Review & Track Premiere: Vinnum Sabbathi & Cegvera, The Good Earth is Dying Split

Posted in audiObelisk on November 8th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

vinnum sabbathi cegvera the good earth is dying split cover

[Click play above to hear the premieres of ‘Intermission (The Good Earth is Dying)’ and ‘Arrival/Colonia’ from Vinnum Sabbathi and Cegvera’s The Good Earth is Dying split. LP, CD and DL are released Dec. 10 on Stolen Body Records.]

For as long as humanity has been willing to acknowledge its existence — a substantially shorter amount of time than humanity has known about it — space has represented a reason to hope. The question of whether or not we’re alone in the universe — spoiler alert: nope — and whether we might someday wander among the stars has been a central fuel burnt by science and science-fiction alike. But nothing is apolitical, and with their new split release, Vinnum Sabbathi and Cegvera remind that at best, interplanetary exploration and even colonization can only be a temporary fix without real, substantive changes to what it means to be human. The five-track/33-minute The Good Earth is Dying paints a grim picture that only seems suitable when one looks at shifting weather patterns, melting permafrost, rising sea levels, floating garbage islands and dying coral reefs, and though there are no lyrics, in the titles of its instrumental pieces, the offering brings the two bands together to work around the common theme. A narrative arc is followed that takes human beings deeper into space than we’ve ever gone before, only to find, colonize and destroy yet another world, having learned nothing from the collapsing of earth’s ecosystem that caused us to leave in the first place.

Samples from NASA documentaries pervade Vinnum Sabbathi‘s “HEX VIII: The Malthusian Spectre,” and the transition with “Intermission (The Good Earth is Dying)” involves both bands before Cegvera — who also see Vinnum Sabbathi drummer Gerardo Arias move to guitar to play on their portion — get underway with “Arrival/Colonia,” before moving into “Depletion/Overshoot” and the inevitable-seeming “Collapse/Aftermath.” The ease with which the two lineups come together emphasizes a central characteristic of The Good Earth is Dying, which is just how much the two bands are working toward the same ends, toward telling the same story instrumentally. Granted, the Mexico City and Bristol, UK, outfits have their sonic disparities, with Vinnum Sabbathi centering more on crunching riffage and Cegvera shifting from sludge into most post-metallic fare, but this split was born earlier in 2018 following a tour the two groups did together in Mexico, and rather than play in competition with each other as so many splits see groups do, The Good Earth is Dying — recorded, mixed and mastered by KB at Testa Studio in León, Guanajuato — demonstrates just how much the two bands work together.

Granted, for Vinnum Sabbathi, the 13-minute “HEX VIII: The Malthusian Spectre” continues a live-recorded, should-be-compiled-into-an-LP-at-some-point-how-about-now series of tracks that has also had two prior installments on their April 2018 split with Owain and began on 2015’s split with Bar de Monjas (review here), but that song’s relation to ideas about overpopulation tie directly into the destruction of natural resources characterized in Cegvera‘s three tracks. And there’s precious little to argue with in terms of delivery from Vinnum Sabbathi either, as the band fluidly bring their stage-hewn chemistry to the studio as one would expect. Their commitment to recording live extends back through their awaited 2017 full-length debut, Gravity Works (review here), and their earlier work, and at this point it’s their standard modus. Adding samples after the fact lends further depth to the proceedings, and a studio feel is enhanced as well through the sampling on “Intermission (The Good Earth is Dying),” which ends with a recording of people laughing amid the sound of bagpipes before shifting into the quiet opening lines of “Arrival/Colonia” that soon give way to such heavy nod on the five-minute track.

Arriving on this foreign world seems to be the easy part, and things are rolling along well enough on a heavy groove as Cegvera unfold their portion of the outing, but the atmosphere only grows darker with time, and “Depletion/Overshoot” finds them exploring textures out of mournful heavy blues and airy post-rock alike before turning again to heavier riffing — some prime fuzz, that — and in what’s presumably the “Overshoot” portion in the second half of the song, an increasingly intense forward pummel. By the time they’re into the last minute, cacophony has taken full hold of the song, and they leave a final note out to hang in open space as a transition into the organ-laced final statement, “Collapse/Aftermath,” which indeed feels suitably mournful as regards humanity’s prospects for a better existence. Fair. The floating guitars that showed up in “Depletion/Overshoot” make a return over a gradually-unfurled progression that, at 90 seconds into its total 6:35, turns to a build that brings it to more densely-weighted riffing. If that’s the collapse, then the aftermath is no less engaging or heavy in its execution, and one is reminded of the ambience that Vinnum Sabbathi are able to so naturally conjure on “HEX VIII: The Malthusian Spectre” with echoing guitars and such heft of tone.

