1782 Self-Titled Debut Preorders Available; Album out May 24

Posted in Whathaveyou on March 26th, 2019 by JJ Koczan

Together, Marco Nieddu and Gabriele Fancellu served as the rhythm section of the heavy rock outfit Raikinas, who issued their last album, Arkadia, in late 2016 through H42 Records. Signed to Heavy Psych Sounds under their newfound moniker 1782, the duo will release their self-titled debut full-length in May, and are streaming the song “Oh Mary” to mark the occasion of the album announcement. Unlike some of the tracks you can see listed below that feature a range of guests — including Heavy Psych Sounds label head and Black Rainbows/Killer Boogie guitarist/vocalist Gabriele Fiori and their Raikinas bandmate Alfredo Carboni, who contributes vocals — “Oh Mary” is just the duo on their own, so should give a decent impression of where they’re headed with their sound on the whole.

Oh maybe it doesn’t, I don’t know. Haven’t heard the record. Fuck it. Riffs are cool. Have some.

PR wire says:

1782 self titled

1782 SIGN TO HEAVY PSYCH SOUNDS + PREMIERE WITCH HAUNTING SINGLE FROM UPCOMING DEBUT ALBUM

Due out May 24th 2019!

It was a cold December day in 2018, when Marco Nieddu and Gabriele Fancellu formed a Doom band called 1782, in honor of all the “witches” murdered by the bigoted minds of many generations. Just a month later, the band entered the studio to record the single “She Was A Witch”, released by Electric Valley Records in within the same month. Only a few days after its release, the single turned out to be a great success, especially on social media and by listeners of the genre. On February 8th, 1782 started recording their homonymous debut album with Alfredo Carboni at the RKS studios in Ossi, Sardini, and inked a worldwide record deal with the leading cult & fuzz rock label Heavy Psych Sounds Records!

May 24th 2019 will see 1782 release their self-titled debut of a doom metal masterpiece, dedicated to a lady called Anna Göldi, who was condemned, tortured and killed, in one of the last witchcraft trials happened in Europe. 1782 deal with macabre themes: from spells to ruthless torture, from the pleasure of sex to the most perfidious revenge. This record got seven tracks of pure Doom Metal sounds with mega-riff Stoner Doom intervals, accompanied by a rhythm section of powerful drums, intense bass and super-fuzzy guitars. The band’s first full-length album also features high class guest musicians such as BLACK RAINBOWS ‘Gabriele Fiori shredding a blistering guitar solo in ‘She Was A Witch’, guest vocals by Alfredo Carbon of RAIKINAS or Nico Sechi on Hammond.

Today 1782 are proudly sharing with us a first single to the track ‘Oh Mary’! Says the band: „The lyrics of this song tell the story of a woman, who really existed and joined the circle of Sardinian legends. Maria, forced to marry an old man and pointed out by the women of her village because she was pregnant, decides to kill herself by throwing into a well. According to the myth, Maria kidnapped the children of all the women who had humiliated her, while taking them to her grave to feed on their bodies.“

Preorder here: https://allthatisheavy.com/collections/pre-orders-1?view=list

Tracklist:
1. Intro (…To the Church)
2. Night Of Draculia
3. The Spell (Maleficium Vitae) [feat. Alfredo Carboni]
4. She Was A Witch [feat. Gabriele Fiori]
5. Black Sunday
6. Oh Mary
7. 1782 [feat. Nico Sechi]
8. Celestial Voices [Pink Floyd cover, feat. Alfredo Carboni & Nico Sechi]

Coming May 24th with Heavy Psych Sounds, the album will be available in the following album formats:

– TEST PRESS
– ULTRA LTD GOLD
– RED BACKGROUND SPALTTER Black-Blue-White-Gold
– BLACK VINYL
– CASSETTE via Electric Valley Records
– DIGIPAK
– DIGITAL DOWNLOAD

To Pre-Order your album copy, visit:
www.heavypsychsounds.com/shop.htm#HPS106

1782 is:
Marco Nieddu – Guitar, Bass and Vocals
Gabriele Fancellu – Drums and Backing Vocals

www.facebook.com/1782doom
www.heavypsychsounds.com

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Quarterly Review: Kungens Män, PFUND, Crystal Spiders, The Misery Men, Hubris, Woorms, Melody Fields, Oreyeon, Mammoth Grove, Crimson Devils

Posted in Reviews on March 19th, 2019 by JJ Koczan

quarterly-review-spring-2019

I used to be pretty artsy and write poetry. Let’s give it a shot:

There was an old man who wore no-toe shoes.
He said, I’mma go do 60 reviews.
He was out of his head,
Should’ve gone back to bed,
But he loves him some dirty psych blues.

