Friday Full-Length: Graveyard, Graveyard

Posted in Bootleg Theater on May 24th, 2019 by JJ Koczan

Even though it came out three years later, Graveyard‘s 2007 self-titled debut was the album that showed retro heavy didn’t just belong to Witchcraft. Yeah, I know that’s an easy narrative and there were other bands out there at the time digging into the heavy ’70s sound for inspiration, but frankly, not at this level, and even Graveyard‘s fellow Swedes had begun by then to pull away from the proto-doom rock of their first outing by ’07. The two groups were further linked by a common lineage in Norrsken, with guitarist/vocalist Joakim Nilsson and then-bassist Rikard Edlund having played in that outfit alongside Witchcraft‘s Magnus Pelander from 1996-2000 and produced several demos and singles as well as appearing on the tributes Bastards Will Pay: A Tribute to Trouble (discussed here) and Blue Explosion: A Tribute to Blue Cheer (discussed here) in 1999. But not only were Graveyard on the earlier end of Sweden and greater Europe’s retroist movement, and not only did they play a significant role in putting it into motion, but they showed there was more to it than Pentagram worship.

I’ll readily admit that the first time I saw them, in 2010 at Roadburn Festival (review here), I didn’t get it. I’d heard the self-titled, then three years old after coming out in the States on Tee Pee and in Europe on Transubstans. They were too cool-looking for me. Everything just seemed too perfect, it felt like a put-on for cool kids that just didn’t sit nearly as well with me as falafel I went outside and ate instead of watching them through the open doorway of the old Green Room at the 013 in Tilburg. I was wrong, of course. Not that Graveyard weren’t fashion-conscious in a way that even Witchcraft would never be and that Germany’s Kadavar would raise to yet another level, but I just got a mistaken impression. It was the end of a long weekend. I was tired. So it goes. Those more clued in to what Nilsson, Edlund, drummer Axel Sjöberg, guitarist Jonatan Ramm and guitarist/vocalist/keyboardist Truls Mörck were creating in terms of vibe dug it plenty. The problem, in short, was me. As ever.

By then, Graveyard were already due for a follow-up to Graveyard that wouldn’t arrive for another two years. That long stretch between a first album and a second one would crush a lesser band graveyard self titledlooking to capture some audience share, but with Graveyard, it seemed only to let the nine-song/39-minute long-player — crafted with a focus on vinyl, which was rare in 2007 — simmer as a burgeoning social media word-of-mouth spread its legend. Graveyard became a thing you knew if you were in the know, and their boogie blues rock was perfectly suited for building a cult following. Capping with the mega-hook of “Satan’s Finest,” the album was a clarion to the converted that wasn’t to be missed, and whether it was the shuffle in Sjöberg‘s snare on “Thin Line” or the swapping out of lead vocals for side A closer “Blue Soul” and side B’s “As the Years Pass by the Hours Bend” and the bass/percussion arrangement in the penultimate “Right is Wrong” that seemed so distant from the rush that began the album on “Evil Ways,” there was so much to dig about what Graveyard were doing that even if you got sucked in by the vintage-style production of the whole outing, you were still only getting part of the story. It was at least as much about the band’s songwriting and performance, if not more so, than the aesthetic they so purposefully donned to present it.

“Evil Ways” and “Satan’s Finest” — the start and the finish — were powerful enough in themselves, and managed to embrace cliché enough to be fun while other tracks took a more emotionalist direction that, in hindsight, foreshadowed some of Graveyard‘s and particularly Nilsson‘s delving into soul-driven fare on subsequent offerings. But the self-titled’s more raucous moments, on the short side B leadoff “Submarine Blues” or the bouncing-down-stairs rhythm of “Lost in Confusion,” as well as the fluidity in “Blue Soul,” were a new branch of heavy rock springing up right in front of the listener, and they were received accordingly. I don’t think it’s a hard argument to make that Graveyard became one of the most essential heavy rock bands of this decade in the wake of this debut, and what they’ve gone on to accomplish in the years since — signing to Nuclear Blast to finally release the landmark sophomore full-length Hisingen Blues (review here) in 2011, followed on a quick turnaround by 2012’s Lights Out (review here), touring the universe and then releasing 2015’s more mature Innocence and Decadence (review here) and 2018’s Peace (review here) — is matched by an elite few who might still be considered underground acts.

When Graveyard announced they were calling it quits in 2016, it seemed fair enough. After four records, they’d never hit a snag, and as they’d taken on a more modern production sound and toured hard for about half a decade, it was understandable they might have burnt themselves out. The breakup didn’t take, and when they got back together, with Oskar Bergenheim on drums in place of Sjöberg (since of Big Kizz) and Mörck back in the band on bass instead of guitar, with Ramm and Nilsson as the remaining founders, the revamped rhythm section changed the character of the band. That was evident on Peace, though the songwriting was consistent and arguably the broadest it had ever been. I don’t know what the future holds for Graveyard, except perhaps more touring — they announced last week they’ll be on the road with Clutch in Europe for a quick run this December — and headlining festival gigs if they want them, but listening back to their self-titled, it’s astounding how vital and assured this band was of what they were doing.

There are no shortage of acts out there who aim toward and eventually capture some sense of individuality. Who you put on and immediately know what you’re listening to. Graveyard would prove identifiable by the time the three and a half minutes of “Evil Ways” were done and wherever they’ve gone in terms of their sound, they’ve never lost that. While of course the context of their career since helps, I don’t think you can really look at their debut as anything other than a pivotal moment for this generation of heavy rock.

As always, I hope you enjoy.

Gonna keep this quick if I can. A plug:

Today at 1PM Eastern is The Obelisk Show on Gimme Radio. It’s the first time it’s airing in its new timeslot. I hope you get the chance to listen, and if you do, I hope you dig it. Please, if you can check it out, I’d very much appreciate it. I should be in the Gimme chat for it as well if you want to say hi.

