Vain,” “Poultry Bro,” “Vlansch” and “Snuff Eater,” though the moods of these tracks vary around a consistent, jazzy chemistry between Eiselt and Schulze and the varyingly psychedelic and dense tonality in Stemmer‘s guitar.

Particularly with Eiselt‘s vocal delivery, the recording captures a live feel, and that proves all the better for the deft rhythmic changes that begin to show up on “Stoner of Mass Destruction” and continue into the shorter “All in Vein” (tied with “Poultry Bro” for the briefest here at 2:38) and well beyond. The second cut has less space for jamming out, but serves to demonstrate early the diversity in Rodeo Drive‘s approach, which continues to shift as Morbid Beauty progresses, whether it’s to the extended drum solo intro to “The Void,” which unfolds with a Songs for the Deaf-style thrust, or “Poultry Bro,” with its circular vibe and intricate boogie feel, Schulze running back and forth on toms to build a tension that opens to a wide-strummed chorus. If one was to divide Morbid Beauty into sides, “Vlansch” would likely end the first (the back cover of the CD supports this), and it does so playing slow psychedelic blues off bigger-riffed nod, keeping the tempo down, especially in relation to “Poultry Bro,” out of which it emerges, and the mood wistful even as Stemmer‘s winding lead opens to jammier wah-shuffle. It’s not long before they’re back to the turned-on downer vibe, Eiselt‘s voice raw without sounding like a put-on, and the lumbering riff from whence they came, building it to a finish that fades its rumble out before the grunge guitar opening of “Earth Dark Diseases” begins the album’s second half, which isn’t necessarily more stylistically adventurous than the first, but differently arranged, with three tracks instead of five, “Earth Dark Diseases” (7:35) and “Snuff Eater” (7:55) being the longest songs with the instrumental “Aggrestic” (4:37) between.

As noted, “Snuff Eater” is where Rodeo Drive are at their jammiest, and though it reaches similar lengths, “Earth Dark Diseases” has a different personality. Eiselt‘s vocals are almost a growl over Stemmer‘s plus-sized riff, and while it opens up in the middle, there’s a moody sensibility maintained even during the instrumental build, coming to a head just before the five-minute mark when the guitar and drums drop out and the bass leads back into the progression that will serve as the foundation for the next two minutes’ groove. The bass also starts “Aggrestic,” though Eiselt‘s soon joined by Stemmer and Schulze, and what seems like another jangly sort of rush is offset temporarily by noodling and subsequent forward motion. It ultimately adds little the album hasn’t already put in Rodeo Drive‘s wheelhouse, but as a precedent and a break between the two longer cuts, an entirely instrumental track isn’t a bad thing to have. And though it reaches nearly eight minutes long, “Snuff Eater” doesn’t lose track of where it’s headed, and the immersive jam pulls back to the verse/chorus structure before the song is over, as if to remind listeners that Rodeo Drive haven’t forgotten. As the first public offering of their songwriting, that’s good to know, and like the bulk of Morbid Beauty, “Snuff Eater” sets the trio on a path from which to progress from here on out. They’ve reportedly been a band for eight years, so I don’t know what kind of pace they’re working with in terms of releases, but Morbid Beauty establishes a chemistry worth a follow-up and provides a strong front-to-back level of quality in the meantime. I’ll take it on its own if that’s how it’s coming, but I’d much rather see Morbid Beauty as a sign of things to come when Rodeo Drive get to the actual near future.

Rodeo Drive, Morbid Beauty (2014)

Rodeo Drive on Thee Facebooks

Rodeo Drive on Bandcamp

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Heat to Release Labyrinth on Aug. 29

Posted in Whathaveyou on July 17th, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster

Formerly aligned to Electric Magic for the LP/CD release of their first album, Heat/Old Sparky (review here), Berlin heavy rockers Heat have announced they’ll issue their second offering, Labyrinth, via This Charming Man Records on Aug. 29. Preorders are available now for the CD or LP editions from the semi-retro five-piece, which features Samsara Blues Experiment bassist Richard Behrens, who also recorded the first outing. Charlie Paschen seems to have helmed Labyrinth, but the sound remains warm and natural in line with Old Sparky, as you can hear on the new song “Siamese Smile” below.

