Posted in Reviews on April 16th, 2015 by H.P. Taskmaster
For really longer even than the last decade, Italian trio Ufomammut have been engaged in a battle against themselves. Each new work from the cosmic doomers has had to be bigger, to reach farther, than its predecessor. In 2008, Idolum — their fourth album — solidified this as a central element of their process. Arriving after a 2007 collaboration with Lento, it marked a particularly triumphant moment for the partnership between the band and producer Lorenzo Stecconi, who has helmed all of their recordings since, and in a way has been a blueprint for the various thematics running throughout the band’s synth-laden crushing riffs, far-back, spaced-out vocals and dense rhythms. When their subsequent outing, Eve (review here), arrived in 2010, it had one mission at its core, which was to outdo the record before it. Composed as one long piece — something they had originally intended for Idolum — it was ultimately broken down into tracks for the CD release, but one could hardly call it a failure. For one thing, it led to Ufomammut being signed to Neurot Recordings, the label founded and run by members of Neurosis, for their next outing, which likewise expanded on Eve. Oro would be released in two parts — Oro: Opus Primum (review here) and Oro: Opus Alter (review here) — in 2012, and as they moved past their 15th anniversary last year, an occasion they marked with the XV live DVD/documentary (review here), the central question regarding their seventh album, Ecate, is whether or not Ufomammut could possibly continue their push forward into bigger, wider ranging sound. What are the limits of human consciousness translated to volume?
Any new Ufomammut album brings with it a certain “event” presence. Their works have become so masterful in their presentation of a psychedelic aesthetic and doomed tonal weight that followers new and old — a number in which I count myself — know that there’s reason to be excited. With Ecate, guitarist/keyboardist Poia, bassist/vocalist/keyboardist Urlo and drummer Vita do indeed push beyond Oro, but what they find isn’t something even more grandiose. Perhaps inspired by stopping, really for the first time, to reflect on their past work with the XV release and their “Magickal Mastery Tour” comprising songs from their catalog back to earlier records like 2005’s Lucifer Songs, 2004’s landmark Snailking, and their 2000 debut, Godlike Snake, Ufomammut have arrived with the six-track/46-minute Ecate at a place that both progresses their sound and taps into its very core. Like the scene in 2001: A Space Odyssey. After flying through the universe in space and time, the character Bowman doesn’t find some overblown interstellar phenomenon. He winds up in a bedroom — a place where the human species is most quintessentially itself; sleeping, screwing, making itself ready to face the world around it. So too in songs like the building opener “Somnium” and bombastic, three-minute follow-up, “Plouton,” do Ufomammut explore the characteristics that make them who they are musically. Waves of claustrophobic riffs churn amid synthesized swirl and percussive thud, a largesse of sound conjured and given shape out of what seems an ether of brazen impact. Once it starts, there is no getting away from “Somnium.” It is a gravity well of tone, introducing much of what Ufomammut will unfold on the songs to come, and thus, emphasizing many of the best aspects of their style. Following the bursting supernova of “Plouton,” “Chaosecret” keeps a more open vibe through its first six minutes or thereabouts, turning for its remaining four into one of Ecate‘s most crushing moments just when it seems to be fading away, marching toward a more and more furious end.
The album is structured into two roughly mirrored halves, in each of which three songs play out, two longer with a shorter one in the middle. “Chaosecret” is the longest cut at 10:47, but neither “Somnium” (9:55) nor closer “Daemons” (10:30) are far off. Following the closing slams of “Chaosecret,” “Temple” launches side B with an initial wall of feedback and more straightforward riffing, perhaps even more than “Plouton” exposing the elemental aspects of Ecate as a whole, obscure, manipulated samples playing out behind the plod, Urlo‘s vocals forward but still buried under the hypnotic riff repetitions, it taps into the overwhelming wash of Ufomammut at their finest, and transitions fluidly into the shorter, ambient “Revelation,” the four minutes of which are dedicated to developing a synthesized swirl and vast reach beyond what has already been set within the other songs. The drone fades gradually, and with the immediate rumble and rhythmic force of its early going, there’s little question when “Daemons” arrives as to what might be its intent. Its push never really subsides, though a verse emerges, still backed by fervent chugging, and leads the way back into an explosive chorus with more strange, indecipherable samples and a thrust toward Ecate‘s final resolution. No real surprise in the thunder or the rage that pays off “Daemons,” but the keyboard lines that follow and smooth the way out of the album prove even more resonant, almost cinematic, before they too fade away. Working from a conceptual basis in the goddess Hecate, who moves between the dead, living and immortals, Ufomammut remain steadfast in their commitment to progressing on the levels of songwriting and performance, but what their seventh full-length ultimately proves is that records don’t necessarily need to constantly get bigger and bigger to show that progression. Ecate tears away at anything less than needed for the band to make their statement, and as the album that will bring them to North America to tour for the first time, they could not hope to arrive carried by sturdier machinations.
