Galvano Touring Europe in Nov. with Snailking and Zaum

Posted in Whathaveyou on September 3rd, 2015 by H.P. Taskmaster

galvano

Swedish twofer Galvano will hit the road next month across Western Europe in support of their earlier-2015 release, Trail of the Serpent, which is also their debut on Candlelight Records. They’re joined for the trek by their countrymen in Snailking and Canada’s Zaum, who I hear will have a new record out in 2016, which is surely good news for anyone who likes their heavy with a bit of ritual behind it. Which I think is just about everybody at this point. Or, at very least, me. Ha.

It’s a more than solid bill, though, with the three bands, and they’ll meet up with the likes of Pentagram and Graveyard along the way as well, so all the better. Dates and background on Trail of the Serpent follow, as well as the stream of the album, all courtesy of the PR wire:

galvano tour

We are hitting Europe again in November, this time with our friends in Snailking and ZAUM. Excited to return to France, this time sharing stage with the mighty Pentagram! Hope to see you out there! Go like these killer bands and share this poster. Thank you.

Galvano on Tour with Snailking and Zaum
11.13 Stengade Copenhagen DK
11.14 Astrastube Hamburg DE
11.15 TBC Rouen FR
11.17 Ferrailleur Nantes FR*
11.18 Little Devil Tilburg NL
11.19 De Onderbroek Nijmegen NL
11.20 Music City Antwerp BE
11.21 Brixton Windmill London UK
11.23 TBC Leipzig DE
11.24 Chemiefabrik Dresden DE
11.25 Alte Meierei Kiel DE
11.26 Schokoladen Berlin DE
11.27 1000Fryd Aalborg DK
11.28 Vulkan Arena Oslo NO**
*with Pentagram
**with Graveyard

From the deepest, nastiest recesses of Gothenburg comes crushing Swedish sludge duo Galvano. Now comprising Mattias Noojd (guitars/vocals) and Fredrik Kall (drums), Galvano originally started out as a three-piece in 2005.

Galvano embarked on their first mini tour in 2010 visiting Denmark and a set of German cities. That same year the band were asked to feature on a split so they went into the studio and recorded the epic single The Librarian which was mixed and mastered by the legendary Billy Anderson (Orange Goblin, Cathedral, Eyehategod).

This was released as a 10 in 2011 on SM Musik from Leipzig, Germany. The release was then followed up by a full European tour. After this tour the band said goodbye to their fourth bass player and decided to move on as a duo. Early in 2012 they teamed up with UK based label Devouter Records for the release of their debut full-length album Two Titans. The album was released on December 5th and was very well received by both fans and media.

Since then the band has played over 35 shows during several European tours including UK and Ireland. In January 2015, Galvano signed with Candlelight Records.

https://www.facebook.com/GALVANOgbg
http://galvanomusic.com/
https://www.facebook.com/candlelightrecords

Galvano, Trail of the Serpent (2015)

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Cities of Mars Release Debut Single Cyclopean Ritual / The Third Eye

Posted in Whathaveyou on August 13th, 2015 by H.P. Taskmaster

Swedish trio Cities of Mars have released their debut single, Cyclopean Ritual / The Third Eye, as a name-your-price download. The three-piece of bassist/vocalist Danne Palm, guitarist/vocalist Christoffer Norén (also Benevolent) and drummer Johan Küchler first got together last year, and the new single marks their first time in the studio. They recorded with Esben Willems of Monolord, of which Palm is also a former member. One can hear some similar tendencies in the riffery that ensues across “Cyclopean Ritual” and “The Third Eye,” the stoner idolatry taken to a cosmic end, but Cities of Mars distinguish themselves with some of the most satisfying roll in this style that I’ve heard since the first Sigiriya record in 2011, not looking to overwhelm with tone or impress with nuance, but just riffing out and hitting the mark dead on.

Cities of Mars play the Wizard of Fuzz festival in Oct. in their native Gothenburg, and more info on that and the stream of both tracks follow here, courtesy of the PR wire:

cities of mars cyclopean ritual

The spacetime transmission is out there.

A tiny fragment of a signal, from another time and another place. Perhaps it tells the truth, some version of the truth or perhaps it’s just distorted white noise, a blip in a broken old radio somewhere.

But all three of us felt it, heard it and we were captivated. The blips and swirls became sound, broken syllables became words, and a story from another world started to unfold. We learned that the Soviet Union’s Mars landers in the early seventies did indeed not crash, but landed a secret agent upon the red planet’s surface. Her journey into the unknown and the discovery of an ancient civilisation from beyond time are for us to decipher and put into this world. We hope you’ll come along for the journey.

