Monolord Touring Europe and the US This Fall

Posted in Whathaveyou on July 1st, 2019 by JJ Koczan

monolord

Okay, so let’s assume that any minute now, Monolord are going to announce their next album will be out sometime this Fall. I mean, even if you tour as hard as Monolord generally, do you really book back-to-back European and US tours without the record out to support? Nah, pretty much you can figure that if it’s not out before, it’ll be out sometime while they’re on the road. Recall as well it’s their debut for Relapse. It’s a significant moment for the band, and obviously they want to make the most of it. Well they should, given the work they’ve put in to this point.

And yeah, that’s great and all, but I’m gonna go ahead and get even more stoked on the fact that BlackWater HolyLight are doing the US shows with them. Their once-labelmates on RidingEasy haven’t been east yet from their home in Oregon so far as I know, so I’m absolutely putting that Brooklyn show in my calendar. Sounds like a good time.

Dates from the PR wire:

monolord poster

MONOLORD: Announce Fall Europe & US Headline Tour Dates

Swedish hard rock trio MONOLORD announce headlining European and US tour dates throughout the Fall. First, MONOLORD will tour Europe from September 28 through October 26 with Firebreather. The following week, the band heads to the states from November 5 through 27 with Blackwater Holylight. All confirmed tour dates are available below.

Stay tuned for more MONOLORD news in the near future.

MONOLORD Tour Dates:

Aug 08-10 Moledo, PT Sonic Blast
Sep 06-08 Sao Paulo, BR Setembro Negro Festival

— All Headline EU Dates Sep 28 – Oct 26 w/ Firebreather —

Sep 28 London, UK @ The Garage (w/ Ufomammut)
Sep 29 Sheffield, UK @ HRH Doom V Stoner
Sep 30 Bournemouth, UK @ The Anvil
Oct 01 Utrecht, NL @ De Helling
Oct 02 Brussels, BE @ Magasin 4
Oct 03 Pratteln, CH @ Up In Smoke Festival
Oct 04 Reims, FR @ La Cartonnerie
Oct 05 Paris, FR @ Saturday Mud Fever Festival
Oct 07 Dortmund, DE @ Junkyard
Oct 08 Nuremberg, DE @ B-Zau
Oct 09 Cologne, DE @ Helios 37
Oct 10 Mainz, DE @ Schon Schon
Oct 11 Hamburg, DE @ Molotow
Oct 16 Oslo, NO @ John Dee
Oct 17 Gothenburg, SE @ Sticky Fingers
Oct 18 Malmo, SE @ Babel
Oct 23 Linkoping, SE @ The Crypt
Oct 24 Stockholm, SE @ Close Up Baten
Oct 25 Tampere, FI @ Olympia
Oct 26 Helsinki, FI @ Nosturi

— All Headline US Dates Nov 04 – 27 w/ Blackwater Holylight —

Nov 05 San Diego, CA @ Brick by Brick
Nov 06 Tucson, AZ @ Club Congress
Nov 07 Albuquerque, NM @ Sister
Nov 09 Austin, TX @ Levitation x Relapse Showcase
Nov 10 Lafayette, LA @ Freetown Boom Boom Room
Nov 11 New Orleans, LA @ One Eyed Jacks
Nov 12 Atlanta, GA @ The 529
Nov 13 Asheville, NC @ Mothlight
Nov 14 Richmond, VA @ Camel
Nov 15 Baltimore, MD @ Metro Gallery
Nov 16 Philadelphia, PA @ First Unitarian Church
Nov 17 Brooklyn, NY @ Saint Vitus
Nov 20 Chicago, IL @ Reggies
Nov 21 Indianapolis, IN @ Black Circle
Nov 22 St. Louis, MO @ Fubar
Nov 23 Lawrence, KS @ Bottleneck
Nov 25 Denver, CO @ Marquis
Nov 27 Los Angeles, CA @ Teragram Ballroom

MONOLORD Is:
Esben Willems – Drums
Thomas Jäger – Guitar Vocals
Mika Häkki – Bass

monolord.bandcamp.com
facebook.com/MonolordSweden
monolord.com
http://relapse.com
https://www.facebook.com/RelapseRecords/

Monolord, Rust (2017)

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Långfinger Premiere “Feather Beader” from Live LP out May 24

Posted in audiObelisk on May 14th, 2019 by JJ Koczan

LANGFINGER (Photo by Edko Fuzz)

On May 24, Swedish heavy rockers Långfinger will release the limited LP Live in an edition of 200 copies only. It arrives through Beduin and Sound Pollution less than a full month after Långfinger‘s new split 7″ with JIRM (formerly Jeremy Irons and the Ratgang Malibus), and presents a show that took place on Xmas 2017 in the band’s hometown of Gothenburg. In short, it sounds like a holiday. In total, Långfinger rip through eight songs and every bit sound like they knew they were going to end up releasing the gig. Rising to the occasion and all that.

