Quarterly Review: Katatonia, Marmalade Knives, King Witch, Glass Parallels, Thems That Wait, Sojourner, Udyat, Bismarck, Gral Brothers, Astral Glide

Posted in Reviews on July 9th, 2020 by JJ Koczan

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Welcome to the penultimate day of the Summer 2020 Quarterly Review. I can only speak for myself, but I know it’s been a crazy couple months on this end, and I imagine whatever end you’re on — unless and probably even if you have a lot of money — it’s been the same there as well. Yet, it was no problem compiling 50 records to review this week, so if there’s a lesson to be taken from it all, it would seem to be that art persists. We may still be painting on cave walls when it comes to the arc of human evolution, but at least that’s something.

Have a great day and listen to great music.

Quarterly Review #31-40:

Katatonia, City Burials

katatonia city burials

Like their contemporaries in We are the Fashion Buying Personal Statement which provide best writing pieces on every academic topics asked by students My Dying Bride and - Pick our drugstore to buy medications. Secure payments and complete satisfaction when you purchase medications. Enjoy FDA-approved Paradise Lost, the latter-day period of work from Sweden’s Learn more about our professional writing services in knoxville tn. Hire your essay helper now and let professionals tackle your assignments to boost your grades! Katatonia veers back toward some measure of direct heaviness, as best custom college papers follow url expository research paper sample proposal research City Burials showcases in cuts like “Rein,” “Heart Set to Divide” and “Behind the Blood,” but more than either of those others mentioned, the Stockholm outfit refuse to forsake the melody and progressivism they’ve undertaken with their sound in the name of doing so. By the time they get to “Untrodden” at the end of the album’s 50-minute/11-song run, they’ve run a gamut from dark electronica to progressive-styled doom and back again, and with the founding duo of guitarist We are the Best weblink UK, USA. You can find all types of Cheap CourseWork Writing services here. Buy coursework online Anders Nyström and vocalist I??I Master Thesis Organizational Psychology jobs Writing Jobs From Home | write papers for money jobs Pay For Articles ???(Earn Extra Cash??)??? Jonas Renkse at the helm of the songwriting, they are definitive in their approach and richly emotive; a melancholy that is as identifiable in their songs as it is in the bands working under their influence. Their first work in four years, best college application essay competitive Essay On Civil Rights order of author names in research paper masters thesis structure City Burials is an assurance that Check out Ginger's online Dissertation La Mort, proofread your documents with just a click. Katatonia are in firm ownership and command of all aspects of their sound. As they approach their 30th year, they continue to move forward. That’s a special band.

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Peaceville Records website

 

Marmalade Knives, Amnesia

marmalade knives amnesia

Boasting production, mixing and percussion from Do you need your essay in several hours? Not a problem! Just ask "Business Plan For College" and our writers will prepare it for you. Super fast help with any The Golden Grass Why http://dubhosting.co.uk/business-continuity-plan-template-free/ and translation is something you need to think about now. Adam Kriney, The best online http://www.badeloft.com/dissertation-extradition-johnston-torture/ are known to have the most qualified dissertation writers UK ready to help you with all your academic problems. Marmalade Knives‘ debut album, research paper on teenage pregnancy my link writing an essay on leadership custom resume writing 2013 Amnesia, is a delight of freaky-but-not-overblown heavy psychedelia. Oh, it’s headed far, far out, but as the opening narration and the later drones of second cut “Rivuleting” make plain, they might push, but they’re not trying to shove, if you know what I mean. The buzz in “Best-Laid Plans” doesn’t undercut the warmth of the improvised-seeming solo, and likewise, “Rebel Coryell” is a mellow drifter that caps side A with a graceful sense of wandering the soundscape of its own making. The vibe gets spacey on “Xayante,” and “Ez-Ra” touches on a funkier swing before seeming to evolve into light as one does, and the 10-minute “Astrology Domine” caps with noise and a jammed out feel that underscores the outbound mood of the proceedings as a whole. Some of the pieces feel like snippets cut from longer jams, and they may or may not be just that, but though it was recorded in three separate locations, English Proofreading with Us. When it comes to Writing History Papers our service is one of the most trusted today. We have been in the business of Amnesia draws together well and flows easily, inviting the listener to do the same.

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Electric Valley Records webstore

 

King Witch, Body of Light

king witch body of light

Edinburgh’s http://futablog.com/diy-thesis-comments/: Polished Paper is a trusted provider of Essay editing services online. Our essay editors & proofreader provide 24/7 service. King Witch toe the line between classic metal and doom, but whatever you want to call them, just make sure you don’t leave out the word “epic.” The sweeping solo and soaring vocals on the opening title-track set the stage on their second LP, the hour-long ? Are you a student who works a full time job? Don't have the time to write your thesis or dissertation? Try an online Business Plan Customer Analysis. With Body of Light, and as much mastery as the band showed on their 2018 debut, Under the Mountain (review here), vocalist Laura Donnelly, guitarist Jamie Gilchrist, bassist Rory Lee and drummer Lyle Brown lay righteous waste to lofty expectations and bask in grandiosity on “Of Rock and Stone” and the linear-moving “Solstice I – She Burns,” the payoff of which is a high point of the album in its layered shred. Pieces like “Witches Mark” and “Order From Chaos” act as confirmation of their Euro-fest-ready fist-pumpery, and closer “Beyond the Black Gate” brings some atmosphere before its own headbang-worthy crescendo. Body of Light is a reminder of why you wanted to be metal in the first place.

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Listenable Records on Bandcamp

 

Glass Parallels, Aisle of Light

Glass Parallels Aisle of Light

Eminently listenable and repeat-worthy, Glass Parallels‘ debut LP, Aisle of Light, nonetheless maintains an experimentalist flair. The solo-project of Justin Pinkerton (Golden Void, Futuropaco), covers a swath of ground from acid folk to psych-funk to soul vibes, at times bordering on shoegaze but seeming to find more expressive energy in centerpiece “Asphyxiate” and the airy capper “Blood and Battlegrounds” than any sonic portrayal of apathy would warrant. United by keys, pervasive guitar weirdness and Pinkerton‘s at-times-falsetto vocals, usually coated in reverb as they are, Aisle of Light brings deceptive depth for being a one-man production. Its production is spacious but still raw enough to give the drums an earthy sound as they anchor the synth-laden “March and April,” which is probably fortunate since otherwise the song would be liable to float off and not return. One way or another, the songs stand out too much to really be hypnotic, but they’re certainly fun to follow.

