Friday Full-Length: Astra, The Weirding

Posted in Bootleg Theater on June 23rd, 2017 by JJ Koczan

Astra, The Weirding (2009)

In hindsight, Astra were at least as much ahead of their time as they were behind it. I won’t speak for everyone, but I know that when in 2009 the San Diego heavy progressive-psychedelic rockers released their debut album, The Weirding (review here), on Rise Above Records, I didn’t really have the context for understanding where they were coming from. I saw the five-piece live that year at the one-time-only Planet Caravan festival in Asheville, North Carolina, and even then I feel like I didn’t properly appreciate the fluidity and the richness of what they were doing or the effect it would have on the then-nascent scene around them. But though few around them would come close to touching on the same kind of Mellotron-soaked artistry of extended pieces like “Beyond to Slight the Maze” and the earlier key-worship and Moog textures of “Silent Sleep,” Astra and The Weirding in particular would have a significant impact on the overall mindset of what we now think of as the West Coast psych boom, still very much in progress. If nothing else, the title of the album seems to have given the entire process of dudes picking up guitars and shredding with SoCal gnarl and abandon a name: What else would you call it if not a weirding of the wicked world?

When I hear The Weirding on my mental jukebox, as I still do from time to time these eight years after the fact, that line from the early-appearing 15-minute title-track remains a standout, in part because it’s catchy — and it is, despite the extended runtime — but also because of the willful sense of defiance in it. These are the freaks talking to the norms, and if you look at the Arik Roper cover art and listen to the eight tracks/78 minutes of The Weirding as a whole, it’s happening all across the record. What I called “pastoral” at the time I might call otherworldly today, but the work of Richard Vaughan (guitar, vocals, Mellotron, synth), Conor Riley (guitar, vocals, Mellotron, synth, piano and other keys), Brian Ellis (guitar and Moog), Stuart Sclater (bass) and David Hurley (drums, percussion and flute) hits like a dream either way, and as a debut, The Weirding is all the more of a stunner. The patience and sure hands that guide the currents of “The River Under,” or the sweet folkishness of “Broken Glass” — which is like a piece of buried treasure after the hypnotic 17-minute “Ouroboros” before it — land with such a resonant feeling of their own direction and confidence behind them, that it’s nearly impossible not to be swept up in it. Lush in its melodies and unremittingly graceful in the flow between its tracks, The Weirding remains a joyous update of classic progressive rock, reveling in joy at what King Crimson seemed to take almost too seriously in their formative work and thereby establishing Astra‘s own sonic persona as one bright and brimming with life despite being so thoughtful in its presentation.

That blend of concept and poise in execution has proven a precious rarity in the years since The Weirding arrived, and accordingly, it’s only become easier to appreciate what Astra brought to their first offering — which is to say nothing of the ultra-trustworthy getting-it on the part of Rise Above, who over the years have proven able time and again to meet bands’ visions on their own levels, whether it’s a group like this or Orange GoblinUncle Acid, earliest Witchcraft, and so on. The same imprint would stand behind the second Astra full-length, The Black Chord (review here), in 2012, and having played to support the debut in 2010, the group returned to the Netherlands for an appearance at the Roadburn festival in 2013 (review here), where they brought both records to the stage with due energy and molten kosmiche. Sadly, The Black Chord remains the final Astra album to-date. Ellis has continued to make contributions to the West Coast aesthetic through producing and the crafting of solo/side-projects on El Paraiso Records, and Vaughan has a graphic design company, but half a decade after their sophomore long-player, there’s been little sign of a third installment from the band either in the writing or recording stages. Never say never in rock and roll — that is, it could still very much happen — but to the best of my knowledge, there’s nothing currently in progress.

Still, one doesn’t need the promise of a new record to grasp the importance or immersiveness of The Weirding, which is fortunate, and whether you’re listening to it for the hundredth time or the first time, it’s very much the kind of album in which one can always find something new. I hope you do, anyhow, and I hope, as always, that you enjoy.

Thanks for reading and listening.

You’ll forgive me if I don’t really think of this week as being “over” in the true sense of the word, since for me it isn’t. Yeah, I’m gonna check out of Obelisk stuff for a day or so as much as I ever do — I don’t — but after being on the road since leaving Pawtucket, Rhode Island, last Friday following my last day at work, I’ve yet to return home to Massachusetts.

To recap: The Patient Mrs. and I headed on Friday from my work to York, Pennsylvania, for a wedding on Saturday. Sunday night and Monday we stayed with family in Sparks, Maryland. Tuesday we made the eight-hour trip to Statesville, North Carolina, to see my father. We stayed there through Wednesday, saw my aunt and uncle and cousins whom I hadn’t seen in at least 20 years, and then left Thursday morning — yesterday morning — to arrive back in MD as kind of a waypoint/crash-spot. Shortly, we’ll get back in the car and make a break north for New Jersey, where my mother and sister and her family are celebrating my grandmother’s 102nd birthday. Dinner with them tonight, then we stay with my other cousin nearby — still in North Jersey — before seeing friends tomorrow morning quickly, grabbing my mother (who will be staying with us for the next week) and heading back north at least as far as Connecticut, where I think we’ll probably stay until Sunday, if only because it’s less driving than heading directly back home to MA. What’s one more day away at this point?

It’s been a long trip already, I don’t mind saying. And it hasn’t all been pleasant, I also don’t mind saying. But The Patient Mrs. and I went to bed at around 9PM last night and I slept an extra hour this morning, getting up at 5:45AM instead of 4:45, and I had a mug of coffee for breakfast with cinnamon-flavored protein powder in it, and it’s been quiet as I had time to write about the Astra record above, so I can’t really argue with the moment’s setting. One has to steal minutes where one can sometimes. I feel like I’ve managed to do that somewhat effectively this morning. It’s just before 9AM now. We want to be on the road by 1PM.

The elephant in the room here is Maryland Doom Fest, which I’m missing this weekend. I wouldn’t be were it not for the legitimacy of the family occasion — Earthride are fucking great, but how many times does one of your relatives turn 102? — and perhaps even in my younger days I would’ve blown off the celebration in favor of the riffs. I don’t know if it’s a product of being an adult or what, but the can’t-miss factor seems to have shifted my priorities. That lineup is incredible, and if you’re going, I hope you have a great time, but yeah, from where I sit, my presence seems more crucial at the birthday. Getting old is strange.

