Lucy in Blue to Release In Flight at Roadburn 2019; New Single Posted

Posted in Whathaveyou on February 5th, 2019 by JJ Koczan

lucy in blue

As far as release shows go, you can’t do much better than Roadburn. The room’s gonna be packed, and even if people aren’t familiar with you’re stuff, they’re probably going to open-minded enough to go buy the thing you’re celebrating when you’re done playing. Kudos to Lucy in Blue for doing it right. The Reykjavik four-piece will release the delightfully progged-out In Flight on April 12 through Karisma Records, but yeah, their release show will be the week before at Roadburn 2019 in Tilburg, the Netherlands. They were snuck into the final lineup announcement there and after listening first to the single “Matricide” — about, of course, the slaughter of one’s own mattress — and then to the offering as a whole, it seemed easily worth highlighting with the paltry few words you’re currently reading. So, you know, words words words.

In no small part, this is a note to myself to remember to do my best to mark them on my schedule once the day-plan is out for Roadburn, so if you take it as a similar reminder or hear something you hadn’t heard before, bonus. That’s kind of what we’re here for, and what we’re there for.

From the PR wire:

lucy in blue in flight

Album Details and New Single Matricide from Psychedelic Prog Rockers LUCY IN BLUE Revealed

Karisma Records have revealed the details of the upcoming full-length album from Iceland’s Psychedelic Prog Rockers Lucy In Blue. The eight-track album, titled In Flight, will be the second full-length release from the young band who are making considerable waves on the Icelandic Prog Scene with their elaborate grooves and delicate chord movements, performed with a skill that belies their age.

To give listeners a taste of what they can expect from Lucy In Blue, Karisma Records have today released a single from In Flight. The single, titled Matricide can be downloaded and streamed at:

https://karismarecords.lnk.to/Matricide

In Flight is an album that amply showcases Lucy In Blue’s ethereal harmonies and philosophical lyrics, which deal not only with the whole spectrum of human emotion, but also touch on more political themes as well.

Formed in 2013, Lucy In Blue released their self-titled debut album via Bandcamp in 2016, and, since then, the band’s young lineup of Arnaldur Ingi Jonsson on keyboards and vocals, Kolbeinn Þorsson on drums, Matthias Hlifar Mogensen on bass and vocals, and Steinþor Bjarni Gislason on guitar and vocals have been stunning crowds in their native Iceland with their soaring guitar solos and intense build-ups that take the listener for a ride through the psychedelic soundscapes and the progressive song writing styles of the 1970’s.

Lucy In Blue has a unique take on early psychedelic prog rock, and it’s a pleasure to invite you to go In Flight with them.

Lucy In Blue will play a release show at the Roadburn Festival 2019.

Tracklist
1. Alight, pt 1
2. Alight, pt 2
3. Respire
4. Matricide
5. Nuverandi
6. Tempest
7. In Flight
8. On Ground

www.facebook.com/lucyinblue
https://lucyinblue.bandcamp.com/
https://www.karismarecords.no/webshop
https://karismarecords.aisamerch.com

Lucy in Blue, In Flight (2019)

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Virus Disband, with Particular Charm

Posted in Whathaveyou on November 19th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

If you felt the planet get a little more boring the other day, that’s because Virus broke up. They make a graceful exit some two years after what will be their final full-length, Memento Collider (review here), which was the Oslo troupe’s fourth LP since their start in 2000. I suppose the least you can say about what they accomplished in their time is that they were the kind of band who refused to follow any whims other than their own, and while their path took them into uncharted reaches of jazz, black metal, prog rock and who the hell knows what else, apparently they’ve gotten tired of confounding those who would try to place them into some genre or other and have decided to move on with their lives. Not gonna say I don’t get it. 18 years is a long time, folks.

And I’ll say that of all the we-were-a-band-now-we’re-not notifications I’ve read, Virus‘ stands among the most charming and the most appropriate to the band itself, from Einz‘s reference to Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy to Czral‘s inadvertent namedrop of Voivod. It’s good fun all the way through.

