Ethereal Riffian Offer Limited-Time-Only Screening of Afterlight DVD

Posted in Bootleg Theater on September 5th, 2017 by JJ Koczan

ethereal riffian

The word progressive, especially in a musical context, can have any number of definitions. It can convey a focus on technique, a history of intellectualism that goes back decades, can relate to politics as much as style or can be a nebulous genre catchall. For me, a band or release is progressive when it shows real consideration in some element of its craft and/or presentation. When a band puts care and thought into what they do and always keep in mind a sense of artistic growth, of — wait for it — progression. That’s pretty open, but not at all universal, and there are few acts who emphasize precisely the sort of creative willpower sonic progressivism as Ukrainian heavy ritualists Ethereal Riffian.

Among groups I’ve had the pleasure to encounter the last few years, the Kiev-based outfit stand out not only in sound, drawing from the meditative heavy psych of Om and blending that patience with expanded arrangements of guitar and a wide swath of other instrumentation rooted in semi-Opethian prog metal and a shamanist-minded thematic, but in their utter purposefulness and their attention to detail. The physical pressings of their material are as intricate and gorgeous as their music is immersive. Atmosphere is no less paramount than how the songs themselves are crafted. They engage intellectually, spiritually and emotionally in what they do, and after a productive span that brought forth offerings like the I am Deathless two-song EP (review here) and the live  Youniversal Voice (review here) in 2016, Ethereal Riffian now delve the furthest they’ve gone yet into their mythos with the Afterlight DVD.

It’s a concert documentary, yes. They play a show. There’s a tracklisting. Songs are aired from a selection of concerts. But it’s more than just that. Beginning with a spoken intro about the band’s philosophy as regards the nature of music, Afterlight goes onto work its way through Shamanism, Buddhism and Mysticism — how these things relate to Ethereal Riffian, tying in the migration from Russian of the peoples who would become Native Americans over a course of centuries with an artistry and fluidity that one can hear being brought to bear in the fluidity of their psychedelic metal, chants and richly atmospheric execution of their material, which even live comes through with a balance every bit worthy of its heady conceptual foundations.

Over the course of more than an hour and 40 minutes, Afterlight brims with purpose across multiple acts defined by these concepts and as the band rightly postulates, gives its audiences the most in-depth look at who they are and where they’re coming from that they’ve yet showcased. This is a limited-time screening. It will be available for five days, and after that, it gets pulled and the only way to view Afterlight will be by ordering it from Ethereal Riffian‘s Bandcamp. If you go that route, you should know it comes with a wax seal, and of course the artwork and packaging are crazy lux, as is the band’s wont.

So please, enjoy this one while you can. And as you dig in below, keep in mind the transitory nature of creativity itself, because I can just about guarantee that wherever Ethereal Riffian go from here, it’s going to be on a different plane than this or anything that’s preceded it.

Here we go:

Ethereal Riffian, Afterlight DVD limited screening

Limited time, 5-day screening of Afterlight DVD is available exclusively via http://theobelisk.net/

Buy physical copy via http://etherealriffian.bandcamp.com/

Spiritualized rockers from Ukraine Ethereal Riffian have launched the “Afterlight” DVD, which showcases the results of the band’s 6-year work. “Afterlight” is a conceptual work and its main theme is spiritual liberation in different spiritual traditions, namely – Shamanism, Buddhism and Mysticism. The DVD features:

– Full overview of Ethereal Riffian’s creative universe
– Animated videos uncovering the spiritual journey of “Afterlight’s” main characters
– Special structure with three acts, introduction and epilogue that gives the DVD a logical inception and ending.
– Unique bonuses including official music video, two documentaries, archive with rare photos and more
– Mesmerizing artwork

“Since 2013 I wanted to have a single release that can give a versatile overview of the band’s creative work – its music, philosophy, approach to limited editions and live potential. And now we have it,” says Val Kornev, the frontman of the band. “With this release we, on one hand, aim to crystalize all our work and ideas since the inception of the band, and on the other hand, we want to show the quintessential component which unites all spiritual paths. For the band this release marks the end of the first chapter in its history and the beginning of the new one.”

Tracklist of the “Afterlight” DVD
1. Whispering of the Ancients
2. Beyond
3. Transoma
4. Wakan Tanka
5. Thugdam
6. March of Spiritu
7. Anatman
8. Drum of the Deathless
9. Sword of the Deathless
10. Light of Self

Ethereal Riffian on Bandcamp

Ethereal Riffian on Thee Facebooks

Ethereal Riffian on Instagram

Ethereal Riffian on Twitter

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Ethereal Riffian Announce Afterlight DVD Preorders

Posted in Whathaveyou on July 19th, 2017 by JJ Koczan

ethereal riffian

Like few heavy psych acts the world over, Ukrainian shamanistic groovers Ethereal Riffian have committed themselves to physical presentation of media as a part of their aesthetic process. Deeply progressive in their songwriting, they extend a self-awareness to how their material is presented to the listener, be it vinyl, CD, or in the case of Afterlight, a limited-edition DVD available to preorder in a number of varied packages. The release itself contains live and documentary footage and then some — animated videos, an overarching narrative, bonus interviews, and so on — and it seems the band’s attempt is to capture the full essence their years together in a single release. If that isn’t worthy of a wax seal, I don’t know what is.

You can see the various editions at their Bandcamp and see a teaser and a making-of video below. Official release date for Afterlight is Aug. 17, but all the tracks are streaming now as well.

From the PR wire:

Ethereal Riffian Launch Pre-Orders for “Afterlight” DVD

Artist: Ethereal Riffian
Title: “Afterlight”
Formats: DVD-book, ecopack, or as a part of discography (comes with a secret link to view bonuses in Full HD)
Label: Self-Released

Release Date: 17 August 2017

Spiritualized rockers from Ukraine Ethereal Riffian have launched pre-orders for “Afterlight” DVD, which showcases the results of the band’s 6-year work. “Afterlight” is a conceptual work and its main theme is spiritual liberation in different spiritual traditions, namely – Shamanism, Buddhism and Mysticism. The DVD features:

– Full overview of Ethereal Riffian’s creative universe
– Animated videos uncovering the spiritual journey of “Afterlight’s” main characters
– Special structure with three acts, introduction and epilogue that gives the DVD a logical inception and ending.
– Unique bonuses including official music video, two documentaries, archive with rare photos and more
– Mesmerizing artwork

“Since 2013 I wanted to have a single release that can give a versatile overview of the band’s creative work – its music, philosophy, approach to limited editions and live potential. And now we have it,” says Val Kornev, the frontman of the band. “With this release we, on one hand, aim to crystalize all our work and ideas since the inception of the band, and on the other hand, we want to show the quintessential component which unites all spiritual paths. For the band this release marks the end of the first chapter in its history and the beginning of the new one.”

Traditionally for the band, “Afterlight” comes in unique formats elaborated by the band (limited edition DVD-book and discography) and can be purchased for pre-order prices, along with three exclusive limited-time offers via the band’s bandcamp page: http://etherealriffian.bandcamp.com/. Pre-sale will be active from 17.VII.2017 to 17.VIII.2017. Upon the end of pre-sale, limited-time offers will expire and prices for other items will be increased.

