Quarterly Review: Elizabeth Colour Wheel, Black Lung, Giant Dwarf, Land Mammal, Skunk, Silver Devil, Sky Burial, Wizzerd, Ian Blurton, Cosmic Fall

Posted in Reviews on July 5th, 2019 by JJ Koczan

quarterly-review

Got my laptop back. Turned out the guy had to give me a new hard drive entirely, clone all my data on it, and scrap the other drive. I’m sure if I took it to another technician they’d have said something completely different, either for better or worse, but it was $165 and I got my computer back, working, in a day, so I can’t really complain. Worth the money, obviously, even though it was $40 more than the estimate. I assume that was a mix of “new hard drive” and “this is the last thing I’m doing before a four-day weekend.” Either way, totally legit. Bit of stress on my part, but what’s a Quarterly Review without it?

This ends the week, but there’s still one more batch of 10 reviews to go on Monday, so I won’t delay further, except to say more to come.

Quarterly Review #41-50:

Elizabeth Colour Wheel, Nocebo

elizabeth colour wheel nocebo

A rare level of triumph for a first album, Elizabeth Colour Wheel‘s aesthetic scope and patience of craft on Nocebo result in a genre-spanning post-noise rock that maintains an atmospheric heft whether loud or quiet at any given moment, and a sense of unpredictability that feels born out of a genuinely forward-thinking songwriting process. It is dark, emotionally resonant, beautiful and crushing across its eight songs and 47 minutes, as the Philadelphia five-piece ebb and flow instrumentally behind a standout vocal performance that reminds of Julie Christmas circa Battle of Mice on “Life of a Flower” but is ultimately more controlled and all the more lethal for that. Bouts of extremity pop up at unexpected times and the songs flow into each other so as to make all of Nocebo feel like a single, multi-hued work, which it just might be as it moves into ambience between “Hide Behind (Emmett’s Song)” and “Bedrest” before exploding to life again in “34th” and transitioning directly into the cacophonous apex that comes with closer “Head Home.” One of the best debuts of 2019, if not the best.

Elizabeth Colour Wheel on Thee Facebooks

The Flenser on Bandcamp

 

Black Lung, Ancients

black lung ancients

Ancients is the third full-length from Baltimore’s Black Lung, whose heavy blues rock takes a moodier approach from the outset of “Mother of the Sun” onward, following an organ-led roll in that opener that calls to mind All Them Witches circa Lightning at the Door and following 2016’s See the Enemy (review here) with an even firmer grasp on their overarching intent. The title-track is shorter at 3:10 and offers some post-rock flourish in the guitar amid its otherwise straight-ahead push, but there’s a tonal depth to add atmosphere to whatever moves they’re making at the time, “The Seeker” and “Voices” rounding out side A with relatively grounded swing and traditionalist shuffle but still catching attention through pace and presentation alike. That holds true as “Gone” drifts into psychedelic jamming at the start of side B, and the chunkier “Badlands,” the dramatic “Vultures” and the controlled wash of “Dead Man Blues” take the listener into some unnamed desert without a map or exit strategy. It’s a pleasure to get lost as Ancients plays through, and Black Lung remain a well-kept secret of the East Coast underground.

Black Lung on Thee Facebooks

Ripple Music website

Noisolution website

 

Giant Dwarf, Giant Dwarf

Giant Dwarf Giant Dwarf

This just fucking rules, and I feel no need to couch my critique in any more flowery language than that. Driving, fuzzy heavy rock topped with post-Homme melodies that doesn’t sacrifice impact for attitude, the self-released, self-titled debut from Perth, Australia’s Giant Dwarf is a sans-pretense 35 minutes of groove done right. They may be playing to genre, fine, but from the cover art on down, they’re doing so with a sense of personality and a readiness to bring an individual sensibility to their sound. I dig it. Summery tones, rampant vocal melodies in layers, solid rhythmic foundation beneath. The fact that it’s the five-piece’s first album makes me look less for some kind of stylistic nuance, but it’s there to be heard anyway in “Disco Void” and the bouncing end of “High Tide Blues,” and in surrounding cuts like “Repeat After Defeat” and “Strange Wool,” Giant Dwarf set to the task before them with due vitality, imagining Songs for the Deaf with Fu Manchu tonality in “Kepler.” No big surprise, but yeah, it definitely works. Someone should be beating down the door to sign this band.

Giant Dwarf on Thee Facebooks

Giant Dwarf on Bandcamp

 

Land Mammal, Land Mammal

land mammal land mammal

Land Mammal‘s debut outing is a 14-minute, proof-of-concept four-songer EP with clarity of presentation and telegraphed intent. Marked out by the Robert Plant-style vocal heroics of Kinsley August, the band makes the most of a bluesy atmosphere behind him, with Will Weise on wah-ready guitar, Phillip PJ Soapsmith on bass, Stephen Smith on drums and True Turner on keys. On opener “Dark with Rain” and closer “Better Days,” they find a pastoral vibe that draws from ’90s alternative, thinking Blind Melon particularly in the finale, but “Earth Made Free” takes a bluesier angle and “Drippin’ Slow” is not shy about nor ashamed of its danceability, as its lyrics demonstrate. For all the crispness of the production, Land Mammal still manage to sound relatively natural, which is all the more encouraging in terms of moving forward, but it’ll be interesting to hear how they flesh out their sound over the course of a full-length, since even as an EP, this self-titled is short. They have songwriting, performance and production on their side, however, so something tells me they’ll be just fine.

