Boris Touring Europe in August to Support New Album Dear

Posted in Whathaveyou on May 25th, 2017 by JJ Koczan

It begins. And by ‘it,’ I suppose I mean the touring cycle Boris will undertake to support their new album, Dear, which releases on July 14 via Sargent House and Daymare Recordings. This touring cycle — you know, as opposed to the general touring cycle that Boris never seem to leave, which in 2016 had them out performing Pink in full and which, in addition to heralding the arrival of Dear on this upcoming run, will see the Tokyo experimentalist trio celebrating their 25th anniversary. The run starts in Moscow on Aug. 3 and will include shows around Poland, Germany, Austria, Switzerland, the Netherlands, the Czech Republic, Belgium, Ireland and the UK before finishing in Finland on Aug. 25. Lots of travel, lots of volume. Boris don’t mess around when it comes to either.

If you haven’t checked it out yet, the band unveiled the first bit of audio from Dear in a video for “Absolutego” when they announced the album earlier this month. You’ll find that clip at the bottom of the post here, because it’s the internet and I can do that kind of thing.

From the PR wire:

boris dear euro tour

BORIS DEAR/25TH ANNIVERSARY TOUR ANNOUNCED, NEW ALBUM OUT VIA SARGENT HOUSE, 14 JULY

Legendary amplifier-worshipping trio Boris recently announced the release of their twenty-third studio album, Dear, which is due out July 14th on Sargent House. Today we’re pleased to share news of live shows on the horizon in support of the album and their 25th Anniversary, including festival appearances, all dates below:-

BORIS 25 ANNIVERSARY/DEAR TOUR DATES
03/08 – Moscow, Volta – RU
04/08 – St. Petersburg, ClubZal – RU
05/08 – Vienna, Szene – AT
06/08 – Katowice, OFF Festival – PL
07/08 – Leipzig, Naumans – DE
08/08 – Berlin, Lido – DE
09/08 – Jaromer, Brutal Assault – CZ
10/08 – Munich, Backstage – DE
11/08 – Frankfurt, Das Bett – DE
12/08 – Lausanne, Rock Altitude – CH
13/08 – Ieper, Ieperfest – BE
15/08 – Cologne, Underground – DE
16/08 – Hamburg, Hafenklang – DE
17/08 – Bielefeld, Forum – DE
18/08 – Amstelveen, P60 – NL
19/08 – Bristol, Arctangent Festival – UK
20/08 – Dublin, Whelans – IE
21/08 – Cork, Cyprus Avenue – IE
23/08 – Belfast – Limelight – UK
25/08 – Helsinki – Nosturi – FI

Read on for more information about the new album…

Dear marks the band’s 25th year of existence and while the 10-track album is chockfull of early-Boris calling cards, the avant-garde mavens aren’t learning on old tricks, describing the album as “heavenly—far beyond heavy.” Boris have shared the album’s first single and magnificent new music video “Absolutego”.

Though Boris have traversed a broad swath of sonic territories, they have always been consistently embraced the excess, pushing their myriad of approaches and stylistic forays to points of intoxicating absurdity. Eventually the band reached a crossroads in the early years of their third decade together, leaving them wondering if there were any new horizons left to explore. The renewed vitality yielded an album that fortifies their monolithic wall of sound while also allowing the individual band members to explore the nuances and intricacies of minimalist riffs played at maximum volume.

Songwriting for Dear initially yielded three albums’ worth of material by the end of 2015, but as the band was slated to spend a large chunk of 2016 on their “Performing Pink” worldwide tour, they decided to hold off on releasing any new material. The tour further rekindled their passion for the craft, spurring the band to return home to crank out even more new material while scaling down three records’ worth of sonic deluge down to one.

From the glacial pacing and earthquaking rumble of the album opener to the smouldering rock ’n roll-infused “Absolutego”, Boris have managed to find wildly thrilling work in the familiar trenches of metal. Never ones to shy away from a challenge, the trio carves even experiments with fuzz fuelled dream pop. “At the very first moment, this album began as some kind of potential farewell note of Boris,” the band said. “However, it became a sincere letter to fans and listeners… you know, like ‘Dear so-and-so, this is the new album from Boris’ or something like that. We feel so grateful we can release this album in our 25th anniversary year.”

Dear will be released to the world on July 14, 2017 on CD, 2xLP, and digital formats. Stay tuned for more news to come.

