Review & Track Premiere: Year of the Cobra, Burn Your Dead

Posted in audiObelisk, Reviews on October 18th, 2017 by JJ Koczan

year-of-the-cobra-burn-your-dead

[Click play above to stream ‘The Descent’ from Year of the Cobra’s new EP, Burn Your Dead, out Oct. 27 via Magnetic Eye Records.]

Play raw, take chances — this might very well be the ethic under which Year of the Cobra operate. The Seattle two-piece issued one of 2016’s finest debut full-lengths via STB Records with …In the Shadows Below (review here), and their follow-up EP, Burn Your Dead, arrives via Magnetic Eye Records with five songs that not only continue the thread from that offering, but push forward the sense of stylistic adventurousness that began to show itself there. To wit, no doubt the core of …In the Shadows Below was in the heavy rock roll conjured together by bassist/vocalist Amy Tung Barrysmith (interview here) and drummer Jon Barrysmith.

Together, they offered thickened groove and memorable nod given all the more of a post-Acid King feel thanks to the production of Billy Anderson (Sleep, Neurosis, so many others I get embarrassed even listing them). A song like “Vision of Three” reveled in a churning tempo where “Persephone” and “White Wizard” offered a speedier take, but heft was at the root one way or the other, and while that continues on the 25-minute Burn Your Dead, there’s also significant branching out being done on aesthetic terms, as Amy and Jon not only reaffirm what they did with the preceding album in a piece like “Cold” or “The Howl,” but move brazenly and boldly forward as songwriters less bound by genre than they were even a year ago with the LP.

They’ve done a fair amount of touring to support …In the Shadows Below and did for the prior 2015 three-songer The Black Sun (review here) as well, and if that’s the source of the progression shown in Burn Your Dead, then all the better for it being so well earned, but wherever it might stem from, it finds Year of the Cobra with a burgeoning sense of fearlessness when it comes to their craft. Yes, songs like opener “Cold” and the subsequent “The Descent” are still heavy in the sense of the weighted tonality of Amy‘s bass and the crash of Jon‘s drums. However, the confidence and range of Amy‘s vocals has seen a marked increase, and a headphone listen reveals in “Cold” vague, deeply-mixed whispers behind her verse lines that, along with the keys playing the root notes throughout and other vague samples in the open, between-chorus midsection, add not only a sense of the ethereal, but a sense of horror atmosphere as well that comes through subtler and creepier than the average Hammer Productions movie clip.

year of the cobra billy anderson

“Cold” revives its shove patiently and builds intensity on Jon‘s snare as it makes its way back to the hook, but the immediate message is that Year of the Cobra didn’t even come close to playing their full hand on the debut, and each of the songs that follows adds something of its own to the proceedings, whether it’s the late-Kylesa proggy melodicism of “The Descent,” the raw punker scathe and gang shouts of “Burn Your Dead,” the doom pop croon and swirl of “The Howl” or how “And They Sang…” rounds out seeming to smash “The Descent” and “Burn Your Dead” together with sudden changes in pace and spaciousness.

In this jumping from one feel to another, Burn Your Dead is very much an EP — essentially a showcase for Year of the Cobra‘s growing audience of ideas that might or might not come to further fruition in their sound that simultaneously expands the context of the band as a whole — but that does nothing to undercut the quality of their performance, construction or attention to detail. Whether it’s the thrust of “Burn Your Dead” and “And They Sang…” or the taking-its-time fluidity of “The Descent” from whence the former charges out, the duo are careful in their presentation. Not necessarily in a way that undercuts the natural feel of their sound as two players — “play raw, take chances” — but the taking-chances part of that equation finds them perhaps capitalizing on the impulse that drove “Temple of Apollo” toward such poppishness on …In the Shadows Below; that same feeling of not shying away from manifesting an idea because it might not strictly conform to the tenets of genre.

If Burn Your Dead has an underlying purpose, it might be to realize this notion as a central aspect of Year of the Cobra‘s approach, and if so, the EP is all the more praiseworthy both on its own level and in the metamorphic sensibility it adds to the release that came before it, essentially enriching an already rich listen by building so gracefully on its foundation. It may make it harder to predict where Year of the Cobra might go with their next batch of material — other than on tour; that’s a pretty easy guess — but whether they seek to tie the melodic airiness of “The Howl” to a more earthbound nodder vibe or simply take Burn Your Dead as a model for adopting multiple sonic facets simultaneously across a broader collection of tracks and somehow manage to create fluidity between them, the band leaves little doubt as to their ability to manipulate and foster their individualism as they see fit while maintaining a strong grip on their songwriting.

Wherever they go on Burn Your Dead, they never seem lost, and thus it is all the more a joy to follow Year of the Cobra along this brief journey. A sure-fire bet as one of 2017’s best short releases.

Year of the Cobra on Thee Facebooks

Year of the Cobra on Bandcamp

Magnetic Eye Records website

Magnetic Eye Records on Bandcamp

Magnetic Eye Records on Thee Facebooks

Tags: , , , , ,

Bell Witch Announce US Touring; Mirror Reaper Movie Trailer Posted

Posted in Whathaveyou on October 6th, 2017 by JJ Koczan

As they prepare to plunge the universe into an underside of chaos-churning ultra-doom with their 80-minute opus Mirror Reaper, which is out Oct. 20 via the brave souls of Profound Lore, Seattle duo Bell Witch are likewise making ready to head out on a US tour alongside Denver skullcrush specialists Primitive Man. That run starts Oct. 24, just days after Mirror Reaper hits, and though it’s curiously short on West Coast dates — coming closest in Arizona — a new round of touring has just been announced for December alongside France’s Monarch that makes up for the gap. In both cases, one can only argue Bell Witch are keeping suitable company.

