Freak Valley 2018: Candlemass, Steak, Wolf People, Mountain Dust & No Man’s Valley Join Lineup

Posted in Whathaveyou on March 26th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

freak valley 2018 banner

Time marches on and the lineup for Freak Valley 2018 only grows more substantial. I won’t take anything away from Wolf People (whose Ruins album currently sits in my Amazon cart awaiting purchase) or Steak or No Man’s Valley or Mountain Dust here, who’ve all joined the ranks, but the highlight here has to be the addition to doom legends Candlemass to the Freak Valley 2018 melange. If you haven’t seen them in the last few years, the Swedish innovators are absolutely dead-on on stage, and though it’s coming up on six years since they released their last full-length, they still do nothing but kill when it comes to delivering a set.

I wrote the announcement for them and everyone else that you’ll find below, as posted by Freak Valley on the social medias:

freak valley 2018 candlemass

Freaks, assemble!

Gather ‘round – it’s time for the next round of adds to our already-sold-out, already-massive 2018 incarnation of FREAK VALLEY FESTIVAL! It’s got legends with ancient dreams and upstarts with tales of red rains, but before we dive in, we’d like to personally thank each and every one of you for making Freak Valley 2018 a sell-out months in advance. It warms our freaky hearts to know you feel as passionately about this as we do, and we can’t wait to welcome everyone to Freak Valley 2018 on May 30!

Alright, enough mushy stuff. Time to welcome Candlemass, Wolf People, Steak, Mountain Dust, and No Man’s Valley to the lineup!

CANDLEMASS

Since Epicus Doomicus Metallicus, nobody has doomed quite like the Swedish legends in Candlemass. Bassist Leif Edling has spent decades conjuring riffs that have become classics, and from that first album in 1986 through the new EP House of Doom coming in May, they’ve never failed to deliver Sabbath-worthy vibes and a groove all their own. There’s only one Candlemass and we couldn’t be more stoked to have them as part of Freak Valley 2018!

WOLF PEOPLE

In 2016, UK psychedelic four-piece Wolf People released their third album, Ruins, and told a tale of an earth without people. The buzz and the spaciousness through which the band created these unpopulated soundscapes were gorgeous, and still somehow tied to a folkish pulse. They’re not to be missed when they take the Freak Valley stage, and if you think you know the reaches of psychedelia, think again.

STEAK

As meaty as their name, these UK riff aficionados have been dominating Britain and beyond for years now, and their welcome to Freak Valley can only be called overdue. Their second album, No God to Save, came out on Ripple Music last year and absolutely blew us away with in following up 2014’s desert homage Slab City, as Steak came more into their own and their groove became even more lethal.

MOUNTAIN DUST

With cuts like “Evil Deeds” and “Tale of the Red Rain,” Montreal’s Mountain Dust proffered organ-laced blues across their 2016 debut, Nine Years, and blew away listeners and critics alike with the force and soul of their delivery. They’ve got a new record in the works for this year and will hit Freak Valley as part of their first-ever European tour, so don’t miss on these up and comers while you’ve got the chance to catch them now!

NO MAN’S VALLEY

Few first albums hit us as hard as the heavy blues of No Man’s Valley’s Time Travel upon its release in 2016. Like The Flying Eyes and All Them Witches before them, the interplay of keys and guitar and tales of witches gave a classic atmosphere to the Netherlands outfit’s work, and their memorable songwriting only made even more of an impression. We’re keeping our fingers crossed they show off some new material!