To support the new record — the cover art for which was handled by Adam Burke – the band will head out on a European tour beginning Sept. 4, and This Charming Man will have a reissue of Old Sparky with new art as well. All confirmed dates listed below with the album info, fresh off the PR wire:

Hard rockers HEAT announce release of new album Labyrinth

Berliners to release second full length via This Charming Man Records, along with reissue of debut on 29th August 2014

Following on from the success of their 2012 self-titled debut, This Charming Man Records is pleased to announce the release Labyrinth, of the second album by the Berlin-based hard rock outfit.

Heat are unmistakably taken with a time when all great records came adorned with monochrome swirls and elaborate sleeves depicting worlds of necromancy, witches and cosmic encounters.

Featuring former members of The Hara-Kee-Rees, Samsara Blues Experiment and Grandloom their self-titled debut on Electric Magic Records was a heavy-blues driven journey into the very heart of the 1970s. Which, regardless of your particular predilection for classic rock saw the Berlin five-piece strike every chord.

On their follow up – much like Swedish hard rock revivalists Graveyard and Horisont – Heat continue to revel in the buzz of audacious twin guitar solos, Hammond organs and telepathic band jams.

Driving tracks like ‘Siamese Smile’, ‘Free World’ and ‘Barbarossa’ pack unabashed guitar spectacles atop big drum fills, rolling bass lines and Patrick Fülling’s strutting vocal front, often over extended compositions that run the gamut of twentieth century rock history. Bursting with shuffling bluesy boogies and dark, introspective moments that owe a sizeable riff or two to Deep Purple, Wishbone Ash, Atomic Rooster and Jerusalem Labyrinth is an unstoppable force for fans of British prog, hard US rock and NWOBHM.

Labyrinth will be officially released on 29th August, along with the reissue of the band’s debut (with exclusive new artwork) via This Charming Man Records

LP pre-order

CD pre-order

iTunes pre-order link – http://snip.ftpromo.net/heat

Heat:
Marcus Töpfer – Drums
Matthias Schult – Guitar
Marco Rischer – Guitar
Patrick Fülling – Vocals
Richard Behrens – Bass

Tour Dates:
23/08/14 – Sala Teatru Brama, Goleniow, Poland
4/09/14 – Record Release at SO36, Berlin, Germany
5/09/14 – Sky High Festival, Offenbach, Germany
6/09/14 – Schweinskopf Festival, Cuxhaven, Germany
12/09/14 – 1000Fryd (w. Jex Thoth), Aalborg, Denmark
13/09/14 – KB18, Kopenhagen, Denmark
14/09/14 – TBA
15/09/14 – Hafenklang, Hamburg, Germany
16/09/14 – Waldmeister, Solingen, Germany
17/09/14 – Heretic Club (w. Aqua Nebula Oscillator), Bordeaux, France
18/09/14 – TBA
19/09/14 – Hard Club, Porto, Portugal
20/09/14 – Retrovisor, León, Spain
21/09/14 – TBA
22/09/14 – Rocksound, Barcelona, Spain
23/09/14 – Brin de Zinc, Cambery, France
24/09/14 – Schüxenhaus, Ins, Switzerland
25/09/14 – Coq d’Or, Olten, Switzerland
26/09/14 – Backstage (w. Orcus Chylde), München, Germany
27/09/14 – Sound n Arts (w. Orcus Chylde), Bamberg, Germany
10/10/14 – TCM Fest Gleis 22, Münster, Germany
29/11/14 – Deep Sound City Festival, Halle, Germany

heatberlin.bandcamp.com
www.facebook.com/Heatthelights
instagram.com/heatberlin

Heat, “Siamese Smile”

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Dunst, Archimedes Waffen: Daily Mantras

Posted in Reviews on July 14th, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster

