Quarterly Review: The Necromancers, The Asound & Intercourse, Bohr, Strobe, Astrosaur, Sun Q, Holy Mount, Sum of R, IIVII, Faces of the Bog

Posted in Reviews on September 25th, 2017 by JJ Koczan

the obelisk quarterly review

The season is changing here in the Northeastern part of the US. Leaves have just barely started to change, and the summertime haze that settles over the region for for the better parts of June, July and August has largely dissipated. It’s getting to be hoodie weather after the sun goes down. This past weekend was the equinox. All of this can only mean it’s time for another Quarterly Review — this one spanning a full Monday-to-Monday week’s worth of writeups. That’s right. 60 albums between now and a week from today. It’s going to be a genuine challenge to get through it all, but I’m (reasonably) confident we’ll get there and that when we’re on the other side, it will have been completely worth the lengthy trip to get there. Hell, you know the drill by now. Let’s not waste any time and get to it, shall we?

Quarterly Review #1-10:

The Necromancers, Servants of the Salem Girl

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A noteworthy debut from the Poitier, France-based four-piece The Necromancers, whose coming has been much heralded owing in no small part to a release through Ripple Music, the six-track/41-minute Servants of the Salem Girl lumbers through doom and cultish heavy rock with likewise ease, shifting itself fluidly between the two sides on extended early cuts like opener “Salem Girl Part I” and the nine-minute “Lucifer’s Kin,” which gets especially Sabbathian in its roll later on. The album’s midsection, with the shorter cuts “Black Marble House” (video premiere here) and “Necromancers,” continues the flow with a general uptick of pace and ties together with the opening salvo via the burly vocals of guitarist Tom, the solo work of Rob on lead guitar, and the adaptable groove from bassist Simon and drummer Ben, and as the penultimate “Grand Orbiter” engages moody spaciousness, it does so with a refusal to commit to one side or the other that makes it a highlight of the album as a whole. The Necromancers finish contrasting rhythmic tension and payoff nod on “Salem Girl Part II,” having long since thoroughly earned their hype through songwriting and immediately distinct sonic persona. There’s growth to do in melodicism, but for being “servants,” The Necromancers show an awful lot of command in structure and style.

The Necromancers on Thee Facebooks

Ripple Music website

 

The Asound & Intercourse, Split 7″

the asound intercourse split

Noise is the order of things on the Tsuguri Records split 7” between New Haven, Connecticut’s good-luck-Googling aggressives Intercourse and North Carolinian sludge rockers The Asound. Each band offers a two-song showcase of their wares, with Intercourse blasting short jabs of post-hardcore/noise rock angularity on “Too Fucked to Yiff” and “Corricidin is a Helluva Drug” and The Asound bringing a more melodic heavy rock swing to “Slave to the Saints” while saving a more galloping charge for “Human for Human.” It’s a quick sampling, of course, and “Slave to the Saints” is the relative epic inclusion as the only one over three minutes long – it goes to 4:20, naturally – but boasts a surprisingly professional production from The Asound and an unhinged vibe from Intercourse that meets them head on in a way both competitive and complementary to the aggression of “Human for Human.” Fodder for the bands’ merch tables in its limited-to-300, one-time-only pressing, but there’s hardly anything wrong with that. All the more worth grabbing it if you can, while you can.

The Asound on Thee Facebooks

Intercourse on Thee Facebooks

Tsuguri Records on Thee Facebooks

 

Bohr, Bohr

bohr bohr

Officially called Self-Title, this two-song outing released by Tandang Records and BTNKcllctv serves as the first release from Malaysia’s Bohr, and with shouts and growls duking it out over massive plodding tones on opener “Voyager,” they seem to take position right away in the post-Conan verve of megadoom. Peppered-in lead work showcases some welcome nuance of personality, but it’s the second track “Suria” that trips into more surprising terrain, with a faster tempo and something of a letup in thickness, allowing for a more rocking feel, still met with shouted vocals but hinting at more of a melodic reach nonetheless. The shift might be awkward in the context of a full-length, but on a debut single/EP, it works just fine to demonstrate what may or may not be a nascent breadth in Bohr’s approach. They finish “Suria” with hints of more to come in a plotted guitar lead and are done in about 10 minutes, having piqued interest with two disparate tracks that leave one to wonder what other tricks might be up their collective sleeve.

Bohr on Thee Facebooks

Tandang Records on Bandcamp

BTNKcllctv on Bandcamp

 

Strobe, Bunker Sessions

strobe bunker sessions

It’s worth noting outright that Strobe’s Bunker Sessions was recorded in 1994. Not because it sounds dated, but just the opposite. The Sulatron Records release from the under-exposed UK psychedelic rockers finds them jamming out in live-in-studio fashion, and if you’d told me with no other context that the resultant six-track/40-minute long-player was put to tape two months ago, I’d absolutely have believed it. This would’ve been the era of their 1994 third album, The Circle Never Ends, and while some can hear some relation between that and Bunker Sessions in the shimmering lead and warm underscoring basslines of 10-minute opener and longest track (immediate points) “Sun Birth,” the drift in “Chameleon Earth,” synth-laden space rock meandering of “Opium Dreams” and cymbal-wash-into-distortion-wash of closer “Sun Death” are on a wavelength of their own. It’s something of a curio release – a “lost album” – but it’s also bound to turn some heads onto how ahead of their time Stobe were in the ‘90s, and maybe we’ll get lucky and Sulatron will use it to kick off a full series of convenient LP reissues.

