BoneHawk Post Video for “Los Vientos”

Posted in Bootleg Theater on January 26th, 2016 by H.P. Taskmaster

bonehawk los vientos

I’m pretty much working with a caveman brain here, but let me see if I’ve got this right: Kalamazoo, Michigan, heavy rocking post-Red Fang good-timey dual-guitar four-piece BoneHawk released their debut album, Albino Rhino, in 2014. Sold out vinyl, gatefold 2LP, purple and bone versions, the whole bit. Very nice. They have a second pressing of that record coming out next month. Meanwhile, Ripple Music has stepped in and is going to release the same album on CD on April 22.

Seems straightforward enough until you get around to BoneHawk‘s new video for “Los Vientos.” It’s loaded with stonerly charm, pizza, an oracle in what appears to be a Pulp Fiction-style briefcase, beards, etc., but that track isn’t on Albino Rhino, and even as BoneHawk get ready to reissue their debut album, they’re putting out this new song, which will be included on an installment of Ripple‘s The Second Coming of Heavy split series later this year.

Again, caveman brain, but I’m pretty sure that’s the deal. So what you wind up with is a new release coming and a new video out now but the two things are not really connected. You think that’s quirky, you should go ahead and check out the video. It was directed by Three Goats Moving Pictures, and if you’re up for a little lipreading, it has all kinds of WTF-ery going on.

More background under the player below. Enjoy:

BoneHawk, “Los Vientos” official video

BONEHAWK: Hard hitting Michigan quartet to release debut album through Ripple Music | Stream and share new video for ‘Los Vientos’

Ripple Music is thrilled to announce the signing of Michigan quartet Bonehawk, and with it the worldwide CD release of their debut album, Albino Rhino.

The story of BoneHawk is one that started as early as third grade, in an unassuming Kalamazoo school, where guitarist/vocalist Matt Helt and guitarist Chad Houts first met and bonded instantly over a shared appreciation of video games, pizza, poster girls and rock and roll. At the age of fourteen, Helt, already an accomplished drummer would jam along with Houts in the family’s basement to songs handpicked from the pair’s ever growing record collections. As the years passed by with each feeding the other on a steady diet of thrash metal and classic rock, when Helt eventually succumbed to the bug and traded in his drum set for a guitar, the duo quickly discovered that being in a band meant everything.

Recorded and mixed by Jim Diamond at Ghetto Recorders in Detroit and initially released as a limited run of ‘Albino vinyl’ through Hornacious Wax Records in 2014, with newly appointed personnel in the form of drummer Jay Rylander and bassist Taylor Wallace (formerly of Wilson) the band played packed out local shows in support of the record. In less than two months all double LP copies of Albino Rhino had sold out, calling for a second ‘Ultraviolet Purple’ pressing and leaving Ripple Music boss Todd Severin in no doubt about the band’s true potential.

“We’re thrilled to be working with Bonehawk,” explains Severin. “From the moment I heard their two guitar blitz I was hooked on their sound. Albino Rhino is a masterwork of modern harmony guitar and post NWOBHM heaviness, with real stoner grit. A true gem of an album and we’re excited to be involved in the worldwide release of this CD.”

BoneHawk’s Albino Rhino is officially released on CD through Ripple Music on 22nd April 2016 and is preceded by the release of ‘Los Vientos’ as part of the label’s Second Coming Of Heavy series which will be released later in the year.

BoneHawk:
Matt Helt – Guitars/Vocals
Chad Houts – Guitars/Backing Vocals
Jay Rylander – Drums/Backing Vocals
Taylor Wallace – Bass Guitar/Backing Vocals

BoneHawk on Bandcamp

BoneHawk on Thee Facebooks

BoneHawk on Instagram

Ripple Music website

Ripple Music on Bandcamp

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Bison Machine, Wild Savages & SLO, Sweet Leaves Vol. I Split: The Good Times, Rolling

Posted in audiObelisk, Reviews on January 14th, 2016 by H.P. Taskmaster

sweet leaves volume one

[Click play above to stream Sweet Leaves Vol. I in full. Release date is Jan. 22. Thanks to the bands for letting me host the tracks.]

If you’re looking for a sampling of the madness infecting the Motor City’s underground these days, look no further than Sweet Leaves Vol. I. Detroit has long been an epicenter of all things raw and visceral in American rock — and by that I mean The Stooges and MC5 were from there — but in bringing together newcomer acts Bison Machine, Wild Savages and SLO across a limited-release three-way split tape, the classic form proves continually vital in the more recent outfits, each of which brings a grit of their own to reside under a heavy rock umbrella.

