Crippled Black Phoenix Announce Covers Collection Horrific Honorifics Due March 9

Posted in Whathaveyou on January 18th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

Anybody who covers Swans and Arbouretum on the same record is cool by me. Back-to-back to lead off the record, no less. Maybe the point is somewhat moot, since Crippled Black Phoenix already well exceeded that loftiest of standards, but in this age where media consumption so often boils down to little more than the reinforcement of one’s own pre-stated positions, a little more of that kind of thing never seems to hurt. What was the point I was making? Oh yeah. Crippled Black Phoenix are fucking awesome.

Season of Mist releases Horrific Honorifics, the new covers collection from the UK avant gloom rockers, on March 9. And yes, it includes Arbouretum and Swans at the outset, along with Magnolia Electric Co., The God Machine, NoMeansNo and The Alex Harvey Band, whose “The Faith Healer” you can hear at the bottom of this post. If, like me, you were feeling greedy and hoping maybe they’d take on “They Say I’m Different” by Betty Davis, fingers crossed for next time.

I’m completely serious, by the way. I know that last sentence reads like internet snark. It isn’t. I’d actually love to hear that. Just felt compelled to make that clear.

From the label via the PR wire:

crippled black phoenix horrific honorifics

CRIPPLED BLACK PHOENIX announce limited edition album

International dark rock collective CRIPPLED BLACK PHOENIX are set to release a new covers album. The album, titled ‘Horrific Honorifics’, is a celebration of songs that have influenced CRIPPLED BLACK PHOENIX or its members in both music and in life. The album Includes covers of SWANS, NOMEANSNO, THE GOD MACHINE, THE SENSATIONAL ALEX HARVEY BAND, MAGNOLIA ELECTRIC CO. and ARBOURETUM as only this collective could re-imagine them.

‘Horrific Honorifics’ will be released worldwide on March 9th. Pre-orders for the limited edition album are available at the Season of Mist E-Shop.

CRIPPLED BLACK PHOENIX are streaming “The Faith Healer”, a cover of THE SENSATIONAL ALEX HARVEY BAND.

Regarding the track, CRIPPLED BLACK PHOENIX founding member and vocalist Justin Greaves comments: “I used to watch the ‘Old Grey Whistle Test’ when I was young and I came across the ALEX HARVEY BAND on there. They did a great version on ‘Give My Compliments To The Chef’, which for years I forced upon the rest of the band when on tour. ‘The Faith Healer’ seamed to make sense when thinking of songs to cover. I’m glad it turned out ok. With James Ray on guest vocals, it gets an even darker edge. I’m thinking of adopting Zal Cleminson’s make up on stage for the next tour.”

Track-list
1. False Spring (originally by ARBOURETUM)
2. The Golden Boy Swallowed By The Sea (originally by SWANS)
3. Will-O-The-Wisp (originally by MAGNOLIA ELECTRIC CO)
4. Victory (originally by NOMEANSNO)
5. In Bad Dreams (originally by THE GOD MACHINE)
6. The Faith Healer (originally by THE SENSATIONAL ALEX HARVEY BAND)

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Crippled Black Phoenix, “The Faith Healer”

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Quarterly Review: Iron Monkey, Deadsmoke, Somnuri, Daira, Kavrila, Ivan, Clara Engel, Alastor, Deadly Vipers, Storm of Void

Posted in Reviews on January 11th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

Lodewijk de Vadder (1605-1655) - 17th Century Etching, Landscape with Two Farms

Day Four of the Quarterly Review! Welcome to the downswing. We’re past the halfway point and feeling continually groovy. Thus far it’s been a week of coffee and a vast musical swath that today only reaches even further out from the core notion of what may or may not make a release or a band “heavy.” Is it sound? Is it emotion? Is it concept? Fact is there’s no reason it can’t be all of those things and a ton more, so keep an open mind as you make your way through today’s batch and we’ll all come out of it better people on the other end. Alright? Alright. Here we go.

Quarterly Review #31-40:

Iron Monkey, 9-13

iron monkey 9-13

I’ll admit to some level of skepticism at the prospect of an Iron Monkey reunion without frontman Johnny Morrow, who died in 2002, but as founding guitarist Jim Rushby (now also vocals), bassist Steve Watson (who originally played guitar) and new drummer Brigga revive the influential UK sludge outfit with the nine songs of 9-13 on Relapse, it somehow makes sense that the band’s fuckall and irreverence would extend inward as well. That is, why should Iron Monkey find Iron Monkey an any more sacred and untouchable property than they find anything else? Ultimately, the decision will be up to the listener as to acceptance, but the furies of “OmegaMangler,” “Mortarhex,” “Doomsday Impulse Multiplier” and the nine-minute lumber-into-torrent closer “Moreland St. Hammervortex” make a pretty resounding argument that if you can’t get down with Iron Monkey as they are today, it’s going to be your loss and that, as ever, they couldn’t care less to see you stick around or see you go. So welcome back.

