Thermate Sign to Argonauta Records; Debut Album in Progress

Posted in Whathaveyou on April 10th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

Finnish heavy rockers Thermate have two EPs under their collective belt and have announced that their yet-untitled debut album will be delivered via Italian imprint Argonauta Records. They don’t exactly give a timeline, but it doesn’t seem unreasonable to me that it would arrive sometime before the end of this year, assuming, you know, it’s written. Which, come to think of it, is kind of a rash assumption to make. So okay, let me revise and say I don’t know crap about the status of Thermate‘s debut album other than what it says below, which is that they are “currently working on” it. Hopefully when it lands it will do so with less cartoon T&A than their last EP.

Because, really, cartoon T&A. Come on.

But let me not spoil the happy occasion with my East Coast liberal, educated white middle class bourgeois sensibilities. Cheers to Thermate and Argonauta, who if I’m not mistaken are on track to pick up every not-yet-affiliated band on the European continent.

They announced this alliance thusly:

thermate

THERMATE signed to ARGONAUTA RECORDS

ARGONAUTA Records is excited to announce they inked a deal with THERMATE from Finland!

THERMATE is a fuzz rock band conceived in Kuopio during 2012. Comprised of singer Arthur Thure, guitarists Mikko Väätäinen and Juuso Honkanen, bassist Jere Tirkkonen, and drummer Kimmo Partanen, the band conjures the sounds of 70’s heavy metal/rock and the 90’s stoner rock.

The debut four-song EP ‘Off to Hades’ was released in 2016. The following year saw the release of the sophomore EP ‘Black Desert Highway’ bringing the group to widespread public attention. Both EP’s are available here: https://thermate.bandcamp.com

Today THERMATE secured a deal with Italian Argonauta Records and they are currently working on their debut album.

The band says: “THERMATE is thrilled to join forces with the renowned Argonauta Records. Though 2017 was a great year for us, now with the support from Argonauta we are ready to go full throttle!”.

Arthur Thure – vocals
Miko Väätäinen – guitar, hammond
Juuso Honkanen – guitar, percussion
Jere Tirkkonen – bass, hammond
Kimmo Partanen – drums, percussion

www.facebook.com/Thermate
https://www.instagram.com/thermateband/
https://thermate.bandcamp.com
www.argonautarecords.com
https://www.facebook.com/ArgonautaRecords/
https://twitter.com/argonautarex
https://www.instagram.com/argonautarecords/

Thermate, Black Desert Highway (2017)

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Quarterly Review: Jess and the Ancient Ones, Iguana, Seamount, Gentlemans Pistols, Wired Mind, Automaton, Sideburn, Year of the Cobra, Drive by Wire, Akris

Posted in Reviews on January 4th, 2016 by JJ Koczan

the obelisk quarterly review winter

And so it begins again. It had been my original intention to launch this latest Quarterly Review last week, but as that would’ve had me basically walking out on the holidays with my family, it seemed somehow prickish to be like, “Uh, sorry dudes, riffs call” and split, particularly when there are hours of driving involved. Still, though it’s already running late by the arbitrary calendar in my mind, I’m glad to be able to tackle a batch of releases that both looks back on the last part of 2015 and to the New Year we’ve just entered. As ever, there is a lot, a lot, a lot of ground to cover, so I won’t delay except to remind of what the Quarterly Review actually is:

Between now and this Friday, I will post 10 reviews a day in a single batch grouped like this one. The order is pretty much random, though something higher profile is usually first. It is my intention that each post covers a range of styles, and hopefully within that, you’re able to find something that speaks to you. Many of these releases were sent to me as physical product, and before I start, I want to extend thanks to those groups for undertaking the time and expense of giving me the full representation of their work to hopefully better do mine.

Quarterly Review #1-10:

Jess and the Ancient Ones, Second Psychedelic Coming: The Aquarius Tapes

jess and the ancient ones the second psychedelic coming

Finnish six-piece Jess and the Ancient Ones pay homage to psych cultistry on their sophomore full-length, Second Psychedelic Coming: The Aquarius Tapes (on Svart), and while one might argue with the band marking this out as the “second coming” of psych – I’d say the third, generationally-speaking – the paean to late-‘60s sonic spaciousness in “In Levitating Secret Dreams” is unmistakable, the songwriting of guitarist Thomas Corpse conjuring fervent swirl behind the soulful Grace Slick-isms of vocalist Jess. At 65 minutes, it’s a classic double-LP, but Second Psychedelic Coming seems most engaged in its longer pieces, the eight-minute “Crossroad Lightning,” which pulls back from the urgency of earlier cuts “”The Flying Man” or the opening “Samhain,” and the 22-minute closer “Goodbye to Virgin Grounds Forever,” which has an arrangement to match its scope that unfolds no less gracefully. Some of the more frenetic parts seem to be arguing with themselves, but the overarching vibe remains satisfyingly tripped out and that closer is their to-date masterpiece.

