Bongripper Announce New LP Terminal out July 6

Posted in Whathaveyou on June 18th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

bongripper

The two 20-minute songs that comprise Bongripper‘s new album, Terminal, are respectively dubbed ‘Slow’ and ‘Death.’ So you know, points for accuracy and whatnot. The Chicago instrumentalist riffcrushers have made preorders available for the outing through their own webstore as well as a host of others, including Burning World Records in Europe, and they’ve got tour dates scheduled following the release date on July 6 — including two nights at Saint Vitus Bar in Brooklyn, the first of which will feature them playing 2010’s Satan Worshipping Doom in full. They’ll be in Finland later this year for Blowup Festival, which may or may not be part of a larger European tour still to be announced.

Their last album, 2014’s Miserable (review here), was as excellent as he was destructive, and to expect anything less of Terminal would be folly. Bongripper‘s manifestations of hopelessness always have a tendency to remove air from the lungs.

Warning comes from the band’s social medias:

bongripper terminal

BONGRIPPER – TERMINAL LP/CD/Digital (2018)

Bongripper is set to release their seventh full-length album, ‘Terminal’, on July 6, 2018. This is the follow up to 2014’s ‘Miserable.’ The album was recorded, mixed and mastered by Bongripper’s Dennis Pleckham at Comatose Studio with artwork from Sam Alcarez, the artist behind the band’s merchandise throughout the years. ‘Terminal’ will be released through their label, The Great Barrier Records on all vinyl, CD and digital formats.

Track Listing:
1. Slow 20:15
2. Death 20:06

Bongripper is doing their first US East Coast Tour in a decade in support of the new full-length. This includes a special performance of ‘Satan Worshipping Doom’ in its entirety at Saint Vitus in New York City. They will also be appearing at Modified Ghost Festival in Vancouver and Blowup Festival in Helsinki, Finland. Tour tickets are on sale Friday, March 30.

THE TERMINAL TOUR 2018
5/25 – Vancouver, BC – Modified Ghost Festival
7/13 – Chicago, IL – The Metro – Record Release Show
7/20 – Columbus, OH – Ace of Cups
7/21 – Chapel Hill, NC – Local 506
7/22 – Richmond, VA – Strange Matter
7/23 – Washington, DC – Atlas Brew Works
7/24 – Philadelphia, PA – Kungfu Necktie
7/25 – New York, NY – Saint Vitus: Satan Worshipping Doom in Entirety
7/26 – New York, NY – Saint Vitus
7/27 – Pittsburgh, PA – Migration Festival
10/12 – Helsinki, Finland – Blowup Festival

https://www.facebook.com/bongripperdoom
https://twitter.com/Bongripperdoom/
https://bongripper.bandcamp.com/
https://bongripper.bigcartel.com/

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Novembers Doom Seek New Label for Next Album in the Works

Posted in Visual Evidence on June 7th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

Who’s gonna put out the next Novembers Doom record? That seems to be what the long-running Chicago death/doomers are wondering as well. The band spent the last 13 years under the banner of The End Records and remained a staple act even as the mission of that imprint changed around them. Their time on The End would result in six full-length albums between 2005 and 2017 — the latest of them last year’s Hamartia (review here), and I guess it’s just something of a surprise that whatever Novembers Doom do next — according to frontman Paul Kuhr, writing is in progress — it won’t come out through that label. Nothing lasts forever, apparently. Even record contracts.

The good news is I can’t imagine somebody — maybe somebody of a European persuasion? perhaps French? — won’t pick them up. They’ve been around for over 25 years and they’re an institution, helping as they did to pioneer death/doom as a movement in the US that continues to take influence from them to this day even if it doesn’t realize it. Would be nice to see them hook up with someone with an appreciation for their legacy. To me, it seems like a marketing no-brainer to position them as the innovators they are.

Word came through the PR wire of the search in progress:

novembers doom

Free Agents NOVEMBERS DOOM Seeking New Label

U.S. Doom/Death legends NOVEMBERS DOOM are on the market and seeking a new label to continue their robust legacy. Vocalist Paul Kuhr released the following statement concern the status of the long-running, critically acclaimed quintet:

“After spending over a decade working with The End Records, NOVEMBERS DOOM have fulfilled our contractual obligations, and are now exploring options for the future of the band. We are already hard at work, creating the follow up to the 2017 release of Hamartia, and we are seeking a partnership with a label who understands the importance of the European territory. We are open to talk to anyone and everyone who has a serious offer, as we said, we are exploring all of our options, and need to make the right choice, for both us, and our future home.”

