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)

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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”

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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)

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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/

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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

 

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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)

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Review & Track Premiere: Naxatras, III

Posted in audiObelisk, Reviews on February 14th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

naxatras iii

[Click play above to stream the premiere of Naxatras’ ‘Machine.’ Their new album, III is out Feb. 16.]

Over the last two years, Greek trio Naxatras have worked quickly to establish themselves at the forefront of their home country’s fertile and widely varied scene. If 1000mods helped put this generation of Greek bands on the map in the wider European underground sphere, then it’s Naxatras brazenly showing that the country has more to offer than straightforward riff-led fare. Naxatras songs — their third album, III, has seven of them and tops out accordingly at 64 minutes long — wind their way around and through the consciousness in display of a penchant for sonic naturalism that goes even beyond the band’s no-compromise approach to recording analog at Magnetic Fidelity with Jesus I. Agnew, who helmed III, the preceding 2017 single All the Stars Collide into a Single Ray (discussed here), its 2016 predecessors, II (review here) and EP (discussed here), as well as their 2015 self-titled debut (discussed here).

Rather, that naturalism extends to the play itself, as the trio of bassist/vocalist John Vagenas, guitaist John Delias and drummer Kostas Harizanis embrace their inner chillout and bring to bear tracks of marked patience, fluidity and soothing. Yeah, III has its heavy moments — more than enough of them throughout extended jams like “On the Silver Line” (9:56), 11-minute opener “You Won’t be Left Alone” and even a later piece like “Prophet,” on which Vagenas‘ bassline sets a foreboding tone while the cymbals crash around and the guitar howls. Raucous as they get, however, it’s the drift of cuts like “White Morning,” the subtle reggae nods of “Land of Infinite Time” and the soothing pastoralia of the acid-folkish closer “Spring Song” that most typify the album’s impression, earthy and resonant as it is.

The only real question when it comes to listening to III is whether to blast it and be consumed by the tonal warmth, to let it wrap around you like a blanket of fuzz, or to put in headphones, get lost in the easy, patient rhythms of the thing and find that even a song like centerpiece “Machine,” which works in multiple, almost disjointed stages of building jamming, tense low end, and a bit of reggae guitar before giving away near the halfway point to whalesong volume swells and a turn to a moodier drone that’s so drastic it might just as easily have been a different song before making its way back to the initial progression with trance-inducing fluidity, ending just before the 11-minute mark. Like all of Naxatras‘ work, III blends instrumental and vocalized material to a place of marked flow, lending an even more exploratory sensibility to songs like “Prophet” and “You Won’t be Left Alone,” the latter opening with an introductory hypnosis before giving way to the warm fuzz of the song itself, its main riff popping in and out to allow for vocal lines.

These, again, are sparse and become part of the background context in which the record takes place rather than a direct frontman-style delivery. “You Won’t be Left Alone” might be the most direct in this regard, though “Pophet” has its moments as well and “Spring Song” is clearly meant to be working in a tradition of soothing hippie soulfulness. Nonetheless, it’s the instrumental portion of III that serves as the band’s clear focus — that’s nothing new for them in terms of overall aesthetic balance — and with their having spent significant time on the road around the first two records, the results can be heard in the ease of their transitions say, near the end of “Prophet” or as they dig into the 12-minute “Land of Infinite Time” with the bass leading the way through each measure traveled.

naxatras (Photo by Marko Devcic)

If you ultimately choose the hi-fi route, and let’s say, relax with a highball in your it’s-been-a-long-day burgundy housecoat and put III on your vintage turntable to ease your worried mind, no doubt you’ll find it does just that. It is a work of such patience as to be legitimately soothing in a way few records that can still justifiably be called heavy are, and yet that presence of tone and weight of rhythm is still very much a factor in what Naxatras do, even at their funkiest or quietest. If you go the headphone route, the listening experience is somewhat lonelier, but the spirit of III continues to resonate that calming, wholesome sensibility that seems to derive purely from the collective performance of HarizanisDelias and Vagenas, and if one is listening to Naxatras and perhaps looking to understand what it is that has allowed the band to have such an impact and to find such a considerable audience in a relatively short amount of time, the answer is right there in their interaction as a trio.

