Eternal Elysium to Reissue Searching Low and High for Robust Relics Series

Posted in Whathaveyou on September 25th, 2017 by JJ Koczan

eternal elysium

I’ve applied this kind of standard before, I know, but the truth is there are two kinds of people who aren’t going to be down with Eternal Elysium reissuing a fully remixed and remastered version of their 2005 album, Searching Low and High, to kick off Robustfellow‘s new venture, the Robust Relics Series. You know those kinds of people? You guessed it: Jerks and squares. Everyone else should have no trouble getting down, either with the concept or the execution. Not saying I’ve heard it or anything or that I have the mp3s on right now, but the record sounds awesome.

Speaking of awesome, the long-running Japanese doom rockers issued their sixth album, Resonance of Shadows (review here), in 2016 and it was an absolute riff-rolling gem. The trio also contributed the track “Highflyer (Remix)” to Robustfellow‘s expansive 3CD Electric Funeral Cafe Vol. III compilation (review here) earlier in 2017, so this isn’t exactly the first time the band and the Ukraine imprint are working together, despite being a marked deepening of the relationship between the two.

Announcement came down the PR wire with new album art and so on:

eternal-elysium-searching-low-and-high

Robustfellow Prods. To Re-Release the Classic Album of Japanese Heavy Psych/Doom Legends – Eternal Elysium

Robustfellow Prods. is happy to present a new activity supporting the robust scene – Robust Relics Series {RRS}. Here we rediscover robust albums from the past , giving them new life. We create new artwork with one of our artists, complete audio remaster and add bonus tracks from the respective period. RRS reissues are going to be produced with maximum attention to details while paying respect to the original feel of the release.

The first RRS release is going to happen with legends of Japanese heavy psych/doom scene – Eternal Elysium and their fabulous fourth album, Searching Low & High. It was originally released by Diwphalanx Records [CD, PX-132] in 2005, with a vinyl edition from Hydro-Phonic Records [2LP, HPR-247] in 2011.

12 years since its original release, Searching Low and High has become a hard-to-find issue on Discogs and eBay, so we decided to take a robust shocel and dig deeper.

“I think people can feel more raw and natural vibes on this remix version. And I feel this one is still deep and heavy. The big differences in sound between the original release and this remix/remaster are the textures and feeling of air/ambience,” Yukito Okazaki comments. “Those are the things I’m really aware of and taking care of now.”

The album retains the same energy of the moment, each track on the plate is catchy and memorable. Robustcrew considers this album an instant classic release and highly recommends it for everyone who is into heavy psych/doom/robust scene today!

Reissue features:
– Artwork by Yura “xNinja” Nagorniy [Robust Artist]
– Two bonus tracks (appearing on CD for the first time)
– Complete remix/remaster by Yukito Okazaki at Studio Zen in July-August 2017

Eternal Elysium in 2017 is:
Yukito Okazaki-guitar, vocal
Tana Haugo-bass, vocal
Antonio Ishikawa-drums

www.eternalelysium.com/
http://eternalelysiumshop.bigcartel.com/
https://www.facebook.com/Eternal-Elysium-official-160089987381948/
https://twitter.com/ETERNAL_ELYSIUM
https://www.facebook.com/RobustfellowProds/
http://robustfellow.blogspot.com/
https://twitter.com/robust_fellow
robustfellow.bandcamp.com

Eternal Elysium, “Green Song” (original)

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Ethereal Riffian Offer Limited-Time-Only Screening of Afterlight DVD

Posted in Bootleg Theater on September 5th, 2017 by JJ Koczan

ethereal riffian

The word progressive, especially in a musical context, can have any number of definitions. It can convey a focus on technique, a history of intellectualism that goes back decades, can relate to politics as much as style or can be a nebulous genre catchall. For me, a band or release is progressive when it shows real consideration in some element of its craft and/or presentation. When a band puts care and thought into what they do and always keep in mind a sense of artistic growth, of — wait for it — progression. That’s pretty open, but not at all universal, and there are few acts who emphasize precisely the sort of creative willpower sonic progressivism as Ukrainian heavy ritualists Ethereal Riffian.