Cities of Mars will unleash the premiere of the grim spacetime tales at the Wizard of Fuzz festival in Gothenburg, Sweden on October 9/10th along with a super-sweet line-up of heavy bands: Black Rainbows (IT), Tombstones (NO), Rosy Finch (ESP), Stone from the sky (FR), Zatokrev (CH), Skraeckoedlan, Serpent Omega, Crowlegion, Maida Vale, Mamon, Colossus, Galvano, Besvärjelsen, Orkan, Reverend Jim Jones ATD, Wolves in Haze and Serpent.

Cities of Mars on Thee Facebooks
https://citiesofmars.bandcamp.com/

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Horisont Announce New Album Odyssey Due Sept. 18

Posted in Whathaveyou on July 16th, 2015 by H.P. Taskmaster

horisont-Photo-by-Anders-Bergstedt

Preceded by the 2014 single “Break the Limit,” the video for which you can see below, the fourth full-length from Swedish trad heavy rockers Horisont is titled Odyssey and it will be out on Sept. 18 via Rise Above Records. That single will also be on the album, the details and righteous artwork for which have just been unveiled. It’s their first record with guitarist Tom Sutton (The Order of Israfel, ex-Church of Misery) in the lineup, so there’s an added level of intrigue there, but at this point the band are pretty reliable for an exciting meld of classic rock and metal, so if Odyssey is business as usual for them, that’s just fine.

One thing I found particularly interesting in the PR wire info below is when drummer Pontus Jordan mentions that the artwork tells the story of the album. I’d be very interested to know what that story is, given the following:

horisont odyssey

HORISONT to Release Odyssey September 18th on Rise Above Records

Artwork and Track Listing Revealed

Big of moustache and tight of trouser, HORISONT drink from the bottomless wellspring of inspiration that’s been bubbling up through the layers of time since the birth of the blues – or Blue Oyster Cult at the very least. Theirs is a sound that harks back to the dawn of the 70s, when a new clutch of heads decided it was time to harsh the 60s hippies’ mellow and paint it black; those years when the twin spirit of hard rock and prog rose to redefine sound.

This quintet’s rock trip might be retro but their songwriting is timeless; a good melody lives forever and HORISONT have songs in abundance. New album Odyssey is exactly as its title suggests: an epic journey into the known. A sonic trip. A mighty voyage of sound. You could even call their fourth full release a concept album – although they themselves prefer “space saga”. Either way it’s a brave band who open their album with a ten minute-long track, yet on the album’s title track HORISONT dive straight into the deep end, delivering space-rock with all the dexterity and deftness of the very best prog rock’s finest, such as early Yes or Kansas.

Odyssey was recorded in Studio Kust in Gothenburg with producer by Henrik Magnusson. It was, the band explain their most harmonious creative period ever.”No HORISONT recording session has ever been this good,” admits Delborg. “We had worked with Henrik on our ‘Break The Limit’ single and knew that he was our guy. All the basics where recorded live in just a couple of days. Then we spent a lot of time on the intricate details.”

The artwork for Odyssey harks back to both classic sci-fi paperbacks and prime prog rock albums of the 70s. “We wanted a slightly disturbed, Asimov-esque science fiction cover that told the story of Odyssey,” says drummer Pontus Jordan. “Tom knew this guy who was really in to old science fiction stuff and he had done the cover for The Order Of Israfel. So we meet the guy and it was the one and only Henrik Jacobsen. And he really nailed it.”

Formed in 2006, HORISONT have spent close to a decade kicking ass, taking names and establishing themselves at the forefront of the Scandinavian retro rock revival (see also Witchcraft, Graveyard etc), injecting their sound with early-Status Quo-styled boogie blues, prog complexities, NWOBHM swagger and fire-spitting choruses set to scorch the eyebrows of the first ten rows. This is music made without irony, unafraid to acknowledge an allegiance to past greats such as Deep Purple, Black Sabbath, Cactus, Thin Lizzy, the aforementioned Yes andJudas Priest.

Their first two albums Tva Sidor Av Horisonten(2009) and Second Assault (2012) earned HORISONT a special place in the rock underground, while Time Warriors (2013) was a no-holds barred demonstration of classic rock and metal combined with a fearlessly inventive streak, and took them to a wider international audience. And now comes Odyssey, a bold leap into more expansive and ethereal musical territory. It’s the band’s first to feature native Australian and former Church Of Misery guitarist Tom Sutton.

