Death Hawks Post “Re-Run” Video; Psychic Harmony out June 7

Posted in Bootleg Theater on May 21st, 2019 by JJ Koczan

death hawks (Photo by Sami Sanpikkila)

Let’s answer the most pressing question immediately: Yes, the new Death Hawks video does feature a saxophone being played on the edge of a cliffside shorline, the ocean roiling below. If you’re not the patient kind, it starts at 2:45, and it’s of course glorious. Other highlights include petting the leaves of a bush and shooting a laser out of a diamond encased in a pineapple. If there’s any mystery left as to why I’m such a proponent of this band, I sincerely ask you to read the last sentence again and find your answer therein.

Death Hawks release their new album, Psychic Harmony on June 7 through Svart, and with it tap into synth-prog and danceable pastoralism the likes of which could only result from a cosmic collision of influences. Don’t ask me what — I’m not that cool — but suffice it to say the Finnish four-piece have their thing set and they’re running with it. Or at least walking. On the side of some rock formations. Also on the beach. Also in a field. They’re pretty much everywhere, and yet not at all touching the ground. Approach with mind and ears open. Do that.

Assuming all goes according to my evil plans — which, now that I’m telling them to you, it most certainly will not — I’m going to have a review and a front-to-back stream of Psychic Harmony on next Monday, so you’ll pardon me if I save some ethereal-type hyperbole for that. In the meantime, to get yourself a little taste of what the record’s all about, “Re-Run” is on the player below, followed by just a quick bit of perspective from the PR wire.

Please enjoy:

Death Hawks, “Re-Run” official video

Kaleidoscopic enigmas Death Hawks reveal the new video “Re-Run.” The track hails from highly anticipated fourth album, Psychic Harmony, set for international release on June 7th via Svart Records.

On their continual shift in sound, vocalist/guitarist Teemu Markkula expounds: “We have always been searching new unforeseen ways in music to express ourselves. It is almost like a chemical reaction. Combining pieces of different elements can lead to an explosion or maybe to a state of euphoria. A sense of harmony is usually what does the trick for me.” He adds, “It’s a continuous quest for new. To get stuck, stay put, or stuck in reverse, even, is certain death. That’s why for us it’s better to stay lost, even, and keep flying and searching. Inspiration is a highly addictive feeling.”

Death Hawks website

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Svart Records

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Death Hawks Set June 7 Release for Psychic Harmony; New Song Posted

Posted in Whathaveyou on March 21st, 2019 by JJ Koczan

death hawks (Photo by Sami Sanpikkila)

I know damn well you’ve been waiting for news about a new Death Hawks record since they put up the video for the single “Atitlán” (posted here) last summer, so don’t even pretend otherwise. Well, to herald the announcement of their upcoming LP, Psychic Harmony — which, rest assured, will bring long-awaited peace throughout the galaxy — they’re streaming the new track “Scent of Life” now, and if you can’t dig its glam-soaked psychedelic synth push — like what happened if New Wave, but like, New Wave from Saturn? — then it’s your loss. Me, I’m so into it I already sent an email to Svart‘s PR begging for more. June 7 is the release date, so there’s plenty of time to go, but preorders are up, and you should preorder it because god damn it just listen to that fucking song at the bottom of this post. Everybody’s who goes, “it’s all been done” or “it all sounds the same,” is just trying to cover up for the fact that they’re boring. Death Hawks have the proof!

From the PR wire:

death hawks psychic harmony

DEATH HAWKS set release date for new SVART album, reveal first track

Svart Records announces June 7th as the international release date for Death Hawks’ highly anticipated fourth album, Psychic Harmony, on CD and vinyl LP formats.

On the flipside of the days of northern darkness are the endless sub-Arctic summer nights, where the midnight sun never sets and Finnish nightlife is brilliantly illuminated. Here happiness has a deeper meaning. This is where Finland’s Death Hawks have spread their unique wings, phoenix-like, on their fourth album, Psychic Harmony. Stemming from a rich foundation of euphoric stage shows that has seen the band electrify and joyously anaesthetise their audiences at home and abroad over the years since their inception in 2011, with luxurious synths, psych-blues, and climactic jazz sections, this is the quartet’s bravest and most eclectic trip into the unknown so far.