Among groups I’ve had the pleasure to encounter the last few years, the Kiev-based outfit stand out not only in sound, drawing from the meditative heavy psych of Om and blending that patience with expanded arrangements of guitar and a wide swath of other instrumentation rooted in semi-Opethian prog metal and a shamanist-minded thematic, but in their utter purposefulness and their attention to detail. The physical pressings of their material are as intricate and gorgeous as their music is immersive. Atmosphere is no less paramount than how the songs themselves are crafted. They engage intellectually, spiritually and emotionally in what they do, and after a productive span that brought forth offerings like the I am Deathless two-song EP (review here) and the live  Youniversal Voice (review here) in 2016, Ethereal Riffian now delve the furthest they’ve gone yet into their mythos with the Afterlight DVD.

It’s a concert documentary, yes. They play a show. There’s a tracklisting. Songs are aired from a selection of concerts. But it’s more than just that. Beginning with a spoken intro about the band’s philosophy as regards the nature of music, Afterlight goes onto work its way through Shamanism, Buddhism and Mysticism — how these things relate to Ethereal Riffian, tying in the migration from Russian of the peoples who would become Native Americans over a course of centuries with an artistry and fluidity that one can hear being brought to bear in the fluidity of their psychedelic metal, chants and richly atmospheric execution of their material, which even live comes through with a balance every bit worthy of its heady conceptual foundations.

Over the course of more than an hour and 40 minutes, Afterlight brims with purpose across multiple acts defined by these concepts and as the band rightly postulates, gives its audiences the most in-depth look at who they are and where they’re coming from that they’ve yet showcased. This is a limited-time screening. It will be available for five days, and after that, it gets pulled and the only way to view Afterlight will be by ordering it from Ethereal Riffian‘s Bandcamp. If you go that route, you should know it comes with a wax seal, and of course the artwork and packaging are crazy lux, as is the band’s wont.

So please, enjoy this one while you can. And as you dig in below, keep in mind the transitory nature of creativity itself, because I can just about guarantee that wherever Ethereal Riffian go from here, it’s going to be on a different plane than this or anything that’s preceded it.

Here we go:

Ethereal Riffian, Afterlight DVD limited screening

Limited time, 5-day screening of Afterlight DVD is available exclusively via https://theobelisk.net/

Buy physical copy via http://etherealriffian.bandcamp.com/

Spiritualized rockers from Ukraine Ethereal Riffian have launched the “Afterlight” DVD, which showcases the results of the band’s 6-year work. “Afterlight” is a conceptual work and its main theme is spiritual liberation in different spiritual traditions, namely – Shamanism, Buddhism and Mysticism. The DVD features:

– Full overview of Ethereal Riffian’s creative universe
– Animated videos uncovering the spiritual journey of “Afterlight’s” main characters
– Special structure with three acts, introduction and epilogue that gives the DVD a logical inception and ending.
– Unique bonuses including official music video, two documentaries, archive with rare photos and more
– Mesmerizing artwork

“Since 2013 I wanted to have a single release that can give a versatile overview of the band’s creative work – its music, philosophy, approach to limited editions and live potential. And now we have it,” says Val Kornev, the frontman of the band. “With this release we, on one hand, aim to crystalize all our work and ideas since the inception of the band, and on the other hand, we want to show the quintessential component which unites all spiritual paths. For the band this release marks the end of the first chapter in its history and the beginning of the new one.”

