Review & Video Premiere: Mangoo, The Heat

Posted in Bootleg Theater, Reviews on November 14th, 2017 by JJ Koczan

mangoo the heat

[Click play above to check out the premiere of Mangoo’s official video for ‘Relief.’ Their third album, The Heat, is out Dec. 8 on Small Stone Records.]

Heat is a catalyst. When you heat something up, its molecules move faster, become more active. Aside from frogs in slow-boiling pots of water, when someone touches something hot, they’re going to react, and one can’t help but wonder if that’s not what Turku, Finland-based heavy rockers Mangoo had in mind for their third album, The Heat. Something that would provoke a response. Something to get the blood moving. A reason for heads to bang and asses to shake. It would be hard to argue they didn’t get there on The Heat, which comprises a nearly-unmanageable 11 tracks/53 minutes of pro-shop song construction, crisply recorded and sharply delivered, heavy rock and roll.

Following two years after a split with UK space-metallers Enos (review here) and half a decade after their Small Stone debut, 2012’s Neverland (review here), the long-player marks the returning lineup of vocalist/guitarist Richard “Pickles” Dahllund, guitarist/backing vocalist Mathias “Mattarn” Åkerlund, bassist/backing vocalist Igor del Toro, drummer/backing vocalist Teemu Pulkkinen and keyboardist/backing vocalist/noisemaker/engineer Niklas Björklund as veterans of the form early, fleshing out melodic arrangements with a fullness of keys and fuzz tone that’s nether overbaked nor underweight. Pickles holds command as a frontman for almost the entire duration, relinquishing forward position only on the Spanish-language “Tiembla” to del Toro, who takes on lead vocals, and behind him, the band conjures grooving largesse on the title-track, resonant, Euro-radio-worthy hooks on cuts like opener “Relief” and the subsequent “Get Away,” and a fervent charge on “Deification” that offsets the semi-twang of “Beyond the Sky” and the psychedelic garage jangle of “Monolith.”

If that sounds a little broad as regards the general spectrum, it is, and that stylistic restlessness is a theme Mangoo — whose moniker seems truly unfortunate until one learns to pronounce it properly as “man-go” — continue from Neverland. Five years later, however, they are more mature as a group and as people, and whether it’s the rolling bassline that underscores the patient, harmony-topped fluidity in the second half of “Beyond the Sky” or the later solo in the angular boogie of “Stumbling Man,” which straightens out to a particularly satisfying hook near its finish, the vibe here is cohesive front to back and Mangoo never seem to leave an element out of its proper place.

mangoo

One might debate whether in the vinyl-minded late-’10s, The Heat really needs to be 2LP length, or at very least to border thereupon, but with such a chunk of time between their last offering (which also was not short) and this one, a glut of material makes some sense in context, and ultimately it does not hold Mangoo back from effectively stating their point. As to what that might be, one should look again at the subtle diversity of craft on display throughout the tracks. The production by Björklund — on which everyone else receives a co-credit — is a unifying factor to such a degree that on a superficial level, The Heat might seem to take a singular approach, but the truth is Mangoo adopt a range of approaches across these cuts, from the spacious and progressive heft of “One Day,” on which the guitars drift wide during the open verses only to resolidify around a massive and dramatic chorus, to the tense chugging, percussive nuance and slightly-jammed feel that hits in the penultimate “Grey Belly,” building to an apex that, even as it follows what would’ve seemed to be the culmination of the album in its titular cut, justifies its presence.

Feeling a bit more like an indulgence is the actual closer, which is a take on Eddie Murphy‘s 1985 single “Party all the Time,” which, while yes, it has a hook that borders on so catchy it’s infuriating, doesn’t necessarily fit with the rest of The Heat‘s modus, despite the ’80s-esque airbrushed look of the Alexander von Wieding cover art. The sense one gets is that it’s Mangoo signaling their audience that they don’t take themselves too seriously, that they’re having a good time, or that maybe they’re prone as most groups are to the occasional inside joke, but after 10 solid original pieces of Dozer-worthy songwriting and borderline flawless studio execution from the metallic vibe of “Tiembla” to the theatrical spread conjured in “The Heat” itself, to turn that all on its head right as they cross the finish line almost takes away from the impact of the original pieces preceding.

That said, Mangoo are certainly entitled to enjoy themselves in the recording/studio process, and while “Party all the Time” might’ve been better left as an off-LP single or something like that, even more than 30 years on from its first release, it remains a furiously dug-in earworm and Mangoo do well to make it their own in terms of overall sound. Of course, the definition of “their own” has never sounded quite so fluid for the five-piece as it does here either, since they careen with such apparent ease between one side of their increasingly complex sonic persona and the next. Maybe in that spirit, there’s room for just about everything in the triumphant spacet-time reaches born of “Beyond the Sky” or “One Day,” including that last bit of partying. Fair enough. You win this round, Mangoo.

Mangoo, The Heat (2017)

Mangoo website

Mangoo on Thee Facebooks

Small Stone website

Small Stone Records on Thee Facebooks

The Heat at Small Stone Bandcamp

Tags: , , , , ,

Mangoo Announce New Album The Heat out Dec. 8; New Song Posted

Posted in Whathaveyou on October 10th, 2017 by JJ Koczan

Finnish heavy rockers Mangoo will sneak in their new album, The Heat, via Small Stone Records just before the end of the year. With a release date of Dec. 8, and preorders up now, the Turku-based fuzzers are streaming the opening track “Relief” now, and as you can hear in its stylistic blend, Mangoo take elements old and new and put them together with a penchant for hooks and groove that’s both straightforward and subtly their own. Perhaps most curiously of all, the record — for which I helped revise the bio below; which isn’t to say “here’s a bio I wrote,” because I didn’t write the original — caps with a cover of Eddie Murphy‘s “Party all the Time,” which if you don’t immediately recognize based on the title alone, almost certainly the hook will be familiar as it worms itself into the frontal cortex of your brain, there to reside permanently.

“My girl wants to party all the time, party all the time, PARTY ALL THE TIME…” and so on.

Info comes back around through the PR wire:

mangoo the heat

MANGOO: Finnish Fuzz Rockers To Release The Heat Full-Length Via Small Stone This December; New Track Streaming

You think you’re ready for The Heat, but you’re not. Catchy hooks and sweet vocal harmonies are nothing new for Finnish rockers MANGOO. On the Turku-based outfit’s third full-length, they come backed by a wall of thick, fuzz-fueled guitars and hard-hitting drums with an added sprinkling of analog synth sounds. Combined they result in a sound truly the band’s own – someplace between grunge, classic heavy rock, and a progressive psychedelic spaciousness that refuses any and all boundaries of style between rock and metal and beyond.

