Salem’s Bend Release Supercluster Next Month; New Song Streaming

Posted in Whathaveyou on April 17th, 2019 by JJ Koczan

salems bend

Take five minutes out of your busy day and get introduced to Salem’s Bend‘s new record, Supercluster, by streaming the track “Spaceduster” at the bottom of this post. It’s right on classic-style heavy rock, with natural tones and melodies and a vibe that stretches way outside the confines of its runtime. It is — as the kids once said — way cool, and its May 24 arrival will be preceded by a run of dates around the Los Angeles trio’s appearance earlier in May at Desertfest London 2019, for which they’ll join a lineup that itself is way outside the confines of the fuckwithable. Breaking free of confines all around it seems, and the hypnotic jammy feel of “Spaceduster” suits that intention well. It’s not long, and it doesn’t get lost in itself, but yeah, if you’ve got five minutes, do yourself a favor. These guys might just really be onto something here.

Dig it:

salems bend supercluster

SALEM’S BEND: LA-based Psych Trio to Release New Album, Supercluster | European Tour Kicks Off Next Month

Supercluster by Salem’s Bend is officially released on 24th May 2019 on Ripple Music

Ripple Music is thrilled to announce the release of Supercluster, the brand-new album from LA-based rock trio Salem’s Bend.

Cutting their teeth in various outfits over the years, after idly deciding to crawl into a garage one day, three unassuming dudes emerged into sunlight as a mighty hard rock triumvirate skilled in the execution of maximum Sabbath, Priest and Zeppelin worship…

…for on this day, Salem’s Bend was born.

Running an aural gamut of ’70s-sounding classic rock with the influence of melodic heavy-hitters from the contemporary realms of desert, doom metal, psych and stoner rock, the band coalesced in the summer of 2014 with the intention of turning heavy riffs into the catchiest of tunes. With seven songs eventually making the cut on what would become their self-titled debut, the trio earnestly self-released their efforts via Bandcamp, and in doing so caught the ear of Ripple Music. Garnering some early praise one reviewer commented on just how well the band managed to, “Forge their own searing, raucous guitars; intense, deep bass; and athletic, punctuated stickwork around some of the most intelligently interesting melodies to float through the stonersphere in quite some time.”

Salem’s Bend subsequently signed with Ripple, who gave their debut a worldwide release on vinyl, CD and digital in 2016. Since then, they have been taking their hard-hitting live performance on the road, touring every few months around the Western US and Canada and playing festivals such as SXSW, More Beers in Hell, Vantopia, and many more.

This May, thanks to the good folk and fellow Californians at Ripple, Supercluster – Salem’s Bend eagerly awaited follow-up to Salem’s Bend – will receive an official worldwide release on 24th May. In the meantime, you can stream and share new song ‘Spaceduster’ via Ripple Music and catch the band across Europe (see dates below) as they tour in support of the new record.

SALEM’S BEND EUROPEAN TOUR:
02/05 – TBA – Leeds, UK
03/05 – TBA – Birmingham, UK
04/05 – Desertfest – London, UK
08/05 – Muziekcentrum Kinky Star – Ghent, Belgium
09/05 – Don’t Panic Essen – Essen, Germany
10/05 – MTS Records – Oldenburg, Germany
11/05 – Stereo Wonderland – Cologne, Germany
12/05 – Db’S Utrech – Utrecht, Netherlands
13/05 – Pallieter Cafe – Herselt, Belgium

TRACK LISTING:
1. Spaceduster
2. Ride the Night
3. Catamount
4. Heavenly Manna
5. Winds of Ganymede
6. Show Me the Witch
7. Thinking Evil
8. Infinite Horizon

SALEM’S BEND:
Bobby Parker – Guitar, Vocals
Kevin Schofield – Bass, Vocals
Zach Huling – Drums

http://www.facebook.com/salemsbend
https://salemsbend.com/
http://ripplemusic.bigcartel.com/products

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Here’s the Bio I Wrote for the New Nebula Album Holy Shit; Album out June 7

Posted in Whathaveyou on April 4th, 2019 by JJ Koczan

nebula (Photo by Matt Lynch)

I was fortunate enough to be asked to write the bio for the new Nebula album. It’s called Holy Shit — fair enough, at least given my response to its existence, let alone actually hearing the damn thing — and it’ll be out June 7 through Heavy Psych Sounds. I’ve written bios for the likes of Gary Arce, Brant Bjork, Conan, Neurosis, All Them Witches and too many others to count, but I put having a hand, even in this small way, in the first Nebula record in a decade feels pretty special. I’m grateful to have had the opportunity to do so. All the more because the record kicks ass.

Album details came through the PR wire just now, and here’s the bio I wrote to go with them. Thanks for reading:

nebula holy shit

NEBULA share first track and details for new studio album ‘Holy Shit’; preorders live now on Heavy Psych Sounds Records!

We are very excited to announce that the heavy pscyh masters Nebula are coming back after 10 years with a brand new album !!!
Holy Shit will see the light on 7th June via Heavy Psych Sounds.

PRESALE STARTS TODAY:
https://www.heavypsychsounds.com/

USA PRESALE (link active soon)
https://allthatisheavy.com/search?type=product&q=nebula&fbclid=IwAR2hwfFUlonDcpszgrVFl0RaOxDw47GjZmKtheM4N3hHladsVML9APP794c

AVAILABLE IN:
50 TEST PRESS VINYL
250 ULTRA LTD PINK FLUO VINYL
250 ULTRA LTD WHITE MARBLED/PINK FLUO VINYL
650 TRANSPARENT SPLATTER BLACK AND PINK FLUO VINYL
BLACK VINYL
DIGIPAK (6 panels)
DIGITAL

**All vinyls in gatefold sleeve**

Nebula Holy Shit Bio
22 years after their first release and 10 years after their last album, Nebula are back. And you’re thinking “Holy shit!” right now, you pretty much nailed it.

