Vision Eternel Finish Basic Tracks for New Release For Farewell of Nostalgia

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

I think it’s fitting for a style that is so cinematic as that of Montreal one-man melancholic drone outfit Vision Eternel — formerly Vision Éternel, with the accent on the ‘e’ — haven’t just completed the recording process, they’ve “finished principal production.” Now comes ‘post,’ I guess, which I assume will not involve a CGI version of The Hulk. I like it. The session newly completed seems to have been a somewhat arduous task, with a first round scrapped and then the album, titled For Farewell of Nostalgia, and put together again from the ground up. That’s a hard decision to make practically in terms of the sheer time already put in on making the thing, as well as creatively in terms of hey I just made this thing do I really want to abandon it. One more reason I dig this project.

The progress update is below. Some overdubs, mixing, mastering and whatnot and then it’s ready to go. Vision Eternel is looking for a label to call home, but I’d expect the record out in 2020, whatever way band founder Alexandre Julien ends up going with it.

The news:

vision eternel

Principal Production Has Been Completed On Vision Eternel’s For Farewell Of Nostalgia

Principal production has been completed on Vision Eternel’s upcoming release For Farewell Of Nostalgia!

After abandoning the recording session for the same release in 2018, Vision Eternel spent the entirety of October and the first half of November of 2019 re-tracking the album at Mortified Studios. A first mix has been completed and received positive feedback at a private listening session. Only a few things remain on the checklist: minor overdubs, final mixing and sequencing & mastering for the various physical and digital formats.

Each format of the release will feature a different edit and sequencing. As a concept album, it follows a complex story-line, with certain chapters that can be extended, transposed, or omitted, suiting a better listening experience to each medium. Each format will also showcase a different artwork.

Those who have heard some of the pre-production recordings that were released in 2018-2019 (Moments Of Intimacy, Moments Of Intimacy (Reprise), Moments Of Absence and Killer Of Giants) will be very surprised to hear how much better, more emotional and moving the songs have turned out after re-recording them.

More announcements will be published in the coming months as record label album-releasing deals are secured, and teasers will be posted on social media. So be sure to like and follow Vision Eternel on your platform of choice.

https://www.visioneternel.com
https://facebook.com/visioneternel
https://instagram.com/visioneternel
https://soundcloud.com/visioneternel
https://play.spotify.com/artist/52WyoEAtuPS2QJ2qYOmb6u
https://visioneternel.bandcamp.com

Vision Éternel, Sixth EP Teaser

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Wykan Premiere Brigid: of the Night EP in Full

Posted in audiObelisk on June 6th, 2019 by JJ Koczan

wykan-band-photo-credit-jeremy-perkins

With a beginning of mellow guitar, Montreal blackened psych-sludge — and if such a thing was going to come from anywhere, it would come from a city with such a history of genre-meld — four-piece Wykan set the atmosphere for the centerpiece of their new EP, Brigid: of the Night. Issued by the band tomorrow with cover art from none other than David Paul Seymour, the release comprises three tracks and stands out for the short-album concept centered around the Celtic goddess named in its title. “Breo-Saighead (Triple Goddess)” is the second of the three slices, with “Imbolc (The Cleansing)” before and “Reul-Iuil Bride (Star of Brigid)” serving as the finale after, and its push into doom and black metal is underscored by a heft of tone and groove that makes the post-midpoint slowdown at about 4:30 into the total 7:31 a turn consistent with what’s come before.

That is, by that point, Wykan — vocalist Barrie Butler, guitarist Jeremy Perkins, bassist Corey Thomas and drummer Dug Kawliss — haveWYKAN BRIGID OF THE NIGHT set a pretty broad range for themselves through the opener and into the centerpiece and are as much focused on dwelling without as within the bounds of genre. Butler‘s vocals unquestionably provide a charred spin to the proceedings, but they’re by far the only forward element at play, as Perkins‘ guitar leading from one part to another in classic riff-based fashion. The band made their debut in 2018 with the Solace EP (review here), but what Brigid: of the Night and the conceptual frame in which it arrives signal is clear growth in just a year’s time and the desire to use aesthetic to tell a story as well as to be blisteringly heavy in terms of sonics. Not every band gets there at all — or wants to, I suppose — but even the ambition lends a progressive edge to Brigid: of the Night, and like the first three-tracker before it, gives Wykan another foundation to build from as they go forward toward, you know, the next one.

Perhaps clearest of all is the signal this offering sends that they will indeed go forward, and that they’re only becoming a more complex outfit as they do so.

Enjoy the full EP stream below, followed by comment from the band:

Wykan, “Breo-Saighead (Triple Goddess)” official track premiere

Jeremy Perkins on Brigid: of the Night:

To add a little bit more detail about the inspiration for this album; it’s based on the thematic for Wykan originally – a ceremonial get together – keeping in mind and heart, an atmospheric take on those three major genres I write with. Being Doom, Blackened whatever you wanna call it death or doom and Rock. This album has a deep representation in regards to my roots personally and musically touches various genres which are my inspirations. Being older Sabbath, Floyd, Hendrix, and bands like Immortal and Mayhem.

