Bask Recording New Album with Matt Bayles; Announce June Touring

Posted in Whathaveyou on April 4th, 2019 by JJ Koczan

bask

It was just the other day I was talking about an absolute generational landmark album Matt Bayles happened to produce — that being Leviathan, by Mastodon — and here comes word that he’s been brought aboard by North Carolinian four-piece Bask in order to helm the follow-up to 2017’s Ramble Beyond, which will also serve as the band’s debut on Season of Mist. Not saying Bask‘s next record needs to be a generational landmark or anything — no pressure, dudes — but it’s funny sometimes how these things tie together.

Presumably, and hopefully in terms of costs, by the time Bask start their touring in June at the Doomed and Stoned fest in Chicago, they’ll have the album in the can. As such, they should be itching to get back on stage, which of course only bodes well for those in their path. Barring any serious delay, it doesn’t seem unreasonable to expect the album before the end of the year, but of course one never knows when it comes to schedules and pressing and this and that. Worth keeping an eye out, in any case.

Word from the PR wire:

BASK Enter Studio with Legendary Producer Matt Bayles, Announce U.S. Tour Dates

Southern rock outfit BASK have entered the studio today to record their third studio album with legendary producer Matt Bayles (PEARL JAM, MASTODON, MINUS THE BEAR, etc.) The record will be released by Season of Mist, making it the band’s debut to the label.

Speaking about the upcoming effort and working with Bayles, the band comments: “We are beyond excited to announce that we’ve begun work on our third record, and label debut, for Season of Mist Records at Echo Mountain Studios. We hope working in a studio that’s played host to an amazing eclectic roster, such as Band of Horses, Widespread Panic and War on Drugs, and the skill of veteran producer/engineer Matt Bayles, who’s credits include seminal works from Mastodon, Isis and Russian Circles, will capture the spirit and shape of our latest batch of songs. We can’t wait to share them with you.”

Additionally, the band will be embarking on a headlining Southern U.S. tour this summer. BASK will first appear at Doomed and Stoned fest in Chicago on June 1 and then will kick off their official tour on June 9 in Atlanta, GA and will wrap up on June 15 in Greenville, SC. The full itinerary is as follows:

BASK Tour Dates:
06/01: Chicago, IL @ Doom & Stoned Festival
06/09: Atlanta, GA @ 529
06/10: Orlando, FL @ Standard Motorcycle
06/11: Jacksonville, FL @ Nighthawks
06/12: Savannah, GA @ The Jinx
06/13: Charlotte, NC @ The Milestone
06/14: Columbia, SC @ New Brookland Tavern
06/15: Greenville, SC @ The Radio Room

Hailing from the Asheville, NC, BASK was fully conceived in the fall of 2013 when guitarist Ray Worth, drummer Scott Middleton, bassist Jesse Van Note, and guitarist/vocalist Zeb Camp joined forces.

https://www.facebook.com/basknc
https://www.instagram.com/baskband/
https://twitter.com/thebandbask
https://basknc.bandcamp.com/
https://www.facebook.com/seasonofmistofficial
https://www.instagram.com/seasonofmistofficial/
https://www.twitter.com/seasonofmist
https://shopusa.season-of-mist.com/

Bask, Ramble Beyond (2017)

Tags: , , ,

Quarterly Review: Kungens Män, PFUND, Crystal Spiders, The Misery Men, Hubris, Woorms, Melody Fields, Oreyeon, Mammoth Grove, Crimson Devils

Posted in Reviews on March 19th, 2019 by JJ Koczan

quarterly-review-spring-2019

I used to be pretty artsy and write poetry. Let’s give it a shot:

There was an old man who wore no-toe shoes.
He said, I’mma go do 60 reviews.
He was out of his head,
Should’ve gone back to bed,
But he loves him some dirty psych blues.

Years from now, when I link back to this post for a “(review here)”-type scenario, I’m going to see that and I’ll still think it’s funny. The planet’s dying. I’d say a bit of silly is more than called for.

Quarterly Review #11-20:

Kungens Män, Chef

kungens man chef

Krautrockers, assemble! Or, you know, whatever krautrockers do — I assume it involves homemade spacecraft that, yes, absolutely fly. Perhaps one of these days I’ll ask Stockholm’s Kungens Män, whose latest outing for Riot Season, simply titled Chef, is an outbound delight of psych-infused progressivism. Beginning with the opening throb of “Fyrkantig Böjelse” and moving into the volume swells, steady drum line and wandering guitar that starts “Öppen För Stängda Dörrar” on side A, its four extended tracks craft otherworldly textures through a meld of organic instrumental flow and waves of synth, the second cut building to a tense wash of distortion all the while keeping that hypnotic march. The two corresponding 10-minute-plus cuts on side B waste no time in offering cosmic boogie in “Män Med Medel” with a more active rhythmic flow, and closer “Eftertankens Blanka Krankhet” — longer than the opener by one second at 11:24 — fades in on meditative guitar and explores a serene minimalism that only underscores the all around joy of the album.