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Thems That Wait, Stonework

thems that wait stonework

Stonework is the self-aware debut full-length from Portland, Maine, trio Thems That Wait, and it shoulders itself between clenched-teeth metallic aggression and heavier fuzz rock. They’re not the first to tread such ground and they know it, but “Sidekick” effectively captures Scissorfight-style groove, and “Kick Out” is brash enough in its 1:56 to cover an entire record’s worth of burl. Interludes “Digout” and “Vastcular” provide a moment to catch your breath, which is appreciated, but when what they come back with is the sure-fisted “Paragon” or a song like “Shitrograde,” it really is just a moment. They close with “Xmortis,” which seems to reference Evil Dead II in its lyrics, which is as good as anything else, but from “Sleepie Hollow” onward, guitarist/vocalist Craig Garland, bassist Mat Patterson and drummer Branden Clements find their place in the dudely swing-and-strike of riffs, crash and snarl, and they do so with a purely Northeastern attitude. This is the kind of show you might get kicked at.

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Sojourner, Premonitions

sojourner premonitions

Complexity extends to all levels of Sojourner‘s third album and Napalm Records debut, Premonitions, in that not only does the band present eight tracks and 56 minutes of progressive and sprawling progressive black metal, varied in craft and given a folkish undercurrent by Chloe Bray‘s vocals and tin whistle, but also the sheer fact that the five-piece outfit made the album in at least five different countries. Recording remotely in Sweden, New Zealand, Scotland and Italy, they mixed/mastered in Norway, and though one cringes at the thought of the logistical nightmare that might’ve presented, Sojourner‘s resultant material is lush and encompassing, a tapestry of blackened sounds peppered with clean and harsh singing — Emilio Crespo handles the screams — keyboards, and intricate rhythms behind sprawling progressions of guitar. At the center of the record, “Talas” and “Fatal Frame” (the shortest song and the longest) make an especially effective pair one into the other, varied in their method but brought together by viciously heavy apexes. The greatest weight, though, might be reserved for closer “The Event Horizon,” which plods where it might otherwise charge and brings a due sense of largesse to the finale.

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Napalm Records website

 

Udyat, Oro

udyat oro

The order of the day is sprawl on Udyat‘s recorded-live sophomore LP, Oro, as the Argentinian outfit cast a wide berth over heavy rock and terrestrial psych, the 13-minute “Sangre de Oro” following shorter opener “Los Picos de Luz Eterna” (practically an intro at a bit over six minutes) with a gritty flourish to contrast the tonal warmth that returns with the melodic trance-induction at the start of “Los últimos.” That song — the centerpiece of the five-track outing — tops 15 minutes and makes its way into a swell of fuzz with according patience, proceeding through a second stage of lumbering plod before a stretch of noise wash leads pack to the stomp. The subsequent “Después de los Pasos, el Camino Muere” is more ferocious by its end and works in some similar ground, and closer “Nacimiento” seems to loose itself in a faster midsection before returning to its midtempo roll. Oro borders on cosmic doom with its psychedelic underpinnings and quiet stretches, but its movement feels ultimately more like walking than floating, if that makes any sense.

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Bismarck, Oneiromancer

Bismarck Oneiromancer

To anyone who might suggest that extreme metal cannot also be forward-thinking, Bismarck submit the thoughtful bludgeon of Oneiromancer, a five-song/35-minute aesthetic blend that draws from doom, death, hardcore and sundry other metals, while keeping its identity in check through taut rhythm and atmospheric departures. Following the chants of opening intro “Tahaghghogh Resalat,” the Chris Fielding-produced follow-up to Bismarck‘s 2018 debut, Urkraft (review here), showcases an approach likewise pummeling and dynamic, weighted in ambience and thud alike. “Oneiromancer” itself starts with blastbeats and a plundering intensity before breaking into a more open midsection, but “The Seer” is absolutely massive. Despite being shorter than either the title-track or “Hara,” both of which top nine minutes, and closer “Khthon” underscores the blood-boiling tension cast throughout with one last consuming plod. Fucking raging. Fucking awesome. Pure sonic catharsis. Salvation through obliteration. If these are dreams being divined as the title hints, the mind is a limitless and terrifying place. Which, yes.

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The Gral Brothers, Caravan East

gral brothers caravan east

I won’t say it’s seamless or intended to be, but as Albuquerque, New Mexico, two-piece The Gral Brothers make their initial move on Caravan East between cinematic Americana and industrial brood, samples of dialogue on “Cactus Man” and violin in the seven-minute soundscaper “In Die Pizzeria” seem to draw together both a wistfulness and a paranoia of the landlocked. Too odd to fall in line with the Morricone-worship of Cali’s Spindrift, “Crowbar” brings Spaghetti West and desert dub together with a confidence that makes it seem like a given pairing despite the outwardly eerie vibes and highly individualized take, and “Santa Sleeves” is beautiful to its last, even if the lone bell jingle is a bit much, while “Silva Lanes” pushes even further than did “Circuit City” into mechanized experimental noisemaking. They end with the birdsong-inclusive “Ode to Marge,” leaving one to wonder whether it’s sentiment or cynicism being expressed. Either way, it’s being expressed in a way not quite like anything else, which is an accomplishment all on its own.