Then later on tonight, The Patient Mrs., The Pecan and I are flying to Ireland. It’s been a hell of a week. We loaded and brought a truckload of stuff — including CDs, the packing of which was a task both mentally and physically — to the house in New Jersey where we’ll be living by the end of this summer, on Tuesday. We were there for Wednesday hanging out with family and whatnot, then came back north yesterday to Massachusetts so The Patient Mrs. could go to a farewell work party, and today we have a bunch of running around to do and packing to go on this trip, which is one of the last things she has going for Bridgewater State University: a study-abroad excursion to Ireland with another professor and 15 students. I’m going basically so she doesn’t have to be away from the baby for two weeks, though it means flying on a red-eye with an 19-month-old, stuffing him onto a bus multiple times and sleeping in the same room with him, which we haven’t done in a little over a year. It’s going to be… interesting. I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t nervous about all of it.

Fortunately, we’re bringing his headphones. He has a little pair of blue wireless over-ears that The Patient Mrs. bought on Amazon. I loaded a micro-SD with the Beatles catalog and it’s an immediate calm-down for him. He can be in the midst of an absolute shit-fit and you put the headphones on him and it snaps him out of it. It’s astounding. Dude loves it. I just have to make sure he doesn’t get to “Revolution 9.” I don’t think children should be exposed to such horrors.

The plan though is to stop in and visit Slomatics though while we’re in Belfast, so I’m looking forward to that, and I may hit a record shop somewhere along the way. We’ll see. I don’t really know. I haven’t even looked at shows as compared to our itinerary or anything, mostly because I have no idea what our itinerary is. I’m really just along for the ride and the child-care on this one.

Because I love flying so much.

But it’s Ireland until June 6, then back to MA, then down to Jersey to see Solace with a bunch of other badass bands on June 8, then back to MA June 13 for more dental work — the saga continues! — then south to NJ, then further south for Maryland Doom Fest, then up to CT for a bit to cover babysitting my niece and nephew, and somewhere in there maybe we’re going to redo the kitchen in NJ before we actually move in? Oh yeah, and the place in Massachusetts goes on the market today, so if this place sells we’ll have to be out by some appointed closing date, then actually sort finances with buying the house in NJ and do that, finish packing — ugh, vinyl — and actually move. It’s a ton of shit, and completely overwhelming. That’s what it is.

All you can do is keep your head down and keep working.

But putting my head down, I notice on the baby monitor that The Pecan is up. Coming on 6AM, so that’s fair. Gonna go grab him and start the day. Laundry to do and whatnot.

Have a great and safe weekend. Forum, radio, merch at Dropout.

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Review & Full Album Stream: 1782, 1782

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

1782 self titled

[Click play above to stream 1782’s self-titled debut in its entirety. Album is out May 24 on Heavy Psych Sounds.]

If you go and look up the year 1782 in Wikipedia, you’ll find a rundown of what are considered the noteworthy events that happened across that 12 months. It’s a lot of war and governmental action, people being born, people dying — basically the stuff you’d expect when you think of who was keeping records in the 18th century. None of it is the story Italian doomers 1782 are telling however. The Roman two-piece of Marco Nieddu (vocals, guitar, bass) and Gabriele Fancellu (drums, backing vocals) are focused on the later witch trials in Europe, in particular the case of Anna Göldi, who indeed was tortured and eventually decapitated by the Swiss state in 1782 as a witch after she allegedly put needles in the milk of the child of the family for whom she was working as a maid. In 2007-2008, the Swiss government acknowledged it as a “miscarriage of justice,” so better late than never, but Göldi is considered the last witch to be executed in Switzerland if not wider Europe and her story — including an affair and child with the head of that household, who was married and had her arrested — is emblematic of the treatment of women at the time.

The two-piece don’t take an outwardly critical stance on the subject matter, but neither are they glorifying chopping ladies’ heads off, which is something of a relief. The eponymous “1782,” which appears as the last original cut of the eight inclusions ahead of closer “Celestial Voices,” a Pink Floyd cover with guest vocals and organ, is instrumental, but in “She Was a Witch” and the slow rolling subsequent track “Black Sunday,” they seem nonetheless to be passing judgment of their own on the reasoning of centuries past; fair enough given the enduring spirit of masculine entitlement to control over a woman’s body and life. More than direct commentary, though, 1782‘s self-titled debut — which runs eight songs and 39 minutes delivered through Heavy Psych Sounds with a guest appearance from label honcho Gabriele Fiori (also of Black Rainbows, Killer Boogie and The Pilgrim) on guitar for the aforementioned “She Was a Witch” — prefers to stake its claim in dense-fog doom and nodder groove.

Nieddu‘s vocals are pushed low and echoing in the spirit of true post-Electric Wizard witch doom, and as a result, the tonality surrounding feels all the more viscerally massive. The recording’s overarching rawness — the album was produced by Alfredo Carboni at RKS Studios in Sardinia — only bolsters the bleak aesthetic and makes moments like the chanting toward the end of “The Spell (Maleficium Vitae)” come across as especially resonant ahead of the wah-bass finish. The album begins, suitably enough, with the ringing bell of “Intro (…To the Church)” and moves quickly into the riff-led “Night of Draculia,” a shorter and quicker leadoff that may or may not tie into the witchy thematic but makes a rousing introduction to the sound of the record more generally, with Fancellu‘s drums thud and crash backing the thick guitar and bass tones and Nieddu‘s vocals left to cut through that swamp of low end. The later, hooky “Oh Mary” is more angular, but still something of a complement in terms of overall approach, with the vocals particularly blown out at the forefront of the mix.

