Review & Full Album Stream: Saint Karloff, All Heed the Black God

Posted in audiObelisk, Reviews on July 16th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

saint karloff all heed the black god

[Click play above to stream Saint Karloff’s All Heed the Black God in full. Album is out on LP/CD July 27 through Twin Earth Records with cassettes through Hellas Records.]

Opening with the call of a crow, shortly working its way into sampled thunder and in the meantime igniting immediately Sabbathian riffage marked out by a subtle brightness in its fuzz, the debut album from Saint Karloff, All Heed the Black God, arrives via Twin Earth Records and Hellas Records like a message telegraphed to the converted. Opener “Ghost Smoker” tops seven minutes and dips into blues rocking twists and turns as guitarist Mads Melvold layers his own harmonies — unless that’s bassist Ole Sletner or drummer Adam Suleiman backing — in a midsection shuffle, and the Oslo three-piece delve into accessible melodies as they cross reaches they won’t see again until the bookending closer, pushes closer to the eight-minute mark with an even purer Sabbath worship, like “Under the Sun”‘s malevolent boogie given a modern edge.

I say this nearly every time I mention Twin Earth Records in any context, but the label has an ear for tone that’s second to none, and as Saint Karloff join the imprints ranks, they fit excellently in that regard. The thrust of “Space Junkie” and the birdsong-laced acoustic interlude “Ganymedes” follow “Ghost Smoker,” each following the Black Sabbath blueprint in their own way, but Saint Karloff manage to make their own impression tonally and the deftness of Sletner and Suleiman in pulling off shifts in tempo and lacing one groove into the next set the three-piece apart from the masses when it comes to capturing that aspect of their forebears. In that regard and in terms of general pacing, they’re simply better at it than most bands.

The task of “Ghost Smoker” is clear at the outset in terms of setting the mood and tone — figuratively and literally — for what will follow, and “Space Junkie” answers back the patient groove with the album’s most fervent shove, leading to the interlude. This one-two-three progression of songs is pivotal to the impression All Heed the Black God makes one whole. For one, it is utterly classic. Put your intro where your intro goes, dig into a righteous groove, follow with a good sprint and then hang a louie into something entirely unexpected. It’s a smart play, and clearly intended to keep the listener on their toes as they make their way through especially for the always-pivotal first listen — going for the, “I don’t know what’s happening here, but I’m into it” impression, which they succeed in capturing — but most importantly, it speaks to a conscientiousness of craft from Saint Karloff, so what while their sound might be easy to pinpoint in terms of its influences early — hang on, we’re getting there — the very fact of that stems from a clarity of purpose on the part of the trio. They meant to make it that way, in other words, and they’re educated enough in the roots of their approach to know what they’re doing.

That’s something that only continues to help them as “Ganymedes” gives way to the three-song punch of centerpiece “Dark Sun,” “Radioactive Tomb” and “When the Earth Cracks Open” ahead of “Spellburn.” This middle salvo is likewise crucial to the overarching feel of the record, particularly as it represents a branching out in terms of influence. “Dark Sun” feeds Uncle Acid‘s “Death’s Door” garage doom through a filter of early Witchcraft — and better, works well doing so — before launching at around four minutes into its total 5:35 into thicker riffing and an all-around meaner roll, Melvold either bemoaning or bragging, “We have no soul/We are soulless,” with just a touch of post-Jus Oborn inflection in his voice. That twist fades out to finish “Dark Sun” as a highlight and the subsequent “Radioactive Tomb” confirms a suspicion heretofore held throughout the tracks regardless of speed or anything else: that Saint Karloff have a great drummer.

saint karloff

I am a firm believer that a truly excellent drummer — like an excellent singer, bassist, guitarist or even keyboardist sometimes — can make the difference in a band, and listening to Suleiman shove along the gallop of “Radioactive Tomb” as naturally as he held back during the verses of “Ghost Smoker,” his class and creativity as a player come through in such a way as to vibrantly enhance the work of the other two players around him. “Radioactive Tomb” laces additional percussion into its first half, but even so, it’s the drums holding it together it all opens up heading into and through the midpoint, a consistent, familiar beat that Suleiman makes his own. And even as he counts on his ride after everything else has dissipated, it’s clear just how central the swing and character of his playing is to the band. On the more blown-out “When the Earth Cracks Open,” as Melvold wahs out a lead and Sletner explores a highlight performance of his own, the drums carry over a straightforward progression that makes each cymbal hit count amid tom runs every bit worthy of the Bill Ward comparison they seem to be shooting for. That, “how on earth is he keeping this together?” vibe.

