Blackout Cookout 10 Confirms Full Lineup; It’s Pretty Insane

Posted in Whathaveyou on May 3rd, 2019 by JJ Koczan

the blackout cookout 10 art

Congrats to Ohio’s The Blackout Cookout on making it to their Xth edition. That’s 10, in case you were wondering. Doing anything for 10 years in a row these days is pretty admirable. And I’m not just saying that because this site also started in 2009, but because it’s true, and whether it’s something that’s a passion project like putting on this festival — because I imagine nobody’s yet gotten rich off basically hosting an annual barbecue with friends and other cool bands — or just staying at the same job, a decade is a long time. Most people get high and wander off somewhere long before that mark is reached.

Blackout Cookout X however has a badass celebratory lineup, with Inter Arma and Big Business in headlining spots for its two-day run, and Ohio-based regular-types like Bridesmaid and Lo-Pan and the reactivated Rebreather slated to appear. Look out for Caustic CasanovaBrujas del SolAlbum and of course KENmode as well. Bottom line is it’ll be a good time, and it’s a party, and I guarantee there will be people there who’ve been to all 10 Blackout Cookouts, but if you’ve never been before and you show up and, like, don’t know where the bathroom is or something, I bet they wouldn’t be a dick about it. They’d just be like, “Yeah, it’s over there” and point you on your way. People helping people. The stuff of life.

Here’s the full lineup, as seen on the social medias:

the blackout cookout 10 poster

The Blackout Cookout 10 – Sept. 6 & 7

Westside Bowl
2617 Mahoning Avenue, Youngstown, Ohio 44509

The Blackout Cookout is an annual celebration of heavy music, friends and BBQ at Westside Bowl in Youngstown, Ohio.

Friday Sept. 6
INTER ARMA
Brain Tentacles
Homewrecker
ALBUM
Bridesmaid
Something Is Waiting
Caustic Casanova
Wallcreeper
DAGGRS
Modem

Saturday Sept. 7
Big Business
KEN mode
Lo-Pan
Rebreather
Fully Consumed
Microwaves
Brujas del Sol
Goosed
Persistent Aggressor
Matter of Planets
Lake Lake
Black Spirit Crown
Cheap Heat

Poster by Chris Smith.

https://www.facebook.com/events/324565261529821/
https://www.facebook.com/theblackoutcookout/

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Quarterly Review: Surya Kris Peters, Lewis and the Strange Magics, Lair of the Minotaur, Sonic Wolves, Spacelord, Nauticus, Yuxa, Forktie, Ohhms, Blue Dream

Posted in Reviews on December 14th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

quarterly-review

I had a terrible thought yesterday: What if this one… went to 11? That is, what if, after 10 days of Quarterly Review ending today with a grand total of 100 records reviewed since last Monday, I did another batch of 10? Like a bonus round? Like I said, terrible thought.

Pretty sure it won’t happen. I’ve already got a review and a video premiere booked for next Monday, but I definitely had the thought. It was easy, of course, to fill out another 10 slots, and who knows, maybe this weekend for the first time ever I wind up with some extra time and energy on my hands? Could happen, right?

Again, I’m fairly certain it won’t. Let’s proceed with the assumption today’s the last day. Thank you for reading. I hope you have found something cool in all of this that has really hit home. I certainly have. We cap very much in last-but-not-least fashion, and if nothing’s resonated with you yet, don’t count yourself completely out. You might just get there after all. Thanks again.

Quarterly Review #91-100:

Surya Kris Peters, Ego Therapy

Surya Kris Peters Ego Therapy

Those feeling technical will note the full title of the album is Surya Kris Peters’ Ego Therapy, but the point gets across either way. And even as Christian Peters — also guitarist/vocalist for Samsara Blues Experiment — acknowledges the inherent self-indulgence of the proverbial “solo-project” that his exploration of synth and classically progressive textures under the moniker of Surya Kris Peters has become, with Ego Therapy as his second full-length of 2018, he branches out in including drums from former Terraplane bandmate Jens Vogel. The 10-song/53-minute outing opens with its longest cut (immediate points) in the 15-minute “Angels in Bad Places,” a spaced-out and vibrant atmosphere more cohesive than psychedelia but still trippy as all hell, and moves through a bluesy key/guitar interplay in “Wizard’s Dream” following the dancey thriller soundtrack “Beyond the Sun” and into the Blade Runner-style grandeur of “Sleeping Willow” and the video game-esque “A Fading Spark” before bookending with the sci-fi “Atomic Clock” at the close. I don’t know how ultimately therapeutic Peters‘ solo offerings might be, but he only seems to grow bolder each time out, and that certainly applies here.

