Quarterly Review: Earthless, Satan’s Satyrs, Mantar, Child, T.G. Olson, Canyon, Circle of the Sun, Mythic Sunship, Svarta Stugan, Bast

Posted in Reviews on December 6th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

quarterly-review

There isn’t enough coffee in the universe, but I’ve got mine and I’m ready to burn the living crap out of my tongue if that’s what it takes to get through. We’ve arrived at Day 4 of the Quarterly Review, and though we’re less than halfway to the 100-album goal set by some maniac sitting at his kitchen table with a now-burnt tongue, there’s been an awful lot of good stuff so far. More even than I thought going into it, and I slate this stuff.

That said, today’s list is pretty killer. A lot of these bands will be more familiar than maybe has been the case or will be on some of the other days of this Quarterly Review. It just kind of worked out that way as I was putting it together. But hey, a few bigger bands here, a few “debut EP” demos there. It’s all good fun.

So let’s go.

Quarterly Review #31-40:

Earthless, From the West

earthless from the west

Bonus points to whatever clever cat correctly decided that Earthless‘ 2018 studio album, Black Heaven (review here), needed a companion live record. With artwork mimicking a Led Zeppelin bootleg of the same name, From the West arrives through Silver Current and Nuclear Blast capturing the most powerful of power trios earlier this year in San Francisco, and it’s like the fire emoji came to life. With Mike Eginton‘s bass as the anchor and Mario Rubalcaba‘s drums as the driving force, guitarist Isaiah Mitchell starts ripping holes in the fabric of spacetime with “Black Heaven” and doesn’t stop until 64 minutes later as “Acid Crusher” dissolves into noise. Of course “Gifted by the Wind” from the latest LP is a highlight, and suitably enough, they cover Zeppelin‘s “Communication Breakdown,” but I’m not sure anything tops the extended take on “Uluru Rock” from 2013’s From the Ages (review here) — and yes, I mean that. Of course they pair it with the 1:48 surge of “Volt Rush,” because they’re Earthless, and brilliant is what they do. Every set they play should be recorded for posterity.

Earthless website

Silver Current Records on Bandcamp

Earthless at Nuclear Blast webstore

 

Satan’s Satyrs, The Lucky Ones

satans satyrs the lucky ones

Encased in cover art that begs the Spinal Tap question, “what’s wrong with being sexy?” and the response that Fran Drescher gave it, Virginia classic heavy rockers Satan’s Satyrs return with their fourth full-length, The Lucky Ones (on RidingEasy and Bad Omen), which also marks their first record as a four-piece with guitarist Nate Towle (Wicked Inquisition) joining the returning lineup of bassist/vocalist Clayton Burgess, guitarist Jared Nettnin and drummer Stephen Fairfield, who, between the fact that Burgess founded the band and played in Electric Wizard, and all the lead guitar antics from Nettnin and Towle, might be the unsung hero of the band. His performance is not lost in the recording by Windhand‘s Garrett Morris or Burgess‘ own hefty mix, and as one would expect, Satan’s Satyrs continue to deliver deceptively refined ’70s-heavy vibes caked in cult biker horror aesthetics. Some songs hit more than others, but Satan’s Satyrs‘ dust-kicking approach continues to win converts.

Satan’s Satyrs on Thee Facebooks

RidingEasy Records on Bandcamp

Bad Omen Records on Bandcamp

 

Mantar, The Modern Art of Setting Ablaze

mantar the modern art of setting ablaze

One generally thinks of Hamburg duo Mantar as having all the subtlety of a bone saw caught on video, and yet, in listening to “Seek + Forget” from their third album, The Modern Art of Setting Ablaze (on Nuclear Blast), there are some elements that seem to be reaching out on the part of the band. Guitarist Hanno‘s vocals are more enunciated and discernible, there is a short break from the all-out blackened-sludge-punk assault that’s been their trade since their start in 2012, and “Obey the Obscene” even has an organ. Still, the bulk of the 12-track/48-minute follow-up to 2016’s Ode to the Flame (review here) is given to extremity of purpose and execution, and in pieces like the churning “Anti Eternia” and the particularly-punked “Teeth of the Sea,” they work to refine their always-present threat of violence. Closer “The Funeral” brings back some of the quiet moodiness of intro “The Knowing” and underscores the point of sonic expansion. I hope next time they use a string section.

Mantar on Thee Facebooks

Nuclear Blast website

 

Child, I

child i

It took me a few minutes to get to the heart of what my problem with Child‘s I EP is. Really, I was sitting and listening to “Age Has Left Me Behind” — the first of the three included tracks on the 20-ish-minute 12″ — and I had to ask myself, “Why is this annoying me?” The answer? Because it’s not an album. That’s it. It’s not enough. Kudos to the Melbourne, Australia, heavy blues trio on having that be the biggest concern with their latest release — it follows 2016’s righteously-grooved Blueside (review here) — and kudos to them as well for their cover of Spirit‘s “The Other Song,” but of course it’s the 10-minute jam “Going Down Swinging” on side B that’s the immersive highlight of I, as Child‘s balance of softshoe-boogie and expansive mellow-psych is second to none in their subgenre. It’s not an album, and that’s kind of sad, but as a tide-ya-over until the next long-player arrives, I still does the trick nice and easy. And not to get greedy, but I’d take a II (or would it be You?) whenever they get around to it.

