Árstíðir Sign to Season of Mist; New Album Coming Soon

Posted in Whathaveyou on August 17th, 2017 by JJ Koczan

Icelandic chamber folk ensemble Árstíðir have signed a deal to release their fourth album through Season of Mist later this year. The Reykjavík-based crafters of melody haven’t set an exact date yet so far as I’ve seen, but if that means it’s going to be a winter release, one could hardly think of more appropriate fare for those darker, still and reflective moments of that time of year than the rich folk harmonies they offer.

Even if it winds up being an early-2018 outing — looking at you, eternal hopelessness of February — Season of Mist has done well in the past setting fellow Icelanders Sólstafir up for colder-month releases, and as a kind of companion outfit, Árstíðir are even more of a fit with the label’s ongoing expansion in roster and style. Not that they need me to say so, but this is a cool pickup.

The PR wire has details and heralds good things to come:

arstidir

ÁRSTÍÐIR sign to Season of Mist

Season of Mist are proud to announce the signing of Iceland’s ÁRSTÍÐIR. The contemporary indie/chamber folk band will release their much anticipated new album through Season of Mist later next year. The band’s complete catalog is now available digitally in North America, on all platforms including Spotify, Apple Music, Bandcamp, and more.

Regarding the recent signing, the band comments: “We have admired bands associated with Season of Mist for years. In our minds, this label represents quality and artistic integrity. It has that aura which tells you that it is all about the music, that the bands are the real deal, and not just grist to the grinding mill of commercial music. And that is the kind of label, you want your music on. We feel a kinship with the good people and artists at Season of Mist, and we are proud be a part of this family.”

ÁRSTÍÐIR first emerged from the burgeoning Icelandic music scene in 2008, when the three founding members (Daniel Auðunsson: guitar, vocals; Gunnar Már Jakobsson: baritone guitar, vocals; and Ragnar Ólafsson: piano, vocals) discovered their mutual love for vocal harmonies. Daniel, Gunnar and Ragnar quickly went from playing acoustic covers to their own music, amalgamating influences from classical compositions, folk rock, and minimalist soundscapes into something they could call their own.

With early lyrical references pointing towards the spectacular nature and scenery of the Icelandic volcanic landscape, and the wildly different seasons there, the band took the name ÁRSTÍÐIR, which translates to “Seasons” in their native tongue.

Only four months after their formation, ÁRSTÍÐIR scored a number one hit on Icelandic national radio with the track “Sunday Morning”. The band then released their eponymous debut ‘Árstíðir’ in 2009, and began touring internationally.

ÁRSTÍÐIR’s second album, ‘Svefns Og Vöku Skil’ followed in 2011, and only a year later, the band won Geramny’s prestigious Eiserner Eversteiner European Folk Music Award. Shortly thereafter, an impromptu acapella performance of an old Icelandic hymn in a train station, went viral on YouTube, attracting millions of views.

ÁRSTÍÐIR launched a highly successful crowdfunding campaign in 2014 to finance the recording of their third full-length ‘Hvel’, which translates to “Spheres”. The campaign exceeded all expectations, raising almost four times their original goal, and uncovering a legion of North American fans that the band was unaware they had.

A 2016 collaboration with Anneke Van Giersbergen (formerly of THE GATHERING) followed. The album, ‘Verloren Verleden’ contains a collection of re-imagined traditional and classical songs.

https://www.facebook.com/arstidir/
https://twitter.com/Arstidir
http://instagram.com/arstidir
http://www.arstidir.com/
https://www.facebook.com/seasonofmistofficial/
https://twitter.com/SeasonofMist
https://www.instagram.com/seasonofmistofficial/
http://www.season-of-mist.com/

, “Scarborough Fair” live Dec. 23, 2016

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Saint Vitus Confirm European Tour Dates with Mos Generator

Posted in Whathaveyou on August 3rd, 2017 by JJ Koczan

Granted, we already knew that doom masters Saint Vitus were heading back to Europe this Fall. The legendary-yet-somehow-still-perpetually-underdog outfit were previously confirmed to take part in Up in Smoke 2017, Desertfest Athens 2017, Blowup Vol. 3, Desertfest Belgium 2017, Into the Void and Keep it Low 2017, and well, that pretty much accounts for three successive weekends of busy-as-hell European touring. Still, it’s good to fill in the gaps between and get the news that the band will be joined by Mos Generator on the run, which is the second Euro tour for Vitus in 2017 behind a Spring fling with the now-defunct Tombstones that included stops at Desertfest London and Berlin. By hitting Athens and Antwerp, Vitus will have played every single 2017 Desertfest. Not too shabby.

This also isn’t their first stint with Mos Generator, and if you’ll recall, it was that band’s guitarist/vocalist, Tony Reed, who produced their triumphant 2012 comeback long-player,  Lillie: F-65 (review here). With original vocalist Scott Reagers returned to the lineup and new bassist Pat Bruders having stepped in earlier this year for founder Mark AdamsVitus were allegedly working on a follow-up to Lillie: F-65, though what the current status of that might be as they head abroad once again, I couldn’t say. In the meantime, they released Live Vol. 2 (review here) last year via Season of Mist.

That same label sent the following down the PR wire:

SAINT VITUS announce new European tour

Heavy metal legends SAINT VITUS have announced a new European headlining tour this Fall. The tour kicks off on September 8, and sees SAINT VITUS performing across several festivals such as Fall of Summer, Desertfest, Keep it Low and more before concluding in October. Support on this tour comes from MOS GENERATOR. A full list of confirmed tour dates can be found below.