Tracklist of the “Afterlight” DVD
1. Whispering of the Ancients
2. Beyond
3. Transoma
4. Wakan Tanka
5. Thugdam
6. March of Spiritu
7. Anatman
8. Drum of the Deathless
9. Sword of the Deathless
10. Light of Self

“Afterlight” DVD was made possible thankfully to the efforts of:

– Kirai Gigs team, which filmed and edited all video materials for the main unit
– xNinja, who created both the breathtaking artwork and the mesmerizing illustrations for animated videos
– Bobina Records and Max Poops, who worked scrupulously to make live performances sound like expensive studio records
– Robustfellow and the Kornev family whose continuous support motivates and inspires

https://etherealriffian.bandcamp.com/
https://www.facebook.com/etherealriffian/
http://bit.ly/etherealriffian
https://www.instagram.com/etherealriffian/
https://twitter.com/EtherealRiffian
https://vk.com/etherealriffian

Ethereal Riffian, Afterlight (2017)

Ethereal Riffian, The Making of Afterlight Limited Editions

Ethereal Riffian, Afterlight DVD teaser

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Quarterly Review: Les Discrets, Test Meat, Matus, Farflung, Carpet, Tricky Lobsters, Ten Foot Wizard & Chubby Thunderous Bad Kush Masters, The Acid Guide Service, Skunk, The Raynbow

Posted in Reviews on July 10th, 2017 by JJ Koczan

quarterly-review-summer-2017

My friends, the time has come. Well, actually the time came about two weeks ago at the end of June, but I won’t tell if you don’t. Better late than never as regards all things, but most especially The Obelisk’s Quarterly Review, which this time around features releases recent, upcoming and a bit older, a mix of known and lesser known acts, and as always, hopefully enough of a stylistic swath to allow everyone whose eyes the series of posts catches to find something they dig between now and Friday. As always, it’ll be 50 records from now until then, 10 per day, and I see no reason not to jump right in, so let’s do that.

Quarterly Review #1-10:

Les Discrets, Prédateurs

les discrets Prédateurs

After offering a preview of their marked stylistic turn in last year’s Virée Nocturne EP (review here), Lyon, France’s Les Discrets return with the suitably nighttime-urbane vibing of their Prédateurs full-length via Prophecy Productions. Five years after Ariettes Oubliées (review here), Fursy Teyssier and company reinvent their approach to the sonic lushness of their earlier work, departing the sphere of post-black metal they previously shared with sister band Alcest in favor of an anything-goes heavy experimentalism more akin to Ulver on cuts like “Le Reproche” or the deeply atmospheric “Fleur des Murailles.” Drones pepper “Rue Octavio Mey” and closer “Lyon – Paris 7h34” effectively conveys the sense of journey its train-schedule title would hint toward, and indeed Les Discrets as a whole seem to be in flux throughout Prédateurs despite an overarching cohesion within each track. It’s a fine line between multifaceted and disjointed, but fortunately, Teyssier’s grip on melodicism is unflinching and enough to tie otherwise disparate ideas together here.

Les Discrets on Thee Facebooks

Les Discrets at Prophecy Productions

 

Test Meat, Demo

test meat demo

Considering the pedigree involved in guitarist/vocalist Darryl Shepard (ex-Milligram, Blackwolfgoat, Kind, etc.), bassist Aarne Victorine (UXO, Whitey) and drummer Michael Nashawaty (Planetoid, Bird Language), it’s little surprise that Test Meat’s Demo would have a pretty good idea of where it wants to come from. The five-track first showing from the Boston trio blends raw-edge grunge and noise rock on “He Don’t Know” after opening with its longest inclusion (immediate points) in the 3:50 “Cuffing Season,” and though centerpiece “Done” nods at the starts-and-stops of Helmet, the subsequent 2:35 push of “If You Wanna” is strikingly post-Nirvana, and closer “Permanent Festival” rounds out by bridging that gap via a still-straightforward heavy rock groove. Formative, yeah, but that’s the whole point. Test Meat revel in their barebones style and clearly aren’t looking to get overly lush, but one can’t help but be curious how or if they’ll develop a more melodic sensibility to go with the consuming, full buzzsaw tones they elicit here.

Test Meat on Thee Facebooks

Test Meat on Bandcamp

 

Matus, Intronauta

matus intronauta

Worth noting that while the opening cut here, “Claroscuro,” shares its title with Matus’ 2015 full-length (review here), that song didn’t actually appear on that album. Does that mean that the Lima, Peru, classic progressive rockers are offering leftovers from the same sessions on their new EP and perhaps final release, Intronauta? I don’t know, but the four tracks of the digital outing are a welcome arrival anyway, from the laid back easy vibes of the aforementioned opener through the riffier “Intronauta (Including Hasta Que El Sol Descanse en Paz),” the Theremin-soaked finish of the harder-driving “Catalina” and the acoustic-led four-part closer “Arboleda Bohemia,” which unfolds with lushness that remains consistent with the naturalism that has always been underlying in the band’s work. They’ve said their last few times out that the end is near, and if it’s true, they go out with a fully-cast sonic identity of their own and a take on ‘70s prog that remains an underrated secret of the South American underground.

Matus on Thee Facebooks

Matus on Bandcamp

 

Farflung, Unwound Celluloid Frown

farflung unwound celluloud frown

The jury, at least when it comes to the internet, still seems to be somewhat divided on whether the name of Farflung’s five-track/34-minute EP is Unwound Celluloid Frown or Unwound Cellular Frown. I’d say another argument is whether it’s an EP or an LP, but either way, let the follow-up to the more clearly-titled 2016 album (review here) demonstrate how nebulous the long-running Los Angeles space rockers can be when it suits them. Hugely and continually underrated, the troupe once again aligns to Heavy Psych Sounds for this release, which is rife with their desert-hued Hawkwindian thrust and weirdo vibes, permeating the rocket-fuel chug of the title-track and the noise-of-the-cosmos 13-minute headphone-fest that is “Axis Mundi,” which seems to end with someone coming home and putting down their car keys before a slowly ticking clock fades out and into the backwards swirling intro of lazily drifting closer “Silver Ghost with Crystal Spoons.” Yeah, it’s like that. Whatever you call it, the collection proves once again that Farflung are a secret kept too well.

Farflung on Thee Facebooks

Heavy Psych Sounds website

 

Carpet, Secret Box

carpet secret box

Immersive and progressive psychedelia unfolds from the very opening moments of Carpet’s third album, Secret Box (on Elektrohasch Schallplatten), as the Augsberg, Germany-based five-piece explore lush arrangements of Moog, Rhodes, trumpet, vibraphone, etc. around central compositions of fluid guitar-led melodies and engaging rhythms. Their 2015 Riot Kiss 7” (review here) and 2013 sophomore long-player, Elysian Pleasures (review here), came from a similar place in intent, but from the funk wah and percussion underscoring the pre-fuzz-explosion portion of “Best of Hard Times” and the okay-this-one’s-about-the-riff “Shouting Florence” to the serene ambience of “For Tilda” and ethereal fluidity of “Pale Limbs” later on, the secret of Secret Box seems to be that it’s actually a treasure chest in disguise. Opening with its longest track in “Temper” (immediate points), the album hooks its audience right away along a graceful, rich-sounding melodic flow and does not relinquish its hold until the last piano notes of the closing title-track offer a wistful goodbye. In between, Carpet execute with a poise and nuance all the more enjoyable for how much their own it seems to be.

Carpet on Thee Facebooks

Carpet on Bandcamp

 

Tricky Lobsters, Worlds Collide

tricky lobsters worlds collide

Full, natural production, crisp and diverse songwriting, right-on performances and a name you’re not about to forget – there’s nothing about Tricky Lobsters not to like. Worlds Collide is their sixth album and first on Exile on Mainstream, and the overall quality of their approach reminds of the kind of sonic freedom proffered by Astrosoniq, but the German trio of guitarist/vocalist Sarge, bassist/vocalist Doc and drummer/vocalist Captain Peters have their own statements to make as well in the stomping “Battlefields,” the mega-hook of “Big Book,” the dreamy midsection stretch of “Father and Son” and the progressive melody-making of “Tarred Albino” (video premiere here). The emphasis across the nine-song/42-minute outing is on craft, but whether it’s the patient unfolding of “Dreamdiver Pt. I & II” or the harp-and-fuzz blues spirit of closer “Needs Must,” Tricky Lobsters’ sonic variety comes paired with a level of execution that’s not to be overlooked. Will probably fly under more radars than it should, but if you can catch it, do.

