Killer Moon to Release Nocturne into Nebula Oct. 28 on Kozmik Artifactz

Posted in Whathaveyou on September 20th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

killer moon

Listening to the 14-minute ‘Dazed’ from Nocturne into Nebula, the third album from swirlbringing outfit Killer Moon, it’s kind of astounding to discover they’re from Chicago and not the West Coast. The band first issued the noise-laced, gnarly-as-you-please collection on their own just before the dawning of the dark age in which we now dwell, and they’re putting it out through Kozmik Artifactz at the end of next month. That in itself is a rager of an endorsement, but man, the album just smokes. I didn’t hear it when it came out because I’m terrible at this, but yeah, if you’ve got a little time to let your mind wander, dig in. It’s streaming from the band’s Bandcamp page at the bottom of this post, and whether you call it a reissue or a first official release, it’s pretty easy to see why all parties would agree it belongs on a 12″ platter.

I don’t want to turn it off. So I won’t.

From the PR wire:

killer moon nocturne into nebula

Killer Moon – Nocturne into Nebula – Out 28th September!

As the late great timothy Leary once said “turn on, tune in and drop out “This is the manifesto of Killer Moon, expanding consciousness through experience. Pushing the boundaries of what is real and what is not what is whole and broken what is and is not. To perform as a singular entity together and separate to invoke feelings of the great ones and act as a conduit , to become a beacon of light and guide the seeker to the edge of reality. Killer Moon exists in the space between the in-between, transcendental beings only here for a moment reminding us that life is not limited to the five senses we have been force feed our entire lives.

Killer Moon sound mixes the melancholic beauty and noise of Amaris Aviles and amazingly melodies with baroque flourishes of Jesse Garza held together by the fierce passionate drumming of Anthony Macias. Killer Moon spills every inch of their soul on these songs, reflecting the joys, sorrows, and the complications of love and life. It’s their sound, many will come to recognise soon as they embark the journey into other worldly adventures.

WE ARE A REINCARNATION OF WHAT IS A FOREVER CHANGING ENERGY. WE ARE LIGHT AND LOVE. WE TRAVEL THROUGH THIS LIFE BEING INFLUENCED AND TAKING IN WHAT WILL MAKE US BETTER HUMAN BEINGS. WE RELATE ALL THE BEAUTY INTO WHAT IS OUR PUREST FORM OF EXPRESSION.

Nocturne into Nebula will be released on heavyweight vinyl and CD on the 28th of September on Kozmik Artifatcz.

VINYL FACTZ
– Plated & pressed on high
performance vinyl at
Pallas/Germany
– limited & coloured vinyl
– 300gsm gatefold cover
– special vinyl mastering

TRACKS
1. TEMPLE OF THE SON
2. LIVE FAST DIE YOUNG
3. DAZED
4. AFRICANS FROM SPACE
5. DEATH TRIP
6. BLIND
7. TRANSMITTING
8. BROKEN BLUES
9. AS ABOVE SO BELOW

Killer Moon are:
Jesse Garza – Lead Guitar and Vocals
Amaris Aviles – Bass Guitar
Anthony Macias – Drums
Zak Bronson – Keys & Outer Space Sounds

https://www.facebook.com/Killer-Moon-302877409880303/
https://killermoonmusic.bandcamp.com/
http://kozmik-artifactz.com/
https://www.facebook.com/kozmikartifactz

Killer Moon, Nocturne into Nebula (2016)

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Child Announce European Tour; Playing Up in Smoke, Desertfest Belgium, Keep it Low, Into the Void and Rockpalast

Posted in Whathaveyou on September 20th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

I guess when you’re crossing over Asia to go tour Europe from Australia, you want to make it worth the trip, but even so, the upcoming European jaunt from Melbourne-based heavy blues traditionalists Child is striking in its efficiency. Arriving ahead of Up in Smoke in Switzerland, the trio will spend just under three weeks on the road in the EU and finish in the UK, making stops at Desertfest Belgium 2018, Keep it Low and Into the Void festivals along the way. Of note as well is the date at Rockpalast Crossroads, which will of course be filmed and aired and is likely to make its way online as those videos regularly do. And oh yeah, a goodly portion of the dates are with Acid King, so fucking a, this is a really good god damn tour.

