Nightstalker European Tour Dates Announced

Posted in Whathaveyou on February 17th, 2017 by JJ Koczan

nightstalker

It was half a decade between releases before Greek heavy rockers Nightstalker unveiled their seventh album, As Above, So Below (review here), late last year. They’re wasting precious little time in getting out to support it. This Spring, the Athens-based outfit will head out for slots at Riffolution, Hell Over Esslingen and Soundart festivals over the course of March, April and May, and around those appearances, they’ll spend a good amount of their days touring. I don’t know when the last time the veteran four-piece hit the road was, but they’re covering a good amount of ground across Europe this time, and it seems likely more dates will follow for later in 2017.

Shows are presented by Total Volume Agency, who sent the following along the PR wire:

nightstalker euro tour

Nightstalker – European Tour 2017

It’s the original superfreaks Nightstalker – louder than ever!

There’s not much to say about Nightstalker. The three decades on heavy rock duty, the countless hours on stage, as well as the worldwide praise and respect speak for themselves. With last-year’s nifty “As Above, So Below” in their luggage, the legendary Greek four-piece will bring its smoked up ter-RIFF-ic grooves to no less that 12 countries across Europe, in a massive tour organised by Total Volume.

Check the dates, find a town near you, grab a beer and come say high!

Dates:
25/3 – Manchester (UK) @ Riffolution Festival
01/4 – Sofia (BG) @ Live N Loud
02/4 – Bucharest (RO) @ Quantic
05/4 – Cluj (RO) @ The Shelter
06/4 – Timisoara (RO) @ Daos Club
07/4 – Novi Sad (RS) @ The Quarter
08/4 – Graz (AT) @ Club Wakuum
10/4 – Vienna (AT) @ Das Bach
12/4 – Regensburg (DE) @ Alte Mazerei
13/4 – Berlin (DE) @ Wild At Heart
15/4 – Copenhagen (DK) @ Beta2300
19/4 – Cologne (DE) @ Limes
20/4 – Arnhem (NL) @ Willemeen
21/4 – Oldenburg (DE) @ Cadillac
22/4 – Munster (DE) @ Rare Guitar
25/4 – Paris (FR) @ Le Batofar
26/4 – Lucerne (CH) @ Bruch Brothers
28/4 – Linz (AT) @ Ann And Pat
29/4 – Frankfurt (DE) @ Yachtklub
30/4 – Esslingen (DE) @ Hell Over Esslingen Festival
01/5 – Erba (IT) @ Centrale Rock
03/5 – Zagreb (HR) @ Vintage Industrial Bar
06/5 – Bucharest (RO) @ Soundart Festival

Nightstalker is:
Argy (Vocals)
Andreas Lagios (Bass)
Tolis Motsios (Guitars)
Dinos Roulos (Drums)

https://www.facebook.com/nightstalkerband/
https://nightstalker.bandcamp.com/
http://www.nightstalkerband.com/
http://shop.bilocationrecords.com/index.php?k=1072&lang=eng
https://www.facebook.com/oakislandrecords/
https://www.facebook.com/totalvolumebackline/

Nightstalker, As Above, so Below (2016)

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Spaceslug, Time Travel Dilemma: Tonal Paradox (Plus Track Premiere)

Posted in audiObelisk, Reviews on February 10th, 2017 by JJ Koczan

spaceslug-time-travel-dilemma

[Click play above to stream the premiere of the title-track of Spaceslug’s Time Travel Dilemma, featuring Sander Haagmans. Album is out Feb. 17.]

When Wroclaw trio Spaceslug made their debut last year, they immediately distinguished themselves via a sense of space created through big riffs presented with even bigger tones, vocal laze and a heavy psychedelic undertone of jamming that made the whole affair more fluid. That album was Lemanis (review here), and it sold completely through its cassette (on Southcave Records), CD (on BSFD Records) and vinyl (on Oak Island Records) pressings. Not surprisingly, as the Polish group follow-up such a successful first outing, their new album, Time Travel Dilemma, does not attempt to fix what wasn’t broken in their sound. Those who caught onto the depth and vibe of Lemanis will find the six tracks of Time Travel Dilemma work from a similarly potent brew — the key differences are of affirmation and progression.

Yes, both records meld drifting melodies and massive tones together to affect a thickened sonic liquefaction, but Time Travel Dilemma, frankly, learns from its predecessor and moves the band — guitarist/vocalist Bartosz Janik, bassist/vocalist Jan Rutka and drummer/vocalist Kamil Ziólkowski — forward in a style that’s quickly becoming their own. In other words: Progression. The affirmation comes in letting their audience know that their first offering was no fluke, but rather the beginning steps on a path that the languid heft of “Parahorizon” on Time Travel Dilemma finds them walking further along. The vocals are more confident. The songs are more distinct, and the flow between them over the total 44 minutes more resonant. It is simply a more realized interpretation of Spaceslug‘s sound.