Sulatron Records on Thee Facebooks

Sulatron Records webstore

 

Astrosaur, Fade In / Space Out

astrosaur-fade-in-space-out

While their moniker brings to mind pure stoner idolatry, Oslo instrumentalists Astrosaur acquit themselves toward more progressive fare with Fade In // Space Out, their Bad Vibes Records debut album, finding open spaces in bookending extended opener “Necronauts” and the dramatic shift between droning experimentalism and weighted lumber of the closing title-track even as middle cuts “Space Mountain,” “Yugen” and “Fishing for Kraken” balance with fits of driving progressive metallurgy. Comprised of Eirik Kråkenes, Steinar Glas and Jonatan Eikum, Astrosaur do get fuzzy for a bit on “Yugen,” but by the time they’re there, they’ve already space-doom-jazzed their way through such a vast aesthetic swath that it becomes one more stylistic element in fair-enough play. Open in its structure and building to an affecting cacophony in its ending, Fade In // Space Out is defined in no small part by its stylistic ambition, but whether it’s in the head-spinning initial turns of “Fishing for Kraken” or the stretch of peaceful, wistful guitar after the seven-minute mark in “Necronauts,” that ambition is admirable multifaceted and wide-reaching.

Astrosaur on Thee Facebooks

Bad Vibes Records website

 

Sun Q, Charms

sun q charms

There’s an encouraging and decidedly pro-shop fullness of sound being proffered on Sun Q’s debut full-length, Charms, to match an immediate sense of songcraft and stylization that puts them somewhere between heavy psych and more driving fuzz rock. Vocalist Elena Tiron takes a forward position in opener “Petals and Thorns” over the briskly-captured tones from guitarist Ivan Shalimov and bassist Denis Baranov while drummer Pavel Poseluev pushes the proceedings along, and whether they’re bringing in Seva Timofeev’s Hammond for the subsequent bluesy vibing of “After This,” toying with pop playfulness on “Plankton,” giving Andrey Tanzu percussive room on “Dancing Souls” or going full-expanse on keyboard-laden centerpiece and aptly-titled longest cut “Space,” there’s purpose behind the variety on offer and Sun Q never seem to lose their sense of poise throughout. There are moments where the bite of the production hits a little deep – looking at you, “Plankton” – but especially as their debut, Charms lives up to the name it’s been given and establishes these Moscow natives as a presence with which to be reckoned as they move forward.

Sun Q on Thee Facebooks

Sun Q on Bandcamp

 

Holy Mount, The Drought

holy mount the drought

White Dwarf Records picked up what by my count is Holy Mount’s fourth full-length, The Drought, for a vinyl issue following the Toronto foursome’s self-release last year, and with the immersive, dense heavy psych nod of “Division,” it’s little wonder why. The seven-cut LP is the second to feature the lineup of Danijel Losic, Brandon McKenzie, Troy Legree and Clayton Churcher behind 2014’s VOL, and its moments of nuance like the synth at the outset of “Blackened Log” or the blend of tense riffing and post-The Heads shoegaze-style vocal chants on the markedly insistent highlight cut “Basalt” only further the reasoning. The penultimate “Blood Cove” returns some to of the ritual sense of “Division,” and The Drought’s titular finale pierces its own wash with a lead that makes its apex all the more resonant and dynamic. Not nearly as frenetic as its cover art would have you believe, the already-sold-out vinyl brims with a vibe of creative expansiveness, and Holy Mount feel right at home in its depths.

Holy Mount on Thee Facebooks

White Dwarf Records webstore

 

Sum of R, Orga

sum of r orga

Over the course of its near-hour runtime, Orga, the Czar of Crickets-issued third full-length from Bern, Switzerland, ambient outfit Sum of R deep-dives into droning atmospheric wash while effectively producing headphone-worthy depths and avoiding the trap of redundant minimalism. Chimes in a song like “Desmonema Annasethe” and ringing bells in “We Have to Mark this Entrance” give a feeling of lushness instead that serves the release well overall, and these details, nuances, take the place of what otherwise might be human voices coursing through the bleak mire of Orga’s progression. One might look to closing duo “Let us Begin with What We Do Not Want to Be” and “One After the Other” for some sense of hopefulness, and whether or not it’s actually there, it’s possible to read it into the overarching drone of the former and the percussive movement of the latter, but by then Sum of R have well set the mood in an abiding darkness, and that remains the prevailing vibe. Not quite dramatic or brooding in a human/emotional sense, Orga casts its drear in soundscapes of distant nighttime horizon.

Sum of R website

Czar of Crickets Productions website

 

IIVII, Invasion

iivii invasion

Noted graphic artist and post-metal songwriter Josh Graham – formerly visuals for Neurosis, but also art for Soundgarden and many others, as well as being known for his work with A Storm of Light and the woefully, vastly underrated Battle of Mice – makes his second ambient solo release in the form of IIVII’s Invasion on Belgian imprint Consouling Sounds. A soundtrack-ready feel pervades the nine tracks/44 minutes almost instantly and holds sway with opener “We Came Here from a Dying World (I)” finding complement in the centerpiece “Tomorrow You’ll be One of Us (II)” and a thematic capstone in closer “Sanctuary,” only furthering the sense of a narrative unfolding throughout. There are elements drawn in “Unclouded by Conscience” from the atmospheric and score work of Trent Reznor and/or Junkie XL, but Graham doesn’t necessarily part with the post-metallic sense of brooding that has defined much of his work even as the pairing of “We Live” and “You Die” late in the record loops its way to and through its dramatic apex. Obviously not going to be for everyone, but it does make a solid argument for Graham as a composer whose breadth is still revealing itself even after a career filled with landmarks across multiple media.