Posted in Whathaveyou on April 7th, 2015 by H.P. Taskmaster
Italian extreme sludgers Grime will take off at the end of this month for a quick run of dates in France, Spain and Portugal. It’s five shows in all, but one imagines that any more of a dose of Grime‘s wafting filthy sludge would throw off the jet-stream and result in devastated ecosystems throughout the northern hemisphere. Or something. Whatever. They’re super fucking heavy. You get the point.
Their 2013 album, Deteriorate (review/stream here) was as vicious as sludge gets, which if you heard it you know is plenty vicious. They (apparently) released a prior-recorded first album last year through Mordgrimm Records, which I guess slipped by me, unless I’m misunderstanding the bio. Take a look for yourself and see what you think:
GRIME (IT. FORCEFIELD RECORDS) FRENCH & IBERIAN DATES
GRIME starts its mission in Trieste, Italy during summer 2010. they play a extremely massive sludge metal, in their line up is the ex- drummer of the italian blackened crust band THE SECRET. With influences from bands like EYEHATEGOD, SOURVEIN or GRIEF the band in their first album (properly released in last june by the english label Mordgrimm, WINDHAND, POMBAGIRA, EAGLE TWIN, HUATA,…) produced a notable extreme and massive pile of songs those could form of the albums of the year without doubt in this music gender. In June of 2013 comes out their second album “Deteriorate”. thanks to the great reputation the band was getting touring around Europe with bands like COUGH Forcefield records (COUGH, WINDHAND) puts the record out with Mordgrimm again. the band has performed in the most important festivals in Europe like Roadburn, Heavy days in doom town, Desert Fest London. GRIME has toured or performed with bands like COUGH, 16, SOURVEIN, GRAVES AT SEA, etc, etc,.. and they has become one of the main bands in the sludge-metal genre in Europe.
Their only goal is bringing destruction to a town near yours. Their sound is rooted into rotten burial ground and their songs are the sound of a decaying swamp filled with trash. Their slow and heavy groove is filthy and vicious, guitar riffs are sharp and covered with rust, drums and bass hit with the unstoppable power of a mud avalanche. They will keep spread their plague in your town very soon. Be afraid.
Monday 27th April Black Sheep, Montpellier, France Tuesday 28th April, Rocksound, Barcelona, Spain Wednesdsay 29th April, Wurlitzer Ballroom, Madrid, Spain Thursday 30th April, Barroselas Metalfest, Portugal Friday 1st May, Sentinel rock Bar, Erandio, Bizkaia, Spain
Posted in Reviews on March 30th, 2015 by H.P. Taskmaster
I must be out of my damned mind. After wrapping up last year with a special feature comprising 50 reviews spread over five days, I’ve somehow decided that it’s not a bad way to do things. So here we are. It’s been three months, that’s a quarter of a year, so it seems only fair to have a Quarterly Review to catch up on some things that might otherwise have gone missed.
And that’s precisely what we’ll do. Between now and Friday, it’ll be 10 reviews per day, rounding up releases from the last couple months. Some are out now, some aren’t out yet, but it’s all recent one way or another. Like with the Last Licks 2014, I’ll be checking in each day as well. Should be fun to see how my mental status deteriorates over the course of the next few days, until my brains are little more than a stinky jelly dripping from out my ears on Friday. At least that’s how I remember it going last time.
So let’s go:
King Hitter, King Hitter
A North Carolina five-piece fronted by vocalist Karl Agell, best known as the frontman of Corrosion of Conformity for their 1991 Blind album – he’s also currently reviving that album live on stage with drummer Reed Mullin in C.O.C. Blind – the new outfit King Hitter reunites the singer with his former Leadfoot bandmate, guitarist Scott Little, and they test the waters with a five-track self-titled EP delivered via Candlelight Records. Crisply-produced, songs like “King Hitter” and “Feel No Pain” hit hard and gruff with just a touch of Southern heavy rock flair. The power of Agell’s voice is undiminished, but production is maybe too evident at times, and when they get down to the chugging “Suicide (Is the Retirement Plan,” politics meet personal perspective in a way that strikes deeper than might’ve been intended. Little and fellow guitarist Mike Brown, bassist Chuck Manning and drummer Jon Chambliss turn in worthy performances, but Agell’s command captures a good deal of the attention on this satisfying showcase of a songwriting process getting underway.
Because one invariably measures British anything in “waves,” we’ll put Oxford double-guitar five-some at the crest of the New Wave of British Burl. Omniscient is their third full-length behind 2013’s Horizontal Life and their 2010 debut, Forked Tongues (review here), and it arrives through Blindsight Records with all the brash Southern metal riffing and dudely bellow one might expect. Orange Goblin are an immediate name to drop in comparison to opener “Outlander,” but “Queen Reefer”’s quiet solo section adds breadth and the acoustic “Home,” the Clutchy “Night Bus Blues” and the stomping, subtle djentery of closer “Collapse of the Bison Lung” continue to reveal an extended palette. A richer listen than it might appear the first time through, Omniscient still revels in its heaviness on “Blue Snake Moan” and “Sway of the Tides,” etc., but changes like the tempo downshift in “Horizon” give fodder for repeat visits to Desert Storm’s howling third offering.