Tricky Lobsters on Thee Facebooks

Tricky Lobsters at Exile on Mainstream Records

 

Ten Foot Wizard & Chubby Thunderous Bad Kush Masters, Special

ten-foot-wizard-chubby-thunderous-bad-kush-masters-special

Dubbed Special for reasons that should be fairly obvious from looking at the cover art, this meeting of minds, riffs and cats between Manchester’s Ten Foot Wizard and London’s Chubby Thunderous Bad Kush Masters brings four tracks – two per band – and goes so far as to find the groups collaborating on the former’s “Get Fucked,” which opens, and the latter’s “Dunkerque,” which begins their side of the 7”, as vocalists The Wailing Goblin (of Chubby Thunderous) and Gary Harkin (of Ten Foot Wizard) each sit in for a guest spot on the other band’s cuts. Both bands also offer a standalone piece, with Ten Foot Wizard digging into heavy rock burl on “Night Witches” and Chubby Thunderous blowing out gritty party sludge in “Nutbar,” which rounds out the offering, and between them they showcase well the sphere of the UK’s crowded but diverse heavy rock underground. Kind of a niche release in the spirit of Gurt and Trippy Wicked’s 2016 Guppy split/collab, but it works no less well in making its impact felt.

Ten Foot Wizard on Thee Facebooks

Chubby Thunderous Bad Kush Masters on Thee Facebooks

 

The Acid Guide Service, Vol. 11

the acid guide service vol 11

It turns out that Vol. 11 is actually Vol. 1 for Garden City, Idaho, three-piece The Acid Guide Service, who dig into extended fuzz-overdose riffing on the 52-minute nine-tracker, proffering blown-out largesse even on shorter cuts like the five-minute “Into the Sky” while longer pieces like opener “Raptured” (7:16), “EOD” (9:38) and closer “Black Leather Jesus” (10:04) skirt lines between structure and jams as much as between heavy rock and psychedelia. Proffered by the trio of guitarist/vocalist Russ Walker, bassist/vocalist Tyler Walker and drummer Nick McGarvey, one can hear shades of Wo Fat in the guitar-led expanse of “Rock ‘n’ Roll (Is the Drug I’m On),” but on the whole, Vol. 11 speaks more to the late-‘90s/early-‘00s post-Kyuss stoner rock heyday, with flourish of Monster Magnet and Fu Manchu for good measure in the hard-swinging “Dude Rockin’” and its chugging companion piece, “Marauder King.” Big tones, big riffs, big groove. The Acid Guide Service are preaching to the converted, but clearly coming from a converted place themselves in so doing. Right on.

The Acid Guide Service on Thee Facebooks

The Acid Guide Service on Bandcamp

 

Skunk, Doubleblind

skunk doubleblind

Professing a self-aware love for the earliest days of heavy metal in idea and sound, Oakland’s Skunk offer their full-length debut with the self-released Doubleblind, following up on their 2015 demo, Heavy Rock from Elder Times (review here). That outing featured four tracks that also appear on Doubleblind – “Forest Nymph,” “Wizard Bong,” “Black Hash” and “Devil Weed.” Working on a theme? The theme is “stoned?” Yeah, maybe, but the cowbell-infused slider groove and standout hook of “Mountain Child” are just as much about portraying that ‘70s vibe as Skunk may or may not be about the reefer whose name they bear. Presumably more recent material like that song, “Doubleblind,” closer “Waitin’ Round on You” and leadoff cut “Forest Nymph” coherently blend impulses drawn from AC/DC, Sabbath and Zeppelin. John McKelvy’s vocals fit that spirit perfectly, and with the grit brought forth from guitarists Dmitri Mavra and Erik Pearson, bassist Matt Knoth and drummer Jordan Ruyle, Skunk dig into catchy, excellently-paced roller riffing and cast their debut in the mold of landmark forebears. Mothers, teach your children to nod.

Skunk on Thee Facebooks

Skunk on Bandcamp

 

The Raynbow, The Cosmic Adventure

the raynbow the cosmic adventure

As they make their way through a temporal drift of three tracks that play between krautrocking jazz fusion, psychecosmic expansion and Floydian lushness, Kiev-based explorers The Raynbow keep immersion central to their liquefied purposes. The Cosmic Adventure (on Garden of Dreams Records) is an aptly-titled debut full-length, and the band who constructed it is comprised of upwards of eight parties who begin with the 16-minute opener and longest track (immediate points) “Changes,” which builds toward and through a metallic chug apex, sandwiching it on either side with ultra-patient molten tone and soundscaping that continues to flourish through the subsequent “Cosmic Fool” (5:17) and “Blue Deep Sea Eyes” (8:18), the whole totaling a still-manageable outward trip into reaches of slow-moving space rock that whether loud or quiet at any individual moment more than earns a volume-up concentrated headphone listen. The kind of outfit one could easily imagine churning out multiple albums in a single year, The Raynbow nonetheless deliver a dream on The Cosmic Adventure that stands among the best first offerings I’ve heard in 2017.

The Raynbow on Thee Facebooks

Garden of Dreams Records on Bandcamp

 

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Six Dumb Questions with Stoned Jesus

Posted in Six Dumb Questions on June 29th, 2017 by JJ Koczan

stoned jesus

Over the next couple months, Ukrainian heavy rockers Stoned Jesus will tour as they have been since earlier this year celebrating the fifth anniversary of their second album, 2012’s Seven Thunders Roar (review here). In August, they’ll head back to South America for shows presented by Abraxas, and upon their return to Europe for the Fall, they’ve already been confirmed to take part in Up in Smoke 2017, Desertfest Athens 2017 and Desertfest Belgium 2017 as part of a tour with support from Beastmaker — all as Stoned Jesus make ready to move past their 2015 third full-length, The Harvest (review here), and work on a follow-up fourth outing. There’s nothing quite like keeping busy.

It’s pretty clearly been a process for Stoned Jesus guitarist/vocalist Igor Sidorenko coming to terms with the lasting impact of Seven Thunders Roar in the months since he discovered the album’s massive playcounts on YouTube and began to hear from those affected by the record, but the response to playing it live and the swell of bookings for them to do so seem only to have bolstered his appreciation for the way it has steadily resonated, spreading through internet word-of-mouth where so many other releases have lived and died by all too quick album and touring cycles. It is a rare thing, after all, to create something that appreciates with time, even if it’s only been five years so far.

As to what it is about Seven Thunders Roar that’s let it do that, Sidorenko is poses an interesting theory that it’s nearly as much about the time and place as about the album itself. Maybe the record hit with just the right trippy, heavy vibe at just the right generational moment, with just the right kind of striking cover art to look perfect in a YouTube recommendation window. A confluence of factors, rather than any single, individual thing, song, or riff.

Either way, Stoned Jesus — which is Sidorenko, drummer Viktor Kondratov and bassist Sergii Sliusar — must and will press forward as a group, and even as they honor one release from the past, they’re keeping an eye on another for the future, which Sidorenko refers to in the Q&A below as “#StJFourthLP.” The guitarist talks about that coming album, giving Seven Thunders Roar the touring attention it didn’t get the first time around, and more.

Please enjoy the following Six Dumb Questions:

stoned jesus tour dates

Six Dumb Questions with Stoned Jesus

Tell me about the continued impact of Seven Thunders Roar. What do you think it is that allowed that album to resonate so much with a YouTube audience, and how does it make you feel when you see those numbers?

