Rongeur Premiere “Wellpisser” from An Asphyxiating Embrace

Posted in audiObelisk on March 7th, 2018 by JJ Koczan


Norwegian sludgetossers Rongeur will issue their debut album, An Asphyxiating Embrace, on March 9. They’ve aligned themselves to no fewer than three separate labels for the occasion: Poacher Records has the initial digital release — that’s this week — late Spring (May or June, depending on whom you ask) will see cassette and vinyl out through Poacher, as well as Ampmandens Records and Aonair Records. Complicated? Don’t worry, by the time you make it through the track premiere for “Wellpisser” below, you’ll feel like you were hit over the head and you won’t remember anything anyway. It’ll be like the confusion never happened. Thud.

An Asphyxiating Embrace — or as I’ve enjoyed thinking of it, ‘the bear-hug that kills you’ — offers claustrophobia worthy of it title, and for that reason one might try to to peg it as post-metal, but that’s hardly even the surface level of the melting pot formed by the eight-track/30-minute offering, throughout which songs like “The Weight of Guilt” blend punishing low end and soaring guitars and keys for an effect that offsets the ultra-pissed noise punk of the earlier “Special Needs” or the everybody-scream-at-the-same-time onslaught of “Mr. Hands.” A catchall like “noise rock” ultimately applies no less than a catchall like “progressive” to what the Oslo three-piece put together in their material, but I don’t think there’s any denying that from the opening lumber of “Weltschmerz” through the rawer bass and feedback interplay of “Chained to a Dead Horse,”rongeur an asphyxiating embrace the core of the album is in its aggressive thrust.

That said, there are moments of flourish one finds throughout, like the keyboards that arrive and come to the fore on “Wellpisser,” the trio of bassist/vocalist Dag Ole, guitarist/vocalist Ken-Robert and drummer/backing vocalist Jon incorporating more spacious guitar leads and keys amid the by-then-familiar rumble of low end beneath. Followed by the chugging and more bare-bones arrangement of “The Deconstructionist,” “Wellpisser” is a standout from much of An Asphyxiating Embrace, but nonetheless representative when it comes to the spirit of the full-length overall, which is to operate with efficient brutality — a kind of thoughtful onslaught playing out over its course that presents itself with deceptive variety through songs like the rolling “Friendsliebe” and the Mellotron-laced creeper-riff-into-aggro-explosion in “The Weight of Guilt,” on which High on Fire-style gallop meets with ’90s hardcore in only the cruelest of presentations.

Their first full-length, An Asphyxiating Embrace follows behind the 2015 demo collection, The Catastrophist and As the Blind Strive Demos (review here), and benefits from the lessons learned across those 2013 and 2014 shorter releases in terms of its fluidity, diversity of approach and general level of craft and production. It is the proverbial impressive debut from a band who’ve obviously given thought to how they want to direct the weapon that is their sound.

You can stream the premiere of “Wellpisser” below, followed by the idiomatic origin story of the title — if anyone needs me I’ll be trying to work the word into daily conversation — and more info from the PR wire. Please enjoy:

Dag Ole on An Asphyxiating Embrace:

The album An Asphyxiating Embrace is in essence a frustrated observation of the human inadequacy to make rational choices. It dwells on the metaphysical aspects of social norms, religion and politics, but without being dogmatic about any of these. Rather it poses more questions than it offers answers. So hope and relief has to be found elsewhere. If anywhere.

The song title “Wellpisser” is derived from old norse “brunnmigi” or “brønnpisser,” meaning to urinate in somebody’s well, i.e. drinking water. It is today used as a derogatory expression in modern political discourse to portray political opponents as fraudulent and false, and is a means to disguise one’s real intentions. However, it should come as no surprise that this phenomenon of dishonesty in regards to intentions appears in all spheres of human interaction. This song is thus about deceit.

Rongeur’s first release was a compilation of demos, the Catastrophist (2013) and As the Blind Strive (2014), issued on cassette by the British label Aonair Productions in December 2015. These demo recordings were then released on compact disc by Disiplin Media (now defunct) in April 2015 with a worldwide distribution deal. In March 2015 Rongeur entered the studio of Jørgen Karlstrøm (ex-Hexed) at PhatCat Studios in Oslo to record four crushing tracks. Two of these were released as a digital split release with Ampmandens Døtre in September 2015, and the remaining two tracks were released as the “God and I/Good War” 7” vinyl single via Ampmandens Records in April 2016.

In late January 2017 the band recorded nine new tracks at Norsk Lydstudio to be featured in their debut full length album “An Asphyxiating Embrace”. The record is mixed and mastered by Ruben Willem at Caliban Studios. The digital version will be released on Poacher Records on the 9th of March 2018, and will also be released on physical format (vinyl and cassette) in May/June 2018 via Poacher Records, Ampmandens Records and Aonair Records.

