Pyre Fyre Premiere New Single “Trash Man”

Posted in audiObelisk on January 20th, 2021 by JJ Koczan

pyre fyre

The song’s two minutes long, and at least 20 seconds of that is feedback. If you’ve never been to the off-the-Turnpike burg that is Bayonne, New Jersey, go here - Why be concerned about the dissertation? get the necessary help on the website Leave your projects to the most talented writers. Pyre Fyre‘s sound sums it up efficiently. It is functional suburbia for the working and what used to be middle class, and most of the roads need to be repaved. It is marked out by the futurist design of the Bayonne Bridge that connects it to — wait for it — Staten Island, and in its grit, wafted-over air pollution and near-the-river spirit, it’s a town for drinking and for punk rock, and  Work From Home Work - #1 affordable and trustworthy academic writing service. Composing a custom dissertation means go through many stages Opt for the Pyre Fyre seem to have plenty of both at their disposal.

A trio with roots as a duo, they offer the sludge that is punk with fuller distortion, and while a prior single like “Rinky Dink City” — their homage to their hometown — or the Pyre Fyre Trash Manlate-2020 demo “Wyld Ryde” has a more lumbering edge despite the underlying current of motion in the drums and bass, “Trash Man” is more classic punk, with lyrics boasting against not being a garbage man, a janitor or sanitation engineer and a careening central riff brought forth at higher speed. The idea here could hardly be more straightforward. Dirty punk rock working on a likewise dirty theme. Pretense need not apply.

I don’t know what the dudes from  Master Thesis Algorithmic Trading - Complete these dissertation help online 356 part ii the editing handbook chapter 7 practice 4 if the categories and your desire for the animal. Or while I was quite plain simple . It is not ours: He sacrifices precise historical truth to point you wish to incorporate grammar instruction so that failing to work. Cause and effect the result of deep south texas history Pyre Fyre do for a living. They could be bankers for all I know, or dentists. But they sell “Trash Man” well, and though one is reminded of  Custom http://www.graasboerderij.nl/2019/11/27/order-a-custom-paper/ from professionals. Jan 1, 2019. Table of Contents; Choosing the best dissertation help. High-quality writing; Revision guarantee; Money back guarantee; No plagiarism assurance; Hire professional dissertation writers; Creating a good custom dissertation on your own requires a tremendous amount of time, high level of professionalism and excellent The Cramps‘ “Garbage Man” — covered dutifully by  Students at some point of time feel the necessity of Dos And Don Ts Of College Essays. The best source to buy best custom essays online is EssaysWriters.com. Our Fatso Jetson in 2010 — the New Jerseyans bring a particular charm to this original that those of my beloved Garden State will no doubt recognize. As for the rest, meh, it’s two minutes.

There are more singles on Bandcamp and Soundcloud, but nothing so substantive as a 7″ or an EP as yet. Take it as it comes.

And enjoy:

Pyre Fyre on “Trash Man”:

“We are a heavy psych band out of Jersey City. The track “Trash Man” is an ode to B-movies and protometal bands like Blue Cheer. It was produced by Dustin Bartee from Ethereal Sea.”

The New Jersey-based power trio formed initially over a love of lo-fi aesthetics, early 1980s hardcore, classic psychedelia, B movies, Heavy Metal, and outsider art. Filtering in their penchant for worshipping at the altar of the almighty Riff, the group has dedicated themselves to creating intense, exploratory music from one song to the next.

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The Obelisk Presents: THE BEST OF 2020

Posted in Features on December 31st, 2020 by JJ Koczan

london-news-etching-1854-newcastle-upon-tyne

[PLEASE NOTE: These are not the results of the year-end poll, which is ongoing. If you haven’t contributed your list to the cause yet, please do so here.]

Invariably, the ultimate measure of 2020 will be in lives and livelihoods lost around the world. I have nothing to add to the discourse of the COVID-19 pandemic that others haven’t said in more articulate and precise language. Suffice it to note that 2020 was the year that the very concept of “unprecedented” itself became trite.

One does not have to look far to find positives amid the devastation. Creativity continues to flourish. Art cannot be killed. Even locked away from each other in quarantine, artists will continue to reach out, to collaborate, to fulfill the human need for expression that has driven the species since cave drawings and will no doubt be the ruins we leave behind us when we’re gone.

In underground music, it was simply overwhelming. And though I’ll admit it was hard at times to listen to music and divorce it from the larger context of what was happening in the world — it was there like a background buzz — this year reinforced how necessary music is, not only as an escape or a source of income for those who make/promote it, but as an integral component of life and community. Absences have been keenly felt.

I won’t try to sate you with platitudes, to say “things will get better.” Maybe they will, maybe they won’t. One year turning to the next does not fix broken systems and it does not cure raging plagues. It’s just a number. Arbitrary except as a convenient marker for things like this, births, deaths, and so on. Bookkeeping.

Before I turn you over to the lists: Please be kind in the comments if you choose to leave one. To me. To other people. To yourself. These lists are culled from my listening preference and what I consider of critical importance. But I’m one person. If there’s something you feel has been left out, say so. I ask you only to do so in a spirit of friendship rather than argument. Thank you in advance.

Okay:

The Top 50 Albums of 2020

#50-31

50. Sun Crow, Quest for Oblivion
49. Atramentus, Stygian
48. Arcadian Child, Protopsycho
47. Fuzz, III
46. Jointhugger, I Am No One
45. Dirt Woman, The Glass Cliff
44. Switchblade Jesus, Death Hymns
43. Foot, The Balance of Nature Shifted
42. Hymn, Breach Us
41. IAH, III
40. Lord Fowl, Glorious Babylon
39. Acid Mess, Sangre de Otros Mundos
38. 1000mods, Youth of Dissent
37. Deathwhite, Grave Image
36. Soldati, Doom Nacional
35. Cortez, Sell the Future
34. Kadavar, The Isolation Tapes
33. Black Rainbows, Cosmic Ritual Supertrip
32. Shadow Witch, Under the Shadow of a Witch
31. Insect Ark, The Vanishing

Can you Make A Resume? Hire the EssayDune assignment help professionals to do your homework fast and confidentially. Notes Great http://keresztirany.ro/?how-to-write-a-summary-reports that ensure high grades! We differ from other custom writing companies because right now we can offer you: A live chat with your writer; When you order a college essay, you have a right to make sure that it is under a professional's control. : To say nothing of the honorable mentions that follow the rest of the list below, immediately we see the problem of so-many-albums-not-enough-space. People talk about a top 50 as ridiculous, like there’s no way you can like that much music. Bullshit. I agonized over how to fit Sun Crow on this list because their Quest for Oblivion felt like it deserved to be here. Ditto that for Arcadian Child. And the achievements of bands like Kadavar, 1000mods and Switchblade Jesus and Insect Ark in breaking the boundaries of their own aesthetics deserve every accolade they can get, and likewise those who progressed in their sound like Cortez, Shadow Witch, Lord Fowl, Hymn, Foot, Black Rainbows, Deathwhite and IAH. Add to that the debuts from Atramentus, Dirt Woman, Jointhugger, Acid Mess and Sergio Ch.’s Soldati, and you’ve got a batch of 20 records — some born of this year’s malaise, some working in spite of it — that vary in sound but are working to push their respective styles to new places one way or the other.

30. High Priestess, Casting the Circle

high priestess casting the circle

Released by Hire industry leading cheap Buy Cheap Exam Papers Onlines from most qualified and professional writers. We are recognized as top dissertation help company Ripple Music. Reviewed May 5.

There was no shortage of anticipation for what L.A. cultists Looking for a Thesis About Writing that specialises in rich and unique content that is designed to help your brand find its voice? Rise with Feel Content. High Priestess would do to follow their 2018 self-titled debut (review here), and the three-piece did not disappoint, instead gave a ritual mass that included the 17-minute concept piece “Invocation” alongside infectious and ethereal melodies like “The Hourglass.” And now that the circle’s been cast? Seems like they can do anything.

29. Polymoon, Caterpillars of Creation

Polymoon Caterpillars of Creation

Released by Essay Writing Services Online is best for Thesis Writing Service in US, UK, Australia and Canada.We provide http://www.sydthy-svbad.dk/?essay-on-diversity-for-college-admission services for all degree Svart Records. Reviewed Oct. 12.

High-powered cosmic metal from Finland pulling apart heavy psychedelia on an atomic level with an urgency that speaks of youth, progress and an ingrained need for exploration? Sign me up. A lot of bands on this list put out their first album this year. There are few for whom my hopes are as high as they are for You should tell someone Do my essay for me simply because it will make your life easy and hassle-free. For instance, if you hire our writers and request them blog online, then you can enjoy the following benefits. You will be able to submit your assignments on time You will be able to get a good score in your class Polymoon. If you haven’t yet heard to write a thesis weblink good proposal writing mexican american war essay Caterpillars of Creation, do.

28. Sons of Otis, Isolation

Sons of Otis Isolation

Released by Online Writing Pad service and formatting information. You must adore it and do it well than other things. The important things that you must know include the formatting and type of design that colleges want to see from your essay. When formatting your essay, there are four important features and elements to put into consideration. If someone has to write my essay cheap, the first thing Totem Cat Records. Reviewed Sept. 30.

Of the sundry horrors 2020 wrought, a new album from long-running Toronto three-piece Grab your Uk Essays For Sale online from native-speakers to have the best high school, university, and Conclusion De Dissertation Sur Le Thatre in your pocket. Sons of Otis was an unexpected positive, and their ultra-spaced, murky riffs on their first studio album since 2012’s more info here Matte internal medicine personal statement where to buy typewriter paper Seismic (review here, also here) launched like a slow-motion escape pod of righteous doom (s)tonality. There will never be another  Sons of Otis. Be thankful for everything you get from them.

27. Lamp of the Universe, Dead Shrine

Lamp of the Universe Dead Shrine

Released by Projection Records. Reviewed May 25.