Land Mammal on Thee Facebooks

Land Mammal on Bandcamp

 

Skunk, Strange Vibration

skunk strange vibration

Even before they get to the ultra-“N.I.B.” patterning of second track “Stand in the Sun,” Skunk‘s Sabbathian loyalties are well established, and they continue on that line, through the “War Pigs”-ness of “Goblin Orgy” (though I’ll give them bonus points for that title), and the slower “A National Acrobat” roll of “The Black Crown,” and while that’s not the only influence under which Skunk are working — clearly — it’s arguably the most forward. They’ve been on a traditional path since 2015’s mission-statement EP, Heavy Rock from Elder Times (review here), and as Strange Vibration is their second album behind 2017’s Doubleblind (review here), they’ve only come more into focus in terms of what they’re doing overall. They throw a bit of swagger into “Evil Eye Gone Blind” and “Star Power” toward the end of the record — more Blackmore or Leslie West than Iommi — but keep the hooks center through it all, and cap with a welcome bit of layered melody on “The Cobra’s Kiss.” Based in Oakland, they don’t quite fit in with the Californian boogie scene to the south, but standing out only seems to suit Strange Vibration all the more.

Skunk on Thee Facebooks

Skunk on Bandcamp

 

Silver Devil, Paralyzed

Silver Devil Paralyzed

Like countrymen outfits in Vokonis or to a somewhat lesser degree Cities of Mars, Gävle-based riffers Silver Devil tap into Sleep as a core influence and work outward from there. In the case of their second album, Paralyzed (on Ozium Records), they work far out indeed, bringing a sonic largesse to bear through plus-sized tonality and distorted vocals casting echoes across a wide chasm of the mix. “Rivers” or the later, slower-rolling “Octopus” rightfully present this as an individual take, and it ends up being that one way or the other, with the atmosphere becoming essential to the character of the material. There are some driving moments that call to mind later Dozer — or newer Greenleaf, if you prefer — such as the centerpiece “No Man Traveller,” but the periodic bouts of post-rock bring complexity to that assessment as well, though in the face of the galloping crescendo of “The Grand Trick,” complexity is a secondary concern to the outright righteousness with which Silver Devil take familiar elements and reshape them into something that sounds fresh and engaging. That’s basically the story of the whole record, come to think of it.

Silver Devil on Thee Facebooks

Ozium Records website

 

Sky Burial, Sokushinbutsu

sky burial Sokushinbutsu

Comprised of guitarist/vocalist/engineer Vessel 2 and drummer/vocalist Vessel 1 (also ex-Mühr), Sky Burial release their debut EP, Sokushinbutsu, through Break Free Records, and with it issue two songs of densely-weighted riff and crash, captured raw and live-sounding with an edge of visceral sludge thanks to the harsh vocals laid overtop. The prevailing spirit is as much doom as it is crust throughout “Return to Sender” (8:53) and the 10:38 title-track — the word translating from Japanese to “instant Buddha” — and as “Sokushinbutsu” kicks the tempo of the leadoff into higher gear, the release becomes a wash of blown-out tone with shouts cutting through that’s very obviously meant to be as brutal as it absolutely is. They slow down eventually, then slow down more, then slow down more — you see where this is going — until eventually the feedback seems to consume them and everything else, and the low rumble of guitar gives way to noise and biting vocalizations. As beginnings go, Sokushinbutsu is willfully wretched and animalistic, a manifested sonic nihilism that immediately stinks of death.

Sky Burial on Thee Facebooks

Break Free Records on Bandcamp

 

Wizzerd, Wizzerd

wizzerd st

One finds Montana’s Wizzerd born of a similar Upper Midwestern next-gen take on classic heavy as that of acts like Bison Machine and Midas. Their Cursed Tongue Records-delivered self-titled debut album gives a strong showing of this foundation, less boogie-based than some, with just an edge of heavy metal to the riffing and vocals that seems to derive not directly from doom, but definitely from some ’80s metal stylizations. Coupled with ’70s and ’90s heavy rocks, it’s a readily accessible blend throughout the nine-song/51-minute LP, but a will toward the epic comes through in theme as well as the general mood of the riffs, and even in the drift of “Wizard” that’s apparent. Taken in kind with the fuzzblaster “Wraith,” the winding motion of the eponymous closer and with the lumbering crash of “Warrior” earlier, the five-piece’s sound shows potential to distinguish itself further in the future through taking on fantasy subject matter lyrically as well as playing to wall-sized grooves across the board, even in the speedy first half of “Phoenix,” with its surprising crash into the wall of its own momentum.

Wizzerd on Thee Facebooks

Cursed Tongue Records webstore

 

Ian Blurton, Signals Through the Flames

Ian Blurton Signals Through the Flames

The core of Ian Blurton‘s Signals Through the Flames is in tight, sharply-executed heavy rockers like “Seven Bells” and “Days Will Remain,” classic in their root but not overly derivative, smartly and efficiently composed and performed. The Toronto-based Blurton has been making and producing music for over three decades in various guises and incarnations, and with these nine songs, he brings into focus a songcraft that is more than enough to carry song like “Nothing Left to Lose” and opener “Eye of the Needle,” which bookends with the 6:55 “Into Dust,” the closer arriving after a final salvo with the Scorpionic strut of “Kick out the Lights” and the forward-thrust-into-ether of “Night of the Black Goat.” If this was what Ghost had ended up sounding like, I’d have been cool with that. Blurton‘s years of experience surely come into play in this work, a kind of debut under his own name and/or that of Ian Blurton’s Future Now, but the songs come through as fresh regardless and “The March of Mars” grabs attention not with pedigree, but simply by virtue of its own riff, which is exactly how it should be. It’s subtle in its variety, but those willing to give it a repeat listen or two will find even more reward for doing so.

Ian Blurton on Thee Facebooks

Ian Blurton on Bandcamp

 

Cosmic Fall, Lackland

Cosmic Fall Lackland

“Lackland” is the first new material Berlin three-piece Cosmic Fall have produced since last year’s In Search of Space (review here) album, which is only surprising given the frequency with which they once jammed out a record every couple of months. The lone 8:32 track is a fitting reminder of the potency in the lineup of guitarist Marcin Morawski, bassist Klaus Friedrich and drummer Daniel Sax, and listening to the Earthless-style shred in Morawski‘s guitar, one hopes it won’t be another year before they come around again. As it stands, they make the eight minutes speed by with volcanic fervor and an improvised sensibility that feels natural despite the song’s ultimately linear trajectory. Could be a one-off, could be a precursor to a new album. I’d prefer the latter, obviously, but I’ll take what I can get, and if that’s “Lackland,” then so be it.