Please contact Paul@novembersdoom.com to open this conversation.

https://www.facebook.com/NovembersDoom1989/
https://twitter.com/NovembersDoom
http://www.novembersdoom.com/

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Lair of the Minotaur Announce New EP and First Show in Five Years

Posted in Whathaveyou on June 5th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

Chaos belches forth once again from Chicago’s windy labyrinth. Lair of the Minotaur, who will play their first show in half a decade at the previously-discussed Scorched Tundra X on Aug. 31, have announced that their return to activity will consist of more than one live date. Much to the chagrin of eardrums everywhere, the three-piece have a new EP recorded and they’ll look to release it presumably sometime soon on their own The Grind-House Recordings imprint. Their last offering was 2013’s Godslayer two-songer, and their last full-length, Evil Power (review here), was issued in 2010.

Do Lair of the Minotaur still hold the level of demolition in their approach that first brought them to such notoriety in their days on Southern Lord? Uh, yeah, probably. At least I don’t know why they wouldn’t.

Therefore! One should look forward to the pummeling to be issued via this new EP, whatever it’ll be called and whenever it’ll arrive. Details, presumably, will patter out over the next weeks and months, but for now here’s a preliminary announcement via the PR wire:

lair of the minotaur

LAIR OF THE MINOTAUR Crawls Forth Again In 2018; New EP Recorded + Band Confirmed To Play Scorched Tundra Fest 2018

The brutalizing LAIR OF THE MINOTAUR trio rears its gnarled head once again in 2018; the band has just recorded a new EP and announced live plans for late summer.

Following an extensive hiatus sharpening their axes, the Gods have called LAIR OF THE MINOTAUR back to battle. The classic “road dog” lineup of Steven Rathbone (guitar/vocals), Donald James Barraca (bass) and Chris Wozniak (drums) gathered to record a new EP on Memorial Day weekend.

The as-yet-unnamed EP will be released in conjunction LAIR OF THE MINOTAUR’s performance at Scorched Tundra Fest 2018 in Chicago on Friday, August 31st. The Scorched Tundra Fest performance will be an exclusive date for 2018 and will also mark the band’s first show in five years. Tickets are on sale HERE.

LAIR OF THE MINOTAUR Live:
8/31/2018 Empty Bottle – Chicago, IL @ Scorched Tundra Fest w/ Monolord, Telekenetic Yeti

Formed in Chicago in 2003, LAIR OF THE MINOTAUR has released four full-length LPs, and two EPs through Southern Lord as well as their own label, The Grind-House Recordings, all interconnected concept recordings based on the bloodier tales of Greek mythology. The band has toured extensively across North America and Europe, crushing all in their path with their own brand of heavy fucking metal that has been likened to being beat to death with a spiked club.

http://www.lairoftheminotaur.net
https://lairoftheminotaur.bandcamp.com

Lair of the Minotaur, Godslayer EP (2013)

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Mirrors for Psychic Warfare to Support Godflesh; New Album in the Works

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

I was fortunate enough to catch Mirrors for Psychic Warfare live once, and the blend of elements from Scott Kelly‘s guitar and Sanford Parker‘s noisemaking mystery desk of, one assumes, a laptop, various manipulators, samplers, synth, etc., was like a physical presence in the room. One that put a hand right on your solar plexus and applied a steady pressure, with ebbs and flows, to be sure, but a pressure that, if you weren’t careful, could move you a step back. Their self-titled debut (review here) came out in 2016 via Neurot Recordings, and they have a follow-up said to be due this Fall. I for one think that would be just nifty.

They’ll also support Godflesh twice this summer, playing in Chicago and New York with the legendary industrial innovators. Talk about knowing your audience.

The PR wire puts it like this:

godflesh poster

MIRRORS FOR PSYCHIC WARFARE: Scott Kelly/Sanford Parker Collaboration To Play Two Special US Shows With Godflesh; New Record Due This Fall Via Neurot

MIRRORS FOR PSYCHIC WARFARE, the collaboration between Neurosis’ Scott Kelly and Buried At Sea’s Sanford Parker, will play two very special shows this August supporting industrial titans Godflesh! Set to take place in Chicago and New York City respectively, the August 24th appearance includes additional support from Harm’s Way and Ledge while the August 25th show features additional support from Tombs and Body Stuff. Tickets go on sale this Friday. The two performances come in advance of MIRRORS FOR PSYCHIC WARFARE’s next chapter of sonic anxiety set for release this fall via Neurot Records. Further details will be revealed in the coming weeks.

