Ancient Lights Premiere Trailer for Self-Titled Debut

Posted in Bootleg Theater on April 17th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

ancient lights photo mark swaffield

I know what you’re thinking: Really? A premiere for an album trailer? Well, it’s six and a half minutes long, so quit complaining.

Unceasingly grim in its atmosphere and honed to murky depths that are equal parts obtuse and hypnotic, the self-titled debut from UK three-piece Ancient Lights tops 70 minutes — comes closer to 90 when you count the CD/DL bonus material — and is set to release in July via Ritual Productions. It is a meandering psychedelic wash, repetition and ambience given priority over structure as the trio of bassist/vocalist/guitarist Adam Richardson, guitarist Ben Carr and drummer Tim Bertilsson combine and in some ways surpass their pedigrees in bands like Ramesses5ive and Switchblade in order to push as far out as possible.

Do they get there? Oh, they get there. “War of Attrition” sounds like it’s being fought against the notion of consciousness itself, while 17-minute pieces like “Against Nature” and “Fallow Year” drift into a willed-into-existence sonic beyond. Immersion: inevitable. To call it hypnotic as above is underselling it both in concept and execution. It’s not just the listener being hypnotized here; it’s the band as well. The feedback-soaked, chant-laden “Asakai Dasa” feels as much about the experience of its creation as the resulting “song.” In this way, Ancient Lights are in communion with themselves, with their audience, and with the moment captured on the recording. This is characteristic of much of Richardson‘s work in Ramesses or 11PARANOIAS — the latter of whom also reportedly have new material in the works — but I’m not sure it’s even been driven to such psychedelic extremes as it is on Ancient Lights.

Because it is a work of extremity. Not in the sense of blastbeats or death metal vocals or anything like that, but in its sheer willingness to delve into its own psychosis, Ancient Lights‘ debut is neither for the feint of heart nor the closed of mind. Its triumph lies not in emerging on the other side of “Fallow Year” unscathed, but in having made the journey through it in the first place, and even shorter pieces like “Orichalcum Eater” (2:57) or the plodding “Miasmaculatum” (3:58) make an offering of swirl with more than enough undertow to pull its audience away from their own being. To put a realistic point on it, it’s a hard record to write about because I keep feeling my mind wander in time to the ensuing nod.

The trailer gives a taste of opener “Decaying Lotus,” the subsequent “Temple Ghosts” and the bonus track “Vessel of Inevitability,” and again, if your concern is that most album teasers don’t give a sense of the substance of the record itself, you’re not wrong. I assure you that’s not the case here. Click play and find out for yourself. PR wire info follows, as usual.

Enjoy:

Ancient Lights, Ancient Lights album trailer premiere

Immerse yourself and preview the tracks ‘Decaying Lotus’, ‘Vessel of Inevitability’ and ‘Temple Ghosts’ from Ancient Lights debut self-titled album, out on Ritual Productions July 2018.

Ancient Lights refuse to tread worn sonic terrain with their debut, instead crafting a dynamic and textured journey that explores pastures of darkness, ambience, radiance and disintegration. Comprised of members of esteemed bands of the heavy palette, the origins of the band came after 13 shadowy years of jammed discourse and psychic plotting between Adam Richardson (11PARANOIAS, Ramesses) and Ben Carr (5ive, INTRCPTR), with the optimal addition of Tim Bertilsson (Switchblade) catalysing the final reality of this band.

Trailer directed by Cristiane Richardson and edited by Sergio Angot.

The band recorded their debut rite at Bonafide Studios, London under the spell of the 2017 summer solstice sky with Dan Miller. Additional recording by Ben Carr and Adam Richardson in June 2017 at XL Recordings Studio. Mixing and mastering by Dan Miller and Adam Richardson in December 2017 at XL Recordings Studio, London.

ANCIENT LIGHTS is:
Tim Bertilsson – drums
Adam Richardson – bass, guitar, vocals & lyrics
Ben Carr – guitar

Ancient Lights on Thee Facebooks

Ancient Lights on Instagram

Ancient Lights on Twitter

Ritual Productions on Thee Facebooks

Ritual Productions on Bandcamp

Ritual Productions website

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Morag Tong to Release Last Knell of Om May 18; New Song Streaming

Posted in Whathaveyou on April 13th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

morag tong photo isha shah

Through mostly longer-form pieces, London psychedoomic four-piece Morag Tong make their full-length debut with Last Knell of Om on May 18. Though they’re almost certainly aware of them, the title doesn’t seem to actually be a reference to the band Om, whose last knell has hopefully not been heard, and perhaps refers more to the end of a meditative state, something springing to action, say, as a band might on their first album.