As if Sophia Coppola got high with Wes Anderson on the Finnish archipelago in late summer, with the cerebral futurism of their Nordic disco countryman Jori Hulkkonen remixing Piirpauke or Wigwam as their soundtrack, Psychic Harmony is a journey into the meaning of euphonic connection itself. It’s boldly cinematic, but their soundscape movie is a genre crash of beautiful alienation, stranded on a desert paradise full of surreal life-forms. Featuring guest appearances by Pekko Käppi on bowed lyre and violin, and lush vocals by Nicole Willis on “I Am A Tree,” Psychic Harmony is an opulent vista.

Spinning out under the mirrorball, the album coolly references modern acts like Thundercat, The Seshen, Fever Ray, and Evil Needle mixed with chic French connections from Francoise Hardy to Daft Punk, Serge Gainsbourg and his daughter Charlotte. Sophisticated tranquil pop songs like the single track “Scent Of Life” or the synth swathes of “Synchronicity” bring to mind the timeless dancefloor mastery of Madonna, Prince, and Michael Jackson, with all the eclectic abandon of ’70s greats like Aphrodite’s Child, Yes, and Funkadelic. Lead singer/guitarist Teemu Markkula calls their influences “soulful connections for a fuller and higher vibration. Different languages, so to speak, but all from the same source connecting in harmony.”

This is personal psychedelia, with lyrics that reference a blissful state of metamorphosis, like “step into a new world,” the enlightenment of “a new beginning,” and “dancing in a spiral of change,” Death Hawks have come into their career stride, finding their own personal groove and sense of rhythm on this re-defining album.

On their continual shift in sound, Teemu Markkula expounds: “We have always been searching new unforeseen ways in music to express ourselves. It is almost like a chemical reaction. Combining pieces of different elements can lead to an explosion or maybe to a state of euphoria. A sense of harmony is usually what does the trick for me.” He adds, “It’s a continuous quest for new. To get stuck, stay put, or stuck in reverse, even, is certain death. That’s why for us it’s better to stay lost, even, and keep flying and searching. Inspiration is a highly addictive feeling.”

Jewels of Finland’s rising music treasures, Death Hawks are soaring with Psychic Harmony, and your sonic flight on their sound waves will connect you to higher vibrations. Death Hawks are out there on their ocean of sound, ready to lift you up when you feel like you’re slipping under. Get lifted with the aforementioned first single “Scent of Life” at Svart’s official YouTube channel. Preorder info can be found HERE. Cover and tracklisting are as follows:

Tracklisting for Death Hawks’ Psychic Harmony
1. Secret Isle
2. Like Lovers Do
3. Re-Run
4. Aleya
5. Synchronicity
6. Whisper
7. A Room with a View
8. Play For Rewind
9. Scent of Life
10. I am a Tree

http://www.deathhawks.com/
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Death Hawks, “Scent of Life”

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Death Hawks Post Video for New Single “Atitlán”

Posted in Bootleg Theater on June 19th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

death hawks photo Sami Sänpäkkilä

So good. So good. New Death Hawks. So good. Post over. Okay, go watch the video.

Really?

Nah, not really, but if you read the above, you pretty much have the point of everything I have to say about the Finnish psychedelic rockers’ new clip for their single “Atitlán,” which as fortunate fate would have it is the predecessor to a fourth long-player to be released this Fall by Svart Records. The band’s blend of classic progressive elements and forward-thinking spaciousness is entirely their own, and if you heard their last album, 2015’s still-put-it-on Sun Future Moon (review here), you know that the result of their sonic meld lacks nothing for memorability for being so otherwise far, far out. Did I mention “so good?” Okay, right on.

Director Sami Sänpäkkilä, who also helmed the camera and edited the video for “Atitlán” and has worked with the band before, put up a pretty interesting blog post about its making in both conceptual and technical terms, which I’ve cut and pasted below since you don’t often see something so detailed about the actual putting together of a video. That post talks as well about Death Hawks frontman Teemu Markkula‘s providing the stage costumes from his work as a professional drag performer, and the glamorous visual elements end up making “Atitlán” both subversive and all the more a trip into the band’s own world, which makes it suitable that the song itself comes from Markkula‘s traveling to Guatemala and staying for a month by the side of a volcano-surrounded lake. As far as inspiration goes, that’ll probably do the job.

I’ll hope to have (much) more on Death Hawks‘ next record as we get nearer to its arrival, but until then, “Atitlán” has a catchy enough hook to set up residence for heavy rotation on the mental jukebox, and you can hear it and see the accompanying video on the player below. Keep an eye out for the parts where they’re waving crystals in front of the camera. Sänpäkkilä mentions it in his post and you can totally see it in the clip itself once you know what you’re looking for. And if watching drag artists makes you uncomfortable, one suspects that’s part of the point.

