Mos Generator and Isaak to Release Split in January

Posted in Whathaveyou on October 22nd, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster

Washington rock purveyors Mos Generator and Italian four-piece Isaak have set a Jan. 12, 2015, release date for a new split 12″. Heavy Psych Sounds will be handling the release. Earlier this year, the label got together Naam, White Hills, Black Rainbows and The Flying Eyes for a split that was promised as the first in a series, but I’m not sure if this is a continuation of that same idea — it’s half as many bands, for one thing — or a whole new deal. Either way, new Mos Generator and Isaak is nothing to complain about, however it might be positioned in the label’s catalog.

Mos Generator already have a couple recent releases under their collective belt, between their 2014 Listenable Records label debut, Electric Mountain Majesty (review here) and the self-released demo compilation Electric Nomads covering material from their last two full-lengths (review here). For Isaak, they’ve spent much of the year supporting their 2013 Small Stone release, The Longer the Beard the Harder the Sound, and they’ll hit the road in December once again, this time with copies of the new split in tow.

Some preliminaries on the pressing from Heavy Psych Sounds:

mos generator isaak split

Mos Generator/Isaak Split Album is the new Heavy Psych Sounds Records release printed in Black Vinyl and 150 copies

LTD Red Splatter Black Vinyl Awesome Album Artwork by SoloMacello

release date 12/01/2015

Says Isaak:

We are proud and honored to announce our upcoming new split album with the amazing Mos Generator!

It will be released on a very limited edition 12″ vinyl by the great HEAVY PSYCH SOUNDS Records on January 12, 2015 but you can grab a copy during our European Tour in December.
Here you can find a sneakpeek of the stunning artwork made by our brother SoloMacello.

We really can’t wait to let you ear it, we’re sure you’re gonna dig it.
SEE YOU SOON ON TOUR, STAY HEAVY! \M/

www.heavypsychsounds.com
https://www.facebook.com/MosGenerator
https://www.facebook.com/isaakband

Isaak, The Longer the Beard the Harder the Sound (2013)

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Killer Boogie to Debut with Detroit in January

Posted in Whathaveyou on October 10th, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster

killer boogie (Photo by Massi Sinister Noise)

Their name is their mission statement, and on Jan. 14, 2015, Italian trio Killer Boogie will try to get a jump on the New Year with their debut album. The three-piece is fronted by Gabriele Fiori of Black Rainbows and will release their Detroit LP through his ever-expanding Heavy Psych Sounds imprint, but with The Wisdoom‘s Luigi Costanzo on drums and Matteo Marini on bass, the sound is much more blown out than the sort of fuzz delivered by Fiori‘s other band. No word at this point whether Killer Boogie is a side-project or a new full-time group, but they’ll have their first nine-day tour in December, so they’re starting off with a bang in any case.

A YouTube trailer with some songs from Detroit was just released, and as you can hear below, Killer Boogie are nestled right into that late ’60s/early ’70s garage buzz, not quite proto-metal, but still heavy and definitely with a mind to boogie.

The PR wire had it like this:

killer boogie detroit

KILLER BOOGIE Debut Album “DETROIT” will be released via HEAVY PSYCH SOUNDS Rec. 14/01/2015

the band will be on tour from Dec. 11 to 20 in Europe!!

Fuzz Fuzz Fuzz !!!

Killer Boogie are a brand new band well versed in the making of ’70s riff making; a new machine in the retro ’n’ roll scene adept at mixing bluesy frequencies into an extremely fuzzy sound with psychedelic shades. Gabriele Fiori on guitars and vocals (Black Rainbows) , Luigi Costanzo on drums (The Wisdoom) and Matteo Marini on bass.

Killer Boogie grounds its roots in the sound of Blue Cheer, The Stooges, MC5, Cactus and Radio Moscow.

Their debut album Detroit (with killer artwork by Starcade Designs) will be released in December, and a small European tour follows to introduce the band to fuzz loving audiences from December 11 to 20.

https://www.facebook.com/killerboogie
https://www.facebook.com/groups/276856085772276/
http://www.heavypsychsounds.com/

Killer Boogie, Detroit album teaser

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Caronte Release New Video for “Temple of Eagles”

Posted in Bootleg Theater on September 30th, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster

caronte

Italian cult doomers Caronte will release their second album, Church of Shamanic Goetia, on Oct. 31 via German imprint Ván Records. Details have yet to surface about the record, which follows a 2013 split with Doomraiser and Caronte‘s 2012 debut LP, Ascension, as well as their 2011 first EP, Ghost Owl, but the four-piece have cut out the middle man and gotten right to the heart of what really matters — i.e., the music — in releasing the new song, “Temple of Eagles,” along with its mystically-themed lyrics. A sample verse:

Along the left hand’s path
I climb through the wormhole
every man has the cosmos within
I’ll keep on expanding to reconnect with it

Yeah, it’s like that. Nothing on Caronte‘s Ascension topped 10 minutes long, so however indicative it might be of the rest of Church of Shamanic Goetia, “Temple of Eagles” is the longest album cut the Parma unit have put out to date. I guess we’ll see how the rest of the record plays out when the time comes. Until then, “Temple of Eagles” feels less Electric Wizard-y than some of what Caronte have proffered before, which bodes well for their coming more into their own sound, all the more since it’s the first audio from the album to be released. More to come, I’m sure.

Enjoy:

Caronte, “Temple of Eagles”

NEW SONG, NEW VIDEO

We are proud to announce the release date of our new album, “CHURCH OF SHAMANIC GOETIA” which will be released by Van Records. The release date is 31/10/2014 for all Europe.

This is the first extract from the album. Thank you all for the support you have always given. Now take a few minutes, get something to smoke and listen.

Soon more news about the release and the dates of our upcoming live performances.

Caronte on Thee Facebooks

Ván Records

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Isaak Announce European Tour Dates

Posted in Whathaveyou on September 23rd, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster

isaak (Photo by Jessica Matri)

Italian heavy rock four-piece Isaak are getting ready to tour in Europe once again. They released their Small Stone label debut, The Longer the Beard the Harder the Sound, last year, and are currently working on a follow-up, though what stage it’s actually in remains a mystery. Still, if you, say, had a post-it note with impending 2015 releases on it so you could remember them for later when you wanted to put together some kind of larger list/feature on the subject, Isaak‘s next record would be another one to add.

Not that such a post-it note exists or is already becoming overcrowded or anything. I can neither confirm nor deny, and so on.

Here’s the news:

isaak logo

*ISAAK* on tour ( Small Stone Records / HEAVY PSYCH SOUNDS)

Isaak , born from the ashes of Gandhi’s Gunn, immediately signed a worldwide contract for two albums with the American label Small Stone Records: the critically acclaimed debut “The Longer The Beard The Harder The Sound” released in 2013 and a second one that is going to be recorded very soon. “Having the chance to release two albums for an American label and reaching metal fans all over the world it’s a great honor but also a confirmation: we always thought we had an international sound since the beginning. And you will hear it even more in the new album.”