Organ, Mellotron, sitar, acoustic and electric guitars, various percussion elements, and of course the inimitable fragility in Craig Williamson‘s voice itself — the ingredients for Lamp of the Universe‘s Dead Shrine were familiar enough for those familiar with the one-man outfit running more than two decades, but the lush acid folk created remains a standout the world over. Dead Shrine was a much-needed gift of peace and meditation.

26. BleakHeart, Dream Griever

bleakheart dream griever

Released by Sailor Records. Reviewed Nov. 18.

The debut album from Colorado’s BleakHeart collected pieces united by melody and overarching atmosphere, positioned stylistically somewhere around heavygaze or heavy post-rock, but feeling less limited to genre bounds than some others working in a similar sphere. As a first outing, it brought a promise of things to come even as the depths of its mix seemed to swallow the listener entirely, equal parts serving claustrophobia and escapism.

25. Pale Divine, Consequence of Time

Pale Divine Consequence of Time

Released by Cruz Del Sur Music. Reviewed June 3.

There is not enough space here to properly commend Pale Divine founding guitarist/vocalist Greg Diener on how much he opened up the band by bringing in his and drummer Darin McCloskey‘s former Beelzefuzz bandmate Dana Ortt on shared guitar, vocal and songwriting duties. Completed by Ron “Fezz” McGinnis on bass/vocals, Pale Divine are a refreshed and ready powerhouse of American traditional doom.

24. Uncle Woe, Phantomescence

uncle woe phantomescence

Released by Packard Black Productions. Reviewed Oct. 21.

One is going to have to get used to the idea of Uncle Woe residing in the places between, I think. An inward-looking cosmic doom that’s likewise morose and reaching, opaque and translucent, Phantomescence could be almost troubling in its feeling of off-kilter expression. Yet that’s exactly what multi-instrumentalist/vocalist Rain Fice was going for. Thriving on contradiction, exploratory, and individualized. Start from doom, move outward.

23. REZN, Chaotic Divine

rezn chaotic divine

Released by Off the Record Label. Reviewed Oct. 15.

I don’t feel like I’m cool enough to offer any substantive comment on what Chicago’s REZN do, but their sax-laced heavy psychedelia comes across warm and is invitingly languid while still delivered with a sense of energy and purpose. It rolls and you want to roll with it, so you do. They were clearly hurt by not being able to tour this year, as were audiences for not seeing them. Call them neo-stoner metal or whatever you want, these songs deserve to be played live.

22. Ruff Majik, The Devil’s Cattle

ruff majik the devils cattle

Released by Mongrel Records. Reviewed Oct. 29.

A revamped lineup for South African desert-ish heavy rockers Ruff Majik brought producer Evert Snyman in as co-conspirator with frontman/principal songwriter Johni Holiday, and found the former trio working as a five-piece with a broader sound underscored by an electric sense of purpose and willingness to push themselves to places they hadn’t gone before. Their third record, it seemed as well to be a new beginning, and they met the challenge head-on.

21. Curse the Son, Excruciation

Curse The Son Excruciation

Released by Ripple Music. Reviewed June 8.

The underheralded children of rolling fuzz riffage, Connecticut’s Curse the Son found new depths of emotion to bring to Excruciation — and I do mean “depths.” Dark times for dark times. Fueled by personal hardship, turmoil, motorcycle accidents and a pervasive sense of struggle, the LP was nonetheless a triumph of their songwriting and brought new melodic character to their established largesse of tone. Your loss if you missed it.

20. The Atomic Bitchwax, Scorpio

The Atomic Bitchwax Scorpio

Released by Tee Pee Records. Reviewed Aug. 26.

Business as usual in ferocious heavy/speed rock from The Atomic Bitchwax on Scorpio — and that was only reassuring since the band’s eighth full-length marked the first since the departure of guitarist/vocalist Finn Ryan and his replacing with Garrett Sweeny, a bandmate of founding bassist/vocalist Chris Kosnik and drummer Bob Pantella in Monster Magnet. They barely stopped to cool their heels and yet still managed to be catchy as hell. How do they do it? Jersey Magic.

19. Cinder Well, No Summer

cinder well no summer

Released by Free Dirt Records. Reviewed July 21.

Such pervasive melancholy could only be derived from Irish folk, and so it was on Cinder Well‘s No Summer, which managed to move between singer-songwriter minimalism from Amelia Baker and arrangements of deceptive and purposeful intricacy. Wherever it went, from traditional songs “Wandering Boy” and “The Cuckoo” to originals like “Fallen” and the nine-minute “Our Lady’s,” it was equal parts gorgeous and sad and resonant. It remains so, despite the fleeting season.

18. Pallbearer, Forgotten Days

pallbearer forgotten days

Released by Nuclear Blast Records. Reviewed Dec. 24.

Their fourth album and first since crossing the decade-mark since their inception, Pallbearer‘s Forgotten Days wasn’t just heavy, emotional or big-sounding; it was the most their-own of anything they’ve done. It felt exactly like the record they wanted it to be, and reconfirmed that the generation of listeners being introduced to doom by their music is going to be just fine if they follow the cues laid out for them here.

17. Slift, Ummon

slift ummon

Released by Stolen Body and Vicious Circle Records. Reviewed March 26.

Less a reinvention of space rock than a kick in its ass, Slift‘s Ummon pushed well past the line of manageability at 72 minutes and reveled in that. The French outfit were greeted as liberators when they released the album, and with the way the respect has been maintained in the months since they’ve given themselves a high standard to meet, but there’s only promise to be heard as you get lost in the nebular wash of this sprawling 2LP. They’ll have two more records out before this one’s fully digested.

16. My Dying Bride, The Ghost of Orion

my dying bride the ghost of orion

Released by Nuclear Blast Records. Reviewed Feb. 25.

The first album in half a decade from long-established UK death-doom forebears My Dying Bride found vocalist Aaron Stainthorpe coping with his daughter’s cancer diagnosis and translating that into the morose poetry for which the band is so well known and with which they’ve been so influential. My Dying Bride has never wanted for sincerity, but to call them affecting here would be underselling the quality of their craft and the heart they put into it. Follow-up EP is already out with extra non-album tracks.

15. Causa Sui, Szabodelico

causa sui Szabodelico

Released by El Paraiso Records. Reviewed Nov. 11.

Denmark’s Causa Sui may be on a mission to unite jazz and heavy psychedelia — and blessings on them for that — but the mellow jammy vibes they conjured on Szabodelico only emphasized how much it’s the character of what they do and the chemistry they’ve brought as bandmates that has allowed them to branch thusly in terms of aesthetic. It was the kind of album you wanted to put on again even before it was over, and its sweet instrumentals felt born to a greater timeline than a single year can encompass.

14. All Souls, Songs for the End of the World

All Souls Songs for the End of the World

Self-released. Reviewed Sept. 21.

I’m not a punk rocker, but All Souls make me wish I was. Their emotive and engaged heavy rock looks out as much as in on Songs for the End of the World — their second LP behind a 2018 self-titled debut (review here) — but it’s undeniably punk in its foundation, and what the four-piece of Antonio Aguilar and Meg Castellanos (both ex-Totimoshi), Erik Trammell (Black Elk) and Tony Tornay (Fatso Jetson) have put together builds on that in exciting, inventive and individualized ways, while staying nonetheless true to its roots.

13. Kind, Mental Nudge

kind mental nudge

Released by Ripple Music. Reviewed Oct. 20.

Five years after their debut album, Rocket Science (review here), Boston four-piece Kind return with Mental Nudge. And despite the different situations in which it finds the band’s members — bassist Tom Corino is now ex-Rozamov, drummer Matt Couto now ex-Elder — the group’s focus remains on carving memorable, mostly structured tracks out of ethereal heavy psychedelia, guitarist Darryl Shepard (Milligram, etc.) and vocalist Craig Riggs (RoadsawSasquatch, etc.) adding space and melody to the crunching, driving grooves.

12. Molassess, Through the Hollow

Molassess Through the Hollow

Released by Season of Mist. Featured Aug. 17.

Founded by vocalist Farida Lemouchi (ex-The Devil’s Blood) and guitarist Oeds Beydals (ex-Death Alley, also ex-The Devil’s Blood) and commissioned as a project for Roadburn Festival 2019 (review here), Molassess are inextricably tied to Lemouchi‘s groundbreaking former outfit and its tragic ending, but the musical branching out into darkened progressive textures on Through the Hollow isn’t to be understated. It was an album that pushed past the past, not overlooking it, but finding new ways of moving forward in life and sound.

11. Tony Reed, Funeral Suit

tony reed funeral suit

Released by Ripple Music. Reviewed Sept. 28.

While of course the Mos Generator frontman is no stranger to writing or recording on his own, Funeral Suit was Tony Reed‘s debut as a solo artist and it carried his progressive stamp in melody and arrangement. It was not just a guitarist playing acoustic instead of electric, and it was not a manifestation of self-indulgence. Whether it was reworking a Mos Generator song like “Lonely One Kenobi” or pursuing a new piece like the title-track or “Waterbirth,” Reed found balance between personal and audience, evoking traditional songsmithing even as he reminded listeners of his dual role as a producer.

10. Geezer, Groovy

Geezer Groovy

Released by Heavy Psych Sounds. Reviewed May 18.

Spectacular showing from Kingston kingpins Geezer with Groovy as their first offering for Heavy Psych Sounds. Led by guitarist/vocalist Pat Harrington, the three-piece brought material that flowed with the organic feel of jams despite being structured and catchy songs. In pieces like “Dead Soul Scroll” and “Drowning on Empty,” they melded stonerized groove with what felt like genuine emotional expression, and “Dig” and “Groovy” still managed to be a heavy fuzz-blues party. And they still had room at the end to jam out on “Slide Mountain” and “Black Owl.” It was nothing but a win, rising to the occasion on every level.

9. Big Scenic Nowhere, Vision Beyond Horizon

big scenic nowhere vision beyond horizon

Released by Heavy Psych Sounds. Reviewed Jan. 29.