Holy Shit is Nebula’s first LP since 2009’s Heavy Psych, and it quickly puts to rest the question that’s loomed since guitarist/vocalist Eddie Glass, bassist Tom Davies and drummer Michael Amster announced the band’s reformation in 2017. Nebula are still Nebula.

It’s there in the inimitable space-grunge of “It’s all Over,” or the take-a-drag-and-be-gone “Let’s Get Lost,” or the way “Tomorrow Never Comes” manages to be so, so heavy and laid back at the same time. It’s in the paradise-psych of “Gates of Eden” and even the snoring you hear before the devilish “Man’s Best Friend” kicks in to open the album (the studio couch became a crash spot).

Since the days of 1998’s Let it Burn EP and the now-classic To the Center debut album, Nebula have always been just a little more dangerous. Just a little more unhinged. Holy Shit shows this front-to-back for the essential part of their character it is, and yet it’s not trying to be anything they’ve done before, whether it’s those early outings or Heavy Psych or Charged (2001), Apollo (2003) or Atomic Ritual (2005). It’s a sixth Nebula album — something for which even the most ardent of fans could hardly have hoped.

The basic tracks were done in two days, recorded at Mysterious Mammal Studios in L.A. with Matt Lynch (also of Snail) at the helm. Leads and loops and feedback effects were done live by Glass and Davies as they recorded the basic tracks, just the way they’d do it on stage, and overdubs followed after as needed. A glut of material was produced and whittled down to the core of what you hear here. A sixth Nebula album.

And when you hear it, you’ll find yourself saying that title all over again.

NEBULA is:
Eddie Glass (guitars-vocals)
Tom Davies (bass-backing vocals)
Michael Amster (drums)

https://www.facebook.com/NebulaBand/
https://twitter.com/HEAVYPSYCHSOUND
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https://heavypsychsoundsrecords.bandcamp.com/
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Review & Track Premiere: Saint Vitus, Saint Vitus

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

saint vitus saint vitus

[Click play above to stream ‘Bloodshed’ from Saint Vitus’ upcoming self-titled album, out May 17 on Season of Mist. They’re on tour in Europe starting next month (dates here).]

Some 35 years ago, Saint Vitus defied the punk scene to which they mostly played at the time and issued their self-titled debut, an all-black cover with the band’s logo emblazoned on top, as though there was nothing else to say. And the raw doom that pervaded that 1984 release met that same barebones standard — as purely derived Sabbathian heavy as has ever existed outside the forebears themselves. With an undercurrent of hardcore punk’s upfront middle-finger-raised confrontation-prone attitude, Saint Vitus became one of modern doom’s formative and essential acts. They’ve come and gone over the years since and changed members and shape, but Saint Vitus are still Saint Vitus, and that would seem to be the message of their second self-titled release.

Also their third outing for Season of Mist behind 2012’s comeback studio offering Lillie: F-65 (review here) and 2016’s Live Vol. 2 (review here), it immediately enters conversation with the band’s earliest days thanks as well to the return of vocalist Scott Reagers, who rejoined the band in 2015 after a split with Scott “Wino” Weinrich (The Obsessed, etc.) — who had fronted the band since their reunion began at Roadburn Festival in 2009 — thereby keeping the proportion of original members in the band to two, as guitarist Dave Chandler remains the core of the group, while drummer Henry Vasquez (also Blood of the Sun) marks a decade with the group and bassist Pat Bruders (also Down, ex-Crowbar) makes his first appearance. For Reagers, it’s his first time fronting Vitus for a studio record since 1995’s Die Healing (discussed here), which was the band’s final LP until the 2012 reunion release. That makes the new Saint Vitus — a candidate for all manner of nicknames taken from its cover art, whether it’s ‘The Fog Album,’ ‘The Murk Album’ (I like that one), ‘Grey Vitus’ or any number of others — all the more an event than it even would be arriving seven years after Lillie: F-65, and as it brings the band back together with producer Tony Reed (also of Mos Generator), its nine-track/41-minute run succeeds both in capturing the feel of classic Vitus and pushing their sound to places it hasn’t yet gone in the 40 years they’ve been a band.

Two examples to that point, both late in the album: “City Park” and “Useless.” Following the swaying noise/crashfest of “Hour Glass,” “City Park” is not at all the first time Chandler has taken on the vocalist position in the band — one recalls “Just Another Notch” from Die Healing and “A Timeless Tale” from 1992’s C.O.D. (discussed here), as well as “When Emotion Dies” from 1990’s landmark V, and so on — and of those, it’s probably most akin to “When Emotion Dies,” but “City Park” is on a different mission. Its noise is set to the purpose of atmospherics and drama in a way that Saint Vitus have never done before, and Chandler‘s spoken word, almost a whisper, is dark and narrative and backed by guitar noise in an experimentalist way that makes the four-minute piece much more than just an introduction to the subsequent “Last Breath,” which serves as a six-and-a-half-minute culmination of Saint Vitus‘ doomed persona, with a signature riff and lumbering groove and Reagers telltale vibrato over top.