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Relapse Records on Bandcamp

 

Deadsmoke, Mountain Legacy

deadsmoke mountain legacy

Mountain Legacy, which is the second Deadsmoke album for Heavy Psych Sounds, might be the heaviest release the label has put out to-date. For the band, it marks the arrival of keyboardist Claudio Rocchetti to the former trio, and from the lumbering space of aptly-titled post-intro opener “Endless Cave” to the later creeping lurch of “Wolfcurse,” it’s an outing worthy of comparison to the earlier work of Italian countrymen Ufomammut, but still rooted in the gritty, post-Sleep plod the band elicited on their 2016 self-titled debut (review here). The central difference seems to be an increase in atmospheric focus, which does well to enrich the listening experience overall, be it in the creepy penultimate interlude “Forest of the Damned” or side A finale “Emperor of Shame.” Whether this progression was driven by Rocchetti’s inclusion in the band or the other way around, it’s a marked showing of growth on a quick turnaround from Deadsmoke and shows them as having a much broader creative reach than expected. All the better because it’s still so devastatingly weighted.

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Heavy Psych Sounds website

 

Somnuri, Somnuri

somnuri somnuri

To call Somnuri a formidable trio is underselling it. The Brooklynite three-piece is comprised of guitarist/vocalist Justin Sherrell (Blackout, ex-Bezoar, etc.), bassist Drew Mack (ex-Hull) and drummer Phil SanGiacomo (Family), and the noise they make on their Magnetic Eye-released self-titled debut is as progressive as it is intense. Recorded by Jeff Berner and mixed my SanGiacomo, cuts like “Kaizen” and “Same Skies” land with a doomed heft but move with the singular fury of the Northeastern US, and even as eight-minute closer “Through the Dead” balances more rock-minded impulses and seems to touch on a Soundgarden influence, it answers for the ultra-aggro tumult of “Pulling Teeth” just before. A flash of ambience in the drone interlude “Opaque” follows the plodding highlight “Slow Burn,” which speaks to yet another side of Somnuri’s potential – to create spaces as much as to crush them. With an interplay of cleaner vocals, screams, growls and shouts, there’s enough variety to throw off expectation, and where so much of New York’s noise-metal history is about angry single-mindedness, Somnuri’s Somnuri shows even in a vicious moment like “Inhabitant” that there’s more ground to cover than just being really, really, really pissed off.

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Magnetic Eye Records website

 

Daira, Vipreet Buddhi

daira vipreet buddhi

Time to get weird. No. Really weird. In the end, I’m not sure Mumbai semi-improvisationalist troupe Daira did themselves any favors by making their sophomore LP, Vipreet Buddhi, a single 93-minute/16-track outing instead of breaking it into the two halves over which its course is presented – the first being eight distinct songs, the second a flowing single jam broken up over multiple parts – but one way or another, it’s an album that genuinely presents a vibe of its own, taking cues from heavy psych, jazz, funk, classic prog, folk and more as it plays through its bizarre and ambient flow, toying with jarring stretches along the way like the eerie “Apna Ullu Seedha” but so dug in by the time it’s jammed its way into “Dekho Laal Gaya” that it seems like there’s no getting out. It’s an overwhelming and unmanageable offering, but whoever said the avant garde wasn’t supposed to be a challenge? Certainly not Daira, and they clearly have plenty to say. Whatever else you listen to today, I can safely guarantee it won’t sound like this. And that’s probably true of every day.

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Kavrila, Blight

kavrila blight

Chest-compressing groove and drive will no doubt earn Hamburg four-piece Kavrila’s second album, Blight (on Backbite Records), some comparisons to Mantar, but to dig into tracks like “Gold” and “Each (Part Two)” is to find a surprising measure of atmospheric focus, and even a rage-roller like “Abandon” has a depth to its mix. Though it’s just 24 minutes long, I’d still consider Blight a full-length for the two-sided flow it sets up leading to the aforementioned “Gold” and “Each (Part Two),” both being the longest cut on their respective half of the record in addition to splitting the tracklisting, as well as for the grinding aspects of songs like “Apocalypse,” “Demolish” and “Golem” on side B, the latter of which takes the rhythmic churn of Godflesh to a point of extremity that even the earlier thrust of “Lungs” did little to foretell. There’s a balance of sludge and hardcore elements, to be sure, but it’s the anger that ultimately defines Blight, however coherent it might be (and is) in its violent intent.

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Backbite Records webstore

 

Ivan, Strewn Across Stars

ivan strewn across stars

Employing the session violin services of Jess Randall, the Melbourne-based two-piece of Brodric Wellington (drums/vocals) and Joseph Pap (guitar, bass, keys) – collectively known as Ivan – would seem to be drawing a specific line in the direction of My Dying Bride with their take on death-doom, but the emotionalist influence goes deeper than that on Strewn Across Stars, their second LP. Shades of Skepticism show themselves in opener and longest track (immediate points) “Cosmic Fear,” which demonstrates a raw production ready for the limited-cassette obscurism the band conjured for their 2016 debut, Aeons Collapse, but nonetheless fleshed out melodically in the guitar and already-noted, deeply prevalent string arrangement. The subsequent “Ethereal” (12:41), “Hidden Dimensions” (12:25) and “Outro” (8:18) dig even further into plodding shattered-self woefulness, with “Hidden Dimensions” providing a brief moment of tempo release before the violin and keys take complete hold in “Outro” to give listeners one last chance to bask in resonant melancholia. A genre-piece, to be sure, but able to stand on its own in terms of personality and patience alike.