But that’s me, and I almost always assume titles are self-referential on the part of the band in question, when they almost never are. So it goes. More importantly, Morag Tong have a new song streaming from Last Knell of Om called “We Answer” and it’s eight minutes of riffy murk that’s a lot of fun to get all turned around within. You can have at it at the bottom of this post.

And hey, while you’re there, why not check out some info from the PR wire, eh? Here it is:

morag tong the last knell of om

Psychedelic doom newcomers MORAG TONG announce debut LP ‘Last Knell of Om’ (May 18)

Psychedelic doom has a new voice in newcomers MORAG TONG, who are proud to announce their debut LP Last Knell of Om, to be released May 18.

To coincide with the news, the band have streamed lead track ‘We Answer’.

Unquestionably odd and instantly lovable, Last Knell of Om is ostensibly a stoner doom album but at heart an anti-doom record, the sounds of the genre taken to the nth degree. Slow, expansive, spacious sonorities meet a shared passion for musical experimentalism driven by a vocalist-drummer and a wall-of-sound approach.

Recorded in a studio at the top of a hill just south of London, Om contains the very minute traces of pick-up from the chart-topping Capital FM station. Similarly, opening track ‘Transmission’ begins and ends with recordings of birdsong – a link to lead track ‘We Answer’.

Although not strictly a concept album, there is an impressive level of cohesion to Morag Tong’s Last Knell of Om. Heavily DIY, Morag Tong embarked on March tours with Tuskar and Sail, and put on their own mini-festival called The Local Fuzz. The band have played alongside Slabdragger, Mammoth Weed Wizard Bastard, Earthmass, Monolithian, and more.

Watch the band live:
27th Apr – Plymouth, Underground
28th Apr – Tiverton, White Horse Inn
16th May – London, Black Heart [Album Launch w/ Elephant Tree, Wychhound]

moragtong.bandcamp.com
facebook.com/moragtongband
instagram.com/morag.tong
twitter.com/moragtongband

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Green Lung Sign to Kozmik Artifactz

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

About a month and a half after releasing their debut EP, Free the Witch (review here), and still within a year of their initial single, Green Man Rising (review here), London four-piece Green Lung have signed on to release their first long-player through respected vinyl-minded purveyor Kozmik Artifactz. The condensed timeline one might attribute to the particular sonic niche the band seemed to immediately find and then quickly demonstrate a capacity to progress with. One does not expect the momentum to slow for the UK outfit, which boasts ex-members of Oak and Tomb King in the lineup of vocalist Tom Templar, guitarist Scott Masson, bassist Andrew Cave and drummer Matt Wiseman, as they make their way toward the album, which at the rate they’re going should be pressed and shipped any minute now.

Cheers to the band and to the label on the snag. Here’s the announcement off the PR wire:

green lung

Kozmik Artifactz Announce New Signing – Green Lung

Green Lung combine crushing heaviness with soaring hooks, summoning up the proto-metal spectres of Black Sabbath and Pentagram, the psychedelic heft of heavy prog and the anthemic gloom of Danzig and Type O Negative; all the while dragging those influences into the 21st Century and sculpting them into a sound that is entirely their own.

“The last twelve months have been a blur for us; forming last March, putting out a demo, playing up and down the country, and finally getting an incredible reception for our EP Free the Witch. Signing with Kozmik Artifactz is the perfect way to cap off our first year as a band – we’re excited to collaborate with a label that cares about vinyl as deeply as we do, and join a family of bands we love. We can’t wait to get to work on making our debut LP better than anything we’ve done before, and welcome more initiates to the cult of the Lung. Doom over the world!”

Hailing from South London and made up of vocalist Tom Templar, guitarist Scott Masson, bassist Andrew Cave and drummer Matt Wiseman, the band released their debut EP, Free the Witch, in February 2018.