That Cegvera would seem to be so much in conversation with “HEX VIII: The Malthusian Spectre” — whether the songs were written out or the concept decided before the tour or not — is emblematic of how well the two groups sit alongside each other. With the bulk of the time belonging to the latter, there’s nonetheless room for both to offer a suitable glimpse at their overall approach while staying on-message in terms of the plotline being followed. I guess the only shame is they didn’t have it to take on tour earlier this year, but these things have a way of working out, whether Cegvera — now a duo down from the three/four-piece they are here — return to Mexico or bring Vinnum Sabbathi to the UK in a show-trade. Either way, the split stands as a document of their time on the road and what they were able to construct in terms of song and theme alike. There may or may not be hope for the future of humanity — again, spoiler alert: nope — but no one other than the willfully blind can say we didn’t see it coming, and though the future they’re imaging isn’t particularly bright, that they’re imagining it at all speaks to one aspect of our species most worth preserving.

Vinnum Sabbathi on Thee Facebooks

Vinnum Sabbathi on Bandcamp

Cegvera on Thee Facebooks

Cegvera on Bandcamp

Stolen Body Records webstore

Stolen Body Records on Instagram

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Terror Cósmico Premiere “Salió del Pantano”; III out Sept. 3

Posted in audiObelisk on August 29th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

terror cosmico

Mexico City-based duo Terror Cósmico have a Sept. 3 digital release date for their aptly-titled third album, III. With impending CD issue via Concreto Records to follow and vinyl sometime in 2019 — presumably before they embark on a European tour in May — the two-piece of guitarist Javier Alejandre and drummer Nicolás Detta make an impression in crunch tones, hard-hit drums and a variety of atmospheres from the Earth-meets-near-traditional doom of opener “Nocturno” through the ambient-vocalized “La Cabalgata de Asmodeo” and the foreboding tension in the dirge “Hypnos.” The screams in “La Cabalgata de Asmodeo” and the growls/throatrippers later in the penultimate “Salió de Pantano” are standout moments, to be sure, but ultimately they become part of the atmosphere created by the guitar and drums, surely influenced in its most raging moments by bands like Black Cobra but having more in common in Alejandre‘s tone on “Kronosauris” with the defunct Beast in the Field, though even that comparison is a stretch as Terror Cósmico set off on the 10-minute journey that is closer “La Montaña,” a patient build that disintegrates in its second half only to ebb and flow again before its sudden cold-stop finish. There’s even some melody late in the guitar, just in case you think you might have Terror Cósmico at all figured out.

And from the rumble and spaciousness of “Nocturno” onward, the seven-track/43-minute offering never quite gives its audience a chance to be fully hypnotized. “Nocturno” has underlying movement and a subtle angularity that’s just enough to stave off trance-inducement, and just when it might begin to dull the consciousness, “Tlatecuhtli” picks up directly with a more active thrust and popping, forcefulterror cosmico iii snare work and an ultimate noise assault that’s as precise as it is tonally and rhythmically dense. It probably doesn’t need to be noted that for all their lacking a bassist there’s no shortage of low end in Alejandre‘s guitar, and as he loops through layers and tops a steady rhythm line with a scouring lead on “Kronosaurus,” the sound is indeed full and deep-running. They’re three albums in, and have several other singles and shorter-releases besides, so Detta and Alejandre have a clear sense of what they want their sound to do and the impact they want it to make, and III manifests that in both an aggressive pummel and steady-handed shifts in mood. “La Cabalgata de Asmodeo” is the centerpiece and particularly extreme in both its faster and slower stretches — and Detta does excellently in leading the way through both — but even there, Terror Cósmico remain coherent and able to slip into a second half of relatively-minimalist guitar, the residual noise fading en route to “Hypnos.”