Appearing in that order — Bison Machine, then Wild Savages, then SLO — the tape gets more formative as it progresses through each pair of tracks, Bison Machine being the most established of the three with their debut long-player, Hoarfrost (review here), released last year on Kozmik ArtifactzWild Savages have an EP up for streaming and SLO a demo, both issued in Sept. 2015, but both of the newer acts also share ties to Bison Machine through current and former members. Wild Savages features guitarist Casey O’Ryan, who also plays in Bison Machine, and SLO guitarist/vocalist Dusty Jones is an alum as well. Clearly as each of these bands spun off or came up around the same time, everyone remained tight enough to continue to collaborate, which in giving an idea of where the Detroit area is at (Wild Savages claim Ann Arbor as home, SLO Detroit proper and Bison Machine Hamtramck), is at very least a show of overall strength.

More importantly, the tape — which is a quick listen at a little over half an hour — rocks. None of the three groups wastes any time getting down to business, and with Bison Machine‘s “Hawk on the Wind,” the Sabbathian reference of the tape’s cover proves not to be the only classic heavy source from which the release draws. The recording that produced “Hawk on the Wind” and the subsequent “Soul Seeker” is older, with guitarist John deVries in the role that O’Ryan now occupies alongside vocalist Tom Stec, bassist Anthony Franchina (who put the split together) and drummer Breck Crandell, but their methods are no less righteous than on Hoarfrost, quick-turning shuffle pervading “Hawk on the Wind” amid a catchy hook while “Soul Seeker” rests on a bed of low-end chugging and Motörheady skate in the guitar.

sweet leaves volume one tapes

The second track trips out a bit at the end, but in general, Bison Machine play it tight and don’t let up on the throttle, which makes for an easy transition into Wild Savages, who seem intent on living up to their moniker in grit, ’70s bass warmth and persistent proto-punk fuckall. “Stage Fright” has one of the most resonant hooks on Sweet Leaves Vol. I once you have a grip on what bassist Joe Kupiec is talking about — O’Ryan also provides vocals — and transitions easily into a dual-channel guitar jam atop some of the best vintage-sounding drums I’ve heard since Kadavar‘s debut from Stefan Krstovic, who has swing to match. By the time they get there, they seem to have left the verse structure behind, but even among the late-arriving boogie onslaught, they bring back the chorus for one last go. With funkier starts and stops in its early going and a similar overall approach, “Queen Bee” affirms no fluke on the part of Wild Savages, who rage in layers but with an energy that one imagines has no trouble translating live.

For SLO, their “The Darkness” and “Shield Maidens” follow a two-song demo recorded on a four-track, but already one can hear in their sound a beefed up dual-guitar via Thin Lizzy approach that, in “The Darkness” delves in its midsection into some transposed “Hole in the Sky” riffing as if to remind the listener what it’s all about. Fuzz in the guitar and bass goes full-on hairy as the song rolls to what seems to be its finish before the initial groove is revived and swirl-faded out to end, which lets “Shield Maidens,” the only song on the release that tops six minutes (though each band has a track that comes close), close out with proto-metallic rush and a grander approach vocally.

Whether that’s drummer Charlie McCutcheon or bassist Brian Blair joining Jones singing — Kevin Sullivan is the only member of the four-piece not credit with vocals on the prior demo — I don’t know, but it adds a classic metal sensibility to complement the quiet midsection and deftly intricate guitar line that transitions into an instrumental finish, thick tonally but still ready to move and keeping that fist-pump feel thanks to a late solo either from Sullivan or Jones. Their cap for Sweet Leaves Vol. I is encouraging, and that descriptor seems to apply to the release overall as well. Of course, one can’t completely summarize the complete breadth of a region’s output by getting together a couple similarly driven bands and putting together a split tape — if one could, I’d expect to see more of them — but, even in showing the direction a few of the Detroit area’s groups are taking with a brash, classically-minded heavy rock sound, Sweet Leaves Vol. I serves notice of attention-worthy doings in volume and aesthetic.

Bison Machine on Thee Facebooks

Bison Machine on Bandcamp

Wild Savages on Thee Facebooks

Wild Savages on Bandcamp

SLO on Bandcamp

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Bison Machine Announce Winter Tour; Three-Way Split Due Jan. 23

Posted in Whathaveyou on November 30th, 2015 by H.P. Taskmaster

Hamtramck, Michigan’s Bison Machine issued their Hoarfrost (review here) full-length through Kozmik Artifactz earlier this year and have already toured considerably to support its arrival, but it’s looking like they’re ready to move forward as well. The New Year will bring a new split offering with Detroiters SLO and Wild Savages, a tape limited to 150 copies that will mark the first new music from Bison Machine since the LP, and just prior to the cassette’s release, a quick tour alongside speedfreaks Against the Grain that will no doubt find both bands getting their feet under them as they plan out a vigorous 2016 filled with road time and recording.

