Tombstones Call it Quits

Posted in Whathaveyou on June 25th, 2017 by JJ Koczan

tombstones

Sorry to see these guys go, but one could hardly argue Norwegian doomers Tombstones aren’t disbanding at the top of their game. In 2015, the Oslo natives released their third album, Vargariis (review here), through Soulseller Records and this Spring found them on tour with doom legends Saint Vitus, which felt like a culmination meeting after guitarist/vocalist Bjørn-Viggo Godtland, bassist/vocalist Ole Christian Helstad and drummer Markus Støle made runs the last few years alongside Egypt, gigs with Conan and slews of others, appearances at Freak Valley and Roadburn, a US incursion with an appearance at Psycho Las Vegas and a founding involvement in the Høstsabbat fest in their hometown.

Stepping back and looking at it, one can’t help but wonder if that tour with Vitus didn’t have some impact on their decision to keep going, or if there was a conversation afterwards about direction or some assessment of where they were at and headed as a band. Earlier this Spring, Støle released a debut offering from his new band Hymn (review here), which pushed in a different direction than Tombstones, so it’s certainly possible that exploration will continue. As for what Godtland and Helstad will do going forward, it remains to be seen, but when I hear or see something, I’ll do my best to keep up with it. On levels of style and substance, Tombstones felt like a band who had come into their own and still had much to offer. So it goes.

They announced their breakup as follows:

tombstones logo

Everyone!!

The day has come. Tombstones will no longer exist as a band. We are eternally grateful for what the band has granted us over the last decade. Fans, promoters, bands, bookers, labels, festivals and friends have given us more memories filled with joy than we could ever hope for. After such a long time, you go through ups- and downs, and the decision to put the band on hold feels right, but still sad.

The decision is mutual, and is based upon the fact that we as a group are no longer able to continue in the same direction. Sometimes motivation can be lost, the juice runs out and you long for inspiration elsewhere. This is the crossroads we found ourselvses in at the moment.

We would like to thank Jorn from Soulseller , Klaus from Vibra and Jerome from Eclipse in particular. You have been nothing but awesome over the years.

This doesn’t mean we will stop making music. Keep your eyes peeled for future projects.

Thank you all, we love you!!

https://www.facebook.com/norwegiandoom/
https://tombstonesoslo.bandcamp.com/
http://www.soulsellerrecords.com/

Tombstones, Vargariis (2015)

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Tombstones Announce Tour Dates with Saint Vitus

Posted in Whathaveyou on March 28th, 2017 by JJ Koczan

tombstones

As far as gigs in doom go, opening for Saint Vitus is close to as good as it gets. That’s the situation in which Oslo’s Tombstones find themselves as they continue to support their 2015 album, Vargariis (review here), released by Soulseller Records. Between the two, it’s a doomed-as-hell combo that will plod its way around Europe in May, and with Vitus continuing to work with original vocalist Scott Reagers, all the more an event for those fortunate enough to be in their path.

Can’t help but wonder too if Tombstones might have some new material on offer as we get a little further out from the Vargariis release. I asked bassist/vocalist Ole Helstad for some comment on doing the tour and he was tight-lipped on the possibility, but not mentioning it isn’t necessarily a no.

Dates and whatnot follow for the converted and soon to be converted:

tombstones tour with saint vitus

Tombstones – Tour Supporting Saint Vitus

We’re hitting the European roads alongside Saint Vitus in May. Come bang your head!

TOMBSTONES live with SAINT VITUS:
08.04 Copperfields Stockholm SWE
02.05 Helvete Oberhausen DE
03.05 Schlachthof Wiesbaden DE
04.05 Backstage Munich DE
05.05 Kammgarn Schaffhausen CH
06.05 Little Devil Tilburg NL
07.05 Patronaat Haarlem NL
08.05 Day off
09.05 Bastard Club Osnabruck DE
10.05 Hafenklang Hamburg DE
11.05 Voxhall Aarhus DK
12.05 Nojesfabriken Karlstad SWE
13.05 Pokalen Oslo NO
14.05 Pumpehuset Copenhagen DK

Says Ole Helstad:

“We are extremely thrilled to finally go on tour with Vargariis. It’s been a while since last time, and we miss meeting our friends and fans around Europe. It’s such a huge honor to be able to share stages with such legends as Saint Vitus. It’s a dream come true for us.”

Tombstones has taken up on their Norse heritage, evolving from their previous stoner-influenced sound, now descending into the dark side of the gloom.

