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.

Kungens Man on Thee Facebooks

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.

PFUND on Thee Facebooks

PFUND on Bandcamp

 

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.

Crystal Spiders on Thee Facebooks

Crystal Spiders on Bandcamp

 

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.

The Misery Men on Thee Facebooks

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.

Hubris on Thee Facebooks

Hubris on Bandcamp

 

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.

WOORMS on Thee Facebooks

WOORMS on Bandcamp

 

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.

Oreyeon on Thee Facebooks

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.

Melody Fields on Thee Facebooks

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.

Mammoth Grove on Thee Facebooks

Mammoth Grove on Bandcamp

 

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.

Crimson Devils on Thee Facebooks

Crimson Devils on Bandcamp

 

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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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Quarterly Review: Earthless, Satan’s Satyrs, Mantar, Child, T.G. Olson, Canyon, Circle of the Sun, Mythic Sunship, Svarta Stugan, Bast

Posted in Reviews on December 6th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

quarterly-review

There isn’t enough coffee in the universe, but I’ve got mine and I’m ready to burn the living crap out of my tongue if that’s what it takes to get through. We’ve arrived at Day 4 of the Quarterly Review, and though we’re less than halfway to the 100-album goal set by some maniac sitting at his kitchen table with a now-burnt tongue, there’s been an awful lot of good stuff so far. More even than I thought going into it, and I slate this stuff.

That said, today’s list is pretty killer. A lot of these bands will be more familiar than maybe has been the case or will be on some of the other days of this Quarterly Review. It just kind of worked out that way as I was putting it together. But hey, a few bigger bands here, a few “debut EP” demos there. It’s all good fun.

So let’s go.

Quarterly Review #31-40:

Earthless, From the West

earthless from the west

Bonus points to whatever clever cat correctly decided that Earthless‘ 2018 studio album, Black Heaven (review here), needed a companion live record. With artwork mimicking a Led Zeppelin bootleg of the same name, From the West arrives through Silver Current and Nuclear Blast capturing the most powerful of power trios earlier this year in San Francisco, and it’s like the fire emoji came to life. With Mike Eginton‘s bass as the anchor and Mario Rubalcaba‘s drums as the driving force, guitarist Isaiah Mitchell starts ripping holes in the fabric of spacetime with “Black Heaven” and doesn’t stop until 64 minutes later as “Acid Crusher” dissolves into noise. Of course “Gifted by the Wind” from the latest LP is a highlight, and suitably enough, they cover Zeppelin‘s “Communication Breakdown,” but I’m not sure anything tops the extended take on “Uluru Rock” from 2013’s From the Ages (review here) — and yes, I mean that. Of course they pair it with the 1:48 surge of “Volt Rush,” because they’re Earthless, and brilliant is what they do. Every set they play should be recorded for posterity.

Earthless website

Silver Current Records on Bandcamp

Earthless at Nuclear Blast webstore

 

Satan’s Satyrs, The Lucky Ones

satans satyrs the lucky ones

Encased in cover art that begs the Spinal Tap question, “what’s wrong with being sexy?” and the response that Fran Drescher gave it, Virginia classic heavy rockers Satan’s Satyrs return with their fourth full-length, The Lucky Ones (on RidingEasy and Bad Omen), which also marks their first record as a four-piece with guitarist Nate Towle (Wicked Inquisition) joining the returning lineup of bassist/vocalist Clayton Burgess, guitarist Jared Nettnin and drummer Stephen Fairfield, who, between the fact that Burgess founded the band and played in Electric Wizard, and all the lead guitar antics from Nettnin and Towle, might be the unsung hero of the band. His performance is not lost in the recording by Windhand‘s Garrett Morris or Burgess‘ own hefty mix, and as one would expect, Satan’s Satyrs continue to deliver deceptively refined ’70s-heavy vibes caked in cult biker horror aesthetics. Some songs hit more than others, but Satan’s Satyrs‘ dust-kicking approach continues to win converts.