Bison Machine have a Sabbath-reference shirt on offer and the cover art for the new split and poster for the tour can be found below. Click any and all to enlarge:

Bison Machine and fellow Michigan speed rockers, Against The Grain, hit the blustery winter road for a string of dates sure to heat up the tundra that is the northern Midwest. Both bands are still touring on their 2015 releases and Bison Machine is preparing to release a new offering as soon as they return from the road, a split album with two other of Detroit’s finest rock and rollers, Wild Savages and SLO. The album will be self-released, January 23rd, on tape limited to 150 copies and will feature previously recorded material that has never been released by Bison Machine as well as brand new tracks recorded by Wild Savages and SLO. Entitled, “Sweet Leaves!”, the album is sure to be a mind pleaser. Check out the album art and track listing exclusively on The Obelisk!

Bison Machine are also taking tour fundraising orders for a one-off shirt based on the “super fan” shirts in the Black Sabbath Don Kirshner’s Rock Concert footage. If you’re interested in helping with their tour fund you can order a shirt for $15 shipped, by including your shirt size and address in a paypal gift sent to anthonyfranchina@gmail.com. You will also receive a free small gift with your order as a thank you! Sorry only sales in the USA will be accepted.

SWEET LEAVES Track Listing
Hawk on the Wind – Bison Machine
Soul Seeker – Bison Machine
Queen Bee – Wild Savages
Stage Fright – Wild Savages
The Darkness – SLO
Shield Maidens – SLO

Against The Grain / Bison Machine Winter Tour
“Mid x Midwest”
1/13 Green Bay WI @ The Lyric Room
1/14 Milwaukee WI @ The Cactus Club
1/15 Fort Wayne IN @ Skeletunes w/ River Bottom Nightmare
1/16 Lafayette IN @ The Doom Room w/ Mound Builders
1/17 Grand Rapids MI @ Tip Top w/ Bonehawk (matinee show. Doors 2pm)

https://www.facebook.com/americanbison
https://bisonmachine.bandcamp.com/
https://twitter.com/bisonmachine
http://shop.bilocationrecords.com/

Bison Machine, Hoarfrost (2015)

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Blue Snaggletooth Announce Fall Live Dates

Posted in Whathaveyou on November 4th, 2015 by H.P. Taskmaster

blue snaggletooth

Ann Arbor, Michiganers Blue Snaggletooth released their Beyond Thule album last year and continue to support the release regionally in the Midwest this fall with an assortment of shows prior to the arrival of 2016. I guess the highlight of the bunch is probably the Dec. 10 hometown gig opening for The Sword and Royal Thunder, but they’re sharing the stage with an assortment of kickass contemporaries throughout, so plenty worth keeping up with either way.

Background on the band and the current show dates follow, courtesy of the internet and the PR wire, respectively. Dig:

blue snaggletooth tour

Blue Snaggletooth fall tour schedule.

Taking their name from a minor character (and a highly collectible action figure) in the Star Wars universe, Blue Snaggletooth were formed in 2009 by guitarist, vocalist, and songwriter Chris “Box” Taylor. Blue Snaggletooth released their first album, Dimension Thule, in August 2011. While Dimension Thule was enthusiastically reviewed and fared well enough to sell out its initial press run, personal commitments led to the band splintering not long after the album was released. Undaunted, Taylor soon assembled a new lineup that’s even heavier and more impressive than the first – featuring Casey O’Ryan on guitar, Joe Kupiec on bass, and Mike Popovich on drums.

Guitarist Casey O’Ryan and bassist Joe Kupiec are rock & roll prodigies steeped in hard rock and classic boogie – as Taylor says, “They’re not brothers, but they should be,” and they give the band groove, energy, force, and powerful commitment. With Mike Popovich bringing the heavy behind the kit and Taylor wailing and laying down rhythm licks up front, this new edition is a hard rock dream machine, ready to take your mind and your ears deep into the cosmos.

After the new edition of the band honed its chops with live work, Blue Snaggletooth returned to the recording studio in early 2014, and in the following fall, the band unveiled its masterful sophomore album, Beyond Thule.