Mixed and mastered by guitarist/backing vocalist Kalle Lilja and with Lukas Väremo sitting in on keys for “Fantasy Ridge” and “Atlas” — from their first album, 2010’s Skygrounds, and their third album, 2016’s Crossyears (review here), respectively — along with bassist/vocalist Victor Crusner and drummer Jesper Pihl, Live lives up to any live album cliché one might be tempted to apply. Whether it’s “capturing a moment in time” or presenting the band’s studio material in raw and raucous fashion, whatever. It’s all true. It’s all there. It all works. By the time they’re through “Fox Confessor” and “Caesar’s Blues” from Crossyears and into the winding riffery of “Feather Beader,” the sense of witnessing a kickass classic heavy rock show is palpable, and it seems like no coincidence at all that in talking about the record below, Lilja would shout out Deep Purple‘s Made in Japan or Thin Lizzy‘s Live & Dangerous.

langfinger liveAnyone who encountered Skygrounds, 2012’s Slow RiversCrossyears or any of the handful of shorter outings they’ve had along the way can tell you Långfinger work to a pretty high standard. Live demonstrates plainly that the same applies to their stage work, and for someone like me, who’s never been fortunate enough to see them live, hearing the no-nonsense strut of “Crossyears” and the arrival of the telltale guitar and key line of “Atlas” is a boon that only emphasizes the pivotal forward-looking nature of their approach, as rooted in the classics as it is. Somewhat curiously, Slow Rivers isn’t represented at all on Live, but I guess there are only so many spots in the set, and with the fact that Långfinger were playing a special gig in their hometown, maybe the blend of old(est) and new(est) was something they decided to go with to make the night stand out all the more. Can’t argue with the reception the older songs are given, though one might say the same of the newer ones as well.

Either way, Skygrounds opener “Herbs in My Garden” and closer “Ragnar” make a righteous final pairing for Live, the latter of them taking the three-piece into a flowing final jam that carries smoothly to the end of the set. By then, Långfinger have handed the Musikens Hus its ass, and that’s all there is to it. There is less embellishment than in some of the ultra-classic live records from the earlier masters of the form — maybe that’s where Unleashed in the East comes in — but I considered Långfinger to be underrated before, and that’s only become all the more the case with Live. Even with the recent JIRM split and this offering, they’re due for a new studio album sometime soon, and whether or not it happens this year, you’d be wise to keep an eye out. And as for the 200 copies of Live that have been pressed to orange-colored vinyl? I wouldn’t expect them to last long either.

Good band. Good show. Good record. What the hell more would you ask?

Check out the premiere of “Feather Beader” below and hear what I mean:

Kalle Lilja on Live:

We all grew up listening to live albums. Whether it was Made in Japan, Unleashed in the East, Yessongs or Lizzy’s Live & Dangerous. It remains so powerful hearing a band (100% live or not…) cranking it up and delivering a grand snapshot of a moment in time. It’s embedded in our DNA as a group by now, to always portray everything of what we are on stage, and Live is a grand envoy for that directive.

Out May 24 on Beduin & Sound Pollution Distribution.

Limited to 200 copies on orange 180g vinyl…

Jesper Pihl – Drums
Victor Crusner – Vocals/Bass
Kalle Lilja – Guitar
Lukas Väremo – Keyboards (Track 5 & 6)

Recorded live at Musikens Hus, Göteborg, Dec 25, 2017.
Engineered by Sven Jansson
Mixed & mastered at Welfare Sounds by Kalle Lilja
Produced by Långfinger

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Sound Pollution website

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Review & Track Premiere: Cities of Mars, The Horologist

Posted in audiObelisk, Reviews on March 28th, 2019 by JJ Koczan

cities of mars the horologist

[Click play above to stream the lyric video for ‘Trenches of Bah-belon’ from Cities of Mars’ new album, The Horologist. Album is out April 5 on Ripple Music.]

What’s happening on Mars? Sci-fi pummelers Cities of Mars have been telling the story of a Russian cosmonaut on a covert mission and the discovery of ancient advanced technologies since the release of their first single, Cyclopean Ritual/The Third Eye (review here), in 2015. Through the next year’s Celestial Mistress EP (review here) — released by Suicide Records — and 2017’s Argonauta Records-released full-length debut, Temporal Rifts (review here), they’ve developed the characters and settings and woven a tale that’s increasingly complex in its substance and their sonic delivery of it alike. As to when they might just bite the bullet and put out a novelization of the story of KGB agent Nadia and the Martian conspiracy that has unfolded across the band’s work to-date, your guess is as good as mine — probably better, actually — but there can be little doubt that with The Horologist, the band’s second LP in their five years together (on Ripple Music), they’re moving forward in every conceivable fashion.

