Olde to Release Temple CD on Salt of the Earth

Posted in Whathaveyou on October 9th, 2017 by JJ Koczan

olde

I have on a good many occasions made my feelings known about the compact disc as a format. I’m a fan. Not that I don’t enjoy spending the occasional day listening to vinyl records, but if I’m reaching for physical media, I generally feel way less neurotic about handling even the flimsiest of digipaks before I do the fragile, so-easily-bent corners of even the sturdiest of gatefold LPs. Plus they’re cheaper. Not as cheap as tapes, which are also cool, but still. I’m not going to say a bad word about the vinyl resurgence, because it’s helped a lot of really good music find an entire generation’s worth of ears at this point and of course that’s amazing; I guess it’s just the era I was born into was of the CD, and at this point, while I have a decent amount of 12″ and 7″ and 10″ platters around, the CD is what my archive is based around. It is my format of record.

Why am I going through all of this again? Because I’m glad to see that with an upcoming of-course-gorgeous LP through STB Records and a cassette through Medusa Crush Recordings that also looks pretty rad, Toronto noisemakers Olde will release a CD of their 2017 album, Temple (review here), through Salt of the Earth Records. Nice to not have one’s preferred format left out in the cold, and all the better since it looks like we might get some extra tracks with this version too.

Here’s the announcement from Salt of the Earth:

olde temple

Olde – Temple – Salt of the Earth

SALT OF THE EARTH RECORDS is rabidly excited to announce the signing of Toronto, Canada’s OLDE.

With the impending vinyl release of their second full length record, “Temple”, through STB Records, and a release on cassette through Medusa Crush Recordings, OLDE sought a home for the CD release of this beastly album. SALT OF THE EARTH RECORDS was a perfect fit.

This special edition CD digipack version of OLDE’s much anticipated “Temple” record will be the first edition of the release to feature all the songs written and recorded for the “Temple” recording sessions – a definitive version of the album presented as it was originally conceived and featuring expanded artwork. These additional tracks really contribute to the overall sonic gravity of the album, making this an essential release for fans of the band. Stick this in your CD player, turn it all the way up, and let the waves of heavy crush you…come worship at OLDE’s “Temple”.

Coming soon to SALT OF THE EARTH RECORDS.

OLDE is:
Vocals- Doug McLarty
Guitars- Greg Dawson and Chris “Hippy” Hughes
Drums- Ryan Aubin
Bass- Cory McCallum

https://www.facebook.com/oldedoom/
https://oldedoom.bandcamp.com/releases
https://www.facebook.com/SaltOfTheEarthRec/
http://www.saltoftheearthrecords.com
http://stbrecords.bigcartel.com
https://www.facebook.com/STB-Records-471228012921184/
http://medusacrushrecs.storenvy.com/
https://medusacrushrecordings.bandcamp.com/

Olde, Temple (2017)

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Quarterly Review: The Necromancers, The Asound & Intercourse, Bohr, Strobe, Astrosaur, Sun Q, Holy Mount, Sum of R, IIVII, Faces of the Bog

Posted in Reviews on September 25th, 2017 by JJ Koczan

the obelisk quarterly review

The season is changing here in the Northeastern part of the US. Leaves have just barely started to change, and the summertime haze that settles over the region for for the better parts of June, July and August has largely dissipated. It’s getting to be hoodie weather after the sun goes down. This past weekend was the equinox. All of this can only mean it’s time for another Quarterly Review — this one spanning a full Monday-to-Monday week’s worth of writeups. That’s right. 60 albums between now and a week from today. It’s going to be a genuine challenge to get through it all, but I’m (reasonably) confident we’ll get there and that when we’re on the other side, it will have been completely worth the lengthy trip to get there. Hell, you know the drill by now. Let’s not waste any time and get to it, shall we?

Quarterly Review #1-10:

The Necromancers, Servants of the Salem Girl

the-necromancers-servants-of-the-salem-girl

A noteworthy debut from the Poitier, France-based four-piece The Necromancers, whose coming has been much heralded owing in no small part to a release through Ripple Music, the six-track/41-minute Servants of the Salem Girl lumbers through doom and cultish heavy rock with likewise ease, shifting itself fluidly between the two sides on extended early cuts like opener “Salem Girl Part I” and the nine-minute “Lucifer’s Kin,” which gets especially Sabbathian in its roll later on. The album’s midsection, with the shorter cuts “Black Marble House” (video premiere here) and “Necromancers,” continues the flow with a general uptick of pace and ties together with the opening salvo via the burly vocals of guitarist Tom, the solo work of Rob on lead guitar, and the adaptable groove from bassist Simon and drummer Ben, and as the penultimate “Grand Orbiter” engages moody spaciousness, it does so with a refusal to commit to one side or the other that makes it a highlight of the album as a whole. The Necromancers finish contrasting rhythmic tension and payoff nod on “Salem Girl Part II,” having long since thoroughly earned their hype through songwriting and immediately distinct sonic persona. There’s growth to do in melodicism, but for being “servants,” The Necromancers show an awful lot of command in structure and style.

The Necromancers on Thee Facebooks

Ripple Music website

 

The Asound & Intercourse, Split 7″

the asound intercourse split

Noise is the order of things on the Tsuguri Records split 7” between New Haven, Connecticut’s good-luck-Googling aggressives Intercourse and North Carolinian sludge rockers The Asound. Each band offers a two-song showcase of their wares, with Intercourse blasting short jabs of post-hardcore/noise rock angularity on “Too Fucked to Yiff” and “Corricidin is a Helluva Drug” and The Asound bringing a more melodic heavy rock swing to “Slave to the Saints” while saving a more galloping charge for “Human for Human.” It’s a quick sampling, of course, and “Slave to the Saints” is the relative epic inclusion as the only one over three minutes long – it goes to 4:20, naturally – but boasts a surprisingly professional production from The Asound and an unhinged vibe from Intercourse that meets them head on in a way both competitive and complementary to the aggression of “Human for Human.” Fodder for the bands’ merch tables in its limited-to-300, one-time-only pressing, but there’s hardly anything wrong with that. All the more worth grabbing it if you can, while you can.

