Live Review: HØSTSABBAT 2019 Night Two in Oslo, Norway, 10.05.19

Posted in Reviews on October 6th, 2019 by JJ Koczan

hostsabbat 2019 poster square

Before the Show

Festival mode. One day bleeds into the next, sometimes into the one after. You lose time to the timetable. Basic needs become a big deal. Water. Coffee. Advil. Comfy socks. Earplugs in the top pocket of your jeans so you can be quick on the draw in a sudden burst of volume. All this shit really starts to matter.

Which I guess is my way of saying I’m tense about the day soon to unfold, as well as exhausted from last night. I expect these two energies to cancel each other out and leave a remainder of self-loathing-fueled social awkwardness, which is the standard I generally set for myself.

There was an art talk in the crypt a bit ago, followed upstairs by a live-painting session by Linda K. Røed and Trine Grimm, set to a drone session by Highrule. Not something you see every day, so I wanted to be sure to see it.

And they were painting, and droning, respectively, and I decided that while they were creating, I’d go up the balcony and do a bit of writing, so that’s where I am. Here’s the view:

Live painting at Høstsabbat

It is a significant view, but it’s worth reemphasizing that this fest is about more than just the place. Last year it found its home in the Kulturkirken Jakob, and with that task behind it, it’s begun to explore further its own personality and the varying shapes it can take. The lineup for today, already under way, sort of, speaks to that, as does the growing visual side. I’d only expect the progression to continue.

First band on in half an hour downstairs. Easily time for another coffee beforehand.

After the Show

Definitely not the same sort of brain-surge as was the ending of last night, with Ufomammut reconfirming their galaxial supremacy, but more like a spiritual cleansing, like if you could actually catch your breath in one breath. That would be Colour Haze closing out Kulturkirken Jakob for the second and final night of Høstsabbat 2019.

By then, I and everyone else in attendance had been through a ringer of ups, downs and side-to-sides of style, eight bands between the two Kulturkirken stages, five more across the street at Verkstedet, and I know I didn’t see two bands play the same kind of sound today. Even the sludge bands were different enough to be called different. It was a little staggering.

But, if there’s ever a time for a blowout, it’s the last day of the fest, and Høstsabbat made the most of the opportunity confronting it. I’m sad to say that as I’ll be traveling tomorrow morning, the inevitabilities of returning to real life — much as I have one — were burrowing into my head by about the time the third band went on, but I knuckled down and let myself enjoy being here while I’m here. Have I mentioned how lucky I am to be here?

Good. Because that’s really the lesson of the weekend. Stupid lucky.

I seem to recall the day going something like this:

Dunbarrow

Dunbarrow (Photo by JJ Koczan)

Rest assured, it was just last year that Norwegian classic doomers Dunbarrow released their second album, II (review here) on RidingEasy. It only sounds like it was 45 years ago. Opening up the crypt stage, Dunbarrow delivered their set with an energy that reminded me of catching Brutus headlining in the same space last year, Dunbarrow‘s style is even more heavy ’70s in its focus. They represented their recorded work well in that way — it wasn’t like they got on stage and came across completely different, like their vintage aesthetic is all studio tricks or something like that. There’s a lot of First Daze Here-era Pentagram at play, as there inevitably would be, and they take cues from the same cues Witchcraft took therefrom, but part of the charm of seeing them was watching them bring that spirit to life, and they absolutely did that. It’s a sound that’s not based on being the loudest or the heaviest all the time, and it can be tricky for bands to pull it off and still convey some sense of vitality. Wasn’t a problem for Dunbarrow.

Hexvessel

Hexvessel (Photo by JJ Koczan)

I know it’s trash-cliche, because experience is subjective and all that happy crap, but Hexvessel have the ability to move a room like few bands I’ve seen. As fate and silly-life would have it, this was my second time seeing them since the release of their back-to-ground forest folk fourth LP, All Tree (review here), behind a set this Spring at Roadburn (review here), and it’s proven true again that they’re absolutely transportive. The vocal harmonies, the rich arrangement elements, and now — thanks in no small part to the aesthetic sprawl of their third album, 2016’s When We are Death (review here) — the diversity of their atmospheres all come together to form a cohesive purpose. It’s a conversation and a going. Does it require some buy-in? For sure. What doesn’t? That’s where the sheer songwriting comes in, because no matter where Hexvessel might take you in a given track, record, set, etc., their method has an ultra-consistent level of craft behind it. Every melody is in its place, every swell and sway have their function toward the larger intent moving you. And so you end up in a different place than you were when they started. Every time.

Papir

Papir (Photo by JJ Koczan)

It’s a pretty good sign your lineup is absolutely bonkers when you’ve got bands like Hexvessel and Papir playing on the relatively early end of the day. I was way stoked, in the parlance of our times, to catch Papir‘s ultra-fluid instrumental jamming. They were one of the band I was most excited to see this weekend, there was zero disappointment once they got going. I was a little surprised at how mellow they weren’t. All things are relative — especially when Belzebong are shortly to hit stage upstairs and Slabdragger are next in the basement — but still, while of course they had their calm moments and the overarching vibe was serene, the Copenhagen trio of guitarist Nicklas Sørensen bassist Christian Becher and drummer Christoffer Brøchmann showed even more character in their material than I had thought was coming. The crypt stage was packed out early for them — I got there 20 minutes before they went on and still had a dude trying to push out of the way for a spot — but frankly, I couldn’t even argue with the impulse. What Papir were doing, loud or quiet at any given moment but universally hypnotic, was nothing if not an invitation.