SAINT VITUS are touring in support of their recently released ‘Live Vol. 2’ album. ‘Live Vol. 2’ captures a dominating, Wino-fronted 2013 Euro festival headline set from the ‘Lillie: F-65’ line-up (Dave Chandler: guitar, Scott “Wino” Weinrich: vocals, Mark Adams: bass, Henry Vasquez: drums) and tour. ‘Live Vol. 2’ , is streaming now at the official SAINT VITUS Bandcamp page. ‘Live Vol. 2’ is available at the Season of Mist E-Shop.

In addition to the CD and Double LP versions that are in worldwide distribution, a deluxe edition of ‘Live Vol. 2’ is available exclusively from Season of Mist. This deluxe version is available as a double CD and triple-LP with the rare live album “Marbles in the Mosphit” as the second CD and third LP respectively. “Marbles in the Moshpit” features a killer performance recorded live on December 20, 1984 in Ontario while the band was supporting BLACK FLAG. The album features the classic SAINT VITUS lineup (Dave Chandler: guitar, Scott Reagers: vocals, Mark Adams: bass, Armando J. Acosta: Drums) performing VITUS classics such as “Hallow’s Victim”, “White Magic/Black Magic”, “White Stallion”, and more.

SAINT VITUS tour dates:
Sept 8 Torcy (FR) @ Fall of Summer
Sept 30 Sheffield (UK) @ Academy (HRH Doom & Stoner)
Oct 1 London (UK) @ Underworld
Oct 2 Coventry (UK) @ Phoenix
Oct 3 Glasgow (UK) @ Audio
Oct 4 Manchester (UK) @ Rebellion
Oct 7 Pratteln (CH) @ Z7 (Up in Smoke Festival 2017)
Oct 8 Athens (GR) @ Lera Odos (Desertfest 2017)
Oct 9 Wien (AT) @ Viper Room
Oct 10 Bologna (IT) @ Freakout Club
Oct 11 Roma (IT) @ Traffic Live
Oct 12 Mezaggo (IT) @ Bloom
Oct 14 Helsinki (FI) @ Korjaamo (Blowup Vol. 3)
Oct 15 Antwerpen (BE) @ Trix (Desertfest 2017)
Oct 17 Frankfurt (DE) @ Zoom
Oct 19 Chemnitz (DE) @ Talschock
Oct 20 Leeuwarden (NL) @ Neushoorn (Into the Void Festival)
Oct 22 München (DE) @ Feierwerk (Keep It Low Festival)
Oct 23 Berlin (DE) @ Lido

BAND LINE-UP:
David Chandler (guitar)
Scott Reagers (vocals)
Henry Vasquez (drums)
Pat Bruders (bass)

https://www.facebook.com/saintvitusofficial
https://twitter.com/saintvitusband
http://saint-vitus.tumblr.com/
http://www.saintvitusband.com/
https://www.facebook.com/seasonofmistofficial
https://www.twitter.com/seasonofmist
http://instagram.com/seasonofmistofficial
http://www.season-of-mist.com/

Saint Vitus, Live Vol. 2 (2016)

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Mark Deutrom Signs to Season of Mist; New Album Due this Winter

Posted in Whathaveyou on August 2nd, 2017 by JJ Koczan

Hearty congratulations to Mark Deutrom on inking a deal to release his next solo album through Season of Mist. The Austin-based producer, solo artist, Clown Alley and Bellringer founder and peak-era Melvins (yeah, that’s right — I said it) bassist seems to have made a multi-tiered pact with the increasingly broad-minded and deeply respected purveyor imprint, and one can’t help but wonder if in addition to reissuing at least some of his back catalog — likely including Bellringer‘s 2016 debut full-length, Jettison (review here) — the next couple years won’t find Deutrom behind the board tracking other Season of Mist-related acts. I don’t know that you’d ever pry them away from Steve Albini at this point, but how cool would a Deutrom-helmed Weedeater album be? Or Crippled Black Phoenix?

There’s no word about anything of the sort, of course, but cool to know Deutrom, who’s been a pretty steady presence around here the last couple years, has more new stuff in the works and will be taking his audience reach to an entirely different level with this new affiliation. Right on.

From the PR wire:

mark deutrom

MARK DEUTROM signs to Season of Mist

Season of Mist are proud to announce the signing of MARK DEUTROM. The prolific musician from Texas and former MELVINS member will not only release his next album via Season of Mist, but will also reissue his solo-material, and albums published under the BELLRINGER banner.

Regarding the signing, Mark comments: “I am delighted to be working with Season of Mist, and to be a part of their diverse and accomplished cabal. I’m also looking forward to a new chapter for my back catalog, as well as exploring new and uncharted sonic landscapes.”

MARK DEUTROM is a renowned guitarist, composer, songwriter, and producer. Mark studied composition at California Institute of the Arts in Valencia, USA. There he attended seminars with such composers as John Cage, Lou Harrison, Morton Feldman, Aaron Copland, and Morton Subotnick.

In 1986, MARK DEUTROM co-founded Alchemy Records in San Francisco, CA. During his time at the label he produced a record for his own band, CLOWN ALLEY, as well as records for scene stalwarts SACRILEGE, MELVINS, RKL, and NEUROSIS. Mark also released records for bands such as POISON IDEA, VIRULENCE, and more.

MARK DEUTROM was invited to play bass in the MELVINS in 1993. He joined the same year and remained in the band until 1998. Mark contributed material to the albums ‘Prick’, ‘Stoner Witch’, ‘Stag’, ‘Honky’, and additional releases. During his time with MELVINS, they toured with TOOL, NIRVANA, NINE INCH NAILS, KISS, and RUSH among others.