To expand on my writing for this album I used an older Ovation acoustic for the intro, a 1992 Fender Stratocaster Ultra I’ve had for 23 yrs for the intro for Song 2 and all solos and a 2018 Ibanez Prestige with high-end Dimarzio pickups for all the rest, cranked through my 15 pedals-pedalboard into a newer 5150’s head.

The transitions from the darker heavier blackened doom into soft rock and vice versa were done smoothly. I wrote most on acoustic beforehand and build. The progressiveness of Wykan continuously evolves and it feels together, feels even though you’re going from like some really soft atmospheric 70s rock beginning with an acoustic then transitioning to the black and death metalesque parts came out amazing to me on this EP and edible for the soul.

Anyone will notice, especially those reviewing this album, that its kind of a trip in itself which is what I want to do with Wykan and which is the idea a story an atmosphere a soundscape for a ceremony, in this case summoning Brigíd.

I was pleased with the overall outcome and look forward to another EP this fall.

“Brigid: Of The Night” EP is slated for release on June 7, 2019, and will be available on Bandcamp as a $1 EP or more Pay-What-You-Want download.

1. Imbolc ( The cleansing )
2. Breo-Saighead ( Triple Goddess )
3. Reul-Iuil Bride ( Star of Brigid )

Wykan is:
Guitars : Jeremy Perkins
Vocals : Barrie Butler
Drums : Dug Kawliss
Bass : Corey Thomas

Featuring guest drummer :
Simon McKay ( The Agonist ) Track 3

Wykan on Thee Facebooks

Wykan on Bandcamp

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The Hazytones Touring Next Month; Playing SXSW and More

Posted in Whathaveyou on February 15th, 2019 by JJ Koczan

THE HAZYTONES

Canadian trio The Hazytones will be taking their heavy psychedelic cultistry on the road next month, heading south to swing their way into Texas for a couple dates at SXSW, including the SX Stoner Jam that seems to have become the epicenter of March heavy touring in the States. To get there, they’ll make their way down the East Coast beforehand, stopping in Brooklyn and Philly en route to North Carolina — that’s about eight and a half hours in the car, by the way — and on to New Orleans and Austin from there. A couple brutal rides, it seems, but they go supporting the worthy cause of their second album, II: Monarchs of Oblivion (review here), which came out this past Fall on Ripple Music, so they should have plenty to keep them motivated along the way.

Plus it’s warm in Austin. That should help too.

They head back north via Memphis, Chicago, and Lansing, Michigan, then wrap with dates in Hamilton and Toronto before getting back to Montreal. It’s a good run, and a smart one. They’ll do well.

Dates and whatnot came down the PR wire:

the hazytones tour poster

The Hazytones tour

Formed in 2015, The Hazytones’ shadowy sound is the epitome of a “hazy tone”. The band’s black acid-drenched shock rock drips with harmonies that harken back to the trippiest of late 60’s psych and its chained-to-the brain hooks bleed with a palpable, eerie energy that surges and swings in equal measure. Live is where the band really finds its swagger, flinging themselves around the stage and converting new disciples with each and every performance. With full European and North American tours already under their belts, The Hazytones are a developing band on the rise, who delivered a sweeping salvo with the release of their substantial sophomore LP, II: Monarchs of Oblivion.

The Hazytones live:
03.08 Lucky 13 Brooklyn NY
03.09 Astromonster Records Philadelphia PA
03.10 The Milestone Club Charlotte NC
03.11 Santos Bar New Orleans LA
03.12 Kick Butt Cafe Austin TX
03.14 Spider House SX Stoner Jam Austin TX
03.15 The Mix San Antonio TX
03.16 Kick Butt Cafe Gravity Fest Austin TX
03.17 The Growlers Memphis TN
03.18 Reggies Chicago IL
03.19 Displaced Manor Lansing MI
03.20 This Ain’t Hollywood Hamilton ON
03.21 Cherry Cola’s Toronto ON

The Hazytones are:
Mick Martel – guitar/vocals
Adam Gilbert – bass/backing vocals
Antoine St-Germain – drums

https://www.facebook.com/TheHazytones/
http://www.twitter.com/TheHazytones/
https://www.instagram.com/thehazytones/
https://thehazytones.bandcamp.com/releases
https://www.facebook.com/theripplemusic/
ripplemusic.bandcamp.com

The Hazytones, II: Monarchs of Oblivion (2018)

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Tumbleweed Dealer Catalog to Be Reissued; TDIII: Tokes, Hatred & Caffeine Preorder Available

Posted in Whathaveyou on January 24th, 2019 by JJ Koczan

tumbleweed dealer

I’ll admit that Tumbleweed Dealer‘s TDIII: Tokes, Hatred and Caffeine got by me when it was first released in 2016. No excuse; I keep telling you I suck at this. Fortunately, British Columbia-based Coup Sur Coup Records is stepping up to help those such as myself by reissuing the Montreal instrumental trio’s third long-player, and indeed their entire back catalog, one at a time, in limited numbers. It marks the first physical edition of the 12-track, mellow-but-still-awake strong>TDIII: Tokes, Hatred and Caffeine, and 40 tapes are being pressed. 40. Four zero. As in, preorders are up and if you want one, you might consider it time to make that happen before it’s actually out and gone.