Belzebong

Belzebong (Photo by JJ Koczan)

Kind of on the other end of a similar instrumentalist heavy spectrum were Belzebong, whose crusty, ultra-gree-heen take on stoner metal and sludge was like taking the notion of “riff-based” to what most would no doubt consider an illogical extreme. Some bands are a lifestyle, and Belzebong were a reminder of that. I don’t know how they’re received in their native Poland, but Høstsabbat certainly bid them welcome to the altar stage, and was more than willing to follow the bouncing skulls as the band headbanged in unison to each successive, massive riff. As with their recorded output — their third full-length, Light the Dankness (review here), came out last year — their live show is bent decidedly in favor of the primitive. It is stoned, and fuck you. I’ll grant that that, in itself, is an atmosphere, and Belzebong were well comfortable within it, but the whole idea was driving riffs into the brains of the willing and the converted because everyone else is probably a cop anyway. They were loud, they were huge-sounding, and they were everything you could possibly ask Belzebong to be on a Saturday night in Oslo. I’m gonna go out on a limb and guess that also includes being high. If not, it’s doubly impressive.

Orsak:Oslo

Orsak Oslo (Photo by JJ Koczan)

I didn’t get to catch more than a few minutes of their set, because I was en route from one thing to the other, but I wanted to give quick mention to anyone paying attention to Orsak:Oslo, whose dreamy-space-vibe-rock I consider my “find” of the entire festival. Again, I didn’t see a lot of it, but what I saw was excellent and made me wish I could see more. They put out a record earlier this year on Germany’s Kapitaen Platte. If I could’ve figured out how to work VIPPS without a Norwegian ID number, I’d have bought the CD from the merch area. As it was, they were well worth the momentary detour across the street.

Slabdragger

Slabdragger (Photo by JJ Koczan)

Uh, progressive? But like the progressive that might kick you? I did have to look it up, but it’s been three years since London trio Slabdragger — which includes Old Man Lizard guitarist/vocalist Jack Newnham on drums — put out their second record, Rise of the Dawncrusher (review here), and one would think that might be long enough for them to get another release together, but seeing them in the crypt for Høstsabbat, I had no trouble believing it might be longer. They were half a decade between their first and second records, and with the complexity of what they were playing, it makes sense. Extended tracks, some parts rocking, other parts outright punishing, Slabdragger brought together a thoughtful mindset with tectonic intensity in a way that was undeniably their own. You might call them sludge on some level, if only because they’re so heavy — and they are, whatever else is going on at the time — but that barely scratches the surface. Bonus points to guitarist Sam Thredder, who asked to have the lights turned up after the first song so he could see what he was playing. “I swear that’s why that song only had one note,” he told the crowd as he prepared to share vocal duties again with bassist Yusuf Tary for another round of pummeling.

The Devil and the Almighty Blues

The Devil and the Almighty Blues (Photo by JJ Koczan)

The Devil and the Almighty Blues, feeding off a hometown crowd’s energy, vocalist Arnt O. Andersen, guitarists Petter Svee and Torgeir Waldemar Engen, bassist Kim Skaug and drummer Kenneth Simonsen came out to the country-blues strains of “O Death” — as they’re wont to do — and proceeded to immediately earn the heroes’ welcome they were given by the crowd by building the ultra-catchy “Salt the Earth” from earlier-2019’s Tre (review here) from the ground up, Anderson, in robe, in utter command of the proceedings in true and classic frontman fashion, even when his arms were crossed and he stood at the back of the stage drinking a beer and nodding in approval. The band on either side of him — and behind, in the case of Simonsen — were both vibrant and tight, clearly playing up to the occasion at Kulturkirken Jakob in front of fans as well as what seemed to be friends and family. Their moody, possibly drunken sense of danger was readily on display, but they shone on a big stage in a way that underscored their touring and fest experience, and while I had to wonder what it would take to get them over to the US for a show, and if the American crowd would get it in the same way, I couldn’t help but think they’re a band my home country is missing out on by not having the chance to see live. They took what was obviously a special show for them and made it one for everyone else too.

LLNN

LLNN (Photo by JJ Koczan)

Sometimes it’s easy to forget how heavy heavy actually gets. Fortunately, for those momentary lapses, along comes a band like LLNN to absolutely slam your skull into a wall. I had only barely checked out the Copenhagen outfit’s 2018 full-length, Deads, for a few seconds before deciding they were the something I wanted to experience live, and for two days of heaviness in that basement, there might indeed have been nowhere to go after them. Superlatively heavy, extreme post-metal, with atmospherics to push the air out of your lungs and tone to make sure it stays gone. Brutal, chaotic, whatever else. It was all of that churn and physical force behind the music, as well as being less about a cathartic expression — as was, say, SUMA, who opened the crypt yesterday — than a reveling in disaffection and alienation. So much weight brought to bear, and not all of it coldly or unemotionally. Their performance was no less ferocious than their sound, with the lights low and the strobe going and everything set to convey a sense of being overwhelmed, which was a standard they met easily. Not the kind of thing you’d put on for a dinner party — unless your dinner parties are awesome — but probably the kind of thing that should be played in art galleries as well as church basements. Pelagic released that album, so clearly I have some digging back to do in further investigation. Maybe a bit of recovery first though.

