Quarterly Review: Earthless, Satan’s Satyrs, Mantar, Child, T.G. Olson, Canyon, Circle of the Sun, Mythic Sunship, Svarta Stugan, Bast

Posted in Reviews on December 6th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

quarterly-review

There isn’t enough coffee in the universe, but I’ve got mine and I’m ready to burn the living crap out of my tongue if that’s what it takes to get through. We’ve arrived at Day 4 of the Quarterly Review, and though we’re less than halfway to the 100-album goal set by some maniac sitting at his kitchen table with a now-burnt tongue, there’s been an awful lot of good stuff so far. More even than I thought going into it, and I slate this stuff.

That said, today’s list is pretty killer. A lot of these bands will be more familiar than maybe has been the case or will be on some of the other days of this Quarterly Review. It just kind of worked out that way as I was putting it together. But hey, a few bigger bands here, a few “debut EP” demos there. It’s all good fun.

So let’s go.

Quarterly Review #31-40:

Earthless, From the West

earthless from the west

Bonus points to whatever clever cat correctly decided that Earthless‘ 2018 studio album, Black Heaven (review here), needed a companion live record. With artwork mimicking a Led Zeppelin bootleg of the same name, From the West arrives through Silver Current and Nuclear Blast capturing the most powerful of power trios earlier this year in San Francisco, and it’s like the fire emoji came to life. With Mike Eginton‘s bass as the anchor and Mario Rubalcaba‘s drums as the driving force, guitarist Isaiah Mitchell starts ripping holes in the fabric of spacetime with “Black Heaven” and doesn’t stop until 64 minutes later as “Acid Crusher” dissolves into noise. Of course “Gifted by the Wind” from the latest LP is a highlight, and suitably enough, they cover Zeppelin‘s “Communication Breakdown,” but I’m not sure anything tops the extended take on “Uluru Rock” from 2013’s From the Ages (review here) — and yes, I mean that. Of course they pair it with the 1:48 surge of “Volt Rush,” because they’re Earthless, and brilliant is what they do. Every set they play should be recorded for posterity.

Earthless website

Silver Current Records on Bandcamp

Earthless at Nuclear Blast webstore

 

Satan’s Satyrs, The Lucky Ones

satans satyrs the lucky ones

Encased in cover art that begs the Spinal Tap question, “what’s wrong with being sexy?” and the response that Fran Drescher gave it, Virginia classic heavy rockers Satan’s Satyrs return with their fourth full-length, The Lucky Ones (on RidingEasy and Bad Omen), which also marks their first record as a four-piece with guitarist Nate Towle (Wicked Inquisition) joining the returning lineup of bassist/vocalist Clayton Burgess, guitarist Jared Nettnin and drummer Stephen Fairfield, who, between the fact that Burgess founded the band and played in Electric Wizard, and all the lead guitar antics from Nettnin and Towle, might be the unsung hero of the band. His performance is not lost in the recording by Windhand‘s Garrett Morris or Burgess‘ own hefty mix, and as one would expect, Satan’s Satyrs continue to deliver deceptively refined ’70s-heavy vibes caked in cult biker horror aesthetics. Some songs hit more than others, but Satan’s Satyrs‘ dust-kicking approach continues to win converts.

Satan’s Satyrs on Thee Facebooks

RidingEasy Records on Bandcamp

Bad Omen Records on Bandcamp

 

Mantar, The Modern Art of Setting Ablaze

mantar the modern art of setting ablaze

One generally thinks of Hamburg duo Mantar as having all the subtlety of a bone saw caught on video, and yet, in listening to “Seek + Forget” from their third album, The Modern Art of Setting Ablaze (on Nuclear Blast), there are some elements that seem to be reaching out on the part of the band. Guitarist Hanno‘s vocals are more enunciated and discernible, there is a short break from the all-out blackened-sludge-punk assault that’s been their trade since their start in 2012, and “Obey the Obscene” even has an organ. Still, the bulk of the 12-track/48-minute follow-up to 2016’s Ode to the Flame (review here) is given to extremity of purpose and execution, and in pieces like the churning “Anti Eternia” and the particularly-punked “Teeth of the Sea,” they work to refine their always-present threat of violence. Closer “The Funeral” brings back some of the quiet moodiness of intro “The Knowing” and underscores the point of sonic expansion. I hope next time they use a string section.

Mantar on Thee Facebooks

Nuclear Blast website

 

Child, I

child i

It took me a few minutes to get to the heart of what my problem with Child‘s I EP is. Really, I was sitting and listening to “Age Has Left Me Behind” — the first of the three included tracks on the 20-ish-minute 12″ — and I had to ask myself, “Why is this annoying me?” The answer? Because it’s not an album. That’s it. It’s not enough. Kudos to the Melbourne, Australia, heavy blues trio on having that be the biggest concern with their latest release — it follows 2016’s righteously-grooved Blueside (review here) — and kudos to them as well for their cover of Spirit‘s “The Other Song,” but of course it’s the 10-minute jam “Going Down Swinging” on side B that’s the immersive highlight of I, as Child‘s balance of softshoe-boogie and expansive mellow-psych is second to none in their subgenre. It’s not an album, and that’s kind of sad, but as a tide-ya-over until the next long-player arrives, I still does the trick nice and easy. And not to get greedy, but I’d take a II (or would it be You?) whenever they get around to it.

Child on Thee Facebooks

Kozmik Artifactz website

 

T.G. Olson, Wasatch Valley Lady & The Man from Table Mountain

tg olson wasatch valley lady and the man from table mountain

Across Tundras frontman T.G. Olson, who by now has well lapped that band’s output with his solo catalog, would seem to have sat down with his guitar sometime in the last week and put two songs to tape. The resulting 10-minute offering is Wasatch Valley Lady & The Man from Table Mountain, its component title-tracks stripping down some of the more elaborate arrangements he’s explored of late — his latest full-length, Riding Roughshod (review pending; it’s hard to keep up), came out in October — to expose the barebones construction at root in his Rocky Mountain country folk style. “Wasatch Valley Lady” and “The Man from Table Mountain” make an engaging couple, and while Olson has a host of videos on YouTube that are similarly just him and his acoustic, something about the audio-only recordings feel like a voice out of time reaching for human connection. The first seems to have a natural fade, and the second a more prominent rhythm showcased in harder strum, but both are sweet melodies evocative as ever of open landscapes and wistful experience.

