Ancient Lights Premiere Trailer for Self-Titled Debut

Posted in Bootleg Theater on April 17th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

ancient lights photo mark swaffield

I know what you’re thinking: Really? A premiere for an album trailer? Well, it’s six and a half minutes long, so quit complaining.

Unceasingly grim in its atmosphere and honed to murky depths that are equal parts obtuse and hypnotic, the self-titled debut from UK three-piece Ancient Lights tops 70 minutes — comes closer to 90 when you count the CD/DL bonus material — and is set to release in July via Ritual Productions. It is a meandering psychedelic wash, repetition and ambience given priority over structure as the trio of bassist/vocalist/guitarist Adam Richardson, guitarist Ben Carr and drummer Tim Bertilsson combine and in some ways surpass their pedigrees in bands like Ramesses5ive and Switchblade in order to push as far out as possible.

Do they get there? Oh, they get there. “War of Attrition” sounds like it’s being fought against the notion of consciousness itself, while 17-minute pieces like “Against Nature” and “Fallow Year” drift into a willed-into-existence sonic beyond. Immersion: inevitable. To call it hypnotic as above is underselling it both in concept and execution. It’s not just the listener being hypnotized here; it’s the band as well. The feedback-soaked, chant-laden “Asakai Dasa” feels as much about the experience of its creation as the resulting “song.” In this way, Ancient Lights are in communion with themselves, with their audience, and with the moment captured on the recording. This is characteristic of much of Richardson‘s work in Ramesses or 11PARANOIAS — the latter of whom also reportedly have new material in the works — but I’m not sure it’s even been driven to such psychedelic extremes as it is on Ancient Lights.

Because it is a work of extremity. Not in the sense of blastbeats or death metal vocals or anything like that, but in its sheer willingness to delve into its own psychosis, Ancient Lights‘ debut is neither for the feint of heart nor the closed of mind. Its triumph lies not in emerging on the other side of “Fallow Year” unscathed, but in having made the journey through it in the first place, and even shorter pieces like “Orichalcum Eater” (2:57) or the plodding “Miasmaculatum” (3:58) make an offering of swirl with more than enough undertow to pull its audience away from their own being. To put a realistic point on it, it’s a hard record to write about because I keep feeling my mind wander in time to the ensuing nod.

The trailer gives a taste of opener “Decaying Lotus,” the subsequent “Temple Ghosts” and the bonus track “Vessel of Inevitability,” and again, if your concern is that most album teasers don’t give a sense of the substance of the record itself, you’re not wrong. I assure you that’s not the case here. Click play and find out for yourself. PR wire info follows, as usual.

Enjoy:

Ancient Lights, Ancient Lights album trailer premiere

Immerse yourself and preview the tracks ‘Decaying Lotus’, ‘Vessel of Inevitability’ and ‘Temple Ghosts’ from Ancient Lights debut self-titled album, out on Ritual Productions July 2018.

Ancient Lights refuse to tread worn sonic terrain with their debut, instead crafting a dynamic and textured journey that explores pastures of darkness, ambience, radiance and disintegration. Comprised of members of esteemed bands of the heavy palette, the origins of the band came after 13 shadowy years of jammed discourse and psychic plotting between Adam Richardson (11PARANOIAS, Ramesses) and Ben Carr (5ive, INTRCPTR), with the optimal addition of Tim Bertilsson (Switchblade) catalysing the final reality of this band.

Trailer directed by Cristiane Richardson and edited by Sergio Angot.

The band recorded their debut rite at Bonafide Studios, London under the spell of the 2017 summer solstice sky with Dan Miller. Additional recording by Ben Carr and Adam Richardson in June 2017 at XL Recordings Studio. Mixing and mastering by Dan Miller and Adam Richardson in December 2017 at XL Recordings Studio, London.

