Black Lung to Release Ancients March 8 on Ripple Music; Teaser Streaming Now

Posted in Whathaveyou on January 28th, 2019 by JJ Koczan

black lung

Not really a surprise. Baltimore’s Black Lung have been working hard at honing their craft since their 2014 self-titled debut, touring at home and abroad, and as they’ve already released through Noisolution, picking up a release from Ripple Music as well just kind of makes sense for where they’re at as a band. Ancients will be their third long-player behind 2016’s See the Enemy (review here) and though the three-piece fronted by guitarist/bassist/vocalist Dave Cavalier had a split with Germany’s Nap (review here) in 2017, this will mark the first offering from the band since guitarist Adam Bufano and drummer Elias Schutzman played their final show last year with The Flying Eyes at Freak Valley in Germany. Bottom line, if I was Ripple Music, I’d have signed them too. It was time.

They’re giving a quick sampling of what Ancients portends in a teaser clip that you can see below, courtesy of the PR wire:

black lung ancients

Maryland Doom Trio BLACK LUNG (feat. ex-FLYING EYES members) to release ANCIENTS on RIPPLE MUSIC

Ancients is released on 8th March 2019 on Ripple Music (North America, Asia and Australia) and 22nd March on Noisolution (UK and Europe)

Black Lung emerged from a brutal Baltimore winter back in 2014, and from that emergence they arose victorious, wielding a trademark Maryland Doom-influenced balance of melody and power. With that vital underpinning, Adam Bufano and Elias Schutzman (founding members of The Flying Eyes), along with multi-instrumentalist Dave Cavalier, crafted a sound heavy on volume that pushed hard into experimental territory. In lieu of a bass guitarist, the three opted for an unusual setup with a sonic palette defined by a multitude of amps, drop-tuning and copious effects.

Named Best New Band by the Baltimore City Paper in 2015 with the release of their self-titled debut, Black Lung embarked on their first European tour that same year, taking in a performance at the Rockpalast Crossroads Festival on German national television. Subsequent European tours followed shortly after as the trio hit festivals such as Freak Valley and DesertFest Belgium, playing alongside the likes of Graveyard, Dead Meadow and All Them Witches. Upon returning to the US the band bed themselves back into the studio to record their follow-up album, 2016’s See The Enemy, with J. Robbins, guitarist and frontman for post-punk icons Jawbox, and producer of albums by noted bands such as The Sword and Clutch.

After several years writing songs while touring the world and back again, Black Lung return this March to release their most ambitious work yet. Produced by Frank “The Punisher” Marchand (producer of The Obsessed’s Sacred), new album Ancients is without question, a force to be reckoned with.

“The title is a reference to the ancient powers of the natural world, as seen in the album artwork and the lyrics of a song like ‘Badlands’. We embrace and pay homage to these forces while also rejecting the antiquated ideals of an old, white, conservative part of society that wants to drag us back into the past and away from the progressive values we believe in. We were searching for a sound that captured the clarity of the instruments and voice, without losing any of the heaviness that is Black Lung, and Frank really helped us achieve it. “

Ancients is released on 8th March 2019 on Ripple Music (North America, Asia and Australia) and 22nd March on Noisolution (UK and Europe)

Pre-order the album HERE: https://www.ripple-music.com/

Tracklisting:
1. Mother of the Sun
2. Ancients
3. The Seeker
4. Voices
5. Gone
6. Badlands
7. Vultures
8. Dead Man Blues

BLACK LUNG:
Adam Bufano – Guitar
Dave Cavalier – Vocals, Guitar, Bass
Elias Schutzman – Drums

https://www.facebook.com/blacklungbaltimore
https://blacklungbaltimore.bandcamp.com/
https://www.facebook.com/theripplemusic/
https://twitter.com/RippleMusic
https://ripplemusic.bandcamp.com/
http://www.ripple-music.com/
https://www.facebook.com/noisolution/
http://www.noisolution.de/

Black Lung, Ancients teaser clip

Black Lung, “Strange Seeds”

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Quarterly Review: Rotor, Electric Octopus, Randall Dunn, Graven, Near Dusk, Svuco, Stonus, Acolytes of Moros, Lime Eyelid, Tombtoker

Posted in Reviews on December 13th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

quarterly-review

I’ve been doing this for a while, the whole Quarterly Review thing. Not just talking about the last two weeks — though that also feels like a while to be doing it — but over the last few years. And in so doing I have a couple running gags kind of with myself. One obvious one is the “(immediate points)” for bands who put their longest song first on their album. There is no point system. There will be no tally at the end. I don’t grade records. It’s just a way of noting a decision I almost always find to be particularly bold.

Another is the use of “penultimate.” I don’t even know how this happened, but I use that word all the time in these reviews, way, way more than I might in day-to-day life. Somehow I’m always talking about the second-to-last song. Keep an eye out today, I’m sure it’ll be in there.

Indeed, I bring it up because today is the penultimate day of this extended Quarterly Review. We’ll finish out with the last 10 records tomorrow, and no doubt by the end of it I’ll be doling out more “(immediate points)” and talking about the “apex of the penultimate cut” or whatever else it is I do. Hard not to repeat yourself when you’re writing about 100 records. Or, you know, one.

Quarterly Review #81-90:

Rotor, Sechs

rotor sechs

Long-running Berlin instrumentalists Rotor issue Sechs, their aptly-titled sixth album, as their second for Noisolution after 2015’s Fünf (review here), and in so doing blend the best impulses from where they started with where they’ve ended up. Fünf, not without its moments of heavy psych drift, was a deeply progressive album, and Sechs is likewise, but it also brings in a more natural, warmer production sound like some of their earlier material, so that songs like “Vor der Hern” or “Allmacht” come across as nuanced but welcoming all the same. “Allmacht” is a highlight for its classic prog elements, but that’s not to discount the centerpiece “Abfahrt!,” with its raucous second half or the nine-minute penultimate cut “Druckverband,” which finds Rotor pushing themselves to new heights some 20 years on from their beginnings. Or anything else, for that matter, because it’s all brilliant. And that, basically, is how you know you’re listening to Rotor.