MIRRORS FOR PSYCHIC WARFARE w Godflesh:
8/24/2018 Metro, Chicago – IL w/ Harm’s Way, Ledge
8/25/2018 Gramercy Theatre – New York, NY w/ Tombs, Body Stuff

MIRRORS FOR PSYCHIC WARFARE released their self-titled debut via Neurot in 2016. A audio manifestation of insomnia, complete with the tossing, turning, and perennial dread that comes with facing a new day, the five songs that comprise Mirrors For Psychic Warfare lurch and pulsate across a sullen, desolate landscape with an almost curious obsessiveness.

https://www.facebook.com/mirrorsforpsychicwarfare
http://www.mirrorsforpsychicwarfare.bandcamp.com
http://www.neurotrecordings.com
http://www.facebook.com/neurotrecordings

Mirrors for Psychic Warfare, Mirrors for Psychic Warfare (2016)

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Scorched Tundra X Announces Lineup: Lair of the Minotaur, Monolord, Sumac, Yakuza & More to Play

Posted in Whathaveyou on May 25th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

Tickets are on sale now for the Chicago-based fest Scorched Tundra X, which will run two nights on Aug. 31 and Sept. 1 and feature two very particular Chicagoan outfits in its lineup. I’m talking about half-man-half-bull-in-china-shop metallers Lair of the Minotaur and pre-post-metal post-metallers Yakuza. Neither band plays out all that often, and neither band has put out a record in half a decade, so it’s definitely two performances worth catching if you can, and that’s of course to say nothing about the rest of the bill for the two-dayer, which includes Swedish riffkings Monolord, the atmospherically crushing Sumac as well as fuzzers Telekinetic Yeti opening night one and Couch Slut and In the Company of Serpents leading the way on night two.

Pretty badass, and obviously put together with a strong sense of place and vibe behind it and a drive to give those assembling for it something special to behold. I can dig.

If you can too:

scorched-tundra-x-poster

SCORCHED TUNDRA X – CHICAGO, AUG 31 & SEPT 1

Scorched Tundra is proud to announce the entire lineup for its tenth edition. The second installment of 2018 – taking place on August 31st and September 1st at The Empty Bottle in Chicago – features newcomers and veterans of the festival from across the country and abroad.

Friday August 31st
Monolord
Lair of the Minotaur
Telekinetic Yeti

Saturday September 1st
Sumac
Yakuza
In the Company of Serpents
Couch Slut

Tickets can be purchased through these links:

Friday 8/31:
http://eventbrite.com/e/scorched-tundra-x-the-empty-bottle-tickets-46205946229

Saturday: 9/1:
http://eventbrite.com/e/scorched-tundra-x-the-empty-bottle-tickets-46205078634

Scorched Tundra’s mission is to give a new generation of talented artists a unique live platform in Gothenburg and Chicago. The festival’s billing – based on sound, not stature – creates an unparalleled aural experience for its audience.

“The process of selecting bands for the tenth edition of this festival began over a year ago. For this momentous occasion, I sought bands that have forged their own space at the convergence of heavy, progressive and dark music. Scorched Tundra’s mission is to give a new generation of talented artists from Gothenburg and Chicago a unique platform. The tenth lineup achieves this, while also mixing in extremely talented musicians from around the country. I look forward to sharing this exceptional lineup at The Empty Bottle on Labor Day Weekend.” states organizer Alexi D. Front.

Tickets for August 31st and September 1st will be $20 per night, and more exciting festival details will be revealed in the coming weeks.

http://scorchedtundra.com/
https://www.facebook.com/scorchedtundra
http://eventbrite.com/e/scorched-tundra-x-the-empty-bottle-tickets-46205946229
http://eventbrite.com/e/scorched-tundra-x-the-empty-bottle-tickets-46205078634

Lair of the Minotaur, Evil Power (2013)

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The Skull Announce Tour Dates with Earthride and Hyborian

Posted in Whathaveyou on May 7th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

the skull

Doom on. I’m not sure much more than that really needs to be said about The Skull announcing a run of headlining tour dates with Maryland’s finest, Earthride, as direct support. Chicago doom meets Maryland doom. Needless to say, it’s going to be pretty gosh darn doomed.

