Six Dumb Questions with Weedpecker (Plus Full Album Stream)

Posted in audiObelisk, Six Dumb Questions on January 5th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

weedpecker

Today, Jan. 5, marks the official release date of Polish heavy psych rockers Weedpecker‘s awaited third album, III. Also their debut outing through respected purveyor Stickman Records, its tracks have been floating around the interwebs for the better part of the last several months in one form or another, and the whole thing might well have been on YouTube already, I don’t really know, but if you click play below, you can stream it in full courtesy of the band and label, and whether it’s your first time hearing it or not, it’s one I’m thrilled to be able to feature for the wide-spreading wash it enacts and the inviting warmth with which it greets its audience.

Comprised now of founding brothers/guitarists/vocalists Piotr Wyroslaw “Wyro” Dobry and Bartek “Bando” Dobry, bassist Grzegorz “Mroku” Pawlowski, who joined in time for the release of II (review here) and drummer Pan Falon, the Warsaw-based troupe have held firm to a creatively progressive course since their self-titledweedpecker iii debut (review here) surfaced in 2013, but with III, their approach reaches new levels of patience and fluidity. Across the first two of the five inclusions, “Molecule” and “Embrace,” they employ dream-toned otherworldliness wielded with stonerly fascination and exploratory aplomb. Layers are rich but spread wide, allowing the listener to breathe easy as they make their way through toward the cyclonic churn that, prefaced in the second half of “Molecule,” takes fuller hold with album centerpiece “Liquid Sky” and the early going of the subsequent “From Mars to Mercury,” shades of latter-day Elder‘s lush melodies showing themselves amidst the swirl of fuzz and echo.

The full-length rounds out with the nigh-Beatlesian harmonies of “Lazy Boy and the Temple of Wonders,” a stretch of just under nine minutes that builds in linear fashion to a smoothly-executed apex pulled off with class and confidence alike, first swelling in the midsection before drawing back to highlight the Pawlowski‘s bassline as the Dobry brothers weave lines of guitar and (maybe?) Mellotron together for a serenity that thrusts forward circa 5:45 to begin to provide III with its well-earned final payoff. This, naturally, is no less fluid than anything that’s come before it, and III on the whole reveals itself to be a molten joy of heavy psych that finds Weedpecker more come into their own sonic persona than they’ve ever been.

Accordingly, and with the album out today, it seemed like the perfect opportunity to hit the Dobrys up with a few questions about the making of III and their sense of where Weedpecker are coming from generally and where they might be headed. You’ll find the results of that Q&A after the album player immediately following here.

Please enjoy the following stream and Six Dumb Questions:

Six Dumb Questions with Weedpecker

Tell me about writing III. When did the process start? Was there anything in particular you were looking to accomplish coming off of the last album and going into this one?

Piotr Dobry: We started writing the material for III right after we finished recording II. To be honest, I don’t quiet remember how it went. We were just working hard on upgrading the sound and compositions comparing to II. The experiences we earned from previous records are very precious, we wanted to use them to make the best possible album.

Bartek Dobry: I remember that I was really happy with the sound of II when we left the studio, but later on I started to notice that I don’t like it to be honest. The compositions and the sound. They seemed to be flat and boring. We really wanted not to repeat mistakes we did during the last studio session. I think it turned out okay but still I see lots of things that we can work on in the future.

How do Weedpecker songs take shape? A track like “Embrace” seems to have a lot of interwoven parts – how do they come together for you guys generally? Has this process changed at all over the course of your three albums?

PD: It depends, the whole material is written by me and Bartek, we bring patterns to the rehearsals and then we try to make songs out of them. Sometimes it takes very long for us to finish the song. Like the song is almost done but it needs one or two more patterns which just can’t come to your head, and then you wait even couple of months till you find what you were looking for. After finishing such a song we want to do something spontaneous and just jam something out.

