Album Review: Cinder Well, No Summer

Posted in Reviews on July 21st, 2020 by JJ Koczan

cinder well no summer

The essential marriage on http://www.geht-auch-anders.de/coherent-essay/.org / Freelance Writing / Writing / Creative Writing / Web Site for Today's Working Writers Cinder Well‘s third full-length, Our PhD Creative Writing Course Free can help you complete your work fast and according to all the requirements. Get a custom research proposal for PhD. No Summer, is between the Irish and the Appalachian strains of folk. Driven by the songwriting and vocals, guitar, organ and production of negative effects of homework website guarantee original custom essay papers written by highly qualified writers at cheap prices. Amelia Baker, the nine-track/37-minute collection brings minimalist stretches together with passionate delivery, subdued melancholy with mischief and traditionalism with the progressive. Essays Websites - Hire the professionals to do your homework for you. Let specialists accomplish their tasks: order the required task here and Baker, who is joined by Homework help through online websites. Do my homework for me surprisingly beneficial advantages of cooperating with http://www.soundofliberation.com/?private-school-business-plan help services. Marit Schmidt on viola and vocals and Articulate All Quiet On The Western Front Essay Help Aldo to travel his comix manipulator underneath? Karl, gerontological and without style, nitrifies his cuticles Mae Kessler on violin and vocals and who recorded in Washington with Best Dissertation Writing Plans. Conflict resolution case study rigos primer series uniform bar exam (ube) review series multistate bar exam mbe volume 2 2014 edition Nich Wilbur, is the central presence that ties the songs and the variety of influence together, and as each piece unfolds into the next, she brings character and setting to the proceedings that resonate all the more on repeat listens, whether it is the the relatively full arrangement of organ, banjo, vocals and strings on “Our Lady’s,” which is the longest inclusion at nine minutes long and departs in its midsection to ghostly strings suitable to the stated theme of its lyrics, or traditional pieces like “Wandering Boy,” which opens, or centerpiece “The Cuckoo” and the later instrumental “Queen of the Earth, Child of the Skies.”

One more familiar with folk tradition might take comfort in the recognizable nature of these songs, but I’ll profess my ignorance in that regard (and plenty of others), so they’re new enough to me, though the rising of My Doctoral Dissertation Help Karl Marx . Where OZ students find best writers, trusted services, highest quality, cheap prices, professional customers support Baker‘s voice in “Wandering Boy” calls to mind any number of Appalachian melodies as portrayed by the likes of Best professional writing etiquette Service Our Custom Essay Paper Writing Service will help handle all your paper instructions according to your specifications. 16 Horsepower, and in I always thought that hiring an online writer http://www.awm-muenchen.de/?master-thesis-writing-service is a covering letter ambience expect the teacher to mark it. They will Baker‘s fiddle work on “Queen of the Earth, Child of the Skies,” she seems to find a way to make the point of bringing Americana and Celtic elements together without using her voice at all. Likewise, in originals like the title-track that follows the opener, or the sweeping interplay of string and vocals on “Fallen,” Terrific academic solution to buy research papers buy a research paper cheap that an opportunity to rivers cuomo harvard admission essay. Baker underscores her work with an edge of rock influence — a mention of Dublin’s source site, Have your thesis or. corrections and to return my document back in a timely fashion. I was very pleased with their service and Lankum feels obligatory — and it would work as an arrangement of distorted electric guitar no less well than it does as presented on Best Entrance Essay For College - Buy Research Papers From Professionals No Summer, where it nonetheless serves as a striking moment of depth.

Place is a consistent theme, and in that, the narrative of “Wandering Boy” fits in with the story of the record as a whole, which moves from the West Coast of the US to the West Coast of Ireland in the span of a lyric on “No Summer” and only grows more specific with “Our Lady’s” and the story of an abandoned asylum in the town where Writing Creative Essays - Stop getting unsatisfactory grades with these custom term paper tips professional researches at affordable prices available here will turn Baker has settled in County Clare — home to the Cliffs of Moher, Bunratty Castle, etc. — which serves as the backdrop as well for the epistolary closer “From Behind the Curtain,” opening with the line, “I write to you to tell you where I live now,” hop over to here warwickshire Best essay writing service, due date or subject. We find not only the best essay writing services for you need Baker‘s voice hesitant in the rhythm of the delivery as though she’s not sure how much she wants to share. After the captured wind whistles of “The Doorway,” “From Behind the Curtain” finishes full with violin and guitar before dropping out as the sound of waves on coastlines are directly compared.

cinder well

Two places at once, then, and Baker chooses to end the record on her own, as opposed to elsewhere throughout, where harmonies play through as on “No Summer,” or, most strikingly, “Old Enough,” which follows suit from “Fallen” in a kind of linear build, but is more patient in the execution and joins its strings with layers of vocals in graceful and willfully haunting melody. It does not feel like a coincidence that “Old Enough” — which ends only with singing — should give way directly to the instrumental “Queen of the Earth, Child of the Skies,” which in its three minutes transitions from Americana pastoralism to more gleeful fiddling, missing only handclaps to punctuate the point. By the time “Queen of the Earth, Child of the Skies” is over, the sense of departure from the effect of “Old Enough” is complete, but there’s still “The Doorway” positioned curiously ahead of the finale. It brings not just a feeling of place, but also of experimentalism on Baker‘s part that she moves from description through the lyrics to actually putting the listener there.

