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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Nap Post “Ungeheuer” Video; German Tour Dates Announced

Posted in Bootleg Theater on January 12th, 2017 by JJ Koczan

nap

Next month, German progressive heavy psych trio Nap will head out for five-night run alongside Norway’s Orango as they herald the impending Noisolution release of their debut album, Villa (review here). That record — self-recorded, self-mixed, self-artworked and initially self-released — made for a strikingly cohesive first outing and signal of intent in melding heavy subgenres. A song like “Ungeheuer,” for which Nap just happen to have a new video, is as much defined by its rumble as by its spaciousness as by its boogie. The band seem to be figuring out how to toy with this blend as they go, but for a single five-minute cut, that’s a solid bit of breadth, especially when one takes it into account as a beginning point.

If you missed Nap on public television 20 years ago, don’t worry, they weren’t really there. They might’ve been like seven years old at the time, from the look of them. Either way, they’ve adopted a somewhat retro — and I only say “somewhat” because thinking of the late ’90s as “retro” makes me feel as old as I am — visual aesthetic for the “Ungeheuer” clip. Don’t worry, youngins. Someday all the social media-ing and selfies, endless war and political horrors of this day will too be remembered as a simpler time, granted authenticity through age and an abidingly human shortness of memory. We can chat about it in 2037 if the oceans haven’t risen to swallow us all.

What was I talking about? Oh yeah, Nap. While suddenly engaged in a frantic search for reasons to be hopeful about the future, one might consider their stylistic reach is still at a nascent point and will, hopefully — aha! — continue to flourish. Dig into “Ungeheuer” below and see where you think they might go over the longer term, then check out the tour dates that follow to see where they’re headed in the immediate.

Enjoy:

Nap, “Ungeheuer” official video

Happy New Year 1997 !!! This was filmed using the highest Video and best FX Technology available to this date…

Nap from Oldenburg bring their first, “Villa,” out in the spring and are to be heard with Orango (Norway / Stickman Records) in February on a first round trip in some clubs.

A fantastic brew of Psychedelic Rock, a pinch of Stoner, a good herb, and even the skinny Twang sounds do not frighten these three in their session-like arrangements.

Nap on tour:
07.02. – DE – Kiel – Schaubude
08.02. – DE – Hamburg – Astra Stube
09.02. – DE – Hannover – Chez Heinz
10.02. – DE – Dortmund – Subrosa
11.02. – DE – Münster – Rare Guitars
04.03. – DE – Lübeck – Treibsand

Nap on Thee Facebooks

Nap on Bandcamp

Noisolution website

Noisolution on Thee Facebooks

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Nap Sign to Noisolution; Villa Due in Spring

Posted in Whathaveyou on December 12th, 2016 by JJ Koczan

nap

When German heavy psych genrebenders Nap self-released their self-recorded debut album, Villa (review here), earlier this summer, they did so with a justifiable note on their Bandcamp page that read simply ‘DIY all the way.’ Well, maybe a little less so now. The Oldenburg-based three-piece have hooked up with countryman imprint Noisolution (see also Black LungThe Flying EyesCoogans Bluff, etc.) in order to give Villa a release presumably on vinyl and/or CD this coming Spring, following a tour they’ll undertake in February to support the album’s first run and herald the coming second, which will also feature new artwork that you can see below.

I ran the announcement — not the headline; I’m comfortable assuming you know what “Willkommen” translates to in English even if you, like my own ignorant American ass, don’t speak German — through a translation matrix, so it might not be word-for-word spot on, but it’s enough to get the idea. The band’s bio is also included below for background, on the off-chance you missed Villa the first time out.

Goes like this:

nap villa

NAP – Willkommen!

And once again a debut album. And what kind of thing!

Nap from Oldenburg bring their first, “Villa,” out in the spring and are to be heard with Orango (Norway / Stickman Records) in February on a first round trip in some clubs.

A fantastic brew of Psychedelic Rock, a pinch of Stoner, a good herb, and even the skinny Twang sounds do not frighten these three in their session-like arrangements.

