Høstsabbat 2019: Papir Joins Lineup

Posted in Whathaveyou on February 20th, 2019 by JJ Koczan

hostsabbat 2019 banner

I am extraordinarily pleased to say that I’ve been invited back to Oslo once again, in order to cover Høstsabbat 2019. I was keeping my fingers crossed especially after this past October’s festival was such an awesome time, and seeing the lineup involved with the 2019 edition come together, with Ufomammut, Belzebong, Slabdragger was a joy even before I knew I’d be there to see it, because the event is so clearly committed to growing and expanding its own aesthetic horizons. When it comes to expanding horizons, having Denmark’s Papir on board certainly won’t hurt.

The instrumentalist progressive heavy psychedelic rockers have a new album in the works for release later this year — maybe sometime around their hitting Oslo? — and given how utterly-on-board-nerd I was for their last outing, 2017’s V (review here), and the general direction of the band into the grander reaches of the grand ol’ far-out, it’s one more thing to look forward to about that trip which, unless a piano falls on my head between now and then, I’ll be making for sure.

Announcement came through the social media:

hostsabbat 2019 papir

Høstsabbat 2019 – Papir

After being a festival since 2013, it’s weird to acknowledge we haven’t had any Danish acts on stage at Høstsabbat. Obviously our focus has been on Sweden and Norway, but we are very happy to be able to announce the second band from Denmark this year for Høstsabbat 2019. Papir is a stranger to no one, as they’ve been at the forefront of the European psychrock-scene for years. Their instrumental sound is like a sweet lullaby, with their mellow, lush and straight up beautiful soundscapes. It might sound like the biggest cliché, but with these guys, taking you on a soulful trip into a dreamlike state of mind couldn’t be more accurate.

They are releasing their new album later this year, and we are sure it will blend well into their already splendid discography, spanning almost ten years back. In addition to their studio albums, Papir are subject to fantastic live recordings, in particular the documentation of the PAPERMOON SESSION, a live collab with our friends from last year, Electric Moon.

We surely hope all of you Sabbathians look as much forward to welcoming Papir as we do!

MUSIC
SPOTIFY: http://bit.ly/papirspoty
YOUTUBE: http://bit.ly/papirYT

http://bit.ly/HSfestivalpass

NEWSLETTER
http://bit.ly/NLhostsabbat

SPOTIFY PLAYLIST – HØSTSABBAT 2019
http://bit.ly/HS2019playlist

https://www.facebook.com/events/274561413173994/
https://www.facebook.com/hostsabbat/
http://hostsabbat.no/

Papir, V (2017)

Tags: , , , ,

Review & Video Premiere: SÂVER, They Came with Sunlight

Posted in audiObelisk, Reviews on February 19th, 2019 by JJ Koczan

saver they came with sunlight

[Click play above to play ‘Dissolve to Ashes’ from SÂVER’s debut album, They Came with Sunlight. Album is out March 8 on Pelagic Records.]

They Came with Sunlight isn’t just the first full-length from Oslo three-piece SÂVER, it’s their first offering of any kind as a band. Released through Pelagic Records, it runs a punishing and atmospheric 51 minutes through six tracks of extreme and densely atmospheric sludge that, despite being so dig into the dirt, nonetheless maintains a progressive spirit in both composition and presentation. That SÂVER would know what they’re doing shouldn’t necessarily be a surprise, though, as the members are all pretty well familiar with each other. Markus Støle (drums) and Ole C. Helstad (bass) shared tenure in the also-crushing Tombstones before Støle and guitarist/vocalist Ole Ulvik Rokseth put out an album as the duo Hymn in 2017. As SÂVER brings together all three parties, the new group unquestionably benefits from that familiarity. In nuanced moments like the far-back shouts that offset the chugging central riff of lead single “I, Vanish,” or the maddening tension cast as “How They Envisioned Life” crosses its halfway point, they demonstrate a clearheadedness to their approach and a dynamic that’s new in this form but well established sounding.

They put it to use, primarily, to punish everyone and everything in their path. With opener “Distant Path” (11:03) and closer “Altered Light” (12:34) bookending They Came with Sunlight as its two longest inclusions and the first of them exploding to life after more than 90 seconds of quiet tension-building, SÂVER quickly put the challenge to the listener. Rokseth‘s vocals enter over massively weighted tonality like Neurosis at their most belligerent, and the intensity is striking particularly in the context of the band having just spent over a minute and a half with quiet amp noise setting up the suckerpunch of that first jolt. Patience and intensity, working together toward an end of extreme atmospheric purpose. It is brutal, and gorgeous as well, as “Distant Path” hits its late slowdown in excruciating feedback and lumber, devolving to noise as “I, Vanish” immediately jolts into its prog-metal-style chug.

