Desertfest Belgium 2019: Church of Misery, Monkey3, Inter Arma, Lord Dying and Lucy in Blue Added

Posted in Whathaveyou on June 12th, 2019 by JJ Koczan

desertfest belgium 2019 banner

I saw Church of Misery last year and in case you’re wondering, yes, they’re still a damn good time. They’ll join the sub-headliner ranks of Desertfest Belgium 2019 this Fall in the company of Monkey3Inter ArmaLord Dying and Lucy in Blue, each band representing a different side of what it means to be heavy, from Lord Dying‘s born-again-melodic metal to Inter Arma‘s crush-of-death and Lucy in Blue‘s formative meandering prog rock. Desertfest Belgium wasn’t short on variety before — you got Ty Segall and Bongripper on the same bill, that’s fair enough — but this batch of five only adds to it, and you know, there’s still Sleep headlining. If you need a sure bet, that’s a good way to make one.

Still more announcements to come from the Antwerp-based Desertfest franchise, so keep an eye out. They always seem to manage a few surprises before they’re done.

To the PR wire:

desertfest belgium 2019 new poster

CHURCH OF MISERY at Desertfest Antwerp ’19! Lord Dying, Inter Arma & More

And so again it’s time to reveal another batch of deep cuts for the Desertfest Antwerp festival. First up: Church Of Misery! After their blistering set at our festival two years ago, we knew they would be back sooner or later. Their legacy in doom history is unmatched, and after several turnovers it seems this is the Church’s strongest line-up yet.

Lord Dying and Inter Arma are two of the most adventurous metal bands in the field right now, and we’re delighted you to present them at DFBE’19. Both have just released a new album, and each one boldly defies categorisation. Lord Dying finds new pathways in metal through progrock. Inter Arma has always been fiercely experimental going from strength to strength, always finding new ingredients to add to their melting pot of psych drone and sludge doom. Both come heavily recommended, and both are going to slay you all.

Monkey3 may follow a different path to musical enlightenment, but there are many ways to blow your mind. A psychedelic rock band at the absolute top of their game, just ask anyone who witnessed the headfuck that was their show at this year’s Desertfest Berlin. And finally, for those who want a trip back to the time when Crimson was King, the delicious quirky grooves of Icelandic prog jesters Lucy In Blue will do just that!

This should tide you over until our next batch, and maybe some news in between… stay tuned!

http://www.desertfest.be/tickets
https://www.facebook.com/desertfestbelgium/
https://www.facebook.com/events/2260579413999993/

Church of Misery, Live at the Echoplex, Los Angeles, June 3, 2019

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Desertfest Berlin 2019 Adds Monkey3, The Skull, Black Tusk, Electric Citizen & Stonefield

Posted in Whathaveyou on February 19th, 2019 by JJ Koczan

desertfest berlin 2019 banner

I’m going to try to do the two-birds-one-stone thing here and post the new Monkey3 art video — which I assume is like the standard lyric video, but for those without lyrics — for the newly-unveiled track “Mass” from that Swiss instrumentalist outfit’s forthcoming album, Sphere, with the news that the band has been added to Desertfest Berlin 2019 along with a host of others. The song rules, and you can and should stream it at the bottom of this post, but it’s perhaps all the more awesome to consider they’ll share the stage with The Skull, Black Tusk, Electric Citizen and Stonefield come early May. The Desertfest Berlin lineup this year is especially good, both in the band shared with the concurrent London incarnation of the festival like Fu ManchuOm and Colour HazeAll Them Witches and so on, and in those who’ll be exclusive to Germany. Someday I’ll get to this festival.

Until then, if you’re going, have a good time:

desertfest berlin 2019 poster

DESERTFEST BERLIN 2019 CONFIRMS MONKEY3 + THE SKULL + BLACK TUSK + ELECTRIC CITIZEN + STONEFIELD!

Europe’s hot-spot for the heaviest riffs and fuzzy sounds, the leading cult underground festival specialising in all aspects of the Stoner Rock, Doom, Heavy Psych and all its great subgenres, DESERTFEST BERLIN, has announced the next batch of bands for their 8th edition in 2019!

Swiss psychedelic rock overlords MONKEY3 will turn the ARENA BERLIN into a space wonderland of magical spheres and mesmerizing riffs! The instrumental rockers have buckled up for their next interstellar journey, nestled in between space rock, psych, stoner and progressive, April 2019 will see the band release their fifth album ‘Sphere’ on Napalm Records. With timeless classics and new album tunes to be introduced live on stage, MONKEY3 will be creating their very own and unique sphere the four piece is known and loved for, taking you on an incomparable astral trip!

The already eclectic line-up of 2019 will be joined by heavy metal doom masters THE SKULL! Featuring vocalist Eric Wagner and bassist Ron Holzner, formerly of metal legends Trouble, THE SKULL creates classic Sabbathian doom with a psych-tinged metal vision. Pushing authentic, old-school metal to heavier and foreboding places, fueled by burly riffing, metallic groove and a crushing punch, these legends deliver the definitive doom metal full of powerful builds and a mesmerizing dynamic range!