That’s not to take away from the work Melvold and Sletner do here — as noted, Twin Earth sniffs out excellent tone, and they both bring plenty of it — it’s just that when called on to do so, Suleiman is more than able to hold down the songs in a way that sounds easy and simply isn’t. From that shift in “Dark Sun” through the early movement in “Spellburn” en route to the aforementioned “Under the Sun” chug, he always seems to be where he needs to be, and the whole band benefits from it. Still, it’s the guitar in the foreground as “Spellburn” heads toward its sudden cold ending, and the balance across the ultra-manageable 38 minutes of the release of contributions balances well.

There are many aspects of All Heed the Black God — one assumes such heeding would be done on, say, a special day of observance, likewise absent of light — which will seem familiar to the more experienced heads who take it on, but that’s half the point. The other half is in the potential for growth Saint Karloff demonstrate throughout this thesis in Iommic Studies. Even more than the universal symptom on display throughout much of the riffing, it’s that potential left as the primary impression of the album, and one hopes Saint Karloff will continue to build on the vital chemistry and aesthetic willfulness they conjure here.

Saint Karloff, “Spellburn” official video

Saint Karloff, “Ghost Smoker” official video

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Black Moon Circle, Psychedelic Spacelord: Newfound Purposes

Posted in Reviews on July 11th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

Black Moon Circle Psychedelic Spacelord

I’m not sure what other kind of spacelord it would be — at least in the hands of Trondheim, Norway’s Black Moon Circle, but indeed, it’s a Psychedelic Spacelord. All the trip-out you can handle and then a bunch more from there. Enough so that the line, “Sometimes I feel I’m falling out of time… and space,” has a grounding effect. Issued by Crispin Glover RecordsPsychedelic Spacelord is the sixth Black Moon Circle LP in four years, following behind last year’s The Studio Jams Vol. III: Flowing into the 3rd Dimension (review here), 2016’s 2016’s Sea of Clouds (review here) and 2016’s The Studio Jams Vol. II (review here), 2015’s The Studio Jams Vol. I: Yellow Nebula in the Sky (discussed here), 2014’s Andromeda (review here) and also-2014’s self-titled debut EP (review here) and continuing the band’s lysergic outward journey, finding a place for itself amid a crowded subspace field of star-eyed heavy psychedelic explorers via a sense of openness that extends beyond even sheer sonics to the actual band makeup.

Still comprised of the founding trio of guitarist/backing vocalist Vemund Engan, bassist/vocalist Øyvin Engan, and drummer Per Andreas GulbrandsenPsychedelic Spacelord boasts returns from Scott “Dr. Space” Heller of Øresund Space Collective and his magical customized synth box and recording engineer Magnus Kofoed, who contributes Rhodes, Mellotron and Hammond, and a first appearance from violinist Jonathan Segel. It’s worth noting that these are not listed as guest contributions. Dr. Space has been a member for a while now, and Kofoed recorded The Studio Jams Vol. III and played on that as well, so neither is exactly a stranger to Black Moon Circle‘s jammy modus, but as Segel makes his debut with the band, all three are listed as part of a six-piece incarnation: The Black Moon Circle Psychedelic Spacelord Family Band.

Okay, the name needs some work, I’ll admit, but you get the idea. The point is that over the last several years as Black Moon Circle have developed aesthetically, growing a chemistry between the brothers Øyvin and Vemund and Per on drums, they’ve extended that development to the actual structure of the group. A sonic reach grown in proportion to the amount of personnel involved. How does one even start to comprehend such a thing? I’ll admit, I don’t know, but if you can get your brain around it, the latest version of Black Moon Circle would like to immediately set about melting that same brain with their ultra-molten, gorgeously-patient and soaking-wet psychedelic flow, as represented on Psychedelic Spacelord by the 47-minute title-track that comprises the entire thing. That’s right. Black Moon Circle have both expanded to a six-piece and put out a one-song album. Ever wonder what it might be like when a band is truly on their own wavelength? Well, next time you need an example, you’ve got one.

