Posted in Whathaveyou on July 25th, 2016 by H.P. Taskmaster
Italian heavy space rockers Orion have released their first full-length, Builders of Cosmos, with some pretty impressive backing. Not like they’re secretly on the corporate dole or anything — though that would be interesting too; espionage and subversion in the heavy rock underground, as if anything at all with financial stakes was taking place — but just in terms of the sheer number of labels: Taxi Driver Records, Brigante Records, Acid Cosmonaut, Sailors Overdrive, and The Smoking Goat, which seems to be affiliated with the studio where Builders of Cosmos was recorded. It’s not of course a guarantee for what you’re going to get when you press (or click) play, but usually when something has that many people feeling that strongly about it, it’s going to make an impression one way or another.
See what you think:
ORION: Italian Psychedelic Stoner Rock Unit Releases Builders Of Cosmos Via Taxi Driver Records
Taxi Driver Records, in conjunction with The Smoking Goat Recording Studio, Acid Cosmonaut Records, Sailors Overdrive Records, and Brigante Records, are pleased to unveil the debut from psychedelic stoner rock alchemists, ORION.
Fittingly titled Builders Of Cosmos, the six-track offering was captured at The Smoking Goat Recording Studio, mixed by guitarist/vocalist Matteo Signanini, mastered at LRS Studio Factory, and comes shrouded in the mystical cover art of Luca SoloMacello.
ORION is Matteo Signanini (Woodwall) on guitar and vocals, Andrea Ricci (former Mexican Mud, Peawees) on guitar, Richard Silvaggio (former Mexican Mud) on bass, and Pietro Virgilio (former Army Of Angry Youth) on drums. Builder Of Cosmos is out now on CD and digital formats, and available at Taxi Driver’s online store HERE, Taxi Driver’s official Bandcamp page HERE where it’s streaming in full as well as through the band and other label pages listen below.
Builders Of Cosmos Track Listing: 1. Intro 2. Alone With You 3. Lucid Dream 4. Builders Of Cosmos 5. Over & Over 6. Lost Again
Posted in Whathaveyou on July 21st, 2016 by H.P. Taskmaster
Based for the first time in Parma, Italy — the two prior editions had been held in Rome — Heavy Psych Sounds Fest Vol. III has announced a massive round of bands newly joined the proceedings, set for Oct. 28 and 29. The names have trickled out over the last couple weeks, but it seems a roundup is in order, considerable as the names are. In addition to The Atomic Bitchwax, who’ll be on the road with Pentagram at the time, and Fatso Jetson, whose slot was previously announced as part of their Heavy Psych Sounds-sponsored Italian tour, the likes of Mos Generator, Glowsun, Isaak, Komatsu, Void of Sleep and Black Bone have joined on.
I’d expect that means Mos Generator are about to announce a European tour, but I don’t think they’ve done so yet. They’ll head abroad supporting their new album, the excellent Abyssinia (review here), while hopefully Fatso Jetson‘s upcoming LP will be out by then as well. More on that if/when I hear it.
I’ve noted more than a handful of times how crowded the European festival circuit is for this fall, but Heavy Psych Sounds continues to put Italy on the map for heavy rock, its reach extended both domestically and internationally more than ever before, as you can see:
HEAVY PSYCH SOUNDS FEST VOL 3 with Atomic Bitchwax, Fatso Jetson, Mos Generator, Giobia, Glowsun, Isaak….
Here to announce the HEAVY PSYCH SOUNDS FEST VOL 3.
The Festival will take place in Parma, Italy at Mu Club, 90 minutes down Milan or 45 minutes up Bologna, both are the good spot to arrive with airplane. The shows will be divided between 2 stages.
***Friday 28 October ticket 15 euro **Saturday 29 October ticket 15 euro
Posted in Whathaveyou on July 12th, 2016 by H.P. Taskmaster
Italian newcomer desert-minded rockers Them Bulls have made the opening track of their self-titled debut album available to stream. The record lands Aug. 26 via Small Stone, and finds the band following up their first EP, the awesomely-titled Space Cadillacs, as they dig in deep to classic Queens of the Stone Age vibes while also finding their own place within a classic heavy rock songwriting modus. They formed in 2014, so have worked quickly toward their first long-player, but the hooks hold up and should pique the interest of those ingrained in the rock of sprawling sands.