Plot and musical elements are recognizable in songs like “Trenches of Bah-belon” and the fuzz-largesse of “Hydrahead,” but the trio of bassist/vocalist Danne Palm, guitarist/vocalist Christoffer Norén and drummer/vocalist Johan Küchler, bring their songwriting to a new level and are neither afraid of pushing to new levels of tonal heft, as they do in opener and longest track (immediate points) “Necronograph” and the later “The Floating Museum,” or departing prior methodologies to serve the atmosphere of the album overall, as on “Work Song,” a Soviet-style acoustic folk song that brings in some thudding drums, bass and guitar late, but ultimately keeps to its central impression. Once again, Cities of Mars recorded with Esben Willems (also of Monolord) at Berserk Audio, and that continuity brings all the more into relief how much the three-piece has grown in their approach thanks to a forward drive in their songwriting and, no doubt, the not-inconsiderable amount of touring they’ve done in the last several years.

Offsetting quiet and loud parts from each other is something Cities of Mars have done since “Cyclopean Ritual,” and they’ve always done it well, but to listen to the manner in which “Necronograph” seems to let go of its heavier progression in its second half in favor of a stretch of quiet and echoing guitar, or to hear how the acoustic intro to “Inner Sanctum Outer Space” gradually builds over the first two and a half minutes of the song into the massive roll that kicks in from there on, they’ve never sounded so patient in that process or as willing to let their parts breathe and really settle in on the listener. They’re not repetitive necessarily — even the echoing post-rock break in “The Last Electric Dream” keeps a steady movement as it works its way back to full-brunt delivery — but the atmospheric effects of the band’s approach have never been so immersive as they are on The Horologist, and more, that’s very clearly part of the band’s intent.

Boasting three more tracks and an additional 11 minutes of runtime, The Horologist — at eight songs/46 minutes — is a significantly more substantial undertaking than was Temporal Rifts, and that mirrors what they’re doing with the creative growth of the band as well in becoming more complex overall in their sound and adding not just nuance to the raw weight of their tone and furthering the melodic aspects of their tradeoff shouts, but in composing material of greater height and depth and working to make the turns from one to the other more fluid. With “Necronograph” at the front, Cities of Mars showcase the immersion they’re hoping to achieve, but they push further, and the album actually opens not just with its longest cut, but it’s longest three, with “Trenches of Bah-belon” (6:58) and “Inner Sanctum Outer Space” (6:43) following in that order.

cities of mars

Very clearly, the band are working to to put their listener in a specific place within the story they’re telling, and they succeed in that with their loudest parts and the ambience through which those are contrasted. Whether it’s the minor-key tinge to the lead guitar ahead of the march in “Trenches of Bah-belon” or the noisy psychedelic fervor brought to bear in closer “Lines in the Dark” with all the more a sense of urgency because of its rhythmic tension, Cities of Mars have very simply made themselves a better band with a more developed approach.

That’s certainly worth appreciating and all the more so for the fact that they’ve done so by making their sound even more immediately identifiable — that is, one doesn’t hear the nod and crash that emerges on “Inner Sanctum Outer Space” or even the echoing vocals and acoustic guitar early in “Work Song” and imagine it’s another band — but it doesn’t say much for the actual listening experience. Fair enough. The Horologist — the title referring to one who builds watches or studies time — earns that additional runtime as compared to its predecessor through the noted uptick in complexity. It flows easily within and between its tracks, and when Cities of Mars want to, they are able to provide a sudden kick or a gentle comedown depending on the dictates of the piece at hand. The otherworldly intro to “The Last Electric Dream” is a triumph unto itself for the sheer grace with which the louder guitar enters at the 2:13 mark, let alone its molten groove or the balance between weight and atmosphere that ensues. Likewise, the subsequent “The Floating Museum” makes its intent to conquer plain from its stutter-start onward. And it’s no accident that the two are paired next to each other, either.

One might say the same of the album as a whole: it’s no accident. Cities of Mars started out with an understanding of what they wanted to do as a band, in terms obviously of the story they wanted to tell as well as the stylistic means they wanted to use. Fine. What The Horologist does for that is it brings into focus the increased reach of the band’s craft and the effectiveness with which they’re able to balance not just loud parts and quiet parts, but also concept and execution. The songs come first, which is exactly how it should be, whatever planets might be in the meantime. Their growth continues to be a pleasure to witness, and especially with some of what side B brings to bear in “Work Song,” “Lines in the Dark” and “The Last Electric Dream,” they still showcase remarkable forward potential. Wherever Nadia might end up, her journey has never yet come this far.

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Quarterly Review: Kungens Män, PFUND, Crystal Spiders, The Misery Men, Hubris, Woorms, Melody Fields, Oreyeon, Mammoth Grove, Crimson Devils

Posted in Reviews on March 19th, 2019 by JJ Koczan

quarterly-review-spring-2019

I used to be pretty artsy and write poetry. Let’s give it a shot:

There was an old man who wore no-toe shoes.
He said, I’mma go do 60 reviews.
He was out of his head,
Should’ve gone back to bed,
But he loves him some dirty psych blues.

Years from now, when I link back to this post for a “(review here)”-type scenario, I’m going to see that and I’ll still think it’s funny. The planet’s dying. I’d say a bit of silly is more than called for.

