Quarterly Review: Thou, Liquid Visions, Benthic Realm, Ape Machine, Under, Evil Triplet, Vestjysk Ørken, Dawn of Winter, Pale Heart, Slowbro

Posted in Reviews on December 10th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

quarterly-review

We meet again! The second week of this amply-proportioned Quarterly Review begins today as we move ever closer toward the inevitable 100-album finish line on Friday. There is an incredible amount of music to get through this week, so I don’t want to delay for too long, but as we look out across the vast stretch of distortion to come, I need to say thank you for reading, and I hope that you’ve been able to find something that’s kicking your ass a little bit in all the right ways so far. If not, well, there are 50 more records on the way for you to give it another shot.

Here goes.

Quarterly Review #51-60:

Thou, Magus

thou magus

How can something be so raw and forward thinking at the same time? Baton Rouge’s Thou might be the band of their generation who’ve added the most to sludge in terms of pushing the style in new directions and shaping genre to their purposes. Magus (on Sacred Bones), their fourth or fifth full-length depending on whom you ask, is an overwhelming 75-minute 2LP of inward and outward destructive force, as heavy in its ambience as in its weight and throat-ripping sonic extremity, and yet somehow is restrained. To listen to the march of “Transcending Dualities,” there’s such a sense of seething happening beneath the surface of that chugging, marching riff, and after its creeping introduction, “In the Kingdom of Meaning” seems intent on beating its own rhythm, as in, with fists, and even a stop-by from frequent guest vocalist Emily McWilliams does little to detract from that impression. Along with Magus, which rightly finishes with the lurching threat of “Supremacy,” Thou have released three EPs and a split this year, so their pace runs in something of a contrast to their tempos, but whether you can keep up or not, Thou continue to press forward in crafting pivotal, essential brutalizations.

Thou website

Sacred Bones Records website

 

Liquid Visions, Hypnotized

Liquid Visions Hypnotized

Sulatron Records‘ pressing of Liquid Visions‘ 2002 debut, Hypnotized, is, of course, a reissue, but also the first time the album has been on vinyl, and it’s not long into opener “State of Mind” or the grunge-gone-classic-psych “Waste” before they earn the platter. Members of the band would go on to participate in acts like Zone Six, Wedge, Electric Moon and Johnson Noise, so it’s easy enough to understand how the band ties into the family tree of underground heavy psych in Berlin, but listening to the glorious mellow-unfolding-into-noise-wash-freakout of 15-minute closer “Paralyzed,” the appeal is less about academics than what the five-piece of vocalists/guitarists H.P. Ringholz (also e-sitar) and Kiryk Drewinski (also organ), bassist Dave “Sula Bassana” Schmidt (also Fender Rhodes and Mellotron), drummer Chris Schwartzkinsky and thereminist Katja Wolff were able to conjure in terms of being both ahead of their time and behind it. As the album moves from its opening shorter tracks to the longer and more expansive later material, it shows its original CD-era linearity, but if an LP reissue is what it takes to get Hypnotized out there again, so be it. I doubt many who hear it will complain.

Liquid Visions on Thee Facebooks

Sulatron Records webstore

 

Benthic Realm, We Will Not Bow

Benthic Realm We Will Not Bow

The second short release from Benthic Realm behind a 2017 self-titled EP (review here) finds the Massachusetts-based trio of guitarist/vocalist Krista van Guilder (ex-Second Grave, ex-Warhorse), bassist Maureen Murphy (ex-Second Grave) and drummer Dan Blomquist (also Conclave) working toward a refined approach bridging the divide between doom and darker, harder hitting metal. They do this with marked fluidity, van Guilder shifting smoothly between melodic clean singing and harsher screams as Murphy and Blomquist demonstrate like-minded ease in turns of pace and aggression. The penultimate semi-title-track “I Will Not Bow” is an instrumental, but “Save us All,” “Thousand Day Rain” and closer “Untethered” — the latter with some Slayer ping ride and ensuing double-kick gallop — demonstrate the riff-based songwriting that carries Benthic Realm through their stylistic swath and ultimately ties their ideas together. If they think they might be ready for a debut full-length, they certainly sound that way.

Benthic Realm on Thee Facebooks

Benthic Realm website

 

Ape Machine, Darker Seas

ape machine darker seas

Maybe Ape Machine need to make a video with cats playing their instruments or something, but five albums deep, the Portland outfit seem to be viciously underrated. Releasing Darker Seas on Ripple, they take on a more progressive approach with songs like “Piper’s Rats” donning harmonized vocals and more complex interplay with guitar. It’s a more atmospheric take overall — consider the acoustic/electric beginning of “Watch What You Say” and it’s semi-nod to seafaring Mastodon, the likewise-unplugged and self-awarely medieval “Nocturne in D Flat (The Jester)” and the rocking presentation of what’s otherwise fist-pumping NWOBHM on “Bend Your Knee” — but Ape Machine have always been a band with songwriting at their center, and even as they move into the best performances of their career, hitting a point of quality that even producer Steve Hanford (Poison Idea) decided to join them after the recording as their new drummer, there’s no dip in the quality of their work. I don’t know what it might take to get them the attention they deserve — though a cat video would no doubt help — but if Darker Seas underscores anything, it’s that they deserve it.

Ape Machine on Thee Facebooks

Ripple Music on Bandcamp

 

Under, Stop Being Naive

under stop being naive

Stockport, UK, three-piece Under bring a progressive edge to their pummel with their second album, Stop Being Naive (on APF), beginning with the deceptively thoughtful arrangement of crushing opener and longest track (immediate points) “Malcontent,” which unfurls a barrage of riffs and varied vocals contributed by guitarist Simon Mayo, bassist Matt Franklin and drummer/keyboardist Andy Preece. Later cuts like “Soup” and “Grave Diggers” tap into amorphous layers of extremity, and “Happy” punks out with such tones as to remind of the filth that became grindcore in the UK nearly 40 years ago, but while “Big Joke” rolls out with a sneer and closer “Circadian Driftwood” has a more angular foundation, there’s an overarching personality that comes through Under‘s material that feels misanthropic and critical in a way perhaps best summarized by the record’s title. Stop Being Naive is sound enough advice, and it comes presented with a fervent argument in its own favor.

