Zhora Post Vintage-Style Animated “Riverchrist” Video

Posted in Bootleg Theater on February 6th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

zhora
Irish sludgechuggers Zhora — also stylized as zhOra — released their second album, Ethos, Pathos, Logos, late last year, and in addition to its somewhat metaphysically-encompassing title, the Clonmel-based four-piece unleashed with it torrents of progressively pummeling riffs, harsh shouts and purposefully contemplative onslaught. Philosophical exploration through physical or aural punishment? They wouldn’t be the first to tap into flogging for mind expansion by any means, but I guess when something works you roll with it.

The track “Riverchrist” is the second of the total 11 on Ethos, Pathos, Logos, and its new video that you can see below is a deeply creative endeavor involving oldschool-looking animation and a narrative of human sacrifice resulting in a priest or monk of some kind meeting, trapping and — maybe — ultimately joining with his god. It gets kind of murky as these things will, but it’s visually stunning all the same and though in cases like this it’s usually something mined from the public domain or just snagged from a part of a movie or short film or something like that, nope, this one’s all original. Kudos to Goat Planet, which produced the clip.

In addition to the gigs listed below with The Faceless and Conan and MonolordZhora have been confirmed to take part in the inaugural Crypt of the Riff festival (info here) alongside Elder DruidGarganjuaHornets and others. One imagines further appearances are to come throughout 2018 as they continue to support Ethos, Pathos, Logos, but in the meantime, you can check out the “Riverchrist” video here, followed by more info from the PR wire.

Enjoy:

zhOra, “Riverchrist” official video

Irish sludge powerhouse ZHORA have released a new video for their track ‘Riverchrist’, taken from their sophomore album Ethos, Pathos, Logos which was released on 27 October 2017.

‘Riverchrist’ revolves around the fictional character ‘Sin Eater’ and his dominion over vast lands and its people. Written through a first person perspective, his malevolent yet precarious demeanor illustrates the fictional deity and his world of no mercy.

Animation by Goat Planet – https://www.facebook.com/goatplanet/

The Irish sludge metal group have also announced two upcoming shows:

February 6th with THE FACELESS
May 15th with CONAN and MONOLORD

Zhora on Thee Facebooks

Zhora on Twitter

Zhora on Bandcamp

Zhora BigCartel store

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Primordial Post “Stolen Years” Video; Exile Amongst the Ruins out March 30

Posted in Bootleg Theater on January 22nd, 2018 by JJ Koczan

primordial

Many bands, one Primordial. Going on nine records deep into a career that in 2018 hits 25 years since the release of their first demo, the Dublin-based metallers are one of a kind. Over their time, they’ve transcended black metal, pagan metal, Celtic metal, doom and however many other subgenres on their way to defining and refining their sound, and with the forthcoming Exile Amongst the Ruins — out March 30 on Metal Blade — the five-piece will once again showcase the individualized take and particular dramatic bent that makes them who they are: not only distinct sonically, but one of heavy metal’s most affecting bands, capable of stirring the soul in a way few groups can.

To whatever degree a given listener is emotionally affected — that is to say, different people buy in at different levels; investment is subjective — I firmly believe that anyone who’s seen Primordial live can at very least appreciate the landmark-style presence they bring to the stage. That is the focus, rightly, of their new Costin Chioreanu-directed videoprimordial exile amongst the ruins for “Stolen Years,” which is the first track to be unveiled from Exile Amongst the Ruins. We see the band, led as ever by frontman Alan “Nemtheanga” Averill, essentially preparing for a show. The rest of the group — founding guitarist Ciáran MacUiliam and bassist Pól MacAmlaigh, guitarist Micheál O’Floinn and drummer Simon O’Laoghaire — laughs and drinks and checks gear as Averill ritualistically dons the stage makeup he’ll wear during the set. Shot in black and white and slow motion, the spirit of the clip portrays a sense of import, of meaning, to what becomes to the band and to fans clearly more than just another night at a gig.

And as for the song itself, “Stolen Years” is something of a surprise. When one thinks of “lead single,” it’s hardly the kind of fare imagined. With a subdued melancholy and a structure that pulls away from the hooks the band often proffers, it feels more meditative than a lot of what Primordial does, but it’s still undeniably theirs. As it appears late in the tracklisting for Exile Amongst the Ruins, which you can see in the album announcement that follows the video here, it leads one to wonder what sort of atmospheres Primordial might dig into as side B of their latest offering plays through. For the time being, I can only look forward to finding out.

Check out Primordial‘s “Stolen Years” on the player below, followed by the aforementioned details courtesy of the PR wire, and please enjoy:

Primordial, “Stolen Years” official video

Primordial announces new album “Exile Amongst The Ruins” for March 30th!

Irish pagan metal gods PRIMORDIAL announces their new album Exile Amongst The Ruins for a March 30th release through Metal Blade Records. The band teamed with producer Ola Ersfjord, who worked on their 2016 live album Gods to the Godless. The record was tracked at Dublin’s Camelot Studios, located adjacent to PRIMORDIAL’s rehearsal room.

