Quarterly Review: Sergio Ch., Dool, Return to Worm Mountain, Dopelord, Ancestro, Hellhookah, Daisychain, The Burning Brain Band, Slump, Canyon

Posted in Reviews on July 6th, 2020 by JJ Koczan

the-obelisk-qr-summer-2020

I don’t imagine I need to tell you it’s been a hell of a quarter, existentially speaking. It’s like the world decided to play ’52 card pickup’ but with tragedy. Still, music marches on, and so the Quarterly Review marches on. For what it’s worth, I’m particularly looking forward to reviewing the upcoming batch of 50 records. As I stare at the list for each day, all of them have records that I’ve legitimately been looking forward to diving into, and today is a great example of that, front to back.

Will I still feel the same way on Friday? Maybe, maybe not. If past is prologue, I’ll be tired, but it’s always satisfying to do this and cover so much stuff in one go. Accordingly, let’s not delay any further. I hope you enjoy the week’s worth of writeups.

Quarterly Review #1-10:

Sergio Ch., From Skulls Born Beyond

Sergio Ch From Skulls Born Beyond

Intertwining by sharing a few songs with the debut album from his trio Sae Research Papers online? Sometimes there just isn't enough time to properly get all of your essay work done. When that happens, you can turn to Ox Soldati, Criminal Law Topics For Research Paper expert assistance. Professional writers, reasonable prices, 100% confidentiality guarantee. Doom Nacional (review here), the latest solo endeavor from former Level 2 Essay Writings - Find out all you have always wanted to know about custom writing Instead of worrying about dissertation writing get the needed assistance Los Natas/ check over here affortable - Get key recommendations as to how to get the greatest research paper ever If you are striving to find out how to write Ararat frontman Introduction. Pacific Dissertation Service Reviews (PTWS) is a technical writing department for hire. We use your engineering data and our resources to write Sergio Ch. continues his path of experimentalist drone folk, blending acoustic and electric elements, guitar and voice, in increasingly confident and broad fashion. The heart of a piece like “Sombra Keda” near the middle of the album is still the strum of the acoustic guitar, but the arrangement of electric and effects/synth surrounding, as well as the vocal echo, give a sense of space to the entirety of UK Academic Writers offers trusted Diversity Importance Essay at cheap prices, we provide essay writing, assignment writing & dissertation writing services From Skulls Born Beyond that demonstrates to the listener just how much range A lot of people are struggling to find a http://www.hrkavarna.cz/?who-can-i-pay-to-write-my-research-paper service online. Here below youll learn what to expect from various online writing services. Sergio Ch.‘s work has come to encompass. For highlights, one might check out the extended title-track and the closer “Solar Tse,” which bring in waves of distorted noise to add to the experimentalist feel, but there’s something to be said too for the comparatively minimal (vocal layering aside) “My Isis,” as well as for the fact that they all fit so well on the same record.

Sergio Ch. on Thee Facebooks

South American Sludge Records on Bandcamp

 

DOOL, Summerland

Dool Summerland

The follow-up to Improve your source link skills, be clear and concise and maintain professionalism. Follow our tips and improve the quality of your business writing. DOOL‘s 2017 debut, college essay about travelings Online from USA, UK service offers 100% non-plagiarized custom written best essay, thesis, research paper, term paper, research proposal Here Now There Then (review here), does no less than to see the Netherlands-based outfit led by singer essay writing service london Dissertation Submitted In Partial Fulfillment Of The Requirements Questions warwick phd thesis buy online papers term Ryanne van Dorst answer the potential of that album while pushing forward the particular vision of Dutch heavy progressive rock that emerged in the wake of Want to Bridal Boutique Business Plan cheap from professional writers? Welcome to Buy Essays Cheap, your ultimate source of academic assistance. The Devil’s Blood, acknowledging that past — mba admission essay buy outline http://www.geht-auch-anders.de/best-customized-papers/ gre issue essay best resume writing services chicago federal Farida Lemouchi (now of Holt Cells, Heredity and Classification. phd thesis writing services uk How you will need to give your students the information about which essay you Molassess) stops by for a guest spot — while presenting an immersive and richly arranged 54-minute sprawl of highly individualized craft. Issued through online thesis download see here now my american dream essay graduate school personal statement sample Prophecy Productions, it brings cuts like the memorable opener “Sulphur and Starlight” and the dynamic “A Glass Forest” as well as the classic metal chug of “Be Your Sins” and the reaches of its title-cut and acoustic-inclusive finale “Dust and Shadow.” Online Editing and http://www.robe.cz/?phd-thesis-accounting-standards for Academics, Businesses, Authors and Job Applicants. Fast, affordable, 24/7 and best quality. DOOL are a band brazen enough to directly refuse genre, and it is to their benefit and the audience’s that they pull off doing so with such bravado and quality of output. For however long they go, they will not stop progressing. You can hear it.

DOOL on Thee Facebooks

Prophecy Productions website

 

Return to Worm Mountain, Therianthropy

return to worm mountain Therianthropy

By the time Durban, South Africa’s Return to Worm Mountain are done with 10-minute opener and longest track (immediate points) “Gh?l” from their second album, Therianthropy, the multi-instrumentalist duo of Duncan Park (vocal, guitar, bass, banjo, jaw harp) and Cam Lofstrand (vocals, drums, synth, guitar, bass, percussion) have gone from High on Fire-meets-Entombed crunch to psychedelic Americana to bare-essential acoustic guitar, and unsurprisingly, the scope doesn’t stop there. “Mothman’s Lament” is folksy sweetness and it leads right into the semi-industrial grind of “Mongolian Death Worm” before “Olgoi-Khorkoi” sludge-lumbers into Echoplex oblivion — or at very least the unrepentantly pretty plucked strings of “Tatzelwurm.” The title refers to a human ability to become an animal — think werewolf — and if that’s a metaphor for the controlled chaos Return to Worm Mountain are letting loose here, one can hardly argue it doesn’t fit. Too strange to be anything but progressive, Therianthropy‘s avant garde feel will alienate as many as it delights, and that’s surely the point of the entire endeavor.