Dear Track Listing:
1. D.O.W.N. (Domination Of Waiting Noise)
2. DEADSONG
3. Absolutego
4. Beyond
5. Kagero
6. Biotope
7. The Power
8. Memento Mori
9. Dystopia -Vanishing Point-
10. Dear

http://www.facebook.com/borisheavyrocks/
http://borisheavyrocks.com/
https://www.facebook.com/sargenthouse/
http://www.sargenthouse.com/
https://www.facebook.com/daymarerecordings/

Boris, “Absolutego”

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Boris to Release New Album Dear to Celebrate 25th Anniversary

Posted in Whathaveyou on May 16th, 2017 by JJ Koczan

boris

25 years of Boris. How is the world not weirder than it is? The long-running Japanese genreproof experimentalists have been everywhere, seen everything, done just about everything, kicked more ass than one could’ve thought a human foot would endure and still come out of it with the creative drive to alienate entire segments of their audience at will. After a quarter-century, they remain nearly impossible to predict, and even now as I look at the cover below of their forthcoming album, Dear — which is out July 14 on Sargent House and Daymare Recordings — I have absolutely no idea what to expect from the record. How many bands can you sincerely say that about?

That’s not the only thing that’s made Boris so crucial for the last two and a half decades, but it’s definitely part of it. Info on the new record follows below from the PR wire, along with their new video for “Absolutego” from Dear, which, if it has you scratching your head and wondering, “Hey, wasn’t Absolutego the name of Boris‘ first album, released in 1996?,” yes, yes it was. I don’t think it’s a coincidence.

Have at you:

boris dear

Boris celebrate 25 years together with new album Dear, watch a music video for their first single “Absolutego”

Legendary amplifier-worshipping trio Boris have announced the release of their twenty-third studio album, Dear, which is due out July 14th on Sargent House. Dear marks the band’s 25th year of existence and while the 10-track album is chockfull of early-Boris calling cards, the avant-garde mavens aren’t learning on old tricks, describing the album as “heavenly—far beyond heavy.” Boris share the album’s first single and magnificent new music video “Absolutego”.

Though Boris have traversed a broad swath of sonic territories, they have always been consistently embraced the excess, pushing their myriad of approaches and stylistic forays to points of intoxicating absurdity. Eventually the band reached a crossroads in the early years of their third decade together, leaving them wondering if there were any new horizons left to explore. The renewed vitality yielded an album that fortifies their monolithic wall of sound while also allowing the individual band members to explore the nuances and intricacies of minimalist riffs played at maximum volume.

Songwriting for Dear initially yielded three albums’ worth of material by the end of 2015, but as the band was slated to spend a large chunk of 2016 on their “Performing Pink” worldwide tour, they decided to hold off on releasing any new material. The tour further rekindled their passion for the craft, spurring the band to return home to crank out even more new material while scaling down three records’ worth of sonic deluge down to one.

From the glacial pacing and earthquaking rumble of the album opener to the smoldering rock ’n roll-infused “Absolutego”, Boris have managed to find wildly thrilling work in the familiar trenches of metal. Never ones to shy away from a challenge, the trio carves even experiments with fuzz fueled dream pop. “At the very first moment, this album began as some kind of potential farewell note of Boris,” the band said. “However, it became a sincere letter to fans and listeners… you know, like ‘Dear so-and-so, this is the new album from Boris’ or something like that. We feel so grateful we can release this album in our 25th anniversary year.”

Dear will be released to the world on July 14, 2017 on CD, 2xLP, and digital formats. Stay tuned for more news to come.

Dear Track Listing:
1. D.O.W.N. (Domination Of Waiting Noise)
2. DEADSONG
3. Absolutego
4. Beyond
5. Kagero
6. Biotope
7. The Power
8. Memento Mori
9. Distopia Vanishing Point
10. Dear

http://www.facebook.com/borisheavyrocks/
http://borisheavyrocks.com/
https://www.facebook.com/sargenthouse/
http://www.sargenthouse.com/
https://www.facebook.com/daymarerecordings/

Boris, “Absolutego”

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Hangman’s Chair and Greenmachine Issue Split LP

Posted in Whathaveyou on March 23rd, 2017 by JJ Koczan

Okay, so this one apparently came out earlier this month, because apparently it’s late-March, and apparently it’s 2017 and I don’t know about you but I feel like maybe I got stuck mentally somewhere back around 2014 and everything since then has just kind of been a blaze with which I’ve been completely inept at keeping up. Sorry, what were we talking about?

Right. Split. Hangman’s Chair. Greenmachine. France and Japan, respectively. Doom on sludge. Music Fear Satan and Daymare Recordings. Tits and bondage on the cover. Blah on that. Pretty sure those are the basics.

Those of you with tabs on such things might recall Greenmachine are veterans of Man’s Ruin Records once upon a time, which is about as close as a band can come in my book to automatic cred. They’ve split up and reformed a few times since and had an EP out last year. Hangman’s Chair, meanwhile, issued their most recent full-length, This isn’t Supposed to be Positive, back in 2015, and it seems pretty fair to assume it lived up to its title.