Colour Haze

Colour Haze (Photo by JJ Koczan)

There was some technical difficulty at the outset — one of drummer Mandred Merwald‘s stage monitors didn’t seem to be putting out anything for a while there — but while that delayed their start a couple minutes, once Colour Haze got going for their headlining set at the second night of Høstsabbat, and whatever came before, the feeling of peace was palpable. It radiated from all corners of the stage, even from Merwald, who make no mistake is a madman behind the kit. That’s something that has become all the more visible since he’s turned the drums sideways to allow room for organist/synthesist Jan Faszbender on the stage; Faszbender being the fourth member who’s worked with the band for years on arrangements, recording, etc., but only really started to play shows with them for the last couple years, joining the trio of Merwald, bassist Philipp Rasthofer — he of the classiest bass tone I’ve ever heard — and guitarist/vocalist Stefan Koglek, whose hippie spirit on stage does nothing to undercut the precision and concentration behind his playing. They’ve been celebrating the 25th anniversary of the band since the Spring, and have more tour dates lined up this year, but I was lucky enough to see them in this configuration in London in May 2018 (review here), and they’ve only gotten more fluid as a four-piece, adding nuance in between-song transitions and Faszbender‘s contributions to older material. They opened with “She Said” from the 2012 album of the same name (review here) and they jammed and jammed and jammed, with some new material thrown in for good measure. The record is called Life, and it’s slated for CD/DL release in November, so here’s hoping. In the meantime, “Aquamaria” and “Transformation” were glorious, and the warmth that Colour Haze exuded from the stage was such that not even the October night in Oslo could stand up to it. Seriously, I took off my hoodie. They’re not a band I’ll ever pretend to be remotely objective about, but what they do is singularly beautiful. Another 25 years would be just fine, thank you very much. And then some.

The Next Morning

Hi from Oslo International. I’ll be honest with you, I don’t know what the hell value Høstsabbat sees in inviting me to this festival, but holy crap it’s appreciated. The hospitality I’ve been shown this year and last year (and two years before that, as well) is sincerely humbling, and while I’m happy to come here and write as long as they’ll have me, I can’t say it makes any sense why they’d want me here.

As such, I’m not going to say anything about “next year.” Because, you know what, maybe Høstsabbat will do what’s well within their rights and tell me to get lost (which I did walking from the train station to the hotel on Thursday, same as last year). I feel like it would be reasonable.

So instead of talking about Høstsabbat 2020, which I’m sure will be excellent whether or not I’m here to see it, I’m going to take 2019 and breathe it in for a minute and appreciate what I’ve just spent the last two days doing for the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity it was. How many chances am I going to have to see a band like Orsak:Oslo play in a tiny bar? Or Ufomammut and Colour Haze in a cathedral setting? Whatever does or doesn’t happen in the future, I was lucky to be here.

Special thanks to Ole and Jens, as always, and thanks to Stefan Koglek, The Patient Mrs. and most of all to you for reading.

Now, if you need me, I gotta go get on a plane. More pics after the jump.

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Live Review: HØSTSABBAT 2019 Night One in Oslo, Norway, 10.04.19

Posted in Reviews on October 5th, 2019 by JJ Koczan

hostsabbat 2019 poster square

Before Show

Well, the church is still beautiful, not that there was any doubt. The Kulturkirken Jakob, secularized — because in Norway, state might occasionally trump church — with its high-ceiling grandeur and broad wood floor and walls lined with benches that at some point were pews. I’d been holed up in the hotel since yesterday afternoon, mostly sleeping, stumbling through the last of the Quarterly Review and reading about baseball, the news, Star Trek, and so on. Trying to be, essentially, as quiet as possible as though if I weren’t, I’d be politely asked to leave the country. The next two days would assure any quota for volume was met, anyhow.

Skraeckoedlan, which is now a word I’ve typed often enough that my phone knows it, were soundchecking on the altar stage when I walked in. The stage itself was higher and the fest added another bar down toward the front of the big room, which seems like a prudent move. Downstairs in the crypt, Suma were prepping to kick off the first night of Høstsabbat 2019 with a noise soaked basement gig in what’s been also transformed into an art gallery. More visual art this year as well, and there’s a live painting event scheduled for tomorrow early that I’m going to see if I can make.

The only variable in that is finishing this review in time, to be honest.

But it’s only moments now until doors, then about an hour till the first band. People running around looking anxious, nervous, excited. Maybe it’s just me. That will I’m sure smooth out to a good energy as things get rolling and everyone ends up where they’re supposed to be. On the couch in back of the crypt, typing on my phone, that’s kind of where I feel like I am.