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Desert Records on Bandcamp

 

Astral Glide, Flamingo Graphics

astral glide flamingo graphics

When you’re at the show and the set ends, Flamingo Graphics is the CD you go buy at the merch table. It’s as simple as that. Recorded this past March over the course of two days, the debut album from Floridian foursome Astral Glide is raw to the point of being barebones, bootleg room-mic style, but the songwriting and straightforward purposes of the group shine through. They’re able to shift structures and mood enough to keep things from being too staid, but they’re never far off from the next heavy landing, as “Devastation” and the closer “Forever” show in their respective payoffs, that latter going all out with a scream at the end, answering back to the several others that show up periodically. While their greatest strength is in the mid-paced shove of rockers like “Space Machine” and “Scarlett” and the speedier “Workhorse,” there are hints of broader intentions on Flamingo Graphics, though they too are raw at this point. Very much a debut, but still one you pick up when the band finishes playing. You might not even wait until the end of the show. Meet them back at the table, and so on.

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King Witch Set April 24 Release Date for Second LP Body of Light

Posted in Whathaveyou on February 5th, 2020 by JJ Koczan

King Witch (photo by Alan Swan)

A little bummed to see that the news of King Witch‘s impending second album doesn’t arrive with any unveiled audio, but then, I would be. Their first one, 2018’s Under the Mountain (review here), did nothing to shy away from its affinity for metallic glories, and I’ve no reason to expect the luster has dulled in the time since. Plus, calling out a Rainbow influence — specifically Rainbow, separate from Deep Purple, Black Sabbath or anything else Ritchie Blackmore or Ronnie James Dio have ever been or were involved in — is among the quickest ways to my heart. Straight to it, you might say.

So here we are:

king witch body of light

KING WITCH ANNOUNCE NEW ALBUM ‘BODY OF LIGHT’!

Formed in late 2015 in a dark cavern beneath the streets of old Edinburgh, Bristling with dark majesty, KING WITCH draw comparisons ranging from Black Sabbath and Candlemass to Mastodon and High On Fire. The band quickly earned themselves a reputation as a formidable live act and have toured the UK and Europe in support of their first full length debut album “Under The Mountain” which was released on Listenable in 2018 .

KING WITCH ’s highly anticipated second album “Body of Light” further focuses their ability to fuse dense riffage with haunting yet powerful vocal lines and melodies. “Body of Light’ wider dynamic range takes the listener on an electrifying journey from dark, brooding passages through to full-tilt Heavy Metal glory !.

The band comments : « Musically, inspiration came from the same directions as always – the classic doom of Trouble and Candlemass alongside the ever-present influence of Sabbath, Purple and Rainbow. “

Laura Donnelly (vocals) has delivered an amazing artwork once again as she develops : « The cover art depicts a woman floating in space with her skeleton/soul leaving her body. Our title track “Body of Light” is about Astral Projection and having the ability to straddle between different worlds. I felt the concept represented the album well in different ways by illustrating themes such as the occult, myth and legend, the human condition, escapism and, primarily, the question of what lies beyond. »

KING WITCH ’s ‘Body of Light’ was Recorded at Deep Storm Productions, produced and Mixed by Kevin Hare and Jamie Gilchrist and mastered by Tom Dring.

It is scheduled for an April 24 release date.

Tracklisting
1. Body Of Light 05:49
2. Of Rock And Stone 08:26
3. Call Of The Hunter 06:31
4. Return To Dust 08:22
5. Order From Chaos 05:37
6. Solstice I – She Burns 10:16
7. Witches Mark 03:43
8. Solstice II 01:29
9. Beyond the Black Gate 09:55

King Witch are :
Laura Donnelly – Vocals
Jamie Gilchrist – Guitar
Rory Lee – Bass
Lyle Brown – Drums

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King Witch, “Carnal Sacrifice” official video

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Desertfest London 2020: I Mean, Seriously. God Damn.

Posted in Whathaveyou on January 20th, 2020 by JJ Koczan

desertfest london 2020 header

Even apart from how it relates to the other festivals under the Desertfest banner — Berlin, Belgium, New York — Desertfest London set an extremely high standard for itself last year, and it was obvious coming into Desertfest London 2020 that they’d have their work cut out for them in reaching those same heights. Their lineup isn’t finished yet, and of course we’ll see how it all looks when the day-schedule is fully unveiled, but bringing Lowrider on board to support their first release in 20 years, Refractions, is nothing if not significant — they played there in 2013 and were fantastic — but they’ll also be the the UK debut for Khemmis from the US and at least the first time at Desertfest for MaidaVale from Sweden. They’ve pretty much lost their minds and added 20 bands in a single shot here, so there’s plenty to dig into, but you’ll note King Witch, who are frickin’ awesome, as well as The Hazytones, Alunah and the slew of others taking part. They’re building a desert empire in Camden Town.

Has it been nine years already? I may have to start planning my return for year 10 if they’ll have me.

From thee social medias:

desertfest london 2020 poster

DESERTFEST ADDS 20 NAMES TO LONDON LINE-UP, INCLUDING GRAVEYARD AS NEXT HEADLINER

Tickets – https://dice.fm/festival/desertfest20

Desertfest is thrilled to be kicking off the new year in style with the apt number of 20 names added for our 9th edition this May. Sweden’s most beloved export of hard rock, the impeccable Graveyard will bring their unique bluesy tones to London as headliners of Desertfest London 2020. The Swedish family reunion continues as we welcome back one of the most synonymous desert rock (and Desertfest) bands, the iconic Lowrider return with not only a rare live performance, but their first record in almost two decades. A masterclass in the melting pot of genre fluidity comes from two-man powerhouse Big Business, whilst psychedelic stoner rock trio Somali Yacht Club will make the trip from Ukraine to play Desertfest for the first time.

Speaking of debuts we’ll play host to the first UK show for Denver melancholic doom outfit Khemmis and Sweden delivers once again with rock’n’roll four-piece MaidaVale. Elsewhere on the bill we are thrilled to welcome Your Highness, Hexis, FIREBREATHER, The Hazytones, Opium Lord, King Witch, GURT, Alunah, 1782, Tides Of Sulfur, Doomicidal, Under, A Gazillion Angry Mexicans and Dunes.

As you may have noticed, The Picturebooks have unfortunately had to cancel their performance at Desertfest due to a schedule conflict out of our control. However with more acts still to be unveiled, plus day tickets on sale soon there’s much more to come for our 9th edition.

