DVNE to Release New Album in 2019; Playing Psycho Las Vegas

Posted in Whathaveyou on August 6th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

I’m not saying you’ll be telling your grandkids about it however many years from now — though one never knows — but DVNE‘s onstage debut in the US seems to me the kind of thing that you want to see if you can help it. They’ve got two — count ’em: one, two — dates booked Stateside. One is Psycho Las Vegas, which comes first, and second is a Psycho-affiliated San Diego gig at Brick by Brick with Elder and Red Fang. Nothing like being made to feel welcome in a new place.

Oh, and speaking of Psycho-affiliated, DVNE are also the first client for the fest-promoter’s new management wing. They’ll have a new album out in 2019 to follow-up last year’s much-lauded Asheran, which was released by Wasted State Records.

The PR wire brings tales of things to come:

dvne

DVNE: Progressive Metal/Sludge Collective To Make First-Ever US Appearance At Psycho Las Vegas; New Album In The Works

In just a few short weeks, Edinburgh-based progressive metal/sludge behemoths DVNE will make their way stateside to play Psycho Las Vegas in Las Vegas, Nevada, followed by a special show at Brick By Brick in San Diego, California with Elder and Red Fang. The two shows will mark DVNE’s first-ever US live performances!

Comments guitarist/vocalist Victor Vicart, “We’re gearing up for the US and couldn’t be more excited to play our first shows over there. Psycho is going to be mental; loads of bands we love and it looks like we’re going to have a three-day non-stop party too. We also have a show in San Diego with Elder and Red Fang the following Monday so our post festival blues are sorted!

“Following those shows,” he continues, “we’ll be back home in Edinburgh and the plan is to lock ourselves in the practice room and finish our next album. We’re really excited to enter the studio again and explore with new sounds and instruments; it’s going to be a blast!”

DVNE recently completed a UK tour supporting New Orleans icons Eyehategod. Lauded The Moshville Times of their performance in Glasgow, “I’ve seen [DVNE] a handful of times now, they’ve always impressed me live, and tonight they were at their best, flying through an absolutely blistering set focused on the Mastodonian Asheran. On yet another uncharacteristically hot Glasgow evening, Audio was stiflingly clammy so as the mellow segue music from Asheran filled the short gaps between songs the guys caught their breath and wiped sweat from their gear. On occasion, vocalist/guitarist Victor Vicart used these pauses to switch between his nine-string and six-string guitars. During the likes of ‘Thirst’ Victor’s vocals and guitar parts acted as lighter, emotive counters to Dudley Tait’s growled hollers and chunkier riffs. All the while Dan Barter’s swift fills and Allan Paterson’s rolling basslines kept the songs driving forward. The local(ish) boys done great!”

DVNE:
8/17/2018 Psycho Las Vegas @ The Hard Rock Hotel And Casino – Las Vegas, NV
8/20/2018 Brick By Brick – San Diego, CA w/ Elder, Red Fang

DVNE (pronounced dune) released the critically-lauded debut full-length, Asheran, last year via Wasted State Records. A sixty-minute epic narrative following the tale of the rise and fall of civilizations, the return of an empire thought millennia lost, and the world-spanning events that consequently unfold, Asheran is steeped in themes of science fiction, environmental issues, and both dystopic and utopic visions for the future of mankind. Asheran was captured at Chambers Studio in Edinburgh, and mixed and mastered by Tom Dring of Vagrant Studios (Dragged Into Sunlight, Venom Prison).

A special orange clear 2xLP edition of Asheran is currently available at THIS LOCATION where the record can be streamed in its stunning entirety.

DVNE features Victor Vicart (guitar, vocals, keys), Daniel Barter (guitar, vocals), Dudley Tait (drums), and Allan Paterson (bass). Forged in 2013, DVNE’s Scottish roots lie with Tait and Paterson, with Vicart hailing from France and Barter from England. DVNE’s debut EP Progenitor was released in December 2013 and was followed the next year by a second EP entitled Aurora Majesty. Both offerings were released via Wasted State Records. Thanks to the excellent critical reception, DVNE quickly began to tour the UK and around Europe sharing stages with the likes of such scene household names as Crowbar, Eyehategod, Inter Arma, Dragged Into Sunlight, and Black Tusk. DVNE unleashed their most ambitious album to date in August 2017. Titled Asheran, the offering was released on 2xLP vinyl, CD, and digitally again via Wasted State Records. Since Asheran’s release, DVNE took on a month-long European headlining tour and recently partnered with Psycho Entertainment, curators of the esteemed Psycho Las Vegas festivals, for management. The union marks Psycho Entertainment’s first ever management venture. DVNE will release their follow-up to Asheran next year with details to be announced in the coming weeks.

https://www.facebook.com/DvneUK
https://www.instagram.com/dvne_uk/
https://twitter.com/SongsOfArrakis
https://songs-of-arrakis.bandcamp.com/album/asheran
http://www.wastedstate.com/

DVNE, Asheran (2017)

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DVNE to Tour UK with Eyehategod; Asheran Repress out Next Month

Posted in Whathaveyou on May 21st, 2018 by JJ Koczan

dvne

Scottish heavy progressives DVNE are on the third vinyl pressing of their 2017 album Asheran. That they’d have sold through two is little surprise, considering the breadth and weight the band puts into their material. That should make an interesting pairing when they play with sludge magnates Eyehategod in July in the UK in preparation for their US debut this August at Psycho Las Vegas, where there’s little doubt they’ll turn even more heads in their direction. Every fest has that one band that surprises people, and it’s easy to think DVNE will be that band for many. I hope very much to find out for myself by, you know, being there to see them.