Surya Kris Peters on Thee Facebooks

Electric Magic Records on Bandcamp

 

Lewis and the Strange Magics, The Ginger Sessions

lewis and the strange magics the ginger sessions

How are you not gonna love a release that starts with a song called “Sexadelic Galactic Voyage?” Barcelona vamp rockers Lewis and the Strange Magics embrace their inner funk on the 23-minute self-released EP, The Ginger Sessions, finding the place where their uptempo ’70s fusion meets oldschool The Meters-style rhythm, digging into the repetitions of “Candied Ginger” after the aforementioned instrumental opening burst and then holding the momentum through “Her Vintage Earrings.” Some departure happens on what might be side B of the 10″, with “The Shadow of Your Smile” turning toward pastoral psychedelia, still rhythmic thanks to some prominent wood block and xylophone sounds, but much calmer despite a consistency of wah and keys. “Suzy’s Room II” follows in fuzzy fashion, bridging the earlier cologne-soaked, chest-hair-out vibes with garage buzz and a heavier low end beneath the synthesized experimentation. Mellotron shows up and continues to hold sway in closer “Witch’s Brew,” playing the band outward along with layers of drifting guitar for about two and a half minutes of bluesy serenity that feel cut short, as does the release on the whole. One hopes they don’t lose that funky edge going into their next album.

Lewis and the Strange Magics on Thee Facebooks

Lewis and the Strange Magics on Bandcamp

 

Lair of the Minotaur, Dragon Eagle of Chaos

Lair of the Minotaur Dragon Eagle of Chaos

Once upon the mid-aughts, Chicago’s Lair of the Minotaur roamed the land as the long-prophesied American answer to Entombed, as much classic, dirt-covered death metal as they were laden with heavy groove. Their tones filthy, their assault brutal all the while, war metal, ultimate destroyers. The whole nine. They released their last album, Evil Power (review here), in 2010. The two-songer Dragon Eagle of Chaos follows a 2013 single, and was released to mark the occasion of perhaps a return to some measure of greater activity. I don’t know if that’ll happen, but as both “Dragon Eagle of Chaos” and “Kunsult the Bones” affirm in about seven minutes between them, Lair of the Minotaur remain a wrecking ball made of raw meat when it comes to their sound. The madness that seemed to always underline their material at its most effective is present and accounted for in “Dragon Eagle of Chaos,” and the stripped-down production of the single actually helps its violent cause. Will they do another record? Could go either way, but if they decide to go that route, they clearly still have the evil power within.

Lair of the Minotaur website

Lair of the Minotaur on Bandcamp

 

Sonic Wolves, Sonic Wolves

sonic wolves sonic wolves

Eight tracks/34 minutes of smoothly-arranged and well-executed doom rock brought to bear with an abiding lack of pretense and a developing sense of songcraft and dynamic — there’s very little not to dig about Sonic Wolves‘ self-titled LP (on Future Noise and DHU), from the Sabbathian stretch of “Ascension” down through the bouncing low-key-psych-turns-to-full-on-wah-overdose-swirl in the penultimate “Heavy Light.” Along the way, bassist/vocalist Kayt Vigil (ex-Pentagram, etc.) — joined by guitarists Jason Nealy and Enrico “Ico” Aniasi and drummer Gianni “Vita” Vitarelli (also Ufomammut) — gallop through the traditional metal of “Red Temple” and ride a fuzzy roll in “Tide of Chaos,” leaving the uptempo shuffle of “You’ll Climb the Walls” to close out by tapping into a “Wicked World”-style vision of heavy blues that casts off many of the tropes of what’s become the subgenre in favor of a darker approach. If their self-titled is Sonic Wolves declaring who they are as a band after making their debut in 2016, the results are only encouraging.

Sonic Wolves on Thee Facebooks

DHU Records webstore

Future Noise Recordings webstore

 

Spacelord, Indecipher

Spacelord Indecipher

There is an immediate sensibility drawn from classic heavy rock to the vocals on Spacelord‘s second record, Indecipher, like Shannon Hoon fronting Led Zeppelin, maybe? Something like that, definitely drawn from a ’70s/’90s blend. Produced, mixed and mastered by guitarist Rich Root, with Chris Cappiello on bass, Kevin Flynn on drums and Ed Grabianowski on vocals, the four-piece’s sophomore LP is comprised of a neatly-constructed eight songs working around sci-fi themes on bruiser cuts like “Super Starship Adventure” and the particularly righteous “Zero Hour,” as opener and longest track (immediate points) “For the Unloved Ones” sets forth the classic vibe amid the first of the record’s impressive solos and resonant hooks. Something about it makes me want them to go completely over the top in terms of production their next time out — layers on layers on layers, etc. — but the kind of false start Grabianowski brings to the ultra-Zepped “New Machine” has a charm that I’m not sure it would be worth sacrificing.

Spacelord on Thee Facebooks

Kozmik Artifactz website

 

Nauticus, Disappear in Blue

Nauticus Disappear in Blue

Six years after the release of their second album, The Wait (review here), Finnish atmospheric progressive metallers Nauticus effect a return with the 78-minute Disappear in Blue, which following the relatively straightforward opening with “Magma” casts out a vast sprawl in accordance with its oceanic theme. Longer tracks like “Claimed by the Sea,” “Strange Sequences/Lost Frequencies,” “Arrival” and “Hieronymus” are complex and varied but united through a deep instrumental dynamic that’s brought to light even in the three-minute ambient post-rocker “Desolation,” which is something of an interlude between “Strange Sequences/Lost Frequencies” and the tense build of “Singularity.” Other ambient spaces “Jesus of Lübeck” and the later “Whale Bones” complement and add reach to the longer-form works, but it’s hardly as though Nauticus‘ material lacks character one way or the other. Overwhelming in its length, Disappear in Blue might take some time to wade through, but what a way to go.