After Show

Wow. Well then. That was, uh, something special that I just saw. I feel like I was trying to pry open my jaw from the clenched position it’s been in for the last I don’t even know how long, and tonight was the prybar that finally did the job. Even the last 15 minutes or so of Ufomammut, that last shot of adrenaline. Wow.

The answer of course is obvious — the start — but I feel like I’m not even sure where to start on this one, or how I could hope to convey exactly what went down this evening and tonight in any meaningful way. Holy shit. You think you have a pretty good idea what you’re getting and then it just gets trampled on. I am lucky to be here.

I don’t know what else to tell you that doesn’t come down to that. Here’s a little bit of how it went:

SUMA

SUMA (Photo by JJ Koczan)

You know the thing about post-metal? It’s got rules. You have to headbang a certain way. You have to riff a certain way. You have to take it so seriously all the time. One of the many reasons to like Sweden’s SUMA is they very much seem to recognize that for the bullshit it is. Yeah, they’re post-metal, I guess, but with an inflection straight out of noise rock that makes them so much less strictly adherent to the tenets of the genre — any genre, really — and they’re all the more satisfying to watch because of it. I stood in back in the basement, closed my eyes and just let wave after crushing wave of riffs absolutely bury me in volume. What a start to the weekend. It was like scrubbing away all the bullshit of your existence, your work, your school, the petty dramas that make up your every day, and entering communion with something else. Something loud. Call it catharsis. Call it detox. I don’t really care. SUMA set the tone and vibe immediately for Høstsabbat while also giving everyone who followed the challenge of living up to their standard. I am lucky to be here.

Skraeckoedlan

Skraeckoedlan (Photo by JJ Koczan)

When Swedish melo-prog-fuzz four-piece Skraeckoedlan got added to this festival earlier this year, I didn’t dare hope to think I’d see them. They’re a band I’ve dug since the first time I heard their 2011 debut, Äppelträdet (review here), and their approach has only grown richer with time, as 2015’s Sagor (review here) and 2019’s Eorþe (review here) demonstrate so plainly. But I never expected to catch a live set. Never mind the band standing on a frickin’ altar in a cathedral blazing through their material like it’s another day down at the Office of Kickass, I didn’t imagine a scenario when they and I would be in the same place. I’m glad to have been so wrong about that, because standing there watching them only confirmed the fandom I’ve had for their work over the course of this decade, and really, they’ve only gotten better as they’ve gone on. I may never get the chance to see them again, but after watching them tonight at Høstsabbat, I feel like asking to would be greedy anyhow. I am lucky to be here.

Yatra

Yatra (Photo by JJ Koczan)

This is Yatra‘s first European tour. Something tells me it will not be their last. The Baltimorean trio hit the road hard domestically in the US following the January release of their debut album, Death Ritual (review here), through Grimoire Records, and they reportedly began recording the follow-up to that over the summer. Well, that’s nifty, but in the meantime, here they are pairing with Sunnata on a tour this site is co-presenting and for all the stops they’ve made in New York this year — I can think a couple — Høstsabbat 2019 is my first time seeing them. I feel late to that party, but I’m late to most parties, so I’ll get over it. Nonetheless, as I had suspected, they’re a killer live act, and at least the debut album only tells part of that tale. On stage — or in basement, as it were — they tap into a primal energy, like they’re excavating the very roots of sludge metal. Oh yeah, and Dana Helmuth‘s vocals sound like Jeff fucking Walker from peak-era Carcass, so that ain’t exactly hurting their cause either. Yatra have the potential to lead a revival nastier, more brutal sludge in the US. This tour is only going to make them stronger, as they all will. I am lucky to be here.

Electric Eye

Electric Eye (Photo by JJ Koczan)

Hail the rock på Norska! Across the street (right out the door), at the Verkstedet bar, the entire bill was Norwegian, but Electric Eye would be the lone Norge representatives on the altar, and for what it’s worth — plenty — they brought a sonic spirit that reached far beyond international borders. Also beyond the borders of the atmosphere. I don’t know if it would be appropriate to call their take on space rock entirely mellow, but it was subtle in a way that allowed other influences to creep in almost before you realized they were there. It was a stark contrast, energy-wise, to the rawness Yatra had wrought downstairs, but Electric Eye made the most of their engaging style and gave Høstsabbat a cosmic push that was more than welcome. I had wanted to check out Kosmos Brenner, who last-minute took the spot of Superlynx after a death in the family assured they wouldn’t make it, but after I popped out for a second, I found myself strangely drawn back to the ethereal mysteries being pondered on the big stage. I’ll admit they’ve been around for more than six years and I’d never heard them before. Lesson learned. That lesson? I’m lucky to be here.

