Bask Post “New Dominion” Video; III out Nov. 8

Posted in Whathaveyou on September 16th, 2019 by JJ Koczan

bask (Photo by Jamie Kay and Arlie)

Asheville’s Bask have set a Nov. 8 release for their Season of Mist debut album, III, and posted a video for the track “New Dominion” from the record. Amid shimmering guitar and fervent underlying chug speaking to the tension that plays out rhythmically in progressive fashion, the four-piece offer crash and melody alike, precise and their delivery but not impatient in going about their building movement. It’s modern in the post-Baroness sense, but less hued to that identity outright in its noodling, and, frankly, less pretentious. That’s certainly a welcome aesthetic shift, and the interplay of guitar layers here and vocals overtop bodes well for digging into the rest of the full-length, which is still a month and a half away, but will no doubt be led into with more teaser audio along the way. In the meantime, the colors in the video for “New Dominion” feel exceedingly well earned, so dig in at the bottom of this post.

III details follow, courtesy of the PR wire:

bask iii

BASK Unveil New Album Details, Reveal Music Video

Psychedelic rock formation BASK will be releasing their third studio album, aptly titled ‘III,’ on November 8 via Season of Mist, making it their debut to the label. The effort was recorded and mixed by Matt Bayles (Pearl Jam, Mastodon, Minus The Bear, etc.). The album art and track-listing can be found below.

In conjunction with the announcement, BASK has premiered the first single, New Dominion,” along with a kaleidoscopic new music video. Watch and listen at THIS LOCATION.

BASK comment: “We bring you our premiere single and video for ‘New Dominion.’ We’ve waited anxiously to share these songs and stories with you. We hope you enjoy listening as much as we enjoyed writing and recording.”

‘III’ can be pre-ordered in various formats HERE.

Tracklist:
1. Three White Feet (05:53)
2. New Dominion (04:28)
3. Stone Eyed (04:17)
4. Rid of You (04:40)
5. Noble Daughters I: The Stave (05:49)
6. Noble Daughters II: The Bow (06:16)
7. Maiden Mother Crone (04:40)
Total: 0:36:03

Line-up:
Jesse Van Note – bass
Scott Middleton – drums
Ray Worth – guitar
Zeb Camp – guitar/vocals

Guest Musicians:
Jed Willis – Pedal Steel on “Maiden Mother Crone”
Meg Mulhearn – Violin on “Maiden Mother Crone”

https://www.facebook.com/basknc
https://www.instagram.com/baskband/
https://basknc.bandcamp.com/
https://www.facebook.com/seasonofmistofficial
https://www.instagram.com/seasonofmistofficial/
https://shopusa.season-of-mist.com/

Bask, “New Dominion” (official video)

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Weedeater Touring Next Week; Playing with Orange Goblin & More

Posted in Whathaveyou on August 22nd, 2019 by JJ Koczan

weedeater

Alright, you know the drill. Weedeater are touring — because of course Weedeater are touring — so get yourself ready to see Weedeater. You know, it’s kind of weird, since I feel like I’ve been clamoring for a new Weedeater record for like the last three years, but it’s only been four since they released Goliathan (review here), so whatever. Good Southern cooking takes time, or so I’m told, so maybe they’ve got some riffs sitting out in a Dutch oven, waiting for the meat to fall off the bone. That’d be fair enough. Point is Weedeater are gonna tour. Fine. It hasn’t been egregiously long since their last release, even if, as album cycles go, theirs feels particularly extreme. Hazards of being so reliable in kicking ass, I suppose.

The thought of Weedeater and Orange Goblin sharing a stage, in Chicago or pretty much anywhere, is awesome, and I can’t imagine this is the first time it’s happened in the history of those bands, but that show’s bound to be a highlight, even if the impetus for the run is the stop at Muddy Roots in Tennessee on Aug. 30. Pretty sure Orange Goblin will be there as well — a ton of bands certainly will — but either way, it’s more Weedeater touring, so you go and you see Weedeater and you know you’re going to have a good time and then you do. Simple as that.

Word from the PR wire was likewise straightforward. Shows are presented by Tone Deaf Touring:

weedeater tour

WEEDEATER Announce U.S. Summer Tour Dates!

Cape Fear metal legends WEEDEATER have announced a run of U.S. this summer! The trek will kick off on August 27 in Johnson City, TN and will conclude on September 4 in Athens, GA. The run will also include a festival appearance at Muddy Roots on August 30. The full itinerary is as follows:

WEEDEATER U.S. TOUR DATES:
08/27: Johnson City, TN @ The Hideaway
08/28: Tolono, IL @ Loose Cobra
08/29: Chicago, IL @ Thalia Hall*
08/30: Cookville, TN @ Muddy Roots Fest
09/01: Chattanooga, TN @ Ziggy’s
09/02: Columbia, SC @ New Brookland Tavern
09/03: Savannah, GA @ Jinx
09/04: Athens, GA @ Caledonia
*Supporting ORANGE GOBLIN

https://www.facebook.com/weedmetal/
https://weedeater.bandcamp.com/
https://www.facebook.com/seasonofmistofficial
http://www.season-of-mist.com/

Weedeater, Goliathan (2015)

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Streaming: Saint Vitus Interview with Dave Chandler

