Posted in Whathaveyou on January 26th, 2015 by H.P. Taskmaster
Colour Haze and Radio Moscow on the bill. Given enough time, I’m quite sure I could come up 100,000 things I’d want to see less than that. Start with “anything” and work your way back from there. It might take a few minutes, but given how high that show would be in this hypothetical hierarchy of stuff-I’d-like-to-see, there’s plenty of room for monuments, mountaintops, oceans, and so on. We’d hit the 100,000 mark no problem. I’m sure of it.
The two acts will begin headlining the Up in Smoke Volume 5 tour — actually they call it a “psychedelic roadfestival,” which I like — on Feb. 27, joined for a stretch by Cherry Choke, whose new album, Raising the Waters, is due out next month on Elektrohasch, and meeting up along the way with The Sun and the Wolf, Mars Red Sky, The Midnight Ghost Train and others. Watching Colour Haze play a hometown show in Munich with Radio Moscow and Mars Red Sky? Yeah, I’d catch that if the opportunity were to present itself.
PR wire info comes courtesy of Sound of Liberation, who put the whole thing together:
COLOUR HAZE – Up In Smoke Tour (with RADIO MOSCOW and guests) kicks off in 1 month – Check Videotrailer, Dates and News
2011 seems like yesterday when we decided to pack up 3 to 4 awesome bands in a bus to tour Europe and rock your ears! 4 editions have gone by, 2 packed indoor festivals have witnessed your love for the music and the concept, so ladies and gentelmen, get ready!
In a month, we will write a new volume in the UP IN SMOKE history, and it will be a blast!! The fifth edition of your favorite roadfestival will feature 3 awesome bands for your pleasure:
Europes most well known psychedelic institution COLOUR HAZE which have their brand new album “To the Highest Gods we Know” in their suitcase!
America’s most heavy blues machine RADIO MOSCOW whose last album “Magical Dirt” (released in June 2014) sent all of us on another trip into heavy psychedelic headphone heaven.
UK’s fuzz driven psych rockers CHERRY CHOKE (from March 1st to 7th only) whose new album “Raising The Waters” will be released in the next weeks! Stay tuned for updates, you don’t wanna miss it!
On the other shows, Colour Haze and Radio Moscow will go with other outstanding special guests. Watch the amazing TRAILER made by Stonnerrock.eu, and check-out the listing below for details and tickets’ links. We invite you to join the trip! Come on and blow up your mind at the UP IN SMOKE ROADFESTIVAL!
Colour Haze & Radio Moscow
Plus Special Guests 27.02 (D) Stuttgart, Universum (w/ The Sun & The Wolf) 28.02 (D) Cologne, Live Music Hall (w/ The Sun & The Wolf) 01.03 (UK) London, The Garage (w/ Cherry Choke) 02.03 (FR) Paris, Le Divan du Monde (w/ Cherry Choke) 03.03 (BEL) Brussels, Magasin 4 (w/ Cherry Choke) 04.03 (D) Hamburg, Markthalle (w/ Cherry Choke) 05.03 (D) Berlin, SO36 (w/ Cherry Choke) 06.03 (A) Vienna, Arena (w/ Cherry Choke) 07.03 (A) Salzburg, Rockhouse (w/ Cherry Choke) 08.03 (D) Leipzig, Taubchenthal (w/ Kalamahara) 09.03 (D) Munich, Feierwerk (w/ Mars Red Sky) 10.03 (IT) Milano, Lofi (support band tba) 11.03 (D) Frankfurt, Das Bett (w/ The Midnight Ghost Train) 12.03 (NL) Tilburg, 013 (support band tba) 13.03 (D) Würzburg, Posthalle (w/ The Grounding) 14.03 (D) Hannover, Faust (support band tba)
Posted in Whathaveyou on January 26th, 2015 by H.P. Taskmaster
If you’ve encountered Electric Moon‘s 2011 full-length, Inferno, before, it was probably via YouTube, where its plays number in the hundreds of thousands. Not bad for a self-released CDR of instrumental jams that has two songs and is over an hour long. The German trio are set to give Inferno a proper CD release in no small part because of this life-of-its-own the album has taken on, meeting popular demand with quality product. Set to release Feb. 21 through Electric Moon guitarist Dave “Sula Bassana” Schmidt‘s own Sulatron Records imprint, the new version of Inferno boasts redone art from bassist Komet Lulu.
The following info jammed its way down the PR wire:
NEW CD-ISSUE with new Artwork!
Electric Moon are unstopable! Many live shows and releases make Electric Moon be Germany’s most productive band while being a real high flyer file under Psychedelia.
Interno is a deep journey to your inner worlds… 2 „songs“, together more than 66 minutes, pierce deep into your subconsciousness, while the music stopps being only music…
Recorded in the beginning of 2011 and released in small quantities as CD-R once, this album now sees the world’s light as official release. Komet Lulu (bass, effects, artwork), Sula Bassana (guitar, effects, organ, recording) and Alex (drums), have captivated a meditative and ecstatic trip – on a record.
„Mental Record“ indicates with it’s more than 14 minutes, where the trip „Inferno“ will take you. „Inferno“, the yet longest official Electric Moon track. The listeners on youtube were asking so hard for this release that we decided just to do it – so here you are: INFERNO! More than 600.000 (!) plays on youtube were reason enough…
So fasten your seatbelts and enter this spaceship – but be careful, you’ve been addicted right now…
Recorded and mixed by Sula, mastered by Eroc, artwork by Lulu Artwork!
Tracklist: 1. Mental Record 14:22 2. Inferno 51:54
Posted in Whathaveyou on January 23rd, 2015 by H.P. Taskmaster
Desertfest Berlin 2015 isn’t letting the week end without adding another band to the mix, and this time around it’s The Sun and the Wolf, who’ve recently released their second album, Salutations, on World in Sound. Based in Berlin now but originating in Auckland, New Zealand, The Sun and the Wolf join a blazing Desertfest lineup that already features Orange Goblin, Red Fang, Acid King and Brant Bjork, among many others, and the fest is set to take place April 23-25 at the Astra Kulturhaus, which I hear kicks all kinds of ass. Wouldn’t mind finding out for myself one of these years.
Info follows, complete with The Sun and the Wolf‘s bio from World in Sound, in case you’d like to familiarize before you get lost in the stream of Salutations:
It’s time for a new announcement! We are pleased to tell you that the Berlin-based outfit The Sun And The Wolf are now confirmed for DesertFest Berlin 2015!
They freshly released via World in Sound their second album “Salutations”, gladly made to fans of psychedelic music and adventures in sound! Stream it here, it’s a killer, and get your ticket to attend the festival onwww.desertfest.de/tickets! (85€ + taxes)
Bio: World In Sound presents its first release with Kiwi roots with the young and ambitious quartet “Sun and the Wolf”. Salutations is their return, the second full length album which opens the gates to a psychedelic soaked wonderland. The nine analog recorded cuts are dynamically arranged continuing on from the explosive and overdriven rhythm and blues that their debut LP “White Buffalo” boasted, while exploring darker realms of fuzz driven psychedelia with catchy riffage and splashes of The Beatles´ lysergic era. Tales of heartbreak, debauchery and deceit echoing from a far away room, the guitar driven sound shows a band soulful and haunted in their delivery, live and on record.