Savannah’s BLACK TUSK weld together a three-pronged vocal attack, with their dirty punk, thrash and sludgy heavy metal attitude, the band found their very own niche in nowadays heavy music scene and already made their way to the top of rock n roll heavyweights. Get your dose of BLACK TUSK live at Desertfest Berlin 2019! And if that’s not all, heavy rockers ELECTRIC CITIZEN and full ladies-power guaranteed by STONEFIELD are rounding up today’s exciting announcement!

DESERTFEST BERLIN 2019 will take place between May 3th – 5th 2019 at the riverside in the heart of Berlin, the ARENA. The festival will not only provide a new sound-and payment-system on the ground, but also more space PLUS a psychedelic wonderland chillout- and live zone on the ‘Hoppetosse’ boat!

Day- and Weekend passes, as well as first Day-Splits, are available at:
www.desertfest-tickets.de
www.desertfest.de

With more bands to be announced soon!

www.desertfest-tickets.de
www.desertfest.de
www.facebook.com/DesertfestBerlin
www.instagram.com/desertfest_berlin

Monkey3, “Mass” art video

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Desertfest London 2019 Adds 29 Bands to Complete Lineup; Madness Ensues

Posted in Whathaveyou on February 5th, 2019 by JJ Koczan

What am I even supposed to say here other than ‘yes please?’ As Desertfest London 2019 rounds out its lineup and once again demonstrates its willful growth year after year, I’ll tell you this: there are a lot of bands listed below, and a lot of good bands. And if you’re reading this and you’re in London or you’re fortunate enough that you’re going to be in London for this festival, I know you’re hip to where it’s at. I get that. But seriously, if you don’t know, there re a few really must-see bands here, and it’s not all Amenra headlining. That’s great, and I’m sure it’ll be super-intense and very cool and all that.

But I’m telling you: don’t sleep on seeing High Priestess, BlackWater HolyLight, Worshipper, Salem’s Bend, Skraeckoedlan and Great Electric Quest. Some of those names are kind of buried near the bottom of this announcement, but really, you’d only be doing yourself a favor if you caught them. Let’s put Zed in that category too, and when they’re done, tell them I said hi. You probably already know all this, but I just wanted to highlight the point, since there’s a lot here and it’s easy to get overwhelmed. I get that too.

Kudos to the Desertscene team for focusing on what matters — the music — even amid pulling double-duty in putting together the first-ever Desertfest NYC, the lineup for which is still in progress. This fest looks amazing and I wish I could say I was going. Quite simply, it’s been too long.

Here’s the announcement:

desertfest london 2019 final announcement

Amenra to headline Saturday at DESERTFEST LONDON 2019 + day tickets and 28 more bands announced!

Showcasing the best of what the underground has to offer is at the core of DESERTFEST LONDON and this year’s line-up is the most eclectic, yet satisfying to date by ticking those “wish-list old school desert rock” boxes with Fu Manchu and Witch at The Roundhouse, whilst pushing the boundaries of heavy with the likes of HHY & The Macumbas and Grave Miasma. Year after year it’s about offering up a diverse bill that allows for discovery, whilst celebrating the musical foundations of the festival, and the final Saturday headliner and remaining 28 acts do just that.

DESERTFEST LONDON /// 3-5th May, 2019 in London
Weekend and day tickets on sale at this location

Desertfest are honoured to reveal that the incomparable AMENRA will celebrate their 20-year anniversary across the London weekend this May, bringing their uniquely atmospheric sound as headliners of Saturday’s mainstage and, for the first time in the UK, an even more intimate side of the band takes place at The Underworld on Sunday with solo performances from CHVE & SYNDROME. We would be proud to have Amenra headline Desertfest on any year, but to have them on the year they celebrate their 20th anniversary makes it all the more special for us and also the band themselves.

Desertfest are also pleased to announce a stage takeover from the mighty Riding Easy Records, the righteous west coast label will not only bring the sun (we hope) but a hefty dose of fuzzed out riffs from their roster. Headlined by rock’n’rollers ELECTRIC CITIZEN who refuse to be pigeonholed with a 70s proto-metal sound that chimes into psychedelic realms. Street-doom killers R.I.P will hit the UK for the first time and vocalist Fuzz is ready to bring it hard and loud. Completing the stage showcase are 80s punk heavy metal hybrids ZIG ZAGS, hazy Swedish doom newcomers ALASTOR and the low and slow psych goth-rock sounds of BLACKWATER HOLYLIGHT.

If that wasn’t enough Desertfest also adds thunderous space-rock psychedelic masters MONKEY3 to upcoming proceedings, the unforgiving primitive metal sounds of THE SECRET and LA party starters THE SHRINE, who haven’t graced DF with their amped up stoner-skate vibes for well over 5 years.