Visit metalblade.com/primordial to check out the video for the first single “Stolen Years.” At the same location, fans can pre-order Exile Amongst The Ruins in the following formats:

–ltd. 1st ed. Digibook-CD with bonus-CD
–jewelcase-CD
–ltd. ed. Artbook (incl. 5 x 10″ in golden vinyl)
–180g black vinyl
–clear gray-brown marbled vinyl (EU exclusive – limited to 700 copies)
–violet red purple marbled vinyl (EU exclusive – limited to 300 copies)
–clear pale pink/white splattered vinyl (EU eBay exclusive – limited to 100 copies)
–purple red marbled vinyl (EU exclusive – limited to 200 copies)
–transparent green vinyl (Blast exclusive – limited to 200 copies)
–dead gold marbled vinyl (Napalm exclusive – limited to 300 copies)
–rosy brown/purple marbled vinyl (US exclusive – limited to 400 copies)
–tan clear vinyl (US exclusive – limited to 200 copies)

Once again building upon their signature sound, the follow up to 2014’s Where Greater Men Have Fallen is a more raw, “old school sounding” record than its predecessor. Hitting home with what vocalist A.A. Nemtheanga describes as “a direct energy” and wielding an urgency that is undeniable, the Irish quintet once again effortlessly blend elements of tragedy and might like no one else. Likewise, the evolution in their sound continues to be organic and unforced, ensuring that Exile Amongst The Ruins is essential listening for both their long term faithful and those only now drawn into their world.

Commenting about the album’s first single, ‘Stolen Years’, A.A. Nemtheanga added: “‘Stolen Years’ may seem like a strange choice as our lead single, and on the face of if I guess it is. It’s not a blood and thunder epic about tragedy and might and the ruin of nations, nor is it 9 minute epistle of doom. Have no fear, the album does contain those also but to open this time we chose something different. This album has some surprises and this is one of them, a short and painfully simple song which almost didn’t make the final cut if you can believe so. The video, cut by Costin Chioreanu, is about the journey involved in finally getting to that moment where you walk on stage, the song itself about that last night on earth that comes to us all, sometimes we never know when that might be, hold your loved ones tight tonight, this could be it…”

Exile Amongst The Ruins track listing:
1. Nail Their Tongues
2. To Hell or the Hangman
3. Where Lie the Gods
4. Exile Amongst the Ruins
5. Upon Our Spiritual Deathbed
6. Stolen Years
7. Sunken Lungs
8. Last Call

To coincide with the album release the Irishmen have just announced two special and rather intimate album-release shows in Germany as well as their appearance on the Heathen Crusade European tour with Finnish MOONSORROW as co-headliners and German DER WEG EINER FREIHEIT as support act!

PRIMORDIAL Exile Amongst The Ruins release shows:
30/03/18 DE Berlin Cassiopeia
31/03/18 DE Köln Jungle Club

Heathen Crusade 2018
PRIMORDIAL
+ MOONSORROW
+ DER WEG EINER FREIHEIT
12/04/18 NL Leeuwarden Neushoorn
13/04/18 NL Tilburg 013
14/04/18 FR Paris Trabendo
15/04/18 BE Brugge Entrepot
16/04/18 UK London Islington Assembly Hall
17/04/18 LU Esch-sur-Alzette Kulturfabrik
18/04/18 CH Pratteln Z7
19/04/18 DE Ludwigsburg Rockfabrik
20/04/18 DE Leipzig Hellraiser
21/04/18 CZ Prague Akropolis
22/04/18 SK Kosice Colloseum
23/04/18 HU Budapest Barba Negra
24/04/18 AT Wien Szene
25/04/18 DE München Backstage
26/04/18 DE Aschaffenburg Colos-Saal
27/04/18 DE Bochum Matrix
28/04/18 DE Hamburg Markthalle

Get your tickets now: dragon-productions.eu
Further info here: facebook.com/HeathenCrusade

Further PRIMORDIAL festival appearances:
12/05/18 NO Haugesund Karmoygeddon
09/06/18 SE Sölvesborg Sweden Rock
14/07/18 DE Balingen Bang Your Head!!!
20/07/18 DE Bertingen Rock Unter Den Eichen
27/07/18 SI Tolmin Metaldays
11/08/18 ES Villena Leyendas Del Rock
12/08/18 BE Kortrijk Alcatraz Metal Festival
26/08/18 RO Suceava Bucovina Rock Castle

PRIMORDIAL line-up:
A.A. Nemtheanga – Vocals
Ciarán MacUilliam – Guitar
Michael O’Floinn – Guitar
Pól MacAmlaigh – Bass
Simon O’Laoghaire – Drums

Primordial website

Primordial on Thee Facebooks

Primordial on Bandcamp

Primordial on YouTube

Primordial at Metal Blade Records

Metal Blade Records on Thee Facebooks

Metal Blade Records on Twitter

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Weed Priest Premiere “Vampyr” Video

Posted in Bootleg Theater on October 23rd, 2017 by JJ Koczan

weed priest

Irish sludge nasties Weed Priest issue their four-song full-length, Consummate Darkness, on Halloween via Cursed Monk Records. There is a moment toward the chug-mad ending of album opener “Witch’s Curse” that, somehow fittingly to the title, conveys a sense of the genuinely unhinged. I don’t know if the idea was that, as his own guitar and that of Sean “The Tormentor” Sullivan and the bass of Ragas Iscariot devolve into crackling amp noise, the vocals of Adam Diavol — points all around on the names, guys; lest we forget Micheál Dúlachán on drums — shift from the lower-register extreme growing to a higher-pitched cackle. Is this the witch in “Witch’s Curse” speaking directly to the listener? I don’t know, but it sounds utterly fucked, and I’m pretty sure that’s the point. Point taken.