In 2006, MARK DEUTROM was invited to collaborate with SUNNO))) on various live dates in the USA and Europe.

Mark has released various solo projects and continues to produce for other bands.

Deutrom’s band BELLRINGER has served as the main live vehicle for his music and also collaborations with other musicians. BELLRINGER released their latest album ‘Jettison’ in 2016.

MARK DEUTROM will release his 6th solo album via Season of Mist in the coming winter.

www.markdeutrom.com
www.bellringeratx.com
www.facebook.com/BellringerTX
http://www.season-of-mist.com/
https://www.facebook.com/seasonofmistofficial
https://www.twitter.com/seasonofmist

Bellringer, Jettison (2016)

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The Obelisk Radio Adds: Boris, Sólstafir, Desert Suns & Chiefs, Elara, Fungus Hill

Posted in Radio on July 31st, 2017 by JJ Koczan

the obelisk radio cavum

Some bigger releases going up to the playlist for The Obelisk Radio this time around, and that’s just fine by me. It’s five albums listed here, but there are a few others included as well that you can see listed on the updates page and it’s good stuff all the way around. It was all actually supposed to go up last week, but you know, life is chaos and all that. I hope as always that you manage to find something you enjoy, and if you haven’t heard some of this stuff as yet — I suspect you have, because you know what’s up and I’m perpetually behind on these things; more than just a week, on average — then all the better. Let’s dig in together.

The Obelisk Radio adds for July 31, 2017:

Boris, Dear

boris dear

If you were Boris and you were looking to celebrate a quarter-century of innovating heavy rock, noise, drone, J-pop, and genreless forays into bizarre sonic delights, how would you do it? If you said, “I’d release 69 heavy-as-hell minutes of rumbling tectonics and progressive scope making for one of the best albums of the year,” you’d seem to be on the money. The Japanese trio’s umpteenth full-length, Dear (on Sargent House in the US/EU and Daymare in Japan), begins with the appropriately-titled “D.O.W.N. – Domination of Waiting Noise,” setting forth a consuming six-minute onslaught of feedback and lumbering pummel before the SunnO)))-rivaling drone of “Deadsong” takes hold, shifting at its midpoint to a spaciousness all Boris‘ own. Then they chug out galloping riff triplets on “Absolutego” like it ain’t no thing. That’s Boris: the band who named themselves after a Melvins song and then utterly outdid their namesake on every creative level and have continued to do so throughout one of underground music’s most landmark tenures. Dear offers simultaneous melodic breadth and droning depth on its centerpiece duo of “Kagero” and “Biotope” after counteracting minimalist march with explosive crash on “Beyond,” but they’re still just getting started. The seven-minute “The Power” leads off the second of the two LPs and seems to stem upward from the same roots as YOB at their harshest, brutally feedbacking into the dronegaze of the shorter “Memento Mori” before the 12-minute “Dystopia – Vanishing Point” and the nine-minute title-track comprise a side D that’s nothing less than a triumphant lesson in how to meet your audience head-on right before you swallow them whole, setting its stage with keys and tribalist drums quickly before hypnotizing through five minutes of quiet stretch and bursting gloriously to life ahead of one last contrast of empty spaces and crushing tonality on “Dear” that gives way at last to the noise and feedback that’s always been so essential to their process. If Dear is a letter to Boris‘ fans, as they have said, it is also a willful embrace of the wide-open sensibilities that have made the last 25 years of their craft so uniquely their own. They can go anywhere stylistically and remain Boris precisely because they refuse to settle on a single idea that defines them.

Boris on Thee Facebooks

Boris at Sargent House’s website

 

Sólstafir, Berdreyminn

solstafir berdreyminn

Having now passed the 20-year mark since their founding in 1995, Iceland’s Sólstafir continue to reshape melancholy in their own image on their sixth album and third for Season of Mist, Berdreyminn. The Reykjavik-based four-piece keep the significant achievements of 2014’s Ótta (review here) close to the chest throughout the eight-track/57-minute offering, but songs like “Ísafold” have an upbeat push behind their emotional resonance, and even on a brooding piano piece like “Hvít Sæng,” the overarching sense of motion and the dynamic is maintained. The penultimate “Ambátt” — first of two eight-minute cuts in a finale duo — might be Berdreyminn‘s richest progressive achievement, with its lush opening vocal harmonies giving way to a patiently-delivered clinic on texture, build and payoff that borders on the orchestral. Of course, strings and horns to appear on the album, adding to already complex arrangements, but Sólstafir never lose their corresponding human center, and as “Bláfjall” closes with an intensity of thrust hinted at by the cymbal-crash wash of opener “Silfur-Refur” and the post-blackened push of “Nárós” but ultimately on its own level, they underline the realization and poise that is simply all their own. Berdreyminn is the sound of a band doing important work, and with it, Sólstafir only prove themselves more crucial on an aesthetic level, yet it might be their ability to somehow still feel in-progress that most defines what makes them so special. More than two decades on, they still come across like a group exploring their sound and finding new ways to develop their songwriting — which they are and which they do here. That in itself is an accomplishment worthy of every accolade they reap, and Berdreyminn lives up to that standard front to back across its engaging, encompassing span.