“City Park” sets out to embody that murk on the cover, that feeling of unease of being alone someplace in the darkness with a shapeless and probably imaginary malevolence. “It might be illusion,” Chandler speculates. Indeed it might, but “City Park” is one example of Saint Vitus trying something new for them. At the same time, after “Last Breath” has answered back to the filthy churn and tension of album-opener “Remains” — sure to be a crowd-pleaser — a feedback introduction to album finale “Useless” takes up 13 of a total 91 seconds of what’s both the fastest and most outwardly punk rock song Saint Vitus have ever written. Gang shouts, blazing speed, and a social comment lyric that reminds of early C.O.C., it’s a stripped-raw moment of thrust that, especially in the context of the band’s four decades, seems to be done in good humor. One can almost imagine Chandler introducing it from the stage: “Well it took us 40 years, but we finally wrote a punk song.”

saint vitus

Saint Vitus are no strangers to playing fast. The eponymous track that opened the self-titled is a prime example, or even “Blessed Night” from the last record, but “Useless” goes a step further in a very similar way that “City Park” takes what they’ve done before and brings it to a new level. Even the earlier “A Prelude To…” — which is actually longer than “Bloodshed,” which it would seem to have been composed to introduce — steps beyond the limits of what one might expect from them, with a minimalist creeper of a guitar line and a vocal showcase from Reagers that drifts to about the 2:20 mark before Bruders‘ bassline enters to begin the introduction to “Bloodshed” in earnest. And while “Bloodshed” — arguably the most outwardly catchy inclusion here — and the subsequent “12 Years in the Tomb” both have good speed to their push, the latter finding Chandler taking a particularly noisy solo as Vasquez dutifully holds the track together, they’re still well within Saint Vitus‘ wheelhouse.

Likewise, the mid-tempo centerpiece “Wormhole” — which would seem to be a complement/update in lyrical theme to the opiate-minded “White Stallions” from 1985’s Hallow’s Victim, the band’s second record and the last of Reagers‘ original run with them — does well in fusing faster and slower methods and brings nuance of layered vocals in the verses to standout lines like, “I always feel safe in a sacred place/Far away from the human race,” emphasizing a perspective that is no less quintessentially Vitus than Chandler‘s ultra-low guitar tone, which is not only intact throughout these songs, but reestablished as the foundational component that it is of everything they’ve ever done. Especially as this is the first Saint Vitus full-length not to feature original bassist Mark Adams — whose Parkinson’s diagnosis was revealed last year — Chandler seems all the more the center of what makes the band who they are. That doesn’t, however detract from Reagers‘ performance across this material, as from “Remains” to “Useless” (notwithstanding “City Park”), he brings the most classic feel to the material that ties together the album’s diverse presentation. He surfs the groove of “Bloodshed” like a master and is no less at home among the filth and sleaze of “Hour Glass” than in the lurching final verse of “Last Breath.”

Thus it is a two-pronged righteousness to be found on Saint Vitus‘ Saint Vitus. They bring to bear the sound that’s made their legacy span generations as it has while also pushing themselves to try ways of working they’ve never done before. It’s difficult to look at this album out of the context of Saint Vitus‘ past output, but I’m not entirely sure we’re supposed to. Rather, even the title — or lack thereof — seems to hint at the band coming full circle, both in terms of Chandler and Reagers re-teaming for a studio album, for their ongoing flirtations with punk, and for their reclamation of the style and tone that was so much their own from the very start. Saint Vitus‘ Saint Vitus could stand alone, but it doesn’t have to, and especially considering how much the band has done to shape modern doom, it is all the more admirable that the creative restlessness that drove their earliest days would still be so vibrant these many years later. Why rest on your laurels when you can fully embody the miseries and disaffection of our age?

Saint Vitus, “12 Years in the Tomb”

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Saint Vitus Tumblr

Saint Vitus website

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Season of Mist on Twitter

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Season of Mist website

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Quarterly Review: Stuck in Motion, AVER, Massa, Alastor, Seid, Moab, Primitive Man & Unearthly Trance, Into Orbit, Super Thief, Absent

Posted in Reviews on March 18th, 2019 by JJ Koczan

quarterly-review-spring-2019

Let the games begin! The rules are the same: 10 albums per day, this time for a total of 60 between today and next Monday. It’s the Quarterly Review. Think of it like a breakfast buffet with an unending supply of pancakes except the pancakes are riffs and there’s only one dude cooking them and he’s really tired all the time and complains, complains, complains. Maybe not the best analogy. Still, it’s gonna be a ton of stuff, but there are some very, very cool records included, so please keep your eyes and your mind open for what’s coming, because you might find something here you really dig. If not, there’s always tomorrow. Let’s go.

Quarterly Review #1-10:

Stuck in Motion, Stuck in Motion

stuck in motion self-titled

The classic style cover art of Swedish trio Stuck in Motion‘s self-titled debut tells much of the story. It’s sweet-toned vintage-style soul rock, informed by Graveyard to some degree, but more aligned to retroism. The songs are bluesy and natural and not especially long, but have vibe for weeks, as demonstrated on the six-minute longest-track “Dreams of Flying,” or the flute-laden closer “Eken.” What the picture doesn’t tell you is the heavy use of clavinet in the band’s sound and just how much the vintage electric piano adds to what songs like “Slingrar” with its ultra-fluid shifts in tempo, or the sax-drenched penultimate cut “Orientalisk.” Comprised of guitarist/vocalist Max Kinnbo, drummer Gustaf Björkman and bassist/vocalist/clavinetist Adrian Norén, Stuck in Motion‘s debut successfully basks in a mellow psychedelic blues atmosphere and shows a patience for songwriting that bodes remarkably well. It should not be overlooked because you think you’re tired of vintage-style rock.

