Review & Track Premiere: Summoner, Beyond the Realm of Light

Posted in audiObelisk, Reviews on April 27th, 2017 by JJ Koczan

Summoner-Beyond-the-Realm-of-Light

[Click play above to stream ‘Into Oblivion’ from Summoner’s Beyond the Realm of Light. Album is out May 12 on Magnetic Eye Records.]

As they approach a decade of making music together, Boston four-piece Summoner bring forth the album which all that time seems to have been building toward. One can quibble on the “decade” figure depending on when they got going under their original moniker, Riff Cannon, but what’s undeniable is the mindful songcraft and crisp delivery across the two sides of Beyond the Realm of Light, released on Magnetic Eye Records as their third full-length. The basic elements at play aren’t all that different from what Summoner offered on 2013’s Atlantian (discussed here) or even their 2012 debut, Phoenix, but from the patience they bring to the post-rock textures early in “Skies of the Unknown” to the crushing roll in the apex of their near-eight-minute title-track, there’s a mature sensibility underlying this material that steers itself away from self-indulgence.

Instead, what bassist/vocalist Chris Johnson, guitarists A.J. Peters and Joe Richner and drummer Scott Smith conjure is a dynamic and efficient six-song/32-minute run that never stagnates and never overwhelms the listener with its technicality — though, as ever, Summoner tear it up; check the solo in “Into Oblivion” to confirm — at the cost of the impact either of a given track or the record as a whole. They pull together a brisk full-album flow that’s not overthought or hyper-cerebral, and while some will hear the initial vocal melody of opener “New Sun” and the subsequent “The Huntress” and compare them to Elder for their locality and proggy bent, Summoner emerge from Beyond the Realm of Light as their own entity driven by their own motivations toward their own ends.

That in itself is significant, as is the fact that Beyond the Realm of Light arrives four years after Atlantian, which itself came only one year after their debut. Summoner have played shows all the while, and no doubt a good portion of “real life” happens in a four-year stretch as well, but as “New Sun” and “The Huntress” unfold the okay-are-we-all-here-good-let’s-do-this-thing beginning of the album, the band displays a growth in their songwriting that simply can’t be faked. At four and five minutes, respectively, the opening duo are a pivotal introduction — not to mention a third of the tracklist, which is only six songs, remember — to where Summoner are at this stage in their tenure, and though they’re energetic and given to a thrust that’s long been present in their sound, the band themselves don’t actually sound hurried or like they’re in anything but total control of their direction.

In the sphere of modern progressive heavy rock, post-Baronesstodon, that’s important, but more so is the balance with which Summoner execute their prog influence, and the rocking start of “New Sun” and “The Huntress” leading into the longer, grander title-track is essential in establishing that. It affects the whole album following, so that when they do begin to unroll “Beyond the Realm of Light” itself, with its measured drum march, far-back echoing clean-sung verse and stomping largesse, the effect is that the palette is gracefully expanded rather than haphazardly thrown together. Summoner push further, and further still as “Beyond the Realm of Light” digs into a quick atmospheric midsection before resuming its roll toward a piano-topped apex and subsequent ambient epilogue, but because they’ve shown such mastery of their songwriting up to this point, there’s no question about the listener being able to follow them on the drifting fadeout that ends the record’s first half.

summoner

If there’s a narrative at work in Beyond the Realm of Light, one finds it growing richer on side B along with the band’s sound, a resolution perhaps in the melodic hook of “The Emptiness,” the multifaceted push of “Skies of the Unknown” and aforementioned bring-it-all-full-circle closer “Into Oblivion” that complements and builds on what the band accomplished with “New Sun,” “The Huntress,” and the title-track. One doesn’t want to speculate on their methodology in piecing the record together, but part of the front-to-back flow that proves so resonant across this still-brief span is a perceptible deepening of the exploration side A began.