Child go carrying the last copies of their limited 45RPM 12″ vinyl EP, titled simply I, which was released earlier this year on Kozmik Artifactz and is another one of those outings I lost on my stolen laptop back in May before I could give it a writeup. Never too late, I suppose, with a Quarterly Review coming in the next couple weeks. Onto the list they go.

They sent the following down the PR wire:

child euro tour poster

Child – European Tour Oct. 2018

CHILD are returning to Europe in October 2018 to play ROCKPALAST CROSSROADS on German TV station WDR with US chart toppers BLACKBERRY SMOKE. Alongside this will be a selection of autumn festivals, a run of club shows with our legendary friends ACID KING and headline club shows. Remaining vinyl copies of our recent EP “I” are only available from shows and will almost certainly be sold out by the end of the tour.

Details and tickets available at www.childtheband.com

Supported by Marshall Amplification and Roger Mayer Effects Pedals

Dates:
10.04 AUT – Vienna, Szene *
10.05 DEU – Ulm, Hexenhaus
10.06 CHE – Pratteln, Z7 Konzertfabrik, Up In Smoke
10.07 DEU – Dresden, Chemiefabrik *
10.08 DEU – Hamburg, Hafenklang *
10.09 DNK – Copenhagen, KB 18 *
10.10 SWE – Gothenburg, The Abyss *
10.11 NOR – Oslo, John Dee *
10.13 DEU – Bonn, Harmonie, Rockpalast Crossroads w/ Blackberry Smoke
10.14 BEL – Antwerp, Trix, Desertfest
10.15 DEU – Cologne, MTC *
10.16 DEU – Freiburg, White Rabbit Club
10.17 ITA – Milan, Ligera *
10.18 ITA – Bologna, Freak Out Club *
10.19 DEU – Munich, Feierwerk, Keep It Low
10.20 NLD – Leeurwarden, Neushoorn, Into the Void
10.21 NLD – Utrecht, Db’s *
10.23 GBR – London, The Black Heart
* with Acid King

https://www.facebook.com/childtheband
https://www.instagram.com/childtheband/
http://www.childtheband.com
https://childtheband.bandcamp.com
https://www.youtube.com/childtheband
http://kozmik-artifactz.com/artist/child/

Child, I EP (2018)

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Shadow Witch Seeking Drummer; New Album to be Recorded

Posted in Whathaveyou on September 14th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

Kind of an odd situation for Shadow Witch, but Shadow Witch are kind of an odd band, and that’s part of their appeal. The Kingston, New York, four-piece are getting ready to record the follow-up to their sophomore full-length, Disciples of the Crow (review here). They’ve given the new album the title Under the Shadow of a Witch, and they’ll record with drummer Doug “Beans” Thompson, but then after that, Thompson‘s leaving the band and they’re looking to bring someone else in.

So what Shadow Witch need is a drummer not to play on the album, but to pick up with live shows thereafter and, presumably, record with them next time around. If you’re a drummer, that gives you the chance to get to know the other guys in the band before rather than stepping into a situation where they have a bunch of completed songs and you have to catch up to them. It’ll require learning the material, but it would anyway. Like a lot of what Shadow Witch does, it makes a weird kind of sense.

Replacing Thompson in the lineup won’t be easy, but as fascinating a band as Shadow Witch are, especially live, I have no doubt they’d be able to find someone.

Here’s their announcement:

shadow witch

New York’s SHADOW WITCH are sadly on a search for a new drummer. Doug “BEANS” Thompson (MURPHY’S LAW, BROOKLYN) with whom the band recorded and toured their second release DISCIPLES OF THE CROW, is having to leave the band for personal/family reasons.

The band is currently working on their next release “UNDER THE SHADOW OF A WITCH,” an album singer/lyricist Earl Walker Lundy says was written during an intense and torrid affair.

“All the songs are thematically tied to love as witchcraft, with obsession, addiction and loss as the outcome. We’re recording the album with Doug, but are in need of a replacement of his caliber to follow up with touring, and to move forward with the band. It’s an enormous challenge.”