Nauticus on Thee Facebooks

Nauticus on Bandcamp

 

Yuxa, Yuxa

yuxa yuxa

As the greater part of anything related to post-metal invariably does, UK outfit Yuxa have their “Stones from the Sky” moment in “Founder in Light,” the opening cut from their self-titled debut EP, that most formative of progressions making itself known in modified form to suit the double-guitar four-piece’s intent with dramatic screams and shouts cutting through an ably-conjured surge of noisy adrenaline resolving in winding chug and crash en route to “Exiled Hand,” the seven-minute cut that follows and serves as centerpiece of the three-tracker. “Founder in Light,” “Exiled Hand” and nine-minute closer “Peer” are arranged shortest to longest, and the effect is to draw the listener in such that by the time the angular, purposeful lurch of the finale begins to unfold, Yuxa‘s rhythmic hypnosis is already well complete. Still, the straightforward arrangements of guitar, bass, drums and vocals give them a rawer edge than many synth- or sample-laden post-metallic cohorts, and that suits the atmospheric sludge with which they close out, harnessing chaos without giving themselves over to it. A quick sample of a creative development getting underway, though it’s telling as well that Yuxa ends with a sudden buzz of amp noise.

Yuxa on Thee Facebooks

Yuxa on Bandcamp

 

Forktie, EP

forktie forktie

The first EP release from Forktie — who stylize their moniker and titles all-lowercase: forktie — is untitled, but contains five tracks that tap into proto-emo post-hardcore and ’90s alt rock sensibilities, finding a place between heavy rock and grunge that allows for Aarone Victorine‘s bass to lead toward the hook of centerpiece “Decomposition Book” with a smooth presence that’s well complementary the vocals from guitarist Dom Mariano, their presence low in the mix only adding to the wistful feel of “Anywhere but Here” and “September Morning,” before the shorter “Spores” lets loose some more push from drummer Corey LeBlanc and closer “Ph.D. in Nothing” reinforces the underlying melancholy beneath the thicker exterior tones. It’s a new project, but Forktie have worked their way into a niche that suits their songwriting well, and given themselves a space to grow within their sound. Members experience in bands like UXO, Test Meat and textbookcopilot will serve them in that effort.

Forktie on Thee Facebooks

Forktie on Bandcamp

 

Ohhms, Exist

ohhms exist

As a fan generally of bands opening albums with the longest song included, I can get on board with UK heavy progressive metallers Ohhms opening Exist with the 22-minute “Subjects.” Immediate points and all that. Far more consequential, however, is the substance of that launch for the four-song/43-minute Holy Roar LP, which is the band’s fourth in four years. It’s a vast, broad and complex offering unto itself, consuming side A as vocalist Paul Waller embodies various entities, “I am wolf” (preceding a Duran Duran reference, perhaps inadvertent), “I am child,” and so on. Those proclamations are just the culmination of a progression that, frankly, is an album unto itself, let alone a side, and maybe should’ve been released as such, though the absolute post-metallic crush of “Shambles,” the seething of “Calves” and the heavy post-rock reach of “Lay Down Your Firearms” need no further justification than a simple listen provides, the last of them pummeling side B to a then-sudden stop. Ohhms are no strangers to longform work, and it suits them well enough to make one wonder if they couldn’t be headed toward a single-song LP in the near future.

Ohhms on Thee Facebooks

Holy Roar Records on Bandcamp

 

Blue Dream, Volume Blue

Blue Dream Volume Blue

Chicago four-piece Blue Dream issued their first LP, Volume Won, early in 2018 and follow with Volume Blue — as opposed to “two”; could ‘Volume Tree’ be in the works? ‘Volume Free?’ — which collects nine neo-psych-mit-der-funky-grooves cuts chic enough to be urbane but fuzzed out enough to make the freakouts more than just a come on. They open peaceful enough with “Delta,” before the hook of “9,000 lb. Machine” defines the course and cuts like “Thank You for Smoking” and the almost woefully catchy “She’s Hot” expand the parameters. I’ll take the dream-tone shimmer of “Kingsbury Goldmine” any day in a kind of self-aware reflection of British folk and/or the garage rock of “Shake the Shake,” but the dense roll of “Viper Venom” that immediately follows reimagines grunge as more than just an influence from three popular bands and something that could genuinely move forward from the perspective of a new generation. Hearing Blue Dream close out with the boogie of “The Glide,” one hopes they do precisely that, though I’d by no means limit them to one avenue of expression. They’re clearly able to harness multiple vibes here.

Blue Dream on Thee Facebooks

Blue Dream on Bandcamp

 

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OHHMS Finish New Album; Announce Fall UK Tour Dates

Posted in Whathaveyou on August 9th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

ohhms (Photo by Jake Owens)

Kent-based progressive heavy rockers OHHMS have a new album in the can following-up 2017’s sprawling six-tracker The Fool, and they’ll hit the road alongside Holy Roar Records labelmates Boss Keloid in October to celebrate the upcoming release. As it’s newly recorded and I’m not even sure it’s been mixed or mastered yet, I’d assume the new OHHMS won’t get here until 2019 at some point, but the post-whatnot five-piece will have new material to play on stage, so they’ll be giving an early preview on the five-date stint followed by a weekender in November.

