Posted in audiObelisk on October 31st, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster
On Nov. 7, Oslo heavy psych rockers Spectral Haze will release their debut full-length, I.E.V.: Transmutated Nebula Remains through Soulseller Records. It’s the follow-up to a 2012 self-titled EP and their first outing to feature Thereminist/noisemaker Electric Starling, a six-track, two-sided collection of tripped out compositions, consuming in their psychedelic wash but with enough movement in the low end to keep from getting completely out of control, except, you know when that’s where they want to go.
The Norwegian fivesome of Electric Starling, guitarist/vocalist Spacewülff, guitarist Sönik Slöth, bassist Döômdögg (or at least I think that’s bass; he’s credited with “Dronemachinated AUM”) and drummer Cëlestïal Cöbra got their start in 2011, and their sound is geared for maximum swirl. On I.E.V.: Transmutated Nebula Remains, they trip out almost immediately, the three cuts on side A becoming an amorphous, molten flow that continues through the end of the 11-minute “Black Gandharvas,” and onto the relatively brief side B intro, “I.E.V. II: Observing the Centre of Infinity.” One gets flashes of Nebula at their most blissed, but the push behind the subsequent “Descent through the Intravoidal” is pure space rock, and Spectral Haze maximize that vibe with a steady undercurrent of synth and effects.
I.E.V.: Transmutated Nebula Remains culminates with the 13:45 “Triads and Trishulas,” an expansive, multi-layered jam that, if you weren’t yet lost in the album, is bound to drag your consciousness away with it into some grandiose cosmic void. Like the record as a whole, it’s a satisfying journey of well executed, full-sounding space and heavy psychedelia, layers intertwining as the jam progresses through multiple stages en route to the lysergic payoff of both itself and the five songs preceding, a crash-laden groove marking “Triads and Trishulas” as a suitable finale for the vastness before it.
Today I have the pleasure of hosting the full album for streaming. Set the controls for the heart of the fuzz, and enjoy:
[THIS STREAM HAS EXPIRED. THANKS FOR LISTENING.]
Spectral Haze‘s I.E.V.: Transmutated Nebula Remains is due out Nov. 7 via Soulseller Records on CD/LP/DL. More info at the links.
Posted in On Wax on October 9th, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster
A spirit of reverence is immediate, even before you put on the self-titled debut full-length from Norway’s Spidergawd. The vinyl — now in its third pressing, as I understand it — comes courtesy of Crispin Glover Records, and is presented in bright red, 180g form, housed in a blue transparent plastic sleeve. Already we see the interplay of color that the album itself will proffer. Its striking, thick-glossy-stock pagan-futuristic cover art follows suit, the tracklisting and recording info hidden inside, waiting to be found, and the whole package, which also includes a CD, is housed in a clear plastic sleeve that boasts the band’s logo for a layered-over effect when the put together. Spidergawd‘s music is as intricate a take as I’ve heard on ’70s-style boogie, with at-times manic progressive rhythmic turns matched to upbeat, classic heavy forward motion, and clearly the 12″ was meant to be a multi-sensory experience. Even unto how the texture of the sleeve feels in your hands, it offers more than just the audio.
The name Motorpsycho won’t be as immediately familiar to Americans as to Europeans, but the rhythm section of the long-running prog pioneers features here, bassist Bent Sæther and drummer Kenneth Kapstad joining guitarist/vocalist/songwriter Per Borten and saxophonist Rolf Martin Snustad in the Trondheim-based Spidergawd, the self-titled also boasting pedal steel from Roar Øien and trumpet from Kim Alexander Eriksen. The horns are used well beginning from side A opener “Into Tomorrow,” accenting the chorus of the album’s shortest cut without being overdone, adding to the excitement of the song itself, Borten‘s vocal command — readily on display throughout — and the instrumental chemistry between the guitar, bass and drums. “Into Tomorrow” is a forward, driving heavy rock song with an ear toward ’70s rock, but nothing on Spidergawd‘s Spidergawd is particularly retro-sounding, the production clear and full and not necessarily geared toward playing up a vintage style, though “Blauer Jubel” or “Southeastern Voodoo Lab” definitely lean more into that influence stylistically.
Even aside from Kapstad‘s gonna-put-on-a-clinic-and-still-sound-like-I’m-having-fun drumming, there’s a lot about the LP that’s easy to get into. Borten‘s guitar jangles and swaggers over Sæther‘s twisting fuzz jam, and though Spidergawd obviously have the chops to pull off the blinding shuffle of “Blauer Jubel,” technical prowess isn’t shown off at the expense of songwriting. “Master of Disguise” sees fit to out GraveyardGraveyard, a tense verse opening to a raucous, full-speed-ahead chorus of classic pursuit, and even if they hadn’t built such momentum over the course of “Into Tomorrow” and “Blauer Jubel,” the play of guitar and bass in the solo section — that low end tone — is a firm signifier these cats mean business. Still keeping a modern production, they update the best aspects of classic heavy rock and deliver a style both familiar and their own wrapped in virtuosic performance and variability, the horns returning on “Southeastern Voodoo Lab” to help round out side A in swinging fashion, pushing toward a guitar-led blues-solo apex with Kapstad pulling back to a half-time crash before once more joining the air-tight rush for a return to the verse.