Rongeur is:
Dag Ole: bass and vocals
Ken-Robert: guitar and vocals
Jon: drums and vocals less

Rongeur on Bandcamp

Rongeur on Thee Facebooks

Tags: , , , , , , ,

Rongeur Set March 9 Release for An Asphyxiating Embrace

Posted in Whathaveyou on March 1st, 2018 by JJ Koczan


Head over to the Bandcamp page for Norwegian sludgers Rongeur and the story seems pretty complicated, but here’s the upshot so far as I can gather: The band is heavy as fuck and their debut album, An Asphyxiating Embrace, is coming out March 9 digitally with physical pressings to follow at some point thereafter. The good news is that if you feel so inclined you can check out the track “Weltschmerz” now — at the bottom of this post, even! — and see if you can resist the urge to punch yourself in the head while listening. I could not, but to be fair, neither was I really trying to. So it goes.

More to come on this one I think before the release, so stay tuned. Until then, the PR wire has info:

rongeur an asphyxiating embrace

Rongeur – Norwegian Sludge Trio Announce Debut Album “An Asphyxiating Embrace”

Oslo-based stoner/sludge trio Rongeur will finally unleash their first full-length album “An Asphyxiating Embrace” after releasing a couple of eps and split releases over the last six years.

Scheduled for release on March 9th digitally via Poacher Records and on vinyl/cassette in early June via Poacher Records, Ampmandens Records and Aonair Records, “An Asphyxiating Embrace” was recorded by Rongeur and mixed and mastered by Ruben Willem at Caliban Studios. Pre-orders for the physical versions will be announced soon.

We offer the album “An Asphyxiating Embrace” in a limited run of three different vinyl colours: clear, white or standard black vinyl (100 copies of each colour). The LP is housed in a beautiful single jacket cover designed by Ole Nymoen Design (Sibiir, Naga Siren, Hexed, Ieatheartattacks), with a high quality protective inner sleeve. All copies will be hand numbered by the band. Includes a digital download of the whole album made available on the date of release March 9. 2018.

We offer a very limited run of 50 hand numbered cassette tapes of the album “An Asphyxiating Embrace”. The cassette comes with exclusive artwork done by the talented french illustrator Alexandre Bodecot, and the bonus track “Sunk Costs”. Includes a digital download of the whole album made available on the date of release March 9. 2018.

The dystopian stoner/sludge/doom metal trio Rongeur was formed in the autumn of 2012. The band is known for playing loud, having a shared love for old tube amps, feedback, distortion, Neurosis, Seigmen and Black Sabbath. Rongeur therefore offer varying levels of angst, and batter you with their unique brand of heavy.

Rongeur is:
Dag Ole: bass and vocals
Ken-Robert: guitar and vocals
Jon: drums and vocals less

Tags: , , , , , , ,

Lonely Kamel Premiere “Fascist Bastard” from New Album Death’s-Head Hawkmoth

Posted in audiObelisk, Reviews on February 9th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

lonely kamel

We live in an age of hyperspecialization. If a band isn’t playing vintage-style proto-progresssive boogie, they’re delving into semi-psychedelic heavy space doom with traditionalist metal elements. Microgenres emerge and disappear as quickly as hashtags and Bandcamp trends will allow, and while in many ways this signals a greater creative flux and that’s not something I’m about to disparage, every now and then it’s nice to be reminded that there was already a single sound that could be all of these things and more besides. It’s called rock and roll, and that’s kind of been the point of the thing all along.

Oslo’s Lonely Kamel play rock and roll, and in the decade since they released their self-titled debut, they’ve played plenty of it. With their fifth long-player, Death’s-Head Hawkmoth, the Oslo fivesome make their debut on Stickman Records after two records on Napalm, and from the opening gong and thickened fuzz sing-along hook of “Fascist Bastard” to the stomping forward thrust of “Inside,” the bouncing verses and later drift in “Psychedelic Warfare” and the start-stop blues of “The Day I’m Gone” that hits after the album’s mega-hook in “Inebriated,” they recall the best of turn of the century European heavy rock and roll: one foot in the heavy ’70s in terms of their influences,Lonely Kamel Deaths Head Hawkmoth and the other firmly engaged in the business of kicking their audience’s collective ass.

It’s been four years since Lonely Kamel released their last album, Shit City, and as one might guess from the title, all was not well with the band. They’ve swapped out lead guitarists for Death’s-Head Hawkmoth, and if there are any residual doubts about Vegard Strand Holthe‘s contributions to the record, one need only listen to the extended instrumental build and solo-topped payoff off of “The Day I’m Gone” to get it. It ain’t hard to see where they’re coming from. Nor should it be. The prevailing lack of pretense is one of Death’s-Head Hawkmoth‘s great strengths, and it goes hand in hand with the classic-style frontman presence of vocalist/guitarist Thomas Brenna, the guiding riffs of guitarist Jøran Normann and the rhythm section of bassist Stian Helle and drummer Espen Nesset, which proves unshakable unless we’re talking about dancing.