We have a bunch of shows coming up in November / December. Can’t wait to play some new stages and melt some new faces.

Blue Snaggletooth 2015 Fall Tour Schedule!
Nov. 13, Chicago, IL, The Burlington Bar with Thee Arthur Layne and BoneHawk
Nov. 14, Milwaukee, WI, Club Garibaldi, with The Architects of the Aftermath, IROCK-Z, BoneHawk
Nov. 20, Cleveland, OH, Grog Shop, with Album, Contra, Blackwater
Nov. 21, Detroit, MI, The UFO Factory, with Stone Ritual, DIRTWOLF
Dec. 10, Ann Arbor, MI, Blind Pig, with The Sword, Royal Thunder
Dec. 12, Ft. Wayne IN, Skeletunes, with BoneHawk

http://www.bluesnaggletoothmusic.com/
https://www.facebook.com/bluesnaggletoothmusic/
https://twitter.com/BSnaggletooth
http://instagram.com/bluesnaggletoothmusic

Blue Snaggletooth, “Ahamkara”

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Bison Machine Announce Oct. Tour Dates

Posted in Whathaveyou on September 10th, 2015 by H.P. Taskmaster

bison machine

Michigan four-piece Bison Machine recently welcomed new guitarist Casey O’Ryan into the fold. The Hamtramck natives released their debut LP, Hoarfrost (review here), earlier this year on Kozmik Artifactz, and have been basking in the warmth ever since. O’Ryan coming aboard alongside bassist Anthony Franchina, vocalist Tom Stec and drummer Breck Crandell is no minor change for such a riff-driven band, so it should be interesting to hear when they get around to whatever they wind up putting out next (an introductory 7″, maybe?) how the dynamic of the group has shifted or if fuzz still holds the day as firmly as on the first record.

Intrigue, intrigue. While you revisit Hoarfrost via the Bandcamp stream below and think it over, feel free as well to peruse the dates of Bison Machine‘s newly-announced Oct. tour with Grand Mammoth:

bison-machine-tour-poster

Bison Machine Fall Tour

Burning bright with lysergic energy Bison Machine’s Hoarfrost – the band’s debut album originally self-released to notable acclaim among the stoner rock community earlier this year – had an official release this July through Germany’s Kozmik Artifactz/Bilocation Records, Europe’s leading purveyor of heavy psych, blues and stoner rock.

Worshippers of volume, Bison Machine have gained a reputation for their frenzied, high velocity live shows, welding Graveyard and Pentagram influenced shuffles onto the back of 70s Motor City rock and 90s stoner grooves. If you’re a fan of pounding, colossal blues and heavy Zep-driven riffs then the Hamtramck four-piece’s gnarled and muscular guitar and vocal work on tracks like ‘Cosmic Ark’, ‘Gamekeeper’s Thumb’ and ‘Viking Hand’ will leave you floored, broken and bloodied.

Hoarfrost by Bison Machine was released on CD and limited, high performance 180g vinyl on 10th July via Kozmik Artifactz/Bilocation Records.

HARVEST MOON TOUR
w/ Bison Machine and Grand Mammoth

Oct 15th – Dayton, OH @Blind Bob’s
Oct 16th – Covington, KY @The Backstage (Bison Machine only)
Oct 16th – Indianapolis, IN @ Melody Inn (Grand Mammoth only)
Oct 17th – Fort Wayne, IN @ Skeletunes w/ Beast in the Field
Oct 18th – Chicago, IL @ Livewire w/ Dead Feathers
Oct 19th – Detroit, MI @Corktown Tavern

https://www.facebook.com/americanbison
https://bisonmachine.bandcamp.com/
https://twitter.com/bisonmachine
http://shop.bilocationrecords.com/

Bison Machine, Hoarfrost (2015)

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Heaters Release Holy Water Pool Sept. 25

Posted in Whathaveyou on August 17th, 2015 by H.P. Taskmaster

heaters

Grand Rapids, Michigan, psychedelic rock trio Heaters are in the midst of wrapping up a pretty extensive, get-out-there-and-sleep-on-floors-style summer tour. They’ll release their new album — is it their second? their first? I don’t know; why you gotta label everything? — which is titled Holy Water Pool on Sept. 25 via Beyond Beyond is Beyond, and if clicking play below on the stream of their earlier-2015 single Mean Green is too much work for you, I’ll save you the trouble and just say it’s got that ’60s garage jangle with reverb to spare and swing enough to avoid any shoegaze tag one might be tempted to toss its way thanks to the drawling vocals. I’d expect they get up to some serious groove on the record, but you know me, I’m not one to speculate.