We also welcome back our long-time partners Human Disease Promo/When Planets Collide for another takeover of The Underworld on Saturday. Topping the bill, the riff muscle of Savannah, Georgia is brought back to The Underworld by the mighty bruisers BLACK TUSK. Dropping in straight underneath we’re living the doom dream of olde with Chicago legends in THE SKULL. Glasgow gives us two offerings this year in the form of explosive riff n roll filth-party heads ACID CANNIBALS, and to lower the tone whilst severely twisting some melons we also welcome their fellow city dwellers HEADLESS KROSS. As ever we chose to open up with a cataclysmic attack, hence why we’ve invited Brighton’s bleak hardcore oblivionists KALLOUSED to set the day into fittingly venomous motion. Bring your ear plugs, it’s gonna be a floor shaker!

And finally, Desertfest round off with the brilliant SKRAECKOEDLAN, BLANKET, SALEMS BEND, SURYA, HIGH PRIESTESS, ZED, KUROKUMA, GREAT ELECTRIC QUEST, PSYCHLONA, VIDEO NASTIES, ONE FOR SORROW, WORSHIPPER, MOUNTAIN CALLER & 1968 all added to the monumental 2019 line-up.

DESERTFEST LONDON /// 3-5th May, 2019 in London
All tickets on sale at this location

http://www.desertfest.co.uk/
https://www.facebook.com/DesertfestLondon
https://www.instagram.com/desertfest_london/
https://twitter.com/DesertFest

BlackWater HolyLight, BlackWater HolyLight (2018)

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Monkey3: New Album Sphere Available to Preorder

Posted in Whathaveyou on February 4th, 2019 by JJ Koczan

monkey3

It was announced this past Fall that Swiss progressive heavy instrumentalists Monkey3 would hit the road with Samsara Blues Experiment this March, and now we know a little bit more about why. Their new album, Sphere, is set to release April 12 through Napalm Records and is up for preorder now. For a band who are more than 15 years removed from their debut album, they continue to be something of a well kept secret of Europe’s heavy underground — at least to those outside of it — but their last full-length, 2016’s Astra Symmetry (review here), was easily their most progressive outing yet, and they followed it with the 2017 Live at Freak Valley offering, so between that and the ample touring they’ve done all the while, they head into Sphere with some solid momentum behind them. One hopes they continue to build on their litany of accomplishments over the better part of this decade.

The PR wire brought album details and the preorder link:

monkey3 sphere

MONKEY3 To Release New Album “Sphere” April 12th via Napalm Records

Pre-Orders Available Now

Heavy Psych-Rock from Outer Space
Your Mind-Blowing Trip to the Universe

Instrumental rockers MONKEY3 have buckled up for their next interstellar journey. After the success of the 2016 album “Astra Symmetry,” the Swiss four piece continues its cosmic journey of space rock, psychedelic, stoner and progressive on their 6th full length studio album “Sphere”.

MONKEY3 describes the new album:
“Spiraling out of a majestic landscape & its untamed environment, ‘Sphere’ stands for an abstract interpretation of nature’s phenomenons, their geometric patterns, and colorful elements.

The backbone of MONKEY3’s new album is a solid axis around which revolves a multitude of distinct atmospheres – like a wild journey along a winding road – sometimes brutal, sometimes sublime. Here the instrumental roots of the band refract in a prismatic soundscape where each musical beam finds its own space; and yet at the same time they all come together to weave a massive wall of sound. Moreover a feminine & graceful touch enhances the overall artwork, allowing the audience to travel through a wide panel – from the depths of Death Valley to the magnitude of Mount Ida – like a cosmic trip through a meditative canal. And whatever this opus might be, “Sphere” could be reminiscent of an ellipsis in which one omits part of what is being said in order for the listener to fill in the blanks with one’s own imagination, and make it its own.”

Today, MONKEY3 unveils the album cover and the tracklist.

Pre Order “Sphere” HERE!

Tracklist:
1. Spirals
2. Axis
3. Prism
4. Mass (feat. Bumblefoot)
5. Ida
6. Ellipsis

“Sphere” will be available in the following formats:
-4 Page Digipack
-2LP Gatefold
-LP Deluxe Box, including Double-LP Gatefold + 1 LP Bonus LP Gatefold + Slipmat
-Digital Album

In March, MONKEY3 will hit the road together with Samsara Blues Experiment:
w/ Samsara Blues Experiment
29.03.19 DE – Cologne / Helios 37
30.03.19 BE – Antwerp / Zappa
31.03.19 NL – Nijmegen / Doornroosje
01.04.19 FR – Paris / Petit Bain
03.04.19 FR – Toulouse / Rex
05.04.19 DE – Stuttgart / JH Hallschlag
06.04.19 DE – Jena / F-Haus
07.04.19 DE – Dresden / Beatpol
08.04.19 DE – Munich / Feierwerk
09.04.19 CH – Zuerich / Rote Fabrik
10.04.19 AT – Vienna / Arena
11.04.19 CH- Budapest / A38
12.04.19 AT – Salzburg / Rockhouse
13.04.19 DE – Aschaffenburg / Colos-Saal