Stuck in Motion

Stuck in Motion (Photo by JJ Koczan)

This past April, when I was fortunate enough to see Enköping, Sweden, trio Stuck in Motion at Roadburn (review here), they played as a four-piece, with keys in addition to the guitar, bass and drums. At Høstsabbat, they added percussion as well to their hippie-vibing jams, so there were five of them crammed into the basement stage area — it’s not a stage, as such, but it’s where the gear goes — but if they felt packed in, that did nothing to slow their good times. Retro-fied psychedelic blues, all pastoral and dreamy, but still earthbound enough to tear into a Hendrixian solo every now and again (and again), their stuff made for easy-to-listen vibes, and a soothing bit of respite from some of the day’s more crushing contributors — a complement to Electric Eye in that, but less motorik and more flow. Before they played “Are You Ready to Fly” from their 2018 self-titled debut (review here), they indeed checked in with the crowd to see if the room was ready to fly, and I heard no murmurings to the contrary. That self-released LP has been a little under-radar as yet, but given how full the crypt was for their set, I can’t help but wonder what the reception for their next one will be when it arrives, hopefully sooner than later. I am lucky to be here.

Sunnata

sunnata (Photo by JJ Koczan)

It was hard not to feel like the church was built specifically for Sunnata. The Polish meditative heavy psych ritualists came out with incense and harem pants (respect) and were clear in their concept from the outset, tapping into the spirit of acts like Om and My Sleeping Karma, while still retaining a harder edge to their sound beneath the harmonized vocals of guitarists Szymon Ewertowski and Adrian Gadomski. Special mention should be given as well to bassist Michal Dobrzanski and drummer Robert Ruszczyk, whose ability to build tension was readily apparent in the band’s latest album, Outlands (review here), which came out last year, but whose doing so on stage was nothing short of physically affecting. You felt the churn in your stomach, and when they hit into a payoff, the relief was genuine. Exhale. They’re on tour with Yatra, as noted, but I put Sunnata in the same category of bands I never imagined being able to see live but was absurdly to do so. One recalls their days rocking out fuzzy as Satellite Beaver, and the ongoing evolution they set to roll with the transition they made becoming Sunnata. Their spaciousness, looking inward and outward simultaneously, was an immersive joy to behold. Again, exhale. I am lucky to be here.

Yuri Gagarin

Yuri Gagarin (Photo by JJ Koczan)

In the words of Bernie Sanders: “Look.” I stood in front of two of the three of this festival’s stages all day, and at no point was there a crowd press like there was for Yuri Gagarin. I got to the crypt 20 minutes before they were slated to go on and already people were packed in. Very clearly a band whose reputation was preceding them. It’s been four years since the Gothenburg cosmonauts issued their second long-player, At the Center of All Infinity, through Kommun2 and Sulatron, but their out-the-airlock-into-the-void vibes were quick to remind that time is a human construct and space rock is not. Reaching into the great cosmic throb, they launched with “Sonic Invasion 2910” from their 2013 self-titled and proceeded into oblivion — though I’m not sure it was actually “Oblivion”; that’s on the second record — with the sheer delight of not-entirely-peaceful exploration. About two songs into their set, before I stood up from taking pictures and rolled my numb-ass ankle, I had the thought that I’ll never be able to see Hawkwind in their prime, but now I’ve seen Yuri Gagarin as up close as I could ever hope to see any band. I think some of what they played was new, but don’t quote me on that. Either way, as noted: time, irrelevant. They ruled. I am lucky to be here.

Ufomammut

Ufomammut (Photo by JJ Koczan)

Holy fucking shit, Ufomammut. I’ve had the pleasure a few times over the years, but this was hands-down the best I’ve ever seen the Italian cosmic doom masters play. They began with a few renditions in the style of their recent XX (review here) offering of revamped older material in quieter form — “Satan,” “Mars,” etc. — but what they did with that was gradually use it to build into the heavier portion of the set, so that each successive piece pushed a little further. First it was Urlo and Poia on stage, the former on keys/noise/vocals, the latter on guitar, then Poia joined in for cymbal washes, then drums, then the guitars got louder, then the drums got harder, then the vocals got shoutier until it seemed like the crowd was going to fucking riot if someone didn’t launch into a riff. But 20 years on, Ufomammut know exactly how to put people where they want them, so when they did get heavy, it was glorious. All the more so for the tension they’d built leading up to it. With a projector going on the high church stage, they absolutely laid waste to the room, like a consuming sonic burst of interstellar force. It was impossible to stand there and not be swept up by it. I kept telling myself it was time to go back to the room and start writing, but I couldn’t leave. How many times in your life do you get to see shows like this? They ended, of course, with “God,” and there was nowhere to go after that anyway, so what the hell. It was amazing. Like the entirety of day one at Høstsabbat, I had a pretty good idea of what to expect going into Ufomammut‘s set, and my expectations were thoroughly squashed. I am lucky to be here.

The Next Morning

Achy, but up for it. Took me a while to let myself go to sleep, but I got there eventually, was only up a couple times overnight, which is pretty good for me at this point. Hotel breakfast downstairs had free coffee, so I indulged in two triple-doubles — three double espressos, times two — and feel reasonably conscious. Could stand and will have a shower and that will help as well.

Though it seems inevitable that at some point Høstsabbat will add a third day to the proceedings, be it a pre-show Thursday or a full day Sunday, whatever, the quality-over-quantity at this festival makes it all the more unreal. Every band has something to offer, and though this year with the third stage there are inevitably things you won’t get to see all of if you see at all, the sense of curation and purpose that’s gone into its making is nothing if not palpable. My conclusion remains that I’m lucky to be here.