Years from now, when I link back to this post for a “(review here)”-type scenario, I’m going to see that and I’ll still think it’s funny. The planet’s dying. I’d say a bit of silly is more than called for.

Quarterly Review #11-20:

Kungens Män, Chef

kungens man chef

Krautrockers, assemble! Or, you know, whatever krautrockers do — I assume it involves homemade spacecraft that, yes, absolutely fly. Perhaps one of these days I’ll ask Stockholm’s Kungens Män, whose latest outing for Riot Season, simply titled Chef, is an outbound delight of psych-infused progressivism. Beginning with the opening throb of “Fyrkantig Böjelse” and moving into the volume swells, steady drum line and wandering guitar that starts “Öppen För Stängda Dörrar” on side A, its four extended tracks craft otherworldly textures through a meld of organic instrumental flow and waves of synth, the second cut building to a tense wash of distortion all the while keeping that hypnotic march. The two corresponding 10-minute-plus cuts on side B waste no time in offering cosmic boogie in “Män Med Medel” with a more active rhythmic flow, and closer “Eftertankens Blanka Krankhet” — longer than the opener by one second at 11:24 — fades in on meditative guitar and explores a serene minimalism that only underscores the all around joy of the album.

Kungens Man on Thee Facebooks

Riot Season Records webstore

 

PFUND, PFUND

pfund pfund

The self-titled, self-released debut full-length from Kiel, Germany’s PFUND arrives and departs with a guesting horn section, and while that inevitably adds a bit of grandeur to the proceedings, the bulk of the outing is dedicated to straightforward, semi-metallic heavy rock, held to ground even in the seven-minute “Spaceman” by a considered sense of structure and an earthy drum sound that draws the songs together, whether it’s the classic riff rock in “Sea of Life” or the moodier sway in the earlier “Lost in Rome.” Dual guitars effectively multiply the impact, and the vocals showcase a nascent sense of melody that one imagines will only continue to grow as the band moves forward. At nine songs and 44 minutes, it shows some breadth and nuance in “Exhaustion” and “Paranoia,” the former tapping into an edge of progressive metal, but the primary impact comes from PFUND‘s heft of groove and how it blends with a rawer edge to their production. The Kyuss-referencing centerpiece here might be called “Imbalance,” but that’s hardly representative of what surrounds, horns and all.

PFUND on Thee Facebooks

PFUND on Bandcamp

 

Crystal Spiders, Demo

crystal spiders demo

Three songs, 11 minutes and three distinct vibes from the aptly-titled Demo demo of North Carolinian three-piece Crystal Spiders. On “Tigerlily,” “Flamethrower” and “Devil’s Resolve,” the trio of bassist/vocalist Brenna Leath (also Lightning Born), guitarist/vocalist Mike Deloatch and drummer/backing vocalist Tradd Yancey careen from bluesy spaciousness to hard-driving catchiness and end up — because why not? — in repeating cult-sludge chants, “Come to the devil’s resolve!” like Black Widow trying to lure people to the sabbat, except shouting. If the purpose of a demo is for a new band to try different methods of working and thereby take a first step in discovering their sound, Crystal Spiders are well on their way, and for what it’s worth, there isn’t anything within their scope as they present it that doesn’t work for them. There are edges to smooth out, of course, but that too is a part of the process starting here.

Crystal Spiders on Thee Facebooks

Crystal Spiders on Bandcamp

 

The Misery Men, Deathspiration

The Misery Men Deathspiration

If you’d asked, depending on which part of Deathspiration was on, I’d probably have called The Misery Men a bass/drum duo, but nope, that’s guitar. Tonally one is reminded of At Devil Dirt from Chile, but the Portland, Oregon, two-piece of vocalist/guitarist Corey G. Lewis and drummer Steve Jones are entirely more barebones in their craft, eschewing digital involvement of any sort in the recording or mixing process and sounding duly raw as a result throughout the subtle earworm of “C.W. Sughrue” and the lumbering “Harness the Darkness.” The subsequent “Night Creeps In” brings a Northwestern noise payoff to quiet/loud trades and the near-10-minute closer “Stoned to Death,” well, it seems to meet an end befitting its title, to say the least. As their stated intent was to capture the most organic version of their sound possible, and made a point of working toward that ideal in their recording, one could hardly fault them for the results of that process. They wanted something human-sounding. They got it.