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Ivan on Bandcamp

 

Clara Engel, Songs for Leonora Carrington

clara-engel-songs-for-leona-carrington

Toronto singer-songwriter Clara Engel pays ambient folk homage to the Mexican surrealist painter/author with the five-tracks of Songs for Leonara Carrington, fleshing out creative and depth-filled arrangements that nonetheless hold fast to the intimate human core beneath. Engel’s voice is of singular character in its melding of gruff fragility, and whether it’s the psychedelic hypnosis of opener and longest track (immediate points) “Birdheaded Queen” or the seemingly minimalist drift of the penultimate “The Ancestor,” her confident melodies float atop gorgeous and sad instrumental progressions that cast an atmosphere of vast reaches. Even the more percussively active centerpiece “Microgods of all the Subatomic Worlds” feels informed by the gradual wash of guitar melody that takes hold on the prior “Sanctuary for Furies,” and as Engel brings in guest contributors for drums, bass, guitar, theremin and choir vocals alongside her own guitar, pump organ, flute and singing, there seems to be little out of her reach or scope. It is a joy to get lost within it.

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Wist Records website

 

Alastor, Blood on Satan’s Claw

alastor-blood-on-satans-claw

I don’t know whether the title-cut of Blood on Satan’s Claw, the new two-songer EP from dirge-doomers Alastor, is leftover from the same sessions that bore their 2017 debut album for Twin Earth Records, Black Magic (review here), but as it’s keeping company with a near-11-minute take on Creedence Clearwater Revival’s “Bad Moon Rising,” the four-piece’s return is welcome either way. Unsurprisingly, not much has changed in their approach in the mere months since the full-length was issued, but that doesn’t mean the swing of “Blood on Satan’s Claw,” the central riff of which owes as much to Windhand as to Sleep as to C.O.C.‘s “Albatross” as to Sabbath, isn’t worth digging into all the same, and with psychedelic vocals reminiscent of newer Monolord and flourish of creeper-style organ, its doom resounds on multiple levels leading into the aforementioned cover, which drawls out the classic original arrangement with a wilfully wretched tack that well earns a nod and raised claw. Alastor remain backpatch-ready, seemingly just waiting for listeners to catch on. If these tracks are any indication, they’ll get there.

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Alastor on Bandcamp

 

Deadly Vipers, Fueltronaut

deadly-vipers-fueltronaut

Give it a couple minutes to get going and Fueltronaut, the debut full-length from French four-piece Deadly Vipers, is more than happy to serve up energetic post-Kyuss desert rock loyalism that’s true to form in both spirit and production. Shades of earliest Dozer and the wider pre-social media older-school Euro heavy underground show themselves quickly in “Universe,” but in the later mid-paced reach of “Stalker,” there’s more modern bluesy vibing and as the mega-fuzzed “Meteor Valley,” the driving jam of “Supernova,” and the let’s-push-the-vocals-really-high-in-the-mix-for-some-reason “Dead Summer” shove the listener onward with righteous momentum toward pre-outro closer “River of Souls,” each track getting longer as it goes, the melody that emerges there indeed feels like a moment of arrival. My only real complaint? The intro “Fuel Prophecy” and (hidden) outro, “Watch the Road End.” Especially with the immediacy that strikes when “Universe” kicks in and the resonant finish of “River of Souls” at its six-minute mark, having anything before the one and after the other seems superfluous. A minor quibble on an impressive debut (one could also ramble about cartoon tits on the cover, but what’s the point?) and showcase of potential from an exciting newcomer outfit clearly assured of the style for which they’re aiming.

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Storm of Void, War Inside You

storm-of-void-war-inside-you

Tokyo duo Storm of Void make their full-length debut with the nine-track/48-minute War Inside You, a full-length that might first snag attention owing to guest vocal spots from Napalm Death’s Mark “Barney” Greenway and Jawbox’s J. Robbins, but has no trouble holding that same attention with its progressive instrumental turns and taut execution. Released by Hostess Entertainment, it’s instrumental in bulk, with eight-string guitarist George Bodman (Bluebeard) and drummer Dairoku Seki (envy) coming together to deliver brisk and aggressive prog metal centered around chugging riffs and a tension that seems to take hold in “Into the Circle” and let up only for the momentary “Interlude” in the midsection before closer “Ghosts of Mt. Sleepwalker” finally allows for some exhalation. As for the guest spots, they’re nothing to complain about, and they break up the proceedings nicely placed as they are, but if Storm of Void are going to hook you, it’s going to be on their own merits, which are plentiful.

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Hostess Entertainment website

 

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Tronald Capture the Unhinged Moment in “Obelisk ov Hash” Video

Posted in Bootleg Theater on October 2nd, 2017 by JJ Koczan

tronald

Hell’s bells, you’re a thinking, considered and considerate individual, and therefore you don’t need the likes of me to tell you these are strange days in which we’re living. You read the news. You’re informed. You have opinions. Me too, and well, it’s not going to do any good to get myself all worked up laying them out for you here. If you want catharsis, though, history has shown time and again that any number of creative endeavors can provide, and listening through to the 20-minute self-titled EP from Manchester, UK, newcomers Tronald on APF Records, that seems to be exactly what’s playing out.

With Tronald, Charlie Seisay and Andy Preece aren’t so much trying to make sense of the absurd era in which we find ourselves embroiled, when basic fact is no longer a given in the face of media manipulation and outright lies go unchallenged. Hearing the chaos they and a slew of guest vocalists from outfits like Boss Keloid and Under, among others, elicit on songs like the lumbering “Vegan Gains” and the punk-grinding “Get Your Grubby Hands off My Bennell” — not to mention the eponymous plod of the title-track or rolling mass of the subsequent “Boss Keloid are Shit” — they seem rather to be simply trying to work their way through understanding what’s happening in the world around then by representing and inhabiting the chaos they see.