Under on Thee Facebooks

APF Records webstore

 

Evil Triplet, Have a Nice Trip

evil triplet have a nice trip

Trimming the runtime of their 2017 debut, Otherworld (review here) nearly in half, Austin weirdo rockers Evil Triplet present the six-song/38-minute single LP Have a Nice Trip on Super Secret with classic garage buzz tone on “A Day Like Any Other,” a cosmic impulse meeting indie sneer on opener “Space Kitten” and a suitably righteous stretch-out on “Aren’t You Experienced?” — which is just side A of the thing. The pulsating “Open Heart” might be the highlight for its Hawkwindian drive and momentary drift, but “Pyramid Eye”‘s blown-out freakery isn’t to be devalued, and the eight-minute capper “Apparition” is dead on from the start of its slower march through the end of its hook-topped jam, reminding of the purpose behind all the sprawl and on-their-own-wavelength vibes. A tighter presentation suits Evil Triplet and lets their songs shine through while still highlighting the breadth of their style and its unabashed adventurousness. May they continue to grow strange and terrify any and all squares they might encounter.

Evil Triplet on Thee Facebooks

Super Secret Records website

 

Vestjysk Ørken, Cosmic Desert Fuzz

Vestjysk orken Cosmic Desert Fuzz

To a certain extent, what you see is what you get on Vestjysk Ørken‘s debut EP, Cosmic Desert Fuzz. At very least, the Danish trio’s three-tracker first outing is aptly-named, and guitarist/vocalist Bo Sejer, bassist Søren Middelkoop Nielsen and drummer Thomas Bonde Sørensen indeed tap into space, sand and tone on the release, but each song also has a definite theme derived from cinema. To wit, “Dune” (11:41) samples Dune, “…Of the Dead” (9:13) taps into the landmark George Romero horror franchise, and “Solaris” (14:15) draws from the 1972 film of the same name. The spaciousness and hypnotic reach of the latter has an appeal all its own in its extended and subtle build, but all three songs not only pay homage to these movies but seem to work at capturing some aspect of their atmosphere. Vestjysk Ørken aren’t quite rewriting soundtracks, but they’re definitely in conversation with the works cited, and with an entire universe of cinema to explore, there are accordingly no limits as to where they might go. Something tells me it won’t be long before we find out how deep their obsession runs.

Vestjysk Ørken on Instagram

Vestjysk Ørken on Bandcamp

 

Dawn of Winter, Pray for Doom

Dawn of Winter Pray for Doom

I have no interest in playing arbiter to what’s “true” in doom metal or anything else, and neither am I qualified to do so. Instead, I’ll just note that Germany’s Dawn of Winter, who trace their roots back nearly 30 years and have released full-lengths on a one-per-decade basis in 1998, 2008 and now 2018 with Pray for Doom, have their house well in order when it comes to conveying the classic tenets of the genre. Issued through I Hate, the eight-track/51-minute offering finds drummer Dennis Schediwy punctuating huge nodder grooves led by Jörg M. Knittel‘s riffs, while bassist Joachim Schmalzried adds low end accentuation and frontman Gerrit P. Mutz furthers the spirit of traditionalism on vocals. Songs like “The Thirteenth of November” and the stomping “The Sweet Taste of Ruin” are timeless for being born too late, and in the spirit of Europe’s finest trad doom, Dawn of Winter evoke familiar aspects without directly worshiping Black Sabbath or any of their other aesthetic forebears. Pray for Doom is doom, because doom, by doomers, for doomers. The converted will be accordingly thrilled to hear them preach.

Dawn of Winter on Thee Facebooks

I Hate Records website

 

Pale Heart, Jungeland

pale heart jungleland

Semi-retroist Southern heavy blues boogie, some tight flourish of psychedelia, and the occasional foray into broader territory, Stuttgart three-piece Pale Heart‘s StoneFree debut long-player, Junegleland is striking in its professionalism and, where some bands might sacrifice audio fidelity at the altar of touching on a heavy ’70s aesthetic, guitarist/vocalist Marc Bauer, key-specialist Nico Bauer and drummer Sebastian Neumeier (since replaced by Marvin Schaber) present their work in crisp fashion, letting the construction of the songs instead define the classicism of their influence. Low end is filled out by Moog where bass might otherwise be, and in combination with Hammond and Fender Rhodes and other synth, there’s nothing as regard missing frequencies coming from Jungleland, the nine songs of which vary in their character but are universally directed toward honing a modern take on classic heavy, informed as it is by Southern rock, hard blues and the tonal warmth of yore. A 50-minute debut is no minor ask of one’s audience in an age of fickle Bandcamp attentions, but cuts like the 12-minute “Transcendence” have a patience and character that’s entrancing without trickery of effects.

Pale Heart on Thee Facebooks

StoneFree Records website

 

Slowbro, Nothings

Slowbro Nothings

UK instrumentalist three-piece Slowbro‘s full-length debut, Nothings, brings forth eight tracks and 51 minutes of heavy-ended sludge rock notable for the band’s use of dueling eight-string guitars instead of the standard guitar/bass setup. How on earth does something like that happen? I don’t know. Maybe Sam Poole turned to James Phythian one day and was like, “Hey, I got two eight-string guitars. So, band?” and then a band happened. Zeke Martin — and kudos to him on not being intimidated by all those strings — rounds out on drums and together the trio embark on cuts like “Sexlexia” (a very sexy learning disability, indeed) and “Broslower,” which indeed chugs out at a considerably glacial pace, and “Fire, Fire & Fire,” which moves from noise rock to stonerly swing with the kind of aplomb that can only be conjured by those who don’t give a shit about style barriers. It’s got its ups and downs, but as Nothings — the title-track of which quickly cuts to silence and stays there until a final crash — rounds out with “Pisscat” and the eight-strings go ever so slightly post-rock, it’s hard not to appreciate the willful display of fuckall as it happens. It’s a peculiar kind of charm that makes it both charming and peculiar.