Welsh space rockers Sendelica feel out some pretty peaceful vibes on songs like “The Pillar of Delhi,” “Azoic” or the sweet-washing closer “The Hedge Witch” from their self-released cosmos-tripper Anima Mundi, but there’s no shortage of spaced-out push either in songs like the 12-minute jam “Master Benjamin Warned Young Albert Not to Step on the Uninsulated Air” and electronic-pulsing “Baalbek Stones.” An experimental spirit underlies each of the eight included instrumental cuts, elements like sax, synth, keyboards, theremin, flute and various effects intertwining throughout Anima Muni’s 54-minute sprawl. Quiet moments like “Azoic” work well, but I won’t take away from the buzzsaw tone or swing behind “The Breyr, the Taeogion and the Caethion” either. The truly fortunate aspect of Sendelica’s latest is that it flows between its individual pieces, putting the listener in a position of open-minded experience while working around and through various psychedelic impulses, carefully woven and balanced in the mix, but vibrant and exciting and loose-feeling just the same.
Of the 13 songs on Melbourne trio Drifter’s Desert Highways debut LP, Violent at Altitude, only four reach past the three-minute mark, and even most of those play off a fuzz-punk intensity, shades of Melvins weirdness and Nick Oliveri heavy punker charge showing up in cuts like “Cool Breeze” or the raw, open “Another Life.” Closer “So Long” is given another look from Drifter’s 2013 debut EP, Head (review here), which it also capped, but the feel across Violent at Altitude is that guitarist/vocalist Dan King, bassist/vocalist Troy Dawson and drummer/vocalist Dave Payne is exploring the place where grunge and punk met on pieces like “Bi Polar,” the relatively spacey “Devil Digger” and quick-blasting 1:45 rush of “Russian Roulette,” their tones mean and their attack primal in its overall affect in a way that belies the stylistic nuance at work throughout. You can listen on an analytical level or you can be steamrolled by “Drugs.” Your call. Either way, Drifter are gonna tear it up in accordance with the altitude they’ve apparently hit.
Sula Bassana’s performance at Roadburn 2014 was their first as a full band. The experimental psychedelic project of guitarist Dave “Sula Bassana” Schmidt (see also Electric Moon, Krautzone, Zone Six, Weltraumstaunen, etc.) came to life with his Electric Moon bandmates Komet Lulu on bass and Marcus Schnitzler on drums, as well as Zone Six’s Rainer Neeff on guitar, and the four jams of the live recording Live at Roadburn 2014 tell the tale brilliantly. Schmidt, who is quite simply among the foremost heavy psych jammers in the world, leads the four-piece through cascading movements, immersive and clear on record as they were in person, rich with a sense of improvised creation even if based on prior parts. Anything went, as the 18-minute “Dark Days” showcases here, with synth and guitar and heavy bass intertwining to a brilliant cosmic whole, Schnitzler’s drums holding the proceedings together wonderfully. Short at 50 minutes, it’s every bit as switched on as one might expect in a studio album from these players, blurring yet another line as they expand psych-rock consciousness.
To listen to opener “Still Alone” from Strange Here’s Minotauro Records raw second LP, II, one might expect that Alexander Scardavian (ex-Paul Chain) and Domenico “Dom” Lotito (ex-Hand of God) are presenting some loosely-swung classic doom, shades of Candlemass and Death SS filtered through heavy riffing and Scardavian’s gruff vocals, but that’s barely half the story. More is told by putting eight-minute tracks “Born to Lose” and “Black, Grey and White” next to each other, as they appear here. Following the opening duo of “Still Alone” and the echoing “Kiss of Worms,” the two longer cuts unveil a sound alternately diving into morose doomed march and spacious psychedelic flourish. That blend continues as the marching “Acid Rain” gives way to the acoustic/drone interplay of “Only If…”and comes to a head on closer “Shiftless,” a contrast of back-and-forth impulses played off each other throughout the 47-minute offering. There’s work to do bringing the sides together should Strange Here choose to go that route, though the lines drawn between make it that much easier to catch the listener off guard, which II just might.
Marked out by the jazzy noodling of “The Douche Bag Guru” and the funky bassline on “Drift,” the new self-titled EP from Dayton, Ohio, four-piece Once-Ler dates back a decade in some of its material, the track “Law Dog” having appeared on the band’s 2005 full-length, Entropy. It’s an unassuming rumble, sort of humbly produced for a garage-heavy feel, but the clarity of purpose in centerpiece “Swing the Leg”’s crashing progression is plain enough to hear, and opener “The Victim” is the longest cut at 6:43, earning immediate points. A prog-metal undertone in that track sets up some expectation that the EP veers quickly away from with “Drift,” but guitarist Burns, bassist Deininger, vocalist Reif and drummer Minarcek make a solid case despite the rough sonic edges in the recording. At 25 minutes, Once-Ler’s Once-Ler is enough to give an impression of where the band is headed and a demo-style look at what their progressive heavy rock has to offer.