Child on Thee Facebooks

Kozmik Artifactz website

 

T.G. Olson, Wasatch Valley Lady & The Man from Table Mountain

tg olson wasatch valley lady and the man from table mountain

Across Tundras frontman T.G. Olson, who by now has well lapped that band’s output with his solo catalog, would seem to have sat down with his guitar sometime in the last week and put two songs to tape. The resulting 10-minute offering is Wasatch Valley Lady & The Man from Table Mountain, its component title-tracks stripping down some of the more elaborate arrangements he’s explored of late — his latest full-length, Riding Roughshod (review pending; it’s hard to keep up), came out in October — to expose the barebones construction at root in his Rocky Mountain country folk style. “Wasatch Valley Lady” and “The Man from Table Mountain” make an engaging couple, and while Olson has a host of videos on YouTube that are similarly just him and his acoustic, something about the audio-only recordings feel like a voice out of time reaching for human connection. The first seems to have a natural fade, and the second a more prominent rhythm showcased in harder strum, but both are sweet melodies evocative as ever of open landscapes and wistful experience.

Across Tundras on Thee Facebooks

T.G. Olson/Across Tundras on Bandcamp

 

Canyon, Mk II

canyon mk ii

The Deep Purple-referential Mk II title of Canyon‘s second EP, also the follow-up to their 2017 debut LP, Radiant Light, refers to the lineup change that’s seen Dean Welsh move to drums so that he and guitarist Peter Stanko can welcome bassist/vocalist Fred Frederick to the fold. The three included songs, the hooky “Mine Your Heart,” expansively fuzzed “Morphine Dreams” and bouncing “Roam” make a hell of a first offering from the reconstituted trio, who capture classic heavy naturalism in a chemistry between players that’s mirrored in the songwriting itself. Canyon‘s 2016 self-titled debut EP (review here) held marked promise, and even after the full-length, that promise would seem to be coming to fruition here. Their tones and craft are both right on, and there’s still some gelling to do between the three of them, but they leave no doubt with Mk II that this incarnation of Canyon can get there. And, if they keep up like this, get there quickly.

Canyon on Thee Facebooks

Canyon on Bandcamp

 

Circle of the Sun, Jams of Inner Perception

Circle of the Sun Jams of Inner Perception

One man jams! Psych-jam seekers will recognize Daniel Sax as the drummer for Berlin-based trio Cosmic Fall. Circle of the Sun is a solo-project from Sax and Jams of Inner Perception collects six tracks for 39 minutes of adventuring on his own. Sax sets his own backbeat and layers bass and “effectsbass” for a full-lineup feel amid the instrumental creations, and those looking to be hypnotized by the space-rocking jams will be. Flat out. Sax is no stranger to jamming, and as one soaks in “Jamming in Paradise” or its nine-minute predecessor “Liquid Sand,” there’s little mistaking his intention. Curious timing that Circle of the Sun would take shape following a lineup change in Cosmic Fall — perhaps it was put together in the interim? — but whether Jams of Inner Perception is a one-off of the beginning of a new avenue for Sax, its turn to blues noodling on “Desert Sun,” thick-toned “Moongroove” and fuzzy roll on “Acid Dream” demonstrate there are plenty of outer realms still to explore.

Circle of the Sun on Thee Facebooks

Circle of the Sun on Bandcamp

 

Mythic Sunship, Another Shape of Psychedelic Music

Mythic Sunship Another Shape of Psychedelic Music

The simplest way to put it is that Mythic Sunship‘s Another Shape of Psychedelic Music lives up to the lofty ambitions of its title. The Danish band is comprised of guitarists Kasper Stougaard Andersen and Emil Thorenfeldt, bassist Rasmus ‘Cleaver’ Christensen, drummer Frederik Denning and saxophonist Søren Skov, and with Causa Sui‘s Jonas Munk — who also produced the album — sitting in on the extended “Backyard Voodoo” (17:41) and “Out There” (13:53) as well as overseeing the release through El Paraiso, the band indeed makes there way into the far out reaches where jazz and psychedelia meet. It’s not about pretentiously saying they’re doing something that’s never been done. You’ll note it’s “another shape” and not a “new shape” or the “shape to come.” But immersion happens quickly on opener “Resolution” (14:23), and even quicker cuts like “Last Exit,” “Way Ahead” and “Elevation” carry the compelling spirit of forward-thinking creativity through their dynamic course, and if Mythic Sunship aren’t the shape of psychedelic music to come, it’s in no small part because there are so few out there who could hope to match what they do.

Mythic Sunship on Thee Facebooks

El Paraiso Records website

 

Svarta Stugan, Islands / Öar

svarta stugan islands oar

Islands / Öar — the second word being the Swedish translation of the first — is the 40-minute debut full-length from Gothenburg atmospheric heavy post-rock instrumentalists Svarta Stugan, who demonstrate in influence from Hex-era Earth on the opener “Islands III” but go on in subsequent tracks to pull together a sound distinct in its cinematic feel and moody execution. Five out of the seven component tracks are “Islands” pieces, which are presented out of order with “Islands IV” missing and “Islands Unknown” perhaps in its place, and the respective side A/B finales “Inner Space” and “Prospects Quatsi” standing apart. Both bring to bear a style ultimately consistent with the melancholy so rife throughout Islands / Öar as a whole, but they’re obviously intended as outliers, and so they seem to be. The LP release follows a couple shorter outings, issued over the past six-plus years, and it’s clear from the depths and range on display here in the build-to-crescendo of “Inner Space” alone that Svarta Stugan haven’t misspent their time in their progression to this point.