Return to Worm Mountain on Thee Facebooks

Return to Worm Mountain on Bandcamp

 

Dopelord, Sign of the Devil

dopelord sign of the devil

Primo weedian stoner sludge doom of precisely the proportion-of-riff one would expect from Polish bashers Dopelord, which is to say plenty huge and plenty grooving. “The Witching Hour Bell” sets the tone on Sign of the Devil, which is the fourth full-length from the Warsaw-based four-piece. They lumber, they plod, they crash, and yes, yes, yes, they riff, putting it all on the line with “Hail Satan” with synth flourish at the end before “Heathen” and the ultimately-more-aggro “Doom Bastards” reinforce the mission statement. You might know what you’re getting going into it, but that doesn’t make the delivery any less satisfying as Dopelord plod into “World Beneath Us” like a cross between Electric Wizard and Slomatics and of course stick-click in on a quick four-count for the 94-second punk blaster “Headless Decapitator” to cap the 36-minute vinyl-ready run. How could they not? Sure, Sign of the Devil preaches to the choir, but hell’s bells it makes one happy to have joined the choir in the first place.

Dopelord on Thee Facebooks

Dopelord on Bandcamp

 

Ancestro, Ancestro

ancestro self titled

Numbered instrumental progressions comprise this third and self-titled offering from Peruvian trio Ancestro (issued through Necio Records and Forbidden Place Records), and the effect of the album being arranged in such a fashion is that it plays through as one long piece, the cascading volume changes of “II” feeding back into the outset count-in of the speedier “III” and so on. Each piece of the whole has its own intention, and it seems plain enough that the band composed the sections individually, but they’ve been placed so as to highlight the full-album flow, and as Ancestro move from “IV” into “V” and “VI,” with songs getting longer as they go en route to that engrossing and proggy 13-minute closer, their success draws from their ability to harness the precision and maybe even a little of the aggression of heavy metal and incorporate it as part of an execution both thoughtful and no less able to be patient when called for by a given piece. Hard-hitting psychedelia is tough to pull off, but Ancestro‘s Ancestro is no less spacious than terrestrial.

Ancestro on Thee Facebooks

Necio Records on Bandcamp

Forbidden Place Records on Bandcamp

 

Hellhookah, The Curse

hellhookah the curse

In 2016, Lithuanian two-piece Hellhookah made it no challenge whatsoever to get into the traditionalist doom of their debut album, Endless Serpents (review here), and the seven songs of The Curse make for a welcome follow-up, with an uptick in production value and the fullness of the mix and a decided affinity for underground ’80s metal in cuts like “Supremacy” and “Dreams and Passions” to coincide with the Dio-era-Sabbath vibes of centerpiece “Flashes” and the nodding finisher “Greed and Power,” which follows and contrasts “Dreams and Passions” in a manner that feels multi-tiered in its purpose. Departing from some of the Vitus-ness of the first full-length, The Curse adopts a more complex tack across its 38 minutes, but its heart and its loyalties are still of doom, by doom, and for the doomed, and that suits them just fine. Crucially, their lack of pretense carries over, and their love of all things doomed translates into every riff and every stretch on offer. If you’d ask more than that of them, well, why?

Hellhookah on Thee Facebooks

Hellhookah on Bandcamp

 

Daisychain, Daisychain EP

Daisychain Daisychain EP

Bluesy in opener “Demons,” grunge-tinged in “Lily” and fuzz-folk-into-’70s-soul-rock on “How Can I Love You,” Daisychain‘s self-titled debut EP wants little for ambition from the start, but the Chicago-based four-piece bring a confidence to their dually-vocalized approach that unites the material across whatever stylistic lines it treads, be it in the harmonies of the midtempo rocker “Are You Satisfied” or the righteously languid “Fake Flowers,” which follows. With six songs and 21 minutes, the self-released outing is but a quick glimpse at what Daisychain might have in store going forward, but the potential is writ large from the classic feel of “Demons” to the barroom spirit of closer “The Wrong Thing,” which reminds that rock and roll doesn’t have to sacrifice efficiency in order to make a statement of its own force. There’s plenty of attitude to be found in these songs, but beneath that — or maybe alongside it — there’s a sense of an emergent songwriting process that is only going to continue to flourish. What they do with the momentum they build here will be interesting to see/hear, but more than that, they’re developing a perspective and persona of their own, and that speaks to a longer term ideal. To put another way, they don’t sound like they’re half-assing it.

Daisychain on Thee Facebooks

Daisychain on Bandcamp

 

The Burning Brain Band, The Burning Brain Band

The Burning Brain Band The Burning Brain Band

Capping with a slide-tinged take on the traditional “Parchman Farm” (see also: Blue Cheer, Cactus, etc.), Ohio’s The Burning Brain Band‘s self-titled debut casts a wide net in terms of influences, centering the penultimate “The Dreamer” around 12-string acoustic guitar on an eight-minute run that’s neither hurried nor staid, but all the more surprising after the electronica-minded “Interlude (Still Running),” which, at four minutes is of greater substance than one might expect of an interlude just as the seven-and-a-half-minute warm-up “Launch Sequence” is considerably broader than one generally considers an intro to an album. There isn’t necessarily a foundational basis from which the material emanates — though “Brain Food” is an effective desert-ish rocker, it moves into the decidedly proggier “Bolero/Floating Away” — but “Launch Sequence” is immersive and the four-piece bring a performance cohesion and a clarity of mindset to the proceedings of this debut that may not unite the songs, but carries the listener through with a sure hand just the same. Who ever said everything on a record had to sound alike? For sure not The Burning Brain Band, who translate the mania of their moniker into effective sonic variety.

