High Fighter Set July 26 Release for Champain; New Song Streaming

Posted in Whathaveyou on May 20th, 2019 by JJ Koczan

high fighter

Fresh off an appearance at Desertfest and ahead of a stop at this summer’s Freak Valley and SonicBlast Moledo festivals, as well as other locales, German aggro-heavies High Fighter have unveiled “Before I Disappear,” the opening track of their impending second album and first for Argonauta Records, Champain. The follow-up to their 2016 debut, Scars and Crosses (review here), immediately revives and pushes ahead through that album’s atmospheric darkness, and with the scream of vocalist Mona Miluski out front during the verses, the harsh spirit of the preceding LP is maintained at the same time a broader melodic reach is signaled via the chorus. They reside at the intersection where heavy meets metal, and seem to have no problem playing to either side of that equation. I’ll look forward to hearing more.

The PR wire brought art, info and audio:

high fighter champain

HIGH FIGHTER unleash release details + first track from upcoming album; due out this July on Argonauta Records!

Hamburg-based Sludge Metal unit HIGH FIGHTER returns with their sophomore, brand new album this summer on Argonauta Records. Today the band is sharing with us not only the hotly anticipated release details, but also a first single taken from their upcoming record titled Champain!

After the group’s debut EP The Goat Ritual released end of 2014, followed by numerous shows all over Europe & the UK, including festivals such as Wacken Open Air, Summer Breeze, Desertfest Berlin, London and Antwerp, SonicBlast Moledo, Stoned From The Underground, Up In Smoke, Keep It Low, Red Smoke Festival and many more, as well as countless gigs on tour with bands alike Ahab, Conan, Elder, Downfall of Gaia, Crowbar, Mantar, Corrosion of Conformity, Mammoth Storm, Brant Bjork, The Midnight Ghost Train and Earth Ship to name just a few, HIGH FIGHTER released their first full-length and critically acclaimed album Scars & Crosses in June 2016 on Svart Records. The band’s second studio album, Champain, is set for a release on July 26th 2019 with powerhouse label Argonauta Records.

It seems life on the road has impacted HIGH FIGHTER in a huge way. As their new album has a heavier and fast-paced sound compared to their first records. The best way to describe HIGH FIGHTER in 2019 is PISSED OFF! This is a different band that announced their arrival in 2014 with their debut EP followed by Scars & Crosses. Champain isn’t for the faint hearted and the band may actually surprise a lot of their established fanbase with this album.

“We finally present you the cover art and details for our second album, we have named Champain. This album tells an anti-hero story, and we have probably never sounded that focussed and brutal on a record before.” Vocalist Mona Miluski explains. “Champain has been recorded, mixed and mastered by our dear friend Jan Oberg at Hidden Planet Studio in Berlin, and the clear, classy but epic album artwork has been designed by the talented Johnny Doe. This record is definitely not Scars & Crosses part 2, we tried to evolve our sound to a new level and this time, introducing the even more heavier side of High Fighter.”

Opening songs such as Before I Disappear, Shine Equal Dark and Dead Gift, create an eerie and gloomy atmosphere where the mood can be pitch-black in places. The soaring and brutal riffs on this album allow Mona to show her impressive vocal range, from Death Metal growls, mean screams to her Stoner Rock, Soul and Blues roots.

Champain – Tracklisting:
1. Before I Disappear
2. Shine Equal Dark
3. Interlight
4. Dead Gift
5. Another Cure
6. Kozel
7. I Will Not
8. Interdark
9. When We Suffer ( feat. Anton Lisovoj of Downfall of Gaia )
10. A Shrine
11. Champain

Champain will be coming out July 26th in CD, Vinyl and Digital formats, with a pre-order and many more news to follow soon.

HIGH FIGHTER live:
14.06.19 DE – Hannover / Café Glocksee, w/ Monolord
22.06.19 DE – Freak Valley Festival
03.08.19 DE – Gössnitz Open Air
08.-10.08.19 PT – SonicBlast Moledo
18.10.19 DE – Metal Inferno Paderborn
+ many more shows to be announced soon

HIGH FIGHTER is:
Mona Miluski – vocals
Christian Pappas – guitar
Ingwer Boysen – guitar
Constantin Wüst – bass
Thomas Wildelau – drums & backing vocals

www.highfighter.de
www.facebook.com/highfighter
www.instagram.com/highfighter_official
www.highfighter.bandcamp.com
www.argonautarecords.com
www.facebook.com/ArgonautaRecords

High Fighter, “Before I Disappear”

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

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

quarterly-review

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

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

So let’s go.