Posted in audiObelisk, Features on August 16th, 2019 by JJ Koczan

saint vitus

It was a decade ago now that Saint Vitus began their reunion. At that point, it had been 14 years since the release of their final album, Die Healing (discussed here), in 1995. The not-quite-fully-original-but-definitely-the-most-influential lineup was guitarist Dave Chandler, vocalist Scott “Wino” Weinrich, bassist Mark Adams and drummer Armando Acosta, the last of whom would soon be replaced by Henry Vasquez (Blood of the Sun), who had drummed for Chandler‘s short-lived Debris Inc. outfit earlier in the aughts, and would ultimately pass away in 2010Vitus — who are arguably the most influential American doom band, and certainly the most influential the West Coast ever produced — were knee-deep in triumphant reunion tours by then, between Europe and the US, and they’d continue to roll out a packed schedule after signing to Season of Mist and releasing the long-awaited Lillie: F-65 (review here) in 2012.

From there, things proceeded in a fashion that can only be considered pure Vitus. A couple years of steady touring followed supporting Lillie: F-65 and celebrating their landmark catalog, until Weinrich got arrested in Norway in late-2014 for amphetamines, and the band seemed to come apart. Enter original vocalist Scott Reagers, last heard from with what was then a return performance on Die Healing, to take up the frontman role. More touring commenced and the band went on to issuesaint vitus saint vitus Live Vol. 2 (review here) in 2016. Already the proposition of a new studio album had been raised, but work was inevitably stunted by the departure of bassist Mark Adams — a quiet presence on stage, but a founding member and someone essential to the sound all along — owing to complications from Parkinson’s disease. A replacement was found in Pat Bruders of Down and Outlaw Order, and with a somehow-brand-new-but-still-half-original lineup, Saint Vitus once again took to the road and took on the task of their next record.

Saint Vitus‘ 1984 debut, Saint Vitus, is a genuine landmark in doom. A Calipunk answer to Black Sabbath at their gutsiest and grimiest, it has stood the test of time for over 30 years and only grown more relevant with each passing decade. That Saint Vitus in 2019 — ChandlerReagersVasquez and Bruders — should title their new album Saint Vitus (review here) is no coincidence. How could it be? And from the quintessential doomly roll of “Remains” and “Last Breath” to the pulsating energy of “Bloodshed” and the delightfully hardcore punk closer “Useless,” it is in every way a reclamation of Saint Vitus‘ identity as a group. Call it full-circle or don’t, but it’s a record that both embraces who they’ve always been and gleefully, mischievously screws with genre-based preconceptions, Reager‘s growls and soaring voice essential to the personality of the outing even as Chandler steps in for a spoken word take on the experimentalist noise of “City Park.”

I won’t take away from what Bruders and Vasquez do together as a rhythm section, and why the hell would I, but no question that having Chandler and Reagers paired up again gives the 2019 Saint Vitus a clash-of-the-titans-style feel, and for more than just Chandler‘s seemingly endless collection of pro-wrestling t-shirts. In every way, the tracks on Saint Vitus — which again united the group with producer Tony Reed (Mos Generator, etc.) — earn the banner of the band’s name under which they arrive, and for the fact that Saint Vitus has endured in one form or another for the last 40 years, their spirit of survival continues to be a middle finger raised high in defiance of everything, including, at times, themselves.

There’s a lot of doom out there, but there’s only one Dave Chandler, and I was fortunate enough to talk to him a while back, before the album came out in May. You’ll find the audio of the interview below. Thanks for checking it out if you do.

Enjoy:

Interview with Dave Chandler

 

Saint Vitus, Saint Vitus (2019)

Saint Vitus on Thee Facebooks

Saint Vitus on Twitter

Saint Vitus Tumblr

Saint Vitus website

Season of Mist on Thee Facebooks

Season of Mist on Twitter

Season of Mist on Instagram

Season of Mist website

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Bask Touring East Coast This Month; New Album Recorded

Posted in Whathaveyou on August 15th, 2019 by JJ Koczan

bask (Photo by Jamie Kay and Arlie)

I was only in Asheville once, a decade ago, but it was an easy town to like in the tradition of weirdo-enclaves and places to get good coffee and buy records. See also Brattleboro, Vermont, as well as Austin, Texas, and any number of other burgs out there nestled into the sometimes-horrifying sphere of American existence. Bask, who have newly finished tracking their third album — title TBA — with the right honourable Matt Bayles, will leave their Asheville hometown behind and head out as they did in June for a week’s worth of dates around a festival appearance. Way back two months ago, it was Doomed and Stoned in Chicago. This time it’s RPM Fest in Massachusetts. Both, solid occasions for spending a few days out in the world. And if you like weirdo enclaves, north and western MA have a few to choose from as well, as it so happens.

Begotten are playing the Brooklyn show on this one, and it’s the night after Orange Goblin in Manhattan, but I’m thinking about hitting it up. If you’re around, come down and we’ll converse awkwardly for a little while and then you’ll get disappointed and move on to another spot in the room.

Wow. Just made myself sad right there without even thinking about it.

Better turn this one over to the PR wire:

bask tour

BASK Announce Headlining U.S. Tour Dates!