MANGOO — pronounced “man go” — have been busting out the fuzz since 2005 when they released their untitled debut EP. Countless beers, shows, and drummers later in 2009 the first full-length, Neolithic, was released on 7:45 Records. With a firm lineup of guitarist/vocalist Pickles, guitarist Mattarn, bassist Igor, drummer Teemu, and keyboardist/noisemaker Nicke, they engage new expanses as they follow-up their 2012 Small Stone debut, Neverland, with the eleven songs of The Heat.

Mega-choruses like “Get Away” and “Grey Belly” provide landmarks while MANGOO brings psychedelic heft to “Beyond The Sky” and the title-track, which, at seven minutes, seems to draw together everything the album that shares its name has to offer – except perhaps in the closing cover of Eddie Murphy’s 1985 single “Party All The Time.” Not that they needed to remind listeners to stay on their toes because you never know what’s coming when MANGOO emerges from the studio, but suffice it to say the track remains an earworm for the ages.

All told, MANGOO’s The Heat is fifty-three minutes of masterful heavy rock and roll of inimitable personality and unmistakable songcraft. It is a welcome return after half a decade from a band who have obviously not been wasting their time in terms of growth and forward progression, and a surefire highlight for any underground heads lucky enough to take it on.

Heat will see release via Small Stone on December 8th, 2017. Preorders are currently available at THIS LOCATION where you can also sample opening track, “Relief.”

Heat Track Listing:
1. Relief
2. Get Away
3. Beyond the Sky
4. Monolith
5. One Day
6. Deification
7. Tiembla
8. Stumbling Man
9. The Heat
10. Grey Belly
11. Party All the Time

http://www.mangooloid.com
http://www.facebook.com/Mangooband
http://www.smallstone.com
http://www.facebook.com/smallstonerecords
https://smallstone.bandcamp.com/album/the-heat

Mangoo, The Heat (2017)

Tags: , , , , ,

Tomorrow’s Dream: 200+ of 2017’s Most Anticipated Releases

Posted in Features on January 23rd, 2017 by JJ Koczan

tomorrow's dream 2017

Looks like it’s going to be another busy 12 months ahead. It’s been a busy better-part-of-a-month already, so that stands to reason, but you should know that of the several years now that I’ve done these ‘Tomorrow’s Dream’ posts, this is the biggest one yet, with over 150 upcoming releases that — one hopes — will be out between today and the end of 2017.

Actually, at last count, the list tops 180. Do I really expect you to listen to all of them? Nope. Will I? Well, it would be nice. But what I’ve done is gone through and highlighted 35 picks and then built lists off that in order of likelihood of arrival. You’ll note the categories are ‘Gonna Happen and/or Likely Candidates,’ ‘Definitely Could Happen’ and ‘Would be Awfully Nice.’

Beyond that last one, anything else just seems like speculation — one might as well go “new Sabbath this year!” with zero info backing it up. The idea here is that no matter where a given band is placed, there has been some talk of a new release. In some cases, it’s been years, but I think they’re still worth keeping in mind.

Another caveat: You can expect additions to this list over the next week — probably album titles, band names people (fingers crossed) suggest in the comments, and so on — so it will grow. It always does. The idea is to build as complete a document as possible, not to get it all nailed down immediately, so please, if you have something to contribute and you’re able to do so in a non-prickish, “You didn’t include Band X and therefore don’t deserve to breathe the same air as me,” kind of way, please contribute.

Other than that, I think it’s pretty straightforward what’s going on here and I’ll explain the category parameters as we go, so by all means, let’s jump in.

— Tomorrow’s Dream 2017 —

Presented Alphabetically

1. Abrahma, TBA

Late last year, Paris heavy progressives Abrahma announced a new lineup and third full-length in progress. No reason to think it won’t come to fruition, and a follow-up to 2015’s Reflections in the Bowels of a Bird (review here) is an easy pick to look forward to. Even with the shift in personnel, it seems likely the band will continue their creative development, driven as they are by founding guitarist Seb Bismuth.

2. All Them Witches, Sleeping Through the War

all them witches sleeping through the warIf 2017 ended today, Sleeping Through the War would be my Album of the Year. Of course, there’s a lot of year to go, but for now, Nashville’s All Them Witches have set the standard with their second album for New West Records behind 2015’s Dying Surfer Meets His Maker (review here) and fourth overall outing. They’ve got videos up so far for “3-5-7” (posted here) and “Bruce Lee” (posted here). Both are most definitely worth your time. Out Feb. 24. Full review should be later this week.

3. Alunah, Solennial

Seems like UK forest riffers Alunah are on this list every year. Wishful thinking on my part. Nonetheless, their fourth LP and Svart Records debut, Solennial, is out March 17, and if the tease they gave already with the clip for “Fire of Thornborough Henge” (posted here) is anything to go from, its Chris Fielding-produced expanses might just be Alunah‘s most immersive yet.

4. Arbouretum, TBA

I asked the Baltimore folk fuzzers a while back on Thee Facebooks if they had a new record coming in 2017 and they said yes, so that’s what I’m going on here. The last Arbouretum album was 2013’s Coming out of the Fog (review here), and even with frontman Dave Heumann‘s 2015 solo outing, Here in the Deep (review here), factored in, you’d have to say they’re due. Keep an eye on Thrill Jockey for word and I’ll do the same.

5. Atavismo, Inerte

This is another one that already has a spot reserved for it on my Best-of-2017 year-end list. Spanish heavy psych rockers Atavismo up the progressive bliss level with their second full-length, Inerte, without losing the depth of style that made 2014’s Desintegración (review here) so utterly glorious. It probably won’t have the biggest marketing budget of 2017, but if you let Atavismo fly under your radar, you are 100 percent missing out on something special.

6. Bison Machine, TBA

In addition to the video for new track “Cloak and Bones” that premiered here, when Michigan raucousness-purveyors Bison Machine put out the dates for their fall 2016 tour, they included further hints of new material in progress. As much as I dug their earlier-2016 split with SLO and Wild Savages (review here) and 2015’s Hoarfrost (review here), that’s more than enough for me to include them on this list. Killer next-gen heavy rock.