30.04.19 CH – Pratteln / Z7 Konzertfabrik
10.05.19 FR – Guéret / Metal Culture(s) Festival
02.08.19 FR – Monestier-de-Clermont / Stade Régis Perrin
03.08.19 FR – Saint-Maurice-de-Gourdans / Sylak Open Air
10.08.19 DE – Balve / German Kultrock Festival

MONKEY3 are:
Walter – drums
Kevin – bass
Boris – guitar
dB – keys

https://www.facebook.com/monkey3band/
http://www.napalmrecordsamerica.com/store/monkey3
http://label.napalmrecords.com/
https://www.facebook.com/napalmrecords

Monkey3, Live at Freak Valley (2017)

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Elav Stoner Open Air 2017 Starts Tomorrow; Karma to Burn, Monkey3, My Sleeping Karma & More to Play

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

Pretty impressive lineup that Italian heavy rockers Humulus have put together in conjunction with Elav Brewery for what’s being called Elav Stoner Open Air 2017, with Monkey3 and Karma to Burn headlining and performances locked in from Humulus themselves as well as Toner Low, My Sleeping Karma, Monte Nero, Ride Paranoia, Elepharmers and Bangarang. It’s a two-night affair, and one assumes that since it’s actually being held at the brewery itself it’ll be as much a party as it is a show, but all the better for the heavy and psychedelic vibe that seems to be the event’s ultimate aim.

Four bands tomorrow, five on Saturday. I know it’s kind of a crapshoot to think you’re going to be able to make it out to this one on such short notice if you didn’t already plan to go, but consider this notice at least that cool stuff like this is happening somewhere on the planet. On the most basic level, ideas like this one seem worth supporting to me. It looks like a good time.

Fest info follows, as run through a major tech firm’s translation matrix from its original Italian:

elav-stoner-open-air-2017

Elav Stoner- Open Air Festival

The Brewery opens the doors for the Stoner event of the year.

Friday 7 and Saturday, July 8, 2017 will arrive in the year of the ELAV STONER OPEN AIR FESTIVAL at #Bergamo, a two-day stoner music with nine bands, between national and international, which will alternate on stage with: Psych-Stoner , Psychedelic vibrations, garage, rock and some blues notes …

The billboard took shape under the artistic direction of the Humulus, power trio Psych-Stoner of Brescia / Bergamo.
Guest star of Karma to Burn, US trio that with their rock instrumental stoner will explode the stage!

Friday, July 7

MONKEY3 (Switzerland)
Psychedelic vibrations, stoner rock slides with a twist prog, instrumental music that invites to travel through the mind. During a 14-year career, Monkey3 has released 6 albums. Over the years, the Swiss quartet played everywhere in Europe, taking part in the best festivals: Roadburn, Hellfest, Desertfest, Burg-Herzberg, Freak Valley …

HUMULUS (Italy)
A power-trio Psych-Stoner set up in 2009. Their first album of the same name comes out for Go Down Records in December 2012. In 2015, after a change of training, the Humulus are ready to write new songs; An EP of 3 songs entitled “Electric Walrus EP” sees the light in October 2015. 2016 is a year full of important concerts and new ideas for new songs that will compose the new LP entitled “Reverently Heading Into Nowhere.”

ELEPHARMERS (Italy)
Stoner rock band from Cagliari, two guitars with heavy tuning, battery and voice. The sound of the trio brings with it the teaching of the Black Sabbath, the “cosmic” blues of the 60s and 70s, the groove of the stoner of the ’90s. The Elepharmers sound continues to have a sabbatical matrix, but with respect to the first album the songs are longer and more dilated, there are more instrumental parts and the arrangements are richer, thanks to the presence of acoustic guitars and synth arrangements and hammond By Matteo “Baro” Paper.

Bangarang! (Italy)
Quartet with a loud rhythm, a strong ironic vein and the lyricism of the sampler that becomes a sort of “virtual singer”. The Bangarang Concert! Is littered with voices, noises, quotes, and dialogues around and inside the songs. In 2016 the Bangarang! Come back with a new work in the studio: ten tracks that go to create RELIGION CATODICA, an album that tells the many aspects of Italian television, for good and for evil, and which leads to the extreme consequences of the fusion of the power of a schizophrenic power trio And the quotation of the sampled voices.

Saturday, July 8

KARMA TO BURN (USA)
With their rock instrumental stoner they are ready to blow up the stage! For more than 20 years, the US trio proposes a rock stoner that is for all such lovers a solid and historic reference point; With their latest EP “Mountain Czar” Karma To Burn propose another wave of what they like to call “Mountain Rock” … and we are ready to make us invest in this mountain of increasingly aggressive and rhythmic riffs .

