Quarterly Review: Harvestman, Beastmaker, Endless Boogie, Troubled Horse, Come to Grief, Holy Rivals, Mountain God, Dr. Space, Dirty Grave, Summoned by Giants

Posted in Reviews on July 17th, 2017 by JJ Koczan

quarterly-review-summer-2017

Bonus round! I don’t know if you’re stoked on having a sixth Quarterly Review day, but I sure am. Basically this is me doing myself favors. In terms of what’s being covered and how I’m covering it, today might be the high point for me personally of the entire Summer 2017 Quarterly Review. Some of this stuff I’m more behind on than others, but it’s all releases that I’ve wanted desperately to write about that I haven’t been able to make happen so far and I’m incredibly thankful for the opportunity to be able to do so at last. It’s a load off my mind in the best way possible, and as this is the final day of the Quarterly Review, before I dig in I’ll just say one more time thank you for reading and I hope you found something in the past week that really speaks to you, because that’s what makes it all worthwhile in the first place. One more go.

Quarterly Review #51-60:

Harvestman, Music for Megaliths

harvestman-music-for-megaliths

A new Harvestman album, like a harvest itself, is an occasion. Distinct entirely from the solo output released by Neurosis guitarist/vocalist Steve Von Till under his own name, Harvestman’s guitar-led experimentalism and ritualized psychedelia don’t happen every day – the last album was 2009’s In a Dark Tongue (review here) – and with the resonance of “Oak Drone” and the layered, drummed and vocalized textures of “Levitation,” the new collection, Music for Megaliths (on Neurot, of course), lives up to the project’s high standards of the unexpected. Pulsations beneath opener and longest track (immediate points) “The Forest is Our Temple” offer some initial threat, but the electronic beat behind the howling notes of “Ring of Sentinels” and the Vangelis-esque centerpiece “Cromlech” find more soothing ground, and though “Sundown” seems to be speaking to Neurosis “Bleeding the Pigs” from 2012’s Honor Found in Decay (review here) in its atmosphere, the spoken word that tops closer “White Horse” provides a last-minute human connection before all is brought to a quick fadeout. If you told me Music for Megaliths was assembled over a period of years, I’d believe you given its breadth, but whether it was or not, Harvestman’s latest should provide a worthy feast for a long time to come.

Harvestman on Thee Facebooks

Neurot Recordings webstore

 

Beastmaker, Inside the Skull

beastmaker-inside-the-skull

Los Angeles three-piece Beastmaker continue their ascent with their second album for Rise Above Records, the unflinchingly cohesive Inside the Skull. Like its predecessor, 2016’s Lusus Naturae (review here), the quick-turnaround sophomore outing executes a modern garage doom aesthetic and unfuckwithably tight songwriting, this time bringing 10 new tracks that reimagine classic vibes – witness the Witchcraft “No Angel or Demon”-style riff of opener “Evil One” (video posted here) – and touch on some of the same ground pioneered by Uncle Acid without actually sounding like that UK band or sounding like anyone for that matter so much as themselves. They make darkened highlights of “Now Howls the Beast,” “Of Gods Creation,” the crashing “Psychic Visions,” closer “Sick Sick Demon” and the preceding “Night Bird,” which offers some welcome departure into drift prior to the solo in its final minute – all impeccably crisp in structure despite a dirt-caked production – but resonant, memorable hooks abound, and the trio affirm the potential their debut showed and offer a quick step forward that one can only imagine will find them turning more heads toward their growing cult following. They’re still growing, but Inside the Skull is confirmation Beastmaker on a path to becoming something really special.

Beastmaker on Thee Facebooks

Beastmaker at Rise Above Records

 

Endless Boogie, Vibe Killer

endless-boogie-vibe-killer

One can’t help but think there’s a bit of tongue-in-cheekery at play in the inaccuracy of Endless Boogie titling their latest album Vibe Killer. The seven-track/51-minute No Quarter release follows 2013’s Long Island (review here) and is, of course, doing everything but killing the vibe, as the New York-based outfit proffer their nestled-in raw songs crafted out of and on top of improvised jams, the semi-spoken gutturalisms of guitarist Paul “Top Dollar” Major a defining element from the laid back opening title-track onward. Moody rock classicism persists through “High Drag, Hard Doin’” and the more active “Back in ’74,” but the true peak of Vibe Killer comes in the 11-minute “Jefferson Country,” which unfolds hypnotic drone experimentation that’s as willfully ungraceful as it winds up being flowing. Bottom line: dudes know what’s up. Endless Boogie’s languid roll is second to nobody and Vibe Killer is a vision of cool jazz reinvented to feel as much at home in rock clubs of the basement and of the chic see-and-be-seen variety. Very New York, in that, but not at all given to elitism. Everyone’s invited to dig, and dig they should.

Endless Boogie on Thee Facebooks

No Quarter Records webstore

 

Troubled Horse, Revolution on Repeat

troubled-horse-revolution-on-repeat

There were a few minutes there where one probably wouldn’t have been wrong to wonder if Örebro, Sweden’s Troubled Horse would have a follow-up at all to back 2012’s Step Inside (review here), but with Revolution on Repeat (out via Rise Above), the four-piece led by dynamic vocalist Martin Heppich prove among the most vital of the many heavy rock acts to emerge from their hometown, known for the likes of Witchcraft, Graveyard, Truckfighters and countless others. Heppich, lead guitarist Mikael Linder (also bass on the recording), guitarist Tom and drummer Jonas start with the boogie-fied opening salvo “Hurricane” (video premiere here) and “The Filthy Ones,” and run madcap through the memorable hooks of “Which Way to the Mob” and “Peasants” en route to the mid-paced “The Haunted” and into a second half marked by the semi-balladry of “Desperation” and “My Shit’s Fucked Up.” Soon, the standout chorus of “Track 7” (yup, that’s the title) and the penultimate funk of “Let Bastards Know” lead to a nine-minute epic finish in “Bleeding” – and all the while Troubled Horse hold firm to groove, momentum, poise, crisp production and songwriting as they tie varied landmarks together with an overarching sense of motion, Heppich’s charismatic soulfulness and deceptively subtle flourishes of arrangement to make an absolutely welcome return.

