Wino Wednesday: Saviours & Wino, “Limb from Limb” (Motörhead Cover), Live in L.A., 2013

Posted in Bootleg Theater on July 29th, 2015 by H.P. Taskmaster

happy wino wednesday

There has been a lot of quality video from this tour, which Wino undertook with Oakland, CA’s Saviours and Nick Oliveri after the three parties — Oliveri with his band Mondo Generator — opened for Clutch on their annual holiday run leading up to New Year’s 2013. It would also seem to have been the root of Wino‘s recent studio collaboration with Saviours (give me another week or two; we’ll get there) and for the advent of the yet-to-be-realized Royale Daemons collaboration with Oliveri, assuming that’s still a thing in the offing for somewhere down the line. Vague enough? Good.

Point is the tour-as-nexus also yielded much documentation, be it in full-set videos or clips of other on-stage jams between the various players. It must have been a good one, since nobody’s quite let it completely go. Fair enough to revisit, then, as we continue to wind down the Wino Wednesday feature on the march to number 200 in a few more weeks (this is #194, if you’re counting). This time around, it’s Wino and Saviours delivering a killer take on Motörhead‘s “Limb from Limb.”

The clip comes from Los Angeles, was filmed Jan. 11, 2013, at The Satellite, and even this wasn’t the first time Wino and Saviours had jamemd out — the band having brought the legendary frontman on stage at Scion Rock Fest in 2010 as well — but clearly by the time they got out to L.A., they were comfortable sharing a stage together. Of course, the song is the closing track from Motörhead‘s 1979 sophomore outing, Overkill, and it’s no less of a classic than that album as a whole, but Wino and Saviours give it its due, the former hanging onto the microphone in a manner that anyone who saw him with Saint Vitus over the last six years will likely recognize.

Hope you enjoy and have a great Wino Wednesday:

Saviours & Wino, “Overkill” Live in Los Angeles, Jan. 11, 2013

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Behold! the Monolith New Album Architects of the Void Available to Preorder

Posted in Whathaveyou on July 27th, 2015 by H.P. Taskmaster

behold the monolith

Los Angeles heavyweights Behold! the Monolith are taking orders now for their third album, Architects of the Void, which is set to release Sept. 29. The band have a bunch of different bundle deals set up for those who’d like a shirt to go along with their CD or vinyl (or both), and it’s their first outing since the death in a car accident of vocalist Kevin McDade in 2013, which is about as heavy as context gets, quite frankly.

The album was recorded and mixed by the one and only Billy Anderson, and the striking cover art is by Dusty Peterson. For more, we turn to the PR wire:

behold the monolith architects of the void

BEHOLD! THE MONOLITH to Release ‘Architects of the Void’ on September 29

Los Angeles stoner/doom metal band BEHOLD! THE MONOLITH will release new album Architects of the Void September 29 on CD, digital, and vinyl formats. The album can be pre-ordered at this location.

Legendary producer Billy Anderson has expertly harnessed the band’s smoke-belching locomotive style, while the songwriting is the most captivating of the quartet’s career. Guitarist Matt Price had this to say about the results:”It’s a relatively dark album, which is probably fitting. A few of the riffs and ideas had pretty much coagulated right before Kevin’s accident, and most of the others were colored by it, so yeah it feels kinda heavy and dark to me. I hope I don’t sound like a high falootin’ artisté, but it felt personal for me and Chase, so it wound up being more than just stringing riffs together, ya know? That being said Cas and Jordan came in and kicked ass and brought their own stamp to the sound. So it’s a bit different, but I think it captures the essence what Behold! The Monolith is all about!”

Architects of the Void follows critically acclaimed 2012 release Defender, Redeemist and marks the debut of vocalist Jordan Nalley who took the reigns following the tragic 2013 death of Kevin McDade in a car accident. The album will also be the first for new bassist Jason “Cas” Casanova (SASQUATCH). The album artwork was created by Dusty Peterson (Bloodbath, Six Feet Under, Oceano).