So long, Virus. Thanks for all the stylistic innovation:

virus (Photo by Trine and Kim)

A message from Czral. Some of you knew this, a lot of you didn’t. What can one say really? Thanks for all the fish!
– Einz

“Good evening y’all. Or good morning or afternoon, depending on where you are in the world which is made up of time-zones and landslides. We are now into our 18th year of existance, and as you all know, in 1918, in plymouth, Charlie Chaplin forgot his drivers-license at the chemist’s while simultaneously thinking about tunafish and batteries. An odd moment, yes, but it has reminded us (in Virus) that it’s time to throw in the towel..

It’s been 4 full-lengths, a demo and a mini-album and a few handfuls of gigs, plus the odd whale-shark encounter. Einz has become voivod of bulgaria (1155-1299), Plenum has become the prime minister of Equador while simultaneously working as a paediatrician in Ukraine. Czral has become a well known Elvis -and Bret Michaels-impersonator whilst working as a moped-vendor machine-operator in birmingham. So that’s why we’ve decided to lay down our deplorable riffs and beats and bass-lines, rather than being «on ice, don’t know what’s happening» -mode, for an unforeseeable future…

You know, you can’t devour an apple more than three times: the time you buy it, the time you put it on your kitchen-counter, and the time you decide to throw it away because it’s gone bad. Only thrice. But I digress.. My point is: at some point, you realise that what you set out to do has now been done, now, so now.. Thank you, bye bye, we were Virus.. “

Virus was:
Czral – guitars, vocals
Plenum – bass
Einz – drums

http://www.virusnorway.com/
http://www.facebook.com/virusnorwayofficial
http://www.karismarecords.no/
http://www.facebook.com/karismarecords

Virus, “Rogue Fossil” official video

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Review and Full Album Premiere: Tusmørke, Fjernsyn i Farver

Posted in audiObelisk, Reviews on April 30th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

Tusmørke_by_Terje_Ska?r

Norwegian ultraprogger weirdos Tusmørke release their sixth album, Fjernsyn i Farver, May 4 via Karisma Records. The temptation is going to be to try to keep up with where the Oslo-based five-piece go on the follow-up/companion-piece to 2017’s Hinsides, but I’m not sure that’s either the way to go when it actually comes to listening or what the band intends for the listening experience. With strong currents of flute and various organs and keys, New Wave-style rhythms, bilingual lyrics and enough turns of mood and sound to be legitimately dizzying, I think Tusmørke on these six tracks are happy doing their own thing. They are way, way out there. Way gone.

Mind you, I’m not saying that an attempt to hold pace with Tusmørke on the six-track/43-minute outing isn’t worthwhile, and if you’re the type to keep tabs literally or figuratively on every move a band makes on a given record, then you should at least know that songs like the opening title-track, its proclamation-laced eight-minute compatriot “Kniven i Kurven” — the similar title construction of which to the track preceding and the album itself hardly feels coincidental — will keep you busy for some time to come. There’s a plan at work, and these songs are crafted rather than kitchen-sinked — elements like flute and Wurlitzer aren’t just thrown in. They serve no less purpose to the overall proceedings than vocals, guitar, bass or drums, and as the band careens between genres and a chiaroscuro thematic, they mostly depart the serene and classic progressive feel of Hinsides — the three-minute “Borgerlig Tussmørke” notwithstanding — in favor of a late-’70s, semi-electronic spirit that’s alt-universe danceable on “Kniven i Kurven” and given more to spacey swirl and Magma/Amon Düül II-ish headspinning on “3001,” which arrives ahead of the English-language “Death Czar,” Tusmorke Fjernsyn i farverthe penultimate inclusion, on which declarations about the cosmic egg from which the universe hatched and other such ideas are laid bare.

The title Fjernsyn i Farver translates to “color television,” and while I’m not entirely sure how that plays into the ideas explored about reflected light — also, my ignorant American ass speaks not a lick of Norwegian beyond a few choice words picked up from repeated exposure in black metal: “skog,” “svart,” etc. — the depths of the arrangements throughout the title-track, “3001” the percussively insistent “Death Czar” and the sense of reconciliation in the prog-boogie of closer “Tøyens Hemmellighet” give the record as a whole a richness of character that the utter hack in me almost can’t stop himself from calling “colorful.” Nonetheless, the sonic variety and diverse personality that Tusmørke adopt for this album and the ease with which they prove malleable to that intent, can only be considered a win on the whole. And while the exploratory complexity of the material is a central factor to the listening experience, neither is Fjernsyn i Farver without a sense of songwriting and craft at work. I alluded to it somewhere above, but this isn’t a happenstance collection, and the chorus of the title-track proves it as much as the obvious consideration put into the flowing instrumental grace and far-away echoes that bring “Tøyens Hemmellighet” to its end.