Rotor on Thee Facebooks

Noisolution website

 

Electric Octopus, Line Standing

electric octopus line standing

Next-level naturalism from Belfast trio Electric Octopus means that not only does the digital-only-otherwise-it’d-be-a-box-set Line Standing top four and a half hours, but those four and a half hours bring the listener into the studio with the band — guitarist Tyrell Black, bassist/keyboardist Dale Hughes and drummer Guy Hetherington — as they talk between jams, goof around and discuss what they just played in quick interludes. Complementing cuts like 35-minute opener “Iliudi,” the 38-minute “Line Standing 23336,” the 24-minute “Room Move” and the three-minute funk-reggae vibe of “Inspired by a Chicken,” the chatter gives Line Standing an even more organic vibe not by trying to capture a live feel, like what they’d do on stage — they have plenty of live albums for that — but by bringing the listener into the studio while they pick up their instruments and improvise their way through whatever it is that’s coming next, which is something that everyone seems to find out together. It’s not always smooth, but neither should it be. This is pure sonic exploration — and not a little of it.

Electric Octopus on Thee Facebooks

Electric Octopus on Bandcamp

 

Randall Dunn, Beloved

randall dunn beloved

Randall Dunn, through his production work, collaborations with Sunn O))), founding Master Musicians of Bukkake, etc., is no stranger to experimentalism, and his first solo album, Beloved (on Figureight), finds him evoking cinematic landscapes one at a time in ambient tracks that range from minimalist to consuming by sheer will. His range as a composer means that “Mexico City” shimmers with a near-overwhelming post-Vangelis splendor while “Lava Rock and Amber” is barren enough to make each strike of the piano keys feel like a lifeline before the synth horror takes hold near the end. Dunn brings in several guest vocalists for spots on “Something About that Night” and closer “A True Home,” but there’s hardly a lack of human presence throughout the material anyway, as the nine-minute centerpiece “Theoria : Aleph” resonates with the creative drive that made it. Not by any means a record that’s going to be for everyone, Beloved casts a sound that’s impeccably broad.

Randall Dunn on Thee Facebooks

Figureight on Bandcamp

 

Graven, Heirs of Discord

Graven Heirs of Discord

Heirs of Discord, indeed. With guitarist/vocalist Peter Maturi and drummer Chris Csar from the much-missed Swarm of the Lotus and bassist Teddy Patterson of Burnt by the Sun and Human Remains in the up-and-down-the-Eastern-Seaboard lineup with vocalist Jason Borowy, there’s no shortage of discord to go around. Deathly extremity and a pervasive grinding sensibility is conveyed with tones that absolutely crush and a groove that, while not shy with the blastbeats on “I Dreamt You Were Dead” — or the bonus track Human Remains cover “Human,” for that matter — is no less comfortable locked in the nod of the nine-minute “Thieves of Rotted Ilk.” It reportedly took Graven over a year to make the six-song/28-minute LP at various studios (including one two towns over from where I grew up in my beloved Garden State), and one only hopes the no-doubt daunting nature of that task doesn’t dissuade Graven from a follow-up, because whether it’s the angular starts and stops of “Backwards to Oblivion” or the initial assault of “A Failed Mask,” they bring a stylistic nuance to extreme metal that goes beyond the often dry showcase of technical prowess the style can sometimes be. However long it might take to put together, a sophomore outing feels well justified.

Graven on Thee Facebooks

Graven on Bandcamp

 

Near Dusk, Near Dusk

Near Dusk Near Dusk

The cleverly-titled “Humboldt Pie” finds them dipping into bluesier fare with some psychedelic effect on guitarist Matthew Orloff‘s vocals, and “We are the Buffalo” has a distinct spaciousness, but the core of Denver trio Near Dusk‘s self-released, self-titled debut is in straightforward heavy rock, and Orloff, bassist Kellen McInerney and drummer Jon Orloff sound well schooled in the ways of following the riff. “That Bastard” chugs out behind a vocal echo and the six-minute opener and longest track (immediate points) “No More” introduces the steady factor that is McInerney‘s bass behind some initial guitar noodling that leads to the first of many rolling grooves to come on the seven-track/34-minute outing. The bass again gets to shine in the subsequent “Sweet Home,” setting up the final push for a moment before being joined by the drums and guitar, and the low-end tone is right on, though by the time they close out with “Furnace Creek,” all three of them seem to tease some jammier sensibilities. Near Dusk allow themselves room to develop their approach and perspective, but establish a strong root of songwriting to serve as their foundation as they move forward.

Near Dusk on Thee Facebooks

Near Dusk on Bandcamp

 

Svuco, El Gran Mito de SanSaru

svuco El Gran Mito de SanSaru

At least some of the material on Svuco‘s debut long-player, El Gran Mito de SanSaru, dates back a few years. The release includes what was the title-track of their 2015 Mizaru EP as well as the title-track of 2016’s Kikazaru, as well as a number of tracks that also featured on the Iwazaru EP shortly before the album actually arrived. Still, taken in this form and with these recordings, the Granada-based four-piece unfurl a varied 13-song full-length that’s crisp in its production and smoothly constructed to hit hard but with a sense of tonal presence that speaks to a heavy rock influence. That is, there might be a current of noise rock to the ’90s-style chug of “Llorarás,” but “Fuzzia” still has room for organ and acoustic guitar along with its central riff. Later cuts like “Nobogo,” the layered-vocals of “El Color del Sol,” and the almost-industrial pulsations (conveyed through organic instrumentation) of “El Dios del Nuevo Mundo” branch out, but there’s an underlying identity taking shape all the while.