Satan’s Satyrs on Thee Facebooks

RidingEasy Records on Bandcamp

Bad Omen Records on Bandcamp

 

Mantar, The Modern Art of Setting Ablaze

mantar the modern art of setting ablaze

One generally thinks of Hamburg duo Mantar as having all the subtlety of a bone saw caught on video, and yet, in listening to “Seek + Forget” from their third album, The Modern Art of Setting Ablaze (on Nuclear Blast), there are some elements that seem to be reaching out on the part of the band. Guitarist Hanno‘s vocals are more enunciated and discernible, there is a short break from the all-out blackened-sludge-punk assault that’s been their trade since their start in 2012, and “Obey the Obscene” even has an organ. Still, the bulk of the 12-track/48-minute follow-up to 2016’s Ode to the Flame (review here) is given to extremity of purpose and execution, and in pieces like the churning “Anti Eternia” and the particularly-punked “Teeth of the Sea,” they work to refine their always-present threat of violence. Closer “The Funeral” brings back some of the quiet moodiness of intro “The Knowing” and underscores the point of sonic expansion. I hope next time they use a string section.

Mantar on Thee Facebooks

Nuclear Blast website

 

Child, I

child i

It took me a few minutes to get to the heart of what my problem with Child‘s I EP is. Really, I was sitting and listening to “Age Has Left Me Behind” — the first of the three included tracks on the 20-ish-minute 12″ — and I had to ask myself, “Why is this annoying me?” The answer? Because it’s not an album. That’s it. It’s not enough. Kudos to the Melbourne, Australia, heavy blues trio on having that be the biggest concern with their latest release — it follows 2016’s righteously-grooved Blueside (review here) — and kudos to them as well for their cover of Spirit‘s “The Other Song,” but of course it’s the 10-minute jam “Going Down Swinging” on side B that’s the immersive highlight of I, as Child‘s balance of softshoe-boogie and expansive mellow-psych is second to none in their subgenre. It’s not an album, and that’s kind of sad, but as a tide-ya-over until the next long-player arrives, I still does the trick nice and easy. And not to get greedy, but I’d take a II (or would it be You?) whenever they get around to it.

Child on Thee Facebooks

Kozmik Artifactz website

 

T.G. Olson, Wasatch Valley Lady & The Man from Table Mountain

tg olson wasatch valley lady and the man from table mountain

Across Tundras frontman T.G. Olson, who by now has well lapped that band’s output with his solo catalog, would seem to have sat down with his guitar sometime in the last week and put two songs to tape. The resulting 10-minute offering is Wasatch Valley Lady & The Man from Table Mountain, its component title-tracks stripping down some of the more elaborate arrangements he’s explored of late — his latest full-length, Riding Roughshod (review pending; it’s hard to keep up), came out in October — to expose the barebones construction at root in his Rocky Mountain country folk style. “Wasatch Valley Lady” and “The Man from Table Mountain” make an engaging couple, and while Olson has a host of videos on YouTube that are similarly just him and his acoustic, something about the audio-only recordings feel like a voice out of time reaching for human connection. The first seems to have a natural fade, and the second a more prominent rhythm showcased in harder strum, but both are sweet melodies evocative as ever of open landscapes and wistful experience.

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T.G. Olson/Across Tundras on Bandcamp

 

Canyon, Mk II

canyon mk ii

The Deep Purple-referential Mk II title of Canyon‘s second EP, also the follow-up to their 2017 debut LP, Radiant Light, refers to the lineup change that’s seen Dean Welsh move to drums so that he and guitarist Peter Stanko can welcome bassist/vocalist Fred Frederick to the fold. The three included songs, the hooky “Mine Your Heart,” expansively fuzzed “Morphine Dreams” and bouncing “Roam” make a hell of a first offering from the reconstituted trio, who capture classic heavy naturalism in a chemistry between players that’s mirrored in the songwriting itself. Canyon‘s 2016 self-titled debut EP (review here) held marked promise, and even after the full-length, that promise would seem to be coming to fruition here. Their tones and craft are both right on, and there’s still some gelling to do between the three of them, but they leave no doubt with Mk II that this incarnation of Canyon can get there. And, if they keep up like this, get there quickly.

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Canyon on Bandcamp

 

Circle of the Sun, Jams of Inner Perception

Circle of the Sun Jams of Inner Perception

One man jams! Psych-jam seekers will recognize Daniel Sax as the drummer for Berlin-based trio Cosmic Fall. Circle of the Sun is a solo-project from Sax and Jams of Inner Perception collects six tracks for 39 minutes of adventuring on his own. Sax sets his own backbeat and layers bass and “effectsbass” for a full-lineup feel amid the instrumental creations, and those looking to be hypnotized by the space-rocking jams will be. Flat out. Sax is no stranger to jamming, and as one soaks in “Jamming in Paradise” or its nine-minute predecessor “Liquid Sand,” there’s little mistaking his intention. Curious timing that Circle of the Sun would take shape following a lineup change in Cosmic Fall — perhaps it was put together in the interim? — but whether Jams of Inner Perception is a one-off of the beginning of a new avenue for Sax, its turn to blues noodling on “Desert Sun,” thick-toned “Moongroove” and fuzzy roll on “Acid Dream” demonstrate there are plenty of outer realms still to explore.