SHADOW WITCH is:
David Pannullo (bass)
Doug “Beans” Thompson (drums)
Earl Walker Lundy (vocals, mellotron, samples)
Jeremy H. Hall (guitars)

https://www.facebook.com/shadowwitch.band/
https://shadowwitch.bandcamp.com/
https://www.facebook.com/SaltOfTheEarthRec/
www.saltoftheearthrecords.com

Shadow Witch, Disciples of the Crow (2017)

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Brujas del Sol Sign to Kozmik Artifactz; New Album II out Oct. 19

Posted in Whathaveyou on August 29th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

Columbus, Ohio-based atmospheric heavy rockers Brujas del Sol — who might be more progressive than they are psychedelic but are still a pretty good bit of both and why quibble anyway? — have signed to Kozmik Artifactz. They’ll release their second album, titled simply II, through the storied imprint on Oct. 19 with the full vinyl treatment. The four-piece was last heard from with late-2015’s single, Starquake (review here), and II will follow some five years behind their 2013 debut, Moonliner. That outing was released through Devouter Records.

Brujas del Sol mark the latest in an impressive and geographically varied string of pickups for Kozmik Artifactz, which in addition to the label comprises one of the leading European distros, and one wonders if perhaps in aligning with them, Brujas del Sol might have eyes on a European tour sometime in 2019. Or maybe they just wanted to put the record out on wax. That’d be fair enough, and Kozmik Artifactz certainly seem to know what they’re doing when it comes to such things. I guess the point is kudos all around. I’ll hope to get to hear the album.

The label’s announcement follows here:

brujas del sol

***NEW SIGNING – BRUJAS DEL SOL***

Today we officially welcome Brujas del Sol to the Kozmik fold. We’ll be releasing their new album “II” on the 19th of October, on heavy weight gatefold vinyl.

“We are very thrilled to be a part of the Kozmik Artifactz family. It is an honour to be among such an incredible line-up of bands.

Our new album, II, comes on the tail end of big changes among the members in the band. Both musically and personally. With influences within the prog, psych and post-rock communities, we feel we will be a nice addition the Kozmik Krew.

Those who enjoy hypnotic rhythms, fuzzy and modulated guitars, pulsating analogue synthesis and songs that blend progressive, space rock and heavy influences will appreciate II.”

Brujas del Sol is:
Adrian – High end/Vocals
Derrick – Low end
Josh – Percussion
Phillip Reed – Keyboards

https://www.facebook.com/BrujasdelSol/
https://brujasdelsol.bandcamp.com/
http://kozmik-artifactz.com/
https://www.facebook.com/kozmikartifactz

Brujas del Sol, Starquake (2015)

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Review & Lyric Video Premiere: Forming the Void, Rift

Posted in audiObelisk, Reviews on July 27th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

forming the void rift

[Click play above to stream the premiere of a lyric video for Forming the Void’s ‘Ark Debris.’ Their new album, Rift, is out Aug. 17 on Kozmik Artifactz.]

I’m sorry, but any record that starts with a song called “Extinction Event” is telegraphing its heaviness. And sure enough, Rift is the most weighted offering yet in the relatively brief but prolific tenure of Louisiana four-piece Forming the Void. In terms of tone, atmosphere and rhythm, it brings to bear a heft that feels like an arrival point — the title of the side B opener, sure enough: “Arrival” — following last year’s Relic (review here) and 2016’s Skyward (review here) with an uptick in scope, apparent lyrical narrative and sense of largesse that nothing they’ve yet done has touched. Comprised of seven tracks running a total of a still-LP-friendly 45 minutes delivered via Kozmik Artifactz, Rift is, simply, a new level for the band. Operating as the four-piece of guitarist/vocalist James Marshall, guitarist Shadi Omar Al-Khansa, bassist Luke Baker and drummer Thomas Colley (the latter making his first appearance), they offer their most cohesive and purposeful collection to-date, with landmark hooks in “On We Sail” and the subsequent “Arcane Mystic” and themes that have been present at least since Relic — the cover art of which depicted a hooded mystic traveling through space on an asteroid — the album ultimately takes a linear path.

Following its beginning in “Extinction Event,” that time-to-go narrative launch point leads to a lyrical journey through “On We Sail,” an “Arcane Mystic” met along the way, “Transient” leading to “Arrival,” “Ark Debris” when the vessel in question presumably is broken down and turned into a “Shrine” at the end. The sense of culmination is underscored by the fact that the finale tops 10 minutes long while everything else apart from the 6:53 “Ark Debris” is under six minutes, but by then the point is made in roiling, rolling progressive riffing and Marshall‘s echoing vocals; a spaciousness clearly meant to be taken literally. As in, “it’s about space.” Perhaps most pivotal of all the story being told doesn’t detract from the songwriting in general, and though I’d bet by the time they got around to writing the words to “Transient,” the concept was locked in place, neither that centerpiece nor anything around it pulls away from the well-struck balance between craft and storytelling.

