The Dry Mouths Stream Memories from Pines Bridge in Full; Album out Tomorrow

Posted in audiObelisk on April 4th, 2019 by JJ Koczan

the dry mouths

The Dry Mouths release their sixth full-length, Memories from Pines Bridge, tomorrow, April 5. For those familiar with the Almeria-based trio’s past work, it will no doubt seem like something of a departure from their generally straightforward desert-rocking songcraft, which may or may not be rooted in jams, but ultimately pushes much farther out here in songs like “Impromental VII – Moustachette,” a nine-minute off-the-cuff exploration of canyon echoes and cymbal wash, or the earlier “Low Savvia,” which brings a bit of thicker distortion to the dream-toned modus of Yawning Man. The instrumental outing is a departure even just for its lack of vocals, but the resonant tonality and the adventurous spirit of the sonic interaction between the three-piece of guitarist/thereminist Christ O. Rodrigues, bassist Andrés Reyes and drummer Josh Morales makes it a joyful undertaking despite the tragic circumstances of its arrival following the death of Reyes in February.

Memories from Pines Bridge is one of two albums The Dry Mouths will reportedly release in 2019 in that most unfortunate of contexts, and while there hasn’t been any information given on whether it will follow the band’s more established methodology or the the dry mouths memories from pines bridgepattern set forth by these tracks, there’s no denying that what they’re doing here works. With Rodrigues‘ guitar drifting outward in pieces like “Promenade” or “Mangai Maroke” or conjuring desert visions in opener “La Chasseure,” or delving into minimalist ambience on “Bootha,” there’s a sense of patterning behind most of what the band are doing here. With the exception of the aforementioned “Impromental VII – Moustachette” and “El Cairo ’78” right before it, most of the tracks are under five minutes long, and the theremin-laced “L’Enfer” is 63 seconds, so while they range far in the nine songs, it’s still just a 40-minute outing, and that too feels purposeful. Songs ease their way in and gently fade out, like the penultimate “Bootha” or “El Cairo ’78” after “L’Enfer,” and even when The Dry Mouths build a wash, they do so with patience and melodic emphasis. It sounds like it was a joy to make, and that carries into the execution of the songs themselves, as well as the listening experience.

Immersion is the key. Hypnosis is the key. The Dry Mouths are issuing an invitation to get lost with them. Closer “La Siesta (Sleep Paralysis)” has a little bit of a darker foundation, but the vast, vast majority of Memories from Pines Bridge is dedicated to sweetly melodic instrumentalist passages of these fleeting musical ideas that weave their way in and out fluidly as the album progresses. It’s the kind of record that is exceedingly easy to put on and lose time with. “What just happened?” and on it goes again. Its blend of plotted material and improv keeps things moving in a way that adds a subtle sense of variety, and no matter where the band seems to head, they’re able to bring the listener along with them for the ride. And their scope is pretty broad while being tethered to its desert rock foundation, so while you might get lost in listening to it, the band are never really any more lost than they want to be in their playing.

With the release tomorrow, I’m thrilled today to be able to host the full stream of Memories from Pines Bridge. And whether their next outing is a return to their prior form or another willful excursion into the unknown along these lines, the fact remains that they’ve brought something special to light in these tracks — and no, I don’t just mean the theremin, though that’s always fun — and that despite the loss of Reyes following the sessions for this and the impending follow-up, the work will always remain a moment worthy of celebration.

Please enjoy:

‘Memories From Pines Bridge’ is the sixth album by the Almerians The Dry Mouths. It is a 40-minute LP composed of 9 tracks performed live as “jam sessions” and instrumental passages of psycho-hypnotic character.

“Our intention is to create a sound sensation with which to delve into the mind towards memories of a past that we long for, whose memory is far away in a sensation that vanishes, that sometimes surfaces, and makes us relive experiences that still remain in our unconscious , that make us who we are, that represent the harshness of our lives…” — The Dry Mouths

‘Memories From Pines Bridge’ is the first of two albums that the band will release in 2019, after the tragic death of bassist Andrés Reyes earlier this year. Both works had previously been recorded and mixed by Chris O. Rodrigues, Josh Morales and Andy Reyes himself.

The artwork of the album is a work by Iván Carreño (who already worked with the band in 2018 in ‘When The Water Smells Of Sweat’). This new work will be published in CD format and in a careful edition on transparent vinyl by co-editing between the labels Spinda Records, Aneurisma Records, Surnia Records, Zona Rock Productions, Monasterio de Cultura and Odio Sonoro.

TRACK-LIST
1. La Chaussure
2. Low Savvia
3. MangaiMakore
4. L’Enfer
5. ElCairo78
6. Impromental VII – Moustachette
7. Promenade
8. Bootha
9. La Siesta (Sleep Paralysis)

The Dry Mouths are: Andy Reyes (bajos), Christ O. Rodrigues (guitarras and theremin) and Josh Morales (batería).
Recorded at Sonobalance Studio by Víctor Ortíz, Alberto Chamorro and Daniel Ruíz.
Mixed at Desert City Studio by Christ O. Rodrigues, Andy Reyes and Josh Morales.
Mastered at Kadifornia Mastering by Mario G. Alberni.