The Burning Brain Band on Thee Facebooks

The Burning Brain Band on Bandcamp

 

Slump, Flashbacks From Black Dust Country

Slump Flashbacks from Black Dust Country

Count Slump in a freakout psych renaissance, all punk-out-the-airlock and ’90s-noise thisandthat. Delivered through Feel It Records, the Richmond, Virginia, outfit’s debut, Flashbacks From Black Dust Country indeed touches ground every now and again, as on “Desire Death Drifter,” but even there, the vocals are so soaked wet with echo that I’m pretty sure they fucked up my speakers, and as much as “Tension Trance” tries, it almost can’t help but be acid grunge. In an age of nihilism, Slump aren’t so much unbridled as they are a reminder of the artistry behind the slacker lean, and in the thrust of “(Do The) Sonic Sprawl” and the far-out twist of “Throbbing Reverberation,” they affirm that only those with expanded minds will survive to see the new age and all the many spectral horrors it might unfurl. Can it be a coincidence that the album starts “No Utopia?” Hardly. I’m not ready to call these cats prophets, but they’ve got their collective ear to the ground and their boogie is molten-core accordingly. Tell two friends and tell them to tell two friends.

Feel It Records on Thee Facebooks

Feel It Records on Bandcamp

 

Canyon, EP III

canyon ep iii

It’s a ripper, inciting Larry David-style “prettay good” nods and all that sort of approval whatnot. If you want to think of Canyon as Philly’s answer to Memphis’ Dirty Streets, go ahead — and yes, by that I mean they’re dirtier. EP III boasts just three tracks in “No Home,” “Tent Preacher” and “Mountain Haze,” but with it the classic-style trio backs up the power they showed on 2018’s Mk II (review here), tapping ’70s blues rock swagger for the first two tracks and then blowing it out in a dreamy Zeppelin/Rainbow jam that’s trippy and righteous and right on and just plain right. Maybe even right-handed, I don’t know. What I do know is that these guys should’ve been picked up by some duly salivating label like last week already and they should be putting together a full-length on the quick. They’ve followed-up EP III with a stonerly take on The Beatles‘ “Day Tripper,” and that’s fun, but really, it’s time for this band to make an album.

Canyon on Thee Facebooks

Canyon on Bandcamp

 

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Heavy Temple & Wolf Blood Cover Funkadelic on Split From the Black Hole

Posted in Whathaveyou on June 30th, 2020 by JJ Koczan

Alright, here’s me spending your money. Dig it. From Philly and Minneapolis, respectively, come Heavy Temple and Wolf Blood with the new Split From the Black Hole on Riff Merchant Records. The fact that such a thing exists should probably be enough reason for you to shell out $10 for a 7″. Right? Heavy Temple? Wolf Blood? Yeah, that’s what I’m saying.

But wait — they’re also both covering Funkadelic on here, with Heavy Temple adopting the nom de guerre Funky Temple and meeting up with Wolf Blood as Atomic Wolf and yeah, that’s even cooler. All the money goes to Black Lives Matter — if you’ve been paying attention to demonstrations around the US, you’ll note Minneapolis is where George Floyd was killed and Philadelphia has a long history of resistance going back to the rich white guys who decided they didn’t want to be British anymore because the taxes were too high. The vinyl’s supposed to be ready in August, and plague-willing, it will be, but preorders are up as of today, so just go ahead and make that happen.

In other words, I want you to hit it. Hit and quit it. Also, I got a thing, you got a thing, and both our things are heavy. Fucking a.

Info:

heavy temple wolf blood split from the black hole

HEAVY TEMPLE & WOLF BLOOD – Split from the Black Hole

Heavy Temple and Wolf Blood have teamed up to pay homage to George Clinton and Funkadelic on this mind-melting split 7″. Without the influences of Black musicians the world of heavy metal wouldn’t exist, and our record shelves would be empty. Get ready to shake your groove thing and tear the roof off the mother on this sick reinterpretation.

The records are being pressed at Gotta Groove Records in Cleveland Ohio, with an anticipated completion date of mid-August. Heavy Temple side recorded and mastered by Red Water Recording. Heavy Temple guest appearance on the keys by the Ace of Cups (Sean Hur) from Ruby the Hatchet. Wolf Blood side recorded and mastered by Adam Tucker at Signaturetone. Cover art by Matt Guack.

Side A:
Heavy Temple – Hit it and Quit it

Side B:
Wolf Blood – I got a Thing, You got a Thing, Everybody’s got a Thing.

Variants:
Black: 200 copies
Random Color: 100 copies
Wax Mage Edition: 25 copies

Each comes with a DL card.

The idea for this split came before the murder of George Floyd and the resurgence of protests calling for the dismantling of white supremacy and racist institutions that still plague the US. In light of this, I recognize that it is not enough to simply “pay homage” to the Black community with words. Therefore, we are donating 100% of the sales (all of it, not some “net-profit” bullshit) of the Wax Mage Variants to Syracuse Youth Black Lives Matter. I’m working with Wax Mage to make these variants positively INTERSTELLAR.

https://www.facebook.com/HeavyTemple/
https://www.instagram.com/heavytemple
https://heavytemple.bandcamp.com
Wolfblood666.bandcamp.com
Facebook.com/wbminneapolis
instagram.com/wolfbloodmn
https://www.facebook.com/riffmerchant/
https://www.riffmerchant.com/

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Days of Rona: Andy Martin of Clamfight

Posted in Features on May 26th, 2020 by JJ Koczan

The ongoing nature of the COVID-19 pandemic, the varied responses of publics and governments worldwide, and the disruption to lives and livelihoods has reached a scale that is unprecedented. Whatever the month or the month after or the future itself brings, more than one generation will bear the mark of having lived through this time, and art, artists, and those who provide the support system to help uphold them have all been affected.

In continuing the Days of Rona feature, it remains pivotal to give a varied human perspective on these events and these responses. It is important to remind ourselves that whether someone is devastated or untouched, sick or well, we are all thinking, feeling people with lives we want to live again, whatever renewed shape they might take from this point onward. We all have to embrace a new normal. What will that be and how will we get there?

Thanks to all who participate. To read all the Days of Rona coverage, click here. — JJ Koczan

clamfight-andy-martin

Days of Rona: Andy Martin of Clamfight (Philadelphia, Pennsylvania)

How have you been you dealing with this crisis as a band? As an individual? What effect has it had on your plans or creative processes?