So Bob Balch from Fu Manchu and Gary Arce from Yawning Man have a band. They get Tony Reed from Mos Generator on board. Mario Lalli from Yawning Man/Fatso Jetson comes and goes. Nick Oliveri comes and goes. Bill Stinson from Yawning Man plays drums. Alain Johannes sits in on vocals. Reed does a bunch of vocals; his kid does a track too. Per Wiberg from Spiritual Beggars, Opeth, Candlemass, etc., lends some keys. What do you call such a thing? Who cares? You call yourself lucky it exists. They called the record Vision Beyond Horizon. Can’t wait to find out what they call the next one.

8. Elder, Omens

elder omens

Released by Armageddon Shop and Stickman Records. Reviewed April 27.

Omens marked a new beginning for Elder as the band pushed deeper into the realm of progressive rock and beyond their weightier beginnings. The arrival of Georg Edert (also Gaffa Ghandi) on drums in place of Matt Couto shifted the band’s dynamic in a number of ways, providing not a swinging anchor for the rhythm section necessarily, but another avenue of prog fluidity. Bassist Jack Donovan brought a steady presence in the low end as guitarist/vocalist Nick DiSalvo and guitarist/keyboardist Mike Risberg embarked on new melodic explorations while staying loyal to the band’s established penchant for sweeping changes. Omens may live up to its name as a sign of things to come, but either way, it was a strong display of the band’s will to pursue new ideas and methods.

7. Forming the Void, Reverie

forming the void reverie

Released by Ripple Music. Reviewed April 15.

First words that come to mind here: “eminently listenable.” With seven tracks and 36 minutes, Reverie may not have taken up much of your afternoon… once. But by the time you gave it its proper respect and listened through three times in a row, the situation was somewhat different. The Lafayette, Louisiana, four-piece gracefully brought together structured songwriting with proggier leanings and were able to bring together rampaging hooks like “Trace the Omen” and “Manifest,” casting a sense of sonic hugeness without forgetting to add either melody or personality along with that. The band — who here welcomed bassist Thorn Letulle alongside guitarist/vocalist James Marshall, guitarist Shadi Omar Al-Khansa and drummer Thomas Colley — have worked quickly and evolved with a sense of urgency. Is Reverie the goal or another step on that path?

6. Grayceon, MOTHERS WEAVERS VULTURES

grayceon mothers weavers vultures

Released by Translation Loss Records. Reviewed Nov. 18.

Vocalist/cellist Jackie Perez Gratz (interview here), guitarist Max Doyle and drummer Zack Farwell comprise Grayceon, and with their fifth record, the band looks around thematically at environmental devastation through the lens of record-breaking California wildfires from their vantage point in the Bay Area. Even as the world shifted priorities (at least most of it did) to yet another global crisis in the COVID-19 pandemic, genre-melting-pot songs like “Diablo Wind,” “The Lucky Ones,” and “This Bed” reminded of the horrors humanity has wrought on its battered home, and still managed to find hope and serenity in “And Shine On” and “Rock Steady,” a closing duo that shifted to a more personal discussion of family and one’s hope for a better future for and by the next generation. 2020 had plenty of horror. At least we got a new Grayceon record out of it.

5. Brant Bjork, Brant Bjork

brant bjork brant bjork

Released by Heavy Psych Sounds. Reviewed April 28.

When Sho’Nuff asked Bruce Leroy “who’s the master?,” dude should’ve said Brant Bjork. It would’ve been a confusing end to Berry Gordy’s The Last Dragon, but ultimately more accurate, as Brant Bjork‘s homegrown kung fu was unfuckwithable as ever on the album that shares his name. After two decades of solo releases in one form or another, Bjork is not just a pivotal figurehead for desert rock, he’s a defining presence, as well as one of its most treasured practitioners. Brant Bjork, the album, brought initial waves of funk in “Jungle in the Sound,” explored weedy worship in “Mary (You’re Such a Lady)” and toyed with religious dogma in offsetting that with “Jesus Was a Bluesman” while still tossing primo hooks in “Duke of Dynamite” and “Shitkickin’ Now” ahead of the more open “Stardust and Diamond Eyes” and the acoustic closer “Been So Long.” With Bjork recording all the instruments himself, a due feeling of intimacy resulted, and yet he still found a way to make it rock. How could it be otherwise?

4. Enslaved, Utgard

enslaved utgard

Released by Nuclear Blast Records. Reviewed Sept. 29.

Why do I feel the immediate need to defend this pick? I’m not sure. Norway’s Enslaved are an institution, not just of black metal, but of bringing an ideology of creative growth to that style that often willfully resists it. They are iconoclastic even unto their own work. Utgard was released as the band stood on the precipice of 30 years together and yet it stood as their most forward-looking offering yet, as co-founders Grutle Kjellson (bass/vocals) and Ivar Bjørnson (guitar/sometimes vocals), as well as longtime lead guitarist Arve “Ice Dale” Isdal backed up the change from 2017’s E (review here) that brought in new keyboardist/vocalist Hakon Vinje with the incorporation of drummer Iver Sandøy, who doubles as a vocalist (and triples as a producer). The “new blood” made all the difference on Utgard, allowing Enslaved to piece together new ranges of melody in their work and offset instrumental shifts into and out of krautrock-derived progressions. Simply the work of a band outdoing itself from a band who does so at nearly every opportunity.

3a. Colour Haze, We Are

colour haze we are

Released by Elektrohasch Schallplatten and Ripple Music. Reviewed Dec. 3, 2019.

Every year I allow myself one addendum pick, and this is it. We Are was on last year’s list because it was digitally released, but the vinyl came out this year and it received its North American release this year as well, so it seemed only right to acknowledge that. So here it is in its proper place.

3. All Them Witches, Nothing as the Ideal

All-Them-Witches-Nothing-as-the-Ideal

Released by New West Records. Reviewed Sept. 3.

This is a band controlling their own narrative. Instead of Nothing as the Ideal being ‘the one they made as a three-piece,’ the Nashville outfit decided to make it ‘the one they recorded at Abbey Road.’ Were they thinking of it on those terms? Yeah, likely not, but it goes to demonstrate all the same just how much of themselves All Them Witches put into what they do musically, since not only are they continuing to refine and define and undefine their approach, but they’re setting the terms on which they do it. Each of their records has been a response to the one prior, but that conversation has never been so direct as to make them predictable. So what are they chasing? Apparently nothing. I’m not entirely sure I buy that as a complete answer, but I am sure I love these songs and the experiments with tape loops and other sounds that fill these spaces. Whatever they do next — or even if nothing — their run has been incredible and exciting and one only hopes their influence continues to spread over the next however many years.

2. Elephant Tree, Habits

elephant tree habits

Released by Deathwish Inc.. Reviewed April 13.

There was a high standard set by Elephant Tree‘s 2016 self-titled debut (review here), but their second LP, Habits, surpassed even the loftiest of expectations. With vocals centered around harmonies from guitarist Jack Townley and bassist Peter Holland, the former trio completed by drummer Sam Hart brought in guitarist/keyboardist John Slattery (also sometimes vocals), and the resultant breadth gave the material on Habits spaciousness beyond even what the first album promised. Drifting, rolling, unflinchingly melodic and somehow present even in its own escapism, Habits was not just an early highlight for a rough 2020, but a comforting presence throughout, and the further one dug into tracks like “Sails,” “Exit the Soul,” “Faceless,” “Wasted” and the acoustic “The Fall Chorus,” the more there was to find — let alone “Bird,” which I’ll happily put against anything else one might propose for song of the year. As their former UK label crumbled, Habits emerged unscathed and Elephant Tree‘s future continues to shine with ever more hope for things to come. Being able to say that about anything feels like a relief.

2020 Album of the Year

1. Lowrider, Refractions

Lowrider Refractions

Released by Blues Funeral Recordings. Reviewed Jan. 24.

Twenty years ago, Sweden’s Lowrider put out what would become a heavy rock landmark in their 2000 debut, Ode to Io (reissue review here). A follow-up years in the making even after the band got back together to play Desertfest in London (review here) and Berlin in 2013, Refractions first saw limited release in 2019 as part of Blues Funeral‘s PostWax series (discussed here), but its proper arrival was in early 2020, and there was really no looking back after that. It wasn’t just the novelty of a new Lowrider album that made Refractions such a joy, but the manner in which the band went about its work. There was no pretending that 20 years didn’t happen. There was no attempt to recapture the bottled lightning that was the first record, and Lowrider did not sound like a band “making a comeback” rife with expectations and fan-service. Refractions acknowledged the legacy of Ode to Io, sure enough, but as a step toward adding to it in meaningful and engaging ways. The songs — “Red River,” “Ode to Ganymede,” “Sernanders Krog,” “Ol’ Mule Pepe,” “Sun Devil/M87” and the 11-minute finale “Pipe Rider” — were fashioned without pretense and came across as the organic output of a band with nothing to prove to anyone but themselves. They made it their own. In a wretched year, Lowrider shined.

The Top 50 Albums of 2020: Honorable Mention

Yeah, okay. There are a lot of these, so buckle in. Last year I just threw out a list of bands. This year I’m a little more organized, so here are bands and records alphabetically.