Pummel, pummel, pummel. Vancouver trio Waingro debut at full-sprint with their 11-track/31-minute self-titled, which wastes little time shaking hands and goes immediately for the jugular on “Firebird.” About 10 seconds in, and the ride is underway with little letup to come as Waingro shove heavy tones along at breakneck speed on cuts like “Tailwind,” “Force Fed” and “Bathed in Tongues.” A remarkable sense of control lies beneath, the trio blending hardcore punk, heavy tones and modern metal twists fluidly as interludes like “Matador,” “St. Regis” and “Arboria” add complexity of method and “Rekall,” “Ride” and most especially side B cappers “Black Dawn” and “True North” brazenly craft something of Waingro’s own from familiar components. This album is self-released, but particularly if Waingro are able to tour at any length, it’s hard to imagine some imprint wouldn’t want to stand behind their brash but engaging thrust, professional already in its assured sensibility and rhythmic impact. The real question is whether they’ll wait around for anyone to notice or push ahead with the momentum they build here.
There’s little room left for frills amid the sludge-punk sneer of Motorgoat’s The Iron Hoof of Oppression, which makes no bones about its affinity for booze, metal and fuckall on songs like “Satanic Slacker,” which boasts the lines, “Trippin’ balls is total bliss/He don’t know what day it is,” and so on. Obviously there’s a humor element to “Revenge of the Towndrunk” and “No Pants – No Problems,” but the German four-piece have a sincere vibe as well as they recount loser tales in a viciously-toned punk-metal spirit, less tune-in-drop-out than tune-out-drop-tune, but it turns out heavy either way. Cohesive in spite of its stated penchant for chaos, The Iron Hoof of Oppression offers partytime disaffection that’s so prevalent it might as well be post-modern. After the world has ended, there’s nothing left to do but dance, and Motorgoat seem (mal)content to let their own hooves stomp the floor. An album that gets better when you read the lyrics. Don’t be fooled by how dumb they seem to be calling themselves.
The tell? The tell is the scream just before North Carolina foursome The Seduction move into the bouncing bridge on “Volga,” which launches their Mechanical Pig Records debut, You Catch Fire. From there, it’s pretty easy to hear the metallic vibe beneath their stoner-punk aesthetic. It comes up again in the breakdown for the later “Hell on Two Wheels,” but it’s there anyway, adding an aggressive edge to the record, which at 53 minutes has plenty of room for the breadth of the rocking highlight centerpiece “Flavor of the Weak” or the depth-charge of the penultimate “Starmageddon” – a few more screams there amid spit-out hardcore shouts – but it’s the meld of these with the party-pit vibe of “Daughter of a Holy Man” and “Irish Flu” that makes You Catch Fire effective in taking cues from some of the West Coast’s heavy methods – some Red Fang, some Queens of the Stone Age — and presenting them with a definitively East Coast punch.
Posted in Whathaveyou on March 27th, 2015 by H.P. Taskmaster
Freakout prone Italian psych rockers Nibiru will release their third album, Padmalotus, via Argonauta Records on May 18. Their blend of sludgy aggression and heavy psychedelia has carried them across two records to-date varying in their levels of improvisation, and their third promises further expansion. No audio yet, at least not that I can find, but the PR wire brings copious details theoretical and practical.
Is it just me or has just about every new record I’ve posted about this week got a May release date? Shaping up to be quite a month. Well, add Nibiru to the list. Somehow I doubt they’ll be the last to come.
Have at you:
NIBIRU: cover artwork and tracklist revealed
Ritual Psych Sludge masters NIBIRU reveal cover artwork and tracklist of their highly anticipated new album. Following the great feedback received across the board by their works “Caosgon” and “Netrayoni”, NIBIRU are now ready with their new beast “Padmalotus”, to be released by ARGONAUTA Records on May 18th 2015.
1. Krim 2. Ashmadaeva 3. Trikona 4. Khem
PADMALOTUS was recorded at Aadya’s Temple, then mixed and mastered by Emiliano “Pilloplex” Pilloni at Soundlab Studio. The Italian trio created its own Art focusing all the energies on the songs’ structure, instead of following the improvisation as they did in the previous albums.
NIBIRU have explored territories never visited before, also in terms of melodic research and songwriting. They aimed at standing out from the nowadays psychedelic acts. “In our opinion, psychedelic research is seeing the world as it is, speaking without preconception, being a storm’s breath”, states Ardath, band’s singer and guitarist.
The 4 tracks off PADMALOTUS (plus a ghost track) were written between September 2014 and January 2015. According to the previous albums, CAOSGON (2013) and NETRAYONI (2014), also PADMALOTUS is connected to occult themes of Eastern Orient. NIBIRU loves exploring the Left-Hand Path (Vama Marg), Kuala rituals, Aghori rituals, and Kundalini awakening.
“PADMALOTUS does not represent a step forward compared to NETRAYONI or CAOSGON, but a move to a higher level. As the lotus grows out of mud, blossoms above the water and rises to the sky, our latest album is a real elevation compared to our previous ones. We stayed true to our roots, but at the same time we stepped into a new territory”, explains Siatris, drummer and guitarist.
