Quarterly Review: Kungens Män, PFUND, Crystal Spiders, The Misery Men, Hubris, Woorms, Melody Fields, Oreyeon, Mammoth Grove, Crimson Devils

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

quarterly-review-spring-2019

I used to be pretty artsy and write poetry. Let’s give it a shot:

There was an old man who wore no-toe shoes.
He said, I’mma go do 60 reviews.
He was out of his head,
Should’ve gone back to bed,
But he loves him some dirty psych blues.

Years from now, when I link back to this post for a “(review here)”-type scenario, I’m going to see that and I’ll still think it’s funny. The planet’s dying. I’d say a bit of silly is more than called for.

Quarterly Review #11-20:

Kungens Män, Chef

kungens man chef

Krautrockers, assemble! Or, you know, whatever krautrockers do — I assume it involves homemade spacecraft that, yes, absolutely fly. Perhaps one of these days I’ll ask Stockholm’s Kungens Män, whose latest outing for Riot Season, simply titled Chef, is an outbound delight of psych-infused progressivism. Beginning with the opening throb of “Fyrkantig Böjelse” and moving into the volume swells, steady drum line and wandering guitar that starts “Öppen För Stängda Dörrar” on side A, its four extended tracks craft otherworldly textures through a meld of organic instrumental flow and waves of synth, the second cut building to a tense wash of distortion all the while keeping that hypnotic march. The two corresponding 10-minute-plus cuts on side B waste no time in offering cosmic boogie in “Män Med Medel” with a more active rhythmic flow, and closer “Eftertankens Blanka Krankhet” — longer than the opener by one second at 11:24 — fades in on meditative guitar and explores a serene minimalism that only underscores the all around joy of the album.

Kungens Man on Thee Facebooks

Riot Season Records webstore

 

PFUND, PFUND

pfund pfund

The self-titled, self-released debut full-length from Kiel, Germany’s PFUND arrives and departs with a guesting horn section, and while that inevitably adds a bit of grandeur to the proceedings, the bulk of the outing is dedicated to straightforward, semi-metallic heavy rock, held to ground even in the seven-minute “Spaceman” by a considered sense of structure and an earthy drum sound that draws the songs together, whether it’s the classic riff rock in “Sea of Life” or the moodier sway in the earlier “Lost in Rome.” Dual guitars effectively multiply the impact, and the vocals showcase a nascent sense of melody that one imagines will only continue to grow as the band moves forward. At nine songs and 44 minutes, it shows some breadth and nuance in “Exhaustion” and “Paranoia,” the former tapping into an edge of progressive metal, but the primary impact comes from PFUND‘s heft of groove and how it blends with a rawer edge to their production. The Kyuss-referencing centerpiece here might be called “Imbalance,” but that’s hardly representative of what surrounds, horns and all.

PFUND on Thee Facebooks

PFUND on Bandcamp

 

Crystal Spiders, Demo

crystal spiders demo

Three songs, 11 minutes and three distinct vibes from the aptly-titled Demo demo of North Carolinian three-piece Crystal Spiders. On “Tigerlily,” “Flamethrower” and “Devil’s Resolve,” the trio of bassist/vocalist Brenna Leath (also Lightning Born), guitarist/vocalist Mike Deloatch and drummer/backing vocalist Tradd Yancey careen from bluesy spaciousness to hard-driving catchiness and end up — because why not? — in repeating cult-sludge chants, “Come to the devil’s resolve!” like Black Widow trying to lure people to the sabbat, except shouting. If the purpose of a demo is for a new band to try different methods of working and thereby take a first step in discovering their sound, Crystal Spiders are well on their way, and for what it’s worth, there isn’t anything within their scope as they present it that doesn’t work for them. There are edges to smooth out, of course, but that too is a part of the process starting here.