Well, I discovered our YouTube fame about nine months ago, and as we speak “I’m the Mountain” hits 6,000,000 views mark! But way before that I’d seen those comments online, be it YouTube, Facebook, Instagram or numerous blogs and forums, that Seven Thunders Roar was someone’s first entry to psychedelic/stoner music… Every week I’m reading yet another revelation on how influential and important this record was for someone, either on StJ’s email account or friends share these posts with me or I even see those in my personal inbox. Of course I was flabbergasted the first time(s), but now I kinda see the bigger picture.

That is, Seven Thunders Roar might be the genre’s last great album – pardon my immodesty – along with Elder’s Lore, Samsara [Blues Experiment]’s Long Distance Trip and Mars Red Sky’s debut. These are the 100 percent DIY bands, with no major label backing, no heavy promotion, earning everything they have through hard work, charisma, talent and relentless touring.

Another fun fact is these bands are YOUNG, and they speak to a younger audience. I personally discovered stoner rock/metal through recommendations on a music forum — I haven’t seen Kyuss opening for Metallica, I haven’t seen Queens of the Stone Age or Clutch videos, I haven’t seen Electric Wizard shows back when they were a three-piece… You know what I mean? And when this younger, internet-friendly audience stumbles upon a more fresh-sounding, better version of the music their dads used to groove to, they might prefer it to the leather-and-flares revivalists’ muzak – which mainstream media calls “psychedelic rock” these days. We are the youngsters’ band, and I’m proud to admit that!

Five years out from making the record, how has its long-term reception changed how you feel about the album? How has the reception been to playing it live in its entirety this year?

It’s funny but we’d never felt the pressure of coming up with a follow-up to Seven Thunders Roar – until we made The Harvest, which was a significant departure from that sound, that style. It’s a natural process for me as a writer and the whole band as a creative unit to go somewhere else – that’s why it takes two-three years for us to come up with the next album. Of course we just could release a bunch of forgettable records in between the really good ones, but hey, there are million bands that do exactly this, so why should we, haha.

So when we decided to sort of look back and announced that we’re dedicating a few months of 2017 to playing Seven Thunders Roar in its entirety live, we never thought how many show requests we would get in the end! Basically our whole 2017 touring-wise is this “Five Thunders Roar Tour” now. And yes, I know how silly that sounds – what, a fifth anniversary? Couldn’t you guys wait for at least five years more? – but we played 14 shows in Europe in 2012, so virtually nobody heard the album LIVE back then. Now we’re headlining three-times-bigger venues packed with enthusiastic crowds, and we’ll have like 50 more shows this year after 25 already played. I think Seven Thunders Roar deserves this, 100 percent.

You moved forward with The Harvest and changed your sound again. What was it like making that record and how purposeful were the shifts in style coming off of Seven Thunders Roar? As you look to follow-up The Harvest, what direction to you see the new material heading in?

I’d say we’re trying to keep the balance between a purposeful shift and a natural one. The main influence for #StJFourthLP is our constant touring and the feelings you get (or more specifically, you lose) out of it. I mean we had almost a hundred shows in 2016 alone, and I’m the guy who does all the overseas logistics (with all due respect to local promoters efforts, of course) and some booking, manages merch and touring routine, SMMs the shit out of our social media profiles and sometimes plays guitar and writes these sweet-sweet songs. So yours truly is not a stranger to words like “exhaustion” or “burning out.”

But there’s also the struggle all of us face like trying to balance our personal lives with the life on the road. It’s basically this “John Rambo returning from Vietnam” kind of situation – you just don’t know anymore where’s real life. It messes with your head, hard. So this all is reflected in the lyrics, sometimes literally, sometimes more metaphorically. This is gonna be a pretty dark and intense record, I must say.

Musically…oh where should I even begin? First of all we’re really tired of guitar-oriented music, sharing the stage with genre bands all these years. I’m not saying we’re going electro but I seriously doubt a meat-and-potatoes stoner fan would adore #StJFourthLP. But on a brighter side, Elder’s experimental Lore was the biggest thing in the genre two years ago, so what do I know, right? Second, I was more focusing on rhythms than melodies this time around, so it’s gonna be pretty different to what we’ve done previously – think more Killing Joke, Swans or Can than Sabbath, Tool or Clutch. It’s like we’re skipping two or three albums of a gradual progression in between our actual albums, haha!

I was mostly listening to ‘70s prog and kraut, ‘80s noise rock/industrial/no wave stuff and ‘90s hip-hop and post-hardcore last year, but I’m not sure one would hear those things in #StJFourthLP. They could’ve influenced the way I’m thinking as a musician, but not the actual songs. Okay, maybe there’s an At the Drive-In riff or two, but everything else is pure Stoned Jesus version 4.0!

Will acknowledging the five-year anniversary of Seven Thunders Roar factor into the sound of the next record at all? Will that album be an influence, and is there a way to balance that with continuing to try new things?

Absolutely. When we were rehearsing the whole thing last Autumn, I couldn’t help but notice the way it flows, the tracks’ structures, the songs themselves… This is something that was missing with The Harvest — the Song. I mean there are complex pieces on Seven Thunders Roar too — “Electric Mistress,” obviously “I’m the Mountain” — but they don’t sound forced or overthought. So the new album is seven songs, 50-52 minutes long, but there’s not a single piece longer than 10 minutes. Actually Sergei made me throw away one section of a song to make it flow naturally!

Another thing is the way I’m working on the lyrics this time around. I’m accustomed to mumbling some gibberish while practicing the would-be song with a band and only THEN writing a set of lyrics. But for a non-English speaker it’s usually the ONLY way. So I decided I’ll be using what I’m singing during rehearsals, because this is how you figure what syllables and sounds you feel like singing at the moment. I mean it’s really hard to sing “oooh” for six months only to change it to “yeaaah” on the record – you’ll be struggling to drop this bloody “oooh” later anyway. So I’m kinda building my lyrics around the noise that I create with my throat when practicing these new songs with the band.

And finally, we’re less angry than we were three years ago, making The Harvest. Ukraine is still fucked due to 2014’s Russian invasion, but this is not the focus for our new record – unfortunately it has become something of a career-starting reference for many local pop and rock stars, and we don’t want any of that. So #StJFourthLP is not the occult haze of First Communion, the psychedelic bliss of Seven Thunders Roar or the metallic stomp of The Harvest — more like post-touring depression mixed with misanthropic apathy.

When will you hit the studio to record? What will the process be this time around?

See, the main problem with The Harvest was inconsistency, incoherence even. The album was a bold step for our band in many terms, but the material itself was too eclectic to sit together on the same piece of vinyl. I for one admire experimentation, but there were three alternative rock songs, two doom metal dirges and a prog metal epic (!). Three songs were written in 2012, one in 2014, and the other two songs date back to 2010, I mean c’mon! I’m not trying to write The Harvest off or something, I just want to say that there was this one thing that kept the album together – the anger, reflected in this heavier, cleaner sound… which was also an issue of sorts for some people. And finally, The Harvest took us 15 months (!) to record, because back then we were touring while also having day jobs and whatnot.

So now everything’s gonna be different because, first: we got all the songs well-rehearsed and we’re ready to get the record done in a matter of weeks, not YEARS. Second, all the songs were written around early 2015/late 2016, and musically they’re more or less on the same page BUT without being identical. I don’t really like those bands with indistinguishable tracks… and albums, too. Embrace the change!

You’re doing South America again and Desertfest Belgium and Athens and Up in Smoke this Fall already. Any other plans or closing words you want to mention?

I just feel extremely humbled to be able to do what I do, to have these crazy guys as my bandmates, to see those wonderful people under the stage and to exchange energy with them every night when we’re on tour, to share our experiences with the whole world. Long it may last! A huge thanks to you all.