To wit, “The Emptiness” is short at just over four minutes, but offers one of Beyond the Realm of Light‘s most engaging moments in its chorus, and the longer “Skies of the Unknown” seems to answer the title-track’s purposes with the winding course of its own, led as ever by the guitars through purposeful shifts in tempo and texture through its 6:42 that draw together the nuance thus far displayed and at about 4:30 in align them toward the solo crescendo of the album as a whole, which pulls back to the NWOBHM-style gallop and hook to finish ahead of the introductory crash of “Into Oblivion,” continuing the momentum with fist-raising righteousness. A last forward shove in “Into Oblivion” makes a fitting way to tie Beyond the Realm of Light together, but even this is just a part of the overarching and more complex trajectory Summoner have set for themselves.

Accordingly, when they hit into the last solo and around again through one last verse and chorus before a somewhat sudden, thudding stop, the sense of determination isn’t lost. It’s not that Summoner couldn’t say more or couldn’t keep going — Atlantian was 43 minutes, Phoenix 49 — but that they’ve come to know what best serves the purposes of the outing’s entirety, and the length of Beyond the Realm of Light becomes another aspect emblematic of that; less immediate than the progress they’ve made in songwriting or honing a flow between a given song’s parts and between the songs themselves, certainly, but important nonetheless. On the whole, Beyond the Realm of Light finds Summoner a more grounded, more engaging band than they’ve ever been, but among the most encouraging signals it sends is that even as they enter this new stage of their time together, they show no signs of slowing their creative development, and it is ultimately that will toward growth that defines them.

Summoner on Thee Facebooks

Summoner on Bandcamp

Magnetic Eye Records on Bandcamp

Magnetic Eye Records webstore

Tags: , , , , ,

Roadburn 2017 Trip, Pt. 1: Dos Soles

Posted in Features on April 18th, 2017 by JJ Koczan

logan airport terminal b gates 1-3

04.18.17 – 3:06PM Eastern – Tuesday – Logan Airport Terminal B Gate 2, Boston

This portion of Logan Airport is so kicked to shit it’s almost retro. It’s like a dive. You could set up a “stage” in the corner, find a ratty couch for the other side of the room, get a half-busted P.A. and six local openers and put on every Tuesday-night show Boston has ever known. Plus it starts at 10PM.

Seriously. On my way into the terminal, checking in, the TSA agent warned me. He said there’s nothing in here. Just a snack bar and some chairs. He was not kidding, though I’m not sure I’d go as far as “snack bar.” I’m not really one to take advantage of airport amenities anyhow, but it smells like old-person fart in here and even the good folk of Air Canada working in this tucked-away corner of what purports to be a major international hub seem to know they’ve gotten the shaft. Like Boston took “Blame Canada” to heart in doling out what airline gets what gates.

I’m already nervous about flying. I’m already nervous about missing my flight home, plotting staying up all night and hiring a car to take me the 80-minute trip from the hotel in Tilburg to Schiphol Airport in Amsterdam on Monday morning. Thinking about what I’m going to have for dinner when I get back Monday evening. I haven’t even left yet.

Last night, incidentally, I had a grilled chicken caesar salad (no croutons) from the pizza place down the way — they do the best one in the area; rest assured I’ve fucking had them all — and a peanut butter-flavored protein shake for dessert that The Patient Mrs. was kind enough to make earlier and stick in the freezer for me. So if I die in a maple leaf-branded tin can on my way to the connecting flight in Toronto that will take me to Amsterdam, at least know that I enjoyed the living shit out of my last proper meal. Really. That’s a good salad. Another one is in major contention for when I return on Monday.

Oh yeah, and in between now and then? Roadburn 2017. This is my ninth time making this trip, and so much of this anxiety in which I’m presently boiling feels like ritual. I have a two-hour layover in Toronto, which is good because the plane is already delayed getting here — it wasn’t due to come in for another hour, now another 85 minutes, soon to be another two hours I’m sure — then on to Amsterdam and out to Tilburg hopefully getting there tomorrow afternoon in time to catch an hour or two of sleep before the start tomorrow night of the Hard Rock Hideout.