Freak Valley Festival 2018 // No Fillers – Just Killers

Line-up 2018:
OM, Russian Circles, Candlemass, Karma To Burn, My Sleeping Karma, MY BABY, Mars Red Sky, SUMAC, LUCIFER, Wolf People, Yuri Gagarin, Dýse, The Freeks, SACRI MONTI, Steak, Black Bombaim, Year of the Cobra, Purple Hill Witch, Ouzo Bazooka, Ruff Majik, Toke, Humulus, KALEIDOBOLT, Rage of Samedi, Nap, No Man’s Valley, Mountain Dust

More tba soon

Have a freaky time – your Rock Freaks

www.freakvalley.de
https://www.facebook.com/freakvalley
https://www.facebook.com/events/738782742996668/
https://twitter.com/FreakValley

Candlemass, Live at Rock Hard Festival 2017

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No Man’s Valley Announce ‘Time Travel Tour 2017’

Posted in Whathaveyou on March 9th, 2017 by JJ Koczan

Here’s the thing about No Man’s Valley going on their Time Travel Tour: Yes, they’ll be traveling through time. We all are, forward, every day. That’s not the thing. The thing is that even as the Netherlands-based heavy psych rockers go supporting their 2016 Nasoni Records debut album, also called Time Travel (review here), they’ll be road-testing new songs as well. So they’re doing a bit of time travel that way too, at least on a conceptual level, as they look ahead to their second LP.

Presumably they’ll get to recording later this year, once the rest of the tracks are, you know, written, and though it might be 2018 before the record shows up, that’ll only make it seem more futuristic when it does. Because, damn, 2018 sure sounds like the future to my old ass.

The band sent their tour dates down the PR wire with a general update, and you can find all that below. They’ve got an open day on May 5 and I think they were looking at Berlin for it. If you happen to be in that part of the world and can help them out, frickin’ do that.

Poster and whatnots:

no-mans-valley-tour-poster

No Man’s Valley – Time Travel Tour 2017

No Man’s Valley is proud to announce Time Travel Tour 2017! The band’s first genuine tour outside The Netherlands will take the band through Germany, Switzerland, and Austria and will involve over 4000 kilometers of head-spun road tripping. Aside from the festivals and headliner shows No Man’s Valley is also proud to be supporting US spacerock heroes Farflung in Dresden!

NMV will mostly play songs from their well-praised 2016 debut album Time Travel, as well as some brand new scorchers from the follow-up record that is being written at the moment…we’re psyched to finally get out there and meet as many of you beautiful people as we possibly can!!!

No Man’s Valley Time Travel Tour 2017:
Sa 29-04 Kulturherberge Westfeld DE
Su 30-04 Giesser Fest Leipzig DE
Mo 01-05 Groovestation Dresden DE w/ Farflung
Tu 02-05 Schwarze Erle Basel CH
We 03-05 Epplehaus Tubungen DE
Th 04-05 Derwisch Wien AT
Fr 05-05 TBA
Sa 06-05 Baron Mainz DE
Sa 27-05 See You Again Fesval Wipperfurth DE

www.nomansvalley.com
https://www.facebook.com/nomansvalley
https://twitter.com/nomansvalley
https://instagram.com/nomansvalley/
nomansvalley.bandcamp.com
https://www.facebook.com/nasonirecords/
nasoni-records.de

No Man’s Valley, Time Travel (2016)

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Quarterly Review: Hornss, Khemmis, Fox 45, Monolith Wielder, No Man’s Valley, Saturna, Spotlights, MØLK, Psychedelic Witchcraft, Moon Coven

Posted in Reviews on December 26th, 2016 by JJ Koczan

the obelisk winter quarterly review

2016 ends and 2017 starts off on the right foot with a brand new Quarterly Review roundup. The first time I ever did one of these was at the end of 2014 and I called the feature ‘Last Licks.’ Fortunately, I’ve moved on from that name, but that is kind of how I’m thinking about this particular Quarterly Review. You’ll find stuff that came out spread all across 2016, early, middle, late, but basically what I’m trying to do here is get to a point where it’s not March and I’m still reviewing albums from November. Will it work? Probably not, but in order to try my damnedest to make it do so anyway, I’m making this Quarterly Review six full days. Monday to Monday instead of Monday to Friday. 60 reviews in six posts. Sounds like madness because it is madness. Let’s get started.

