Posted in Whathaveyou on October 28th, 2015 by H.P. Taskmaster
After three EPs and the digital single “Occultation” released earlier this year, Ohio heavy psych rockers Brujas del Sol will release their new Starquake 7″ on Dec. 14 through H42 Records. This marks the first offering on the label for the band — who now share guitarist Adrian Zambrano with fellow Columbus natives Lo-Pan — and a teaser has been posted below to give a sense of the trippery that seems bound to ensue on the two-part title-track that will consume both sides of the platter. You can hear that below, because, you know, multi-sensory experience and whatnot.
Preorders start Nov. 1, which is apparently in like four days — who knew? — and more info follows, thanks to the generous grace of the PR wire:
NEW BRUJAS DEL SOL 7”-Single ‘STARQUAKE’ COMING 14 DEC 2015 from H42 RECORDS!
BRUJAS DEL SOL ‘STARQUAKE’ 7”-Single H42 Records H42-023 lim. Edition, handnumbered OUT: 14. DEC 2015 / PRESALE: 1 NOV 2015 A1/B1: Starquake (Pt. I & Pt. II)
LIM TOTAL 250 COPIES 70 clear stardust/gold glitter Edition 100 clear orange marbled Edition 130 space black Edition
BRUJAS DEL SOL is a psychedelic quartet from Columbus that focuses their attention toward fuzzed out, loud, swirly, droney compositions. After their heaped with loads of great reviews Debut LP ‘Moon Liner’ from 2013 the Columbus Four went back to the studio to work on a new epic song: The new song ‘Starquake’ is about 11 minutes and with strong bonds of Hawkwind to Pink Floyd with a lot of genius hypnotic tunes.
Now two years after their debut BRUJAS DEL SOL is back with a bang! ‘Starquake’ will be released end of 2015 over H42 Records. Brujas Del Sols ADRIAN is also known as the new guitarist of Lo-Pan! Once again Alex fromwww.zeichentier.comis responsible for the artwork!
Bio: Old bandmates Adrian Zambrano (guitar, vocals) and Derrick White (bass) formed BRUJAS DEL SOL with drummer Jason Green in the fall of 2011. Instead of pre-writing songs, the band took a more organic approach; recording every improvised jam session. After a few months, hours of musical ideas were captured. Listening back, the band picked a couple of favourites which became their first songs. A variety of musical ingredients began to melt into a sound of their own; hypnotic krautrock, fuzz-laden blues grooves, swirling surf-rock, ambient drones all found their ways into songs.
During the spring of 2012 the band hit Electraplay Studios which yielded two EPs-Moonliner volumes 1 & 2. As the writing process became more demanding, the band wanted to add a keyboardist. Ryan Stivers joined that summer and the band went forth composing music for the last installation in their Moonliner trilogy.
While spending most of the summer writing and opening for national acts A Place to Bury Strangers and Black moth super rainbow, Moonliner volume 3 was recorded and finally released December of 2012.
Band: Adrian – High end/Vocals Derrick – Low end Cody – Percussion Ryan – Keyboards
Posted in Whathaveyou on October 19th, 2015 by H.P. Taskmaster
As they make ready to move beyond their 2014 full-length debut, Sateen (review here), Ohio heavy rockers Electric Citizen are looking to change their lineup. The Cincinnati four-piece are fresh off a tour with Pentagram and Satan’s Satyrs, and by all accounts I’ve seen destroyed minds and reaped souls earlier this year at fests like Roadburn and Psycho California, and heading into the New Year, they’re hoping to add a full-time keyboardist.
Their preferences are reasonable: Live near Cincinnati, be able to tour. As criteria go, that’s probably not the worst, and frankly, even if you’re not near Cincinnati now, joining Electric Citizen isn’t the worst advertisement I’ve ever heard for moving. Not telling you to quit your dayjob before you tryout or anything — not telling you not to do that either; live on the edge! — but Electric Citizen, aside from positioning themselves as forerunners of American upbeat Sabbathery with Sateen, have at this point a backlog of badass tours under their collective belt, and I see nothing that would stop them from adding to that next year, especially as they’re specifically seeking someone who can hit the road. Shit, they’re signed to RidingEasy. That’s enough of a draw right there.