“Vargariis” finds the band leaning towards the bleak and desperate, assaulting the listener with their blackened, thunderous wall of fuzz and despair.

https://www.facebook.com/norwegiandoom/
https://tombstonesoslo.bandcamp.com/
http://www.soulsellerrecords.com/

Tombstones, Vargariis (2015)

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Quarterly Review: Pallbearer, Dread Sovereign, Lizzard Wizzard, Oulu Space Jam Collective, Frozen Planet….1969, Ananda Mida, Strange Broue, Orango, Set and Setting, Dautha

Posted in Reviews on March 27th, 2017 by JJ Koczan

cropped-Charles-Meryon-Labside-Notre-Dame-1854

Here we are, on the precipice looking out over a spread that will include 50 reviews by the week’s end. Somehow when it comes around to a Quarterly Review Monday I always end up taking a moment to ask myself if I’ve truly lost my mind, if I really expect to be able to do this and not fall completely flat on my face, and just where the hell this terrible idea came from in the first place. But you know what? I haven’t flubbed one yet. We get through it. There’s a lot to go through, for me and you both, but sometimes it’s fun to be completely overwhelmed by music. I hope you agree, and I hope you find something this week that hits you in that oh-yeah-that’s-why-I-love-this kind of way. Time’s wasting. Let’s get started.

Quarterly Review #1-10:

Pallbearer, Heartless

pallbearer heartless

Three albums and nearly a decade into their tenure, Pallbearer stand at the forefront of American doom, and their third outing, Heartless (on Profound Lore), only reinforces this position while at the same time expanding beyond genre lines in ways that even their 2014 sophomore effort, Foundations of Burden, simply couldn’t have done. A seven-song/hour-long sprawl is marked out by resonant melodies, soulful melancholy conveyed by guitarist/vocalist Brett Campbell – the returning lineup completed by guitarist Devin Holt, bassist Joseph D. Rowland and drummer Mark Lierly – and tonal weight set to a mix by Joe Barresi, who from opener “I Saw the End” onward arranges layers gorgeously so that extended pieces like “Dancing in Madness” (11:48) and closer “A Plea for Understanding” (12:40) become even more consuming. What comes through most resolute on Heartless, though, is that it’s time to stop thinking of Pallbearer as belonging to some established notion of doom or any other subgenre. With these songs, they make it clear they’ve arrived at their own wavelength and are ready to stand up to the influence they’ve already begun to have on other acts. A significant achievement.

Pallbearer on Thee Facebooks

Profound Lore Records website

 

Dread Sovereign, For Doom the Bell Tolls

dread-sovereign-for-doom-the-bell-tolls

With the considerable frontman presence of Primordial’s Alan Averill on vocals and bass, the considerable riffing of guitarist Bones (also of Wizards of Firetop Mountain) and the considerable lumber in the drumming of Johnny King (ex-Altar of Plagues), Dread Sovereign make some considerable fucking doom indeed. Their second album, For Doom the Bell Tolls (on Ván Records), follows three years behind their debut, 2014’s All Hell’s Martyrs (review here), and wastes no time giving the devil his due – or his doom, if you prefer – in the span of its six tracks and 37 minutes. Atmospheric and seemingly on an endless downward plod, the 13-minute “Twelve Bells Toll in Salem” is a defining moment, but the trad metallurgy of “This World is Doomed” rounds out side A with some welcome thrust, and after the intro “Draped in Sepulchral Fog,” “The Spines of Saturn” and the thrashing “Live Like and Angel, Die Like a Devil” play dramatic and furious intensities off each other in a manner that would seem to truly represent the fine art of not giving a shit what anyone thinks about what you do or what box you’re supposed to fit into. Righteous. Considerably so.

Dread Sovereign on Thee Facebooks

Ván Records website

 

Lizzard Wizzard, Total War Power Bastard

lizzard-wizzard-total-war-power-bastard

Noise, largesse of riffs and shouted vocals that distinctly remind of Souls at Zero-era Neurosis pervade the near-hour-long run of Lizzard Wizzard’s Total War Power Bastard, but as much as the Brisbane four-piece willfully give themselves over to fuckall – to wit, the title “Medusa but She Gets You Stoned Instead of Turning You to Stone, Instead of Snakes She has Vaporizers on His Head… Drugs” – songs like “Shithead Nihilism,” “Pizza” and the droning “Snake Arrow” brim with purpose and prove affecting in their atmosphere and heft alike. Yes, they have a song called “Nerd Smasher,” and they deserve all credit for that as they follow-up their 2013 self-titled (review here), but by the time they get down to the roll-happy “Crystal Balls” and the feedback-caked “Megaflora” at the record’s end, guitarists Michael Clarke and Nick McKeon, bassist Stef Roselli and drummer Luke Osborne end up having done something original with a Sleep influence, and that’s even more commendable.