Svarta Stugan on Thee Facebooks

Svarta Stugan on Bandcamp

 

Bast, Nanoångström

bast nanoangstrom

Largesse of scope and largesse of tone work in tandem on Bast‘s Nanoångström full-length on Black Bow, as they bring together aspects of post-metallic churn and more extreme metal methods to hone a style highly individualized, highly weighted and as much cosmic as it is crushing. Through six tracks and 57 minutes, the London trio (plus two guest spots from Chris Naughton of Winterfylleth) careen and crash and set an atmosphere of chaos without actually being chaotic, their progressive craft working to tie the songs together into a larger impression of the work as a consuming entirety. It’s the kind of record you pick up and still hear new things in by the time they put out their next one. Production from Chris Fielding at Skyhammer Studio only helps creates the heights and depths of their dynamic, and whether they’re rolling out the severity of closer “The Ghosts Which Haunt the Space Between the Stars” or laying out the soundscape of “The Beckoning Void,” Bast shape the tenets of genre to suit their needs rather than try to work within the barriers of any particular style. Nanoångström is all the more complex and satisfying for their efforts in that regard.

Bast on Thee Facebooks

Black Bow Records webstore

 

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Earthless to Release From the West Live Album

Posted in Whathaveyou on September 12th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

Presenting the biggest no-brainer of your day. On Sept. 28, Silver Current Records will issue the vinyl edition of a new live album from Earthless titled From the West. Nuclear Blast will follow-up with the CD and digital version on Oct. 19. The set was recorded in March as Earthless set to work heralding their already-a-landmark 2018 full-length, Black Heaven (review here), and as you can see in the tour dates below, that work continues. It’s pretty much been the theme of Earthless‘ year, much to the benefit of humanity in general.

If you need me to tell you to pick up a live Earthless record, you’ve either already decided you’re not into Earthless — which is fair, nothing’s universal — or you’ve already placed your preorder and you’re just like, “Dude, shut up, I know.” Also fair. Either way, here’s the info for it, because one likes to stay informed:

earthless from the west

On the eve of the release of ‘Black Heaven,’ their debut for Nuclear Blast Records, Earthless turned in this incredible live performance in San Francisco on March 1st 2018, captured and released on vinyl by Silver Current Records on September 28th. (On CD & Digital by Nuclear Blast Records.)

Since their inception seventeen years ago Earthless has become an icon of 21st century heavy music and a cult unto themselves. They’ve toured across the world and rightfully become known as an unparalleled live experience.

On ‘From the West’ the bands signature high-volume drive and unbridled horsepower create an almost mantra-like repetition as a framework for infinite improvisation. That, and beer-can crushing, fist-pumping riffs and solos delivered by an unstoppable rhythm section.

‘From the West’ is a complete, hypnotic, psychedelic experience in a way that remains totally unique to the band’s virtuosic expression. A live album that captures Earthless at peak powers and a quintessential fan piece from one of the best live rock bands in the world.

Album tracks includes looser, rawer versions of ‘Black Heaven’ favorites, a nearly 20 minute version of their instrumental titan ‘Uluru Rock’ and a blazing cover of Led Zeppelin’s ‘Communication Breakdown.’

The jacket is a meticulous reproduction of the band’s favorite TMOQ Zeppelin bootleg.
Recorded March 1, 2018.
Recorded by Jon Hart.
Mixed and mastered by Tim Green.

Tracklist:
1. Black Heaven 10:50
2. Electric Flame 8:46
3. Gifted by the Wind 6:04
4. Uluru Rock 19:26
5. Volt Rush 1:47
6. Communication Breakdown 4:16
7. Acid Crusher 13:42

EARTHLESS live:
09/25/18 Eugene, OR – Old Nick’s Pub
09/26/18 Seattle, WA – Chop Suey
09/27/18 Portland, OR – Dante’s
09/28/18 Boise, ID – Neurolux
09/29/18 Salt Lake City, UT – CRUCIAL FEST
09/30/18 Denver, CO – Marquis Theatre
10/02/18 Minneapolis, MN – Lee’s Liquor Lounge
10/03/18 Winnipeg, MB – Park Theatre
10/05/18 Saskatoon, SK – Amigos Cantina
10/06/18 Edmonton, AB – UP & DOWNTOWN MUSIC FESTIVAL
10/07/18 Calgary, AB – Dickens Pub
10/09/18 Victoria, BC – The Copper Owl
10/10/18 Vancouver, BC – Rickshaw Theatre
10/12/18 Oakland, CA – Starline Social Club
10/13/18 Long Beach, CA – Alex’s Bar
10/14/18 Desert Daze – DESERT DAZE

Earthless is:
Bass: Mike Eginton
Drums: Mario Rubalcaba
Guitar & Vocals: Isaiah Mitchell

https://www.facebook.com/earthlessrips
www.twitter.com/earthlessrips
www.instagram.com/earthlessrips
https://www.facebook.com/nuclearblastusa
https://twitter.com/nuclearblastusa
http://shop.nuclearblast.com/en/shop/index.html
https://silvercurrent.bandcamp.com/
http://www.silvercurrentrecords.com/