Southern rock outfit BASK, whose Americana sound contains a unique blend of psych and prog influences, have announced a run of East Coast headlining dates later this month! The tour, which features an appearance at RPM Fest in Montague, MA on August 30, will kick off on August 26 in Richmond, VA and will conclude on September 1 in Harrisonburg, VA. The full itinerary can be found below.

BASK East Coast Headlining Dates:
08/26: Richmond, VA @ Cary Street Cafe
08/28: Brooklyn, NY @ Saint Vitus
08/29: Philadelphia, PA @ Kung Fu Necktie
08/30: Montague, MA @ RPM Fest
08/31: Frederick, MD @ Cafe 611
09/01: Harrisonburg, VA @ Golden Pony

BASK have just completed recording their third studio album with legendary producer Matt Bayles (PEARL JAM, MASTODON, MINUS THE BEAR, etc.) The record will be released by Season of Mist, making it the band’s debut to the label. Stay tuned for more news!

BASK hails from the mountains of North Carolina and was fully conceived in the fall of 2013 when guitarist Ray Worth, drummer Scott Middleton, bassist Jesse Van Note, and guitarist/vocalist Zeb Camp joined forces.

Since forming in 2013, BASK has released American Hollow (2014) and Ramble Beyond (2017), and toured North America and Europe with seminal artists High on Fire and Weedeater, as well as contemporary figure heads, Pallbearer, Kayo Dot, Royal Thunder, and Black Tusk. The band has also shared the bill with a range of diverse artists, from Guided by Voices to Carcass and Refused on festivals such as Desert Fest Berlin and London, Speedfest in Eindhoven, Netherlands, and Heavy Mountain in Asheville, NC.

Their sound has been described as progressive and cinematic, containing glimpses of Appalachian tonality and heartfelt heaviness. Esse Quam Videri.

Line-up:
Jesse Van Note – bass
Scott Middleton – drums
Ray Worth – guitar
Zeb Camp – guitar/vocals

https://www.facebook.com/basknc
https://www.instagram.com/baskband/
https://basknc.bandcamp.com/
https://www.facebook.com/seasonofmistofficial
https://www.instagram.com/seasonofmistofficial/
https://shopusa.season-of-mist.com/

Bask, Ramble Beyond (2017)

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Quarterly Review: Pelican, Swan Valley Heights, Mark Deutrom, Greenbeard, Mount Soma, Nibiru, Cable, Reino Ermitaño, Cardinals Folly & Lucifer’s Fall, Temple of the Fuzz Witch

Posted in Reviews on July 8th, 2019 by JJ Koczan

quarterly-review

More computer bullshit this morning. I lost about 45 minutes because my graphics driver and Windows 10 apparently hate each other and before I could disable the former, the machine decided the best it could do for me was to load a blank screen. Hard to find the Pelican record on my desktop when I can’t see my desktop. The Patient Mrs. woke up while I was trying to fix it and suggested HDMIing it to the tv. When I did that, it didn’t project as was hoped, but the display came on — because go figure — and I was able to shut off the driver, the only real advantage of which is it lets me use the night light feature so it’s easier on my eyes. That’s nice, but I’d rather have the laptop function. Not really working on a level of “give me soft red light or give me death!” at this point. I may yet get there in my life.

Today’s the last day of this beast, wrapping up the last of the 60 reviews, and I’m already in the hole for the better part of an hour thanks to this technical issue, the second of the week. Been an adventure, this one. Let’s close it out.

Quarterly Review #51-60:

Pelican, Nighttime Stories

pelican nighttime stories

Split into two LPs each with its own three-minute mood-setter — those being “WST” and “It Stared at Me,” respectively — Pelican‘s Nighttime Stories (on Southern Lord) carries the foreboding sensibility of its title into an aggressive push throughout the album, which deals from the outset with the pain of loss. The lead single “Midnight and Mescaline” represents this well in directly following “WST,” with shades of more extreme sounds in the sharp-turning guitar interplay and tense drums, but it carries through the blastbeats of “Abyssal Plain” and the bombastic crashes of presumed side B closer “Cold Hope” as well, which flow via a last tonal wash toward the melancholy “It Stared at Me” and the even-more-aggro title-track, the consuming “Arteries of Blacktop” and the eight-minute “Full Moon, Black Water,” which offers a build of maddening chug — a Pelican hallmark — before resolving in melodic serenity, moving, perhaps, forward with and through its grief. It’s been six years since Pelican‘s last LP, Forever Becoming (review here), and they’ve responded to that time differential with the hardest-hitting record they’ve ever done.

Pelican on Thee Facebooks

Southern Lord Recordings website

 

Swan Valley Heights, The Heavy Seed

swan valley heights the heavy seed

Though the peaceful beginning of 13-minute opener and longest track (immediate points) “The Heavy Seed,” for which the five-song album is named, reminds of Swan Valley Heights‘ Munich compatriots in Colour Haze, the ultimate impression the band make on their Fuzzorama Records debut and second album overall behind a 2016 self-titled (review here) is more varied in its execution, with cuts like “Vaporizer Woman” and the centerpiece “Take a Swim in God’s Washing Machine” manifesting ebbs and flows and rolling out a fuzzy largesse to lead into dream-toned ethereality and layered vocals that immediately call to mind Elephant Tree. There’s a propensity for jamming, but they’re not a jam band, and seem always to have a direction in mind. That’s true even on the three-minute instrumental “My First Knife Fight,” which unfurls around a nod riff and simple drum progression to bridge into closer “Teeth and Waves,” a bookend to The Heavy Seed‘s title-track that revives that initial grace and uses it as a stepping stone for the crunch to come. It’s a balance that works and should be well received.