ANCIENT LIGHTS is:
Tim Bertilsson – drums
Adam Richardson – bass, guitar, vocals & lyrics
Ben Carr – guitar

Ancient Lights on Thee Facebooks

Ancient Lights on Instagram

Ancient Lights on Twitter

Ritual Productions on Thee Facebooks

Ritual Productions on Bandcamp

Ritual Productions website

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Bong Debut Album Trailer for Thought and Existence

Posted in Bootleg Theater on March 1st, 2018 by JJ Koczan

bong (photo Tom Newell)

When it comes to Newcastle-based psychedelic drone lords Bong, the very, very least you can say about the band is they don’t do anything half-assed when it comes to approaching cosmic sonorities. The often-experimental trio led by guitarist Mike Vest are set to issue their latest full-length, Thought and Existence — not exactly tackling the small issues, philosophically speaking — on May 4 via Ritual Productions, and like its 2015 predecessor, We Are, We Were and We Will Have Been, it’s made up of two expanded-mind drone drifters, unfolding a cosmos in slow motion across its two sides, which seem as ever to work on a wavelength of their won when it comes to tonal and atmospheric proliferation.

That not-doing-anything-half-assed extends to the new trailer premiering today for Thought and Existence, which — where most tease about a vague minute or 50 seconds of bong thought and existencenew material from a band’s record, follows suit with Bong‘s overall methodology and tops five minutes, giving a substantial glimpse at both of the tracks on Thought and Existence, “The Golden Fields” (17:31) and “Tlön Uqbar Orbis Tertius” (19:01). The thing of it? It’s immersive. I mean, you get lost in it. The album, the full thing, is 36 minutes long between the two cuts, but I’ve yet to make it through the trailer that you can see below without feeling totally hypnotized. Even right now as I type this I’ve got the thing on and I feel like I’m clinging to consciousness with all I’ve got.

And there it goes…

Maybe I shouldn’t be so shocked at that — trance-inducing repetition is as much a key component of Bong‘s approach as volume or a darkened, ritualized atmosphere. They use it well throughout Thought and Existence, to be sure, and it’s perhaps in conveying that that the trailer is most effective, though that’s not to mention the visuals themselves included which are slowly manipulated and awesome in their own right. Still, while one so often thinks of Bong working in longer-form contexts as they generally do, it’s telling that they don’t actually need much more than five minutes to melt your brain down and drink it as it pours from your ears.

Behold:

Bong, Thought and Existence album trailer premiere

Bong ‘Thought and Existence’ album trailer edited by Sergio Angot and directed by Cristiane Richardson, featuring ‘The Golden Fields’ and ‘Tlön Uqbar Orbis Tertius’. Out Spring 2018 on Ritual Productions.

The cosmos has now aligned, and with great honour Ritual Productions announce BONG’s return after three years with a new and momentous rite. ‘Thought and Existence’ is their sixth album for Ritual Productions and will be unveiled in its entirety this May 4th.

A continuation of Bong’s metaphysical sounds, ‘Thought and Existence’ will take the listener on a spacious voyage that resonates with the works of the band’s past, yet this offering is especially striking and stunning. A resplendent and imposing craft, comprised of two tracks spanning just under 40 minutes, ‘Thought and Existence’ is remarkable in its ability to move the listener and transcend them to imaginative planes anew.

Bong feel ever so omnipresent on ‘Thought and Existence’, continuing their revered ability to transform time through their sublime sonic textures. As all listeners of this rite will attest, the band’s stellar meditative and mystical drone, amplified by the essential and ritualistic hue of the drums, permits our imagination to be heightened. New realms of perception and existence open up, even if only for the duration of the rite; the power of this listening experience subverting the laws of time and space itself.

BONG is:
Mike Vest – guitars
Mike Smith – drums
David Terry – bass & vocals

Bong’s ‘Thought and Existence’ was recorded and engineered by Mark Wood at The Soundroom, Gateshead during September 2017. The rite was mixed and mastered at XL Recordings Studio, London during December 2017, courtesy of John Foyle (Bobby Womack, Sampha, Damon Albarn) and Adam Richardson (11PARANOIAS, Ramesses, Ancient Lights).

Bong on Thee Facebooks

Ritual Productions website

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Drug Cult Sign to Ritual Productions; New Video Posted

Posted in Whathaveyou on January 11th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

I can’t help but feel like we’re only getting a vague slice of the otherworldly doom to come with the new Drug Cult video, but it’s more than enough to pique interest. Double that factor for the involvement in the band of Dale Walker, spearhead of the most excellent Aussie psych solo-outfit Megaritual, and guitarist Vin Steele, who’s been inolved in the same band. Honestly, even if “Mind Crypt” didn’t roll out as righteously murky as it does, that’d probably be enough to get me on board with Drug Cult‘s impending Ritual Productions self-titled debut, but the track is definitely working in its own sphere. Also, atmosphere. Also, doom.

