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

Send the Mistress on Thee Facebooks

Dead Groove Records

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Deadpeach Post New Video for “Calcutta” from Aurum

Posted in Bootleg Theater on January 14th, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster

Preceded last month by a reissue of Deadpeach‘s 2006 debut, Psycle (info here), the Italian four-piece’s new full-length, Aurum, is due out this week. “Calcutta” is the opening track from the offering, which is the heavy psych outfit’s third, and it launches a 10-minute build quietly and moves into warm, rich psychedelics fluidly and easily without sounding overly contrived or indulgent in its jamming. The video is accordingly peaceful and tripped out, the various shots bleeding into each other and also hitting a visual apex in league with the song itself. If, say, you’ve run around all day like a crazy person and feel like you’ve gotten nothing done (not that I’d have any idea what that feels like), it might be just the thing to chill you out and return your brain to whatever it is that passes for stasis.

Or something like that.

I’m not sure where they got the footage from for the clip, and they seem to be mum on the subject, but as it moves away from the morphing faces of the band members, it kind of has a home-movies-gone-psych quality to it that adds a tinge of nostalgia to the spaced-out vibe. I dig it, anyway, and with the vinyl for Aurum coming Feb. 1, it seems like a good way for anyone who hasn’t yet been to get introduced to Deadpeach. Dig it:

Deadpeach, “Calcutta” official video

Video of the song Calcutta from the new album ‘Aurum’!

Take a trip with us!

The digital version will be released 16 January 2014 , and will be available on Amazon Itunes Spotify …

Vinyl version will be available from 1 February 2014!

Aurum Is a 5 track album, songs are : Calcutta, Gold, The line, Stomper, Traffic, (about 40 minute). The album was recorded and mixed by Epi at the godownrecords studio, Mastering Alessandro Cenciarini. The album’s artwork is edited by Neal Williams that already has done posters for Soundgarden, Dinosaur jr, Opeth, Neurosis,QOTSA, Melvins and others.

from 16 january 2014

Fuzz ON!

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Insider, Event Horizon: Gravitational Pull

Posted in Reviews on January 14th, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster

The prevailing impression of Insider‘s Event Horizon is one of transition. In that way, the 59-minute offering from the Italian heavy psych/prog trio, released through Andruid Records, very much lives up to its title, which refers to the precipice at which one can no longer retreat from the gravitational pull from a black hole. It is the band’s fifth or sixth full-length, and follows last year’s Vibrations from the Tapes (review here), which collected nearly 80 minutes of jams recorded in 2007. Event Horizon isn’t quite so overwhelming, and the chief difference between the two outings — aside from the 20-minute shorter runtime of the latest; an hour is still more than enough time for Insider to get their point across — is that Event Horizon is much more structured than was its predecessor. The late 2013 release arrives some eight years after Insider‘s last studio album, 2005′s Simple Water Drops, so even with Vibrations from the Tapes as a stopgap or perhaps a signal of revitalized activity, there’s been plenty of opportunity for creative growth within the band. Interestingly, what we seem to find across these eight mostly-extended cuts is that exact growth in progress. Memorable riffs pervade songs like the opener “Escape Velocity,” “Gravitational Mass” and the six-movement “Expansion of the Universe,” but chiefly, Event Horizon presents an image of the trio in flux as they move toward a songwriting process from jammier past efforts — granted Vibrations from the Tapes was recorded earlier, but until Event Horizon it was still their latest material — thus further solidifying their instrumental approach.

Ultimately, it’s a very particular moment captured on Event Horizon, because while Insider have moved past (at least for the time being, one never knows what future albums will bring) presenting their output in its rawest form — i.e., the jams — neither have they completely moved from that ethic to a wholly structured approach. Event Horizon resides, then, at the borderline between the two mindsets, and presents Insider, comprised of guitarist/keyboardist Marco Ranalli, bassist Piero Ranalli and drummer Stefano Di Rito with the very choice that the title seems to self-consciously hint toward: Do they continue on this path toward verse/chorus songwriting, or do they pull back into the more spontaneous atmospheres of their prior work. Their earliest albums, 1996′s Insider and 1998′s Land of Crystals, were more straightforward stylistically, it’s worth noting (also reportedly more metal), so maybe a shift away from jamming would be bringing Insider full-circle. If they could do so in a manner that further pushed their sound creatively as Event Horizon seems to do, with Marco adding progressive and psychedelic depth to the songs via sundry analog and digital synth and also enhancing the emotional scope — also allowing listeners a moment to breathe/become further hypnotized in the three-minute title-track that precedes “Expansion of the Universe” — they might be all the better for it. One imagines, however, that doing so would remove some of the opportunity for proggy exploration upon which “Black Hole” and “Magnetic Field Lines” seem only too ready to capitalize, making the songs shorter by and large. Tradeoffs in everything, I suppose.