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Circle of the Sun on Bandcamp

 

Mythic Sunship, Another Shape of Psychedelic Music

Mythic Sunship Another Shape of Psychedelic Music

The simplest way to put it is that Mythic Sunship‘s Another Shape of Psychedelic Music lives up to the lofty ambitions of its title. The Danish band is comprised of guitarists Kasper Stougaard Andersen and Emil Thorenfeldt, bassist Rasmus ‘Cleaver’ Christensen, drummer Frederik Denning and saxophonist Søren Skov, and with Causa Sui‘s Jonas Munk — who also produced the album — sitting in on the extended “Backyard Voodoo” (17:41) and “Out There” (13:53) as well as overseeing the release through El Paraiso, the band indeed makes there way into the far out reaches where jazz and psychedelia meet. It’s not about pretentiously saying they’re doing something that’s never been done. You’ll note it’s “another shape” and not a “new shape” or the “shape to come.” But immersion happens quickly on opener “Resolution” (14:23), and even quicker cuts like “Last Exit,” “Way Ahead” and “Elevation” carry the compelling spirit of forward-thinking creativity through their dynamic course, and if Mythic Sunship aren’t the shape of psychedelic music to come, it’s in no small part because there are so few out there who could hope to match what they do.

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El Paraiso Records website

 

Svarta Stugan, Islands / Öar

svarta stugan islands oar

Islands / Öar — the second word being the Swedish translation of the first — is the 40-minute debut full-length from Gothenburg atmospheric heavy post-rock instrumentalists Svarta Stugan, who demonstrate in influence from Hex-era Earth on the opener “Islands III” but go on in subsequent tracks to pull together a sound distinct in its cinematic feel and moody execution. Five out of the seven component tracks are “Islands” pieces, which are presented out of order with “Islands IV” missing and “Islands Unknown” perhaps in its place, and the respective side A/B finales “Inner Space” and “Prospects Quatsi” standing apart. Both bring to bear a style ultimately consistent with the melancholy so rife throughout Islands / Öar as a whole, but they’re obviously intended as outliers, and so they seem to be. The LP release follows a couple shorter outings, issued over the past six-plus years, and it’s clear from the depths and range on display here in the build-to-crescendo of “Inner Space” alone that Svarta Stugan haven’t misspent their time in their progression to this point.

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Svarta Stugan on Bandcamp

 

Bast, Nanoångström

bast nanoangstrom

Largesse of scope and largesse of tone work in tandem on Bast‘s Nanoångström full-length on Black Bow, as they bring together aspects of post-metallic churn and more extreme metal methods to hone a style highly individualized, highly weighted and as much cosmic as it is crushing. Through six tracks and 57 minutes, the London trio (plus two guest spots from Chris Naughton of Winterfylleth) careen and crash and set an atmosphere of chaos without actually being chaotic, their progressive craft working to tie the songs together into a larger impression of the work as a consuming entirety. It’s the kind of record you pick up and still hear new things in by the time they put out their next one. Production from Chris Fielding at Skyhammer Studio only helps creates the heights and depths of their dynamic, and whether they’re rolling out the severity of closer “The Ghosts Which Haunt the Space Between the Stars” or laying out the soundscape of “The Beckoning Void,” Bast shape the tenets of genre to suit their needs rather than try to work within the barriers of any particular style. Nanoångström is all the more complex and satisfying for their efforts in that regard.