MY SLEEPING KARMA (Germany)
Aschenburg’s rock psychedelic German group, with 4 studio albums behind and a lot of live experience. With their new album “Moksha” and a series of live sold out across Europe, My Sleeping Karma arrives at the Brewery together with their instrumental rock, a real journey out of the mind: hypnotic atmospheres, engaging guitar riffs and a Massive dose of rock that never breaks.

TONER LOW (Netherlands)
Band Doom Stoner who released the third album “III” in April 2013 on Bilocation Records / Kozmik Artifactz and Roadkill Rekordz.
The band features a rock stoner characterized by very low and rhythmic obsessive frequencies typical of the doom, which live become a real space trip.

MONTE NERO (Italy)
The Monte Nero project is a unique Distinct Music Moloch. After 15/20 years of ripening in various cellars, dance halls and stages throughout Italy, some operative musicians from rock band Bergamo (Gea, Spread, In The Howling Storm) are transferred to the BDC Room by Stefano Locatelli To spend another two years of maturing. Then, when the elements have reached full maturity, they blend together to create rock songs with a rich, intense aroma and full and round flavor.

RIDE PARANOIA (Italy)
A rock band from Brescia, born in 2014, is the meeting between the two completely different music companies. Claudio, Davide, Andrea and Marco are part of The Credo band, which has been active since 2006, the fifth element of the band is Giovanni, eclectic guitarist, formerly a member of the French Wine Coca and Waiver. The result of this sound fusion has given rise to the sound of the Paranoia Ride, explosive mix of stoner, garage, rock, embellished with a touch of electro.

https://www.facebook.com/events/134003620485445/
https://www.elavbrewery.com/
https://www.facebook.com/humulusband/

Humulus, Reverently Heading into Nowhere (2017)

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Monkey3 Announce Italian Tour Dates for December

Posted in Whathaveyou on October 7th, 2016 by JJ Koczan

Swiss mostly-instrumentalists Monkey3 are currently on a European tour alongside 1000mods and Moaning Cities that has already seen them perform at this year’s Up in Smoke and that before it’s done will find them at Desertfest Belgium 2016 and Keep it Low in Munich. Not a bad run, but as we find out today, it’s not all the long-running outfit have in store as they support their new album, Astra Symmetry (review here), as Heavy Psych Sounds and Sound of Liberation have partnered again — as they’re doing increasingly often; take note — to present an Italian tour in December.

Italy’s emergence within the sphere of European heavy rock over the last three to four years is in no small part thanks to the efforts of Heavy Psych Sounds, as I’ve said on multiple occasions, so as that steps forward into bringing bands from the rest of the continent in as well as promoting homegrown countrymen acts, it can only make the scene as a whole stronger. Also, Monkey3 rule, so that’s kind of nice as well.

If you can dig it, here are all of Monkey3‘s announced upcoming dates, current and future:

monkey3-italian-tour-700

Monkey3 Italian Tour

HEAVY PSYCH SOUNDS Records & Booking in collaboration with Sound of Liberation UG is very proud to present the Italian dates of the Swiss quartet Monkey3.

Monkey3 is just out with their new album ASTRA SYMMETRY, an incredible anthem of instrumental psychedelia, and the band for the last 14 years have out their antlers in all of Europe by participating in festivals like Hellfest, DesertFest, and many many others…

Here are the dates:

Monkey3 European tour with 1000mods & Moaning Cities:
07.10.16 HANNOVER | FAUST *without 1000MODS
08.10.16 BERLIN | BI NUU
09.10.16 LEIPZIG | WERK 2
10.10.16 WIESBADEN | SCHLACHTHOF
11.10.16 MANNHEIM | 7er CLUB
12.10.16 JENA | KULTURBAHNHOF
13.10.16 HAMBURG | HAFENKLANG
14.10.16 KIEL | SCHAUBUDE
15.10.16 ANTWERP | DESERTFEST
16.10.16 DRACHTEN | IDUNA *without MOANING CITIES
18.10.16 WÜRZBURG | IMMERHIN
19.10.16 WIEN | ARENA
20.10.16 LINZ | STADTWERSTATT
21.10.16 EBENSEE | KINO EBENSEE
22.10.16 MUNICH | KEEP IT LOW FESTIVAL

Monkey3 Italian tour dates:
01.12.2016 Torino – Café Liber
02.12.2016 Pisa – Café Albatross
03.12.2016 Parma – Titty Twister
04.12.2016 Erba – Centrale Rock
05.12.2016 North East Tbc
06.12.2016 Zerobranco – Altroquando
07.12.2016 Roma – Init
09.12.2016 Cagliari – La Cueva Rock
10.12.2016 Sassari – The Hor

https://www.facebook.com/monkey3band/
http://www.napalmrecordsamerica.com/store/monkey3
https://www.facebook.com/HEAVYPSYCHSOUNDS/
www.heavypsychsounds.com
https://www.soundofliberation.com/