Quarterly Review #11-20:

Kungens Män, Chef

kungens man chef

Krautrockers, assemble! Or, you know, whatever krautrockers do — I assume it involves homemade spacecraft that, yes, absolutely fly. Perhaps one of these days I’ll ask Stockholm’s Kungens Män, whose latest outing for Riot Season, simply titled Chef, is an outbound delight of psych-infused progressivism. Beginning with the opening throb of “Fyrkantig Böjelse” and moving into the volume swells, steady drum line and wandering guitar that starts “Öppen För Stängda Dörrar” on side A, its four extended tracks craft otherworldly textures through a meld of organic instrumental flow and waves of synth, the second cut building to a tense wash of distortion all the while keeping that hypnotic march. The two corresponding 10-minute-plus cuts on side B waste no time in offering cosmic boogie in “Män Med Medel” with a more active rhythmic flow, and closer “Eftertankens Blanka Krankhet” — longer than the opener by one second at 11:24 — fades in on meditative guitar and explores a serene minimalism that only underscores the all around joy of the album.

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Riot Season Records webstore

 

PFUND, PFUND

pfund pfund

The self-titled, self-released debut full-length from Kiel, Germany’s PFUND arrives and departs with a guesting horn section, and while that inevitably adds a bit of grandeur to the proceedings, the bulk of the outing is dedicated to straightforward, semi-metallic heavy rock, held to ground even in the seven-minute “Spaceman” by a considered sense of structure and an earthy drum sound that draws the songs together, whether it’s the classic riff rock in “Sea of Life” or the moodier sway in the earlier “Lost in Rome.” Dual guitars effectively multiply the impact, and the vocals showcase a nascent sense of melody that one imagines will only continue to grow as the band moves forward. At nine songs and 44 minutes, it shows some breadth and nuance in “Exhaustion” and “Paranoia,” the former tapping into an edge of progressive metal, but the primary impact comes from PFUND‘s heft of groove and how it blends with a rawer edge to their production. The Kyuss-referencing centerpiece here might be called “Imbalance,” but that’s hardly representative of what surrounds, horns and all.

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Crystal Spiders, Demo

crystal spiders demo

Three songs, 11 minutes and three distinct vibes from the aptly-titled Demo demo of North Carolinian three-piece Crystal Spiders. On “Tigerlily,” “Flamethrower” and “Devil’s Resolve,” the trio of bassist/vocalist Brenna Leath (also Lightning Born), guitarist/vocalist Mike Deloatch and drummer/backing vocalist Tradd Yancey careen from bluesy spaciousness to hard-driving catchiness and end up — because why not? — in repeating cult-sludge chants, “Come to the devil’s resolve!” like Black Widow trying to lure people to the sabbat, except shouting. If the purpose of a demo is for a new band to try different methods of working and thereby take a first step in discovering their sound, Crystal Spiders are well on their way, and for what it’s worth, there isn’t anything within their scope as they present it that doesn’t work for them. There are edges to smooth out, of course, but that too is a part of the process starting here.

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The Misery Men, Deathspiration

The Misery Men Deathspiration

If you’d asked, depending on which part of Deathspiration was on, I’d probably have called The Misery Men a bass/drum duo, but nope, that’s guitar. Tonally one is reminded of At Devil Dirt from Chile, but the Portland, Oregon, two-piece of vocalist/guitarist Corey G. Lewis and drummer Steve Jones are entirely more barebones in their craft, eschewing digital involvement of any sort in the recording or mixing process and sounding duly raw as a result throughout the subtle earworm of “C.W. Sughrue” and the lumbering “Harness the Darkness.” The subsequent “Night Creeps In” brings a Northwestern noise payoff to quiet/loud trades and the near-10-minute closer “Stoned to Death,” well, it seems to meet an end befitting its title, to say the least. As their stated intent was to capture the most organic version of their sound possible, and made a point of working toward that ideal in their recording, one could hardly fault them for the results of that process. They wanted something human-sounding. They got it.

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The Misery Men on Bandcamp

 

Hubris, EP #II Live

hubris ep ii live

Some — not all — of what one needs to know about HubrisEP #II Live is right there in the title. Indeed, it’s their second EP. Indeed, it was recorded live. And indeed, like using a ‘#’ sign with a Roman numeral, there’s something about the way the three included songs from the Toulouse, France-based outfit sound that’s just a little bit off-kilter from what you might expect. “Zugzwang” (7:19), “Tergo” (19:58) and “Biotilus” (27:04) are arranged shortest to longest, and while the opener starts off like Queens of the Stone Age on an Eastern-tinged psychedelic bender, the lengthy jams that follow — the first of them with a fervent drum punctuation, the second a gradual intertwining of synth and guitar with hardly any percussion at all until after its 22nd minute. The instrumental flow that ensues from there is almost like a hidden bonus track, at least until they Hubris get to minute 26 and the whole thing explodes in crash and plod. The underlying message, of course, is that if you think you’re safe at any point, you’re not.