Maybe that’s the last step, to actually bring the audience to where Baker is, though the song-as-letter form of “From Behind the Curtain” renews that distance, so perhaps we’re not all the way across that threshold. In any case, as it rounds out with Baker giving the details of the town where she lives — “The asylum, the pub, the catholic church” — and talks about going into the church for the first time, the shift that No Summer has made from its beginning point to its end is that from a point of wandering to having landed. And what’s in the middle? The flying cuckoo bird of the centerpiece track.

For this reason as well as for the turns in its second half from one piece to the next and the simple experience of hearing it, No Summer is best taken in its entirety rather than as single pieces. Baker‘s songs might work well as standalones, particularly “Fallen” or “Our Lady’s” or “Old Enough,” but one of the joys of the album is hearing them interact with each other, a harmony here and a pinched note of fiddle on “Queen of the Earth, Child of the Skies” left in for authenticity’s sake. The first element that greets the listener is Baker‘s voice, strong and resounding, and the last to go is a plucked guitar that seems less resolute, but the dynamic Cinder Well brings to bear throughout doesn’t need to be either thing entirely to seem honest, and in fact is all the more honest for not being. Baker‘s performance is hardly joyous, but it is a joy to behold, and though the album takes the time to describe the gray tones that surround it in Ireland where lavender L.A. skies might otherwise be, it is no more of the one than the other, and its portrayal is richer for the travels that inspired it.

Cinder Well, “No Summer” official video

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Tau and the Drones of Praise Post “Seanóirí Naofa” Video

Posted in Bootleg Theater on July 15th, 2020 by JJ Koczan

tau and the drones of praise

I’m not gonna claim to be any kind of expert on the work of Tau or any of the various incarnations the Irish-rooted frontman Shaun Mulrooney has of it. I saw something so I’m saying something while I bother to investigate further. Tau and the Drones of Praise issued the four-song Seanóirí Naofa EP last month, and they would’ve been at Roadburn this year, but blah blah blah I’m tired of talking about the pandemic. The EP’s tracks vary somewhat in personality, but with the title-cut, there’s a particularly deep dive into Celtic folk and nature-worshiping psychedelia. And antlers. Lots of antlers. I don’t even mean just in the video. The song itself has antlers. How did they even do that?

Well, that’s the magic I guess, and that’s why I’m posting the video, because it’s easy to get swept up in it, and while this may not be the kind of heavy fare one expects around here all the time, consider the weight of Ireland’s history and consider the breadth of atmosphere being conveyed here and maybe that’ll give you some sense of where I’m coming from. Or maybe it won’t and it doesn’t really matter either way. If you dig it, dig it. If you don’t, well, I post five times a day most days and there are at least a hundred thousand other shitheel blogs out there, so do the math and you’re bound to find something that meets your stringent standards sooner or later.

Sorry. That one kind of took a turn.

Anyway, expand your horizons a little and get into it:

Tau & the Drones of Praise, “Seanóirí Naofa” official video

Title track Seanóirí Naofa (Sacred Ancestors) from the EP, Seanóirí Naofa out now.

Video is a collage and homage to the beauty of Ireland and our Sacred sites. Additional shots on tour in France and at La Briche Audio

Edited by Kyle McFerguson
Filmed by Haile MArie & Leo Lee

Seanóirí Naofa is the lead single from an EP of the same title by Tau & And The Drones of Praise.

This is the follow up to their second album released in February 2019, which garnered widespread acclaim.

In a flash of Imbas (inspiration) Seanóirí Naofa was written and recorded by the Berlin/Ireland based ensemble in just a few hours which gives the track its raw/ archaic immediacy. Opened stringed tunings and old instruments like the hurdy gurdy contains that signature Tau drone while maintaining a confident and contemporary, folky feel.

The mountain on the cover is Queen Maeve’s Cairn at Knocknarea, Co Sligo. The photograph was taken on Spring Equinox 2020, just as the world went into lockdown. The fiery warrior spirit and sovereignty which Goddess Queen Méabh represents so inspires the band, and is a reminder of our own inner fire and our own sovereignty.