Troubled Horse on Thee Facebooks

Rise Above Records website

 

Come to Grief, The Worst of Times

come-to-grief-the-worst-of-times

Sometimes you just have to toss up your hands and say, “Well, that’s some of the nastiest shit I’ve ever heard.” To step back and consider them at some distance, Come to Grief aren’t near the most abrasive band on the planet, but when you’re actually listening to their debut EP, The Worst of Times, that’s much harder to believe. Launching with “Killed by Life,” the four-tracker finds the Boston outfit led by former Grief guitarist Terry Savastano – here joined by drummer Chuck Conlon, bassist Justin Christian and vocalist/guitarist Jonathan Hebert – plodding out scream-topped filth that’s actually fuller-sounding than anything Grief did back in their day and all the more devastating for its thickness. The seven-minute “No Savior” is excruciating, and though shorter, “Futility of Humanity” and even the slightly-faster closer “Junklove” bring no letup whatsoever from the onslaught. Think accessible, then go the complete other way, then bludgeon yourself. It’s kind of like that. Absolute brutality delivered by expert and unkind hands.

Come to Grief on Thee Facebooks

Come to Grief on Bandcamp

 

Holy Rivals, Holy Rivals

holy rivals holy rivals

The question of whether noise rock and sludge can coexist is largely one of tempo and tone, and recently-signed-to-BlackseedRecords Pittsburgh trio Holy Rivals’ self-titled debut answers in forceful fashion. Amid more aggro punch of opener “Locked Inn” comes the crust-laden grunge of “Voices,” and whether they’re rolling out the more spacious “Sleep” or sprinting through the post-Bleach raw punkery of “Dead Ender” on their way to the more ambient and patient seven-minute finale “Into Dust,” guitarist/vocalist Jason Orr (also T-Tops), bassist Aaron Orr (whose tone features well on the closer) and drummer Matt Langille – whose adaptability is essential to the Helmet-style starts and stops of “Loathe” that emerge from the preceding roll of “Sleep” – Holy Rivals put a superficial harshness to use as a cover for what’s actually a diverse songwriting process. They’ll reportedly have a new record out in Fall 2017, so this 2016 self-release may soon be in hindsight, but in setting the foundation for growth, it offers exciting prospects caked in an abidingly raw presentation.

Holy Rivals on Thee Facebooks

Holy Rivals on Bandcamp

 

Mountain God, Bread Solstice

mountain god bread solstice

Around what would seem to be the core duo of guitarist/vocalist Ben Ianuzzi and bassist/keyboardist Nikhil Kamineni, Brooklyn psychedelic post-sludgers Mountain God have undergone numerous lineup shifts en route to and through the release of their debut album, Bread Solstice (on Artificial Head Records). To wit, drummer/vocalist Ryan Smith (also Thera Roya), who appears on the dark, unrelenting and abyss-crafting 40-minute six-tracker, has already been replaced by Gabriel Cruz, and there have been other changes in vocalist, keyboardist and drummer positions even since they offered their 2015 EP, Forest of the Lost (review here) to set the stage for this deeply-atmospheric, it’s-acid-rock-but-with-sulfuric-acid first long-player. In light of that tumult and the overarching commitment to abrasive noise Mountain God make in pieces like the 11-minute “Nazca Lines,” “Junglenaut” or even the brooding tension of airy instrumental “Unknown Ascent,” it’s all the more impressive that Bread Solstice is as cohesive in its cerebral horror as it is, constructing a harsh and churning vision of doom as something worthy of post-apocalyptic revelry. Far from easy listening, but of marked purpose. They should play exclusively in art galleries, no matter who winds up in the band.

Mountain God on Thee Facebooks

Artificial Head Records on Bandcamp

 

Dr. Space, Dr. Space’s Alien Planet Trip Vol. 1

dr-space-dr-spaces-alien-planet-trip-vol-1

Perhaps best known for his work in spearheading the improvisational Denmark-based Øresund Space Collective, modular synth wizard Scott “Dr. Space” Heller weirds out across four cuts on the solo release Dr. Space’s Alien Planet Trip Vol. 1, which both underscores in its scope how essential he is to the aforementioned outfit and oozes beyond that group’s parameters into electronic beatmaking and waves of synthesizer drone. Pulling influence from classic progadelia, Heller unfurls longform tripping on 24-minute opener and longest track (immediate points) “5 Dimensions of the Universe” and veers into and out of somewhat abrasive swirl on “Rising Sun on Mars” before landing in the more steady atmosphere of “In Search of Life on Io” and launching once more outward with the five-minute finale “Alien Improv 2.” Just how many alien planet trips the good doctor will be undertaking remains as yet a mystery, but the breadth of this first one makes it plain to the listener that Heller’s sonic universe is wide open and, seemingly, ever-expanding.

Øresund Space Collective on Thee Facebooks

Space Rock Productions website

 

Dirty Grave, So Fall and Crawl Away

dirty-grave-so-fall-and-crawl-away

Brazilian doomers Dirty Grave issue the three-song single/EP So Fall and Crawl Away (bonus points for the Alice in Chains reference) ahead of making their full-length debut reportedly any minute now with an album called Evil Desire. Comprised of two studio tracks in the eight-minute “The Black Cloud Comes” and the four-minute Howlin’ Wolf cover “Evil (Is Going On)” and with the live cut “Unholy Son – Live” as a kind of bonus track, it’s a sampling behind two similar short releases, 2014’s Vol. II and 2013’s Dirty Grave (which featured a studio version of “Unholy Son”), that sleeks through eerie doom loosely tinged with psychedelia and smoked-out vibing. “Evil (Is Going On)” is more uptempo, perhaps unsurprisingly, but is giving a likewise treatment all the same, its final solo shredding into oblivion with stoned abandon. “Unholy Son – Live” is rawer but still carries through its melody in the vocals amid a prevalent crash, and if it’s a portend of things to come on Evil Desire, then So Fall and Crawl Away serves as a warning worth heeding.

