Friday Full-Length: Worm Ouroboros, Come the Thaw

Posted in Bootleg Theater on March 6th, 2020 by JJ Koczan

The notion of heaviness in music has nearly as many definitions as it has bands who claim representation through it on one level or another. That is to say, it’s broad. It’s only grown more so with time, and when I hear an album like Worm Ouroboros‘ 2012 sophomore outing, Come the Thaw, it’s hard not to be reminded of just how far the idea can range. Of course, all these categories of subcategories, aesthetic ideals and microgenres are amorphous anyway. They can be whatever one wants them to be, at least as much as the argument can be justified.

To wit, Come the Thaw is a richly progressive collection. It brings together six songs across a fluidly constructed, thoughtful and resonant 50 minutes. Since its primary emphasis is on atmosphere, it wouldn’t feel right to call it “prog” as a genre tag, but I don’t know if it would necessarily be incorrect. And loud or quiet, its gracefully-delivered songs are most certainly heavy, turning guitar, bass, vocals and keyboards into spacious chamber doom marked out by the intertwining vocals of bassist Lorraine Rath (ex-Amber Asylum) and guitarist Jessica Way (also Barren Harvest), with not-always-there-but-dynamic-when-called-upon drumming by Aesop Dekker (Agalloch, Vhöl) for backing. There are more aggressive stretches, fuller tonal impacts, but primarily, it is a weight of emotionality and presence alone that makes Come the Thaw so overarchingly heavy.

Recorded and mixed by Greg Wilkinson at Earhammer Studios in Oakland, California, in the band’s native Bay Area, and mastered by Justin Weis at Takworx, and with cover art by RathCome the Thaw followed two years after Worm Ouroboros made an impressive self-titled debut (review here). It was offered up by Profound Lore, which at that time already had established its place among the most forward-thinking contingent of upstart independent imprints, and as one recalls arrived with little ceremony, which seems appropriate. It isn’t a record for everyone. Even as the nine-minute side B leadoff “When We Are Gold” kicks into its more straight-ahead guitar/bass/drum push in its second half, paying off the build played out subtly across the first part of the song, its mournful feel is far removed from what one might call welcoming, groove though it does before collapsing again to quiet guitar and voice.

That song is an effective mirror for the album’s opener and longest track (immediate points) “Ruined Ground,” which pushes beyond the 10-minute mark and also “gets loud” for a bit in that span, its execution remaining worm ouroboros come the thawslow and wistful in kind with the ambience already put forth by the trio and setting up the kind of post-whatever-you-got building progression of “Further Out,” which follows and is nothing if not aptly named, taking the ringing, almost gothic guitar of Bauhaus or The Cure and stripping it of drama or pop and stretching it to suit longer-form and atmospheric purposes. While not at all psychedelic, it is otherworldly, and its last minute feels like a willful act of letting go into “Release Your Days,” which is almost entirely driven by the voices of Rath and Way, though there is some relatively minimal guitar and bass accompaniment.

Frankly, that’s all they need. The two singers work so well together that even with nearly nothing else save a few melancholy lines here and there, “Release Your Days” is a standout from Come the Thaw for more than just its shift in approach. As one side turns to the next, “When We Are Gold” brings through “Withered,” which by default is the most outwardly loud/heavy inclusion, nonetheless maintaining the patient feel of the songs prior as it does. That is, it’s not in a rush to get to the louder guitar and it doesn’t feel like it should be. Dekker‘s drums begin a smooth-shifting build and at 3:45 — almost exactly halfway through the track’s 7:32 run — Way‘s guitar clicks into a fuller tone and the album’s most substantial roll takes hold. Rath‘s basslines underscore a layer of lead and distorted wash, and the song moves back in its final minute to a bookending stretch of quiet guitar, emphasizing the point that there is craft at work from Worm Ouroboros, even if it’s functioning on its own structural level.

That wasn’t really in doubt, given the outright commitment to stylistic expression being renewed in each of these pieces, but the finale, “Penumbra,” underscores the point just the same, with cymbal washes, tense bass and guitar and a vocal that seems to rise and recede from and into an encompassing emptiness. It’s a few minutes in before even the softer guitar figure takes hold, and Dekker peppers in some quiet tom thuds here and there, but the point is clearly made once more in the atmosphere and in the vocals, which rise to a final high note before cutting out and ending the record entirely. It is beautiful and sad, like difficult conversations.

Each half of Come the Thaw has three songs. Each begins with its longest track, moves its shortest, and ends with one in between. It might not seem like it when one just puts the album on and listens straight through front-to-back, but there is a sense of construction in Worm Ouroboros‘ second full-length, and it is a foundation on which the band put forth an artistic and emotional challenge to themselves and to their audience. Again, it’s not a record for everyone. It is a kind of heavy, a kind of extremity, that refuses to work on any level other than its own, refuses to compromise its mission, and is all the more commendable for that.

Worm Ouroboros released a follow-up in late 2016 called What Graceless Dawn (review here) and continued to play live on the West Coast through early 2019, admitting the decreasing frequency of shows even in announcing dates. I don’t know if they’ll do another record or if Worm OuroborosCome the Thaw and What Graceless Dawn will remain a trilogy of works, but even if that’s the case, Worm Ouroboros‘ studio efforts are a resounding testament to the many shapes that sonic heaviness takes and that “impact” in terms of sound need not necessarily just be a question of volume or tempo. Come the Thaw creates and inhabits a world of its own. From where I sit, it’s pretty heavy stuff.

As always, I hope you enjoy. Thanks for reading.

You might remember when Heavy Psych Sounds did those Nebula reissues I ran a series of interviews and full album streams to coincide? Starting next week I’ll be doing the same with the three Dozer records the label is putting out. I’m stoked. Also look for a Sorcia stream and maybe a Candlemass review if I can convince Napalm to actually send a download of the tracks instead of the promo stream. Used to be CDs  in the mail. Then it was downloads, and that sucked. Now you have to go begging for downloads or keep 75 Haulix tabs open. Soon you won’t get music to review, it’ll just be the cover art and a band bio. People wonder why reviews are shitty.

Speaking of shitty reviews, I’ll probably try to write about the Ozzy record next week as well. Not that that’ll necessarily be a bad review — I don’t know, I haven’t written it yet — but yeah.

Couple quick plugs then I’m out:

New episode of the Gimme Radio show today, 5PM Eastern. Listen on the app or http://gimmeradio.com. I’d recommend the app.