Since their inception in 2012, NIBIRU gave vent to their ritualized improvisation urge. They totally refused the concept of ordinary song form, leaving their energy flow, and channelling that into live recordings. “The first 2 years of NIBIRU were a time of empathic creativity. We used to communicate in a roundabout way. Improvisation was instinctive during the making of CAOSGON. Some kind of song structure was there, but in fact we went through an explosion of freedom in writing and playing. NETRAYONI is the zenith of NIBIRU’s improvisation. Maybe those times have been unique, most likely they are”, states the bassist RI.
In Fall 2014 NIBIRU signed to Argonauta Records, and CAOSGON and NETRAYONI (originally self-released) were reissued by the label in January 2015.
Following their philosophical path, the band crafts PADMALOTUS (“padma” means lotus in Tibetan language). Once again, the lyrics are in Enochian language. “We have chosen to reveal our invocations using this ancient language, in order to express ourselves in many different ways. Our lyrics are very personal and can’t be compared to traditional patterns. Enochian language allows phonetics to take space, so that our feelings can be expressed without being trivialized by constrictive words”, explains Ardath.
Through PADMALOTUS, NIBIRU reach their artistic peak. Or at least until the next expressions of their invocations.
Posted in Whathaveyou on March 26th, 2015 by H.P. Taskmaster
Roman trio Ape Skull are getting ready to release their second album for Heavy Psych Sounds, Fly Camel Fly. The record follows their 2013 self-titled debut through the same label, and Ape Skull are already gearing up to hit the road in Germany and Switzerland for a tour surrounding the May 8 arrival. Warm-toned and thick on boogie, the band’s latest will be pressed to limited red or black vinyl as well as CD, with more details to come.
They’ll make a stop at the Go Down fest in Berlin on May 15 as well. Details from the PR wire:
Heavy Psych Sounds Records is happy to announce the release of the new album of: ***APE SKULL***
Ape Skull was formed in 2008. A trio consisting of Pierpaolo Pastorelli (bass), Fulvio Cartacci (guitar) and Giuliano Padroni (vocals-drums). The first, self titled, album (Ape Skull) comes out in 2013 by Heavy Psych Sounds and it includes eight original tracks and a cover of ‘I Got No Time’ by Orange Peel. The record is published as vinyl as well as a CD and its reviews appear in many magazines and websites dedicated to Rock music.
Following two European tours and dedicated Rock festivals, together with performances alongside excellent groups from the Stoner, Hard Rock and Psychedelic Rock circuits, the band is now ready to bring on tour the second chapter:
“FLY CAMEL FLY” a new “but old” great record, 9 brand new awesome Retro, Vintage Rock songs, for Fuzz addicted, Rhythmic and Funky sounds mixed to 70s Hard Rock tunes, with a pinch of Garage, Blues and Acid Rock.
The new album will be released May 8 in 200 Ltd Red Vinyl, black vinyl cd and digital.
The band will be also on tour in Europe from May 8 to 16.
08/05/2015 CH Luzern-Bruch Bros 09/05/2015 CH Ins-Schuxenhaus 10/05/2015 CH Basel-Roxy tba 11/05/2015 CH La Chaux du fonds tba 12/05/2015 CH St Gallen-Rumpeltum 13/05/2015 DE Augsburg-Blue Box Skate Park 14/05/2015 DE Halle- Hühner Manhattan 15/05/2015 DE Berlin-Tiefgrund “GO DOWN FEST” 16/05/2015 CH Olten-Coq d’Or
Posted in Radio on March 20th, 2015 by H.P. Taskmaster
Once again it’s been a couple weeks since I was last able to do a round of radio adds. But I have a good excuse! I was… uh… reviewing stuff? Well, that’s what I was doing, anyway. Anyhow, I’m way backed up on stuff to join the server, so for at least the next couple weeks it seems reasonable to expect regular adds while I get caught up. By then I’m sure I’ll be behind again, because somehow that’s how it works. Anyway, point is that as usual, a lot more was added to the server this afternoon than appears here, so make sure you check the Playlist and Updates page for the full list. Most of it is pretty new as well, so you might stumble on something you didn’t know was out. Could happen. Alright, let’s do this.
The Obelisk Radio adds for March 20, 2015:
XII Boar, Pitworthy
Before “Sharpshooter,” the opening track of their debut full-length, Pitworthy, actually starts, Hampshire, UK, trio XII Boar are introduced by a ring announcer in full arena-echo style. Somebody is about to get their ass kicked. That mentality tells you a lot about where the three-piece of guitarist/vocalist Tommy Hardrocks, bassist/vocalist Adam “Baddog” Thomas and drummer David Wilbraham are coming from on the 10-track outing, rife with heavy, Southern-style boogie presented with weighted burl whether it’s a slower groove like “Crushing the P” or a thrasher like “Chicken Hawk.” Side A caps with the title-track, a seven-minute Southern metal highlight, but the real party is at the end of the record’s second half, when the 11-minute “Quint” takes hold in a raucous fury of rhythmic thrust, seafaring tales and off-the-wall soloing. It is a riotous debut after a few promising EPs, and if nothing else, XII Boar make it clear that if anyone’s going to get their ass kicked, it won’t be the band. Their dudely growls and whisky this-or-that might be too much for some, but there’s no denying these guys sound like they’re having a blast, and that energy proves infectious throughout their first album. XII Boar on Thee Facebooks, on Bandcamp.