The Asound on Thee Facebooks

Intercourse on Thee Facebooks

Tsuguri Records on Thee Facebooks

 

Bohr, Bohr

bohr bohr

Officially called Self-Title, this two-song outing released by Tandang Records and BTNKcllctv serves as the first release from Malaysia’s Bohr, and with shouts and growls duking it out over massive plodding tones on opener “Voyager,” they seem to take position right away in the post-Conan verve of megadoom. Peppered-in lead work showcases some welcome nuance of personality, but it’s the second track “Suria” that trips into more surprising terrain, with a faster tempo and something of a letup in thickness, allowing for a more rocking feel, still met with shouted vocals but hinting at more of a melodic reach nonetheless. The shift might be awkward in the context of a full-length, but on a debut single/EP, it works just fine to demonstrate what may or may not be a nascent breadth in Bohr’s approach. They finish “Suria” with hints of more to come in a plotted guitar lead and are done in about 10 minutes, having piqued interest with two disparate tracks that leave one to wonder what other tricks might be up their collective sleeve.

Bohr on Thee Facebooks

Tandang Records on Bandcamp

BTNKcllctv on Bandcamp

 

Strobe, Bunker Sessions

strobe bunker sessions

It’s worth noting outright that Strobe’s Bunker Sessions was recorded in 1994. Not because it sounds dated, but just the opposite. The Sulatron Records release from the under-exposed UK psychedelic rockers finds them jamming out in live-in-studio fashion, and if you’d told me with no other context that the resultant six-track/40-minute long-player was put to tape two months ago, I’d absolutely have believed it. This would’ve been the era of their 1994 third album, The Circle Never Ends, and while some can hear some relation between that and Bunker Sessions in the shimmering lead and warm underscoring basslines of 10-minute opener and longest track (immediate points) “Sun Birth,” the drift in “Chameleon Earth,” synth-laden space rock meandering of “Opium Dreams” and cymbal-wash-into-distortion-wash of closer “Sun Death” are on a wavelength of their own. It’s something of a curio release – a “lost album” – but it’s also bound to turn some heads onto how ahead of their time Stobe were in the ‘90s, and maybe we’ll get lucky and Sulatron will use it to kick off a full series of convenient LP reissues.

Sulatron Records on Thee Facebooks

Sulatron Records webstore

 

Astrosaur, Fade In / Space Out

astrosaur-fade-in-space-out

While their moniker brings to mind pure stoner idolatry, Oslo instrumentalists Astrosaur acquit themselves toward more progressive fare with Fade In // Space Out, their Bad Vibes Records debut album, finding open spaces in bookending extended opener “Necronauts” and the dramatic shift between droning experimentalism and weighted lumber of the closing title-track even as middle cuts “Space Mountain,” “Yugen” and “Fishing for Kraken” balance with fits of driving progressive metallurgy. Comprised of Eirik Kråkenes, Steinar Glas and Jonatan Eikum, Astrosaur do get fuzzy for a bit on “Yugen,” but by the time they’re there, they’ve already space-doom-jazzed their way through such a vast aesthetic swath that it becomes one more stylistic element in fair-enough play. Open in its structure and building to an affecting cacophony in its ending, Fade In // Space Out is defined in no small part by its stylistic ambition, but whether it’s in the head-spinning initial turns of “Fishing for Kraken” or the stretch of peaceful, wistful guitar after the seven-minute mark in “Necronauts,” that ambition is admirable multifaceted and wide-reaching.

Astrosaur on Thee Facebooks

Bad Vibes Records website

 

Sun Q, Charms

sun q charms

There’s an encouraging and decidedly pro-shop fullness of sound being proffered on Sun Q’s debut full-length, Charms, to match an immediate sense of songcraft and stylization that puts them somewhere between heavy psych and more driving fuzz rock. Vocalist Elena Tiron takes a forward position in opener “Petals and Thorns” over the briskly-captured tones from guitarist Ivan Shalimov and bassist Denis Baranov while drummer Pavel Poseluev pushes the proceedings along, and whether they’re bringing in Seva Timofeev’s Hammond for the subsequent bluesy vibing of “After This,” toying with pop playfulness on “Plankton,” giving Andrey Tanzu percussive room on “Dancing Souls” or going full-expanse on keyboard-laden centerpiece and aptly-titled longest cut “Space,” there’s purpose behind the variety on offer and Sun Q never seem to lose their sense of poise throughout. There are moments where the bite of the production hits a little deep – looking at you, “Plankton” – but especially as their debut, Charms lives up to the name it’s been given and establishes these Moscow natives as a presence with which to be reckoned as they move forward.

Sun Q on Thee Facebooks

Sun Q on Bandcamp

 

Holy Mount, The Drought

holy mount the drought

White Dwarf Records picked up what by my count is Holy Mount’s fourth full-length, The Drought, for a vinyl issue following the Toronto foursome’s self-release last year, and with the immersive, dense heavy psych nod of “Division,” it’s little wonder why. The seven-cut LP is the second to feature the lineup of Danijel Losic, Brandon McKenzie, Troy Legree and Clayton Churcher behind 2014’s VOL, and its moments of nuance like the synth at the outset of “Blackened Log” or the blend of tense riffing and post-The Heads shoegaze-style vocal chants on the markedly insistent highlight cut “Basalt” only further the reasoning. The penultimate “Blood Cove” returns some to of the ritual sense of “Division,” and The Drought’s titular finale pierces its own wash with a lead that makes its apex all the more resonant and dynamic. Not nearly as frenetic as its cover art would have you believe, the already-sold-out vinyl brims with a vibe of creative expansiveness, and Holy Mount feel right at home in its depths.