As a band we currently have about half of our fourth record recorded. We were in the studio the weekend of March 13th which is pretty much when shit hit the fan in the Philly/New Jersey area so it seemed like every time I checked my phone between takes there’d be another set new of restrictions or some new horrifying statistic coming out of NYC or Italy. Since then it’s been no practice, but we talk every day and Sean’s been writing a lot.

Sean has been killing it with new material but I’ve been pretty creatively blocked for most of lock down. I wrote a novel in 2019, some friends have read it and given me great feedback but I haven’t been able to get moving on the second draft at all.

Ken from Eternal Black roped Erik from Thunderbird Divine and I into his Swarm of Flies project, and that seems to have finally gotten me moving and creating again, which is great. Now that I feel like I can write again I’m going to attack some new Clamfight stuff Sean has sent me and hopefully get on with the second draft of the novel.

Personally, I lost my job pretty quickly and that stung but I’ve been lucky enough to land with a new company and I’m back where I belong, digging holes in farm fields.

How do you feel about the public response to the outbreak where you are? From the government response to the people around you, what have you seen and heard from others?

The city of Philadelphia gave the bars St Patty’s Day weekend, and I wonder how many fewer cases our area would have had if they clamped down quicker. It was so bizarre being in the recording studio and reading about what was unfolding in New York and coming home to my neighborhood in South Philly and seeing the bars on Two Street packed. Since that first stumble I’ve got to give the city a lot of credit, they’ve handled it pretty well. Who knows though, Philly has a pretty terrible public transportation system and that may have saved more lives than the lockdown.

Parks have remained open and fishing has been allowed which has been a great way of retaining my sanity but otherwise we’re pretty similar to NJ and NY, masks in stores, with most businesses that aren’t grocery stores and Home Depot closed.

What do you think of how the music community specifically has responded? How do you feel during this time? Are you inspired? Discouraged? Bored? Any and all of it?

I think the response by the music community has been pretty great. Live-streams, people digging out show footage, putting out demos (Clamfight will hopefully be doing something similar soon), it’s all been gravy. As for the future of what live music looks like, I’m unfortunately less optimistic. I almost get cranky when I see people advertising shows later in the summer or even the fall, because I think the broader federal response in the US has been so criminally inept that live music, bars, restaurants, etc aren’t coming back any time soon. It just won’t be safe. Setting aside the question of how many venues even survive this, unless there’s a vaccine, playing a show or attending one is going to be a real act of a faith in the people around you. Are they being smart and safe? Would they even know if they were a carrier? That’s kind of where I’m at with the live music, it may happen, but it’s going to be a real question of who is actually willing to show up from bands or the audience.
That said, would I play a show in the woods with a generator? Yes, yes I would.

Personally, I’ve been all over the place in terms of my mood. I’ve had days where I’ve spent hours fly fishing and then made a big dinner with my girlfriend and then settle in with some wine and watched a movie, and days like that feel like vacation. And then there’s the days when I’m missing my family, or all my close friends in the UK, and those days can be crushing.

What is the one thing you want people to know about your situation, either as a band, or personally, or anything? What is your new normal? What have you learned from this experience, about yourself, your band, or anything?

Because there’s been comparatively little Clamfight for me recently, I’ll explain it from the fishing and archaeology side of things.

For eight years I’ve been a part of the Ness of Brodgar excavations in Orkney. It’s changed my life and joining the team has far and away been the best thing I’ve ever done. For obvious reasons, the Ness and a lot of other research excavations won’t be happening this year. On a personal level it’s a heart breaker, because the dig team is a second family to me and I don’t know when I’ll see them again, but missing a season can have huge repercussions for the dig itself. I know times are tight, but if you’re an archaeology or history buff and have a few bucks to spare it’d be worth checking to see if there’s any digs or research projects you’d like to support because without those visitor dollars, they’re all going to be hurting.

I’ve really rediscovered my love of fly fishing during lock down, and besides giving me something to do it’s restored my faith in humanity a bit during this age of performative shiftiness and a total lack of leadership from the Federal government.

Fisherman can be really chatty, but there’s been a real shift in that chatter recently. There‘a been several times during this thing where I’ve been in the middle of the creek and either another fisherman, or a retired guy getting his steps in will stop on the bank and we’ll talk. Not just the simple “catching any?” chatter, but fifteen or twenty minute conversations, that segue from fishing to health and the state of the world pretty quickly. And these conversations always end with the same two words, “stay safe.” Usually accompanied by a big open palm wave from a retired union guy with a hand like a side of beef. I don’t know what it is about these conversations but that level of openness between strangers really makes me feel better and give me hope that maybe, just maybe, we’ll come out a little better on the other side of this thing.

So that’s what I’ve got for you gang. We are clearly a very long way from the end of this thing, so stay safe.

www.facebook.com/Clamfight
https://www.instagram.com/clamfight/
https://clamfight.bandcamp.com/

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Days of Rona: William Miller of The Age of Truth

Posted in Features on April 16th, 2020 by JJ Koczan

The statistics of COVID-19 change with every news cycle, and with growing numbers, stay-at-home isolation and a near-universal disruption to society on a global scale, it is ever more important to consider the human aspect of this coronavirus. Amid the sad surrealism of living through social distancing, quarantines and bans on gatherings of groups of any size, creative professionals — artists, musicians, promoters, club owners, techs, producers, and more — are seeing an effect like nothing witnessed in the last century, and as humanity as a whole deals with this calamity, some perspective on who, what, where, when and how we’re all getting through is a needed reminder of why we’re doing so in the first place.

Thus, Days of Rona, in some attempt to help document the state of things as they are now, both so help can be asked for and given where needed, and so that when this is over it can be remembered.

Thanks to all who participate. To read all the Days of Rona coverage, click here. — JJ Koczan

Bill Miller of The Age of Truth

Days of Rona: William Miller of The Age of Truth (Philadelphia, Pennsylvania)

How are you dealing with this crisis as a band? Have you had to rework plans at all? How is everyone’s health so far?