Following behind 2015’s Devorador de Sueños and 2013’s Muerte y Transfiguración, III is a record for which genre is a thing to be manipulated to suit its own ends, not the other way around. As Terror Cósmico roll and nod through “Salió del Pantano,” which is the shortest inclusion at 4:11, the full-album flow of which that song is part becomes all the more apparent, and with “La Montaña” still to climb, there’s no loss either of the presence of the band’s delivery or the deceptive breadth they conjure in the material. Though it would seem to be a contradiction to have a two-piece that’s as expansive as it is crushing, Alejandre and Detta break the glass of expectation and use the shards to expose the raw flesh of their creation. It is a powerful and consuming release.

Below, you can stream the premiere of “Salió del Pantano,” which you’ll find on the YouTube embed followed by some more info off the PR wire. More on the European tour when I hear it, but in the meantime, please enjoy:

Terror Cósmico, “Salió del Pantano” official track premiere

An instrumental duo born in 2012 in Mexico City, Terror Cósmico is made up of guitar and drums. Even with only two instruments, the dynamics of their music lead you from mystic and harmonic passages to dark and violent cuts.

On September 2013 they released their first full-length album, “Muerte y Transiguración”, with the Mexican label Concreto Records. With this material they toured México, the U.S. and Argentina. On August 2015 they released their second album, “Devorador De Sueños” (Concreto Records), this time touring Mexico, the west coast of the US and finally Europe alongside mexican stoner metal band “Weedsnake” through 2017´s summer. In 2018 the band will release their 3rd full length album.

Third LP from the Mexico City duo, having as title the number of release “III”. The band shows 7 tracks redefining the sound they’ve had since the beginning. Recorded at Testa Studio in Leon, Guanajuato in May 2018. The tracks travel through different sonic sceneries, going through introspective ambient moods to raw and aggressive songs that mutate with each other. An album that maintains the sound of the band but has new elements, more loops and vocals without lyrics in 2 tracks. The artwork is done by Karmazid and the album will be released on September 3 in all digital platforms. Cd will be released by Mexican label Concreto Records before the end of the year and vinyl will be coedited by different labels for next year.

Terror Cósmico on Thee Facebooks

Terror Cósmico on Bandcamp

Terror Cósmico on Tumblr

Concreto Records on Thee Facebooks

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Electric Mountain Sign to Electric Valley Records

Posted in Whathaveyou on June 12th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

Last year, Mexico City heavy rock trio Electric Mountain released their self-titled debut album through Loud, Slow, Distorted Riffs Records, and it’s newly announced that the three-piece of GibMax and JB will make their follow-up through Electric Valley Records. Well, actually, that’s a surmise, because all the word that’s really been put out at this point is that the band has signed to the label. There’s nothing said about what will actually come out — maybe a reissue of the record they did for LSDR, or maybe something new. Maybe both? Neither? The mystery is killing me.

What matters is the fuzz, and Electric Mountain pretty much live inside of it. Their self-titled starts out with the classic stoner powerhouse push of “Free Woman” and whether it’s the ’70s-style stomp of “Dune,” the acoustic interlude “Into the Maelstrom” or the Goatsnaked riffing of “Green Mountain Side” that follows to lead into the softshoe-worthy boogie of “Down on the Road,” the THC-soaked vibe remains prevalent and there isn’t anywhere that Electric Mountain go that isn’t natural sounding and seemingly in the wheelhouse for good-time-seeking riff heads. As to what their next record might bring whenever it arrives, I’ve no idea, but if they can keep the organic production of their debut intact, they should be well on their way to carving their own niche in terms of sound and aesthetic within the genre.

The self-titled is streaming at the bottom of this post. Cool shit is happening in Mexico. Dig it:

electric mountain

Electric Valley Records is proud to announce the signing of the Mexican Stoner Rock band *** ELECTRIC MOUNTAIN ***

Electric Mountain is a Stoner Rock band born in Mexico City in 2013.

Formed by Gib (guitar – voice), Max (drums) and JB (Bass), the band gives life to a series of rock influences from the Rock of the 70’s and Stoner’s 90’s, which shake walls and floors.

