Corrosion of Conformity Post “The Luddite” Video; US Tour on Now

Posted in Bootleg Theater on January 17th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

corrosion of conformity dean karr

So not that I’m awash in extra minutes-per-day or anything like that, but among the various ideas for writing projects kicking around my head lately has been a side-blog that theoretically would be called ‘Doomestic Living,’ which would basically serve as a chronicle for my adventures in my still-new position as a stay-at-home dad, a dude who likes music, and someone with assorted mental health issues. Sounds pretty indulgent, right? Don’t worry, I’m sure self-critique would be a huge factor. To wit, C.O.C. have a new video for “The Luddite” from their new record, No Cross No Crown (review here), and here’s how I might feature it as a post in said context:

The Patient Mrs. was out at physical therapy the other night, still recovering more than two months after her emergency C-section, learning which of her muscles medical professionals fucked up and how best to make them work again, etc. Pretty much every time she leaves the house these days and I’m home alone with The Pecan, I take it as a preview of what life will be like when she goes back to work. This was no exception.

He was fussy; had missed a nap. There was a bottle on the counter, but he’s still not taking a bottle from me, so basically when he gets hungry it’s a fight. Every time. He doesn’t want it. Apparently The Patient Mrs. has magic boobs (something I’ve always suspected) that require no effort on The Pecan’s part to extract milk from, so when he actually has to engage a sucking action on the nipple of a bottle, he gets pissed about it. I get it. The “There’s an easier way to do this and I prefer that” instinct. Very human.

I was waiting for PBS Newshour to come on and dicking around through YouTube on the tv in the living room. He was in his chair, sort of proto-kvetching. Grunting. He grunts a lot; some in distress, some in conversation. Grunty Pecan. I’d gotten the press release about the new Corrosion of Conformity video for “The Luddite” from Nuclear Blast earlier in the day, but as it came up in my recommendations, I decided to check it out. Good track as I knew from hearing the album, so what the hell.

The video’s pretty standard fare: mostly classic heavy rock fire and fury updated with digital presentation. Mike Dean looks badass as ever holding down the business of groove on bass while Pepper Keenan handles frontman duties, Woody Weatherman and Reed Mullin presences unto themselves in their righteousness. The kind of thing that, if there were a Headbanger’s Ball and they let me host it, you’d most definitely see on Headbanger’s Ball. Nowadays, the internet. Fair enough. Good showcase for the track, at very least.

The Pecan was fucking mesmerized. In his two-plus months of life, I don’t think I’ve seen his attention so utterly and singularly wrapt by anything. Not even eating or pooping, and to-date, those have been his primary activities. And it wasn’t his first exposure either to television or to music videos either. C.O.C. held that baby’s gaze like nothing has yet.

I wound up watching him watching the video as much as I watched the video itself — overcome by a strange mixture of worry about screen-time exposure (the latest science says it’s okay, but science is malleable) and pride at the thought that this baby might have such killer taste innate to his being as to really dig a track like “The Luddite,” which is among the closest points C.O.C. hit on their new record to their classic mid-’90s sound.

Afterwards, I put on Sabbath doing “Children of the Grave” at Cali Jam 1974 and he dug that too. For a couple minutes there, things were looking up in terms of parenting potential. Fortunately, The Patient Mrs. got back before he got too hungry.

Yeah, something like that. C.O.C.‘s No Cross No Crown is out now on Nuclear Blast. Please find the video for “The Luddite” below, followed by the band’s current/ongoing tour dates, courtesy of the PR wire, and enjoy:

Corrosion of Conformity, “The Luddite” official video

CORROSION OF CONFORMITY is currently in the midst of a massive North American live takeover supporting Black Label Society. The tour kicked off in Denver, Colorado December 27th and will wind its way through nearly four dozen cities upon its conclusion on February 27th. Additional support is being provided by Eyehategod and Red Fang on select shows. See all confirmed dates below.

CORROSION OF CONFORMITY w/ Black Label Society, Eyehategod (12/29 – 1/20; 2/11 – 2/27), Red Fang (1/26 – 2/09):
1/17/2018 House Of Blues – New Orleans, LA ^
1/18/2018 Marathon Music Works – Nashville, TN ^
1/19/2018 Bogart’s – Cincinnati, OH ^
1/20/2018 Center Stage – Atlanta, GA ^
1/26/2018 Jannus Live – St. Petersburg, FL *
1/27/2018 House Of Blues – Myrtle Beach, SC *
1/28/2018 The Ritz – Raleigh, NC *
1/29/2018 The Fillmore Silver Spring – Silver Spring, MD *
1/31/2018 PlayStation Theater – New York, NY *
2/01/2018 The Palladium – Worcester, MA *
2/02/2018 Aura – Portland, ME *
2/03/2018 Electric Factory – Philadelphia, PA *
2/05/2018 Town Ballroom – Buffalo, NY *
2/06/2018 The Goodyear Theater at East End – Akron, OH *
2/07/2018 Stage AE – Pittsburgh, PA *
2/08/2018 Eagles Ballroom Club Stage – Milwaukee, WI *
2/09/2018 Myth Live – St. Paul, MN *
2/11/2018 O’Brians Event Centre – Saskatoon, SK ^
2/12/2018 The Ranch Roadhouse – Edmonton, AB ^
2/14/2018 Commodore Ballroom – Vancouver, BC ^
2/16/2018 Bowes Event Center at Revolution Place – Grande Prairie, AB ^
2/17/2018 MacEwan Hall – Calgary, AB ^
2/19/2018 Showbox SoDo – Seattle, W ^
2/20/2018 Roseland Theater – Portland, OR ^
2/21/2018 Ace Of Spades – Sacramento, CA ^
2/23/2018 House of Blues – Las Vegas, NV ^
2/24/2018 The Marquee – Tempe, AZ ^
2/25/2018 Sunshine Theater – Albuquerque, NM ^
2/27/2018 The Fonda Theatre – Los Angeles, CA ^
^ w/ Eyehategod
* w/ Red Fang

CORROSION OF CONFORMITY is:
Pepper Keenan – vocals, guitar
Woodroe Weatherman – guitar
Mike Dean – bass, vocals
Reed Mullin – drums, vocals

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Corrosion of Conformity, No Cross No Crown: Casting Stones

Posted in Reviews on January 3rd, 2018 by JJ Koczan

corrosion of conformity no cross no crown

More than 35 years on from their beginning, Raleigh, North Carolina’s Corrosion of Conformity are a band like none other. Affectionately abbreviated as C.O.C., in their long career, they’ve moved from East Coast hardcore punk and thrash to becoming widely influential innovators of Southern metal and heavy rock, releasing generation-defining albums like 1994’s Deliverance (discussed here) and 1996’s Wiseblood (discussed here) after having already made a mark early on with rawer offerings like 1984’s Eye for an Eye debut and the next year’s Animosity.

Since his arrival in the band alongside founders Mike Dean (bass/vocals), Woody Weatherman (guitar/backing vocals) and Reed Mullin (drums/backing vocals) for 1991’s transitional outlier Blind, Pepper Keenan has become a key presence in C.O.C.. He played guitar on Blind and handled vocal duties for the first time on the track “Vote with a Bullet,” but would take the reins as frontman by the time Deliverance came out and see the band through their defining commercial statement and ascent to a point of influence for a generation of heavy rock. Keenan‘s tenure as guitarist/vocalist continued through Wiseblood, the underrated 2000 outing America’s Volume Dealer — often maligned as a cash-grab for its smooth production, but actually some of the tightest songwriting the band has ever done — and 2005’s In the Arms of God before his duties as a member of the Southern heavy supergroup Down took priority.

Dean, Weatherman and Mullin — the last of whom did not play on In the Arms of God — eventually grew restless and pressed on, issuing a self-titled (review here) in 2012 and an also-underrated follow-up, IX (review here), as a three-piece that both found them freer to touch on their punk roots and resulted in a fascinating summation of the band’s tenure as a whole. As Down dwindled, Keenan returned to the fold circa 2014, and the once-again-foursome signed to Nuclear Blast for the release of No Cross No Crown, their first album in this incarnation in some 18 years and a work that many likely doubted would ever come to fruition.

Frankly, that it exists is enough to make it one of 2018’s most pivotal full-lengths. No Cross No Crown is the album for which many C.O.C. fans have clamored for years, written in the studio by the band with longtime producer John Custer at the helm and very, very much aware of what its listenership wants in terms of speaking directly in sound and style to the Deliverance/Wiseblood era of post-Sabbath groovemaking and harsher, Southern-stylized edge. C.O.C. pioneered this aesthetic, and after stepping away from it for more than a decade, songs like “Cast the First Stone,” “Forgive Me,” “Wolf Named Crow” and the six-minute chug-nodder “A Quest to Believe (A Call to the Void)” find it still fits them easily and smoothly.

With a few runthroughs, “The Luddite,” “Cast the First Stone,” the more patiently bluesy “Nothing Left to Say” and the signature boogie “Little Man” feel less like they’re playing to form than rediscovering it, and though No Cross No Crown unquestionably hearkens to the CD era with a bordering-on-unmanageable 15-track/57-minute runtime, a series of interludes in the intro “Novus Deus,” “No Cross,” “Maitre’s Diem,” “Sacred Isolation” and, arguably, the atmospherically-minded four-minute title-track that separates “E.L.M.” and “A Quest to Believe (A Call to the Void)” ensure that the band’s persistent hooks and unflinching craftsmanship boasts due attention-holding variety as well.

corrosion of conformity dean karr

Again, it’s very much a record that knows the stakes and knows the audience to which it is communicating. That comes through in the balance of the production as much as the songwriting, and while in part as a result of the style in which it’s working it doesn’t have the same sense of urgency driving it as did the IX or Corrosion of Conformity LPs issued by the Keenan-less trio version of the band, there’s no question that in performance and chemistry, this group stands apart in their level of execution in a way that makes it extraordinarily difficult to hold knowing what they want to do and who they want to be as a band against them.