Stoned Jesus, Seven Thunders Roar (2012)

Stoned Jesus, The Harvest (2015)

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Stoned Jesus on Twitter

Stoned Jesus on Bandcamp

Stoned Jesus on YouTube

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Risin Sabotage Release New Album Planet Dies

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

risin sabotage

Kiev-based heavy psych rockers Risin Sabotage issued their second album, the grimly-titled Planet Dies, last week as a digital release. Word has come through that the languid and buzzing five-track offering will be physically pressed on CD through Japanese imprint Voron Nest and LP through ultra-respected Berlin purveyor Nasoni Records. Listening to the gravitational pull of extended tracks like “Creature” and “Worshiping the Beast,” it’s hard to argue with either label coming on board.

In addition to those, however, last week it was announced Risin Sabotage had signed to Ukrainian newcomers Electric Experience Records as well, so I don’t know if that label will also be doing a version of Planet Dies sometime this year? I guess it remains to be seen. The band made their self-titled debut in 2015 and did some touring last Fall as well to support it, so more road time doesn’t seem out of the question.

Album info follows here, along with the stream:

risin-sabotage-planet-dies

Risin Sabotage – Planet Dies

Risin Sabotage is an Ukranian psychedelic stoner rock band from Kyiv.

The second trip from our essence and conscious to the stars and galaxies through the deserts and stones of our existence. There are always a stepping stones on the way questioning about the life and death, bearing thoughts about the end and the beginning and who watches us on this way. No matter is it the line or the cycle pass it with Risin Sabotage accompanied.

Single “Boundless Void” as a bonus. Released March 10, 2017.

It will be released on vinyls from Nasoni Records (Berlin) and on CDs from Voron Nest (Japan).

RECORDED AT EVERGREEN STUDIO
MIXED & MASTERED BY NIKOLAI TEMCHENKO

ARTWORK AND LAYOUT DESIGN BY CRISTIANO SUAREZ

Tracklisting:
1. Demons of the Wold 03:53
2. Creature 10:19
3. Sun is God 04:33
4. Planet Dies 05:44
5. Worshiping the Beast 11:26

Risin Sabotage is:
Igor Nediuzhyi (Drummer)
Kirill Chepilko (Vocals)
Vitya Panchishko (Guitar)
Valery Skorzhenko (Bass)

https://risinsabotage.bandcamp.com/
https://www.facebook.com/risin.sabotage/
https://instagram.com/risin_sabotage/
https://www.facebook.com/ElectricExperienceRecords/

Risin Sabotage, Planet Dies (2017)

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Quarterly Review: Crippled Black Phoenix, Zed, Mark Deutrom & Dead, Ol’ Time Moonshine, Ufosonic Generator, Mother Mooch, The Asound, Book of Wyrms, Oxblood Forge, The Heavy Crawls

Posted in Reviews on January 2nd, 2017 by JJ Koczan

the obelisk winter quarterly review

Now having spanned multiple years since starting way back in 2016, this Quarterly Review ends today with writeups 51-60 of the total 60. I’ve said I don’t know how many times that I could go longer, but the fact of the matter is it would hit a point where it stopped being a pleasant experience on my end and I’d rather keep things fun as much as possible rather than just try to cram in every single release that ever came my way. Make sense? It might or it might not. I can’t really decide either. From the bottom of my heart though, as I stare down the final batch of records for this edition of the Quarterly Review, I thank you for reading. Let’s dive in.

Quarterly Review #51-60:

Crippled Black Phoenix, Bronze

crippled black phoenix bronze

Nine albums and just about 10 years on from their 2007 debut, A Love of Shared Disasters, the UK’s Crippled Black Phoenix arrive on Season of Mist with the full-length Bronze and remain as complex, moody and sonically resolute as ever. If we’re lucky, they’ll be the band that teaches a generation of heavy tone purveyors how to express emotion in songwriting without giving up the impact of their material, but the truth is that “Champions of Disturbance (Pt. 1 & 2),” “Deviant Burials,” “Scared and Alone” and take-your-pick-from-the-others are about so much more depth than even the blend of “heavy and moody” conveys. To wit, the spacious post-rock gaze of “Goodbye Then” gives a glimpse of what Radiohead might’ve turned into had they managed to keep their collective head out of their collective ass, and the penultimate “Winning a Losing Battle” pushes through initial melancholia into gurgling, obtuse-but-hypnotic drone before making a miraculous return in its finish – then closer “We are the Darkeners” gets heavy. Multi-instrumentalist, founder and chief songwriter Justin Greaves is nothing shy of a visionary, and Bronze is the latest manifestation of that vision. One doubts it will be the last.

Crippled Black Phoenix on Thee Facebooks

Season of Mist website

 

Zed, Trouble in Eden

zed trouble in eden

Nothing shy about Trouble in Eden, the third full-length from San Jose heavy rockers Zed and second for Ripple Music. From its hey-look-guys-it’s-a-naked-chick cover to the raw vocal push from Pete Sattari –which delves into more melodic fare early on “The Only True Thing” and in rolling closer “The Mountain,” but keeps mostly to gruff grown-up-punker delivery throughout – the 10-tracker makes its bones in cuts like “Blood of the Fallen” and the resonant hook of “Save You from Yourself,” which are straightforward in intent, brash in execution and which thrive on a purported “rock the way it should be” mentality. Well, I don’t know how rock should be, but ZedSattari, guitarist Greg Lopez, bassist Mark Aceves and drummer Rich Harris – play to classic structures and seem to bring innate groove with them wherever they go on the album, be it the one-two punch of “High Indeed” and “So Low” or the Clutch-style bounce in the first half of “Today Not Tomorrow,” which leaves one of Trouble in Eden’s most memorable impressions both as a song and as a summary of their apparent general point of view.

Zed on Thee Facebooks

Ripple Music website

 

Mark Deutrom & Dead, Collective Fictions Split LP

mark deutrom dead collective fictions

Limited to just 200 copies on We Empty Rooms and Gotta Groove Records, the Collective Fictions split 180g LP between Melbourne noise duo Dead and Mark Deutrom (Bellringer, Clown Alley, ex-Melvins) is a genuine vinyl-only release. No digital version. That in itself gives it something of a brazen experimentalism, never mind the fact that one can barely tell where one track ends and the next track starts. Purposeful obscurity? Maybe. It’s reportedly one of a series of four LPs Dead are working on for the next year-plus, and they present two cuts in “Masonry” and “In the Car,” moving through percussion and mid-range drone to build a tense jazz on the former as drummer Jem and bassist Jace make room for the keys and noise of BJ Morriszonkle, which continue to play a prominent role in “In the Car” as well, which is also the only inclusion on Collective Fictions to feature vocals, shortly before it rumbles and long-fades snare hits to close out Dead’s side of the LP, leaving Deutrom – working here completely solo – thoroughly dared to get as weird as he’d like. An opportunity of which he takes full advantage. Over the course of four tracks, he unfurls instrumentalist drone of various stripes, from the nighttime soundscaping of “The Gargoyle Protocol,” which seems to answer the percussive beginning of Dead, through the spacier reverb loneliness of “Presence of an Absence,” like a most pastoral, less obtuse Earth, dreamy but sad in a way that denotes self-awareness on the part of the title, or at very least effective evocation thereof. Likewise, “Bring the Fatted Calf,” with its gong hits, Master Musicians of Bukkake-style jingling and minimalist volume swells, is duly ritualistic, which makes one wonder what the prog-style keys at the open of “View from the Threshold” are looking at. Deutrom moves through that side-closer patiently but fluidly and ends at a drone, tying up Collective Fictions as something of a curio in intent and execution. By that I mean what seems to have brought the two parties together was a “Hey, wanna get weird?” impulse, but each act makes their own level and then works on it, so hell yes, by all means, get weird.