Swan Valley Heights on Thee Facebooks

Fuzzorama Records on Bandcamp

 

Mark Deutrom, The Blue Bird

Mark Deutrom The Blue Bird

Released in the wee hours of 2019, Mark Deutrom‘s The Blue Bird marks the first new solo release from the prolific Austin-based songwriter/producer/multi-instrumentalist through Season of Mist, and it’s a 50-minute run of genre-spanning outsider art, bringing ’70s folk vibes to the weepy guitar echoes of “Radiant Gravity” right before “O Ye of Little Faith” dooms out for six of its seven minutes and “Our Revels Now Are Ended” basks in 77 seconds of experimentalist winding guitar. It goes like that. Vocals are intermittent enough to not necessarily be expected, but not entirely absent through the midsection of “Hell is a City,” “Somnambulist” and “Maximum Hemingway,” and if there’s traditionalism at play anywhere, it might be in “They Have Won” and “The Happiness Machine,” which, toward the back end of the album, bring a sax-laden melancholy vibe and a straightforward heavy rock feel, respectively, ahead of the closer “Nothing out There,” which ties them together, somehow accounting for the 1:34 “On Fathers Day” as well in its sweetness. Don’t go into The Blue Bird asking it to make sense on any level other than its own and you should be fine. It’s not a minor undertaking at 50 minutes, and not without its indulgences, but even the briefest of pieces helps develop the character of the whole, which of course is essential to any good story.

Mark Deutrom website

Season of Mist website

 

Greenbeard, Onward, Pillager

greenbeard onward pillager

Austin bringers of hard-boogie Greenbeard reportedly issued the three-song Onward, Pillager as a precursor to their next full-length — even the name hints toward it being something of a stopgap — but its tracks stand well on their own, whether it’s the keyboard-laced “Contact High II,” which is presumably a sequel to another track on the forthcoming record, or the chunkier roll of “WCCQ” and the catchy finisher “Kill to Love Yourself,” with its overlaid guitar solo adding to a dramatic ending. It hasn’t been that long since 2017’s Lödarödböl (review here), but clearly these guys are committed to moving forward in neo-stoner rock fashion, and their emergence as songwriters is highlighted particularly throughout “WCCQ” and “Kill to Love Yourself,” while “Contact High II” is more of an intro or a would-be interlude on the full-length. It may only be pieces of a larger, to-be-revealed picture, but Onward, Pillager shows three different sides of what Greenbeard have on offer, and the promise of more to come is one that will hopefully be kept sooner rather than later.

Greenbeard on Thee Facebooks

Sailor Records on Bandcamp

 

Mount Soma, Nirodha

mount_soma_nirodha

Each of the three songs on Mount Soma‘s densely-weighted, live-recorded self-released Nirodha EP makes some mention of suffering in its lyrics, and indeed, that seems to be the theme drawing together “Dark Sun Destroyer” (7:40), “Emerge the Wolf” (5:50) and “Resurfacing” (9:14): a quest for transcendence perhaps in part due to the volume of the music and the act itself of creating it. Whatever gets them there, the trajectory of Nirodha is such that by the time they hit into the YOB-style galloping toward the end of “Resurfacing,” the gruff shouts of “rebirth!” feel more celebratory than ambitious. Based in Dublin, the four-piece bring a fair sense of space to their otherwise crush-minded approach, and though the EP is rough — it is their second short release following 2016’s Origins — they seem to have found a way to tie together outer and inner cosmos with an earthbound sense of gravity and heft, and with the more intense shove of “Emerge the Wolf” between the two longer tracks, they prove themselves capable of bringing a noisy charge amid all that roar and crash. They did the first EP live as well. I wonder if they’d do the same for a full-length.

Mount Soma on Thee Facebooks

Mount Soma on Bandcamp

 

Nibiru, Salbrox

nibiru salbrox

One might get lost in the unmanageable 64-minute wash of Nibiru‘s fifth full-length (first for Ritual Productions), Salbrox, but the opaque nature of the proceedings is part of the point. The Italian ritualists bring forth a chaotic depth of noise and harsh semi-spoken rasps of vocals reportedly in the Enochian language, and from 14-minute opener “EHNB” — also the longest track (immediate points) — through the morass that follows in “Exarp,” “Hcoma,” “Nanta” and so on, the album is a willful slog that challenges the listener on nearly every level. This is par for the course for Nibiru, whose last outing was 2017’s Qaal Babalon (review here), and they seem to revel in the slow-churning gruel of their distortion, turning from it only to break to minimalism in the second half of the album with “Abalpt” and “Bitom” before 13-minute closer “Rziorn” storms in like a tsunami of spiritually desolate plunge. It is vicious and difficult to hear, and again, that is exactly what it’s intended to be.