The PR wire has release details and a video from Hangman’s Chair. Dive in:

hangmans-chair-photo-fredb-art

greenmachine

HANGMAN’S CHAIR/GREENMACHINE split VINYL LP, new MUSIC FEAR SATAN release

The new Music Fear Satan release : a split record featuring the heavy weight french doom metal band HANGMAN’S CHAIR and the famous japanese stoner band GREENMACHINE.

“After their last acclaimed full-length record “This is not supposed to be positive” (2015), HANGMAN’S CHAIR is back and teams up with the stoner japanese veterans GREENMACHINE for a split LP. We can easily recognize the HANGMAN’S CHAIR style along their two new songs with this mix of heavy guitar parts and melodic vocals. GREENMACHINE offers us a new long track divided in multiple parts. The split is released on CD via the japanese label Daymare Recordings and on vinyl through Musicfearsatan (700 copies, 300 on pink and 400 on black)”

tracklisting :
SIDE A
1. HANGMAN’S CHAIR – give and take
2. HANGMAN’S CHAIR – can’t talk

SIDE B
1. GREENMACHINE – red eye (pt.1.2.3.4.5)

https://www.facebook.com/pages/GREENMACHiNE/480031285391295
https://www.facebook.com/hangmanschair/
www.musicfearsatan.com
www.musicfearsatan.bandcamp.com
www.facebook.com/pages/MUSICFEARSATAN/173432646328
www.facebook.com/pages/MUSICFEARSATAN-LABEL/276530999081207

Hangman’s Chair, “Can’t Talk” official video

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Friday Full-Length: Shinki Chen and His Friends, Shinki Chen and His Friends

Posted in Bootleg Theater on March 17th, 2017 by JJ Koczan

Shinki Chen and His Friends, Shinki Chen and His Friends (1971)

One can scarcely find any information on Tokyo-based guitarist Shinki Chen that doesn’t refer to him in one way or another as ‘Japan’s Jimi Hendrix.’ Don’t get me wrong — Hendrix is Hendrix, and without him heavy rock and roll doesn’t exist as we know it, but the designation is more telling about the Western perspective of those making it than it actually is in conveying the character in Shinki‘s playing, which is writ large over his 1971 debut, Shinki Chen and His Friends (also discussed here). Isn’t every lead guitarist Something or Somewhere’s Jimi Hendrix, anyway? At least if they’re doing it right?

Shinki most certainly was that — doing it right — but again, that’s hardly the sum total of what’s on offer with Shinki Chen and His Friends, and all one has to do to realize that is make their way through the opening backwards psychedelic experimentalism of “The Dark Sea Dream.” It’s an intro, made basically of manipulated guitar noise, and yet at 4:51 it’s longer than all but two of the tracks that follow, the closing duo of “Corpse” (5:16) and “Farewell to Hypocrites” (12:52), the latter of which seems to be pieced together from a couple different jams. Not only does Shinki Chen and His Friends remain affected by this initial bend into weirdoism for its duration, but to hear the bass and vocals of George Yanagi and the keys of Hiro Yanagida on “Requiem of Confusion” as backed by Shinichi Nogi‘s drumming, it’s obvious the Friends portion of the four-piece outfit have a key role to play. Hell, “Requiem of Confusion” sounds like the blueprint on which Radio Moscow and too many other classic-styled heavy rock outfits were built, and to get into the fuzzy blues bounce of “Freedom of a Mad Paper Lantern” and the organ-laced sentimentality of “Gloomy Reflections,” there’s a progressive character in Shinki‘s playing and in the performance of the rest of the band that goes beyond being anything other than itself. We know well that by 1971, a heavy rock boom was taking place the world over, from post-hippie Californian fields to Nigerian psychedelic funk dancehalls to Australian barrooms, but as a player and a bandleader, Shinki Chen deserves to be in the conversation of underrated purveyors who had something no one else could offer in quite the same way.

With a song like “It was Only Yesterday,” on which the mix seems to be as fluid as the overarching groove itself, full of swells and recessions and pans between the organ and guitar while the drums remain buried far, far in the back and the fuzzy bass does most of the rhythmic work, part of it is down to finding just the right tempo at which to execute. Shinki Chen and His Friends, unlike much of the era’s output, isn’t just about nailing the heaviest or fastest part or about aping the blues. It’s not quite totally prog, and it’s not quite proto-metal, but it’s definitely psychedelia-plus, and its 39-minute run unfolds quickly by the time “Corpse” comes around with another open-feeling nod, distinct separation between keys, guitar, bass and drums, and a languid spirit that makes a fitting summary leading into the more expansive “Farewell to Hypocrites,” more raucous on the whole and rawer than a lot of the record, but still cohesive as it makes its way into the realms of “far out” and on to whatever lay beyond, Shinki‘s razor-sharp fretwork at the head of the forward charge.