Podcaster Dylan Gonzalez of Diary of Doom was kind enough to invite me for an interview that wound up as a two-parter. First part is up and here if you get to check it out. Thanks either way. I haven’t listened yet — can’t really stand the sound of my own voice — but thanks if you do: https://www.podbean.com/media/share/pb-4yhnb-d568e0.

That’s all I’ve got. I could go on about the coronavirus, the bummer Democratic primary, the overwhelming state of the Weirdo Canyon Dispatch or any number of baseball or Star Trek-related things that would be a lot of fun to talk about, but let’s face it, if you’re still reading this sentence, you’ve done me enough favors as far as I’m concerned. I’d rather not take advantage of your goodwill.

This week, anyhow. Ha.

— Ah shit, just got an email for a project I let slip through the cracks. I was supposed to write liner notes for the Stone Machine Electric 7″ and just blew it on the timing. Fuck. I suck at this. Always some reminder. This is why I’ve pulled back on writing bios and the like. Clearly that’s the right choice, rather than committing to something because I think it’s cool and I’d like to do it and then letting people down. Sucks. Hell of a way to end the week.

Please have a great and safe weekend. Have fun, be safe, don’t touch your face too much (apparently), and be kind to each other.

The Obelisk Forum

The Obelisk Radio

The Obelisk merch

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Album Review: Insect Ark, The Vanishing

Posted in Reviews on March 3rd, 2020 by JJ Koczan

insect ark the vanishing

At the core of Insect Ark is Brooklyn-based composer/multi-instrumentalist Dana Schechter, who is and has been the driving force and the creative spearhead of the instrumentalist project since its inception circa 2011. Over the subsequent years and across now-three full-lengths — the latest, The Vanishing (on Profound Lore), was preceded by 2018’s Marrow Hymns (discussed here) and  2015’s Portal/Well (review here) — Schechter has brought to light a deeply progressive and at times decidedly grim vision of post-psychedelic heft. Her work has never sounded more encompassing than it does on The Vanishing, which comprises six songs and runs 41 minutes and was recorded in New York by Colin Marston (of Behold… the Arctopus! and others), and it takes a decisive forward step in expressive from where Schechter was even two years ago. There are a thousand wax-poetry ways to put it, but primarily, what it comes down to is that it’s different.

And well it should be. Where Portal/Well was a purely solo outing, Schechter — whose pedigree includes past and present stints in Swans as well as groups like M. Gira‘s Angels of Light, the underrated Bee and Flower, etc. — subsequently brought in drummer Ashley Spungin to facilitate touring. Spungin contributed to Marrow Hymns but has since been replaced by Andy Patterson (formerly of SubRosa, currently also in The Otolith and Døne), who plays a significant role in the form that the pieces throughout The Vanishing take. That is true when he’s there, as in the opener “Tectonic,” when a steady popping snare serves to underscore the low-end swell of Schechter‘s bass and the accompanying synthesized/effects noise and guitar, and when he’s not there, as in the keyboard-experimental cinema drone of “Swollen Sun” or the prior the wistful and minimalist slide guitar echoes that launch “Danube,” duly evocative of water running as they are. Rest assured, a roll takes hold in “Danube” as well, about halfway into its seven-minute stretch, but it is ultimately in the fluidity of its atmosphere that the presumed side B opener makes its bulk of its impact, and indeed, it’s atmosphere that is most central to Insect Ark‘s third album as a whole.

There are almost two levels on which The Vanishing is functioning at any given time, and in that way, “Tectonic” sets up the course of what’s to come well. At the forefront of the mix is guitar — pedal steel? sometimes maybe — and bass and drums. Even the cymbal washes that populate the open spaces of the 10-minute closing title-track are meant to be forward in their impact; they’re leading the way gradually and patiently through a noise-laden drone-out and back to a more cohesive post-metallic progression that builds to the final apex of the record — so it goes. But beneath those elements, there’s another, broader and more experimentalist path that The Vanishing takes, as Schechter weaves in various noises and effects, synth, maybe-keyboard and who the hell knows what else, and in those details and the stretches where the one plays out virtually on top of the other that this incarnation of Insect Ark seem to be establishing the root of their approach.

Insect Ark (Photo by Chris Carlone)

The narrative (blessings and peace upon it) has it that Schechter and Patterson put these songs together quickly ahead of touring with Oranssi Pazuzu last October, and if it’s the experience of playing them live that has helped them develop the multifaceted character they have, then the crashes and thuds and general crush of “Three Gates” would only seem to be better for it, even if one wouldn’t necessarily expect Insect Ark to follow a similar directive next time out. You’ll note that in three records, Schechter‘s approach and/or collaborations have yet to settle. Whether or not Patterson is a “permanent” member of her project — whatever logistical nightmares her being in New York and his being in Salt Lake City might inspire; the internet is a thing, but still — I have no idea. The only thing to go on is The Vanishing itself, and for the apparent lack of time they had to put them together, the songs they’ve constructed don’t sound anything near rushed either in how they’re built or how they’re played — “Three Gates” and “Philae” and certainly follow “Tectonic” with a tension of their own, but it’s meant to be there — but on the most basic terms, the only thing evident in the Schechter/Patterson creative partnership is potential. They are obviously working off each other’s strengths here.

That too might come from having put The Vanishing together after getting off tour, but it’s part of the album’s personality just the same and thus part of the band’s. That said, a casual listener taking on Insect Ark for the first time doesn’t necessarily need to know any of this. Who’s Dana Schechter? Who’s Andy Patterson? Who recorded? When? Where? Why? It is entirely possible to hear “Swollen Sun” or build of “Philae” and the repetitions of “Three Gates” and be wholly consumed by them purely on their merit as songs, and as The Vanishing only pushes farther out as its moves toward that last crescendo in the title-track — which, yes, ends cold enough to be vanishing suddenly; the root bassline still reminiscent of a “Stones From the Sky” moment even though it caps at the end of a measure rather than within one — it is only more immersive as it goes, and the abiding darkness of the atmosphere is unrelenting.

It is not a record so much of-a-place as of-a-non-place, and so its title seems fitting on that level as well, but it is inherently of the moment in which it was made, and so while it may vanish for at least as long as it takes to put it on again, it nonetheless gracefully presents the what may or may not be the beginning stages of a new phase for Insect Ark in terms of the general mission of the project. An key component of Schechter‘s work — and an appeal of it, frankly — to this point has been a lack of predictability for what might come next, and even should her collaboration with Patterson continue, the same applies. A third record might commonly be where a given band executes the closest realization to-date of what they intended at their founding. Insect Ark would seem to be the other kind of band, for whom the evolution is its own end. Whatever will or won’t follow, The Vanishing is an essential means to that end.

