Vokonis to Enter Studio in November to Record Second Album

Posted in Whathaveyou on September 29th, 2016 by H.P. Taskmaster

Today, Swedish upstart riffers Vokonis announce their plans to enter Studio Underjord in November to begin recording their second full-length. If there’s a reason not to look forward to what these cats do next, I absolutely can’t think of it. Earlier this year, they broke out of the gate with Olde One Ascending (review here), which already has a place on my list of 2016’s best debut full-lengths, to be posted in December. By then, presumably, the tracking will be done on what’s been titled The Sunken Djinn, which will be produced by Joona Hassinen, which should be all the more exciting if you know any of the three bands listed below with whom he’s worked in the past. No minor names there as regards tone.

That’s an asset for Vokonis as well — tone — and as they continue to move forward from their beginnings under the moniker Creedsmen Arise, it’s been exciting so far to watch and hear them come into their own and find their sound in that great undulating sea of plus-sized riffage. More to come on this one, including art, audio, etc., but for now, here’s the statement of intent from the band and the tracklisting for The Sunken Djinn as it stands today:


In November of 2016 the Swedish stoner metal outfit Vokonis will enter the studio to record their second album.

This will be done at Studio Underjord with producer Joona Hassinen, who have previously worked with artists such as Tombstones, Ocean Chief and Skraeckoedlan.

The album which is titled “The Sunken Djinn” feature a more up-tempo and aggressive approach than the debut album “Olde One Ascending”.

‘The Sunken Djinn’ Tracklist:
-The Sunken Djinn
-Calling from the Core
-Blood Vortex
-Zilleon’s Eyes
-Architect of Despair

Vokonis is in search of a label to publish the album and aims for The Sunken Djinn to be released during the first half of 2017.

Simon Ohlsson: Vocals, Guitar
Emil Larsson: Drums
Jonte Johansson: Bass, Backing vocals

Vokonis, Olde One Ascending (2016)

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Ponamero Sundown Call it Quits

Posted in Whathaveyou on August 11th, 2016 by H.P. Taskmaster

Swedish heavy rockers Ponamero Sundown have decided to call it a day. Hung up their spurs. Punched out. Insert other cliche for not being a band anymore here. Their disbanding was announced via Thee Facebooks, and they took care to dub it a “hiatus” and leave open the possibility of playing together again if the timing and offer were right for a farewell show. As of now, so far as I know, nothing is planned.

Based in Stockholm, Ponamero Sundown released three albums during their time together. The latest of them was Veddesta, which came out last year on Transubstans and Ozium Records. Their third full-length, it was preceded by 2011’s Rodeo Eléctrica (review here) and their 2009 debut, Stonerized (review here), both of which were also issued by Transubstans.

They leave having recently posted the track “Black Widow” to mark their 10th anniversary as a band. Originally recorded in 2007 and reportedly a regular feature of live sets, the song was included as a bonus cut on the CD version of Veddesta and brings up a lot of the strengths they showed throughout their tenure in songwriting and energetic execution. New projects from members are reportedly in the works, so when and if I hear of anything, I’ll pass word along.

Until then, best of luck to the dudes who used to be Ponamero Sundown. Here’s their announcement, short, sweet, and Band-Aid-esque:

ponamero sundown

It’s time to release the clutch and move on…

So from today we’re on a hiatus until further notice.

There’s no bad blood, musical differences or anything, just life itself.

If any festival or similar would like to book us one last time we would be open for that. Other than that some of us got other plans…

Thanks for the support over the years! Much love to you all!

Cheers and stay fuzzed!
Anders, Peter, Nicke and Robban


Ponamero Sundown, “Black Widow”

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Vokonis, Olde One Ascending: Clergy’s Magic Potion

Posted in Reviews on May 18th, 2016 by H.P. Taskmaster

vokonis olde one ascending

It is a tenet of stylistic works — those in a given style or genre — that sooner or later someone will come along and realign the creative conversation back toward its roots. One could easily argue this is how doom itself came about, with bands seeing the heavy metal of their time, being dissatisfied, and choosing an approach more closely related to Black Sabbath. Swedish trio Vokonis, who make their debut with Olde One Ascending via Ozium Records, would seem to be interested in a similar adjusting of trajectory. Surrounded in a crowded Scandinavian market by boogie rock or blistering doom, guitarist/vocalist Simon Ohlsson, bassist/backing vocalist Jonte Johansson and drummer Emil Larsson push in an different direction and one the thick grooving of which can be traced directly to Sleep.

