Quarterly Review: Horisont, Ahab, Rrrags, Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs, Earthbong, Rito Verdugo, Death the Leveller, Marrowfields, Dätcha Mandala, Numidia

Posted in Reviews on July 7th, 2020 by JJ Koczan

the-obelisk-qr-summer-2020

Well, I’m starting an hour later than I did yesterday, so that’s maybe not the most encouraging beginning I could think of, but screw it, I’m here, got music on, got fingers on keys, so I guess we’re underway. Yesterday was remarkably easy, even by Quarterly Review standards. I’ve been doing this long enough at this point — five-plus years — that I approach it with a reasonable amount of confidence it’ll get done barring some unforeseen disaster.

But yesterday was a breeze. What does today hold? In the words of Mrs. Wagner from fourth grade homeroom, “see me after.”

Ready, set, go.

Quarterly Review #11-20:

Horisont, Sudden Death

horisont sudden death

With a hefty dose of piano up front and keys throughout, Gothenburg traditionalist heavy rockers descriptive essays on a person Brown University Dissertation gene therapy research paper best resume writing services 2014 tx Horisont push retro-ism into full-on arena status. Moving past some of the sci-fi aspects of 2017’s How to Writing Argument Essay? Instantassignmenthelp.com.au has the answer to this question. Our experts provide the best help with your assignment writing About Time, Posts about Writing Master Thesis Psychology written by EduPub Sudden Death comprises 13 tracks and an hour’s runtime, so rest assured, there’s room for everything, including the sax on “Into the Night,” the circa-’77 rock drama in the midsection of the eight-minute “Archeopteryx in Flight,” and the comparatively straightforward seeming bounce of “Sail On.” With cocaine-era production style, Read and Download click site Free Free Ebooks in PDF format - 2003 JAGUAR X TYPE REPAIR MANUAL BENTLEY CONTINENTAL OWNERS MANUAL DUCATI Sudden Death is beyond the earlier-’70s vintage mindset of the band’s earliest work, and songs like “Standing Here” and the penultimate proto-metaller “Reign of Madness” stake a claim on the later era, but the post- EssayWritersWorld.com is a Business Email Plans we offers essay writing service at our clients our uk essay writing company is the best one Queen melody of “Revolution” at the outset and the acoustic swing in “Free Riding” that follows set a lighthearted tone, and as always seems to be the case with District Attorney Cover Letter Internship - Cooperate with our writers to receive the quality coursework meeting the requirements experience the merits of qualified writing Horisont, there’s nothing that comes across as more important than the songwriting.

Horisont on Thee Facebooks

Century Media website

 

Ahab, Live Prey

ahab live prey

Scourge of the seven seas that German nautically-themed funeral doomers There are hundreds of reasons to use Rush Essay Doctoral Thesis About Plasma Gas Conversion service, especially if you have a short deadline approaching, or if you are struggling Ahab are, http://www.brainworxx.de/?obesity-essay-conclusion - Use this service to receive your profound thesis delivered on time Proposals, essays & research papers of best quality. Stop Live Prey is their first live album and it finds them some five years removed from their last studio LP, http://www.landfrauen.info/?perfect-term-papers-site - Put aside your concerns, place your assignment here and get your quality project in a few days Get started with dissertation writing The Boats of the Glen Carrig (review here). For a band who in the past has worked at a steady three-year pace, maybe it was time for something, anything to make its way to public ears. Fair enough, and in five tracks and 63 minutes, How To Write Essay About Me. We have a highly professional and qualified writing staff. Our writers have great writing experience and always do their Live Prey spans all the way back to 2006’s Action That Counts: Use Us As Your . Youve spent all this time, money and mind power working toward a doctorate. So why would Call of the Wretched Sea with “Ahab’s Oath” and presents all but two of that debut’s songs, beginning with the trilogy “Below the Sun,” “The Pacific” and “Old Thunder” and switching the order of “Ahab’s Oath” and “The Hunt” from how they originally appeared on the first record to end with the foreboding sounds of waves rolling accompanied by minimal keyboards. It’s massively heavy, of course — so was Homework assignment. That is why many students type can I Homework Help Go.hrw.com online and try to find the best way out. Call of the Wretched Sea — and whatever their reason for not including any other album’s material, at least they’ve included anything.

Ahab on Thee Facebooks

Napalm Records website

 

Rrrags, High Protein

rrrags high protein

Let’s assume the title Conducting a Google search on how to find a ghostwriter is Essay written Affordable essays Essay writing university essay writing services ideas Write a college High Protein might refer to the fact that Dutch/Belgian power trio Searching for Show My Homework Hurstmere? You have found the webs leading service of quality and inexpensive essay writing. Get professional essay writing Rrrags have ‘trimmed the fat’ from the eight songs that comprise their 33-minute sophomore LP. It’s easy enough to believe listening to a cut like “Messin'” or the subsequent “Sad Sanity,” which between the two of them are about as long as the 5:14 opener “The Fridge” just before. But while Virtucom Group's Dissertation On Project Management provide strategic content solutions for numerous industries. All of our content is crafted by a dedicated team of High Protein has movers and groovers galore in those tracks and the fuzzier “Sugarcube” — the tone of which might remind that guitarist Ron Van Herpen is in Astrosoniq — the stomping “Demons Dancing” and the strutter “Hellfire,” there’s live-DeepPurple-style breadth on the eight-minute “Dark is the Day” and closer “Window” bookends “The Fridge” in length while mellowing out and giving drummer/vocalist Rob Martin a rest (he’s earned it by then) while bassist Rob Zim and Van Herpen carry the finale. If thinking of it as a sleeper hit helps you get on board, so be it, but Rrrags‘ second album is of unmitigated class and straight-up killer performance. It is not one to be overlooked.

