Otherworlds over Éire Documentary Captures Valborg & Bloodway Collaboration

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

otherworlds over eire

Through performance footage and interviews, the new documentary Otherworlds over Éire tells the story of how the 2016 collaboration between Valborg and Bloodway. The German and Romanian outfits had toured together in Ireland on a 2015 run called ‘Horrors of the Unknown’ alongside Perihelion — a documentary by director Gina Sandulescu exists for that as well — so while neither party was unknown to the other the second time around, the three shows in Dublin, Belfast and Limerick allowed the two groups to further explore the bond they shared, which in turn led to their working together on the Karbon Winter EP (discussed here) that was released last summer.

Some of the tales they tell will ring pretty universal to anyone who’s ever been involved in an underground tour. Trouble getting here or there, dudes in your band getting wasted, living in close quarters, playing in dark bars and struggling to exist for the 23 hours in the day that aren’t involved in either loading onto stage, playing, or loading off. While in Ireland, Valborg and Bloodway both took part in the Distortion Festival in Belfast and the Siege of Limerick in that city, but their tales of travel and of the experience of being on tour together, resonate. They talk about it the way bands talk about it — a little guarded for the masses, but honest in relaying both the positive and negative aspects of putting in that time.

And considering they went on to produce Karbon Winter together, the perspectives of these two anti-genre groups feels even more valuable to get in this form. You can check out Otherworlds over Éire in its entirety below and read more about Sandulescu‘s work alongside the artist Costin Chioreanu (also in Bloodway) and how this documentary happened in the PR wire info beneath.

Please enjoy:

Valborg & Bloodway: Otherworlds over Éire documentary

After the German trio Valborg got acquainted with the kindliness of Romanian band Bloodway while they toured in the later one’s host country, the two groups decided to embark on a new journey together and go and play in a realm that was out of their common roads. The aspect which makes these two bands correspond in a captivating way relates to the styles they approach. Although they are extremely different they are both based on a single thing: they cannot be easily categorized. They incorporate death metal, progressive, gothic, doom, black and avant-garde tendencies.

In the fall of 2016 the two bands went in a short tour in Ireland, where they had three gigs each and everything got enveloped in the Halloween atmosphere which was unfolding in one of the most suitable places in terms of historical and cultural matters. The first show took place in Dublin, another one was part of the Distortion Festival in Belfast and the last stop was in Limerick for the Siege of Limerick festival. Here is a short film depicting some of their live experiences and memories. The musicians in both bands question the reasons for touring in foreign places and putting all their emotional and material efforts into such things. This happens in a time which is overcrowded with underground events and what not. The experience itself and the moments spent in the company of close friends or nice strangers, represent the key to everything.

Romanian filmmaker, writer & journalist Gina Sandulescu have followed & filmed the bands in the short tour in Ireland and now have released the documentary named ‘Otherworlds Over Éire.’ Gina Sandulescu filmed in the past videos with Costin Chioreanu from Twilight13media (https://twilight13media.com/) for such bands as AT THE GATES (The Book Of Sand), BLOODWAY (The Transfinite Castaway; Mirror Twins) and WINTERHORDE (Worms of Soul), to name just a few.

Valborg on Thee Facebooks

Bloodway on Thee Facebooks

Karbon Winter on Bandcamp

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Valborg and Bloodway Release Karbon Winter Collaboration

Posted in Whathaveyou on July 8th, 2016 by JJ Koczan

I’ll rarely say this, but Valborg & Bloodway get my vote for Roadburn 2017. Not that I actually get a vote, but if I’m fortunate enough to go and they’re on the bill, I’ll be there front and center when the German and Romanian collaborative outfit start into the tracks from their Karbon Winter EP, newly issued and positively crushing in its churn. The collaboration was apparently born of a joint tour, but as you can see in the lineup info below, it really is the two bands working together, and it sounds massive enough to come from two outfits, one of which includes acclaimed artist Costin Chioreanu and the other Christian Kolf, also of post-metal experimentalists Owl.

You can check out the title-track of the EP in the video below. See if the cave-echo doesn’t do it for you. It’s sure as shit doing it for me:

valborg bloodway karbon winter

VALBORG and BLOODWAY digital EP ‘Karbon Winter’ out now!