With Ohlsson and Larsson having released a demo last year called Temple (review here) through Btnk Cllctv, the long-player doesn’t necessarily represent their first statement of intent in this regard, but its cohesion of purpose and message come through clearer than any demo could. Olde One Ascending — even the title seems to call for a return to old(e) ways — comprises six tracks/48 minutes of what by now should be considered classic stoner metal, a blend of Sabbathian doom, Sleepy heavy riffing and tales of epic battles, monsters, and is presented in thick, full sound with zero pretense. Vokonis know what they’re doing as they gallop into the midsection of “Acid Pilgrim,” as they space out at the start of “Olde One,” and as they shuffle their way through the end of “Hazmat, the Ashen Rider.”

Despite a somewhat extended (for vinyl) runtime, Olde One Ascending divides neatly into two halves, each with three songs. Four of the six total inclusions run somewhere around eight minutes long, and the shorter tracks, “Acid Pilgrim” (6:56), which closes side A, and “Hazmat the Ashen Rider” (7:45), which closes side B, aren’t far off, but Vokonis use the space in their material well to pull off a number of different vibes, whether that comes through in the rolling nod as “Olde One,” which opens, lurches to life from its subdued, building intro with an immediately striking tonal impression from Ohlsson and Johansson as they riff out à la Sleep‘s “The Druid” en route to a shouted verse. As the newcomer in the band, Johansson stands up well to Ohlsson‘s thick guitar, punching through to the fore of the mix as Larsson indulges Hakius-style snare work beneath the dual vocals.


Caveman shouts for choruses will become something of a theme as Vokonis make their way through “The Serpent’s Alive” and “Acid Pilgrim,” but the interweaving of solos and rhythm guitar and bass add further distinction to their processes, “The Serpent’s Alive” in particular tripping out on a more languid, Iommically layered guitar lead before its crash-heavy ending. “Acid Pilgrim” is the shortest cut on Olde One Ascending, but still has plenty of time to kill slumber, like the rays of the new red sun arising at its start and provide a more individual feel as it plays back and forth in between-line twists of riff before an “ough!” kicks into a few more thrashing measures — the aforementioned gallop — and a fuzzy solo takes hold underscored by more righteous bass. Vocals don’t return until the final slowdown, calling the titular Acid Pilgrim to come home as the first half of the record rumbles to its conclusion.

Riffy trauma holds sway for the bulk of side B as well, but it’s in the final three songs — “Shroomblade,” “King Vokonis Plague” and “Hazmat the Ashen Rider” — that the listener gets more of a sense of the world these songs are inhabiting, somewhere between medieval battles and the snow-covered, monster-laden ground of Olde One Ascending‘s cover art by Tessa Najjar. Past its midsection solo, also layered, “Shroomblade” finds Johansson taking the fore with Larsson as the guitar quits down for a classic stoner jam of marked funktitude. They soon enough shake the earth with their plod once more, but this is their first album, so one is always looking for clues as to where progression might lead.

The longest track at 8:54, “King Vokonis Plague” no doubt offers some clues in that regard as well through its fluid rhythm and departure from the solo-into-jam structure that the bulk of the record exhibits. Instead? The riffs, the hook, a bit of winding push, and a shorter solo, which leads them back to a closing verse so that the subdued first measure of “Hazmat the Ashen Rider” is duly contrasted in volume. Kicking in quickly, “Hazmat the Ashen Rider” has the advantage of being exceedingly catchy and something of a basic statement of mission/summary of what Vokonis accomplish on their first album, whether that’s in proffering heavy riffing, tripping out for a lead or upping the pace toward the end for a last-minute upbeat finale that ends cold. Through all of this, Vokonis reinforces their argument of what “heavy,” as a sonic concept, is all about, and they bring a sense of freshness and purity of intent to back them up that makes it difficult to find a counterpoint. Maybe it is time everybody just riffed out.