Art and details and audio, off the PR wire and painstakingly assembled for your convenient consumption:

heaters holy water pool

Michigan psych trio Heaters (Beyond Beyond is Beyond Records)/‘Holy Water Pool’ out 9/25

In the year 2015, it may be that only foolishness or forgetfulness can excuse being surprised by the pace and power of a rock and roll machine coming out of the holy state of Michigan. Yet such is the power of the perpetual energy expressed throughout Holy Water Pool, the new full-length album by Heaters on Beyond Beyond Is Beyond.

If there’s an offer of salvation within Holy Water Pool, its one that comes with a catch: you have to risk drowning. Drowning in this case brought on by the rapid-rush of these eleven songs over forty-one minutes, creating an album that consistently offers explosion while also always keeping its fuse lit. “Kamizake” is the suitably deadly opener, as much an invocation of the ghosts of reverb past as it is a song. Broken shards of the Bo Diddley beat, detritus left behind by the three-eyed men of the Elevators, the amplifier-abuse-turned-illumination of The Warlocks – all feed the rich soil from which Holy Water Pool emerges. And perhaps nowhere on Holy Water Pool is the fruit of that soil better served than on “Master Splinter,” an instantly-under-your-skin gallop of greatness that lays bare both the unbridled joy and teeth-gnashing distress of what we like to call rock and roll.

Moments of Holy Water Pool threaten to turn into a wave pool, holy or not, given Heaters almost incongruous surf-city leanings. Sonically, this is more than the sum of its parts (and more than the sum of second-hand Ventures records, too) in the way it colors the band’s sound, with their relatively defined palette expanding to a depth that’s deceptively broad and ultimately breathtaking. “Gum Drop” is perhaps the albums sweetest treat, here the pace slowed to a somnambulistic shuffle, with the band threatening to disintegrate completely into the sound that grows ever more cavernous at every turn, tethered to reality only by the siren sound of saxophone. On the album ending “Dune Ripper,” our eyes initially crossed and read the title as “Duane Ripper,” as in the million-dollar twang delivered by Duane Eddy. It’s a ripper, for sure, and leaves little doubt that this dose of “Holy Water,” delivered with chilling efficiency by Heaters, has had its intended impact on our ears.

Onward flows the Holy Water Pool, the rambunctious and replenished flow of rock and roll, inviting all for a cleansing, refreshing dip. Jump in.

TOUR DATES
8/17 – Phoenix, AZ – Valley Bar
8/18 – Albuquerque, NM – The Mountain
8/19 – Marfa, TX – El Cosmico
8/20 – Dallas, TX – Lola’s Saloon
8/21 – Austin, TX – Swan Dive
8/22 – San Antonio, TX – Hitones
8/23 – New Orleans, LA – Siberia
8/24 – Atlanta, GA – 529
8/25 – Charlotte, NC – Snug Harbor
8/26 – Nashville, TN – Stone Fox
8/27 – Chicago, IL – Subterranean
9/4 – Grand Rapids, MI – The Pyramid Scheme
September 25th, 2015 Alphaville Brooklyn, NY

https://www.facebook.com/heatersss
https://twitter.com/heatersband
http://heaters.bandcamp.com/
http://beyondbeyondisbeyond.com/
https://www.facebook.com/beyondbeyondisbeyond

Heaters, Mean Green 7″ (2015)

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Quarterly Review: Kamchatka, Legion of Andromeda, Queen Elephantine, Watchtower, Ape Skull, Hordes, Dead Shed Jokers, These Hands Conspire, Enos & Mangoo, Band of Spice

Posted in Reviews on July 2nd, 2015 by H.P. Taskmaster

the obelisk summer quarterly review

We’re on the downhill swing of this edition of the Quarterly Review, so it’s time to get into some extremes, I think. Today, between death-doom lurch, drone-as-fuck exploring, gritty aggression and a whole lot more, we pretty much get there. I’m not saying it’s one end of the universe to another, but definitely a little all-over-the-place, which is just what one might need when staring down the fourth round of 10 reviews in a row in a week’s time. Feeling good though, so let’s do it.