Holy Mount on Thee Facebooks

White Dwarf Records webstore

 

Sum of R, Orga

sum of r orga

Over the course of its near-hour runtime, Orga, the Czar of Crickets-issued third full-length from Bern, Switzerland, ambient outfit Sum of R deep-dives into droning atmospheric wash while effectively producing headphone-worthy depths and avoiding the trap of redundant minimalism. Chimes in a song like “Desmonema Annasethe” and ringing bells in “We Have to Mark this Entrance” give a feeling of lushness instead that serves the release well overall, and these details, nuances, take the place of what otherwise might be human voices coursing through the bleak mire of Orga’s progression. One might look to closing duo “Let us Begin with What We Do Not Want to Be” and “One After the Other” for some sense of hopefulness, and whether or not it’s actually there, it’s possible to read it into the overarching drone of the former and the percussive movement of the latter, but by then Sum of R have well set the mood in an abiding darkness, and that remains the prevailing vibe. Not quite dramatic or brooding in a human/emotional sense, Orga casts its drear in soundscapes of distant nighttime horizon.

Sum of R website

Czar of Crickets Productions website

 

IIVII, Invasion

iivii invasion

Noted graphic artist and post-metal songwriter Josh Graham – formerly visuals for Neurosis, but also art for Soundgarden and many others, as well as being known for his work with A Storm of Light and the woefully, vastly underrated Battle of Mice – makes his second ambient solo release in the form of IIVII’s Invasion on Belgian imprint Consouling Sounds. A soundtrack-ready feel pervades the nine tracks/44 minutes almost instantly and holds sway with opener “We Came Here from a Dying World (I)” finding complement in the centerpiece “Tomorrow You’ll be One of Us (II)” and a thematic capstone in closer “Sanctuary,” only furthering the sense of a narrative unfolding throughout. There are elements drawn in “Unclouded by Conscience” from the atmospheric and score work of Trent Reznor and/or Junkie XL, but Graham doesn’t necessarily part with the post-metallic sense of brooding that has defined much of his work even as the pairing of “We Live” and “You Die” late in the record loops its way to and through its dramatic apex. Obviously not going to be for everyone, but it does make a solid argument for Graham as a composer whose breadth is still revealing itself even after a career filled with landmarks across multiple media.

IIVII on Thee Facebooks

Consouling Sounds website

 

Faces of the Bog, Ego Death

faces-of-the-bog-ego-death

In some of their shifts between atmospheric patience and churning intensity – not to mention in the production of Sanford ParkerFaces of the Bog remind a bit of fellow Windy City residents Minsk on their DHU Records debut album, Ego Death, but prove ultimately more aggressive in the thrust of “Drifter in the Abyss” and the later stretch of “The Serpent and the Dagger,” on which the guitars of Mark Stephen Gizewski and Trey Wedgeworth (both also vocals) delve into Mastodonic leads near the finish to set up the transition into the 10:33 title-track, which begins with a wash of static noise before Paul Bradfield’s bass sets up the slow nod that holds sway and only grows bigger as it presses forward. That cut is one of two over the 10-minute mark, and the other, closer “Blue Lotus,” unfolds even more gradually and ventures into cleaner vocals presaged on “The Weaver” and elsewhere as it makes its way toward an album-payoff crescendo marked by drummer Danny Garcia’s thudding toms and a low end rumble that’s as much a presence unto itself as a harbinger of progression to come.

Faces of the Bog on Thee Facebooks

DHU Records webstore

 

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Biblical Premiere “The Last Thing I Remember”; The City that Always Sleeps Due Sept. 15

Posted in audiObelisk, Reviews on August 31st, 2017 by JJ Koczan

biblical

Toronto heavy space rockers Biblical release their new album, The City that Always Sleeps, Sept. 15 via Tee Pee Records. The band’s second full-length behind 2014’s Monsoon Season and a prior 2012 self-titled EP (review here), it is an eight-track/37-minute excursion that makes mincemeat of various heavy vibes, here explosive in its noise-punker tension, there serene with flowing piano and fluid rhythmic push, shifting into languid drifts of space-bound guitar, Floydian grace and Hawkwindian thrust meeting head-on with harsher impulses as led by vocalist/bassist Nick Sewell. Dynamic in sound and genuinely broad in its reach — that is to say, it’s not just heavy and heavier riffs; there’s real variety between songs like “Regicide” and “Gallows Humor” and “Spiral Staircase” and “House of Knives” — it lets pieces like the penultimate title-track hold a feeling of expanded consciousness and expanded spaciousness while still remaining relatively compact in the actual delivery.