As it should be. From opener “Osiris” to the closing title-track’s guest spot from Sander Haagmans, formerly bassist/vocalist of Sungrazer and currently of the grungier The Whims of the Great MagnetTime Travel Dilemma brings forth immersion via its spaciousness as much as its nod. The Haagmans appearance at the end as “Time Travel Dilemma” moves easily into its second-half jam couldn’t be more appropriate, since Sungrazer seem to be a chief influence for Spaceslug here and were last time as well. Those roots can be heard in the swinging rocker “The Great Pylon Collider” as much as “Parahorizon” or the finale as the album shifts back and forth between consecutively shorter tracks and longer ones, cleverly creating momentum as it goes. Perhaps it’s easier just to view it by the numbers:

1. Osiris (6:56)
2. Living the Eternal Now (8:40)
3. The Great Pylon Collider (5:42)
4. Parahorizon (10:48)
5. What Falls is Fallen (1:57)
6. Time Travel Dilemma (10:07)

Although the closer isn’t actually the longest inclusion, the openness of the ground it covers gives a sense of expansion anyhow, and with “Osiris” at the outset, “The Great Pylon Collider” and — perhaps most crucially — the penultimate interlude “What Falls is Fallen” creating a bridge between “Parahorizon” and its sprawl, “Time Travel Dilemma” serves as the end-point to which all the gorgeous, grooving motion seems to be heading all along. That’s not to take anything away from the impression left by earlier cuts. “Osiris” is pivotal in setting the stage for what follows and a standout on its own — Rutka‘s bass work there and across the entirety of Time Travel Dilemma should be a blueprint for other groups to learn from — and the apparent ease with which Spaceslug move from subtler hypnosis to more driving crescendos on “Living the Eternal Now” — which in its second half also samples Alan Watts, whose voice appeared as well on YOB‘s Clearing the Path to Ascend — not only makes that track a highlight, but along with the vocal melodies it underscores the growth the band has willfully undertaken in such a short time.

And while that growth, which can also be heard in the push of “The Great Pylon Collider” and in crossing the 23-minute span of “Parahorizon,” the ambient “What Falls is Fallen” and “Time Travel Dilemma” itself, is a key element, anyone among the converted who might be catching onto Spaceslug for the first time shouldn’t have any trouble getting on board with where they’re coming from, the warm and natural vibe of their sound (recorded and mixed at Satanic Audio) or the lack of pretense in their presentation. The latter especially is enough to make one wonder just what exactly the “dilemma” is that Spaceslug are having in their fourth-dimensional excursion — everything seems to be rolling along so smoothly — but if there’s a narrative at work in the tracks, it would seem to be resolved by the time the finale disintegrates, leaving behind only a sense of balance in the cosmos; satisfying in the reality it’s already created and seeming to align toward future expansion.

While Time Travel Dilemma comes as a quick turnaround from Lemanis, released almost exactly one year later, the development it shows reinforces the potential Spaceslug seemed to have on their debut while also moving forward within it. As they hopefully continue to grow their sound, one wouldn’t be surprised to find them following varied inclinations — here more patience in their jamming, there more structured songcraft — but part of what makes Time Travel Dilemma so effective is its apparent unwillingness to be settled in a single direction or the other. One hopes that adventurous impulse persists as well, since it will only further the richness of approach Spaceslug unfurl here. There are aspects of Time Travel Dilemma that most certainly play to genre, but even these do so with a palpable intention toward leaving an individualized mark rather than simply repeating what’s come before. To call that admirable would be an understatement.

Spaceslug on Thee Facebooks

Spaceslug on Bandcamp

Oak Island Records on Thee Facebooks

Oak Island Records at Kozmik Artifactz

BSFD Records on Thee Facebooks

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Humulus Post Album Details for Reverently Heading into Nowhere

Posted in Whathaveyou on February 7th, 2017 by JJ Koczan

After locking in releases through Oak Island Records and Taxi Driver Records for the LP and CD pressings, respectively, Italian heavy rockers Humulus have newly unveiled the cover art and tracklisting for their forthcoming second full-length, Reverently Heading into Nowhere. Those who’ve followed the band will note it’s of an animalized theme with their prior EP, 2015’s Electric Warlrus (review here), and their 2012 self-titled debut album before that, but to take it one step further, we can see the quote below from drummer Massimiliano Boventi potentially coming to fruition in the tracklisting itself.