Weed Priest issued their thick-rolling self-titled debut long-player (review here) in 2013 and brought with their volume worship a sense of grim-hued ritualizing. Consummate Darkness feels more about rawer scathe. Set up across two vinyl sides on which a shorter track leads into a longer one —weed priest consummate darkness “Witch’s Curse” (8:04) into “Vampyr” (10:33) on side A; “SkyDaddy” (6:36) into “The Mass” (14:29) on side B — the record isn’t without a sense of structure, but as the horror sample leads to the plodding, post-Electric Wizard launch of “Vampyr,” Weed Priest find themselves engaging a grittier form of extremity, less outwardly crushing and more about the overarching filth conjured through the riffs and the rhythmic nod, the theme taking shape really in “Vampyr” and finding catchier foothold in the speedier “SkyDaddy” before “The Mass” brings about a last push into rumbling oblivion, grueling and mirroring the viciousness of “Witch’s Curse” early while finding spaciousness later in its extended solo section.

Brutal? Why yes it fucking is. That would seem to be the point. One can hear a dynamic shift between the more “rock”-based songcraft of “SkyDaddy” and “The Mass,” certainly, but Weed Priest are far less about showing off their range than they are about bludgeoning their audience with it, and that suits them. “The Mass” ends Consummate Darkness on a long-fading drum march and the funereal vibe is noteworthy; a dirge undertaken with a relished sense of dismemberment, flayed skin and any number of other medieval cruelties having been brought to bear through volume and tempo-be-damned sonic terror.

Today I have the pleasure of hosting the video premiere for “Vampyr” from Consummate Darkness, which can be preordered now via the links below. Please find it on the player here, followed by more info from the PR wire, and if you think your personal constitution is up to it, enjoy.

Here we go:

Weed Priest, “Vampyr” official video premiere

Weed Priest’s second much anticipated full length album “Consummate Darkness” is coming out on Samhain (31th of October) 2017 as vinyl, cd and digital via Cursed Monk Records.

“Lo and behold! From the depths of the smoke filled dungeons, from the tops of the mountains of madness, the priest is coming back with the new opus. Four hymns depicting the unholy ceremonies of union with darkness, four sermons of crawling doom, four spits into the face of conformity and meekness.”

Adam (guitar, vocals), Ragas (bass) and Adrian (drums) were brought together by the love of classic Black Sabbath sound, seventies psychedelic rock, doom/sludge metal and their interest in occultism in 2009. In 2011 Weed Priest released a well received demo CD. A grandiose debut self-titled full length album came out in 2013 and is now sold out. It was followed by “Worship” EP (2014). In 2014 the drum throne was taken over by Michael. Second guitar player Sean also joined. Two split releases followed: split single with Northern Irish doom brothers Astralnaut (February 2015) and split EP with Italian doomsters Black Capricorn (September 2016).

WEED PRIEST:
Adam Diavol – lead guitar/vox
Ragas Iscariot – bass
San “Balor” Sullivan – guitar
Micheál Dúlachán – drums

Weed Priest on Thee Facebooks

Weed Priest on Bandcamp

Weed Priest BigCartel store

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Cursed Monk Records on Bandcamp

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Zhora Post New Track; Ethos, Pathos, Logos out This Week

Posted in Whathaveyou on October 23rd, 2017 by JJ Koczan

zhora

Irish post-sludgers Zhora — also presented as zhOra, which I’m not doing, because I’m an adult and capitalizing the first letter of a proper noun is a choice I’ve made and even if it’s wrong in this instance, I’m sticking by it — are gearing up for a weekender tour starting this Friday which will take them to Siege of Limerick, where they’ll share the stage with the likes of Orange Goblin as well as Emerald Isle countrymen like Zlatanera, Kurokuma, Elder Druid, Demeter and many others. Seems as fitting an occasion as any to mark the release of their new album, the genre-spanning self-release Ethos, Pathos, Logos, from which the band has just posted the track “Infernal Liturgy” as a name-your-price download, and which is about as all-over-the-place in its sub-three-minute run as you could ask.

Cool by me. They might not be much for capitalization, but if it’s between that and weirding out, even I have to admit the weird-out is the way to go. Particularly when it’s still so heavy.

Info and audio follows, courtesy of the PR wire:

zhora ethos pathos logos

Irish Sludge Metallers ZHORA Release Free Track Download Ahead of Headline Tour

Album Ethos, Pathos, Logos Released 27 October

Irish sludge powerhouse zhOra have released the latest single ‘Infernal Liturgy’ for free download ahead of their headline tour which starts October 20th. The track is taken from forthcoming sophomore album Ethos, Pathos, Logos which is released on 27 October.

Vocalist Colin Bolger comments: “Infernal Liturgy takes place right in the middle of the story. It deals with our main character “Riverchrist” and how he convinces a group of desperate tribespeople to resort to cannibalism and devour each other. We like to think of it as our demented death metal ballad. It’s slimy yet angular and features our drummer Tom spitting a glorious vocal rhythm with some genuine venom. We took director Zoe Kavanagh, her camera crew and a group of our oldest friends to the forest for a few days in September and shot a mad new video which will be debuting soon. We used fake limbs, fire and skulls, lots of mushrooms, not enough cans and 27 litres of fake blood. Things got weird and sticky just just the way we like it and the result is a real horror show.”

Over the span of six years zhOra have quickly become one of the most recognisable names in the burgeoning Irish metal scene. In this time the band has released one EP Feet Nailed to the Ground (2011) and their debut LP Almaz (2013), both releases garnering huge praise within the scene. Now in 2017, the band is set to undertake the next stage in their journey, Ethos, Pathos, Logos.