Quarterly Review #31-40:

Earthless, From the West

earthless from the west

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

Earthless website

Silver Current Records on Bandcamp

Earthless at Nuclear Blast webstore

 

Satan’s Satyrs, The Lucky Ones

satans satyrs the lucky ones

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

Satan’s Satyrs on Thee Facebooks

RidingEasy Records on Bandcamp

Bad Omen Records on Bandcamp

 

Mantar, The Modern Art of Setting Ablaze

mantar the modern art of setting ablaze

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

Mantar on Thee Facebooks

Nuclear Blast website

 

Child, I

child i

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

Child on Thee Facebooks

Kozmik Artifactz website

 

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

tg olson wasatch valley lady and the man from table mountain

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

Across Tundras on Thee Facebooks

T.G. Olson/Across Tundras on Bandcamp

 

Canyon, Mk II

canyon mk ii

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

Canyon on Thee Facebooks

Canyon on Bandcamp

 

Circle of the Sun, Jams of Inner Perception

Circle of the Sun Jams of Inner Perception

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

Circle of the Sun on Thee Facebooks

Circle of the Sun on Bandcamp

 

Mythic Sunship, Another Shape of Psychedelic Music

Mythic Sunship Another Shape of Psychedelic Music

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

Mythic Sunship on Thee Facebooks

El Paraiso Records website

 

Svarta Stugan, Islands / Öar

svarta stugan islands oar

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

Svarta Stugan on Thee Facebooks

Svarta Stugan on Bandcamp

 

Bast, Nanoångström

bast nanoangstrom

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

Bast on Thee Facebooks

Black Bow Records webstore

 

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High Fighter Sign to Argonauta Records for New Album in 2019

Posted in Whathaveyou on November 28th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

A fitting union and another solid pickup for Argonauta Records as the label welcomes German sludgecore rockers High Fighter to its seemingly ever-expanding roster. The Hamburg-based band released their debut album, Scars and Crosses (review here), in 2016 on Svart and worked to blend a number of genres for a style they’ll look to continue to expand after a number of tours in support. Spring 2019 would seem to be the intention, and I’m sure there’ll be more info and audio out before then.

Kudos to band and label both. This should work out nicely when it comes to the album, the title for which remains TBA.

From the PR wire:

high fighter (Photo by Peter Kupfer)

HIGH FIGHTER SIGNS WITH ARGONAUTA RECORDS! New album coming in the Spring of 2019!

Hamburg-based Sludge and Stoner Metal unit High Fighter have signed a worldwide deal with Argonauta Records. Currently putting together the final songwriting touches, the band’s hotly anticipated second album will be released in the Spring of 2019!

Says Argonauta’s CEO Gero Lucisano:
“Today I’m beyond stoked to welcome HIGH FIGHTER in the Argonauta family. I remember how their album “Scars & Crosses” has been on heavy rotation here in our head-quarters for many months, and still is an “evergreen” listening these days. Moreover, thanks to the fact they are an hard working band always on tour, I got the chance to see them on stage, where I saw a captivating band with an uncontrollable energy, top professional attitude and awareness of their own means. Speaking with the band, I immediately got we are both moved by the same type of enthusiasm and it’d be such a lack of synergy to not join forces for their new album, which I can already grant it will be totally massive!”

After their critically acclaimed debut EP ‘The Goat Ritual’, self-released in the end of 2014, followed by numerous shows all over Europe including festival appearances at Wacken Open Air, Summer Breeze, Desertfest Berlin & Antwerp, Sonic Blast, Stoned From The Underground, Up In Smoke and many more, gigs on tour with bands alike Ahab, Conan, Crowbar, Mantar, Corrosion of Conformity, Elder, Downfall of Gaia, Mammoth Storm, Brant Bjork or Earth Ship to name just a few, HIGH FIGHTER released their first full-length ‘Scars & Crosses’ in June 2016 with Finland’s cult label Svart Records.