Quarterly Review #1-10:

Hornss, Telepath

hornss telepath

San Francisco trio Hornss debuted on RidingEasy Records with 2014’s No Blood No Sympathy (review here) and further their raw genre blend on Telepath, their half-hour follow-up LP delivered via STB, melding heavy punk and metallic impulses to a noisy, thick-toned thrust on songs like “Atrophic” and the bouncing “Sargasso Heart” while opener “St. Genevieve” and the penultimate “Old Ghosts” dig into more stonerly nod. The latter track is the longest inclusion on the record at 3:26, and with 11 cuts there’s plenty of jumping between impulses to be done, but the trio of guitarist/vocalist Mike Moracha, bassist/vocalist Nick Nava – both formerly of desert punkers Solarfeast – and drummer Bil Bowman (ex-Zodiac Killers) work effectively and efficiently to cast an identity for themselves within the tumult. It’s one that finds them reveling in the absence of pretense and the sometimes-caustic vibes of songs like “Leaving Thermal,” which nonetheless boast an underlying catchiness, speaking to a progression from the first album.

Hornss on Thee Facebooks

STB Records store

 

Khemmis, Hunted

khemmis hunted

Easily justifiable decision on the part of Denver’s Khemmis to return to Flatline Audio and producer Dave Otero (Cephalic Carnage, etc.) for their second album, Hunted. No reason to fix what clearly wasn’t broken about their 2015 debut, Absolution (review here), and on the 20 Buck Spin Records release, they don’t. A year later, the four-piece instead build on the doomly grandeur of the first outing and push forward in aesthetic, confidence and purpose, whether that’s shown in mournful opener “Above the Water,” the darker “Candlelight” that follows, or the centerpiece “Three Gates,” which opens as muddied death metal before shifting into a cleaner chorus, creating a rare bridge between doom and modern metal. Khemmis save the most resonant crush for side B, however, with the nine-minute “Beyond the Door” capping with vicious stomp before the 13-minute title-track, which closes the album with an urgency that bleeds even into spacious and melodic break that sets up the final apex to come, as emotionally charged as it is pummeling.

Khemmis on Thee Facebooks

20 Buck Spin on Bandcamp

 

Fox 45, Ashes of Man

fox 45 ashes of man

In addition to the outright charm of titles like “Doominati,” “Coup d’étwat,” “Murdercycle” and “Urinal Acid” (the latter a bonus track), Rochester, New York’s Fox 45 offer fuzzy roll on their Twin Earth Records debut full-length, Ashes of Man, the three-piece of Amanda Rampe, Vicky Tee and Casey Learch finding space for themselves between the post-Acid King nod of “Necromancing the Stone” and more swing-prone movements like the relatively brief “Soul Gourmandizer.” Playing back and forth between longer and shorter tracks gives Ashes of Man a depth of character – particularly encouraging since it’s Fox 45’s first record – and the low-end push that leads “Phoenix Tongue” alone is worth the price of admission, let alone the familiar-in-the-right-ways straightforward heavy riffing of “Narcissister” a short while later. Very much a debut, but one that sets up a grunge-style songwriting foundation on which to build as they move forward, and Fox 45 seem to have an eye toward doing precisely that.

Fox 45 on Thee Facebooks

Twin Earth Records on Bandcamp

 

