Quarterly Review: Horisont, Ahab, Rrrags, Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs, Earthbong, Rito Verdugo, Death the Leveller, Marrowfields, Dätcha Mandala, Numidia

Posted in Reviews on July 7th, 2020 by JJ Koczan

the-obelisk-qr-summer-2020

Well, I’m starting an hour later than I did yesterday, so that’s maybe not the most encouraging beginning I could think of, but screw it, I’m here, got music on, got fingers on keys, so I guess we’re underway. Yesterday was remarkably easy, even by Quarterly Review standards. I’ve been doing this long enough at this point — five-plus years — that I approach it with a reasonable amount of confidence it’ll get done barring some unforeseen disaster.

But yesterday was a breeze. What does today hold? In the words of Mrs. Wagner from fourth grade homeroom, “see me after.”

Ready, set, go.

Quarterly Review #11-20:

Horisont, Sudden Death

horisont sudden death

With a hefty dose of piano up front and keys throughout, Gothenburg traditionalist heavy rockers Pro Essay is always ready to answer requests http://at.kdu.edu.ua/?med-dissertation or Do My Essay Cheap in UK, get Huge discount on all orders! Horisont push retro-ism into full-on arena status. Moving past some of the sci-fi aspects of 2017’s write college application letter Research Paper On Pearl Harbor nbc10 homework helpline writing a great college essay About Time, Check out our website for argument essay on global warming. Order cheap custom papers and receive A+ grades. Only qualified writers available 24/7. Sudden Death comprises 13 tracks and an hour’s runtime, so rest assured, there’s room for everything, including the sax on “Into the Night,” the circa-’77 rock drama in the midsection of the eight-minute “Archeopteryx in Flight,” and the comparatively straightforward seeming bounce of “Sail On.” With cocaine-era production style, order english essay - Compose a timed custom essay with our help and make your tutors startled find key recommendations as to how to receive the Sudden Death is beyond the earlier-’70s vintage mindset of the band’s earliest work, and songs like “Standing Here” and the penultimate proto-metaller “Reign of Madness” stake a claim on the later era, but the post- Federal Resume do your homework app by certified Federal Resume Writers. What is a Federal Resume? Since the elimination of the complicated Government Queen melody of “Revolution” at the outset and the acoustic swing in “Free Riding” that follows set a lighthearted tone, and as always seems to be the case with Number of student asks us, can I pay you to http://www.abatec.cz/?creative-writing-bfa for me? Our experts always say yes that we do your dissertation efficiently at cheap. Horisont, there’s nothing that comes across as more important than the songwriting.

Horisont on Thee Facebooks

Century Media website

 

Ahab, Live Prey

ahab live prey

Scourge of the seven seas that German nautically-themed funeral doomers http://sommelier.dn.ua/essay-on-success/ Service 2018 that guarantees timely delivery. Order online best Thesis help for students. Experts researched & high quality custom Ahab are, Identifying the best Write College Essay writing service with reliable writers is the first step towards making significant improvements academically Live Prey is their first live album and it finds them some five years removed from their last studio LP, Can someone Visit Website - Essays & dissertations written by high class writers. Only HQ academic services provided by top specialists. Qualified The Boats of the Glen Carrig (review here). For a band who in the past has worked at a steady three-year pace, maybe it was time for something, anything to make its way to public ears. Fair enough, and in five tracks and 63 minutes, Are you try to make your custom writing one of the best? Without any problem our experts make your grades A+! Best Help On Dissertation 1 Decembrie you can rely on Live Prey spans all the way back to 2006’s Pay To Write An Essay In Montreal - Compose a timed custom research paper with our help and make your professors amazed professional writers, top-notch services Call of the Wretched Sea with “Ahab’s Oath” and presents all but two of that debut’s songs, beginning with the trilogy “Below the Sun,” “The Pacific” and “Old Thunder” and switching the order of “Ahab’s Oath” and “The Hunt” from how they originally appeared on the first record to end with the foreboding sounds of waves rolling accompanied by minimal keyboards. It’s massively heavy, of course — so was WriteMyPapers.org is a professional research paper, If the question "High School Essay Writers professionally?" bothers you a lot and you need an expert Call of the Wretched Sea — and whatever their reason for not including any other album’s material, at least they’ve included anything.

Ahab on Thee Facebooks

Napalm Records website

 

Rrrags, High Protein

rrrags high protein

Let’s assume the title A ed login will provide these important steps High Protein might refer to the fact that Dutch/Belgian power trio homework help center coordinator Kcls Live Homework Help dissertation electronic history extended essay help Rrrags have ‘trimmed the fat’ from the eight songs that comprise their 33-minute sophomore LP. It’s easy enough to believe listening to a cut like “Messin'” or the subsequent “Sad Sanity,” which between the two of them are about as long as the 5:14 opener “The Fridge” just before. But while reader writer thinker essay Homeork how to write college application formal research paper High Protein has movers and groovers galore in those tracks and the fuzzier “Sugarcube” — the tone of which might remind that guitarist Ron Van Herpen is in Astrosoniq — the stomping “Demons Dancing” and the strutter “Hellfire,” there’s live-DeepPurple-style breadth on the eight-minute “Dark is the Day” and closer “Window” bookends “The Fridge” in length while mellowing out and giving drummer/vocalist Rob Martin a rest (he’s earned it by then) while bassist Rob Zim and Van Herpen carry the finale. If thinking of it as a sleeper hit helps you get on board, so be it, but Rrrags‘ second album is of unmitigated class and straight-up killer performance. It is not one to be overlooked.