Green Lung is:
Tom Templar – Vocals
Scott Masson – Guitar
Andrew Cave – Bass
Matt Wiseman – Drums

https://www.facebook.com/greenlungband
https://www.instagram.com/greenlungband/
http://www.greenlung.co.uk/
https://greenlung.bandcamp.com/
http://kozmik-artifactz.com/
https://www.facebook.com/kozmikartifactz

Green Lung, Free the Witch (2018)

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Quarterly Review: The Atlas Moth, Across Tundras, The Wizards of Delight, Against the Grain, Our Solar System, Dommengang, Boss Keloid, Holy Smoke, Sabel, Blackwater Prophet

Posted in Reviews on April 4th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

Quarterly-Review-Spring-2018

This is a crucial moment in any Quarterly Review. Today we hit the halfway point one way or the other. I still haven’t decided if this will be a 50- or 60-album edition; kind of playing it by ear, but either way, today’s a landmark in my mind in terms of how far to go vs. how far we’ve come. Uphill vs. downhill to some extent, but I don’t want to give the impression that I’m either half-assing it from here on out or that I don’t enjoy the challenge of reviewing 10 records in a day, one after the next, for (at least) five days in a row. I’ve always been a glutton for a bit of self-flagellation. Ha.

Alright, let’s dive in.

Quarterly Review #21-30:

The Atlas Moth, Coma Noir

the atlas moth coma noir

If one still wants to consider Chicago’s The Atlas Moth post-metal after hearing Coma Noir, at least do them the courtesy of emphasizing the “metal” part of that equation. For their debut on Prosthetic Records and fourth full-length overall, the five-piece worked with producer Sanford Parker to solidify a progressive metal sound that, whether in the harsh and weighted impact of the opening title-track or the later interplay between guitarists Stavros Giannopoulos and David Kush on screams and cleaner vocals in “Furious Gold,” seems to take cues from groups like a less manic Strapping Young Lad and a less watered-down Mastodon more than Isis or Neurosis. With prominent synth from Andrew Ragin (also guitar), and the solid roll from the rhythm section of bassist Alex Klein and drummer Mike Miczek, the band brings revitalized edge to “The Streets of Bombay,” and even on the slower, more atmospheric closer “Chloroform,” they’ve never sounded more lethal. It suits them.

The Atlas Moth on Thee Facebooks

Prosthetic Records webstore

 

Across Tundras, Tumbleweeds III

across tundras tumbleweeds iii

A collection of odds and ends from Across Tundras, the 10-track/52-minute Tumbleweeds III may or may not sate anyone hoping for a follow-up to 2013’s Electric Relics (review here), but it provides some curio fodder along the way to be sure, from raw opener “Final Breath over Venom Falls” to the acoustic-percussion jam “Bullet in the Butt” to the fuller roll of “Cold Ride” and later demos for “Spinning Through the Cosmic Dust,” “Hijo del Desierto,” “Stone Crazy Horse” and “The Stacked Plain,” which later became “Seasick Serenade” on Electric Relics, it’s at very least something for fans to dig into and a fascinating listen, as Across Tundras’ rambling sound is almost eerily suited to a home-recording vibe, as the “Stone Crazy Horse” demo, featuring vocalist Shannon Allie-Murphy along with frontman Tanner Olson, sounds all the more folksome as a result of its lack of production polish. Closing with Bob Dylan’s “The Ballad of Hollis Brown,” then, could hardly be more appropriate. Still waiting for a proper long-player to surface, but happy at this point to take what comes.

Across Tundras on Thee Facebooks

Across Tundras on Bandcamp

 

The Wizards of Delight, The Wizards of Delight

the wizards of delight the wizards of delight

Like a chicanery-laced dusty vinyl with a naked lady on the cover, The Wizards of Delight emerge from the London underground to solidly declare “We’ve got the rock ‘n’ rollz.” And yes, they spell it with a ‘z.’ The presence of frontman Andreas “Mazzereth” Maslen will be familiar to anyone who ever even briefly encountered Groan – dude makes an impression, to be sure – and the four tracks he and the surrounding five-piece of guitarists/backing vocalists Dan Green’s Myth and Lenny Ray, bassist/backing vocalist Eponymous, organist/backing vocalist Henry and drummer Reece bring is both funky and classically heavy, “Gypsy” referencing Dio Sabbath in the first line while “Mountain Woman” brings a heavy ‘70s shuffle to answer the way-un-P.C. “Shogun Messiah,” which seems to be working under the thesis that because it sounds like it’s from 40 years ago, they can get away with it. I’ll give them that the track is, to an unfortunate degree, catchy. As to the rest, give me the groove of “We Got the Rock ‘n’ Rollz” any day. It’s been a while since anyone so brazenly interpreted Mk. II Deep Purple and actually pulled it off.