Jordan Nalley – Vocals
Matt Price – Guitar
Jason “Cas” Casanova – Bass
Chase Manhattan – Rhythm and Lead Drums

Produced by Billy Anderson and Behold! The Monolith

https://beholdthemonolith.bandcamp.com/album/architects-of-the-void
https://www.facebook.com/beholdthemonolith
http://www.beholdthemonolith.com/
https://twitter.com/btmband

Behold! The Monolith, Live in Los Angeles, March 18, 2015

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-(16)- Begin Recording New Album

Posted in Whathaveyou on July 14th, 2015 by H.P. Taskmaster

Los Angeles sludge pummelers -(16)- have entered the studio to begin recording their next album. It’s been three years since the release of the long-running four-piece’s last album, Deep Cuts from Dark Clouds, and with the ubiquitous plant delays and things of that sort, it’s easy to imagine that it will be 2016 before the record — whatever it’s called when they’re done with it — actually comes out. But progress in the direction of a new record is good news, particularly with a lineup revamp, so I’m not inclined to argue. Seems likely we’ll hear much more about it before it arrives.

When it does, it’ll be out on Relapse, who sent the following down the PR wire:

16

-(16)- Enter The Studio

Veteran California sludge trailblazers -(16)- have commenced recording the follow-up to their acclaimed 2012 release, Deep Cuts From Dark Clouds. Says longtime guitarist and songwriter, Bobby Ferry:

“Since our last album, time has passed and children have grown. Friends have died. Family members have died, some from cancer, some from misadventure. We’ve toured, playing shows with our heroes and new friends alike. We’ve driven thousands of miles, slept in European airports, crashed at American truck stops. We’ve held shitty jobs and worked for slave wages to keep bills paid and lights on. Most importantly, though, we’ve survived, and all of this has left a mark on us and on our creative process. Like a terminal diagnosis, the idea of -(16)- has loomed as a shadow over its members; it exists as an island of volume, feedback and riffs where our fears are articulated, confronted, and crushed beneath this musical battery we’ve spent 24 years building. This time around, we note a growing acceptance of chaos, a begrudging nod to the fact that this affliction has brought with its pain a wisdom that bleeds into our new work, makes it stronger and smarter. We are currently crafting a darker record that’s reinforced with longer, more complex songs. We’ve road-tested some of the new material, and it’s been greeted by belligerent, confused strangers and fist-pumping fans alike. We aren’t worried about progression. We aren’t thinking about evolution. We undertake this new trip in the spirit of taking the chain off an animal that’s survived a quarter-century by feeding on the most negative parts of us and our lives, and following it to see where it goes on its own.”

For the as-yet-untitled new album, -(16)- is once again reunited with producer/engineer Jeff Forrest. Following their tradition of injecting new life with new players, Ferry and vocalist Cris Jerue are also joined by drummer Dion Thurman of San Diego noise rock legends, Creedle, and bassist Barney Firks (Sylvia Juncosa). Potential song titles include “Pastor In a Coma,” “George,” “Peaches, Cream, and Placenta” and “Secrets of The Curmudgeon.”

https://www.facebook.com/16Band
https://16theband.bandcamp.com/
http://www.relapse.com/label/artist/16.html

-(16)-, Deep Cuts from Dark Clouds (2012)

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The Ultra Electric Mega Galactic Announce New Vocalist Brigitte Roka

Posted in Whathaveyou on June 19th, 2015 by H.P. Taskmaster

the ultra electric mega galactic

After posting some rehearsal-room pictures over the last couple weeks, Los Angeles-based The Ultra Electric Mega Galactic have made the official announcement that Brigitte Roka has joined the band as their full-time vocalist. Formerly the trio of bassist Collyn McCoy (also Sugarfly), drummer Rick Ferrante (also Sasquatch) and guitarist Ed Mundell (ex-Monster Magnet/The Atomic Bitchwax), The UEMG — as they’re mercifully abbreviated — released their Through the Dark Matter EP (review here) as the follow-up to their 2013 self-titled debut (review here), and while McCoy stepped to the mic on a cover of Willie Dixon‘s “Spoonful” on that shorter release, Roka marks the first standalone singer the band has had.

They have a couple shows coming up for the summer — I know I wouldn’t mind seeing them with Sun and Sail Club and The Freeks — and I’d expect some video or live audio to surface to give a sense of how their sound will have shifted with Roka on vocals, whether their space/acid rocking jams will solidify or stay as molten as they were on the self-titled, but as Mundell states in the announcement below, it won’t be until later this year that they hit the studio as a four-piece. It’s already on my most-anticipated-for-2016 list.

Word came in as follows:

the ultra electric mega galactic brigitte

The Ultra Electric Mega Galactic welcomes vocalist Brigitte Roka to the fold

Instrumental power trio The Ultra Electric Mega Galactic is instrumental (and a power trio) no more.