The two piece, also newly confirmed to play Mirror Reaper in its entirety at Roadburn 2018 next April, have also posted a six-minute trailer for a short film based around the album that you can see below, along with copious background info and the tour dates, all courtesy of ye olde PR wire:

bell witch tour

BELL WITCH: Seattle Doom Metal Duo Announces US Tour Dates With Monarch!; Mirror Reaper Movie Trailer Posted + North American Tour With Primitive Man Draws Near

Seattle doom metal duo, BELL WITCH, will join French doom metalists/labelmates Monarch! for a stretch of US live dates this December. The tour will commence on December 1st and run through December 7th with additional performances to be announced in the coming days. The trek follows BELL WITCH’s previously announced North American tour with Denver doom troupe Primitive Man from October 25th to November 17th. See all confirmed dates below.

Additionally, BELL WITCH will bring their devastating odes to the stages of Roadburn Festival 2018. Set to take place in Tilburg, The Netherlands, the band will perform two sets, the first on Saturday April 21st at the 013 venue and Sunday, April 22nd at Het Patronaat. BELL WITCH will be recreating their soon-to-be-released, eighty-three-minute offering, Mirror Reaper, in its crushingly exquisite entirety. The feat requires the input of honorary member, vocalist Erik Moggridge (Aerial Ruin), who will be joining the band to complete the performance. Expect his fragile yet evocative vocal style to lend an even more ghastly and ethereal quality to BELL WITCH’s already otherworldly sound.

The anticipated Mirror Reaper is set for release worldwide via Profound Lore Records on October 20th. With their latest output BELL WITCH has created a truly enormous work – one continuous, eighty-three-minute piece unfolding as a single track. Engineered and mixed by veteran producer Billy Anderson (Swans, Sleep, Neurosis), the duo of Dylan Desmond (bass, vocals) and Jesse Shreibman (drums, vocals, organ) have pushed the band’s sound further beyond their landmark 2015 LP, Four Phantoms. While retaining the colossal heaviness of their previous releases, Mirror Reaper sees the band explore the more meditative, melancholy, and introspective aspects to their sound through the introduction of long, lonely organ passages and the return of Moggridge, offering a prominent presence.

In conjunction with the release, BELL WITCH has created a feature-length music video. The film is a video collage comprised of dozens of archival films. Each of these clips are woven together with the album to build a patient, heavy, and haunting narrative. The film aims to hold the viewer in the state of a lucid dream, feeling trapped as a specter drifting through places of darkness. Mirror Reaper will be a projection for the band’s live performances, as well as a standalone cinematic experience.

Issues director Taylor Bednarz, “I was given the opportunity to work with Dylan and Jesse on their incredibly ambitious new project, Mirror Reaper. I had started making small fan music videos by chopping up old archival film originally as editing practice. I started to find that you could craft these visceral narratives by weaving these different films together with the context of the music. What developed were deep and mysterious stories that were framed in the tone and rhythm of the music. I noticed how much symbolism and atmosphere I could pack into these four-five minute songs that I knew it had very unique cinematic potential.

When I met Dylan and Jesse, they were just finishing up the last of the album and had been kicking around the idea of a music video. I mentioned I was a filmmaker, showed them some of my work, and they extended the opportunity to make a film with them. After listening to the album and talking with the two, I started collecting dozens of old horror movies, anatomical films, historical documentaries. I am so honored to have gotten the opportunity to be a part of such an incredible project.”

BELL WITCH’s Mirror Reaper will be available on 2xCD, 2xLP, and digital formats. Preorder your copy today at THIS LOCATION.

BELL WITCH w/ Primitive Man:
10/24/2017 Diabolical Records – Salt Lake City, UT * no Primitive Man
10/25/2017 Hi Dive – Denver, CO
10/26/2017 O’Leavers – Omaha, NE
10/27/2017 Cobra Lounge – Chicago, IL
10/28/2017 Rock Island Brewery – Rock Island, IL
10/29/2017 The New Dodge – Hamtramck, MI
10/30/2017 Ace Of Clubs – Columbus, OH
10/31/2017 Brillobox – Pittsburgh, PA
11/01/2017 Coalition – Toronto, ON
11/02/2017 Bar Le Ritz – Montreal, QC
11/03/2017 Geno’s – Portland, ME
11/04/2017 Cop Frat – Oneonta, NY
11/05/2017 ONCE – Boston, MA
11/06/2017 Saint Vitus Bar – Brooklyn, NY
11/07/2017 Kung Fu Necktie – Philadelphia, PA
11/08/2017 The Meatlocker – Montclair, NJ
11/09/2017 Sidebar – Baltimore, MD
11/10/2017 Strange Matter – Richmond, VA
11/11/2017 Drunken Unicorn – Atlanta, GA
11/12/2017 Exit/In – Nashville, TN
11/13/2017 White Water Tavern – Little Rock, AR
11/14/2017 Growlers – Memphis, TN
11/15/2015 Santos – New Orleans, LA
11/16/2017 Lost Well – Austin, TX
11/17/2017 Ridgelea Lounge – Fort Worth, TX
11/19/2017 Club Red – Mesa, AZ w/ Thra, Ceremented * no Primitive Man
w/ Monarch:
11/30/2017 Cobalt – Vancouver, BC * Bell Witch only
12/01/2017 Highline – Seattle, WA
12/02/2017 Tonic Lounge – Portland, OR
12/03/2017 Old Nick’s – Eugene, OR
12/05/2017 Blue Lamp – Sacramento, CA
12/06/2017 Golden Bull – Oakland, CA
12/07/2017 Five Star Bar – Los Angeles, CA