Rrrags on Thee Facebooks

Lay Bare Recordings website

 

Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs, Viscerals

pigs pigs pigs pigs pigs pigs pigs viscerals

There’s stoner roll and doomed crash in “New Body,” drone-laced spoken-word experimentalism in “Blood and Butter,” and post-punk angular whathaveyou as “Halloween Bolson” plays out its nine-minute stretch, but Viscerals — the third or fourth Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs album, depending on what you count — seems to be at its most satisfying in blowout freak-psych moments like opener “Reducer” and “Rubbernecker,” which follows, while the kinda-metal of “World Crust”‘s central riff stumbles willfully and teases coming apart before circling back, and “Crazy in Blood” and closer “Hell’s Teeth” are more straight-up heavy rock. It’s a fairly wide arc the UK outfit spread from one end of the record to the other — and they’re brash enough to pull it off, to be sure — but with the hype machine so fervently behind them, I have a hard time knowing whether I’m actually just left flat by the record itself or all the hyperbole-set-on-fire that’s surrounded the band for the last couple years. Viscerals gets to the heart of the matter, sure enough, but then what?

Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs on Thee Facebooks

Rocket Recordings on Bandcamp

 

Earthbong, Bong Rites

Earthbong Bong Rites

Kiel, Germany’s Earthbong answer the stoner-sludge extremity of their 2018 debut, One Earth One Bong (review here), with, well, more stoner-sludge extremity. What, you thought they’d go prog? Forget it. You get three songs. Opener “Goddamn High” and “Weedcult Today” top 15 minutes each, and closer “Monk’s Blood” hits half an hour. Do the quick math yourself on that and you’ll understand just how much Earthbong have been looking forward to bashing you over the head with riffs. “Weedcult Today” is more agonizingly slow than “Goddamn High,” at least at the beginning, but it builds up and rolls into a pace that, come to think of it, is still probably slower than most, and of course “Monk’s Blood” is an epic undertaking right up to its last five minutes of noise. It could’ve been an album on its own. But seriously, if you think Earthbong give a shit, you’re way off base. This is tone, riff and weed worship and everything else is at best a secondary concern. Spend an hour at mass and see if you don’t come out converted.

Earthbong on Thee Facebooks

Earthbong on Bandcamp

 

Rito Verdugo, Post-Primatus

rito verdugo post-primatus

No doubt that at some future time shortly after the entire world has moved on from the COVID-19 pandemic, there will be a glut of releases comprised of material written during the lockdown. Peruvian four-piece Rito Verdugo are ahead of the game, then, with their Post-Primatus four-song EP. Issued digitally as the name-your-price follow-up to their also-name-your-price 2018 debut, Cosmos, it sets a 14-minute run from its shortest cut to its longest, shifting from the trippy “Misterio” into fuzz rockers “Monte Gorila” (which distills Earthless vibes to just over three minutes) and “Lo Subnormal” en route to the rawer garage psychedelia of “Inhumación,” which replaces its vocals with stretches of lead guitar that do more than just fill the spaces verses might otherwise be and instead add to the breadth of the release as a whole. Safe to assume Rito Verdugo didn’t plan on spending any amount of time this year staying home to avoid getting a plague, but at least they were able to use the time productively to give listeners a quick sample of where they’re at sound-wise coming off the first album. Whenever and however it shows up, I’ll look forward to what they do next.

Rito Verdugo on Thee Facebooks

Rito Verdugo on Bandcamp

 

Death the Leveller, II

Death the Leveller II

Signed to Cruz Del Sur Music as part of that label’s expanding foray into traditionalist doom (see also: Pale Divine, The Wizar’d, Apostle of Solitude, etc.), Dublin’s Death the Leveller present an emotionally driven four tracks on their 38-minute label debut, the counterintuitively titled II. Listed as their first full-length, it’s about the same length as their debut “EP,” 2017’s I, but more important is the comfort and patience the band shows with working in longer-form material, opener “The Hunt Eternal,” “The Golden Bough” and closer “The Crossing” making an impression at over nine minutes apiece — “The Golden Bough” tops 12 — while “So They May Face the Sun” runs a mere 7:37 and is perhaps the most unhurried of the bunch, playing out with a cinematic sweep of guitar melody and another showcase for the significant presence of frontman Denis Dowling, who’s high in the mix at times but earns that forward position with a suitably standout performance across the record’s span.

Death the Leveller on Thee Facebooks

Cruz Del Sur Music website

 

Marrowfields, Metamorphoses

marrowfields metamorphoses

It isn’t surprising to learn that the members of Fall River, Massachusetts, five-piece Marrowfields come from something of an array of underground styles, some of them pushing into more extreme terrain, because the five songs of their debut full-length, Metamorphoses, do likewise. With founding guitarist/main-songwriter Brandon Green at the helm as producer as well, there’s a suitably inward-looking feel to the material, but coinciding with its rich atmospheres are flashes of blastbeats, death metal chug, double-kick and backing growls behind the cleaner melodic vocals that keep Marrowfields distinct from entirely traditionalist doom. It is a niche into which they fit well on this first long-player, and across the five songs/52 minutes of Metamorphoses, they indeed shapeshift between genre elements in order to best serve the purposes of the material, calling to mind Argus in the progressive early stretch of centerpiece “Birth of the Liberator” while tapping Paradise Lost chug and ambience before the blasts kick in on closer “Dragged to the World Below.” Will be interesting to see which way their — or Green‘s, as it were — focus ultimately lies, but there isn’t one aesthetic nuance misused here.

Marrowfields on Thee Facebooks

Black Lion Records on Bandcamp

 

Dätcha Mandala, Hara

datcha mandala hara

Dätcha Mandala present a strong opening salvo of rockers on Hara, their second album for MRS Red Sound, before turning over to all-out tambourine-and-harp blues on “Missing Blues.” From there, they could go basically anywhere they want, and they do, leading with piano on “Morning Song,” doing wrist-cramp-chug-into-disco-hop in “Sick Machine” and meeting hand-percussion with space rocking vibes on “Moha.” They’ve already come a long way from the somewhat misleading ’70s heavy of opener “Stick it Out,” “Mother God” and “Who You Are,” but the sonic turns that continue with the harder-edged “Eht Bup,” the ’70s balladry of “Tit’s,” an unabashed bit o’ twang on “On the Road” and full-on fuzz into a noise freakout on closer “Pavot.” Just what the hell is going on with Hara? Anything Dätcha Mandala so desire, it would seem. They have the energy to back it up, but if you see them labeled as any one microgenre or another, keep in mind that inevitably that’s only part of the story and the whole thing is much weirder than they might be letting on. No complaints with that.