The Skull release their new album, The Endless Road Turns Dark, this Fall on Tee Pee, and if you’re not looking forward to that, I’ve got nothing for you. The timeline on Earthride‘s next full-length is a little more vague, but with their recent Witch Gun single came word that was in the works as well. Hyborian, meanwhile, recently issued their first album through Season of Mist.

The PR wire has those dates:

the skull tour poster

The Skull Announces U.S. Headlining Tour Dates

Doom Metal Legends Complete Work on New Album ‘The Endless Road Turns Dark’

The Skull, featuring vocalist Eric Wagner and bassist Ron Holzner, formerly of metal legends Trouble, has completed work on its highly anticipated sophomore album. Titled, The Endless Road Turns Dark, the LP was recorded in Chicago’s Decade Music Studios with engineer Sanford Parker (Yob, Tombs) and builds on the foundation laid by The Skull’s debut album, For Those Which Are Asleep, a recording that landed at or near the top of a host of 2014 year-end best of lists. A fall release date via Tee Pee Records is projected for the new LP.

To celebrate the completion of the new album, The Skull, which also features longtime Cathedral drummer Brian Dixon, guitarist Lothar Keller (Sacred Dawn), and guitarist Rob Wrong (Witch Mountain) has announced a U.S. headlining tour that will launch on June 2 in in Chicago where the band will headline the third annual Doomed & Stoned Fest. The 12 city jaunt will run through June 15 in Lombard, IL. On the spring tour, The Skull will be joined by guest drummer Henry Vasquez of Saint Vitus who will fill in for Dixon. Opening acts will include Earthride and Hyborian.

The just-announced itinerary is as follows:

THE SKULL tour dates:
June 2 Chicago, IL Reggie’s (as part of Doomed & Stoned Fest)
June 3 Minneapolis, MN Studio B @ Skyway Theatre
June 5 Bozeman, MT Zebra Lounge
June 7 Seattle, WA Highline
June 8 Bellingham, WA Shakedown
June 9 Portland, OR Star Theatre
June 10 Sacramento, CA Blue Lamp
June 11 Santa Cruz, CA Atrium @ Catalyst
June 12 San Francisco, CA Elbo Room
June 13 Los Angeles, CA Resident
June 14 Las Vegas, NV Count’s Vamp’d
June 15 San Diego, CA Soda Bar

https://www.facebook.com/troubletheskull/
https://twitter.com/theskullusa
http://theskullusa.com/
https://teepeerecords.com/

The Skull, For Those Which are Asleep (2014)

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Bible of the Devil Announce First East Coast Tour in Seven Years

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

BIBLE OF THE DEVIL

Bible of the Devil, you say? Coming east, you say? Well, that might be the kind of thing to make a reclusive-type individual get off his fat ass and head to the Bowery Electric on a Sunday night. The Chicago outfit don’t get out of the Midwest that often — they note below the last time they hit the Eastern Seaboard was 2011; a distant memory of a simpler age, despite all that war and whatnot — and I think it’s been even longer than that since I last saw them play, so yeah, I’ve put this one on the calendar. They’ll be at Grub, Sweat & Beers in Boston, but as I’ll be south at that point in NJ or at least CT, it seems like Manhattan is the way to go. Can’t even remember the last show I saw in Manhattan proper. Couldn’t tell you. Could probably look it up. Not going to.

Presumably somewhere along the line either before or after this run — or maybe during? that would be the other option — Bible of the Devil will have their new album out, which I remain dying to hear. Hopefully sooner rather than later, but either way I’m sure when it lands it’ll kick ass and (fingers crossed) have at least one song about the night, which is awesome.

Here’s the latest word from the band:

BIBLE OF THE DEVIL TOUR

Bible of the Devil Spring/Summer Update 2018

Greetings BOTD fans! We’ve been moving right along and have survived yet another winter here in Chicago. We have a barrage of awesome coming at you this spring and summer so get ready. New album is just about there and we look forward to delivering it to your hands later in the year. In the meantime, come see us at our upcoming shows.

BOTD’s “Street Heat” tour covers a much needed return to the east coast where they haven’t been since 2011 and finishes back in Chicago for Alehorn of Power X. These are some amazing shows to be a part of so if you are in the area, please come out and rock with us.

