Lonely Kamel Sign to Stickman Records; New LP in 2018

Posted in Whathaveyou on December 12th, 2017 by JJ Koczan

As they move into 2018 and mark a decade since the arrival of their self-titled debut, Oslo-based heavy rockers Lonely Kamel have been announced as signing to Stickman Records for their impending and yet-untitled fifth offering. It will be the first for the four-piece since 2014’s Shit City (discussed here) came out via Napalm Records and by releasing through Stickman, it continues the impressive pedigree the band has built over their time together, having achieved veteran status through performances over the last several years at Freak Valley, Desertfest Belgium, Roadburn and so on.

With Sound of Liberation behind them for booking and Stickman helming the release, I don’t at all imagine this will be the last time we hear from Lonely Kamel heading toward the New Year, and that’s just fine as far as I’m concerned. With an early 2018 tentative arrival date for the record, I wouldn’t be surprised to see their name pop up on a Spring festival or two, but of course, we’ll have to wait and see when we get there.

In the meantime, Stickman announced the partnership thusly:

lonely kamel

STICKMAN RECORDS NEW SIGNING: LONELY KAMEL

Just before the close of the year we’re ecstatic to welcome another band to our fold: Lonely Kamel from Oslo will be releasing their 5th full-length album early next year on Stickman! The band’s melange of smokey blues, hard rock and stoner riffs have caught our ears for a while and we’re glad to be home to their next album. More details on this soon!

This camel is certainly not a lone voice in the wilderness. Especially since LONELY KAMEL indeed sound like a desert, but in truth come from Norway. And obviously traditional Hard Rock can be produced quite exquisitely between fjords and endless forests, which sound nice, meaty and dry. On their fourth album the Norwegians act in the tension between Hard Rock from the seventies, Stoner Rock, Blues, Psychedelic and a dash of Doom.

https://www.facebook.com/lonelykamel
https://www.soundofliberation.com/lonely-kamel
https://www.stickman-records.com/

Lonely Kamel, “Shit City” lyric video

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Thulsa Doom to Release A Keen Eye for the Obvious Feb. 16

Posted in Whathaveyou on November 23rd, 2017 by JJ Koczan

thulsa doom

By the time it lands in February, A Keen Eye for the Obvious will be arriving upwards of 13 years after its most recent predecessor from Norwegian heavy rockers Thulsa Doom, which was 2005’s Keyboard, Oh Lord! Why Don’t We?. Needless to say, anyone with a keen eye for the obvious can tell you that’s plenty long enough. Near as I can tell, it’s a release through Duplex Records with distribution from Stickman, though it could be a direct release through Stickman as well — I’m not really sure. Either way, it’s coming out, and the band have a new video for opening track “Lady Nina” playing now that’s rife with boozy themes and Thin Lizzy bounce, and you’re not going to hear me complain about that in the slightest. These guys were always a good time, and one is glad to see that the intervening decade-plus hasn’t changed that core aspect of their sound.

This weekend they play Caliban Sessions alongside Black Debbath and a host of others. There’s more info at their Thee Facebooks page, which is linked below.

Dig it:

thulsa doom a keen eye for the obvious

Thulsa Doom – A Keen Eye for the Obvious

European release distributed by Stickman Records!

We are proud to announce that «A Keen Eye for the Obvious” will be released in Europe, february 16th, 2018.

The release is in the best of hands, distributed through legendary German label Stickman Records who has been, and will always be, a true friend of quality music from Norway.

We look forward to a new chapter in the Thulsa Doom story through Rolf and Stickman, and are really happy to, from now on, be associated with many of our favourite bands from past and present, including Fireside, The Soundtrack of Our Lives, Radio Birdman, Motorpsycho and Elder, just to name a few.

We hope to see you on the road next year as well.