There’s a teaser up, and you can stream all of Tumbleweed Dealer‘s multi-genre-informed fare at their Bandcamp page.

Coup Sur Coup label head Max Cayer sent the following over about the reissue program:

tumbleweed dealer tdiii tokes hatred caffeine

Tumbleweed Dealer – TDIII: Tokes, Hatred and Caffeine

Coup Sur Coup Records is proud to announce the re-issue of Tumbleweed Dealer back catalog on cassette tapes, starting with the latest release, 2016’s TDIII: Tokes, Hatred And Caffeine.

Seb and I, we go way back. Although we never played in bands together, we shared jam spaces, and funnily enough, have replaced each other in many bands. In some instances, I replaced him on bass, other times he replaced me on bass.
Same thing with Jean-Francois, we go way back. As we met in high school, and my first real “metal” band was with him, again a long, long time ago.

It was only natural that at some point we ended up working together. I’ve always enjoyed what he was doing with Tumbleweed, and always intended to invite him to release something. It took a bit of convincing, Seb not being one to do things just for the sake of it, but I’m glad he came around. I was planning on bugging him relentlessly until he would have allowed me to re-release Tumbleweed Dealer’s back catalog anyways, as it deserves to be out there in other formats than just digital. This is some pretty unique sounding music, and it deserve to be put to tape.

So, for the first time in physical format, and limited to 40 copies, that are sure to sell out. Act quick.

Assembled, dubbed, printed in Castlegar, British Columbia.

Here’s the link to the pre-order https://coupsurcoup.bandcamp.com/album/tdiii-tokes-hatred-caffeine

Tumbleweed Dealer is:
Seb Painchaud – Guitars
Miguel Valade – Bass
Jean-Francois Richard – Drums

http://www.facebook.com/TumbleweedDealer
https://tumbleweeddealer420.bandcamp.com/
https://www.facebook.com/coupsurcouprecords
http://www.instagram.com/coup_sur_coup_records
https://coupsurcoup.bandcamp.com/

Tumbleweed Dealer, TDIII: Tokes, Hatred and Caffeine reissue teaser

Tumbleweed Dealer, TDIII: Tokes, Hatred and Caffeine (2016)

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Quarterly Review: BongCauldron, Black Helium, Earthbong, Sir Collapse, Alms, Haaze, The Sledge, Red Lama, Full Tone Generator, Mountain Dust

Posted in Reviews on December 12th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

quarterly-review

Not to get off topic here, but it’s December, and god damn, I hate the fucking holidays. Christmas, even if you believe in the religious significance of the day, is pure garbage. I like giving presents well enough, don’t particularly enjoy receiving them, but even if you put aside the whole “oh it’s so commercial ‘now'” thing, like there was a time anyone now living ever saw when it wasn’t, it isn’t fun. The meal sucks. It’s dark. It’s cold. The songs are fucking endless and terrible — yes, all of them — and the whole experience is just a bummer the whole way through. If there was actually a war on it, I wish they’d drop the bomb and incinerate the entire thing.

Take Thanksgiving, make it start in November and end in December. A month-long festival for the season. You can even give gifts at the end, if you want. It could be like Ramadan, or, probably more likely and much on the opposite end of the spectrum, Oktoberfest.

There. Problem solved. Have a great day, everyone. Let’s do some reviews.

Quarterly Review #71-80:

BongCauldron, Tyke

BongCauldron Tyke

Biscuit, Corky and Jay of BongCauldron return less than 12 months out from their Binge LP (review here) with Tyke (on APF), three more cuts of weed-eating, dirt-worshiping, weed-worshiping, dirt-eating sludge, fueled as ever by fuckall and booze and banger riffs — and yes, I mean “banger” as in “bangers and mash.” There’s a lead that shows up in closer “Jezus Throat Horns” and some vocal melody that follows behind the throaty barks, but for the bulk of the three-tracker, it’s down to the business of conveying dense-toned disaffection and rolling nod. “Pisshead on the Moon” opens with a sample about alcohol killing you and works from its lumber into a bit of a shuffle for its midsection before hitting a wall in the last minute or so in order to make room for the punker blast of “Back up Bog Roll,” which tears ass and is gone as soon as it’s there, dropping some gang vocals on the way, because really, when you think about it, screw everything. Right? “Jezus Throat Horns” might be offering a bit of creative progression in closing out, but the heart of BongCauldron remains stained of finger and stank of breath — just the way it should be.

BongCauldron on Thee Facebooks

APF Records webstore

 

Black Helium, Primitive Fuck

black helium primitive fuck

Oh yes. Most definitely. From the Sabbath swing behind the chugging “Love the Drugs” and the march of “Wicked Witch” through the what-would-happen-if-Danzig-was-interesting “Summer Spells” and fuzzed-out post-punk shouts of “Videodrone” en route to the nine-minute “Curtains at the Mausoleum,” London four-piece Black Helium make heavy psychedelic songcraft into something as malleable as it should be on their Riot Season debut, Primitive Fuck, holding to underlying structures when it suits them and touching on drone bliss without ever really completely letting go. Opener “Drowsy Shores” is hypnotic. The aforementioned “Curtains at the Mausoleum” is hypnotic. Even the chug-meets-effects-blowout closing title-track is hypnotic, but on the handclap-laced “Do You Wanna Come Out Tonight?” or “Videodrone,” or even “Summer Spells,” there are hooks for the listener to latch onto, life-rafts floating in the swirling tonal abyss. The truth? There isn’t a primitive thing about it. They’re not so much lizard-brained as astral-planed, and if you want a summation of their sound, look no further than their name. It’ll make even more sense when you listen. Which you should do.