Whether you’re in Frederick for that fest or not — you should be — I hope you have a great and safe weekend. Here’s what’s in the notes for next week, subject to change as usual:

Mon.: Sasquatch review; Robustfellow giveaway.
Tue.: Tuna de Tierra review/track premiere; Bones of Minerva video premiere.
Wed.: Shroud Eater review/track premiere; The Great Beyond video.
Thu.: Fat Dukes of Fuck video premiere; Six Dumb Questions with Stoned Jesus.
Fri.: Bible of the Devil/Leeches of Lore split review/stream; Atala video.

So that’s what I’ve got as of this moment. Week after (yes, the week of July 4) will be the Quarterly Review. Busy times as always. Once again, have a great couple days, whatever you’re up to. Thanks for reading, listening, watching, sharing, commenting, and so on, and please check out the forum and radio stream.

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Beastmaker Post “Evil One” Video; Inside the Skull out this Week

Posted in Bootleg Theater on May 16th, 2017 by JJ Koczan

beastmaker

This Friday, California’s Beastmaker release their second album, Inside the Skull, on Rise Above Records. By the time the end of the week gets here — it always seems so far away on Tuesdays, for some reason — the dark, metallically-tinged three-piece will have already had a couple nights on the road alongside Zakk Sabbath on a tour that will carry them from one end of the country to the other and well into June. I’d imagine it’s a pretty exciting week to be in Beastmaker. Maybe a little nerve-wracking, but exciting too. They’re about to step on some of the biggest stages they’ve yet played.

And they do so supporting a record of quality material enough to back them in their cause. “Evil One” is the second video to come from Inside the Skull behind one last month for presumed side B leadoff “Nature of the Damned” (posted here) — fair enough to double-up for an aesthetically inclined band like this — and it’s the opening cut of the album as a whole. As what’s essentially their final argument to their potential audience prior to the LP coming out, it’s utterly reasonable for them to have held the song back for this purpose as they have. Where they’re quick to show more progressive flair even on the subsequent thudder “Heaven to Hell” and the following “Now Howls the Beast,” “Evil One” is Inside the Skull‘s blown-out moment of first engagement with those who’d take it on.

Accordingly, it largely casts off frills in favor of a flawless execution of straightforward structure — a hook that sinks deep and is wielded with class — while also setting the atmospheric tone for much of what follows in a modernized proto-metal creep, part-doom but not beholden to genre to the sacrifice either of its craft or attitude. With it, Beastmaker make a convincing case to keep going through the next song and the next, and as we inch closer to the arrival of Inside the Skull, listeners will have the chance to do precisely that.

Good luck to Beastmaker as they head out this week on tour. You can see the video for “Evil One” below, followed by their live dates, courtesy of the PR wire.

Enjoy:

Beastmaker, “Evil One” official video

Beastmaker’s new album Inside The Skull is set for release next Friday May 19th via Rise Above Records. Inside The Skull is not just a muscular hymn to the glory days of heavy metal’s genesis and early prosperity: this is a vital, virile and venomous slab of wildly creative but spiritually pure doom devastation, designed to rescue us from the drab harshness of present day reality and transport us somewhere cooler, somewhere better and, in the best way possible, somewhere much heavier. Recorded and produced by the band themselves, in their own self-built studio, it’s an album with great depths and a macabre heart.

While they may be reveling in Hitchcockian disquiet, Beastmaker will not be lurking anonymously in the shadows for long. Once Inside The Skull is released, the band will be hitting the road in the US with Zakk Wylde’s Black Sabbath tribute act, Zakk Sabbath, before the band’s campaign to draw the world into this unique maelstrom of pitch-black riffs and morbid tales begins in earnest. Erupting from the underground, this beast is alive and ready to howl.

BEASTMAKER W/ Zakk Sabbath:
5/17: Morgantown, WV @ 123 Pleasant St*
5/18: New York, NY @ Gramercy Theatre
5/19: New York, NY @ Gramercy Theatre
5/20: Philadelphia, PA @ Voltage Theatre*
5/21: Richmond, VA @ Strange Matter*
5/22: Durham, NC @ Motorco Music Hall*
5/23: Asheville, NC @ The Orange Peel
5/24: New Orleans, LA @ Siberia Nola*
5/25: Houston, TX @ Warehouse Live Studio
5/26: Dallas, TX @ Gas Monkey Bar N’ Grill
5/28: St. Louis, MO @ Fubar
5/30: Nashville, TN @ Exit/In
5/31: Atlanta, GA @ The Masquerade
6/2: Chicago, IL @ Bottom Lounge
6/3: Indianapolis, IN @ Black Circle Brewing*
6/4: Denver, CO @ Marquis Theater
6/6: Spokane, WA @ The Pin
6/7: Seattle, WA @ The Crocodile
6/8: Portland, OR @ Hawthorne Theatre
6/10: San Francisco, CA @ Slim’s
6/17: Los Angeles, CA @ El Rey Theater
*Denotes Headline Show

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Ides of Gemini Post “Heroine’s Descent” Video; New Album out Now

Posted in Bootleg Theater on May 2nd, 2017 by JJ Koczan

ides of gemini

Directed by vocalist Sera Timms, who also takes on the role of ‘Mother Death’ — you’ll know her when you see her — the new Ides of Gemini video for “Heroine’s Descent” follows suit from the song itself in providing and impressionistic and ritualized sensibility. The song comes from the band’s newly-released third album, Women (discussed here), and has an almost unfinished vibe. Led by guitarist J. Bennett‘s riff and punctuated by Timms‘ vocal repetitions, it rolls atop the fluid rhythm from bassist Adam Murray and drummer Scott Batiste into this chanting progression and then, well, it’s over.

This notion of something being incomplete — in the case of the video, it looks like it’s a life — speaks to the challenge that the record as a whole poses to its listeners in shaking expectations for what songs are and what they can and should do. Atmospherics are central to this and of course “Heroine’s Descent” has plenty to offer on that level as well, aurally as well as visually. In the clip, we see a death ritual playing out — Timms is both ‘Mother Death’ and in the coffin itself, and if you’re wondering who the fourth pallbearer is alongside BennettMurray and Batiste, it’s producer Sanford Parker, who helmed the recording of Women — and the ambience is no less resonant, but the truth is the track is just a piece of the whole impression the album makes.