I don’t imagine it’ll be long before they find somebody, but they’ve given out their contact info for anyone interested in applying — they’ll be accepting curricula vitae until an unspecified date — and if you think you’re a fit, what the hell? Worth a shot for sure:
We’ve worked with some stellar keys players in the studio, but we’ve decided it’s time to look for one that can tour. Laura would LOVE to add another girl to the band, but ALL inquiries are welcome. Must be able to tour for a good chunk of 2016. Living near Cincinnati, Ohio is a bonus. We have a Nord Electro 3 ready for use.
Those interested should contact: email@example.com
Posted in Whathaveyou on June 11th, 2015 by H.P. Taskmaster
In conjunction with Hells Headbangers and its Hells Headbash, Shadow Kingdom Records has announced the inaugural Shadow Kingdom Riot for Sept. 3 at the Agora in Cleveland. Night Magic, which is an extension of defunct doomersHour of 13, will play, as well as Tombstalker, Coven, Iron Man, Venomous Maximus and Temple of Void on a bill thoroughly doomed and fitting the label’s passion for underground heavy and classic metal. They’re saying it’ll be an annual thing, and if that turns out to be the case, Shadow Kingdom are already giving themselves something tough to outdo for a one-night lineup.
The PR wire has knowledge it wants to share:
Shadow Kingdom Records Announces First Annual ‘Shadow Kingdom Riot’ Showcase
Venomous Maximus to Headline Raucous Lineup of Diverse Underground Metal September 3 in Cleveland
Acclaimed, independent underground heavy metal label SHADOW KINGDOM RECORDS is proud to announce its first label showcase, set to take place September 3, 2015 at Cleveland, Ohio’s Agora Ballroom. Dubbed the Shadow Kingdom Riot, the special event will spotlight the label’s eclectic roster of true heavy metal acts, from new signings — such as VENOMOUS MAXIMUS and TOMBSTALKER — to bands that date back to the label’s launch in 2007, like Maryland’s heralded IRON MAN.
Tickets for the Shadow Kingdom Riot are $15 and are on sale now at this location. The showcase is presented in part with Shadow Kingdom’s sister label, Hells Headbangers and that label’s second 3-day annual anniversary fest, Hells Headbash (see details here), slated for September 4-6, also at the Agora Ballroom. Metal fans who purchase a 3 day pass to the Hell’s Headbash event will receive FREE admission to the Shadow Kingdom Riot show on September 3, as part of the package.
The Shadow Kingdom Riot lineup and schedule will feature the following Shadow Kingdom Records artists, performing as follows:
6 PM: TOMBSTALKER (Black/Death Metal) 7 PM: TEMPLE OF VOID (Doom / Death Metal) 8 PM: COVEN (Classic Heavy / Doom Metal) 9 PM: NIGHT MAGIC (aka HOUR OF 13 / Doom Metal) 10 PM: IRON MAN (Doom Metal) 11 PM: VENOMOUS MAXIMUS (Dark Heavy Metal)
Posted in Whathaveyou on June 3rd, 2015 by H.P. Taskmaster
There’s no keeping up with Fistula. They’re on pills. Those who aren’t can’t hope to compete. The prolific Ohioan sludge degenerates released two singles this past weekend. They’re one of few bands in the world who could cover GG Allin and have it make any kind of sense, and both Ignorant Weapon and Never Trust a Cop are available now through PATAC Records, and not that Fistula need my or anyone else’s endorsement or anything, but they’re punk rock’s fucked up older brother and everything they do reinforces that fact. Look out for their next 7″, which has probably already been released.
Info, audio, changing lineups, DIY fuckall:
“FISTULA releases two new 7? vinyl EPs! IGNORANT WEAPON & NEVER TRUST A COP/LADIES IN LEATHER
Akron, Ohio sludge cretins FISTULA release two new 7?s on Saturday, May 30 2015.
If you’re looking for the crazy green splatter vinyl, only 100 were made and will not last long. First come, first served, no reserves. These tracks were recorded during the same session as our VERMIN PROLIFICUS. Four tracks of pissed off sludgecore, two originals plus our renditions of FANG’s “Destroy The Handicapped” and GG Allin & ANTiSEEN’s “I Love Nothing.”