Read more »

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Duuude, Tapes! Fuoco Fatuo, Fuoco Fatuo

Posted in Duuude, Tapes! on January 9th, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster

Limited to 100 hand-numbered copies from Caligari Records, the Fuoco Fatuo tape compiles two 2012 EPs by the Italian extreme sludge trio of the same name, and the development is palpable from one to the next. The cassette comes professionally printed, with the screen directly on the tape (i.e. no sticker) and a six-panel j-card that only adds to the blackened atmosphere on hand within the music. Fuoco Fatuo — the lineup of guitarist/vocalist Milo Angeloni, bassist Giovanni “Ken” Piazza and drummer Fabrizio Moalli – released their self-titled, four-song EP in April 2012 and followed just months later with 33 Colpi di Schizofrenia Astrale Nell’Abisso Nero, in August. That latter EP is the rawer of the two, and its three songs come, fittingly enough, sandwiched between an intro, “Alpha,” and outro, “Omega.”

They’re also situated first on the Caligari tape, which basks in its filth without exactly making a show of it. The audio is compressed and dirty sounding even digitally, so on the cassette it self is all the more vicious. If I’d been forced to guess, I would have thought that the later songs on the tape were the newer material from the band, since Angeloni has a few cleaner-sung parts and there’s generally a more diverse approach musically, but it seems that Fuoco Fatuo‘s progression is more of a deconstruction at this initial stage and they’re endeavoring to get even more extreme stylistically. It works for them. A blackened take still comes through with sludge viscosity and the screams sound all the more tortured for the morass out of which they rise on “L’Abisso,” which adds a creepier vibe thanks to guest keys, credited to Adamennon.

But though they crossed the threshold that held the warning, “Abandon melody all who enter here,” there’s still character to their charred assault, and Fuoco Fatuo‘s two EPs show a distinct process solidifying any way you want to look at them. The viciousness and rawness of 33 Colpi and the sludgier push of Fuoco Fatuo play well off each other, and in the end it’s almost like the three-piece were putting out a split tape with themselves. That it was mere months between the two releases I can only chalk up to a genuine decision on the part of the band to become even more fucked sounding. The tape isn’t going to be for everyone — it’s not subtle and it already hates you — but if you’ve got a taste for absolutes and like your lo-fi offset by a bit of tonal weight, Fuoco Fatuo offer pummel and slice in like measure across these two releases compiled as one.

Fuoco Fatuo, Fuoco Fatuo (2013)

Fuoco Fatuo on Thee Facebooks

Fuoco Fatuo on Bandcamp

Caligari Records

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Doctor Cyclops Release Video for “Angel Saviour in the Cannibal House”

Posted in Bootleg Theater on December 30th, 2013 by H.P. Taskmaster

Italian trio Doctor Cyclops debuted in 2012 with the full-length Borgofondo and in February, they’ll follow that album with their second offering, Oscuropasso, keeping loyal to a heavy ’70s methodology while not at all shying away from getting weird in a longer jam like that within the cumbersomely-named “Angel Saviour in the Cannibal House.” Near as I can tell, that’s not the title of a horror movie from 1973, but it probably should’ve been. Either way, Doctor Cyclops give the song — which also appeared on their first EP in 2010 — a natural treatment in the video, and then the masks go on and there’s a whole bunch of freakoutery happening and gasmasks, running through the woods, etc.

Sounds like a party at the Cannibal House. Oscuropasso will be out through the varied and venerable World in Sound and there’s plenty in the clip below to give a sampling of what the three-piece of vocalist/guitarist Christian Draghi, bassist Francesco Filippini and drummer Alessandro Dallera have to offer with the record, which obviously includes no shortage of riffs and classic atmospheres.