Deadpeach, Old Fuzz Generation
Underrated Italian fuzz rockers Deadpeach initially released the debut EP, Old Fuzz Generation, in 2004 on what was apparently severely limited vinyl. Then a three-song 7″, Old Fuzz Generation now sees a digital reissue as a four-track release with the three-minute “Spain ’87” added on to the end. All told, it’s still under 10 minutes long with all four cuts taken together, but while brief, there’s enough fuzzy rush to hearken back to a time when European heavy rock was less concerned with either psychedelic freeform jamming or sounding like it’s 1972, and that the thickened-out, sped-up punk of “Americano” (1:50) needed no frills to get its point across, tapping influences from Nebula, Fu Manchu and Kyuss even while quoting Bob Marley in the lyrics and expressing what was a pervasive anti-American sentiment throughout Europe following the US invasion of Iraq. Good times. Not really, but good fuzz, and twice as interesting when one considers how European heavy was on the verge of a multi-faceted explosion 11 years ago and Deadpeach were tapping into a similar classic heavy ethic as the likes of Demon Cleaner, earlier Dozer and their countrymen in OJM. A quick but satisfying stoner burst. Deadpeach on Thee Facebooks, on Bandcamp.
Suzukiton, Suzukiton II
Making their home in the fertile heavy ground of Richmond, Virginia, the instrumental four-piece Suzukiton made their debut a decade ago on Crucial Blast with Service Repair Handbook, a collection of distinctly Southern but still varied rockers that found a cult following at the time. Kind of a surprise to find that 10 years later, the four-piece of guitarists Todd Naumann and David Boyd (Twisted Tower Dire), bassist William Rose and drummer Bryan Cox (ex-Axehandle and Alabama Thunderpussy) would return with the self-released Suzukiton II, but the intervening time has done little to dull their potency, shredding leads cutting through tight rhythms in tones bordering between heavy rock and metal, a chugger like “Death of a Mule” no more out of place than a prog-metal stomper like “Ronin.” Closer “Todd II” would seem a direct sequel to “Todd Song” from the first album, but its eight-minute course feels more than duly expanded from the prior release. Thoughtful in its progressions and well-plotted within its individual pieces, Suzukiton II is nothing if not a welcome return, and if it’s the band’s position to blindside new listeners, that suits the material well. Suzukiton on Thee Facebooks, on Bandcamp.
Torpor, From Nothing Comes Everything
Immediate points to UK atmospheric sludgers Torpor (also stylized in all-caps) for opening their Head of Crom and Black Bow Records debut LP, From Nothing Comes Everything, with “From this Time,” the longest song on the album. Follow-up points for the actual weight of the damn thing. Dense, post-metallic claustrophobia is undercut by trades between spoken or otherwise clearheaded shouts and vicious screams, the foursome of standalone vocalist Nats Spada, guitarist/vocalist Jon Taylor, bassist Lauren Mason and drummer Simon Mason successfully avoiding stylistic cliche throughout the six-track release while executing lethal builds and thunder-toned push. “Surrender to the Light” is as effective for its melody as its chug, the obscure interlude “The Wake” rumbles and growls ferociously, and “As Waves Crash” demonstrates a powerful blend of post-hardcore and doom, from which “Abandon” departs only momentarily, delving into a minimalist midsection before rounding out with a maddening payoff. Nine-minute closer “Everything We Left Behind” might as well be made of skull fragments and burst eardrums, its heft giving way gradually to deconstructed ambience and a finale of abrasive noise. Torpor‘s first is brutal, fierce and terrifying most of all for how solidified and assured the band sounds in their aesthetic — how at home they are in the churning chaos they’ve made. Torpor on Thee Facebooks, on Bandcamp, at Head of Crom, Black Bow Records.
If the art wasn’t clue enough, Monsternaut‘s Monsternaut EP is a stoner rock record. Its motor revs in opener “Dog Town” and doesn’t let up until it hits the slowdown in closer “Black Horizon,” which wraps the Kerava, Finland, trio’s 18-minute debut outing with a fitting show of swing, choice basslines and nod-worthy fuckall. There’s plenty about the five tracks that will prove familiar to listeners who may have seen a record with an El Camino (admittedly, a gorgeous one) on the cover before, but there’s a next-generation freshness in Monsternaut‘s barebones, unabashed heavy rock approach, and cuts like “Back for More” and “Mountain Doom” prove deceptively catchy while also tapping tonal satisfaction in the guitar, bass and drums — Jani Kuusela‘s snare and kick landing no less heavy than Tuomas Heiskanen‘s riffs or Perttu Härkönen‘s low end — and the thud of “Caravan” and the straightforward, unpretentious vibe of all the tracks suits a presentation of genre that offers an edge of individuality while immediately doing more than just aping the band’s stylistic forebear(d)s. In heft, mood and songwriting, it’s a more than solid showcase of a progression underway. Monsternaut on Thee Facebooks, on Bandcamp.