The Dry Mouths website

The Dry Mouths on Thee Facebooks

The Dry Mouths on YouTube

The Dry Mouths on Bandcamp

Spinda Records website

Aneurisma Records website

Surnia Records website

Zona Rock Productions on Thee Facebooks

Monasterio de Cultura website

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Quarterly Review: Khemmis, Morag Tong, Holy Mushroom, Naisian, Haunted, Pabst, L.M.I., Fuzz Forward, Onségen Ensemble, The Heavy Eyes

Posted in Reviews on July 18th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

quarterly-review-CALIFORNIA-LANDSCAPE-Julian-Rix-1851-1903

I always say the same thing on the Wednesday of the Quarterly Review. Day 3. The halfway point. I say it every time. The fact is, doing these things kind of takes it out of me. All of it. It’s not that I don’t enjoy listening to all these records — well, I don’t enjoy all of them, but I’m talking more about the process — just that it’s a lot to take in and by the time I’m done each day, let alone at the end of the week, I’m fairly exhausted. So every time we hit the halfway point of a Quarterly Review, I feel somewhat compelled to note it. Cresting the hill, as it were. It’s satisfying to get to this point without my head falling off.

Quarterly Review #21-30:

Khemmis, Desolation

khemmis desolation

Continuing their proclivity for one-word titles, Denver doom forerunners Khemmis take a decisive turn toward the metallic with their third album for 20 Buck Spin, the six-track/41-minute Desolation. Songs like opener “Bloodletting” and its side B counterpart “The Seer” are still tinged with doom, but the NWOBHM gallop in “Isolation” and “Maw of Time” – as well as the sheer force of the latter – is an unexpected twist. Khemmis showed classic metal elements on 2016’s was-a-very-big-deal Hunted (review here) and 2015’s debut, Absolution (review here), but it’s a question of balance, and as they’ve once again worked with producer Dave Otero, one can only read the shift as a conscious decision. The harder edge suits them – certainly suits the screams in “Maw of Time” and side A finale/album highlight “Flesh to Nothing” – and as Khemmis further refine their sound, they craft its most individualized manifestation to-date. There’s no hearing Desolation and mistaking Khemmis for another band. They’ve come into their own.

Khemmis on Thee Facebooks

20 Buck Spin website

 

Morag Tong, Last Knell of Om

morag tong last knell of om

A rumbling entry into London’s Heavy Generation, the four-piece Morag Tong unfold voluminous ritual on their debut full-length, Last Knell of Om. Largely slow and largely toned, the work of guitarists Alex Clarke and Lewis Crane brings the low end to the forefront along with the bass of James Atha while drummer Adam Asquith pushes the lurch forward on cuts like “New Growth” and “To Soil,” the band seemingly most comfortable when engaged in crawling tempos and weighted pummel. Asquith also adds semi-shouted vocals to the mire, which, surrounded by distortion as they are, only make the proceedings sound even more massive. There’s an ambience to “We Answer” and near-13-minute closer “Ephemera: Stare Through the Deep,” which gives the record a suitably noisy finish, but much of what Morag Tong are going for in sound depends on the effectiveness of their tonality, and they’ve got that part down on their debut. Coupled with the meditative feel in some of this material, that shows marked potential on the band’s part for future growth.

Morag Tong on Thee Facebooks

Morag Tong on Bandcamp

 

Holy Mushroom, Blood and Soul

holy mushroom blood and soul

Working quickly to follow-up their earlier-2018 sophomore long-player, Moon (review here), Spain’s Holy Mushroom present Blood and Soul, an EP comprised of two songs recorded live in the studio. I’m not entirely sure why it’s split up at all, as the two-minute “Introito” – sure enough, a little introduction – feeds so smoothly into the 19-minute “Blood and Soul” itself, but fair enough either way as the trio shift between different instrumentation, incorporating sax, piano and organ among the guitar, bass, drums and vocals, and unfold a longform heavy psychedelic trip that not only builds on what they were doing with Moon but is every bit worthy of being released on its own. I don’t know if it was recorded at the same time as the record or later – both were done at Asturcon Studios – but it’s easy to see why the band would want to highlight “Blood and Moon.” Between the deep-running mix, the easy rhythmic flow into and out from drifting spaciousness, and the turn in the middle third toward more expansive arrangement elements, it’s an engaging motion that makes subtly difficult shifts seem utterly natural along the way. And even if you didn’t hear the latest full-length, Blood and Soul makes for a fitting introduction to who Holy Mushroom are as a band and what they can do.

Holy Mushroom on Thee Facebooks

Clostridium Records website

 

Naisian, Rejoinder

naisian rejoinder

Sludge-infused noise rock serves as the backdrop for lyrical shenanigans on the three-song Rejoinder EP from Sheffield, UK, trio Naisian. Running just 12 minutes, it’s a quick and thickened pummel enacted by the band, who work in shades of post-metal for “90 ft. Stone,” “Mantis Rising” and “Lefole,” most especially in the middle cut, but even there, the focus in on harsh vocals and lumbering sonic heft. It’s now been seven years since the band sort-of issued their debut album, Mammalian, and six since they followed with the Monocle EP, and the time seems to have stripped down their sound to a degree. “Lefole” is the longest track on Rejoinder at 5:18 and it’s still shorter than every other song Naisian have put out to-date. Their crunch lacks nothing for impact, however, and to go with the swing of “Lefole,” everybody seems to contribute to a vocal assault that only adds to the punishing but thoughtful vibe.