Lizzard Wizzard on Thee Facebooks

Lizzard Wizzard on Bandcamp

 

Oulu Space Jam Collective, EP1

Oulu-Space-Jam-Collective-ep1

Should mention two things outright about Oulu Space Jam Collective’s EP1. First and foremost, its three songs run over 95 minutes long, so if it’s an EP, one can only imagine what qualifies as a “full-length.” Second, the Finnish outfit releasing EP1 on limited tape through Eggs in Aspic isn’t to be confused with Denmark’s Øresund Space Collective. Oulu is someplace else entirely, and likewise, Oulu Space Jam Collective have their own intentions as they show in the 57-minute opener “Renegade Spaceman,” recorded live in the studio in 2014 (they’ve since made two sequels) and presented in six movements including samples, drones, enough swirl for, well, 57 minutes, and a hypnotism that’s nigh on inescapable. I won’t take away from the space rock thrust of 14-minute closer “Artistic Supplies for Moon Paint Mafia” (also tracked in 2014), but the smooth progressive edge of three-part 24-minute centerpiece “Approaching Beast Moon of Baxool” is where it’s at for me – though if you want a whole galaxy to explore, hit up their Bandcamp.

Oulu Space Jam Collective on Thee Facebooks

Eggs in Aspic webstore

 

Frozen Planet…. 1969, Electric Smokehouse

frozen-planet-1969-electric-smokehouse

They freak out a bit toward the end of 12-minute opener “Ascendant” and in the second half of the subsequent “Supersaturation,” but for the most part, Aussie three-piece Frozen Planet…. 1969 play it weirdo-cool on their fourth full-length, the excellently-titled Electric Smokehouse (on Pepper Shaker Records). From those jams to the dreamy beachside drift of “Shores of Oblivion” to the funky-fuzz bass of “Sonic Egg Factory” to the quick noise finish of “Pretty Blown Fuse” – which may or may not be the sound of malfunctioning equipment run through an oscillator or some other effects-whatnot, the instrumentalist Sydney/Canberra trio seem to improv a healthy percentage of their fare, if not all of it, and that spirit of spontaneity feeds into the easygoing atmosphere only enhanced by the cover art. On a superficial level, you know you’re getting psych jams going into it, but once you put on Electric Smokehouse, the urge to get lost in the tracks is nigh on overwhelming, and that proves greatly to their credit. Wake up someplace else.

Frozen Planet…. 1969 on Thee Facebooks

Pepper Shaker Records on Bandcamp

 

Ananda Mida, Anodnatius

ananda-mida-anodnatius

Ananda Mida make their debut on Go Down Records with Anodnatius, fluidly working their way around heavy psychedelic and more driving rock influences propelled by drummer Massimo “Max Ear” Recchia, also of underrated Italian forebears OJM. Here, Recchia anchors a seven-piece lineup including two vocalists in Oscar de Bertoldi and Filippo Leonardi, two guitarists in Matteo Scolaro and Alessandro Tedesco, as well as bassist Davide Bressan and organist Stefano Pasqualetto, so suffice it to say songs like the subtly grungy “Passvas,” the dreamy highlight “Heropas” or the vaguely progressive “Askokinn” want nothing for fullness, but there seem to be moments throughout Anodnatius as on “Lunia” and the shuffling “Kondur” early into the proceedings where the band wants to break out and push toward something heavier. Their restraint is to be commended since it serves the interests of songcraft, but part of me can’t help but wonder what might happen if these guys really let loose on some boogie jams. Keep an ear open to find out, as I have a feeling they might be headed in just that direction.

Ananda Mida on Thee Facebooks

Go Down Records website

 

Strange Broue, Seance

strange-broue-seance

The heart of Séance – The Satanic Sounds of Strange Broue might come in the 11-minute sample dump that is “Cults and Crimes,” late into the second half of the 52-minute album. Capturing meticulously compiled news and talk-show clips from the late ‘80s, some of which talk about the Satanic roots of heavy metal, it gets to the ritualism that Quebec four-piece Strange Broue proliferate elsewhere on the record in the lo-fi post-Electric Wizard doom of “Satan’s Slaves,” “Kill What’s Inside of You” and the rolling opener “Ritualize” (video here). These pieces offset by other interludes of noise and drone and samples like “Satanic Panic,” “In Nomine Dei Nostri Satanis, Luciferi Excelsis,” the acoustic-until-it-gets-shot-in-the-woods “Las Bas,” the John Carpenter-esque “Séance IV – L’Invocation” and the extended penultimate drone of “Séance V – The Mystifying Oracle with Bells” ahead of the countrified pop gospel of “Satan is Real,” which finishes in subversive fashion, interrupted by more news reports and a finishing assault of noise. Like an arts project in the dark arts, Séance crosses some familiar terrain but finds Strange Broue on their own trip through cultish immersion, as psychological as it is psychedelic.