The PR wire brings all the latest on all the latest, and it goes like this:

dvne-asheran

DVNE: Progressive Metal/Doom Collective Issues Third Pressing Of Asheran On Limited Orange Clear 2xLP; UK Dates With Eyehategod Confirmed + Band To Make US Live Debut At Psycho Las Vegas

Edinburgh-based progressive metal/doom collective DVNE are pleased to unveil the third vinyl pressing of the critically-lauded Asheran full-length debut.

Released last year via Wasted State Records, Asheran is a sixty-minute tapestry of sound; an epic narrative following the tale of the rise and fall of civilizations, the return of an empire thought millennia lost, and the world-spanning events that consequently unfold. Steeped in themes of science fiction, environmental issues, and both dystopic and utopic visions for the future of mankind, Asheran was captured at Chambers Studio in Edinburgh, and mixed and mastered by Tom Dring of Vagrant Studios (Dragged Into Sunlight, Venom Prison).

The orange clear 2xLP edition of Asheran will be released on June 4th via Wasted State Records and is currently available for preorder at THIS LOCATION where the record can be streamed in its stunning entirety.

Since Asheran’s release, DVNE took on a month-long European headlining tour and recently
partnered with Psycho Entertainment, curators of the esteemed Psycho Las Vegas festivals, for management. The union marks Psycho Entertainment’s first ever management venture.

DVNE will bring their psalms to UK stages this July supporting Eyehategod. From there, the band will make their way stateside for their first ever US performance at Psycho Las Vegas followed by a special show at San Diego’s Brick By Brick with Elder and Red Fang with additional live dates to be announced soon.

Comments guitarist/vocalist Victor Vicart of the Psycho appearance, “We’re so stoked to play Psycho this year. It’s the kind of festival we’ve always wanted to be part of because it pushes bands to do something special and different from their regular live performance. We’ve played a lot of small venues and squats in Europe and love the DIY part of the scene, but with Psycho, we have the opportunity to do something with our show we’ve had in mind for a long time. We can’t wait for people to see what we’re working on for the occasion.”

DVNE w/ Eyehategod:
7/01/2018 The Exchange – Bristol, UK
7/02/2018 Brudenell Social Club – Leeds, UK
7/03/2018 Audio – Glasgow, UK
7/04/2018 Rebellion Rock Club – Manchester, UK
7/05/2018 The Underworld – London, UK
8/17/2018 Psycho Las Vegas @ The Hard Rock Hotel And Casino – Las Vegas, NV
8/20/2018 Brick By Brick – San Diego, CA w/ Elder, Red Fang

DVNE (pronounced dune) consists of Victor Vicart (guitar, vocals, keys), Daniel Barter (guitar, vocals), Dudley Tait (drums), and Allan Paterson (bass).

https://songs-of-arrakis.bandcamp.com/album/asheran
https://www.instagram.com/dvne_uk/
https://twitter.com/SongsOfArrakis
https://www.facebook.com/DvneUK
wastedstaterecords.bandcamp.com

DVNE, “Thirst” official video

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Review & Track Premiere: King Witch, Under the Mountain

Posted in audiObelisk, Reviews on January 24th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

king witch under the mountain

[Click play above to stream ‘Carnal Sacrifice’ from King Witch’s Under the Mountain. Album is out March 16 via Listenable Records.]

Some heavy metal makes its impact with raw, blistering fury. It speaks to something primitive and disaffected in its audience, manifesting a sense of violent otherness that, at times, pushes the limits of sonic endurance to its very extremes. King Witch don’t play this kind of metal. They play the other kind. As the Edinburgh-based four-piece make their noteworthy debut with the nine-song Under the Mountain via Listenable Records, they do so with an overriding sense of poise and clarity of purpose. Their sound is crisply-presented, their songwriting efficient, their performances energetic and powerful.

Individual tracks present different vibes, whether that’s the rolling undulations and progressive forward drive of third cut “Solitary” or the thrashier thrust of the later “Possession,” but especially with a foundation of hooks like those of “Carnal Sacrifice” and the near-seven-minute centerpiece “Approaching the End,” which recalls finer moments of post-Ozzy-era Black Sabbath in its sense of class and stage-presence-in-the-studio spirit, Under the Mountain is unafraid either to blaze ahead at top speed directly in the face of the listener or to stand back and manifest its ideas with a precision bordering on the graceful. As Under the Mountainwas preceded only by a 2015 EP titled Shoulders of Giants, it is all the more impressive to consider for being the band’s debut, and with the lineup of vocalist Laura Donnelly, guitarist Jamie Gilchrist, bassist Simon Anger and drummer Lyle Brown, King Witch emerge from their first album having showcased present realization and future potential in kind. That’s the kind of metal they play.

They execute it by engaging with a number of subgenres, and opener “Beneath the Waves” brims with rolling intention and sets a tone somewhere between Candlemass and less specifically doomed, updated NWOBHM methods. A current of keys adds flourish to the arrangement, but the most striking immediate effect comes from Donnelly‘s vocals, which from “Beneath the Waves” and into the commanding chorus of “Carnal Sacrifice” and even in the more laid back chug of “Solitary;” one can her a trained-seeming vibrato that only works to bolster the coherence of the material overall. She stands up to the Judas Priest-ery of the subsequent title-track, on which Gilchrist offers a particularly choice guitar lead, a bit of shred setting up the dynamic tempo change into the chunkier “Approaching the End,” which is perhaps the most singularly doomed moment on Under the Mountain, though neither the guitar nor the vocals are wanting for showcase moments throughout the proceedings.