Jess and the Ancient Ones on Thee Facebooks

Jess and the Ancient Ones at Svart Records

Iguana, Cult of Helios

iguana cult of helios

No big surprise that a record called Cult of Helios would seem to so unabashedly bask in sunshine. The four-track/32-minute sophomore full-length from German heavy psych four-piece Iguana has its driving moments, some in opener “Josiah” but more in the subsequent melodic thriller “Albedo,” but the prevailing sensibility is toward tonal warmth and steady groove. The band – vocalist/guitarist Alexander Lörinczy, guitarist Thomas May, bassist Alexander May and drummer Robert Meier – debuted in 2012 with Get the City Love You (review here), but Cult of Helios is a more cohesive, individualized release, whether it’s the hook of “Albedo,” the Beatles-gone-fuzz of “A Deadlock Situation” or the lush, flowing 15-minute jam of the closing title-track. Iguana’s propensity for blending underlying structure with a wide-open, welcoming atmosphere is writ large over Cult of Helios, and the album shines in a manner befitting its inspiration. A sleeper that begs waking.

Iguana on Thee Facebooks

Iguana website

Seamount, V: Nitro Jesus

seamount v nitro jesus

Most long-distance projects fizzle out after a record or two. With a lineup split between Bavaria and Connecticut, doom rockers Seamount have managed to sustain a remote collaboration, the German band of bassist Markus Ströhlein, guitarist Tim Schmidt and drummer Jens Hofmann working with New England-based vocalist Phil Swanson (ex-Earthlord, ex-Hour of 13, Vestal Claret, etc.). The excellently-titled Nitro Jesus (on The Church Within) is their fifth full-length since 2007, and boasts a refined blend of doom, NWOBHM and dark thematics common to Swanson’s lyrics. Tonally crisp but immersive, slow crawlers like “Can’t Escape the Pain” are offset by the ‘80s metal swing of “Beautiful Sadness,” and each side caps with a longer track, whether that’s the seven-minute “Scars of the Emotional Stuntman,” the most singularly sweeping movement here, or the closer “No One Knows,” which has a moodier feel, the guitar recalling Don Henley accompanied by piano as the finale hits its apex. For those who like their metal of tried and true spirit and individual presentation, Nitro Jesus delivers in more than just its name.

Seamount on Thee Facebooks

The Church Within Records

Gentlemans Pistols, Hustler’s Row

gentlemans pistols hustler's row

Every now and then you hear a record that reminds you what you love about rock and roll in the first place. It doesn’t need to be the most complicated thing in the world, or the most expressive, or the heaviest or the most whatever of anything else, but like Gentlemans Pistols’ third LP, Hustler’s Row (on Nuclear Blast), if it locks in a special chemistry between its players, that’s more than enough to carry it through. That the UK four-piece are ace songwriters and bolstered by the lead guitar chops of Bill Steer (Firebird, Carcass) for the Thin Lizzy dual-solos – vocalist/guitarist James Atkinson on the other end – helps plenty as well, but with the tight, classic-style grooves brought to across Hustler’s Row by bassist Robert Threapleton and drummer Stuart Dobbins, Gentlemans Pistols give essential heavy rock a non-retro modern interpretation that might leave one wondering why so many people try to ape a ‘70s production to start with.

Gentlemans Pistols on Thee Facebooks

Gentlemans Pistols at Nuclear Blast

Wired Mind, Mindstate: Dreamscape

wired mind mindstate dreamscape

Each side of Wired Mind’s Mindstate: Dreamscape LP (on HeviSike Records) gracefully unfolds a lushly-toned, warm, engaging heavy psychedelic sprawl. The chief influence for the Hannover two-piece of guitarist/vocalist Mikey and drummer Chris is their countrymen godfathers Colour Haze, but the duo make their presence felt early on “Road,” the opener and longest-track at 11:01, which balances serene and spaced exploration with post-Kyuss “Thumb” shuffle, all the more enticing for having been recorded live, conjuring Echoplex spaciousness around the repeated line, “All we gotta do is love.” Both sides work on the same structure of a longer track feeding into a shorter one, “Road”’s considerable amassed thickness giving way to the winding groove of “Jennifer’s Dream of a Switchblade” while the Duna Jam-ready vibes permeating from “Wired Dream” finding a moving complement in closer “Woman,” which effectively captures desert rock rhythmic propulsion. As their debut, Mindstate: Dreamscape feels conceptually and stylistically cohesive, and sets Wired Mind up with a sonic breadth on which to continue to build.