The PR wire brings a host of info on the band and record to come, as well as the aforementioned video, which does its job well in begging further investigation.

Dig in:

drug cult photo sally patti

Ritual Productions initiates new signing, DRUG CULT; Watch the new video for the track “Mind Crypt” taken from the band’s debut rite (out Spring 2018)

Ritual Productions expands its roster with the signing of Drug Cult, a four-piece occultist doom collective whose debut self-titled rite beckons to see light of day.

Formed at the edge of Mt. Jerusalem in the hills of Mullumbimby, Australia, Drug Cult is the alchemic workings of guitarist Vin Steele (ex. Wolfmother, Megaritual, Sun Of Man), vocalist Aasha Tozer, drummer Dale Walker (Megaritual, Sun Of Man) and bassist Maggie Schreiber.

The catalyst of the cult is the bands history of art, punk rock, hardcore, doom, psych and metal influences which instinctively fused together; forming a channel of cohesive vibration. Their elemental craft has been brewing since April 2015 when the four close friends gathered on a Blood Moon Lunar Eclipse for a “Megaritual” ceremony, shaping the vision of a heavy celestial voyage through atmospheric sound connection.

Drug Cult reveals: The void opened, energies entwined and the transcendental experience set a tone for our future four piece. With the mission set to find the next ritual site we ventured together in search of visceral elevation. Surrounded by nature and crushing amplification we awakened the serpent.

The result is a 9-track vortex of majestic heaviness laced with an evocative psychedelic haze, whereby classic melodies meld with fuzz-drenched riffs cultivating an enticing potion of technicolour wickedness. Although a grooving heavyweight tone drives throughout the rite, a darkened presence is forever evident, hexing you into Drug Cult’s realm.

We invite you to listen to the first dose of Drug Cult’s craft, with the three-minute song ‘Mind Crypt’. A distinctly alluring track, with dense tones of doom providing a mesmeric undercurrent to spellbinding echoes that hypnotise throughout. Jack Bailey directed the accompanying video (www.jackbailey.com.au), commenting “I have always felt an uncommon affinity with places dark, ancient and unbroken. I find solace in empty landscapes, void of human interference… the company of the wild is far more affable than that of modern man.” Bailey’s ethos perfectly parallels the vast elemental darkness that encapsulates Drug Cult’s sound with the visuals for ‘Mind Crypt’ presenting nature in its most raw, rugged and foreboding form.

The band’s first offering was recorded live at Rocking Horse Studios, Byron Bay during December 2016, with George Carpenter at the recording and production helm and mastered by Brian Lucey of Magic Garden Mastering.

The S/T rite, with the Ritual Productions imprint, is set to be released Spring 2018. Stay alert for updates on the stirrings of the cult.

http://www.drugcult.com/
http://facebook.com/drugcult
http://instagram.com/drug_cult
http://thedrugcult.tumblr.com/
http://www.ritualproductions.net
https://ritualproductions.bandcamp.com/
http://www.facebook.com/ritualproductionsuk
www.twitter.com/ritualmusic
www.instagram.com/ritualproductions

Drug Cult, “Mind Crypt” official video

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Ancient Lights Sign to Ritual Productions

Posted in Whathaveyou on July 10th, 2017 by JJ Koczan

A new project with members from 11Paranoias and Switchblade? I’ll check that out. Sign me up. One of the best things Adam Richardson ever did was set up Ritual Productions as an outlet, first for his own work with Ramesses and subsequently as a place to release like-minded groups — looking at you, Bong — and those who take sonic cultistry beyond lyrics about the devil or killing ladies and to a place of genuine volume worship.

Ancient Lights, in which Richardson plays bass and handles vocals, posted an early jam on their Thee Facebooks, and I’d embed it if I could, but it sounds immediately like heady stuff that’s right in line with the kind of sonic gruel one might expect. Will be interested to hear what comes of the new outfit as they move forward, but as an initial welcome, it’s easy enough to dig the way they’ve said hello.

More to come, I hope.