1782

That leaves the trio of “The Spell (Maleficium Vitae),” “She Was a Witch” and “Black Sunday” as the doomed heart of 1782, as well as the point of the switch between sides A and B, but the latter seems to be less of a concern for the band than a linear flow from front to back. As they push deeper into the villainous fuzz and damned melodicism, the sense of plunge is palpable, and their take on doom, well informed by the likes of Saint Vitus and of course Black Sabbath, nonetheless holds a modern edge in its willingness to cast off the trappings of frill in favor of the most straight-ahead-into-the-abyss vibe possible. Small turns here and there like Fiore‘s guitar solo in “She Was a Witch,” or the already-noted chanting in “The Spell (Maleficium Vitae),” or the organ showing up in the second half of “1782” in order to tie it more fluidly to the capping Floyd cover, do much to distinguish individual pieces, but clearly 1782 are thinking in terms of their first offering as a whole experience.

And it is their first offering. They are a new band, formed in Dec. 2018 and hit the studio this past February. Nieddu and Fancellu have worked together previously in the band Raikinas — whose vocalist, Alfredo Carboni, sings on “Celestial Voices” while Nico Sechi adds Hammond beneath — and that prior experience helps stave off some of the formative feel that might otherwise typify an effort from a group so nascent, but there’s little doubt in listening that 1782 are doing the work here of finding their sound and their place in the sphere of doom, discovering what they want to say with their sound and how they want to go about it. There are moments where the album feels disjointed, as in the jump from “Oh Mary” to “1782,” but the band make clear their foundation in these tracks, and as an initial connection, it still proves largely cohesive thanks in part to its conceptual basis and tonal consistency.

It is one to grow on, and listening to the hint at vocal harmony in the second half of “She Was a Witch,” 1782 give hints of their intention to do just that. In the meantime, their debut under the banner of obscure history gives them an immediately distinguishing place from which to grow. They’re neither strictly traditional doom nor cult rock, stoner riffing nor retro-style throwback, but there are of course elements of all of them at play and more besides. Where 1782 might lead them, I’d expect natural progression around what they’re doing here, with a mindset toward craft coming forward in kind with the clear purpose in their overall sound. They may stay this raw and they may not, but it works for them here.

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Dury Dava Premiere Self-Titled Debut LP in Full

Posted in audiObelisk, Reviews on May 10th, 2019 by JJ Koczan

dury dava

Athens-based experimentalist jammers Dury Dava release their self-titled debut album today through Inner Ear Records. Take a seat. Get your head sorted. Strap in. Me, I’ll pour another coffee. But you do whatever you need to do to prepare yourself for a bit of a journey, and by “a bit” I mean the record is 69 minutes long, so actually it’s less “a bit” and more “clear your calendar.” But fair enough, since you probably wanted to do that anyway.

Dury Dava are real-deal far out. Not we-have-a-delay-pedal-and-a-keyboard jams — though yes, they’ve got both — but sprawling krautrock composition-ishes infused with Greek and Turkish folk influences and instrumentation, resulting in a progged-up vision manifest across 10 tracks not afraid to get heavy in a garage sense every now and again, as on “Triptych” or “Satana” or the winding later “Ataxia,” but by no means beholden to the expectation of that or anything else. Songs vary wildly in arrangement and course, from high-drama art rock pieces like “Ela Pali Na” to the Mediterranean cosmic psych-folk of the 12-minute “34522,” which appears late in the record but still ahead of the 13-minute “Tarlabasi,” which feels like a companion even with the shorter “Ataxia” between them and the reality of the split between sides C and D of the double-vinyl.

dury dava dury dava“34522” takes cues from Doors and Chrome and classic Greek psych, while “Tarlabasi” answers back with gorgeous dream-toned guitar and wah bass and a laid back vibe that still holds some funk in its procession ahead of subdued, gentle closer “Kane Ligo Alithina.” The set opens with “Afriki,” and indeed there’s some element of Afrobeat to the groove in various spots throughout, but with flourish of clarinet and the proto-space rock launch in the second half of the subsequent “Triptych,” there’s clearly no one style or genre claiming Dury Dava‘s sound, the five-piece using multiple angles of approach toward a single coherence manifest in longer form works or the barking, percussion-laced “Zoupa,” which somehow reminds in its vocal melody of Donovan in those moments where the freakout is held at bay momentarily, or the dilruba-laced side B closeout “Kalokairi,” which resolves in a gorgeous guitar solo atop a drifting progression that stays mostly quiet but for some vocalizations accompanying. It’s as gone a lead-in as “34522” (which, by the way, is a postal code for Istanbul) could ask for.

Dury Dava, as the live-tracked output of a relatively new band begin in 2016, is more than just an encouraging debut. From a group whose sound is a conglomeration of traditions from folk to pop to rock and back again, it is a deeply individualized starting point for what will hopefully be an ongoing creative growth. The fact that the lineup of Karolos Berahas (bass, keys, synth), Giorgis Karras (electric guitar, dilruba), Dimitris Mantzavinos (vocals, electric guitar, bouzouki), Dimitris Prokos (clarinet, synth) and Ilias Livieratos (drums, percussion) are able to come together in this way and be able to craft such a sonic blend without losing themselves in the process only deepens their prospects and gives them all the more of an identity in the meantime. It is not necessarily an easy record on first listen, but even if one digests it one side at a time, the results are more than worth that effort.

I’m genuinely honored to host the stream today on the occasion of the album’s release. Please find it below and enjoy:

Dury Dava is a five-piece band from Athens, Greece. Their debut self-titled album was recorded live during several sessions in the second half of 2018 at Hobart Phase Studios, aka the mossy basement of an unwitting suburban home in Athens, the very rehearsal space where the band members first met over three years ago. In part it represents this very union and subsequent formation, and brings to the world, for the first time, upwards of 70 minutes of their original music.

Several compositional trajectories are employed, drawing inspiration from a wide variety of places. Their music pays tribute to the raw grit of 60’s psychedelia and 70’s krautrock, and fuses elements from the Greco-Turkish musical traditions such as odd rhythms and folk dances with a punk mentality, resulting in an amalgamation of contemporary experimental rock with heterogeneous throwback underpinnings. What it lacks for in discipline, it compensates for in energy and spontaneity.