Across Tundras on Thee Facebooks

T.G. Olson/Across Tundras on Bandcamp

 

Canyon, Mk II

canyon mk ii

The Deep Purple-referential Mk II title of Canyon‘s second EP, also the follow-up to their 2017 debut LP, Radiant Light, refers to the lineup change that’s seen Dean Welsh move to drums so that he and guitarist Peter Stanko can welcome bassist/vocalist Fred Frederick to the fold. The three included songs, the hooky “Mine Your Heart,” expansively fuzzed “Morphine Dreams” and bouncing “Roam” make a hell of a first offering from the reconstituted trio, who capture classic heavy naturalism in a chemistry between players that’s mirrored in the songwriting itself. Canyon‘s 2016 self-titled debut EP (review here) held marked promise, and even after the full-length, that promise would seem to be coming to fruition here. Their tones and craft are both right on, and there’s still some gelling to do between the three of them, but they leave no doubt with Mk II that this incarnation of Canyon can get there. And, if they keep up like this, get there quickly.

Canyon on Thee Facebooks

Canyon on Bandcamp

 

Circle of the Sun, Jams of Inner Perception

Circle of the Sun Jams of Inner Perception

One man jams! Psych-jam seekers will recognize Daniel Sax as the drummer for Berlin-based trio Cosmic Fall. Circle of the Sun is a solo-project from Sax and Jams of Inner Perception collects six tracks for 39 minutes of adventuring on his own. Sax sets his own backbeat and layers bass and “effectsbass” for a full-lineup feel amid the instrumental creations, and those looking to be hypnotized by the space-rocking jams will be. Flat out. Sax is no stranger to jamming, and as one soaks in “Jamming in Paradise” or its nine-minute predecessor “Liquid Sand,” there’s little mistaking his intention. Curious timing that Circle of the Sun would take shape following a lineup change in Cosmic Fall — perhaps it was put together in the interim? — but whether Jams of Inner Perception is a one-off of the beginning of a new avenue for Sax, its turn to blues noodling on “Desert Sun,” thick-toned “Moongroove” and fuzzy roll on “Acid Dream” demonstrate there are plenty of outer realms still to explore.

Circle of the Sun on Thee Facebooks

Circle of the Sun on Bandcamp

 

Mythic Sunship, Another Shape of Psychedelic Music

Mythic Sunship Another Shape of Psychedelic Music

The simplest way to put it is that Mythic Sunship‘s Another Shape of Psychedelic Music lives up to the lofty ambitions of its title. The Danish band is comprised of guitarists Kasper Stougaard Andersen and Emil Thorenfeldt, bassist Rasmus ‘Cleaver’ Christensen, drummer Frederik Denning and saxophonist Søren Skov, and with Causa Sui‘s Jonas Munk — who also produced the album — sitting in on the extended “Backyard Voodoo” (17:41) and “Out There” (13:53) as well as overseeing the release through El Paraiso, the band indeed makes there way into the far out reaches where jazz and psychedelia meet. It’s not about pretentiously saying they’re doing something that’s never been done. You’ll note it’s “another shape” and not a “new shape” or the “shape to come.” But immersion happens quickly on opener “Resolution” (14:23), and even quicker cuts like “Last Exit,” “Way Ahead” and “Elevation” carry the compelling spirit of forward-thinking creativity through their dynamic course, and if Mythic Sunship aren’t the shape of psychedelic music to come, it’s in no small part because there are so few out there who could hope to match what they do.

Mythic Sunship on Thee Facebooks

El Paraiso Records website

 

Svarta Stugan, Islands / Öar

svarta stugan islands oar

Islands / Öar — the second word being the Swedish translation of the first — is the 40-minute debut full-length from Gothenburg atmospheric heavy post-rock instrumentalists Svarta Stugan, who demonstrate in influence from Hex-era Earth on the opener “Islands III” but go on in subsequent tracks to pull together a sound distinct in its cinematic feel and moody execution. Five out of the seven component tracks are “Islands” pieces, which are presented out of order with “Islands IV” missing and “Islands Unknown” perhaps in its place, and the respective side A/B finales “Inner Space” and “Prospects Quatsi” standing apart. Both bring to bear a style ultimately consistent with the melancholy so rife throughout Islands / Öar as a whole, but they’re obviously intended as outliers, and so they seem to be. The LP release follows a couple shorter outings, issued over the past six-plus years, and it’s clear from the depths and range on display here in the build-to-crescendo of “Inner Space” alone that Svarta Stugan haven’t misspent their time in their progression to this point.

Svarta Stugan on Thee Facebooks

Svarta Stugan on Bandcamp

 

Bast, Nanoångström

bast nanoangstrom

Largesse of scope and largesse of tone work in tandem on Bast‘s Nanoångström full-length on Black Bow, as they bring together aspects of post-metallic churn and more extreme metal methods to hone a style highly individualized, highly weighted and as much cosmic as it is crushing. Through six tracks and 57 minutes, the London trio (plus two guest spots from Chris Naughton of Winterfylleth) careen and crash and set an atmosphere of chaos without actually being chaotic, their progressive craft working to tie the songs together into a larger impression of the work as a consuming entirety. It’s the kind of record you pick up and still hear new things in by the time they put out their next one. Production from Chris Fielding at Skyhammer Studio only helps creates the heights and depths of their dynamic, and whether they’re rolling out the severity of closer “The Ghosts Which Haunt the Space Between the Stars” or laying out the soundscape of “The Beckoning Void,” Bast shape the tenets of genre to suit their needs rather than try to work within the barriers of any particular style. Nanoångström is all the more complex and satisfying for their efforts in that regard.

Bast on Thee Facebooks

Black Bow Records webstore

 

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Mantar Set Aug. 24 Release for The Modern Art of Setting Ablaze

Posted in Whathaveyou on June 14th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

http://theobelisk.net/obelisk/wp-content/uploads/2016/02/mantar.jpg

German noise/onslaught duo Mantar have announced an Aug. 24 release for their new album, The Modern Art of Setting Ablaze. Set to arrive in the middle of the band playing what seems to be every single festival in Europe, the on-theme-titled third Mantar record will be the follow-up to 2016’s Ode to the Flame (review here) and 2015’s Death by Burning (review here) and finds them more acclaimed than ever for their brutal and scathing attack. Think they’ve gone soft this time? Yeah, me neither. So what’s the question here? How is new Mantar not a given? Oh wait, it is. Okay.