No doubt that any outfit with the sheer reach of audience C.O.C. can claim — global, generation-spanning, etc. — will have their backers and their detractors, and certainly much more than when America’s Volume Dealer surfaced, the scope of how the conversation between them has changed. As someone who’s been a fan of the band since Blind, I’ll say the truth of No Cross No Crown ultimately seems to lie somewhere in between.

It is a reunion album. It’s their, “okay, now we’re back together and we need a record” record. By the time they get down to the final movement of “No Cross No Crown,” “A Quest to Believe (A Call to the Void)” and “Son and Daughter,” the pervasive feeling is that statement has been made and they’ve reestablished their footing on the ground that was there waiting for them all these years, but their return to it is still unquestionably one of the most welcome underground heavy events of the decade, and their delivery is simply undeniable.

From “Novus Deus” and “The Luddite” onward, No Cross No Crown is pro-shop through and through, and one can see that even in the structure of the tracklisting, which presents the material in batches of an interlude, two tracks, an interlude, two tracks, interlude, two tracks, etc. throughout. Each section proves that Corrosion of Conformity, even if they’re in the process of shaking the rust off working together creatively, have more to say than one could have reasonably asked or expected, and the album succeeds in its goal of manifesting the spirit and drive of Deliverance and Wiseblood without simply aping a sound more than 20 years gone, as the energy and thrust of “Cast the First Stone” and the swaggering catchiness of “Old Disaster” alike prove.

The prospect of a new C.O.C. record with the KeenanDeanWeatherman and Mullin lineup has been hanging over the head of their many followers since they first got back together to play live several years ago — and truthfully, much longer than that — and if No Cross No Crown did have anything to prove at all, it was that this band could still do this thing. The simple answer is they can, and where 35-plus years from getting started, most artists still active have long since slid into a mediocrity of form in playing to what’s expected of them, C.O.C. here sound reinvigorated and offer a reminder to all willing to hear it of a big part of what made them who they are in the first place. It might need repeat listens to sink in for some, but earns them readily and grows into a richer experience each time through in such a way that to call it anything less than triumphant would be unfair.

Now, will there be another?

Corrosion of Conformity, “Wolf Named Crow” official video

Corrosion of Conformity, “Cast the First Stone”

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The Obelisk Presents: THE TOP 30 ALBUMS OF 2017

Posted in Features on December 28th, 2017 by JJ Koczan

top-30-of-2017

Please note: This post is not culled in any way from the Year-End Poll, which is ongoing. If you haven’t yet contributed your favorites of 2017 to that, please do.

We’re almost at the finish line for 2017, and if I’m honest, it’s not a minute too soon. I think if one more record comes out this year my head is going to explode.

A perpetual onslaught of cool music is, of course, nothing to complain about. It just seemed like every time I thought I had a handle on where the year was going, some other announcement came through and knocked me on my ass. What’s that? The Obsessed are putting out their first album in more than two decades? Oh and Monolord have a new one coming? Radio Moscow just signed to Century Media? Arc of Ascent are back? Samsara Blues Experiment are back? Causa Sui are putting out a live album and a studio album? Sasquatch are going to Europe and sneaking a record along with them? All of a sudden I’m out of breath feeling like I just ran a lap.

It’s been madness this year. Between an emergent neo-psych movement in the wake of King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard and others, and the ongoing and constant reshaping of doom and heavy rock from practitioners new and old, I don’t know how anyone could ever claim to keep up with any of it.

You know I do the best I can, so when you look through this list, please keep in mind that these are my picks and the result of applying my own standard, which if you’ve ever seen a list on this site before you probably already know is a combination of things like what I view as being important on a critical level and things like what kept me coming back as a listener. What were the year’s biggest releases and what couldn’t I get enough of? Sometimes those two things come together around one record and it’s beautiful. That’s usually your album of the year, or close to, anyhow.

No sense in delaying further. I hope if you haven’t heard some of this stuff you’ll give it a shot, and if you have something you felt strongly about it, you’ll let me know in the comments. Thanks in advance for keeping it civil, and of course for reading.

Here goes:

30. Geezer, Psychoriffadelia
geezer psychoriffadelia

Released by Kozmik Artifactz and STB Records. Reviewed May 16.

Coming off of what was their strongest album to-date in their 2016 self-titled (review here), New York heavy psych blues trio Geezer decided it was time to take the groove for a walk. And so they did. Psychoriffadelia is the result — a looser collection of jams and willfully unrefined heavy blues, reveling in the politically incorrect on “Dirty Penny” only after basking in the post-Monster Magnet hypnosis of “Red Hook” and the earlier roll of the more straightforward “Hair of the Dog” and “Stressknots.” Everything Geezer has done to this point has pushed their sound to new places. Psychoriffadelia is no exception.

29. Orango, The Mules of Nana

orango the mules of nana

Released by Stickman Records. Reviewed March 27.

More than a touch of twang on opener “Heartland” sets a tone of Americana-infusion for Orango‘s sixth LP, The Mules of Nana, but the 10-tracker is ultimately much more about harmony-laced classic heavy smoothness than playing to prairie-minded sensibilities, though roots spread wide through a natural, dirty blues just the same. However they get there, “Hazy Chain of Mountains,” the softshoe-ready funk of “Head on Down” and the peacefully progressive finish of “Ghost Rider” bring ’70s-style thrills in songwriting and their precise, gorgeous execution. Underrated record from an underappreciated band.

28. Radio Moscow, New Beginnings

radio moscow new beginnings

Released by Century Media. Reviewed Oct. 6.

Cali boogie kingpins and all-around marvelous frenetic bastards Radio Moscow were in top form on their Century Media debut, and if it was a new beginning they were searching for, they met it head on with a sound as classic and organic as ever. Arguably the most powerful power trio in their game, they tore through cuts like “No One Knows Where They’ve Been” and “Deceiver” while offering flourish in the trip-out “Woodrose Morning” and subdued blues-psych on the penultimate “Pick up the Pieces.” Very much to form, but cast of a form that still manages to outclass all challengers.

27. Spaceslug, Time Travel Dilemma

spaceslug time travel dilemma

Released by Southcave Records, BSFD Records and Oak Island Records. Reviewed Feb. 10.

And so here we have the first of what will no doubt be several records about which I’m going to say they should be higher on the list. Poland’s Spaceslug have emerged from the moist ground created by their own tonality and on their sophomore full-length, they proffered warm depth of fuzz and a corresponding melodic and psychedelic reach that was resonant even before they brought in ex-Sungrazer bassist Sander Haagmans for a guest spot on the title-track. It’s been out for 10 months and still delivers every time I put it on, which is often.

26. Mothership, High Strangeness

mothership high strangeness
Released by Ripple Music and Heavy Psych Sounds. Reviewed March 7.

Three albums into a tenure marked by hard-driving riffs, scorching solos and relentless road work, there’s little Texas trio Mothership need to do at this point to prove themselves to their audience. At the same time, High Strangeness brought considerable expansion to their range overall, whether it was the exploratory “Eternal Trip” or the semi-metallic insistence behind “Midnight Express,” while staying tied together with lyrical and instrumental hooks. High Strangeness set a new standard for Mothership, plain and simple, and easily surpassed the considerable accomplishments of their 2012 self-titled debut (review here) and 2014’s Mothership II (review here).

25. Eternal Black, Bleed the Days

eternal black bleed the days

Released by Obsidian Sky Records. Reviewed Aug. 1.

There was a lot about Eternal Black‘s Bleed the Days that chugged its way into the post-Wino oeuvre of US-style trad doom, but the gruff, lumbering and impeccably riffed outing was nonetheless one of 2017’s best debut full-lengths, and it was the songwriting that got it there. Already sounding sure in the vibe captured, cuts like the plodding brooder “Sea of Graves” and “Stained Eyes on a Setting Sun” showed potential in mood and atmosphere as much as sheer sonic heft — though of course there was plenty of that to go around as well. Doomers missed it at their peril.

24. Kadavar, Rough Times

kadavar rough times

Released by Nuclear Blast. Reviewed Sept. 6.

It kind of feels like a slight to have Berlin trio Kadavar appear anywhere outside of at least a top 10 on any kind of list whatsoever, ever, but that’s not my intention at all. Rather, their fourth album and third for Nuclear Blast found them at an important stage in their progression — past the novelty of the vintage feel in their early work, after having proven their songwriting could translate to a modern context, and embarking on a process of expanding their sound. Rough Times, which was as current as current could be, met that goal and beat it easily with a barrage of memorable choruses and a dark streak one could only consider suitable for our age.

23. Shroud Eater, Strike the Sun

shroud eater strike the sun

Released by STB Records. Reviewed June 28.

The biggest surprise about Shroud Eater‘s long-awaited sophomore long-player was also its most encouraging aspect — namely how it found the Miami trio bringing together various impulses shown on a number of shorter releases over the course of the six years since their debut, ThunderNoise (review here), came out in 2011, and still managed to utterly crush when it so chose. With a swath from sludge to drone and back again, this was no minor feat, and that the songs they brought to bear were so memorable at their heart as well makes me hope all the more it’s not 2023 before their third album arrives.

