Buffalo Fuzz Premiere “I’m on Fire” Video; New Album out in 2019

Posted in Bootleg Theater on August 3rd, 2018 by JJ Koczan

buffalo fuzz

Minneapolis two-piece Buffalo Fuzz made their self-titled debut in 2016 and next Spring, they’ll look to follow it up with an already-recorded sophomore outing. They do so under the most tragic of circumstances. At the end of June, drummer/vocalist Jake Allan passed away, leaving guitarist/vocalist Jared Zachary as the sole remaining member of the band. Any loss of life so young is terrible, but to grieve as half a dup seems especially hard. Hence the delay in the album. As of now, it doesn’t seem Zachary is even sure if he’ll continue as Buffalo Fuzz or start a new band altogether after this release, which of course will be in homage to Allan‘s memory as well as his final recorded performance.

The video below for the two-and-a-half-minute hookfest “I’m on Fire” was filmed shortly before Allan‘s death, and though obviously the circumstances are terrible, it’s an upbeat, straightforward classic rocker with an urgency buffalo fuzz im on firethat lives up to its title. As for the clip, it’s no less dead-ahead than the song itself: There’s the band. There’s a girl. There’s fire. And there you have it. Any other day, it’d be business as usual, but with the context of the band’s loss and uncertain future, the sheer freshness of that wound, it’s important to remind oneself to celebrate the life and creativity that was rather than fill time with sadness at the ending of it.

I’ll hope to have more on the second Buffalo Fuzz LP as we get closer to the release and the plan for it solidifies. We’re simply not there yet. Still, the single bodes well in its crisp, professional production and clarity of songwriting. It’s the kind of song you should probably be prepared to have in your head for the rest of the day, and if you do, then all the more, I hope you enjoy it.

Zachary offered some background and comment, which you’ll find under the clip below.

Dig:

Buffalo Fuzz, “I’m on Fire” official video premiere

Buffalo Fuzz is releasing our first single of our sophomore album via music video this Friday entitled “I’m On Fire”.

This comes at a difficult time for me, as Jake Allan, my best friend and drummer, passed away a little over a month ago — just a couple weeks after finishing 10 tracks to make up our second album, and filming our first music video. He lost his battle with depression, but left us with one last series of work of incredible high-energy drumming.

I can only look forward, and although I can’t imagine Buffalo Fuzz without Jake, I can’t imagine continuing life without music. Our second album is planned for release in Spring 2019. “I’m On Fire” is the first single from the album.

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Buffalo Fuzz on Twitter

Buffalo Fuzz on Bandcamp

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Porno Wolves Announce First-Ever European Tour Dates

Posted in Whathaveyou on May 11th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

porno wolves

Don’t you kind of have to wonder how a band winds up calling itself Porno Wolves? Like, what else was in contention that they passed over? How do you get four dudes to agree on that? The Minneapolis unit have two studio records out — the latest of them, 2017’s Renegades, is both strikingly professional-sounding and streaming at the bottom of this post — and they’re about to go play their first European shows on a stint presented by Total Volume Agency, so they must be doing something right, but yeah. They’re definitely called Porno Wolves. Sorry folks, the name is taken.

In all seriousness, whatever they’re called, good for them getting out to do shows in Europe. That’s not an easy feat for an independent band — yes, believe it or not, Porno Wolves are without major corporate backing — and even though it’s not a month-long run or anything, an initial incursion across the Atlantic is way farther than many bands get. Safe travels and thanks for not putting any cartoon tits on your tour poster.

Background and dates follow:

porno wolves tour poster

Porno Wolves Euro Tour

The Porno Wolves are a premium blend of blues, psychedelia, sex appeal and rock ‘n’ roll. The four-piece has erected their authentic sound on a foundation of musicianship and the classic rock canon. Fuzzed out leads, complex riffs, thought provoking lyrics, dense harmonies, and driving beats.

Brought together by their mutual love for rock ‘n’ roll the band began putting together material for their first record. Shine Like Gold, released in 2015, was the first concentrated effort by the Porno Wolves that not only solidifed the group’s artistic direction but also put them on the local map. Musically, the album plays with the idea of light and dark moving from up-tempo rock ‘n’ roll to stoner rock and heartfelt ballads. Skipping the studio the Porno Wolves second album Young Moon Rising: Live was recorded live at the intimate 331 Club in Minneapolis. Showcasing the band’s live presence the album contains live versions of tracks from Shine Like Gold as well as new material.

Creating some serious local buzz after the release of Young Moon Rising: Live the band garnered strong local support in the Twin Cities, from fans and local radio. Less than six months later the Porno Wolves were back in the studio working on their third album Renegades. The album was produced by producer and engineer Tim Barbeau and mastered with Ed Ackerson at Flowers Studio in Minneapolis. Renegades is a refinement of the Porno Wolves sound. The album is a collection of danceable tracks featuring striking guitar riffs and thunderous drums. Recommended listening at peak volume.