We also managed to tour in Europe for the first time this year. Thanks to this growth and to our love for bands like Clutch, Big Business, Torche, Red Fang the sound of our next album will be something really special. With the first single “The Frown” from the imminent new album, we tested the reaction of our fans receiving amazing responses. So we realized this was the right direction to follow”.

Isaak, who developed from a stoner rock into a promising international power sound band, are ready for the challenge, determined and strong just like their music. Are you ready?

04/12/2014 IT Rome-Init “HPS Rec Label Party”
06/12/2014 IT Milano-LoFi
07/12/2014 CH
08/12/2014 D
09/12/2014 D Augsburg-Blue Box Skate Park
10/12/2014 CH Winterthur-Gaswerk
11/12/2014 CH
12/12/2014 CH Mühledorf Niedergösgen-No Mute Bandraum
27/12/2014 IT Savona- Officine Solimano Christmas Show

www.heavypsychsounds.com
www.facebook.com/isaakband
https://www.facebook.com/events/577755778996510/
https://smallstone.bandcamp.com/album/the-longer-the-beard-the-harder-the-sound

Isaak, The Longer the Beard the Harder the Sound (2013)

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Ufomammut Announce XV Anniversary DVD Details

Posted in Whathaveyou on September 5th, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster

Cosmic doom conjurers Ufomammut celebrated their 15th anniversary last fall by embarking on what they called the “Magickal Mastery Tour,” picking out material from across their catalog and giving a career-spanning set to mark the passing of time. Next month, they’ll release a new DVD, XV: 15 Years of Ufomammut, that captures that live show and includes a documentary about the trio as well. Preorders for that are up now via the band’s own Supernatural Cat in Europe and Earsplit Compound in the US (links below), but I also like the part where the PR wire informs that Ufomammut will hit the studio this month for a new album to be released next spring on Neurot.

Hugely interested to hear what Ufomammut might come up with for a new record after the two-part Oro in 2012 seemed to expand beyond any boundaries they’d previously known. Do they somehow continue to get bigger-sounding and reach farther, or somehow contract, and perhaps inspired by playing earlier material, move toward a more stripped down approach. It’s foolish to speculate one way or another, but Oro is one hell of an act to follow either way.

Info and whatnot:

UFOMAMMUT Announces Details Of Fifteen Year Anniversary DVD

Studio Time Booked For September; North American Tour Plans On The Horizon

UFOMAMMUT, Italian sorcerers of supernatural and obliterating doom, have been very busy behind the scenes following the release of their widely acclaimed ORO collection on Neurot Recordings and the Magickal Mastery Tour of 2013 and 2014, which saw them performing music from across their canon. A band constantly pushing and looking forward, while simultaneously keeping a firm eye on their history, as they continue to celebrate their fifteen years in existence, they still have much in store for their fanbase.

Since 2013, UFOMAMMUT has been working on a video project which will be released on DVD via the band’s Supernatural Cat Records this October, after all, the visual element of the band is of equal importance to their music. The DVD features over three hours of live footage — including Magickal Mastery Live, a 12 song live act — interviews, outtakes, and extras all documenting these first fifteen years of the band. Titled XV, this audiovisual experience will also be available as a special wooden 8GB USB drive.

On the subject of reaching this milestone the band commented…”ORO was a particularly ambitious album for us, and the Magickal Mastery Tour was a great chance to revisit all of our favorite songs in front of really great crowds. When we took some time to reflect on what we had accomplished we knew that the best ways to celebrate our first fifteen years, was a DVD release, something for our fans to contribute towards and to treasure. We’re excited about what the next fifteen years has in store…”

Preorders for the XV DVD have been posted. International orders can be placed via Supernatural Cat HERE and US fans can order exclusively via Earsplit Distro HERE.

In addition to this DVD release, UFOMAMMUT has confirmed that they will be heading into the studio to record their seventh studio collection this September. The new album should see the light of day in Spring 2015 via Neurot Recordings. They’ve also revealed plans to return to the USA to tour the entire country for the first time, as well as a promise of more European performances. Stay tuned for more details on all developments in the coming weeks.

The Magickal Mastery Live Running Order:
Superjunkhead
Hellcore
Oroborus
Stigma
Zerosette
Destroyer
Sublime
Eve (Pt. III & IV)
Sulphurdew
Odio
Stardog
God

http://www.ufomammut.com
http://www.facebook.com/pages/UFOMAMMUT/83336386071
http://www.supernaturalcat.com
http://www.malleusdelic.com
http://www.neurotrecordings.com
https://www.facebook.com/neurotrecordings

Ufomammut, XV Preview

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L’Ira del Baccano Release Terra 42 Next Month

Posted in Whathaveyou on August 25th, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster

Italian astral plane enthusiasts L’Ira del Baccano have announced a September release for their debut studio album, Terra 42, through Subsound Records. The reason I make the distinction “studio” is because when the Rome four-piece issued their first full-length, Si Non Sedes Is…, it was live. That record came out in 2008, and while L’Ira del Baccano put out a split in 2010 and have been playing shows in and around Italy — they recently supported Church of Misery — their debut is awaited and arrives in suitably deluxe fashion, splatter vinyl, foldout poster and all.

The PR wire has details:

L´IRA DEL BACCANO “TERRA 42″ – NEW ALBUM, DETAILS & COVERT ART

L´IRA DEL BACCANO “TERRA 42″ – NEW ALBUM, DETAILS & COVERT ART The new album by the instrumental doomdelic rockers L´Ira Del Baccano “Terra 42″ is set to be released by Subsound Records in September 2014. Distributed in Italy by Goodfellas and worldwide by Code 7/ Phd

The album will be available in digipak CD with a 25×27 cm poster inside, and double gatefold vinyl with 3 different colours to choose from.

L´IRA DEL BACCANO “Terra 42″ tracklist:

Phase I – The Infinite Improbability Drive Part 1-2-3 (32:05 min)

Phase II – Sussurri…Nel Bosco di Diana (11:20 min)

Phase III – Volcano x13 (14:34 min)

“If we were to describe a concept behind this album it would be the freedom to play in different ways and with different approaches. That´s what we explored..our ways to communicate with each other through our instruments and within different song structures; from a breathless trip that never repeats itself during almost 33 minutes (The Infinite Improbability Drive, inspired by Douglas Adams “The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy”), to a song in which we play around the same theme, yet always change the rhythmic perception and divisions (Volcano x13). In the middle (Sussurri…Nel Bosco Di Diana), a song with the first “static” part, and is followed by a progression of riffs”.
[Taken from the credits of "Terra 42"]

Produced by guitarist and founder member Alessandro Drughito Santori. “Terra 42″ has been recorded, mixed and mastered byMatteo Gabbianellii at Kutso Noise Home. All the artwork, concept and realization, is created by the Italian artist Fabio Listrani.