The longest song on the release is “Obelisk ov Hash” at five minutes flat and it bashes out its sludgy extremity with ferocious abandon. Vocals are largely indecipherable growls or spacious howling. Riffs are utterly ruthless and consuming, and whether the track is political or not in its nature — one expects not — much like the scorching finale “Burgled Senseless” or “Dlanort,” on which the only vocals are samples, including the current US president talking about how much winning his lapping-it-up audience is going to be doing, it feeds into an atmosphere of the unhinged in which anything can happen and it all seems to manifest one kind of violence or another. It would be a genuine challenge to think of something timelier than that.

Tronald‘s Tronald is out now. You’ll find the clip for “Obelisk ov Hash” below, followed by more info from the PR wire.

Whatever side of whatever argument you’re on, please enjoy:

Tronald, “Obelisk ov Hash” official video

TRONALD is a new entity formed in Manchester in early 2017. The project is spearheaded by musicians Charlie Seisay and Andy Preece (Under, Halfling’s Leaf, Thing) who decided to create the heaviest, gnarliest most down-tuned and distorted heavy music they could possibly commit to tape. Tronald is set to release its debut self-titled EP on September 30th on APF Records.

Tronald works as a collective, inviting other vocalists and musicians to guest on each track. On their eponymous first release the guest singers are members of popular North-West England acts The Hyena Kill (Steven Dobb), Boss Keloid (Alex Hurst), Mower (Jared Tuck), Under (Matt Franklin) and Riggots (Martin Battle). The sound of Tronald is colossally heavy, built on low tunings and distortion. The EP weaves in elements of Sludge Metal, Doom and Noise Rock over its 20 minute run time.

‘Tronald’ will be available as a stunning 6-panel digipak CD designed by Sam Yates of Ingested. Strictly limited edition of 100, all individually numbered. The EP will also be available in digital format. Tronald is set to play some select live performances across 2018, aiming to bring together the guest vocalists and musicians where possible. The first of such shows will be the APF Records Showcase at Ruby Lounge, Manchester on 3rd February 2018.

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Crippled Black Phoenix Announce Summer Festival Dates

Posted in Whathaveyou on May 5th, 2017 by JJ Koczan

I consider myself pretty fortunate to have seen Crippled Black Phoenix last month at Roadburn 2017, and all the more so as the long-running UK gloom merchants were there supporting their latest full-length, Bronze (review here), which crosses genre lines as easily as it moves from measure to measure within its tracks. Also the band’s first long-player to be delivered via Season of Mist, it’ll get further live representation throughout the next couple months as Crippled Black Phoenix take part in another slew of festivals, including Hellfest in France and Night of the Prog in Germany. Looks like they’ve got a couple club shows besides, so they should be plenty busy, and as we head into July and August, I wouldn’t be surprised if more shows were forthcoming as well. Always a busy Fall fest season to consider.

For now, here’s the latest from the PR wire:

crippled-black-phoenix-euro-tour

CRIPPLED BLACK PHOENIX announce European summer tour

International dark rock collective CRIPPLED BLACK PHOENIX have announced a European summer festival tour. The band will kick off their tour at Hellfest in France on June 18, and continue through select dates in June, July, and August. A full list of confirmed tour dates can be found below.

Regarding the tour, CRIPPLED BLACK PHOENIX founding member and vocalist Justin Greaves comments: “Hello rockers! We are stoked to bring a fine selection of our songs to you this summer. Make sure to catch our shows this time round; we are not the most touring band. See you in the sun!”

CRIPPLED BLACK PHOENIX are touring in support of their new album, ‘Bronze’. ‘Bronze’, a slow-burning mix of unique and soaring post-rock, is streaming here. ‘Bronze’ is available at the Season of Mist E-Shop.

CRIPPLED BLACK PHOENIX have released an animated music video for the track “Scared and Alone”, off their recently released full-length, ‘Bronze’. The video was animated by Costin Chioreanu (GHOST, OPETH).

CRIPPLED BLACK PHOENIX
Jun. 18 Clisson (FR) @ Hellfest
Jun. 19 Liege (BE) @ La Zone (+Trap Them)
Jun. 20 Wiesbaden (DE) @ Schlachthof (+Trap Them)
Jun. 21 Segrate (IT) @ SoloMacello Fest
Jun. 23 Aarau (CH) @ Kiff (+Trap Them +Ghost Bath)
Jun. 24 München (DE) @ Saint Helena Festival
Jul. 14 Sankt Goarshausen (DE) @ Night of the Prog
Aug. 4 Raversbeuren (DE) @ Lott-Festival

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Crippled Black Phoenix, “Scared and Alone” official video

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Dead Sea Apes to Release Sixth Side of the Pentagon April 3

Posted in Whathaveyou on March 8th, 2017 by JJ Koczan

dead-sea-apes-Photo-by-Tom-Humphreys

I’m going to make the narrow-minded assumption there’s some relation between Dead Sea Apes‘ upcoming fourth album, Sixth Side of the Pentagon, and their prior 2015 outing, Spectral Domain (review here), the 11-minute closer of which bore the same title. Does that necessarily mean it has anything in common with what seems to be a four-parter semi-title-track here? Nope, because this is psychedelia and sometimes shit gets really weird, but it’s worth pointing out as a starting point either way.