A flip to side B brings more surprises in the form of the 14-minute “Empty Rooms,” an extended heavy psychedelic jam that begins with a solid minute-plus of Snustad‘s echoing sax before the guitar and bass begin to swell into the mix. Fuck, it’s righteous. They bring the volume up and hold a ringout as Kapstad‘s snare drumrolls a quick build, and Borten starts the vocals of the first verse about four minutes after the song began, backed by Sæther‘s bass. They take off from there, once again at barnburner speed, and a solo at around eight minutes in brings a tempo change to a more languid groove, the bass and guitar fuzzed out in a descending progression toward what would seem to be a finish before start-stop chugging revives the movement, bass once more serving as the foundation for the guitar and Soundgarden-gone-psych compressed vocals that carry past the 10-minute mark. A jazzy, airy, unhurried solo caps over the last couple minutes, the sax gone, pedal steel buried deep in the mix but there enough to be in conversation with Borten, and the jam gradually fades out past its 14th minute, a jarring last minute swell signaling the shift into closer “Million Dollar Somersault,” its title and its initial bassline reminiscent of Queens of the Stone Age but ultimately working on a different plane, like the embodiment of everything hyper-stylized indie rockers fall short of conveying, ultra-swinging and poised even as its noisy apex approaches, fittingly grounding after “Empty Rooms” but still way, way out there, coming to a sudden finish as the needle returns, daring you to go another round.
Spidergawd have a couple singles under their belt on Crispin Glover, but this is their first full-length. One doesn’t want to get into they’re-gonna-be-huge kinds of hyperbole, both because it’s useless and because it ultimately detracts from conveying the actual value of the album, but there’s nothing Spidergawd sets out to do that its six tracks don’t accomplish, and front to back, the record breathes life into ’70s influenced heavy, showing there’s more to be done than simply trying to ape the sound as best as possible. I’ll say flat out it’s a hell of a record. If you don’t take my recommendation to heart, I hope it finds you some other way.
Posted in Whathaveyou on October 3rd, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster
Not to be confused with Virginian Cough-offshoot Sinister Haze, Oslo cosmic rockers Spectral Haze are gearing up to release their first album, the quizzically titled I.E.V.: Transmutated Nebula Remains next month in the UK and Europe via Soulseller Records. The four-or-five-piece made their debut in 2012 with a self-titled demo that was as spacious as it was threatening, warping stoner riffage into overdrive and coming across like a more rock-minded version of cult doom, just with rituals obscure enough to look an awful lot like drunken getdowns. Needless to say, expectations are high for the record.
The album — and no, I have no idea what the “I.E.V.” portion of the title means; the acronym has many definitions, including “Initial Entry Vehicle” — was recorded earlier this year in the band’s native Norway, and they embarked on a tour this past Spring in Portugal and Spain after finishing putting the basic tracks to tape. Over the summer, they opened for Pentagram and Pet the Preacher in their hometown, and later this month they’ll do likewise for Earthless at a show slated for Oct. 27 at Blå, once again in Oslo.
News and album art follow, reasonably fresh from the clutches of the PR wire. Get spaced:
SPECTRAL HAZE NEW RELEASE DATE
Spectral Haze was first conjured from the Void three years ago, through four sonick sorcerers residing in Oslo, Norway; Cëlestial Cöbra (Battery), Döömdogg (Bass guitar), Spacewülff (Vocals, guitars) and Sönik Slöth (Guitars). Through these last few years, Spectral Haze has undulated and grown into channeling through a fifth vessel, namely Electric Starling (Theremin, VOID). The upcoming album “I.E.V.: Transmutated Nebula Remains” follows their eponymous debut EP released in 2012 CE, and brings even more psyched out doom rock rituals.
Posted in Whathaveyou on September 30th, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster
There are very few bands out there who actually get to the point of putting out 13 albums, but even fewer still whose 13th album would actually be something you’d look forward to hearing. Enslaved, however, are one of those few. Their 2012 full-length, Riitiir (review here), found the Norwegian five-piece continuing to expand the walls of their creative wheelhouse, pushing further into grandiose progressivism while retaining their roots in black metal. It was an exciting record, and as they’ve shown no signs of stagnation since — guitarist Ivar Bjørnson is a co-curator of Roadburn 2015 and Enslaved will perform their Skuggsjá collaboration with Wardruna there — it makes it easy to look forward to their next outing.
