Akris, Your Mantis: Burning, Rowing

Posted in Reviews on November 29th, 2016 by H.P. Taskmaster

akris-your-mantis

It feels like longer than three years since bass-driven Virginia sludge outfit Akris offered up their self-titled debut (review here), but part of that may be due to the rather significant changes the band has undergone in that stretch. Founded as a two-piece in the wake of bassist/vocalist Helena Goldberg‘s prior outfit, AquilaAkris‘ second full-length, Your Mantis (on DGRecords), marks an entirely new beginning for the group, which in 2015 announced that joining Goldberg would be guitarist/vocalist Paul Cogle (NagatoBlack Blizzard) and drummer Tim Otis (Admiral Browning), establishing them as a trio for the first time. That’s no minor shift, adding guitar and second vocals for the first time, let alone a drummer with the fervor and intense personality and play that Otis brings, and the six-track/38-minute Your Mantis meets the change head-on with ambition, beginning a storyline reportedly intended to carry across a multi-album arc into the next Akris release, whatever form that may take when they get there.

This lineup made its opening statement with last year’s Fall EP (review here), so for those who heard that or the first record, perhaps Your Mantis won’t be so much a superficial sidestep from its predecessor — it’s still very much Goldberg at the core of group, and their blend of aggressive noise rock and weighted sludge tonality is consistent — but one can hear progression both in terms of the concepts with which Akris are working, and in the still-engagingly-raw sound they bring to bear, the track “Brown” offering a direct comparison point as it’s shared between both albums.

Worth noting that the version of “Brown” on Your Mantis is over a minute shorter than the one on Akris. The long-player itself follows suit. Recorded and mixed at Oubliette Studios with a mastering job by Noel Mueller of Grimoire Records and topped with Sean “Skillit” McEleny cover art, Your Mantis is over 20 minutes shorter than the preceding self-titled, and when it comes to a sound that plays back and forth between hypnotic melodicism and intense punkish fervor in the manner theirs does, building quickly into bursts of aggro thrust with a measure’s notice as Goldberg swaps out clean-singing for vicious screams, that brevity lends efficiency. Add to that a song like the well-placed “Burn with Me,” third of the six cuts, which finds Goldberg and Cogle working in duet-style vocals on a linear movement that’s clear and crisp in its execution, and Akris bring a sense of accomplishment and realization to Your Mantis that, while it may only be part of the story in terms of lyrical narrative, has plenty to say about how far they’ve come in the last three years.

akris

Since her days in Aquila, brashness has always been a feature of Goldberg‘s work, and that’s no different as opener “Profit” shifts from its early swaying and thudding into searing sludge and noise, setting up one of the essential trades the album will continue to make if not telling the full story in terms of atmosphere, which begins to flesh out with the fuzzier, more patient and winding “Sturgeon.” Melodically sung for the duration, it nonetheless hits into a slow-rolling finish before its five minutes are up, but even more, it provides a transition point between the scorch of “Profit” and “Burn with Me,” which brings Cogle forward vocally for the first time. It’s a quieter pulse at first, kept somewhat tense through percussion à la “Planet Caravan,” but that doesn’t last, and just past the halfway point heavier guitar kicks in and drives the song into its apex, leaving enough room on the other side to finish quiet and bring a sense of symmetry to what one presumes would be the end of side A.

Though it’s shorter as already noted, “Brown” feels more spacious in its early meanderings, but still locks into a blasting drive in its second half. That move between where-am-I-who-am-I and oh-yeah-I’m-here-to-rip-your-throat-out is in some ways the key to making Your Mantis work as it does, but Akris aren’t afraid to screw with the formula either, as the biting “Row” demonstrates with a near-blackened blend of rumble and screams at its start, giving way to the single angriest push of the record, an insistent noisy post-grunge chug still consistent atmospherically with echo on Goldberg‘s vocals, which relent as the three-piece move into the brief chorus only to trade back again as the next verse takes hold. It’s not chaos exactly — there’s a plan at work on a structural level — but it sure sounds like it. “Row,” as the penultimate cut before the 10-minute finale “Visitor,” is the most brutal piece on Your Mantis, and Otis, who so frequently shines as a drummer in moments of fury, makes a highlight of the frustrated crashes that accompany its late payoff, but it is ultimately the closer tasked to sum up the record as a whole.