BD: The process definitely changed, we started to put more attention on what patterns are getting in the songs. The selection was really raw. We probably had to give up riffs that could make another LP but they weren’t good enough. Also I’ve never recorded music in home just to register riffs and to work on them, which I did during working on III. It really makes a good work.

What was your time in the studio like for III? How long were you recording? What was the vibe like? Did you have any specific goals for the sound and, if so, what were some of the challenges along the way in making them happen?

PD: We recorded it in freshly built studio of Tides From Nebula fellas. Haldor of Satanic Audio was our recording guy just like on II. We’ve spent very intense week there, we’ve been recording for 12 hours a day and sometimes even more. We’ve smoked literally ton of weed during the session. It was pure pleasure. I love to record and it gives me lots of joy when I hear particular tracks being combined and slowly becoming a song on which we were working for two years. We knew exactly what kind of gear (guitars, amps and the whole rest) we wanted to use on this record. We bought some and some we borrowed from our good friends. On II we didn’t put as much effort.

BD: Special thanks to Cheesy Dude for being our backup sound guy for one night!

How did signing to Stickman come about? The label seems to have such distinctive taste. What does it mean to you to have them backing your record?

PD: It means a lot to us! Personally I love many records published by this label and I was really happy when we got the proposition. Good friend of ours, Nick DiSalvo came to the gig in Berlin, and he said that he’d like to show the material to Rolf [Gustavus], owner of the label. After something about a week we got an official proposition from Stickman.

How do you feel that Weedpecker has grown generally since the first album? Is that something you think about and try to purposefully make happen, or do you just prefer to let the songs take shape as they will and see what comes out? How much of your progression is intentional?

PD: Of course we care about the continuous growth of the band. We want every each album to sound better than the previous one. That means we have to work harder and invest more money each time. Still it gives us lots of pleasure and satisfaction. On each rehearsal we smoke blunts together, play, and talk about stuff.

BD: The progression is partly intentional. As we play more and have more experience with composing and stuff we begin to have more expectations about our music. I want songs to be more complicated and melodic. But still the most important is just to have fun out of playing. If we play the riff and we really feel it during the rehearsal than propably it’s good. Or perhaps it’s shit and we were too high while playing it. You never know.

Any plans or closing words you want to mention?

PD: Right after releasing III we go on the small tour around the Germany and Poland, and then we will see.

BD: Peace and love brothers and sisters!

Weedpecker on Thee Facebooks

Weedpecker on Bandcamp

Weedpecker BigCartel store

Weedpecker at 8merch

Stickman Records website

Stickman Records on Thee Facebooks

Stickman Records on Twitter

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Orphanage Named Earth to Release Re-Evolve on Argonauta Records

Posted in Whathaveyou on December 5th, 2017 by JJ Koczan

With a blend of post-metal and rawer hardcore as their sonic foundation, it doesn’t seem unreasonable to liken Polish newcomers Orphanage Named Earth to the atmospheric assault brought to bear by Converge, but in listening to the newly-signed-to-Argonauta five-piece’s Demo 2015, they seem to go further along the path of ambience and further along the path of harsh crust both than do the long-running crossover champions, setting up a stark contrast between the two sides rather than a single approach between them. Orphanage Named Earth are a pretty new band, so they might get there and they might not, but the blend they’ve got going in the meantime works in their favor on the demo and one is curious to hear how it might pan out on their forthcoming debut long-player, Re-Evolve.

The album is set to release early 2018 on Argonauta Records, who announced they’d picked up the band thusly via the PR wire:

orphanage named earth

Polish Sludgers ORPHANAGE NAMED EARTH sign to ARGONAUTA RECORDS

Thrilled to welcome in Argonauta Records family ORPHANAGE NAMED EARTH, Post Metal / Hardcore Sludgers from Poland.

The band formed in 2015 as a four-piece and recorded a 5 songs demo, self released in February 2016 and distributed among friends and allies. At that time, the band coined their music as ‘romantic crust’, originally as a joke, but it caught on and stayed with the band, as according to many, it defines their music style very well.