Insect Ark, The Vanishing (2020)

Insect Ark website

Insect Ark on Thee Facebooks

Insect Ark on Bandcamp

Profound Lore Records website

Profound Lore Records on Thee Facebooks

Profound Lore Records on Bandcamp

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Insect Ark Announce Feb. 28 Release for The Vanishing; Stream “Tectonic”

Posted in Whathaveyou on December 18th, 2019 by JJ Koczan

insect ark

Maybe by the time Dana Schecter gets a MacArthur Genius Grant she’ll get her due in the heavy underground. I have to think that the tour she and seemingly-permanent-ish Insect Ark drummer Andy “Super-Nice Dude” Patterson undertook this Fall alongside Oranssi Pazuzu couldn’t have hurt their cause, at least not if the social media crowd shots I saw were anything to go by. The righteously-in-its-own-dimension 2018 offering, Marrow Hymns (discussed here), will get a follow-up in 2020’s The Vanishing, which is due out Feb. 28, and the label and two-piece are streaming the six-minute opening track “Tectonic” from the LP now, its atmosphere recalling dark post-rock while pushing through chamber echo and a weighted atmosphere manifested by the tones and slow-rolling drums. TLDR? I dig. Bodes well. I don’t think I’m cool enough to premiere a song from it, but golly I’d love to if such a thing were possible.

Expand your brain thusly:

insect ark the vanishing

INSECT ARK: Instrumental Psychedelic Doom Duo Completes Work On New Album, The Vanishing, Set For Release February 28th Through Profound Lore Records; New Track Streaming

INSECT ARK — currently made up of founder Dana Schechter (Swans) and Andy Patterson (ex SubRosa) — have been crafting uncomfortable soundscapes that feel both intimate and icy cold since 2011. Nightmarish horror film-like visions, outer space travel, and gritty noir textures were explored in their previous offerings — the much-praised Portal / Well (2015) and Marrow Hymns (2018) — but now, something far greater is coming. Prepare for The Vanishing.

Set for release next year via Profound Lore Records, the Colin Marston-engineered opus serves as INSECT ARK’s third, and most harrowing and punishing record to date. Though many of its segments veer off into mind-expanding outer realms, the interplay between the bass, lap steel guitar, synths, and drums represent a strong and defiant collection of songs that demand your exclusive attention forcefully. It’s heavier, darker, and denser than anything INSECT ARK has ever done, without losing any of the writing characteristics that have become synonymous with their personality, like the persistent coating of eerie psychedelia, the alien feel of the melodies, or the ominous dread they often exhale.

“The album’s title refers to a recurring daydream I had of disappearing completely – floating out to sea alone, and never being found,” offers Schechter of the themes driving the record. “On a much bigger level, it’s about the impermanence of life itself, trying to retain perspective of how small we really are.”

INSECT ARK’s The Vanishing will be released worldwide on CD, LP, and digital formats February 28th, 2020 with preorders to be unveiled next month.

The Vanishing Track Listing:
1. Tectonic
2. Three Gates
3. Philae
4. Danube
5. Swollen Sun
6. The Vanishing

A New York City-based multi-instrumentalist known for her collaborations with Swans (for whom she is now part of the main touring lineup), Angels Of Light, Gnaw, Zeal & Ardor, Wrekmeister Harmonies, and Årabrot, as well as her own projects Bee And Flower and Gifthorse, Dana Schechter is now joined by former SubRosa drummer Andy Patterson, also known for his bands DØNE, the Otolith, INVADRS, and as owner/operator of Salt Lake City recording studio The Boar’s Nest. This partnership appears to have completely nailed the true essence of INSECT ARK. After a quick first meeting, within a period of two short months, Schechter and Patterson finished preparing all the new songs for The Vanishing, preceded by a full North American tour with Oranssi Pazuzu to get the new songs up to speed.

The intensity, determination, and dedication poured into the album is clearly audible, captured by the wizardry of engineer Colin Marston (Dysrhythmia, Krallice, Behold The Arctopus). The sound was steered in a visceral, organic direction; you feel enclosed within a living, pulsating, slithering organism. The album artwork, a stunning painting by French artist Sonia Merah, is in and of itself a work of art, but when paired with the sounds of The Vanishing, it becomes a truly haunting and mesmerizing vision of some terribly twisted alternate reality.

“Making music takes a lot out of me,” Schechter admits, and it’s hard not to understand why after listening to the tour de force that is INSECT ARK’s new album. “To pull it out of my heart and put it into the world can be emotionally difficult, since it comes from a complex place with so many facets like pain, belief, hope, anger, joy.”

http://www.insectark.com
http://www.facebook.com/InsectArk
http://www.instagram.com/insectark/
http://www.insectark.bandcamp.com
http://www.profoundlorerecords.com
http://www.facebook.com/profoundlorerecords
http://www.profoundlorerecords.bandcamp.com

Insect Ark, “Tectonic”

Insect Ark, Marrow Hymns (2018)

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Godthrymm to Release Debut Album Reflections Feb. 14 on Profound Lore

Posted in Whathaveyou on December 12th, 2019 by JJ Koczan

godthrymm (Photo by Frank Ralph)

I have just about zero insight to offer here, except to say something along the lines of ‘duh, this sounds good.’ Godthrymm play classic British-style doom led by guitarist/vocalist Hamish Glencross, who is exactly the kind of person you’d want out in front of such a project, taking back the reins of the Peaceville era and the deathly ways of Paradise Lost and My Dying Bride. Initial single “Among the Exalted” plays to the darker and more extreme end of the sound, and that leaves me wondering what kind of dramas might play out elsewhere on the debut album, Reflections — if the album art is anything to go by, it might just stay bleak throughout — but hell’s bells that’s heavy and it’s more than enough to turn my head in the direction of the release announcement.

Good to know early 2020 won’t be hurting for doom, and as we come up on 30 years since that era of Peaceville really got going, it’s proof of continuing relevance that bands are still picking up on that style and doing new things with it.

At last. A reason to look forward to Valentine’s Day:

godthrymm reflections

GODTHRYMM: UK Doom Metal Trio Featuring Former Members Of My Dying Bride, Anathema, And More To Release Reflections Debut Via Profound Lore This February; New Track Streaming

UK doom metal trio GODTHRYMM — featuring vocalist/guitarist Hamish Glencross (ex-My Dying Bride, Vallenfyre, Solstice), drummer Shaun Taylor-Steels (ex-My Dying Bride, Anathema), and bassist Bob Crolla — will unleash their debut album Reflections February 14th, 2020 via Profound Lore.