Weekend tickets are on sale now via this link – https://link.dice.fm/desertfest20

Artwork by Piotr w. Osburne

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Lowrider, Ode to Io Deluxe Edition (2017)

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King Witch Premiere Video for “Carnal Sacrifice”

Posted in Bootleg Theater on January 14th, 2019 by JJ Koczan

king witch

The metal runs true through the heart of King Witch‘s 2018 debut album, Under the Mountain (review here), and the rush that the Edinburgh four-piece put into the beginning of “Carnal Sacrifice” and the hook that emerges from there is as much as defining moment for them as one could ask. It’s a track that recalls the best of classic metal and its modern interpretations, touching on doom in the way that Tony Iommi gradually accepted his role as a founding figure of what metal became, while moving swiftly at an intense pace that speaks to the precise execution of thrash that emerged to dirty-up the otherwise shiny impression of the NWOBHM. It’s fucking metal, in other words. I don’t know how else you would want or need to say it. All things metal, and metal in all things.

Of course, Under the Mountain as a whole varies in mood, pace, horn-raising induction, and so on, but “Carnal Sacrifice” leaves no question as to where it’s coming from. Brought to bear by the lineup of vocalist Laura Donnelly, guitarist Jamie Gilchrist, bassist Simon Anger (since replaced by Rory Lee) and drummer Lyle Brown, it is delivered with festival-ready nobility — and take your pick in that regard, whether it’s Wacken in Germany or Download in the UK or perhaps even Hellfest, as King Witch‘s label, Listenable Records, is likewise based in France — and an awareness of the style to which it’s playing. One can hear elements cast from Candlemass and a subtle technicality in Gilchrist‘s guitar that speaks to an underlying progressive influence, but the prevailing for-headbangers-by-headbangers remains, and Donnelly‘s powerhouse vocals and command are right at the center of that.

I had the pleasure of premiering “Carnal Sacrifice,” the audio of the track itself, with the review linked above, but frankly, as we come upon a year since Under the Mountain‘s release, I’m happy to have the video premiering below as an excuse to revisit it. Call me a sucker for a classic metal hook, if you want — I’ll only take it as a compliment — but “Carnal Sacrifice” continues to highlight many of the strengths in King Witch‘s debut and why it seemed upon its arrival to hold so much promise for future righteousness to come.

The clip takes footage from the 1922 silent horror film Haxan, and splices it with footage of the band playing to create a suitable atmosphere, and that’s cool and all, but really, they could’ve made a video of the band playing with a bunch of adorable puppies and the song would still kick ass.

Have at it, and enjoy:

King Witch, “Carnal Sacrifice” video premiere

King Witch on “Carnal Sacrifice”:

“Carnal Sacrifice is inspired lyrically by the classic horror films of the ’60s and early ’70s, but the footage from Haxan suited the song so well that we had to use it — it’s crazy that this film was made in 1922 and still has a very sinister edge.”

“Carnal Sacrifice” – taken from King Witch’s debut album Under The Mountain released in February 2018 via Listenable Records. Available now in CD/LP/Digital. Live footage recorded by Alan Swan. Video created by Laura Donnelly.

ORDER HERE : https://kingwitchmerch.bigcartel.com

King Witch live:
21st February, The Arches – Coventry
22nd February. The Dev – Camden
23rd February, The Underground – Bradford
24th February, West Street Live – Sheffield
8th March, Bannermans – Edinburgh

King Witch is:
Jamie Gilchrist – Guitar
Laura Donnelly – Vocals
Rory Lee – Bass
Lyle Brown – Drums

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Review & Track Premiere: King Witch, Under the Mountain

Posted in audiObelisk, Reviews on January 24th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

king witch under the mountain

[Click play above to stream ‘Carnal Sacrifice’ from King Witch’s Under the Mountain. Album is out March 16 via Listenable Records.]

Some heavy metal makes its impact with raw, blistering fury. It speaks to something primitive and disaffected in its audience, manifesting a sense of violent otherness that, at times, pushes the limits of sonic endurance to its very extremes. King Witch don’t play this kind of metal. They play the other kind. As the Edinburgh-based four-piece make their noteworthy debut with the nine-song Under the Mountain via Listenable Records, they do so with an overriding sense of poise and clarity of purpose. Their sound is crisply-presented, their songwriting efficient, their performances energetic and powerful.

Individual tracks present different vibes, whether that’s the rolling undulations and progressive forward drive of third cut “Solitary” or the thrashier thrust of the later “Possession,” but especially with a foundation of hooks like those of “Carnal Sacrifice” and the near-seven-minute centerpiece “Approaching the End,” which recalls finer moments of post-Ozzy-era Black Sabbath in its sense of class and stage-presence-in-the-studio spirit, Under the Mountain is unafraid either to blaze ahead at top speed directly in the face of the listener or to stand back and manifest its ideas with a precision bordering on the graceful. As Under the Mountainwas preceded only by a 2015 EP titled Shoulders of Giants, it is all the more impressive to consider for being the band’s debut, and with the lineup of vocalist Laura Donnelly, guitarist Jamie Gilchrist, bassist Simon Anger and drummer Lyle Brown, King Witch emerge from their first album having showcased present realization and future potential in kind. That’s the kind of metal they play.

They execute it by engaging with a number of subgenres, and opener “Beneath the Waves” brims with rolling intention and sets a tone somewhere between Candlemass and less specifically doomed, updated NWOBHM methods. A current of keys adds flourish to the arrangement, but the most striking immediate effect comes from Donnelly‘s vocals, which from “Beneath the Waves” and into the commanding chorus of “Carnal Sacrifice” and even in the more laid back chug of “Solitary;” one can her a trained-seeming vibrato that only works to bolster the coherence of the material overall. She stands up to the Judas Priest-ery of the subsequent title-track, on which Gilchrist offers a particularly choice guitar lead, a bit of shred setting up the dynamic tempo change into the chunkier “Approaching the End,” which is perhaps the most singularly doomed moment on Under the Mountain, though neither the guitar nor the vocals are wanting for showcase moments throughout the proceedings.