Kungens Man on Thee Facebooks

Riot Season Records webstore

 

PFUND, PFUND

pfund pfund

The self-titled, self-released debut full-length from Kiel, Germany’s PFUND arrives and departs with a guesting horn section, and while that inevitably adds a bit of grandeur to the proceedings, the bulk of the outing is dedicated to straightforward, semi-metallic heavy rock, held to ground even in the seven-minute “Spaceman” by a considered sense of structure and an earthy drum sound that draws the songs together, whether it’s the classic riff rock in “Sea of Life” or the moodier sway in the earlier “Lost in Rome.” Dual guitars effectively multiply the impact, and the vocals showcase a nascent sense of melody that one imagines will only continue to grow as the band moves forward. At nine songs and 44 minutes, it shows some breadth and nuance in “Exhaustion” and “Paranoia,” the former tapping into an edge of progressive metal, but the primary impact comes from PFUND‘s heft of groove and how it blends with a rawer edge to their production. The Kyuss-referencing centerpiece here might be called “Imbalance,” but that’s hardly representative of what surrounds, horns and all.

PFUND on Thee Facebooks

PFUND on Bandcamp

 

Crystal Spiders, Demo

crystal spiders demo

Three songs, 11 minutes and three distinct vibes from the aptly-titled Demo demo of North Carolinian three-piece Crystal Spiders. On “Tigerlily,” “Flamethrower” and “Devil’s Resolve,” the trio of bassist/vocalist Brenna Leath (also Lightning Born), guitarist/vocalist Mike Deloatch and drummer/backing vocalist Tradd Yancey careen from bluesy spaciousness to hard-driving catchiness and end up — because why not? — in repeating cult-sludge chants, “Come to the devil’s resolve!” like Black Widow trying to lure people to the sabbat, except shouting. If the purpose of a demo is for a new band to try different methods of working and thereby take a first step in discovering their sound, Crystal Spiders are well on their way, and for what it’s worth, there isn’t anything within their scope as they present it that doesn’t work for them. There are edges to smooth out, of course, but that too is a part of the process starting here.

Crystal Spiders on Thee Facebooks

Crystal Spiders on Bandcamp

 

The Misery Men, Deathspiration

The Misery Men Deathspiration

If you’d asked, depending on which part of Deathspiration was on, I’d probably have called The Misery Men a bass/drum duo, but nope, that’s guitar. Tonally one is reminded of At Devil Dirt from Chile, but the Portland, Oregon, two-piece of vocalist/guitarist Corey G. Lewis and drummer Steve Jones are entirely more barebones in their craft, eschewing digital involvement of any sort in the recording or mixing process and sounding duly raw as a result throughout the subtle earworm of “C.W. Sughrue” and the lumbering “Harness the Darkness.” The subsequent “Night Creeps In” brings a Northwestern noise payoff to quiet/loud trades and the near-10-minute closer “Stoned to Death,” well, it seems to meet an end befitting its title, to say the least. As their stated intent was to capture the most organic version of their sound possible, and made a point of working toward that ideal in their recording, one could hardly fault them for the results of that process. They wanted something human-sounding. They got it.

The Misery Men on Thee Facebooks

The Misery Men on Bandcamp

 

Hubris, EP #II Live

hubris ep ii live

Some — not all — of what one needs to know about HubrisEP #II Live is right there in the title. Indeed, it’s their second EP. Indeed, it was recorded live. And indeed, like using a ‘#’ sign with a Roman numeral, there’s something about the way the three included songs from the Toulouse, France-based outfit sound that’s just a little bit off-kilter from what you might expect. “Zugzwang” (7:19), “Tergo” (19:58) and “Biotilus” (27:04) are arranged shortest to longest, and while the opener starts off like Queens of the Stone Age on an Eastern-tinged psychedelic bender, the lengthy jams that follow — the first of them with a fervent drum punctuation, the second a gradual intertwining of synth and guitar with hardly any percussion at all until after its 22nd minute. The instrumental flow that ensues from there is almost like a hidden bonus track, at least until they Hubris get to minute 26 and the whole thing explodes in crash and plod. The underlying message, of course, is that if you think you’re safe at any point, you’re not.

Hubris on Thee Facebooks

Hubris on Bandcamp

 

Woorms, Slake

woorms slake

Lumbering fuckall pervades the debut full-length, Slake, from Baton Rouge, Louisiana, sludgers Woorms — also stylized all-caps — which incorporates past singles “Find a Meal Find a Bed Find a God” and “Mouth is a Wound” amid the sample/noise barrage of “Our Lady of Perpetually Shitfaced” and the willfully brash “Racist Kevin” that follows. There’s an edge of Melvinsian chug to the proceedings, but Woorms‘ take, though presented in finished compositions, comes across as almost nihilistic rather than making a show of its experimentalism. That is, they’re trying to say they don’t give a fuck, and in listening, they make it kind of easy to believe, but there’s still something about the cohesiveness of “Veni Vidi Fucki” and “Rice Crispy” and the saved-the-best-nod-for-last finale “Sore Afraid” that undercuts the notion even while making the listening experience all the more pummeling, and from the intro “Corpse Corps” through “Urine Trouble Now”‘s echoing shouts and the closer’s unmitigated stomp, there’s still plenty of exploration being done.

WOORMS on Thee Facebooks

WOORMS on Bandcamp

 

Oreyeon, Ode to Oblivion

Oreyeon Ode to Oblivion

Rebranded since their 2016 debut, Builders of Cosmos (discussed here), from their more phonetically intuitive original moniker, Orion, Italy’s Oreyeon issue a cosmically expansive spacescape follow-up in their six-song/40-minute sophomore outing, Ode to Oblivion, also their first release through Heavy Psych Sounds. Echoing vocals pervade “Big Surprise” after the introductory “T.I.O.” and “Trudging to Vacuity” establish the wide-cast mix and anti-grav rhythmic density, and the nine-minute side A finale title-track runs mostly-instrumental circles around most of what I’d usually call “prog” only after it lays down a sleek hook in the first couple minutes. After “Big Surprise,” the 8:45 “The Ones” trades volume back and forth but finds its breadth at about the sixth minute as the dramatic lead turns on a dime to desert rock thrust en route to wherever the hell it goes next. Honestly, after that moment, everything’s gravy, but Oreyeon lay it on thick with closer “Starship Pusher” and never neglect melody in the face of nod. Worth a deeper dig if you get the chance.