If you didn’t hear The Fool, as somehow I didn’t, it’s streaming at the bottom of this post. It represents a pretty significant change in approach from the release before it, which was 2015’s Cold (review here).

Info follows from the PR wire:

ohhms tour

OHHMS join forces with Boss Keloid for their UK fall tour

Kent-based progressive heavy quintet OHHMS are set to hit the UK roads this fall with a 7-show run alongside fellow heavy heroes Boss Keloid.

The band comments: “We are incredibly excited for the upcoming October/November tour of the UK. As we have finished recording our album and have been hitting the rehearsal room hard we are ready to play our fresh material in front of you. The itch is about to be scratched and our new guitarist Stuart has brought a fresh dynamic to all we do – We know our fans are going to love it. On top of this we have invited Boss Keloid to join us on every date and this will be the first time they have toured their latest album, ‘Melted on the Inch’ since it’s release earlier this year. Join us.”
OHHMS UK fall tour with Boss Keloid

23.10.18 – BRISTOL – Exchange
24.10.18 – NOTTINGHAM – The Maze
25.10.18 – BIRMINGHAM – The Victoria
26.10.18 – LEICESTER – Vault
27.10.18 – GLASGOW – Classic Grand Lounge
09.11.18 – LONDON – Macbeth
10.11.18 – MANCHESTER – Satan’s Hollow

Artwork by Steven Myles

True to themselves, OHHMS continue their boundary-free ascension to even more transcending sonic peaks, while making a point at raising awareness about animal rights and social matters with a unique, cathartic approach.

https://www.facebook.com/OHHMStheband/
https://twitter.com/ohhmstheband
https://ohhms.bandcamp.com/
http://www.holyroarrecords.com/

OHHMS, The Fool (2017)

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Ohhms European Tour Starts Oct. 8

Posted in Whathaveyou on August 22nd, 2017 by JJ Koczan

ohhms

Some right-on dates included as a part of UK prog metallers Ohhms‘ upcoming European run. As the Kent five-piece head out in support of earlier-2017’s Holy Roar Records debut full-length, The Fool, they’ll hit Mammothfest in Brighton and Desertfest Belgium 2017 as the first two dates on an eight-show run that caps in the Netherlands with a penultimate stop at Into the Void in Leeuwarden. Pretty solid stuff, and the band seem to have earned their place in those lineups with the response to The Fool, from which they have a video for “The World” now playing at the bottom of this post.

Or playing as soon as you click play, anyhow. The whole album is also up on their Bandcamp, if you’d like to dig a little further.

The PR wire has the poster and the info:

ohhms euro tour

British progressive metallers OHHMS announce European tour; Desertfest and Into The Void performances confirmed!

UK’s most fire-driven progressive metal quintet OHHMS have announced a significant batch of festival and club shows to take place in Europe this fall. Not to be missed.

This European tour is in line with the widely acclaimed release of their debut album “The Fool” this spring on Holy Roar Records. Praised across the globe, it has elevated the UK five piece to a whole new level since their 2014 beginnings.

After a long run of UK dates alongside Hark and Bossk, OHHMS are set to mesmerize European crowds for the first time in 2017, as well as thousands of metal connaisseurs at the likes of Desertfest Belgium and Into The Void Festival. See full list of shows below:

OHHMS European tour:
08.10 – Brighton (UK) Mammothfest
14.10 – Antwerpen (BE) Desertfest Belgium
15.10 – Copenhagen (DK) KB18
17.10 – Dusseldorf (DE) Pitcher
18.10 – Stuttgart (DE) Jugendhaus West
19.10 – Oberhausen (DE) Druckluft
20.10 – Leeuwarden (NL) Into The Void Festival
21.10 – Haarlen (NL) Patronaat

Poster by Anoop Bhat.

OHHMS formed in 2014 in Kent, UK. It didn’t take long for the five-piece to come up with two stellar EPs “Bloom” (2014) and “Cold” (2015), both released on London-based extreme music powerhouse Holy Roar Records. OHHMS quickly built a strong reputation among the UK’s underground scene, which led them to play major events such as Desertfest, ArcTanGent, Bloodstock, Damnation, Incubate and many others. Three years after their thunderous beginnings, the band is back in March 2017 with their debut full-length “The Fool” on Holy Roar Records. True to themselves, OHHMS continue their boundary-free ascension in quest of the sonic panacea, more determined than ever to brand minds with their cathartic, transcending creations.

https://www.facebook.com/OHHMStheband/
https://twitter.com/ohhmstheband
https://ohhms.bandcamp.com/
http://www.holyroarrecords.com/
https://www.facebook.com/holyroarrecords
https://twitter.com/holyroarrecords

Ohhms, “The World” official video

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Skraeckoedlan Announce May UK Tour Dates

Posted in Whathaveyou on April 17th, 2017 by JJ Koczan

Prog-tinged Swedish heavy rockers Skraeckoedlan — whose moniker I as an ignorant American continue to be proud of myself for spelling correctly — are making a back-by-popular-demand-type return trip to the United Kingdom next month. The yet-underrated riffers have been keeping track of their doings on the social medias via a new series of self-shot DIY videos — vlogs — and have included some new material snippets as a part of that, but I’ve yet to see concrete word of a forthcoming release to follow up on their latest single, Pärlor (discussed here), which they released in January in order to keep momentum rolling from their 2015 sophomore full-length,  Sagor (review here).