Doctor Cyclops, “Angel Saviour in the Cannibal House” official video

Doctor Cyclops releases their new video

Welcome to the roots of life and witchcraft, welcome to Doctor Cyclops’ mountains. Born in the middle of nowhere in northern Italy, the power trio is ready to unleash its 2nd LP “Oscuropasso” next february.

Their first video for this album will take you to the Cannibal House, following the steps of Kaspar Hauser and all the people lost in a society they can’t understand anymore. Shot like a 70s horror film, the video for Angel Saviour In The Cannibal House is a great introduction to the atmosphere and grooves of “Oscuropasso” : life, death, sorcery, goblins and rotten trolls.

Doctor Cyclops on Thee Facebooks

Doctor Cyclops’ website

World in Sound

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Deadpeach Reissue Psycle; New Album Coming Soon

Posted in Whathaveyou on December 11th, 2013 by H.P. Taskmaster

I picked up a copy of Deadpeach‘s Psycle a few years back from All That is Heavy and dug it for even more than its ultra-stoner earlier-Malleus cover art. The Italian outfit released a follow-up in 2011, aptly-titled 2, and reportedly have a new one coming called Aurum that will see release in 2014. To tide fans over into the New Year or at very least hopefully get word out about the new release, Deadpeach have made Psycle available again, digitally this time, through iTunes and Amazon.

The band sent word about both Psycle‘s reissue and the impending Aurum, and there’s a link where you can check out the earlier record, but I thought I’d post it with the teaser for the newer album instead, in case anyone unfamiliar with the band wants to get a feel for what they’re doing now as opposed to 2006, when the debut came out.


The new album of Deadpeach will be titled ‘Aurum’. Is a 5 track album, songs are : Calcutta, Gold, The line, Stomper, Traffic, (about 40 minute). The album was recorded and mixed by Epi at the godownrecords studio, Mastering Alessandro Cenciarini.

The album’s artwork is edited by Neal Williams, that already has done posters for Soundgarden, Dinosaur jr, Opeth, Neurosis and other.

While waiting for the release date, of the third studio album by Deadpeach, is available from today, the digital version of their debut album titled Psycle; it was released in 2006 by godowrecords and reprinted in 2007 on vinyl,picture disk and cd digipack by the Nasoni-records.

“Psycle”, is a psychedelic fuzz rock grooves album. Artwork by Malleus.

Seven tracks of wild and amazing fuzz rock, psychedelic landscapes from the early 60s/70s, space trippy sounds.

Current line up: Federico Tebaldi (drums), Mr. Steveman (bass), Giovanni Giovannini (guitar, lead vocals), Daniele Bartoli (guitar & slide guitar).


Deadpeach, Aurum Teaser

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Vincebus Eruptum Issue No. 16: The Wizard and the Swirl

Posted in Reviews on October 31st, 2013 by H.P. Taskmaster

Italian ‘zine Vincebus Eruptum continues to impress with its dedication. When it comes to issue number 16, the interviews with Colour Haze, Sula Bassana, Blood Ceremony, Church of Misery and Telstar Sound Drone are cool enough, but I think the most telling thing about the passion driving the publication is in the letter from editor Davide “Davidew” Pansolin. He gives a pretty basic rundown of what’s happening with the “Vincebus Eruptum Cultural Association” — which is awesome — but more than that, he plugs the album release for Vista Chino, which would’ve been coming out as the issue was finalized.

That doesn’t seem like a huge deal, right? I suppose it’s not, and that’s precisely the point. Pansolin didn’t need to plug the Vista Chino release. He gains nothing by having done so, but instead of ignoring it or just having an album review in with the bevvy of others, he calls it, “a key event for any heavy-psych head who kept following this genre for 20 years.” He’s absolutely right. It was a huge question mark as to whether or not John Garcia and Brant Bjork would be able to pull off a return to the desert rock spirit of Kyuss with that record, but that he’d come out of nowhere like that and bring it up, it lets you know how important he really feels marking the “event” is, how much it means to him personally.