The initial shove Under the Mountain elicits in “Beneath the Waves” and the shouting hook of “Carnal Sacrifice,” while still controlled in style and delivery, is an energetic blast to start the record, and though “Solitary” seems to move immediately outward from there with a spacious guitar intro and longer runtime, it remains informs by the vitality of the tracks prior, and the same could certainly be said of the careening title-track that follows, its jabbing riff opening up to a thrash-style chorus that would seem to reveal Anger‘s bass as the secret weapon of the band, subtly thickening and complementing the rhythm while adding flourish to stand up to Brown‘s drums. A slowdown about halfway through gives “Under the Mountain” a break into nod that once more Donnelly guides the audience through masterfully, and when the gallop begins anew to toward a final chorus, it’s a further highlight of the songwriting acumen at work on Under the Mountain as a whole and the sheer efficiency with which King Witch bring their material to bear.

king witch

That notion extends to the interactions between the tracks across the record’s span as well as to the songs themselves, as already heard in the tempo shift between “Carnal Sacrifice”‘s riotous finish and the start of “Solitary.” Likewise, “Approaching the End” — which might be the highlight achievement here in blending classic metal, doom and an innate sense of personality in one summary progression — picks up with a slower pulse than the title-track before it, and as by its end it hits a raging payoff, the subdued and bluesy strum that follows in “Ancients” feels like all the more of an aesthetic outward reach on the part of King Witch — a departure from the strictly metallic vibe that they’re no less able to pull off cleanly and with intent. Brown‘s toms signal a kind of middle ground resolution in the subsequent “Hunger,” and sure enough, what emerges there is one of Under the Mountain‘s most resonant chugs, a spacious verse and a sweeping chorus, all of this speaking to perhaps the stylistic melding process that the band might undertake as they move forward from this debut.

Always difficult to speculate on that kind of thing, but if there’s a point being made as King Witch round out Under the Mountain, it’s on the more furious side of their sound, which frankly it sounds like they’re having too much fun executing to expect it to completely disappear anytime soon, whatever their sound ultimately becomes. Both under four minutes long, “Possession” and “Black Dog Blues” make a sharp finishing duo, the former with a vicious forward thrust and the latter with head-spinning percussive turns as if to make the point that the band has only begun to explore the various methods of what will eventually become their style.

The real question coming out of Under the Mountain is whether that style will remain as multi-faceted as it is in these songs or cohere over time into some combination of elements through which King Witch find further individualized expression, but this concern is for the next record, and if anything, Under the Mountain demonstrates with its urgency and ambition that this is a group not just working haphazardly toward whatever ends they may discover along the way. Instead, these tracks clearly indicate a group working as one unit with common goals, and listening to the finished product of Under the Mountain, it’s hard to imagine the first of those common goals hasn’t been realized.

King Witch on Thee Facebooks

King Witch on Instagram

King Witch on Bandcamp

Listenable Records website

Listenable Records on Thee Facebooks

Listenable Records on Twitter

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King Witch Post Video for “Beneath the Waves”

Posted in Bootleg Theater on December 18th, 2017 by JJ Koczan

king witch alan swan photography

There is a strong current of metallic righteousness in Under the Mountain, the debut full-length from Edinburgh four-piece King Witch. Marked out by the powerhouse vocals of Laura Donnelly, songs like the rampaging title-track, “Possession” and “Carnal Sacrifice” are propulsive atop Lyle Brown‘s crisply popping snare, the thrashing-at-a-moment’s-notice riffs of Jamie Gilchrist and the low-end punch of Simon Anger. As “Black Dog Blues” sprints the record to its conclusion, it seems only fitting that a siren should go off in the last couple measures. A sense of emergency well earned. Go, go, go.

Still, that rush doesn’t quite take into account moves that King Witch make elsewhere on Under the Mountain — which is due out Feb. 9 via Listenable Records — such as the fluid rollout of the north-of-six-minutes progressive nodder “Solitary,” its post-title-track doomly counterpart “Approaching the End,” which stomps out its rhythm calling to mind the best of early Candlemass, or the purposefully bluesy “Ancients,” which follows. Even the more uptempo “Hunger” seems more geared toward rock than metal, so already on their first album, we hear a strong refusal from King Witch to remain one-sided. As the album plays out its 43-minute run, that ends up being one of its great strengths.

“Beneath the Waves,” the leadoff cut for which the band has a newly-unveiled Moby Dick-style video, would seem to be a hook-laden middle ground between several of these impulses, and for that it makes both a fitting opener and a solid candidate as a single. I’ll hope to have more on the album before it’s out, but you’ll find the clip for “Beneath the Waves” on the player below, followed by more info from the PR wire.

As always, I hope you enjoy:

King Witch, “Beneath the Waves” official video

This February, Listenable Records will unleash Under The Mountain, the debut full-length from Scotland-based metal/doom rockers KING WITCH. In advance of its release [comes] the band’s official video for “Beneath The Waves.”

Elaborates vocalist Laura Donnelly, “‘Beneath The Waves’ was inspired by stories such as Moby Dick and explores man’s need to destroy anything and everything beautiful, dangerous, and unfamiliar… and the retribution dealt in return. This track felt like a natural choice for the video – soaring vocals, massive drums and some huge riffs!”

KING WITCH:
Laura Donnelly – vocals
Jamie Gilchrist – guitars
Lyle Brown – drums
Simon Anger – bass

King Witch on Thee Facebooks

King Witch on Instagram

King Witch on Bandcamp

Listenable Records website

Listenable Records on Thee Facebooks

Listenable Records on Twitter

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King Witch to Release Under the Mountain Feb. 9

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

Fucking. Doom. Metal. You know you did something right when a label like Listenable comes knocking to put out your debut album after only releasing one EP, and quite frankly, it doesn’t take more than about two minutes into the opening track from King Witch‘s 2015 Shoulders of Giants three-songer — streaming below courtesy of the Edinburgh-based four-piece’s Bandcamp — to get a sense of what the appeal was. Classic-style doom metal fronted by the powerful and creatively arranged vocals of Laura Donnelly ensues, grandiose and righteously irony-free. My only hope is the album follows suit, because if it does, look out for this one. It could be an absolute beast.