The Wizards of Delight on Thee Facebooks

APF Records website

 

Against the Grain, Cheated Death

against the grain cheated death

Hard-touring Detroit heavy rockers Against the Grain are known for speed, and rightly so. When they burst into high gear, as on “Sacrifice,” “No Sleep,” “Last Chance,” “Rolling Stone,” “Enough’s Not Enough,” and “Jaded and Faded” from their latest offering and Ripple Music debut, Cheated Death. The follow-up to 2015’s Road Warriors (review here) sees them no less infectious in their live energy, but it’s hard to ignore the more versatile approach that seems to be growing in their sound, from the classic rocking “Smoke” to the near-centerpiece “Devils and Angels” which ballads-out its boozy regrets before entering into an effective mid-paced build that rounds out in choice dual-soloing. Likewise, though they open at a good clip with the title-track, closer “Into the Light” finds a middle ground between thrust and groove. The truth is Against the Grain have never been just about speed, but they’ve never so directly benefited from a dynamic approach as they do on Cheated Death either.

Against the Grain on Thee Facebooks

Ripple Music on Bandcamp

 

Our Solar System, Origins

our solar system origins

Immediate kudos to Stockholm-based psychedelic progressive explorers Our Solar System – aka Vårt Solsystem – for opening their third full-length for Beyond Beyond is Beyond, the five-track/41-minute Origins, with the side-consuming 21-minute “Vulkanen.” One could hardly ask for more effective immersion in the band’s world of patiently unfurled, languid psychedelia, and with the accompaniment of “Babalon Rising,” the jazz-prog tracklist centerpiece “En Bit Av Det Tredje Klotet,” the birdsong-laced “Naturligt Samspel” and the semi-freaked-out melodic wash of “Monte Verita” on side B, a full, rich, and mind-expanding cosmos is engaged, free of restriction even as it remains thoroughly lysergic, and adherent to no structural will so much as the will to adventure into the unknown, to find out where one progression leads. As regards the long- and short-form material on Origins, it leads far, far out, and if you don’t come out the other side wanting to own everything the band has ever released, you’re decidedly in the wrong.

Our Solar System on Thee Facebooks

Beyond Beyond is Beyond website

 

Dommengang, Love Jail

dommengang love jail

Once calling Brooklyn Home, Los Angeles trio Dommengang waste no time in getting down to the business of boogie on their second album for Thrill Jockey, Love Jail. Produced by Tim Green (The Fucking Champs), the 10-track/50-minute long-player has all the room for organ/guitar mashups, righteous West Coast vibes and easy-flowing classic heavy rock one could hope for, and in the opening salvo of “Pastel City,” “Lovely Place” and “Lone Pine,” the three-piece of guitarist Dan “Sig” Wilson, bassist Brian Markham, and drummer Adam Bulgasem reaffirm mellow bluesiness as well on the title-track and dig into ‘90s-style alt bliss on the penultimate “Color out of Space.” There’s a welcoming air throughout that holds steady regardless of tempo, and in heavier moments like the second half of “I’m out Mine,” the band resonates with fuzz and noisy elements that bring just enough danger to the proceedings to keep the listener riveted. Classy, but not too classy, in other words.

Dommengang on Thee Facebooks

Thrill Jockey Records website

 

Boss Keloid, Melted on the Inch

boss keloid melted on the inch

It would seem that Wigan, UK, outfit Boss Keloid — newly signed to Holy Roar Records for the release of their third LP, Melted on the Inch – internalized a few crucial lessons from their sophomore outing, 2016’s Herb Your Enthusiasm (review here). At six tracks and 40 minutes, Melted on the Inch is about 20 minutes shorter than its predecessor. Its title isn’t a weed pun. Its cover art conveys a work of dimensionality, and most importantly, the album itself turns to be precisely that. Taking a significant step toward a more progressive sound, Boss Keloid maintain the heft of their prior outing but base it around material that, frankly, is more complex and dynamic. I won’t say that “Tarku Shavel” and “Lokannok” are without their elements of self-indulgence, but neither should they be for the five-piece to do justice to the multifaceted nature of their purpose. They still roar when they want to, but Boss Keloid strike with breadth on Melted on the Inch as well as sheer impact.

Boss Keloid on Thee Facebooks

Holy Roar Records website

 

Holy Smoke, Pipe Dream

holy smoke pipe dream

After forming in 2015, Philadelphia’s exclamatory Holy Smoke! issued their first three-track release, It’s a Demo! (review here) the next year and showed marked stylistic promise in cuts like “Rinse and Repeat” and “Blue Dreams.” Both of those tracks, as it happens, stand at the opening of the band’s latest EP, the five-song Pipe Dream, and reaffirm the potential in the group. The opener (also the longest track once again; immediate points) is a tale of workaday redundancy, the very sort of monotony that the rest of the offering seems to leave behind in favor of post-grunge heavy rock, marked by the wah-bass on finale “Asch Backwards” and the brooding sensibility of the prior “Golden Retriever,” which surges in its midsection like a lost Alice in Chains demo only to end quiet once again, a departure from the linearity of centerpiece “Missing the Mark” just before. Less psychedelic than their initial impression conveyed, they seem to have undertaken the work of crafting their own sonic niche in Philly’s increasingly crowded scene, and there’s nothing on Pipe Dream to make one think it’s not a realistic possibility they’ll get there.