And if we are talking about dancing, well, there’s the jangle early in the rolling verse of “Fascist Bastard,” or the almost-a-freakout space rock push of “Inside” that follows the positive-self-talk interlude of “Move On,” or the post-Queens of the Stone Age stutter-shuffle in the second half of “More Weed Less Hate,” Death’s-Head Hawkmoth isn’t exactly short on opportunities for it. Whatever statements Lonely Kamel may or may not be making about aesthetic specificity in the digital age — something in “Inebriated” tells me they have better things to think about — their bluesy core becomes just one of the means by which they pull the listener along with them on a journey varied and distinct enough to earn at least a couple of its own hashtags but which would seem to have little use for them in comparison to a solid, primary and overarching groove. The very sound of doing it right.

Lonely Kamel release Death’s-Head Hawkmoth March 23 via Stickman Records. Below, you can hear the premiere of “Fascist Bastard” and check out some background courtesy of Helle on how the album came together.

Please enjoy:

Stian Helle on Death’s-Head Hawkmoth:

Death’s-Head Hawkmoth was written over a relatively long period, due to various reasons. I remember Thomas brought a six-song demo tape back in April-May 2015, and four of these ideas were initially recorded during the Hawkmoth sessions, while only three of them ended up on the record. We were in a different place back then, so maybe that’s why it took a long time to finish them. Our previous record, Shit City, kind of summed it all up at the time.

One of these demo tunes was actually from way back in the days. The opening riff and chorus on “Psychedelic Warfare” was used as a middle part of a song we called “All Star Veteran.” We have a few rehearsal takes from 2007 with this riff in a totally different setting. The song was never released though.

Most of the new songs were potentially good ideas but we struggled to nail them… Our new single, “Fascist Bastard,” was the first one to come alive. We toured Europe for 10 days in June 2016, and played this live on that tour. When our former lead guitarist quit we started playing with a friend of ours, Vegard Strand Holthe. This was just three or four weeks before we would go on tour again in October 2016. We didn’t play much of these new songs on that tour but continued to do “Fascist Bastard” live, and were ‘shaping’ it each night. So it’s a fresh version of the song that finally ended up on the new album.

Vegard continued to play with us after the tour and we started working more focused on the other new songs as well. And he was a big influence on a lot of the songs and how they ended up on the record. All songs were and written and arranged by Lonely Kamel and Vegard, who eventually became a part of the band. Another addition to the Kamel family is Jøran Normann who recorded parts of the album. He played some guitar on the record and toured with us in 2017, stepping in, doing the lead guitar live while Vegard was occupied with other projects. From January 2018, Lonely Kamel is officially a five-piece.

We recorded totally nine songs for Death’s-Head Hawkmoth, or 10, depending on how you see it. Songs three and four on the new record, “Move On” and “Inside” — are actually one song, we just divided it into two during the mix. “Inebriated,” “More Weed Less Hate” and “The Day I’m Gone” are new songs, written the last couple of months before recording. Even though it’s written over a period of time the album feels like an entity. Thomas did the all lyrics so I leave that it to him.

Death’s-Head Hawkmoth was recorded at Schumann Lydbureau in oSlo, February 2017, by Jo Schumann and Jørann Normann. Mixed by Ruben Willem in June & mastered by Brian Gardner in November same year.

Thomas Brenna – vocals & guitar
Espen Nesset – drums & backing vox
Stian Helle – bass & backing vox
Vegard Strand Holthe – guitar & backing vox
Jøran Normann – guitar & backing vox

Lonely Kamel on Thee Facebooks

Lonely Kamel on Instagram

Lonely Kamel on Bandcamp

Stickman Records on Thee Facebooks

Stickman Records website

Tags: , , , , ,

Friendship Premiere New Single “Gypsy”; Ain’t No Shame LP Coming Soon

Posted in audiObelisk, Reviews on January 26th, 2018 by JJ Koczan


Today, Jan. 26, marks the release of Friendship‘s new single ‘Gypsy’ ahead of the impending Kozmik Artifactz issue of their sophomore full-length, Ain’t No Shame. On an almost song-by-song basis, from the arena-rock lead-in of opener “Are You Ready?” to the Stevie Wonder-style soul and funk of the penultimate “Live Peacefully,” the record showcases a multifaceted personality on the part of the Oslo-based trio. There are some commonalities, of course — the earlier “Harmony Turns to Sound” is plenty funky as well — but mostly what ties together Friendship‘s work is the underlying songwriting prowess, and whether it’s the boogie shuffle and build of “Gypsy,” or the eight-track ready sunshiny brightness of “Got Me Feeling So Good,” the Hammond-laced post-Graveyard melancholy of “Moments,” or the ultra-vibrant mega-fuzz start-stop of “Fire,” which follows, that sense of craft holds firm even through the blowout blues of “Alaska Night” in headphone-worthy sonic nuance, mindful performances and an earthy production that allows the band to maximize their scope while remaining consistent in overarching sound and tone.