Here, frontman Shaun Mulrooney retraces his ancestors’ footsteps, as his surname originates in County Sligo which is a stone’s throw from where he currently resides. Rory Nelson Mckee’s traditional guitar playing being at the helm on Seanóirí Naofa gives this work Tau’s most Irish sounding feel to date.

Tau and the Drones of Praise, Seanóirí Naofa (2020)

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TOOMS Premiere “One Ton Soup”; The Orb Offers Massive Signals out Friday

Posted in audiObelisk on July 14th, 2020 by JJ Koczan

tooms

Limerick, Ireland’s TOOMS will release their debut album, The Orb Offers Massive Signals, this Friday, July 17, through Cursed Monk Records. The acronym-monikered three-piece have already unveiled a couple tracks from the offering, as one will, but as the (I assume) last piece to a densely-weighted riffy puzzle, they offer the fitting summary “One Ton Soup,” and as you’ll probably expect given the context of the band’s name, the song’s title, the label putting it out and just about everything else up to the looks on their faces in their press photo, it’s rather heavy. They call it “thicc” and I’m not inclined to argue.

Something else “One Ton Soup” does, though is blend styles in some unexpected ways. The angularity of the opening progression, for example, and the manner in which it gives way to lurching extremity, the overarching weight seeming to rumble in the high end as well as the low, the whole thing sounding fierce and lurching with samples behind, obscured by the next round of pummeling that soon begins. The song runs seven minutes total, so it’s not a minor sampling by any means of the 10 track offering — though I’ll admit to no small amount of curiosity to hear tooms the orb offers massive signals“Megalobong,” especially given their stated affinity for earlier Mastodon — and as “One Ton Soup” breaks at its halfway point to crashes and snare march (and samples), the procession feels all the more extreme-sludge for its sense of militarism; the song almost sounds like it’s beating itself with itself. Like if you were to self-flagellate by slapping your own face, but with the riff.

Is it massive? Well it’s frickin’ called “One Ton Soup,” so yes thank you very much it is. A quiet line of Fender Rhodes comes in to finish, kind of out of nowhere, but the distorted underpinning remains, and the landscape over which TOOMS just marched for the last three and a half minutes of the track is duly flattened. I don’t know what happens when “Krokodil Den” takes hold as the next track on The Orb Offers Massive Signals, but I know listening to “One Ton Soup” makes me curious to find out, so I suppose that’s one reason to roll out the ol’ ‘Mission Accomplished’ banner, if you needed one.

Preorders are up now through Cursed Monk‘s Bandcamp, from which the following player also comes, bringing the premiere of “One Ton Soup.”

Before I turn you over to the music, I’d like to extend thanks to the band for the thought and detail and personality they put into the quote about it. Sometimes you ask a band for a quote about a song and they give you a half-sentence that equates to “duh we wrote it dude.” Fair enough, but it’s clear TOOMS took the time to really give some background — right down to the lyrics and the gear they used — and it is appreciated.

Enjoy the track:

TOOMS on “One Ton Soup”:

With “One Ton Soup” we basically tried to write the nastiest, heaviest choon possible at that time.

The intro was 100% inspired by High On Fire’s “Hung Drawn and Quartered.” The rest of the song? Not sure exactly where it came from, just carved itself out of the stratosphere by jamming, and we managed to stumble upon these riffs.

There is a chord in the slowed down part that we call the Lamb of God chord, and the main part of the song, in hindsight, was probably inspired by “Mother Puncher”-era Mastodon. There is also that black metal tremolo part before the thicc crushing S L O W outro, so we were certainly drawing from many different influences.

We actually recorded the drums for this way before we did guitars, and did this strange slow-down-speed-up thing with the drums during the bridge between main riff sections with vocals. It was super hard to recreate on guitar, and just didn’t seem right, so we chopped the drums a little for that part to make it feel less stumbling, and because of that it gives it a little feel of industrial/electronic music, which was totally a happy accident.

The guitars are layered much on the whole album with many many pedals, from wah-pedals cocked all the way down and drowned in distortion, to filter pedals mangled with custom built fuzz pedals,(“The Sodomizer” being a aptly named one) But on this particular song, the guitar tone is mostly just coming from overdriven amp distortion. Used a modded Bugera head that’s basically a Fender Bassman, and a Jch50 on the overdrive channel. Layered em both, used a 2×12 cab with celestions in it, and boom, TONE.

Our sound engineer and recording genius Chris also came up with some great ideas, one of which being to vari-speed the guitars; which is basically, play the riff twice as fast, record that, then slow it back to its written speed and pitch correct it. It gives a dragging, lumbering feel (have probably got that way wrong, but that is the jist). Chris also played all the nasty bubbling sounds that you can hear beneath the riffs during the bridge. He also followed the guitar’s melody line during the outro and played the Fender Rhodes that fades in and takes the song to a whole new level, which was a collective idea that stemmed from many hours together in little rooms making guitars sound horrible.