Svuco on Thee Facebooks

Svuco on Bandcamp

 

Stonus, Lunar Eclipse

Stonus Lunar Eclipse

Welcoming in its tone and bordering on cosmic in its atmosphere, Lunar Eclipse is the second EP from Cyprus-based troupe Stonus, and for the sprawl of its eight-minute title-track alone, it showcases distinct potential on the part of the band. Intro and outro tracks help set up a flow, but as “Aspirin” and “Spiritual Realities” fuzz their way toward “Lunar Eclipse” itself, it’s hardly like Stonus need the help. The tempo of “Aspirin” tells the tale, taking desert rock to three-quarters speed for an extra laid back vibe, still pushed along by the drums, but chill, chill, chill as it goes. “Spiritual Realities” is a little more tripped out in its lumber, and its vocals are more forward in the mix, but once again, “Lunar Eclipse” is nothing but a joy to behold from front to back, and in large part it defines the short release that shares its name. They close out with the minute of experimentalism on “Euphoric Misery” and only make one hope they don’t lost those impulses by the time they get around to a full-length, because they’ll only help them further distinguish themselves.

Stonus on Thee Faceboks

Stonus on Bandcamp

 

Acolytes of Moros, The Wellspring

acolytes of moros the wellspring

Seven years on from playing their first show, Swedish doomers Acolytes of Moros present their first full-length, The Wellspring (CD on Nine Records), and if that might stand as an indication of their pacing overall, it would certainly apply to the album itself. Presented as four extended tracks with an interlude/instrumental near seven minutes dividing the two halves, it’s a rawly-produced take on doom-death traditionalism with an emphasis on the first part of that equation. Calling it “morose” feels too easy given the band’s moniker, but they’re nothing if not self-aware, and the miseries they portray in “Quotidian” and the 14-minute “A Yen to Relinquish and Evanesce” border on the dramatic without ever really tipping too far in that direction, coming through as much in the grueling riffs as in the vocal declarations and willfully repetitive rhythms. It’s a slog and it’s supposed to be, but Acolytes of Moros eschew the sometimes lush presentation of their genre in favor of a barebones take that loses none of its emotional impact for that.

Acolytes of Moros on Thee Facebooks

Nine Records website

 

Lime Eyelid, Week of Wonders

lime eyelid week of wonders

As regards recording narratives, it’s hard to beat the image of Traveling Circle drummer Josh Schultz recording Lime Eyelid‘s debut album, Week of Wonders (as in, The Wonder Weeks?), alone in his kitchen. The resulting limited LP is comprised mostly of numbered instrumental experiments in drone and languid groove, save for “I Saw Waves,” which brings to mind some of Six Organs of Admittance‘s far-out earlier fare, but psychedelia holds a prominent sway and if you ever want a lesson in doing something new with familiar elements, look no further than the watery guitar line of “1” or “3,” with its Earth groove gone processional. The 12-minute soundscape of “4” follows as Schultz moves deeper into the realms of cosmic minimalism — that big, mostly empty, galaxy — but “5” somehow sounds even more piped in from outer space, and closer “6” rounds out with swells of high-pitched volume that seem to be speaking their own language in tone. Pretty vast reaches for a record to hit, having been recorded in the kitchen. One awaits further adventures in the follow-up.

Lime Eyelid on Soundcloud

Lime Eyelid on YouTube

 

Tombtoker, Coffin Texts

tombtoker coffin texts

I don’t know if the band’s moniker refers to one who actually tokes tombs or who tokes in tombs, but neither would surprise me. The Baltimorean five-piece Tombtoker unveil their 20-minute debut EP, Coffin Texts (on Seeing Red, tapes through Metal Swarm), with a melding of doom, sludge and metallic extremity that is righteous in its riffs and malevolent in its purposes. That is to say, they mean harm. “Warfare Revolution” and “Robo Cujo” demonstrate that plainly ahead of the centerpiece “Stenchsquatch” with its oh-you’re-gonna-have-to-play-that-at-all-the-shows lurching midsection of death, while the subsequent “Blood Freak” taps Eyehategoddy swing and closer/shortest track “Globster” (3:21) bludgeons its own riffs before a bit of Slayer-style ping ride late adds even more of that metal-for-metal feel. I’d call it promising, but maybe “foreboding” is a better word. Whether they’re smoking your corpse or just smoking near your corpse, Tombtoker bring a welcome sense of chaos to extreme sludge that hearkens to the genre’s original, unhinged appeal.

Tombtoker on Thee Facebooks

Seeing Red Records on Bandcamp

Metal Swarm website

 

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Samavayo Premiere Video for “Sirens”; Vatan out Friday

Posted in Bootleg Theater on November 19th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

samavayo

Comprised of seven tracks running 45 minutes, Samavayo‘s sixth album, Vatan (out this week on Noisolution), proves an immediately intricate affair. The previously unveiled “Prevarication Nation” is the opener and one of only two songs to top seven minutes long, with the other being the title-track that directly follows. The effect of these two pieces on the rest of the listening experience isn’t to be understated. Based in Berlin with Persian roots — the album’s title translates to “homeland,” and indeed the title-track’s lyrics are in Persian — Samavayo have previously explored textures of psychedelia and heavy rock, and those elements aren’t absent from Vatan either, but a socially and politically conscious mindset in songs like “Sirens,” “The Hate of Thousands,” “Prevarication Nation,” “Marionette” and “Children of Kobane” comes accompanied by a tightening of the trio’s performance and a sonic cohesion around progressive metal elements. A Tool influence is notable from the outset, but doesn’t necessarily define the whole work, as the rolling riff in the apex of “Vatan” itself, or the rampant hookmaking in “Time to Die” or the the jammy drift in the midsection of “The Hate of Thousands,” which also serves as the centerpiece. The very heart of the record, then.

And like the rest of Vatan as a whole, that placement doesn’t seem to be a coincidence. Nor should it be for a band six albums deep into their career, but Samavayo‘s execution across these tracks is all the more pointed than it has been in the past, and that’s shown even in the shortest of the inclusions, “Sirens.” Following the record’s initial salvo, “Sirens” is the only song under five minutes long at 4:41, and brings an intensity in its percussion and overarching rhythmic thrust that readily distinguishes it among the samavayo vatanother material as well as from Samavayo‘s 2016 offering, Dakota (review here). Like “Children of Kobane” and “Prevarication Nation” and much of what surrounds, it retains a memorable chorus in addition to showcasing the drums, but it’s grim, and the sirens in question seem as much to be tortured human voices in frontman Behrang Alavi‘s Middle Eastern native region as those of the personnel presumably responding to them. Such is the plight of the emigrant: removed from the capital-‘h’ Homeland but still tied to it emotionally and existentially.