Slowbro on Thee Facebooks

Creature Lab Records website

 

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WOORMS Debut Album Slake Due Jan. 18; New Song Streaming

Posted in Whathaveyou on November 1st, 2018 by JJ Koczan

woorms

Sludgy all-caps Louisiana noisemakers WOORMS have set a Jan. 18 release for their debut album, Slake. To be released through Hospital Records, the 10-song outing comes prefaced by two to-date preview tracks, the latest of which is “Find a Meal, Find a Bed, Find a God,” which you can stream at the bottom of this post because the future blah blah. Low distortion and a massive rollout pervade, but the deeper into the song you dig, the more you find ambience alongside that bombast, and there’s a weirdo blues post-Eagle Twin thing happening on the vocals as well that only adds to the swampy malevolence.

It’s big, it’s nasty, and it sounds like there’s plenty more in store for the rest of the album. Also, kudos to the band for naming a song “Veni Vedi Fucki.” Nicely done.

Album art and details, as per the PR wire:

woorms slake

Schizoid Noise/Doom trio WOORMS to release debut album in January | Grab your free download of new single ‘Find a Meal, Find a Bed, Find a God’

Slake, the debut album by WOORMS is officially released 18th January 2019 on Hospital Records

For your free download of new song ‘Find a Meal, Find a Bed, Find a God’ head to – https://woorms.bandcamp.com/album/find-a-meal-find-a-bed-find-a-god-single

Formed in 2017 in Louisiana, WOORMS – featuring guitarist/vocalist Joey Carbo, bassist John Robinson, and drummer Aaron Polk – are something of a sleeping colossus. Based in Baton Rouge, the band has been delivering a devastating and brutal mélange of riffs and noise-rock righteousness on the precipice of significance for some time.

Yet despite only being a year or so into their sonic existence WOORMS has already racked up a number of releases; a collection of demos, digital one-offs (‘Daddy Was A Masker,’ ‘The Math Says, Yes’) and a split with NOLA thrashers, A Hanging. Last month, WOORMS returned with the first sanctioned cut from their debut album, Slake (which gets its official release this January). Fully stirred from a delirious slumber, we now have a second cut, ‘Find a Meal, Find a Bed, Find a God’ which, for all intents and purposes is the perfect introduction to the band; a lumbering, symphonic noise-rock shank fight between the fattest of riffs and the thinnest of patience with the world at large. Making for a devastatingly terse and perverse experience, from the pinnacle to the point of no return, it falls psychotically through the fuzz and unholy grind of bands like KARP, Jesus Lizard and Neurosis. Lead vocalist/guitarist Joey Carbo explains:

“Every person is a perfectly unfucked being at the outset.
The birth process takes care of all that.
This is like my ninety-ninth misanthropy song and, hopefully, it’s my best on the subject.
A fetus finds itself free of need or want; coming into consciousness in a dark and warm, red cloud.
Head down in the water.
It’s all downhill from there – as they say. And the greatest minds of any era: the artists and thinkers and titans of science, they all had a few things in common. Three, to my mind. They would need food and shelter and most of them would create or find (or be subject to) a god or group of gods.
You’ll also need a job out here. You may find it necessary to kill, to do terrifying things. All things considered, it’s a rigged game and a shit show from one end to the other.
What were you thinking?
Best you stay in there, in the water.”

Slake, the debut album by WOORMS is officially released 18th January 2019 on Hospital Records

TRACK LISTING FOR SLAKE:
1. Corpse Corps
2. Find a Meal Find a Bed Find a God
3. Veni Vidi Fucki
4. Stiff Upper Lisp
5. Urine Trouble Now
6. Mouth is a Wound
7. Our Lady of Perpetually Shitfaced
8. Racist Kevin
9. Rise Cripsy
10. Sore Afraid

WOORMS are:
Joey Carbo: guitars, vocals, noise, keys, synth
John Robinson: basses
Aaron Polk: drums

https://www.facebook.com/WOORMS-820255734812259/
https://www.instagram.com/woorms_/
https://woorms.bandcamp.com/
https://woorms.org/

WOORMS, “Find a Meal, Find a Bed, Find a God”

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Forming the Void Sign to Ripple Music

Posted in Whathaveyou on October 22nd, 2018 by JJ Koczan

I agree with Ripple Music‘s Todd Severin when he says that the best is yet to come for Louisiana’s Forming the Void. That was the impression I got watching them at Psycho Las Vegas, and their 2018 album, Rift (review here), likewise showed off the progressive potential still inherent in their sound. What Severin leaves out of that statement is the role his label will help play in getting Forming the Void to that next level in their approach, as the band will start work on their next album and Ripple Music debut early next year after rounding out 2018 with a few select live dates in Texas and Louisiana. Whenever the record shows up, it’ll be welcome around these parts.

All the best to the band as they embark on their next offering and kudos to band and label alike on the union. Seemed somewhat inevitable, maybe, given Forming the Void‘s multi-layered approach and the considerable response it’s gleaned for them, but a killer fit just the same. One looks forward to what’s coming.

Ripple announced it like this:

forming the void

Prog-Metallers FORMING THE VOID sign with Ripple Music | Work on their follow up to this year’s RIFT to begin in early 2019

Ripple Music is thrilled to announce the signing of one of 2018’s biggest and best breakout acts, Forming the Void. Following the release of last year’s critically acclaimed album, Relic, Louisiana’s preeminent prog warlocks caused a storm across the planet earlier this year with their much-lauded follow-up, Rift.

“We’re stoked to be working with Ripple Music!” explains guitarist James Marshall. “We got to hang out with Todd Severin Psycho Las Vegas. It gave us the opportunity to spend a lot of time chatting about everything from medical problems to our guilty pleasure songs. It’s an honour to be a part of the Ripple Family and we’re looking forward to making music with them.”

Originally formed in 2013 in Lafayette – a place with an impressive reputation for raising underground rock into realms of the unknown – Forming The Void became one of the city’s most talked about bands of 2017. With the release of their third album Relic, their colossal and atmospheric sound summoned the towering hard rock riffs and progressive influence of bands like Mastodon, Baroness and Torche. A distinctive sound that not only marked them out as ones to watch, but a sound that promptly earned them recognition as ambitious and gifted players.