Oreyeon on Thee Facebooks

Heavy Psych Sounds website

 

Melody Fields, Melody Fields

melody fields melody fields

Sometimes you hear a record and it’s like the band is doing you a favor by existing. To that, thanks Melody Fields. The Gothenburg psych troupe lace their lysergic flow with folkish harmonies and an open sensibility on their self-titled debut that comes coupled with enough tonal presence to still consider them heavy not that it matters. They break out the sax on “Morning Sun” to welcome effect, and the sun continues to shine through “Liberty” and the garage-buzzing “Run” before “Rain Man” turns water droplets into keyboard notes and Beatlesian — think “Rain” — voice arrangements atop soothing instrumental drift, every bit the centerpiece and an excellent precursor to the acoustic-based “Fire” and the 10-minute “Trädgränsen,” which is the crowning achievement of this self-titled debut, which, if I’d been hip to it in time, would’ve made both the 2018 best albums and best debuts list. They cap with a reprise of “Morning Sun” and underscore the solid foundation beneath the molten beauty of their work throughout. To ask for another album seems greedy, but I will anyway. More, please.

Melody Fields on Thee Facebooks

Sound Effect Records website

 

Mammoth Grove, Slow Burn

mammoth grove slow burn

Okay, look, enough screwing around. It’s time for someone to sign Mammoth Grove. The Calgary natives have been putting out quality heavy psych rock since their 2011 self-titled debut (review here), and their latest long-player, the four-song Slow Burn is a righteous amalgam of peace-thru-rock that lives up to its freewheeling vibes in “Seasons” after the methodical opener “Valleys” and rolls out a bit of melodic ’70s biker rock bliss in “Black Meadow” before the side-B-consuming “Gloria” (18:42) asks early if you’re ready to go and then goes like gone, gone, gone, and gone further. Given the analog mindset involved and the heart on display throughout, there’s something fitting about it being pressed up in an edition of 100 hand-screenprinted LPs and 100 CDs likewise, but the more people who could hear it, the merrier, so yeah, some label or other needs to step up and make that happen, and I dare you to listen to the solo that hits past the 14-minute mark in “Gloria” and tell me otherwise. Dare you.

Mammoth Grove on Thee Facebooks

Mammoth Grove on Bandcamp

 

Crimson Devils, A Taste for Blood

crimson devils a taste for blood

Since pared down to a trio from the four-piece incarnation they present here, Austin’s Crimson Devils first released their debut, A Taste for Blood, in 2017, but gave it a vinyl revisit last year and it’s little mystery why. The record comprises 11 sharply-composed tracks of Small Stone-style heavy rock, taking cues from Sasquatch in modern-via-classic modus, picking and choosing elements of ’70s and ’90s rock to conjure formidable groove and engaging hooks. There’s considerable swagger and weight in “They Get It,” and while opener “Dead and Gone” seems to show an influence in its vocal patterning from Elder, as the album unfolds, it’s more about the blast of “Captain Walker” or the penultimate “Nothing to Claim” and the straight-ahead vibes of “Bad News Blues” and “No Action” than anything so outwardly prog. There’s plenty to dig in the rock-for-rockers mindset, and it’s the kind of offering that should probably come with an octane rating. However such things are measured, safe to say it would not be low.

Crimson Devils on Thee Facebooks

Crimson Devils on Bandcamp

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Irata Announce Tower out May 24 on Small Stone; Title-Track Streaming; Touring in March

Posted in Whathaveyou on February 27th, 2019 by JJ Koczan

IRATA
As Irata stream the title-track of their upcoming album, Tower, they don’t seem to give away an awful lot about the record itself. After all, it’s only 2:45, but in context of the full LP, maybe they are sending a few signals after all. That runtime, for example, is already shorter than anything that appeared on 2015’s second album, Sweet Loris, and it introduces the fullness of tone with which they’re working as well as some of the basic influences driving them. It’s also the opener, so “Tower” is what Irata wanted to put forward on Tower, as well as what they thought they should name the album after. So it’s quick, but it does offer some information about the record.

Subsequent tracks — not that I’ve heard it or anything — are longer and touch on a variety of progressive elements classic and modern, metal and rock, but as an introduction to what’s coming, “Tower” ends up doing just fine. I’m saying I don’t think you’re gonna hear it and complain. Unless you stub your toe in that two-plus minutes or something. Or the egg salad has gone bad. Whatever.

Irata, to go with the news that Tower exists, has a song streaming, and will be released May 24 on Small Stone, also have a bundle of tour dates for March including a stop by SXSW for Small Stone‘s showcase — legendary fuzz and shenanigans — as well as the Stoner Jam that all the cool kids will be at. You should go to both. You’re awesome. They’ll let you in.

From the PR wire:

irata tower

IRATA: North Carolina Heavy Rock Unit Joins Small Stone Records For The Release Of Tower; Band To Play Small Stone SXSW Showcase + Additional Tour Dates Announced

Small Stone Records is pleased to welcome Greensboro, North Carolina-based heavy rock unit IRATA to their expanding roster of riff-heavy eminence. The band will release their Tower full length this May.