On a sheer execution level, Rift is loaded with intent and poise. At their fastest, Forming the Void are not rushed, and at their slowest, in the back half of “Transient,” say, they remain comfortable in their forward motion. “Extinction Event” introduces a variety of elements in terms of the ultra-dense tones, spacious clean vocals and brash rhythmic swing, and in so doing summarizes a fair bit of what’s to come throughout the album, but as “On We Sail” and “Arcane Mystic” lead into “Transient,” the side A finale marks a significant shift in approach. Or at very least it foreshadows one ahead. With impressive lead work from Al-Khansa, thick low end from Baker and an impressive debut from Colley in shoving them along their path, the early cuts of Rift are more straightforward in structure. The hooks have already been noted, and it’s not as though ambience isn’t a factor, as the intro to “Arcane Mystic” immediately hypnotizes and bolsters the feeling of openness, but that will become much more of a focal point on side B, and true to its name, “Transient” marks that transition. Like “Arcane Mystic” just before, it has a subdued introduction, but it goes further in making loud/quiet tradeoffs between utterly massive plodding and more serene melodic fare.

forming the void

The shifts can be sudden but don’t feel that way because the pace is gradual, and like everything that surrounds, they’re brought to bear with a grace that underscores the progressive mindset of the band as a whole. “Transient” has something of a hook, so ties well to the cuts before, but also tells of the expanses yet to be traversed on “Arrival” and beyond into side B. Sure enough, what would seem to be a conclusion is only the beginning point of something new for Forming the Void as arrival rolls out a memorable riff, echoing vocals and a steady nod of a groove en route to a slow-marching midsection and a pickup in the second half to psychedelic lead work laced over a still-tectonic groove. Shifts in tempo only continue as “Ark Debris” takes hold with a decided Middle Eastern inflection in the introduction. Patient in its unfolding, the intro becomes the bed for the verses over the first several minutes, and it’s not until about 3:10 that heavier guitars kick in over the steady drumbeat. A solo over distortion keeps the vibe of the early going alive as the halfway mark is crossed, and a subtle build happens where fuller tones are first teased and then arrive with a marked fluidity over a consistent drone that’s been there all the while.

They end with feedback there and let “Shrine” — an arrival unto itself — close out, beginning with a stretch of quiet but tense guitar and cymbal washes before the whole lumber takes hold. “Shrine” is resounding in its heavy, soaring in its melody and firm in its purpose, and lands as a significant achievement for Forming the Void on their path of sonic discovery. After thudding out the initial verses, they stop around four minutes into the total 10 and drop to quiet to let keys or effects-laden guitar answer the Mideastern vibe of “Ark Debris” for a moment before resuming the stomp. A bridge of some earlier Elder-style riffing leads to “Shrine”‘s melodic payoff and then a final solo over double-time drums pushes toward the final slowdown, huge in its sound and headphone-worthy in its engrossing rumble.

The end comes when “Shrine” cuts short at 10:13 and fades back in on a cymbal wash for more feedback before they make their way out again, ending the album with a reminder that while this story has finished, there’s much more to say. At least, that’s the hope, considering how much Forming the Void have been able to turn their first two full-lengths into lessons and learned from them in the making of this third one. They’re a band who should be touring, especially now, since it would seem they’ve found and been able to harness the sound and style they were looking for these last several years and the task before them would be to refine it. As to how that will happen or the direction they’ll work in from this point on, I’ve no idea, but everything they’ve done to get to this stage has been willful in its creative growth, and one doesn’t expect that to stop just because they’ve so thoroughly nailed it this time around. But make no mistake, they have nailed it.