Strange Broue on Thee Facebooks

Sunmask Records webstore

 

Orango, The Mules of Nana

orango-the-mules-of-nana

Not much to argue with in the sixth long-player from Helge Kanck, Trond Slåke and Hallvard Gaardløs, collectively known as Orango. As they make their way onto Stickman Records (which also handled Euro distro for their last album, 2014’s Battles) with The Mules of Nana, the Norwegian trio deep-dive into harmony-topped ‘70s-style vibing that, well, leaves the bulk of “retro” bands in their V8-crafted dust. Mind you they do so by not being a retro band. True, the fuzz on “The Honeymoon Song” and “Head on Down” is as organic as if you happened on it in some forest where all the trees were wearing bellbottoms, but if you told me it was true, I’d believe Orango recorded The Mules of Nana onto – gasp! – a computer. I don’t know if that’s the case or not, but “Heirs,” the sweetly acoustic “Give Me a Hundred” and motoring “Hazy Chain of Mountains” find Orango making no attempt to cloak a lack of songwriting or performance chops in a production aesthetic. Rather, in the tradition of hi-fi greats, they sound as full and rich as possible and utterly live up to the high standard they set for themselves. Pure win in classic, dynamic fashion.

Orango on Thee Facebooks

Stickman Records website

 

Set and Setting, Reflectionless

set-and-setting-reflectionless

There’s an undercurrent of metal that’s quick to show itself on Set and Setting’s Reflectionless. The instrumentalist Floridian five-piece delve plenty deep into heavy post-rock on cuts like the shoegazing “Incandescent Gleam” and subsequent “Specular Wavefront Of…” but they’re not through opener “Saudade” before harder-edged chug emerges, and “…The Idyllic Realm”’s blastbeating nods at black metal while the churning endgame build of closer “Ephemerality” holds tight to a progressive execution. While its textural foundation will likely ring familiar to followers of Russian Circles ultimately, Reflectionless finds distinction in aligning the various paths it walks as it goes, creating an overarching flow that draws strength from its diversity of approach rather than sounding choppy, confused or in conflict with itself. Not revolutionary by any means, but engaging throughout and with a residual warmth to complement what might seem at first to be a purely cerebral approach. It offers more on repeat listens, so let it sink in.

Set and Setting on Thee Facebooks

Set and Setting webstore

 

Dautha, Den Foerste

dautha-den-foerste

Primo short offering of pure, fistpump-ready, violin-infused doom traditionalism. I don’t know what Norrköping, Sweden’s Dautha – the five-piece of vocalist Lars Palmqvist, guitarists Erik Öquist and Ola Blomkvist, bassist Emil Åström and drummer Micael Zetterberg – are planning to do for a follow-up, but this Den Foerste (or Den Förste) two-tracker recalls glory-era Candlemass and willfully soars with no sense of irony on “Benandanti” and “In Between Two Floods” after the intro “Horkarlar Skall Slås Ihjäl,” and having already sold out a self-released pressing leaves little to wonder what would’ve caught the esteemed tastes of Ván Records. And by that I mean it’s fucking awesome. I’m ready for a full-length whenever they are, and from the poise with which Palmqvist carries the melodies of these tracks, the quality of the riffing and the depth of arrangement the violin adds to the overarching mournfulness, they definitely sound ready. So get on it. 15 minutes of dirge-making this gorgeous simply isn’t enough.

Dautha on Thee Facebooks

Ván Records website

 

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Review & Track Premiere: The Devil and the Almighty Blues, II

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

the-devil-and-the-almighty-blues-ii

[Click play above to stream ‘These are Old Hands’ from The Devil and the Almighty Blues’ new album, II, out March 17 on Blues for the Red Sun Records.]

As it should, the second full-length from Oslo five-piece The Devil and the Almighty Blues shows marked growth from its predecessor. The Norwegian outfit released their self-titled debut (review here) early in 2015 via Blues for the Red Sun Records (with distribution through Stickman), and the six-song II works quickly to build on the potential shown previously in a thick, smokey vibe of classic heavy rock, laid back jam-prone psychedelia and pervasive melancholy. The blues, in other words, indeed proves mighty, even if one might still hear the sorrowful roll of “North Road” and liken its vinyl-ready compression to Scandinavia’s still-pervasive retro movement.