The initial shove Under the Mountain elicits in “Beneath the Waves” and the shouting hook of “Carnal Sacrifice,” while still controlled in style and delivery, is an energetic blast to start the record, and though “Solitary” seems to move immediately outward from there with a spacious guitar intro and longer runtime, it remains informs by the vitality of the tracks prior, and the same could certainly be said of the careening title-track that follows, its jabbing riff opening up to a thrash-style chorus that would seem to reveal Anger‘s bass as the secret weapon of the band, subtly thickening and complementing the rhythm while adding flourish to stand up to Brown‘s drums. A slowdown about halfway through gives “Under the Mountain” a break into nod that once more Donnelly guides the audience through masterfully, and when the gallop begins anew to toward a final chorus, it’s a further highlight of the songwriting acumen at work on Under the Mountain as a whole and the sheer efficiency with which King Witch bring their material to bear.

king witch

That notion extends to the interactions between the tracks across the record’s span as well as to the songs themselves, as already heard in the tempo shift between “Carnal Sacrifice”‘s riotous finish and the start of “Solitary.” Likewise, “Approaching the End” — which might be the highlight achievement here in blending classic metal, doom and an innate sense of personality in one summary progression — picks up with a slower pulse than the title-track before it, and as by its end it hits a raging payoff, the subdued and bluesy strum that follows in “Ancients” feels like all the more of an aesthetic outward reach on the part of King Witch — a departure from the strictly metallic vibe that they’re no less able to pull off cleanly and with intent. Brown‘s toms signal a kind of middle ground resolution in the subsequent “Hunger,” and sure enough, what emerges there is one of Under the Mountain‘s most resonant chugs, a spacious verse and a sweeping chorus, all of this speaking to perhaps the stylistic melding process that the band might undertake as they move forward from this debut.

Always difficult to speculate on that kind of thing, but if there’s a point being made as King Witch round out Under the Mountain, it’s on the more furious side of their sound, which frankly it sounds like they’re having too much fun executing to expect it to completely disappear anytime soon, whatever their sound ultimately becomes. Both under four minutes long, “Possession” and “Black Dog Blues” make a sharp finishing duo, the former with a vicious forward thrust and the latter with head-spinning percussive turns as if to make the point that the band has only begun to explore the various methods of what will eventually become their style.

The real question coming out of Under the Mountain is whether that style will remain as multi-faceted as it is in these songs or cohere over time into some combination of elements through which King Witch find further individualized expression, but this concern is for the next record, and if anything, Under the Mountain demonstrates with its urgency and ambition that this is a group not just working haphazardly toward whatever ends they may discover along the way. Instead, these tracks clearly indicate a group working as one unit with common goals, and listening to the finished product of Under the Mountain, it’s hard to imagine the first of those common goals hasn’t been realized.

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King Witch Post Video for “Beneath the Waves”

Posted in Bootleg Theater on December 18th, 2017 by JJ Koczan

king witch alan swan photography

There is a strong current of metallic righteousness in Under the Mountain, the debut full-length from Edinburgh four-piece King Witch. Marked out by the powerhouse vocals of Laura Donnelly, songs like the rampaging title-track, “Possession” and “Carnal Sacrifice” are propulsive atop Lyle Brown‘s crisply popping snare, the thrashing-at-a-moment’s-notice riffs of Jamie Gilchrist and the low-end punch of Simon Anger. As “Black Dog Blues” sprints the record to its conclusion, it seems only fitting that a siren should go off in the last couple measures. A sense of emergency well earned. Go, go, go.

Still, that rush doesn’t quite take into account moves that King Witch make elsewhere on Under the Mountain — which is due out Feb. 9 via Listenable Records — such as the fluid rollout of the north-of-six-minutes progressive nodder “Solitary,” its post-title-track doomly counterpart “Approaching the End,” which stomps out its rhythm calling to mind the best of early Candlemass, or the purposefully bluesy “Ancients,” which follows. Even the more uptempo “Hunger” seems more geared toward rock than metal, so already on their first album, we hear a strong refusal from King Witch to remain one-sided. As the album plays out its 43-minute run, that ends up being one of its great strengths.

“Beneath the Waves,” the leadoff cut for which the band has a newly-unveiled Moby Dick-style video, would seem to be a hook-laden middle ground between several of these impulses, and for that it makes both a fitting opener and a solid candidate as a single. I’ll hope to have more on the album before it’s out, but you’ll find the clip for “Beneath the Waves” on the player below, followed by more info from the PR wire.

As always, I hope you enjoy:

King Witch, “Beneath the Waves” official video

This February, Listenable Records will unleash Under The Mountain, the debut full-length from Scotland-based metal/doom rockers KING WITCH. In advance of its release [comes] the band’s official video for “Beneath The Waves.”

Elaborates vocalist Laura Donnelly, “‘Beneath The Waves’ was inspired by stories such as Moby Dick and explores man’s need to destroy anything and everything beautiful, dangerous, and unfamiliar… and the retribution dealt in return. This track felt like a natural choice for the video – soaring vocals, massive drums and some huge riffs!”

KING WITCH:
Laura Donnelly – vocals
Jamie Gilchrist – guitars
Lyle Brown – drums
Simon Anger – bass

King Witch on Thee Facebooks

King Witch on Instagram

King Witch on Bandcamp

Listenable Records website

Listenable Records on Thee Facebooks

Listenable Records on Twitter

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King Witch to Release Under the Mountain Feb. 9

Posted in Whathaveyou on December 11th, 2017 by JJ Koczan

Fucking. Doom. Metal. You know you did something right when a label like Listenable comes knocking to put out your debut album after only releasing one EP, and quite frankly, it doesn’t take more than about two minutes into the opening track from King Witch‘s 2015 Shoulders of Giants three-songer — streaming below courtesy of the Edinburgh-based four-piece’s Bandcamp — to get a sense of what the appeal was. Classic-style doom metal fronted by the powerful and creatively arranged vocals of Laura Donnelly ensues, grandiose and righteously irony-free. My only hope is the album follows suit, because if it does, look out for this one. It could be an absolute beast.