The same year Shinki Chen and His Friends was released, Shinki would form the trio Speed, Glue and Shinki with bassist Masayoshi Kabe (who sniffed glue) and drummer/vocalist Joey Smith (who took speed). They’d put out one album in 1971 on Atlantic called Eve that’s worth driving through a hurricane to pick up and a self-titled 2LP compilation the next year, but that would mark the final recorded appearance of Shinki Chen, who by all reports simply decided he didn’t want to do it anymore and so stopped. Heck of a talent to let go to waste, but fair enough. Shinki Chen and His Friends, Eve and Speed, Glue and Shinki have all been duly bootlegged and reissued, and though his tenure was brief, Shinki Chen remains one of the standout players of the period.

As always, I hope you enjoy.

I wrote the above at about 2:30 in the morning last night, so if it’s completely incoherent, I apologize. At that point I’d already been up for more than an hour. I went to sleep at about quarter after nine, woke up circa 1AM, and was awake for most of the night thereafter. I slept a bit between 2:45 — when I put the laptop back down — and 3:15, and 4:00 and 4:45, when the alarm finally went off, but yeah. Pretty terrible evening of rest on the whole. Doubt it will be my last.

Prior to, I’d been doing pretty well this week in that regard, especially considering The Patient Mrs. has been away the last few days and that’s always a kink in the sleep pattern. I got home from work around 6:30, feeling frustrated about that very fact and any number of other things, so yeah, I guess that was enough taken in combination with feeling anxious around a work off-site for today — it’s different! — and not really knowing what’s going on this weekend (supposed to have family up, but might not on account of impending weather). Plus there’s dog poop outside I need to pick up, and there was the Shinki Chen writeup to do. Quite literally these are the things that keep me up at night. At least last night they were.

I repeated my mantra, “It’s okay it’s okay it’s okay it’s okay,” but to no avail. I’ve been taking herbal supplements for anxiety the last couple weeks at the kind recommendation of a reader, but have a doctor’s appointment on Monday for a physical and might ask for something a little more defizzle-your-brain on a chemical level, just to even me out a bit for a while. Feeling uneven.

Also, anybody got $200,000 they don’t need? Ha.

Okay. Sorry we didn’t get that Samsara Blues Experiment stream up today. There were some timing issues. It’ll be premiered on Monday with the cover art. Here’s the rest of what’s in the notes:

Mon.: Attalla full-album stream/review; Samsara Blues Experiment track premiere/artwork reveal.
Tue.: Los Natas LP review; Phlefonyaar video premiere.
Wed.: Drug Honkey track premiere; Cybernetic Witch Cult video premiere.
Thu.: Review and track premiere for the new Lord (yes!).
Fri.: Q&A and track premiere for Doctor Cyclops; new single premiere from Mirror Queen.

Busy week. Busy weekend, accordingly. I’ve finished mapping out what will be included in the Quarterly Review in two weeks, and I’d like to start organizing the covers, links, tags and so on for those posts this weekend. I also have a bio to write for Lords of Beacon House and copy to assemble for the Roadburn ‘zine, and that Los Natas review will have to be written on Sunday since I don’t have a turntable in my cubicle at work, etc., etc. I don’t expect to sleep much.

But anyway. I gotta get my last cup of coffee (house coffee, as opposed to that which I’m bringing with me to the office) and get ready to head out, get through this Friday and get started as quickly as possible on the aforementioned weekend. I hope you have a great and safe and stress-free one and that all is well on your end generally. I hear on the social medias that Mike Scheidt of YOB is having (more) surgery today. Send him good thoughts for an easy time and speedy recovery. Surgery blows.

Thanks for reading. Please check out the forum and radio stream.

The Obelisk Forum

The Obelisk Radio

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Kikagaku Moyo Touring the US in May; New EP out Next Month

Posted in Whathaveyou on March 14th, 2017 by JJ Koczan

Tokyo psychedelic mavens Kikagaku Moyo are coming to the US for a tour starting in scenic Philadelphia, Pennsylvania — really, I mean that; I love Philly — on May 2. The adventurous lysergic rockers released their third album last year and will have a new EP titled Stone Garden out April 21 on Guruguru Brain ahead of the tour, the rather extensive reach of which you can find below.

It goes coast-to-coast and finds them paired with Holy Sons, which of course is Emil Amos from Grails and Om, as well as Mono. Routing-wise, it’s a little all over the place — Philly, D.C., Brooklyn, Vermont, Montreal; Oregon, British Columbia, Washington, Oregon — but no doubt it’ll get them in front of open eyes and open minds along the way, and of course that’s the whole idea.