Rrrags on Thee Facebooks

Lay Bare Recordings website

 

Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs, Viscerals

pigs pigs pigs pigs pigs pigs pigs viscerals

There’s stoner roll and doomed crash in “New Body,” drone-laced spoken-word experimentalism in “Blood and Butter,” and post-punk angular whathaveyou as “Halloween Bolson” plays out its nine-minute stretch, but Viscerals — the third or fourth Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs album, depending on what you count — seems to be at its most satisfying in blowout freak-psych moments like opener “Reducer” and “Rubbernecker,” which follows, while the kinda-metal of “World Crust”‘s central riff stumbles willfully and teases coming apart before circling back, and “Crazy in Blood” and closer “Hell’s Teeth” are more straight-up heavy rock. It’s a fairly wide arc the UK outfit spread from one end of the record to the other — and they’re brash enough to pull it off, to be sure — but with the hype machine so fervently behind them, I have a hard time knowing whether I’m actually just left flat by the record itself or all the hyperbole-set-on-fire that’s surrounded the band for the last couple years. Viscerals gets to the heart of the matter, sure enough, but then what?

Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs on Thee Facebooks

Rocket Recordings on Bandcamp

 

Earthbong, Bong Rites

Earthbong Bong Rites

Kiel, Germany’s Earthbong answer the stoner-sludge extremity of their 2018 debut, One Earth One Bong (review here), with, well, more stoner-sludge extremity. What, you thought they’d go prog? Forget it. You get three songs. Opener “Goddamn High” and “Weedcult Today” top 15 minutes each, and closer “Monk’s Blood” hits half an hour. Do the quick math yourself on that and you’ll understand just how much Earthbong have been looking forward to bashing you over the head with riffs. “Weedcult Today” is more agonizingly slow than “Goddamn High,” at least at the beginning, but it builds up and rolls into a pace that, come to think of it, is still probably slower than most, and of course “Monk’s Blood” is an epic undertaking right up to its last five minutes of noise. It could’ve been an album on its own. But seriously, if you think Earthbong give a shit, you’re way off base. This is tone, riff and weed worship and everything else is at best a secondary concern. Spend an hour at mass and see if you don’t come out converted.

Earthbong on Thee Facebooks

Earthbong on Bandcamp

 

Rito Verdugo, Post-Primatus

rito verdugo post-primatus

No doubt that at some future time shortly after the entire world has moved on from the COVID-19 pandemic, there will be a glut of releases comprised of material written during the lockdown. Peruvian four-piece Rito Verdugo are ahead of the game, then, with their Post-Primatus four-song EP. Issued digitally as the name-your-price follow-up to their also-name-your-price 2018 debut, Cosmos, it sets a 14-minute run from its shortest cut to its longest, shifting from the trippy “Misterio” into fuzz rockers “Monte Gorila” (which distills Earthless vibes to just over three minutes) and “Lo Subnormal” en route to the rawer garage psychedelia of “Inhumación,” which replaces its vocals with stretches of lead guitar that do more than just fill the spaces verses might otherwise be and instead add to the breadth of the release as a whole. Safe to assume Rito Verdugo didn’t plan on spending any amount of time this year staying home to avoid getting a plague, but at least they were able to use the time productively to give listeners a quick sample of where they’re at sound-wise coming off the first album. Whenever and however it shows up, I’ll look forward to what they do next.

Rito Verdugo on Thee Facebooks

Rito Verdugo on Bandcamp

 

Death the Leveller, II

Death the Leveller II

Signed to Cruz Del Sur Music as part of that label’s expanding foray into traditionalist doom (see also: Pale Divine, The Wizar’d, Apostle of Solitude, etc.), Dublin’s Death the Leveller present an emotionally driven four tracks on their 38-minute label debut, the counterintuitively titled II. Listed as their first full-length, it’s about the same length as their debut “EP,” 2017’s I, but more important is the comfort and patience the band shows with working in longer-form material, opener “The Hunt Eternal,” “The Golden Bough” and closer “The Crossing” making an impression at over nine minutes apiece — “The Golden Bough” tops 12 — while “So They May Face the Sun” runs a mere 7:37 and is perhaps the most unhurried of the bunch, playing out with a cinematic sweep of guitar melody and another showcase for the significant presence of frontman Denis Dowling, who’s high in the mix at times but earns that forward position with a suitably standout performance across the record’s span.

Death the Leveller on Thee Facebooks

Cruz Del Sur Music website

 

Marrowfields, Metamorphoses

marrowfields metamorphoses

It isn’t surprising to learn that the members of Fall River, Massachusetts, five-piece Marrowfields come from something of an array of underground styles, some of them pushing into more extreme terrain, because the five songs of their debut full-length, Metamorphoses, do likewise. With founding guitarist/main-songwriter Brandon Green at the helm as producer as well, there’s a suitably inward-looking feel to the material, but coinciding with its rich atmospheres are flashes of blastbeats, death metal chug, double-kick and backing growls behind the cleaner melodic vocals that keep Marrowfields distinct from entirely traditionalist doom. It is a niche into which they fit well on this first long-player, and across the five songs/52 minutes of Metamorphoses, they indeed shapeshift between genre elements in order to best serve the purposes of the material, calling to mind Argus in the progressive early stretch of centerpiece “Birth of the Liberator” while tapping Paradise Lost chug and ambience before the blasts kick in on closer “Dragged to the World Below.” Will be interesting to see which way their — or Green‘s, as it were — focus ultimately lies, but there isn’t one aesthetic nuance misused here.

Marrowfields on Thee Facebooks

Black Lion Records on Bandcamp

 

Dätcha Mandala, Hara

datcha mandala hara

Dätcha Mandala present a strong opening salvo of rockers on Hara, their second album for MRS Red Sound, before turning over to all-out tambourine-and-harp blues on “Missing Blues.” From there, they could go basically anywhere they want, and they do, leading with piano on “Morning Song,” doing wrist-cramp-chug-into-disco-hop in “Sick Machine” and meeting hand-percussion with space rocking vibes on “Moha.” They’ve already come a long way from the somewhat misleading ’70s heavy of opener “Stick it Out,” “Mother God” and “Who You Are,” but the sonic turns that continue with the harder-edged “Eht Bup,” the ’70s balladry of “Tit’s,” an unabashed bit o’ twang on “On the Road” and full-on fuzz into a noise freakout on closer “Pavot.” Just what the hell is going on with Hara? Anything Dätcha Mandala so desire, it would seem. They have the energy to back it up, but if you see them labeled as any one microgenre or another, keep in mind that inevitably that’s only part of the story and the whole thing is much weirder than they might be letting on. No complaints with that.