Rather, opaque though it might be especially for those of limited linguistic skills such as myself, Fjernsyn i Farver brims with purpose in its execution, and each element at work is a part of it. The active nature of their rhythm, the clarity of thought put into each track and the variety they present throughout may be difficult to trace step by step, but taken in its entirety, the sweeping breadth that ensues is both immersive and affecting in any language.

I have the pleasure today of hosting the full premiere of Fjernsyn i Farver below ahead of the release later this week. You’ll find it on the player here, followed by the best band quote I’ve gotten in a while to go with one of these streams, which actually goes a long way toward explaining what Tusmørke are up to conceptually here. There’s also more background from the PR wire, which includes what I assume is a complete list of the instruments used on these tracks.

Please enjoy:

Benediktator on Fjernsyn i Farver:

Fjernsyn i Farver is a companion piece to our last album Hinsides. All the songs came about in roughly the same mindframe and spacetime. We then sorted the songs into two categories, Death and Space. Hinsides was thus the death album (“death” is pronounced “dess” in Norwegian), while this is the space album, both sci-fi-wise and psychedelically.

Don’t expect the sound of ’67, though; we are more inspired by Goblin, Norwegian new wavers Kjøtt, Norwegian hardrockers Høst and bird watching. How come? Well, space is full of horror, hardness, rocks and waves. Also, Benediktator and Krizla are keen ornithologists. The world was hatched from the cosmic egg, laid by the bird of paradise. The yolk of our existence is still surrounded by the white, the blinding light that blocks our true sight. The question isn’t: Where do visions come from? The question is: Where do they go? The answer is, unfortunately, in Norwegian.

“Fjernsyn i farver” (“Colour Television”) is Tusmørke’s sixth full length album, loosely based on two concepts of light, time and reality. How everything we see is a reflection made by light from the sun hitting an object – The reflected light is registered by our eyes, but the reflection is also sent out in all other possible directions, travelling at the speed of light. The unobstructed reflections would travel forever onwards into space. If we could devise a means to move faster than light, we could overtake these reflections and view them again, seeing history backwards.

The second idea is that light is not seen as anything until it hits something and is reflected back, creating an image in colour for the human eye. So if there were no physical objects to reflect the light, there would be an eternal totality, a darkness of sorts, since light would not be seen.

With artwork by Linn Solveig Halvorsrød and design by Tom Korsvold, tracklisting on the album us as follows:

1. Fjernsyn i farver (Colour Television)
2. Kniven i kurven (The Knife in the Basket)
3. Borgerlig tussmørke (Civil Twilight)
4. 3001
5. Death Czar
6. Tøyens hemmelighet (The Secret of Tøyen)

Featuring members of WOBBLER, JORDSJØ and ALWANZATAR, TUSMØRKE’s lineup fields an almost dizzying variety of instruments, and is comprised of Benediktator on Bass, vocals, Glockenspiel and percussion, Krizla on Flute, vocals, electronics and percussion, The Phenomenon Marxo Solinas on Minimoog Model D, Korg CX3, William de Blaise on harpsichord, Steinway & Sons Grand Piano, Hohner Clavinet D6, Mellotron M400, Hammond C3, Wurlitzer 200 and Solina String Ensemble, and HlewagastiR on Drums and percussion.

Tusmørke on Thee Facebooks

Tusmørke on Bandcamp

Karisma Records US webstore

Karisma Records EU webstore

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Himmellegeme Release Myth of Earth Oct. 6; New Track Posted

Posted in Whathaveyou on September 20th, 2017 by JJ Koczan

himmellegeme-photo-vegard-ekberg

If you’re anything like me, you might dig into ‘Hjertedød’ by Norwegian atmospheric/progressive heavy rockers Himmellegeme at the bottom of this post and have some real trouble not wanting to go further. The Bergen-based five-piece will release their debut album, Myth of Earth, on Oct. 6 via Karisma Records, so you don’t necessarily have to wait long to find out more about the record, but suffice it to say that the vibe of “Hjertedød” persists pretty fluidly throughout the 37-minute offering as a whole, which blends melancholy emotionalism and proggy poise to an effect that’s neither overly cold nor hyper-dramatic — the band clearly working to find a balance somewhere between ambience and human sensibility and, it would seem, succeeding. Plus they rock out a bit on “Kyss Mine Blodige Hender,” and that’s cool too.