Holy Smoke on Thee Facebooks

Holy Smoke on Bandcamp

 

Sabel, Re-Generation

sabel re-generation

Sabel know what they want to be and then are that thing. Their third album, Re-Generation, arrives via Oak Island Records as six tracks of to-the-converted stonerism, and from opener/longest track (immediate points) “In the Walls of Eryx,” the Swedish trio do little more than ask their listeners to smell the smoke emanating from their speaker cabinets (oddly sweet), and hone walls of fuzz that each seem to be bigger than the last. There are some elements of earliest Electric Wizard at play in “Atlantean” or the sneering “Voodoo Woman,” but belters like “Interstellar Minddweller” and “Green Priestess” stave off their sounding overly derivative, and though at the end of Re-Generation’s 42-minute run, one might feel as though they need a shower, the record itself proves well worth the dive into the muck. The band would seem to have carved their own descriptor with the title of their self-released 2015 LP, Hard Doom, and that’s as good as anything I could come up with, so let’s roll with it. They seem to.

Sabel on Thee Facebooks

Oak Island Records on Thee Facebooks

 

Blackwater Prophet, As I Watch it Freeze

blackwater prophet as i watch it freeze

Cheers to Christian Peters of Samsara Blues Experiment for putting me onto Spokane, Washington’s Blackwater Prophet, who with the seven-track As I Watch it Freeze collect various tracks recorded between 2015 and 2017. Thus something of a compilation, the 40-minute outing wants nothing for overarching flow, “In My Passing Time” leading off with a mellow psych-blues spirit that only grows more classic-feeling through “House of Stone” and the gorgeously pastoral “The Swamp.” The band have two proper full-lengths out, and if they wanted to count As I Watch it Freeze as their third, I don’t think they’d find much argument, as centerpiece “Gold in the Palm” opens like a gateway leading to the increasingly resonant “Careworn Crow,” the fuzzy swing of “Eating the Sun” and finally, the title-track itself, which answers the acoustics of “The Swamp” earlier while adding flourish of volume-swelling and swirling electric guitar and late choral vocals that only make the proceedings seem all the more complete in their engagement.

Blackwater Prophet on Thee Facebooks

Blackwater Prophet on Bandcamp

 

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Named by the Sun Announce Debut EP Deathcap; Premiere “Dogfight”

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

named by the sun

The debut release from London’s Named by the Sun is comprised of three songs and will be out April 27. It’s been given the title Deathcap, and if you don’t know what that is, it’s a poisonous fungi found throughout Europe. Could it be that the four-piece — which is made up of former members of Landskap and The Sound Movement, among others — are trying to tell us something about the nature of their sound. That there’s something sinister lurking on the underside of that shroomy exterior?

Maybe. It’s worth noting, though, that the exterior isn’t all that shroomy. Mostly what it is — and you can hear this in the dual guitars of the five-minute “Dogfight,” which is premiering at the bottom of this post — is cohesive. Progressive. Well aware of the born-from-metal-but-not-necessarily-metal-itself atmosphere it wants to project. With the tracks presented in order from shortest to longest, Named by the Sun get a bit more time to stretch out in “Solar Gain” (6:01) and “The Mountain and the Moon” (7:29), but even in the pastoral midsection of the centerpiece cut or the second half of “The Mountain and the Moon” (presumably the “Moon” part) which takes hold at 4:11 with Floyd-gone-blues exploratory sensation building, they’re never out of control. They may be instrumental, but they’re not happenstance jams at all.

And dig that last fadeout. If ever there was a sign of “more to come.” Speaking of, I’ll have more on Named by the Sun prior to the release — right now the stream is set for April 24; feel free to repeat the date to yourself so you don’t forget (that’s a joke that maybe two people in the universe will understand) — so keep an eye out for that. In the meantime, the PR wire brings art, info, and the premiere of “Dogfight” for you to enjoy.

So please, enjoy:

Named by the Sun Deathcap

Named by the Sun announce their debut EP ‘Deathcap’ will be released April 27th, 2018 via Superhot Records.