IIVII on Thee Facebooks

Consouling Sounds website

 

Faces of the Bog, Ego Death

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In some of their shifts between atmospheric patience and churning intensity – not to mention in the production of Sanford ParkerFaces of the Bog remind a bit of fellow Windy City residents Minsk on their DHU Records debut album, Ego Death, but prove ultimately more aggressive in the thrust of “Drifter in the Abyss” and the later stretch of “The Serpent and the Dagger,” on which the guitars of Mark Stephen Gizewski and Trey Wedgeworth (both also vocals) delve into Mastodonic leads near the finish to set up the transition into the 10:33 title-track, which begins with a wash of static noise before Paul Bradfield’s bass sets up the slow nod that holds sway and only grows bigger as it presses forward. That cut is one of two over the 10-minute mark, and the other, closer “Blue Lotus,” unfolds even more gradually and ventures into cleaner vocals presaged on “The Weaver” and elsewhere as it makes its way toward an album-payoff crescendo marked by drummer Danny Garcia’s thudding toms and a low end rumble that’s as much a presence unto itself as a harbinger of progression to come.

Faces of the Bog on Thee Facebooks

DHU Records webstore

 

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Demon Eye Announce Fall Shows

Posted in Whathaveyou on August 29th, 2017 by JJ Koczan

You can hear it now in its entirety, but Demon Eye‘s Prophecies and Lies (review here) is still more than a week off from its actual US release date of Sept. 8. Does that mean you’re getting away with something hearing it early? Yeah, probably not, but whatever. The North Carolinian heavy/garage/proto/doom/and-so-on specialists always deliver in terms of songwriting and the new record’s no exception. I’m glad to see they’ll be getting out a bit and supporting the record in the coming months. It’s not a five-week, nonstop, in-the-van-on-the-road tour or anything like that, but some choice shows throughout the South and Midwest coming up between now and December, and every little bit counts.

I feel like you don’t need me to tell you things like “go see good bands,” but yeah, go see good bands. The following brief update from the PR wire tells you where this one will be available for just that purpose:

demon eye

DEMON EYE: North Carolina Occult Metal Collective Announces Fall Live Dates; Soulseller-Bound Prophecies And Lies Full-Length To See North American Release Next Month

Occult metal collective DEMON EYE will embark on a bout of live performances through Virginia, Pennsylvania, Michigan, Indiana, and their home state of North Carolina this fall. The band’s latest run of dates come in conjunction with the release of their newest full-length, Prophecies And Lies.

Out now in Europe, Prophecies And Lies was captured by Corrosion Of Conformity’s Mike Dean and finds DEMON EYE’s fiery fusion of heavy classic rock, proto metal, and traditional doom at its most intense to date. A monolithic display of mighty riffs, haunting melodies, and fist-raising anthems, DEMON EYE conjures vintage, heavy darkness for modern day evils.

Prophecies And Lies will be released in North America on September 8th. For US CD preorders go to THIS LOCATION. For US LP preorders go to THIS LOCATION. For orders outside of the US, go HERE.

DEMON EYE:
9/29/2017 Strange Matter – Richmond, VA
9/30/2017 The Taphouse – Norfolk, VA w/ The Norfolk Nightmares
10/04/2017 Neptune’s – Raleigh, NC w/ Man Forever
11/15/2017 The Garage – Winston Salem, NC w/ Lords Of Mace
11/16/2017 Howlers – Pittsburgh, PA w/ Horehound
11/17/2017 Small’s – Detroit, MI
11/18/2017 Taps Live – Indianapolis, IN w/ Karma To Burn
12/01/2017 Snug Harbor – Charlotte, NC

http://www.facebook.com/demoneyenc
http://www.demoneye.bandcamp.com
http://www.demoneyeofficial.com
http://www.soulsellerrecords.com

Demon Eye, Prophecies and Lies (2017)

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Six Dumb Questions with Demon Eye

Posted in Six Dumb Questions on August 8th, 2017 by JJ Koczan

demon-eye-photo-ken-trousdell

Over the course of three albums, North Carolinian four-piece Demon Eye have evolved a notably crisp, efficient and standout method of constructing memorable songs, and as it should, their latest offering marks the pinnacle of their achievement in this to-date. Out Aug. 11 via Soulseller Records, the 11-track Prophecies and Lies (review here) is the proverbial lean and mean execution of classic-influenced heavy rock given a modern aesthetic update. Marked out by the stylized dynamic between vocalist/guitarist Erik Sugg, lead guitarist Larry Burlison and the driving forward rhythm section of bassist/vocalist Paul Walz and drummer/vocalist Bill Eagen, Demon Eye‘s work stems from a core master plan dedicated to building an individualized sound around familiar structures, which is something neither easy to do nor often done as naturally as the Raleigh natives make it seem they’re doing it.