The Misery Men on Thee Facebooks

The Misery Men on Bandcamp

 

Hubris, EP #II Live

hubris ep ii live

Some — not all — of what one needs to know about HubrisEP #II Live is right there in the title. Indeed, it’s their second EP. Indeed, it was recorded live. And indeed, like using a ‘#’ sign with a Roman numeral, there’s something about the way the three included songs from the Toulouse, France-based outfit sound that’s just a little bit off-kilter from what you might expect. “Zugzwang” (7:19), “Tergo” (19:58) and “Biotilus” (27:04) are arranged shortest to longest, and while the opener starts off like Queens of the Stone Age on an Eastern-tinged psychedelic bender, the lengthy jams that follow — the first of them with a fervent drum punctuation, the second a gradual intertwining of synth and guitar with hardly any percussion at all until after its 22nd minute. The instrumental flow that ensues from there is almost like a hidden bonus track, at least until they Hubris get to minute 26 and the whole thing explodes in crash and plod. The underlying message, of course, is that if you think you’re safe at any point, you’re not.

Hubris on Thee Facebooks

Hubris on Bandcamp

 

Woorms, Slake

woorms slake

Lumbering fuckall pervades the debut full-length, Slake, from Baton Rouge, Louisiana, sludgers Woorms — also stylized all-caps — which incorporates past singles “Find a Meal Find a Bed Find a God” and “Mouth is a Wound” amid the sample/noise barrage of “Our Lady of Perpetually Shitfaced” and the willfully brash “Racist Kevin” that follows. There’s an edge of Melvinsian chug to the proceedings, but Woorms‘ take, though presented in finished compositions, comes across as almost nihilistic rather than making a show of its experimentalism. That is, they’re trying to say they don’t give a fuck, and in listening, they make it kind of easy to believe, but there’s still something about the cohesiveness of “Veni Vidi Fucki” and “Rice Crispy” and the saved-the-best-nod-for-last finale “Sore Afraid” that undercuts the notion even while making the listening experience all the more pummeling, and from the intro “Corpse Corps” through “Urine Trouble Now”‘s echoing shouts and the closer’s unmitigated stomp, there’s still plenty of exploration being done.

WOORMS on Thee Facebooks

WOORMS on Bandcamp

 

Oreyeon, Ode to Oblivion

Oreyeon Ode to Oblivion

Rebranded since their 2016 debut, Builders of Cosmos (discussed here), from their more phonetically intuitive original moniker, Orion, Italy’s Oreyeon issue a cosmically expansive spacescape follow-up in their six-song/40-minute sophomore outing, Ode to Oblivion, also their first release through Heavy Psych Sounds. Echoing vocals pervade “Big Surprise” after the introductory “T.I.O.” and “Trudging to Vacuity” establish the wide-cast mix and anti-grav rhythmic density, and the nine-minute side A finale title-track runs mostly-instrumental circles around most of what I’d usually call “prog” only after it lays down a sleek hook in the first couple minutes. After “Big Surprise,” the 8:45 “The Ones” trades volume back and forth but finds its breadth at about the sixth minute as the dramatic lead turns on a dime to desert rock thrust en route to wherever the hell it goes next. Honestly, after that moment, everything’s gravy, but Oreyeon lay it on thick with closer “Starship Pusher” and never neglect melody in the face of nod. Worth a deeper dig if you get the chance.

Oreyeon on Thee Facebooks

Heavy Psych Sounds website

 

Melody Fields, Melody Fields

melody fields melody fields

Sometimes you hear a record and it’s like the band is doing you a favor by existing. To that, thanks Melody Fields. The Gothenburg psych troupe lace their lysergic flow with folkish harmonies and an open sensibility on their self-titled debut that comes coupled with enough tonal presence to still consider them heavy not that it matters. They break out the sax on “Morning Sun” to welcome effect, and the sun continues to shine through “Liberty” and the garage-buzzing “Run” before “Rain Man” turns water droplets into keyboard notes and Beatlesian — think “Rain” — voice arrangements atop soothing instrumental drift, every bit the centerpiece and an excellent precursor to the acoustic-based “Fire” and the 10-minute “Trädgränsen,” which is the crowning achievement of this self-titled debut, which, if I’d been hip to it in time, would’ve made both the 2018 best albums and best debuts list. They cap with a reprise of “Morning Sun” and underscore the solid foundation beneath the molten beauty of their work throughout. To ask for another album seems greedy, but I will anyway. More, please.

