Cegvera Release Live Bootleg on LSDR Records

Posted in Whathaveyou on January 8th, 2019 by JJ Koczan

I’m a big fan of bands doing you-come-here-we-go-there tour trades. In 2017, Vinnum Sabbathi, whose members also stand at the helm of LSDR Records, hit the UK to tour with Cegvera. In 2018, it was Cegvera touring Mexico with Vinnum Sabbathi. They also released a split (review here) late last year through LSDR and would seem at some point to have begun to share Gerardo Arias between both bands, so clearly it’s an association that goes further than simply swapping shows. But all the better, really. The tighter the bands are, the more likely they are to get out together, and clearly it’s a productive partnership on all fronts.

To wit, LSDR Records has been hosting a series of live releases simply titled Live Bootleg, and Cegvera‘s Live Bootleg: Cegvera (Palíndromo) is the latest of them. Recorded while the band was on tour in Mexico this past June, it’s a solid set that showcases their heavy instrumentalism and penchant for atmospherics, captured at Palindromo in Guadalajara at what sounds like it was a pretty killer show. It’s a name-your-price download, so clearly the band and label are just trying to get the music heard by as many people as possible, and I can think of few missions more noble than that.

Info and audio follow:

cegvera palindromo

Cegvera – Live Bootleg: Cegvera (Palíndromo)

During the tour of Cegvera and Vinnum Sabbathi last June we had the opportunity to record the show that rifaron in Palíndromo, Guadalajara.

Like all the entries in the series, you can download this and other live sets of National Underground bands on our bandcamp: https://lsdr.bandcamp.com

Tracklisting:
1. The Great Blackout 06:19
2. Collapse // Aftermath 06:50
3. Natural Threats II 03:55
4. Depletion // Overshoot 07:38
5. Fractals 04:45
6. Rise 07:44

Cegvera (Bristol, UK) live at Palindromo, Guadalajara, June 8th 2018. Released January 6, 2019.

Recorded and edited by Juan Tamayo.
Cover photo by El Güerito Invita.

Cegvera is:
Gerardo Arias: Guitar
Aaron Scrupps: Bass
Matt Neicho: Drums

https://www.facebook.com/cegueraUK
https://cegvera.bandcamp.com/
https://www.facebook.com/lsdrrecords/
https://lsdr.bandcamp.com/
https://www.storenvy.com/stores/823500-lsdr-records-distro

Cegvera, Live Bootleg (2019)

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Terror Cósmico Premiere “Salió del Pantano”; III out Sept. 3

Posted in audiObelisk on August 29th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

terror cosmico

Mexico City-based duo Terror Cósmico have a Sept. 3 digital release date for their aptly-titled third album, III. With impending CD issue via Concreto Records to follow and vinyl sometime in 2019 — presumably before they embark on a European tour in May — the two-piece of guitarist Javier Alejandre and drummer Nicolás Detta make an impression in crunch tones, hard-hit drums and a variety of atmospheres from the Earth-meets-near-traditional doom of opener “Nocturno” through the ambient-vocalized “La Cabalgata de Asmodeo” and the foreboding tension in the dirge “Hypnos.” The screams in “La Cabalgata de Asmodeo” and the growls/throatrippers later in the penultimate “Salió de Pantano” are standout moments, to be sure, but ultimately they become part of the atmosphere created by the guitar and drums, surely influenced in its most raging moments by bands like Black Cobra but having more in common in Alejandre‘s tone on “Kronosauris” with the defunct Beast in the Field, though even that comparison is a stretch as Terror Cósmico set off on the 10-minute journey that is closer “La Montaña,” a patient build that disintegrates in its second half only to ebb and flow again before its sudden cold-stop finish. There’s even some melody late in the guitar, just in case you think you might have Terror Cósmico at all figured out.