As they do, they’ll be keeping good company on this trip, including Prosperina from Wales and Netherlands-based instrumentalists Tank86, the latter of whom will join Skraeckoedlan as support for a couple shows with Monolord as well. The gigs are presented by Snuff Lane, and if you want to keep up with Skraeckoedlan‘s doings as they go, I can’t imagine they won’t have cameras rolling while they’re on the road as well. That’s where the good stuff happens.

Must-see tv follows:

skraeckoedlan uk tour

Swedish Fuzz-Forgers Skraeckoedlan Return to the UK Next Month w/ Prosperina & Tank86

Less than a month to go until Swedish fuzzience fiction rockers Skraeckoedlan return to the UK for 10 special headline events.

Heavyweight tag-team support from Welsh prog-pop, post-rockers Prosperina and Dutch high-density, instrumental heaviness TANK86.

Skraeckoedlan and Tank86 are also set to support Monolord for 2 events, as part of Monolords UK tour.

SKRAECKOEDLAN May UK Tour
w/ Prosperina

12/05 – The Wheatsheaf, Banbury
13/05 – The Pit, Swansea
14/05 – Retro Bar, Manchester
15/05 – Mulberry Tavern, Sheffield
16/05 – The Iron Road, Evesham
17/05 – The Arches, Coventry

w/ Tank86
18/05 – Underworld, London (supporting Monolord)
19/05 – Sanctuary, Basingstoke
20/05 – The Junction, Plymouth
21/05 – Exchange, Bristol (supporting Monolord)

Come feel the fuzz!

Flawless artwork, crafted by the exceptionally talented JaneyMonster.

Skraeckoedlan is:
Henrik Grüttner (Guitaring, backup singing)
Martin Larsson (Drumming)
Robert Lamu (Singing/guitaring)
Tim Ångström (Bassing/backup singing)

https://facebook.com/SKRAECKOEDLAN
http://www.skraeckoedlan.com/
http://instagram.com/skraeckoedlan
http://twitter.com/skraeckoedlan
http://www.razziarecords.se/

Skraeckoedlan, “Pärlor” official video

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Skraeckoedlan Premiere “Pärlor” Video; New Single Due in Jan.

Posted in Bootleg Theater on November 18th, 2016 by JJ Koczan

skraeckoedlan

Swedish progressive heavy fuzz rockers Skraeckoedlan aren’t that far removed from their last album — their second, Sagor (review here), it came out about a year ago as their debut on Razzia Records — but the Norrköping four-piece have apparently wasted little time in looking forward. Come January, they’ll release a new two-song 7″ titled Pärlor that leads with a titular cover of long-running countrymen Kent. Coupled with “Eldfagel,” which was recorded during the Sagor sessions and by artwork from Johan Leijon, the new single is very much Skraeckoedlan‘s own despite being a cover. One can hear their Truckfighters-meets-Mastodon sonic blend pushing forward melodically in the hook of “Pärlor” itself, even as their penchant for tonal density and crash continues unabated.

Skraeckoedlan‘s last video, for the Sagor track “El Monstro” (posted here), found them working at a more cinematic level than they had before, and their new clip for “Pärlor” follows suit. Directed by Mats Ek, it seems to tell the tale of a pilgrimage and ultimately an offering being made, though to whom or for what, I’m not sure. Along the way we see a lot — I mean really, a lot — of snow falling on gorgeous Swedish forests and hills, beautiful countryside through which our journeying protagonist traverses at his apparent peril. Sleeping in the snow looks cold as hell, is all I’m saying. But he endures and seems to get where he’s going, and “Pärlor” ends on a creepy enough note to make me wonder if it wasn’t intended to be a sequel in some way to “El Monstro,” which Ek also helmed and still had some performance footage in it, where this one seems to have left that conceit behind entirely.

Bottom line, as the band explains below, is this is their way of paying homage to Kent, who are calling it quits this year after more than a quarter-century of work. Preorders for the 7″ version of the single are available now, and you’ll find those links underneath the clip itself, which I’m thrilled today to be able to premiere.

Please enjoy:

Skraeckoedlan, “Pärlor” official video

The song is a cover version of “Pärlor” written by Sweden’s biggest rock band Kent, who after 26 years together have decided to call it quits. Through a farewell tour this Fall, covering most of Scandinavia they are saying their good byes to a whole generation of people deeply touched and influenced by their music.

For Skraeckoedlan it started out as a somewhat crazy idea that grew more and more intriguing and eventually the song was recorded in an old missionary church in Dalarna, a region in the midst of Sweden very close to their hearts. By recording this version the band was able to try something new and invited them to get in touch and explore their admiration for pop music. By putting their specific stamp on the song this is a shout out to the great masters – Kent – and a tribute to Swedish music in general.

Skraeckoedlan on Kent and “Pärlor”:

During their 26-year long career Kent has really made a huge impact on the music scene in Sweden.

Their way of composing music has always felt free and without rules and I think that’s why this song in particular attracted us so much. I’ve always considered it a heavy and mighty song and it was so much fun to put our stamp on it.