Dätcha Mandala on Thee Facebooks

MRS Red Sound

 

Numidia, Numidia

Numidia Numidia

If you’ve got voices in your band that can harmonize like guitarists James Draper, Shane Linfoot and Mike Zoias, I’m not entirely sure what would lead you to start your debut record with a four-minute instrumental, but one way or another, Sydney, Australia’s Numidia — completed by bassist/keyboardist Alex Raffaelli and drummer Nathan McMahon — find worthy manners in which to spend their time. Their first collection takes an exploratory approach to progressive heavy rock, seeming to feel its way through components strung together effectively while staying centered around the guitars. Yes, three of them. Psychedelia plays a strong role in later pieces “Red Hymn” and the folky “Te Waka,” but if the eponymous “Numidia” is a mission statement on the part of the five-piece, it’s one cast in a prog mentality pushed forward with poise to suit. Side A capper “A Million Martyrs” would seem to draw the different sides together, but it’s no minor task for it to do so, and there’s little sign in these songs that Numidia won’t grow more expansive as time goes on.

Numidia on Thee Facebooks

Nasoni Records website

 

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Outsideinside Premiere “Bang Bang (My Baby Shot Me Down)” Cover; Free Download Available

Posted in audiObelisk on June 4th, 2020 by JJ Koczan

outsideinside

Pittsburgh classic-style heavy rockers Outsideinside issued their second full-length, Outsideinside II (review here), on March 6 through Rock Freaks Records, and this cover was recorded at the same time. If you know the song “Bang Bang (My Baby Shot Me Down)” there’s a decent chance it’s because the track was featured on the soundtrack to Quentin Tarantino’s 2003 two-parter Kill Bill. That version was by Nancy Sinatra, and it appeared on her 1966 album, How Does That Grab You?, and has been covered numerous times over the years by a variety of popsters and other types. The song was originally written by Sonny Bono and appeared on Cher‘s 1966 record, The Sonny Side of Cher, so Sinatra wasn’t first either, even if it’s her take on it that’s probably most recognized at this point. So it goes. Even Cher can’t win ’em all. Stevie Wonder also gave the song a try in ’66, so she’s in good company.

Outsideinside‘s “Bang Bang (My Baby Shot Me Down)” was recorded at the same time as the album, and as that record marked the first appearance in the band of James Hart on organ and keys, so too does Hart make an impression here, adding to the ’60s pop melancholia of the melody even as vocalist/guitarist David Wheeler, bassist Jim Wilson and drummer Panfilo Dicenzo, give the track a weightier edge of kick in its later payoff. To say Outsideinside are in their element is putting it lightly. Among the many versions out there is that featured on Vanilla Fudge‘s 1967 self-titled debut, so there’s certainly precedent to work from, and I’d be surprised if Outsideinside didn’t have that take in mind, as they’re nothing if not schooled in the ways of formative heavy. That’s been true since they debuted with 2017’s Sniff a Hot Rock (review here) and since Wheeler and Wilson were in Carousel before that.

You can still get Outsideinside II, of course, and you can hear the premiere of “Bang Bang (My Baby Shot Me Down)” on the player below here, followed by some comment from Wheeler. Another Wheeler-fronted project, Limousine Beach, has newly announced an EP out this month through Tee Pee Records, so keep an eye out for more there, but in the meantime, enjoy this one:

David Wheeler on “Bang Bang (My Baby Shot Me Down)”:

“Bang Bang has been in our live set since about 2014 (back when we were still a trio), but James’ organ adds some really nice texture to the arrangement we had back then. Although originally written by Sonny Bono and performed by Cher, there are tons of other versions (Nancy Sinatra, Stevie Wonder, Vanilla Fudge, etc). Jim turned me onto Terry Reid/s version years ago and that’s become my favorite.  We recorded it during the sessions for our last LP and would have loved to have put it on the album but you can only fit so many tunes on two sides of vinyl so we decided to save it to release on its own.” 

Outsideinside on Thee Facebooks

Outsideinside on Spotify

Rock Freaks Records on Thee Facebooks

Rock Freaks website

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Days of Rona: David Wheeler of OutsideInside

Posted in Features on April 21st, 2020 by JJ Koczan

The statistics of COVID-19 change with every news cycle, and with growing numbers, stay-at-home isolation and a near-universal disruption to society on a global scale, it is ever more important to consider the human aspect of this coronavirus. Amid the sad surrealism of living through social distancing, quarantines and bans on gatherings of groups of any size, creative professionals — artists, musicians, promoters, club owners, techs, producers, and more — are seeing an effect like nothing witnessed in the last century, and as humanity as a whole deals with this calamity, some perspective on who, what, where, when and how we’re all getting through is a needed reminder of why we’re doing so in the first place.

Thus, Days of Rona, in some attempt to help document the state of things as they are now, both so help can be asked for and given where needed, and so that when this is over it can be remembered.

Thanks to all who participate. To read all the Days of Rona coverage, click here. — JJ Koczan

outsideinside-david-wheeler

Days of Rona: David Wheeler of OutsideInside (Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania)

How are you dealing with this crisis as a band? Have you had to rework plans at all? How is everyone’s health so far?

Mostly we’re just trying to stay in touch via text and support each other. I actually tested positive for covid-19 and was laid up for a few weeks dealing with that. The symptoms of the first week were pretty mild with fever, coughing and chills kicking in for the second week. Even after the symptoms ended I spent another solid week battling fatigue, but thankfully am now completely recovered. Needless to say I’m just now beginning to think about anything music related. So far all I’ve managed to do is learn “Adam’s Apple” by Aerosmith on guitar.