“Street Heat” Summer Tour 2018
July 20th Fri. Pittsburgh, PA @ Cattivo’s w/ Argus, Horehound
July 21st Sat. Allston, MA @ O’Brien’s Grub, Sweat, n Beers Fest w/ Hey Zeus
July 22nd Sun. New York City, NY @ Bowery Electric w/ Hey Zeus
July 23rd Mon. Richmond, VA @ Strange Matter w/ Twisted Tower Dire, Desert Altar
July 24th Tues. Wilmington, NC @ Reggie’s 42nd Street Tavern w/ All Night High, Children of the Reptile
July 25th Wed. Carrboro, NC @ Cat’s Cradle Back Room w/ Mega Colossus, Demon Eye, Witch Mountain
July 26th Thurs. Columbus, OH @ Ace of Cups w/ Mega Colossus, Beggars
July 27th Fri. Detroit, MI @ Small’s w/ Mega Colossus, Kommander
July 28th Sat. Chicago, IL @ Reggie’s Live Alehorn of Power X w/ High Spirits, Mega Colossus, Ignitor, Owl, Stagecoach Inferno, Zuul

Bible of the Devil is:
Nathan Perry: Vocals, Guitars
Greg Spalding: Drums, Loathing
Darren Amaya: Bass, Vocals
Chris Grubbs: Guitars

www.facebook.com/bibleofthedevil
http://bibleofthedevil.net/

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Quarterly Review: The Atlas Moth, Across Tundras, The Wizards of Delight, Against the Grain, Our Solar System, Dommengang, Boss Keloid, Holy Smoke, Sabel, Blackwater Prophet

Posted in Reviews on April 4th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

Quarterly-Review-Spring-2018

This is a crucial moment in any Quarterly Review. Today we hit the halfway point one way or the other. I still haven’t decided if this will be a 50- or 60-album edition; kind of playing it by ear, but either way, today’s a landmark in my mind in terms of how far to go vs. how far we’ve come. Uphill vs. downhill to some extent, but I don’t want to give the impression that I’m either half-assing it from here on out or that I don’t enjoy the challenge of reviewing 10 records in a day, one after the next, for (at least) five days in a row. I’ve always been a glutton for a bit of self-flagellation. Ha.

Alright, let’s dive in.

Quarterly Review #21-30:

The Atlas Moth, Coma Noir

the atlas moth coma noir

If one still wants to consider Chicago’s The Atlas Moth post-metal after hearing Coma Noir, at least do them the courtesy of emphasizing the “metal” part of that equation. For their debut on Prosthetic Records and fourth full-length overall, the five-piece worked with producer Sanford Parker to solidify a progressive metal sound that, whether in the harsh and weighted impact of the opening title-track or the later interplay between guitarists Stavros Giannopoulos and David Kush on screams and cleaner vocals in “Furious Gold,” seems to take cues from groups like a less manic Strapping Young Lad and a less watered-down Mastodon more than Isis or Neurosis. With prominent synth from Andrew Ragin (also guitar), and the solid roll from the rhythm section of bassist Alex Klein and drummer Mike Miczek, the band brings revitalized edge to “The Streets of Bombay,” and even on the slower, more atmospheric closer “Chloroform,” they’ve never sounded more lethal. It suits them.

The Atlas Moth on Thee Facebooks

Prosthetic Records webstore

 

Across Tundras, Tumbleweeds III

across tundras tumbleweeds iii

A collection of odds and ends from Across Tundras, the 10-track/52-minute Tumbleweeds III may or may not sate anyone hoping for a follow-up to 2013’s Electric Relics (review here), but it provides some curio fodder along the way to be sure, from raw opener “Final Breath over Venom Falls” to the acoustic-percussion jam “Bullet in the Butt” to the fuller roll of “Cold Ride” and later demos for “Spinning Through the Cosmic Dust,” “Hijo del Desierto,” “Stone Crazy Horse” and “The Stacked Plain,” which later became “Seasick Serenade” on Electric Relics, it’s at very least something for fans to dig into and a fascinating listen, as Across Tundras’ rambling sound is almost eerily suited to a home-recording vibe, as the “Stone Crazy Horse” demo, featuring vocalist Shannon Allie-Murphy along with frontman Tanner Olson, sounds all the more folksome as a result of its lack of production polish. Closing with Bob Dylan’s “The Ballad of Hollis Brown,” then, could hardly be more appropriate. Still waiting for a proper long-player to surface, but happy at this point to take what comes.