Tracklist of the “Afterlight” DVD
1. Whispering of the Ancients
2. Beyond
3. Transoma
4. Wakan Tanka
5. Thugdam
6. March of Spiritu
7. Anatman
8. Drum of the Deathless
9. Sword of the Deathless
10. Light of Self

Ethereal Riffian on Bandcamp

Ethereal Riffian on Thee Facebooks

Ethereal Riffian on Instagram

Ethereal Riffian on Twitter

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Ethereal Riffian Announce Afterlight DVD Preorders

Posted in Whathaveyou on July 19th, 2017 by JJ Koczan

ethereal riffian

Like few heavy psych acts the world over, Ukrainian shamanistic groovers Ethereal Riffian have committed themselves to physical presentation of media as a part of their aesthetic process. Deeply progressive in their songwriting, they extend a self-awareness to how their material is presented to the listener, be it vinyl, CD, or in the case of Afterlight, a limited-edition DVD available to preorder in a number of varied packages. The release itself contains live and documentary footage and then some — animated videos, an overarching narrative, bonus interviews, and so on — and it seems the band’s attempt is to capture the full essence their years together in a single release. If that isn’t worthy of a wax seal, I don’t know what is.

You can see the various editions at their Bandcamp and see a teaser and a making-of video below. Official release date for Afterlight is Aug. 17, but all the tracks are streaming now as well.

From the PR wire:

Ethereal Riffian Launch Pre-Orders for “Afterlight” DVD

Artist: Ethereal Riffian
Title: “Afterlight”
Formats: DVD-book, ecopack, or as a part of discography (comes with a secret link to view bonuses in Full HD)
Label: Self-Released

Release Date: 17 August 2017

Spiritualized rockers from Ukraine Ethereal Riffian have launched pre-orders for “Afterlight” DVD, which showcases the results of the band’s 6-year work. “Afterlight” is a conceptual work and its main theme is spiritual liberation in different spiritual traditions, namely – Shamanism, Buddhism and Mysticism. The DVD features:

– Full overview of Ethereal Riffian’s creative universe
– Animated videos uncovering the spiritual journey of “Afterlight’s” main characters
– Special structure with three acts, introduction and epilogue that gives the DVD a logical inception and ending.
– Unique bonuses including official music video, two documentaries, archive with rare photos and more
– Mesmerizing artwork

“Since 2013 I wanted to have a single release that can give a versatile overview of the band’s creative work – its music, philosophy, approach to limited editions and live potential. And now we have it,” says Val Kornev, the frontman of the band. “With this release we, on one hand, aim to crystalize all our work and ideas since the inception of the band, and on the other hand, we want to show the quintessential component which unites all spiritual paths. For the band this release marks the end of the first chapter in its history and the beginning of the new one.”

Traditionally for the band, “Afterlight” comes in unique formats elaborated by the band (limited edition DVD-book and discography) and can be purchased for pre-order prices, along with three exclusive limited-time offers via the band’s bandcamp page: http://etherealriffian.bandcamp.com/. Pre-sale will be active from 17.VII.2017 to 17.VIII.2017. Upon the end of pre-sale, limited-time offers will expire and prices for other items will be increased.

Tracklist of the “Afterlight” DVD
1. Whispering of the Ancients
2. Beyond
3. Transoma
4. Wakan Tanka
5. Thugdam
6. March of Spiritu
7. Anatman
8. Drum of the Deathless
9. Sword of the Deathless
10. Light of Self

“Afterlight” DVD was made possible thankfully to the efforts of:

– Kirai Gigs team, which filmed and edited all video materials for the main unit
– xNinja, who created both the breathtaking artwork and the mesmerizing illustrations for animated videos
– Bobina Records and Max Poops, who worked scrupulously to make live performances sound like expensive studio records
– Robustfellow and the Kornev family whose continuous support motivates and inspires

https://etherealriffian.bandcamp.com/
https://www.facebook.com/etherealriffian/
http://bit.ly/etherealriffian
https://www.instagram.com/etherealriffian/
https://twitter.com/EtherealRiffian
https://vk.com/etherealriffian

Ethereal Riffian, Afterlight (2017)

Ethereal Riffian, The Making of Afterlight Limited Editions

Ethereal Riffian, Afterlight DVD teaser

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GIVEAWAY: Win a Contra CD and More from Robustfellow Productions!