GODTHRYMM was forged in 2017 by Glencross and sees the respected UK metal luminary return to his doom metal roots, creating the music he was known to help forge with Solstice on the legendary New Dark Age album and especially with the heralded My Dying Bride from the 2000 – 2014 time period. Further adding to the GODTHRYMM pedigree is drummer Shaun Taylor-Steels who, after some lineup refining following the band’s A Grand Reclamation debut EP, became the core of GODTHRYMM. In the months to follow, the pair recorded the colossal Reflections full-length. Upon its completion, Glencross and Taylor-Steels added bassist Bob Crolla to the fold making GODTHRYMM a true power trio of doom.

Recorded and mixed by Nathan Bailey and featuring artwork and design by Brian D’Agosta of Gostworks Art (Vallenfyre, War//Plague), with Reflections, GODTHRYMM has unleashed a mammoth slab of heavy, mournful, yet pounding traditional doom that harks back to the classic era of ’90s UK doom/Peaceville Records. A massive step up from their debut EP, Reflections is the result of Glencross taking GODTHRYMM into darker, more melancholic, and towering realms. Through Glencross’ soaring passionate vocals complimenting his powerful riffs along with Taylor-Steels’ thunderous percussion giving the rhythm section that immense and glorious tone, Reflections is a testament to the glory days of the genre while simultaneously making its statement as a new force of modern day doom metal to behold.

GODTHRYMM’s Reflections will be released on CD, 2xLP, and digital formats with preorders to be unveiled in January.

In the meantime, the band has issued the stunning first single “Among The Exalted.” Notes Glencross, “Lyrically, ‘Among The Exalted’ is about desire becoming all-encompassing obsession, manifesting in such a way that yearning and devotion can become a manic and destructive force. Musically, we feel this song is very direct and represents us as musicians and who we are now, whilst also echoing our own history and also the glorious history of the celebrated UK doom scene. Thank you for listening.”

Stream GODTHRYMM’s “Among The Exalted” below.

Reflections Track Listing:
1. Monsters Lurk Herein
2. Among The Exalted
3. The Sea As My Grave
4. We Are The Dead
5. The Light Of You
6. The Grand Reclamation
7. Cursed Are The Many
8. Chasmic Sorrows

http://godthrymm.com/
http://www.facebook.com/godthrymm/
http://www.instagram.com/godthrymm/
http://www.profoundlorerecords.com
http://www.facebook.com/profoundlorerecords
http://www.instagram.com/profoundlorerecords
http://www.profoundlorerecords.bandcamp.com

Godthrymm, “Among the Exalted”

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Quarterly Review: Ufomammut, Horehound, Lingua Ignota, Valborg, Sageness, Glacier, MNRVA, Coroza, Noosed, zhOra

Posted in Reviews on October 4th, 2019 by JJ Koczan

quarterly review

Oh hi, I didn’t see you there. Earlier this week — Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, and yes, even Wednesday — the alarm went off at 4AM as usual and I got up, got coffee going and a protein bar and sat down to write, starting basically around quarter-after with a quick email check and whatnot. In terms of basic timing, this last morning of the Fall 2019 Quarterly Review is no different. I even have the baby monitor streaming on my phone as I would most mornings, so I can keep an eye on when The Pecan gets up. What’s changed is I’m sitting in a hotel lobby in Oslo, Norway, having just arrived on an overnight flight from Newark. Managed to sleep some on the plane and I’m hopeful adrenaline will pick up the rest of the slack as regards getting through the day. That and caffeine, anyhow.

Although, speaking of, my debit card doesn’t work and I’ll need to sort that out.

First thing’s first, and that’s reviews. Last batch of 10 for the week. We made it. Thanks as always for reading and being a part of this thing. Let’s wrap it up in style, and because I like working on a theme, three Irish bands in a row close out. Hey, I went to Ireland this year.

Quarterly Review #41-50:

Ufomammut, XX

UFOMAMMUT XX

Five years ago, Roman cosmic doom masters Ufomammut took a reflective look back at their career for its 15th anniversary with the documentary/live-performance DVD XV (review here). And since one might define the arc of their tenure as constantly trying to top themselves, for their 20th anniversary, they’ve issued a 12LP boxed set, titled simply XX, that compiles their nine albums to-date and tops them off with the mostly-subdued-style XX itself, which reimagines past cacophonies like “Mars” and “Plouton” in a quieter context. That part of the mega-offering issued through their own Supernatural Cat imprint comprises six songs recorded live and makes highlights out of the hypnotic strum and incantations of “Satan” as well as the rumbling drone of “Lacrimosa,” which takes on new emotional resonance for the shoegazy treatment it receives. I’ve said on multiple occasions throughout the years that Ufomammut are a band to be treasured, and I stand by that 100 percent. The XX box should be perceived by fans as an opportunity to do likewise.

Ufomammut on Thee Facebooks

Supernatural Cat website

 

Horehound, Weight

horehound weight

Less than a year after issuing their second long-player in the form of Holocene (review here) through Blackseed and Doom Stew Records, Pittsburgh atmosludgers Horehound align with DHU Records for the two-song 8″ EP Weight, which brings “Unbind” and “The Heavy,” two new cuts that, while I’m not sure they weren’t recorded at the same time as the last album — that is, they may have been — they nonetheless showcase the emergent melodic breadth and instrumental ambience that is developing in their sound. Even as “Unbind” rolls toward its low-end tempo kick, it does so with marked patience and a willingness to stay slow until just the right moment, which is not something every band cane effectively do. “The Heavy,” meanwhile, builds itself around a Crowbar-style dirge riff before Shy Kennedy‘s verse arrives as a standalone element, all the instruments around her dropping out from behind. That moment alone, frankly, is worth the price of admission, as whether it’s through that extra inch in diameter of the platter itself or through the audio of the tracks in question, Horehound continue to distinguish themselves.

Horehound on Thee Facebooks

DHU Records BigCartel store

 

Lingua Ignota, CALIGULA

LINGUA IGNOTA CALIGULA

I’m not sure I’m qualified to write about Lingua Ignota‘s CALIGULA (on Profound Lore), but I’m not sure anyone else is either. Like a self-harmonizing mega-Jarboe turning existential horror into epic proclamations of “I don’t eat/I don’t sleep” on “DO YOU DOUBT ME TRAITOR?” amid bass throb and terrifying melodic layering before making bedroom black metal sound like the lightweight self-indulgence it’s always been on the subsequent check-out-the-real-shit “BUTCHER OF THE WORLD,” Kristin Hayter‘s work is little short of experimentalist brilliance. She is minimal and yet over-the-top, open in creative terms but unwaveringly dark and rife with melody but severe to the point now and again of true aural abrasion. She weaves a context of her own into “FUCKING DEATHDEALER” as she recalls the lyrics to the aforementioned “BUTCHER OF THE WORLD,” while the outright brutality of “SPITE ALONE HOLDS ME ALOFT” is married to a piano-led meditation that, even without the noise wash from whence it comes, is enough to recast visions of what heavy is and can be in musical terms. I won’t pretend to get all the references like “kyrie eleison” (“lord have mercy”) worked into “IF THE POISON WON’T TAKE YOU MY DOGS WILL” and the violent strains surrounding, but it’s impossible not to realize the power of what you’re hearing when you listen.