Pre-orders: http://subsoundrecords.bigcartel.com/artist/l-ira-del-baccano

www.facebook.com/LiraDelBaccano42
www.youtube.com/iradelbaccano
www.subsoundrecords.it
www.facebook.com/subsoundrecords
www.narcotica.it

L’Ira del Baccano, “Tempus Inane” Pt. 2 Rehearsal

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Fatso Jetson & Herba Mate, Early Shapes Split: Tutta Forza

Posted in Reviews on August 18th, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster

Intricate though it is, the jpeg cover art for Fatso Jetson and Herba Mate‘s Early Shapes split on Go Down Records does little justice to the physical reality of the finished product. Pressed to limited white vinyl with screenprinted covers or available in a gorgeous fold-out digi-box with fractal designs and liner notes printed on a kind of psychedelic gatefold, Early Shapes is impressive both to hold and to hear, comprising three tracks from the Californian desert legends and four from the Italian upstart trio. For Fatso Jetson – the lineup of guitarist/vocalist Mario Lalli (also of Yawning Man), guitarist Dino Von Lalli, bassist Larry Lalli and drummer Tony Tornay (now also playing with Brant Bjork) — it’s their second partnership with Italy’s Go Down Records, the first having been the limited run Live at Maximum Festival (review here) earlier this year, and their second recent split behind a 2013 collaboration with Yawning Man. In Herba Mate‘s case, Early Shapes is the first I’ve heard from them since their engagingly atmospheric 2009 debut, The Jellyfish is Dead and the Hurricane is Coming (review here), the Bolognese three-piece of bassist/vocalist Alessandro Trere, guitarist Andrea Barlotti and drummer Ermes Piancastelli having spent the last couple years playing shows and generally refining what was an already well-directed take on desert rock. Vinyl-ready at 38 minutes, Early Shapes is hypnotically jammed and sweetly melodic, the two acts not so much competing in the richness of what they do as celebrating the vibes they’re both so able to conjure musically. All the better for the front-to-back listen of the CD, which is consistent in its mood while still showcasing the distinct personalities of the two groups. Frankly, it’s a pairing that I thought would work well when I first heard about it and which works better than I anticipated.

They’re further tied together by the fact that both bands end their portion of Early Shapes with an eight-plus-minute (mostly) instrumental jam, and though Herba Mate‘s “Desert Inn II” feels more plotted than Fatso Jetson‘s “Nyquilt” — particularly because it complements and builds off “Desert Inn I,” which begins the trio’s side of the split — both resonate with an open creativity. Fatso Jetson‘s other inclusions, “Living all over You” and “Long Deep Breath” build on the notion of them not only as mainstays of the CA desert, but as an essential piece of that puzzle along with Yawning ManKyuss, and so on, both in sound and personnel. Mathias Schneeberger, who also recorded the opening duo, contributes Rhodes piano, and Adam Harding (Dumb Numbers) offers guitar and vocals to “Nyquilt,” while singer-songwriter Abby Travis guests vocally on “Long Deep Breath.” Gary Arce of Yawning Man is purported to also have contributed guitar to Fatso Jetson‘s tracks, and I’d going by the tone of “Long Deep Breath,” I’d believe it, but there’s no mention of him in the liner. Still, “Living all over You” begins the split with its most memorable push, a weighted groove unfolding topped by a serene, echoing vocal from Mario, far off from most of the jazzy spasms of Fatso Jetson‘s last full-length, 2010’s underrated Archaic Volumes (review here), but consistent stylistically with their past all the same and building to a satisfying apex before “Long Deep Breath” gets moving on the foundation of Tornay‘s drums, more open in atmosphere, but still cohesive, a chorus and bridge made even more gorgeous by Travis‘ voice joining Mario‘s before a buzzsaw solo takes hold. A mood only bolstered by “Nyquilt,” if this kind of inclusive, ambient spirit is where Fatso Jetson might be headed directionally for their next album, then it can’t get here fast enough. Perhaps most impressive about the tracks is that no matter where Fatso Jetson seem to head sound-wise, they still sound so distinctly like themselves, and they seem to be in full command of their aesthetic, not so much conforming to the desert rock style they helped create as taking those elements with them on a creative journey outside genre bounds.

fatso jetson

herba mate

It would be folly for Herba Mate to try to beat Fatso Jetson at their own game, but fortunately the three-piece are off on another trip. Trere is somewhat more aggressive vocally, but not by much, and the heavy roll that Herba Mate enact on “Desert Inn I” is pretty telling of what they have on offer in general, though following the original “Dance Dance Dance,” they surprise with a cover of Core‘s “Way Down,” adding tonal depth to the punkish ’90s heaviness of the New Jersey band’s original version. That and “Dance Dance Dance” are shorter, which accounts for Herba Mate‘s four tracks as opposed to Fatso Jetson‘s three, but the spirit of the material — which was captured live at Go Down‘s studio with some additional recording/mixing later — is fluid and engrossing, a sudden stop late in “Dance Dance Dance” being the only really jarring moment, and one clearly designed as such. Even the transition between the rush of “Way Down” and the languid heavy psych of “Desert Inn II” is natural, the latter feeling like the return to and expansion on the first installment that it is. Herba Mate‘s is a welcome return, and the jam-minded sensibilities, as well as the laid back approach they take to the release overall — including the Core cover seems to speak to an anything-goes mentality that suits them almost as much as the warm, organic production with which these songs are presented — speak to a confidence in what they’re doing that’s bound to serve them well as they move forward as much as it already serves them well here. I don’t know what either their plans or those of Fatso Jetson might be, but the quality of output from both bands makes Early Shapes feel like more than a simple stopgap en route to larger standalone releases, and whether one takes it as two distinct vinyl sides or listens straight through front-to-back to the CD, there’s really no interruption of flow, Herba Mate and Fatso Jetson pairing remarkably well for the sincerity of their approaches and the the immersion of what they create. It’s not often a release with two different bands recorded under multiple circumstances comes across as smoothly as Early Shapes, but there’s a likemindedness at root here that makes it barely a “split” at all.

Fatso Jetson & Herba Mate, Early Shapes teaser

Fatso Jetson on Thee Facebooks

Herba Mate on Thee Facebooks

Early Shapes at Go Down Records

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Inaugural Totem Psych Fest Canceled Due to Weather

Posted in Whathaveyou on July 21st, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster

…And now, a bummer. The first annual Totem Psych Fest has been called off. It was set to take place this weekend at a castle in Rocca Sinibalda, Italy, which — since it’s also the highest point in the town — would only put it closer to the rainstorms that have been forecast for when it would be going on. An impressive lineup was culled together with Church of MiseryBlues Pills and Nik Turner as headliners and many other killer acts supporting, but it would seem it just wasn’t to be this year.

Heavy Psych Sounds and Black Rainbows‘ Gabriele Fiori, who might be his country’s single most passionate ambassador of heavy fuzz, organized the fest and put out word today that it was a no-go. Sympathies to him and to anyone who might’ve been looking forward to what was surely going to be a unique event.

Replacement shows for some of the headliners have been announced, and those details follow here:

TOTEM PSYCH FEST CANCELLATION

Heavy rainfalls and lightning are expected in Rocca Sinibalda during the days of the Totem Psych Fest, expecially in the area of the Castle that is in the town’s highest part.

Local authorities responsible for security have therefore established requirements and limitations that make it impossible to perform the planned Event in the unique setting of the Castle.