Rest assured, I don’t mean gorgeous like floaty post-rock guitars or warm low end. SÂVER‘s craft is no less greyscale and freezing than their promo photo, but there’s a beauty to that as well, and “I, Vanish” reminds of the hard edges and distinct angles of brutalist architecture once brought to bear sonically by Meshuggah, though the three-piece never lose their central groove on “I, Vanish” or elsewhere in the name of rhythmic experimentation. Still, that mechanized churning finds its footing in the seven-minute track and is joined by an overwhelming push of screams and crashing drums, a version of noise methodical but still feeling chaotic before it drops to the drums and bass in the midsection in order, presumably, to catch its breath before the next assault. When that comes, it’s shouts that lead the way back into the central riff, which in turn gives way to mountainous low end and crash and screams at the finish, a full assault of volume through which the guitar is still able to cut with a lead line that seems to pull up just as everything else ends.

Saver (Photo by Mikkel Fykse Engelschion)

Since the first half of the tracklist runs from longest song to shortest and the second half from shortest to longest, one might call it a ‘U’ shape, but the linear motion of the 5:55 “Influx” is pivotal anyway. Essentially a soundscape, it gradually builds from an initial drone to crashes that are a whole different shape of punishment, essentially leaving the listener waiting for a payoff that, given the runtime, it’s obvious isn’t coming. That’s a play, of course, but even the fact that SÂVER would be bold enough to use six minutes of atmospherics for such a purpose speaks to the intent at work behind They Came with Sunlight. When the second half of the album opens with “How they Envisioned Life,” it does so at their slowest pace yet, and the crawl only makes their sound that much more malevolent. There’s a chug-and-hold modus at work, but it doesn’t matter, because by the time they’re past halfway through, the level of violence is so high whatever they’re doing it’s all directed toward that end. With “Dissolve to Ashes” and “Altered Light” still to come, I won’t call it an apex for the album, but just before “How They Envisioned Life” hits its sixth minute, there’s a kind of last shove before it starts to fracture en route to the slowdown that ends it, and it so clearly conveys the idea of total human exertion — that moment when a person has pushed out their last breath and has to double-over from the effort — that it’s hard to think of it in any other way.

Accordingly, “Dissolve to Ashes” couldn’t possibly be better timed. With a line of effects/keys/something woven through, the penultimate inclusion starts relatively mellow and stays that way for some time, delivering the album’s title line as its opening lyric in the first non-harsh vocals of the outing. There’s madness to come, rest assured, and it is all the more a cacophony for that quiet moment preceding — the power of contrast — but even that later barrage is indicative of the control SÂVER exert over their material and the willful nature of their conjuring. With just “Altered Light” as the finale and longest track, They Came with Sunlight ends on perhaps its most ambitious note and after quiet/loud trades, it is once more the tension that seems to be at the core of what they’re doing. After a long stretch of bass and drums at the outset, the guitar picks up to lead the way into the first heavier section, with screams cutting through as the song passes its halfway point, and there’s a receding after seven minutes in as SÂVER regroup for the last movement.

There’s a surge of volume, sure enough, but it’s restrained compared to some of the others throughout, and instead, at about 10 minutes in, the three-piece introduce a winding chug that will carry them out. They top it with shouts and screams, but it’s the tension that ultimately holds sway, not a payoff, and they end cold, as if the dead silence after was no less an element at their disposal than the guitar, bass and drums. As I’ve been writing this review, I’ve had to go back and check how many times I’ve used the word “excruciating” for the level of cruelty with which SÂVER execute their grim, concrete vision, but it’s worth emphasizing that They Came with Sunlight offers more than just noise or aggression for their own sake. There is a conscious underpinning at work and as these three players take on this new progression, even at its beginning stages, the potential is writ large across the devastated landscape they convey.