Porno Wolves live:
25-May Lucky’s Luke Trier, DE
26-May Aggern! Bruchsal, DE
27-May Cafe Amelie Giessen, DE
30-May La Machine Brussels, BE
31-May Kinky Star Ghent, BE

Porno Wolves:
Ryan Bachman – vocals/ guitars/ keys
Anthony Gore- drums/ vocals
Steven Schwartz – guitars/ saxophones
Shea Drenkow – bass/ percussion

https://pornowolvesmusic.bandcamp.com
https://twitter.com/PornoWolves
https://soundcloud.com/porno-wolves
http://pornowolves.com

Porno Wolves, Renegades (2017)

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Wolf Blood Release Limited 12″ Single Tsunami / Home; Announce Recording Plans

Posted in Whathaveyou on May 3rd, 2018 by JJ Koczan

wolf blood

July, July, July. That’s when Minnesota riffers Wolf Blood head back into the studio to complete work on their second album. The as-yet-untitled offering will follow some four years behind the band’s incredibly well received self-titled debut (review here), which came out through Burning World in Europe and Outer Battery in the US — which is no minor shakes for a group marking their first release. As far as endorsements go, those are two good ones to have.

Before the new album arrives, maybe as a refresher or a lead-in or just because they happened to have them laying around — whatever gets it done — Wolf Blood have released the new two-songer single Tsunami / Home and set it up for streaming now and preorders for the month of May for the upcoming 12″ edition, limited in number and all that good stuff. The art, as you can see below, is pretty right on, and the sound of the two songs is duly huge and a fervent reminder of why I was so looking forward to hearing what this band did next.

Have at it:

wolf blood tsunami home

Minneapolis band WOLF BLOOD are heading back into the studio this July to finish their long awaited 2nd album. To tide fans over till then they’ll release a limited run 12” single for the haunting track “Tsunami” on colored vinyl. Backed by the crushing brand new song “Home”, this will be strictly limited to 200 copies. Pre-orders start May 1st through Qrates.com and run until May 30th. Stream both songs at wolfblood666.bandcamp.com starting May 1st.

Formed in a dank basement during one of the coldest winters on record in Duluth, Minnesota, guitarist Mike Messina and drummer Jake Paulsrud (Dirty Horse/Dad’s Acid) started writing psycho-sludge experiments that sounded too stoned to be metal, and too baneful to be indie-rock. They recruited renown hard-core guitar sorceress Mindy Johnson (The Keep Aways) and magi-roots bassist Luke to flesh-out the menacing sound, and Wolf Blood came to life.

Wolf Blood is:
Mike Messina – guitar
Jake Paulsrud – drums/vocals
Mindy Johnson – guitar/vocals
Luke – bass

Wolfblood666.bandcamp.com
Facebook.com/wbminneapolis
IG @wolfbloodmn
Twitter.com/wolfbloodmn

Wolf Blood, Tsunami / Home (2018

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Supervoid & Red Desert, The Second Coming of Heavy — Chapter Two: Wayfarers and Revolvers

Posted in Reviews on May 9th, 2016 by JJ Koczan

the-second-coming-of-heavy-chapter-2-supervoid-red-desert

Ripple Music believes we are in the midst of a heavy rock renaissance. We may well be. The West Coast imprint has both made its argument and fostered the movement over the last several years through a slew of signings of bands from around the US and beyond its borders, and they now stand among the genre’s most fortified purveyors, with a reach that finds them partnering with STB Records on vinyl/CD pressings and picking up Small Stone veteran acts like Gozu and Wo Fat, truly moving into a leadership position in their community, scene, whatever you want to call it. Their aesthetic, to-date, is light on frills and big on riffs, and like any impressive beginning (and I use the term loosely, Ripple have been at it for over five years now) of a creative motion, one expects it will only continue to grow outward for as long as it does.

A special project the label began in 2015 is a series of splits: The Second Coming of Heavy. I already quibbled with the numbering of the title, whether or not this is the second generation playing heavy rock (it’s at least the third), in my review of The Second Coming of Heavy — Chapter One (review here), which featured off-album tracks from Geezer and Borracho, and it remains beside the point of the work Ripple is doing to promote the growth of the current, largely undeniable, boom of heavy rock. The Second Coming of Heavy — Chapter Two boasts new songs from Pittsburgh’s Supervoid and Minneapolis’ Red Desert, continuing thematic artwork from Joseph Rudell and Carrie Olaje, and vinyl pressings limited in number and distinguished in color, as the times would demand.

Like its predecessor, the prevailing vibe throughout The Second Coming of Heavy — Chapter Two fits neatly onto two 12″ vinyl sides, one per band, with each act offering basically a short EP’s sampling of their stylistic wares and what they bring to the underlying core in the title — the ‘Heavy’ part of the title, that is — that distinguishes them from their peers. In the case of Supervoid — who make their debut as a four-piece here having previously recorded with five members for their 2013 first LP, Filaments (review here), and the subsequent 2014 digital single “Against Sunrise” (posted here) — they present the songs “Olympus,” “Wayfarer” and “The Gallows,” which continue their ahead-thrust blend of modern metal and heavy rock and roll, vocalist Brian creatively arranging an assortment of layered growls and screams behind his belted-out cleaner vocals, which seem to steer the riffs behind from guitarist Joe as much as they’re pushed forward by them.