Melody Fields on Thee Facebooks

Sound Effect Records website

 

Mammoth Grove, Slow Burn

mammoth grove slow burn

Okay, look, enough screwing around. It’s time for someone to sign Mammoth Grove. The Calgary natives have been putting out quality heavy psych rock since their 2011 self-titled debut (review here), and their latest long-player, the four-song Slow Burn is a righteous amalgam of peace-thru-rock that lives up to its freewheeling vibes in “Seasons” after the methodical opener “Valleys” and rolls out a bit of melodic ’70s biker rock bliss in “Black Meadow” before the side-B-consuming “Gloria” (18:42) asks early if you’re ready to go and then goes like gone, gone, gone, and gone further. Given the analog mindset involved and the heart on display throughout, there’s something fitting about it being pressed up in an edition of 100 hand-screenprinted LPs and 100 CDs likewise, but the more people who could hear it, the merrier, so yeah, some label or other needs to step up and make that happen, and I dare you to listen to the solo that hits past the 14-minute mark in “Gloria” and tell me otherwise. Dare you.

Mammoth Grove on Thee Facebooks

Mammoth Grove on Bandcamp

 

Crimson Devils, A Taste for Blood

crimson devils a taste for blood

Since pared down to a trio from the four-piece incarnation they present here, Austin’s Crimson Devils first released their debut, A Taste for Blood, in 2017, but gave it a vinyl revisit last year and it’s little mystery why. The record comprises 11 sharply-composed tracks of Small Stone-style heavy rock, taking cues from Sasquatch in modern-via-classic modus, picking and choosing elements of ’70s and ’90s rock to conjure formidable groove and engaging hooks. There’s considerable swagger and weight in “They Get It,” and while opener “Dead and Gone” seems to show an influence in its vocal patterning from Elder, as the album unfolds, it’s more about the blast of “Captain Walker” or the penultimate “Nothing to Claim” and the straight-ahead vibes of “Bad News Blues” and “No Action” than anything so outwardly prog. There’s plenty to dig in the rock-for-rockers mindset, and it’s the kind of offering that should probably come with an octane rating. However such things are measured, safe to say it would not be low.

Crimson Devils on Thee Facebooks

Crimson Devils on Bandcamp

 

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Tube Cult Fest 2019: Zaum, Coltsblood, Oreyeon, Sherpa, Tuna de Tierra and More to Play

Posted in Whathaveyou on February 26th, 2019 by JJ Koczan

tube cult fest 2019 banner

Extra credit for Tube Cult Fest 2019 not making a single joke about this being the edition that ‘goes to 11.’ Way to play it with class. The Italian festival headed by Davide Straccione of Skeptic Events is indeed in its 11th incarnation this April, with ZaumColtsbloodWayfarer and Entropia serving in headliner roles and killer Italy natives like OreyeonSherpa and Tuna de Tierra, among others, obviously, rounding out the bill. I’m generally a fan of writing/daydreaming about fests in far-off (to me) places, but I feel compelled to add there are a few bands here I don’t know, and given the quality of the names that are more familiar, posting the full lineup here is as much a note to myself about homework to do as it is anything else. Like a to-do list. “Don’t forget to check out The Marigold,” and so on. I have little doubt I’ll be glad I did.

The full announcement from the festival follows here, courtesy of the PR wire:

tube cult fest 2019 poster

Tube Cult Fest is a true celebration of the Underground, an amp-worshipping ritual based in the coastal city of Pescara in the heart of Italy, delving deep into the realm of Heavy Psychedelia since its inception in 2008. The festival has seen a consistent growth throughout the years incorporating Stoner Rock, Doom, Sludge, Drone, Psych Rock, Post Metal as well as some of the most experimental and atmospheric forms of Extreme Metal, while keeping the same original spirit unchanged. In the previous 10 editions this little city on the Adriatic Sea has been touched by the likes of Weedeater, Ufomammut, Samsara Blues Experiment, Monkey3, 1000mods, Belzebong, Karma To Burn, Los Natas and many more.
Chapter 11 will be once again split in the two tiny venues Scumm and MamiWata, hosting 14 bands in 2 days:

Friday 19 April
WAYFARER (USA)
ENTROPIA (PL)
IMPURE WILHELMINA (CH)
THE MARIGOLD (IT)
OREYEON (IT)
THE BLACK CANVAS (IT)
DRESDEN WOLVES (MEX)

Saturday 20 April
ZAUM (CAN)
COLTSBLOOD (UK)
SHERPA (IT)
GORILLA PULP (IT)
S A R R A M (IT)
TUNA DE TIERRA (IT)
KATASTAH (IT)

DJ Aftershows by Moos (https://www.facebook.com/volksradiomoos666) and La Peligrosa (https://www.facebook.com/liathepeligro)

A juicy Free Entry Warm-Up is scheduled for Thursday 18 April always at Pescara’s Scumm with the Philadelphia Stoner-Doom Rockers HIGH REEPER.