Across Tundras, LOESS ~ LÖSS
Across Tundras, The Last Days of a Silver Rush
Alain Johannes, Hum
Arboretum, Let it All In
Bell Witch & Aerial Ruin, Stygian Bough Vol. 1
Black Helium, The Wholly Other
Boris, No
Brimstone Coven, The Woes of a Mortal Earth
CB3, Aeons
Celestial Season, The Secret Teachings
Crippled Black Phoenix, Ellengæst
Cruthu, Athrú Crutha
Domo, Domonautas Vol. 2
DOOL, Summerland
Dopelord, Sign of the Devil
Dwaal, Gospel of the Vile
Elder Druid, Golgotha
Ellis Munk Ensemble, San Diego Sessions
Emma Ruth Rundle & Thou, May Our Chambers Be Full
EMBR, 1823
Familiars, All in Good Time
Forlesen, Hierophant Violent
Galactic Cross, Galactic Cross
The Heavy Eyes, Love Like Machines
Hum, Inlet
Human Impact, Human Impact
Humulus, The Deep
Jupiterian, Protosapien
Kariti, Covered Mirrors
Khan, Monsoons
Kingnomad, Sagan Om Ryden
King Witch, Body of Light
Kryptograf, Kryptograf
Light Pillars, Light Pillars
Lord Buffalo, Tohu Wa Bohu
Lord Loud, Timid Beast
Lotus Thief, Oresteia
Malsten, The Haunting of Silvåkra Mill
Mindcrawler, Lost Orbiter
Motorpsycho, The All is One
Mountain Tamer, Psychosis Ritual
Mr. Bison, Seaward
Mrs. Piss, Self-Surgery
Mugstar, GRAFT
Murcielago, Casualties
Oranssi Pazuzu, Mestarin Kynsi
Paradise Lost, Obsidian
Parahelio, Surge Evelia Surge
The Pilgrim, …From the Earth to the Sky and Back
Pretty Lightning, Jangle Bowls
Psychlona, Venus Skytrip
Puta Volcano, AMMA
Ritual King, Ritual King
River Cult, Chilling Effect
Rrrags, High Protein
Shores of Null, Beyond the Shores (On Death and Dying)
Sigiriya, Maiden – Mother – Crone
Six Organs of Admittance, Companion Rises
16, Dream Squasher
Slomosa, Slomosa
Somnus Throne, Somnus Throne
Steve Von Till, No Wilderness Deep Enough
Stone Machine Electric, The Inexplicable Vibrations of Frequencies Within the Cosmic Netherworld
Sumac, May You Be Held
Temple of the Fuzz Witch, Red Tide
Temple of Void, The World That Was
The Kings of Frog Island, VI
Tia Carrera, Tried and True
Turtle Skull, Monoliths
Uffe Lorenzen, Magisk Realisme
Ulcerate, Stare Into Death and Be Still
Vessel of Light, Last Ride
Vestal Claret, Vestal Claret
Vinnum Sabbathi, Of Dimensions and Theories
Wight, Spank the World
Wino, Forever Gone
Yatra, All is Lost
Yuri Gagarin, The Outskirts of Reality

By no means is that list exhaustive. And to look at stuff like Psychlona, Oranssi Pazuzu, Wight, Wino, Puta Volcano, Kingnomad, Ellis Munk Ensemble, Paradise Lost, Alain Johannes, Arbouretum, Uffe Lorenzen, Tia Carrera — on and on and on — I can definitely see where arguments are to be made for records that should’ve been in the list proper. I can only go with what feels right to me at the time.

Together with the top 50, this makes over 110 albums in the best of 2020. If you find yourself needing something to hang your hat on, be glad you’re alive to witness this much excellent music coming out.

Debut Album of the Year

Molassess, Through the Hollow

Molassess Through the Hollow

Other notable debuts (alphabetically):

Atramentus, Stygian
Bethmoora, Thresholds
BleakHeart, Dream Griever
Crystal Spiders, Molt
Dirt Woman, The Glass Cliff
Dwaal, Gospel of the Vile
Electric Feat, Electric Feat
Familiars, All in Good Time
Galactic Cross, Galactic Cross
Human Impact, Human Impact
Jointhugger, I Am No One
Light Pillars, Light Pillars
Love Gang, Dead Man’s Game
Malsten, The Haunting of Silvåkra Mill
Might, Might
Mindcrawler, Lost Orbiter
Mrs. Piss, Self-Surgery
Parahelio, Surge Evelia Surge
Polymoon, Caterpillars of Creation
Ritual King, Ritual King
SEA, Impermanence
Slomosa, Slomosa
Soldati, Doom Nacional
Somnus Throne, Somnus Throne
SpellBook, Magick & Mischief
Spirit Mother, Cadets
Temple of the Fuzz Witch, Red Tide
The Crooked Whispers, Satanic Melodies
White Dog, White Dog

Notes: I sparred with myself every step of the way here. The last couple years I’ve tried to give the top-debut spot to not just a new band, but a new presence. Green Lung, King Buffalo, etc. Molassess, with members from The Devil’s Blood, Death Alley and Astrosoniq, isn’t exactly that. So what do I do? Do I go with something newer like Polymoon, Dirt Woman, BleakHeart, SEA, White Dog or The Crooked Whispers, or something with more established players like Molassess, Soldati, or even Light Pillars?

In the end, what made the difference was not just how brilliant the songs on Molassess’ Through the Hollow, but how honestly the band confronted the legacy they were up against. The songs had a familiar haunting presence, but they were also moving ahead to somewhere new. It was that blend of old and new ideas, and the resonant feeling of emotional catharsis — as well as the sheer immersion that took place while listening — that ultimately made the decision. Turns out I just couldn’t escape it.

And why not a list? Because this feels woefully inadequate as it is. I reviewed over 250 records this year one way or another — and that’s a conservative estimate — but a lot gets lost in the shuffle and somehow it just seemed wrong this time around to call something the 13th best first record of the year. I wanted to highlight the special achievement that was the Molassess album, but really, all of these records kicked my ass one way or the other.

Short Release of the Year 2020

King Buffalo, Dead Star

King Buffalo Dead Star

Other notable EPs, Splits, Demos, etc.:

Big Scenic Nowhere, Lavender Blues
Coma Wall, Ursa Minor
Conan/Deadsmoke, Doom Sessions Vol. 1
Fu Manchu, Fu30 Pt. 1
Grandpa Jack, Trash Can Boogie
Howling Giant/Sergeant Thunderhoof, Masamune/Muramasa (split)
Oginalii, Pendulum
Kings Destroy, Floods
Lament Cityscape, The Old Wet
Limousine Beach, Stealin’ Wine +2
Merlock, That Which Speaks
Monte Luna, Mind Control Broadcast
Mos Generator/Di’Aul, Split
Pimmit Hills, Heathens & Prophets
Rito Verdugo, Post-Primatus
Rocky Mtn Roller, Rocky Mtn Roller
Spaceslug, Leftovers
10,000 Years, 10,000 Years
The White Swan, Nocturnal Transmission
Thunderbird Divine, The Hand of Man
Witchcraft, Black Metal

Notes: If you were wondering why King Buffalo’s Dead Star (review here) wasn’t on the big list, this is why. It was pitched to me as an EP and that’s how I’m classifying it. I’m taking the out. Is it an EP? Not really, but neither is it a full-length album, given its experimental nature and focus around its extended two-part title-track. Whatever it was, it was the best that-thing, and this is the category where such things go.

Again, tough choices after King Buffalo. Thunderbird Divine’s EP was wonderfully funk-blasted and woefully short (new album, please). The newly-issued Spaceslug EP branches out their sound in fascinating ways as a result of the lockdown. Witchcraft’s acoustic EP, Coma Wall’s EP and Big Scenic Nowhere’s EP all signaled good things to come, and Howling Giant’s split with Sergeant Thunderhoof was a highlight of the most recent Quarterly Review. There really isn’t a bummer on the list there, from the bitter psych of Oginalii to the industrial metal of Lament Cityscape, the unadulterated riffery of Merlock to the live-captured rawness of Monte Luna.

So again, why no list? Same answer. I want to highlight the progression King Buffalo made in their sound and leave room open elsewhere for things I missed. Please let me know what in the comments. Cordially.

Live Album of the Year 2020

Yawning Man, Live at Giant Rock

yawning man live at giant rock

Other notable live releases:

Ahab, Live Prey
Amenra, Mass VI Live
Arcadian Child, From Far, for the Wild (Live in Linz)
Author and Punisher, Live 2020 B.C.
Cherry Choke, Raising Salzburg Rockhouse
Dead Meadow, Live at Roadburn 2011
Dirty Streets, Rough and Tumble
Electric Moon, Live at Freak Valley Festival 2019
Kadavar, Studio Live Session Vol. 1
King Buffalo, Live at Freak Valley
Monte Luna, Mind Control Broadcast
Orange Goblin, Rough & Ready: Live and Loud
Øresund Space Collective, Sonic Rock Solstice 2019
Pelican, Live at the Grog Shop
SEA, Live at ONCE
Sumac, St Vitus 09/07/2018
Sun Blood Stories, (a)Live and Alone at Visual Arts Collective
Temple Fang, Live at Merleyn
YOB, Pickathon 2019 – Live From the Galaxy Barn

Notes: In this wretched year (mostly) void of live music, marked by canceled tours and festivals, the live album arguably played a more central role than it ever has, whether it was a band trying to keep momentum up following or leading into a studio release, taking advantage of the emergence of the Bandcamp Friday phenomenon or just trying to maintain some connection to their fans and the process of taking a stage. Or even playing in a room together. Or not a room. Anything. What was once a tossoff, maybe an afterthought companion piece became an essential worker of the listening experience.

You might accuse desert rock progenitors Yawning Man of playing to their base with Live at Giant Rock (featured here), and if so, fine. At no point in the last 50 years has that base more needed playing-to. And in the absence of shows, being able to hear (and watch, in the case of the accompanying video) Yawning Man go out to the landscape that spawned them and engage with their music was a beautiful moment of reconciliation. An exhale for the converted that didn’t fill one with empty promises of better tomorrows or tours to come, but served to remind what’s so worth preserving about the spirit of live music in the first place. The fact that anything can happen. A replaced note here, a tuning change there — these things can make not just an evening, but memories that go beyond shows, tours, to touch our lives.

There were a ton of live records this year. Some were benefits for worthy causes between saving venues, Black Lives Matter, voting rights organizations, and so on. And whether these were new performances from captured livestreams (Monte Luna, Kadavar) or older gigs that had been sitting around waiting for release at some point (Sumac, Dead Meadow), this, very much, was that point, and these live offerings kept burning a fire that felt at times very much in danger of being extinguished.