Stuck in Motion on Thee Facebooks

Stuck in Motion on Bandcamp

 

AVER, Orbis Majora

aver orbis majora

Following up their 2015 sophomore outing, Nadir (review here), which led to them getting picked up by Ripple Music, Australia’s AVER return with the progressive shove of Orbis Majora, five songs in 50 minutes of thoughtfully composed heavy progadelica, and while it’s not all so serious — closer “Hemp Fandango” well earns its title via a shuffling stonerly groove — opener “Feeding the Sun” and the subsequent “Disorder” set a mood of careful craftsmanship in longform pieces. The album’s peak might be in the 13-minute “Unanswered Prayers,” which culls together an extended linear build that’s equal parts immersive and gorgeous, but the rest of the album hardly lacks for depth or clarity of purpose. An underlying message from the Sydney four-piece would seem to be that they’re going to continue growing, even after more than a decade, because it’s not so much that they’re feeling their way toward their sound, but willfully pushing themselves to refine those parameters.

AVER on Thee Facebooks

Ripple Music on Bandcamp

 

Massa, Walls

massa walls

Flourish of keys adds nuance to Massa‘s moody, heavy post-rock style, the Rotterdam-based trio bringing an atmosphere to their second EP, Walls, across five tracks and 26 minutes marked by periodic samples from cinema and a sense of scope that seems to be born of an experimental impulse but not presented as the experiment itself. That is, they take the “let’s try this!” impulse and make a song out of it, as the chunky rhythm of instrumental centerpiece “Expedition” or the melodies in the prior “#8” show. Before finishing with the crash-into-push of the relatively brief “Intermassa,” the eight-minute “The Federal” complements winding guitar with organ to affect an engaging spirit somewhere between classic and futurist heavy, with the drums holding together proceedings that would seem to convey all the chaos of that temporal paradox. Perhaps it was opener “Shiva” that set this creator/destroyer tone, but either way, Massa bask in it and find a grim sense of identity thereby.

Massa on Thee Facebooks

Massa on Bandcamp

 

Alastor, Slave to the Grave

alastor slave to the grave

The first full-length from Swedish doomplodders Alastor and their debut on RidingEasy Records, late 2018’s Slave to the Grave is the four-piece’s most expansive offering yet in sonic scope as well as runtime. Following the 2017 EPs Blood on Satan’s Claw (review here) and Black Magic (review here), the seven-song/56-minute offering holds true to the murk-toned cultism and dense low-end rumble of the prior offerings, but the melodic resonance and sense of updating the aesthetic of traditional doom is palpable throughout the roller “Your Lives are Worthless,” while the later acoustic-led “Gone” speaks to a folkish influence that suits them surprisingly well given the heft that surrounds. They make an obvious focal point of 17-minute closer “Spider of My Love,” which though they’ve worked in longer forms before, is easily the grandest accomplishment they’ve yet unfurled. One might easily say the same applies to Slave to the Grave as a whole. Those who miss The Wounded Kings should take particular note of their trajectory.

Alastor on Thee Facebooks

RidingEasy Records website

 

Seid, Weltschmerz, Baby!

seid-weltschmerz_baby-web

If Norwegian space-psych outfit Seid are feeling weary of the world, the way they show it in Weltschmerz, Baby! is by simply leaving it behind, substituting for reality a cosmic starscape of effects and synth, the odd sample and vaguely Hawkwindian etherealism. The centerpiece title-track is a banger along those lines, a swell of rhythmic intensity born out of the finale of the prior “Satan i Blodet” and the mellow, flowing “Trollmannens Hytte” before that, but the highlight might be the subsequent “Coyoteman,” which drifts into dream-prog led by echoing layers of guitar and eventually given over to a fading strain of noise that “Moloch vs. Gud” picks up with percussive purpose and flows directly into the closer “Mir (Drogarna Börjar Värka),” rife with ’70s astro-bounce and a long fadeout that’s less about the record ending and more about leaving the galaxy behind. Starting out at a decent clip with “Haukøye,” Weltschmerz, Baby! is all about the journey and a trip well worth taking.

Seid on Thee Facebooks

Sulatron Records website

 

Moab, Trough

moab trough

A good record tinged by the tragic loss of drummer Erik Herzog during the recording and finished by guitarist/vocalist Andrew Giacumakis and bassist Joe Fuentes, the 10-track/39-minute Trough demonstrates completely just how much Moab have been underrated since their 2011 debut, Ab Ovo (discussed here), and across the 2014 follow-up, Billow (review here), as they bring a West Coast noise-infused pulse to heavy rock drive on “All Automatons” and meet an enduring punker spirit face first with “Medieval Moan,” all the while presenting a clear head for songcraft amid deep-running tones and melodies. “The Will is Weak” makes perhaps the greatest impact in terms of heft, but heft is by no means all Moab have to offer. With the very real possibility this will be their final record, it is a worthy homage to their fallen comrade and a showcase of their strengths that’s bound someday to get the attention it deserves whenever some clever label decides to reissue it as a lost classic.

Moab on Thee Facebooks

Moab on Bandcamp

 

Primitive Man & Unearthly Trance, Split

primitive man unearthly trance split

Well of course it’s a massive wash of doomed and hate-filled noise! What were you expecting, sunshine and puppies? Colorado’s Primitive Man and Brooklyn’s Unearthly Trance team up to compare misanthropic bona fides across seven tracks of blistering extremity that do Relapse Records proud. Starting with the collaborative intro “Merging,” the onslaught truly commences with Primitive Man’s 10-minute “Naked” and sinks into an abyss with the instrumental noisefest “Love Under Will,” which gradually makes its way into a swell of abrasive drone. Unearthly Trance, meanwhile, proffer immediate destructiveness with the churning “Mechanism Error” and make “Triumph” dark enough to live up to its most malevolent interpretations, while “Reverse the Day” makes me wonder what people who heard Godflesh in the ’80s must’ve thought of it and the six-minute finishing move “418” answers back to Primitive Man‘s droned-out anti-structure with a consuming void of fuckall depth. It’s like the two bands cut open their veins and recorded the disaffection that spilled out.