Lingua Ignota on Thee Facebooks

Profound Lore Records on Bandcamp

 

Valborg, Zentrum

valborg zentrum

With an intensity born out of a history of industrial music and focus on tight rhythms making an impact in even-tighter songwriting, Valborg are neither beholden to death metal nor entirely separate from it, but their style has taken on a life of its own over the course of the last 10 years, and their latest offering, Zentrum (on Prophecy Productions), is the German trio’s most individualized take yet, whether that’s shown in the unbridled melodicism of “Anomalie,” the sludgy riff that drives the barking “Ultragrab” or the seemingly unrelenting snare pops of “Kreuzer” that, even when they finally release that tension, still make it only a temporary reprieve. Valborg‘s sense of control through the epic “Nonnenstern” should not be understated, and though the track is under four minutes long, yes, “epic” very much applies. Suitably enough, they close with “Vakuum” and throw everything at the listener at once before resolving in relatively peaceful atmospherics that could just as easily serve as an introduction to the next round of malice to come, whenever it shows up.

Valborg on Thee Facebooks

Prophecy Productions webstore

 

Sageness, Akmé

sageness akme

Spanish trio Sageness — also written SageNESS — conjure smooth Electric Moon-style soundscapes on their second album, Akmé, and yes, that is a compliment. The record brings forth six tracks of easy-rolling instrumentalist jam-based heavy psychedelia that offer much and take little in return, the richness of the guitar tone from Dawyz and Michi‘s bass given jazzy fluidity by Fran‘s drumming. “Ephemeral” touches most directly on a Colour Haze, as it would almost have to, but even there, the feeling of spaciousness that Sageness present in the recording is a factor that helps them come across as more individual. Earlier, “The Thought” is a little more directly space rock, but opener “Andromeda” seems to be charting the course with its liquefied effects and somehow-even-more-liquefied groove, and if you can’t get down with that, I’ve got nothing for you and neither does the rest of the universe.

Sageness on Thee Facebooks

Spinda Records website

 

Glacier, No Light Ever

glacier no light ever

It’s not exactly true, about their being no light ever on Boston post-metallers Glacier‘s latest full-length, No Light Ever. Sure, it’s plenty dark and heavy and brooding and all that fun stuff, and the riffs get loud and the drums break stuff and all that, but it’s certainly colorful in its way as well, and more than just shades of black on black. Comprised of four tracks cumbersomely titled in keeping with the traditions of the likes of Red Sparowes and the band’s own past work, cuts like “O World! I Remain No Longer Here.” and “The Bugles Blow, Fanned by Hysteria.” stretch themselves out along a scope as massive as the tonality the band emits, and as the wash of “We Glut Our Souls on the Accursed,” — the comma is part of the title there — gives way to feedback and the onset of “And We Are Damned Amid Noble Sound.” the sense of immersion is complete and clear as the priority under which they’re working. It’s about the whole album, or at least the two sides, as a unified work, and about crafting a world through the atmosphere evoked in the material. It works. If they say there’s no light in that world, so be it. It’s whatever they want it to be.

Glacier on Thee Facebooks

Wolves and Vibrancy Records webstore

 

MNRVA, Black Sky

mnrva black sky

Not-entirely-bereft-of-vowels South Carolina heavy trio MNRVA make their debut with the three-song EP Black Sky, a beast of a short release led by the riffs of guitarist Byron Hark on a stretch of ’90s-style crunch and sludge, with bassist/vocalist Kevin Jennings and drummer Gina Ercolini adding to the weight and shove of the proceedings, respectively. “Not the One” has the hook, “No Solution” has the impact and the title-track has both, and though I’m by no means saying the issue of their sound is settled 100 percent and they won’t grow or find their way from this — again, their debut — EP, they do prove to be well in charge of where their songs head in terms of mood and the atmosphere that comes through elements like the blown-out vocals and the rumbling bass beneath the lead guitar in the second half of “Black Sky” itself. Indeed, it’s those harsher aspects that help MNRVA immediately establish their individuality, and the vibe across these 18-plus minutes is that the punishment is only getting started.

MNRVA on Thee Facebooks

MNRVA on Bandcamp

 

Coroza, Chaliceburner

coroza chaliceburner

Just because Irish four-piece Coroza — guitarist/vocalists Ciaran Coghlan and Jack O’Neill, bassist/vocalist Jonny Canning and drummer Ollie Cunningham — might write a song that’s 18 minutes long, that doesn’t mean they forgot to actually make it a song as well. Thus it is that extended cuts like “The Plutonian Drug” (18:24) and closer “Iron from the Sky” (19:30) have plenty of room to flesh out their more progressive aspects amid the other three also-kind-of-extended pieces on Chaliceburner, the group’s ambitious hour-plus/five-track debut full-length. Each song essentially becomes a front-to-back movement on its own, with shifts between singers arranged thoughtfully from one part to the next and hooks along the way to serve as landmarks for those traversing, as in the opening “Chaliceburner” or the gruff winding moments of “Mountain Jaw,” which follows the nine-minute sax-inclusive centerpiece “Scaltheen,” because of course there’s a saxophone in there somewhere. All of this is a recipe for a band biting off more than they can chew stylistically, but Coroza manage pretty well the various twists and turns of their own making, particularly considering it’s their first album.

Coroza on Thee Facebooks

Coroza on Bandcamp

 

Noosed, She of the Woods

noosed she of the woods demo

Encased front and back by witchy samples and creepy vibes, Sept. 2019’s She of the Woods is the second demo in two months to come from Cork, Ireland’s Noosed. And you know it when they get around to the closing seven-minute title-track because it’s just about the only thing other than “Intro” that isn’t raging with grind intensity, but that stuff can be fun too. I don’t know how much witch-grind-doom is out there, but Noosed‘s first, self-titled demo (released in August) had a sludgy edge that seems to have separated out to some degree here into a multifaceted personality. Can one possibly be certain of the direction the band will ultimately take? Shit no. It’s two demos with basically no time differential between them. But if they can effectively bridge the gap between “Fuck Up,” “Wretch” and “She of the Woods,” or even play directly with the contrast, they could be onto something with all this noise and fuckall.