Especially from a self-made ‘zine, that kind of human passion is ridiculously admirable, because the issue itself — all Vincebus Eruptum‘s issues, really — stand 100 percent in testament as the realization of it. They are that passion made product. It’s something I strive for with this site and do so precisely because I admire it so much in people like Pansolin, in Walter Roadburn, in my wife, in Scott Small Stone, and so many others. Every time I get to read a new batch of reviews from Pansolin and his crew, it makes me want to listen to music, to buy new albums and hear new things, expose myself to something I haven’t heard before.

And this time, particularly in the reviews section, amid a tapestry of European acts — of course Italy is well represented as always, with Black RainbowsBlizzard of Lizard, Doomraiser, Giobia and others, including plenty from Go Down Records — it’s encouraging to see a number of American bands, whether it’s The Freeks, Dali’s Llama, Geezer, Luder or Naam. Could it be that American heavy psych is gaining recognition in the European scene?

I’m always glad to check out the next issue of Vincebus Eruptum and I look forward to digging deeper into these interviews and reviews, but at this point, the ‘zine itself is just a part of what they do. Vincebus Eruptum Recordings has a number of limited vinyl releases in the works from the likes of Sendelica (who are also reviewed in this issue), Da Captain Trips and the The Grand Astoria offshoot, Organic is Orgasmic, and more in the works.

The bottom line is the same, though, whether it’s the mag itself or the label, and it’s that Vincebus Eruptum is an enterprise fueled by love of music and love of heavy psych particularly, and it continues to set a standard worthy of aspiration.

Blizzard of Lizard, “The Rage Blooms in My Soul” from Blizzard of Lizard (2013)

Vincebus Eruptum Recordings

Vincebus Eruptum

Vincebus Eruptum on Thee Facebooks

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Wino Wednesday: Wino Guests on Paul Chain’s “Nibiru Dawn”

Posted in Bootleg Theater on October 30th, 2013 by H.P. Taskmaster

I won’t pretend to have a grasp on the catalog or progression of Italian doom master Paul Chain (né and now performing under Paolo Catena), and frankly I think most who do are full of shit. From 1977-2003, however, Chain contributed a few pivotal works that continue to find relevance today — his 1991 outing, Whited Sepulchres, was reissued this year by Svart — and from ’77 to ’84, he played guitar in Death SS in their earliest incarnation. His output with that band was culled together in 1987 for the compilation The Story of Death SS 1977-1984, and released on the Italian imprint Minotauro Records (also reissued by Svart in 2013, as it happens), and sounds of its era, but is definitely worth tracking down. Chain‘s subsequent work in Paul Chain Violet Theatre and under his own moniker gets more and more varied and experimental as it goes on, but even the first EP, Detaching from Satan, was ahead of its time. If it came out today, it would be called groundbreaking.

After having an “artistic death” and subsequent rebirth as Paolo Catena in 2003, Chain‘s career under that name was wrapped up in 2004 with two compilations, both of unreleased material. By their nature, they’re uneven — from what I’ve heard of them, there are a few gems and some stuff that was unreleased for a reason; pretty typical — but two of the tracks on Unreleased Vol. 2 were demos featuring Scott “Wino” Weinrich. Both “Bloodwing” (previously featured on Wino Wednesday here) and “Nibiru Dawn” are notable not just for the Weinrich collaboration, but also because they’re among the few Paul Chain songs to feature lyrics, as opposed to the phonetic syllables Chain used for vocals throughout his career.

More even than “Bloodwing,” “Nibiru Dawn” shows the kind of potential a Wino/Chain partnership might’ve had, Weinrich‘s voice soaring over Chain‘s atmospheric organ work, resting in the groove of a classically doomed verse riff on the way to a lead-topped chorus. Of course, it wasn’t to be or it certainly would’ve been by now, more than a decade later, but the song holds up and makes a great curio for anyone unfamiliar with Chain‘s output or who maybe wasn’t aware these two had ever teamed up. For anyone interested, Catena released a textured and experimental album, Quadri Musicale, last year on New Light Records.