We have no viable alternatives; with great regret, both for the quality of the event and for the great organizational effort we put in these months, we have to cancel the Totem Psych Fest.

Our disappointment is great, beacuse of the encouraging ticket pre-sales and the confidence of a resounding success of the Event.

We cannot but apologize for the inconvenience caused by the cancellation of the Festival, expecially for those who had planned their coming to Rocca Sinibalda.

All tickets will be refunded: those who have purchased through Ticketgate and Paypal circuits will be entitled to reimbursement from August 4th; those who bought the ticket physically in Rome will be refunded on Friday 25th and Saturday 26th of July at the AirportOne, Centocelle’s Airport, Rome.

We managed to bring 3 of the Festival headliners in Rome, AirportOne, Centocelle’s Airport.

Therefore TOTEM PSYCH FEST, in collaboration with INIT CLUB presents:

Friday, July 25th:
Blues Pills
Nik Turner (ex Hawkwind)

Saturday, July 26th:
Church of Misery + opening

https://www.facebook.com/totempsych.fest

Black Rainbows, Live at Sweet Leaf Festival 2014

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Naam, White Hills, Black Rainbows and The Flying Eyes Split: So Much Space, So Little Time

Posted in Reviews on June 11th, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster

The four bands included, tripped out as they are, can hardly account for the amount of space traversed. Italy’s Black Rainbows, led by guitarist/vocalist Gabriele Fiori — whose own contributions to European psychedelia include running the label issuing this release, Heavy Psych Sounds and assembling this year’s inaugural Totem Psych Fest, taking place this summer outside of Rome (more info here) — unite with Brooklyn heavy space rockers and past tourmates Naam, well-kept New York secret outfit White Hills and bluesy Baltimore explorers The Flying Eyes for a 2LP gatefold four-way split featuring a side from each. All four groups work regularly in pretty extended forms, so you basically get a song or two from each, but still, the fact that they all got together and combined their efforts for this release makes it something special, the limited numbers of the vinyl and various colors (as well as a CD version) having been pressed in time for this year’s Desertfest, at which Black Rainbows also appeared. Everyone involved shares an obvious affinity for heavy psychedelic rock, but as one would hope for a release of this nature, there are also four distinct takes presented across the split — the official title of which is Heavy Psych Sounds 4-Way Split Vol. I – and each band takes advantage of an opportunity to bliss out in their own way, beginning with Naam – who’ve spent significant time on tour in Europe both before and after issuing their latest album, 2013’s Vow (review here) — on their two tracks, “Skyscraper (Ambient Mix)” and “Thickening Web,” which are included as side 1A leading off the 51-minute double-LP.

Its title is a dead giveaway, but “Skyscraper (Ambient Mix)” is a reworking of Vow highlight “Skyscraper,” and what was a landmark on the ultra-spacey sophomore full-length from the Brooklyn four-piece arises on the Heavy Psych Sounds split as a stripped-down wash of effects, elements dropping in and out over the course of its seven-plus minutes, guitarist/vocalist Ryan Lee Lugar‘s voice barely distinct for the reverb it carries, a slow, mellow progression playing out behind given further depth between the high and low end thanks to a swirl of effects. “Skyscraper” proper was not short on ambience, between the guitar, John Weingarten‘s keys, John Preston Bundy‘s bass and Eli Pizzuto‘s percussive roll, but “Skyscraper (Ambient Mix)” — on which engineer/mixer Jeff Berner has added some instrumentation as well — feels thoroughly reworked and comes across experimental enough to make the original seem straightforward in comparison. With a fuller-sounding instrumental stretch to over eight minutes, “Thickening Web” furthers the atmosphere of the opener while building on it, Weingarten coming to the fore in a dreamy midsection as the bass, guitar and drums fade out and back in around his keys. There’s a build at work and constant movement, but Naam still evoke a laid back feel, which is all the more fitting leading into White Hills‘ experimental 11-minute “They’ve Got Blood… Like You’ve Got Blood,” presented here as an alternate version to what appeared as the title-track of the 2005 self-released full-length, They’ve Got Blood Like We’ve Got Blood. As much as they’re clearly separate entities with their own sonic aims, a linear flow is present as well, and White Hills further Naam‘s sprawling ambience and percussive undertones with engrossing space-drones and an ending movement with lo-fi techno beats and organ leadout. You’ve got four psych bands all contributing to the release. It was bound to get weird at some point.

Read more »

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The Obelisk Radio Adds: Iron Man (x2), Electric Citizen, Disenchanter, Junior Bruce and Anuseye

Posted in Radio on May 30th, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster

Click here to listen.

This week brings even more radio adds than I expected. I had kind of a hard time whittling it down to figure what I wanted to write about, to be honest with you, but we got there in the end, and I’m thrilled to have another batch of additions to the playlist for this week. Doing this seems to have quickly become a Friday ritual for me, and frankly, I can think of worse ways to spend the afternoon than listening to and writing about a bunch of records. Like just about everything else, for example.

Adds for May 30, 2014:

Iron Man, The Passage & Generation Void

Two brand new vinyl reissues from Shadow Kingdom Records. Digital promos are particularly useless in the case of badass LPs, and I’m pretty sure both of these albums by Maryland doom stalwarts Iron Man, 1994’s sophomore outing, The Passage, and it’s 1999 follow-up, Generation Void, are already on the Radio playlist, but screw it, it’s Iron Man. If the chances of hearing an Iron Man song go up with each file added, then it’s worth tossing both of these records on the server. Generation Void is a full-on lost classic of doom, and if you don’t already own it, I’d imagine the vinyl of The Passage justifies picking it up based on the artwork alone. Either way, you’re never gonna lose when it comes to these guys, and Shadow Kingdom‘s loyalty in following up its CD reissues with LP versions is commendable. On Thee Facebooks, Shadow Kingdom website.

Electric Citizen, Sateen

Led by guitarist Ross Dolan and vocalist Laura Dolan, this Cincinnati four-piece traffic in high-order retro-minded Sabbathisms that keep in mind just how much boogie went along with all that darkness. To wit, the shuffle at the heart of the organ-laced “The Trap” and “Burning in Hell” or the push in the earlier “Magnetic Man.” Sateen, the band’s debut on RidingEasy Records, features riffs and leads heavily, and Laura‘s croon never strays from the forefront in delivering a barrage of hooks through the ’70s-worship production, but as with Sabbath themselves, the foundation of what Electric Citizen accomplish in these memorable, immediately familiar tracks is built on a foundation of rhythmic excellence in the bass and drums, here provided by Nick Vogelpohl and Nate Wagner, respectively. That organ ain’t half-bad either. The album arrives with no shortage of hype, but it’s a shockingly cohesive debut in style and performance, and the songwriting more than earns its way. On Thee Facebooks, RidingEasy Records.