Dirty Grave on Thee Facebooks

Dirty Grave on Bandcamp

 

Summoned by Giants, Stone Wind

summoned-by-giants-stone-wind

If you have a convenient narrative for what West Coast heavy rock has become over the last decade, Summoned by Giants’ debut album, Stone Wind, is probably too aggressive on the whole to fit it neatly. Their cleaner parts, the rolling second cut “Diamond Head” and samples throughout have aspects of that post-Red Fang party vibe, but to listen to the rawness of the bass tone that starts “Return” or closer “I Hate it When You Breathe,” or even the slurring “come at me, bro”-style rant sampled at the seven-track/27-minute album’s launch, a will toward violence is never far off. Couple that with the thickened noise punk of “Saturn” and the Weedeater sludge of the penultimate “Dying Wish,” and Summoned by Giants – guitarist/vocalist Sean Delaney, guitarist Jordan Sattelmair, bassist/vocalist Patrick Moening and drummer Mel Burris – seem more interested in doling out punishment than kicking back, making a silly video and having a good time. Well, maybe they’re having a good time, but they’re doing so while kicking your ass.

Summoned by Giants on Thee Facebooks

Summoned by Giants on Bandcamp

 

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Neurosis Set Aug. Release for The Word as Law Reissue

Posted in Whathaveyou on July 7th, 2017 by JJ Koczan

neurosis (Photo Stefaan Temmerman)

Just the facts, because the facts are enough: Neurot Recordings will reissue Neurosis‘ 1990 sophomore outing, The Word as Law, on Aug. 25. Preorders are up now and the revamped artwork comes courtesy of Josh Graham. The release date follows the long-running post-metal innovators’ tour with Converge and Amenra, as well as their stop at Psycho Las Vegas, and precedes their headlining slot in October at Baltimore’s inaugural Days of Darkness fest, put on by the same crew as Maryland Deathfest. Neurosis just wrapped a quick run of European shows that began with a slot at Roskilde festival in Denmark and in December they’ll head to South America for the first time in their 31-year career, going in order to support their 2016 album, Fires Within Fires (review here).

Like its predecessor, 1988’s Pain of Mind, The Word as Law showcases Neurosis‘ roots in hardcore punk. By the time they got to Souls at Zero just two years later, they’d be on quickly expanding sonic ground, but one could argue that with the rawness at the core of Fires Within Fires, the band’s earliest offerings have never been more relevant than they are now. All the better on the timing here, then.

From the PR wire:

neurosis the word as law

NEUROSIS To Reissue Out-Of-Print Second Album The Word As Law In August

NEUROSIS will reissue the band’s second LP, The Word As Law, in August, the album having remained out-of-print since the 1990s.

While listening to NEUROSIS’ discography in chronological order, their sound gradually shifts in a very steady and somewhat seamless progression with each record, though their first few albums are undoubtedly cut from their 80s punk influences and surroundings. The Word As Law was initially released on vinyl only in 1990 through Lookout! Records, alongside the likes of Operation Ivy, Green Day, Screeching Weasel, and other Bay Area punk acts of the time. Upbeat rhythms and enraged vocals fuel The Word As Law, the record picking up where their Pain Of Mind debut’s ripping punk sound left off, while the band simultaneously began experimenting with more dissonant, melancholic, and demoralizing tones that would carve the foundation for their next few albums and their signature sound.

NEUROSIS had yet to infuse keyboards or synthesizers into the mix when The Word As Law was recorded by Mark Lemaire at Sound & Vision in San Francisco of December 1989. The blend of vocals delivered by guitarist Scott Kelly, bassist Dave Edwardson, and new inductee on this album, guitarist Steve Von Till, driven by the powerful rhythms of drummer Jason Roeder, coalesce to formulate an eerie and original sound on The Word As Law, which results in the album’s cult status as an incredibly groundbreaking album for countless crust punk, hardcore, and experimental metal artists worldwide.

While prior reissues of the album featured several re-recorded bonus tracks from the band’s prior singles and releases, the 2017 Neurot reissue of The Word As Law will bear the album’s initial eight tracks, all completely remastered by Bob Weston at Chicago Mastering. Additionally, the album’s cover artwork has been reworked and modernized by NEUROSIS’ former live visual architect Josh Graham to match the label’s previously-reissued Souls At Zero, Enemy Of The Sun, and other titles.

NEUROSIS’ own Neurot Recordings will reissue The Word As Law on CD, LP, and digital formats on August 25th, directly following their US tour with Converge and Amenra and their performance at Psycho Las Vegas. See all confirmed tour dates below and find preorder links for The Word As Law at THIS LOCATION.

The Word As Law Track Listing:
1. Double Edged Sword
2. The Choice
3. Obsequious Obsolescence
4. To What End?
5. Tomorrow’s Reality
6. Common Inconsistencies
7. Insensitivity
8. Blisters

NEUROSIS Tour Dates:
7/27/2017 Empty Bottle – Chicago, IL w/ Amenra
7/28/2017 Thalia Hall – Chicago, IL w/ Converge, Amenra
7/29/2017 St Andrews – Detroit, MI w/ Converge, Amenra
7/30/2017 Rex Theatre – Pittsburgh, PA w/ Converge, Amenra
8/01/2017 Metropolis – Montreal, QC w/ Converge, Amenra
8/02/2017 Danforth Music Hall – Toronto, ON w/ Converge, Amenra
8/03/2017 College St. Music Hall – New Haven, CT w/ Converge, Amenra
8/04/2017 Warsaw – Brooklyn, NY w/ Converge, Amenra [SOLD OUT]
8/05/2017 Warsaw – Brooklyn, NY w/ Converge, Amenra
8/06/2017 Royale – Boston, MA w/ Converge, Amenra
8/07/2017 Union Transfer – Philadelphia, PA w/ Converge, Amenra
8/18-20/2017 Hard Rock Hotel & Casino – Las Vegas, NV @ Psycho Las Vegas
10/28-29/2017 Ram’s Head Live – Baltimore Maryland @ Days Of Darkness
12/08/2017 Clash Club – São Paulo, BR w/ Deafkids
12/09/2017 Teatro Vorterix – Buenos Aires, AR
12/10/2017 Club Blondie – Santiago, CL

http://www.neurosis.com
http://www.facebook.com/officialneurosis
https://neurotrecordings.merchtable.com
http://www.twitter.com/neurosisoakland
http://www.neurotrecordings.com
http://www.facebook.com/neurotrecordings