From the PR wire:

ancient lights

RITUAL PRODUCTIONS INTRODUCES NEW SIGNING, ANCIENT LIGHTS; MEMBERS TAKEN FROM BANDS INCLUDING 11PARANOIAS, RAMESSES, 5IVE, INTRCPTR, SWITCHBLADE

Ritual Productions have a new offering for the masses – Ancient Lights – comprised of members from esteemed bands of the darkened palette, 11PARANOIAS, Ramesses, 5ive, INTRCPTR and Switchblade. The origins of our new signing comes after 13 unholy years of jammed discourse and psychic plotting between Adam Richardson (11PARANOIAS, Ramesses) and Ben Carr (5ive, INTRCPTR), with the optimal addition of Tim Bertilsson (Switchblade) catalysing the final reality of this band.

The band met in the early 2000s whilst playing shows together and they envisaged a future musical project…however distant that may be. 2017 now sees the manifestation of such surreptitious sonic scheming and the subsequent integration of the members within a united space – considering the trio all live in different countries. The band recorded their debut RITE in North London under the spell of the summer solstice sky which is currently in the mixing process. Prepare to be suffused!

ANCIENT LIGHTS IS:
Adam Richardson (bass/vocals)
Ben Carr (guitar)
Tim Bertilsson (drums)

https://www.facebook.com/ancientlightsband/
https://www.instagram.com/ancientlightsband/
https://twitter.com/ancient_lights/
http://www.ritualproductions.net/
https://www.facebook.com/ritualproductionsuk/
https://twitter.com/ritualmusic

11PARANOIAS, “Milk of Amnesia” official video

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Thralldom to Release Time Will Bend into Horror Nov. 11

Posted in Whathaveyou on November 2nd, 2016 by JJ Koczan

thralldom-photo-by-dp-demis-photography

Don’t count on the streaming track below to speak for the whole of Thralldom‘s upcoming Time Will Bend into Horror full-length, but even as just three-plus minutes to go on, “Chronovisions” gives a glimpse of raw black metal that seeks to push beyond stylistic confines. In true black metal form, the project, spearheaded by Ryan Lipynsky of Unearthly Trance and Jared Turinsky, hasn’t been active in a decade, but will release Time Will Bend into Horror digitally through Ritual Productions on Nov. 11 and it comes with many elaborate aesthetic comparisons, from dark electronica to impressionist mastery.

The following came in off the PR wire:

thralldom-time-will-bend-into-horror

Ritual Productions Initiate Thralldom

It is with immense pleasure to initiate Thralldom onto the Ritual Productions roster and announce the digital release date on November 11th of their first rite in ten years, entitled Time Will Bend Into Horror.

Purveyors of the occultist realm may recognise the name from years long passed, being something of an enigma amongst underground metal circles. Indeed, Thralldom have now returned with their first offering in over a decade, consisting once again of Ryan Lipynsky aka Killusion (Unearthly Trance, Serpentine Path, The Howling Wind) and Jared Turinsky aka Jaldagar. Although the alchemists remain the same, this is a new incarnation for the project: Thralldom 3.0.

Textures and tones from their ancient demo days and the experimental blackened noise for which they garnered acclaim melds with their new mentality which focuses more on the nuances of riff, drum and guitar interlacing. Devoid of genre limitations and gimmicks, never bounded by time or space, Thralldom refuse to tread paths gone before on Time Will Bend Into Horror. The six tracks transverse and re-morph sonic terrain, with licks of black, thrash, doom, old-school metal, industrial, noise and dark electronica but never exclusively, always experimental. You’ll find your subconscious entranced, limbs paralysed from the morose stillness before being ensnared into a blistering headbanging frenzy all whilst your face mirrors that of Edvard Munch’s ‘The Scream’. You will not know when your corporeality or psychosis will manifest or seize in its consciousness during the album and that is why the intricacies found on Time Will Bend Into Horror is an alchemical abstract art that amalgamates and subverts the mind/body dichotomy through its evocation of fear, pensiveness, horror.