Not as easy a job as it might initially seem. Across its first five tracks, Your Mantis has careened, lurched, thrust, wandered, pivoted and turned, remaining cohesive and even flowing front to back in a manner born of some of the same impulses as the debut but grown outward from them on nearly every level of theme and performance — and with a new lineup. “Visitor” is wise to take its time in covering all this ground, and whether or not it was written with the intent of closing, it does the job well, representing the dynamic in sound and style that Akris have come to proffer on what might itself feel like a first outing were it not so clearly benefiting from the experience of having made the self-titled before it. Clear-headed? Certainly as far as its purposes go. Your Mantis may well be the beginning of something of larger scope for Akris, but they still hold onto that basic rawness beneath, and their approach is all the richer for it.

Akris, Your Mantis (2016)

Akris on Thee Facebooks

Akris on Bandcamp

DGRecords webstore

DGRecords on Thee Facebooks

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Mangog Post New Song “Into Infamy”; Mangog Awakens out Jan. 9

Posted in Whathaveyou on November 18th, 2016 by H.P. Taskmaster

Preorders have been made available now for Mangog Awakens, the suitably-titled debut offering from oldschool Maryland doomers Mangog, who feature in their ranks Bert Hall, Jr. of Revelation and Beelzefuzz and drummer Mike Rix, formerly of Iron Man. Official release date is Jan. 9, 2017 — not nearly as far off as it sounds — and the album will be out via Argonauta Records, furthering that label’s ties to the Maryland doom scene as established earlier this year when it released the acoustic solo debut from Iron Man frontman Dee Calhoun.

I was fortunate enough to catch Mangog live this past summer at the third evening of Maryland Doom Fest 2016 (review here), and while I wouldn’t necessarily count on it to speak for the album as a whole, the track “Into Infamy” which you can stream below courtesy of the band actually speaks pretty well to the undercurrent of classic heavy metal that seems to run through their work. I guess what I’m saying is that one more or less expects them to doom out considerably at some point or another on Mangog Awakens, slow and low and all that — their live set certainly had those moments, as I remember it — but they’re very clearly not beholden solely to the doom of their region, at least as far as tempo goes. Metal’s always played a large part in the Maryland sound though, so perhaps it’s a question of where the balance ultimately lies on Mangog‘s debut.

We’ll find out after the New Year. Until then, Argonauta posted the art, the following info and the aforementioned stream of “Into Infamy.” Have at it:

mangog-awakens

MANGOG reveal cover artwork and new song

Baltimore based Doom masters MANGOG reveal cover artwork and first single from their highly anticipated new album.

The song “Into Infamy” is streaming here, a notably shorter and more up tempo example of MANGOG’s brand of doom.

“Mangog Awakens” will be released by ARGONAUTA Records in CD/DD and available from January 9th, 2017. This is a must have for all of you into IRON MAN, REVELATION and CANDLEMASS sonorities.

Preorders run here: http://bit.ly/2fSWJPc

www.argonautarecords.com
www.facebook.com/MangogDoom

Mangog, “Into Infamy”

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Maryland Doom Fest 2017: Set Times Announced

Posted in Whathaveyou on November 14th, 2016 by H.P. Taskmaster

So I guess we’re pretty much ready to roll on Maryland Doom Fest 2017, right? We’ve had the lineup announced, we’ve got the schedule now. Might be another couple weeks getting t-shirts together — and hoodies; should’ve gotten a hoodie this year, which admittedly is something that occurs to one way less at the end of June than in mid-November — but then I’d say we’re about good to go. No need to wait until next summer on it. Let’s do this thing.

Maybe that’s just me being excited at the prospect of that Friday night lineup, which seems particularly strong front to back — not to take away from any of the other days, but you know I dig me some Lo-Pan — but either way, if Maryland Doom Fest‘s now-three-year tenure has been marked by anything it’s a lack of bullshit. A fervent get-down-to-business-and-kick-as-doing-it mentality. It’s perhaps the most “Maryland doom” aspect to the whole event. Maryland Doom Fest 2017 is clearly no different. Here we are more than half a year from the event kicking off and I know what time I need to be there on Thursday to watch Spillage start the pre-party. This is information I’m glad to have.