Forming the Void on Thee Facebooks

Forming the Void on Twitter

Forming the Void on Bandcamp

Kozmik Artifactz on Thee Facebooks

Kozmik Artifactz on Twitter

Kozmik Artifactz on Instagram

Kozmik Artifactz website

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Gypsy Chief Goliath Sign to Kozmik Artifactz; New Album Masters of Space and Time Announced

Posted in Whathaveyou on July 25th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

Cheers to Al ‘Yeti’ Bones and his cohorts in Gypsy Chief Goliath on signing to Kozmik Artifactz to release their impending fourth album, Masters of Space and Time. I haven’t yet seen a precise release date for the outing, and it’s entirely possible it could be up for early 2019 at this point. That’d be my bet, but I’ve certainly been wrong before. Either way, Masters of Space and Time will serve as Gypsy Chief Goliath‘s 2016 album, Citizens of Nowhere (review here), which you can hear streaming at the bottom of this post, should you be inclined to dig in. That’s what it’s there for.

The PR wire brings word of the signing and the new LP to come, and it looks an awful lot like this:

gypsy chief goliath

Kozmik Artifactz Sign Canadian Stoner Metal Heavyweights – Gypsy Chief Goliath

It is with great pride that we welcome Gypsy Chief Goliath to the Kozmik Family!

Canadian stoner metal heavyweights, Gypsy Chief Goliath are at it again, getting set to release their fourth album entitled Masters Of Space & Time via legendary German based record label, Kozmik Artifactz.

Originally established in 2009 by AL “The Yeti” Bones (formerly of The Mighty Nimbus, Georgian Skull, Mister Bones), this five piece, sonic wrecking crew have been building quite the name for themselves in the last decade. Not just in Canada, but globally throughout the underground music scene.

The band can be best described as a blend of 70’s Classic Rock/Heavy Metal with elements of 90’s Stoner Rock and Grunge.

The new album is quite different from previous work as the band seems to be more diverse in song writing and have strayed away from the wall of sound style, in exchange for a much more dynamic story telling roller coaster.

Gypsy Chief Goliath are:
Al “the Yeti” Bones
Adam Saitti
Darren Brush
Dustin Black
John Serio
Nick Angelini

http://www.gypsychief.com
http://www.facebook.com/GypsyChiefGoliath
http://kozmik-artifactz.com/
https://www.facebook.com/kozmikartifactz

Gypsy Chief Goliath, Citizens of Nowhere (2016)

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Buried Feather Announce European Tour Dates

Posted in Whathaveyou on July 23rd, 2018 by JJ Koczan

buried feather

You’d have to take it up with Kozmik Artifactz and Cobra Snake Necktie Records as to whether or not Buried Feather‘s third LP will be out by the time the Melbourne, Australia, outfit hit Dresden on Sept. 5 to begin their first-ever European tour, which will consume most of the rest of that month — plus some days off presumably for sightseeing — but it seems like a good bet they’ll probably be playing some new material on the road. If you managed to put their 2017 sophomore album, Mind of the Swarm, in your eardrums, you know that’s something to look forward to. If you didn’t manage to do that, it’s streaming at the bottom of this post, so by no means too late.

Either way, right on for the band getting out. Their self-titled debut was recently reissued via the two labels mentioned above, who’ll also be standing behind the new release, and I’ll hope to have more to come on that as we get closer to an announced arrival date, etc. in the meantime, the dates follow here, courtesy of the PR wire:

buried feather euro tour

Australian acid-rockers Buried Feather are bringing their hypnotic live show to Europe for the very first time.

The tour follows the recent reissue of their swirling debut Buried Feather and the space-rocking fuzz of last year’s Mind of the Swarm (named one of the year’s best albums by Jus Oborn of Electric Wizard). The band’s third full-length is planned for release in late 2018.

Buried Feather’s live shows have drawn regular comparison to Dead Meadow and Spacemen 3. The tour will be wind through clubs in Germany, France, Spain, Italy and Switzerland.

Poster design by Brian Blomerth.