“We have met Gero a few years ago at a show in Italy, and we immediately felt his passion and love for the underground heavy music scene.“ HIGH FIGHTER vocalist Mona Miluski comments. „Over the past few months, I also got the chance to work closely with Gero due to my daytime job in the music industry, and I have probably not met many people like him before in this very tough business. His passionate but also very professional hard work for versatile, heavy bands not only impressed me but the entire band, when Gero made us an offer we could not refuse. We have and always will be very grateful for what Svart Records did for us and our first album, but musically we feel a step to sunny Italy with a label that represents the direction we currently go with our new album has been a great choice and move. We can’t wait to start recording in Berlin at the Hidden Planet Studio with our dear friend Jan Oberg (Earth Ship) in the beginning of 2019, and unleash our second full-length baby with Argonauta Records next Spring!“

HIGH FIGHTER are:
Mona Miluski – Vocals
Christian Pappas – Guitar
Ingwer Boysen – Guitar
Constantin Wüst – Bass
Thomas Wildelau – Drums / Backing Vocals

www.highfighter.de
www.facebook.com/highfighter
www.instagram.com/highfighter_official
www.highfighter.bandcamp.com
www.argonautarecords.com
www.facebook.com/ArgonautaRecords

High Fighter, Scars and Crosses (2016)

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High Fighter Add Dates to Summer Tour

Posted in Whathaveyou on August 1st, 2018 by JJ Koczan

high fighter (Photo by Peter Kupfer)

Seems to me that every time I write about Germany’s High Fighter I use a different genre tag. That’s a pretty good sign. Some bands you go “stoner” and you’re done. The Hamburg-based five-piece make it a little more of a challenge. When they announced a string of UK dates last month supporting their 2016 debut album, Scars and Crosses (review here), I used “sludge metallers.” Not exactly wrong, but meh. Way general. I must’ve been in a hurry. Today I’m feeling more like something along the lines of “metallic sludgecore” when it comes to summing up their sound. It’s metallic in its aggression, -core in its charge and sludge in its tonality and focus on riffs. I feel pretty good about that one. Will I still next time around? Most likely not. Maybe next time I’ll add “progressive” to the mix to highlight the thoughtful nature of their craft. Progressive metallic sludgecore. Sounds like fun.

High Fighter have added dates to the previously announced run, and you’ll find the update below, courtesy of the PR wire:

high fighter summer tour poster

HIGH FIGHTER ANNOUNCE MORE UPCOMING SUMMER TOUR DATES!

Hamburg-based Sludge & Stoner Metal band HIGH FIGHTER, who just recently announced to return to the UK this summer with support from special guests TUSKAR and MY DIABLO, have added a bunch of new dates around their UK summer run! Beside gigs at Bolton’s Riff Fest and more UK cities, HIGH FIGHTER added some upcoming shows in France as well as Luxembourg.

It’s been three years since the band toured the United Kingdom while on their first European tour ever back in early 2015. This August, HIGH FIGHTER will bring their latest record ‘Scars & Crosses’ as well as some brand new material live on stage. It will be one of the last tours HIGH FIGHTER are going to play this year and before they will release their second full length album in early 2019. If you’re looking for a highly polished band then look elsewhere as HIGH FIGHTER play mean and dirty Blues, Stoner, Doom & Sludgy riffs to fuel your appetite with, make sure to catch them live on the following dates this year:

23.08.18 NL – Tilburg / Little Devil
24.08.18 UK – Bournemouth / The Anvil
25.08.18 UK – Bolton / Riff Fest
26.08.18 UK – Edinburgh / Bannerman’s
27.08.18 UK – Bristol / The Old England
28.08.18 UK – Milton Keynes / The Craufurd Arms
29.08.18 UK – London / The Devonshire Arms
30.08.18 FR – Lille / Bobble Café
31.08.18 FR – Paris / Rigoletto
01.09.18 LUX – Belval / Mix n Kawa

More upcoming HIGH FIGHTER dates:
14.09.18 DE – Hannover / Subkultur
20.10.18 DE – München / Keep It Low Festival

Born in the summer of 2014 by former band members of A Million Miles, Buffalo Hump and Pyogenesis, this band is a volatile cocktail of heavy as hell riffs! Add a heavy dose of the blues and these deadly schizophrenic vocals and HIGH FIGHTER offer something new to the Sludge, Stoner, Doom & Metal Scene. After their critically acclaimed debut EP ‘The Goat Ritual’ released end of 2014, followed by numerous shows all over Europe, including festivals such as Wacken Open Air, Summer Breeze, Desertfest Berlin & Antwerp, Sonic Blast, Up In Smoke and many more, as well as several gigs with bands alike Ahab, Conan, Crowbar, Mantar, Corrosion of Conformity, Elder, Downfall of Gaia, Mammoth Storm, Brant Bjork, The Midnight Ghost Train and Earth Ship to name just a few, HIGH FIGHTER released their first full length album ‘Scars & Crosses’ in June 2016 with Svart Records. The band’s second studio album will see the light of day in early 2019.