Sólstafir on Thee Facebooks

Sólstafir at Season of Mist’s website

 

Desert Suns & Chiefs, The Second Coming of Heavy – Chapter 5

second-coming-of-heavy-chapter-5-desert-suns-chiefs

Ripple Music has made its The Second Coming of Heavy series of split LPs an essential showcase of the variety in underground rock. The Second Coming of Heavy – Chapter 5 brings together San Diego heavy psych/blues rockers Desert Suns, who also reissued their debut long-player through Ripple in 2016 and followed it with the single “The Haunting” (review here) in conjunction with Ripple and HeviSike Records, and Phoenix, Arizona’s Chiefs, whose 2015 debut, Tomorrow’s Over (review here), arrived on vinyl via Battleground Records and whose five tracks included on side B here cast them among the best Ripple Music bands in the Southwest not currently signed to Ripple Music for their next album. More than some prior installments, The Second Coming of Heavy – Chapter 5 finds its two featured purveyors complementing each other’s work excellently, as Desert Suns offer three seven-plus minute tracks running from the harmonica-inclusive “Night Train” and the rolling, long-fading “Solitude” with the push of “Heavy” in between and Chiefs — though their individual runtimes are shorter — holding straightforward heavy/desert rock methods at their core in unpretentious fashion across “The Rhino,” the standout “Baron to Chancellor,” “Low Tide,” “Caroline” and “My Last Stand,” nodding initially at ’90s noise rock à la Helmet in “The Rhino” but in the end keeping to their sandy, well-structured mission. As ever, The Second Coming of Heavy asks nothing more of its audience than a basic exploration of the groups included, and certainly both Desert Suns and Chiefs earn that. Whether one takes it on in the context of the prior chapters or as a standalone split release, it delivers a collection of cuts from two outfits with a shared core of quality songcraft and the underlying message that sometimes the straight-line route is the way to go. Right on, once again.

Desert Suns on Thee Facebooks

Chiefs on Thee Facebooks

Ripple Music website

Ripple Music on Bandcamp

 

Elara, Deli Bal

elara deli bal

Both sides of Elara‘s PsyKa Records-released debut full-length, Deli Bal, are comprised of one shorter track on either side of eight minutes and one longer one, 12 and 17 minutes, respectively. Between that and the cover art, it should come as no surprise that heavy psychedelic drift is central to what the Stuttgart, Germany, trio of bassist/vocalist Daniel Wieland, guitarist/noisemaker Felix Schmidt and drummer Martin Wieland — who also stylize their name as the bracketed [Elara Sunstreak Band] — get up to in their first offering, but there’s an underlying progressive melodic sensibility as well, and Schmidt‘s guitar seems to have picked up a few lessons from My Sleeping Karma‘s minor-key solo mysticism, so one can hear a sound beginning to take shape early as the leadoff title-track gives way to “Amida,” which swaps back and forth between organ-laden krautrock meandering and fuller-fuzz thrust, and as “Quarantania” reinforces that classic vibe with a warm bass tone from Daniel. Whether you’re listening to the platter itself and switching sides or digitally or on CD, Deli Bal is clearly intended to be consumed as a whole work, and one can hear the vocal melody of “Harmonia” tying back to that in the opener as another example of the underlying structure with which it plays out, despite the broad feel of the songs themselves and the expanses they both intend and actually do cover. The LP has just the four tracks, but the digital version comes with the 9:42 bonus cut “Trimenon,” which builds around a core post-rocking guitar line to come to a fervent apex before receding again to let the listener go gently from Deli Bal‘s total 56-minute runtime; no minor undertaking, but effectively executed and a pleasure in its wandering mind and spirit.

Elara on Thee Facebooks

PsyKA Records on Bandcamp

 

Fungus Hill, Creatures

fungus hill creatures

This early-2017 psychedelic curio from Umeå, Sweden’s Fungus Hill begins by asking “Are You Dead?” The just-under-nine-minute opener and longest track (immediate points) of the groovy outfit’s four-song, self-released, 28-minute debut Creatures EP doesn’t sound overly concerned with whether the answer is yes or no so much as enacting a serene flow by posing the question over a laid back bluesy vibe. Arrangement? Fluid. With dual vocals from guitarist Gustav Orvefors and percussionist Jenny Isaksson — the five-piece is completed by guitarist Erik Sköld, drummer Nils Mörtzell and bassist Tom Westerlund — Fungus Hill are able to bring variety as they turn to post-Ghost straightforward ’70s chorus-leaning in the first half of “Beware of Evil in the Sky,” prior to a midsection trip outward on subdued shimmy and deceptively complex melodicism. The flute (or keyboard flute sounds) of the jazzy “Evolution” brings Isaksson to the floor with a smoky, even-bluesier feel, and the guitar answers back with fuzzy lead flourish that only enhances the soul on display, while a seven-and-a-half-minute closing title-track delves deepest of all into thicker riffing, a “Na na na na” hook taking hold quickly just in case you weren’t sure it was going to be a highlight. It is. More tonally dense than most retro boogie — and less retro, for that matter — Fungus Hill‘s Creatures nonetheless has its traditionalist elements, but across its individual pieces each one points to a different side of the band’s personality, and from the Alan Watts sample at the beginning of “Are You Dead?” to when we meet the troll later in “Creatures,” each side of that personality utterly shines.

Fungus Hill on Thee Facebooks

Fungus Hill on Bandcamp

 

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Quarterly Review: Ecstatic Vision, Norska, Bison, Valborg, Obelyskkh, Earth Electric, Olde, Deaf Radio, Saturndust, Birnam Wood

Posted in Reviews on July 14th, 2017 by JJ Koczan

quarterly-review-summer-2017

It turns out that, yes indeed, I will be able to add another day to the Quarterly Review this coming Monday. Stoked on that. Means I’ll be trying to cram another 10 reviews into this coming weekend, but that’s not exactly a hardship as I see it, and the stuff I have picked out for it is, frankly, as much of a bonus for me as it could possibly be for anyone else, so yeah, look out for that. In the meantime, we wrap the Monday-to-Friday span of 50 records today with another swath of what’s basically me doing favors for my ears, and I hope as always for yours as well. Let’s dig in.