Noosed on Thee Facebooks

Noosed on Bandcamp

 

zhOra, Ruthless Bastards

zhora ruthless bastards

The narrative — blessings and peace upon it — has it such that Irish four-piece zhOra wanted to do something less complicated than was their 2017 album, Ethos, Pathos, Logos (discussed here), so they went ahead and wrote a song that’s five minutes long and purposefully hops between subgenres, going from sludge to doom to a deathcore breakdown, with a snare-pop count-in, to blackened death metal and then back to a lumbering chug to finish out. Okay, zhOra, “Ruthless Bastards” is a an awful lot of metal and an awfully good time, but you missed the mark on “simple” by a considerable margin. If indeed the band had been plotting toward something, say, easier to play or to compose, “Ruthless Bastards” ain’t it. They’ll have to settle for being brutal as fuck instead. Something tells me they’ll survive having made that trade, as much as anything will.

zhOra on Thee Facebooks

zhOra on Bandcamp

 

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Insect Ark Announce Lineup Change; Touring with Oranssi Pazuzu

Posted in Whathaveyou on July 15th, 2019 by JJ Koczan

INSECT ARK

I seem to recall Insect Ark went on tour a couple years ago with Aluk Todolo, and was out before that with Aidan Baker and has toured with Locrian as well, so with the news that the Brooklynite outfit will join Oranssi Pazuzu for an East Coast run this Fall comes further confirmation that Dana Schechter has good taste. Schechter is once again the lone figure as well as the spearhead of the project, having parted ways recently with Ashley Spungin following the release last year of the well received Marrow Hymns (discussed here). A follow-up to that record is in the works, and it should be interesting to hear how Schechter being on her own again affects the sound. She’s never had any trouble harnessing a dynamic between minimalist ambience and outright crush, so yeah. One expects she’ll be fine.

Tour dates follow. These will be good shows:

oranssi pazuzu insect ark tour

INSECT ARK: Instrumental Noise/Doom Project Confirms North American Live Takeover Supporting Oranssi Pazuzu

Instrumental noise/doom project INSECT ARK will support Finland’s Oranssi Pazuzu on a North American fall tour. The journey will begin on October 10th in Chicago, Illinois and run through October 19th in Atlanta, Georgia with additional INSECT ARK performances to be announced in the weeks to come. See confirmed dates below.

INSECT ARK w/ Oranssi Pazuzu:
10/10/2019 Reggies – Chicago, IL
10/11/2019 El Club – Detroit, MI
10/12/2019 Velvet Underground – Toronto, ON
10/13/2019 Le Ritz – Montreal, QC
10/14/2019 Sonia – Boston, MA
10/15/2019 Le Poisson Rouge – New York, NY
10/16/2019 Underground Arts – Philadelphia, PA
10/17/2019 Metro Gallery – Baltimore, MD
10/18/2019 Kings – Raleigh, NC (late show)
10/19/2019 529 – Atlanta, GA

Formed in late 2011 in New York City, INSECT ARK is the solo project of Dana Schechter (bass, lap steel guitar, synthesizers). An alluring fusion of horror-?lm soundtracks, psychedelic doom, and atmospheric noise, INSECT ARK’s intensely visual music weaves interludes of fragile beauty with crushing passages of swirling doom, spinning like a backwards fever dream.

A busy 2018 included the release of a full-length LP Marrow Hymns on Profound Lore Records, European and North American tours, a recording residency at modular synth mecca EMS Stockholm, and fest appearances at Roadburn, Basilica Soundscape, Northwest Terror Fest, and more. Now in Summer 2019, the composing of a new album is almost complete with heavy touring in fall 2019 and spring 2020 for the US and Europe scheduled.

From its inception, INSECT ARK has been about creating music that transports, both physically, and psychologically. Schechter made three solo INSECT ARK records (Collapsar 7″, Long Arms 10″, Portal/Well LP). In 2015, drummer/analog electronics builder Ashley Spungin joined the project, and together they made 2018’s Marrow Hymns and toured extensively as a duo/band.

As of July 2019, INSECT ARK returns to the primary model of Schechter working as a solo artist, with live and studio collaborations on a per-project basis. Bridging the gap between experimentation and song form, a heavy focus is on composition, but INSECT ARK is still very much a live experience, with emphasis on live instrumentation of bass, lap steel, drums and synths, using intricate live analog looping techniques to achieve a monster “wall of sound” with only one or two people on stage.

A mind-bending animated video piece accompanies live shows – also made by Schechter, who works as a video artist in the film business – completing the experience to envelop and crush the senses.

http://www.insectark.com
http://www.facebook.com/InsectArk
http://www.insectark.bandcamp.com
http://www.profoundlorerecords.com
http://www.facebook.com/profoundlorerecords
http://www.profoundlorerecords.bandcamp.com

Insect Ark, Marrow Hymns (2018)

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SubRosa Announce Breakup (For Now) and Many New Projects

Posted in Features on May 20th, 2019 by JJ Koczan

Even with the many ongoing projects featuring the members as detailed below, SubRosa will be missed. The band announced their breakup with the expected level of honesty, going so far as to include a parenthetical “for now,” leaving open the possibility of doing something again in the future. They go out having released the best album of 2017 in For this We Fought the Battle of Ages (review here), which serves as their final studio outing, and the 2018 live album, SubDued: Live at Roadburn 2017 (review here), which I have absolutely zero hesitation in dubbing one of the most powerful live performances I’ve ever witnessed. About 20 minutes ago, putting my son to bed, I sang him “The Mirror,” as I do every day.

That bit of personal affinity aside, SubRosa were legitimately a band pushing post-metal to places it hadn’t been, representative of a varied, passion-driven creative force that set a standard few could match. If this is it and they never do anything else, it’s a genuine loss. And if they come back at some point — any point, really, whenever — they’ll be welcome. For now, I’ll put on the last record and be glad to have seen the band when I did.

Here’s their announcement, as just posted on the social medias:

subrosa

To all of our beautiful, supportive fans and friends,

After a magical 13-year run, SubRosa is calling it quits (for now). Rebecca decided she wanted to focus on her solo project, The Keening, and Kim, Sarah, Levi and Andy have all been able to focus their creative energies on other musical ventures. We would never have experienced our dreams as reality without you, and we cannot thank you enough. Rather than despairing over what is lost, we want to continue this journey with you. We are all on fire right now writing new music:

• Kim and her partner are soon releasing their noise/doom/electro-magma love child into the world as Teleprom.