TIME WILL BEND INTO HORROR TRACK LIST
1) Cosmic Chains
2) Chronovisions
3) Stars and Graves
4) The Corpse Of The Radar Towers Over All
5) Dark Grey Mist
6) Transmission

Thralldom are essential elements in the dark arts. Never fearful of exploring uncharted territory, they trust and learn from the chaos transmuting this into instinctual soundwaves. Time Will Bend Into Horror evokes a variety of moods through its fractured fluidity ultimately making this a magikally compelling listen. After 10 years away, it is now time for Thralldom’s subliminal, subversive and sinister sonics to re-enter the atmosphere and align latent areas of your psyche. We invite you to join this séance.

https://thralldomthralldom.blogspot.co.uk/
https://www.facebook.com/thralldom
www.ritualproductions.net
www.facebook.com/ritualproductionsuk
www.twitter.com/ritualmusic

Thralldom, “Chronovisions”

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11Paranoias Post “Milk of Amnesia” Video; Reliquary for a Dreamed of World out Nov. 11

Posted in Bootleg Theater on November 1st, 2016 by JJ Koczan

11paranoias-photo-by-al-overdrive

There are exceptionally few bands who pull off extreme psychedelia. It’s not a sound everyone takes on, in part because so much of psychedelic rock is intended to chill out and immerse and so much extreme music is intended to be abrasive — essentially it’s a sound that invites and repels at the same time — but 11Paranoias conjure deep-hued swirl on the blown-out “Milk of Amnesia” from their forthcoming Reliquary for a Dreamed of World LP like the visceral preachers they are. Originally set to show up Oct. 28 — which apparently is a day that already happened; sorry, I barely know what month it is — the album will be out Nov. 11 on Ritual Productions as the follow-up to 2014’s Stealing Fire from Heaven.

That record was the band’s third overall and first to find the lineup of founding bassist/vocalist Adam Richardson joined by guitarist Mike Vest (Bong) and drummer Nathan Perrier (Capricorns), which makes Reliquary for a Dreamed of World a sophomore outing for this incarnation. At least going from “Milk of Amnesia,” it sounds like it. 11Paranoias, as a project, have always had a drive to push limits — of decency, of extremity, etc. — and here they come across as seeking to push their own limits as well in atmosphere and sheer punishment factor. I wouldn’t count on this one track to represent the whole of the offering, and the band has said as much as well, but as a way of getting introduced to that dreamed-of world, it certainly seems nightmarish enough to fit the bill.

Have at you, and enjoy:

11Paranoias, “Milk of Amnesia” official video

Heavy psychedelic trio 11PARANOIAS are soon releasing their new record Reliquary For A Dreamed Of World via Ritual Productions. The trio of Adam Richardson, Mike Vest and Nathan Perrier have aroused gargantuan riffs from ancient slumber, mustered streams of irradiated noise, and arranged them to form an impressive, kaleidoscopic creation that shall now see the light of day on 11th November.

11PARANOIAS send back their latest report from the frontiers of heavy psychedelic rock, their staggering fourth LP, Reliquary For A Dreamed Of World. In the shops on 11th November in LP, CD and digital formats. Advance LP and digital copies are available now via Ritual Productions.

11Paranoias on Bandcamp

11Paranoias on Thee Facebooks

Ritual Productions website

Ritual Productions on Thee Facebooks

Ritual Productions on Twitter

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11Paranoias to Release Reliquary for a Dreamed of World Oct. 28; Audio Teaser Posted

Posted in Whathaveyou on July 22nd, 2016 by JJ Koczan

Naturally, they wouldn’t want to give away too much at this point, but 11Paranoias‘ audio teaser derived from the closing track to their fourth album, Reliquary for a Dreamed of World does find what’s becoming a trademark bleak psychedelia well intact and is just long enough to give some impression of their swirling psychosis to the listener who may have been previously drawn to their work either for 2014’s Stealing Fire from Heaven or Spectralbeastiaries or their 2013 debut, Superunnatural. The album will be released Oct. 28 via Ritual Productions, the track in question is called “Milk of Amnesia” and the band is comprised of the returning lineup of bassist/vocalist Adam Richardson (ex-Ramesses), guitarist Mike Vest (also Bong) and drummer Nathan Perrier (ex-Capricorns).

A couple of live dates in their native UK have been announced — one this weekend, one next — but more are reportedly impending, so when and if I hear of whatever I hear, I’ll be sure to pass along word. In the meantime, word from the PR wire about the album is below, followed of course by links and that teaser.

Dig it:

11paranoias

11PARANOIAS announce new LP Reliquary For A Dreamed Of World; and share ‘Milk Of Amnesia’, plus live shows incoming

RELEASE DATE: 28 OCTOBER ON RITUAL PRODUCTIONS

11PARANOIAS send back their latest report from the frontiers of heavy psychedelic rock, bringing to Ritual Productions their staggering fourth LP, Reliquary For A Dreamed Of World.