The group relocated from Auckland to Berlin in late 2008 leaving behind a band formerly known as “The Have”. Formed in their teens, the band carved its name upon the New Zealand rock’n’roll scene. There they experienced commercial radio and television success, were invited to SXSW in Texas twice and had their debut album produced by Barrett Jones who worked with Nirvana and The Melvins. They have shared stages with likes as Sleepy Sun, Kasabian, Wolfmother, Dead Meadow, A Place To Bury Strangers and standout festival performances at the notorious Fusion Festival. Salutations creates an exciting and unexpectedly colourful spectrum throughout its duration!
Red Fang + Orange Goblin + Brant Bjork & The Low Desert Punk Band + Acid King + Ufomammut + My Sleeping Karma + Conan + Black Pyramid + Karma To Burn + Brutus + Dopethrone + The Atomic Bitchwax + Lo-Pan + The Picturebooks + Toner Low + Dirty Fences + Heat + Mountain Witch + Mother Engine + The Sun And The Wolf + Riff Fist + Travelin Jack + many more acts
Posted in audiObelisk on January 20th, 2015 by H.P. Taskmaster
“Terracide” feels somewhat tucked away in the tracklist of German noise rockers Treedeon‘s debut album, Lowest Level Reincarnations. The closer, it arrives after the lumbering 12 minutes of the title-track, a monstrous and thick, dual-vocalized barrage, and it feels decidedly more barebones, more in line with earlier cuts like “Wendigo” or “Satan’s Need.” Both of those are also shorter bursts of aggression that speaks to the noise pedigree of guitarist/vocalist Arne Heesch in Ulme and bassist/vocalist Yvonne Ducksworth in Jingo de Lunch.
Treedeon got together — initially as an acoustic project; something they got over as you’ll hear — when Heesch and Ducksworth‘s bands went belly-up, and on their Exile on Mainstream debut, they’re joined by drummer Christian “Boomer” Böhm, who underscores the lumber and the plunder with suitable thud, as a live-sounding track like “Blankapitation” demonstrates,Ducksworth taking the lead vocal early on after Heesch helmed the eight-minute opener “Love Turns Liquid.” They trade back and forth between and within songs effectively, with particularly nasty results on “Venus with Teeth,” but on “Terracide,” it’s Ducksworth at the fore, backed by Heesch‘s screams and the densely-toned, insistent rhythm, still somehow punkishly mean.
Lowest Level Reincarnations releases on April 7 in North America (earlier in Europe, it looks like), and in wanting some background about the band, it seemed only fair to turn to Exile on Mainstream head honcho Andreas Kohl, whose deeply admirable tastes have led to celebrated signings for Beehoover, Wino, Darsombra and Black Shape of Nexus, among many others. Kohl offers some perspective on what stood out to him about Treedeon in the quote which you can find after “Terracide” itself, which is streamable on the player below.
Andreas Kohl on Treedeon:
In what has become an over 15 years history of Exile On Mainstream I have seen a lot happening when it comes to bands becoming a part of the family and history of this label this – from the somehow traditional way of listening to a demo, seeing the band playing live, being a longtime fan to establishing a friendship first and later getting hooked on what their musical approach and output is.
The signing of Treedeon now marks walking this path full circle and simultaneously adds a new, almost holistic way of incorporating a band in the Exile On Mainstream roster as I had the fortune of watching a band finding themselves, trying out different ways and approaches to finding their sound and observing their progressions. It was stunning to see how the three-piece became what they are now: one of Europe’s most staggering outfits to lay pure emotional heaviness in sound and attitude over your maltreated souls. Get stunned as I am. NOW.
Posted in Whathaveyou on January 16th, 2015 by H.P. Taskmaster
San Francisco’s Orchid have been announced as Friday-night headliners at Freak Valley 2015. The festival is set to run June 4-6 in Netphen, Germany, and Orchid join the ranks of Goatsnake and Earthless in headlining, rounding out an all-Californian top rank for the event. Says something about the reach of the Golden State, perhaps, but you can’t really argue that any of the three don’t deserve the spot. In the case of Orchid, their Nuclear Blast-proliferated Sabbath worship has made them a household name among heavy rock aficionados, and they’ll also appear in April at Kirk von Hammet‘s Fear FestEvil in San Jose with High on Fire, Meshuggah and more.
Freak Valley got some Vance Kelly art to mark the occasion and put it this way:
ORCHID TO HEADLINE FRIDAY NIGHT AT FREAK VALLEY FESTIVAL 2015!!
Classic Heavy Rock is once again making an unstoppable advance onto the music scene. One of the greatest new acts of its kind is surely ORCHID. Founded in 2007 in San Francisco, the band is rapidly overtaking and destroying each and every competitor; and there are many reasons why.
Musically, Orchid owe their sound to the grand masters of rock. They walk in the footsteps of Led Zeppelin, Black Sabbath and even Pink Floyd – they certainly are generating abundant exhilaration wherever they roam. This musical genre, the mix of blues, folk and hard rock, was surely the most widespread bravura in the early seventies, and those legendary acts mentioned above would easily fill stadiums even today. Their timeless music has survived decades of trends and fashions. It has inspired multiple generations of hard rock acts and is once again spreading to the forefront of rock. It is hard music, music with groove, music that is authentic and true to its roots. It can fill the largest of arenas to enthrall millions of concertgoers around the globe.
Thanks to Vance Kelly for the mindblowing poster art!!
Orchid – Goatsnake – Earthless – Crippled Black Phoenix – The Vintage Caravan – Electric Moon – Horisont – Gas Giant – Monkey3 – Danava – Egypt – Siena Root – Bröselmaschine – Sigiryia – Kamchatka – Purson – Dead Man – Freedom Hawk – Mountain Witch – Tuber – Valley of the Sun – Tombstones – Travelin’ Jack – more tba soon!!
Posted in Whathaveyou on January 15th, 2015 by H.P. Taskmaster
I’ve seen Toner Low, and they’re one of those bands that, whatever you’re thinking of as heavy, they’re probably heavier than it. A complete tonal overload of lurching riffs, stoned vibes and mega-weedian plod. Their third album, 2013’s III (review here), remains a superlative when it comes to the dankest of grooves, and their 2005 self-titled debut would be legendary by now — a decade later — if anyone who experienced it had brain cells enough afterwards to realize what they’d just witnessed. Sounds like hyperbole? It is. Some bands just bring it out of you like that.
Don’t believe me? Fine, don’t bury yourself under the four tracks of III by listening to it on the Bandcamp player below and thus have to immediately find the most efficient means of purchasing everything they’ve ever done. Your loss. For those lucky enough to be in attendance (would that I could count myself among their number), Toner Low will be dropping jaws at Desertfest Berlin 2015, which runs from April 23-25 at the Astra Kulturhaus, joining the ranks of fellow tone-extremists Conan and Ufomammut, for whom they make good company.
The festival announced their inclusion like this:
We are thrilled to tell you today that Lowlands’ psychedelic doomers Toner Low are now confirmed for DesertFest Berlin 2015!
In April, they will spread their overwhelming, crunchy and heavy sound to the Astra Kulturhaus and crush the Desertfest crowd! It’s gonna be massive!