And from the rumble and spaciousness of “Nocturno” onward, the seven-track/43-minute offering never quite gives its audience a chance to be fully hypnotized. “Nocturno” has underlying movement and a subtle angularity that’s just enough to stave off trance-inducement, and just when it might begin to dull the consciousness, “Tlatecuhtli” picks up directly with a more active thrust and popping, forcefulterror cosmico iii snare work and an ultimate noise assault that’s as precise as it is tonally and rhythmically dense. It probably doesn’t need to be noted that for all their lacking a bassist there’s no shortage of low end in Alejandre‘s guitar, and as he loops through layers and tops a steady rhythm line with a scouring lead on “Kronosaurus,” the sound is indeed full and deep-running. They’re three albums in, and have several other singles and shorter-releases besides, so Detta and Alejandre have a clear sense of what they want their sound to do and the impact they want it to make, and III manifests that in both an aggressive pummel and steady-handed shifts in mood. “La Cabalgata de Asmodeo” is the centerpiece and particularly extreme in both its faster and slower stretches — and Detta does excellently in leading the way through both — but even there, Terror Cósmico remain coherent and able to slip into a second half of relatively-minimalist guitar, the residual noise fading en route to “Hypnos.”

Following behind 2015’s Devorador de Sueños and 2013’s Muerte y Transfiguración, III is a record for which genre is a thing to be manipulated to suit its own ends, not the other way around. As Terror Cósmico roll and nod through “Salió del Pantano,” which is the shortest inclusion at 4:11, the full-album flow of which that song is part becomes all the more apparent, and with “La Montaña” still to climb, there’s no loss either of the presence of the band’s delivery or the deceptive breadth they conjure in the material. Though it would seem to be a contradiction to have a two-piece that’s as expansive as it is crushing, Alejandre and Detta break the glass of expectation and use the shards to expose the raw flesh of their creation. It is a powerful and consuming release.

Below, you can stream the premiere of “Salió del Pantano,” which you’ll find on the YouTube embed followed by some more info off the PR wire. More on the European tour when I hear it, but in the meantime, please enjoy:

Terror Cósmico, “Salió del Pantano” official track premiere

An instrumental duo born in 2012 in Mexico City, Terror Cósmico is made up of guitar and drums. Even with only two instruments, the dynamics of their music lead you from mystic and harmonic passages to dark and violent cuts.

On September 2013 they released their first full-length album, “Muerte y Transiguración”, with the Mexican label Concreto Records. With this material they toured México, the U.S. and Argentina. On August 2015 they released their second album, “Devorador De Sueños” (Concreto Records), this time touring Mexico, the west coast of the US and finally Europe alongside mexican stoner metal band “Weedsnake” through 2017´s summer. In 2018 the band will release their 3rd full length album.

Third LP from the Mexico City duo, having as title the number of release “III”. The band shows 7 tracks redefining the sound they’ve had since the beginning. Recorded at Testa Studio in Leon, Guanajuato in May 2018. The tracks travel through different sonic sceneries, going through introspective ambient moods to raw and aggressive songs that mutate with each other. An album that maintains the sound of the band but has new elements, more loops and vocals without lyrics in 2 tracks. The artwork is done by Karmazid and the album will be released on September 3 in all digital platforms. Cd will be released by Mexican label Concreto Records before the end of the year and vinyl will be coedited by different labels for next year.

Terror Cósmico on Thee Facebooks

Terror Cósmico on Bandcamp

Terror Cósmico on Tumblr

Concreto Records on Thee Facebooks

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Review & Full Album Premiere: Saturno Grooves, Solar Hawk

Posted in audiObelisk, Reviews on May 21st, 2018 by JJ Koczan

saturno grooves solar hawk

[Click play above for the premiere of Saturno Grooves’ Solar Hawk, out in June via L.S.D.R. Records]

Some albums work better on vinyl or tape, with that split down the (roughly) middle, and some work better on CD or digital, where you can listen straight through in one sitting with no interruption to the process. Saturno Grooves‘ debut full-length, Solar Hawk, arrives via L.S.D.R. Records as a record that feels designed to go either way and still not lose its grasp on the listener. With a split between its first three and second three tracks, it allows one to pause for a second and catch their breath before immersing in the broader explorations to come that the six-minute-on-the-dot “Cherna Bong” sets up at the end of side A.

In a linear format, with no break in the six-track/34-minute run, Solar Hawk unfolds gracefully and sets up its flow early on the shorter opening duo “Beaumont” (3:24) and “Seven Hills” (4:20) before “Cherna Bong,” the title-track (6:22), “White Sand” (7:42) and closer “Red Sun Arising” (6:56) push further outward into a heavy desert psychedelia that seems as much about the Durango, Mexico-based trio’s enjoyment of the trip as the audience’s experience of the results. Guitarist José Peyro, bassist Oscar Cisneros and drummer Adolfo Solís make no claim that I’ve seen of their debut being a concept album — they seem to cite a variety of cultural and thematic influences — but the fluidity with which they loose their material speaks to a certain wholeness just the same.