Crystal Spiders on Thee Facebooks

Crystal Spiders on Bandcamp

 

The Misery Men, Deathspiration

The Misery Men Deathspiration

If you’d asked, depending on which part of Deathspiration was on, I’d probably have called The Misery Men a bass/drum duo, but nope, that’s guitar. Tonally one is reminded of At Devil Dirt from Chile, but the Portland, Oregon, two-piece of vocalist/guitarist Corey G. Lewis and drummer Steve Jones are entirely more barebones in their craft, eschewing digital involvement of any sort in the recording or mixing process and sounding duly raw as a result throughout the subtle earworm of “C.W. Sughrue” and the lumbering “Harness the Darkness.” The subsequent “Night Creeps In” brings a Northwestern noise payoff to quiet/loud trades and the near-10-minute closer “Stoned to Death,” well, it seems to meet an end befitting its title, to say the least. As their stated intent was to capture the most organic version of their sound possible, and made a point of working toward that ideal in their recording, one could hardly fault them for the results of that process. They wanted something human-sounding. They got it.

The Misery Men on Thee Facebooks

The Misery Men on Bandcamp

 

Hubris, EP #II Live

hubris ep ii live

Some — not all — of what one needs to know about HubrisEP #II Live is right there in the title. Indeed, it’s their second EP. Indeed, it was recorded live. And indeed, like using a ‘#’ sign with a Roman numeral, there’s something about the way the three included songs from the Toulouse, France-based outfit sound that’s just a little bit off-kilter from what you might expect. “Zugzwang” (7:19), “Tergo” (19:58) and “Biotilus” (27:04) are arranged shortest to longest, and while the opener starts off like Queens of the Stone Age on an Eastern-tinged psychedelic bender, the lengthy jams that follow — the first of them with a fervent drum punctuation, the second a gradual intertwining of synth and guitar with hardly any percussion at all until after its 22nd minute. The instrumental flow that ensues from there is almost like a hidden bonus track, at least until they Hubris get to minute 26 and the whole thing explodes in crash and plod. The underlying message, of course, is that if you think you’re safe at any point, you’re not.

Hubris on Thee Facebooks

Hubris on Bandcamp

 

Woorms, Slake

woorms slake

Lumbering fuckall pervades the debut full-length, Slake, from Baton Rouge, Louisiana, sludgers Woorms — also stylized all-caps — which incorporates past singles “Find a Meal Find a Bed Find a God” and “Mouth is a Wound” amid the sample/noise barrage of “Our Lady of Perpetually Shitfaced” and the willfully brash “Racist Kevin” that follows. There’s an edge of Melvinsian chug to the proceedings, but Woorms‘ take, though presented in finished compositions, comes across as almost nihilistic rather than making a show of its experimentalism. That is, they’re trying to say they don’t give a fuck, and in listening, they make it kind of easy to believe, but there’s still something about the cohesiveness of “Veni Vidi Fucki” and “Rice Crispy” and the saved-the-best-nod-for-last finale “Sore Afraid” that undercuts the notion even while making the listening experience all the more pummeling, and from the intro “Corpse Corps” through “Urine Trouble Now”‘s echoing shouts and the closer’s unmitigated stomp, there’s still plenty of exploration being done.

WOORMS on Thee Facebooks

WOORMS on Bandcamp

 

Oreyeon, Ode to Oblivion

Oreyeon Ode to Oblivion

Rebranded since their 2016 debut, Builders of Cosmos (discussed here), from their more phonetically intuitive original moniker, Orion, Italy’s Oreyeon issue a cosmically expansive spacescape follow-up in their six-song/40-minute sophomore outing, Ode to Oblivion, also their first release through Heavy Psych Sounds. Echoing vocals pervade “Big Surprise” after the introductory “T.I.O.” and “Trudging to Vacuity” establish the wide-cast mix and anti-grav rhythmic density, and the nine-minute side A finale title-track runs mostly-instrumental circles around most of what I’d usually call “prog” only after it lays down a sleek hook in the first couple minutes. After “Big Surprise,” the 8:45 “The Ones” trades volume back and forth but finds its breadth at about the sixth minute as the dramatic lead turns on a dime to desert rock thrust en route to wherever the hell it goes next. Honestly, after that moment, everything’s gravy, but Oreyeon lay it on thick with closer “Starship Pusher” and never neglect melody in the face of nod. Worth a deeper dig if you get the chance.