Cosmic Fall on Thee Facebooks

Cosmic Fall on Bandcamp

 

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Quarterly Review: Sandrider, Witchkiss, Satta Caveira, Apollo80, The Great Unwilling, Grusom, Träden, Orthodox, Disrule, Ozymandias

Posted in Reviews on December 5th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

quarterly-review

Good morning from the kitchen table. It’s a couple minutes before 4AM as I get this post started. I’ve got my coffee, my iced tea in the same cup I’ve been using for the last three days, and I’m ready to roll through the next 10 records in this massive, frankly silly, Quarterly Review. Yesterday went well enough and I’m three days into the total 10 and I don’t feel like my head is going to explode, so I’ll just say so far so good.

As ever, there’s a lot to get through, so I won’t delay. I hope you find something here you dig. I certainly have.

Quarterly Review #21-30:

Sandrider, Armada

sandrider armada

Armada is the third full-length from Seattle noiseblasters Sandrider, and at this point I’m starting to wonder what it’s going to take for this band to get their due. Produced by Matt Bayles and released through Good to Die Records, the album is an absolute monster front to back. Scathing. Beastly. And yet the songs have character. It’s the trio’s first outing since 2015’s split with Kinski (review here) and follows 2013’s Godhead (review here) and 2011’s self-titled debut (review here) in melding the band’s West Coast noise superiority with a sense of melody and depth as the trio of guitarist/vocalist Jon Weisnewski, bassist/vocalist Jesse Roberts, and omegadrummer Nat Damm course and wind their way through intense but varied material. “Banger” has been tapped for its grunge influence. Eh. Maybe in the riff, but who cares when there’s so much more going on with it? “Brambles” is out and out brutal but still has a hook, and cuts like “Industry” and the closing “Dogwater” remind of just how skilled Sandrider are at making that brutality fun. If the record was six minutes long and just had “Hollowed” on it, you’d still call it a win.

Sandrider on Thee Facebooks

Good to Die Records website

 

Witchkiss, The Austere Curtains of Our Eyes

witchkiss the austere curtains of our eyes

Goodness gracious. Cavernous echo accompanies the roars of guitarist Scott Prater that are offset by the more subdued melodies of drummer Amber Burns, but even in the most spacious reaches of 11-minute second cut “Blind Faith,” Witchkiss are fucking massive-sounding. Their debut album, The Austere Curtains of Our Eyes, presents an especially crushing take on ritualistic volume, sounding its catharsis in a song like “Spirits of the Dirt” and sounding natural as it trades between a rolling assault and the atmospheres of its quieter moments. With the departure since the recording of bassist Anthony DiBlasi, the New York-based outfit will invariably shift in dynamic somewhat coming out of this record, but with such an obvious clarity of mission, I honestly doubt their core approach will change all that much. A band doesn’t make a record like this without direct intention. They may evolve, and one hopes they do just because one always hopes for that, but this isn’t a band feeling their way through their first record. This is a band who know exactly the kind of ferocity they want to conjure, and who conjure it without regret.

Witchkiss on Thee Facebooks

Witchkiss on Bandcamp

 

Satta Caveira, MMI

Satta Caveira MMI

Argentinian instrumentalist trio Satta Caveira make a point of saying they recorded MMI, their second or third album depending on what you count, live in their home studio without edits or overdubs, click tracks or anything else. Clearly the intention then is to capture the raw spirit of the material as it’s happening. The eight songs that make up the unmanageable 62-minute listen of MMI — to be fair, 14 of those minutes are opener “Kundalini” and 23 are the sludge-into-jam-into-sludge riffer “T.H.C.” — are accordingly raw, but that in itself becomes a component of their aesthetic. Whether it’s the volume swell that seems to consume “Don Santos” in its second half, the funk of closer “Afrovoid” or the drift in “Kalifornia,” Satta Caveira manage to hone a sense of range amid all the naturalism, and with the gritty and more aggressive riffing of the title-track and the rush of the penultimate “Router,” their sound might actually work with a more elaborate production, but they’ve got a thing, it works well, and I’m not inclined to argue.

Satta Caveira on Thee Facebooks

Satta Caveira on Bandcamp

 

Apollo80, Lizard! Lizard! Lizard!

apollo 80 lizard lizard lizard

Vocalized only by spoken samples of astronauts, the thrice-exclamatory Lizard! Lizard! Lizard! is the debut EP from Perth, Australia, three-piece Apollo80, who are given mostly to exploring an outpouring of heavy molten vibes but still able to hone a bit of cacophony following the “godspeed, John Glenn” sample in second cut “FFH.” There are four songs on the 26-minute offering, and its spaciousness is brought to earth somewhat by the dirt in which the guitar and bass tones are caked, but it’s more the red dust of Mars than anything one might find kicking around a Terran desert. Unsurprisingly, the high point of the outing is the 10:46 title-track, where guitarist Luke, bassist Brano and drummer Shane push farthest into the cosmos — though that’s debatable with the interstellar drone of closer “Good Night” — but even in the impact of “Apollo” at the outset, there’s a feeling of low-oxygen in the atmosphere, and if you get lightheaded, that’s exactly how it’s supposed to be.