Quarterly Review #41-50:

Ecstatic Vision, Raw Rock Fury

ecstatic-vision-raw-rock-fury

Hard touring and a blistering debut in 2015’s Sonic Praise (review here) quickly positioned Ecstatic Vision at the forefront of a Philadelphia-based mini-boom in heavy psych (see also: Ruby the Hatchet, Meddlesome Meddlesome Meddlsome Bells, and so on), and their Relapse-issued follow-up, Raw Rock Fury, only delves further into unmitigated cosmic swirl and space-rocking crotchal thrust. The now-foursome keep a steady ground in percussion and low end even as guitar, sax, synth and echoing vocals seem to push ever more far-out, and across the record’s four tracks – variously broken up across two sides – the band continue to stake out their claim on the righteously psychedelic, be it in the all-go momentum building of “You Got it (Or You Don’t)” or the more drifting opening movement of closer “Twinkling Eye.” Shit is trippy, son. With the echoing-from-the-depths shouts of Doug Sabolik cutting through, there’s still an edge of Eastern Seaboard intensity to Ecstatic Vision, but that only seems to make Raw Rock Fury live up to its title all the more. Still lots of potential here, but it’ll be their third record that tells the tale of whether they can truly conquer space itself.

Ecstatic Vision on Thee Facebooks

Ecstatic Vision at Relapse Records website

 

Norska, Too Many Winters

norska-too-many-winters

Issued through Brutal Panda, Too Many Winters is the second full-length from Portland five-piece Norska, and its six tracks/48 minutes would seem to pick up where Rwake left off in presenting a progressive vision of what might be called post-sludge. Following an engaging 2011 self-titled debut, songs like the title-track and “This is Why We Can’t Have Nice Things” churn and careen through Sourvein-style abrasion, vaguely Neurosis-style nod and, in the case of the latter or closer “Fire Patience Backbone,” soundscaping minimalism that, in the finale, is bookended by some of the record’s most intense push following opener “Samhain” and the subsequent “Eostre.” That salvo starts Too Many Winters with a deceptive amount of thrust, but even there atmosphere is central as it is to the outing as a whole, and a penultimate interlude in the 2:22 “Wave of Regrets” does well to underscore the point before the fading-in initial onslaught of “Fire Patience Backbone.” Having Aaron Rieseberg of YOB in the lineup with Jim Lowder, Dustin Rieseberg, Rob Shaffer and Jason Oswald no doubt draws eyes their way, but Norska’s sonic persona is distinct, immersive and individualized enough to stand on its own well beyond that pedigree.

Norska on Thee Facebooks

Norska at Brutal Panda Records website

 

Bison, You are Not the Ocean You are the Patient

bison-you-are-not-the-ocean-you-are-the-patient

Think about the two choices. You are Not the Ocean You are the Patient. Isn’t it the difference between something acting – i.e., an object – and something acted upon – i.e., a subject? As British Columbian heavy rockers Bison return after half a decade via Pelagic Records, their fourth album seems to find them trying to push beyond genre lines into a broader scope. “Until the Earth is Empty,” “Drunkard,” “Anti War” and “Raiigin” still have plenty of thrust, but the mood here is darker even than 2012’s Lovelessness found the four-piece, and “Tantrum” and closer “The Water Becomes Fire” bring out a more methodical take. It’s been 10 years since Bison issued their debut Earthbound EP and signed to Metal Blade for 2008’s Quiet Earth, and the pre-Red Fang party-ready heavy rock of those early works is long gone – one smiles to remember “These are My Dress Clothes” in the context of noise-rocking centerpiece “Kenopsia” here, the title of which refers to the emptiness of a formerly occupied space – but if the choice Bison are making is to place themselves on one side or the other of the subject/object divide, they prove to be way more ocean than patient in these songs.

Bison on Thee Facebooks

Bison at Pelagic Records website

 

Valborg, Endstrand

valborg-endstrand

With its churning, swirling waves of cosmic death, one almost expects Valborg’s Endstrand (on Lupus Lounge/Prophecy Productions) to be more self-indulgent than it is, but one of the German trio’s greatest assets across the 13-track/44-minute span of their sixth album is its immediacy. The longest song, “Stossfront,” doesn’t touch five minutes, and from the 2:14 opener “Jagen” onward, Valborg reenvision punk rock as a monstrous, consuming beast on songs like “Blut am Eisen,” “Beerdigungsmaschine,” “Alter,” “Atompetze” and closer “Exodus,” all the while meting put punishment after punishment of memorable post-industrial riffing on “Orbitalwaffe,” the crashing “Ave Maria” and the noise-soaked penultimate “Strahlung,” foreboding creeper atmospherics on “Bunkerluft” and “Geisterwürde,” and landmark, perfectly-paced chug on “Plasmabrand.” Extreme in its intent and impact, Endstrand brings rare clarity to an anti-genre vision of brutality as an art form, and at any given moment, its militaristic threat feels real, sincere and like an appropriate and righteous comment on the terrors of our age. Fucking a.