We’ll see how long my sunglasses last this year — they didn’t make it from the airport in 2016 — and we’ll see how crazy I get by Friday afternoon in general, but whatever. This thing is happening. I’m going to Roadburn.

If there is one advantage to having done this so many times at this point — aside from already knowing I’m going to be late for that flight back, rather than having it be a surprise on any level — it’s that I know precisely how lucky I am to be in this position. As crowded as Tilburg is going to be over the course of the next couple days, there will be even more people around the world who wish they could be there who can’t. I am incredibly, deeply fortunate to be making this trip. There hasn’t been a year since 2009 that Roadburn was not my musical highlight. I expect 2017 will be no different when I look back on it in December. One is rarely tempted to use words like “blessing” and “blessed.”

For the rest of this week and this weekend, I’ll be covering as much of Roadburn 2017 as much as I’m able. No one person — no 10 people — can see the festival in its entirety, but I am going to do everything I can to both enjoy myself and take in as much of it as possible. Because, god damn, right down to a spiritual level, I fucking need this. This trip is how I get right. How my head comes together. And as I’ve done nothing but wilt and fret for the last three months, I’m very much looking forward to a little bit of restoration for my general state of being. At least a little.

Did I mention I got effectively laid off last week? Yeah. My employment contract runs out in June. Made me feel way less guilty about taking this time off, I’ll say. But even with impending disenfranchisement hanging over, I want to get out of my own head for a couple days, and Roadburn — this magical fucking place that I’m so, so, so fortunate to be going — is where that happens. I know exactly how lucky I am.

I have a couple other posts going up tomorrow as well, but stay tuned for more and thanks in advance for reading if you get the chance.

The Roadburn 2017 coverage starts now.
 

Tags: , ,

Sea Premiere “Breathe” Video; Touring East Coast with KYOTY

Posted in Bootleg Theater on April 13th, 2017 by JJ Koczan

sea in berlin

Even before you get down to the repeated lyrics ‘No hope/No future’ in SEA‘s inclusion on their new split cassette with KYOTY, a strong dystopian current runs throughout the release. Offering up the track and welcome reminder “Breathe,” the Boston-based double-guitar four-piece made a first incursion onto European shores for a tour last summer alongside Weedwolf from Germany, and the new split with KYOTY — released on awesome-looking, limited-to-100-copies-only tapes by Deafening Assembly — follows suit from that run in that the two bands will also be hitting the road together. It’s a quicker run along the East Coast starting in Boston on April 15, but it brings together the like-minded Massachusetts and New Hampshire outfits in a way that, as the cassette also shows, finds them complementing each other exceedingly well.

KYOTY‘s inclusion is the 10-minute “L,” which begins with creeping ambience before an airy guitar line arrives as the first inhabitant of the space created. It’s desolate, but evocative as a preface for the crush that soon emerges, and the progressive play between experimentalist atmospherics and a fully-weighted post-metallic assault is immersive, patient, and later, effective in its transition to more extreme fare that the trio of Rob Brown, Nick Filth and Nathaniel Parker Raymond rear back and loose at around seven minutes in, on the way — of course — to a wash of noise that’s manipulated to their purposes as they close out. The underlying story of “L” is one of control and the handle KYOTY are able to keep on what they’re doing, andkyoty as SEA undulate between abrasion and melody, harsher and cleaner sonic terrain, control is the thread that ultimately unites the two bands most of all.

“Breathe” follows the single “Return” (posted here) from the aforementioned Weedwolf split, and embarks on a similarly dynamic vision of post-metal. SEA started out with a self-titled demo EP (review here) in 2015 and showed an immediate predilection for the early work of Isis or some of Neurosis‘ rawer moments, and though they’ve been — let’s say — deliberate in making their way toward an initial full-length, the scope they demonstrate as “Breathe” spreads out across its eight minutes only offers further proof of how ready they are to take that step. Bassist/vocalist Stephen LoVerme (Olde Growth), guitarists Liz Walshak (ex-Rozamov) and Mike Blasi and drummer Andrew Muro not only have a clear vision of what they want the track to do, but they’re able to convey this sense of defeat and explore an emotionally grueling sensibility without actually alienating their listener.