Monolith Wielder, Monolith Wielder

monolith wielder self titled

Double-guitar Pittsburgh four-piece Monolith Wielder make their self-titled debut through Italian imprint Argonauta Records, bringing together Molasses Barge guitarist Justin Gizzi and Zom guitarist/vocalist Gero von Dehn with bassist Ray Ward (since replaced by Amy Bianco) and drummer Ben Zerbe (also Mandrake Project) for 10 straightforward tracks that draw together classic Sabbathian doom with post-grunge heavy rock roll. There’s a workingman’s sensibility to the riffing of “No Hope No Fear” and the earlier, more ‘90s moodiness of “Angels Hide” – von Dehn’s vocals over the thick tones almost brings to mind Sevendust on that particularly catchy chorus – but Monolith Wielder’s Monolith Wielder isn’t shy about bringing atmospherics to the Iommic thrust of its eponymous cut or the penultimate “King Under Fire,” which recalls the self-titled Alice in Chains in its unfolding bleakness before closer “Electric Hessian” finishes with a slight uptick in pace and a fade out and back in (and a last sample) that hints at more to come.

Monolith Wielder on Thee Facebooks

Argonauta Records website

 

No Man’s Valley, Time Travel

no man's valley time travel

The stomp and clap intro “The Man Who Would be King” casts an immediately bluesy hue on No Man’s Valley’s debut album, Time Travel (LP release on Nasoni), and the Netherlands-based five-piece seem only too happy to build on that from there. It’s a blend outfits like The Flying Eyes and Suns of Thyme have proffered for several years now between heavy psychedelia and blues, but No Man’s Valley find a niche for themselves in the dreamy and patient execution of “Sinking the Lifeboat,” a highlight of the eight-track/33-minute LP, and bring due personality to the classic-style jangle-and-swing of “The Wolves are Coming” as well, so that Time Travel winds up more textured than redundant as it makes its way toward six-minute piano-laden finale “Goon.” Once there, they follow a linear course with a post-All Them Witches looseness that solidifies into a resonant and deeply engaging apex, underscoring the impressive reach No Man’s Valley have brought to bear across this first LP of hopefully many to come.

No Man’s Valley on Thee Facebooks

Nasoni Records website

 

Saturna, III/Lost in Time

saturna lost in time

Barcelona classic rocking four-piece Saturna seem to avoid the boogie trap when they want to, as on the more rolling, modern heavy groove of “Five Fools,” and that keeps their World in Sound/PRC Music third album, III/Lost in Time, from being too predictable after the opening “Tired to Fight” seems to set up Thin Lizzy idolatry. They dip into more complex fare on “Leave it All,” somewhere between Skynyrd leads, Deep Purple organ-isms topped with a rousing hook, but keep some shuffle on songs like “Disease” and the earlier “All Has Been Great.” Highlight/closer “Place for Our Soul” seems to be literal in its title, with a more subdued approach and harmonized vocal delivery, and listening to its more patient delivery one can’t help but wonder why that soul should be relegated to the end of the album instead of featured throughout, but the songwriting is solid and the delivery confident, so while familiar, there’s ultimately little to complain about with what III/Lost in Time offers.

Saturna on Thee Facebooks

World in Sound website

 

MØLK, Hate from the Bong

molk hate from the bong

Especially with the title of their second EP set as Hate from the Bong, one might be tempted to put Belgian outfit MØLK immediately in the same category of malevolent stoner/sludge metal as the likes of Bongripper, but frankly they sound like they’re having too much fun for that on the five-tracker, reveling in lyrical shenanigans on the politically suspect “Stonefish” and opener “Methamphetamine.” Make no mistake, they’re suitably druggy, but even Hate from the Bong’s title-track seems to keep its tongue in cheek as it unfolds its post-Electric Wizard echoes and tonal morass. That gives the five-piece an honest vibe – they’re a relatively new band, having released their first EP in 2016 as well; why shouldn’t they be having a good time? – to coincide with all that thickened low end and vocal reverb, and though they’re obviously growing, there isn’t much more I’d ask of them from a debut full-length, which is a task they sound ready to take on in these songs.