Earthless, “Electric Flame”

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The Vintage Caravan Post New Single “Reflections” from Gateways; Preorders Available

Posted in Whathaveyou on July 5th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

I haven’t heard the new album from The Vintage Caravan yet, which is kind of a bummer, but they’ve got a new track for all to check out. Preorders are up for the third album from the Icelandic heavy rockers, which is called Gateways and due out at the end of next month on Nuclear Blast, and accordingly, the three-piece have released the track “Reflections” to give a sample of what the record is all about. From here, it sounds like it’s about hooks, uptempo classic heavy rock swing, and a timeless approach to riff-led fare that the band has been making their own since the start. I know Nuclear Blast has some pretty heavy hitters in their lineup, what with the Graveyard and the Kadavar and the whatnot, but The Vintage Caravan are by no means to be lost in the shuffle when it comes to quality of output or effort put in supporting their stuff. As you’ll see in the list of tour dates below.

Also, check out the fucking song at the bottom of this post. It’s a good ‘un.

Blah blah blah PR wire:

the vintage caravan gateways

THE VINTAGE CARAVAN – new single + track listing + album pre-order

Icelandic classic rock trio THE VINTAGE CARAVAN are back! Featuring 10 new stirring tracks, their highly-anticipated 4th studio album Gateways, will be released on August 31st, 2018 through Nuclear Blast. Today, the band can finally present a first taster of their upcoming record in the form of the first single, ‘Reflections’.

Guitarist/vocalist Óskar Logi comments, “We are so pleased to finally give you guys the first taste of Gateways. The track is a powerful one, heavy and melodic. The song came quickly together in the songwriting process but we spent a lot of time during the mixing and mastering to get the song (and the entire album) sounding as good as possible. We are super proud and we hope you’ll enjoy ‘Reflections’!”

Gateways can now be pre-ordered in various formats, here: http://nblast.de/VintageCaravanGateways
Download or stream the new song ‘Reflections’ here: http://nblast.de/TVCReflections
Pre-save the album via Spotify: http://nblast.de/TheVintageCaravanPreSa
Listen to the track in the NB Novelties Playlist: https://open.spotify.com/user/nuclearblastrecords/playlist/6aw9wiedFzzhJiI96DhNhw

Gateways will be available in the following formats:
– DIGI
– 2LP (black, white)
– DIGITAL

Gateways track listing:
01. Set Your Sights
02. The Way
03. Reflections
04. On The Run
05. All This Time
06. Hidden Streams
07. Reset
08. Nebula
09. Farewell
10. Tune Out
Bonus Track (DIGI and 2LP only!)
11. The Chain (FLEETWOOD MAC Cover)

The band commented on their upcoming record, “We are very proud to present our new album, Gateways! Recorded in the legendary Sundlaugin Studios in Iceland (owned by Sigur Rós). Produced by Ian Davenport (BAND OF SKULLS, GAZ COOMBES). Overall we think this album feels more mature than the previous ones. We really pushed ourselves to make this album sound as great as possible. I won’t name any names but some people have been heard saying this is the greatest thing since sliced bread. We can’t wait for you all to hear it/taste it.”

The band will be touring extensively in support of their new album. Recently, Spanish dates have been added to the itinerary. All dates are below.

THE VINTAGE CARAVAN live:
11.07. IS Neskaupstaður – Eistnaflug (Performing »Voyage« in its entirety)
12.07. IS Neskaupstaður – Eistnaflug
28.07. D Neuensee – Rock im Wald
04.08. E Gijón – Tsunami Xixón

»2018 Gateways Tour«
w/ supports
13.10. NL Hengelo – Beerland
15.10. D Hamburg – Molotow
16.10. D Berlin – Lido
17.10. PL Warsaw – Hydrozagadka
18.10. PL Pozna? – Pod Minog?
19.10. A Vienna – Arena
20.10. D Kempten – Rock The Box
22.10. D Leipzig – Moritzbastei
23.10. D Munich – Strom
24.10. D Karlsruhe – Substage
25.10. D Cologne – Luxor
26.10. F Paris – Backstage
27.10. F Rennes – Garmonbozia
30.10. E Bilbao – Santana 27 *NEW*
31.10. E Madrid – Nazca Club *NEW*
01.11. E Barcelona – Sala Bóveda *NEW*
08.11. UK Nottingham – Rescue Rooms
09.11. UK Camp HRH – Hard Rock Hell
10.11. UK London – The Borderline
12.11. UK Glasgow – King Tut’s Wah Wah Hut
13.11. UK Manchester – Rebellion
14.11. UK Bristol – Exchange
16.11. B Brussels – Ancienne Belgique

w/ FLYNOTES
01.12. RUS St. Petersburg – Mod
02.12. RUS Moscow – Zil Arena

Tickets: www.thevintagecaravan.eu/tour

THE VINTAGE CARAVAN is:
Óskar Logi | guitars, vocals
Alexander Örn | bass, backing vocals
Stefán Ari | drums, backing vocals

https://www.facebook.com/vintagecaravan
https://www.instagram.com/thevintagecaravan/
https://twitter.com/_vintagecaravan
http://www.thevintagecaravan.eu/
https://www.facebook.com/nuclearblastusa
https://twitter.com/nuclearblastusa
http://shop.nuclearblast.com/en/shop/index.html

The Vintage Caravan, “Gateways”

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Mantar Set Aug. 24 Release for The Modern Art of Setting Ablaze

Posted in Whathaveyou on June 14th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

http://theobelisk.net/obelisk/wp-content/uploads/2016/02/mantar.jpg

German noise/onslaught duo Mantar have announced an Aug. 24 release for their new album, The Modern Art of Setting Ablaze. Set to arrive in the middle of the band playing what seems to be every single festival in Europe, the on-theme-titled third Mantar record will be the follow-up to 2016’s Ode to the Flame (review here) and 2015’s Death by Burning (review here) and finds them more acclaimed than ever for their brutal and scathing attack. Think they’ve gone soft this time? Yeah, me neither. So what’s the question here? How is new Mantar not a given? Oh wait, it is. Okay.