Monkey3, “Dead Planet’s Eyes” lyric video

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Quarterly Review: Sumac, Dunsmuir, Monkey3, Oak, Lightsabres, Helen Money, Dali’s Llama, Suns of Thyme, Fungal Abyss, Wicked Gypsy

Posted in Reviews on October 3rd, 2016 by JJ Koczan

the-obelisk-fall-2016-quarterly-review

This is always a kind of nervewracking moment, sitting here in my chair as I do every couple months and introducing the next Quarterly Review. Between now and Friday, somehow, some way, I’ll post 50 reviews in batches of 10 per day. It will cover more ground than, frankly, I yet know, and by the time it’s done it’s going to feel (at least to me) like way more than a week has passed, but hell, at this point I’ve done this enough times to be reasonably confident I can get through it without suffering a major collapse either of heart or brain. I’ve taken steps beforehand to make it easier on myself and listened to a lot, a lot, a lot of music in preparation, so there’s nothing left to do but dive in and actually kick this this thing off. So let’s do that.

Quarterly Review #1-10:

Sumac, What One Becomes

sumac-what-one-becomes

With their second album, What One Becomes (on Thrill Jockey), post-metal trio Sumac move forward from what their 2015 debut, The Deal (review here), established as their crushing and atmospheric modus. Starting with a wash of blown-out noise in “Image of Control,” the collective of guitarist/vocalist Aaron Turner (ex-Isis), bassist Brian Cook (Russian Circles) and Nick Yacyshyn (Baptists) eventually settle into a barrage of chug and inhuman lumber over the course of the five-track/58-minute progression, testing tolerance on the 17-minute march “Blackout” and tapping into a satisfying moment of melody in centerpiece “Clutch of Oblivion” that, by the time it arrives, feels a bit like a life raft. There are stretches that come across as part collections, but the whole seems to be geared toward overwhelming, consuming and devastating, and ultimately What One Becomes accomplishes all of those things and more besides, finishing closer “Will to Reach” with the sense they could easily keep going. I believe it.

Sumac on Thee Facebooks

Thrill Jockey Records

 

Dunsmuir, Dunsmuir

dunsmuir-dunsmuir

Prior to making their full-length debut, Dunsmuir issued a series of 7” singles, so if you picked up any of that, the straightforward pulse running through the 10-track self-titled will probably be familiar. Likewise if you’d previously caught wind of The Company Band, the supergroup in which vocalist Neil Fallon (also Clutch), guitarist Dave Bone and bassist Brad Davis (also Fu Manchu) previously joined forces. Here they’re joined by drummer Vinny Appice (Black Sabbath, etc.), and the material is suitably metallic in its aftertaste, but while Fallon’s presence is irrepressible and it’s the songwriting itself that shines through in cuts like “Our Only Master” and “…And Madness,” both barnburner riffs in classic metal fashion, where the later “Church of the Tooth” draws back the pace to add sway leading into the mid-paced closing duo “The Gate” and “Crawling Chaos.” Not many surprises, but with the ingredients given, knowing what you’re getting isn’t anything to complain about.

Dunsmuir on Thee Facebooks

Dunsmuir webstore

 

Monkey3, Astra Symmetry

monkey3-astra-symmetry

Across a span of 12 tracks and 72 minutes, Swiss heavy progressives Monkey3 unfurl the massive scope of Astra Symmetry, their fifth album and the follow-up to 2013’s The 5th Sun. It is an immediately immersive listening experience and does not become any less so as it plays out, the generally-instrumental four-piece frontloading early songs like “Abyss,” “Moon” and the nodding, synthed-out “The Water Bearer” with vocals and backing that with “Dead Planet’s Eyes” on the second LP for good measure. Delving into Eastern-style melodicism gives Astra Symmetry a contemplative air, but Monkey3’s heavy psychedelia has always provided a free-flowing vibe, and as “Astrea,” “Arch,” “The Guardian” and “Realms of Lights” roll through ambient drones toward the album’s smoothly delivered apex, that remains very much the case. Taken as a whole, Astra Symmetry is a significant journey, but satisfying in that traveling atmosphere and in the hypnosis it elicits along the way.

Monkey3 on Thee Facebooks

Napalm Records

 

Oak, Oak II

oak-oak-ii

Big progressive step from London four-piece Oak on their second self-released EP, Oak II. They follow last year’s self-titled (review here) with four more tracks that build on the burl established last time out but immediately show more stylistic command, vocalist Andy “Valiant” Wisbey emerging as a significant frontman presence and the band behind him – guitarist/engineer Kevin Germain, bassist Scott Masson and drummer Clinton Ritchie – finding more breadth, be it in a nod to djent riffing in “Mirage” or more melodic post-Steak desert rock in “Against the Rain.” In addition, “A Bridge too Far” showcases a patience of approach that the first EP simply didn’t have, and that makes its build even more satisfying as it hits its peak and goes quiet into the stonerly swing of “Smoke,” which ends Oak II with due fuzz and some social commentary to go with. Sounds like more than a year’s growth at work, but I’ll take it.