Copies are available in the USA direct from the band’s distro PATAC Records, Bad Road in Russia & Let The Bastards Grind in the UK.
Limited to 500 copies. 100 on Green/Black splattered vinyl and 400 on standard black. Features artwork by Sinister Illustration (Christopher Parry from DAMAD), center labels by Jann/Skin Coffin and back artwork by Scott Stearns/Wizardfool. Recorded by Eric Braunschweiger, vinyl mastering/lacquers cut by Dave Eck/Lucky Lacquers.
Tracklist: Wood Glue Destroy The Handicapped (Fang cover) This Is Sodom, Not LA I Love Nothing (GG Allin + ANTiSEEN cover)
This four track EP was recorded during the VERMIN PROLIFICUS session in 2013. The final recording from the ‘Boston’ lineup. Two originals, two punk rock covers. Songs about huffing glue, setting fires and dope-dealing piece of shit rapists. It is loud, it is pissed off… it is anti-fucking-everything… get assaulted by IGNORANT WEAPON.
‘Never Trust A Cop’ features Alex Smith from Weymouth noise rockers NIGHTSTICK on bass for the title track. ‘Ladies in Leather’ was originally by SST recording artists OVERKILL LA, this track is dedicated to Felice Lococo and features original art by Maegan Lemay.
Posted in Whathaveyou on June 3rd, 2015 by H.P. Taskmaster
Much happening in the cosmic realm in which EYE dwell — a mysterious place known as Columbus, Ohio — up to and including their forthcoming third album, yet untitled, getting closer to being done. Maybe you took the time to listen to EYE‘s stunning 2013 outing, Second Sight (review here), and maybe you didn’t, but if not, it’s your loss. That record brimmed with complexity in service to an overarching gorgeous wash of guitar and synth and atmosphere-defying rhythmic drive, and to say I’m very much looking forward to the follow-up, quite frankly, would be underselling it.
EYE‘s third, whatever they decide to call it, was reportedly done back in January when it was included in the 2015 Most Anticipated Albums list (remember that thing? God damn, it was huge), so presumably the time since has been spent mixing, mastering, tweaking this or that to get the balance together. Or maybe they went back and made it again, I don’t really know. Either way, if you want to keep up with EYE‘s doings from here on out, they’ve made it that much easier with a new website and Twitter handle, both of which are linked under the update they published.
New album news
Our third record is nearing completion! The currently untitled album will also be the first to capture our new bass player Michael Sliclen on an album and catalogues three shorter songs that we’ve been performing recently at shows; Odyssey, Searching and Death To The Slave Master.
The epic As Sure As The Sun, which has not yet been performed live, will begin as the last track of side one and continues as the entirety of side two.
Side one was recorded at Smitty’s home studio and As Sure As The Sun was recorded at Relay, both in Columbus Ohio. Mixing, mastering, pressing and artwork are still tbd but we expect a late summer early fall release.
We have been in and out of the studio due to going down to Levitation fest and ripping a few dates. In the time we were finishing the 2XLP upcoming release, we wound up writing and recording a brand new full length LP. SO, in the VERY near future we will be releasing ultimately a 3XLP of new music from EYE.
We have been having a BLAST in the studio during the entire process. It’s all over the map musically, but without a doubt the spaciest overthrow we have summoned yet. By early Summer, we will be releasing it digitally so the wait will be no longer for ALL of those who have been VERY patient. We’re sincerely grateful for the many emails and kind messages inquiring. We’re a total DIY unit, so it will take us a bit longer, but hopefully for you, worth the wait. Thanks to everyone listening. Cheers-EYE
Posted in Radio on May 29th, 2015 by H.P. Taskmaster
I didn’t want to look, but in the end curiosity won out. April 17 was the date of the last batch of radio adds, so yes, it’s been more than a month. Not for lack of stuff coming either, just the want of time. As such, and not knowing when I might get the opportunity to do something like this again, I’ve got 31 records added to the playlist this afternoon — you can see them all at the Playlist and Updates Page — and as you can tell both by the below and by that list, it’s a mix of bigger and up and coming names, a couple older records, and a few singles and other things maybe not as widely available. If you find something you dig, then killer. If not, there’s always next month. Ha.