Tickets can be reserved by sending an email to tubecultfest@gmail.com

Friday 19 April= 10 €
Saturday 20 April= 10 €
2-DAY PASS = 15 €

http://www.facebook.com/tubecultfest
https://www.instagram.com/tubecultfest
https://www.facebook.com/events/368216713728711

Zaum, Eidolon (2016)

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Slow Order Sign to Argonauta Records; Eternal Fire Due out This Year

Posted in Whathaveyou on February 21st, 2019 by JJ Koczan

slow order

Five years after issuing their debut full-length, Hidden Voices (review here), Italian instrumentalists Slow Order have signed on with Argonauta Records to release the follow-up. Titled Eternal Fire, it’s set to arrive sometime later this year as their label debut, and while of course I don’t know anything of the kind, it seems to me that Hidden Voices would be prime reissue fodder as well. Again, not saying I’ve heard anything — don’t go hitting the label up for a preorder link or anything like that — I’m just saying that with a first album already half a decade old, it might be worth another look even as the band moves forward.

Info on Eternal Fire and the Argonauta signing follows here, courtesy of the PR wire:

slow order eternal fire

Bologna-based groove and stoner post-metal rockers SLOW ORDER have inked a worldwide deal with powerhouse label ARGONAUTA RECORDS!

Since the release of their first EP ‘Pyramid Toward Oblivion’ in 2011, the instrumental power trio pursues a sound of the classic stoner rock with modern heavy metal influences. Following SLOW ORDER’s first full-length in 2014, ‘Hidden Voices’, gained the band not only high praise from both fans and press alike, but also allowed them to share the stages of all sizes with acts such as Pentagram, Karma To Burn or Avon, to name just a few.

2019 will see SLOW ORDER to take a new step and release their sophomore album, ‘Eternal Fire’, with Argonauta Records. Says the band: “We are excited to announce that we have signed with Argonauta Records! The label will release our new album “Eternal Fire” during mid of 2019, and we want to thank Gero from Argonauta and all the people behind the band that worked hard to produce and realize it!“

The tracklist reads as follows:
1. Eternal Fire
2. Obsessive Tale
3. Serpent’s Son
4. Eclipse
5. Kanavar
6. The Hunter
7. Starweed
8. Black Mass

‘Eternal Fire’ is featuring eight blistering instrumental tracks showcasing the band’s classic sound of previous releases and new blend of a groovy, post-metal apocalypse. With a release set for the late Spring of 2019 on Argonauta Records, ‘Eternal Fire’ will easily please all fans of bands alike Russian Circles, Karma To Burn, Yob, Sleep, Pelican and Mastodon!

www.facebook.com/sloworder
www.sloworder.bandcamp.com
www.argonautarecords.com
https://www.facebook.com/ArgonautaRecords/
https://twitter.com/argonautarex
https://www.instagram.com/argonautarecords/

Slow Order, Hidden Voices (2014)

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Burning Gloom Set June Release for Amygdala on Argonauta Records

Posted in Whathaveyou on February 20th, 2019 by JJ Koczan

burning gloom

Milano four-piece Burning Gloom — formerly known as My Home on Trees — have found a new home on Argonauta Records, and it’s as part of that label’s ever-expanding roster of acts that they’ll issue their first album under their recently changed moniker, Amygdala, in June. I dug My Home on Trees, but can’t really begrudge them the name change, and if they’re looking for a fresh start, the Argonauta banner is a good one to be under. As to how it will play into their sound as Burning Gloom, it’s a wait-and-see prospect at this point, but they’re positioning themselves as having a darker vibe on Amygdala, and certainly the creepo-factor of the record’s cover art below bears that out. Seems likely they’d be able to make such a call, since obviously they’re a group with some consideration for how they present themselves.

The PR wire brought news of the allegiance with Argonauta and the details for the album:

burning gloom amygdala

BURNING GLOOM (formerly MY HOME ON TREES) SIGNS WITH ARGONAUTA RECORDS!

New band name, new sound, new album coming this Summer!

Previously known as MY HOME ON TREES, the stoner-doom band hailing from Milano, Italy, started their first moves in 2011, but it’s in 2012 when the band dives into any live activities and understood quickly which road had to be taken, playing the first shows and looking for the right sound. After the release of a first self-produced EP featuring 5 tracks in 2012, the band played tons of shows in Italy and signed with the label Heavy Psych Sounds Records in 2015, who released their first and ciritically acclaimed album, How I Reached Home.