The short version? Greatness assumed. This from the PR wire:
ENSLAVED ENTER THE STUDIO TO RECORD 13th ALBUM
Last week’s autumn equinox brought equal illumination to Earth’s Northern and Southern Hemispheres, but it also sparked other blood-warming news: the thirteenth studio installment by Norway’s progressive extreme metallers ENSLAVED is now underway.
From his home in Bergen, Norway, ENSLAVED guitarist, songwriter, and founding member Ivar Bjørnson takes some time to provide the following update:
“My favorite time of year is whenever we enter the studio with ENSLAVED to record a new album. Now the season of creative madness, endless days, and bleeding fingertips is upon us again… O joy! As before, it is the unholy trinity that forms the first line of attack: I (guitar), Grutle (Kjellson, bass & vocals), and Cato (Bekkevold, drums), are recording the foundations of the album live, while Ice Dale (lead guitar) and Herbrand (Larsen, vocals & keys) will add their instruments and voice in their own studios after these initial core sessions. Then I will add some wackiness at my home studio, before we all get together again to finish it.
“I feel that I have delivered basic material that is rock solid. I have poured my very life and heart into these compositions while the rest of the band have refined it, shaped it, and delivered it like their very lives depended on it. It has been challenging to keep up the pace with the way the songs wanted to go; life flows its ways and takes its turns regardless of your artistic ambitions. However, the music led the way through the fog and I just followed, and never doubting the oncoming album for a second.”
Main recordings for the as-yet-untitled new album are taking place at Duper and Solslottet Studios in Bergen, Norway with additional recordings done at Conclave & Earshot Studios (presided over by ENSLAVED members Larsen and Ice Dale), and Ivar Bjørnson’s Peersonal Sound Studios.
Additional experimentation and sonic exploration will be conducted deep in the woods of Valevåg south of Bergen where the band took a mobile studio to record the infamous “Thorn” 7” single in 2012.
The album will be produced by band members Ivar Bjørnson, Grutle Kjellson & Herbrand Larsen together with Iver Sandøy. Mixing will be done by Jens Bogren at Fascination Street Studios in Örebro, Sweden.
Cover artwork will once again be illustrated by long-time collaborating artist and “sixth ENSLAVED member” Truls Espedal, who has painted all album covers since 2001’s Monumension.
Posted in Whathaveyou on July 16th, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster
The bill spans some of the heaviest bands in Scandinavia already, and then they decide to bring in the YOB/Pallbearer tour for a stop on the final day. All the more reason to tip the cap to Norway’s Høstsabbat, now in its second year. In 2013, the Oslo stage was graced by the likes of Tombstones and High Priest of Saturn, and in addition to the aforementioned American acts, Høstsabbat 2014 will be marked — that’s not to say awesomely scarred — by appearances from Suma, Saturnalia Temple, Ocean Chief, Kong and many more. It’s going to be a very, very heavy weekend in Norway come Sept. 12-14.
An announcement with the finalized lineup for the three-dayer, courtesy of the PR wire:
Høstsabbat 2014 Final Line Up
Høstsabbat is a newborn initiative, brought to life in 2013 by people involved in the underground scene in Norway.
It’s a DIY-festival, in collaboration with the student-organisation at Betong in Oslo, Norway, focusing on presenting the best underground bands Norway has to offer. This year the formula is pushed a step further, and includes aspiring talent from our brothers in the east as well as an international day on Sunday September 14th.
Over three days you can experience slow and crushing doom, heavy bluesrock, stoner, proto-heavy metal, psychedelic spacerock and prog. The concerts will be held on two different stages, located in the same venue. In addition to this, you’ll find stands, food, beverages and diverse stimulation for your ears and mind. Top Notch DJ’s, including Walter Roadburn himself will accompany your nights with the right soundtrack..
Høstsabbat takes place on Friday 12th through Sunday 14th of September 2014.
Cheap accommodation is located nearby the venue, and the damage for a three-day ticket is about 65 euros.
Posted in audiObelisk on July 10th, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster
Listening to it front to back, it becomes clear quickly that Spiral Shades‘ forthcoming debut, Hypnosis Sessions, is a special kind of album. But even hearing it only tells half the tale. The 55-minute 2LP — which is due Aug. 5 on RidingEasy Records on grey vinyl or CD (pre-orders are available here) — captures a naturalist proto-metal kind of sound from the start, in places reminiscent of a harder-edged version of the kind of analog worship and rolling grooves Witch proffered on their own debut, but it was made by players living a continent apart from each other.
Comprised of Indian vocalist/guitarist Khushal R. Bhadra and Norwegian guitarist/bassist/drum programmer Filip Petersen, Spiral Shades have never actually played in the same room, yet the Sabbathian idolatry they bring about on cuts like “Illuminati” and “Wizardry” from Hypnosis Sessionsis as fluid as if it was recorded live. It’s a credit to the tones Bhadra and Petersen were able to capture on their own, working back and forth via email, sending files to each other and piecing together the album in a manner befitting its collage cover art, but more importantly, it’s a wide open, badass sound, and the album jams out vibrant grooves with a steady flow and pays homage to classic ’70s influences in a way that’s modern both in process and in sonics.