This announcement actually came in a little while ago and kind of slipped under my radar, but the track and the release are right on, so yeah. See if it hits the same kind of chord with you as it did with me:

himmellegeme-myth-of-earth

Himmellegeme – Myth of Earth

Himmellegeme release their new track “Hjertedød” from upcoming debut album Myth Of Earth!

It’s been lifted from the Norwegian outfit’s upcoming debut album Myth Of Earth which is set to arrive on October 6 via Karisma Records.

From the dark psychedelic shadows of Bergen, Norway, Himmellegeme emerge with their unique bittersweet debut album Myth of Earth.

Himmellegeme’s music is influenced by both psych rock and atmospheric prog rock, which together combine to create an otherworldly and timeless sound. With their heavy-hitting riffs, chilling melodies and melancholic lyrics, written both in Norwegian and English, Himmellegeme creates music that depicts past events in their own lives, as well as in the lives of others.

Himmelegeme’s lineup consists of Aleksander Vormestrand on guitars and vocals, Hein Alexander Olson on lead guitar, Lauritz Isaksen on keyboards, Erik Alfredsen on bass and Thord Nordli on drums. Together, they have spent the past year exploring different sounds, and putting the finishing touches on their extraordinary new material. The album was recorded at one of Bergen’s top studios, Broen Studios, and was produced by Anders Bjelland (Electric Eye / Hypertext) who also worked his sonic wizardry on the album.

1. Natteravn
2. Hjertedød
3. Myth of Earth
4. Breath in the air like fire
5. Kyss mine blodige hender
6. Fish
7. Fallvind

http://www.facebook.com/himmellegemeband
http://www.instagram.com/himmellegemeband
http://www.karismarecords.no

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Wobbler Sign to Karisma Records; From Silence to Somewhere out Oct. 20

Posted in Whathaveyou on September 15th, 2017 by JJ Koczan

wobbler

I was fortunate enough to see Norwegian progressive rockers Wobbler last year in Oslo at the first night of the Høstsabbat festival (review here). They played on the larger of the two stages at the Vulkan Arena and offered a style that basked in classic progressive fluidity and still maintained a vital rock edge. Prog and rock! Both kinds of music! To my detriment as a human being, I did not end up buying everything they had for sale in the merch area, but I probably should have, and needless to say, I’ll be keeping an eye on the Oct. 20 arrival date that’s been set for their fourth long-player, From Silence to Somewhere, by their new label home, Karisma Records.

I haven’t seen or heard any audio from the release as yet, but that should be along soon, and in the meantime, the PR wire had the album art and following details to offer:

wobbler-from-silence-to-somewhere

WOBBLER – From Silence to Somewhere

Norway’s leading Symphonic Prog band WOBBLER have inked a deal with Karisma Records and are set to release their fourth full-length album, “From Silence to Somewhere” on the 20th October.

Formed in Hønefoss in 1999, WOBBLER’s current lineup features current and former members of TUSMØRKE, WHITE WILLOW, THE CHRONICLES OF FATHER ROBIN and JAGA JAZZIST. With Lars Fredrik Frøislie on keyboards and backing vocals, Kristian Karl Hultgren on bass, bass clarinet and bass pedals, Martin Nordrum Kneppen on drums, percussion and recorder, Andreas Wettergreen Strømman Prestmo on vocals, guitar, glockenspiel and percussion, and Geir Marius Bergom Halleland on lead guitar and backing vocals, the band can avail itself of a considerable array of instruments that have a huge, and very interesting impact, on the overall sound.

“From Silence to Somewhere” offers up a sound that is enigmatic, multi-flavoured and adventurous, with the use of copious amounts of Mellotron, Moog, Hammond, Chamberlin and other classical analogue keyboards, and of course the renowned Rickenbacker Bass. The guitar riffs go from poignant to edgy. Melancholy harmonies combine with powerful crescendos and high-energy, spinet-driven passages, flavoured with a touch of Flamenco and Italian Renaissance music to produce and album comprising four epic tracks that explore the idea of metamorphosis and alchemy. It is a natural continuation from WOBBLER’s previous albums, but with a darker, more introspective edge.