TOUR DATES:
09/05/18 Dresden (DE) – Beatpol
09/06/18 Berlin (DE) – Schokoladen
09/07/18 Hamburg (DE) – Molotow
09/08/18 Wolfsbehringen (DE) – Alte Schule
09/12/18 Bordeaux (FR) – El Chicho
09/13/18 Sopelana (ES) – La Triangu
09/14/18 Santander (ES) – Black Bird
09/15/18 Madrid (ES) – Get Mad! Festival
09/16/18 Tarragona (ES) – Groove
09/19/18 Turin (IT) – Blah Blah
09/21/18 Ravenna (IT) – Circolo Abajur
09/22/18 San Salvo (IT) – Beat Cafe
09/23/18 Teramo (IT) – Sound
09/24/18 Modena (IT) – Nowhere Club
09/25/18 Monte San Vito (IT) – La Centilena
09/27/18 Interlaken (CH) – Club Balmers
09/28/18 Kreuzlingen (CH) – Horst Club

Buried Feather is:
Steve McLennan
Jim Grimwade
Josh Moult
Callum Routledge

https://www.facebook.com/buriedfeathermusic/
http://twitter.com/BURIEDFEATHER
http://buriedfeather.bandcamp.com/
http://kozmik-artifactz.com/
http://cobrasnakenecktierecords.com/

Buried Feather, Mind of the Swarm (2017)

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Quarterly Review: Khemmis, Morag Tong, Holy Mushroom, Naisian, Haunted, Pabst, L.M.I., Fuzz Forward, Onségen Ensemble, The Heavy Eyes

Posted in Reviews on July 18th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

quarterly-review-CALIFORNIA-LANDSCAPE-Julian-Rix-1851-1903

I always say the same thing on the Wednesday of the Quarterly Review. Day 3. The halfway point. I say it every time. The fact is, doing these things kind of takes it out of me. All of it. It’s not that I don’t enjoy listening to all these records — well, I don’t enjoy all of them, but I’m talking more about the process — just that it’s a lot to take in and by the time I’m done each day, let alone at the end of the week, I’m fairly exhausted. So every time we hit the halfway point of a Quarterly Review, I feel somewhat compelled to note it. Cresting the hill, as it were. It’s satisfying to get to this point without my head falling off.

Quarterly Review #21-30:

Khemmis, Desolation

khemmis desolation

Continuing their proclivity for one-word titles, Denver doom forerunners Khemmis take a decisive turn toward the metallic with their third album for 20 Buck Spin, the six-track/41-minute Desolation. Songs like opener “Bloodletting” and its side B counterpart “The Seer” are still tinged with doom, but the NWOBHM gallop in “Isolation” and “Maw of Time” – as well as the sheer force of the latter – is an unexpected twist. Khemmis showed classic metal elements on 2016’s was-a-very-big-deal Hunted (review here) and 2015’s debut, Absolution (review here), but it’s a question of balance, and as they’ve once again worked with producer Dave Otero, one can only read the shift as a conscious decision. The harder edge suits them – certainly suits the screams in “Maw of Time” and side A finale/album highlight “Flesh to Nothing” – and as Khemmis further refine their sound, they craft its most individualized manifestation to-date. There’s no hearing Desolation and mistaking Khemmis for another band. They’ve come into their own.

Khemmis on Thee Facebooks

20 Buck Spin website

 

Morag Tong, Last Knell of Om

morag tong last knell of om

A rumbling entry into London’s Heavy Generation, the four-piece Morag Tong unfold voluminous ritual on their debut full-length, Last Knell of Om. Largely slow and largely toned, the work of guitarists Alex Clarke and Lewis Crane brings the low end to the forefront along with the bass of James Atha while drummer Adam Asquith pushes the lurch forward on cuts like “New Growth” and “To Soil,” the band seemingly most comfortable when engaged in crawling tempos and weighted pummel. Asquith also adds semi-shouted vocals to the mire, which, surrounded by distortion as they are, only make the proceedings sound even more massive. There’s an ambience to “We Answer” and near-13-minute closer “Ephemera: Stare Through the Deep,” which gives the record a suitably noisy finish, but much of what Morag Tong are going for in sound depends on the effectiveness of their tonality, and they’ve got that part down on their debut. Coupled with the meditative feel in some of this material, that shows marked potential on the band’s part for future growth.