Apollo80 on Thee Facebooks

Apollo80 on Bandcamp

 

The Great Unwilling, EP

the great unwilling ep

The prevailing influence throughout the untitled debut EP from Minnesota’s The Great Unwilling is Queens of the Stone Age, but listening to the layer of wah intertwine with the solo on “Sanguine,” there’s more to their approach than just that, however dreamy the vocal melodies from guitarist Jesse Hoheisel might be. Hoheisel, bassist Joe Ulvi and Mark Messina present a clean four tracks and 20 minutes on their first outing, and for having been together for about 18 months, their songwriting seems to have a firm grasp on what they want to do. “If 3 was 7” rolls along at a heavy clip into an effectively drifting midsection and second half jam before returning to the initial riff, while “Current” leads off with a particularly Hommeian construction, and soon gives way to the flowing pace and apparent lyrical references of the aforementioned “Sanguine.” They finish with the dirtier tonality of “Apostasy” and cap with no more pretense than they started, bringing the short release to a close with a chorus that seems to finish with more to say. No doubt they’ll get there.

The Great Unwilling on Thee Facebooks

The Great Unwilling on Bandcamp

 

Grusom, II

grusom ii

A prominent current of organ alongside the guitars gives Grusom‘s aptly-titled second album on Kozmik Artifactz, II, a willfully classic feel, and even the lyrics of “Peace of Mind” play into that with the opening lines, “I always said I was born too late/This future is not for me,” but the presentation from the Svendborg six-piece isn’t actually all that retro-fied. Rather, the two guitars and organ work in tandem to showcase a modern take on those classic ideas, as the back and forth conversation between them in the extended jam of “Skeletons” demonstrates, and with a steady rhythmic foundation and soulful vocals overtop, Grusom‘s craft doesn’t need the superficial trappings of a ’70s influence to convey those roots in their sound. Songs like “Dead End Valley” and “Embers” have a bloozy swing as they head toward the melancholy closer “Cursed from Birth,” but even there, the proceedings are light on pretense and the atmosphere is more concerned with a natural vibe rather than pretending it’s half a century ago.

Grusom on Thee Facebooks

Kozmik Artifactz website

 

Träden, Träden

traden traden

Having originated as Träd Gräs och Stenar, the group now known as Träden is the product of a psychedelic legacy spanning generations. Founder Jakob Sjöholm has joined forces with Hanna Östergren of Hills, Reine Fiske of Dungen and Sigge Krantz of Archimedes Badkar to create a kind of supergroup of serenity, and their self-titled is blissful enough not only to life up to Träd Gräs och Stenar‘s cult status, but to capture one of its own. It’s gorgeous. Presumably the painting used on the cover is the cabin where it was recorded, and its eight tracks — sometimes mellow, sometimes more weighted, always hypnotic — are a naturalist blueprint that only make the world a better place. That sounds ridiculous, I know. But the truth is that for all the terrible, horrifying shit humanity does on a daily basis, to know that there are people on the planet making music like this with such a genuine spirit behind it is enough to instill a bit of hope for the species. This is what it’s all about. I couldn’t even make it through the Bandcamp stream without buying the CD. That never happens.

Träden on Thee Facebooks

Träden on Bandcamp

 

Orthodox, Krèas

orthodox kreas

Last year, Spanish experimentalists Orthodox released Supreme and turned their free-jazz meets low-doom into a 36-minute fracas of happening-right-now creativity. Krèas, a lone, 27-minute track with the core duo of bassist Marco Serrato and drummer Borja Díaz joined by saxophonist Achilleas Polychronidis, was recorded in the same session but somehow seems even more freaked-out. I mean, it’s gone. Gone to a degree that even the hepcats who claim to appreciate free-jazz on anything more than a theoretical level (that is, those who actually listen to it) will have their hair blown back. The rest of the universe? Well, they’ll probably continue on, blissfully unaware that Orthodox are out there smashing comets together like they are, but wow. Challenging the listener is one thing. Krèas is the stuff of dissertations. One only hopes Orthodox aren’t holding their breath waiting for humanity to catch up to what they’re doing, because, yeah, it’s gonna be a while.

Orthodox on Thee Facebooks

Alone Records webstore

 

Disrule, Sleep in Your Honour

Disrule Sleep in Your Honour

Danish bruisers Disrule run a brash gamut with their second album, Sleep in Your Honour (on Seeing Red). Leading off with the earworm hook of the title-track (premiered here), the album puts a charge into C.O.C.-style riffing and classic heavy rock, but shades of Clutch-y funk in “Going Wrong” and a lumbering bottom end in “Occult Razor” assure there’s no single angle from which they strike. “(Gotta Get Me Some) Control” elicits a blues-via-Sabbath vibe, but the drums seem to make sure Disrule are never really at rest, and so there’s a strong sense of momentum throughout the eight-song/29-minute EP, perhaps best emphasized by two-minute second cut “Death on My Mind,” which seems to throw elbows as it sprints past, though even shouted-chorus closer “Enter the Void” has an infectious energy about it. If you think something can’t be heavy and move, Disrule have a shove with your name on it.

Disrule on Thee Facebooks

Seeing Red Records on Bandcamp

 

Ozymandias, Cake!

ozymandias cake

First clue that all is not what it seems? The artwork. Definitely not a picture of cake on the cover of Ozymandias‘ debut album, Cake!, and accordingly, things don’t take long before they get too weird. “Jelly Beans” hits on harshest Nirvana — before it goes into blastbeats. “Mason Jar” scathes out organ-laced doom and vicious screaming, before “Hangman” gets all danceable like “All Pigs Must Die” earlier in the record. The wacky quotient is high, and the keyboards do a lot to add to that, but one can’t really call “Doom I – The Daisies” or the later “Doom II – The Lilies” anything but progressive in the Devin Townsend-shenanigans-metal sense of the word, and as wild as some stretches of Cake! are, the trio from Linz, Austria, are never out of control, and they never give a sense that what they’re doing is an accident. They’re just working on their own stylistic level, and to a degree that’s almost scary considering it’s their first record. I won’t claim to know where they might be headed, but it seems likely they have a plan.