I don’t think I wrote this bio from scratch, but I definitely edited it. Dig:
Them Bulls – Them Bulls
Having already shared stages with labelmates in Abrahma and Lo-Pan, as well as Turbonegro, Nick Oliveri and many others, Italian heavy rockers Them Bulls will release their debut full length, Them Bulls, on Small Stone Records later this Summer.
In just over two years since forming early in 2014, Them Bulls have refined their approach to their unique desert-style fuzz of their initial EP called Space Cadillacs, and have now brought their game to a new level entirely. Executed with melodic precision but a loose feel, the songs like “Pot Gun” and “Bandana, Carlos” nod at the poppy bounce of peak-era Queens of the Stone Age, while “Too Much Hot” offers an attitude all the band’s own and “We Must Live Up” drives the point home with rare emphasis for a band who are still so relatively new.
Marking the debut with the band of second guitarist/backing vocalist Francesco Maria Pasi alongside founding vocalist/ guitarist Daniele Pollio, drummer Giampaolo Farnedi (Mondo Generator, Brant Bjork and the Bros.) and bassist Paolo Baldini, Them Bulls was recorded and mixed by Mattia Dallara at Deposito Zero Studio in April and mastered by Mathias Schneeberger. Them Bulls will be hitting many a stage in support of this release.
1. As Fangs In Stone 2. Bandana, Carlos 3. Devil’s Kiss 4. Pot Gun 5. Too Much Hot 6. Made Of Ghosts 7. Twisted Tongues 8. Through The Sun 9. We Must Live Up 10. Just Another Please
Them Bulls: Daniele Pollio – Vocals/Guitars Giampaolo Farnedi – Drums Paolo Baldini – Bass Francesco Maria Pasi – Guitar
Posted in Whathaveyou on July 1st, 2016 by H.P. Taskmaster
Cult rockers Psychedelic Witchcraft released their debut full-length, The Vision, this spring on Soulseller Records. The Italian outfit has followed up that offering with a reissue of their 2015 EP, Black Magic Man (review here), that includes a bonus track Sam Gopal cover tracked as a tribute to Lemmy Kilmister, who played in the band prior to joining Hawkwind, and features new cover art, clearly digging the psych vibe of the songs on the EP.
The PR wire has it like this:
PSYCHEDELIC WITCHCRAFT: Italian Occult Rock Conjurors Reissue Black Magic Man EP On Limited-Edition Twelve-Inch Purple Vinyl Via Taxi Driver Records
New Pressing Includes Bonus Cover Track/Lemmy Tribute
Italian occult rock conjurors PSYCHEDELIC WITCHCRAFT — who recently announced their disbanding — released their critically lauded debut EP, Black Magic Man, last Summer via Taxi Driver Records.
Initially issued as a limited-edition ten-inch and now long sold out, Taxi Driver recently repressed the EP on twelve-inch purple vinyl with an etched B-side. Limited to three-hundred copies, the release comes with updated cover art by British poster artist Matt Wilkins as well as a bonus cover track tribute to Motörhead’s Lemmy Kilmister titled “The Dark Lord” originally released in 1969 by psychedelic rock band Sam Gopal (which featured Ian Willis AKA Lemmy).
Comments PSYCHEDELIC WITCHCRAFT leader Virginia Montisais, “I’m so excited for the reissue of Black Magic Man. I really wouldn’t expect a sold out and a second pressing when I first uploaded ‘Angela’ on YouTube. I’m very happy again to collaborate with Taxi Driver for the release of this new edition, because they’re the ones who made the PSYCHEDELIC WITCHCRAFT project possible and they always supported me in good and bad times from the beginning. We decided to add the cover of ‘The Dark Lord’ by Sam Gopal, that we play live very often, as a bonus track, a thought that came to mind after the tragic news of Lemmy’s death. For us, and everyone I think, Lemmy has been such an inspiration not only for his music, but also as an artist and person, and our best way to honor him was to include one of his songs in our EP’s reissue.”
