Review & Track Premiere: Sadhus, Big Fish

Posted in audiObelisk, Reviews on November 6th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

sadhus big fish

[Click play above to stream ‘Flesh’ by Sadhus, the Smoking Community. Their album, Big Fish, is out Dec. 18 on Fuzz Ink Records.]

With raw-throated screams atop dutifully hempen riffing, Sadhus, the Smoking Community conjure visions on their Fuzz Ink-issued second album, Big Fish, of sludge metal as a test of physical endurance. And by that I mean their own as well as trying to see how much punishment the listener can take. Will vocalist Stavros still have a larynx by the time the eight-minute “Lazarus” has finished? Can they hold it together during the tense buildup of “Flesh?” In truth, one might feel winded by the time the cacophony of opener “Hyper Roller” has finished, and it’s only 2:46 long. Joining Stavros in the band are guitarist Thomas G., bassist Nikos and drummer Greg, as well as Steve, who’s credited as being the “rolling engineer,” though whether that has more to do with recording or joints, I wouldn’t hazard a guess, and together the Athens-based band bring to mind the chaotic sludge aggression of bands like -(16)-, the this-is-a-lifestyle-ism of Bongzilla and Dopethrone, and the sense of fuckall that Eyehategod pioneered.

Though their work dates back to their 2011 involvement in the Miss Fortune was a Henhouse Manager compilation (review here) of the then-burgeoning Greek underground, Big Fish is their second album behind a 2014 self-titled that led to a couple split releases in the interim. Not a lack of productivity, necessarily, but neither are Sadhus putting out records for their own sake. Clearly this kind of disaffection requires something to drive it. Across the six-song/33-minute offering, I’m not sure if that’s personal, social or political, but it’s there. Stavros‘ vocals are all but indecipherable, but they get their point across anyway, and the point is “fuck you.” As “Lazarus” slams home its plodding, crashing, noise-laden apex, the message comes through clearly instrumentally as well as vocally, and their scathe is central to it.

They have a quiet part here and there throughout the album’s span — in “Flesh” or the title-cut that opens side B, for example — but there’s no question the more abrasive aspects of their sound are intended to be the central impression. That is, the quiet parts are how they change it up, where punishment is the norm. So be it. There are two basic modes of songwriting brought forth and they find the band balancing — so much as one would call any of this “balanced” — between longer songs and shorter ones. Four years ago, the self-titled worked in the same way, with three tracks over seven minutes long (one over eight) and three tracks shorter, under five minutes. Divisions are less stark on Big Fish than they were on the debut, with “Flesh” (4:52) and the penultimate “Sobbing Children” (3:42) and even “Hyper Roller” seeming to work toward an eventual bridging of the gap, though there seems to be little to no compromise either in overall intensity or in the length of the longer songs, so maybe they’re just working their way into a more exclusively longform modus.

sadhus the smoking community

If that were the case — and mind you, I wouldn’t predict either way for certain — they well prove able to carry themselves through more extended material, with “Lazarus” and “Big Fish” providing a back-to-back bludgeoning when taken in linear format that comprises nearly half the album’s runtime, and closer “I.P.S.,” which would seem to stand for “intelligent psycho sludge,” rounding out with a suitably vicious roll and chug, dipping into some more angular riffing late but keeping consistent in the overarching impression with the bulk of the album before it in terms of sheer destructive impulse. That comes through clearly in a recording that benefits from a stage-born energy without sacrificing clarity where it’s needed — Big Fish sounds angry, not sloppy. Thomas‘ and Nikos‘ tones are righteously thick and Greg‘s drumming is apparently up to the charge before it of pushing all that viscosity up the hill of its own creation, and Stavros is able to cut through not only his own vocal cords but the surrounding melee in order to be a key frontman presence even on the record. It isn’t necessarily a new dynamic for sludge metal, but Sadhus bring it to bear with a force that is decidedly their own.

Ultimately, Big Fish is the kind of record that makes you want to watch out for broken glass. Or flying glass. Or a glass bottle smashed into your cranium. Either way, it involves glass and blood that’s possibly yours. Maybe that’s a sign of inherent violence in the music, but while one might argue “Lazarus” has a “mosh part,” the guitar solo in “Sobbing Children” seems more typical of the band’s persona, and it’s not about punching your neighbor so much as lashing out at oneself or characterizing the violence that surrounds on an everyday basis. Maybe that’s reading too much into it, but Sadhus, the Smoking Community don’t necessarily direct their anger at a single target, instead presenting it as a general state to be manipulated as they see fit throughout their songs. It is brutal. And it is angry as a matter of will, but there’s a dynamic in the sound too, between longer slabs and bursts like “Hyper Roller” at the outset, in tempo and in volume.