Black Helium on Thee Facebooks

Riot Season Records website

 

Earthbong, Demo 2018

earthbong demo 2018

The immediate association in terms of riff is going to be Sleep. “Drop Dead,” the 10-minute first of two songs on Earthbong‘s debut Demo 2018, rolls out with pure Dopesmoker-ism and follows the model of gradual unfolding of its weedian sludge riffery. No complaints. The Kiel, Germany, trio are obviously just getting their start, and since it’s a demo and not the “debut EP” that so many otherwise demos try to position themselves as, I’ll take it. And to boot, “Drop Dead” ultimately departs its Sleepy environs for altogether more abrasive fare, with Bongzilla-style screams and an increasingly aggressive shove, the drums crashing like the cymbals did something wrong, and feedback capping into the start of “Wanderer,” which is shorter at seven minutes and opens its assault earlier, the vocals no less distorted than the guitar or bass. There’s some space in a solo in the second half, but Earthbong again twist into harsh, crusty doom before letting feedback carry them out to the demo’s finish. Growing to do, but already their violence seethes.

Earthbong on Thee Facebooks

Earthbong on Bandcamp

 

Sir Collapse, Walk to the Moon

sir collapse walk to the moon

Grunge, noise rock and Queens of the Stone Age-style melody-making collide on Walk to the Moon, the debut full-length from German four-piece Sir Collapse, sometimes on disparate cuts, like the noisy intro given to the album by “Lower Principles,” and sometimes within the same song, as in the later “Like Me.” A jangly swing in “Mono Mantra” and the Nirvana-esque hook there soon gives way to the desert-hued thrust of “One Man Show” and the early ’90s fuzz of “Happy Planet Celebration,” while “The Great Escape” leads the way into some measure of evening out the approach in “Like Me,” “Too Late,” “Hey Ben” and “The Family,” unless that’s just the band acclimating the listener to their style. Fair enough either way. Sir Collapse round out with a return to the uptempo push shown earlier, giving their first LP an impressive sense of symmetry and whole-work presentation as layers of vocals intertwine with melody alternately lush and raw, sounding very much like a band who know the parameters in which they want to work going forward. So be it.

Sir Collapse on Thee Facebooks

Sir Collapse on Bandcamp

 

Alms, Act One

alms act one

Organ-soaked Baltimorean garage doomers Alms enter the conversation of 2018’s best debut albums with Act One on Shadow Kingdom, a collection rife with choice riffing, dynamic vocals and a nuanced blend of heft and drama. That a song like “The Toll” could be both as traditional sounding as it is and still modern enough to be called forward-thinking is nothing short of a triumph, and in the stomping “The Offering,” Alms cast forth a signature chorus that stands out from the tracks surrounding without departing the atmosphere so prevalent in their work. “Dead Water” at the outset and “For Shame” build a momentum through side A that the five-piece of keyboardist/vocalist Jess Kamen guitarists Bob Sweeney (also vocals) and Derrick Hans, bassist Andrew Harris and drummer Derrick Hans expand in the second half of the record, winding up in the early gruel of “Hollowed” only to resolve the album with speedier swing and as sure a hand as they’ve guided it all along. At six songs and 33 minutes, Act One unmistakably leaves the audience wanting more, and indeed, the plot may just be starting to unfold.

Alms on Thee Facebooks

Shadow Kingdom Records on Bandcamp

 

Haaze, Swamp Mama

Haaze Swamp Mama

It is a sharp, biting 27-minute run, but Swamp Mama isn’t just thrown together haphazardly. Alberta-based sludge metallers Haaze build a song like “35 Indians” to a head over the course of a deceptively efficient 4:44, following opening track “Beast of the Bog” with a developed sense of craft underlying the outward negativity of their sound. I’ll give the band bonus points for finishing side A with a song called “Stereotypically Doomed,” but more for the crash cymbal that seems to devour the mix. There’s a trashy undercurrent to the subsequent title-track, and as it finishes its pummel, it relinquishes ground to the acoustic interlude, “The Mechanic,” which I’m just going to assume is named for the Charles Bronson movie. That of course sets up the most extreme cut included in closer “AL,” which layers fierce growls and screams atop a rhythm clearly designed for maximum assault factor. A little more metal than sludge, it nonetheless remains tonally consistent with what comes before it, giving Swamp Mama a vicious ending and a feel that’s all the more lethal for it.