Soon there will be more information about the band, the album, the tour and perhaps also the story of how the demo found the way to our table.

Bio:
Nap plays as a classical 3-piece rock-formation, mostly instrumental with rather rare vocal parts. Psychedelic sounds, uptempo beats, grooving Doom and Stoner-riffage plus some Noise and Surf influences with strong tendencies reminiscing the sound of the Hippie-Era and the origin of Metal. A combined musical paradox, of highs and lows, all to end into an excessive nightmare.

https://www.facebook.com/napband/
https://napofficial.bandcamp.com/
http://www.noisolution.de/
https://www.facebook.com/noisolution
https://www.instagram.com/noisolution/

Nap, Villa (2016)

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Quarterly Review: Mirrors for Psychic Warfare, Candlemass, Skuggsjá, Black Lung, Lord Vicar, Dakessian, Gypsy Chief Goliath, Inter Arma, Helgamite, Mollusk

Posted in Reviews on June 22nd, 2016 by JJ Koczan

the-obelisk-summer-2016-quarterly-review

Who’s ready for another round of 10 reviews in The Obelisk’s Quarterly Review? I know I am. We gotta hit 50 by Friday, and there’s still a lot — a lot — of ground to cover. Yesterday was all over the place style-wise and today has some of that going as well, but there’s a lot of quality in both, so hopefully you get to check some of it out. Today is the all important QR Hump Day, wherein we pass the halfway mark on our way to the total 50 reviews. If you’re wondering, it’s Lord Vicar who do the honors this time around at #25. Just kind of worked out that way, but I’ll take it. Down to business.

Quarterly Review #21-30:

Mirrors for Psychic Warfare, Mirrors for Psychic Warfare

mirrors for psychic warfare mirrors for psychic warfare

Probably fair to call Mirrors for Psychic Warfare an offshoot of Corrections House, since its two members – Scott Kelly (also Neurosis) and Sanford Parker (producer extraordinaire/also Buried at Sea) – are also in that group, but the feel of their Neurot Recordings self-titled debut is substantially different, rawer and at times harsher. Parker handles beats and electronics, creating at times a wash of abrasive noise as in the culmination of “CNN WTZ,” the centerpiece of the five tracks, and elsewhere providing an industrial backdrop for Kelly’s voice for a gothic feel, as on “A Thorn to See.” Unsurprisingly, nothing about Mirrors for Psychic Warfare makes for particularly easy listening – though opener “Oracles Hex” has some commonality with Kelly’s solo work and his voice is resonant as ever – but as they round out the album with “43,” the keys, synth and guitar find some common ground, which leaves distorted shouts from Kelly to do the work of taking listeners to task. We already knew these two worked well together, and the partnership once again bears fruit here.

Neurot Recordings on Thee Facebooks

Neurot Recordings webshop

Candlemass, Death Thy Lover

candlemass-death-thy-lover

The four-song Death Thy Lover EP (on Napalm) is the first new studio offering of original material from Swedish doom legends Candlemass since their 2012 album, Psalms for the Dead (review here), marked the end of the tenure of vocalist Robert Lowe, also of Solitude Aeturnus. His replacement is the person who nearly had the job in the first place, Mats Levén (formerly Therion), who has a kind of stateliness to his presence in opener “Death Thy Lover” but suits the plod of “Sleeping Giant” well. Of course, at the center of the band is bassist/songwriter Leif Edling, whose style is unmistakable in these tracks, whether it’s the late-Iommi-style riffing of “Sinister ‘n’ Sweet” or “Death Thy Lover”’s chugging its way toward the hook. Candlemass save the most grueling for last with “The Goose,” as guitarists Mats “Mappe” Björkman and Lars “Lasse” Johansson intertwine a chugging rhythm and extended soloing over dirge-march drums from Jan Lindh to give the short release a darkened instrumental finale.