Dätcha Mandala on Thee Facebooks

MRS Red Sound

 

Numidia, Numidia

Numidia Numidia

If you’ve got voices in your band that can harmonize like guitarists James Draper, Shane Linfoot and Mike Zoias, I’m not entirely sure what would lead you to start your debut record with a four-minute instrumental, but one way or another, Sydney, Australia’s Numidia — completed by bassist/keyboardist Alex Raffaelli and drummer Nathan McMahon — find worthy manners in which to spend their time. Their first collection takes an exploratory approach to progressive heavy rock, seeming to feel its way through components strung together effectively while staying centered around the guitars. Yes, three of them. Psychedelia plays a strong role in later pieces “Red Hymn” and the folky “Te Waka,” but if the eponymous “Numidia” is a mission statement on the part of the five-piece, it’s one cast in a prog mentality pushed forward with poise to suit. Side A capper “A Million Martyrs” would seem to draw the different sides together, but it’s no minor task for it to do so, and there’s little sign in these songs that Numidia won’t grow more expansive as time goes on.

Numidia on Thee Facebooks

Nasoni Records website

 

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Orsak:Oslo Release Skimmer EP

Posted in Whathaveyou on June 16th, 2020 by JJ Koczan

orsak oslo

Norwegian/Swedish purveyors of mellow psych and soundscapes Orsak:Oslo released their new EP, Skimmer, this past Friday through their Bandcamp. The release follows up on their self-titled long-player that came out last year and brings more expansive and patient craft to bear across its three tracks and relatively brief runtime. The four-piece seem pretty comfortable working in the extended-play format — Skimmer might be their 10th EP, if I’ve got the count right; if so, way to hit double-digits, guys — and the new outing brings a quick bit of meditative sprawl before returning you back to the “real world,” such as it is.

The cruelty of that brevity notwithstanding, it’s a cool listen. I got put onto these guys at Høstsabbat last year, where they played on a stage so small it could barely hold them, and haven’t regretted digging in ever since. Maybe you’ll take a listen to Skimmer and feel the same way.

Info and audio follow:

orsak oslo skimmer

ORSAK:OSLO – SKIMMER OUT NOW

For now Skimmer is available on Bandcamp only!

Due to Covid lock-down our digital distributor is short staffed and not able to honour the release date. We feel their struggle and they’ve got our support. The release will be available on all digital platforms at a later time.

We thank you for your patience, and hope that you will head over to Bandcamp to give Skimmer a listen.

Orsak:Oslo is a dark slow brew containing of psych, dystopian post-rock and trippy space blues. The Norwegian/Swedish band have released 9 EPs since the beginning in 2014. With their monolithic and melancholic instrumental pieces, this is music for the active listener. O:O is a marriage between impulsive improv and thoughtful composition, melodies and new harmonies carefully woven in, layer by layer. With a reverence and underlying devotion to the aura and musical preconditions laid down from the start, the result is raw, unpolished and true.

Tracklisting
1. 057 Passage 05:16
2. 061 Skimmer 04:40
3. 058 Cloudburst 06:38

Orsak:Oslo is:
O:Qrill
O:Peter
O:Øyvind

https://www.facebook.com/orsakoslo/
https://www.instagram.com/orsakoslo/
https://orsakoslo.bandcamp.com/
https://www.orsakoslo.com/

Orsak:Oslo, Skimmer EP

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Dun Ringill Set July 31 Release for Library of Death

Posted in Whathaveyou on May 18th, 2020 by JJ Koczan

DUN RINGILL

With their penchant for classic metal theatrics intact, Swedish doom rockers Dun Ringill give a first glimpse at their second album, Library of Death, in the new video for “NBK.” The record, which follows behind their 2019 debut, Welcome (discussed here), will see release on July 31 through Argonauta Records, and as I haven’t heard the thing yet, I can’t help but wonder how the stateliness of the debut might coincide with what they describe below as being a rawer and darker presentation that also dives further into folk influences. Funny, I thought “classic metal” and “Nordic folk” were kind of the same thing at this point. Ha.

The acronym “NBK” stands for “natural born killer,” as the PR wire reveals, and you’ll find the video at the bottom of this post, under the album info. You know how this works. Don’t pretend you don’t.

Dun dun dun:

dun ringill library of death

DUN RINGILL (feat. members of THE ORDER OF ISRAFEL) Share Album Details + Brutal, New Music Video!

Following their highly acclaimed debut album Welcome, Swedish heavy doom rock collective Dun Ringill ( feat.members of The Order Of Israfel, Doomdogs & many more ) have just announced the release of their sophomore album titled Library of Death on July 31st 2020 via Argonauta Records!

Dun Ringill’s new album will dig deeper into the soil of Nordic folk music and at the same time, it is even darker, rawer and heavier than their debut. Recorded with mastermind Joona Hassinen at Studio Underjord and Grand Recording Studio during the winter of 2019, with Library of Death the band creates a haunting vibe of the evil wilderness and the dark woods lurking around the corner.

The album was arranged in a basement in the grey parts of Gothenburg while the lyrics were written on the high and mighty mountains of Norway. This special combination gives this album its unique aura of a beautiful darkness and malevolent feelings, that will follow you into your dreams…

Today, Dun Ringill are sharing a first track taken from the Library Of Death, and premiering an ironically brutal music video to the track “NBK” (= Natural Born Killer)!