Quarterly Review #31-40:

Kamchatka, Long Road Made of Gold

kamchatka long road made of gold

It would really be something if Swedish blues rockers Kamchatka released six albums over the course of the last decade and didn’t know what they were doing by now. Fortunately, that’s not the case with Long Road Made of Gold (Despotz Records), their sixth, as the Verberg three-piece of guitarist/vocalist Thomas Juneor Andersson, bassist Per Wiberg (see also: Spiritual Beggars, Candlemass, Opeth, etc.) and drummer Tobias Strandvik modernize classic heavy rock with equal comfort in including a banjo on “Take Me Back Home” and progressive-style harmonies on “Rain.” They seem to get bluesier as they go, with later cuts “Mirror,” “Slowly Drifting Away,” “Long Road” and “To You” rounding out the album with Clutch-style bounce, but the prevailing impact of Long Road Made of Gold is one of unflinching class, the chemistry of its players – not to mention Wiberg’s bass tone – ringing through loud and clear from the material as Kamchatka make their way down that long road to their inevitable next outing.

Kamchatka on Thee Facebooks

Despotz Records

Legion of Andromeda, Iron Scorn

legion of andromeda iron scorn

I said as much when the Tokyo duo released their 2013 debut EP (review here) as well, but their first long-player Iron Scorn (on At War with False Noise) only confirms it: Legion of Andromeda are fucked. Theirs is a doomed-out death metal given further inhumanity by programmed drums and the blown-out growls of vocalist -R-, while guitarist/programmer –M- holds down grime-encrusted chug and dirge riffing. Perhaps most fucked of all is the fact that Iron Scorn uses essentially the same drum progression across its seven tracks/44 minutes, varying in tempo but holding firm to the double-kick and bell-hit timekeeping for the duration. The effect this has not only ties the material together – as it would have to – but also makes the listener feel like they’ve entered into some no-light-can-escape alternate universe in which all there is is that thud, the distortion and the growls. Not a headphone record, unless you were looking to start psychotherapy anyhow, its extremity is prevalent enough to feel like a physical force holding you down.

Legion of Andromeda on Thee Facebooks

At War with False Noise

Queen Elephantine, Omen

queen elephantine omen

Relentlessly creative and geographically amorphous drone warriors Queen Elephantine compile eight tracks from eight years of their perpetual exploration for Omen on Atypeek Music, which launches with its titular cut, the oldest of the bunch, from 2007. It’s a gritty rolling groove that, even as nascent and riff-noddy as it is, still has underpinnings that might clue the listener in to what’s to come (especially in hindsight) and comes accompanied by the sludgy “The Sea Goat,” a rawer take recorded the same year in Hong Kong. Newest on Omen is the blissfully percussed “Morning Three” and an 18-minute live version of “Search for the Deathless State” from 2010’s Kailash full-length. Lineups, intent and breadth of sound vary widely, but even into the reaches of “1,000 Years” (2012, Providence, RI) and “Shamanic Procession” (2009, New York), Queen Elephantine remain unflinching in their experimentalism and the results here are likewise immersive. Vastly underrated, their work remains a world waiting to be explored.

Queen Elephantine on Thee Facebooks

Atypeek Music

Watchtower, Radiant Moon

watchtower radiant moon

Consuming undulations of tectonic riffing. Two of them, actually. Watchtower’s Radiant Moon EP serves as their debut on Magnetic Eye, and like their fellow-Melbourne-resident labelmates in Horsehunter, the four-piece Watchtower slam heavy-est riffs into the listener’s cerebral cortex with little concern for lasting aftereffects, all in worship of nod and volume itself. Where the two acts differ is in Watchtower’s overarching sense of grit, harsh vocals pervading both “Radiant Moon” (9:03) itself and the accompanying “Living Heads” (7:09), standalone vocalist Nico Guijt growing through the tonal fray wrought by guitarist Robbie Ingram and bassist Ben Robertson, Joel McGann’s drums pushing the emergent roll forward on “Living Heads,” a High on Fire-style startoff hitting the brakes on tempo to plod over any and all in its path. I’m trying to tell you it’s fucking heavy. Is that getting through? Watchtower had a live single out before Radiant Moon, but I’d be eager to hear what they come up with for a full-length, whether they might shift elsewhere at some point or revel in pure onslaught. Now taking bets.