Morag Tong on Thee Facebooks

Morag Tong on Bandcamp

 

Holy Mushroom, Blood and Soul

holy mushroom blood and soul

Working quickly to follow-up their earlier-2018 sophomore long-player, Moon (review here), Spain’s Holy Mushroom present Blood and Soul, an EP comprised of two songs recorded live in the studio. I’m not entirely sure why it’s split up at all, as the two-minute “Introito” – sure enough, a little introduction – feeds so smoothly into the 19-minute “Blood and Soul” itself, but fair enough either way as the trio shift between different instrumentation, incorporating sax, piano and organ among the guitar, bass, drums and vocals, and unfold a longform heavy psychedelic trip that not only builds on what they were doing with Moon but is every bit worthy of being released on its own. I don’t know if it was recorded at the same time as the record or later – both were done at Asturcon Studios – but it’s easy to see why the band would want to highlight “Blood and Moon.” Between the deep-running mix, the easy rhythmic flow into and out from drifting spaciousness, and the turn in the middle third toward more expansive arrangement elements, it’s an engaging motion that makes subtly difficult shifts seem utterly natural along the way. And even if you didn’t hear the latest full-length, Blood and Soul makes for a fitting introduction to who Holy Mushroom are as a band and what they can do.

Holy Mushroom on Thee Facebooks

Clostridium Records website

 

Naisian, Rejoinder

naisian rejoinder

Sludge-infused noise rock serves as the backdrop for lyrical shenanigans on the three-song Rejoinder EP from Sheffield, UK, trio Naisian. Running just 12 minutes, it’s a quick and thickened pummel enacted by the band, who work in shades of post-metal for “90 ft. Stone,” “Mantis Rising” and “Lefole,” most especially in the middle cut, but even there, the focus in on harsh vocals and lumbering sonic heft. It’s now been seven years since the band sort-of issued their debut album, Mammalian, and six since they followed with the Monocle EP, and the time seems to have stripped down their sound to a degree. “Lefole” is the longest track on Rejoinder at 5:18 and it’s still shorter than every other song Naisian have put out to-date. Their crunch lacks nothing for impact, however, and to go with the swing of “Lefole,” everybody seems to contribute to a vocal assault that only adds to the punishing but thoughtful vibe.

Naisian on Thee Facebooks

Naisian on Bandcamp

 

Haunted, Dayburner

haunted dayburner

The effects-laden vocal swirl at the outset of Haunted’s “Mourning Sun” and moments in the Italian act’s longer-form material, “Waterdawn” or “Orphic,” for example, will invariably lead some listeners to point to a Windhand influence, but the character of the band’s second album, Dayburner (on Twin Earth, DHU and Graven Earth all), follows their 2016 self-titled (review here) by holding steady to a developing identity of its own. To be sure, vocalist Christina Chimirri, guitarists Francesco Bauso and Francesco Orlando, bassist Frank Tudisco and drummer Dario Casabona make their way into a deep, murky swamp of modern doom in “Dayburner” (video posted here), but in the crush of their tones amid all that trance-inducing riffing, they cast themselves as an outfit seeking to express individuality within the set parameters of style. Their execution, then, is what it comes down to, and with “Orphic” (12:46) and “Vespertine” (13:19) back to back, there’s plenty of doom on the 66-minute 2LP to roll that out. And they do so in patient and successful form, with marked tonal vibrancy and a sense of controlling the storm they’re creating as they go.

Haunted on Thee Facebooks

Twin Earth Records website

DHU Records webstore

Graven Earth Records webstore

 

Pabst, Chlorine

pabst chlorine

So, the aesthetic is different. Pabst play a blend of noise, post-punk, heavy rock and grunge, but with the ready pop influence — to wit, the outright danceability of “Shits,” reminiscent in its bounce of later Queens of the Stone Age – and persistent melodicism, there’s just a twinge of what Mars Red Sky did for heavy rolling riffs happening on Chlorine, their Crazysane Records debut. It’s in that blend of dense low-end fuzz and brighter vocal melodies, but again, Pabst, hailing from Berlin, are on their own trip. Weird but almost more enjoyable than it seems to want to be, the 12-track/35-minute outing indulges little and offers singalong-ready vibes in “Catching Feelings” and “Waterslide” while “Waiting Loop” chills out before the push of “Accelerate” and the angularity of “Cheapskate” take hold. Chrlorine careens and (blue) ribbons its way to the drive-fast-windows-open stylization of “Summer Never Came” and the finale “Under Water,” a vocal effect on the latter doing nothing to take away from its ultra-catchy hook. It’s not for everyone, but it’s a record someone with just the right kind of open mind can come to love.