22. Enslaved, E

enslaved e

Released by Nuclear Blast. Reviewed Oct. 4.

What’s left to say about Norwegian progressive black metal innovators Enslaved 14 records into their career? Plenty as it turns out. The introduction of new keyboardist/vocalist Håkon Vinje in place of Herbrand Larsen brought a new twist on a signature element of Enslaved‘s approach. Vinje utterly owned his role, and his performance alongside guitarist Ivar Bjørnson, bassist/vocalist Grutle Kjellson, guitarist Arve “Ice Dale” Isdal and drummer Cato Bekkevold resulted in a fresh urgency that made the band’s sound even more potent and set their ongoing creative evolution on a new branch of its self-directed path.

21. Arc of Ascent, Realms of the Metaphysical

arc-of-ascent-realms-of-the-metaphysical

Released by Astral Projection and Clostridium Records. Reviewed April 6.

Some five years on from 2012’s The Higher Key (review here) and seven out from their debut, Circle of the Sun (review here), and with bassist/vocalist Craig Williamson firmly entrenched in his always excellent Lamp of the Universe psych-drone-folk solo-project, I wasn’t sure there would be another offering from New Zealand heavy psych-rock trio Arc of Ascent, but Realms of the Metaphysical took shape from an ether of riffs and echoes atop resilient underlying structures and revitalized the group with new drummer Mark McGeady in the lineup with Williamson and guitarist Matt Cole-Baker. Remains to be seen if this marks a priority shift for Williamson or it’s a one-off, but its arrival was welcome either way.

20. Causa Sui, Vibraciones Doradas

causa sui vibraciones doradas

Released by El Paraiso Records. Reviewed Oct. 20.

With the various glories already offered in 2017 on the Live in Copenhagen (review here) 3LP, one didn’t necessarily expect a new studio outing from Danish instrumental psych masters Causa Sui, but Vibraciones Doradas found them as vibrant as ever, bringing forth a surprising amount of tonal weight on songs like “El Fuego,” warm fuzz for the basking on opener “The Drop” and spaciousness on the closing title-track. Somewhat more straight-ahead in its rocking groove than 2016’s Return to Sky (review here), the five-track/38-minute long-player showed yet again why Causa Sui are always welcome and that any news of a new release from them, live, studio, whatever, is good news. This was the kind of record that could make your day if you let it.

19. Telekinetic Yeti, Abominable

telekinetic yeti abominable

Released by Sump Pump Records. Reviewed April 10.

The Iowa-based duo of guitarist/vocalist Alex Baumann and drummer Anthony Dreyer, operating as Telekinetic Yeti, released what I considered to be the debut of the year, both for the fullness of its tonality and the accomplishment in songcraft it already showed. Powered by cuts like its lumbering title-track and the gloriously fuzzed runner “Stoned and Feathered,” it could’ve been another band’s second or third record for the level of cohesion on display and the obvious awareness on the part of the band of what they wanted to do with their sound and the just-as-obvious result of their bringing it to life.

18. Cloud Catcher, Trails of Kozmic Dust

cloud catcher trails of kozmic dust

Released by Totem Cat Records. Reviewed Dec. 9, 2016.

While I admit I’m still not 100 percent certain on whether to spell “kozmic” in the title with a ‘k’ or with a ‘c’ on the end, that question did nothing ultimately to diminish enjoyment of Denver emergents Cloud Catcher‘s sophomore outing. Topped off by one of the best album covers of the year, the follow-up to their 2015 debut, Enlightened Beyond Existence (discussed here), took the progressive casting of that record to a place entirely more raw and rock-driven, willfully roughing up the edges even as it showed marked creative growth on a relatively quick turnaround. The must-hear bass tone of “Beyond the Electric Sun” and “Super Acid Magick” was icing on a cake of choice riffing and Hendrixian lead swirl, and the shuffle they elicited was enough to make even the most stubborn of asses (i.e. mine) think about moving.

17. Ruby the Hatchet, Planetary Space Child

ruby the hatchet planetary space child

Released by Tee Pee Records. Reviewed Aug. 29.

After the neo-garage manifestations of their 2015 sophomore outing, Valley of the Snake (review here), it was clear Philly psych rockers Ruby the Hatchet were a force when it came to songwriting. What was less obvious was what they’d do with that going forward. On Planetary Space Child, at least, the answer is they’ll take it to Freaktown. The melody-happy, organ-laced swirlmasters conjured presence kosmiche enough to justify the album’s title, and around the cast-in-moon-rock structures of the swinging “Pagan Ritual” and the playfully doomed “Symphony of the Night,” Ruby the Hatchet built a multifaceted weirdoist triumph the likes of which simply doesn’t come along every year, establishing themselves as more reliable and less predictable than ever: an absolute win.

16. Alunah, Solennial

alunah solennial

Released by Svart Records. Reviewed March 1.

It’s been the case more or less all along with UK forest rockers Alunah that their nature-minded material and heavy rolling grooves have had their haunting aspects, but with the production of Conan‘s Chris Fielding behind it, Solennial — their fourth LP and first on Svart — brought this to new levels entirely. The songs, memorable like footprints in the woods, are somewhat bittersweet in context now, since founding guitarist/vocalist Sophie Day announced in September she was leaving the band, but as the group will move forward led by guitarist Dave Day and recently acquired new singer Siân Greenaway, intrigue remains high at what the future might bring and the impact of Solennial is undiminished.

15. Mindkult, Lucifer’s Dream

mindkult-lucifers-dream

Released by Transcending Obscurity Records and Caligari Records.

Virginia-based doomgazing garage cult solo-project Mindkult has thus far managed to keep some of the mystique around its sole inhabitant, Fowst, which is admirable in a way. As the multi-instrmentalist, vocalist and producer this year answered the promise of last year’s Witch’s Oath (review here) debut, he did so around a swath of purposeful miseries, loose devil worship and other dark thematics, casting an atmospheric darkness matched head-on by the tonal murk of his riffs. Through this, however, the songwriting was no less memorable than on the first offering, and as the project moves forward, one can only hope that Fowst will continue to use that as the core aspect buried six feet under his other, formidable stylistic achievements. That certainly was how it worked out on Lucifer’s Dream.

14. Argus, From Fields of Fire

argus from fields of fire
Released by Cruz del Sur Music. Reviewed Sept. 1.

Behold ye perhaps the most underrated band in heavy metal. Regardless of subgenre, style, strata, whatever, it’s hard to listen to From Fields of Fire and think of Pittsburgh’s Argus as anything else. The five-piece’s fourth album continued to owe part of its sound to doom, but was much more encompassing than simply that, touching on aspects of classic metal with a command that left one wondering how they hadn’t yet been tapped to open for Judas Priest on that band’s next tour. Victory abounds on a per-song basis throughout the nine-tracker, and whether it was the emotional crux of “Hour of Longing” or the catchy fistpump righteousness of “Devils of Your Time” or the 11-minute progressive reach of “Infinite Lives/Infinite Doors,” Argus once again crafted a work nigh-unmatched in poise and class.

13. Uffe Lorenzen, Galmandsværk

Uffe-Lorenzen-Galmandsvaerk

Released by Bad Afro Records. Reviewed Nov. 6.

For the first outing ever to be issued under his real name, Denmark’s Uffe Lorenzen — aka Lorenzo Woodrose of garage-psych pioneers Baby Woodrose — danced between acid folk singer-songwriterisms like “Flippertøs” and more expansive jamming on “På Kanten Af Verden,” all the while retaining his distinct structural and arrangement sensibilities and creating a flowing vibe that was nothing less than a pure joy of classic-form psychedelia. The most serene and pastoral freakout one was likely to witness in 2017, easily, Galmandsværk resounded in the Mellotron-laced “Høj Som Et Højhus” and was no less at home in the acoustic spaciousness of the earlier “Remits Tyranni,” able to wander where it pleased and find steady ground in molten surroundings.

12. The Flying Eyes, Burning of the Season

the flying eyes burning of the season

Released by Ripple Music. Reviewed Oct. 11.

A welcome return from a viciously underappreciated band, The Flying EyesBurning of the Season marked the Baltimore four-piece’s first offering for Ripple Music and first since 2013’s Lowlands (review here), a four-year stretch during which the band kept busy touring Europe and South America, the latter also being where they recorded these songs with Gabriel Zander at Estudio Superfuzz in Brazil. The tonal depth resulting from that process was enough to make the collection a highlight, but it was the songs themselves that most stood out, benefiting from the band’s expanded reach and legitimate, hard-won maturity. Especially for a group who’ve done so much work on the road over their years — to be fair, the US has been pretty low priority in that regard — they remain a secret kept too well.

11. Bell Witch, Mirror Reaper

bell witch mirror reaper

Released by Profound Lore. Reviewed Dec. 27.

Doomed extremity simply unmatched in its scope. The song of the year for 2017. An accomplishment the likes of which is prone to happen maybe once or twice in a generation. None of this seems to really speak to the entirety of the achievement that is Bell Witch‘s Mirror Reaper — the single-song, 83-minute full-length issued by the Seattle duo like a challenge in the face of mortality itself. Beautiful, devastating and weighted like the grave, its sprawl utterly consumed the listener, and I firmly believe it will be years before its depths are fully processed. Some offerings are bigger than the year in which they’re released. Mirror Reaper would seem to function on a scale of its own, and though it could easily be read as a litmus test for audience punishment, the truth of the listening experience is both more emotionally complex and more fulfilling than simple hyperbole can capture.