http://www.facebook.com/BellWitchDoom
http://www.profoundlorerecords.com
http://www.facebook.com/profoundlorerecords
https://profoundlorerecords.bandcamp.com/album/mirror-reaper

Bell Witch, Mirror Reaper movie trailer

Tags: , , , , ,

Year of the Cobra Tour Starts Sept. 28; Burn Your Dead EP out Oct. 27

Posted in Whathaveyou on September 18th, 2017 by JJ Koczan

year of the cobra

So here’s the deal: I’ve heard the new Year of the Cobra EP, Burn Your Dead, which as the headline above says is out Oct. 27 on Magnetic Eye Records. It’s got five tracks on it and each one gives a different look at a new place the Seattle two-piece of Amy Tung and Jon Barrysmith are going with their sound coming off their 2016 debut, …In the Shadows Below (review here). That’s a pretty impressive feat it itself, but you should note that while a given song might be more leaning toward punk or ambient fare, whatever it is, it’s still all tied together through a sense of sonic weight and so the progression from the LP makes sense. It’s like they took a cue from “Temple of Apollo” on the record, which toyed with poppishness in a particularly brave way, and decided they could do whatever the hell they wanted with their sound and it would be fine.

I’ll have a proper review up sooner or later, but that’s the gist of it. Bottom line is it bodes really well for their next full-length in terms of showcasing genuine growth on the part of the band.

You might recall Year of the Cobra did the first leg of a tour this past summer when the initial hints of the EP release were dropped. Well, the second leg starts Sept. 28. Dates are below.

Here’s a press release I wrote, as circled back through the PR wire:

year-of-the-cobra-burn-your-dead

YEAR OF THE COBRA Put the Past Behind Them; New EP ‘Burn Your Dead’ out Oct. 27

Year of the Cobra (Amy Tung and Jon Barrysmith) are moving forward. Unmitigated, unhindered, unrestrained. The Seattle bass and drum two-piece boldly tackle new styles and new substance on new EP, Burn Your Dead.

Produced like their 2016 STB Records debut full-length, …In the Shadows Below, by Billy Anderson (Sleep, Neurosis, the Melvins, etc.) at The Type Foundry in Portland, Oregon, Burn Your Dead still offers plenty of tonal largesse to go with its striking Joshua M. Wilkinson cover art.

But its five tracks also showcase new avenues of exploration for Year of the Cobra, whether it’s the ambience and creepy sampling worked into opener “Cold,” the progressive atmospheric rock of “The Howl” and centerpiece “The Descent,” reaching new heights of melodic accomplishment in Tung’s vocals, or the uptempo punker thrust of the gang-shouting title-track and the finale “And They Sang.”

That final track not only conveys the rawness of Year of the Cobra’s live show but – bolstered by the mastering work of Justin Weis at Trakworx in San Francisco – also the growth they’ve been able to enact through such relentless road work since their 2015 debut EP, The Black Sun, which has seen them quickly become coast-to-coast veterans, hit Europe for the first time and appear at Psycho Las Vegas and other festivals around the country, never failing to leave a trail of blown minds in their wake.

Look for Year of the Cobra to continue their refinement in live performances as they keep their momentum toward the future with Burn Your Dead. More tours, more fests, more trips abroad – and most of all – more evolution, because as YOTC put …In the Shadows Below behind them, they answer that album’s massive, rolling groove with a boldness of stylistic expanse that on Burn Your Dead serves as a funereal procession for the expectations of anyone who thought they knew what they were getting from the band. Pure, multifaceted fire.

Tracklisting:
1. Cold
2. The Descent
3. Burn Your Dead
4. The Howl
5. And They Sang…

Band:
Amy Tung: Bass / Vocals / Keys
Jon Barrysmith: Drums

On Tour:
Thu Sep 28 – Bozeman MT – The Filling Station
Fri Sep 29 – Black Hills Vinyl – Rapid City SD
Sat Sep 30 – Stoned Meadow of Doom – Sioux Falls SD
Sun Oct 1 – Kansas City – TBA
Mon Oct 2 – Highland’s Taproom Metal Monday – Louisville KY
Tue Oct 3 – Frequency – Madison WI
Wed Oct 4 – Reggie’s Music Joint – Chicago IL
Thu Oct 5 – Green Bay WI – TBA
Friday Oct 6 – Doomed and Stoned – Indianapolis IN
Saturday Oct 7 – Doomed and Stoned – Indianapolis IN
Sunday Oct 8 – Des Moines IA – TBA
Monday Oct 9 – Denver CO – TBA
Tuesday Oct 10 – Salt Lake City UT – Beehive Social Club
Wednesday Oct 11- Bottom of the Hill – San Francisco CA
Thursday Oct 12 – Bunk Bar – Portland, OR
Friday Oct 13 – Manette Saloon – Bremerton WA
Saturday Oct 14 – Eugene OR – The Black Forest