Some more pics after the jump. Thanks for reading.

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Høstsabbat 2019 Confirms Colour Haze as Second Headliner

Posted in Whathaveyou on April 5th, 2019 by JJ Koczan

hostsabbat 2019 banner

As a terrible tv show intro once said, “It’s been a long road, getting from there to here.” Awful as that theme was, the saying nonetheless applies to Høstsabbat 2019, which has now announced its complete lineup for the 2019 edition with Colour Haze as the final act added. The German heavy psychedelic stalwarts are celebrating their 25th anniversary this year, and have already been on tour to mark the occasion, so one can only imagine the party will continue like it does. They join Ufomammut as headliners for Høstsabbat, and I’ll admit that since I heard they were playing I’ve been itching to post the news. I think it’s pretty well established I’m a dork for Colour Haze at this point, and as they’re recording a new album this month — maybe even RIGHT NOW — it’s all the more reason to get out and see them, not that any more reason than “they’ll be there” is needed when it comes to showing up.

All the more imperative to get yourself to Kulturkirken Jakob this October.

Book it.

Here’s word from the fest:

hostsabbat 2019 colour haze

HØSTSABBAT 2019 – COLOUR HAZE (DE)

All of a sudden we are there. The last, but definitely not the least, addition to Høstsabbat 2019.

We have been wanting to have this band on the bill for years, and we are super proud to finally bring the mighty COLOUR HAZE to Norway for the first time, headlining the Saturday bill.

COLOUR HAZE represents the essence of what Høstsabbat is all about. They are heavy, they are lush, they are groovy, they are retro-oriented, but first of all they are one of the best bands on display in World. Make no mistake, they are no beginners.

COLOUR HAZE is a band that seems to have existed for ever. They have played the biggest festivals a numerous of times; Roadburn, Duna Jam, Desertfest and the list goes on… Their latest opus “In her Garden”, out 2017 on Elektrohasch Records marked their place in the European psych/kraut rock community as an entity that never rests on its prior accomplishments, but keep on pushing boundaries to expand their sound to the enjoyment of all their fans.

They are at times reminiscent of Norwegian legends Motorpsycho, both in their sound and artistic vision. We surely hope and think COLOUR HAZE will blow minds like no one before them, when they enter the Chapel stage Saturday October 5th.

COLOUR HAZE has been added, Høstsabbat 2019 booking is done.

See you in October!

FESTIVAL TICKETS
http://bit.ly/HSfestivalpass

SPOTIFY PLAYLIST – HØSTSABBAT 2019
http://bit.ly/HS2019playlist

https://www.facebook.com/events/274561413173994/
https://www.facebook.com/hostsabbat/
http://hostsabbat.no/

Colour Haze, Live at The Garage, London, May 22, 2018

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Høstsabbat 2019: Hexvessel and Suma Added

Posted in Whathaveyou on March 22nd, 2019 by JJ Koczan

hostsabbat 2019 banner

You already know what I love about this, right? It’s how different these two bands are. Hexvessel — who, I admit, were announced last week; as ever, the Quarterly Review has me all jammed up as on other stuff waiting to be posted, so I thought it better to combine announcements rather than fall behind twice — and a Finnish freak-folk band, worshiping the natural world. Suma, from Sweden, would seem to only want to crush things natural and manmade alike with their chaotic and brutal noise. It’s what you’d call an unexpected pairing, and that’s exactly why I dig it. Maybe they’ll play back to back. That’d be fun.

There’s one more announcement next Friday from Høstsabbat 2019. Yes, I know who it is. It’s awesome. You don’t want to miss it. I’m not going to give you a clue, but it’s someone I’m very excited to see.

Here are confirmations for Hexessel and Suma in the meantime:

Most of the time these band descriptions kind of write themselves. This next band however, is something completely different.

Their latest album “All Tree”, released one month ago on Century Media Records, has spellbounded the Høstsabbat camp completely. Hexvessel operate in their own universe, mixing classic folky tones and groove, with the flourishing sounds of the 60’s-era. Freedom and no restraint is key.

The band serves the listener a lush experience, putting a smile on your face, teasing you for a walk in the sun leaving all things bad behind… Sometimes that’s what music is all about, right?

It’s also a landmark, to finally have the first Finnish band represented on our lineup. Can you imagine a better debut for these beautiful people from the East, than having HEXVESSEL play the Church? We surely can’t.

Please welcome HEXVESSEL to Høstsabbat 2019!

Ooooh, the heaviness!!!!

We are closing in on the announcements for this years’ festival, but there’s still two more goodies to come.

The first one is SUMA, probably one of the heaviest, hardest hitting, monstrous entities in our entire scene. For anyone who has witnessed this beast of a live act, there’s no doubt who’s in charge. We’ve seen people passing out, lying unconscious on the floor, knocked out totally, of the sheer weight coming out of the PA. They play around with the heavy with the greatest of ease, adding details, odd rhythms and undeniable grooves like true masters

SUMA are no strangers to Høstsabbat, and it’s one of those bands we knew we had to invite back at some point. Having gained momentum ever since their latest visit, these fellas from Malmö, Sweden, will lay waste to all crossing their path.