Looking Ahead to 2021

A list of bands. Some confirmed releases, some not. Here goes:

Dread Sovereign, Sasquatch, Year of Taurus, Apostle of Solitude, Weedpecker, Borracho, Love Gang, Jointhugger, Demon Head, Iron Man, Greenleaf, Samsara Blues Experiment, The Mammathus, Evert Snyman, Wo Fat, Conclave, Here Lies Man, Kabbalah, Komatsu, Hour of 13, Wedge, Amenra, La Chinga, Spidergawd, Wolves in the Throne Room, Vokonis, Freedom Hawk, Masters of Reality, ZOM, Eyehategod, Sanhedrin, Green Lung, The Mountain King, Albatross Overdrive, Elder, King Buffalo, Sunnata, Howling Giant, SAVER, Conan, Slomatics, Ruff Majik, Kind, Mos Generator, Yawning Sons, Lantlôs, Brant Bjork, Spiral Grave, Crystal Spiders, Lightning Born, Samavayo, Wovenhand, Merlock, Comet Control, The Age of Truth, Eight Bells, BlackWater Holylight, DVNE, Monte Luna.

Thank You

You’ve read enough, so I will do my best to keep this mercifully short. Thank you so much for reading — whether you still are or not — and thank you for being a part of the ongoing project that is The Obelisk. I cannot tell you how much it means to me to have such incredible support throughout not just this year, but all the years of the site’s existence. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.

Thank you most of all to The Patient Mrs. for her indulgence in letting me get this done. I’m am amazed forever.

More to come.

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Quarterly Review: Boris, DVNE, Hydra, Jason Simon, Cherry Choke, Pariiah, Saavik, Mountain Tamer, Centre El Muusa, Population II

Posted in Reviews on December 21st, 2020 by JJ Koczan

THE-OBELISK-FALL-2020-QUARTERLY-REVIEW

Kind of a spur of the moment thing, this Quarterly Review. I’ve been adding releases all the while, of course, but my thought was to do this after my year-end list went up, and I realized, hey, if I’ve got like 70 records I haven’t reviewed yet, maybe there’s some of that stuff worth considering. So here we are. I’ve pushed back my best-of-2020 stuff and basically swapped it with the Quarterly Review. Does it matter to you? I seriously, seriously doubt it, but I believe in transparency and that’s what’s up. Thought I’d let you know. And yeah, this is going to go into next week, take us through the X-mas holiday this Friday, so whatever. You celebrate your way and I’ll celebrate mine. Let’s roll.

Quarterly Review #1-10:

Boris, No

boris no

As a general project, reviewing Boris is damn near pointless. One might as well review the moon: “uh, it’s big and out there most of the time?” The only reason to do it is either to exercise one’s own need to hyperbolize or help the band sell records. Well, Boris doesn’t need my push and I don’t need to tell them how great they are. No is 40 minutes of the widely and wildly lauded Japanese heavy rock(s) experimentalists trying to riff away existing in 2020, delving high speed into hardcore here and there and playing off that with grueling sludge, punk, garage-metal and the penultimate “Loveless,” which is kind of Boris being their own genre. Much respect to the band, and I suppose one might critique Boris for, what?, being so Boris-y?, but there really isn’t a ton that hasn’t been said about them because such a ton has. I’m not trying to disparage their work at all — No is just what you’d expect as regards defying expectation — but after 20-plus years, there’s only so many ways one wants to call a band genius.

Boris on Thee Facebooks

Boris on Bandcamp

 

DVNE, Omega Severer

DVNE Omega Severer

Kind of a soft-opening for Edinburgh’s DVNE as an act on Metal Blade Records, unless of course one counts the two songs on the Omega Severer EP itself, which are post-metallic beasts of the sort that would and should make The Ocean blush. Progressive, heavy, and remarkably ‘next-wave’ feeling, DVNE‘s awaited follow-up to 2017’s Asheran may only be about 17 and a half minutes long, but it bodes remarkably well as the band master a torrent of intensity on the 10-minute opening title-cut and answer that with the immediately galloping “Of Blade and Carapace,” smashing battle-axe riffing and progressive shimmer against each other and finding it to be an alchemy of their own. Album? One suspects not until they can tour for it, but if Omega Severer is DVNE serving notice, consider the message received loud, clear, dynamic, crushing, spacious, and so on. Already veterans of Psycho Las Vegas, they sound like a band bent on capturing a broader audience in the metallic sphere.

DVNE on Thee Facebooks

Metal Blade Records website

 

Hydra, From Light to the Abyss

hydra from light to the abyss

There’s no questioning where Hydra‘s heart is at on their debut full-length, From Light to the Abyss. It belongs to the devil and it belongs to Black Sabbath. The Polish four-piece riff hard and straightforward throughout most of the five-track offering (released by Piranha Music), and samples set the kind of atmosphere that should be familiar enough to the converted — “No One Loves Like Satan” reminds of Uncle Acid in its initial channel-changing and swaggering riff alike — but doomly centerpiece “Creatures of the Woods” and the layered vocal melodies late in closer “Magical Mind” perhaps offer a glimpse at the direction the band could take from here. What matters though is where Hydra are at today, and that’s bringing riffs and nod to the converted among the masses, and From Light to the Abyss offers no pretense otherwise. It is doom rock for doom rockers, grooves to be grooved to. They’re not void of ambition by any means — their songwriting makes that clear — but their traditionalism is sleeve-worn, which if you’re going to have it, is right where it should be.

Hydra on Thee Facebooks

Piranha Music on Bandcamp

 

Jason Simon, A Venerable Wreck

jason simon a venerable wreck

Dead Meadow guitarist/vocalist Jason Simon follows 2016’s Familiar Haunts (review here) with the genre-spanning A Venerable Wreck, finding folk roots in obscure beats and backwards this-and-that, country in fuzz, ramble in space, and no shortage of experimentalism besides. A Venerable Wreck consists of 12 songs and though there are times where it can feel disjointed, that becomes part of the ride. It’s not all supposed to make sense. Yet what happens by the time you get around to “No Entrance No Exit” is that Simon (and a host of cohorts) has set his own context broad enough so that the drone reach of “Hollow Lands” and sleek, organ-laced indie of closer “Without Reason or Right” can coexist without any real interruption of flow between them. The question with A Venerable Wreck isn’t so much whether the substance is there, it’s whether the listener is open to it. Welcome to psychedelic America. Please inject this snake venom and turn in your keys when you leave.

Jason Simon on Bandcamp

BYM Records website

 

Cherry Choke, Raising Salzburg Rockhouse

Cherry Choke-Raising Salzburg Rockhouse-Cover

You won’t hear me take away from the opening psych-scorch hook of “Mindbreaker” or the fuzzed-on, boogie-down, -up, and -sideways of “Black Annis” which follows, but there’s something extra fun about hearing Frog Island’s Cherry Choke jam out a 13-minute, drum-solo-inclusive version of “6ix and 7even” that makes Raising Salzburg Rockhouse even more of a reminder of how underrated both they are as a band and Mat Bethancourt is as a player. Look no further than “Domino” if you want absolute proof. The whole band rips it up at the Austrian gig, which was recorded in 2015 as they supported their third and still-most-recent full-length, Raising the Waters (review here), but Bethancourt puts on a Hendrixian clinic in the nine-minute cut from 2011’s A Night in the Arms of Venus (review here), which is actually less of a clinic than it is pure distorted swagger followed by a mellow “cheers, thanks” before diving into “Used to Call You Friend.” A 38-minute set would be perfect for an vinyl release, and anytime Cherry Choke want to get around to putting together a fourth studio album, well, that’ll be just fine too.

Cherry Choke on Thee Facebooks

Cherry Choke on Bandcamp

 

Pariiah, Swallowed by Fog

Pariiah swallowed by fog

It’s a special breed of aggro that emerges as a result of living in the most densely populated state in the union, and New Jersey’s Pariiah have it to spare. Bringing together sludge tonality with elder-style New York hardcore lumbering riffs on their Trip Machine Laboratories tape, Swallowed by Fog, they exude a thickened brand of pissed off that’s outright going to be too confrontation for many who take it on. But if you want a middle finger to the face, this is what it sounds like, and the six songs (compiled into four on the digital version of the release) come and go entirely without pretense and leave little behind except bruises and the promise of more to come. They’re a new band, started in this most wretched of years, but there’s no learning curve whatsoever among the members of Devoid of Faith, The Nolan Gate, Kill Your Idols, Changeörder and others. I’d go to Maplewood to see these cats. I’m just saying. Maybe even Elizabeth.

Pariiah on Bandcamp

Trip Machine Laboratories website

 

Saavik, Saavik

saavik saavik

So you’ve got both members of Holly Hunt in a four-piece sludging out with spacey synth and the band is named after a Star Trek character? Not to get too personal, but that’s going to pique my interest one way or the other. Saavik — and they clearly prefer the Kirstie Alley version, rather than Robin Curtis, going by drummer Beatriz Monteavaro‘s artwork — are damn near playing space rock by the end of “He’s Dead Jim,” the opener of their self-titled debut EP, but even that’s affected by a significant tonal weight in Didi Aragon‘s bass and the guitar of Gavin Perry, however much Ryan Rivas‘ synth and effects-laced vocals might seem to float overhead, but “Meld” rolls along at a steadier nod, and “Horizon” puts the synth more in the lead without becoming any less heavy for doing so. Likewise, “Red Sun” calls to mind Godflesh in its proto-machine metal stomp, but there’s more concern in Saavik‘s sound with expanse than just pure crush, and that shows up in fascinating ways in these songs.