Though shorter than, say, 13-minute freakout “Grim Rituals,” the catchy stomp of “Wizardry” nonetheless provides an engaging sample of what Spiral Shades have to offer those who’d join them in their continent-crossing riffy congress. Hopefully this isn’t a one-time collaboration on the part of Bhadra and Petersen. When one considers the kind of chemistry they’re able to capture on HypnosisSessions and the organic, full-band feel they bring about on songs like “Wizardry,” taken in context with the distance between them, it seems like all the more reason to keep going forward and developing the ideas they’ve laid down here.
Enjoy “Wizardry” on the player below, courtesy of RidingEasy:
Spiral Shades release Hypnosis SessionsAug. 5 on RidingEasy Records. The album will be available on CD and vinyl. The orange LP edition of 75 sold out on pre-order, but dark grey marble is still available, though limited to 100. More info and pre-orders via the links below.
Posted in Whathaveyou on June 24th, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster
I don’t know if Oslo four-piece Lonely Kamel are talking about their hometown or some other locale with their new album title, Shit City, but wherever it might be, they’re not leaving much mystery in terms of how they feel about it. The Norwegian heavy rockers will release their fourth full-length this September on Napalm Records as their second outing for the label’s riffy imprint, Spinning Goblin Productions.
The provocatively titled long-player follows three years after Dust Devil(track stream here) and while no audio has yet surfaced from it, the Vance Kelly artwork and, well, the fact that it’s called Shit Cityspeak to maybe some more aggressive tendencies coming through from the band. Could be that the Roadburn and Høstsabbat veterans are getting angrier as they go on, or the title could be an inside gag and chosen for nothing more than a laugh. That’s the magic of album titles, folks. There you have it.
Info on Shit City– everything except the latitude and longitude — follows here, courtesy of the PR wire:
LONELY KAMEL Reveal Title, Track Listing, Artwork & Release Dates of New Album
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. Today they unveil the details of their upcoming album! Shit City is set to be released on 1st September in the UK & 9th September CAN/USA via Napalm Records. LONELY KAMEL clearly belong to the spearhead of the European rock scene. Check out the details of the upcoming album:
Track Listing: 1. Shit City 2. White Lines 3. Is It Over 4. I Feel Sick 5. Seal The Perimeter 6. Freezing 7. BFD 8. Nightjar 9. Falling Down
Release Dates: 27.08.2014 NOR/SWE 29.08.2014 G/A/S, BENELUX & FIN 01.09.2014 UK & Rest of Europe 03.09.2014 ESP
Posted in Whathaveyou on May 29th, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster
True, it wasn’t all that long ago I posted these same tour dates with news about Witch Mountain and their forthcoming record, but the basic fact of the matter is I dig Tombstones and thought it was worth pointing out that they’re on the bill for most of Witch Mountain‘s run as well in the supporting role. Tombstones‘ 2013 outing, Red Skies and Dead Eyes (review here), is available to check out below via their Bandcamp page if you haven’t heard it yet, though I’m sure you have, because you’re up on your stuff like that.
Likewise, you probably know that this tour started on Tuesday in Oslo with a night off yesterday and is picking up tonight — hell the show’s probably over by now, with the time difference — in Tyrolen, but again, I pretty much took the list of dates an excuse to post the album stream, so even if you can’t make it out to Copenhagen tomorrow, the record’s worth a listen. And don’t worry, we all wish we could make it out to Copenhagen tomorrow.
We are stoked to announce we’ll be supporting the mighty Witch Mountain across Europe for three weeks!!
Tombs shall rise!
29.05 SE – Tyrolen, Muskelrock 30.05 DK – Copenhagen, Musikcafeen 31.05 DK – Aalborg, 1000Fryd 01.06 GER – Hamburg, Hafenklang 03.06 GER – Berlin, Cassiopeia 05.06 A – Vienna, Arena 06.06 A – Graz, Bang Bang Club 07.06 I – Bologna, Freak Out Club 08.06 I – Milano, Lo Fi Club 10.06 F – Paris, La Fleche D’Or 12.06 UK – Barrow, New Cons 14.06 UK – London, Underworld 15.06 UK – Bournemouth, Anvil 16.06 BE – Antwerp, Kavka 17.06 NL – Tilburg, Little Devil
Posted in audiObelisk on May 29th, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster
Seems like a safe assumption that between the feedback-soaked intro to Revolving Beast‘s “Hogs,” the Voivod-meets-Mondo-Generator weirdness that plays out from there, and the acoustic, “Tiki-themed” cover of Turbonegro‘s “All My Friends are Dead” by Norwegian cover act Turbojugend Kokomo, at some point as you make your way through the nine minutes or so of music below, you’re going to wonder just what the hell is going on. It’s okay. That’s pretty much the whole idea.