After the “Horrors of the Unknown” tour in fall 2015, it was clear to many that the friendship between Bloodway and Valborg was something truly special. In January, while Valborg was in Bucharest for a concert, the two bands met, composed and recorded a song together, “Karbon Winter”. Few months later a second song entitled “Ashes”, was worked out by only the bands guitarists. So, this way, this digital EP got born. This is not a split, this is actually music crated together by both bands!

1. Karbon Winter 06:17
2. Ashes 04:23

This EP is a collaboration between 6 musicians:
Costin Chioreanu – Guitars, Keyboards (Bloodway)
Christian Kolf – Guitars, Vocals (Valborg)
Florian Toyka – Drums (Valborg)
Jan Buckard – Bass (Valborg)
Alex Ghita – Percussion (Bloodway)
Mihai Andrei – Bass (Bloodway)

“Karbon Winter” song credits:
Music by Valborg and Bloodway. Lyrics by Christian Kolf.
Composed and recorded in studio 148, Bucharest, Romania on January 7th, 2016. Recorded, mixed and mastered by Marius Costache at Studio148.

“Ashes” song credits:
Music by Costin Chioreanu & Christian Kolf.
Recorded on June 7th, 2016. Mixed and mastered by Costin Chioreanu.

Cover Art by Costin Chioreanu – www.twilight13media.com

You can listen “Karbon Winter” EP in full or buy it from:


Valborg & Bloodway, “Karbon Winter”

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Blacksheep Release New Single “Gunsmoke”

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

Romanian heavy rockers Blacksheep called it quits earlier this year but have come roaring back propelled by new drummer Herman Heidel, and they present their first single as this incarnation of the band in the Western-themed “Gunsmoke.” The track can be heard now in a kind of semi-video YouTube stream plugging its release alongside images of guns, smoke, etc. to go with the samples in the song itself from old Western movies, among them Once upon a Time in the West. Blacksheep momentarily tap into their inner Morricone as well, but the bulk of “Gunsmoke” revolves around its burly delivery and catchy hook. The band calls it “death and roll,” but if you’re thinking Entombed, that might be a little more extreme than where Blacksheep end up.

Info and audio:


BLACKSHEEP: ‘Gunsmoke’ single released

After Liviu Gugui, the band leader have decided to disband the band on 15 January 2016, the Romanian death’n’roll band BLACKSHEEP have reunited with a new line-up on 4 May 2016 by adding the drummer Herman Heidel (BREATHELAST, ex-MONARCHY, ex-CADAVRUL, ex-MAGICA) to their ranks.

The current band line-up of the band is:
Liviu Gugui <<L.G. “The Marshal” Shepherd>> – lead vocals, guitar (2012-)
Andrei Costan “The Stallion” – guitar (2014-)
Silviu Ruta “The Kid” – bass (2014-)
Herman Heidel “The Gunslinger” – drums (2016-)

Herman Heidel it is one of the most well known and versatile Romanian drummers. Along the years he have played and released albums with such bands as BREATHELAST (post-hardcore/metalcore), MONARCHY (heavy metal), CADAVRUL (death metal) and MAGICA (melodic/heavy power metal).

After the reunion, the band have released Gunsmoke, the first new single. The song Gunsmoke have been recorded at Big Fat Sound studio (https://www.facebook.com/bigfatproduction) from Bucharest, Romania with Cristian Dunarintu, the guitarist from Shesdead as a sound engineer, while the mix and master was made by the guitarist Andrei Costan “The Stallion”. The video is signed by Costin Chioreanu from Twilight13media (AT THE GATES, AURA NOIR, ARCTURUS, SIGH, VIRUS, Roadburn Festival etc).