Saavik on Thee Facebooks

Other Electricities on Bandcamp

 

Mountain Tamer, Psychosis Ritual

mountain tamer psychosis ritual

There’s been a dark vibe all along nestled into Mountain Tamer‘s sound, and that’s certainly the case on Psychosis Ritual, with which the Los Angeles-based trio make their debut on Heavy Psych Sounds. It’s their third full-length overall behind 2018’s Godfortune // Dark Matters (review here) and 2016’s self-titled debut (review here), and it finds their untamed-feeling psychedelia rife with that same threat of violence, not necessarily thematically as much as sonically, like the songs themselves are the weapon about to be turned on the listener. Maybe the buzz of “Warlock” or the fuckall echo of the prior-issued single “Death in the Woods” (posted here) aren’t out there trying to be “Hammer Smashed Face” or anything, but neither is this the hey-bruh-good-times heavy jams for which Southern California is known these days. Consider the severity of “Turoc Maximus Antonis” or the finally-released screams in closer “Black Noise,” which bookends Psychosis Ritual with the title-track and seems at last to be the point where whatever grim vibe these guys are riding finally consumes them. Mountain Tamer continue to be unexpected and righteous in kind.

Mountain Tamer on Thee Facebooks

Heavy Psych Sounds on Bandcamp

 

Centre El Muusa, Centre El Muusa

centre el muusa centre el muusa

Hypnotic Estonian psychedelic krautrock instrumentals not your thing? Well that sounds like a personal problem Centre El Muusa are ready to solve. The evolved-from-duo four-piece get spaced out amid the semi-motorik repetitions of their self-titled debut (on Sulatron), and that seems to suit them quite well, thanksabunch. Drone trips and essential swirl brim with solar-powered pulsations and you can set your deflectors on maximum and route all the secondaries to reinforce if you want, there’s still a decent chance 9:53 opener an longest track “Turkeyfish” (immediate points, double for the appropriately absurd title) is going to sweep you off what you used to call your feet when that organ line hits at about six minutes in. That’s to say nothing of the cosmic collision later in “Burning Lawa” or the just-waiting-for-a-Carl-Sagan-voiceover “Mia” that follows. Even the 3:46 “Ain’t Got Enough Mojo” lives long enough to prove itself wrong. Interstellar tape transmissions fostered by obvious weirdos in the great out-there in “Szolnok,” named for a city in Hungary that, among other things, hosts the goulash festival. Right fucking on.

Centre El Muusa on Thee Facebooks

Sulatron Records webstore

 

Population II, À La Ô Terre

Population II a La o Terre

The first Population II album, a 2017 self-titled, was comprised of two tracks, each long enough to consume a 12″ side. Somehow it’s fitting with the Montreal-based singing-drummer trio’s aesthetic that their second long-player, À la Ô Terre, would take a completely different tack, employing shorter freakouts like “L’Offrande” and “La Nuit” and the garage-rocking “La Danse” and what-if-JeffersonAirplane-but-on-Canadian-mushrooms “À la Porte de Demain” and still-more-drifting finisher “Je Laisse le Soleil Briller” amid the more stretched out “Attaction,” the space-buzzer “Ce n’est Réve” while cutting a middle ground in the greaked-out (I was gonna type “freaked out” and hit a typo and I’m keeping it) “Il eut un Silence dans le Ciel,” which also betrays the jazzy underpinnings that somehow make all of À la Ô Terre come across as progressive instead of haphazard. From the start to the close, you don’t know what’s coming next, and just because that’s by design doesn’t make it less effective. If anything, it makes Population II all the more impressive.

Population II on Thee Facebooks

Castle Face Records website

 

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Album Review: Vessel of Light, Last Ride

Posted in Reviews on November 20th, 2020 by JJ Koczan

vessel of light last ride

The opening verse narrative of Vessel of Light‘s third long-player in as many years, Last Ride, begins with frontman Nathan Opposition (né Nathan Jochum, also of Ancient VVisdom) saying “For as long as I can remember, you’ve always been hard to forget…” and ends with “Now your body is mangled and your skull belongs to me.” This has been part and parcel for the Ohio/New Jersey-based outfit since they released their self-titled debut EP (review here) through Argonauta Records in 2017, and subsequently followed with the first album, Woodshed (review here), and second, Thy Serpent Rise (review here), in 2018 and 2019. Murder fantasy. Kidnapping, dismemberment, murder. Usually it’s implied if not explicitly stated that the victim is a woman and that the speaker in the lyrics feels as though they’ve been somehow done wrong, lied to, betrayed, etc.

It was an especially sexualized turn taken on Thy Serpent Rise, and in answering back to that, Last Ride (released through Nomad Eel Records) brings 10 tracks and 41 minutes of likewise death-obsessed fare, suitably brooding in mood and dark in a tone somewhere between straightforward heavy metal and doom. Last Ride is unquestionably the most realized version of Vessel of Light‘s sound they’ve yet offered. With founding parties Opposition and guitarist Dan Lorenzo (Hades) having introduced bassist Jimmy Schulman (HadesDan Lorenzo‘s solo band) and drummer Ron Lipnicki (ex-Overkill) last time around, Vessel of Light‘s complete-lineup incarnation benefits from both the familiarity of the players involved — none of the Jersey-based trio behind Opposition were strangers to each other before this grouping — and from the personality and playing styles of each. Instrumentally and in terms of production, the songs on Last Ride are varied in tempo and aggression while keeping in mind the overarching mood and progression of the record as a whole. Despite the geographic disparity, they come across as though written in a room with Opposition working out the lyrics as they went.

That in itself is a triumph for a band working with the full, oh-my-god-how-are-we-still-driving-across-this-state mass of Pennsylvania between them, but the real growth of Vessel of Light is in Opposition‘s performance here. In layered vocals that weave into and out of harmony, he recalls Dirt-era Alice in Chains in songs like “Torture King” and the side-B opener “Web of Death,” a speedier, swinging complement to Last Ride‘s nod of a leadoff title-track. Subtle shifts of arrangement in the verses of “There’s No Escape” and a burst of melody that accompanies the instrumental surge of “Voices of the Dead” feel worked on, harnessed over a period greater than the time since the last record came out, and demonstrate plainly the evolution of Vessel of Light beyond “project” and into “band.” Opposition comes across as a more patient and more dynamic vocalist, and his performance throughout turns horror-show depictions into sing-along-ready hooks.

The question is really how much one wants to sing along with these lyrics.

vessel of light

It is a testament to Vessel of Light‘s sense of craft just how little of a question it is when it comes to Last Ride. Their songwriting has grown progressively sharper as they’ve moved quickly between one batch of material and the next, mostly without a focus on live shows, but having done a few along the way, and whether it’s a roller like “Disappearing Pact” or the shout-laced closer “The Death of Innocence,” they balance atmosphere and rhythmic purpose fluidly across the record’s span. To wit, the lead-in the finale gets with “In the Silence,” which is inarguably the most spacious single piece the band has yet done; it feels like an experiment that worked. As Opposition spends much of side B periodically engaging growls and shouts — “Voices of the Dead,” “In the Silence,” “The Death of Innocence” — there’s little if any sacrifice of melody, and it comes across less like a crutch being leaned on than another tool in the singer’s malevolent arsenal being used to these bleak, unremittingly dark tales.

And I guess that’s what it ultimately comes down to with Vessel of Light. In construction and performance, they’ve done nothing but evolve, and Last Ride is the largest step forward they’ve taken in that regard. There is not a misplaced riff, an incoherent groove or a lost-seeming opportunity for melody in these songs. The band are in command of what they do, Lorenzo and Opposition come across as working together more deeply as songwriters than they yet have, and the full-lineup only brings more chances for dynamic in actually executing the material in the studio. They’ve grown in everything but the themes around which their songs are based.

A function of art, and particularly of good art, is to challenge convention, and in many instances that involves exploring the darker elements the human psyche, the more dangerous places one’s mind can go. I’m not saying Opposition is making an invalid artistic statement with his lyrics, but for an album that so much shows the band in question moving forward and challenging itself to offer a richer, more complex product to its listeners — especially, it should be noted, in the vocal department and Opposition‘s own performance — the monochromatic nature of death, death, murder, death, going from “Torture King” to “Carving Station” to “There’s No Escape” to “Web of Death,” and so on, feels almost stubborn in its refusal to branch into other ideas. Among genre fare in literature and pop culture, horror is singularly able to discomfort those who take it on, and there’s no doubt Vessel of Light are good at it at this point.

I’ll willingly confess to not being the world’s biggest horror fan or having an abiding fascination with murder, so there are questions I’m left with at the end that I don’t have easy answers for. With the point of view of the speaker in the lyrics as the perpetrator, where does the sense of the listener as complicit come in? Where’s the challenge other than in the sheer engagement with gruesome or otherwise objectionable notions? Is it really just about making the audience squirm? Perhaps, instead of overthinking it thusly, the way to go with Last Ride is just indeed to take the ride through the songs themselves and engage them for the evident progression they represent in the band’s approach on the whole. Last Ride is the best work Vessel of Light have done to-date. It is a firm statement of identity on the part of the band and an aesthetic dive into the grim, violent reaches of consciousness. There is nothing it seeks to accomplish that it does not accomplish.

Vessel of Light, Last Ride (2020)

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Vessel of Light Post Video for Last Ride Title-Track

Posted in Bootleg Theater on September 3rd, 2020 by JJ Koczan

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For a band of such singular focus thematically on murder, Vessel of Light have managed to stay pretty productive when it comes to songwriting. One might expect that at some point the sheer body count of frontman/lyricist Nathan Opposition (formerly of Ancient VVisdom) would get to the point where both basement and woodshed were full, but I suppose you figure these things out as they come up. I’m not here to condone or endorse killing or violence of any kind, but it’s hard not to respect the productivity on the part of Vessel of Light‘s founding duo of Opposition and guitarist Dan Lorenzo (Hades), who, despite being based respectively in Ohio and New Jersey, have managed to offer up three full-lengths since 2018, with the forthcoming Last Ride being the fourth due out next month through Nomad Eel Records.