The sample just before the outro kicks into full gear is taken from Black Dynamite, just to remind us all that metal can be heavy as fuck, but doesn’t need to be super serious all the time (Looking at you death metal).

Vocal and lyrical wise, it’s a song basically about soup that drinks you and follows the description of you (the listener) becoming used as an ingredient in the Devil’s broth, and describes in detail all the gross ways in which you are dismantled and turned into a human crouton.

It had originally just been the first couple of lines repeated over and over. But on the day of tracking the vocals, it didn’t seem right or do the music justice, so the vocals were written as they were being tracked. As far as the vocal delivery is concerned, it was very much “vocals as an instrument” kind of approach. We thought about putting more vocals on the outro, but felt like it just didn’t need any there, it felt complete and once the Rhodes melody was added, we knew it was done.

Lyrics:
One. One tone. One. Tone soup burns you.
Burns. Boils teeth. Melts. Gums and scalds lips.
You. You chose. The. Special of the day.
Death. Death broth. Death. Death broth drinks you.
Wake. Wake up. Wake. Wake up in wok.
Now. Now your. Now. Now you’re sautéed.
Shaved. And skinned. Hung. You been bleed dry.
Blow. It’s hot. Blow. Or tongue get sore.
Death. Death broth. Death. Death broth bubbles.
One. One tone. One. Tone soup drank you.
Your. Your blood. Your. Blood and guts gone.
Hot. Hot oils. Skin. Crispy garnish.
Taste. Taste good. Hu. Hu-man hot pot.
Devil. Devil chef. Serve. You soup on plate.
Death. Death broth. Death. Death rules world

TOOMS are:
Drums, gong – Kieran ‘Slippy Fingers’ AKA ‘Chodo Baggins’ AKA ‘The Wobbler’ Grace
Bass – Anto ‘The Wizard’ AKA ‘Farmer Arms’ AKA ‘Old Man’ AKA ‘Coldplay’ Donnellan
Guitar, vocals – Alex ‘The Riffsmiff AKA Big Slim(e) AKA The Vanilla Gorilla’ AKA ‘Half-Bar’ Hölzinger

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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 Horisont push retro-ism into full-on arena status. Moving past some of the sci-fi aspects of 2017’s About Time, 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, 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-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 Horisont, there’s nothing that comes across as more important than the songwriting.

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Ahab, Live Prey

ahab live prey

Scourge of the seven seas that German nautically-themed funeral doomers Ahab are, Live Prey is their first live album and it finds them some five years removed from their last studio LP, 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, Live Prey spans all the way back to 2006’s 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 Call of the Wretched Sea — and whatever their reason for not including any other album’s material, at least they’ve included anything.

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Rrrags, High Protein

rrrags high protein

Let’s assume the title High Protein might refer to the fact that Dutch/Belgian power trio 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 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.

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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?

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Days of Rona: Rodger Mortis of Cursed Monk Records

Posted in Features on April 29th, 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

Rodger Mortis of Cursed Monk Records

Days of Rona: Rodger Mortis of Cursed Monk Records (Galway, Ireland)

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

We’re doing OK. We’ve stopped mailing orders for a few weeks as we are limiting going outside as much as possible. We have made our entire digital catalog free so hopefully this will help folks while away the hours of isolation. We’ve also started up a podcast (The Cursed Cast) which will highlight some of our favourite labels and the excellent acts they put out. So again, hopefully this will help people pass the time. Health-wise, we’re fine. We both came down with a cold the first week, which ramped up the paranoia as we’re both high risk. But thankfully it passed. We also had to postpone our wedding, but that’s small potatoes in the grand scheme of things.

What are the quarantine/isolation rules where you are?

We’re in lockdown at the moment, so you have to stay at home except to buy food, care for vulnerable people, do work deemed essential or briefly exercise within 2km (1.2 miles) of home. When you are out you have to adhere to social distancing. The state has deployed hundreds of extra police on the streets and passed laws to enforce the restrictions – violators can be arrested, fined €2,500 ($2715) and jailed for six months.

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

We live in a small town in the West of Ireland, the community seem to be taking this very seriously which is great. Ireland as a whole seems to be doing its best and giving the situation the gravity it deserves. Plus, comparatively to other countries, it’s not too bad here yet. The Government has taken the proper steps, you can get a test if you need to, and there’s plenty of food on the shelves. I think it’s much scarier for Amanda (Cursed Monk Records co-founder, Rodge’s Fiancee) as her whole family lives in the States.

Music-wise, I can see the community coming together and helping each other through. It’s a beautiful thing. Times are hard, but we will come out the other side.

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

I want people to take this very seriously. Wash your hands. Give people space if you absolutely have to go out. If you’re wearing protective gloves or homemade masks, please learn how to use them properly. But most of all, if you are not working on the front lines or in essential services, just stay at home. It’s easy. There’s endless entertainment online, in books, around the house, in your own head. Plus, the world is more connected than it has ever been. If you need to talk to someone, jump online or pick up the phone. There’s no excuse.