Haaze on Thee Facebooks

Haaze on Bandcamp

 

The Sledge, On the Verge of Nothing

the sledge on the verge of nothing

Copenhagen four-piece The Sledge boasts the three former members of heavy rockers Hjortene in guitarist/keyboardist/vocalist Palle, drummer/vocalist Kim and bassist Claus, so while they’ve revamped their identity and gone on to add vocalist Magnus Risby — who appears here on “179 Liars” and “Yet Untitled” — perhaps its somewhat disingenuous to consider their first album under the new moniker, On the Verge of Nothing, a debut. Issued through Kozmik Artifactz, the record collects eight tracks produced by Anders Hansen (who also worked with Hjortene) and mixed by Matt Bayles, and in listening to the cuts with Risby in the lead spot, the vibe taps into a thicker take on late-era Dozer with no less righteous melodicism. That, however, is just a fraction of the total story of On the Verge of Nothing, which taps earlier desert idolatry on “Death Drome Doline” and brings in none other than Lorenzo Woodrose himself for guest spots elsewhere. People in and out of the lineup through different tracks should make the LP disjointed, but as ever, it’s the songwriting that holds it together, and one can’t discount the core band’s experience playing together as a part of that either. Debut or not, it’s an impressive offering.

The Sledge on Thee Facebooks

Kozmik Artifactz website

 

Red Lama, Dogma

red lama dogma

One tends to think of serenity and peaceful drift when it comes to Danish heavy psych rockers Red Lama, but as the seven-piece band quickly turn around follow-up to their 2018 sophomore LP, Motions (discussed here), cuts like opener “Time” and “RLP” unfold with a particular sense of urgency, the former seeming to showcase an acknowledgement of sociopolitical circumstances in Europe and beyond in a way that seems to readjust their focus. That’s a tidy narrative, but if it’s a case of priorities being rebalanced, it’s striking nonetheless. To coincide, “RLP” has a heavier roll in its second half, and while second cut “State of the Art” and closer “Tearing up the Snow” both make their way past the five-minute mark with post-rocking pastoralia and dreamy melodies, there remains a feeling of a tighter focus in the tracks that could portend a new stage of the band’s development or could simply be a circumstance of what’s included here. The next album will tell the tale.

Red Lama on Thee Facebooks

Red Lama on Bandcamp

 

Full Tone Generator, Valley of the Universe

full tone generator valley of the universe

Fronted by Andy Fernando of Don Fernando, Full Tone Generator‘s debut long-player, Valley of the Universe, nonetheless bears the unmistakable hallmark of the Californian desert — in no small part because that’s where it was recorded. Fernando and guitarist/bassist/backing vocalist Brad Young traveled to that famed landscape to record with Bubba DuPree and Brant Bjork at Zainaland Studios, only to have the latter end up playing drums and contributing backing vocals as well to the eight-tracker. Not a bad deal, frankly. The key reference sound-wise throughout Valley of the Universe is Kyuss, particularly because of Bjork‘s involvement and Fernando‘s vocal style, but the slow-rolling “I Only Love You When I’m Loaded,” 59-second blaster “No Future” and the ending jam duo of “Preacher Man” and “Never to Return” make the ground their own, the latter with some surprise screams before it bounces its way into oblivion as though nothing ever happened. They’ve got the vibe down pat, but Full Tone Generator do more as well than simply retread desert rock’s founding principles.

Full Tone Generator on Thee Facebooks

Hurricane Music on Bandcamp

 

Mountain Dust, Seven Storms

mountain dust seven storms

Keys give Montreal four-piece Mountain Dust a tie to classic heavy blues and they use that element well to cast their identity in the spirit of a post-retro modern feel, details like the backing vocals of “White Bluffs” and the waltzing rhythm held by the snare on “Witness Marks” doing much to add complexity to the persona of the band. “You Could” goes over the top in its boozy regrets, but the dramas of “Old Chills” are full in sound and satisfyingly wistful, while closer “Stop Screaming” offers a bit of twang and slide guitar to go along with its sense of threat and consuming seven-minute finish. Tight songwriting and clean production do a lot to give Seven Storms a professional presentation, but ultimately it’s the band itself that shines through in terms of performance and as Mountain Dust follow-up their well-received 2016 debut, Nine Years, they sound confident in their approach and ready to flesh out in multiple directions while maintaining a central character to their sound that will be familiar to the converted enough to be a work of genre while setting the stage to become all the more their own as well.

Mountain Dust on Thee Facebooks

Kozmik Artifactz website

 

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Quarterly Review: Blood of the Sun, Evoken, IAH, Asylum, Merlin, The Hazytones, Daily Thompson, Old Man Lizard, Tuskar, Space Coke

Posted in Reviews on December 11th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

quarterly-review

I had to think long and hard just now about what day it is. It’s Tuesday. — See how confident I was in saying that? A mask for insecurity, as always.

Anyway, the QR continues today with 10 more records and a pretty solid mix of whatnot. Some of this I’ve written about before here, but basically want to have another shot at the records themselves, so as we wind down 2018, it seems like the time to do that is now. As always, I hope you find something you dig. Seems pretty likely, frankly. If you go the entire 100 records with nothing but a “meh” to show for it, the problem isn’t likely to be the records. Not trying to insinuate anything, I’m just saying. 100 records is a lot. 10 records is a lot. And that’s what we’re doing today, so let’s get going.