All of these things come together as tools in Sadhus‘ arsenal, and they’re wielded in such a way as to keep the impact of Big Fish consistent the whole way through, so that even as they bring together two disparate sections in one song, that contrast becomes part of the overarching sound and the maddening atmosphere that pervades. As to the physical challenge aspect of it, Sadhus seem to come out of “I.P.S.” just fine, like they could do another five songs in the set, easy, but they’re right to keep it short, to get in and get out and leave their audience dazed from what just happened. It’s one more way Big Fish is effective in its delivery of its purported intelligent psychosis, and that lurking intelligence would seem to be the factor tying it all together. Also marijuana.

Sadhus, the Smoking Community on Thee Facebooks

Sadhus, the Smoking Community on Bandcamp

Fuzz Ink Records on Thee Facebooks

Fuzz Ink Records on Bandcamp

Fuzz Ink Records website

Tags: , , , , , ,

Deaf Radio Kick off Massive Euro Tour on Nov. 14; Second Album to be Recorded

Posted in Whathaveyou on November 2nd, 2018 by JJ Koczan

deaf radio

Hell yeah, go go go. Deaf Radio on Nov. 14 will launch a 33-date European tour that spans from Russia to the UK with plenty of stops in between. They’ll be closing the book on their 2017 debut album, Alarm (review here), ahead of hitting the studio to record their second outing, and presumably they’ll be finalizing that new material on the road as well. Would be a waste not to, anyhow. The first full-length was rife with post-Queens of the Stone Age vibes, in the drums almost as much as the guitar and vocals, but with added beef to the tonality and hooky songcraft, they had no trouble making a rousing first impression in their own right. I don’t know when in 2019 their new collection will see release, but it’ll be worth keeping an eye out for, and I wouldn’t be surprised to find some label or other swooping in to pick them up for it.

You can stream Alarm below via Bandcamp, and here are the dates from the PR wire:

deaf radio tour

DEAF RADIO | LIVING IN BACKSEATS TOUR 2018

From London and Berlin to Warsaw and Athens, Deaf Radio are about to finish on the road what started as an internet burst two years ago.

Internet -being the new underground- proved fertile ground for Deaf Radio’s debut “Alarm” and made it one of the most successful independent rock albums of the recent years. Since then, the band has built upon it with a series of live appearances (among which emphatic shows with The Killers, The Kills and All Them Witches), but now it’s ready to take a big step. For more than a month they will be watching the world from the backseats of their van, crossing Europe’s fields this November and December.

More than 30 dates have been announced and an estimate of 15,000km including Germany, UK, France, Eastern Europe and the Balkans is to be covered. According to the band this tour will be “the final scene of Alarm’s era” and they will enter the studio to record their second full-length album during 2019.

The full list of shows:
Living In Backseats Tour 2018
14.11 – Rover Bar / Thessaloniki [GR]
15.11 – Aigli / Serres [GR]
16.11 – Live n Loud / Sofia [BG]
17.11 – Mylos Bar / Drama [GR]
18.11 – Bee Bop / Plovdiv [BG]
19.11 – Expirat / Bucharest [RO]
20.11 – Moonshine / Cluj Napoca [RO]
21.11 – Reflektor / Timisoara [RO]
22.11 – ?KC Kombinat / Beograd [SRB]
23.11 – CK 13 / Novi Sad [SRB]
24.11 – Fusion Club / Kladovo [SRB]
25.11 – Klub Mocvara / Zagreb [HR]
26.11 – ?nstant / Budapest [HU]
27.11 – Grand Café / Szeged [HU]
28.11 – Fuga / Bratislava [SK]
29.11 – Klub Alchemia / Krakow [PL]
01.12 – Hydrozagadka / Warsaw [PL]
02.12 – Pod Minoga / Poznan [PL]
04.12 – Junction Bar / Berlin [DE]
05.12 – City Club / Augsburg [DE]
06.12 – Dirty Dancing / Osnabruck [DE]
07.12 – ?unker / Rostock [DE]
08.12 – The Lion City Pub / Magdeburg [DE]
10.12 – ?he Lanes / Bristol [UK]
11.12 – Gullivers / Manchester [UK]
12.12 – The Victoria / London [UK]
13.12 – Le Bar Hic / Rennes [FR]
14.12 – TBC
15.12 – Le Galion / Lorient [FR]
18.12 – KC Ummus / Kragujevac [SRB]
19.12 – Blues Bar / Karditsa [GR]
20 12 – TBC
21.12 – Temple / Athens [GR]

Deaf Radio are:
Panos Gklinos (Vocals & Guitar)
Dimitris Sakellariou (Guitar & Vocals)
Dimitris Georgopoulos (Bass & Backing Vocals)
George Diathesopoulos (Drums & Backings Vocals)

https://www.facebook.com/deafradioband
https://www.instagram.com/deaf.radio/
https://deafradio.bandcamp.com/

Deaf Radio, Alarm (2017)

Tags: , , ,

1000mods Set to Kick Off European Tour June 18

Posted in Whathaveyou on June 11th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