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Crazysane Records webstore

 

L.M.I., IV

lmi iv

If you’ve got a dank basement full of skinny college kids, chances are Lansdale, Pennsylvania’s L.M.I. are ready to tear their faces off. The sludge-thickened riff punkers run abut 11 minutes with their five-song release, L.M.I. IV, and that’s well enough time to get their message across. Actually, by the end of “Neck of Tension” and “Weaning Youth,” roughly four and half minutes in, the statement of intent is pretty clear. L.M.I. present furious but grooving hardcore punk more given to scathe than pummel, and their inclusions on L.M.I. IV bring that to life with due sense of controlled chaos. Centerpiece “Lurking Breath” gives way to “First to Dark” – the longest cut at a sprawling 2:55 – and they save a bit of grunge guitar scorch and lower-register growling for closer “June was a Test,” there isn’t really time in general for any redundancy to take hold. That suits the feeling of assault well, as L.M.I. get in and get out on the quick and once they’re gone, all that’s left to do is clean the blood off the walls.

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L.M.I. on Bandcamp

 

Fuzz Forward, Out of Nowhere

fuzz forward out of nowhere

Released one way or another through Discos Macarras, Odio Sonoro, Spinda Records and Red Sun Records, the eight-song/43-minute debut album from Barcelona’s Fuzz Forward, Out of Nowhere, has earned acclaim from multiple corners for its interpretation of grunge-era melodies through a varied heavy rock filter. Indeed, the vocals of Juan Gil – joined in the band by guitarist Edko Fuzz, bassist Jordi Vaquero and drummer Marc Rockenberg – pull the mind directly to a young Layne Staley, and forces one to realize it’s been a while since that low-in-the-mouth approach was so ubiquitous. It works well for Gil in the laid back “Summertime Somersaults” as well as the swinging, cowbell-infused later cut “Drained,” and as the band seems to foreshadow richer atmospheric exploration on “Thorns in Tongue” and “Torches,” they nonetheless maintain a focus on songwriting that grounds the proceedings and will hopefully continue to serve as their foundation as they move forward. No argument with the plaudits they’ve thus far received. Seems doubtful they’ll be the last.

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Fuzz Forward on Bandcamp

 

Onségen Ensemble, Duel

Onsegen ensemble duel

The kind of record you’re doing yourself a favor by hearing – a visionary cast of progressive psychedelia that teems with creative energy and is an inspiration even in the listening. Frankly, the only thing I’m not sure about when it comes to Oulu, Finland, outfit Onségen Enseble’s second album, Duel, is why it isn’t being released through Svart Records. It seems like such a natural fit, with the adventurous woodwinds on opener “Think Neither Good Nor Evil,” the meditative sprawl of the title-track (video posted here), the jazz-jam in the middle of “Dogma MMXVII,” the tribalist percussion anchoring the 12-minute “Three Calls of the Emperor’s Teacher,” which surely would otherwise float away under its own antigravity power, and the free-psych build of closer “Zodiacal Lights of Onségen,” which shimmers in otherworldly fashion and improvised-sounding spark. On Svart or not, Duel is one of the best albums I’ve heard this year, and one the creativity of which puts it in a class of its own, even in the vast reaches of psychedelic rock. Whether it means to or not, it tells a story with sound, and that story should be heard.

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Onsegen Ensemble on Bandcamp

 

The Heavy Eyes, Live in Memphis

the heavy eyes live in memphis

Since so much of The Heavy Eyes’ studio presentation has consistently been about crispness of sound and structured songwriting, it’s kind of a relief to hear them knock into some feedback at the start of “Mannish Boy” at the outset of Live in Memphis (on Kozmik Artifactz). The three-piece of guitarist/vocalist Tripp Shumake, bassist Wally Anderson and drummer Eric Garcia are still tight as hell, of course, and their material – drawn here from the band’s LPs, 2015’s He Dreams of Lions (review here), 2012’s Maera, 2011’s self-titled, as well as sundry shorter offerings – is likewise. They’ve never been an overly dangerous band, nor have they wanted to be, but the stage performance does add a bit of edge to “Iron Giants” from the debut, which is followed by singing “Happy Birthday” to a friend in the crowd. One of the most enjoyable aspects of Live in Memphis is hearing The Heavy Eyes loosen up a bit on stage, and hearing them sound like they’re having as good a time playing as the crowd is watching and hearing them do so. That sense of fun suits them well.

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The Heavy Eyes at Kozmik Artifactz

 

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