The band continued as a four piece, and toured Europe several times and all over in the central part of the continent, sharing prestigious stages with bands alike Church of Misery, Ufomammut, Karma to Burn, Windhand, and taking part of some international Festivals such as at Up In Smoke or Red Smoke Festival in Poland. After three years working on new tracks, the band entered the studio and recorded their new album, Amygdala, between February and June 2018. 2019 will see them celebrating their comeback with a new shining identity, a new name, leaving behind the past and signing with a new label, Argonauta Records! Set for a release on June 14th 2019, BURNING GLOOM will return with their brand new album, which will definitely surprise and please both fans and critics alike.

Says the band: “Mystic trees and stoner blues didn?t represent us anymore, after the first abum we started to look for darker atmospheres and heavier sounds; we decided to not continue with two guitars, but to have just one and we felt closer to doom metal and far enough from any psychedelic rock and blues appeals we had before. A different mood, more melancholic, more and louder screaming voices. All this became the new attitude, closer to doom and sludge metal and quite distant from usual stoner rock.

We thought to look for a label more connected to that kind of metal music we like, sludge, doom, post metal and closer to the underground scene. Actually we even didn’t start to look for any, because a label looked for us first. We found the interest of Argonauta Records, asking us about new album and we started to talk about it. We met and we received a very interesting proposal. We’re very proud about the decision we have made and we found a family, considering the good connections between some of the bands of the label.

“Amygdala” is our intimistic journey focused on brain disorders themes, talking about someone seriously threatened by dangerous nightmares, scaring landscapes. Some kind of a walk on a dark road in the night, enlighted just by flames and sparks of fires on the road, where fear and screams take place. It sounds like a violent storm of low tuning and fuzzy riffs mixed with a powerful female voice arising from loudness and madness. We’re proud of what we have recorded, in more sessions, in different seasons, from winter to summer. We’re really satisfied by the final result, we hope people will enjoy it, like we do”.

The tracklist will read as follows:
THE TOWER I
THE TOWER II
EREMITE
MODERN PROMETHEUS
NIGHTMARES featuring Mona Miluski (High Fighter)
WARDEN
BEYOND THE WALL
OBSESSIVE-COMPULSIVE DISORDER

BURNING GLOOM is:
Laura Mancini – Vocals
Marco Bertucci – Guitar
Marcello Modica – Drums
Giovanni Mastrapasqua – Bass

www.facebook.com/burninggloom
https://myhomeontreesband.bandcamp.com/
https://www.facebook.com/ArgonautaRecords/
www.argonautarecords.com

My Home on Trees, How I Reached Home (2015)

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Review & Full Album Premiere: Varego, I Prophetic

Posted in audiObelisk, Reviews on February 13th, 2019 by JJ Koczan

varego i prophetic

[Click play above to stream I Prophetic by Varego in full. It’s out Feb. 15 on Argonauta Records.]

Sure, Varego have the piano intro. Sure, they have all kinds of progressive nuance. They’ve got the six-and-a-half-minute title-track full of Voivodian sci-fi weirdo crunch. They’ve got the off-in-the-distance, spaciously-mixed vocals of bassist Davide Marcenaro. But you know, listen to the start of that title-track, or to the central riff from Alberto Pozzo and Gerolamo Lucisano of “When the Wolves,” or the intensity of Simon Lepore‘s drum changes in closer “Zodiac,” and Varego are still very much a metal band. Shades of Judas Priest can be heard throughout in Pozzo‘s and Lucisano‘s guitars, and while they’re definitely just shades — since it’s not like Varego are carbon-copying, well, anyone — that gives the clean 36-minute run of I Prophetic a foundation from which it’s working its way out. I don’t think they’d call it space metal or cosmic metal — the latter somehow would imply less psychedelia, so might fit as a tag, though “Zodiac” and others do touch on the ethereal as well — but it’s definitely in that nebulous region where “progressive” becomes a catchall standing in for saying the band are conscious of what they’re doing as songwriters.

There are eight tracks on the Argonauta-released I Prophetic, counting the aforementioned piano intro “Origin,” and while they open with the catchiest of them in “The Abstract Corpse” and thereby answer the question of what might’ve been if Primordial had been from Mars instead of Ireland with a fervent forward drive that stands tall among any of those to follow — at least before they hit the brakes — the Italian four-piece subsequently find themselves expanding parameters of structure and sound alike on the title-track and only continue to go further out from there. Regardless of genre, one might read I Prophetic as a kind of linear path. Following the brooding “Silent Giants,” which opens the second half, “When the Wolves” provides some measure of grounding, but still, it’s clear by that point that there’s really no coming back, and the closing wallop of “Duelist” and “Zodiac” bear that out.