SÂVER, “I, Vanish” official video

SÂVER on Thee Facebooks

Pelagic Records website

Pelagic Records on Thee Facebooks

Tags: , , , , ,

The Devil and the Almighty Blues to Release Tre March 29; Touring Europe in April & May

Posted in Whathaveyou on February 12th, 2019 by JJ Koczan

the-devil-and-the-almighty-blues

Maybe you know this and maybe you don’t, and maybe I’ve said it before and maybe I haven’t, but it bears repeating: The Devil and the Almighty Blues are hot shit. I was fortunate enough to see them live when they played Roadburn supporting their second album, II (review here), and if the gods are generous, I’ll be able to see them again in their native Norway this Fall at Høstsabbat 2019 supporting their third, Tre, which is due out late next month on Blues for the Red Sun Records. Cue me sending an email to try and chase down a track premiere without even having heard the record yet in three, two, one…

And why, you ask? Because The Devil and the Almighty Blues are, as noted, hot shit. They own the stage and their records bring together classic songcraft with a heavy blues rock mentality and a willingness to stretch out of the confines of genre that only makes their work less predictable on the whole. Sign me up. Seriously. I’m in. New record. Let’s do this.

Before I forget, here’s album info from the PR wire:

the devil and the almighty blues tre

Heavy blues conjurers THE DEVIL AND THE ALMIGHTY BLUES return with new album ‘TRE’ this spring ; European tour announced!

Oslo bluesy quintet THE DEVIL AND THE ALMIGHTY BLUES unveil details for their third album ‘TRE’, coming March 29th on Blues For The Red Sun. The band also announced a European tour, including Desertfest appearances and dates with Stoned Jesus and Earthless.

Heavily inspired by Delta blues, and standing at the crossroads of both American and British blues-based rock, The Devil and the Almighty Blues hail about as far from that unmarked place where Robert Robert Johnson sold his soul to the devil as one can be: Oslo, Norway. By infusing all the world’s other sub-genres of rock, from punk to garage rock, and from heavy psych to southern sludge, The Devil and the Almighty Blues sounds heavy without becoming too metal, slow without being doom, slow and raw, fucked up and bluesy without being predictable, or losing the blues’ muddy origins. – Walter Hoeijmakers, Roadburn.

With their third full-length ‘TRE’, the Norwegian five-piece conjure up some of their finest bluesy licks and heavy grooves while keeping their trademark mid-tempo songcraft — the very one sound that has held all crowds spellbound and made the band stand out from the underground heavy rock scene. Each one of the songs on ‘TRE’ is as soulful as it is filled with electricity: from stomp-inducing anthems (‘No Man’s Land’), bewitching female vocals (‘One For Sorrow’) to tenebrous and emotional ballads (‘Heart Of The Mountain’), it arouses such a wide range of emotions that it instantly gets the listener all speechless and fulfilled at once.

THE DEVIL AND THE ALMIGHTY BLUES – ‘TRE’
New album out March 29th on Blues For The Red Sun

TRACK LISTING:
1. Salt The Earth
2. One For Sorrow
3. Lay Down
4. Heart Of The Mountain
5. No Man’s Land
6. Time Ruins Everything

The Devil and the Almighty Blues European tour:
28.04.19 – Hamburg (DE) w/ Stoned Jesus
29.04.19 – Groningen (NL) w/ Stoned Jesus
30.04.19 – Dresden (DE) w/ Stoned Jesus
01.05.19 – München (DE) w/ Earthless
02.05.19 – Wiesbaden (DE) w/ Earthless
03.05.19 – Berlin (DE) Desertfest
04.05.19 – Nijmegen (NL) Sonic Whip
05.05.19 – London (UK) Desertfest
08.05.19 – Wien (AU) Arena
09.05.19 – Salzburg (AU) Rockhouse
10.05.19 – Stuttgart (DE) Universum
11.05.19 – Cologne (DE) Helios

TDATAB IS
Arnt O. Andersen – Vocals
Kim Skaug – Bass
Petter Svee – Guitar
Torgeir Waldemar Engen – Guitar
Kenneth Simonsen – Drums

https://www.facebook.com/thedevilandthealmightyblues/
https://thedevilandthealmightyblues.bandcamp.com/
https://www.facebook.com/BLUES-FOR-THE-RED-SUN-645295312258485/
https://www.stickman-records.com/

The Devil and the Almighty Blues, II (2018)

Tags: , , , , , ,

Høstsabbat 2019 Adds The Devil and the Almighty Blues to Lineup

Posted in Whathaveyou on February 4th, 2019 by JJ Koczan

hostsabbat 2019 banner

It’ll be the devil’s church for sure when Oslo’s own The Devil and the Almighty Blues take the stage at Kulturkirken Jakob for Høstsabbat 2019. I’ve had the pleasure of seeing the Norwegian heavy blues rockers live before, and Høstsabbat isn’t kidding when they talk about their stage presence. The five-piece have a tendency to own the room when they play, and while it’s easy to imagine them bringing that to the Chapel stage and play on the altar for the fest, though I could also picture them crowded into the basement to headline one of the nights down there in the spirit of Brutus this past year. Either way, having them aboard only makes the Høstsabbat lineup — which also features the likes of Ufomammut, LLNN, Slabdragger, Stuck in Motion and Belzebong — that much stronger.