That turns out to be a strength particularly when taking the album in one single dose: by the time the rolling apex of “White Sand” seems to provide the album’s culmination, the rest of Solar Hawk — apart from “Red Sun Arising,” obviously — has hit the bloodstream and already had its engaging effect, whether it’s the feedback drenched largesse that initiates the post-Kyuss semi-prog thrust of “Seven Hills” or the drawn out and echoing lead that Peyro layers atop the title-track as it oozes toward its midsection, which drops momentarily to a quiet space of guitar-only desert tonality that, frankly, I wish there was more of throughout. With an EP and a single behind them in their five years together, Saturno Grooves clearly constructed this debut out of jams — note that the “construction” is very much a factor; this isn’t just jams put to tape — but it’s in the flashes of patience like that of the title-track or the start of “White Sand” that offer flashes of the dynamic developing within their sound.

saturno grooves

I’m not saying they need to start doing loud/quiet tradeoffs or straight-up quiet-to-loud builds exclusively or anything, simply that in the tones of Peyro and Cisneros, there’s enough presence to hold up those subdued moments perhaps more than the band are willing to give themselves credit for. Hell, in “White Sand,” even Solís gets to take the fore briefly to lay down a shuffling foundation for the push to come. There’s a lot of all-three-together here, and it works very, very well. Where Saturno Grooves have room to grow is in toying with the balance between all-three-together and highlighting each individual’s contributions and presence as well as the balance between louder and softer, faster and slower parts, which they already do exceedingly well, blending shades of the aforementioned Kyuss with some of Earthless‘ cyclical virtuosity and Sleep‘s penchant for nod, which again, makes “White Sand” seem like the peak of Solar Hawk when it hits into its moment of arrival.

And I’ve used “seem” twice now as regards that track only because when the subsequent “Red Sun Arising” begins to land its bombastic, plodding crashes, the effect of that stomp is nearly resonant enough to leave footprints. Saturno Grooves thud and riff their brains out on the finale, and by the time it’s about 2:45 into its nearly seven minutes and they seem to draw back for a second, one has to wonder where they’ll head next, but the answer is into a speedier, solo-topped middle third that soon enough gives way to a far, far gone section of molten roll, again showcasing Peyro‘s impressive lead work as it sort of flowingly dances — because it’s not marching, and it’s not lumbering anymore, and it’s still too cohesive just to be melting away — to its finish, which upon its arrival feels somewhat sudden, as “Red Sun Arising” sound both like it could just keep going and like it’s destined for a gentle fadeout rather than the cold snap ending it receives.

Maybe that’s Saturno Grooves‘ way of subverting expectation, but either way, when one goes back and revisits “Beaumont” at the outset, its galloping progression and straightforward riffing underscore the point of the distance the three-piece travel from one end of the LP to the other. However one chooses to connect with it, the most important factor is that Saturno Grooves make that connection while sounding natural and utterly in their element as they progress throughout. Again, I don’t think it’s a concept album from their end, but even in its instrumental form, it’s easy to read a narrative progression into the songs themselves, let alone any other tale they might actually be telling. While this is technically their first album, Saturno Grooves sound like a group who’ve played together for a while, who have developed a sense of musical conversation between themselves and the common language for that to take place. One only hopes that dialogue will be ongoing.

Saturno Grooves on Thee Facebooks

Saturno Grooves on Bandcamp

L.S.D.R. Records on Thee Facebooks

L.S.D.R. Records on Bandcamp

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Owain to Release Acrid EP this Month via LSDR Records

Posted in Whathaveyou on September 6th, 2017 by JJ Koczan

owain

Actually, if you’re feeling fancy, you can pop on over to Owain‘s Bandcamp — dutifully linked below — and check out a name-your-price download of their second EP, Acrid, but you know I’m a sucker for physical media, so here I am posting about the forthcoming LSDR Records-backed CD version of the release either way. Tape is also out via Colectivo Lxs Grises for the Tijuana duo’s six-song/24-minute offering, which hits on High on Fire-style thrash in “Thieving Swine” as easily as it rolls out noisy sludge lumber on the suitably titled “Sledgehammers.” They shout out Brainoil as an influence, which should be automatic points in just about anybody’s book for specificity alone, and set an admirably noisy target that cuts like rolling, barking opener and longest track (immediate points) “Sculptors” and the later “Backfire” attempt to meet head-on.