Oreyeon on Thee Facebooks

Heavy Psych Sounds website

 

Melody Fields, Melody Fields

melody fields melody fields

Sometimes you hear a record and it’s like the band is doing you a favor by existing. To that, thanks Melody Fields. The Gothenburg psych troupe lace their lysergic flow with folkish harmonies and an open sensibility on their self-titled debut that comes coupled with enough tonal presence to still consider them heavy not that it matters. They break out the sax on “Morning Sun” to welcome effect, and the sun continues to shine through “Liberty” and the garage-buzzing “Run” before “Rain Man” turns water droplets into keyboard notes and Beatlesian — think “Rain” — voice arrangements atop soothing instrumental drift, every bit the centerpiece and an excellent precursor to the acoustic-based “Fire” and the 10-minute “Trädgränsen,” which is the crowning achievement of this self-titled debut, which, if I’d been hip to it in time, would’ve made both the 2018 best albums and best debuts list. They cap with a reprise of “Morning Sun” and underscore the solid foundation beneath the molten beauty of their work throughout. To ask for another album seems greedy, but I will anyway. More, please.

Melody Fields on Thee Facebooks

Sound Effect Records website

 

Mammoth Grove, Slow Burn

mammoth grove slow burn

Okay, look, enough screwing around. It’s time for someone to sign Mammoth Grove. The Calgary natives have been putting out quality heavy psych rock since their 2011 self-titled debut (review here), and their latest long-player, the four-song Slow Burn is a righteous amalgam of peace-thru-rock that lives up to its freewheeling vibes in “Seasons” after the methodical opener “Valleys” and rolls out a bit of melodic ’70s biker rock bliss in “Black Meadow” before the side-B-consuming “Gloria” (18:42) asks early if you’re ready to go and then goes like gone, gone, gone, and gone further. Given the analog mindset involved and the heart on display throughout, there’s something fitting about it being pressed up in an edition of 100 hand-screenprinted LPs and 100 CDs likewise, but the more people who could hear it, the merrier, so yeah, some label or other needs to step up and make that happen, and I dare you to listen to the solo that hits past the 14-minute mark in “Gloria” and tell me otherwise. Dare you.

Mammoth Grove on Thee Facebooks

Mammoth Grove on Bandcamp

 

Crimson Devils, A Taste for Blood

crimson devils a taste for blood

Since pared down to a trio from the four-piece incarnation they present here, Austin’s Crimson Devils first released their debut, A Taste for Blood, in 2017, but gave it a vinyl revisit last year and it’s little mystery why. The record comprises 11 sharply-composed tracks of Small Stone-style heavy rock, taking cues from Sasquatch in modern-via-classic modus, picking and choosing elements of ’70s and ’90s rock to conjure formidable groove and engaging hooks. There’s considerable swagger and weight in “They Get It,” and while opener “Dead and Gone” seems to show an influence in its vocal patterning from Elder, as the album unfolds, it’s more about the blast of “Captain Walker” or the penultimate “Nothing to Claim” and the straight-ahead vibes of “Bad News Blues” and “No Action” than anything so outwardly prog. There’s plenty to dig in the rock-for-rockers mindset, and it’s the kind of offering that should probably come with an octane rating. However such things are measured, safe to say it would not be low.

Crimson Devils on Thee Facebooks

Crimson Devils on Bandcamp

 

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Crowbar Announce First Australian Tour Dates for July

Posted in Whathaveyou on February 20th, 2019 by JJ Koczan

crowbar (Photo by JJ Koczan)

Can it really be true that Crowbar have never been to Australia? They’ve been a band for nearly 30 years — longer if you count their time as The Slugs circa 1989 — and they’ve toured hard for much of that tenure. Not for Time Heals Nothing or Broken Glass? Damned odd.

But there you have it. The coming July stretch of three shows will reportedly be the New Orleans sludge kingpins’ first on Aussie soil, and having seen them less than a week ago as well as a few months back, I’ll happily note it’s a good time to catch Crowbar live. The band are locked in and the sets run a gamut from new material to old, and whether or not you think of Crowbar as a classic band, I guarantee by the time Kirk Windstein is done singing “Planets Collide,” you’ll be converted. Still pretty astounded they’ve never been there before, but hey, if the PR wire says it, who am I to argue?

Cheers to Your Mate Bookings on making it happen.

Dates follow:

crowbar tour poster

Crowbar – Australia Tour 2019

Your Mate Bookings in conjunction with Get on the Stage and Fuzz Factory Touring proudly present the Pioneers of Sludge Metal, all the way from New Orleans, Louisiana, USA…. CROWBAR.