As a five-piece now, the band played a few gigs in Poland and rehearsed immensely to record a debut full-length album in August-September 2017 at Dobra 12 Studio. The album, called ‘Re-evolve’, is a story of romantic thinking about the world of peace, respect for human and animal life and earth liberation, meeting the brutality of metal, crust d-beat and harsh but atmospheric guitars. Lyrically, the band touches important sociological issues evolving around one main topic: human greed and selfishness, as according to the band, human thinking needs to re-evolve unless we want to live in the world of wars and exploitation.

The band says: “We are excited about inking the deal with Argonauta Records. As ORPHANAGE NAMED EARTH we want to bring DIY punk and metal communities together, and we feel that Argonauta is the best platform to do so.”

ORPHANAGE NAMED EARTH “Re-evolve”, 60 minutes of “romantic crust” played by Kima – guitar, Peter – guitar, Hubert – bass, Michal – drums, Wojtek – vocals, will see the light by early 2018. Tour dates to follow soon.

https://orphanagenamedearth.bandcamp.com/
https://www.facebook.com/OrphanageNamedEarth/
facebook.com/argonautarecords
www.argonautarecords.com

Orphanage Named Earth, Demo 2015

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Spaceslug, Mountains and Reminiscence: Drift and Consciousness

Posted in Reviews on November 9th, 2017 by JJ Koczan

spaceslug mountains and reminiscence

Sometimes a band puts out an EP and there’s an agenda behind it. They’re going on tour, or trying to make money for a subsequent recording, and a short release is something new and decent to put on a merch table or an webstore and draw people in. Sometimes it’s nothing more than a desire to keep momentum going after a successful full-length, and sometimes there are just extra tracks laying around a band wants to get out to the public.

I’m not sure which scenario it is in the end driving the release of Mountains and Reminiscence by Polish tonal adventurers Spaceslug, but frankly, I’ll take it any way it comes. The new five-songer from the Wroclaw three-piece of drummer/vocalist Kamil Ziólkowski, bassist/vocalist Jan Rutka and guitarist/backing vocalist Bartosz Janik arrives via BSFD Records and Oak Island Records, checks in at just over 27 minutes, and immediately makes itself comfortable in a deep-running mix of warm fuzz rendered spacious through echoing vocals and (mostly) languid grooves.

In method, it’s not so far removed from what Spaceslug accomplished on their second full-length, Time Travel Dilemma (review here), but nor should it be since three of its component pieces — “I am the Gravity,” “Elephemeral” and the 2001: A Space Odyssey-sampling “Space Sabbath” — were tracked during the same session this past January. Opener “Bemused and Gone” and closer “Opposite the Sun” are newer, recorded in July, and they effectively sandwich the middle tracks with two very different vibes that nonetheless remain consistent in their sound and headphone-worthy heavy psychedelic purposes.

With “Bemused and Gone,” it’s drift. Drift all the way. With an anchor of subtle tension in the running guitar line, Spaceslug ignite Mountains and Reminiscence on a particularly dreamy and hypnotic note. This is something they’ve been able to do well since their debut, Lemanis (review here), surfaced last year and distinguished itself among 2016’s best, but like much of their approach, it’s a take that solidified even further (as much as anything here isn’t molten) on Time Travel Dilemma and clearly something with which Spaceslug are signaling their intent to keep pursuing.

All the better, then, that “Opposite the Sun” should complement at the end. Fading-in drums from Ziólkowski are met with Rutka‘s rumbling low end, and Janik‘s fuzz-drenched guitar arrives as the final element before the band launches into a crashing verse that runs at a near-gallop. It’s not the most riotous song in the world — hell, it’s not even the most riotous song on Mountains and Reminiscence, which is “I am the Gravity” — but it is a stark contrast to “Bemused and Gone” and serves to emphasize the range that is emerging and has already emerged in Spaceslug‘s sound, which, while able to give the impression of being a trance-inducing monolith of amp-pushed heat, offers an underlying nuance that continues to demonstrate progressive potential.

spaceslug

As to what the group will do with that range ultimately, it’s difficult to say, but it meshes well with their loyalty to oozing riffs and vocals, and whether they’re playing fast or slow at any given point, their sense of command is obviously increasing. As a result, they’re all the more able to conjure atmospheric spaciousness and largess of tone without contradicting the openness of the one with the other’s risk of claustrophobia.