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Woorms, Slake

woorms slake

Lumbering fuckall pervades the debut full-length, Slake, from Baton Rouge, Louisiana, sludgers Woorms — also stylized all-caps — which incorporates past singles “Find a Meal Find a Bed Find a God” and “Mouth is a Wound” amid the sample/noise barrage of “Our Lady of Perpetually Shitfaced” and the willfully brash “Racist Kevin” that follows. There’s an edge of Melvinsian chug to the proceedings, but Woorms‘ take, though presented in finished compositions, comes across as almost nihilistic rather than making a show of its experimentalism. That is, they’re trying to say they don’t give a fuck, and in listening, they make it kind of easy to believe, but there’s still something about the cohesiveness of “Veni Vidi Fucki” and “Rice Crispy” and the saved-the-best-nod-for-last finale “Sore Afraid” that undercuts the notion even while making the listening experience all the more pummeling, and from the intro “Corpse Corps” through “Urine Trouble Now”‘s echoing shouts and the closer’s unmitigated stomp, there’s still plenty of exploration being done.

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Oreyeon, Ode to Oblivion

Oreyeon Ode to Oblivion

Rebranded since their 2016 debut, Builders of Cosmos (discussed here), from their more phonetically intuitive original moniker, Orion, Italy’s Oreyeon issue a cosmically expansive spacescape follow-up in their six-song/40-minute sophomore outing, Ode to Oblivion, also their first release through Heavy Psych Sounds. Echoing vocals pervade “Big Surprise” after the introductory “T.I.O.” and “Trudging to Vacuity” establish the wide-cast mix and anti-grav rhythmic density, and the nine-minute side A finale title-track runs mostly-instrumental circles around most of what I’d usually call “prog” only after it lays down a sleek hook in the first couple minutes. After “Big Surprise,” the 8:45 “The Ones” trades volume back and forth but finds its breadth at about the sixth minute as the dramatic lead turns on a dime to desert rock thrust en route to wherever the hell it goes next. Honestly, after that moment, everything’s gravy, but Oreyeon lay it on thick with closer “Starship Pusher” and never neglect melody in the face of nod. Worth a deeper dig if you get the chance.

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Heavy Psych Sounds website

 

Melody Fields, Melody Fields

melody fields melody fields

Sometimes you hear a record and it’s like the band is doing you a favor by existing. To that, thanks Melody Fields. The Gothenburg psych troupe lace their lysergic flow with folkish harmonies and an open sensibility on their self-titled debut that comes coupled with enough tonal presence to still consider them heavy not that it matters. They break out the sax on “Morning Sun” to welcome effect, and the sun continues to shine through “Liberty” and the garage-buzzing “Run” before “Rain Man” turns water droplets into keyboard notes and Beatlesian — think “Rain” — voice arrangements atop soothing instrumental drift, every bit the centerpiece and an excellent precursor to the acoustic-based “Fire” and the 10-minute “Trädgränsen,” which is the crowning achievement of this self-titled debut, which, if I’d been hip to it in time, would’ve made both the 2018 best albums and best debuts list. They cap with a reprise of “Morning Sun” and underscore the solid foundation beneath the molten beauty of their work throughout. To ask for another album seems greedy, but I will anyway. More, please.

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Sound Effect Records website

 

Mammoth Grove, Slow Burn

mammoth grove slow burn

Okay, look, enough screwing around. It’s time for someone to sign Mammoth Grove. The Calgary natives have been putting out quality heavy psych rock since their 2011 self-titled debut (review here), and their latest long-player, the four-song Slow Burn is a righteous amalgam of peace-thru-rock that lives up to its freewheeling vibes in “Seasons” after the methodical opener “Valleys” and rolls out a bit of melodic ’70s biker rock bliss in “Black Meadow” before the side-B-consuming “Gloria” (18:42) asks early if you’re ready to go and then goes like gone, gone, gone, and gone further. Given the analog mindset involved and the heart on display throughout, there’s something fitting about it being pressed up in an edition of 100 hand-screenprinted LPs and 100 CDs likewise, but the more people who could hear it, the merrier, so yeah, some label or other needs to step up and make that happen, and I dare you to listen to the solo that hits past the 14-minute mark in “Gloria” and tell me otherwise. Dare you.

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Crimson Devils, A Taste for Blood

crimson devils a taste for blood

Since pared down to a trio from the four-piece incarnation they present here, Austin’s Crimson Devils first released their debut, A Taste for Blood, in 2017, but gave it a vinyl revisit last year and it’s little mystery why. The record comprises 11 sharply-composed tracks of Small Stone-style heavy rock, taking cues from Sasquatch in modern-via-classic modus, picking and choosing elements of ’70s and ’90s rock to conjure formidable groove and engaging hooks. There’s considerable swagger and weight in “They Get It,” and while opener “Dead and Gone” seems to show an influence in its vocal patterning from Elder, as the album unfolds, it’s more about the blast of “Captain Walker” or the penultimate “Nothing to Claim” and the straight-ahead vibes of “Bad News Blues” and “No Action” than anything so outwardly prog. There’s plenty to dig in the rock-for-rockers mindset, and it’s the kind of offering that should probably come with an octane rating. However such things are measured, safe to say it would not be low.