After releasing a full length CD in 2013, an EP in 2014 and performing the main stages of both DesertFests London and Berlin sans vocals, UEMG – comprised of Ed Mundell on guitar (Monster Magnet, the Atomic Bitchwax), Rick Ferrante on drums (Sasquatch) and Collyn McCoy on bass (Trash Titan, Sugar Fly) — has decided to change it up in 2015 with the addition of a permanent vocalist: Brigitte Roka of Los Angeles.

“My intention when leaving Monster Magnet after eighteen years was to work with new musicians, singers, producers and engineers,” says guitarist Ed Mundell. “In this quest, we have found an incredible singer in 19-year-old Brigitte Roka. She brings a fresh yet bluesy 70’s vibe to our sound. We are playing a few shows in Southern California debuting a few of our new songs and plan to go into the studio later in the year.”

The year is 1969,” enthuses bassist Collyn McCoy. “Robert Plant and Janis Joplin have a one-off fling backstage at the Texas International Pop Festival, producing a love child. Only the embryo is frozen and thawed out 27 years later, in Moscow, Russia of all places. Said embryo immigrates to Los Angeles where she’s raised on a steady diet of Deep Purple, Uriah Heep, Atomic Rooster and of course, the musical stylings of her biological parents. That’s Brigitte. I mean, perhaps I’ve mythologized her origin story a bit, but really it’s the only plausible explanation for how awesome she is.”

Upcoming shows:
June 20th, 2015 – Yucca Man Shakedown, Yucca Valley, CA (private event)
August 29th, 2015 – Alex’s Bar, Long Beach, CA (with Sun and Sail Club and The Freeks)

https://www.facebook.com/TheUEMG
https://twitter.com/EDMUNDELL
https://theuemg.bandcamp.com
http://www.theultraelectricmegagalactic.com/

The Ultra Electric Mega Galactic, Through the Dark Matter (2014)

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Lords of Beacon House Announce West Coast Tour Dates

Posted in Whathaveyou on June 5th, 2015 by H.P. Taskmaster

Los Angeles classic heavy rock trio Lords of Beacon House are still pretty fresh off a slot at this year’s Psycho California fest last month, but they’ve also announced a tour for July that will take them around the western half of the US and into Tijuana, Mexico, which is a place whose reputation for shenanigans precedes it and seems fitting for the swaggering sort of groove these cats have on offer with their self-titled debut 12″, which came out on Homhomhom in April following an initial sampler platter (review here) that dropped late last year. Easy to imagine this’ll be a good time.

Not sure with whom they’re playing throughout, but the event page for the tour is below if you’d like to keep up, and the preliminaries are as follows:

lords of beacon house

Lords of Beacon House hit the road this summer!

“Up the high country, down the valleys low – spreading that ol’ funky thang we go”

1,000 WATTS OF UN-CUT TO THE GUT!
GUARANTEED TO MAKE YOU SHAKE YER BUTT!

Fresh off the stage from this years Psycho California and In lieu of their debut self-titled LP via homhomhom Records, LOBH will be tearing up many a stage with some of the raddest and baddest mutha’s on planet Earth.

*DISCLAIMER – NOT FOR THE FAINT AT HEART*

“GIMME MOISTURE” SUMMER TOUR
7/13 – The Whiskey A Go-Go – Hollywood, CA
7/14 – The 5 Star Bar – Los Angeles, CA
7/15 – Harold’s Place – San Pedro, CA
7/16 – The Legionnaire Saloon – Oakland, CA
7/17 – The Milk Bar – San Francisco, CA
7/18 – The Starlite – Sacramento, CA
7/20 – Siren’s Song Tavern – Eureka, CA
7/21 – Old Nick’s Pub – Eugene, OR
7/22 – The Kenton Club – Portland, OR
7/23 – The Highline – Seattle, WA
7/24 – The Bouquet Bar – Boise, ID
7/25 – The Dawg Pound – Salt Lake City, UT
7/27 – The Bar-Bar – Denver, CO
7/28 – Lost Lake – Denver, CO
7/30 – Taos Mesa Brewery – Taos, NM
8/1 – Blooze Bar – Phoenix, AZ
8/2 – Double Down Bar – Las Vegas, NV
8/3 – Doce Cincuenta – Tijuana, MX