With John on bass and Greg on drums, their material is consistent but progressed from where they were on their debut (due for a follow-up it may or may not get; more on that in a bit) and the momentum they build in “Olympus” feeds smoothly into the more extended “Wayfarer,” the minor-key Eastern-flair guitar line making it all the more a centerpiece before the crunchier “The Gallows” picks up with open verses, a semi-spaced weaving of guitar effects, and the inescapable drive that has become Supervoid‘s hallmark. Reportedly, since the release of The Second Coming of Heavy — Chapter TwoSupervoid have taken “a break,” and how permanent that may or may not be remains to be seen. Either way, the manner in which they bring together metal and heavy rock remains brazen in its show of influence and ground that few acts are so bold as to tread, which is admirable even before one gets to considering their songwriting or performances, likewise worthy of respect.

Supervoid‘s side B companions, Red Desert, offer post-Sleep/The Sword heavy rock chug on “Frost Giant,” the first of their four inclusions, calling out the title character and Valhalla in a resonant hook. Hitting their marks. Their material stands out particularly next to Supervoid for the laid back sensibility in its roll and in the vocals of guitarist Shawn Stende, joined by lead guitarist Jeff Kluegel, bassist Paul Teeter and drummer Dave Dancho, and though “Hypnotized” is faster, it maintains the swing of their opener, as do “Revolver” and “Nightstalker” (presumably not named after the Greek band, but one never knows), while also offering subtle, effective shifts in mood and shifts in approach that speak to the experience gained from their 2012 debut album, Damned by Fate, and call to mind what Lords of the North were once able to bring to stoner riffing in personality and thickness of groove. The harmonies in the chorus of “Nightstalker” and touches of C.O.C. gallop there expand the palette further but ultimately keep consistent with what’s come before, rounding out a fluid B-side with a late surge of energy that suits Red Desert well.

They’re four years out from their first album, and while they’ve threatened a vinyl release thereof, I’ve yet to see word of a follow-up. Doesn’t mean one’s in the works, doesn’t mean one’s not, but in true EP fashion, they give a broad slice of their sound for those who maybe haven’t encountered them before to dig into, which of course speaks to the mission of The Second Coming of Heavy — Chapter Two overall. My understanding is that all 10 installments of the series are booked and there’s another series in the works for after, so it seems fair to expect over the next several years that these LPs will continue to be a major part of Ripple‘s contribution to heavy rock. Fair enough. Two editions deep, they’ve already highlighted a range of styles and a swath of acts from around different regions of the US brought together by their varied takes on what it means to be heavy. There’s a lot of ground to cover, and the project remains ambitious, but taking it one LP at a time, there seems to be nothing keeping the label from continuing this exploration and enlightening listeners as they go. Looking forward to the next one.

Supervoid & Red Desert, The Second Coming of Heavy — Chapter Two (2016)

Supervoid on Thee Facebooks

Red Desert on Thee Facebooks

Ripple Music on Bandcamp

Ripple Music

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Quarterly Review: Beastmaker, Low Flying Hawks, CHVE, Brujas del Sol, Mammoth Weed Wizard Bastard, The Shooters, Boss Keloid, Hors Sujet, Warchief, Seedship

Posted in Reviews on March 31st, 2016 by JJ Koczan

the obelisk quarterly review spring 2016

It seems like a day doesn’t go by that I don’t find something in one of these piles (metaphorical, sometimes literal) of records that keeps me coming back. Today is once again spread across a pretty wide stylistic swath, and that’s by design to keep my brain from going numb, but if there’s a unifying theme across all of it, let it be a sense of scope and bands and artists who are trying to take what’s been done before and push it forward or in some new direction. That’s not universal — nothing is — but today might be the most adventurous of the days included this quarter, so I hope you’ll keep open ears and an open mind as you make your way though.

Quarterly Review #31-40:

Beastmaker, Lusus Naturae

beastmaker lusus naturae

Expectations are high for Fresno trio Beastmaker in no small part because their first album, Lusus Naturae, arrives through Rise Above Records. Whether they’ll take their place among the venerable UK imprint’s genre-shapers of the last half-decade, Uncle Acid, Ghost, etc., remains to be seen, but there can be little question Lusus Naturae lives up to the standard of offering something individual even as it plays off familiar conceptions. Beastmaker’s doom is classic without sounding like much of anything else, and as they unfold “Arachne” and catchy pieces like “Mask of Satan” and “You Must Sin,” they arrive aesthetically cohesive and demonstrating accomplished songwriting finding a space of its own surrounding Sabbathian and Cathedral-driven ideals with semi-psych, semi-cultish tendencies, not wanting to be put in one place or the other but successfully engaging a melting pot of modern doom in “Burnt Offering” and the plodding “It.” Whatever the wider response winds up being, Lusus Naturae will without a doubt stand as one of 2016’s best debuts.