The tracks come from a Self-Destructo Records split 12″ between the two vastly different acts, based alternately in North Carolina and Oslo, and yeah, things get pretty weird. Revolving Beast are given to layered solos, prog-metal rhythmic insistence, and deft turns that create overarching groove where one wouldn’t expect it could thrive. “Hogs” has a jagged feel and makes quick work of its shifts, which betrays some of the trio’s pedigree in acts like Valient Thorr, The Church of Zann and The Black Hellatones – these are guys who’ve been around — but the three-piece keep a steady flow and hold the track together, which is a significant accomplishment considering how off-the-rails some of it sounds.
And “All My Friends are Dead?” Well, it’s an acoustic Turbonegro cover. At under 90 seconds, it’s over before you know it, but before then, it keeps the madcap infectiousness of the original, which appeared on Turbonegro‘s 2005 outing, Party Animals, but strips the song down to its bare bones, a verse, a hook, repeat. As zany as Turbonegro have been for the better part of the last 25 years, Turbojugend Kokomo emphasize that what’s underneath the wacky hats, drunken antics and perpetual cult following, there’s a quality of songwriting serving as the foundation for all the rest.
If you wanted something a little off from the norm, start with either. PR wire info follows the tracks below:
Self Destructo Records announces split 12” with North Carolina’s Revolving Beast and Oslo, Norway’s Turbojugend Kokomo
North Carolina power trio Revolving Beast and Scandinavian vocal/guitar quintet Turbojugend Kokomo to be featured on split LP out in late summer 2014 via Self Destructo Records. We welcome them to the family!!
Revolving Beast is a NC based power trio comprised of guitarist Benjamin Earl, drummer Storm Castañeda, and bassist Kenneth Ells. While their collective musical pedigree implies a form of rock and roll that is equal parts aggression and complexity – see Valient Thorr, Thunderlip, The Kickass, The Church of Zann, and The Black Hellatones for a short list of their previous work – they write songs in an unnamed argot. Amorphous and crystalline, a landlocked island, they pierce your hull, sever your canvas, and nurture you with their affectation.
Revolving Beast has already played a handful of shows around the Southeast area and has been met with good responses by the crowds.
Revolving Beast live: – June 1st at The Cave (Chapel Hill, NC): Brief Lives, Revolving Beast, Bitter Resolve.
Turbojugend Kokomo is a vocal group consisting of five drunken Norwegian rock n rollers who are members of Turbojugend Oslo, the mother chapter of the Turbojugend, the global fan club of the Scandinavian hard rock band Turbonegro. Formed in the winter of 2006 under the influence of pizza and beer and hailing from the cold city of Oslo, these Beach Boy worshipping, Hawaiian shirt clad Scandinavians have traveled throughout Europe (most notably Germany and Sweden) using their natural talents to have audiences walking into bars in curiosity and walking out in disbelief since. They’ve played such events as the Welt Turbojugend Tage (St. Pauli, Hamburg) and the Oslo Bloodbath; they’ve been featured on various recordings and tribute albums from various labels (most notably for Trashcan Darlings and for Turbonegro).
Turbojugend Kokomo is: Tanked Mongo – Vocals, Guitars and Tambourine Party Cowboy – Vocals and Kazoo Twin Turbo – Vocals and Triangle Turbo Truls – Bass & Vocals Peke PresHenning – Vocals
The two bands will have four songs each be featured on a limited split 12” LP out in early Fall 2014 via Self Destructo Records. Both bands, despite their difference in sound, are excited to be a part of this release and to be working alongside each other.
Track listing is as follows:
Turbojugend Kokomo: 1. All My Friends Are Dead 2. Whiskey in the Jar 3. Sloop John B. 4. House of The Rising Sun
Revolving Beast: 1. Four Banger 2. The Burning Of Salem 3. Hounds 4. Hogs
Posted in Reviews on May 28th, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster
The self-titled debut from Norwegian trio Black Moon Circle makes little effort to mask its intent. It is a space rock record, built around three heavy jams split effectively onto two vinyl sides, and for all its sense of exploration, improvisation and general farouttery, there’s an encouraging lack of pretense. Based in Trondheim, which on the average December day will see roughly five hours of sunshine — in June, that goes to over 20 hours per day — the core three-piece of vocalist/bassist Øyvin Engan, guitarist/vocalist Vemund Engan and drummer Per Andreas Gulbrandsen teamed up with none other than Øresund Space Collective swirlmaster and friend of the site Scott “Dr. Space” Heller for the recording of Black Moon Circle, and Heller‘s noisemaking and matter/energy disruptors contribute much to the open feel and heavy psych feel of the release. He’s proved ready to jam under most circumstances — this year’s Roadburn had him paired with Carlton Melton and Øresund Space Collective have a collaboration forthcoming with Damo Suzuki of Can — so that he’d be malleable to Black Moon Circle‘s “Enigmatic SuperBandit” is relatively expected, though how well the fit works winds up a pleasant surprise, as Black Moon Circle retain some of the roots of structured songwriting amid their propensity for jamming out into the stellar reaches across “Plains” (8:22), “American Eagle” (5:28) and the side-B-consuming “Enigmatic SuperBandit” (14:24). Their debut feels quick at a little over 28 minutes, but it is an engaging single-LP nonetheless that is able to pull together a cohesive vibe with apparent ease in that time. You won’t hear me complain.
