Review & Track Premiere: Skraeckoedlan, Eorþe

Posted in Reviews on January 11th, 2019 by JJ Koczan

skraeckoedlan earth

[Click play above to stream the premiere of Skraeckoedlan’s translated-lyric video for “Creature of Doggerland.” Their new album, Eorþe, is out Feb. 15 on Fuzzorama Records. Preorders are here.]

I generally assume that if I’m writing about something, you already know about it because you’re cooler than I am, because, frankly, that’s how it usually works. But if you haven’t heard of Skraeckoedlan — especially if you don’t live in Sweden — there’s a decent chance it’s because they sing in Swedish. The fuzz rockers have parted with bassist Tim Ångström since their 2015’s Sagor (review here) with Robert Lamu moving from guitar to bass in addition to vocals, while Henrik Grüttner handles the lone guitarist role as well as more vocals and Martin Larsson remains on drums. One might think the band’s third album and first for Fuzzorama Records, Eorþe, would be more stripped down as a result, but the truth is it’s the most progressive record they’ve made in the decade they’ve been together. Their 2011 debut, Äppelträdet (review here) — also recently reissued by The Sign Records from the original release on Transubstans — blended fuzz-drenched tonality with a post-Mastodon style of metal, but they’ve only grown more since then, and as they align with Fuzzorama, they continue an association with sadly-defunct countrymen Truckfighters that extends all the way back to the recording of their first album.

Indeed, one might look at Eorþe as inheriting the mantle of fuzzprog that the last couple Truckfighters albums were working toward, running a fluid nine songs and 54 minutes with a greater depth of melody and broader sonic reach than they’ve ever shown. Songs like “Mammutkungens Barn,” the earlier highlight “Kung Mammut,” the 10-minute “Elfenbenssalarna” and the acoustic closer “Peggys Sång” demonstrate the range of their composition, while even a song like the under-four-minute “Tentakler & Betar” finds a way to hit new ground with vocal harmonies and a pointedly forward thrust. Whether it’s an extended piece like “Creature of Doggerland” (note the English title), or the opener “Guldåldern” or the drum-led beginning of “Angelica,” Eorþe wants nothing for heft either in tone or construction — indeed, tone has been a strength of Skraeckoedlan all along and very much remains one — but even as they hold onto their stylistic weight, they turn into a more nuanced and individualized unit.

When it comes right down to it, Eorþe is Skraeckoedlan reestablishing themselves after a change in their dynamic. The shift from two guitarists to one, even covered in the studio by layering guitar tracks and whatever else, is not a minor one. It affects songwriting as well as how the material is played. And Skraeckoedlan pull that off, no question. For a band who’ve been around for 10 years and have experience recording and touring, that’s not a huge surprise. They should know what they want to sound like — at least to some basic degree — and be able to make that happen. Fine. Where Eorþe really succeeds though is in not only finding Skraeckoedlan make this claim on who they are as a band, but in moving their sound forward from where it was three years ago. Their work is richly textured and in listening to the melody in the chorus of “Mammutkungens Barn,” one can hear their heritage in Scandinavian metal coming through in more than just the language they’re using, but like the grunge-style opening riff of that song — reminds of something from the early-mid ’90s; is it Sonic Youth? — they bring each of their influences into a context that is their own.

They did the same on Äppelträdet in imagining a fuzz-metal stomp in the first place, but with just about every move they make on Eorþe, they do so with a greater scope and identity born of the maturity of their composition. As a result, Eorþe isn’t just Skraeckoedlan‘s finest hour, but a way forward for them in this new incarnation that builds on what they’ve done before. In the tension of “Guldåldern” or the atmosphere of the penultimate instrumental “Angra Mainyu,” their ability to craft a flow and mood across disparate elements brought into a single presentation is engrossing, and the confidence with which they execute the material is what allows them to carry the audience along every step of the way. LamuGrüttner and Larsson are in absolute control of their sound in these tracks, and the potential that always seemed to be residing in their sound has begun to bear fruit accordingly.

Skraeckoedlan have generally kept to a unifying science-fiction thematic over their years, writing about monsters and in this case specifically, mammoths and beasts that may or may not have tentacles and tusks, etc., but whether or not a given listener speaks Swedish, there’s no mistaking the intent of their craft. They are a band who have worked diligently to hone their approach, and while Eorþe is dense, and not a minor undertaking at 54 minutes long, they remain accessible through their use of melody and rhythmic momentum. The fluidity of Eorþe is not to be understated, and while I don’t know if they’re telling a unified story in the lyrics, the underlying point is that the album itself is unified, and the trio are unified in their mission to grow as a band. They have. They do. One hopes they’ll continue to.