One assumes more tour dates to come, but as you can see below, there are already plenty on deck.

From the PR wire:

mantar the modern art of setting ablaze

MANTAR Announces Details Regarding New Album, “The Modern Art of Setting Ablaze”

New Album Out August 24, 2018 via Nuclear Blast
More Information + Pre-Orders Coming Soon

Monstrous black/doom/punk chimera MANTAR have announced details regarding their upcoming third studio album. The band’s new album, The Modern Art Of Setting Ablaze, will include 12 songs and is set to be unleashed on August 24, 2018 via Nuclear Blast.

The Modern Art Of Setting Ablaze is a title in-keeping with MANTAR’s symbolic obsession with fire on albums previous; this time disavowing mankind’s tendency to blindly follow those that would lead us into oblivion. This isn’t necessarily a political statement; but rather a morbid fascination with current smoldering tensions that threaten to set the minds of the masses on fire.

Stay tuned for more information coming soon regarding the release of The Modern Art Of Setting Ablaze.

MANTAR is currently on the road, playing select club shows as well as Europe’s biggest festivals. See dates below.

MANTAR Tour Dates:
Cold Summer 2018
07.06.2018 Greenfield Festival Interlaken Switzerland
08.06.2018 Chronical Moshers Open Air Hauptmannsgrün Germany
09.06.2018 Scheune Dresden Germany
16.06.2018 Download Paris Brétigny-sur-Orge France
17.06.2018 Alter Schlachthof Lingen Germany
22.06.2018 Tons of Rock Halden Norway
23.06.2018 Umbaubar, Oldenburg Germany
24.06.2018 Graspop Dessel Belgium
29.06.2018 Tuska Open Air Helsinki Finland
01.07.2018 Fusion Festival Lärz Germany
11.07.2018 Eistnaflug Neskaupstaður Iceland
13.07.2018 Eulenglück Braunschweig Germany
14.07.2018 Dong Open Air Neukirchen-Vluyn Germany
27.07.2018 Metaldays Tolmin Slovenia
03.08.2018 Wacken Open Air Wacken Germany
05.08.2018 Sylak Open Air Saint-Maurice-de-Gourdans France
10.08.2018 Sonic Blast Moledo Moledo Portugal
12.08.2018 Bloodstock Derbyshire England
24.08.2018 Kulturkombinat Bunker Rostock Germany !!!NEW!!!
25.08.2018 Reload Festival Sulingen Germany

www.mantarband.com
www.facebook.com/mantarband
www.nuclearblast.de/mantar

Mantar, new album teaser

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Mantar on Tour Now; New Album Announced

Posted in Whathaveyou on June 4th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

Severity has always had a big role to play in Mantar‘s game, but jeez, these are some serious-as-hell fests they’re playing. Rock am Ring? Download Paris? Tuska Open Air, Wacken, SonicBlast Moledo and Bloodstock? I mean, I knew the German duo were popular, but I guess I didn’t know they were like “let’s go play all the fests in front of tens of thousands of people” popular.

Score one for the extreme. I wonder how long it’ll be before someone comes up with a proper subgenre name for the style Mantar play, drawing from black metal, thrash, hardcore punk and doom. Doomthrash? Charredcore? Whatever the tag, they’ve just announced intentions to release a follow-up to 2016’s Ode to the Flame (review here) via Nuclear Blast later this year, and while they don’t give out much info on the particulars of the whats, whens, what’s-it-calleds, etc., one can only assume that’s because they’re so otherwise busy on the already-underway slew of tour dates that follow here courtesy of the PR wire:

http://theobelisk.net/obelisk/wp-content/uploads/2016/02/mantar.jpg

MANTAR – new album coming soon

Monstrous black/doom/punk chimera MANTAR kicked off their summer run, dubbed “Cold Summer 2018”, last Friday at Rock im Park. See dates below.

MANTAR
Cold Summer 2018
01.06.2018 Rock im Park Nürnberg Germany
02.06.2018 Fortarock Nijmegen Netherlands
03.06.2018 Rock am Ring Nürburg Germany
05.06.2018 Kulturkneipe Walfisch Freiburg Germany
06.06.2018 Kulturladen Konstanz Germany
07.06.2018 Greenfield Festival Interlaken Switzerland
08.06.2018 Chronical Moshers Open Air Hauptmannsgrün Germany
09.06.2018 Scheune Dresden Germany
16.06.2018 Download Paris Brétigny-sur-Orge France
17.06.2018 Alter Schlachthof Lingen Germany
22.06.2018 Tons of Rock Halden Norway
23.06.2018 Umbaubar, Oldenburg Germany
24.06.2018 Graspop Dessel Belgium
29.06.2018 Tuska Open Air Helsinki Finland
01.07.2018 Fusion Festival Lärz Germany
11.07.2018 Eistnaflug Neskaupstaður Iceland
13.07.2018 Eulenglück Braunschweig Germany
14.07.2018 Dong Open Air Neukirchen-Vluyn Germany
27.07.2018 Metaldays Tolmin Slovenia
03.08.2018 Wacken Open Air Wacken Germany
05.08.2018 Sylak Open Air Saint-Maurice-de-Gourdans France
10.08.2018 Sonic Blast Moledo Moledo Portugal
12.08.2018 Bloodstock Derbyshire England
25.08.2018 Reload Festival Sulingen Germany

www.mantarband.com
www.facebook.com/mantarband
www.nuclearblast.de/mantar

Mantar, new album teaser

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SonicBlast Moledo 2018, You Broke My Heart.

Posted in Whathaveyou on May 10th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

Alright, book my flight. I’ll crash on somebody’s couch; I don’t care as long as there’s wifi. SonicBlast Moledo 2018, you’ve won my heart. 1000mods, Causa Sui, Samsara Blues Experiment and The Atomic Bitchwax on the same bill? By the beach? Plus Atavismo and Earthless and Nebula and Naxatras and Conan are playing? Come on. It’s like the people who put this fucking thing together all sat around a table and said, “What’s gonna make that dickweed from that shitty American website really wish he could come to Portugal in August?”