Primitive Man on Thee Facebooks

Unearthly Trance on Thee Facebooks

Relapse Records website

 

Into Orbit, Shifter

Into Orbit Shifter

Progressive New Zealander two-piece Into OrbitPaul Stewart on guitar and Ian Moir on drums — offer up the single Shifter as the answer to their 2017 sophomore long-player, Unearthing. The Wellington instrumentalists did likewise leading into that album with a single that later showed up as part of a broader tracklist, so it may be that they’ve got another release already in the works, but either way, the 5:50 standalone track finds them dug into a full band sound with layered or looped guitar standing tall over the mid-paced drumming, affecting an emotion-driven atmosphere as much as the cerebral nature of its craft. Beginning with a thick chug, it works into more melodic spaciousness as it heads toward and through its midsection, lead guitar kicking in with harmony lines joining soon after as the two-piece build back up to a bigger finish. Whatever their plans, Into Orbit make it clear that just because something is prog doesn’t mean it needs to be staid or lack expressiveness.

Into Orbit on Thee Facebooks

Into Orbit on Bandcamp

 

Super Thief, Eating Alone in My Car

super thief eating alone in my car

Noise-punk intensity pervades Eating Alone in My Car, the not-quite-not-an-LP from Austin four-piece Super Thief. They call it an album, and that’s good enough for me, especially since at about 20 minutes there isn’t much more I’d ask of the thing that it doesn’t deliver, whether it’s the furious out-of-mindness of minute-long highlight “Woodchipper” or the poli-sci critique of that sandwiches the offering with opener “Gone Country” immediately taking a nihilist anti-stance while closer “You Play it Like a Joke but I Know You Really Mean It” — which consumes nearly half the total runtime at 9:32 — seems to run up the walls unable to stick to the “smoke ’em if you got ’em” point of view of the earlier cut. That’s how the bastards keep you running in circles, but at least Super Thief know where to direct the frustration. “Six Months Blind” and the title-track have a more personal take, but are still worth a read lyrically as much as a listen, as the rhythm of the words only adds to the striking personality of the material.

Super Thief on Thee Facebooks

Learning Curve Records website

 

Absent, Towards the Void

absent towards the void

Recorded in 2016, released on CD in 2018 and snagged by Cursed Tongue Records for a vinyl pressing, Absent‘s Towards the Void casts a shimmering plunge of cavernous doom, with swirling post-Electric Wizard guitar and echoing vocals adding to the spaciousness of its four component tracks as the Brasilia-based trio conjure atmospheric breadth to go along with their weighted lurch in opener “Ophidian Womb.” With tracks arranged shortest to longest between eight and a half and 11 minutes, “Semen Prayer,” “Funeral Sun” and “Urine” follow suit from the opener in terms of overall approach, but “Funeral Sun” speeds things up for a stretch while “Urine” lures the listener downward with a subdued opening leading to more filth-caked distortion and degenerate noise, capping with feedback because at that point what the hell matters anyway? Little question in listening why this one’s been making the rounds for over a year now. It will likely continue to do so for some time to come.

Absent on Thee Facebooks

Cursed Tongue Records webstore

 

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Nebula to Release New Album in June on Heavy Psych Sounds

Posted in Whathaveyou on March 7th, 2019 by JJ Koczan

Interesting. I count Nebula‘s last album as being Heavy Psych (review here), which arrived first as an EP the year before and was expanded to a long-player for Tee Pee Records in 2009. Their new one being their first in 13 years would make it the first since 2005’s Apollo, though 2005 at this point was 14 years ago. Wherever the number comes from, it’s the first Nebula studio outing in more than a decade and something the prospect of which has been kicked around since the band started playing live shows again and launched their reissue program through Heavy Psych Sounds. That same imprint will stand behind the new record, which is yet untitled, and will release it in June as Nebula take part in the first US incarnation of the Heavy Psych Sounds Fest as a package tour on the West Coast.

More to come on this one, of course. The sooner the better as far as I’m concerned.

Preliminaries off the PR wire:

nebula

NEBULA to release brand NEW ALBUM after 13 years!!!

Desert rock titans, pioneering NEBULA, have announced to extend their record deal with cult & fuzz rock label HEAVY PSYCH SOUNDS, who will proudly release the band’s brand new album this June!

It will be NEBULA’s first album in 13 long years. The new band line-up is currently working in the studio with producer Matt Lynch, to record their brand new album with a release in June of 2019.

While the rising powerhouse label released a ‘Demos & Outtakes’ album as well as a reissue of the pathbreaking Charged-album earlier this year, Heavy Psych Sounds are more than proud to release a freshly baked album by the legends NEBULA this summer! And what a hot summer it will be, as we can also expect the band to extensively tour, alongside the just announced Heavy Psych Sounds Festival tour with 2 NEBULA live dates in California this Spring!

Guitarist Eddie Glass and drummer Ruben Romano formed NEBULA in 1997 after breaking away from desert rock pioneers Fu Manchu, eventually recruiting bassist Mark Abshire. The power trio specializes in feedback-drenched heavy rock, incorporating liberal doses of Black Sabbath riffery, psychedelia, and space rock. The band released a number of EPs before moving onto full-length albums like 1999’s To the Center and 2001’s Charged. They’ve mainly distinguished themselves as a very hard-working live unit.

NEBULA creates pure guitar-driven, conscious expanding rock for the 21st century. They are a culmination of their rock forbearers such as Jimi Hendrix, MC5, The Stooges and Mudhoney turned up a notch, taken to the next level and blasting through space. NEBULA spread their gospel through their music and what they are preaching will leave the congregation on the floor.