In that second cut and pieces like 10-minute opener and longest inclusion (immediate points) “These are Old Hands,” “Low” and “How Strange the Silence,” The Devil and the Almighty Blues display a wider array of influences and seem to nod as much to the Rolling Stones as to Graveyard while drawing on the languidly open sensibilities of bands like ChildAll Them Witches or even Dwellers, if not directly than certainly through some measure of shared inspiration. The lineup of Arnt Andersen, Petter Svee, Kenneth Simonsen, Torgeir Waldemar Engen and Kim Skaug accomplishes this while enacting an immersive full-album flow that begins with “These are Old Hands” and does not let up across II‘s 47 minutes, offering patient execution and natural atmospherics through closer “Neptune Brothers” whether an individual part or an individual track is as brooding as “When the Light Dies” or as rocking as the finale itself.

That finale makes a fitting bookend to the start of “These are Old Hands,” which also finds The Devil and the Almighty Blues kicking out one of II‘s more upbeat thrusts. In context, and especially on repeat listens, “These are Old Hands” nonetheless does tremendous work in setting the tone for the rest of what follows — perhaps most notably in its blink-and-you-missed-them transitions and the fluidity with which it shifts between parts. Hypnotic but memorable in its underlying shuffle, the song crashes out after about four minutes in and eases its way into a subdued jam topped by warm lead guitar and kept in motion thanks to ride cymbal and a prevalent low-end rumble. A louder solo emerges at about the seven-minute mark, and The Devil and the Almighty Blues seem to have hit their peak by the time the next two minutes are up, but they draw back to the chorus to round out in a reinforcement of structure that lets the listener know right away they’re in capable hands. “North Road” and “When the Light Dies,” the pair that round out the presumed vinyl side A, bring further confirmation of the band’s control over what their sound does at any given moment.

Both halves of II will mirror each other in working from their longest track to their shortest, but with “North Road” and “When the Light Dies” particularly, the turn from one to the other is smooth, live-feeling and palpably organic, as though they were performed together in the studio in one take. There’s a volume swell toward the middle of “North Road” that’s the source of the Rolling Stones comparison above in the vocal cadence, but like “Neptune Brothers” still to come, it reminds somewhat of Oskar Cedermalm-era Greenleaf as well, even if the ultimate direction is different. And it is, as “North Road” draws down to guitar minimalism before noodling quietly into the start of “When the Light Dies,” the bluesiest single moment on II and most outwardly moody, but still not without some motion beneath. Unlike “Low” and “How Strange the Silence” to come on side B, which find a middle ground between one feel and the other, “When the Light Dies” jumps headfirst into spacious but emotionally-tinged jamming, marking a triumph all its own in character as it enriches the album’s breadth.

True, just about anything short of drone would feel like an uptick in energy after “When the Light Dies” — and that’s the point, make no mistake — but “Low” is one anyway, starting quiet and working over its 8:49 to enact the smoothest of II‘s builds, holding to a steady and slower tempo even as the band gets louder in another welcome demonstration of patience done right. Harmonized/layered guitar solos make it stand out all the more, accompanying and complementing the soulful vocals over a suitably weighted groove. Again, “Low” might be between the two sides represented alternately by “When the Light Dies” at the end of side A and “Neptune Brothers” at the end of side B, but The Devil and the Almighty Blues do well finding that niche in their own aesthetic spectrum. “How Strange the Silence” follows suit with more stellar guitar work and more direct initial tradeoffs between quiet and louder parts, moving into a less linear form in an effective structural expansion that remains consistent in vibe as it makes a tempo adjustment at 4:40 toward a more shuffling finish, turning its head from “Low” before it to “Neptune Brothers” after.

More likely it wasn’t written with that transitional intent, but it’s the key shift in side B’s fluidity and The Devil and the Almighty Blues make it with class and understated ceremony. A flurry of guitar leads and a cymbal wash cap “How Strange the Silence” and stick clicks count in the modern update to classic boogie of “Neptune Brothers,” the hook for which calls to mind The MC5 as well as the already-mentioned Greenleaf while stomping out its own place in the generations-spanning pantheon between them — something II as a whole does graciously in showing the band’s development over the last couple years and their growth and chemistry that still, encouragingly, seems to be taking shape around a broadening songwriting process. Like “These are Old Hands” before it, “Neptune Brothers” takes some time to chill itself out, but it’s not long before The Devil and the Almighty Blues are ending their second offering on a crisp and cohesive final rendition of the hook. By then, the album has made its impression on a variety of levels — conceptual, atmospheric, performance, etc. — but it’s worth noting that where one might’ve expected them to jam their way into oblivion in the closer, they instead finish tight, locked into a purposeful finale as if to convey to their audience that in fact they’re in no way done and have much more to say. In listening to II, one hopes that turns out to be precisely the case.

