Quemos Second Album Quemos II: The Rebirth Now Available

Posted in Whathaveyou on June 5th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

The High Priest of Moab returns! The self-titled debut album (review here) from Peruvian psyche-demolition experts Quemos, arrived some four years ago and brought with it a scorched soundscape that they now follow-up with Quemos II: The Rebirth, which seems to have been out since January but which the band purports in the truly black metal announcement below — from their use of “opus” to the direct challenge of listeners in “don’t lie” and calling them “mortal mouthbreathers,” they pretty much nailed it — is available for a limited time only. Comprised of eight parts of a larger whole work that’s been dubbed “Journey into the Realm of Fire,” I wouldn’t be surprised if they pulled it from the page at some point, so yeah, if you want to check it out, now might be the time. It’s streaming in full below and there’s a teaser video as well, if you’d like a quicker sampling.

Dig it:

quemos ii

Quemos – Quemos II: The Rebirth

Quemos is proud to announce the release of its sophomore album II: The Rebirth. Temporally available only through the band’s Bandcamp page, this new opus consists of an eight part suite called Journey Into The Realm Of Fire and features the talents of Raúl Valenzuela Silva (formerly drummer for Chile’s Ocultum) on drums. On the other hand, the band is on the works of a visual extravaganza that explores the sounds of this new album, which teaser has just been unleashed.

Have you ever walked through a flaming pyre? Don’t lie, you were engulfed all along, being a mere mortal mouthbreather. On the other Hidden Hand, the narrative behind the Immortal Men of Quemos’ return to the studio alludes to the calls you make to your Deity of choice, which as all Deities tend to do inevitably betrays you under a false pretext of salvation. Redemption through Unholy fire will bring a cleansing stench. Burn again.

Tracklisting:
1. Journey into the Realm of Fire A) Invocation 02:56
2. B) Arrival 07:39
3. C) Our Lord Has Landed 01:52
4. D) Decline In Fire’s Ecstasy 04:20
5. E) The Wave of Fire 03:04
6. F) Words of Wisdom Before Eternity 04:30
7. G) Answer of Innocence 04:42
8. H) Transcending Reality 06:55

https://www.facebook.com/thecultofquemos/
https://quemos.bandcamp.com

Quemos, Quemos II: The Rebirth (2018)

Quemos, Quemos II teaser

Tags: , , ,

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

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

quarterly-review-summer-2017

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

Quarterly Review #1-10:

Les Discrets, Prédateurs

les discrets Prédateurs

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

Les Discrets on Thee Facebooks

Les Discrets at Prophecy Productions

 

Test Meat, Demo

test meat demo

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

Test Meat on Thee Facebooks

Test Meat on Bandcamp

 

Matus, Intronauta

matus intronauta

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

Matus on Thee Facebooks

Matus on Bandcamp

 

Farflung, Unwound Celluloid Frown

farflung unwound celluloud frown

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

Farflung on Thee Facebooks

Heavy Psych Sounds website

 

Carpet, Secret Box

carpet secret box

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

Carpet on Thee Facebooks

Carpet on Bandcamp

 

Tricky Lobsters, Worlds Collide

tricky lobsters worlds collide

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

Tricky Lobsters on Thee Facebooks

Tricky Lobsters at Exile on Mainstream Records

 

Ten Foot Wizard & Chubby Thunderous Bad Kush Masters, Special

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

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

Ten Foot Wizard on Thee Facebooks

Chubby Thunderous Bad Kush Masters on Thee Facebooks

 

The Acid Guide Service, Vol. 11

the acid guide service vol 11

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

The Acid Guide Service on Thee Facebooks

The Acid Guide Service on Bandcamp

 

Skunk, Doubleblind

skunk doubleblind

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

Skunk on Thee Facebooks

Skunk on Bandcamp

 

The Raynbow, The Cosmic Adventure

the raynbow the cosmic adventure

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

The Raynbow on Thee Facebooks

Garden of Dreams Records on Bandcamp

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Matus to Release Intronauta Jan. 13

Posted in Whathaveyou on December 15th, 2016 by JJ Koczan

matus

Even when Peruvian heavy psych/rock outfit Matus are playing it relatively straightforward, as they are on the new song ‘Catalina’ below and as they more or less did on their last record, 2015’s Claroscuro (review here), it’s never really safe to predict where they might go next. The Lima-based outfit have this underlying appreciation for the strange. That theremin is always lurking, but even more than that, their songwriting has been prone to any number of odd turns over the course of their time together, so while I dig “Catalina,” I’m not really thinking of it as a stand-in for everything the album will have to say.