They’ve got copious album info here from the PR wire, but make sure you dig into that EP audio too if you haven’t heard them before. I’ve hand Candlemass on the brain lately, granted, but King Witch are scratching that itch for epic doom quite nicely as well.

Right on:

king witch under the mountain

KING WITCH: Edinburgh-Based Metal/Doom Rockers To Release Under The Mountain Via Listenable Records This February; Artwork And Track-By-Track Breakdown Revealed

Scotland-based metal/doom rockers KING WITCH will release their debut full-length, Under The Mountain, via Listenable Records early this February.

Under The Mountain was recorded and produced by guitarist Jamie Gilchrist at their underground studio in their home city of Edinburgh, mixed and mastered by Tom Dring at Vagrant Recordings (Dragged Into Sunlight, Acolyte) in Southport and comes swathed in artwork created by vocalist Laura Donnelly. The record serves as KING WITCH’s follow-up to their debut EP, Shoulders Of Giants, and boasts nine riff-laden tracks offset by the powerful yet bewitching vocals of Donnelly. Influenced by everything from Black Sabbath and Led Zeppelin to Mastodon and High On Fire, Under The Mountain is as melodic as it is monolithic, taking its listener on a journey from soulful doom to full-tilt metal mayhem.

Formed in early 2015 in a dark cavern beneath the streets of old Edinburgh, KING WITCH manifests a potent and heavy brew of old school metal and the meatiest of ’70s classic rock. In a time where many seek to stick rigidly within the confines of their chosen genre, KING WITCH simply writes the songs they want to play.

Under The Mountain is scheduled for a February 9th, 2018 release via Listenable Records. For preorders visit listenable.net. A track-by-track guide to Under The Mountain as described by the band can be found below.

Under The Mountain Track Listing:
1. Beneath The Waves
2. Carnal Sacrifice
3. Solitary
4. Under The Mountain
5. Approaching The End
6. Ancients
7. Hunger
8. Possession
9. Black Dog Blues

“Beneath The Waves” – This is inspired by stories such as Moby Dick and explores man’s need to destroy anything and everything beautiful, dangerous, and unfamiliar… and the retribution dealt in return.

“Carnal Sacrifice” – A homage to all the old Hammer horror films, particularly To The Devil A Daughter, an innocent born for the sole purpose of being a sacrificial vehicle of hell – topped off with some fake tomato sauce blood!

“Solitary” – This song is about Mother Earth birthing the human race only to be sucked dry and left barren. It’s about a vast loneliness that can be felt even when surrounded by life.

“Under The Mountain” – An upbeat classic metal song! It reeks of adventure. The lyrics have been inspired by stories such as Conan The Barbarian and Lord Of The Rings.

“Approaching The End” – A song about the moments before death and the feeling you’ve not achieved everything you wanted/needed to. It’s about the creeping fear that it’s not all white lights and glowing tunnels and about the not knowing where we go and what happens to us after death.

“Ancients” – This track focuses on the majesty of the Mountain. Breathtakingly beautiful yet treacherous to all. Inspiration comes from our home of Scotland which is filled with ancient mystery and awe inspiring mountainous landscapes.

“Hunger” – “Hunger” is about man’s greed and the feeling of never being satisfied with life, which further drives humankind to destroy and consume relentlessly.

“Possession” – This can either be about demonic possession or insanity. In both you are not yourself – like someone or something else trying to get out.

“Black Dog Blues” – Something most of us can relate to: This is about depression and how it feels like something that is always with you like an old acquaintance. It lurks and waits, then, when you least expect it, it slides on in and makes itself at home.

KING WITCH:
Laura Donnelly – vocals
Jamie Gilchrist – guitars
Lyle Brown – drums
Simon Anger – bass

http://www.facebook.com/kingwitch
http://www.instagram.com/kingwitchband
https://kingwitchband.bandcamp.com/
http://www.listenable.net
http://www.facebook.com/listenablerecs

King Witch, Shoulders of Giants EP (2015)

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DVNE Launch European Tour with Crackhouse in October

Posted in Whathaveyou on September 29th, 2017 by JJ Koczan

dvne

Edinburgh heavy prog pummelcrafters DVNE issued their Asheran full-length earlier this year and they’re set to hit mainland Europe to support it in October. Keeping company with France’s Crackhouse, the Scottish four-piece will his Germany, France, the Netherlands and territory closer to home as they go, and as you can see on the list of shows below — dutifully and probably incorrectly typed out from the poster by yours truly — there are still a few dates to be filled in, including one that DVNE will look to play on Oct. 28 before they meet up with their tourmates in Toulouse. I don’t necessarily believe in karma, but science and folkloric wisdom alike tell us that good things happen to people who help cool bands find gigs in time of need. That’s just an indisputable fact.

Info on the run and the poster came down the PR wire. Dig it:

dvne tour poster

Dvne & Crackhouse November Tour

Edinburgh based DVNE has announced European tour dates thoughout October and November in support of their latest album Asheran.

The band will be touring with French post-metal trio Crackhouse (Argonauta Records) from the 27th of October until the 18th of November. Both bands will be performing shows in France, the Netherlands, Germany and the UK.

DVNE & Crackhouse European Tour:
27.10 Tours, ESP, Gentiana, FR*
28.10 TBC**
30.10 Toulouse, Pavillons Sauvages, FR
31.10 Poitiers, Le Zinc, FR
01.11 Rennes, Bar’Hic, FR
02.11 Paris, Olympic Cafe, FR
03.11 Rouen, 3 Pieces, FR
04.11 Lille, Le Biplan, FR
05.11 TBC
06.11 TBC
07.11 TBC
08.11 Amsterdam, The Winston, NL
09.11 Tubigen, DE (TBA)
10.11 Muflingen, QL Tour Raum, DE
11.11 TBC
15.11 Edinburgh, Banshee, UK
16.11 Glasgow, Nice and Sleazy, UK
17.11 Newcastle, UK (TBA)
18.11 Sheffield, The Lughole, UK
*Crackhouse only
**DVNE only

Asheran is out now on 2xLP and digital via Wasted State Records, available HERE.