Between “Bemused and Gone” and “Opposite the Sun,” Mountains and Reminiscence tells a kind of mini-story of disintegration. To explain, they shift from the shortest inclusion in the 4:30 post-grunge banger “I am the Gravity” through the post-Sungrazer bounce and hook of centerpiece “Elephemeral” to the longest in the slow-rolling, darker-vibed, aptly-titled “Space Sabbath” (6:26), and in so doing push from one song into the next toward more ethereal ground. Guitar alone starts “I am the Gravity” and guitar alone ends “Space Sabbath” — but it does so respectively with the most straightforward riff of the EP and with barely-there minimalist warble retained in drift even after the accompanying bass has faded.

From one end to the other of those two moments, a linear transition is taking place that, while Mountains and Reminiscence is a short release, nonetheless makes for a quick album-style flow that seems distinct from the opener and closer surrounding and on its own wavelength in terms of how the songs relate to each other. The effect that has is to make Mountains and Reminiscence almost like two different offerings mashed together in a particle accelerator — a two-song single and a three-song EP drawn from two sessions and combined into one, which I suppose it is — but given Spaceslug‘s overarching consistency of sound, it seems only reasonable to expect Mountains and Reminiscence to set up a considerable fluidity over its span, and of course it does precisely that.

Spaceslug have worked quickly to get two full-lengths and this EP out, and one has no reason to believe they’ll look to slow the momentum they’ve been able to build thus far going into 2018, but more than the impressive rate at which they churn out digipaks, tapes, LP platters and t-shirts is the sonic growth to which they’ve clearly committed themselves. Of all the temporal threads they’ve established thus far into what one hopes will be a long career, that’s the most resonant, and that’s what would seem to be pushing them toward the forefront of the vibrant heavy underground in Poland and, of course, realms beyond.

Spaceslug, Mountains and Reminiscence (2017)

Spaceslug on Thee Facebooks

Spaceslug on Bandcamp

Oak Island Records on Thee Facebooks

Oak Island Records at Kozmik Artifactz

BSFD Records on Thee Facebooks

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Spaceslug Release New EP Mountains and Reminiscence

Posted in Whathaveyou on September 26th, 2017 by JJ Koczan

spaceslug-photo-Benjamin-Desr

Sometimes life brings surprises, and sometimes those surprises are awesome. To wit, a new EP called Mountains and Reminiscence from primo Polish fuzzrollers Spaceslug brings five previously-unheard tracks, two of which are brand new — that’s opener “Bemused and Gone” and closer “Opposite the Sun” — in digipak CD form delivered by BSFD Records and Oak Island Records, distributed through Kozmik Artifactz, to follow-up on earlier-2017’s righteous sophomore full-length, Time Travel Dilemma (review here). The other three cuts — “I am the Gravity,” centerpiece “Elephemeral” and the 2001: A Space Odyssey-sample-inclusive “Space Sabbath” — were recorded in the sessions for that album, so there’s a nice tie-in between where the three-piece have been and where they might be headed. As to that — you guessed it — space.

I’d be amazed, and frankly a little disappointed, if as we move into the Spring 2018 festival season Spaceslug‘s name doesn’t pop up across multiple bills. Looking at you Roadburn, the Desertfests and Freak Valley. Somebody if not multiple somebodies is going to have to step up and get these guys the exposure that at this point they’ve more than well earned with the quality of their studio output.