Issues the band of the union, “We are thrilled to be teaming up with a label that supports so many talented bands. We are happy to be a part of the Small Stone family.”

Since its 2007 genesis at the hands of founding members Jon Case (bass, vocals) and Jason Ward (drums, vocals), this Greensboro, North Carolina outfit has mutated restlessly, moving from its initial morphine-infused heavy fusion through math-y metal and finally to the soaring, technical heavy rock of its current approach. Over those dozen years, IRATA has made its presence known in metal and hard rock circles throughout the Southeast and beyond. Thanks to its growth from a trio with guitarist Cheryl Manner to a four-piece with the addition of guitarist Owen Burd, IRATA is evolving yet again.

With Burd’s talents on guitar, vocals, and trumpet added to what had already felt like a complete equation, IRATA is pushing itself to new vocal and instrumental heights. Accordingly, its upcoming LP Tower applies impressive musicianship and complex textures to increasingly approachable tunes that teeter between hard rock and prog-metal. It’s like the sports car version of Don Caballero.

Tower was recorded in vaunted hometown studio Legitimate Business and produced by All Them Witches guitarist Ben McLeod, with co-production by Legit Biz engineer and heavy metal mastermind Kris Hilbert. Flavors of Mastodon, Kylesa, Helms Alee and Sandrider mix with Smashing Pumpkins-reminiscent textures and clarion Perry Farrell-style vocals, creating a heavy palette that is both innovative and familiar.

Additional info on IRATA’s Tower, including preorders and teaser tracks, will be available in the coming weeks. In the meantime, IRATA will kick off a short stretch of live dates next month. Set to commence March 8th in Asheville, North Carolina and run through March 16th in New Orleans, Louisiana, The Rising Sun Tour includes a performance at Small Stone’s special SXSW showcase March 13th alongside their new labelmates Tia Carrera, Irata, La Chinga, Sundrifter, Dwellers, and The Cold Stares. See all confirmed dates below.

IRATA – Rising Sun Tour:
3/08/2019 Odditorium – Asheville, NC
3/09/2019 Maggie Meyers Irish Pub – Huntsville, AL
3/10/2019 Growlers – Memphis, TN
3/11/2019 Double Wide – Dallas, TX
3/12/2019 Over Flow Festival @ Super Happy Fun Land – Houston, TX
3/13/2019 Small Stone SXSW Showcase @ Lamberts – Austin, TX
3/14/2019 Spider House Stoner Jam – Austin, TX
3/15/2019 The Mix – San Antonio, TX
3/16/2019 Santos – New Orleans, LA

IRATA
Jon Case – bass, vocals
Jason Ward – drums, vocals, synth
Cheryl Manner – guitar
Owen Burd – guitar

http://www.facebook.com/iratabandofficial
https://iratalive.bandcamp.com/
https://www.iratalive.com/
http://www.smallstone.com
http://www.facebook.com/smallstonerecords
http://www.smallstone.bandcamp.com

Irata, Tower (2019)

Tags: , , , , ,

Solar Halos Premiere “The Living Tide”; Coiled Light LP Due in May

Posted in audiObelisk, Whathaveyou on February 22nd, 2019 by JJ Koczan

solar halos

You know, usually when you think of something landing like a brick, it’s not a positive image. Like the thing — whatever it is — should be flying. Well, Solar Halos land like a brick even as they fly. It’s a duel-persona that’s writ large all over their upcoming second full-length, Coiled Light, which will be released in April digitally and May 10 on vinyl through Cursed Tongue Records. Drenched in melody and atmosphere, the release finds the North Carolinian three-piece digging into vibes out of post-metal and heavy psychedelia, but while their tones are thick and their plod considerable thanks in no small part to John Crouch‘s right-upside-the-head kickdrum, the intertwining vocals of guitarist/cellist Nora Rogers and bassist/keyboardist Eddie Sanchez bring a Kylesa-style sense of progressivism to the songwriting, albeit somewhat more patient than that band managed to be during their time.

In cuts like “Personal Levee” and “River of Grass” and the more intense shove of closer “Nebulas,” there’s a lot to dig into and one expects that’s a significant part of what led to the Cursed Tongue pickup, as that label’s taste is only growing more reliable by the release. You can hear “The Living Tide” at the bottom of this post, and as the leadoff track, it does the work of establishing the tone and setting the atmospheric foundation for both the largesse and the impact that follows. I think it was the label said something about “crushing psychedelia.” That’s as good as anything I could come up with.

Enjoy:

Solar Halos Coiled Light

SOLAR HALOS SIGNS TO CURSED TONGUE RECORDS FOR A WORLD WIDE RELEASE OF THEIR NEW ALBUM ‘COILED LIGHT’ ON MAY 10TH, 2019.

Cursed Tongue Records is thrilled to announce the signing of the thunderous and soulful yet equally dark and hypnotic heavy psych rock ensemble Solar Halos, NC. Their sophomore album ‘Coiled Light’ will be released on vinyl May 10th via Cursed Tongue Records, with pre-orders coming early April.

It’s been almost 2 years since the band last released new tunes onto the world and over 5 years since Solar Halos released their self-titled debut album via Devouter Records (UK). The passing of time has failed to dim a great first experience. Still vividly remembering the almost religious awakening that was brought upon Cursed Tongue Records owner back in 2014 when first laying ears to Solar Halos pulsating, ground-shaking and beautifully heavy tunes. Hence, we are not far from a dream come true when being passed the opportunity to work with the band on releasing their follow-up album. The debut never left heavy rotation and the new album ‘Coiled Light’ will sure follow troop.