The Devil and the Almighty Blues on Thee Facebooks

The Devil and the Almighty Blues on Bandcamp

Blues for the Red Sun Records on Thee Facebooks

Stickman Records website

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Hymn, Perish: Rising to Fall

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

hymn perish

I wouldn’t exactly call Hymn‘s debut album, Perish, hopeful. Released through respected purveyor Svart Records, the Oslo two-piece’s six-songer traffics way more in density, like some kind of module for chest compression accomplished through low end tones, and its forcefully-doomed atmosphere centers around a darkness that goes beyond moody in its presentation to be consuming in a metallic context. To that end, a stretch of blackened blastbeating like that in the penultimate “Spectre” is just one side of the extremity shown throughout, and even in its quiet spaces — the drone intro “Ritual” or post-midsection break in “Rise,” which follows — Perish holds firm to the notion that something is lurking around the next corner or at the start of the next measure.

As a first record, it unquestionably benefits from guitarist/bassist/vocalist Ole Rokseth and drummer Markus Støle‘s prior experience respectively in Buckaduzz and Tombstones, but, departing sound-wise somewhat from both outfits, Hymn approach an impulse toward the vicious from a different angle and push it further. Still, a more than nascent chemistry between Rokseth and Støle is palpable, bolstering the ideas from which Perish‘s 46-minute onslaught is constructed. Further cohesion is shown in conceptual ideas like positioning each of the tracks as a single-word title — “Ritual,” “Rise,” “Serpent,” “Hollow,” “Spectre” and finally, “Perish” — in a manner that both feels minimal and allows the listener to read some narrative progression between them.

While we’re deciding what to call and what not to call Perish, I wouldn’t go with “subtle” either, but that does not at all mean it has nothing to offer but pummel and bleakness. To coincide with the perceptible underlying complexity of its titles, the aesthetic Rokseth and Støle conjure throughout likewise balances between the raw and the full. With a recording, mix and master by Kim Lillestøl at Amper Tone Studio in Oslo, Perish can effectively scathe, as it does in the shouting madness in the second half of “Hollow,” and bask in massive lurch, as “Rise” does in its initial stages following the intro’s ambient tone-setting. The splitting up of “Ritual” and “Rise” at the start of the album is also telling. No doubt the two could’ve easily been presented as one track — “Rise” is already over 12 minutes long, another 1:46 would hardly make or break it — so the decision to push forward with a standalone intro has to be considered a conscious one, and the affect it has is to throw the listener’s expectation off.

hymn

So where Perish would otherwise simply be bookended by extended cuts — the finale title-track tops 10 minutes — the structure here becomes something else, something deeper. It is, in fact, a subtle aspect of presentation, but it makes a big difference in how Hymn seem to execute the rest of the record that follows “Ritual,” spanning genres fluidly in “Rise” before digging into what might be considered the meat of the tracklisting in “Serpent,” “Hollow” and “Spectre.” This trio succession — with roughly similar runtimes of 7:32, 7:50 and 6:28, respectively — digs into a core approach for Hymn in which tempos shift easily and Støle and Rokseth feel just as much at home in rolling forth a Neurosis-style swirl/churn on “Serpent” as a post-Conan roll on “Hollow” as a surprising turn into YOBian half-time-drum guitar gallop at the tail end of “Spectre.” Much to their credit, Hymn set their own context into which these elements are factored, and broaden their own sphere rather than simply derive parts of songs from familiar pieces.

That too can be related back to Rokseth and Støle working in other outfits, as well as the four years they’ve operated as Hymn, which is to say if they were brand new to a creative partnership, the balance of Perish might not provide such multifaceted nuance alongside its outward aggression. Nonetheless, that is what it proves out to be, and with “Rise” at the start of the proceedings (roughly), and the guitar-led push of “Perish” at the end, the point is only further driven into the audience’s collective skull. Again, forcefully. As the closer, the title-track feels especially tense in its early thrust and build, but before it’s three minutes into its total 10, the guitar and bass have dropped out and Rokseth is setting a foundation of bass on which the last delve into cacophony will be laid.

This stretch of ambience gives way to roll as they near the halfway point and, over its last several minutes, let “Perish” tear itself apart amid nodding push, feedback and noise — layered shouts and screams only emphasizing the feeling of molten chaos — but even as they seem to relinquish control of the assault, there’s a certain feeling of mastery as Hymn figuratively stand back, cross their arms and look at the devastation their material has wrought. That’s certainly as fitting an end for Perish as any I could think of, and unto their last fadeout, Støle and Rokseth demonstrate clear purpose behind the methods they employ. Perish embarks on a direction distinct in its brutality, and its varied approach bodes well for further trodding along Hymn‘s own path. Maybe it is subtle and hopeful after all, but whatever one ultimately calls it, Perish remains willfully defined by its sonic impact, and that’s plenty.