Veterans twice over of the Maryland Doom Fest and having earned a reputation for a particularly energetic delivery there and on just about every other stage they’ve taken, Demon Eye hit the studio this time around with founding Corrosion of Conformity bassist/vocalist Mike Dean at the helm. Dean‘s recordings often carry a distinct tonal sharpness, an edge that pervades the sound, and this suits the finished product of Prophecies and Lies in style and substance alike. Tempo shifts in cuts like “In the Spider’s Eye” and the engaging swing of “The Redeemer” are brought forth with underlying structural purpose as well as atmospheric breadth stemming not from self-indulgent meandering but from the tones, melodies and hooks that have become so much the staples of Demon Eye‘s approach.

Ahead of the release later this week, Sugg was kind enough to take some time out to discuss the band’s writing modus, their time in the studio with Dean, how Demon Eye feel about what they’ve accomplished three records into their ongoing tenure and more. Their release show for Prophecies and Lies takes place in Raleigh, NC, on Aug. 18 with Captain Beyond. More info on that can be found on the Thee Facebooks event page.

Please enjoy the following Six Dumb Questions:

demon eye prophecies and lies

When did the writing process start for Prophecies and Lies? Tell me about how the songs came together. Was there anything in particular you were looking to accomplish coming off of Leave the Light?

Generally most of our riffing is done individually. The classic, “dudes playing guitar alone in their bedrooms”-deal. But for the process with this album, one standout memory was when we were driving up to New England for a fest performance. Along the way we stayed in a Super 8 somewhere in Maryland and wrote a lot of ideas right there in the hotel room. Most of what was written that night ended up being what you hear on the record. Somewhere I still have the complimentary Super 8 notepad with all of the ideas written out. They have hilarious working titles, like “Erik’s Spidery Riff in D,” “Uncle Larry’s Acid in E,” “Voivod in G,” etc.

In terms of trying new things from the previous records, we wanted to try different dynamics with the music, like changing things rhythmically and structurally, while also making sure it still sounded like a Demon Eye record. We didn’t want people to listen to the new album and go, “Oh, this is their prog record.” For the first album there were a lot of occult/witchcraft themes. As the main songwriter for the band, that’s something I wanted to steer from. I enjoy that sort of thing and probably always will, but I didn’t want to pigeonhole us as being just another band who does that sort of thing.

Songwriting is always the element of Demon Eye’s work that strikes me the most. Do you have a specific approach to putting pieces together to make songs, or a general guiding philosophy for structure? Demon Eye sound like a modern band, but would you agree your songwriting might be the most classic element of what you do?

I would agree, yes. With our songs we basically just try to keep it simple and let things flow naturally. Most of our songs end up being the traditional verse/chorus/verse format. I tend to follow the philosophy of, “Why fix it if it ain’t broke?” Most of my favorite rock bands and heavy metal bands growing up did it like that. Songs like “Paranoid” and “The Prisoner” were more or less pop songs, simply by sticking to that format. Heavy pop songs, sure, but they had great hooks, powerful riffs, and well-crafted music that stayed with you and made you want to listen to them over and over again.

On the flipside of that philosophy I also love bands who write 10-20 minute epics. YOB, Sleep, and Electric Wizard are three of my favorite bands. I love their music dearly, but writing music in that style is not something I could do well. If Demon Eye ever tried to release a song like “Marrow” or “Holy Mountain” it would probably come off sounding forced and inauthentic. Maybe not, but it’s definitely not my particular comfort zone. I think it’s important to know your strengths. I believe our strengths are in the riffs, the melodies, and the basic song structures.

How was your time in the studio with Mike Dean? What is he like to work with as a producer, and what was behind your decision to have him work on the record? How long were you in the studio and what was the recording process like? What was the vibe as the album came together?

It was a total blast recording with Mike. He’s a hilarious guy with lots of energy and he works like a mad scientist. He’ll run around feeling completely inspired by one thing, then stop and shout, “Wait! Don’t do that! Forget that! Let’s try something else!” Mike’s a good friend so the vibe was very laid back. Just friends having a good time making music together. I think the overall timeline for the record, including mixing and mastering, was September of 2016 through January of 2017. Because Mike is very busy, and everyone in Demon Eye has so many different “life” obligations, we took our time and scheduled sessions pretty sporadically.

Prophecies and Lies is the third Demon Eye album. How do you feel about everything the band has been able to accomplish up to this point in your career? How do you feel about the audience you’ve been able to build and the response you’ve gotten live and to the three records?

Not to sound like a Pollyanna, but I am immensely grateful for all that we have. Our fanbase, the positive reviews, the opportunities we’ve been granted, the incredible people and bands we’ve had the chance to meet, etc. All of it. The thing with Demon Eye is that, in the beginning, we had zero intentions of doing anything outside of writing a few tunes and playing locally on occasion in front of like 20 of our friends. That was all we envisioned.

When our initial demo was recorded and put online, and then all the Internet activity and positive response came about (not to mention the record deal offer), we barely had time to process all of it. We were like, “Huh? This is really happening?!” It was very humbling. Sure, there’s more we’d like to do (like playing overseas and playing bigger fests), but we’re not the kind of guys who get bummed over what’s not happening. We are happy and grateful for what we do have, and it’s actually quite a lot. I look forward to doing more of what we’re doing now. More records, more performances, and meeting more amazing people.

Let’s talk lyrics. As a lyricist, do you see yourself more as telling a story or describing a theme? How much of Demon Eye’s lyrics are metaphors for real-world issues? You’ve delved into some pretty dark territory over the course of the albums. What has this allowed you to express, and how important do you feel the lyrics are to Demon Eye’s overall aesthetic?