So dig it:

Death Hawks, “Atitlán” official video

Today, Death Hawks – the most successful Finnish psychedelic rock act of modern times – reveal a new video for the track “Atitlán.” A new recording two-and-a-half years after their smash-hit album, Sun Future Moon, for Svart Records, “Atitlán” is a special digital-only single currently available on all major digital platforms.

As vocalist/guitarist Teemu Markkula reveals, “We’ve been playing around with the song’s characteristic theme for about a year during soundchecks all over Europe. At some point, our bass player Riku made a demo from it, and we decided to produce this new single from it. The song is a melodic and vocal-driven pop song. It has an interesting variety of instruments and a lot of layers which makes it possible to immerse oneself into the song.”

Continuing about the song’s genesis, he says, “At that time, I had just spent a month in a little Guatemalan village by the lake Atitlán. It’s a magical place! A big lake that has three volcanoes rising up from the shorelines – even more if you count in the ancient volcanoes. This song actually is a kind of a postcard from there, and it is dedicated to the most wonderfully bizarre and liberal people. Travelling really broadens the mind! Whaddaya know?”

Sami Sänpäkkilä on “Atitlán”:

Death Hawks new song Atitlán from their fourth full length album is also my third video for the band. All the videos we’ve done have been very different in technique. Black Acid was shot on super 8 and on Beyond Thyme we used UV lights and paints.

Teemu Markkula and myself cooked up the idea on what the video should include in terms of looks and story. The choreography, lights and the visuals were mostly done at the studio. Teemu had some reference images so we kind of had an idea of the colors we wanted. The clothes were all Jukka’s stage clothes as he’s a professional drag artist.

The whole shoot only took about 6-7 hours including lunch and that speed is due to the fact we had a good studio (Visual Works in Helsinki) and loads of people doing their thing. Lighting and VJ setup was simple. We had a 650W tungsten with a soft box and a grid high up on the ceiling. We also had an amazing portable and wirelessly triggered fog machine that was super easy and fast to use. Jonne Pitkänen did the front projections and Ilona Lehtonen did all the back projections.

All the effects except for the double exposure shots are in-camera effects. We had a few crystals that we shaked in front of the camera.

Directed by Sami Sänpäkkilä
Script: Sami Sänpäkkilä, Teemu Markkula
Music by Death Hawks
Actors: Teemu Markkula, Jukka Kuronen
Gaffer: Anna-Mari Nousiainen
VJ’s: Ilona Lehtonen, Jonne Pitkänen

Death Hawks website

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Svart Records

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Quarterly Review: Nibiru, The Ditch and the Delta, Cyanna Mercury, Surya Kris Peters, Golden Bats, Blind Hen, The Black Wizards, Low Flying Hawks, Brother Sister Hex, Cold Insight

Posted in Reviews on September 28th, 2017 by JJ Koczan

the obelisk quarterly review

Ready for round three of the Fall 2017 Quarterly Review? I hope so, because it’s a doozy. Things get pretty weird and pretty rockin’ in this batch, and at the risk of being completely honest, I much prefer it that way. It’s a varied group — maybe the most diverse in terms of sound throughout the entire week, though there’s stiff competition still to come — and as we hit the 30th review, that brings us to the halfway point of the Quarterly Review itself, which if all keeps proceeding according to plan will wrap up on Monday with a grand total of 60 done. Let’s hope no pianos fall on my head between now and then, literally or figuratively. Onward.

Quarterly Review #21-30:

Nibiru, Qaal Babalon

nibiru qaal babalon

The fourth full-length from Italian sludge ritualists Nibiru, Qaal Babalon (on Argonauta) is an encompassing, 57-minute grind comprised of four extended tracks, the longest of which is opener (immediate points) “Oroch” at 19:07 – a song whose depths run dark and cruel and which, even when the tempo pushes upward from its initial slow crawl, still feels massively slow. Still, the spirit behind “Oroch” as well as the following and much faster “Faboan” (10:51), the buzzsaw noise cutting avant insanity of “Bahal Gah” (16:40) and full-drone rite of “Oxex” (11:05) is less directly about the punishment itself than about the exploration enacted thereby. That is, Nibiru aren’t just heavy for heaviness’ own sake and they’re not just assaulting their listenership without reason. Though I won’t take away from its raw sonic impact, Qaal Babalon’s greatest asset is its atmospheric impression and the experimentalism it brings to bear, which moves Nibiru into a terrifying place sound-wise that they seem to have all to themselves.