Neurosis tour trailer

Neurosis, Fires Within Fires (2016)

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Neurosis Announce First-Ever South American Tour

Posted in Whathaveyou on June 23rd, 2017 by JJ Koczan

Neurosis have already been to Australia and New Zealand this year, and next month they head to Europe for select shows around a performance at Roskilde Festival in Denmark ahead of a North American stretch alongside Converge and Amenra, but they’re still not done. 31 years into one of underground music’s most influential tenures, the band will head to South America for the very first time this December, playing Brazil, Argentina and Chile on shows presented by Abraxas in support of their 2016 album, Fires Within Fires (review here). Adding another continental notch to their collective belt is significant, but it seems all the more perfect in terms of timing as the band look back over the stretch of their career at the same time while adding new accomplishments in creativity and reach. I have no doubt these shows will be utter madness, and rightfully so.

Guitarist/vocalist Steve von Till offers some comment below, and you’ll find all Neurosis‘ dates down there in blue as well, courtesy of the PR wire:

neurosis south america tour

NEUROSIS To Play Their First-Ever South American Shows In December; European And North American Summer Dates Loom

Thirty years of anticipation will come to an end this December: South American fans can finally experience the live intensity of heavy music pioneers, NEUROSIS. For the first time, the band will bring its cathartic live experience to South America, performing three shows in Brazil, Argentina, and Chile.

“We are honored and humbled by the opportunity to experience a new sonic adventure on a new continent,” says Steve Von Till. “Finally, after all this time, we are able to come to South America and experience first-hand the legendary and passionate heavy music scene there.”

Over three decades, NEUROSIS has produced eleven studio albums, performed on stages around the planet – each record, each song, each show and each studio experience pushing the band one step further along on a lifelong path of spirit and sonic experimentation. For the first time in South America, local audiences will feel the trance like power of NEUROSIS’ massive riffs. These South American shows are produced by Brazilian booking agency Abraxas in partnership with Xaninho Discos, beginning in São Paulo, Brazil, on December 8th at Clash Club, followed by shows in Buenos Aires, Argentina, on December 9th at Teatro Vorterix and Santiago, Chile, December 10th at Club Blondie. Ticket information for these three shows will be announced in the coming weeks.

NEUROSIS’ Summer tour is rapidly approaching, beginning with a European venture the first week of July, leading with a set at Roskilde Festival and followed by shows with Wolfbrigade, Author & Punisher, labelmates Dark Budda Rising, and more. In late July and early August, NEUROSIS will storm the Eastern US and lower Canada with a week-and-a-half of tour dates alongside Converge and labelmates Amenra. This tour will be followed by NEUROSIS’ participation in Psycho Vegas in Las Vegas, August 18th through 20th, performing with the likes of King Diamond, The Brian Jonestown Massacre, Swans, Sleep, The Melvins, Wolves In The Throne Room, and countless others. NEUROSIS will also headline the Days Of Darkness festival in Baltimore, Maryland on October 28th and 29th, the two-day gala also including sets by Manilla Road, Om, Cirith Ungol, Warning, Captain Beyond, Boris, Elder, and many more.

Released in September, NEUROSIS’ acclaimed Fires Within Fires is available now on CD, LP, cassette, and all digital platforms through the band’s own Neurot Recordings; see all bundles and options RIGHT HERE.

NEUROSIS Tour Dates:
7/01/2017 Roskilde Festival – Roskilde, DK
7/02/2017 Kraken – Stockholm, SE w/ Wolfbrigade & Author & Punisher
7/03/2017 Pustervik – Gothenburg, SE w/ Author & Punisher
7/04/2017 Tavastia – Helsinki, FI w/ Dark Buddha Rising
7/05/2017 Eistnaflug – Neskaupstadur, IS
7/27/2017 Empty Bottle – Chicago, IL w/ Amenra
7/28/2017 Thalia Hall – Chicago, IL w/ Converge, Amenra
7/29/2017 St Andrews – Detroit, MI w/ Converge, Amenra
7/30/2017 Rex Theatre – Pittsburgh, PA w/ Converge, Amenra
8/01/2017 Metropolis – Montreal, QC w/ Converge, Amenra
8/02/2017 Danforth Music Hall – Toronto, ON w/ Converge, Amenra
8/03/2017 College St. Music Hall – New Haven, CT w/ Converge, Amenra
8/04/2017 Warsaw – Brooklyn, NY w/ Converge, Amenra [SOLD OUT]
8/05/2017 Warsaw – Brooklyn, NY w/ Converge, Amenra
8/06/2017 Royale – Boston, MA w/ Converge, Amenra
8/07/2017 Union Transfer – Philadelphia, PA w/ Converge, Amenra
8/18-20/2017 Hard Rock Hotel & Casino – Las Vegas, NV @ Psycho Las Vegas
10/28-29/2017 Ram’s Head Live – Baltimore Maryland @ Days Of Darkness
12/08/2017 Clash Club – São Paulo, BR
12/09/2017 Teatro Vorterix – Buenos Aires, AR
12/10/2017 Club Blondie – Santiago, CL

http://www.neurosis.com
http://www.facebook.com/officialneurosis
https://neurotrecordings.merchtable.com
http://www.twitter.com/neurosisoakland
http://www.neurotrecordings.com
http://www.facebook.com/neurotrecordings

Neurosis, Fires Within Fires (2016)

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Friday Full-Length: Neurosis, A Sun that Never Sets

Posted in Bootleg Theater on May 26th, 2017 by JJ Koczan

Neurosis, A Sun that Never Sets (2001)