If your calendar isn’t marked yet, you might want to get on that:

maryland-doom-fest-2017-poster

The Maryland Doom Fest 2017

June 23, 2017 – June 25, 2017

Cafe 611
611 N Market St, Frederick, Maryland 21701

ROSTER SLOT TIMES

**PRE FEST PARTY THURS JUNE 22
• Valkyrie 1150 – 1250
• Beastmaker 1055 – 1140
• Pilgrim 1000 – 1045
• Borracho 915 – 950
• Weed Is Weed 830 – 905
• Sweet Heat 745 – 820
• Spillage 700 -735

FRIDAY JUNE 23
• Captain Beyond 1240 – 150
• Lo-Pan 1140 – 1230
• Apostle of Solitude 1050 – 1130
• Earthride 1000 – 1040
• Beelzefuzz 910 – 950
• Wretch 820 – 900
• Demon Eye 735 –810
• Brimstone Coven 650 – 725
• Black Manta 605 – 640
• Sierra 515 – 555

SATURDAY JUNE 24
• The Skull 1245 – 150
• Bang! 1140 – 1235
• Wo Fat 1050 – 1130
• The Well 1000 – 1040
• The Watchers 910 – 950
• Hollow Leg 825 – 900
• Iron Man 740 – 815
• Dark Music Theory 655 – 730
• War Injun 610 – 645
• Thonian Horde 525 – 600
• Witches of God 440 – 515
• Black Tar Prophet 355 – 430
• Conclave 305 – 345

SUNDAY JUNE 25
• Headliner 1140 – 1245
• The Atomic Bitchwax 1045 -1130
• Serpents of Secrecy 955 – 1035
• Lightning Born 905 – 945
• Lifetime Shitlist 815 – 855
• Akris 730 – 805
• Burn Thee Insects 645 – 720
• Faith In Jane 600 – 635
• Cavern 515 – 550
• Old Blood 430 – 505
• Horehound 345 – 420

TICKET SALES START JAN 1st !!

https://www.facebook.com/The-maryland-DOOM-Fest-815331421863100/
https://www.facebook.com/events/1794418777500202/
http://www.themarylanddoomfest.com/

Earthride, Live at Jason McCash Benefit, 2014

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Maryland Doom Fest 2017 Announces Lineup: Captain Beyond, The Skull, Wretch, Borracho, Earthride & More to Play

Posted in Whathaveyou on October 31st, 2016 by H.P. Taskmaster

Maryland Doom Fest 2017 has announced its initial lineup, with legendary classic heavy rockers Captain Beyond in the top spot and performances confirmed from The SkullBorracho, BangLo-Pan, Apostle of Solitude, Beezlefuzz, Wretch, The Atomic Bitchwax, The Well and many, many more. The third iteration of MDDF is set for June 23-25 at Cafe 611 in scenic downtown Frederick, MD — that’s not sarcasm; Frederick’s actually pretty nice these days — and as someone who was fortunate enough to attend the second fest earlier this year (reviews here), and who still considers himself fortunate to have been there even though I couldn’t stand up, my camera broke and the trip cost an extra $900 in auto repair and required an extra trip to MD to pick up said car the next weekend (that same car died the day of this site’s all-dayer, by the way), I’m gonna just tell you outright it’s a good time.

The 2016 lineup gave the Eastern Seaboard’s longest-running doom scene its due and began to step outside those geographic confines a bit as well, bringing in acts like Mos Generator and Atala from the West Coast, Hollow Leg up from Florida, Wizard Eye down from Philly, and so on.

In 2017, organizers JB Matson (also War Injun) and Mark Cruikshank once again up the Maryland Doom Fest‘s stakes, including a pre-show the night before with the Sweet Heat, BeastmakerPilgrimValkyrieWeed is Weed and Spillage. One has to imagine there will be some shifts between now and next June, but the initial lineup announcement has been made for MDDF17, and you’ll find it below, accompanied by this year’s poster. I hope to make it back down, and I hope to rent a car to get there.