Vatan is all the more poignant for this human edge brought to its point of view, and as the three-piece of Alavi, bassist/backing vocalist Andreas Voland and drummer/backing vocalist Stephan Voland embark on this ambitious outing, it’s also worth noting that it rocks. That seems almost silly to say, but it’s true nonetheless, and it’s not necessarily a given that an album with such a weight of message would present that without a sacrifice of songcraft or performance. Samavayo, whose creative evolution is writ large throughout their catalog, have never sounded sharper than they do here, and rather than give up the raw impact the material might otherwise make in the name of making a political statement, or at least examining the world as it exists around them, Samavayo bring all of this into the fold of the songs and continue to serve the best interests of the material first, whether it’s a quick turn from one part to another, a melodic impression in a quieter moment like that in the playfully rhythmic “Marionette,” or a more frenzied burst as in “Time to Die.” It can be a difficult balance for a band to strike between the one and the other. Samavayo make it sound as natural as any other form of expression by coming from a place as emotional as it is cognitive or critical.

They’ve just wrapped a tour heralding the release alongside Greenleaf — that run has been mentioned around here a few times, so pardon the redundancy — and no doubt other show plans will surface soon for next year. In the meantime, they’ve unveiled a video for “Sirens” that you can see below. I’ve tagged it as a premiere(-ish) hosting because as I understand it was revealed on a German site or two last week. Either way, I’m happy to showcase it here as well.

And, as always, I hope you enjoy:

Samavayo, “Sirens” official video premiere(-ish)

Sirens is the first official video of the upcoming (Nov 23rd 2018) album Vatan from the German heavy progressive stoner rock band Samavayo.

Samavayo on Thee Facebooks

Samavayo website

Samavayo on YouTube

Samavayo on Twitter

Noisolution webstore

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Samavayo Premiere “Prevarication Nation”; Vatan out Nov. 23

Posted in audiObelisk, Whathaveyou on October 5th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

samavayo

The title of Samavayo‘s new LP, Vatan — out Nov. 23 as their first outing for Noisolution — translates from Persian to ‘homeland,’ and that is indicative very much of the some of the lyrical thematic from which the full-length works. More even than the Berlin-based trio’s 2016 LP, Dakota (review here), it is an album of unabashed sociopolitical perspective, and that is perhaps most summarized in the lyrics for the leadoff single premiering below, which is titled “Prevarication Nation.” Once you listen, there is little mystery whom and what it is about. Names aren’t named, but they’re not exactly shooting for subtlety.

Its sound is also something of a forward step for Samavayo, as well perhaps as a sideways one in terms of style. With a more progressive-metal bent than Dakota or their prior work, “Prevarication Nation” would not necessarily seem to speak for the entire collection in terms of aesthetic — not saying I got to hear early versions of the recordings as they were in progress or anything, but, well… — but it’s a standout in presence either way, marked by a distinct Tool influence that frontman/guitarist Behrang Alavi stands up to in his vocal approach as well. As to what the rest of Vatan might hold, November isn’t that far off — did you know it’s October? was news to me — and I have a decent feeling they’ll leak out more audio before the album actually arrives.

Until then, I’m of course thrilled to host the premiere of “Prevarication Nation” as well as the unveiling of the album art. Samavayo will mark the coming of the new release by touring with Sweden’s Greenleaf immediately prior, though as they note, they’ll have copies with them on the road for the merch table. I know I always like getting a record early.

Announcement comes from the label. Have at it:

samavayo vatan

“Prevarication Nation” is the first Track of the new SAMAVAYO album “Vatan” (nov.23rd 2018) and “Vatan” the first SAMAVAYO release on Noisolution. Be the first to buy it in our shop in November:
www.noisolution.de/shop

2018’s “Vatan” marks a new chapter and opens a new door for longtime SAMAVAYO fans and new admirers alike. Contemporary, fresh and progressive – but never missing that crunching heaviness they’re so well known for. At the same time lyrically deeper and more political than before. Beware, this band has got something to say – and it’s gonna get loud!

“Vatan” is a courageous next step: Heavy Stonerrock drawing influences from Progressive- and Alternative-Rock as well as Metal, all packed into more complex songs and structures than ever before. One of its highlights certainly being the title song with its Persian lyrics derived from a poem by Iranian author Simin Behbahani dealing with the concept of “home” and “homeland”, all topped off with a distinct oriental sound. The first single “Prevarication Nation” shows a different side of the band: the track is a complex ProgMetal-monster – psychedelic, heavy and tricky to the detail. “Sirens” on the other hand shows just as much of that progressive influence, weaving almost tribal-sounding rhythms into the mix while successfully paying tribute to the Godfather of Metal and Prince of Darkness – without sounding like yet another Sabbath-clone.

SAMAVAYO reinvented themselves without sacrificing their strengths. Lyrically deeper and more profound, touching very present political matters. Not only “Children Of Kobane” gives us a glimpse of the band’s as well as frontman Behrang Alavi’s political interest and dedication. An exciting new chapter for this institution of a band – and no doubt another proof why SAMAVAYO well deserves being called one of the cornerstones in their genre.