From the ashes of London’s Landskap comes Named by the Sun. Blending heavy blues and psychedelic stoner rock the band’s first recording is Deathcap, a 3 song instrumental EP featuring artwork by collage artist Dead Galaxy. The EP will be released on all digital platforms and has a limited edition release on digipak CD.

Hitting the jam room immediately after the break up of their previous band, George Pan (Landskap, Father Sun) on guitar, Pat Casey (Landskap, Damnas) on guitar and Chris West (Landskap, Glanville) on bass found a drummer in the form of Graham Brown (The Sound Movement). During the transition Casey switched from drums to guitar and the addition of that second guitar has led to something of a theme to the EP; harmonies and solos, both of which feature heavily throughout the 3 songs. Deathcap is far from just a guitar skills showcase though with songwriting, mood and structure as important as the more flashy elements. The songs ebb and flow with heavier passages balanced by lighter movements.

Deathcap will be available on all digital services from April 27th 2018 and the band are currently taking pre-orders via their Bandcamp for downloads and limited edition CDs.

Tracklisting:
1. Dogfight.
2. Solar Gain.
3. The Mountain and the Moon.

Named by the Sun are:
George Pan: Guitar
Pat Casey: Guitar
Chris West: Bass
Graham Brown: Drums

https://namedbythesun.bandcamp.com
https://www.facebook.com/namedbythesun
http://www.superhotrecords.com
https://www.facebook.com/superhotrecords

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Orange Goblin to Release The Wolf Bites Back this Summer

Posted in Whathaveyou on February 28th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

London doom rock magnates Orange Goblin have set a summer release through Spinefarm Records for their anxiously awaited new album, The Wolf Bites Back. The UK scene kingpins entered the studio little more than a month ago to begin the recording process with Jaime Gomez Arellano at the helm, and while that alone might lead one to expect a continuation of the more metallic side of the band that surfaced on their last studio record, 2014’s Back from the Abyss (review here), the simple fact that here we are about five weeks later and the new album is done, named and announced speaks to what must have been a pretty organic recording process.

Anticipation is high for the next Orange Goblin, to be sure, and with a summer release, the band already have live dates announced to support The Wolf Bites Back, including suitably high-profile appearances at Hellfest in France this June and Summer Breeze in Germany this August.

As posted on the social medias:

ORANGE GOBLIN DAVID BOULONGNE

ORANGE GOBLIN – NEW ALBUM NEWS – THE WOLF BITES BACK!

ORANGE GOBLIN have finished work on their upcoming new album and are preparing for its summer release.

The legendary British rock band holed up at Orgone Studios with producer Jaime Gomez Arellano (Ghost, Grave Pleasures, Paradise Lost, Cathedral) to create their latest opus, titled ‘The Wolf Bites Back’. The resulting nine track album will be the band’s ninth studio release and will be released via Candlelight/ Spinefarm Records worldwide.

Vocalist, Ben Ward, commented “We are very excited about this new album. The Wolf Bites Back is our strongest and most diverse collection of songs to date, it’s certainly a lot darker both musically and lyrically. It is still definitely a distinct ORANGE GOBLIN album but we have incorporated a lot more variation on this record and there are hints of Can, Captain Beyond, Wishbone Ash and The Stooges nestling amongst the obvious Sabbath and Motorhead influences. Lyrically I have explored everything from alien serial killers to zombie biker gangs, Buddhist warriors through to descendants of the Salem witches!”

“There was definitely a concerted effort to make sure all the songs could work in a live environment which gives the album a more raw, stripped back feel – something that I feel has been lacking from good rock and metal in recent years. Working with Jaime Gomez Arellano was really productive and a great experience, especially going back to tracking stuff to tape. I feel that he got the best out of all of us as musicians and songwriters and that really comes across in the songs, there is an air of confidence and experience. It was also a real honour for us to have Phil Campbell of Motorhead lending his hand to a couple of solos on there too!”

The full track list and artwork will be released at a later date, but the band have confirmed titles such as Sons of Salem, Ghosts Of The Primitives, Burn The Ships, Zeitgeist and Suicide Division. Artwork will be created by Roland Scriver at Familiar Ink.

The Wolf Bites Back is scheduled for a June 2018 release.