Friendship made their debut in 2012 with the Alpha Male EP and followed with a 2014 self-titled long-player that Kozmik Artifactz picked up in 2016. For Ain’t No Shame, the lineup of drummer/vocalist Fredrik Skalstad, guitarist FRIENDSHIP GYPSYSander Eriksen Nordahl and bassist Martin Morland returned to work in conjunction with engineer Christian Engfelt (also Elephant9 and many others across a wide swath of genres), and the fruit of that labor can be heard in the confidence with which the 10-track/41-minute LP pulls off its various sonic turns. I wouldn’t call the album linear exactly — it does seem more interested in jumping from place to place in terms of style rather than digging into a single overarching groove and riding it out for the duration; nothing against either approach when it works — but it does find common groun through its sense of structure and while brimming with variety nonetheless retains a human core of performance beneath that plays up not only a classic feel but cohesion behind even that of hook-making or choice-level chorus execution.

What does that mean? It means the chops are in place, but as you dig into the track premiere for “Gypsy” below which I’m thrilled to be hosting today, don’t necessarily expect the track to speak for the entirety of what Ain’t No Shame brings to bear on an aesthetic level. Do, however, expect a damn good time.

Please find “Gypsy” on the player here, followed by some discussion from the band about the track and the long-player from whence it comes, which again is out soon on Kozmik Artifactz:

Friendship, “Gypsy” official track premiere

Friendship on “Gypsy” and Ain’t No Shame:

Gypsy is a rock tune with a riff that gave associations to a dude who rides alongside railroad tracks, and the lyrics pretty much came after that. The song is about a guy who lives his life on the road looking for love. The band worked a bit to get the riff to sound tight and we are happy with the way it turned out on tape. We included bongo drums in the main riff to recreate the association the riff gave when it first was made on an acoustic guitar in Fredrik’s living room. Sander came up with the riff for the chorus and the rest of the song came together through a collaboration in the rehearsal room. Gypsy is the first taste of a new album from Friendship that sounds like rock and good vibes!

‘Ain’t No Shame’ is an album consisting of ten songs with various feels, grooves and stories. Hence the name, Ain’t No Shame. There are songs inspired by country tunes from bands like The Band and Dylan from his Nashville Skyline period to hard, heavy and slow Sabbath-feel songs. Where we wanted the song to sound like a soul song we went all out; four horns, a Hammond organ, crazy percussion and an extremely talented female singer. The album sounds like Friendship in 2018. Many of the groovy riffs and energetic rhythms from the debut album are present, only performed better. The sound is also more defined and has a higher level of quality. We used a great studio with an amazing technician, Christian Engfelt, who also mixed the record.

We are extremely excited to show the record to everyone. It sounds surprising, sexy and superb!

Friendship is:
Fredrik Skalstad – drums and vocals
Martin Morland – bass
Sander Eriksen Nordahl – guitar

Friendship on Thee Facebooks

Friendship website

Kozmik Artifactz website

Kozmik Artifactz on Thee Facebooks

Kozmik Artifactz on Twitter

Tags: , , , , ,

Quarterly Review: Wolves in the Throne Room, Gravy Jones, Marmora, Mouth, Les Lekin, Leather Lung, Torso, Jim Healey, Daxma, The Re-Stoned

Posted in Reviews on January 9th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

Lodewijk de Vadder (1605-1655) - 17th Century Etching, Landscape with Two Farms

The Obelisk’s Quarterly Review continues today with day two of five. I don’t mind telling you — in fact I’m pretty happy to tell you — that this one’s all over the place. Black metal, post-metal, singer-songwriter stuff, psych jams, heavy rock. I feel like I’ve had to go to great pains not to use the word “weird” like 17 times. But I guess that’s what’s doing it for me these days. The universe has plenty of riffs. All the better when they start doing something different or new or even just a little strange. I think, anyhow. Alright, enough lollygagging. Time to dive in.