10. Monolord, Rust

monolord rust

Released by RidingEasy Records. Reviewed Oct. 26.

The story all along with Gothenburg’s Monolord has been tone. Tone tone tone. Crush crush crush. Riffs riffs riffs. Nothing wrong with any of that, but their third album, Rust, proves once and for all that there’s more to the trio than “cool riffs bro” and post-Electric Wizard nod. Catchy cuts like “Dear Lucifer” and rolling opener “Where Death Meets the Sea” brought a sense of space leading to the later sprawl of “Forgotten Lands” and “At Niceae,” and the band settled into an individualized, lumbering psychedelia that moved forward from 2015’s Vænir (review here), not leaving behind the heft that earned them their reputation, but not at all being limited by it either in scope or overall approach. Three records in, Rust brought forth Monolord‘s greatest sonic expansion yet and gave rise to the feeling that their true potential was just starting to come to fruition. Also, crush crush crush. Cool riffs, bro.

9. Vokonis, The Sunken Djinn

vokonis-the-sunken-djinn

Released by Ripple Music. Reviewed June 5.

The Sunken Djinn is Vokonis‘ second full-length in as many years, and in addition to serving as their Ripple debut where 2016’s Olde One Ascending (review here) landed via Ozium Records, it was a feast for hungry riff hounds. In defiance of its quick turnaround, it showed a firm evolution taking place within the upstart Swedish trio of guitarist/vocalist Simon Ohlsson, bassist/backing vocalist Jonte Johansson and drummer Emil Larsson, whose range overall was greater in tracks like “Rapturous” and the torrential “Blood Vortex” while nonetheless controlled in its delivery. Their Sleep-y origins still a factor sound-wise, Vokonis were able just the same to push themselves ahead into new sonic ground in fittingly lumbering fashion, and the character they brought to “The Sunken Djinn,” “Calling from the Core” and the noise-caked “Maelstroem” seemed to speak to a burgeoning sense of atmospheric focus taking hold as well. Still so much potential here.

8. Electric Moon, Stardust Rituals

electric moon stardust rituals

Released by Sulatron Records. Reviewed April 7.

Do I even need to remotely justify having Electric Moon‘s first studio album in six years on this list? Was it not just like a love-letter issued by the cosmos itself? What more explanation could possibly be necessary? Not that the German trio haven’t dropped copious, glorious live outings all the while, but to have Dave “Sula Bassana” Schmidt, “Komet Lulu” Neudeck and Marcus Schnitzler follow-up 2011’s The Doomsday Machine (review here) with four cuts culminating in the 22-minute sprawl of “(You Will) Live Forever Now” was high on the list of the year’s most satisfying psychedelic journeys. Constantly exploring, their methods always seem geared toward finding the molten essence of space rock itself, and though the songs on Stardust Rituals were a little more crafted than some of their straight-up improv jams, they nonetheless showed there are many avenues one might take to get to the heart of the sun.

7. Sun Blood Stories, It Runs Around the Room with Us

sun-blood-stories-it-runs-around-the-room-with-us

Self-released. Reviewed May 1.

This one is personal, and by that I mean I love this fucking band. Similar to my experience with their 2015 sophomore outing, Twilight Midnight Morning (review here), the third record by Boise-based trio of Ben Kirby (vocals, guitar, synth, percussion), Amber Pollard (vocals, guitar, theremin, percussion) and Jon Fust (drums, keys, percussion, noise) was one that I simply could not put down. Even now, seeing the name of the record is all I need to have songs like “The Great Destroyer” and the immersive midsection in “Come Like Rain” and “Time Like Smoke” stuck in my head, let alone the ultra-brazen, searingly-pissed “Burn” noise assault that finished the album and in the span of 90 seconds turned all the psychedelic warmth and serenity on its face with a visceral anger completely unforeseen and jarring, turning it from a depth-laden execution of adventurous neo-psych and indie into a project of conceptual artistry with all the efficiency of the chemical reaction it sought to portray. If you missed it, your loss.

6. The Atomic Bitchwax, Force Field

the-atomic-bitchwax-force-field

Released by Tee Pee Records. Reviewed Dec. 7.

Songs like “Alaskan Thunder Fuck,” “Humble Brag” and “Earth Shaker (Which Doobie U Be?)” assured that the defining character of Force Field, the sixth album from New Jersey’s The Atomic Bitchwax, was pure scorch. That made the 12-cut outing a more than worthy follow-up for 2015’s  Gravitron (review here), which introduced this more speed-rock-minded, aggressive delivery from the tight-as-nails trio, and while they proved they could still lock in a slower groove on the organ-topped finisher “Liv a Little,” head-spinners like the instrumental “Fried, Dyed and Layin’ to the Side” and “Houndstooth” came across like the fruit of the band pushing themselves to the limits of their physical ability in terms of tempo, and their ride along the edge of that line brought thrills at every turn. And make no mistake, there were a lot of turns. Fortunately, bassist/vocalist Chris Kosnik, guitarist/vocalist Finn Ryan and drummer Bob Pantella seemingly had a corresponding hook in their pocket for each one of them. This band is a national treasure.

5. Atavismo, Inerte

atavismo inerte

Released by Temple of Torturous. Reviewed Feb. 21.

Warm, fuzzy tones, rhythmic shifts right out of classic progressive rock, melodic intricacy and periodic excursions into glorious psychedelic drift: I’m not sure what wasn’t to like about Inerte, Atavismo‘s second full-length behind 2014’s Desintegración (review here). Comprising five tracks of unmistakable flow and jam-laden fluidity, it was immersive with landmarks along the way to keep the listener from getting too lost, and whether or not one spoke Spanish, the three-piece of Jose “Poti” Moreno (ex-Viaje a 800Mind!), bassist/vocalist Mateo and drummer/vocalist Sandri Pow (also ex-Mind!) made it easy to follow along their purposefully meandering path, offering guidance no less skillful on the 11-minute fuzz-freaker “El Sueño” than the dream-toned linear build of “Belleza Cuatro.” There were very, very few albums I listened to more this year than this one, which is precisely why it is where it is on this list.

4. Samsara Blues Experiment, One with the Universe

samsara-blues-experiment-one-with-the-universe

Released by Electric Magic Records and Abraxas Records. Reviewed May 4.

Four years between records isn’t at all an unheard of stretch. It’s not the longest on this list by any means. But with Berlin heavy psych rockers Samsara Blues Experiment, it really seemed like the band was done, so to have them come back with such force on One with the Universe was, as I know I said at several points throughout the last 12 months, one of the year’s total highlights. Tracked by former bassist Richard Behrens, the group’s fourth album answered the extended-track spread of 2013’s Waiting for the Flood (review here) with a deeper sense of sonic variety, and while the 15-minute title-cut and opener “Vispassana” still had plenty of room for jamming out and even six-minute centerpiece “Glorious Daze” found room for some flourish of organ and sitar, guitarist/vocalist Christian Peters, drummer Thomas Vedder and bassist Hans Eiselt rightly featured the chemistry they’ve built as a trio live and brought to the songs a renewed sense of vigor, sounding — and hopefully being — truly inspired. Waiting for the Flood capped a period of marked productivity across several years. Fingers crossed One with the Universe begins that cycle anew.

3. Elder, Reflections of a Floating World

Elder-Reflections-of-a-Floating-World

Released by Armageddon Shop and Stickman Records. Reviewed May 23.

You just can’t consider Elder‘s Reflections of a Floating World outside the context of the progressive achievement that was their prior outing, 2015’s Lore (review here). Where the trio — based now between Massachusetts and Berlin, Germany — took their first two outings, 2008’s self-titled debut (discussed here) and 2011’s Dead Roots Stirring (review here), to find their sound, which they began to showcase on the 2012 Spires Burn/Release EP (review here), it was Lore that brought to fruition the potential that had always been waiting to be unleashed by the trio of guitarist/vocalist Nick DiSalvo, bassist Jack Donovan and drummer Matt Couto, and Reflections of a Floating World had the daunting task of being the next further step from that landmark moment. To say the band rose to the occasion is perhaps to undersell the cohesion at work in consuming-but-cohesive pieces like opener “Sanctuary” or “Blind” or “Staving off the Truth,” which brought together clear-headed psychedelia around a wash that seemed to stem as much from rhythm as melody. As they’ve matured stylistically and become a major touring presence, Elder have made themselves perhaps the most pivotal American heavy rock act going, and Reflections of a Floating World brings them to the discovery of yet another apex while at the same time giving zero indication it will be the last one they find.

2. Colour Haze, In Her Garden

colour haze in her garden

Released by Elektrohasch Schallplatten. Reviewed March 9.

Of course, the bonus of writing about Colour Haze in just about any context is that you get to put Colour Haze on while you’re doing it, and in the case of the 12th LP from these Munich heavy psych forebears, that’s an even more appealing prospect. After stripping down some of the arrangement flourish with 2014’s To the Highest Gods We Know (review here), the 13-track/73-minute 2LP In Her Garden brought a revitalized sonic expansion, but as ever, it wasn’t just the horns or the strings or the blend of keys and acoustics that made In Her Garden the unbridled joy that it was and continues to be — it was the underlying performance from guitarist/vocalist Stefan Koglek, bassist Philipp Rasthofer and drummer Manfred Merwald that gave the album the stem on which its garden grew. That’s not to say Jan Faszbender‘s work on modular synth, Rhodes, and Hammond or the arrangements of strings, tuba, bass-clarinet and trombone throughout hurt anything, just that as Colour Haze have grown into incorporating these elements into their groundbreaking aesthetic, they haven’t left behind the organic chemistry and necessary live feel that has helped them influence a generation of followers over their more than 20-year career. One came through as much as the other on In Her Garden, and that balance gave the overarching warmth of their self-recorded tonality yet another level on which to engage their audience. I’ll be a sucker for Colour Haze for as long as I live, and I have absolutely no problem admitting to and owning that.