One assumes more tour dates to come, but as you can see below, there are already plenty on deck.

From the PR wire:

mantar the modern art of setting ablaze

MANTAR Announces Details Regarding New Album, “The Modern Art of Setting Ablaze”

New Album Out August 24, 2018 via Nuclear Blast
More Information + Pre-Orders Coming Soon

Monstrous black/doom/punk chimera MANTAR have announced details regarding their upcoming third studio album. The band’s new album, The Modern Art Of Setting Ablaze, will include 12 songs and is set to be unleashed on August 24, 2018 via Nuclear Blast.

The Modern Art Of Setting Ablaze is a title in-keeping with MANTAR’s symbolic obsession with fire on albums previous; this time disavowing mankind’s tendency to blindly follow those that would lead us into oblivion. This isn’t necessarily a political statement; but rather a morbid fascination with current smoldering tensions that threaten to set the minds of the masses on fire.

Stay tuned for more information coming soon regarding the release of The Modern Art Of Setting Ablaze.

MANTAR is currently on the road, playing select club shows as well as Europe’s biggest festivals. See dates below.

MANTAR Tour Dates:
Cold Summer 2018
07.06.2018 Greenfield Festival Interlaken Switzerland
08.06.2018 Chronical Moshers Open Air Hauptmannsgrün Germany
09.06.2018 Scheune Dresden Germany
16.06.2018 Download Paris Brétigny-sur-Orge France
17.06.2018 Alter Schlachthof Lingen Germany
22.06.2018 Tons of Rock Halden Norway
23.06.2018 Umbaubar, Oldenburg Germany
24.06.2018 Graspop Dessel Belgium
29.06.2018 Tuska Open Air Helsinki Finland
01.07.2018 Fusion Festival Lärz Germany
11.07.2018 Eistnaflug Neskaupstaður Iceland
13.07.2018 Eulenglück Braunschweig Germany
14.07.2018 Dong Open Air Neukirchen-Vluyn Germany
27.07.2018 Metaldays Tolmin Slovenia
03.08.2018 Wacken Open Air Wacken Germany
05.08.2018 Sylak Open Air Saint-Maurice-de-Gourdans France
10.08.2018 Sonic Blast Moledo Moledo Portugal
12.08.2018 Bloodstock Derbyshire England
24.08.2018 Kulturkombinat Bunker Rostock Germany !!!NEW!!!
25.08.2018 Reload Festival Sulingen Germany

www.mantarband.com
www.facebook.com/mantarband
www.nuclearblast.de/mantar

Mantar, new album teaser

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The Vintage Caravan Confirm Aug. 31 Release Date for Gateways

Posted in Whathaveyou on June 5th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

the vintage caravan

Three years in the making, the third full-length from Icelandic classic heavy rockers The Vintage Caravan arrives following a busy time of touring, pushing their sound forward with each new stop, city, country, etc. And like its two predecessors, 2015’s Arrival (review here) and their 2012 debut, Voyage — which unless I’m remembering wrong was comprised of two earlier EPs — its title gives a sense of motion and travel from one place to another. That running theme hardly seems like an accident for a young band who both groove so voraciously and are on the road so steadily, and as you can see below, in addition to a few summer fests, The Vintage Caravan also have dates in Germany, the UK and Russia to support the new album after it’s out. One expects more touring announcements to follow.

As well as videos, promo audio and so on. Very interested to hear what they come up with this time around. I wouldn’t at all be surprised if, with all the experience of the last three years behind them, they really put together something special. The potential’s been there all along. Keep an eye out and I’ll do the same.

From the PR wire:

the vintage caravan gateways

THE VINTAGE CARAVAN To Release New Studio Album Gateways On August 31, 2018!

Their very first, 2-month European headline tour, a Latin American headline tour, 2 UK headline tours, supporting the legendary EUROPE in the European mainland & Scandinavia, performing at 60+ festivals… The time after the release of THE VINTAGE CARAVAN’s latest studio album Arrival in May 2015 was full of highlights. But during the last year, the Icelandic classic rock trio had retired and focussed on writing and recording their 4th studio album entitled Gateways. Now it’s a wrap and will see the light of day on August 31st, 2018 through Nuclear Blast.

The band comments, “We are very proud to present our new album, Gateways! Recorded in the legendary Sundlaugin Studios in Iceland (owned by Sigur Rós). Produced by Ian Davenport (BAND OF SKULLS, GAZ COOMBES). Overall, we think this album feels more mature than the previous ones. We really pushed ourselves to make this album sound as great as possible. I won’t name any names but some people have been heard saying this is the greatest thing since sliced bread. We can’t wait for you all to hear it/taste it.”