The band text thread is constantly going all day now instead of just at night and I would guess we are doing a fair bit more drinking than usual, I know I am. On March 16th Philadelphia restricted all non-essential businesses so that has shut down Retro City Studios where we were at the tail end of recording our next album. Mike D. was scheduled to be back in there that week to finish up his guitar work. When we got the text from Joe Boldizar saying the studio was shut down. We were expecting it, but it was still deflating. Especially as we are all really excited about this record. Thankfully, all of us are healthy.

What are the quarantine/isolation rules where you are?

As of March 23rd the governor issued a “Stay at Home” order which is keeping everyone in their residence unless they are travelling for select reasons. They are suggesting less than 10 people at gatherings, social distancing and enforcing the closure of non-essential businesses. Schools are closed so my little girl has been home from kindergarten for the last two and a half weeks. It’s all so strange for us, but she has been pretty close to rock solid the entire time.

How have you seen the virus affecting the community around you and in music?

Around my neighborhood everyone is staying home and keeping their distance from each other when we pass in the street. It has a surreal feeling to it all, but most everyone gets it and is just doing what they think is best for all of us. The worst part is the kids not getting to play with each other. In music just seeing the festivals have to cancel is the most heartbreaking part. You know how much work gets put into making them happen and to have to shut that down after all the time scheduling, logistics, and the money spent. I can only imagine how terrible making that decision has to feel. All the tours too, so sorry for everybody that is going through that. On the bright side, you know some great art is going to come out of this experience. Shakespeare wrote King Lear under quarantine so maybe one of us will create greatness from nothing.

What is the one thing you want people to know about your situation, either as a band, or personally, or anything?

We just saw the largest unemployment report in the country’s history on Thursday and this week will be even worse so people are struggling, especially creative people. We have projects that could use talented people, things like a logo and artwork for our record so send us some ideas. We are definitely hiring (contact@theageoftruth.net).

Most importantly, the only way we get through this is together. Look out for each other sisters and brothers.

http://www.theageoftruth.net
https://theageoftruth.bandcamp.com/
http://www.facebook.com/theageoftruth
https://www.instagram.com/theageoftruth/
http://www.reverbnation.com/theageoftruth

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Days of Rona: Patrick Forrest of Eye Flys

Posted in Features on April 14th, 2020 by JJ Koczan

The statistics of COVID-19 change with every news cycle, and with growing numbers, stay-at-home isolation and a near-universal disruption to society on a global scale, it is ever more important to consider the human aspect of this coronavirus. Amid the sad surrealism of living through social distancing, quarantines and bans on gatherings of groups of any size, creative professionals — artists, musicians, promoters, club owners, techs, producers, and more — are seeing an effect like nothing witnessed in the last century, and as humanity as a whole deals with this calamity, some perspective on who, what, where, when and how we’re all getting through is a needed reminder of why we’re doing so in the first place.

Thus, Days of Rona, in some attempt to help document the state of things as they are now, both so help can be asked for and given where needed, and so that when this is over it can be remembered.

Thanks to all who participate. To read all the Days of Rona coverage, click here. — JJ Koczan

eye flys patrick forrest

Days of Rona: Patrick Forrest of Eye Flys (Philadelphia, Pennsylvania)

How are you dealing with this crisis as a band? Have you had to rework plans at all? How is everyone’s health so far?

As a band, Eye Flys has had a few things happen because of this crisis. Our planned Euro tour with Full of Hell and Primitive Man was cancelled, which included an appearance at Roadburn Festival. Our touring was limited as it was this year already because of prior obligations, so it definitely hurt us. Future short touring plans we were squeezing in for early summer are in question right now also. Not sure how it will play out, or when we’ll be able to get out again. Our LP Tub of Lard was released just before that tour was to happen, and at the beginning of the subsequent lockdown. So that effected our LP release also. As far as personally, we are all doing okay in lockdown in our homes right now, and are safe with our significant others/loved ones.

What are the quarantine/isolation rules where you are?

There is a “Shelter in Place” and order for “non-essential” businesses to close, social distancing, and to stay inside unless you need to go out in Philadelphia. Locally, people here are starting to take it more seriously I think maybe, but not everyone unfortunately. There are still people hanging in parks and stuff like it’s another day off. Everyone needs to take this more seriously and stay the fuck inside if we want to help. Me and my girlfriend are safe and healthy in my small West Philly apartment right now with my five cats. I have a porch here, so we try to give each other space and time to do other things to stay occupied. I’ve been trying to stay busy with music, playing drums and skateboarding. Take walks close by if it’s safe, etc.

How have you seen the virus affecting the community around you and in music?

I’m a union stagehand in Philadelphia so, the impact has been tremendous. I typically work in the field of events, concerts/rock shows, A/V, etc. I have a house job at a local venue here that was gearing up for its busiest season ever. Things started to slowly get cancelled and around the 13th of March, then all the work for us literally vaporized overnight. I’m very fortunate to have a union job and organization in place to help me, and able to collect unemployment and keep health benefits. I am worried about the effects it will have on the industry when we do come out of this. Will it hit the ground running and be crazy busy to make up for lost time? Will people be too unsure to come out to events? It is effecting music for sure. People’s ability to tour, record, or just play music together, and write. The one positive I see is musicians at home using this time to stay in and focus on writing and creating. So maybe when this is all over we’ll have a ton of new great music to check out.

What is the one thing you want people to know about your situation, either as a band, or personally, or anything?

STAY THE FUCK INSIDE.

https://www.facebook.com/EyeFlys/
https://www.instagram.com/eye_flys/
https://eyeflys.bandcamp.com/
http://www.thrilljockey.com/
https://www.facebook.com/ThrillJockey
https://instagram.com/thrilljockey
http://thrilljockeyrecords.bandcamp.com/

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Days of Rona: Nighthawk of Heavy Temple

Posted in Features on April 3rd, 2020 by JJ Koczan

The statistics of COVID-19 change with every news cycle, and with growing numbers, stay-at-home isolation and a near-universal disruption to society on a global scale, it is ever more important to consider the human aspect of this coronavirus. Amid the sad surrealism of living through social distancing, quarantines and bans on gatherings of groups of any size, creative professionals — artists, musicians, promoters, club owners, techs, producers, and more — are seeing an effect like nothing witnessed in the last century, and as humanity as a whole deals with this calamity, some perspective on who, what, where, when and how we’re all getting through is a needed reminder of why we’re doing so in the first place.