With artwork by Thomas Kaldhol (Samuel Jackson 5, Panzerpappa, Lukas Kasha etc) , and a running time of 47 minutes, tracklisting on “From Silence to Somewhere” is as follows:

1. From Silence to Somewhere
2. Rendered in Shades of Green
3. Fermented Hours
4. Foxlight

Release details + links:

Format: LP, CD, Digital
Label: Karisma Records
Distribution: Soulfood (Germany), Plastic Head (International)
Genre: Progressive Rock
Release Date: 20/10/2017

http://www.facebook.com/wobblerofficial
https://wobbler.bandcamp.com
http://www.karismarecords.no

Wobbler, “In Orbit”

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Shaman Elephant to Release Debut LP Crystals Dec. 9

Posted in Whathaveyou on November 10th, 2016 by JJ Koczan

Winding and classically-minded progressive heavy rockers Shaman Elephant — about whom I’d probably be writing based on their moniker alone even if their 2015 More EP, streaming below, didn’t have me intrigued — will release their debut album, Crystals, on Dec. 9 through Karisma Records. Hailing from Bergen, Norway, the band has touches of retro stylizations, as the EP demonstrates, but freely kick into stretches of frenetic semi-krautrock energy of the sort that make you wonder how they manage to hold it all together. Presumably they do, because, you know, the album exists and whatnot. So — spoiler alert. But getting there is the fun part of the journey, so if you don’t know the band, feel free to dig in below.

Colorful art and info from the PR wire:

shaman-elephant-crystals

Karisma Records: SHAMAN ELEPHANT New Album “Crystals”!

Release Date: 09/12/2016

The thriving Rock and Prog scene around Bergen, Norway, has already seen the emergence of bands like Seven Impale, Tiebreaker, D’accorD and Ossicles, and the newest addition to this burgeoning scene is Shaman Elephant. Over the past few years, the four piece has been drawing bigger and bigger crowds in their home town, and, after releasing the digital EP “More” in 2015 they were snapped up by Karisma Records.

The band’s sound is firmly grounded in the late 60’s and early 70’s psychedelic and progressive Proto Hard Rock style, but mixed with a modern touch. With a great groove provided by drummer Jard Hole (also in the band Línt) and Ole-Andreas Jensen on bass, they form the backbone for keyboardist Jonas Særsten and guitarist and vocalist Eirik Sejersted Vognstølen. Shaman Elephant’s debut Crystals shows great variation within the more progressive and psychedelic sounds of the past, with songs veering towards drug induced fantasies. They entered the Solslottet Studio in the spring of 2016 with producer Iver Sandøy (producer of Enslaved, Krakow, Seven Impale), and the result is amazing! Crystals is a gem for any music fan with their heart in the 70’s.

Tracklist
1. Crystals
2. Shaman in the Woods
3. I.A.B.
4. Tusco
5. The Jazz
6. Stoned Conceptions

Shaman Elephant is:
Eirik Sejersted Vognstølen
Jard Hole
Ole-Andreas Sæbø Jensen
Jonas Særsten

http://www.facebook.com/shamanelephant
https://soundcloud.com/shaman-elephant
www.karismarecords.no

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Quarterly Review: Swans, Virus, The Re-Stoned, Castle, Spirit Adrift, Robb & Pott, Family, Les Discrets, Liquido di Morte, Witchskull

Posted in Reviews on October 7th, 2016 by JJ Koczan

the-obelisk-fall-2016-quarterly-review

Last day. As ever, I am mentally, physically and spiritually exhausted by this process, but as ever, it’s been worth it. Today I do myself a couple favors in packing out with more familiar acts, but whatever, it’s all stuff I should be covering anyway, so if the order bothers you, go write your own 50 reviews in a week and we can talk about it. Yeah, that’s right. That’s what I said. Today we start with Swans. Everything’s a confrontation.

Once again, I hope you’ve found something somewhere along this bizarre, careening path of music that has resonated with you, something that will stick with you. That’s why we’re here. You and me. If you have, I’d love to know about it. Until then, one more time here we go.