The aforementioned lyrics, “No hope/No future,” are mirrored toward the end of the track by “Red sun/Glowing/Burning up,” and I’m not sure if the effect is to convey a sense of hope or final casualty — or if it needs to be one or the other, for that matter — but the feeling of culmination is palpable all the same without being overly theatrical, melodramatic or pretentious. As it builds off of KYOTY‘s ambience on side 1, it draws its audience further into a void in the creation of which we would all seem to be implicated.

You can check out the premiere of the Treebeard Media video for SEA‘s “Breathe” below, followed by the SEA and KYOTY tour dates. I’ve also included the Bandcamp stream of the whole tape at the bottom of the post.

Hope you enjoy:

Sea, “Breathe” official video

sea kyoty tour

The video for “Breathe” visually evokes the bleakness and rawness of the music, as well as the lyrical sense of hopelessness and despair confronting our civilization. Washed out, degraded film footage of industrial pollution, gas masks, respirators, duck and cover drills, chemical weapons tests, and the destruction wrought by nuclear weapons paints a grim portrait of a civilization on course for self-assured annihilation.

SEA Tour dates with KYOTY
4/15 – Boston, MA @ Democracy Center w/ Courage Cloak, Big Mess
4/18 – Philadelphia, PA @ Blackhouse w/ Supine, False Gods, Landstryder
4/19 – Washington DC @ Slash Run w/ Foehammer, At the Graves
4/20 – Richmond, VA @ Hell’s Door w/ Listless, Gemtone
4/21 – Frederick, MD @ Guido’s Speakeasy w/ The Mostly Dead, Cheshi, My Friday Anthem

Bandcamp link for split: http://deafeningassembly.com/album/kyoty-sea-split

Available April 15 from Deafening Assembly.

SEA are:
Vocals/Bass – Steve LoVerme
Guitars – Mike Blasi
Guitars – Liz Walshak
Drums – Andrew Muro

KYOTY & SEA, Split (2017)

Sea on Thee Facebooks

Sea on Bandcamp

Sea on YouTube

Deafening Assembly on Bandcamp

KYOTY on Thee Facebooks

Deafening Assembly on Thee Faceboks

Tags: , , , , ,

Cortez Announce New Drummer; The Depths Below Due in June

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

Man, Cortez must be losing their minds to get this record out. Already last fall when the Boston-based outfit were announced as picked up by Salt of the Earth Records for the release, it was almost a year old, and well, it’s not like time has moved backward since then. We’re half a decade removed from their 2012 self-titled (review here), and in the interim, the band has only continued to push ahead, adding guitarist Alasdair Swan and now drummer Alexei Rodriguez (ex-Prong, 3 Inches of Blood) to the lineup with guitarist Scott O’Dowd, bassist Jay Furlo and vocalist Matt Harrington.

Time for The Depths Below to come out? Yeah, I’d say so. In welcoming Rodriguez to the group, they give a tentative June release date for the new offering, which they’ll reportedly tease with an advance track next month. The sooner the better all around, quite frankly.

More to come on this one, but yeah, I’d think as much as anyone is anticipating this thing being realized, the band must be pretty high on that list.

From the PR wire:

cortez

Cortez would like to officially announce the addition of our new drummer, Alexei Rodriguez. Alexei comes to us with vast experience – having played drums in such bands as Catharsis, Prong, 3 Inches Of Blood, among others. We are extremely excited about the future of Cortez and can’t wait to start recording new material. Alexei’s live debut with Cortez will be on May 20, 2017 at the 13th Floor Music Lounge in Florence, MA.

Cortez’ new album The Depths Below will be released in June on Salt Of the Earth Records. In anticipation of the album’s release, we will release a digital single of the song “Walk Through Fire” in May.