1000mods

After making their first of hopefully multiple runs of the US earlier this year on a tour presented in part by this very site — and yes, that is 100 percent me bragging on it; let there be no confusion — Greek heavy rock forerunners 1000mods will be back out in Europe to follow up their April tour with a healthy dose of festival dates and more. They’re hitting Hellfest, Rock im Wald, SonicBlast Moledo and more besides, as their profile continues to grow and their 2016 album, Repeated Exposure To… (review here), continues to justify the fervent support it’s received. All the same, one has to wonder if maybe they’re starting to eye the process of their next full-length, if maybe there’s work being done behind the scenes to but a new collection of songs together. One imagines they’ll have plenty to draw from with all that time on the road, and their future prospects seem brighter than ever as they win more and more hearts and minds to their riffy cause.

Dudes know how to rock and roll. I guess that’s what I’m saying.

Shows are presented by Sound of Liberation. Dates are from the PR wire:

1000mods poster

1000MODS ANNOUNCE EUROPEAN SUMMER TOUR 2018!

THE hottest band of the current heavy rock scene, 1000mods, have just announced to return back on stage in Europe this summer! Following up to their successful April 2018 tour, with numerous sold-out shows all over Europe, their latest Into the Spell tour featured 16 dates in Scandinavia, Baltic countries and Eastern Europe and took the band to a next level. But 1000mods never stand still, and will be heavily touring again this summer! Says the band:”We are really stoked to get back on the road this summer, playing some of the best european festival and some headline shows as well. See you on the road!”

Known for their commitment to vintage equipment, thick and heavy analog sound and remarkably passionate stage performances, make sure to catch 1000mods live on the following dates, including festival and selected club shows presented by Sound of Liberation:

18.06 Hellios 37, Cologne (DE)
20.06 The Underworld, London (UK)
21.06 Doornroosje, Nijmegen (NL)
23.06 Hellfest, Clisson (FR)
30.06 Under The Sun, Shinos (GR)
25.07 Metaldays, Tolmin (SI)
26.07 P.M.K, Innsbruck (AT)
27.07 Rock im Wald, Neuensee (DE)
28.07 Beatpol, Dresden (DE)
29.07 Free & Easy Festival, Munich (DE)
30.07 Rockhouse, Salzburg (AT)
04.08 Rapido Molino Music Fest, Preveza (GR)
11.08 Sonic Blast, Moledo (PT)
13.08 Rocklette Palp, Bagnes (CH)
25.08 Bucovina Rock Castle, Suceava (RO)
30.08 Street Mode Festival, Thessaloniki (GR)
01.09 Black Bass Festival, Aquitaine (FR)
21.09 Theatro Vrachon, Athens (GR)

100mods is:
Dani G. / Bass & Vox
Giannis S. / Guitars
George T. / Guitars
Labros G. / Drums

https://www.facebook.com/1000mods/
https://1000mods.bandcamp.com/
https://soundcloud.com/1000mods
www.soundofliberation.com/id-1000mods

1000mods, Repeated Exposure To… (2016)

Tags: , , , , ,

Naxatras Announce Fall European Tour; Playing Up in Smoke, Fuzz Fest and More

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

naxatras

I don’t know nothin’ about nothin’ — it’s true! ask me anything! — but I’d wager that one or two of the dates still to be announced as part of Greek heavy psych rockers Naxatras‘ upcoming Fall European tour are for festivals. The Thessaloniki three-piece have already been confirmed for Fuzz FestKeep it LowUp in Smoke and Into the Void as part of this run supporting their earlier 2018 offering, III (review here), and considering the response that album got upon its release, much the same as everything they’ve done up to this point, it wouldn’t surprise me if they showed up on a few more massive billings. Again, not anything I know, just speculation.

Certainly even if not, the tour is plenty huge as is, running about a month and a half. The dates are presented by Ouga Bouga and the Mighty Oug and were posted as follows:

naxatras tour poster

Naxatras Fall 2018 European Tour

03/10 – Zagreb (HR) / Vintage Industrial Bar
04/10 – Vienna (AT) / Fuzz Fest
05/10 – Innsbruck (AT) / PMK
06/10 – Pratteln (CH) / Up In Smoke
07/10 – Freiburg (DE) / White Rabbit
09/10 – Strasbourg (FR) / TBA
10/10 – TBC
11/10 – Berlin (DE) / Cassiopeia +
12/10 – Dresden (DE) / Groovestation +
13/10 – Oldenburg (DE) / Cadillac +
14/10 – TBC
17/10 – Mannheim (DE) / 7er Club +
18/10 – Munich (DE) / Keep it Low Preparty +
19/10 – Siegen (DE) / Vortex +
20/10 – Leeuwarden (NL) / Into The Void
21/10 – Leuven (BE) / Sojo
24/10 – Sheffield (UK) / Corporation
25/10 – Bristol (UK) / The Crofters Rights
26/10 – London (UK) / The Black Heart
27/10 – Brighton (UK) / Sticky Mike’s
28/10 – Ghent (BE) / TBA
30/10 – Nantes (FR) / Le Scene Michelet
31/10 – Bordeaux (FR) / TBA
01/11 – Paris (FR) / TBA
02/11 – Olten (CH) / Coq D’Or
03/11 – Ulm (DE) / Club Action
04/11 – Augsburg (DE) / Abraxas Theater
06/11 – Salzburg (AT) / Rockhouse
07/11 – Graz (AT) / Music house
08/11 – Bratislava (SK) / TBA
09/11 – Prague (CZ) / Klub 007 ^
10/11 – Linz (AT) / Kapu + ^
11/11 – Budapest (HU) / Durer Kert ^
13/11 – Cluj (RO) / Flying Circus ^
14/11 – Timisoara (RO) / Reflektor ^
15/11 – Novi Sad (RS) / SKC Fabrika ^
16/11 – TBC
17/11 – Sofia (BG) / Mixtape ^

+ = with Timestone
^ = with Half Gramme of Soma

Naxatras is:
John Delias – Guitar
Kostas Harizanis – Drums
John Vagenas – Bass & Vocals

https://www.facebook.com/naxatras/
https://naxatras.bandcamp.com/

Naxatras, “Machine”

Tags: , , , , ,

Puta Volcano & Purple Dino Tour Starts Tonight

Posted in Whathaveyou on May 10th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

By the time this post goes live, Puta Volcano and Purple Dino should be well on their way to Romania to begin their tour together tonight at the SoundArt Festival in Timisoara. The two Greek outfits both go supporting 2017 releases — Harmony of Spheres (review here) in the case of Puta VolcanoAnd Now What?! (review here) for Purple Dino — and in the case of the former, it’s to herald a second vinyl pressing behind a first one that’s long since sold out. You can hear both albums at the bottom of this post, because one likes to be thorough, and while I don’t know how many people who see this will happen to be in Romania or Hungary and able to make it out to the shows — if you’re there, leave a comment and let me know — but it’s still cool to see these guys all getting out together on a trip that’s certain to be a blast.

Dates and info follow, courtesy of the PR wire:

Puta Volcano + Purple Dino Tour Poster

Puta Volcano to tour Europe with Purple Dino, announce “Harmony of Spheres” 2nd vinyl pressing

After releasing their second full length album in April 2017, entitled “Harmony of Spheres”, Puta Volcano are ready to tour for the first time outside of their country. ?y their side, Purple Dino, another upcoming hard-rock quartet from Greece, with their newly released album “And Now What?!”. The tour includes dates in Austria, Romania, Serbia, Hungary & Bulgaria.

Puta Volcano’s “Harmony of Spheres” was highly acclaimed from media and listeners across the world, selling out its first vinyl pressing in less than 10 months. Luna’s ecstatic vocals, Bookies’ cement-like bass lines, Alex Pi’s captivating riffs and Steven’s dynamic drum hits enrich the band’s sound with disparate and highly interesting elements, always paying tribute to the desert rock and Seattle ’90s influences on which they grew up, shaping their personal “volcanic rock” sound.

The second pressing comes on white vinyl and is already available for pre-order on their Bandcamp page: https://putavolcano.bandcamp.com/
Listen to the album here: http://radi.al/HarmonyOfSpheres

Greek heavy rock’n’roll newcomers Purple Dino are back in the game with their best endeavour to date! “And Now What?!” is the band’s sophomore full length album and it successfully combines a large palette of influences, varying from the glorious 90’s grunge rock scene and the late 90’s stoner rock movement to Clutch’s boogie / groovy rock’n’roll or even to the haunting -and sometimes bizarre- grooves of bands such as Tool. Being very active tour-wise as well as huge admirers of physical format (the album has already been released in transparent magenta and black LP), Purple Dino not only seem to be in a great shape, but having been scheduled to tour Europe extensively, also seem willing to take their effort to the next level, whatever it may take.

Order your copy here: https://purpledinoband.bandcamp.com/
Listen to the album here: http://radi.al/PurpleDinoAndNowWhat

Tour dates
10/5 SoundArt Festival, Timisoara (RO)
11/5 SoundArt Festival, Cluj (RO)
13/5 SoundArt Festival, Bucharest (RO)
16/5 Music House, Graz (AT)
17/5 Robot, Budapest (HU)
18/5 SKC Fabrika, Novi Sad (RS)
19/5 Live n Loud, Sofia (BG)

Tour powered by Ouga Booga & The Mighty Oug & Crazy Tube Circuits

https://www.facebook.com/putavolcanoband/
https://www.facebook.com/purpledinoband/
https://www.facebook.com/tours/465511563852256/

Puta Volcano, Harmony of Spheres (2017)

Purple Dino, And Now What? (2017)