The new line-up change sees a definite gear-shift too. Here HORISONT play as if their lives depend upon it: duelling guitars do battle in a endlessly thrilling interplay over a rhythm section that gallops like wild horses across the frozen tundra. And cutting through the middle, Axel Söderberg’s howling heartfelt vocals delivered with a space-age sense of soulfulness.

Strap in, sit back and let the Odyssey begin….

Odyssey Track Listing:
1. Odyssey
2. Break The Limit
3. Blind Leder Blind
4. Bad News
5. Light My Way
6. The Night Stalker
7. Flying
8. Back On The Streets
9. Beyond The Sun
10. Red Light
11. StÑder Brinner
12. Timmarna

HORISONT Lineup:
Axel Söderberg – vocals
Charlie Van Loo – guitar
Tom Sutton – guitar
Magnus Delborg – bass
Pontus Jordan – drums

For More Info Visit:
http://www.horisontmusic.com/the-band/
https://www.facebook.com/horisontmusic

Horisont, “Break the Limit” official video

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Quarterly Review: Royal Thunder, Strauss, Kult of the Wizard, Coogans Bluff, Papir Meets Electric Moon, We are Warwick Davis, Rongeur, Crowlegion, Chris Forsyth and the Solar Motel Band, Eldorado

Posted in Reviews on April 1st, 2015 by H.P. Taskmaster

the obelisk quarterly review

Morale is good as I stare down day three of this Quarterly Review. I’m encouraged by the good response the two-so-far posts have gotten and hope if you’ve had the chance to check out any of this stuff you’ve been able to find something you’re into. Or if not, I hope the next three days can rectify that situation. There are 30 records still to go. Bound to be something in there for everyone, myself included.

Quarterly Review #21-30:

Royal Thunder, Crooked Doors

royal thunder crooked doors

Royal Thunder’s second full-length for Relapse, Crooked Doors, is bound to surprise some listeners. A three-piece when they issued CVI through the label in 2012, the Savannah, Georgia, outfit arrives at Crooked Doors as a foursome with the addition of guitarist Will Fiore of Zoroaster, and embarks on a considerable shift in approach. Slickly, almost commercially produced, the album brisks past some riffy elements in songs like opener “Time Machine,” also the longest cut at 7:20 (immediate points), and “The Line” toward an aesthetic reinterpreting ‘80s pop-metal melodramas through a vaguely heavy rock filter. Between Fiore and might-spit-beer-on-you guitarist Josh Weaver, one might expect more tonal heft than Crooked Doors offers overall, but the album instead leans heavily on bassist/vocalist Mlny Parsonz to carry the emotional crux of the material (though Evan Diprima’s drums still hit with some impact as well). Parsonz’s voice proves up to the task — in pop-singer form, she carries the record —  and is bolstered through layering, but by the time Crooked Doors’ hour runtime ends up at the lounge-blues and piano stylizations of “The Bear I” and “The Bear II,” it feels cumbersome and like the point has already been made.

Royal Thunder on Thee Facebooks

Relapse Records

Strauss, Luia

strauss luia

A sophomore EP from this London five-piece following their impressive 2013 self-titled (review here), Luia doesn’t top half an hour, but its five included tracks show marked progression in pushing Strauss away from the Kyuss-isms that in large part defined their prior work. Opener “Mud at You” is immediately more aggressive, and though “Humanphobic (to Mary Shelley)” (note: anthropophobia), slows the pace and opens wide in its middle third, vocalist Stef shouts to remind of the core intensity in the songwriting. That takes a back seat as centerpiece “For all the Wrong Reasons” moves toward an apex of a cleaner-sung chorus, but the riffs of guitarists Charles and Bano, and the groove from bassist Bill and drummer Doc, remain heavy enough that the point isn’t lost. The eight-minute “Eclipse” has it all – doomed chug, screams, singing, crash, tempo changes, nod and so on – but the funky jam that starts closer “2015” shows Strauss are willing to have some fun with their heaviness as well. All the better. Time for a full-length.

Strauss on Thee Facebooks

Strauss on Bandcamp

Kult of the Wizard, The White Wizard

kult of the wizard the white wizard

Comparisons to Witch Mountain are inevitable for Minneapolis four-piece Kult of the Wizard, whose vocalist, Mahle Roth, carries a bluesy inflection not dissimilar from Uta Plotkin on the five-song EP, The White Wizard. Self-released, it’s the band’s first work with Roth as frontwoman, guitarist Aaron Hodgson, bassist Ryan Janssen and drummer Travis Nordahl having released two prior outings – The Red Wizard (2013) and The Blue Wizard (2014) – instrumentally, and the difference is palpable. Roth adds a commanding presence to the rolling leadoff track “Tusk of the Mammoth,” showcases a noteworthy range on “Black Moon” and steps back only for an eerie wash of noise and samples on centerpiece “Plasma Pool,” but the finest performance on all fronts is closer “Devil Delight,” which meters out stomp and echo at its peak to concoct an otherworldly churn of psychedelic cult doom, Roth once again steering the progression with a sure hand. One does not expect The White Wizard to be the last we hear from Kult of the Wizard. Hell, they haven’t even done all the primary colors yet.