Wired Mind on Thee Facebooks

Wired Mind at HeviSike Records

Automaton, Echoes of Mount Ida

automaton echoes of mount ida

Greek heavy rollers Automaton revisit their 2013 debut full-length, Echoes of Mount Ida, for a limited vinyl release. The four-track offering initially surfaced coated in burl and massive riffing, but a remix adds psychedelic edge to the lumbering fervor of “Fear,” on which the Athenian five-piece are joined by Scott “Dr. Space” Heller of Øresund Space Collective for added synth and swirl. He delivers, and the opener also adds guest vocals from Nancy Simeonidou, but the remix keeps things consistent as Automaton transition into the chugging “Beast of War,” a complex near-djent rhythm (which will find complement in the end of “Echoes of Mount Ida” itself) smoothly met by drummer Lykourgos to finish side A of the LP while the locked-in nod of “Breathe in Stone” bleeds into the closing title-track as Automaton offer riffy largesse set in a spacious backdrop like mountains in the distance. Interesting to see if the semi-reboot of their debut is indicative of some overall shift in direction, but at least on the vinyl offering, it makes their sound that much broader.

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Sound Effect Records

Sideburn, Evil or Divine

sideburn evil or divine

Between Martin Karlsson’s keys (also bass) and vocalist Dimitri Keiski’s propensity to soar, the mood turns epic pretty quick on Sideburn’s fifth album, Evil or Divine (on Metalville Records). The Swedish foursome’s latest shares more than just its titular reference in common with Dio — who, in addition to the lyric from “The Last in Line” had a live record with the same title – but keep a foot in doom territory throughout, drummer Fredrik Haake playing with metallic precision and an edge of swing as Morgan Zocek pulls out leads over “Sea of Sins.” The later “The Day the Sun Died” is particularly post-Ozzy Iommic, but Evil or Divine benefits from the kick in the ass that the penultimate “Evil Ways” seems only too happy to provide before “Presence” finishes on a hopeful note. Definitely more fist-pump than nod, Evil or Divine cries out to legions of the brave who want a thicker groove than modern metal is willing to provide without giving up the occasional cause to headbang.

Sideburn on Thee Facebooks

Metalville Records

Year of the Cobra, The Black Sun

year of the cobra the black sun

Seattle-based bass/drum duo Year of the Cobra had two labels pick up their debut EP, The Black Sun, between Devil’s Child Records and DHU Records, and they’ve signed to STB Records for the follow-up, so it seems safe to say their three-track outing has gotten a solid response. The songs make a compelling argument for why. With vocals that recall Soph Day from Alunah on opener “White Wizard” before delving into faster, more punkish fare on “The Black Sun” itself, Year of the Cobra serve immediate notice of a breadth in their sound, and the seven-minute wah-bass finale “Wasteland” enacts a low-end swirl that pushes even further out while keeping hold of itself via steady, tense drumming. That finisher is a particular high point, with bassist/vocalist Amy Tung Barrysmith self-harmonizing in layers over the steady build and drummer Johanes Barrysmith making sure the considerable tone keeps moving forward. Easy to hear why they’ve found such support in such a short time.

Year of the Cobra on Thee Facebooks

Dark Hedonistic Union Records

Devil’s Child Records

STB Records

Drive by Wire, The Whole Shebang

drive by wire the whole shebang

The third long-player from Dutch four-maybe-five-piece Drive by Wire, The Whole Shebang gets more complex as it goes. Its first couple tracks, “Kerosine Dreams” [sic], “Woodlands,” “The Whole Shebang” and “Five Ft. High” are deeply indebted to desert rock circa Songs for the Deaf, tonally and even in some of Simone Holsbeek’s sing/talk call and responses on “Woodlands.” From there, “Rituals,” “In This Moment” and the moody “River Run” and “Promised the Night” push into more individual ground, and even though they tie it back together in the album’s third and final movement with “Rotor Motor,” “All Around” and “Voodoo You Do,” the context has changed, and by the time guitarist Alwin Wubben swells lead lines behind the verse of the closer, the fuzz of “Kerosine Dreams” is a distant memory. Completed by bassist Marcel Zerb and drummer Jerome Miedendorp de Bie, Drive by Wire wind up on a considerable journey, and while the title at first seems off-the-cuff, it works out to be a whole shebang indeed.