If you’d like something a little more concrete to go on — and fair enough if you would — the band are streaming the track “Tentacles (The Machine Rolls On)” as we speak, and you can check that out at the bottom of this very post, under the info below from the PR wire.

Dig it:

dead-sea-apes-sixth-side-of-the-pentagon

Dead Sea Apes – Sixth Side Of The Pentagon

Dead Sea Apes release their fourth studio album Sixth Side Of The Pentagon through Cardinal Fuzz and Sky Lantern Records.

Since their inception in 2009, Manchester trio Dead Sea Apes have ploughed a decidedly psychedelic furrow regarding their penchant for consciousness-altering guitar/bass/drums workouts. Yet they have always been decidedly nonconformist and experimental too, never easily fitting into a “psychedelic scene” like so many of their contemporaries. New album Sixth Side Of The Pentagon sees this bent towards experimentation further examined and explored.

Taking concepts from the track of the same name on their previous album, Sixth Side Of The Pentagon grows these ideas into fully formed dub cultures. Possibly reflecting recent political and economic events, the mood has darkened further like a carbon-stained post-industrial skyline: basslines bubble over with a dub-frenzy of fluid proficiency, alienated shards of guitar sear into your cortex and disorientating notes of insectoid electronics float in and out of the mix amid haunting echoes. Think Metal Box-era PIL and hints of early Cabaret Voltaire fused with the rolling liquid sound that Dead Sea Apes have made their own, while spoken word contributions by the artist and writer Adam Stone add a new dimension of theoretical engagement.

Sixth Side Of The Pentagon is released by Cardinal Fuzz in the UK and Sky Lantern Records in the US on vinyl, CD, cassette and download.

Tracklisting:
1. The Map Is Not The Territory
2. The Sixth Side version I
3. Low Resolution
4. The Sixth Side version II
5. Pale Anxieties
6. Nerve Centre
7. The Sixth Side version III
8. Lo Res
9. Tentacles (The Machine Rolls On)
10. The Sixth Side version IV
11. Rectifier

releases April 3, 2017

Music by Savage/Harris/Hardman
Words by Adam Stone (tks 5 & 9)
Vocals by Hannah Grasskamp (tk 6)
Produced by Dead Sea Apes
Recorded, mixed and mastered by Chris Hardman

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Dead Sea Apes, “Tentacles (The Machine Rolls On)”

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Crippled Black Phoenix Post “Scared and Alone” Video

Posted in Bootleg Theater on December 13th, 2016 by JJ Koczan

UK progressive atmospheric rockers Crippled Black Phoenix are currently embroiled in a European tour supporting their new album and Season of Mist full-length debut, Bronze. I’ll admit I’ve been somewhat hesitant to dig fully into the record, both because it’s been a while since I really engaged with the band — despite being way into their debut, A Love of Shared Disasters (now 10 years old), and subsequent offerings, 2009’s 200 Tons of Bad Luck (discussed here) and 2010’s I, Vigilante (discussed here), I’ve basically missed the boat on everything they’ve done since; something I hope to correct at the Roadburn 2017 merch table unless the dollar exchange tanks against the euro — and because Bronze has not at all seemed like it requires a significant emotional investment on the part of the listener.

To wit, the depression chronicle “Scared and Alone,” a nine-minute cut that appears later in the album and has a new video put together by respected Romanian animator/designer Costin Chioreanu. In its atmospheric depth and melodic current, the song works in direct defiance of any genre sensibility, for which it’s to be commended, but the overarching melancholic spirit is as affecting as it is sonically rich. This is not in itself a negative. One thinks of acts in the depressive tradition — labelmates Sólstafir, the middle-period work of Crippled Black Phoenix‘s UK countrymen Anathema, and so on — and the breadth that “Scared and Alone” conjures seems duly lush and patient, moody in all the right ways. That doesn’t mean, however, that the song isn’t perhaps putting the listener in a position to confront aspects of their self that, when not ignored, make the day harder to get through.

My own emotional cowardice notwithstanding, both song and video are gorgeous, the lyrics and vocals of Belinda Kordic and instrumental arrangement from Justin Greaves coming together to create a genuine sense of place over the course of the nine-minute run, which Chioreanu is bold enough to tackle head-on. If you’re also feeling so brave, you’ll find the clip followed by some comment from Greaves and the band’s tour dates below.

Enjoy:

Crippled Black Phoenix, “Scared and Alone” official video

International dark rock collective CRIPPLED BLACK PHOENIX have released an animated music video for the track “Scared and Alone”, off their recently released full-length, ‘Bronze’. The video was animated by Costin Chioreanu (GHOST, OPETH).

Regarding the video, CRIPPLED BLACK PHOENIX founder Justin Greaves comments, “Costin Chioreanu has created an amazing clip. His animation fits so very well that this can only come from someone, who truly understands the feeling behind this song. It is not an easy thing to connect with so I have nothing but respect and praise for Costin. ‘Scared and Alone’ speaks volumes about being cut off from the outside world and other people when the ‘Black Dog’ bites. Depression, anxiety and mental health are becoming bigger issues and when someone speaks up, it opens a door for other people to get things off their mind. Belinda wrote the lyrics as well as doing the vocals for ‘Scared and Alone’ and she did not need to be given any direction. As always, she took the title and the music and shaped the most real and heartfelt words into a very poetic form. I am deeply satisfied with the way everything turned out, both sonically and visually.”

