Sadhus Post “Sobbing Children” Official Live Video Filmed in Athens

Posted in Bootleg Theater on March 7th, 2019 by JJ Koczan

sadhus (Photo by Marianna Rous)

Yes, this will do nicely, thank you. Greek sludge metallers Sadhus, The Smoking Community released their sophomore full-length, Big Fish (review here), during the pre-holiday doldrums of late-2018. Maybe you heard it. Maybe you haven’t yet. Either way, the Athens-based outfit took it upon themselves to loose a willfully atrocious barrage of aggro riffing and aggro everything else across the record’s 33 minutes, and they still managed to keep some underlying groove befitting their ‘The Smoking Community’ designation. Right on? Yeah, right on.

I’ll probably never get to see this band live. They’re an awfully far way from me, geographically speaking, and while I’ve been fortunate enough to do some traveling in my time, ain’t nobody breaking the door down to fly me to Athens for a show. As such, seeing the multi-camera, pro-shot video for “Sobbing Children” from Big Fish only underscores the reasons to dig on Sadhus. Their sound comes across raw and mean in its delivery, and has the unmistakable energy of a stage performance behind it. I guess I’m old enough that I still think this kind of thing is really awesome. Even back when videos were on tv, bands rarely did live clips, and most full-concert videos are boring as hell. Something like this is between the two. It lets you know what you’re missing by not showing up to the gig and it still represents what the band were going for when the put together Big Fish as a whole. It might not be a novelty at this point, but even a multi-cam live shoot is more effort than a lot of bands put into making videos, and “Sobbing Children” — the lyrics to which were surely presciently based on my yesterday afternoon — legitimately looks well made.

Most important of all, Sadhus own the stage. The show was back in December, right around the time of the album’s release, so for all I know it was actually the release show, which would explain why they seem to be having such a good time amidst all that slaughter. Either way, it’s a cool clip of a cool song and it’s fitting well under the banner of “current mood” for yours truly, so have at it.

Enjoy:

Sadhus, The Smoking Community, “Sobbing Children” official live video

Sadhus, The Smoking Community – Sobbing Children from the album “Big Fish” released by Fuzz Ink· Records (FZZ010)

Recorded & filmed live at Temple, Athens, 8 Dec. 2018

Filmed by Steve Kekis, Alex Masmanidis, Ilias Moschovas
Edit by Steve Kekis
Production House: GNP Productions

Recorded by George Giannikos
Mixed & Mastered by Dimitris Metaxakis

FOH Engineer : Dimitris Metaxakis
Lighting Engineer : Ismini Starida

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Review & Track Premiere: Sadhus, Big Fish

Posted in audiObelisk, Reviews on November 6th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

sadhus big fish

[Click play above to stream ‘Flesh’ by Sadhus, the Smoking Community. Their album, Big Fish, is out Dec. 18 on Fuzz Ink Records.]

With raw-throated screams atop dutifully hempen riffing, Sadhus, the Smoking Community conjure visions on their Fuzz Ink-issued second album, Big Fish, of sludge metal as a test of physical endurance. And by that I mean their own as well as trying to see how much punishment the listener can take. Will vocalist Stavros still have a larynx by the time the eight-minute “Lazarus” has finished? Can they hold it together during the tense buildup of “Flesh?” In truth, one might feel winded by the time the cacophony of opener “Hyper Roller” has finished, and it’s only 2:46 long. Joining Stavros in the band are guitarist Thomas G., bassist Nikos and drummer Greg, as well as Steve, who’s credited as being the “rolling engineer,” though whether that has more to do with recording or joints, I wouldn’t hazard a guess, and together the Athens-based band bring to mind the chaotic sludge aggression of bands like -(16)-, the this-is-a-lifestyle-ism of Bongzilla and Dopethrone, and the sense of fuckall that Eyehategod pioneered.

Though their work dates back to their 2011 involvement in the Miss Fortune was a Henhouse Manager compilation (review here) of the then-burgeoning Greek underground, Big Fish is their second album behind a 2014 self-titled that led to a couple split releases in the interim. Not a lack of productivity, necessarily, but neither are Sadhus putting out records for their own sake. Clearly this kind of disaffection requires something to drive it. Across the six-song/33-minute offering, I’m not sure if that’s personal, social or political, but it’s there. Stavros‘ vocals are all but indecipherable, but they get their point across anyway, and the point is “fuck you.” As “Lazarus” slams home its plodding, crashing, noise-laden apex, the message comes through clearly instrumentally as well as vocally, and their scathe is central to it.

They have a quiet part here and there throughout the album’s span — in “Flesh” or the title-cut that opens side B, for example — but there’s no question the more abrasive aspects of their sound are intended to be the central impression. That is, the quiet parts are how they change it up, where punishment is the norm. So be it. There are two basic modes of songwriting brought forth and they find the band balancing — so much as one would call any of this “balanced” — between longer songs and shorter ones. Four years ago, the self-titled worked in the same way, with three tracks over seven minutes long (one over eight) and three tracks shorter, under five minutes. Divisions are less stark on Big Fish than they were on the debut, with “Flesh” (4:52) and the penultimate “Sobbing Children” (3:42) and even “Hyper Roller” seeming to work toward an eventual bridging of the gap, though there seems to be little to no compromise either in overall intensity or in the length of the longer songs, so maybe they’re just working their way into a more exclusively longform modus.