That cut, on which Sewell‘s vocals emerge and recede like an effects-laden ghost of humanity washing up on some abandoned shore, find the bassist as well as guitarist/synthesist Andrew Scott, guitarist Matt McLaren and drummer Jay Anderson (also of Tee Pee labelmates Comet Control) easing their way toward a dramatic pinnacle that gives into feedback and keyboard textures before transitioning into closer “House of Knives,” touching off a subtle cast of progressive New Wave that’s foreshadowed in “Regicide.” No song passes the six-minute mark — the title-track is closest at 5:57 — but the amount of ground Biblical cover throughout is nothing short of staggering, and the confidence behind their delivery makes it so that wherever they tread in a given section, as shown in the one-two punch of blistering/howling opener “Mature Themes” and the drifting, dreamily cascading second track “The Last Thing I Remember,” they carry the listener with them on this outward journey of such righteously cosmic proportion.

biblical the city that always sleepsLikewise, no single song speaks for the entirety of The City that Always Sleeps. With its proggier initial bounce, harsher vocals, emergent wash of noise and antigravity-feedback finish, “House of Knives” might come close, but even that doesn’t necessarily convey the patient spirit Biblical demonstrate in “Fugue State” — arguably their most space-rocking installment, brilliantly paying off early drum tension with a triumphant second-half guitar solo from McLaren — or the hypnotic melodicism of “The Last Thing I Remember,” let alone the Farflung-style, could-go-anywhere desert jangle of “Gallows Humor,” on which a far-back vocal from Sewell echoes out behind a vast landscape of guitar, bass, drums and keys. It wouldn’t be right to call Biblical experimental, because while they may have those roots in their composition, they’re not just throwing ideas at the wall and seeing what sticks; their songs feel meticulously constructed, detailed down to the balance of the guitar squibblies, strum and keyboard notes that cap the aforementioned “Gallows Humor” and lead the way into the piano-over-waves start of “Spiral Staircase,” and that impression remains consistent no matter where an individual part finds them.

In fact, that might be what most ties the material together on The City that Always Sleeps and lets the album flow as a single work. While there’s no question Biblical convey an exploratory sensibility, their overarching purpose still lies in songwriting. It just so happens to be they’re capable of multi-tiered expression through that on a level that, simply put, not every band can or does reach. No doubt The City that Always Sleeps will fly under the radar for many. It’s not Tee Pee‘s highest-profile release of 2017 by any stretch, and it’s easy to imagine the complexity across its span requires a level of engagement and attention that not everyone will be willing to give it. That doesn’t mean Biblical aren’t having a conversation with their listeners here, just that it’s an intelligent one and that they’re asking questions in addition to laying out declarations in the songs. In other words, it’s worth staying awake for it. For those who do take the record on and give it its due, the results should be accordingly satisfying, as the band hone a sonic persona that is truly their own and offer a style bold in reach and tightly executed. There isn’t a moment here that doesn’t brim with the fullness of its realization.

Below, you can hear the premiere of “The Last Thing I Remember,” followed by some comment from Sewell on the track’s panned drums and inspirations. One more time, Biblical‘s The City that Always Sleeps is out Sept. 15 on Tee Pee.

Please enjoy:

Biblical, “The Last Thing I Remember” official premiere

Nick Sewell on “The Last Thing I Remember”:

“The Last Thing I Remember” ended up being one of my favorite songs on the record. But sometimes it’s tough to figure out what a song wants to be. We actually toyed with keeping this song instrumental, but once we got the idea for those creepy group vocals with the repeating delay we knew we had the missing ingredient — like a cult, chanting.

The mix was also challenge. With rock records, there’s a tendency to go with a very symmetrical mix where you double track everything and pan it out. While that can give you a solid mix, it can also be a little bland. We decided to take chance and hard pan the drums opposite those big minor chords to give it an early ’60s vibe. We’re all big David Axelrod fans, so that was a little nod to him.

Lyrically, the song is pretty much exactly what the title implies: rummaging through memories, picking up individual shards and holding them up to the light.

Biblical on Thee Facebooks

Biblical on Twitter

Biblical on Bandcamp

Biblical website

Tee Pee Records website

Tee Pee Records on Thee Facebooks

Tee Pee Records on Twitter

Tee Pee Records on Bandcamp

The City that Always Sleeps preorder at Tee Pee Records

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Biblical Post “Mature Themes” Video; The City that Always Sleeps out Sept. 15

Posted in Bootleg Theater on August 1st, 2017 by JJ Koczan

biblical-Photo-by-Nic-Poullot

Brash, heavy, and marked out with just a little bit of psychedelic depthmaking, Biblical‘s first revealed audio from their new album, The City that Always Sleeps bodes pretty well for the record due out in September on Tee Pee. It’s not without its atmosphere or a sense of movement, and to go with tube-amp howl, there’s a harsher bite to the vocals and a punch of fuzzy bass that, yeah, that’ll do nicely. The clip for “Mature Themes” isn’t much to look at really — some old manipulated footage out of either the educational public domain or propaganda or both — but in a brisk run of under three minutes, Biblical cast their lot in punker boogie and rhythmic jabbing, making for a combo that’s easy to dig but not without an edge when it hits your ear.

Does “Mature Themes” speak for the whole of The City that Always Sleeps? Beats me. As the album opener, it might, or it might just be an initial rocket-fire to bring the three-piece into the orbit where they dwell for the remainder. We’re still about a month and a half out from the release date — though much, much longer from when the record was first announced back in February — so I’d doubt this is the last preview we’ll get before it lands, but even if it is, it serves well to intrigue and leave its audience wanting more while also no doubt establishing a good deal of initial momentum to carry into the songs that follow. At least it seems that way to me. When it ends, I feel like I’m ready for the next song to start, in other words.

See if you feel the same. More info follows the clip, courtesy of the PR wire:

Biblical, “Mature Themes” official video

Toronto rock and roll band BIBLICAL will release its new album, The City that Always Sleeps, on September 15 via Tee Pee Records / New Damage. The band’s sophomore full-length is a deep dive into sludgy psych rock that explores spaces, textures and tones beyond the outer limits. In advance of the record’s release, BIBLICAL debuts the new single and video, “Mature Themes”, which vocalist / bassist Nick Sewell calls, “a meditation on buried things; buried ideas, buried feelings, buried people.”