In the largesse-laden instrumental stretches of “Elfenbenssalarna,” Skraeckoedlan make clear not only how they’ve developed, but that their commitment is to keep evolving as a creative force, and that the impact that was so much of their initial appeal remains an important factor in what they do. Listening to Eorþe, one can only be glad that’s the case, but the truth is that Skraeckoedlan have expanded their aesthetic to the point that they’re about so much more than just the volume at which one hears them. The melody, the quick turns, the ambience of Eorþe have just as much of an effect on the overarching experience of the songs as the fuzzy tones, shouts and consistent sense of lumber. Whatever it is that has one hearing them, though, they’re a band who deserve more attention than they’ve gotten, and regardless of whatever language barrier there might be with a broader public, Skraeckoedlan break through it like one of the tentacled mammoths of their own creation.

Skraeckoedlan’s website

Skraeckoedlan on Instagram

Skraeckoedlan on Thee Facebooks

Skraeckoedlan on Twitter

Fuzzorama Records

Fuzzorama on Bandcamp

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Grandier Sign to Argonauta Records; Debut Due in 2019

Posted in Whathaveyou on September 14th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

So, it’s four-thirty in the morning and I’m sitting at my kitchen table putting this post together about Grandier joining the ever-expanding ranks of Italy’s Argonauta Records. Empty iced tea cup on my left, empty coffee cup on my right, baby monitor on mute but in the periphery. I’ll admit I’ve never heard the Swedish trio before, so I plunk over to their Bandcamp to see what’s there, and put on the demo for “Butterfly in Flames.” And sitting here by myself, with early commuters whizzing by on the rain-slicked road outside, I listen to “Butterfly in Flames,” and as soon as the vocals kick in, I say out loud to absolutely nobody, “Nice.”

The power of good music, folks.

Grandier will make their full-length debut through Argonauta in 2019. The PR wire has details and background, and you’ll find “Butterfly in Flames” at the bottom of this post for your streaming pleasure.

Dig:

grandier

SWEDISH HEAVY ROCKERS GRANDIER SIGN WITH ARGONAUTA RECORDS!

Heavy rockers Grandier are pleased to announce the collaboration with Argonauta Records for their first full length album, due for a release in 2019! Hailing from Norrköping, Sweden, Grandier was formed when guitarist Patrik teamed up with bassplayer and vocalist Lars (ex Bokor) for songwriting and studio sessions. With the inclusion of drummer Claes Pålsson Grandier moved forward as classic power trio.

True to their roots, Grandier focus on slow and heavy riffs influenced by the classic hard rock and early metal, but also with a massive hint of the doom, psych and stoner rock. Add a dose of grandeur and grunge sounds on the other hand, and Grandier deliver some finest head-crushing rock sound nowadays scene will have to offer!

The band released two singles, „Church Of Let It All Go” and „The Crows“, before they caught the attention of Argonauta Records in 2018. Grandier is currently putting final touches on their upcoming record in the studio, which will be seeing the light of day in 2019 with Argonauta Records.

„From the start of the band in late 2016, we wanted to focus on riffs and slow, heavy groove, and Lars vocals. Moody and groovy. So far, it has turned out pretty OK, and we’re quite obsessed with sound, recording and mixing so that’ll probably show, too. We’re also starting to look for shows to play live, but the focus right now is getting the album done.“

Grandier is Patrik Lidfors (Guitars) Lars Carlberg (Vocals, Bass) and Claes Pålsson (Drums).

www.facebook.com/grandierofficial
grandierofficial.bandcamp.com/
www.grandier.se
www.argonautarecords.com

Grandier, “Butterfly in Flames” demo

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Skraeckoedlan Announce New Album Eorþe for 2019 Release

Posted in Whathaveyou on August 13th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

skraeckoedlan (Photo Mats Ek)

Well how about that? I said a thing might happen and it’s happening. Are you impressed at my prescience? No? Yeah, me neither. Fact is, that when Swedish fuzzlifters Skraeckoedlan announced the 180g vinyl reissue of their first album, Äppelträdet (review here), on The Sign Records, it wasn’t such a huge leap to think a new full-length would follow sometime soon.

Their third, it follows behind 2015’s Sagor (review here) and has been given the title Eorþe. The word translates to ‘earth,’ which makes sense given that the ‘þ’ character roughly equates to a “th” sound (if I learned nothing else from Icelandic black metal, I learned that), and while it’s a pretty ambitious stage-setter in terms of scope, Skraeckoedlan have only grown increasingly progressive as time has gone on, so it’s likewise easy to imagine the planet is only a launching point for the ground the record will actually cover.

