Quarterly Review: Kungens Män, PFUND, Crystal Spiders, The Misery Men, Hubris, Woorms, Melody Fields, Oreyeon, Mammoth Grove, Crimson Devils

Posted in Reviews on March 19th, 2019 by JJ Koczan

quarterly-review-spring-2019

I used to be pretty artsy and write poetry. Let’s give it a shot:

There was an old man who wore no-toe shoes.
He said, I’mma go do 60 reviews.
He was out of his head,
Should’ve gone back to bed,
But he loves him some dirty psych blues.

Years from now, when I link back to this post for a “(review here)”-type scenario, I’m going to see that and I’ll still think it’s funny. The planet’s dying. I’d say a bit of silly is more than called for.

Quarterly Review #11-20:

Kungens Män, Chef

kungens man chef

Krautrockers, assemble! Or, you know, whatever krautrockers do — I assume it involves homemade spacecraft that, yes, absolutely fly. Perhaps one of these days I’ll ask Stockholm’s Kungens Män, whose latest outing for Riot Season, simply titled Chef, is an outbound delight of psych-infused progressivism. Beginning with the opening throb of “Fyrkantig Böjelse” and moving into the volume swells, steady drum line and wandering guitar that starts “Öppen För Stängda Dörrar” on side A, its four extended tracks craft otherworldly textures through a meld of organic instrumental flow and waves of synth, the second cut building to a tense wash of distortion all the while keeping that hypnotic march. The two corresponding 10-minute-plus cuts on side B waste no time in offering cosmic boogie in “Män Med Medel” with a more active rhythmic flow, and closer “Eftertankens Blanka Krankhet” — longer than the opener by one second at 11:24 — fades in on meditative guitar and explores a serene minimalism that only underscores the all around joy of the album.

Kungens Man on Thee Facebooks

Riot Season Records webstore

 

PFUND, PFUND

pfund pfund

The self-titled, self-released debut full-length from Kiel, Germany’s PFUND arrives and departs with a guesting horn section, and while that inevitably adds a bit of grandeur to the proceedings, the bulk of the outing is dedicated to straightforward, semi-metallic heavy rock, held to ground even in the seven-minute “Spaceman” by a considered sense of structure and an earthy drum sound that draws the songs together, whether it’s the classic riff rock in “Sea of Life” or the moodier sway in the earlier “Lost in Rome.” Dual guitars effectively multiply the impact, and the vocals showcase a nascent sense of melody that one imagines will only continue to grow as the band moves forward. At nine songs and 44 minutes, it shows some breadth and nuance in “Exhaustion” and “Paranoia,” the former tapping into an edge of progressive metal, but the primary impact comes from PFUND‘s heft of groove and how it blends with a rawer edge to their production. The Kyuss-referencing centerpiece here might be called “Imbalance,” but that’s hardly representative of what surrounds, horns and all.

PFUND on Thee Facebooks

PFUND on Bandcamp

 

Crystal Spiders, Demo

crystal spiders demo

Three songs, 11 minutes and three distinct vibes from the aptly-titled Demo demo of North Carolinian three-piece Crystal Spiders. On “Tigerlily,” “Flamethrower” and “Devil’s Resolve,” the trio of bassist/vocalist Brenna Leath (also Lightning Born), guitarist/vocalist Mike Deloatch and drummer/backing vocalist Tradd Yancey careen from bluesy spaciousness to hard-driving catchiness and end up — because why not? — in repeating cult-sludge chants, “Come to the devil’s resolve!” like Black Widow trying to lure people to the sabbat, except shouting. If the purpose of a demo is for a new band to try different methods of working and thereby take a first step in discovering their sound, Crystal Spiders are well on their way, and for what it’s worth, there isn’t anything within their scope as they present it that doesn’t work for them. There are edges to smooth out, of course, but that too is a part of the process starting here.