Samavayo live with Greenleaf:
09.11.18 FRI DE Berlin Musik & Frieden
10.11.18 SAT DE Stuttgart Keller Klub
11.11.18 SUN A Wien Viper Room Vienna
12.11.18 MON DE München Feierwerk
13.11.18 TUE CH Olten Coq d’Or
14.11.18 WED DE Cologne Helios37
15.11.18 THU UK London The Underworld Camden
16.11.18 FRI FRA Paris GLAZART (early show)
17.11.18 SAT DE TBA

https://www.facebook.com/samavayo/
https://www.samavayo.com/
https://www.youtube.com/user/samavayo
https://twitter.com/samavayo
www.noisolution.de/shop

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Farflung Announce European Tour Dates Next Month; This Capsule out Friday

Posted in Whathaveyou on September 12th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

farflung

This week, Los Angeles space rockers Farflung release their latest full-length excursion into the cosmos, the it’s-not-even-out-yet-and-already-it’s-underrated This Capsule, which is their first in a new union with German imprint Noisolution. The long-running purveyors of mood-altering psychedelia will embark on a European tour to support the record starting Oct. 6 at Up in Smoke in Switzerland on their way to stops at Heads up Festival in Berlin and Keep it Low in Munich, which recently announced them as the final addition to their 2018 lineup. It’s been a while since the last time I saw Farflung, admittedly, but their space rock is always on point in being way, way, way far out, and if you’re thinking maybe you’d like a sample of what This Capsule holds in store, the song “Flesh for a Moonless Star” is streaming now at the bottom of this post.

PR wire info follows:

farflung euro tour

Farflung European Tour 2018

Twenty years and no end in sight

FARFLUNG are like a shimmering space-rock capsule shot dead from their very own soundspace: an institution from the Californian city of angels. A space rock monster that absorbs you simply and mercilessly.
The band comes back with a new album and does what they do best: for over twenty years their hypnotic riffs and spacey sounds burn into the soulful smiling heads of their listeners. An abduction into space, just on a plate.

They have been lifted into the Olympus of the psychedelic underground scene and among their fans and friends are bands like Helios Creed, Henry Rollins and Voivod. They have collaborated with numerous musicians, including Nik Turner (Hawkwind), Damo (Can) and Dave Catching (Eagles Of Death Metal, Queens Of The Stone Age).

Their music has already made it into film and television, including as a musical accompaniment to the series “The Following” with Kevin Bacon and one was allowed to share with many great bands and artists already the stage (including Melvins, Silver Apple, Gong, Nebula, Hawkwind, Brian Jonestown Massacre, Sonic Boom, Acid King, Fu Manchu)

Dear cadets, it’s about time to tie up the suit and polish the dome helmet: It’s time for a new trip into the wide universe.

The capsule is ready and we are preparing to enter earth’s orbit….

FARFLUNG European tour:
06/10 Prattein, CH – Z7 Festival
08/10 Cologne, DE – Sonic Ballroom
09/10 Münster, DE – Rare Guitar
11/10 Frankfurt, DE – DKK
12/10 Berlin, DE – Cassiopeia & Zukunft am Ostkreuz – Headz Up Festival
13/10 Ebensee, AT – Kino
14/10 Salzburg, AT – Rockhouse Bar
16/10 Vienna, AT – Viper Room
17/10 llirska Bistrika – SI Mk07
18/10 Ljubljana, SI – Channel Zero
19/10 Munich, DE – Feierwerk – Keep it Low Festival
20/10 Bologna, IT – Freakout Club
21/10 Milano, IT – Spazio Ligera

https://www.facebook.com/Farflung-official-Site-210883438782/
https://farflung.bandcamp.com/
http://farflungmusic.blogspot.com/
https://www.facebook.com/noisolution
https://www.instagram.com/noisolution/
https://www.noisolution.de/

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VUG Premiere “Prophecy” from Self-Titled Debut out April 13

Posted in audiObelisk, Reviews on March 30th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

VUG

Berlin-based rock classicists VUG will make their self-titled debut via Noisolution April 13. The band — who take their name from the second cut on Atomic Rooster‘s Death Walks Behind You — haven been in operation for the better part of three years and bask in the kind of modernized boogie one finds in the likes of Heat or even some of Samsara Blues Experiment’s more straightforward moments, though the sway of centerpiece “Awaken” is all early-Witchraft-via-Hendrix, guitarist Felix Scholl easily donning the cadence of the latter where earlier on in the record, on, say, the 7:07 opener and longest track (immediate points) “Lose,” his style took on a gruffer blues affect as he, guitarist Max Raine, bassist Philip Hennermann and drummer Nick DiSalvo (also guitar/vocals in Elder), careen through Graveyard-esque melancholy and energy swells, very much led by the two guitars.

This is the central methodology behind VUG‘s VUG: to craft spirited, energetic, dynamic and flowing heavy blues boogie. Rich in tone but not quite vintage in production, songs like “Garden” and the closing “VUG” offer rhythmic sway while keeping a proto-metallic feel to the riffing — the latter also has background singers, so there’s that — and the stomping forward push that emerges from the quiet opening of “Poseidon” isn’t to be discounted. Could very well be a burgeoning sense of stylistic range, but VUG do wellvug vug to make the sound their own, Hennermann and DiSalvo holding together turns from NWOBHM-style strut in “Poseidon” to more open heavy rock groove to a quiet cymbal wash finish. The penultimate, three-minute, not-a-cover “White Room” is something of a curio, tapping into Stubb-style nod and smashing it head-on into dual-guitar gallop and wah-covered swirl by the time the shortest cut crashes to its end.

Compare that to the patient fluidity of “Lose” or “Prophecy,” which also just barely tops seven minutes, and a genuine sense of dynamics and creative range begins to emerge, though of course when it comes to “Prophecy,” the track is something of a summary of the self-titled’s multiple sides in itself, between the deft turns in tempo and rhythm, build toward an apex and multifaceted thrust. On the first couple listens, it can seem like VUG simply have two different methods of working — one for longer songs, one for shorter — but digging deeper reveals variety between “Awaken” and the mellower linearity of “Garden,” between the motor-readiness of “Poseidon” and the jazzy intricacy of the quiet stretches in “VUG.” Thus the 34 minutes of VUG are executed with deceptive nuance, but whether one wants to dissect or bop along, the record seems to welcome whatever level of engagement its audience might want to bring to it. That is, it works either way you want to go.