Mark Deutrom website

Dead website

 

Ol’ Time Moonshine, The Apocalypse Trilogies

ol time moonshine the apocalypse trilogies

Any record that starts with a narration beginning, “In the not too distant future…” is going to find favor with my MST3K-loving heart. So begins The Apocalypse Trilogies: Spacewolf and Other Dark Tales, the cumbersomely-named but nonetheless engaging Salt of the Earth Records debut full-length from Toronto’s Ol’ Time Moonshine, whose 2013 The Demon Haunted World EP (review here) also found favor. The burl-coated outing is presented across three chapters, each beginning with its own narration and comprising three subsequent tracks – trilogies – tying into its theme as represented in the cover art by vocalist/guitarist Bill Kole, joined in the band by guitarist Chris Coleiro, bassist John Kendrick and drummer Brett Savory. They shift into some more complex fare on the instrumental “Lady of Light” before the final chapter, but at its core The Apocalypse Trilogies remains a (very) heavy rock album with an undercurrent of metal, and whatever else Ol’ Time Moonshine bring to it in plotline, they hold fast to songwriting as the most crucial element of their approach.

Ol’ Time Moonshine on Thee Facebooks

Salt of the Earth Records webstore

 

Ufosonic Generator, The Evil Smoke Possession

ufosonic generator the evil smoke possession

Italian four-piece Ufosonic Generator (also stylized as one word: UfosonicGenerator) make themselves at home straddling the line between doom and classic boogie rock on what seems to be their debut album, the eight-track The Evil Smoke Possession, released through Minotauro Records. Marked out by the soaring and adaptable vocals of Gojira – yup – the band offer proto-metal shuffle on shorter early cuts “A Sinful Portrait” and the rolling nod of “At Witches’ Bell,” but it’s the longer pairing of “Meridian Daemon” (7:47) and “Silver Bell Meadows” (6:53) on which one finds their brew at highest potency, sending an evil eye Cathedral’s way without forgetting the Sabbathian riffery that started it all or the Iron Maiden-gallop it inspired. They cap with the suitable lumber of their title-track and pick up toward the finish as if to underscore the dueling vibes with which they’ve been working all along. Ultimately, the meld isn’t necessarily revolutionary, but it does pay homage fluidly across The Evil Smoke Possession’s span, and as a debut, it sets Ufosonic Generator forward with a solid foundation on which to progress.

Ufosonic Generator on Thee Facebooks

Minotauro Records on Bandcamp

 

Mother Mooch, Nocturnes

mother mooch nocturnes

Issued digitally in late-2015 and subsequently snagged for a 2016 vinyl issue through Krauted Mind, Nocturnes is the debut full-length from Dublin five-piece Mother Mooch, and in its eight tracks, they set their footing in a genre-spanning aesthetic, pulling from slow-motion grunge, weighted heavy rock, psychedelic flourish and even a bit of punk on the shorter, upbeat “My Song 21” and “L.H.O.O.Q.” Those two tracks prove crucial departures in breaking up the proceedings and speak well of a penchant on the part of vocalist Chloë Ní Dhúada, guitarists Sid Daly (also backing vocals) and Farl, bassist Barry Hayden and drummer Danni Nolan toward sonic diversity. They bring a similar sensibility to the closing Lead Belly cover “Out on the Western Plain” as well, whereas cuts like opener “This Tempest,” “Into the Water” and “Misery Hill” work effectively to find a middle ground between the stylistic range at play. That impulse, seemingly innate to their songraft, is what will allow them to continue to develop their personality as a band and is not to be understated in how pivotal it is to this first LP.

Mother Mooch on Thee Facebooks

Krauted Mind Records website

 

The Asound, The Asound

the asound self titled

To my knowledge, this only-70-pressed five-song tape release is the second self-titled EP from off-kilter North Carolina heavy rockers The Asound following a three-songer back in 2011 (review here). Offered by Tsuguri Records, the new The Asound starts with its longest track (immediate points) in the 6:54 “Moss Man” and touches on earliest, most righteous High on Fire-style brash, but holds to its own notions about what that that blend of groove and gallop should do. Through splits with Flat Tires (review here), Magma Rise (review here), Lenoir Swingers Club (review here) and Mark Deutrom (review here), the trio of Guitarist/vocalist Chad Wyrick, bassist Jon Cox and drummer Michael Crump have always had an element of the unpredictable to their sound, and that’s true as centerpiece “Human for Human” revives the thrust of the opener coming off “Controller”’s less marauding rhythm, but the sludgy rollout and later airy lead-work of “Pseudo Vain” and chugging nod of closer “Throne of Compulsion” speaks to the consciousness at play beneath the unhinged vibes that’s been there all along. They’ve sounded ready for a while to make a full-length debut. They still sound that way.

The Asound on Thee Facebooks

Tsuguri Records website

 

Book of Wyrms, Sci-Fi/Fantasy

book of wyrms sci-fi fantasy

Immediate bonus points to Richmond, Virginia’s Book of Wyrms for titling a track on their full-length debut “Infinite Walrus,” but with the Garrett Morris-recorded tones they proffer with the seven-song/53-minute Sci-Fi/Fantasy (on Twin Earth Records), they don’t really need bonus points. The five-piece of vocalist Sarah Moore Lindsey, six-stringers Kyle Lewis and Ben Coudriet, bassist Jay Lindsey and drummer Chris DeHaven mostly avoid the sounding-like-Windhand trap through stretches of upbeat tempo, theremin and other noise flourish, and harmonies on guitar, but they’re never far from an undercurrent of doom, as opener “Leatherwing Bat” establishes and the long ambient midsection and subsequent nod of centerpiece “Nightbong” is only too happy to reinforce. “All Hallows Eve” gets a little cliché with its samples, but the dueling leads on 11-minute closer “Sourwolf” and included keyboard noise ensure proper distinction and mark Book of Wyrms as having come into their first long-player with a definite plan of action, which finds them doing well as a showcase of potential and plenty immersive in the here and now.

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Twin Earth Records on Bandcamp

 

Oxblood Forge, Oxblood Forge

oxblood forge self-titled

Despite the sort of cross-cultural ritualism of its cover art, Oxblood Forge’s self-titled debut EP has only the firmest of ideas where it’s coming from. The Whitman, Massachusetts-based five-piece boasts former Ichabod vocalist Ken MacKay as well as bassist Greg Dellaria from that band, and guitarist Robb Lioy (also in Four Speed Fury with MacKay) alongside guitarist Josh Howard and drummer Chris Capen, and in a coherent, vigilantly straightforward five-tracker they touch on aggressive fare in “Lashed to the Mast” as their Northeastern regionalism would warrant – we’re all very angry here; it’s the weather – and demonstrate a knack for hooks in “Inferno” and “Sister Midnight,” the latter blending screams and almost Torche-style melodies over clam chowder riffing before closer “Storm of Crows” opens foreboding with Dellaria’s bass and moves into the short release’s nastiest fare, MacKay sticking to harsher vocals as on the earlier “Night Crawler,” but in a darker instrumental context. They set a range here, and might be feeling things out in terms of working together as this band, but given the personnel involved and their prior familiarity with each other, it’s hard to imagine that if a follow-up is in the offing it’ll be all that long before it arrives. Consider notice served.

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Oxblood Forge on Bandcamp

 

The Heavy Crawls, The Heavy Crawls

the heavy crawls self-titled

Ukrainian trio The Heavy Crawls set out as a duo called just The Crawls and released a self-titled debut in 2013 that was picked up in 2015 by ultra-respected German imprint Nasoni Records. Under the new moniker, they get another stab at a first album with the 10-track/42-minute classic rocker The Heavy Crawls, the three-piece of founding guitarist/bassist/keyboardist/vocalist Max Tovstyi, drummer Inessa Joger and keyboardist/vocalist/percussionist Iryna Malyshevska evoking spirited boogie and comfortable groove on “She Said I Had to Wait” and the handclap-stomping “Girl from America.” Elements of garage rock show up on “Too Much Rock ‘n’ Roll” and the soul-swinging “I Had to Get Away,” but The Heavy Crawls are more interested in establishing a flow than being showy or brash, and the payoff for that comes in eight-minute closer “Burns Me from Inside,” which stretches out the jamming sensibility that earlier pieces like the organ-laced “One of a Kind” and the staccato “Friday, 13th” seem to be driving toward. Some growing to undertake, but the pop aspect in The Heavy Crawls’ songcraft provides intrigue, and their (second) debut shows a righteous commitment to form without losing its identity to it.