1. All Them Witches, Sleeping Through the War

all them witches sleeping through the war

Released by New West Records. Reviewed Jan. 27.

It was clear early on that Nashville four-piece All Them Witches were contending hard for Album of the Year with Sleeping Through the War, their fourth long-player and second for New West following the mellow vibes of 2015’s Dying Surfer Meets His Maker (review here). What finally sealed it? The songs. Working with producer Dave Cobb, the each-member-essential lineup of bassist/vocalist Michael Parks, Jr., guitarist Ben McLeod, key-specialist Allan van Cleave (Rhodes, Mellotron, piano, organ, etc.) and drummer/graphic artist Robby Staebler solidified their approach in exciting new ways on early cuts like the grunge-crunching “Don’t Bring Me Coffee” and the shuffling “Bruce Lee,” which hit in succession following the fluid lead-in of opener “Bulls,” an introduction of the organic psychedelia and heavy blues that the loose-swinging of “3-5-7″‘s nigh-on-gospel chorus and subsequent, almost maddeningly catchy “Am I Going Up?” would continue to push outward, thereby setting a linear course into a consciousness-capturing side B with “Alabaster” and the jammier “Cowboy Kirk” and “Internet” playing between melodic nuance and mindful, go-with-it drift. The unflinching strength of the material was matched perhaps only by the understatement of its delivery, which was the more staggering considering how easily the arrangements of background vocals on “Am I Going Up?” or  “3-5-7” could have come through as overblown or self-indulgent, and by the time they got down to the light weirdo-bluesy stomp of “Internet” — the key lyric and hook being, “Guess I’ll go live on the internet” — there was no doubting the genuine nature of the realization Sleeping Through the War represented for All Them Witches. Coupling that feeling of achievement with the sheer repeatability of the listening experience itself left no doubt that 2017 belonged to these tracks and the marvelous way the band wove between them, and that whatever other sounds All Them Witches may go on to explore and whatever else they may accomplish as a result, Sleeping Through the War was a truly special moment in their evolution that, as with the best of offerings in any year, will continue to resonate long after the calendar page has turned.

The Next 20

You know, I used to feel like once you got past a top 20, the numbers were arbitrary. Then I felt that way about the top 30. This year, I think I agonized more about what to include in numbers 31-50 than I did between 30 and the album of the year. Put that in your “go figure” file while you chew on these picks:

31. Cities of Mars, Temporal Rifts
32. The Midnight Ghost Train, Cypress Ave.
33. Snowy Dunes, Atlantis
34. Rozamov, This Mortal Road
35. PH, Eternal Hayden
36. Sasquatch, Maneuvers
37. Young Hunter, Dayhiker
38. The Devil and the Almighty Blues, II
39. Ufomammut, 8
40. John Garcia, The Coyote Who Spoke in Tongues
41. Paradise Lost, Medusa
42. Beastmaker, Inside the Skull
43. Arduini / Balich, Dawn of Ages
44. Primitive Man, Caustic
45. Motorpsycho, The Tower
46. Arbouretum, Song of the Rose
47. Hymn, Perish
48. Youngblood Supercult, The Great American Death Rattle
49. Pallbearer, Heartless
50. Dool, Here Now There Then

There’s so, so much good stuff here. So much. The Cities of Mars debut was a treasure and the only reason it wasn’t on my top debuts list was because I haven’t had the chance to go back in and put it on. The Young Hunter record? Some of their best work yet. Hell, that Arduini / Balich album alone! Then you’ve got huge releases by Pallbearer, Ufomammut, Paradise Lost, Primitive Man, on and on. Like I said at the outset, one more album and my head was gonna explode this year. Way too much to ever hope to keep up with. One thing though I felt like I really wanted to emphasize including was Dool. They’re in the last spot, but make no mistake, in atmosphere and songwriting that album was something really special and loaded with potential. It’s not there because it came in last. It’s there to highlight the point of how much it should be on this list.

What’s that? More records? Okay…

Honorable Mentions

In case you also weren’t completely overwhelmed this year, maybe another batch of records will do the trick. Here’s some presented alphabetically:

Anathema, The Optimist
Blackfinger, When Colors Fade Away
Child, Blueside
Cortez, The Depths Below
Demon Eye, Prophecies and Lies
Elbrus, Elbrus
Electric Wizard, Wizard Bloody Wizard
Ecstatic Vision, Raw Rock Fury
Five Horse Johnson, Jake Leg Boogie
Mirror Queen, Verdigris
The Obsessed, Sacred
T.G. Olson, Foothills Before the Mountain
Outsideinside, Sniff a Hot Rock
Queens of the Stone Age, Villains
Siena Root, A Dream of Lasting Peace
Six Organs of Admittance, Burning the Threshold
Steak, No God to Save
Summoner, Beyond the Realm of Light
Valborg, Endstrand
With the Dead, Love from With the Dead

Plus: Abronia, Lewis and the Strange Magics, Iron Monkey, Band of Spice, Puta Volcano, Galley Beggar, Heavy Traffic, Coltsblood, REZN, Green Meteor, Demon Head, Lord, Grigax, The Raynbow, Carpet, Norska, Les Lekin, Slow, Ixion, and I’m sure more that I’ll add as the names continue to pop into my head.

I did this back in June as well, but I also want to draw attention to a swath of quality live albums that came out this year. The top pick should be no surprise if you’ve been hanging around the site of late:

Live Albums:
1. SubRosa, Subdued Live at Roadburn
2. Causa Sui, Live in Copenhagen
3. Slomatics, Futurians Live at Roadburn
4. My Sleeping Karma, Mela Ananda – Live
5. Wight, Fusion Rock Invasion
5. Death Alley, Live at Roadburn

Thank You

It’s been a hell of a year, obviously. Musically and otherwise. As always, I cannot possibly come close to thanking you enough for your incredible and ongoing support of The Obelisk, of what this site is, what it’s become over its nearly nine-year run, what it will continue to become going forward from here. It is astounding to me and deeply humbling that you would possibly take time out of your busy day and your busy life to check out what’s going on here, and words fail me continually when it comes to feeling like I can properly convey my appreciation for that. Thank you for reading. Thank you for reading. Thank you for reading. Tattoo it on my forehead.

Thank you to The Patient Mrs. for understanding how much I need to be doing this, to Slevin for keeping the site running on the technical end, to Behrang Alavi for taking over hosting earlier this year, to my family for their ongoing support, to The Pecan for sleeping late some mornings and giving me time to write, and to everyone who ever shared a link on social media or made a comment on a post or anything like that. To long-time readers and to newcomers alike — thank you so much. This year has seen a fair share of ups and downs, but the support this site gets sustains me in ways I never expected it could, and that would be impossible without you. Please know how crucial that is to me.

Well, that should do it. I know there are probably disagreements about where things landed on the list, what was included, what was left out, etc., as there always are. All comments are of course welcome — only thing I’d ask is you please keep it civil and respectful of the opinions of others. Otherwise, have at it. Please.

And one more time, thank you for reading.

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Graveyard Begin Recording Process for New Album Due in 2018

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

Swedish classic heavy rock forerunners Graveyard have begun recording their fifth album for a 2018 release through Nuclear Blast. Yet untitled, the LP is currently being tracked at Park Studios in Stockholm and will serve as the follow-up to 2015’s Innocence and Decadence (review here). Spring tour dates are expected to accompany or perhaps precede the album release, as the revamped Örebro four-piece have already been confirmed to headline next year at Desertfest in London and Berlin in early May.

Since their sudden announced split in Sept. 2016 and subsequent return this past January with a new drummer, speculation has been rampant as to what the next Graveyard album might hold in store. The band’s increasing movement into soulful melancholy has been resonant over their last two outings especially, but with an inevitable change in dynamic and perhaps a new surge of energy as a result, the potential exists to either consciously or not revive the boogie stylings of their massively influential early works. Upbeat or down, new Graveyard is something to look forward to, for sure.

Just off the PR wire:

graveyard

GRAVEYARD – Enter Studio To Record New Album

Classic rockers GRAVEYARD have entered Park Studios in Stockholm to record their yet untitled album that is scheduled for release late spring/early summer in 2018. The album is produced by Chips Kiesbye (THE HELLACOPTERS, MICHAEL MONROE, THE NOMADS) and engineered by Stefan Boman (BURT BACHARACH, ALICE COOPER, DEF LEPPARD & KENT to name a few).

After a week of recording the band have got the following words of wisdom to say about the upcoming album and the ongoing process: “It’s great to be back in the studio and laying down the basic tracks have been nothing but sheer joy. This time around we’ve got more than enough songs to fill up an album and as always the really fun and thrilling part will be to see how the recording will treat each song from rehearsals to finished mix. With that said the obvious goal is to continue our walk down GRAVEYARD’s left hand album path with yet another album filled with all killers and no fillers. We’re up for a promising start here in the studio and we can’t wait to let all of you be the judge of how you think we did. All for now back to recording.”