Asheran is a 60 minute tapestry of music, an epic narrative following the tale of the rise and fall of civilisations, the return of an empire thought millennia lost, and the world-spanning events that unfold as a consequence.

DVNE is:
Victor Vicart – Guitar, Vocals, Keys
Dan Barter – Guitar & Vocals
Dudley Tait – Drums
Allan Paterson – Bass

https://www.facebook.com/DvneUK
https://twitter.com/SongsOfArrakis
https://www.instagram.com/dvne_uk/
https://songs-of-arrakis.bandcamp.com/album/asheran
https://www.facebook.com/pages/Wasted-State-Records/111088732018
https://twitter.com/wastedstate
http://www.wastedstate.com/

DVNE, “Thirst” official video

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Quarterly Review: Hallatar, Alastor, The Dead-End Alley Band, Hair of the Dog, Soup, Kungens Män, Smoke Wizzzard, Highburnator, The Curf, Ulls

Posted in Reviews on September 29th, 2017 by JJ Koczan

the obelisk quarterly review

Here we are, gathered for round four of the Fall 2017 Quarterly Review. After the technical issues with the site for the last couple days, I’m glad to have everything back up and running, and one more time I thank Slevin and Behrang Alavi for making that happen. Though I have no idea what it might actually entail, I don’t imagine switching hosts on the fly for a site with as much content as this one has is easy, but they of course killed it and it is thoroughly appreciated. We move forward, as ever, with 10 more records. So let’s go.

Quarterly Review #31-40:

Hallatar, No Stars Upon the Bridge

hallatar-no-stars-upon-the-bridge

Finland’s Hallatar was formed after the passing of Trees of Eternity vocalist Aleah Starbridge, life partner of guitarist and songwriter Juha Ravio (also Swallow the Sun). In the new outfit, Ravio pays homage to Starbridge with the debut long-player No Stars Upon the Bridge (on Svart) by using her poems as lyrics, samples of her voice reading on “Raven’s Song,” “Spiral Gate” and the piano-backed centerpiece “Pieces,” and by bringing in Amorphis vocalist Tomi Joutsen and ex-HIM drummer Gas Lipstick to complete a trio playing nine tracks/40 minutes of deeply mournful/beautiful death-doom. The extremity of lurch in “The Maze” late in the record is matched by the gorgeousness of the chants and shimmering guitar on closer “Dreams Burn Down,” and from the opening strains of “Mirrors,” the emotion driving No Stars Upon the Bridge is sincere and affecting. Cuts like “Melt” and the mostly-whispered-until-it-explodes “My Mistake” have a sense of the theatrical in their delivery, but that makes them no less genuine, and though one wouldn’t wish the circumstances leading to the band’s formation on anybody, there’s no question that with Hallatar, Ravio turns tragedy into a lush, resonant catharsis.

Hallatar on Thee Facebooks

Svart Records website

 

Alastor, Black Magic

alastor black magic

Cultish echoes pervade Black Magic, the debut album from Swedish doom-rolling four-piece Alastor, and it’s not so much that the initials-only four-piece of guitarists H and J, bassist/vocalist R and drummer S take influence from Electric Wizard and Black Sabbath, it’s what they do with that influence that’s most striking. Black Magic is made up of three extended tracks – “Enemy” (11:51), “Nothing to Fear” (7:42) and “Black Magic” (14:27) – and with a deep tonal engagement, each one embarks on a huge-sounding sprawl of doom. Yes, the guitars owe the swirl in “Nothing to Fear” to Jus Oborn, but the echoes behind R’s voice there and the melody have an almost New Wave-style feel despite the “all right now!” drawn right from the Ozzy playbook. In other words, Alastor are preaching to the converted, and that holds true in the snowblinded Luciferian spaciousness of the title-track’s early going as well, but the converted should have no problem finding the gospel in what they’re hearing, and as “Black Magic” rounds out with its chanted feel, Alastor affirm the potential to progress within this sound and to continue to develop it into something even more their own than it is now. Familiar superficially, but sneaky in the details, so watch out.

Alastor on Thee Facebooks

Twin Earth Records webstore

 

The Dead-End Alley Band, Storms

the dead-end-alley-band-storms

Lima-based four-piece The Dead-End Alley Band aren’t far into opener “Red Woman” before the dark-psych vibe and languid groove have properly emphasized just how much the guitar of Leonardo Alva and the organ of Sebastian Sanchez-Botta (also vocals) complement each other. Propelled by the rhythm section of bassist/vocalist Javier Kou and drummer Jafer Diaz, Storms is the third album from them behind 2015’s Odd Stories (discussed here) and 2013’s debut, Whispers of the Night (review here), and it continues to blend fuzz and classic garage doom impulses on songs like “Headstone Fortress” and the shuffling “Thunderbolts and Lace,” the latter of which wah-trips to the max around a stirring boogie before “The Clock has Stopped” weirds out on extra vocal echoes and nine-minute closer “Waiting for the Void” brings in the progressive touches of pan flute and percussion. Even in the earlier, shortest track “Need You (It’s Enough),” The Dead-End Alley Band bring no shortage of personality to the proceedings, and confirm that the rough edges of their early outings have matured into essential aspects of who they have become as a band, completely in control of their craft and able to conjure an atmosphere both classic and individual.