Nibiru on Thee Facebooks

Argonauta Records website

 

The Ditch and the Delta, Hives in Decline

the-ditch-and-the-delta-hives-in-decline

Hailing from the unlikely heavy hotbed of Salt Lake City, Utah – though where better for a counterculture to emerge? – sludge rocking trio The Ditch and the Delta made their debut earlier in 2017 with the seven-song Hives in Decline via Battleground Records before being picked up by Prosthetic for this reissue. Comprised of bassist/vocalist Kory Quist (see also: Making Fuck), guitarist/vocalist Elliot Secrist and drummer Charles Bogus, the three-piece pummel handily throughout early cuts like opener and longest track (immediate points) “Hives in Decline” “Fuck on Asphalt” and the nodding “Sleeping Dogs,” but with the instrumental interlude “Dry Land,” they tap into post-Across Tundras heavy Americana and in that brief two-minute stretch deeply affect the mood of the release overall. They’re back to angular noise rock turns soon enough on “Till Body Quits” and the Remission-era-Mastodon-style “Mud” before alternating between lurching crush and airier prog/post-rock on closer “Dread Spectacle,” but by then the secret’s out of their underlying complexity, and rather than offset the sense of drive in the prior cuts, one finds them only enhanced by the later unfolding. Intense, and very much in the process of sorting through these impulses, but loaded with potential.

The Ditch and the Delta on Thee Facebooks

The Ditch and the Delta at Prosthetic Records

 

Cyanna Mercury, Archetypes

Cyanna-Mercury-Archetypes

From Greek dialogue in “Hermes” to the Nick Cave-style piano balladry of “Apollo” to the organ-and-handclaps Mediterranean pop underscoring “Lilith”’s boogie and the spoken verses and explosive hook of “Snake” ahead of moody closer “There will be a Time,” Cyanna Mercury’s debut long-player, Archetypes, seems to leave no sonic stone unturned. The Athens-based five-piece hone a thoroughly progressive approach across the 10-track/40-minute (plus a CD bonus track) outing, touching on heavy psych in opener “Horse Dark as Night” and injecting a darker theatricality into centerpiece “Ode to the Absent Father” and the later “Nothing We Can Do,” but refusing to relegate themselves ultimately to one sound or another. Elements of folk, heavy rock, psychedelia, classic prog, pop and more besides show themselves across what’s a legitimate head-trip of a record, and though it’s hard to get a grip on where Cyanna Mercury are ultimately headed with this sonic brew already so potent and already so much their own, they seem to be completely in control of how it all plays out in arrangement and songwriting, and they work quickly to earn the listener’s trust via a resonant overarching flow that renders Archetypes truly immersive. Will fly under most radar, but a stunningly creative debut.

Cyanna Mercury on Thee Facebooks

Cyanna Mercury on Bandcamp

 

Surya Kris Peters, 2nd Chances

surya-kris-peters-second-chances

Numerically-titled three-song EP 2nd Chances is – since we’re going by the numbers – the third release of 2017 from Surya Kris Peters, behind the synth-driven Dream Exit EP digitally-issued this past summer and January’s Holy Holy Holy (review here) full-length. With it, Samsara Blues Experiment frontman Christian Peters further expands the contextual breadth of his solo work, revisiting songs from his prior outfit Terraplane in the Mellotron-infused melancholy of “Smalltown Blues” and the quick, folkish rambling instrumental “Dark Euphoria” while also covering Jefferson Airplane’s “Come up the Years” between. All told, it’s only 10 minutes long, but Peters brings a particularly progressive psychedelic folk vibe to the tracks, and from the shimmering guitar lead that takes hold in “Come up the Years” and the intimate feel of “Smalltown Blues” despite an arrangement of keys, vocals, multiple layers of guitar and effects, an emotional and sonic resonance is still very much achieved. One never wants to guess what Peters will do next, but if he had a full-length of this kind of thing out at some point, you wouldn’t be likely to find me complaining.