7. Brothers of the Sonic Cloth, TBA

News of a follow-up to Brothers of the Sonic Cloth‘s 2015 Neurot Recordings self-titled debut (review here) came through in October, and it remains some of the best news I’ve heard about 2017 doings. Took them a while to get the first record out, so we’ll see what happens, but it kind of feels like looking forward to a comet about to smash into the planet and cause a mass extinction, and by that I mean awesome. Can’t get here soon enough.

8. Cloud Catcher, Trails of Kosmic Dust

cloud catcher trails of kosmic dustOkay, so maybe I jumped the gun and did a super-early review of Denver trio Cloud Catcher‘s second long-player and Totem Cat Records debut, Trails of Kosmic Dust, but hell, no regrets. Some albums require an early-warning system. Their 2015 debut, Enlightened Beyond Existence (discussed here), was a gem as well, but this is a band in the process of upping their game on every level, and the songwriting and momentum they hone isn’t to be missed.

9. Colour Haze, TBA

I’ve gotten some details on the upcoming full-length from Colour Haze. They do not include a title, artwork, audio, song titles or general direction. Less details, I guess, than word that the CD version of this answer to 2015’s To the Highest Gods We Know (review here) is set to come out next month, as ever, on Elektrohasch. That puts it out in time for Colour Haze‘s upcoming tour with My Sleeping Karma (announced here). Fingers crossed it happens. Colour Haze are perpetual top-albums candidates in my book.

10. Corrosion of Conformity, TBA

Signed to Nuclear Blast after being rejoined by guitarist/vocalist Pepper Keenan, North Carolina’s C.O.C. have been in the studio since last year. The lineup of Keenan, bassist/vocalist Mike Dean and guitarist Woody Weatherman and Reed Mullin on drums is the stuff of legend and last worked together on 2000’s America’s Volume Dealer, so no question this reunion makes for one of 2017’s most anticipated heavy rock records. They nailed the nostalgia factor on tour. Can they now add to their legacy?

11. Elder, TBA

I was incredibly fortunate about a month ago to visit progressive heavy rockers Elder at Sonelab in Easthampton, MA, during the recording process for their upcoming fourth album. I heard a couple of the tracks, and of course it was all raw form, but the movement forward from 2015’s Lore (review here) was palpable. That LP (on Stickman) brought them to a wider audience, and I expect no less from this one as well, since the farther out Elder go sound-wise, the deeper the level of connection with their listeners they seem to engage.

12. Electric Wizard, TBA

Could happen, could not happen. That’s how it goes. Announced for last Halloween. That date came and went. Word of trouble building their own studio surfaced somewhere along the line. That was the last I heard. Frankly, I wouldn’t be surprised if it showed up tomorrow, if it showed up in 2018, or if the band broke up and never put it out. They’re Electric Wizard. Anything’s possible.

13. John Garcia, The Coyote Who Spoke in Tongues

Out Jan. 28 on NapalmThe Coyote Who Spoke in Tongues (review here) is the first-ever acoustic album from former Kyuss frontman John Garcia, also of Unida, the reunited Slo BurnHermanoVista ChinoZun, etc. — basically the voice of desert rock. He does a couple Kyuss classics for good measure, but shines as well on the new/original tracks, and while it’s a piece for fans more than newcomers — that is, it helps if you know the original version of “Green Machine” — his presence remains as powerful as ever despite this new context.

14. Goya, Harvester of Bongloads

Riffs, dude. Goya seem to have them to spare. The Arizona-based wizard doomers have set a pretty prolific clip for themselves at this point, with at least two short releases out in 2016, one a 7″ of Nirvana covers (review here), and the The Enemy EP (review here). Set for a March 3 release through their own Opoponax Records imprint, Harvester of Bongloads continues the march into the abyss that 2015’s Obelisk (review here) and 2013’s 777 set in motion, finding the band coming more into their own as well. Creative growth — and bongloads! The best of both worlds.

15. Ides of Gemini, TBA

Ides of Gemini are set to record their yet-untitled third album with Sanford Parker early this year, and it will also mark their debut on Rise Above Records upon its release. They’ve also got a new lineup around vocalist Sera Timms and guitarist J. Bennett, so as they look to move forward from 2014’s Old World New Wave (review here), one can’t help but wonder what to expect, but to be honest, not knowing is part of the appeal, especially from a band who so readily specialize in the ethereal.

16. Kind, TBA

Three-fourths of Kind feature elsewhere on this list. Bassist Tom Corino plays in Rozamov. Drummer Matt Couto is in Elder. Vocalist Craig Riggs is in Roadsaw. And for what it’s worth, guitarist Darryl Shepherd has a new band coming together called Test Meat. How likely does that make Kind to release a second LP in 2017? I don’t know, but their 2015 Ripple Music debut, Rocket Science (review here), deserves a follow-up, and I know they’ve demoed some new songs. If it happens, great. If it’s 2018, at least these dudes will be plenty busy besides.

17. Lo-Pan, In Tensions

lo-pan in tensionsYes, Lo-Pan‘s In Tensions (review here) has already been released — CD/LP with an artbook on Aqualamb. It’s out. Limited numbers. You can get it now. Why include it on a list of most anticipated releases? Because that’s how strongly I feel about your need to hear it. The fruit of a shortlived lineup with guitarist Adrian Zambrano, it distinguishes itself from everything they’ve done before in style while still keeping to the core righteousness that one hopes the Ohio outfit will continue to carry forward. It’s more than a stopgap between albums. Listen to it.

18. The Midnight Ghost Train, TBA

It seems to have been a rough ride for hard-boogie specialists The Midnight Ghost Train since their 2015 Napalm debut and third album overall, Cold was the Ground (review here). They’ve never taken it easy on the road or in terms of physicality on stage, and between injuries and who knows what else, their intensity at this point veers toward the directly confrontational. Nonetheless, they’ve been writing for album number four, may or may not have started the recording process, and I expect that confrontationalism to suit them well in their new material.

19. Monster Magnet, TBA

I have it on decent authority that NJ heavy psych innovators Monster Magnet were in the studio this past autumn. I’ve seen no concrete word of a new album in progress from Dave Wyndorf and company, and I wouldn’t necessarily expect to until it was time to start hyping the release, but after their two redux releases, 2015’s Cobras and Fire (review here) and 2014’s Milking the Stars (review here), their range feels broader than ever and I can’t wait to hear what they come up with next.

20. Mothership, High Strangeness

A pivotal moment for Mothership arrives with High Strangeness, and the heavy-touring, heavy-riffing Texas power trio seem to know it. Their third record on Ripple Music pushes into new avenues of expression and keeps the energy of 2014’s Mothership II (review here) and 2012’s Mothership (review here), but thus far into their career, it’s been about their potential and what they might accomplish going forward. 2017 might be the year for Mothership to declare a definitive place in the sphere of American heavy rock.