Wanna see what the PR wire has to say about it? Well, here you go:

kikagaku moyo Jamie Wdziekonski

Kikagaku Moyo Announce North American Tour Kicking Off In May

New EP ‘Stone Garden’ Out April 21st

Today, Kikagaku Moyo announce their spring North American tour, to follow the release of their new EP ‘Stone Garden,’ out April 21st via Guruguru Brain. The tour will kick off in Philadelphia on May 2nd, and will take the band from the East to the West Coast.

‘Stone Garden’ started in a basement studio in Prague with a nearly continuous session over several days and nights. The original concept was influenced by the raw and seemingly endless jams of psychedelic pioneers. The freeform songs that emerged from those sessions were refined over several months at the band’s home in Tokyo where each song was sculpted into an uncommon form.

Compared to their relatively song based previous LP ‘House in the Tall Grass,’ ‘Stone Garden’ is a window into Kikagaku Moyo’s experimental side. While improvisation is essential to their songwriting process it can take on many forms. This record enabled the band to experiment not only with instrumentation but also atonality and a playful approach to mixing. The unexpected results have become five unique songs each woven together through the same process.

Kikagaku Moyo (Japanese for Geometric Patterns) is the musical union between five free spirits. Go Kurosawa (drums, Vocals) and Tomo Katsurada (Guitar, Vocals) formed the band in 2012 as a free artist’s collective. They met Kotsuguy (Bass) while he was recording noise from vending machines and Akira (Guitar) through their university. Ryu Kurosawa had been studying Sitar in India, upon returning home he found the perfect outlet for his practice.

TOUR DATES
5/2 – Johnny Brenda’s – Philadelphia, PA *
5/3 – Rock & Roll Hotel – Washington DC *
5/4 – Rough Trade – Brooklyn, NY
5/5 – Waking Windows Music & Arts Fest – Winooski, VT
5/6 – Bar Le “Ritz” P.D.B. – Montreal, QC
5/7 – Great Scott – Allston, MA
5/9 – Mahall’s – Cleveland, OH
5/10 – Spirit – Pittsburgh, PA
5/11 – Marble Bar – Detroit, MI
5/12 – The Empty Bottle – Chicago, IL
5/13 – Company Brewing – Milwaukee, WI
5/14 – 7th St. Entry – Minneapolis, MN
5/17 – Doug Fir Lounge – Portland, OR ^
5/18 – The Cobalt – Vancouver, BC ^
5/19 – Sunset Tavern – Seattle, WA ^
5/20 – Hi-Fi Music Hall – Eugene, OR ^
5/21 – The Independent – San Francisco, CA ^
5/22 – The Echoplex – Los Angeles, CA ^
5/23 – The Hideout – San Diego, CA ^
5/24 – The Flycatcher – Tucson, AZ ^
5/26 – Scottish Rite Theater – Austin, TX
5/27 – Foundry Beer Garden – Dallas, TX
5/28 – Growler’s – Memphis, TN
5/29 – Mothlight – Asheville, NC
5/30 – High Watt – Nashville, TN
5/31 – The Earl – Atlanta, GA
* w/ MONO, Holy Sons
^ w/ Sugar Candy Mountain

Stone Garden EP – TRACKLISTING
01. Backlash
02. Nobakitani
03. Trilobites
04. In a Coil
05. Floating Leaf

http://kikagakumoyo.tumblr.com/
https://www.facebook.com/kikagakumoyo/
https://twitter.com/kikagaku_moyo
https://geometricpatterns.bandcamp.com/
https://gurugurubrain.bandcamp.com/album/house-in-the-tall-grass
http://www.facebook.com/GuruguruBrain

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Eternal Elysium, Resonance of Shadows: Experiential Benefit

Posted in Reviews on January 16th, 2017 by JJ Koczan

eternal elysium resonance of shadows

It does not take long into Eternal Elysium‘s Resonance of Shadows for one to realize they stand in the presence of masters. The long-running Japanese outfit, comprised of vocalist Tana Haugo, guitarist/vocalist/founder Yukito Okazaki and drummer Antonio Ishikawa offer the 2016 release as their sixth full-length, and it arrives some 20 years after the band made their debut with 1996’s Faithful. American audiences might recall their 2000 sophomore outing, Spiritualized D, and its 2002 follow-up, Share, were released on MeteorCity. It’s now been over seven years since they offered their last long-player in 2009’s Within the Triad, but they’ve stayed reasonably active with shorter outings, their Highflyer EP and a split with SardoniS both surfacing in 2012. Some of the material on Resonance of Shadows (issued through Cornucopia Records dates back to the era of Within the Triad as well, with “Views on C#” and “Unbound” having appeared on 2008’s Mysterious Views in Stone Garden EP and the aforementioned SardoniS split, respectively.