There’s a teaser clip playing now — or at least it’s playing after you click play — at the bottom of this post that gives a quick sampling of the fuzzy depth of tone the band brings to bear this time around for what, suitably enough, will be their debut on Fuzzorama Records. The label announcement follows, via the PR wire:

skraeckoedlan logo

SKRAECKOEDLAN announces new album!

Fuzzorama Records proudly presents, from the imaginarium of author Nils Håkansson: Eorþe. As the enlightened has predicted since the birth of the aeons, 2019 will set in motion events of cosmic proportions. Be they good or evil or beyond our understanding of intent, questions better asked of species to come, for dim lay the waters of tomorrow’s reflection. But take heart, the seas will part in the springtime, and that which was meant for the depths will reemerge anew.

This fuzzy masterpiece will be released early 2019!

Skraeckoedlan:
Robert Lamu – Vocals/Guitar
Henrik Grüttner – Guitar
Tim Ångström – Bass
Martin Larsson – Drums

http://www.skraeckoedlan.com/
http://instagram.com/skraeckoedlan
https://www.facebook.com/SKRAECKOEDLAN/
http://twitter.com/skraeckoedlan
http://www.fuzzoramarecords.com/
https://www.facebook.com/Fuzzorama
https://twitter.com/fuzzorecords

Skraeckoedlan, Eorþe teaser

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Skraeckoedlan to Reissue Äppelträdet Oct. 12 on The Sign Records

Posted in Whathaveyou on August 7th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

skraeckoedlan

As you can see in the photo above, Sweden’s Skraeckoedlan were really just kids when they made their debut in 2011 with Äppelträdet (review here). Kids who kicked ass. That album, originally released through Transubstans, is set to arrive as a 180g vinyl and CD through The Sign Records on Oct. 12. I have an enduring affection for that record, as it was my introduction to the band, who’ve since grown into a progressive fuzz metal individualism drawing from a number of modern sources and made their own — as heard on their 2015 follow-up, Sagor (review here) — so it’s cool to see it getting back out to public ears and given a due deluxe-ification with new LP artwork and whatnot.

Skraeckoedlan have peppered out a few singles and live outings since Sagor, but one hopes for a third album maybe sometime in 2019. Last I heard, they were picked up by Fuzzorama Records, which seems only fitting since their relationship with Truckfighters obviously goes back a ways.

Info and preorder link from the PR wire:

SKRAECKOEDLAN – ÄPPELTRÄDET -The Second Coming-

Fuzz-science fiction rockers Skraeckoedlan are set to do the international release of their debut album ‘Äppelträdet’ (The Apple Tree), the 12th of October. Since its initial release 2011 in Sweden, ‘Äppelträdet‘ have been a gem hard to find. When the album was first released it reignited and marked the start of the modern Swedish stoner scene. The record will be released through The Sign Records and comes available on CD and vinyl with world wide distribution.

Äppelträdet is available for pre-order HERE

Originally recorded in 2010, in Truckfighters’ Studio Bombshelter, the album will once again see the light of day this fall, when it returns as a 180g transparent green vinyl housed in a single sleeve cover with updated artwork. A CD version with the original artwork will also be available, both versions featuring the ten seeds that grow to be the Apple Tree.

Also emerging anew are Skraeckoedlan themselves. While still singing in their native tongue, telling stories about mythological beings and cosmic wonders, having just come out of hiatus the band recently made the transition from quartet to trio. The as of now three-piece shares the following words concerning the reprint:

“The reissue of Äppelträdet is, in a somewhat allegorical sense, a celebration of what has been and to a certain extent of what still is, but it also serves as a kind of bridge to what will be. These are our roots and they grow deep.”

https://www.facebook.com/SKRAECKOEDLAN
https://twitter.com/skraeckoedlan
https://skraeckoedlan.bandcamp.com/
http://thesignrecords.com/
https://freighttrain.se/en/the-sign-record/skraeckoedlan/

Skraeckoedlan, Äppelträdet (2011/2018)

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Skraeckoedlan Sign to Fuzzorama Records; Premiere Live Video

Posted in Bootleg Theater, Whathaveyou on June 19th, 2017 by JJ Koczan

skraeckoedlan

It’s rare you’ll find a band and a label as made for each other as Skraeckoedlan and Fuzzorama Records. Even putting aside the fact that since their Transubstans-released first album, 2011’s Äppelträdet (review here), the Norrköping-based outfit have had a strong influence from the methods of Truckfighters — who, if it needs to be said, are at the helm of Fuzzorama, and whose bassist/vocalist, Oskar “Ozo” Cedermalm, recorded that debut — with their ongoing commitment to progressive songcraft, richness of tone, crisp presentation and energetic live performance kind of makes this the match that one has been waiting for. It just makes sense all the way around. They’ve been a Fuzzorama band all along, one way or the other.