The Dead-End Alley Band on Thee Facebooks

The Dead-End Alley Band on Bandcamp

Forbidden Place Records website

 

Hair of the Dog, This World Turns

hair-of-the-dog-this-world-turns

Making their debut on Kozmik Artifactz, Scottish trio Hair of the Dog give their guitar-led compositions plenty of time to flesh out on This World Turns, their third album, as they demonstrate quickly on the nine-plus minute titular opener and longest track (immediate points), but one would hardly call their songwriting indulgent there or anywhere else as “This World Turns” flows easily into the following seven-minute push of “Keeping Watch over the Night” in a resolute one-two punch that soon gives way to the shorter and more driving “Ctrl-Alt-Del,” touching on influences from Thin Lizzy and Scorpions en route as well as modern practitioners like Kadavar, whose stamp can also be heard on side B launch “The Colours in Her Skin.” That’s not to say Hair of the Dog — guitarist/vocalist Adam Holt (interview here), bassist Iain Thomson and drummer Jon Holt – don’t leave their own mark as well, just that their blend stems from multiple sources. A bit of Lynottism surfaces in the penultimate “In Death’s Hands” as well, which has a more subdued feel despite fervent rhythmic movement underlying, and closer “4AM” soars with enough vigor and soul – and a little falsetto – to give This World Turns a suitably smooth and vibrant finish.

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Kozmik Artifactz website

 

Soup, Remedies

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With ties to Motorpsycho through guitarist Hans Magnus “Snah” Ryan, Soup issue their sixth long-player in the five-track lush melodicism of Remedies, which feels particularly aptly named for the immersion the wash that opener “Going Somewhere” is able to elicit. That is, of course, just the first of the spacious, semi-folk-infused progressions, and it’s with the longer-form “The Boy and the Snow” (11:33) and the psychedelic purposeful meandering of “Sleepers” (13:35) that Remedies truly unveils its considerable breadth, but the Crispin Glover Records release holds a sense of poise even in the two-minute centerpiece church organ interlude “Audion,” and the harmonies of “Nothing Like Home” bring to mind peak-era Porcupine Tree patience and fluidity while holding fast to the bright, orange-sunshiny warmth of the atmosphere as a whole, instruments dropping out just before three minutes in to showcase the vocals before returning to embark on the march to the final crescendo, not at all overblown but with just a touch of extra volume to let listeners dive deeper into the moment. Remedies feels quick at 42 minutes, but turns out to be just what the doctor ordered.

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Crispin Glover Records website

 

Kungens Män, Dag & Natt

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Prolific psych-progging Stockholmers Kungens Män return with Dag & Natt, a 2CD/2LP issued through Kungens Ljud & Bild (CD) and Adansonia Records (LP) that overflows with jazzy fluidity and gorgeous immersion. The band’s last studio outing was late-2015’s Förnekaren (review here), and whether it’s 13-minute pieces like opener “Morgonrodnad” and the even-more-krautrocking “Aftonstjärnan” or the seemingly complementary inclusions of the kosmiche-minded “Dag” and wonderfully drifting “Natt,” the album as a whole is a joy and a boon to anyone looking for an extended psychedelic meander. The saxophone of Gustav Nygren on the aforementioned leadoff and “Natt” makes a particularly striking impression, but with a steady, languid wash of guitar, synth and warm bass throughout, Dag & Natt wants nothing for flow, and the gentle, classy spirit is maintained even as the penultimate “Vargtimmen” ups the sense of thrust leading into the finisher payoff of “Cirkeln är Slut.” As of now, Kungens Män should be considered a too-well-kept secret of Scandinavia’s psych underground, though listening to Dag & Natt, one wonders just how long they’ll stay that way.

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Adansonia Records website

 

Smoke Wizzzard, Run with the Wolf

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Whether it’s through the striking and gruesome cover art or through the lumbering post-Sabbath, post-Cathedral stoner-doom nod contained within, Smoke Wizzzard’s five-song self-titled debut LP thoroughly earns its third ‘z’ – and, for that matter, its second one – with played-to-form thickness and a tonal push that starts with 10-minute opener/longest track (immediate points) “Astro Lord” and continues to swagger and swing with due viscosity through “Reptiles” after the minute-long punker curveball “Soul Train.” The highlight of the Pittsburgh trio’s first outing might be “The Pass,” which has a hazy patience and some rightly-featured bass tone, but as “Run with the Wolf” moves from its early Electric Wizard muckraking to cap with piano and included howls for a doomier feel, it becomes clear Smoke Wizzzard have yet to play their full stylistic hand and the real highlights may still be yet to come. Fair enough. Something tells me getting stranger is only going to be a boon to Smoke Wizzzard’s approach on the whole, so bring it on.

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Highburnator, Keystoned State

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If you hit up Highburnator’s Bandcamp and download their name-your-price Keystoned State EP, you might note the fifth and final inclusion is the entire live-recorded, 28-minute release presented as a single track. No doubt the Pennsylvania three-piece intend the four-song outing to be taken just that way. They begin with the “mad as hell” speech sampled from the 1976 film Network and from there unfold a potent riffly brew met head on with harsh East Coast hardcore-style vocals and more metallic growls. That’s nine-minute opener and longest track (immediate points) “The Brass Rail,” and it sets the tone for what follows on the eponymous “Highburnator” before “Desert Funeral” and the Sleep-style nod of “Peaking at the Coffin” push into even more stonerly vibes. This melding of pissed-off disaffection and mid-paced heavy rock groove is particular to the sludge of the Eastern Seaboard – think of it as regional fare – but Highburnator find space for themselves in the rawness of their riffs and the charm of their puns, and by the time they’re through the four songs, it makes sense why they might want to present the full onslaught as a single entity, essentially giving it to their listeners on one overflowing platter. Got the munchies? It’s right there waiting.

