Nap to Release Ausgeklingt Oct. 4; New Song Streaming

Posted in Whathaveyou on July 31st, 2019 by JJ Koczan

nap

Okay, so before you go ahead and dig into the album announcement for Nap‘s second record, Ausgeklingt, below, you should understand that it’s been run through a social media translation algorithm, so even the most basic level of idiomatic expression is more or less lost, and it should be read really for confirmation of the most basic details — title, release date, etc. — rather than the description of what the record’s like, where Facebook clearly muddled the verbiage. Sadly, I don’t speak German, so I couldn’t do my own translation, but the news is that Nap are following up their 2016 debut album, Villa (review here), and that they have a song from the new outing streaming now that you can hear at the bottom of this post. That’s pretty neat as far as I’m concerned. As for the rest, with the word matrices and AI grammar and all that, it’s secondary at best.

I’ll hope to have more to come on Ausgeklingt as we get closer to the release date — I’ll be working on spelling it as well — but in the meantime, here’s the art and announcement:

nap Ausgeklingt

Finally! The Oldenburger Trio Nap is ready for their second release: the new album will be named Ausgeklingt (“for sounds”) and will be released on October 04th.

If nap has managed to create a great successor album that doesn’t stand up to the predecessor in anything, but still puts a shot on it. Extensive psychedelic jams meet heavy doom riffs, catchy hooks, and isolated surf sounds. Rounded off by almost ghost-looking vocals. A diverse and varied album that you can fall into and which breastfeeding the heavy needs as well as those after quiet-dreamy parts.

A true trip through darker and lighter corners of space… and we are happy that we will be able to take you with you soon!

So eyes and ears up. More news and tour dates coming soon…

Until then, you can listen to the pre-track “VoiGo” Also nice, right?

The Limited first edition comes in colorful vinyl, including poster and download code or as CD.

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https://napofficial.bandcamp.com/
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Quarterly Review: Elizabeth Colour Wheel, Black Lung, Giant Dwarf, Land Mammal, Skunk, Silver Devil, Sky Burial, Wizzerd, Ian Blurton, Cosmic Fall

Posted in Reviews on July 5th, 2019 by JJ Koczan

quarterly-review

Got my laptop back. Turned out the guy had to give me a new hard drive entirely, clone all my data on it, and scrap the other drive. I’m sure if I took it to another technician they’d have said something completely different, either for better or worse, but it was $165 and I got my computer back, working, in a day, so I can’t really complain. Worth the money, obviously, even though it was $40 more than the estimate. I assume that was a mix of “new hard drive” and “this is the last thing I’m doing before a four-day weekend.” Either way, totally legit. Bit of stress on my part, but what’s a Quarterly Review without it?

This ends the week, but there’s still one more batch of 10 reviews to go on Monday, so I won’t delay further, except to say more to come.

Quarterly Review #41-50:

Elizabeth Colour Wheel, Nocebo

elizabeth colour wheel nocebo

A rare level of triumph for a first album, Elizabeth Colour Wheel‘s aesthetic scope and patience of craft on Nocebo result in a genre-spanning post-noise rock that maintains an atmospheric heft whether loud or quiet at any given moment, and a sense of unpredictability that feels born out of a genuinely forward-thinking songwriting process. It is dark, emotionally resonant, beautiful and crushing across its eight songs and 47 minutes, as the Philadelphia five-piece ebb and flow instrumentally behind a standout vocal performance that reminds of Julie Christmas circa Battle of Mice on “Life of a Flower” but is ultimately more controlled and all the more lethal for that. Bouts of extremity pop up at unexpected times and the songs flow into each other so as to make all of Nocebo feel like a single, multi-hued work, which it just might be as it moves into ambience between “Hide Behind (Emmett’s Song)” and “Bedrest” before exploding to life again in “34th” and transitioning directly into the cacophonous apex that comes with closer “Head Home.” One of the best debuts of 2019, if not the best.

Elizabeth Colour Wheel on Thee Facebooks

The Flenser on Bandcamp

 

Black Lung, Ancients

black lung ancients

Ancients is the third full-length from Baltimore’s Black Lung, whose heavy blues rock takes a moodier approach from the outset of “Mother of the Sun” onward, following an organ-led roll in that opener that calls to mind All Them Witches circa Lightning at the Door and following 2016’s See the Enemy (review here) with an even firmer grasp on their overarching intent. The title-track is shorter at 3:10 and offers some post-rock flourish in the guitar amid its otherwise straight-ahead push, but there’s a tonal depth to add atmosphere to whatever moves they’re making at the time, “The Seeker” and “Voices” rounding out side A with relatively grounded swing and traditionalist shuffle but still catching attention through pace and presentation alike. That holds true as “Gone” drifts into psychedelic jamming at the start of side B, and the chunkier “Badlands,” the dramatic “Vultures” and the controlled wash of “Dead Man Blues” take the listener into some unnamed desert without a map or exit strategy. It’s a pleasure to get lost as Ancients plays through, and Black Lung remain a well-kept secret of the East Coast underground.