You can hear Mountains and Reminiscence in its entirety below if you want to understand what I’m talking about. I think you’ll only be able to agree the issue is urgent and needs to be addressed thoroughly:

spaceslug-mountains-and-reminiscence

Spaceslug – Mountains & Reminiscence

So here it is.

It is a very special release for us – 3 tracks were recorded during Time Travel Dilemma sessions and two are completely new.

This Ep connects both old and new. A little spin-off in our universe of infinite.

So behold the Mountains and feel the Reminiscence.

Listen loud and share with friends!

https://spaceslug.bandcamp.com/album/mountains-reminiscence

6 panel, pressed Digipack CD
BSFD Records/Oak Island Records
Number: CD024/OIR018

Tracklisting:
1. Bemused And Gone 05:06
2. I Am The Gravity 04:30
3. Elephemeral 05:23
4. Space Sabbath 06:26
5. Opposite The Sun 05:54

Track 2-4 recorded at MAQ Studio/Satanic Audio during TTD sessions by Haldor Grunberg & Jakub Radomski (12-15.01.2017)
Track 1 & 5 recorded at UNIQ Studio by Marek Dziedzic (29.07.2017)
Mixed & Mastered by Haldor Grunberg (Satanic Audio)

Cover Art & Layout by Maciej Kamuda

Spaceslug is:
Bartosz Janik – guitars/backing vocals
Jan Rutka – bass/vocals
Kamil Zió?kowski – drums/main vocals

Guest vocals in “Elephemeral” by Jakub Radomski

https://www.facebook.com/spaceslugband/
https://spaceslug.bandcamp.com/
https://www.facebook.com/oakislandrecords/
http://shop.bilocationrecords.com/index.php?k=1072&lang=eng
https://www.facebook.com/BSFD-records-247816545273558/

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Weedpecker Sign to Stickman Records; III Coming Soon; New Song Streaming Now

Posted in Whathaveyou on August 21st, 2017 by JJ Koczan

weedpecker

Poland’s Weedpecker already have two strong albums under their collective belt in their 2013 self-titled (review here) and 2015’s even more expansive II (review here), but with an endorsement like that of Stickman Records behind the forthcoming III, it seems all the more like they might just be about to hit their finest hour to-date. The Warsaw four-piece are the latest impressive pickup from the German label, which seems to be on something of a spree over the course of the last year-plus, with King Buffalo, Papir and a distro deal with The Heads‘ imprint Rooster Rock, as well as releases by ElderMotorpsycho, OrangoThe Devil and the Almighty Blues, the aforementioned Papir, etc. All the better, as their taste is basically unfuckwithable as far as I’m concerned.

In the case of Weedpecker, they’re yet another band who take familiar sonic elements and turn them into something brazenly individual. With an underlying influence from their now-labelmates Elder, they honed a progressive feel across the still-psychedelic and very much still-heavy II, and based on what Stickman says about it and the track “Liquid Sky” that’s streaming below, I can’t wait to hear what’s in store for III. Good band. Good news. Positive vibes and kudos all around.

Exact release date still to come. Here’s the cover art and the announcement from the label:

weedpecker iii

STICKMAN WELCOMES WEEDPECKER WITH NEW ALBUM “III”!

It’s the year of the roman numeral at Stickman Records, beginning with Papir’s “V” and continuing the trend with our latest addition to the family – Poland’s WEEDPECKER for their third album, aptly titled “III”!

Weedpecker started turning heads with their fantastic debut album in 2013, no small feat in the oversaturated world of drug rock in the 21st century. Mixing grungy riffs with dreamy, psychedelic soundscapes, their heavy and trippy sound is singular and instantly recognizable. Numerous European tours including shows with our own Elder won the Warsaw quartet the kind of quiet reverence that accompanies any underground band who’s just too good to be let out into the mainstream and discovered for all, and the second LP “II” remains a sought-after gem. When we got the chance to work with them for their latest offering, of course we jumped at the chance!