So what is it? It can’t just be the echo on Marcenaro‘s vocals. Looking back to 2016’s Epoch (review here), their second album, it seems like I Prophetic has a tighter, sharper overall approach. Its songs are more sure of their purpose, and that underlying foundation of metal weaves itself like a thread throughout the tracklisting. One can hear that even on side A capper “Of Dust,” which moves from its initial progression toward more expansive fare while still holding to a core groove in the drums and bass. The interplay of the two guitars is definitely part of it, and the breadth of the mix is definitely part of it, but as “Of Dust” ends with a guitar solo, there’s still something so intentionally traditional-metal about the proceedings. Craft has definitely become more of a factor for Varego, though, and as the abiding buzz of the guitars work alongside the drifting bassline at the mellow-but-tense outset of “Silent Giants,” the sense of atmosphere becomes all the more prevalent.

varego

After “When the Wolves,” which at 3:03 is the shortest non-intro inclusion here, that continues into “Duelist” as well, and the more Varego depart from their sludgy beginnings, the more they seem to find themselves out there in the cosmos, frozen like in some lump of comet ice charting an irregular orbit all their own. Individualism suits them, unsurprisingly, but one doesn’t necessarily get the feeling they’re done growing. “The Abstract Corpse” howls into its barrage after its quick drum-fill introduction, and together with “I Prophetic” itself, it forms a statement of purpose that’s varied and rich, not without melody, but coated in effects — the title-track will earn them some Monolord comparisons, particularly as it moves into a bigger riff after the verse around the two-minute mark — and working on its own level. The end stemming from their means isn’t entirely clear yet, but the unsettling element of I Prophetic — its refusal to simply be one thing; metal or sludge, progressive or traditional — is part of its appeal and in the end, the basis for its success.

With Epoch, Varego made the transition from a five- to a four-piece lineup. With I Prophetic, they refine their approach to a striking degree, making it all the more their own and all the more intricate. Even “When the Wolves,” which is the most willfully straightforward thrasher included, has a level of sonic detail that begs for multiple listens and a kind of mental dissection: “What are they doing here?” The answer to that question, though, requires stepping back and taking the album in its entirety. What they’re doing is melding heavy metal to their own purposes. It’s not about homage to the past so much as building off the past, their own as well as that of others. It takes time for a band to discover who they really are in terms of sound — and, I suppose, everything else — but it feels like Varego have found themselves here, and like I Prophetic works so fluidly across its span to move outward from where it begins, one would expect the band to do no less their next time out in continuing to progress along the line they’re drawing.

A key, perhaps telling moment is shortly before three minutes into “Zodiac,” when the song hangs a left and slows down in the guitar, vocals layering over what’s clearly the final march. They ring out for a while to end it, but before that, they stake their claim on a marked distance from where they started out in “The Abstract Corpse,” and the spectrum they’ve run in that time — still an utterly manageable 36 minutes — is an accomplishment unto itself. Do I think they’re done growing? No. This kind of progressive songwriting rarely stagnates. But I Prophetic serves a crucial function as that moment of arrival for them, and of course thereby sets up the inevitable departure to follow. Varego have come into their own. What they do now is entirely up to them.

Varego on Thee Facebooks

Argonauta Records website

Argonauta Records on Thee Facebooks

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Ufomammut Set to Mark 20th Anniversary with Spring Tour

Posted in Whathaveyou on February 4th, 2019 by JJ Koczan

ufomammut

You might recall that when they hit their 15th anniversary in 2014, Ufomammut released the retrospective documentary, XV (review here), to mark the occasion. It seems their 20th year will be noted by seeing them do what they do best: tour and destroy. The Italian cosmic doom magnates have continued their forward-thinking, heavy-like-planets approach and managed to do nothing but grow each time out, and if you’ve never seen them live, well, that sounds like a personal problem it’s probably time to rectify. They’ll be out in Europe this Spring, doing a route mostly through Germany with a couple stops in the Netherlands and one in Switzerland — plus a couple dates TBA — but look for more to come because there’s an awful lot of year left and as they’ve shown over the last two decades, Ufomammut are hardly shy when it comes to getting out. To wit, they’ve already been announced as headliners for Oslo’s Høstsabbat festival in October. So yeah, more to come.

Shows are presented by Sound of Liberation:

ufomammut 20 years banner

20 YEARS UFOMAMMUT | FIRST TOUR DATES

In this year 2019, Ufomammut is celebrating 20 years as a band.

The band was formed in February of 1999 by Poia, Urlo and Vita in a small room in the middle of nowhere in Italy.