Naisian on Thee Facebooks

Naisian on Bandcamp

 

Haunted, Dayburner

haunted dayburner

The effects-laden vocal swirl at the outset of Haunted’s “Mourning Sun” and moments in the Italian act’s longer-form material, “Waterdawn” or “Orphic,” for example, will invariably lead some listeners to point to a Windhand influence, but the character of the band’s second album, Dayburner (on Twin Earth, DHU and Graven Earth all), follows their 2016 self-titled (review here) by holding steady to a developing identity of its own. To be sure, vocalist Christina Chimirri, guitarists Francesco Bauso and Francesco Orlando, bassist Frank Tudisco and drummer Dario Casabona make their way into a deep, murky swamp of modern doom in “Dayburner” (video posted here), but in the crush of their tones amid all that trance-inducing riffing, they cast themselves as an outfit seeking to express individuality within the set parameters of style. Their execution, then, is what it comes down to, and with “Orphic” (12:46) and “Vespertine” (13:19) back to back, there’s plenty of doom on the 66-minute 2LP to roll that out. And they do so in patient and successful form, with marked tonal vibrancy and a sense of controlling the storm they’re creating as they go.

Haunted on Thee Facebooks

Twin Earth Records website

DHU Records webstore

Graven Earth Records webstore

 

Pabst, Chlorine

pabst chlorine

So, the aesthetic is different. Pabst play a blend of noise, post-punk, heavy rock and grunge, but with the ready pop influence — to wit, the outright danceability of “Shits,” reminiscent in its bounce of later Queens of the Stone Age – and persistent melodicism, there’s just a twinge of what Mars Red Sky did for heavy rolling riffs happening on Chlorine, their Crazysane Records debut. It’s in that blend of dense low-end fuzz and brighter vocal melodies, but again, Pabst, hailing from Berlin, are on their own trip. Weird but almost more enjoyable than it seems to want to be, the 12-track/35-minute outing indulges little and offers singalong-ready vibes in “Catching Feelings” and “Waterslide” while “Waiting Loop” chills out before the push of “Accelerate” and the angularity of “Cheapskate” take hold. Chrlorine careens and (blue) ribbons its way to the drive-fast-windows-open stylization of “Summer Never Came” and the finale “Under Water,” a vocal effect on the latter doing nothing to take away from its ultra-catchy hook. It’s not for everyone, but it’s a record someone with just the right kind of open mind can come to love.

Pabst on Thee Facebooks

Crazysane Records webstore

 

L.M.I., IV

lmi iv

If you’ve got a dank basement full of skinny college kids, chances are Lansdale, Pennsylvania’s L.M.I. are ready to tear their faces off. The sludge-thickened riff punkers run abut 11 minutes with their five-song release, L.M.I. IV, and that’s well enough time to get their message across. Actually, by the end of “Neck of Tension” and “Weaning Youth,” roughly four and half minutes in, the statement of intent is pretty clear. L.M.I. present furious but grooving hardcore punk more given to scathe than pummel, and their inclusions on L.M.I. IV bring that to life with due sense of controlled chaos. Centerpiece “Lurking Breath” gives way to “First to Dark” – the longest cut at a sprawling 2:55 – and they save a bit of grunge guitar scorch and lower-register growling for closer “June was a Test,” there isn’t really time in general for any redundancy to take hold. That suits the feeling of assault well, as L.M.I. get in and get out on the quick and once they’re gone, all that’s left to do is clean the blood off the walls.

L.M.I. on Thee Facebooks

L.M.I. on Bandcamp

 

Fuzz Forward, Out of Nowhere

fuzz forward out of nowhere

Released one way or another through Discos Macarras, Odio Sonoro, Spinda Records and Red Sun Records, the eight-song/43-minute debut album from Barcelona’s Fuzz Forward, Out of Nowhere, has earned acclaim from multiple corners for its interpretation of grunge-era melodies through a varied heavy rock filter. Indeed, the vocals of Juan Gil – joined in the band by guitarist Edko Fuzz, bassist Jordi Vaquero and drummer Marc Rockenberg – pull the mind directly to a young Layne Staley, and forces one to realize it’s been a while since that low-in-the-mouth approach was so ubiquitous. It works well for Gil in the laid back “Summertime Somersaults” as well as the swinging, cowbell-infused later cut “Drained,” and as the band seems to foreshadow richer atmospheric exploration on “Thorns in Tongue” and “Torches,” they nonetheless maintain a focus on songwriting that grounds the proceedings and will hopefully continue to serve as their foundation as they move forward. No argument with the plaudits they’ve thus far received. Seems doubtful they’ll be the last.