Behind Solar Halos’ Carrboro, NC practice space there are train tracks and a concrete factory. You feel the rumble of diesel engines and sliding stone as much as you hear it. Like the digestive noises of a nation-sized beast, it jars your teeth. It rattles your marrow. It makes you feel small.

Within Solar Halos practice space, John Crouch (drums and percussion), Nora Rogers (guitar, cello, vocals) and Eddie Sanchez (bass, keys and vocals) take the long view. There is an even larger, more patient, more powerful beast, and it will level the field. “When time awaits / when monuments breathe / when mountains return to the sea,” rings Rogers clear and confident call over nuanced, propulsive sludge. “The calm water hides.”

Human endeavor can rumble and rattle and challenge nature, like the heavy industry all around, or it can tap into forces older and more powerful than anything anthropocene. This is a band that thinks in geological time, and an air of levelheaded patience pervades even the most driving songs. With obliquely poetic lyrics that wax mystical and scientific both, Solar Halos sings to the stones, the grass, the sea, the stars and time itself on their second album ‘Coiled Light’.

Recorded summer 2017 by Kris Hilbert at esteemed Greensboro, NC studio Legitimate Business, ‘Coiled Light’ finds Solar Halos tightening its already impressive structures and expanding its expressive horizons both. On “Nebulas” dual vocalists Rogers and Sanchez adopt a Carl Sagan-esque wonder at humanity’s vulnerability to cosmic forces: “It won’t warn you when it fades to black / it won’t charm you as time yields to mass.”

‘Coiled Light’ is psych-metal for naturalists, for philosophers and for listeners willing to take the long view, to accept our species’ impermanence and to walk paths that fade in the light of day.

It’s our anticipation and hope that many more ears will be opened to this truly unique and magnificent band and the heavy underground scene will learn of this phenomenon of nature. “We are happy to help bestow a second sonic revelation upon the Earth’s inhabitants”, the label owner notes.

So get ready to travel through chilled and dimly lit climes brought through an ever shifting provocative aural landscape. Utilizing a doom like weight, Solar Halos finds a radiant and transfixing resourcefulness through varied textures and sounds making their second album an enthralling and intensive examination of and feast for senses and emotions.

Once more Earth will tremble under the soundscapes that emanates from Solar Halos when ‘Coiled Light’ releases digitally on their Bandcamp page April 12th, 2019. It’s a journey you won’t want to miss!

CTR-021: SOLAR HALOS – ‘COILED LIGHT’, vinyl official release date: May 10th, 2019 (Digital release April 12th)

Written and arranged by Solar Halos
Engineered and mixed by Kris Hilburt at Legitimate Business, NC
Mastered by James Plotkin
Drawings & photos by Nora Rogers
Layout & design by Michael Andresakis

Track listing:

side A
1. The Living Tide
2. Personal Levee
3. Ground the Fire

side B
4. River of Grass
5. Conduit
6. Coiled Light
7. Nebulas

Solar Halos is:
John Crouch – drums, percussion
Nora Rogers – guitar, cello, vocals
Eddie Sanchez – bass, keys, vocals

https://www.facebook.com/SolarHalos/
https://www.instagram.com/solar.halos
https://solarhalos.bandcamp.com/
http://cursedtonguerecords.bigcartel.com/
https://www.facebook.com/CursedTongueRecords
https://www.instagram.com/cursedtonguerecords

Tags: , , , , ,

Review & Video Premiere: The Asound, Impalement Arts

Posted in Bootleg Theater, Reviews on February 5th, 2019 by JJ Koczan

the asound impalement arts

The Asound, “Triple Saints” official video premiere

[Click play above to watch the premiere of The Asound’s video for ‘Triple Saints.’ Their second album, Impalement Arts, is out now on Rusty Knuckles Music.]

There’s a blistering, sandblasted sensibility to the noise rock The Asound have come to make, and though their beginnings nine years ago on their debut split (review here) and roughly concurrent 2010 self-titled EP (review here) were more in the vein of straightforward heavy rock, the North Carolinian trio-turned-four-piece have since taken a turn for the confrontational, and that seems to suit them in attitude as well as execution. As founders Chad Wyrick (guitar/vocals), Jon Cox (bass) and Michael Crump (drums) welcome guitarist David Easter, they take on an even fuller-sounding production than that heard on their 2017 split with Intercourse (review here), allowing the complete brunt of what they’re doing to make its impact felt. Impalement Arts is at least their second long-player, but the back catalog is nebulous over the last nine years with singles, EPs and splits and pressings through Cox‘s Tsuguri Records imprint making their way to the merch table in limited quantities.

Either way, it’s the most professional-sounding output they’ve had to-date, and while some of its songs go back at least five years — “Chief of Thieves” previously appeared on a 2014 split with Mark Deutrom (review here) — the clarity and breadth of production by Brandon Hamby at Dead Peasant Studio makes it all the more vital, right up to the Floor cover, “Loanin'” that caps side B of the 43-minute long-player. In that time, The Asound pack an intense 12 songs into Impalement Arts, and while the title-track and songs like “Pseudo Vein” do more than hint at some of the heavy rocking foundations of the band, even these moments are purposed into a whole that is brash and dynamic in kind, easily changing tempo and working into and out of winding progressions with an overarching threat of violence that’s right there at the outset of the chugging opener “Wolves Will Feed” and continues as a uniting factor throughout. It’s not that they’re void of melody — they’re not, and Wyrick‘s throaty vocals are quick to show that in the chorus of “Wolves Will Feed” — just that that melody comes with bruises.