Nibiru on Thee Facebooks

Ritual Productions website

 

Cable, Take the Stairs to Hell

Cable Take the Stairs to Hell

The gift of Cable was to take typically raw Northeastern disaffection and channel it into a noise rock that wasn’t quite as post-this-or-that as Isis, but still had a cerebral edge that more primitive fare lacked. They were methodical, and 10 years after their last record, the Hartford, Connecticut, outfit return with the nine-song/30-minute Take the Stairs to Hell (on Translation Loss), which brings them back into the modern sphere with a sound that is no less relevant than it was bouncing between This Dark Reign, Hydra Head and Translation Loss between 2001 and 2004. They were underrated then and may continue to be now, but the combination of melody and bite in “Black Medicine” and the gutty crunch of “Eyes Rolled Back,” the post-Southern heavy of the title-track and the lumbering pummel of “Rivers of Old” before it remind of how much of a standout Cable was in the past, reinforcing that not only were they ahead of their time then, but that they still have plenty to offer going forward. They may continue to be underrated as they always were, but their return is significant and welcome.

Cable on Instagram

Translation Loss Records webstore

 

Reino Ermitaño, Reino Ermitaño

Reino Ermitano Reino Ermitano

Originally released in 2003, the self-titled debut from Lima, Peru’s Reino Ermitaño was a beacon and landmark in Latin American doom, with a sound derived from the genre’s traditions — Sabbath, Trouble, etc. — and melded with not only Spanish-language lyrics, but elements of South American folk and stylizations. Reissued on vinyl some 16 years later, it maintains its power through the outside-time level of its craft, sliding into that unplaceable realm of doom that could be from any point from about 1985 onward, while the melodies in the guitar of Henry Guevara and the vocals of Tania Duarte hold sway over the central groove of bassist Marcos Coifman and drummer Julio “Ñaka” Almeida. Those who were turned onto the band at the time will likely know they’ve released five LPs to-date, with the latest one from 2014, but the Necio Records version marks the first time the debut has been pressed to vinyl, and so is of extra interest apart from the standard putting-it-out-there-again reissue. Collectors and a new generation of doomers alike would be well advised on an educational level, and of course the appeal of the album itself far exceeds that.

Reino Ermitaño on Thee Facebooks

Necio Records on Bandcamp

 

Cardinals Folly & Lucifer’s Fall, Split

cardinals folly lucifers fall split

Though one hails from Helsinki, Finland, and the other from Adelaide, Australia, Cardinals Folly and Lucifer’s Fall could hardly be better suited to share the six-song Cruz Del Sur split LP that they do, which checks in at 35 minutes of trad doom riffing and dirtier fare. The former is provided by Cardinals Folly, who bring a Reverend Bizarre-style stateliness to “Spiritual North” and “Walvater Proclaimed!” before betraying their extreme metal roots on “Sworn Through Odin’s and Satan’s Blood,” while the Oz contingent throw down Saint Vitus-esque punk-born fuckall through “Die Witch Die,” the crawling “Call of the Wild” and the particularly brash and speedier “The Gates of Hell.” The uniting thread of course is homage to doom itself, but each band brings enough of their own take to complement each other without either contradicting or making one or the other of them feel redundant, and rather, the split works out to be a rampaging, deeply-drunk, pagan-feeling celebration of what doom is and how it has been internalized by each of these groups. Doom over the world? Yeah, something like that.

Cardinals Folly on Thee Facebooks

Lucifer’s Fall on Thee Facebooks

Cruz Del Sur Music website

 

Temple of the Fuzz Witch, Temple of the Fuzz Witch

Temple of the Fuzz Witch Temple of the Fuzz Witch

A strong current of Electric Wizard runs through the self-titled debut full-length from Detroit’s Temple of the Fuzz Witch (on Seeing Red Records), but even to that, the outfit led by guitarist/vocalist Noah Bruner bring a nascent measure of individuality, droning into and through “Death Hails” after opening with “Bathsheba” and ahead of unveiling a harmonized vocal on “The Glowing of Satan” that suits the low end distortion surprisingly well. They continue to offer surprises throughout, whether it’s the spaciousness of centerpiece “329” and “Infidel,” which follows, or the offsetting of minimalism and crush on “The Fuzz Witch” and the creeper noise in the ending of “Servants of the Sun,” and though there are certainly familiar elements at play, Temple of the Fuzz Witch come across with an intent to take what’s been done before and make it theirs. In that regard, they would seem to be on the right track, and in their 41 minutes, they find footing in a murky aesthetic and are able to convey a sense of songwriting without sounding heavy-handed. There’s nothing else I’d ask of their first album.

Temple of the Fuzz Witch on Thee Facebooks

Seeing Red Records on Bandcamp

 

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Quarterly Review: Earth, Heilung, Thronehammer, Smear, Deadbird, Grass, Prana Crafter, Vago Sagrado, Gin Lady, Oven

Posted in Reviews on July 1st, 2019 by JJ Koczan

quarterly-review

Deep breath. And… here we go.