Beastmaker on Thee Facebooks

Rise Above Records

 

Low Flying Hawks, Kofuku

low flying hawks kofuku

If you’re hand-picking dream rhythm sections, getting Trevor Dunn to play bass while Dale Crover drums would probably be the picks of any number of players, but initials-only core duo EHA and AAL of Los Angeles’ Low Flying Hawks actually went out and got the Mr. Bungle and Melvins personnel to play on their Toshi Kasai-produced Magnetic Eye Records debut LP, Kofuku. Aside from keeping good company, the album’s 10 tracks/53 minutes are marked by a spaciousness that not even the tonal heft of early cut “Now, Apocalypse” seems to fill as EHA and AAL balance post-rock, doomed lurch and darker psychedelics with blackened screams and fervent rhythmic push – see “White Temple” and “Wolves Within Wolves.” They round out with the lumbering 11-minute “Destruction Complete,” a heavy rock march topped by airborne, dissonant leads that keeps its head even as it plods onward into oblivion. Not as unipolar as it might first appear in terms of sound, but the mood of Kofuku points consistently downward.

Low Flying Hawks on Thee Facebooks

Magnetic Eye Records

 

CHVE, Rasa

chve rasa

The crux of CHVE’s Rasa is in resonance. Amenra frontman Colin H. van Eeckhout (his solo-project’s name derived from his initials) constructs a flowing half-hour of fluid drone, intermittent percussion – first tribal, then a straightforward kind of march, slow but not still – and atmospheric vocal on the single track that comprises the work, seeming to take influence from calls to prayer as much as atmospheric noise. At higher volumes, the piece is consuming, his voice surrounds with the almost constant wash of tone, but even at more reasonable levels, the sense of purpose and ritual remains. Of course, Amenra are noted for the use of the word “mass” in their album titles, and while Rasa departs from the direct tonal heft of much of what van Eeckhout does in his main outfit, there is a sense of mass here in terms both of presence and in terms of the worship being enacted.

CHVE on Thee Facebooks

Consouling Sounds

 

Brujas del Sol, Starquake

brujas del sol starquake

How do you fit an 11-minute track onto a 7” release? Easy, you break it in half. Such is the method of Ohio instrumentalists Brujas del Sol, who follow their Moonliner EP trilogy with the late-2015 single Starquake, presented on the limited H42 Records platter as “Starquake Pt. I” and “Starquake Pt. II” but comprising nonetheless a single piece that backs airy, post-rock-tinged guitar with a decided forward rhythmic motion, resulting in an overarching build that, while there’s a natural moment for the split, is hypnotic front to back, a swirl of effects calling it mind space rock improvisation even as the plotted momentum of drums and bass resumes. Starquake is enough to make one imagine what kind of variety and spontaneity Brujas del Sol would bring to a debut full-length, so in that it very much does its job, but it makes a good case for standing on its own as well as it hits its second apex and finishes in a residual wash of cosmic noise.

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H42 Records

 

Mammoth Weed Wizard Bastard, Noeth ac Anoeth

mammoth weed wizard bastard noeth ac anoeth

Offered through New Heavy Sounds, Noeth Ac Anoeth is the debut full-length from Welsh cosmic doom four-piece Mammoth Weed Wizard Bastard. It is comprised of three songs and incorporates the half-hour-long “Nachthexen,” which was also the title-track of the band’s prior 2015 EP (review here), their rumble brought to bear through the capable knob-turning of Conan’s Chris Fielding at Skyhammer Studio. The vocals of Jessica Ball manage to cut through the ensuing tonal murk of her bass and the guitars of Paul Michael Davies and Wez Leon, and James Carrington’s drums live up to the near-impossible task of making “Les Paradis Artificiels,” “Slave Moon” and “Nachthexen” go, each developing its own plodding momentum amid the purposeful thickness overdose and atmospheric sensibility enhanced both by Davies’ work on keys and Ball’s vocals. “Slave Moon” winds up at a gallop and almost operatic, but there’s no way the highlight wasn’t going to be “Nachthexen,” which offers chug dense enough and spaces wide open enough to easily get lost in. Time well spent, all around.

Mammoth Weed Wizard Bastard on Thee Facebooks

New Heavy Sounds

 

The Shooters, Dead Wilderness

the shooters dead wilderness

Spanish heavy rock four-piece The Shooters present their third album, Dead Wilderness (on Red Sun Records/Nooirax Producciones), as two sides even on the CD pressing, each half of the record ending with an extended cut over the 10-minute mark. All told it’s six songs/49 minutes of solidified, mostly straightforward Euro-style riff-led heavy grooves, tapping into some Dozer influence on “War on You” but offering more spacious burl on “Lucifer’s Word,” which starts side B after the push of “Roots” rounds out side A. There’s little by way of letup, but moments like the quiet start and bridge of “Black Mountain” do a lot of work in adding complexity to The Shooters’ hook-minded approach, and 11-minute finale “Candelabrum” builds on that with a patient linear unfolding that casts off some tonal heft in favor of a more atmospheric take. That ultimately lets Dead Wilderness bring an individual edge to established stylistic parameters, from which it greatly benefits.