Quarterly Review #41-50:

Swans, The Glowing Man

swans-the-glowing-man-700

Oh fucking please. You want me to try to summarize The Glowing Man – the culmination and finale of an era of Swans that Michael Gira began now more than half a decade ago – in a single review? Even putting aside the fact that the record two hours long, the notion is ridiculous. If there ever was a chart, the scope here is well off it. The material unfolds and churns and is primal and lush at once on “Cloud of Forgetting,” genuinely chaotic on the 28-minute title-track, and it ends with a drone lullaby, but seriously, what the fuck? Some shit is just beyond, and if you don’t know that applies to Swans by now, it’s your own fault. You want a review? Fine. I listened to the whole thing. It ate my fucking soul, chewed it with all-canine teeth and then spit it out saying “thanks for the clarity” and left me dazed, bloodied and humbled. There’s your fucking review. Thanks for reading.

Swans on Thee Facebooks

Young God Records website

 

Virus, Memento Collider

virus-memento-collider-700

Oslo trio Virus have long since established that they’re a band working on their own wavelength. Memento Collider (on Karisma Records) is the jazzy post-black metallers’ first album in five years and brings together adventurous rhythms, poetic declarations, dissonant basslines and – in the case of “Rogue Fossil,” the occasional hook – in ways that are unique unto Virus. Look at this site and see how often I use the word “unique.” It doesn’t happen. Virus, however, are one of a kind. Memento Collider makes for a challenging listen front to back on its six-track/45-minute run, but it refuses to dumb itself down or dull its progressive edge, bookending its longest (that’s opener “Afield” at 10:41; immediate points) two tracks around jagged explorations of sound like “Steamer” and “Gravity Seeker,” which engage and intrigue in kind after the melodic push of “Dripping into Orbit” and leading into “Phantom Oil Slick,” a righteous affirmation of the angular thrust at the core of Virus’ approach.

Virus on Thee Facebooks

Karisma Records webstore

 

The Re-Stoned, Reptiles Return

the-re-stoned-reptiles-return-700

In 2010, Moscow troupe The Re-Stoned issued their first EP, Return to the Reptiles, and being obviously concerned with evolution, they’ve now gone back and revisited that debut release with Reptiles Return, a reworking of the four studio tracks that made up the initial version – “Return,” “Run,” “The Mountain Giant” and “Sleeping World.” The opener is a straight re-recording, as is one other, where another is remixed and the other two remastered, and Reptiles Return – which is presented on limited vinyl through Clostridium Records and a CD box set with bonus tracks via Rushus Records – pairs them with more psychedelic-minded soundscape pieces like “Winter Witchcraft,” “Walnut Talks,” the proggy “Flying Clouds” and sweetly acoustic “Roots Patter,” that showcase where founding multi-instrumentalist Ilya Lipkin is taking the band going forward. The result is a satisfying side A/B split on the vinyl that delights in heavy riffing for its own sake in the first half and expands the scope in the second, which should delight newcomers as well as those who’ve followed The Re-Stoned along this evolutionary process.

The Re-Stoned on Thee Facebooks

Clostridium Records website

 

Castle, Welcome to the Graveyard

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It may well be the fate of San Francisco’s hard-touring, ass-kicking, genre-refusing duo Castle to be terminally underappreciated, but that has yet to stop them from proliferating their righteous blend of thrash, doom and classic, fistpump-worthy metal. Their latest outing, Welcome to the Graveyard, arrives via respected purveyor Ván Records, and entices in atmosphere and execution, cohesively built tracks like “Hammer and the Cross” and the penultimate “Down in the Cauldron Bog” finding a balance of personality and delivery that the band has long since honed on stage. The Dio-esque barnburner riff of “Flash of the Pentagram” makes that cut a highlight, but as they roll out the cultish vibes of “Natural Parallel” to close, there doesn’t seem to be much on the spectrum of heavy metal that doesn’t fit into Castle’s wheelhouse. For some bands, there’s just no justice. Four records deep, Castle have yet to get their due, and Welcome to the Graveyard is further proof of why they deserve it.