Word from the fest came out through the social medias thusly:

hostsabbat 2019 the devil and the almighty blues

HØSTSABBAT 2019 – THE DEVIL AND THE ALMIGHTY BLUES

Finally, it’s time for another Høstsabbat announcement.

We can assure you it’s been worth the wait. It’s with tangling excitement we can announce Oslo and Norway’s finest. The bearded 5-piece that is The Devil And The Almighty Blues, will do ONE SHOW ONLY on Norwegian soil this year, and luckily for all of us, it goes down at The Chapel stage at Høstsabbat. We couldn’t be more stoked.

The delta-infused, greasy AF sound of these guys have proven to be something sorely missed in the heavy underground. It’s vintage in a way that is not vintage, and most importantly, it feels heartfelt, not like something created to go by certain trends. The Devil and The Almighty Blues is the real deal. No kidding around.

With their new album out this Spring, we are eagerly awaiting their unfuckwittable stage presence, giving us tunes from their already almost ten year long career.

Please welcome THE DEVIL AND THE ALMIGHTY BLUES.

MUSIC
Spotify: http://bit.ly/databSF
Youtube: http://bit.ly/databYT

FESTIVAL TICKETS
http://bit.ly/HSfestivalpass

NEWSLETTER
http://bit.ly/NLhostsabbat

SPOTIFY PLAYLIST – HØSTSABBAT 2019
http://bit.ly/HS2019playlist

https://www.facebook.com/events/274561413173994/
https://www.facebook.com/hostsabbat/
http://hostsabbat.no/

The Devil and the Almighty Blues, II (2017)

Tags: , , , ,

Høstsabbat 2019: Belzebong Added to Lineup; Tickets on Sale Today

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

belzebong

Yeah, it’s been like three days since the last time I posted an update from Høstsabbat 2019. Maybe two days? Let me look… Oh shit, it was yesterday. Well, alright. Not my fault that as they come upon their ticket on-sale date, the Oslo-based fest is doling out bands at such a rate. And who the hell wants to risk falling behind? Certainly not me.

The latest to join next October’s shindig in the ol’ culturechurch is Belzebong, the Polish ultrastoner-sludge veterans whose new album, Light the Dankness (review here), has already seen them on tour in Europe. They’ll hit the US as well to participate in the Psycho Smokeout come April, and no doubt they’ll be on the road duly between the two events as well, giving the people what they want like you got to do when what the people want is dank riffing and crusty grooves.

At least we know from when Toner Low played this year that all the lights upstairs at the Kulturkirken Jakob can be turned green.

From the social medias:

hostsabbat 2019 belzebong

Please welcome BelzebonG back to Høstsabbat!

Since their last visit in 2015, the polish dudes have become a trademark of instrumental stoner doom in its purest form. Their recent album “Light The Dankness”, out October 2018 on Emetic Records, shows a band who is confident in their expression and at the top of their game, showing no sign of slowing down.. except for the actual tempo of the songs of course.

The sound of this amazing record is so rich, heavy and full of low end, it’s no surprise it went through the hands of Chris Fielding at Skyhammer Studio. It’s like joining Belzebong for a rehearsal, while your body is being encompassed by their riffs and you find yourself numb and lost in their hazy smoke. It’s glorious.

After touring Europe numerous times, playing Psycho Las Vegas, and even returning to the US for the first Psycho Smokeout next spring, we are stoked they’ll make a return to Høstsabbat.

We can’t wait for them to cast their green shadow over the Chapel stage at Høstsabbat 2019.

Hail the riff, hail Belzebong!