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The Shooters on Bandcamp

 

Boss Keloid, Herb Your Enthusiasm

boss keloid herb your enthusiasm

Granted, a title playing off Curb Your Enthusiasm and, well, herb, might make you think the band is just goofing around, but UK riffers Boss Keloid offer more substance with their second album, Herb Your Enthusiasm, than they do wackiness. The sound – captured by Chris Fielding at Skyhammer Studio – is positively massive, bolstered by guest appearances from Fielding himself and his Conan bandmate, Jon Davis, who also owns Skyhammer and Black Bow Records, the imprint releasing the LP, and given to swells of largesse and huge rolling grooves that still remain righteously fuzzed, as on “Escapegoat” or “Lung Valley” the quieter complement to opener “Lung Mountain.” Vocalist Alex Hurst assures any quota of burl is met, but has more to his approach melodically than riff-following chestbeating, and guitarist Paul Swarbrick, bassist Adam Swarbrick and drummer Stephen Arands present instrumental flow and turns behind that give the record a sense of personality beyond its weedian play. Not a minor undertaking at an hour long, but satisfying in tone and execution.

Boss Keloid on Thee Facebooks

Black Bow Records

 

Hors Sujet, Nous N’y Trouvons que le Doute

hors sujet nous ny trouvons que le doute

I guess it’s fair to call late 2015’s Nous N’y Trouvons que le Doute the debut full-length from Toulouse-based one-man outfit Hors Sujet, though multi-instrumentalist/atmosphere-conjurer Florent Paris has done a variety of soundtrack work and released numerous other textures in EPs and a variety of other offerings, so take that for what it’s worth. More important is the rich sense of ambience Paris brings to Hors Sujet in the seven included songs, from the dystopian doom of “Au Plus Loin, la Mer / L’hiver Peureux” to the wistful drone wash of “Le Souffle, Peu à Peu (Pt. 2),” which has its companion piece earlier in the album. Of special note should be 27-minute closer “Et Maintenant, le Ombres,” acting as a summary of the proceedings as much as expansion thereupon, concluding an often quiet outing with a stark cacophony that gorgeously builds from the minimalism before it to a raucous finish worth of the breadth Paris shows in his work throughout.

Hors Sujet on Thee Facebooks

Hors Sujet on Bandcamp

 

Warchief, Warchief

warchief warchief

Initially released by the band in summer 2015, the self-titled debut from Finnish progressive heavy rockers Warchief sees vinyl issue through Phonosphera Records, its two sides consumed by organic execution across four tracks moving beyond traditional structure in favor of a more varied approach, from the rumbling heft that emerges in opener “Give” through the goes-anywhere near-psychedelia of 21-minute closer “For Heavy Damage.” Warchief, the Jyväskylä-based four-piece of Teemu Pellonpää, Juho Saarikoski, Esa Pirttimäki and Tommi Rintala, feel right at home working in longer-form material, whether it’s that closer or the nine-minute “Life Went On” preceding, and given their breadth I wouldn’t be surprised if they would up with a single-song album sometime in the future. With that in mind, perhaps most encouraging about their self-titled is the fact that it seems so exploratory, very much like the beginning of creative growth rather than a finished product on display. One hopes they continue to flesh out stylistically and build on the foundation they’ve set here.

Warchief on Thee Facebooks

Warchief on Bandcamp

 

Seedship, Demo 2015

seedship demo 2015

Riffing their way into the post-Electric Wizard league of rumble purveyors, Minneapolis newcomers Seedship avoid any cultish trappings on last fall’s Demo 2015, their first release. A marked tonal thickness is nearly immediate, but along with the slow-motion nod and overarching density, melodic vocals cut through the morass to give a human aspect to the groove. Of the three tracks, “The Edge of Expiry,” “The Condemned Adrift” and “The Desperate Odyssey,” not a one is under eight minutes long, and as they plod their way through the opener (also the longest track; immediate points), Seedship enact a sci-fi theme that carries through the release as a whole, which scuffs up the approach some in the closer, but always keeps its spacier elements intact, even as it kicks the pace in the ass at around six minutes in and lets loose a release for all the tension built up prior before a final slowdown ends out. They seem to have a lot already worked out sound-wise, so should be interesting to hear where they go with it.

Seedship on Thee Facebooks

Seedship on Bandcamp

 

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Ripple Music Reveals Cover Art for The Second Coming of Heavy: Chapter Two

Posted in Whathaveyou on October 22nd, 2015 by JJ Koczan

I swear one of these days — and one of these days soon — I’ll be putting up a vinyl review for Ripple Music‘s The Second Coming of Heavy: Chapter One, which launched their series of underground-scouring splits earlier this year by righteously pairing Geezer and Borracho, with riffy results. Not that it’s hurt sales any. I think the thing was gone before it was actually out. But it will happen. And it will need to happen even sooner because Ripple‘s already got the follow-up installment, The Second Coming of Heavy: Chapter Two, in progress.