“Killing is my Business…. and Business is good!!” The band quotes the first Megadeth album, and continues: “You are all invited to the party: A violent butcher fiesta!”

The artwork for Library of Death has been created by Henrik Jacobson / Art of Henk and is inspired by the lyrics from the album. Dun Ringill’s forthcoming record will also feature songs with guest musicians such as Opera singer Glenn Kjellberg, Per Wiberg from Kamchatka and formerly Opeth and Candlemass, Matti Norlin from the band Lugnet and Philip Lindgren of ex Hypnos.

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). After the band released their critically acclaimed debut, Welcome, in March 2019 – followed by several gigs and tours with acts alike Church Of Misery, Year Of The Goat and Elder to name just a few, their new studio album Library of Death will be seeing the light of day on July 31st on Argonauta Records. With a pre-sale and more tracks to be unleashed in the weeks ahead, the band is currently also preparing for a heavy live schedule to hopefully follow more than soon.

Dun Ringill are:
Thomas Eriksson – Vocals
Hans Lilja – Drums
Patrik Andersson Winberg – Bass
Jens Florén – Guitar
Tommy Stegemann – Guitar
Patric Grammann – Guitar

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

Dun Ringill, “NBK” official video

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Days of Rona: Esben Willems of Monolord

Posted in Features on April 1st, 2020 by JJ Koczan

The statistics of COVID-19 change with every news cycle, and with growing numbers, stay-at-home isolation and a near-universal disruption to society on a global scale, it is ever more important to consider the human aspect of this coronavirus. Amid the sad surrealism of living through social distancing, quarantines and bans on gatherings of groups of any size, creative professionals — artists, musicians, promoters, club owners, techs, producers, and more — are seeing an effect like nothing witnessed in the last century, and as humanity as a whole deals with this calamity, some perspective on who, what, where, when and how we’re all getting through is a needed reminder of why we’re doing so in the first place.

Thus, Days of Rona, in some attempt to help document the state of things as they are now, both so help can be asked for and given where needed, and so that when this is over it can be remembered.

Thanks to all who participate. — JJ Koczan

esben willems monolord

Days of Rona: Esben Willems of Monolord & Berserk Audio (Gothenburg, Sweden)

How are you dealing with this crisis as a band? Have you had to rework plans at all? How is everyone’s health so far?

The weird thing is that we already decided to take a break until this summer, so on some strange level we’ve been kind of lucky that way. But, the aftermath of this virus will most likely linger long after the pandemic is under control. We’ve already had to postpone one planned tour later this year until 2021, one festival we were booked on was cancelled and there’ll probably be more cancellations ahead. Everything came to a grinding halt and all of us in the music business are still trying to figure out what the next steps should be. If everything’s under control and touring is back on in the fall it’s gonna be crazy. Shows everywhere all the time and lots of broke people that have been out of work for months who want to go, but can’t afford it. Very uncertain times ahead, I feel.

So far, so good with our health, thanks for asking. None of us or our loved ones have caught anything yet.

What are the quarantine/isolation rules where you are?

Here in Sweden, the decision is no quarantine, only restrictions like a maximum of 50 people on public events and places, strong recommendations not to travel anywhere outside of the country and social distancing. Flattening the curve, basically. So far, that has worked quite well, so we’ll see what the immediate future brings.

How have you seen the virus affecting the community around you and in music?

The live scene here is under extreme pressure at the moment, some of the best venues here are struggling to survive past the pandemic. Regarding the online music community, apart from the obvious frustration and worry there’s a lot of support. It seems like the collective mindset is that we’re in this together. Borders and cultural differences are irrelevant, the focus is on getting through it the best way we can.

What is the one thing you want people to know about your situation, either as a band, or personally, or anything?

I can’t wait until we’re all on the other side of this and we can all play and watch shows again. How tax money are distributed is more important than ever, I think. Fuck the greedy corporations and banks, focus on healthcare and culture. Give the medical workers all they need without any hesitations or strings attached and do everything possible to support culture, venues, cafes, bars, restaurants and other public places that is the very heart of any living and breathing community.

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

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Thomas V. Jäger of Monolord to Release Solo Album A Solitary Plan May 8

Posted in Whathaveyou on March 9th, 2020 by JJ Koczan

Not that anyone asked, least of all Monolord guitarist/vocalist Thomas V. Jäger himself, but if — as the PR wire alludes below — one of the issues he’s dealing with on this album is related to not being able to procreate through traditional biological means, as someone who’s been through that very particular kind of hell, I would only say in response, “There’s all kinds of families, dude.” Adoption, fostering, all that stuff. If you think it makes a difference not having a little booger-and-turd-factory running around who doesn’t look just like you, well, I wouldn’t know, but I do know that once you decide a kid is “your kid,” the chemicals in your brain kick in and make it so. That’s all I’ll say about it. Again, not that anyone asked.

Jäger‘s forthcoming solo debut, A Solitary Plan, is out May 8 and available to preorder now through RidingEasy Records, which of course was the imprint that first brought Monolord to light as well before the Gothenburg-based trio signed to Relapse ahead of last year’s album of the yearNo Comfort (review here). The largely-acoustic album was mixed and mastered by Kalle Lilja of Wolves in Haze and Långfinger fame and you can stream the leadoff title-track at the bottom of this post.

Dig in:

thomas v jager a solitary plan

Monolord singer/guitarist Thomas V. Jäger announces solo debut, shares title track

Swedish doom trio frontman preps emotionally heavy solo album on RidingEasy

Thomas V. Jäger is best known as the vocalist/guitarist in Monolord, the hottest, most crushing melodic doom band in the world. So, releasing an intimate, deeply and boldly personal album of acoustic and synth based songs hot on the heels of No Comfort, the band’s most successful and powerful album to date, might seem like a risky move. And yet, that’s not even the most daring and inspiring thing about A Solitary Plan.