As such, one might wonder from whence the rest of the eight-track/56-minute collection comes — cuts like the boogieing “Cosmic Frequency,” the more-Pentagram-than-Pentagram opener “Ingah,” the classically rocking “The Breeze Says Go” and the slow-paced crusher “Hiroshima” — but it ultimately matters little for the kind of doom and heavy rock Eternal Elysium proffer, which is about as close to timeless as the style gets in its incorporation of influences modern and old. These songs could’ve been sitting around for years, and who cares? Not like they’re going to age. In their rolling nod, fullness of tone, interplay of Japanese and English-language lyrics and easy shifts between upbeat and downer atmospheres, Resonance of Shadows conveys the years of experience at work behind Eternal Elysium while never sounding staid or overly composed. It’s heavy rock and roll for the converted, and the rest be damned.

Laying out such sonic ultimatums is one thing, and a lot of bands do it, but to actually have the material to stand behind them is rare. As such, the more one digs into Resonance of Shadows, whether it’s the immersive lumber of “Unbound” or the catchy Sabbathism of the penultimate “The Ancient Soul” — to my regret, I speak roughly zero Japanese, and I’ve still had that hook stuck in my head for the last week — the further one is taken by its methods, its subtle fluidity that draws together a full-album flow across standout individual pieces, and the natural clarity in Eternal Elysium‘s sound. Not unreasonable after so many years for them to know what they want from a recording, and with Okazaki working as producer, engineer and mixer at Studio Zen in Nagoya, the command they show is most definitely their own from the tones they capture in “Ingah” onward, but on a pure execution level, the apex that “Ingah” hits in its second half is particularly affecting.

And while it doesn’t set up all the sonic shifts that will play out across Resonance of Shadows, starting immediately with the shuffle of “The Breeze Says Go” and continuing through the memorial bells that launch “Hiroshima,” it does step forth as an excellent lead-in to them. More over, one that a lesser band wouldn’t be able to wield with such grace. To look at Resonance of Shadows as two halves, each with four tracks — though vinyl invariably wouldn’t split that way given extended runtimes in back end — it seems to bring shorter rockers like “Ingah” and “Cosmic Frequency” and “The Breeze Says Go” while letting the seven-minute “Hiroshima” (which breaks into a faster rush in its own second half, churning to an instrumental crescendo that serves as one of the record’s finest) work to foreshadow the doomly plays throughout the instrumental “Views on C#,” the ultra-grooving “Unbound” and the spacious closing pair of “The Ancient Soul” and “Sekibaku.”

The truth of Eternal Elysium‘s scope, however, is more complex, and Resonance of Shadows isn’t nearly so binary. As much as “Unbound”(8:49) and “The Ancient Soul” (9:17) take their time to patiently flesh out ideas, they’re not lazy in doing so, and among the album’s principal achievements is how organically it crosses the sometimes vast divide between doom and heavy rock, so that the languid, rich low end, echoing lead guitar and open spaces of “Sekibaku” feel no less appropriate here than the march of “Unbound” or the mournfulness of “Hiroshima” earlier. Setting up multiple contexts and moving swiftly between them, the three-piece are able to harness a vitality that works as the thread tying everything together, and accordingly, they allow their material to go where it seems it wants to go without having the push of “Cosmic Frequency” are out of place next to the aughts-style stonerism of “Views on C#,” or for that matter, anything lose a step feeding into anything else.

“The Ancient Soul” and “Sekibaku” underscore this triumph, but again, it’s evident from “Ingah” onward, and the argument that Eternal Elysium make in favor of conversion, “never so blatant as “drop out of life with bong in hand,” is no less convincing. To call them underappreciated feels like understatement, and thinking of how one might approach Resonance of Shadows as a fan come to the genre since 2009 who is maybe taking on the band for the first time, the best way I can think of is as a blueprint for how heavy rock and roll and doom should sound when done right. No pretense, fluid boundaries and songwriting at a paramount. Recommended.

Eternal Elysium, “Ingah”

Eternal Elysium on Thee Facebooks

Eternal Elysium on Twitter

Eternal Elysium BigCartel store

Cornucopia Records website

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The Top 20 of 2016 Year-End Poll — RESULTS!

Posted in Features on January 1st, 2017 by JJ Koczan

top 20 year end poll results

The poll is closed, the results are counted and the top 20 albums of 2016 have been chosen. Hard to argue with the list as it’s shown up over the course of the past month, so I won’t try. Instead, let me just say thanks to incredible amount of participants who contributed this year.