Enjoy and have a great Wino Wednesday:

Paul Chain with Wino, “Nibiru Dawn” from Unreleased Vol. 2 (2004)

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Insider Post Video of New Song “Jet”

Posted in Bootleg Theater on October 11th, 2013 by H.P. Taskmaster

Working quickly to follow up on 2012′s Vibrations from the Tapes (review here), Italian instrumental outfit Insider have released a new album in the form of Event Horizon. Presumably they named it after the gravitational border of a black hole and not the crappy movie from 1997, which the band actually pre-date. Insider have been around in one form or another since 1991, and the song “Jet,” which has made its way online — I think at the behest of the band, but maybe not? — feels immediately more structured than a lot of what they were jamming out last time around. That could just be this one track, or it could be the whole record. You never really know with these guys.

But two guitars, an intricate groove and a healthy dose of keyboards give “Jet” a progressive feel, even if Insider are still well within the range of heavy rock for how they seem to lock in where they want to go with the progression and then stick to it for the duration, trading off here and there for instrumental verses and choruses but basically moving back and forth along a single linear flow.

Vibrations from the Tapes was a lot to take on at 79 minutes, but if you haven’t had a sample of Insider‘s wares, “Jet” is hardly going to tell the full story, but it might be enough to pique your interest and drive further investigation. You’ll find it in the YouTube clip below, which was brought to my attention through the graceful diligence of Christina Bishop. Cheers:

Insider, “Jet” from Event Horizon (2013)

Insider on Thee Facebooks

Insider’s website

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Doomraiser Unveil New Lineup

Posted in Whathaveyou on October 9th, 2013 by H.P. Taskmaster

There might be bands for whom switching out a guitarist or two is no big deal, but for the kind of doom-for-doomers that Italian drunkards Doomraiser proffer, it’s a considerable change. With Giulio and Montagna in tow, Doomraiser will unveil what they’re calling “Drunken Mark III” at a series of shows starting this weekend in Rome. 

Doomraiser‘s latest release is a 2013 split with Caronte on BloodRock Records, and their last full-length, Mountains of Madness, came out in 2011 through Black Widow Records, unrepentantly basking in classic Sabbathian riffage and heavy downer grooves.

Extra ultra doomy PR wire info and the title-track of that album follow here, just in case you needed a little doom to get you through the rest of your day as we all do from time to time (like all the time):


DOOMRAISER announce the Drunken Mark III line-up. The Italian doom metal band is glad to introduce the new twin axes Giulio and Montagna. The guys come from experiences in bands such as VII Arcano, Nerodia and Cielo Drive. Giulio and Montagna will be officially introduced during the next 3 live gigs of the band: Friday October 11 at the Hardsounds Festival 2013 (the event will celebrate the first 10 years of activity for the webzine); Friday October 25 at Freakout Club in Bologna; Saturday October 26 at Lo-Fi Club in Milan for the festival “Macigni” (together with Monumental and Satori Junk).

Doomraiser send an enormous hug to Drugo and Willer for their contribution and efforts in these years of shows, recordings, rehearsals, fun, hangout, drinking and eating. You are still part of the Doomraiser family.


Drunken Mark III line-up (L-R):

MONTAGNA – guitar
BJ – bass
PINNA – drums
CYNAR – vocals/synth
GIULIO – guitar

Doomraiser, “Mountains of Madness” from Mountains of Madness (2011)

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Ufomammut Interview: Mastery and Mastery

Posted in Features on September 27th, 2013 by H.P. Taskmaster

As they begin to celebrate 15 years together, Italian cosmic doom trio Ufomammut find themselves working under two coinciding principles: They always surprise and they’re consistently voraciously forward thinking. Perhaps it’s somewhat less surprising than it might initially seem that eventually these impulses would run into each other. Their Magickal Mastery Tour began this week in Europe, with the band — bassist/vocalist/keyboardist Urlo, guitarist/keyboardist Poia and drummer Vita – putting together a setlist that spans their career from 2000′s Godlike Snake debut all the way up to last year’s mind-expanding Neurot Recordings two-parter, Oro (reviews here and here). The impulse to surprise remains strong.