Luckily, the release show for Outsideinside’s new LP took place on March 6, about a week before all of the shit hit the fan so we managed to sneak it in. My other band Limousine Beach had to delay a mixing session for an LP we’re working on and had to cancel a handful of local and out of town shows we were really looking forward to, but we’ll take it all in stride. The most important thing is to flatten this curve. Luckily none of the other people I make music with have gotten [sick].

What are the quarantine/isolation rules where you are?

All non-life sustaining businesses are closed here in Pittsburgh and social distancing is in full effect.

How have you seen the virus affecting the community around you and in music?

Obviously it’s been financially devastating to anyone who makes a living as a performer, working in a venue or as a sound engineer etc. As is the case in disasters, people are working toward creative solutions. For example, my wife Susan Pedrazzi and her friend Elizabeth Sanchez have started a creative collective called Together___Apart that highlights individual artists and features stickers, tote bags, and t-shirts for sale with proceeds benefiting local performers and gig workers (https://instagram.com/together______apart).

Musicians have also found alternative ways to continue performing via livestream and are blasting out home recordings. Aside from music, I was blown away by the support I received from my friends, (as well as strangers in some cases) while I was sick. It just goes to show you that you see the best of people in times like these. There is real work to do to keep everyone’s head above water, and people are finding ways to accomplish that.

What is the one thing you want people to know about your situation as a band, personally, or anything?

Mostly, as someone who is recovering from a “mild” case of covid-19, I just want to say you do not want it and you do not want your friends and/or family to get it. It’s pretty brutal even if you’re a relatively healthy individual. Let’s do right by each other and stay away.

https://www.facebook.com/outsideinside1/
https://open.spotify.com/artist/1Nb2f7ORXPcKchOjqFqauG
https://www.facebook.com/rockfreaksrecords/
http://www.rockfreaks.de/

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Days of Rona: Andrea Vidal of Holy Grove

Posted in Features on April 9th, 2020 by JJ Koczan

The statistics of COVID-19 change with every news cycle, and with growing numbers, stay-at-home isolation and a near-universal disruption to society on a global scale, it is ever more important to consider the human aspect of this coronavirus. Amid the sad surrealism of living through social distancing, quarantines and bans on gatherings of groups of any size, creative professionals — artists, musicians, promoters, club owners, techs, producers, and more — are seeing an effect like nothing witnessed in the last century, and as humanity as a whole deals with this calamity, some perspective on who, what, where, when and how we’re all getting through is a needed reminder of why we’re doing so in the first place.

Thus, Days of Rona, in some attempt to help document the state of things as they are now, both so help can be asked for and given where needed, and so that when this is over it can be remembered.

Thanks to all who participate. To read all the Days of Rona coverage, click here. — JJ Koczan

holy grove andrea vidal

Days of Rona: Andrea Vidal of Holy Grove (Portland, Oregon)

How are you dealing with this crisis as a band? Have you had to rework plans at all? How is everyone’s health so far?

We’ve definitely had to adjust, but if you’re already an active band-you’re used to that whole “change of plans at the last minute” sort of thing. Certainly not on this scale though, this has been surreal to say the least. We had some dates booked in April in support of our Smokeout date that we’ve had to cancel, and for the time being practice has been relegated to a few Skype calls. Everyone is healthy currently, and feeling very grateful for that. We took a hit financially with the merch we ordered for the canceled run, but that pales in comparison to putting our health, our families health and anyone attending our shows at risk. Personally, it has been very difficult to watch countless tours and festivals canceled, but oddly comforting watching the community come together and show support despite these setbacks.

What are the quarantine/isolation rules where you are?

Here in Oregon we are forbidden from leaving our homes unless absolutely necessary. Bars, restaurants and other “non essential” business are closed… thank Iommi that weed stores however, are very, very much open.

The local businesses that remain open have been showing tremendous support to their employees and the community, and I feel very fortunate that — although at the moment I am very much unemployed — my basic needs are met.

How have you seen the virus affecting the community around you and in music?

For me, I find myself listening to records that I haven’t picked up in years. I’ve been reorganizing my home a bit, and coming across bits of my past while doing so has been soul reviving. The most striking thing is that for the first time in my life I have plenty of opportunity to dedicate time on my physical and mental health. I’m very grateful for that. You can’t escape yourself, and that’s even more evident while in quarantine!

What is the one thing you want people to know about your situation, either as a band, or personally, or anything?

Hard to say exactly what 2020 holds for Holy Grove. Psycho Smokeout is rescheduled for October, and though we currently have a few irons in the fire, there is some level of uncertainty surrounding each one. Thankfully, we have new music to to keep us busy. Our only band philosophy is to write the best music we possibly can — so we’re going to lean into that. It’s just about the only thing we can count on. I find joy in writing lyrics for Holy Grove. For a moment, I get to express some form of poetry that wouldn’t be able to be published or put out into the world otherwise. I am really thankful to be filling my notebook once again.

https://www.facebook.com/holygroveband/
http://holygrove.bandcamp.com/
http://www.ripple-music.com
https://ripplemusic.bandcamp.com
https://www.facebook.com/theripplemusic/

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Quarterly Review: Ocean Chief, Barnabus, Helen Money, Elder Druid, Mindcrawler, Temple of Void, Lunar Swamp, Huge Molasses Tank Explodes, Emile, Saturno Grooves

Posted in Reviews on March 27th, 2020 by JJ Koczan

quarterly review

I’m not saying I backloaded the Quarterly Review or anything — because I didn’t — but maybe subconsciously I wanted to throw in a few releases here I had a pretty good idea I was gonna dig beforehand. Pretty much all of them, as it turned out. Not a thing I regret happening, though, again, neither was it something I did purposefully. Anyone see A Serious Man? In this instance, I’m happy to “accept the mystery” and move on.

Before we dive into the last day, of course I want to say thank you for reading if you have been. If you’ve followed along all week or this is the only post you’ve seen or you’re just here because I tagged your band in the post on Thee Facebooks, whatever it is, it is appreciated. Thank you. Especially given the global pandemic, your time and attention is highly valued.