Tags: , , , ,

Chickn Announce Wowsers! Album Details; Premiere “The Elevational Love of Frank Zappa”

Posted in audiObelisk, Whathaveyou on May 2nd, 2018 by JJ Koczan

chickn (Photo by Eftychia Vlachou)

It was soul singer Jackie Wilson who in 1967 spoke of love lifting someone higher. Vowel-omitting Greek heavy prog weirdos Chickn aren’t quite shooting for something so romantic with their new single “The Elevational Love of Frank Zappa,” but to be perfectly honest, if you listen to the lyrics of the song, which includes piano, horns, gang vocals and probably a bunch more along with the standard guitar, bass and drums, they’re not far off. The notion of having love in your life making you a better person ties the two pieces together. It’s just that one is about a girl and the other about a largely unparalleled counterculture guitar hero.

The album from whence “The Elevational Love of Frank Zappa” comes is called Wowsers! and it’s being released by Inner Ear Records on May 11. To be sure, Zappa is an influence — they probably would’ve written the song about someone else, otherwise — but a song like “Cloud over Athens” reminds of subdued King Crimson gone dreamy psych, and the jazzy “Too Many Parables” has a post-Beatles bounce while seven-minute “China Must Win” resolves itself in a vision of nascent space rock, ending its course with winding vocal harmonies and feedback. The underlying point is that Chickn make their way as they please through the nine tracks and 37 minutes of Wowsers!, and those whims lead to a variety of destinations almost on a per song basis.

I guess then it’s fair to say “The Elevational Love of Frank Zappa” doesn’t necessarily speak for the whole record sound-wise, but it does enunciate a pivotal root from which it stems. You can stream the premiere of the track at the bottom of this post. A quote from the band, tour dates and more album details follow here, courtesy of the PR wire:

chickn

Chickn on “The Elevational Love of Frank Zappa”:

“The Elevational Love of Frank Zappa” is a true story about an incident of self-secession, recited under the beat of a war machine. It depicts in amazing details both the moment of the narrator’s reunion with himself, as well as the amazing emotion that kept the very same self together. The Elevational Love sprouted before the rest of the record and now sees the light only because it is their friends’ most cherished song. It was also recorded on the 26th of December 2017, making it the fist song recorded in that session. It’s all about that elevational love in the end of the day and we can do nothing else but share.

WOWSERS! is the sophomore album of CHiCKN, out on May 11th 2018 on Inner Ear Records (vinyl, digital), following their debut LP (Inner Ear, 2016) recorded on the verge of 2017 and 2018. It consists of 9 electric elegies that unfold their agitated collective psyche. This is what taking the effect and making it the cause for a long while sounds like when electrified.

CHICKN, having released a double LP, an EP, three singles and a half a dozen of bootlegs, decided to embrace their inner voice and capture the essence of their in-vivo interaction into this Acid Glam record.

Sunny and colorful, sometimes comforting – sometimes alarming, always fast and bulbous, WOWSERS! oozes with West-Coast vibes and proto-punk explosions. Enchanting space-outs rise like monuments of absence, carefully balanced by meteoric freakouts that insist on your presence. In the meantime, a fine blend of lyrical horns, alluring percussion, whimsical drumming, arcade guitar riffs, sensual basslines and ankle-played keyboards will chaperon you in this 38 minute trip.

CHICKN
“WOWSERS!”
[Inner Ear Records]
Format: LP, Digital
Release Date: 11 May 2018

Tracklist:
01. Invocation
02. Is This Cher
03. Too Many Parables
04. I Cry Diamonds
05. Chickn Tribe (Reprise)
06. Egg of Love
07. China Must Win
08. The Elevational Love of Frank Zappa
09. Cloud Over Athens

Tour Dates:
Wed 9 May Ypogeio Thessaloniki Greece
Thu 10 May AgoraBar Koumanovo FYROM
Fri 11 May HammamBar Pristina Kosovo
Sat 12 May CityStage Sofia Bulgaria
Sun 13 May TBA
Mon 14 May TBA
Tue 15 May Berlin Germany
Wed 16 May TraumaBar Marburg Germany
Thu 17 May Ritus Dusseldorf Germany
Fri 18 May TheWE Fes Maastricht, Netherlands
Sat 19 May Brussels Belgium
Sun 20 May WhiteNat/WhiteHeat Fes Nantes France
Wed 23 May Kalvingrad Geneva Switzerland
Thu 24 May TBA
Fri 25 May TBA
Sat 26 May El-Lokal Zurich Switzerland
Sat 9 June Gagarin205 Athens Greece

CHICKN is:
Angelos Krallis (lead vocals, guitars, synths)
Pantelis Karasevdas (drums, percussion, piano)
Don Stavrinos (horns, percussion)
Haris Neilas (congas, bongos, Percussion, electric sitar)
Axios Zafeirakos (bass)
Chris Bekiris (string machine, electric guitar, backing)