Kult of the Wizard on Thee Facebooks

Kult of the Wizard on Bandcamp

Coogans Bluff, Ein Herz Voller Soul

coogans bluff ein herz voller soul

With 350 copies pressed by H42 Records in no fewer than five different color variations and at least that many versions of the cover art, Ein Herz Voller Soul, the latest 7” single from horn-laden German rockers Coogans Bluff hits with a fair amount of circumstance. It is, nonetheless, two songs and a quick listen. Its A-side is “Ein Herz Voller Soul,” a German-language retelling of “Heart Full of Soul” from the band’s 2014 full-length, Gettin’ Dizzy, and the B-side is “She Gave Her Life for a Man,” a classic rocker given middle-era Beatlesian flair by Stefan Meinking’s trombone, which feels fitting after the garage style of “Ein Herz Voller Soul,” though both cuts retain an element of the progressive in their approach, the band – Meinking, guitarist Willi Paschen, bassist/vocalist Clemens Marasus, drummer Charlie Paschen and saxophonist Max Thum – not afraid to branch wherever the song might take them, to a call and response hook or harder drum stomp. A stopgap, maybe, but Coogans Bluff have a tendency to engage and here they do so in hardly any time at all.

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H42 Records’ webstore

Papir Meets Electric Moon, The Papermoon Sessions Live at Roadburn 2014

papir meets electric moon the papermoon sessions live at roadburn 2014

Members of German psych-jam godsends Electric Moon and Copenhagen progressive explorers Papir took the stage at Roadburn 2014 in the Netherlands as a follow-up to their 2013 outing, The Papermoon Sessions (review here). I don’t think they’d played live together before and I’m pretty sure they haven’t since (though don’t quote me on that), but in any case, the billing Papir Meets Electric Moon isn’t something that happens every day, and the two north-of-20-minutes pieces conjured up for inclusion on The Papermoon Sessions Live at Roadburn 2014 only emphasize how special the collaboration actually is, washes of synth and effects layered over gloriously krautrocking rhythms, swiftly turning one minute and peaceful the next, but never disjointed, never losing the sense of flow. Each track — the second one is shorter at 22:15 — has its own movement, but the thing to do is put on The Papermoon Sessions Live at Roadburn 2014 and just let it go and go along with it. For a group that came together in the wake of a tragedy — the untimely passing of Danish promoter Ralph Rjeily — Papermoon proves yet again that beauty can spring even in dark times. I hope they do another record.

Papir on Thee Facebooks

Electric Moon on Thee Facebooks

Sulatron Records

We are Warwick Davis, Storming the Castle

we are warwick davis storming the castle

Seems unlikely a band is going to dive into songs like “Hippies are Dead,” “Whore Island (Jim Loves His Wife” or “King Mullet Destroyer” and not have a sense of humor, let alone call themselves We are Warwick Davis – please note: the actor is nowhere to be seen – so yeah, the Illinois double-guitar five-piece get up to some chicanery on their Storming the Castle full-length. Lots of chicanery, as it happens. Vocalist Joe Duffy is blown out over the punkish progressions of “Audio Visual” but reminds more of Jello Biafra on “Mind Enemy Mine,” which launches the album following a voicemail intro about blowing people off the stage. Former Monster Magnet guitarist John McBain mastered the album, and it was apparently a couple years in the self-recording process. It’s accordingly raw, and at 57 minutes, I doubt the band could be accused of understating their argument. Out of balance here and there to the point of abrasion, but ultimately harmless.