It’s funny, because when I listen to my favorite bands the lyrics are typically the last thing I pay attention to. But with Demon Eye, I do take the lyrics seriously and feel they are important. For the last few records I have found myself focusing more on real-world issues.

If you play in a band that prefers darker song content, there is no shortage of material in the world today. Some days I’ll simply read the news and see what sort of madness is happening politically in this country. Sometimes I’ll find myself opening my perspective and seeing the evils that innocent people across the globe are forced to endure.

I used to work with children, and it was pretty sobering meeting a young mother who recently fled Syria with her two young daughters, only to arrive in America in time for a proposed ban on immigration. Those types of situations really make me think about the darker side of human nature and how it affects people who don’t deserve it.

Also, I don’t really talk about it much in interviews, but I’ve also dealt with a lot of mental illness and substance abuse issues in my life. After putting a lot of care into my health throughout the past decade (sobriety, lifestyle changes, etc.), it’s granted me the opportunity to explore things with a fresher perspective, and naturally, songwriting provides you with the chance to express yourself.

One thing I always try to do, though, is to make Demon Eye’s song content as universal as I possibly can. I try to think, “Now what would someone want to raise their fist and shout along to?” It may not always come out as intended, but it is something I strive for.

Demon Eye toured the West Coast in 2016 and has played Maryand Doom Fest two years in a row now Any plans, shows coming up or other closing words you want to mention?

Our record release show for Prophecies and Lies will be on Aug. 18 at the Pour House Music Hall in Raleigh, NC, with Captain Beyond. We are honored to celebrate the release of this album with such a legendary band. During the latter part of the year we are planning on heading throughout the Midwest again, and we also want to hit the Northeast and make our way south throughout Texas. We sincerely appreciate everyone’s support and hope that we have the chance to meet all of you in person!

Demon Eye, Prophecies and Lies (2017)

Demon Eye on Thee Facebooks

Demon Eye on Bandcamp

Demon Eye website

Soulseller Records website

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Review & Track Premiere: Demon Eye, Prophecies and Lies

Posted in audiObelisk, Reviews on July 11th, 2017 by JJ Koczan

demon eye prophecies and lies

[Click play above to stream ‘The Redeemer’ from Demon Eye’s new album, Prophecies and Lies, out Aug. 11 on Soulseller Records.]

North Carolinian double-guitar doom-rocking four-piece Demon Eye have been up front all along. Really. Since the band made their debut on Soulseller Records with 2014’s Leave the Light (review here), they’ve made no effort to mask where they’re coming from in terms of blending the ways of modern garage doom and classic ’70s heavy rock, bridging a gap between Uncle Acid and Pentagram, with KISS hooks and early Rush shuffle and Judas Priest metallurgy thrown in for good measure. Prophecies and Lies is their third outing for Soulseller behind 2015’s Tempora Infernalia (review here) and it pairs the band with founding Corrosion of Conformity bassist/vocalist Mike Dean as producer, resulting in the tightest incarnation of their sound to-date.

Songwriting has always been a feature of their work, but to hear them groove their way through “Dying for It” or the swaggering “The Redeemer,” their path of development seems to have taken another forward step in efficiency even from where it was two years ago, and as the returning lineup of guitarist/vocalist Erik Sugg, lead guitarist Larry Burlison, bassist/vocalist Paul Walz and drummer/vocalist Bill Eagen dig into the cowbell and dual leads of “Vagabond,” the motor-riffing of “In the Spider’s Eye” or the crisp ’70s proto-metallic starts and stops in the verses of “The Redeemer,” it’s their penchant for memorable choruses that unites Prophecies and Lies across its 11 tracks/42 minutes, so that the record flows consistently despite its primary impression being as a showcase for its individual pieces.

It is in that that Demon Eye are perhaps at their most loyal to classic notions of what an album is, and again, they’ve yet to bring it to such realized fruition as they do here, having their cake and eating it too as they tie the standout hooks of the Wino-style-riffed “Politic Divine” together with “The Waters and the Wild” through a consistency of approach and tone. The latter cut opens Prophecies and Lies with a forceful introductory wash of cymbals and thuds behind its first riff — a subtle introduction to the course of what’s to follow — and soon enough is galloping through its first verse. Already — less than a minute in — Demon Eye have given crucial signals to their audience of their intentions and the methods they’ll use to convey them throughout the album that follows. “The Waters and the Wild” trades between its gallop and a more rolling chorus, stepping aside for a nodding bridge in its second half leading to a solo section and final run through the hook. Clean, crisp, refreshing. Nothing spare to it. And that’s how they’ll continue to operate as “In the Spider’s Eye,” “The Redeemer,” “Kismet,” “Infinite Regress” and “Dying for It” complete a Side A evenly split in 21-minute increments with the second half still to come.

demon eye

Some groups just have an innate sense of structure. Demon Eye would seem to be such a band, but as listening back to Leave the Light or Tempora Infernalia shows, they also work at it, and that work is paying off here, whether it’s in their ability to pull off the sudden doomly slowdown in “In the Spider’s Eye” or in the way “Kismet,” with no major change in its overall sound or feel, seems to become anthemic simply by matching Sugg‘s and Burlison‘s guitars in quick lead sections. Every flourish, every nuance on Prophecies and Lies, from the turn into a calming presence for “Infinite Regress” to the all-out double-time hi-hat from Eagen on “Dying for It,” serves a purpose, and that willfulness of execution underscores both the clear effort Demon Eye have made to advance themselves stylistically and the organic place from which their impulse toward structure comes.