The Joseph Rudell cover art for The Second Coming of Heavy: Chapter Two has been unveiled, and in addition to lining up with Chapter One when placed next to it, it shows off a lot more of the world in which it’s all set. This time around, Pittsburgh’s Supervoid and Minneapolis’ Red Desert will represent Heavy’s second coming, and much like the cover itself, it’s cool to see the series working quickly to expand stylistically.

Word on a release date? Not yet from what I’ve seen, but I’d guess not before December or early next year. I’ll let you know when I hear more:

the second coming of heavy chapter 2

Our “Second Coming of Heavy” series got off to a banging start with an instant sell out of all Editions of Chapter One. Now Chapter Two is heading our way. But before we get there, it’s time to release our “reserve” copies of Chapter One. These are copies we held onto in case of any lost postage or damages. Now we’ll let them go.

Sorry, no Resurrection Edition are left, but we have a scant few Risen OBI and Black Virgin Editions. This is your last chance to get onboard the Second Coming of Heavy series before Chapter Two comes out. And remember, all chapters in the series have interlocking spine art, which lines up to create one killer image!

www.ripple-music.com
https://www.facebook.com/Ripple-Music-369610860064/
https://ripplemusic.bandcamp.com/album/second-coming-of-heavy-chapter-one-geezer-borracho

Geezer & Borracho, The Second Coming of Heavy: Chapter One (2015)

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Quarterly Review: Foehammer, Holy Serpent, Wicked Inquisition, AVER, Galley Beggar, Demon Lung, Spirit Division, Space Mushroom Fuzz, Mountain Tamer, Ohhms

Posted in Reviews on June 29th, 2015 by JJ Koczan

the obelisk summer quarterly review

I said back in March that I was going to try to make the Quarterly Review a regular feature around here, and once it was put out there, the only thing to do was to live up to it. Over the last several — like, five — weeks, I’ve been compiling lists of albums to be included, and throughout the next five days, we’re going to make our way through that list. From bigger names to first demos and across a wide swath of heavy styles, there’s a lot of stuff to come, and I hope within all of it you’re able to find something that hits home or speaks to you in a special way.

No sense in delaying. Hold nose, dive in.

Quarterly Review #1-10:

Foehammer, Foehammer

foehammer foehammer

Relatively newcomer trio Foehammer specialize in grueling, slow-motion punishment. Their self-titled debut EP follows a well-received 2014 demo and is three tracks/34 minutes released by Grimoire and Australopithecus Records of doomed extremity, the Virginian three-piece of guitarist Joe Cox (ex-Gradius), bassist/vocalist Jay Cardinell (ex-Gradius, ex-Durga Temple) and drummer Ben “Vang” Blanton (ex-Vog, also of The Oracle) not new to the Doom Capitol-area underground by any stretch and seeming to pool all their experience to maximize the impact of this extended material. Neither “Final Grail,” “Stormcrow” nor 14-minute closer “Jotnar” is without a sense of looming atmosphere, but Foehammer at this point are light only on drama, and the lower, sludgier and more crushing they go, the more righteous the EP is for it. Stunningly heavy and landing with a suitable shockwave, it is hopefully the beginning of a long, feedback-drenched tenure in death-doom, and if the EP is over half an hour, the prospect of a follow-up debut full-length seems overwhelming. Easily one of the year’s best short releases.

Foehammer on Thee Facebooks

Grimoire Records on Bandcamp

Australopithecus Records

Holy Serpent, Holy Serpent

holy serpent holy serpent

It’s not like they were lying when they decided to call a song “Shroom Doom.” Melbourne double-guitar four-piece made their self-titled debut as Holy Serpent last year, and the five-track full-length was picked up for release on RidingEasy Records no doubt for its two-front worship of Uncle Acid’s slither and jangle – especially prevalent on the eponymous opener and closer “The Wind” – and the now-classic stonerism of Sleep. That blend comes together best of all on the aforementioned finale, but neither will I take away from the north-of-10-minute righteousness of “The Plague” preceding, with its slow roll and malevolent vibe that, somehow, still sounds like a party. Comprised of guitarist/vocalist Scott Penberthy, guitarist Nick Donoughue, bassist Michael Macfie and drummer Keith Ratnan, the real test for Holy Serpent will be their second or third album – i.e., how they develop the psychedelic nodes of centerpiece “Fools Gold” along with the rest of their sound – but listening to these tracks, it’s easy to let the future worry about itself.

Holy Serpent on Thee Facebooks

RidingEasy Records

Wicked Inquisition, Wicked Inquisition

wicked inquisition wicked inquisition

There are a variety of influences at work across Wicked Inquisition’s self-titled debut long-player, from the Sabbath references of its eponymous closer to the earlier thrashery of “In Shackles” and “Sun Flight,” but the core of the Minneapolis four-piece resides in a guitar-led brand of metal, whatever else they decide to build around it. Guitarist/vocalist Nate Towle, guitarist Ben Stevens, bassist Jordan Anderson and drummer Jack McKoskey align tightly around the riffs of “M.A.D.” in all-business fashion. Shades of Candlemass show up in some of the slower material, “M.A.D.” included as well as with “Crimson Odyssey,” but the start-stops of “Tomorrow Always Knows” ensure the audience is clued in that there’s more going on than just classic doom, though a Trouble influence seems to hover over the proceedings as well, waiting to be more fully explored as the band moves forward.