Oak on Thee Facebooks

Oak on Bandcamp

 

Lightsabres, Hibernation

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One word for Swedish one-man outfit Lightsabres? How about “underrated?” Since the 2013 Demons EP (review here), it has been nearly impossible to keep a handle on where John Strömshed (also Tunga Moln) might go on any given song, and his latest offering, the full-length Hibernation (on HeviSike with a tape out on Medusa Crush) works much the same, rolling out a melodic mellowness on the opening title-track before topping off-time chug with garage vocals on the subsequent “Endless Summer.” Elsewhere, “Throw it all Away” marries swallow-you-in-tone riffing with a surprisingly emotionally resonant lead, and “Blood on the Snow” offers a downtrodden vision of grunge-blues like what might’ve happened if Danzig had never gone commercial. It’s all over the place, as was 2014’s Spitting Blood (review here) and 2015’s Beheaded, but tied together through a wintry theme, and anyway, variety is the norm for Lightsabres, whose reach seems only to grow broader with each passing year.

Lightsabres on Thee Facebooks

HeviSike Records website

 

Helen Money, Become Zero

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Knowing the context of Helen Money’s Become Zero having been written by cellist Alison Chesley following losing both her parents, and knowing that songs like the 10-minute “Radiate” and the effects-less “Blood and Bone” (which features pianist Rachel Grimes) deal directly with that loss, only makes it more powerful, but even without that information, the sense of melancholy and loneliness is right there to be heard. Chesley, who released the last Helen Money album, Arriving Angels (review here), in 2013, once again brings in drummer Jason Roeder (Sleep, Neurosis) to contribute, and his work on the title-track and the later churn of “Leviathan” make both standouts, but whether it’s the empty spaces of “Vanished Star” or the ambient wash of “Radiate” – I don’t even know how a cello makes that sound – the emotional force driving the music is ultimately what ties it together as a single work of poignant, deeply resonant beauty.

Helen Money on Thee Facebooks

Helen Money at Thrill Jockey Records

 

Dali’s Llama, Dying in the Sun

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It has been nearly three years since desert-dwelling rockers Dali’s Llama celebrated their two-decade run with the Twenty Years Underground vinyl (review here) and almost four since their last proper full-length, Autumn Woods (review here), was issued. For them, that’s an exceedingly long time. One can’t help but wonder if the band – now a five-piece, led as ever by guitarist/vocalist Zach Huskey and recorded as ever by Scott Reeder – went through a period of introspection in that span. After some stylistic experimentation with darker and more doomed influences, the seven tracks of Dying in the Sun would seem to reaffirm who Dali’s Llama are as they approach the quarter-century mark, bringing some of the gloom of Autumn Woods to extended centerpiece “Samurai Eyes” as easily as “Bruja-ha” seems to play off the goth-punk whimsy of 2010’s Howl do You Do? (review here). The fact is Dali’s Llama are all these things, not just one or the other, and so in bringing that together, Dying in the Sun is perhaps the truest to themselves they’ve yet been on record.

Dali’s Llama on Thee Facebooks

Dali’s Llama Records website

 

Suns of Thyme, Cascades

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Making their debut on Napalm Records, Berlin five-piece Suns of Thyme exhibit immediate sonic adventurousness on their second album, Cascades, melding krautrock and heavy psych keys and effects with a distinctly human presence in the rhythm section, engaging in songcraft in the new wave-ish “Intuition Unbound” while topping shoegaze wash with organ on “Aphelion.” It’s a vast reach, and with 14 tracks and a 55-minute runtime, Suns of Thyme have plenty of chance to get where they’re going, but the dynamic between the psych-folk of “Val Verde” and the drift of closing duo “Kirwani” and “Kirwani II” and the push of the earlier “Deep Purple Rain” impresses both in theory and practice alike. The task ahead of them would seem to be to meld these influences together further as they move forward, but there’s something satisfying about having no idea what’s coming next after the proggy sway of “Schweben,” and that’s worth appreciating as it is.

Suns of Thyme on Thee Facebooks

Suns of Thyme at Napalm Records

 

Fungal Abyss, Karma Suture

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Two huge, side-consuming slabs of primordial improvised heavy psychedelia making up a 45-minute LP with a pun title and enough wash throughout that I don’t even feel dirty looking at it? Yeah, there really isn’t a time when I don’t feel ready to sign on for weirdo exploratory stuff like that which Seattle’s Fungal Abyss elicit on Karma Suture. Available as a 12” on Adansonia Records, the album brings together “Perfumed Garden” (22:12) and “Virile Member” (23:22), both sprawling, massive jams that launch almost immediately and are gone for the duration. Way gone. I won’t discount the consumption that takes place on side A, but I think my absolute favorite part of Karma Suture might be the guitar lead on “Virile Member,” which about eight minutes in starts to lose its way and you can actually hear the band come around and pick it back up to an exciting swing. It’s moments like that one that make a group like Fungal Abyss exciting. Not only are they able to right their direction when they need to, but they’re brave enough to put the whole thing on record: as raw and genuine as it gets.