Candlemass on Thee Facebooks

Candlemass at Napalm Records

Skuggsjá, A Piece for Mind and Mirror

skuggsja-a-piece-for-mind-and-mirror

Talk about scope. Oh, only a country’s entire cultural history is fair game for Skuggsjá, the brainchild of Norwegian artists Ivar Bjørnson (also Enslaved) and Einar Selvik (also Wardruna) that crosses the line between black metal and Norse traditionalism probably better than anyone has ever done it before. A Piece for Mind and Mirror is the studio incarnation of the work the two composers and a host of others did as commissioned for the 200th anniversary of the Norwegian constitution, and though it’s broken into 10 movements for the album, it flows together as one orchestral entirety, the gurgle of Grutle Kjellson (Enslaved) recognizable in the eponymous track amid choral backing and a richly textured blend of traditional folk instruments and metallic thrust. The lyrics are Norwegian, but whether it’s the blowing horn of “Makta Og Vanæra (I All Tid)” or the lush melodies in the march of “Bøn Om Ending – Bøn Om Byrjing,” the sense of pride and the creative accomplishment of A Piece for Mind and Mirror ring through loud and clear.

Skuggsjá on Thee Facebooks

Season of Mist webshop

Black Lung, See the Enemy

black lung see the enemy

Two years after making their self-titled debut, Baltimore heavy bluesfuzz trio Black Lung come swaggering back with the spacious vibes of See the Enemy (on Noisolution), which takes the establishing steps the first album laid out and builds on them fluidly and with a clear direction in mind. At eight tracks/45 minutes produced by J. Robbins, the album was clearly structured for vinyl, each half ending with a longer cut, the psych-jamming “Nerve” on side A, which resounds in an ending of scorching guitar from Adam Bufano atop the drums of Elias Schutzman (both of The Flying Eyes), and the closer “8MM,” on which Bufano, Schutzman, guitarist/vocalist Dave Cavalier and Robbins (who also contributes bass) roll out the record’s most massive groove and cap it with an impenetrable wall of noise. While the songs are striking in their cohesion and poise, there are moments where one wants Black Lung to really let loose, as after Trevor Shipley’s keyboard stretch in “Priestess,” but they have other ideas, feeding the title-track directly into “8MM” with no less a firm sense of control than shown earlier. All told, an excellent follow-up that deserves broader consideration among 2016’s finer offerings.

Black Lung on Thee Facebooks

Black Lung at Noisolution

Lord Vicar, Gates of Flesh

lord vicar gates of flesh

Offered through The Church Within Records as a paean to classic doom, Lord Vicar’s third LP, Gates of Flesh, nonetheless almost can’t help but put its own mark on the style. The Turku, Finland, outfit’s first album in five years, it finds guitarist Kimi Kärki (ex-Reverend Bizarre, Orne, E-Musikgruppe Lux Ohr, etc.), vocalist Chritus (also Goatess, ex-Saint Vitus, Count Raven, etc.), and drummer Gareth Millsted (ex-Centurions Ghost) — who, along with Kärki, also contributed bass after the band parted ways with Jussi Myllykoski and prior to adding Sami Hynninen as a temporary replacement — bold enough to shift into minimalist spaciousness on “A Shadow of Myself,” and really, they’re not through opener “Birth of Wine” before Kärki executes a gorgeous dual-layered solo. Trace those roots back to Trouble if you must, but there’s no question to whom the lurch of centerpiece “Breaking the Circle” or the sorrowful 10-minute closer “Leper, Leper” belongs, and the same holds true for everything that follows, be it the quiet start of “A Woman out of Snow” or the swinging second half of “Accidents.” Lord Vicar enact the doom of ages and take complete ownership of the sound, thus only adding to the canon as they go.