Watchtower on Thee Facebooks

Magnetic Eye Records

Ape Skull, Fly Camel Fly

ape skull fly camel fly

The use of multiple vocalists gives Roman trio Ape Skull’s ‘70s fetishism a particularly proggy air. Fly Camel Fly is their second full-length for Heavy Psych Sounds behind a 2013 self-titled, and the boogie of “My Way” and “Early Morning,” the solo-topped groove of “Fly Camel Fly,” and the raw Hendrixology of “A is for Ape” position it as a classic rocker through and through. Vocalist/drummer Giuliano Padroni, bassist/vocalist Pierpaolo Pastorelli and guitarist/vocalist Fulvio Cartacci get down to shuffling business quick and stay that way for the 39-minute duration, the Mountainous “Heavy Santa Ana Wind” missing only the complement of a sappy, over-the-top ballad to complete its vintage believability. Even without, the triumvirate stand tall, fuzzy and swinging on Fly Camel Fly, the cowbell of “Tree Stomp” calling to mind the earthy chaos of Blue Cheer without direct mimicry. A quick listen that builds and holds its momentum, but one that holds up too on subsequent visits.

Ape Skull on Thee Facebooks

Heavy Psych Sounds

Hordes, Hordes

hordes hordes

Mad-as-hell trio Hordes have had a slew of releases out over the last eight years or so – EPs, splits, full-lengths with extended tracks – but their experimental take on noise rock topped with Godfleshy shouts arrives satisfyingly stripped down on their latest self-titled five-track EP, recorded in 2013 and pressed newly to tape and CD (also digital). “Eyes Dulled Blind” dials back some of the pummeling after the bruises left by “Cold War Echo,” guitarist/vocalist Alex Hudson at the fore in the JK Broadrick tradition. Centerpiece “Summer” starts with a slow and peaceful ruse before shifting into brash and blown-out punk – Chris Martinez’s hi-hat forward in the mix to further the abrasion – and finally settles into a middle-ground between the two (mind you, the song is four minutes long), and bassist Jon Howard opens “Life Crusher,” which unfolds quickly into the most oppressive push here, while a churning atmosphere pervades the more echo-laden closer “Fall” to reinforce Hordes’ experimentalist claims and steady balance between tonal weight and noise-caked aggression.

Hordes on Thee Facebooks

Hordes on Bandcamp

Dead Shed Jokers, Dead Shed Jokers

dead shed jokers dead shed jokers

There’s a theatrical element underlying Welsh rockers Dead Shed Jokers’ second, self-titled full-length (on Pity My Brain Records). That’s not to say its eight songs are in some way insincere, just that the five-piece of vocalist Hywel Davies, guitarists Nicky Bryant and Kristian Evans, bassist Luke Cook and drummer Ashley Jones know there’s a show going on. Davies is in the lead throughout and proves a consummate frontman presence across opener “Dafydd’s Song,” the stomping “Memoirs of Mr. Bryant” and the swinging “Rapture Riddles,” Dead Shed Jokers’ penultimate cut before the cabaret closer “Exit Stage Left (Applause),” but the instrumental backing is up to its own task, and a clear-headed production gives the entire affair a professional sensibility. They veer into and out of heavy rock tropes fluidly, but maintain a tonal fullness wherever they might be headed, and Cook’s bass late in “Made in Vietnam” seems to carry a record’s worth of weight in just its few measures at the forefront before Davies returns for the next round of proclamations.

Dead Shed Jokers on Thee Facebooks

Dead Shed Jokers BigCartel store

These Hands Conspire, Sword of Korhan

these hands conspire sword of korhan

Berlin’s These Hands Conspire aren’t through the two-minute instrumental “Intro” before they’re showing off the heft of tone that pervades their metallized debut album, Sword of Korhan, but as they demonstrate throughout the following seven tracks and the total 45-minute runtime, there’s plenty to go around. Vocalist Felix delivers an especially noteworthy performance over the dual-guitars of Tom and Stefan, the bass of Paul and Sascha’s drums, but heavy metal storytelling – the sci-fi narrative seems to be a battle in space – is just as much a part of the record’s progressive flow, longer cuts like “Praise to Nova Rider,” “The Beast Cometh,” which directly follows, and “Ambush at Antarox IV” feeding one into the next sonically and thematically. The penultimate title-track brings swinging apex to an ambitious first outing, but the foreboding, winding guitar echoes of “Outro” hint at more of the tale to be told. Could be that Sword of Korhan is just the beginning of a much longer engagement.

These Hands Conspire on Thee Facebooks

These Hands Conspire on Bandcamp

Enos & Mangoo, Split

enos mangoo split

Maybe it doesn’t need to be said, since if it weren’t the case, they wouldn’t have paired at all, but Enos and Mangoo pair well. The UK chimp-obsessed space metallers – that’s Enos, on side A – and the Finnish modernized classic heavy rock outfit – that’s Mangoo, on side B – don’t ask much of the listener across their Son of a Gun/The Grey Belly split (on H42 Records) beyond a little over 10 minutes of time and a willingness to follow a groove. “Son of a Gun” finds Enos blending particularly well with Mangoo’s methodology via the inclusion of organ in their swinging but still forward-directed movement, and after that, it’s an easy mesh to flip the platter and find Mangoo’s “The Grey Belly” waiting, its own keys playing a huge role in carrying across the ‘70s-via-‘90s vibe the band projects so well. Flourishes of percussion in the former seem to complement the progressive guitar work in the latter, and whichever side happens to be spinning, it all works out just fine.