Disenchanter, On through Portals

The Sept. 2013 Back to Earth demo from Portland, Oregon, doom-blues metallers Disenchanter has been sitting on my desk for an embarrassingly long time. That release is added to the playlist as well, but on the early-2014 follow-up, On through Portals, the trio of guitarist/vocalist Sabine Stangenberg, bassist Joey DeMartini and drummer Jay Erbe stretch out the form somewhat. Both arrive as EP-style releases, but On through Portals tops half-an-hour and executes a darkened psychedelic flow over its three extended tracks — “Journey to Abydos/Moon Maid” (12:15), “Invoke” (7:38), and “Into Darkness” (11:20) — so it could just as easily pass for a short album. Either way, the partial shift in aesthetic suits Disenchanter well, and what seems to have been in-process on their first demo comes closer to fruition here. Songs are patient and lumbering, but never boring, and Stangenberg‘s vocals layer effectively at the front of the mix to give the impression of a consummate frontwoman in the making. I won’t declare their development finished, but On through Portals is a big and interesting step for Disenchanter to take. On Thee Facebooks, on Bandcamp.

Junior Bruce, The Nomad


Just two tracks on this latest release from Southern heavy rockers Junior Bruce. The Nomad is the second of two (to date) digital releases following Junior Bruce‘s 2012 debut full-length, The Headless King, and intended as a complement to last year’s The Burden. Fair enough. Taken as such or on their own, The Nomad‘s two cuts, “The Promised Sleep” and “Nomad,” offer unpretentious heavy rolling groove from the Floridian five-piece fronted by Scott Angelacos and featuring bassist Tom Crowther, both also of Hollow Leg and formerly Bloodlet and Hope and Suicide. Molasses riffs from guitarists Nate Jones and Bryan Raymond and steady crash from drummer Jeff McAlear further distinguish “Nomad” in the Southern tradition, and the single/EP is twice as intriguing in the context of Hollow Leg‘s most recent recording, “God Eater” (discussed here), which moved in a more rocking direction as well. It seems to work for both bands. On Thee Facebooks, on Bandcamp.

Anuseye, Essay on a Drunken Cloud


Cuts like “J R” and “Wrong Blues” take ’90s crunch and heavy rock vibes to heart, but where Italy’s Anuseye really distinguish themselves on their Vincebus Eruptum Recordings debut — other than with their somewhat unfortunate moniker — is in the weirdo jamminess of “Push Magic Button” or the psychedelic exploration of “Earthquake.” Essay on a Drunken Cloud boasts a few riffs and effects-laced stretches like that in “Cursed Pills” that might call to mind guitarist Luca Stero and vocalist/guitarist Claudio C.‘s and prior work together in That’s all Folks, but Anuseye has a personality of their own here, with bassist Michele V. and drummer Antonello C. keeping step with the strange vibes every step of the way. The balance shifts effectively between psych rock and noisy post-punk, but songs like “Demon Pulse” and the penultimate “S.S. Abyss” find an engaging and unexpected middle ground on which to make an impression. And then they do. For those days when you feel like you’re heard everything a riff can do, Essay on a Drunken Cloud might just convince you there’s still territory to be discovered. On Thee Facebooks, at Vincebus Eruptum.

For the complete list of this week’s adds, click here.

Thanks for reading and listening.

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Totem Psych Fest 2014 Set for July 25-27 in Italy

Posted in Whathaveyou on May 15th, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster

The inaugural Totem Psych Fest will take place July 25-27, 2014, at a castle located about an hour outside of Rome. Yup, a castle, and yup, Ufomammut are playing. So are Church of Misery. At a castle. They’re playing a castle. On the same bill. At a castle. Nik Turner from Hawkwind will be there too.

Euro fest culture, you’ve done it again. Kudos to Gabriele Fiori from Black Rainbows and Heavy Psych Sounds, which will present the festival. In addition to the aforementioned and Blues Pills, the lineup also includes a host of Italy’s best in heavy rock, from Isaak to Void Generator, Morkobot, OJM and The Wisdoom.

There you have it. For anyone lucky enough to have even the faintest chance of going, tickets are on sale now:

***TOTEM PSYCH FEST***

Heavy Psych Sounds, present the first edition of the TOTEM PSYCH FEST.

This exclusive festival is located one hour north-east of Rome, in the small village of Roccasinibalda. It takes place in the courtyard, gardens and underground cellar of a large, scorpion-shaped castle dating back to the 10th century.

About 25 bands – ranging from heavy psychedelic to space rock, sludge doom, stoner, acid rock, hard blues and one-man bands – will be playing live.

Given the capacity of the location, tickets are very limited: it is possible to purchase 3-day passes or single day tickets. Along the castle there will be shows, food stands and many other events. There will also be free camping, and over the next days a list of all the hotels and holiday-farms located close to the castle will be published on the website.

NIK TURNER SPACE GIPSY (EX Hawkwind)
BLUES PILLS
ZU
BALLETTO DI BRONZO
UFOMAMMUT
CHURCH OF MISERY
BLACK RAINBOWS
LENTO
OJM
OVO
MORKOBOT
TONS
SONIC JESUS
ISAAK
SMALL JACKETS
GIOBIA
IN ZAIRE
THE BLUES AGAINST YOUTH
DA CAPTAIN TRIPS
APE SKULL
THE WISDOOM
SPOOKY MAN
VOID GENERATOR
L’IRA DEL BACCANO

http://www.totempsychfest.com/tickets.htm
www.totempsychfest.com
https://www.facebook.com/totempsych.fest
https://www.facebook.com/events/682287335171446/

Ufomammut, Live in Belgium, April 25, 2013

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Doctor Cyclops Go Behind-the-Scenes in New Documentary

Posted in Bootleg Theater on May 7th, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster

By way of a confession, I’ve had the World in Sound release of Doctor Cyclops‘ latest and debut outing, Oscuropasso, on my stack to review longer than I care to admit. I’m trying. In the meantime, though, the Italian heavy trio have unveiled a new documentary by Barnabil Produzioni that goes behind the scenes with the first five years of the band, showing backstage footage, live footage, travel shenanigans, and interviews to give the trad rockers’ perspective on where they are and the passion that drives what they do.

It’s called Borgopasso: Doctor Cyclops Not the Movie, which I guess is the band’s way of reserving the right to have a longer movie about themselves come out down the line and not have it be a sequel? Not sure what’s going on there, but it’s a cool and stylized look at the trio anyway, and whether you’re a fan of the Oscuropasso or someone unfamiliar, it tells a story I think a lot of people can relate to in terms of music defining a key part of their lives.

Check it out below, followed by the band’s announcement of its release and their tour dates for later this month:

Borgopasso: Doctor Cyclops Not the Movie

Ladies & Gentlemen, dogs & cats, stoned and boozes… We are more than proud to introduce you the first-ever documentary about Doctor Cyclops. It celebrates the first five years of activity of our band. Directed by our friend and film-maker Luca Chinaglia and produced by his own company Barnabil Produzioni, it’s been shot during a tour between Italy, Switzerland, France and Austria last may and october 2013… The Bruch Brothers, Le Brin de Zinc, United Club, Mark Kulturzentrum, Freysitz Bar, Ann-and Pat and probably your good self are surely involved…. Enjoy and please help us sharing it!

Doctor Cyclops will take a new Swiss/German tour [this] month. Here it is…”The German Crossing part II”. Will you join us?