Their second album, 2015’s Sagor (review here), was released via Razzia Records, which is an imprint overseen by Anders Fridén, vocalist of In Flames. That record found their processes even weightier and more refined than one found on Äppelträdet, and set a high standard that an impending third full-length and Fuzzorama debut will seek to surpass. As part of celebrating their signing, the four-piece of vocalist/guitarist Robert Lamu, guitarist/vocalist Henrik Grüttner, bassist/backing vocalist Tim Ångström and drummer Martin Larsson have posted a new video filmed live at Studio Underjord in their hometown that very cleverly captures material both new and old. One track from Äppelträdet, one from Sagor, and a sneak peak of a new song from the third long-player, the title and release date for which remain to be announced at this time.

Underneath the clip, which premieres today and which you can see below, you’ll find the announcement from Fuzzorama welcoming the band to the label, as well as their upcoming live dates for the next few months. Kudos to Skraeckoedlan and to Fuzzorama on getting together, and here’s looking forward to what materializes when the album arrives.

Please enjoy:

Skraeckoedlan, Live at Studio Underjord

Skraeckoedlan came to life in 2009 in Norrköping Sweden. The ambition was to create heavy psychedelic music with lyrics in Swedish and to explore themes connected to nordic folklore, sci-fi and to create a mysterious world with their songs. The name translates to what you could call Godzilla in Swedish.

The band recorded and released their two first EPs during 2009 and 2010. They got a lot of attention and toured a lot. In the summer of 2011 they released their first album called Äppelträdet (the apple tree), recorded and produced in Studio Bombshelter by Oskar Ozo Cedermalm of Truckfighters.

Äppelträdet got to a lot of “best of lists” that year and quickly sold out. The band did over 300 live shows the coming years and shared stage with bands like Orange Goblin, Kylesa, Truckfighters, Greenleaf and other giants of the genre.

In 2015 the album Sagor (Tales) was released. This time Skraeckoedlan worked with a few producers, like Niklas Berglöf (Ghost, Den Svenska björnstammen) and Daniel Bergstrand (Meshuggah, In flames, El caco) but it was when they met producer and technician Erik Berglund that they really found what was missing. The album really took the band to a new level musically and they really explored the world that they have created over the years. It reached number two on the Swedish vinyl sales the month it was released.

Now the quest for the next album has started. And what could be better than to work with the guys that got them in to this genre to start with.

“Signing with Fuzzorama records really connects the dots and is the missing link that Skraeckoedlan has been searching for all these years. We really feel like we have found our home.” –Skraeckoedlan.

To celebrate this, the band has recorded a live video that features a little bit of everything from their world of music. In “Skraeckoedlan Levande at Studio Underjord” you get to experience one song from their first album, one from their second album, the latest song they worked with Erik Berglund on and bit of a song that will be featured on their upcoming third album. The live video was recorded and produced by Joona Hassinen in Studio Underjord, mixed and mastered by Erik Berglund and filmed by Marcus Jehrlander.

Skraeckoedlan:
Robert Lamu – Vocals/Guitar
Henrik Grüttner – Guitar
Tim Ångström – Bass
Martin Larsson – Drums

Tour Dates:
Jul 08 Midnight Light Festival, Vilhelmina, Sweden
Jul 22 Noisenäsfestivalen, Nusnäs, Sweden
July 27 Copenhagen, Lygtens Kro, Denmark
Jul 29 Rock Im Wald, Michelau, Germany
Aug 10 Krökbacken Festival, Leksand, Sweden
Aug 26 Eksjö Stadsfest, Eksjö, Sweden
Oct 27 En lokal, Avesta, Sweden
Oct 28 Broken dreams, Borlänge, Sweden

Skraeckoedlan website

Skraeckoedlan on Instagram

Skraeckoedlan on Thee Facebooks

Skraeckoedlan on Twitter

Fuzzorama Records website

Fuzzorama Records on Thee Facebooks

Fuzzorama Records on Twitter

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Skraeckoedlan Announce May UK Tour Dates

Posted in Whathaveyou on April 17th, 2017 by JJ Koczan

Prog-tinged Swedish heavy rockers Skraeckoedlan — whose moniker I as an ignorant American continue to be proud of myself for spelling correctly — are making a back-by-popular-demand-type return trip to the United Kingdom next month. The yet-underrated riffers have been keeping track of their doings on the social medias via a new series of self-shot DIY videos — vlogs — and have included some new material snippets as a part of that, but I’ve yet to see concrete word of a forthcoming release to follow up on their latest single, Pärlor (discussed here), which they released in January in order to keep momentum rolling from their 2015 sophomore full-length,  Sagor (review here).