This steamroller will leave you flat.

FESTIVAL TICKETS
http://bit.ly/HSfestivalpass

SPOTIFY PLAYLIST – HØSTSABBAT 2019
http://bit.ly/HS2019playlist

https://www.facebook.com/events/274561413173994/
https://www.facebook.com/hostsabbat/
http://hostsabbat.no/

Hexvessel, “Changeling” official video

Suma, The Order of Things (2016)

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Høstsabbat 2019: Dunbarrow Join Lineup

Posted in Whathaveyou on March 15th, 2019 by JJ Koczan

dunbarrow

Norway’s own Dunbarrow will make a return appearance at Høstsabbat this October after playing the festival’s first edition six years ago. Last Fall, the Haugesund-based five-piece issued their second full-length, Dunbarrow II (review here), through RidingEasy Records and further demon-strated their love of atmospheres conjured through ’70s darkness and vintage tones and mood. I wouldn’t know having not been at the first Høstsabbat, but it’s easy to imagine Dunbarrow are a much different band than they were the last time out. Their self-titled debut (review here) would arrive three years later in 2016, but in 2013, they’d only had the The Crows ain’t Far Behind, which came out that year, and a prior single in 2012, so yeah, maybe a pretty formative period for the band.

By the time they got to the first record, they’d well figured it out, and the second one only built on that, so it seems likely a much different Dunbarrow will feature at Høstsabbat 2019 this October. Frankly, I’ll take it however it comes.

From the festival:

hostsabbat dunbarrow

HØSTSABBAT 2019 – DUNBARROW (NO)

Some bands are born in the wrong generation, in a different time and age… Dunbarrow has a sound taking us back to the golden 70’s, where riff, groove and melodies was what it was all about, and they execute their craft with sheer brilliance, lending ear to old-school Witchcraft and classic Pentagram equally.

Their recent album “II”, was praised by blogs and magazines all over the world, taking the band to the next level. Hailing from the coast in western Norway, DUNBARROW sat sail over the pond, and is now under the wings of the evergreen So Cal label Riding Easy Records.

These fine gentlemen took us completely by surprise when they played the first edition of Høstsabbat back in 2013, and we can’t wait to see what the years in between have done to their output. It’s a joy to welcome DUNBARROW back to the Church of Sabbat.

MUSIC
SPOTIFY: http://bit.ly/dunbarrowSF
YOUTUBE: http://bit.ly/dunbarrowYT

FESTIVAL TICKETS
http://bit.ly/HSfestivalpass

SPOTIFY PLAYLIST – HØSTSABBAT 2019
http://bit.ly/HS2019playlist

https://www.facebook.com/events/274561413173994/
https://www.facebook.com/hostsabbat/
http://hostsabbat.no/

Dunbarrow, “On Your Trail” official video

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Høstsabbat 2019 Adds Yuri Gagarin to Lineup

Posted in Whathaveyou on March 11th, 2019 by JJ Koczan

hostsabbat 2019 banner

I wasn’t there when Yuri Gagarin played Høstsabbat in 2015, but you can bet your ass I’ll be watching them when they take the stage — or the basement floor, which would also be awesome to have that sound engulf everyone standing there with the low ceiling as they kick into “At the Center of all Infinity” or some such righteous blast of cosmic swirl and fuzz — for Høstsabbat 2019 in October. The Swedish space rockers have a sound like ore mined from comets and they meld an exploratory sensibility with a charted course that lets you know somewhere in the midst of all that chaos there’s a plan at work. Hypnotisch churn and sprawling guitar give way to engulfing heft and atmospheric drones as the instrumentalist outfit trance out their particular angle on bliss, and the assembled masses at Høstsabbat, myself included, will count ourselves lucky to be along for the trip.

Universe on.

Fest announcement follows:

hostsabbat 2019 yuri gagarin

HØSTSABBAT 2019 – YURI GAGARIN (SWE)

SPACE > EARTH

This Friday’s announcement is a band who knows how to handle the rotten existence of the average human being, wandering around our endlessly doomed planet called the Earth. They leave it. Easy.

Luckily for all Sabbathians, they have room in their shuttle when we once again shall be guided by the mindblowing Yuri Gagarin on our way to a colorful cosmos. A trip cleansed from fear and hatred, a trip manifested by their locked down grooves and infinite sounds, a trip that leaves us floating aimlessly amongst planets and stardust.

The Swedes in YURI GAGARIN is a band we have been wanting to invite back since their last feedback ended in 2015, and it’s with huge anticipation and joy we are welcoming them to church in October!

SPACE ?