Posted in Reviews on January 6th, 2015 by H.P. Taskmaster
In 2012, when Munich trio Colour Haze — guitarist/vocalist Stefan Koglek, bassist Philipp Rasthofer and drummer Manfred Merwald — released their 10th album, the two-disc She Said (review here), it felt like an event. That record was four years in the making, which was the longest split the band had known between two albums, and plagued by technical trouble setting up their own Colour Haze Studio, at which it was, finally, recorded. The challenges they faced made the output even more of a triumph — not to mention the grandiose feel of horn and string-inclusive songs like “Transformation” and “Grace,” respectively, giving the whole affair a boldly progressive feel worthy of following up 2008’s ultra-warm All. It was the best album of 2012. With a last-minute 2014 CD release and 2015 vinyl issue through Koglek‘s Elektrohasch Schallplatten imprint, the 11th Colour Haze full-length, To the Highest Gods We Know, would seem to have no small task in following it up. As a fan of the band — and very much writing this review from that perspective, should there be any doubt — I’m glad to see the three-piece return to their every-two-years-or-so rhythm of releases. The 40-minute/five-track To the Highest Gods We Know arrives without drama, recorded at Colour Haze Studio in Munich on two-inch tape with production by Koglek and Charly Bohaimid, mixed analog on quarter-inch tape, with an accordingly classic sound that for those who’ve followed the band or felt their influence in others both within European heavy psych and beyond it should be reasonably familiar, but as ever, one gets a sense of progression from Colour Haze, their lack of creative stagnation being one of the most key elements in what they do. This album is no exception, despite a somewhat deceptive stripped-down vibe in comparison to its predecessor.
Rather, it is precisely through a back-to-basics feel on the first four cuts (we’ll get to that closer) that To the Highest Gods We Know avoids the trap of being the “follow-up” to She Said. It dodges the bullet completely, and where She Said made its grandest statements in flourishes of arrangement, songs like opener “Circles” and the instrumental centerpiece “Überall” do precisely the opposite. They represent Colour Haze rediscovering their processes in this new space of their own studio. The warmth of tone from Koglek and Rasthofer, the steady roll and ever-classy style of Merwald arrive with an exploratory freshness throughout To the Highest Gods We Know because, essentially, with this record, Colour Haze are re-learning how to be Colour Haze. It’s not like they took four-plus years to build their own studio and they’re going to go record somewhere else. They’ve made themselves a home — like they did before with their own label — and these songs sound like the process by which they’re getting acclimated to it. I wouldn’t say that makes them tentative, because any band 11 albums deep into their career has enough of a sense of what they want to not really worry about it, but it definitely makes them relaxed, which of course suits their laid back heavy sound just fine. Launching the album, “Circles” (8:27) begins with a sweet hum of ambient feedback, Koglek‘s guitar swelling in before starting the first line, simple and soon joined by Rasthofer and Merwald. Relatively speaking, there is no grand intro. The first verse is underway by the two-minute mark, and it proves to be the inviting nature of the song itself that carries the listener into the flow that continues over subsequent tracks. A linear build plays out subtly past the first verse and into the second, the guitar and bass working around each other while Merwald holds together a fluid nod, and just as they pass the halfway point, “Circles” kicks into a fuller riff marked out by the inclusion of either horns or flutes — both appear on the album and there is a rush of volume surrounding — before opening to its payoff riff, a lumbering air-pusher that still keeps to the atmosphere preceding, and giving way to a proggy turn that brings back the wind instruments.
Guitar and bass work through lead lines and quiet down before, exploding once more to full breadth, the flute coming forward and following the guitar line for a few measures to close out, a quick sustained note fading and bringing in the chunky riff of the shorter, more verse/chorus-based “Paradise.” One is immediately reminded of “This” from the last album, and “Paradise” serves a similar function in backing the opener, but is a more memorable standout, and puts to welcome use one of Colour Haze‘s signature riff progressions that has been molded and repurposed as a cross-album theme since their 2004 self-titled and the title-track to 2006’s Tempel. Here, layers of harmonized vocals ride the song’s apex, which crashes to another quick finish and gives way to the soft noodling at the start of “Überall,” an 8:45 exploratory jam that provides one of To the Highest Gods We Know‘s most central moments of atmosphere. Christian Hawellek guests on Doepfer modular synth, which adds texture to the patterned but still natural movement of “Überall,” shifting from its softer opening noodling to a more rhythmically active build of tension that as they approach four minutes in, Colour Haze open to a bigger-sounding lead that establishes a tradeoff they’ll soon make again, the synth lending an extra current of melody in swelling and receding in the mix with the guitar, bass and drums. Just past seven minutes in, another riff takes hold that, if it was on anyone else’s record I’d call it “very Colour Haze,” and serves as the foundation for the closing movement of the track, which delightfully plods out its ending before a final crash gives way to humming feedback and what one assumes is the end of side A on the vinyl. To the Highest Gods We Know‘s most progressive inclusions await in “Call” and the closing title-track, but a song like “Überall” emphasizes just how much Colour Haze‘s sound is their own as they approach the 20-year mark since the release of their first album, 1995’s Chopping Machine (discussed here), and how even working in familiar terrain, the raw chemistry between Rasthofer, Merwald and Koglek is more than enough to carry them.
That might not be a revelation at this point. Colour Haze‘s discography is full of such examples, but perhaps what distinguishes “Überall” is its efficiency, the smoothness of its execution and how essential it makes all of its eight minutes while still keeping a laid back, unhurried mood. With “Call,” the band shifts into a somewhat different vibe, Rasthofer moving to Hammond M3 to set a foundation for Koglek‘s resonant, fuzzed-out opening guitar lines. I’ve said on many occasions that Koglek‘s guitar has the finest, richest tone since Jimi Hendrix, and I dare you to listen to the first few minutes of “Call” and tell me otherwise. With just organ and guitar as a bed, the verse begins. Drums and bass show up later, but “Call” reads like a contemplative aside, and it’s a peaceful, spiritual moment that pushes deep into psychedelic moods without actually sounding all that tripped out in terms of effects or synth, etc. Vocals are calm to the point of serenity in the three verses, which smoothly transition out of the last verse and into the riff that will, after a brief pause, introduce Merwald‘s drums and Rasthofer‘s bass along with a heavier thrust and provide the instrumental apex of “Call” and the LP as a whole, the Hammond humming out behind all the while as Koglek‘s guitar leads the build forward in measure after measure until dropping out quickly to the start of “To the Highest Gods We Know,” which is Colour Haze‘s most experimental track to date. It is the only song on the record that carries its name to pass 10 minutes in length, and in its arrangement, it brazenly moves out of the band’s stylistic wheelhouse while holding firm to their trademark rhythmic sensibilities. With strings arranged and conducted by Mathis Nitschke, an intro of Spanish-style acoustic guitar gradually comes forward to open backed by sustained string notes, setting immediately the texture that defines the progression of the song itself.
It feels almost out of its time. Completely instrumental, “To the Highest Gods We Know,” as it unfolds its central balance of acoustic guitar and strings, sounds almost like the sonic experiment that would’ve lead the band to later produce “Grace” from She Said by further incorporating those elements into their established pattern of songwriting. Of course, the timing is reversed, but the arrangement of “To the Highest Gods We Know” is that much bolder then, because essentially what Colour Haze have done with it is abandoned that established pattern. Guitar and strings swell between the third and fourth minute, quiet down and introduce a percussion line that’s almost a march, to which guitar plucking notes in vague time. The strings soon return to play off, and where so much of the band’s approach is about melody — and there’s a melody here, make no mistake — the primary impression of To the Highest Gods We Know‘s title-track is its rhythm. It becomes a wash of rhythm as the strings kick back in and build toward open, distinctly Colour Haze-esque crashes, a winding line of guitar following. They recede and then swell again in a similar fashion, hitting a crescendo more about intensity than volume or tonal thickness, before dropping out once more to intricate acoustic guitar, nature sounds captured by former drummer Tim Höfer and the somewhat tense, delightfully odd fadeout that closes the album, reinforcing the strange note on which Colour Haze have decided to cap To the Highest Gods We Know, their finale as much an offering as it is a statement that as much as they have established a modus for themselves, that doesn’t mean they’re not going to push beyond it every now and again.