Preorders: http://smarturl.it/l5xs6o

https://www.facebook.com/chickntribe
https://www.instagram.com/chickntribe/
http://inner-ear.gr/
https://www.facebook.com/InnerEarRecords/
https://twitter.com/InnerEarRecords
https://www.instagram.com/innerearrecords/
https://innerear.bandcamp.com/

Tags: , , , ,

Quarterly Review: Primordial, Dead Meadow, Taarna, MaidaVale, Black Willows, Craang, Fuzz Lord, Marijannah, Cosmic Fall, Owl

Posted in Reviews on April 9th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

Quarterly-Review-Spring-2018

Okay, so this is it. The Quarterly Review definitely ends today. I’m not sneaking in a seventh day tomorrow or anything like that. This is it. The last batch of 10, bringing us to a grand total of 60 records reviewed between last Monday and now. That’s not too bad, if you think about it. Me, I’m a little done thinking about it, and if you’ll pardon me, I’m going to enjoy the time between now and late June/early July, in which for the most part I’ll be writing about one record at a time. The thought feels like a luxury after this week.

But hey, we made it. Thanks for reading along the way.

Quarterly Review #51-60:

Primordial, Exile Amongst the Ruins

primordial exile amongst the ruins

Primordial’s flair for the epic has not at all abated over the years. The Irish post-black-metal forerunners follow-up 2014’s Where Greater Men Have Fallen with Exile Amongst the Ruins (on Metal Blade), and though there’s plenty of charge in “To Hell or the Hangman,” “Sunken Lungs” or “Upon Our Spiritual Deathbed,” with frontman Alan Averill proselytizing declarations as grandly as ever, one might read a certain amount of fatigue into the lyrics of songs like “Stolen Years” and the 10-minute closer “Last Call.” Granted, Exile Amongst the Ruins is 65 minutes long, so I don’t think the band has run out of things to say, but could it be that the cycle of writing, recording and touring is starting to wear on them some 25 years after their founding? I wouldn’t know or speculate, and like I said, Exile Amongst the Ruins retains plenty of its sonic force, the layering of the title-track and the preceding “Where Lie the Gods” offering a depth of sound to complement the complexity of their themes.

Primordial on Thee Facebooks

Primordial at Metal Blade website

 

Dead Meadow, The Nothing They Need

dead meadow The Nothing They Need

Utter masters of their domain, Los Angeles’ Dead Meadow – comprised of guitarist/vocalist Jason Simon, bassist Steve Kille and drummer Juan Londono – mark 20 years of the band with the eight songs of The Nothing They Need (on Xemu Records), bringing in former members for guest spots mostly on drums but also guitar across a rich tapestry of moods, all of which happen to be distinctly Dead Meadow’s own. The ramble in opener “Keep Your Head” or “I’m So Glad” is unmistakable, and the fuzz of the six-minute “Nobody Home” bounces with a heavy psychedelic groove that should be nothing less than a joy to the converted. Recorded in their rehearsal space, released on their own label and presented with their own particularly blend of indie pulse, psych dreamscaping and more weighted tone, a song like the swaying eight-minute “The Light” is a reminder of everything righteous Dead Meadow have accomplished in their two decades, and of the vast spread their influence has taken on in that time. Perhaps the greatest lesson of all is that no matter who’s involved, Dead Meadow sound like Dead Meadow, which is about the highest compliment I can think of to pay them.

Dead Meadow on Thee Facebooks

Xemu Records website

 

Taarna, Sanguine Ash

taarna sanguine ash

It’s not entirely clear what’s happening at the start of Taarna’s 29-minute single-song EP, Sanguine Ash, but the samples are vague and violent sounding and the noise behind them is abrasive. A strum and build takes hold as the Portland, Oregon, black metallers, who feature former members of Godhunter in their ranks, continue in the first couple minutes to develop a suicidal thematic, and six minutes in, a wash of static takes hold with drums behind it only to give way, in turn, to lush-sounding keys or guitar (could go either way) that patiently leads to a rumbling, roiling lurch of blacksludge. Cavern-vocals echo and cut through molasses tones and Taarna ride that malicious groove for the next several minutes until, at around 18:30, samples start again. This leads to more quiet guitar, resonant blackened thrust, noise, noise, more noise and a final emergent wash of caustic anti-metal that couldn’t possibly be clearer in its mission to challenge, repel and come across as completely fucked as it can. Done and done, you scathing bastards.