That is to say, it’s a hard record for choosing what one usually thinks of as “singles” from, since a lot of the material feeds into each other, as “Heroine’s Descent” does in leading to the sharp-cuts of “Swan Diver,” which follows. Still, short of making a 43-minute video for the entirety of WomenIdes of Gemini do well in representing the feel and scope of the outing here and that seems like all one could reasonably ask.

Women came out at the end of last week on Rise Above Records. More info on the clip follows, courtesy of the PR wire.

Please enjoy:

Ides of Gemini, “Heroine’s Descent” official video

Taken from the album, Women, released worldwide April 28th 2017.

Directed by Sera Timms
Director of Photography: Brian Sowell
Makeup by Cristina Waltz

Where would heavy music be without singular visions and the lure of the willfully perverse? Formed in Los Angeles, California, in 2010, Ides Of Gemini have built a formidable and enigmatic reputation by stoutly refusing to conform to anyone else’s idea of what lurks in the shadows-with a sound that elegantly salutes the greats of the post-punk and proto-goth eras while simultaneously harnessing the oomph and clangor of underground metal. The ornate sparkle of something else, something irresistibly alien has long ensured that Ides Of Gemini have stood proudly alone, and yet their stately invective has clearly connected with the discerning masses.

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Beastmaker Post “Nature of the Damned” Video; Touring with Zakk Sabbath Next Month

Posted in Bootleg Theater on April 25th, 2017 by JJ Koczan

beastmaker

We’re less than a month out from the release of the second Beastmaker long-player for Rise AboveInside the Skull. Never ones for sitting still, the Fresno-based purveyors of cultish hooks have already been on the road to support the forthcoming offering, touring in March alongside Texas boogiejumpers Mothership and classic heavy rockers Slow Season on a three-band bill the likes of which would be enough to make one used a word like “stacked” in describing it. They’ll soon enough head out again to herald Inside the Skull, which is the follow-up to their 2016 debut, Lusus Naturae (review here), this time in the company of Zakk Sabbath, the Black Sabbath covers vehicle of Black Label Society founder/former Ozzy Osbourne guitarist Zakk Wylde.

Wylde‘s direct connections to heavy rock — as opposed to heavy metal — might be tenuous, but no question these gigs will be some of the biggest that Beastmaker will have played to-date. Listening to Inside the Skull — which starts with the immersive roll of “Evil One” and courses through the ghoulish drawl of “Give Me a Sign” and the rolling “Night Bird” en route to a rumbling finish in “Sick Sick Demon,” dropping righteous choruses along the way like they’re the Devil’s dry cleaning — there’s little question the three-piece are up to the task, and in giving a glimpse of the record’s overall mood and method in the new video for “Nature of the Damned,” they put emphasis on their blend of efficient traditional songwriting, modern doomly tonal heft and cult-rocker vibes.

I’ll hope to get a proper album review going at some point, but it’s the level of songcraft and execution that distinguishes Inside the Skull from its post-Uncle Acid, VHS-horror-flick-minded peers, and Beastmaker have only stepped up their game on the whole across its span. No doubt they’re going to turn some heads on the upcoming tour.

Video follows, along with tour dates courtesy of the PR wire.

Please enjoy:

Beastmaker, “Nature of the Damned” official video

Beastmaker will release their new album Inside The Skull May 19th on Rise Above Records. The band’s first video from the new album is for the track “Nature of the Damned”. Watch the video HERE. Pre-order the album on iTunes and check out the band’s upcoming North American tour dates with Zakk Sabbath HERE.

BEASTMAKER W/ Zakk Sabbath:
5/19: New York, NY @ The Gramercy Theatre
5/23: Asheville, NC @ The Orange Peel
5/25: Houston, TX @ Warehouse Live Studio
5/26: Dallas, TX @ Gas Monkey Bar N’ Grill
5/28: St. Louis, MO @ Fubar
5/30: Nashville, TN @ Exit/In
5/31: Atlanta, GA @ The Masquerade
6/2: Chicago, IL @ Bottom Lounge
6/4: Denver, CO @ Marquis Theater
6/6: Spokane, WA @ The Pin
6/7: Seattle, WA @ The Crocodile
6/8: Portland, OR @ Hawthorne Theatre
6/10: San Francisco, CA @ Slim’s

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Six Dumb Questions with Ides of Gemini

Posted in Six Dumb Questions on April 5th, 2017 by JJ Koczan

ides of gemini

The arrival of Women, the third full-length from Los Angeles ethereal heavy rockers Ides of Gemini, has been a gradual process. True, their prior outing, Old World New Wave (review here), came out in 2014 and three years is hardly an egregious stretch between albums, but in the case of Ides of Gemini, the last year-plus has involved not only the usual playing out and writing time, but also the switching of labels from Neurot Recordings to Rise Above Records — substantial endorsement, in either case — and the reconstruction of the group itself, which went from a trio to a four-piece in adding the rhythm section of bassist Adam Murray and drummer Scott Batiste (the latter also of Saviours) to the founding duo of guitarist J. Bennett and vocalist Sera Timms (also ZunBlack Mare and formerly Black Math Horseman), the latter of whom gave up her dual role as bassist for the 10-track/43-minute, Sanford Parker-recorded offering.

One might think that with a degree of tumult surrounding its making, Women would be confused or uneven in some way, yet it’s arguable that Ides of Gemini have never sounded so clearheaded. From the early semi-metallized urgings in “The Dancer” to the vast soundscaping in “Heroine’s Descent,” which nods to goth dramas and black metal in like proportion, on through the lumber of “She Has a Secret” and ritualized-feeling closer “Queen of New Orleans,” Women basks in its diverse purposes and unites them through a foundation of performance. Timms, as ever, adds to the atmosphere on vocals, but her melodic command is unmistakable, and whether it’s the sway of “The Rose” or the more straightforward push of “Swan Diver,” Bennett‘s riffing is varied and crisp as backed by Murray‘s bass and Batiste‘s drums; the whole affair only given further reach by Parker‘s production work. In some ways, it is very much a “third album,” as it could easily be seen as a new level of maturity in the band’s approach and benefiting from the lessons of Old World New Wave and 2012’s Constantinople before it.

Women is out April 28 via Rise Above Records and the band have tour plans in the works for later this year. Bennett was kind enough to take part in a short interview about making the album and to discuss the development of Ides of Gemini from their beginnings to this point.

Please enjoy the following Six Dumb Questions:

ides of gemini women

Six Dumb Questions with Ides of Gemini

Tell me about writing Women. It’s been three years since Old World New Wave but the band has been through a lot in that time. When did these songs start to come together?