YOU ABSOLUTELY DO NOT WANT TO MISS OUT!!

https://www.facebook.com/events/703694173085732/
https://www.facebook.com/pages/Lords-of-Beacon-House/714064795308176
http://lordsofbeaconhouse.com/
http://homhomhom.com/

Lords of Beacon House, Live at Psycho CA, May 16, 2015

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Sugar Fly Stream “Blind”; New Band Features Members of The Ultra Electric Mega Galactic and Lunar Electric

Posted in audiObelisk on April 30th, 2015 by H.P. Taskmaster

sugar-fly

Though its production is modern, the roots of Sugar Fly‘s “Blind” are almost exclusively classic. From the heavy rock groove that rolls the track out to the crooning soul of the vocals that top it, the L.A. outfit (a studio trio, a five-piece live) call to mind decades past and unload classy vibes and assured performance over a quick four minutes. The band was formed late in 2014 by bassist Collyn McCoy, also of The Ultra Electric Mega Galactic, and drummer Noah Lifschey (who’s done studio work across genres in composition, production and playing), who soon joined forces with powerhouse singer Tia Simone to record “Blind,” which is probably one of the most professional-sounding demos you’ve ever heard.

I’ve said on many occasions that I do not know how Los Angeles sustains life, let alone creative life, but that these parties would manage to find each other and craft something together makes a fervent argument for the city’s continued existence. To think of sidling up to some dim-lit bar with the sun still outside as it must perpetually be at midnight in sugar fly logoSouthern California by now — climate change, the shifting rotation of the earth, dust bowl apocalypse and all — and find Sugar Fly slingshotting attitude at unsuspecting would-bes is an image easily conjured by “Blind,” which seems to owe as much to Soundgarden as to Betty Davis and other underheralded badasses of yore; funk and heavy are treacherous elements to meld, Sugar Fly make it work.

If you can dig it, they’re setting themselves up here for a crucial blend of styles. Imagine a slow-groove turn, heavy tones and lounge mood, Lifschey crashing down hard while Lunar Electric‘s Dre DiMura tears into some wah and Simone pushes her register through the comfort zone and into that place where the guttural side of soul comes from? Yeah, it’s a beginning, but “Blind” sets the stage for that, and it’s worth checking out the start before we find out where it’s all headed.

Track’s on the player below, followed by a bit of promo-type background on the band snagged out of their EPK. Enjoy:

Sugar Fly is a ROCK N’ SOUL band with the charm of scuffed wooden bars, whiskey soaked cigars and bootleg rye. Formed in late 2014, Sugar Fly blends the best qualities of classic rock, West Coast funk and Motown soul and injects those familiar sounds with an infusion of modern heavy rock.

Sugar Fly was conceived by Collyn McCoy (bass) and Noah Lifschey (drums), after performing together on Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s TV show, HitRecord. Fueled by a steady diet of thrift store vinyl, vintage tube amps and Kentucky bourbon, the two sequestered themselves to Noah’s studio and birthed the nascent sound that had been swimming in their heads. All that was missing was a singer. But not just any singer would do. They needed a vocalist with the power of Aretha, the passion of Etta, and the prodigious balls of Bon Scott. And that’s when by some manner of miracle (i.e. the internet), Tia Simone dropped from the Cloud. Together these three filled their bubblin’ cauldron with equal parts Stax and Black Sabbath, a dash of Tina Turner and a pinch of Led Zeppelin, to summon the sounds of Sugar Fly from the ether.

Sugar Fly’s live band is composed of Tia Simone (lead vocals), Noah Lifschey (drums), Collyn McCoy (bass), Dre DiMura (guitar) and Esteban Chavez (Hammond organ/analog synths).

Sugar Fly on Thee Facebooks

Sugar Fly on Twitter

Sugar Fly on Whatever Instagram Is

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Blaak Heat Shujaa Post Live Video for “Anatolia”; Next LP in Pre-Production

Posted in Whathaveyou on April 1st, 2015 by H.P. Taskmaster

Very interested to hear what Los Angeles desert rockers Blaak Heat Shujaa come up with for their next album. Their second record and first full-length on Tee Pee, The Edge of an Era (review here), is just about two years old at this point, and with their having recently switched out bassists, bringing on board Tom Davies, formerly of Nebula and currently also of The Freeks, I’m expecting good things to come from the three-piece, who manage to blend technical intricacy and psychedelic vibing in a way that detracts from neither.