And of course, calling in Dr. Space to add nebulas of effects to the songs isn’t going to hurt either, but Black Moon Circle distinguish themselves even apart from that partnership, with a languid rolling groove on “Plains” that sets up the flow to play out over the subsequent two pieces. Each song has plenty of room to jam, and the Engans and Gulbrandsen use that time well, but both “Plains” and “American Eagle” — presumably not named after the clothing company, though one never knows — make an impression with their verses and choruses as well, a laid back sense of structure emerging that moves well into and through wah-soaked spaces. It’s telling when they bring back the chorus of “Plains” after an extended guitar solo to finish out the song with a proper bookend, showing commitment to songwriting as well as to instrumental exploration, and that balance serves Black Moon Circle over the course of “American Eagle” and even “Enigmatic SuperBandit” as well. It’s a mood and dreamy feel not so unlike what New York heavy psych jammers Sun Voyager have concocted in their early going, and some post-shoegaze vocal similarity can be heard too, but that seems most likely to be a case of shared root influences and sonic coincidence, and one can just as likely hear some early 2000s Swedish heavy rock — Dozer, Lowrider – at work underneath “American Eagle” as anything more recent. Either way, Black Moon Circle do well taking these elements and beginning to carve out their own feel from them, “American Eagle” breaking cleanly at about 3:30 in to shift into a bluesy, open-sounding build of a solo before also returning to its central hook, no less encompassing than that of the opener.
Posted in Whathaveyou on January 8th, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster
After hitting the UK in collusion with Widows last October (also with Wizard Fight on board for the run), Norwegian doomers Tombstones will once more hit the road alongside the Britsh outfit. Tombstones are touring in support of their fourth album, Red Skies and Dead Eyes(review here), on Soulseller Records, and the current stint is slated to hit the Netherlands, Belgium, France, Switzerland and Germany starting on Feb. 1.
The PR wire has it like this:
Tombstones / Widows – European Tour, February 2014
In the first week of February, Eclipse Productions brings you Northern Doom, set to captivate the European continent. The ultra-heavy Norwegian three-piece TOMBSTONES team up with UK-groovers WIDOWS for a 7-day trail, visiting The Netherlands, Belgium, France, Switzerland and Germany.
TOMBSTONES’ highly acclaimed album “Red Skies and Dead Eyes” was released in October by Soulseller Records, and has featured in many end-of -year lists and has received rave reviews from web- and fanzines throughout the world, including the likes of Terrorizer, Visions Magazine and Metal Hammer. In 2013 the band blew minds with three bludgeoning sets at Desertfest in London, found themselves supporting bands such as Clutch and Ufomammut, and are now ready to once again bring their crushing live act across Europe. TOMBSTONES can be described as the bastard child conceived by a filthy threesome with Sleep, Melvins and Bongripper.
Nottingham-based WIDOWS play music you can raise a beer and swing a fist to and they do it hard fast and loud, with bone crushing grooves and undeniable swagger!Influenced by the likes of Down, Kyuss, and Clutch, WIDOWS have spent the three years since the release of their debut EP (2010’s Raise the Monolith) building up an ever more impressive live set as they chewed up, spat out, and pounded venue after venue into submission, adding weight to their sets with regular new tracks and building the collection of songs that would later become their debut full length CD, Death Valley Duchess.