They may decide their next time out to just up and down and take a more active approach overall, or they may continue down this path of turning heavy psych jams into a statement of counterculture folksomeness to represent a movement of heavy hippies that, if it exists, could hardly ask for better PR than it gets in “Prophet” and the penultimate “White Morning.” Whatever they do and wherever they go from here, Naxatras have put all questions to rest about how well earned their place is at Greece’s heavy psych forefront, if there were any to start with. Their jams have an individualized character that speaks to the honest chemistry shared between them as players, and each of their successive full-lengths has furthered the seemingly ongoing process of their cohesion.

III, in that regard, is no different. But it also finds Naxatras reaching further stylistically than they have up to this point outward from that core of psychedelic jamming, and doing so successfully as demonstrated in the proggy “On the Silver Line,” the bouncing “Land of Infinite Time” and the lullaby dreamscape that finishes in “Spring Song.” One doubts these excursions of stylistic nuance represent the sum total breadth the three-piece have and will have to offer, and so it’s easy to argue coming out of III‘s immersive hour-plus that Naxatras‘ potential as a unit has never been so writ large even as their sound itself has never been so realized.

Naxatras, III (2018)

Naxatras on Thee Facebooks

Naxatras on Bandcamp

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Quarterly Review: Godflesh, Serpents of Secrecy, Vymaanika, Zong, Vitriol, Pillars, Lamp of the Universe & Kanoi, Azonic, Thousand Vision Mist, Arcadian Child

Posted in Reviews on January 12th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

Lodewijk de Vadder (1605-1655) - 17th Century Etching, Landscape with Two Farms

Today is the last day of The Obelisk’s Quarterly Review, and it’s kind of hard to believe it’s gone so fast. Before I put the Big Boot to the proceedings like Hulk Hogan getting ready to call it a day with an elbow drop at Wrestlemania — yup, just like that — I have to take a special moment to thank The Patient Mrs. for allowing me the time this week to bang out all of these reviews and get everything sorted on the back end, etc., for these posts. She, of course, as always, perpetually, has been unbelievable, and especially with The Pecan to manage, she’s earned her title more than ever. It is thoroughly, deeply, appreciated. Much love, baby. Thank you.

Okay, Big Boot time. Let’s do this thing.

Quarterly Review #41-50:

Godflesh, Post Self

godflesh post self

Guitarist/vocalist/programmer Justin K. Broadrick and bassist BC Green return with Post Self, their second post-reunion full-length behind 2014’s A World Lit Only by Fire (review here) and a collection of churning electro-noise hymnals that work in a sphere that should by now be well familiar to their multi-generational fanbase. The groundbreaking industrial pioneers sound decidedly led by the guitar on the chugging “Parasite” and the airy, almost Jesu-style wash of “The Cyclic End,” but the intensity of the beat behind “No Body,” bass and noise onslaught of “Be God” and synth-driven soundscaping of “Mortality Sorrow” recall the sonic diversity that’s always been as much a part of Godflesh’s approach as their signature cyclical rhythmic style. More perhaps than ever, Broadrick and Green seem to be aware of what defines Godflesh as a band in terms of sound, and as they make the crucial move from a “reunion” band to a working one, they seem as glad as ever to push those boundaries once more.

Justin K. Broadrick on Thee Facebooks

Avalanche Recordings on Bandcamp

 

Serpents of Secrecy, Uncoiled: The Singles

serpents-of-secrecy-uncoiled-the-singles

This two-song single may end up bring the only offering Serpents of Secrecy ever make public, and it was years in coming together. In December, the Chesapeake region group with members of Foghound, Borracho and King Giant suffered the loss of bassist Jim Forrester, who was murdered in Baltimore, and while a debut long-player was in discussion, to-date the five-piece have only issued “Warbird’s Song” and “The Cheat” as Uncoiled – The Singles, and obviously now any kind of follow-up is in question. Whether it’s the raucous burl of “Warbird’s Song” or the bluesy, organ-topped fluidity of “The Cheat,” the J. Robbins-produced tracks demonstrate the potential at heart from the lineup of vocalist Mark Lorenzo – who wound up in the role after members of Alabama Thunderpussy and Mister Bones vacated – guitarists Steve Fisher and Todd Ingram, Forrester and his former Sixty Watt Shaman bandmate Chuck Dukehart III. The only question at this point is whether that potential will ever see further realization. Right on as these songs are, I’m torn on the idea, to be honest.