21. The Obsessed, Sacred

On Halloween 2016, founding The Obsessed guitarist/vocalist and doom icon Scott “Wino” Weinrich announced a new lineup for the band, with his former The Hidden Hand bandmate Bruce Falkinburg on bass/vocals, Sara Seraphim on guitar and Brian Costantino continuing on drums. A genuine surprise. Their first album since 1994, Sacred (due on Relapse) was tracked as the trio of WeinrichCostantino and bassist/vocalist Dave Sherman, but clearly they’ve moved into a new era already. Wouldn’t even guess what the future holds, but hopefully Sacred still comes out.

22. Orange Goblin, TBA

When it was announced that London’s Orange Goblin were picked up by Spinefarm as part of that label’s acquisition of Candlelight Records last Spring, the subheadline from the PR wire was “Working on Ninth Studio Album.” I haven’t heard much since then, but even as 2014’s Back from the Abyss (review here) pushed them deeper into metallic territory than ever before, their songs retained the character that’s made the band the institution they are. Always look forward to new Orange Goblin.

23. Pallbearer, Heartless

pallbearer heartlessDoomers, this is your whole year right here. I haven’t heard Pallbearer‘s third album, Heartless (out March 24 on Profound Lore), but I have to think even those who haven’t yet been won over by the Arkansas four-piece’s emotive, deep-running style have to be curious about what they’ve come up with this time around. I know I am. These guys have been making a mark on the genre since their 2012 debut, Sorrow and Extinction (review here), and there’s little doubt Heartless will continue that thread upon its arrival.

24. Radio Moscow, TBA

Fact: Radio Moscow stand among the best classic heavy rock live acts in the US. They’re the kind of band you can watch upwards of 15 gigs in a row — I’ve done it — and find them putting on a better show night after night, in defiance of science, logic and sobriety. Word of their signing to Century Media came just this past week and brought with it confirmation of a follow-up to 2014’s stellar Magical Dirt (review here), and for me to say hell yes, I’m absolutely on board, seems like the no-brainer to end all no-brainers. Can’t wait.

25. Roadsaw, TBA

Nearly six full years later, it’s only fair to call Boston scene godfathers Roadsaw due for a follow-up to their 2011 self-titled (review here). Granted, members have been busy in KindWhite Dynomite, and other projects, but still. Their upcoming outing finds them on Ripple Music after years under the banner of Small Stone Records, and though I haven’t seen a solid release date yet, my understanding is they hit Mad Oak Studio in Allston, MA, this past fall to track it, so seems likely for sooner or later. Sooner, preferably.

26. Rozamov, This Mortal Road

Speaking of albums by Boston bands a while in the making, This Mortal Road (out March 3 on Battleground Records and Dullest Records) is the debut full-length from Boston atmospheric extremists Rozamov. Haven’t heard it yet, but I got a taste of some of the material when I visited the band at New Alliance Audio in Aug. 2015, and the bleak expanses of what I heard seem primed to turn heads. I’m a fan of these guys, but in addition, they’ve found a niche for themselves sound-wise and I’m curious to hear how they bring it to fruition.

27. Samsara Blues Experiment, TBA

It’s been a pleasure over the last couple months to watch a resurgence of Berlin heavy psych trio Samsara Blues Experiment take shape, first with the announcement of a fourth album in October, then with subsequent confirmations for DesertfestRiff Ritual in Barcelona, and a South American tour. Reportedly due in Spring, which fits with the timing on shows, etc., the record will follow 2013’s righteous Waiting for the Flood (review here) and as much as I’m looking forward to hearing it, I’m kind of just glad to have these guys back.

28. Seedy Jeezus, TBA

Work finished earlier this month on Melbourne trio Seedy Jeezus‘ second full-length. As with their 2015 self-titled debut, the band brought Tony Reed of Mos Generator to Australia to produce, and after their blissed-out 2016 collaboration with Earthless guitarist Isaiah MitchellTranquonauts (review here), it’s hard not to wonder what experimentalist tendencies might show in the trio’s style this time out, and likewise difficult not to anticipate what guitarist Lex “Mr. Frumpy” Wattereus comes up with for the cover art.

29. Shroud Eater, Strike the Sun

Not to spoil the surprise, but Feb. 1 I’ll host a track premiere from Florida’s Shroud Eater that finds them working in a different context from everything we’ve heard from them to this point in their rightly-celebrated tenure. They also recently had a split out with Dead Hand, and their second long-player, Strike the Sun, will be their debut through STB Records. It’s been since 2011’s ThunderNoise (review here) that we last got a Shroud Eater album, so you bet your ass I’m dying to know what the last six years have wrought.

30. Sleep, TBA

If Sleep were any other band, they’d probably be in the “Would be Awfully Nice” category. But they’re Sleep, so even the thought of a new record is enough to put them here. The lords of all things coated in THC are reissuing their 2014 single, The Clarity (review here), on Southern Lord next month, but rumors have been swirling about a proper album, which of course would be their first since the now-legendary Dopesmoker. If it happens, it’ll automatically be a heavy underground landmark for 2017, but it’s one I’m going to have in my ears before I really believe it.

31. Stoned Jesus, TBA

Even as they tour playing their second album, 2012’s Seven Thunders Roar (review here), to mark its fifth anniversary and continued impact, Ukrainian trio Stoned Jesus are forging ahead with a fourth record behind 2015’s The Harvest (review here). The capital-‘q’ Question is whether or not looking back at Seven Thunders Roar and engaging that big-riffing side of their sound will have an impact on the new material, and if so, how it will meld with the push of The Harvest. Won’t speculate, but look forward to finding out.

32. Stubb, TBA

Since reveling in the soul of 2015’s Cry of the Ocean (review here) on Ripple, London trio Stubb have swapped out bassists, and they were in Skyhammer Studio this month recording a single that may be an extended psychedelic jam. I’ll take that happily, but I’m even more intrigued at the prospect of a third LP and what guitarist/vocalist Jack Dickinson, bassist/vocalist Tom Hobson and drummer Tom Fyfe might have in store as the band moves forward on multiple levels. Might be 2017, might not.