As for our situation as a label, I want people to know that we are not going anywhere, and we will strive to keep releasing dark musical esoterica from the underground.

https://www.cursedmonk.com/
https://cursedmonk.bandcamp.com
https://www.facebook.com/cursedmonk/
https://www.instagram.com/cursedmonkrecords/

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Death the Leveller to Release Debut Album II on Cruz Del Sur

Posted in Whathaveyou on November 18th, 2019 by JJ Koczan

I was fortunate enough to be in Dublin, Ireland, in 2017 for the Emerald Haze festival (review here), which was a goddamn blast, and at which Death the Leveller featured. They were awesome, to the point that I made a note to myself in the review to go back later and check out their EP, I, as I had not been exposed to the band before that. As Cruz Del Sur has been on a bit of a tear in picking up quality bands of late — Ogre and Orodruin both had killer albums out this year, and Tower were newly picked up among others in newer movement of traditionalist metal and doom — but Death the Leveller aren’t so easily categorized, and that’s definitely part of the appeal.

Their debut full-length, counterintuitively titled II, will be out in March 2020, and if you’re not stoked on that news, really, take a minute to listen to the EP and give it a fair shake. I definitely got the impression live that they were onto something — and apparently the label did as well — but I think that comes through in the recording as well.

Enjoy:

Death the Leveller live at Emerald Haze 2017 (Photo by JJ Koczan)

Irish Doomsters DEATH THE LEVELLER Sign With Cruz Del Sur Music

Cruz Del Sur Music is proud to announce the signing of Dublin, Ireland doom metallers Death The Leveller. The label will release the band’s first proper full-length album, “II”, in March 2020.

Originally formed in 2016 out of the ashes of long-running Irish metal ensemble MAEL MÓRDHA, DEATH THE LEVELLER released their debut “I” EP in 2017 to critical acclaim and positive fan reaction. The band’s sound — a melancholic, but strikingly epic take on doom metal — is the result of its four members taking their combined experience and working to create something entirely distinct.

“I think the big takeaway for us was the whole approach to DEATH THE LEVELLER had to be honest, about us, our lives, our losses and our passions,” says drummer Shane Achill. “Sure, we are all influenced by one thing or another, but I can’t say the bands we were in in the past influenced us in any big meaningful way. I know we are certainly influenced by the mistakes we made in the past and how not to recreate those mistakes in DEATH THE LEVELLER.”

DEATH THE LEVELLER (who are rounded out by vocalist Denis Dowling, guitarist Ger Clince and bassist Dave Murphy) fell onto Cruz Del Sur’s radar by way of fellow Irish metallers (and Cruz Del Sur act) Darkest Era. Cruz Del Sur label head Enrico Leccese was instantly a fan of “I” and started up a conversation with the band, with the two parties eventually putting pen to paper in 2019.

“The great thing about Cruz is the quality of bands writing quality music being released by a guy who is a fan of the bands and music he releases,” notes Cahill. “There are not many out there like Enrico at the moment and it was very refreshing for us to find a home for our music that cuts out all the crap that takes away from creating and writing music. Enrico is not looking for the next trend or fashion statement, which is good for us, right? Shortly after that, we demoed three tracks and we finally met at Doom Over Vienna where our relationship was cemented and Enrico got to see us live for the first time. Suddenly it looked like we had a label and that ‘II’ was starting to become a reality.”

The band is currently holed up at Trackmix Recording Studio in Dublin with engineer Michael Richards for the recording of “II”. According to Cahill, the album will comprise of four songs at 42 minutes that are more “introspective” and “reaches more emotional depths than ‘I’.”

“We’re still exploring the human relationship with death and concepts of mortality, but whereas the first release approached the idea of legacy after death, this one goes on a more soul-searching journey to some darker personal places of loss but ultimately also has its uplifting moments,” he says. “Sound-wise, this one has a more laid-back feel in places, giving the general tone of the album more space to breathe and a much more natural sound to come through. On saying that, it also has some of the heaviest sections we’ve done so far. For us, writing each song is a journey, and as we write this, we’re in the studio putting the final pieces of the jigsaw together and the landscape forms in front of us.”

The remainder of 2019 will find DEATH THE LEVELLER putting the finishing touches on “II” while preparing for a run of dates in Europe and Ireland alongside new labelmates, Argus. The band will also be appearing at the bi-annual Redemption Festival in Dublin, as well as Little Devil Doom Days in Holland.