Blacksheep, “Gunsmoke”

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Methadone Skies Premiere Title-Track of New LP Colosseus

Posted in audiObelisk on March 24th, 2016 by JJ Koczan

methadone skies

Romanian instrumental four-piece Methadone Skies will release their new album, Colosseus, April 4 via Haywire Records. It is their third full-length behind 2012’s Enter the Void (review here) and 2014’s Eclectic Electric, and it brings with it five new tracks that feed into a central linear flow across a 39-minute LP span, starting with the push-you-into-the-fray rush of opener “Muscufo” and continuing through the crunching, lumbering finish of closer “Master of Convulsions.” Between those two, on “The Elemental,” the brief, sub-three-minute centerpiece “Ruse” and the title-track, Methadone Skies situate themselves somewhere between heavy rock, psychedelia and progressive doom, playing to one side or the other through songs that are immersive without the need for verses or choruses, and which draw a complex picture of where the Timisoara-based band — guitarists Wehry and Casi, bassist Mihai and drummer Retea — are at seven years into their tenure.

Topped off with artwork by Tonino Bosco, Colosseus begins at a rush with the progressive tapping that starts “Moscufo,” and while much of what ensues will be more indebted to Karma to Burn, they never completely give up that sense of something deeper happening than a simple methadone skies colosseusparade of riffs. By the time it’s three minutes in, “Moscufo” has established a back and forth between dense distorted roll and this airier type of noodling, and as interplay between the two guitars is marked out early as fair game, it becomes a distinguishing factor as Colosseus continues to play out through the flowing stretches of the nine-minute “The Elemental,” which balances post-rock and heavy low end thrust more than ably en route to a half-time-drummed drone-out, less contrasting tones than setting one behind the other to bolster its position, and into “Ruse.” The aforementioned center cut, the shortest at 2:55, is also the most spacious, bringing those post-rock elements to the fore as an interlude. One can’t help but wonder if it was given its title as a reference to the manner in which it lulls the listener into a false sense of security before the heft of the extended B-side tracks “Colosseus” and “Master of Convulsions” kick in, but if it’s delusion, it’s a pleasant one.

With such a peaceful stretch preceding — not to mention with its title — it falls on “Colosseus” to be the album’s most weighted offering, and for its first movement alone it indeed might be that, but as it moves past its initial thrust and chug, it shifts into a long stretch of open tones and far-back percussion that makes “Ruse” seem downright prescient, rather than a work of trickery. Thicker tones reemerge as it passes the halfway point and once again Wehry and Casi lead the winding course, but even as it comes to a fuzzy head past 10 minutes in, “Colosseus” holds true to its overlaid progginess, and in that way it very much represents the record as a whole, which takes a speedy victory lap in the beginnings of “Master of Convulsions,” before a more percussive and grooving break takes hold and sets the stage for the final build. Structurally similar to the title-track ultimately, “Master of Convulsions” is marked out by the massive slowdown in its second half, and while it’s not Methadone Skies‘ only intent with their third offering, clearly they didn’t want to let it end without leaving a crater behind. So be it.

Ahead of the April 4 release for Colosseus, I’m thrilled today to be hosting the premiere of the title-track. You can find it in the YouTube embed below.

Please enjoy:

Methadone Skies, “Colosseus”

Second reveal from our new album ,COLOSSEUS”, to be released on the 4th of April 2016 via HAYWIRE RECORDS.

Recorded, mixed and mastered at Consonance Studio Timisoara between August 2016 and January 2016.

Methadone Skies on Thee Facebooks

Methadone Skies on Bandcamp

Haywire Records

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Methadone Skies Release Colosseus April 4

Posted in Whathaveyou on March 18th, 2016 by JJ Koczan

methadone skies

Big-riffed Romanian psychedelic rockers Methadone Skies will issue their new album, Colosseus, on April 4. The record follows 2012’s Enter the Void (review here) and 2014’s Eclectic Electric and brings five new tracks, the second of which, “The Elemental,” is now available to stream. The song sets itself quickly to establishing wide-open spaces and a largesse of sound, and though it toys some with pace throughout its nine-minute roll, building a good head of steam to finish out slow, it never seems to lose that plus-sized vibe.

Announcement from the band is below, followed of course by that track. Dig it if you dig it:

methadone skies colosseus

We are excited to finally share some news about our upcoming album, Colosseus! It will be released on April 4 as vinyl, CD and digital download through our own imprint, Haywire Records. Production was once more handled by Edmond Karban and Cristian Popescu at Consonance Studio, where it was recorded, mixed and mastered over the course of 7 months.