Vokonis, Olde One Ascending (2016)

Vokonis on Thee Facebooks

Vokonis on Bandcamp

Vokonis at Ozium Records

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Quarterly Review: Eight Bells, Öken, Brimstone Coven, Pants Exploder, Shallows, Monumentum, Famyne, Ethereal Riffian, Wet Cactus, Forming the Void

Posted in Reviews on March 29th, 2016 by H.P. Taskmaster

the obelisk quarterly review spring 2016

I thought yesterday went pretty well, by which I mean I didn’t receive any complaints that somebody’s name was spelled wrong (yet), so I feel alright going into the second batch of releases for the Quarterly Review. Today mixes it up a bit, which is something I always enjoy doing with these, and while I’ll take pains to emphasize that the list of releases today, as with every day, isn’t in order, there was no way I wasn’t going to start with the first record below. Some albums just demand top placement.

Quarterly Review #11-20:

Eight Bells, Landless

eight bells landless

However you define the word “heavy” as it relates to music, Eight Bells are it. The Portland, Oregon, trio release their second album and first for Battleground Records in the form of the five-track Landless, and from the opening sprawl and lumber of “Hating” through the crawling-plus-blasting chaos of “Touch Me,” a strong progressive current underscores the material – most notably the 13-minute title-track, but really the rest as well, which flows gracefully even in its harshest moments, the blackened rush in the second half of “Landless,” for example, which follows psychedelic drones and harmonies just minutes before, or the similar thrust of centerpiece “Hold My Breath,” which works in tighter quarters but manages to span genres all the same. “The Mortal’s Suite” provides some respite in airy guitar and airier vocals, giving new drummer Rae Amitay a break while showcasing the harmonies of guitarist Melynda Jackson (ex-SubArachnoid Space) and bassist Haley Westeiner. As open atmospherically as the band is in their creative scope, there just isn’t a level on which Landless isn’t superb.

Eight Bells on Thee Facebooks

Battleground Records


Öken, Öken

oken oken

Swedish four-piece Öken do themselves huge favors by refusing to be easily categorized on their 2015 self-titled Ozium Records debut full-length, which runs an immersive 62 minutes and blends doom, classic heavy/desert rock and forest psych with subtle grace throughout its eight tracks, each of which is fleshed out in an overarching naturalist atmosphere. “Väktaren” dives headfirst into boogie only after initial minimalist teasing, and “Crimson Moon” bursts to life after a hypnotic psychedelic opening to find its crux in later runs of dueling guitars. The two closing cuts, “Under Vår Sol” and “Cuauhtémoc” are an album unto themselves, the former nodding initially at Sungrazer’s serene vibes before pushing into even more open psychedelic territory, and the latter proffering riffy largesse en route to a striking classic prog finish. That Öken make these elements work side-by-side and transition from one to the other fluidly is emblematic of the confidence at work in the band, and they carry their scope with organic-sounding ease.

Öken on Thee Facebooks

Ozium Records


Brimstone Coven, Black Magic

brimstone coven black magic

West Virginian roots doomers Brimstone Coven made their debut on Metal Blade in 2015 with a self-titled EP compilation (track stream here), and Black Magic is their first full-length. Its 10 tracks/54 minutes take cues varyingly from classic heavy rock, doom and the less majestic side of the NWOBHM, but Brimstone Coven’s approach is marked out by the extensive use of vocal harmonies on cuts like the prog-tinged “Beyond the Astral,” the later moments of raw-roller “Upon the Mountain” and “The Plague.” Black Magic’s production is barebones enough that this singing – credited solely to “Big John” Williams, while Corey Roth handles guitar, Andrew D’Cagna bass and Justin Wood drums – doesn’t really soar so much as nestle in and enhance the begging-for-vinyl analog-worship of the instruments surrounding, a proliferation of cultish themes distinguishing Brimstone Coven even as a song like “The Seers” finds them inheriting a trad-doom soulfulness from The Gates of Slumber.