Oh yeah, the album. Would probably be good to mention that. It’s called Intronauta, presumably in no relation to the band Intronaut, and will be released Jan. 13, 2017, through the band’s Bandcamp. No confirmation of a physical pressing yet, but they’re apparently talking about it. As I recall, there was some question as to whether Claroscuro would be their final outing, so I wouldn’t want to speculate on what the situation is around this follow-up.

Art, info and audio:

matus intronauta

MATUS announces the release of Intronauta

Hot on the heels of Claroscuro in late 2015, Peruvian collective MATUS (formerly known as DON JUAN MATUS) announces the release of Intronauta, an EP with 5 new tracks revisiting one more time a wide range of styles. The band, running a 10 year career and 7 releases/reissues in Perú, Germany, U.S.A. and Japan, will enter an indefinite hiatus after the release of this record.

Intronauta will be available via Bandcamp starting January 13, 2017. A physical format is being discussed at the moment.

The first single off Intronauta, a hard rocking number by the name of Catalina was just uploaded to the band’s SoundCloud page.
https://soundcloud.com/matus-per/catalina

Matus is a musical collective formed in December 2005 as Don Juan Matus.

The band have released 5 albums and 2 split singles on various labels from Perú, Germany, Japan and the United States.

Matus is:
Veronik
Manuel Garfias
Richard Nossar
Alex Rojas
Walo Andreo Carrillo

https://www.facebook.com/matusofficial
https://matus.bandcamp.com

Tags: , , , , ,

Matus, Claroscuro: Beyond Light and Shade

Posted in Reviews on January 13th, 2016 by JJ Koczan

matus claroscuro

Prior to its late-2015 release, there was some question as to whether the full-length Claroscuro would be the final offering from Lima, Peru-based classic heavy rock experimentalists Matus. The five-piece — currently operating with the lineup of guitarist/bassist/keyboardist Richard Nossar, vocalist Alex Rojas, vocalist/guitarist/bassist/thereminist Veronik, bassist/guitarist Manuel Garfias (also El Hijo de la Aurora) and drummer Walo Andreo Carrillo — had been dealing with geography issues between Peru and Australia, where somebody moved, and I’m not sure how or if those issues were resolved, but Claroscuro was released regardless via Espíritus Inmundos with Rainbow-style cover art from Marcos Coifman (Reino Ermitaño) as the follow-up to the 2013 semi-album, Espejismos (review here) and 2010’s Más Allá del Sol Poniente (review here).

Continuing the band’s progression within eerie and subtly complex rock with eight tracks/28 minutes of new material for a quick but resonant long-player, it is rife with rhythmic fluidity and engaging melody on songs like closer “Hada Morgana” and the swing-into-drum-solo of “Rompecorazones” and “Jenízaro.” Flourishes of organ, flute, percussion and layers of acousti and electric guitar emphasize a classic progressive feel, and Rojas‘ vocals play to that excellently across many of the tracks, though as ever with Matus — formerly known as Don Juan Matus — personnel and function tends to vary throughout. Matus are no strangers to changing up their approach, and Claroscuro does so almost immediately with a considerable shift in production sound between opening salvo “Umbral” and “Niebla de Neón” and the subsequent “Mío es el Mañana.”

“Umbral” serves as the album’s intro, with artful theremin — that is, more than just noise — providing a lead line over an Iommic riff and a rolling groove that emerges in “Niebla de Neón” over one of the record’s many rich basslines. That theremin returns at the end, after the song has crashed and cymbal-washed out to a closing line of acoustic guitar and transitions into “Mío es el Mañana,” which is rawer in its guitar tone, more upfront in keyboards and has more blown-out vocals atop compressed-sounding drums, like all of a sudden Claroscuro became a NWOBHM demo from 1976. That’s not a complaint, just a notable shift.

matus

At six minutes, “Mío es el Mañana” is the longest cut included, and it holds its form throughout, once again built on a foundation of bass that disappears to the piano, synth, acoustic and percussion of “Firmamento,” a let’s-do-the-complete-opposite-thing-now swap of South American pastoralia. Three songs in and Matus have presented three different looks, the last of them a complete departure from any sort of sonic heft in favor of an easy-flowing pop-singer vibe that, if you were listening to the CD passively, you might have to blink once it’s over and go back to be sure of what you just heard. Go figure that after a gong hit Matus launch into the Spiritual Beggars-style classic heavy rock of “Rompecorazones” en route to Carrillo‘s percussive excursion in “Jenízaro.” If you’re looking for it to make linear sense, you’re listening wrong. The best thing to do with Matus is to just let them carry you across these changes, because even when they refuse to build a bridge from one aesthetic to the next, they’re persistently able to make it work one way or another.