In the only predictable aspect of the band’s sonic trajectory, Ethos, Pathos, Logos finds the band once again putting themselves under their own microscope and refining their approach. With a lush cover designed by acclaimed Visionary Artist Jake Kobrin, the record is zhOra’s first back-to-back concept album, an hour long journey through past lives and cannibalism.

Pre-orders for Ethos, Pathos, Logos are available now via Big Cartel, Bandcamp, iTunes and all other digital outlets.

Catch zhOra throughout October:
October 27 – Central Arts, Waterford
October 28 – Fozzys, Clonmel
October 29 – Siege of Limerick

https://www.facebook.com/zhOramusic/
https://twitter.com/zhoramusic
http://zhora1.bandcamp.com/
http://zhora1.bigcartel.com/products

Zhora, “Infernal Liturgy”

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Quarterly Review: Wucan, Lucifer in the Sky with Diamonds, Thera Roya, Ojos Rojos, Ett Rop På Hjälp, BongCauldron, Nomadic Rituals, Mental Tremors, Gin Lady, Swanmay

Posted in Reviews on September 29th, 2017 by JJ Koczan

the obelisk quarterly review

Round five of the Fall 2017 Quarterly Review begins now. After dealing with the technical issues this week and changing hosts and having the site down for – well, as I write this, it’s still down, so I don’t really have a finished count yet, though obviously by the time you’re reading it it’ll be back up – yeah, it’s made putting together a batch of 10 reviews a day seem like a breeze. “Oh, you mean you’re only writing 10 reviews today? Well now this is happening.” That kind of thing. Didn’t I say something earlier this week about a piano falling on my head? Prescient.

Plan is to finish the QR on Monday and then get back to what passes for normalcy around here. Still plenty of good stuff to come between now and then though, so let’s dive in.

Quarterly Review #41-50:

Wucan, Reap the Storm

wucan reap the storm

Bilingual heavy blues rockers Wucan offer their second full-length, Reap the Storm, through MIG Music, and with it showcase a stunning range of songwriting. The album is set up as a 2LP and runs eight songs/73 minutes from the Dresden, Germany, four-piece of vocalist Francis Tobolsky (also flute, guitar, theremin, sitar and percussion), guitarist/keyboardist Tim George, bassist Patrik Dröge and drummer Philip Knöfel, and from the expansive jamming of 10-minute opener “Wie Die Welt Sich Dreht,” it solidifies into the classic-prog-meets-heavy-boogie of “Ebb and Flute/The Eternal Groove” and nestles into driving semi-psychedelic rock on “Out of Sight out of Mind” to lead the charge on a side B marked out by the organ in “I’m Gonna Leave You,” the interplay of trippy/soulful vocals and flute on “The Rat Catcher” and the quiet, German-language post-Zeppelin acoustic folk of “Falkenlied.” Okay. Already your head’s spinning. Then Wucan dive into “Aging Ten Years in Two Seconds” and “Cosmic Guilt,” which together comprise the second of the two LPs, the former running 21:05 and the latter 18:04, and basically between them represent another album entirely, tying all of the elements previously listed together into one richly complex, progressive-but-still-warm delivery. Their breadth is met by an overarching organic feel – the flute and Tobolsky’s vocals help greatly in this – and though the results are somewhat unmanageable, Wucan remain impressively cohesive throughout the many twists and turns.

Wucan on Thee Facebooks

MIG Music website

 

Lucifer in the Sky with Diamonds, Silent Echo

Lucifer-in-the-Sky-with-Diamonds-Silent-Echo

The new single “Silent Echo” is an awaited return from Moscow progressive heavy rockers Lucifer in the Sky with Diamonds, who showed up with an encouraging debut, The Shining One (review here), in 2014. In the rhythmic push and balance of melody and hook, “Silent Echo” reaffirms the appeal of that album and presses it forward, and the band – now comprised of guitarist/bassist/vocalist Oleg Sakharov, guitarist Sergey Starykh, drummer Ramis Cervantes and backing vocalist Alexey Fedotov – hold fast to the underlying proggy sensibilities that fall so well in line with the crispness of their production and the clarity of intent in their songcraft. If they were German or Swedish, they’d already be signed. After three years, a new album would be welcome, but perhaps “Silent Echo” is a harbinger of things to come, and if indeed the six-minute track is all we’re getting for now, it’s got resonance enough behind it to last at least for a while. Hard to hear it though and not want more from these guys.

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Lucifer in the Sky with Diamonds on Bandcamp

 

Thera Roya, Masterful Universe

thera-roya-masterful-universe

Tracked a year ago in North Carolina, Thera Roya’s Masterful Universe two-songer follows behind their earlier-2017 debut long-player, Stone and Skin (review here), and continues their headfirst dive into noise-laden riotousness across the seven-minute “Static Transmission” (I’m sorry, but are those monkey sounds around the three-minute mark?) and five-minute “Confused Population,” which starts out with a sample of the bomb-riding end sequence of Dr. Strangelove, because I guess the Brooklyn/NJ trio of drummer/vocalist Ryan Smith, guitarist Christopher Eustaquio and bassist Jonny Cohn are feeling topical. Fair enough. That song pushes into cleaner vocals, almost drone-chants, for a particularly experimental feel, and keeps samples as a running theme (at least until the blackened cave-echo screams at the end), where “Static Transmission” is more scathingly aggressive at its core, but in both tracks, the message of Thera Roya getting weirder and weirder comes through clearly, and that only works to their benefit on this short but consuming offering. Run with it, dudes.