Posted in Reviews on November 21st, 2013 by H.P. Taskmaster
Norwegian trio Tombstones have released four albums in the last four years. Red Skies and Dead Eyes, on Soulseller Records, is the latest of them, and if the band works quickly, take it as a sign they also know what they’re doing. The six songs on their recorded-live fourth long-player clock in at a vinyl-ready 44 minutes, and whether it’s the Sleep-style thud of opener “Black Moon” or the later divergence into post-Electric Wizard terror-groove in “The Other Eye,” the Oslo-based three-piece of vocalist/guitarist Bjørn-Viggo Godtland, bassist/vocalist Ole Christian Helstad and drummer Jørn Inge Woldmo always seem to keep in mind a steady injection of individuality into the material. Part of that comes through the cave echo on Godtland and Helstad‘s vocals, which at times seem like just another rhythmic element at work to follow the riff — not a complaint; the riffs are worth following — but moreover, it’s about the atmosphere of Red Skies and Dead Eyes, which is full of darkened stoner metal idolatry that never quite veers completely into cult rock. It knows where that line is though and seems to enjoy straddling it, though when it comes to a song like “King of Daze,” Tombstones seem more preoccupied with the chugging itself than mystical posturing — true riff worship. But for the 10-minute “Obstfelder” and the 7:20 title-track, songs hover somewhere between six and a half and seven minutes long, which is roughly consistent if a little shorter on average than the cuts on 2012’s Year of the Burial, which set Tombstones to touring Europe and found them performing at Desertfest in London this spring, and the sampled wind that starts “Black Moon” both calls to mind YOB‘s “Burning the Altar” and sets the album to a rumble that continues throughout the rest of its course, the tones being consistent and large but malleable to the various moods in which the band puts them to use.
One could argue Red Skies and Dead Eyesis structured to work in vinyl sides — at very least it splits about even with three songs in each half — but it works well as a CD, whereby the shift into darker atmospherics on the later tracks seems more linear and gradual. When it comes to “Black Moon” and “King of Daze,” the focus is pretty clearly on riffing. Godtland leads with low, full fuzz, and Helstad‘s bass enhances the already mud-covered push while Woldmo offers a march on his snare. They may be looking unto the rays of the new stoner sun rising, but they’re doing so from their own angle, and though Gotland‘s vocals are somewhat buried — as they should be for this kind of tone-minded fare — when Helstad joins in, a dynamic is enacted that undercuts some of the superficial simplicity of what’s basically a shouting approach. Further, with about a minute left in “Black Moon,” they pull a quick instrumental turn into a different riff and tempo, and though there’s almost a hiccup at that point, it speaks to the instrumental chemistry the trio have developed over the course of their time together. A light touch of insistent High on Fire-style push at the start of “King of Daze” opens wide to one of the album’s most engaging grooves, and is in turn driven headfirst into a slowdown to more massive riffing and crashing, Woldmo keeping steady on what sounds like a considerably proportioned ride until the pace picks up again somewhat and the verse starts. Helstad takes the fore on vocals near the halfway point with Godtland joining shortly, and they cycle through again, this time skipping the slowdown to go right back into another verse that enacts a lumber all its own, ending big, ending faster than one might expect, and leading to the from-the-ground-up build of “Obstfelder,” which rounds out the first half of Red Skies and Dead Eyeswith a few lead lines from Godtland (Billy Anderson, who’s also credited with additional engineering, is listed as having contributed “additional bending and feedback,” perhaps here, along with Petter Svee, who engineered and mixed in cooperation with the band), something largely avoided on the first two tracks.
Posted in Whathaveyou on November 18th, 2013 by H.P. Taskmaster
I guess what I find so interesting about this latest collaboration from SunnO))), which partners the American masters of drone with Norway’s post-black metal progenitors Ulver, is that I have no idea what it might sound like. Drones? Big riffs and moody vocals? Acoustic folk ballads? It’s wide open for different avenues of exploration on the part of both acts, which is likely why they decided to team up for the album, which will be called Terrestrials, in the first place.
Also interesting in that although SunnO))) have put out live records and even another collaboration with Nurse with Wound, it’s been more than four years at this point since their expansive 2009 outing, Monoliths and Dimensions(review here), was released. That album was hardly just Greg Anderson and Stephen O’Malley, but still, they’re about due for a SunnO))) proper outing, so one wonders if maybe Terrestrials isn’t the only SunnO)))-related project in the works.
The PR wire’s mum on that but has plenty to say otherwise:
SUNN O))) & ULVER: Collaborative Work Entitled Terrestrials Due For February 2014 Release Via Southern Lord
SUNN O)))’s most recent studio album, 2009’s Monoliths and Dimensions, and ULVER’s 2013 album, Messe I.X-VI.X,found both evolving and longstanding groups venturing into the world of acoustic arrangement and contemporary orchestration. Besides arriving at this seeming parallel in vision, the pair’s long standing camaraderie was initiated during SUNN O)))’s 2003’s White1 sessions with the track “CutWOODED” which was produced by ULVER, in tribute to deceased film director Ed Wood.
ULVER’s decision to emerge from the shadows into live performance, in 2009, unveiled a new facet of showmanship and presentation which took their audiences to an unforeseen level. SUNN O)))’s presence has continuously been felt — whether in the prospect of their hundreds of legendary live concerts, the reissue of out-of-print albums in devotion to their loyal fanbase, or the recent unveiling of their new website — and the anticipation of something new was heightened beyond belief recently when the label posted online the words, “SUNN O))) & ULVER 2014″.
Yes. At long last they have come together for a more developed collaborative work.