It is arguable that A Sun that Never Sets represents the moment when Neurosis most defined the course of what would come to be called post-metal. In fact, I’ve argued it several times. It’s not a hard argument to make, and if you’ve ever heard the album, which was released by Relapse Records in 2001 as the seventh outing from the Oakland-based outfit, you very likely already know where I’m going with this. It’s the riff. That riff. Neurosis end A Sun that Never Sets with “Stones from the Sky,” and to this day, every post-metal record I encounter in one way or another — often in directly ripping it off — tries to capture that moment where the sweeping final riff of the album devolves and deconstructs into a genuine cacophony of noise before cutting out like a transmission from another world has just been shut down. I’m not going to take anything away — at all — ever — from the work Neurosis did on albums like 1992’s Souls at Zero, 1993’s Enemy of the Sun, 1996’s primal Through Silver in Blood or the sprawling chaos of 1999’s Times of Grace. Neurosis‘ output has always been and still is marked and defined by a forward creative development — it continued after this record as well — but to consider A Sun that Never Sets anything less than a landmark in that process is to simply miss the point.

The difference? Patience. A sense of brooding in the title-track. The flow of arrangements in “The Tide” and “From the Hill” early on. Comprised of guitarist/vocalists Scott Kelly and Steve Von Till, bassist/vocalist Dave Edwardson, keyboardist/sampler Noah Landis and drummer Jason Roeder, Neurosis were no strangers to intensity. Going back to their earliest hardcore punk output on 1988’s Pain of Mind debut or 1990’s The Word as Law, it was an essential ingredient, and it has remained one even as they passed their 30th anniversary, but listening to songs like “Crawl Back In” and the tribalist “From Where its Roots Run,” A Sun that Never Sets brimmed with a tension that even Times of Grace had only begun to explore, and while it would ultimately be in “Stones from the Sky” that that tension found its (merciful) release, the lurch of pieces like “Watchfire” or the earlier “From the Hill” seemed nearly orchestral in its swell and cascade, providing the listener with a progressive course of ups and downs that stretched across a masterfully executed, deeply textured 68 minutes that served as one of the best and most pivotal albums of its decade — all the more an accomplishment for being released in the first year of it. From the drum march that begins the title-track to the noise experiments in intro “Erode” and the penultimate interlude “Resound,” A Sun that Never Sets turned volume into ritual, and it remains singular in its dynamic, both within the Neurosis catalog and in the wider sphere of heavy music as a whole. As many as have tried to imitate it — and who could argue with trying? — none have found results that come close to touching its power, presence or vision.

And of course, for Neurosis, it was another step along the way. They’d soon enough develop Neurot Recordings as an outlet for their own material, solo works, and other artists admired by the band, today resulting in one of the underground’s most respected imprints. 2003 brought the Neurosis & Jarboe collaboration and 2004 pushed further into atmospheric soulfulness with The Eye of Every Storm — and if you don’t know what I mean by “soulful,” revisit “A Season in the Sky” — and saw the band all but absent from touring before 2007’s Given to the Rising reintroduced a more aggressive feel and stark trades in volume. Density of intent persisted through the vast scope of 2012’s Honor Found in Decay (review here), and as they looked back on 30 years together with special live sets and a return to prominence as a touring act, last year’s Fires Within Fires (review here) continued to forge new creative ground even as it embraced some of their rawest and most seething output since their earliest days. Through these changes and the ongoing evolution of Neurosis as a project, they have always remained committed to a natural progression, and taken in succession, their albums tell a story of that progression across a span of decades in one of heavy music’s richest and most individualized histories.

Neurosis don’t exist in a vacuum, and with releases as essential as A Sun that Never Sets, the temptation is often to see them that way — which is to say it’s not the only record that helped shape post-metal — but there’s no question they stand among the most important groups of their generation, and as an audience we’re all the more fortunate that their contributions are as ongoing as they are distinctive.

As always, I hope you enjoy.

This coming Monday is the Memorial Day holiday here in the States. It is an unfortunate cause for celebration, what with the perpetual war generally and the ensuing jingoism and unthinking patriotism that always seems to accompany the day — even the baseball teams wear camo; it’s a downer — but a day off is a day off, and at this point I’ll take it.

I took today off as well and The Patient Mrs., the impending Pecan, the little dog Dio and I all came down to Connecticut last night to spend an extra day at the beach. Four day weekend? Shit yeah, son. That’s the way life should always be.

After some debate on the matter at the office this week, my final day of work is June 16. As you might imagine, my feelings on this are somewhat conflicted. Happy to not be working anymore; worried about the prospects of no income, excited, curious and a bit terrified at the notion of being a stay-at-home dad come October. Wondering if something comes next or if I’m leaving the workforce for good at 35. Kind of a scary thought.

I’ve been giving serious thought of late to taking a few classes and setting up an office as some kind of nutrition counselor, trying to help people frame how they think about food and how it interacts with their life. Since I’ve lost (just over) 170 pounds in the last year and a half, I’ve gotten many questions from people about how I did it, how I feel, how they might go about losing weight, and so on, and I think from just hearing out their stories to helping plan a week of meals, that’s something from which I might derive professional satisfaction. Plus, I’d be working for myself, which is basically the only way I would want to work at all at this point. Done with offices. Done with other people. Done with the culture of professionalism. If I can’t have my dog around when I’m working, then that’s work I don’t want to be doing.

We’ll see how that goes. I get these ideas. Pipe dreams 95 percent of the time. Plus I’ve been on anti-depressants now for about three weeks, so if I was ever going to have a I’m-gonna-change-my-life-type notion, I need to recognize that this is probably the time it would happen. Ambition as symptom of chemical change. “My brains are going into my feet,” and so on.

As regards business, here’s what’s in the notes for next week, subject to change as always:

MON: Demon Head review & Drug Honkey video.
TUE: Witchthroat Serpent track premiere & Arbouretum video.
WED: Six Dumb Questions with Abrams.
THU: Second Coming of Heavy review.
FRI: Anathema review.

Kind of a quiet week thus far, with the holiday and whatnot, but I expect things will pick up toward the end and there may be some shuffling as per usual. That Anathema review is set in stone though. The Second Coming of Heavy one I’ve already moved a few times, so that should probably get done as well. I don’t know. It’ll come together. Not worried about it.