Ozymandias on Thee Facebooks

StoneFree Records website

 

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Jupiter Zeus Post “Eyes on the Prize” Video; New EP out Now

Posted in Whathaveyou on October 24th, 2017 by JJ Koczan

Jupiter Zeus Rachael Barrett

If by calling their new EP Eyes on the Prize, Australian heavy progressive metallers Jupiter Zeus meant to say they’re focused in their intentions, then yeah, I’d certainly say the release lives up to it. Peppered with a threat of deeper growling, the foundation of the songcraft seems to be in charged guitar riffing and clear, crisply-presented vocal melodicism. The tracks, of which there are six and which range between three and four minutes apiece, are sharply edged and feel tightly knit, allowing for a no-nonsense feel to permeate even as “Read it and Weep” makes use of sampled crowd noise and closer “Broken Plates” offers a somewhat calmer, more atmospheric take.

The band made their debut in 2014 via Magnetic Eye with the full-length On Earth (discussed here), and they have a new video posted now for the title-track from Eyes on the Prize that you can check out here, along with the EP in its entirety.

From the PR wire:

jupiter zeus eyes on the prize

JUPITER ZEUS’ ‘Eyes on the Prize’ EP Out Now and Streaming / Official Video Released

Perth’s (Australia) JUPITER ZEUS have returned to the world stage in all their riff-immersed, haunting metallic glory with new EP Eyes on the Prize. The official video for the title track is available at https://youtu.be/IHzYJaZeSak.

Arriving three years since the release of 2014 full-length On Earth, the new EP captures in succinct, yet sonically enveloping, form what their countrymen have known since the beginning: JUPITER ZEUS is the real Heavy Rock deal. Get in and get hooked; simple as that.

Stream/Purchase: https://jupiterzeus.bandcamp.com/album/eyes-on-the-prize

Tucked away in Perth, Western Australia, JUPITER ZEUS are the very definition of a band who seem to have come from nowhere… but their arrival – laden with walls of guitar, hypnotic rhythms and almost psychedelic vocals – is far from quiet.

Debuting with the stunning Green Mosquito EP, it’s quite apparent that JUPITER ZEUS aren’t exactly first timers. Their previous incarnation, Nebula, boasted a similarly cosmic slant to the heavier side of rock, and the band were pioneering in breaking ground in South East Asia, earning solid fan-bases in Indonesia and Malaysia. With a similarly global scope, but the advantage of experience at their disposal, JUPITER ZEUS are looking past the horizon of the Indian Ocean to a big world of endless possibilities.

At its heart, the band’s music is about songs… epic, soaring and teaming with hooks. The decorations they put on these songs – tastes of the last 30 years of rock music – identify and define the band on a more specific, potent level. Atoms of worlds colliding, exploding into new compounds and creating new life. A self-evolving universe of sound. From the stage or simply blasting in your car; the sound of JUPITER ZEUS is as monolithic and grand as their namesakes.

Track List:
1. Eyes on the Prize
2. Saviour with Destruction
3. Read it and Weep
4. Midnight Renegade
5. Arise
6. Broken Plates

Line-up:

Aaron Smith – Drums
Simon Staltari – Guitar/Vocals
Jeremy Graham – Bass
Michael Lawson – Guitar

http://www.jupiterzeus.com/
https://jupiterzeus.bandcamp.com/
www.facebook.com/jupiterzeusrock
https://twitter.com/jupiterzeus

Jupiter Zeus, “Eyes on the Prize” official video

Jupiter Zeus, Eyes on the Prize (2017)

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The Obelisk Radio Adds: Big Kizz, Mt. Mountain, Mage, Hypertonus, Lee Van Cleef

Posted in Radio on May 22nd, 2017 by JJ Koczan

the obelisk radio cavum

We’re only slightly overdue for a batch of adds to The Obelisk Radio. I need to start setting a reminder or something. By the time this post goes up, my hope is that we’ll actually be off the backup server and back on the full or at least mostly-full playlist. It’s been a long road, as the terrible opening theme to Star Trek: Enterprise once said, but I think Slevin has it ready to roll, and there’s still some rebuilding to do, but I think it can be an ongoing thing working on the new hard drive. We’ve worn the crap out of that backup playlist. It would be nice to not have to use it for a while. Fingers crossed, anyhow.

Whichever server these files wind up on, they’ll be joining some playlist as soon as humanly possible. Let’s do the rundown in the meantime.

The Obelisk Radio Adds for May 22, 2017:

Big Kizz, Eye on You

big kizz eye on you

Some who take on the debut single from Swedish trio Big Kizz will find the band reminiscent of some of the rawer moments of long-running Danish garage-psych rockers Baby Woodrose, but for many, an additional draw to the three-track/eight-minute offering (delivered via Tee Pee Records) will be the lineup, which features bassist John Hoyles (Spiders, ex-Witchcraft), guitarist/vocalist Pontus Westerman (also of Lady Banana), and perhaps most notably, drummer Axel Sjöberg in his first recorded appearance after splitting with Graveyard. Turns out he’s still a fantastic drummer. His play in leadoff cut “Eye on You” and the push he brings to “Baby Boy” and the closing Roky Erickson cover “White Faces” will surely lead some to relate Big Kizz to Sjöberg‘s former outfit, if only in their earliest going (which was also on Tee Pee, remember), but the truth is the trio show themselves to be on a different trip throughout Eye on You, as they bring the aforementioned garage stylization forward amid classic boogie and, particularly in “Baby Boy,” nod toward mid-’60s psychedelia in a quick but fluid bridge. The Roky Erickson cover could hardly be more fitting, handclaps and all, but it’s the sense of movement in the two originals that shows the most potential here as Big Kizz seem to set their eyes on establishing their dynamic and building from there. Will be interested to hear what they do with the context of a full-length and if some of the psych in “Eye on You” and “Baby Boy” is relegated to flourish or if it comes to the fore as they develop, but they’re off to a rousing start.