“I couldn’t be more thrilled to welcome Forming the Void to the Ripple Family,” explains Severin. “Obviously, they released one of the best albums of the year this year, but it really was seeing them lay waste to the stunned audience at Psycho Las Vegas that blew me away. Amazing musicians and amazing people. The best still lies ahead with this band!”

LIVE DATES:
11/7 – New Orleans, LA – Santos Bar
11/9 – Lafayette, LA – The Boom Boom Room
11/16 – Houston TX – Satellite Bar
11/17 – San Antonio, TX – Faust
11/30 – Lake Charles, LA – Center Stage
12/10 – Lafayette, LA – The Boom Boom Room

Forming The Void:
James Marshall – Guitar/Vocals
Shadi Omar Al-Khansa – Guitar
Luke Baker – Bass
Thomas Colley – Drums

https://www.facebook.com/formingthevoid/
https://twitter.com/forming_thevoid
https://www.instagram.com/forming_the_void/
https://formingthevoid.bandcamp.com/
https://www.facebook.com/theripplemusic/
https://twitter.com/RippleMusic
https://ripplemusic.bandcamp.com/
http://www.ripple-music.com/

Forming the Void, “Arrival” official video

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The Obsessed Touring with Eyehategod Next Month

Posted in Whathaveyou on August 31st, 2018 by JJ Koczan

the obsessed (Photo_by_Susie_Constantino)

I have to think a couple of the rooms Eyehategod and The Obsessed are playing together next month won’t be the same after they go. Not that places like Geno’s in Maine and Ottobar in Baltimore haven’t seen their fair share of comings and goings, but if any single gig was going to leave a scar, this pairing might. It’s a pretty insane bill if you think about it. Two legendary bands, from the most dug-in doom of The Obsessed to the history-of-violence sludge of Eyehategod, and yeah, it’s pretty much a two-band festival doing the East Coast circuit. At very least, it’s the kind of show that those fortunate enough to see it talk about incessantly, much to the annoyance of those around them at whatever their next gig is who weren’t so lucky.

Not that that kind of thing has ever happened to me or anything. You know. Hypotheticals. The PR wire has this:

the obsessed tour

THE OBSESSED: Doom Rock Icons Confirm September Tour With Eyehategod

Doom rock icons THE OBSESSED will take to the streets next month on a near-two-week US tour alongside Eyehategod. The journey kicks off September 12th in Hamden, Connecticut and runs through September 24th in Memphis, Tennessee. See all confirmed dates below.

View a tour trailer, created by Chariot Of Black Moth, At THIS LOCATION.

THE OBSESSED w/ Eyehategod:
9/12/2018 Space Ballroom – Hamden, CT
9/13/2018 Middle East – Cambridge, MA
9/14/2018 Brooklyn Bazaar – Brooklyn, NY
9/15/2018 Ottobar – Baltimore, MD
9/16/2018 The Pour House – Raleigh, NC
9/17/2018 Voltage Lounge – Philadelphia, PA
9/18/2018 Geno’s Rock Club – Portland, ME
9/19/2018 Buffalo’s Mohawk Place – Buffalo, NY
9/20/2018 Northside Yacht Club – Cincinnati, OH
9/21/2018 Sanctuary – Detroit, MI
9/22/2018 Spirit Hall – Pittsburgh, PA
9/23/2018 Cobra Lounge – Chicago, IL
9/24/2018 Growler’s – Memphis, TN

Originally released in 1990 and out-of-print for almost two decades, THE OBSESSED’s now-legendary self-titled debut was completely remastered by Relapse Records last fall. The collection boasts previously unreleased bonus tracks, including the highly-sought after four-track Concrete Cancer demo (1984), expanded artwork, never-before-seen photos, and extended liner notes from frontman Scott “Wino” Weinrich making for a true piece of doom rock history.

The deluxe 2xCD version of the record includes a bonus disc containing the Concrete Cancer demo as well as a full live set from 1985 in Washington, D.C.. The Concrete Cancer demo is also available separately as a limited-edition LP.

In the spring of 2017, THE OBSESSED unleashed Sacred, the band’s first studio album in over twenty years. With renewed energy and purpose, THE OBSESSED sounds heavier and more relevant than ever before. On Sacred, the band doubles down on enormous, heaving riffs and pummeling low-end across twelve tracks of eternal doom. Rounded out by Wino’s lyrical honesty and iconic throaty vocals, Sacred is an album that further pushes THE OBSESSED into the annals of heavy metal history, well worth the two-plus decade wait. The band performs once again as three piece featuring Wino, Reid Raley and Brian Costantino.

https://www.facebook.com/TheObsessedOfficial
http://relapse.com/the-obsessed-sacred/
https://theobsessed.bandcamp.com/
http://www.relapse.com
http://www.relapserecords.bandcamp.com
http://www.facebook.com/RelapseRecords
http://www.twitter.com/RelapseRecords
https://www.facebook.com/tonedeaftouring/

The Obsessed, Sacred (2017)

Eyehategod and The Obsessed tour trailer

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WOORMS to Release New Single “The Math Says, Yes” Aug. 24

Posted in Whathaveyou on August 8th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

woorms

Actually, when it comes to the latest single from Baton Rouge, Louisiana, all-caps sludge noisemakers WOORMS, the math would seem to say ‘here’s a ridiculous amount of tension to make your skull feel like it’s about to explode so go ahead and have fun with that,’ but what’s in a name? “The Math Says, Yes,” will be out Aug. 24 through Hospital Records as a limited-pressing clear 8″ record, but you can stream it now along with the demo “Stiff Upper Lisp” (get it?) that is reportedly a song that will also appear on the trio’s forthcoming long-player debut. Sneak peak of things to come. Always appreciated.

The band have a couple live dates coming up over the next few months, including a gig in Lafayette on Aug. 18 alongside swamp rockers Suplecs, from whom I also wouldn’t mind a new record one of these days. Not to be greedy or anything, but you know.