PSYCHEDELIC WITCHCRAFT’s Black Magic Man EP is now available via the Taxi Driver webstore HERE as well as BandCamp at THIS LOCATION where you can hear a stream of the EP.
Black Magic Man Track Listing: 1. Angela 2. Lying On Iron 3. Black Magic Man 4. Slave Of Grief 5. The Dark Lord
Posted in Whathaveyou on July 1st, 2016 by H.P. Taskmaster
With the addition of a second batch of four acts to follow-up the first announcement a couple weeks ago, Heavy Psych Sounds Fest Vol. III brings its total bill to eight bands over the course of two nights, Oct. 28 and 29, in Parma, Italy. The festival is of course put together by Heavy Psych Sounds, the Rome-based record label owned by Gabriele Fiori, also guitarist/vocalist for Black Rainbows and Killer Boogie, either of which would make an excellent candidate for a slot as well.
As well as the label, Heavy Psych Sounds‘ tour-booking wing (in accord with Sound of Liberation) is responsible for bringing Fatso Jetson to Europe this fall on an Italian run set to begin Oct. 23. The fest will be near the end of the tour (I’ll post the dates asap) and is one of a series of events taking place over consecutive weekends throughout Europe between September and October, a list that includes Up in Smoke, Desertfest Athens, Desertfest Belgium, and keep it Keep it Low, the latter of which happens just the weekend before, in Switzerland.
Of course, Heavy Psych Sounds Fest Vol. III, like the imprint/booking company from whence it takes its name, has a regional focus as well. While two of the new acts joining on are American and another is French, Isaak are Italian natives, and they join countrymen in the previously announced Giobia and Fuzz Orchestra. That ain’t everybody by any means, but three out of eight (so far) can only be said to be giving the native scene its due.
Here’s the announcement:
Heavy Psych Sounds Records & Booking is proud to announce the:
HEAVY PSYCH SOUNDS FEST VOL. III October 28 & 29 Italy, Parma, Circolo Arci MU
Posted in Whathaveyou on June 29th, 2016 by H.P. Taskmaster
Italian heavy psych forerunners Black Rainbows aren’t so far removed from their last run through Europe, which they capped off just a month ago at Freak Valley 2016 in Germany as they heralded the arrival of their fifth LP, Stellar Prophecy (review here), but they’ve already announced a stint for the absolute dead of summer that will take them to Austria and to Cypress in addition to their home country. July and August on the Mediterranean? Sounds sweaty. Probably just what Black Rainbows are looking for.
If you happen to be in that part of the world or you don’t, Black Rainbows continue to be worth your time and attention. I also doubt they’ve been completely still for the past month, as they’re just about always writing new songs or putting something to tape, so, you know, keep an eye out.
Here’s to quality work:
Black Rainbows summer dates!
30.06.2016 IT Zerobranco-Altroquando 01.07.2016 IT Trieste-Covo de Jameson 02.07.2016 AT Salzburg-Dome of Rock Fest 30.07.2016 IT Isola D’Elba-Neverending Music Fest 01.08.2016 IT Roma-Villa Ada Incontra Il Mondo 06.08.2016 CY Agios Sozomenos-Into The Limbo Fest 19.08.2016 IT Cagliari-Tattoo Convention
Since they formed nine years ago in Roma, Italian trio BLACK RAINBOWS have established themselves as one of the most active fuzz-fueled rock acts in Europe, with four albums, a remarkable handful of EPs (including a split record with L.A.’s space rockers Farflung) and countless tours and festival appearances across the continent.
Blending the drive and swagger of 70’s hard rock with the sun-baked thickness of 90’s stoner rock, BLACK RAINBOWS have managed to create their own sound imprint, that could be described as “Hawkwind, MC-5 and Nebula crashing cars in the middle of the Mojave desert”. Closely following with their highly acclaimed effort Hawkdope, the band is set to deliver another tasty piece of their fuzzy cake with fifth full-length Stellar Prophecy, out on April 15th via Heavy Psych Sounds.