They’ve got copious album info here from the PR wire, but make sure you dig into that EP audio too if you haven’t heard them before. I’ve hand Candlemass on the brain lately, granted, but King Witch are scratching that itch for epic doom quite nicely as well.

Right on:

king witch under the mountain

KING WITCH: Edinburgh-Based Metal/Doom Rockers To Release Under The Mountain Via Listenable Records This February; Artwork And Track-By-Track Breakdown Revealed

Scotland-based metal/doom rockers KING WITCH will release their debut full-length, Under The Mountain, via Listenable Records early this February.

Under The Mountain was recorded and produced by guitarist Jamie Gilchrist at their underground studio in their home city of Edinburgh, mixed and mastered by Tom Dring at Vagrant Recordings (Dragged Into Sunlight, Acolyte) in Southport and comes swathed in artwork created by vocalist Laura Donnelly. The record serves as KING WITCH’s follow-up to their debut EP, Shoulders Of Giants, and boasts nine riff-laden tracks offset by the powerful yet bewitching vocals of Donnelly. Influenced by everything from Black Sabbath and Led Zeppelin to Mastodon and High On Fire, Under The Mountain is as melodic as it is monolithic, taking its listener on a journey from soulful doom to full-tilt metal mayhem.

Formed in early 2015 in a dark cavern beneath the streets of old Edinburgh, KING WITCH manifests a potent and heavy brew of old school metal and the meatiest of ’70s classic rock. In a time where many seek to stick rigidly within the confines of their chosen genre, KING WITCH simply writes the songs they want to play.

Under The Mountain is scheduled for a February 9th, 2018 release via Listenable Records. For preorders visit listenable.net. A track-by-track guide to Under The Mountain as described by the band can be found below.

Under The Mountain Track Listing:
1. Beneath The Waves
2. Carnal Sacrifice
3. Solitary
4. Under The Mountain
5. Approaching The End
6. Ancients
7. Hunger
8. Possession
9. Black Dog Blues

“Beneath The Waves” – This is inspired by stories such as Moby Dick and explores man’s need to destroy anything and everything beautiful, dangerous, and unfamiliar… and the retribution dealt in return.

“Carnal Sacrifice” – A homage to all the old Hammer horror films, particularly To The Devil A Daughter, an innocent born for the sole purpose of being a sacrificial vehicle of hell – topped off with some fake tomato sauce blood!

“Solitary” – This song is about Mother Earth birthing the human race only to be sucked dry and left barren. It’s about a vast loneliness that can be felt even when surrounded by life.

“Under The Mountain” – An upbeat classic metal song! It reeks of adventure. The lyrics have been inspired by stories such as Conan The Barbarian and Lord Of The Rings.

“Approaching The End” – A song about the moments before death and the feeling you’ve not achieved everything you wanted/needed to. It’s about the creeping fear that it’s not all white lights and glowing tunnels and about the not knowing where we go and what happens to us after death.

“Ancients” – This track focuses on the majesty of the Mountain. Breathtakingly beautiful yet treacherous to all. Inspiration comes from our home of Scotland which is filled with ancient mystery and awe inspiring mountainous landscapes.

“Hunger” – “Hunger” is about man’s greed and the feeling of never being satisfied with life, which further drives humankind to destroy and consume relentlessly.

“Possession” – This can either be about demonic possession or insanity. In both you are not yourself – like someone or something else trying to get out.

“Black Dog Blues” – Something most of us can relate to: This is about depression and how it feels like something that is always with you like an old acquaintance. It lurks and waits, then, when you least expect it, it slides on in and makes itself at home.

KING WITCH:
Laura Donnelly – vocals
Jamie Gilchrist – guitars
Lyle Brown – drums
Simon Anger – bass

http://www.facebook.com/kingwitch
http://www.instagram.com/kingwitchband
https://kingwitchband.bandcamp.com/
http://www.listenable.net
http://www.facebook.com/listenablerecs

King Witch, Shoulders of Giants EP (2015)

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Live Review: Emerald Haze 2017 Night One, Sept. 1, 2017

Posted in Features, Reviews on September 2nd, 2017 by JJ Koczan

09.02.17 – 00.30 – Friday night/Saturday morning – Sid’s house

First night of an inaugural edition of a festival. I couldn’t help but be affected by a kind of ambient level of anxiety in the room, though I’ll say as well that the hypercaffeination factor probably didn’t help in that regard. It was a cloudy day in Dublin with just a bit of a chill in the air and 10 bands on the bill, and before I put myself in the darkened recesses of the Voodoo Lounge for the evening, I sat at the coffee shop and could see the sundry black-t-shirt-clad weirdos who’d be attending the fest. They were easy enough to pick out.

The show got underway at 19.00 with Elder Druid on The Obelisk Stage, which even though I’m here and have seen it in-person still seems more than a little unreal, and was just about nonstop from there until Wild Rocket finished on the Mother Fuzzers Ball Stage after midnight, so there was plenty to see. I did the best I could with the back and forth and tried not to look like too much of an ass taking notes in between. Here are the results of that effort:

Elder Druid

elder-druid-photo-jj-koczan

Well, if you want to get things rolling, you might as well get someone that rolls, and Elder Druid have that part down. The Northern Irish sludgers weren’t heretofore unknown to me, having checked out their 2016 debut EP, Magicka (review here), and they broke out riff after sludgy riff for the early crowd filing in. It hardly seemed like a coincidence they were starting off the show. Although they’re from up north, like a lot of the representation Irish heavy would get throughout the night to follow, they were young and hungry, and looking to establish themselves as a force to the audience assembled. Aggro vocals over Southern-style riffs aren’t necessarily uncharted territory, but for a newer group, they worked quickly to find their momentum and held people in check for the duration, sounding full and mean through the Voodoo Lounge soundsystem with pro-shop lighting flashing behind them. They were angrier than a lot of the vibe would be for the rest of the night, but definitely drew people right into the thick of it with their set. They’re about to release their debut album, Carmina Satanae, on Oct. 6, and I hope I get to dig into it, because it was a fast half-hour from them to start the night.