Info and audio, courtesy of the PR wire:

woorms the math says yes

Formed in 2017 in Louisiana, WOORMS – featuring guitarist/vocalist Joey Carbo, bassist John Robinson, and drummer Aaron Polk – are something of a sleeping colossus. Based in Baton Rouge, the band has been delivering a devastating and brutal mélange of riffs and noise-rock righteousness on the precipice of significance for quite some time.

Despite only being a year or so into their sonic existence WOORMS has racked up a number of releases; a collection of demos, digital one-offs (‘Daddy Was A Masker’) and most recently a split with NOLA thrashers, A Hanging. Now, with the release of their first official single, WOORMS will finally awaken from their delirious slumber.

The Math Says, Yes, is for all intents and purposes the perfect introduction to the band; A lumbering, slow-climbing symphony of noise-rock, which at its peak, slow-burns with the fire of Neurosis and from the pinnacle to the point of no return, falls psychotically through the unholy grind of bands like KARP and The Jesus Lizard. In itself the arrival of this new single is reason enough to get excited, but with the band currently holed up in the studio putting the final touches on their debut album (B-side demo ‘Stiff Upper Lisp’ is a taste of things to come) WOORMS are readying themselves for domination.

The Math Says, Yes, the brand new single by WOORMS will be officially released on all streaming services from 24th August 2018. To order the limited edition 8” square lathe cut and 7″ split colour vinyl variants, featuring artwork by Mow Skowz and David Paul Seymour, visit – https://woorms.bandcamp.com

WOORMS live:
Aug 18 Freetown Boom Boom Room Lafayette, LA w/ Suplecs
Sep 15 The Woodshop Baton Rouge, LA
Oct 05 Revolution Cafe & Bar Bryan, TX
Oct 06 The Lost Well Austin, TX

WOORMS are:
Joey Carbo: guitars, vocals, noise, keys, synth
John Robinson: basses
Aaron Polk: drums

https://www.facebook.com/WOORMS-820255734812259/
https://www.instagram.com/woorms_/
https://woorms.bandcamp.com/
https://woorms.org/

Woorms, The Math Says, Yes (2018)

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Review & Lyric Video Premiere: Forming the Void, Rift

Posted in audiObelisk, Reviews on July 27th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

forming the void rift

[Click play above to stream the premiere of a lyric video for Forming the Void’s ‘Ark Debris.’ Their new album, Rift, is out Aug. 17 on Kozmik Artifactz.]

I’m sorry, but any record that starts with a song called “Extinction Event” is telegraphing its heaviness. And sure enough, Rift is the most weighted offering yet in the relatively brief but prolific tenure of Louisiana four-piece Forming the Void. In terms of tone, atmosphere and rhythm, it brings to bear a heft that feels like an arrival point — the title of the side B opener, sure enough: “Arrival” — following last year’s Relic (review here) and 2016’s Skyward (review here) with an uptick in scope, apparent lyrical narrative and sense of largesse that nothing they’ve yet done has touched. Comprised of seven tracks running a total of a still-LP-friendly 45 minutes delivered via Kozmik Artifactz, Rift is, simply, a new level for the band. Operating as the four-piece of guitarist/vocalist James Marshall, guitarist Shadi Omar Al-Khansa, bassist Luke Baker and drummer Thomas Colley (the latter making his first appearance), they offer their most cohesive and purposeful collection to-date, with landmark hooks in “On We Sail” and the subsequent “Arcane Mystic” and themes that have been present at least since Relic — the cover art of which depicted a hooded mystic traveling through space on an asteroid — the album ultimately takes a linear path.

Following its beginning in “Extinction Event,” that time-to-go narrative launch point leads to a lyrical journey through “On We Sail,” an “Arcane Mystic” met along the way, “Transient” leading to “Arrival,” “Ark Debris” when the vessel in question presumably is broken down and turned into a “Shrine” at the end. The sense of culmination is underscored by the fact that the finale tops 10 minutes long while everything else apart from the 6:53 “Ark Debris” is under six minutes, but by then the point is made in roiling, rolling progressive riffing and Marshall‘s echoing vocals; a spaciousness clearly meant to be taken literally. As in, “it’s about space.” Perhaps most pivotal of all the story being told doesn’t detract from the songwriting in general, and though I’d bet by the time they got around to writing the words to “Transient,” the concept was locked in place, neither that centerpiece nor anything around it pulls away from the well-struck balance between craft and storytelling.

On a sheer execution level, Rift is loaded with intent and poise. At their fastest, Forming the Void are not rushed, and at their slowest, in the back half of “Transient,” say, they remain comfortable in their forward motion. “Extinction Event” introduces a variety of elements in terms of the ultra-dense tones, spacious clean vocals and brash rhythmic swing, and in so doing summarizes a fair bit of what’s to come throughout the album, but as “On We Sail” and “Arcane Mystic” lead into “Transient,” the side A finale marks a significant shift in approach. Or at very least it foreshadows one ahead. With impressive lead work from Al-Khansa, thick low end from Baker and an impressive debut from Colley in shoving them along their path, the early cuts of Rift are more straightforward in structure. The hooks have already been noted, and it’s not as though ambience isn’t a factor, as the intro to “Arcane Mystic” immediately hypnotizes and bolsters the feeling of openness, but that will become much more of a focal point on side B, and true to its name, “Transient” marks that transition. Like “Arcane Mystic” just before, it has a subdued introduction, but it goes further in making loud/quiet tradeoffs between utterly massive plodding and more serene melodic fare.

forming the void

The shifts can be sudden but don’t feel that way because the pace is gradual, and like everything that surrounds, they’re brought to bear with a grace that underscores the progressive mindset of the band as a whole. “Transient” has something of a hook, so ties well to the cuts before, but also tells of the expanses yet to be traversed on “Arrival” and beyond into side B. Sure enough, what would seem to be a conclusion is only the beginning point of something new for Forming the Void as arrival rolls out a memorable riff, echoing vocals and a steady nod of a groove en route to a slow-marching midsection and a pickup in the second half to psychedelic lead work laced over a still-tectonic groove. Shifts in tempo only continue as “Ark Debris” takes hold with a decided Middle Eastern inflection in the introduction. Patient in its unfolding, the intro becomes the bed for the verses over the first several minutes, and it’s not until about 3:10 that heavier guitars kick in over the steady drumbeat. A solo over distortion keeps the vibe of the early going alive as the halfway mark is crossed, and a subtle build happens where fuller tones are first teased and then arrive with a marked fluidity over a consistent drone that’s been there all the while.