Brimstone Coven on Thee Facebooks

Metal Blade Records


Pants Exploder, Pants Exploder

pants exploder pants exploder

Between its vicious aggression, inhumane chug and have-fun-enduring-this stomp, the self-titled, self-released debut LP from Pants Exploder could just as easily be definitive New York noise, but the low-end heft of their assault right from opener “It’s Ok, I’m Wiccan.” (punctuation included in title) has an element of early-Mastodonic lumber, and that’s a thread that continues throughout “End of the World” and “You Don’t Strike Me as a Reader,” which offsets its slab-of-concrete-on-your-chest push with moments of respite, but remains driving in its intensity. As in, driving your head into the ground. Also the ground is pavement. It’s fucking heavy, is the point. To wit, the mega-plod of “Um, I Curated an Art Show in College, So…” and thrust of “God Has a Plan for Me.” Capping with the seven-minute “You Smug Bastard,” Pants Exploder pays off the tension they build in a noise-wash fury that is as impressive as it is scathing.

Pants Exploder on Thee Facebooks

Pants Exploder on Bandcamp


Shallows, The Moon Rises

shallows the moon rises

The rather ominous The Moon Rises EP is the first non-demo offering from Asheville, North Carolina, four-piece Shallows, who blend heavy psychedelic and grunge influences across its five tracks, opener “Shimmering” and closer “Distance” mirroring each other’s spacious push while between, “Zero,” “A Mile Beneath” and the Earth-influenced “The Barn Burning” enact gorgeous vocal harmonies between Cameron Zarrabzadeh and HannahLynn Cruey atop atmospheric heavy rock, hitting into Alice in Chains-meets-Kylesa territory on the centerpiece, “A Mile Beneath,” which is a fair bit of ground to cover. That cut is the high point in showcasing Shallows’ potential, but the Western take with “The Barn Burning” and meandering post-rock echoes and organ of “Distance” only add to the breadth of this impressive, too-short collection. With a focus consistently kept on ambience throughout, The Moon Rises flows like a full-length album, and so bodes that much better for what Shallows will be able to accomplish when they get there. I’ll look forward to it.

Shallows on Thee Facebooks

Shallows on Bandcamp


Monumentum, The Killer is Me

monumentum the killer is me

Even before they get to the all the aggro fuzz riffing, there’s a distinct threat of violence in Monumentum’s The Killer is Me. Its four songs, “Noose,” “Whore,” “Fiend and Foe” and “Killer Me,” each seem to find the Norwegian band doling out noise-influenced heavy rock, driven by some underlying dissatisfaction on this, their first EP. Released on vinyl through Blues for the Red Sun Records, it offsets being so outwardly pissed off through groove, the starts and stops of “Killer Me” and the rolling seven minutes of opener and longest track “Noose” (immediate points) both marked out for both their tonal weight and the force with which Monumentum push their material forward – not speedy, though “Whore” is by no means slow, but dense and emitting a residual tension all the same. Somewhat unipolar in its mood, The Killer is Me still manages to give an initial impression of what Monumentum are about sound-wise, and provides them with a solid start to work from.

Monumentum on Thee Facebooks

Blues for the Red Sun Records


Famyne, Famyne

famyne famyne

While the UK isn’t at all short on doom or sludge at this point, Canterbury five-piece Famyne distinguish themselves on their self-titled first EP with a traditional take and the at-times theatric harmonies of vocalist Tom Vane. Along with guitarists Alex Tolson and Alex Williams, bassist Chris Travers and drummer Jake Cook, Vane nods at Alice in Chains on lumbering opener “Enter the Sloth” without going full-on “hey whoa momma yeah” and provides a considerable frontman presence, particularly for a debut recording. Comprising three songs with the speedier bonus track “Long Lost Winter” as an add-on download with the CD version, Famyne’s Famyne EP finds its crux in the nod and push of the 10-minute “The Forgotten,” which takes a cue atmospherically from The Wounded Kings but finds its own, less-cultish niche in bringing new energy to classic doom and setting in motion a progression that already puts an individual stamp on established tenets.

Famyne on Thee Facebooks

Famyne on Bandcamp


Ethereal Riffian, Youniversal Voice

ethereal riffian youniversal voice

There’s patient, and then there’s Ethereal Riffian, whose riffy ritualizing and exploration nonetheless brims with some intangible energetic sensibility on their new live outing, Youniversal Voice. Heavy psychedelic wash, thick riffs, theatric vocals and guitar effects, stoner roll and the occasional fit of shredding, one might hear any of it at a given point in over-12-minute cuts like “Wakan Tanka” and “Anatman,” the latter which arrives as the penultimate of the eight-song/56-minute set. The clarity, for being a live album, is remarkable, and Ethereal Riffian add to the experience with a CD version that includes a candle, elaborate packaging and artwork, and tea, so the multi-sensory impression is obviously important, and where many live outings are throwaways or a means of bowing to contractual obligation, Youniversal Voice adds to Ethereal Riffian’s studio work a substantial ambassasorial feel, conveying an onstage vibe with a fullness of sound and clarity of mind not often heard.