Tracklisting:
1 Lady Nina
2 Eloquent Profanity
3 Wrap the Bad up
4 Shadows on the X-rays
5 Consider Me
6 Bag of Fries
7 Quest for Fire
8 Magazine
9 In Italics and Bold
10 Baby, Hate IT

https://www.facebook.com/thulsadoomnorway/
http://www.duplexrecords.no/band/thulsa-doom/
https://www.facebook.com/Stickman-Records-1522369868033940/
http://www.stickman-records.de/

Thulsa Doom, “Lady Nina” official video

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Wobbler Sign to Karisma Records; From Silence to Somewhere out Oct. 20

Posted in Whathaveyou on September 15th, 2017 by JJ Koczan

wobbler

I was fortunate enough to see Norwegian progressive rockers Wobbler last year in Oslo at the first night of the Høstsabbat festival (review here). They played on the larger of the two stages at the Vulkan Arena and offered a style that basked in classic progressive fluidity and still maintained a vital rock edge. Prog and rock! Both kinds of music! To my detriment as a human being, I did not end up buying everything they had for sale in the merch area, but I probably should have, and needless to say, I’ll be keeping an eye on the Oct. 20 arrival date that’s been set for their fourth long-player, From Silence to Somewhere, by their new label home, Karisma Records.

I haven’t seen or heard any audio from the release as yet, but that should be along soon, and in the meantime, the PR wire had the album art and following details to offer:

wobbler-from-silence-to-somewhere

WOBBLER – From Silence to Somewhere

Norway’s leading Symphonic Prog band WOBBLER have inked a deal with Karisma Records and are set to release their fourth full-length album, “From Silence to Somewhere” on the 20th October.

Formed in Hønefoss in 1999, WOBBLER’s current lineup features current and former members of TUSMØRKE, WHITE WILLOW, THE CHRONICLES OF FATHER ROBIN and JAGA JAZZIST. With Lars Fredrik Frøislie on keyboards and backing vocals, Kristian Karl Hultgren on bass, bass clarinet and bass pedals, Martin Nordrum Kneppen on drums, percussion and recorder, Andreas Wettergreen Strømman Prestmo on vocals, guitar, glockenspiel and percussion, and Geir Marius Bergom Halleland on lead guitar and backing vocals, the band can avail itself of a considerable array of instruments that have a huge, and very interesting impact, on the overall sound.

“From Silence to Somewhere” offers up a sound that is enigmatic, multi-flavoured and adventurous, with the use of copious amounts of Mellotron, Moog, Hammond, Chamberlin and other classical analogue keyboards, and of course the renowned Rickenbacker Bass. The guitar riffs go from poignant to edgy. Melancholy harmonies combine with powerful crescendos and high-energy, spinet-driven passages, flavoured with a touch of Flamenco and Italian Renaissance music to produce and album comprising four epic tracks that explore the idea of metamorphosis and alchemy. It is a natural continuation from WOBBLER’s previous albums, but with a darker, more introspective edge.

With artwork by Thomas Kaldhol (Samuel Jackson 5, Panzerpappa, Lukas Kasha etc) , and a running time of 47 minutes, tracklisting on “From Silence to Somewhere” is as follows:

1. From Silence to Somewhere
2. Rendered in Shades of Green
3. Fermented Hours
4. Foxlight

Release details + links:

Format: LP, CD, Digital
Label: Karisma Records
Distribution: Soulfood (Germany), Plastic Head (International)
Genre: Progressive Rock
Release Date: 20/10/2017

http://www.facebook.com/wobblerofficial
https://wobbler.bandcamp.com
http://www.karismarecords.no

Wobbler, “In Orbit”

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Purple Hill Witch Set Nov. 10 Release for Celestial Cemetery

Posted in Whathaveyou on September 6th, 2017 by JJ Koczan

purple hill witch

Late Fall seems like as good a time as any for the second full-length from Norwegian doom-rocking trio Purple Hill Witch to arrive. Titled Celestial Cemetery and given its release through The Church Within Records like the band’s preceding 2014 self-titled debut (review here), the album doesn’t have any unveiled audio or much to go on at this point other than the description in the announcement below — you could do far worse for touchstones than Angel Witch, Black Sabbath and Hawkwind, to be sure — but certainly the artwork carries a classic metal feel as well as you can see below, and if nothing else, it’s got a song called “Ghouls in Leather” as the opener. So, you know, automatic win there.