Their next LP, yet untitled, is currently in pre-production, which I guess is something one does when working with the likes of Matt Hyde, who’s about as “real producer” as real producers come while still retaining an understanding of the sonically weird. No word yet on a release date, but the trio have put the new instrumental track “Anatolia” to use in a band-performing-in-a-dark-room video by longtime associates Andrew Baxter and Cole Jenkins, and while I’m pretty sure the recording is live, the sound is studio-clear so it’s easy to get a feel for what they’re doing in the relatively quick four-minute track.

And as you make your way there (the video’s at the bottom of this post, if I haven’t said that yet), take special note of the fact that the announcement of the clip’s arrival comes with the band mentioned as Blaak Heat only, no Shujaa. They haven’t said anything one way or another that I’ve seen, but I can’t help but wonder if a name change isn’t in the works or if one’s already taken place. Will let you know when I know.

Till then:

blaak heat shujaa (Photo by Steve Thill)

BLAAK HEAT unleashes new song and video, “ANATOLIA”

Los Angeles-based, American-British-French psych rockers BLAAK HEAT have released footage of a live performance for a new song, “Anatolia”. Shot at Helena Markos’s Tanz Akademie by BLAAK HEAT official filmmakers Andrew Baxter and Cole Jenkins, the video is the band’s first officially released material since 2013.

BLAAK HEAT recently announced the arrival of new bass player Tom Davies (Nebula, The Freeks) and is currently in pre-production for its new album with Grammy Award winning-producer Matt Hyde (Slayer, Deftones).

www.blaakheatshujaa.com
www.facebook.com/blaakheatshujaa

Blaak Heat Shujaa, “Anatolia”

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Quarterly Review: Motherslug, Worshipper, Ape Machine, Churchburn, OMSQ, Unhold, The Heave-Ho, Crypt, Oceanwake, Lunar Electric

Posted in Reviews on March 31st, 2015 by H.P. Taskmaster

quarterly review

When I finished yesterday’s reviews, I felt suitably beat, but as ever, there was a bit of catharsis to it too. Today’s pile takes us all the way to the other end of the world and back again to my (relative) back yard, and then loops around one more time for good measure with a few stops in between. While I’m coherent enough to form sentences, you’ll pardon me if I get right to it.

Quarterly Review #11-20:

Motherslug, Motherslug

motherslug motherslug

If the name Motherslug or the cover art look familiar, it’s because the Melbourne double-guitar five-piece initially released their self-titled EP late in 2012 (review here). This NoSlip Records release, however, takes the tracks from that, couples them with cuts from Motherslug’s subsequent outing, a 2014 two-tracker called Three Kings in Darkness, and remasters both for vinyl as one 39-minute full-length. There’s a bit of progression evident in the newer cuts, “Trippin’ on Evil” and “Three Kings in Darkness,” but the LP smartly arranges them so that each ends its respective side, led into by two songs from the self-titled, so the impression is more that Motherslug are expanding their riffy, Southern-style sludge rock sound – which is still true, it just initially happened over two releases – rather than they’re mixing and matching different recordings. By the time you get to either, however, Motherslug will have already bowled over you with rolling, thick sludge riffs that could just as easily have come from Maryland or Virginia as Australia.

Motherslug on Thee Facebooks

NoSlip Records

Worshipper, Black Corridor/High Above the Clouds

worshipper black corridor high above the clouds

Allston(e) newcomers Worshipper make an accomplished-sounding debut with Black Corridor/High above the Clouds, two self-released tracks that mark their first release as a band. The two-guitar four-piece balance classic metal riffs and doom tendencies with soaring-style clean vocals and fast-moving grooves, as much Candlemass as High on Fire. “Black Corridor” wows with its solo but more with its hook, guitarist John Brookhouse and bassist Bob Maloney sharing vocals while Alejandro Necochea adds guitar and Dave Jarvis draws it all together on drums, and “High above the Clouds” adds some choice early-Dio “Egypt”-ology to the mix. It’s a sense of grandeur that’s neither overblown nor mishandled by the winding track, which coupled with its predecessor demonstrates Worshipper’s firm grip on a style melding heavy rock and metal into a take of their own, and a progression beginning that seems to have a definite idea of where it wants to end up. One can’t help but look forward to finding out.