Traditionally one barbecues for Memorial Day, and I expect my feed on Thee Facebooks this weekend will be full of showoff pictures of various smoked/smoking meat products, beers, and so on. That’s cool. Whatever you’re up to, I hope it’s a great time. Be safe and have fun. Listen to good music, because that makes good days even better.

Thanks for reading and please take some time to check out the forum and radio stream.

The Obelisk Forum

The Obelisk Radio

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Ufomammut Post “Warsheep” Video; Announce More European Touring

Posted in Bootleg Theater on May 22nd, 2017 by JJ Koczan

ufomammut

I was just the other day thinking it had been quiet on the Ufomammut front since the Italian cosmic doomers announced back in March they would release their new album, 8, this September via Neurot Recordings. And here we are. The new song they’ve unveiled in the video below, titled “Warsheep,” is anything but quiet. Rather, it rumbles in classic Ufomammut fashion but also carries something rawer in its punch. Listen to the bassline. Listen to the way the sharp-edged keys cut through. Listen to the way the guitar line cuts through. Listen to how forward the drums are. Something nasty is going on here.

And yet, listen to the vocals, and “Warsheep” might be the cleanest-sounding track Ufomammut have ever put out. Higher- and lower-register layers chant out a verse before full-density tonality unapologetically slams the listener into a bridge and as they continue their march, the space-dominant trio offer gallop, drone, blown-out repetition, and if you actually watch the video, a dude with a box on his head before they degrade into birdsong. Hell, the track is only five minutes. How much more could they have possibly jammed in there? Actually, the real question is how much does “Warsheep” represent the rest of 8 that will invariably surround it? Is it an opener? A centerpiece? These things matter, you know.

Or maybe I’m just a nerd and I can’t wait to hear the album.

Either way, Ufomammut will issue “Warsheep” as a lead-in single to the record and you can find more info and preorder whatnots in the PR wire info that follows the video itself below. As expected, Ufomammut also have a slew of new European tour dates for this Fall. They’re down there too.

Please enjoy:

Ufomammut, “Warsheep” official video

UFOMAMMUT Debuts “Warsheep” Via New Video; Song To Appear On 7″ Single And Upcoming Album 8 Due Through Neurot Recordings In September; Tour Dates Announced

The Italian alchemic juggernaut, UFOMAMMUT, masters of melding uncompromisingly heavy magic with psychedelic swirls, recently announced news of a new studio recording, 8, which shall arrive on 22nd September via Neurot Recordings.

Prior to the release of the 8 LP, UFOMAMMUT delivers an early extract from the record in the form of a video for the song “Warsheep” which you can view [above]. The band describe their intentions of the video, “It is inspired by the lyrics of the song which in itself is a play on the word ‘worship.’ The protagonist takes a symbolic journey from the natural human condition to the trappings of the dogmas of society, religion etc. The principle idea being that thought is blind and is caged into the illusion of being free.” Adding to the video’s eerie atmosphere, the setting is in an abandoned villa in Italy, and the surrounding woodland.

In the spirit of record collecting rituals, and to offer something special to fans ahead of the full album release, UFOMAMMUT is offering “Warsheep” as a limited edition 7″. Available in a small run of 500 pieces, and with the cover handprinted with gold iridescent and red inks on pearlescent paper by Malleus, the record shall be released via Supernatural Cat on 15th June, and is available for preorder via the label’s website, and via Neurot stores too.

Preorders for the Warsheep 7″ are now available HERE.

8 is due for release on September 22nd on vinyl and CD formats via Neurot Recordings and on a limited and regular edition vinyl via Supernatural Cat. Preorder information and more will be revealed over the upcoming months.

UFOMAMMUT has also announced a long list of upcoming European live shows as well, including several major festival performances and an Autumn European tour with Usnea. Additional live shows will be announced in the weeks ahead.

UFOMAMMUT Tour Dates:
6/16/2017 Freak Valley Fest – Netphen, DE
6/18/2017 Hellfest – Clisson, FR
8/04/2017 Disintegrate Your Ignorance Fest – Giavera del Montello, IT
8/05/2017 Rohrbach – Oberösterreich, AU @ Lake On Fire Festival
9/06/2017 Volta – Moscow, RU
9/07/2017 MOD – St. Petersburg, RU
w/ Usnea:
9/30/2017 La Boule Noire – Paris, FR
10/01/2017 Le Ferrailleur – Nantes, FR
10/03/2017 Borderline – London, UK
10/04/2017 Magasin 4 – Brussels, BE
10/05/2017 Schlachthof – Wiesbaden, DE
10/06/2017 Up In Smoke Festival – Pratteln, CH
10/07/2017 Doornroosje – Nijmegen, NL @ Soulcrusher Festival
10/08/2017 Forum – Bielefeld, DE
10/10/2017 Blitz – Oslo, NO
10/11/2017 Klub Undergangen – Stockholm, SE
10/13/2017 Korjaamo – Helsinki, FI @ Blowup Vol. 3 Festival
10/14/2017 Olympia-Kortelli – Tampere, FI
10/16/2017 KB 18 – Copenhagen, DK
10/17/2017 Lido – Berlin, DE
10/18/2017 Markthalle – Hamburg, DE
10/19/2017 Werk 2 – Leipzig, DE
10/20/2017 Firley – Wroclaw, PL
10/21/2017 007 – Prague, CZ
10/22/2017 Keep It Low Festival – Munich, DE

Ufommammut website

Ufomammut on Thee Facebooks

Ufomammut on Twitter

Ufomammut on Instagram

Neurot Recordings website

Neurot Recordings on Thee Facebooks

Neurot Recordings on Bandcamp

Neurot Recordings on Twitter

Supernatural Cat website

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Neurosis Announce Summer Tour with Converge and Amenra

Posted in Whathaveyou on April 10th, 2017 by JJ Koczan

You know, the trouble is, Neurosis announce a summer tour — or pretty much anything — and then I go to their merch webstore, and then I stare longingly at the half-oxblood/half-black vinyl reissue of The Eye of Every Storm AGAIN. And then I get sad. So yeah, don’t get me wrong, I’m stoked at the prospect of seeing them play again, maybe in Connecticut, maybe in Montreal if I’m unemployed and doing the bohemian thing by then, or maybe a trip to Brooklyn is in order, but wherever it happens, my enjoyment of that prospect is tempered by the simple fact that I don’t own that LP. It’s even on sale right now through the end of the month. The Patient Mrs. response? Literally, “Buy it. I don’t give a fuck.” But she does. I hear we haven’t paid the water bill in six months.