The music was written by Dury Dava:

Karolos Berahas (bass, keys, synth)
Giorgis Karras (electric guitar, dilruba)
Dimitris Mantzavinos (vocals, electric guitar, bouzouki)
Dimitris Prokos (clarinet, synth)
Ilias Livieratos (drums, percussion)

Out on double LP and digital album on May 10th via Inner Ear.

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Getaway Van Premiere “Lord I’ve Been Running” Video

Posted in Bootleg Theater on April 22nd, 2019 by JJ Koczan

getaway van

When you’ve got a hook, use it. That lesson would not seem to be lost on Vancouver four-piece Getaway Van, whose recently-issued self-titled debut has a bunch to go around, from the bloodshot repetitions of “Branches” down through the catchy mid-paced sway of “So Long” at the record’s pre-outro conclusion. “Lord I’ve Been Running” might be the most infectious of them, however — though I wouldn’t take away from “Ugh” or the prior “Follow Me,” either — though it’s certainly in resonant company, and though it’s the means by which Getaway Van are making their debut, having formed in 2017, the interplay of vocal arrangements between guitarists Derek Lionas and Charlie Cole and bassist Zach Fox show a care in composition that speaks directly to intentional songcraft. That is, it’s not just verses and choruses piled on top of each other. There’s thought behind what they’re doing, and in listening to the album, it sounds like the work of multiple songwriters, or at least multiple contributors around a central idea for each track. Drummer Devon Sutherland, accordingly, provides the restlessness at the foundation to keep everything moving while still tying the songs together.

Somehow, because it’s in Canada and not Portland, Oregon, or Seattle, Washington, Vancouver seems to be often-unconsidered when it comes to the thriving Pacific Northwest heavy underground. That’s a mistake, obviously. On a song like “Blacktop Mistress,” Getaway Van tap into Red Fang-style forward momentum while the earlier “Comin’ Back” demonstrates more melodic complexity in straightforward, Ripple-style heavy rock, but what makes it all work together is the focus on songwriting at root in what they do. While “Lord I’ve Been Running” takes its central theme from the blues, it makes its impression with its sharply-executed bounce of rhythm and, indeed, its hook.

They are not shy with it, and neither should they be. The video (with videography by Matej Ceska) finds them arriving, loading in and playing a gig at The Bourbon in Gastown, Vancouver, as well as in the rehearsal space where Fox professes, “Somebody’s been practicing,” when complimented on his play. That’s a fun moment in a fun song with a kind of dark theme presented in a manner that borders on maddeningly catchy and appears on an album that functions much the same. “Lord I’ve Been Running” inherently can’t convey the entire scope of Getaway Van‘s songcraft — you know, being one song and all — but in the vocal swaps and its pristine construction, it represents the self-titled well. Probably why they chose it as a single, and further proof these cats know what they’re up to.

Some quick comment from the band follows. Dig in and have fun:

Getaway Van, “Lord I’ve Been Running” official video premiere

Getaway Van on “Lord I’ve Been Running”:

“‘Lord I’ve Been Running’ is the second single from our debut full-length album. Written by bassist Zack Fox, this is a song about the tribulations of life, and the toll it can take on a person. We’ve all always loved this song due to the high energy and its almost desperate nature. The powerful vocals and incessantly running guitars really seem to get people moving, and help make it a memorable track. It’s certainly a song that everyone can find a connection to on a personal level, and as such, it was the natural choice for our first music video to come from this album.”

Getaway Van is:
Devon Sutherland – Drums
Zach Fox – Bass/vocals
Derek Lionas – Guitar/vocals
Charlie Cole – Guitar/vocals

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Dune Sea Premiere “Dune Sea” from Self-Titled Debut LP out May 3

Posted in audiObelisk on April 18th, 2019 by JJ Koczan

dune sea

Dune Sea release their self-titled debut album May 3 through All Good Clean Records. The Norwegian band began as the project of guitarist, vocalist, keyboardist and noisemaker Ole Nogva, who gradually was joined by drummer Erik Bråten and bassist Petter Solvik Dahle, and though their moniker might conjure all sorts of images of retread desert rock riffing, the truth of what they do throughout the nine-track/31-minute Dune Sea is much more complex, drawing from the synth-laced space thrust of closer “Cosmic Playground” and the jangle-into-drift-into-futuristic-push of “Morphine,” which isn’t the first track on the record to be named after a controlled substance, following as it does a few songs behind opener “Pentobarbital and Ethanol.” All around the album, cuts like the eponymous “Dune Sea” and the subsequent brief fuzz wash and stomping rhythm of “Future,” the brief keyboard infusion in “Bounty Hunter” — like a heavy version of proto-New Wave space vibing — and the cosmic command in “Astrodelic Breakdown” lead the listener on a charted but varied course into the greater reaches of the far out, engines burning at warp factor whatever as the stars turn to streaks outside the window.

If it’s desert rock, then, it’s a desert on some distant undiscovered world waiting for the most intrepid of explorers.

But let’s leave the moniker behind much as the penultimate “Awake” leaves the ground. Dune Sea play dune sea cosmic playgroundfully-activated cosmic heavy rock. It’s an amalgam ultimately of space, psych and progressive styles, but their debut full-length — and when you listen through and think about that, that’s really the scary part; this is their first record — careens between them with such a fluid playout that it’s nearly impossible to pin down where one element ends and the next begins. Tones and grooves are hypnotic, melody is pervasive, and the spirit and energy with which Dune Sea handle the turns from one piece to another, as on the absolutely-drenched-in-acid classic psych rocking centerpiece “Green,” are infectious to the point of entering the bloodstream. That starts right from the ultra-swing at the apex of “Pentobarbital and Ethanol,” with a full album’s worth of swagger packed into about 35 seconds that lead the way into the rest of Dune Sea with an assured push that sets up the rest of the madness to follow. Dudes are right off the wall. I mean really. We’re talking about the snozzberries tasting like snozzberries, here. It’s a trip that should come with a warning label: “This machine alienates squares.”