The trio of Adam Richardson, Mike Vest and Nathan Perrier have aroused gargantuan riffs from ancient slumber, mustered streams of irradiated noise, and arranged them to form an impressive, kaleidoscopic creation that shall see the light of day on October 28th.

More details regarding the new record will be announced over the coming months. In the meantime, 11PARANOIAS are planning on more live rituals, beginning this week with two shows – details below.

July 23rd – Doomlines Festival, Yorkshireman Rock Bar, Sheffield
July 28th – Big Red, London (extended set)

11paranoias.bandcamp.com
www.facebook.com/11Paranoias
www.ritualproductions.net
www.facebook.com/ritualproductionsuk
twitter.com/ritualmusic
ritualproductions.bandcamp.com
www.instagram.com/ritualproductions

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Quarterly Review: Sourvein, Mantar, Elevators to the Grateful Sky, The Poisoned Glass, Spirit Collector, Phiasco, The Cosmic Dead, Postures, Estoner, The Black Explosion

Posted in Reviews on June 20th, 2016 by JJ Koczan

the-obelisk-summer-2016-quarterly-review

Well here we are. Standing on the precipice of a week of 50 reviews, looking out together at the geographic and sonic expanses that will be covered. I never know entirely what a given Quarterly Review is going to bring. Some have been smooth, some not. This one is being put together very little pre-production in terms of chasing down band links and that sort of thing, so I expect it’s going to be an adventure one way or another. I’ll keep you updated as we go as to my mental state and the deterioration thereof.

If you don’t know the drill, The Obelisk’s Quarterly Review is a week every three months in which I review 10 albums per day, Monday through Friday. Some of it was released in the prior three months, some of it is brand new, some of it probably isn’t out yet, some of it is probably older. It’s all relevant one way or another. I hope you find something you enjoy.

Quarterly Review #1-10:

Sourvein, Aquatic Occult

Sourvein Aquatic Occult

Looking at the makeup of Sourvein’s much-awaited fourth album, Aquatic Occult (on Metal Blade), it’s understandable why it might’ve taken five years to put together. Yes, they had splits out in between, as they do, but the band’s last full-length was 2011’s Black Fangs (review here), and though the 14-song/42-minute Aquatic Occult is manageable, with a host of interludes to carry the listener along its thick-toned, undulating waves, a swath of guest appearances no doubt played havoc with logistics. Fortunately, Sourvein’s figurehead, vocalist T-Roy Medlin, seems to thrive on chaos. Working with producer Mike Dean (C.O.C.), and a revolving-door lineup that here features Lou Gorra of Halfway to Gone, Medlin brazenly explores a more melodic dynamic than he ever has. It’s a rare band looking to experiment after 20 years, a rarer band still that pulls it off so well. There’s still some sludgy rasp and guest growling, but Sabbathian roll is the order of the day ultimately and Medlin’s homage to his home in Cape Fear, North Carolina, establishes a breadth unheard before from Sourvein that’s worthy of the years and obvious effort that went into its making.

Sourvein on Thee Facebooks

Sourvein at Metal Blade Records

 

Mantar, Ode to the Flame

Mantar Ode To The Flame

Hamburg duo Mantar’s blend of thrash, sludge and blackened doom is brash, righteously punkish and thus far uncompromised in its malevolent intent. On their second album and Nuclear Blast debut, Ode to the Flame, songs like “Era Borealis” swagger as much as they sneer, the middle-finger-up arrogance becoming part of the appeal. “The Hint” offers some tinge of melody and “I Omen” some organ-laced atmospherics, but Mantar, who debuted in 2015 with the also fire-minded Death by Burning (review here) on Svart, carry their extremity forward like the next logical step of the same impulses that High on Fire once brought forth. Their tempo shifts, from blazing squibblies to outright lumbering, are pulled off with due fuckall, and the shouts from guitarist/vocalist Hanno and drummer/vocalist Erinc are spit forth in a manner near-indecipherable but still have no trouble getting their point across. Mantar are positioning themselves to be the kick in the ass that the underground needs. The next few years (and albums) will see how that pans out, but for now they have two scorchers under their collective belt.