Castle website

Ván Records

 

Spirit Adrift, Chained to Oblivion

spirit-adrift-chained-to-oblivion-700

One can hear a new wave of modern doom taking shape in Chained to Oblivion, the Prosthetic Records debut from Arizona one-man outfit Spirit Adrift. The work of Nate Garrett alone in the studio, the full-length offers five mostly-extended tracks as a 48-minute 2LP of soaring, emotional and psychedelic doom à la Pallbearer, but given even further breadth through progressively atmospheric passages and a marked flow in its transitions. To call it personal seems superfluous – it’s a one-man band, of course it’s personal – but Garrett (also formerly of metallers Take Over and Destroy) brings a palpable sense of performance to the songwriting, and by the time he gets to the 11-minutes-apiece finale duo of the title-track and “Hum of Our Existence,” it’s easy to forget you’re not actually listening to a full band, not the least because of the vocal harmonies. Calling Chained to Oblivion a promising first outing would be underselling it – this is a project with serious potential.

Spirit Adrift on Thee Facebooks

Prosthetic Records website

 

Robb & Pott, Once upon the Wings

robb-pott-once-upon-the-wings-700

Unpredictable from the start of opener “Flesh ‘n’ Steel,” Once upon the Wings is a first-time multinational collaborative effort from Robbi Robb of California’s 3rd Ear Experience and Paul Pott of Germany’s The Space Invaders. Its five tracks/42 minutes arrive through no less than Nasoni Records, and provide a curious and exploratory blend of the organic and the inorganic in sound, as one finds the 11-minute “Grass” no less defined by its percussion solo, guitar line and ‘60s-style vocal than the electronic drums that underscore the layered wash of noise in its midsection. Further definition hits with the 16-minute centerpiece “Prophecy #1,” which works in a space-rocking vein, but the shorter closing duo of the catchy “Looney Toon” and darkly progressive “Space Ear” show a creative bent that clearly refuses to be tamed. Robb & Pott, as a project, demonstrates remarkable potential throughout this debut, as they seem to have set no limits for where they want their sound to go and they seem to have the command to take it there.

Robb & Pott on Bandcamp

Nasoni Records website

 

Family, Future History

family-future-history-700

Most of the tracks on Brooklyn progressive noise rockers Family’s second album and Prosthetic Records debut, Future History, come paired with interludes. That cuts some of the growling intensity of winding pieces like “Funtime for Bigboy” and “Floodgates,” and emphasizes the generally experimental spirit of the record as a whole, broadening the scope in sound and theme. I’m somewhat torn as to how much this actually works to the 51:50 outing’s benefit, as shorter pieces like “Prison Hymn” and “Transmission,” while adding dynamic to the sound and narrative drama, also cut the immediacy in impact of “The Trial” or closer “Bone on Bone,” but it’s entirely possible that without them Future History would be an overwhelming tumult of raw prog metal. And while the play back and forth can feel cumbersome when one considers how effectively “Night Vision” bridges the gap between sides, I’m not sure that’s not what Family were going for in the first place. It’s not supposed to be an easy record, and it isn’t one.

Family on Thee Facebooks

Family website

 

Les Discrets, Virée Nocturne

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France’s Les Discrets haven’t had a studio offering since 2012’s Ariettes Oubliées (review here), and while they released Live at Roadburn (review here) last year documenting their 2013 set at that festival, there’s little there that might presage the stylistic turn the Fursy Teyssier-led outfit takes on their new EP, Virée Nocturne (on Prophecy Productions). With four tracks – two new, complete recordings, one demo and the last a remix of the opener by Dälek and DeadverseLes Discrets attempt to find a stylistic middle ground between post-rock and trip-hop, and for the most part, they get there. “Virée Nocturne” itself leads off and can be jarring on first listen, but successfully blends the lush melodicism for which the band is known with electronic-driven beats, and both “Capricorni. Virginis. Corvi” and even the demo “Le Reproche” continue to build on this bold shift. The finale remix adds over two minutes to “Virée Nocturne,” but uses that time to make it even more spacious and all the more immersive. For anyone who thought they might’ve had Les Discrets figured out, the surprise factor here should be palpable.