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Wicked Inquisition on Bandcamp

AVER, Nadir

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Clocking in at an hour flat, Sydney all-caps riffers AVER construct their second album, Nadir, largely out of familiar elements, but wind up with a blend of their own. Fuzz is prevalent in the extended nod of opener “The Devil’s Medicine” (9:46) which bookends with the longest track, finisher “Waves” (9:48), though it’s not exactly like the four-piece are shy about writing longer songs in between. The production, while clear enough, lends its focus more toward the low end, which could be pulling in another direction from the impact of some of Nadir’s psychedelia on “Rising Sun” second half solo, but neither will I take anything away from Jed’s bass tone, which could carry this hour of material were it asked. The vocals of guitarist Burdt have a distinct Acid Bathian feel, post-grunge, and that contrasts a more laid back vibe even on the acoustic-centered “Promised Lands,” but neither he, Jed, guitarist Luke or drummer Chris feel out of place here, and I’m not inclined to complain.

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AVER on Bandcamp

Galley Beggar, Silence and Tears

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Sweet, classic and very, very British folk pervades the gorgeously melodic and meticulously arranged Silence and Tears by London six-piece Galley Beggar, released on Rise Above. The eight-track/40-minute album packs neatly onto a vinyl release and has near-immediate psychedelic underpinnings in the wah of opener “Adam and Eve,” and side B’s “Geordie” has some heavier-derived groove, but it’s the beauty and lushness of the harmonies throughout (finding satisfying culmination in closer “Deliver Him”) that stand Galley Beggar’s third offering out from worshipers of a ‘60s and ‘70s era aesthetic. The highlight of Silence and Tears arrives early in nine-minute second cut “Pay My Body,” a wonderfully swaying, patient excursion that gives equal time to instrumental exploration and vocal accomplishment, but to a select few who let themselves be truly hypnotized and carried along its winding course, the album’s entire span will prove a treasure to be revisited for years to come and whose sunshiny imprint will remain vivid.

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Rise Above Records

Demon Lung, A Dracula

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With inspiration reportedly from the 1977 demon-possession horror flick Alucarda, Las Vegas doomers Demon Lung return with A Dracula, their second offering via Candlelight Records after 2013’s The Hundredth Name, and as the movie begins with a birth, so too do we get “Behold, the Daughter” following the intro “Rursumque Alucarda,” later mirrored by a penultimate interlude of the same name. Billy Anderson produced, so it’s not exactly a surprise that the slow, undulating riffs and the periodic bouts of more upbeat chug, as on “Gypsy Curse,” come through nice and viscous, but vocalist Shanda brings an ethereal melodic sensibility, not quite cult rock, but on “Mark of Jubilee” presenting momentarily some similarly bleak atmospherics to those of the UK’s Undersmile, her voice seeming to command the guitars to solidify from their initial airiness and churn out an eerie apex, which closer “Raped by the Serpent” pushes further for a raging finale.

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Candlelight USA’s Bandcamp

Spirit Division, Spirit Division

spirit division spirit division

Spirit Division’s self-titled debut full-length follows a 2014 demo that also hosted three of the tracks – opener “Spirit Division,” “Through the Rounds” and “Mountain of Lies” – but is fuller-sounding in its post-grunge tonality and doomly chug than the earlier offering, guitarist/vocalist Stephen Hoffman, bassist/vocalist Chris Latta and drummer/vocalist David Glass finding a straightforward route through moody metallurgy and weighted riffage. Some Wino-style swing shows up on “Bloodletting,” and “Cloud of Souls” has a decidedly militaristic march to its progression, while the later “Red Sky” revels in classic doom that seems to want to be just a touch slower than it is, but what ultimately unites the material is the strong sense of purpose across the album’s span and Spirit Division’s care in the vocal arrangements. The production is somewhat dry, but Spirit Division walk the line between sludge rock and doom and seem comfortable in that sphere while also sparking a creative progression that seems well worth further pursuit.

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Spirit Division on Bandcamp

Space Mushroom Fuzz, Until Next Time

space mushroom fuzz until next time

I was all set to include a different Space Mushroom Fuzz album in this roundup, but then I saw that the project was coming to an end and Until Next Time was issued as the band’s final release. The deal all along with the band headed by guitarist/vocalist Adam Abrams (also Blue Aside) has been that you never really know what he’s going to do next. Fair enough. Abrams brings it down in suitably bizarre fashion, a keyboard and guitar line backing “Class Onion” in direct mockery of Beatlesian bounce, where “The DeLorean Takes Off!” before compiles five-plus minutes of experimental noise and “Follow that DeLorean” answers with another round after. Elsewhere, opener and longest cut (immediate points) “Here Comes Trouble” resonates with its central guitar line and unfolds to further oddity with a quiet but gruff vocal, while “The Rescue” vibes like something Ween would’ve conjured after huffing roach spray (or whatever was handy) and closer “Back in ‘55” moves from progressive soloing to froggy singing and weirdo jangle. All in all a strange and fitting end to the band.