Posted in Whathaveyou on June 23rd, 2016 by H.P. Taskmaster
I wonder if the shipping on exports costs more when they’re this heavy. This fall, venerable concern Life is Noise will present the thunderdoom pairing of Italian cosmic doom progenitors Ufomammut and Swedish riff-crushers Monolord, which if the point hasn’t gotten across yet is a formidable pairing indeed, both acts preceded by their reputation for being heavy as hell.
For Monolord, this six-show run will follow an extensive US tour with Beastmaker and Sweat Lodge that will be their first time in North America as headliners, while Ufomammut have reportedly been working on new material presumably with an eye toward a 2017 release. That’s the hope, anyway. They’ve also been playing fests and other select dates in Europe.
Life is Noise sent the following down the PR wire:
LIFE IS NOISE PRESENTS: UFOMAMMUT (ITA) & MONOLORD (SWE) AUSTRALIA & NEW ZEALAND TOUR
LIFE IS NOISE is proud to announce the first visit to our shores of Italian space doom virtuosos Ufomammut, along with masters of the riff, Swedish three-piece Monolord.
These two behemoths will be laying waste to cities across Australia and New Zealand this October in a truly huge doom double-header.
Playing an ear-destroying brand of sludge-filled doom that lurches from brooding slow menace to soul-crushing riff with a decent slab of psych thrown in for good measure, Ufomammut have released a stack of studio albums of unimpeachable heaviness, culminating in last year’s Ecate – truly a masterpiece of nuanced doom that perfectly encapsulates the band’s career to date.
Drawing on influences such as Sleep, Sabbath, Windhand, and Conan, Swedish trio Monolord take reverence to the riff to new extremes, with their second record, 2015’s Vænir, mixing glacial tempos with hypnotic and otherworldly vocals that coalesce into an album of both beauty and malevolence.
Catch Ufomammut and Monolord on the following dates:
Wellington – San Fran – October 3 Auckland – Kings Arms – October 4 Brisbane – Crowbar – October 6 Sydney – Bald Faced Stag – October 7 Melbourne – Max Watt’s – October 8 Perth – Rosemount Hotel – October 9
Posted in Reviews on June 20th, 2016 by H.P. Taskmaster
Well here we are. Standing on the precipice of a week of 50 reviews, looking out together at the geographic and sonic expanses that will be covered. I never know entirely what a given Quarterly Review is going to bring. Some have been smooth, some not. This one is being put together very little pre-production in terms of chasing down band links and that sort of thing, so I expect it’s going to be an adventure one way or another. I’ll keep you updated as we go as to my mental state and the deterioration thereof.
If you don’t know the drill, The Obelisk’s Quarterly Review is a week every three months in which I review 10 albums per day, Monday through Friday. Some of it was released in the prior three months, some of it is brand new, some of it probably isn’t out yet, some of it is probably older. It’s all relevant one way or another. I hope you find something you enjoy.
Quarterly Review #1-10:
Sourvein, Aquatic Occult
Looking at the makeup of Sourvein’s much-awaited fourth album, Aquatic Occult (on Metal Blade), it’s understandable why it might’ve taken five years to put together. Yes, they had splits out in between, as they do, but the band’s last full-length was 2011’s Black Fangs (review here), and though the 14-song/42-minute Aquatic Occult is manageable, with a host of interludes to carry the listener along its thick-toned, undulating waves, a swath of guest appearances no doubt played havoc with logistics. Fortunately, Sourvein’s figurehead, vocalist T-Roy Medlin, seems to thrive on chaos. Working with producer Mike Dean (C.O.C.), and a revolving-door lineup that here features Lou Gorra of Halfway to Gone, Medlin brazenly explores a more melodic dynamic than he ever has. It’s a rare band looking to experiment after 20 years, a rarer band still that pulls it off so well. There’s still some sludgy rasp and guest growling, but Sabbathian roll is the order of the day ultimately and Medlin’s homage to his home in Cape Fear, North Carolina, establishes a breadth unheard before from Sourvein that’s worthy of the years and obvious effort that went into its making.