Across Tundras on Thee Facebooks

Across Tundras on Bandcamp

 

The Wizards of Delight, The Wizards of Delight

the wizards of delight the wizards of delight

Like a chicanery-laced dusty vinyl with a naked lady on the cover, The Wizards of Delight emerge from the London underground to solidly declare “We’ve got the rock ‘n’ rollz.” And yes, they spell it with a ‘z.’ The presence of frontman Andreas “Mazzereth” Maslen will be familiar to anyone who ever even briefly encountered Groan – dude makes an impression, to be sure – and the four tracks he and the surrounding five-piece of guitarists/backing vocalists Dan Green’s Myth and Lenny Ray, bassist/backing vocalist Eponymous, organist/backing vocalist Henry and drummer Reece bring is both funky and classically heavy, “Gypsy” referencing Dio Sabbath in the first line while “Mountain Woman” brings a heavy ‘70s shuffle to answer the way-un-P.C. “Shogun Messiah,” which seems to be working under the thesis that because it sounds like it’s from 40 years ago, they can get away with it. I’ll give them that the track is, to an unfortunate degree, catchy. As to the rest, give me the groove of “We Got the Rock ‘n’ Rollz” any day. It’s been a while since anyone so brazenly interpreted Mk. II Deep Purple and actually pulled it off.

The Wizards of Delight on Thee Facebooks

APF Records website

 

Against the Grain, Cheated Death

against the grain cheated death

Hard-touring Detroit heavy rockers Against the Grain are known for speed, and rightly so. When they burst into high gear, as on “Sacrifice,” “No Sleep,” “Last Chance,” “Rolling Stone,” “Enough’s Not Enough,” and “Jaded and Faded” from their latest offering and Ripple Music debut, Cheated Death. The follow-up to 2015’s Road Warriors (review here) sees them no less infectious in their live energy, but it’s hard to ignore the more versatile approach that seems to be growing in their sound, from the classic rocking “Smoke” to the near-centerpiece “Devils and Angels” which ballads-out its boozy regrets before entering into an effective mid-paced build that rounds out in choice dual-soloing. Likewise, though they open at a good clip with the title-track, closer “Into the Light” finds a middle ground between thrust and groove. The truth is Against the Grain have never been just about speed, but they’ve never so directly benefited from a dynamic approach as they do on Cheated Death either.

Against the Grain on Thee Facebooks

Ripple Music on Bandcamp

 

Our Solar System, Origins

our solar system origins

Immediate kudos to Stockholm-based psychedelic progressive explorers Our Solar System – aka Vårt Solsystem – for opening their third full-length for Beyond Beyond is Beyond, the five-track/41-minute Origins, with the side-consuming 21-minute “Vulkanen.” One could hardly ask for more effective immersion in the band’s world of patiently unfurled, languid psychedelia, and with the accompaniment of “Babalon Rising,” the jazz-prog tracklist centerpiece “En Bit Av Det Tredje Klotet,” the birdsong-laced “Naturligt Samspel” and the semi-freaked-out melodic wash of “Monte Verita” on side B, a full, rich, and mind-expanding cosmos is engaged, free of restriction even as it remains thoroughly lysergic, and adherent to no structural will so much as the will to adventure into the unknown, to find out where one progression leads. As regards the long- and short-form material on Origins, it leads far, far out, and if you don’t come out the other side wanting to own everything the band has ever released, you’re decidedly in the wrong.

Our Solar System on Thee Facebooks

Beyond Beyond is Beyond website

 

Dommengang, Love Jail

dommengang love jail

Once calling Brooklyn Home, Los Angeles trio Dommengang waste no time in getting down to the business of boogie on their second album for Thrill Jockey, Love Jail. Produced by Tim Green (The Fucking Champs), the 10-track/50-minute long-player has all the room for organ/guitar mashups, righteous West Coast vibes and easy-flowing classic heavy rock one could hope for, and in the opening salvo of “Pastel City,” “Lovely Place” and “Lone Pine,” the three-piece of guitarist Dan “Sig” Wilson, bassist Brian Markham, and drummer Adam Bulgasem reaffirm mellow bluesiness as well on the title-track and dig into ‘90s-style alt bliss on the penultimate “Color out of Space.” There’s a welcoming air throughout that holds steady regardless of tempo, and in heavier moments like the second half of “I’m out Mine,” the band resonates with fuzz and noisy elements that bring just enough danger to the proceedings to keep the listener riveted. Classy, but not too classy, in other words.