Mantar on Thee Facebooks

Mantar at Nuclear Blast

 

Elevators to the Grateful Sky, Cape Yawn

elevators to the grateful sky cape yawn

There is a stylistic restlessness to stretches of Elevators to the Grateful Sky’s second record, Cape Yawn (on HeviSike), that becomes the uniting factor between the adrenaline-amped opening with “Ground” and “Bullet Words” and the later dream-surf Yawning Man-meets-sax unfurling of the title-track. The Palermo, Italy, outfit have stated their intention as capturing a blend of ‘90s alternative and modern heavy. Fair enough, but hearing that play out on the penultimate “Mountain Ship” in a mix of weighted riffing and laid back vocals giving way to shouts, it seems that to me that next time out, Elevators to the Grateful Sky should probably just start saying they sound like themselves, because they do. Granted, they’re pulling elements from familiar sources – Soundgarden, Kyuss, etc. – but in giving them new context, the four-piece are defining their sound as moving fluidly between the various styles, and that’s to be commended. The more you put into listening, the more you’ll get out of it.

Elevators to the Grateful Sky on Thee Facebooks

HeviSike Records website

 

The Poisoned Glass, 10 Swords

the poisoned glass 10 swords-700

Representing a 50 percent reunion of Burning Witch, the droning contemplations and hellish atmospherics of The Poisoned GlassRitual Productions debut, 10 Swords, pique immediate interest. And bassist/percussionist/etc.-ist G. Stuart Dahlquist and vocalist/keyboardist Edgy 59 do not disappoint. With unspeakable patience, they execute six grueling and cinematic pieces that seem to find comfort in tortured expression and that feel claustrophobic even as they continue to expand outward and downward through “Plume Veil” and “Toil and Trouble” into the extended closing duo “Silent Vigil” – spoiler alert: not actually silent – and “Low Spirits,” which moves from minimalist stillness through far-back screams and into a wash of synth before its seven minutes are up, covering more ground in one track than some bands do in their entire career. Fair to say on the whole 10 Swords is an immersive listen, but the prevailing vibe is much less “diving in” than “being swallowed whole by some obscure medieval terror.” So, you know, watch out for that.

The Poisoned Glass on Thee Facebooks

Ritual Productions on Bandcamp

 

Spirit Collector, Owls to Athens

spirit collector owls to athens-700

Los Angeles newcomers Spirit Collector make their debut with the self-released, three-song Owls to Athens EP, clear in its intent and brimming with airy, post-rock-derived guitar atmospherics. A particularly telling moment arrives with the Terence McKenna sample in centerpiece “Reclaim Your Mind,” which speaks of casting off the culture of celebrity worship for a richer human experience, but it’s in the extended closer “Theosophy” (7:57) that Spirit Collector find their footing someplace between a doomed plod and thoughtful psychedelia, picking up a chugging momentum as they push through toward the almost blackened finish, having come a surprising distance since their eponymous opener set the tone for expanse. An encouraging first offering if somewhat familiar superficially as instrumental heavy post-rock (think Explosions in the Sky, Russian Circles, Red Sparowes, etc.), and there’s nothing in Owls to Athens to make one think Spirit Collector can’t move forward and develop the experimental drive they begin to show here.

Spirit Collector on Thee Facebooks

Spirit Collector on Bandcamp

 

Phiasco, Vieh

phiasco vieh

Vieh, the debut full-length from Colonge-based desert rocking foursome Phiasco, takes its name from the German word for “cattle.” The band owe some of their fuzz to Truckfighters and some of their psychedelic wash to Sungrazer, but the attitude in songs like “Ultimate Warrior” – comprised largely of riffs topped with an extended sample from the titular professional wrestler – and “Sunndown” is their own, as is the we’re-still-having-a-really-good-time-while-we-make-this-15-minute-song closer “Phisco” (sic), a highlight of the live-recorded full-length, which across its span is light on pretense and heavy on bounce. Cuts like “Old Town” and opener “Back to the Future” – hey, that’s a movie! – bring catchy hooks, and the uptempo “Erasing Rabbits with My Phaserlight” winds up as harmonized as goofed out, and thus is all the more engaging. There’s a certain amount of getting by on charm here, but Phiasco have a capable, varied songwriting process that’s given due fullness and clarity in these eight tracks.