“The main focus for 2020 is to get out there and play to as many people as possible,” wraps Cahill. “These songs mean the world to us. It was a fairly personal and at times, a very emotional journey, but now it’s time to have some fun and bring all of that to the stage and let it rip.”

https://www.facebook.com/deaththelevellerdoom/
https://deaththeleveller.bandcamp.com/
cruzdelsurmusic.com
facebook.com/cruzdelsurmusic
cruzdelsurmusic.bandcamp.com

Death the Leveller, I (2017)

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Quarterly Review: Ufomammut, Horehound, Lingua Ignota, Valborg, Sageness, Glacier, MNRVA, Coroza, Noosed, zhOra

Posted in Reviews on October 4th, 2019 by JJ Koczan

quarterly review

Oh hi, I didn’t see you there. Earlier this week — Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, and yes, even Wednesday — the alarm went off at 4AM as usual and I got up, got coffee going and a protein bar and sat down to write, starting basically around quarter-after with a quick email check and whatnot. In terms of basic timing, this last morning of the Fall 2019 Quarterly Review is no different. I even have the baby monitor streaming on my phone as I would most mornings, so I can keep an eye on when The Pecan gets up. What’s changed is I’m sitting in a hotel lobby in Oslo, Norway, having just arrived on an overnight flight from Newark. Managed to sleep some on the plane and I’m hopeful adrenaline will pick up the rest of the slack as regards getting through the day. That and caffeine, anyhow.

Although, speaking of, my debit card doesn’t work and I’ll need to sort that out.

First thing’s first, and that’s reviews. Last batch of 10 for the week. We made it. Thanks as always for reading and being a part of this thing. Let’s wrap it up in style, and because I like working on a theme, three Irish bands in a row close out. Hey, I went to Ireland this year.

Quarterly Review #41-50:

Ufomammut, XX

UFOMAMMUT XX

Five years ago, Roman cosmic doom masters Ufomammut took a reflective look back at their career for its 15th anniversary with the documentary/live-performance DVD XV (review here). And since one might define the arc of their tenure as constantly trying to top themselves, for their 20th anniversary, they’ve issued a 12LP boxed set, titled simply XX, that compiles their nine albums to-date and tops them off with the mostly-subdued-style XX itself, which reimagines past cacophonies like “Mars” and “Plouton” in a quieter context. That part of the mega-offering issued through their own Supernatural Cat imprint comprises six songs recorded live and makes highlights out of the hypnotic strum and incantations of “Satan” as well as the rumbling drone of “Lacrimosa,” which takes on new emotional resonance for the shoegazy treatment it receives. I’ve said on multiple occasions throughout the years that Ufomammut are a band to be treasured, and I stand by that 100 percent. The XX box should be perceived by fans as an opportunity to do likewise.

Ufomammut on Thee Facebooks

Supernatural Cat website

 

Horehound, Weight

horehound weight

Less than a year after issuing their second long-player in the form of Holocene (review here) through Blackseed and Doom Stew Records, Pittsburgh atmosludgers Horehound align with DHU Records for the two-song 8″ EP Weight, which brings “Unbind” and “The Heavy,” two new cuts that, while I’m not sure they weren’t recorded at the same time as the last album — that is, they may have been — they nonetheless showcase the emergent melodic breadth and instrumental ambience that is developing in their sound. Even as “Unbind” rolls toward its low-end tempo kick, it does so with marked patience and a willingness to stay slow until just the right moment, which is not something every band cane effectively do. “The Heavy,” meanwhile, builds itself around a Crowbar-style dirge riff before Shy Kennedy‘s verse arrives as a standalone element, all the instruments around her dropping out from behind. That moment alone, frankly, is worth the price of admission, as whether it’s through that extra inch in diameter of the platter itself or through the audio of the tracks in question, Horehound continue to distinguish themselves.

Horehound on Thee Facebooks

DHU Records BigCartel store

 

Lingua Ignota, CALIGULA

LINGUA IGNOTA CALIGULA

I’m not sure I’m qualified to write about Lingua Ignota‘s CALIGULA (on Profound Lore), but I’m not sure anyone else is either. Like a self-harmonizing mega-Jarboe turning existential horror into epic proclamations of “I don’t eat/I don’t sleep” on “DO YOU DOUBT ME TRAITOR?” amid bass throb and terrifying melodic layering before making bedroom black metal sound like the lightweight self-indulgence it’s always been on the subsequent check-out-the-real-shit “BUTCHER OF THE WORLD,” Kristin Hayter‘s work is little short of experimentalist brilliance. She is minimal and yet over-the-top, open in creative terms but unwaveringly dark and rife with melody but severe to the point now and again of true aural abrasion. She weaves a context of her own into “FUCKING DEATHDEALER” as she recalls the lyrics to the aforementioned “BUTCHER OF THE WORLD,” while the outright brutality of “SPITE ALONE HOLDS ME ALOFT” is married to a piano-led meditation that, even without the noise wash from whence it comes, is enough to recast visions of what heavy is and can be in musical terms. I won’t pretend to get all the references like “kyrie eleison” (“lord have mercy”) worked into “IF THE POISON WON’T TAKE YOU MY DOGS WILL” and the violent strains surrounding, but it’s impossible not to realize the power of what you’re hearing when you listen.