Black Lung on Thee Facebooks

Ripple Music website

Noisolution website

 

Giant Dwarf, Giant Dwarf

Giant Dwarf Giant Dwarf

This just fucking rules, and I feel no need to couch my critique in any more flowery language than that. Driving, fuzzy heavy rock topped with post-Homme melodies that doesn’t sacrifice impact for attitude, the self-released, self-titled debut from Perth, Australia’s Giant Dwarf is a sans-pretense 35 minutes of groove done right. They may be playing to genre, fine, but from the cover art on down, they’re doing so with a sense of personality and a readiness to bring an individual sensibility to their sound. I dig it. Summery tones, rampant vocal melodies in layers, solid rhythmic foundation beneath. The fact that it’s the five-piece’s first album makes me look less for some kind of stylistic nuance, but it’s there to be heard anyway in “Disco Void” and the bouncing end of “High Tide Blues,” and in surrounding cuts like “Repeat After Defeat” and “Strange Wool,” Giant Dwarf set to the task before them with due vitality, imagining Songs for the Deaf with Fu Manchu tonality in “Kepler.” No big surprise, but yeah, it definitely works. Someone should be beating down the door to sign this band.

Giant Dwarf on Thee Facebooks

Giant Dwarf on Bandcamp

 

Land Mammal, Land Mammal

land mammal land mammal

Land Mammal‘s debut outing is a 14-minute, proof-of-concept four-songer EP with clarity of presentation and telegraphed intent. Marked out by the Robert Plant-style vocal heroics of Kinsley August, the band makes the most of a bluesy atmosphere behind him, with Will Weise on wah-ready guitar, Phillip PJ Soapsmith on bass, Stephen Smith on drums and True Turner on keys. On opener “Dark with Rain” and closer “Better Days,” they find a pastoral vibe that draws from ’90s alternative, thinking Blind Melon particularly in the finale, but “Earth Made Free” takes a bluesier angle and “Drippin’ Slow” is not shy about nor ashamed of its danceability, as its lyrics demonstrate. For all the crispness of the production, Land Mammal still manage to sound relatively natural, which is all the more encouraging in terms of moving forward, but it’ll be interesting to hear how they flesh out their sound over the course of a full-length, since even as an EP, this self-titled is short. They have songwriting, performance and production on their side, however, so something tells me they’ll be just fine.

Land Mammal on Thee Facebooks

Land Mammal on Bandcamp

 

Skunk, Strange Vibration

skunk strange vibration

Even before they get to the ultra-“N.I.B.” patterning of second track “Stand in the Sun,” Skunk‘s Sabbathian loyalties are well established, and they continue on that line, through the “War Pigs”-ness of “Goblin Orgy” (though I’ll give them bonus points for that title), and the slower “A National Acrobat” roll of “The Black Crown,” and while that’s not the only influence under which Skunk are working — clearly — it’s arguably the most forward. They’ve been on a traditional path since 2015’s mission-statement EP, Heavy Rock from Elder Times (review here), and as Strange Vibration is their second album behind 2017’s Doubleblind (review here), they’ve only come more into focus in terms of what they’re doing overall. They throw a bit of swagger into “Evil Eye Gone Blind” and “Star Power” toward the end of the record — more Blackmore or Leslie West than Iommi — but keep the hooks center through it all, and cap with a welcome bit of layered melody on “The Cobra’s Kiss.” Based in Oakland, they don’t quite fit in with the Californian boogie scene to the south, but standing out only seems to suit Strange Vibration all the more.

Skunk on Thee Facebooks

Skunk on Bandcamp

 

Silver Devil, Paralyzed

Silver Devil Paralyzed

Like countrymen outfits in Vokonis or to a somewhat lesser degree Cities of Mars, Gävle-based riffers Silver Devil tap into Sleep as a core influence and work outward from there. In the case of their second album, Paralyzed (on Ozium Records), they work far out indeed, bringing a sonic largesse to bear through plus-sized tonality and distorted vocals casting echoes across a wide chasm of the mix. “Rivers” or the later, slower-rolling “Octopus” rightfully present this as an individual take, and it ends up being that one way or the other, with the atmosphere becoming essential to the character of the material. There are some driving moments that call to mind later Dozer — or newer Greenleaf, if you prefer — such as the centerpiece “No Man Traveller,” but the periodic bouts of post-rock bring complexity to that assessment as well, though in the face of the galloping crescendo of “The Grand Trick,” complexity is a secondary concern to the outright righteousness with which Silver Devil take familiar elements and reshape them into something that sounds fresh and engaging. That’s basically the story of the whole record, come to think of it.