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Highburnator on Bandcamp

 

The Curf, Death and Love

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Greek psych-doomers The Curf made their debut in 2007 with I and then went radio silent until last year’s Royal Water EP. Their sophomore full-length, Death and Love, then, arrives via Fuzz Ink Records with some amount of intrigue behind it, but either way, the sans-pretense heavy roll the band unfurls on “Dark Hado,” and the more uptempo “Smoke Ring,” the dig-in low end of “Lunar Lair” and the scream-topped start-stoppery of “California” present a varied take brought together through heft as well as the crispness of production and delivery, such that when it wants to, Death and Love can bite down hard, but as on the closing title-track or the earlier “Order ‘n’ Sin,” it can rumble out spaciousness as well. Whatever might’ve taken The Curf so long to put together a second album beats the hell out of me, but if they were looking to make an argument for a third one, they do so convincingly across these nine songs, which hold firmly to their overarching flow despite the emergent stylistic range.

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Ulls, I

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For now, Ulls is the solo-project of Barcelona-based David Trillo, formerly guitarist/vocalist for the heavy progressive trio Lord Summerisle, but the hope seems to be to build a full band at some point in the future. The I EP might rightly be called a demo, then, but for the professionalism and cohesiveness of sound with which its three songs are presented and the clarity of intent behind them. With Trillo rumbling away on bass beneath, six-minute opener “Inhumat” fleshes out its arrangement with organ alongside guitar swirl and sets up the classically swinging strut of “Llot Convuls,” on which the drums post-midsection lead the way through starts and stops à la a restless King Crimson and the guitar joins with no less angularity. Eight-minute closer “L’Emersió de l’Executor” brings about a thicker overall tone, but holds to a similar mood through its first half, Trillo finding room after about the four-and-a-half-minute mark for a standout solo executed with the bass running fluidly alongside that carries the song to its fading finish just before seven minutes in, at which point a residual drone takes hold to lead the way out. That ending is telling when it comes to various impulses that might show themselves in Ulls going forward, but as an initial demonstration, suffice it to say that I makes it plain Trillo shouldn’t have much trouble finding other players to come aboard the band with him.

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Six Dumb Questions with Hair of the Dog

Posted in Six Dumb Questions on September 6th, 2017 by JJ Koczan

hair of the dog

Across a skillfully constructed six-track course, Edinburgh trio Hair of the Dog smoothly brought together influences modern and classic on their third album, This World Turns. Released through Kozmik Artifactz this past July, it’s an unpretentious 41-minute rocker that comes out swinging with the semi-garage riff of its nine-minute opening, longest and title-track (immediate points), opening to a rolling groove that’s just the first of many by the time the record is done — its emphasis on sonic clarity as much as organic chemistry, songwriting as much as execution.

And if the world is turning — spoiler alert: it is — so too is the craftsmanship of Hair of the Dog, who fluidly transition between the parts and pieces of the follow-up to 2016’s The Siren’s Song and play between classic guitar-led impulses, the near-metallic shuffle of cuts like “Ctrl-Alt-Delete” — where Scorpions and Iron Maiden come together at last — and the key-laced-but-still-post-Thin Lizzy low-end groove of “In Death’s Hands,” unfolding a deceptive breadth of approach that ties together easily via clean production value courtesy of an ongoing collaboration with engineer and obviously benefits from the band’s work since making their self-titled debut in 2014. An ongoing collaboration with producer/engineer Graeme Young of Chamber Studios is only bolstered by the mixing work of James Atkinson of Gentlemans Pistols, and as they make their way toward the classy, smoothly realized crescendo of closer “4AM,” the three-piece of guitarist/vocalist Adam Holt, bassist Iain Thomson and drummer Jon Holt continue to easily draw a line between rocker soul and heavier push, resulting in a style that’s timeless in its refusal to belong to any single era or another.

With a performance slated for next month at the potentially-lethal-sounding-or-at-very-least-liver-taxing Riffs and Rum 5 in Manchester, England, a live album upcoming, and work already started on a fourth long-player to answer the growth on display throughout This World Turns, Adam took some time out to discus Hair of the Dog‘s mission on the record, the progression across their three outings to-date and the writing and recording processes from which This World Turns‘s righteous, heavy-rock-for-heavy-rockers moments in songs like “Keeping Watch over the Night” and “The Colours in Her Skin” resulted.

Please enjoy the following Six Dumb Questions:

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Six Dumb Questions with Hair of the Dog

You’ve said that these songs are more personal for you than The Siren’s Song or the self-titled. What kind of experiences are you expressing on This World Turns, and now that the album has been released and you have a little distance from it, how do you feel about that expression? What is This World Turns ultimately saying about Hair of the Dog as a band and as people?

I wouldn’t say they are more or less personal than our other songs. All of our songs stem from our life experiences, from a real place — but with This World Turns, the subject matter is definitely more mature in nature. This is just a reflection of where we are in our lives as three men. Jon is married and has two young children. Iain is now married and has a cottage out in the countryside. And I am soon to be married this October. These things — especially bringing new life into the world — force you stop and view your life in a new light, as well as the world around you, which I’m sure we can all agree, is a fucked up mess right now!

Before I had the lyrics and title for This World Turns, I had the idea for the cover. The reaper staring out over the sea towards earth. I liked that image, to me there is as sort of comfort in that image which reflected the ideas I had floating about for the lyrics. I’m the reaper looking at the world, you the listener are the reaper looking at the world – is this how you want your life to be? Is this how you want your world to be like? You never know when that scythe will swing, so would you be happy with what you have if it did, right now? And I think that’s ultimately what This World Turns is about. It’s a record about reflection.

This World Turns — tomorrow is a new day, don’t take your life for granted, life can change – but the world will always continue to turn regardless.

Tell me about opening with the title-track. When did you know that was the one you wanted to leadoff the record, and was that before or after you had named the album? How did that song come together?

“This World Turns” was the first song we wrote for this album. I think we started jamming the various riffs for it very soon after The Siren’s Song was sent off to Kozmik. We even premiered it and “Ctrl-Alt-Delete” at Roadburn Festival in April 2016, so that gives you an idea as to how far along we were with the record even by then!