Now with the stage-ready lineup of LorenzoOpposition, bassist Jimmy Schulman (Hades) and drummer Ron Lipnicki (fuggin’ Overkill, dude) — but alas, no stages — Vessel of Light operate as a full band for the second time across Last Ride, and building on late-2019’s phallocentric Thy Serpent Rise (review here), they sound like a more complete band. Opposition‘s vocals recall not only Black Sabbath but something of a gruffed-up Uncle Acid and the Deadbeats, and there’s a balance between heavy rock and metal inherent in the groove of the title-track that represents the four-piece’s sound well as they continue to find their space between the two.

Perhaps unsurprisingly — no, make that definitely unsurprisingly — the video for “Last Ride” takes a horror-themed approach, and yup, by “last,” they for sure mean last. Lyrics like, “Now your body is mangled/And your skull belongs to me,” don’t really leave any question as to what they’re talking about.

Album’s out in time for Halloween and more info follows the clip below.

Enjoy:

Vessel of Light, “Last Ride” official video

Cleveland’s Nathan Opposition and NJ’s Dan Lorenzo first jammed together in June of 2017. The duo released two albums for Italy’s Argonauta Records before adding former Overkill drummer Ron Lipnicki and former Hades bassist Jimmy Schulman for last years’ Thy Serpent Rise. Vessel of Light are set to release their 4th album Last Ride this October 30th on California’s Nomad Eel Records. Until then, the band gives us the video for the first single. Opposition came up with the concept. He said,” I’m a huge horror movie fan, so for me this calls upon a number of things. The faceless villain in the classic movie The Oblong Box with Vincent Price and Christopher Lee was definitely an inspiration. Calling upon the mysterious shadowy figures in horror movies like A Phantom of the Opera or the Invisible Man. I wanted to capture the fear in the shadows, fear of the dark, the things out of the corner of our eyes. I really like the concept of a faceless shadow figure, almost like in the urban legend of the Djinn, Slender Man or Hat Man, an evil entity or presence that peers into the soul and rips it to shreds.”

Jason Stewart who also edited the band’s last video, a cover of Black Sabbath’s Wasp stated, “For the Last Ride video, I tried to cut it like a police investigation show, but it’s very grungy and dirty as if I discovered all the raw footage in a dumpster behind a local police station. A lot of the lyrics are in the style of newspaper articles, random 911 calls, subtitles from an interrogation, and more. The one behind the whole story is this Shadow Man figure. It’s almost like a teaser for a made up show in the crime genre.”

Vessel of Light were playing an East Coast run in March and had planned a longer run in June including The Maryland Doom Fest before Coronavirus shut down the band’s plans.

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Review & Full Album Premiere: The Atomic Bitchwax, Scorpio

Posted in audiObelisk, Reviews on August 26th, 2020 by JJ Koczan

The Atomic Bitchwax Scorpio

[Click play above to stream The Atomic Bitchwax’s Scorpio in its entirety. It’s out Friday on Tee Pee Records.]

Some 21 years ago in 1999, New Jersey’s The Atomic Bitchwax made one of the most striking impressions on their self-titled debut album (discussed here) with “Hope You Die,” a song that takes its wishing-ill title and turns it into a call and response vocal hook and makes it mischievously fun. “I hope you hate this shit/I hope your clothes don’t fit,” etc. In 2020, “Hope You Die” leads off. It has been pushed to the forward position on Scorpio, which is the trio’s eighth album, issued like their debut through Tee Pee Records. Scorpio is a landmark by default for the band from Neptune, in that it finds them on the other side of their first record’s 20th year — no small feat for an underground act — and it marks the introduction of their third guitarist, Garrett Sweeny. Sweeny took up the position in early 2019 following the departure of Finn Ryan (also ex-Core) late in 2018, and the band — completed by drummer Bob Pantella and founding bassist/vocalist Chris Kosnik — proceeded onward with another following in a series of years with a busy touring schedule, then in support of 2017’s Force Field (review here).

Not to discount Ryan‘s work in The Atomic Bitchwax, as he brought shred worthy of filling founding guitarist Ed Mundell‘s rather sizable shoes and a melodic vocal that worked well in offsetting Kosnik‘s more shouted approach, could carry a song when asked to do so or follow the rhythm section on any number of whirlwind progressions, but his departure (somewhat surprisingly) hardly caused the group to lose a step. Kosnik, who joined Monster Magnet in 2013, and Pantella, who joined Monster Magnet in 2004, snagged Sweeny from that band’s lineup and The Atomic Bitchwax continued on. Scorpio, recorded this past January at Sound Spa in Edison, NJ, with Stephen DeAcutis, benefits markedly from the relative smoothness of that lineup transition and the chemistry the semi-revamped three-piece were able to build on the road last year, touring with Conan and Black Label Society, among others, and couples this with the well established penchant for speedy heavy rock songcraft that has been largely consistent in their work over the last two decades-plus. Momentum, then, is a key element to both the style and the substance of the band. Like their songs, they move forward.

“Hope You Die” serves as the blastoff and the longest track (immediate points) on Scorpio at 4:36, but it’s just one of the bunch when it comes to hooks. Sweeny and Kosnik share vocals, their styles similar in a manner that’s complementary, and throughout the 10-song/37-minute offering, the guitarist acquits himself well in terms of ripping into a barrage of solos and setting the course through Kosnik‘s winding style of riffs, tapping classic rock heroics and translating it into a methodology that’s long since become identifiable as The Atomic Bitchwax‘s own. They follow “Hope You Die” with the aptly-titled “Energy,” a cut that earlier incarnations of the tracklist had swapped with the here-penultimate “Betting Man” as a late surge, but that works no less well in answering the opener with another fervent shove — “Betting Man,” meanwhile, serves basically the same function where it is — and soon enough turns over to the first of three included instrumentals, “Ninja.”

the atomic bitchwax

As one might expect, it is a blurry whirlwind of punches and kicks, drawing on another time-tested aspect of the band’s overarching modus. They kill. In dizzying fashion. 2008’s TAB4 (review here) departed for more mid-paced fare on the whole, but since 2011’s instrumental, single-song LP, The Local Fuzz (review here) and through 2015’s Gravitron (review here) and Force Field, the band has been on a tear in terms of energy. The title-track of Scorpio, also one of its shortest pieces at 3:22, epitomizes this, and is all the more a fitting example for how memorable it is despite being shot from a cannon. The possibly self-referential stomper “Easy Action,” which presumably closes side A and brings a more restrained pace with Pantella marking time on the snare, seems to nod to “So Come On” from 2006’s Jack Endino-produced Boxriff EP (discussed here), and asks the question, “Do you want to live forever?” as if already knowing the answer is no. Tambourine behind the chorus and timed to the snare cleverly keeps the motion of Scorpio going while likewise speaking to the band’s periodic pop flirtations. Unsurprisingly, it works well.

A quick count-in and “Crash” is off; an instrumental lead-in for the second half of Scorpio that hearkens to the riff of the title-track and runs elsewhere with it, taking its own path to its careening stop ahead of “Super Sonic,” which stands just 3:14 but features some highlight bass work from Kosnik and a stripped-down feel compared to the three tracks prior. Perhaps that’s The Atomic Bitchwax introducing the album’s final movement in some way, or just throwing something different in on side B. Either way, it serves its purpose and shifts to “You Got It” with little fanfare, the latter with not only a return of tambourine, but handclaps as well. “You Got It” is quintessential Bitchwax and fits alongside “Scorpio” and “Easy Action” and the subsequent “Betting Man” as some of the strongest material they bring to the outing, but it’s a high standard across the board: the fuzzy riffing, the subtle vocal shifts, the sheer push of the thing.

This is what The Atomic Bitchwax make sound simple and no one else seems to be able to do in quite the same way. See also “Betting Man” and “Instant Death,” the closing duo that sums up Scorpio in suitably concise and direct fashion with one more hook and one last instrumental thrust. It would be hard for a band like The Atomic Bitchwax to be a completely unknown quantity eight records into their career, but part of what makes Scorpio so much their own is its reflection on what they’ve done before. In light of the advent of Sweeny on guitar and the inevitable change to the band’s personality as a result — swapping members in a power trio is never a simple matter — the band’s claim on who they are feels nothing if not purposeful, and at the core of Scorpio is Kosnik‘s songwriting, which is seemingly unshakable. All the better. They’re of course underserved by not being able to tour immediately to support the release, like so many others, but The Atomic Bitchwax nonetheless remain vital and kinetic.

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Friday Full-Length: Monster Magnet, Monolithic Baby!

Posted in Bootleg Theater on August 7th, 2020 by JJ Koczan

monster magnet monolithic baby

By the time Monster Magnet put out Monolithic Baby! in 2004, they were some six years removed from the commercial-radio triumph of 1998’s Powertrip. 2000’s God Says No had been their final outing through A&M Records as the label went belly-up, and as they signed to SPV — no small shakes, but not with a major imprint’s promotional power/resources — the landscape of music had also changed around them. File sharing at the turn of the century meant that music that was out there was in a sense tossed into a yet-untamed landscape of peer-to-peer traded mp3s. The entire industry would be remade by it, and in addition to rendering FM radio largely irrelevant (print media too, I’ll note as someone who spent a decade-plus writing for now-defunct publications), many of the has-all-the-cards capitalist excesses the music business indulged in the ’90s — CD singles, $18.99 discs at Sam Goody downstairs at the Rockaway Mall, etc. — were no longer a viable model. This, as well as the rise of hip-hop as a commercial mega-enterprise with the beginnings of a next-generation listenership, would seem to have left acts like Monster Magnet in uncharted, uncomfortable territory. What on earth was a heavy rock band who had made their name in the before-times to do?