Note: I’m not actually narcissistic enough to believe that happened — though if it was going to, it would definitely be that phrasing — but yeah, wow. It’s pretty hard to stare at this lineup and process it as something I have zero chance in hell of experiencing for myself. What a bummer. If you make it to Moledo, I hope you fucking treasure it. Because you should.

Gadzooks:

sonicblast moledo 2018 header

SONICBLAST MOLEDO 2018

Stoner Doom Psych Heavy – Sea Beach Camping Pool Surf Skate

With the dates settled for August 10th and 11th, the eighth edition of SonicBlast Moledo is stoked to announce Causa Sui, Samsara Blues Experiment, 1000mods, Mantar, The Atomic Bitchwax, The Black Wizards, Solar Corona and Greengo! They join the previously confirmed acts Earthless, Kadavar, Nebula, Conan, Ufomammut, Naxatras, Purple Hill Witch, Atavismo and Ruff Majik!

They could be simply described as Psychedelic Rock, however Causa Sui goes far beyond the term. With more than eight albums released, the Denmark’s group creates a distinctive musical universe with diverse influences such as Krautrock, Progressive Rock, Stoner or Jazz, in order to achieve unique instrumental feats. Their first performance ever in Portugal, for one of their rare concerts during the year, could not be more expected.

Six years after their debut in Portugal, right at the second edition of SonicBlast, the German trio Samsara Blues Experiment is preparing to make the long-awaited return to Moledo. Considered one of the greatest precursors of the European Psychedelic Stoner, the group brings now with them their latest album “One With The Universe,” one of the most acclaimed records within the genre last year, which shows the band’s full maturity and their way to outdo themselves.

Formed only by two elements, the German Mantar view their sound as a brutal sonic destruction, where genres like Doom, Black Metal and Punk unite in a primal rage. On the road since 2013, the duo has released three albums, one of them being recorded live, demonstrating the hard work they’ve done over the past years. Their concerts are known for being absolutely demolishing and intense, which manage to elevate the duo name to another level. Forget about Rock ‘n Roll, this will hurt!

Recognized as one of the most important bands within the Stoner Rock universe, 1000mods return to Portugal with the aim of showing the overwhelming power of their fuzz. Hailing from southern Greece, the quartet already counts with three EP’s and three albums, several European tours and a North American tour. From their live concerts, we can only expect one thing; an astounding and memorable experience.

Present at the festival back in 2014, the power-trio The Atomic Bitchwax, visit us again to spread a great amount of “Super Stoner Rock”. This time, the North Americans Finn Ryan, Chris Kosnik and Bob Pantella (also from Monster Magnet) bring with them their seventh studio album “Force Field”, a refreshing and stimulating record, where Psychedelic influences and Rock n ‘Roll are never missing.

The Black Wizards are no longer unknown to the majority fans of the Heavy Rock subculture, whose immense work evidences their enormous value and dedication to their music. With their undisputed talent, they can skillfully play blues, psychedelic or sheer rock n’ roll, as it’s well demonstrated on their latest album “What the Fuzz”.

From Barcelos to Moledo, Solar Corona arrive moved by cosmic psychedelia and spacey grooves. Now counting with a new rhythm section, the trio certainly knows how to induce each listener into a increasingly hypnotic atmosphere, which will guarantee a monumental musical journey.

Born between the union of massive fuzz noise and greenish fumes, the duo Greengo practices a Sludge Stoner Metal filled with massive riffs, dominant vocals and trembling sonic vibrations, capable of shaking any stage where they appear.

https://sonicblastmoledo.bol.pt/
https://www.facebook.com/SonicBlast-Moledo-242619262427066/
https://www.facebook.com/events/181938749070159/
https://sonicblastmoledo.wordpress.com/

1000mods, Repeated Exposure To… (2016)

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Desertfest Belgium 2017: Lowrider, The Vintage Caravan, Mantar, -(16)-, Grime, Partisan and Spirit Valley Added

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

Hasn’t been a week since the last update from Desertfest Belgium 2017, and the Antwerp-based fest comes out swinging yet again with another batch of heavy-hitters in what’s purported to be the second-to-last update to its bill. This time? The primo heavy rock of Lowrider and The Vintage Caravan meets the extremity of Mantar and the sludge of -(16)-, the neo-psych of Spirit Valley and the abrasion of Partisan. Once more, the story of Desertfest Belgium 2017 is one of the festival branching out in multiple directions all at once, expanding its reach in style and profile alike. Can’t help but wonder what the final update will bring. I mean, look at this thing. In what way would you call it incomplete?

The latest announcement follows, courtesy of the PR wire:

desertfest-belgium-2017-poster

DF ANTWERP 2017 LINE-UP SECOND LAST UPDATE – NEARLY DONE!

We are nearing the completion of the Desertfest Antwerp 2017 line-up. After this, there’s just one more announcement to go and we’re in the straight line to the Fest! You all better come prepared because it’s gonna be massive. Massive we tell you!

We think we’ll be pleasing many stoner heads with the addition of classic Desert rockers Lowrider to the Friday line-up. Their show at Desertfest Berlin was epic, and we’re convinced they’ll repeat such a feat at the Belgian edition.

Equally iconic is -(16)-, a band whose name is as enigmatic as their pioneering sludge is a straightforward boot to the face. More pummeling riffs are to be expected from Germany’s Mantar and Grime from North Dakota. For more eclectic rock inspired grooves, look no further than The Vintage Caravan and Spirit Valley. And finally, we’re pleased to have Partisan on the bill, a Belgian band on Hypertension Records featuring members of renowned national rock bands like Rise and Fall and Oathbreaker.

That’s it, one more announcement to go which you can expect very soon!

LOWRIDER

Sweden’s answer to the American brand of rocky-funky-gritty Desert rock, Lowrider’s impact on both their native scene and the international underground in Europe and beyond cannot be ignored. Their 2000 album “Ode to Io” is a true scene gem of the purest, hardest and brightest rock. After a long retreat, the band reformed in 2013 for a reunion set at Desertfest Berlin. Since then, the band has been on the road again and killing it live, including another legendary performance at DF Berlin this year!