Like most bands, we have our own “pet names” for our songs so we can identify them – “This World Turns” was naturally called, “The Big One” and remained that way right up until the week before we recorded it, when I wrote the lyrics. I am pretty shit when it comes to writing my lyrics, often leaving them to the very last moment – I like to worry the other two, keep them on their toes! But sometimes it just takes longer for me to hear and feel what the lyrics should say.

The music itself was very natural, I think we wrote it over the space of a few jams – each riff just seemed to naturally lead to the next. It is such a fun song to play from a musician’s point of view. It definitely set the bar for how we wanted the rest of the record to sound, which is why I felt it should be the song to kick the whole album off, set the tone sort of thing – it just had that feel to it, and we always go with what feels right to us.

Talk about your experience in the studio making This World Turns. How long were you recording? What was it like working with Graeme Young again to get the songs down and then bringing in James Atkinson from Gentlemans Pistols to handle mixing? Was that the result of something specific you wanted to do differently coming off of The Siren’s Song?

We recorded the music for This World Turns in four days, then I took a two-week break to write the lyrics – an approach I haven’t used before. This was partly because I didn’t have any solid lyrics by the time we started recording, but also because I wanted to really take time to let the songs settle with me and see if that brought something new to my writing – which it did.

I always write my lyrics in my local pub. I sit with my headphones in, with the songs on repeat and basically wait until one or two words, perhaps even a phrase, comes to me. Once I get that starting point, I just go with them and the rest of the song follows. For example, with the song “This World Turns,” I kept hearing this phrase “keeps you safe inside its lies,” I’d sing it over and over all day. It’s hard to describe, there’s a definite click moment with my lyrics, when everything just comes together and flows.

Working with Graeme is awesome. I’ve known G as a friend for many years and worked with him on various bands. We call G the secret fourth member of HOTD because, as well as working with us on all of our records, he is the man that plays any keys or synth on the records. He is an extremely skilled recording engineer and as a musician himself, has a great ear for music. He pushes us really hard and always gets the best performance from us. Not to mention he also puts up with a lot of shit from us — mostly me — during the recordings too. We like to drink in the studio and this can often lead to the recordings taking back seat to our antics.

As for James, that was really just to bring something fresh into the fold, try something new. I had got chatting to James after we both played Roadburn 2016, and I asked him if he’d like to mix the album. I’m a big Gentlemans Pistols fan, and really love his work on their albums, so I knew he’d bring some magic to our record – and he didn’t disappoint.

One of the aspects I find most striking about This World Turns is the classic feel of the riffs and the construction of the songs still has a deeply modern sound. Three albums in, do you feel like you know what you want to get out of a recording experience with Hair of the Dog? What were your goals for the sound of This World Turns?

That’ the HOTD sound… We take pride in that, so when people pick up on that it’s rewarding. We love those bands, Zeppelin, Sabbath, Cream, Deep Purple, Hendrix. Our parents and teachers introduced us to these bands — one of the first songs I ever learned on a guitar was “Hey Joe.” But we also grew up on a diet of Pantera, Rage Against the Machine, C.O.C., Down, Metallica. The list goes on.

When we started, over 15 years ago, we just jammed songs by all of these great bands we liked – extending riffs, adding in parts, making songs heavier — and from these jams, we eventually started to write our own songs. We never sat down and decided we’d sound like this or that… we just developed this sound over many years jamming together. We just wish the audience was there for us when we started, because back in 2001 nobody wanted to hear our music!

In terms of recording, we love it, it’s like a holiday for us – time to hang, have some beers, do what we love and annoy Graeme as much as we can. We didn’t have any goals as such for This World Turns, as I have mentioned, we record live for the most part and we always enter the studio with the songs polished – so it’s just about having a good time, enjoying it, letting the creativity flow and make something we are proud of.

We like the spontaneity and experimentation that only manifests in the studio. Sometimes the best parts of our records come from stupid jokes and conversations we have after a few beers: “This song needs an orchestra; The Beatles had an orchestra, why can’t we?” Next thing you know, we’re dialing up some string sounds and adding them in. The studio is a musician’s toy box. Once you have those songs recorded, you start to hear all the melodies and counter-melodies hidden within the song that you couldn’t hear in the practice room – it’s a magical time.

How do you feel about what you’ve accomplished across your three records to-date, and is there anything in particular you’ll look to change next time?

We are incredibly proud of the three records we have put out so far, and we are extremely humbled by the positive response each record has received around the globe. With each album we grow as a band, as does our fan base. We love to play our music and doing so with that support and encouragement from our fans is a dream come true.

Next time? Well here’s an exclusive for you, we already have around three songs for our fourth album. We are going a bit heavier on this one. It will still have that HOTD sound to it, but we are experimenting with darker, heavier riffs.

You’re playing Riffs and Rum 5 in Manchester in Oct. with Pist, 1968 and others. Any other plans or closing words you want to mention?

Yeah we are looking forward to that show, we haven’t played England that much, which is shameful considering it’s right on our doorstep. But we will certainly put on a killer show, that’s for sure – free rum all night and three Scotsmen?! What could go wrong!

Plans, plans, plans… we have quite a lot coming up actually…

Our track “My Only Home” which had to be dropped from the vinyl version of The Siren’s Song is being featured on an up-and-coming double-vinyl project between several prominent independent labels – think that’s all I can say about that at the moment.

We are putting out live album in between This World Turns and our next studio album. I’ve had the pleasure of hearing it and it rocks, definitely one for the HOTD super fans! More on that to come soon.

And finally, the wheels are in motion to get the Dog back over to Europe in 2018. We hope to play a few of the summer festivals and dot a few headline shows around those.

Hair of the Dog, This World Turns (2017)

Hair of the Dog on Bandcamp

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Hair of the Dog on Instagram

Kozmik Artifactz website

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