His powerful riffs and heavy drums are the perfect hook to stay focused on the message of his music and receive all the energy that emanates. ?

https://www.facebook.com/TheElecMountain/
https://www.instagram.com/electricmountainband/
https://www.facebook.com/electricvalleyrecords/
https://www.instagram.com/electricvalleyrecords/
www.electricvalleyrecords.com

Electric Mountain, Electric Mountain (2017)

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Review & Full Album Premiere: Saturno Grooves, Solar Hawk

Posted in audiObelisk, Reviews on May 21st, 2018 by JJ Koczan

saturno grooves solar hawk

[Click play above for the premiere of Saturno Grooves’ Solar Hawk, out in June via L.S.D.R. Records]

Some albums work better on vinyl or tape, with that split down the (roughly) middle, and some work better on CD or digital, where you can listen straight through in one sitting with no interruption to the process. Saturno Grooves‘ debut full-length, Solar Hawk, arrives via L.S.D.R. Records as a record that feels designed to go either way and still not lose its grasp on the listener. With a split between its first three and second three tracks, it allows one to pause for a second and catch their breath before immersing in the broader explorations to come that the six-minute-on-the-dot “Cherna Bong” sets up at the end of side A.

In a linear format, with no break in the six-track/34-minute run, Solar Hawk unfolds gracefully and sets up its flow early on the shorter opening duo “Beaumont” (3:24) and “Seven Hills” (4:20) before “Cherna Bong,” the title-track (6:22), “White Sand” (7:42) and closer “Red Sun Arising” (6:56) push further outward into a heavy desert psychedelia that seems as much about the Durango, Mexico-based trio’s enjoyment of the trip as the audience’s experience of the results. Guitarist José Peyro, bassist Oscar Cisneros and drummer Adolfo Solís make no claim that I’ve seen of their debut being a concept album — they seem to cite a variety of cultural and thematic influences — but the fluidity with which they loose their material speaks to a certain wholeness just the same.

That turns out to be a strength particularly when taking the album in one single dose: by the time the rolling apex of “White Sand” seems to provide the album’s culmination, the rest of Solar Hawk — apart from “Red Sun Arising,” obviously — has hit the bloodstream and already had its engaging effect, whether it’s the feedback drenched largesse that initiates the post-Kyuss semi-prog thrust of “Seven Hills” or the drawn out and echoing lead that Peyro layers atop the title-track as it oozes toward its midsection, which drops momentarily to a quiet space of guitar-only desert tonality that, frankly, I wish there was more of throughout. With an EP and a single behind them in their five years together, Saturno Grooves clearly constructed this debut out of jams — note that the “construction” is very much a factor; this isn’t just jams put to tape — but it’s in the flashes of patience like that of the title-track or the start of “White Sand” that offer flashes of the dynamic developing within their sound.

saturno grooves

I’m not saying they need to start doing loud/quiet tradeoffs or straight-up quiet-to-loud builds exclusively or anything, simply that in the tones of Peyro and Cisneros, there’s enough presence to hold up those subdued moments perhaps more than the band are willing to give themselves credit for. Hell, in “White Sand,” even Solís gets to take the fore briefly to lay down a shuffling foundation for the push to come. There’s a lot of all-three-together here, and it works very, very well. Where Saturno Grooves have room to grow is in toying with the balance between all-three-together and highlighting each individual’s contributions and presence as well as the balance between louder and softer, faster and slower parts, which they already do exceedingly well, blending shades of the aforementioned Kyuss with some of Earthless‘ cyclical virtuosity and Sleep‘s penchant for nod, which again, makes “White Sand” seem like the peak of Solar Hawk when it hits into its moment of arrival.

And I’ve used “seem” twice now as regards that track only because when the subsequent “Red Sun Arising” begins to land its bombastic, plodding crashes, the effect of that stomp is nearly resonant enough to leave footprints. Saturno Grooves thud and riff their brains out on the finale, and by the time it’s about 2:45 into its nearly seven minutes and they seem to draw back for a second, one has to wonder where they’ll head next, but the answer is into a speedier, solo-topped middle third that soon enough gives way to a far, far gone section of molten roll, again showcasing Peyro‘s impressive lead work as it sort of flowingly dances — because it’s not marching, and it’s not lumbering anymore, and it’s still too cohesive just to be melting away — to its finish, which upon its arrival feels somewhat sudden, as “Red Sun Arising” sound both like it could just keep going and like it’s destined for a gentle fadeout rather than the cold snap ending it receives.