In truth, putting aside the human-resources aspect of Psychedelic WarlordBlack Moon Circle have been headed toward the extended-single-track format for a while now. For bands of their sort — and if you don’t yet hold them in the same league as the Electric Moons, Papirs and Øresund Space Collectives of the universe, this record might change your mind — it’s almost a rite of passage when it comes to how vital a group’s jams have become. How far can they go? “Psychedelic Warlord” divides roughly in half to account for the limitations of the vinyl format, fading out at about 23 minutes in only to reemerge slowly after a minute or so of quiet, but it’s not like the jam ever actually stops. It’s just been edited.

Black Moon Circle

So to answer the question, they go pretty damn far. The Engan brothers and GulbrandsenKofoedHeller and Segel dig into hypnotic fluidity that once more finds suitably striking representation on the album cover, the image of which is taken from the oil/light show that accompanies the band live, and which only highlights the energetic approach that remains so prevalent in their methodology.

Remember that Psychedelic Spacelord is a named Black Moon Circle release. It’s still certainly based around a jam that’s semi-plotted but seems to have plenty of room for improvisation along its course, but what the band seem to do after getting that basic foundation established beneath them is build upward. Maybe they were recorded at the same time and the whole thing was done live, or maybe they were overdubbed later, but the vocals have always been something of a standout factor for Black Moon Circle, separating them from the instrumentalists when they want to be separate and finding them joining those ranks in the Studio Jams material. One recalls the 26-minute “Waves” from The Studio Jams Vol. III, and on multiple levels, it can be argued “Psychedelic Warlord” is an outgrowth of the same impulses. But the new offering is distinct unto itself not only for the human presence the vocals establish as they call out between the wash of synth, guitar, bass, cymbals and Mellotron in the song’s second half, but also because of Segel‘s first-time contributions on violin.

Treated with echo to match its cavernous surroundings, the violin is a defining presence on Psychedelic Spacelord and makes itself absolutely essential to the proceedings. That is, it’s not flourish. It plays as much a role as the various keyed instruments in setting the atmospheric breadth Black Moon Circle bring to bear, and while I certainly didn’t listen to their last release and think, “Golly these guys sure could use some strings,” by no means does Segel‘s participation make Black Moon Circle any more over-the-top than they clearly want to be. It brings class and further melodic intricacy to complement the keys, vocals, synth and guitar, and weaves through the extended piece with a grace that only highlights the same in the other elements at play. It makes Black Moon Circle a stronger, more complete band. Do they have room for a saxophone? Maybe. There’s an awful lot of space being created. Black Moon Circle Psychedelic Spacelord Orkester: coming soon.

Or, more likely, not. But take it as an indication of just how open Black Moon Circle‘s processes have become over these prolific years. As they approach a half-decade since their first long-player, they’ve not only amassed more of a catalog than some acts get in their entire career, but they’ve successfully managed to capture their will to push themselves forward each time out, as well as the meta-expansiveness that has made them who they are. All of them, acting together. Black Moon Circle may or may not be set in terms of their lineup, and I wouldn’t dare predict what they might do next or where it might go in sonic terms, but Psychedelic Spacelord conjures focus even as it subsumes the consciousness, becoming memorable through osmosis and a joy to undertake for its immersive, extended duration. Six albums in and one still can’t help but think of the potential and the possibilities for what lie ahead of Black Moon Circle. One more indicator of how special a band they are.

Black Moon Circle, Psychedelic Spacelord (2018)

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Dunbarrow Premiere “The Wolf”; Dunbarrow II out Sept. 14

Posted in audiObelisk, Whathaveyou on July 2nd, 2018 by JJ Koczan

dunbarrow

Norwegian classic-style heavy rockers Dunbarrow will release their second album, Dunbarrow II, on Sept. 14 through RidingEasy Records. That same Cali-based imprint picked up the band’s 2016 self-titled debut (review here) last year, and with good reason, since the five-piece not only dip back to the heavy ’70s usual suspects for inspiration, but also carry the torch of the retroist movement those acts inspired in the first place. Listen to Dunbarrow‘s “The Wolf” at the bottom of this post and tell me you don’t hear shades of the first Witchcraft album in it. You can’t. It’s right there, and that’s precisely the point.

Well, that and groove anyhow, brought together with a tale out of classic horror in the lyrics that I won’t spoil here — hint: there’s a wolf, but where??? — and a fervently organic production. Dunbarrow‘s Dunbarrow worked with some similar elements at its foundation, but as “The Wolf” demonstrates, the Trondheim-based outfit are in the process of carving out their niche aesthetically, and they’re doing so with the sharpest of teeth.