The Obelisk Radio adds for May 29, 2015:
All Them Witches, A Sweet Release
It is getting increasingly difficult to chart the discography of Nashville’s All Them Witches, between self-released live outings, hosted bootlegs, represses, physical vs. digital releases and one-offs like A Sweet Release or their last EP, 2014’s Effervescent (review here), but something tells me they like it that way. A Sweet Release was issued as something of a surprise on April 20, and collects mostly live jams that, though they listed it as an EP, actually runs longer than either of their two full-lengths, Lightning at the Door (review here) or their debut, Our Mother Electricity (review here). At 58 minutes, the five-track outing mostly invites the listener to get immersed. That is, it’s less about songs and more about jams, and that’s true from the two-movement-split-by-manipulated-stage-banter exploration of “It Moved We Moved/Almost There/A Spider’s Gift,” the opener and longest cut included at 24 minutes (immediate points), to the quiet guitar noodling of two-minute closer “Sweet Bear.” In between, extended pieces like “Howdy Hoodee Slank” and “Interstate Bleach Party” (both over 11 minutes) find the four-piece of bassist/vocalist Michael Parks, Jr., guitarist Ben McLeod, Fender Rhodes-ist Allan van Cleave and drummer Rob Staebler comfortable and well in their element, their onstage chemistry having developed them into one of the most promising acts in American heavy rock — yes, I mean that — while “El Paso Sleep on It” proves a singular highlight with its laid back unfolding, the interplay of guitar and bass begging further development into what might on a regular release be called a song. A holdover to their third full-length? Maybe, but that doesn’t stop A Sweet Release from living up to its name, and for the already converted, new All Them Witches of any sort is unlikely to rouse complaint, the band having established in their early going that anything can and might happen both in terms of what they put out and what sonics they set in motion on their releases. All Them Witches on Thee Facebooks, on Bandcamp.
Black Mare & Lycia, Low Crimes/Silver Leaf Split
L.A.-based vocalist Sera Timms, known for her work in Black Math Horseman and Ides of Gemini and who also has a full-length due this year for the Gary Arce collaboration Zun, is the sole driving force behind Black Mare, and the otherworldly transit of “Low Crimes” makes a worthy answer to her 2013 full-length under the moniker, Field of the Host (review here), even if it is just one song. For this new Magic Bullet Records split, she works with bandmates from Ides of Gemini and MGR and partners with Lycia on the B-side, long-running Arizona outfit Lycia offer a sampling of their darkened atmospherics on “Silver Leaf,” holding to an edge of gothic drama in their spoken word vocals but setting it to a straightforward, near-minimal rhythm for a feel distinctly American. By its very nature, it’s a quick release, over in about 11 minutes, but both acts offer ethereal moodiness that seems to effect the listener even after play as ceased, the waves of electric guitar and tom rolls in “Low Crimes,” not to mention Timms‘ own far-back vocals, and the interplay of voices and subtle backing chimes and other elements of “Silver Leaf” complementing each other in a way that seems to enhance the enjoyment of both. Black Mare on Thee Facebooks, Lycia on Thee Facebooks, Magic Bullet Records on Bandcamp.
Bell Witch, Four Phantoms
For a release as outwardly heavy as Bell Witch‘s Four Phantoms (on Profound Lore) is, the follow-up to 2012’s Longing (review here) has surprised all the more because its primary impression isn’t of aural, but of emotional weight. The four-track, 66-minute offering plays two 22-minute cuts off two 10-minute cuts, and there are themes running between them alternating between “Suffocation” and “Judgement,” but for all the harsh death-doom crawl that a song like opener “Suffocation, a Burial: I – Awoken (Breathing Teeth)” has, and for all its growling lurch, the woeful riffing and mourning leads from bassist Dylan Desmond (also Samothrace) set a resonant, melancholic course that the album continues to develop throughout, hitting a particularly striking moment when it brings in Erik Moggridge (also known as Aerial Ruin) with Desmond and drummer/vocalist Adrian Guerra (Sod Hauler) for a guest vocal spot on third track “Suffocation, a Drowning: II – Somniloquy (The Distance of Forever)” that’s as gorgeous as its chanting is dark. Minimalist stretches in “Judgement, in Fire: I – Garden (Of Blooming Ash)” only add to the spaciousness of Four Phantoms‘ overall feel, and closer “Judgement, in Air: II – Felled (In Howling Wind)” seems not to deconstruct so much as to will itself into an oblivion of a plod, bass aping a guitar lead over wide-gap crashes in true dirge fashion. It’s a no-doubter to feature on many year-end lists, but however loud the hype gets, the genuine expressiveness Bell Witch bring to a sound usually thought of either as cold or overly theatrical puts them in a class of modern doom alongside their labelmates in Pallbearer and Loss. Bell Witch on Thee Facebooks, Profound Lore on Bandcamp.