If the band name conjures up images of marijuana haze – as it undoubtedly should – “III” is a whole ‘nother drug; showing no inhibitions in breaking out of the “stoner rock” mold, the extended trips float over the listener with lush keys, beautiful guitar melodies and ethereal vocal harmonies. Borrowing more heavily from the lighter psychedelia a la early Tame Impala, Pond or Morgan Delt, “III” shows the band experimenting and jamming more than ever before with unexpected and wonderful results.

Says Weedpecker: “We are very happy to announce that our new album will be released by Stickman Records! We’re super proud that Elder, Motorpsycho, Papir, Mos Generator, Anekdoten are our label buddies!”

Release date and details to follow soon!

Weedpecker is:
Wyro-guitar
Bartek-guitar
Mroku-bass
Falon-drums

https://www.facebook.com/Weedpecker-349871488424872/
https://weedpecker.bandcamp.com/
http://weedpecker.bigcartel.com/
http://weedpecker.8merch.com/
https://www.facebook.com/Stickman-Records-1522369868033940/
https://twitter.com/stickmanrecords

Weedpecker, “Liquid Sky”

Weedpecker, II (2015)

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Major Kong Set Sept. Release for Brace for Impact; New Song Posted

Posted in Whathaveyou on July 21st, 2017 by JJ Koczan

major kong

Polish riff aficionados Major Kong are giving a quick glimpse of their upcoming long-player, Brace for Impact, in the new streaming track ‘Rapid Star Formation.’ The cut is only a little over two minutes long, and one suspects that its fast push leads to some slower, weightier fare — would be a short album if not, but that could work too, of course — but still manages to showcase a bit of lumbering to offset the sprint, even if it’s an in-and-out kind of deal. Based in Lublin, the trio’s last offering was late-2016’s Brave New Kong (review here), which answered the heft of 2015’s Galactic Cannibalism (review here) with a crisper overall sound that seems to be a theme continuing into the new release. We’ll see when we get there, of course.

The band notes a September landing date for Brace for Impact, which is pretty quick considering they just wrapped the recording on July 1, and I’ll hope to have more to come either before or after it comes out. Until then, you can dig into “Rapid Star Formation” below:

major kong brace for impact

Major Kong – Brace for Impact

This is “Rapid Star Formation” from our upcoming third full-length called “Brace for Impact”. We are planning to release it at the beginning of September.

“Brace for Impact” – artwork by Maciej Kamuda.

As usual, all forms of spreading the word would be highly appreciated.

Enjoy!

Bio:
Major Kong was born in late 2010 in Lublin, Poland. From the beginning they were a non-vocal trio. Just riffs and heaviness exploding from the guitar, bass, drums, loud amps and large cabinets. Their first recording was “Orogenesis” EP, then in 2012 came the debut album called “Doom for the Black Sun”. In 2014 they moved to Warsaw and released “Doom Machine” – the second full-length. A simple joy of playing without any wicked studio-tricks continued with memorable gigs and more sets of tunes published in 2015: a split 12″ with Dopelord and an EP entitled “Galactic Cannibalism”.

Major Kong is:
Domel – bass
Misiek – guitar
Bolek – drums

https://www.facebook.com/majorkong666/
https://majorkong.bandcamp.com/
http://majorkong.bigcartel.com/
http://majorkong.8merch.com/

Major Kong, “Rapid Star Formation”

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Belzebong South America Tour Starts July 20

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

belzebong

Abraxas Events continues its series of good works this month in bringing Polish überstoners Belzebong to South America for a round of tour dates. We’re inside the 10-day mark from the launch of the run — it begins July 20 — and Belzebong cross the Atlantic supporting their 2016 album, Greenferno, which saw release through Emetic Records. In addition to these shows coming up, Belzebong have a series of other appearances in the offing for the next couple months, including a stop in Dublin for the inaugural Emerald Haze festival (info here), which is co-presented by this site, as well as Keep it Low 2017 (info here) in Munich, Germany.