As they do, they’ll be keeping good company on this trip, including Prosperina from Wales and Netherlands-based instrumentalists Tank86, the latter of whom will join Skraeckoedlan as support for a couple shows with Monolord as well. The gigs are presented by Snuff Lane, and if you want to keep up with Skraeckoedlan‘s doings as they go, I can’t imagine they won’t have cameras rolling while they’re on the road as well. That’s where the good stuff happens.

Must-see tv follows:

skraeckoedlan uk tour

Swedish Fuzz-Forgers Skraeckoedlan Return to the UK Next Month w/ Prosperina & Tank86

Less than a month to go until Swedish fuzzience fiction rockers Skraeckoedlan return to the UK for 10 special headline events.

Heavyweight tag-team support from Welsh prog-pop, post-rockers Prosperina and Dutch high-density, instrumental heaviness TANK86.

Skraeckoedlan and Tank86 are also set to support Monolord for 2 events, as part of Monolords UK tour.

SKRAECKOEDLAN May UK Tour
w/ Prosperina

12/05 – The Wheatsheaf, Banbury
13/05 – The Pit, Swansea
14/05 – Retro Bar, Manchester
15/05 – Mulberry Tavern, Sheffield
16/05 – The Iron Road, Evesham
17/05 – The Arches, Coventry

w/ Tank86
18/05 – Underworld, London (supporting Monolord)
19/05 – Sanctuary, Basingstoke
20/05 – The Junction, Plymouth
21/05 – Exchange, Bristol (supporting Monolord)

Come feel the fuzz!

Flawless artwork, crafted by the exceptionally talented JaneyMonster.

Skraeckoedlan is:
Henrik Grüttner (Guitaring, backup singing)
Martin Larsson (Drumming)
Robert Lamu (Singing/guitaring)
Tim Ångström (Bassing/backup singing)

https://facebook.com/SKRAECKOEDLAN
http://www.skraeckoedlan.com/
http://instagram.com/skraeckoedlan
http://twitter.com/skraeckoedlan
http://www.razziarecords.se/

Skraeckoedlan, “Pärlor” official video

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Quarterly Review: Pallbearer, Dread Sovereign, Lizzard Wizzard, Oulu Space Jam Collective, Frozen Planet….1969, Ananda Mida, Strange Broue, Orango, Set and Setting, Dautha

Posted in Reviews on March 27th, 2017 by JJ Koczan

cropped-Charles-Meryon-Labside-Notre-Dame-1854

Here we are, on the precipice looking out over a spread that will include 50 reviews by the week’s end. Somehow when it comes around to a Quarterly Review Monday I always end up taking a moment to ask myself if I’ve truly lost my mind, if I really expect to be able to do this and not fall completely flat on my face, and just where the hell this terrible idea came from in the first place. But you know what? I haven’t flubbed one yet. We get through it. There’s a lot to go through, for me and you both, but sometimes it’s fun to be completely overwhelmed by music. I hope you agree, and I hope you find something this week that hits you in that oh-yeah-that’s-why-I-love-this kind of way. Time’s wasting. Let’s get started.

Quarterly Review #1-10:

Pallbearer, Heartless

pallbearer heartless

Three albums and nearly a decade into their tenure, Pallbearer stand at the forefront of American doom, and their third outing, Heartless (on Profound Lore), only reinforces this position while at the same time expanding beyond genre lines in ways that even their 2014 sophomore effort, Foundations of Burden, simply couldn’t have done. A seven-song/hour-long sprawl is marked out by resonant melodies, soulful melancholy conveyed by guitarist/vocalist Brett Campbell – the returning lineup completed by guitarist Devin Holt, bassist Joseph D. Rowland and drummer Mark Lierly – and tonal weight set to a mix by Joe Barresi, who from opener “I Saw the End” onward arranges layers gorgeously so that extended pieces like “Dancing in Madness” (11:48) and closer “A Plea for Understanding” (12:40) become even more consuming. What comes through most resolute on Heartless, though, is that it’s time to stop thinking of Pallbearer as belonging to some established notion of doom or any other subgenre. With these songs, they make it clear they’ve arrived at their own wavelength and are ready to stand up to the influence they’ve already begun to have on other acts. A significant achievement.