Worshipper on Thee Facebooks

Worshipper on Bandcamp

Ape Machine, Live at Freak Valley

ape machine live at freak valley

Hard to think of a band from Portland, Oregon, these days as being underrated, but Ape Machine fit the bill all the same. The four-piece of vocalist Caleb Heinze, guitarist Ian Watts, bassist Brian True and drummer Damon de la Paz played Germany’s Freak Valley festival as part of a 2013 European tour in support of the then-recently-released Mangled by the Machine (review here), their third album and Ripple Music debut, and accordingly, most of what shows up on the 48-minute Live at Freak Valley comes from that record, later album cuts like the swaying “Strange are the People” and stomp-slide-fueled “Ruling with Intent” leading to a run through Mangled by the Machine’s first five tracks, in order, to close the set. With a cover of Deep Purple’s “Black Night” (something they also did on their second record) in tow with others from their first two records, Live at Freak Valley makes a solid intro to a group more people should know.

Ape Machine on Thee Facebooks

Ripple Music on Bandcamp

Churchburn, The Awaiting Coffins

churchburn the awaiting coffins

A compilation that draws from Churchburn’s 2013 self-titled and two tracks recorded late in 2013/early in 2014 – opener “Embers of Human Ash” and the subsequent “V” – The Awaiting Coffins revels in its extremity of doom and no-light-shall-pass atmospherics. The duo of vocalist/multi-instrumentalist Dave Suzuki (ex-Vital Remains, among others) and Ray McCaffrey (ex-Sin of Angels) issue the CD/LP via Armageddon Shop, and while there are plenty of droning moments, acoustic interludes and stretches of depressive noise, the Rhode Island outfit is primarily brutal. Suzuki, joined on vocals for the first two cuts by guitarist Kevin Curley and bassist Mike Cardoso, leads a pummeling charge in “V” that’s more death than death-doom, but far be it from me to quibble. For “Come Forth the Swarm,” the Sin of Angels cover “Crown of Fallen Kings” and “Kneel upon Charred Remnants,” it’s just McCaffrey and Suzuki, and the dynamic is different and the recording rawer, but the bleak territory being explored has a similar root. Add on an unlisted cover of Celtic Frost’s “Return to the Eve,” and The Awaiting Coffins is even more of a sure thing.

Churchburn on Thee Facebooks

Armageddon Shop

OMSQ, Thrust/Parry

omsq thrust parry

Instrumental save for some samples, spoken proclamations and field recordings, Thrust/Parry was released by Belgian outfit OMSQ in limited numbers via Navalorama Records on CD to mark the occasion of a late-2014 UK tour, and it showcases an outfit of rare sonic adventurousness. Progressive, heavy structures unfold across three overarching movements in the 68-minute whole of the album, which at any moment makes shifts between dense riffs and crashing drums and exploratory washes of noise sound not only smooth but fitting, culminations like “North Sea” and 16-minute closer “4:48” as much about finishing a story as providing a sonic payoff, each cut serving not only the movement of which it’s component, but also the overarching flow of the record as whole. Stylistically wide open an unhindered by genre constraints, Thrust/Parry is a challenging listen that satisfies in proportion to how much one is willing to shift along with its changes in mood and style. Evocative throughout, it proves more than worth the effort.

OMSQ on Thee Facebooks

Navalorama Records

Unhold, Towering

unhold towering

Swiss five-piece Unhold trace their lineage back to an early-‘90s demo, but Towering (on Czar of Crickets) is their fourth album since their 2001 full-length debut, Walking Blackwards, and their first offering in seven years since Gold Cut in 2008. Something of an unexpected return from the Bern troupe, then, but not unwelcome, their Neurosis-influenced post-hardcore/post-metal finding renewed expression in the moody unfolding of “I Belong” or the tense bellow of the later, keyboard-infused “Hydra,” moments of triumph in ambient/crushing tradeoffs of “Voice Within” as guitarists Thomas Tschuor and Philipp Thöni step back and pianist Miriam Wolf takes lead vocals for a movement almost Alcest-like in its melodic course. Drummer Daniel Fischer and bassist Leo Matkovic are less a foundation than part of Towering’s nodding, modern-proggy whole, and it probably works better that way in smoothing out the various turns in extended pieces like the title-track or “Dawn,” which provides the apex of the album with the calmer “Ascending” and “Death Dying” as an epilogue.