Surya Kris Peters on Soundcloud

Electric Magic Records on Bandcamp

 

Golden Bats, Residual Dread

golden-bats-residual-dread

An underlying mournfulness pervades Golden BatsResidual Dread, or maybe that’s just the Brisbane-based solo-project of multi-instrumentalist/vocalist/engineer Geordie Stafford living up to the title chosen for the album on “Nothing.” Elsewhere, Residual Dread takes on guitar-as-keyboard plotted soloing in 11-minute closer “The Crows Build a Fire” and find a place between black metal and doomly roll, and add piano to tapped Godflesh-style programming on opener “Trouble in the Sewers” and bring organ to the relative bounce of “Eye Juices” as far-back echoing shouts provide the vocal presence. Setting elements against each other would seem to be a core aspect of Stafford’s intent, and the feel on Residual Dread is more about the smashing them together and seeing what happens than trying to gently meld one idea from two or three. That lends a raw, experimentalist sensibility to the lumber of “Outer Body” and “Into the Silver Valley” that serves them well, like a Large Hadron Collider driven by riffs and thickness of tone.

Golden Bats on Thee Facebooks

Haemorrhage Records webstore

 

Blind Hen, Life

blind-hen-life

In its first two minutes, Blind Hen’s “As a Monster” moves from electronica-style Euro dance rock to heavy-riffed progressive metal. Then it turns back. This is just the start of the Finnish four-piece’s four-track/21-minute Life EP, and “Titanic” follows stylistic suit with an even more intense thrust early before moving into psychedelia in its second half with an underlying tension in its beat to contrast the melodic wash overtop. The chugging “The Maze” is more guitar-led and straightforward, but even there, Blind Hen find room for nuance in their vocal arrangement, also bringing in acoustics amid the multiple layers of singing, and with a sample at the outset, closer “Catch” moves once again toward the danceability of the earlier fare, if in a via-Mr.Bungle rhythmic restlessness rather than the fusion beatmaking. Weird, weird, weird. What draws Life together is the fact that Blind Hen cross this aesthetic swath with stuck-in-your-head choruses as a constant, essentially giving the audience something to grasp onto while they go wherever they want in terms of sound. It is appreciated to say the least, and shows the band to be all the more attuned to their craft, even when they seem at their most unhinged.

Blind Hen on Thee Facebooks

Blind Hen on Bandcamp

 

The Black Wizards, What the Fuzz!

the-black-wizards-what-the-fuzz

If you’ve got 68 minutes, Portuguese four-piece The Black Wizards are ready to have a heavy blues shindig on their second 2LP full-length, What the Fuzz!, and I do believe we’re all invited. The nine-song outing emphasizes the vocals of guitarist Joana Brito, who emerges on post-intro opener “Freaks and Geeks” with a prominent kind of trilling in her voice of the sort Parker Griggs brings to Radio Moscow that holds for the duration as a steady presence. Joined by guitarist Paulo Ferreira, bassist/acoustic guitarist B and drummer/backing vocalist Helena Peixoto, Brito leads the way through the fuzzy rollout of the nine-minute “The Story of an Hopeless Drummer” (sic), stepping back to let the guitar/bass have a righteously nodding moment late in the track, but holds firm in a forward position on the short, twanging “Just Not Today” as well as the early going of the prior subdued-blues-smoker highlight “Floating Blues.” “Build Your Home,” “I Don’t Wanna Die” and the particularly-classic-sounding “Fire” revive the classic heavy rock spirit of “Freaks and Geeks,” and 16-minute finale “Everything is Good Until Trouble Comes” uses its extra runtime for a satisfying and patient execution with an expanded arrangement including choral vocals, organ and additional guitar effects. You might be boogied out by the time they’re done, but as The Black Wizards crash through their big finish, they sound like their party’s just getting started.

The Black Wizards on Thee Facebooks

The Black Wizards on Bandcamp

 

Low Flying Hawks, Genkaku

low-flying-hawks-genkaku

One might expect that with all the Melvins affiliation going on in the second Magnetic Eye Records full-length from L.A. duo Low Flying Hawks, Genkaku would sound, you know, more like the Melvins, but despite working with bassist Trevor Dunn, drummer Dale Crover and producer Toshi Kasai, and despite bringing in Buzz Osbourne for guest vocal spots on eight-minute opener/longest track (immediate points) “Smile” and side B leadoff “Space Wizard,” initials-only multi-instrumentalists EHA and AAL follow their 2016 debut, Kofuku (review here), with a sound even more their own, balancing between thick riffy rollout and post-rock atmospherics. Of course, they weird out a bit on “Smile” and the lumberingly spacious “Uncool” and “Virgin Witch,” but whether it’s the later mournfulness of “Hallucination” or “Twilight” toying with noisy fuckall while seeming to mock heavy rocker burl ahead of the melodic payoff in closer “Sinister Waves,” there’s more EHA and AAL in Low Flying Hawks than the prominent pedigree of their collaborators might lead you to believe. All the better for what becomes a richly satisfying 43-minute listen rife with depth, patience, and yes, personality.