Orange Goblin live:
Mar 31 – Paaspop, Schijndel, NL
Apr 07 – Durbuy Rock Fest, Durbuy, BE
Apr 27 – Impetus Fest (@ Le Docks), Lausanne, CH
May 04 – Planet Club, Rome, IT
May 05 – Dagda Club, Rotorbido, IT
Jun 16 – Stone Free (@ o2 Indigo), London, UK
Jun 23 – Hellfest, Clisson, FR
Aug 11 – Alcatraz Metal Fest, Kortrijk, BE
Aug 18 – Summer Breeze, Dinkelsbuhl, DE
Sep 08 – Summer Dying Loud, Aleksandrow Lodzki, PL

https://www.facebook.com/orangegoblinofficial/
https://twitter.com/OrangeGoblin1
https://www.instagram.com/orangegoblin1/
http://www.orange-goblin.com/
https://www.facebook.com/spinefarm
www.spinefarmrecords.com/

Orange Goblin, Live at Desertfest Athens 2017

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Strauss Stream New EP Falena in its Entirety

Posted in audiObelisk on February 23rd, 2018 by JJ Koczan

strauss (Photo by Magda Wrzeszcz Photography)

London four-piece Strauss will release their third EP, Falena, on March 2. They play a launch gig that very same night (it’s next Friday) at the famed The Black Heart venue in Camden Town, and in so doing will mark the official start of a new era for the band. They were a fivesome at the time they issued their last short outing, 2015’s five-tracker, Luia (review here), and have continued to undergo significant personnel and aesthetic changes moving them away from where they started out on 2013’s self-titled EP (review here), playing to a more aggressive style as heard in the harsh shouts throughout Falena‘s six songs/28 minutes from vocalist Stef Sacchetto, joined in the band at this point by founding guitarist Charles Fusari, and the newcomer rhythm section of bassist Mark Lotz and drummer Seb Tull.

The drop from five players to four means the loss of a second guitar alongside Fusari‘s, but whether it’s the dug-in prog-metal riffing of churning closer “Distant” or the start-stop dude-mosh bounce at the start of “JB Taylor,” which later moves into more spacious terrain, or complementing the Faith No More-style funk in Lotz‘s bass and Sacchetto‘s strauss falenamanic snare groove on the subsequent “Pantomine,” the six-stringer proves more than versatile enough to hold down the position on his own, even jamming out a bit in the second half of “Lit Corners” as Sacchetto works in a quick couple lines of cleaner vocals before the fuller-brunt assault is reignited. That’s not to downplay the loss of a member or discount the impact of the shifts that Strauss has undergone in the last couple years, but with a strong current of noise rock throughout Falena, they don’t seem to have taken any step backwards in terms of their overall progression. It may have taken them an extra year to get the songs together — three between releases, as opposed to two — but they still got there, as “2016”‘s blend of sludgy lumbering and sample-laden post-hardcore thrust demonstrates plainly.

I said last time out that Strauss were ready to take on the task of a debut full-length. It’s clear why they might not have wanted to go that route. Losing a guitarist is one thing. Changing out a bassist or a drummer is another. To have all of that happen between one batch of tracks and another, and yeah, a band might want to make sure things are working as well as they might seem to before making a statement as strong as a first long-player invariably becomes about who they are and the ultimate direction they’ll look to take. Nonetheless, in the blend of toughguy groove and progressive melody-making brought to bear on “Ashwagndha” and “Distant” and the four cuts between them, Strauss still show a significant sonic persona of their own, and I remain convinced that, should they feel like they’re there in terms of making a complete record as their next step, they indeed are. I guess we’ll see how that goes.

Below, you can stream the Falena EP in its entirety and read some commentary from the band about everything they’ve been through in the last couple years.

Please enjoy:

Strauss on Falena EP:

“Strauss have undergone a few lineup changes since their last release, ‘Luia’, in 2015. Seb Tull took on drums in 2016 and began co-writing with guitarist Charles Fusari.This talent-merger brought radical differences into the band’s sound and the project rapidly evolved into a brand-new melt of personal tastes, influences and musical endeavours.

In June 2017, they entered the recording studio for the third time and gave birth to the new EP ‘Falena’ within a few days, under the guidance of recording engineer Wayne Adams. Shortly after, bassist and original band member, Bill Tandy, left the project and was replaced by Mark Lotz.

Somehow hybrid and intense, the musical variation that so much characterises Strauss’s new sound was pushed even further by vocalist Stef Sacchetto. Finally cured from long-term depression in 2017, he was able to prepare and lay lyrical sets that, in this particular record, aim at questioning, provoking and guiding the audience into reflection and self-analysis, as well as being influenced by recent global events.”