Fuzz Forward on Thee Facebooks

Fuzz Forward on Bandcamp

 

Onségen Ensemble, Duel

Onsegen ensemble duel

The kind of record you’re doing yourself a favor by hearing – a visionary cast of progressive psychedelia that teems with creative energy and is an inspiration even in the listening. Frankly, the only thing I’m not sure about when it comes to Oulu, Finland, outfit Onségen Enseble’s second album, Duel, is why it isn’t being released through Svart Records. It seems like such a natural fit, with the adventurous woodwinds on opener “Think Neither Good Nor Evil,” the meditative sprawl of the title-track (video posted here), the jazz-jam in the middle of “Dogma MMXVII,” the tribalist percussion anchoring the 12-minute “Three Calls of the Emperor’s Teacher,” which surely would otherwise float away under its own antigravity power, and the free-psych build of closer “Zodiacal Lights of Onségen,” which shimmers in otherworldly fashion and improvised-sounding spark. On Svart or not, Duel is one of the best albums I’ve heard this year, and one the creativity of which puts it in a class of its own, even in the vast reaches of psychedelic rock. Whether it means to or not, it tells a story with sound, and that story should be heard.

Onségen Ensemble on Thee Facebooks

Onsegen Ensemble on Bandcamp

 

The Heavy Eyes, Live in Memphis

the heavy eyes live in memphis

Since so much of The Heavy Eyes’ studio presentation has consistently been about crispness of sound and structured songwriting, it’s kind of a relief to hear them knock into some feedback at the start of “Mannish Boy” at the outset of Live in Memphis (on Kozmik Artifactz). The three-piece of guitarist/vocalist Tripp Shumake, bassist Wally Anderson and drummer Eric Garcia are still tight as hell, of course, and their material – drawn here from the band’s LPs, 2015’s He Dreams of Lions (review here), 2012’s Maera, 2011’s self-titled, as well as sundry shorter offerings – is likewise. They’ve never been an overly dangerous band, nor have they wanted to be, but the stage performance does add a bit of edge to “Iron Giants” from the debut, which is followed by singing “Happy Birthday” to a friend in the crowd. One of the most enjoyable aspects of Live in Memphis is hearing The Heavy Eyes loosen up a bit on stage, and hearing them sound like they’re having as good a time playing as the crowd is watching and hearing them do so. That sense of fun suits them well.

The Heavy Eyes on Thee Facebooks

The Heavy Eyes at Kozmik Artifactz

 

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Positiva Release Self-Titled Full-Length on Odio Sonoro

Posted in Whathaveyou on July 25th, 2016 by JJ Koczan

If you haven’t yet, fans of Spiritual Beggars-style classic heavy rock will probably want to take note of what Positiva are doing on their self-titled third album. Newly issued through Odio Sonoro, the Spanish four-piece’s latest offering has a crisp, organ-laced modernity to its nonetheless classic-minded form, and with two songs streaming in “Get On” and the swaggering “Neverending Lust,” it gives an impression of vibe that leaves little question as to why the band would make it self-titled. They’d be hard-pressed to find better representation, I think.

The following PR wire-style info came through from Odio Sonoro in Spanish, but I fed it through a certain major internet company’s translation matrix. Some of the linguistic intricacy might have gotten lost as a result, but I think it’ll still be enough to get the point across. If not, you can always skip right to the tracks as well:

positiva positiva-700

Positiva: songs advance, cover and tracklist of the new album

At last!!! Positiva has a new album, the third album by the rock band Bilbaína will be unveiled early in July. Ten explosive passages full of energy and passion contained in the studies Tío Pete at the hands of José Lastra. In this last album, entitled the name of the group itself, “Positiva”, collected some of the material created in recent years. With a new lead vocals (Eriz, ex Gilah Monster and Lovercraft) and a single guitar instead of two, the band makes a small difference in structure, maintaining its sound and character with as much or more intensity than before.

“During this transition period, we have worked in privacy, adapting to the new training topics and writing new material with the intention of returning to the stage. This work is the fruit of that work.”

Today, by extra-musical personal reasons, and very reluctantly, the band is inactive, waiting for time to allow them to return to action. For now, Unai (drums) and Julio (guitar, vocals), with the invaluable help of José Odio Sonoro, will present his latest album enthusiastically: “Positiva”.

1.Lonely Man
2.Get On
3.Neverending Lust
4.Leave Me Alone
5.Hazy Town
6.Trapped In Body & Soul
7.Icarus
8.Hard To Stay
9.Trace Back Your Steps
10.Glory Hole

Julio Ruiz – guitar, vocals
Unai G. de Kortazar – drums, backing vocals
Eriz de la Fuente – lead vocals
Txetxu Aguado – bass, backing vocals

Additional keyboards on tracks 2, 4 and 10: Jose Lastra

https://www.facebook.com/POSITIVA-183772025431/
https://odiosonoro.bandcamp.com/album/positiva-positiva
http://www.odiosonoro.com
https://odiosonoro.bigcartel.com/

Positiva, Positiva (2016)

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Quarterly Review: Eight Bells, Öken, Brimstone Coven, Pants Exploder, Shallows, Monumentum, Famyne, Ethereal Riffian, Wet Cactus, Forming the Void

Posted in Reviews on March 29th, 2016 by JJ Koczan

the obelisk quarterly review spring 2016

I thought yesterday went pretty well, by which I mean I didn’t receive any complaints that somebody’s name was spelled wrong (yet), so I feel alright going into the second batch of releases for the Quarterly Review. Today mixes it up a bit, which is something I always enjoy doing with these, and while I’ll take pains to emphasize that the list of releases today, as with every day, isn’t in order, there was no way I wasn’t going to start with the first record below. Some albums just demand top placement.