sadhus the smoking community

If that were the case — and mind you, I wouldn’t predict either way for certain — they well prove able to carry themselves through more extended material, with “Lazarus” and “Big Fish” providing a back-to-back bludgeoning when taken in linear format that comprises nearly half the album’s runtime, and closer “I.P.S.,” which would seem to stand for “intelligent psycho sludge,” rounding out with a suitably vicious roll and chug, dipping into some more angular riffing late but keeping consistent in the overarching impression with the bulk of the album before it in terms of sheer destructive impulse. That comes through clearly in a recording that benefits from a stage-born energy without sacrificing clarity where it’s needed — Big Fish sounds angry, not sloppy. Thomas‘ and Nikos‘ tones are righteously thick and Greg‘s drumming is apparently up to the charge before it of pushing all that viscosity up the hill of its own creation, and Stavros is able to cut through not only his own vocal cords but the surrounding melee in order to be a key frontman presence even on the record. It isn’t necessarily a new dynamic for sludge metal, but Sadhus bring it to bear with a force that is decidedly their own.

Ultimately, Big Fish is the kind of record that makes you want to watch out for broken glass. Or flying glass. Or a glass bottle smashed into your cranium. Either way, it involves glass and blood that’s possibly yours. Maybe that’s a sign of inherent violence in the music, but while one might argue “Lazarus” has a “mosh part,” the guitar solo in “Sobbing Children” seems more typical of the band’s persona, and it’s not about punching your neighbor so much as lashing out at oneself or characterizing the violence that surrounds on an everyday basis. Maybe that’s reading too much into it, but Sadhus, the Smoking Community don’t necessarily direct their anger at a single target, instead presenting it as a general state to be manipulated as they see fit throughout their songs. It is brutal. And it is angry as a matter of will, but there’s a dynamic in the sound too, between longer slabs and bursts like “Hyper Roller” at the outset, in tempo and in volume.

All of these things come together as tools in Sadhus‘ arsenal, and they’re wielded in such a way as to keep the impact of Big Fish consistent the whole way through, so that even as they bring together two disparate sections in one song, that contrast becomes part of the overarching sound and the maddening atmosphere that pervades. As to the physical challenge aspect of it, Sadhus seem to come out of “I.P.S.” just fine, like they could do another five songs in the set, easy, but they’re right to keep it short, to get in and get out and leave their audience dazed from what just happened. It’s one more way Big Fish is effective in its delivery of its purported intelligent psychosis, and that lurking intelligence would seem to be the factor tying it all together. Also marijuana.

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Desertfest Athens 2017: Saint Vitus and Radio Moscow Join Bill with Graveyard, Colour Haze, Orange Goblin and More

Posted in Whathaveyou on May 11th, 2017 by JJ Koczan

desertfest athens 2017 banner

Hard to argue with what Desertfest Athens 2017 has put together thus far for this October. The second incarnation of the Greece-based brand extension of the Desertfest — see also London, Berlin, Antwerp and no doubt more to come; just by way of naming cities off the top of my head, Barcelona, Rome, Los Angeles/San Diego and Stockholm all seem like ripe, yet-unexplored ground that might be worth trying out — enters itself into what will no doubt become a considerable Fall fray of fests if last year was anything to go by. Successive weekends, one after the other, sometimes two on at the same time. It was sheer madness. Will it be again? Yeah, probably.

I’ll be honest, it was hard to keep up with in 2016 for what was happening when, but the good thing was it put a whole buttload of bands on tour and gave them huge shows to anchor between slews of club and theater gigs, so I can’t think it was anything but a win all around for the groups involved. You can see from the lineup so far below for Desertfest Athens 2017 that it no doubt will be as well for anyone who makes the trek out to actually see the show. Been a while since I caught Colour Haze, Orange Goblin, Saint Vitus or Radio Moscow, and golly, it sure would be awfully nice to tick all those boxes over the course of two days. Ah, to daydream.

Full lineup and latest announcement follows. I’ll be keeping up with this one going forward as best I can, so stay tuned for more:

desertfest athens 2017 poster

2ND DESERTFEST ATHENS

ACRO
06-07.10.2017

Graveyard
Colour Haze
Orange Goblin
Radio Moscow
Saint Vitus
Sadhus: The Smoking Community
Allochiria
Puta Volcano

+ more names tba

The announcements from Desertfest Athens 2017 continue. After the six bands already announced (Graveyard, Color Haze, Orange Goblin, Sadhus, Allochiria, Puta Volcano), two extraordinary names are added to the line-up: the legendary Saint Vitus and Radio Moscow.

The name Saint Vitus is synonymous with doom metal, as they are among the bands that created the idiom with their recordings in the SST record label in the 1980s. Extremely influential, they remain a reference point for metal sound and feature at the major festivals of the genre.

With their famous debut (produced by Dan Auerbach of The Black Keys) released in 2007, psychedelic blues rockers Radio Moscow burned hearts. Ten years later, Parker Griggs’s prominent trio remains one of the hardest working bands in the world, with significant discography and unstoppable touring.

Soon we will be announced many names from the line-up of Desertfest Athens 2017.

Early-bird tickets are exhausted. Now only two-day tickets are sold for 50 euros.

https://www.viva.gr/tickets/music/acro/desertfest-athens-2017/
https://www.facebook.com/events/141861139680368/
https://www.facebook.com/Desertfest-Athens-189161564797514/

Saint Vitus, “Zombie Hunger” Live in Portland, OR, 10.16.16

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