Lingua Ignota on Thee Facebooks

Profound Lore Records on Bandcamp

 

Valborg, Zentrum

valborg zentrum

With an intensity born out of a history of industrial music and focus on tight rhythms making an impact in even-tighter songwriting, Valborg are neither beholden to death metal nor entirely separate from it, but their style has taken on a life of its own over the course of the last 10 years, and their latest offering, Zentrum (on Prophecy Productions), is the German trio’s most individualized take yet, whether that’s shown in the unbridled melodicism of “Anomalie,” the sludgy riff that drives the barking “Ultragrab” or the seemingly unrelenting snare pops of “Kreuzer” that, even when they finally release that tension, still make it only a temporary reprieve. Valborg‘s sense of control through the epic “Nonnenstern” should not be understated, and though the track is under four minutes long, yes, “epic” very much applies. Suitably enough, they close with “Vakuum” and throw everything at the listener at once before resolving in relatively peaceful atmospherics that could just as easily serve as an introduction to the next round of malice to come, whenever it shows up.

Valborg on Thee Facebooks

Prophecy Productions webstore

 

Sageness, Akmé

sageness akme

Spanish trio Sageness — also written SageNESS — conjure smooth Electric Moon-style soundscapes on their second album, Akmé, and yes, that is a compliment. The record brings forth six tracks of easy-rolling instrumentalist jam-based heavy psychedelia that offer much and take little in return, the richness of the guitar tone from Dawyz and Michi‘s bass given jazzy fluidity by Fran‘s drumming. “Ephemeral” touches most directly on a Colour Haze, as it would almost have to, but even there, the feeling of spaciousness that Sageness present in the recording is a factor that helps them come across as more individual. Earlier, “The Thought” is a little more directly space rock, but opener “Andromeda” seems to be charting the course with its liquefied effects and somehow-even-more-liquefied groove, and if you can’t get down with that, I’ve got nothing for you and neither does the rest of the universe.

Sageness on Thee Facebooks

Spinda Records website

 

Glacier, No Light Ever

glacier no light ever

It’s not exactly true, about their being no light ever on Boston post-metallers Glacier‘s latest full-length, No Light Ever. Sure, it’s plenty dark and heavy and brooding and all that fun stuff, and the riffs get loud and the drums break stuff and all that, but it’s certainly colorful in its way as well, and more than just shades of black on black. Comprised of four tracks cumbersomely titled in keeping with the traditions of the likes of Red Sparowes and the band’s own past work, cuts like “O World! I Remain No Longer Here.” and “The Bugles Blow, Fanned by Hysteria.” stretch themselves out along a scope as massive as the tonality the band emits, and as the wash of “We Glut Our Souls on the Accursed,” — the comma is part of the title there — gives way to feedback and the onset of “And We Are Damned Amid Noble Sound.” the sense of immersion is complete and clear as the priority under which they’re working. It’s about the whole album, or at least the two sides, as a unified work, and about crafting a world through the atmosphere evoked in the material. It works. If they say there’s no light in that world, so be it. It’s whatever they want it to be.

Glacier on Thee Facebooks

Wolves and Vibrancy Records webstore

 

MNRVA, Black Sky

mnrva black sky

Not-entirely-bereft-of-vowels South Carolina heavy trio MNRVA make their debut with the three-song EP Black Sky, a beast of a short release led by the riffs of guitarist Byron Hark on a stretch of ’90s-style crunch and sludge, with bassist/vocalist Kevin Jennings and drummer Gina Ercolini adding to the weight and shove of the proceedings, respectively. “Not the One” has the hook, “No Solution” has the impact and the title-track has both, and though I’m by no means saying the issue of their sound is settled 100 percent and they won’t grow or find their way from this — again, their debut — EP, they do prove to be well in charge of where their songs head in terms of mood and the atmosphere that comes through elements like the blown-out vocals and the rumbling bass beneath the lead guitar in the second half of “Black Sky” itself. Indeed, it’s those harsher aspects that help MNRVA immediately establish their individuality, and the vibe across these 18-plus minutes is that the punishment is only getting started.