Thera Roya on Thee Facebooks

Thera Roya on Bandcamp

 

Ojos Rojos, Sons of Love and Death

Ojos-Rojos-Sons-of-Love-and-Death

It’s been seven years since California-based heavy psych rockers Ojos Rojos made their debut with the full-length Disappear (review here), but you’d hardly know it from the vibrancy of their new five-song/26-minute Sons of Love and Death EP, which from its opening title-track – also the longest here (immediate points) – through the rightly spacious “Atmosphere” and smoothly rolling centerpiece “Say Goodbye” affects desert-hued shoegaze engagement that asks little of the listener more than to drift along with its easy path. “A Hole Inside” (pun sense tingling) brings especially satisfying fuzz in the guitar and a swirling couple leads to complement like stars overhead, and closer “So Free” doesn’t at all let the fact that it’s so darn laid back let it stop it from strutting its start-stop groove with such swagger. All told, Sons of Love and Death is a work of drippingly lysergic vibe, reminiscent of Dead Meadow at their most languid, but it comes across neither as staid nor redundant. Be it in the rhythmic push of “Atmosphere” or the final crashes of “So Free,” Ojos Rojos find the means to portray an active ecosystem in something that, from the surface, seems still and peaceful.

Ojos Rojos on Thee Facebooks

Ojos Rojos on Bandcamp

 

Ett Rop På Hjälp, Sans och Balans

ett-rop-pa-hjalp-sans-och-balans

Ett Rop På Hjälp, quite simply, deserve a higher profile than they’ve got for their second album, Sans och Balans. The Gothenburg natives are a half-decade removed from their 2012 debut, Hur Svårt Kan Det Vara? (review here), on Transubstans, and the new collection is a more than worthy follow-up, offering classic-style boogie rollout on cuts like “En Djavuls Falla” and the later solo work on “Blanka Eftermiddagen,” while “Defenestration” (the only English title present, though it’s still sung in Swedish), highlights organ/keys alongside its low end depth and catchy movement, shifting at its midpoint to an instrumental jam that carries it into the bluesy build and harmonies of “Snomannen.” The penultimate “Leker Med Karlek” is particularly heavy ‘70s, but skirts the trap of sounding like Graveyard, Witchcraft or most others of that vintage ilk, and the finish in “Slutat Tro” prefaces its payoff with a subtle heft that comes to the fore late, manifesting a proto-doom working well to contrast the sweetness of the earlier vocal melody. It may be harder for those who don’t speak Swedish to grasp the verses and howling chorus of “Folkhemsdesperado” and the other inclusions here, but Sans och Balans is nothing if not worth that effort and clearly a record that earns more attention than it’s getting.

Ett Rop På Hjälp on Thee Facebooks

Sans och Balans on Spotify

 

BongCauldron, Binge

bongcauldron-binge

Leeds trio BongCauldron have been kicking around the UK’s fertile heavy underground for the last five-plus years since their self-titled EP, issuing a series of shorter releases and splits and gradually readying themselves for a larger attack. That arrives as their eight-song/40-minute debut full-length, Binge, which sludge-bludgeons (yes, it sludgeons) its listener into submission with thickened nod, growls and an attitude that’s best represented perhaps in the title of second cut “Bury Your Axe in the Crania of Lesser Men.” Yeah, it’s like that. “68” and closer “Yorkshire Born” offer a Motörhead/High on Fire-style gallop, but the larger impression Binge makes comes from the pairing of the title-track and “Bigfoot Reigns” in the middle of the album. These two longest tracks, back to back, pummel their viscous onslaught, and even when the latter swaps out its faster first half for the massive slowdown of its second, its shift is purely from one extreme to the other. Feels like it’s been a while in the making, and maybe it has, but BongCauldron’s first long-player has nastiness a-plenty to make up for any and all lost time.

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APF Records on Thee Facebooks

 

Nomadic Rituals, Marking the Day

nomadic-rituals-marking-the-day

Marking the Day builds from minimalist drone over the first couple minutes of “From Nothing” into a maddeningly heavy, grueling, hour-long slog of noise-soaked and extremist post-sludge. It is the second album from Belfast, Northern Ireland, three-piece Nomadic Rituals, and its cosmically-themed lumber is utterly vicious as it plays out across six tracks, the shortest of which, “Expansion,” is just under eight minutes long. Over the course of this creation-to-destruction journey, guitarist/vocalist Peter Hunter, bassist/vocalist Craig Carson and drummer Mark Smyth (all three also contribute noise and/or synth) take listeners “From Nothing” and leave them “Face Down in the Sea of Oblivion,” and it’s that 14-minute finale and specifically the tumultuous, pushed-even-further apex thereof, that is intended to capture the grand undoing of everything. One imagines when the end comes it won’t actually sound quite so glorious, but an interpretive representation, Nomadic Rituals give brutal portrayal that seems to fit the onslaught of chaos, and the final amp hum reminds that every ending is likewise a new beginning, even one so mammoth and consuming as this.

Nomadic Rituals on Thee Facebooks

Nomadic Rituals on Bandcamp

 

Mental Tremors, Mental Tremors

mental-tremors-mental-tremors

A duo who manage to sound like a full band on a studio album is nothing new at this point, between layering and tonal heft and whatever else might be at play in a given act’s aesthetic. Fortunately, Melbourne two-piece Mental Tremors don’t need to rely on novelty. In the fuzz of songs like “Bastard Son” and “Violently” – that’s a riff you should hear – their self-titled debut long-player offers legit chops in craft and performance, yes, sounding full, but still natural as it makes its way through the weirdo-psych nod of the six-minute “Patient Man,” solidifying as it goes, and seeming to turn the classic LP dynamic of straightforward A and more expansive B sides on its head as it rounds out with “Hunters” and “The Fevering,” individualizing catchy, post-Queens of the Stone Age impulses and hairy riff-led raucousness. Initially self-released earlier this year, Mental Tremors was picked up for a vinyl pressing by Cursed Tongue Records, and whether it’s the clarion groove of opener “Like a Broken Town” or the nods and echoes that pervade “The Cascade,” there’s no question it earns that preservation that only physical media can provide.