A sense of ’80s metallurgy resumes with the 90-second “Paisajes del Futuro,” which quickly rolls out a doomy atmosphere amid overlaid whoas like an intro to something much more grandiose before fading and giving way to the acoustic/cymbal wash intro to “Crisálida,” on which Veronik takes the lead vocal position for answer the non-lyricized vocals of “Paisajes del Futuro” in kind but in much different, more melodic, less fist-pumping context, the two-and-a-half-minute course remaining quiet but tense all the while, because honestly, who the hell knows what’s coming next.

Matus make good on the promise for weird with “Bizarro Cabaret,” which recalls some of the Alice Cooper Band-style strut on Espejismos, but keeps Veronik at the fore for interweaving layers of scat given further jazzy context thanks to guest trumpet from Bruno Rosazza and the underlying bassline that seems to feed right into the opening crash of “Hada Morgana,” another two-plus-minute push of progressive heavy rock swing that’s here and gone in a flash, turned in a completely different direction from “Bizarro Cabaret” before it, but unquestionably pulled off by Matus, who apparently don’t need any longer than 28 minutes to effectively offer more breadth than most bands could on records twice as long.

To call Claroscuro quirky would cheapen its ultimate range, and while its title refers to contrasts of light and dark, the truth is that Matus don’t even make it as simple throughout these eight tracks as pitting one side against another. Instead, they gracefully set a multitude of elements in motion and then skillfully direct the listener along a guided path between and through them. If this really is their final album — and somehow I doubt it will be; creativity like this doesn’t just stop — then it’s a bigger loss than most will realize.

Matus, Claroscuro (2015)

Matus on Thee Facebooks

Matus on Bandcamp

Tags: , , , , , ,

The Dead-End Alley Band Touring Europe Next Month

Posted in Whathaveyou on October 22nd, 2015 by JJ Koczan

the dead-end alley band

Eerie psychedelic strangeness pervades the work to-date of Lima, Peru, upstarts The Dead-End Alley Band — who released their debut album, Whispers of the Night (review here), and followed it up with Odd Stories last year, both on ultra-mega-respected purveyor Nasoni Records — and one assumes they’ll carry those late-’60s vibes with them when they cross the Atlantic next month to tour Europe for the first time. I don’t know what the baggage rates are for such things — that might get classified under “personal item?” — but The Dead-End Alley Band have worked quickly to create a niche for themselves within heavy psych flow, and even post-Halloween, autumn seems like a perfect time for them to make the trip, which will round out with an appearance at Yellowstock in Belgium on Nov. 28.

Info below, as seen on the interweb:

the dead-end alley band euro tour

THE DEAD-END ALLEY BAND : Soaked In The Cold (European Tour 2015)

This fall, you will not escape from the nightmare.

After three years of activity and two albums released on vinyl, CD and tape, finally, we are proud to announce that we’re coming to Europe this November!

Dates are:
10.11 – Das Bach, Vienna (Austria)
13.11 – Tetris Club, Trieste (Italy)
14.11 – Club Wakuum, Graz (Austria)
18.11 – Zoro, Leipzig (Germany)
19.11 – Mitropa-Keller, Eisenberg (Germany)
20.11 – Café t’ Vereinshoes, Vaals (Netherlands)
21.11 – Vortex Surfer Musikclub, Siegen (Germany)
25.11 – Hausbar Münze 13, Tübingen (Germany)
27.11 – Eureka, Zwolle (Netherlands)
28.11 – Yellowstock Festival, Geel (Belgium)

And you’re invited to this slaughter…

BIO:
The Dead-End Alley Band is a psychedelic, blues and vintage rock band from Lima, Peru, formed by Javier Kou Mansilla and Sebastian Sanchez-Botta, with the ambition to create (or re-create) music based on the psychedelic scents from the sixties and seventies.