Raw stuff, and mean, but all the more so because it knows exactly what it’s doing. LSDR sent the following down the PR wire, including the David Paul Seymour cover art:

owain acrid

LSDR RECORDS: OWAIN – Acrid (2017)

Owain is a sludge doom metal duo from Tijuana Mexico. They are presenting a new EP called “Acrid” recorded and mixed by Arturo Leon at La Cacho Estudio in the city of Tijuana, Mexico and mastered by Bill Henderson at Azimuth Mastering in New Jersey, USA. The art was the work of David Paul Seymour known for is extensive work with other bands in the genre such as Mothership, 16 and many others.

The band formed in 2015 by Anibal Flores (guitar and vocals) and Luis Astorga (drums and vocals) and release their first Self-titled EP in 2016. The genres in which they can be catalogued are somewhere between stoner metal and sludge, with the sound having heavy southern rock accents on guitar and metal styled percussion. One of the bands targets is trying to sound as huge as any other band in the genre regardless of being only a two piece ensemble.

Their main influences would be the bands Brainoil and Down, since these are the ones that sparked the idea of making a band of this sort, although earlier influences have been present beforehand like Sleep and Orange Goblin. Dopefight, Bongzilla, Bongripper and Weedeater have also been great influences regarding the southern sound, and on the more metal oriented side, Eyehategod, High on Fire, Mastodon and Crowbar are of great regard in what tailored their sound.

The lyrics are based in human cynic, questioning authority in all its forms, repulsion to religion, general addiction, drawbacks in social consciousness and protest to social paradoxes.

The EP will be released in September 2017 in the following formats:
– Digital release through the band’s Bandcamp
– CD release through LSDR Records
– Cassette Tape through Colectivo Lxs Grises

https://www.facebook.com/Owainband/
https://twitter.com/Owainmusic
https://www.instagram.com/owainband/
https://owain.bandcamp.com/releases
https://www.facebook.com/lsdrrecords/

Owain, Acrid (2017)

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Cegvera Release Creations EP; Touring with Vinnum Sabbathi

Posted in Whathaveyou on July 12th, 2017 by JJ Koczan

cegvera

It wouldn’t be quite right to call the impact of Cegvera‘s Creations EP immediate. Indeed, it’s three full seconds before opener ‘Centralia’ kicks into the full tonal assault that the Bristol, UK, three-piece will continue to unfold in “Iguala” and touch on throughout the subsequent five tracks, balancing it against a post-rocking meditative feel on “Aral Sea” and foreboding atmospherics on “Mosul” while closer “Latrun” takes a more all-out approach in terms of tempo. The band has aligned with LSDR Records for the release, which you can stream now in its rumbling entirety at the bottom of this post, and will hit the road in the UK this month with fellow instrumentalists Vinnum Sabbathi. I think once you dig into the tracks you’ll agree that’s a solid pairing.

They also get bonus points for shouting out José Saramago. Read Blindness. The EP, as well as Cegvera‘s first one, late 2016’s Fractals, is name-your-price now. Info follows below, courtesy of the PR wire:

cegvera creations

LSDR RECORDS: Cegvera – Creations (2017)

Cegvera is an instrumental band that was born in Bristol, inspired by José Saramago. The band tries to wake up hidden or forgotten feelings. Songs are stories, however it’s up to the audience to create them. Melodic ambience, atmosphere and drone are as important as the riffs. Saying that, if you are into heavy psych, doom, sludge or post-rock you should give this band a try. Cegvera are: Gerardo Arias: Guitar (Vinnum Sabbathi, Ex- Bar de Monjas, 4 ciénegas) / Aaron Scrupps: Bass /Matt Neicho: Drums

Creation Ep is the second work of this band from Bristol U.K. (the first was Fractals), was recorded by Josh Gallop at Stage2 Studios in Bath, U.K. in April of 2017. The Mix and Master were made it by Miguel Fraino at Vesubio 34 Studio in México City. The Artwork was designed by Hellbound Graphics in México City.