Cortez is:

Matt Harrington – vocals
Scott O’Dowd – guitar
Alasdair Swan – guitar
Jay Furlo – bass
Alexei Rodriguez – drums

https://www.facebook.com/cortezboston
http://www.cortezboston.com/
http://cortezboston.bandcamp.com/
http://www.twitter.com/cortezboston
http://saltoftheearthrecords.com/
https://www.facebook.com/SaltOfTheEarthRec

Cortez, The Depths Below teaser

Tags: , , , , ,

Summoner to Release Beyond the Realm of Light May 12

Posted in Whathaveyou on April 7th, 2017 by JJ Koczan

summoner

Massachusetts-based progressive heavy rockers Summoner have posted an album trailer for their upcoming third full-length, Beyond the Realm of Light. It’s less than a minute long, and I’m not sure which of the forthcoming outing’s tracks it features, but it seems to have an immediately more straightforward attack than did their last offering, 2013’s Atlantian (discussed here), which has sold through more vinyl pressings than I can even count at this point.

Dudes made an impression with that record for sure, and with Beyond the Realm of Light set to release on May 12 through Magnetic Eye Records — which will also feature the band on its upcoming Pink Floyd tribute, The Wall [Redux] (info here) — they seem poised to do likewise once more. To wit, they’ll be at Psycho Las Vegas in August, and they’ve got their own beer coming as well from Oliver Brewing. Doube IPA. Heady stuff.

I’ll hope to have more to come on this one as we get closer to the release, but in the meantime, the PR wire brings the Samantha Muljat cover art, the album details, and the aforementioned trailer, all of which rounds out to this:

summoner-beyond-the-realm-of-light

SUMMONER to Release New Album, ‘Beyond the Realm of Light’, May 12

Boston, MA hard rock foursome SUMMONER will release its new album, Beyond the Realm of Light, on May 12 via Magnetic Eye Records. Recorded at Q Division Studios (Pixies, Converge), produced by the band and mastered by Dave Shirk (Soilent Green, Pentagram), the LP fuses 70’s proto-metal, guitar rock and cosmic psych into a driving, six song testament to the power of the riff. Beyond the Realm of Light is the follow-up to SUMMONER’s 2013 full-length, Atlantian, hailed as, “heavy, psychedelic metal with a progressive edge.” Artwork for Beyond the Realm of Light was created by Samantha Muljat (Earth, Power Trip).

Featuring vocalist / bassist Chris Johnson (Doomriders, Deafheaven touring bassist), guitarist AJ Peters, drummer Scott Smith (Plagues) and guitarist Joe Richner (Plagues), SUMMONER formed in 2009 (as Riff Cannon). In the time since, the quartet has released two studio albums — 2012’s Phoenix and the aforementioned Atlantian — praised for their creative power and “riffs that Mastodon, Thin Lizzy, Torche would be proud to call their own”. The group’s live performances have been called “atmospheric and heavy, melodic and propulsive” and have seen SUMMONER perform alongside Cave In, Worshipper, Magic Circle and more.

On the strength of its live set, SUMMONER has been asked to perform at the 2017 Psycho Las Vegas Festival, set for August 18-20 at Sin City’s Hard Rock Hotel. For full details, visit this location.

Track listing:

1.) New Sun
2.) The Huntress
3.) Beyond the Realm of Light
4.) The Emptiness
5.) Skies of the Unknown
6.) Into Oblivion

Pre-order Beyond the Realm of Light at THIS location.