We are Warwick Davis on Thee Facebooks

We are Warwick Davis on Reverbnation

Rongeur, The Catastrophist and As the Blind Strive Demos

Rongeur-The-Catastrophist-As-The-Blind-Strive-Demos

With members of folk metallers Trollfest, off-kilter hardcore punkers Ampmandens Døtre and atmospheric post-metallers Sju in tow, it may or may not be fair to call Rongeur a side-project, but they sure as hell are varied in their influences. The Oslo trio of drummer/vocalist Jostein, guitarist/vocalist Ken-Robert and bassist/vocalist Dag Ole (who belong respectively to the bands above) arrange their two-to-date demos with the newer tracks first on The Catastrophist and As the Blind Strive Demos, on Disiplin Media, so that the listener encountering them for the first time hears where the trio are as of 2014, then goes back to their first explorations, from 2013. Raw noise ensues, a post-hardcore vibe delivered with shouts and sludgy heft, but the older tracks offer a fuller distortion that they seem to have stripped down before getting around to songs like “Traitors” or the barebones-aggro “Jon Hogg.” One wonders where they might go from here, which is probably the whole point of the release.

Rongeur on Thee Facebooks

Disiplin Media

Crowlegion, The First Offering

crowlegion the first offering

Heavy rock and death metal rarely tread the same ground without being immediately cast to one side or another. Gothenburg’s Crowlegion seem determined to stake a claim to both sides, and the 24-minute The First Offering EP, issued on CD by Grave Goods Productions, makes good on that attempt. The seven tracks are short – only two top four minutes – but stylistically ambitious, guitarist/vocalist Linus Pilebrand seeming to be the driving force behind the project’s blend of rolling riffs and guttural growls. He’s since replaced the rhythm section, having played bass on this recording in addition to guitar, with Jonas Jörgensen also on guitar and Sarah Tefke drumming, and four of the seven cuts also feature guest vocals, most of them working in extreme styles as well. I’m not sure if The First Offering is the release that finally crosses that long bridge between aesthetics, but Crowlegion position themselves well with these tracks to continue to make the journey. Nod or headbang. Your choice.

Crowlegion on Thee Facebooks

Crowlegion on Bandcamp

Chris Forsyth and the Solar Motel Band, Intensity Ghost

chris forsyth and the solar motel band intensity ghost

Less about the sonic heft of any given moment than the overarching freedom of exploration throughout its five instrumental tracks, Intensity Ghost is the first studio offering from Chris Forsyth and the Solar Motel Band (released on No Quarter), and it’s fucking brilliant. The Philly-based five-piece got together in 2013 but play like they’ve been sharing stages for a decade, whether it’s the smoothness with which they ride the bassline and current of synth in “Yellow Square” or closer “Paris Song”’s subtle move from minimalism into contemplative psychedelia. Dreamy centerpiece “I Ain’t Waiting” is the shortest of the bunch at 5:16, and opener “The Ballad of Freer Hollow” the longest and jammiest at 11:25 (immediate points), but wherever these guys – Forsyth on guitar, plus guitarist Paul Sukeena, bassist Peter Kerlin, drummer Steven Urgo and synth/organist Shawn Edward Hansen – seem to go, they get there with an engrossing fluidity that’s nothing short of masterful. A joy, front to back.

Chris Forsyth on Thee Facebooks

No Quarter Records

Eldorado, Babylonia Haze

eldorado babylonia haze

Eldorado’s Babylonia Haze, at 10 tracks and 55 minutes, is not an insignificant undertaking. The Spanish four-piece brazenly take on classic rock hooks topped with organ-and-guitar fluidity and the soar-ready singing of Jesus Trujillo, joined in the band by guitarist Andres Duende, bassist Cesar Sanchez and drummer Christian Giardino (since replaced by Javier Planelles). A progressive clarity marks out acoustic-led cuts like “Breathe the Night” and the later “Resurrection Song,” the arrangements natural and purposeful in kind, and longer inclusions like “Flowers of Envy” (8:02) and “Karma Generator” (11:35) have breadth enough to sustain their runtimes while keeping a structured feel, the latter providing plotted movements toward the apex of the album before “Moon Girl” offers a lesser build of its own as afterthought, reimagining prog-fueled heavy rock as the fodder of a pop wistfulness. Accomplished and precise, it’ll be too clean for some ears, while others will no doubt wonder how its brilliance can be ignored.

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Eldorado on Bandcamp

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Monolord, Vænir: Top of the Lake