Crystal Spiders on Thee Facebooks

Crystal Spiders on Bandcamp

 

The Misery Men, Deathspiration

The Misery Men Deathspiration

If you’d asked, depending on which part of Deathspiration was on, I’d probably have called The Misery Men a bass/drum duo, but nope, that’s guitar. Tonally one is reminded of At Devil Dirt from Chile, but the Portland, Oregon, two-piece of vocalist/guitarist Corey G. Lewis and drummer Steve Jones are entirely more barebones in their craft, eschewing digital involvement of any sort in the recording or mixing process and sounding duly raw as a result throughout the subtle earworm of “C.W. Sughrue” and the lumbering “Harness the Darkness.” The subsequent “Night Creeps In” brings a Northwestern noise payoff to quiet/loud trades and the near-10-minute closer “Stoned to Death,” well, it seems to meet an end befitting its title, to say the least. As their stated intent was to capture the most organic version of their sound possible, and made a point of working toward that ideal in their recording, one could hardly fault them for the results of that process. They wanted something human-sounding. They got it.

The Misery Men on Thee Facebooks

The Misery Men on Bandcamp

 

Hubris, EP #II Live

hubris ep ii live

Some — not all — of what one needs to know about HubrisEP #II Live is right there in the title. Indeed, it’s their second EP. Indeed, it was recorded live. And indeed, like using a ‘#’ sign with a Roman numeral, there’s something about the way the three included songs from the Toulouse, France-based outfit sound that’s just a little bit off-kilter from what you might expect. “Zugzwang” (7:19), “Tergo” (19:58) and “Biotilus” (27:04) are arranged shortest to longest, and while the opener starts off like Queens of the Stone Age on an Eastern-tinged psychedelic bender, the lengthy jams that follow — the first of them with a fervent drum punctuation, the second a gradual intertwining of synth and guitar with hardly any percussion at all until after its 22nd minute. The instrumental flow that ensues from there is almost like a hidden bonus track, at least until they Hubris get to minute 26 and the whole thing explodes in crash and plod. The underlying message, of course, is that if you think you’re safe at any point, you’re not.

Hubris on Thee Facebooks

Hubris on Bandcamp

 

Woorms, Slake

woorms slake

Lumbering fuckall pervades the debut full-length, Slake, from Baton Rouge, Louisiana, sludgers Woorms — also stylized all-caps — which incorporates past singles “Find a Meal Find a Bed Find a God” and “Mouth is a Wound” amid the sample/noise barrage of “Our Lady of Perpetually Shitfaced” and the willfully brash “Racist Kevin” that follows. There’s an edge of Melvinsian chug to the proceedings, but Woorms‘ take, though presented in finished compositions, comes across as almost nihilistic rather than making a show of its experimentalism. That is, they’re trying to say they don’t give a fuck, and in listening, they make it kind of easy to believe, but there’s still something about the cohesiveness of “Veni Vidi Fucki” and “Rice Crispy” and the saved-the-best-nod-for-last finale “Sore Afraid” that undercuts the notion even while making the listening experience all the more pummeling, and from the intro “Corpse Corps” through “Urine Trouble Now”‘s echoing shouts and the closer’s unmitigated stomp, there’s still plenty of exploration being done.

WOORMS on Thee Facebooks

WOORMS on Bandcamp

 

Oreyeon, Ode to Oblivion

Oreyeon Ode to Oblivion

Rebranded since their 2016 debut, Builders of Cosmos (discussed here), from their more phonetically intuitive original moniker, Orion, Italy’s Oreyeon issue a cosmically expansive spacescape follow-up in their six-song/40-minute sophomore outing, Ode to Oblivion, also their first release through Heavy Psych Sounds. Echoing vocals pervade “Big Surprise” after the introductory “T.I.O.” and “Trudging to Vacuity” establish the wide-cast mix and anti-grav rhythmic density, and the nine-minute side A finale title-track runs mostly-instrumental circles around most of what I’d usually call “prog” only after it lays down a sleek hook in the first couple minutes. After “Big Surprise,” the 8:45 “The Ones” trades volume back and forth but finds its breadth at about the sixth minute as the dramatic lead turns on a dime to desert rock thrust en route to wherever the hell it goes next. Honestly, after that moment, everything’s gravy, but Oreyeon lay it on thick with closer “Starship Pusher” and never neglect melody in the face of nod. Worth a deeper dig if you get the chance.