J. Bennett: I started writing songs for the album that would become Women not long after we recorded Old World New Wave. I usually have the title, concept and many of the songs ready for our next album before the most recent one is even available. At that time, our original drummer Kelly was still in the band and the album had a different working title. After Scott and Adam joined, I ended up abandoning most of the material I had and started writing new stuff that I felt was more suited to the new lineup — and was partly inspired by it. And I changed the title to Women. So almost everything you hear on the new album ended up being written after Adam and Scott joined.

Has bringing new members in changed the dynamic between you and Sera at all? You’re the founders of the band. How involved in making the album were Scott and Adam?

It’s changed the dynamic in the practical sense that she’s not playing bass anymore, which has freed up her vocals considerably. And she doesn’t have any gear to haul around anymore, which I know she loves. I think she and I are also more open to arrangement suggestions than we were in the past.

These songs absolutely would not be what they are without Scott and Adam. Sera and I can build a basic Frankenstein monster on our own, but those guys are the electricity that brings it to life. Scott in particular made some excellent arrangement suggestions that greatly improved the dynamics of the songs.

How was your time in the studio with Sanford Parker? Was there anything specific you wanted to get out of the experience of recording with him?

Our experience with Sanford was fantastic. A few years ago, we had talked with him about the possibility of recording Old World New Wave, but he was still living in Chicago at that time, and the logistics, timing and budget just didn’t work out. When we talked to him about doing Women, it just so happened that he was planning to move to Los Angeles right around the time we wanted to record. I think he had only been living here for two weeks or so when we went into the studio.

In addition to him being a hugely talented producer and engineer, the appeal of working with Sanford came largely from some of those pre-Old World New Wave conversations we’d had with him — he “gets” Ides of Gemini in a way that many people do not. The references he made when talking about our music were to the post-punk, gothic rock, and black metal records that we feel the most affinity with, rather than the doom or “stoner rock” references that most folks seem to make. So I guess you could say he told us what we wanted to hear.

What’s your relationship to heavy metal at this point? Women is definitely heavy, but where is the line for you between something being heavy and it being metal? Is “The Dancer” metal?

Great question. I’ve loved heavy metal since I was a little kid and will do so until the day I die. But as much as I enjoy heavy metal, I have no desire to play genre music in Ides of Gemini. Besides, there are so many bands out there that play straight-up metal better than I’ll ever be capable of. Why try to compete in such a crowded field when you can at least attempt to stand out by doing something different?

Then again, there are obviously elements of heavy metal in what we do. As far as the new album, songs like “Swan Diver” and “Raft of Medusa” are even predominantly metal. Is “The Dancer” metal?  I don’t know. I can see how it could be perceived that way, but in the end it’s not up to me. This question gets to the heart of the weird conundrum we’ve been in since the band’s beginning. I get the sense that we’re often perceived as not heavy enough to play with the metal bands that we’re usually lumped in with, but then we’re considered way too heavy to play with the gothic rock bands that we might feel more affinity with. That can be frustrating at times, but ultimately I think it means we’re doing something right.

Three full albums in, how do you feel the band has grown and how conscious has that growth been? How much of the direction of Women just happened, as opposed to being a purposeful goal of songwriting?

I feel like the band has grown immensely over three albums. Constantinople to Old World New Wave felt like a pretty big improvement, and Old World New Wave to Women feels like a massive one.  Like any band, we’re always striving to get better, but this time we did so in ways that we could never have anticipated because of the lineup changes. The second part of your question is a little tougher to answer. The songs always start with a riff—some of those riffs are written very purposefully, but many definitely just “happen.” So the initial inspiration — that first riff — could go either way. But the direction each song takes after that first spark happens with much more purpose.

Any other plans or closing words you want to mention?

We’re playing a record release show here in Los Angeles on May 6 with our friends Zig Zags and Taarkus. After that, world domination? A girl can dream.

Ides of Gemini, Live in Los Angeles, Jan. 7, 2017

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Quarterly Review: Unearthly Trance, Heavy Traffic, Saturn, Lucifer’s Fall, Trevor Shelley de Brauw, Scuzzy Yeti, Urn., Nebula Drag, Contra, IAH

Posted in Reviews on March 30th, 2017 by JJ Koczan

cropped-Charles-Meryon-Labside-Notre-Dame-1854

From harsh doom to urban pastoralism to heavy blues rock to rolling doom nonetheless metallic in its defiance, Day Four of the Quarterly Review spins around a swath of styles and hopefully, hopefully, finds something you dig in the doing. It’s been a long week already. You know it. I know it. But it’s also been really good to dig into this stuff and I know I’ve found a few records that have made their way onto the already-ongoing 2017 lists — best short releases, debuts, albums, etc. — so to say it’s been worth it is, as ever, an understatement. Today likewise has gems to offer, so I won’t delay.

Quarterly Review #31-40:

Unearthly Trance, Stalking the Ghost

unearthly-trance-stalking-the-ghost

Brooklyn’s Unearthly Trance make a somewhat unexpected reentry with Stalking the Ghost (on Relapse), their sixth album. In the years since 2010’s V (review here), guitarist/vocalist Ryan Lipynsky has delved into a wide variety of extreme genres, from the blackened fare of The Howling Wind to the deathly-doom of Serpentine Path, in which Unearthly Trance bassist Jay Newman and drummer Darren Verni also shared tenure, but reuniting as Unearthly Trance feels like a significant step for the three-piece, and on tracks like “Dream State Arsenal” and the darkly post-metallic “Lion Strength,” they remind of what it was that made them such a standout in the first place while demonstrating that their years away have done nothing to dull the surehandedness of their approach. At eight tracks/52 minutes, Stalking the Ghost is a significant dirge to undertake, but Unearthly Trance bring pent-up anguish to bear across this varied swath of punishing tracks, and reassert their dominance over an aesthetic sphere that, even after all this time, is thoroughly their own.