Rather, this 7-song album is a cathartic depiction of very real and heart-wrenching situations as a means of musical therapy for the artist and, hopefully, for the listener as well. “This album is me venting all of this emotional energy I’ve been carrying around,” Jäger says. “Now I’m feeling more open about it, but at the start I had a hard time talking with friends and family. The record is what came out instead of talking about it.”

The central lyrical theme to the album is a coming to terms with the likelihood of not becoming a parent after wanting to have a family for a long time. “When I put down vocal tracks on the last song ‘The Bitter End’, you can hear my voice is trembling at parts. Every time I listen I get goosebumps, which rarely happens with songs I write.”

Other songs also deal with personal challenges, like health scares, existential searching, and death in the family. “Goodbye” is written for Monolord bassist Mika and his wife Emma. “When they had to put down their dog Eskil it affected me greatly. This song is him talking to them and telling them it is gonna be alright.” Heavy stuff, indeed — but in a different way from Monolord’s pummeling riffs.

Jäger doesn’t intend for the album to be a “woe is me” exercise, but rather something constructive. “I know that music helps people,” he says. “This is without any irony, it’s therapeutic. I know fans can interpret and use the songs for their own purposes. That feels meaningful to me.”

The album began organically, as Jäger often writes and records at home, sketching out song ideas on acoustic guitar into a computer with no set goal for anyone else to hear them. RidingEasy Records chief and Monolord manager Daniel Hall cajoled the guitarist into sending him some of the home recordings he’d been working on, and he immediately pushed for them to be released in this stripped-down form.

“I could’ve rearranged them to get a Monolord vibe, but I wanted the basis of just voice, guitar and synths,” Jäger says. “Really laid back and mellow.” He completed the album between tours, with mixing and mastering by Kalle Lilja at Welfare Sounds. Emil Rolof plays a real Mellotron on the title track, all other instruments and voices are Jäger himself.

A Solitary Plan will be available on LP, CD and download on May 8th, 2020 via RidingEasy Records.
Pre-orders are available at www.ridingeasyrecs.com.

Tracklisting:
01. A Solitary Plan
02. Creatures Of The Deep
03. It’s Alright
04. From The Ashes
05. The Drone (Oh Why)
06. Goodbye
07. The Bitter End

thomasvjager.bandcamp.com
https://www.facebook.com/ridingeasyrecords/
http://www.ridingeasyrecs.com/
https://www.instagram.com/easyriderrecord/

Thomas V. Jäger, “A Solitary Plan” official video

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Cities of Mars Announce April/May European Touring

Posted in Whathaveyou on February 28th, 2020 by JJ Koczan

cities of mars

It’s a pretty simple story with this one so I’ll try to keep it simple accordingly. Good band puts out good record, then a little while later, goes on a tour to support it. Taa-daa! That’s what it really comes down to. The band in this case are Cities of Mars from the creative hotbed that is Gothenburg, Sweden. The record was 2019’s The Horologist (review here), which served double-duty as their label debut for Ripple Music. And the tour — which is by no means their first — is an upcoming 13-day run through Sweden, Denmark, Germany, France, Belgium and Norway that they’ll undertake to spread their sci-fi gospel of time-travel, cosmonaut idolatry and secrets held by the Martian underground.

See? Simple story.

Just not maybe in terms of the actual story.

Always dig seeing what these guys are up to, and if you need a refresher on The Horologist, well, there just happens to be a Bandcamp stream at the bottom of this post. How about that?

Poster rules:

cities of mars 2020 tour

Cities of Mars Spring 2020 tour!

By some stunning art of Potsdam, Germany-based artist Simon Schürmann (Instagram @boarddecor) comes tour artwork for Swedish sci-fi-doomers Cities of Mars who will be back on the road again in April 2020. For the fifth time, the riff-heavy stories of the KGB cosmonaut Nadia and ancient, solar system-spanning conspiracies of old will be delivered on stages all over Europe. A few familiar hunting grounds will be covered, as well as a few new cities and venues.

With the critically acclaimed albums The Horologist (Ripple Music) and Temporal Rifts (Argonauta Records) released and live skills honed on 70+ gigs all over the EU and UK, this tour will be thirteen days of heaviness!

April 22 Plan B, Malmö Sweden
April 23 Lygtens Kro, Copenhagen Denmark
April 24 Hafermarkt, Flensburg Germany
April 25 Archiv, Potsdam Germany
April 26 Le Grillen, Colmar France (w DOOL)
April 27 Rock’n Eat, Lyon France
April 28 Mondo Bizarro, Rennes France
April 29 (still uncertain venue) Lille France
April 30 Den Drummer, Ghent Belgium
May 1st MTS Records, Oldenburg Germany
May 2 Dimman Musikfest, Helsingborg Sweden (w Dirt Forge)
May 8 Revolver, Oslo, Norway
May 9 Dirty Deeds, Gothenburg Sweden

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

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

Cities of Mars, The Horologist (2019)

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Review & Video Premiere: Yuri Gagarin, The Outskirts of Reality

Posted in Bootleg Theater, Reviews on January 15th, 2020 by JJ Koczan

yuri gagarin the outskirts of reality

[Click play above to see the premiere of Yuri Gagarin’s new video for ‘QSO.’ The Outskirts of Reality is out Jan. 31 on Kommun 2 and Sound Effect Records.]

One tends to think of the motorik beat and the notion of the kosmiche in terms of kraut- and progressive space rock as being ideas drawing from influences half a century ago, but Yuri Gagarin readily demonstrate that it doesn’t have to be so. The Gothenburg-based troupe realize a modernist vision of krautrocketing hypnosis on their third long-player, The Outskirts of Reality, and drill to the molten core of a planetoid all their own with an approach that, far from reckless, approaches grandeur as though wielding a cosmic hammer, ready to smash the last vestiges of the reality in its title to shards floating in the sonic ether. Instrumental and running over a stretch of 44 minutes that begins with the ultra-fueled 10-minute blaster “QSO” and follows immediately with the 13-minute dimension-bending immersion of “Oneironaut,” resulting in a side A that seeks to pummel brain cells through the subspace barrier, never to be seen or heard from again. But the important thing to remember amid all this we’re-all-star-stuff-so-let’s-start-acting-like-it aural going-boldly is that Yuri Gagarin, in following up late-2015’s sophomore LP, At the Center of All Infinity — which was also recorded with Linus Andersson — is that Yuri Gagarin manage to pull together this sound of such a vast range and atmospheric willfulness without simply repeating the past. The Outskirts of Reality isn’t classic space rock. At least not yet. It’s forward thinking. It’s urgent and it’s energetic and it’s not just about who plays to what time or what stylistic rules are being followed. It’s about rewriting those rules to suit its own purposes.