In 2017 the band decided to reissue three of their crucial early works via Heavy Psych Sounds Records: 1998’s Let it Burn, 1999’s To the Center and 2002’s Dos EPs, which includes the material originally released on 1999’s Sun Creature and a Nebula/Lowrider split. Followed by the re-release of NEBULA’s Charged and the special release of Demos & Outtakes ’98-02 in early 2019, this summer and after 13 years will be seeing the band return with not only a new line-up but also their brand new full-length, a news that will definitely make every desert rock-heart beat faster.

More details, first album tunes and many more news to follow soon!

NEBULA is:
Eddie Glass (guitars-vocals)
Tom Davies (bass-backing vocals)
Michael Amster (drums)

https://www.facebook.com/NebulaBand/
https://twitter.com/HEAVYPSYCHSOUND
https://instagram.com/heavypsychsounds_records/
https://heavypsychsoundsrecords.bandcamp.com/
http://www.heavypsychsounds.com/

Nebula, Live in Oslo, Norway, April 23, 2018

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Saint Vitus Announce Self-Titled LP out May 17

Posted in Whathaveyou on February 27th, 2019 by JJ Koczan

saint vitus

Saint Vitus have never been much for following the rules, so hey, 35 years after making an absolute doom metal landmark in their 1984 self-titled debut, why not put out a new, also-self-titled album with original vocalist Scott Reagers back in the band? Season of Mist, which has been the band’s label home since their 2012 comebacker, Lillie: F-65 (review here), will stand behind the new offering — recorded, like its predecessor, by Tony Reed — and the band will support it on a month-long European tour beginning in April, celebrating the 40th anniversary of the band.

They’re streaming the track “12 Years in the Tomb” right now and as you can hear at the bottom of this post, the deranged style of founding guitarist Dave Chandler and Reagers‘ vocals sound like long lost friends finding each other after years apart. And so they are.

Album’s out May 17. Preorders are up now from the label, which posted the following:

saint vitus saint vitus

Saint Vitus – Saint Vitus

Taken from the album “Saint Vitus”. Release date: May 17, 2019. Order here: http://smarturl.it/SaintVitusShop

Seven years after their epic comeback album, ‘Lillie: F-65’ (2012), legendary doom metal trailblazers SAINT VITUS return with their eponymous new album. The band sees the return of their original vocalist, Scott Reagers, as well as the addition of new bassist Pat Bruders (DOWN, ex-CROWBAR), who join long-time drummer Henry Vasquez and founder/guitarist Dave Chandler. As if in a time machine, the seasoned quartet pick up where their 1985 classic ‘Hallows Victim’ left off. Saint Vitus delivers nothing less than the truest and most enduring representation of original and fundamental doom metal.

Tracklisting:
1. Remains
2. A Prelude to…
3. Bloodshed
4. 12 Years In The Tomb
5. Wormhole
6. Hour Glass
7. City Park
8. Last Breath
9. Useless

Recording: Heavyhead Recording co. Port Orchard, WA (US)
Producer/sound engineer: Tony Reed

SAINT VITUS ’40 F’N Years’ European Tour 2019:
w/ special guest Dopelord unless noted
Apr 3 Gothenburg (SE) @ Sticky Fingers
Apr 4 Stockholm (SE) @ Debaser Strand
Apr 6 Jyväskylä (FI) @ Lutakko
Apr 7 Helsinki (FI) @ On The Rocks
Apr 9 Oslo (NO) @ Blaa
Apr 10 Copenhagen (DK) @ Pumpehuset
Apr 11 Berlin (DE) @ So36
Apr 12 Hamburg (DE) @ Headcrash
Apr 13 Bomal-Sur-Ourthe (BE) @ Durbuy Rock Festival
Apr 14 Dortmund (DE) @ Junkyard
Apr 15 Cologne (DE) @ Luxor
Apr 17 Birmingham (UK) @ Mama Roux
Apr 18 Leeds (UK) @ Brudenell
Apr 19 Glasgow (UK) @ Audio
Apr 20 London (UK) @ The Underworld Camden
Apr 21 Paris (FR) @ Petit Bain
Apr 23 Nantes (FR) @ Le Ferrailleur
Apr 24 Toulouse (FR) @ Le Rex
Apr 25 Barcelona (ES) @ Boveda
Apr 26 Madrid (ES) @ Copernico
Apr 27 Barroselas (PT) @ Swr Metalfest
Apr 28 Bilbao (ES) Kafé @ Antzokia
Apr 20 Fribourg (CH) @ Fri-Son*
May 1 Milan (IT) Circolo @ Circolo Magnolia
May 2 Zurich (CH) @ Dynamo*
May 3 Karlsruhe (DE) @ Dudefest
May 4 Leipzig (DE) @ Ut Connewitz
*No Dopelord

BAND LINE-UP:
David Chandler (guitar)
Scott Reagers (vocals)
Henry Vasquez (drums)
Pat Bruders (bass)

https://www.facebook.com/saintvitusofficial
https://twitter.com/saintvitusband
http://saint-vitus.tumblr.com/
http://www.saintvitusband.com/
https://www.facebook.com/seasonofmistofficial
https://www.twitter.com/seasonofmist
http://instagram.com/seasonofmistofficial
http://www.season-of-mist.com/

Saint Vitus, “12 Years in the Tomb”

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Mountain Tamer Premiere New Single “Death in the Woods”

Posted in audiObelisk on February 26th, 2019 by JJ Koczan

MOUNTAIN TAMER

Los Angeles trio Mountain Tamer continue to elude easy classification with their new single. As they did on last year’s sophomore full-length, Godfortune // Dark Matters (review here), and the prior 2016 self-titled debut (review here), they offer psychotropic signals to the converted in waves of guitar effects casting out over a wide soundscape, but there’s something darker about “Death in the Woods” — certainly the title carries a sense of threat as well — lurking beneath the surface’s more shimmering aspects. Its low end is grim, its vocals just a bit throatier, so that as the song moves further into its crash-laden freakout, the screams that come aren’t entirely unexpected.