Quarterly Review #11-20:

Wolves in the Throne Room, Thrice Woven

wolves in the throne room thrice woven

True, it’s something of a cliché when it comes to Wolves in the Throne Room to think of their work as “an awaited return,” and perhaps that speaks to the level of anticipation with which their outings are greeted generally. Nonetheless, Thrice Woven arrives via the band’s own Artemisia Records six years after Celestial Lineage, their last proper full-length, and three after its companion, Celestite (review here), so the five-track/42-minute offering from the USBM innovators is legitimately due. The Washington-based troupe’s black-metal-of-the-land remains heavily focused on atmosphere, with a sharp, experimental-feeling turn to ambience and melody in opener “Born from the Serpent’s Eye” and the later drone interlude “Mother Owl, Father Ocean” that precedes the rampaging closer “Fires Roar in the Palace of the Moon,” which caps Thrice Woven with a long fade into the sound of rolling waves. Between them, “The Old Ones are with Us” casts a vision of blackened folk-doom that seems to pull off what Agalloch was always aiming for, and centerpiece “Angrboda” blasts through an early wash before splitting near the midsection to minimalism and rebuilding itself on a slow march. 15 years on from their beginning, Wolves in the Throne Room still sound like no one else, and continue to push themselves forward creatively.

Wolves in the Throne Room on Thee Facebooks

Artemisia Records on Bandcamp


Gravy Jones, Funeral Pyre

gravy jones funeral pyre

It’s a crazy world into which Gravy Jones invite their listeners on their self-issued debut full-length, Funeral Pyre, and the fire they bring is born of a molten classic psychedelic rock underpinned by low end weight and further distinguished by its use of organ and proto-metallic vocal proclamations. Opener and longest track (immediate points) “Heavens Bliss” tops 10 minutes in its weirdo roll, and subsequent cuts “The Burning of the Witch” and “It Came from the Sea” do little to dispel the off-center vibe, the former dug into rawer NWOBHM-ism and the latter, the centerpiece of the five-tracker, beaming in from some kind of alt-universe Deep Purple idolatry to lead into the particularly doomed “Gilgamesh” and the shuffle-into-noisefest onslaught of the closing title-track. All told it’s 41 minutes of bizarre excursion that’s deceptively cohesive and feels like the start of a longer-term sonic exploration. Whether or not Gravy Jones even out sound-wise or hold to such an unhinged vibe, they definitely pique interest here.

Gravy Jones on Thee Facebooks

Gravy Jones on Bandcamp


Marmora, Criterion

marmora criterion

Criterion – yes, like the collection – is the debut EP from Chicago four-piece Marmora, who released a single in 2013 before the core brotherly trio of Zaid (guitar), Alejandro (bass) and Ulysses (drums) Salazar hooked up with vocalist/guitarist/synthesist Allan Cardenas in 2015. The three-tracker that has resulted begins with its title-cut, which thrusts forth a wash of heavy post-rock that makes an impression in weight as much as space before turning to the more grounded, propulsive, aggressive and punkishly noise-caked “Apathy” and closer “Flowers in Your Garden,” which turns traditional heavy rock riffery on its head with frenetic drum work and rhythmic turns that feel born of modern progressive metal. Significant as the crunch factor and aggro pulsations are, Criterion isn’t at all without a corresponding sense of atmosphere, and though there isn’t much tying these three tracks together, for a first EP, there doesn’t need to be. Let that come later. For now, the boot to the ass is enough.

Marmora on Thee Facebooks

Marmora on Bandcamp


Mouth, Live ’71

mouth live 71

Perhaps in part as a holdover between their 2017 second album, Vortex (review here), and the impending Floating to be issued in 2018, German progressive retroists Mouth offer Live ’71. No, it was not actually recorded in 1971. Nor, to my knowledge, was it recorded in 2071 and sent back in time in a slingshot maneuver around the sun. It’s just a play on the raw, captured-from-the-stage sound of the 55-minute set, which opens at a 19-minute sprawl with “Vortex” itself and only deep-dives further from there, whether it’s into the keyboard throb of “Parade,” the nuanced twists of “Into the Light” or the more straightforward riffing of “On the Boat.” There’s room for all this scope and the stomp of “Master Volume Voice” in a Mouth set, it would seem, and if Live ’71 is indeed a stopgap, it’s one that shows off the individualized personality of the long-running band who seem to still be exploring even as they approach the 20-year mark.

Mouth on Thee Facebooks

Mouth on Bandcamp


Les Lekin, Died with Fear

les lekin died with fear

A second full-length from Austrian heavy psych trio Les Lekin, Died with Fear is perhaps more threatening in its title than in its overall aesthetic. The four inclusions on the 43-minute follow-up to 2014’s All Black Rainbow Moon (review here) set their mission not necessarily in conveying terror or some overarching sense of darkness – though low end is a major factor throughout – as in cosmic hypnosis born of repetition and chemistry-fueled heavy psychedelic progressivism. Well at home in the extended and atmospheric “Orca” (10:41), “Inert” (10:21), “Vast” (8:59) and “Morph” (13:34), the three-piece of guitarist Peter G., bassist Beat B. and drummer Kerstin W. recorded live and in so doing held fast to what feels very much like a natural and developing dynamic between them, their material all the more fluid for it but carrying more of a sense of craft than most might expect from a release that, ostensibly, is based around jams. Sweeping and switched-on in kind, Died with Fear turns out to be remarkably vibrant for something under a banner so grim.