In additional news, Baltimore’s Oliver Brewing Company will release a limited edition “Beyond The Realm of Light” double IPA on May 13, in tribute to SUMMONER. The special beer is part of the breweries’ “Long Live Rock and Roll” double IPA series, released in collaboration with the bands and record labels that soundtrack its brewing process. Previous artists featured include Mothership and The Well. For more details, visit this location.

https://www.facebook.com/Summonerband/
https://summonerboston.bandcamp.com/
http://store.merhq.com/
http://magneticeyerecords.merchnow.com/

Summoner, Beyond the Realm of Light album trailer

Tags: , , , , ,

Elder Post Reflections of a Floating World Cover Art; Announce European Tour with King Buffalo

Posted in Whathaveyou on April 3rd, 2017 by JJ Koczan

elder

Is your calendar marked for June 2 yet? Do people still mark calendars? Am I the only one? Well, set a reminder or, I don’t know, get a preorder in or something, because June 2 is the release date for Elder‘s fourth album, Reflections of a Floating World, and I know that for a lot of you as well as for me, it’s a potential album of the year. The follow-up to 2015’s Lore (review here), it will be released by Armageddon Shop and Stickman Records, and to support it this summer, the four-piece have announced a stretch of European tour dates on which they’ll be supported by King Buffalo.

Hard to think of better company for King Buffalo on their first Euro run than their labelmates in Elder, who by now have moved themselves to the forefront of the American heavy sphere. This tour will find them at fests like Stoned from the Underground, Red Smoke, Bukta, Lake on Fire and SonicBlast, and they’ll come back to the US for a corresponding run in October — they also play Stumpfest in Oregon this month — as they support the record, for which the righteous Adrian Dexter cover art has newly been unveiled. You can check that out below, followed by the tour announcement, and the previously-posted album teaser Reflections of a Floating World.

From the social medias:

Elder-Reflections-of-a-Floating-World

ELDER – REFLECTIONS OF A FLOATING WORLD ALBUM ART / TOUR ANNOUNCEMENT!

We can’t wait any more to start rolling out some more news regarding the new album and upcoming tours so… we won’t.

Here is the cover for our upcoming album “Reflections of a Floating World”, handled by our resident visual magician Adrian Dexter, who again used album’s double LP format in a unique and beautiful way. We’ll reveal some more of his stunning work for the album and format details later.

To kick off the release, we will hit Europe for a tour in July/August, playing for the first time as a four-piece. We are happy to announce that labelmates King Buffalo will be joining us. They released their killer debut album “Orion” last year and we’re looking forward to their jams live.

A US tour is in the works for October, as well as some other tours being planned. Can’t wait to share the album with you all and see some new and old faces on the road soon.

Elder / King Buffalo European Tour 2017:
14.07.2017 GER – Erfurt, Stoned From The Underground
15.07.2017 PL – Pleszew, Red Smoke Festival
16.07.2017 GER – Hannover, Chez Heinz
17.07.2017 DK – Copenhagen, Pumpehuset
18.07.2017 TBA
20.07.2017 NOR – Tromsö, Bukta Festival
21.07.2017 NOR – Oslo, Blå
22.07.2017 NOR – Fekkefjord, Fjellparkfestivalen
24.07.2017 GER – Hamburg, Hafenklang
25.07.2017 GER – Wiesbaden, Schlachthof
26.07.2017 GER – Berlin, Lido
27.07.2017 NL – Nijmegen, Merleyn
28.07.2017 GER – Siegen, Vortex
29.07.2017 TBA
30.07.2017 F – Paris, Glazart
31.07.2017 GER – Munich, TBA
01.08.2017 I – Milan, Magnolia
02.08.2017 RUS – Moscow, Volta*
03.08.2017 RUS – St.Petersburg, MOD*
04.08.2017 A – Waldhausen, Lake On Fire Festival
05.08.2017 GER – Beelen, Krach Am Bach
06.08.2017 UK – Bristol, The Fleece
07.08.2017 UK – Edinburgh, Studio 24
08.08.2017 UK – Manchester, Soup Kitchen
09.08.2017 UK – London, Underworld
10.08.2017 UK – Bournemouth
11.08.2017 P – Moledo, Sonic Blast Festival*
* only Elder

http://facebook.com/elderofficial
http://stickman-records.com
http://armageddonshop.com