Hamburg duo Mantar’s blend of thrash, sludge and blackened doom is brash, righteously punkish and thus far uncompromised in its malevolent intent. On their second album and Nuclear Blast debut, Ode to the Flame, songs like “Era Borealis” swagger as much as they sneer, the middle-finger-up arrogance becoming part of the appeal. “The Hint” offers some tinge of melody and “I Omen” some organ-laced atmospherics, but Mantar, who debuted in 2015 with the also fire-minded Death by Burning (review here) on Svart, carry their extremity forward like the next logical step of the same impulses that High on Fire once brought forth. Their tempo shifts, from blazing squibblies to outright lumbering, are pulled off with due fuckall, and the shouts from guitarist/vocalist Hanno and drummer/vocalist Erinc are spit forth in a manner near-indecipherable but still have no trouble getting their point across. Mantar are positioning themselves to be the kick in the ass that the underground needs. The next few years (and albums) will see how that pans out, but for now they have two scorchers under their collective belt.
There is a stylistic restlessness to stretches of Elevators to the Grateful Sky’s second record, Cape Yawn (on HeviSike), that becomes the uniting factor between the adrenaline-amped opening with “Ground” and “Bullet Words” and the later dream-surf Yawning Man-meets-sax unfurling of the title-track. The Palermo, Italy, outfit have stated their intention as capturing a blend of ‘90s alternative and modern heavy. Fair enough, but hearing that play out on the penultimate “Mountain Ship” in a mix of weighted riffing and laid back vocals giving way to shouts, it seems that to me that next time out, Elevators to the Grateful Sky should probably just start saying they sound like themselves, because they do. Granted, they’re pulling elements from familiar sources – Soundgarden, Kyuss, etc. – but in giving them new context, the four-piece are defining their sound as moving fluidly between the various styles, and that’s to be commended. The more you put into listening, the more you’ll get out of it.
Representing a 50 percent reunion of Burning Witch, the droning contemplations and hellish atmospherics of The Poisoned Glass’ Ritual Productions debut, 10 Swords, pique immediate interest. And bassist/percussionist/etc.-ist G. Stuart Dahlquist and vocalist/keyboardist Edgy 59 do not disappoint. With unspeakable patience, they execute six grueling and cinematic pieces that seem to find comfort in tortured expression and that feel claustrophobic even as they continue to expand outward and downward through “Plume Veil” and “Toil and Trouble” into the extended closing duo “Silent Vigil” – spoiler alert: not actually silent – and “Low Spirits,” which moves from minimalist stillness through far-back screams and into a wash of synth before its seven minutes are up, covering more ground in one track than some bands do in their entire career. Fair to say on the whole 10 Swords is an immersive listen, but the prevailing vibe is much less “diving in” than “being swallowed whole by some obscure medieval terror.” So, you know, watch out for that.
Los Angeles newcomers Spirit Collector make their debut with the self-released, three-song Owls to Athens EP, clear in its intent and brimming with airy, post-rock-derived guitar atmospherics. A particularly telling moment arrives with the Terence McKenna sample in centerpiece “Reclaim Your Mind,” which speaks of casting off the culture of celebrity worship for a richer human experience, but it’s in the extended closer “Theosophy” (7:57) that Spirit Collector find their footing someplace between a doomed plod and thoughtful psychedelia, picking up a chugging momentum as they push through toward the almost blackened finish, having come a surprising distance since their eponymous opener set the tone for expanse. An encouraging first offering if somewhat familiar superficially as instrumental heavy post-rock (think Explosions in the Sky, Russian Circles, Red Sparowes, etc.), and there’s nothing in Owls to Athens to make one think Spirit Collector can’t move forward and develop the experimental drive they begin to show here.
Vieh, the debut full-length from Colonge-based desert rocking foursome Phiasco, takes its name from the German word for “cattle.” The band owe some of their fuzz to Truckfighters and some of their psychedelic wash to Sungrazer, but the attitude in songs like “Ultimate Warrior” – comprised largely of riffs topped with an extended sample from the titular professional wrestler – and “Sunndown” is their own, as is the we’re-still-having-a-really-good-time-while-we-make-this-15-minute-song closer “Phisco” (sic), a highlight of the live-recorded full-length, which across its span is light on pretense and heavy on bounce. Cuts like “Old Town” and opener “Back to the Future” – hey, that’s a movie! – bring catchy hooks, and the uptempo “Erasing Rabbits with My Phaserlight” winds up as harmonized as goofed out, and thus is all the more engaging. There’s a certain amount of getting by on charm here, but Phiasco have a capable, varied songwriting process that’s given due fullness and clarity in these eight tracks.