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Magnetic Eye Records on Bandcamp

 

Brother Sister Hex, End Times

brother-sister-hex-end-times

Coherent songwriting rests at the core of what Denver’s Brother Sister Hex bring to their five-song third EP, End Times, which darkens up Queens of the Stone Age-circa-Songs for the Deaf vibing on its title-track (also a bit of Kyuss’ “El Rodeo” in there for good measure) before delving into more ambient fare on the centerpiece “Confessions.” Vocalist/guitarist Colfax Mingo demonstrates SubRosa-style vocal command there, but the context is more rock-based, uptempo and straightforward as she, guitarist Patrick Huddleson, bassist Drew Hicks and guest-drummer Jordan Palmer (Plastic Daggers) meld traditionalist structures with atmospheric moodiness. Opener “Hey” offers a suitable greeting through hook and groove, and the shuffle of “Sweet and Sleazy” and the rumbling fuzz (Hicks makes it a highlight) of closer “News Feed” wraps with another grunge-style QOTSA melody efficiently drawn, shouting the question “what have we done?” as it thuds into its second half. Uh, you’ve made a professional-sounding, excellently-constructed EP that shows you’re more than ready to embark on a debut full-length, permanent drummer or no. So yeah, get on that.

Brother Sister Hex on Thee Facebooks

Brother Sister Hex on Bandcamp

 

Cold Insight, Further Nowhere

cold-insight-further-nowhere

As progressive as it is brutal, Further Nowhere is ostensibly the debut release from Paris’ Cold Insight. The material seems to date back at least to 2013, if not earlier than that, when band-spearhead Sébastien Pierre (also of Enshine, Fractal Gates, and others) first issued what’s now tagged as a “pre-production album” version, but it’s hardly as though the lush, growling, melodeathly doom sounds dated. With sonic likenesses throughout to bands like Amorphis, Dark Tranquility and Paradise Lost, Cold Insight – on which Pierre, who also did the artwork, is joined by drummer Christian Netzell while Jari Lindholm adds lead guitar – hit on a very particular, very European style, and not an unfamiliar one as displayed in the righteously driving “Distance,” but the find-the-beauty-in-darkness spirit behind “Close Your Eyes” and songs like “Even Dies a Sun” and the more uptempo later piece “I Will Rise” help ensure that the formidable 12-song/66-minute run of Further Nowhere never gets too bogged down in its melancholy. It may have been a while in the making, and one hopes a follow-up won’t take as long to arrive, but the precise execution Pierre hones in these songs and the depths to which he can bring a willing audience are a fitting payoff for the years of work that went into their construction.

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Cold Insight on Bandcamp

 

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Death Hawks Premiere “Hey Ya Sun Ra” from Sun Future Moon

Posted in audiObelisk on November 3rd, 2015 by JJ Koczan

death hawks (Photo by Sami Sänpäkkilä)

Finnish psychedelic progressives Death Hawks will release their third full-length, Sun Future Moon, Nov. 13 on Svart Records. I’ll readily admit to being Johnny Comelately to the Riihimäki four-piece. While I’ll be endeavoring to dig into 2012’s Death and Decay debut and 2013’s self-titled follow-up (both on GAEA Records), Sun Future Moon is my first exposure to the band, whose 10 gorgeously textured tracks offer a distinctive look at the shape of retroism to come, songs like “Ripe Fruits” and “Behind Thyme” (video here) casting out resonant catchiness in piano lines and sweetly melodic shuffle, respectively, as later cuts “Wing Wah” and “Future Moon” delve into a landscape of synth and spacious, “Planet Caravan”-style guitar minimalism. It is a record varied but universally impeccable in its execution, and while psychedelia is often hyperbolized as being able to affect mental states, Sun Future Moon eschews over-the-top effects barrage in favor of classy, organic, patient but never still songwriting in individual songs that feed into an overarching atmosphere that does genuinely seem geared toward bringing about a more peaceful state. And it gets there.