You can hear “The Wolf” below, preceded by album details from the PR wire. Preorders for Dunbarrow II are up now at RidingEasy‘s website:

dunbarrow ii

Dunbarrow – Dunbarrow II

There’s a hauntingly classic feel to Dunbarrow’s sound that gives it, in the band’s own words, “an eerie rawness.” It’s not raw in a lo-fi or distorted sense — far from it, the production is exceptionally clean and powerful. It’s the vibe to the music that has a dreamlike and ghostly quality, like a mysterious recording imprinted onto an old cassette tape.

Dunbarrow’s pristine, unadorned sound shares the unpretentious brilliance of classic heavy progenitors jamming in basements and barns, before the big budgets and bloated habits diluted hard rock records into an echo chamber awash in reverb and layered in distant, screeching hobbits. “It’s a heavy sounding record without being just tons of over-distorted guitar tracks,” says guitarist Kenneth Lønning. “We’ve never been fascinated by that, and we’re trying to push in the other direction.” Its heft comes from the band’s use of space in their songs.

Without the Haugesund, Norway quintet’s exceptional musicianship, such an intimate sound would be impossible. Drummer Pål Gunnar Dale sets the skeletal core with driving urgency and tastefully punctuating triplet fills, Bassist Sondre Berge Engedal slinks throughout with the limber bounce of John Paul Jones, while Lønning’s and Eirik Øvregård’s guitars weave dark, bluesy tapestries with emphasis on melodic chord structures without burying them in distortion or other effects. Vocalist Espen Andersen ties it all together with his warm, folky delivery that gives it all the feel of a bygone era of storytelling in song.

“Maybe more than the previous record, this one is more vocal driven,” Lønning says. “But it still has those quirky transitions, eerie build ups, folk-inspired parts and the haunting solos.” Many of the album’s poetic lyrics were written by former bassist/vocalist Richard Chappell, whose writing personifies the group. Along with the album’s running theme of love and despair, is that of recognizing one’s own dark sides and developing your shadows into something you can control, inspired of the work by Carl Jung.

Key to the band’s impressive sound is that the singer is also the recording and mixing engineer. Andersen also recorded the band’s excellent 2016 debut (formally released wordlwide by RidingEasy in late 2017), now with more studio experience for both Andersen and the band, Dunbarrow II is a truly refined experience. To further perfect their sound, the group teamed up with one of the most prominent producers in Norway, Christer Cederberg (Anathema, Tristania) for the first few days in order to get the sound just right. Then, Espen did the rest. The result is as eponymous and definitive as its title.

Dunbarrow II will be available on LP, CD and download on RidingEasy Records on September 14th, 2018.

Artist: Dunbarrow
Album: Dunbarrow II
Label: RidingEasy Records
Release Date: September 14th, 2018

01. On Your Trail
02. Please Let Me Be
03. Weary Lady
04. Ode To The Moon
05. Feberdrøm
06. The Wolf
07. The Demon Within
08. Witches of The Woods Pt. II
09. On This Night

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Dunbarrow, “The Wolf” official track premiere

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Captain Caravan Post Video for New Single “Crown”

Posted in Bootleg Theater on June 18th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

captain caravan

Though they’re by no means playing the kind of retroist boogie rock that’s become a staple of the Scandinavian heavy underground over the course of the last 15 years, there is something traditional at the heart of Captain Caravan‘s new single, ‘Crown.’ The first audio to come from the Egersund, Norway, four-piece’s impending EP, Shun the Sun, “Crown” speaks to the pre-mobile social media style of heavy rock of the late ’90s and early ’00s, the earlier work of bands like Dozer, Spoiler from the Netherlands, or even some of Roadsaw‘s younger days. To be sure, there’s a shuffle to the rhythm of “Crown,” but in their production and tonality, Captain Caravan — not to be confused with Sweden’s Captain Crimson, despite the shared affinity for alliteration — owe as much to the post-grunge halcyon days of stoner vibes as to the foundational moments of heavy rock.

Part of that blend of influences no doubt stems from guitarist BK Saestad‘s tenure in Pawnshop, who made their debut with 1997’s Broke and released two more albums through Beard of Stars Records in 2000’s Aloha from Saturn and 2002’s Cruise’o’Matic, before an eight-year studio hiatus. After another eight years beyond that, I’m not sure it’s fair to call Captain Caravan a direct extension of what Saestad was doing with his prior band, but those elements are there all the same, and blended with what drummer Morten Skogen, bassist Geir Solli and new vocalist Johnny Olsen bring to the mix — the latter given to an especially soulful approach in his first appearance with the group — they make “Crown” just under six minutes of classically heavy groove and an unpretentious good time that speaks well of things to come as the lineup continues to solidify on the EP and beyond.