Quarterly Review #41-50:

Ocean Chief, Den Tredje Dagen

ocean chief den tredje dagen

The first Ocean Chief record in six years is nothing if not weighted enough to make up for anything like lost time. Also the long-running Swedish outfit’s debut on Argonauta Records, Den Tredje Dagen on CD/DL runs five songs and 59 minutes, and though it’s not without a sense of melody either instrumentally or vocally — certainly its guitars have plenty enough to evoke a sense of mournfulness at least — its primary impact still stems from the sheer heft of its tonality, and its tracks are of the sort that a given reviewer might be tempted to call “slabs.” They land accordingly, the longest of them positioned as the centerpiece “Dömd” seething with slower-Celtic Frost anxiety and the utter nastiness of its intent spread across 15-plus minutes of let-me-just-go-ahead-and-crush-that-for-you where “that” is everything and “no” isn’t taken for an answer. There’s respite in closer “Den Sista Resan” and the CD-bonus “Dimension 5,” but even these maintain an atmospheric severity consistent with what precedes them. One way or another, it is all fucking destroyed.

Ocean Chief on Thee Facebooks

Argonauta Records store

 

Barnabus, Beginning to Unwind

barnabus beginning to unwind

Come ye historians and classic heavy rockers. Come, reap what Rise Above Relics has sown. Though it’s hard sometimes not to think of the Rise Above Records imprint as label-honcho Lee Dorrian (ex-Cathedral, current With the Dead) picking out highlights from his own record collection — which is the stuff of legend — neither is that in any way a problem. Barnabus, who hailed and apparently on occasion still hail from the West Midlands in the UK, issued the Beginning to Unwind in 1972 as part of an original run that ended the next year. So it goes. Past its 10-minute jammy opener/longest track (immediate points) “America,” the new issue of Beginning to Unwind includes the LP, demos, live tracks, and no doubt assorted other odds and ends as well from Barnabus‘ brief time together. Songs like “The War Drags On” and “Resolute” are the stuff of ’70s-riff daydreams, while “Don’t Cry for Me My Lady” digs into proto-prog without losing its psych-folk inflection. I’m told the CD comes with a 44-page booklet, which only furthers the true archival standard of the release.

Barnabus on Thee Facebooks

Rise Above Relics store

 

Helen Money, Atomic

helen money atomic

To those for whom Helen Money is a familiar entity, the arrival of a new full-length release will no doubt only be greeted with joy. The ongoing project of experimental cellist Alison Chesley, though the work itself — issued through Thrill Jockey as a welcome follow-up to 2016’s Become Zero (review here) — is hardly joyful. Coping with the universality of grief and notions of grieving-together with family, Chesley brings forth minimalism and electronics-inclusive stylstic reach in kind across the pulsating “Nemesis,” the periodic distortion of her core instrument jarring when it hits. She takes on a harp for “Coppe” and the effect is cinematic in a way that seems to find answer on the later “One Year One Ring,” after which follows the has-drums “Marrow,” but wherever Chesley goes on Atomic‘s 47 minutes, the overlay of mourning is never far off.

Helen Money on Thee Facebooks

Thrill Jockey Records store

 

Elder Druid, Golgotha

elder druid golgotha

Belfast dual-guitar sludge five-piece Elder Druid return with seven tracks/39 minutes of ready punishment on their second album, Golgotha, answering the anger of 2017’s Carmina Satanae with densely-packed tones and grooves topped with near-universal harsh vocals (closer “Archmage” is the exception). What they’re playing doesn’t require an overdose of invention, with their focus is so much on hammering their riffs home, and certainly the interwoven leads of the title-track present some vision of intricacy for those who might demand it while also being punched in the face, and the transitional “Sentinel,” which follows,” brings some more doomly vibes ahead of “Vincere Vel Mori,” which revives the nod, “Dreadnought” has keys as well as a drum solo, and the penultimate “Paegan Dawn of Anubis” brings in an arrangement of backing vocals, so neither are they void of variety. At the feedback-soaked end of “Archmage,” Golgotha comes across genuine in its aggression and more sure of their approach than they were even just a couple years ago.

Elder Druid on Thee Facebooks

Elder Druid on Bandcamp

 

Mindcrawler, Lost Orbiter

mindcrawler lost orbiter

I know the whole world seems like it’s in chaos right now — mostly because it is — but go ahead and quote me on this: a band does not come along in 2020 and put out a record like Lost Orbiter and not get picked up by some label if they choose to be. Among 2020’s most promising debuts, it is progressive without pretense, tonally rich and melodically engaging, marked out by a poise of songcraft that speaks to forward potential whether it’s in the coursing leads of “Drake’s Equation” or the final slowdown/speedup of “Trappist-1” that smoothly shifts into the sample at the start of closer “Dead Space.” Mindcrawler‘s first album — self-recorded, no less — is modern cosmic-heavy brought to bear in a way that strikes such a balance between the grounded and the psychedelic that it should not be ignored, even in the massively crowded international underground from which they’re emerging. And the key point there is they are emerging, and that as thoughtfully composed as the six tracks/29 minutes of Lost Orbiter are, they only represent the beginning stages of what Mindcrawler might accomplish. If there is justice left, someone will release it on vinyl.

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Temple of Void, The World That Was

Temple of Void The World that Was

Michigan doom-death five-piece Temple of Void have pushed steadily toward the latter end of that equation over their now-three full-lengths, and though The World That Was (their second offering through Shadow Kingdom) is still prone to its slower tempos and is includes the classical-guitar interlude “A Single Obulus,” that stands right before “Leave the Light Behind,” which is most certainly death metal. Not arguing with it, as to do so would surely only invite punishment. The extremity only adds to the character of Temple of Void‘s work overall, and as “Casket of Shame” seems to be at war with itself, so too is it seemingly at war with whatever manner of flesh its working so diligently to separate from the bone. Across a still-brief 37 minutes, The World That Was — which caps with its most-excellently-decayed nine-minute title-track — harnesses and realizes this grim vision, and Temple of Void declare in no uncertain terms that no matter how they might choose to tip the scale on the balance of their sound, they are its master.