The Heavy Crawls website

The Heavy Crawls on Bandcamp

 

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Quarterly Review: Crowbar, Katatonia, Ethereal Riffian, Dot Legacy, Salem’s Bend, Thonian Horde, Second Sun, Ten Ton Slug, Komatsu, The Blue Sunshine Family Band

Posted in Reviews on December 29th, 2016 by JJ Koczan

the obelisk winter quarterly review

We continue with day four of the Quarterly Review. This batch is numbers 31-40 of the total 60, not that the numbers really mean anything. I know it’s list season — believe me, I know — but there’s no actual ranking going on. It’s just basically so I can keep track and remember what day it is. That’s not to say this is done off the cuff. Actually, there’s an embarrassing amount of planning behind these things. Months. And when I start actually getting the posts ready and realize I’ve slated the same record on two different days — something that’s happened no fewer than three times so far, needing each time to be corrected — it’s a clear demonstration of the value of my planning. Ha. Anyway, we press on. Together. Into the thick of it. Thanks for reading.

Quarterly Review #31-40:

Crowbar, The Serpent Only Lies

crowbar the serpent only lies

More than 25 years and 11 albums into a landmark career that helped prove the existence of the hairy beast known as “sludge metal,” Crowbar don’t owe anyone anything, and since returning to activity with 2011’s Sever the Wicked Hand (review here) and 2014’s Symmetry in Black, they’ve played like it. Their third post-resurgence outing is The Serpent Only Lies (on eOne Heavy), and though it works largely to form – that is, Crowbar are going to sound like Crowbar: low, slow, seeming to lurch even when dug into fits of gallop on “I am the Storm” or the early going of “The Enemy Beside You” – one still finds progression especially in the vocal approach of frontman and founder Kirk Windstein, who self-harmonizes effectively on the title-track’s standout hook as well as the later pair “On Holy Ground” and “Song of the Dunes,” the latter also resoundingly spacious in a way that offsets much of The Serpent Only Lies’ head-down intensity. This might be flourish or a companion to the core Crowbar sound that remains intact throughout, but the truth is it’s not like it needs to be there – Crowbar’s audience would still go to the shows even if the band stopped growing – but it’s entirely to the credit of the New Orleans legends that more than a quarter-century later they continue to progress. I guess that’s how Crowbar gets to be Crowbar.

Crowbar on Thee Facebooks

eOne Heavy on Thee Facebooks

 

Katatonia, The Fall of Hearts

katatonia the fall of hearts

Depending on what you count as a full-length, The Fall of Hearts (on Peaceville) is either the 10th or 11th studio record from Sweden’s Katatonia. It follows 2013’s acoustic Dethroned and Uncrowned, which reenvisioned 2012’s Dead End Kings and brings forth over an hour of new material from founding duo Jonas Renkse (vocals/guitar/etc.) and Anders “Blakkheim” Nyström (guitar/backing vocals), as well as Niklas Sandin (bass) and Daniel Moilanen (drums), who, working with engineer Karl Daniel Lidén (ex-Greenleaf, Demon Cleaner), continue to proffer resonant melancholy in abundance. As a band, Katatonia have had a number of different phases over the years, from their deathly beginnings through the later moves into melody, but as it stands on songs like “Decima,” with its acoustic and mellotron arrangement, and the seven-minute “Serac,” which plays back and forth between serene and some of The Fall of Hearts’ most intense thrust, they remain among heavy metal’s most recognizable acts. There is no one else who sounds like them, and they sound not quite like anyone else. This collection might be more about gradual steps forward than radical shifts in approach, but Katatonia have found a way to preach to their converted and keep growing at the same time, and that’s to be commended.

Katatonia on Thee Facebooks

Peaceville Records website

 

Ethereal Riffian, I am Deathless

ethereal riffian i am deathless

Issued via Robustfellow in a range of physical editions from an oversized CD digipak to cassette bundles, the two-song I. AM. Deathless EP from yet-underrated Ukrainian progressive ritualists Ethereal Riffian warrants the ceremony with which it arrives. Its two tracks, “Drum of the Deathless” (6:19) and “Sword of the Deathless” (9:57) closed and opened, respectively, the prior 2016 live outing, Youniversal Voice (review here), and in their studio form they bring to bear a vision of psychedelic metal given to atmospheric breadth that comes at the expense neither of purpose nor impact. The opener proves the more immediate of the pair, but as “Sword of the Deathless” plays out, it finds prog-metal swirl amid low-end starts and stops intertwined layers of multi-channel spoken word, acoustic and electric guitar and percussive tension, so that as it heads into its payoff and melodic finish, the resolution is both satisfying and something of a relief from the cacophony preceding. Forward-thinking and of marked substance, I. AM. Deathless offers a quick glimpse at the band’s scope and invites listeners to dive deep therein.

Ethereal Riffian on Thee Facebooks

Robustfellow Productions on Bandcamp

 

Dot Legacy, To the Others

dot legacy to the others

There isn’t much that’s off-limits to Parisian heavy rockers Dot Legacy. To wit, the near-rap-rock mania of opener “Horizon” from their second LP, To the Others (on Setalight Records), and the laid-back psych-lounge vibes that follow on “Grey Cardinal,” only to be swept away in crashes and chants later, leading to the driving desert punkery of “211.” Three songs, three distinct feels, and Dot Legacy only get weirder from there as they toy with fuzzed momentum on “5314” and “Dakota” before the dreamy post-rock meandering of “The Twelve,” the prog-pop of “Story of Fame” and piano-laden psych-drama of closer “Pioneer.” In 35 minutes, the four-piece cover more ground than most bands do in their whole careers, but that becomes even more admirable in that they manage not to just be all over the place, but to provide a consistent quality of songwriting to complement all that quirk. Add to that the attention to detail in vocal harmonies and arrangements, and as they follow-up their 2014 self-titled debut (review here), they reveal a clear sense of a master plan at work under all the brashness and genre-hopping.

Dot Legacy on Thee Facebooks

Setalight Records website

 

Salem’s Bend, Salem’s Bend

salem's bend self-titled

Self-released by the Los Angeles trio in late-2015 and picked up for a vinyl issue through Ripple Music, the self-titled debut from Salem’s Bend leaves little wonder as to why with its classic sensibility and the vibe proliferated by the natural-toned nod of a song like “Silverstruck.” Though still prone to a bit of Hendrix-style shred when it comes to lead guitar, the three-piece of Bobby (guitar/vocals), Kevin (bass) and Zach (drums) depart from some of the post-Radio Moscow all-thrust boogie in favor of more laid back fair and on that cut and the later “Sun and Mist,” which hits into a satisfying apex in its second half without feeling overcooked, as well as the six-minute finale “A Tip of Salem,” which nods through its initial movement before bursting out toward the end. In a crowded SoCal scene, just about anything Salem’s Bend can do to stand apart will serve them, and the fluidity they hone across these seven tracks sets them up to do just that.