I’ll rarely pick on a new band and say they’re destined to do great things, etc., because the only thing worse than hyperbole is speculative hyperbole and for all anyone knows they could nix the entire project tomorrow, but Captain Caravan are cohesive enough in their approach to show marked potential in this single of the sort that would make it not surprising in the least if they were picked up by some label if not for the Kent Stump-masterd Shun the Sun itself, then for whatever might follow it. It’s always encouraging to hear a new band who start out so clearly having learned the lessons of their members’ own sonic past.

They hit the public domain B-roll pretty hard for the “Crown” video, which you can see below, followed by some more background about the band, their initial singles, and of course the requisite links.

Dig it:

Captain Caravan, “Crown” official video

“Crown” from the upcoming EP “Shun the Sun” is the first song featuring new singer Johnny Olsen. Music recorded by BK Sæstad in BK Studios. Mixed and Mastered by Kent Stump from Crystal Clear Sound – Recording Studio and Wo Fat fame. Video directed by Alan Smithee.

Crown is available for streaming and download on Spotify, iTunes, Bandcamp, Google Play, Amazon, YouTube and more!

Established Spring 2015 in Egersund, Norway by Morten Skogen (drums, former Alien Ken, Antarctica), BK Saestad (guitar, former Pawnshop), Geir Solli (bass, former Antarctica) and Christian Stokkeland (vocals). Based on common musically influences from southern rock, stoner rock and classic rock, the band started writing songs resulting in the first release Life`s a Drag in 2016. Followed up by the singles A State Of Sleep and Rock Golem spring 2017.

2018 started with a lot of changes. The band parted with Christian and focused on writing new material and looking for new vocalist. After several auditions, CC contacted Johnny Olsen (former Moth Circus, Alien Ken), who Morten new from Alien Ken, where Johnny used to join on vocals occasionally. Johnny seemed to be the perfect match for CC and a new area begun!

The band is currently recording the new EP “Shun the Sun” due for release Autumn 2018, distributed on vinyl and digital. Mixed and Mastered by Kent Stump from Crystal Clear Sound – Recording Studio and Wo Fat fame, the EP will differ from earlier releases. Longer, heavier and more experimental songs, with the powerful, growling, yet melodic voice of Johnny. We are very excited to share the new music with you!

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Kal-El Celebrate Fifth Anniversary in New Live Video

Posted in Bootleg Theater on June 12th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

kal-el

Seems only fair that, as they marked five years of existence as a group earlier this Spring, Norway’s Kal-El should return to the place where it all began for a special show. The Stavenger outfit, who issued their third album, Astrodoomeda (review here), played their first gig in their hometown of Stavenger at a spot called The Martinique, and sure enough, they celebrated half a decade in the same spot, the four-piece of vocalist Captain Ulven, guitarist Roffe, bassist Liz and drummer Bjudas hitting into a special set that ran over an hour and seemed to really be an effort of love in the making. Captured by Blackie Davidson in its entirety, the video features Astrodoomeda cuts like “Atmosphere,” “Code of the Ancient and “Starlight Shade” among others like “7th Sun” and “Starmist” from 2015’s sophomore outing Echosphere,”Mothership” from that same year’s Cosmic Void EP, and “Fire Machine” from their 2013 debut LP, Pakal, covering its bases as regards their catalog and saving room at the end for a grand finale of three covers.

The first of those is Kyuss‘ “Green Machine,” which received a similar treatment on Astrodoomeda; more spaced out and slowed down than the original, stretching that signature riff’s punker edge into a distinct nod. Following that, Kal-El bring up Sindre Johnsen to play guitar alongside Roffe and dig into two Black Sabbath classics with “War Pigs” and “Hole in the Sky.” The latter was previously recorded and featured as a bonus track on Ecosphere, but I’m not sure they ever put out a version of “War Pigs.” Maybe on the first record. Either way, they’re obviously well familiar with one of doom and heavy rock’s formative staples, and Captain Ulven even goes so far to sing along to the riff near the end à la Ozzy on stage. Good fun the whole way around, and with as much time dedicated to their own material as there is leading up to the finish, one could hardly accuse Kal-El of shorting themselves in terms of focusing on their own songs.