Maybe that’s Saturno Grooves‘ way of subverting expectation, but either way, when one goes back and revisits “Beaumont” at the outset, its galloping progression and straightforward riffing underscore the point of the distance the three-piece travel from one end of the LP to the other. However one chooses to connect with it, the most important factor is that Saturno Grooves make that connection while sounding natural and utterly in their element as they progress throughout. Again, I don’t think it’s a concept album from their end, but even in its instrumental form, it’s easy to read a narrative progression into the songs themselves, let alone any other tale they might actually be telling. While this is technically their first album, Saturno Grooves sound like a group who’ve played together for a while, who have developed a sense of musical conversation between themselves and the common language for that to take place. One only hopes that dialogue will be ongoing.

Saturno Grooves on Thee Facebooks

Saturno Grooves on Bandcamp

L.S.D.R. Records on Thee Facebooks

L.S.D.R. Records on Bandcamp

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Owain to Release Acrid EP this Month via LSDR Records

Posted in Whathaveyou on September 6th, 2017 by JJ Koczan

owain

Actually, if you’re feeling fancy, you can pop on over to Owain‘s Bandcamp — dutifully linked below — and check out a name-your-price download of their second EP, Acrid, but you know I’m a sucker for physical media, so here I am posting about the forthcoming LSDR Records-backed CD version of the release either way. Tape is also out via Colectivo Lxs Grises for the Tijuana duo’s six-song/24-minute offering, which hits on High on Fire-style thrash in “Thieving Swine” as easily as it rolls out noisy sludge lumber on the suitably titled “Sledgehammers.” They shout out Brainoil as an influence, which should be automatic points in just about anybody’s book for specificity alone, and set an admirably noisy target that cuts like rolling, barking opener and longest track (immediate points) “Sculptors” and the later “Backfire” attempt to meet head-on.

Raw stuff, and mean, but all the more so because it knows exactly what it’s doing. LSDR sent the following down the PR wire, including the David Paul Seymour cover art:

owain acrid

LSDR RECORDS: OWAIN – Acrid (2017)

Owain is a sludge doom metal duo from Tijuana Mexico. They are presenting a new EP called “Acrid” recorded and mixed by Arturo Leon at La Cacho Estudio in the city of Tijuana, Mexico and mastered by Bill Henderson at Azimuth Mastering in New Jersey, USA. The art was the work of David Paul Seymour known for is extensive work with other bands in the genre such as Mothership, 16 and many others.

The band formed in 2015 by Anibal Flores (guitar and vocals) and Luis Astorga (drums and vocals) and release their first Self-titled EP in 2016. The genres in which they can be catalogued are somewhere between stoner metal and sludge, with the sound having heavy southern rock accents on guitar and metal styled percussion. One of the bands targets is trying to sound as huge as any other band in the genre regardless of being only a two piece ensemble.

Their main influences would be the bands Brainoil and Down, since these are the ones that sparked the idea of making a band of this sort, although earlier influences have been present beforehand like Sleep and Orange Goblin. Dopefight, Bongzilla, Bongripper and Weedeater have also been great influences regarding the southern sound, and on the more metal oriented side, Eyehategod, High on Fire, Mastodon and Crowbar are of great regard in what tailored their sound.

The lyrics are based in human cynic, questioning authority in all its forms, repulsion to religion, general addiction, drawbacks in social consciousness and protest to social paradoxes.

The EP will be released in September 2017 in the following formats:
– Digital release through the band’s Bandcamp
– CD release through LSDR Records
– Cassette Tape through Colectivo Lxs Grises

https://www.facebook.com/Owainband/
https://twitter.com/Owainmusic
https://www.instagram.com/owainband/
https://owain.bandcamp.com/releases
https://www.facebook.com/lsdrrecords/

Owain, Acrid (2017)

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Vinnum Sabbathi to Begin UK Touring this Weekend

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

vinnum sabbathi

Mexican riffbringers Vinnum Sabbathi have been on the road in Europe since last month supporting their debut long-player, Gravity Works (review here), which was released earlier this year. The run, which wrapped up its continental portion on July 1, will pick up again this coming Friday at the warm-up party for the Bristol Psych Fest, and from there, Vinnum Sabbathi hit the road alongside Kurokuma — who’ve newly issued a Kraftwerk cover as a name-your-price download — for a stretch of dates across the UK that includes another free all-dayer in Kurokuma‘s native Sheffield and gigs in Coventry, Bath, Hull, Liverpool, Edinburgh, and so on.