They’re not genreless, but their pursuits are clearly geared toward individuality, and in company with the more familiar aspects of their blues rock, the instrumental nuance they bring to the table speaks of future progression and overarching potential as songwriters. Where they’ll end up? Hell if I know, but their debut is striking in its clarity of mission and cohesive, vibrant execution. I’d ask nothing more of it than it delivers.

With my thanks to Noisolution and VUG, I’ve been given permission to host the premiere of “Prophecy” for your streaming pleasure. You’ll find it on the player below, followed by more info from the PR wire.

Please enjoy:

Gathering in Neukölln, Berlin in 2015, VUG quickly developed a heavy yet melodic rock sound that would feel just as at home in the Scandinavian rock capital of Gothenburg. Formed by longtime friends Max Raine (guitar), Philip Hennermann (bass) and Felix Scholl (guitar, vocals) and eventually finalized by Nick DiSalvo (drums) the band already had a diverse history of DIY punk, stoner rock and doom in the members’ collective past. However, the goal here was always simple and timeless: making loud music, having a good time and not giving a shit about labels.

In the last weeks of 2016 VUG entered Mesanic Music studio in Kreuzberg to record their eponymous debut album. Tracking entirely live in two days in winter, the band finished a record that sounded raw and energetic, a snapshot of a live show. The self-titled record was mixed by Max Körich in Berlin and mastered by Carl Saff in Chicago.

VUG will be released on vinyl, CD and digitally by Noisolution on April 13th, 2018.

VUG website

VUG on Thee Facebooks

VUG on Instagram

Noisolution website

Noisolution on Thee Facebooks

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Quarterly Review: Primitive Man, Black Lung & Nap, Zone Six, Spectral Haze, Cosmic Fall, Epitaph, Disastroid, Mastiff, Demons from the Dungeon Dimension, Liblikas

Posted in Reviews on October 2nd, 2017 by JJ Koczan

the obelisk quarterly review

The final round of the Fall 2017 Quarterly Review starts now. 60 reviews done. I think if this particular QR session proves anything it’s that come hell or high water, once it’s set, there’s no stopping this train. Not to toot my own horn or anything, but the site was down for half of last week and we’re still getting to 60 reviews from Monday to Monday. That’s not not impressive from where I sit, especially since I spent that downtime going out of my mind trying to get things up and running again while also trying to write posts that I didn’t even know if they were going to happen. But they happened — thanks again, Slevin and Behrang — and here we are. All is well and we can get back to normal hopefully for the rest of this week. Thanks for reading any of this if you did. Let’s get to it.

Quarterly Review #51-60:

Primitive Man, Caustic

primitive-man-caustic

Primitive Man’s Caustic is the concept of “heavy” taken to the superlative. It is a 12-track/77-minute onslaught for which no less than absolute hyperbole will suffice. In following-up their 2013 Relapse Records debut, Scorn (review here), a series of splits and 2015’s Home is Where the Hatred Is EP (review here), the Denver trio reign in terror as they make Caustic live up to its name in the crushing tones, feedback of and slow churn of “My Will,” “Commerce” “Tepid,” and “Sugar Hole,” the consuming wave of “Victim,” the blastbeating death assault of “Sterility,” and the biting atmospherics of harsh interludes “Caustic,” “Ash” and “The Weight,” which preface the nine minutes of vague noise that close on “Absolutes,” following the grueling slaughter of “Disfigured” and the rightfully-named 12-minute “Inevitable,” which seems even slower and more weighted somehow than everything before it. On the sheer level of heft for that song alone, it’s time to start thinking about Primitive Man among the heaviest bands in the world. I’m serious. Caustic is an overwhelming masterwork of unbridled extremity, and with it, Primitive Man set a new standard both for themselves and for anyone else who’d dare to try to live up to it in their wake.

Primitive Man on Thee Facebooks

Relapse Records webstore

 

Black Lung & Nap, Split

black-lung-nap-split

A heavy blues trio from Baltimore and a progressive boogie outfit from Oldenburg, Germany, might seem like an odd pairing, but by the time the 25 minutes of Black Lung and Nap’s split 12” platter (on Noisolution) are up, the release has come to make its own peculiar kind of sense. In following 2016’s See the Enemy (review here), Black Lung present two new songs in “Strange Seeds” and “Use this Stone” as well we the prior-issued Marvin Gaye cover “Inner City Blues” done in collaboration with rapper Eze Jackson, where Nap answer their debut album, Villa (review here), with the shuffle-into-psychedelia of “Djinn,” the spacious, patient rollout of the airy guitars in “Vorlaut” and the final thrust of “Teer.” Each of the two acts establishes a context for itself quickly – Black Lung brazenly defying theirs in the shift from “Use this Stone” to “Inner City Blues”; Nap expanding between “Djinn” and “Vorlaut” – and though one wouldn’t be likely to mistake one group for the other, their disparate sounds don’t at all hinder the ability of either group to make an impression during their brief time.

Nap on Thee Facebooks

Black Lung on Thee Facebooks

Noisolution webstore

 

Zone Six, Zone Six

zone-six-zone-six

Originally issued in 1998 via Early Birds Records with the lineup of bassist/synthesis/Mellotronist Dave “Sula Bassana” Schmidt, guitarist Hans-Peter Ringholz, drummer/keyboardist Claus Bühler and vocalist Jodi Barry, the self-titled debut from German space/krautrock explorationists Zone Six sees something of a redux via Sulatron Records to mark the 20th anniversary of the band’s founding. Eight minutes shorter than the original edition at 51 minutes, the new version whittles down the original 13-track presentation to two vinyl sides – titles: “Side A” (27:04) and “Side B” (24:39) – and drops the vocal tracks entirely to make it a completely instrumental release. That’s a not-insignificant change, of course, but let there be no doubt that it works in terms of highlighting the flow, which as it transitions between what used to be one song and another loses not one step and instead simply becomes an engrossing and multifaceted jam. This is truer perhaps to the band Zone Six have become – if you missed their 2015 full-length Love Monster (review here), it was glorious and it’s not too late to catch up – than the band they started out as, but Zone Six have found a way to make an old release new again, and new Zone Six is never anything to complain about, whatever the occasion.