Blaak Heat

blaak-heat-photo-jj-koczan

Talk about a band who deserves more respect than they get. I suppose that’ll happen when your stuff is so head-spinningly complex, full of frenetic rhythmic changes, blinding turns, obscure Eastern-inflected scales and progressive melodies, but still. Playing as a five-piece and sharing three members with Abrahma in percussionist Sacha Viken, guitarist Nicolas Heller and bassist  Guillaume Theoden — which left just guitarist/vocalist Thomas Bellier and drummer Mike Amster in the lineup from when I last saw them — they opened with “Sword of Hakim” and “Al-Andalus” from their new 7″ The Arabian Fuzz (review here) and proved once again how absolutely underrated they are and have been basically since they started. I had talked to them earlier in the day and Bellier said they had new stuff in the works, demos and whatnot (which I’d love to hear, though he doesn’t seem the type to send something unfinished, even just to check out), and while their 2016 full-length, Shifting Mirrors (review here), was the farthest they’d yet reached, the new single proves they’re still progressing, still pushing themselves, and I hope that will continue, because the results have never been anything less than stellar. They might be underrated, they might deserve more respect than they get, but clearly they’re chasing something within themselves sonically and that journey seems to thrive on the validation from the creativity that results from its undertaking.

Zlatanera

zlatanera-photo-jj-koczan

They were the first act upstairs on the Mother Fuzzers Ball Stage, and like much of what followed them in the smaller room, they played a more straightforward vibe and did well representing the native Irish scene. I hadn’t quite realized the shape the evening would take until I actually looked at the schedule, with international bands exclusively downstairs and Irish acts upstairs, but it made sense, and it was clear to see who the locals were once the double-guitar five-piece got going. As had Elder DruidZlatanera drew a good early crowd, and though I was kind of in and out for their set as I wanted to catch the end of Blaak Heat back downstairs — conflicts, conflicts, conflicts; back and forth is life at a festival — when I went back down I could still hear them from the back of the bigger room, so they were clearly doing something right. Light on frills, but their sound filled that upstairs room perfectly.

Abrahma

abrahma-photo-jj-koczan

Parisian progressive heavy rockers Abrahma kept the theme — and the lineup — rolling from Blaak HeatViken moved behind the drum kit at the back of the deep downstairs stage, and Theoden and Heller switched sides from left to right as founding Abrahma guitarist/vocalist Sebastien Bismuth took the center spot. I’ve been fortunate enough to catch Abrahma live once before, in the Netherlands for Roadburn 2015 (review here), but neither Theoden nor Viken were in the band at that point, so it was half like seeing them for the first time anyway, even knowing how dynamic a frontman Bismuth is onstage. And he is. They said earlier this summer they’d be recording a new album this Fall as a follow-up to 2015’s Reflections in the Bowels of a Bird (review here), and I hope they get there, because they seemed to be pretty locked in when it came to their presentation, right down to a pleasant-as-hell-surprise cover of Type O Negative‘s “Red Water (Christmas Mourning)” from October Rust. Unexpected, to be sure, and twice as daring without keys, but Bismuth led the charge through a two-guitar interpretation, and it’s worth noting that even after the show that song continues to be stuck in my head, where I hope it will stay for, I don’t know, ever? In all seriousness, I’m very, very intrigued to hear where their new (original) material takes AbrahmaReflections in the Bowels of a Bird added to much to their sound even compared to the preceding 2012 outing, Through the Dusty Paths of Our Lives (review here), that I can only wonder what the next step in that process will be. One to look forward to for 2018, at the very least.

Mount Soma

mount-soma-photo-jj-koczan

I was really hoping they’d be good, because I bought one of their shirts even before they started playing. Long story. Not really, but a boring story, so we’ll call it long and leave it at that. Being there to catch Mount Soma‘s mix of melodic and nasty heavy meant again trodding upstairs in my plodding-old-man kind of way, and again, when I got there, I found the native Dubliners, like Zlatanera before them, giving a right-on impression of Irish underground heavy. The scene representing itself to itself: here we are. Obviously I’m an outsider and no expert to start with, but the understanding I’ve come to is that while the UK has been in something of a boom the last decade or so, that’s kind of overshadowed what’s actually happening here in terms of outside bands coming to tour and native Irish acts garnering wider attention. Efforts like Emerald Haze, particularly backed by the county of Dublin as this event is, are crucial in making that happen, and I didn’t quite realize until I watched Mount Soma that while it’s great to see the international acts downstairs, perhaps even more attention has gone into curating the Irish groups playing here, because a huge part of the message of this festival is that Ireland’s scene is coming into its own, and while there’s still growing to do, the bands are clearly willing to take that responsibility on their shoulders. Mount Soma proved it with volume and force. No regrets on buying that shirt, to be sure.

The Cosmic Dead

the comic dead (photo jj koczan)

The spaced-out Scots started late. Like, way late. Would you expect anything less of The Cosmic Dead than the bending of time? If so, then perhaps you’ve never heard them before, because that’s kind of what they do. Also, bending space. Also, melting brains. In any case, late start or no, once they got going, the Edinburgh four-piece freaked the royal fuck out — immediately and thoroughly. Killer. All the way. No doubter. Front to back. Green lights flashing. Synth blaring. Low end righteousness under wash of swirl. Melt. Melt. Melt. Space. Space. Space. Right frickin’ on. Like a frequency check for your consciousness. A litmus to see how much jam your brain could take before turning into powder. Every level, they were a lysergic win to behold, and while the running theme for the night was holy-crap-I-can’t-believe-I’m-lucky-enough-to-be-here-to-see-this, The Cosmic Dead only underscored the point that, holy crap, I can’t believe I’m lucky enough to be here to see this. I’d already purchased every CD they had for sale and though I didn’t have enough cash, by the time they were done — they had the lights turned out on them because they were running long (that late start coming back to bite them in the collective ass) — I wanted to go back out to the merch area and pick up a t-shirt too. There were times as they were dug in when each member seemed to be on his own out there, floating without gravity and purposefully so, but when they locked step, whoa. Chills up the spine. Hair standing on end. Pick your cliché and roll with it. Whatever you got, The Cosmic Dead earned it. When they were done, they hung their guitars and bass from the ceiling. Room: conquered.