In addition to Sewell, the quartet features in its ranks guitar / synth player Andrew Scott (both Scott and Sewell played with Death From Above drummer Sebastien Grainger in his Sebastien Grainger & The Mountains project), lead guitarist Matt Mclaren and drummer Jay Anderson (also of COMET CONTROL). Before and since the 2014 release of its full-length debut, Monsoon Season, BIBLICAL has toured and / or rocked stages alongside DFA1979, Eagles of Death Metal, Fucked Up, Kyuss Lives! and Red Fang among many more.

The City that Always Sleeps tracklisting:
1.) Mature Themes
2.) The Last Thing I Remember
3.) Regicide
4.) Fugue State
5.) Gallows Humor
6.) Spiral Staircase
7.) The City That Always Sleeps
8.) House of Knives

Biblical on Thee Facebooks

Biblical on Twitter

Biblical on Bandcamp

Biblical website

Tee Pee Records website

Tee Pee Records on Thee Facebooks

Tee Pee Records on Twitter

Tee Pee Records on Bandcamp

The City that Always Sleeps preorder at Tee Pee Records

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Quarterly Review: Ecstatic Vision, Norska, Bison, Valborg, Obelyskkh, Earth Electric, Olde, Deaf Radio, Saturndust, Birnam Wood

Posted in Reviews on July 14th, 2017 by JJ Koczan

quarterly-review-summer-2017

It turns out that, yes indeed, I will be able to add another day to the Quarterly Review this coming Monday. Stoked on that. Means I’ll be trying to cram another 10 reviews into this coming weekend, but that’s not exactly a hardship as I see it, and the stuff I have picked out for it is, frankly, as much of a bonus for me as it could possibly be for anyone else, so yeah, look out for that. In the meantime, we wrap the Monday-to-Friday span of 50 records today with another swath of what’s basically me doing favors for my ears, and I hope as always for yours as well. Let’s dig in.

Quarterly Review #41-50:

Ecstatic Vision, Raw Rock Fury

ecstatic-vision-raw-rock-fury

Hard touring and a blistering debut in 2015’s Sonic Praise (review here) quickly positioned Ecstatic Vision at the forefront of a Philadelphia-based mini-boom in heavy psych (see also: Ruby the Hatchet, Meddlesome Meddlesome Meddlsome Bells, and so on), and their Relapse-issued follow-up, Raw Rock Fury, only delves further into unmitigated cosmic swirl and space-rocking crotchal thrust. The now-foursome keep a steady ground in percussion and low end even as guitar, sax, synth and echoing vocals seem to push ever more far-out, and across the record’s four tracks – variously broken up across two sides – the band continue to stake out their claim on the righteously psychedelic, be it in the all-go momentum building of “You Got it (Or You Don’t)” or the more drifting opening movement of closer “Twinkling Eye.” Shit is trippy, son. With the echoing-from-the-depths shouts of Doug Sabolik cutting through, there’s still an edge of Eastern Seaboard intensity to Ecstatic Vision, but that only seems to make Raw Rock Fury live up to its title all the more. Still lots of potential here, but it’ll be their third record that tells the tale of whether they can truly conquer space itself.

Ecstatic Vision on Thee Facebooks

Ecstatic Vision at Relapse Records website

 

Norska, Too Many Winters

norska-too-many-winters

Issued through Brutal Panda, Too Many Winters is the second full-length from Portland five-piece Norska, and its six tracks/48 minutes would seem to pick up where Rwake left off in presenting a progressive vision of what might be called post-sludge. Following an engaging 2011 self-titled debut, songs like the title-track and “This is Why We Can’t Have Nice Things” churn and careen through Sourvein-style abrasion, vaguely Neurosis-style nod and, in the case of the latter or closer “Fire Patience Backbone,” soundscaping minimalism that, in the finale, is bookended by some of the record’s most intense push following opener “Samhain” and the subsequent “Eostre.” That salvo starts Too Many Winters with a deceptive amount of thrust, but even there atmosphere is central as it is to the outing as a whole, and a penultimate interlude in the 2:22 “Wave of Regrets” does well to underscore the point before the fading-in initial onslaught of “Fire Patience Backbone.” Having Aaron Rieseberg of YOB in the lineup with Jim Lowder, Dustin Rieseberg, Rob Shaffer and Jason Oswald no doubt draws eyes their way, but Norska’s sonic persona is distinct, immersive and individualized enough to stand on its own well beyond that pedigree.

Norska on Thee Facebooks

Norska at Brutal Panda Records website

 

Bison, You are Not the Ocean You are the Patient

bison-you-are-not-the-ocean-you-are-the-patient

Think about the two choices. You are Not the Ocean You are the Patient. Isn’t it the difference between something acting – i.e., an object – and something acted upon – i.e., a subject? As British Columbian heavy rockers Bison return after half a decade via Pelagic Records, their fourth album seems to find them trying to push beyond genre lines into a broader scope. “Until the Earth is Empty,” “Drunkard,” “Anti War” and “Raiigin” still have plenty of thrust, but the mood here is darker even than 2012’s Lovelessness found the four-piece, and “Tantrum” and closer “The Water Becomes Fire” bring out a more methodical take. It’s been 10 years since Bison issued their debut Earthbound EP and signed to Metal Blade for 2008’s Quiet Earth, and the pre-Red Fang party-ready heavy rock of those early works is long gone – one smiles to remember “These are My Dress Clothes” in the context of noise-rocking centerpiece “Kenopsia” here, the title of which refers to the emptiness of a formerly occupied space – but if the choice Bison are making is to place themselves on one side or the other of the subject/object divide, they prove to be way more ocean than patient in these songs.