Even though this cover started out as a goofy idea, it turned out to be so much more for us. A tribute to Swedish music and one of the biggest bands this country has ever produced.

The video is made by the amazing Swedish film maker Mats Ek and is also a tribute. We wanted it to portrait the beauty of Sweden – the glorious nature, from which we get so much inspiration from as a band.

So here you go, a homage to the place where we grew up – both musically and visually.

Skraeckoedlan is:
Henrik Grüttner (Guitaring, backup singing)
Martin Larsson (Drumming)
Robert Lamu (Singing/guitaring)
Tim Ångström (Bassing/backup singing)

Skraeckoedlan’s website

Pärlor vinyl preorder

Pärlor vinyl preorder

Skraeckoedlan on Instagram

Skraeckoedlan on Thee Facebooks

Skraeckoedlan on Twitter

Razzia Records

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Quarterly Review: Foehammer, Holy Serpent, Wicked Inquisition, AVER, Galley Beggar, Demon Lung, Spirit Division, Space Mushroom Fuzz, Mountain Tamer, Ohhms

Posted in Reviews on June 29th, 2015 by JJ Koczan

the obelisk summer quarterly review

I said back in March that I was going to try to make the Quarterly Review a regular feature around here, and once it was put out there, the only thing to do was to live up to it. Over the last several — like, five — weeks, I’ve been compiling lists of albums to be included, and throughout the next five days, we’re going to make our way through that list. From bigger names to first demos and across a wide swath of heavy styles, there’s a lot of stuff to come, and I hope within all of it you’re able to find something that hits home or speaks to you in a special way.

No sense in delaying. Hold nose, dive in.

Quarterly Review #1-10:

Foehammer, Foehammer

foehammer foehammer

Relatively newcomer trio Foehammer specialize in grueling, slow-motion punishment. Their self-titled debut EP follows a well-received 2014 demo and is three tracks/34 minutes released by Grimoire and Australopithecus Records of doomed extremity, the Virginian three-piece of guitarist Joe Cox (ex-Gradius), bassist/vocalist Jay Cardinell (ex-Gradius, ex-Durga Temple) and drummer Ben “Vang” Blanton (ex-Vog, also of The Oracle) not new to the Doom Capitol-area underground by any stretch and seeming to pool all their experience to maximize the impact of this extended material. Neither “Final Grail,” “Stormcrow” nor 14-minute closer “Jotnar” is without a sense of looming atmosphere, but Foehammer at this point are light only on drama, and the lower, sludgier and more crushing they go, the more righteous the EP is for it. Stunningly heavy and landing with a suitable shockwave, it is hopefully the beginning of a long, feedback-drenched tenure in death-doom, and if the EP is over half an hour, the prospect of a follow-up debut full-length seems overwhelming. Easily one of the year’s best short releases.

Foehammer on Thee Facebooks

Grimoire Records on Bandcamp

Australopithecus Records

Holy Serpent, Holy Serpent

holy serpent holy serpent

It’s not like they were lying when they decided to call a song “Shroom Doom.” Melbourne double-guitar four-piece made their self-titled debut as Holy Serpent last year, and the five-track full-length was picked up for release on RidingEasy Records no doubt for its two-front worship of Uncle Acid’s slither and jangle – especially prevalent on the eponymous opener and closer “The Wind” – and the now-classic stonerism of Sleep. That blend comes together best of all on the aforementioned finale, but neither will I take away from the north-of-10-minute righteousness of “The Plague” preceding, with its slow roll and malevolent vibe that, somehow, still sounds like a party. Comprised of guitarist/vocalist Scott Penberthy, guitarist Nick Donoughue, bassist Michael Macfie and drummer Keith Ratnan, the real test for Holy Serpent will be their second or third album – i.e., how they develop the psychedelic nodes of centerpiece “Fools Gold” along with the rest of their sound – but listening to these tracks, it’s easy to let the future worry about itself.

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RidingEasy Records

Wicked Inquisition, Wicked Inquisition

wicked inquisition wicked inquisition

There are a variety of influences at work across Wicked Inquisition’s self-titled debut long-player, from the Sabbath references of its eponymous closer to the earlier thrashery of “In Shackles” and “Sun Flight,” but the core of the Minneapolis four-piece resides in a guitar-led brand of metal, whatever else they decide to build around it. Guitarist/vocalist Nate Towle, guitarist Ben Stevens, bassist Jordan Anderson and drummer Jack McKoskey align tightly around the riffs of “M.A.D.” in all-business fashion. Shades of Candlemass show up in some of the slower material, “M.A.D.” included as well as with “Crimson Odyssey,” but the start-stops of “Tomorrow Always Knows” ensure the audience is clued in that there’s more going on than just classic doom, though a Trouble influence seems to hover over the proceedings as well, waiting to be more fully explored as the band moves forward.

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AVER, Nadir

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Clocking in at an hour flat, Sydney all-caps riffers AVER construct their second album, Nadir, largely out of familiar elements, but wind up with a blend of their own. Fuzz is prevalent in the extended nod of opener “The Devil’s Medicine” (9:46) which bookends with the longest track, finisher “Waves” (9:48), though it’s not exactly like the four-piece are shy about writing longer songs in between. The production, while clear enough, lends its focus more toward the low end, which could be pulling in another direction from the impact of some of Nadir’s psychedelia on “Rising Sun” second half solo, but neither will I take anything away from Jed’s bass tone, which could carry this hour of material were it asked. The vocals of guitarist Burdt have a distinct Acid Bathian feel, post-grunge, and that contrasts a more laid back vibe even on the acoustic-centered “Promised Lands,” but neither he, Jed, guitarist Luke or drummer Chris feel out of place here, and I’m not inclined to complain.