Quarterly Review #61-70:

Blood of the Sun, Blood’s Thicker than Love

blood of the sun bloods thicker than love

Drummer Henry Vasquez (also Saint Vitus) returns to his ultra-Texan heavy rock roots with Blood of the Sun‘s first album in six years, Blood’s Thicker than Love (on Listenable). Driven by his own fervent rhythmic push, the six-song collection is given further classic heavy vibe through the prominent organ/keyboard work of Dave Gryder. Oh, and also the riffs from newcomer guitarists Wyatt Burton and Alex Johnson. Oh, and also bassist Roger “Kip” Yma‘s quick turns on bass. Oh, and also Sean Vargas‘ vocals. So yeah, pretty much the whole damn thing is classic uptempo heavy boogie, produced modern but making no mistake about where its heart lies. Vargas‘ voice has a pre-metal swagger that helps define tracks like “Livin’ for the Night” and the capper “Blood of the Road,” and while the follow-up to 2012’s Burning on the Wings of Desire (review here) is enough to make one wistful for the days when their contemporaries in Dixie Witch once also roamed the land, Blood of the Sun make classic rock their own and give it a vibrancy that’s nothing if not a show of love, regardless of how thick that may be.

Blood of the Sun on Thee Facebooks

Listenable Records on Bandcamp

 

Evoken, Hypnagogia

evoken hypnogogia

Unremitting. Unrelenting. Unforgiving. Whatever else one might say about New Jersey death/doombringers Evoken, it better start with the prefix “un-.” The negativity runs through the 60 minutes of their latest work, Hypnagogia (on Profound Lore), and one would expect no less than the ultra-mournful crush of “To Feign Ebullience” or the buzzing, resonant disdain of “Valorous Consternation,” the string sounds playing such a large role in crafting both the melodies and the relentless nature of their lung-deflating atmosphere. They may only break into speedier sections on rare occasion, but there’s no way to listen to Hypnagogia and call it anything other than extreme metal. It’s so cast down and so grinding that it not only conveys mood but affects it. Evoken are masters of the form, of course, and while Hypnagogia is their first full-length since 2012’s Atra Mors (review here), their history spans more than a quarter-century and time seems only to have made their miseries plunge even deeper.

Evoken on Thee Facebooks

Profound Lore Records website

 

IAH, II

iah ii

In part, the gift that Argentinian trio IAH give with their aptly-titled second outing, II — following their 2017 self-titled debut EP (review here) — is to allow their parts to flesh out naturally across the six-song/38-minute span, so that even as second cut “HH” turns to more weighted chug, that in turn evolves into something no less spacious than the drift brought to bear in the second half of the later “La Niña del Rayo,” which makes its way ultimately through similar interplay. This back and forth is exceptionally smooth throughout II, as the instrumental outfit blend heavy psychedelia and progressive metal with an unflinching cohesion of their songwriting. The longest inclusion is the penultimate “Pri” at 7:35, which caps with massive start-stops en route to closer “Sheut,” which serves as one last showcase of the cosmic doom dynamic burgeoning in the band’s sound, as much ready to depart the earth as leave impact craters on it.

IAH on Thee Facebooks

IAH on Bandcamp

 

Asylum, 3-3-88

asylum 3-3-88

The band who a short time later would evolve into Unorthodox, Asylum have long stood as a testament to the enduring power of Maryland doom. 3-3-88 is the second official issue of their material Shadow Kingdom has stood behind, following 2008’s reissue of 1985’s The Earth is the Insane Asylum of the Universe (review here), and it’s no less a document of the classic metal that’s still very much the foundation of what Maryland doom is. From the Sabbathian opening of “World in Trouble” and the later “Psyche World” to the kind of feeling-out-the-riff happening in “Funk 69” and the concluding instrumental “Unorthodox,” there’s a rawness to the sound that suits it well in the spirit of Pentagram‘s First Daze Here, but even in barebones form, Asylum‘s doomly vibes brook no bullshit and weed out the feint of heart. Straightforward working-class doom grit stripped to its essentials. Hard to ask for anything more when you actually hear it.

Unorthodox on Thee Facebooks

Shadow Kingdom Records website

 

Merlin, Dank Souls and Dark Weed: A Live Experience

merlin dank souls and dark weed

Kansas City doom rockers Merlin expanded to a six-piece early in 2018, and Dank Souls and Dark Weed: A Live Experience, as the title hints, captures this form of the band on stage. They’re playing a hometown gig at the Riot Room, and from the nodding groove that opens with “Abyss” from this year’s The Wizard (review here) to the extended reaches of a 19-minute take on “Tales of the Wasteland” that’s actually shorter than the studio version from 2016’s Electric Children (review here), the band explore reaches that are vast with a patience befitting their quickly-earned veteran status. The recording is remarkably clear and allows for the wash of “The Wizard Suite” to be discernible in its progressive rollout, and as they close with “Night Creep” from the 2016 LP, their energy comes through no less prevalent than the distortion driving it forward. The crowd are right to holler.