Mark your calendar for doom:

maryland-doom-fest-2017-poster

The Maryland Doom Fest 2017

June 23, 2017 – June 25, 2017

Cafe 611
611 N Market St, Frederick, Maryland 21701

Captain Beyond
Borracho
Lo-Pan
Weed is Weed
Apostle of Solitude
Earthride
Beelzefuzz
Wretch
Demon Eye
Brimstone Coven
Black Manta
Sierra
The Skull
BANG!
Wo Fat
Lightning Born
The Watchers
Hollow Leg
Iron Man
Dark Music Theory
War Injun
Thonian Horde
Witches of God
Black Tar Prophet
Conclave
The Atomic Bitchwax
Serpents of Secrecy
The Well
Lifetime Shitlist
Cavern
Burn Thee Insects
Faith In Jane
Akris
Old Blood
Horehound
Place of Skulls
Valkyrie
Spillage
Beastmaker
Sweet Heat
Pilgrim

https://www.facebook.com/The-maryland-DOOM-Fest-815331421863100/
https://www.facebook.com/events/1794418777500202/
http://www.themarylanddoomfest.com/

The Obsessed, Live at Maryland Doom Fest 2016

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Clutch Announce Vinyl Repress for La Curandera Compilation

Posted in Whathaveyou on October 11th, 2016 by H.P. Taskmaster

As Clutch continue their tour in support of last year’s Psychic Warfare (review here), the stalwart Maryland four-piece has announced a vinyl repress for their 2015 compilation La Curandera. The LP, which takes its name from a track from the band’s 2004 landmark outing, Blast Tyrant — their first collaboration with producer Machine, with whom they’ve now worked three times — first came out last year on a pink platter to help promote Breast Cancer Awareness Month, and features songs highlighting strong women characters from throughout Clutch‘s catalog.

The repress is available now, as the PR wire informs:

clutch-la-curandera

CLUTCH RELEASE COMPILATION ALBUM “LA CURANDERA” ON BLACK VINYL

Clutch has just released its compilation album La Curandera on black vinyl today. La Curandera was originally released on Sept. 29, 2015 in a limited, pink vinyl edition for RED’s Ten Bands One Cause campaign to celebrate breast cancer awareness month. Due to continued demand, Weathermaker Music decided to re-release this album at this time on black vinyl.

La Curandera is a compilation of 8 tracks from Clutch’s vast catalog of songs.

“The track listing features characters that can only be described as formidable female protagonists” states front man Neil Fallon. “And to put this project over the top we are lucky to have the cooperation of world renowned illustrator Becky Cloonan who created brand new artwork fitting this cause.”

Tracklisting
Side A
Track 1 Cypress Grove
Track 2 La Curandera
Track 3 Black Umbrella
Track 4 Struck Down
Side B
Track 5 Cyborg Bette
Track 6 Night Hag
Track 7 Oh, Isabella
Track 8 The Dragonfly (live)

Clutch continues their Psychic Warfare World Tour 2016. The band are headlining tour dates this month with Zakk Sabbath and Los Angeles based metal band Kyng. Including 2 festival appearances, the trek continues tonight in Raleigh, NC at Lincoln Theater Street Stage and conclude in Worcester, MA at The Palladium on October 30th.

Clutch Tour Dates
Clutch, Zakk Sabbath, Kyng 2016 Tour Dates:
10/11 – Oklahoma City, OK @ Diamond Ballroom
10/12 – Albuquerque, NM @ Sunshine Theater
10/14 – Los Angeles, CA @ The Novo
10/15 – Las Vegas, NV @ Brooklyn Bowl
10/16 – San Francisco, CA @ The Regency Ballroom
10/18 – Boulder, CO @ Boulder Theater
10/20 – Kansas City, MO @ Uptown Theater
10/21 – Minneapolis, MN @ First Avenue
10/22 – Sioux City, IA @ Anthem at Hard Rock Hotel & Casino
10/24 – Columbia, MO @ The Blue Note ** NO Zakk Sabbath
10/25 – Chicago, IL @ House of Blues
10/27 – Madison, WI @ Orpheum Theater
10/28 – Detroit, MI @ The Fillmore
10/29 – Clifton Park, NY @Upstate Concert Hall
10/30 – Worcester, MA @ The Palladium

CLUTCH:
Neil Fallon – Vocals/Guitar
Tim Sult – Guitar
Dan Maines – Bass
Jean-Paul Gaster – Drums/Percussion

www.facebook.com/clutchband
www.instagram.com/clutchofficial
www.twitter.com/clutchofficial
www.pro-rock.com
www.youtube.com/user/officialclutch

Clutch, “La Curandera”