Zone Six on Thee Facebooks

Sulatron Records? webstore

 

Spectral Haze, Turning Electric

spectral-haze-turning-electric

Space rock warriors Spectral Haze return after three years in the Gamma Quadrant with Turning Electric via Totem Cat Records, a six-song sophomore outing behind 2014’s I.E.V.: Transmutated Nebula Remains (review here) that quickly enters a wormhole of Hawkwindian thrust on opener “The Dawn of the Falcon” – perhaps that’s what’s represented on the glorious Adam Burke cover art – and takes a winding but directed course deeper and deeper into interstellar realms for its duration of what on earth is only six songs and 33 minutes. Each of the intended two vinyl sides boasts a longer track, be it “Cathexis/Mask of Transformation” on side A or “They Live” on side B, but whether it’s in those or shorter rocket boosters like the title-track, “Ajaghandi” or the aforementioned leadoff, the Oslo-based four-piece keep it dreamy and kosmiche even unto the doomlier roll of closer “Master Sorcerer,” a collection of final psychedelic proclamations that cuts off quickly at the end as though breaking a transmission from the heart of the galaxy itself. Heck of a destination, and getting there’s a blast, too.

Spectral Haze on Thee Facebooks

Totem Cat Records webstore

 

Cosmic Fall, Jams for Free

cosmic-fall-jams-for-free

Kind of a bummer how Jams for Free came about, but for the reassurance that Berlin heavy psych improvisationalists Cosmic Fall will keep going after what seems to have been an unceremonious split with now-ex-guitarist/vocalist Mathias, I’ll take it. With two new explorations, bassist Klaus and drummer Daniel introduce new guitarist Martin, and those worried they might lose the funk of their original incarnation should have their fears duly allayed by “A Calmer Sphere” (12:19) and “The Great Comet” (8:10), which begin a new era of Cosmic Fall after the remaining founders were forced to stop selling their prior works. If there’s anger or catharsis being channeled in Jams for Free, though, it comes through as fluidity and serene heavy psych, and with the resonant live-in-studio vibe, Cosmic Fall essentially seem to be picking up where they left off. With Martin making a distinguishing impression in the soloing of “A Calmer Sphere”’s second half particularly, the future continues to look bright for the German asteroid riders. Right on, guys. Keep jamming.

Cosmic Fall on Thee Facebooks

Cosmic Fall on Bandcamp

 

Epitaph, Claws

Epitaph-Claws

Doomers of Verona Epitaph trace their origins back some 30 years, but Claws (on High Roller Records) is just their second long-player behind 2014’s Crawling out of the Crypt. Matters not. Theirs is the doom of ages one way or the other, presented in this collection of five songs in traditional fashion with an edge of the Italian bizarrist movement (think early Death SS) and, from the “Neon Knights”-style riff of “Gossamer Claws” to the “After All (The Dead)”/”Falling off the Edge of the World”-style dramaturge of “Wicked Lady,” the nods to ‘80s and early-‘90s Black Sabbath are manifold and executed with what sounds like a genuine love for that era of the band and classic metal in general. Hard to fault Epitaph that influence, particularly as they bring it to bear in the guttural riffly chug of centerpiece “Sizigia,” tonally as much as in the form of what’s actually being played. As a mission, the homage is perhaps a bit single-minded, but as they continue to build their own legacy in these classic sounds, it’s impossible to say Epitaph’s collective heart isn’t in the right place.

Epitaph on Thee Facebooks

High Roller Records webstore

 

Disastroid, Screen

disastroid-screen

The nine songs of Disastroid’s fourth self-released LP, Screen, are drawn together by a songwriting prowess that’s better heard than described and by a heft of tone that, especially on stompers like “Dinosaur” early and “Coyote” later on, proves likewise. Is the point of this review, then, that you should listen to the album? Yuppers. At a crisp 35 minutes, Screen finds the Bay Area trio willfully nestled someplace between heavy rock riffing, noise crunch, punk and metal, and they fly this refusal to commit to one style over another no less proudly than they do the hook of “Getting in the Way” or “I Didn’t Kill Myself,” which along with the push of “Choke the Falcon” and the Melvinsian “Clinical Perfection” make up a series of short burst impressions contrasted by the longer “Screen” and “New Day” at the outset and the six-minute finale “Gunslinger,” though wherever Disastroid seem to go, they bring a current of memorable craft with them, making an otherwise purposefully bumpy ride smooth and a chaos-fueled joy to undertake.

Disastroid website

Disastroid on Bandcamp

 

Mastiff, Bork

mastiff-bork

Ultimately, bludgeon-ready UK five-piece Mastiff might owe as much to grind as they do to doom or sludge – at least if “Nil by Mouth” has anything to say about it – but more than loyalty to any subgenre or other, the Hull unit’s 25-minute Bork full-length (released on CD by APF Records) is interested in presenting an extreme vision of sonic heft. Brutal pummel infects the rolling chorus of “Everything Equals Death” and the initial chug of “Tumour” alike, and where opener “Agony” was content to blast out its cacophony in fury of tempo as much as weight, as they settle in for the mosh-ready six minutes of closer “Eternal Regret,” Mastiff seem to have dug out a position between lumbering doom and early ‘00s deathcore, a telltale breakdown capping Bork in grooving and familiar fashion. Their intensity might prove a distinguishing factor over the longer term, though, and they certainly have plenty enough of it to go around.

Mastiff on Thee Facebooks

APF Records website

 

Demons from the Dungeon Dimension, An Organic Mythology

demons-from-the-dungeon-dimension-an-organic-mythology

The righteously-monikered Demons from the Dungeon Dimension made a striking and individualized – and bizarre – impression in 2016 with the There was Ogres EP (discussed here), a follow-up to the debut full-length, As the Crow Flies, released just weeks earlier. With the new single An Organic Mythology and the five-minute, raw-recorded track of the same name, the Durban, South Africa-based project is laid to rest. A burly opening and thickened distortion lead to a pushing verse with dry vocals over top – sounding very much like a home-recorded demo outright and not trying to be anything else – and soon enough the track shifts into a spoken-word-dissertation over an instrumental build that carries it into its final minute, at which point the verse kicks back in to end. As with the prior EP, which topped 25 minutes, the vibe is willfully strange throughout “An Organic Mythology,” and if this is indeed the last we’ll hear from Demons from the Dungeon Dimension (doesn’t it just sound like something TOR Books would put out?), somehow it seems right we live in an age where the material can reside in the digital ether, waiting to be stumbled on by curious parties soon to be blindsided by what they hear.