The reminder leaves a particularly resonant impression since this is their 11th album, and with four songs before it that one could look at in comparison to She Said and consider them scaled back. But then, To the Highest Gods We Know has its stretches of flute, of strings and of organ. It has its flourishes of arrangement. It has a progressive feel and, again, as bold an experiment as I’ve ever heard from Colour Haze, so maybe it’s not “scaled back” so much as it’s tighter and a more pointed execution derived from some of the ideas that showed themselves the last time out. As Colour Haze settle into their new home — their studio — their first album since its completion feels appropriately like a beginning point, almost as though, having finally escaped from under the woes in creating the last record, they’re ready to go back and rediscover what it propelling them forward. Eleven albums in and it sounds like a debut? Not quite. The fluidity and chemistry developed over the years between Koglek, Rasthofer and Merwald, and the appeal of To the Highest Gods We Know‘s familiar parts aren’t to be understated, but if it proves anything, their latest outing proves that they haven’t yet said everything they have to say, and depending on where they go from here, we might look back on To the Highest Gods We Know as the beginning point for a new era of the band, similar to how their self-titled worked off 2003’s Los Sounds de Krauts 2LP at the dawning of Elektrohasch. However that works out and whatever else it might represent, To the Highest Gods We Know is distinctly Colour Haze. It confirms that definition even as it expands and refines the meaning.
Posted in Reviews on January 1st, 2015 by H.P. Taskmaster
I thought last night about changing the name of this feature to “First Licks 2015,” but on further reflection, that’s just too much licking. It’s bad enough as it is. All the same, Happy New Year to you and yours, wherever you and they may be. I hope in 2015, your reviews pile never gets so backed up that you think about doing something so absolutely insane as tackling them all at once to wipe the slate clean. Then again, being completely inundated with music has its upsides. The music, for one.
We press on today with the fourth installment in the “Last Licks 2014″ series. These are reviews 31-40. I passed the halfway point yesterday with barely so much as an inward breath to appreciate the moment, and I can only hope the pile of discs before me goes so smoothly. I’ll let you know when I get there. Until then, no need to dally, let’s get underway with the first reviews of 2015.
Thanks for reading:
Seven that Spells, The Death and Resurrection of Krautrock: Io
Reportedly second in a series of three albums from Croatian heavy psych rockers Seven that Spells, The Death and Resurrection of Krautrock: Io follows a first installment subtitled Aum released in 2011 and brings forth heady, mostly instrumental progressions of extended runtimes and a satisfying blend of weighted tones and stylistic clarity. The three-piece who released their first album in 2003 alternate between three shorter pieces and two longer ones across the 47-minute Sulatron Records outing’s five tracks, and while I’m not entirely sure what is the narrative that’s taking place across them, there’s definitely a plotted course and concept at work behind the material – it does not come across as haphazard in any way. When they arrive, vocals do so as chants coinciding with sweeping passages, as on “Burning Blood,” the culmination of which is worthy of being the apex of a trilogy in progress. Io takes the off-the-cuff authenticity in heavy psych and gives it direction and purpose beyond simply being. No small feat, no small results.
Some metal isn’t doom, some doom isn’t metal, but Texas trio Elliott’s Keep play doom metal, and make no mistake. Their third long-player, Nascentes Morimur, comes after 2008’s In Medias Res (review here) and 2010’s Sine Qua Non (review here), and like them, it was produced and mixed by J.T. Longoria, so that their darkened, metallic chugging is presented with a crisp bite. The three-piece of Kenneth Greene (bass/vocals), Jonathan Bates (guitar) and Joel Bates (drums) toy with the balance between death and doom effectively across Nascentes Morimur’s nine tracks, making highlights of early moments like the double-kick-laden “Now Taken” and the chorus of the proceeding “Days of Hell.” Later cuts like “Tale of Grief” and “Omen” follow suit, with Jonathan riffing out classic metal vibes while Greene switches between clean singing and a rasping, almost black metal in places, scream. Their command never wavers, though, and while there have never been many frills about their approach, Elliott’s Keep have come to offer a fist-pumpingly heavy, sharp-edged push.
Bluesy Minneapolis double-guitar four-piece The Lone Crows show an affinity for classic rock stylization on their World in Sound second full-length, Dark Clouds. Produced modern, with lead guitar front and center, there’s more rock to Dark Clouds than heavy rock, but the vocal style of guitarist Tim Barbeau – joined in the band by guitarist Julian Manzara, bassist Andy Battcher and drummer Joe Goff – has some ‘90s inflection to it, and every now and then they get into a bit of bounce, as on the title-track and “The Dragon.” The penultimate “Midnight Show” would seem like the peak of the album, and sure enough it has one of its best hooks, but the recording doesn’t allow for the same push one imagines the material would carry live, and the quiet ending of “On that Day” feels flat compared to some of The Lone Crows’ bluesy peers. I chalk it up to the difference between blues rock and heavy rock and my own expectations, rather than some fault in the band.
I’m not sure if it would be appropriate to call Krautzone an offshoot of Zone Six, of which all four members – guitarist Rainer Neeff, synth-providers Modulfix and Sula Bassana, and percussionist Komet Lulu (the latter two also of Electric Moon) – take part, plus bassist Onkel Kaktus, but either way, the sound is nebulous, brilliantly textured for a meditative, slow-motion churn, and utterly engrossing. Their Sulatron debut, Kosmiche Rituale, is comprised of three lengthy explorations, tones washing in and out of each, smoothly offset by Neeff’s flight-taken guitar, minimal but earthy percussion and an improvised sensibility. “Liebe” (12:46) and “Kosmiche Rituale” (9:09) comprise side A and “Only Fools Rush In” (20:41) consumes side B entirely, a wash of synth and cymbals announcing its arrival as it sets about unfolding its long course, every bit living up to the album’s title in the process. Krautzone also released a split with Lamp of the Universe in 2014 (review here), but on their own, they shine with the chance to really stretch out.
Italian instrumentalists L’Ira del Baccano make their full-length debut with the lushly conceived Terra 42, a six-track, 57-minute outing that works in three overarching “phases.” The first of them includes tracks one through three and is dubbed “The Infinite Improbability Drive,” and it makes up more than half the album’s runtime, the first, 13-minute part standing alone while the two subsequent nine-minute stretches feed one directly into the next in a psychedelic wash of open guitar building to a raucous heavy rock finish. Phase II, “Sussurri… Nel Bosco di Diana” is the next two cuts, and moves smoothly from a Yawning Man-style jam to more riff-based thickness. The longest individual part, Phase III, is the 14-minute “Volcano X13,” track six, on which the band move fluidly through their heavy psych and rock impulses, synth and guitar intertwining well as L’Ira del Baccano affirm their more-than-burgeoning stylistic breadth. It’s an interesting, somewhat familiar blend, but they put it to good use on Terra 42 and engage with the spaciousness created.
Reactivated Montreal noisemakers Lae enlisted the help of their producer, Today is the Day’s Steve Austin, in handling lead vocals for their debut, Break the Clasp, which is a move fitting for their anti-genre approach to noise, drone, doom, post-everything, and so on. A Battleground Records/The Compound release, Break the Clasp reworks unheard material from Lae’s original run in the mid-‘90s – an album that never came out, essentially – but the vitality in the 13 tracks (yes, even the crushingly slow ones) is fresh to the point of its newness, and even the parts meant to be abrasive, opener “Sexy Sadie” or pieces of “17 Queen,” for example, hold onto a wonderful depth the mix and a feeling of texture that feeds Break the Clasp’s otherworldly spirit and brings you along its path of consuming strangeness. Austin is a presence, but by no means the star, and the whole band Lae shines across Break the Clasp’s fascinating span. A debut no one knew they were awaiting, but they were.