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Graveyard, “Too Much is Not Enough” official video

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Earthless Announce US and European 2018 Touring

Posted in Whathaveyou on December 6th, 2017 by JJ Koczan

earthless ed dominick

Pretty rad to find out that Earthlessrecently announced position as artists-in-residence for Roadburn 2018 will come at the end of a full round of European touring alongside Comet Control — fingers crossed they get added to the bill of the Tilburg, Netherlands-based fest as well — and that indeed that run itself will follow a cross-country US tour in the company of Kikagaku Moyo and JJUUJUU as the San Diego trio begin to support their impending Nuclear Blast label debut, which they recently finished tracking with Dave Catching at the helm and is due out March 16. And yes, I mean all of that is pretty rad. That whole frickin’ run-on sentence. If you’re not into longform righteousness, then this probably isn’t the band for you anyway.

Up there with 2018’s most anticipated among the most anticipated? Yeah. From where I stand, 2018 is Earthless‘ for the taking.

From the PR wire:

EARTHLESS announce North American and European tour dates

Seminal psychedelic rock trio, EARTHLESS, have announced world-wide tour dates in support of their upcoming Nuclear Blast Entertainment debut.

Commented drummer Mario Rubalcaba:

“We are beyond chuffed to finally have a new album to go out and support and we can’t wait to play the new tunes for everyone- they are blastin’! We are also excited to have some killer support bands going out with us when we tour the US and Canada and when we head out to Europe/UK in April. On our North American run, KIKAGAKU MOYO from Japan and JJUUJUU will swirl minds, add diversity and still keep things “heady” for all. In April, we’ll be hitting Europe and the UK with our buds in COMET CONTROL. They will keep you all warm and fuzzy on the inside while shakin yr brains from the outside. That tour also ends up at the mighty Roadburn Festival, where we are honored to be the official Artist In Residence over all 3 nights- each different and special. We look forward to seeing you all out there. Cheers!”

EARTHLESS–Isaiah Mitchell (vocals/guitar), Mike Eginton (bass) and Mario Rubalcaba (drums)–recently finished recording their new album with Dave Catching (EAGLES OF DEATH METAL) at Rancho de la Luna in Joshua Tree, CA, The band will release the 4th full-length record on March 16th. More details to be announced shortly. Confirmed tour dates are as follows:

EARTHLESS, KIKAGAKU MOYO, JJUUJUU
Feb 28 – San Rafael @ Terrapin Crossroads
Mar 1 – San Francisco @ Great American Music Hall
Mar 2 – San Diego @ Casbah
Mar 3 – San Diego @ Casbah
Mar 4 – Los Angeles @ Teragram Ballroom
Mar 5 – Santa Cruz @ The Atrium
Mar 7 – Las Vegas @ Beauty Bar
Mar 8 – Pioneertown CA @ Pappy & Harriet’s
Mar 13 – Cleveland @ Grog Shop
Mar 14 – Toronto @ Lee’s Palace
Mar 15 – Montreal @ L’Astral
Mar 16 – Brooklyn @ Market Hotel
Mar 17 – Boston @ The Sinclair
Mar 18 – Philadelphia @ Underground Arts
Mar 20 – Washington DC @ Rock N Roll Hotel
Mar 21 – Richmond @ The Broadberry
Mar 22 – Nashville @ Mercy Lounge
Mar 23 – St. Louis @ Blueberry Hill
Mar 24 – Chicago @ Empty Bottle
Mar 25 – Chicago @ Empty Bottle

EARTHLESS, COMET CONTROL
Apr 3 – Kortrijk, BE @ De Kreun
Apr 4 – Bristol, UK @ The Fleece
Apr 5 – Manchester, UK @ The Deaf Institute
Apr 6 – London, UK @ Islington Assembly Hall
Apr 7 – Paris, FR @ Petit Bain
Apr 8 – Frankfurt, DE @ Zoom
Apr 10 – Munich, DE @ Feierwerk
Apr 11 – Berlin, DE @ Bi Nuu
Apr 12 – Copenhagen, DK @ Pumpehuset
Apr 13 – Oslo, NO @ BLA
Apr 14 – Gothenberg, SE @ Truckstop Alaska
Apr 16 – Hamburg, DE @ Molotow
Apr 19 – Tilburg, NE @ ROADBURN 2018
Apr 20 – Tilburg, NE @ ROADBURN 2018
Apr 21 – Tilburg, NE @ ROADBURN 2018

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Earthless, From the Ages (2013)

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Corrosion of Conformity Announce No Cross No Crown Due Jan. 12; First Single Streaming

Posted in Whathaveyou on November 10th, 2017 by JJ Koczan

Well, here’s your most anticipated album for 2018. North Carolinian heavy rock legends Corrosion of Conformity will release their first record to feature guitarist/vocalist Pepper Keenan since 2005’s In the Arms of God on Jan. 12. Titled No Cross No Crown, it will be their first offering for Nuclear Blast Records. Preorders are available now. You don’t need me to tell you place one.

C.O.C. have been keeping fans regularly up to date on the studio progress for their new full-length for a while now. Recorded by John Custer, whose tenure helming their outings goes back decades at this point, No Cross No Crown brings together Keenan, bassist/vocalist Mike Dean, guitarist Woodroe Weatherman and drummer Reed Mullin for the first time since 2000’s America’s Volume Dealer, and though Dean, Weatherman and Mullin had two LPs out as a trio in 2014’s IX (review here) and a 2012 self-titled (review here), their reunion with Keenan and subsequent touring and fest appearances has only stoked the fire of hope for a new four-piece album over the last couple years.

Looks like we’ll finally get there. Can’t wait. First single is streaming now. It’s called “Cast the First Stone.” It’s at the bottom of the post. Listen to it.

Just off the PR wire:

corrosion of conformity no cross no crown

CORROSION OF CONFORMITY To Release No Cross No Crown Full-Length January 12th, 2018 Via Nuclear Blast Entertainment

Album Marks First Recording With Vocalist/Guitarist Pepper Keenan In Over A Decade; Preorder Bundles Available

Preorder No Cross No Crown at THIS LOCATION

Whenever CORROSION OF CONFORMITY releases a new album, folks take notice. But their latest is a true event. It’s been a dozen years since CORROSION OF CONFORMITY recorded new material with vocalist/guitarist Pepper Keenan at the helm. In that time, there have been rumors, whispers, and outright allegations that the legendary Southern rock outfit would reunite to blow the doors off the whole damn scene again. In 2014, after nearly a straight decade traversing the globe as a guitarist with New Orleans supergroup Down, Keenan reconnected with the core CORROSION OF CONFORMITY trio of Woody Weatherman, Mike Dean, and Reed Mullin to hit the road hard. “Reed called me and mentioned maybe playing a couple shows,” Keenan recalls. “I said, ‘Let’s just go to Europe and see if it works.’ So we went to Europe and then ended up going back four times in one year… We toured for a year and then started tracking about ten or eleven months ago.”

And now, the long wait is over. CORROSION OF CONFORMITY returns with No Cross No Crown — an album that somehow sounds as though no time has passed between 2005’s In The Arms Of God and today.

Recording in North Carolina with longtime producer John Custer, CORROSION OF CONFORMITY cut No Cross No Crown in about forty days over the course of a year. “We took our time and didn’t put any pressure on ourselves,” Keenan says. “I’d go up from New Orleans and we’d do four or five days at a time, just hacking away at it. It was fun because we did it like a demo, but in a studio. We were writing and putting it on tape at the same time. We took what parts we thought were great from the old days and weren’t scared to go backwards. It kinda wrote itself that way.”

Some of these new jams sound like could’ve easily been on Wiseblood or Deliverance, two of CORROSION OF CONFORMITY’s most revered records. On No Cross No Crown, beefy Southern stompers like “The Luddite,” “Little Man,” and “Forgive Me” are interspersed with melancholy guitar interludes like “No Cross,” “Matre’s Diem,” and “Sacred Isolation” — just like Sabbath used to do in the ’70s. “We started doing that on Deliverance,” Keenan points out. “My theory on that is that if you’re trying to make a record flow, you need to break it up a little. When you need a breather, write an interlude. I like writing those mellow pieces just to space things out and make the next thing come in heavier.”

The album’s iconic title comes from a recent tour stop in England. “We were playing this old church from like the 1500s that had been turned into a performing arts center,” Keenan recalls. “The dressing room had stained glass windows and one of them showed this poor fella being persecuted. Underneath it said, ‘no cross no crown.’ So I just took that idea. We’re not trying to be on a soapbox, but we used it as a catalyst to write songs around.”

Which is to say that No Cross No Crown has a lot less to do with politics or religion than its title implies. “I think everyone needs to get away from that mindset in general,” Keenan offers. “It just seems to be a mess out there nowadays. We need to get back to being humans and taking care of each other and simple things like that. For us, the terminology ‘no cross no crown’ is a theme. It’s mentioned in like three songs throughout the album. We just weaved it through as we went.”

No Cross No Crown stands as irrefutable proof of CORROSION OF CONFORMITY’s ability to overcome. “CORROSION OF CONFORMITY and the prior records I’ve done with them didn’t just go away,” Keenan observes. “It’s an honor to be back out there and have an opportunity to do it again in a real way and not some washed-up reunion thing. Even before we wrote the record, we were out there for a year seeing there was a demand for it and that there was a void that we could fill. That’s been CORROSION OF CONFORMITY’s deal from day one. We’re not chasing anybody around. We’re not gonna worry about what the new trends are. CORROSION OF CONFORMITY is CORROSION OF CONFORMITY.”

No Cross No Crown will be released via Nuclear Blast Entertainment worldwide on January 12th, 2018 on CD, digital, vinyl, and cassette formats. Various preorder bundles are currently available at THIS LOCATION.