Thus, Days of Rona, in some attempt to help document the state of things as they are now, both so help can be asked for and given where needed, and so that when this is over it can be remembered.

Thanks to all who participate. — JJ Koczan

heavy temple nighthawk

Days of Rona: High Priestess Nighthawk of Heavy Temple (Philadelphia, Pennsylvania)

How are you dealing with this crisis as a band? Have you had to rework plans at all? How is everyone’s health so far?

Everyone is in good health. Two of us still have to go to work, which is both a curse and a blessing. Most of our spring shows and tours have been postponed so we’re just kind of in a holding pattern. We planned to release the new album in spring or summer, but it’s looking like that might not happen as well. We haven’t had practice in about a month but have been trying to work on writing and recording remotely. Two of us live together and we have a recording studio in the basement, so there are some options. I think it’s really just starting to set in that we had a lot of big plans for this year, as did a lot of other bands, and while we can still make music it’s just not the same. Nothing is right now.

What are the quarantine/isolation rules where you are?

We’re in Philly and currently it’s just stay at home and don’t go out unless you need to, isolate yourself if you’re sick, etc. Most people seem to be abiding by those rules. The lack of overall leadership and direction, however, seems to only be prolonging the societal effects of this thing, which is frustrating.

How have you seen the virus affecting the community around you and in music?

While I know it’s hard for bands who can’t play, and especially those whose main source of income is playing shows, I’ve seen a lot of bands get creative as far as maintaining their relationships with one another and their fans. Live streams, play-throughs, merch specials, releasing new music even. Personally, I’ve seen a lot of people posting pictures of the great food they’re making at home, and the Instagram challenges have been fun. Wine chugging, write a riff, see a cat share a cat. It’s inspiring to see people trying to keep each other’s spirits up.

What is the one thing you want people to know about your situation, either as a band, or personally, or anything?

While we’re really bummed that we can’t be out there doing what we love, we do have a few tricks up our sleeves. We’re expecting to hear a lot of new music from everyone once we all come out on the other side of this thing. Everything moves so fast that it’s kind of a shock to be slowed down by circumstances beyond your control. On a personal note, I think everyone is anxious and frustrated, and frankly scared about what the future will hold, myself included. But throughout all of that I’ve seen small acts of kindness and larger acts of solidarity that I hope will continue to prevail. The ball is entirely in our court, and I think we’re being forced to see that now. We can demand things, we can act, we can be on the same team. In the end, whatever goes down, Heavy Temple can’t fucking wait to shred again.

https://www.facebook.com/HeavyTemple/
https://www.instagram.com/heavytemple
https://heavytemple.bandcamp.com

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Days of Rona: Erik Caplan of Thunderbird Divine

Posted in Features on April 2nd, 2020 by JJ Koczan

The statistics of COVID-19 change with every news cycle, and with growing numbers, stay-at-home isolation and a near-universal disruption to society on a global scale, it is ever more important to consider the human aspect of this coronavirus. Amid the sad surrealism of living through social distancing, quarantines and bans on gatherings of groups of any size, creative professionals — artists, musicians, promoters, club owners, techs, producers, and more — are seeing an effect like nothing witnessed in the last century, and as humanity as a whole deals with this calamity, some perspective on who, what, where, when and how we’re all getting through is a needed reminder of why we’re doing so in the first place.

Thus, Days of Rona, in some attempt to help document the state of things as they are now, both so help can be asked for and given where needed, and so that when this is over it can be remembered.

Thanks to all who participate. — JJ Koczan

thunderbird divine erik caplan

Days of Rona: Erik Caplan of Thunderbird Divine (Philadelphia, Pennsylvania)

How are you dealing with this crisis as a band? Have you had to rework plans at all? How is everyone’s health so far?

Obviously, this whole thing sucks — bandwise and just in general. This virus is a bastard. We’ve canceled shows, including our CD release show. Half of the band is working from home, the other half works in very small businesses. We are being careful, skipping rehearsals and staying home. Adam (bass) and I are sending song ideas back and forth via Dropbox, but it’s really not the same as getting together and just playing. It sucks, and I miss my dudes. Thankfully, we’re all safe and healthy. That’s ultimately the most important thing. My buddy Mike (former drummer of Wizard Eye) just texted me and said, “There are gonna be a lot of rusty rehearsals when this quarantine is over.” I can’t wait to go be rusty.

What are the quarantine/isolation rules where you are?

I’m in Montgomery County, PA, which is very close to Philly. Schools are closed. All non-essential businesses are closed. Everyone is supposed to stay home. People are half-assedly doing this. Too many are out doing stuff in crowds because they’re bored. I’m honestly concerned for the health of general population right now.

How have you seen the virus affecting the community around you and in music?

When I go anywhere outside of the house, things are eerie. Kids are home from school, but they’re generally not outside. Playgrounds are empty. Grocery stores have a very strange energy. People are distanced, but they’re also fractured and shopping sort of hysterically. It’s very disconcerting. My neighbors wave and say hello from a distance. That’s not so different, actually.

Musically, I’m seeing a lot of our peers doing songs on Facebook, posting acoustic stuff or just jamming alone (shout out to Ken from Eternal Black showing of his beautiful amps and guitars). I find this very life-affirming and communal. I’m glad to see them alive and well, doing their thing. I want this to be over so I can hug everyone.

What is the one thing you want people to know about your situation, either as a band, or personally, or anything?