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Cities of Mars to Release The Horologist in April; New Song Streaming

Posted in Whathaveyou on February 27th, 2019 by JJ Koczan

cities of mars

There’s a lot of good info in the PR wire update below about the new Cities of Mars album, but I feel like the key word at play here is “awesome.” As in, “There’s a new Cities of Mars record? Oh, that’s awesome.” Or, “Golly, that album art sure is awesome.” Or even, “Hey, they have a song streaming too? Awesome!” and the inevitable, “Holy moly, that riff sounds awesome.” And so on.

It was announced last year that the Gothenburg three-piece had inked a deal with Ripple Music, so while that portion of the press release isn’t a huge surprise, it’s still awesome (sorry, that’s the last one, I promise), and as they follow-up 2017’s righteous debut, Temporal Rifts (review here), they’ll do so not only with the new label’s backing, but with the momentum earned through a steady stream of live shows over the last two-plus years. I’ve made no secret that I dig these guys, and if you’re interested to know why, well, “Hydrahead” is streaming at the bottom of this post.

Have at it:

cities of mars the horologist

CITIES OF MARS: Swedish Doom Trio team up with RIPPLE MUSIC for THE HOROLOGIST | Stream and share new song ‘HYDRAHEAD’

The Horologist is officially released on 5th April 2019 on Ripple Music

Formed in 2014 in Gothenburg by bassist/singer Danne Palm, guitarist Christoffer Nore?n and drummer Johan Ku?chler, Cities of Mars take a lead from the likes of Mastodon, Kylesa, Sleep and Baroness.

Combining heavy doom riffs, ambient soundscapes and haunting vocals, there’s an unmistakable sci-fi narrative that flows through their music, helping them to push boundaries and channel their unique firebrand of heavy progressive rock.

As chief proponents of stoner metal and corporeal ancestors in a revered lineage of Swedish doom rock history, following the success of their inaugural/self-released digital single ‘The Third Eye/Cyclopean Ritual’ (produced by Esben Willems of Monolord/Berserk Audio) the band wasted no time in setting out to record, Celestial Mistress. Released in 2016 on Suicide Records, this mind-crushing EP – featuring the captivating artwork of Gothenburg-based graphic artist Axel Wide?n – truly signalled the band’s arrival on the underground scene.

Cities of Mars have embarked on numerous European tours since their inception and new shows heralded the arrival of new songs, all of which fed into the release of their debut album, Temporal Rifts (2017). With the lyrics on each song adding a chapter to a continuing story, Temporal Rifts follows the ascent of a Soviet cosmonaut on a covert space mission in 1971 and his discovery of an ancient Martian city that awakens a sleeping conspiracy from the dawn of humanity.

This April the saga continues, following three solid years of writing, jamming and touring under their collective belts. Now working alongside Ripple Music label and the management skills of Blackskull Services, Cities of Mars will unleash their awesome new album The Horologist on 5th April 2019.

TRACK LISTING:
1. Necronograph
2. Trenches of Bah-belon
3. Inner Sanctum Outer Space
4. Hydrahead
5. The Last Electric Dream
6. The Floating Museum
7. Work Song
8. Lines In The Dark

Pre-order the album now at www.ripple-music.com

CITIES OF MARS:
Danne Palm – Bass, Vocals
Christoffer Norén – Guitar, Vocals
Johan Küchler – Drums, Vocals

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http://citiesofmars.bandcamp.com/
https://www.instagram.com/citiesofmars
https://www.facebook.com/theripplemusic/
https://twitter.com/RippleMusic
https://ripplemusic.bandcamp.com/
http://www.ripple-music.com/

Cities of Mars, “Hydrahead”

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Dun Ringill Premiere “The Door” Video; Welcome out March 1

Posted in Whathaveyou on February 12th, 2019 by JJ Koczan

dun ringill

Just when you think you might have Dun Ringill figured out, that’s when the flute kicks in. The Gothenburg-based doom rock six-piece — three guitars! — make their debut March 1 with the suitably-enough titled Welcome, and it presents a realization of progressive doom that’s anti-genre enough to earn a Cathedral comparison. Metal, and not. Doom, and not. Prog, and not. And so on. The nine-minute opener and longest track (immediate points), “Welcome to the Fun Fair Horror Time Machine” sets a pretty broad context between its clean and growled vocals, copious riffing and title-line hook, and while they don’t quite hit that same level of weird-for-weird’s-sake again, the rest of the album remains informed by the moves that song makes. And that is not without purse. They’re not short on pedigree, and at no point does the Argonauta Records release feel like they’re trying to reach beyond their intentions. That is, that weirdness at the outset is on purpose. You’re supposed to be thrown off. That’s the idea. It’s why you put the longest track first, and here, it works.