And what are those purposes? What is it that Yuri Gagarin seek there in the outskirts? If the synth-laden closing title-track — which follows the delightfully airy “Crystal Dunes” and the even-more-experimentalist “Laboratory 1” on side B — has secrets to unveil, it’s doing so in the wash of guitar and keyboard creating melodic instrumentalist surges setting themselves to convey a feeling of “The Outskirts of Reality” as a point of arrival rather than a place of departure. That is, if we’re buying into the cliché of the album as a journey — and hell yes, we most certainly are — then ‘the outskirts’ is clearly the place we’re headed. The positioning of the title-track last speaks to this, as does the progression of the song itself, which one might think of as answering the liftoff-ignition-blast of “QSO” with a last, consuming wash of noise. Maybe I’m reading too much into it, but I don’t think so, because while Yuri Gagarin are jamming here in the sense of following instrumental paths of their songs to the places they might naturally lead — linear builds, ebbs and flows, and so on — the dynamic the Swedish outfit bring to space rock has so much intentionality behind it that to give anything less than full consideration to its complexity feels half-assed. Even as the push-push-push of “QSO” departs and the song’s last two minutes or so are given to a stretch of quiet guitar fade that lead directly into “Oneironaut,” there’s a plan at work, if not a direct narrative. This isn’t just about self-indulgence or a showcase of effects wash. There’s more to it.

yuri gagarin the outskirts of reality

Certainly Yuri Gagarin are aware of space rock’s past glories. Almost 50 years later, Hawkwind looms over the entire genre as much as ever, but there’s a significant difference between being aware of something and beholden to it and it seems to be the latter where the band draw the line. It isn’t just a question of having modern production or a sleek gatefold by Påhl Sundström — though neither hurts in terms of presentation — but about the forward push in the material itself. To wit, the winding guitar of “Crystal Dunes” and how that song touches on Middle Easternism or Mediterranean folk without fully abandoning the overarching outward thrust of The Outskirts of Reality‘s entirety, instead bringing those elements into the context of the song and the record as it moves ahead toward the track’s emergent wash and eventual dissolution around a final resonant hum and strum. That this happens en route to the time-warp manipulations of “Laboratory 1” likewise isn’t a coincidence. Aside from being a fit in terms of runtime, the otherwise-interlude is a readjustment of mentality that sets up and reinforces the spirit of arrival at “The Outskirts of Reality” itself. And while the title-track doesn’t hit 13 minutes like “Oneironaut” or even the 10 of “QSO” back on side A, it doesn’t need to.

Rather, the point comes across in the encompassing effects and keys and the scorching guitar soloing, as undulations and surges of melodies take hold and recede and return in nigh-on-maddening fashion. They’re five minutes in before you realize what’s happened, and by then, you couldn’t get out if you wanted to. The shift to the final progression is subtle, but there, and soon Yuri Gagarin are engulfed in a last wash of noise that takes hold despite the ongoing and adjoining loops. If you’re wondering who wins, the answer is noise. Noise wins. The band doesn’t so much deconstruct the piece as let it drift off into the crushing vacuum, and as harsh as the noise is, it fades out in surprisingly gentle fashion. Perhaps there’s room for sentiment in the cosmos after all. One way or the other, Yuri Gagarin‘s The Outskirts of Reality portrays space rock as a reinvigorated aesthetic in such a way as to make it exciting not just to established fans of the style, but those who might be taking it on for the first time. It’s a rare sense of outreach in terms of audience-building, and thus something of a gamble on the part of the band, but in terms of world-building and making its own impression, it is likewise resonant and organic: An ultrasonic blowout for all tomorrow’s todays. Sometimes with records that see envelopes as things to push there is purist backlash as a result, and maybe Yuri Gagarin are at least potentially exposing themselves to that, but there’s much work being done on The Outskirts of Reality to open the minds of those who take it on, and those willing to meet the band on their level will find doing so all the more rewarding.

Yuri Gagarin on Thee Facebooks

Yuri Gagarin on Instagram

Yuri Gagarin on Bandcamp

Yuri Gagarin BigCartel store

Kommun 2 Records website

Sound Effect Records website

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Quarterly Review: Dommengang, Ice Dragon, Saint Karloff, Witch Trail, Love Gang, Firebreather, Karkara, Circle of Sighs, Floral Fauna, Vvlva

Posted in Reviews on January 7th, 2020 by JJ Koczan

quarterly review

We begin Day Two of the Winter 2020 Quarterly Review. Snow on the ground fell overnight and the day ahead looks as busy as ever. There’s barely time to stop for sips of coffee between records, but some allowances must be made. It’s Tuesday after all. There’s still a lot of week left. And if we can’t be kind to ourselves in the post-holiday comedown of wintry gray, when can we?

So yes, pause, sip — glug, more likely — then proceed.

I don’t usually play favorites with these things, but I think today’s might have worked out to be my favorite batch of the bunch. As always, I hope you find something that speaks to you.