My fiscal concerns notwithstanding, we’ll see if I last through April without placing that order. In the meantime, you can check out the latest tour dates for the post-metal forebears below. They go supporting last fall’s scathing Fires Within Fires (review here) and in the substantial company of Converge and Belgian acolytes Amenra, as the PR wire affirms:

neurosis tour poster

NEUROSIS: North American Summer Tour With Converge And Amenra Announced

NEUROSIS declares new tour dates for 2017, announcing a new run of North American Summer performances with Converge and Amenra.

As the band continues to perform the works from their acclaimed eleventh studio album, Fires Within Fires, the upcoming tour will find NEUROSIS bringing their immersive live experience to the East Coast and Midwestern US, and Southeastern Canada. The tour will embark out of Chicago on July 28th, with shows in Detroit, Pittsburgh, Montreal, Toronto, New Haven, Brooklyn, Boston, and Philadelphia confirmed through August 7th. Iconic punk/metal experimenters Converge will supply direct support for NEUROSIS, and leading the charge will see Neurot labelmates Amenra making their long-awaited return to North American shores.

NEUROSIS is also confirmed to headline the Days Of Darkness festival in Baltimore, Maryland on October 28th and 29th, the two-day gala also including sets by Warning, Manilla Road, Elder, Gost, Unearthly Trance, Dälek, and Bongripper, and more. Additional NEUROSIS tour dates are to be expected.

Released in September, NEUROSIS’ acclaimed Fires Within Fires is available now on CD, LP, cassette, and all digital platforms through the band’s own Neurot Recordings; see all bundles and options RIGHT HERE.

NEUROSIS Tour Dates:
7/28/2017 Thalia Hall – Chicago, IL w/ Converge, Amenra
7/29/2017 St Andrews – Detroit, MI w/ Converge, Amenra
7/30/2017 Rex Theatre – Pittsburgh, PA w/ Converge, Amenra
8/01/2017 Metropolis – Montreal, QC w/ Converge, Amenra
8/02/2017 Danforth Music Hall – Toronto, QC w/ Converge, Amenra
8/03/2017 College St. Music Hall – New Haven, CT w/ Converge, Amenra
8/04/2017 Warsaw – Brooklyn, NY w/ Converge, Amenra
8/06/2017 Royale – Boston, MA w/ Converge, Amenra
8/07/2017 Union Transfer – Philadelphia, PA w/ Converge, Amenra
10/28-29/2017 Ram’s Head Live – Baltimore Maryland @ Days Of Darkness

http://www.neurosis.com
http://www.facebook.com/officialneurosis
https://neurotrecordings.merchtable.com
http://www.twitter.com/neurosisoakland
http://www.neurotrecordings.com
http://www.facebook.com/neurotrecordings

Neurosis tour trailer

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Ufomammut to Release 8 Sept. 22

Posted in Whathaveyou on March 21st, 2017 by JJ Koczan

Italian cosmic doom masters Ufomammut will issue their new album, 8, Sept. 22 on Neurot Recordings. A behind-the-scenes video of the band in the recording studio has been posted, and festival dates announced before and after the release, which follows the band’s 2015 outing, Ecate (review here), and true enough to its title, is their eighth full-length. The long-running three-piece haven’t exactly been shy about their studio process, and last year found them posting regular updates, photos, videos, etc., as they put the record together, and it seems some more of that has made its way out too, so right on. The more the merrier, and as far as the rest of 2017 goes, hold a spot on your top 20 list, because Ufomammut never disappoint.

This just came in off the PR wire to make my day:

ufomammut

Ufomammut announce new album “8” incoming September 22nd via Neurot Recordings; plus live dates announced

Speak to any purveyor of the darkened heavy sonic and they’ll recommend Ufomammut. Masters of melding uncompromisingly heavy magic with psychedelic swirls, it is now with the heaviest and most immense pleasure to announce that the Italian alchemic juggernaut will be offering a new album this September 22nd (Neurot Recordings) consisting of eight darkened gems, aptly titled 8.

Sonically and symbolically, 8 is not only wickedly limitless in its heaviness, powerfulness and commanding nature, but how it arrests the listener’s mind creating a wholly unbounded and impenetrable sensory experience. Laden with symbolic nuances, 8 most obviously gestures towards this being Ufomammut’s 8th offering, comprised of 8 stunningly immersive tracks that flow into each other without interruption. This flow can also be seen when you tip 8 horizontally, thus it morphs into the leniscate from algebraic geometry – a plane curve that meets at central point – or more commonly known as the infinity symbol. A continuous stream of movement reflective of the uninterrupted nature of the album but also the continued togetherness of the essential elements of the band – Urlo, Poia and Vita – since the beginning of the band’s history. ? tipped vertically sees us return to the number 8. It must be stressed there is no singular pronunciation of the title, 8 is to be spoken in every language e.g. “eight” in English, “otto” in Italian, “acht” in German and so on.

As stated, 8 is a continuous flux of music, a singular entity, which can be defined in micro measurements by its eight satellite songs. Each track expands upon the preceding song, unfolding into an exceedingly dense, malevolent and formidable journey, resulting in this being Ufomammut’s most extreme venture yet, with no permittance for breathing space in the 48 minutes. The album’s predecessor Ecate has now been put to rest and we can be assured that 8 is an essential turning point in the infinity that is Ufommamut’s sonic.