Lasers from Atlantis, Lasers from Atlantis
Running a line somewhere between extendo-heavy-psych jamming and more concrete heavy rock and doom impulses, London foggers Lasers from Atlantis seem more than content to play one off the other on this Extreme Ultimate issue of their self-titled, originally recorded in 2010. Classic prog and kraut-ish space idolatry rules the day on “Reverb City,” down to the Hawkwindy thrust out of the atmosphere, but by the time they get down to “Protectress,” track five of the total six, they’ve completely given over to low-end rumble, feedback viciousness and a still-swinging-but-much-much-darker groove. That might make the middle two cuts, “Illuminated Trail” and “Hopi Lori,” the most interesting of the bunch, and it’s especially on the latter where the two sides seem to meet, but it’s in “Hopi Lori” even more that the transition seems to take place and the band — Volkan Kiziltug and Aubrey Jackson Blake on synth, Theo Alexander on guitar/vocals and Pat Oddi on drums — make the turn toward consuming darkness that continues to ooze forth in “Protectress” and closer “Slaves,” which though it’s somewhat faster than the cut before it, is pure, high-order psychedelic doom. A band so willing to let go of their progressive edge when it suits them is a rare thing, which makes it a bummer that Lasers from Atlantis seem to have called it quits, but if it’s a posthumous release, their self-titled at least shows they were up to something interesting in their time together. Lasers from Atlantis on Thee Facebooks, Extreme Ultimate on Bandcamp.
Contra, Son of Beast
Son of Beast is the debut offering from Cleveland trio Contra, and its four tracks could just as easily constitute a demo or an EP, whatever you want to call it, but with the lineup of guitarist Chris Chiera (ex-Sofa King Killer), bassist Adam Horwatt and drummer Aaron Brittain (Fistula), they come across as having a solid idea of what they’re looking for sound-wise, and their first outing is a solid one. Production is clean but not overly so on the three shorter pieces, and the seven-minute closer “Humanoid Therapy” follows-up on the mid-paced stonerism of “Snake Goat” by alternating from slower push to a more rushing pace. Instrumental for the duration, one can hear the places a vocalist might go on “Bottom Feeder” or “100 Hand Slap,” but Contra — who apparently owned both regular NES and Super Nintendo — don’t overstay their welcome either, proving cohesive in their fuzz, schooled in their groove and ready to start their development as a band, wherever it might take them. Contra on Thee Facebooks, on Bandcamp.
I’m going to try very, very hard not to let it go so long before the next round of adds. When I fail at that, you can feel free to call me out on it. In the meantime, to see all 31 releases that joined the playlist this afternoon, hit up The Obelisk Radio Playlist and Updates Page. It’s a good time.
Posted in Whathaveyou on April 21st, 2015 by H.P. Taskmaster
Ohio sludgers Beneath Oblivion have an assortment of releases planned for the rest of 2015, including splits with Fister and Before the Eyewall, a new LP to be recorded in the Fall with none other than Billy (frickin’) Anderson and, to coincide with their upcoming round of tour dates next month, a two-song tape limited to a scant, probably-already-accounted-for 50 copies, self-recorded and probably unlikely to see repress. Sounds like a good time to me. The tour is 19 dates, so it’s hard to imagine they’ll return with any tapes left, and not that their omega-toned extremity really needs much of a sell other than its own viciousness, but a new tape never hurt anybody either.