Mountain Tamer accomplish this in efficient time, as “Death in the Woods” is only about three and a half minutes long. They’ve tested waters in such mountain tamer death in the woodsa manner before, of course, whether it was their 2015 Mtn Tmr demo (review here) that preceded the first album or 2017’s Living in Vain (review here) that preceded the second. And we won’t know just how much of a foreshadow “Death in the Woods” is casting until their next release — it’ll reportedly be an EP — arrives, but the troubling undercurrent in Mountain Tamer continues to give them an edge that so much of West Coast psych simply doesn’t have. It’s not for the bro-down, skate-so-you-can-work-on-your-social-media-brand set. It’s up to something entirely more sinister.

It’s kind of a curious case with Mountain Tamer. Every time I stop listening to the band, especially the last album, I think to myself, “Nah, you’ve got it wrong,” and I go back trying to hear it with different ears, like maybe the party vibe is there and I’m just not getting it — would not be the first time I wasn’t invited to the party, by any means — but no. Even putting aside the name of it, if you listen to “Death in the Woods,” what you’re hearing is Mountain Tamer — Andru Hall on guitar/vocals, Dave Teget on bass and Casey Garcia on drums — take elements from the modern West Coast heavy psych movement and twist them toward their own ends. And those ends indeed seem to be twisted. As Hall intones in the verse, “It’s okay to be afraid.” So be it.

Mountain Tamer hit the road next month alongside Salem’s Bend, heading to SXSW and elsewhere. You’ll find those dates under the player below, as well as some quick comment from the band.

Please enjoy:

Mountain Tamer on “Death in the Woods”:

‘Death In The Woods’ is about surviving on primal instincts, and how in the end we are all wild animals. The song helps showcase the heavy groovy psychedelic sound Mountain Tamer has been honing in for years as well as gives a taste of an upcoming EP that is in the works.

Mountain Tamer Tour Dates:
3/7 – Las Vegas, NV – Vamp’d
3/8 – Ogden, UT – Brewski’s
3/9 – Denver, CO – Bar Bar
3/10 – Wichita, KS – The Elbow Room
3/11 – Oklahoma, OK – Blue Note Lounge
3/12 – Fort Worth, TX – Lola’s
3/13 – Houston, TX – Rudyard’s
3/14 – Austin, TX – Spiderhouse (SXSW Stoner Jam)
3/15 – San Antonio, TX – The Mix
3/16 – San Angelo, TX – Deadhorse
3/17 – El Paso, TX – Frank’s Rockin’ Cigar Bar

Mountain Tamer is:
Andru Hall – Guitar/Vocals
Casey Garcia – Drums
Dave Teget – Bass

Mountain Tamer on Thee Facebooks

Mountain Tamer on Instagram

Mountain Tamer on Bandcamp

Magnetic Eye Records website

Nasoni Records website

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Friday Full-Length: Dio, Master of the Moon

Posted in Bootleg Theater on February 22nd, 2019 by JJ Koczan

Dio, Master of the Moon (2004)

In 2004, legendary vocalist Ronnie James Dio (Rainbow, Black Sabbath, Dio, also Elf) was already 21 years removed from his band’s legendary debut, Holy Diver (discussed here), released in ’83 after a stint fronting Black Sabbath that resulted in two landmark LPs in 1980’s Heaven and Hell (discussed here) and its 1981 follow-up, Mob Rules (discussed here). And what a 21 years it had been. Aside from another brief stint with Black Sabbath for 1992’s Dehumanizer (discussed here), the entirety of that time was devoted to the development and sustaining of the Dio band, which thrived across a holy trinity that Holy Diver began and 1984’s The Last in Line (discussed here) and 1985’s Sacred Heart completed, and survived both the rising of a generation fueled by the adrenaline of thrash and the grunge and nü-metal movements. They might not have been playing arenas across the US and selling millions of albums by the time 2004 came around and the band presented their final studio album, Master of the Moon, but there was no question they — and he — remained in righteous form and had enjoyed a sprawling influence that continues to spread even 15 years later.

Dio released three albums in the 2000s. The millennium was greeted by Magica, a narrative concept piece that reportedly had two more chapters in progress at the time of the singer’s death in 2010, 2002’s Killing the Dragon, and Master of the Moon. In hindsight, the 2002 offering was a landmark. It represented a shift in mindset that saw Dio understanding his place — and I say “his” instead of “their” because it was very much him guiding the direction of the band — in the sphere of heavy metal as a classic act. One might think that automatically obviates relevance, but to listen to Killing the Dragon, the singer and the band around him both sound liberated by it. After struggling in the ’90s to find his identity amid a shifting generational landscape and producing some great material in Lock up the Wolves (1990), Strange Highways (1993) and Angry Machines (1996), but not finding nearly the same audience response attained for his efforts in the mid-’80s, and getting Magica out of his system, Dio was able to be the heavy metal statesman his voice had always been so suited to being. Master of the Moon, a crisp 10-song/46-minute all-pro offering with Craig Goldy on guitar, Scott Warren on keys — mixed low in trad-metal fashion but filling out the sound nonetheless — Jeff Pilson on bass and Simon Wright on drums, may have been the last new studio record the Dio band put out, but it was also emblematic of the new era of the band that Killing the Dragon began. It built on that album and featured memorable songs crafted in a style that didn’t need to play anymore to ideas of modernity and found the singer and the band around him able to do what they did best. And they did exactly that.