With a career spanning close to 30 years of astonishing sorrow and heavy riffage, Crowbar will finally make their debut in Australia this coming July 2019.

Releasing 11 studio albums, coupled with singles and music videos on various labels across the globe, Crowbar are inarguably considered in the heavy metal world as the undisputed heavyweight kings of Sludge. Current members of Crowbar include the Beard of Doom himself Kirk Windstein (Ex-DOWN feat Phil Anselmo) on guitar and vocals, Matt Brunson (Ex-Kingdom of Sorrow) on guitar, Tommy Buckley on drums and Shane Wesley on bass.

With only three shows in Brisbane, Sydney and Melbourne at their respective venues this tour is sure to sell out and stand as one of the most monolithic doses of sludge Australia has ever witnessed.

Crowbar Australia 2019:
Thursday July 25th – Crowbar, Brisbane
Friday July 26th – Crowbar, Sydney
Saturday July 27th – Max Watts, Melbourne

Tickets onsale now from www.oztix.com.au

***VIP Tickets available***

Crowbar is:
Kirk Windstein – guitar/vocals
Matt Brunson – guitar
Shane Wesley – bass
Tommy Buckley – drums

https://www.facebook.com/crowbarmusic
https://twitter.com/crowbarrules
http://www.facebook.com/eoneheavy
http://www.twitter.com/eoneheavy

Crowbar, “All I Had I Gave” Live in Oklahoma City, OK, Jan. 20, 2019

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Shadow Giant Sign to Argonauta Records; New Album Later This Year

Posted in Whathaveyou on January 28th, 2019 by JJ Koczan

Not trying to be telling tales or anything, but I can’t be the only one who’s noticed that Louisiana’s Shadow Giant sign to Argonauta Records pretty recently behind New York’s Shadow Witch. Now, they’re totally different bands, with Shadow Giant dug into a bluesy workingman’s heavy rock and roll and Shadow Witch offering some more ethereal vibe to go with their own thick-toned riffery, but I mean, you’ve got two Shadow bands signed in rapid succession. Seems to me you’ve got the makings there of one shadowy-as-hell tour. Or maybe the US will finally get its own Argonauta Fest. Label head Gero Lucisano has to have enough American acts at this point to make that happen. If not, I’m sure there are one or two left looking for a deal. Ha.

Kudos to Shadow Giant on the signing, either way, and in joining the good company of Argonauta‘s ever-expanding roster, both with Shadow Witch and a ton of others domestic and international. The four-piece will reportedly have a new album out this year to follow-up 2017’s Honkytonk on the Moon, which you can stream below.

From Argonauta via the PR wire:

shadow giant

Shadow Giant – NEW DEAL!

We are proud to welcome a new member to our family and high class artist roster, as psychedelic doom blues rockers SHADOW GIANT have inked a worldwide deal with us!

Formed in 2015 in the greasy kitchen of a southern Louisiana bar & grill, SHADOW GIANT is a band to be experienced. It might be accurate to categorize them as a “stoner rock” band, but that description is too flat and one-dimensional.

Their skill as a band, and the individual contribution of each member creates not only a cohesive whole but also a collective emotion that transcends the genre completely. Their energy and emotional authenticity of their work makes you hover a bit with excitement. They have all of the best qualities of the modern bands like Kyuss, Fu Manchu and Clutch, but they also seem to recall a mystical allegiance to 70’s southern bluesy rockers such as The Allman Brothers and Golden Earring while exuding the sexy swagger of glam rockers like T-Rex.

SHADOW GIANT released their critically acclaimed debut album ‘Honkytonk On The Moon’ on Graven Earth Records in 2017, and will be following up with their anticipated, sophomore album on Argonauta Records during 2019.

Shadow Giant is:
J. Harrison-Guitar/Vocals
David Carroll-Drums
Byron Daniel-Guitar/Vocals
Tim Weaver-Bass

https://www.facebook.com/shadowgiantband
https://shadowgiantband.bandcamp.com
https://www.facebook.com/ArgonautaRecords/
www.argonautarecords.com

Shadow Giant, Honkytonk on the Moon (2017)

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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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