Valborg on Thee Facebooks

Valborg at Prophecy Productions website

 

Obelyskkh, The Providence

obelyskkh-the-providence

Probably fair to call the current status of German post-doomers Obelyskkh in flux following the departure of guitarist Stuart West, but the band has said they’ll keep going and their fourth album, The Providence (on Exile on Mainstream) finds them capping one stage of their tenure with a decidedly forward-looking perspective. Its six-song/56-minute run borders on unmanageable, but that’s clearly the intent, and an air of proggy weirdness infects The Providence from the midsection of its opening title-track onward as the band – West, guitarist/vocalist Woitek Broslowski, bassist Seb Fischer and drummer Steve Paradise – tackle King Crimson rhythmic nuance en route to an effects-swirling vision of Lovecraftian doomadelia and massive roll. Cuts like “Raving Ones” and 13-minute side B leadoff “NYX” play out with a similarly deceptive multifaceted vibe, and by the time the penultimate “Aeons of Iconoclasm” bursts outward from its first half’s spacious minimalism into all-out High on Fire thrust ahead of the distortion-soaked churn of closer “Marzanna” – which ends, appropriately, with laughter topping residual effects noise – Obelyskkh make it abundantly clear anything goes. The most impressive aspect of The Providence is that Obelyskkh manage to control all this crunching chaos, and one hopes that as they continue forward, they’ll hold firm to that underlying consciousness.

Obelyskkh on Thee Facebooks

Exile on Mainstream Records website

 

Earth Electric, Vol. 1: Solar

earth-electric-vol-1-solar

Former Mayhem/Aura Noir guitarist Rune “Blasphemer” Ericksen leads breadth-minded Portuguese four-piece Earth Electric, and their devil-in-the-details Season of Mist debut, Vol. 1: Solar, runs a prog-metal gamut across a tightly-woven nine tracks and 35 minutes, Ericksen’s vocals and those of Carmen Susana Simões (Moonspell, ex-Ava Inferi) intertwine fluidly at the forefront of sharply angular riffing and rhythmic turns from bassist Alexandre Ribeiro and drummer Ricardo Martins. The organ-laced push of “Meditate Meditate” and “Solar” and the keyboard flourish of “Earthrise” (contributed by Dan Knight) draw as much from classic rock as metal, but the brew Earth Electric crafts from them is potent and very much the band’s own. “The Great Vast” and the shorter “Set Sail (Towards the Sun)” set up a direct flow into the title cut, and as one returns to Earth Electric for repeat listens, the actual scope of the album and the potential for how the band might continue to develop are likewise expansive, despite its many pulls into torrents of head-down riffing. Almost intimidating in its refusal to bow to genre.

Earth Electric on Thee Facebooks

Earth Electric at Season of Mist website

 

Olde, Temple

olde-temple

After debuting in 2014 with I (review here), Toronto’s Olde return via STB Records with Temple, proffering sludge-via-doom vibes and a center of weighted tonality around which the rest of their aesthetic would seem to be built, vocalist Doug McLarty’s throaty growls alternately cutting through and buried by the riffs of guitarists Greg Dawson (also production) and Chris “Hippy” Hughes, the bass of Cory McCallum and the rolling crashes of drummer Ryan Aubin (also of Sons of Otis) on tightly constructed pieces like “Now I See You” and the tempo-shifting “Centrifugal Disaster,” which reminds by its finish that sometimes all you need is nod. Olde have more to offer than just that, of course, as the plodding spaciousness of “The Ghost Narrative” and the lumbering “Maelstrom” demonstrate, but even in the turns between crush and more open spaces of the centerpiece title-track and the drifting post-heavy rock of closer “Castaway,” the underlying focus is on capital-‘h’ Heavy, and Olde wield it as only experts can.

Olde on Thee Facebooks

STB Records webstore

 

Deaf Radio, Alarm

deaf radio alarm

Based in Athens and self-releasing their debut album, Alarm, in multiple vinyl editions, the four-piece of Panos Gklinos, Dimitris Sakellariou, Antonis Mantakas and George Diathesopoulos – collectively known as Deaf Radio – make no bones about operating in the post-Queens of the Stone Age/Them Crooked Vultures sphere of heavy rock. To their credit, the songwriting throughout “Aggravation,” “Vultures and Killers” and the careening “Revolving Doors” lives up to that standard, and though even the later “Oceanic Feeling” seems to be informed by the methods of Josh Homme, there’s a melodic identity there that belongs more to Deaf Radio as well, and keeping Alarm in mind as their first long-player, it’s that identity that one hopes the band will continue to develop. Rounding out side B with the howling guitar and Rated R fuzz of the six-minute “…And We Just Pressed the Alarm Button,” Deaf Radio build to a suitable payoff for the nine-track outing and affirm the aesthetic foundation they’ve laid for themselves.

Deaf Radio on Thee Facebooks

Deaf Radio on Bandcamp

 

Saturndust, RLC

saturndust rlc

The further you go into Saturndust’s 58-minute second LP RLC, the more there is to find. At any given moment, the São Paulo, Brazil-based outfit can be playing to impulses ranging from proggy space rock, righteously doomed tonal heft, aggressive blackened thrust or spacious post-sludge – in one song. Over longform cuts like “Negative-Parallel Dimensional,” “RLC,” “Time Lapse of Existence” and closer “Saturn 12.C,” the trio cast a wide-enough swath to be not quite genreless but genuinely multi-tiered and not necessarily as disjointed as one might expect in their feel, and though when they want to, they roll out massive, lumbering riffs, that’s only one tool in a full arsenal at their apparent disposal. What tie RLC together are the sure hands of guitarist/vocalist Felipe Dalam, bassist Guilherme Cabral and drummer Douglas Oliveira guiding it, so that when the galloping-triplet chug of “Time Lapse of Existence” hits, it works as much in contrast to the synth-loaded “Titan” preceding as in conjunction with it. Rather than summarize, “Saturn 12.C” pushes far out on a wash of Dalam’s keyboards before a wide-stomping apex, seeming to take Saturndust to their farthest point beyond the stratosphere yet. Safe travels and many happy returns.