Pre-orders: https://yearofthecobra.bandcamp.com/album/burn-your-dead

http://yearofthecobra.com
https://www.facebook.com/yearofthecobraband/
https://yearofthecobra.bandcamp.com/
stbrecords.bigcartel.com/
https://stbrecords.bandcamp.com/
http://www.facebook.com/pages/STB-Records/471228012921184

Year of the Cobra, …In the Shadows Below (2016)

Tags: , , , , ,

Bible Black Tyrant to Release Regret Beyond Death in Feb. 2018

Posted in Whathaveyou on September 4th, 2017 by JJ Koczan

There’s no audio public yet, so you’re going to have to take my word for now that Bible Black Tyrant‘s upcoming debut album, Regret Beyond Death, is absolutely crushing. Claustrophobic in its tonality and atmosphere the whole way through. February is a long ways off, but with Aaron D.C. Edge (Lumbar, Roareth, Iamthethorn) at the helm, one would have to expect no less.

Edge has joined forces in Bible Black Tyrant with vocalist/guitarist/noisemaker David S. Fylstra and drummer Tyler Smith and you can see the formidable pedigree they share between them below, but consider the news that they’ll offer Regret Beyond Death through Argonauta Records (CD), Cheddar Brothers Records (LP) and Anima Recordings (tape) an early heads up, because it’s one you aren’t going to want to miss if you’ve ever enjoyed the process of feeling like your head’s about to cave in. And haven’t we all?

Here’s word from the PR wire:

bible black tyrant

Bible Black Tyrant – Regret Beyond Death

We’re excited to welcome in our roster US supergroup BIBLE BLACK TYRANT, an oppressive sonic endeavor that features Tyler Smith, Aaron D.C. Edge and David S. Fylstra (members of Eagle Twin, Lumbar, KVØID, Form of Rocket, Minor Fret, Wasting Seasons, Iamthethorn, etc.).

Their impressive album “Regret Beyond Death” will be released during February 2018 on CD/DD (Argonauta Records) – vinyl (Cheddar Brothers Records), cassette (Anima Recordings).

“Beginning with a crushing density, Bible Black Tyrant’s ‘Regret Beyond Death’ offering immediately transports the listener into the dark forests of the Pacific Northwest at dusk; conjuring images of the sun setting against indecipherable, deciduous silhouettes. The air thickens as we continue a climb along a gently worn route to an unknown, undisclosed location. As the journey – and the record – lengthens, we are granted a strong scent of smoke and hemlock, of moss. Fear swirls ’round us now, fusing with the clamorous chants of a distant, uprising swarm, a loaded weight of atmospheric composition. Onward, and as the album nears its climactic conclusion, Bible Black Tyrant’s simultaneously oppressive and liberating mass projects a clear message written in the smoldering ashes: ‘Walk this path with us’”.

Drums documented by Andy Patterson at The Boar’s Nest. Guitar and bass documented by Aaron Edge at Myelin Studio. Vocals, additional guitar and soundscapes documented by David Fylstra at Candlewolfe Sound. Drum mix by Andy Patterson. Final mix by David Fylstra and Aaron Edge at Candlewolfe Sound. Mastered by Zach Weeks.

Bible Black Tyrant is:
Aaron D.C. Edge: Guitar / Bass / Vocals
Tyler Smith: Percussion
David S. Fylstra: Additional Guitar / Vocals / Soundscapes

https://www.facebook.com/BibleBlackTyrant
https://bibleblacktyrant.bandcamp.com/
www.argonautarecords.com
facebook.com/argonautarecords

Lumbar, The First and Last Days of Unwelcome (2013)

Tags: , , , , , , ,

Bell Witch: New Album Mirror Reaper Available to Preorder; Out Oct. 20

Posted in Whathaveyou on August 7th, 2017 by JJ Koczan

Seattle’s Bell Witch earned copious album-of-the-year-type nods with 2015’s Four Phantoms (review here) and there’s no reason to expect anything different from their third offering, Mirror Reaper, which will arrive Oct. 20 via Profound Lore as an 83-minute single-song 2LP/2CD release. Yes, you read that correctly. 83 minutes. One song. Next time you’re looking for a qualified example of something that’s probably completely over the top and awesome anyway, go ahead and keep the idea of an 83-minute Bell Witch track in mind. Do you think it’s any coincidence that Mirror Reaper comes out just a week before the second season of Stranger Things?

Okay, yes, it probably is, but if you had to imagine any house band from the monster-filled Upside Down, wouldn’t it be Bell Witch? And wouldn’t they be mired in an 83-minute single track at all times? Yeah, of course they would.

The PR wire is brave enough to bring release details:

bell witch mirror reaper

BELL WITCH: Seattle Doom Metal Duo To Release Mirror Reaper October 20th Via Profound Lore; Preorders Available

Preorder BELL WITCH’s Mirror Reaper HERE.

Seattle doom metal duo, BELL WITCH, will release their third full-length, Mirror Reaper, worldwide on October 20th via Profound Lore Records.