Tracklisting:
1. Centralia 03:02
2. Iguala 05:03
3. Aral Sea 05:31
4. Mosul 05:50
5. Latrun 05:10

Cegvera will make a tour with Vinnum Sabbathi this July:
20.07.17 – Coventry (The Arches Venue)
21.07.17 – London (The Dev)
22.07.17 – Bath (St James Vaults)
28.07.17 – Manchester (Retro Bar)
29.07.17 – Scunthorpe (Café Independent)

Cegvera is:
Gerardo Arias: Guitar
Aaron Scrupps: Bass
Matt Neicho: Drums

https://www.facebook.com/cegueraUK
https://cegvera.bandcamp.com/
https://www.facebook.com/lsdrrecords/
https://lsdr.bandcamp.com/
https://www.storenvy.com/stores/823500-lsdr-records-distro

Cegvera, Creations (2017)

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Vinnum Sabbathi to Begin UK Touring this Weekend

Posted in Whathaveyou on July 4th, 2017 by JJ Koczan

vinnum sabbathi

Mexican riffbringers Vinnum Sabbathi have been on the road in Europe since last month supporting their debut long-player, Gravity Works (review here), which was released earlier this year. The run, which wrapped up its continental portion on July 1, will pick up again this coming Friday at the warm-up party for the Bristol Psych Fest, and from there, Vinnum Sabbathi hit the road alongside Kurokuma — who’ve newly issued a Kraftwerk cover as a name-your-price download — for a stretch of dates across the UK that includes another free all-dayer in Kurokuma‘s native Sheffield and gigs in Coventry, Bath, Hull, Liverpool, Edinburgh, and so on.

It’s a solid stint to continue Vinnum Sabbathi‘s push for their awaited first full-length, and they’ll cap their time abroad on Aug. 12 with an appearance at SonicBlast Moledo in Portugal, which, frankly, is an awesome way to go out.

Dates, links and music follow here. Dig it:

vinnum-sabbathi-kurokuma tour

Vinnum Sabbathi / Kurokuma UK dates

ALL THE INFO ABOUT OUR UK TOUR IN JULY WITH:
Kurokuma / Cegvera / SODEN

July 07 Bristol Bristol Psych Fest WARM UP PARTY (Free Entry)
July 13 Edinburgh Vinnum Sabbathi / Kurokuma / Lucifers Corpus – Bannermans Bar
July 14 Hull HNC#50 Vinnum Sabbathi (Mexico) / Kurokuma / Battalions / Still
July 15 Dewsbury Vinnum Sabbathi/Kurokuma/Sick Tapestry/Gandalf The Green at The Old Turk
July 16 Liverpool KUROKUMA // VINNUM SABBATHI // PHULLOPIUM DUDE // MR TED
July 20 Coventry Vinnum Sabbathi / Kurokuma / Cegvera + MK1 Soundsystem
July 21 London Vinnum Sabbathi, Kurokuma, Cegvera, Doomicidal
July 22 Bath Vinnum Sabbathi, Kurokuma, Cegvera, Doomicidal
July 23 Sheffield Doomlines III – free doom/sludge/stoner all-dayer
July 28 Manchester Vinnum Sabbathi (Mexico) + special guests
July 29 Scunthorpe Vinnum Sabbathi (Mexico) + Guests

Vinnum Sabbathi:
Aug. 12 SonicBlast Moledo, Portugal

Vinnum Sabbathi is a space doom band from Mexico City founded in 2011 and formed by Alberto (guitar), Gerardo (drums), Samuel (bass) and Roman (live samples).

With influences like Ufomammut, YOB, Electric Wizard and 35007, the band mixes heavy riffs with scientific themes to bring loud and distorted sonic textures and energetic live performances; playing in venues all around Mexico with the Fume On Tour (2014), the Fuzzonaut Tour (2015) and the TerroNaut Tour (2016) along with bands like Terror Cosmico, Weedsnake and El Ahorcado.