MUSIC
SPOTIFY: http://bit.ly/yurigagarinSP
YOUTUBE: http://bit.ly/yurigagarinYT

FESTIVAL TICKETS
http://bit.ly/HSfestivalpass

SPOTIFY PLAYLIST – HØSTSABBAT 2019
http://bit.ly/HS2019playlist

https://www.facebook.com/events/274561413173994/
https://www.facebook.com/hostsabbat/
http://hostsabbat.no/

Yuri Gagarin, At the Center of all Infinity (2015)

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Høstsabbat 2019: Yatra Added to Lineup

Posted in Whathaveyou on March 6th, 2019 by JJ Koczan

hostsabbat 2019 banner

I like that the latest update from Høstsabbat starts with, “Have you read any heavy music blogs lately?” Shit, I hope not. Save yourself. And your money. Try to make it through some too-old-dude’s run-on sentences about how this or that band riffs? Surely you have better things to do with your time.

Cha cha cha.

They’re right, though. Yatra, for whom the cliche “burst onto the scene” genuinely fits, released their debut album, Death Ritual (discussed here) in January through Grimoire Records and have been all over the place ever since. Some bands take a while to catch on. Some bands don’t. Yatra would seem to have made an immediate impression, and fairly enough so.

They’ve got tour dates already announced for this month, so I guess we’ll be keeping eyes open for a Fall European run to be announced. Always possible they’re just flying over for this show, but somehow I have the feeling they’re going to be in demand in more than just Oslo.

Still, as the first announcement for them on European soil, it’s a special moment. Kudos to the band, and to Høstsabbat 2019 for having its ears to the (under)ground.

Fest announcement follows:

hostsabbat 2019 yatra

HØSTSABBAT 2019 – YATRA (US)

Have you read any heavy music blogs lately? If you have, there’s no chance in the world you’ve missed the presence of the Americans in YATRA. Their brand new album “Death Ritual” has been on everyone’s lips, taking over news feeds completely. Rightfully so.

From the starting sounds, which recalls the soothing sounds of Thebes, by OM, there’s no turning back. YATRA play some kind of old school, almost blackened, stoner doom. It’s terrifying, with a sound nodding to Goatsnake as well as Sleep, but with a much grimmer output.

This is a booking we are very proud of, since we’re certain YATRA will leave marks in our community for years to come.

Please give hand to YATRA, as they visit Norway and Oslo for the first time. Hail!!

MUSIC // YATRA
SPOTIFY: http://bit.ly/yatraSP
YOUTUBE: http://bit.ly/yatraYT

FESTIVAL TICKETS
http://bit.ly/HSfestivalpass

SPOTIFY PLAYLIST – HØSTSABBAT 2019
http://bit.ly/HS2019playlist

https://www.facebook.com/events/274561413173994/
https://www.facebook.com/hostsabbat/
http://hostsabbat.no/

Yatra, Death Ritual (2019)

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Høstsabbat 2019 Adds All-Norway Stage at Second Venue; Barren Womb, Magmakammer & More to Play

Posted in Whathaveyou on February 28th, 2019 by JJ Koczan

hostsabbat 2019 banner

Since its first iteration, the Oslo-based fest Høstsabbat has made a point to be supportive of the native-Norwegian underground. This coming October, they’ll up the stakes in that regard by adding a whole new stage and venue to the proceedings. For a show that takes place in a spot that already has two stages and, well, there just happens to be a third right across the street that has another one, it’s a natural kind of growth to happen. Barren WombGolden CoreSuperlynxMagmakammerOrsak:OsloAcârashKanaan, Astrosaur and Subnoir will hold sway over the new stage and in addition being a badass homage to the festival’s home city and country — though I wouldn’t have minded seeing SÂVER added again now that their record will be out — and while I’m not sure how the timing will work out with the two stages back at the Kulturkirken Jakob, that’s a chance for someone like me coming from outside or even for someone from Norway unfamiliar, to get a lesson in what the scene there is all about. It’s an opportunity.

Announcement from the fest follows:

hostsabbat 2019 norway stage 2

As Høstsabbat has been growing over the years, since our humble start in 2013, our intentional focus on showcasing the Norwegian underground has lost turf to bigger acts from foreign countries. It’s been super fun to be able to book top shelf bands from different corners of the world, but it’s no secret that our focus on the always brimming scene in our native country has lost ground.

Fear no more!

Høstsabbat 2019 will include a third stage, at the awesome bar and stage at Verkstedet Bar, literally a 30-second walk from the church. This stage will consist of Norwegian bands ONLY. After months of planning, we feel we have captured the essence of bands, set to break through to the next level. It’s hard to describe the quality and diverse impact of this stage, and we would like to thank all the bands for making this vision become reality.

It’s a tremendous joy to welcome these nine acts to Høstsabbat 2019, illustrated on a stunning poster by the incredibly talented Trine Grimm (Trine Grimm Tattoo), who is also set to curate the art program this year, alongside our long-time companion Linda K Røed!

There you go, Boom!

Bands:
Barren Womb
Golden Core
Aca?rash
Superlynx
Magmakammer
Astrosaur
Orsak:Oslo
SUBNOIR
Kanaan – Band

FESTIVAL TICKETS
http://bit.ly/HSfestivalpass

SPOTIFY PLAYLIST – HØSTSABBAT 2019
http://bit.ly/HS2019playlist

https://www.facebook.com/events/274561413173994/
https://www.facebook.com/hostsabbat/
http://hostsabbat.no/

Superlynx, “Hex” official video

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