16.05: (IT) Mondovì@Ca’ di matt
17.05: (CH) St.Gallen@Rumpeltum
18.05: (CH) Luzern@Bruch Brothers
21.05: (DE) Wurzburg@Immerhin
22.05: (DE) Hamlar@Rockmusic
23.05: (DE) Berlin@Jagerklause
24.05: (DE) Zwickau@Ugly Bar

Doctor Cyclops on Thee Facebooks

Barnabil Produzioni on Thee Facebooks

World in Sound

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Vincebus Eruptum No. 17: The Freak Flag Still Flies

Posted in Reviews on April 28th, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster

No doubt about it, Vincebus Eruptum has its thing and does it well. The Italian fanzine continues to keep me enamored with issue no. 17 (which actually came out in February but was somewhat delayed in getting to me owing to US post office silliness), redoubling my passion for underground print media with its own. Editor Davide “Davidew” Pansolin has assembled another round of interviews with new and established bands, and in addition to as ever supporting the hell out of his native Italian scene, he’s reached across borders and continents in the reviews section to once again tantalize with a variety of heavy wares. I think I say this every time I get an issue, but I never come out of reading Vincebus Eruptum without wanting to spend money on records.

I’d understand if that actually turned some people off from reading — last thing any of us need to be shelling out a more significant portion of income, I’m sure — but the fact is that even if you don’t immediately take to label sites, Bandcamp pages or whatever other outlets (physical stores, maybe?) and pony up, Vincebus Eruptum remains a good way to stay informed. Especially for somebody like me, who’s a nerd for Euro heavy psych but lives across a particularly large body of water, it’s a cool way to stay in the loop. Not that the ‘zine just sticks to European bands, though. This time around, an interview with San Francisco’s Wild Eyes SF caught my eye as a cool read after reviewing their Get Into It! vinyl, and chats with Icelandic rockers The Vintage Caravan, The Oscillation and Alice Tambourine Lovers followed suit. I hadn’t heard of Minneapolis’ The Lone Crows, so mark that a win as well.

Of course, it wouldn’t be Vincebus Eruptum if Italy wasn’t strongly represented. By my count, 17 of the 38 reviews are either bands of Italian origin or on an Italian label, and that includes such heavy-hitters as Void Generator‘s new album and Fatso Jetson‘s limited 7″ on Go Down Records, so everything included well earns its place. Two releases by Swedish rockers The Movements are covered, and takes on Deamon’s Child and Earthless once again assure Vincebus Eruptum‘s commitment to all things heavy, regardless of where they might call home. Now a licensed cultural association (fiscal code 92100050092) and a sponsor of the Desertfest in Berlin with new label releases from Organic is Orgasmic and Sendelica – the latter are coincidentally interviewed in issue no. 17 — through Vincebus Eruptum Recordings, it seems like the ‘zine has never been going stronger.

That’s all the more impressive in an age of such rampant internet dominance, proving that if you offer a unique, well-curated experience and understand your audience, it’s still possible to make a print model work. Easier said than done, of course, but flipping the pages once again of Vincebus Eruptum, they make it seem so natural, so easy, that one can only hope they keep it going into perpetuity. It’s a joy when the next issue shows up.

Organic is Orgasmic, As We Speak of Space and Wisdom (2014)

Vincebus Eruptum website

Vincebus Eruptum store

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In the Round: Reviews of Hobosexual, Midryasi, Operators, Pylar and System of Venus

Posted in Reviews on March 6th, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster

It’s a big world and there’s a lot to review in it, so I won’t do much to delay. This time around covers both coasts of the US as well as Europe and even Australia, proving once again that heavy knows no borders and seems to be at home wherever it goes. It’s a pretty varied batch this time as well, but should provide some fun along the way.

Hobosexual, II


Billing themselves as “Seattle’s only rock duo” — which is charming if unlikely — guitarist/vocalist Ben Harwood and drummer Jeff Silva self-release their second album as Hobosexual (I see what you did there…) in the aptly-titled 12-tracker, II. It’s a record that brims with attitude from the chugging, semi-Melvinsian opening of “Switchblade Suburbia,” but there’s a depth of tone and swagger to back up the smacktalk in their songwriting. The 38-second “Ghettoblaster” is Hendrix-style feedback and soloing, playing directly into “Hostile Denim”‘s lead-obsessed Rolling Stones hook ‘n’ push. Topped off with striking artwork from Adam Burke of Fellwoods, II proves very much of its Pacific Northwest origins — a magical land where everybody has a beard and they all listen to stoner rock — and while the tongue-in-cheek snark of “Sex Destroyer” might be over-the-top to some, Hobosexual avoid the minimalist aesthetic some duos use as a crutch for lazy songwriting, make old riffs new again and showcase some melodic depth in Harwood‘s vocal layering, positioning songs like “The Black Camaro Death” and the penultimate “BMX” highlights arguing against style over substance amid party-ready riffing and don’t-have-a-fuck-to-give panache. Their 2010 self-titled debut worked in similar stylistic parameters, but II strikes as more confident overall, and it’s a record that you’re either going to fall prey to its sleaze or shoot down early and go about your night. If the album’s a party, I feel at times like my invite must have gotten lost in the mail, but Hobosexual provide a decent reminder nonetheless that there are those capable of turning heavy rock into a good time and put it on the listener to ask why they should take it so seriously in the first place. FOAD: Fuck off and dance.

Hobosexual, II (2013)

Hobosexual on Thee Facebooks

Hobosexual on Bandcamp

Midryasi, Black, Blue and Violet


Strange things are afoot throughout Italian four-piece Midryasi‘s third album, Black, Blue and Violet. The multifaceted heavy outfit run a gamut from Pentagram-esque riff doom to Pink Floyd-infused progressive texturing, all the while keeping a clarity of sound that can likely be traced to the metallic roots of bassist/vocalist Convulsion, who aside from having played in DoomSword can be traced to a number of more extreme outfits. His brother, DoomSword vocalist Deathmaster, shows up on opener “The Counterflow,” but Black, Blue and Violet never goes quite so far into one subgenre or another, the keyboard work of Umberto Desanti always adding an edge of prog to whatever else might be happening, whether it’s the otherwise doomed “Diagonal” or the dramatic verses of the title-track. Released through My Graveyard Productions, Midryasi‘s third ultimately finds its atmospheric crux in an intelligent construction, but perhaps feels somewhat distant in its performance, coldly executed. That’s an inherent tradeoff for the complexity of its arrangements, maybe, and there’s something to be said in argument for the skillful calculation at work across these seven tracks that run smoothly with the underlying drum work of Sappah and fluid guitars of Paolo Paganhate and hit their high-point with the rumbling “The Nuclear Dog,” which provides the most memorable hook of the long-player and seems to revel most in the psychedelic and progressive weirdness that the whole album moves within. The six-and-a-half-minute “Hole of the Saturday Night” closes out with a heavy rock riff and vocal delivery from Convulsion that moves in some of the same (stone) circles as Venomous Maximus, though that’s likely a coincidence of common influence between the two, and with a smooth, consistent production, Midryasi wind up sounding most of all like a band working on its own level. And successfully.