CRIPPLED BLACK PHOENIX
w/PUBLICIST UK, THE DEVIL’S TRADE
Dec. 13 Zürich (CH) @ Werk 21
Dec. 14 München (DE) @ Feierwerk, Kranhalle
Dec. 15 Budapest (HU) @ Dürer Kert
Dec. 16 Wien (AT) @ Arena
Dec. 17 Tübingen (DE) @ Sudhaus
Dec. 18 Dresden (DE) @ Scheune
Dec. 19 Warszawa (PL) @ Progresja
Dec. 20 Berlin (DE) @ Lido
Dec. 21 Köln (DE) @ Underground

CRIPPLED BLACK PHOENIX at Roadburn
Apr. 20 Tilburg (NL) @ O13

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Crippled Black Phoenix on Bandcamp

Season of Mist website

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Nomad and Mower Announce UK Tour Dates

Posted in Whathaveyou on August 25th, 2016 by JJ Koczan

With five dates, it’s more than a weekender — one even tends to think of a long-weekender as three or four shows — but still under the full-week tour, but Nomad and Mower will head out together either way from their home-base in Manchester, England, playing in London, Nottingham, Coventry and Sheffield as well as finishing with a gig in their native city. Both go supporting EP releases — Nomad‘s latest having come out last year and Mower‘s debut earlier in 2016 — and both promise one thing for which the UK scene is becoming increasingly known: Riffs. It’s a pretty riffy time over there. Bands gots riffs. Only fair to spread that love around a bit.

Also, this is the press release that taught me the word “Mancunian,” which apparently means “of or related to the city of Manchester, England.” I’ve had plenty of conversations about Manchester — Lee from The Sleeping Shaman comes from there — and never heard that word before. Thanks, the PR wire. I learned something today.

Dig it:

nomad-mower-tour-poster

Sludgers Nomad announce UK tour with fellow Mancunians Mower

Mancunian underground heroes Nomad have announced a UK tour for this September and are taking relative newcomers Mower with them. Since forming in 2012, Mancunian sludge four-piece Nomad have shared stages with the likes of EyeHateGod, Conan and Bongripper. Metalheads in the north west of England are under no illusions as to the ferocity of their live shows.

Frontman Drian Nash is known for tempering his confrontational performances with a self-deprecating Manc sense of humour, firmly establishing Nomad at the heart of Manchester’s burgeoning stoner/doom scene. This tour will be an opportunity for rifflovers from across the UK to see how Nomad have achieved their unrivalled reputation within such a competitive scene in England’s north west.

Their debut EP (released in 2014 by renowned underground label When Planets Collide) was followed by a split EP with Wort released by Red Valley Records the following year. Nomad frontman Drian: “It’s always a blast playing with the Mower guys so this tour should have enough planet-sized riffs and carnage to be lasting us. We are sharing the stage with some of our favourite bands along the way? Elephant tree, Iron Swan and Kurokuma. Also Stoked to get to finish it all off with a huge party in our hometown. That’s if we don’t crash into a mountain in a big ball of fire blasting Toto and sipping cocktails.”

Relative newcomers Mower are a doom/noise trio from nearby Wigan whose debut EP “Meathead”, released at the start of this year, is already turning heads. As a live presence they’ll be known by attendees of MammothFest, Tombstones all-dayer and RiffFest as a band not to miss on what will be their first gigs in a number of cities outside of Manchester.

Vocalist Jay says of the tour: “This will be our first tour, and what a way to pop the cherry, making this fine pilgrimage around the U.K, with Nomad! We’re all buzzin’ to go make some Mower-flavoured noise in other parts of the country. We also get to play some new venues with some other amazing bands, a proper privilege indeed. We shall be providing the White Russians and obscene sexual favours as thanks. Riffs await.”

With such a strong stoner/doom scene in Manchester, this tour will be an opportunity for rifflovers from across the UK to see how this scene’s stalwarts have achieved their unrivalled reputation alongside with one of the area’s most exciting new prospects.

14th September The Unicorn London
15th September The Chameleon Arts Cafe Nottingham
16th September The Phoenix Coventry
17th September Mulberry Underground Sheffield
18th September Rebellion Manchester

https://www.facebook.com/Nomaddoom
https://www.facebook.com/mowerdoom
https://nomaddoom.bandcamp.com
https://mower13.bandcamp.com/

Nomad & Mower tour promo video

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Quarterly Review: My Dying Bride, Glowsun, Caustic Casanova, Dead Sea Apes, Bantoriak, Ahab, Zark, Pyramidal & Domo, Mammoth Salmon, Molior Superum

Posted in Reviews on October 2nd, 2015 by JJ Koczan

the-obelisk-quarterly-review-fall-2015

One thing I’ve noticed over the now-several times I’ve done this is that people have a tendency to apply some value to the ordering. It’s true that I try to lead off with a bigger release sometimes (as with today), but beyond that, there’s really no statement being made in how the albums appear. It usually has way more to do with time, when something came in and when it was added to the list, than with the quality or profile of a given outing. Just that final note that probably should’ve been said on Monday. Whoops.

Before we wrap up, I just wanted to say thank you again for checking any of it out if you did this week. It’s not a minor undertaking to do these, but it’s been completely worth it and I very much appreciate your being a part of it. Thank you. As always.