‘Odd Stories’ (2014) is the second studio album of Peruvian psychedelic rock band The Dead-End Alley Band. It was recorded and produced in Lima, Peru, by Javier Kou, Sebastian Sanchez-Botta and Chino Burga. Edited, manufactured and released on vinyl in Europe by Nasoni Records (Germany) and on CD and tape in Peru by Tóxiko Records and Inti Records (Peru).

https://www.facebook.com/events/1719903684897917/
https://soundcloud.com/deabperu
http://deabperu.bandcamp.com/album/odd-stories
https://www.facebook.com/deabperu
http://www.nasoni-records.com/THE_DEAD-END_ALLEY_BAND_release_Whispers_of_the_Night.html

The Dead-End Alley Band, Odd Stories (2014)

Tags: , , ,

Quarterly Review: Horisont, Blackwolfgoat & Larman Clamor, Matushka, Tuna de Tierra, MAKE, SardoniS, Lewis and the Strange Magics, Moewn, El Hijo de la Aurora, Hawk vs. Dove

Posted in Reviews on September 30th, 2015 by JJ Koczan

the-obelisk-quarterly-review-fall-2015

Cruising right along with the Fall 2015 Quarterly Review. I hope you’ve been digging it so far. There’s still much more to come, and I’ve spaced things out so that it’s not like all the really killer stuff was in the first day. That’s not so much to draw people in with bigger names as to get a good mix of styles to keep me from going insane. 10 records is a lot to go through if you’re hearing the same thing all the time. Today, as with each day this week, I’m glad to be able to change things up a bit as we make our way through. Let’s get to it.

Fall 2015 Quarterly Review #21-30:

Horisont, Odyssey

horisont odyssey

Aside from earning immediate points by sticking the 10-minute title-track at the front of their 62-minute fourth album, Swedish mustache rockers Horisont add intrigue to Odyssey (out on Rise Above) via the acquisition of journeyman guitarist Tom Sutton (The Order of Israfel, ex-Church of Misery). Their mission? To rock ‘70s arena melodies and grandiose vibes while keeping the affair tight enough so they don’t come across as completely ridiculous in the process. They’ve had three records to get it together before this one, so that they’d succeed isn’t necessarily much of a surprise, but the album satisfies nonetheless, cuts like “Blind Leder Blind” departing the sci-fi thematics of the opener for circa-1975 vintage loyalism of a different stripe, while “Back on the Streets” is pure early Scorpions strut, the band having found their own niche within crisp execution of classic-sounding grooves that seem to have a vinyl hiss no matter their source.

Horisont on Thee Facebooks

Rise Above Records

Blackwolfgoat & Larman Clamor, Straphanger / Drone Monger Split

blackwolfgoat larman clamor split

I’ll make no bones whatsoever about being partial to the work of both Blackwolfgoat – the solo experimental vehicle of Boston-based guitarist Darryl Shepard – and Larman Clamor – the solo-project of Hamburg-based graphic artist Alexander von Wieding – so to find them teamed up for a split 7” on H42 Records is something of a special thrill. Shepard’s inclusion, “Straphanger,” continues to push the thread between building layers of guitar on top of each other and songwriting that the last Blackwolfgoat full-length, Drone Maintenance (review here), found him exploring, while Larman Clamor’s “Drone Monger” is an alternate version from what appeared on last year’s Beetle Crown and Steel Wand (review here) and “Fo’ What You Did” digs deep into the swampy psych-blues that von Wieding has done so well developing for the last half-decade or so in the project’s tenure. My only complaint? No collaboration between the two sides. Would love to hear what Shepard and von Wieding could do in a cross-Atlantic two-piece.

Blackwolfgoat on Thee Facebooks

Larman Clamor on Thee Facebooks

H42 Records

Matushka, II

matushka ii

II is the aptly-titled second full-length from Russian heavy psych instrumentalists Matushka, who jam kosmiche across its four component tracks and round out by diving headfirst into the acid with “Drezina,” a 20-minute pulsation from some distant dimension that gives sounds like Earthless if they made it up on the spot, peppering shred-ola leads with no shortage of effects swirl. In comparison, “As Bartenders and Bouncers Dance” feels positively plotted, but it, “The Acid Curl’s Dance” before and the especially dreamy “Meditation,” which follows, all have their spontaneous-sounding elements. For guitarist Timophey Goryashin, bassist Maxim Zhuravlev (who seems to since be out of the band) and drummer Konstantin Kotov to even sustain this kind of lysergic flow, they need to have a pretty solid chemistry underlying the material, and they do. I don’t know whether Matushka’s II will change the scope of heavy psychedelia, but they put their stamp on the established parameters here and bring an edge of individuality in moments of arrangement flourish — acoustics, synth, whatever it might be — where a lot of times that kind of thing is simply lost in favor of raw jamming.