Mental Tremors on Thee Facebooks

Cursed Tongue Records webstore

 

Gin Lady, Electric Earth

gin-lady-electric-earth

Modern enough in its production, Gin Lady’s fourth album, Electric Earth (on Kozmik Artifactz) is nonetheless in pretty direct conversation with the ‘60s, whether it’s “I’m Your Friend” chatting it up with Paul McCartney circa Rubber Soul or the acoustic/piano stomp of “Mercy” in a back and forth with The Rolling Stones, even going so far as to reference “Satisfaction” in the lyrics. These pop-minded textures are met with some heavier rock vibes, but at its loudest, Electric Earth still sticks to a pretty serene feel, starting off at a dancey clip with “Flower People” and capping with the quick Lennonism of “Running No More,” while in between, the four-piece of vocalist Magnus Kamebro, guitarist/vocalist Joakim Karlsson, bassist/vocalist Anthon Johansson and drummer Fredrik Normark gracefully capture bygone vibes on the wistful “The Things You Used to Do,” the jammy “Brothers of the Canyon” and the crisp, clear “Water and Sunshine,” the hook of which could’ve easily come from a lost single from 1965. It’s a niche not everyone’s playing toward at this point, but still instantly familiar and engagingly, efficiently done.

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Electric Earth at Kozmik Artifactz

 

Swanmay, Stoner Circus

swanmay-stoner-circus

Unabashed stoner rock riff-led ideology persists throughout Stoner Circus, the hard-driving debut full-length from Linz, Austria, three-piece Swanmay. Working from a center of dense but not overblown fuzz, the rockers cast forth a clear-in-its-purposes nine tracks highlighted by “Lake on Fire,” which one can only wonder if whether or not was written in homage to the Austrian annual festival of the same name. In any case, that hook is one of several that feel particularly engaging throughout Stoner Circus, and the depth of tone on the instrumental “Dopechild” is enough to make that song memorable despite a lack of lyrics. Far from revolutionary, ultimately, but clearly not trying to be either, Swanmay’s first LP preaches its post-Kyussism on “Dharma” and in the Lowrider-style roll of “Sylvan” earlier on, but there’s an aggressive edge to it as well that comes to the fore on “Padawan” ahead of closer “Shiva,” which rounds out with a satisfying-if-telegraphed slowdown to make the point one more time about putting the groove first. So be it. As a debut, Stoner Circus gives Swanmay something to build on and already shows promise in songwriting and its well-honed execution of genre tenets.

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Swanmay on Bandcamp

 

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Wild Rocket, Disassociation Mechanics: Headfirst into the Ion Storm

Posted in Reviews on September 19th, 2017 by JJ Koczan

WILD ROCKET DISASSOCIATION MECHANICS

If you’re going to push your listeners out into a churning realm of bright-feeling psychedelic noise wash, it helps to start with a hook. Wild Rocket clearly know this, and so their sophomore album, Disassociation Mechanics (on Art for Blind), begins with “Caught in the Triangle Again,” a song that finds the Dublin four-piece playing lumber and blast directly off each other, finding a line between heavy and space rock. That niche, which on paper seems so obvious it might as well be a punch in the face — and in the case of some of the freakouts on the ensuing five-song offering, it kind of feels like one — is deceptively individualized in the care of Niallo, Moose, Jon and Bres, and while there persists a strong current of Hawkwind blowing through “Caught in the Triangle Again,” the band neglects nothing in their songwriting, returning after eliciting this massive nine-minutes-plus sprawl to the chorus as if to let their listeners know how in control they actually are as artists.

They complement this broad-reaching vibe with a tonality that feels as geared toward altitude as the mix of the record is toward depth, and while only the 15-minute penultimate “The Future Echoes” will match and surpass “Caught in the Triangle Again” for runtime, Wild Rocket nonetheless stretch themselves down to the molecules as they plow through “Infinite Reconnaissance Hanger,” the centerpiece “Into the Black Hole” and closer “The Edges of Reality,” the last of which in particular presents a mirror-universe chorus to complement “Caught in the Triangle Again” and give a sense of the journey’s destination being perhaps not so distant after all from its starting point, at least the way the limited human mind perceives the spaces between one thing and the other. Still, you might lose time as the 43-minute LP unfolds, and that’s cool. Check under your seat for a flotation device. Also headphones. You’ll want both.

I’ll readily admit that my opinion of Wild Rocket and the work they do in fuzz-echo-tripping their way through “Infinite Reconnaissance Hanger” and the rest of the tracks here is affected by having recently seen the band perform at the inaugural and Obelisk co-sponsored Emerald Haze fest in their hometown (review here). I’m not sure why that would be an issue, especially with the energy the foursome put into their thrust being so in kind with their live show, but it feels like it’s worth mentioning all the same in a full-disclosure kind of way, and also because I feel like seeing the band on stage before and after having experienced Disassociation Mechanics was helpful in giving a fuller sense of the heavy psychedelic blend they for which they are shooting in these tracks.