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Black Bow Records webstore

 

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Wolves in Haze Premiere “All or Nothing”; New Single out Dec. 13

Posted in audiObelisk on November 29th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

wolves in haze (Photo by Emma Johansson)

Swedish grit-worshipers Wolves in Haze release their new single, All or Nothing, on Dec. 13. Comprised of two tracks, the 10-minute offering taps into a vibe that directly calls out the Sunlight Studio sound of nearly 30 years ago, as bands like Entombed, Grave and Dismember brought a new and raw shape to death metal with a strong influence from rock and roll as an undercurrent. Wolves in Haze tip that balance the other way, and while the guitar tones of Manne Olander and Olle Hansson carry some no shortage of severity in their distortion, the Gothenburg four-piece completed by bassist Vicke Crusner and drummer Kalle Lilja (also of Långfinger) are still definitively working from a heavy rock foundation. “All or Nothing” and “Leave Your Head” follow behind the band’s 2016 self-titled debut full-length — which they recorded and mixed themselves and Esben Willems of Monolord mastered — and find the band with a clearheaded approach to what they want their sound to do, starting with the compressed riff that begins “All or Nothing” and unfolding through the hook and darker exploration of “Leave Your Head.”

The first song is the shorter of the two at 4:09, and its presentation bears the hallmark crispness of sound that added such a lurking cavernousness to the classic Sunlight records, and the jabbing impact of that riff in “All or Nothing” wolves in haze all or nothingseems to draw a direct line to Entombed‘s To Ride, Shoot Straight, and Speak the Truth from 1997, as that band began to move out of the death metal style and into their “rock period” before ultimately circling back. Wolves in Haze to well with the marked influence, peppering the forward intensity with dual vocals from Olander and Hansson and a headbang-ready pounding chorus leading to a chugging verse before a post-midsection break of creeper bass leads to a minor-key lead line, the capstone solo and chug that seems to round out before a quick return to the central riff. A sample begins “Leave Your Head,” which thrashes harder initially but still has the same root in filthy low end despite a cleaner vocal in its aforementioned hook. Piano accompanies the break around the halfway point to add an eerie vibe and as they did with the prior track, they pick back up into an instrumental finish, this time with a bookending sample at the close.

For those who, like me, didn’t catch the first album when it was released, All or Nothing makes a quick opportunity to sample Wolves in Haze‘s wares while also showcasing the progression they’ve undertaken since that debut came out. They are working their way into a niche that, frankly, is right there waiting for them, and finding a stylistic blend that not only speaks to some of the most essential extreme records Sweden has ever produced, but still allows the band room to grow into their own take on it as well. It’s a fucking cool single. That’s what it comes down to. And Wolves in Haze bend that Sunlight sound to their will with a natural-sounding ease that only makes me look forward all the more to what they do next.

Enjoy “All or Nothing” followed by some words from the band below:

Wolves in Haze, “All or Nothing” official track premiere

Wolves in Haze on “All or Nothing”:

“All or Nothing” draws inspiration from actual events involving a serial killer in a small southern suburb of Gothenburg, Sweden. As there were many restless nights for the inhabitants of the area, these malicious acts dated to the summer of 2018 when Wolves in Haze started working with new material.

Wolves in Haze is:
Manne Olander – Voice, Guitar, Bass
Olle Hansson – Guitar, Bass, Voice
Victor Crusner – Bass, Grand Piano, Organs
Kalle Lilja – Drums, Moog, Organs, Bass, Guitar

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Wolves in Haze on Bandcamp

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Monolord Sign to Relapse Records; New Album Announced

Posted in Whathaveyou on November 15th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

Swedish riff-expansionists Monolord have inked a deal to release their next album through Relapse Records late in 2019. The signing comes after years of widespread acclaim for the hard-touring, thick-toned Gothenburg-based trio, whose 2017 album, Rust (review here), was their third on RidingEasy Records. Over the last five-plus years, they’ve risen to prominence as one of the most impact-producing and forward-thinking purveyors of next-generation amplifier worship, and their live shows have only grown more incendiary over that same period. Touring like bastards has certainly helped in that regard.

While we’re on the subject, Monolord are currently on tour in Europe with Kadavar, and completed a headlining US run to support Rust earlier this year. While they’re aiming to have a new LP together for the end of 2019, one can only expect more touring to come as they enter this new phase of their career and seem poised to take their place among the foremost acts of their day. This makes Monolord and YOB labelmates. Imagine that tour for a minute.