Psychedelia implying such a colorful sound, and black metal implying essentially the absence of that color, the two have rarely been paired well, but Finnish four-piece Atomikylä display a resounding space on their five-song debut full-length, Erkale (released by Future Lunch), and they’re not through the 13-minute opener, “Aluaineet,” before I think they might have mastered the balance between effects wash, unmitigated thrust and far-back screaming that most others have left too far to one side or the other. The four-piece with a lineup half from Oranssi Pazuzu and half from Dark Buddha Rising don’t stay in one place stylistically – the title-track has an almost krautrock feel, while the subsequent “Ihmiskallo” is more resolved to doom – but they keep a consistency of blinding bleakness to Erkale that results in a decidedly individualized feel throughout the 48 minutes. Droning and jazzy guitar experimentalism prevails in “Who Goes There,” and 10-minute closer “Musta Kulta” both broadens the atmosphere and underscores Atomikylä’s vicious stylistic triumph, capping Erkale with a mash of squibblies and screams, effects and distortion that’s so filthy it can’t help but be beautiful.
Freiburg, Germany, trio Deaf Proof – guitarist/vocalist J. Fredo, bassist JP and drummer Pedro – released their first demo in 2013, but the three-song/34-minute EP (it’s more like an album, but I won’t argue) Death Sounds Angry is a decidedly more assured, professional affair. The vibe is loose and, in the reaches of 18-minute middle cut “Origin of Pain,” jammy, but the three-piece still seem to have some idea of where they want their material to go, even as they feel their way toward those ends. A Colour Haze influence? Maybe, but less than one might think given the current climate of European heavy psych. JP’s bass has a tendency toward darker undertones, and when they hit the payoffs for “Death Sounds Angry and Hungry for More,” “Origin of Pain” and “The Sense,” they reveal themselves to be in search of something heavier and less peaceful. J. Fredo’s vocals are a little forward in the mix, but Death Sounds Angry still offers plenty to chew on for the converted.
Progressive, mostly instrumental and hypnotic, Zagreb, Croatia, trio Jastreb released their self-titled debut as a single 36-minute song in 2012, and the follow-up, Mother Europe (on HauRucK), is no less ambitious. Vocals appear here and there, both from the core three-piece and a guest spot, but the heart of what Jastreb do is rooted in their ability to craft movements that pull listeners in without falling into lulls of unconsciousness – to wit, the repetitions of “The Black Mountain” seem still but are constantly building and moving forward – as well as in arrangement flourishes like synth, Hammond, sitar and violin among the shades of post-metal in “Haemmer” or the bleary, drone-backed opener “North,” which comes companioned by the subtle churn of “South” to end the album. Not necessarily psychedelic in a loose or jammy sense, but immersive, and purposeful in its variety; the sitar and guest vocals on “The Silver Spire” arrive just at the moment when one thinks they might have heard it all. Could say the same of the record itself, I suppose.
Passage of Gaia is the sixth album from progressive melo-doomers Arctic Sleep. A four-piece from Milwaukee including bassist/drummer/cellist/vocalist Keith D, guitarist Mike Gussis and vocalist Emily Jancetic (John Gleisner plays drums live), one is reminded both of the Floydian consciousness of mid-period Anathema (my go-to comparison point for this kind of stuff, admittedly) and the drama in Katatonia and some of Novembers Doom’s clean sections, but ultimately, Arctic Sleep emerge from the eight-track/54-minute DIY long-player with their own personality, measured out in the careful vocal collaboration between Keith D and Jancetic, songs like “Terra Vindicta,” “Green Dragon” and “Passage of Gaia,” and the varied structures between the more rocking “Terra Vindicta” and the build of “Solar Lament.” Through it all, nothing’s out of balance, and Arctic Sleep execute Passage of Gaia with the poise demanded by the style and the fact that it’s their sixth album, accomplishment suiting them as well as the melancholy of closer “Destroy the Urn,” which almost loses its restraint at the end. Almost.
Posted in Reviews on December 31st, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster
Yesterday was kind of crazy, but I don’t mind telling you I think today might be the most all-over-the-place of the week each of the five piles on my desk — now three, soon two — offers something different from the others, but it’s a wide spectrum being covered here, and there’s a couple abrupt turns from one to the next that I didn’t really do on purpose but I think will make for an interesting challenge anyway. In case you’ve been wondering, that’s what kind of nerd I am. Also the Star Trek kind.
I’m feeling really good about this series so far. Really good. I reserve the right to, by Friday, be so completely done with it that I never want to even think of the idea again, but I can only begin to tell you how satisfying it is to me to be able to write about some of these records after staring at them for so long sitting on my desk. Today’s batch is reviews 21-30 of the total 50, so we’ll pass the halfway point in this pile. If you’ve been keeping count since Monday or checking in, thanks, and if not, thanks anyway. Ha.
It’s about that time:
Brain Pyramid, Chasma Hideout
Although it was streamed here in full in September, the persistent stoner charm of French trio Brain Pyramid’s debut album, Chasma Hideout (released by Acid Cosmonaut Records), seemed to warrant further highlight. Whether it’s small touches like the organ underscoring centerpiece “Lucifer” or the wah-ready bass of Ronan Grall – joined in the band by guitarist/vocalist Gaston Lainé and drummer Baptiste Gautier-Lorenzo – or the memorable if genre-familiar turns of “Into the Lightspeed,” the band’s first LP impresses with unpretentious heavy rock front to back. It’s not perfect. Lainé’s vocals come across high in the mix on opener “Living in the Outer Space” and there are points where the “familiar” runs stronger than others, but especially as their initial full-length offering, Chasma Hideout is one that one seems to continue to grow on the listener as time goes on, and one hopes that the heavy psych chicanery from which they launch the 11-minute closing title-track becomes the foundation from which they build going forward. Potential worth reiterating.
With the backing of venerable Swedish imprint I Hate Records, Canadian two-piece Zaum release their first LP in the four-song Oracles, a 48-minute work taking its central musical and atmospheric themes from Middle Eastern cues. Melodically and atmospherically, it relies on chants, slow, deep low end and minor key riffs to convey a dense ambience, reminding some of Om’s Mideast fixation on “Peasant of Parthia” – third and shortest here at 8:13 – but otherwise on a much heavier, darker trip entirely. Opener “Zealot” (12:55) and closer “Omen” (14:08) both offer plodding pace and a methodology not unlike Nile played at quarter-speed, but it would be a mistake to call the hand with which Kyle Alexander McDonald (vocals, bass, synth, sitar) and Christopher Lewis (drums) approach their aesthetic anything but commanding, and when McDonald switches to a semi-blackened rasp in the second half of “Omen,” Zaum demonstrate a desire to push even further into extremity’s reaches. I can’t help but wonder how far they’ll go.
Some of the organ sounds on “Eye Opener,” the aptly-titled leadoff from Virginia four-piece Fire Faithful’s second LP, Organized Occult Love, remind of what Beelzefuzz conjured atmospherically, but an even more primary impression is the uptick in production value from Fire Faithful’s 2012 outing, Please Accept this Invocation (review here). Recorded by Windhand’s Garrett Morris, songs like “Last Fool on Earth” and “Organized Occult Love” brim with tonal resonance and a perfect balance the mix. Guitarist Shane Rippey handled the latter with Morris, and throughout, his tones and that of bassist Jon Bone shine, but whether it’s a more straightforward, Earthride-style groover like the title-track, or a more ranging doomer like “Combat,” vocalist Brandon Malone is well balanced to cut through the morass and drummer Joss Sallade’s crash resides comfortably behind the thick chugging. Melissa Malone and Gabrielle Bishop contribute backing vocals to “Last Fool on Earth” and only affirm how much Organized Occult Love brings Fire Faithful’s Southern doom to another level of presentation. An important forward step.