Nov. 10 is the release date. Hoping to have more to come on it before we get there, but we’ll see what comes together. Info follows as posted by The Church Within:

purple-hill-witch-celestial-cemetery

CW046: Purple Hill Witch – Celestial Cemetery

With their sophomore album Celestial Cemetery out on Church Within Records, Norwegian Purple Hill Witch hits a sweet spot in the metal triangle between Angel Witch, Black Sabbath and Hawkwind. It’s that alchemistic moment where psych, doom, NWOBH, proto metal and rock is molded and sculpted into a perfect entity. Whereas their debut album had more of a stoner rock vibe to it, the new album takes the listener on a sheer proto doom journey past vast galaxies of swirling, Iommic riffs, blistering soli, driving drums and a steady surge of pulsating bass.

What really strikes through on Celestial Cemetery is how much atmosphere and true feeling the band manages to cramp into the furrows of their sonic landscape – this album oozes with hallucinogenic visions of occult rituals and barren medieval country sides haunted by wicked witches. As such it leaves an even darker, more sinister imprint, and if there ever was an immaculate soundtrack for when going witch hunting across celestial cemeteries this would have to be it. Grab the magic wand and a copy of Purple Hill Witch’s new album before the next hunt, you will need it.

Tracklist:
1. Ghouls in Leather
2. Hardbinger of Death
3. Celestial Cemetery
4. Around the Universe
5. Menticide
6. The First Encounter
7. Burnt Offering

Street date: 10th of November

Purple Hill Witch is:
Kristian – Gitar & vokal
Andreas – Bass
Øyvind – Trommer

Artwork by Kristian Valbo.

https://www.facebook.com/PurpleHillWitch/
http://doom-dealer.de/

Purple Hill Witch, Purple Hill Witch (2014)

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Spectral Haze Post Title-Track & Cover Art for Turning Electric

Posted in Whathaveyou on August 7th, 2017 by JJ Koczan

spectral haze

I’m not entirely sure how long Spectral Haze‘s Turning Electric has been in the works, or if the band even deigns to recognize the linear motion of our space-time continuum, but it seems like it might be a while. In 2015, the Oslo, Norway, heavy psych/space rockers posted a notice about new t-shirts coming soon and said “prepare to turn electric” as a part of that, so at very least they’ve been sitting on the title for some time. They signed to France-based imprint Totem Cat Records at the end of last year and said at that point that the record would be out in May, so its current Oct. 20 release date is the end result of some delay as well — reportedly owing to the usual concerns of pressing vinyl.

What matters, of course, is that the album is coming out. Then a five-piece and apparently having some fluidity of lineup anyhow, Spectral Haze made their debut in late 2014 with I.E.V.: Transmutated Nebula Remains (review here) via Soulseller Records, which followed a self-titled 2012 demo EP that you can still hear on their Bandcamp. Speaking of audio, the now-foursome are giving a first taste of what’s to come on Turning Electric by means of streaming the title-track, which is only 3:42 long, but still gives a sense of the cosmic thrust they’re working with anyhow, as excellently complemented by the gorgeous Adam Burke cover art that’s also newly unveiled.

I mean seriously, just look at this thing. I could do a year-end list of the best artwork and just have it all be Burke covers. Hell, maybe I should.

While I kick that idea around, here’s that cover and release date confirmation from the label, followed by the song stream:

spectral haze turning electric

Totem Cat Records – COMING NEXT / Spectral Haze – Turning Electric

Available October 20 on CD/LP
Artwork by Adam Burke

Psyched Out Doom Rock Rituals

Spectral Haze is:
Spacewülff – Interstellar Howls/Geetarrrgh
Sönik Slöth – Supercosmic overdrive pedalinfused guitarvoid
Döômdögg – Dronemachinated AUM
Cëlestïal Cöbra – Conjurer of souls through ritual drums

Occasional appearances:
Elêctrïc Stårlïng – Space wizard beckoning astral animal guardians, manipulating aether
Pòwêr Pänthêr – Percussive boddhisattva, aspect of the conjuring ritual drums

https://www.facebook.com/SpectralHaze/
https://spectralhaze.bandcamp.com/
https://www.facebook.com/totemcatrecords/
http://totemcatrecords.bigcartel.com/

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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.

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Ván Records website

 

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