Ufomammut have had no shortage of triumphs throughout their career to date, whether it’s their landmark 2004 second outing, Snailking, or the growth of their visual-arts enterprise, Malleus as helping bring to life the vivid color and classic form of the European heavy psychedelic underground. From forming their own label, Supernatural Cat, to never failing to refine and develop their sound across 2005′s Lucifer Songs, their 2006 collaboration with Lento, as well as 2008′s Idolum and 2010′s masterpiece, Eve (review here), Ufomammut have continued to go bigger and deeper, creating a psychedelia that’s as crushing tonally as it is atmospheric and influencing countless others in their wake. Their style has never been anything but their own, and as far as I’m concerned, they’re one of the most pivotal and essential acts in heavy music today.

That being the case, as Ufomammut embark on the Magickal Mastery Tour, it seemed reasonable to hit them up for a few brief reflections on their time together these last 15 years, how things have changed for the band and where they might go following Oro. Having interviewed the band before, I know they’re men of brevity and the Q&A certainly follows that course, but two days into the run, here are the remaining Magickal Mastery Tour dates should you be fortunate enough to be someplace in the world that also happens to be in their path:

27 sept – Kulturpalast – Wiesbaden (D)*
28 sept – Het Depot – Leuven (B)*
29 sept – Vera – Groningen (NL)*
01 oct – The Fleece – Bristol (UK)*
02 oct – Brudenell social club – Leeds (UK)*
03 oct – The Underworld – London (UK)*
04 oct – 4AD – Diksmuide (BE)*
05 oct – Römer – Bremen (D)*
06 oct – KB18 – Copenhagen (DK)
07 oct – Blitz – Oslo (NOR) (w/ Tombstones)
09 oct – Luttako – Jväskyla (FIN)
10 oct – Kuudes Linja – Helsinki (FIN) (w/ Suma)
11 oct – Yo Talo – Tampere (FIN)
12 oct – Nuclear Nightclub – Oulu (FIN)
17 oct – Progresja – Warsaw (PL)
18 oct – Bii Nu – Berlin (D)
19 oct – Keep it Low Festival – Munich (D)
*all dates with Zolle in support

The complete Q&A with Ufomammut follows after the jump. Please enjoy.

Read more »

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Isaak Get Robbed; Fundraiser on Now

Posted in Whathaveyou on September 18th, 2013 by H.P. Taskmaster

Boldly declaring they won’t be defeated, Italian heavy rock four-piece Isaak have begun efforts to recover after a recent rehearsal space robbery reportedly stripped them of a good amount of their amps and other equipment. And by “good amount,” I mean all of it. Amps, computers, instruments, cables, mics. Name it and it’s gone.

For any band unfortunate enough to have it happen to them, it’s positively devastating, but even more so for a group like Isaak, who released their The Longer the Beard the Harder the Sound album on Small Stone this summer and aren’t millionaire rockstars who can just go out and replace all their shit. I’ve said it many, many times: Only assholes steal from bands. Steal from corporations instead. They’ve got computers too, and no matter what anyone tells you, they’re not actually people.

If you’ve got a couple extra bucks, Isaak have a crowdfunding-type fundraiser going on now to help them raise money for new gear, including some nifty thank-you gifts for those who donate. Info and links follow:


Try to imagine going to rehearsals, thinking about the riffs, building the songs of your new record…. but feeling something bad in the air, getting there and discovering nothing more has left…Doors damaged, locks broken. It’s something you won’t wish to anybody… like your whole life suddenly disappears.

Now we are here, asking you for some help… participating to our fundraising will support us to keep on with our adventure!

We want to thank you in advance for every kind of help you give us..

THANKS by heart..

Andre, Giacomo, Francesco, Maso

And don’t forget to check out what you can get in our crowdfunding!

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

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Black Rainbows Go Hunting among the Ruins

Posted in Bootleg Theater on September 13th, 2013 by H.P. Taskmaster

As raucously riffed as ever, Roman trio Black Rainbows return in October with the new release Holy Moon. Billed as an EP, but comprising six songs and 38 minutes, Holy Moon will be the follow-up to 2012′s Supermothafuzzalicious! (review here), and judging from the clip below for “The Hunter,” it picks up the party right where the last album left off. I don’t know what it is about nuclear bomb test footage that goes so well with heavy rock, but damned if it doesn’t do the trick every time. Ditto car chases. You might also notice Black Rainbows riffing out in front of a few landmarks and ruins. Pretty sure I saw some of that stuff on my honeymoon.