Les Lekin on Thee Facebooks

Tonzonen Records webstore


Leather Lung, Lost in Temptation

leather lung lost in temptation

Oh, they’re mad about it, to be sure. I’m not sure what ‘it’ ultimately is, but whatever, it’s got Leather Lung good and pissed off. Still, the Boston-based onslaught specialists’ debut full-length, Lost in Temptation, has more to its cacophony than sheer violence, and though that intelligence is somewhat undercut by the hey-check-it-out-it’s-cartoon-tits-and-also-because-snakes-are-like-wieners cover art, the marriage between fuckall noise intensity on “Gin and Chronic” and trades between growl-topped thrust and more open and melodic plod on “Shadow of the Scythe” and upbeat rock on “Momentum of Misfortune.” Put it in your “go figure” file that the closer “Destination: Void,” which is marked as an outro, is the longest inclusion on the 28-minute offering, but by then due pummel has been served throughout pieces like “Deaf Adder” and “Freak Flag” amid the willful stoner idolatry of “The Spice Melange,” so there’s texture in the assault as well. Yeah though, that cover. Woof.

Leather Lung on Thee Facebooks

Leather Lung on Bandcamp


Torso, Limbs

torso limbs

I won’t deny the strength of approach Austria’s Torso demonstrate across Limbs, their StoneFree Records debut LP, in the straightforward structures of songs like “Meaning Existence” or “Mirror of My Mind” or “Skinny and Bony” and the semi-acoustic penultimate grown-up-grunge alternarocker “Down the Highway,” but it’s hard to listen to the nine-minute spread of “Red Moon” in the midsection of the album and not come away from its patient psychedelic execution thinking of it as a highlight. Shades of post-rock and moodier fare make themselves known in “Come Closer” and the righteously melodic “Ride Up,” and closer “Voices” delivers a resounding payoff, but it’s “Red Moon” that summarizes the atmospheric and emotional scope with which Torso are working and most draws together the various elements at play into a cohesive singularity. One hopes it’s a model they’ll follow going forward, but neither should doing so necessarily draw away from the songwriting prowess they show here. It’s a balance that, having been struck, feels ready to be manipulated.

Torso on Thee Facebooks

StoneFree Records website


Jim Healey, Just a Minute More

jim healey just a minute more

Companioned immediately by a digital release of the demos on which it’s based, including four other songs that didn’t make the cut of the final, studio-recorded EP, Jim Healey’s Just a Minute More conveys its sense of longing in the title and moves quickly to stake its place in a long-running canon of singer-songwriterisms. Healey, known for fronting metal and heavy rock acts like We’re all Gonna Die, Black Thai, Set Fire, etc., could easily come across as a case of dual personality in the sweetly, unabashedly sentimental, acoustic-based opener “The Road” or the more-plugged-in “You and I” at the outset, but in the fuzzed-out centerpiece “Swamp Thing,” the emotionally weighted memorable hook of “Faced,” and the piano-topped payoff of closer “Burn Up,” the 18-minute EP unfurls a sense of variety and a full-band sound that sets the project Jim Healey on its own course even apart from the man himself. Some of those other demos aren’t too bad either. Just saying.

Jim Healey on Thee Facebooks

Jim Healey on Bandcamp


Daxma, The Head Which Becomes the Skull


Signed to Magnetic Eye for the release, Oakland post-metal five-piece Daxma answer the ambition of their half-hour single-song 2016 debut EP, The Nowhere of Shangri-La, with the even-fuller-length The Head Which Becomes the Skull, demonstrating a clear intent toward sonic patience and ambient reach that balances subtle builds and crashes with engaging immersiveness and nod. Three of the six total inclusions top 10 minutes, and within opener “Birth” (10:53), “Abandoning All Hope” (11:34) and the penultimate “Our Lives Will be Erased by the Shifting Sands of the Desert” (13:42), one finds significant breadth, but not to be discounted either are the roll of “Wanderings/Beneath the Sky,” the avant feel of the closing title-track or even the 80-second drone interlude “Aufheben,” which like all that surrounds it, feeds into a consuming ambience that undercuts the notion of The Head Which Becomes the Skull as a debut album for its purposefulness and evocative soundscaping.

Daxma on Thee Facebooks

Magnetic Eye Records on Bandcamp


The Re-Stoned, Chronoclasm

the re-stoned chronoclasm

For their first new outing since they revisited their debut EP in 2016 with Reptiles Return (review here), Moscow instrumentalists The Re-Stoned cast forth Chronoclasm, a six-track long-player of new material recorded over 2015 and 2016 that ties together its near-hour-long runtime with a consistency of guitarist Ilya Lipkin’s lead tone and a steady interweaving of acoustic elements. “Human Without Body,” “Save Me Under the Emerald Glass,” “Psychedelic Soya Barbecue” and the title-track seem to have some nuance of countrified swing to their groove, but it’s lysergic swirl that ultimately rules the day throughout Chronoclasm, Yaroslav Shevchenko’s drums keeping the material grounded around Lipkin’s guitar and Vladimir Kislyakov’s bass. The trio are joined on percussion by Evgeniy Tkachev on percussion for the CD bonus track “Quartz Crystals,” which picks up from the quiet end of “Chronoclasm” itself and feels like a nine-minute improve extension of its serene mood, adding further progressive sensibility to an already wide scope.