They end with feedback there and let “Shrine” — an arrival unto itself — close out, beginning with a stretch of quiet but tense guitar and cymbal washes before the whole lumber takes hold. “Shrine” is resounding in its heavy, soaring in its melody and firm in its purpose, and lands as a significant achievement for Forming the Void on their path of sonic discovery. After thudding out the initial verses, they stop around four minutes into the total 10 and drop to quiet to let keys or effects-laden guitar answer the Mideastern vibe of “Ark Debris” for a moment before resuming the stomp. A bridge of some earlier Elder-style riffing leads to “Shrine”‘s melodic payoff and then a final solo over double-time drums pushes toward the final slowdown, huge in its sound and headphone-worthy in its engrossing rumble.

The end comes when “Shrine” cuts short at 10:13 and fades back in on a cymbal wash for more feedback before they make their way out again, ending the album with a reminder that while this story has finished, there’s much more to say. At least, that’s the hope, considering how much Forming the Void have been able to turn their first two full-lengths into lessons and learned from them in the making of this third one. They’re a band who should be touring, especially now, since it would seem they’ve found and been able to harness the sound and style they were looking for these last several years and the task before them would be to refine it. As to how that will happen or the direction they’ll work in from this point on, I’ve no idea, but everything they’ve done to get to this stage has been willful in its creative growth, and one doesn’t expect that to stop just because they’ve so thoroughly nailed it this time around. But make no mistake, they have nailed it.

Forming the Void on Thee Facebooks

Forming the Void on Twitter

Forming the Void on Bandcamp

Kozmik Artifactz on Thee Facebooks

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Quarterly Review: Worshipper, Dopethrone, The Mystery of the Bulgarian Voices, Omen Stones, Capra, Universo Rojo, Sergeant Thunderhoof, Fire Down Below, Stone Deaf, Cracked Machine

Posted in Reviews on July 20th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

quarterly-review-CALIFORNIA-LANDSCAPE-Julian-Rix-1851-1903

Well, we made it to the end of another Quarterly Review. One more batch and then it’s off to planning the next one for late September/early October. I hope you have found something this week that you’ve really dug. I have. A few, to be honest. Not everything is going to stick with every listener, of course, and that includes me, but for as much as putting this one together has been, there’s been some really good, year-end-list-type stuff included. At least as far as my own list goes. I sincerely hope you agree.

So let’s do this last one, then go sleep for a couple hours. Alright? Here we go:

Quarterly Review #41-50:

Worshipper, Mirage Daze

worshipper mirage daze

I don’t know if Worshipper knew they’d be embarking on their first West Coast tour in Summer 2018 when they hit Mad Oak Studios in Oct. 2016 to record the four cover tracks for their Mirage Daze EP on Tee Pee Records, but it certainly worked out in the Boston four-piece’s favor. Following-up their 2016 debut, Shadow Hymns (review here), Worshipper present four cover tracks in Uriah Heep’s “Easy Livin’,” The Oath’s “Night Child,” Pink Floyd’s “Julia Dream” and The Who’s “Heaven and Hell,” and while I’m a little sad that “Heaven and Hell” isn’t the Black Sabbath song, which I think they’d nail if they tried it, and I’m glad to have a studio version of their take on Floyd’s “Julia Dream,” which from the first time I saw them live was always a pleasure to watch live, I think the highlight of Mirage Daze might be “Night Child.” I never bought that The Oath record, and Worshipper’s take on its lead single is about the best argument I’ve seen for doing so. It may or may not be a stopgap issued to coincide with the tour, but Mirage Daze is a welcome arrival anyway. It’s a fan piece? Well, I’m a fan, so right on.

Worshipper on Thee Facebooks

Tee Pee Records website

 

Dopethrone, Transcanadian Anger

dopethrone transcanadian anger

Montreal scumsludgers Dopethrone return with Transcanadian Anger, an eight-track blister-fest of crunch riffing and misanthropic vibes. Delivered through Totem Cat Records, the 36-minute Weedeater-gone-bad-drugs sludge assault seems to invite superlatives front to back, even in the slamming instrumental “Killdozer” – a tribute to the band? – and the swinging penultimate cut “Kingbilly Kush.” Elsewhere, opener “Planet Meth,” “Snort Dagger,” “Tweak Jabber” and “Scuzzgasm” celebrate addiction and violence unto oneself and others, making a spectacle of decay set to voluminous sludge riffs and abrasive vocals. This is Dopethrone’s aesthetic territory, and they’ve done well over the last decade to make it their own. As they answer 2015’s full-length, Hochelaga (review here), and the next year’s 1312 EP with yet another filth-caked collection, they seem all the more in their own league of aural and narcotic self-punishment. They could be straightedge vegans for all I know, but they sure sound high as fuck, and I guess that’s the point. So, well done.

Dopethrone on Thee Facebooks

Totem Cat Records webstore

 

The Mystery of the Bulgarian Voices, BooCheeMish

the mystery of the bulgarian voices boocheemish

Lisa Gerrard of Dead Can Dance would seem to be trying to solve The Mystery of the Bulgarian Voices, a choral group from Bulgaria who, seemingly until teaming with Gerrard for the Prophecy Productions release BooCheeMish was known by the French name Le Mystère des Voix Bulgares. Whatever you call them, their history dates back nearly seven decades and their harmonies are utterly timeless. BooCheeMish is comprised of gorgeous folk renditions for 45 minutes of world-building perfection. Percussion of various sorts provides backing and on pieces like “Rano Ranila” they speed through at a pace and arrangement that’s head-spinning, while the later “Zableyalo Agne” finds them joined by flute for a nigh-religious experience and the subsequent “Tropanitsa” has a bounce worthy of any good times one might to envision from its evocative pulse. One can’t help but feel a bit of the cultural voyeur in taking it on – as well as feeling totally outclassed in reviewing it – but these songs were clearly meant to be enjoyed, and as their ambassadors, The Mystery of the Bulgarian Voices genuinely serve a public best interest.