All told, between Dec. 1 and Dec. 31, 612 people added their picks to the proceedings, compared to 388 in last year’s poll. Considering how much that number blew my mind on Jan. 1, 2016, I’m sure you can imagine how I feel about adding another 200-plus lists to the pot. In short, I’m astounded, deeply humbled and so, so, so grateful. I feel like we got enough of a sampling this year to give a genuinely representative showing for where people’s heads have been at, so thank you if you were a part of it.

Thank you as well as always to Slevin for running the poll’s back end and tabulating the results. As ever, the weighting system is one in which a 1-4 ranking is worth five points, 5-8 worth four, 9-12 worth three, 13-16 worth two and 17-20 worth one. You’ll find that list (plus some honorable mentions) below, followed by the raw-vote tally.

And after the jump, as has become the tradition, are the full lists of everyone who submitted, alphabetized by name. I’m in there too. It’s a huge amount to wade through, and even if you thought you heard everything in 2016, it should be more than enough to keep you busy for the next year.

One last note: I’m no statistician. Please allow for these numbers to change over the next couple days on some small level.

Let’s go:

Top 20 of 2016 — Weighted Results

wo fat midnight cometh

1. Wo Fat, Midnight Cometh (375 points)
2. Greenleaf, Rise Above the Meadow (368)
3. Elephant Tree, Elephant Tree (324)
4. Asteroid, III (302)
5. Brant Bjork, Tao of the Devil (295)
6. Gozu, Revival (274)
7. Neurosis, Fires Within Fires (253)
8. King Buffalo, Orion (244)
9. Mars Red Sky, Apex III (Praise for the Burning Soul) (238)
10. Conan, Revengeance (232)
11. Cough, Still They Pray (228)
12. Holy Grove, Holy Grove (218)
13. SubRosa, For this We Fought the Battle of Ages (213)
14. Truckfighters, V (206)
15. Blood Ceremony, Lord of Misrule (200)
16. Khemmis, Hunted (192)
16. Red Fang, Only Ghosts (192)
17. Inter Arma, Paradise Gallows (181)
18. Witchcraft, Nucleus (174)
19. Opeth, Sorceress (173)
20. Church of Misery, And then there Were None (159)

Honorable mention to:
Causa Sui, Return to Sky (157)
Goatess, II: Purgatory Under New Management (157)
Black Mountain, IV (148)
Mos Generator, Abyssinia (144)
Wretch, Wretch (140)

Look at those tallies for number one and two. That race was close all month. Wo Fat kept out front for the most part, but Greenleaf kept it interesting and Elephant Tree’s debut snuck in there at third, which I love to see, both because it’s their first album and because that record was indeed so great. King Buffalo, another debut, also made the top 10, underscoring those two as bands to watch, and though Brant Bjork, Conan, Asteroid, Neurosis, Gozu and Mars Red Sky might be more expected names, they still certainly delivered excellent records, so again, nothing to fight with here. Things flesh out a bit in the 10-20 range, but I don’t think there’s one album on this list you could call is “miss.”

Top 20 of 2016 — Raw Votes

wo fat midnight cometh

1. Wo Fat, Midnight Cometh (109)
2. Greenleaf, Rise Above the Meadow (92)
3. Brant Bjork, Tao of the Devil (87)
4. Elephant Tree, Elephant Tree (82)
5. Asteroid, III (80)
6. Gozu, Revival (76)
7. Conan, Revengeance (73)
8. Cough, Still They Pray (70)
9. Mars Red Sky, Apex III (Praise for the Burning Soul) (68)
10. King Buffalo, Orion (67)
11. Truckfighters, V (62)
12. Red Fang, Only Ghosts (61)
13. Khemmis, Hunted (60)
14. Blood Ceremony, Lord of Misrule (59)
14. SubRosa, For this We Fought the Battle of Ages (59)
15. Holy Grove, Holy Grove (58)
16. Church of Misery, And then there Were None (53)
17. Inter Arma, Paradise Gallows (49)
17. Witchcraft, Nucleus (49)
18. Opeth, Sorceress (47)
19. Mos Generator, Abyssinia (45)
20. Black Mountain, IV (44)
20. Causa Sui, Return to Sky (44)
20. Wretch, Wretch (44)

Honorable mention to:
Goatess, II: Purgatory Under New Management (43)
Mondo Drag, The Occultation of Light (43)
Geezer, Geezer (41)
Crowbar, The Serpent Only Lies (41)
Gojira, Magma (37)
Slomatics, Future Echo Returns (36)
Graves at Sea, The Curse that Is… (35)
Black Rainbows, Stellar Prophecy (33)
Beastmaker, Lusus Naturae (32)
Vokonis, Olde One Ascending (31)

Left a few more honorable mentions in the raw-vote count, just for fun and so you could get more of a feel beyond the top 20 itself, which you’ll notice has a couple ties in it as the raw votes usually do and reorganizes a bit from the weighted results. One and two remain the same, however, and in the same order, and you’ll see Wo Fat was the only album that scored more than 100 votes on its own. As a whole, there were over 2,400 separate entries for albums this year, which is by far the most spread out that the voting has ever been. Frankly, with so many people involved and such a variety of stuff being voted on, I’m amazed anyone managed to agree on anything at all, but of course they did and once again a stellar list is the result.