Drive by Wire on Thee Facebooks

Drive by Wire webstore

Akris, Fall EP

akris fall ep

Relaunched as a trio in the first half of 2015, Virginia trio Akris made a studio return with the four-song/32-minute Fall EP, which probably should’ve been called a full-length and probably should’ve been pressed to vinyl (paging Tony Reed to master and STB Records to release…), but the digital-only offering finds Akris and particularly founding bassist/vocalist Helena Goldberg anything but apprehensive as she, guitarist/vocalist Paul Cogle (Nagato, Black Blizzard) and drummer Tim Otis (Admiral Browning) follow-up the band’s raucous sans-guitar 2013 self-titled full-length debut (review here), balancing plodding grooves, melody and abrasion deftly atop rumble and riffs in “Forgiven” as Goldberg swaps between screams and grunge-styled croons. The subsequent “People in the Sky” is less patient, and caps its nine-minute run with a barrage of noise rock synth that continues at the start of closer “Alley Doorway” but ultimately recedes (momentarily) to let that song establish its own course of loud/quiet tradeoffs and resonant exploration. Unless Akris are planning a series of seasonal short releases, I see no reason why Fall EP shouldn’t be characterized as a second long-player and heralded for the bold expansion of the band’s approach it represents.

Akris on Thee Facebooks

Akris on Bandcamp

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Jess and the Ancient Ones Post Video for “In Levitating Secret Dreams”; New Album Dec. 4

Posted in Bootleg Theater on October 13th, 2015 by JJ Koczan

jess and the ancient ones

Finnish cult-psych rockers Jess and the Ancient Ones will release their sophomore album, Second Psychedelic Coming: The Aquarius Tapes, Dec. 4 on Svart Records, and to herald the 2LP’s arrival like some kind of town crier in a rainbow-colored robe, the outfit have unveiled a new video for the track “In Levitating Secret Dreams,” which was also issued as a precursor 7″ that, by the reports I’ve seen, is pretty much gone at this point if not actually gone, despite not having yet been officially put out. Fair enough. One couldn’t reasonably expect it to last too long, with as strong a response as the band provokes. Likely the record itself will be similarly met upon its release.

In the meantime, “In Levitating Secret Dreams” serves as a decent reminder of why Jess and the Ancient Ones have had so much pull over the course of their tenure, their first album having been released to wide acclaim in 2011. The video, directed and animated by Romanian artist Costin Chioreanu, is a gorgeous multicolor exploration, and the song itself is no different, pushing against cult rock preconceptions with all the force of a Jeffersonian Airplane breaking through a wall of genre boundaries. Its late-’60s vibing rings fresh and clear almost half a century later, and if you hadn’t yet caught onto the first record, the track will surely pique interest in the second.

Which of course is what it’s all about. Video and album announcement follow. Enjoy:

Jess and the Ancient Ones, “In Levitating Secret Dreams” official video

Jess and the Ancient Ones’ Second Psychedelic Coming: The Aquarius Tapes will be released on CD, double LP, and digital formats on December 4th via Svart Records. Thomas Corpse, responsible for songwriting duties, comments on the great work: “We have been following our natural need to explore different forms of musical impression, and so again our sound has evolved one step further. I must say that the change is most welcomed, for we are not the likes who like to stay in a strangling doctrine of genre rules of any sort. Music should never be composed in order to please a crowd. The most important thing is that the composing element is pleased with the outcome, for only then it may also bring true joy to the ears of the listener. This album has its errors, and we want them to be there. They are us. They are the sound of our current state.”

The first single off the album is the ode to Albert Hoffmann, “In Levitating Secret Dreams.” Directed by Romanian artist Costin Chioreanu, the video for Jess and the Ancient Ones’ “In Levitating Dreams” be viewed in its entirety HERE. This dark, keyboard-driven occult garage rocker will also be available on a limited vinyl 7″ on November 6th.

“The album title can be seen as a bridge between the past and now,” continues Thomas Corpse. “Some thoughts, words, and poems from the Aquarian age are bound to ever last and inspire generations to come. Their core always being essentially the same – love and freedom. Often in history, that message has traveled from characters that society has announced to be ill, corrupt, and dangerous to the common good. Of course, the rich in their ivory towers want to silence all of these poets and warriors, but luckily, they never succeed. Here be nine songs with that same old message. Feed your minds.” Cover and tracklisting are as follows:

Tracklisting for Jess and the Ancient Ones’ Second Psychedelic Coming: The Aquarius Tapes
1. Samhain
2. The Flying Man
3. In Levitating Secret Dreams
4. The Equinox Death Trip
5. Wolves Inside My Head
6. Crossroad Lightning
7. The Lovers
8. Goetia of Love
9. Goodbye To Virgin Grounds Forever

Jess and the Ancient Ones on Thee Facebooks

Svart Records

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