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Merlin on Bandcamp

 

The Hazytones, II: Monarchs of Oblivion

the hazytones ii monarchs of oblivion

Touching on garage-doom influences, Montreal three-piece The Hazytones effectively sleek into the groove of “The Great Illusion” on their second Ripple LP, II: Monarchs of Oblivion, finding a balance between swing, melody and heft that pushes beyond the seemingly-requisite Uncle Acid influence to a place that isn’t shy about working in crisp tones or unabashed vocal harmonies. The title-track is a two-parter, and touches on theatrics-sans-pretense in the first piece while dedicating the second to following a central riff well worthy of the attention they give it toward a galloping solo finish. Opener “Empty Space” sets a creper vibe, and by the time they’re down to finishing out with the “Hole in the Sky”-style riff of “The Hand that Feeds,” that sensibility is reaffirmed as an essential component of The Hazytones‘ aesthetic. Whether it’s the chugging “Hell” or the way-blown-out “The Beast,” they hold firm to that central purpose and work with it to effect a sound that one can hear becoming their own all the more.

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Ripple Music on Bandcamp

 

Daily Thompson, Thirsty

daily thompson thirsty

Three albums in, Dortmund’s Daily Thompson indeed sound Thirsty — or maybe it’s hungry, but either way, the Dortmund trio’s MIG Music offering captures a tight presentation based around nonetheless natural energy born of their time on tour, as the three-piece of guitarist/vocalist Danny Zaremba, bassist Mercedes, and drummer Stefan Mengel touch on Spidergawd-style classic heavy rock strut with “Brown Mountain Lights” and make their way through the semi-acoustic drift of “Stone Rose” and toward the later roll of “River Haze” with a trail of hooks behind them. Songwriting is central to what they do, but while Thirsty isn’t a minor undertaking at a CD-era reminiscent 10 songs/53 minutes, the band offer a chemistry between them and a fullness of sound that allows them to play to different sides of their approach, be it the fuzz-blues of “Gone Child” or the final summation “Spit out the Crap” that seems to shove all the more to its cymbal-wash finish. The title Thirsty brings to mind connotations of need, but Daily Thompson sound like they’ve got it all taken care of.

Daily Thompson on Thee Facebooks

MIG Music website

 

Old Man Lizard, True Misery

old man lizard true misery

A strong enough current of noise rock runs beneath Old Man Lizard‘s True Misery (on Wasted State) that leadoff track “Shark Attack” is enough to remind of Akimbo‘s Jersey Shores, and in under two minutes, the subsequent “Snakes” ties that into crawling-paced doom riffery such that the lumbering “Tree of Te?ne?re?” opens like the gaping jaws of some deep-sea trench. From there it unfolds a bit more uptempo than one might initially think, but it shows how fluidly Old Man Lizard shift from one impulse to the other. Accordingly, True Misery plays out with familiar-enough tones put to deceptively subtle and unpredictable purposes, making one-two highlights of the eight-minute back-to-backers “Cursed Ocean, Relentless Sea” and “Misery is Miserable” — which says it all, really — ahead of the finale, well titled “Return to Earth.” A better band than people know, Old Man Lizard bring a progressive touch to what from many others would just be sludge riffing — a bit of Elder on that closer — and manage to do so without losing touch with the righteousness of their groove. True Misery takes a couple listens to sink in, but well earns those and more besides.

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Wasted State Records website

 

Tuskar, The Tide, Beneath, The Wall

tuskar the tide beneath the wall

Tuskar‘s second offering through Riff Rock Records arrives titled for its three songs, “The Tide,” “Beneath” and “The Wall,” and comprises three tracks of largesse-minded sludge, burying its shouted vocals beneath mountainous low end. The Tide, Beneath, The Wall sets itself up through noisy churn and a roll that’s somehow misanthropic at the same time it seems well geared to have an entire bar headbanging. Either way, the feedback-worship in “The Wall” — sure enough a massive thing to slam into — makes a fitting end to the 20-minute release that seems to run so much longer, as “The Tide” and “Beneath” each set forth a grueling sprawl of malevolence that touches on the chaos to come without ever fully giving away what’s in store for the finale. At the same time this assault is cast, there’s an atmosphere to the proceedings as well such that Tuskar aren’t simply bludgeoning for the sake of bludgeonry, but finding a place for themselves within that in order to develop their attack. They do that successfully here and sound well up to the inevitable task before them of a debut full-length.

Tuskar on Thee Facebooks

Riff Rock Records website

 

Space Coke, L’Appel du Vide

space coke lappel du vide

I just about never do this, but I’m gonna go ahead and make the call: Space Coke‘s L’Appel du Vide is going to get picked up for a vinyl release in 2019. I don’t know who, how or when, but it’s basically a lock. The Columbia, South Carolina, organ-laced four-piece play classic-as-now heavy rock with right-on songcraft and a hard-hitting presentation that’s begging for some label with ears to hear it and press it to the platter it deserves. Be it the molten unfolding of the title-track or the fuzz-swirl of “Thelemic Ritual” or the cosmic stretch of “Kali Ma,” they’re locked in to a degree that utterly defies the notion that this is their first record, and from the vocal-effects smash in “Lucid Dream” and the samples laid over-top of “Interlude,” there’s never really a sense of where Space Coke — extra kudos for the Cheech & Chong reference — might go next, and yet their sound is cohesive, directed, and well aware of exactly what it’s doing and what it wants to do. Never a guarantee of anything in this world, but with Space Coke‘s take on modern stoner sprawl, I’d be amazed if someone didn’t grab this in the New Year, if not before. Eyes peeled on the PR wire for the announcement.