Bison on Thee Facebooks

Bison at Pelagic Records website

 

Valborg, Endstrand

valborg-endstrand

With its churning, swirling waves of cosmic death, one almost expects Valborg’s Endstrand (on Lupus Lounge/Prophecy Productions) to be more self-indulgent than it is, but one of the German trio’s greatest assets across the 13-track/44-minute span of their sixth album is its immediacy. The longest song, “Stossfront,” doesn’t touch five minutes, and from the 2:14 opener “Jagen” onward, Valborg reenvision punk rock as a monstrous, consuming beast on songs like “Blut am Eisen,” “Beerdigungsmaschine,” “Alter,” “Atompetze” and closer “Exodus,” all the while meting put punishment after punishment of memorable post-industrial riffing on “Orbitalwaffe,” the crashing “Ave Maria” and the noise-soaked penultimate “Strahlung,” foreboding creeper atmospherics on “Bunkerluft” and “Geisterwürde,” and landmark, perfectly-paced chug on “Plasmabrand.” Extreme in its intent and impact, Endstrand brings rare clarity to an anti-genre vision of brutality as an art form, and at any given moment, its militaristic threat feels real, sincere and like an appropriate and righteous comment on the terrors of our age. Fucking a.

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Valborg at Prophecy Productions website

 

Obelyskkh, The Providence

obelyskkh-the-providence

Probably fair to call the current status of German post-doomers Obelyskkh in flux following the departure of guitarist Stuart West, but the band has said they’ll keep going and their fourth album, The Providence (on Exile on Mainstream) finds them capping one stage of their tenure with a decidedly forward-looking perspective. Its six-song/56-minute run borders on unmanageable, but that’s clearly the intent, and an air of proggy weirdness infects The Providence from the midsection of its opening title-track onward as the band – West, guitarist/vocalist Woitek Broslowski, bassist Seb Fischer and drummer Steve Paradise – tackle King Crimson rhythmic nuance en route to an effects-swirling vision of Lovecraftian doomadelia and massive roll. Cuts like “Raving Ones” and 13-minute side B leadoff “NYX” play out with a similarly deceptive multifaceted vibe, and by the time the penultimate “Aeons of Iconoclasm” bursts outward from its first half’s spacious minimalism into all-out High on Fire thrust ahead of the distortion-soaked churn of closer “Marzanna” – which ends, appropriately, with laughter topping residual effects noise – Obelyskkh make it abundantly clear anything goes. The most impressive aspect of The Providence is that Obelyskkh manage to control all this crunching chaos, and one hopes that as they continue forward, they’ll hold firm to that underlying consciousness.

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Exile on Mainstream Records website

 

Earth Electric, Vol. 1: Solar

earth-electric-vol-1-solar

Former Mayhem/Aura Noir guitarist Rune “Blasphemer” Ericksen leads breadth-minded Portuguese four-piece Earth Electric, and their devil-in-the-details Season of Mist debut, Vol. 1: Solar, runs a prog-metal gamut across a tightly-woven nine tracks and 35 minutes, Ericksen’s vocals and those of Carmen Susana Simões (Moonspell, ex-Ava Inferi) intertwine fluidly at the forefront of sharply angular riffing and rhythmic turns from bassist Alexandre Ribeiro and drummer Ricardo Martins. The organ-laced push of “Meditate Meditate” and “Solar” and the keyboard flourish of “Earthrise” (contributed by Dan Knight) draw as much from classic rock as metal, but the brew Earth Electric crafts from them is potent and very much the band’s own. “The Great Vast” and the shorter “Set Sail (Towards the Sun)” set up a direct flow into the title cut, and as one returns to Earth Electric for repeat listens, the actual scope of the album and the potential for how the band might continue to develop are likewise expansive, despite its many pulls into torrents of head-down riffing. Almost intimidating in its refusal to bow to genre.

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Earth Electric at Season of Mist website

 

Olde, Temple

olde-temple

After debuting in 2014 with I (review here), Toronto’s Olde return via STB Records with Temple, proffering sludge-via-doom vibes and a center of weighted tonality around which the rest of their aesthetic would seem to be built, vocalist Doug McLarty’s throaty growls alternately cutting through and buried by the riffs of guitarists Greg Dawson (also production) and Chris “Hippy” Hughes, the bass of Cory McCallum and the rolling crashes of drummer Ryan Aubin (also of Sons of Otis) on tightly constructed pieces like “Now I See You” and the tempo-shifting “Centrifugal Disaster,” which reminds by its finish that sometimes all you need is nod. Olde have more to offer than just that, of course, as the plodding spaciousness of “The Ghost Narrative” and the lumbering “Maelstrom” demonstrate, but even in the turns between crush and more open spaces of the centerpiece title-track and the drifting post-heavy rock of closer “Castaway,” the underlying focus is on capital-‘h’ Heavy, and Olde wield it as only experts can.

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STB Records webstore

 

Deaf Radio, Alarm

deaf radio alarm

Based in Athens and self-releasing their debut album, Alarm, in multiple vinyl editions, the four-piece of Panos Gklinos, Dimitris Sakellariou, Antonis Mantakas and George Diathesopoulos – collectively known as Deaf Radio – make no bones about operating in the post-Queens of the Stone Age/Them Crooked Vultures sphere of heavy rock. To their credit, the songwriting throughout “Aggravation,” “Vultures and Killers” and the careening “Revolving Doors” lives up to that standard, and though even the later “Oceanic Feeling” seems to be informed by the methods of Josh Homme, there’s a melodic identity there that belongs more to Deaf Radio as well, and keeping Alarm in mind as their first long-player, it’s that identity that one hopes the band will continue to develop. Rounding out side B with the howling guitar and Rated R fuzz of the six-minute “…And We Just Pressed the Alarm Button,” Deaf Radio build to a suitable payoff for the nine-track outing and affirm the aesthetic foundation they’ve laid for themselves.