Elder, Reflections of a Floating World teaser

Tags: , , , , ,

Rozamov, This Mortal Road: Beating a Path

Posted in Reviews on March 2nd, 2017 by JJ Koczan

rozamov this mortal road

Consuming in its atmospheric darkness and vicious in intent, the debut album from Boston trio Rozamov arrives not without the ground suitably prepared. Actually, it’s been something of a wait. Founded in 2011 by the trio appearing here of guitarist/vocalist Matt Iacovelli (also piano), bassist/vocalist/noisemaker Tom Corino (also of Kind) and drummer Will Hendrix (since replaced by Jeff Landry), as well as guitarist Liz Walshak, they would quickly turn around two EPs, a self-titled and Of Gods and Flesh, in 2012 and 2013, offering heavy-toned crusher riffs with a thrashy edge and a nascent undertone of doom.

It didn’t seem unreasonable to think a full-length would follow soon after, but Rozamov took something of a turn at that point. They parted ways with Walshak (now in Sea) and undertook their first real stretch of touring. I don’t know what other work they were doing, but by the time 2015 came around and they released their cross-coastal split 7″ with L.A.’s Deathkings (review here), they were a different band. Still heavy, still nasty, but driven in a post-sludge direction in a new way and one that, excitingly, was more their own than what they’d shown on their earliest work. As their first long-player, This Mortal Road lands via Battleground Records and Dullest Records with five tracks/40 minutes that draw that line further out to a new point in their longer-term progression. It has been a while in the making, but it’s a pivotal declaration from Rozamov of who they are as a band, and it comes through loud and clear in these songs. Emphasis on loud.

With a recording and mix by Jon Taft at New Alliance Audio and mastering by Nick Z. at New Alliance East Mastering, This Mortal Road seethes with a particularly New England-style anger and intensity. It is bookended by its two longest pieces in the opening title-track (10:49) and closer “Inhumation” (11:29), and finds a sense of variety in switching between Iacovelli‘s shouts and cleaner, post-Oborn howls, and Corino‘s shouts, which particularly on the rolling second cut “Wind Scorpion” remind of Rwake‘s poetic extremity. There is precious little letup, as “This Mortal Road” makes plain at the outset, beginning almost like the listener got there late with an unfolding mid-paced intro that leads the way into the first verse, cleaner-sung than much of what will follow and thoroughly doomed.

At about three minutes in, the roll-and-rumble comes to a halt and they turn to a quieter but still tense stretch of guitar and either keys or guitar effects leading to an instrumental midsection that gradually, patiently, brings them around to the opener’s grueling, shouted apex, in which the full impact of their churn really begins to show itself, perhaps as a precursor to “Wind Scorpion,” which is marked out by Hendrix‘s tortured thud and the play between the bass — which, on a tonal level, feels like it might just bury us all — and the airier impulses of the guitar.

rozamov-photo-by_Reid_Haithcock

When they hit into a stop, as they do several times in the verse, I don’t care what speaker you’re listening on, it sounds like it’s about to blow. Vocals are shouted with a sense of the space in the room in which they were recorded, but not necessarily buried in the mix for effect, and as “Wind Scorpion” passes its midpoint, Corino and Iacovelli seem to come together on vocals in a moment of extra-righteous malevolence, transitioning into a slow-motion nod drawn to more resonant thudding and a plotted but effective layered-in lead that rounds out. They cap side A with a final chug that, in the context of the lurch and push before it, feels almost humorous in its understatement.

It’s important to note that while This Mortal Road is unquestionably structured to break into two sides, as mentioned above, the flow front-to-back is linear and the resulting full-album feel palpable. Listening digitally or on CD, there’s a quick stop between “Wind Scorpion” and the subsequent “Serpent Cult,” which brings back the clean vocals, but in their order as much as in how “Serpent Cult” feeds into the two-minute interlude “Swallowed and Lost” and that feeds into the finale, Rozamov do well in creating an immersive experience — think Steve Buscemi in a woodchipper, you children of the ’90s — across the presentation of the record as a whole, which is something that, as a newer and less mature outfit, they probably wouldn’t have been able to do.