And it’s 31 minutes. Short for an LP, but that too becomes a strength on the part of the band, because they manage to pack so much into that time. It’s condensed, but somehow when you listen, it feels like the songs unfold over a much more spacious scale than they do. That’s credit to the mix, which is packed with layers of lysergic detailing, but there’s a constant melodic presence as well through even the various vocal effects that helps the listener along this purposefully bumpy path, and that only makes the record all the more of a joyful undertaking. I’m saying that if you think you can get down, you should.

To that end, I’m thrilled to host Dune Sea‘s “Dune Sea” from Dune Sea as a premiere for your streaming pleasure below. Second of the nine inclusions, the eponymous song on any band’s record can serve as a crucial statement of intent and who they are, and as Dune Sea cry out for freedom in the track, they would seem to be making precisely that statement. Crack open your skull and pour this one in. Somehow I doubt you’ll regret it.

Enjoy:

Dune Sea is a power trio from Norway playing a stoner rock mixed with shoegaze and space rock. The Trondheim based group are often compared with bands like Hawkwind and Queens of the Stone Age.

The Dune Sea album features nine tracks that range from stretched out psychedelic sci-fi soundscapes to synth based monolithic riffs. The sound unfolds within a cinematic universe, which is both retro and futuristic.

The band started out as Ole Nogva’s solo project back in 2012. Drummer Erik Bråten joined Ole in the spring of 2017 to record drums for the EP “All Quiet Under The Suns”.

In early 2018 bassplayer Petter Solvik Dahle became a permanent member of Dune Sea and the recording process of their self-titled debut album began. The album is recorded and produced by the band themselves in various locations in Trondheim and will be released through All Good Clean Records on May 3rd 2019. The mastering is done by Rhys Marsh at Autumnsongs Recording Studio.

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1782 Self-Titled Debut Preorders Available; Album out May 24

Posted in Whathaveyou on March 26th, 2019 by JJ Koczan

Together, Marco Nieddu and Gabriele Fancellu served as the rhythm section of the heavy rock outfit Raikinas, who issued their last album, Arkadia, in late 2016 through H42 Records. Signed to Heavy Psych Sounds under their newfound moniker 1782, the duo will release their self-titled debut full-length in May, and are streaming the song “Oh Mary” to mark the occasion of the album announcement. Unlike some of the tracks you can see listed below that feature a range of guests — including Heavy Psych Sounds label head and Black Rainbows/Killer Boogie guitarist/vocalist Gabriele Fiori and their Raikinas bandmate Alfredo Carboni, who contributes vocals — “Oh Mary” is just the duo on their own, so should give a decent impression of where they’re headed with their sound on the whole.

Oh maybe it doesn’t, I don’t know. Haven’t heard the record. Fuck it. Riffs are cool. Have some.

PR wire says:

1782 self titled

1782 SIGN TO HEAVY PSYCH SOUNDS + PREMIERE WITCH HAUNTING SINGLE FROM UPCOMING DEBUT ALBUM

Due out May 24th 2019!

It was a cold December day in 2018, when Marco Nieddu and Gabriele Fancellu formed a Doom band called 1782, in honor of all the “witches” murdered by the bigoted minds of many generations. Just a month later, the band entered the studio to record the single “She Was A Witch”, released by Electric Valley Records in within the same month. Only a few days after its release, the single turned out to be a great success, especially on social media and by listeners of the genre. On February 8th, 1782 started recording their homonymous debut album with Alfredo Carboni at the RKS studios in Ossi, Sardini, and inked a worldwide record deal with the leading cult & fuzz rock label Heavy Psych Sounds Records!

May 24th 2019 will see 1782 release their self-titled debut of a doom metal masterpiece, dedicated to a lady called Anna Göldi, who was condemned, tortured and killed, in one of the last witchcraft trials happened in Europe. 1782 deal with macabre themes: from spells to ruthless torture, from the pleasure of sex to the most perfidious revenge. This record got seven tracks of pure Doom Metal sounds with mega-riff Stoner Doom intervals, accompanied by a rhythm section of powerful drums, intense bass and super-fuzzy guitars. The band’s first full-length album also features high class guest musicians such as BLACK RAINBOWS ‘Gabriele Fiori shredding a blistering guitar solo in ‘She Was A Witch’, guest vocals by Alfredo Carbon of RAIKINAS or Nico Sechi on Hammond.

Today 1782 are proudly sharing with us a first single to the track ‘Oh Mary’! Says the band: „The lyrics of this song tell the story of a woman, who really existed and joined the circle of Sardinian legends. Maria, forced to marry an old man and pointed out by the women of her village because she was pregnant, decides to kill herself by throwing into a well. According to the myth, Maria kidnapped the children of all the women who had humiliated her, while taking them to her grave to feed on their bodies.“

Preorder here: https://allthatisheavy.com/collections/pre-orders-1?view=list

Tracklist:
1. Intro (…To the Church)
2. Night Of Draculia
3. The Spell (Maleficium Vitae) [feat. Alfredo Carboni]
4. She Was A Witch [feat. Gabriele Fiori]
5. Black Sunday
6. Oh Mary
7. 1782 [feat. Nico Sechi]
8. Celestial Voices [Pink Floyd cover, feat. Alfredo Carboni & Nico Sechi]

Coming May 24th with Heavy Psych Sounds, the album will be available in the following album formats:

– TEST PRESS
– ULTRA LTD GOLD
– RED BACKGROUND SPALTTER Black-Blue-White-Gold
– BLACK VINYL
– CASSETTE via Electric Valley Records
– DIGIPAK
– DIGITAL DOWNLOAD