With Mirror Reaper, BELL WITCH has created a truly enormous work – one continuous, eighty-three-minute piece unfolding as a single track. Engineered and mixed by veteran producer Billy Anderson (Swans, Sleep, Neurosis), the duo of Dylan Desmond (bass, vocals) and Jesse Shreibman (drums, vocals, organ) have pushed the band’s sound further beyond their landmark 2015 LP, Four Phantoms. While retaining the monolithic heaviness of their previous releases, Mirror Reaper sees the band explore the more meditative, melancholy, and introspective aspects to their sound through the introduction of long, lonely organ passages and the return of honorary BELL WITCH member, vocalist Erik Moggridge (Aerial Ruin), offering a prominent presence. The artwork for Mirror Reaper was painted by Mariusz Lewandowski.

On the themes surrounding the concept and lyrics of Mirror Reaper the band issues, “The title ‘Mirror Reaper’ is indicative of the Hermetic axiom ‘As Above, So Below,’ written with two sides to form one whole. The song is both its own and its reflection, as an opposite is whole only with its contrary. Our focus as a band has always been the perception of ghosts and the implied archetype of the dichotomy of life/death therein. ‘Mirror Reaper’ is a continuation of that concept. During the writing process we were devastated by the loss of our dear friend and former drummer, Adrian Guerra. In love and respect to his memory, we reserved an important yet brief section in the song for him that features unused vocal tracks from our last album. This specific movement serves as a conceptual turn in the piece, or point of reflection. We believe he would be proud of it as well. ‘Mirror Reaper’ was the first collaborative writing project with the new lineup, and Adrian’s death during it brought extra emotional weight. We sought to match the complexity and weight of these events within the composition of the piece.”

BELL WITCH’s Mirror Reaper will be available on 2xCD, 2XLP, and digital formats. Preorder your copy today at THIS LOCATION.

Mirror Reaper Track Listing:
1. Mirror Reaper

Formed by Desmond and ex-drummer/vocalist Adrian Guerra, BELL WITCH released their first self-titled demo in 2011 and partnered with Profound Lore Records for their debut album, Longing, in 2012. The duo’s second LP, 2015’s acclaimed Four Phantoms was recognized as one of doom metal’s triumphs of the year. The band extensively toured in North America and Europe, securing notable festival appearances including Roadburn, Basilica Soundscape, Sled Island, and Psycho California.

http://www.facebook.com/BellWitchDoom
http://www.profoundlorerecords.com
http://www.facebook.com/profoundlorerecords
https://profoundlorerecords.bandcamp.com/album/mirror-reaper

Bell Witch, Four Phantoms (2015)

Tags: , , , , ,

Snail Post “Thou Art That” Live Video from The Obelisk All-Dayer

Posted in Bootleg Theater on July 24th, 2017 by JJ Koczan

snail photo adam donnelly

I really think Snail should release their set from last year’s The Obelisk All-Dayer. I’ve never started any kind of online petition, and I’m not usually one to go fishing for comments — because I live in terror that I wouldn’t get any — but yeah, you can check out the video of their 10-minute epic roller “Thou Art That” from the show and if you agree with me that the whole set should see at least a digital release or a limited tape or something, please leave a comment on this post. I’m not saying if we hit a certain number of comments they’ll put something out, but it certainly can’t hurt to try. Right?

“Thou Art That” was a highlight of 2015’s Feral (review here), which came out on Small Stone and was the perfect occasion for the trio of guitarist/vocalist Mark Johnson, bassist Matt Lynch and drummer Marty Dodson to hit the East Coast for the first time in their 20-years-plus history. They absolutely killed it at the show, with what seemed to me to be the night’s biggest crowd, and though I’d seen them on a rare tour years before in San Francisco (review here), this was obviously something special. I was lucky they could make the trip to play.

This isn’t the first live video they’ve posted from the All-Dayer either though. They had one for the title-track of 2009’s Blood (review here) that came out at the beginning of the year as well, so “Thou Art That” — shot by David Strayer with board-recorded audio by Jaime Traba and additional production from Matt Lynch — is the second time they’ve teased the prospect of doing something with that material. I already offered to write the liner notes for a tape or any other kind of release. Come on, guys. This one needs to happen.

I’ve been kicking around ideas for a second The Obelisk All-Dayer for the better part of the last year. Saint Vitus Bar in Brooklyn was on board last I checked, but I’m not sure if it’s something I want to do again, especially with a baby on the way. We’ll see. If you have an opinion on the matter, I’d love to hear it.

Oh, and if you see some schmo down in the front rocking out at the end of “Thou Art That,” well clearly that’s just somebody who very, very much enjoyed the set. Ha.

Dig it:

Snail, “Thou Art That” Live at The Obelisk All-Dayer

The almighty SNAIL playing live at The Obelisk All Dayer in Brooklyn NYC 8-20-2016.

Video: David Strayer
Audio: Jaime Traba
Production: Matt Lynch

Snail, Feral (2015)

Snail on Thee Facebooks

Snail website

Snail at Small Stone Records

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

Year of the Cobra Announce First Leg of US Tour; New EP Due Oct. 29

Posted in Whathaveyou on July 21st, 2017 by JJ Koczan

year of the cobra

Leading up to and through an appearance at Psycho Las Vegas on Aug. 20, Seattle duo Year of the Cobra will once again hit the road in support of last year’s stunner debut album, …In the Shadows Below (review here). The band, who were recently interviewed here, have wrapped up tracking a new EP with none other than Billy Anderson, and they’ll have that out Oct. 29 to follow-up the album and hopefully lead into more good stuff to come.