It’s a solid stint to continue Vinnum Sabbathi‘s push for their awaited first full-length, and they’ll cap their time abroad on Aug. 12 with an appearance at SonicBlast Moledo in Portugal, which, frankly, is an awesome way to go out.

Dates, links and music follow here. Dig it:

vinnum-sabbathi-kurokuma tour

Vinnum Sabbathi / Kurokuma UK dates

ALL THE INFO ABOUT OUR UK TOUR IN JULY WITH:
Kurokuma / Cegvera / SODEN

July 07 Bristol Bristol Psych Fest WARM UP PARTY (Free Entry)
July 13 Edinburgh Vinnum Sabbathi / Kurokuma / Lucifers Corpus – Bannermans Bar
July 14 Hull HNC#50 Vinnum Sabbathi (Mexico) / Kurokuma / Battalions / Still
July 15 Dewsbury Vinnum Sabbathi/Kurokuma/Sick Tapestry/Gandalf The Green at The Old Turk
July 16 Liverpool KUROKUMA // VINNUM SABBATHI // PHULLOPIUM DUDE // MR TED
July 20 Coventry Vinnum Sabbathi / Kurokuma / Cegvera + MK1 Soundsystem
July 21 London Vinnum Sabbathi, Kurokuma, Cegvera, Doomicidal
July 22 Bath Vinnum Sabbathi, Kurokuma, Cegvera, Doomicidal
July 23 Sheffield Doomlines III – free doom/sludge/stoner all-dayer
July 28 Manchester Vinnum Sabbathi (Mexico) + special guests
July 29 Scunthorpe Vinnum Sabbathi (Mexico) + Guests

Vinnum Sabbathi:
Aug. 12 SonicBlast Moledo, Portugal

Vinnum Sabbathi is a space doom band from Mexico City founded in 2011 and formed by Alberto (guitar), Gerardo (drums), Samuel (bass) and Roman (live samples).

With influences like Ufomammut, YOB, Electric Wizard and 35007, the band mixes heavy riffs with scientific themes to bring loud and distorted sonic textures and energetic live performances; playing in venues all around Mexico with the Fume On Tour (2014), the Fuzzonaut Tour (2015) and the TerroNaut Tour (2016) along with bands like Terror Cosmico, Weedsnake and El Ahorcado.

Vinnum Sabbathi have just released Gravity Works to widespread acclaim.
https://vinnumsabbathi.bandcamp.com/album/gravity-works

Kurokuma have just released their cover of Kraftwerk’s “Radioactivity”.
https://kurokumauk.bandcamp.com/track/radioactivity-kraftwerk-cover

www.facebook.com/VinnumSabbathi/
https://vinnumsabbathi.bandcamp.com/
http://aimdownsightrecords.com/
https://lsdr.bandcamp.com/

www.facebook.com/kurokumauk
kurokumauk.bandcamp.com

Vinnum Sabbathi, Gravity Works (2017)

Kurokuma, “Radioactivity”

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Friday Full-Length: El Ritual, El Ritual

Posted in Bootleg Theater on February 24th, 2017 by JJ Koczan

El Ritual, El Ritual (1971)

Prescient in playing off cultist truisms, progressive in its arrangements of keys, flute and vocal melodies, and yet still delivering a heavy punch of blues when called upon to do so, the 1971 self-titled debut from Tijuana’s El Ritual has all the makings of a lost classic, but I’m not entirely sure it’s actually ever been lost. It’s hard as an American to properly gauge that kind of thing, because one has to keep in mind colonial ideas of “discovery” like this band was just sitting around waiting for my gringo ass to find it. Hardly. Among other happenings during their relatively short time together, the four-piece El Ritual took part in the 1971 Festival Rock y Ruedas de Avándaro, which was arguably the biggest rock gathering Mexico ever held, and about which legend has it that, with the expectation that 25,000 people would show up, more than 10 times that number actually did, making it a landmark for an entire generation of Mexican rockers as well as those on the bill, which included El Ritual alongside compatriot outfits like Los Dug Dug’s and Peace and Love. It was — again, so the legend goes — a disturbing-enough showing of freaks and weirdos that the Mexican government moved to shut down counterculture events across the board. Too weird, too soon.