The Mystery of the Bulgarian Voices on Thee Facebooks

Prophecy Productions website

 

Omen Stones, Omen Stones

omen stones omen stones

Virginia duo Omen Stones have no online presence as yet. No songs streaming. No cheeky logos-on-photos social media posts that new bands do when they’re sitting on their hands waiting to get material out there. What they – and by “they,” I mean guitarist/vocalist Tommy Hamilton of Druglord and drummer Erik Larson of Backwoods Payback, The Might Could, Alabama Thunderpussy, etc. – have is a four-song self-titled EP collecting about 13 minutes of material in demo fashion, bringing forth the Southern-shuffle-gets-weird-then-explodes opener “Secrete” as a first impression of a deceptive approach. You think it’s all good and then you get punched. Go figure. “Secrete” is also the longest track (immediate points) at 4:06, and the forward charge and harsher vocal of “Fertile Blight” follows, catchy as it is mean, and more indicative of what’s to follow in the maddening tension of “Sympathy Scars” and the fuckall sludgepunk of “Purity Tones.” Immediately against-trend, Omen StonesOmen Stones is a bird of prey unto itself. Hopefully at some point soon they make it publicly available.

Druglord on Bandcamp

Erik Larson on Bandcamp

 

Capra, Unholy Gallows

Capra Unholy Gallows

Taking influence from hardcore punk, post-hardcore and sludge, Lafayette, Louisiana’s Capra seem to fit in a Midwestern style of semi-metallic aggression that has flourished in the wake of the likes of The National Acrobat and Coliseum. The foursome’s Unholy Gallows single follows their also-two-song self-titled 2016 EP, and finds Tyler Harper (also of the recently-defunct The Midnight Ghost Train), Jeremy Randazzo, Ben Paramore and Lee Hooper aligned in their purposes of riff-led bludgeoning. Unholy Gallows is two songs/six minutes long – not by any means an afternoon commitment in terms of listening – but its furies are unveiled in far less time than that, and both “Red Guillotine” and “Hot Lips” waste no time in doling out their beatings. A sense of heft stems from tonal thickness, but they make it move to a propulsive degree, and aside from a quick feedback intro to “Red Guillotine,” there’s no letup; even as “Hot Lips” slows the pace some initially, it maintains geared toward foreshadowing the next fist to fly.

Capra on Thee Facebooks

Capra on Bandcamp

 

Universo Rojo, Impermanencia

Universo Rojo Impermanencia

Sprawl, sprawl, sprawl. Into space. Universo Rojo’s excellent four-track debut album, Impermanencia, makes you want to speak slowly enough to feel the words vibrate out of your mouth. The Chilean four-piece offer lengthy, jam-based excursions that echo out their feel across vast reaches of effects, progressive rhythm and melody-making unfurling all the while beneath an overarching swirl of effects, guitars and synth running atop the mix like competing currents of water. Opener “¿A Dónde Ir?” (8:13) gives way to the flute-laden krautrockism of “Visión Planetaria de los Tiempos” (8:40) as vocalist/guitarist/clarinetist Ferro Vargas-Larraguibel, drummer Naim Chamás, bassist Cristóbal Montenegro and synthesis Francisco Arellano conjure such molten possibilities. Though it’s just 34 minutes, Impermanencia is nonetheless expansive, with the 9:36 “Cinco (La Quinta Dimensión)” finding a place between drift and psych-jazz undulations while closer “Inmaterialización del Sentimiento Cósmico” (7:32) lets out a full-impulse burst of energy that’s blinding if you know just where to look. Not to be missed.

Universo Rojo on Thee Facebooks

Universo Rojo on Bandcamp

 

Sergeant Thunderhoof, Terra Solus

sergeant thunderhoof terra solus

Kudos to Bath, UK, four-piece Sergeant Thunderhoof on starting off their sophomore long-player, Terra Solus, with the album’s longest track in “Another Plane.” And likewise for the blend of psychedelia and burl that unfolds. In taking on the follow-up to their 2015 debut, Ride of the Hoof, they offer eight cuts and 51 minutes of spacious riffing charged with just an undercurrent of English boozer burl, Elephant Tree and Steak meeting head on for a raucous session of who knows what. “B Oscillation” taps nod and particularly satisfying fuzzy warmth in its lead section, while even a would-be bruiser like the subsequent “Diesel Breath” has a trip-out included. There is time for such things as every track but the penultimate and relatively minimalist soundscaper “Half a Man” tops six minutes, but Sergeant Thunderhoof make a much richer impression overall than their moniker might lead one to believe, and close out in particularly resonant fashion with “Om Shaantih,” emphasizing the breadth and post-rock elements that help make Terra Solus so engaging from the outset.

Sergeant Thunderhoof on Thee Facebooks

Sergeant Thunderhoof on Bandcamp

 

Fire Down Below, Hymn of the Cosmic Man

fire down below hymn of the cosmic man

The adaptation of Kyuss’ “Thumb” riff for Fire Down Below’s “Ignition/Space Cruiser” after the “Red Giant” intro on their second album, Hymn of the Cosmic Man (on Ripple), is nothing short of a clarion to the converted. The Belgian unit’s mission would seem to be to find that place on the horizon where the desert ground and space itself seem to meet and become one, and as side A closer “The Cosmic Pilgrim” turns from its initial crunch into more patient and drifting psych, they’d seem to get there. Atsmophere is certainly central to the record, as the aforementioned “Red Giant” and its side B counterpart “Nebula” demonstrate, never mind the other five tracks, and even as “Saviour of Man” runs through its janga-janga stoner-riffed hook there’s a flourish of effects to create a balance between the earthbound and the interstellar. Side B’s “Ascension” and especially 11-minute album-closer/highlight “Adrift in a Sea of Stars” seem to find the balance the four-piece is shooting for all along, and just before the nine-minute mark when the thick, fuzzed-out riff emerges from the jammy lead, the entire impetus for their journey seems to be laid bare. Well done.