Oreyeon on Thee Facebooks

Heavy Psych Sounds website

 

Melody Fields, Melody Fields

melody fields melody fields

Sometimes you hear a record and it’s like the band is doing you a favor by existing. To that, thanks Melody Fields. The Gothenburg psych troupe lace their lysergic flow with folkish harmonies and an open sensibility on their self-titled debut that comes coupled with enough tonal presence to still consider them heavy not that it matters. They break out the sax on “Morning Sun” to welcome effect, and the sun continues to shine through “Liberty” and the garage-buzzing “Run” before “Rain Man” turns water droplets into keyboard notes and Beatlesian — think “Rain” — voice arrangements atop soothing instrumental drift, every bit the centerpiece and an excellent precursor to the acoustic-based “Fire” and the 10-minute “Trädgränsen,” which is the crowning achievement of this self-titled debut, which, if I’d been hip to it in time, would’ve made both the 2018 best albums and best debuts list. They cap with a reprise of “Morning Sun” and underscore the solid foundation beneath the molten beauty of their work throughout. To ask for another album seems greedy, but I will anyway. More, please.

Melody Fields on Thee Facebooks

Sound Effect Records website

 

Mammoth Grove, Slow Burn

mammoth grove slow burn

Okay, look, enough screwing around. It’s time for someone to sign Mammoth Grove. The Calgary natives have been putting out quality heavy psych rock since their 2011 self-titled debut (review here), and their latest long-player, the four-song Slow Burn is a righteous amalgam of peace-thru-rock that lives up to its freewheeling vibes in “Seasons” after the methodical opener “Valleys” and rolls out a bit of melodic ’70s biker rock bliss in “Black Meadow” before the side-B-consuming “Gloria” (18:42) asks early if you’re ready to go and then goes like gone, gone, gone, and gone further. Given the analog mindset involved and the heart on display throughout, there’s something fitting about it being pressed up in an edition of 100 hand-screenprinted LPs and 100 CDs likewise, but the more people who could hear it, the merrier, so yeah, some label or other needs to step up and make that happen, and I dare you to listen to the solo that hits past the 14-minute mark in “Gloria” and tell me otherwise. Dare you.

Mammoth Grove on Thee Facebooks

Mammoth Grove on Bandcamp

 

Crimson Devils, A Taste for Blood

crimson devils a taste for blood

Since pared down to a trio from the four-piece incarnation they present here, Austin’s Crimson Devils first released their debut, A Taste for Blood, in 2017, but gave it a vinyl revisit last year and it’s little mystery why. The record comprises 11 sharply-composed tracks of Small Stone-style heavy rock, taking cues from Sasquatch in modern-via-classic modus, picking and choosing elements of ’70s and ’90s rock to conjure formidable groove and engaging hooks. There’s considerable swagger and weight in “They Get It,” and while opener “Dead and Gone” seems to show an influence in its vocal patterning from Elder, as the album unfolds, it’s more about the blast of “Captain Walker” or the penultimate “Nothing to Claim” and the straight-ahead vibes of “Bad News Blues” and “No Action” than anything so outwardly prog. There’s plenty to dig in the rock-for-rockers mindset, and it’s the kind of offering that should probably come with an octane rating. However such things are measured, safe to say it would not be low.

Crimson Devils on Thee Facebooks

Crimson Devils on Bandcamp

 

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Oreyeon Sign to Heavy Psych Sounds; New Album in 2019

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

Apparently at some point since the 2016 release of their debut album, Builders of Cosmos (discussed here), the Italian band who were called Orion decided to adopt the more complex spelling Oreyeon. It’s early in the day as I write this, but I admit, it took me a couple seconds to get it. Once I knew who they were, fine, but just seeing the headline below about their signing to respected countryman purveyor Heavy Psych Sounds, I was sitting here saying to myself, “O-ray-eon?” “Ore-yeon?” No. It’s “Or-EYE-on.” They took the ‘i’ and made it “eye.” I get it now. Sometimes I wonder how I manage to put my pants on the right way.

And sometimes I wonder why my pants are backward all the time. Ha.

As if I ever wear real pants.

I’ll leave the discussion of athletic wear also being the perfect I’m-lazy-as-crap-so-let’s-not-leave-the-house attire for another occasion, and just note the added intrigue of a reported sonic shift alongside the moniker change on Oreyeon‘s part. There isn’t a release date for their second LP as yet, or even a title unveiled, so look for more to come, but I’m already interested to hear where they’re headed this time around.

Other than to the new label home, which the PR wire confirms has already happened:

oreyeon

Italian stoner rockers OREYEON sign to Heavy Psych Sounds!