No Cross No Crown Track Listing:
1. Novus Deus
2. The Luddite
3. Cast The First Stone
4. No Cross
5. Wolf Named Crow
6. Little Man
7. Matre’s Diem
8. Forgive Me
9. Nothing Left To Say
10. Sacred Isolation
11. Old Disaster
12. E.L.M.
13. No Cross No Crown
14. A Quest To Believe (A Call To The Void)
15. Son And Daughter

In advance of the release of No Cross No Crown, CORROSION OF CONFORMITY will join Black Label Society for a mammoth North American live takeover. The tour begins December 27th, 2017 in Denver, Colorado and will wind its way through nearly four dozen cities, the journey coming to a close February 27th, 2018. Additional support will be provided by Eyehategod and Red Fang on select shows. See all confirmed dates below.

CORROSION OF CONFORMITY w/ Black Label Society, Eyehategod (12/29 – 1/20; 2/11 – 2/27), Red Fang (1/26 – 2/9):
12/27/2017 Ogden Theatre – Denver, CO
12/29/2017 Anthem at Hard Rock Hotel & Casino – Sioux City, IA ^
12/30/2017 Uptown Theater – Kansas City, MO ^
12/31/2017 Pop’s Nightclub – Sauget, IL^
1/02/2018 Sokol Auditorium – Omaha, NE^
1/03/2018 House Of Blues – Chicago, IL ^
1/04/2018 Egyptian Room at Old National Centre – Indianapolis, IN ^
1/05/2018 The Fillmore Detroit – Detroit, MI ^
1/07/2018 Upstate Concert Hall – Clifton Park, NY ^
1/08/2018 M Telus – Montreal, QC ^
1/09/2018 Rebel – Toronto, ON ^
1/10/2018 20 Monroe Live – Grand Rapids, MI ^
1/12/2018 Diamond Ballroom – Oklahoma City, OK ^
1/13/2018 Bomb Factory – Dallas, TX ^
1/14/2018 Emo’s – Austin, TX ^
1/15/2018 House Of Blues – Houston, TX ^
1/17/2018 House Of Blues – New Orleans, LA ^
1/18/2018 Marathon Music Works – Nashville, TN ^
1/19/2018 Bogart’s – Cincinnati, OH ^
1/20/2018 Center Stage – Atlanta, GA ^
1/26/2018 Jannus Live – St. Petersburg, FL *
1/27/2018 House Of Blues – Myrtle Beach, SC *
1/28/2018 The Ritz – Raleigh, NC *
1/29/2018 The Fillmore Silver Spring – Silver Spring, MD *
1/31/2018 PlayStation Theater – New York, NY *
2/01/2018 The Palladium – Worcester, MA *
2/02/2018 Aura – Portland, ME *
2/03/2018 Electric Factory – Philadelphia, PA *
2/05/2018 Town Ballroom – Buffalo, NY *
2/06/2018 The Goodyear Theater at East End – Akron, OH *
2/07/2018 Stage AE – Pittsburgh, PA *
2/08/2018 Eagles Ballroom Club Stage – Milwaukee, WI *
2/09/2018 Myth Live – St. Paul, MN *
2/11/2018 O’Brians Event Centre – Saskatoon, SK ^
2/12/2018 The Ranch Roadhouse – Edmonton, AB ^
2/14/2018 Commodore Ballroom – Vancouver, BC ^
2/16/2018 Bowes Event Center at Revolution Place – Grande Prairie, AB ^
2/17/2018 MacEwan Hall – Calgary, AB ^
2/19/2018 Showbox SoDo – Seattle, W ^
2/20/2018 Roseland Theater – Portland, OR ^
2/21/2018 Ace Of Spades – Sacramento, CA ^
2/23/2018 House of Blues – Las Vegas, NV ^
2/24/2018 The Marquee – Tempe, AZ ^
2/25/2018 Sunshine Theater – Albuquerque, NM ^
2/27/2018 The Fonda Theatre – Los Angeles, CA ^
^ Dates With Eyehategod
* Dates with Red Fang

CORROSION OF CONFORMITY is:
Pepper Keenan – vocals, guitar
Woodroe Weatherman – guitar
Mike Dean – bass, vocals
Reed Mullin – drums, vocals

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Corrosion of Conformity, “Cast the First Stone”

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Enslaved Post “The River’s Mouth” Video; E out this Week

Posted in Bootleg Theater on October 9th, 2017 by JJ Koczan

enslaved

On Friday, Norway’s Enslaved release their 14th long-player, E (review here), and if that doesn’t sound like an event to you worth marking, you’re going to want to take the five minutes out of your busy day to check out the band’s new video below. Directed as was the prior visualization for album opener “Storm Son” (posted here) that introduced the first public audio from the record by Josh Graham (A Storm of LightBattle of MiceRed SparowesIIVII, art for NeurosisSoundgarden, etc.), the video highlights a dark sense of ritual that fits well alongside the unabashed extremity of “The River’s Mouth” itself, which in directly following the progressively-minded 10-minute “Storm Son” in the tracklisting provides arguably the most fervent straight-ahead drive of the entire release.

I’d hardly call it stripped down, and I think if you listen/watch, you’ll agree with that assessment, but it has fewer twists than a lot of E, and so “The River’s Mouth” seems all the more direct in the delivery of its ideas, sonic as well as thematic. I just reviewed the album — link is in the first sentence if you missed it — and so I’ll spare you going through the whole thing again, but suffice it to say that one of the things that most makes me a fan of this band is their refusal to stop growing as artists. 14 records in, a lot of groups would have long since settled into a standard operating procedure, probably since their third or fourth full-length, and like very few others, that’s never been the case with Enslaved. Each time out, they have something new to say, some natural progression to undertake. It’s not always leaps and bounds, but it’s whatever shifts have manifested themselves naturally and find themselves with a role to play in their sound.

For this I consider Enslaved one of the most respectable bands on the planet, and E is in my eyes and ears a candidate for album of the year. There. I said it.

Note once more the contributions of new keyboardist/vocalist Håkon Vinje in “The River’s Mouth” alongside bassist Grutle Kjellson‘s verses. Dude makes himself right at home.

Much PR wire whatnot and tour dates follow the video.

Enjoy:

Enslaved, “The River’s Mouth” official video

ENSLAVED will finally unleash their new album E and prove that for a band with more than 25 years of history, they are still reinventing themselves. While the 10-minute-long opening track “Storm Son” gave fans a taster of what to expect from the new album, the single “The River’s Mouth” reveals a heavier and more harsh side of the 14th full-length release. Watch the official video for “The River’s Mouth”, which was once again created by Josh Graham (SOUNDGARDEN, NEUROSIS), here: https://youtu.be/Y8HX_vGPCz8

Songwriter and guitarist Ivar explains: “‘The River’s Mouth’ is a quite heavy track, drawing both on our rock roots and of course the foundation of everything awesome: mid-80s, mid-paced Bathory. It also includes some odd space-rock in the choruses and the end part – finally BATHORY and HAWKWIND met. I like the energy of this song a lot – both Cato and new-kid-on-the-chopping-block Håkon is doing such a great job with the psychedelic parts, the chorus and the ending. What a drive! The end sounds like travelling at insane speed through wormholes. The theme here is your relationship with the “future”, as we describe it: The sensation of time moving along is a construction of our brains – physics claims all time to already have been “rolled out”; try wrapping our brains around that one! So the future would be, speaking in tabloid; a piece of land we just haven’t arrived at yet. But it is already here. The song is about acting in tandem with your future self which already arrived at this “future island” – do not sit and wait, make sure you lay the ground for what is to happen in the future, now!”

E will be available in the following formats;

CD digipak
Red Cassette – limited to 300 worldwide
Red with Bone and Grey Splatter – limited to 900 worldwide
BUNDLE: T-shirt + CD Digi + 5 metal pin set + wooden coaster + 11×17 poster

CD Digipak:
1. Storm Son
2. The River’s Mouth
3. Sacred Horse
4. Axis Of The Worlds
5. Feathers Of Eolh
6. Hiindsiight
Bonus Tracks
7. Djupet
8. What Else Is There (Röyksopp Cover)

 

You can now pre-order the physical editions of the album here: http://nuclearblast.com/enslaved-e

Or get the digital version and stream new track “Storm Son” via this link: http://nblast.de/EnslavedDigital

ENSLAVED are set to embark on a headline tour through Europe, with special support acts hand-selected by the band. Be sure to catch them on one of the following dates:

10.11. D Hamburg – Logo (w/ IMPERIUM DEKADENZ & HERETOIR)
11.11. D Berlin – Nuke (w/ IMPERIUM DEKADENZ & HERETOIR)
12.11. D Cologne – Underground (w/ IMPERIUM DEKADENZ & HERETOIR)
13.11. NL Utrecht – Tivoli de Helling
15.11 UK Manchester – o2 Ritz (supporting OPETH)
16.11 UK Glasgow – Barrowlands (supporting OPETH)
17.11. UK Belfast – The Limelight 1 (supporting OPETH)
18.11. IRL Dublin – The Academy (supporting OPETH) *sold out*
19.11. UK Nottingham – Rock City (supporting OPETH)
21.11 UK Bristol – o2 Academy (supporting OPETH)
22.11 UK Birmingham – o2 Institute (supporting OPETH)
24.11. UK London – Islington Assembly Hall (w/ DARKHER & SVALBARD)
25.11. F Paris – Trabendo (w/ LOST IN KIEV & WOLVE)
26.11. B Vosselaar – Biebob
28.11. F Rezé – Barakason (w/ LOST IN KIEV & WOLVE)
29.11. F Lyon – CCO Villeurbanne (w/ LOST IN KIEV & WOLVE)
30.11. I Brescia – Circolo Colony
01.12. CH Pratteln – Z7
02.12. D Frankfurt – Das Bett (w/ ZATOKREV)
03.12. CZ Prague – Chelmnice (w/ ZATOKREV)
16.12. RU Moscow – Volta
17.12. RU St. Petersburg – Club Zal

