The Obelisk Show on Gimme Radio Recap: Episode 12

Posted in Radio on March 18th, 2019 by JJ Koczan

gimme radio logo

A few episodes ago, I played Graven and floated the idea of doing a whole episode that was super-aggressive. At the same time, I thought a show that went totally the other way would be cool too; all acoustic or near-acoustic stuff and nothing really aggro about it. Well, then my silly brain got started wondering why not do both? So here we are. The first hour? Oh that’s mad. Lots of sludge, lots of screaming. When you start off with YOB’s “Nothing to Win,” you know you’re throwing down some anger. I probably won’t play Primitive Man that often. This time, it felt important to make the point. So it’s there next to Coltsblood. Point made.

Second hour? Well, it starts with Lamp of the Universe, so things get pretty trippy and pretty mellow and they basically stay that way with T.G. Olson, Conny Ochs, No Man’s Valley, The Book of Knots — because god damn, I love that song — and Scott Kelly and the Road Home — ditto — getting progressively moodier as they go. From there, it’s time to jam to the end of the episode with WEEED and Träden, who I recently saw have a show coming up at Rough Trade in New York. No way I’ll be cool enough to be there, but it’s an awesome idea anyhow.

All told, I’m happy with how this one came out, and for being kind of a hodgepodge conceptually, I think it’s worth exploring different kinds of heaviness and what makes a particular song or moment feel that way. If you listened last night or hear the replay, thanks.

Here’s the full playlist:

The Obelisk Show – 03.17.19

YOB Nothing to Win Clearing the Path to Ascend
Mastiff Vermin Plague*
Swarm of the Lotus From Embers When White Becomes Black
Sadhus, The Smoking Community Sobbing Children Big Fish*
BREAK
Horsehunter Bring out Yer Dead Horsehunter*
Primitive Man Sterility Caustic
Coltsblood Snows of the Winter Realm Split with Un*
Lamp of the Universe The Leaving Align in the Fourth Dimension*
T.G. Olson Backslider Riding Roughshod*
Conny Ochs Hammer to Fit Doom Folk*
No Man’s Valley Murder Ballad Outside the Dream*
The Book of Knots Traineater Traineater
Scott Kelly & the Road Home The Field that Surrounds Me The Forgiven Ghost in Me
BREAK
WEEED Carmelized You are the Sky*
Träden När lingonen mognar (Lingonberries Forever) Träden

The Obelisk Show on Gimme Radio airs every other Sunday night at 7PM Eastern, with replays the following Tuesday at 9AM. Next show is March 31. Thanks for listening if you do.

Gimme Radio website

The Obelisk on Thee Facebooks

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

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

Sadhus, the Smoking Community on Thee Facebooks

Sadhus, the Smoking Community on Bandcamp

Fuzz Ink Records on Thee Facebooks

Fuzz Ink Records on Bandcamp

Fuzz Ink Records website

Tags: , , , , , ,

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.

Sadhus, the Smoking Community on Thee Facebooks

Sadhus, the Smoking Community on Bandcamp

Fuzz Ink Records on Thee Facebooks

Fuzz Ink Records on Bandcamp

Fuzz Ink Records website

Tags: , , , , , ,

Desertfest Athens 2016 Lineup Complete

Posted in Whathaveyou on September 12th, 2016 by JJ Koczan

desertfest-athens-2016-banner

With the final addition of Cough, the lineup for Desertfest Athens 2016 is complete. The fest is set for Oct. 7 and 8 — less than a month from now — and Cough join the bill as they’ll be on tour at the time with Elder (dates here) supporting their new album, Still They Pray (review here), which was released by Relapse.

The roster of bands they join, including Red Fang and Greek forerunners 1000mods, whose new song “The Son” you can hear below (more to come on that album), is ridiculously strong, and seems to draw from the history of Desertfest itself in various ways, Steak representing London’s incarnation, Colour Haze that of Berlin (though they’re from Munich), and really any number of these acts the Belgian edition. It’s a great mix that does well to represent its home country as well in Automaton (who’ll be joined by Dr. Space himself), Sadhus, and the aforementioned 1000mods.