The band sent the following dates and info down the PR wire, so have at it:
Cincinnati, Ohio’s longtime amp wielders Beneath Oblivion are set to embark on a 19-date tour in less than 2 weeks from now. Everything in their path along the Eastern Seaboard will be crushed with the band’s unique blend of sludge and funeral doom.
Beneath Oblivion has been described as a lurching, bleak soul searching type of experience that carries many of the old-school doom elements combined with extreme metal and punk, but with a fresh spin that thinks outside of the box. A behemoth of screechy and sometimes guttural vocals, massive guitars, pounding drums, and sludgy bass. Formed in 2003 and going strong. Beneath Oblivion are a rust belt doom band in the truest sense.
For this tour only, the band DIY recorded two songs for a release limited to only 50 cassettes which can’t be purchased anywhere other than one of these shows. In the next couple months Pirate Ship Records will be releasing a split 7″ with St. Louis sludge trio, Fister, a 10″ split with Before the Eyewall will come this summer, and Beneath Oblivion has plans to record a new full-length LP with Billy Anderson in the Autumn of this year.
Tour Dates: 05/04 – Cincinnati, OH – Rake’s End 05/05 – Pittsburgh, PA – the Smiling Moose 05/06 – Brooklyn, NY – The Acheron 05/07 – Worcester, MA – Ralph’s 05/08 – Boston, MA – O’Briens 05/09 – Salem, MA – Koto Lounge 05/10 – Portland, ME – Geno’s 05/11 – Burlington, VT – Nectars 05/12 – Wallingford, CT – Cherry Street Station 05/13 – Philadelphia, PA – Kung Fu Necktie 05/14 – Washington, DC – The Pinch 05/15 – Charlotte, NC – The Milestone 05/16 – Jacksonville, FL – Rain Dogs 05/17 – Gainesville, FL – 1982 Bar 05/18 – Valdosta, GA – Ashley Street Station 05/19 – Atlanta, GA – Atlanta Death Fest 05/20 – Raleigh, NC – Slim’s Downtown 05/21 – Richmond, VA – 25 Watt
Posted in Reviews on March 30th, 2015 by H.P. Taskmaster
I must be out of my damned mind. After wrapping up last year with a special feature comprising 50 reviews spread over five days, I’ve somehow decided that it’s not a bad way to do things. So here we are. It’s been three months, that’s a quarter of a year, so it seems only fair to have a Quarterly Review to catch up on some things that might otherwise have gone missed.
And that’s precisely what we’ll do. Between now and Friday, it’ll be 10 reviews per day, rounding up releases from the last couple months. Some are out now, some aren’t out yet, but it’s all recent one way or another. Like with the Last Licks 2014, I’ll be checking in each day as well. Should be fun to see how my mental status deteriorates over the course of the next few days, until my brains are little more than a stinky jelly dripping from out my ears on Friday. At least that’s how I remember it going last time.
So let’s go:
King Hitter, King Hitter
A North Carolina five-piece fronted by vocalist Karl Agell, best known as the frontman of Corrosion of Conformity for their 1991 Blind album – he’s also currently reviving that album live on stage with drummer Reed Mullin in C.O.C. Blind – the new outfit King Hitter reunites the singer with his former Leadfoot bandmate, guitarist Scott Little, and they test the waters with a five-track self-titled EP delivered via Candlelight Records. Crisply-produced, songs like “King Hitter” and “Feel No Pain” hit hard and gruff with just a touch of Southern heavy rock flair. The power of Agell’s voice is undiminished, but production is maybe too evident at times, and when they get down to the chugging “Suicide (Is the Retirement Plan,” politics meet personal perspective in a way that strikes deeper than might’ve been intended. Little and fellow guitarist Mike Brown, bassist Chuck Manning and drummer Jon Chambliss turn in worthy performances, but Agell’s command captures a good deal of the attention on this satisfying showcase of a songwriting process getting underway.