The PR wire brought info on the South American shows, courtesy of Abraxas, who also have dates upcoming from Stoned Jesus and a little band called Neurosis. So, you know, kind of a big deal.

Here goes:

belzebong poster

BELZEBONG SOUTH AMERICA TOUR – JULY 2017

The weather forecast for South America in July advises for hazy days and favorable conditions for a long and massive bong hit: for the first time ever the highly anticipated tour of Belzebong will finally be happening. In 2016 the Polish band was approached by another Brazilian booking agency that with no apparent reason cancelled the tour just a few days after the announcement. Now with Abraxas taking the wheels, local audience has nothing to worry about!

Belzebong in South America:
20 – Santiago, Chile @ Espacio San Diego
https://www.facebook.com/events/1401445726587237
Tickets: http://www.passline.com/eventos/belzebongenchile2017-livegreenferno2017

21 – Buenos Aires, Argentina @ Noiseground Festival – EP I
https://www.facebook.com/events/696156643920382/

22 – Cordoba, Argentina @ Casa Babylon
https://www.facebook.com/events/148677302359922

23 – Montevideo, Uruguay @ Bluzz Live
https://www.facebook.com/events/297525870684311/
Tickets: https://tickantel.com.uy/inicio/espectaculo/40002226/espectaculo/Belzebong%20%28POL%29?0

28 – Belo Horizonte, Brazil @ Stonehenge Rock Bar
https://www.facebook.com/events/1033415196796945/
Tickets: www.sympla.com.br/belzebong-polonia–ruinas-de-sade-sc-no-stonehenge__147849

29 – São Paulo, Brazil @ DOOM NATION FESTIVAL SÃO PAULO – Feeling Music Bar
https://www.facebook.com/events/1332711773482904/
Tickets: www.sympla.com.br/belzebong-em-sao-paulo—doom-nation-fest-2017__147268

30 – Rio de Janeiro, Brazil @ DOOM NATION FESTIVAL RIO DE JANEIRO – La Esquina
www.facebook.com/events/295368340908224/
Tickets: www.sympla.com.br/belzebong-no-rio-de-janeiro—doom-nation-fest-2017__147272

Belzebong live:
Aug 18 Sinzendorf Munich, Germany
Sep 01 Emerald Haze Dublin, Ireland
Sep 09 Taller Horitzó Pineda de Mar, Spain
Oct 06 ZetPeTe Krakow, Poland
Oct 20 Keep it Low Munich, Germany

https://www.facebook.com/belzebong420
http://belzebong.8merch.com/services/store
https://belzebong.bandcamp.com/

Belzebong, Greenferno (2016)

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Spaceslug, Time Travel Dilemma: Tonal Paradox (Plus Track Premiere)

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

spaceslug-time-travel-dilemma

[Click play above to stream the premiere of the title-track of Spaceslug’s Time Travel Dilemma, featuring Sander Haagmans. Album is out Feb. 17.]

When Wroclaw trio Spaceslug made their debut last year, they immediately distinguished themselves via a sense of space created through big riffs presented with even bigger tones, vocal laze and a heavy psychedelic undertone of jamming that made the whole affair more fluid. That album was Lemanis (review here), and it sold completely through its cassette (on Southcave Records), CD (on BSFD Records) and vinyl (on Oak Island Records) pressings. Not surprisingly, as the Polish group follow-up such a successful first outing, their new album, Time Travel Dilemma, does not attempt to fix what wasn’t broken in their sound. Those who caught onto the depth and vibe of Lemanis will find the six tracks of Time Travel Dilemma work from a similarly potent brew — the key differences are of affirmation and progression.