Having seen them bring it to life, it’s a blend I’d argue they achieve on the CD (LP release impending), much aided by an almost constant fullness of sound brought on through the use of synth and keys that adds wash to “Caught in the Triangle Again” and “Infinite Reconnaissance Hanger” while giving the opening of “Into the Black Hole” a sense of more straightforward keyboard drama before the shouted echoes of the first verse bring the centerpiece to one of the album’s most singularly intense moments. For a release like this to work at all, it is essential that it be fluid in its transitions within and between its tracks and dynamic in how it presents its style, and Disassociation Mechanics is both of these things, to be sure. Taken as a whole in linear form — CD or digital — it brims with immersion and offers standout moments whether it’s the aforementioned repeated choruses of “Caught in the Triangle Again” and “The Edges of Reality” or the bounce and delivery of the title line in “Into the Black Hole,” or even just the sprawl of “The Future Echoes,” which invariably feels like and is a significant landing/launch point for Wild Rocket as they careen through the cosmos, remaining structurally intact all the while.

wild rocket

It is that factor, ultimately, that makes Disassociation Mechanics work so well. Yes, Wild Rocket beef up space rock impulses and present their material with nuance, vitality and flow. None of that is to be understated in how crucial it is. None of it. But it’s the underlying structural integrity of the work that gives it the legs on which to stand and lets it convey its resonant and exploratory sensibility without getting lost in its own wash of noise. Even “The Future Echoes” holds itself together as effects and backwards swirl top a temporary slowdown two minutes in before the push resumes — a thrill as much of pace as tone, and not by any means the last on offer. Indeed, they shift through that time warp again and hold the gruel even longer the second time around, a space-doom march emerging that holds firm and lumbers “The Future Echoes” just about to its midpoint before impulse power is restored.

At that point, the outward course is set and Wild Rocket engage with due fervency an instrumental kosmiche shove that will consume the rest of “The Future Echoes,” drums varying in snare punctuation even as they’re responsible for holding together the fluidity emanating from the righteous bass and guitar tones, no less elemental than the keys to the overall spirit of the piece. There’s a somewhat expected devolution that starts at about 14 minutes in as “The Future Echoes” blows itself out, and by its final minute, the instruments have crashed and only slow-fading static noise remains. This makes the side B companion “The Edges of Reality” something of an epilogue, but again, its purpose seems to lie as much in hearkening back to the opener as following-up “The Future Echoes,” and it does that well, taking off patiently with faded-in drums over an intro of synth with an emphasis on space rock rhythm. The repeated line, “Pushing at the edges of reality,” gives an initial foothold in an early verse, and will be repeated twice more as the finale moves further and further into phase-shifted, pulsating drift, including during the last fadeout, where it provides a telling moment of humanity at the core of what might otherwise come across as cold and void of life.

Ultimately, Disassociation Mechanics is anything but, and in answering the tonal and aesthetic promise of their 2014 debut, Geomagnetic HallucinationsWild Rocket further establish themselves through a cohesive and forceful execution of a brand of space rock that, wielded less capably, would simply unwind into a sonic mess. This speaks to a progressive edge in their craft that may or may not continue to take hold as they move forward from these tracks toward their inevitable next release, but whatever direction they take over the longer term — and they’re by no means limited to choosing one path over another; clearly capable as they are of adopting multiple stylistic facets as suits their purpose in a given song — their second album brings them to a dimension of color and warmth, and it is an utter joy for the listener to join them there.

Wild Rocket, Disassociation Mechanics (2017)

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Art for Blind Records on Bandcamp

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Weed Priest to Release Consummate Darkness Oct. 31

Posted in Whathaveyou on September 12th, 2017 by JJ Koczan

weed priest

Cursed Monk Records has posted preorders now for Consummate Darkness, the second album from Galway, Ireland, riff worshipers Weed Priest. I’ll grant that after my recent experience traveling to Dublin for the Obelisk-sponsored inaugural edition of the Emerald Haze festival, I’ve got Irish heavy on the brain, but even if that wasn’t the case, I remember full well the “holy shit that’s fucking insane” impression Weed Priest made with their 2013 self-titled debut (review here), and their follow-up 2015 split with Astralnaut (review here) was only too gleeful to follow suit.

The four-piece also put out a split last year with Black Capricorn that you can hear at the bottom of this post, and I’ll hope to have more to come on Consummate Darkness ahead of its Halloween release date through Cursed Monk. Until then, here’s the announcement and background on the band, courtesy of the label via the PR wire:

weed-priest-consummate-darkness

Cursed Monk Records are proud to announce that Weed Priest’s sophomore album Consummate Darkness will be be released on Vinyl. CD and digital, via Cursed Monk Records, on October 31st 2017.

“Lo and behold! From the depths of the smoke filled dungeons, from the tops of the mountains of madness, the priest is coming back with the new opus. Four hymns depicting the unholy ceremonies of union with darkness, four sermons of crawling doom, four spits into the face of conformity and meekness.”

Adam (guitar, vocals), Ragas (bass) and Adrian (drums) were brought together by the love of classic Black Sabbath sound, seventies psychedelic rock, doom/sludge metal and their interest in occultism in 2009. In 2011 Weed Priest released a well received demo CD. A grandiose debut self-titled full length album came out in 2013 and is now sold out. It was followed by “Worship” EP (2014). In 2014 the drum throne was taken over by Michael. Second guitar player Sean also joined. Two split releases followed: split single with Northern Irish doom brothers Astralnaut (February 2015) and split EP with Italian doomsters Black Capricorn (September 2016).