Dommengang on Thee Facebooks

Thrill Jockey Records website

 

Boss Keloid, Melted on the Inch

boss keloid melted on the inch

It would seem that Wigan, UK, outfit Boss Keloid — newly signed to Holy Roar Records for the release of their third LP, Melted on the Inch – internalized a few crucial lessons from their sophomore outing, 2016’s Herb Your Enthusiasm (review here). At six tracks and 40 minutes, Melted on the Inch is about 20 minutes shorter than its predecessor. Its title isn’t a weed pun. Its cover art conveys a work of dimensionality, and most importantly, the album itself turns to be precisely that. Taking a significant step toward a more progressive sound, Boss Keloid maintain the heft of their prior outing but base it around material that, frankly, is more complex and dynamic. I won’t say that “Tarku Shavel” and “Lokannok” are without their elements of self-indulgence, but neither should they be for the five-piece to do justice to the multifaceted nature of their purpose. They still roar when they want to, but Boss Keloid strike with breadth on Melted on the Inch as well as sheer impact.

Boss Keloid on Thee Facebooks

Holy Roar Records website

 

Holy Smoke, Pipe Dream

holy smoke pipe dream

After forming in 2015, Philadelphia’s exclamatory Holy Smoke! issued their first three-track release, It’s a Demo! (review here) the next year and showed marked stylistic promise in cuts like “Rinse and Repeat” and “Blue Dreams.” Both of those tracks, as it happens, stand at the opening of the band’s latest EP, the five-song Pipe Dream, and reaffirm the potential in the group. The opener (also the longest track once again; immediate points) is a tale of workaday redundancy, the very sort of monotony that the rest of the offering seems to leave behind in favor of post-grunge heavy rock, marked by the wah-bass on finale “Asch Backwards” and the brooding sensibility of the prior “Golden Retriever,” which surges in its midsection like a lost Alice in Chains demo only to end quiet once again, a departure from the linearity of centerpiece “Missing the Mark” just before. Less psychedelic than their initial impression conveyed, they seem to have undertaken the work of crafting their own sonic niche in Philly’s increasingly crowded scene, and there’s nothing on Pipe Dream to make one think it’s not a realistic possibility they’ll get there.

Holy Smoke on Thee Facebooks

Holy Smoke on Bandcamp

 

Sabel, Re-Generation

sabel re-generation

Sabel know what they want to be and then are that thing. Their third album, Re-Generation, arrives via Oak Island Records as six tracks of to-the-converted stonerism, and from opener/longest track (immediate points) “In the Walls of Eryx,” the Swedish trio do little more than ask their listeners to smell the smoke emanating from their speaker cabinets (oddly sweet), and hone walls of fuzz that each seem to be bigger than the last. There are some elements of earliest Electric Wizard at play in “Atlantean” or the sneering “Voodoo Woman,” but belters like “Interstellar Minddweller” and “Green Priestess” stave off their sounding overly derivative, and though at the end of Re-Generation’s 42-minute run, one might feel as though they need a shower, the record itself proves well worth the dive into the muck. The band would seem to have carved their own descriptor with the title of their self-released 2015 LP, Hard Doom, and that’s as good as anything I could come up with, so let’s roll with it. They seem to.

Sabel on Thee Facebooks

Oak Island Records on Thee Facebooks

 

Blackwater Prophet, As I Watch it Freeze

blackwater prophet as i watch it freeze

Cheers to Christian Peters of Samsara Blues Experiment for putting me onto Spokane, Washington’s Blackwater Prophet, who with the seven-track As I Watch it Freeze collect various tracks recorded between 2015 and 2017. Thus something of a compilation, the 40-minute outing wants nothing for overarching flow, “In My Passing Time” leading off with a mellow psych-blues spirit that only grows more classic-feeling through “House of Stone” and the gorgeously pastoral “The Swamp.” The band have two proper full-lengths out, and if they wanted to count As I Watch it Freeze as their third, I don’t think they’d find much argument, as centerpiece “Gold in the Palm” opens like a gateway leading to the increasingly resonant “Careworn Crow,” the fuzzy swing of “Eating the Sun” and finally, the title-track itself, which answers the acoustics of “The Swamp” earlier while adding flourish of volume-swelling and swirling electric guitar and late choral vocals that only make the proceedings seem all the more complete in their engagement.

Blackwater Prophet on Thee Facebooks

Blackwater Prophet on Bandcamp

 

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