Hymn on Thee Facebooks

Hymn on Bandcamp

Svart Records website

Svart Records on Thee Facebooks

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The Devil and the Almighty Blues Set March 17 Release for II

Posted in Whathaveyou on January 11th, 2017 by JJ Koczan

the devil and the almighty blues

A second full-length from Norwegian heavy rockers The Devil and the Almighty Blues is an intriguing prospect. The Oslo five-piece impressed with their 2015 self-titled debut (review here), and the aptly-titled follow-up, II, is set to arrive March 17 via Blues for the Red Sun Records (with distribution through Stickman). As the debut was one of 2015’s best and band have spent the last year-plus taking part in fests like Freak Valley and playing shows and getting themselves recently confirmed for Roadburn 2017, it seems fair to expect some marked forward movement in their sound. I guess the underlying point here is I hope to get the chance to find out.

Info follows, as well as the band’s upcoming live dates, as scoured from the social medias:

the devil and the almighty blues ii

Finally! Blues For The Red Sun are proud to announce release of the second The Devil And The Almighty Blues album!

The album will hit the streets Friday 17th March 2017. From early January there will be possible to pre-order the limited edition (on white vinyl). More info will follow.

When the 60’s turned into the 70’s there was a musical crossroads. The American blues had had it’s run with teens on both sides of the Atlantic long enough so that the blues-offspring named rock’n’roll had to expand or die. It did not die, it expanded in all kinds of directions! And right there in the crossroads between blues-based rock and all the world’s other sub-genres of rock, something happened to the blues. The format got experimented with, expanded and almost made unrecognizable. But at the same time the roots to the original ’real’ blues was never lost. The result was a highly electric musical revolution, where e.g. the newly born genre hard rock walked hand in hand with traditional delta blues.

It is out from this musical mud The Devil and the Almighty Blues have found their inspiration. Their music is slow, heavy, melodic and raw, all without losing the almighty blues out of sight.

The Devil and the Almighty Blues live shows:

APR 6 The Devil and the Almighty Blues / supp. There Will Be Blood
Parkteatret
Oslo, Norway

APR 7 The Devil And The Almighty Blues + There Will Be Blood
Studentsamfunnet driv
Tromsø, Norway

APR 20 Roadburn Festival 2017
Apr 20 – Apr 23
Tilburg, the Netherlands

The Deivl and the Almight Blues is:
Arnt Andersen
Petter Svee
Kenneth Simonsen
Torgeir Waldemar Engen
Kim Skaug

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, The Devil and the Almighty Blues (2015)

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Hymn to Release Perish Feb. 17 on Svart

Posted in Whathaveyou on December 21st, 2016 by JJ Koczan

hymn

One can hear shades of earlier Conan in ‘Spectre,’ the new streaming track from Norwegian duo Hymn as taken off their impending debut LP, Perish, but the surrounding atmosphere is almost unquestionably blackened. Viciously so. But add to that the fact that right around the 5:20 mark — you can see the break in the waveform on the Soundcloud player below — they shift into YOB-style triplet gallop, and the fact that the band features Markus from Tombstones alongside Ole Rokseth (ex-Buckaduzz), and a release on Svart, and you’d have to be off your nut to think I’m not into the combination of elements. Not that I’ve heard the record yet or anything, but it’s one you probably shouldn’t listen to in public unless you’re not worried about getting in trouble for punching somebody. Some ambience to it, but plenty of brutality as well.

The PR wire brings art, details and audio, just the way we like ’em:

hymn perish

HYMN set release date for SVART debut, reveal first track

Today, Svart Records sets February 17th, 2017 as the international release date for HHYN’s highly anticipated debut album, Perish. Hailing from the Oslo underground, HYMN have paved their way forward with their multiple full stacks, hard-hitting drumming, and an uncompromising approach to volume and tonality. Starting out early in 2013, the two-piece have kept a heavy foot on the throttle, pushing their raw and brutal doom over the Norwegian rock/metal scene as much as possible. By sharing the stage with bands like Windhand, Eagle twin, Uzala, Enslaved, and Belzebong, touring Europe, and by playing some of the biggest festivals in Norway (Høstsabbat, The Øya Festival), HYMN have grown to become one of Norway’s loudest and most hard-hitting live bands to date. Begun earlier this year, the band hit the studio to record their debut full-length, Perish, and the two-man juggernaut are now eager to hit the road with their cold, aggressive doom, made with merely four hands.