33. Sun Blood Stories, It Runs Around the Room with Us

sun blood stories it runs around the room with usIt Runs around the Room with Us seems to find peace in its resonant experimentalist drones, loops, open, subdued spaces, but there’s always some underlying sense of foreboding to its drift, as if Boise’s Sun Blood Stories could anticipate the moment before it happened. Toward the end of the follow-up to 2015’s Twilight Midnight Morning (review here), they execute the 90-second assault “Burn” and turn serenity to ash. Look for it in April and look for it again on my best of 2017 list in December.

34. Ufomammut, TBA

Any new offering from the Italian cosmic doom magnates is worth looking forward to, and while Ufomammut have left the 15-year mark behind, they’ve never stopped progressing in style and form. To wit, 2015’s Ecate (review here) was a stunner after 2012’s two-part LP, Oro (review here and review here), tightening the approach but assuring the vibe was no less expansive than ever. They started recording last summer, finished mixing in November, so I’m hoping for word of a release date soon.

35. Vokonis, The Sunken Djinn

Born out of Creedsmen Arise, whose 2015 demo, Temple (review here), offered formative thrills, Swedish trio Vokonis debuted with last year’s Olde One Ascending (review here) and proved there’s still life in post-Sleep riffing when it’s wielded properly. They signed to Ripple in November and confirmed the title of their sophomore effort as The Sunken Djinn, as well as a reissue for the first album, which will probably arrive first. I don’t know how that will affect the timing on this one, but keep an eye out anyway.

Gonna Happen and/or Likely Candidates

Obviously some of these are more likely than others. Some have solidified, announced release dates — Dopelord‘s out this month, Demon Head‘s out in April, etc. — and others come from social media posts of bands in studios and hints at upcoming releases and so on. A big tell is whether or not a band has an album title with their listing, but even some of those without have their new albums done, like Atala and Royal Thunder, so it’s not necessarily absolute.

Either way, while I’m spending your money, you might want to look into:

36. Against the Grain
37. Amenra
38. Atala
39. Attalla, Glacial Rule
40. Ayahuasca Dark Trip, II
41. Beastmaker
42. Beaten Back to Pure
43. Blackout
44. Bretus
45. Buried Feather, Mind of the Swarm
46. The Clamps
47. Cold Stares
48. Coltsblood, Ascending into the Shimmering Darkness
49. Come to Grief, The Worst of Times EP
50. Cortez
51. Cruthu, The Angle of Eternity
52. The Dead-End Alley Band, Storms
53. Dead Witches, Dead Witches
54. Dealer
55. Death Alley, Live at Roadburn
56. Demon Head, Thunder on the Fields
57. The Devil and the Almighty Blues, II
58. Devil Electric
59. Doctor Cyclops, Local Dogs
60. Dool, Here Now There Then
61. Dopelord, Children of the Haze
62. Doublestone, Devil’s Own/Djævlens Egn
63. Dread Sovereign, For Doom the Bell Tolls
64. Drive by Wire
65. Elbrus, Elbrus
66. Electric Age
67. Electric Moon, Stardust Rituals
68. Endless Floods, II
69. Five Horse Johnson
70. Forming the Void, Relic
71. Funeral Horse
72. Greenbeard
73. Green Desert Water
74. Greenleaf
75. Grifter / Suns of Thunder, Split
76. Hair of the Dog, This World Turns
77. Heavy Temple, Chassit
78. Here Lies Man, Here Lies Man
79. Hollow Leg, Murder EP
80. Holy Mount, The Drought
81. Hooded Menace
82. Horisont, About Time
83. Hymn, Perish
84. Lecherous Gaze
85. Magnet, Feel Your Fire
86. Mastodon
87. Merlin, The Wizard
88. Merchant
89. Mindkult, Lucifer’s Dream
90. Mirror Queen
91. Moonbow, War Bear
92. Mos Generator
93. The Moth
94. MotherSloth
95. Mouth, Vortex
96. My Sleeping Karma, Mela Ananda – Live
97. Orango
98. Papir
99. PH, Eternal Hayden
100. Psychedelic Witchcraft, Magick Rites and Spells
101. Royal Thunder
102. Saturn, Beyond Spectra
103. Season of Arrows, Give it to the Mountain
104. Siena Root
105. Six Organs of Admittance, Burning the Threshold
106. Six Sigma, Tuxedo Brown
107. Sólstafir
108. The Sonic Dawn, Into the Long Night
109. Spelljammer
110. Spidergawd, IV
111. Steak
112. Stinking Lizaveta, Journey to the Underworld
113. Sula Bassana, Organ Accumulator
114. Summoner
115. Sun Voyager, Sun Voyager
116. Sweat Lodge, Tokens for Hell EP
117. Thera Roya, Stone and Skin
118. Toke
119. Troubled Horse, Revelation on Repeat
120. VA, Brown Acid The Third Trip
121. Weedpecker
122. Youngblood Supercult, The Great American Death Rattle

Definitely Could Happen

Maybe a recording process is upcoming (Gozu, Cities of Mars, YOB), or a band is looking for a label (The Flying Eyes), or they’ve said new stuff is in the works but the circumstances of an actual release aren’t known (Arc of Ascent, Dead Meadow, High on Fire), or I’ve just seen rumors of their hitting the studio (Freedom Hawk, La Chinga, Ruby the Hatchet). We’ve entered the realm of the entirely possible but not 100 percent.

So, you know, life.

Dig it:

123. The Age of Truth
124. Ape Machine
125. Arc of Ascent
126. At Devil Dirt
127. Bantoriak
128. Bask
129. BCAD
130. BoneHawk
131. La Chinga
132. Chubby Thunderous Bad Kush Masters
133. Cities of Mars
134. Crypt Sermon
135. Dead Meadow
136. Death Alley (Studio LP)
137. Dee Calhoun
138. Destroyer of Light
139. Devil
140. Devil Worshipper
141. Duel
142. Dustrider
143. Egypt
144. Electric Moon
145. Elephant Tree
146. Farflung
147. The Flying Eyes
148. Freedom Hawk
149. Gozu
150. The Great Electric Quest
151. Green Meteor, Consumed by a Dying Sun
152. High on Fire
153. Horrendous
154. Insect Ark
155. In the Company of Serpents
156. Iron Monkey
157. Jeremy Irons and the Ratgang Malibus
158. The Judge
159. Killer Boogie
160. King Dead
161. The Kings of Frog Island
162. Lords of Beacon House, Recreational Sorcery
163. Mangoo
164. Mondo Drag
165. Monolord
166. Mountain God
167. The Munsens
168. Naxatras
169. Never Got Caught
170. Ommadon
171. Orchid
172. Ordos
173. Pilgrim
174. Poseidon
175. Purple Hill Witch
176. Ruby the Hatchet
177. Sasquatch
178. Satan’s Satyrs
179. Serpents of Secrecy
180. Shabda
181. Shooting Guns
182. Sleepy Sun
183. Slow Season
184. Snowy Dunes, Atlantis
185. Spectral Haze
186. The Sweet Heat
187. Switchblade Jesus
188. Superchief
189. Tÿburn
190. YOB
191. Zone Six