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Phiasco on Bandcamp

 

The Cosmic Dead, Rainbowhead

the-cosmic-dead-rainbowhead

Man, who gives a shit about anything else when Glaswegian five-piece The Cosmic Dead are enacting their hypnotic swirl? Their latest instrumental invitation to watch existence melt is called Rainbowhead and it arrives through Paradigms Recordings (CD) and Blackest Rainbow Records (LP) with four tracks that serve as the band’s first full-length since 2014’s EasterFaust, though they’ve had splits in between to keep a prolific rate of offerings fitting for their explorational heavy psych/space rock. The bulk of Rainbowhead is engagingly upbeat as side A plays out across “Human Sausage,” “Skye Burial” and the 13-minute “Inner C,” and side B’s 18-minute title-track follows suit as The Cosmic Dead seem to have found a similar niche between progressive rock and psych to that which Mammatus proffered on their most recent outing. It suits The Cosmic Dead, and they keep an improv vibe prevalent as ever, grasping the subconscious with trip-on-it lysergic pulsations.

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Paradigms Recordings website

Blackest Rainbow Records website

 

Postures, Halucinda

postures halucinda

Deeply textured and lush in its construction around guitar arrangements, percussive and keyboard-laden melodic flourish, Postures’ second full-length, Halucinda (on World in Sound), plays back and forth between prog and heavy rock impulses. The Gothenburg, Sweden, five-piece seem most at home in extended tracks like “Myriad Man,” “Every Room” and the jazzy 10-minute “Wavemaker,” but even the acoustic-led centerpiece interlude “A Million Sequences” invites the audience to turn up the volume for maximum wash effect. Paulina Nyström delivers a powerful, commanding and fluid vocal performance, and while the rhythm section of bassist Per Pettersson and drummer Isak Björhag are the foundation on which these complex structures play out – Viktor Andersson and Benjamin Watts handle guitar; Madeleine Sjögren is credited with backing vocals/keys and Margit Gyllspång percussion/backing vocals – there’s no angle from which Postures don’t come across rich and vital in their winding but well-plotted course, one song feeding fluidly to the next until the dreamy “In the Dark” rounds out with the emotional apex of the record.

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World in Sound Records

 

Estoner, Lennud Saatana Dimensioonis

estoner lennud saatana dimensioonis

What else to call a stoner band from Estonia? Estoner’s appeal, however, goes well beyond their moniker. The Tallinn-based outfit’s second album, Lennud Saatana Dimensioonis, arrives in a handmade hexagonal CD package, heat sealed, as well as with complete visual accompaniment on limited VHS and cassette via Golem Records. The music is no less relentlessly creative, running a gamut between prog, black metal, heavy rock, psychedelia, space rock and probably a few others in its seven-track course. A song like “Teleporteerumine” conjures darkened swirl and “Reptiloid” follows through with foreboding threat, but Estoner plunge even deeper as they go, proferring aesthetic reach that makes seemingly disparate elements work together fluidly on “Hüvasti, Kosmiline Monoliit” and the 10-minute closing title-track. Perhaps the highest compliment one can pay to Lennud Saatana Dimensioonis is to call it Svart-worthy, as its diverse means of engulfing the listener speak to a forward-thinking approach that one can only hope Estoner continue to develop.

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Estoner on Bandcamp

 

The Black Explosion, Atomic Zod War

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Extra points to Swedish troupe The Black Explosion for opening their third album, the space-fuzzed out Atomic Zod War (on Metalville Records), with its longest track, the 13-minute “Paralyzed.” That song offers a languid voyage through uncharted jammy reaches, and that sets an open, laid back expectation that the rest of the album seems only too glad to build on, from the Nebula-via-Monster Magnet blown out vibes of “Ain’t Coming Home” to the semi-garage buzz of “Going Down,” a highlight groove that emphasizes the natural, raw tones at play leading into “Get My Mind Together” and the finisher “Devil Inside,” which brings the guitar of Chris Winter (also Dollhouse) forward with backing from bassist Simon Haraldsson and drummer Andreas Lindquist that feels born of the new West Coast tradition but is likely playing off of older impulses. But for its hey-look-it’s-tits cover art, the grit Atomic Zod War offers comes through organically and draws the listener in with its live feel and underlying boogie.

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Metalville Records

 

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