My basis for comparison there is the fact that HumulusHumulus — now five years old — had nine songs and Reverently Heading into Nowhere, which is out March 24, tops out at six. Entirely possible the record’s just shorter overall, but in light of what Boventi says about following-up the EP, I’d expect it means the cuts themselves are somewhat longer, allowing for that more psychedelic feel to take hold. Boris from Monkey3 showing up for a guest spot is also a pretty good sign of that direction.

Either way, we’ve got a while to go before we find out, but you can check out the art and so forth below:

humulus-reverently-heading-into-nowhere

Humulus – Reverently Heading into Nowhere

Release date is fixed for 24th march (vinyl and digital for Oak Island Records and CD for Taxi Driver Records). The vinyl will be in transparent green and white w/ pink/purple splatter, strictly limited.

Tracklisting:
1- Distant Deeps Or Skies
2- Catskull
3- Anachronaut (feat Boris from Monkey3)
4- The Gold Rush
5- The Great Hunt
6- Rama Kushna

First gigs:
14th april @ Lio Bar (Brescia, Italy)
17th april @ Clock Tower Pub (Treviglio – BG, Italy)

“So… the new record is recorded at Indiebox Music Hall in Brescia,” says Massimiliano Boventi, “and all the tracks are passed into an analog tape before been mixed and mastered. These new six tracks are the spontaneous sequel of the sound of our last EP (went out last year). Humulus sound becomes more and more a mix between psychedelic dispositions and heavier doom stuffs.”

Andrea Van Cleef: guitar, voice
Giorgio Bonacorsi: bass
Massimiliano Boventi: drums

www.facebook.com/humulusband
www.humulus.bandcamp.com
www.taxidriverstore.com
www.taxidriverstore.bandcamp.com
https://www.facebook.com/oakislandrecords/

Humulus, Electric Walrus EP (2015)

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Humulus Announce New LP Reverently Heading into Nowhere Due in 2017

Posted in Whathaveyou on November 3rd, 2016 by JJ Koczan

Italian heavy rockers Humulus will release their second long-player, Reverently Heading into Nowhere, next year. It’ll be out on Oak Island Records, the emergent Bilocation Records offshoot also responsible for recent offerings from NightstalkerSwan Valley Heights and Spaceslug. No date determined as yet, but if you told me it was Spring 2017, I’d believe it. Following up last year’s Electric Walrus EP (review here), the band spent this past Halloween weekend holed up in IndieBox Music Hall in their native Brescia to put the album to tape, even bringing in Monkey3 guitarist Boris for a guest spot, so while there’s probably still work to be done mixing or mastering, it seems like the basic tracks are finished, which, you know, is an important step.

The band sent the following background and comment along the PR wire:

humulus

Humulus is a Psych-Stoner power trio from Brescia/Bergamo (Italy), formed in 2009. Their first self titled album is released by Go Down Records in December 2012. The ten tracks of this first work fully reflect the stoner attitude of the band and their aggressive sound that is best expressed during their live shows.

In 2014 another great project, made of love and passion, sees the light: beer! Humulus produce their eponymous black stoner IPA, brewed in collaboration with ELAV Independent Brewery. In 2015, after a change in the line-up, Humulus are ready to write new songs. A 3 songs EP called “Electric Walrus EP” sees the light in October 2015. The new Ep shows the new attitude of the band: more psychedelic and more dynamic than before. The EP release is immediately followed by a series of new live shows, including the gig at the Keep It Low Festival in Munich, that confirm the tightness and power of the renewed line-up. 2016 is full of live gigs, and new songs are written and played on big and small stages.

The new LP “Reverently Heading Into Nowhere”, more psychedelic AND heavier than ever, will be out next Spring, to mark Humulus’ debut with the German label Oak Island Records.

“So… the new record is recorded at Indiebox Music Hall in Brescia,” says Massimiliano Boventi, “and all the tracks are passed into an analog tape before been mixed and mastered. These new six tracks are the spontaneous sequel of the sound of our last EP (went out last year). Humulus sound becomes more and more a mix between psychedelic dispositions and heavier doom stuffs.”