Taarna on Thee Facebooks

Taarna on Bandcamp

 

MaidaVale, Madness is Too Pure

maidavale madness is too pure

I already discussed a lot of what is working so well on MaidaVale’s second album, Madness is Too Pure (The Sign Records), when I put up the video for “Oh Hysteria!” (posted here), but it’s worth reemphasizing the sonic leap the Swedish four-piece have made between their 2016 debut, the bluesy and well-crafted Tales of the Wicked West (review here) and this nine-song offering, which stretches far outside the realm of blues rock and encompasses psychedelic jamming, spontaneous-sounding explorations, brazen but not at all caustic vibes, and an overarching energy of delivery that reminds both of a live presentation and, on a song like “Gold Mine,” of what Death Alley have been able to revitalize in space-punk. Memorable progressions like that of “Walk in Silence” and the freaked out “Dark Clouds” offer standout moments, but really, it’s the whole album itself that’s the standout, and if the debut showed MaidaVale’s potential, Madness is Too Pure ups that factor significantly.

MaidaVale on Thee Facebooks

The Sign Records on Thee Facebooks

 

Black Willows, Bliss

black willows bliss

About a year and a half after releasing their 2016 sophomore outing, Samsara (review here), Swiss post-doomers Black Willows return with a 19-minute single-song EP they’ve dubbed Bliss. It is utterly hypnotic. The sonic equivalent of watching a bonfire take hold of dry wood. It consumes with its dense heft of riff and then lulls the listener with stretches of minimalism and ambience, the first of which provides the intro to the piece itself. Black Willows are no strangers to working with longform material, and as Bliss also appears as the band’s half of a Bloodrock Records split with Craneium, it’s understandable they’d want to bring their best, but the weight of their groove feels unexpected even in terms of having heard their past work. So they’ve gotten heavier? Yeah, maybe. What really matters is how they wield that weight, and on Bliss, they put it to use as much as an atmospheric table-setter as in a display of sheer force. Beware the noise wash at the end. That’s all I’ll say.

Black Willows on Thee Facebooks

Black Willows on Bandcamp

 

Craang, Shine

craang shine

Greek heavy psych rockers Craang set up a dynamic quickly on their new two-song full-length, Shine (also stylized as S H IN E) that both encourages and rewards patience and trust on the part of the listener. They begin 24:52 opener and longest track (immediate points) “Horizon – Tempest” quietly and commence to unfold through ebbs and flows, clean vocals and shouts, open spaces and dense(r) riffing. There is a break near and at the halfway point that presumably is the shift between one part of “Horizon – Tempest” and the other, and the second half follows that lead with a more active presentation. The accompanying “Ocean – Cellular” (19:41) launches with a bed of synth that fades as the bass, drums and guitar enter and begin a linear build that retains a progressive edge, dropping off at about eight minutes in perhaps as another transition into “Cellular,” which indeed follows a more winding, intricate path. One can only say Craang are clear in their representation of what they want to convey, and because of that, Shine is all the more of an engaging experience, the listener essentially following the band on this journey from place to place, idea to idea.

Craang on Thee Facebooks

Craang on Bandcamp

 

Fuzz Lord, Fuzz Lord

Fuzz Lord fuzz lord

We start at “The Gates of Hell” and end up in “Infamous Evil,” so one might say Ohio trio Fuzz Lord – guitarist Steven “Fuzz Lord” joined by bassist/vocalist “Stoner” Dan Riley and drummer/vocalist Lawrence “Lord Buzz” – have their thematic well set on their eight-track self-titled debut (on Fuzzdoom Records). Likewise, their tones and the sense of space in the echoing vocals of “Kronos Visions Arise” and the later, extra-Sabbathian “World Collide” seem to know precisely where they’re headed. Riley recorded the 39-minute outing, while Justin Pizzoferrato (Elder, Dinosaur Jr., many others) mixed, and the resulting conjuration is earthbound in its low end while allowing the guitar to either roll out riffy largesse or take an airier approach. The uptempo “The Lord of the Underground” speaks to a punker underpinning, while the preceding “The Warriors Who Reign” seems to have a more classic metal take, and “Infamous Evil,” also the longest track at 7:51, peppers in layered guitar leads amid a doomier, Luciferian vibe and fervent hook.

Fuzz Lord on Thee Facebooks

Fuzzdoom Records on Thee Facebooks

 

Marijannah, Till Marijannah

Marijannah till marijannah

Comprised of members of Wormrot and The Caulfield Cult, Singapore-based newcomers Marijannah execute four tracks of blown-out tones and psychedelic cavernousness with their Pink Tank Records debut release, Till Marijannah. Touches of garage swing make their way into opener “1974,” and second cut “Snakecharmer” blazes and scorches with wah-drenched solos around crunching rhythms and melodic vocalizations. A march emerges on the nine-minute “Bride of Mine” and only gets more fervent as the track makes its way forward, and driving finale “All Hollow’s Eve” presents a cacophonous but controlled take from Marijannah that reinforces the notion of nothing on their first outing happening by accident. Impressive and just a bit frenetic, it leaves one wondering what further ground the band might look to explore from here, whether they’ve set their sonic course and will look to refine their processes along these lines or whether this is just the beginning of a wider stylistic melding, and their next offering might sound completely different than Till Marijannah. The one seems as likely as the other, and that’s incredibly refreshing.