Lord Vicar on Thee Facebooks

The Church Within Records

Dakessian, The Poisoned Chalice

dakessian the poisoned chalice

Like the stench of rotting, Dakessian’s The Poisoned Chalice provokes a visceral and physical response. The long-in-the-making debut release from the Portland-based duo of vocalist Kenny Snarzyk (also Fister) and multi-instrumentalist Aaron D.C. Edge (Lumbar, Roareth, so many others) had its music recorded back in 2013, and the vocals were added earlier this year, throat-searing screams and growls that top the noisy, claustrophobically weighted tones from Edge’s guitar. The onslaught is unrelenting, both longer songs like “Demons” and “Ten Double Zero” and shorter cuts “Nothing Forever” and the sample-laced opener “Choose Hate” brim with aggressive misanthropy, the will against. Even the penultimate “Baerial,” which offers a glimmer of melody, continues to crush, and starting with a slow drum progression, closer “Cosmic Dissolution” barely tops two and a half minutes, but it brings thorough reassurance of the project’s destructive force before its final drone rounds out. One never knows with Edge if a given band will ever have a follow-up, but as ever, the quality is consistent. In this case, brutally so.

Dakessian on Bandcamp

Holy Mountain Printing

Gypsy Chief Goliath, Citizens of Nowhere

gypsy chief goliath citizens of nowhere

Actually, if you want to get technical about it, Gypsy Chief Goliath are citizens of Ontario, but you’d never know it from listening to their third album, Citizens of Nowhere, which if you had to pin a geographic locale on it might be more of a fit for New Orleans than Canada. The Pitch Black Records release sees the triple-guitar-plus-harmonica six-piece outfit dug deep in Southern metal grooves, marked out by the burl-bringing vocals of frontman/guitarist Al “The Yeti” Bones, formerly of Mister Bones, Serpents of Secrecy and The Mighty Nimbus and the chug-and-churn of cuts like “Black Samurai” and the shuffle of “We Died for This.” The title-track winds its central riff with thickened-up ‘70s boogie, while “Elephant in the Room” and “The Return” space out a bit more, and the closing Black Sabbath cover “Killing Yourself to Live” (a CD bonus track) plays it loyal structurally while dude’ing up the original like it was on hormone therapy.

Gypsy Chief Goliath on Thee Facebooks

Pitch Black Records on Bandcamp

Inter Arma, Paradise Gallows

inter arma paradise gallows

Hard-touring Richmond genre-benders Inter Arma are due for a landmark release. Their 2014 single-song EP, The Cavern, was wildly well received and earned every bit of praise it got. Their follow-up to that is Paradise Gallows, their third album and second for Relapse behind 2013’s Sky Burial (track stream here). Is Paradise Gallows that landmark? Hell if I know. Recorded, mixed and mastered by Mikey Allred, who also guests on trombone, bass violin, organ and noise, Inter Arma’s third brings an expansive 70 minutes of bleak progressivism, conceptually and sonically broad enough to be considered brilliant and still weighted enough that the prevailing vibe is extremity in their blend of sludge, doom, black metal, post-metal, atmospherics, and a moody acoustic closer. The only real danger is that it might take listeners time to digest – because it’s a lot to take in, all those twists and turns in “Violent Constellations,” particularly after the plod of the title-track – but I wouldn’t be the least bit surprised to find Inter Arma inhabiting any number of year-end lists for 2016. Once again, they earn it.

Inter Arma on Thee Facebooks

Inter Arma at Relapse Records

Helgamite, Hypnagogia

helgamite hypnagogia

Virginian bruisers Helgamite manage to cover a deceptive amount of sonic ground on their second LP, Hypnagogia (on CD through Lost Apparitions with vinyl soon on Flesh Vessel), spending plenty of time in dense-toned sludge metal but using that as a foundation for a wider range of explorations, winding up in blastbeats by the time 13-minute side B finale “The Secret” comes around, but by then having torn through the aggro-thrash of “Origins,” lumbered through the mosher “Æstrosion” and topped off “Shaman’s Veil” with math-metal guitar fits melded to a saxophone arrangement. Growls from vocalist William Breeden and Jonah Butler’s drums tie it all together as guitarist Casey Firkin (also sax) and bassist Matthew Beahm pull off intermittently jazzy runs, but impressively, Helgamite never sound in danger of losing sight of the songs they’re serving, and Hypnogogia is stronger for its unwillingness to waste a second of its runtime, even in the aforementioned “The Secret” or its 10-minute side A counterpart, “Snowdrifter.”