From the verse chants in opener “Hey Ya Sun Ra” to the space-folk acoustics, vocal harmonies and cymbal washes of closer “Friend of Joy,” Death Hawks — the lineup of vocalist/guitarist Teemu Markkula, bassist/vocalist Riku Pirttiniemi, keyboardist/saxophoinist Tenho Mattila and drummer Miikka Heikkinen — do not shy away in the GDOB3-306P3R001.pdfface of beauty, instead embracing it in inviting tones and an unflinchingly positive spin. That’s not to say Sun Future Moon doesn’t have its moodier moments. Side A’s “Dream Machine” basks in a richly-toned fuzz but is less brightly hued than, say, the airy instrumental “Seaweed,” and “Dream Life, Waking Life” broods out spoken vocals from within a contemplative blend of piano and synth, its drums adding to the nighttime feel that continues to develop on “Heed the Calling,” “Wing Wah” and “Future Moon.” But even these stretches aren’t casting a needless darkness across what “Hey Ya Sun Ra,” “Ripe Fruits” or “Friend of Joy” are celebrating. Instead, they deepen and enhance the emotional crux of Sun Future Moon, so that one aspect becomes more engaging for the way it plays off the other, and the album is more expansive in its scope rather than disjointed as it would be in less capable hands.

I’ve jumped around a bit in describing the tracks, but it’s worth noting that the album is best approached taking its 43 minutes in their entirety, so that the sense of ritualism that arises in “Hey Ya Sun Ra” can grow and change over the course of “Behind Thyme,” “Dream Life, Waking Life” and “Heed the Calling” so that by the time they get around to the repetitions of “Send our message clear across the universe!” in “Friend of Joy,” there’s little doubt as to the naturalism and serenity at the heart of that message itself. Taken in their entirety, the two halves of Sun Future Moon shape not only a day/night duality, but a vast creative scope given to themes drawn from a cosmos within and without as it basks in a style that’s lush but never overdone. On repeat listens, it sinks into the consciousness further and seems to echo fragments into each other so that the experience of hearing it becomes even more malleable to what the hearer invariably brings to it, and Death Hawks‘ creativity proves correspondingly more vital and encompassing. I’ve yet to put on Sun Future Moon and not hear something new, and that has made it among the more satisfying surprises encountered this year. They’re by no means the first to revel in the kraut and kosmiche, but the range and fullness with which they do so is on a wavelength entirely their own.

As if to tease what might follow after, I’m fortunate today to be able to premiere “Hey Ya Sun Ra” for your streaming pleasure. Please let it kickstart your imagination via the player below and enjoy:

Death Hawks, the psychedelic rock group with the intoxicating concoction of modern music and aquarian era aesthetics have signed to Finland-based Svart Records. The group’s third studio album, Sun Future Moon, is set for release on November 13th 2015.

“Our upcoming album sounds even bigger, more diverse and more beautiful. The band has succeeded in broadening its expression in every element, be it in composition, instrumentation or thematics. The songs explore ancient mythical astrology and the cosmos within the modern man. These themes line up organically with the expanding Death Hawks discography, while simultaneously ushering in a new time, a concept of new age even, for the band. To put it simply, we strived to create a melodic, fascinating gem of an album,” vocalist/guitarist Teemu Markkula describes.

Death Hawks website

Death Hawks on Thee Facebooks

Svart Records

Svart Records on Thee Facebooks

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Death Hawks Post Video for “Behind Thyme”

Posted in Bootleg Theater on October 27th, 2015 by JJ Koczan

death hawks behind thyme video 1

Yes, I understand it’s done with blacklight-responsive paint and contact lenses and whatever else, but if you were to ask just how psychedelic Finland’s Death Hawks are, as an answer, “So psychedelic their eyes glow” doesn’t seem like an incorrect response. The four-piece are gearing up to issue their third album, Sun Future Moon, Nov. 13 and I’ll confess that it’s my first exposure to the band, whose natural vibes seem to belong to the future as much as to the past.

My own fault for missing out, as ever. They played Roadburn earlier this year — though in my defense, they were on against the best Enslaved set I’ve ever seen — and their set is streaming hereSun Future Moon will be their first offering through Svart Records, and to mark its arrival they’ll head out on a tour of Finland with their much-heralded countrymen in Circle, playing shows starting this week and then periodically through the end of next month both before and after the record comes out. As to the album itself, their new video for “Behind Thyme” tells at least a portion of the story — glowing eyes, rolling naked in paint and all — but by no means the whole thing, other pieces throughout given to variations in mood and theme while still based around a sort of classic sunset-orange feel, analog in presentation and melodically engrossing.