Because one invariably measures British anything in “waves,” we’ll put Oxford double-guitar five-some at the crest of the New Wave of British Burl. Omniscient is their third full-length behind 2013’s Horizontal Life and their 2010 debut, Forked Tongues (review here), and it arrives through Blindsight Records with all the brash Southern metal riffing and dudely bellow one might expect. Orange Goblin are an immediate name to drop in comparison to opener “Outlander,” but “Queen Reefer”’s quiet solo section adds breadth and the acoustic “Home,” the Clutchy “Night Bus Blues” and the stomping, subtle djentery of closer “Collapse of the Bison Lung” continue to reveal an extended palette. A richer listen than it might appear the first time through, Omniscient still revels in its heaviness on “Blue Snake Moan” and “Sway of the Tides,” etc., but changes like the tempo downshift in “Horizon” give fodder for repeat visits to Desert Storm’s howling third offering.
Welsh space rockers Sendelica feel out some pretty peaceful vibes on songs like “The Pillar of Delhi,” “Azoic” or the sweet-washing closer “The Hedge Witch” from their self-released cosmos-tripper Anima Mundi, but there’s no shortage of spaced-out push either in songs like the 12-minute jam “Master Benjamin Warned Young Albert Not to Step on the Uninsulated Air” and electronic-pulsing “Baalbek Stones.” An experimental spirit underlies each of the eight included instrumental cuts, elements like sax, synth, keyboards, theremin, flute and various effects intertwining throughout Anima Muni’s 54-minute sprawl. Quiet moments like “Azoic” work well, but I won’t take away from the buzzsaw tone or swing behind “The Breyr, the Taeogion and the Caethion” either. The truly fortunate aspect of Sendelica’s latest is that it flows between its individual pieces, putting the listener in a position of open-minded experience while working around and through various psychedelic impulses, carefully woven and balanced in the mix, but vibrant and exciting and loose-feeling just the same.
Of the 13 songs on Melbourne trio Drifter’s Desert Highways debut LP, Violent at Altitude, only four reach past the three-minute mark, and even most of those play off a fuzz-punk intensity, shades of Melvins weirdness and Nick Oliveri heavy punker charge showing up in cuts like “Cool Breeze” or the raw, open “Another Life.” Closer “So Long” is given another look from Drifter’s 2013 debut EP, Head (review here), which it also capped, but the feel across Violent at Altitude is that guitarist/vocalist Dan King, bassist/vocalist Troy Dawson and drummer/vocalist Dave Payne is exploring the place where grunge and punk met on pieces like “Bi Polar,” the relatively spacey “Devil Digger” and quick-blasting 1:45 rush of “Russian Roulette,” their tones mean and their attack primal in its overall affect in a way that belies the stylistic nuance at work throughout. You can listen on an analytical level or you can be steamrolled by “Drugs.” Your call. Either way, Drifter are gonna tear it up in accordance with the altitude they’ve apparently hit.
Sula Bassana’s performance at Roadburn 2014 was their first as a full band. The experimental psychedelic project of guitarist Dave “Sula Bassana” Schmidt (see also Electric Moon, Krautzone, Zone Six, Weltraumstaunen, etc.) came to life with his Electric Moon bandmates Komet Lulu on bass and Marcus Schnitzler on drums, as well as Zone Six’s Rainer Neeff on guitar, and the four jams of the live recording Live at Roadburn 2014 tell the tale brilliantly. Schmidt, who is quite simply among the foremost heavy psych jammers in the world, leads the four-piece through cascading movements, immersive and clear on record as they were in person, rich with a sense of improvised creation even if based on prior parts. Anything went, as the 18-minute “Dark Days” showcases here, with synth and guitar and heavy bass intertwining to a brilliant cosmic whole, Schnitzler’s drums holding the proceedings together wonderfully. Short at 50 minutes, it’s every bit as switched on as one might expect in a studio album from these players, blurring yet another line as they expand psych-rock consciousness.
To listen to opener “Still Alone” from Strange Here’s Minotauro Records raw second LP, II, one might expect that Alexander Scardavian (ex-Paul Chain) and Domenico “Dom” Lotito (ex-Hand of God) are presenting some loosely-swung classic doom, shades of Candlemass and Death SS filtered through heavy riffing and Scardavian’s gruff vocals, but that’s barely half the story. More is told by putting eight-minute tracks “Born to Lose” and “Black, Grey and White” next to each other, as they appear here. Following the opening duo of “Still Alone” and the echoing “Kiss of Worms,” the two longer cuts unveil a sound alternately diving into morose doomed march and spacious psychedelic flourish. That blend continues as the marching “Acid Rain” gives way to the acoustic/drone interplay of “Only If…”and comes to a head on closer “Shiftless,” a contrast of back-and-forth impulses played off each other throughout the 47-minute offering. There’s work to do bringing the sides together should Strange Here choose to go that route, though the lines drawn between make it that much easier to catch the listener off guard, which II just might.