Serpents of Secrecy on Thee Facebooks

Salt of the Earth Records website

 

Vymaanika, Spectroscope

vymaanika-spectroscope

Multinational space rockers Vymaanika debut with the 20-minute two-songer Spectroscope EP, comprised of its 10-minute opening title-track and the subsequent “Golden Void,” which may or may not be named in honor of the side-project of Earthless guitarist Isaiah Mitchell. I’d believe it either way. The band comprises members from Catalan – guitarist/vocalist/synthesis Carles Esteban and bassist Andrés Paniagua, Chile in drummer/synthesist Jose Jünemann, and the US in guitarist/vocalist/synthesis Benjamin Mahoney, but they all seem to have come together to record in Barcelona, and the breadth of “Spectroscope” and serene psychedelic mantra-making of “Golden Void” benefit from that band-in-the-room vibe. Especially so the latter, which touches early on vocal harmonies over drifting guitar strum, steady synth drone and percussive pulsations before building to a more active apex in its second half. After the cacophony taking hold in the back end of “Spectroscope,” it’s a clear demarcation of a varied sonic persona, and while I don’t know how often Vymaanika will be able to get everyone together with the geographic spread, it’s easy to be glad they did it for this first EP.

Vymaanika on Thee Facebooks

Vymaanika on Bandcamp

 

Zong, Zong

zong zong

Flowing arrangements abound on Zong’s self-titled four-track debut full-length. The Brisbane, Australia-based heavy psych three-piece are well within their genre sphere, but from opener and longest track (immediate points) “Cosmic Embryo” (13:00) through “Arcane Sand” (8:10), the perhaps-Zardoz-referential “Giant Floating Head” (11:48) and closer “Return of the Alien King” (10:32), they demonstrate a natural chemistry, patience and warmth of tone that is no less comfortable in the march and lurch of its penultimate cut than in dug-in repetition-born hypnosis of the leadoff. Deceptively weighted from almost its beginning point with the low end of Michael Grinstead’s bass and the rolling drums of Henry Bennett, there’s also a balance of airiness from guitarist Adam Anderson that adds nuance when called upon to do so, though there are plenty of moments where Zong’s Zong seems perfectly content to cave-jam its far-out atmospheric fluidity. Not an ethic and not a result you’re going to hear me complain about.

Zong on Thee Facebooks

Cardinal Fuzz Records webstore

Praying Mantis Records on Bandcamp

 

Vitriol, Pain Will Define Their Death

vitriol-pain-will-define-their-death

Brutal tech-death pervades Vitriol’s first EP, Pain Will Define Their Death – a three-song onslaught the violence of which is writ large over every minute of its total 12. Sharing a penchant for opening to bigger-sounding choruses like that of its opening title-cut with peak-era Hate Eternal, the pummel factor, ultra-tense push and unmitigated viciousness eschews some of the more machine-like aspects of such technically-minded fare, and while Vitriol’s overarching groove, gutturalist execution and hammer-swing breakdowns are casting out their own assault on the aforementioned opener as well as the subsequent blast-laden “Victim” and “Violence, a Worthy Truth,” they’re working in service to songcraft much more than to an indulgent showcase of prowess, and that makes all the difference in terms of the material’s ultimate impact. That impact? When was the last time you were actually kicked in the face? Nothing if not aptly named, Vitriol’s death metal seethes and rages in kind and bodes remarkably well for future manifest devastation.

Vitriol on Thee Facebooks

Vitriol on Bandcamp

 

Pillars, Pyres and Gallows

pillars-pyres-and-gallows

Hailing classic doom and darker atmospheres, French four-piece Pillars debut on Seeing Red Records via the Pyres and Gallows EP. Its four songs run a gamut of traditional grooves, but lumber with a balance between their rawness and a spirit of underlying riffy nuance that adds texture beneath the gruff, dudely vocals of frontman Klem, the tones of guitarist Djé and bassist Disaster well suited to the plodding companionship of drummer JJ on a song like the problematically-titled second cut “Dirty Whoreshippers” or the 10-minute title-track that rounds out. At 33 minutes, I’m not sure what’s stopping Pyres and Gallows from being a full-length, but if that’s a hint that Pillars have more to say going forward, then fair enough. They may be preaching to the converted in these tracks, but they’re doing so in righteous fashion and with a sense of their own identity under development. Doom on? Yeah, totally doom on. By all means. Please do.