As to that, they note below “some other big news” that’s forthcoming — in addition to a second leg of the US tour. Anyone care to speculate with me? They’ve got the EP, so it’s early for second album plans. Could be word on a different label releasing the EP. The long-player was released by STB Records, who did a killer job with it, but neither would it surprise me if someone picked up Year of the Cobra like Relapse or Napalm. They’ve broken their collective ass on the road supporting the album and, well, they’re a good band, which also never hurts when it comes to that kind of thing. Could also just be details of the EP release, art, tracks and whatnot. Or a return trip to Europe, perhaps for Fall festival season and to coincide with the EP release?

So many different possibilities. And of course I could be way off on all of the above and it could be something else entirely. If I had to place one, that would probably be my bet. Ha.

The band sent the following down the PR wire:

year-of-the-cobra-tour-poster

Year of the Cobra – US Tour First Leg

Year of the Cobra hits the road in August for the first leg of their US tour, including an appearance at Psycho Las Vegas. The band also just finished recording a new EP with Billy Anderson. Tentative release date for that is October 29th. Expect an announcement soon about the second leg of their tour, along with some other big news.

Year of the Cobra live:
8.9 – Kalispell, MT at Old School Records
8.10 – Billings, MT at Smiling Dog Records
8.11 – Denver, CO at Squire Lounge
8.12 – Omaha, NB at The Lookout Lounge
8.13 – St. Paul, MN at Agharta Records (in-store performance during the day)
8.13 – Minneapolis, MN at Nomad
8.14 – Chicago, IL at Reggies
8.15 – Lawrence, KS at The Bottleneck
8.17 – Albuquerque, NM at Launchpad
8.18 – El Paso, TX at Boomtown
8.19 – Tempe, AZ at Yucca Tap Room
8.20 – Las Vegas, NV at Psycho Las Vegas
8.21 – Salt Lake City, UT at Urban Lounge
8.22 – Idaho Falls, ID at The Roadhouse Saloon
8.23 – Bozeman, MT at The Filling Station

http://yearofthecobra.com
https://www.facebook.com/yearofthecobraband/
https://yearofthecobra.bandcamp.com/
stbrecords.bigcartel.com/
https://stbrecords.bandcamp.com/
http://www.facebook.com/pages/STB-Records/471228012921184

Year of the Cobra, …In the Shadows Below (2016)

Tags: , , ,

Quarterly Review: Harvestman, Beastmaker, Endless Boogie, Troubled Horse, Come to Grief, Holy Rivals, Mountain God, Dr. Space, Dirty Grave, Summoned by Giants

Posted in Reviews on July 17th, 2017 by JJ Koczan

quarterly-review-summer-2017

Bonus round! I don’t know if you’re stoked on having a sixth Quarterly Review day, but I sure am. Basically this is me doing myself favors. In terms of what’s being covered and how I’m covering it, today might be the high point for me personally of the entire Summer 2017 Quarterly Review. Some of this stuff I’m more behind on than others, but it’s all releases that I’ve wanted desperately to write about that I haven’t been able to make happen so far and I’m incredibly thankful for the opportunity to be able to do so at last. It’s a load off my mind in the best way possible, and as this is the final day of the Quarterly Review, before I dig in I’ll just say one more time thank you for reading and I hope you found something in the past week that really speaks to you, because that’s what makes it all worthwhile in the first place. One more go.

Quarterly Review #51-60:

Harvestman, Music for Megaliths

harvestman-music-for-megaliths

A new Harvestman album, like a harvest itself, is an occasion. Distinct entirely from the solo output released by Neurosis guitarist/vocalist Steve Von Till under his own name, Harvestman’s guitar-led experimentalism and ritualized psychedelia don’t happen every day – the last album was 2009’s In a Dark Tongue (review here) – and with the resonance of “Oak Drone” and the layered, drummed and vocalized textures of “Levitation,” the new collection, Music for Megaliths (on Neurot, of course), lives up to the project’s high standards of the unexpected. Pulsations beneath opener and longest track (immediate points) “The Forest is Our Temple” offer some initial threat, but the electronic beat behind the howling notes of “Ring of Sentinels” and the Vangelis-esque centerpiece “Cromlech” find more soothing ground, and though “Sundown” seems to be speaking to Neurosis “Bleeding the Pigs” from 2012’s Honor Found in Decay (review here) in its atmosphere, the spoken word that tops closer “White Horse” provides a last-minute human connection before all is brought to a quick fadeout. If you told me Music for Megaliths was assembled over a period of years, I’d believe you given its breadth, but whether it was or not, Harvestman’s latest should provide a worthy feast for a long time to come.