Quarterly Review #11-20:

Eight Bells, Landless

eight bells landless

However you define the word “heavy” as it relates to music, Eight Bells are it. The Portland, Oregon, trio release their second album and first for Battleground Records in the form of the five-track Landless, and from the opening sprawl and lumber of “Hating” through the crawling-plus-blasting chaos of “Touch Me,” a strong progressive current underscores the material – most notably the 13-minute title-track, but really the rest as well, which flows gracefully even in its harshest moments, the blackened rush in the second half of “Landless,” for example, which follows psychedelic drones and harmonies just minutes before, or the similar thrust of centerpiece “Hold My Breath,” which works in tighter quarters but manages to span genres all the same. “The Mortal’s Suite” provides some respite in airy guitar and airier vocals, giving new drummer Rae Amitay a break while showcasing the harmonies of guitarist Melynda Jackson (ex-SubArachnoid Space) and bassist Haley Westeiner. As open atmospherically as the band is in their creative scope, there just isn’t a level on which Landless isn’t superb.

Eight Bells on Thee Facebooks

Battleground Records

 

Öken, Öken

oken oken

Swedish four-piece Öken do themselves huge favors by refusing to be easily categorized on their 2015 self-titled Ozium Records debut full-length, which runs an immersive 62 minutes and blends doom, classic heavy/desert rock and forest psych with subtle grace throughout its eight tracks, each of which is fleshed out in an overarching naturalist atmosphere. “Väktaren” dives headfirst into boogie only after initial minimalist teasing, and “Crimson Moon” bursts to life after a hypnotic psychedelic opening to find its crux in later runs of dueling guitars. The two closing cuts, “Under Vår Sol” and “Cuauhtémoc” are an album unto themselves, the former nodding initially at Sungrazer’s serene vibes before pushing into even more open psychedelic territory, and the latter proffering riffy largesse en route to a striking classic prog finish. That Öken make these elements work side-by-side and transition from one to the other fluidly is emblematic of the confidence at work in the band, and they carry their scope with organic-sounding ease.

Öken on Thee Facebooks

Ozium Records

 

Brimstone Coven, Black Magic

brimstone coven black magic

West Virginian roots doomers Brimstone Coven made their debut on Metal Blade in 2015 with a self-titled EP compilation (track stream here), and Black Magic is their first full-length. Its 10 tracks/54 minutes take cues varyingly from classic heavy rock, doom and the less majestic side of the NWOBHM, but Brimstone Coven’s approach is marked out by the extensive use of vocal harmonies on cuts like the prog-tinged “Beyond the Astral,” the later moments of raw-roller “Upon the Mountain” and “The Plague.” Black Magic’s production is barebones enough that this singing – credited solely to “Big John” Williams, while Corey Roth handles guitar, Andrew D’Cagna bass and Justin Wood drums – doesn’t really soar so much as nestle in and enhance the begging-for-vinyl analog-worship of the instruments surrounding, a proliferation of cultish themes distinguishing Brimstone Coven even as a song like “The Seers” finds them inheriting a trad-doom soulfulness from The Gates of Slumber.

Brimstone Coven on Thee Facebooks

Metal Blade Records

 

Pants Exploder, Pants Exploder

pants exploder pants exploder

Between its vicious aggression, inhumane chug and have-fun-enduring-this stomp, the self-titled, self-released debut LP from Pants Exploder could just as easily be definitive New York noise, but the low-end heft of their assault right from opener “It’s Ok, I’m Wiccan.” (punctuation included in title) has an element of early-Mastodonic lumber, and that’s a thread that continues throughout “End of the World” and “You Don’t Strike Me as a Reader,” which offsets its slab-of-concrete-on-your-chest push with moments of respite, but remains driving in its intensity. As in, driving your head into the ground. Also the ground is pavement. It’s fucking heavy, is the point. To wit, the mega-plod of “Um, I Curated an Art Show in College, So…” and thrust of “God Has a Plan for Me.” Capping with the seven-minute “You Smug Bastard,” Pants Exploder pays off the tension they build in a noise-wash fury that is as impressive as it is scathing.

Pants Exploder on Thee Facebooks

Pants Exploder on Bandcamp

 

Shallows, The Moon Rises

shallows the moon rises

The rather ominous The Moon Rises EP is the first non-demo offering from Asheville, North Carolina, four-piece Shallows, who blend heavy psychedelic and grunge influences across its five tracks, opener “Shimmering” and closer “Distance” mirroring each other’s spacious push while between, “Zero,” “A Mile Beneath” and the Earth-influenced “The Barn Burning” enact gorgeous vocal harmonies between Cameron Zarrabzadeh and HannahLynn Cruey atop atmospheric heavy rock, hitting into Alice in Chains-meets-Kylesa territory on the centerpiece, “A Mile Beneath,” which is a fair bit of ground to cover. That cut is the high point in showcasing Shallows’ potential, but the Western take with “The Barn Burning” and meandering post-rock echoes and organ of “Distance” only add to the breadth of this impressive, too-short collection. With a focus consistently kept on ambience throughout, The Moon Rises flows like a full-length album, and so bodes that much better for what Shallows will be able to accomplish when they get there. I’ll look forward to it.