Big Kizz on Thee Facebooks

Big Kizz at Tee Pee Records

 

Mt. Mountain Dust

mt. mountain dust

Devotees and pilgrims of longform psychedelia will no doubt and should rejoice at Dust (on Cardinal Fuzz), the maybe-second long-player from Perth, Australia, five-piece Mt. Mountain, which from its 17-minute titular opener and longest track (immediate points) unfolds a ritual of superior immersion and conscious trance inducement. Over the course of four songs/37 minutes total, Mt. Mountain unfold a sprawl reportedly intended to capture the atmosphere of the Australian Outback — and maybe they get there, I don’t know; I’ve never been — but either way, the balance of repetition and depth in “Floating Eyes” and the shimmer of the nine-minute “Kokoti” speak to a varied ecosystem that, indeed, one might get lost in, never to return. Mellotron, organ, djembe and percussion play a central role in the overarching sense of mind-expansion along with the guitar, bass, vocals, drums, etc., but it’s the combination of elements, the variety between tracks — they’re jam-based, but distinct songs, to be sure — that really stands Dust apart from much of drift-minded modern heavy psych. One advises patience with the drones of the opener and the cautious first steps that the fading in percussion seems to be taking, as the rewards are considerable when it comes to the front-to-back experience Mt. Mountain offer, which is stark, striking, marked by underlying threat and casts a feeling of the infinite that no doubt was the very intent behind its making.

Mt. Mountain on Thee Facebooks

Cardinal Fuzz webstore

 

Mage, Green

mage green

Self-released in a six-panel digipak with decidedly grim artwork courtesy of Dominic SohorGreen is the third full-length from Leicestershire, UK, heavy rockers Mage. Last heard from with 2014’s Last Orders (review here), they retain the blend of heavy rock groove and metallic aggression that’s become their signature sound, and continue the march forward in finding a space between post-Down/Orange Goblin dude-rockery and doomlier fare. Vocalist Tom blends harsh growls and a cleaner approach on opener “Nowhere to Nothing” and the later “Primitive Drive” while mostly avoiding sounding like Phil Anselmo, and as guitarist Woody, bassist Mark and drummer Andy dig into the slower roll of “Eclipse King,” Mage seem to hit the mark they’re shooting for in terms of style and songcraft. The centerpiece title-track has a little more head-bob to its central progression — and then there’s that wah; always fun — but they’re right to mess around with the proportion of stylistic elements throughout to add variety, and the 10-minute closer “Vultures Mass” does well in taking the punch of “Nowhere to Nothing” and “Heroic Elegy” at the album’s start and pushing it outward into a satisfying apex. Straightforward in its intent, given a sense of mass via a recording job at Skyhammer Studios and executed with a clean conscience, Green is the work of a band who know what they want from their sound and know how to make it happen, which, thankfully, they do in these tracks.

Mage on Thee Facebooks

Mage on Bandcamp

 

Hypertonus, Tidal Wave

hypertonus tidal wave

Tidal Wave is the self-issued debut full-length from German instrumentalist three-piece Hypertonus, and it lands some six years after the band first got together, preceded by a semi-eponymous 2013 EP, HPRTNS. If the more-than-half-a-decade stretch seems like a while for a group to get to their first long-player, it might be, but one suspects the Bremen-based troupe comprised of guitarist Patrick Büch, bassist Arne Staats and drummer Hannes Christen spent a significant amount of that time in the jam room developing their sound, because what they cast over this nine-track/45-minute outing is a keen progressivism and chemistry that feels not at all happenstance. With shifts into and out of technically-minded parts that seem to be driven by Staats‘ bass, Hypertonus reportedly tracked Tidal Wave live, and I have no reason not to believe it, particularly given the eight-minute closer “Phantasmagoria (Improvisation Jam),” which departs from the quick psych-meditation of “Aeropause” and the almost jazzy rhythms and post-rock guitar of “Expect the Sky Below” to bring the band’s style even more to life for the listener to take on. It’s a heady release, and some of the changes come across as willfully choppy — playing with expectation in a “now we’re over here!” kind of way — but there’s a marked sense of accomplishment throughout that’s nothing if not well earned.

Hypertonus on Thee Facebooks

Hypertonus on Bandcamp

 

Lee Van Cleef, Holy Smoke

lee van cleef holy smoke

Pressed to gorgeous-sounding vinyl by White Dwarf Records last November, the five-track instrumental Holy Smoke is the debut LP from Naples, Italy, jammers Lee Van Cleef, and aside from its righteously striking cover art, one finds primary impressions in the gotta-hear-it bass tone of Pietro Trinità La Tegola, the molten lysergism in Marco Adamo‘s guitar and the grounding-but-not-too-grounding effectiveness of drummer Guido Minervini in anchoring a jam like the 13-minute “Banshee,” which takes the best lessons of groups like Germany’s Electric Moon and Portugal’s Black Bombaim and brings them to methodical, engagingly rumbling fruition. Nod persists through the more uptempo, Tee Pee Records-style centerpiece “Hell Malo,” but the three-piece seem even more comfortable dug into the post-Sleep riffing of the subsequent “Mah?na,” finishing that track with a standout wash of a guitar lead ahead of the brighter-feeling closer “Towelie,” which underscores an otherworldly vibe that turns out to have been in Holy Smoke all along. Lee Van Cleef have already followed Holy Smoke up with a single titled “Everyone Should Kill an Old Hippy” (discussed here) — it’s worth noting that this album starts with “Heckle Yuppies,” so they’re not fans of them either — and one can’t imagine it will be long before they answer back with another full-length offering. The question is how they’ll ultimately distinguish themselves from the crowded European jam-based heavy psych underground, but there’s nothing in these tracks to give the impression they can’t or won’t do so as they continue to grow.