Heavy Psych Sounds Records announce the signing of Italian stoner rock unit OREYEON for their upcoming sophomore record.

Formed in 2014 by members of such as Woodwall, Mexican Mud or Army of Angry Youth, OREYEON made a first impressing impact on the heavy rock scene with their debut ‘Builders of Cosmos’ released back in 2016. The band’s inspirations come from various kinds of the heavy music genre, but especially they find their roots in the glories of Black Sabbath, melting with hints of metal and mixing the classic stoner rock such as acts alike Texas’ stoner heavyweights The Sword. Monolithic guitars, huge bass frequencies, melodic and complex vocals, OREYEON know how to please every classic and stoner rock mind!

On their second album and the debut on Heavy Psych Sounds, OREYEON try to move away from the usual stoner rock clichés into a more elaborate and melodic style. The vocal structures and harmonizations are definitely more complex, rich of melodies while the music tends towards a heavier path, taking cues from way different kinds of genres and band references. “Heavy Psych Sounds Records decided to sign Oreyeon for the next album, that we can assure will be extraordinary!” says label CEO Gabriele Fiori.

Stay tuned for many more promising news and first album details to be unveiled soon!

OREYEON IS
Richard Silvaggio – Bass/Vocals
Andrea Ricci – Guitar
Matteo Signanini – Guitar
Pietro Virgilio – Drums

https://www.facebook.com/Oreyeonofficialband/
https://oriondoom.bandcamp.com/
https://www.facebook.com/HEAVYPSYCHSOUNDS
http://www.heavypsychsounds.com
https://heavypsychsoundsrecords.bandcamp.com

Oreyeon (Orion), Builders of Cosmos (2016)

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Orion: New Album The Builders of Cosmos out Now

Posted in Whathaveyou on July 25th, 2016 by JJ Koczan

orion

Italian heavy space rockers Orion have released their first full-length, Builders of Cosmos, with some pretty impressive backing. Not like they’re secretly on the corporate dole or anything — though that would be interesting too; espionage and subversion in the heavy rock underground, as if anything at all with financial stakes was taking place — but just in terms of the sheer number of labels: Taxi Driver RecordsBrigante RecordsAcid CosmonautSailors Overdrive, and The Smoking Goat, which seems to be affiliated with the studio where Builders of Cosmos was recorded. It’s not of course a guarantee for what you’re going to get when you press (or click) play, but usually when something has that many people feeling that strongly about it, it’s going to make an impression one way or another.

See what you think:

orion builders of cosmos

ORION: Italian Psychedelic Stoner Rock Unit Releases Builders Of Cosmos Via Taxi Driver Records

Taxi Driver Records, in conjunction with The Smoking Goat Recording Studio, Acid Cosmonaut Records, Sailors Overdrive Records, and Brigante Records, are pleased to unveil the debut from psychedelic stoner rock alchemists, ORION.

Fittingly titled Builders Of Cosmos, the six-track offering was captured at The Smoking Goat Recording Studio, mixed by guitarist/vocalist Matteo Signanini, mastered at LRS Studio Factory, and comes shrouded in the mystical cover art of Luca SoloMacello.

ORION is Matteo Signanini (Woodwall) on guitar and vocals, Andrea Ricci (former Mexican Mud, Peawees) on guitar, Richard Silvaggio (former Mexican Mud) on bass, and Pietro Virgilio (former Army Of Angry Youth) on drums. Builder Of Cosmos is out now on CD and digital formats, and available at Taxi Driver’s online store HERE, Taxi Driver’s official Bandcamp page HERE where it’s streaming in full as well as through the band and other label pages listen below.

Builders Of Cosmos Track Listing:
1. Intro
2. Alone With You
3. Lucid Dream
4. Builders Of Cosmos
5. Over & Over
6. Lost Again

http://www.facebook.com/Orionofficialband
http://www.oriondoom.bandcamp.com/
http://www.taxidriverstore.com
http://www.taxidriverstore.bandcamp.com/
http://www.facebook.com/Thesmokingoat/
http://www.acidcosmonautrecords.blogspot.com/
http://www.sailorsoverdriverecords.bandcamp.com/
http://www.facebook.com/BriganteRecords/

Orion, Builders of Cosmos (2016)

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