Posted in Reviews on March 26th, 2015 by H.P. Taskmaster

monolord vaenir

As slow as some of their riffs are, heads have turned correspondingly fast toward Swedish tone constructionists Monolord. They leave little mystery as to why. Their 2014 debut, Empress Rising, garnered vast attention with its onslaught of riffs and volume-as-ritual appeal, and their sophomore outing, titled Vænir after the largest lake in Sweden an released, like the first LP, by RidingEasy Records, is sure to follow suit. Comprised of six tracks that offer minimal variance from the band’s central ethic of earth-moving low end and buried-deep watery vocals, Vænir taps into a kind of neo-primitivism in stoner-doom riffing. The point is that it should be overwhelming, and there are times where it is. With elements repurposed from the likes of SleepElectric Wizard, a keyboard-less Ufomammut, and even some of YOB‘s spacious minimalism in a midsection break on Vænir‘s closing title-track, the Gothenburg three-piece of guitarist/vocalist Thomas V. Jäger, drummer Esben Willems and bassist Mika Häkki conjure a sound that’s at once simplistic and increasingly easy to see as their own, pushing into deep, chest-vibrating rumble while keeping enough of a handle on their songwriting as to make Vænir a memorable experience for more than the impact factor. That’s not to take away from that either, however. Primarily, the impression Vænir leaves is like a flag planted on a holy mountain, Monolord staking a claim on a time-honored ritual of volume and sonic excess. It is heavy, in other words. Very heavy. It knows it’s heavy and it knows that heaviness is something worth celebrating. By the time the explosive opener “Cursing the One” is through with its nine-minute rollout, arguing against it seems futile.

There is a large difference between those who worship heaviness and those engaged in building their own temple of it, and to Monolord‘s credit, they seem engaged in the latter, poised toward the development of an individual sensibility within a tricky host of familiar impressions. As much as Vænir‘s tones could be heard as a godsend for heads itching for that ever-elusive (until you look) next nod, the real miracle of the album is that it doesn’t collapse under its own weight. Häkki‘s bass and Willems‘ drums are essential to this, as they manage to keep a song like “Cursing the One” or its more open, loose-swinging follow-up, “We Will Burn,” together, but the atmospheric effect of the vocals, awash in effects and universally deep in the mix — purposefully obscured — isn’t to be understated. Not only does the placement of Jäger‘s voice give it the opportunity to slice through the wall of distortion created by the guitar and bass, which it does effectively throughout Vænir, but it makes the whole thing sound even bigger and otherworldly. “We Will Burn” shifts into Conan-esque rolling groove in its back half, finishing by hammering down a stonerly-headbanger of a riff that leads into the classic-styled intro of “Nuclear Death,” which sets up a comfortable mid-pace push with wraparound drum fills and a crashes only to pull the rug out from the whole thing as it approaches its fourth minute. A thudding slowdown is met by a watery verse and grueling solo, and while the pace is revived somewhat with a kick-in from Willems, the impression is made. “Nuclear Death” would seem about as far into the abyss as Vænir wants to go, but in truth, it’s really just the beginning of the album’s next stage.

monolord (Photo by Hank Henrik Oscarsson)

The first of two cuts on Vænir to top 10 minutes, “Died a Million Times” is the most landmark hook included, and Monolord put it to good use. Its opening minutes set a quicker tempo, and before a line of vocals arrive, the song is already catchy, a stoner bounce counteracted by the fact that it should be too heavy to even get off the ground. It does though, and a quick verse leads to the chorus, which plays off the title line to particularly memorable effect — as much as Vænir has a signature moment that summarizes what the record is about, “Died a Million Times” is it. Verse and chorus cycle through again and a stop leaves just Jäger‘s guitar to act as a bed for a sample from the 1960 film adaptation of H.G. Wells‘ The Time MachineHäkki‘s bass coming in shortly before the captured lines, “I don’t much care for the time I was born into/It seems people aren’t dying fast enough these days,” signal a return for Willems and full-tonal burst, leading to a combined solo and final chorus that crashes to an end with rumble and amp noise to carry it out, leading into the two-minute interlude-plus of “The Cosmic Silence,” a sort of “Planet Caravan”-meets-“Paint it Black” progression where the guitar and percussion are as obscure as the vocals have been all along. It’s a stylistic turn that fits well where it is but is perhaps late in arriving — I don’t know what it would do to the vinyl structure to have something similar, or different for that matter, earlier in the album too — though its purpose seems to be as much to allow some recovery between “Died a Million Times” and “Vænir” as to establish its own quiet, serene psychedelic vibe. Ultimately, it succeeds in both, and when “Vænir” kicks in, its slow, crushing churn feels all the more weighted for the lead-in. “Vænir” breaks roughly into three movements: the early plod, the spaceout and the final jam.