Pallbearer on Thee Facebooks

Profound Lore Records website

 

Dread Sovereign, For Doom the Bell Tolls

dread-sovereign-for-doom-the-bell-tolls

With the considerable frontman presence of Primordial’s Alan Averill on vocals and bass, the considerable riffing of guitarist Bones (also of Wizards of Firetop Mountain) and the considerable lumber in the drumming of Johnny King (ex-Altar of Plagues), Dread Sovereign make some considerable fucking doom indeed. Their second album, For Doom the Bell Tolls (on Ván Records), follows three years behind their debut, 2014’s All Hell’s Martyrs (review here), and wastes no time giving the devil his due – or his doom, if you prefer – in the span of its six tracks and 37 minutes. Atmospheric and seemingly on an endless downward plod, the 13-minute “Twelve Bells Toll in Salem” is a defining moment, but the trad metallurgy of “This World is Doomed” rounds out side A with some welcome thrust, and after the intro “Draped in Sepulchral Fog,” “The Spines of Saturn” and the thrashing “Live Like and Angel, Die Like a Devil” play dramatic and furious intensities off each other in a manner that would seem to truly represent the fine art of not giving a shit what anyone thinks about what you do or what box you’re supposed to fit into. Righteous. Considerably so.

Dread Sovereign on Thee Facebooks

Ván Records website

 

Lizzard Wizzard, Total War Power Bastard

lizzard-wizzard-total-war-power-bastard

Noise, largesse of riffs and shouted vocals that distinctly remind of Souls at Zero-era Neurosis pervade the near-hour-long run of Lizzard Wizzard’s Total War Power Bastard, but as much as the Brisbane four-piece willfully give themselves over to fuckall – to wit, the title “Medusa but She Gets You Stoned Instead of Turning You to Stone, Instead of Snakes She has Vaporizers on His Head… Drugs” – songs like “Shithead Nihilism,” “Pizza” and the droning “Snake Arrow” brim with purpose and prove affecting in their atmosphere and heft alike. Yes, they have a song called “Nerd Smasher,” and they deserve all credit for that as they follow-up their 2013 self-titled (review here), but by the time they get down to the roll-happy “Crystal Balls” and the feedback-caked “Megaflora” at the record’s end, guitarists Michael Clarke and Nick McKeon, bassist Stef Roselli and drummer Luke Osborne end up having done something original with a Sleep influence, and that’s even more commendable.

Lizzard Wizzard on Thee Facebooks

Lizzard Wizzard on Bandcamp

 

Oulu Space Jam Collective, EP1

Oulu-Space-Jam-Collective-ep1

Should mention two things outright about Oulu Space Jam Collective’s EP1. First and foremost, its three songs run over 95 minutes long, so if it’s an EP, one can only imagine what qualifies as a “full-length.” Second, the Finnish outfit releasing EP1 on limited tape through Eggs in Aspic isn’t to be confused with Denmark’s Øresund Space Collective. Oulu is someplace else entirely, and likewise, Oulu Space Jam Collective have their own intentions as they show in the 57-minute opener “Renegade Spaceman,” recorded live in the studio in 2014 (they’ve since made two sequels) and presented in six movements including samples, drones, enough swirl for, well, 57 minutes, and a hypnotism that’s nigh on inescapable. I won’t take away from the space rock thrust of 14-minute closer “Artistic Supplies for Moon Paint Mafia” (also tracked in 2014), but the smooth progressive edge of three-part 24-minute centerpiece “Approaching Beast Moon of Baxool” is where it’s at for me – though if you want a whole galaxy to explore, hit up their Bandcamp.

Oulu Space Jam Collective on Thee Facebooks

Eggs in Aspic webstore

 

Frozen Planet…. 1969, Electric Smokehouse

frozen-planet-1969-electric-smokehouse

They freak out a bit toward the end of 12-minute opener “Ascendant” and in the second half of the subsequent “Supersaturation,” but for the most part, Aussie three-piece Frozen Planet…. 1969 play it weirdo-cool on their fourth full-length, the excellently-titled Electric Smokehouse (on Pepper Shaker Records). From those jams to the dreamy beachside drift of “Shores of Oblivion” to the funky-fuzz bass of “Sonic Egg Factory” to the quick noise finish of “Pretty Blown Fuse” – which may or may not be the sound of malfunctioning equipment run through an oscillator or some other effects-whatnot, the instrumentalist Sydney/Canberra trio seem to improv a healthy percentage of their fare, if not all of it, and that spirit of spontaneity feeds into the easygoing atmosphere only enhanced by the cover art. On a superficial level, you know you’re getting psych jams going into it, but once you put on Electric Smokehouse, the urge to get lost in the tracks is nigh on overwhelming, and that proves greatly to their credit. Wake up someplace else.