We are proud of Colosseus, because we managed to capture the power of our live performances and had the chance to try new things too. We will debut a song off the album soon, stay tuned! Meanwhile, the cover (again done by ZIPPO’s very own Stonino) and tracklist can be found below:

01. Moscufo
02. The Elemental
03. Ruse
04. Colosseus
05. Master of Convulsions

Confirmed tour dates so far:

April 14 – Cluj, The Shelter
April 15 – Timisoara, DAOS club

Check back, more shows to be announced in the near future, as well as full details regarding the ones already mentioned.

Methadone Skies was formed in March 2009, as a trio of friends started to discover their love for music. Although at first they tried to restrict themselves to a definite musical style and approach, they soon realized that they had to start shaking things around without the limit to a stereotype genre.

Wehry – Guitar
Casi – Guitar
Mihai – Bass
Retea – Drums


Methadone Skies, “The Elemental”

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On the Radar: Methadone Skies

Posted in On the Radar on January 8th, 2013 by JJ Koczan

A four-piece hailing from Romania, Methadone Skies waste no time busying themselves balancing ethereal post-rock noodling off heavier-ended psychedelic grooves. Periodically driving but never quite losing its focus despite an obvious jam-based ethic, their second album, Enter the Void, arrived in 2012 as a self-released sleeve CD preceding an allegiance with Sweden-based Ozium Records. The six-track offering sandwiches lengthy explorations with even lengthier explorations, the opening title-track topping out at 13:36 as the longest of the bunch (immediate points) while its closing companion piece, “Exit the Void” answers back at 11:54. Between, “Hyperspace,” “Long Day’s Journey into Night,” “Versus Evil,” and “Mudstar” tap into modern heavy psych ethics like they’re trying to bridge the gap between Russian Circles and Colour Haze. Frankly, it’s not a bad gap to bridge.

Both guitarists — Wehry and the more effects-laden Casi, who also handles keys — satisfy on a tonal level, with rich and warm fuzz that melds well with the echoing lead notes peppered throughout, as one can hear in the second half of “Hyperspace” on Enter the Void. The bass and drums provided by Mihai and Retea, respectively, are mostly relegated to a follower’s role, but  as “Hyperspace” slows to its finish and “Long Day’s Journey into Night” ensues, their presence is more than duly felt in the added heft to the capably executed instrumental builds, which seem to be as much about going from spaced-out to grounded as from calm to chaotic. It works, perhaps most of all on “Versus Evil” — the lead lines of which I’ll mark as the most memorable on the album — which finds its culmination after six minutes into its total 9:33 as the two guitars match step with the complex rhythm for a thickened, oddly-timed apex.

The level of noodling might be too much for some. They’re not exactly subtle about it. But for Methadone Skies‘ second outing behind 2010’s Explosions of the Sun, Enter the Void can offer an engrossing listen if approached with an open mind and willingness to go along with its hypnotic aspects. “Mudstar” is a bit crunchier, but “Exit the Void” re-ups the space elements and gives a solid tripout to close with, the leads taking a more active role early on with a cascading line only to give way later to thicker entanglements before ending with even more  echoing riffery and a surprisingly quick fade. One might have expected a long sustained echo or something like that, but I guess at 53 minutes in, Methadone Skies figured they’d said all there was to say. True enough, if you haven’t gotten the point by then, well, yeah.

Methadone Skies can be found upon Thee Facebooks, and Enter the Void is available for stream and purchase via Bandcamp, from whence this player comes:

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The :Egocentrics, Center of the Cyclone: Chasing the Storm

Posted in Reviews on February 14th, 2011 by JJ Koczan

It’s been a productive several months for Romanian power trio The :Egocentrics. The Timisoara band’s debut, Love Fear Choices and Astronauts (review here), earned them a deal with German psych juggernaut Nasoni Records, they played numerous shows, and apparently somehow found time to write and record their new sophomore outing, Center of the Cyclone, showing remarkable growth in the process. Their sound is still aligned to the jammy side of the international desert rock scene – bands like Colour Haze, My Sleeping Karma and earlier Los Natas providing reference points – but compared to the debut, this vinyl-ready seven-song, 40-minute outing feels much more accomplished, structured and self-assured. It’s still the same band, the same players involved, but there’s a newfound sense of purpose behind what they’re doing, as though they’ve found the sound they want to execute and now have the prowess and chemistry to make it happen.