Harvestman on Thee Facebooks

Neurot Recordings webstore

 

Beastmaker, Inside the Skull

beastmaker-inside-the-skull

Los Angeles three-piece Beastmaker continue their ascent with their second album for Rise Above Records, the unflinchingly cohesive Inside the Skull. Like its predecessor, 2016’s Lusus Naturae (review here), the quick-turnaround sophomore outing executes a modern garage doom aesthetic and unfuckwithably tight songwriting, this time bringing 10 new tracks that reimagine classic vibes – witness the Witchcraft “No Angel or Demon”-style riff of opener “Evil One” (video posted here) – and touch on some of the same ground pioneered by Uncle Acid without actually sounding like that UK band or sounding like anyone for that matter so much as themselves. They make darkened highlights of “Now Howls the Beast,” “Of Gods Creation,” the crashing “Psychic Visions,” closer “Sick Sick Demon” and the preceding “Night Bird,” which offers some welcome departure into drift prior to the solo in its final minute – all impeccably crisp in structure despite a dirt-caked production – but resonant, memorable hooks abound, and the trio affirm the potential their debut showed and offer a quick step forward that one can only imagine will find them turning more heads toward their growing cult following. They’re still growing, but Inside the Skull is confirmation Beastmaker on a path to becoming something really special.

Beastmaker on Thee Facebooks

Beastmaker at Rise Above Records

 

Endless Boogie, Vibe Killer

endless-boogie-vibe-killer

One can’t help but think there’s a bit of tongue-in-cheekery at play in the inaccuracy of Endless Boogie titling their latest album Vibe Killer. The seven-track/51-minute No Quarter release follows 2013’s Long Island (review here) and is, of course, doing everything but killing the vibe, as the New York-based outfit proffer their nestled-in raw songs crafted out of and on top of improvised jams, the semi-spoken gutturalisms of guitarist Paul “Top Dollar” Major a defining element from the laid back opening title-track onward. Moody rock classicism persists through “High Drag, Hard Doin’” and the more active “Back in ’74,” but the true peak of Vibe Killer comes in the 11-minute “Jefferson Country,” which unfolds hypnotic drone experimentation that’s as willfully ungraceful as it winds up being flowing. Bottom line: dudes know what’s up. Endless Boogie’s languid roll is second to nobody and Vibe Killer is a vision of cool jazz reinvented to feel as much at home in rock clubs of the basement and of the chic see-and-be-seen variety. Very New York, in that, but not at all given to elitism. Everyone’s invited to dig, and dig they should.

Endless Boogie on Thee Facebooks

No Quarter Records webstore

 

Troubled Horse, Revolution on Repeat

troubled-horse-revolution-on-repeat

There were a few minutes there where one probably wouldn’t have been wrong to wonder if Örebro, Sweden’s Troubled Horse would have a follow-up at all to back 2012’s Step Inside (review here), but with Revolution on Repeat (out via Rise Above), the four-piece led by dynamic vocalist Martin Heppich prove among the most vital of the many heavy rock acts to emerge from their hometown, known for the likes of Witchcraft, Graveyard, Truckfighters and countless others. Heppich, lead guitarist Mikael Linder (also bass on the recording), guitarist Tom and drummer Jonas start with the boogie-fied opening salvo “Hurricane” (video premiere here) and “The Filthy Ones,” and run madcap through the memorable hooks of “Which Way to the Mob” and “Peasants” en route to the mid-paced “The Haunted” and into a second half marked by the semi-balladry of “Desperation” and “My Shit’s Fucked Up.” Soon, the standout chorus of “Track 7” (yup, that’s the title) and the penultimate funk of “Let Bastards Know” lead to a nine-minute epic finish in “Bleeding” – and all the while Troubled Horse hold firm to groove, momentum, poise, crisp production and songwriting as they tie varied landmarks together with an overarching sense of motion, Heppich’s charismatic soulfulness and deceptively subtle flourishes of arrangement to make an absolutely welcome return.

Troubled Horse on Thee Facebooks

Rise Above Records website

 

Come to Grief, The Worst of Times

come-to-grief-the-worst-of-times

Sometimes you just have to toss up your hands and say, “Well, that’s some of the nastiest shit I’ve ever heard.” To step back and consider them at some distance, Come to Grief aren’t near the most abrasive band on the planet, but when you’re actually listening to their debut EP, The Worst of Times, that’s much harder to believe. Launching with “Killed by Life,” the four-tracker finds the Boston outfit led by former Grief guitarist Terry Savastano – here joined by drummer Chuck Conlon, bassist Justin Christian and vocalist/guitarist Jonathan Hebert – plodding out scream-topped filth that’s actually fuller-sounding than anything Grief did back in their day and all the more devastating for its thickness. The seven-minute “No Savior” is excruciating, and though shorter, “Futility of Humanity” and even the slightly-faster closer “Junklove” bring no letup whatsoever from the onslaught. Think accessible, then go the complete other way, then bludgeon yourself. It’s kind of like that. Absolute brutality delivered by expert and unkind hands.

Come to Grief on Thee Facebooks

Come to Grief on Bandcamp

 

Holy Rivals, Holy Rivals

holy rivals holy rivals

The question of whether noise rock and sludge can coexist is largely one of tempo and tone, and recently-signed-to-BlackseedRecords Pittsburgh trio Holy Rivals’ self-titled debut answers in forceful fashion. Amid more aggro punch of opener “Locked Inn” comes the crust-laden grunge of “Voices,” and whether they’re rolling out the more spacious “Sleep” or sprinting through the post-Bleach raw punkery of “Dead Ender” on their way to the more ambient and patient seven-minute finale “Into Dust,” guitarist/vocalist Jason Orr (also T-Tops), bassist Aaron Orr (whose tone features well on the closer) and drummer Matt Langille – whose adaptability is essential to the Helmet-style starts and stops of “Loathe” that emerge from the preceding roll of “Sleep” – Holy Rivals put a superficial harshness to use as a cover for what’s actually a diverse songwriting process. They’ll reportedly have a new record out in Fall 2017, so this 2016 self-release may soon be in hindsight, but in setting the foundation for growth, it offers exciting prospects caked in an abidingly raw presentation.