THE VINTAGE CARAVAN

Despite their young age, The Vintage Caravan only took a few years to garner a mighty reputation on stage, playing hundreds of shows on European stages with ever-growing audiences delivering standing ovations after each show. Their musical influences are very diverse but their main focus is the classic hard rock of the 60’s and 70’s. Though this may suggest a glorified retro-type band, The Vintage Caravan make it their own with a powerful attitude and a modern twist..

MANTAR

The band describe themselves as a “two-piece monster from North Germany”, and indeed it is hard to believe this kind of infernal noise could come from only two musicians. But yet here we are, and if their debut album ‘Death By Burning’ broke down doors, the follow-up ‘Ode To The Flame’ and this year’s ‘The Spell’ EP (both on Nuclear Blast) burned down the house. No gimmicks, just true battle hymns and sinister sounds of darkness!

-(16)-

SoCal sludge stalwarts -(16)- are among the most consistent and most underrated purveyors of the heavy riff. They started out in 1991 and through many line-up changes and other rock’n’roll adventures they finally got the credit they deserve with last year’s ‘Lifespan Of A Moth’, the band’s heaviest, darkest, and most complex material to date! If you dig Eyehategod and Acid Bath, don’t miss out on these pioneers of sludge metal.

GRIME

Taking cues from both grunge (Soundgarden and Alice In Chains) and rock legends like Led Zeppelin and Rush, Grime have formed their own brand of heavy metal thunder. Grime independently released their debut EP, ‘Hitch-Hiking Prohibited’, in September 2015. The four songs are a perfect snapshot of their varied and creative approach to metal.

SPIRIT VALLEY

Dave Spirit and Chris Valley formed the duo outfit Spirit Valley in Australia, but moved to Amsterdam in 2015 to tour Europe. Their own term for the kaleidoscopic mix of styles they present is ‘Doomshine Boogie’, a raw brand of psychedelic rock inspired by bands like The Black Angels, Murder City Devils, Japandroids and Explosions in the Sky.

PARTISAN

Partisan’s collective members are known for renowned Belgian HC and metal-derived bands such as Rise and Fall and Oathbreaker, but they are far from being a mere extension of their predecessors. With their post-punk inspired sound, Partisan channel influences from their collective musical pasts into songs that deliver their power and urgency through texture, dynamics and dark melody.

http://www.desertfest.be/tickets
https://www.facebook.com/desertfestbelgium/
https://www.facebook.com/events/264364590656095/
https://twitter.com/DesertfestBE

Lowrider, Ode to Io: Deluxe Edition (2017)

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Quarterly Review: Sourvein, Mantar, Elevators to the Grateful Sky, The Poisoned Glass, Spirit Collector, Phiasco, The Cosmic Dead, Postures, Estoner, The Black Explosion

Posted in Reviews on June 20th, 2016 by JJ Koczan

the-obelisk-summer-2016-quarterly-review

Well here we are. Standing on the precipice of a week of 50 reviews, looking out together at the geographic and sonic expanses that will be covered. I never know entirely what a given Quarterly Review is going to bring. Some have been smooth, some not. This one is being put together very little pre-production in terms of chasing down band links and that sort of thing, so I expect it’s going to be an adventure one way or another. I’ll keep you updated as we go as to my mental state and the deterioration thereof.

If you don’t know the drill, The Obelisk’s Quarterly Review is a week every three months in which I review 10 albums per day, Monday through Friday. Some of it was released in the prior three months, some of it is brand new, some of it probably isn’t out yet, some of it is probably older. It’s all relevant one way or another. I hope you find something you enjoy.

Quarterly Review #1-10:

Sourvein, Aquatic Occult

Sourvein Aquatic Occult

Looking at the makeup of Sourvein’s much-awaited fourth album, Aquatic Occult (on Metal Blade), it’s understandable why it might’ve taken five years to put together. Yes, they had splits out in between, as they do, but the band’s last full-length was 2011’s Black Fangs (review here), and though the 14-song/42-minute Aquatic Occult is manageable, with a host of interludes to carry the listener along its thick-toned, undulating waves, a swath of guest appearances no doubt played havoc with logistics. Fortunately, Sourvein’s figurehead, vocalist T-Roy Medlin, seems to thrive on chaos. Working with producer Mike Dean (C.O.C.), and a revolving-door lineup that here features Lou Gorra of Halfway to Gone, Medlin brazenly explores a more melodic dynamic than he ever has. It’s a rare band looking to experiment after 20 years, a rarer band still that pulls it off so well. There’s still some sludgy rasp and guest growling, but Sabbathian roll is the order of the day ultimately and Medlin’s homage to his home in Cape Fear, North Carolina, establishes a breadth unheard before from Sourvein that’s worthy of the years and obvious effort that went into its making.

Sourvein on Thee Facebooks

Sourvein at Metal Blade Records

 

Mantar, Ode to the Flame

Mantar Ode To The Flame

Hamburg duo Mantar’s blend of thrash, sludge and blackened doom is brash, righteously punkish and thus far uncompromised in its malevolent intent. On their second album and Nuclear Blast debut, Ode to the Flame, songs like “Era Borealis” swagger as much as they sneer, the middle-finger-up arrogance becoming part of the appeal. “The Hint” offers some tinge of melody and “I Omen” some organ-laced atmospherics, but Mantar, who debuted in 2015 with the also fire-minded Death by Burning (review here) on Svart, carry their extremity forward like the next logical step of the same impulses that High on Fire once brought forth. Their tempo shifts, from blazing squibblies to outright lumbering, are pulled off with due fuckall, and the shouts from guitarist/vocalist Hanno and drummer/vocalist Erinc are spit forth in a manner near-indecipherable but still have no trouble getting their point across. Mantar are positioning themselves to be the kick in the ass that the underground needs. The next few years (and albums) will see how that pans out, but for now they have two scorchers under their collective belt.