Would be Awfully Nice

This last category is basically as close as I’m willing to come to rampant speculation. Endless Boogie have hinted at new material, and Queens of the Stone Age have talked about hitting the studio for the last two years. There were rumors about Om, and though Kings Destroy just put out an EP, they have new songs as well, though I doubt we’ll hear them before the end of 2017. I’ll admit that Across Tundras, Fever Dog, Lord Fowl, Lowrider and Hour of 13 are just wishful thinking on my part. A boy can hope:

192. Across Tundras
193. Eggnogg
194. Elephant Tree
195. Endless Boogie
196. Fever Dog
197. Fu Manchu
198. Halfway to Gone
199. Hour of 13
200. Kadavar
201. Kings Destroy
202. Lord Fowl
203. Lowrider
204. Masters of Reality
205. Om
206. Orodruin
207. Queens of the Stone Age

If you’ve made it this far, thanks for reading. Whatever this year brings, I hope it’s been great so far for you and I hope it continues to be so as we proceed inexorably to 2018 and all the also-futuristic-sounding numbers thereafter. At least we know we’ll have plenty of good music to keep us company on that voyage.

As always, comments section is open if there’s anything I’ve left out. I’m happy to add, adjust, etc., as need be, so really, have at it, and thanks in advance.

All the best.

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

H42 Records Marks Three Years with Home of the Deer Vol. I Compilation

Posted in Whathaveyou on December 8th, 2015 by JJ Koczan

Hamburg’s H42 Records has kept itself pretty busy since the 2013 release of The Flying Eyes‘ and Golden Animals‘ split single (streamed here), and the imprint will take a moment to celebrate its accomplishments as it pushes past the three-year mark next month with a new compilation called Home of the Deer Vol. I. The name of course implies it’s a series with more to come, but either way, the 16 included tracks showcase some of the killer material past, present and future in which H42 has been involved with releasing.

Nothing like starting off with some Mos Generator, and from an acoustic track from Kadavar-offshoot The Loranes to previously unreleased cuts from Mangoo, Daily Thompson, Molior Superum and others, there is much to dig into from there. Release announcement and track info follow, as seen on the PR wire:

various artists home of the deer vol. 1

H42 Records CD LABEL SAMPLER ,Home Of The Deer – Vol. I’ sees the light of day before X-Mas!

On 22 January 2016 the Hamburg based Label H42 Records is celebrating its third anniversary. Among other things, this will be celebrated with the Promo Label Sampler ‘Home Of The Deer Vol. 1’. From the 14th December, all songs will be streamed for two days till January 22th 2016 on the Bandcamp page (https://h42records.bandcamp.com/album/the-roaring-deer-vol-one-h42-025) of the label. Among them are well-known songs from H42 Records releases such as ‘Raise Hell’ by The Flying Eyes from H42 Records first output in 2013, but also new previously unreleased tracks as ‘The Awakening’ by Mos Generator or the brand new track ‘Supernova Remnant’ of Molior Superum. Best of all, Everyone who stocks up with vinyl from the H42 Records shop (www.h42records.8merch.com), get one of these limited promo CDs for FREE. Do not forget only available while stock lasts.

Tracklist:
01 Mos Generator – The Awakening (Reference Mix)
Previously unreleased – recorded at HeavyHead Recordings 2015
02 Sons Of Alpha Centauri – 27
originally released 2012 on Bro Fidelity Split 12“-Vinyl
03 Lord Of Giant – Dust Demon
taken from H42-Records release H42-006 ‚Dust Demon/Woman 7“
04 Mangoo – Hooks (Live)
previously unreleased live recording – Live at VR Studios 10.04.2012 Åbo, Finnland
05 Daily Thompson – Lo-Fi
previously unreleased – recorded at MountHoven Studios Dortmund 2015
06 The Loranes – Hey You Said (Acoustic Version)
previously unreleased acoustic version originally from ‚Trust‘ 2015 – recorded November 2015
07 Molior Superum – Supernova Remnant
previously unreleased – recorded 2015
08 The Flying Eyes – Raise Hell
taken from H42-Records release H42-001 Split with Golden Animals 7“
09 Enos – Devil Makes Work (Live)
taken from DVD ‚Live at East Slope‘ – recorded 20.04.2013
10 Dean Allen Foyd –Devil’s Path
taken from H42-Records release H42-007 ‚Sunshine Song‘ 7“
11 Black Salvation – Flickering Days
previously unreleased – recorded on the ‚I am Pretended‘-Session
12 Mother Of God – Dark Sun Above
taken from H42-Records release H42-003 ‚Black Ocean‘ 7“
13 Larman Clamor -Drone Monger (Bonk Then Stomp)
taken from H42-Records Release H42-020 Split with Blackwolfgoat 7“
14 Odd Couple – Nightcrawl
Taken from Odd Couples debut ‚It’s a pressure to meet you‘ 2014
15 Coogans Bluff – She Gave Her Life For A Man
taken fromH42-Records release H42-010 ‚Ein Herz voller Soul‘ 7“
16 Alpha Cat – The Last Day Of Summer
originally released 2009 – first time on vinyl in 2016 on H42 Records

www.facebook.com/H42Records
www.h42records.com
www.twitter.com/H42records
www.h42records.8merch.com

Sons of Alpha Centauri, “27”

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Mangoo Release The Road to Calabash Tour Documentary

Posted in Bootleg Theater on January 3rd, 2014 by JJ Koczan

In Oct. 2013, Finnish heavy psych rockers Mangoo set about on a tour that took them from England, to France, to Italy, Switzerland, Germany and Belgium alongside UK-based heavy proggers Enos and Marseille riffers Rescue Rangers. Now, it’s not out of the ordinary that some manner of video footage from the tour would surface — a cellphone clip of some inside-joke shenanigans or of course the always-welcome staple of gig videos, sound quality in varying levels of blown out. Shaky-cam galore.