HIGH FIGHTER are:
Mona Miluski – Vocals
Christian Pappas – Guitar
Ingwer Boysen – Guitar
Constantin Wüst – Bass
Thomas Wildelau – Drums / Backing Vocals

www.highfighter.de
www.facebook.com/highfighter
www.instagram.com/highfighter_official
www.highfighter.bandcamp.com
www.svartrecords.com

High Fighter, “Darkest Days” official video

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High Fighter Announce UK Tour

Posted in Whathaveyou on June 26th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

High Fighter (Photo by Rob Birdman)

German sludge metallers High Fighter — for whom that genre tag is woefully insufficient — are heading to the UK for a quick week of shows in August. They’re continuing to support their Svart-delivered 2016 debut album, Scars and Crosses (review here), but will reportedly have new material out with them on the road. A second long-player from the Hamburg-based is an intriguing prospect given the atmospheric elements that made their way into the first one despite an overriding outward intensity that defined much of its impression. Early 2019 release? Right on. Into the notes it goes with hopes for more to come before it’s out.

The UK tour — the topic at hand, recall — kicks off on Aug. 24 and is presented by Buried in Smoke Promo. Dates came down the PR wire as follows:

high fighter tour poster

HIGH FIGHTER ANNOUNCE UK SUMMER TOUR!

Hamburg-based Sludge & Stoner Metal band HIGH FIGHTER have announced to return to the UK this summer! Alongside British heavyweights TUSKAR and MY DIABLO, the band will be hitting the UK roads for 6 dates in August, including a festival show at Bolton’s Riff Fest.

Born in the summer of 2014 by former band members of A Million Miles, Buffalo Hump and Pyogenesis, this band is a volatile cocktail of heavy as hell riffs! Add a heavy dose of the blues and these deadly schizophrenic vocals and HIGH FIGHTER offer something new to the Sludge, Stoner, Doom & Metal Scene to fuel your appetize with. After their ciritically acclaimed debut EP ‘The Goat Ritual’ released end of 2014, followed by numerous shows all over Europe including festivals such as Wacken Open Air, Summer Breeze, Desertfest Berlin & Antwerp, Stoned From The Underground, Sonic Blast, Up In Smoke and many more, as well as several gigs and tours with bands alike Ahab, Conan, Crowbar, Corrosion of Conformity, Elder, Downfall of Gaia, Mammoth Storm, Brant Bjork, The Midnight Ghost Train, Mantar or Earth Ship to name just a few, HIGH FIGHTER released their first full length album ‘Scars & Crosses’ in June 2016 with Svart Records.

It’s been three years ago since the band toured the United Kingdom while on their first European tour ever back in early 2015. This August, HIGH FIGHTER will bring their latest record ‘Scars & Crosses’ as well as some brand new material live on stage. Beside some current dates with Mantar in Germany this summer, it will be one of the last tours HIGH FIGHTER will play this year and before they are going to release their second full length album in early 2019.

Make sure to catch the band live on the following UK summer dates, with support from TUSKAR & MY DIABLO, and presented by Buried In Smoke Promotions:

24.08.18 Bournemouth / The Anvil
25.08.18 Bolton / Riff Fest (*High Fighter only)
26.08.18 Edinburgh / Bannerman’s
27.08.18 Bristol / The Old England
28.08.18 Milton Keynes / The Craufurd Arms
29.08.18 London / The Devonshire Arms

www.highfighter.de
www.facebook.com/highfighter
www.instagram.com/highfighter_official
www.highfighter.bandcamp.com
www.svartrecords.com

High Fighter, “Darkest Days” official video

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Mantar Set Aug. 24 Release for The Modern Art of Setting Ablaze

Posted in Whathaveyou on June 14th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

http://theobelisk.net/obelisk/wp-content/uploads/2016/02/mantar.jpg

German noise/onslaught duo Mantar have announced an Aug. 24 release for their new album, The Modern Art of Setting Ablaze. Set to arrive in the middle of the band playing what seems to be every single festival in Europe, the on-theme-titled third Mantar record will be the follow-up to 2016’s Ode to the Flame (review here) and 2015’s Death by Burning (review here) and finds them more acclaimed than ever for their brutal and scathing attack. Think they’ve gone soft this time? Yeah, me neither. So what’s the question here? How is new Mantar not a given? Oh wait, it is. Okay.