Lee Van Cleef on Thee Facebooks

White Dwarf Records on Thee Facebooks

 

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Mt. Mountain to Release Dust April 24

Posted in Whathaveyou on March 31st, 2017 by JJ Koczan

mt mountain

As it turns out, the 17-minute opening title-track (which you can stream at the bottom of this post) is also the longest cut on Mt. Mountain‘s Dust. Immediate points for that. In true psycheprolifidelic form, the four-song outing is the latest in a bundle the Perth, Australia-based five-piece have issued over the last half-decade — they had the full-length Cosmos Terros out last year, preceded by three shorter offerings going back to 2013, if their Bandcamp discography is anything to go by — but as it’s my first exposure to the band, I’m finding it easy to get stoked for the coming April 24 release date. “Dust,” as well as “Floating Eyes,” “Kokoti” and “Outro,” which follow, cover a formidable swath of ground and prove fluid and immersive in kind, jam-based, but with a sense of underlying purpose as well. It’s just about where my brain is at these days, if you want to know. So yeah, definitely a welcome arrival.

Preorders are up for swirl and black LPs, and in the UK/EU, it’ll be out via respected purveyor Cardinal Fuzz, as the PR wire informs:

mt mountain dust

Mt Mountain – Dust

‘Dust’ Out April 24 Via: Cardinal Fuzz (UK)

Pre-sales for the limited edition black/copper swirl (pictured here) & standard black 12″ LP’s both available here: https://mtmountain.bandcamp.com/

**UK/EU pre-orders available here: http://cardinalfuzz.bigcartel.com/product/mt-mountain-dust-gold-black-swirl-vinyl-cardinal-fuzz-pre-order

Cardinal Fuzz are proud to announce the release of the epic “Dust” via Perth quintet Mt. Mountain. Since forming in 2012 Mt. Mountain are already lauded and revered in Australia where they have built a reputation as one of the most compelling live bands, a distinction that has seen them share stages with myriad Australian and international heavyweights including Sleep, King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard, Thee Oh Sees, Endless Boogie, Tortoise, Bardo Pond and Boris. On “Dust” Mt Mountain have laid down 4 tracks that capture the atmosphere of the red/orange landscapes that consume the Australian Outback.

Opening with the mini slow burn epic “Dust” which builds with an incessant drone and flute to form a ghostly menacing and meditative rhythmic and repetitive throb that builds and builds before the release comes and the bands shatters into a heady and thunderous elliptical crunch. Over the entire LP Mt Mountain capture, a dreamlike mood of shimmering dust filled landscapes where slow strummed guitars and single note organ lines ebb and flow and bring to mind Dylan Carson’s ‘Earth’ as played by mushroom ingesting elf’s. ‘Dust’ is psych rock meditation music and It is utterly entrancing.

Mt. Mountain is:
Stephen Bailey: Organ, Whistle, Guitar, Vocals
Derrick Treatch: Guitar, Mellotron, Vocals
Brendan Shanley: Bass
Glenn Palmer: Guitar
Thomas Cahill: Drums, Djembe, Percussion

https://www.facebook.com/mtmountainperth/
https://mtmountain.bandcamp.com/
http://cardinalfuzz.bigcartel.com/
https://www.facebook.com/CardinalFuzz
https://twitter.com/cardinalfuzz

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New Ohm Rune Ether b/w The Great Dark 7″ Available to Preorder

Posted in Whathaveyou on March 13th, 2017 by JJ Koczan

ohm rune kim anderson

In just under six minutes on the A-side of their new single for Desert Highways, Perth two-piece Ohm Rune span a gamut of modern heavy, from initial soothing post-rock into punch-in-the-gut riffing and abrasive screaming vocals set to a charged and rolling groove. The track is called “Ether,” and it’s not streaming yet, but preorders are up now for the platter, which also contains the somewhat shorter, more direct companion-piece “The Great Dark,” highlighting an almost thrashy tightness that seems to ask what would happen if the modern prog-metal set had grown up on a diet of At the Gates — which many of them did and just don’t want to admit it — and provide the answer in an efficient and crisply-delivered voluminous onslaught.

Their prior single, Star Destroyer b/w Adrift, was rawer in its sound and had some clean vocals as well, but should be enough to give you some idea where they’re coming from. You can hear it below, under the PR wire info about Ether b/w The Great Dark, which releases April 11.

Dig:

ohm rune ether

OHM RUNE – NEW RELEASE THROUGH DESERT HIGHWAYS!

We’re very proud to announce that Perth’s OHM RUNE are releasing their latest 7” through Desert Highways!

Key Points
– Double A-Side 7” Flexi with art by Rogue Luxuria.
– Tracks: 1. Ether (5:55) // 2. The Great Dark (4:33)
– Limited to 100 Orange / 150 Blue.
– Recorded by Adam Round (Tame Impala, Voyager, Forstora, The Floors, POND, Timothy Nelson & – The Infidels, The Growl) at Underground Studios, Perth.
– Mastered by Brad Boatright (Off!, Sleep, Poison idea, Beastwars, Black Tusk, Goya) at Audiosiege, Portland, US.

Presale: 13 March 2017.
Release: 11 April 2017.

Launch Tour:
April 12 – Crown & Anchor, Adelaide, VIC. *
April 13 – The Loft, Warrnambool, VIC. *
April 14 – Old Bar, Melbourne, VIC. *
April 15 – The Barwon Club, Geelong, VIC. *
April 22 – The Boston, Perth, WA.
* Double Headline Easter Shows with Dr. Colossus (Melbourne).

Bio:
Hailing from Perth, Western Australia new comers Ohm Rune have already blown away initial predictions and generated a significant buzz online reaching all corners of Australia and beyond. 2016, their first year as a band, saw them play numerous shows around Australia with renowned acts Acid King, King Parrot, Dead City Ruins, Sanzu, Dr. Colossus, Frankenbok, Seedy Jeezus, and Sumeru, just to name a few.

In August 2016, they released their debut double A-Side through Arrest Records Australia. It features two tracks; Star Destroyer and Adrift.