Stay tuned for further information!

THE VINTAGE CARAVAN live:
23.06. B Dessel – Graspop Metal Meeting
11. – 14.07. IS Neskaupstaður – Eistnaflug
28.07. D Neuensee – Rock im Wald
04.08. E Gijón – Tsunami Xixón

Gateways Tour 2018
w/ special guests
15.10. D Hamburg – Molotow
16.10. D Berlin – Lido
20.10. D Kempten – Rock The Box
22.10. D Leipzig – Moritzbastei
23.10. D Munich – Strom
24.10. D Karlsruhe – Substage
25.10. D Cologne – Luxor

08.11. UK Camp HRH – Hard Rock Hell

w/ FLYNOTES
01.12. RUS St. Petersburg – Mod
02.12. RUS Moscow – Zil Arena

Tickets: www.thevintagecaravan.eu/tour

More dates in other countries to be added soon…!

THE VINTAGE CARAVAN is:
Óskar Logi | guitars, vocals
Alexander Örn | bass, backing vocals
Stefán Ari | drums, backing vocals

https://www.facebook.com/vintagecaravan
https://www.instagram.com/thevintagecaravan/
https://twitter.com/_vintagecaravan
http://www.thevintagecaravan.eu/
https://www.facebook.com/nuclearblastusa
https://twitter.com/nuclearblastusa
http://shop.nuclearblast.com/en/shop/index.html

The Vintage Caravan, “Babylon” official video

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Mantar on Tour Now; New Album Announced

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

Severity has always had a big role to play in Mantar‘s game, but jeez, these are some serious-as-hell fests they’re playing. Rock am Ring? Download Paris? Tuska Open Air, Wacken, SonicBlast Moledo and Bloodstock? I mean, I knew the German duo were popular, but I guess I didn’t know they were like “let’s go play all the fests in front of tens of thousands of people” popular.

Score one for the extreme. I wonder how long it’ll be before someone comes up with a proper subgenre name for the style Mantar play, drawing from black metal, thrash, hardcore punk and doom. Doomthrash? Charredcore? Whatever the tag, they’ve just announced intentions to release a follow-up to 2016’s Ode to the Flame (review here) via Nuclear Blast later this year, and while they don’t give out much info on the particulars of the whats, whens, what’s-it-calleds, etc., one can only assume that’s because they’re so otherwise busy on the already-underway slew of tour dates that follow here courtesy of the PR wire:

http://theobelisk.net/obelisk/wp-content/uploads/2016/02/mantar.jpg

MANTAR – new album coming soon

Monstrous black/doom/punk chimera MANTAR kicked off their summer run, dubbed “Cold Summer 2018”, last Friday at Rock im Park. See dates below.

MANTAR
Cold Summer 2018
01.06.2018 Rock im Park Nürnberg Germany
02.06.2018 Fortarock Nijmegen Netherlands
03.06.2018 Rock am Ring Nürburg Germany
05.06.2018 Kulturkneipe Walfisch Freiburg Germany
06.06.2018 Kulturladen Konstanz Germany
07.06.2018 Greenfield Festival Interlaken Switzerland
08.06.2018 Chronical Moshers Open Air Hauptmannsgrün Germany
09.06.2018 Scheune Dresden Germany
16.06.2018 Download Paris Brétigny-sur-Orge France
17.06.2018 Alter Schlachthof Lingen Germany
22.06.2018 Tons of Rock Halden Norway
23.06.2018 Umbaubar, Oldenburg Germany
24.06.2018 Graspop Dessel Belgium
29.06.2018 Tuska Open Air Helsinki Finland
01.07.2018 Fusion Festival Lärz Germany
11.07.2018 Eistnaflug Neskaupstaður Iceland
13.07.2018 Eulenglück Braunschweig Germany
14.07.2018 Dong Open Air Neukirchen-Vluyn Germany
27.07.2018 Metaldays Tolmin Slovenia
03.08.2018 Wacken Open Air Wacken Germany
05.08.2018 Sylak Open Air Saint-Maurice-de-Gourdans France
10.08.2018 Sonic Blast Moledo Moledo Portugal
12.08.2018 Bloodstock Derbyshire England
25.08.2018 Reload Festival Sulingen Germany

www.mantarband.com
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www.nuclearblast.de/mantar

Mantar, new album teaser

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Kadavar Post “Tribulation Nation” Video; Tour with Mantar & Death Alley Starts Tomorrow

Posted in Bootleg Theater on October 11th, 2017 by JJ Koczan

kadavar

I admit I’m a little behind in posting the latest video from Berlin-based heavy rock magnates Kadavar. Do you think anyone noticed? Nah. The band’s been too busy reaping rightful praise for their just-issued stunner of a fourth album, Rough Times (review here), which follows the modernization of vibe that took place on 2015’s Berlin (review here) with a darker-overall sense of mood driven, no doubt at least in part, by the woes engendered across the sphere of current events. At least that’s the impression a track like “Tribulation Nation” gives, anyhow.

Ever mindful of their audience, Kadavar don’t necessarily pass outward judgment in the song, however, and the spirit of the track is more one of coming to terms with, attempting to understand the world than trying to critique or correct something so very screwed up about it. I try to keep it out of posts on this site — because, well, why make yourself mad if you don’t have to? — but I’m a pretty politically-minded guy and I think if you hang around here long enough you can get a sense of where my sensibilities lie in that realm if you want one, and I can’t help but wonder if part of the reason Kadavar don’t push their level of criticism farther is because of the generalized feeling of hopelessness of the progression of the world’s situation. What’s to be done? If there was going to be an answer, is it so unreasonable to think someone would’ve stumbled on it by now?