One assumes more tour dates to come, but as you can see below, there are already plenty on deck.

From the PR wire:

mantar the modern art of setting ablaze

MANTAR Announces Details Regarding New Album, “The Modern Art of Setting Ablaze”

New Album Out August 24, 2018 via Nuclear Blast
More Information + Pre-Orders Coming Soon

Monstrous black/doom/punk chimera MANTAR have announced details regarding their upcoming third studio album. The band’s new album, The Modern Art Of Setting Ablaze, will include 12 songs and is set to be unleashed on August 24, 2018 via Nuclear Blast.

The Modern Art Of Setting Ablaze is a title in-keeping with MANTAR’s symbolic obsession with fire on albums previous; this time disavowing mankind’s tendency to blindly follow those that would lead us into oblivion. This isn’t necessarily a political statement; but rather a morbid fascination with current smoldering tensions that threaten to set the minds of the masses on fire.

Stay tuned for more information coming soon regarding the release of The Modern Art Of Setting Ablaze.

MANTAR is currently on the road, playing select club shows as well as Europe’s biggest festivals. See dates below.

MANTAR Tour Dates:
Cold Summer 2018
07.06.2018 Greenfield Festival Interlaken Switzerland
08.06.2018 Chronical Moshers Open Air Hauptmannsgrün Germany
09.06.2018 Scheune Dresden Germany
16.06.2018 Download Paris Brétigny-sur-Orge France
17.06.2018 Alter Schlachthof Lingen Germany
22.06.2018 Tons of Rock Halden Norway
23.06.2018 Umbaubar, Oldenburg Germany
24.06.2018 Graspop Dessel Belgium
29.06.2018 Tuska Open Air Helsinki Finland
01.07.2018 Fusion Festival Lärz Germany
11.07.2018 Eistnaflug Neskaupstaður Iceland
13.07.2018 Eulenglück Braunschweig Germany
14.07.2018 Dong Open Air Neukirchen-Vluyn Germany
27.07.2018 Metaldays Tolmin Slovenia
03.08.2018 Wacken Open Air Wacken Germany
05.08.2018 Sylak Open Air Saint-Maurice-de-Gourdans France
10.08.2018 Sonic Blast Moledo Moledo Portugal
12.08.2018 Bloodstock Derbyshire England
24.08.2018 Kulturkombinat Bunker Rostock Germany !!!NEW!!!
25.08.2018 Reload Festival Sulingen Germany

www.mantarband.com
www.facebook.com/mantarband
www.nuclearblast.de/mantar

Mantar, new album teaser

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Mantar on Tour Now; New Album Announced

Posted in Whathaveyou on June 4th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

Severity has always had a big role to play in Mantar‘s game, but jeez, these are some serious-as-hell fests they’re playing. Rock am Ring? Download Paris? Tuska Open Air, Wacken, SonicBlast Moledo and Bloodstock? I mean, I knew the German duo were popular, but I guess I didn’t know they were like “let’s go play all the fests in front of tens of thousands of people” popular.

Score one for the extreme. I wonder how long it’ll be before someone comes up with a proper subgenre name for the style Mantar play, drawing from black metal, thrash, hardcore punk and doom. Doomthrash? Charredcore? Whatever the tag, they’ve just announced intentions to release a follow-up to 2016’s Ode to the Flame (review here) via Nuclear Blast later this year, and while they don’t give out much info on the particulars of the whats, whens, what’s-it-calleds, etc., one can only assume that’s because they’re so otherwise busy on the already-underway slew of tour dates that follow here courtesy of the PR wire:

http://theobelisk.net/obelisk/wp-content/uploads/2016/02/mantar.jpg

MANTAR – new album coming soon

Monstrous black/doom/punk chimera MANTAR kicked off their summer run, dubbed “Cold Summer 2018”, last Friday at Rock im Park. See dates below.