Matushka on Thee Facebooks

Matushka on Bandcamp

Tuna de Tierra, EPisode I: Pilot

tuna de tierra episode i pilot

If a pilot is used in television to test whether or not a show works, then Tuna de Tierra’s EPisode I: Pilot, would seem to indicate similar ends. A three-song first outing from the Napoli outfit, it coats itself well in languid heavy psychedelic vibing across “Red Sun” (the opener and longest track at 8:25; immediate points), “Ash” (7:28) and the particularly dreamy “El Paso de la Tortuga,” which closes out at 4:08 and leaves the listener wanting to hear more of what Alessio de Cicco (guitar/vocals) and Luciano Mirra (bass) might be able to concoct from their desert-style influences. There’s patience to be learned in some of their progressions, and presumably at some point they’ll need to pick up a drummer to replace Jonathan Maurano, who plays here and seems to since be out of the band, but especially as their initial point of contact with planet earth, EPisode I: Pilot proves immersive and a pleasure to get lost within, and that’s enough for the moment.

Tuna de Tierra on Thee Facebooks

Tuna de Tierra on Bandcamp

MAKE, The Golden Veil

make the golden veil

Much of what one might read concerning North Carolinian trio MAKE and their second album, The Golden Veil, seems to go out of its way to point out the individual take they’re bringing to the established parameters of post-metal. I don’t want to speak for anyone else, but part of that has to be sheer critical fatigue at the thought of another act coming along having anything in common with Isis while at the same time, not wanting to rag on MAKE as though their work were without value of its own, which at this point an Isis comparison dogwhistles. MAKE’s The Golden Veil successfully plays out an atmospherically intricate, engaging linear progression across its seven tracks, from the cut-short intro “I was Sitting Quietly, Peeling back My Skin” through the atmospheric sludge tumult of “The Absurdist” and into the patient post-rock melo-drone of “In the Final Moments, Uncoiling.” Yes, parts of it are familiar. Parts of a lot of things are familiar. Some of it sounds like Isis. That’s okay.

MAKE on Thee Facebooks

MAKE on Bandcamp

SardoniS, III

sardonis iii

To an extent, the reputation of Belgium instru-crushers SardoniS precedes them, and as such I can’t help but listen to “The Coming of Khan,” which launches their third album, III (out via Consouling Sounds), and not be waiting for the explosion into tectonic riffing and massive-sounding gallop. Still the duo of drummer Jelle Stevens and guitarist Roel Paulussen, SardoniS offer up five tracks of sans-vocals, Surrounded by Thieves-style thrust, a cut like “Roaming the Valley” summarizing some of the best elements of what they’ve done across the span of splits with Eternal Elysium and Drums are for Parades, as well as their two prior full-lengths, 2012’s II and 2010’s SardoniS (review here), in its heft and its rush. A somewhat unanticipated turn arrives with 11:46 closer “Forward to the Abyss,” which though it still hits its standard marks, also boasts both lengthy atmospheric sections at the front and back and blastbeaten extremity between. Just when you think you know what to expect.

SardoniS on Thee Facebooks

Consouling Sounds

Lewis and the Strange Magics, Velvet Skin

lewis and the strange magics velvet skin

With their debut long-player, Barcelona trio Lewis and the Strange Magics answer the promise of their 2014 Demo (review here) in setting a late-‘60s vibe to modern cultish interpretation, post-Uncle Acid and post-Ghost (particularly so on “How to be You”) but no more indebted to one or the other than to themselves, which is as it should be. Issued via Soulseller Records, Velvet Skin isn’t afraid to dive into kitsch, and that winds up being a big part of the charm of songs like “Female Vampire” and “Golden Threads,” but it’s ultimately the chemistry of the organ-inclusive trio that makes the material hold up, as well as the swaggering rhythms of “Cloudy Grey Cube” and “Nina (Velvet Skin),” which is deceptively modern in its production despite such a vintage methodology. The guitar and keys on that semi-title-track seem to speak to a classic progressive edge burgeoning within Lewis and the Strange Magics’ approach, and I very much hope that’s a path they continue to walk.