Shallows on Thee Facebooks

Shallows on Bandcamp

 

Monumentum, The Killer is Me

monumentum the killer is me

Even before they get to the all the aggro fuzz riffing, there’s a distinct threat of violence in Monumentum’s The Killer is Me. Its four songs, “Noose,” “Whore,” “Fiend and Foe” and “Killer Me,” each seem to find the Norwegian band doling out noise-influenced heavy rock, driven by some underlying dissatisfaction on this, their first EP. Released on vinyl through Blues for the Red Sun Records, it offsets being so outwardly pissed off through groove, the starts and stops of “Killer Me” and the rolling seven minutes of opener and longest track “Noose” (immediate points) both marked out for both their tonal weight and the force with which Monumentum push their material forward – not speedy, though “Whore” is by no means slow, but dense and emitting a residual tension all the same. Somewhat unipolar in its mood, The Killer is Me still manages to give an initial impression of what Monumentum are about sound-wise, and provides them with a solid start to work from.

Monumentum on Thee Facebooks

Blues for the Red Sun Records

 

Famyne, Famyne

famyne famyne

While the UK isn’t at all short on doom or sludge at this point, Canterbury five-piece Famyne distinguish themselves on their self-titled first EP with a traditional take and the at-times theatric harmonies of vocalist Tom Vane. Along with guitarists Alex Tolson and Alex Williams, bassist Chris Travers and drummer Jake Cook, Vane nods at Alice in Chains on lumbering opener “Enter the Sloth” without going full-on “hey whoa momma yeah” and provides a considerable frontman presence, particularly for a debut recording. Comprising three songs with the speedier bonus track “Long Lost Winter” as an add-on download with the CD version, Famyne’s Famyne EP finds its crux in the nod and push of the 10-minute “The Forgotten,” which takes a cue atmospherically from The Wounded Kings but finds its own, less-cultish niche in bringing new energy to classic doom and setting in motion a progression that already puts an individual stamp on established tenets.

Famyne on Thee Facebooks

Famyne on Bandcamp

 

Ethereal Riffian, Youniversal Voice

ethereal riffian youniversal voice

There’s patient, and then there’s Ethereal Riffian, whose riffy ritualizing and exploration nonetheless brims with some intangible energetic sensibility on their new live outing, Youniversal Voice. Heavy psychedelic wash, thick riffs, theatric vocals and guitar effects, stoner roll and the occasional fit of shredding, one might hear any of it at a given point in over-12-minute cuts like “Wakan Tanka” and “Anatman,” the latter which arrives as the penultimate of the eight-song/56-minute set. The clarity, for being a live album, is remarkable, and Ethereal Riffian add to the experience with a CD version that includes a candle, elaborate packaging and artwork, and tea, so the multi-sensory impression is obviously important, and where many live outings are throwaways or a means of bowing to contractual obligation, Youniversal Voice adds to Ethereal Riffian’s studio work a substantial ambassasorial feel, conveying an onstage vibe with a fullness of sound and clarity of mind not often heard.

Ethereal Riffian on Thee Facebooks

Ethereal Riffian on Bandcamp

 

Wet Cactus, Wet Cactus

wet cactus wet cactus

Desert rock trio Wet Cactus don’t make any bones about where they’re getting their influence from on their late-2015 self-titled second EP. By the time they get around to the penultimate “The Road” on the five-track/24-minute outing, they’ve dug themselves in deep into the worship of crunchy Kyuss-style riffing, and you can throw in looks for Unida, Queens of the Stone Age, Slo Burn and whoever else of that milieu, but Kyuss is at the root of it all anyway. Less grand in their production than UK outfit Steak, who operated in similar territory on their 2014 debut LP, Slab City, Wet Cactus keep it natural in the tradition of their forebears, and while there’s room for them to grow into a more individual approach, the hazy fuckall in closer “World’s Law” has a stoner charm before and after it kicks into a punkish push to close out. Cool vibe either way, and the tone is dead on. If these cats go jammier, watch out.

Wet Cactus on Thee Facebooks

Odio Sonoro

 

Forming the Void, Skyward

forming the void skyward

I won’t say a bad word about the artwork of David Paul Seymour in the context of this review or any other, but ultimately, Louisiana doomers Forming the Void are coming from someplace much more in line with progressive metal than the three-eyed goat and robed figures on the cover of their second album, Skyward, might represent. Again, that’s not a knock on Seymour, or for that matter, the band, just that the look of the record is deceptive, dogwhistling stonerisms even as moody cuts like the opening title-track and “Three Eyed Gazelle” – while thoroughly doomed in their vibe – prove more lucidly constructed. That holds true through the chugging centerpiece “Saber” as well, marked out by vocal harmonizing, and “Return Again,” which rolls through atmospheric metal and an ambient interlude to enact the record’s most memorable payoff and set up the linear course of the more patient closer “Sleepwalker.” Cohesive in mood and clearly plotted, Skyward is ultimately darker and more driven than it might at first appear.