Tix for Høstsabbat Festival go live at 11:00 CET

MUSIC
Spotify: http://bit.ly/Belzespoti
Bandcamp: https://belzebong.bandcamp.com/

HØSTSABBAT 2019 SPOTIFY PLAYLIST
http://bit.ly/HS2019playlist

https://www.facebook.com/events/274561413173994/
https://www.facebook.com/hostsabbat/
http://hostsabbat.no/

Belzebong, Light the Dankness (2018)

Tags: , , , ,

Høstsabbat 2019: Stuck in Motion Added to Lineup

Posted in Whathaveyou on December 13th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

stuck in motion

Swedish heavy hippie rockers kind of quietly released one of 2018’s best debut albums in their June-issued self-titled debut. Hard to imagine some label won’t pick it up for another round of vinyl, but whether you hear it on a platter or through a bluetooth speaker from your phone, the thing absolutely oozes vibe. It’s in clear recognition of this that the three-piece were recently added to Roadburn 2019 (I wrote the announcement; info here), and the 2019 edition of Oslo-based Høstsabbat is following suit in bringing them to Norway next October. I do not for one second imagine they will be the last to do so.

The only question is whether they’ll be in the crypt or on the altar. I hope I get to find out.

The fest made the announcement thusly:

hostsabbat-2019-stuck-in-motion

It’s been a very busy week for everyone following Høstsabbat on SoMe, and we apologize if you feel we’re spamming your news feed. Sometimes things happen simultaneously, and you just gotta go with the flow.

If one word can describe our next announcement for Høstsabbat Festival, October 2019, it’s FLOW.

Once again, we’ve had our eyes peeled on Sweden, and once again, we’ve found pure gold.

Out of Enköping, Stuck in Motion’s debut album struck a nerve with us at Høstsabbat, and the self titled album released June this summer, has been playing on repeat for a great part of this fall. The craftsmanship is top shelf, and the whole album feels timeless in a modern, almost indescribable way. They utilize both their native language as well as English, and the vocals from Max Kinnbo and Adrian Noren floats like a velvet blanket on top of the bands gentle groove and lush sound. Stuck in Motion gives us psychedelic blues at its finest, and just like the weather outside today, it feels very refreshing, and makes you wanna dive right in.

We predict a blinding future for this three-piece, launching with their appearance at Roadburn Festival next spring. We are proud to invite Stuck in Motion at such an early stage, as we fell totally in love with their realm.

We surely think you will do to!

Catch Stuck in Motion for the first time in Norway at Høstsabbat October 4th- 5th, 2019, in Kulturkirken JAKOB.

Tickets out Friday at 11:00 CET!

HØSTSABBAT 2019 SPOTIFY PLAYLIST
http://bit.ly/HS2019playlist

https://www.facebook.com/events/274561413173994/
https://www.facebook.com/hostsabbat/
http://hostsabbat.no/

Stuck in Motion, Stuck in Motion (2018)

Tags: , , , ,

Superlynx Premiere “Hex” Video; New Moon out March 15

Posted in Bootleg Theater on December 6th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

superlynx (Photo by Kai Simon Fredriksen)

If the rolling waves and slow motion of their new video don’t make the point, I’ll just say outright that a lot of what Superlynx do is based around atmosphere. The Norwegian trio proffer a varied gamut of heavier styles brought into one cohesive approach, and it’s that atmosphere that allows them to range as far as they do between psychedelia, doom, post-this-and-that, and sludgier riffing. Dark Essence Records will issue their second album, New Moon, on March 15, 2019, and it follows in the spirit of 2016’s LVX in its lead single, “Hex,” for which the aforementioned video — premiering below — has been put together.

As much focus can be placed — and not wrongly — on their stylistic blend, “Hex” also emphasizes the structure acting as the foundation on which that blend takes place. With the airy vocals of bassist Pia Isaksen atop the toms Superlynx New Moonof Ole Teigen as they wait for Daniel Bakken‘s guitar to next sweep them into the straight-ahead instrumental drive, there’s a patience to the execution from Superlynx, but clearly they’re a band who have an intention toward craft in more than just mixing influences together. And as song becomes more intense, so too do the waters in the “Hex” video begin to churn faster, but still, that atmosphere — just a sense of the otherworldly — is maintained. In combination with their clear delineation between verses and choruses, it makes for a track that’s broad in its scope but still accessible even the first time through.