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Clutch Announce Vinyl Release for Full Fathom Five

Posted in Whathaveyou on September 23rd, 2016 by H.P. Taskmaster

I’m honestly kind of surprised Clutch fans hadn’t already beat the band’s collective door down in order to secure a vinyl release for Full Fathom Five. Or maybe they did, figuratively speaking of course, and that’s why they’re finally doing one some eight years after the original CD/DVD came out, but either way, as the Maryland kings of groove head out once again on their Who-Needs-a-Personal-Life forever-tour (name unofficial), they’ll be taking the first LP copies of Full Fathom Five along for the trip. It’s very, very hard to imagine that many will make it back, if any do at all.

The shows run for just over a month — because of course they do — also feature Zakk Sabbath and Kyng and kickoff in Buffalo, New York, on Sept. 28. If you’re down, the PR wire offers the following:

clutch-full-fathom-five

CLUTCH RELEASE FIRST EVER WEATHERMAKER MUSIC RELEASE “FULL FATHOM FIVE” ON VINYL

Clutch has just released Full Fathom Five on vinyl. Full Fathom Five was Clutch’s first ever release on its own label Weathermaker Music. Released in 2008, it was originally presented on CD (Audio Field Recordings) and DVD (Video Field Recordings). Now it is being released in a double vinyl gatefold format that includes unreleased bonus tracks from the same live shows that previously did not make the original release the first time around.

“The tracks on Full Fathom Five were recorded in the fall of 2007 and the spring of 2008 during Clutch’s From Beale Street to Oblivion tour” states frontman Neil Fallon. “These 19 tracks, recorded in Sydney, New Jersey, Colorado, and Pennsylvania, are typical of our set lists at that time. Naturally, there are a lot of tracks from FBSTO, but there are also tracks from Robot Hive / Exodus, Blast Tyrant, Elephant Riders, and the Self-Titled LP, Clutch. It’s a bit of a snapshot of where we were nearly ten years ago. Clutch has a reputation for being a relentless touring band. I suppose we are. But really, it’s the fans that pack clubs time and time again that make it all possible. We are stoked to have Full Fathom Five available now on vinyl.”

Clutch continues their Psychic Warfare World Tour 2016. The band will be headlining tour dates in September and October with Zakk Sabbath and Los Angeles based metal band Kyng. Including 2 festival appearances, the trek will begin in Buffalo, NY at the The Town Ballroom on September 28th and conclude in Worcester, MA at The Palladium on October 30th.

Psychic Warfare is the latest and eleventh studio effort from Clutch. The disc debuted at No. 11 on the Billboard 200, No. 2 on the Billboard Independent, No. 1 on the Billboard Hard Rock and Billboard Rock charts. On Record Store Day this past April 16th Clutch released a limited edition numbered etched vinyl 12 inch that included two previously unreleased tracks from the Psychic Warfare sessions: “Mad Sidewinder” and “Outland Special Clearance”. Psychic Warfare was produced by longtime producer Machine (Lamb Of God, Every Time I Die).

Clutch, Zakk Sabbath, Kyng 2016 Tour Dates:
09/28 – Buffalo, NY @ The Town Ballroom
09/30 – Lakewood, NJ @ First Energy Park – Rock Carnival *
10/01 – Pittsburgh, PA @ Stage AE
10/02 – Louisville, KY @ Champions Park – Louder Than Life *
10/04 – Lake Buena Vista, FL @ House of Blues
10/05 – Atlanta, GA @ The Buckhead Theatre
10/07 – Raleigh, NC @ Lincoln Theatre Street Stage
10/08 – Columbus, OH @ Express Live
10/10 – Little Rock, AR @ Metroplex
10/11 – Oklahoma City, OK @ Diamond Ballroom
10/12 – Albuquerque, NM @ Sunshine Theater
10/14 – Los Angeles, CA @ The Novo
10/15 – Las Vegas, NV @ Brooklyn Bowl
10/16 – San Francisco, CA @ The Regency Ballroom
10/18 – Boulder, CO @ Boulder Theater
10/20 – Kansas City, MO @ Uptown Theater
10/21 – Minneapolis, MN @ First Avenue
10/22 – Sioux City, IA @ Anthem at Hard Rock Hotel & Casino
10/24 – Columbia, MO @ The Blue Note ** NO Zakk Sabbath
10/25 – Chicago, IL @ House of Blues
10/27 – Madison, WI @ Orpheum Theater
10/28 – Detroit, MI @ The Fillmore
10/29 – Clifton Park, NY @Upstate Concert Hall
10/30 – Worcester, MA @ The Palladium
* festival appearance