Ethereal Riffian on Thee Facebooks

Ethereal Riffian on Bandcamp


Wet Cactus, Wet Cactus

wet cactus wet cactus

Desert rock trio Wet Cactus don’t make any bones about where they’re getting their influence from on their late-2015 self-titled second EP. By the time they get around to the penultimate “The Road” on the five-track/24-minute outing, they’ve dug themselves in deep into the worship of crunchy Kyuss-style riffing, and you can throw in looks for Unida, Queens of the Stone Age, Slo Burn and whoever else of that milieu, but Kyuss is at the root of it all anyway. Less grand in their production than UK outfit Steak, who operated in similar territory on their 2014 debut LP, Slab City, Wet Cactus keep it natural in the tradition of their forebears, and while there’s room for them to grow into a more individual approach, the hazy fuckall in closer “World’s Law” has a stoner charm before and after it kicks into a punkish push to close out. Cool vibe either way, and the tone is dead on. If these cats go jammier, watch out.

Wet Cactus on Thee Facebooks

Odio Sonoro


Forming the Void, Skyward

forming the void skyward

I won’t say a bad word about the artwork of David Paul Seymour in the context of this review or any other, but ultimately, Louisiana doomers Forming the Void are coming from someplace much more in line with progressive metal than the three-eyed goat and robed figures on the cover of their second album, Skyward, might represent. Again, that’s not a knock on Seymour, or for that matter, the band, just that the look of the record is deceptive, dogwhistling stonerisms even as moody cuts like the opening title-track and “Three Eyed Gazelle” – while thoroughly doomed in their vibe – prove more lucidly constructed. That holds true through the chugging centerpiece “Saber” as well, marked out by vocal harmonizing, and “Return Again,” which rolls through atmospheric metal and an ambient interlude to enact the record’s most memorable payoff and set up the linear course of the more patient closer “Sleepwalker.” Cohesive in mood and clearly plotted, Skyward is ultimately darker and more driven than it might at first appear.

Forming the Void on Thee Facebooks

Forming the Void on Bandcamp


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Vokonis Sign to Ozium Records; Enter Studio in Feb.

Posted in Whathaveyou on December 7th, 2015 by H.P. Taskmaster


My favorite part of the bio below for Swedish newcomers Vokonis, who released an impressive debut EP called Temple (review here) under their original moniker of Creedsmen Arise, is when it says, “The lyrics are about war between ancient kingdoms in lost galaxies, legendary swords and diseases of a bygone era.” I can only hope “diseases of a bygone era” means stuff like pirate scurvy and rickets and things like that. Seems to me there’s some fodder there for heavy exploration that hasn’t yet been mined.

It was only a couple weeks ago that Vokonis announced the name change, and the word comes through today that they’ve been added to the roster of Ozium Records for the 2016 release of their debut album, which will be recorded in February at a yet-undisclosed location. Presumably a cave somewhere outside the band’s hometown of Borås. Either way, cheers to the trio and the imprint on what I’ve no doubt will be a riffy partnership, and here’s looking forward to finding out what kind of havoc Vokonis might wreak in their new incarnation.

Announcement follows:

vokonis logo

We are proud to have sign the band “VOKONIS”

Vokonis was created in the aftermath of Creedsmen Arise.

Based in Borås, Vokonis consists of Simon (guitar / vocals), Emil (drums) and Jonte (bass). They form a power trio with a heavy focus on fuzz, riffs and energy. The lyrics are about war between ancient kingdoms in lost galaxies, legendary swords and diseases of a bygone era.

Taking inspiration from bands such as Black Sabbath, Sleep, The Stooges and Entombed, Vokonis create their own identity.

Welcome to the family guys !!!!

Says the band:

Today we signed a record deal with Ozium Records. We couldn’t be any more excited to enter the studio in February.