Welcome to The Obelisk’s Summer 2019 Quarterly Review. You probably know the drill by now, but just in case, here’s what’s up: starting today and through next Monday, I’ll be reviewing 10 records per day for a total of 60. I’ve done this every three months (or so) for the better part of the last five years, each one with at least 50 releases included. Some are big bands, some are new bands, some are releases are new, some older. It’s a mix of styles and notoriety, and that’s exactly the intent. It’s a ton of stuff, but that’s also the intent, and the corresponding hope is that somewhere in all of it there’s something for everyone.

I’ll check in each day at the top with what usually turns out to be a “hot damn I’m exhausted, but this is worth it”-kind of update, but otherwise, if we’re all on board, let’s just get to it. First batch below, more to come.

Quarterly Review #1-10:

Earth, Full Upon Her Burning Lips

earth

Finding post-Southern Lord refuge with Sargent House in similar fashion to Boris, Earth seem to act in direct response to 2014’s Primitive and Deadly (review here) with the 10-track/62-minute Full Upon Her Burning Lips, stripping their approach down to its two essential components: Dylan Carlson‘s guitar and Adrienne Davies‘ drums. The former adds bass as well, and the latter some off-kit percussion, but that’s about as far as they go in the extended meditation on their core modus — even the straightforward photo on the cover tells the story — psychedelic and brooding and still-spacious as the music is. Gone are folk strings or vocals, and so on, and instead, they foster immersion through not-quite minimalist nod and roll, Carlson‘s guitar soundscaping atop Davies‘ slow, steady pulse. It’s not nearly so novel as the last time out, but timed to the 30th anniversary of the band, it’s a reminder that if you like Earth, this dynamic is ultimately why.

Earth on Thee Facebooks

Sargent House website

 

Heilung, Futha

heilung futha

It might seem like an incongruity that something so based in traditionalism conceptually would also turn into experimentalist Viking jazz, but I defy you to hear “Galgadr,” the 10-minute opener of Heilung‘s third full-length, Futha (on Season of Mist), and call it something else. Cuts like the memorable and melodic “Norupo” and the would-be-techno-but-I-think-they’re-actually-just-beating-on-wood “Svanrand,” which, like “Vapnatak” before it, is rife with the sounds of battle, but it’s in the longer pieces, “Othan,” 14-minute closer “Hamrer Hippyer,” and even the eight-plus-minute “Elivgar” and “Elddansurin” that precede it, that Heilung‘s dramas really unfold. Led by the essential presence of vocalist Maria Franz — who could hardly be more suited to the stated theme of calling to feminine power — Heilung careen through folk and narrative and full cultural immersion across 73 minutes, and craft something willfully forward thinking from the history it embellishes.

Heilung on Thee Facebooks

Season of Mist website

 

Thronehammer, Usurper of the Oaken Throne

thronehammer usurper of the oaken throne

The reliable taste of Church Within Records strikes again in picking up Thronehammer‘s first full-length, Usurper of the Oaken Throne. The project is a dark and warmaking epic mega-doom working mostly in longform material — it’s six tracks/78 minutes, so yeah — conjured in collaboration by the trio of vocalist Kat Shevil Gillham (Lucifer’s Chalice, etc.), guitarist/keyboardist Stuart Bootsy West (ex-Obelyskkh, ex-The Walruz) and drummer/bassist Tim Schmidt (Seamount), that hits with a massive impact from 17-minute opener “Behind the Wall of Frost” into “Conquered and Erased” (11:24) and “Warhorn” (19:12), making for an opening salvo that’s a full-length unto itself and a beast of doomed grandeur that balances extremity with clearheaded presentation. They simplify the proceedings a bit for “Svarte Skyer” and the eponymous “Thronehammmer,” but are clearly in their element for the 15-minute closing title-track, which rounds out one of the best doom debuts I’ve heard so far this year with due heft and ceremony.

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Church Within Records on Bandcamp

 

Smear, A Band Called Shmear

Smear A Band Called Shmear

Smear‘s live-recorded A Band Called Shmear EP is basically the equivalent of that dude getting dragged out of the outdoor concert for being at the bottom of the puffing clouds of smoke going, “Come on man, I’m not hurting anybody!” And by that I mean it’s awesome. The Eugene, Oregon, four-piece get down on some psychedelic reefer madness tapped into weirdo anti-genre tendencies that come to fruition in the verses of “Guns of Brixton” after the drifting freaker “Old Town.” The whole thing runs an extra-manageable 21 minutes, and six of that are dedicated to the fuzzed jam “Zombie” — tinged in its early going with a reggae groove — so Smear make it easy to follow their outward path, whether it’s the surf-with-no-water “Weigh” at the outset or “Quicksand,” which hints at more complex melodic tendencies almost in spite of itself. You like vibe, right? These cats have plenty to go around, and they deliver it with an absolute lack of pretense. Whatever they do next, I hope they also record it live, because it clearly works.

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Smear on Bandcamp

 

Deadbird, III: The Forest Within the Tree

deadbird iii the forest within the tree

One hesitates to speculate on the future of a band who’ve just taken 10 years to put out an album, but Deadbird sound vital on their awaited third full-length: III: The Forest Within the Tree (arrived late 2018 through 20 Buck Spin), and with a revamped lineup that includes Rwake vocalist Chris Terry and Rwake/The Obsessed bassist Reid Raley as well as bassist Jeff Morgan, guitarist Jay Minish and founders Phillip (drums) and Chuck (guitar) Schaaf and Alan Short — all of whom contribute vocals — Deadbird emerge from the ether with a stunningly cohesive and varied outing of post-sludge, tinged Southern in its humid tonality but still very much geared toward heft and, certainly more than I recall of their past work, melody. In just 38 minutes they push the listener into this dank world of their creation, and seem to find just as much release in experiments “11:34” and “Ending” as in the crashes of “Brought Low” or “Heyday.” Are they really back? Hell if I know, but these songs are enough to make me hope so.