Space Coke on Thee Facebooks

Space Coke on Bandcamp

 

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The Hazytones Set Oct. 5 Release for II: Monarchs of Oblivion

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

the hazytones

Aptly-named Montreal heavy psych rocking trio The Hazytones returned at the end of last month from a summer tour that took them on basically a loop through the Midwest to play the Stoned Meadow of Doom fest in Omaha, Nebraska, before swinging east and running up north to finish back in their hometown. They were on the road as well earlier this year supporting their 2016 self-titled debut, and last year they toured Canada too, so they’ve been out a more than fair amount. One has to wonder if that will play into the sound of their upcoming second album, II: Monarchs of Oblivion, which is set to release through Ripple Music on Oct. 5. Ripple also reissued the debut in conjunction with Oak Island Records, though I don’t think the latter is involved in the new one. I could be wrong but that’s the impression I get.

Either way, a record to look forward to as 2018 begins to make its way toward its finish, getting dark early, being autumn and all that. This’ll be one to keep things warm.

From the PR wire:

the hazytones ii monarchs of oblivion

The Hazytones to Release New LP, ‘Monarchs of Oblivion’, October 5

Montreal Psych-Metal Band Digs Deep to Deliver Graven, Gripping New Album

Canadian garage doom band The Hazytones will release their new LP, Monarchs of Oblivion, on October 5 via Ripple Music. The Montreal-based group, whose haunting, hooky sound has been called “Swedish-style stomp”, delivers dark psych-metal, overflowing with stark mood and tempo changes, and haunting, double-tracked vocals that glide over the sinister songs. Monarchs of Oblivion is the follow-up to The Hazytones’ 2017 self-titled debut, hailed as “totally new yet oddly recognizable.”

Formed in 2015, The Hazytones’ shadowy sound is the epitome of a “hazy tone”. The band’s black acid-drenched shock rock drips with harmonies that harken back to the trippiest of late 60’s psych and its chained-to-the brain hooks bleed with a palpable, eerie energy that surges and swings in equal measure. Live is where the band really finds its swagger, flinging themselves around the stage and converting new disciples with each and every performance. With full European and North American tours already under their belts, The Hazytones are a developing band on the rise, set to deliver a sweeping salvo with the release of their substantial sophomore LP.

Track listing:
1.) Empty Space
2.) Hell
3.) The Great Illusion
4.) Spit You Out
5.) Monarchs of Oblivion (part 1)
6.) Monarchs of Oblivion (part 2)
7.) The Beast
8.) The Hand that Feeds

The Hazytones are:
Mick Martel – guitar/vocals
Adam Gilbert – bass/backing vocals
Antoine St-Germain – drums

https://www.facebook.com/TheHazytones/
http://www.twitter.com/TheHazytones/
https://www.instagram.com/thehazytones/
https://thehazytones.bandcamp.com/releases
https://www.facebook.com/theripplemusic/
ripplemusic.bandcamp.com

The Hazytones, The Hazytones (2016)

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Vision Éternel Post Teaser for Sixth EP

Posted in Bootleg Theater on August 21st, 2018 by JJ Koczan

Vision Éternel

Info is pretty sparse as yet for the forthcoming sixth EP from Vision Éternel, and one suspects that’s the way project-spearhead Alexandre Julien likes it. Julien, who’s still pretty fresh off issuing April 2018’s An Anthology of Past Misfortunes boxed set (discussed here), has been rather prolific in terms of posting videos and singles and snippets from releases in the past, and it seems as he gives a glimpse of what’s in store for Vision Éternel‘s next outing, that will continue unabated. This is the first clip related to the yet-untitled offering. I’d be very surprised if it’s the last.

The release date is set for late this year/early next, but whichever it is, it seems Julien‘s proclivities in experimentation with post-black metal drones and soundscapes are moving forward as ever. The clip below is brief — only 42 seconds — but the song it previews is only two and a half minutes, so it’s not actually an insubstantial portion thereof. That balance, it seems, has been somewhat essential to understanding where Vision Éternel is coming from. It’s long-form work presented in short-form fashion. Quick immersions, scenes from a film that the listener is then left to piece together. Always evocative, even here in this short piece of a short piece, Vision Éternel never quite covers the same ground twice, but constantly seems to move the story forward into some next act.

I’ll hope to have more to come on Vision Éternel‘s next release as we get closer to its arrival, but in the meantime, the preview clip is below, followed by the 2015 EP, Echoes from Forgotten Hearts (review here), if you’d like to get further acquainted with Julien‘s methods.

Either way, please enjoy:

Vision Éternel, Sixth EP Teaser

A Preview Of Vision Éternel’s Forthcoming Sixth EP, due out in late 2018/early 2019.

Vision Éternel is a melogaze band from Montreal, Canada. It was founded by Alexandre Julien in January of 2007.

Vision Éternel, Echoes from Forgotten Hearts (2015)

Vision Éternel website

Vision Éternel on Thee Facebooks

Vision Éternel on Twitter

Vision Éternel on Instagram

Vision Éternel on Soundcloud

Vision Éternel on Spotify

Vision Éternel on Bandcamp

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