Enos on Thee Facebooks

Mangoo on Thee Facebooks

H42 Records

Band of Spice, Economic Dancers

band of spice economic dancers

Born in 2007 as Spice and the RJ Band and rechristened Band of Spice in 2010 prior to their third album, Feel Like Coming Home, the Swedish unit boasting vocalist Christian “Spice” Sjöstrand (founding vocalist of Spiritual Beggars, also Mushroom River Band, currently also in Kayser) release their fourth full-length half a decade later in the form of Economic Dancers on Scarlet Records. It’s a straightforward heavy rocker in the organ-laced European tradition that Spice helped create, with some shades of quirk in the intro to “The Joe” and the arena-ready backing vocals of “In My Blood,” but mostly cutting its teeth on modernized ‘70s jams like “On the Run,” “Down by the Liquor Store” and “True Will,” though the six-minute centerpiece “You Will Call” touches on more psychedelic fare and is backed immediately by two metallers in “You Can’t Stop” and “Fly Away,” so it’s not by any means one-sided, even if at times the mix makes it feel like the 11 tracks are a showcase for the singer whose name is on the marquee.

Band of Spice at Scarlet Records

Scarlet Records on Bandcamp

 

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Bison Machine Post New Video for “Viking Hand”

Posted in Bootleg Theater on June 25th, 2015 by H.P. Taskmaster

bison machine viking hand video

We’re getting closer to the July 10 release date for Michigan four-piece Bison Machine‘s debut LP for Kozmik Artifactz/Bilocation Records, Hoarfrost (review here). That album, initially a digital self-release, will get its first physical pressing from the German imprints — when will they finally join forces as Kozmik Location Records? — and the Hamtramck outfit have already been on the road to herald its coming; in May, they were out alongside New Yorkers Geezer for a run of shows on the Eastern Seaboard. Given that and the obvious drive to spread the word about what they’re doing, maybe a new video isn’t such a surprise, but it’s a welcome arrival anyway, as it gives more of a look at what Bison Machine are all about.

To that end: Guns, motorcycle riding through scenes of urban decay, antlers on drums, bone-handle hunting knives, wah pedals, weirdly opaque and murderous woodland rituals, fuzz and memorable songwriting. I mean, there’s probably more there, but between the live footage from Smalls in Detroit and the sort of atmospheric visuals set against it, the band present a sense of mood that’s perhaps severe next to the song “Viking Hand” itself, but not necessarily out of place. It gets awfully cold in Michigan, after all. Seems likely that one way or another somebody would wind up with a knife in their back after running into a shrouded tree-worshiper someplace deep in the forest. Oh, and did I mention antlers on drums? Because that’s particularly awesome.

Video is below for the in-digging. Hope you enjoy:

Bison Machine, “Viking Hand” official video

Stream and share the official video for ‘Viking Hand’ by Michigan’s Bison Machine | Debut album Hoarfrost released 10th July

Burning bright with lysergic energy Bison Machine’s Hoarfrost – the band’s debut album originally self-released to notable acclaim among the stoner rock community earlier this year – will get an official release this July through Germany’s Kozmik Artifactz/Bilocation Records, Europe’s leading purveyor of heavy psych, blues and stoner rock.

Worshippers of volume, Bison Machine have gained a reputation for their frenzied, high velocity live shows, welding Graveyard and Pentagram influenced shuffles onto the back of 70s Motor City rock and 90s stoner grooves. If you’re a fan of pounding, colossal blues and heavy Zep-driven riffs then the Hamtramck four-piece’s gnarled and muscular guitar and vocal work on tracks like ‘Cosmic Ark’, ‘Gamekeeper’s Thumb’ and ‘Viking Hand’ will leave you floored, broken and bloodied.

Hoarfrost by Bison Machine will be released on CD and limited, high performance 180g vinyl on 10th July via Kozmik Artifactz/Bilocation Records
Bison Machine:

John deVries – Guitar
Breck Crandell – Drums
Tom Stec – Vocals
Anthony Franchina – Bass

Bison Machine on Thee Facebooks

Kozmik Artifactz

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