MANTAR
Cold Summer 2018
01.06.2018 Rock im Park Nürnberg Germany
02.06.2018 Fortarock Nijmegen Netherlands
03.06.2018 Rock am Ring Nürburg Germany
05.06.2018 Kulturkneipe Walfisch Freiburg Germany
06.06.2018 Kulturladen Konstanz Germany
07.06.2018 Greenfield Festival Interlaken Switzerland
08.06.2018 Chronical Moshers Open Air Hauptmannsgrün Germany
09.06.2018 Scheune Dresden Germany
16.06.2018 Download Paris Brétigny-sur-Orge France
17.06.2018 Alter Schlachthof Lingen Germany
22.06.2018 Tons of Rock Halden Norway
23.06.2018 Umbaubar, Oldenburg Germany
24.06.2018 Graspop Dessel Belgium
29.06.2018 Tuska Open Air Helsinki Finland
01.07.2018 Fusion Festival Lärz Germany
11.07.2018 Eistnaflug Neskaupstaður Iceland
13.07.2018 Eulenglück Braunschweig Germany
14.07.2018 Dong Open Air Neukirchen-Vluyn Germany
27.07.2018 Metaldays Tolmin Slovenia
03.08.2018 Wacken Open Air Wacken Germany
05.08.2018 Sylak Open Air Saint-Maurice-de-Gourdans France
10.08.2018 Sonic Blast Moledo Moledo Portugal
12.08.2018 Bloodstock Derbyshire England
25.08.2018 Reload Festival Sulingen Germany

www.mantarband.com
www.facebook.com/mantarband
www.nuclearblast.de/mantar

Mantar, new album teaser

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Quarterly Review: Iron Monkey, Deadsmoke, Somnuri, Daira, Kavrila, Ivan, Clara Engel, Alastor, Deadly Vipers, Storm of Void

Posted in Reviews on January 11th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

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

Day Four of the Quarterly Review! Welcome to the downswing. We’re past the halfway point and feeling continually groovy. Thus far it’s been a week of coffee and a vast musical swath that today only reaches even further out from the core notion of what may or may not make a release or a band “heavy.” Is it sound? Is it emotion? Is it concept? Fact is there’s no reason it can’t be all of those things and a ton more, so keep an open mind as you make your way through today’s batch and we’ll all come out of it better people on the other end. Alright? Alright. Here we go.

Quarterly Review #31-40:

Iron Monkey, 9-13

iron monkey 9-13

I’ll admit to some level of skepticism at the prospect of an Iron Monkey reunion without frontman Johnny Morrow, who died in 2002, but as founding guitarist Jim Rushby (now also vocals), bassist Steve Watson (who originally played guitar) and new drummer Brigga revive the influential UK sludge outfit with the nine songs of 9-13 on Relapse, it somehow makes sense that the band’s fuckall and irreverence would extend inward as well. That is, why should Iron Monkey find Iron Monkey an any more sacred and untouchable property than they find anything else? Ultimately, the decision will be up to the listener as to acceptance, but the furies of “OmegaMangler,” “Mortarhex,” “Doomsday Impulse Multiplier” and the nine-minute lumber-into-torrent closer “Moreland St. Hammervortex” make a pretty resounding argument that if you can’t get down with Iron Monkey as they are today, it’s going to be your loss and that, as ever, they couldn’t care less to see you stick around or see you go. So welcome back.

Iron Monkey on Thee Facebooks

Relapse Records on Bandcamp

 

Deadsmoke, Mountain Legacy

deadsmoke mountain legacy

Mountain Legacy, which is the second Deadsmoke album for Heavy Psych Sounds, might be the heaviest release the label has put out to-date. For the band, it marks the arrival of keyboardist Claudio Rocchetti to the former trio, and from the lumbering space of aptly-titled post-intro opener “Endless Cave” to the later creeping lurch of “Wolfcurse,” it’s an outing worthy of comparison to the earlier work of Italian countrymen Ufomammut, but still rooted in the gritty, post-Sleep plod the band elicited on their 2016 self-titled debut (review here). The central difference seems to be an increase in atmospheric focus, which does well to enrich the listening experience overall, be it in the creepy penultimate interlude “Forest of the Damned” or side A finale “Emperor of Shame.” Whether this progression was driven by Rocchetti’s inclusion in the band or the other way around, it’s a marked showing of growth on a quick turnaround from Deadsmoke and shows them as having a much broader creative reach than expected. All the better because it’s still so devastatingly weighted.