Lewis and the Strange Magics on Thee Facebooks

Soulseller Records

Moewn, Acqua Alta

moewn acqua alta

Basking in a style they call “oceanic rock,” newcomer German trio Moewn unveil their first full-length, Acqua Alta, via Pink Tank Records in swells of post-metallic undulations that wear their neo-progressive influences on their sleeve. Instrumental for the duration, the three-piece tracked the album in 2014 about a year after first getting together, but the six songs have a cohesive, thought-out feel to their peaks and valleys – “Packeis” perhaps most of all – that speaks to their purposeful overall progression. Atmospherically, it feels like Moewn are still searching for what they want to do with this sound, but they have an awful lot figured out up to this point, whether it’s the nodding wash of airy guitar and fluid heft of groove that seems to push “Dunkelmeer” along or second cut “Katamaran,” which if it weren’t for the liquefied themes of the art and their self-applied genre tag, I’d almost say sounded in its more spacious stretches like desert rock à la Yawning Man.

Moewn on Thee Facebooks

Pink Tank Records

El Hijo de la Aurora, The Enigma of Evil

el hijo de la aurora the enigma of evil

Since their first album, 2008’s Lemuria (review here), it has been increasingly difficult to pin Peruvian outfit El Hijo de la Aurora to one style or another. Drawing from doom, heavy rock, drone and psychedelic elements, they seem to push outward cosmically into something that’s all and none of them at the same time on their third album, The Enigma of Evil (released by Minotauro Records), the core member Joaquín Cuadra enlisting the help of a host of others in executing the seven deeply varied tracks, including Indrayudh Shome of continually underrated experimentalists Queen Elephantine on the acoustic-led “The Awakening of Kosmos” and the penultimate chug-droner “The Advent of Ahriman.” Half a decade after the release of their second album, Wicca (review here), in 2010, El Hijo de la Aurora’s work continues to feel expansive and ripe for misinterpretation, finding weight in atmosphere as much as tone and breadth enough to surprise with how claustrophobic it can at times seem.

El Hijo de la Aurora’s website

Minotauro Records

Hawk vs. Dove, Divided States

hawk vs dove divided states

Dallas outfit Hawk vs. Dove recorded Divided States in the same studio as their self-titled 2013 debut (review here) and the two albums both have black and white line-drawn artwork from Larry Carey, so it seems only fitting to think of the new release as a follow-up to the first. It is fittingly expansive, culling together elements of ‘90s noise, post-grunge indie (ever wondered what Weezer would sound like heavy? Check “X”), black metal (“Burning and Crashing”), desert rock (“PGP”) and who the hell knows what else into a mesh of styles that not only holds up but feels progressed from the first time out and caps with an 11-minute title-track that does even more to draw the various styles together into a cohesive, singular whole. All told, Divided States is 38 minutes of blinding turns expertly handled and impressive scope trod over as though it ain’t no thing, just another day at the office. It’s the kind of record that’s so good at what it does that other bands should hear it and be annoyed.

Hawk vs. Dove on Thee Facebooks

Hawk vs. Dove on Bandcamp

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Spirits of Will to Release The Awakening of the Old Saturn on Illuminated Paths Records

Posted in Whathaveyou on September 29th, 2015 by JJ Koczan

Peruvian experimental droners Spirits of Will recorded their debut full-length, The Awakening of the Old Saturn, live on Dec. 22, 2014, and true to the band’s stated mission of meditative music, the resulting set is perfect for clearing the mind and finding a little peace. How that will hold up on tape, I won’t speculate, but I wouldn’t mind finding out. They’ve inked a deal to issue The Awakening of the Old Saturn via Illuminated Paths Records on cassette and download. Release date is coming soon.

Their announcement and bio follow, as well as the stream of the album:

spirits of will the awakening of saturn

We are proud to announce that our debut album “THE AWAKENING OF SATURN ” will be released by Illuminated Paths Records!

Produced by Joaquin Cuadra and Spirits of Will, we are very excited to show it to all of you.

The tracklist is:
1) The Awakening of the Old Saturn
a) Saturn Cicle I
b) Saturn Cicle II
c) Saturn Cicle III
d) Saturn Cicle IV
e) Saturn Cicle V
f) Saturn Cicle VI
g) The Pralaya 30:00
2.Old Sun 04:59
3.Old Moon 11:15
4.Earth Part 1 07:56

It will be distributed in cassette and be available digitally worldwide, also

soon more information

we hope some / most of you will enjoy!