One guitar, Walz‘s bass, the other guitar and the drums as the final component lead the way into “Politic Divine” at the start of side B, a lyrical reference to a thunder god soon to follow as Sugg‘s layered vocals tie terrestrial concerns to spooked-out themes in classic metal fashion. I don’t know how thematic Prophecies and Lies is meant to be as a whole, but this too is an example of how Demon Eye have grown over the last couple years, since as “Politic Divine” finishes and “Power of One” immediately picks up on the next beat — the two obviously meant to be taken as a pair — the examining of social themes, even couched in metaphor, comes across as a newer or at least more-focused-on idea for the band. That is to say, while they may have been offering similar commentary in the past, the way they’re doing so in these tracks is clearer about what it wants to say and the judgment it’s making. A clue to the album’s title, which also blends the ethereal and the worldly? Maybe.

In either case, Demon Eye remain as clear-headed as ever throughout those two, the Maiden-esque “Vagabond,” the spoken-word-over-quieter-fare title-track — consider it a mirror in purpose to side A’s penultimate cut in “Infinite Regress,” but more fleshed out — and seven-minute closer and longest inclusion “Morning’s Son,” which uses its extra space to compel the band into a well-earned grandiose finish, marked by keyboard flourish and a cymbal wash to bookend that which started “The Waters and the Wild.”

The more one digs into the details of Prophecies and Lies, the more there is to find that reinforces the idea of how sure their foundation and delivery has become, and the final crashes from Eagen are a last-minute reminder from Demon Eye that while they may be writing individual songs that work very much on that level — that is, you could pull just about any of them from its surroundings, even “Infinite Regress” and “Prophecies and Lies,” and make it a single — there is a larger purpose at work in making them function together as a single, fluid entity. This level of construction might be the greatest achievement on Prophecies and Lies, but make no mistake, whatever else is accomplished, the album rocks and at no point fails to fully engage its audience on whatever level they might want to meet it.

Demon Eye on Thee Facebooks

Demon Eye on Bandcamp

Demon Eye website

Soulseller Records website

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Weedeater Announces Tour Dates with Telekinetic Yeti & Beitthemeans

Posted in Whathaveyou on June 26th, 2017 by JJ Koczan

Goodness gracious, Weedeater. Leave some touring for the rest of the bands, huh? You know, the North Carolina sludge mainstays weren’t yet done being on the road with Primitive Man back in May before they announced their June tour, and here we are, it’s an off-day in the home stretch of that June run and they’re announcing their next cross-country stint already, which is set to start Aug. 9 and will last a full month from there out. These guys are fucking unreal. You’d think they were a punk band with a bunch of 20-year-olds in it.

They’ve been on the road constantly since at least the start of 2016 supporting their 2015 Goliathan (review here) album on Season of Mist, and if you want to note something particularly encouraging about this run and really their touring in general it’s that they take younger bands out with them and have a well-established reputation for showing everyone they bring out a good time while also being absolute professionals at what they do. Weedeater touring with Telekinetic Yeti on the latter’s most significant run to-date? That’s awesome. I hope it goes well. Nobody seems to break up immediately after touring with Weedeater — hell, Beitthemeans did a stint with them earlier this year — is all I’m saying. Sometimes that kind of thing happens with other bands.

Dates follow — including stops at Crucialfest and Psycho Las Vegas — as announced by Tone Deaf Touring today:

weedeater tour aug 2017

Weedeater announces August-September dates!

WEEDEATER are touring in support of their new album Goliathan’. The album is streaming here. ‘Goliathan’ is available across various CD and LP formats at the Season of Mist E-Shop.

Weedeater remaining June tour dates:
Jun. 27 Columbus OH @ Ace of Cups
Jun. 28 Louisville KY @ Trixies
Jun. 29 Carborron NC @ Cats Cradle

Weedeater Aug./Sept. tour dates:
8/09 Atlanta GA @ Basement
8/10 Chattanooga TN @ Ziggy’s
8/11 St. Louis MO @ Fubar
8/12 Little Rock AR @ Whitewater
8/14 Houston TX @ White Oak Music Hall
8/15 San Antonio TX @ Korova
8/16 Austin TX @ Barracuda
8/17 El Paso TX @ Lowbrow Palace
8/19 Las Vegas NV @ Psycho Las Vegas*
8/22 Santa Cruz CA @ Catalyst
8/23 Oakland CA @ Oakland Metro Opera House
8/25 Olympia WA @ Obsidian
8/26 Vancouver NC @ Out for a Riff
8/27 Victoria BC @ Sugar
8/27 Seattle WA @ Highline
8/29 Bellingham WA @ Shakedown
8/30 Spokane WA @ The Pin
8/31 Billings MT @ Pub Station
9/02 Laramie WY @ FYT Studio
9/03 Salt Lake City UT @ Crucial Fest*
9/04 Denver CO @ Hi Dive
9/05 Kansas City MO @ Riot Room
9/06 Memphis TN @ Hi Tone
9/07 Chicago IL @ Bottom Lounge
9/08 Cleveland OH @ Grog Shop
9/09 Johnson City TN @ Hideaway