Andrea Van Cleef: guitar, voice
Giorgio Bonacorsi: bass
Massimiliano Boventi: drums

https://www.facebook.com/humulusband/
https://humulus.bandcamp.com/
http://shop.bilocationrecords.com/index.php?k=1072&lang=eng

Humulus, Electric Walrus EP (2015)

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Nightstalker Premiere “Space Matter” from As Above so Below

Posted in audiObelisk on September 29th, 2016 by JJ Koczan

nightstalker

Long-running Greek heavy rockers Nightstalker will release their seventh album, As Above so Below, next month on Oak Island Records. Now at the 25-year mark since their 1991 demo and with origins that reach further back than that, the Athens-based outfit led by vocalist Argy and bassist Andreas Lagios also return to European shores in terms of their label; their last offering was 2012’s Dead Rock Commandos (streamed here) on Small Stone, and before that was 2009’s Superfreak (review here) on Meteorcity. As Above so Below finds the four-piece digging into unpretentious heavy rock vibes, their nine tracks/42 minutes straightforward to a point one would almost be tempted to call unassuming were it not for the quality of their craft and hooks, which is apparent from opener “Naked Fire” onward in the focus on catchy choruses, grade-A riffing and placing Argy‘s vocals forward in the mix ahead of Tolis Motsios‘ guitar, Lagios‘ bass and Dinos Roulos‘ drums.

Establishing an early shuffle in the leadoff, As Above so Below builds outward as it continues on from those organ-inclusive classic heavy rock vibes in a variety of moods across songs like second cut “Space Matter,” which seems to be in direct conversation with the underlying rumble of early Kyuss but ultimately becomes something more psychedelically daring in the guitar, and “Zombie Hour,” with a darker atmosphere, some howling from Argy in the chorus and harder-hitting finish. By then the course is set. Nightstalker make no attempts to hide where their heart lies stylistically or to coat their impulses in irony — this is heavy rock for heavy rockers, and the rest be damned.

“The Dog that No-One Wanted” is a standout for its background vocals and repetitions of the hook, “My girl’s so/My girl’s so beautiful/My girl’s so beautiful to me,” which in the nightstalker-as-above-so-belowcontext of the song makes me think it’s actually about the titular dog, so points there for charm, and while centerpiece “Deeper” is shorter, it also ranges a little further melodically, earning its place. Because Nightstalker are so solidified in their processes, because their songwriting is so apparent, their work can be deceptive and come across as flat on the first listen, but it’s not. It’s just professional. “Deeper” is a good example, with its interweaving lead and rhythm guitar layers, Argy‘s vocals in a call and response echo, and a push toward the finish that surprises with the amount of energy behind it.

One almost turns around and says, “Hey wait a minute, this kicks ass.” That’s been my experience all along with Nightstalker, and it holds firm on As Above so Below, but it’s really just a result of the band knowing what they want to do and then executing that flawlessly. To wit, “Forever Stoned” is pulled off with such a smooth groove and its hook is so well delivered that one might almost miss the nuance in Lagios‘ bass performance, or the little flourish of effects that are added to the vocals. Things like this add appeal to multiple listens, and as the subsequent “We Belong to the Dead” starts off its more brooding first half with just Argy and the Motsios, the full rush kicking in around the halfway mark, the momentum that Nightstalker have built for themselves is all the more palpable as they head into the rolling riff that ends out and leads to closing duo “My Electric Head” and “Blue Turns to Black,” both the only tracks on As Above so Below over six minutes.

But for the fact that Nightstalker have such a clear penchant for structure, I wouldn’t necessarily make much of pairing the two longest cuts on the album at the end, but it seems plain that they’re going for immersion at the finish line with “My Electric Head” and “Blue Turns to Black,” the former working its way into one of the record’s most vital stomps and the latter bookending the organ arrangement of the opener with one of its own for an overall grander feel. For what it’s worth, immersion is what they get. It’s not hypnotic jammy psychedelia by any means, but what Nightstalker bring to their material at the finale of this seventh offering resonates as an expansion of the earlier forms of “Zombie Hour” or “Deeper,” in addition of course to “Naked Fire.” By the time the organ rings out to cap “Blue Turns to Black,” they’ve come a deceptively long way from that boogie-down opener, but more than a quarter-century on from getting together, Nightstalker know exactly just what the hell they’re doing, exactly just how the hell to do it and exactly why. As Above so Below is a direct affirmation of that and its arrival is welcome.

Below, you can stream a track premiere of “Space Matter” from the album and see some brief comment from Argy on what the song is about. Nightstalker will tour Europe in Spring 2017.

Please enjoy:

Nightstalker, “Space Matter”

Argy on “Space Matter”:

“I always thought that everything is made from the same materials. We are stardust and water. We are all living on a closed spherical blue planet, spinning around in deep space!

This album is all about the ups and downs, the ins and outs, the good things and bad things that we experience in our life.”

Nightstalker is:
Argy (Vocals)
Andreas Lagios (Bass)
Tolis Motsios (Guitars)
Dinos Roulos (Drums)

Nightstalker on Thee Facebooks

Nightstalker on Bandcamp

Nightstalker website

Oak Island Records at Kozmik Artifactz

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