Unhold on Thee Facebooks

Czar of Crickets

The Heave-Ho, Dead Reckoning

the heave-ho dead reckoning

Three words: Rock and roll. With Boston four-piece The Heave-Ho, it’s less about subgenre and more about paying homage to a classic ideal of straightforward expression. Dead Reckoning, the debut full-length from the lineup of guitarist/vocalist Pete Valle (ex-Quintaine Americana), bassist Keith “Barry” Schleicher (ex-Infernal Overdrive), drummer Dylan Wilson and lead guitarist Lawrence O’Toole, is eight songs (plus a closing radio edit, presumably for WEMF) of unpretentious rendition, steady in its delivery of grown-up-punker hooks and barroom rock such that, when Valle calls for “guitar!” prior to the solo in “Buffalo,” it’s entirely without irony or cynicism. Would be hard for “Thirsty Jesus” not to be a highlight on its title alone, but the lyrics also hold up. With a clean production style, centerpiece moment of clarity in “Afraid to Die,” and particularly riotous finish in “The Line,” Dead Reckoning has little use for stylistic nuance and a confident delivery across the board. Drunk as it is, it does not stumble.

The Heave-Ho on Thee Facebooks

The Heave-Ho at CDBaby

Crypt, Kvlt MMXIV

crypt kvlt mmxiv

Though Adelaide three-guitar six-piece Crypt title their debut release Kvlt MMXIV, it’s actually a Jan. 2015 release, a half-hour’s worth of stoner chicanery pressed up in a recycled-material digipak with a fold-out liner poster – the lyrics, yes, are written in a rune font – and the disc held in place by a piece of cork. The presentation of the songs themselves is no less off the wall, the lumbering “Green Butter” taking hold from the crust-raw opener “Siberian Exile” with unhinged low-end, drum stomp and some deceptively subtle airy guitar, and the weirdo blues howl of the following “These Last Days” only broadens the scope. Seems fair to say “expect the unexpected” since so much effort has been put into throwing off the frame of reference, but as the fuzz of “Idle Minds” and ambience into righteous groove of closer “Dead River” show, Crypt have more working in their favor than variety for its own sake, namely a fire in their delivery that burns away any slim chance this material had of sounding stale.

Crypt on Thee Facebooks

Crypt on Bandcamp

Oceanwake, Sunless

oceanwake sunless

Ferocious death-doom meets with melodic atmospheres on Oceanwake’s second album, Sunless – a title that’s not quite a full summary of what the Finnish five-piece have on offer throughout the four tracks/44 minutes. Opener “The Lay of an Oncoming Storm,” also the longest cut at 15:35 (immediate points), shifts back and forth between lumbering brutality and sparse guitar atmospherics, and while one waits for the inevitable clean vocals that would put Oceanwake in league with countrymen Swallow the Sun, they don’t come yet. Instead, the track explodes into crashes and screams. Ten-minute closer “Ephemeral” holds the most satisfying build, but between the two, “Parhelion” (9:09) and “Avanturine” (8:03) manage to remind of the particular melancholic beauty of death-doom – including some of those melodic vocals – and how resonant its contrast of light and dark can be when held together by an emotional core as resonant as that of Oceanwake. Sunless is gorgeous and devastating, and not necessarily alternating between the two.

Oceanwake on Thee Facebooks

ViciSolum Productions on Bandcamp

Lunar Electric, Lunar Electric

lunar-electric-lunar-electric

While one struggles not to be skeptical of any release in this day and age that opens with a “Radio Edit,” I won’t discount the quality of songwriting L.A.-based Lunar Electric display throughout their self-titled EP. Now a duo driven by guitarist/vocalist Dre DiMura, the band is highly-stylized but brims with a classic heavy rock swagger in “Bread and Circuses” (the aforementioned radio edit) and the subsequent “Moonlight,” a steady swing emerging in layers of heavy riffing and DiMura’s own croon, pushed ahead by the straightforward drumming of Kaleen Reading and the low-end heft of bassist Geena Spigarelli. They make a solid trio across “Moonlight” and “Sleepwaker,” which follows with its chugging break foreshadowing closer “Crossfire Child” (video premiere here) while building a tension of its own, though it seems unlikely that whatever Lunar Electric do next will have the same lineup because of geographic spread. Too bad. While young, and somewhat brooding, Lunar Electric nonetheless offer up a work of marked potential in their EP’s quick 17-minute span.

Dre DiMura’s website

Dre DiMura on Instagram

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