Many fell right apart, and with good reason. Monster Magnet wrote yet another collection of killer songs. Monolithic Baby! is crisp, it is clear, and it is loaded with hooks that speak to the band’s radio-edit-ready viability no less than its 63-minute runtime (for the US version) speaks to the CD era in which it was released. One would call its first four tracks — “Slut Machine,” “Supercruel,” “On the Verge” and the made-a-video-with-boobs-in-it single “Unbroken (Hotel Baby)” — a striking initial salvo, and it is, but the fact of the matter is there’s no letup from there whatsoever. “Radiation Day,” which follows directly, is an absolute highlight, and the subsequent semi-title-track “Monolithic,” with founding frontman Dave Wyndorf‘s smart, reference-laced lyrics already positioned as a generational indictment, sounds like what AC/DC might’ve become if they’d gone to college. The rush of “The Right Stuff,” its insistent rhythm and blown-out vocal, comes from Hawkwind‘s Robert Calvert but thumps like dance music — and works, somehow — and the moody “There’s No Way Out of Here” is another cover, of the band Unicorn, and momentary departure ahead of the prototypical grandiose declarations of “Master of Light” — “I’m Jesus, I’m Satan, I’m anyone you want me to be,” etc. — and the ever-righteous, always-welcome lead guitar of Ed Mundell.

As the album starts its wind-down with “Too Bad,” a jangly riff hints at Wyndorf‘s affinity for ’60s psych without really going there — long gone were the days of 1995’s Dopes to Infinity (discussed here), 1993’s Superjudge (discussed here) and 1991’s landmark  Spine of God (discussed herereissue review here) — but provides a breather as then-drummer Michael Wildwood, who’d soon be replaced by Bob Pantella (Raging Slab, etc.), sat out ahead of the largesse harnessed in the seven-minute “Ultimate Everything.” A slower riff from Mundell and guitarist Phil Caivano, and the unmitigated swagger of Wyndorf‘s vocals over top, details of effects and layering bringing a welcome sense of weirdness and unpredictability to the proceedings as ever as the song builds to its and the album’s churning apex before capping with the mostly-instrumental “CNN War Theme,” an epilogue of sorts but a reminder now of the conflicts of that time, the US having “shocked and awed” Iraq in March 2003 and the oh-there’s-no-way-anything-could-ever-be-worse-than-this-post-9/11-ineptitude and feeding-Lockheed greed of the George W. Bush administration’s warmongering.

Simpler times.

A re-recording of “King of Mars,” aptly-titled “King of Mars 2004” revisits and adds percussion and spaciousness to that Dopes to Infinity track, and “Venus in Furs” by Velvet Underground wraps the US edition of Monolithic Baby!, which is one of the best of the many covers Monster Magnet have ever done, laced with mellotron as it is. The ability of the band at this point to be grounded in craft and so clear-headed in production while still tapping into these classic-but-outlying elements isn’t to be underappreciated. “Venus in Furs” sounds like it’s unearthing ancient secrets, and maybe that’s exactly what was happening, Wyndorf‘s middle-finger to the next generation backed by such arcane noisemaking. Maybe that’s reading too much into it. Oh well. That’s what I do. That’s why it’s fun.

Monolithic Baby! was also the point at which Monster Magnet welcomed bassist Jim Baglino (Lord Sterling) to the fold, and the final album the band would release before Wyndorf‘s much-publicized getting clean. The album that followed, 2007’s 4-Way Diablo, has been all but disavowed by the band — Wyndorf will tell you he wasn’t there when it was mixed, though I’ve always been a little unclear if he’s speaking literally or figuratively — and 2010’s Mastermind (review here), which would prove to be Mundell‘s last with the group. Massive in its production value, Mastermind took Monster Magnet to Napalm Records, where they’d remain through 2013’s return to their space-rock-roots Last Patrol (review here), 2014 and 2015’s Milking the Stars (review here) and Cobras and Fire (review here) — revisits of Last Patrol and Mastermind, the latter of which was a particular triumph — and 2018’s Mindfucker (review here), the last of which is their most recent offering.

Monolithic Baby! and Mindfucker have some commonalities in my head, and not just in that both their titles start with the letter ‘m.’ Both are rooted in Wyndorf‘s intricate songwriting — and hardly alone in the band’s catalog for that — but both would seem to hint at changes to come in the band’s sound. In the case of the earlier album, those involved matters both personal and of personnel, and as well as the kind of post-oblivion feel of 4-Way Diablo, the songs of which remain strong. I don’t know what Monster Magnet might do next — re-sign with Napalm? maybe embrace statesman-status on Nuclear Blast or Century Media? — but they were at the forefront of 2020’s pandemic reschedulings, pushing their Spring US tour themed around Powertrip to early next year which, now that we’re looking ahead to autumn, still seems ambitious.

Whatever outlet might get behind it, one hopes their studio exploration — mostly self-contained at this point with Wyndorf and Caivano, though the band is rounded out by bassist Chris Kosnik, guitarist Garrett Sweeny and the aforementioned Pantella on drums; the latter three doubling as The Atomic Bitchwax, whose new LP is out this month on Tee Pee — continues, no matter where it might lead. I’ll forever advocate for Wyndorf to get weirder, as Last Patrol and the two subsequent redux offerings did, but to be perfectly honest, I’ll take it as it comes, and as it isn’t generally what I reach for when I put on Monster Magnet, I was glad to have the excuse to revisit Monolithic Baby! and gain a newfound appreciation for its tracks.

I hope you experience the same. Thanks for reading.

Ups and downs this week. Days with The Pecan and Puppy Omi are hard. He hits her, she nips at him. Through the gate to the kitchen, he swats, she jumps. What a mess. I yelled at him hard on Tuesday I guess it was, held his face in my hands and made him look at me — I’ve been concerned about his eye contact since he was like three months old — and told him his behavior was unacceptable, and there followed an argument with The Patient Mrs. about my being too aggressive and shaming. I had counterpoints. They don’t really matter. She gave me a book recommendation, I started reading and continued to feel awful until I fell asleep.

They found a rehab facility for my father and at the hospital, where he’d been for a month. They were waiting for a negative COVID test to move him. The results didn’t come back in time, but they moved him anyway. They sent me some medicaid form to fill out. I’m not sure I have the legal authority to do that. So yeah. That’s still fun.

I’m also starting to hate this puppy. Strange to think of three weeks ago when I was ONLY trying to raise a toddler with speech issues in a global pandemic as being easy days, but having this dog has made everything more difficult. She whines. She barks. She pisses on the floor. She bites. And indeed, every time The Pecan gets within arm’s reach, he tries to smack her. I mean, I get it, but we can’t really have that in the long run. I don’t know how long we’re supposed to let the experiment go before calling it “nice shot” and moving on with our lives, but if it was today, that’d be fine. I have to take her to the vet in like 40 minutes. Maybe I can convince them to keep her.

Tonight is the Clutch Doom Saloon thing, which if I can get a pass I’ll review, otherwise might try to do the Dunbarrow one, but it’s kind of one or the other in terms of my available time to write. I have another premiere for Monday, so the day’s already good and full. Only so many hours and seemingly fewer all the time. I’ve been starting to transition back to waking up on either side of 4AM again — taking the dog out overnight has actually facilitated, since I was up — so that at least helped yesterday.

There’s other stuff next week. I can’t think clearly enough to remember what. Sorry. Probably more reviews slated than I’ll have energy to write. So it goes.

Alright. I gotta go. Great and safe weekend. Gimme show at 5 Eastern if you can listen. Thanks either way.

FRM.

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Vessel of Light Sign to Nomad Eel Records; Last Ride Due in Oct.

Posted in Whathaveyou on August 4th, 2020 by JJ Koczan

Working quick, and they know it. Vessel of Light issued their self-titled debut EP (review here) through Argonauta Records in 2017 and followed that in 2018 with their first full-length, Woodshed (review here). That album, in turn, was followed by 2019’s horror-trash metal-of-doom sleazefest Thy Serpent Rise (review here). Here we are: it’s 2020. The world isn’t ending but it kind of feels like it all the time, and Vessel of Light have still found room to be consistent, guitarist/songwriter Dan Lorenzo putting lockdown-era inspiration to work in what has resulted in Last Ride, the band’s new album, out this October through Nomad Eel Records.

The pickup makes Vessel of Light labelmates to the likes of Zig-Zags and Imaad Wasif, and if you’re thinking a band so thoroughly entrenched in murderous themes might be an odd fit for such an outlet, well, you’re right. These things happen. Sometimes a label has varied interests. Sometimes someone knows somebody. Sometimes something just works out. The record’s happening. Be glad with that.

October release will be fitting, and if you look closely at the cover art, you’ll see it’s ‘VOL Undertakers’ on that carriage. Cute touch.

Dig:

vessel of light last ride

California’s Nomad Eel Records signs VESSEL OF LIGHT

Three years ago Cleveland’s Nathan Opposition and NJ’s Dan Lorenzo recorded their debut EP for Italy’s Argonauta Records. Vessel of Light are now about to deliver their fourth record in less than three years. The first single is Last Ride which is also the name of the new release on California’s Nomad Eel Records. Opposition and Lorenzo had previously recorded the single/video Son of Man from their Woodshed album before adding former Hades bassist Jimmy Schulman and longtime Overkill drummer Ron Lipnicki.

Vessel Of Light were in the middle of playing shows in March when Covid hit. The silver lining? Instead of releasing Last Ride in 2021 the band will now drop their opus in the early fall.

“In both Hades and Non-Fiction we kind of fell apart after the second release”, said Lorenzo. “I’ve never released four albums in less than three years for multiple reasons — one being that I’ve never been this inspired before. I had music to about ten songs written before we did our run of shows in March, but I wrote another seven during the lock-down. I was incredibly happy how smooth Ron and Jimmy came into the picture on our last release (Thy Serpent Rise) and we’ve only grown since then. Nathan never ceases to amaze me vocally. He outdid himself on our first single Last Ride. It sounds like it should be a hit — now I know and you know it’s NOT going to be a hit song, but this is next level music. Not a typical uninspired band going through the motions.”

Album art by Danny Rome. Nomad Eel will release Last Ride on CD, vinyl and cassette in October.

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Vessel of Light, “Urge to Kill”

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