Quarterly Review #11-20:

Dommengang, No Keys

dommengang no keys

Driving heavy psych and rock meet with spacious Americana and a suburbanite dreaminess in Dommengang‘s No Keys, the now-L.A. trio’s follow-up to 2018’s Love Jail (review here). It is a melting pot of sound, with emphasis on melting, but vocal harmonies and consistently righteous basslines like that in “Stir the Sea” act to tie the nine component tracks together, making Dommengang‘s various washes of tone ultimately the creation of a welcoming space. Early cut “Earth Blues” follows opener “Sunny Day Flooding” with a mindful far-outbound resonance, and the later “Arcularius – Burke” finds itself in a linear building pattern ahead of “Jerusalem Cricket,” which reimagines ’70s country rock as something less about nostalgia than forward possibility. Having come far on their apparently keyboard-less journey, from the breadth-casting verses of “Stir the Sea” to the doomy interlude “Blues Rot,” they end with “Happy Death (Her Blues II)” which sure as hell sounds like it has some organ on it. Either way, whether they live up to the standard of the title or not is secondary to the album’s actual achievements, which are significant, and distinguish Dommengang from would-be peers in atmosphere, craft and melody.

Dommengang on Thee Facebooks

Thrill Jockey Records on Bandcamp

 

Ice Dragon, Passage of Mind

ice dragon passage of mind

Though they don’t do it nearly as often as they did between 2012 and 2015, every now and then Boston’s Ice Dragon manage to sneak out a new release. Over the last few years, that’s been a succession of singles, but Passage of Mind is their first LP since 2015’s A Beacon on the Barrow (review here), and though they’ll always in some part be thought of as a doom band, the unassuming organic psychedelia of “Don’t Know Much but the Road” reminds more of Chris Goss‘ work with Masters of Reality in its acoustic/fuzz blend and melody. The experimentalism-prone outfit have been down this avenue before as well, and it suits them, even as members have moved on to other projects (Brass Hearse among them), with the seven-minute “One of These Days” basing itself around willfully simplistic-sounding intertwining lines of higher and lower fuzz. There are moments of serenity, like closer “Dream About You” and “Sun in My Eyes,” but “The Sound the Rain Makes” is more of a blowout, and even the darker vibe of “Delirium’s Tears” holds hits melody as top priority. Hey guess what? Here’s an Ice Dragon album that deserves more attention than it’s gotten. I think it’s the 12th one.

Ice Dragon on Thee Facebooks

Ice Dragon on Bandcamp

 

Saint Karloff, Interstellar Voodoo

Saint Karloff Interstellar Voodoo

Oslo’s Saint Karloff squash the high standard they set for themselves on their 2018 debut, All Heed the Black God (review here), with the 41-minute single-song long-player Interstellar Voodoo, basking in bluesy Sabbathian grandeur and keeping a spirit of progressive adventuring beneath without giving over entirely to self-indulgent impulses any more than one could as they careen from one movement to the next in the multi-stage work. With vinyl through Majestic Mountain Records, tape on Stoner Witch Records and CD through Ozium Records, they’re nothing if not well represented, and rightly so, as they veer in and out of psychedelic terrain in exciting and periodically elephantine fashion, still making room for classic Scandi-folk boogie on side A before the second half of the track stomps all over everything that’s come before it en route to its own organ-laced jammy meandering, Iommi shuffle and circa-’74 howl. As a new generation of doom rock begins to take shape, Saint Karloff position themselves well as earlier pursuers of an individualist spirit while still drawing of course on classic sources of inspiration. The first record was encouraging. The second is more so. The third will be the real tell of who they are as a band.

Saint Karloff on Thee Facebooks

Majestic Mountain Records webstore

 

Witch Trail, The Sun Has Left the Hill

witch trail the sun has left the hill

The jangling guitar strum in centerpiece “Lucid” on Witch Trail‘s The Sun Has Left the Hill (Consouling Sounds) has the indelible mark of classic rock and roll freedom to it. One wonders if Pete Townshend would recognize it, or if it’s too far blasted into oblivion by the Belgian trio’s aesthetic treatment across The Sun Has Left the Hill‘s convention-challenging 29-minute span, comprising seven tracks that bring together a heavy alternative rock and post-black metal vision marked by spacious echoes and cavern screams that are likewise tortured and self-assured. That is to say, there’s no mistaking the intent here. In the early intensity of “Watcher” or the shimmering and more patiently unfolding “Silent Running,” the Ghent three-piece mark out their stylistic terrain between bursts of noisy chaotic wash and clearheaded execution. The six-minute “Afloat” hisses like a lost demo that would’ve rewritten genre history some 25 years ago, and even in closer “Residue,” one can’t help but feel like Witch Trail are indeed looking to leave some lasting effect behind them with such forward-thinking craft. Sure to be a shock for those who take it on with no idea of what to expect.

Witch Trail on Thee Facebooks

Consouling Sounds website

 

Love Gang, Dead Man’s Game

love gang dead mans game

Shortly before Love Gang are halfway through the opening title-track of their debut album, Dead Man’s Game, just when you think you might have their blend of organ-laced Radio Moscow and Motörhead figured out, that’s when Leo Muñoz breaks out the flute and the whole thing takes a turn for the unexpected. Surprises abound from the Denver foursome of Muñoz (who also handles organ and sax), guitarist/vocalist Kam Wentworth, bassist Grady O’Donnell and drummer Shaun Goodwin, who find room for psychedelic airiness amidst the gallop of “Addiction,” which doesn’t seem coincidentally paired with “Break Free,” though the two don’t run together. Love Gang‘s 2016 self-titled EP (review here) had a cleaner production and less aggro throb, and there’s some of that on Dead Man’s Game in the peaceful melody of “Interlude,” but even seven-minute closer “Endless Road” makes a point of finishing at a rush, and that’s ultimately what defines the album. No complaints. Love Gang wield momentum as another element of inventive arrangement on this encouraging first long-player.