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20 Buck Spin on Bandcamp

 

Grass, Fresh Grass

grass fresh grass

Brooklyn four-piece Grass released a live recording in 2017, but the late-2018 EP Fresh Grass marks their studio debut, and it comprises five tracks digging into the traditions of heavy rock with edges derived from the likes of Clutch, Orange Goblin, maybe a bit of Kyuss and modern bluesier practitioners as well in cuts like “Black Clouds” — the lone holdover from one release to the next — and the swaggering “Runaway,” which veers into vocal layering in its second half in a way that seems to portend things to come, while the centerpiece “Fire” and closer “Easy Rider” roll out in post=’70s fashion a kind of rawer modern take. Their sound is nascent, but there’s potential in their swing and the hook of opener “My Wall.” Fresh Grass is the band searching for their place within a heavy rock style. I hear nothing on it to make me think they won’t find it, and if they were opening the show, you’d probably want to show up early.

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Grass on Bandcamp

 

Prana Crafter, MindStreamBlessing

Prana Crafter MindStreamBlessing

Reissued on vinyl through Cardinal Fuzz with two bonus tracks, Prana Crafter‘s 2017 offering, MindStreamBlessing, originally saw release through Eidolon Records and finds the Washington-based solo artist Will Sol oozing through acid folk and psychedelic traditions, instrumentally constructing a shimmer that seems ready for the platter edition it’s been granted. Songs like “As the Weather Commands” and “Bardo Nectar” are experiments in their waves of meandering guitar, effects and keys, while “Mycellial Morphohum” adapts cosmic ecology to minimal spaciousness and vague spoken word. Some part of me misses vocals in the earthy “FingersFlowThroughOldSkolRiver,” but that might just also be the part of me that’s hearing Lamp of the Universe or Six Organs of Admittance influences. The interwoven layers of “Prajna Pines,” on the other hand, seem fine without; bluesy as the lead guitar line is, there’s no doubting the song’s expressive delivery, though one could easily say the same of the krautrock loops and keys and reverb-drenched solo of “Luminous Clouds.”

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Cardinal Fuzz webstore

 

Vago Sagrado, Vol. III

vago sagrado vol iii

Heavy post-rockers Vago Sagrado set a peaceful atmosphere with “K is Kool,” the opening track of their third album, Vol. III, that is hard to resist. They’ll soon enough pump in contrast via the foreboding low end of “La Pieza Oscura,” but the feeling of purposeful drift in the guitar remains resonant, even as the drums and vocals take on a kind of punkish feel. The mix is one that the Chilean three-piece seem to delight in, reveling in tonal adventurousness in the quiet/loud tradeoff of “Fire (In Your Head)” and the New Wave shuffle of “Sundown” before “Centinela” kicks off side B with the kind of groove that Queens of the Stone Age fans have been missing for the last 15 years. Things get far out in “Listen & Obey,” but Vago Sagrado never completely lose their sense of direction, and that only makes the proceedings more engaging as the hypnotic “One More Time with Feeling” leads into the nine-minute closer “Mekong,” wherein the wash teased all along comes to fruition.

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Gin Lady, Tall Sun Crooked Moon

gin lady tall sun crooked moon

I’m more than happy to credit Sweden’s Gin Lady for the gorgeous ’70s country rock harmonies that emanate from their fourth album, Tall Sun Crooked Moon (on Kozmik Artifactz), from the mission-statement opener “Everyone is Love” onward, but I think it’s also worth highlighting that the 10-track outing also features the warmest snare drum sound I’ve heard maybe since the self-titled Kadavar LP. The Swedish four-piece have nailed their sound down to that level of detail, and as they touch on twang boogie in “Always Gold” or find bluesy Abbey Roadian deliverance in the more riff-led chorus of “Gentle Bird,” their aesthetic is palpable but does not trump the straight-ahead appeal of their songwriting. The closing duo of “The Rock We All Push” and the piano-soother “Tell it Like it Is” are the only two tracks to push past five minutes long, but by then the mood is well set and if they wanted to keep going, I have a hard time imagining they’d meet with complaints. Serenity abounds.

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Kozmik Artifactz website

 

Oven, Couch Lock

oven couch lock

For an EP called Couch Lock — i.e., when you’re too stoned to even stand up — there’s an awful lot of movement on Oven‘s debut release, from the punk thrust of “Get It” to the arrogant sleaze of “Go James” and even the drums in “This Time.” And the nine-minute “Dark Matter” is basically space rock, so yeah, hardly locked to the couch there, but okay. The five-tracker is raw in its production as would seem to suit the Pennsylvania trio, but they still get their point across in terms of attitude, and a closing cover of Nebula‘s “To the Center” seems only to reinforce the notion. One imagines that any basement where they unleash that and the nod that culminates “Dark Matter” just before it would have to be professionally dehumidified afterward to get the dankness out, and an overarching sense of stoner shenanigans only adds to the good times that so much of East Coast-ish psych misses the point on. They’re having fun. You should too.