8/09-8/12 w/ Beitthemeans
8/14-9/07 with Telekinetic Yeti
* = no Telekinetic Yeti

https://www.facebook.com/weedmetal/
https://weedeater.bandcamp.com/album/goliathan
https://www.twitter.com/seasonofmist
https://www.facebook.com/seasonofmistofficial
http://www.season-of-mist.com/

Weedeater, Goliathan (2015)

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Demon Eye to Release Prophecies and Lies Aug. 11; New Song Streaming

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

demon eye

Ahead of their appearance this coming weekend at Maryland Doom Fest 2017, North Carolina proto-style heavy rockers Demon Eye announce an Aug. 11 release date for their new album, Prophecies and Lies. Recorded by Mike Dean of Corrosion of Conformity and set for issue through Soulseller Records like the band’s preceding 2015 outing, Tempora Infernalia (review here), and their 2014 debut, Leave the Light (review here), the latest offering gets its first public preview in the opening track “The Waters and the Wild,” which you can stream at the bottom of this post.

I’m glad to say that the band’s knack for memorable songwriting seems to be intact in the new cut, and I mention same only because I’ve listened to it just once and it’s already stuck in my head. That’s kind of how Demon Eye roll.

Album details and audio came down the PR wire. Behold:

demon-eye-prophecies-and-lies

DEMON EYE – New album ‘Prophecies and Lies’ – Details and first track available

DEMON EYE are back with their third offering and another dose of their own blend of Heavy Classic Rock, Proto Metal and Traditional Doom!

“Prophecies and Lies” will be released on 11th August 2017 via Soulseller Records on CD, vinyl and in digital versions.

The new album was recorded by Mike Dean of CORROSION OF CONFORMITY in the band’s hometown of Raleigh, North Carolina, and displays a strong musical progression with mighty riffs, haunting melodies and fist-raising anthems. DEMON EYE are bringing vintage heavy darkness for modern times and current day evils.

Check out the album’s opening track, “The Waters and the Wild”, at this location: https://demoneye.bandcamp.com/track/the-waters-and-the-wild

Tracklist:
1. The Waters and the Wild
2. In the Spider’s Eye
3. The Redeemer
4. Kismet
5. Infinite Regress
6. Dying For It
7. Politic Devine
8. Power of One
9. Vagabond
10. Prophecies and Lies
11. Morning’s Son

Demon Eye live:
Jun 23 Cafe 611 Frederick, MD at Maryland Doom Fest 2017

https://www.facebook.com/demoneyenc
https://demoneye.bandcamp.com
http://www.demoneyeofficial.com/
http://www.soulsellerrecords.com

Demon Eye, “The Waters and the Wild”

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Six Dumb Questions with From Oceans to Autumn (Plus Full Album Stream)

Posted in Six Dumb Questions on May 5th, 2017 by JJ Koczan

from oceans to autumn

[Click play above to stream Ether / Return to Earth by From Oceans to Autumn in its entirety. Album is out today, May 5, via Argonauta Records.]

After debuting in 2013 with the full-length A Perfect Dawn, North Carolinian heavy post-rock outfit From Oceans to Autumn return with the sophomore outing Ether / Return to Earth on Argonauta Records — a broad-scoped two-disc vision of experimentalist textures and weighted progressive crunch. Led by founding multi-instrumentalist and engineer Brandon Helms, the band seeks to convey precisely what it references in the two-part title, which is the duality between the nonphysical and the physical, the ether and the earth.

This comes through in a methodological split between the two sections of Ether / Return to Earth, the first disc of which is comprised of four tracks, three of which are over 13 minutes long, that conjure a patient and often drumless ambient wash, resonant drones emerging, existing, subsiding in succession as each piece develops, culminating with the 19-minute “Stratus/Vapor” as a singular moment of immersion that cuts on the second part of the record like “Visible Light” and “Isle” seem to directly counteract with their heavier thrust. Of course, there’s still plenty of atmospheric depth to Return to Earth as well, as From Oceans to Autumn show in “Reconnect” or even the latter stages of opener “Arrival,” but there can be no question they’re working from a foundation that is, fittingly enough, more grounded in creating it.

All told, this huge undertaking of mood and exploration comes close to hitting the two-hour mark, so it’s safe to say it’s legitimately two albums put together. I wanted to talk to Helms about how the concept fed into the construction of the material itself and get a sense of some of his motivations in the making — namely whether where he lives in North Carolina played a role in how Ether / Return to Earth ultimately took shape. As you make your way through the full-album stream above, you’ll find the results of the short Q&A below. How’s that for duality?

Please enjoy the following Six Dumb Questions:

from-oceans-to-autumn-ether-return-to-earth

Six Dumb Questions with From Oceans to Autumn

Tell me about the recording process for Ether / Return to Earth. It’s been four years since your debut. Was there anything specific you were trying to accomplish here to follow-up on that?

We are always trying to push ourselves in the writing and recording process with each release. We also really wanted an album that had two identities, one more experimental and free flowing with the other more focused and straightforward, at least for us. And I think we accomplished this goal on Ether / Return to Earth.

At over an hour and 45 minutes long, Ether / Return to Earth is massive, but that hardly captures the sprawl of the tracks themselves. What goes into writing a song like “Stratus/Vapor” for you? How much is based on studio experimentation as opposed to being thought-out or planned beforehand? What about “Visible Light II” or “Keep a Watchful Eye?”