Of those (and yes, it’s a simplified categorization), the middle spaceout probably adds the most to the context of Vænir overall. The lumbering initial progression and the well-rode capper reaffirm a lot of what has worked all along on the record, but its in that expansive soundscape of guitar that the closer really establishes its own dynamic, following impulses that have, again, been there the whole time, but reinterpreting them similarly to how Monolord has successfully taken the lessons of their key influences and used them to create something new from them. A relatively new band (formed in 2013) of experienced players, the chemistry between JägerHäkki and Willems is markedly developed even for a sophomore outing, but there’s a sense that Vænir isn’t the sum total of what Monolord have to offer stylistically. That is to say, while their sound has been well established over their first two albums, the trio has also still left themselves open avenues for progression should they choose to pursue them. Whether they will and what shape their evolution will continue to take is anyone’s best guess, but with Vænir, they effectively demonstrate that Empress Rising was no fluke and that their intention is to leave a footprint befitting the deep heft they bring to bear across these songs.

Monolord, Vænir (2015)

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Monolord on Bandcamp

RidingEasy Records

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Cities of Mars Announce Debut Recording Plans

Posted in Whathaveyou on February 25th, 2015 by H.P. Taskmaster

cities-of-mars

Never heard of Cities of Mars? Don’t sweat it. I hadn’t either until bassist/vocalist/spacetime-transmissionist Danne Palm (formerly of Monolord) reached out yesterday to inform of his intentions to lead the newcomer trio into the studio this Spring to record their debut album. No audio yet, but the band’s concept sold me on it anyway, inventing a tale of a successful Soviet expedition to Mars in the 1970s and chronicling the experience there of a female cosmonaut who arrives to discover an ancient civilization.

Sounds pretty awesome, right? I’d read that short story, and when the time comes, I’ll check out the record. Until they go in to track the beast, with Monolord‘s Esben Willems no less, there’s just the basic announcement to go by, so here’s that in case you’d like an early glimpse at what they’ll be going for in the studio:

cities of mars logo

The Cities of Mars revealed via Monolord producer in 2015

Vocalist/bassist and Cities of Mars’ main songwriter Danne Palm co-formed and wrote material with Swedish doom titans Monolord in early 2013, formed from the ashes of Sweden’s hardest working boogie rock band Marulk. Wanting to pursue another musical direction, Cities of Mars emerged in 2014 with guitarist/vocalist Christoffer Norén (also in Benevolent) and drummer Anders Runesson. Keeping a close friendship with the guys in Monolord, drummer/engineer/producer Esben Willems was happy to offer his massive-sound producing skills for a two track single scheduled for recording in late spring 2015.

Not only a power trio with experienced musicians, Cities of Mars also features an extensive background story dating back to 9000 BC, closely knit into the lyrics and artwork – an extra treat for those sci-fi, fantasy and comic aficionados out there.

In short:

In the early 1970’s, the Soviet Union made several attempts to land on Mars. Officially, they failed.

What if the opposite was true, that a highly trained female operative succeeded in landing on the red planet and found a dark ancient civilization buried beneath the surface?

Cities of Mars has risen to tell this tale, with an asteroid-sized hulk of spaced out, fuzz-drenched, high gravity riffage. With three experienced rock musicians cranking the best out of their songcraft and high wattage amps, a dramatic interplanetary mythology dating back thousands of years is revealed, piece by piece, song by song.

Spacetime transmissions will begin in mid-2105.

Danne Palm: bass,vox & spacetime transmissions
Christoffer Norén: guitar, vox & vortex navigation
Anders Runesson: drums, vox & black hole calculations

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Cities-of-Mars/844239638921754
info@citiesofmars.se
 

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Galvano Sign to Candlelight Records

Posted in Whathaveyou on February 3rd, 2015 by H.P. Taskmaster

galvano

Gothenburg two-piece Galvano have signed a deal to release their next album on Candlelight Records. The guitar/drums duo of Mattias Nööjd (also vocals) and Fredrik Käll made their full-length debut with 2012’s Two Titans on Devouter Records and have been steadily playing shows and have been confirmed for an appearance at this year’s Desertfest London alongside their labelmates in Orange Goblin, who’ll headline with Red Fang.

The band sent this update down the PR wire:

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Candlelight Records Sign Swedish Sludge Duo GALVANO

From the deepest, nastiest recesses of Gothenburg comes crushing Swedish sludge duo Galvano. Now comprising Mattias Nööjd (guitars/vocals) and Fredrik Käll (drums), Galvano originally started out as a three-piece in 2005. Within two years a demo was released and live shows played.

Galvano embarked on their first mini tour in 2010 visiting Denmark and a set of German cities. That same year the band were asked to feature on a split so they went into the studio and recorded the epic single “The Librarian” which was mixed and mastered by the legendary Billy Anderson (Orange Goblin, Cathedral, Eyehategod). This was released as a 10” in 2011 on SM Musik from Leipzig, Germany. The release was then followed up by a full European tour.