Bottom line is it’s a special moment in the life of the band and they’re fortunate to have it recorded for posterity, nostalgia, or any other reason one might think of. Live album? Digital live album? Like I said, any reason they might think of. Kal-El aren’t necessarily due for a new record yet — Astrodoomeda will have been out for a year as of later this summer, and the band seem to have a pattern for odd-numbered years — but my understanding is they’ve started to put stuff together with an eye toward making a fourth full-length and no doubt something like stopping and taking even just a single evening to reflect on where they’ve been and what they’ve done as a band will play into what they do next, so that’s all the more reason to look forward to what’s coming next, but again, that’s a while off. For the moment, the Martinique show is available to check out for anyone who’d care to dig in, and you can find it below streaming in its entirety, followed by some comment from the band.

Please enjoy:

Kal-El, Live at The Martinique, May 19, 2018

Captain Ulven on Martinique show:

February 9th, 2013, was the date Kal-El played our first show after becoming a band. That happened just a few weeks before at Martinique Bar in Stavanger, Norway. We all came together after rehearsals and decided to give it our best and give the band a shot. So it was quite natural for us to have an intimate show for friends, fans and family. We have been doing tours all over the world, played all over the world, met our heroes, played with our heroes and been praised by our heroes met loads and loads of cool bands and guys, and all that in just five years. We have truly been blessed in a lot of ways, but still we can’t cracked the code on how to get the attention of the DesertFest guys so we could play on that festival (all of them!).

The show itself was amazing, even if extremely intimate and hot, we had a good crowd, friend on stage, friends offstage, loads of beer and only smiles and good times all the way to the promise land.

Kal-El are:
Cpt Ulven – Vocals
Roffe – Guitars
Liz – Bass
Bjudas – Drums

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Saint Karloff to Release All Heed the Black God on Twin Earth Records

Posted in Whathaveyou on May 28th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

I don’t know about you, but every time I read ‘signed to Twin Earth Records,’ my mind immediately flashes to thinking this is some tone I probably need to hear. The Midwestern imprint has a knack for finding the kind of distortion you can dive into, and as they step up to issue the debut album from Oslo three-piece Saint Karloff, the standard would definitely seem to apply. I don’t see a set release date for when the label will deliver the band’s debut album, All Heed the Black God, but a first taste thereof is being given now with the video for “Ghost Smoker” that you can see at the bottom of this post, and it certainly bodes well for showing off a doom-rocking, horror-minded sensibility. Makes me look forward to hearing the rest of the record.

The announcement came down the PR wire, as announcements do:

saint karloff

Saint Karloff sign with Twin Earth Records

Saint Karloff Urge You to “All Heed the Black God”, Scribble Deal with Twin Earth Records

Norwegian distortion pedal lovers Saint Karloff are excited to announce their partnership with Twin Earth Records to release their début album, All Heed the Black God, which will be emerging on July 27 2018. The record is stuffed with seven tracks of riff worship much like the already-released “Ghost Smoker”. The band’s aesthetic – much like their name – draws from oldschool horror films, while the music is a modern twist on that 70s and 80s rockin’ vibe set out by Motorpsycho by way of Black Sabbath – with a touch of acoustic amid the heavy crunch.

The band are understandably fired up to get their début album out to the masses. “We have had great fun making it, and we really hope it will bring some good heavy vibes to the people out there!”

All Heed the Black God will be available on CD, vinyl and digital download.

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Saint Karloff, “Ghost Smoker” official video

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Tempelheks Premiere New Track; Sign to Cursed Tongue Records for Midnight Mirror LP Due in August

Posted in Whathaveyou on May 4th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

tempelheks

With vibes right out of classic doom by the likes of Saint VitusTrouble and Reverend Bizarre, Oslo four-piece Tempelheks have inked a deal with Cursed Tongue Records to issue their third album, Midnight Mirror, this coming August. The 10-track/43-minute LP follows on the heels of 2016’s Serpents, Gods and Men, and shows Tempelheks further refining their style with elements of Norse folk and proto-metal along with their traditionalist doom riffing.

Tempelheks Midnight MirrorIt’s a stylistic blend that will be somewhat familiar to doomers who’ve dug into Northern doom before, but to listen to a track like “Prey” — which just happens to be premiering at the bottom of this post — there’s a decent sense of ’70s style shuffle to the proceedings, and especially coming right after the acoustic-based “Tigress” and before the more NWOBHM-affected guitar of “Harem Ritual,” it emphasizes the dynamic at work in the material overall, and the flow Tempelheks are able to conjure throughout these varied tracks.