Mangoo play it a little differently. On New Year’s Day, the Turku five-piece released The Road to Calabash, a documentary that shares its name with the tour itself and which chronicles the three bands’ 12 days on the road together, directed by Mangoo guitarist/vocalist Pickles and filmed by him as well, along with drummer/vocalist Teemu. Not surprisingly, Mangoo‘s music features pretty heavily, but you can get away with that when it’s your documentary and you shot, edited and toured the whole thing.

I don’t know if following them across Europe for 12-days-distilled-to-70-minutes is the best way to get introduced if you haven’t already heard the band, but it’s a cool project anyway and worth checking out:

Mangoo, The Road to Calabash tour documentary

In late 2013 the band Mangoo toured the rock clubs of Europe, this is the documented story.

Directed by Pickles
Filmed by Pickles and Teemu
Edited by Pickles
Produced by Pickles
Visual Effects Supervisor Pickles

Mangoo are:
Vocals, Guitar Pickles
Bass, Vocals Igor
Drums, Vocals Teemu
Lead Guitar Mattarn
Synths, Vocals Nicke

Enos are:
Vocals and Guitar Chris
Guitar Sean
Bass Bungle
Drums Sparky

Rescue Rangers are:
Vocals and Guitar Pascal
Drums Pierr
Bass Christophe

Mangoo and Isaak appears courtesy of Small Stone Recordings www.smallstone.com
Enos appears courtesy of Stargun music www.stargunmusic.com
Rescue Rangers appears courtesy of Trendkill Recordings www.trendkillrecordings.bigcartel.com

Mangoo Website

Mangoo on Thee Facebooks

Tags: , , ,

Where to Start: The Obelisk’s Guide to Small Stone Records

Posted in Where to Start on May 3rd, 2012 by JJ Koczan

Founded in 1995 by Scott Hamilton, Detroit imprint Small Stone Records is the single most influential American heavy rock label of the post-Man’s Ruin era. What started as Hamilton releasing local Detroit acts of varied genres like Morsel, 36D and Perplexa soon took on a dedication to the heavy aesthetic that remains unmatched in both its scope and its reach of influence. Looking back, Five Horse Johnson‘s 1997 Double Down debut, seems to have been the beginning of Small Stone‘s turn down the fuzzly path. It’s like Hamilton followed the riff right down the rabbit hole and never looked back.

Now, 17 years on, Small Stone has a reach that goes beyond even the distribution of the albums it puts out. Thanks to the diligent work of Hamilton and oft-encountered names like Mad Oak Studios engineer/mixer Benny Grotto, mastering engineer Chris Gooseman, graphic artist Alexander von Wieding, among others, the label has earned a reputation for quality output that new releases are constantly reaffirming. Over the years, Man’s Ruin refugees like Sons of Otis, (The Men Of) Porn, Acid King and VALIS have come into the fold, but the crux of Small Stone‘s catalog is made up of acts like Roadsaw, Dixie Witch, Halfway to Gone, Throttlerod, Puny Human and Novadriver, who no matter what else they put out or who they put it out with, will always be considered “Small Stone bands.”

That designation and those groups specifically have helped establish a core American-style heavy rocking sound that the label seems to delight in toying with even as it continues to promulgate. Next generation bands like Gozu, Lo-Pan, Freedom Hawk, Backwoods Payback and even newer newcomers Wo Fat, Supermachine, Lord Fowl and Mellow Bravo — who don’t yet have albums out on the label — are expanding its breadth, and recent international signees Asteroid, Abrahma, Mangoo, Nightstalker and Mother of God should help ensure that Small Stone keeps pushing both itself and genre boundaries well into the next several years.

One of the hazards, however, of an ever-growing catalog, is that it can be hard to figure out where to start taking it on, and to that end, I’m happy to provide you with 10 essential Small Stone picks. Note I didn’t say “the 10 essential Small Stone picks,” because the reality of the situation is this is just the tip of the fuzzberg. If it’s any indication, I started out with five and couldn’t leave the rest out.

Here they are, ordered by the date of release:

 
1. Novadriver, Void (ss-022/2001)

Still an album that’s more or less impossible to pin to just one genre, the stoner/space/weirdo jams of Novadriver‘s 2001 outing, Void, reside somewhere between Monster Magnet‘s early Hawkwind worship and the unbridled intensity of groove that came out of Detroit’s early- and mid-’70s heavy rock and proto-metal. The fact that Novadriver also came from the Motor City speaks to the label’s local roots, but if Void was coming out even today, it’d be coming out on Small Stone.

2. Los Natas, Corsario Negro (ss-028/2002)

Personally, I think 2005’s El Hombre Montaña is a better album and 2009’s Nuevo Orden de la Libertad is an even better album than that, but Corsario Negro earns the edge as a starting point because it was the beginning of the Argentinian rockers’ relationship with Small Stone (they too were left without a home in the wake of Man’s Ruin folding). Plus, if you haven’t heard them before and you get this, you can still marvel at the subsequent offerings. Either way, totally necessary.

3. Various Artists, Sucking the ’70s (ss-032/2002)

In a lot of ways, this is what it’s all about. Badass bands playing badass songs. By this point, The Glasspack, Los Natas, Fireball Ministry, Halfway to Gone and Five Horse Johnson (who lead off the first disc) had already put out at least one album through Small Stone, but Sucking the ’70s made the most of the label’s burgeoning reputation, bringing in Clutch, Alabama Thunderpussy and Lowrider, along with bands who’d later add records to the catalog like Roadsaw, Suplecs and Lord Sterling, all covering hits and obscurities from the heavy ’70s. A gorgeous collection that would get a sequel in 2006. Still waiting on part three.

4. Dixie Witch, One Bird, Two Stones (ss-037/2003)

The Austin, Texas, trio would go on to become one of the most pivotal acts on the Small Stone roster, and they’d do so on the strength of their Southern riffs and the soul in their songwriting. Led by drummer/vocalist Trinidad Leal, Dixie Witch hooked up with Small Stone on the heels of their 2001 debut, Into the Sun, which was released by Brainticket, and quickly gained a reputation for some of the finest classic road songs that Grand Funk never wrote (see “The Wheel”). Their 2011 offering, Let it Roll, affirmed their statesmen status among their labelmates.

5. Sasquatch, Sasquatch (ss-044/2004)

I was pretty well convinced that when the L.A.-based Sasquatch released their self-titled debut in 2004, rock and roll was saved. Whoever it needed saving from, whatever needed to take place to make that happen, this record did it. Truth is, rock and roll didn’t really need to be saved — it needed a stiff drink, as we all do from time to time — but Sasquatch would’ve been right there even if it had. They’re a Small Stone original with all three of their records to date out through the label, and still one of the strongest acts in the American rock underground, even though they’d never be quite this fuzzy again.