After this tour the band said goodbye to their fourth bass player and decided to move on as a duo. Early in 2012 they teamed up with UK based label Devouter Records for the release of their debut full-length album “Two Titans”. The album was released on December 5th and was very well received by both fans and media.

Since then the band has played over 35 shows during several European tours including UK and Ireland and are confirmed to play this year’s Desertfest in Camden, London.

In January 2015, Galvano signed with Candlelight Records and the band had this to say:

“Candlelight is a label with such an impressive roster throughout the years and we’re very happy to join the ranks alongside bands like Orange Goblin, Corrosion of Conformity and our buddies in Zatokrev just to name a few. We’re also very fond of the people working there. Looking very much forward to this release.”

https://www.facebook.com/GALVANOgbg/
http://galvano.bandcamp.com/
http://galvanomusic.com/
http://www.candlelightrecords.co.uk/

Galvano, Two Titans (2012)

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On Wax: Molior Superum, The Inconclusive Portrait 7″

Posted in On Wax on December 11th, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster

molior-superum-the-inconclusive-portrait-cover-and-record

The Inconclusive Portrait is Swedish four-piece Molior Superum‘s first offering since their 2012 full-length debut, Into the Sun (review here), and it shows the Gothenburg-based unit in a somewhat different light. Released on 7″ vinyl by H42 Records — 340 copies; 140 on black vinyl, 100 green, 50 gold exclusive to the label, and 50 die-hards on clear-purple vinyl with different art — it’s just two songs, or even two parts of one title-track, but it’s both fuller in its tone and more modern than the long-player, and the shift in style is audible. The lineup of guitarist/vocalist Carl Isaksson,guitarist Oskar Öberg, bassist/vocalist Lars Sandström and drummer/vocalist Jens Fuglede hasn’t changed, and they still bear some sonic resemblance to the UK’s Stubb, but where that band’s second album found them searching for a more natural, psychedelic meditation, Molior Superum have turned expectation on its head and opted for a more straightforward feel, less boogie (which is different from none at all), more direct dynamic between the two guitars molior superum the inconclusive portraitand a thrust of groove that gives their hooks an urgency that serves the short release well.

Both sides of The Inconclusive Portrait — simply “Part 1″ and “Part 2″ on back of the 7″ sleeve — begin at a rush. Vocalist Joakim Segerfelt Steby of Brutus guests on “Part 1,” which is the shorter of the two, announcing its stylistic turn immediately in a modern-sounding crash and fuzz push that moves quick into the first verse. Understand, Molior Superum are still indebted to the heavy ’70s for a lot of their methods and influence, but it’s a more current feel that permeates the single than did the album. If you want to relate it to other Swedish bands, it’s more Greenleaf than Graveyard, and it works for Molior Superum, whose energy bleeds through the recording as plain to hear as the riffs themselves. Steby‘s contributions mesh smoothly, and a current of backing organ (or something thereabouts) fleshes out the chorus of “Part 1″ almost in a call and response to the vocals amid the fury of chugging. At just over five minutes, “Part 2″ would seem to have room for the band to flesh out some, but instead, they keep the high-impact spirit of “Part 1″ pulsing through for the duration with no real letup either in vibe or volume. “Part 2″ isn’t a direct continuation of “Part 1″ from what I can tell, but if Molior Superum were to play one into the next live, I’m sure it would soundmolior superum close enough to make sense, as it does when one listens to the single digitally, without having to flip the record.

There’s something brash about “Part 2″ that makes it stand out. Its central riff is hook enough, and they put it to work, but there’s an intensity to it that feels even more prevalent than on “Part 1,” a guitar solo kicking in late before a return to the chorus, and the whole band taking what in another context, perhaps slower, would almost certainly be vintage swing and setting it to kick-in-the-teeth pace. As it is, it distinguishes Molior Superum from a still-growing league of ’70s worshipers and is a credit to the recording job by Micke Nilsson (ex-Bonafide) at Music a Matic for helping to foster this level of performance. A lot can happen to a band in two years, and I wouldn’t necessarily have expected Molior Superum to make the turn they do here, or to pull it off so well, but I think it makes them stronger, and perhaps most importantly, it builds intrigue for what they might do next. It’s a quick, eight-minute release, but says a lot about the band’s hopefully ongoing development.

Molior Superum, The Inconclusive Portrait 7″ (2014)

Molior Superum on Thee Facebooks

Molior Superum on Bandcamp

H42 Records on Thee Facebooks

The Inconclusive Portrait at H42 Records webstore

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