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Relapse Records website

 

Heavy Traffic, Plastic Surgery

heavy-traffic-plastic-surgery

Probably a smart move on the part of Heavy Traffic spearhead guitarist Ian Caddick and drummer/vocalist Tav Palumbo to swap coasts from Santa Cruz to Brooklyn ahead of putting together their sixth (!) full-length in three years and Twin Earth Records debut, Plastic Surgery. Cali is awash in heavy psych anyway and Brooklyn’s been at a deficit (as much as it’s at a deficit of anything) since space forerunners Naam became one with the cosmos, so even apart from the acquisition of bassist David Grzedzinki and drummer Dan Bradica, it’s a solid call, and one finds the fruits yielded on Plastic Surgery’s dream-fuzzed blend of heft and roll, heady jams like “See Right Through,” the oh-you-like-feedback-well-here’s-all-the-feedback “Broth Drain” and winding “Medicated Bed” finding a place where shoegaze and psychedelia meet ahead of the low-end-weighted closing title-cut and the bonus track “White and Green,” which finishes with suitable push and swirl to mark a welcome and vibe-soaked arrival for the band. Hope you enjoy the Eastern Seabord. It could use you.

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Saturn, Beyond Spectra

saturn beyond spectra

In the second Saturn album, Beyond Spectra, one can hear one of retro rock’s crucial next movements taking place. The Swedish four-piece, who debuted on Rise Above with 2014’s Ascending and return with a periodically explosive 10-track/45-minute outing here, find a niche for themselves in adding dual-guitar NWOBHM elements to ‘70s-style (also ‘10s-style) boogie, as on the scorching “Still Young” or opener “Orbital Command.” They’re not the only ones doing it – Rise Above alums Horisont come to mind readily – but they’re doing it well, and the last three years have clearly found them refining their approach to arrive at the tightness in the shuffle of “Wolfsson” and the creeping Priestism of “Helmet Man” later on. I’ll give bonus points for their embracing the idea of going completely over the top in naming a song “Electrosaurus Sex,” but by the time they get down to closing duo “Silfvertape” and “Sensor Data,” I’m left thinking of the subdued intro to “Orbital Command” and the interlude “Linkans Delight” and wondering if there isn’t a way to bring more of that dynamic volume and tempo breadth into the songwriting as a whole. That would really be far out. Maybe they’ll get there, maybe they won’t. Either way, Beyond Spectra, like its predecessor, makes a largely inarguable case for Saturn’s potential.

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Lucifer’s Fall, II: Cursed and Damned

lucifers-fall-cursed-and-damned

Measuring its impact between doomly traditionalism and attitudinal fuckall, Lucifer’s Fall’s II: Cursed and Damned (on Nine Records) is a doom-for-doomers affair that tops 55 minutes with its nine tracks, recalling Dio-era Sabbathian gallop on opener “Mother Superior” and landing a significant blow with the slow-rolling nine-minute push of “The Necromancer.” Shades of Candlemass, Reverend Bizarre, and the most loyal of the loyalists show themselves throughout, but whether it’s the crawl in the first half of “Cursed Priestess” or the blistering rush of the clarion centerpiece “(Fuck  You) We’re Lucifer’s Fall,” there’s an undercurrent of punk in the five-piece’s take that lends an abiding rawness to even the album’s most grueling moments. One looks to find a middle ground in songs like “The Mountains of Madness” and closer “Homunculus,” but Lucifer’s Fall instead offer NWOBHM-style guitar harmonics and soaring vocals, respectively, only pushing their stylistic breadth wider, playing by and breaking rules they’re clearly setting for themselves rather than working toward outside expectation. As a result, II: Cursed and Damned keeps its fist in the air for the duration, middle finger up.

Lucifer’s Fall on Bandcamp

Nine Records website

 

Trevor Shelley de Brauw, Uptown

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Over the course of six-minute opener “A New Architecture,” guitarist Trevor Shelley de Brauw gradually moves the listener from abrasive noise to sweet, folkish acoustic guitar backed by amplified wavelengths. It’s a slowly unfolding change, patiently done, and it works in part to define Uptown (on The Flenser), the Pelican guitarist’s six-song solo debut long-player. Noise and drone make themselves regulars, and there’s a steady experimentalism at root in pieces like “Distinct Frequency,” the low-end hum and strum of “You Were Sure,” and the should’ve-been-on-the-soundtrack-to-Arrival “Turn up for What,” which unfurls a linear progression from minimalism to consuming swell in eight minutes ahead of the more actively droning 11-minute sendoff “From the Black Soil Poetry and Song Sprang,” but de Brauw manages to keep a human core beneath via both the occasional acoustic layer and through moments where a piece is being palpably manipulated, à la the spacious distorted churn of “They Keep Bowing.” I’m not sure how Uptown didn’t wind up on Neurot, but either way, it’s an engaging exploration of textures, and one hopes it won’t be de Brauw’s last work in this form.

Trevor Shelley de Brauw on Thee Facebooks

The Flenser website

 

Scuzzy Yeti, Scuzzy Yeti

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Someone in Scuzzy Yeti has roots in metal, and the good money’s on it being vocalist Chris Wells. Joined in the Troy, New Hampshire, five-piece by guitarists Brad Decatur and Jason Lawrence (ex-Skrogg), bassist Wayne Munson and drummer Josh Turnbull, Wells casts a sizable frontman presence across the five-tracks of Scuzzy Yeti’s self-titled debut EP, belting out “Westward” and “BTK” as the band behind him hones a blend of classic heavy rock and doom. The sound is more reminiscent of Janne Christoffersson-era Spiritual Beggars than what one might expect out of New England, and the band amass some considerable momentum as centerpiece “Conqueror” and the shorter shuffle “Knees in the Breeze” push toward slower, lead-soaked closer “Flare,” which finds the lead guitar stepping up to meet Wells head-on. They might have some work to do in finding a balance between the stylistic elements at play, but for a first outing, Scuzzy Yeti shows all the pieces are there and are being put into their rightful place, and the result is significant, marked potential.

Scuzzy Yeti on Thee Facebooks

Scuzzy Yeti on Bandcamp

 

Urn., Urn.

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The insistent push from punctuated Denver trio Urn.’s self-titled debut demo/EP is enough to remind one of the days when the primary impression of Mastodon wasn’t their complexity, but the raw savagery with which that complexity was delivered. Urn. – the three-piece of Scott Schulman, Graham Wesselhoff and Jacob Archuleta – work in some elements of more extreme metal to “Rat King” after opener “Breeder,” both songs under three minutes and successfully conveying an intense thrust. The subsequent “Stomach” ranges further and is the longest cut at 4:45, but loses none of its focus as it winds its way toward closer “To the Grave,” which in addition to maintaining the nigh-on-constant kick drum that has pervaded the three tracks prior, offers some hints of lumbering stomp to come. As a first sampling, Urn.’s Urn. is a cohesive aesthetic blast setting in motion a progression that will be worth following as it develops. Call it rager metal and try not to spill your beverage while you windmill, you wild headbanger.