And this is the first time through. Superlynx have some shows booked already for 2019, including Norway’s famous Inferno Festival, so it seems incredibly likely we’ll be hearing more from them as we get closer to New Moon‘s release. In the meantime, enjoy “Hex” below, followed by a few words from the band about the song:

Superlynx, “Hex” official video premiere

Superlynx on “Hex”:

Like most of the new album, HEX was written in challenging times, with feelings of hopelessness caused by both personal and external circumstances. The song was given a ritualistic expression, representing a deep, primal feeling and a need to alter the dark reality. Through creative force, love and a wish for better times this feeling is transformed into music and given a positive outlet. In this way, HEX represents the essence of the album. We have all been through dark times and have dealt with a lot of it through music. You can say that making the album has been a sort of alchemical process. The focus has been on getting through the dark and holding on to what is good in this world. And one of the best things is that music has come of it.

Hex is the first single from Superlynx’s upcoming album “New Moon”, to be released by Dark Essence Records on March 15th 2019.

Superlynx is:
Pia Isaksen – Bass/Vocals
Daniel Bakken – Guitar
Ole Teigen – Drums/Vocals

Superlynx on Thee Facebooks

Superlynx on Instagram

Superlynx on Bandcamp

Dark Essence Records on Thee Facebooks

Dark Essence Records on Bandcamp

Dark Essence Records website

Tags: , , , , ,

Quarterly Review: A Storm of Light, Z/28, Forrest, 1476, Owl, Brass Hearse, Craneium & Black Willows, Magmakammer, Falun Gong, Max Tovstyi

Posted in Reviews on December 4th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

quarterly-review

Day Two of the Quarterly-Review-Mega-Super-Ultra-Year-End-Wrap-Up-Spectacular-Gnarly-Edition — name in progress — begins now. First day? Smooth. Wrote it over the weekend to get a jump on the week, cruised through a morning and into baby-naps, finished with time left over to still go and read the Star Trek novel I’m currently making my way through. Easy. Also peasy.

Today? Well, apparently I turned off my alarm in my sleep because I rolled over 40 minutes later and certainly didn’t remember it going off. Whoops. Not a great start, but there is a lot of cool stuff in this batch, so we’ll get through it, even if it’s awfully early in the week to be sleeping in. Ha.

Have a great day everybody. Here are 10 more records for the QRMSUYEWUSGE. Rolls right off the tongue.

Quarterly Review #11-20:

A Storm of Light, Anthroscene

A Storm of Light Anthroscene

“America the sick and crumbling/Liberty she’s weeping/The tired and poor are huddled and dying/As the wretched ones are touched aside.” The lines, from A Storm of Light‘s “Blackout” — the second cut from their fifth LP, Anthroscene (on Translation Loss) — lead to the inevitable question: “What the fuck is wrong with us?,” and thereby summarize the central sociopolitical framework of the record. A dystopian thematic suits the band’s aesthetic, and there’s certainly no shortage of material to work from between current events and future outlook. Guitarist/vocalist/keyboardist/graphic artist Josh Graham, bassist Domenic Seita and guitarist/keyboardist Dan Hawkins are five years removed from the band’s last outing, however, so their post-apocalyptic post-metal is welcome either way, and Anthroscene taps a Killing Joke influence and turns it to its dark and churning purposes over the course of its eight tracks/51 minutes, delving into harsh shouts on “Short Term Feedback” and capping with the resistance-filled “Rosebud,” which surges forth from ambience like the anti-facist/anti-capitalist critique that it is, ending with the lyric, “When you die, we will spit on your grave,” which could hardly be more appropriate.

A Storm of Light on Thee Facebooks

Translation Loss Records on Bandcamp

 

Z28, Nobody Rides for Free

Z28 Nobody Rides for Free

Massachusetts’ Z28 — also stylized as Z/28 and Z-28; I don’t think they care so long as you get the point they’re named after the Camaro — make their full-length debut with Nobody Rides for Free on Fuzzdoom Records, and with the occasional bit of organ on songs like “Touch of Evil” and “Angst III (I Don’t Want to Die),” they nonetheless give a raw take on heavy rock laced with that particularly Northeastern aggression. Guitarist Jeff Hayward (also organ), bassist/acoustic guitarist/engineer Jason Negro and drummer Breaux Silcio all contribute vocals to the outing, and yet the minute-long instrumental intro tells much of the story of what it’s about in terms of the chemistry between them. Impressive guitar solos are rampant throughout, and the rhythm section carries over a weighted groove through cuts like “Wandering” that’s fluid in tempo but still able to create an overarching flow between the tracks. I’ll give bonus points for the Black Sabbath nods in the multi-layered lead work toward the end of “Spirit Elk (Lord of the Hunt)” as well as the title “Keep on Rockin’ (In the Invisible World),” and Z28 have something to build on here in terms of songwriting and that chemistry. It’s raw-sounding, but that doesn’t necessarily hurt it.