Fungal Abyss on Thee Facebooks

Adansonia Records website

 

Wicked Gypsy, Wicked Gypsy

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It’s an encouraging and unpretentious start that Malaysian four-piece Wicked Gypsy make on their self-titled, self-released three-song EP. In the 22-minute span of “Wicked Gypsy,” “Heavy Eyes” and “Gypsy Woman,” the band – vocalist/guitarist Mahmood Ahmad, bassist Mohd Azam, keyboardist Azyan Idayu and drummer Ahmad Afiq – bring together influences from modern doom and classic heavy rock, Idayu’s keys providing a distinct ‘70s flair to the opener while Azam’s wah bass and of course a liberal dose of rifffing from Ahmad lead a proto-metallic charge in “Heavy Eyes,” topped with gritty vocals reciting lyrics about smoking weed, black magic, the devil, etc. What one really hears in these tracks is Wicked Gypsy’s initial exploration of dark-themed doom rock, and while the going is rough in its sound, that adds to the appeal, and the drum solo/progressive flourish worked into “Gypsy Woman” speaks well of where they’re headed as they walk the Sabbathian path.

Wicked Gypsy on Thee Facebooks

Wicked Gypsy on Soundcloud

 

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Up in Smoke 2016: Lineup Final; Trailer Posted

Posted in Whathaveyou on September 28th, 2016 by JJ Koczan

The final addition to the lineup for Up in Smoke 2016, which starts this Friday at Z7 in Pratteln, Switzerland? Camping space. Namely the floor of the venue, which will be cleaned after the last band finishes each night so that fest goers can grab their sleeping bags and bed down for the night, only to find breakfast waiting when they roll back to consciousness the next morning. I’ve never slept on a venue floor before. That would be a new one. But provided they get the beer/other fluids up, which I’ve no doubt they’ll be able to do because it’s Switzerland and things like that increase the likelihood that anyone gives a shit about what they’re doing, it seems like a cool way to achieve total immersion in a festival atmosphere. I’ve never gone camping either, though, so don’t necessarily take my word as an expert or anything.

With the festival’s most massive lineup yet, Up in Smoke 2016 kicks off this Friday. A new trailer for the fest with some 1000mods in it has been posted and you can find that under the camping info and complete billing below:

up-in-smoke-2016-timetable

SOUND OF LIBERATION and Z7 KONZERTFABRIK PRATTELN proudly present the 4th edition of UP IN SMOKE INDOOR FESTIVAL on September 30th and October 1st 2016! Musical Highlights include Electric Wizard, Yob, Truckfighters, Pentagram and many many more.

Many of you asked for the chance to sleep over in the venue, like we offered in the last editions. Here´s the procedure:

After the last band is done playing, we will go on partying with Dj music for another hour. Then afterwards, we will ask everybody to step out of the main hall for a few minutes. The floor will be cleaned and covered with a sheet so that the place gets clean for all our “in site – campers”. If you want to sleep over in the venue, you should bring your sleeping bag and camping mat. Upon your arrival on the festival site you can store your belongings in the wardrobe and get it back for the night.

In the morning, we will offer you a nice breakfast with coffee/tea, bread and breadrolls, meat and cheese and sweet stuff to get you in shape for the next festival day! The price for sleep over and breakfast is 15.- CHF per person/night. There´s no option of separate bookings like ” only sleep over and no breakfast” or “only breakfast”.

Up in Smoke 2016 Final Line Up
Electric Wizard
Pentagram
Truckfighters
YOB
Elder
Greenleaf
Monkey 3
Cough
Black Cobra
1000mods
Yawning Man
Fatso Jetson
Dyse
Wucan
Desert Mountain Tribe
Giobia
High Fighter
Mother’s Cake
Ephedra

Also not to forget: No overlapping set times, sleep over/breakfast possibiity in the venue + some more specials to be announced soon to sweeten you the “TWO NOT TO BE MISSED DAYS OF VOLUME WORSHIP” !!! Grab your ticket (2-day passes) right now on our website, on www.z-7.ch and on our Facebook (tab ‘Buy Tickets’). If you prefer to buy an original, real hard-ticket, our partner Woolheads is selling them!

http://woolheads.com/cms/shop-2/festivalmerchandise/up-in-smoke-the-indoor-festival-vol-iv-ticket/
http://www.upinsmoke.de/eventinfo-indoor-festival
https://www.facebook.com/UpInSmokeIndoorFestivalInZ7
https://www.soundofliberation.com

Up in Smoke 2016, festival trailer

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