Fire Down Below on Thee Facebooks

Ripple Music on Bandcamp

 

Stone Deaf, Royal Burnout

stone deaf royal burnout

Denver, Colorado’s Stone Deaf present a sans-frills desert rock vibe across the eight tightly structured tracks of their sophomore album, Royal Burnout (on Black Bow Records). Specifically, the compressed crunch in the guitar tone and some of the start-stop bounce riffing in cuts like “Room #240” and “Monochrome” seem to be drawn from the Songs for the Deaf methodology, and some of the vocals on opener “Spitshine” (video premiere here) remind of Queens of the Stone Age as well, but Stone Deaf – whose moniker, then, would be well sourced – have a deeper root in punk rock that underscores the “Go with the Flow” thrust of “Deathwish 62” as well as the chugging verses of “Boozy Spool” immediately preceding. It’s a sound that benefits greatly from the sharpness of its delivery and the craft Stone Deaf bring to it, and even when they seem to loosen up a bit on the midpaced pre-finale “That Lefty Request,” there’s a fervent sense of a plan unfolding. That plan would seem to be a success.

Stone Deaf on Thee Facebooks

Black Bow Records webstore

 

Cracked Machine, I, Cosmonaut

cracked machine i cosmonaut

Originally released last year, Cracked Machine’s debut, I, Cosmonaut, finds vinyl issue through PsyKA Records and earns it well with six tracks/45 minutes of mostly-instrumentalist and progressive space-psych. One assumes there’s a narrative thread at work across the span, as guitarist Bill Denton, bassist Chris Sutton, keyboardist/vocalist Clive Noyes and drummer Blazej Gradziel weave their way through “Twin Sons Rising” and “New Vostok” at the outset into the easy flow of “Baikonur Cosmodrome,” the harder-hitting title-track, the fuzzy declaration of “Svetlana” and the patiently executed 10-minute closer “Transorbital,” Denton’s guitar singing all the while. These places and, maybe, characters would seem to weave together to tell the story in impressions largely open to interpretation and correspondingly open in terms of their creativity, sounding spontaneous and maybe live-recorded if not entirely improvised, instead working to a plan for where each inclusion should go or end up. As Cracked Machine’s first album, it’s an ambitious work that does far more than get the band’s feet wet. It takes them out of the atmosphere and embarks on a journey beyond that one hopes is just beginning.

Cracked Machine on Thee Facebooks

Cracked Machine at PsyKA Records webstore

 

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Forming the Void Announce Rift LP Due Aug. 17; New Video Posted

Posted in Whathaveyou on June 27th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

forming the void

Originally announced for a June release, the third album from Louisiana’s Forming the Void, Rift, is set to be issued via Kozmik Artifactz on Aug. 17. The prog-minded four-piece have posted the video audio to come from the album in the form of a new video for the track “On We Sail.” Second of the seven total inclusions on the LP, it reaffirms the progressive heft the band has shown on their two full-lengths to-date, 2017’s Relic (review here) and 2016’s Skyward (review here), while hinting at new heights of clarity that one looks forward to hearing pan out on the rest of the record. Thus far into their prolific tenure, Forming the Void have always managed to keep on the right side of songcraft vs. exploration, making their material memorable as well as stylistically bold.

Album art, details, and the aforementioned video came down the PR wire. I’ll hope to have more to come as we get closer to the release, but till then, here’s what’s up:

forming the void rift

FORMING THE VOID to Release New Album on Kozmik Artifactz

Following the release of last year’s critically acclaimed Relic, Louisiana’s preeminent prog warlocks, Forming The Void, are thrilled to announce news of their new album Rift, which is due for release this August on Kozmik Artifactz.

Originally formed in 2013 in Lafayette – a place with an impressive reputation for raising underground rock into realms of the unknown – Forming The Void became one of the city’s most talked about bands of 2017. With the release of their third album Relic (voted album of the year on Heavy Planet), their colossal and atmospheric sound summoned the towering hard rock riffs and progressive influence of bands like Mastodon, Baroness and Torche.

Newly signed to German label Kozmik Artifactz, in preparation for the official release of their fourth studio album Rift this summer, the band will take to the road throughout 2018 for an extensive run of live dates and festival appearances.

The first single lifted from their new album is ‘On We Sail’, an epic and devastating trip into the heart of a Sabbathian darkness, which premiered last week. Courting robed figures in hallowed forests, with the odd case or two of Miller Lite, as guitarist/vocslist James Marshall explains:

“Lyrically it’s about being on a ship and being sucked into a portal that blasts out into space, and in that moment, accepting the path into the unknown and that it might be the end of the road for you. It’s meant be a victorious thing, although it sounds really negative. We were brainstorming video ideas and wanted to go with something beyond a regular performance video and do something light-hearted. We also enlisted some help from our buddy Jai Benoit of Golgothan to play the monster and assist with the vision. This is just another night with Forming the Void and friends. It was fun to spoof the first video and we shot at the same location with some of the same people plus more of our friends. All that together just made it a comedy.”

Rift, the new studio album from Forming The Void will be released on 17th August 2018 on Kozmik Artifactz, www.kozmik-artifactz.com

TRACK LISTING:
1. Extinction Event
2. On We Sail
3. Arcane Mystic
4. Transient
5. Arrival
6. Ark Debris
7. Shrine

Forming The Void:
James Marshall – Guitar/Vocals
Shadi Omar Al-Khansa – Guitar
Luke Baker – Bass
Thomas Colley – Drums

https://www.facebook.com/formingthevoid/
https://twitter.com/forming_thevoid
https://formingthevoid.bandcamp.com/
https://www.facebook.com/kozmikartifactz/
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https://www.instagram.com/kozmikartifactz/
http://kozmik-artifactz.com/
http://www.facebook.com/endhipenditrecordco
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Forming the Void, “On We Sail” official video

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