Recorded at Crono Sound Factory in Vimodrone, Milano (IT), 8 is a major turning point in the heavy alchemic arts, with the elements of Ufomammut’s recording constellation being re-aligned. Although the musicians within Ufomammut’s collective remain unturned, a change in recording approach saw the trio playing and recording live together in the same room, even utilising their live sound engineer Ciccio and his project FEMORE for production purposes, with Fabrizio San Pietro on mixing duties. Overdubs were used only for vocals, synth sounds and small details with the result of such endeavour being a stricter focus on the soul, darkened groove and overall cohesion of the music and themselves as musicians. In turn, 8 clarified to Ufomammut who they are as a unit now and their new sonic path…

8 is due for release on September 22nd on vinyl and CD formats via Neurot Recordings and on a limited and regular edition vinyl via Supernatural Cat. Pre order information, album tracks and more to be revealed over the coming months.

In anticipation of Ufomammut’s 8 you can catch the conjurers of heavy mind swirls at the following:

UFOMAMMUT LIVE DATES
16/06 – Freak Valley Fest (Netphen, DE)
18/06 – Hellfest (Clisson, FR)
04/08 – Disintegrate Your Ignorance Fest (Giavera del Montello, IT)
06/10 – Up in Smoke Fest (Pratteln, CH)
13/10 – Korjaamo BlowUp Vol.3 Festival (Helsinki, FI)

Keep your ears and mind open for more news about 8 in the coming weeks…

www.ufomammut.com
www.facebook.com/ufomammutband
twitter.com/ufomammutmafia
www.instagram.com/ufomammut
http://www.neurotrecordings.com
http://www.facebook.com/neurotrecordings
https://neurotrecordings.bandcamp.com
https://twitter.com/OfficialNeurot
http://www.supernaturalcat.com

Ufomammut, 8 recording session

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Steve Von Till’s Harvestman to Release Music for Megaliths May 19

Posted in Whathaveyou on February 22nd, 2017 by JJ Koczan

It’s been seven years since last we heard from Harvestman, the could-go-anywhere, tripped-out experimentalist alter-ego of Neurosis guitarist/vocalist Steve Von Till. That outing was a Hawkwind tribute three-way split with U.S. Christmas and Minsk (review here), and the project’s last proper album was In a Dark Tongue (review here), which preceded in 2009. Of course, Von Till has been plenty busy in the interim, with two Neurosis albums in 2012’s Honor Found in Decay (review here) and last year’s Fires Within Fires (review here) — and perhaps even more crucially, that band’s return to prominence as a touring act — as well as his 2015 solo outing, A Life unto Itself (review here), but that’s all the more reason to think he wouldn’t be reviving Harvestman at all if there wasn’t something he specifically wanted to say with it as his vehicle.

One more reason to look forward to Music for Megaliths, the new Harvestman full-length, which is due out May 19 on Neurot Recordings. Self-recorded and mixed with a guest appearance by Neurosis drummer Jason Roeder (also of Sleep), it may be a long while coming, but I’ve no doubt the album’s resonance will be something taking place far outside of time.

The PR wire brings the available details:

steve-von-till-photo-niela-von-till

HARVESTMAN: Neurosis Frontman Steve Von Till’s Exploratory Project Returns With Music For Megaliths

Neurot Recordings presents the fourth full-length recorded document from HARVESTMAN – one of Neurosis vocalist/guitarist Steve Von Till’s solo ventures – with the impending release of Music For Megaliths.

As with prior HARVESTMAN and other solo releases by Steve Von Till, Music For Megaliths sees the artist handling a wide array of instruments and approaches, including vocals, electric and acoustic guitars, bass, synthesizers, hurdy gurdy, effects, and more, fully performed, recorded, and mixed at his own The Crow’s Nest studio in Northern Idaho. Neurosis’ Jason Roeder also provides drums to the album’s fifth track, “Levitation.” The seven sonically and mentally expansive tracks were mastered by James Plotkin, and the album completed with artwork by Thomas Hooper.

Confirming the album for release on May 19th, Neurot has unveiled the artwork, track listing, and more for the exploratory new album, with audio samples and more to be released in the coming weeks.

Music For Megaliths Track Listing:
1. The Forest Is Our Temple
2. Oak Drone
3. Ring Of Sentinels
4. Cromlech
5. Levitation
6. Sundown
7. White Horse

“Ruins, monuments, and ancient sites of worship are multi-sensory experiences – at once residues of the sacred, the parchment on which the passage of time has been inscribed and templates for imaginative reconstruction, spaces in which to invest and immerse, to trade your bearings for an inexhaustible state of transition.

Over the course of three albums, Steve Von Till has, under the guise of HARVESTMAN, provided the sonic analogue, casting his net for what might have been and yet still be. Both a personal meditation and a tuning fork for the most ancient and enduring of resonances, his latest album, Music For Megaliths, further expands his journeys along the sonic ley lines that run between folk, drone, psychedelia, the “kosmische” outposts of krautrock and noise: not as an act of eclecticism, but of divination, giving voice to an underlying continuity that binds them all.

Recorded over a period of several years in the dawn hours of creation, Music For Megaliths is an aggregation of moments and recordings that have allowed themselves to spell out a greater whole. Utilizing repetition, manipulation, and modulation, it’s a hallowed frequency dial that ranges across the pulse-regulated drone of “The Forest Is Our Temple,” revving up like a generator powered by arcane currents, the blissful gaze of “Ring Of Sentinels,” “Sundown”‘s ominous waves of interference and “White Horse”‘s rite of dissolution and regeneration, nomadic and devout. Music For Megaliths is a crossing over, whose multiple routes are testament to a singular and sensuously dilated vision.” – words by Jonathan Selzer, 2017

https://www.facebook.com/heathenpsych
https://harvestman.bandcamp.com
https://www.facebook.com/SteveVonTill
http://www.neurosis.com
http://www.neurotrecordings.com
http://www.facebook.com/neurotrecordings
https://neurotrecordings.bandcamp.com
https://twitter.com/OfficialNeurot
neurotrecordings.merchtable.com/artists/harvestman

Harvestman, In a Dark Tongue (2009)

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