Urn. on Thee Facebooks

Urn. on Bandcamp

 

Nebula Drag, Always Dying

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2016 found San Diego aggressors Nebula Drag making their self-titled, self-released debut (review here) with a record that seemed to work in willful defiance of their hometown’s psychedelic underground while at the same time occasionally nodding to it. The forebodingly-titled Always Dying three-song EP does likewise, launching with a vengeance on “Crosses” before burying the vocals and spacing out behind the crashes of the more languid-rolling title-track and giving a bit of both sides with the four-minute closer “Flying Fuckers.” It’s almost as if the three-piece of Corey Quintana, bassist Mike Finneran and drummer Stephen Varns, having thus completed their first album, decided to boil it down to its essential stylistic components and the result of that was this 14-minute outing. An intriguing prospect, but it could also be these were leftovers from the prior session with Jordan Andreen at Audio Design Recording and putting them up for a free download was an easy way to give them some purpose. In any case, if you haven’t yet been introduced to the band, Always Dying is an efficient telling of their story thus far.

Nebula Drag on Thee Facebooks

Nebula Drag on Bandcamp

 

Contra, Deny Everything

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If their moniker doesn’t have you immediately running through the most legendary of cheat codes, congratulations on being born after 1990. Cleveland burl-sludge metallers Contra make their full-length debut on respected purveyor Robustfellow with the 10-track/41-minute Deny Everything, and if it sounds like they have their shit together – at least sound-wise – it should make sense given the pedigree of drummer Aaron Brittain (ex-Rue), bassist/guitarist Adam Horwatt (So Long Albatross), guitarist Chris Chiera (ex-Sofa King Killer) and vocalist Larry Bent (ex-Don Austin). Be it established that songs like “Snake Goat” and “Son of Beast” are nobody’s first time at the sludge rodeo. Fair enough. Doesn’t mean Contra don’t establish their own personality in the overarching fuckall and total lack of pretense throughout Deny Everything – hell, seven-minute closer “Shrimp Cocktail” proves that on its own – just that that personality has roots. What Contra wants to do with them still kind of seems up in the air, but something about these tracks makes me think the band likes it that way. See the aforementioned “fuckall.”

Contra on Bandcamp

Robustfellow Productions on Bandcamp

 

IAH, IAH

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Comprised of four songs tracked live in the trio’s native Córdoba at 440 Estudio, the self-titled debut EP from Argentine trio IAH – guitarist Mauricio Condon, bassist Juan Pablo Lucco and drummer José Landín – would seem destined to catch the attention of South American Sludge Records if it already hasn’t. In the interim, the three-piece have made the instrumental EP available as a free download and its unpretentious heavy psychedelics and edge of rock-minded thrust on opener “Cabalgan los Cielos” and the early going of closer “Eclipsum” more than justify their intention to spread the word as much as possible. Set to a balance of post-rock guitar, the bassline of “Stolas” carries a progressive inflection, and the fuzz that emerges halfway into second track “Ouroboros” shows a desert rock influence that blends well into its surroundings as a part of a richer sonic entity. A nascent but palpable chemistry at work across its 26 minutes, IAH’s IAH could portend expansive ideas to come, and one hopes it does precisely that.

IAH on Thee Facebooks

IAH on Bandcamp

 

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Quarterly Review: Alcest, Galley Beggar, Pontiak, White Light Cemetery, Fever Dog, Duel, Seven Nines and Tens, Automatic Sam, The Next Appointed Hour, Blown Out

Posted in Reviews on March 29th, 2017 by JJ Koczan

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Always a special moment in the Quarterly Review when we pass the halfway mark. That’s where today’s batch brings us, and in rocking style as well. You might say I’ve been taking it easy on myself with the selections this time out — albums there’s plenty to say on and generally good stuff — but the basic fact of the matter is even with 50 reviews in a week, this is still just a fraction of what’s out there and still just a fraction of what I’d cover if I had the time. I couldn’t in terms of my own sanity, but one could probably do 10 reviews a day every day of the year and still have room for more. I do the best I can. Picking and choosing is a part of that process. Let’s get to it.

Quarterly Review #21-30:

Alcest, Kodama

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After the bold departure presented in 2014’s Shelter (review here) toward even-airier, more indie-hued fare, French post-black metal innovators Alcest make a no-less-bold return to their core sound – screams included, as they’re quick to show on “Eclosion” – with 2016’s Kodama (on Prophecy Productions). It’s a less progressive move, and for that distinct in Alcest’s discography, but one can’t argue with their execution of a track like “Je Suis d’Ailleurs” and the immediately recognizable melodic wash they craft, as resonant emotionally as it is heavy in its tone. Most of the six cuts seem contented to have (re-)found their place, but “Onyx” finishes out with just under four minutes of layered guitar droning, and so Alcest seem to tease that perhaps they’re not completely ready to settle the issue of their aesthetic just yet. One hopes that’s the case, and in the meantime, the reorientation that Kodama brings with it should no doubt please those longtime fans who bristled at the turn they made their last time out.

Alcest on Thee Facebooks

Prophecy Productions on Bandcamp

 

Galley Beggar, Heathen Hymns

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Galley Beggar’s fourth offering and second for Rise Above, Heathen Hymns, brings 42-minutes of the traditional acid folk one has come to expect from them over the last half-decade plus, no less graceful in its melodies, harmonies and weaving into and out of psychedelia, Eastern inflections on the sitar-laced “The Lake” and cleverly rhythmic in the post-rocking electric flourish of “Let No Man Steal Your Thyme.” Knowing what to expect, however, does nothing to diminish the joy of the listening experience. Rather, the return of Galley Beggar’s fluid string and/or more rock-based arrangements, memorable songcraft and gorgeous vocal treatments is welcome, and perhaps most of all on closer “My Return,” which draws their multiple sides together in a cohesive vision of futures past that only benefits from the maturity they’ve grown into. With poise as a defining feature as much as their British folk stylistic lineage, Galley Beggar remain a special outfit doing deeply individualized and satisfying work.