Helgamite on Thee Facebooks

Lost Apparitions Records website

Flesh Vessel Records on Thee Facebooks

Mollusk, Children of the Chron

mollusk-children-of-the-chron

Get it? Children of the Chron? I’ll admit it took me a second. While I was thinking about it, Allston, Massachusetts, duo Mollusk doled out sludge-punk-metal beatings via raw tones and shouts and a general sense of checked-out attitude, “Glacier” reminding of earliest, least-poppy Floor, but cuts like “Demon Queen” and “When You’re Gone” finding guitarist Hank Rose using a purposefully monotone vocal approach that works well over slower parts. Rose is joined in Mollusk by drummer Adam O’Day, and though I’ve already noted that the 11-track album is raw, their sound wants nothing for impact in the low end or any other end for that matter. Rather, the harsher aspects become part of the aesthetic throughout Children of the Chron and the band successfully navigates its own mire without getting lost in either its own “Torture Chamber” or “Zombie Apocalypse,” which like opener “Ride the #9,” is almost certainly a song about life in the Boston area.

Mollusk on Thee Facebooks

Mollusk at ReverbNation

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Black Lung Touring UK & Europe in May; See the Enemy out April 29

Posted in Whathaveyou on April 5th, 2016 by JJ Koczan

black lung

Shortly after releasing their new album, See the Enemy, on April 29 via Noisolution, Baltimorean trio Black Lung will head back to Europe for tour dates in the UK and EU. The band also reportedly have a new video in the works from the album, which was recorded by J. Robbins (ClutchThrottlerod, many, many others), which will likely make its debut before they head abroad. See the Enemy is their second record behind their 2014 self-titled debut, which if memory serves also took them overseas.

Some bands play a release show. Black Lung do a release tour. Fair enough. I’ll hope to have more in the album as we get closer to the release, but in the meantime the tour dates are below, as seen on the social medias:

black lung tour

BLACK LUNG “See The Enemy” Release Tour

Noisolution, MAGNIFICENT MUSIC and VISIONS Magazin present…

BLACK LUNG’s “See The Enemy” Album Release Tour of Europe:

May 12th Stag & Hounds w/ Mars Red Sky – Bristol, UK
May 13th The Fiddlers Elbow – London, UK
May 14th Flanders Chopper Bash – Assende, BE
May 15th- dBs – Utrecht, NL
May 17th Café Glocksee – Hannover, DE
May 18th Schaubude – Kiel, DE
May 19th Cassiopeia – Berlin, DE
May 20th Metropolool/Innocent – Henegelo, NL
May 21st Shamrock Pub – Thionville, FR
May 22nd La Mechanique Ondulatoire – Paris, FR
May 24th Arena Beisl – Vienna, AT
May 25th Sub – Graz, AT
May 26th Rockhouse Bar – Salzburg, AT
May 27th Kradhalle – Ulm, DE
May 29th Magasin 4 w/ BLACK RAINBOWS – Brussels, BE
May 31st Beatpol: Dresden, DE
June 2nd Beta w/ Horisont – Copenhagen, DK
June 3rd 1000 Fryd w/ Horisont – Aalborg, DK
June 6th Muskelrock Festival – Tyrolen, SE
June 7th Sonic Ballroom -Köln, DE
June 8th Rössli Bar – Bern, CH
June 9th pmk – Innsbruck, AT
June 10th Goethebunker – Essen, DE
June 11th Rare Guitar – Münster, DE

https://www.facebook.com/events/1697298867219586/
https://www.facebook.com/blacklungbaltimore/
https://blacklungbaltimore.bandcamp.com/
https://www.facebook.com/noisolution/
http://www.noisolution.de/
https://www.facebook.com/magnificentmusic/
http://www.magnificentmusic.de/

Black Lung, “Nerve” live video

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