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Galley Beggar, Silence and Tears

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Sweet, classic and very, very British folk pervades the gorgeously melodic and meticulously arranged Silence and Tears by London six-piece Galley Beggar, released on Rise Above. The eight-track/40-minute album packs neatly onto a vinyl release and has near-immediate psychedelic underpinnings in the wah of opener “Adam and Eve,” and side B’s “Geordie” has some heavier-derived groove, but it’s the beauty and lushness of the harmonies throughout (finding satisfying culmination in closer “Deliver Him”) that stand Galley Beggar’s third offering out from worshipers of a ‘60s and ‘70s era aesthetic. The highlight of Silence and Tears arrives early in nine-minute second cut “Pay My Body,” a wonderfully swaying, patient excursion that gives equal time to instrumental exploration and vocal accomplishment, but to a select few who let themselves be truly hypnotized and carried along its winding course, the album’s entire span will prove a treasure to be revisited for years to come and whose sunshiny imprint will remain vivid.

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Rise Above Records

Demon Lung, A Dracula

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With inspiration reportedly from the 1977 demon-possession horror flick Alucarda, Las Vegas doomers Demon Lung return with A Dracula, their second offering via Candlelight Records after 2013’s The Hundredth Name, and as the movie begins with a birth, so too do we get “Behold, the Daughter” following the intro “Rursumque Alucarda,” later mirrored by a penultimate interlude of the same name. Billy Anderson produced, so it’s not exactly a surprise that the slow, undulating riffs and the periodic bouts of more upbeat chug, as on “Gypsy Curse,” come through nice and viscous, but vocalist Shanda brings an ethereal melodic sensibility, not quite cult rock, but on “Mark of Jubilee” presenting momentarily some similarly bleak atmospherics to those of the UK’s Undersmile, her voice seeming to command the guitars to solidify from their initial airiness and churn out an eerie apex, which closer “Raped by the Serpent” pushes further for a raging finale.

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Candlelight USA’s Bandcamp

Spirit Division, Spirit Division

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Spirit Division’s self-titled debut full-length follows a 2014 demo that also hosted three of the tracks – opener “Spirit Division,” “Through the Rounds” and “Mountain of Lies” – but is fuller-sounding in its post-grunge tonality and doomly chug than the earlier offering, guitarist/vocalist Stephen Hoffman, bassist/vocalist Chris Latta and drummer/vocalist David Glass finding a straightforward route through moody metallurgy and weighted riffage. Some Wino-style swing shows up on “Bloodletting,” and “Cloud of Souls” has a decidedly militaristic march to its progression, while the later “Red Sky” revels in classic doom that seems to want to be just a touch slower than it is, but what ultimately unites the material is the strong sense of purpose across the album’s span and Spirit Division’s care in the vocal arrangements. The production is somewhat dry, but Spirit Division walk the line between sludge rock and doom and seem comfortable in that sphere while also sparking a creative progression that seems well worth further pursuit.

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Space Mushroom Fuzz, Until Next Time

space mushroom fuzz until next time

I was all set to include a different Space Mushroom Fuzz album in this roundup, but then I saw that the project was coming to an end and Until Next Time was issued as the band’s final release. The deal all along with the band headed by guitarist/vocalist Adam Abrams (also Blue Aside) has been that you never really know what he’s going to do next. Fair enough. Abrams brings it down in suitably bizarre fashion, a keyboard and guitar line backing “Class Onion” in direct mockery of Beatlesian bounce, where “The DeLorean Takes Off!” before compiles five-plus minutes of experimental noise and “Follow that DeLorean” answers with another round after. Elsewhere, opener and longest cut (immediate points) “Here Comes Trouble” resonates with its central guitar line and unfolds to further oddity with a quiet but gruff vocal, while “The Rescue” vibes like something Ween would’ve conjured after huffing roach spray (or whatever was handy) and closer “Back in ‘55” moves from progressive soloing to froggy singing and weirdo jangle. All in all a strange and fitting end to the band.

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Mountain Tamer, MTN TMR DEMO

mountain tamer mtn tmr demo

Santa Cruz trio Mountain Tamer have been kicking around the West Coast for the last several years, and since they released a full-length, Liquid Metal, in 2013, and a prior EP in 2012’s The Glad, it’s tempting to try to read some larger shift sonically into their MTN TMR Demo, as though having completely revamped their sound, the trio of guitarist/vocalist Andru, bassist/vocalist Dave Teget and drummer/vocalist Casey Garcia trying out new ideas as they redirect their approach. That may well be the case, with “Satan’s Waitin’,” “Sum People” and “Dunes of the Mind” each standing at over five-minutes of neo-stoner roll, more psychedelic than some in the growing fuck-it-let’s-skate oeuvre, but still plainly born after, or at least during, grunge. The finisher comes to a thrilling, noisy head as it rounds out the short release, and if Mountain Tamer are taking on a new path, it’s one well set to meander and I hope they continue to follow those impulses.