Galley Beggar on Thee Facebooks

Rise Above Records website

 

Pontiak, Dialectic of Ignorance

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A steady foundation of low-end drone underpins songs like “Ignorance Makes Me High” and “Hidden Prettiness” on Pontiak’s Dialectic of Ignorance (released via Thrill Jockey), and though they move away from it somewhat in the more active freakout “Dirtbags,” the patience shown by the Virginian trio forms a key part of the album’s personality. To wit, they open with “Easy Does It,” essentially telling their listener their intention for what will ensue throughout the eight-track/46-minute offering. Brothers Jennings, Van and Lain Carney bring forth willful drift in that opener and across the percussive-but-still-shoegazing “Tomorrow is Forgetting,” finding an organ-laced folkadelic middle ground later in “Youth and Age” and punctuating the dreamy harmonized gorgeousness of “Herb is My Next Door Neighbor” with fervent tom runs and ping ride before closer “We’ve Fucked this Up” starts out amid blistering chaos only to smooth itself as it goes. Serene and somewhat moody to the same degree their last outing, 2014’s Innocence, was raw, Dialectic of Ignorance carries the feel of a personal journey undertaken, but is ultimately too warm in tone and melody not to welcome its audience to be a part of that as well.

Pontiak on Thee Facebooks

Pontiak at Thrill Jockey Records

 

White Light Cemetery, Careful What You Wish For

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Nearing the mark of their first decade together, Louisiana Southern heavy four-piece White Light Cemetery issue their second full-length, Careful What You Wish For, through Ripple Music and keep a steady focus on songcraft throughout. Heavy riffs, a bit of boogie on “Sky River” and the stomping “Better Days,” boozy Southern-isms on the directly countrified “On a Dime” and a cowbell-infused finish with “Bullet to Erase” – it’s only fair to say White Light Cemetery hit all the marks. The beery post-Deliverance execution of “Looking Out (For Number One)” will likely ring familiar to many who take it on, but that’s the idea, as vocalist/guitarist Shea Bearden, guitarist Ryan Robin, bassist Tara Miller and drummer Thomas Colley are clearly less concerned with reinventing rock in their own image than honoring the pantheon of those who’ve come before them in the style. Hard to argue with the ethic preached or the dual-guitar harmonies of “Quit Work, Make Music,” though the record as a whole seems awfully “workingman’s rock” for any such bohemian aspirations.

White Light Cemetery on Thee Facebooks

Ripple Music on Bandcamp

 

Fever Dog, Mainframe

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It’s been three years since next-gen Californian desert trio Fever Dog released their last album, Second Wind (review here), which was long on potential, big on songwriting and resonant in vibe. I’d been hoping for a third long-player in 2017, but even the arrival of new single Mainframe – which of course doesn’t preclude a subsequent album release – is fine by me, the three-piece of guitarist/vocalist Danny Graham, bassist Nathan Wood and drummer/organist/synthesist/vocalist Joshua Adams digging into progressive vibes on the title-track and the subsequent, talkbox-inclusive “Let Me Out.” I don’t know if they’re planning to press a 7” – somebody call H42 Records! – but the cover art certainly justifies one if the songs themselves don’t (and they do), and the name-your-price download comes with the raw 19-minute classic heavy rock jam “Alpha Waves Medley Live at Club 5,” which emits buzz like it’s a bootleg from 1973. If Mainframe is the process of Fever Dog getting weirder, it bodes well. All the more reason one might keep their fingers crossed for a new full-length.

Fever Dog on Thee Facebooks

Fever Dog on Bandcamp

 

Duel, Witchbanger

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“If you see him it’s much too late/Close your eyes, girl, accept your fate.” So goes the title-track hook of Duel’s Witchbanger, the Austin-based rockers’ second album for Heavy Psych Sounds. Released on a quick turnaround from last year’s debut, Fears of the Dead (review here), the eight-track/34-minute swaggerfest delves into fantasy themes drawn from classic metal – hard not to look at six-minute closer “Tigers and Rainbows” and not think of Dio, at least thematically – but cuts like “Astro Gypsy” and “Heart of the Sun” in the record’s midsection build on the ‘70s loyalism of the first outing and find guitarist/vocalist Tom Frank, guitarist Jeff Henson, bassist/vocalist Shaun Avants and drummer JD Shadowz clear in their intentions in that regard. Though it takes a sizable grain of salt to get over that title, Duel’s heavy rock traditionalism comes complemented by efficient songwriting and a natural-sounding recording that’s neither completely retro nor totally modern but draws strength and fullness from both sides. A worthy and rousing follow-up.

Duel on Thee Facebooks

Heavy Psych Sounds website

 

Seven Nines and Tens, Set the Controls for the Heart of the Slums

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If the dates are to be believed, the second full-length from Vancouver’s Seven Nines and Tens, cleverly-titled Set the Controls for the Heart of the Slums, has roots going back to 2014, when basic live tracks were recorded and subsequently built on for about two years. Indeed, the four-song offering – whose tracks “I Come from Downtown,” “Metropolis Noir / Rigs” and closer “Rave Up” have been presented in the meantime as singles and/or on early 2017’s Live at the Smilin’ Buddha Cabaret – has plenty of layers in its heavy post-rock wash, and it’s with depth and heft that guitarist/bassist/vocalist David Cotton and drummer Mario Nieva (the current incarnation of the band has a different lineup), make their prevailing impression, be it in the roll of 13-minute “Metropolis Noir / Rigs” or the loud/quiet trades of “Dope Simple,” which follows. With a focus on atmosphere over structure, Seven Nines and Tens offer a quick 32-minute immersion that feels less pretentious than purposeful and would seem to have been worth the time it took to construct.

Seven Nines and Tens on Thee Facebooks

Seven Nines and Tens website

 

Automatic Sam, Arcs

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With their third album, Nijmegen’s Automatic Sam bring together a straightforward and coherent collection of well-intentioned semi-psychedelic heavy rock. Their past works, 2011’s Texino and 2013’s Sonic Whip, have been conceptual or at least thematic pieces, and it may be that the 13-track/38-minute Arcs (on Goomah Music) is as well, but if so, it would seem to find that theme in a vision of post-grunge ‘90s alt rock, cleanly and clearly executed and vibrant in the performance of vocalist/guitarist Pieter Holkenborg, guitarist/vocalist Rense Slings, bassist/vocalist Erik Harbers and drummer/vocalist Lars Spijkervet, who open with the five-minute “Ukiyo” (their longest inclusion; immediate points) and then run through a varied swath of shorter pieces from the attitude-laden “City Lights” through the uptempo post-punk of “This is Not a Holiday” and the fuller push of “Parnassia.” Side B seems more flowing, with that song, “Tarantula,” a complementary reprise, the title-track and drifting acoustic closer “So Long in E Minor,” but Automatic Sam manage to hone a diverse approach across Arcs’ span while skillfully directing themselves around choppier waters.