The Re-Stoned on Thee Facebooks

Oak Island Records on Thee Facebooks


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

Lonely Kamel Sign to Stickman Records; New LP in 2018

Posted in Whathaveyou on December 12th, 2017 by JJ Koczan

As they move into 2018 and mark a decade since the arrival of their self-titled debut, Oslo-based heavy rockers Lonely Kamel have been announced as signing to Stickman Records for their impending and yet-untitled fifth offering. It will be the first for the four-piece since 2014’s Shit City (discussed here) came out via Napalm Records and by releasing through Stickman, it continues the impressive pedigree the band has built over their time together, having achieved veteran status through performances over the last several years at Freak Valley, Desertfest Belgium, Roadburn and so on.

With Sound of Liberation behind them for booking and Stickman helming the release, I don’t at all imagine this will be the last time we hear from Lonely Kamel heading toward the New Year, and that’s just fine as far as I’m concerned. With an early 2018 tentative arrival date for the record, I wouldn’t be surprised to see their name pop up on a Spring festival or two, but of course, we’ll have to wait and see when we get there.

In the meantime, Stickman announced the partnership thusly:

lonely kamel


Just before the close of the year we’re ecstatic to welcome another band to our fold: Lonely Kamel from Oslo will be releasing their 5th full-length album early next year on Stickman! The band’s melange of smokey blues, hard rock and stoner riffs have caught our ears for a while and we’re glad to be home to their next album. More details on this soon!

This camel is certainly not a lone voice in the wilderness. Especially since LONELY KAMEL indeed sound like a desert, but in truth come from Norway. And obviously traditional Hard Rock can be produced quite exquisitely between fjords and endless forests, which sound nice, meaty and dry. On their fourth album the Norwegians act in the tension between Hard Rock from the seventies, Stoner Rock, Blues, Psychedelic and a dash of Doom.

Lonely Kamel, “Shit City” lyric video

Tags: , , ,

Thulsa Doom to Release A Keen Eye for the Obvious Feb. 16

Posted in Whathaveyou on November 23rd, 2017 by JJ Koczan

thulsa doom

By the time it lands in February, A Keen Eye for the Obvious will be arriving upwards of 13 years after its most recent predecessor from Norwegian heavy rockers Thulsa Doom, which was 2005’s Keyboard, Oh Lord! Why Don’t We?. Needless to say, anyone with a keen eye for the obvious can tell you that’s plenty long enough. Near as I can tell, it’s a release through Duplex Records with distribution from Stickman, though it could be a direct release through Stickman as well — I’m not really sure. Either way, it’s coming out, and the band have a new video for opening track “Lady Nina” playing now that’s rife with boozy themes and Thin Lizzy bounce, and you’re not going to hear me complain about that in the slightest. These guys were always a good time, and one is glad to see that the intervening decade-plus hasn’t changed that core aspect of their sound.

This weekend they play Caliban Sessions alongside Black Debbath and a host of others. There’s more info at their Thee Facebooks page, which is linked below.

Dig it:

thulsa doom a keen eye for the obvious

Thulsa Doom – A Keen Eye for the Obvious

European release distributed by Stickman Records!

We are proud to announce that «A Keen Eye for the Obvious” will be released in Europe, february 16th, 2018.

The release is in the best of hands, distributed through legendary German label Stickman Records who has been, and will always be, a true friend of quality music from Norway.

We look forward to a new chapter in the Thulsa Doom story through Rolf and Stickman, and are really happy to, from now on, be associated with many of our favourite bands from past and present, including Fireside, The Soundtrack of Our Lives, Radio Birdman, Motorpsycho and Elder, just to name a few.

We hope to see you on the road next year as well.