Forming the Void on Thee Facebooks

Forming the Void on Bandcamp

 

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Atavismo Stream Debut Album Desintegración in Full

Posted in audiObelisk on November 20th, 2014 by JJ Koczan

atavismo

There’s a reason I asked Atavismo if I could stream their debut full-length, Desintegración, instead of just reviewing it, and it’s because I think hearing the songs themselves does the record the most justice. Released by the band in cooperation with Odio Sonoro and a host of others, Desintegración is comprised of just four tracks, but holds a world of lush and spacious heavy psychedelia within them, alternately folkish and expansive, minimal and encompassing. It doesn’t matter whether you’ve heard any of the trio’s past work in bands like the spaced-out Mind! or Viaje a 800 — who, sadly defunct, remain among heavy rock’s most criminally overlooked acts — so much as it matters that you’re willing to loan a piece of your psyche to “Blazava,” “Kraken,” “Oceanica” and “Meeh,” and engage the 37 minutes of Atavismo‘s debut on their own level. Among first releases I’ve heard this year, Desintegración is an immediate standout for its complexity, sense of arrangement and for Atavismo‘s ability to hold the material together and create an overarching flow between songs that each boast their own personality.

Witness the Yawning Man-style guitar tone that emerges from the initial synth sprawl of opener “Blazava.” Desintegración takes a minute to unfold, but it’s worth it. Over the course of the 11:31 opening and longest cut on the album (immediate points), guitarist/synthworker Poti, drummer Sandra and bassist Matt loose a ranging instrumental build of dreamy but earthbound heavy psych jamming, making their way across hypnotic tones and masterful breadth as they go, driving as much as they’re meandering toward a lead-topped culmination the underlying rhythmic layer of which is no less a highlight, gracefully executed and in no way giving into the temptation to blast out in terms of pace and upset the careful balance they’ve been able to set. One could trace the acoustic/electric strums to The Who or a host of others from the classic rock pantheon, but immediately, the song and the album belong to Atavismo, and the swirl that ensues on “Kraken” only affirms the hold they have on their approach.

atavismo desintegracionThough the fact that it’s named for a seabeast might lead one to think “Kraken,” the shortest piece here at 6:47, is that explosive moment, and its second half gets fairly raucous, but with a careful Floydian blissout of Mellotron-style keys and acoustics, the beginning half is actually the most soothing moment on Desintegración, and remains so even after the arrival of the album’s first vocals. Classic psychedelic pop, backed by swirl and airy tones, plays out over “Kraken”‘s course, until just before four minutes in, more foreboding, weighted guitar begins a quicker progression that builds into fuzzy lead and the instrumental jam that serves as the track’s still wildly psychedelic apex. Heavier riffing from Poti and a wash of crash from Sandra push “Kraken” to its peak, leading to the similarly minded but more subtle execution of “Oceanica,” which starts out on an even more reserved, otherworldly plane and executes its linearity so smoothly that, unless one were to jump from an early moment to a later one, it would be easy to be entirely lost within the track’s unfurling. Dual vocals come across gorgeously melodic atop light effects and keys and guitar strumming, Matt entering easily on bass and Sandra periodically donating a cymbal wash to the atmospheric cause.

It’s not until after five minutes in that the build really shows itself, the progressive interlude and following verse leading to an uptick around 4:30 that continues to a glorious takeoff almost exactly at the five-minute mark that still doesn’t separate itself from the peaceful vibe preceding but pushes forward into heavier riffing and near-stomp only to recede and end “Oceanica” with a return to the softer psychedelics of its beginning, in turn shifting into “Meeh,” a longer track bookending the album with “Blazava” that is based around the most singularly memorable guitar line on Desintegración. Again, Yawning Man is a point of reference, but there’s a tension even in first, wide open verse — the drums more forward, the bass tighter — that lets you know the payoff will be considerable. And so it is. A mostly instrumental course is led by the guitar into still-patient tradeoffs that ultimately round out “Meeh” with the record’s heaviest stretch, feedback passing the 7:30 mark to dip back into a couple lines before the final thrust begins. Atavismo cross 10 minutes with some vague sense of ritual in the guitar, but it’s still a relatively quick, efficient cap put on Desintegración, leading one to wonder how far the three-piece will push out the next time out.

I’m thrilled to be able to host the stream of Desintegración with permission from Atavismo. I hope you’ll take the time to listen and get to know the album. It’s one I have the feeling I’m going to be talking about here for a while.

Please enjoy:

Here is the Music Player. You need to installl flash player to show this cool thing!

Atavismo‘s Desintegración is available now. More info at the links.

Atavismo on Thee Facebooks

Atavismo on Bandcamp

Odio Sonoro Bandcamp

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Atavismo to Release Desintegración this Week

Posted in Whathaveyou on November 12th, 2014 by JJ Koczan

atavismo

With former members of Mind! and Viaje a 800 in the lineup, Spanish trio Atavismo will make their recorded debut with the full-length Desintegración this week. The release is four songs of immersive and dreamy progressive psychedelia, not as space rocking as Mind!, who released Stunde Null (review here) last year, or as tonally weighted as the last Viaje a 800, 2012’s Coñac Oxigenado (review here), but exploring psychedelic ground somewhere between the two, the subdued bliss of “Oceanica” and classic swirl of “Kraken” sandwiched between two 10-plus-minute adventures that, one hopes, are the first of many to come.