MØLK on Thee Facebooks

MØLK on Bandcamp

 

Psychedelic Witchcraft, The Vision

psychedelic witchcraft the vision

Italian cult rock outfit Psychedelic Witchcraft have proven somewhat difficult to keep up with over the last year-plus. As they’ve hooked up with Soulseller Records and reissued their Black Magic Man EP (review here), their full-length debut, The Vision, and already announced a follow-up compilation in 2017’s Magick Rites and Spells, the band consistently work to feature the vocals of Virginia Monti (also Dead Witches) amid semi-retro ‘70s-style boogie, as heard on the debut in cuts like “Witches Arise” and “Wicked Ways.” At nine tracks/34 minutes, however, The Vision is deceptively efficient, and though they’re unquestionably playing to style, Psychedelic Witchcraft find room to vary moods on “The Night” and the subdued strum of “The Only One Who Knows,” keeping some sonic diversity while staying largely on-theme lyrically. To call the album cohesive is underselling its purposefulness, but the question is how the band will build on the bluesy soulfulness of “Magic Hour Blues” now that they’ve set this progression in motion. Doesn’t seem like it will be all that long before we find out.

Psychedelic Witchcraft on Thee Facebooks

Soulseller Records website

 

Spotlights, Spiders EP

spotlights spiders

Following the heavy post-rock wash of their 2016 debut album, Tidals, Brooklynite two-piece Spotlights – bassist/guitarist/vocalist Sarah Quintero and guitarist/synthesis/vocalist Mario Quintero – return on the quick with a three-track EP, Spiders, and set themselves toward further sonic expansion. The centerpiece “She Spider” is a Mew cover, electronic beats back opener “A Box of Talking Heads V2” and the spacious closer “Joseph” is a track from Tidals remixed by former Isis drummer Aaron Harris. So, perhaps needless to say, they hit that “expansion” mark pretty head-on. The finale turns out to be the high point, more cinematic in its ambience, but still moving through with an underlying rhythm to the wash of what one might otherwise call drones before becoming more deeply post-Nine Inch Nails in its back half. How many of these elements might show up on Spotlights’ next record, I wouldn’t guess, but the band takes an important step by letting listeners know the potential is there, adding three wings onto their wheelhouse in three tracks, which is as efficient conceptually as it is sonically immersive.

Spotlights on Thee Facebooks

Spotlights on Bandcamp

 

Moon Coven, Moon Coven

moon coven self-titled

This self-titled second full-length from Malmö, Sweden-based Moon Coven begins with its longest track (immediate points) in “Storm” and works quickly to nail down a far-reaching meld between heavy psych and riffy density. Issued through the much-respected Transubstans Records, it’s a nine-track/50-minute push that can feel unipolar on an initial listen, but largely avoids that trap through tonal hypnosis and fluid shifts into and out of jams on cuts like “The Third Eye,” while centerpiece “Haramukh High” provides a solidified moment before the organ interlude “The Ice Temple” leads into the mega-roll of finisher “White Sun.” What seems to be a brooding sensibility from the artwork – a striking departure from their 2014 debut, Amanita Kingdom – is actually a far more colorful affair than it might at first appear, and well justifies the investment of repeat visits in the far-out nod of “Conspiracy” and the swirling “Winter,” which goes so far as to add melodic texture in the vocals and notably fuzzed guitar, doing much to bolster the proceedings and overarching groove.

Moon Coven on Thee Facebooks

Transubstans Records

 

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No Man’s Valley Post “Kill the Bees” Video

Posted in Bootleg Theater on June 14th, 2016 by JJ Koczan

no mans valley (Photo by Mitchell Giebels)

Dutch heavy psych-blues rockers No Man’s Valley will release their debut album, Time Travel, this summer on Nasoni Records. “Kill the Bees” is the second track on the record after intro “The Man Who Would be King,” and the LP version is a bit longer than that which appears with the band’s new video, but the clip still offers more than enough of a glimpse to give a sense of the atmosphere in which the band is working; a line of heavy blues not dissimilar from The Flying Eyes‘ classic swing and swagger, but of rapidly developing character on cuts like “Sinking the Lifeboat” and the appropriately-howling “The Wolves are Coming.” By the time they get around to the penultimate title-track and piano-laden closer “Goon,” No Man’s Valley have reached beyond where they started out, but they never quite let go of that core of liquefied blues rock that ties the songs together.