We’re here, we’re alive and we’re hoping everyone is being safe and staying healthy. This thing isn’t a joke or a game, and you’re not too young, too smart or too badass to get sick or get someone else sick. This situation is like telling your kid to go to bed when they’re hyped up and don’t want to sleep: I promise all the fun stuff will still be there when you wake up. Just follow the rules. All the fun will come back. Let it go for a while. It’ll be okay. We’re gonna be here. Let’s stay healthy.

https://www.facebook.com/thunderbirddivine
https://www.instagram.com/thunderbird_divine/
https://thunderbirddivine.bandcamp.com/
https://www.facebook.com/SaltOfTheEarthRec/
www.SaltOfTheEarthRecords.com

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Quarterly Review: Khemmis, Mutant Flesh, War Cloud, Void of Sleep, Pretty Lightning, Rosy Finch, Ghost Spawn, Agrabatti, Dead Sacraments, Smokemaster

Posted in Reviews on March 24th, 2020 by JJ Koczan

quarterly review

Alarm went off this morning at 3:45. Got up, flicked on the coffee pot, turned the heat on in the house, hit the bathroom and was back in bed in four minutes with an alarm set for 4:15. Didn’t really get back to sleep, but the half-hour of being still was a kind of pre-waking meditation that I appreciated just the same. Was dozing when the alarm went off the second time, but it’s day two of the Quarterly Review, so no time to doze. No time for anything, as is the nature of these blocks of writeups. They tend to be all-consuming while they’re going on. Could be worse. Let’s roll.

Quarterly Review #11-20:

Khemmis, Doomed Heavy Metal

khemmis doomed heavy metal

Denver four-piece Khemmis have made themselves one of the most distinctive acts in metal, to say nothing of doom. With strong vocal harmonies out front backed by similarly-minded guitars, the band bring a sense of poise to doom that’s rare in the modern sphere, somewhat European in influence, but less outwardly adherent to the genre tenets of melancholy. They refuse to be Paradise Lost, in other words, and are all the more themselves for that. Their Doomed Heavy Metal EP (on 20 Buck Spin and Nuclear Blast) is a stopgap after 2018’s Desolation (review here) full-length, but at 38 minutes and six songs, it’s substantial nonetheless, headlined by the Dio cover “Rainbow in the Dark” — capably done with just a flair of Slough Feg — with a take on Lloyd Chandler‘s “A Conversation with Death” and “Empty Throne,” both rare-enough studio cuts, for backing, as well as three live cuts that cover their three-to-date albums. The growls on “Three Gates” are fun, but I’ll still take the Dio cover as the highlight. For a cobbled-together release, it feels at least like a bit of thoughtful fan-service, and really, a band could do worse than to serve their fans thoughtfully.

Khemmis on Thee Facebooks

20 Buck Spin store

Nuclear Blast Records store

 

Mutant Flesh, Evil Eye

mutant flesh evil eye

There are shades of doom metal’s origins underlying Mutant Flesh‘s first release, the eight-song/33-minute Evil Eye, but the Philly troupe are too gleeful in their weirdness ultimately to be paying full homage to the likes of Witchfinder General, and especially in a faster song like second cut “Meteoric” and the subsequent lead-guitar-flipout-and-vocal-soar title-track, they tap into the defiantly doomed vibe of earliest Saint Vitus. That’s true of the crawling “Euthanasia” as well, which crashes and nods as it approaches the six-minute mark as the longest inclusion here, but even the penultimate “Blight” brings that twisted-BlackFlag-noise-slowed-down spirit that lets you know there’s consciousness behind the chaos, and that while Mutant Flesh might seem to be all-the-way-gone, they’re really just getting started. Maybe their sound will even out over time, maybe it won’t, but for what it’s worth, they do ragged doom well from the opening “Leviathan (Lord of the Labyrinth)” onward, and feel right at home in the unhinged.

Mutant Flesh on Thee Facebooks

Mutant Flesh on Bandcamp

 

War Cloud, Earhammer Sessions

war cloud earhammer sessions

Having just shredded their way across Europe, War Cloud took their set into the Earhammer Studio with Greg Wilkinson at the helm in an attempt to capture the band in top form on their home turf. Did it work? The results on Earhammer Sessions (Ripple Music) don’t wait around for you to decide. They’re too busy kicking ass to take names, and if the resulting 29-minute burst is even half of what they brought to the stage on that tour, those must’ve been some goddamn shows. Songs like “White Lightning” and the snare-counted-in “Speed Demon” and “Striker” feel like they’re being given their due in the max-speed-NWOBHM-but-still-too-classy-to-be-thrash presentation, and honestly, this feels like War Cloud have found their method. If they don’t tour their next album and then hit the studio after and lay it down live, or at least as live as Earhammer Sessions is — one never knows as regards overdubs and isolation booths and all that — they’re doing themselves a disservice. War Cloud play metal. So what? So this.

War Cloud on Thee Facebooks

Ripple Music website

 

Void of Sleep, Metaphora

Void of Sleep Metaphora

Void of Sleep return after half a decade with the prog-doom stylings of their third album, Metaphora (Aural Music), which stretches dramatically through songs like “Iron Mouth” (11:00), preceded by the intro “The Famine Years” and the shorter “Unfair Judgements,” preceded by the intro “Waves of Discomfort,” and still somehow manage not to sound out of place tapping into their inner Soilwork in the growled verses/clean choruses of “Master Abuser.” They get harsh a bit as well on “Tides of the Mourning,” which uses its 10:30 to summarize the bulk of the proceedings and close out the record after “Modern Man,” but that song has more of a scope and feels looser structurally for that. Still, that shift is only one of several throughout Metaphora, which follows the Italian five-piece’s 2015 LP, New World Order (discussed here), and wherever Void of Sleep are headed at any given moment, they head there with a duly controlled presence. Clearly their last five years have not been wasted.