Mantar on Thee Facebooks

Mantar at Nuclear Blast

 

Elevators to the Grateful Sky, Cape Yawn

elevators to the grateful sky cape yawn

There is a stylistic restlessness to stretches of Elevators to the Grateful Sky’s second record, Cape Yawn (on HeviSike), that becomes the uniting factor between the adrenaline-amped opening with “Ground” and “Bullet Words” and the later dream-surf Yawning Man-meets-sax unfurling of the title-track. The Palermo, Italy, outfit have stated their intention as capturing a blend of ‘90s alternative and modern heavy. Fair enough, but hearing that play out on the penultimate “Mountain Ship” in a mix of weighted riffing and laid back vocals giving way to shouts, it seems that to me that next time out, Elevators to the Grateful Sky should probably just start saying they sound like themselves, because they do. Granted, they’re pulling elements from familiar sources – Soundgarden, Kyuss, etc. – but in giving them new context, the four-piece are defining their sound as moving fluidly between the various styles, and that’s to be commended. The more you put into listening, the more you’ll get out of it.

Elevators to the Grateful Sky on Thee Facebooks

HeviSike Records website

 

The Poisoned Glass, 10 Swords

the poisoned glass 10 swords-700

Representing a 50 percent reunion of Burning Witch, the droning contemplations and hellish atmospherics of The Poisoned GlassRitual Productions debut, 10 Swords, pique immediate interest. And bassist/percussionist/etc.-ist G. Stuart Dahlquist and vocalist/keyboardist Edgy 59 do not disappoint. With unspeakable patience, they execute six grueling and cinematic pieces that seem to find comfort in tortured expression and that feel claustrophobic even as they continue to expand outward and downward through “Plume Veil” and “Toil and Trouble” into the extended closing duo “Silent Vigil” – spoiler alert: not actually silent – and “Low Spirits,” which moves from minimalist stillness through far-back screams and into a wash of synth before its seven minutes are up, covering more ground in one track than some bands do in their entire career. Fair to say on the whole 10 Swords is an immersive listen, but the prevailing vibe is much less “diving in” than “being swallowed whole by some obscure medieval terror.” So, you know, watch out for that.

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Ritual Productions on Bandcamp

 

Spirit Collector, Owls to Athens

spirit collector owls to athens-700

Los Angeles newcomers Spirit Collector make their debut with the self-released, three-song Owls to Athens EP, clear in its intent and brimming with airy, post-rock-derived guitar atmospherics. A particularly telling moment arrives with the Terence McKenna sample in centerpiece “Reclaim Your Mind,” which speaks of casting off the culture of celebrity worship for a richer human experience, but it’s in the extended closer “Theosophy” (7:57) that Spirit Collector find their footing someplace between a doomed plod and thoughtful psychedelia, picking up a chugging momentum as they push through toward the almost blackened finish, having come a surprising distance since their eponymous opener set the tone for expanse. An encouraging first offering if somewhat familiar superficially as instrumental heavy post-rock (think Explosions in the Sky, Russian Circles, Red Sparowes, etc.), and there’s nothing in Owls to Athens to make one think Spirit Collector can’t move forward and develop the experimental drive they begin to show here.

Spirit Collector on Thee Facebooks

Spirit Collector on Bandcamp

 

Phiasco, Vieh

phiasco vieh

Vieh, the debut full-length from Colonge-based desert rocking foursome Phiasco, takes its name from the German word for “cattle.” The band owe some of their fuzz to Truckfighters and some of their psychedelic wash to Sungrazer, but the attitude in songs like “Ultimate Warrior” – comprised largely of riffs topped with an extended sample from the titular professional wrestler – and “Sunndown” is their own, as is the we’re-still-having-a-really-good-time-while-we-make-this-15-minute-song closer “Phisco” (sic), a highlight of the live-recorded full-length, which across its span is light on pretense and heavy on bounce. Cuts like “Old Town” and opener “Back to the Future” – hey, that’s a movie! – bring catchy hooks, and the uptempo “Erasing Rabbits with My Phaserlight” winds up as harmonized as goofed out, and thus is all the more engaging. There’s a certain amount of getting by on charm here, but Phiasco have a capable, varied songwriting process that’s given due fullness and clarity in these eight tracks.

Phiasco on Thee Facebooks

Phiasco on Bandcamp

 

The Cosmic Dead, Rainbowhead

the-cosmic-dead-rainbowhead

Man, who gives a shit about anything else when Glaswegian five-piece The Cosmic Dead are enacting their hypnotic swirl? Their latest instrumental invitation to watch existence melt is called Rainbowhead and it arrives through Paradigms Recordings (CD) and Blackest Rainbow Records (LP) with four tracks that serve as the band’s first full-length since 2014’s EasterFaust, though they’ve had splits in between to keep a prolific rate of offerings fitting for their explorational heavy psych/space rock. The bulk of Rainbowhead is engagingly upbeat as side A plays out across “Human Sausage,” “Skye Burial” and the 13-minute “Inner C,” and side B’s 18-minute title-track follows suit as The Cosmic Dead seem to have found a similar niche between progressive rock and psych to that which Mammatus proffered on their most recent outing. It suits The Cosmic Dead, and they keep an improv vibe prevalent as ever, grasping the subconscious with trip-on-it lysergic pulsations.

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Paradigms Recordings website

Blackest Rainbow Records website

 

Postures, Halucinda

postures halucinda

Deeply textured and lush in its construction around guitar arrangements, percussive and keyboard-laden melodic flourish, Postures’ second full-length, Halucinda (on World in Sound), plays back and forth between prog and heavy rock impulses. The Gothenburg, Sweden, five-piece seem most at home in extended tracks like “Myriad Man,” “Every Room” and the jazzy 10-minute “Wavemaker,” but even the acoustic-led centerpiece interlude “A Million Sequences” invites the audience to turn up the volume for maximum wash effect. Paulina Nyström delivers a powerful, commanding and fluid vocal performance, and while the rhythm section of bassist Per Pettersson and drummer Isak Björhag are the foundation on which these complex structures play out – Viktor Andersson and Benjamin Watts handle guitar; Madeleine Sjögren is credited with backing vocals/keys and Margit Gyllspång percussion/backing vocals – there’s no angle from which Postures don’t come across rich and vital in their winding but well-plotted course, one song feeding fluidly to the next until the dreamy “In the Dark” rounds out with the emotional apex of the record.