Get tickets for the German shows here in our shop:
http://www.nuclearblast.de/de/produkte/tickets/indoor/ticket/enslaved-european-tour-2017.html

But before touring Europe, ENSLAVED play two special release shows in their home country Norway, where you can hear the new songs live for the very first time, meet the band at the merch stand and get two unique gig posters for free:

AISA & Time Out Agency presents:
w/ SIBIIR
12.10 N Oslo – Blå
13.10 N Bergen – Garage

26.10. S Stockholm – Close-Up Baten 21
1.-5.02. USA Miami – 70.000 Tons Of Metal

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Enslaved, E: Horses and Water

Posted in Reviews on October 4th, 2017 by JJ Koczan

enslaved e

First of all, no, Enslaved didn’t just title their 14th studio album, E, after the first letter of their name. The letter is a translation/reference to the rune ‘ehwaz’ that appears on the Truls Espedal cover art — looks more like an ‘M,’ but there it is — and among the meanings it holds are ‘partnership,’ ‘collaboration’ and ‘horse.’ It’s a one-letter title and a complete concept thematic on which to base the record. And as it happens, E is the most progressive outing the Bergen, Norway, extreme metallers have yet composed in their 26-year career, offering an expanse of sound and intensity that continues to push ahead of their last full-length, 2015’s In Times (review here), while clarifying production ideas, answering the varied intentions of their first live album, earlier-2017’s Roadburn Live (review here), and — in unquestionably the most major change the band has undergone in at least the last decade — introducing new keyboardist/vocalist Håkon Vinje to the lineup. Vinje worked with Enslaved founding guitarist Ivar Bjørnson and bassist/vocalist Grutle Kjellson (among many others) in the broad-reaching and historically-minded Skuggsjá project, and in joining Enslaved with Bjørnson, Kjellson, guitarist Arve “Ice Dale” Isdal and drummer Cato Bekkevold, he fills the role formerly held by Herbrand Larsen, whose contributions to the band’s overall sound in atmospherics and melodic vocals had only increased in scope since he made his debut on 2004’s landmark Isa LP.

That was six records ago, and in the 13 subsequent years, Enslaved only grew more dynamic as they progressed through 2006’s Ruun, 2008’s Vertebrae, 2010’s Axioma Ethica Odini (review here), 2012’s Riitiir (review here) and the aforementioned In Times, though the latter drew back toward a rawer production feel that E once again pulls outward into a larger sphere, and the soaring, soothing melodies of Vinje‘s vocals from opener “Storm Son” through cuts like “Axis of the Worlds” and closer “Hiindsiight” greatly enhance that impression. That Enslaved would introduce someone new in such a pivotal role feels like a bold enough step to make on a new album — one could hardly hold being tentative on some level against them, given how much Larsen brought to their sound — but they brazenly continue their apparently ceaseless and willful growth as songwriters and performers, and Vinje absolutely shines in the role into which he’s stepped, carrying the penultimate “Feathers of Eolh” (8:06) through ambience the thrust alike as Enslaved gallop with the fury that’s become one of their trademarks and step back to allow vocal harmonies to carry more subdued verses. It is a stunning late-album moment.

And by then, not the first time Enslaved have made the spine shiver. E launches with its longest track (immediate points) in the adventurous 10:54 “Storm Son,” which begins with captured outdoor sounds — birds, a shout, a Viking horn, a whinnying horse — leading to an unfolding of shimmering guitar and emergent push. It is a patient opening and when the verse kicks in, Vinje backs Kjellson‘s telltale rasp to set the stage for an exploration of proggy guitar-led turns and chug past the midpoint, heading toward a forward surge that carries them toward a repeated chorus that doubles as crescendo. The chant-style vocals in back of that hook are a foreshadow of what will become a major element throughout E, and one can’t help but wonder if perhaps Bjørnson is carrying a bit of influence from working with Wardruna‘s Einar Selvik (who also makes a guest appearance here) on Skuggsjá into these tracks, since even second cut “The River’s Mouth” — which is the shortest at 5:12 and an immediate contrast to “Storm Son” as it brings Kjellson to the fore in the verse and instead lets Vinje handle the chorus — seems to have some aspects therefrom at play.

Of course, creative arrangements of vocals, guitars, keys, and other instrumentation, are nothing new for Enslaved, but as “The River’s Mouth” swirls to its apex and the acoustic opening of “Sacred Horse” — a definitive moment of arrival, if brief — there’s a prevalence factor for resonance of mood that’s impossible to ignore. “Sacred Horse” (8:12) kicks into a vicious pummel with some of Bjørnson‘s roaring growls complementing Kjellson in the verse before a spacious-but-classy guitar lead takes hold before the next push, building a tension that continues as Vinje takes an organ solo after the three-minute mark and brings a melodic verse shortly before a break at 4:25 introduces the guitar part that will serve as the rhythmic bed for a thudding march that proves to be a standout moment of E as a whole, Bekkevold introducing the progression on toms before crashing cymbals to get officially underway. Guitars make a neighing sound to recall the ‘ehwaz’ theme, and choral vocals top the nodding groove in one of the record’s most singularly affecting moments. Amid laughter, they bring it back around to a few last measures of furious push to close out, and let “Axis of the Worlds” (7:49) take hold with more immediacy and a rocking feel at the start of side B.

enslaved

As their titles would seem to acknowledge, “Sacred Horse” and “Axis of the Worlds” feel very much like the heart of E in their presentation. I won’t take anything away from the impact of “Storm Son” or “Hiindsiight” at the start or the conclusion, and the direct contrast between “The River’s Mouth” as the second cut and “Feathers of Eolh” as the second-to-last seems nothing if not a purposeful display of range, but with the one-two of “Sacred Horse” and “Axis of the Worlds,” Enslaved provide some of their proggiest stretches and show how they’ve made these elements cohesive with the context of their own, ever-shifting approach. To wit, the organ lines of “Axis of the Worlds,” the chorus hook “Chase the serpent/Step on his tail” delivered in clean and echoing screams, the movement into returning chants amid a section that’s as much black metal as it is still somehow drawing from psychedelic and classic progressive rock, and the way the song seems to resolve itself in making its way back to the chorus at the end, the band clear enough in knowing what they want to do to not even in this moment lose sight of the underlying foundation of structure amid all the raging complexity. Especially after the thundering “Sacred Horse” — and, for that matter, before “Feathers of Eolh” — it gets to the core of what Enslaved accomplish with E, manifesting ideas of duality, complement, collaboration, whether that’s between band members or between the band itself and their craft or the instruments they’re playing.

Begun at a rhythmic rush, “Feathers of Eolh” is peppered with nuance of play and topped by piano sounds and guitar flourish for its proggy intro, kicking at about the minute mark into chant-backed drive and bringing in the aforementioned highlight performance from Vinje on vocals. His voice — clear, confident, powerful, layered — recalls some of what Larsen did melodically, but he brings his own edge to the changes in key as well and one expects he’ll only continue to make the role more his own as Enslaved move forward. “Feathers of Eolh” touches on what might be considered Viking post-rock (stick that in your genre search engine) in a brief interlude before springing forth again for the next verse and turns circa six minutes deep into a head-spinning reinterpretation of the intro that meets with further chanting, double-kick from Bekkevold and piano skronk that builds to a sudden finish, bringing the melodic first-minute intro of “Hiindsiight,” which wraps up E fluidly while still holding a surprise or two of its own.

Namely: saxophone. At 9:36, “Hiindsiight” is the second longest inclusion and thereby bookends E with “Storm Son,” but its structure is decidedly working on another wavelength. Cutting from the intro to about as close to a doomed roll as Enslaved have ever come, before the track is into its third minute, it has turned once again to lush melodies from the guitar and keys, trading back again before introducing what sounds like a tenor sax for an echoing solo prior to the halfway point from which Kjellson‘s vocals pick up like throaty searing and jazz instrumentation just go together all the time and there’s nothing at all unusual about it — it’s brilliantly pulled off — and with airy noodling guitar holding the melody beneath, “Hiindsiight” welcomes Vinje back to the arrangement briefly, but gurgles out at around 5:45 to let the guitar set the stage for the E‘s final stretch: a patiently delivered build of melody, chants, the sax, and a wash that’s unlike anything Enslaved have done before and yet so definitively theirs that it couldn’t possibly have come from anyone else.

It is a suitably glorious ending to an album that does nothing less than begin a new era for the band. I’m writing as a fan, but the bravery with which Enslaved take to the formidable task before them in E only underscores how special this group truly is, and in thinking of the stated them of collaboration, one would be remiss to ignore how pivotal the core founding duo of Bjørnson and Kjellson are, and how much their work together has changed over the years while still holding fast to the creative drive that has been so easy as a listener to take for granted all along. It’s only one letter, but E spreads itself across the consciousness with worldbuilding mastery, and is a work of true vision simply not to be missed. One of 2017’s best and then some. Recommended.

Enslaved, “Storm Son” official video

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