Which is funny, because listening to El Ritual‘s El Ritual, it certainly sounds like it’s right on time. With lyrics in English and titles in Spanish, it would seem to have had some intent toward international appeal, and the four-piece of vocalist/guitarist/flutist Frankie Barreño, bassist Gonzalo Chalo Hernández, keyboardist Martin Mayo and drummer Alberto Lalo Barceló more than stood up to that standard when it came to the actual scope of the record, whether it was the proggy keys and flute of opener “Mujer Fácil (Prostituta)” or the later pairing of the eight-minute cinema piece “Satanás” and “Peregrinación Satánica, Incluyendo el Poema ‘En un Principio'” which it’s hard to imagine Mexican church officials hearing even in the early ’70s and not shitting their pants, working as the tracks did in the tradition of cult rockers like Black Widow and Coven and all manner of proto-heavies from the international sphere to make the devil sound at once appalling and alluring in a manner that bands are still trying to emulate. Boogie rock shuffle and Zeppelin-style over-the-toppery with room for an extended drum solo ensued as the one led into the next, but even the devilish warnings of “Peregrinación Satánica” came with a surprisingly jazzy context, and as the earlier “La Tierra de que Te Hable” indulged strings and Greg Lake-era King Crimson-style vocal melodies (think “Epitaph”) before getting down to bluesier, funkier psych-rocking vibes distinguished by their organ work and backing chorus, and the later “Groupie” seemed to work out of the playbook of Latin-informed artists like Santana or War, who released their debuts in 1969 and 1970, respectively, the satanic aspects of El Ritual were only one element at work in the band’s broader profile, much as they may be what continues to resonate with underground listeners today.

No less pivotal overall was the way in which “Groupie” fed into the engaging organ jam of “Muerto e Ido,” on which Barreño‘s guitar took the fore late with a solo marked out by a shift into oddball electronic sounds and a return to the chorus that closed. Or how “Conspiración” found Barreño speaking about kids smoking grass in the park — seems relatively certain there were a few at Avándaro — and old people waiting to cash checks en route to guitar-checking the Rolling Stones and reminding listeners “There’s no life without love.” Or how “Bajo el Sol y Frente a Dios” nestled so easily into its brightly-harmonized and flute-tempered acousti-prog. Point is El Ritual had much more going on than any one or two tracks — or, for that matter, their moniker — might summarize on their own. The version of the album above, from what I can tell, follows the original Raff Records LP tracklisting and includes the single “Tabú” as a bonus track, as did the CD version through Raff Records, which of course came later. In 1987 and 1992 (according to Discogs) a label called Discos y Cintas Denver also issued El Ritual on LP and CD with the songs in a different order, putting “Satanás” and “Peregrinación Satánica” together at the top of the tracklisting. Fair enough, as they’re bound to grab attention either way. I tend to like the flow of the original, but I wouldn’t fight you if you were handing me a copy of the other version, telling me I could take it home for the archive.

As always, I hope you enjoy.

Neither an easy nor a particularly pleasant week. I spent most of it swapping back and forth between anxiety and despondency, just trying to keep my head on straight. Sucks to think Roadburn is still about two months away. I’m feeling like that get-right-with-your-gods pilgrimage is just the thing I need at this point. No doubt that will still be the case in April.

My weekends have been good though. Lot of together-time with The Patient Mrs., quiet or with family. She’s going to Texas on Saturday for a conference, so it’ll just be me and the Little Dog Dio for the bulk of next week. I expect to be lonely and to watch a lot of Mystery Science Theater 3000. Maybe a Werner Herzog movie or two. That’s usually how it goes.