Frozen Planet…. 1969 on Thee Facebooks

Pepper Shaker Records on Bandcamp

 

Ananda Mida, Anodnatius

ananda-mida-anodnatius

Ananda Mida make their debut on Go Down Records with Anodnatius, fluidly working their way around heavy psychedelic and more driving rock influences propelled by drummer Massimo “Max Ear” Recchia, also of underrated Italian forebears OJM. Here, Recchia anchors a seven-piece lineup including two vocalists in Oscar de Bertoldi and Filippo Leonardi, two guitarists in Matteo Scolaro and Alessandro Tedesco, as well as bassist Davide Bressan and organist Stefano Pasqualetto, so suffice it to say songs like the subtly grungy “Passvas,” the dreamy highlight “Heropas” or the vaguely progressive “Askokinn” want nothing for fullness, but there seem to be moments throughout Anodnatius as on “Lunia” and the shuffling “Kondur” early into the proceedings where the band wants to break out and push toward something heavier. Their restraint is to be commended since it serves the interests of songcraft, but part of me can’t help but wonder what might happen if these guys really let loose on some boogie jams. Keep an ear open to find out, as I have a feeling they might be headed in just that direction.

Ananda Mida on Thee Facebooks

Go Down Records website

 

Strange Broue, Seance

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The heart of Séance – The Satanic Sounds of Strange Broue might come in the 11-minute sample dump that is “Cults and Crimes,” late into the second half of the 52-minute album. Capturing meticulously compiled news and talk-show clips from the late ‘80s, some of which talk about the Satanic roots of heavy metal, it gets to the ritualism that Quebec four-piece Strange Broue proliferate elsewhere on the record in the lo-fi post-Electric Wizard doom of “Satan’s Slaves,” “Kill What’s Inside of You” and the rolling opener “Ritualize” (video here). These pieces offset by other interludes of noise and drone and samples like “Satanic Panic,” “In Nomine Dei Nostri Satanis, Luciferi Excelsis,” the acoustic-until-it-gets-shot-in-the-woods “Las Bas,” the John Carpenter-esque “Séance IV – L’Invocation” and the extended penultimate drone of “Séance V – The Mystifying Oracle with Bells” ahead of the countrified pop gospel of “Satan is Real,” which finishes in subversive fashion, interrupted by more news reports and a finishing assault of noise. Like an arts project in the dark arts, Séance crosses some familiar terrain but finds Strange Broue on their own trip through cultish immersion, as psychological as it is psychedelic.

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Orango, The Mules of Nana

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Not much to argue with in the sixth long-player from Helge Kanck, Trond Slåke and Hallvard Gaardløs, collectively known as Orango. As they make their way onto Stickman Records (which also handled Euro distro for their last album, 2014’s Battles) with The Mules of Nana, the Norwegian trio deep-dive into harmony-topped ‘70s-style vibing that, well, leaves the bulk of “retro” bands in their V8-crafted dust. Mind you they do so by not being a retro band. True, the fuzz on “The Honeymoon Song” and “Head on Down” is as organic as if you happened on it in some forest where all the trees were wearing bellbottoms, but if you told me it was true, I’d believe Orango recorded The Mules of Nana onto – gasp! – a computer. I don’t know if that’s the case or not, but “Heirs,” the sweetly acoustic “Give Me a Hundred” and motoring “Hazy Chain of Mountains” find Orango making no attempt to cloak a lack of songwriting or performance chops in a production aesthetic. Rather, in the tradition of hi-fi greats, they sound as full and rich as possible and utterly live up to the high standard they set for themselves. Pure win in classic, dynamic fashion.

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Stickman Records website

 

Set and Setting, Reflectionless

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There’s an undercurrent of metal that’s quick to show itself on Set and Setting’s Reflectionless. The instrumentalist Floridian five-piece delve plenty deep into heavy post-rock on cuts like the shoegazing “Incandescent Gleam” and subsequent “Specular Wavefront Of…” but they’re not through opener “Saudade” before harder-edged chug emerges, and “…The Idyllic Realm”’s blastbeating nods at black metal while the churning endgame build of closer “Ephemerality” holds tight to a progressive execution. While its textural foundation will likely ring familiar to followers of Russian Circles ultimately, Reflectionless finds distinction in aligning the various paths it walks as it goes, creating an overarching flow that draws strength from its diversity of approach rather than sounding choppy, confused or in conflict with itself. Not revolutionary by any means, but engaging throughout and with a residual warmth to complement what might seem at first to be a purely cerebral approach. It offers more on repeat listens, so let it sink in.