CLUTCH:
Neil Fallon – Vocals/Guitar
Tim Sult – Guitar
Dan Maines – Bass
Jean-Paul Gaster – Drums/Percussion

www.facebook.com/clutchband
www.instagram.com/clutchofficial
www.twitter.com/clutchofficial
www.pro-rock.com
www.youtube.com/user/officialclutch

Clutch, “The Mob Goes Wild” live at Starland Ballroom”

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Thought Eater & Iron Jawed Guru to Release Vortex 6 Split Oct. 21; Stream New Tracks

Posted in audiObelisk, Whathaveyou on September 13th, 2016 by H.P. Taskmaster

Grimoire Records has set an Oct. 21 release date for a new split titled Vortex 6 from instrumental outfits Thought Eater and Iron Jawed Guru. Each band will present four tracks recorded, as all of Grimoire‘s releases are, by label honcho Noel Mueller, and each band has tied their tracks to a theme born out of classic cult sci-fi. I’m not sure if I’m supposed to say what movies in particular, so I won’t give anything away.

In the case of Baltimore trio Thought Eater, this split marks their first outing and finds them somewhere between more aggressive chug and engaging depth of tone. They lead off on the first half and provide a tight but still grooving approach, their “Crushing Metaphysical Crisis” shifting easily from semi-blastbeats into more open fluidity and demonstrating a clear lack of respect for the boundaries of genre.

You might recall West Virginia’s Iron Jawed Guru offered up their debut EP, Mata Hari (review here) through Grimoire in the early hours of 2016. Relatively quick though it was, their straightforward approach to Appalachian-style riffy instrumentalism left an impression for sure, and here the duo tease a bit of melody in in their sound, showcasing early growth as they move forward.

Right now, if you play your cards right — and by that I mean click the player below — you can stream premieres of “Crystal Maze” from Thought Eater and “Emerald Seer” from Iron Jawed Guru.

Preorders for Vortex 6 are up as of today from Grimoire, who also had the following:

thought-eater-iron-jawed-guru-vortex-6-cover

Thought Eater / Iron Jawed Guru split “Vortex 6” – 10/21/16 Grimoire Records

Side A:

Thought Eater is a brand new 3-piece instrumental band from Baltimore, MD, featuring a 12-string bass through a big muff. This monstrosity is a standard bass with 3 of everything, producing a bizarre double-vision effect on every note. Uniquely hypnotic High on Fire riffs are woven into angular odd-time compositions reminiscent of Intronaut and Zebulon Pike.

Douglas Griffith – guitar
Darin Tambascio – bass guitar
Bobby Murray – drums

Side B:

Iron Jawed Guru, an instrumental power duo from West Virginia, is back with their second Grimoire release of 2016. True to Mata Hari form, epic compositions reminiscent of Kyuss and Russian Circles. They too employ a novel technique to thicken up their sound, running their guitar through an array of different amps and octavers to create a mammoth wall of sound with a paradoxically clean edge.

Roy Brewer – Drums
Mike Lorenzen – Other Noises

The release date for “Vortex 6” is 10/21/16 on CD and digital download through Grimoire Records. Pre-orders are available here:
https://grimoirerecords.bandcamp.com/album/vortex-6

https://www.facebook.com/IJGrock/
https://www.facebook.com/thoughteaterband
https://www.facebook.com/GrimoireRecords/

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Darsombra, Polyvision: Dronenlightenment (Plus Full Album Stream)

Posted in audiObelisk, Reviews on August 25th, 2016 by H.P. Taskmaster

darsombra polyvision

[Click play above to stream Darsombra’s Polyvision in full. Album is out Sept. 9 on Translation Loss.]

Last year, Baltimorean experimentalist duo Darsombra went on tour. Pretty much for the whole year. They played well over 100 shows on what they dubbed the “Three Legged Monster” tour — it took place over the course of three separate legs — and they played plenty of other shows besides. That nomadic existence seems to feed into the sense of revelry and freedom that one finds in listening to Polyvision, the two-piece’s latest studio full-length for Translation Loss Records and first since 2012’s Climax Community. Or at least that’s easy enough to read into the outing’s two extended, multi-movement component tracks, “Underworld” (21:45) and “From Insects… to Aliens (The Worms Turn)” (22:31).