Well, Happy New Year.

Before I go, thanks again to Slevin for the work put into running the back end of this site and this poll particularly. I show up with the finish lists, but it’s his code that makes it happen, and his efforts are appreciated more than I can say. Dude has never asked me for anything in the nearly eight years I’ve been a constant pain in his ass.

After the jump, you’ll find everybody’s list, alphabetized by name. Please enjoy browsing. I hope you find something awesome, because there’s certainly plenty in there that qualifies, and if you see something that looks like it appears often enough that it should be included in one or both of the counts above, let me know in the comments.

Thanks.

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Sithter to Release Chaotic Fiend Dec. 9

Posted in Whathaveyou on October 18th, 2016 by JJ Koczan

sithter

Japanese extreme sludgers Sithter will release their second full-length, Chaotic Fiend, through Bonten Records on Dec. 9. Ahead of the album coming out, they’re set to hit the road next month alongside Serbian doomers Heretic Rites for a week-long string of shows in Japan, and ahead of that, they have the new song “Masque of the Black Death” streaming now. If you think that’s a lot of preparing the ground, I can’t argue, but as you can hear in the new track, it’s weighted, coated in filth and stripped raw enough to make one think that the ground — and the audience’s eardrums — might need some preparation. All the better they’re getting it.

Preorders are up now through the label. The PR wire fills in the details:

sithter-chaotic-fiend

Japan’s sonic death sludge masters SITHTER to release new album Chaotic Fiend | Stream and share new song ‘Masque Of The Black Death’

Chaotic Fiend by Sithter is released on 9th December through Bonten Records, pre-order here: https://bontenrecords.bandcamp.com/album/chaotic-fiend

Originally formed in 2006 under the name PsychoToBlack, after numerous personnel changes, a handful of filed missing person reports and a ritual or two in the black arts, Tokyo’s Sithter eventually emerged, dragged into sunlight.

Influenced by the traditional sludge metal of bands like Grief, Eyehategod and Buzzoven, after leaving his previous outfit MONE¥I$GOD in 2007, guitarist Hyö “Noise Fucker” Kagawa brought with him experiments in doom and dark psychedelia, alongside drummer Takefumi Matsuda and vocalist/guitarist Hiroyuki Takano. Completed by the arrival of newest member Wahei Gotoh on bass in 2013 – kidnapped from the heavy cosmic rock band Dhidalah – the quartet quickly became masters of the “Sonic Death Sludge” sound.

Following the release of 2009’s The Last Temptation EP, their first full-length album Evilfucker on the Russian doom label Bad Road Records and a split with Seoul-based death metal trio Gonguri last year, this December will see the release of Chaotic Fiend on Bonten Records. The inaugural taste of which can be sampled via the track ‘Masque Of The Black Death’, a poisonous and molasses thick assault on all senses.

Sithter also tour Japan this November with Serbian doom rockers Heretic Rites (for the full list of dates see below) ahead of the release of Chaotic Fiend on 9th December.

Japan tour with Heretic Rites:
23 Nov – Sendai Bird Land w. Magdalene Junen, Bergrabnis + More
25 Nov – Higashikouenji 20000V w. Magdalene Junen, King Goblin + Zothique
26 Nov – Oosaka Sengoku-Daitoryou w. Magdalene Junen, Necromantics, W.D.L.K. + Hemipenis
27 Nov – Nagoya Red Dragon w. Magdalene Junen, Vomit Monster, Viollante + Stone Banquet
29 Nov – Yokohama El Puente w. Su19b + Floaters
30 Nov – Shibuya Ruby Room w. Khola Cosmica + Dhidalah

Track Listing:
1. Chaotic Fiend
2. I Drink Your Blood
3. Smoke Demon
4. Masque Of The Black Death
5. Lost Flowers
6. Empire
7. Punisher #13
8. Engrave The Misery
9. Jerusalem Axe Massacre

Sithter:
Hyö Kagawa – Guitar
Wahei Gotoh – Bass
Takefumi Matsuda – Drums
Hiroyuki Takano – Vocals, Guitar

https://www.facebook.com/Sithter/
https://twitter.com/Sithter
http://members3.jcom.home.ne.jp/sithter/
https://bontenrecords.bandcamp.com/album/chaotic-fiend

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