Today, it comes with great pleasure to confirm that these words, SUNN O))) and ULVER, together, represent an astonishing yet somehow totally tenable matrimony of these two earthshakingly powerful forces, coming together like tectonic plates. The result of this union is a three-track recording entitled Terrestrials; a trio of movements which flow like magma beneath the Earth’s crust, sonically uninhibited, unpredictably cosmic, haunting and stirring, yet simultaneously ceremonious and beautiful.
Southern Lord shall release Terrestrials in February 2014. Over the course of the next month we shall be revealing the story of how this alliance and recording came to be, revealing the insight of the musicians involved, attempting to answer some of the burning questions which we have, for now, left hanging in the air.
Posted in Whathaveyou on September 16th, 2013 by H.P. Taskmaster
Coinciding with the slated release of their fourth album, Red Skies and Dead Eyes, Oslo-based stoner doomers Tombstones will head to the UK and link up with Widows and Wizard Fight for a string of shows. Red Skies and Dead Eyes is set for release on Soulseller Records and follows on the heels of last year’s Year of the Burial, which you can hear in full under the dates, links and info below.
FAT Wizard Promo Presents SONIC SEA MONSTER ROAD TOUR PART I
10/10 Heretic Promotions Presents Tombstones / Widows / Wizard Fight / Yamakunt at Scruffy Murphys, Birmingham 11/10 Tombstones / Widows / Wizard Fight / Black Fathoms at The Old Angel, Nottingham 12/10 When planets collide Presents Tombstones / Widows / Meadows / War Wolf / Prosperina / Wizard Fight / Burden of the Noose /March of the Desert at the Brixton Windmill, London 13/10 Tombstones / Widows / Wizard Fight at the Tubman, Hastings FREE ENTRY https://www.facebook.com/events/494378830647608/
WIDOWS Formed in 2008 in the troubled UK town of Nottingham, WIDOWS play music you can raise a beer and swing a fist to and they do it hard fast and loud, with bone crushing grooves and undeniable swagger!
Influenced by the likes of Down, Kyuss, and Clutch, WIDOWS have spent the two years since the release of their debut EP (2010’s Raise the Monolith) building up an ever more impressive live set as they chewed up, spat out, and pounded venue after venue into submission, adding weight to their sets with regular new tracks and building the collection of songs that would later become their debut full length CD, Death Valley Duchess. https://www.facebook.com/widows666
WIZARD FIGHT Formed in 2012 by Luke Bolton (ROTS) and former Steak drummer Dan Kinsey, they set out as a two piece to play insanely sludgey filth with a good measure of Doom and a wee bit of Stoner groove. Early 2013 see the addition of Dave on bass adding the much needed earth shaking guts needed to add to the Wizard Fight sound. Work is ongoing writing material and we will be coming to a shithole near you soon! WATCH THIS SPACE DEBUT ALBUM COMING OVER YOU SOON! You can get a FREE DOWNLOAD of our first release ‘The Beast Lives (Demo)’ athttp://wizardfight.bandcamp.com/ https://www.facebook.com/Wizardfightuk
Posted in Whathaveyou on August 21st, 2013 by H.P. Taskmaster
Norwegian classic heavy rockers Brutus released their second album, Behind the Mountains, earlier this year. They were the first band I found out about through The Obelisk Forum, so they’ll always hold a special place in my heart. All the better then that they’ve been added to the 2014 Roadburn festival. No telling at this point if I’ll get there to see them — I seem to be losing jobs faster than I can keep up with this week — but good for the Oslo five-piece either way. The 013 won’t know what hit it.
Roadburn put it thusly:
Brutus Added to Roadburn 2014 Lineup
Over the years, we have been mining Scandinavia for the best heavy 70?s inspired rock and invited the likes of Witchcraft, Abramis Brama, Graveyard, Dead Man, Horisont, Troubled Horse, Spiders, Blues Pills et al to previous festivals.
To keep in line with our tradition – not just because they are part Swedish, part Norwegian, but simply because they deliver the 70s in spades with a healthy dose of soulful hardrock, head down boogie and amped up blues luster – we’re excited to announce that Brutus will appear at Roadburn Festival 2014 on Thursday, April 10th at the 013 venue in Tilburg, The Netherlands.
Inspired by proto metal pioneers such as Dust, Budgie and Buffalo, with nods toward Sabbath and Grand Funk Railroad as well, Brutus know how to throw a good keg-party, as both their self-titled debut album and the recently released Behind The Mountains reek of a good time; these albums could easily be the alternate soundtrack to Dazed and Confused – muscle cars, pick up trucks, high school chicks in flares, denim, beer, sweat, smoking those doobies and anything else you’d imagine to happen when school’s out for summer.
Simply put: no frills, good time hard rock, played from the heart, the gut and the crotch!
Roadburn Festival 2014 will run for four days from Thursday, April 10th to Sunday, April 13th, 2014 at the 013 venue in Tilburg, The Netherlands.