Guitarist/keyboardist Brian Daniloski and keyboardist/vocalist/visual effects creator Ann Everton bring a clear sense of composition to both pieces, but there’s an undercurrent of improvisation atop which the building layers of samples, loops, synth and effects create their swirl, and where so much of drone/noise is hell-bent on post-apocalyptic desolation, the creation of all-gray spaces, Darsombra offer a full spectrum of sonic color across Polyvision. Moreover, there are moments where they sound truly and genuinely playful in what they do, Daniloski‘s guitar or the keys winding around celebratory figures in one track or the other, bringing about a spontaneous feeling moment of arrival — “We’re here now and isn’t it great here?” — that also would seem to fit with the presented-as-being-completely-on-a-whim turn to nomadic living that the band made in 2015. Have drone, will travel, will be glad to end up wherever.

That’s a simplification of the mindset, obviously, but the underlying point is that Polyvision feels unafraid to embrace joy as it moves through its complex and ritualized-feeling soundscapes. Not that it doesn’t also have its foreboding stretches, as any even vaguely drone release with a low tone will — soundtracks have conditioned us to hear things a certain way, even subconsciously — but though its two titles are somewhat dark in their themes, with the creepy vibe and strangeness of the construction of “From Insects… to Aliens (The Worms Turn)” and an “Underworld” traditionally being a place not known for its pleasant afternoons, it’s not long into Polyvision before Daniloski and Everton are exploring colorful, rich textures.

darsombra

It’s still fair to call Darsombra instrumental, but vocals do play a large role in setting the vibe, and that happens relatively quickly in the first movement of “Underworld”; voices almost choral loop in with undulating volume swells, fading in and out again, moving toward an end just before the five-minute mark where all goes quiet before the next wave starts with what seems to be both their voices leading to the establishing of a slow, patient rhythmic guitar figure around which the keys and a brightly progressive and extended guitar lead unfold. It’s here, making its way toward and past the midpoint of “Underworld” that Polyvision first and perhaps most effectively conveys the joy at root in its creation. It finds itself in a bouncing, almost child-like section of fuzzed-out keys and guitar — still with that original rhythm beneath; it doesn’t leave just yet — that receives due exploration before giving way to rolling waves, which is how “Underworld” ends. At the ocean. I’d assume that’s a field recording from the band, rather than a keyboard sample, but never fully knows. In either case, it’s hypnotic and signifies the kind of perpetualness Darsombra are looking to convey in their material as well as a peaceful moment to collect oneself before moving onto the second, longer track.

“From Insects… to Aliens (The Worms Turn)” finds itself building layers of proggy guitar, more active, more intense, with washes of cymbal added for effect in the first couple minutes. A swirling solo takes hold and winds its way into another seemingly simplistic progression around eight minutes in, but it gives way to lower rumbling undertones, if only momentarily before the guitar surges forward again. Though only part of Darsombra‘s broad approach, Daniloski‘s lead work isn’t to be undervalued. Aside from being technically proficient, it brings a rare spontaneity to what might commonly be thought of as a drone or noise record, neither of which is a style known for working off the cuff, adding to the atmosphere of positivity and basking in the spirit of an apparently ceaseless creative drive. Just past 15 minutes, Everton begins a vocal loop that is ultimately the introduction to the final movement of “From Insects… to Aliens (The Worms Turn)” and after a final crash of guitar, she’s backed by noise that indeed sounds like and may or may not be bugs, like crickets at night something from the forest.

That Darsombra would choose to end both of Polyvision‘s cuts with nature sounds — granted in the closer the human voice is still more prominent in its long fadeout — and one can’t help but wonder in light of the album’s title if the band isn’t trying to see multiple sides, and trying to show their audience multiple sides, of how humans interact with the world around them. Of course that’s speculation on my part, but if you take anything from it, take it as a sign of the depth of the evocation that the duo enact over the course of the album’s 44 minutes. If what they gleaned from those 100-plus days on the road together are the lessons they seem to be teaching here, then their time was well spent.

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