Bandcamp: https://teleprom.bandcamp.com/releases

• Andy is about to put out a new record with his 2-piece Bass and Drums band DØNE.

Bandcamp: https://donebandmusic.bandcamp.com/

• Sarah and Zachary Livingston from Minsk are releasing the first Asphodel Wine album “Slowdance Macabre” – a dynamic sonic narrative of love, passion, fire and the perils of consciousness – early next year, and are already writing their second album.

Instagram: @asphodelwine
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/asphodelwine/

• Rebecca has started writing music for her solo project The Keening.

Instagram: @thekeeningmusic
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/thekeeningmusic/

• And last but not least, Andy, Kim, Levi, and Sarah are writing an album that is heavier than a truckload of lead bricks. Our band is unnamed as of this announcement, but we will keep you posted on that.

If you ever came to a SubRosa show, listened to a song, gave us a place to crash, booked a show, promoted our music, or worked with us in any way, you were part of our dream. In particular, we’d like to thank our label owners and booking agents: Chris Bruni, Nathan Carson, Nanouk de Meijere and Ola Blomkvist, for supporting us continually through the years.

We love you.

SubRosa, For This We Fought the Battle of Ages (2016)

SubRosa website

SubRosa on Bandcamp

SubRosa on Instagram

SubRosa on Thee Facebooks

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Quarterly Review: Blood of the Sun, Evoken, IAH, Asylum, Merlin, The Hazytones, Daily Thompson, Old Man Lizard, Tuskar, Space Coke

Posted in Reviews on December 11th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

quarterly-review

I had to think long and hard just now about what day it is. It’s Tuesday. — See how confident I was in saying that? A mask for insecurity, as always.

Anyway, the QR continues today with 10 more records and a pretty solid mix of whatnot. Some of this I’ve written about before here, but basically want to have another shot at the records themselves, so as we wind down 2018, it seems like the time to do that is now. As always, I hope you find something you dig. Seems pretty likely, frankly. If you go the entire 100 records with nothing but a “meh” to show for it, the problem isn’t likely to be the records. Not trying to insinuate anything, I’m just saying. 100 records is a lot. 10 records is a lot. And that’s what we’re doing today, so let’s get going.

Quarterly Review #61-70:

Blood of the Sun, Blood’s Thicker than Love

blood of the sun bloods thicker than love

Drummer Henry Vasquez (also Saint Vitus) returns to his ultra-Texan heavy rock roots with Blood of the Sun‘s first album in six years, Blood’s Thicker than Love (on Listenable). Driven by his own fervent rhythmic push, the six-song collection is given further classic heavy vibe through the prominent organ/keyboard work of Dave Gryder. Oh, and also the riffs from newcomer guitarists Wyatt Burton and Alex Johnson. Oh, and also bassist Roger “Kip” Yma‘s quick turns on bass. Oh, and also Sean Vargas‘ vocals. So yeah, pretty much the whole damn thing is classic uptempo heavy boogie, produced modern but making no mistake about where its heart lies. Vargas‘ voice has a pre-metal swagger that helps define tracks like “Livin’ for the Night” and the capper “Blood of the Road,” and while the follow-up to 2012’s Burning on the Wings of Desire (review here) is enough to make one wistful for the days when their contemporaries in Dixie Witch once also roamed the land, Blood of the Sun make classic rock their own and give it a vibrancy that’s nothing if not a show of love, regardless of how thick that may be.

Blood of the Sun on Thee Facebooks

Listenable Records on Bandcamp

 

Evoken, Hypnagogia

evoken hypnogogia

Unremitting. Unrelenting. Unforgiving. Whatever else one might say about New Jersey death/doombringers Evoken, it better start with the prefix “un-.” The negativity runs through the 60 minutes of their latest work, Hypnagogia (on Profound Lore), and one would expect no less than the ultra-mournful crush of “To Feign Ebullience” or the buzzing, resonant disdain of “Valorous Consternation,” the string sounds playing such a large role in crafting both the melodies and the relentless nature of their lung-deflating atmosphere. They may only break into speedier sections on rare occasion, but there’s no way to listen to Hypnagogia and call it anything other than extreme metal. It’s so cast down and so grinding that it not only conveys mood but affects it. Evoken are masters of the form, of course, and while Hypnagogia is their first full-length since 2012’s Atra Mors (review here), their history spans more than a quarter-century and time seems only to have made their miseries plunge even deeper.

Evoken on Thee Facebooks

Profound Lore Records website

 

IAH, II

iah ii

In part, the gift that Argentinian trio IAH give with their aptly-titled second outing, II — following their 2017 self-titled debut EP (review here) — is to allow their parts to flesh out naturally across the six-song/38-minute span, so that even as second cut “HH” turns to more weighted chug, that in turn evolves into something no less spacious than the drift brought to bear in the second half of the later “La Niña del Rayo,” which makes its way ultimately through similar interplay. This back and forth is exceptionally smooth throughout II, as the instrumental outfit blend heavy psychedelia and progressive metal with an unflinching cohesion of their songwriting. The longest inclusion is the penultimate “Pri” at 7:35, which caps with massive start-stops en route to closer “Sheut,” which serves as one last showcase of the cosmic doom dynamic burgeoning in the band’s sound, as much ready to depart the earth as leave impact craters on it.

IAH on Thee Facebooks

IAH on Bandcamp

 

Asylum, 3-3-88

asylum 3-3-88

The band who a short time later would evolve into Unorthodox, Asylum have long stood as a testament to the enduring power of Maryland doom. 3-3-88 is the second official issue of their material Shadow Kingdom has stood behind, following 2008’s reissue of 1985’s The Earth is the Insane Asylum of the Universe (review here), and it’s no less a document of the classic metal that’s still very much the foundation of what Maryland doom is. From the Sabbathian opening of “World in Trouble” and the later “Psyche World” to the kind of feeling-out-the-riff happening in “Funk 69” and the concluding instrumental “Unorthodox,” there’s a rawness to the sound that suits it well in the spirit of Pentagram‘s First Daze Here, but even in barebones form, Asylum‘s doomly vibes brook no bullshit and weed out the feint of heart. Straightforward working-class doom grit stripped to its essentials. Hard to ask for anything more when you actually hear it.