Five years after debuting with 2009’s Cantos a Ma Vida, Amsterdam-based Pendejo return on Chancho Records with Atacames, a 10-track/44-minute wallop of classic heavy rock riffing and Latin American influence via the Spanish lyrics of vocalist El Pastuso and his readily-wielded-but-not-overused trumpet, which makes a surprising complement to Jaap “Monchito” Melman’s fuzz-heavy guitar, Stef “El Rojo” Gubbels’ bass and Jos “Pepellín” Roosen’s drums, but in context works well to bring personality and an individualized sensibility to a sound otherwise heavily indebted to the likes of Kyuss and Fu Manchu. Quality songwriting and variety in songs like the slower “Amiyano” and the building “Hermelinda” ensures Atacames offers more than novelty to those who’d gape at its other-ness, and when that trumpet does hit, it never falls flat. Closing out with a pair of big-riffers in “El Jardinero” and “La Chica del Super No Se Puede Callar,” Pendejo’s sophomore effort produces results as substantial as they are fun, and serve to remind that’s why we’re here in the first place.
Cali trio Heavy Glow – guitarist/vocalist Jared Mullins, bassist Joe Brooks and drummer St. Judas – have spent a decent portion of the year on tour in support of their full-length, Pearls and Swine and Everything Fine. Understandable, and all the better to pick up your girlfriend in-person. Smooth, well-baked grooves permeate cuts like “Mine all Mine,” which also appeared on their prior 7” (review here), and the later “Nerve Endings,” a Queens of the Stone Age-style production giving about as much of a commercial vibe as a record can have and still be heavy rock, but the songwriting is paramount and definitely an element working in Heavy Glow’s favor, whether it’s the takeoff chorus of “Domino” or near-lounge vibe of “Fat Cat.” There’s an aspirational sensibility at the album’s core that’s going to make for an odd fit for some riff-heads who might be puzzled how something so nearly desert rock can still sound not at all like Brant Bjork, but hooks is hooks, and Heavy Glow use them well.
Bibilic Blood released three albums between 2009 and 2011, but the Eastlake, Ohio, duo haven’t been heard from since – their nightmarish, depraved psychedelic sludge vanishing in a smoky, somehow hateful wisp. Snakeweed marks their fourth album, and with it bassist/vocalist Suzy Psycho and drummer/guitarist Scott “Wizard” Stearns unfurl another demented collection of chaos snippets from an alternate, terrifying universe, the 11 songs totaling just 27 minutes with enough lumber and obscure freakout on two-minute mainliners like “Severed” and “Bloodnomicon” in the middle of the record to be a genre on itself — like a grainy horror flick made scarier by its rawness. Closer and longest cut at 4:10 “Bloody Rabbit” starts with Boris, Flood-style noodling from Stearns on guitar, but samples transition into Snakeweed’s most gruesome chapter, Suzy Psycho’s voice echoing, twisted, from out of an abyss that might as well be your own subconscious, referencing Jefferson Airplane along the way. Their particular brand of malevolence has been missed, and hopefully Snakeweed starts a new bout of activity.
Thera Roya & Hercyn, All this Suffering is Not Enough
Gloom prevails and takes multiple shapes on All this Suffering is Not Enough, the new jewel-case split between Brooklyn post-metallers Thera Roya and progressive New Jersey black metallers Hercyn. Each band includes one song, and for the trio Thera Roya, that’s “Gluttony,” which builds its churn from the ground up and intersperses spacious guitar and almost punkish clean singing en route to a wash of scream-topped distortion, trading off volume and ambience and ultimately delivering a lot of both in a densely-packed eight minutes. Hercyn, a four-piece, counter with the 14-minute “Dusk and Dawn,” which follows their also-longform Magda EP (review here) in grand and squibbly form, a gallop taking hold early topped with throaty screams and shifting between melodic and dissonant impulses, a midsection solo offering a standout moment before the bludgeoning resumes. Each act offers a quotient of noise not to be understated, and despite working in different styles, that’s enough to let them complement each other well on the searing 23-minute Ouro Preto Productions release.
Synapse, the third full-length from German trio The Spacelords, arrives like a gift from the bliss-jam gods. Four extended mostly-instrumental cuts arranged two per side on a Sulatron Records LP, crafting memorable impressions with washes of synth and guitar, intelligent jams that feel partially plotted and intelligent but still exploratory and natural in how they flesh out. Guitarist Matthias Wettstein is out front in the mix, but bassist Akee Kazmaier and drummer Marcus Schnitzler (also of Electric Moon) aren’t far behind, as much as a title like “Starguitar” might make you think otherwise. The chemistry between the three-piece remains tight across the album’s 41 minutes, and from the rich bass and chugging guitar of the opening title-track to the more laid-back groove of “No. 5” and voicebox strangeness of “Pyroclastic Master,” which has the record’s only vocals in robotically spoken lines, Synapse seems to make all of its connections along the way. Heavy psych heads previously unfamiliar will want to take note. The vinyl, of course, is limited.
A progressive heavy rock trio from the Netherlands, The Good Hand present Atman, their second album, on Minstrel Music, with an adventurous semi-desert sensibility given crisp production and a somewhat wistful feel in songs like “Greenwich Mean Time” and “Unity.” For a record that starts out with lead guitarist/vocalist Arjan Hoekstra (also tuba, trombone, bugle, keys, percussion) declaring “I am god,” Atman is surprisingly not-arrogant, owing probably as much to Radiohead as Kyuss and keeping an experimental feel to the stops and arrangement of “The Opposite,” bassist/vocalist Dennis Edelenbosch and drummer/vocalist Ingmar Regeling (both also Monotron) swinging out classic style but holding firm to a modern edge. Out of nowhere is the 19-minute closing title-track (nothing else hits six), on which The Good Hand unfold varied movements that push beyond the charm of “The Death of the Real”’s ‘60s affiliations and into spaces jazz-funky, or droning, or doomy, or all of them. No easy accomplishment, but The Good Hand manage to hold it all together fluidly.
Byzanthian Neckbeard, From the Clutches of Oblivion
Okay, seriously. What the hell do you think a band who live on an island in the English Channel and call themselves Byzanthian Neckbeard sound like? Burly as hell? Well you’re right. The Guernsey foursome of guitarist/vocalist Phil Skyrme, guitarist Jon Langlois, bassist Dano Robilliard and drummer Paul Etasse get down on some dudely, dudely grooves on their 2014 debut, From the Clutches of Oblivion. “Doppelganger” nestles somewhere between death rock, stoner and sludge, and there’s a heaping crash of doom on “Plant of Doom” (duh) and “To Seek the Cyberdwarf” to go with the more swaggering take of “Hive Mind Overlord” as well. But primarily, you don’t put the word “Neckbeard” in your band’s name unless you’re on a pretty masculine trip, and Byzanthian Neckbeard do not fuck around in that regard or in the aggro boogie of “The Ganch.” CD is limited to 200 copies in a four-panel digipak to house the growl-laden, riff-led plunder that ensues across its brief but bloody 32-minute span.