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Deaf Radio on Bandcamp

 

Saturndust, RLC

saturndust rlc

The further you go into Saturndust’s 58-minute second LP RLC, the more there is to find. At any given moment, the São Paulo, Brazil-based outfit can be playing to impulses ranging from proggy space rock, righteously doomed tonal heft, aggressive blackened thrust or spacious post-sludge – in one song. Over longform cuts like “Negative-Parallel Dimensional,” “RLC,” “Time Lapse of Existence” and closer “Saturn 12.C,” the trio cast a wide-enough swath to be not quite genreless but genuinely multi-tiered and not necessarily as disjointed as one might expect in their feel, and though when they want to, they roll out massive, lumbering riffs, that’s only one tool in a full arsenal at their apparent disposal. What tie RLC together are the sure hands of guitarist/vocalist Felipe Dalam, bassist Guilherme Cabral and drummer Douglas Oliveira guiding it, so that when the galloping-triplet chug of “Time Lapse of Existence” hits, it works as much in contrast to the synth-loaded “Titan” preceding as in conjunction with it. Rather than summarize, “Saturn 12.C” pushes far out on a wash of Dalam’s keyboards before a wide-stomping apex, seeming to take Saturndust to their farthest point beyond the stratosphere yet. Safe travels and many happy returns.

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Saturndust on Bandcamp

 

Birnam Wood, Triumph of Death

birnam wood triumph of death

Massachusetts doomers Birnam Wood have two prior EPs under their collective belt in 2015’s Warlord and a 2014 self-titled, but the two-songer single Triumph of Death (kudos on the Hellhammer reference) is my first exposure to their blend of modern progressive metal melody and traditional doom. They roll out both in able fashion on the single’s uptempo opening title-track and follow with the BlackSabbath-“Black-Sabbath” sparse notemaking early in their own “Birnam Wood.” All told, Triumph of Death is only a little over nine minutes long, but it makes for an encouraging sampling of Birnam Wood’s wares all the same, and as Dylan Edwards, Adam McGrath, Shaun Anzalone and Matt Wagner shift into faster swing circa the eponymous tune’s solo-topped midpoint, they do so with a genuine sense of homage that does little to take away from the sense of individuality they’ve brought to the style even in this brief context. They call it stoner metal, and there’s something to that, but if we’re going on relative balance, Triumph of Death is more doom-stoner than stoner-doom, and it revels within that niche-within-a-niche-within-a-niche sensibility.

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Birnam Wood on Bandcamp

 

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Sierra Launch Headlining Tour this Weekend at Maryland Doom Fest

Posted in Whathaveyou on June 22nd, 2017 by JJ Koczan

Following a performance this weekend at Maryland Doom Fest 2017, Canadian heavy rockers Sierra will hit the road alongside Witches of God on their first headlining North American tour. The run makes a quick redirect after the fest date, taking the two bands across the US to the West Coast and setting them to the task of working their way back east before finishing out in Canada at the start of August. It’s a significant stretch of road-time, but hey, if you’re going to go, make the trip worthwhile. The gigs are presented by Retro Futurist, which released Sierra‘s 2016 single-song EP, 72, and booked by Hi-Wattage and Tone Deaf Touring.

Poster art by David Paul Seymour and dates follow, as posted by the band:

sierra tour

We are thrilled to announce our first ever HEADLINING North American tour this summer! Can’t wait to get back on the road. Our blood brothers from Los Angeles, Witches Of God, will be joining us on their first tour.

Thank to David Paul Seymour for the rad poster

See you all on the road!

Fri 6/23 – Frederick, MD The †maryland DOOM† Fest (Sierra only)
Sat 6/24 – Frederick, MD The †maryland DOOM† Fest (Witches of God only)
Mon 6/26 – St. Louis, MO – Fubar
Tue 6/27 – Wichita, KS – The Elbow Room
Wed 6/28 – Amarillo TX – Leftwoods
Thu 6/29 – Flagstaff, AZ – Green Room
Tue 7/4 – San Diego, CA – Brick by Brick
Wed 7/5 – Sacramento, CA – Starlite Lounge
Thu 7/6 – Los Angeles, CA – Airliner – Satanic Temple of LA (Witches of God only)
Fri 7/7 – Fresno, CA – Tioga Sequoia Brewing
Sat 7/8 – Yreka, CA – The Music Hall
Sun 7/9 – Seattle, WA – Funhouse
Tue 7/11 – Portland, OR – Kelly’s Olympian
Wed 7/12 – Boise, ID – Shredder
Thu 7/13 – CO Springs, CO – Black Sheep
Fri 7/14 – Denver, CO – Moon Room
Sat 7/15 – Kearney, NE – Gillies Live
Sun 7/16 – Des Moines, IA – Vaudeville Mews
Mon 7/17 – Kansas City, MO – Riot Room
Wed 7/19 – Detroit- Small’s
Thu 7/20 – Chicago, IL – Reggie’s Music Joint
Fri 7/21 – Huntington WV – V Club
Sat 7/22 – Philadelphia, PA – Fire
Sun 7/23 – Pittsburgh, PA – Howlers
Tue 7/25 – Brooklyn, NYC – Bar Matchless
Wed 7/26 – Somerville MA – PA’s Lounge
Sat 7/29 – Montreal QC Piranha
Fri 8/4 – Brantford, ON – Bramsterdam
Sat 8/5 – Waterloo, ON – Starlight

Help us spread the word and tag a friend who lives close to one of these cities.

There are a few more dates in the works. Stay tuned.