The three-piece hit the road tomorrow to start the touring cycle proper for Rough Times, which if past is prologue will likely keep them on the road through the end of 2018 and then some — they kind of go, go, go perpetually — and they go in the company of Mantar and the revamped lineup of Death Alley. Maybe that’s the answer. You just keep going. Because that’s all you can do is move forward. Hit the road. Take care of yours and try not to be a dick to everyone else. I don’t know if that’s the message here or not, but as takeaways go, at least it’s not “make riffs great again.”

Video and tour dates follow, as well as more info from the PR wire.

Enjoy:

Kadavar, “Tribulation Nation” official video

kadavar tour dates

Arguably the hardest working band in the current European rock scene, Kadavar made their entrance in 2010 with a vintage, retro style of heavy rock ‘n’ roll that called for comparisons to greats like Black Sabbath and Led Zeppelin. The band quickly stood out amongst their peers with straightforward, no frills approach to their signature brand of rock that features classic song structure with a gritty contemporary edge.

Kadavar’s previous record, Berlin, set the scene ablaze, charting in both Germany and the U.S., and made them a household name among rock fans around the world. Now armed with their follow-up, Rough Times, the band seeks to reclaim their title as one of the best rock has to offer.

Guitarist/singer Lupus comments: “The album is finally out and we’re really happy. Last week, we quickly recorded a video for ‘Tribulation Nation’ in the studio. I think this song underlines how complex our new record is. Thanks to everyone for the support.”

KADAVAR w/ MANTAR, DEATH ALLEY
12.10. D Essen – Zeche Carl
13.10. D Hamburg – Markthalle*
14.10. D Leipzig – Conne Island
15.10. B Antwerp – Desert Fest
17.10. F Strasbourg – La Laiterie Club
18.10. F Paris – Le Trabendo
19.10. F Rennes – L’Ubu
20.10. F Bordeaux – La Krakatoa
21.10. E Madrid – But
22.10. E Barcelona – Bikini
24.10. F Lyon – Feyzin
25.10. CH Monthey – Pont Rouge
26.10. CH Aarau – Kiff
27.10. D Munich – Backstage
28.10. A Vienna – Flex
29.10. A Graz – PPC
30.10. HR Zagreb – Mocvara
01.11. H Budapest – A38
02.11. PL Warsaw – Progresja
03.11. PL Krakow – Kwadrat
04.11. CZ Prague – Nová Chmelnice
05.11. D Nuremberg – Hirsch
07.11. NL Amsterdam – Paradiso Noord
08.11. D Hanover – Capitol
09.11. DK Copenhagen – Pumpehuset
10.11. S Stockholm – Debaser
11.11. N Oslo – Bla
12.11. S Gothenburg – Pustervik
13.11. NL Deventer – Burgerweeshuis
15.11. D Cologne – Bürgerhaus Stollwerck
16.11. D Wiesbaden – Schlachthof
17.11. D Stuttgart – LKA Longhorn
18.11. D Berlin – Columbiahalle
*no MANTAR

KADAVAR live:
20.12. D Bremen – Tower
21.12. D Mannheim – Alte Feuerwache
22.12. D Münster – Sputnikhalle
28.12. D Chemnitz – AJZ Talschock
29.12. D Siegen – Vortex

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Kadavar, Rough Times: To Chronicle

Posted in Reviews on September 6th, 2017 by JJ Koczan

kadavar rough times

It feels like every time Kadavar release a new album, it’s a crucial moment for the band. On some level, this has to be because the standard of quality they’ve set for their work continues to seem impossible to maintain over the longer-term. Not that they haven’t earned respect as a special group in more than just their haircuts and fashion sense through their songwriting, constant touring, and three full-lengths to-date —  2015’s Berlin (review here), 2013’s Abra Kadavar (review here) and 2012’s self-titled debut (discussed here) — just that the echelon of craft at which they’ve worked for the last half-decade is exceedingly rare and even more rarely maintained over a stretch of years and releases. Yet, with the arrival of their fourth long-player and third for Nuclear BlastRough Times, one doesn’t at all anticipate the three-piece of guitarist/vocalist Christoph “Lupus” Lindemann, drummer Christoph “Tiger” Bartelt and bassist Simon “Dragon” Bouteloup will fail to meet the expectations of their massive fanbase.

Indeed, if Berlin proved anything at all about the band’s sound in the clearer, more modern, less vintage-minded production approach it brought forth, it’s that Kadavar‘s sonic and aesthetic reach is even greater than anyone could’ve anticipated from the warm, ’70s-fueled sounds of their earliest work. Rough Times, with 10 songs and 44 minutes divided over two distinct LP sides, is no less brazen in pushing even further. Side A cuts like “Into the Wormhole” (video posted here) and “Skeleton Blues” turn the crispness of Berlin on its head with the outright heaviest low end the band has ever conjured and a gnarled-out fuzz in the guitar — see “Into the Wormhole” after about 2:45 especially — that maintains the modernity of the preceding offering and most importantly, the memorable songwriting Kadavar have proffered all along, but is nonetheless immediately distinguished from the rest of their work in intention and execution. They’re a big enough band at this point that opinions on anything they do will be divided, but in listening to Rough Times, the band make their mission clear and accomplish it with poise and purpose alike. If you were anxious, rest easy. Kadavar have done it again.