Saturndust on Thee Facebooks

Saturndust on Bandcamp

 

Birnam Wood, Triumph of Death

birnam wood triumph of death

Massachusetts doomers Birnam Wood have two prior EPs under their collective belt in 2015’s Warlord and a 2014 self-titled, but the two-songer single Triumph of Death (kudos on the Hellhammer reference) is my first exposure to their blend of modern progressive metal melody and traditional doom. They roll out both in able fashion on the single’s uptempo opening title-track and follow with the BlackSabbath-“Black-Sabbath” sparse notemaking early in their own “Birnam Wood.” All told, Triumph of Death is only a little over nine minutes long, but it makes for an encouraging sampling of Birnam Wood’s wares all the same, and as Dylan Edwards, Adam McGrath, Shaun Anzalone and Matt Wagner shift into faster swing circa the eponymous tune’s solo-topped midpoint, they do so with a genuine sense of homage that does little to take away from the sense of individuality they’ve brought to the style even in this brief context. They call it stoner metal, and there’s something to that, but if we’re going on relative balance, Triumph of Death is more doom-stoner than stoner-doom, and it revels within that niche-within-a-niche-within-a-niche sensibility.

Birnam Wood on Thee Facebooks

Birnam Wood on Bandcamp

 

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Weedeater Announces Tour Dates with Telekinetic Yeti & Beitthemeans

Posted in Whathaveyou on June 26th, 2017 by JJ Koczan

Goodness gracious, Weedeater. Leave some touring for the rest of the bands, huh? You know, the North Carolina sludge mainstays weren’t yet done being on the road with Primitive Man back in May before they announced their June tour, and here we are, it’s an off-day in the home stretch of that June run and they’re announcing their next cross-country stint already, which is set to start Aug. 9 and will last a full month from there out. These guys are fucking unreal. You’d think they were a punk band with a bunch of 20-year-olds in it.

They’ve been on the road constantly since at least the start of 2016 supporting their 2015 Goliathan (review here) album on Season of Mist, and if you want to note something particularly encouraging about this run and really their touring in general it’s that they take younger bands out with them and have a well-established reputation for showing everyone they bring out a good time while also being absolute professionals at what they do. Weedeater touring with Telekinetic Yeti on the latter’s most significant run to-date? That’s awesome. I hope it goes well. Nobody seems to break up immediately after touring with Weedeater — hell, Beitthemeans did a stint with them earlier this year — is all I’m saying. Sometimes that kind of thing happens with other bands.

Dates follow — including stops at Crucialfest and Psycho Las Vegas — as announced by Tone Deaf Touring today:

weedeater tour aug 2017

Weedeater announces August-September dates!

WEEDEATER are touring in support of their new album Goliathan’. The album is streaming here. ‘Goliathan’ is available across various CD and LP formats at the Season of Mist E-Shop.

Weedeater remaining June tour dates:
Jun. 27 Columbus OH @ Ace of Cups
Jun. 28 Louisville KY @ Trixies
Jun. 29 Carborron NC @ Cats Cradle

Weedeater Aug./Sept. tour dates:
8/09 Atlanta GA @ Basement
8/10 Chattanooga TN @ Ziggy’s
8/11 St. Louis MO @ Fubar
8/12 Little Rock AR @ Whitewater
8/14 Houston TX @ White Oak Music Hall
8/15 San Antonio TX @ Korova
8/16 Austin TX @ Barracuda
8/17 El Paso TX @ Lowbrow Palace
8/19 Las Vegas NV @ Psycho Las Vegas*
8/22 Santa Cruz CA @ Catalyst
8/23 Oakland CA @ Oakland Metro Opera House
8/25 Olympia WA @ Obsidian
8/26 Vancouver NC @ Out for a Riff
8/27 Victoria BC @ Sugar
8/27 Seattle WA @ Highline
8/29 Bellingham WA @ Shakedown
8/30 Spokane WA @ The Pin
8/31 Billings MT @ Pub Station
9/02 Laramie WY @ FYT Studio
9/03 Salt Lake City UT @ Crucial Fest*
9/04 Denver CO @ Hi Dive
9/05 Kansas City MO @ Riot Room
9/06 Memphis TN @ Hi Tone
9/07 Chicago IL @ Bottom Lounge
9/08 Cleveland OH @ Grog Shop
9/09 Johnson City TN @ Hideaway

8/09-8/12 w/ Beitthemeans
8/14-9/07 with Telekinetic Yeti
* = no Telekinetic Yeti

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

Weedeater, Goliathan (2015)

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Crippled Black Phoenix Announce Summer Festival Dates

Posted in Whathaveyou on May 5th, 2017 by JJ Koczan

I consider myself pretty fortunate to have seen Crippled Black Phoenix last month at Roadburn 2017, and all the more so as the long-running UK gloom merchants were there supporting their latest full-length, Bronze (review here), which crosses genre lines as easily as it moves from measure to measure within its tracks. Also the band’s first long-player to be delivered via Season of Mist, it’ll get further live representation throughout the next couple months as Crippled Black Phoenix take part in another slew of festivals, including Hellfest in France and Night of the Prog in Germany. Looks like they’ve got a couple club shows besides, so they should be plenty busy, and as we head into July and August, I wouldn’t be surprised if more shows were forthcoming as well. Always a busy Fall fest season to consider.