6. Dozer, Through the Eyes of Heathens (ss-061/2005)

Even now, seven years later, I can’t look at this album cover without hearing the chorus to “The Roof, the River, the Revolver.” Between that and songs like “Man of Fire,” “Born a Legend” and “From Fire Fell,” Swedish rockers Dozer made their definitive statement in their label debut (fourth album overall). Another former Man’s Ruin band, they’d already begun to grow past their desert rock roots by the time they hooked up with Hamilton, and Through the Eyes of Heathens played out like what heavy metal should’ve turned into after the commercial atrocities of the late-’90s. A gorgeous record and still a joy to hear.

7. Greenleaf, Agents of Ahriman (ss-074/2007)

It’s like they built nearly every song on here out of undeniable choruses. Even the verses are catchy. I’ve championed Agents of Ahriman since before I started this site, and I feel no less vehement in doing so now than I did then. A side-project of Dozer guitarist Tommi Holappa that on this, their third album, included and featured members of Truckfighters, Lowrider, The Awesome Machine and others, Greenleaf became a distillation of many of the elements that make Swedish heavy rock unique in the world. It wasn’t aping classic rock, it was giving it a rebirth, and every Hammond note was an absolute triumph.

8. Iota, Tales (ss-084/2008)

Once, I had a t-shirt with the cover of Iota‘s Tales on the front. I wore it until it got holes, and then I bought another. That’s the kind of album Tales was. A trio crawled from out of Utah’s Great Salt Lake, Iota took Kyuss, launched them into space, and jammed out for five, 10 or 20 minutes to celebrate the success of the mission. Recently, guitarist/vocalist Joey Toscano has resurfaced in the bluesier, more earthbound Dwellers, which teams him with the rhythm section of SubRosa. Their debut, Good Morning Harakiri, was a highlight of early 2012, building on what Iota was able to accomplish here while pushing in a different direction.

9. Solace, A.D. (ss-093/2010)

It took the better part of a decade for the Jersey-bred metallers to finish what became their Small Stone debut after two full-lengths for MeteorCity, but when it finally dropped, there was no denying A.D.‘s power. My album of the year in 2010, the band delivered front to back on seven years’ worth of promise, and though it was recorded in more studios than I can count over a longer stretch than I think even Solace knows, it became a cohesive, challenging album, giving listeners a kick in the ass even as it handed them their next beer. I still get chills every time I put on “From Below,” and I put it on with near-embarrassing regularity.

10. Lo-Pan, Salvador (ss-116/2011)

If you know this site, this one’s probably a no-brainer pick, but the Columbus, Ohio-based riff merchants took on unabashed stoner rock fuzz for their Small Stone debut (third album overall) and made some of 2011’s most memorable songs in the process. Subversively varied in mood and heavy as hell no matter what they were doing, every part of Lo-Pan‘s Salvador worked. There was no lag. Small Stone also reissued the band’s 2009 outing, Sasquanaut, in 2011, but Salvador surpassed it entirely, bringing the band to new heights of professionalism they’d confirm by touring, well, perpetually. They’re still touring for it. You should go see them and behold the future of fuzz.

That’s the list as much as I could limit it. If you want to immediately add five more, throw in Roadsaw‘s self-titled (they’re writing the best songs of their career right now, I don’t care how attached to the early records you are), Puny Human‘s Universal Freak Out, Halfway to Gone‘s High Five, Milligram‘s This is Class War and Five Horse Johnson‘s Fat Black Pussycat. If you want to semi-immediately add five more than that, get the reissue of Acid King‘s Busse Woods, Mos Generator‘s Songs for Future Gods, The Brought Low‘s Third Record, Tummler‘s Early Man and Erik Larson‘s The Resounding. There. We just doubled the length of the list.

And the real trouble? I could go on. We didn’t even touch on curios like Axehandle, Lord Sterling and Brain Police, or The Might Could‘s Southern aggression, Hackman‘s instrumentalism or the druggy post-grunge of VALIS. Suffice it to say that Small Stone is one of very few labels out there from whom any output will at least be worth a cursory investigation. As the label continues to grow and develop in 2012 and beyond with new bands and new releases from its staple acts, taking on new avenues of commerce — like releasing vinyl for the first time, which it did in 2011 — whatever changes might crop up, Small Stone seems ready to meet the future, distortion pedal first. Can’t ask more of rock than that.

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

audiObelisk: Mangoo’s Neverland Streaming in its Entirety through the End of April

Posted in audiObelisk on April 3rd, 2012 by JJ Koczan

It is a strange and unflinchingly interesting journey that Finnish rockers Mangoo take you on for the hour duration of their second album, Neverland. Their debut for Small Stone is filled with pop hooks, classic prog synths, fuzzy, driving riffs and varied songwriting. Somehow, they manage to keep it all together and all sounding mostly straightforward, but if you were to pop in and out of the record at various points, you almost wouldn’t know it was the same band.

The 13 tracks that comprise Neverland feel free and open, and whether it’s the soft, trumpeted beginning of “Hooks” or the layered-vocal quirks of “Diamond in the Rough,” Mangoo prove experimental more in approach than form — that is, they’re still within the vein of heavy rock, but they’re in a different sector of that vein wherein the blood has turned purple. Several synth-driven interludes (and one Larmon Clamor-esque banjo sidestep) draw a line to the sometimes-experimental modus of Dutch outfit Astrosoniq, but the five-piece from Turku make their way through Neverland never quite sounding entirely like anyone but themselves.

Culmination arrives (fittingly) with the lush and memorable vocal hook of 10-minute closer “Datzun.” Even with its extended length, I’m not sure it could really summarize everything that Neverland has done up to the point of its start — that banjo would be a hard fit, though there are some acoustics in there — but the song nonetheless serves as a reminder of the breadth of ground Mangoo has been able to cover on the songs preceding while still remaining within and successfully navigating the boundary regions of genre.

Take a listen for yourself and see what you think:

Here is the Music Player. You need to installl flash player to show this cool thing!

Mangoo‘s Neverland is due on CD on June 26. The album is available on iTunes now via Small Stone. The band is Pickles (vocals, guitar, banjo), Mattarn (guitar, vocals), Nicke (keyboards, vocals), Igor (bass, vocals), and Teemu (drums, vocals). Neverland was recorded by Nicke with a mix later from Benny Grotto at Mad Oak Studios. For more info on the band, check out their site or find them on Thee Facebooks.

Tags: , , ,