1 Lady Nina
2 Eloquent Profanity
3 Wrap the Bad up
4 Shadows on the X-rays
5 Consider Me
6 Bag of Fries
7 Quest for Fire
8 Magazine
9 In Italics and Bold
10 Baby, Hate IT

Thulsa Doom, “Lady Nina” official video

Tags: , , , , , ,

Æsthetica Premiere “Ekstasis”; Debut Album Sonorous Æon out Dec. 8

Posted in audiObelisk on November 16th, 2017 by JJ Koczan


Norwegian four-piece Æsthetica will release their debut album, Sonorous Æon, on Dec. 8 via Esetiske Studier and Fysisk Format, and though thoroughly based in doom at its roots, it’s a six-song outing that nonetheless blurs the lines of subgenres and influences almost on a per-track basis. A sense of post-metallic drama of atmosphere pervades “Todesfuge,” for example, which hits after rolling opener “Haze” calls to mind the heavy-soul delivery of Goatsnake and Gozu. Comprised of Tobias Brynildsbakken HuseSimon Dahl OkoniweskiVetle Bråten Rian and Petter Rosendahl Moland — everybody gets three names; no more, no less — Æsthetica structure their first offering as a two-sided vinyl wherein each half features two cuts just under six minutes long and one longer one on either side of 10, and feel cohesive and self-aware in their approach even as they seem to be staking a claim on such varied stylistic ground as the alternately spacious and crushing side A finale “La Paz,” which moves from open-air guitar noodling to deeply weighted riffage and hits 10:36 as the longest inclusion on Sonorous Æon.

One could hardly consider the range of Æsthetica, whose very moniker speaks to a commitment to or at least awareness of style as an essential facet of art, to be a detriment in the first place, but what makes Sonorous Æon work particularly well is its front to back flow. As the somewhat grim march at the end of “Todesfuge” (‘Death Fugue,’ in German, aesthetica sonorous aeoncomplete with a lengthy spoken sample also in the same language) gives way to the vastness of “La Paz,” initially populated by echoing guitar and flourish of cymbal wash, the band do well to consider overarching presentation. Indeed, the same holds on side B as the airy post-rockisms of second-half-leadoff “Gates” build to an understated head and drop to the sparsest and most contemplative moment on Sonorous Æon, from which a couple seconds of feedback signal the slam into post-Electric Wizard riffing that’s to come in the penultimate “Worshipper.” These borders are crossed with confidence, as they must be to work at all, and while Æsthetica would have their work cut out for them in trying to meld all of these impulses into one overarching sound or idea, they show on their debut that they’re able to tie them together all the same and conjure a sensibility that forces the listener to think of Sonorous Æon as a whole work rather than assembled component parts.

At 9:57, “Ekstasis” closes out Sonorous Æon in answer to “La Paz” back on side A, and in so doing would seem to provide an opportunity for summary or final expansion into new ground. By then, as they approach the total 44 minutes that make up the album, it’s little surprise they choose the latter, bringing in a near-gothic theatricality amid guitar drift anchored by the heft of the corresponding bass tone as the drums push it forward. As they have across the record’s span, the vocals prove a uniting and commanding presence, and as “Ekstasis” builds in pace toward its midsection crashout, it would seem Æsthetica are looking to deliver the crescendo early, but in fact it’s a ruse, and instead, they set themselves up for a two-part cycle, essentially tearing down the fabric of one payoff in order to begin building another, even more satisfying one from the ground up. Instrumental and consuming, the back half of “Ekstasis” makes as fitting a closing argument for Sonorous Æon as anything might, and the album finishes on a resonant pluck of strings to reaffirm the space created.

Today I have the pleasure of hosting “Ekstasis” as a track premiere ahead of the Dec. 8 release of Sonorous Æon. Please find it on the player below, followed by more background on Æsthetica from the PR wire, and please enjoy:

Æsthetica, “Ekstasis”

From the densely wooded suburbs just outside of Oslo a deep, dark sound has emerged with the sonic intensity of Armageddon and the wistful sonorities of the birds. Æsthetica are a self-styled doom, post-rock band from Kolbotn whose live shows have mesmerised audiences for its fierce fervor and great big swathes of sound that envelop the listener like a mysterious mist. Combining elements of doom, progressive blues rock, eastern scales and even tubas, Æstethica have cultivated a sound uniquely their own and their debut album Sonorous Æon is bringing this to the recorded format for the first time.

Theirs is a bold new sound lifted from the petrified footsteps left by bands like Black Sabbath, Swans and Godspeed! You black Emperor and shaped by a stark coldness that lies beyond the tundra. Æsthetica’s textures are dense and powerful and without provocation they lure the listener into a calm noise that lies just beyond the superficial. It’s a quiet noise that’s best experienced in the live context, which the young four-piece group dominate with a sonic presence.

Recorded and mixed in Asker by Are Sorknes, mastered by Jack Control at Enormous Door Mastering.

Artist: Æsthetica
Title: Sonorous Æon
Release: December 8th, 2017
Label: Esetiske Studier/Fysisk Format

1. Haze
2. Todesfuge
3. La Paz
4. Gates
5. Worshipper
6. Ekstasis

Æsthetica are:
Tobias Brynildsbakken Huse
Simon Dahl Okoniweski
Vetle Bråten Rian
Petter Rosendahl Moland

Æsthetica on Thee Facebooks

Æsthetica on Bandcamp

Fysisk Format website

Tags: , , , , , ,