Originally recorded in 2011 and digitally released in 2013, the second and final full-length, Archimedes Waffen, from German progressive heavy psych instrumentalists Dunst sees a revived presence in the physical realm thanks to a new vinyl issue on Electric Magic Records, the imprint helmed by Samsara Blues Experiment guitarist/vocalist Christian PetersDunst‘s relationship with that band goes even deeper than the label association as well, since Archimedes Waffen was recorded by SBE bassist Richard Behrens at Big Snuff Studio in Berlin, about 90 minutes south of Dunst‘s former hometown of Templin. There are some shared sonic elements too, but it rings more like a commonality of mindset than direct influence. Dunst – which prior to disbanding was comprised of guitarist Daniel Rexhausen, bassist Johannes Schulz, drummer Philip Marschall and effects noisemaker/vocalist Sebastian Adolph (there are way more effects noises on the album than there are vocals) — released their self-titled debut in 2011, and here on the follow-up, they come across well established within a heavy psychedelic approach to jamming. Over the course of six extended tracks, they explore the spaces between such heavyweights as Colour HazeMy Sleeping KarmaCausa Sui, and indeed Samsara Blues Experiment, while working in the pursuit of their own musical identity. Already pushing the bounds of vinyl at 53 minutes, the Electric Magic version of Archimedes Waffen cuts down the original album length from over an hour, pulling out an intro, outro and the 10-minute “Vincent Raven,” which can still be heard on the digital edition, and jumbles the original tracklisting to take better advantage of an LP’s two-sided structure. Nonetheless, Archimedes Waffen remains an immersive slice of heavy jamming, familiar in some aspects but portraying a building character in progress.

Adolph‘s synth swirl and other effects go a long way in adding to that personality early on, giving the mix more depth than it might otherwise have. In comparison to Dunst‘s first outing — putting aside a somewhat rawer production as well — Archimedes Waffen presents a much broader range, the relaxed stretches of opener “Kincha King” immediately engaging the listener with a patient, hypnotic roll, where parts of Dunst‘s Dunst feel a little more jagged with just RexhausenSchulz, and Marschall present. It’s a smoother sound on the second album, in other words, and as the 10-minute launch point gives way to the title-track — which, with “We Can Try to Play Like or We Can Try…” and “Hammerhigh,” is one of three cuts that hovers just on the other side of seven and a half minutes long; as brief as Dunst get — that fluidity is maintained, and Adolph adds to the roll and chemistry found well intact from the other three players. Rexhausen takes a lead prior to the midsection of “Archimedes Waffen” that’s almost as impressive for how Schulz and Marschall meet it head-on for the guitarist’s own playing, and they continue to move endearingly through peaks and valleys, taking a ground-up linear build in the second half of the track to its natural, voluminous conclusion. The subsequent “We Can Try to Play Like or We Can Try…” is similarly structured with two distinct payoffs, but presents a different take with a more prominent bass from Schulz (not a complaint) and airier noodling in the guitars contrasted by active jazz drumming. There’s less of Adolph as side A rounds out with a peaceful fade, but by then Dunst have established an open feel that would seem to allow the effects wash to come and go as it pleases without interrupting the overarching flow.

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Freak Valley Festival 2014 Photo Gallery by Falk-Hagen Bernshausen

Posted in Visual Evidence on June 18th, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster

Because I very, very rarely do this kind of thing involving someone else’s work, let me specifically point out I DID NOT TAKE THESE PICTURES. I was not fortunate enough to be at this fest, and even if I had been at Freak Valley in Netphen, Germany, May 29-31, I’m not this good. All the photos in this gallery were by Falk-Hagen Bernshausen, who serves as the festival’s in-house photographer. I don’t even know how many images he sent me, but I’ve gone through and picked out a few from what you can see above was a packed schedule, starting with the headliners and then working by day from there.

If you’re the type who usually does the clicky-makey-biggy thing with the pictures around here, you might notice it doesn’t work on this post. Truth be told, it took me a very long time to get all the photos here to load, and with so many pics, it crashed the site more than once in the making. Resizing the images was the only way I could get it all to fit. I apologize for any inconvenience making it work may have caused.

Still, it’s only through the generosity of Mr. Bernshausen that I’m able to do this, and I thank him profusely for sharing his work. Please note there were more bands he shot than appear, and please also visit his website here, and check out the Freak Valley page as well.

THURSDAY, MAY 29

Radio Moscow

Papir

Bloody Hammers

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