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Dautha, Den Foerste

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Primo short offering of pure, fistpump-ready, violin-infused doom traditionalism. I don’t know what Norrköping, Sweden’s Dautha – the five-piece of vocalist Lars Palmqvist, guitarists Erik Öquist and Ola Blomkvist, bassist Emil Åström and drummer Micael Zetterberg – are planning to do for a follow-up, but this Den Foerste (or Den Förste) two-tracker recalls glory-era Candlemass and willfully soars with no sense of irony on “Benandanti” and “In Between Two Floods” after the intro “Horkarlar Skall Slås Ihjäl,” and having already sold out a self-released pressing leaves little to wonder what would’ve caught the esteemed tastes of Ván Records. And by that I mean it’s fucking awesome. I’m ready for a full-length whenever they are, and from the poise with which Palmqvist carries the melodies of these tracks, the quality of the riffing and the depth of arrangement the violin adds to the overarching mournfulness, they definitely sound ready. So get on it. 15 minutes of dirge-making this gorgeous simply isn’t enough.

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Ván Records website

 

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Year of the Goat Premiere Lyric Video for “Song of Winter”

Posted in Bootleg Theater on December 5th, 2016 by JJ Koczan

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Swedish cultists Year of the Goat are getting ready to release their new seven-incher Song of Winter this Friday, Dec. 9, via Napalm Records. They made their debut in 2015 through the same imprint with their second full-length, The Unspeakable, and with the leadoff A-side of the single, they’re moving forward from that album toward their next one and an early-2017 push that will find them on the road in Jan./Feb. alongside countrymen/labelmate doomers The Order of Israfel and Norwegian heavy-hitters Tombstones, keeping their momentum going from the last few years and perhaps making sure the proper demons are exorcized and/or represented in new material before they hit the studio to bring their third album to fruition.

One can hear traces of the original version of “Song of Winter” in Year of the Goat‘s version. Released by Parisian singer/actress/model Francoise Hardy on 1969’s One-Nine-Seven-Zero, it has a duly haunting melody bolstered by the Norrköping six-piece’s arrangement of guitar and Mellotron and a light, poetic simplicity to the lyrics that speaks to the era from which it comes and resonates even now, the better part of half a century later. Or maybe I’m just a sucker for any song that features lines like, “I’m a misty rainbow.” In any case, “Song of Winter” earns its art deco cover, and if it’s offering a glimpse at where Year of the Goat might be headed, then the modern sensibility they bring to the classic structure bodes well to say the least. Presumably we’ll see how it all works out sometime before the end of 2017.

The band offers some insight on “Song of Winter” under the lyric video, which you’ll find below. Also down there are the dates for the aforementioned tour, should you happen to be or find yourself in that part of the world when it’s happening.

Please enjoy:

Year of the Goat, “Song of Winter” lyric video

Year of the Goat on “Song of Winter”:

“For many years Francoise Hardy has been part of our playlist while on the road. As soon as ‘Song of Winter’ played, the thought that we really should do a cover of it at some point always presented itself. Lyrically we find it going very well with the theme of our first album and also with the one we’re planning at the moment. The B-side on the other hand lyrically draws more towards our second album, The Unspeakable. One could probably say that the wonderful and talented Francoise Hardy is helping us build a bridge between our last album and the one to come.”

Year of the Goat, “Song of Winter” limited gold 7″
1. Song of Winter (Side A
2. Strange Shadows (Side B)

Strictly Limited Napalm Records Mailorder Edition to 200 Copies in GOLDEN Vinyl. EXCLUSIVELY AVAILABLE VIA THE NAPALM RECORDS MAILORDER AND ONLINE STORE.

Year of the Goat European tour w/ The Order of Israfel & Tombstones:
28.01.17 DE – Berlin / Badehaus
29.01.17 DE – Osnabrück / Bastard Club
30.01.17 DE – Hamburg / Hafenklang
31.01.17 DE – Wiesbaden / Schlachthof
01.02.17 NL – Arnhem / Willemeen
02.02.17 UK – London / Underworld
04.02.17 TBA
06.02.17 CH – Olten / Coq D’Or
07.02.17 IT – Milano / Lo Fi
08.02.17 DE – Munich / Backstage
09.02.17 AT – Vienna / Viper Room
10.02.17 DE – Leipzig / UT Connewitz
11.02.17 DE – Siegen / Vortex

Year of the Goat is:
Thomas Sabbathi – vocals, guitar
Jonas Mattsson – guitar
Don Palmroos – guitar
Fredrik Hellerström – drums
Joona Hassinen – bass
Pope – mellotron, vocals

Year of the Goat at Napalm Records

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