Z28 on Thee Facebooks

Fuzzdoom Records on Bandcamp

 

Forrest, Kickball with Russians

forrest kickball with russians

Granted, Forrest telegraph some measure of quirk by naming their debut EP Kickball with Russians, but the four-piece from Lexington, Kentucky, still seem to be rolling along in a straightforward-enough manner on six-minute instrumental opener and longest track (immediate points) “(I Dream of) Kickball with Russians,” until the keyboards start in. That turn gives their EP an edge of the unexpected that continues to inform “DAN,” “Deew” and the closing “My Son Looks Just Like Me,” and “DAN” continues the thread with gang shouts popping up over its chugging progression and receding again after about two words to let the track get quiet and build back up. And is that a velociraptor at the start of “Deew?” Either way, that song’s Mr. Bungle-style angularity, a return of the keys and intermittent heavy nod work to underscore the willful weirdness that’s very much at play in the four-piece’s work, and the closer adds Ween-style effects work into the mix while still keeping a heavy presence in tone and lumber. They’ll get weirder with time, but this is a good start toward that goal.

Forrest on Thee Facebooks

Forrest on Bandcamp

 

1476, Our Season Draws Near

1476 our season draws near

Coastal melancholy and a pervasive sense of atmosphere seem to unite the varied tracks on 1476‘s 2017 Prophecy release, Our Season Draws Near, which otherwise draw across their span from goth rock, punk, doom and extreme metal, able to blur the line especially between punk and black metal on songs like “Ettins” while acoustics pervade “Solitude (Exterior)” en route to the Anathema-gone-char rasps of “Solitude (Interior)” a short time later. I know I’m late to the party on the Salem, MA, duo, and likewise late on this record, but from opener “Our Silver Age” to closer “Our Ice Age” to the “Solitude” pairing to “Winter of Winds” — finally: David Bowie fronts Joy Division — and “Winter of Wolves,” there’s so much of Our Season Draws Near that has a bigger-picture thought process behind its construction that its impact is multi-tiered. And it’s not just that they pit genres against each other in their sound, it’s that their sound brings them together toward something new and malleable to the purposes of their songwriting. Not to be missed, so this is me, not missing it. Even though I kind of missed it.

1476 on Thee Facebooks

Prophecy Productions on Bandcamp

 

Owl, Nights in Distortion

owl nights in distortion

Joined on Nights in Distortion by bassist René Marquis as well as longtime drummer Patrick Schroeder, guitarist/vocalist/synthesist Christian Kolf (also Valborg) greatly expands his former solo-ish-project Owl with their second release of 2018 behind March’s Orion Fenix EP (review here), bringing together elements of post-metal churn with deeply atmospheric sensibilities, cuts like “Transparent Moment” churning as much as they are surprising with their underlying melody. A Type O Negative influence continues to be worked into their sometimes grueling context, but it’s hard to listen to the keyboard-laced “Inanna in Isolation” and hear Owl being anything other than who they’ve become, and their third album is the most distinct statement of that yet, airy lead guitars floating over a still-fervent, industrial-style chug amid vocals veering from barking shouts to quiet, low-register semi-spoken fare and cleaner singing. Nights in Distortion is the evolving work of a mastermind, captured in progress.

Owl on Thee Facebooks

Temple of Torturous website

 

Brass Hearse, Hollow on the Surface

Brass Hearse Hollow on the Surface

Synth-laden heavy horror garage dance rock could probably use a more succinct genre name, but while those in charge of such things sit and scratch their butts, Boston’s Brass Hearse carve out a niche unto themselves with their second EP, Hollow on the Surface. The five-track offering is in and out in 14 minutes but wants nothing for either a show of craft or arrangement, tapping into psych-folk in the strummy interlude “Dwellers in the Static Valley” after the hook-led “Death by Candlelight” and before the John Carpenter-style pulsations that underscore “The Thing from Another World.” Opener “Fading” is the only song to top four minutes and has a distinctly progressive take, but while it and the organ-ic closer “Headaches & Heartbreaks” has a theatricality to it, Brass Hearse are too cohesive to charge with being weird for weirdness’ sake, and their experimentation is presented in complete, engaging songs, rather than self-indulgent collections of parts mashed together. Would love to hear what they do over the course of a full-length.