Postures on Thee Facebooks

World in Sound Records

 

Estoner, Lennud Saatana Dimensioonis

estoner lennud saatana dimensioonis

What else to call a stoner band from Estonia? Estoner’s appeal, however, goes well beyond their moniker. The Tallinn-based outfit’s second album, Lennud Saatana Dimensioonis, arrives in a handmade hexagonal CD package, heat sealed, as well as with complete visual accompaniment on limited VHS and cassette via Golem Records. The music is no less relentlessly creative, running a gamut between prog, black metal, heavy rock, psychedelia, space rock and probably a few others in its seven-track course. A song like “Teleporteerumine” conjures darkened swirl and “Reptiloid” follows through with foreboding threat, but Estoner plunge even deeper as they go, proferring aesthetic reach that makes seemingly disparate elements work together fluidly on “Hüvasti, Kosmiline Monoliit” and the 10-minute closing title-track. Perhaps the highest compliment one can pay to Lennud Saatana Dimensioonis is to call it Svart-worthy, as its diverse means of engulfing the listener speak to a forward-thinking approach that one can only hope Estoner continue to develop.

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Estoner on Bandcamp

 

The Black Explosion, Atomic Zod War

Unbenannt-1

Extra points to Swedish troupe The Black Explosion for opening their third album, the space-fuzzed out Atomic Zod War (on Metalville Records), with its longest track, the 13-minute “Paralyzed.” That song offers a languid voyage through uncharted jammy reaches, and that sets an open, laid back expectation that the rest of the album seems only too glad to build on, from the Nebula-via-Monster Magnet blown out vibes of “Ain’t Coming Home” to the semi-garage buzz of “Going Down,” a highlight groove that emphasizes the natural, raw tones at play leading into “Get My Mind Together” and the finisher “Devil Inside,” which brings the guitar of Chris Winter (also Dollhouse) forward with backing from bassist Simon Haraldsson and drummer Andreas Lindquist that feels born of the new West Coast tradition but is likely playing off of older impulses. But for its hey-look-it’s-tits cover art, the grit Atomic Zod War offers comes through organically and draws the listener in with its live feel and underlying boogie.

The Black Explosion on Thee Facebooks

Metalville Records

 

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Shadow Woods Metal Fest 2016: Mantar Joins Lineup

Posted in Whathaveyou on June 13th, 2016 by JJ Koczan

This thing looks frickin’ awesome. I’m not one to tell you how to spend your time, but to look at the lineup for Shadow Woods Metal Fest 2016 and see the clear effort that’s been put into establishing an aesthetic that draws on elements of black metal, psychedelia, heavy rock, doom and more, it’s hard not to be impressed with the outcome. Especially for an event in its second year, and for one that requires coordinating things like vegan food options for four days and cabin rentals, it’s an incredible feat to be pulled off. That’s before you get to the actual bands playing. Germany’s Mantar have just been added, and there are a few other shakeups to the bill as well that the PR wire informs of below, but as you read through, try to take in the scope of everything happening over the course of that weekend and try to appreciate what’s gone into making it the way it is. No doubt a staggering and admirable amount of hours.

Dig it:

shadow woods metal fest 2016 poster

SHADOW WOODS METAL FEST Issues Updated 2016 Lineup Including The Addition Of Mantar; New Trailers Posted

SHADOW WOODS METAL FEST, the Mid-Atlantic’s only open-air camping metal party, announces several updates to this September’s installment of the event, including the addition of Mantar, Sacrificial Blood, and more.

SHADOW WOODS METAL FEST has added German metal duo, Mantar, for a special appearance Thursday, September 15th. The pair joins the mysterious Ghost Bath, Canada’s Numenoren, Baltimore’s Darsombra and several others to kick-off the three-day event, which continues through the morning of Sunday, September 18th at Camp Hidden Valley, in White Hall, Maryland. Now in its second year, SHADOW WOODS METAL FEST will host forty-one metal bands, representing diverse subgenres, on three stages at the same charming Summer camp where the fest was held previously.

“Mantar, who will be on tour with Cobalt this fall, had a free day that Thursday that fit perfectly into the schedule,” says festival organizer Mary Spiro of Metallomusikum.com / Shadow Woods Productions LLC. “Mantar blew everyone’s mind at the 2015 Maryland Deathfest, and SHADOW WOODS METAL FEST is extremely excited and deeply honored to have them help launch our second party in the woods.”

The entire festival lineup is stacked. Friday night headliners include Brooklyn’s post black metal pillagers Tombs, Mongolian folk metal warriors Tengger Cavalry, Detroit’s horror-death conjurers Acid Witch, and a special reunion performance from Philly’s blackened doom two-piece Sadgiqacea. On Saturday, black-thrash alchemists Blood Storm, Chicago’s mystic black metal kings Empyreus, and Maryland’s doom metal godfather Scott “Wino” Weinrich and friends from Faith In Jane will headline Saturday night. The fest will close that night with the return of Maine’s black metal-blues shredders, Zud.

This year’s SHADOW WOODS METAL FEST lineup also boasts several acts that have never performed on the East Coast, such as the blackened space-rock pair Lotus Thief from San Francisco, which features Otrebor of Botanist on drums, and Colorado’s Helleborus, powered by the Houseman brothers (Akhenaten; ex-Execration), who specializes in psychedelic black metal tinged with sexual mysticism. The complete lineup (listed below) surpasses the ferocity of the fest’s inaugural installment in both diversity and scope of metal styles.

Attendees will be able to munch of a plethora of food choices throughout the weekend including the return of the high octane Zeke’s Coffee, vegan selections from Headbangin’ Hotdogs, gourmet snacks from Baltimore’s Clementine, and more traditional fair foods from Funtastic Foods and Pond View Pit Beef. Along with sponsors Grimoire Records, vendors so far this year featured in the Hall Stage building include Runk the Skunk Jewelry, FTG Illustrations, Barnacle Bones Bindery, FiberParty KnitWorks, Mount Vernon Body Art and a variety of other music and arts producers. Yoga sessions will again be held every morning for those willing to brave a downward dog with a hangover and other workshops TBA have also been planned. The fest is BYOB and is 21 and up only.

Weekend Passes for SHADOW WOODS METAL FEST are available for $130 at BrownPaperTickets.com.