Looks like a great show, and particularly as it’s the first one, I wish them all the best of luck with it.

Final announcement and lineup follow:

desertfest-athens-2016-poster

Doom/Sludge masters COUGH joining the bill for Desertfest Athens 2016 1st edition!

This is the full line up for the 1st ever Desertfest Athens!

Red Fang
1000mods
Pentagram
Torche
Colour Haze
Truckfighters
My Sleeping Karma
Karma to Burn
Elder
Cough
Black Rainbows
House of Broken Promises
Steak
Beggars
Sadhus
Black Hat Bones
Automaton with Dr. Space
We Own the Sky

Enjoy desert army!

After London, Berlin and Antwerp, the Desertfest franchise is keeping up its conquest of Europe by launching the very first Greek edition of the famous stoner, doom and psych festival. DESERTFEST ATHENS will take place over the second weekend of October, as a sister event of the autumnal Belgium edition.

Over the years, DESERTFEST has become one of the most popular events in Europe for everything heavy, stoner, doom and psyche. “Made by fans for the fans”, the festival gathers thousands of people from across the globe each year by hosting the finest headliners, while also constantly stretching the limits of its own niche with dozens of quality live acts throughout a weekend. Nurturing a friendly atmosphere since the very beginning, DESERTFEST is a urban festival that has won the loyalty of heavy music lovers, so expect your Greek holiday to be a unique and memorable music and human experience!

https://www.viva.gr/tickets/music/iera-odos/desertfest-athens/
www.detoxevents.gr
https://www.facebook.com/Desertfest-Athens-189161564797514/
https://www.facebook.com/events/1530177053945310/

1000mods, “The Son”

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Desertfest Athens 2016: Colour Haze, Pentagram, John Garcia, Karma to Burn, Beggars, Automaton, Black Hat Bones and Sadhus Added

Posted in Whathaveyou on May 5th, 2016 by JJ Koczan

desertfest athens 2016 header

If you were hoping to get early-bird tickets for Desertfest Athens 2016, tough turkey — they’re gone. It didn’t take more than an initial lineup announcement to move them all out the door, so I guess if there was any question there was enough interest in Athens to warrant holding a fest under the Desertfest banner, that’s gone too. As for the first acts joining the bill, it’s an impressive assemblage, with Colour HazePentagramKarma to BurnBeggars and Sadhus, the latter two local to Athens and supporting an international cast that’s only going to increase in scope as we get closer to October.

As noted yesterday, Desertfest Athens 2016 is part of a string of European festivals happening on successive weekends, preceded by Up in Smoke and followed by Desertfest Belgium and Keep it Low. I don’t know about you, but if ever there was a time to drop out of life and go bum around Europe for a month, this would seem to be it. If you need me, I’ll be daydreaming about same.

Just before this post went up, I noticed Greek outfits Automaton and Black Hat Bones have also newly joined the bill. Seems like it’s fair to expect Desertfest Athens will be highlighting the booming Greek heavy rock scene in its lineup, and I won’t argue with the mission. Feels like a long time coming.

Info courtesy of the fest:

desertfest athens 2016 poster

First line up announcement for Desertfest Athens 2016!!!

Colour Haze
Pentagram
John Garcia
Karma to Burn
BEGGARS
Sadhus “The Smoking Community”

Automaton are the next band to be announced for Desertfest Athens!!!

Black Hat Bones join Desertfest Athens too!!!

Get your tickets now!!!

Desertfest’s early bird tickets are sold out!!!

After London, Berlin and Antwerp, the Desertfest franchise is keeping up its conquest of Europe by launching the very first Greek edition of the famous stoner, doom and psych festival. DESERTFEST ATHENS will take place over the second weekend of October, as a sister event of the autumnal Belgium edition.

https://www.viva.gr/tickets/music/iera-odos/desertfest-athens/
www.detoxevents.gr
https://www.facebook.com/Desertfest-Athens-189161564797514/
https://www.facebook.com/events/1530177053945310/

Colour Haze, To the Highest Gods We Know (2014)

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,