Marijannah on Thee Facebooks

Pink Tank Records website

 

Cosmic Fall, In Search of Outer Space

cosmic fall in search of outer space

Immediate points to Berlin jammers Cosmic Fall for opening their six-song/43-minute third album, In Search of Outer Space, with the 11-minute longest track “Jabberwocky.” The three-piece introduced new guitarist Marcin Marowski last year on Jams for Free (review here), and as bassist Klaus Friedrich steps up to take the vocalist role and drummer Daniel Sax continues to hold together impossible spaciousness with a fluidity of groove, Marowski seems right at home wah-noodling in the open reaches of “Jabberwocky” and soldering shred and swirl together on the later “Lumberjam.” Some of In Search of Outer Space’s most effective moments are its quietest, as on “Purification” or second cut “Narcotic Vortex,” but neither will I decry the bass fuzz that takes hold near the finish there or the molten churn that bookends closer “Icarus,” but as “Spacejam” hits into the vastness, it seems Cosmic Fall as just as apt to float as to rocket their way out of the atmosphere. In either case, they most certainly get there.

Cosmic Fall on Thee Facebooks

Cosmic Fall on Bandcamp

 

Owl, Orion Fenix

owl orion fenix

The solo-project of Christian Kolf of avant death-crunchers Valborg, Owl issues the 22-minute single-song EP Orion Fenix – with its chanting repetitions of “reborn in fire” – as a precursor to the upcoming LP, Nights in Distortion. Like Owl’s last EP, 2015’s wondrously dark Aeon Cult (review here), Orion Fenix is both intense churn and slow-rolling melancholy, bridging a gap between classic doom (that lead 15 minutes in) and post-doom rhythms and atmosphere. If the project’s purpose is to find beauty in darkness, Orion Fenix accomplishes this quickly enough, but the track’s runtime and lush layering allow Kolf to lend a sense of exploration to what is no doubt a meticulous creative process, since he’s handling all the instruments and vocals himself. Either way, Orion Fenix, as a herald, bodes remarkably well for forward progress on Nights in Distortion to come, and is a remarkable accomplishment on its own in both heft and spaciousness.

Owl on Thee Facebooks

Owl on Bandcamp

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

1000mods Announce April European Touring and Summer Festival Gigs

Posted in Whathaveyou on March 30th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

1000mods

I know I said as much at the time, but I was deeply, deeply honored to have The Obelisk among the presenters for Greek heavy rock forerunners 1000mods‘ first US tour. It was something I didn’t expect to happen and for a band like them, who’ve so clearly conquered Europe and are looking now to branch out, it was humbling to have even some small role in that. I hear it went well. I hear they’re hoping to come back. All the better. Nothing follows up one tour quite like another tour.

It’s in that spirit, I suppose, that the four-piece have announced the run below for April. Dubbed ‘Into the Spell,’ it finds them continuing to support 2016’s Repeated Exposure To… (review here) ad playing in Poland, Lithuania, Finland, Sweden, and so on. They’ll also be at Hellfest and more this summer, as you can see in the list of dates below posted on the social medias by Sound of Liberation, which booked the gigs.

Goes like this:

1000mods tour poster

Back from their extended North American trip for only 20 days, the groovy 1000mods are getting ready for their next tour “Into the Spell”! On April 12th, they will hit the European roads again, as follows:

12.04 | PL | Krakow | Zet Pe Te
13.04 | PL | Warsaw | Smoke Over Warsaw III
14.04 | LT | Vilnius | Loftas
15.04 | EE | Tallinn | Rockstars
17.04 | FIN | Helsinki | Kuudes Linja
18.04 | FIN | Tampere | Klubi
20.04 | SWE | Stockholm | Kraken
21.04 | NOR | Oslo | Blå
22.04 | SWE | Malmö | Plan B
23.04 | DK | Copenhagen | Stengade
24.04 | D | Berlin | Festsaal Kreuzberg (Desertfest Warm-up)
25.04 | PL | Poznan | Pod Minoga
26.04 | CZ | Prag | 007
27.04 | HUN | Budapest | A38
28.04 | A | Graz | PPC
29.04 | A | Vienna | Arena

Summer Fests:
31.05.2018 Timisoara Revolution Festival RO
23.06.2018 Clisson Hellfest Festival FR
25.07.2018 Tolmin MetalDays Festival SLO
27.07.2018 Neuensee Rock Im Wald Festival D
25.08.2018 Suceava Bucovina Rock Castle Festival RO

100mods is:
Dani G. / Bass & Vox
Giannis S. / Guitars
George T. / Guitars
Labros G. / Drums

https://www.facebook.com/1000mods/
https://1000mods.bandcamp.com/
https://soundcloud.com/1000mods
www.soundofliberation.com/id-1000mods

1000mods, Repeated Exposure To… (2016)

Tags: , , , , ,