Posted in Features on June 26th, 2017 by JJ Koczan

Doing something different with the giveaway this time. If you’re on Thee Facebooks, I’ve teamed up with Ukrainian heavy specialists Robustfellow Productions to give away a special grab-bag with the new CD from Contra (review here), a copy of the 3CD Electric Funeral Cafe Vol. 3 compilation (review here), a Contra tape, a DVD and a bunch of other stickers and other goodies from the label.

All you have to do is hop on Thee Facebooks, follow Robustfellow Productions (their page looks like this) and comment on this post to enter to win all the stuff. If you’re not on social media or otherwise averse, I’ll count comments on this post as entries too in the usual way, but yeah, I’d like to give the label a real boost on Thee Facebooks if we can since they do good work, so if you’re up for it, thanks in advance for entering.

Here’s the prize pack and info:

robustfellow-giveaway

Robust Bag for Robust lottery @ The Obelisk

Robust Lottery is a tradition of each Robust Event.

This time we have a fresh, ground-breaking release that’s coming in the middle of the summer, so we have decided to ask The Obelisk to conduct the Robust Lottery throughout the whole globe.

Participating in the Robust Lottery you can win a lot of tasty stuff:

• Contra “Deny Everything” CD
• Contra “Deny Everything” MC L (ltd.ed. tape vs. cartridge and pin set)
• VA – Electric Funeral Cafe vol.3 (3 CD) – interstellar psychedelic voyage. “Immense document of Ukrainian heavy”
• Robustfest vol.III (DVD)
• bundle of stickers, patches, pins related to Robust scene

Here are few simple rules that you should follow to win a Robust Bag:

1) Press like, follow -> see first to “The Obelisk” and “Robustfellow” pages (if you haven’t done this before)
2) Write a comment below this post
3) Winner will be chosen randomly

The lottery starts today and ends next Tuesday (4 Jul 2017, +2 GMT). Don’t miss your chance!

Contra, Deny Everything (2017)

Various Artists, Electric Funeral Cafe Vol. 3 (2017)

Robustfellow Productions on Bandcamp

Robustfellow Productions on Thee Facebooks

Robustfellow Productions website

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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.

Unearthly Trance on Thee Facebooks

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.

Heavy Traffic on Thee Facebooks

Twin Earth Records on Bandcamp

 

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.

Saturn on Thee Facebooks

Rise Above Records website

 

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

trevor-shelley-de-brauw-uptown

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

scuzzy yeti scuzzy yeti

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.

urn urn

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

nebula drag always dying

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

contra deny everything

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

iah iah

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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Various Artists, Electric Funeral Cafe Vol. 3: Journeys End and Begin

Posted in Reviews on January 17th, 2017 by JJ Koczan

electric funeral cafe vol 3

Look. The thing is immense. One can barely hope to give a decent accounting of a compilation in a review in the easiest of scenarios, but to attempt to sum up the scope of Robustfellow ProductionsElectric Funeral Cafe Vol. 3, which spans three CDs in its physical incarnation and tops out at an astonishing 48 tracks and four-plus hours of listening material when the digital bonus tracks are included from the Bandcamp version, the idea itself becomes silly. All one can really do is the same thing the listener likely does: make your way through it at your own pace, try to absorb as much as you can, and step back to admire the incredible amount of coordinating effort that must have gone into its making.

The latter is particularly impressive as what’s been touted as the final installment of the Kiev-based Robustfellow‘s Electric Funeral Cafe trilogy — nothing like going out with a bang — is bigger even than its predecessors, which came out in 2016 and 2015 and were “only” two discs apiece. The first two were broken down into component Electric and Funeral halves, arranged along this theme by discs. This edition works much the same way, with the Electric discs more focused on heavy rock and the Funeral disc dug into dirge-style doom and sludge, but adds the Cafe disc, on which one might be hear the Beatles-gone-electro-pop psych of Black Maloka, the Creedence Clearwater Revival-style boogie of Freeky Clean or the pure Doorsian meandering of The Jossers, along with more familiar names like Krobak (a Stoned Jesus side-project) or The Legendary Flower Punk (a The Grand Astoria side-project).