Vinnum Sabbathi have just released Gravity Works to widespread acclaim.
https://vinnumsabbathi.bandcamp.com/album/gravity-works

Kurokuma have just released their cover of Kraftwerk’s “Radioactivity”.
https://kurokumauk.bandcamp.com/track/radioactivity-kraftwerk-cover

www.facebook.com/VinnumSabbathi/
https://vinnumsabbathi.bandcamp.com/
http://aimdownsightrecords.com/
https://lsdr.bandcamp.com/

www.facebook.com/kurokumauk
kurokumauk.bandcamp.com

Vinnum Sabbathi, Gravity Works (2017)

Kurokuma, “Radioactivity”

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Vinnum Sabbathi Update European Tour Plans

Posted in Whathaveyou on February 15th, 2017 by JJ Koczan

vinnum-sabbathi-Photo-by-Rodrigo-Jardon

Word has been kicking around now of a European tour from Mexico City instrumentalists Vinnum Sabbathi. The band made their full-length debut last month in the early hours of 2017 with Gravity Works (review here) via a slew of labels, including Aim Down Sight, LSDR and South American Sludge, but even before that, they’ve been planning the trip across the Atlantic that now looks like it will finally come to fruition this summer.

They’ve got a poster together for the run and what seems to be a good idea of the routing — both crucial steps, to be sure — but there are still some particulars to fill in when it comes to where they’ll be playing, connecting the dots from one city to the next, and so on. If you can help the band with any of the shows that aren’t yet together, get in touch with them via social media. I don’t want to speak for anybody, but I think they’ll probably play your house if you’ve got room enough for all the volume they’re sure to bring.

The PR wire has the following:

vinnum sabbathi euro tour

VINNUM SABBATHI – “GRAVITY WORKS” EUROPEAN TOUR 2017

We’re very excited to announce our tour dates for Europe so far, although we still need help to fill some shows and maybe a couple more could be added.

08 JUN DÜSSELDORF(??)
09 JUN MARBURG
10 JUN BERLIN
11 JUN LEIPZIG(??)
14 JUN CHEMNITZ(??)
15 JUN WEIMAR
21 JUN WÜRZBURG(??)
22 JUN MUNICH(??)
23 JUN NUREMBERG(??)
24 JUN DRESDEN
25 JUN HAMBURG(??)
28 JUN LEEUWARDEN(??)
29 JUN EINDHOVEN
30 JUN THE HAGUE(??)
01 JUL AMSTERDAM(??)
07 JUL BRISTOL
13 JUL EDINBURGH
14 JUL HULL
15 JUL DEWSBURY
16 JUL LIVERPOOL
20 JUL COVENTRY
21 JUL LONDON
22 JUL BATH
23 JUL SHEFFIELD
27 JUL OXFORD(??)
11 AGO ??????

Bio:
Vinnum Sabbathi is a space doom band from Mexico City founded in 2011 and formed by Alberto (guitar), Gerardo (drums), Samuel (bass) and Roman (live samples).

With influences like Ufomammut, YOB, Electric Wizard and 35007, the band mixes heavy riffs with scientific themes to bring loud and distorted sonic textures and energetic live performances; playing in venues all around Mexico with the Fume On Tour (2014), the Fuzzonaut Tour (2015) and the TerroNaut Tour (2016) along with bands like Terror Cosmico, Weedsnake and El Ahorcado.

The band has been part of festivals such as NRMAL 2014 and Lxs Grises Fest II & IV, recorded a live session at Mexican Radio Institute for Reactor 105.7FM and also being featured in different compilations including ‘The Stoner Box’ released by Los Angeles-based label Cleopatra Records.

www.facebook.com/VinnumSabbathi/
https://vinnumsabbathi.bandcamp.com/
http://aimdownsightrecords.com/
https://lsdr.bandcamp.com/

Vinnum Sabbathi, Gravity Works (2017)

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Vinnum Sabbathi, Gravity Works: Vastness and Density

Posted in Reviews on January 18th, 2017 by JJ Koczan

vinnum sabbathi gravity works

One doubts if Mexico City’s Vinnum Sabbathi had in mind defending the sciences as a political position when they were putting together their debut full-length, Gravity Works, for release through LSDR Records, Aim Down Sight, and South American Sludge, but there’s a clear sense of celebrating achievement as the five-song collection plays out topped in songs like the 11-minute “Early Works” and the penultimate “Loop Quantum Gravity” by public domain samples concerning all things space: astronauts, cosmonauts, the expanding universe, and so on. Of course, the use of samples in instrumental heavy rock to take the place of lyrics isn’t anything new — it’s been done for at least the last quarter-century — but the four-piece of guitarist Alberto, bassist Samuel, Mico (or Gerardo) and sampler/synther Roman use the clips also to execute a cohesive theme across the album’s 43-minute span, and that’s somewhat rarer in terms of process.