Holy Rivals on Thee Facebooks

Holy Rivals on Bandcamp

 

Mountain God, Bread Solstice

mountain god bread solstice

Around what would seem to be the core duo of guitarist/vocalist Ben Ianuzzi and bassist/keyboardist Nikhil Kamineni, Brooklyn psychedelic post-sludgers Mountain God have undergone numerous lineup shifts en route to and through the release of their debut album, Bread Solstice (on Artificial Head Records). To wit, drummer/vocalist Ryan Smith (also Thera Roya), who appears on the dark, unrelenting and abyss-crafting 40-minute six-tracker, has already been replaced by Gabriel Cruz, and there have been other changes in vocalist, keyboardist and drummer positions even since they offered their 2015 EP, Forest of the Lost (review here) to set the stage for this deeply-atmospheric, it’s-acid-rock-but-with-sulfuric-acid first long-player. In light of that tumult and the overarching commitment to abrasive noise Mountain God make in pieces like the 11-minute “Nazca Lines,” “Junglenaut” or even the brooding tension of airy instrumental “Unknown Ascent,” it’s all the more impressive that Bread Solstice is as cohesive in its cerebral horror as it is, constructing a harsh and churning vision of doom as something worthy of post-apocalyptic revelry. Far from easy listening, but of marked purpose. They should play exclusively in art galleries, no matter who winds up in the band.

Mountain God on Thee Facebooks

Artificial Head Records on Bandcamp

 

Dr. Space, Dr. Space’s Alien Planet Trip Vol. 1

dr-space-dr-spaces-alien-planet-trip-vol-1

Perhaps best known for his work in spearheading the improvisational Denmark-based Øresund Space Collective, modular synth wizard Scott “Dr. Space” Heller weirds out across four cuts on the solo release Dr. Space’s Alien Planet Trip Vol. 1, which both underscores in its scope how essential he is to the aforementioned outfit and oozes beyond that group’s parameters into electronic beatmaking and waves of synthesizer drone. Pulling influence from classic progadelia, Heller unfurls longform tripping on 24-minute opener and longest track (immediate points) “5 Dimensions of the Universe” and veers into and out of somewhat abrasive swirl on “Rising Sun on Mars” before landing in the more steady atmosphere of “In Search of Life on Io” and launching once more outward with the five-minute finale “Alien Improv 2.” Just how many alien planet trips the good doctor will be undertaking remains as yet a mystery, but the breadth of this first one makes it plain to the listener that Heller’s sonic universe is wide open and, seemingly, ever-expanding.

Øresund Space Collective on Thee Facebooks

Space Rock Productions website

 

Dirty Grave, So Fall and Crawl Away

dirty-grave-so-fall-and-crawl-away

Brazilian doomers Dirty Grave issue the three-song single/EP So Fall and Crawl Away (bonus points for the Alice in Chains reference) ahead of making their full-length debut reportedly any minute now with an album called Evil Desire. Comprised of two studio tracks in the eight-minute “The Black Cloud Comes” and the four-minute Howlin’ Wolf cover “Evil (Is Going On)” and with the live cut “Unholy Son – Live” as a kind of bonus track, it’s a sampling behind two similar short releases, 2014’s Vol. II and 2013’s Dirty Grave (which featured a studio version of “Unholy Son”), that sleeks through eerie doom loosely tinged with psychedelia and smoked-out vibing. “Evil (Is Going On)” is more uptempo, perhaps unsurprisingly, but is giving a likewise treatment all the same, its final solo shredding into oblivion with stoned abandon. “Unholy Son – Live” is rawer but still carries through its melody in the vocals amid a prevalent crash, and if it’s a portend of things to come on Evil Desire, then So Fall and Crawl Away serves as a warning worth heeding.

Dirty Grave on Thee Facebooks

Dirty Grave on Bandcamp

 

Summoned by Giants, Stone Wind

summoned-by-giants-stone-wind

If you have a convenient narrative for what West Coast heavy rock has become over the last decade, Summoned by Giants’ debut album, Stone Wind, is probably too aggressive on the whole to fit it neatly. Their cleaner parts, the rolling second cut “Diamond Head” and samples throughout have aspects of that post-Red Fang party vibe, but to listen to the rawness of the bass tone that starts “Return” or closer “I Hate it When You Breathe,” or even the slurring “come at me, bro”-style rant sampled at the seven-track/27-minute album’s launch, a will toward violence is never far off. Couple that with the thickened noise punk of “Saturn” and the Weedeater sludge of the penultimate “Dying Wish,” and Summoned by Giants – guitarist/vocalist Sean Delaney, guitarist Jordan Sattelmair, bassist/vocalist Patrick Moening and drummer Mel Burris – seem more interested in doling out punishment than kicking back, making a silly video and having a good time. Well, maybe they’re having a good time, but they’re doing so while kicking your ass.

Summoned by Giants on Thee Facebooks

Summoned by Giants on Bandcamp

 

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