March 2017 sees their much anticipated second release coming out through Desert Highways, coinciding with a run of shows with Melbourne’s much loved Dr. Colossus.
Ohm Rune aren’t trying to change the world with their blend of desert / stoner / metal but that doesn’t stop them showing everyone exactly how huge a sound a two-piece act can deliver. Guitarist Alex, armed with only a bass guitar, manages to produce layers and tones many four-piece bands struggle to attain. Combining this with the ferociously stoner metal influenced drumming styles of Justin, Ohm Rune leaves listeners drooling, and completely dumbfounded by the sheer magnitude of the sound produced.

https://www.facebook.com/OhmRune/
https://ohmrune.bandcamp.com/
www.deserthighways.com
www.facebook.com/deserthighwaysmusic

Ohm Rune, Star Destroyer b/w Adrift (2016)

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Skullcave Release Climbing on Oct. 16

Posted in Whathaveyou on September 18th, 2015 by JJ Koczan

skullcave (Photo by Jack Sutton)

Perth, Australia, trio Skullcave will mark the release of their second EP, Climbing, on Oct. 16 with a show at Jimmy’s Den in their hometown. They bill themselves as “doomgaze,” which is fair enough, and issued their debut EP late last year as their first official release. Newcomers, but well received newcomers in and around Australia after a national tour to support the first offering and a slew of radio support, which if you were wondering how other-side-of-the-planet Australia really is, “radio support” is a thing that exists there. Must be nice.

Some background and audio off the PR wire:

skullcave release show flyer

In a mere 12 months, Skullcave and their unique brand of ‘doomgaze’ have been firmly established in the Perth music scene with a critically acclaimed debut EP, a national tour, national radio play and a slew of prestigious support slots.

In mid 2014, drummer and lead singer Liam Young, guitarist Jay Marriott and bassist Steven Turnock formed Skullcave, a three-piece ensemble blending elements of doom, shoegaze and post-metal. Having written and played together in various bands for many years before, they released the first single in September 2014, followed by their debut EP in January 2015.

The self-titled EP received widespread acclaim from peers and media alike and national radio play across stations from Triple RRR, FBi Radio, RTRfm, 4ZZZ, Edge Radio, and one station based in Paris. Their EP launch was also listed by national publication ‘Tone Deaf’ as one of the top 9 live shows in Australia to see.

Capitalising on the enthusiastic industry and public response, Skullcave embarked on a national tour with The Love Junkies in April 2015. Their set in Brisbane was so well received that one of the city’s most notable radio stations, 4ZZZ, recorded their performance and played it live on air on their regular Friday night segment ‘Live Delay.’

The tour was quickly followed up by recording a second EP titled ‘Climbing,’ alongside a slew of prestigious support slots such as Tangled Thoughts of Leaving’s album launch.

Skullcave entered the studio in the safe hands of sound engineers Adam Round and Jay Brandner, most noted for their live sound work for Tame Impala and the likes of Sleep and YOB, respectively. The six-track EP was mastered by Brad Boatright at Audiosiege in Portland, Oregon, known for his work on legendary albumsfrom Sleep, YOB, Code Orange Kids and many more.

‘Climbing’ is scheduled to be released on Oct. 16, 2015.

https://www.facebook.com/skullcaveband/
https://soundcloud.com/skullcaveband

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Jupiter Zeus Release On Earth Today via Magnetic Eye

Posted in Whathaveyou on March 11th, 2014 by JJ Koczan

Formerly known as Nebula — no, not that Nebula, who remain AWOL — Australian heavy four-piece Jupiter Zeus today mark the release of their debut long-player, On Earth, via Magnetic Eye. The Perth-based outfit released their Green Mosquito EP last year (that’s also available from the NY-based label), but the full-length is comprised of all new material and makes a striking first impression.

On Earth is available to stream from Magnetic Eye‘s Bandcamp, and find it under the PR wire info about the release below. If it’s your first time hearing of the band, it was mine too. By way of a friendly reminder, you have nothing to lose by checking the album out:

Australian Psyche Rockers JUPITER ZEUS to Release On Earth via Magnetic Eye Records March 11

Straight out of Perth, Western Australia, JUPITER ZEUS’ new full-length album On Earth will be released by Magnetic Eye Records on March 11.

Psychedelic rock with mammoth grooves, fat riffs, and seriously catchy songwriting, the follow-up to the well-received Green Mosquito EP is statement album to say the least. Few bands are able to bridge the divide between psychedelic hypnosis and penetrating songwriting like JUPITER ZEUS does on On Earth. Take the trip and reap the rewards!

Stream album tracks “Waves” and “Over” at magneticeyerecords.bandcamp.com.

Waves
Over
Cosmic Rays
I Am
Psychotic Seeds
Talkback Caller
Divinity
The Sum Of
Co-Creators
Waiting In A Line
State Of Mind

Tucked away in Perth, Western Australia, Jupiter Zeus are the very definition of a band who seem to have come from nowhere… but their arrival – laden with walls of guitar, hypnotic rhythms and almost psychedelic vocals – is far from quiet. Debuting with the stunning Green Mosquito EP, it’s quite apparent that Jupiter Zeus aren’t exactly first timers. Their previous incarnation, Nebula, boasted a similarly cosmic slant to the heavier side of rock, and the band were pioneering in breaking ground in South East Asia, earning solid fan-bases in Indonesia and Malaysia. With a similarly global scope, but the advantage of experience at their disposal, Jupiter Zeus are looking past the horizon of the Indian Ocean to a big world of endless possibilities.

At its heart, the band’s music is about songs… epic, soaring and teaming with hooks. The decorations they put on these songs – tastes of the last 30 years of rock music – identify and define the band on a more specific, potent level. Atoms of worlds colliding, exploding into new compounds and creating new life. A self-evolving universe of sound.

From the stage or simply blasting in your car; the sound of Jupiter Zeus is as monolithic and grand as their namesakes.

JUPITER ZEUS is:
Aidrian Vudrug – Drums
Simon Staltari – Guitar/Vocals
Jeremy Graham – Bass
Michael Lawson – Guitar

www.jupiterzeus.com
www.facebook.com/jupiterzeusrock
http://magneticeyerecords.bandcamp.com/album/on-earth

Jupiter Zeus, On Earth (2014)

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