You can hear some shades of garage doom in “Holy Serpent” and opener “Gates of Python,” but Tempelheks never seem to play all their cards in a single track, even as they move through the folkish “They Hide” toward closer “Slither Did My Queen,” which rounds out with bluesy lead work to cap Midnight Mirror as an album showing Tempelheks as capable of going where they want, when they want, and walking their own path to get there.

Cursed Tongue sent over the following about the signing:

tempelheks cursed tongue records

TEMPELHEKS SIGNS TO CURSED TONGUE RECORDS FOR WORLD WIDE RELEASE OF THEIR THIRD ALBUM ‘MIDNIGHT MIRROR’ IN AUGUST 2018.

Cursed Tongue Records is exhilarated to announce the signing of norse band Tempelheks for a release of their third album entitled ‘Midnight Mirror’ in August 2018.

From the doom streets of Oslo comes a four-headed snake bearing the name Tempelheks. Tempelheks is a psychedelic and occult doom rock experience. Based on the heavy riff of the 70’s, the band experiments with folky and traditional melodies coupled with eerie and mystical vocals. A groovy but hard beat drives the doomed caravan onward.

Originally conceived as a solo project by Martin Horn Sørlie (HS) in 2013 Tempelheks released their debut EP the gritty lo-fi “Red Forest ” which got picked up by a doom/stoner channel on YouTube. The unexpected attention motivated Tempelheks to write their self-titled debut album in 2014. With the debut album, the foundation of the serpent-worshipping cult’s temple was created.

The debut album was picked up by Norwegian underground label Heksekunst Productions. Both “Red Forest EP” and “Tempelheks” were recorded with limited funds and equipment in an old loft in Rælingen, outside of Oslo. The raw, unpolished sound gave the recordings a lot of character and helped build the occult atmosphere of the sound.

By the summer of 2015, a band was assembled and founding member HS was accompanied by Andreas Prestby (drums, percussion), Espen Sande Larsen (bass, backing vocals) and Sindre Øhman (guitar). Work on a new album started, which resulted in “Serpents, Gods and Men” that was released in August of 2016. This was also the first Tempelheks album to be pressed to vinyl. This time the recording sessions took place in a professional studio in Vestby, Norway. Jørn-Arild Grefsrud’s clean and powerful production took the sound in another direction, but still true to the occult and dark atmosphere of the previous releases.

Since then Tempelheks has played concerts through out Norway with bands like Dunbarrow, Horisont, Gravy Jones and Superlynx. Next step is to play abroad where the band looks to tour Scandinavia and northern Europe during fall 2018. Prior to recording their third album Tempelheks regrouped to now include a lineup constituting of HS, Sindre and new members Magnus Bjørnstad (bass & backing vocal) and Håkon Bergh (Drums & percussion).

On ‘Midnight Mirror’ Tempelheks chose to record in the renowned Cederberg studio in Kristiansand, Norway. Here they were accompanied by producer, friend, ex-label-head and vocalist of Dunbarrow; Espen Andersen. The sessions were done live and fast which gave little room for pickiness, over-thinking or compromise. The result was a characteristic, back-to-the roots kind of sound that lean more towards retro-rock than the more metal-fuelled sound of “Serpents, Gods and Men”.

The new album sees Tempelheks streatching out to incorporate a wider sonical range. Midnight Mirror thus span a variety of influences from the darker side of hard rock bringing to front a musical footprint ensured to appeal to fans of contemporary bands such as Uncle Acid, early Kadavar, HEAT, Demon Head and their fellow countrymen in Devil as well as classic acts as Thin Lizzy, Pentagram, King Crimson and Reverend Bizarre.

CTR-010, TEMPELHEKS – ‘MIDNIGHT MIRROR’, official release date: August 2018

TEMPELHEKS is:
Martin Horn Sørlie – Vocal & Guitar
Sindre Øhman – Guitar
Magnus Bjørnstad – Bass & backing vocal
Håkon Bergh – Drums & percussion

Recorded at Cederberg Studio, Kristiansand with Espen Andersen (Dunbarrow)
Mixed by Tempelheks and Espen Andersen
Mastered for vinyl by Tony Reed at HeavyHead Recording Co. (Mos Generator)
All music written and arranged by Tempelheks
All lyrics by Tempelheks, except for lyrics on “Slither Did My Queen” by Vilde Bjørklund
Artwork and layout by Kenneth Larssen Lønning
Additional layout/design by Michael Andresakis