I’ll hope to have more to come on Sun Future Moon leading up to the release, and obviously if I’m ever afforded another chance to catch them live it’s not something I’ll let slip if possible, but if you, like me, are just being introduced to the band (and I have Bucky Brown to thank for the tip), then “Behind Thyme” makes for a welcoming opening statement on their part and one that’s both warm enough and freaked out enough to be sure to pique interest in further investigation. You can find the video below, followed by more info on the album from the PR wire.

Enjoy:

Death Hawks, “Behind Thyme” official video

Today, the psychedelic circus known as Death Hawks – known for their innovative brand of modern rock music that’s coated with Aquarian aesthetics – premiere a mind-bending new video for “Behind Thyme.” The track hails from the band’s forthcoming third album, Sun Future Moon, set for international release on November 13th via Svart Records.

“The new album’s sound is even larger, more beautiful and diverse than before,” says vocalist and guitarist Teemu Markkula. “As a band, we’ve strived for a much wider palette in every part of the process, from compositions to instrumentation and themes, and find the results satisfying. The songs deal with, for example, astrological myths of antiquity and the cosmos inside modern man. We consider the album both a logical continuation of the Death Hawks discography and also a step into a new age, in both meanings of the term. But, looking at the album from a simple point of view, we just tried to create a fascinating, melodic, and dignified album.”

Death Hawks are currently working on an European tour, but first, they’ll join legendary Finnish experimentalists Circle on a Finnish tour during November. “Our live experience will be updated, as well,” says Teemu Markkula. “Largely, we’ll concentrate on the new album but with a few older cuts here and there. We’re traveling with our very own visualist and a sound technician wherever possible to give people the best possible show.” Dates are as follows:

Death Hawks & Circle – Finnish tour 2015
31.10.2015 Suistoklubi, Hämeenlinna
06.11.2015 Bar Kino, Pori
07.11.2015 Rytmikorjaamo, Seinäjoki
13.11.2015 Rokumentti, Kerubi, Joensuu
14.11.2015 Rock House Kulma, Kajaani
20.11.2015 Lutakko, Jyväskylä
21.11.2015 Tavastia, Helsinki
26.11.2015 Klubi, Tampere
27.11.2015 Dynamo, Turku
28.11.2015 Torvi, Lahti

Death Hawks website

Death Hawks on Thee Facebooks

Svart Records

Svart Records on Thee Facebooks

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Skepticism to Record New Album Ordeal Live on Stage

Posted in Whathaveyou on November 4th, 2014 by JJ Koczan

Recording an album live in a studio is one thing. People do it a lot these days. It’s cheaper, presumably, and easier and comes with the clout of being able to say you did it. Recording a new album on stage in front of an audience is something else entirely. I guess doing so technically makes Skepticism‘s forthcoming Ordeal a live album, but it doesn’t look like the Finnish funeral doomers will be releasing the material otherwise. It’s a pretty brazen move. You get one shot at it and that’s all. The show will take place Jan. 24 in Turku, Finland. Hope no one’s amp blows out.

Ordeal, the first Skepticism full-length since 2008’s Alloy, will be out next year through Svart Records and the band will also have a repress of their first 7″ from 1992 on hand for sale at the gig. The PR wire brings details and links:

skepticism

Funeral doom masters SKEPTICISM present a new SVART album, to be recorded live

The legendary Skepticism are preparing to record their new album, Ordeal. Instead of usual working methods, the band has chosen a different approach. The recording will happen in front of a live audience on January 24th at Klubi in Turku, Finland, and the event will also be captured on film.

The concert is the first time any of the songs on Ordeal will be heard in public. According to Skepticism, the new songs are emotion-laden, crushing, and yet beautiful, more than ever before. Visitors to the historical recording event will also receive a repro of the band’s first 7” EP, originally released in 1992. This 7” will not be available to the public. Tickets for the concert can be purchased HERE.

Ordeal will be released in May 2015. The album will be available as a CD/DVD bundle and also as a LP/DVD set. The album will be released by the Finnish label Svart Records, known for their championing of the local metal underground and high-quality vinyl reissues.

Skepticism was formed in 1991. The band has been often stated as one of the pioneers and founding fathers of the funeral doom metal genre.Ordeal is their fifth full-length album.

MORE INFO
www.skepticism.fi
www.klubi.net
www.svartrecords.com/

Skepticism, “Stormcrowfleet” Live in Estonia, 2013

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