To Pre-Order your album copy, visit:
www.heavypsychsounds.com/shop.htm#HPS106

1782 is:
Marco Nieddu – Guitar, Bass and Vocals
Gabriele Fancellu – Drums and Backing Vocals

www.facebook.com/1782doom
www.heavypsychsounds.com

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Quarterly Review: Bellrope, Cracked Machine, The Sky Giants, Sacred Monster, High ‘n’ Heavy, Warlung, Rogue Conjurer, Monovine, Un & Coltsblood, La Grande Armée

Posted in Reviews on March 25th, 2019 by JJ Koczan

quarterly-review-spring-2019

Day Six. Not that there wasn’t a bit of a crunch along the way, but I definitely think this Quarterly Review was aided by the fact that I dug so much of what I was writing about on a personal-taste level. You get through it one way or the other, but it just makes it more fun. Today is the last day and then it’s back to something approaching normal tomorrow, but of course before this thing is rounded out I want to thank you as always for taking the time and for reading if you did. It means a tremendous amount to me to put words out and have people see them, so thank you for your part in that.

This could’ve easily gone seven or eight or 10 days if scheduling had permitted, but here’s as good a place to leave it. The next one will probably be the first week of July or thereabouts, so keep an eye out.

Quarterly Review #51-60:

Bellrope, You Must Relax

bellrope you must relax

How much noise can your brain take? I don’t mean noise like start-stop riffs and dudes shouting. I mean actual, abrasive, amelodic noise. Bellrope, with ex-members of the underrated Black Shape of Nexus start their Exile on Mainstream-delivered debut album, You Must Relax, with three minutes of chaff-separation they’re calling “Hollywood 2001/Rollrost.” It’s downright caustic. Fortunately, what follows on the four subsequent extended tracks devotes itself to lumbering post-sludge that’s at least accessible by comparison. “Old Overholt” is the only other inclusion under 10 minutes as the tracks are arranged shortest to longest with the 17:57 “CBD/Hereinunder” concluding. The thickened tones brought to bear throughout “Old Overholt” and the blend of screams and growls that accompany are more indicative of what follows on the centerpiece title-track and the penultimate “TD2000,” but the German four-piece still manage to sound plenty fucked throughout. Just not painfully so. There’s something threatening about the use of the word “must” in the album’s title. The songs realize that threat.

Bellrope on Thee Facebooks

Exile on Mainstream Records website

 

Cracked Machine, The Call of the Void

Cracked Machine The Call of the Void

Here be dragons. Though its core tonality is still within the bounds of heavy rock, Wiltshire, UK, four-piece bring a far more atmospheric and progressive style to fruition on their second album, The Call of the Void, than it might at first appear. With post-rock float to the guitar of Bill Denton, keyboard textures from Clive Noyes, and fluid rhythms carried through changes in volume and ambience from bassist Christ Sutton and drummer Blazej Gradziel, the PsyKA Records outfit present a cerebral seven tracks/47 minutes of immersive and seemingly conceptual work, with opener “Jormungandr” establishing the context in which each song that follows is named for a different culture’s dragon, whether it’s the Hittite “Illuyanka,” Japan’s “Yamata No Orochi” or the Persian “Azi Dahakar.” Cracked Machine use this theme to tie pieces together, and they push farther out as the record unfolds late with “Typhon” and “Vritra” a closing pair of marked scope. The shortest cut, the earlier 5:14 “Kirimu,” has probably the most straightforward push, but Cracked Machine demonstrate an ability to adapt to the needs of whatever idea they’re working to convey.

Cracked Machine on Thee Facebooks

PsyKA Records webstore

 

The Sky Giants, The Shifting of Phaseworld

the sky giants the shifting of phaseworld

Taking cues from psychedelia almost as much as jangly West Coast noise and punk, Tacoma, Washington’s The Sky Giants offer the 10-track sophomore outing The Shifting of Phaseworld, which finds a balance in songs like “Dream Receiver” between progressive heavy rock and its rawer foundations. The trio of guitarist/vocalist Jake Frye, bassist Jessie Avery and drummer/vocalist/engineer/graphic artist Peter Tietjen are comfortable tipping from one side to the other between and within songs, starting off with the shove of “Technicolor Kaleidoscope” and getting mathy on the later “Half Machine” ahead of the chunkier-riffed “Rhyme and the Flame,” which somehow touches on classic punk even as it hones a wash of distortion that that has to cut through. Closing each side with a longer track in the rolling, airy “Solid State” (6:53) and the frenetic ending of “Simian” (7:38), The Sky Giants stake out a sonic terrain very much their own throughout The Shifting of Phaseworld and only seem to expand their territory as they go.

The Sky Giants on Thee Facebooks

The Sky Giants on Bandcamp

 

Sacred Monster, Worship the Weird

sacred monster worship the weird

Topped off by the ace screams of vocalist Adam Szczygiel, who taps his inner Devin Townsend circa Strapping Young Lad on “High Confessor” and “Re-Animator,” Sacred Monster‘s debut album, Worship the Weird would seem to cull together elements of Orange Goblin and Bongzilla for a kind of classic-metal-aware sludge rock, the riffs of Robert Nubel not at all shy about digging into aggressive vibes to go with the layers of growls and throatrippers and the occasional King Diamond-esque falsetto, as on “Waverly Hills,” as bassist Guillermo Moreno and drummer Ted Nubel bolster that feel with tight turns and duly driven bottom end. I’ll take “Face of My Father” as a highlight, if only for the excruciating sound of Szczygiel‘s screech, but the swing in closer “Maze of Dreams” has an appeal of its own, and as a Twilight Zone and a Shatner fan, “Nightmare at 20,000 Feet” offers its own charm.