Still, next week is madness through and through. Here’s what’s in my notes so far:

Mon.: Weedeater giveaway, info on the next The Obelisk Presents show (it’s Rozamov in Brooklyn), and a Stone Machine Electric review.
Tue.: Alunah track premiere/album review, news about the new The Sonic Dawn, and a Svuco video.
Wed.: Forming the Void video premiere, The Mad Doctors album announce and track premiere, and an Arbouretum review.
Thu.: Rozamov album review and new video from Shadow Witch.
Fri.: My Sleeping Karma live album review and new video from Black Mirrors.

That’s a lot of shit. And news besides. Goodness gracious. One might almost think I was purposefully overloading my schedule to make up for being lonely with my wife gone for a few days. Nah. Couldn’t possibly be it.

Alright, I’m checkin’ out early. I hope you have a great and safe weekend. Watch your back out there, these are strange fucking times. But still, have fun and we’ll see you back here Monday for more riffly shenanigans. Thanks for reading, and please check out the forum and radio stream.

The Obelisk Forum

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Vinnum Sabbathi Update European Tour Plans

Posted in Whathaveyou on February 15th, 2017 by JJ Koczan

vinnum-sabbathi-Photo-by-Rodrigo-Jardon

Word has been kicking around now of a European tour from Mexico City instrumentalists Vinnum Sabbathi. The band made their full-length debut last month in the early hours of 2017 with Gravity Works (review here) via a slew of labels, including Aim Down Sight, LSDR and South American Sludge, but even before that, they’ve been planning the trip across the Atlantic that now looks like it will finally come to fruition this summer.

They’ve got a poster together for the run and what seems to be a good idea of the routing — both crucial steps, to be sure — but there are still some particulars to fill in when it comes to where they’ll be playing, connecting the dots from one city to the next, and so on. If you can help the band with any of the shows that aren’t yet together, get in touch with them via social media. I don’t want to speak for anybody, but I think they’ll probably play your house if you’ve got room enough for all the volume they’re sure to bring.

The PR wire has the following:

vinnum sabbathi euro tour

VINNUM SABBATHI – “GRAVITY WORKS” EUROPEAN TOUR 2017

We’re very excited to announce our tour dates for Europe so far, although we still need help to fill some shows and maybe a couple more could be added.

08 JUN DÜSSELDORF(??)
09 JUN MARBURG
10 JUN BERLIN
11 JUN LEIPZIG(??)
14 JUN CHEMNITZ(??)
15 JUN WEIMAR
21 JUN WÜRZBURG(??)
22 JUN MUNICH(??)
23 JUN NUREMBERG(??)
24 JUN DRESDEN
25 JUN HAMBURG(??)
28 JUN LEEUWARDEN(??)
29 JUN EINDHOVEN
30 JUN THE HAGUE(??)
01 JUL AMSTERDAM(??)
07 JUL BRISTOL
13 JUL EDINBURGH
14 JUL HULL
15 JUL DEWSBURY
16 JUL LIVERPOOL
20 JUL COVENTRY
21 JUL LONDON
22 JUL BATH
23 JUL SHEFFIELD
27 JUL OXFORD(??)
11 AGO ??????

Bio:
Vinnum Sabbathi is a space doom band from Mexico City founded in 2011 and formed by Alberto (guitar), Gerardo (drums), Samuel (bass) and Roman (live samples).

With influences like Ufomammut, YOB, Electric Wizard and 35007, the band mixes heavy riffs with scientific themes to bring loud and distorted sonic textures and energetic live performances; playing in venues all around Mexico with the Fume On Tour (2014), the Fuzzonaut Tour (2015) and the TerroNaut Tour (2016) along with bands like Terror Cosmico, Weedsnake and El Ahorcado.

The band has been part of festivals such as NRMAL 2014 and Lxs Grises Fest II & IV, recorded a live session at Mexican Radio Institute for Reactor 105.7FM and also being featured in different compilations including ‘The Stoner Box’ released by Los Angeles-based label Cleopatra Records.

www.facebook.com/VinnumSabbathi/
https://vinnumsabbathi.bandcamp.com/
http://aimdownsightrecords.com/
https://lsdr.bandcamp.com/

Vinnum Sabbathi, Gravity Works (2017)

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