Automatic Sam on Thee Facebooks

Automatic Sam at Goomah Music

 

The Next Appointed Hour, Not the End of the World

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Ambition may be the defining aspect of Not the End of the World. The 2016 self-released debut from Birmingham, Alabama’s The Next Appointed Hour willfully refuses easy categorization, basking in bright psychedelic space rock harmonies one minute and digging into folkish melancholia the next in a way that one is left with no other option but to call “progressive.” What ultimately makes songs like “Keeper’s Heart” and the ethereal pop of “Back to You back to Me” work is an underlying cure of songcraft, and whatever ground the six-piece cover on the 10-track outing, from the fuzzy rush of “Drone Riot” to the trippy shimmer of the penultimate “Red Flame,” that core is maintained, uniting the material and making Not the End of the World a work of scope rather than haphazard. It requires an open mind, but rewards open-mindedness with moments like the accordion on “Valley,” or the rhythmic drift of “Any Who but Here,” the nuance of which is no less gracefully held together than the overarching flow of the album as a whole.

The Next Appointed Hour on Thee Facebooks

The Next Appointed Hour on Bandcamp

 

Blown Out, Superior Venus

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Already sold out on preorders, the vinyl edition of Superior Venus from UK cosmic jammers Blown Out features two tracks – one per side – of space-wash heavy righteousness. “Impious Oppressor” and “Superior Venus” both top 15 minutes (and are accompanied by demo versions if you get the download), and proffer the kind of progressive improvisation-based flow that, indeed, might make one inclined to get an order in while the getting’s good. Blown Out, with members of Bong and Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs, have put out a slew of live and studio releases over the last three years, but as planets invariably revolve in cyclical patterns, so too does the regular frequency of their work become part of the expression itself. If you’re going to jam, do it all the time. On Superior Venus, Blown Out once more bring this ethic to life, and the resulting material spreads itself wide over its still relatively brief span. A short trip to orbit, perhaps, but well worth the undertaking.

Blown Out on Thee Facebooks

Riot Season Records on Bandcamp

 

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Troubled Horse Premiere Video for “Hurricane”

Posted in Bootleg Theater on March 6th, 2017 by JJ Koczan

troubled-horse-photo-by-Oskar-Omne

Is it a surprise to find the new single from Örebro, Sweden, heavy rockers Troubled Horse to be catchy as all hell, loaded with groove and a heavy-but-modern sense of boogie that’s far too busy kicking ass to worry about what decade you think it’s influenced by? Probably not if you caught wind of the four-piece’s debut, Step Inside (review here), when Rise Above released it in 2012. As announced in January, the same label will offer up Troubled Horse‘s awaited second album, Revolution on Repeat, on March 31, and “Hurricane,” which you can see and hear below, gives due emphasis on the above while also highlighting the urgency that shows itself throughout the record as a whole. Five years on from their first outing, Troubled Horse are very clearly ready to get down to business. Emphasis on “get down.”

Along with the crisp production, blistering performance by the band and unmistakably Svensk vibing, “Hurricane” offers the near-maddening hook: “I know you hate me/It doesn’t bother me though/I’ve got nothing but love for you.” troubled horse revolution on repeatIt comes quick as delivered by cheapeau-clad frontman Martin Heppich, but even as he, lead guitarist Mikael Linder (also bass on the album), and newcomer guitarist Tom and drummer Jonas get their asses kicked by the throng that the thin-tie-wearing square calls in for backup, presumably in response to an initial noise complaint, that message resonates. It’s not about aggression (at least not on the part of those getting their asses kicked), or chestbeating, or any of that stuff. It’s about the idea of music as something that can bring people together. I dig that. As a species, we need more of that.

“Hurricane” isn’t really a complete summary of everything Troubled Horse do throughout Revolution on Repeat in terms of its general sound, but it makes for an energetic statement of purpose. It’s memorable, and presents the band as having their own take on elements that might be familiar to those for whom the mere mention of Örebro is a dogwhistle of a host of acts in the Swedish retro set, but moreover, it puts the focus on songcraft, which is what shines through most of all in Revolution on Repeat regardless of where an individual track actually starts out or winds up.

Once again, the album is out March 31 on Rise Above. Please find the “Hurricane” video premiere below, followed by more background from the PR wire.

Enjoy:

Troubled Horse, “Hurricane” official video

Formed in 2003 in their hometown of Örebro (also home to Witchcraft), the Horse crew erupted into the consciousness of riff-worshippers everywhere with a low-key seven-inch vinyl release in 2010, and then their debut album Step Inside, which was released by Rise Above Records in 2012. An invigorating whirlwind of spiky garage rock, propulsive psychedelia and thunderous, overdriven soul-meets-doom riffing, Step Inside showcased a band with little interest in current or nostalgic trends, instead revelling in a consciously classic but undeniably fresh new take on the most revered and ageless of musical components.

Troubled Horse’s forthcoming second album is Revolution On Repeat. With a refreshed line-up featuring new members Jonas (drums) and Tom (bass) alongside loyal guitar lord Mikael Linder, frontman Martin Heppich’s vision of a no-holds-barred celebration of heavy rock in all its colourful, subversive glory has never sounded stronger. From the barrelling, high-energy thunder of Hurricane and Which Way To The Mob through to the sprawling head-rush of The Haunted and acid-tinged, lo-fi psych of Desperation, Revolution On Repeat is an instinctive and naturalistic triumph for fire, fury and feel over the forces of plodding revisionism. Throw in a sublime rendition of Warren Zevon’s death-premonition anthem My Shit’s Fucked Up, and the album amount to a bold, pertinent and subtly dispiriting statement on the state of the world, all underpinned by the loudest guitars imaginable.

“Hopefully people will enjoy the record and we’ll get to go on tour and play live,” Martin grins. “That would be really awesome! I know it’s a cliché, but playing and writing songs is a venting process at least for me. But this is a team effort, even though I always have the last word because I’m a jerk…ha ha ha!”

Troubled Horse on Thee Facebooks

Troubled Horse on Instagram

Rise Above Records website

Rise Above on Thee Facebooks

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