About that mission, though. The chief clue would seem to be right there in the title Rough Times. Through the initial tumbling chaos of the opening title-track, the key-laced weirdness of “Into the Wormhole,” the “fake news” reference in the nod-stomp of “Skeleton Blues” and even the later drift of “The Lost Child,” Kadavar seek to capture something essential about the moment in which we live. As an American hearing songs like “Skeleton Blues” and the thrust-laden urgency of side B opener “Tribulation Nation,” my mind immediately turns to politics, and for Germans whose home country has been called the last and best hope for stewardship of the European Union, the case may or may not be the same, but Rough Times avoids direct engagement with the issues of the day in favor of a more general impression of the confusion and pessimism engendered thereby.

That’s not to say there’s no hope, which one readily finds in the penultimate romance of “You Found the Best in Me” — though it’s only fair to be skeptical of sentiment coming from Kadavar after “Pale Blue Eyes” (video posted here) from Berlin turned out to be an inside joke written by Lindemann about Bartelt in a dress — but especially as the first half of Rough Times proceeds into the horrors of “Die Baby Die” and “Vampires,” the impression is unquestionably the darker than any of Kadavar‘s prior output. And it’s supposed to be. That’s the point.

kadavar

Particularly through “Rough Times,” “Into the Wormhole,” “Skeleton Blues,” “Die Baby Die” and “Vampires,” with flourish of keys in and out among the guitar bass and drums, varied tonality, still-righteous hooks and melodicism from Lindemann on vocals, Rough Times channels the turbulence of 2017 — and thankfully, it does so with none of the exhausting despair that each week seems to bring. Instead, even “Vampires” keeps an uptempo swing behind its midsection solo, and “Die Baby Die” stands among the catchiest tracks Kadavar have ever written. Likewise, as “Tribulation Nation” and “Words of Evil” begin to transition into side B, the former with perhaps the most direct political theme here in its lyrics, they mark the starting point of an expansion that will push outward in multiple directions until atmospheric, French-language spoken word closer “À L’Ombre du Temps” (“to the shadow of the times”) brings Rough Times to its end.

The turn that commences with “Tribulation Nation” is key, since while “Into the Wormhole” and “Die Baby Die” and “Skeleton Blues,” etc., certainly have their mood and ambient aspects, the rhythm of the side B opener is practically space rock in its approach, and each song that follows — “Words of Evil,” “The Lost Child,” “You Found the Best in Me” and “À L’Ombre du Temps,” in that order — offers something different from its surroundings. In the case of “Words of Evil,” that’s a motor-ready chug of a riff feeling in conversation with the post-Priest vibe of Berlin‘s “Into the Night,” brought to bear over a quick-running three and a half minutes light on frills other perhaps than some echo on Lindemann‘s vocals and a winding groove that feels likely to build momentum on stage as well as it does leading into “The Lost Child,” which immediately turns again. An intro of keys lead the way to softer tom hits as part of a subdued verse topped with eerie crooning, and though the chorus will bring a swell of volume and tone, the longest track on Rough Times at 5:52 shifts just before its fourth minute into acoustic-strummed, whistle-inclusive Spaghetti Westernism, ending with sampled waves to set the stage for Tiger‘s drum intro to fluidly begin “You Found the Best in Me,” on which Kadavar marry Beatlesian pop hooks with Skynyrd-derived Southern rock in a way that, after the reaches of the previous track and the morose spirit of some of the other material surrounding, is a welcome moment of relief.

The message in the context of the rest of the album? Whatever or whoever the song is actually about, it would seem to be that we’ve still got each other. And fair enough. “You Found the Best in Me”‘s classic feel is the strongest tie on Rough Times to Kadavar‘s first two records, but while its roots are classic, there’s precious little about it looking to retread either their own or anyone else’s past. Instead, like “The Lost Child” before and “À L’Ombre du Temps” after, it finds the trio once again in new territory, and as its finish moves into the keys, background drones and whispers of “À L’Ombre du Temps,” the flow of side B is only further emphasized — all the more a masterful realization given the range — and the quiet epilogue comes across as no more out of place than any of the brash stylistic changes before it.

Granted, “À L’Ombre du Temps” isn’t without a spiritual predecessor either — a cover of Nico‘s “Reich der Träume” was included as a bonus track on the last album — but still, as an original piece and in its place as the last statement on Rough Times, it stands out in a way very much intended to be striking, and it is. One might take it as a last-minute confirmation of the fact that, four LPs deep into their tenure, Kadavar are able to go where they please in theme and sound alike, but as relates to the rest of Rough Times surrounding, the closer is one more example of the strength of their songwriting and their ability to work within multiple contexts to create not just landmark individual singles like “Die Baby Die” or “Tribulation Nation,” but an album as an entirety that’s strengthened by the various sides of personality shown throughout. In this, Kadavar prove once more why they’ve become one of the most crucial heavy rock acts currently going, and as they engage with the roughness of our times in theme and sound, they almost can’t seem to help but make the days a little easier to endure.

Kadavar, “Into the Wormhole” official video

Kadavar, “Die Baby Die” official video

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