Not that the rest of what follows dun ringill welcomeis entirely straightforward, either. Following the Mellotron-laced rocker “Black Eyed Kids,” third cut “Open Your Eyes (And See the Happiness and Truth)” once more ups the theatrics over a classic metal riff that shifts in its middle section to a stretch of acoustic strumming then bursts back to life like nothing ever happened, and “The Door” turns from rocking swing to a doomed march and back again, all the while vocalist Thomas Eriksson repeats “The door! The door! The door! The door!” like a madman. Eriksson‘s dramatic approach plays a large role in the personality of the album — he indeed is the one welcoming you to the fun fair horror time machine at the outset — but that’s not to downplay the contributions of guitarists Jens Florén, Tommy Stegemann and Patric Grammann, bassist Patrik Andersson Winberg and drummer Hans Lilja, who are able not only to provide a backdrop for the stagecraft on display even in the recording, but to build a world around it in which it can take place.

“Snow of Ashes” touches on psychedelia in its second half, while closer “The Demon Within” turns from an opening guest vocal from Matilda Winberg to a culminating Hammond organ appearance by Per Wiberg of Candlemass, Opeth, etc. It’s not quite as far out as the piano and flute on the opener, but it makes a substantial bookend just the same, and Eriksson layers harmonies to rise to the occasion in his soaring early verses. Of course a Hammond lends a classic feel inherently, but again, even as Dun Ringill set up their last march, they do so with a resonant foundation in metal, not quite the NWOBHM, but not quite not. Add that to the list above of stylistic elements touched on by Welcome even as the album refuses to commit to any single style and thereby casts its identity in that refusal.

First outing? Doesn’t seem like it’ll be their last. You can check out the premiere of the video for “The Door” below, and preorders for Welcome are up now from Argonauta.

Enjoy:

Dun Ringill, “The Door” official video premiere

Of what started as a dark and doomy project with Nordic folk influences, when some of the best musicians the Gothenburg scene has to offer came together for a jam in 2017, should become something bigger: Welcome DUN RINGILL, your next favorite new Doom Rock band featuring members of The Order Of Israfel, Doomdogs, Intoxicate, ex Grotesque and many more! Set for a release on March 1st 2019 with Argonauta Records, today DUN RINGILL have unveiled the hotly anticipated details about their first and full-length debut album titled ‘Welcome’!

Recorded with mastermind sound wizard Julien Fabré and co-produced together with the band, the album artwork has been created by Niklas Sundin (Dark Tranquility). DUN RINGILL’s debut ‘Welcome’ will also feature songs with guest musicians such as Per Wiberg of Candlemass, Kamchatka and formerly Opeth.

The ‘Welcome’ track list will read as follows:
1. Welcome To The Fun Fair Horror Time Machine (feat. Emil Rolof on Piano + Björn Johansson on Flute)
2. Black Eyed Kids (feat. Emil Rolof on Mellotron)
3. Open Your Eyes (And See The Happiness And Truth)
4. The Door
5. Snow Of Ashes
6. The Demon Within (feat. Per Wiberg on Hammond + Matilda Winberg on Intro Vocals)

Coming in CD, LP and Digital Download formats, ‘Welcome’ by DUN RINGILL is available to pre-order at: www.argonautarecords.com

DUN RINGILL live:
08.03.2019 SWE – Helsingborg / Rockbåten
04.05.2019 SWE – Gothenburg / Sticky Fingers

DUN RINGILL is:
Thomas Eriksson – Vocals
Hans Lilja – Drums
Patrik Andersson Winberg – Bass
Jens Florén – Guitar
Tommy Stegemann – Guitar
Patric Grammann – Guitar

Dun Ringill on Thee Facebooks

Argonauta Records website

Argonauta Records on Thee Facebooks

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Firebreather Sign to RidingEasy Records; Touring UK with Conan

Posted in Whathaveyou on January 21st, 2019 by JJ Koczan

firebreather

This week, Swedish heavy thrashers Firebreather will take to the UK to tour on a run co-presented by The Obelisk — hey, that’s this site! — alongside the ever-crushing Conan. Fitting company for Firebreather, who released their self-titled debut (review here) in 2017 through Suicide Records, to keep, and as they go, they’ll be celebrating as well their newly-announced signing to RidingEasy for the follow-up to that first album. Of course, RidingEasy served as home to fellow Goteborgers Monolord as they made their breakthrough across three records, so one can’t help but wonder if that means a US incursion is imminent for Firebreather, who hit the road a year ago in Scandinavia alongside Monolord and toured Canada this past Fall with Zaum. Their ducks would seem to be finding a row, is what I’m saying, and if that’s indeed the direction they’re headed as the move toward and through the cycle of their second album, don’t be surprised if and when you start seeing their name more often.

The dates for the UK shows this week are below, along with the signing announcement from the PR wire. Congrats to the band:

conan firebreather tour

FIREBREATHER sign to RidingEasy Records, announce tour with Conan

Gothenburg, Sweden trio Firebreather have signed to L.A. purveyors of heavy, RidingEasy Records for worldwide release of future recordings. The band also launch a series of dates supporting Conan next week. Please see dates below.

There’s no escaping the fact that Sweden is an incomparable breeding ground for some of the heaviest and most crushing metal bands. One such band is Gothenburg trio Firebreather, who’ve released their self-titled debut album on Suicide Records, October 13th, 2017.