Praise Iommi, Praise Ozium.


Creedsmen Arise, Temple (2015)

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Mamont Remember the Good Times in “Airborne” Video

Posted in Bootleg Theater on May 8th, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster

And by “remember the good times” I mean like two months ago. Heavy rocking Swedish four-piece Mamont set out in February on a tour of Spain, and as they get ready to release their new EP, The Valleys Below, tomorrow through Ozium, Napalm Records and Bilocation Records — all different editions and limited numbers and so on — they’ve culled footage from that Spanish run and put it together as a video for the EP leadoff track, “Airborne.”

As previously noted, Mamont are headed out once again for a round of shows with Mud Walk, the tour having expanded to just under two weeks throughout Europe. The two bands teamed up last fall as well, so are well acquainted, and Mamont are also gearing up for their next full-length and the follow-up to 2012’s Passing through the Mastery Door (review here), so maybe they’ll come back with enough footage from these shows to put together another video for a song from that once the next record is put to tape.

Whether that’s how it plays out remains to be seen, but until then, “Airborne” looks like a good time:

Mamont, “Airborne” official video

Official music video for the song Airborne. From Mamont’s EP “The Valleys Below” (2014).

1. Airborne
2. Miranda
3. No Pills, No Power
4. Nebula VII
5. Morning Star

Footage from Mamont’s Spanish Tour (Feb-Mar 2014). Edited by Karl Adolfsson

We’ll hit the road once again with our lovely friends in Mud Walk! Looking forward to see you guys out there!

Tour dates:
May 09 – THE TIVOLI, Helsingborg (SE)
May 10 – UNGDOMSHUSET, Copenhagen (D)
May 11 – JÄGERKLAUSE, Berlin (DE)
May 13 – KLUB 007 STRAHOV, Prague (CZ)
May 15 – DE ONDERBROEK, Nijmegen (NL)
May 16 – LE KLUB, Paris (FR)
May 17 – CRUMBLE FEST, Nantes (FR)
May 19 – ROCAS, Luxembourg (LUX)
May 21 – HEMGÅRDEN, Lund (SE)

Mamont on Thee Facebooks

Mamont at Napalm Records

Mamont at Kozmik Artifactz

Mamont at Ozium Records

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Mamont to Release New EP The Valleys Below on May 9

Posted in Whathaveyou on March 24th, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster

Last we heard of Swedish jammy riffers Mamont, the four-piece were Passing through the Mastery Door on their 2012 debut long-player of the same name (review here). That album has had enduring appeal since it hit, the elephantine cover standing in as a representation of the Nyköping rockers’ ability to land a heavy foot when they wanted to and the fact that mammoths are extinct matching with their traditionalist approach. Primarily, their debut established them as a cool band worth keeping up with, so it’s not really much of a surprise they come so well aligned on the follow-up EP, titled The Valleys Below.

Due out May 9, Mamont‘s The Valleys Below will be available on vinyl through Napalm Records, on CD through Ozium Records and in an exclusive transparent blue vinyl pressing through Kozmik Artifactz. Seems there’s no substitute for being in demand.

Mamont will also partner up once again with Mud Walk for a run of shows in Europe. Dates, other info, preorder links, and album trailer follow, culled from Ozium‘s website and Mamont‘s Thee Facebooks:

Mamont’s second ep album revives the sounds of 70’s heavy classic rock. The mix of classic rock, progressive, blues and psychedelic brings the mind back to the days of BLUE CHEER, BLACK SABBATH and LEAFHOUND. The wha-wha, fuzz, slide, double riffs, thunderous drums and a killer voice, it’s all here. MAMONT’s second release has a thick and warm analog overall feel and heavy as it should be. The masterful songwriting and skilled performance is throughout. from High Time exploding right from the start with swelling drums and heavy riffs, in order to beautifully sliding over to a soft and melodic refrain. The ep album is nicely rounded off with the 30 minutes evil, heavy Stooner-ish leaving the listener pleased but craving for more. MAMONT are ready to face their fans with the brand new ep album “The Valleys Below” containing 5 solid hard-hitting, memorable songs. MAMONT carves its own path, and “The Valleys Bellow” establishes the band as one of catalysts aiming to change the face of classic heavy rock music for the better. Release date : 2014-05-09

1. Airbourne
2. Miranda
3. No Pills, No Power
4. Nebula VII
5. Morning Star

Pre-order soon at Napalm Records (Vinyl release).
Exclusive transparent blue vinyl at Kozmik Artifactz.
CD at Ozium Records.