Fresh off the PR wire:

monolord

MONOLORD: Sign To Relapse Records; New Album Coming Late 2019

Relapse is proud to announce the signing of Swedish trio MONOLORD. Formed in Gothenburg in 2013, MONOLORD quickly burst onto the scene releasing three critically-acclaimed full-lengths in a four-year span (Empress Rising, Vænir and Rust) on RidingEasy Records all while touring relentlessly around the globe. MONOLORD is a rare breed: A band both encompassing and transcending genre; a vortex of heavy rock density that consumes all others. The band’s enveloping, syrupy sludge is a state of mind, with guitarist/vocalist Thomas Jäger, drummer Esben Willems and bassist Mika Häkki create a massive, dynamic sound with ultra-low frequencies serving as its fourth member. MONOLORD’s yet-to-be-titled fourth studio album is expected to be released in late 2019. Stay tuned for more information.

MONOLORD comment on the signing:

“Stoked about this! Working with people who are driven by the passion for music above anything else has always been key for us. The fine music lovers at Relapse are just the kind of passionate people we want to spread the decibel gospel with and we feel confident that this is gonna be a very sweet ride together.”

MONOLORD are currently on tour throughout Europe with Kadavar. A full list of remaining tour dates is available below.

MONOLORD Tour Dates:

— All Dates Nov 15-Dec 01 w/ Kadaver —

Nov 15 Lausanne, CH @ Le Romandie
Nov 16 Zurich, CH @ Mascotte Zurich
Nov 17 Eindhoven, NL @ Helldorado
Nov 18 Groningen, NL @ VERA Groningen
Nov 20 Bielefeld, DE @ Forum Bielefeld
Nov 21 Kortrijk, BE @ Concertzaal
Nov 22 Karlsruhe, DE @ Substage
Nov 23 Leipzig, DE @ Sonne Island
Nov 24 Schweinfurt, DE @ Stattbahnhof Schweinfurt
Nov 25 Neukirchen, DE @ Sagewerk
Nov 27 Cham, DE @ L.A. Live Style Cafe
Nov 28 Munich, DE @ Backstage Munchen
Nov 29 Bochum, DE @ Zeche Bochum
Nov 30 Saarbrucken, DE @ Garage
Dec 01 Freiburg, DE @ Jazzhaus Freiburg

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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Dun Ringill Post “Welcome to the Fun Fair Horror Time Machine” Video

Posted in Bootleg Theater on October 31st, 2018 by JJ Koczan

dun ringill

If the title sounds completely over the top, it is. I think that’s the idea. Apart from a studio snippet posted on the social medias, this is the first audio made public from Dun Ringill‘s impending debut album, Welcome, and it’s a rousing start. That’s probably the idea too. “Welcome to the Fun Fair Horror Time Machine.” What’s in a name, right?

Well, this name brings along nine-plus minutes of classic doom from members of Doomdogs and The Order of Israfel, among others — six dudes; plenty of pedigree to go around — and calls upon the masters of Scandinavian doom in order to cast its sound. Yes, I’m talking about Candlemass, but also some of Lord Vicar and Reverend Bizarre‘s ultra-schooled worship of Saint Vitus and Black Sabbath, doom that wants to get to the roots of when it and metal came together to become something dark and encompassing. I don’t know if horror themes will persist throughout Dun Ringill‘s recently-tracked LP, which Argonauta will release early next year, but they make an impression here with nod-ready riffs and vocals that swap between cleaner, Ozzy-style vocals and a throaty delivery of the titular hook that, yeah, it’s a little silly, but is also bound to get stuck in your head.

That is, get ready to spend the rest of your day welcoming various and sundry other people to the fun fair horror time machine. If only in your inner monologue.

I won’t claim to know what the rest of the album has in store, but “Welcome to the Fun Fair Horror Time Machine” is a more than solid execution of unpretentious traditional doom, and it bodes well for what might follow. The personnel already had me looking forward to the record. It’s fortunate to have the first glimpse at the material itself live up to that.

Enjoy:

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

We are so proud and happy to finally release our debut video!

The single is also out on all digital platforms.

It was easy for us to pick the track “Welcome to the Fun Fair Horror Time Machine” as the first video and single” the band explains. “It shows the variety of the band that has their roots in doom but paints them with nordic folk music. The lyric idea behind is to explore the evil and dark side of our minds and this song and video shows it pretty well.“

Filmed & Directed by Robert Hellström
Make up Marianne Stepperud Antonsen
Actors Tomas Olsson, Ozzy Grammann, Eddie Grammann
Special thanks to Nalles Tivoli

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Argonauta Records website

Argonauta Records on Thee Facebooks

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