Unorthodox on Thee Facebooks

Shadow Kingdom Records website

 

Merlin, Dank Souls and Dark Weed: A Live Experience

merlin dank souls and dark weed

Kansas City doom rockers Merlin expanded to a six-piece early in 2018, and Dank Souls and Dark Weed: A Live Experience, as the title hints, captures this form of the band on stage. They’re playing a hometown gig at the Riot Room, and from the nodding groove that opens with “Abyss” from this year’s The Wizard (review here) to the extended reaches of a 19-minute take on “Tales of the Wasteland” that’s actually shorter than the studio version from 2016’s Electric Children (review here), the band explore reaches that are vast with a patience befitting their quickly-earned veteran status. The recording is remarkably clear and allows for the wash of “The Wizard Suite” to be discernible in its progressive rollout, and as they close with “Night Creep” from the 2016 LP, their energy comes through no less prevalent than the distortion driving it forward. The crowd are right to holler.

Merlin on Thee Facebooks

Merlin on Bandcamp

 

The Hazytones, II: Monarchs of Oblivion

the hazytones ii monarchs of oblivion

Touching on garage-doom influences, Montreal three-piece The Hazytones effectively sleek into the groove of “The Great Illusion” on their second Ripple LP, II: Monarchs of Oblivion, finding a balance between swing, melody and heft that pushes beyond the seemingly-requisite Uncle Acid influence to a place that isn’t shy about working in crisp tones or unabashed vocal harmonies. The title-track is a two-parter, and touches on theatrics-sans-pretense in the first piece while dedicating the second to following a central riff well worthy of the attention they give it toward a galloping solo finish. Opener “Empty Space” sets a creper vibe, and by the time they’re down to finishing out with the “Hole in the Sky”-style riff of “The Hand that Feeds,” that sensibility is reaffirmed as an essential component of The Hazytones‘ aesthetic. Whether it’s the chugging “Hell” or the way-blown-out “The Beast,” they hold firm to that central purpose and work with it to effect a sound that one can hear becoming their own all the more.

The Hazytones on Thee Facebooks

Ripple Music on Bandcamp

 

Daily Thompson, Thirsty

daily thompson thirsty

Three albums in, Dortmund’s Daily Thompson indeed sound Thirsty — or maybe it’s hungry, but either way, the Dortmund trio’s MIG Music offering captures a tight presentation based around nonetheless natural energy born of their time on tour, as the three-piece of guitarist/vocalist Danny Zaremba, bassist Mercedes, and drummer Stefan Mengel touch on Spidergawd-style classic heavy rock strut with “Brown Mountain Lights” and make their way through the semi-acoustic drift of “Stone Rose” and toward the later roll of “River Haze” with a trail of hooks behind them. Songwriting is central to what they do, but while Thirsty isn’t a minor undertaking at a CD-era reminiscent 10 songs/53 minutes, the band offer a chemistry between them and a fullness of sound that allows them to play to different sides of their approach, be it the fuzz-blues of “Gone Child” or the final summation “Spit out the Crap” that seems to shove all the more to its cymbal-wash finish. The title Thirsty brings to mind connotations of need, but Daily Thompson sound like they’ve got it all taken care of.

Daily Thompson on Thee Facebooks

MIG Music website

 

Old Man Lizard, True Misery

old man lizard true misery

A strong enough current of noise rock runs beneath Old Man Lizard‘s True Misery (on Wasted State) that leadoff track “Shark Attack” is enough to remind of Akimbo‘s Jersey Shores, and in under two minutes, the subsequent “Snakes” ties that into crawling-paced doom riffery such that the lumbering “Tree of Te?ne?re?” opens like the gaping jaws of some deep-sea trench. From there it unfolds a bit more uptempo than one might initially think, but it shows how fluidly Old Man Lizard shift from one impulse to the other. Accordingly, True Misery plays out with familiar-enough tones put to deceptively subtle and unpredictable purposes, making one-two highlights of the eight-minute back-to-backers “Cursed Ocean, Relentless Sea” and “Misery is Miserable” — which says it all, really — ahead of the finale, well titled “Return to Earth.” A better band than people know, Old Man Lizard bring a progressive touch to what from many others would just be sludge riffing — a bit of Elder on that closer — and manage to do so without losing touch with the righteousness of their groove. True Misery takes a couple listens to sink in, but well earns those and more besides.

Old Man Lizard on Thee Facebooks

Wasted State Records website

 

Tuskar, The Tide, Beneath, The Wall

tuskar the tide beneath the wall

Tuskar‘s second offering through Riff Rock Records arrives titled for its three songs, “The Tide,” “Beneath” and “The Wall,” and comprises three tracks of largesse-minded sludge, burying its shouted vocals beneath mountainous low end. The Tide, Beneath, The Wall sets itself up through noisy churn and a roll that’s somehow misanthropic at the same time it seems well geared to have an entire bar headbanging. Either way, the feedback-worship in “The Wall” — sure enough a massive thing to slam into — makes a fitting end to the 20-minute release that seems to run so much longer, as “The Tide” and “Beneath” each set forth a grueling sprawl of malevolence that touches on the chaos to come without ever fully giving away what’s in store for the finale. At the same time this assault is cast, there’s an atmosphere to the proceedings as well such that Tuskar aren’t simply bludgeoning for the sake of bludgeonry, but finding a place for themselves within that in order to develop their attack. They do that successfully here and sound well up to the inevitable task before them of a debut full-length.

Tuskar on Thee Facebooks

Riff Rock Records website

 

Space Coke, L’Appel du Vide

space coke lappel du vide

I just about never do this, but I’m gonna go ahead and make the call: Space Coke‘s L’Appel du Vide is going to get picked up for a vinyl release in 2019. I don’t know who, how or when, but it’s basically a lock. The Columbia, South Carolina, organ-laced four-piece play classic-as-now heavy rock with right-on songcraft and a hard-hitting presentation that’s begging for some label with ears to hear it and press it to the platter it deserves. Be it the molten unfolding of the title-track or the fuzz-swirl of “Thelemic Ritual” or the cosmic stretch of “Kali Ma,” they’re locked in to a degree that utterly defies the notion that this is their first record, and from the vocal-effects smash in “Lucid Dream” and the samples laid over-top of “Interlude,” there’s never really a sense of where Space Coke — extra kudos for the Cheech & Chong reference — might go next, and yet their sound is cohesive, directed, and well aware of exactly what it’s doing and what it wants to do. Never a guarantee of anything in this world, but with Space Coke‘s take on modern stoner sprawl, I’d be amazed if someone didn’t grab this in the New Year, if not before. Eyes peeled on the PR wire for the announcement.

Space Coke on Thee Facebooks

Space Coke on Bandcamp

 

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