Here’s some sweet news! We will hit the road once again with our lovely friends in Mud Walk this May! More European dates coming up!

Mamont & Mud Walk Tour:
9/5: Helsingborg, The Tivoli (SWE)
10/5: Copenhagen, Ungdomshuset (DEN)
11/5: Berlin, Jägerklause (GER)
14/5: Jena (GER)
15/5: Nijmegen, De onderbroek (NL)
17/5: Nantes, Crumble Fight Fest (FR)


Mamont, The Valleys Below EP Trailer

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On the Radar: Weed Priest

Posted in On the Radar on April 15th, 2013 by H.P. Taskmaster

Irish bashers Weed Priest do it big on their self-titled debut. Exclusively. The six-track collection of thoroughly stoned riffs and burly echoes arrives in a green-tinted matte-finish digipak that gives little hint of the heft actually contained within the trio’s dark, vaguely cultish material, and it’s already received a due amount of “OMG”eification from critics drawn in by the album’s downtrodden melange of cycle after cycle of lumbering largesse, riff building on riff through telegraphed changes at minimal but still grooving paces, only ever getting up to speed to slouch back into its apparently terminal atmospheric defeat. Well fine. The record sounds big. And it’s heavy. There. I said it too.

More than that — because fucking everything is heavy — Weed Priest‘s Weed Priest is impeccably produced to maximize that heaviness, and though one might think I’m just gearing up to toss out an Electric Wizard comparison, I’m actually not going to do it. The Galway-based trio of Adrian Elatha (drums), Ragas Walpurgis (bass) and Adam de Monlung (guitar/vocals) have way, way more in common with Sleep than they do with thee Wizard — who are otherwise responsible for so much of the weedian fare coming out of the Isles — but I guess if you want to take it all to its most primordial level, it’s all Sabbath at heart, and Weed Priest show little interest in shying away from that, a Zoroaster-type semi-psychedelia emerging out of the Ufomammut-style stomp of their extended opener “Final Spell.” It’s a cool sound, and they put it to solid use across the self-titled, the cavernous vocal sound giving even the shorter “Erichtho” — a paltry seven minutes long — a consistency in its sense of space with the opener or the later “Weed Priest” and “Day of Reckoning” to come.

The band formed in 2008, this is their first official release following a 2011 demo, and if what you’re looking for is a bash-you-over-the-head-with-tone onslaught of pot and horror worship (a clip from the 1972 movie The Devil starts off), then there’s little about Weed Priest‘s Weed Priest that isn’t going to be your favorite new Bandcamp link. A marching chug on “Walpurgia” pretty much sums up the crux of the full-length: It’s not about reinventing stoner metal or doom so much as taking the familiar and making it their own. I don’t know if caking it in reverb is enough to get that done over a long term, but they did hit on a distinct sound for their first long-player that at least gives them a base to work from next time out, and as “Thy Kingdom Gone” adds to the psychedelic push in its midsection en route to the massive one-two punch of “Weed Priest” and “Day of Reckoning,” there’s nothing to say Weed Priest don’t have something to offer beneath their resin-coated exterior for those who’d pay their debut repeat visits.

I’d be interested to hear how they cut their runtime down perhaps to accommodate a future vinyl offering, hitting around 40 minutes instead of Weed Priest‘s just under 61, but the longer stretch does work well to emphasize the repetition and the put-you-in-a-trance riffs, which seem to find their own morass between “Weed Priest” (11:14) and “Day of Reckoning” (13:52), neither song so much wandering into a jam as hammering down upon its central idea. For a bit of symmetry, “Day of Reckoning” echoes the sluggish thud of “Final Spell,” but really, it’s a symmetry that’s been present throughout the largely unipolar release, and though there are hints of melody in the guitar here and there, they’re so buried under the tonnage of the ultra-pivotal riffs around which the song is based, that it’s hard to keep focus on anything but that. Which is the idea. Which is why it works.

Weed Priest, Weed Priest (2013)

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Weed Priest on Bandcamp

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