Sacred Monster on Thee Facebooks

Sacred Monster on Bandcamp

 

High n’ Heavy, Warrior Queen

high n heavy warrior queen

Shades of grunge and skate-fuzz fuckall pervade the Sabbathian grooves of High n’ Heavy‘s second album, Warrior Queen, as guitarist John Steele works some doomly keys into second cut “Shield Maiden” and vocalist Kris Fortin moves in and out of throaty shouts on side B’s “Lydia.” They thrash out in the noisy “Catapult” and Nick Perrone‘s drums seem to bounce even in the longer-winded “Lands Afar” and closer “Smell of Decay / Wings and Claw,” on which Mike Dudley‘s rumble backs classically metallic shred in the lead guitar after offering likewise support to the piano in the early going of “Join the Day.” Released through Electric Valley Records, the eight-song/36-minute LP comes across as raw but not without purpose in that, and its blend of tonal thickness and the blend of thrust and nod does well to ensure High n’ Heavy remain unpredictable while also living up to the standard of their moniker. There’s potential here that’s worth further exploration on the part of the band.

High n’ Heavy on Thee Facebooks

Electric Valley Records website

 

Warlung, Immortal Portal

Warlung Immortal Portal

Houston, Texas, four-piece make a quick case for the attention of Ripple Music on their sophomore outing, Immortal Portal, which is slickly-but-not-too-slickly produced and sharply-but-not-too-sharply executed, a professional sensibility in “Black Horse Pike” and the subsequent “The Palm Reader” — which manages to be influenced melodically by Uncle Acid without sounding just like them — ahead of the ’80s metallurgy of “Heart of a Sinner” and the reference-packed “1970.” “We All Die in the End” gives an uptempo swing to the opening salvo ahead of the more brooding “Between the Dark and the Light,” but Warlung hold firm to clearly-presented melodies and riff-led rhythms no matter where they seem to go in mood or otherwise. That ties the drift of the later “Heavy Echoes” to the earlier material and makes the harmony-laced “No Son of Mine” and the organ-ic proggy sprawling finale “Coal Minors” all the more effective in reaching beyond where the album started, so that the listener winds up in a different landscape than they started, still grounded, but changed nonetheless.

Warlung on Thee Facebooks

Warlung on Bandcamp

 

Rogue Conjurer, Of the Goddess / Crystal Mountain Lives

rogue conjurer of the goddess

Originally released digitally by the Baltimore-based unit in 2017, the two-songer Of the Goddess / Crystal Mountain Lives sees pressing as an ultra-limited tape via Damien Records and finds the three-piece of guitarist/bassist/vocalist Tonie Joy, drummer Colin Seven and organist Donny Van Zandt — since replaced by Trevor Shipley — honing a psychedelic take on doomly riffs and groove. “Crystal Mountain Lives” has a more distinct nod to its central progression, with a wah-drenched break and greater overall largesse of fuzz, but “Of the Goddess” brings an effective almost shoegazing sense to its downer spirit. The first track is also longer, so it has more time to move from that initial impression to its own payoff, but either way you go, Rogue Conjurer bring out their dead ably on the tape, showing influences from heavy psych and beyond as “Of the Goddess” winds its way to its close and “Crystal Mountain Lives” begins its fade-in all over again. No pretense, but a broad range that would allow for some if they wanted.

Rogue Conjurer on Instagram

Damien Records on Bandcamp

 

Monovine, D.Y.E

monovine dye

Athens heavy rockers Monovine wear their grunge influence proudly on their third full-length, D.Y.E, issued late in 2018 digitally with an early 2019 vinyl release. It’s writ large in the Nirvana-ism of the slurring “Mellow” at the outset and remains a factor through the melodies of “Void” and the later punkery of “Messed Up” or “Ring a Bell,” as well as the toying-with-pop “Me (Raphe Nuclei)” and “Your Figure Smells,” but where Monovine succeed in making that influence their own is by filtering it through a fuzzier presentation. The guitar and bass tones keep a modern heavy feel, and as the drums roll and crash through songs like “For a Sun” and “Why Don’t You Shoot Me in the Head,” that makes a difference in the overall impression the album leaves. Still, there’s little question as to their central point of inspiration, and they bring it out in homage and as a fairly honed mode of expression on closer “Haunt,” which teases an explosion in its melancholy strum and then… well, don’t let me spoil it.

Monovine on Thee Facebooks

Monovine on Bandcamp

 

Un & Coltsblood, Split

un coltsblood split

A festering 42 minutes of lurching agonies, Un and Coltsblood‘s split taps the best of modern death-doom’s emotionalism and bent toward extremity. Billed as a “tribute to grief: the final act of love,” it brings just two tracks, one per band, as Coltsblood open with “Snows of the Winter Realm” and Un follow with “Every Fear Illuminated.” Both bands proffer a terrifyingly weighted plod and offset it with a spacious ambience, whether it’s Un departing their grueling nod after about six and a half minutes only to build back up over the next six and grow more ferocious until devolving into noise and slamming crashes ahead of an outro of echoing, needs-a-tune-sounding piano, or Coltsblood fostering their own tonal brutalism and casting their lot with death and black metal while a current of airy guitar seems to mourn the song even as it plays out. Each cut is a monument built to loss, and their purpose in conveying that theme is both what unites them and what makes their work so ultimately consuming, as grief is.

Un on Thee Facebooks

Coltsblood on Thee Facebooks

 

La Grande Armée, La Grande Armée

La Grande Armée La Grande Armée

The blend of drifting guitar and psychedelic wash on opener “El Canto de las Ballenas” earns La Grande Armée‘s self-titled debut three-song EP immediate favor, and the patient execution they bring to the subsequent “Tripa Intergaláctica” and “Normandía,” particularly the latter, only furthers that appeal. The Chilean trio keep a decidedly natural feel to the exploratory-seeming work, and if this is them finding their sound, they seem happy to do it by losing themselves in their jams. All the better someone thought to press record, since although there’s clearly some trajectory behind the progression of songs — i.e., they know at least to a degree where they want to end up — the process of getting there comes across as spontaneous. Guitar pans channels as bass and drums hold down languid flow, and even in the more active midsection of “Tripa Intergaláctica,” La Grande Armée there’s a sense that it’s more about the space being created than the construction under way. In any case, wherever they want to head next, they would seem to have the means of travel at their disposal.