The idea was to survive the boredom of living in a little town while also having the intention of creating music to spread all around the globe.

After eight albums, plenty of tours, festivals and kilometers on the road, the band is ready to celebrate this important anniversary event with their marvelous and loyal fans with a special European tour this spring.

27.03 – Feierwerk – Munich (D)
28.03 – UT Connewitz – Leipzig (D)
29.03 – Mau Club – Rostock (D)
30.03 – MarX – Hamburg (D)
31.03 – Iduna – Drachten (NL)
2.04 – Junkyard – Dortmund (D)
3.04 – Doornroosje – Nijmegen (NL)
4.04 – TBA
5.04 – Gaswerk – Winterthur (CH)
6.04 – TBA

Music: “Plouton” by Ufomammut
Video by Lù www.malleusdelic.com

Stay tuned & keep your eyes peeled:
Many more dates to come!

Do not miss this.

www.ufomammut.com
www.facebook.com/ufomammutband
twitter.com/ufomammutmafia
www.instagram.com/ufomammut
http://www.neurotrecordings.com
http://www.facebook.com/neurotrecordings
https://neurotrecordings.bandcamp.com
https://twitter.com/OfficialNeurot
http://www.supernaturalcat.com

20 Year of Ufomammut trailer

Ufomammut, 8

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The Pilgrim Premieres “Peace of Mind”; Walking into the Forest Available to Preorder

Posted in audiObelisk, Whathaveyou on January 30th, 2019 by JJ Koczan

the pilgrim

This is the first audio to come from The Pilgrim‘s debut album, Walking into the Forest, and when one finds out that the figure behind the project — who might indeed be the pilgrim in question — is Gabriele Fiori, known as the head of Heavy Psych Sounds and frontman of Black Rainbows and Killer Boogie, that will do little to prepare you for what’s coming. Sure, there’s still a bit of psychedelic edge — okay, more than a bit — to The Pilgrim‘s work, but as Fiori launches this new project, he indeed begins a new exploration in style and form. Space folk, acid psych, classic psychedelic serenity — all of these feed into The Pilgrim‘s work on Walking into the Forest but there’s a foundation in rock too, and it could hardly be more appropriate that “Peace of Mind” is the track to be unveiled with the album announcement, because it sums up a lot of the point of view on display throughout.

Fiori, whose presence in Black Rainbows and Killer Boogie The-pilgrim-walking-into-the-forestbleeds through those bands’ recordings in larger-than-life form, creating an increasingly grand cosmic wash in the former and a classic heavy shuffle in the latter, rawer, but still turned on and tuned in, is very much front and center throughout Walking into the Forest. And fair enough so, since ostensibly it’s a solo-project. But with effects on his vocals and layers of keys and the drums of Black Rainbows bandmate Filippo Ragazzoni worked in intermittently, there’s a wide-open sensibility to the creative sphere in which he’s working. He’s honest in terms of his influences — he’s not coming out of the gate pretending he’s Hank Williams or something — but it’s new ground for him to cover, and he does well in making it his own as he makes his way through the album.

I’ll have a proper review up — I also wrote the bio, so might post that — at some point between now and April 26, which is the set release date, but you can take a listen to “Peace of Mind” on the player below and get yourself introduced.

Info follows from the PR wire, as well as a quote from Fiori himself.

Enjoy:

Gabriele Fiori on The Pilgrim:

“This is a project I really care about, it has been in my pocket for so long but without any available time for it. Finally we made it! And I am so happy, proud and relieved to have accomplished it. To me, it’s an authentic work, it came out really spontaneously from the inside and it’s a challenge cause we never played so low and calm!”

PEACE OF MIND is the first single of The Pilgrim debut album Walking Into The Forest. The record will be released on April 26th via Heavy Psych Sounds. Cover art by Maarten Donders.

Preorder available now: https://www.heavypsychsounds.com/shop.htm?#HPS092

AVAILABLE IN:

20 test press vinyl
250 marbled yellow background – red vinyl
250 orange background splatter in black green blue vinyl
black vinyl

digipak (6 panels)

digital

The Pilgrim is the latest solo project of Gabriele Fiori, frontman of Rome-based outfits Black Rainbows and Killer Boogie.

With “Walking into the Forest”, Fiori evokes a sound that is both classic and fresh, melodically rich and creatively constructed. It is a new outlet for Fiori that demands spiritual as well as auditory engagement, and an all-things-permissible sonic context.

The Pilgrim on Thee Facebooks

Heavy Psych Sounds on Thee Facebooks

Heavy Psych Sounds website

Heavy Psych Sounds on Bandcamp

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