Deadsmoke on Thee Facebooks

Heavy Psych Sounds website

 

Somnuri, Somnuri

somnuri somnuri

To call Somnuri a formidable trio is underselling it. The Brooklynite three-piece is comprised of guitarist/vocalist Justin Sherrell (Blackout, ex-Bezoar, etc.), bassist Drew Mack (ex-Hull) and drummer Phil SanGiacomo (Family), and the noise they make on their Magnetic Eye-released self-titled debut is as progressive as it is intense. Recorded by Jeff Berner and mixed my SanGiacomo, cuts like “Kaizen” and “Same Skies” land with a doomed heft but move with the singular fury of the Northeastern US, and even as eight-minute closer “Through the Dead” balances more rock-minded impulses and seems to touch on a Soundgarden influence, it answers for the ultra-aggro tumult of “Pulling Teeth” just before. A flash of ambience in the drone interlude “Opaque” follows the plodding highlight “Slow Burn,” which speaks to yet another side of Somnuri’s potential – to create spaces as much as to crush them. With an interplay of cleaner vocals, screams, growls and shouts, there’s enough variety to throw off expectation, and where so much of New York’s noise-metal history is about angry single-mindedness, Somnuri’s Somnuri shows even in a vicious moment like “Inhabitant” that there’s more ground to cover than just being really, really, really pissed off.

Somnuri on Thee Facebooks

Magnetic Eye Records website

 

Daira, Vipreet Buddhi

daira vipreet buddhi

Time to get weird. No. Really weird. In the end, I’m not sure Mumbai semi-improvisationalist troupe Daira did themselves any favors by making their sophomore LP, Vipreet Buddhi, a single 93-minute/16-track outing instead of breaking it into the two halves over which its course is presented – the first being eight distinct songs, the second a flowing single jam broken up over multiple parts – but one way or another, it’s an album that genuinely presents a vibe of its own, taking cues from heavy psych, jazz, funk, classic prog, folk and more as it plays through its bizarre and ambient flow, toying with jarring stretches along the way like the eerie “Apna Ullu Seedha” but so dug in by the time it’s jammed its way into “Dekho Laal Gaya” that it seems like there’s no getting out. It’s an overwhelming and unmanageable offering, but whoever said the avant garde wasn’t supposed to be a challenge? Certainly not Daira, and they clearly have plenty to say. Whatever else you listen to today, I can safely guarantee it won’t sound like this. And that’s probably true of every day.

Daira on Thee Facebooks

Daira on Bandcamp

 

Kavrila, Blight

kavrila blight

Chest-compressing groove and drive will no doubt earn Hamburg four-piece Kavrila’s second album, Blight (on Backbite Records), some comparisons to Mantar, but to dig into tracks like “Gold” and “Each (Part Two)” is to find a surprising measure of atmospheric focus, and even a rage-roller like “Abandon” has a depth to its mix. Though it’s just 24 minutes long, I’d still consider Blight a full-length for the two-sided flow it sets up leading to the aforementioned “Gold” and “Each (Part Two),” both being the longest cut on their respective half of the record in addition to splitting the tracklisting, as well as for the grinding aspects of songs like “Apocalypse,” “Demolish” and “Golem” on side B, the latter of which takes the rhythmic churn of Godflesh to a point of extremity that even the earlier thrust of “Lungs” did little to foretell. There’s a balance of sludge and hardcore elements, to be sure, but it’s the anger that ultimately defines Blight, however coherent it might be (and is) in its violent intent.

Kavrila on Thee Facebooks

Backbite Records webstore

 

Ivan, Strewn Across Stars

ivan strewn across stars

Employing the session violin services of Jess Randall, the Melbourne-based two-piece of Brodric Wellington (drums/vocals) and Joseph Pap (guitar, bass, keys) – collectively known as Ivan – would seem to be drawing a specific line in the direction of My Dying Bride with their take on death-doom, but the emotionalist influence goes deeper than that on Strewn Across Stars, their second LP. Shades of Skepticism show themselves in opener and longest track (immediate points) “Cosmic Fear,” which demonstrates a raw production ready for the limited-cassette obscurism the band conjured for their 2016 debut, Aeons Collapse, but nonetheless fleshed out melodically in the guitar and already-noted, deeply prevalent string arrangement. The subsequent “Ethereal” (12:41), “Hidden Dimensions” (12:25) and “Outro” (8:18) dig even further into plodding shattered-self woefulness, with “Hidden Dimensions” providing a brief moment of tempo release before the violin and keys take complete hold in “Outro” to give listeners one last chance to bask in resonant melancholia. A genre-piece, to be sure, but able to stand on its own in terms of personality and patience alike.