Much to their credit, The Asound never come across as rushed throughout Impalement Arts, and as “Dead Rat Cinders” lunges forth with its initial roll and foreboding hey-anyone-remember-when-Mastodon-was-a-noise-band barbarism, the tension they create is a chest-tightening atmosphere at once engaging and disaffected. Still, they’re not out of control, and for having put the record to tape in three days, they sound positively poised as “Throne of Compulsion” winds its way into its first verse with an interaction between lead and rhythm guitars that resolves in a gritty staccato verse topped with Wyrick‘s gritty shouting. These first three tracks — “Wolves Will Feed,” “Dead Rat Cinders” and “Throne of Compulsion” — are all under four minutes long, but together make for a purposeful opening salvo that introduces not only the sound of Impalement Arts, the tones and general aggression of delivery, etc., but also the mood, which “Throne of Compulsion” subtly begins to expand.

the asound

There’s an underlying current of metal amid all the drunk-punk foundations in the songs, and while there’s lumber and plod fast and slow for just as long as you please, the structure of Impalement Arts is still positioned to engage the listener by bringing them gradually into the sphere of the band’s songwriting. “Throne of Compulsion” gives way to “Pseudo Vein” — both appeared on the band’s second self-titled EP in 2016 (review here), as did “Moss Man” still to come on side B — which flows easily at a more relaxed tempo across its five minutes, coming to a head late and feeding more or less directly into the instrumental title-track and the quicker “Triple Saints,” which strips down the approach of the initial trilogy to its sans-frills core and explosive core. It’s a fair enough ending for side A, and leaves the pummel to speak for itself, which it does all the more after the title-track, which is downright friendly in comparison.

The interlude that precedes “Moss Man” on side B is a trap. You turn the volume way up to hear what’s going on, and then all of a sudden Crump‘s drums kick in to puncture your eardrum. You win this round, The Asound. At just under five minutes, “Moss Man” is a highlight of Southern-style noise rock — I tag it as “Southern” a bit for the lead guitar that ensues and a bit because it reminds me of Lord — but while it departs for a long and nearly hypnotic instrumental stretch, it does return to its verse at the end. That’s a crucial structural shift, and “Commanding the Sword” follows with a tempo slowdown that suits the overall tonal largesse well and still carries some searing aspect to its soloing, this time pushing further out until the end as the band continue to screw with their own formula effectively.

“Chief of Thieves” is the longest inclusion at 5:36 and deep-dives into a willfully repetitive break that seems to build on what “Moss Man” was doing in terms of trance-induction, while providing Impalement Arts with a suitable culmination in its thickened and rumbling finish that makes the angularity of “Masters of the Mind” all the more of a blast — as though The Asound got the business out of the way so they could really let loose. Perhaps it’s an answer to “Triple Saints,” but either way, its blown-out push is a good time reward that the Floor cover “Loanin'” backs up in method and theme. There’s no bomb tone, but The Asound do well to bring the two-minute cut into the context of the rest of their album, and while I’m not sure they needed it after “Masters of the Mind,” neither is it detracting from Impalement Arts in any way, its long fade giving them the means to a graceful exit for a record that’s spent so much of its time being brazenly ungraceful. That contrast speaks to what has always been a strength of The Asound, which is the consciousness behind the physicality of their work. They know what they’re doing and how they’re doing it, and Impalement Arts delivers exactly the kind of punishment they intend.

The Asound, Impalement Arts (2018)

The Asound on Thee Facebooks

The Asound on Bandcamp

Rusty Knuckles Music website

Rusty Knuckles Music on Bandcamp

Tags: , , , ,

Crystal Spiders Post Debut Demo; First Live Appearance Announced

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

crystal spiders (Photo by Marissa Straw)

Taking their moniker from the first track on the debut album from Uncle Acid and the Deadbeats, Raleigh, North Carolina’s Crystal Spiders have unveiled their aptly-titled Demo ahead of making their first live appearance on Feb. 7 in their hometown. The release is comprised of three cuts giving three distinct looks at the trio as they move from the rolling doom rock and layered harmonies of “Tigerlily” through the rougher-edged thrust of “Flamethrower” with a classic metal riff careening through its sub-two-minute runtime, and into the catchy cultistry of “Devil’s Resolve,” on which bassist Brenna Leath — also of Ripple-signed heavy rockers Lightning Born — steps back from lead vocals to allow a shift to sludgy shouts ahead of a delve into the riff from Electric Wizard‘s “Witchcult Today” repurposed as the bed for an impressive solo from Mike Deloatch, backed by the swing of Tradd Yancey, who wins at names, outright.

It’s 11 minutes of material and does exactly what something called Demo should do: it lets the band get their feet under them and gives anyone listening fodder for future interest. Certainly with such variety over a relatively short period of time and the fact that the band has been together less than a full year, it’s probably safe to say they’re trying things out, but in so doing, they nonetheless give an encouraging look at their songwriting modus as well as some killer performances. If I was gonna be at the gig, I’d show up early. That’s all I’m saying.

Info and whatnot came down the PR wire, but the real point here is the stream, which you’ll find at the bottom of the post. So have at it:

crystal spider demo

Crystal Spiders – Demo

Formed by a punk rock kid, a crazed rock and roller, and later joined by a doom veteran, Crystal Spiders are rising from Raleigh, unleashing dynamic and powerful sounds speaking to the fundamental power of fuzz rock. Inspired by a slew of acts ranging from the Melvins and Kyuss to Fu Manchu, these scene veterans are tried and true worshipers of the riff. Featuring members of local favorites such as Lightning Born, Mind Dweller and Thirsty Curses, Crystal Spiders’ diverse mix of influences makes for music that separates them from the stoner rock rat race.