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Prophecy Productions website

 

Liquido di Morte, II

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Presented across four tracks beginning with the 12-minute and longest-of-the-bunch (immediate points) “The Corpse of Dr. Funkenstein” (double points for the reference), II, the aptly-titled second album from Liquido di Morte expands the progressive atmospherics of the Italian four-piece’s 2014 self-titled debut (review here) without losing sight of the performance and spirit of exploration that helped bring it to life. Isaak’s Giacomo H. Boeddu guests on brooding vocals and whispers for “The Saddest of Songs I’ll Sing for You,” which swells in seething intensity as it moves forward, while “Rodents on the Uphill” casts a vision of post-space rock and closer “Schwartz Pit” rounds out with crash and wash that seems only to draw out how different the two halves of II actually are. Not a complaint. Liquido di Morte make their way across this vast span with marked fluidity, and if they prove anything throughout, it’s that they’re able to keep their command wherever they feel like using it to go.

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Witchskull, The Vast Electric Dark

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Canberra, Australia, trio Witchskull initially released their debut full-length, The Vast Electric Dark, last year, and caught the attention of the cross-coastal US partnership between Ripple Music and STB Records, who now align for a reissue of the eight-tracker. Why is quickly apparent. In addition to having earned a fervent response, The Vast Electric Dark basks in quality songcraft and doomly, heavy vibes, keeping a consistent pace while rolling through the semi-metallic push of “Raise the Dead” or the later rumble/shred of “Cassandra’s Curse.” All the while, guitarist/vocalist Marcus De Pasquale provides a steady presence at the fore alongside bassist Tony McMahon and drummer Joel Green, and what’s ultimately still a straightforward rocker of an album finds a niche for itself between varies underground styles of heavy. Between the balance they strike across their 37 minutes and the energy that courses through their songs, Witchskull’s The Vast Electric Dark proves easily worth the look it’s getting.

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STB Records webstore

Ripple Music website

 

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Virus Post “Rogue Fossil” Video; Memento Collider out June 3

Posted in Bootleg Theater on May 24th, 2016 by JJ Koczan

virus (Photo by Trine and Kim)

Unless you plan to spend the rest of your morning/afternoon going through the animated works of Romanian artist Costin Chioreanu — beats working — I can almost completely guarantee that nothing else you watch will be of the particular weirdo ilk that Virus‘ “Rogue Fossil” video inhabits. The song comes from Memento Collider, which is the Norwegian trio’s fourth album and first in a half-decade, out June 3 via Karisma Records, and like Chioreanu‘s artwork accompanying it, “Rogue Fossil” isn’t quite like anything else out there, with its darkened swirl, vigilant sonic individuality and an angularity and catchiness to its hook that in most hands would be completely at odds and yet, for Virus, feels like home.

I was fortunate enough to see the band play last year and they closed with “Rogue Fossil.” The aforementioned hook was immediately recognizable on hearing it in the studio version with the new video, and while Virus aren’t necessarily beholden to one structure or anything else in their experimentalist metal, they are one of those bands you always know when you’re hearing. Doesn’t sound like anything else, must be Virus. I haven’t heard the entirety of Memento Collider yet, but if you’re unfamiliar with them, they’ve honed a kind of heavy progressive rock out of post-blackened atmospheres and they play it with jazzy fluidity. If that sounds all over the map, it should. That’s pretty clearly the whole idea when it comes to these guys.

Album info and preorder links follow the video below.

Enjoy:

Virus, “Rogue Fossil” official video

In advance of the release of their fourth full-length, Memento Collider, Norwegian avant-garde rockers/recent Karisma Records signees, VIRUS, today issue the official new video accompaniment to the track “Rogue Fossil.”

The twisted, animated clip was created by renowned Romanian multi-media artist Costin Chioreanu, who says of his new creation for the pioneering experimental rockers, “I went beyond all my boundaries and I have a feeling I touched a bit of insanity. You know that it’s going to be something unique.” Having made his mark not only as a graphic artist, but also as a stage artist, musician, animator, and movie maker at a relatively young age, Chioreanu’s visual manifestation for VIRUS is the latest in a series of collaborations with artists from Karisma Records, and its sister label Dark Essence Records.

Set for release on Karisma Records on the 3rd of June, Memento Collider was recorded at the Amper Tone Studios in Oslo and includes a guest appearance from Voivod’s Dan Mongrain. It is, without a doubt, an album that demonstrates the true essence of progressive rock. To preorder Momento Collider on CD or vinyl go HERE. For digital orders, go HERE.

Virus is:
Czral – guitars, vocals
Plenum – bass
Einz – drums

Virus website

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Karisma Records website

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