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Shadow Kingdom Records store

 

Lunar Swamp, Shamanic Owl

Lunar Swamp Shamanic Owl

Lunar Swamp have spawned as a blusier-directed offshoot of Italian doomers Bretus of which vocalist Mark Wolf, guitarist/bassist Machen and drummer S.M. Ghoul are members, and sure enough, their debut single “Shamanic Owl,” fosters this approach. As the band aren’t strangers to each other, it isn’t such a surprise that they’d be able to decide on a sound and make it happen their first time out but the seven-minute roller — also the leadoff their first EP, UnderMudBlues, which is due on CD in June — also finds time to work in a nod to the central riff of Sleep‘s “Dragonaut” along with its pointed worship of Black Sabbath, so neither do they seems strictly adherent to a blues foundation, despite the slide guitar that works its way in at the finish. How the rest of the EP might play out need not be a mystery — it’s out digitally now — but as far as an introduction goes, “Shamanic Owl” will find welcome among those seeking comfort in the genre-familiar.

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Lunar Swamp on Bandcamp

 

Huge Molasses Tank Explodes, II

Huge Molasses Tank Explodes II

The nine-track/42-minute second LP, II, from Milano post-this-or-that five-piece Huge Molasses Tank Explodes certainly finds the band earning bonus points based on their moniker alone, but more than that, it is a work of reach and intricacy alike, finding the moment where New Wave emerged from out of krautrock’s fascination with synthesizer music and bring to that a psychedelic shimmer that is too vintage-feeling to be anything other than modern. It is laid back enough in its overarching affect that “The Run” feels dreamy, most especially in its guitar lines, but never is it entirely at rest, and both the centerpiece “No One” and the later “So Much to Lose” help continue the momentum that “The Run” manages so fluidly to build in a manner one might liken to space rock were the implication of strict adherence to stylistic guidelines so implicit in that categorization. They present this nuance with a natural-seeming sense of craft and in “High or Low,” a fuzzy tone that feels like only a welcome windfall. Those who can get their head around it should seek to do so, and kudos to Huge Molasses Tank Explodes for being more than just a clever name.

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Retro Vox Records on Bandcamp

 

Emile, The Black Spider/Det Kollektive Selvmord

Emile The Black Spider Det Kollektive Selvmord

Set to release through Heavy Psych Sounds on the same day as the new album from his main outfit The Sonic Dawn, The Black Spider/Det Kollective Selvmord is the debut solo album from Copenhagen-based singer-songwriter and guitarist Emile Bureau, who has adopted his first name as his moniker of choice. Fair enough for the naturalism and intended intimacy of the 11-track/39-minute outing, which indeed splits itself between portions in English and in Danish, sounding likewise able to bring together sweet melodies in both. Edges of distortion in “Bundlos” and some percussion in the second half’s title-track give a semblance of arrangement to the LP, but at the core is Emile himself, his vocals and guitar, and that’s clearly the purpose behind it. Where The Sonic Dawn often boast a celebratory feel, The Black Spider/Det Kollective Selvmord is almost entirely subdued, and its expressive sensibility comes through regardless of language.

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Heavy Psych Sounds store

 

Saturno Grooves, Cosmic Echoes

saturno grooves cosmic echoes

Sonic restlessness! “Fire Dome” begins with a riffy rush, “Forever Zero” vibes out on low end and classic swing, the title-track feels like an Endless Boogie jam got lost in the solar system, “Celestial Tunnel” is all-thrust until it isn’t at all, “Blind Faith” is an acoustic interlude, and “Dark Matter” is a punk song. Because god damn, of course it is. It is little short of a miracle Saturno Grooves make their second album, Cosmic Echoes as remarkably cohesive as it is, yet through it all they hold fast to class and purpose alike, and from its spacious outset to its bursting finish, there isn’t a minute of Cosmic Echoes that feels like happenstance, even though they’re obviously following one impulse after the next in terms of style. Heavy (mostly) instrumentalism that works actively not to be contained. Out among the echoes, Saturno Grooves might just be finding their own wavelength.

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LSDR Records store

 

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Review & Full Album Stream: Outsideinside, Outsideinside II

Posted in audiObelisk, Reviews on March 4th, 2020 by JJ Koczan

outsideinside ii

[Outsideinside’s II is out March 6 on Rock Freaks Records. Click play above to stream the album in full.]

Since they made their debut in 2017 with the somewhat undervalued Sniff a Hot Rock (review here), Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, classic-style heavy rockers Outsideinside — who take their name from Blue Cheer‘s 1968 sophomore album — have toured Europe and signed to the Freak Valley-affiliated Rock Freaks Records as well as added a fourth member to the band in James Hart, who brings organ/keys and guitar to the proto-heavy style proffered by the returning trio of drummer Panfilo Dicenzo, bassist Jim Wilson and vocalist/guitarist Dave Wheeler. Accordingly, their own sophomore album, Outsideinside II, is a somewhat richer affair than its predecessor, but its root mission is nonetheless consistent with its predecessor in not only paying homage to the heroes of two generations prior — the names are myriad, but the band cites FreeHendrixSpooky Tooth and Funkadelic, among others — but in giving new life to the sound and style those bands proffered. Thus, songs like side B’s “Ancient Faces” and the earlier swaggering “Fine Line” are more vintage in construction and tone than actual production, which remains clear modern, if organic and live sounding, finding a balance throughout its unassuming 40 minutes that is neither pretentious nor overblown in either direction.