La Grande Armée on Thee Facebooks

La Grande Armée on Bandcamp

 

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Review & Track Premiere: Pyramidal, Pyramidal

Posted in audiObelisk, Reviews on March 25th, 2019 by JJ Koczan

Pyramidal Pyramidal

[Click play above to stream ‘Digital Madness’ from Pyramidal’s self-titled LP. It’s out April 15 on Lay Bare Recordings and Surnia Records.]

There are a few seconds of silence before the opening track of Pyramidal‘s self-titled third album, “Visions of an Astral Journey,” begins and the choice to leave them there tells you much of what you need to know about the level of detail and meticulousness the Alicante, Spain, progressive heavy psychedelic rockers have put into the record as a whole. Pyramidal‘s Pyramidal, released by Lay Bare Recordings and Surnia Records as the follow-up to 2013’s Frozen Galaxies and their 2011 debut, Dawn in Space (review here), would seem to have been a while in the making were it not for the steady stream of short releases between. Still, as they arrive at the decade-mark since they first got together, the five songs/46 minutes they present with Pyramidal feels all the more like an event for the fact that it’s been six years since the last LP.

They do not fail to live up to the occasion, and 10 years on finds Pyramidal utterly in command of their sound and the listener’s experience, able to carry their audience through the sax-infused King Crimson-style chase and angular nuance of the aforementioned opener and into the mellower climes of “Creatures of the Ancient World,” which starts out likewise dramatic, but after about a minute, drops to a soothing and vaguely Eastern-inflected atmosphere, still intricate, that smooths the way forward into the next build, allowing for the proggy-but-heavy riff that takes hold at 4:45 to immediately mark the change to something else (actually, there’s a bass note before the guitar starts, but still). What follows is an active payoff to the first half of the song and a fluid but no less considered run than that which appeared in “Visions of an Astral Journey.” They resolve in a heavy space-rocking jam that also doesn’t last before dropping to a bass and drum-led section of psychedelic dance, which becomes consumed by guitar noise as it makes its way back to the central progression of the just-departed push.

It is a head-spinner, to be sure. Vocals are relatively spare but not entirely absent, and even the three-minute “Unconscious Oscillations,” which sounds like a sliver of a jam that could’ve been recorded when either of the first two tracks was being put to tape, has some whispers throughout its shorter than everything else run. “Unconscious Oscillations,” with the return of the sax, a ready push of drums and a still-directed drift in the guitar, feels almost like the closing credits for side A of Pyramidal, and serves as a quick summary of the rather considerable depth the band has thus far employed. Not necessarily depth in terms of the actual mix, though it wants nothing for spaciousness throughout “Visions of an Astral Journey,” “Creatures of the Ancient World” and “Unconscious Oscillations,” but in terms of the positioning within the mix of the elements being put to use and the care with which the material is executed. While still sounding natural in the end, Pyramidal‘s work is exacting and full of purpose.

pyramidal (Photo by Sergio Albert)

Though they’ve obviously allowed room for “happy accidents” in the studio, this is not a band who went into making their third record without an idea of what they wanted. Their style, while indebted to classic prog and space rock, has its eyes forward and never loses track of where it wants to go. This remains true as the quiet ambience of “Digital Madness” mirrors the quiet at the start of “Visions of an Astral Journey,” keyboard setting a foundation for airy guitar to come to the fore and build in tension until after a minute in the full brunt of the song is unveiled. Again, it’s a showing of the patience and intent that Pyramidal signaled at the outset. A verse sees vocals matching rhythmic pattern to the guitar with a tinge of Spanish folk offset by the outward-push of the bridge sets up the next verse, the tonal thickness there a standout soon offset by a sprawling solo. They are not yet four minutes into the total 9:42. That’s the kind of record this is.

They continue to build the solo before cutting back to the acoustic/electric blend and a wash of crash cymbal at the midpoint before the lead guitar steps up with a winding run to introduce the next movement. Toms sound like footsteps trying to keep up. A harmony line kicks in, and then they’re riffing again like nothing happened. Did I mention “head-spinner?” A quick few lines of spoken word precede the next solo, then interrupt it, and Pyramidal are at full force with a vision of progressive heavy that would make peak-era Steven Wilson blush. The last build begins with dreamy guitar and a turn to creeping notes, the entry of drums and a surge of volume, and they mute chords before a last measure brings “Digital Madness” to a close to the madness of closer “Alussa Infinity” can arrive, which it does with scale-work to match that of the opener that unfurls into a fuzzier stretch of psych-jazz that in turn gives way to malevolent spoken word and a darker overall vibe.

Pyramidal are not out of surprises yet, and as they toy with tropes from heavy metal, they are no less in control of the proceedings than they’ve been all along. “Alussa Infinity” continues to grow aggressive through a shouty midsection before changing after seven minutes into its total 14:21 to a stretch of ethereal guitar spaciousness that moves into a grander, string-infused progression that’s every bit the grand finale Pyramidal deserves. Then they do it again, and afterward cap the album with a soothing last few minutes of astro-rock and leave it there, having quietly matched side A’s structure in the two tracks on side B but still gone further in the overarching aesthetic mission. That mission may be ongoing, but Pyramidal‘s declaration of who they are in this self-titled collection is not to be overlooked. Their material is expansive and handled with a graceful collective hand, such that they’re neither out of control nor overly in it. That balance is part of what makes these tracks flow so well, and what makes each change presented herein a pleasure to follow.

Pyramidal on Thee Facebooks

Pyramidal on Instagram

Pyramidal on Bandcamp

Pyramidal website

Surnia Records website

Lay Bare Recordings website

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