Fall 2015 Quarterly Review #41-50:

My Dying Bride, Feel the Misery

my dying bride feel the misery

Led by founding guitarist Andrew Craighan and vocalist Aaron Stainthorpe, UK doom magnates My Dying Bride mark their 25th year with Feel the Misery, their 13th full-length and one that finds them right in their element practicing the melancholic death-doom style they helped forge on pivotal early works like As the Flower Withers (1992) and Turn Loose the Swans (1993). “And My Father Left Forever” starts Feel the Misery on a particularly deathly note, but it’s not too long before the 10-minute “To Shiver in Empty Halls” and the subsequent “A Cold New Curse” are mired in the grueling, poetic, beauty-in-darkness emotionality that is My Dying Bride’s hallmark. The album’s title-track is a chugging bit of extremity, but the record’s strongest impact winds up being made by the penultimate “I Almost Loved You,” a piano, string and e-bow (sounding) ballad that pushes further than “A Thorn of Wisdom” by daring not to get heavy and rests well between the lumbering “I Celebrate Your Skin” and the 11-minute closer, “Within a Sleeping Forest,” which fits well, but more reinforces the point than offers something new on its own. A quarter-century later, they remain an institution. One wonders how they’ve managed to stay so depressed for so long.

My Dying Bride’s website

Peaceville Records store

Glowsun, Beyond the Wall of Time

glowsun-beyond-the-wall-of-time

If French mostly-instrumentalists Glowsun are feeling pressed for time these days – and with the theme of Beyond the Wall of Time (out via Napalm Records) that shows itself in the ticking clocks that launch opener “Arrow of Time” and the like-minded titles “Last Watchmaker’s Grave,” “Against the Clock” and “Endless Caravan” – the material itself doesn’t show it. Opening with two nine-minute cuts, Glowsun’s third outing and the follow-up to 2012’s Eternal Season (discussed here) unrolls itself patiently across its seven-track span, leading one to wonder if maybe Beyond the Wall of Time isn’t intended as another means of expressing something outside of it, the expanse of tones and grooves created by guitarist/vocalist Johan Jaccob (also graphic art), bassist Ronan Chiron and drummer Fabrice Cornille on “Shadow of Dreams” and the centerpiece “Flower of Mist” intended to last after some eternal now has passed. I wouldn’t want to guess, but it’s noteworthy that the trio’s output is evocative enough to lead toward such speculations.

Glowsun on Thee Facebooks

Napalm Records store

Caustic Casanova, Breaks

caustic casanova breaks

As with their 2012 debut, Someday You Will be Proven Correct, Washington D.C.-based trio Caustic Casanova recorded their sophomore long-player, Breaks, with J. Robbins at The Magpie Cage in Baltimore. They’re also releasing the album through Kylesa’s Retro Futurist Records imprint, so they come nothing if not well-endorsed. With bassist Francis Beringer and drummer Stefanie Zaenker sharing vocal duties throughout – the trio is completed by Andrew Yonki on guitar – they run and bounce through a gamut of upbeat post-hardcore noise rock, thick in tone but not so much as to get up and move around, tempo-wise. Yonki brings some post-rock airiness to the early going of the nine-minute “Elect My Best Friend for a Better World,” but the album on the whole feels more about impact than atmosphere, and Caustic Casanova work up considerable momentum by the time they get around to paying off the 12-minute finale, “The Painted Desert.” Its melodies open up more on repeat listens, but not at the expense of the push so well enacted throughout.

Caustic Casanova on Thee Facebooks

Retro Futurist Records

Dead Sea Apes, Spectral Domain

dead sea apes spectral domain

An outwardly familiar conceptual framework – instrumental space/psychedelic rock – does little to convey how much of themselves Manchester, UK, trio Dead Sea Apes put into their new full-length, Spectral Domain. Released by Cardinal Fuzz in conjunction with Sunrise Ocean Bender, it’s the band’s sixth or seventh LP, depending on what counts as such, and bookends two north-of-10-minute explorations around three shorter pieces (though not much shorter in the case of the 9:50 “True Believers”) varied in color but uniformly galaxial in intent. “Brought to Light” rings out with a wash of drumless echo and swirl, seemingly in response to the tension of centerpiece “The Unclosing Eye,” and the whole album seems to take a theme from things seen and unseen, between “Universal Interrogator” and closer “Sixth Side of the Pentagon,” a vibe persisting in some conspiracy theory exposed as blissful and immersive truth with something darker lurking just underneath. Thick but not pretentious, Spectral Domain seems to run as deep as the listener wants to go.

Dead Sea Apes on Thee Facebooks

Sunrise Ocean Bender

Cardinal Fuzz Records

Bantoriak, Weedooism

bantoriak weedooism

A ritualistic spirit arrives early on Italian heavy psych rockers Bantoriak’s debut LP, Weedooism, and does not depart for the duration of the Argonauta Records release’s six tracks, which prove spacious, psychedelic and heavy in kind, playing out with alternating flourishes of melody and noise. “Try to Sleep” seems to be talking more about the band than the act, but from “Entering the Temple” through the rumbling closer “Chant of the Stone,” Bantoriak leave an individualized stamp on their heavy vibes, and that song is no exception. If Weedooism is the dogma they’re championing on the smooth-rolling “Smoke the Magma,” they’re doing so convincingly and immersively, and while they seem to have undergone a lineup shift (?) at some point since the record was done, hopefully that means Weedooism will have a follow-up to its liquefied grooves and weedian heft before too long. In an increasingly crowded Italian heavy psych/stoner scene, Bantoriak stand out already with their first album.