“Serpent Cult” proves a worthy centerpiece of the tracklist as it oozes forth to execute its seven minutes of hellscaping, and though its instrumental aspects are thoroughly, persistently sludged, the shifts in vocal approach offer diversity both on their own and in relation to “Wind Scorpion” before it. Vague speech, either sampled or spoken, accompanies the piano of “Swallowed and Lost,” and the movement into “Inhumation” — a title that brings to mind some lost death metal band from either Florida or New York — comes via a brief foreboding drone. Fittingly enough, “Inhumation” is the darkest, most outwardly brutal inclusion on This Mortal Road, making its way toward a crawl in its second half that seems bent on tearing itself apart from about its seventh minute onward.

Noble, and I’m not sure how else Rozamov might’ve ended the album other than with the noise and feedback they do, but it follows a churning roll into the bleakest sphere the band has yet to occupy, as though they were forcibly willing themselves to be heavier, meaner, rawer. That impression, savage as it turns out to be in the actual listening experience, is another sign of how much they’ve grown, and while This Mortal Road was recorded over a span of months, the obvious efforts Rozamov have put into crafting their aesthetic with it can be heard in the overarching cohesiveness of purpose in the songs. In other words, it took a while for the band to realize This Mortal Road, but This Mortal Road seems to be all the more realized for that, and as their debut, it strikes with deceptive efficiency and poise. Is it possible for something so harsh to be progressive? One gets the sense that as Rozamov continue forward, they’re setting themselves up to pursue an answer.

Rozamov, This Mortal Road (2017)

Rozamov on Thee Facebooks

Rozamov on Bandcamp

Battleground Records website

Battleground Records on Thee Facebooks

Battleground Records webstore

Dullest Records on Bandcamp

Dullest Records on Thee Facebooks

Tags: , , , , , ,

Elder Post New Album Teaser; Reflections of a Floating World Due June 2

Posted in Bootleg Theater on February 21st, 2017 by JJ Koczan

elder-photo-Jamie-Gouger

What, you thought I wasn’t going to post the first audio to be made public from Elder‘s new album? What’s been titled Reflections of a Floating World and given a June 2 release date through Armageddon Shop and Stickman Records gets its first peak in the teaser clip below, along with some of the art by Adrian Dexter that, from what I saw when I was fortunate enough to be in the studio with the band back in December, will be something of a highlight in and of itself among 2017 outings. And then we get to the music. Kind of.

It’s only a little over a minute long, and much of that is given to a showcase of texture — that is to say, the Massachusetts three-turned-four-piece aren’t giving away all the goods their first time out — but from what I got to hear of Reflections of a Floating World, texture is actually going to be a big part of the progressive step forward they’re taking from 2015’s Lore (review here). Seems fair to expect a good amount of ambience this time around, and late in the clip below there’s just a little slice of their more rocking side, which never felt particularly likely to go away, particularly after the shimmering display of balance they put on with the last record.

Elder, who celebrate 10 years as a band in 2017, were recently confirmed for the Days of Darkness Festival this October in Baltimore (info here), and you’ll have to forgive my assumption that many more tour dates will be announced in the months ahead. The big question in my mind at this point is what Elder will ultimately do with all that momentum they had coming off Lore, and how much will 2017 be their moment? Can they capture that kind of lightning in a bottle twice? If anyone could…

Ponder it while you watch the clip below, and enjoy.

More to come:

Elder, Reflections of a Floating World teaser

Our new album is entitled “Reflections of a Floating World”. It will be released on June 2nd, 2017 via Stickman Records and Armageddon Shop.

Here’s a short teaser featuring a preview of some music and artwork by Adrian Dexter. We are looking forward to sharing more details including the full album art, track listing, tour dates and a full song with you soon!

Elder on Thee Facebooks

Stickman Records website

Armageddon Shop website

Tags: , , , , ,