Midryasi, Black, Blue and Violet (2013)

Midryasi on Thee Facebooks

Midryasi on Bandcamp

Operators, Contact High


Raucous Berlin six-piece Operators made an impression in 2012 with the unabashed new school stoner rock of their self-titled debut (review here) now a little older, a little wiser, a little more drunk, the band returns with Contact High, a record that wears its influences on its sleeve in much the same manner as the Satellite Beaver, Neume and Stonehenge patches grace the varsity jacket of the figure on the album’s cover. “Kiss of De Ath” resides at the end of side A of the eight-track/39-minute offering and offers some of Operators‘ most satisfying boogie as Konni‘s organ and the guitars of Jacky and Dirk align for an intricate but still-rolling groove of a midsection build while Stonehenge‘s Enni steps in as a guest singer, but it’s vocalist Eggat who makes the first impression on opener “Terra Ohm,” setting up a strong hook for the rest of Contact High to live up to. The album plays out unpretentious and riotous in kind, and while they haven’t necessarily settled down since their first outing, it’s easy enough to hear Operators as having solidified their approach somewhat. Konni‘s keys work just as well alongside the rhythm section of bassist Dän and drummer Säsh as with the guitars, and Eggat proves a formidable enough presence on cuts like “If I Burn,” “Bring on the Spice” (I don’t know whose guitar solo that is, but kudos) and the driving “Contact High” to reign the rest into cohesion. The six-and-a-half-minute “Arrows” shows a more subdued side that, somewhat surprisingly, never quite explodes into the noisy chicanery found elsewhere. Could it be that Operators are growing up right before our ears? I don’t know, but the results are fascinating and display more even potential from these Desertfest veterans.

Operators, “Terra Ohm” from Contact High (2013)

Operators on Thee Facebooks

Fuzzmatazz Records

Pylar, Poderoso Se Alza en My


Grand soundscaping, an underlying sense of ritual, and a pervasive experimental bent — it shouldn’t really be a surprise that Spain’s Pylar boasts some manner of allegiance to forward or at least side-to-side thinking doomers Orthodox and the avant extremists Blooming Látigo, but the unit’s Knockturne Records debut, Poderoso Se Alza en My, strikes as a decidedly more conceptual work, with one song spilling into the next, religious themes crossing through minimalist atmospheres and a periodic lurch emerging that’s as much a trip aurally as mentally. Two longer cuts, “El Pylar Se Ha Alzado” (13:49) and “Al Fin Te Contemplo Entre las Ruinas del Tiempo (Pentagrammaton)” (12:11) sandwich five not-quite-as-extended segments as the opener (the longest on the record; immediate points) and closer of the 68-minute behemoth, which one would be thoroughly mistaken to dub a “compact” disc. It is, instead, expansive and challenging, rife with droning tension, vague shouts in Spanish seeming to describe some torment either physical or spiritual amid art-jazz percussion in another dimension’s time signatures. Will not, will not, will not be for everyone, but Pylar‘s first is a fascinating and dense work that one could easily spend any number of months dissecting, only to still come up with an incomplete picture of its scope, and for those with a high tolerance for the experimental and indulgences of noise, the intense swell of “La Gran Luminaria” could easily prove essential as the culmination point for what seems to be an album-long drive toward enlightenment and the sundry terrors it might carry with it. If you think you’re bored of the mundane, Poderoso Se Alza en My is ready to pull back the veil and toy for a while with what you used to think of as “your” consciousness.

Pylar, Poderoso Se Alza en My (2013)

Pylar on Thee Facebooks

Pylar on Bandcamp

System of Venus, System of Venus


I remain a sucker for Aussie heavy. System of Venus guitarist/vocalist/graphic designer Fatima Baši? gets into a doomly melodic range that reminds at times — as on “Dancing in Hell’s Garden” — of Alunah‘s Soph Day, but the rough edges in her guitar and Amanda‘s bass add a more distinct ’90s feel to the seven-track/36-minute proceedings on their full-length debut and first release, as the crunch in “Monster Ego” will further attest. Drummer Matt Lieber shows himself comfortable with the quick tempo changes in that song and elsewhere on the self-titled, self-released offering, and though the centerpiece “Dr. Dumb” works quickly to earn its position in the CD’s tracklist, ultimately the opener “Blackrock” and the closing duo of “Nothing” and “Beast” are the strongest statements the album has to make in showcasing the diversity nascent in System of Venus‘ approach, “Beast” rising to an apex that though satisfying feels somewhat shortlived in providing the payoff for the record as whole while “Nothing” holds to a quieter, brooding sentiment that plays off the foundational bassline of “Gannets Drive,” giving what might’ve otherwise easily turned out to be a demo an LP’s overarching flow and speaking to an early awareness of quality construction from the Melbourne trio, though “Gannets Drive” seems to cut out early, building to a hit that’s snapped mid-crash, so perhaps there remain some kinks to work out one way or another. All the same, taken as a whole, System of VenusSystem of Venus satisfies as the debut of a band feeling out where they want to be sonically, and bodes well for where they might grow their sound somewhere between grunge, doom and heavy rock.

System of Venus, System of Venus (2013)

System of Venus on Thee Facebooks

System of Venus on Bandcamp

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In the Round: Reviews of The Devil Rides Out, Manthra Dei, Ol’ Time Moonshine, Robot Lords of Tokyo and Rowsdower

Posted in Reviews on January 27th, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster

Heavy stuff from all over the world. These have all been available for a little bit, and I’ve included audio and links as much as possible. Hope you dig:

The Devil Rides Out, Ugly Creatures EP

Checking in at just the other side of a half-hour, Perth four-piece The Devil Rides Out‘s self-released Ugly Creatures launches with its title-track, which, like the closer “Blood River,” tops seven minutes. There are five-songs total, and they get shorter as you approach the middle from either side, second cut “Empty Sky” and the penultimate “The Righteous Walk” being 5:59 and 5:44, respectively, and centerpiece “Burn Again” running just 4:05. It’s a kind of parabolic listening effect and an interesting structural note on the band’s part, but whatever progressive ideals they may proffer in terms of how the EP is put together, Ugly Creatures is a rock record and doesn’t attempt to be anything else sonically. The guitars of Andrew Ewing lead the way with Joey K.‘s bluesy, gravelly vocals with some airy flourish in the solos, but the vibe is consistently earthy, and the heft and inventiveness of play in Scott Paterson‘s bass and the consuming wash of Royce Uyen‘s drums keep the proceedings grounded stylistically. It’s a loose, swinging heavy rock that emerges by the time they get to “Burn Again,” if deceptively atmospheric, but The Devil Rides Out in their midpoint introduce a thicker lurch and though Ewing‘s vocals seem to be high in the mix, they offer a commanding presence up front. “Blood River” strikes a better balance in having a somewhat bigger guitar sound and allowing the throaty delivery to cut through, decidedly un-reverbed as it is, and the ending tone of the EP winds up stronger for it. There are more than a few interesting explorations here, and if The Devil Rides Out were looking to delve into new stylistic ground, they’ve set themselves up well in doing so for their next full-length.