Marked out by the jazzy noodling of “The Douche Bag Guru” and the funky bassline on “Drift,” the new self-titled EP from Dayton, Ohio, four-piece Once-Ler dates back a decade in some of its material, the track “Law Dog” having appeared on the band’s 2005 full-length, Entropy. It’s an unassuming rumble, sort of humbly produced for a garage-heavy feel, but the clarity of purpose in centerpiece “Swing the Leg”’s crashing progression is plain enough to hear, and opener “The Victim” is the longest cut at 6:43, earning immediate points. A prog-metal undertone in that track sets up some expectation that the EP veers quickly away from with “Drift,” but guitarist Burns, bassist Deininger, vocalist Reif and drummer Minarcek make a solid case despite the rough sonic edges in the recording. At 25 minutes, Once-Ler’s Once-Ler is enough to give an impression of where the band is headed and a demo-style look at what their progressive heavy rock has to offer.
Pummel, pummel, pummel. Vancouver trio Waingro debut at full-sprint with their 11-track/31-minute self-titled, which wastes little time shaking hands and goes immediately for the jugular on “Firebird.” About 10 seconds in, and the ride is underway with little letup to come as Waingro shove heavy tones along at breakneck speed on cuts like “Tailwind,” “Force Fed” and “Bathed in Tongues.” A remarkable sense of control lies beneath, the trio blending hardcore punk, heavy tones and modern metal twists fluidly as interludes like “Matador,” “St. Regis” and “Arboria” add complexity of method and “Rekall,” “Ride” and most especially side B cappers “Black Dawn” and “True North” brazenly craft something of Waingro’s own from familiar components. This album is self-released, but particularly if Waingro are able to tour at any length, it’s hard to imagine some imprint wouldn’t want to stand behind their brash but engaging thrust, professional already in its assured sensibility and rhythmic impact. The real question is whether they’ll wait around for anyone to notice or push ahead with the momentum they build here.
There’s little room left for frills amid the sludge-punk sneer of Motorgoat’s The Iron Hoof of Oppression, which makes no bones about its affinity for booze, metal and fuckall on songs like “Satanic Slacker,” which boasts the lines, “Trippin’ balls is total bliss/He don’t know what day it is,” and so on. Obviously there’s a humor element to “Revenge of the Towndrunk” and “No Pants – No Problems,” but the German four-piece have a sincere vibe as well as they recount loser tales in a viciously-toned punk-metal spirit, less tune-in-drop-out than tune-out-drop-tune, but it turns out heavy either way. Cohesive in spite of its stated penchant for chaos, The Iron Hoof of Oppression offers partytime disaffection that’s so prevalent it might as well be post-modern. After the world has ended, there’s nothing left to do but dance, and Motorgoat seem (mal)content to let their own hooves stomp the floor. An album that gets better when you read the lyrics. Don’t be fooled by how dumb they seem to be calling themselves.
The tell? The tell is the scream just before North Carolina foursome The Seduction move into the bouncing bridge on “Volga,” which launches their Mechanical Pig Records debut, You Catch Fire. From there, it’s pretty easy to hear the metallic vibe beneath their stoner-punk aesthetic. It comes up again in the breakdown for the later “Hell on Two Wheels,” but it’s there anyway, adding an aggressive edge to the record, which at 53 minutes has plenty of room for the breadth of the rocking highlight centerpiece “Flavor of the Weak” or the depth-charge of the penultimate “Starmageddon” – a few more screams there amid spit-out hardcore shouts – but it’s the meld of these with the party-pit vibe of “Daughter of a Holy Man” and “Irish Flu” that makes You Catch Fire effective in taking cues from some of the West Coast’s heavy methods – some Red Fang, some Queens of the Stone Age — and presenting them with a definitively East Coast punch.