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Space Mushroom Fuzz on Bandcamp

Mountain Tamer, MTN TMR DEMO

mountain tamer mtn tmr demo

Santa Cruz trio Mountain Tamer have been kicking around the West Coast for the last several years, and since they released a full-length, Liquid Metal, in 2013, and a prior EP in 2012’s The Glad, it’s tempting to try to read some larger shift sonically into their MTN TMR Demo, as though having completely revamped their sound, the trio of guitarist/vocalist Andru, bassist/vocalist Dave Teget and drummer/vocalist Casey Garcia trying out new ideas as they redirect their approach. That may well be the case, with “Satan’s Waitin’,” “Sum People” and “Dunes of the Mind” each standing at over five-minutes of neo-stoner roll, more psychedelic than some in the growing fuck-it-let’s-skate oeuvre, but still plainly born after, or at least during, grunge. The finisher comes to a thrilling, noisy head as it rounds out the short release, and if Mountain Tamer are taking on a new path, it’s one well set to meander and I hope they continue to follow those impulses.

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Mountain Tamer on Bandcamp

OHHMS, Cold

ohhms cold

Like their late-2014 debut, Bloom, OHHMS’ sophomore outing, Cold, is comprised of two extended tracks. Here the Canterbury five-piece bring “The Anchor” (18:30) and “Dawn of the Swarm” (14:27), blending modern prog, sludge and post-metallic vibes to suit a melodic, ambitious purpose. Atmosphere is central from the quiet drone starting “The Anchor” and remains so as they lumber through a linear build and into an apex at about 13 minutes in, dropping out to quiet only to build back up to a striking melodic push that ends on a long fade. Side B, “Dawn of the Swarm” is more immediately post-rock in the guitar, the lineup of vocalist Paul Waller, guitarists Daniel Sargent and Marc George, bassist Chainy Chainy and drummer Max Newton moving through hypnotic sprawl into angular Isis-ism before finding their own way, the second cut pushing structurally against the first with loud/quiet tradeoffs in a well-timed back half. Clearly a band who arrived knowing their purpose, but not so cerebral as to detract from the heavy landing of the material itself.

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OHHMS on Bandcamp

 

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Wolf Blood Announce East Coast Tour Dates

Posted in Whathaveyou on April 22nd, 2015 by JJ Koczan

wolf blood

One of the things that made Wolf Blood‘s 2014 self-titled debut (discussed here) so engaging was its complete unwillingness to settle on a genre or a unipolar sound. I can’t help but wonder if the Duluth, Minnesota, outfit will bring a similar restlessness to their onstage presentation when they head off on an East Coast tour next month. It’s a good round of dates, with a few still to be filled in — I’d say hit up The Depot in York, PA, but they’ve already got two dates in Pennsylvania, one in Philly, one in Pittsburgh — but wherever they wind up for those TBAs, they’ve got a few killer gigs spread throughout, some house shows and a stop in Brooklyn with GeezerThe Golden Grass and Bison Machine, so it should prove worth the road time.

To hear them tell it, they’ve got 30 copies of the debut left and they’ll have them on hand for the tour. Confirmation from the PR wire:

wolf blood tour poster 2

WOLF BLOOD East Coast Tour May 21-June 6th 2015

Duluth’s WOLF BLOOD (soon to be Minneapolis based) are hitting the road next month for 2 1/2 week tour to the East Coast. Starting in Duluth on a train(!) for “Blood on the Tracks” with The Black Eyed Snakes and culminating with a stacked show at Brooklyn’s Lucky 13 with Geezer, The Golden Grass and Bison Machine.

Also with less than 30 copies left this will be the last chance to grab a copy of their S/T debut on Burning World Records before it’s gone.

Wolf Blood Tour page
https://www.facebook.com/events/797490020337261/

East Coast Tour Dates
May 21 Duluth, MN @ Blood on the Tracks w/ The Black Eyed Snakes & more
May 22 Des Moines, IA @ The Fremont w/ Druids & Glass Ox
May 23 Kansas City, MO TBA
May 24 Cincinnati, OH @ Tacocracy w/ Temple & tba
May 25 Chattanooga, TN @ Sluggo’s
May 26 Harrisonburg, VA @ House show
May 27 TBA
May 28 Baltimore, MD @ Side Bar
May 29 D.C. @ The Pinch
May 30 Brooklyn, NY @ Lucky 13 w/ Geezer, Bison Machine & The Golden Grass
May 31 Philadelphia, PA @ Kung Fu Necktie w/ Hellrad, Heavy Temple & Toke
June 1 TBA
June 2 Pittsburgh, PA @ House show
June 3 Dekalb, IL @ house show
June 4 Milwaukee, WI TBA
June 5 Appleton, WI @ Xtra920 w/ Relentless, Attalla…
June 6 Duluth, MN @ Luce w/ Gay Witch Abortion & Strange

Wolfblood666.bandcamp.com
Facebook.com/wbduluthmn

Wolf Blood, Wolf Blood (2014)

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