As previously noted, this is just a fraction of the stuff that joined the server today — one-third, if you want to be more specific about that fraction. To check out everything else or to see what’s been played today and for probably way further back than you’re interested in knowing, check out the Obelisk Radio Playlist and Updates page. Hope you find something good from it.
Posted in audiObelisk on March 9th, 2015 by H.P. Taskmaster
Italian trio Black Rainbows will release their fourth album, Hawkdope, on March 14 (March 17 US). Aside from being one of the best titles for a record I’ve heard so far this year, Hawkdope also represents the latest stage in the Rome-based three-piece’s ongoing evolution. With dirt-caked fuzz tone, they continue to proliferate the catchy hooks and stoner vibes they’ve tossed around since their 2008 debut, Twilight in the Desert, but as with 2010’s Carmina Diablo, their 2012 breakthrough Supermothafuzzalicious!! (review here), 2013’s Holy Moon EP (discussed here) and last year’s split with Naam, White Hills and The Flying Eyes (review here), they seem to be figuring out new methods with each release, and as much as songs like “Killer Killer Fuzz,” “No Fuel No Fun” and “Hypnotize My Soul with Rock and Roll” would seem to tell their own story, Black Rainbows stewed up their best blend of driving riffs and Nebula-style heavy psychedelia on Hawkdope — released through guitarist/vocalist Gabriele Fiori‘s Heavy Psych Sounds imprint — proving again that they never move from one project to the next without learning something along the way. Whether it’s the bluesy swirl they jam out in album closer “The Cosmic Picker” or the 90-second acoustic bounce of “Waiting for the Sun,” Hawkdope is rife with these lessons and a richer listening experience for them.
Fiore leads the charge with the launch riff of opener “The Prophet,” but bassist Dario Iocca and drummer Alberto Croce aren’t far behind, and immediately, Hawkdope makes an impression with its intelligent, classically-styled structure and rampant flow. Tones are consistent — and fuzzed way out — but are put to varied use. “The Prophet” and subsequent “Wolf Eyes” are straightforward enough and offer a kind of heavy boogie with currents of underlying psych weirdness in samples, effects, etc., that Black Rainbows have come to do very well, but with the title-track, the trio move further into space rock sprawl, a slower tempo and more cosmic vibe spreading out like lava over the course of the song’s nine minutes. There is no arguing with it, and whoever sold Fiore that Echoplex was doing us all a favor. Vibe oozes from the speakers as his nodding riff shifts into this or that jam, breaking into jazzy noodling and effects runs in the second half while Iocca‘s bassline carries the track forward, Croce building toward a resurgence that serves as the apex. “No Fuel No Fun” is rawer in comparison, but sets itself out with motoring low-end and a “doh-doh-doh” break in its chorus. The turn to “Hypnotize My Soul with Rock and Roll” is immediate, and the centerpiece of the CD somehow manages to up the fuzz quotient from the preceding tracks, which is no small feat. Classic stoner rock ensues as Fiore brings forward a ’70s style strut in the chorus without sounding retro or losing Hawkdope‘s distinct thickness as solo and riff intertwine, one layered over the other, a cascade of effects at the ready to finish out.
I’m reasonably certain “Hypnotize My Soul with Rock and Roll” is where the sides split up for the vinyl — at least that’s the most even breaking point between the record’s two halves — but either way, by the time “Waiting for the Sun” and the ensuing “Jesusjudge” take hold, a B-side expansion of sound is underway. “Waiting for the Sun” has little in common with the Doors song sharing the title, with its acoustic guitar at the fore, keyboard-style drone, tambourine and bluesy feel, lyrics about going to Mexico, and so on, and beginning with a drum fill from Croce, “Jesusjudge” opens to a satisfying roller of a groove, leaning hard on the turns for its chorus, but carrying through to the solo and making their way through the verse and hook again unscathed, leading the way to “Killer Killer Fuzz,” about which the most fitting thing to say is perhaps “as advertised.” A sample in the back end furthers some of the psychedelic feel, but at heart, it’s a riffer and Black Rainbows obviously know it. Closing, the 6:47 “The Cosmic Picker” is reminiscent somewhat of the most laid back, cosmic feel of “Hawkdope,” but looser and jammier, if also shorter. The guitar, bass and drums push — full toned and melodically resonant — toward a blissed-out crescendo, but ultimately, the song and album cap softly, a few lines from Fiore over a quiet instrumental epilogue, though to their credit, the way the track ends, they could have just as easily kicked back into to a full-on psych jam, and hearing Hawkdope come to its end, part of me can’t help but wish they had.
They’ve become forerunners of Italian heavy rock over the last seven years, and there are few out there who’ve done as much to champion their country’s cause to the international underground, whether it’s through touring their own material, setting up shows for bands coming through Italy or the work Fiore has done with Heavy Psych Sounds, but at no point does Hawkdope seek to be evaluated on anything other than the merits of its craftsmanship. And on that standard, it more than holds up. Black Rainbows hone a sound that will be familiar and welcome to fuzz worshipers, but at the same time belonging solely to the band, and they continue to evolve and progress, chasing the perfect riff through a cosmos of distortion.