Demons from the Dungeon Dimension on Bandcamp

Demons from the Dungeon Dimension on YouTube

 

Liblikas, Unholy Moly

liblikas-unholy-moly

From the initial semi-gothic vibes from vocalist Oliver Aunver to the progressive fuzz rock that ensues on opener “Holy Underground,” Estonian five-piece Liblikas seem to specialize in the unexpected on their second full-length, Unholy Moly. Aunver, guitarists Temo Saarna (also vocals) and Henrik Harak, bassist Joosep Käsper and drummer/backing vocalist Mihkel Rebane, oversee a brisk 45-minute run across eight tracks of genre-spanning grooves, from the chugging almost-doom of “Highest Hound” to the semi-folk experimentalist interlude “Fugue Yeah! (Diary Pt. II),” which follows “Dear Diary, Yeah!” a track that starts out with what might be a Japanese-language sample and psychedelic unfolding to more cohesive, harmony-topped prog rock bounce before the fuzz emerges and meets with forward vocals and effective interplay of acoustics in the chorus. Why yes, there is a six-minute song called “Pornolord” – funny you should ask. It appears before the oud-laced “Ol’ Slime” and nine-minute closer “Keezo,” which embraces the difficult task of summing up the weirdo intensity that’s been on display throughout Liblikas’ songwriting all along, and with wispy guitar leading to a big, noisy finish, succeeds outright in doing so.

Liblikas on Thee Facebooks

Liblikas on Bandcamp

 

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Nap and Black Lung to Release Split Aug. 28; Preorder Available

Posted in Whathaveyou on August 2nd, 2017 by JJ Koczan

While Baltimore’s Black Lung and Oldenburg, Germany’s Nap both have elements of heavy psychedelia swirling at their core, there are still plenty of distinctions and disparities in their two individual sounds. Thus I can kind of understand why their forthcoming split 12″ on Noisolution might be framed as Black Lung vs. Nap, but it seems to me that — as the info below asserts — it probably works out to be less of a fight between them and more of a showcase of what each brings to the style. Complement more than competition, I guess is where my head is at, but I suppose if you’re putting out a release you have to call it something, and at least Black Lung vs. Nap gets the point across that it’s a split. Maybe I’m overthinking the whole thing.

In any case, the new release will be out by the time Black Lung return to Europe this fall to take part in Desertfest Belgium 2017 as they continue to support last year’s See the Enemy (review here) and for Nap, this split marks their first recorded output since their successful Villa (review here) debut in 2016, so brings all the more intrigue to see where they’re headed.

Info comes from Noisolution via the PR wire:

BLACK LUNG VS. NAP

Limited Split-12″with 6 unpublished tracks. White 180gr vinyl. Artwork by Alexander von Wieding.

Available from 28/08/2017 !!!!

Baltimore vs. Oldenburg.

This mini album documents a clash of two exceptional trios who are not competing but rather complementing one another. No longing to be the better, heavier or darker, but more so a friendly co-existence that turns out to be the perfect match.

A double A-side, if you wanna call it that. A split-mini-album, that more or less just came together by itself. Both bands‘ paths are crossing over and over again: first as labelmates, now on tour this fall and finally also on this shiny snowwhite piece of vinyl!

We got NAP from Oldenburg, Germany on one side, who only just made a great stir with their debut ‚Villa‘ in January. Before you knew it the first pressing was all sold out and gone. Their unique mix of Doom, Kraut and Stoner blended with epic instrumental parts quickly rewarded them with quite a fanbase, critical acclaim and a whole bunch of respect. Now on this new Split 12“ they‘re coming across somewhat more compact, more to the point, still never losing that certain playfulness that defines what became their signature sound. Adding a sprinkle of space rock as well they easily remind one of a darker version of the early Hawkwind. Something is truly growing here and we better keep an eye on what these three gentlemen will have in store for us in the future!

On the other side we got BLACK LUNG hailing from Baltimore, US. At first the band was just considered a side leap of of THE FLYING EYES‘ Adam Bufano and Elias Schutzmann who brought their psychedelic influences and shenanigans over to the new project. But eventually the trio fully established itself and an own dynamic taking over, forming their own unique and recognizable style. Two guitars that weigh down so heavily that there’s no need for a bass anymore. Completed by the hovering feverish vocals of Dave Cavalier who come as a perfect contrast, altogether creating an overwhelming wave of heavy sounds rolling over the clubs and their audience swallowing them both completely. A tiny hint of Pop and especially Soul has always been present on the previous two records. This time showing itself in a fantastic cover-version of Marvin Gayes‘ ‚Inner City Blues‘. Stonerrock mixed with sould mixed with rap: What seems completely incompatible comes together only so beautifully in this track. A truly exceptional track for a truly exceptional band in sound, style and songwriting – and a band who will absolutely blow your mind once again this time.

1. Black Lung – Strange Seed
2. Black Lung – Use This Stone
3. Black Lung – Inner City Blues
4. Nap – Djinn
5. Nap – Vorlaut
6. Nap – Teer

https://www.facebook.com/napband
https://napofficial.bandcamp.com/

https://www.facebook.com/blacklungbaltimore
https://blacklungbaltimore.bandcamp.com/

https://www.facebook.com/noisolution/
http://www.noisolution.de/shop/Vinyl/Black-Lung-vs-Nap-12-Vinyl-Strictly-limited-Weisses-180gr-Vinyl-mit-Download-Code::209.html

Nap, “Teer”

Black Lung, See the Enemy (2016)

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