Ivan on Thee Facebooks

Ivan on Bandcamp

 

Clara Engel, Songs for Leonora Carrington

clara-engel-songs-for-leona-carrington

Toronto singer-songwriter Clara Engel pays ambient folk homage to the Mexican surrealist painter/author with the five-tracks of Songs for Leonara Carrington, fleshing out creative and depth-filled arrangements that nonetheless hold fast to the intimate human core beneath. Engel’s voice is of singular character in its melding of gruff fragility, and whether it’s the psychedelic hypnosis of opener and longest track (immediate points) “Birdheaded Queen” or the seemingly minimalist drift of the penultimate “The Ancestor,” her confident melodies float atop gorgeous and sad instrumental progressions that cast an atmosphere of vast reaches. Even the more percussively active centerpiece “Microgods of all the Subatomic Worlds” feels informed by the gradual wash of guitar melody that takes hold on the prior “Sanctuary for Furies,” and as Engel brings in guest contributors for drums, bass, guitar, theremin and choir vocals alongside her own guitar, pump organ, flute and singing, there seems to be little out of her reach or scope. It is a joy to get lost within it.

Clara Engel on Thee Facebooks

Wist Records website

 

Alastor, Blood on Satan’s Claw

alastor-blood-on-satans-claw

I don’t know whether the title-cut of Blood on Satan’s Claw, the new two-songer EP from dirge-doomers Alastor, is leftover from the same sessions that bore their 2017 debut album for Twin Earth Records, Black Magic (review here), but as it’s keeping company with a near-11-minute take on Creedence Clearwater Revival’s “Bad Moon Rising,” the four-piece’s return is welcome either way. Unsurprisingly, not much has changed in their approach in the mere months since the full-length was issued, but that doesn’t mean the swing of “Blood on Satan’s Claw,” the central riff of which owes as much to Windhand as to Sleep as to C.O.C.‘s “Albatross” as to Sabbath, isn’t worth digging into all the same, and with psychedelic vocals reminiscent of newer Monolord and flourish of creeper-style organ, its doom resounds on multiple levels leading into the aforementioned cover, which drawls out the classic original arrangement with a wilfully wretched tack that well earns a nod and raised claw. Alastor remain backpatch-ready, seemingly just waiting for listeners to catch on. If these tracks are any indication, they’ll get there.

Alastor on Thee Facebooks

Alastor on Bandcamp

 

Deadly Vipers, Fueltronaut

deadly-vipers-fueltronaut

Give it a couple minutes to get going and Fueltronaut, the debut full-length from French four-piece Deadly Vipers, is more than happy to serve up energetic post-Kyuss desert rock loyalism that’s true to form in both spirit and production. Shades of earliest Dozer and the wider pre-social media older-school Euro heavy underground show themselves quickly in “Universe,” but in the later mid-paced reach of “Stalker,” there’s more modern bluesy vibing and as the mega-fuzzed “Meteor Valley,” the driving jam of “Supernova,” and the let’s-push-the-vocals-really-high-in-the-mix-for-some-reason “Dead Summer” shove the listener onward with righteous momentum toward pre-outro closer “River of Souls,” each track getting longer as it goes, the melody that emerges there indeed feels like a moment of arrival. My only real complaint? The intro “Fuel Prophecy” and (hidden) outro, “Watch the Road End.” Especially with the immediacy that strikes when “Universe” kicks in and the resonant finish of “River of Souls” at its six-minute mark, having anything before the one and after the other seems superfluous. A minor quibble on an impressive debut (one could also ramble about cartoon tits on the cover, but what’s the point?) and showcase of potential from an exciting newcomer outfit clearly assured of the style for which they’re aiming.

Deadly Vipers on Thee Facebooks

Deadly Vipers on Bandcamp

 

Storm of Void, War Inside You

storm-of-void-war-inside-you

Tokyo duo Storm of Void make their full-length debut with the nine-track/48-minute War Inside You, a full-length that might first snag attention owing to guest vocal spots from Napalm Death’s Mark “Barney” Greenway and Jawbox’s J. Robbins, but has no trouble holding that same attention with its progressive instrumental turns and taut execution. Released by Hostess Entertainment, it’s instrumental in bulk, with eight-string guitarist George Bodman (Bluebeard) and drummer Dairoku Seki (envy) coming together to deliver brisk and aggressive prog metal centered around chugging riffs and a tension that seems to take hold in “Into the Circle” and let up only for the momentary “Interlude” in the midsection before closer “Ghosts of Mt. Sleepwalker” finally allows for some exhalation. As for the guest spots, they’re nothing to complain about, and they break up the proceedings nicely placed as they are, but if Storm of Void are going to hook you, it’s going to be on their own merits, which are plentiful.

Storm of Void on Thee Facebooks

Hostess Entertainment website

 

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