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OHHMS, Cold

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Like their late-2014 debut, Bloom, OHHMS’ sophomore outing, Cold, is comprised of two extended tracks. Here the Canterbury five-piece bring “The Anchor” (18:30) and “Dawn of the Swarm” (14:27), blending modern prog, sludge and post-metallic vibes to suit a melodic, ambitious purpose. Atmosphere is central from the quiet drone starting “The Anchor” and remains so as they lumber through a linear build and into an apex at about 13 minutes in, dropping out to quiet only to build back up to a striking melodic push that ends on a long fade. Side B, “Dawn of the Swarm” is more immediately post-rock in the guitar, the lineup of vocalist Paul Waller, guitarists Daniel Sargent and Marc George, bassist Chainy Chainy and drummer Max Newton moving through hypnotic sprawl into angular Isis-ism before finding their own way, the second cut pushing structurally against the first with loud/quiet tradeoffs in a well-timed back half. Clearly a band who arrived knowing their purpose, but not so cerebral as to detract from the heavy landing of the material itself.

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On Wax: The Ravenna Arsenal, I

Posted in On Wax on January 15th, 2014 by JJ Koczan

With the acknowledgement that not everyone who reads this post is going to immediately hit up The Ravenna Arsenal‘s Bandcamp page and plunk down $14 for a copy of I — which they present in limited-to-300 transparent red 180g vinyl with art by Chris Smith — let me kindly suggest that if you’re at all interested in getting a feel for what the Ohio four-piece do on their 2013 debut full-length, the thing to do is start by tossing them a couple bucks, grabbing one of the downloads of the album, and arranging the tracklisting in the order which they have it on the LP version. That’s not to discount the value of “Ammunation,” “Knights,” “The Pregnant Void” or “The Sun,” but it’s a completely different record with or without them, and that’s true both in the substance of its runtime (57 minutes with, 31 without) and in the flow from song to song. On wax, The Ravenna Arsenal‘s I is a crisp execution of progressive heavy rock that leaves the listener wanting more. In its nine-track digital entirety, it’s more complex and working with a broader sonic range, but also less efficient in establishing its emotional and sonic course.

From there, if you hear the neo-stoner metal crush of “Ultra Heavy” and how well “The Water that Covers the Sky” beefs up its Rush influence en route to the album’s apex and decide you want to hear more from the band, well, the other tracks are right there waiting for you. Seems unlikely that a single LP was The Ravenna Arsenal‘s preferred method of releasing — production costs can be a killer — but if they’d presented I with all nine cuts, it’s entirely likely that a double 12″ would’ve had trouble building a flow, because basically you’d be changing a side or record after every second song. The compromise pays dividends on the I vinyl as it is. Side A gives you a sense of the dynamic in the lineup of Ken Royer, Aaron Shay, Mike Shea, and Bill Govan and a breadth that runs from post-Mastodon lumber to a more modern alt-rock vocal style, combining them to a chugging degree in the rolling groove of “Fire Moth.” An album highlight arrives at the start of side B with the 10-minute “The Desert Shows No Mercy,” which actually arrives third in the digital version but is more effectively placed fourth on the vinyl, letting the listener more directly focus on not only I‘s longest inclusion, but also its greatest sonic achievement and most engaging sprawl, growls and slow, sludgy crush giving way to post-rock psychedelics that in turn move fluidly through a proggy build as patient as it is hypnotic.

And granted, when they get heavy again, there’s no doubt what’s coming, but the destination satisfies as much as the journey. The awaited, albeit temporary, return of vocals marks arrival at I‘s summit, and gradually The Ravenna Arsenal push downward from it, noisy, feeding back, but clearly in the finishing throes, afterthought guitar reminding of some of the heft of what preceded and what closer “The Water that Covers the Sky” must then emerge from. Placed last on the digital version as on the vinyl — though there are five tracks between “The Desert Shows No Mercy” and it digitally — “The Water that Covers the Sky” is less interested in reviving the crushing tonality of the song before than broadening the emotional range, which ultimately serves not only I as it appears on record, but the other songs as well, giving them a wider context in which to fit among the five appearing on the platter. Its subdued course is deceptively quick at over seven minutes, and ultimately manifests as a different vision of the patience The Ravenna Arsenal display on “The Desert Shows No Mercy,” their ethic allowing them to take the time to make their point properly without overdoing it on the indulgent end.

On vinyl, the limits of the production come out somewhat. The band sounds full and clear and loud, but there’s a tinny flourish on the snare in “Fire Moth” that, while I’ll take it over whatever digital sample might have replaced it, cuts through the surrounding tones perhaps more than was intended in the mixing. Minor issue in the grand scheme of the album — and the album indeed is a grand scheme — and far more prevalent is the sense that The Ravenna Arsenal will take the lessons of crafting their first outing and be able to progress with their next. A band who starts with this kind of scope rarely has any interest in repeating themselves, so I’d expect a subsequent offering to come with a personality and context of its own whatever elements present here might remain and be refined, but I makes a resounding introduction and a record I have the feeling I’m going to be even gladder to have down the line.

The Ravenna Arsenal, I (2013)

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