Bantoriak on Bandcamp

Bantoriak at Argonauta Records

Ahab, The Boats of the Glen Carrig

ahab-the-boats-of-the-glen-carrig

Though somewhat counterintuitive for a band playing their style of doom to start with, Ahab have only been met with a rising profile over their decade-plus together, and their fourth album for Napalm Records, The Boats of the Glen Carrig, answers three years of anticipation with an expanded sonic palette over its five tracks that is afraid neither of melodic sweetness nor the seafaring tonal heft and creature-from-the-deep growling that has become their hallmark. Their extremity is intact, in other words, but they’re also clearly growing as a band. I don’t know if The Boats of the Glen Carrig is quite as colorful musically as its Sebastian Jerke cover art – inevitably one of the best covers I’ve seen this year – but whether it’s the 15-minute sprawl of “The Weedmen,” which at its crescendo sounds like peak-era Mastodon at quarter-speed or the (relatively) speedy centerpiece “Red Foam (The Great Storm),” Ahab are as expansive in atmosphere as they are relentlessly heavy, and they’re certainly plenty of that.

Ahab on Thee Facebooks

Napalm Records

Zark, Tales of the Expected

zark tales of the unexpected

One would hardly know it from the discouraging title, but all-caps UK progressive metallers ZARK do manage to catch one off-guard on their debut full-length, Tales of the Expected. Duly melodic and duly complex, the eight tracks rely on straightforward components to set deceptively lush vibes, the guitar work of Sean “Bindy” Phillips and Josh Tedd leading the way through tight rhythmic turns alongside bassist Andy “Bready” Kelley and drummer Simon Spiers’ crisp grooves. Vocalist Stuart Lister carries across the aggression of “LV-426” and hopefulness of “The Robber” with equal class, and while ZARK’s first outing carries a pretty ambitious spirit, the Evesham five-piece reach the high marks they set for themselves, and in so doing set new goals for their next outing, reportedly already in progress. A strong debut from a band who sound like they’re only going to get more assured as they move forward. More “pleasant surprise” than “expected.”

Zark on Thee Facebooks

Zark on Bandcamp

Pyramidal & Domo, Jams from the Sun Split

pyramidal and domo jams from the sun

Paired up by style almost as much as by geography, Alicante, Spain, acts Pyramidal and Domo picked the right title for their Jams from the Sun split – a bright, go-ahead-and-get-hypnotized psychedelic space vibe taking hold early on the Lay Bare Recordings release and not letting go as one side gives way to the other or as the noisy post-Hawkwindery of “Uróboros” closes out. Pyramidal, who made their debut in 2012 (review here), offer “Motormind” and “Hypnotic Psychotic,” two 10-minute mostly-instrumental jams that progress with liquid flow toward and through apexes in constant search for the farther-out that presumably they find at the end and that’s why they bother stopping at all, and Domo, who made their debut in 2011 (review here), counter with three cuts of their own, “Viajero del Cosmos,” “Mantra Astral” and the aforementioned “Uróboros,” switching up the mood a little between them but not so much as to interrupt the trance overarching the release as whole. I remain a sucker for a quality space jam, and Jams from the Sun has 45 minutes’ worth.

Pyramidal on Thee Facebooks

Domo on Thee Facebooks

Lay Bare Recordings

Mammoth Salmon, Last Vestige of Humanity

mammoth salmon last vestige of humanity

After releasing a couple internet EPs (review here) and 2013’s Call of the Mammoth EP as the duo of guitarist/vocalist/bassist Paul Dudziak and drummer Mitch Meidinger, Portland, Oregon’s Mammoth Salmon enlist bassist Alex Bateman and drummer Steve Lyons for their first full-length, the Adam Pike-produced Last Vestige of Humanity, which rolls out plus-sized Melvinsery across six amp-blowing tracks of sludgy riffing and nodding, lumbering weight. The title-track, which ends what would and probably will at some point be side A of the vinyl version, picks up the tempo in its second half, and “Memoriam” teases the same in Lyons’ drums at the start, but of course goes on to unfold the slowest progression here ahead of “Shattered Existence”’s toying with playing barely-there minimalism off full-on crush and the 10-minute “Believe Nothing” rounding out with appropriately elephantine march. Sustainable in their approach and viciously heavy, Mammoth Salmon seem to have hit reset and given themselves a new start with this lineup, and it works to their advantage on this promising debut.

Mammoth Salmon on Thee Facebooks

Mammoth Salmon on Bandcamp

Molior Superum, Electric Escapism

molior superum electric escapism

“Karma is a bitch that will definitely hunt you down for what you have done,” would seem to be the standout message of “The Dream of the Fisherman’s Wife,” the third and longest (at 6:34) of the four inclusions on Molior Superum’s new EP, Electric Escapism. The non-retro Swedish heavy rockers fire up righteous heft to put them in league with countrymen Skånska Mord, but ultimately have more in common with Stubb out of the UK in the loose-sounding swing of “Försummad,” despite the different language. I had the same opinion about their full-length debut, Into the Sun (review here), and last year’s The Inconclusive Portrait 7” (review here) as well. Can’t seem to shake it, but Molior Superum’s ability to switch it up linguistics – they open and close in Swedish, with the two middle cuts in English – is an immediately distinguishing factor, and whichever they choose for a given song, they kill it here.

Molior Superum on Thee Facebooks

Molior Superum on Bandcamp

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