dio master of the moonOpener “One More for the Road” is a barn-burner in the “Neon Knights” or “Stand up and Shout” tradition, and the signal it sends is both a dogwhistle to the converted that they should know the formula being put to use and a display of the enduring vitality of that approach. The subsequent title-track deals in feelings of isolation via the kind of epic imagery that was Dio‘s stock and trade. I was fortunate enough to interview him at the time and I asked him about the lyrics to “Master of the Moon” itself, thinking it was an allegory for a kind of post-9/11 political sphere, the booming (literally) War on Terror and all that, but no, he told me he liked that idea but he wrote it for a friend’s teenage son feeling alone and misunderstood. This ability to translate the mundane into grand imagery was an essential facet of what made Dio the larger-than-life persona he was, on record as well as on stage and in the history of heavy metal more generally. As a backdrop for his powerful vocal delivery, songs like “The Man Who Would be King” and “The End of the World” indeed touched on the prevailing mood of the time, but in a vague and roundabout way, so that the stories being told were allegories, personal and otherwise. The swagger in the verses “Shivers” set up a standout hook backed by a theatrically creepy keyboard line, while “The Eyes” tapped into the kind of chugging stomp that made Dehumanizer sound so mechanized, and all the while, images and settings and characters populated the songs to give listeners paying attention something to dig into more than just another hooky melody or another cool riff. That is to say, there may have been a formula at work, but the paint on that canvas was fresh.

Perhaps the most personal-seeming of inclusions on Master of the Moon was “Living the Lie,” in which the identifier “I” was only used once. The lyrics dealt with the cloying desperation surrounding fame, and seemed to be as much about those seeking to hold onto the past as those outside trying to get in. The first verse ended, “She was never in the circle, or the round would be a square/And the more she seemed to want it, oh the less they seemed to care,” and the culture of fame was taken into direct observation later on:

If you’re looking at tomorrow
To forget about today
Then the past will be your future
And it’s there you’ll always stay
What about the pictures that smile from magazines
The ultimate temptation, all our kings and our queens

This led to the conclusion: “Such heat and too much pressure, not worth the try/No more for them, now it’s I/And no more living the lie.” There are of course multiple ways to read it, but particularly as “Living the Lie” was backed by the declarative “I Am,” it seemed to be Dio finding strength in self-actualization and having the sing-along chorus to prove it. Its long fadeout probably should’ve been the end of the record, but the trademark woman-as-evil-temptress “Death by Love” and the more doomly closer “In Dreams” follow, the latter tapping some of the keyboard feel of The Last in Line, but not quite living up to the apex set by “I Am.”

I don’t think anyone is going to pitch Master of the Moon as being Dio‘s most essential work. Were he alive, I don’t think Dio himself would make that claim. But the course that Master of the Moon continued coming off of Killing the Dragon showed a way for Dio to move forward and be who they were as a band without cowing to the trend of the day. Of course, after the touring cycle for Master of the MoonRonnie James DioTony Iommi, Geezer Butler and Vinny Appice would have a by-any-other-name Black Sabbath reunion as Heaven and Hell, and Dio‘s final studio performance would be on their 2009 album, The Devil You Know (review here), and his final tours would be to support that release before he ultimately succumbed to stomach cancer, his legacy long since cemented and unmatched among heavy metal frontmen.

As always, I hope you enjoy.

I expect today to be tense. The Patient Mrs. has a phone interview for a professor job in New Jersey at one of her several alma maters, and that kind of thing always defines a day. Of course she’ll nail it — because that’s what she does and the school in question, like any fucking place that has any sense at all, would be lucky to have her, what with the utter brilliance and unparalleled dedication that I so much admire in her — but still, I think she’s nervous. There is no doubt in my mind of her greatness, and she shines in that kind of situation, talking to people about her work, because she’s driven as much by passion as by professionalism. She gets excited and that gets others excited. It’s fun to watch.

However, I won’t be there to watch it. I’ll take The Pecan and roll down to the mall like the old man I am and buy the new record from The Claypool Lennon Delirium at Newbury Comics, because I live in Massachusetts and that’s the place to buy records. Plus there are a lot of colorful things to show the baby and he likes that. I might treat myself to the new Candlemass as well. We’ll see.

Next week will end with shows in Boston and New York as I follow Kings Destroy down the I-95 corridor and maybe sit in with Clamfight for a guest vocal spot, but even before that, it’s a busy time. Here are the notes as they are today:

MON 02/25 Codeia video premiere; Snowy Dunes video premiere.
TUE 02/26 Mountain Tamer single premiere; Volcano review.
WED 02/27 Orbiter track premiere.
THU 02/28 Almost Honest track premiere.
FRI 03/01 Possible song premiere or Hexvessel review.

Some of that will change, obviously, but it’s a start. This week was absolutely slammed. I don’t know if you noticed and I won’t fool myself into thinking you did, but there wasn’t one day this week with anything less than six posts. I think it was Wednesday had eight! It was completely overwhelming and I was out of my mind for much of it, but we got here and it’s done now, so whatever. My inflated self-importance will get a couple hours to recover before I start in again on Monday’s stuff and maybe make a playlist for the next The Obelisk Show, which will air next weekend.

Always something to do. 10 years later.

As ever, I wish you a great and safe weekend. Forum, Radio, merch at Dropout:

The Obelisk Forum

The Obelisk Radio

The Obelisk shirts & hoodies

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