Weed Priest’s second much anticipated full length album “Consummate Darkness” is coming out on Samhain (31th of October) 2017 as vinyl, cd and digital via Cursed Monk Records.

Weed Priest can offer a truly heavy doom metal experience. They have built their reputation as a solid live act and have shared stage with the likes of Church Of Misery, Wounded Kings, Meth Drinker, Hooded Priest, Argus, Gorilla Monsoon, Hour of 13, Black Capricorn, Slomatics, Conan, and many more.

Consummate Darkness is available to preorder now via the Cursed Monk Bandcamp, where you will also be able to stream Weed Priest’s brand new track, “Vampyr”

WEED PRIEST:
Adamus de Sabbator – vocals, guitars
K.H. Rhaagulus – bass
Sean ‘The Tormentor’ Sullivan – guitars
Mígorr – drums

https://www.facebook.com/theWeedPriest
https://weedpriest.bandcamp.com/
http://weedpriest.bigcartel.com/
https://cursedmonk.bandcamp.com
https://www.facebook.com/cursedmonk/

Weed Priest, “Summertime”

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Emerald Haze Trip Pt. 3: Watch it Grow

Posted in Features on September 4th, 2017 by JJ Koczan

emerald haze 2017 flyers

09.04.17 – 11:24 AM Eastern – Monday morning – Madison, CT

As the plane taxied to the gate last night at T.F. Green Airport in Providence, I could see my car waiting for me in long-term parking lot E. Still there. I wanted to get up and tell the pilot, “It’s cool — you can let me off here and I’ll walk. Let me just grab my bag.” No dice, of course. Minimal rigmarole getting out of the smaller airport after the seven-hour flight though, and soon enough I was barreling down I-495, headed home to see The Patient Mrs. Never actually hit 100mph, but I looked down as I was listening to Blind Guardian and was well over 90 a couple times.

One thing I haven’t yet stressed about this trip: The utter fucking professionalism on display from Emerald Haze itself. Supported by the Dublin City Council, fest-organizers Sid Daly and Matt Casciani, Fiona Killeen and all at Voodoo Lounge were on it. I’ve been to (and put on) amateur-ish shows, and while a lot of emphasis was put on this being the first Emerald Haze and I was all the more honored to be among the presenters because of that, it was pro-shop across the board. It stuck to the schedule, the bands went home happy, it brought people in, represented its local scene well and set up a reach that I hope will only continue to expand in the years forward.

About that as well — I have no delusions about my place in this thing. Emerald Haze 2017 opened its arms to me, welcomed me in and brought me on board out of the kindness of its heart. I can safely say I added just about nothing to the proceedings that wouldn’t have been there without me, except maybe a bunch of words posted here for whatever that’s worth. There’s no reason to think that if/when they do this again next year they’d want me involved on any level — it’s certainly not something I earned — but man, I hope this fest keeps going. To see it play out over Friday and Saturday, there was so much obvious potential there, and the mission behind it, the belief in Irish heavy that justified itself more and more with each passing set, was beyond honorable.

It’s a lot of work to put an event on like this — and more to do it on the level Emerald Haze did it, so that it’s more than just a slapped-together coterie of bands who play heavy riffs — but it’s easy to see Emerald Haze going a long way toward helping further establish Irish heavy as an international presence, and given the quality of bands and the outreach, it would be well deserved. Whether I’m there or not to see it, I hope to, as Church of the Cosmic Skull says, “watch it grow,” for years to come.

jj koczan photo by sid dalyThanks from the bottom of my doomed heart first to my family, who in the aftermath of my grandmother’s death, still insisted I make the trip abroad. The support from my mother and my sister on every level means more to me than I can say.

Thanks to The Patient Mrs. for being the most unreal partner I could ever ask for in life. In less than a month, we’ll celebrate 20 years together — our relationship is a ’90s original; can legit be called “classic rock” at this point — and at some point in the next six weeks, we’ll welcome our son, The Pecan, into the world. I’ve never been more excited to share a past and a future in my life than I am right now with such a wonderful person. Thanks for that, baby. Let’s have lunch and go hit the laundromat and spend the rest of the day watching Star Trek. Romance!

Thanks to Sid, Matt, Olga, Fiona, everyone else I met at the Voodoo Lounge. Thanks to Falk-Hagen Bernshausen for the condolences, the great conversation as always, and for generally being awesome. Great as always to share a space in front of the stage with Falk, as well as with Kirsten Seubert, whom it was a pleasure to meet. Thanks to Jamie Cansdale, Jake Wallace, Moose from Wild Rocket, the dudes from Ten Ton Slug and everyone else I met and shook hands with over the course of the two days. I am a painfully awkward individual. I know this. I have a hard time meeting people. I feel a lot of the time like I come off like a prick when I don’t mean to. So please take my word for it when I say it was a joy to be so welcomed into the Dublin scene as a visitor for a couple days and to sample not just the high grade sounds on offer, but to be fortunate enough to meet the excellent people behind it all as well.

All weekend I felt so stupidly lucky to be there. Really. And proud. Front to back across a 24-band bill; just crazy to see. And for that, I owe my thanks not just to Emerald Haze itself for having me over, but to you for reading. Thank you for your support of this site, this ongoing project, because without it I know damn well things like this would never happen. For reading. For commenting. For sharing. For correcting my spelling. All of it. Thank you.

Complete coverage of the fest can be found by clicking here.

Titles for the travel posts came from songs by Church of the Cosmic Skull, Wild Rocket (go listen to that album!) and Electric Octopus.

Thanks again.

With utmost sincerity and in riffs,
JJ Koczan

 

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