And don’t get me wrong, I liked Love Fear Choices and Astronauts. I’m not about to start slagging that record in favor of Center of the Cyclone, but it’s a different breed of the same animal. The songs here – still completely instrumental, still led mostly by guitarist Brenn with sampled or spoken vocals mixed into the ambience – are more complete in terms of ideology. They’re not just jams, but actively trying to evoke an atmosphere. Right from opener “A Road Less Travelled,” which features the organ work of Mihai Toma, who also recorded Center of the Cyclone this past fall, The :Egocentrics sound calmer, more confident and solid all around. The pastoral feel continues through the more active “Off the Center,” which is the longest song on the album at just over eight minutes. Drummer Hera and bassist Jess give the guitars plenty of room without losing sight of the rhythm at work, and their space-charged ring-outs and crashes lend a surprisingly epic feel where otherwise “A Road Less Travelled” would just fizzle.

Brenn’s guitar offers newfound lyricism on “Sink or Swim,” which is perhaps the cut most reminiscent of NatasDelmar or Ciudad de Brahman, Mihai Toma again contributing, this time on electric piano and spoken vocals. The :Egocentrics keep a lively feel to their approach across the entirety of Center of the Cyclone, but contrary to the album’s name, it’s not all whirlwind and craziness. Rather, the band incorporate a variety of moods and vibes, the wistful fuzz of “Sink or Swim” being just one of them, and balanced immediately by centerpiece track “Blissful Idiot,” which is faster, near-punkish in its percussion and about the most straightforwardly stoner rock song the trio have on offer. The back-and-forth interplay between more subdued and active material works because The :Egocentrics don’t just rely on “riff and crash” as a formula for either. Rather, the parts of which these songs are constructed are intricate and well developed, their changes subtle and warm without being trite or redundant stylistically. If Brenn, Hera and Jess sounded genuine in their affection for psychedelia before, now they sound completely at home in it as well.

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Negura Bunget: If Brilliant Blackened Folk Metal Falls in the Forest…

Posted in Reviews on July 20th, 2010 by JJ Koczan

The 2006 release by Romanian folk-inspired black metallers Negura Bunget, titled simply Om, was a landmark for those who heard it. Up and down, the record was praised for its masterful balance of influences, its groundbreaking genre-defiance, and the fact that, where so much “folk metal” is goofy beyond repair, Negura Bunget seemed able to affect a serious and dark atmosphere that was neither laughable nor steeped in black metal cliché (some would argue the two aren’t mutually exclusive).

The story goes that after Om, the central parties responsible for Negura Bunget – namely multi-instrumentalist/vocalist Hupogrammos Disciple’s (real name Edmond Karban), guitarist Sol Faur and drummer Negru (real name Gabriel Mafa) – had a falling out, and the band effectively broke up in 2009, only to be revived by Negru alone, with a new lineup, whose first album together is Vîrstele Pamîntului (Aural Music/Code666). Joining Negru in this new Negura Bunget are guitarists Corb (also vocals and dulcimer) and Spin, bassist/flutist Gadinet, keyboardist Inia Dinia and vocalist/percussionist aGer (real name Ageru Pamîntului), who’s been in the band since 2003 and also handles pan flute and sundry folk instrumentation I’m not even going to pretend to know the first thing about.

In a way, it’s silly to expect this lineup of Negura Bunget to be able to top the majesty of a record like Om, since Vîrstele Pamîntului is more like a band’s first album than it is their fifth – though it should be noted that Negura Bunget’s Maiestrit, which showed up earlier this year, is not a new full-length, but rather a re-recording of 2000 opus Maiastru Sfetnic, so technically speaking this isn’t the first time we’re hearing this new incarnation of the band, just the first time we’re hearing them perform new material. In any case, to think these players will be able on their first outing to stand up to the fully realized vision that was Om is nonsensical. Rather, in listening to Vîrstele Pamîntului, one hopes Negru will be able to get his band to that point again, or even surpass it in terms of style and atmosphere.

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