A statement from the band reads: “A long, loud, thorough, emotional, and really fun process is finally documented into approximately 50 minutes of music, titled Perish. The last year has surely been a defining one for us, and we are really proud of the result. The album is definitely a more brutal, more refined, and a much colder experience than our self-titled EP from 2013, and we do feel that this album really represents where we want to be musically right now. It’s recorded, mixed, and mastered by Kim Lillestøl at Amper Tone studio in Oslo, and we pretty much recorded the whole thing in 48 intense hours. We are really looking forward to take the album on the road, and are are super-stoked that Svart Records wants to release it.” The first track to be revealed is “Spectre,” which can be heard at Svart’s Soundcloud HERE. Cover and tracklisting are as follows:

Tracklisting for HYMN’s Perish
1. Ritual
2. Rise
3. Serpent
4. Hollow
5. Spectre
6. Perish

HYMN is:
Ole Rokseth – Guitar/bass & vocals
Markus Støle – Drums

www.facebook.com/HYMN-214614995268230
www.svartrecords.com
www.facebook.com/svartrecords
www.youtube.com/svartrecords
www.twitter.com/svartrecords

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The Order of Israfel, Year of the Goat and Tombstones Announce Early 2017 European Tour

Posted in Whathaveyou on November 11th, 2016 by JJ Koczan

Lest a day should go by without a reminder of how frickin’ awesome Europe’s heavy underground is, Napalm Records sends word of an early 2017 co-headlining tour from Swedish acts Year of the Goat and The Order of Israfel to be supported by Oslo’s Tombstones. The run kicks off late in January and will go into the middle of the next month, and will be preceded by a new Year of the Goat single out Dec. 9, as The Order of Israfel continue to support their 2016 sophomore outing, Red Robes (review here), that found them refining their take on classic doom.

Particularly stoked for Tombstones opening this stint, as it seems like a prime opportunity for them to turn some heads with their brash, deeply-weighted groove, which should rest well alongside The Order of Israfel‘s traditionalism and the cultistry of Year of the Goat. Good mix all around, if you happen to be in that part of the world.

From the PR wire:

year-of-the-goat-the-order-of-israfel-tombstones-tour

YEAR OF THE GOAT & THE ORDER OF ISRAFEL Co-Headlining Tour in 2017!

Now this is how a new year should start!

Two fantastic bands from the Napalm Records roster – THE ORDER OF ISRAFEL & YEAR OF THE GOAT – have teamed up with Tombstones as support to hit the road all across Germany, Netherlands, the UK, Italy, Austria and Switzerland!

THE ORDER OF ISRAFEL are already extremely looking forward to this tour:

“We are extremely happy to announce our next tour that will take place in January-February 2017. It is a Co-headlining tour with our friends and label mates Year Of The Goat! Support on this tour will be Tombstones!”

The band’s first steps might have been heavily influenced by genre icons such as Cathedral, Pentagram and Witchcraft, but the four piece has firmly established its very own brand of slow-motion magnificence in 2016 with their latest masterpiece Red Robes.

YEAR OF THE GOAT deliver finest and darkest occult doom rock! This is captivating, unique and majestic! Their latest effort The Unspeakable was released in 2015, so it’s time to hit the road again! By the way, the band will release a 7″ single “Song Of Winter” on December 9th.

YEAR OF THE GOAT states:
“We are truly looking forward to be out on the European road again, this time with a package that we’re sure will provide many magical moments. Besides returning to countries and cities we love, we get to visit a few countries and places for the first time as well. We will put together a show of our favourite songs from our current catalogue and bring the uplifting gospel of Lucifer as well as a Lovecraftian gloom. Welcome to the sermon!”

The result of both bands together is a wondrous, mystical piece of art featuring unforgettable vocals and ten-ton riffing that will haunt you for aeons and especially on their upcoming co-headlining tour!

Find all dates listed below & don’t miss this power package including co-headlining THE ORDER OF ISRAFEL and YEAR OF THE GOAT with support of Tombstones live on tour!

28.01.17 DE – Berlin / Badehaus
29.01.17 DE – Osnabrück / Bastard Club
30.01.17 DE – Hamburg / Hafenklang
31.01.17 DE – Wiesbaden / Schlachthof
01.02.17 NL – Arnhem / Willemeen
02.02.17 UK – London / Underworld
04.02.17 TBA
06.02.17 CH – Olten / Coq D’Or
07.02.17 IT – Milano / Lo Fi
08.02.17 DE – Munich / Backstage
09.02.17 AT – Vienna / Viper Room
10.02.17 DE – Leipzig / UT Connewitz
11.02.17 DE – Siegen / Vortex

www.facebook.com/TheOrderOfIsrafel
www.theorderofisrafel.com
www.facebook.com/yearofthegoat
https://www.facebook.com/tombstonesoslo/

The Order of Israfel, “Swords to the Sky” lyric video

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