And in putting the emphasis on that, “Kill the Bees” starts out Time Travel with a catchy hook and easy swing. As to the bees themselves? Could be the blues, if the video is anything to go by. The prevailing vibe is melancholy but the song doesn’t lack movement by any means, and the clip seems to follow a kind of grueling creative process at work, winding up kind of manic visually but with resolution to that process ultimately. The song, smoothly edited, does likewise, so all the better.

You can find the video for “Kill the Bees” below, followed by the credits for its making.

Please enjoy:

No Man’s Valley, “Kill the Bees” official video

Recorded @ Sputnik Studio (Schoten, Belgium)
http://www.sputnikstudio.be/
Produced by Joes Brands

Mastered @ Spoor 14 (Boxtel, The Netherlands)
http://www.electricmastering.com/
Mastered by Wessel Oltheten

No Man’s Valley on Thee Facebooks

No Man’s Valley on Twitter

No Man’s Valley on YouTube

No Man’s Valley on Instagram

Nasoni Records

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No Man’s Valley Sign to Nasoni Records; Time Travel Due this Summer

Posted in Whathaveyou on March 17th, 2016 by JJ Koczan

no man's valley (Photo by Mitchell Giebels)

Netherlands-based heavy psych rockers No Man’s Valley have signed on with Nasoni Records for the Summer 2016 release of their debut album, Time Travel. A first glimpse of what’s on offer with the record is available now in a new teaser clip posted below, and in its quick 40 seconds you’ll find modern heavy blues à la The Flying Eyes and poised space prog in the Floydian tradition, all of which dogwhistles a psychedelic breadth to follow-up on the Horst-based five-piece’s prior EPs, 2012’s Mirror Image and 2014’s And Four Other Songs EPs and that same year’s The Wolves are Coming two-songer.

I know I’ve said this before, but there are few labels who carry the same kind of weight for me in terms of taste as does Nasoni. Generally speaking, a Nasoni Records logo is about all the endorsement I need to make me want to hear a given album, so when it comes to No Man’s Valley getting that endorsement, it’s even more impressive considering it’s their first album. Looking forward to it.

The official announcement, live dates and the aforementioned teaser follow here:

no mans valley time travel

Dutch Psychedelic organ-infused waveblues band No Man’s Valley signs with Nasoni Records!

We are proud to announce that we will release our debut album Time Travel through Berlin-based cult label Nasoni Records. We will do a limited edition (300x) vinyl album on clear vinyl. The record will be released in summer, an exact date is yet to be determined. So say tuned! In the meanwhile, consider yourself teased and if you feel like seeing us live, here are our upcoming dates:

28-5 Psy-Kamen Fest w/Dead Man’s Eyes (Kamen, DE)
3-6 Kult41 w/Dead Man’s Eyes (Bonn, DE)
25-6 Festival 5 Sprong (Maastricht, NL)
29- 6 Kinkystar w/Naxatras (Gent, BE)
2-7 PsyKA w/Naxatras (Karlsruhe, DE)
16-7 WesSummerBreeze w/Mantra Machine (Wessem, NL)

Jasper Hesselink: Vocals
Christian Keijsers: Guitar, Back. Vocals
Rob Perree: Bass, Back. Vocals
Ruud van den Munckhof: Organ, Piano, Back. Vocals
Dinand Claessens: Drums, Back. Vocals

http://www.nomansvalley.com
http://www.nasoni-records.com/
http://www.facebook.com/nomansvalley
https://twitter.com/nomansvalley
https://www.instagram.com/nomansvalley/
http://nomansvalley.bandcamp.com/

No Man’s Valley, Time Travel teaser video

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