Honestly a lot of Ether was experimented while in the studio recording. “Stratus/Vapor” is a perfect example of studio experimentation. “Visible Light II” was recorded very much like “Visible Light” on our last album, A Perfect Dawn. It’s more heavy noise/distortion than anything else on the album. “Keep a Watchful Eye” was actually written a few years ago and revamped and rerecorded for this album. It was never released prior to now. Funny thing is we recorded an entire album in 2014-2015 that featured this song that was never released!

What is the difference in mindset for you between the two discs of the album? How do you feel each represents its title, and how intentional was that going into the project?

Ether is more ambient/experimental in nature. The songs are more drawn out and free flowing. Return to Earth is heavier, more straightforward in nature. Together they are opposites of each other.

Tell me about where you’re from in North Carolina. For music so atmospheric, did the physical landscape surrounding you play into the songwriting at all? Do you take inspiration from your surroundings, or is it more just about the musical exploration?

We are from Charlotte, NC, right between the Blue Ridge Mountains and the Atlantic Ocean, hence our name. Both landscapes offer a huge amount of inspiration while writing and coming up with ideas. It also inspires us musically to experiment more with different sounds.

Where do you see From Oceans to Autumn developing from here? Will you continue the Pareto Analysis series, and what is the concept behind that? Do you see future works developing along a thematic line like Ether / Return to Earth?

Pareto Analysis series is now complete and available for download on our Bandcamp page. We are currently working on rerecording parts, remixing and remastering our last album, A Perfect Dawn. We also are mixing and mastering an album we recorded last fall, some of it has been released in the form of demos but the final version will sound nothing like it!

Any other plans or closing words you want to mention?

Thanks for having us!

From Oceans to Autumn on Thee Facebooks

From Oceans to Autumn on Twitter

From Oceans to Autumn on Bandcamp

From Oceans to Autumn at Argonauta Records

Argonauta Records on Thee Facebooks

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Weedeater Announce Even More Touring for June

Posted in Whathaveyou on May 3rd, 2017 by JJ Koczan

Last time we heard from North Carolina sludge mainstays Weedeater, they were announcing a tour. This time? They’re announcing another tour. So it goes. At this point, as they wrap up a West Coast run with Primitive Man that met up this past weekend with The Obsessed, Karma to Burn and Lo-Pan, it would be more surprising if Weedeater didn’t announce a subsequent stretch of road time. If they, you know, actually took a couple months off to write a new album or something. Doesn’t seem like we’re there yet.

They do have a month between the current tour, which ends this coming Sunday, and the start of the next one, which finds them playing — among other places — at Dingbatz in Clifton in my beloved Garden State. Definitely a show I’d hit if I still lived in New Jersey. They’ll be in the company of Black Wizard and Serial Hawk as well, showing pretty much everybody how it’s done in terms of survival, longevity, and kicking ass on the road night after night, tour after tour, riff after riff, drink after drink. As the years go by, it seems like Weedeater are that rare band who are truly unstoppable.

From the PR wire:

weedeater-new-tour-poster

WEEDEATER announce new North American tour dates

Notorious southern metal outfit WEEDEATER have announced Eastern US and Canadian tour dates. The band heads East after their appearance at Berserker Fest 2017 (featuring GWAR, EYEHATEGOD, NEGATIVE APPROACH and more), and will be joined by BLACK WIZARD and SERIAL HAWK.

WEEDEATER are currently on tour supported by PRIMITIVE MAN. A full list of confirmed tour dates can be found below.

WEEDEATER are touring in support of their new album Goliathan’. The album is streaming here. ‘Goliathan’ is available across various CD and LP formats at the Season of Mist E-Shop.

WEEDEATER TOUR DATES

W/ PRIMITIVE MAN
May 3 Denver, CO @ Larimer Lounge
May 4 Omaha, NE @ Lookout Lounge
May 5 Rock Island, IL @ Rock Island Brew Co.
May 6 Indianapolis, IN @ Indiana City Brew Co.
May 7 Asheville, NC @ Mothlight

With BLACK WIZARD, SERIAL HAWK:
Jun. 8 Richmond VA @ Broadberry
Jun. 9 Chesapeake VA @ Riffhouse
Jun. 10 Washington DC @ Rock and Roll Hotel
Jun. 11 New York, NY @ Le Poisson Rouge
Jun. 12 Philadelphia PA @ Kung Fu Necktie
Jun. 13 Clifton NJ @ Dingbatz
Jun. 14 Boston MA @ Sonias
Jun. 15 Burlington VT @ Metronome
Jun. 16 Portland ME @ Space
Jun. 17 Halifax NS @ Gus’ Pub
Jun. 19 Quebec City QC @ Katacombes
Jun. 20 Montreal QC @ L’Anti
Jun. 21 Ottawa ON @ Mavericks
Jun. 22 Toronto ON @ Velvet Lounge
Jun. 23 London ON @ Call The Office
Jun. 24 Rochester NY @ Bug Jar
Jun. 25 Pittsburgh PA @ Cattivo
Jun. 27 Columbus OH @ Ace of Cups
Jun. 28 Louisville KY @ Trixies
Jun. 29 Carborron NC @ Cats Cradle

https://www.facebook.com/weedmetal/
https://weedeater.bandcamp.com/album/goliathan
https://www.twitter.com/seasonofmist
https://www.facebook.com/seasonofmistofficial
http://www.season-of-mist.com/

Weedeater, Goliathan (2015)

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