Tent camping is included with the weekend pass. People who want to reserve cabin beds can do so for an additional $20 for the duration of the fest. Only 400 weekend passes will be available and about one-third have sold so far. A limited number of day passes will go on sale in August.

SHADOW WOODS METAL FEST 2016 Complete Lineup:
A SOUND OF THUNDER (DC) **traditional old-school heavy metal
ATHAME (MD/WV) **black
AT THE GRAVES (MD) **solo doom-sludge
ACID WITCH (Detroit) **horror death
BLOOD STORM (PA/TX) **black thrash
BOUND BY THE GRAVE (Baltimore) *death
CEMETERY FILTH (TN) ** death
CEMETERY PISS (Baltimore) **black
COFFIN DUST (Philadelphia) **death
CORPSE LIGHT (Baltimore) *doom
DARSOMBRA (MD) **psychedelic drone
DESTROYER OF LIGHT (Austin, TX) **sludge
EMPYREUS (Chicago) **black
FAITH IN JANE featuring WINO (MD) ** doom trio joined by the godfather of the sound
GENEVIEVE (MD) **experimental black
GHOST BATH (ND) **suicidal depressive black
GRAVE GNOSIS (St. Petersburg, FL) **black
HAXEN (Rhode Island) **black
HELGAMITE (VA) **doom/stoner/sludge
HELLEBORUS (Manitou Springs, CO) **black
HERON (NC) **black
HORSESKULL (NC) **sludge/doom
LOTUS THIEF (CA) **blackened space rock
MANTAR (GERMANY)**power sludge
MYOPIC (DC) **death/doom
NUMENOREAN (Calgary, AB) **post-black
SADGIQACEA (Philadelphia) **doom/sludge/black
SADISTIC VISION (PA/NC) **death
SAPREMIA (New Jersey) **death
SURGEON (Philadelphia) **progressive
TELOCH VOVIN (NY) **black
TEMPLE OF VOID (Detroit) **doom
TENGGER CAVALRY (NY/CHINA) ** Mongolian folk
T.O.M.B. (Philadelphia) **ritual noise
TOMBS (Brooklyn) ** black/post-metal
TORRID HUSK (WV) **depressive/melodic black
VORATOR (VA) ** death thrash
WINDFAERER (NJ) ** Iberian folk metal
WIZARD EYE (PA) **doom
XEUKATRE (Baltimore) **black
ZUD (Maine) ** black

http://shadowwoods2016.bpt.me/
http://www.shadowwoodsmetalfest.com
http://www.facebook.com/shadowwoodsmetalfest
https://www.facebook.com/events/1690461561167442/

Shadow Woods Metal Fest 2016 promo video

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Mantar Post “Cross the Cross” Video; German Tour Starts Tonight

Posted in Bootleg Theater on April 20th, 2016 by JJ Koczan

mantar

It seems reasonable to assume that German duo Mantar filmed their new video when they were in New York last year on tour with Conan (review here). Considering that their new album, Ode to the Flame, was just recently released — it’s their first for Nuclear Blast, second overall behind a 2015 debut, Death by Burning (review here) — it’s a point of interest because that would mean that at very least the song was in the can since last May, when the show was at Saint Vitus Bar in Brooklyn. Seems like kind of a long time to hold onto it. One doesn’t usually think of patience when it comes to Mantar, but maybe we should.

The song is “Cross the Cross,” and it’s telling that the very first thing you see in the video is the cover of Illmatic by Nas. As the two-piece get followed around by Death — two Deaths, actually — the clip itself owes a lot of its look and feel to classic hip-hop. Directed by Dave Barbaree is has the wide-angle walking shots, gestures and stuff being thrust at the camera that one might’ve seen on MTV 20-plus years ago. I’m not sure what happens in rap videos these days, if that’s a still a thing, but it’s kind of hard not to be reminded of stuff like Biohazard from that era that also basked in hip-hop culture and translated some of those aesthetics to a heavy aggro push.

I guess the key difference there is Biohazard also borrowed liberally from rap in their music at the time, whereas Mantar remain as fire-spewing as ever, if not quite as rawly produced.

It’s an interesting clip. Makes me miss New York. Check it out below, followed by Mantar‘s German tour dates, which start tonight. They’re also playing all the festivals. Yup, all of ’em.

Dig:

Mantar, “Cross the Cross” official video

Ode To The Flame is the nihilistic new full-length from Northern Germany-based infernal metal duo, MANTAR. Out now on Nuclear Blast, the record is currently available in CD, vinyl (black and gold – the latter of which is only available from the Nuclear Blast Mailorder), and digital formats HERE.

MANTAR will inundate their native Germany with an exclusive run of shows this month which kicked off this past weekend. The band will also level the stages of several festivals throughout the Summer months and make its way to North America with confirmed appearances at Heavy Montreal, Psycho Las Vegas and California Deathfest. Additional live infiltrations are in the plotting stages.

MANTAR:
4/20/2016 FZW Club – Dortmund, DE
4/21/2016 Schlachthof – Wiesbaden, DE
4/22/2016 B58 – Braunschweig, DE
4/23/2016 Stockrock – Hagen, DE
4/28/2016 Desertfest – Berlin, DE
4/29/2016 Desertfest – Berlin, DE
4/30/2016 Desertfest – London, UK
5/05/2016 Beta – Copenhagen, DE
5/07/2016 Volksbad – Flensburg, DE
5/13/2016 Post Valley – Gießen, DE
5/14/2016 Doomed Gatherings @ Glazart – Paris, FR
5/27/2016 Freak Valley Festival – Siegen, DE
5/28/2016 Visbek Rockt – Visbek, DE
6/03/2016 Metalhead Meeting – Bucharest, RO
6/05/2016 Metalfest Open Air – Plzen, CZ
6/18/2016 Hellfest – Clisson, FR
7/01/2016 Tuska – Helsinki, FI
7/16/2016 Gefle Metal Festival – Gävle, SE
8/07-09/2016 Heavy Montreal – Montreal, QC
8/17-20/2016 Summer Breeze – Dinkelsbühl, DE
8/26-28/2016 Psycho Las Vegas – Las Vegas, NV
10/14-16/2016 California Deathfest – Oakland, CA

Mantar on Thee Faceboks

Mantar at Nuclear Blast

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