It’s a line Wheeler and Wilson were able to tread in their previous outfit, Carousel, as well, but as Hart finds his place in the mix by Nate Campisi, who also recorded at Mr. Smalls Studio, here alongside the other three players, be it in the brash and speedy “In Your Mind” or the near-10-minute “Maggot Brain”-plus-vocals-esque finale “Eventide,” Outsideinside also seem to come into their own, building on the accomplishments in songcraft and overarching flow of their first LP — learning those lessons well and integrating them into what they do — while exploring new challenges and methods with a rightly won confidence. Thus it is a song like the presumed side A capper “I Ain’t Waitin'” is able to place a multifaceted hook in a verse position and shift fluidly into a thrilling pair of organ and guitar solos ahead of its last fadeout — what might be called a “duel” if the two elements weren’t so clearly working as part of the same team and toward the same ends.

While Hart makes key contributions throughout Outsideinside II as much figuratively as literally, one would be remiss not to point out the presence Wheeler brings to his performance throughout this material. As he leads the way through the Humble Pie-style mid-tempo boogie opener “My Mother’s Son” — those waiting to spot the record’s first use of cowbell will not have to wait long — he taps into a particular kind of soulfulness that few modern singers can effectively portray. Dru Brinkerhoff of Stone Axe could do it, but one is hard pressed to come up with other names besides Wheeler. It’s a style that is able to conjure booze-addled sway and follow-the-riff party vibes and emotional sincerity in kind, and amid all the swing and shove of the penultimate “Top 10” or “In Your Mind,” it shouldn’t be forgotten that after “My Mother’s Son” at the album’s outset comes “Sisterman,” wherein the lyrics position the idea of a sister as one who helps shoulder burdens and provides support apart even from what a brother or a parent might.

outsideinside (Photo by Susan Pedrazzi)

The first two tracks, then — the most immediate impressions Outsideinside II makes — are about notions of family. The hook of “My Mother’s Son” is likewise heartfelt: “Born and raised my mother’s son/Mama prays/Thy kingdom come, thy will be done.” It’s not only a welcoming groove to start the LP and warm in tone and general feel in a way that represents well what follows, but a sweet sentiment that “Sisterman” complements even as it brings on more of a strut and stomp in terms of its rhythm. That too represents a defining aspect of the album as an entirety — not just how one track shifts into the next, but how the songs play off each other as a result of that. The sleek motion of “Fine Line” picks up from the opening duo and smoothly leads the listener into the next section of the LP, with “In Your Mind” and “I Ain’t Waitin'” right behind to bolster and further flesh out side A.

And after that organ/guitar fade at the end of “I Ain’t Waitin’,” it’s also worth noting that “Ancient Faces” answers right back at the (again, presumed) outset of side B with a likeminded procession in its introduction, and though the personality of the song is more mellow and built around its changes in volume between the verse and chorus and a kind of noodling lead in its second half as it builds to a more patient but still effective payoff, ahead of the last shakedown in “Top 10,” that momentum brings them into the increased breadth of “Eventide,” wherein Hart arguably makes his presence most felt in filling out what would otherwise be empty spaces in the ensuing jam. It is a moodier vibe that persists in the closer, and purposefully so, but Wheeler‘s vocals are able to fit the shifts that ensue, and the subtle wash of Dicenzo‘s cymbals behind and the foundation of Wilson‘s low end prove no less crucial in the quiet places than in any of the album’s prior boogie.

Thus it is that Outsideinside become a genuine four-piece on their second offering, and the change in dynamic from a classic power trio is evident despite the fact that the natural feel remains paramount. “Eventide” breaks at its halfway point and goes to ground to begin the final instrumental build that will close, and it is an especially engaging moment of the band functioning at all levels to bring together old and new strengths. In more than just the actual makeup of the group, Outsideinside II is an important forward step in aesthetic as well as songwriting, and while it never veers — somewhat refreshingly — into territory one might call progressive, the evolution on display from Outsideinside could hardly be called anything else. As yet, they are a better band than people know.

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Outsideinside on Spotify

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Rock Freaks website

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Holy Grove Touring to Psycho Smokeout with Andy Patterson (ex-SubRosa) on Drums

Posted in Whathaveyou on February 21st, 2020 by JJ Koczan

holy grove

Okay. Holy Grove doing a couple shows en route from their native Portland to play Psycho Smokeout in Los Angeles on April 18 is cool. It’s not the only US touring they’re going to do this year, reportedly, which is certainly good news as far as I’m concerned. But I feel like the real news here is that Andy Patterson will be drumming for them on the run. Patterson, formerly of Iota and SubRosa in Salt Lake City (as well as numerous others) and currently also in New York-based Insect Ark and SLC’s Døne, as well as SubRosa offshoot The Otolith — all in addition to recording bands — may or may not be permanent in the drummer role, I don’t really know, but what in life is permanent anyway? If you’ve ever been fortunate enough to watch him play, you know he brings a significant presence and creative pulse to the drums and the fact that that’s going to be a part of Holy Grove only makes me want to FINALLY see them live all the more.

I won’t on this brief West Coast run, which is a bummer as ever, but have my fingers crossed the opportunity will come sometime before the end of this year, one way or the other.

Either way, these shows, somewhat unsurprisingly, look killer:

holy grove tour

Holy Grove is hittin’ the ol’ dusty trail this April to support our invitation to Psycho Smokeout 2020. We’re also welcoming Andy Patterson to fold, who will be holding it down for us behind the kit. He’s best known as the drummer of the now defunct Subrosa of SLC, and more recently his work with Insect Ark of NYC.

Thursday 4/16 Eugene, OR at Old Nicks Pub w/ Gaythiest and Red Cloud
Friday 4/17 Oakland, CA at Jack London Elbo Room w/ Brume and Squalus
Saturday 4/18 Los Angeles, CA at Catch One for Psycho Smokeout w/Acid King, The Obsessed, Cough etc.

Artwork for the tour flyer was done by Dylan Garrett Smith (@dylanxvx on IG), lettering by Josh Yelle (@pencilmancer on IG) and layout by Eric Powers (@_punt_ on IG).