Brought together by a love of vintage gear, nasty licks, and ratty pedals, Crystal Spiders revel in the waves of volume commanded by their roaring amps. Frontwoman Brenna Leath’s dynamic voice soars above it all, guiding listeners from peak to sonic peak and fascinating the palate with her powerful delivery. She is perfectly complemented by her bandmate’s heavy vocals, joined by the roaring guitars of Mike Deloatch and the high-powered drums of Tradd Yancey. The legendary Raleigh rock scene has been a band breeding ground for years now, but rarely has something emerged from the crypt with the same passion and drive of this fuzz-possessed crew.

Reeking of smoke and drenched in distortion, their demo has just been self-released in January of 2019 and is guaranteed to reap minds and destroy souls, foreshadowing a debut album that will make waves in heavy circles. Excited for the opportunities to come, Leath says, “You know you’re doing something right when you look down at the speedometer and you’re doing 20 miles over with no idea of how you got there. 1-part vintage gear, 1-part doom, a dash of punk and a sprinkle of germanium. That’s how.”

Tracklisting:
1. Tigerlily
2. Flamethrower
3. Devil’s Resolve

All songs written and recorded by Crystal Spiders (Mike Deloatch, Brenna Leath, Tradd Yancey). Mixed and mastered by Jim Griffin, Shadetree Studios, Raleigh, NC. Art by Tyler Pennington. Layout by Alex Traboulsi.

Crystal Spiders live:
Feb 07 Slim’s Downtown Raleigh, NC w/ Thunderchief, WitchTit

Crystal Spiders is:
Brenna Leath – Bass & Vox
Mike Deloatch – Guitar & Vox
Tradd Yancey – Drums & Backup Vox

https://www.facebook.com/crystalspidersinmymind
https://crystalspiders.bandcamp.com

Crystal Spiders, Demo (2019)

Tags: , , , , ,

Review & Full Album Premiere: The Sabbathian, Latum Alterum

Posted in audiObelisk, Reviews on January 22nd, 2019 by JJ Koczan

the sabbathian latum alterum

[Click play above to stream The Sabbathian’s Latum Alterum in full. Album is out Jan. 25 on Svart Records.]

Anette Uvaas Gulbrandsen — who has worked with Leaves’ Eyes, Nàttsòl and Mandylion, and many more — and Chad Davis, of Hour of Thirteen, The Ritualist, Anu, Jenzeits and dozens of others, are The Sabbathian. She’s in Norway and he’s in the US, but they render borders moot with their Svart Records-delivered first album, Latum Alterum, which follows the 2014 EP, Ritual Rites, and furthers a blend of extreme metal, cultish impulses, near-operatic melodies and an overarching atmosphere of doom. Songs like “One Night of Cruelty” and the penultimate “Embrace the Dark,” which follows, tap into The Devil’s Blood-style mystique, with Gulbrandsen delivering her lines in self-harmonized layers while the multi-instrumentalist Davis handles guitar, bass and drums (and maybe a bit of vocals as well).

The construction of the band reminds somewhat of the earliest incarnation of Hour of 13, which was Davis on instruments and standalone-singer Phil Swanson, but while The Sabbathian has its doomed elements, the overarching feel of the band is different and entirely more grand. Of course, a large portion of the credit for that has to go to Gulbrandsen, who makes even coming in for the first lines of closer “Evig Hvile/Libera Me… (Outro)” in the pocket of the beat feel stately, but even in Davis‘ breadth of guitar tone on the earlier “Liti Kjersti,” which in another context would easily be black metal, there’s a resonant grandeur that complements the work done on vocals. From the beginning of the chanting opener “Requiem…” through the slow-moving “The Brightest Light,” Latum Alterum — Latin for “on the other side” — the progression of the album feels geared for maximum listener consumption, and the intercontinental duo get going, there’s nothing stopping the feeling of plunging further and further into a deep-reaching metallic abyss. It’s their first album, but it’s nobody’s first album, if you know what I mean, and the experience of knowing how they want to sound and how to make that happen is writ large in the material.

Though rich in its melody, it is not easy listening. Though there’s nothing in its run one would consider abrasive given proper indoctrination and openness to a consistent distorted wash, but Latum Alterum requires attention. As it makes its way toward and through nine-minute centerpiece “Head of a Traitor,” which boasts a guest appearance from Liv Kristine of Leaves’ Eyes, and onward to the final echoing organ and choral lines of the outro portion of the finale, the tracklisting demands engagement. It’s worth the effort of a headphones-on experience, thanks in no small part to the depth of its mix and the reaches the sound seems to find. Even as “The Brightest Light” seems to dig its heels into engrossing darkness, the layering of vocals and details in the forward push of guitar, bass and drums gives an impression of nuance that the rest of the album continues to build upon. “The Brightest Light” finishes just before the seven-minute mark, but is hypnotic in its fluid execution — and when I say “execution,” I’m thinking guillotine — and cedes ground to “Liti Kjersti,” which derives from a Norwegian folk song telling the story of a girl meeting a dwarf or troll in the mountains, and again, pushes into more outwardly extreme sounds in the guitar.