MNRVA on Thee Facebooks

MNRVA on Bandcamp

 

Coroza, Chaliceburner

coroza chaliceburner

Just because Irish four-piece Coroza — guitarist/vocalists Ciaran Coghlan and Jack O’Neill, bassist/vocalist Jonny Canning and drummer Ollie Cunningham — might write a song that’s 18 minutes long, that doesn’t mean they forgot to actually make it a song as well. Thus it is that extended cuts like “The Plutonian Drug” (18:24) and closer “Iron from the Sky” (19:30) have plenty of room to flesh out their more progressive aspects amid the other three also-kind-of-extended pieces on Chaliceburner, the group’s ambitious hour-plus/five-track debut full-length. Each song essentially becomes a front-to-back movement on its own, with shifts between singers arranged thoughtfully from one part to the next and hooks along the way to serve as landmarks for those traversing, as in the opening “Chaliceburner” or the gruff winding moments of “Mountain Jaw,” which follows the nine-minute sax-inclusive centerpiece “Scaltheen,” because of course there’s a saxophone in there somewhere. All of this is a recipe for a band biting off more than they can chew stylistically, but Coroza manage pretty well the various twists and turns of their own making, particularly considering it’s their first album.

Coroza on Thee Facebooks

Coroza on Bandcamp

 

Noosed, She of the Woods

noosed she of the woods demo

Encased front and back by witchy samples and creepy vibes, Sept. 2019’s She of the Woods is the second demo in two months to come from Cork, Ireland’s Noosed. And you know it when they get around to the closing seven-minute title-track because it’s just about the only thing other than “Intro” that isn’t raging with grind intensity, but that stuff can be fun too. I don’t know how much witch-grind-doom is out there, but Noosed‘s first, self-titled demo (released in August) had a sludgy edge that seems to have separated out to some degree here into a multifaceted personality. Can one possibly be certain of the direction the band will ultimately take? Shit no. It’s two demos with basically no time differential between them. But if they can effectively bridge the gap between “Fuck Up,” “Wretch” and “She of the Woods,” or even play directly with the contrast, they could be onto something with all this noise and fuckall.

Noosed on Thee Facebooks

Noosed on Bandcamp

 

zhOra, Ruthless Bastards

zhora ruthless bastards

The narrative — blessings and peace upon it — has it such that Irish four-piece zhOra wanted to do something less complicated than was their 2017 album, Ethos, Pathos, Logos (discussed here), so they went ahead and wrote a song that’s five minutes long and purposefully hops between subgenres, going from sludge to doom to a deathcore breakdown, with a snare-pop count-in, to blackened death metal and then back to a lumbering chug to finish out. Okay, zhOra, “Ruthless Bastards” is a an awful lot of metal and an awfully good time, but you missed the mark on “simple” by a considerable margin. If indeed the band had been plotting toward something, say, easier to play or to compose, “Ruthless Bastards” ain’t it. They’ll have to settle for being brutal as fuck instead. Something tells me they’ll survive having made that trade, as much as anything will.

zhOra on Thee Facebooks

zhOra on Bandcamp

 

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Zhora Announce Irish Tour Dates

Posted in Whathaveyou on September 19th, 2019 by JJ Koczan

zhora

I know you’re supposed to write zhOra like that, with the big ‘o’ and the little ‘z,’ but somehow I just couldn’t make myself do it in the headline. It would be the same starting a sentence. Zhora. Look, they’re a cool band and all, but grammar can only bend so far before it ultimately breaks, you know what I’m saying?

No, probably not. Fine.

Zhora, or, if you prefer, zhOra, will be doing a quick run of Irish dates next month with Sail and Everest Queen, and I’m posting the tour info not so much because I expect everybody to make their travel plans and get to Belfast or Dublin or Cork or Limerick in time for a show, but because it gives me an excuse as well to post the video for “Ruthless Bastards,” the punishing vibe of which is very much suiting the kind of day I’ve had. I hope yours has been better, or if not, you find similar catharsis.

Have at it:

zhora shows

We are playing our final run of Irish dates for the year this October. We are joined by some old and new friends.

Oct 24th | Voodoo Belfast
Oct 25th | Sin É Dublin
Oct 26th | Fred Zeppelins, Cork
Oct 27th | Siege of Limerick*

Everest Queen are from Stevenage in the UK and have been good mates of ours for a few years now. We played Bloodstock Festival together back in 2017 along with some awesome UK tours. They are the best of people and they live for riffs. It’s there first time in Ireland and we know they are going to go down really well.

Sail hail from Somerset and are also hitting Ireland for the first time. It’s also our first time gigging together and we cannot wait to see their dense, stoney sludge music performed live with an awesome Irish crowd behind them.

The Siege weekenders are always phenomenal so we are really buzzing for this one. Cheers to everyone that has come to all the shows this year, bought a t shirt and just had a good laugh. We have had an awesome run and look forward to welcoming the darker months in style with all of our mental friends all over this mad country.

zhOra Line-up:
Colin Bolger, Tom Woodlock, Alan Hanlon, Ian O’Meara

https://www.zhorasludge.com
https://www.instagram.com/zhoraireland/
https://www.facebook.com/zhOramusic/
http://zhora1.bandcamp.com/

zhOra, “Ruthless Bastards” official video

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