King Witch

king-witch-photo-JJ-KOCZAN

To the best of my knowledge, they were the only band on the Mother Fuzzers Ball Stage not from Ireland or Northern Ireland, but while they shared a hometown with The Cosmic Dead in Edinburgh, the four-piece King Witch, whose metallic roots came through clearly in the guitar work of Jamie Gilchrist and the vocals of Laura Donnelly, the straight-ahead groove anchored by bassist Joe Turner and drummer Lyle Brown fit them right in with the likes of Mount Soma and Zlatanera before them. Donnelly was, one should note, the evening’s only standalone frontwoman, and she provided melody and force in kind from the stage. They were going even as The Cosmic Dead were still setting up downstairs, so were easy to hear from the start, and while once more I was up and back down again and back up again, King Witch‘s doom-tinged approach was a welcome preface to some of what tomorrow’s even more extended lineup will bring.

Church of the Cosmic Skull

church-of-the-cosmic-skull-Photo-jj-koczan

I have to admit, on paper it looks a little strange. Granted, it was one of 2016’s best debut albums, but still, UK seven-piece cult proggers Church of the Cosmic Skull only have one record out in the stellar Is Satan Real? (review here), so to find them headlining the bigger of the two stages could’ve been taken as something of a surprise. Until about 10 seconds in. I’d watched them soundcheck earlier in the day, and even that did little to prepare me for the righteousness of their presentation. Whether it was the interlude samples timed to videos between their songs or the harmonies between guitarist Bill Fisher, vocalists Caroline Cawley and Jo Joyce, bassist Sam Lloyd and Hammond organist Michael Wetherburn, or the brought-to-life memorability of cuts like “Mountain Heart,” set and album closer “Evil in Your Eye” or personal highlight “Watch it Grow,” they were nothing less than a celebration. A joy to witness. Really. Wetherburn‘s Hammond had been onstage all night, and when they finally broke it out, it was like Chekhov’s gun earning its place. Between that, the cello, and Fisher‘s rainbow guitar and stately manner as a chapeaued otherplanetary-cult leader waiting to take the whole venue away on some spaceship hidden behind a comet — pass that Kool-Aid, I’ll give it a shot, carbs or no — there was no place Church of the Cosmic Skull would have worked except at the top of the bill, and the room, which was the most packed it had been all night, knew it. I felt greedy for thinking to myself I hope I get to see them at some point again in my life, especially when they pulled out what I’m pretty sure was a new song during the middle of their time. They didn’t miss a cue in the harmony arrangements, but that did nothing to undercut their tonal presence or the push in Loz Stone‘s drumming, and as positive and affirming as they were, there was just enough evil underlying their work to be truly sinister. Right on.

Electric Octopus

electric-octopus-photo-jj-koczan

In order to prepare myself for seeing Electric Octopus live, the other day I undertook the considerable task of listening to their 2017 offering, Driving Under the Influence of Jams, in its nearly-four-hour entirety. And well, I knew they’d jam. And they jammed. What I didn’t realize was that when I went upstairs to catch them in that, they’d be so funky that they literally had people dancing in front of the stage. Think you can funk out improvised space rock? Because Electric Octopus sure as hell can, and the Belfast-based trio of bassist Dale Hughes (who was pulling double-duty, having also played in Elder Druid at the start of the show), guitarist Tyrell Black and drummer Guy Hetherington were a party unto themselves. I’d say outside world be damned, but the truth is, they seemed to feed off the fun the crowd in front of them was having, and it became this awesome conversation, the band playing the music being danced to and then taking the energy from that dance and translating it back into the music. There was something classic and open about it, but still molten and psychedelic at the same time. Wild Rocket, who’d follow, were more directly galaxial in what they were doing, and ditto that for The Cosmic Dead earlier, but Electric Octopus had their own personality that came through in their play and in their chemistry, and while there was nary a hook to be had in their instrumental explorations, their energy was infectious all the same. I didn’t dance. I don’t dance. I didn’t dance at my wedding. I don’t dance. But I grooved and had a hell of a time doing so as Electric Octopus made me want to go back and download every single thing they’ve ever put out, which is convenient because it’s all name-your-price on Bandcamp. They also had three CDs for sale. I bought all three and I’ll rank them among the wiser purchases I’ve made since becoming unemployed this summer.

Wild Rocket

wild-rocket-photo-JJ-Koczan

Okay, so first thing. If you haven’t heard Wild Rocket‘s new LP, Disassociation Mechanics, do that. In fact, you’ll note that of the 10 bands who played Emerald Haze 2017 tonight, they’re the only one I’m directly linking to on Bandcamp, and that’s not a coincidence. What a blast they were. Only fitting to have a Dublin outfit close out the evening, and Wild Rocket made sure everyone had a final chance to be launched well beyond the atmosphere. Even the dudes from The Cosmic Dead came upstairs and were throwing down at the front of the stage, and that seemed appropriate enough to the proceedings. Certainly well earned. I had seen them last year in Norway at Høstsabbat (review here), but with a little bit more of an idea of what I was getting this time around, it was a pleasure to watch them flatten the Mother Fuzzers Ball Stage and give the night the best kind finale it could’ve possibly asked for. How much further out could it go than to have MooseJonBres and Niallo trip so far there was no coming back? I don’t know. It doesn’t matter. Point is, go listen to that fucking Wild Rocket album. I mean it. The review’s pretty much over anyway. Only thing left to reiterate is how well the band did in giving the city of Dublin one more excellent showing of its own homegrown scene, because they were nothing if they weren’t world-class all the way, and unquestionably ready for export. Did you go listen to the record? Did you hear “Into the Black Hole?” Yeah. Good.

It’s well past 2AM as I finish writing this and there are still pictures to sort through and a full 15-band lineup for tomorrow, so I’m going to leave it there for the time being. I’ll have this posted hopefully before the day starts up again, but hell, it might be tight. We’ll see how it goes. Would you believe me if I said I was anxious about it? Thought so.

Thanks for reading. More to come and more pics after the jump here.

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