It’s thanks in part to the steady groove of the drums that the song doesn’t tip over into a more outwardly extreme spirit, but there’s no doubt the motion is dragging the listener deeper into the progression under way, and of course there’s no letup with “Head of a Traitor” in that regard either, the longest song on Latum Alterum beginning with a creep of intertwined guitar lines before bursting forward in a sudden surge, and even before the first verse, causing one to imagine hearing buried screams so deep in the mix as to barely be audible. This is prior to the arrival of the harmonies between Gulbrandsen and Kristine, which are masterful by the midpoint of the track and set up a second half of continuing buzz and a stretch of guitar topped with final lyrics that ends by giving way to residual noise and the immediately carbonized feel of “One Night of Cruelty.”

These turns and shifts are there, and swiftly applied, but can be easy to miss the first time through if, again, one isn’t giving the proper level of interactivity to the listen. Latum Alterum in its side B delves even further in misanthropic and grueling darkness, as both “One Night of Cruelty” and the aptly-titled “Embrace the Dark” seem to careen downward, the latter with a punctuated march that’s as majestic as it is weighted. “Embrace the Dark” ends with lower register vocals that would seem to set up a bleaker turn in “Evig Hvile/Libera Me… (Outro),” but the truth is things are plenty bleak by then anyway. The finisher might be another folk song by Bjørn Eidsvåg reinterpreted, or there’s a Nortt song from 2003 with the same name, I’m not really sure, but wherever it comes from The Sabbathian make it their own no less than they did with “Liti Kjersti,” reinforcing the atmospheric shimmer and downer spirit of the proceedings with a patiently unfolding rhythm with the vocals woven over-top.

There isn’t so much a grand finale as a dirge march outward, and as the last strains cut off and let the outro take hold, organ and vocals, the scope of Latum Alterum continues to be among the album’s primary assets. Whatever stylistic tags one might want to apply or force upon it, The Sabbathian create their own sonic persona on their first long-player, and do so with a sure-minded purpose toward ambient weight. Their prior experience on the EP — which was more in a vein of cult metal and is included in a 2CD edition of this release — helped solidify their approach, but Latum Alterum is on a different level entirely for The Sabbathian, and though invariably geographical complications are a factor, one hopes they continue along this path of resonant drear.

The Sabbathian on Thee Facebooks

The Sabbathian on Bandcamp

Svart Records website

Svart Records on Thee Facebooks

Svart Records on Twitter

Tags: , , , , , ,

The Sabbathian Announce Jan. 25 Release for Latum Alterum

Posted in Whathaveyou on November 21st, 2018 by JJ Koczan

the sabbathian

Following the debut EP Ritual Rites, which Svart issued in 2014, The Sabbathian will issue their debut long-player on Jan. 25. The group has pared down from a trio to a two-piece since the EP, with multi-instrumentalist Chad Davis (GnuJenzeitsHour of Thirteen, so many others) and Norewgian-native vocalist Anette Uvaas Guldbransen (Nàttsòl, Mäctätus) as its sole inhabitants — though Liv Kristine of Leaves’ Eyes makes a guest appearance as well — and if the band itself positions the songs more in line with classic metal and doom. A comparison to early Bathory is always a mixed bag: How early are we talking? But with that intrigue added, I’m only more on the hook for listening to the album when the time comes.

Art and info came down the PR wire:

the sabbathian latum alterum

THE SABBATHIAN set release date for SVART debut album

Today, Svart Records sets January 25th, 2019 as the international release date for The Sabbathian’s highly anticipated debut album, Latum Alterum, on CD and vinyl LP formats.

The words “highly anticipated” come quickly to mind when talking of the US-Norwegian project The Sabbathian and the chance that there will be new material from them. The band, formed by Chad Davis (Hour of 13 and many more) and Anette Uvaas Guldbrandsen (Nàttsòl), released their debut EP, Ritual Rites, on Svart Records in 2014. The duo’s personal approach to old-school doom won over many metal hearts, and the wait for new material is over in January 2019.

The Sabbathian’s debut full-length, Latum Alterum, is scheduled for release on January 25th on LP, digital, and limited double CD (including Ritual Rites EP on CD for the first time). The album is a considerably darker affair compared to the EP, a step away from the origins of doom metal and towards the heavier vistas traversed by Nordic metalmongers such as Bathory or Candlemass. Vocalist Anette Uvaas Guldbransen describes the album thus: “The overall theme can be described as slightly morbid, as it is very much about passing over to the other side – latum alterum. The odd one out is the song ‘Embrace The Dark,’ which retains the sound of the EP. The intro and outro tracks are meant as a way of blessing the souls on their journey.”

“The way we work on the music takes time,” adds Guldbransen. “Chad would send me the music and I then work my way through the songs. As the music is quite different now, I must admit I had quite a struggle at first with some of the tracks. My best friend Liv Kristine Espenæs has joined me on one track, mainly because I thought her voice would lift the song and also because I love her voice. I have sung on several songs with her ex-band Leaves’ Eyes, and now I felt it was her turn to sing on something I made.”

First track premiere and preorder info to be revealed shortly.

Tracklisting for The Sabbathian’s Latum Alterum
1. Requiem… (Intro)
2. The Brightest Light
3. Liti Kjersti
4. Head Of A Traitor
5. One Night Of Cruelty
6. Embrace The Dark
7. Evig Hvile / Libera me… (outro)

www.facebook.com/thesabbathianband
https://thesabbathian.bandcamp.com
www.svartrecords.com
www.facebook.com/svartrecords
www.twitter.com/svartrecords

The Sabbathian, Ritual Rites (2014)

Tags: , , , , , ,