Black Rainbows will be on tour in Europe most of this Spring. Tour dates follow the full stream of the album below. Please enjoy:
HEAVY PSYCH SOUNDS Records&Booking is Stoked to announce the dates of the European Tour of Black Rainbows.
The band is going to burn the road with their upcoming last full length album “HAWKDOPE” a mix of lisergic psichedelic tunes, mixed with power fuzz space riffings.
..bring the earplugs
18/03/2015 IT Bologna-Freak Out 19/03/2015 CH Luzern-Bruch Bros 20/03/2015 DE Augsburg-Bluebox Skate Park 21/03/2015 NL Nijmegen-Plufest 22/03/2015 FR Paris-Glazart 23/03/2015 DE Siegen-Vortex 24/03/2015 DE Erfurt-Cafè Tiko 25/03/2015 DE Leipzig-Sto 26/03/2015 DE Berlin-Dustown Fest 27/03/2015 CH Olten-Coq D’or 28/03/2015 CH Winterthur-Gaswerk 29/03/2015 IT Milano-Magnolia
10/04/2015 FI Helsinki- Galactus Fest 11/04/2015 EE Tallin-Woodsock/Rockstar´s
28/04/2015 IT North Italy 29/04/2015 DE 30/04/2015 DE Nurnberg 01/05/2015 IT Bozen-Sudwerk 02/05/2015 AU Salzburg-Rockhouse 03/05/2015 CH St Gallen-Rumpeltum 04/05/2015 AU Innsbruck-PMK 05/05/2015 AU Feldkirch-Graf Hugo 06/05/2015 IT Zerobranco-Altroquando
09/05/2015 IT Rome Tba 17/05/2015 IT Livorno Tba
04/06/2015 UK Bristol-Stag & Hounds 05/06/2015 UK Northampton-The Labour Club 06/06/2015 UK Oxford-The Wheatsheaf 07/06/2015 UK Basingstoke-The Sanctuary 08/06/2015 UK London-The Macbeth
Posted in On Wax on March 4th, 2015 by H.P. Taskmaster
If nothing else, the second installment in Who Can You Trust? Records‘ Sweet Times 7″ series is an efficient use of space. Perhaps even more than its predecessor, which also included four bands, it squeezes seemingly disparate takes on heavy rock onto two sides of what might come across as a sampler for busy heads on the go were it not for the fact that you need a turntable to listen to it. Still, an impressive feat, and all the more when one considers the ground it covers, from the sweet ’70s melodies of Brooklyn’s The Golden Grass to Italian psych-garage rockers Sultan Bathery on side A, and from the sweet classic punk of New York’s Metalleg to the doom-tease-into-Motörhead-jolt of Gorilla. All told, it’s done in under 10 minutes, depending on how fast you flip the platter, and gives a brief glance at some of what each band has to offer. Plus, it comes with 3-D glasses! Because the future!
Yes, the artwork of the 7″, which is pressed in an edition of 500 copies (black vinyl) and comes in thick card stock, is colored so that the included class-style blue and red 3-D glasses make it pop out. Likely you don’t need me to tell you that’s awesome — all the more so because it actually includes the glasses — but even more of a draw are the four songs themselves. The Golden Grass lead off with “All You Have Grown” (premiered here), which at just over three minutes is actually the longest inclusion here. The trio don’t need anymore time than that to establish a resonant, bright melody and a hook, and while the track seems to end cold in comparison to some of what appeared on their 2014 self-titled debut (review here), one can hardly fault them, particularly in context of sharing the side with Sultan Bathery, whose handclap-inclusive “15 Minutes” is a fuzz-drenched rhythmic joy of primal proto-heavy. No time for frills, but a buzzsaw solo carries to side A’s sudden finish with just a second of tape hiss left over for good measure.
I feel like my hand is barely off the turntable arm before Metalleg‘s “Chained” is over. At just 74 seconds, it’s a warm-toned Ramones-style chorus the three-piece — who no doubt by now are tired of being compared to the Ramones — have crafted, and they quickly showcase a grasp for the affinity early punk showed for pop before pop-punk became a commercial force. The tone is warm and natural, raw but not necessarily aggressive, which is all the better for Gorilla, who finish out Sweet Times Vol. 2 with “Three Squealer” by tossing off a measure of a riff spawned from the same muck that birthed “Under the Sun/Every Day Comes and Goes” before they gleefully pull the rug from under it and, after a couple stick-clicks, hit into the aforementioned Motörhead-style rush. Given where they’re coming from, one would expect little wasted space in “Three Squealer” and Gorilla comply ably, ending the release with one last hook and genre crossover that, somehow, fits just as well as the donations from The Golden Grass, Sultan Bathery, and Metalleg.
Maybe part of what makes it work is that it’s done so soon, but I’m not inclined to argue either way. Who Can You Trust? Records has already issued a follow-up to Sweet Times Vol. 2 that includes Death Alley, Wild Honey, Pastor and Sonic Love Affair, so they’re keeping true to the form here in working at a speedy pace. It certainly serves the bands well, so I see no reason why it shouldn’t do the same for the label.