The song itself is a tripped-out groover that — while not a cover of the Albert King song that Blue Cheer and so many others have taken on over the years — is full of switched-on Fu Manchu-style riffing and unbridled stoner rock bounce. Eminently accessible, you’ll get a feel for it quickly and hopefully come out of it glad you did.


Black Rainbows, “The Hunter” official video

Heavy stuff going down…. BLACK RAINBOWS’ Holy Moon

Italian psychedelic rock band Black Rainbow’s new six-song 38-minute mini album sees the trio leave their earlier stoner rock motifs for a sound that keeps with the HEAVY but heads to the stars. ‘Holy Moon’ offers a deep brew of deep heavy space rock that follows the lineage of early Hawkwind through Loop and The Heads into White Hills, ‘Monsters Of The Highway’ recalls Monster Magnet and Thee Hypnotics with Gabriele Fiori excelling with his powered Detroit infused leads, ‘Chakra Temple’ slows things down over an Eastern drone worthy of both Simon House and The Black Sun Ensemble whilst ‘The Hunter’ adds a heavy Groundhogs boogie edge spiced up for 2013 in a similar vein to Ty Segall and Fuzz. ‘If I Was A Bird’ lessens the pace and adds a reverberating acoustic guitar as the centre piece to a tune that sounds a little like a distant Jack White vibing out to Jimmy Page. Ending with their big muff ridden ’90s sounding take on of MC5′s ‘Black To Comm’ Holy Moon shows how Black Rainbows have grown away from stoner metal into a band steeped in space rock, drones and that increasingly popular early ’90s reimagining of Detroit rock.

is proud to present
“THE HUNTER” new BLACK RAINBOWS video (Directed by Andrea Andrea ? Labate)
song taken from the upcoming Holy Moon
out on October 1 2013
buy the song – support the band!

EP Tracklist:

It s time to announce the dates for the Holy Moon tour 2013 !!
10.09.2013 IT tba
10.10.2013 CH Zug – Wahu!Bar/Galvanik
10.11.2013 CH rockburg – castello
10.12.2013 FR tba
10.13.2013 SP Torredembarra – La Traviesa
10.14.2013 SP Burgos tba
10.15.2013 SP Barcelona tba
10.16.2013 SP
10.17.2013 SP Placencia-Sala Impacto
10.18.2013 SP Orense – Sala Berlín
10.19.2013 SP
10.20.2013 SP Tarragona-TBA
10.21.2013 FR Paris-Glazart
10.22.2013 FR Lyon-TBA
10.23.2013 CH Ins-Schuexenhaus
10.24.2013 FR Chambery-Le Brin de Zinc
10.25.2013 CH St Gallen-Rumpeltum
10.26.2013 CH Luzern – Bruch Bros

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Ivy Garden of the Desert Make a Monster in New Video for “Life?”

Posted in Bootleg Theater on September 5th, 2013 by H.P. Taskmaster

That headline isn’t a question, by they way. Italian heavy rock trio Ivy Garden of the Desert are definitely making a monster in the video, and then they seem to be headbanging with that monster in their underwear? Not really sure how it gets to that point, but it does, and even given that, my favorite part of the entire clip is when it says at the very beginning that it’s based on a true story. It’s true, Frankenstein was a story.

Still, the three-piece from Treviso get down with heavy grooves no less disturbing in the new song “Life?” which comes from their forthcoming Limen EP, their first offering following earlier 2013′s I Ate of the Plant and it was Good, which concluded a series of three extended play releases that also resulted in 2012′s Blood is Love (review here) and the preceding 2011 outing, Docile (review here). Some of the riffing speaks to a kind of dark metal feel like a slightly more psychedelic Cultura Tres, brooding with an underlying aggression that you’re never quite sure when or if it’s going to take off.

And yes, the story of the scientist named “I Doesn’t Care” does end (spoiler alert) with a hilarious headbang session, so kudos to Ivy Garden – guitarist/vocalist Diego Bizzaro, bassist Paolo Martini and drummer Alexander Puntel — for not taking themselves too seriously even when making a video that’s pretty grim up to that point, playing out like a silent horror movie tinted green. They’ve never shied away when it’s been time to get weird, and “Life?” is no exception.


Ivy Garden of the Desert, “Life?” official video

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