Relatively new to the fold having formed in the spring of 2016 from the ashes of underground doom heavyweights Galvano, Firebreather is a devastatingly weighty statement of intent. Tooth shattering riffs from guitarist/vocalist Mattias Nööjd and crunching rhythms via bassist Kyle Pitcher and drummer Axel Wittbeck, Firebreather are a jaw-breaking triptych of sludge and doom rock.

FIREBREATHER LIVE:
01/24 Hull, UK @ Gorilla
01/25 Brighton, UK @ Green Door
01/26 Nottingham, UK @ Stuck On a Name Studio – SOLD OUT
01/27 London, UK @ The Black Heart
01/28 Sheffield, UK @ Record Junkie

Line-up
Mattias Nööjd – Guitar & Vocals
Axel Wittbeck – Drums
Kyle Pitcher – Bass

https://www.facebook.com/firebreathergbg/
https://www.instagram.com/firebreathergbg/
https://firebreatherdoom.bandcamp.com/
ridingeasyrecs.com

Firebreather, Firebreather (2017)

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Dun Ringill Set March 1 Release for Welcome; Album Details Posted

Posted in Whathaveyou on January 11th, 2019 by JJ Koczan

dun ringill

As a gentleman of a certain age, every time I see the title of Dun Ringill‘s debut album, Welcome, I can’t help but hear the word said in the voice of the America Online sound effect on my Windows 95 computer. It was followed surely by “You’ve got mail,” or at least hopefully, since that was the equivalent endorphin rush to what social media notifications are now. “I’ve got mail, therefore I am,” and so on. All of this is surely besides the point of the Swedish outfit naming their first long-player Welcome, but it’s just where my head goes, and hey, it’s Friday, so maybe just roll with it.

The six-piece band have set a March 1 release for Welcome through Argonauta Records and have just unveiled the alternately nifty and horrifying cover art, as well as the track details and more background of its making. It all came down the PR wire, which assures regularly that, indeed, I’ve got mail. Which is fortunate, because I don’t have any friends to contact me otherwise, perhaps in part because I’m the kind of person who remembers computer sound blips from two and a half decades ago.

Info follows:

dun-ringill-welcome

DUN RINGILL REVEAL ALBUM DETAILS!

Debut ‘Welcome’ drops March 1st 2019!

Of what started as a dark and doomy project with Nordic folk influences, when some of the best musicians the Gothenburg scene has to offer came together for a jam in 2017, should become something bigger: Welcome DUN RINGILL, your next favorite new Doom Rock band featuring members of The Order Of Israfel, Doomdogs, Intoxicate, ex Grotesque and many more! Set for a release on March 1st 2019 with Argonauta Records, today DUN RINGILL have unveiled the hotly anticipated details about their first and full-length debut album titled ‘Welcome’!

Recorded with mastermind sound wizard Julien Fabré and co-produced together with the band, the album artwork has been created by Niklas Sundin (Dark Tranquility). DUN RINGILL’s debut ‘Welcome’ will also feature songs with guest musicians such as Per Wiberg of Candlemass, Kamchatka and formerly Opeth.

The ‘Welcome’ track list will read as follows:

1. Welcome To The Fun Fair Horror Time Machine
(feat. Emil Rolof on Piano + Björn Johansson on Flute)
2. Black Eyed Kids (feat. Emil Rolof on Mellotron)
3. Open Your Eyes (And See The Happiness And Truth)
4. The Door
5. Snow Of Ashes
6. The Demon Within (feat. Per Wiberg on Hammond + Matilda Winberg on Intro Vocals)

When The Order of Israfel took a one year break from September 2017, the rhythm section Patrik Andersson Winberg (Bass) and drummer Hans Lilja (also in Lotus) grabbed the chance to create new music again together with Patrik’s old band mate from the Doomdogs era, Tomas Eriksson (Intoxicate and ex Grotesque). To make this exciting project of DUN RINGILL as great as possible, the band teamed up with Gothenburg’s fella musicians, guitarists Tommy Stegemann (Silverhorse), Jens Florén (also in Lommi & ex- live guitarist for Dark Tranquillity) and Patric Grammann (SFT, Neon Leon). In late 2018, the band premiered a first music video to the album opening track, watch ‘Welcome To The Fun Fair Horror Time Machine’ HERE!

Coming in CD, LP and Digital Download formats, ‘Welcome’ by DUN RINGILL is available to pre-order at: www.argonautarecords.com

DUN RINGILL is:
Thomas Eriksson – Vocals
Hans Lilja – Drums
Patrik Andersson Winberg – Bass
Jens Florén – Guitar
Tommy Stegemann – Guitar
Patric Grammann – Guitar

DUN RINGILL live:
08.03.2019 SWE – Helsingborg / Rockbåten
04.05.2019 SWE – Gothenburg / Sticky Fingers

www.facebook.com/DunRingillSwe
www.argonautarecords.com
www.facebook.com/ArgonautaRecords

Dun Ringill, “Welcome to the Fun Fair Horror Time Machine” official video

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