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Weedeater Announce Tour Dates with Irata

Posted in Whathaveyou on May 23rd, 2019 by JJ Koczan

Weedeater (Photo by JJ Koczan)

Am I going to begrudge Weedeater doing more touring? No. No, I’m not. Is it time for the Cape Fear, North Carolina, sludge stalwarts to knuckle down and get to work on a new album? Yeah, it probably is. Four years removed from Goliathan (review here) and they’ve hardly gotten off the road at all. I don’t know if they have any new material sitting around or what, but even if they started writing now and took the next year to put it out, you’d have to say they were due. If nothing else, it would give them something else to sell at the merch stand, which I feel like as they come back around to cities time and again, has probably been visited by fans on more than one occasion. The thing though about Weedeater live? They’re pretty incredible. I mean it. Having just seen them a few weeks ago at Desertfest NYC (review here), I was reminded of their overall badassery and enduring wreck-all. They are one of a kind.

They’ll be out with Irata and they have a date with Pallbearer in Philly as well. So sayeth the PR wire:

weedeater irata dates

WEEDEATER Announce New U.S. Tour Dates

Cape Fear metal legends WEEDEATER have announced a new run of U.S. headliner tour dates in which they will be supported by IRATA. The trek will kick off on May 29 in Johnson City, TN and will conclude on June 3 in Charlottesville, VA. The run will also include a co-headliner with PALLBEARER on 5/31 in Philadelphia, PA. The full itinerary is as follows:

WEEDEATER U.S. TOUR DATES:
05/29: Johnson City TN @ The Hideaway
05/31: Philadelphia PA @ Union Transfer*
06/01: Dayton OH @ Turnbuckles and Brews
06/02: Washington DC @ Rock and Roll Hotel
06/03: Charlottesville VA @ The Southern
*With PALLBEARER, No IRATA

All of WEEDEATER’s albums are now available at fine stores nationwide and online at the WEEDEATER Bandcamp page.

WEEDEATER was formed by front-man/bassist “Dixie” Dave Collins. Following the release of their 2001 debut ‘…And Justice For Y’All’, WEEDEATER immediately established themselves as a force in the U.S. tour circuit and quickly gained notoriety in the American metal scene. In the time since, the band have released three critically-acclaimed albums: ‘Sixteen Tons’ (2002), ‘God Luck And Good Speed’ (2007), and ‘Jason… The Dragon’ (2011), and toured around the world with the likes of DOWN, SAINT VITUS, HIGH ON FIRE, and THE MELVINS, HANK III, EARTH, SUNN O))) and more. The band has played prestigious festivals such as Maryland Deathfest, Hopscotch Festival, Stoned From The Underground, Asymmetry Festival, Roadburn Festival, Hellfest, and many more.

https://www.facebook.com/weedmetal/
https://weedeater.bandcamp.com/
https://www.twitter.com/seasonofmist
https://www.facebook.com/seasonofmistofficial
http://www.season-of-mist.com/

Weedeater, Goliathan (2015)

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Deathwhite Begin Recording New Album Grave Image

Posted in Whathaveyou on May 10th, 2019 by JJ Koczan

deathwhite

Now a four-piece, Pittsburgh melodic doom metallers Deathwhite have announced they’ve begun recording their second album, to be titled Grave Image and released through Season of Mist. The same imprint stood behind their early-2018 debut, For a Black Tomorrow (review here), which offered an American interpretation of the kind of emotive doom proffered by the likes of Katatonia or Alternative 4-era Anathema. It was a full-length that I think flew under a lot of people’s radar, but as a fan of the style was something that hit a chord with me, and I’ll look forward to hearing what they come out with having returned to Cerebral Audio Productions to lay down the instrumental tracks while vocals will be done at Mana Recording in Tampa, Florida. Nice vacation, and I wonder if that means Erik Rutan (Hate Eternal) will be at the helm. Could be interesting.

The band made the announcement of work being done in short and sweet fashion via a social media post. I’ve also included the stream of the first LP below in case you’d like a refresher.

Have at it:

deathwhite cheat sheet

DEATHWHITE Enters Studio To Record New Album, ‘Grave Image’

It is with great pleasure to share we are currently in the throes of recording our second full-length album, “Grave Image.” The album will be released in the not-terribly-distant future via Season of Mist.

Cerebral Audio Productions’ Shane Mayer is once again overseeing the sessions; vocals will be tracked at Mana Recording in Tampa, Florida. And, much to our delight, the esteemed Dan Swano will handle mastering.

We are now a quartet, having added a second guitar player. Such an addition, along with new twists and turns in the songwriting process, make “Grave Image” an effort we are imminently proud of. We look forward to sharing more details as matters unfold. Until then…

http://www.facebook.com/deathwhiteofficial
https://deathwhite.bandcamp.com/
http://deathwhite.com/
http://www.season-of-mist.com/
https://www.facebook.com/seasonofmistofficial/

Deathwhite, For a Black Tomorrow (2018)

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