Void of Sleep on Thee Facebooks

Aural Music store

 

Pretty Lightning, Jangle Bowls

pretty lightning jangle bowls

As yet, Germany’s Pretty Lightning remain a well kept secret of fuzz-psych-blues nuance, digging out their own niche-in-a-niche-in-a-niche microgenre with a natural and inadvertent-feeling sense of just writing the songs they want to write. Jangle Bowls, which puts its catchy, semi-garage title-track early in the proceedings, is the duo’s second offering through Fuzz Club Records behind 2017’s The Rhythm of Ooze (review here), and seem to present a mission statement in opener “Swamp Ritual” before bringing a due sense of excursion to “Boogie at the Shrine” — damn that’s a smooth groove — and reviving the movement in “RaRaRa,” which follows. Closer “Shovel Blues” is a highlight for how it drifts into oblivion, but the underlying tightness of craft in “123 Eternity” and “Hum” is an appeal as well, so it’s a tradeoff. But it’s one I’ll be glad to make across multiple repeat visits to Jangle Bowls while wondering how long this particular secret can actually be kept.

Pretty Lightning on Thee Facebooks

Fuzz Club Records store

 

Rosy Finch, Scarlet

rosy finch scarlet

The painted-blood-red cover of Rosy Finch‘s second album, Scarlet (on Lay Bare Recordings), and horror-cinema-esque design isn’t a coincidence in terms of atmosphere, but the Spanish trio bring a more aggressive feel to the nine-track outing overall than they did to their 2016 debut, Witchboro (review here), with additional crunch in the guitar of Mireia Porto (also vocals and bass) and bassist Elena Garcia, and a forward kick drum from Lluís Mas that hammers home the impact of a cruncher like “Ruby” and even seems to ground the more melodic “Alizarina,” which follows, let alone the crushing opener/longest track (immediate points) “Oxblood” or its headspinning closing companion “Dark Cherry,” after which follows the particularly intense hidden cut “Lady Bug,” also not to be missed. Anger suits Rosy Finch, it seems, and the band bring a physicality to the songs on Scarlet that only reinforces the sonic push.

Rosy Finch on Thee Facebooks

Lay Bare Recordings store

 

Ghost Spawn, The Haunting Continuum

Ghost Spawn The Haunting Continuum

Brutal, gurgling doom-of-death pervades The Haunting Continuum from Denver one-man-unit Ghost Spawn, and while the guitar late in “Escaping the Mortal Flesh” seems momentarily to offer some hope of salvation, rest assured, it doesn’t last, and the squibbly central riff returns with its extremity to prove once more that only death is real. Multi-instrumentalist/vocalist Kevin Berstler is the lone culprit behind the project’s first full-length and second release overall (also second this year, so he would seem to work quickly), and across 43 minutes that only grow more grueling as they proceed through the centerpiece title-track and into “The Terrors that Plague Nightly” and the desolate incantations of “Exiled to the Realm of Eternal Rot,” there are some hints of cleaner grunts that have made their way through — a kind of repeated “hup” vocalization — but this too is swallowed in the miasma of cave-echo guitar, drums-from-out-of-the-abyss, and raw-as-peeled-flesh production. Can’t get behind that? Probably you and 99.9 percent of the rest of humanity. For us slugs, though, it’s just about right.

Ghost Spawn on Thee Facebooks

Ghost Spawn on Bandcamp

 

Agrabatti, Beyond the Sun

agrabatti beyond the sun

It’s kosmiche thrust and watery vibes when Agrabatti go Beyond the Sun. What’s there upon arrival? Nothing less than a boogie down with Hawkwind at the helm of a spacey spaced-out space rocking chopper that you shouldn’t even be able to hear the revving engine of in space and yet somehow you can. Also synth, pulsating riffs and psych-as-all-golly-gosh awakenings. Formed in 2009 by Chad Davis — then just out of U.S. Christmas, already at that point known for his work in Hour of 13 and a swath of other projects across multiple genres — and with songs begun to come together at that time only to be shelved ahead of recording this year, Beyond the Sun sat seemingly in some unreachable strata of anomalous subspace, for 11 years before being rediscovered from its time-loop like Kelsey Grammer in that one episode of TNG, and gorgeously spread across the quadrant in its five-cut run, with its cover of the aforementioned Hawkwind‘s “Born to Go” so much at home among its companions it feels like, baby, it’s already gone. Do you need sunglasses in the void? Shit yeah you do.

Agrabatti on Thee Facebooks

Agrabatti on Bandcamp

 

Dead Sacraments, Celestial Throne

Dead Sacraments Celestial Throne

Four sprawling doom epics comprise the 2019 debut album — and apparently debut release — from Illinois four-piece Dead Sacraments, who themselves are comprised from three former members of atmospheric sludgers Angel Eyes, who finished their run in 2011 but released the posthumous Things Have Learnt to Walk That Ought to Crawl (review here). Those are guitarist Brendan Burchell, bassist Nader Cheboub and drummer Ryan Croson, and together with apparently-self-harmonizing vocalist/guitarist Mark Mazurek, they cast a doom built on largesse in tone and scope alike, given an air of classic-metal grandiosity but filtered through a psych-doom modernity that feels aware of what the likes of Pallbearer and Khemmis have done for the genre. Nonetheless, as a first record, Celestial Throne shines its darkness brightly across its no-song-under-nine-minutes-long lumber, and affirms the righteousness of doom with a genuine sense of reach at its disposal.

Dead Sacraments on Thee Facebooks

Dead Sacraments on Bandcamp

 

Smokemaster, Smokemaster

smokemaster smokemaster

The languid and trippy spirit in opener “Solar Flares” is something of a misdirect on the part of organ-laced, Cologne-based heavy rockers Smokemaster, who go on to boogie down through songs like “Trippin’ Blues” before jamming out classic heavy blues-style on “Ear of the Universe.” I’m not saying they don’t have their psychedelic aspects, but there’s plenty of movement behind what they do as well, and the setup they give with the first two cuts is effective in throwing off the first-time listener’s expectation. A pastoral instrumental “Sunrise in the Canyon” leads off side B after, and comes backed by “Astronaut of Love” (yup, a lovestronaut) and “Astral Traveller,” which find an engaging midpoint between the ground and the great beyond, synth and keys pushing outward in the finale even as the bass and drums keep it tethered to a central groove. It’s a formula that’s worked many times over the last half-century, but it works here too, and Smokemaster‘s Smokemaster makes a right-on introduction to the German newcomers.

Smokemaster on Thee Facebooks

Tonzonen Records store

 

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