Gravity Works is consistent in this, and from their 2015 split with Bar de Monjas, Fuzzonaut (review here), back across a slew of EPs, digital singles and other short releases to their 2012 demo, they’ve been nearly entirely focused on the cosmic in one way or another. It’s almost odd, then, that they don’t actually play space rock. One might expect the thrust of Hawkwind or the grand, effects-soaked meanderings of any number of instrumental jammers given all the space-space-space that Vinnum Sabbathi highlight, but the band actually has much more in common with the likes of Bongripper of Monolord (obviously sans vocals in the case of the latter); proffering crushing wave after crushing wave of big-tone riffs to build a massive, engaging nod.

Even when it locks into the chugging groove of centerpiece “Gravity Waves,” Gravity Works does so with an abiding thickness in the guitar and bass, and the drums seem more than happy to roll this gargantuan onslaught forward. The songs themselves are plotted but still exploratory in the sense of likely having been built out of jams — it’s easy to imagine Vinnum Sabbathi in a rehearsal space, hopefully wearing earplugs, digging into the churn that emerges from the almost calm wade into dense waters at the start of opener “Weightlessness” — and the samples provide more than flourish throughout, becoming an essential part of the record from that opener onward.

Synth is used more sparingly, unless it’s there and the guitar and bass have just eaten it entirely — possible — but the recording/mixing job by Miguel Fraino at Vesubio34 Studio and mastering by James Plotkin (Khanate, so many others) leave little to want in terms of the production quality, capturing the push of air coming from Alberto and Samuel‘s cabinet speakers, the rumble of the latter on especially prevalent on “Loop Quantum Gravity” but always a key element, without pulling away from presenting the dynamic the band has managed to build over their five-plus years together.

vinnum sabbathi

That is to say, Gravity Works sounds completely fucking elephantine. Listen to basically everything after “Weightlessness” (also the shortest cut at 5:22) introduces the sprawl, whether it’s “Early Works,” “Gravity Waves,” “Loop Quantum Gravity” or closer “The Probe B,” and you’ll experience chest-compressing tonal heft of a suitably high order. But Vinnum Sabbathi‘s first long-player has its atmospheric aspects as well, and whether that’s the stretch of subdued-but-tense guitar that opens “Early Works” or the midsection sample break in “Loop Quantum Gravity,” that side is just as integral in the overall execution as the lurching thud of “Gravity Waves.”

And though with its runtime and general aesthetic cohesion, Gravity Works seems like a prime vinyl candidate, the course it follows is linear, fleshing out from its beginning as it moves toward “The Probe B,” which summarizes the impact of the material, adds nuance of wah in the guitar to subtly reinforce the notion of Vinnum Sabbathi as a band still growing, still finding themselves and who will look to build on what they’ve accomplished in these songs, and caps with a fervent kick in tempo that acts as an apex for the whole outing. One supposes there isn’t much else they could’ve done to end the record, but at 4:25, after a stop that gives a sample talking about a black hole free reign, the guitars start faster, the drums come back on a roll and a gallop that imagines High on Fire meeting YOB takes hold, shoving the track and the listener onward toward, what? Destruction? Some greater interstellar consumption? A subspace corridor of color, fuzz riffs and undulating sound waves?

I don’t really know, but by the time they lock in the final couple measures of nod and rumble to a finish, I’m ready for whatever the destination might be. In terms of Gravity Works itself, that concluding hum would seem to be it, but there’s a bigger story being introduced here, and for Vinnum Sabbathi, it will be their creative progression that enables them to tell it. What they do moving forward and how they continue to come together as a band, expand the chemistry they showcase in these tracks and work to make the tenets of cosmic doom their own. An overarching direction isn’t something one is inclined to guess at, though speculation is always fun, but Vinnum Sabbathi‘s debut impresses thoroughly because of what it might be starting as well as what it achieves in its own right, and it’s only fitting that it should dwell in those multiple dimensions, since that seems to be where the band has been headed the whole time.

Vinnum Sabbathi, Gravity Works (2017)

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