Holy Grove is:
Andrea Vidal – Vocals
Trent Jacobs – Guitar
Gregg Emley – Bass
Andy Patterson – Drums

https://www.facebook.com/holygroveband/
http://holygrove.bandcamp.com/
http://www.ripple-music.com
https://ripplemusic.bandcamp.com
https://www.facebook.com/theripplemusic/

Holy Grove, II (2018)

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Pale Mare Premiere “Voidgazer” from II EP out April 3; Announce Live Dates

Posted in audiObelisk on February 11th, 2020 by JJ Koczan

pale mare

The first time you put on the new single from Pale Mare, it becomes obvious why they chose to name it as they did. Not much else to call such a thing other than “Voidgazer,” which is the title they gave it. The track is shorter by two full minutes than the next shortest of its three compatriot inclusions on the Toronto-based trio’s new EP, Pale Mare II — out April 3 through Seeing Red Records (world) and Ancient Temple Recordings (Canada) — and after the initial charge of “House of War” and the gallop-over-your-head groove in “Zealot,” the intensity and focus on impact feels nothing if not earned. Intensity is the fuel that Pale Mare seem to be huffing, but their pummel isn’t just down to tonal weight and speedy riffs, though as “Zealot” winds its way through its apex, they offer plenty of both. Instead, across the 27-minute EP, Pale Mare cast forth a pummel that harnesses High on Fire-style drive without aping Matt Pike‘s style of guitar playing and calls to mind earlier-Neurosis‘ intertwining vocal patterns without being really at all post-metallic. And not for nothing, but I was listening to a track off the new Sepultura record the other day on a whim and “House of War” kind of feels like there’s a little bit of that going on as well.

But this metallic amalgam has been duly internalized by the trio of guitarist/vocalist Eytan Gordon, drummer/vocalist Kevin Richards and bassist James Tulloch to a degree of surprising individualism. The elements are familiar pale mare iienough, as one might tell from above, and “Voidgazer” has its spoken sample and nine-minute finale “Remains” has its EP-unto-itself vibe and maybe-you’re-imagining-it wisp of a keyboard line worked into its fading guitar finish, but amid the immediate onslaught and the subsequent unfolding across such a compact offering, Pale Mare find footing on ground that’s their own as much as it’s grown up from underlying roots of heavy metal and noise. It is, in its execution, neither and both of these things, and it’s sludge and not sludge, but most importantly, it’s performed with the self-assurance of a band who know that what they’re doing is what they want to be doing. I wouldn’t call it poised, if only because it’s so brash in style that the word doesn’t seem to fit, but in terms of aesthetic, there doesn’t seem to be any doubt on the part of Pale Mare that they’re able to make their songs go where they want, and thus, able to make their audience go where they want. A flash of melody in the guitar during the second half of “House of War” — shh, don’t tell anyone — speaks of more complexity to come, but Pale Mare II already brings plenty to bear, without compromising aggression to do it.

Further, the tendency is to think of a band’s early EPs as preludes to full-length albums — because usually they are — but the form suits Pale Mare remarkably well and gives Pale Mare II an almost punkish edge. I’m not sure they’d be well served by having a bunch of filler or trying to play to a sense of breadth in the way an LP might require, since part of what makes these songs work so well is the upfront manner in which they’re presented, but of course there’s no real way to tell what the three-piece would do with a longer-form record until they do it. Presumably they’ll get there in time, and if they handle that task with the same formidable sense of presence they bring to Pale Mare II, they’ll be fine either way. Anything in their destructive path, however, might not be able to say the same.

Pale Mare have newly announced a stretch of live dates alongside Mother Iron Horse. You’ll find those below, following the premiere of “Voidgazer,” which it’s my pleasure to host ahead of the EP’s April 3 arrival.

Please enjoy:

Pale Mare was born out of the desire to play music that is loud, aggressive and full of thick groovy riffs. They released their self-titled EP in November of 2017 through Medusa Crush Records which was met with high praise.

Having provided Canadian support for touring artists such as Eyehategod, Corrosion of Conformity, Windhand, Satan’s Satyrs, Mutoid Man, Weedeater, Serial Hawk, Black Wizard, King Buffalo, Set and Setting and even Perturbator – Pale Mare have established themselves in their home town of Toronto as a massive force to be reckoned with. Their sound has been likened by some in the same sonic territory as early Baroness, High On Fire, Mastodon and Black Tusk; full of fire, attitude, brimstone, tone and soul – and with a new EP (mixed by Andrew Schnieder, Mastered by Brad Boatwright) ready to be unleashed, Pale Mare prepare to take their sound to the masses full guns ablaze.

Recorded at Locust Ridge studios outside of Kitchener, Ontario.

Mixed by Andrew Schnieder (Converge, Mutoid Man, Ken Mode, Old Man Gloom)
(http://andrewschneideraudio.com/what)

Mastered by Brad Boatright (Sleep, COC, Yob)
(http://audiosiege.com/About/engineers.html)

Inspired by the track “Voidgazer” the EP is completed with jawdroppingly dark and twisted artwork by Toronto based tattoo artist Arthur Mills.

Tracklisting:
1. House of War
2. Zealot
3. Voidgazer
4. Remains

PALE MARE live (April 10-16 w/ Mother Iron Horse):
Friday April 10th: Brooklyn, NY: Gold Sounds
Saturday April 11th: Pittsburgh, PA: Gooski’s:
Monday April 13th: Wichita, KS: TBA
Tuesday April 14th: Denver, CO: Seventh Circle
Wednesday April 15th: Colorado Springs, CO: The Nickle
Thursday April 16th: Las Vegas, NV: TBA
Friday April 17th: Phoenix, AZ: YUCCA TAPROOM
Saturday April 18th: Psycho Smokeout 2020: Catch one: Los Angeles, CA
Sunday April 19th: San Fran, CA: The Knockout
Monday April 20th: Portland, IR: High Water Mark
Tuesday April 21st: SEATTLE, WA: The Funhouse

Pale Mare is:
Eytan Gordon – guitar/vocals
James Tulloch – bass
Kevin Richards – drums/vocals

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Pale Mare on Bandcamp

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Seeing Red Records on Instagram

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Seeing Red Records website

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Ancient Temple Recordings BigCartel store

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