Don’t be fooled by the black and white photo or dark cover art — this one’s in full color:

atavismo desintegracion

Atavismo – Desintegración New Album!!!! (ex-viaje a 800/ex-mind!)

DESINTEGRACION is the new album of Atavismo a Hard psychedelic experimental rock band from Algeciras (Spain).

Not on label Records joined to others records labels and friends (Odio Sonoro,Adansonia Records,Nooirax…) to present this amazing debut of a band with ex-Viaje a 800 member and Ex-Mind! members. Progressive rock sound and echoes of the Hard Psychedelic of bands like UFO first-era, Neil Young and Crazy Horse, Pink Floyd post-Barret era, or Groundhogs…

Atavismo is formed by Sandra on drums and vocals, Matt on bass and Poti on guitar and vocals, all seasoned musicians in other bands in the area as Viaje a 800, Buena Muerte Trio or Pussyworm. With this formation have decided to develop sound issues with Mind! (maybe a little more traditional and recognizable within the canons considered “commercial” character) had not yet explored, to some extent regardless of electronic kraut reinforcements to reach the rawness and immediacy so characteristic of electric power trios.

This musical philosophy, certainly less sophisticated and dramatic, but much more visceral and risky, Atavismo want to be synonymous with sonic expansion of open and reverberating guitars, hypnotic rhythms, thus twinned with all those groups that have made the jam session almost a form of religion. Or to put it another way, as the name suggests, Atavismo members have decided to unleash all those musical genes that were waiting to retrieve the echoes of bands like the Grateful Dead and Neil Young and Crazy Horse and continue to manifest today in bands like Earthless, Major Stars and Dead Meadow. Thus, inserting in that tradition, but also providing the product of his own imagination and musical intuition, Atavismo intended fascinate and drag with all electrical chromaticity and rhythmic mantras that can boast. ¡Que así sea! “

If you want to listen it:
http://atavismo.bandcamp.com/

if you want more about it:
https://www.facebook.com/Atavismo

http://odiosonoro.bandcamp.com/album/atavismo-desintegraci-n
https://www.facebook.com/pages/Odio-Sonoro/255423944500267

Atavismo, “Kraken”

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Positiva: Rock That’s Good for the Soul

Posted in Reviews on February 10th, 2010 by JJ Koczan

Released late last year, Spanish outfit Positiva’s sophomore outing for Odio Sonoro, the cleverly-titled Prodigal Songs, is classic riff rock through and through. It’s the kind of record you put on while you’re driving and all of a sudden you instantly know everyone else on the road is a sucker because, whatever they’re listening to, there’s no way it’s possibly as cool as the guitar lick you just heard. It’s the kind of record that turns you into “dude rocking out in his car,” and man, if everyone else had better taste in music, they’d all be rocking out too, so you go ahead and groove as you will. Positiva don’t seem to mind. If they did, they probably wouldn’t rock so damn much.

For the most part, Prodigal Songs stays well within the realm of revivalist ‘70s-style guitar-led rock. Guitarist/vocalist Miguel Moral is a former member of Bilbao crushers Rhino, though if anyone comes into Positiva expecting that same kind of metal destruction, they’re going to be in for a big surprise. The vibes are immediately, well, positive, with opening cuts “Brother Eagle” and “Undying Shore” losing none of their rock edge for the good times they incite. When the band delves into Grand Funkery, they earn a comparison to Blood of the Sun or Firebird, but the double guitars of Moral and guitarist/vocalist Julio Ruiz set them apart from their American and British sonic compatriots. Still, there’s a good amount of rock and roll shuffling going on through “Waiting in Vain,” “Catch the Fire,” and “Groupiedom,” and that’s got to come from somewhere.

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Lords of Bukkake: Fuel for Misanthropy

Posted in Reviews on May 27th, 2009 by JJ Koczan

Just looking at this makes me lonely.An album on which everything right down to the artwork reeks of desolation and loneliness, the self-titled debut from Barcelona‘s Lords of Bukkake (Odio Sonoro/Gaia Records) is the ideal companion for those evenings when, Band, brick wall, classic.left to your own devices in a world of infinite possibilities, you choose to sit around in your underwear, drink by yourself and hate at a major league level. Full of visceral anger directed whichever way the speakers are facing, it is slicing and grating, painful, hurtful doom lashing out irredeemable remorse and churning violence. It is the kind of music that makes you feel like there are bugs crawling on you.

Lords of Bukkake opens with its longest track, “Black Lung” — by all accounts an affliction with which bassist/vocalist Toni L?pez is familiar. His biting rasp reminds of Alan Dubin fronting a less minimalist Khanate, while the occasional drawling stoner rock solo from guitarist Jaume L. Pantale?n (also of Cuzo) sets Lords of Bukkake apart from those drone magnates. Still, at 18:47, “Black Lung” is a fierce slab of darkened sludge, chopping up the corpse of a desperate riff and leaving the body up in the Torre de Collserola for the tourists to find.

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