Man, who gives a shit about anything else when Glaswegian five-piece The Cosmic Dead are enacting their hypnotic swirl? Their latest instrumental invitation to watch existence melt is called Rainbowhead and it arrives through Paradigms Recordings (CD) and Blackest Rainbow Records (LP) with four tracks that serve as the band’s first full-length since 2014’s EasterFaust, though they’ve had splits in between to keep a prolific rate of offerings fitting for their explorational heavy psych/space rock. The bulk of Rainbowhead is engagingly upbeat as side A plays out across “Human Sausage,” “Skye Burial” and the 13-minute “Inner C,” and side B’s 18-minute title-track follows suit as The Cosmic Dead seem to have found a similar niche between progressive rock and psych to that which Mammatus proffered on their most recent outing. It suits The Cosmic Dead, and they keep an improv vibe prevalent as ever, grasping the subconscious with trip-on-it lysergic pulsations.
Deeply textured and lush in its construction around guitar arrangements, percussive and keyboard-laden melodic flourish, Postures’ second full-length, Halucinda (on World in Sound), plays back and forth between prog and heavy rock impulses. The Gothenburg, Sweden, five-piece seem most at home in extended tracks like “Myriad Man,” “Every Room” and the jazzy 10-minute “Wavemaker,” but even the acoustic-led centerpiece interlude “A Million Sequences” invites the audience to turn up the volume for maximum wash effect. Paulina Nyström delivers a powerful, commanding and fluid vocal performance, and while the rhythm section of bassist Per Pettersson and drummer Isak Björhag are the foundation on which these complex structures play out – Viktor Andersson and Benjamin Watts handle guitar; Madeleine Sjögren is credited with backing vocals/keys and Margit Gyllspång percussion/backing vocals – there’s no angle from which Postures don’t come across rich and vital in their winding but well-plotted course, one song feeding fluidly to the next until the dreamy “In the Dark” rounds out with the emotional apex of the record.
What else to call a stoner band from Estonia? Estoner’s appeal, however, goes well beyond their moniker. The Tallinn-based outfit’s second album, Lennud Saatana Dimensioonis, arrives in a handmade hexagonal CD package, heat sealed, as well as with complete visual accompaniment on limited VHS and cassette via Golem Records. The music is no less relentlessly creative, running a gamut between prog, black metal, heavy rock, psychedelia, space rock and probably a few others in its seven-track course. A song like “Teleporteerumine” conjures darkened swirl and “Reptiloid” follows through with foreboding threat, but Estoner plunge even deeper as they go, proferring aesthetic reach that makes seemingly disparate elements work together fluidly on “Hüvasti, Kosmiline Monoliit” and the 10-minute closing title-track. Perhaps the highest compliment one can pay to Lennud Saatana Dimensioonis is to call it Svart-worthy, as its diverse means of engulfing the listener speak to a forward-thinking approach that one can only hope Estoner continue to develop.
Extra points to Swedish troupe The Black Explosion for opening their third album, the space-fuzzed out Atomic Zod War (on Metalville Records), with its longest track, the 13-minute “Paralyzed.” That song offers a languid voyage through uncharted jammy reaches, and that sets an open, laid back expectation that the rest of the album seems only too glad to build on, from the Nebula-via-Monster Magnet blown out vibes of “Ain’t Coming Home” to the semi-garage buzz of “Going Down,” a highlight groove that emphasizes the natural, raw tones at play leading into “Get My Mind Together” and the finisher “Devil Inside,” which brings the guitar of Chris Winter (also Dollhouse) forward with backing from bassist Simon Haraldsson and drummer Andreas Lindquist that feels born of the new West Coast tradition but is likely playing off of older impulses. But for its hey-look-it’s-tits cover art, the grit Atomic Zod War offers comes through organically and draws the listener in with its live feel and underlying boogie.