Yes, both records meld drifting melodies and massive tones together to affect a thickened sonic liquefaction, but Time Travel Dilemma, frankly, learns from its predecessor and moves the band — guitarist/vocalist Bartosz Janik, bassist/vocalist Jan Rutka and drummer/vocalist Kamil Ziólkowski — forward in a style that’s quickly becoming their own. In other words: Progression. The affirmation comes in letting their audience know that their first offering was no fluke, but rather the beginning steps on a path that the languid heft of “Parahorizon” on Time Travel Dilemma finds them walking further along. The vocals are more confident. The songs are more distinct, and the flow between them over the total 44 minutes more resonant. It is simply a more realized interpretation of Spaceslug‘s sound.

As it should be. From opener “Osiris” to the closing title-track’s guest spot from Sander Haagmans, formerly bassist/vocalist of Sungrazer and currently of the grungier The Whims of the Great MagnetTime Travel Dilemma brings forth immersion via its spaciousness as much as its nod. The Haagmans appearance at the end as “Time Travel Dilemma” moves easily into its second-half jam couldn’t be more appropriate, since Sungrazer seem to be a chief influence for Spaceslug here and were last time as well. Those roots can be heard in the swinging rocker “The Great Pylon Collider” as much as “Parahorizon” or the finale as the album shifts back and forth between consecutively shorter tracks and longer ones, cleverly creating momentum as it goes. Perhaps it’s easier just to view it by the numbers:

1. Osiris (6:56)
2. Living the Eternal Now (8:40)
3. The Great Pylon Collider (5:42)
4. Parahorizon (10:48)
5. What Falls is Fallen (1:57)
6. Time Travel Dilemma (10:07)

Although the closer isn’t actually the longest inclusion, the openness of the ground it covers gives a sense of expansion anyhow, and with “Osiris” at the outset, “The Great Pylon Collider” and — perhaps most crucially — the penultimate interlude “What Falls is Fallen” creating a bridge between “Parahorizon” and its sprawl, “Time Travel Dilemma” serves as the end-point to which all the gorgeous, grooving motion seems to be heading all along. That’s not to take anything away from the impression left by earlier cuts. “Osiris” is pivotal in setting the stage for what follows and a standout on its own — Rutka‘s bass work there and across the entirety of Time Travel Dilemma should be a blueprint for other groups to learn from — and the apparent ease with which Spaceslug move from subtler hypnosis to more driving crescendos on “Living the Eternal Now” — which in its second half also samples Alan Watts, whose voice appeared as well on YOB‘s Clearing the Path to Ascend — not only makes that track a highlight, but along with the vocal melodies it underscores the growth the band has willfully undertaken in such a short time.

And while that growth, which can also be heard in the push of “The Great Pylon Collider” and in crossing the 23-minute span of “Parahorizon,” the ambient “What Falls is Fallen” and “Time Travel Dilemma” itself, is a key element, anyone among the converted who might be catching onto Spaceslug for the first time shouldn’t have any trouble getting on board with where they’re coming from, the warm and natural vibe of their sound (recorded and mixed at Satanic Audio) or the lack of pretense in their presentation. The latter especially is enough to make one wonder just what exactly the “dilemma” is that Spaceslug are having in their fourth-dimensional excursion — everything seems to be rolling along so smoothly — but if there’s a narrative at work in the tracks, it would seem to be resolved by the time the finale disintegrates, leaving behind only a sense of balance in the cosmos; satisfying in the reality it’s already created and seeming to align toward future expansion.

While Time Travel Dilemma comes as a quick turnaround from Lemanis, released almost exactly one year later, the development it shows reinforces the potential Spaceslug seemed to have on their debut while also moving forward within it. As they hopefully continue to grow their sound, one wouldn’t be surprised to find them following varied inclinations — here more patience in their jamming, there more structured songcraft — but part of what makes Time Travel Dilemma so effective is its apparent unwillingness to be settled in a single direction or the other. One hopes that adventurous impulse persists as well, since it will only further the richness of approach Spaceslug unfurl here. There are aspects of Time Travel Dilemma that most certainly play to genre, but even these do so with a palpable intention toward leaving an individualized mark rather than simply repeating what’s come before. To call that admirable would be an understatement.

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