For now, here’s the latest from the PR wire:

crippled-black-phoenix-euro-tour

CRIPPLED BLACK PHOENIX announce European summer tour

International dark rock collective CRIPPLED BLACK PHOENIX have announced a European summer festival tour. The band will kick off their tour at Hellfest in France on June 18, and continue through select dates in June, July, and August. A full list of confirmed tour dates can be found below.

Regarding the tour, CRIPPLED BLACK PHOENIX founding member and vocalist Justin Greaves comments: “Hello rockers! We are stoked to bring a fine selection of our songs to you this summer. Make sure to catch our shows this time round; we are not the most touring band. See you in the sun!”

CRIPPLED BLACK PHOENIX are touring in support of their new album, ‘Bronze’. ‘Bronze’, a slow-burning mix of unique and soaring post-rock, is streaming here. ‘Bronze’ is available at the Season of Mist E-Shop.

CRIPPLED BLACK PHOENIX have released an animated music video for the track “Scared and Alone”, off their recently released full-length, ‘Bronze’. The video was animated by Costin Chioreanu (GHOST, OPETH).

CRIPPLED BLACK PHOENIX
Jun. 18 Clisson (FR) @ Hellfest
Jun. 19 Liege (BE) @ La Zone (+Trap Them)
Jun. 20 Wiesbaden (DE) @ Schlachthof (+Trap Them)
Jun. 21 Segrate (IT) @ SoloMacello Fest
Jun. 23 Aarau (CH) @ Kiff (+Trap Them +Ghost Bath)
Jun. 24 München (DE) @ Saint Helena Festival
Jul. 14 Sankt Goarshausen (DE) @ Night of the Prog
Aug. 4 Raversbeuren (DE) @ Lott-Festival

https://www.facebook.com/CBP444/
https://crippledblackphoenixsom.bandcamp.com/
http://shopusa.season-of-mist.com/predefined-search?id_list=139

Crippled Black Phoenix, “Scared and Alone” official video

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Weedeater Announce Even More Touring for June

Posted in Whathaveyou on May 3rd, 2017 by JJ Koczan

Last time we heard from North Carolina sludge mainstays Weedeater, they were announcing a tour. This time? They’re announcing another tour. So it goes. At this point, as they wrap up a West Coast run with Primitive Man that met up this past weekend with The Obsessed, Karma to Burn and Lo-Pan, it would be more surprising if Weedeater didn’t announce a subsequent stretch of road time. If they, you know, actually took a couple months off to write a new album or something. Doesn’t seem like we’re there yet.

They do have a month between the current tour, which ends this coming Sunday, and the start of the next one, which finds them playing — among other places — at Dingbatz in Clifton in my beloved Garden State. Definitely a show I’d hit if I still lived in New Jersey. They’ll be in the company of Black Wizard and Serial Hawk as well, showing pretty much everybody how it’s done in terms of survival, longevity, and kicking ass on the road night after night, tour after tour, riff after riff, drink after drink. As the years go by, it seems like Weedeater are that rare band who are truly unstoppable.

From the PR wire:

weedeater-new-tour-poster

WEEDEATER announce new North American tour dates

Notorious southern metal outfit WEEDEATER have announced Eastern US and Canadian tour dates. The band heads East after their appearance at Berserker Fest 2017 (featuring GWAR, EYEHATEGOD, NEGATIVE APPROACH and more), and will be joined by BLACK WIZARD and SERIAL HAWK.

WEEDEATER are currently on tour supported by PRIMITIVE MAN. A full list of confirmed tour dates can be found below.

WEEDEATER are touring in support of their new album Goliathan’. The album is streaming here. ‘Goliathan’ is available across various CD and LP formats at the Season of Mist E-Shop.

WEEDEATER TOUR DATES

W/ PRIMITIVE MAN
May 3 Denver, CO @ Larimer Lounge
May 4 Omaha, NE @ Lookout Lounge
May 5 Rock Island, IL @ Rock Island Brew Co.
May 6 Indianapolis, IN @ Indiana City Brew Co.
May 7 Asheville, NC @ Mothlight

With BLACK WIZARD, SERIAL HAWK:
Jun. 8 Richmond VA @ Broadberry
Jun. 9 Chesapeake VA @ Riffhouse
Jun. 10 Washington DC @ Rock and Roll Hotel
Jun. 11 New York, NY @ Le Poisson Rouge
Jun. 12 Philadelphia PA @ Kung Fu Necktie
Jun. 13 Clifton NJ @ Dingbatz
Jun. 14 Boston MA @ Sonias
Jun. 15 Burlington VT @ Metronome
Jun. 16 Portland ME @ Space
Jun. 17 Halifax NS @ Gus’ Pub
Jun. 19 Quebec City QC @ Katacombes
Jun. 20 Montreal QC @ L’Anti
Jun. 21 Ottawa ON @ Mavericks
Jun. 22 Toronto ON @ Velvet Lounge
Jun. 23 London ON @ Call The Office
Jun. 24 Rochester NY @ Bug Jar
Jun. 25 Pittsburgh PA @ Cattivo
Jun. 27 Columbus OH @ Ace of Cups
Jun. 28 Louisville KY @ Trixies
Jun. 29 Carborron NC @ Cats Cradle

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

Weedeater, Goliathan (2015)

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