Brass Hearse on Thee Facebooks

Playing Records on Bandcamp

 

Craneium & Black Willows, Split

Different missions from Finland’s Craneium and Switzerland’s Black Willows on their BloodRock Records split. Craneium nod through “Your Law” and mark their second inclusion, “Try, Fail, Repeat,” with a Sabbathian swing that only kicks up in tempo as it moves through its five minutes. Black Willows, on the other hand, present a single track in the 19-minute, noise-soaked post-everything “Bliss,” which trades back and forth between minimalism and crushing riffs en route to a consuming wash and long, long, long fadeout. Released in March, the outing showcases both bands well, but one is left wondering where the connection is between the two of them that they’d come together for a joint vinyl release. Either way, I won’t detract from what they do individually, whether it’s the catchiness of “Your Law” and the jam in its second half or “Bliss” with its frost-covered expanse of tonality, it’s just a marked leap from side A to side B. Maybe that was the idea all along, and if that’s the case, then one can only say they succeeded.

Craneium on Thee Facebooks

Black Willows on Thee Facebooks

BloodRock Records on Bandcamp

 

Magmakammer, Mind Tripper

magmakammer mindtripper

Following a 2015 self-titled debut EP, Oslo trio Magmakammer align with Kozmik Artifactz for their first long-player, Mindtripper, and so effect a garage doom sound that’s quickly relatable to Uncle Acid on songs like “Fat Saturn” and the chug-shuffling “Along the Crooked Roads.” Where they distinguish themselves from this core influence, though, is in the density of their tones, as opener “Druggernaut” and the rolling “Acid Times” prove thicker in their charge. Still, there’s no mistaking that swing and the blown-out sound of the vocals. Closer “Cosmic Dancers,” which is one of two tracks over seven minutes long, shows more dynamic in its loud/quiet tradeoffs, and resolves itself in a righteous nodder of a riff. It’s essentially in the same vein, but still displaying some emerging personality of Magmakammer‘s own that one hopes they continue to develop. And in the meantime, the foundation of craft and stylistic awareness they hone is still welcome, familiar or not.

Magmakammer on Thee Facebooks

Kozmik Artifactz webstore

 

Falun Gong, Figure 2

Falun Gong Figure 2

Mystique isn’t easy to come by in this Age of Access, but the anonymous London-dwelling duo Falun Gong have succeeded in piquing interest with their two-to-date singles, “Figure 1” (review here), and the eight-minute “Figure 2,” which like its predecessor is raw in the recording, sounds like it was performed live, and follows a trance-inducing course of riffing. The central groove is a slow march that makes its way through obscure voices delivered in buried fashion — the whole thing may or may not be mastered; somehow I’m thinking not, but I’ve been wrong before — through a self-aware drift that rounds out following a soulful culmination fitting the song’s lyrical theme, which would seem to be tied to the cover art about baptism in a river’s waters. There’s just something off-kilter about Falun Gong to this point, and while it’s still early going for them, they bring an eerie persona to their work that feels less performative than it so often does.

Falun Gong on Bandcamp

 

Max Tovstyi, Mesmerize

Max Tovstyi Mesmerize

Though he’s had a slew of live outings out with the Max Tovstyi Blues Band and the Max Tovstyi Blues Association, Mesmerize (LP on Nasoni) is the Ukrainian heavy blues rocker’s first solo studio outing since 2014. He’s credited with all the instruments on the 10- or 12-track offering save for a couple arrangement-flourish guest appearances, and he pulls in a classic spirit and full-band sound without any trouble on a moody piece like “World of Sin” or the bonus track “Show Me the Way,” which isn’t a Peter Frampton cover so far as I can tell but still has plenty of guitar scorch to go around. “From the Blues to the Funk” jams its way along its stated trajectory, and “Feel Like Dying Now” brings together organ and keys in a fashion far less dramatized than one might initially think. With a clean production, Tovstyi — also known for his work in The Heavy Crawls, Lucifer Rising, and others — carries through his sentimentality for blues rock’s past and finds himself well at home leading the pack of guest vocalists on “Make Up Your Mind,” which closes the album proper with a semi-country twang and sweet melody.

Max Tovstyi on Thee Facebooks

Nasoni Records website

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,