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Review & Full EP Stream: Green Lung, Free the Witch

Posted in audiObelisk, Reviews on February 12th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

green lung Free the Witch

[Click play above to stream the Free the Witch EP by Green Lung in its entirety. EP is out Feb. 19 on Deckhead Records.]

It’s only been eight months or so since London’s Green Lung issued their debut two-songer digital single, but apparently that’s been enough time for them to clarify a few things about their sound. Most notably: their sound itself. With the Deckhead Records tape release of their debut EP, the four-song Free the Witch, the four-piece turn away from some of the more blown-out aspects of the prior Green Man Rising (review here), with a crisp production that brooks no sacrifice either in its atmospheric spaces or tonal depth but nonetheless strikes with a clean, bright impression, whether it’s in the righteous hooks of opening duo “Lady Lucifer” and “Free the Witch” — which seem to be in competition with each other to determine the catchier chorus — or in “Living Fossil” and the eight-minute finale “Older than the Hills,” which respectively delve into low-end-driven nod (still pretty damn catchy) and slower, more patient build and payoff (also still pretty damn catchy).

Of course, a big part of the difference might be that this time around, Green Lung, which is comprised of vocalist Tom Templar, guitarist Scott Masson, bassist Andrew Cave and drummer Matt Wiseman, went to an actual studio — Bear Bites Horse, where the likes of Torpor, Terminal Cheesecake and Vodun have also recorded — to work with engineer/mixer Wayne Adams instead of putting the songs to tape in their practice space as they did with Green Man Rising, but another way in which Free the Witch distinguishes itself from the prior outing and in general is in the band’s focus on structure. These songs are executed with purpose, and while they have a flow, most especially between the latter two on a one-into-the-next level, and a sense of space throughout, they remain vigilant in their direction. They are as efficient.

That’s not to say they’re spare. “Lady Lucifer,” “Free the Witch” and “Living Fossil” all run between five and six minutes long, and even in the raucous, crashing opener — which surely would be or would’ve been or could still be, I suppose, a highlight of any debut full-length — there is room in that time for atmospheric diverging. This comes paired with a notable change in the vocal approach of Templar, who gave hints of the echoing style he uses here on “Green Man Rising,” but seems at least for the time being to have left behind the gruff, Ben Ward-style bark with which that post-Sabbath melodic approach shared time. It is another way in which Green Lung seem to be following the path of fellow Londoners Elephant Tree, whose aesthetic underwent similar clarifying between their first EP and album.

green lung

I wouldn’t bet that Green Lung are finished growing into themselves, but as “Lady Lucifer” gives way with a drum fill to the forward gallop of the complementary “Free the Witch” — a two-sided tape, indeed, since the latter ends in silence before “Living Fossil” takes hold — the work they’ve undertaken in beginning their progression is appreciable both in its effort and outcome. Their debut EP, in other words, kicks a good bit of ass. And as an early-outing EP should, it acts as a showcase of their material and potential for the longer term; promise displayed in their songwriting and breadth alike. “Free the Witch,” with a noteworthy guest organ spot in a pre-solo jam section by Joe Murgatroyd (also backing vocals), resolves with a slowdown into largesse that earns Templar‘s cavernous effects, and eases the way into “Living Fossil,” which though faster initially, continues to broaden the sphere.

While it seems to follow a similar structure to the title-track, with a bass-led break from the boogie at its midpoint where the preceding cut was more guitar-led, instead the penultimate cut picks up with its chorus again and moves into a secondary hook to finish with a vibrant last push and a ringout that paves the way for Cave to set the stage for “Older than the Hills,” which pushes further outward. Much as they were able to control the stricter chorusmaking of “Lady Lucifer,” so too do Green Lung prove ready to handle the increased stretch of “Older than the Hills,” which, again, is the slowest and most patient inclusion here, proclaiming its hook in a wide space of its own creation.

If it seems like I’m painting a picture of nothing but encouraging signs from the band, I am, and consciously, but that’s not to say I think their creative evolution has peaked or is finished. Rather, what’s impossible not to take away from Free the Witch is that Green Lungas a unit have begun what one hopes will be the ongoing task of growing as a band, and while their first single indicated a drive toward an individualized sound, to hear that come so much more to fruition after such a short stretch of time is satisfying to say the least. It is still soon to speculate on what a debut long-player from them might bring, but if they’re able to employ the lessons of these songs the way they were those of the single coming into this EP, they would seem to be poised to make a significant sonic impact. The real work is ahead of them, but even in leading one to think of Green Lung‘s longer-term prospects, Free the Witch helps establish their presence in London’s crowded scene and in the greater heavy underground. A success on every level.

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