Salem’s Bend on Thee Facebooks

Ripple Music on Bandcamp

 

Thonian Horde, Thonian Horde

thonian horde self-titled

Given the personnel involved, the black ‘n’ roll extremity of Thonian Horde’s self-titled debut full-length will no doubt come as a surprise to listeners. Formed in Boonsboro, Maryland, by bassist/vocalist Ron “Fezz” McGinnis (Pale Divine, Admiral Browning, etc.), guitarists Darren “Dirty” Waters (Weed is Weed) and Dan “D-Mize” Mize (Faith in Jane), and drummer Tyler “The Beast” Lee (Weed is Weed), one might expect high-order Frederick-style post-The Obsessed doom. Thonian Horde have more in common with Immortal on their centerpiece track “Darkest Nights Shadow,” and even as the closing “Psychonaut” finds a rock groove in its chorus, it does so with the hooky edge of Satyricon more than any of the members’ other outfits. No doubt that’s the point: doing something different. Indeed, the nine-tracker is a refreshing aesthetic reboot for the scene from whence it comes, holding fast to their region’s crucial lack of pretense even as they brazenly walk their own path – left-hand, of course.

Thonian Horde on Thee Facebooks

Thonian Horde on Bandcamp

 

Second Sun, Tachyonregenerator

second sun tachyonregenerator

I don’t know about you, but I missed out on Hopp/Förtvivlan, which was the 2015 debut full-length from Swedish rockers Second Sun, so to have Gaphals provide gentle encouragement to check it out by getting behind the two-songer single Tachyonregenerator is most welcome. Both cuts included – “Tachyonregenerator” and “Tror Faktiskt På Dig” – bask in classic vibe without being overly showy when it comes to retroism, and are marked out by the inclusion of organ amid the natural-sounding guitar, drums and bass, the vocals presented in Swedish across both pieces. It’s a quick eight-minutes perfect for the 7” pressing it’s been given, but again, makes enough of an impression that one is inclined toward further investigation, and given that, I can’t call it anything other than a success. I’ll go ahead and chalk up one more quality Swedish act to keep track of, because Second Sun offer tight-knit progressive leanings in a crisp package on Tachyonregenerator, and even if I’m late to the party, I’m glad I got to hear it.

Second Sun on Thee Facebooks

Gaphals Records website

 

Ten Ton Slug, Brutal Gluttonous Beast

ten ton slug brutal gluttonous beast

Some pretty clear self-awareness demonstrated in Ten Ton Slug’s self-released debut EP, Brutal Gluttonous Beast. The Galway, Ireland, five-piece had a prior live-recorded two-tracker, but these four songs mark their first studio outing, and as they draw together massive sludge riffing and more extreme, death metal-style growls, there’s precious little one might say to more accurately describe a track like “Trollhunter” – the opener and longest on the release (immediate points) – than that it lives up to the title, its second-half slowdown lurch prefacing a similar move in “Bloodburns” before the more rampaging “Subterranean” and noise-soaked burl of “Unit” take hold. Intense and vicious, but not necessarily unhinged, Brutal Gluttonous Beast finds Ten Ton Slug sounding remarkably sure in their approach, and one will await the news of their traveling to England to record with Chris Fielding at Skyhammer, since that seems to be the kind of presentation for which the tonal onslaught here is begging.

Ten Ton Slug on Thee Facebooks

Ten Ton Slug on Bandcamp

 

Komatsu, Recipe for Murder One

komatsu recipe for murder one

A half-decade after releasing their self-titled EP (review here), Eindhoven heavy/noise rockers Komatsu reemerge on Argonauta Records with the follow-up full-length, Recipe for Murder One. Boasting a guest appearance from Nick Oliveri on the suitably tumultuous “Lockdown,” the album leaves little to wonder what’s in that recipe in the darker-desert vibe of “So How’s About Billy” and “There Must be Something in Your Water,” which teases airy serenity in its first half only to go full-throttle for the second, but as the bass-driven lumber of the title-track and subtle melodic expansion of “The Sea is Calm Today” show, Komatsu haven’t wasted the last five years, instead constructing their own take on sonic density and sludge impulses that seems to hit with formidable impact regardless of tempo or tension level, both of which prove to be fluid elements at the four-piece’s disposal. They get the point across quickly in the stomp of “The Long Way Home,” but find suitable resolution in the nod of closer “Breathe,” rounding out a debut of significant character and depth with one last surprise in ambience it’s only fair to call progressive.

Komatsu on Thee Facebooks

Argonauta Records website

 

The Blue Sunshine Family Band, The Blue Sunshine Family Band

the blue sunshine family band self-titled

A double-guitar instrumental four-piece from Santa Rosa, California, The Blue Sunshine Family Band make their debut with a six-song/51-minute self-titled. Tracks presented as Roman numerals “I” through “VI,” though whether or not they’re actually the first six pieces the band has written, I couldn’t say. Either way, the impression immediately draws from “Sabbath Bloody Sabbath” – that great king of nod riffs – and first-name-only guitarists Billy and Kevin, bassist Matt and drummer Quinten build outward from there, dipping below the eight-minute mark only on “V” (7:14) as they unfurl solid grooves and tonal heft, seeming to leave room for vocals either consciously or not. The converted will find engagement and immersion in the crash and swinging turn of “IV,” as well as the David Paul Seymour cover art, and if The Blue Sunshine Family Band is the sound of this foursome getting their feet under them, they manage to accomplish that preliminary feat and then some in these tracks.

The Blue Sunshine Family Band on Thee Facebooks

The Blue Sunshine Family Band on Bandcamp

 

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Stoned Jesus Announce Tour Dates with Dopelord and Sunnata

Posted in Whathaveyou on December 13th, 2016 by JJ Koczan

It hasn’t been all that long since last we heard from Ukrainian heavy rockers Stoned Jesus, who in late-November made public their intentions toward a fourth full-length for 2017 to follow-up on their 2015 outing, The Harvest (review here), as well as to tour playing 2012’s sophomore album, Seven Thunder Roar (review here), in full to mark its fifth anniversary and continued interwebular resonance. That was — if that sentence wasn’t run-on enough to convey it — plenty of news to go on.

The Kiev trio offer another update and the first batch of Seven Thunders Roar dates, which will take place as a Baltic tour alongside Polish troupes Dopelord and Sunnata. More than solid company to keep between crushing riffs and more progressive fare, and as Stoned Jesus move forward from The Harvest, they do so seeming just as likely to proffer one as the other. To-date, each of their records has had something different to offer from its predecessors, and the band seem to keep a willful progression in mind with everything they do. Hard not to respect that, especially as it comes coupled with and probably derives from significant work put in on the road.

Guitarist/vocalist Igor Sidorenko mentions the poster for the tour below and I’ve linked to it rather than include it in the post on account of cartoon tits. If you’re dying to see cartoon tits, click the link. Otherwise, whatever. I’m tired of looking at them and tired of populating this site with them, thereby supporting the objectification cultural complex. So yeah, that’s why the poster isn’t included outright. I give bonus points for the Terminator 2 reference, though.

Dates follow:

stoned jesus gael mathieu

The sequels usually suck, but this one is a “Terminator 2”!

This cool poster by Maciej Kamuda signifies our return to Poland and Baltics with Dopelord (they release a new LP in January) and sunnata (“Zorya” was simply mindblowing) for THE PROCESSION II tour.

THE PROCESSION II dates:
27/01 – Vilnius, Peleda
28/01 – Tallinn, Rockstars
29/01 – Riga, Nabaklab
30/01 – Warsaw, Hydrozagadka
01/02 – Krakow, Zet Pe Te
02/02 – Wroclaw, Klub Firlej
03/02 – Poznan, U Bazyla
04/02 – Gdynia, Ucho

And YES we’ll be playing “Seven Thunders Roar” in full – plus some other HITS!

https://www.facebook.com/stonedjesusband/
http://stonedjesus.bigcartel.com/
http://instagram.com/stonedjesusband
http://twitter.com/StonedJesusBand
https://stonedjesus.bandcamp.com/

Stoned Jesus, The Harvest (2015)

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