Spirits of Will is a Peruvian experimental musical project formed in 2013 by many musicians and friends with a same goal, make music with ancient musical instruments as Gongs,
Tibetan bowl, didgeridoo, throat singing and others modern instruments (VCS 3 synthesizer, moog) and more.

Certain types of meditation music and meditative soundscapes have the capability to reduce stress levels dramatically. Our music are designed to bring you into extraordinary deep levels of relaxation.

However relaxation is only the beginning of the journey. Before you are able to go into deep meditation you have to be in a spontaneous and relaxed state of mind. This relaxation is the rocket ramp from where you can begin an amazing inner journey of self discovery – an adventure that will take you into the true world of deep meditation

“Make music for help to people.”

Arain: Gongs , Percussion, Fx. chorus, Tibetan bowl, didgeridoo, throat singing
Miguel Yance: Piano, synthesizer (VCS 3 synthesizer, moog) and more.
DJ Aeon: loops, chorus, Fleks

http://illuminatedpaths.org/
http://spiritsofwill.bandcamp.com/
https://www.facebook.com/spiritsofwill

Spirits of Will, The Awakening of the Old Saturn (2015)

Tags: , , , , ,

GIVEAWAY: Enter to Win CDs from Minotauro Records!

Posted in Features on May 28th, 2015 by JJ Koczan

el-hijo-de-la-aurora-the-enigma-of-evil-and-strange-here-ii

[TO ENTER GIVEAWAY: Leave a comment on this post with your email address in the form. You’ll be contacted at that address if you win.]

Two albums available this time, free of charge, from Minotauro Records. New stuff from Italian classic-style doom metallers Strange Here, and Peruvian conjurers El Hijo de la Aurora, going out. Two very different albums, to be sure, but both standing on their own merits as well, the former with a foot solidly in in the canon of doom and the latter off on a more bizarre, ambient tangent. Either way you go, you can’t beat the price.

Which, once again, is nothing. All you have to do is leave a comment on this post to be entered to win both CDs courtesy of Minotauro, which sent along the following background on both albums:

strange here ii

STRANGE HERE, II

In 2006, Alexander Scardavian (Paul Chain, Steve Sylvester) met Domenico “Dom” Lotito, a 20 year-old guitarist from Milan who had played in a few local bands, including the renowned Error Amplifier. The two immediately developed a strong friendship, and started to lay down the foundation of a new version of Strange Here with Dom moving over to the bass. Soon the two started to develop more material with the help of a few studio musicians on keyboards and drums, and in 2013 the pair started to focus more intensely on their objective, notwithstanding a geographical distance that separated them.

In August 2014 they entered into the studio with three songs ready and many more ideas. This was the culmination of 12 years of soul-searching and existential uneasiness. And so the Strange Here II came to be, recorded and mixed in 20 hours at Atomic Studios in Longiano, Italy. Recorded live, with lots of improvised meanderings, Alexander’s and Dom’s anger, frustration and suffering over the years was conveyed through intense and obscure music.

el hijo de la aurora the enigma of evil

EL HIJO DE LA AURORA, The Enigma of Evil

EL HIJO DE LA AURORA (The Son of Dawn) is an experimental doom metal band formed in Lima, Peru in May, 2008 by the musician and writer Joaquin Cuadra and guitarist Manolo Garfias. Over the years the lineup has changed several times, leaving Joaquin as the only remaining original member. In their lyrics, the band explores elements of philosophy, occultism, witchcraft, esotericism and spirituality. The album explores new sonic territories, and is a balance between classic 70s doom and experimental sounds with unconventional instruments like Tibetan bowls and gongs.

“The Enigma of Evil” explores the origin of the cosmos, and how we establish our relationship with the spiritual world. The album recalls concepts covered by Copernicus and Helena Petrovna Blavatsky in her books Isis Unveiled, and The Secret Doctrine.

Again, how to enter:

Leave a comment on this post with your email address in the form provided. Please note: I neither have the interest nor the capacity to save or sell any personal information given to me. You will not be added to any email lists as a result of entering. Frankly, I’m not that savvy.

Thanks to Minotauro Records for offering up the discs, and good luck to all who enter!

El Hijo de la Aurora on Thee Facbeooks

Strange Here on Thee Facebooks

Minotauro Records

Minotauro Records on Bandcamp

Tags: , , , , , , , ,