The Devil Rides Out on Thee Facebooks

The Devil Rides Out on Bandcamp

Manthra Dei, Manthra Dei

It’s somewhat jarring when Italian mostly-instrumental heavy psychedelic four-piece Manthra Dei launch from the languid beginnings of “Stone Face” at the open of their self-titled full-length Acid Cosmonaut Records (vinyl through Nasoni) debut and into more driving space rock, propelled by the keyboard work of Paolo Tognazzi, but it comes to make sense in the progressive sprawl and mounted swirl of the 51-minute album overall. Paolo Vacchelli handles the sole guitar in the foursome, with Branislav Ruzicic on bass and Michele Crepaldi on drums, but throughout, each player gets an opportunity to shine, whether it’s the bass in “Stone Face,” the guitars pushing heavier riffage at the apex of “Xolotl,” the keys adding jazzy melody to a King Crimson-style run in the 17-minute “Blue Phantom” or taking an organ solo on “Urjammer” or the hard-tapping snare punctuating the fervent groove of “Legendary Lamb.” Vocals show up in that last cut, handled by Crepaldi, and with as natural as he sounds amid the instrumental complexity surrounding, I’m not sure what would keep Manthra Dei from employing them more often, but this is a first release, and the band are making pretty clear efforts to hammer out their style, so with as much as is going on and as many parts as a given track has, there’s not a lot of room as they flow from one to the next for verses and choruses. Still, Manthra Dei‘s Manthra Dei is engaging, holding attention even through the aforementioned 17-minute monster and on through the acoustic epilogue that reprises “Stone Face” in a much humbler form. They’re feeling their way, but the push they’ve concocted on their first outing is both exciting and impressively held together, melding progressive flow, space rock rhythms and a psychedelic tendency toward open structures.

Manthra Dei on Thee Facebooks

Acid Cosmonaut Records

Ol’ Time Moonshine, The Demon Haunted World EP

Gruff four-piece Ol’ Time Moonshine hail from the humid backwoods Southern bogs of… Toronto? Okay, so maybe the “Southern” we’re talking about is Southern Ontario, the Down-style chug-and-stomp these dudes get up to on their self-released The Demon Haunted World EP is whiskey by any other name. The seven-tracker finds the two, sometimes-three guitar outfit with a distinctly riffy push, not afraid to get big and angry in the second half of “March of the Trees” or turn things on their head with a little High on Fire gallop on the subsequent “Jazz Cigarettes.” They make little bones about their predilections or tastes in “There be Dragons,” “Jazz Cigarettes” or “This Black Hole is a Demon Rift,” but the ride is enjoyably varied nonetheless, with vocalist Bill Kole showing a range beyond that of the typical post-Anselmo “whoa yeah momma” drawl, getting into sludgier fare when called upon by his own and Chris Coleiro‘s riffing. On instrumental opener “There be Dragons,” “Seven Deadly Suns” and the swayingly grooved “She Dances in Graveyards,” Ol’ Time Moonshine brings in Chris Kendrick of Galaxies in the River for distinct solos, but even elsewhere, Ol’ Time Moonshine show no trouble in offering sonic variety across these tracks. Kole, who also did the jewel-case layout and recorded the guitars and vocals while Ronald Roy of Threshold Sound did Kyle Marnoch‘s bass and Brett Savory‘s drums, seems to be in the lead role, but the band offer a full, active presence throughout, and show themselves to be more than capable songwriters in making something of their own out of familiar genre elements. At just under half an hour, The Demon Haunted World packs enough dirt and grit to be called a full-length, and particularly for being the band’s debut, hits hard enough to leave a mark.

Ol’ Time Moonshine on Thee Facebooks

Ol’ Time Moonshine on Bandcamp

Robot Lords of Tokyo, Virtue and Vice

With their artwork in homage to KISSLove Gun, Ohio-based Robot Lords of Tokyo proffer pro-rocking burl of the sort that Brand New Sin pounded out over a decade ago on their self-released third full-length, Virtue and Vice, and while that doesn’t necessarily say much about the originality of the influences under which they’re working on the follow-up to 2008’s Whiskey, Blood and Napalm (review here), the songwriting at the heart of cuts like “Great Escape,” the swaggering “Hate’s Eternal Spring” and the dudely stomp of “Chicken Little” distinguish the metal-infused core of Rick Ritzler (drums, backing vocals) and Paul Jones (vocals), collaborating bassist Joe Viers (who also recorded and mixed, played some guitar and did backing vocals) and Beau Vanbibber (rhythm and acoustic guitar, lead and backing vocals) as they bring in a host of guest guitarists, from Tracy G. to Chris Poland to Terry Adams and Wayne Findlay. One might think that an album with no fewer than 12 players appearing throughout would sound uneven, but Robot Lords of Tokyo actually hold it together pretty well — doing themselves a service by keeping the songs straightforward and mostly upbeat — even finding room to cover Cinderella‘s “Night Songs” in the second half. Rounding out with the nine-minute build of “Through Perdition’s Flames,” their testosterone-powered motor rock seems to delight in how over the top it gets, but still represents a kind of lost commercial viability for heavy rock in general, as though beamed in from an alternate time and space in which Robot Lords of Tokyo are the rockstars they sound like, instead of self-releasing quality albums so dickhead reviewers like me can me months behind on reviewing them. There are times where Virtue and Vice comes on strong, but at its core it’s professional work.

Robot Lords of Tokyo on Thee Facebooks

Robot Lords of Tokyo’s website

Rowsdower & Send the Mistress, Split CD

Taking their moniker from the lead character in the cult-classic action movie The Final Sacrifice (also one of the best Mystery Science Theater 3000 episodes of the Mike Nelson era), St. Louis heavy blues rockers Rowsdower emerge in making their Dead Grooves Records debut on a split full-length with fellow Missourians Send the Mistress. The latter act appear second and have a much more metalcore-derived sound — i.e. there are breakdowns and mixed screaming and clean vocals — but the five-piece Rowsdower bring together blues-swinging heavy riffs and Facelift-style vocals, hitting on a sonic niche that Salt Lake City’s Dwellers made their own on their first album. “Monday Morning Space Invaders” is bar-ready, even if the hook isn’t as strong as the opening “Acid Healer,” but the tone is set quickly, and with considerable bounce in their step, Rowsdower show promise throughout their four included tracks, notable for their comfort at a middle pace and for the easy mesh of classic heavy rock and distinct ’90s stylization, which shows up not only in the vocals, but in the snare drum sound as well. It’s an enticing affair ultimately, and as much as it’s Rowsdower‘s name that got my attention, the boozy debauchery of “Redemption Denied” and the Mastodon-style riffing that hits in the second half of “Victor’s Waltz” make it plain that there’s more to Rowsdower than there might at first seem. Not sure how they got paired with Send the Mistress, but I imagine there was alcohol involved one way or another. The second act’s three cuts, “Tired Limbs Energetic,” “A Magnificent Feast” and “Medusa’s New Do” are crunchier-toned all around, but there are heavy rock roots in there, even if they take them someplace else, genre-wise. Sometimes geography makes for strange bedfellows.

Rowsdower on Thee Facebooks

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Dead Groove Records

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