Pillars on Thee Facebooks

Seeing Red Records on Bandcamp

 

Lamp of the Universe & Kanoi, Split

lamp-of-the-universe-kanoi-split

Among the fascinating factors at work on this cross-continental Clostridium Records split release between long-running New Zealand acid folk outfit Lamp of the Universe and Austrian psychedelic fuzz purveyor Kanoi is the fact that both parties involved are solo-projects. For Lamp of the Universe’s Craig Williamson (also Arc of Ascent), he brings three tracks of his signature drenched-wet lysergism in “In the Beginning,” “The Cosmic Body Track,” “Father” and “Space Chant,” while Kanoi’s Benjamin Kantschieder revisits two cuts from 2016’s Mountains of the Sun full-length in the extended “I’m Gone (I’m Gone)” and “Mountains of the Sun” itself. The novelty of having two single parties match wits on such fluid arrangements – my head always begs for collaboration in these instances – is offset by the quality of their work itself. Neither is new to their sphere, but both seem keen to continue to experiment and explore, and it’s from that commonality that the split most benefits.

Lamp of the Universe on Bandcamp

Kanoi on Bandcamp

Clostridium Records website

 

Azonic, Prospect of the Deep Volume One

azonic-prospect-of-the-deep-volume-one

The first Azonic offering since the mid-‘90s finds Brooklyn-based experimentalist Andy Hawkins reviving the project alongside his Blind Idiot God bandmate Tim Wyskida as a melding of drone/noise and percussive ideas. Released through Hawkins’ own Indivisible Music, Prospect of the Deep Volume One – pretty ambitious to put a “volume one” in the title of your first record in 20-plus years – presents two expansive works in “Oblivion of the Deep” (18:53) and “The Argonauts Reckoning” (18:42) as well as the CD bonus track “Voices of the Drowned” (10:12) that brim with atmospheric intent and have an underlying sense of control on the part of Hawkins that speaks to some measure of steering what might in other hands simply feel like sonic chaos. You can hear it early into “The Argonauts Reckoning,” as the layered wash seems to want to fly off the rails and swell and Hawkins’ guitar simply doesn’t let it go, but it’s true elsewhere on Prospect of the Deep Volume One as well, and in listening, it’s the difference between the album being a joy in the immersion, which it is, and a self-indulgent misfire, which it very much is not.

Azonic on Thee Facebooks

Indivisible Music website

 

Thousand Vision Mist, Journey to Ascension and the Loss of Tomorrow

thousand-vision-mist-journey-to-ascension-and-the-loss-of-tomorrow

Named for the lone 2002 full-length from Maryland doomers Life Beyond, in which guitarist/vocalist Danny Kenyon also featured, newcomer trio Thousand Vision Mist debut with the progressive-leaning edge of Journey to Ascension and the Loss of Tomorrow, a 52-minute 10-tracker. Yes, Rush are a factor in terms of influence. However, propelled by the drumming of Chris Sebastian, whose frenetic snare adds a Mastodonic feel to “Headstones Throw,” the otherwise classic-vibing “Final Flight of Fall” and the later “Darklight,” among others, the cumbersomely-titled offering sets its balance between modern prog metal, doom and classic heavy rock, with bassist Tony Comulada adding vocal harmonies alongside Kenyon and providing a needed anchor to keep songs like the penultimate “Skybound and Beyond” from actually taking off and leaving their audience behind. Reportedly long in the works, Journey to Ascension and the Loss of Tomorrow isn’t a minor digestion process at its busy and extended runtime, but while the recording is raw, there’s no shortage of fodder for engagement throughout its swath of choruses and head-spinning turns.

Thousand Vision Mist on Thee Facebooks

Thousand Vision Mist on Bandcamp

 

Arcadian Child, Afterglow

arcadian-child-afterglow

Though not at all without its more driving aspects, some of the most satisfying moments on Arcadian Child’s debut album, Afterglow, come from a soothing hook like that of “Rabbit Hole,” which finds the Cypriot four-piece more fully embodying a laid back desert rock atmosphere that underpins the Fatso Jetson-esque opener “She’s on My Mind” and subsequent “Little Late for Love.” As the feels-short-at-29-minutes record unfolds, “Electric Red” blends fuzz and Mediterranean rhythmic push, “Irresistible” toys with layered swirl beneath a solidly-weighted verse and chorus, “Run” makes itself a highlight around a post-Lullabies to Paralyze atmospheric lead and start-stop riff, and the title-track casts momentum in melody and groove into closer “Used,” which pays one more welcome visit to the more serene side of their personality before they’re done. It might be a sleeper, but I’d be surprised if someone didn’t pick Afterglow up for a vinyl release sooner or later; the songwriting, performance, presentation and potential for future growth are all there waiting to be found by the right ears.

Arcadian Child on Thee Facebooks

Arcadian Child on Bandcamp

 

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