Love Gang on Thee Facebooks

Love Gang on Thee Facebooks

 

Firebreather, Under a Blood Moon

firebreather under a blood moon

‘Tis the stuff of battle axes and severed limbs, but it’s worth noting that three of the six inclusions on Firebreather‘s second LP and first for RidingEasy Records, Under a Blood Moon, have some reference to fire in their title. The follow-up to their brazen 2017 self-titled debut (review here) starts with its longest track (immediate points) in the nine-minute “Dancing Flames,” then follows immediately with “Our Souls, They Burn” and launches side B with the eponymous “Firebreather,” as the Gothenburg trio of Mattias Nööjd, Kyle Pitcher and Axel Wittbeck launch their riffy, destructive assault with urgency that earns all that scarred land left in its wake. The High on Fire comparison remains inevitable, perhaps most of all on “Firebreather” itself, but Firebreather have grown thicker in tone, meaner in approach and do nothing to shy away from the largesse that such a sound might let them convey, as “Our Souls, They Burn” and in the volume surges of closer “The Siren.” Under a Blood Moon is a definite forward step from the first LP, showing an evolving sound and burgeoning individuality that one hopes Firebreather continue to hunt down with such vigilance.

Firebreather on Thee Facebooks

RidingEasy Records on Bandcamp

 

Karkara, Crystal Gazer

karkara crystal gazer

Presented through Stolen Body Records, the debut long-player from French trio Karkara purports to be “Oriental psych rock,” which accounts for an Eastern influence in the overall sound of its seven-track/41-minute run, but there are perhaps some geographical questions to be undertaken there, as “Camel Rider” and others show a distinctive Mideastern flair. Whatever works, I guess. At its core, Crystal Gazer is a work of psychedelic space rock, brought to bear with a duly open sensibility by guitarist/vocalist Karim Rihani (also didgeridoo), bassist Hugo Olive and drummer/vocalist Maxime Marouani as seemingly the beginning stages of a broader sonic adventure. That is to say, the stylistic aspects at play here — and they are very much “at play” — feel purposefully used, but like the foundation of what will be future growth on the part of Karkara as a unit. Will they progress along a more patient and meditative path, as “The Way” hints in some of its early roll, or will the frenetic winding of closer “Jedid” set their course for subsequent freakouts? I don’t know, but Karkara strike as a band who won’t see any point to standing still creatively any more than they do to doing so rhythmically.

Karkara on Thee Facebooks

Stolen Body Records website

 

Circle of Sighs, Desolate

circle of sighs desolate

Information is limited on Circle of Sighs, and by that I primarily mean I don’t have any. They list their point of origin as Los Angeles, so there’s that, but as to the whos and whats, wheres and so on, it’s a mystery. Something tells me that suits the band, whose four-track debut EP, Desolate, gracefully executes a blend of melodic downerism with more extreme elements at play, melodic vocal arrangements offset by screams in the closing title-track after the prior rolling groove of “Burden of the Flesh” offered a progressive and synth-laden take on Pallbearer-style emotive doom. Acoustics, keyboard, and a clear use of multiple singers give Circle of Sighs‘ first outing a kitchen-sink feel, but one can only admire them for trying something new at their (presumed) outset, and the catchy chug of “Hold Me, Lucifer” speaks to more complex aesthetic origins than the simplistic subject matter might lead one to believe. The outlier is the penultimate nine-minute cut “Kukeri,” which broods across its first three minutes in a manner that would make Patrick Walker proud before unfolding the breadth of its lumber and arrangement, harmonies and screams and the first real showcase of more extreme impulses taking hold in its second half — plus strings, maybe — which “Desolate” itself will build upon after a bookending acoustic close. There’s some sorting out to do in terms of sound, but already they show a readiness to push in their own direction, and that’s more than it would seem reasonable to ask.

Circle of Sighs on Thee Facebooks

Circle of Sighs on Bandcamp

 

Floral Fauna, Pink and Blue

floral fauna pink and blue

Way out west, Chris Allison of the band Lord Loud is taking on psychedelic shimmer under the ostensible solo moniker of Floral Fauna, but the situation of the project’s 11-tracker debut LP, Pink and Blue is more complicated in personnel and style than that, melding fuzzy presence, classic ’60s surf-tone, rampant hooky melody and ready-to-go-anywhere-as-long-as-it-works pop experimentalism together in a steaming lysergic cauldron of neo-yourface-ism that’s ether blissed enough to tie funk and ancient R&B to cosmic flow together in a manner that feels like an utter tossoff, like, hey, yeah man, this kind of thing just happens all the time here. You know, no big deal on this wavelength. Mellow dreams in “Great White Silence,” a spacey ramble in “Velvet and Jade” and the echoing leadwork of “Red Anxiety” continue the color theme from the opening title-track, and the record caps with “Herds of Jellyfish,” which at last brings forward the vocal harmony that the whole album seems to have been begging for. Cool debut? Shit, man. It’s 36 minutes of straight-up psych joy just waiting to bring you on board. Legal psilocybin now.

Floral Fauna on Thee Facebooks

King Volume Records on Bandcamp

 

Vvlva, Silhouettes

vvlva silhouettes

There are a couple things you can figure on in this wacky universe, and one of them is that German imprint World in Sound knows what it’s doing when it picks up a classic heavy rock band. Silhouettes is the second long-player the label has released from woefully-monikered Aschaffenburg-based four-piece Vvlva, and indeed in the upfront boogie of “Cosmic Pilgrim” or the more progressive unfolding of pieces like “Tales Told by a Gray Man,” the centerpiece “Gomorrah,” or the longer “Night by Night/The Choir” and “Dance of the Heathens,” which seem to bring the two sides together, there’s enough vintage influence to make the case once again. Like the more forward thinking of their contemporaries, Vvlva have brought this modus into the present when it comes to production value and clarity, and rather than sound like it’s 1973, they would seem to be making 1973 sound like them. Whether one dives in for the early hooks in “Cosmic Pilgrim” or “What Do I Stand For?” or the fuzzy interplay between the solo and organ in the maddeningly bouncing “Hobos,” there’s plenty in Silhouettes to demonstrate the vitality and continued evolution of the style.

Vvlva on Thee Facebooks

World in Sound website

 

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