As with the earlier volumes, the bulk of the inclusions here highlight the underground boom in the Ukraine itself. 38 of the total 48 groups involved hail from the Ukraine. Two more are from Russia (The Legendary Flower Punk and A Foggy Realm, also on the Cafe disc), and one each from Japan (Eternal Elysium, on the Electric disc), Finland (Loinen, Funeral disc), the US (Contra, Electric), Sweden (Suffer Yourself, Funeral), Belarus (Nebulae Come Sweet, Funeral), the UK (Sons of Alpha Centauri, Cafe), and Italy (Le Scimmie, Funeral). It’s easy to get lost in the sprawl of a release like this, certainly, but worth noting all the same that this is the first of the Electric Funeral Cafe offerings to branch outside the Ukraine itself, so even as Robustfellow ends the series, it does so by reaching into new territories, making the project all the more impressive. One imagines that if the label kept it going, it would only continue to grow.

ELECTRIC FUNERAL CAFE POSTER

Not that it’s lacking in its current form, of course. Pick your poison and it’s likely here somewhere, from the progressive heavy vibes of Stonefromthesky and Ethereal Riffian on the Electric disc to the deathly chug of Chainsaw Jack‘s “Crashing Waves” and post-hardcore-sludge of Nebulae Come Sweet on the Funeral disc to the ’90s-style psych of Vermilion Nocturne and beat-backed drone of Submatukana‘s “Genesis” — which boasts a sampled Bible reading amid creepy whispered vocals — on the Cafe disc. There are, of course, a host of bands here who aren’t so easily fit into one category or another, as Dreadnought foreshadow on the Electric disc some of the screaming that will be a running theme throughout most of the Funeral disc, and the huge Ufomammut-style roll, push and echoes of Soom on Funeral do likewise for Cafe, but each piece of Electric Funeral Cafe Vol. 3 offers something distinct from the others, and so the themes are not only ably established, but solidified while jumping from band to band, city to city, country to county, atmosphere to atmosphere.

And as ever for a worthy various-artists release, Electric Funeral Cafe Vol. 3 presents a number of curios warranting further investigation. In particular, Lviv’s 1914, who lead off the Funeral disc with “8×50 mm Repetiergewehr M95” would seem to have a fixation with WWI — remind me to tell you sometime about how it was the fall of Western Civilization; unless you’re European, in which case you already know — and Lucifer Rising on the Electric disc blend modern buzz tone with classic blues rock thrust, but there are a swath of such interest-piquers as the comp plays out, and the real challenge lies in not being overwhelmed by all of it.

Much to the credit of Robustfellow and to the benefit of the acts contributing, everyone is given a genuine chance to ply their sonic wares, whether that’s a sub-three-minute death-doom rumbler like Monmuth‘s “Vail Seven” or the nine-minute heavy post-rock rollout of Stonefromthesky‘s “67,” which makes sense in a if-you’re-going-to-do-it-and-it’s-already-huge-then-don’t-skimp kind of way, and if the tradeoff for that is there’s a lot of music to dig into, it’s the kind of issue a listener should probably be thankful to take on, even if it requires multiple rounds to get through the front-to-back experience — a four-hour listening session is a rare gift in these busy times. Bottom line is Electric Funeral Cafe Vol. 3 will be there, whether one wants to take it as a whole or in pieces — as a document of Ukrainian heavy, yes, but also the scene’s will to reach outside itself and include others in a creative conversation — and as that movement continues to flourish and progress, such an impulse can only help broaden a scope already shown here to be considerable. And by considerable, I mean staggering.

Various Artists, Electric Funeral Cafe Vol. 3 (2017)

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