Posted in Whathaveyou on December 29th, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster
Swedish five-piece Horisont have been announced for Freak Valley 2015. The retro heavy rockers join an already massive bill headlined by Earthless and Goatsnake and featuring Egypt, Sigiriya and many others alongside whom the kickass classic-style riffing of Horisont should feel right at home. Their latest single, “Break the Limit,” is out now on Rise Above and has produced a not-surprisingly-grainy video for the A-side that you can see below.
Word came the other day they’ll also take part in Heavy Days in Doomtown, so at least we know they’ll be busy. Freak Valley 2015 is set for June 4-6 in Netphen, Germany. Here’s the announcement:
Hey Freaks! We have a little X-mas present for you!!
Finest proto metal riffs and enviable moustaches by Swedish retro rockers HORISONT – they will play Freak Valley Festival 2015!!
Real rock‘n’roll cannot be faked. It is the immortal celebration of prized atavistic values – power and volume, sweat and adrenalin, uncompromising good times and the invigorating squall of past, present and future colliding. Those with the artistry and soul required to make music that stirs the blood will never stop chasing that distant horizon, and so Horisont have both the name and the know-how to blow minds and disperse life’s oppressive clouds. They are real rock’n’roll incarnate: an exhilarating blast of sonic euphoria, custom built to raise spirits and quicken the pulse of any right-thinking rock or metal fan.
Since forming in 2006, this Swedish quintet have steadily established themselves as one of Europe’s premier underground Rock bands.
Their first two albums made it plain that the band have tapped directly into the heart of heaviness and guitar-wielding derring-do. Now, with their latest masterpiece, the vividly realised Time Warriors, Horisont are raising their game, refining and re-defining themselves and leaving the competition spluttering in the dust.
Cover art by Jo Riou Graphic Designer // Headbang Design
FREAK VALLEY FESTIVAL – 4th-5th-6th June 2015
FVF tickets are selling like Blues Pills vinyls already – get yours in time – the first 3 editions have been sold out early!! We are selling tix to all parts of this planet!!
Goatsnake – Earthless – The Vintage Caravan – Electric Moon – Horisont – Gas Giant – Monkey3 – Danava – Egypt – Siena Root – Bröselmaschine – Sigiryia – Kamchatka – Purson – Dead Man – Freedom Hawk – Mountain Witch – Tuber – Valley of the Sun – Tombstones – more tba soon!!
Posted in Whathaveyou on December 16th, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster
Now a trio after parting ways this year with guitarist Matt Cave – his brother, Mark, still handles bass — Virginia Beach heavy rockers Freedom Hawk have been announced as the latest addition to the 2015 Freak Valley festival in Germany. Their appearance at Freak Valley 2015 follows a quick run through parts of Europe this past spring that included a stop at the Roadburn festival in the Netherlands. Freedom Hawk also recently were in the studio recording for the follow-up to their 2011 Small Stone label debut, Holding On (review here). No word on a release date yet or whether the Freak Valley gig will be part of another round of European tour dates, but there’s time yet for such things to align and be revealed. In any case, if you’re keeping a running list of stuff to look forward to in 2015, Freedom Hawk isn’t a name to be left out.
Freak Valley put it thusly:
We are stoked to announce that Virginia Riff-Wranglers FREEDOM HAWK will play Freak Valley Festival 2015 !!
Hailing from the barrier dunes of Virginia, this quartet blends heavy riffs, a rolling groove, and soulful guitar melodies to produce the sound that is Freedom Hawk. Their brand of heavy rock coupled with a high energy live show, leaves many wondering if they’ve stepped through a time warp that has taken them to rock’s heyday of the 70’s by the power of their dark music fueled by the sun.
FREEDOM HAWK’s sound is large, like trying to force an elephant to fit in a closet. It’s also melodic for such heavy-handed playing. Walls of guitar riffs were pushed out heavy, soaring and moving like swells and waves at the same time.
Mindblowing cover art by Antoine Defarges // Headbang Design
FREAK VALLEY FESTIVAL – 4th-5th-6th June 2015
FVF tickets are selling like Blues Pills vinyls already – get yours in time – the first 3 editions have been sold out early!! We are selling tix to all parts of this planet!!
Goatsnake – Earthless – Crippled Black Phoenix – The Vintage Caravan – Electric Moon – Gas Giant – Monkey3 – Danava – Egypt – Siena Root – Bröselmaschine – Sigiryia – Kamchatka – Purson – Dead Man – Freedom Hawk – Mountain Witch – Tuber – Valley of the Sun – Tombstones – more tba soon!!
Posted in audiObelisk on December 12th, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster
“Überall” is the centerpiece of Colour Haze‘s To the Highest Gods We Know, placed third among the five tracks on the hugely influential German trio’s 10th full-length. The album is due for CD release on Monday, Dec. 15, through guitarist/vocalist Stefan Koglek‘s Elektrohasch Schallplatten imprint, and vinyl is slated to follow on Feb. 23, 2015, just a couple days before the Koglek, bassist Philipp Rasthofer and drummer Mandred Merwald begin a European tour with Radio Moscow and Cherry Choke.
Two weeks ago, none of this was known. With a persistent aversion to social media, it’s not like Colour Haze were Instagramming every step of the analog recording process from their own Colour Haze Studio in München. There wasn’t an album and then there was. No complaints.
To the Highest Gods We Know follows She Said (review here), a two-disc wonder that was the high point of 2012. Where that album was plagued with technical difficulties and took four years to put together, the new one seems to have resulted from a somewhat less dramatic circumstance, and as they’re settled into a space that’s their own and taking yet another autonomous step beyond self-recording and self-releasing, one can hear pieces of experimental flourish beginning to shine through. A band 10 records deep that’s still progressing is a rarity, but Colour Haze readily push their boundaries, whether it’s the flute accompaniment on opener “Circles” or the proggy jumps that Koglek‘s guitar and a string quartet make on the closing title-track.
In the case of “Überall,” Koglek, Rasthofer and Merwald are joined by Christian Hawellek, who contributes Doepfer modular synth to the apex of the song’s satisfying instrumental linear build. The contribution is subtle — it’s not like all of a sudden Colour Haze are looking to be abrasive; even when there’s feedback, it seems gentle — but it’s in there amidst the warm guitar and bass tones and Merwald‘s swinging groove. “Überall” builds from the ground up to get there, starting quiet and exploratory, barely there at first as Koglek eases the track to life on guitar. A classic shuffle takes hold as they smoothly jam their way forward, as engrossing as one could ask and as accomplished as their well-earned reputation demands.
With thanks to the band, I have the extreme pleasure today of streaming “Überall” as the first audio to be made public from To the Highest Gods We Know. Please find it on the player below, followed by the upcoming tour dates, and enjoy.
Up in Smoke Roadfestival Volume 5
With Colour Haze, Radio Moscow and Cherry Choke 27.02.2015 (GER) Stuttgart – Universum (w/ The Sun & The Wolf) 28.02.2015 (GER) Cologne – Live Music Hall (w/ The Sun & The Wolf) 01.03.2015 (UK) London – The Garage 02.03.2015 (FR) Paris – Le Divan du Monde 03.03.2015 (BEL) Brussels – Magasin 4 04.03.2015 (GER) Hamburg – Markthalle 05.03.2015 (GER) Berlin – SO36 06.03.2015 (A) Vienna – Arena 07.03.2015 (A) Salzburg – Rockhouse 08.03.2015 (GER) Leipzig – Taubchenthal (w/ Kalamahara) 09.03.2015 (GER) Munich – Feierwerk (w/ Mars Red Sky) 10.03.2015 (IT) Milano – Lofi 11.03.2015 (GER) Frankfurt – Das Bett (w/ The Midnight Ghost Train) 12.03.2015 tba 13.03.2015 (GER) Würzburg – Posthalle 14.03.2015 (GER) Hannover – Faust * Cherry Choke from March 1 to 7 only
Posted in Whathaveyou on December 9th, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster
Damn near impossible to argue with the Desertfest Berlin 2015 lineup at this point. We’ve hit the stage in band-adds where you just have to toss up your hands and be like, “Well, okay, whoever they bring in at this point, it’s gonna be good.” With Red Fang and Orange Goblin among the headliners, plus Acid King — who’ll have a new album out by then — and My Sleeping Karma and Black Pyramid and Lo-Pan and The Atomic Bitchwax and so many others, it’s basically a heavy rocker’s dreamteam of European and American acts coming together. What’s not to like, except maybe the cost of airfare and a hotel in Berlin?