Silver Devil on Thee Facebooks

Ozium Records website

 

Sky Burial, Sokushinbutsu

sky burial Sokushinbutsu

Comprised of guitarist/vocalist/engineer Vessel 2 and drummer/vocalist Vessel 1 (also ex-Mühr), Sky Burial release their debut EP, Sokushinbutsu, through Break Free Records, and with it issue two songs of densely-weighted riff and crash, captured raw and live-sounding with an edge of visceral sludge thanks to the harsh vocals laid overtop. The prevailing spirit is as much doom as it is crust throughout “Return to Sender” (8:53) and the 10:38 title-track — the word translating from Japanese to “instant Buddha” — and as “Sokushinbutsu” kicks the tempo of the leadoff into higher gear, the release becomes a wash of blown-out tone with shouts cutting through that’s very obviously meant to be as brutal as it absolutely is. They slow down eventually, then slow down more, then slow down more — you see where this is going — until eventually the feedback seems to consume them and everything else, and the low rumble of guitar gives way to noise and biting vocalizations. As beginnings go, Sokushinbutsu is willfully wretched and animalistic, a manifested sonic nihilism that immediately stinks of death.

Sky Burial on Thee Facebooks

Break Free Records on Bandcamp

 

Wizzerd, Wizzerd

wizzerd st

One finds Montana’s Wizzerd born of a similar Upper Midwestern next-gen take on classic heavy as that of acts like Bison Machine and Midas. Their Cursed Tongue Records-delivered self-titled debut album gives a strong showing of this foundation, less boogie-based than some, with just an edge of heavy metal to the riffing and vocals that seems to derive not directly from doom, but definitely from some ’80s metal stylizations. Coupled with ’70s and ’90s heavy rocks, it’s a readily accessible blend throughout the nine-song/51-minute LP, but a will toward the epic comes through in theme as well as the general mood of the riffs, and even in the drift of “Wizard” that’s apparent. Taken in kind with the fuzzblaster “Wraith,” the winding motion of the eponymous closer and with the lumbering crash of “Warrior” earlier, the five-piece’s sound shows potential to distinguish itself further in the future through taking on fantasy subject matter lyrically as well as playing to wall-sized grooves across the board, even in the speedy first half of “Phoenix,” with its surprising crash into the wall of its own momentum.

Wizzerd on Thee Facebooks

Cursed Tongue Records webstore

 

Ian Blurton, Signals Through the Flames

Ian Blurton Signals Through the Flames

The core of Ian Blurton‘s Signals Through the Flames is in tight, sharply-executed heavy rockers like “Seven Bells” and “Days Will Remain,” classic in their root but not overly derivative, smartly and efficiently composed and performed. The Toronto-based Blurton has been making and producing music for over three decades in various guises and incarnations, and with these nine songs, he brings into focus a songcraft that is more than enough to carry song like “Nothing Left to Lose” and opener “Eye of the Needle,” which bookends with the 6:55 “Into Dust,” the closer arriving after a final salvo with the Scorpionic strut of “Kick out the Lights” and the forward-thrust-into-ether of “Night of the Black Goat.” If this was what Ghost had ended up sounding like, I’d have been cool with that. Blurton‘s years of experience surely come into play in this work, a kind of debut under his own name and/or that of Ian Blurton’s Future Now, but the songs come through as fresh regardless and “The March of Mars” grabs attention not with pedigree, but simply by virtue of its own riff, which is exactly how it should be. It’s subtle in its variety, but those willing to give it a repeat listen or two will find even more reward for doing so.

Ian Blurton on Thee Facebooks

Ian Blurton on Bandcamp

 

Cosmic Fall, Lackland

Cosmic Fall Lackland

“Lackland” is the first new material Berlin three-piece Cosmic Fall have produced since last year’s In Search of Space (review here) album, which is only surprising given the frequency with which they once jammed out a record every couple of months. The lone 8:32 track is a fitting reminder of the potency in the lineup of guitarist Marcin Morawski, bassist Klaus Friedrich and drummer Daniel Sax, and listening to the Earthless-style shred in Morawski‘s guitar, one hopes it won’t be another year before they come around again. As it stands, they make the eight minutes speed by with volcanic fervor and an improvised sensibility that feels natural despite the song’s ultimately linear trajectory. Could be a one-off, could be a precursor to a new album. I’d prefer the latter, obviously, but I’ll take what I can get, and if that’s “Lackland,” then so be it.

Cosmic Fall on Thee Facebooks

Cosmic Fall on Bandcamp

 

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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/
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https://twitter.com/RippleMusic
https://ripplemusic.bandcamp.com/
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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.

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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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