Sierra is:
Jason Taylor – Vocals, Guitars
Robbie Carvalho – Bass, Guitars, Piano

https://www.facebook.com/sierrariff/
https://sierrariff.bandcamp.com/
https://www.facebook.com/retrofuturistrecords
https://retrofuturist.bandcamp.com/
http://retrofuturistrecords.com/

Sierra, “72”

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Völur Announce Ancestors LP out June 2; New Song Streaming

Posted in Whathaveyou on May 9th, 2017 by JJ Koczan

volur

Toronto-based rune-doomers Völur are gearing up to release their second album, Ancestors, June 2 on Prophecy Productions. To herald its coming, the band has unveiled the 10-minute second track “Breaker of Skulls,” which as you can see below is one of the four included cuts, all of which features a “Breaker” of some kind or other.

Symmetry of presentation would seem to be something of a running theme for the band, which features Blood Ceremony‘s Lucas Gadke, as “Breaker of Skulls” and “Breaker of Oaths” — which also tops 10 minutes — are bookended by “Breaker of Silence” and “Breaker of Famine,” both of which are even longer at over 15 minutes. I haven’t had the chance to dig into the full record yet, but I’m guessing from what I’m hearing in “Breaker of Skulls” below that it’s doomed as hell, and yeah, I’ll take that.

Art, info and audio follow here, all courtesy of the PR wire:

volur ancestors

VÖLUR to Release New LP, ‘Ancestors’, June 2; Band Debuts New Song “Breaker of Skulls”

Toronto-based experimental doom trio VÖLUR will release its sophomore album, Ancestors, on June 2 via Prophecy Productions. Produced by the band and mixed by Charles Spearin (Broken Social Scene), Ancestors is the follow-up to VÖLUR’s celebrated debut, Disir.

“‘Breaker of Skulls’ is a dark, sludgy slab of doom inspired by the ancient Icelandic warrior poet Egil Skallagrímsson, a man who fought terrible battles across the North Sea,” comments the band. “He was at once barbarous and poetic. A man who would commit a brutal act of violence and then recite a beautiful poem immediately after. The song was inspired by his epic poem, ‘The Loss of My Sons’. It moves from a combative, gnarly sludge riff to a bittersweet and almost beautiful conclusion, all the while filled with yearning chromatic movement. The piece finds the band at its most aggressive, and almost its most experiment with disjointed improvised passages paired against bleak heavy doom.”

Just as the band’s debut, Disir, dealt with themes surrounding female figures from mythology, Ancestors focuses on the heroine’s male counterparts and is the second part of a planned four album series spotlighting various elements of the old Germanic spiritual world. VÖLUR’s songs are long, quasi-narrative pieces that feature Laura C. Bates’ violin assuming the role traditionally executed by a guitar, allowing the bass playing of Lucas Gadke (also of Blood Ceremony) to take on unique responsibilities in both lead and melodic roles while drummer Jimmy Payment (Do Make Say Think) feeds the band’s bombastic, crushing oomph. Doom music (not necessarily metal) is about slow contemplation and the transfixing power of heaviness and VÖLUR’s weighty riffs, layers of feedback, dynamic, angular melodies and moments of beauty give heed to the band’s promise to always seek newer modes of musical expression and discovery.

Moving between high-tension heaviness and beautiful pastoral moods, VÖLUR aims to reflect the world of primordial nature inspired by ancient myths and chilling poems of death and heroism. Ancestors shares the stories and sagas of great men from the past that have been shrouded by the obscurity of time while simultaneously spotlighting one of North America’s most ambitious and striving young acts.

Track listing:
1.) Breaker of Silence
2.) Breaker of Skulls
3.) Breaker of Oaths
4.) Breaker of Famine

https://www.facebook.com/VolurDoom/
https://twitter.com/VolurDoom
https://www.instagram.com/volurdoom/
http://us.prophecy.de/artists/voelur/
https://www.facebook.com/prophecyproductions/

Völur, “Breaker of Skulls”

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Comet Control Post “Dig out Your Head” Video

Posted in Bootleg Theater on March 30th, 2017 by JJ Koczan

comet-control-Photo-by-Melissa-Boraski-and-Jennifer-Keith

Hell yes. That’s about the level of insight I’ve got when it comes to there being a new video from Toronto’s Comet Control. Suffice it to say, I’m on board with whatever the heavy psych rocking four-piece want to do to promote last year’s excellent Center of the Maze (review here), which was and remains a joyful and resounding wash of melody, fuzz and breadth. If that happens to be a tour where they come play my basement, well that would be awesome. If it’s a new video for album opener “Dig out Your Head,” that’s cool too. I won’t complain about that. I can always watch it in my basement, I guess, if I’m so committed to the locale.

Nothing personal, but if you can’t get behind this kind of stuff, I’m not sure I have much for you. The depths and reaches that Comet Control explore throughout Center of the Maze are not only gorgeous, but free. I’m not saying they don’t have a handle on their songcraft — they prove just the opposite across the record’s entire span, beginning with “Dig out Your Head” and ending with the 10-minute “Artificial Light,” which was my 2016 Song of the Year — just that in the process of guiding their material, they’re willing to go just about anywhere, and whether that becomes the bright-hued strum and march of “Silver Spade” or the trad-psych turns of “Golden Rule,” the results become a spectrum all their own, encompassing and welcoming in kind.

So yeah, new video? Great. Whatever y’all want to do. If it gives me another excuse to put on Center of the Maze again — as this post has — then I already consider it a win.

Credits follow the clip below. Please enjoy:

Comet Control, “Dig out Your Head” official video

Artist: Comet Control
Track: “Dig Out Your Head”
Album: Centre of the Maze (6/24)
Label: Tee Pee Records

Directed by Mashie Alam
Shot by Thomas Van Der Zaag
Edited by Jared MacIntyre
Art Curated by Kevin Vansteenkiste
Coloured by Sandy Rossignol

Comet Control on Thee Facebooks

Comet Control at Tee Pee Records

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