The latest to join the bunch? None other than the godfather of desert groove himself, Brant Bjork. He’ll be taking his Brant Bjork and the Low Desert Punk Band on the road again in support of 2014’s Black Power Flower (review here), which is out now on Napalm.
Announcement follows, courtesy of Desertfest Berlin 2015:
We are thrilled to tell you that MR. Brant Bjork and his LOW DESERT PUNKS are confirmed to headline friday night at DesertFest Berlin 2015! The band had put on such mindblowing shows during their last tour, that there was no question: we really wanted them and we are sure that you do too!
So come on you “freaks of nature” join BRANT BJORK AND THE LOW DESERT PUNK BAND in Berlin and “Let the truth be known…”
Grab your HARD-TICKET + T-SHIRT while you still can onwww.desertfest.de/tickets! Only 100 left, and this offer lasts until December 18th only. You can also get a PRINT-AT-HOME TICKET on the same page if you prefere.
DESERTFEST BERLIN #4 – APRIL 23th, 24th, 25th 2015 ASTRA KULTURHAUS / F-HAIN/X-BERG BERLIN (GER)
Red Fang + Orange Goblin + Brant Bjork & The Low Desert Punk Band + Acid King + My Sleeping Karma + Black Pyramid + Karma To Burn + Brutus + Dopethrone + The Atomic Bitchwax + Lo-Pan + The Picturebooks + Dirty Fences + Mountain Witch + Mother Engine + many many more acts:)
Posted in Whathaveyou on December 4th, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster
San Diego instrumental trio Earthless have been announced as the latest addition to Freak Valley 2015. The heavy psych rockers also recently gave notice they’ll be touring Japan in January alongside Eternal Elysium, and no doubt their stop at Freak Valley will come complemented by other European dates as well as they continue to support 2013’s excellent From the Ages (review here), which was released on Tee Pee Records.
Freak Valley 2015 is set for June 4, 5 and 6 in Netphen, Germany, and in joining the lineup, Earthless move into position among other headliners like Goatsnake and Crippled Black Phoenix. It’s a fitting place for the three-piece of guitarist Isaiah Mitchell (also Golden Void), bassist Mike Eginton and drummer Mario Rubalcaba (also OFF!), whose influence has had a significant impact the last several years on San Diego’s burgeoning heavy psych scene, bands like Joy and Psicomagia, among others in and beyond the city limits, taking cues from their dynamic righteousness and classic-style chemistry.
Announcement follows, courtesy of Freak Valley:
EARTHLESS will bring their Cosmic Jams from San Diego to the holy fields of Freak Valley !!
Formed in 2001, Earthless prides itself on creating energetic, utterly unique and free thinking instrumental music inspired by an eclectic mix of German krautrock and Japanese heavy blues-rock. The Californian trio has dedicated itself to mastery of the mind-bending jam session, evoking the spirits of Jimi Hendrix and Black Sabbath in equal measure. Named after a song title from vintage New York garage-psych band The Druids of Stonehenge, EARTHLESS’ sound has been called “A sonic kaleidoscope of lava and lightning”, earning it the title of “California’s loudest band”. The group delivers “one of the best live shows in all of modern, heavy rock,” leading to one reviewer stating that the band’s “epic shredding harkens back to the days were psychedelic rock had balls the size of grapefruits and wasn’t afraid to take its listeners on a ride for which they may never return.”
Each member of EARTHLESS has done time in many other bands. Drummer (and former pro skater) Mario Rubalcaba currently plays in the hardcore punk band OFF! and has also occupied the drum throne in Rocket From The Crypt and Hot Snakes amongst many others. Bassist Mike Eginton played with Electric Nazarene and guitarist Isaiah Mitchell was most recently in Howlin’ Rain, has played with Nebula and Drunk Horse and also heads up the Bay Area band Golden Void. In the end, EARTHLESS is the musical rock that grounds the three musicians and now, after more than half a decade since the release of their last studio LP, EARTHLESS has returned and is out to prove — through sheer rock power — why they are considered the cream of the modern day heavy psych scene.
FREAK VALLEY FESTIVAL – 4th-5th-6th June 2015
FVF tickets are selling like Blues Pills vinyls already – get yours in time – the first 3 editions have been sold out early!! We are selling tix to all parts of this planet!!
Goatsnake – Earthless – Crippled Black Phoenix – The Vintage Caravan – Electric Moon – Gas Giant – Monkey3 – Danava – Egypt – Siena Root – Bröselmaschine – Sigiryia – Kamchatka – Purson – Dead Man – Mountain Witch – Tuber – Valley of the Sun – Tombstones – more tba soon!!
Posted in Whathaveyou on December 4th, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster
After slots this fall at Desertfest Belgium and ThElectriCool festivals and a summer spent at Duna Jam, Lake on Fire festival, Burg Herzberg, Stoned from the Underground and more, German heavy psychedelic forerunners Colour Haze have announced a Dec. 15 CD release for their new album, To the Highest Gods We Know, through guitarist/vocalist Stefan Koglek‘s long-running Elektrohasch Schallplatten imprint, with vinyl to follow on Feb. 23, 2015. Koglek, bassist Philipp Rasthofer and drummer Manfred Merwald will mark the occasion with a European tour, the dates for which are forthcoming.
To the Highest Gods We Know is comprised of five tracks totaling in about 40 minutes of new music from Colour Haze, who have emerged as one of European heavy psychedelia’s most influential groups. It was recorded to 2″ tape at the band’s own Colour Haze Studio in their native München with production and engineering by Koglek and Charly Bohaimid, and mixed analog on 1/4″ tape by Koglek. It arrives just two years after 2012’s expansive She Said (review here) and following reissues of earlier albums, 2000’s CO2 and 2001’s Ewige Blumenkraft (review here), and finds the perpetually progressive trio delving further into and beyond ideas presented on the last album, incorporating arrangements of flutes, strings, horns and nature sounds amid their own tonal warmth and vibrant live performance.
The striking cover art for the album was handled by Cherry Choke guitarist/vocalist Mat Bethancourt and his The Speed of Light design company, and the vinyl for the record is being cut today, Dec. 4, at Pauler Acoustics in Northeim. With familiar refrains in “Paradise,” a gripping tonal gorgeousness in “Call” and perhaps the band’s boldest sonic experiment to date in “To the Highest Gods We Know,” the record is both in conversation with She Said and moving forward from it. Of course, that album was plagued with technical trouble and took years to get out as the band constructed Colour Haze Studio, but if the audio on To the Highest Gods We Know is anything to go by, Colour Haze are ready to leave their woes behind and continue their creative journey, wherever it may take them.
Tracklisting is as follows:
Colour Haze, To the Highest Gods We Know
5. To the Highest Gods We Know