Track listing:

Side A
1. Gates Of Python
2. Bury Your Children
3. The Witch And Her Man
4. Tigress
5. Prey
6. Harem Ritual

Side B
7. Holy Serpent
8. Phantom Messiah
9. They Hide
10. Slither Did My Queen

http://tempelheks.bandcamp.com/
http://www.facebook.com/tempelheks/
https://www.instagram.com/tempelheks

http://cursedtonguerecords.bigcartel.com/
https://www.facebook.com/CursedTongueRecords
https://www.instagram.com/cursedtonguerecords

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Age of Taurus Announce The Colony Slain Due May 18

Posted in Whathaveyou on May 3rd, 2018 by JJ Koczan

age of taurus

Don’t know about you, but May 18 sounds like the distant future to me. It’s not. I guess somehow I just missed all of April and it’s still March in my head, despite the semi-decent weather. I don’t know. Either way, it’s just a little over two weeks until the new Age of Taurus album, The Colony Slain, is released on Rise Above Records, and they’ve got  new track called “In Dreams We Die” streaming now that’s rife with trad-doomly righteousness. It’s been five years since they put out their debut full-length, Desperate Souls of Tortured Times, and though I haven’t heard the full-record yet, the single certainly sounds invigorated. You know, at least as far as doom goes.

The PR wire has info. Audio’s at the bottom. You know how we do:

Age of Taurus The Colony Slain

Age Of Taurus To Release “The Colony Slain” May 18th via Rise Above Records – First Single Streaming

“Many centuries ago, when the world was slightly younger and a little less ravaged by time’s unrelenting grasp, there existed a sprawling empire of unrivalled power. Yet, whilst its might and influence stretched across great oceans and through vast mountain ranges, its immense dominion was born not out of prosperity and industry, but from rampant fear and blind obedience…”

So begins the arcane tale behind The Colony Slain, the second full-length album from doom metal diehards Age Of Taurus. The album is set for release May 18th via Rise Above Records.

Nearly five years on from the release of acclaimed debut Desperate Souls Of Tortured Times, singer/guitarist and conceptual mastermind Toby W. Wright is ready to unveil a new, ultra-dramatic chapter in the turbulent saga of the Taurean Empire. Showcasing a new line-up featuring new bassist Leo Smee (With The Dead/ex-Cathedral) alongside Wright, drummer Darius Claydon and most recent recruit, guitarist Daniel Knight, The Colony Slain is the sound of a great band reborn in heavy metal glory.

Formed in 2009, Age Of Taurus have already established themselves as a doggedly unique force within the modern world of doom. Ever the stubborn mavericks, they have once again conjured a collection of songs that defy lazy notions of doom metal as a one-dimensional creative cul-de-sac. Still rooted in the rumbling sonic bedrock of Trouble, Candlemass and Sabbath but increasingly steeped in the gritty swagger of the New Wave Of British Heavy Metal and in thrall to numerous left-field, progressive ideas, songs like fiery opener Taken To The Tower and the rampaging In Dream We Die eschew the languorous repetition of much modern doom in favour of subtly elaborate song structures that proudly salute the spirit of old school heavy metal. With nods to everything from radio-friendly hard rock to gritty crossover thrash, The Colony Slain is a flat-out celebration of the metal code.

Rejuvenated and refocused, Age Of Taurus have returned from the wilderness bearing the most potent of gifts. Living, breathing, thunderous proof of doom’s timeless allure and the inspirational power of the riff, The Colony Slain brings past, present and future together in a riot of heartfelt heaviness and, as the story says, unrivalled power. A new age is dawning and this story never ends…

The Colony Slain Track Listing:
1. From the Hills to the Halls
2. Taken to the Tower
3. The Trial of Blackwynn Chaise
4. In Dreams We Die
5. The Lost Garrison
6. Beyond the Westward Path
7. For Treason We Rise
8. The Walls Have Ears
9. To Seal a Mountain
10. As Ice Into Blood
11. The Colony Slain

Age of Taurus is:
Toby Wright – Vocals/Guitar
Leo Smee – Bass & Synthesizers
Darius Claydon – Drums
Daniel Knight – Lead Guitar

https://www.facebook.com/AgeOfTaurus/
https://www.facebook.com/riseaboverecords/
http://www.riseaboverecords.com/

Age of Taurus, “In Dreams We Die”

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