The Obelisk Radio Adds: Woodsplitter, Shroud Eater & Dead Hand, Moaning Cities, Wartime and Megaritual

Posted in Radio on February 6th, 2017 by JJ Koczan

the obelisk radio by cavum

A round of adds to The Obelisk Radio once a month doesn’t seem like too much to ask, right? Well, it probably will be as the rest of the year plays out amid my meandering attention span, onslaught of reviews, etc., but for now, I’m at least two-for-two on 2017, and that should count for something. I won’t speculate as to what.

Pretty varied batch this time around, with some familiar names stepping outside what might be perceived as their comfort zone and others digging into various traditions in rock, blues, psych, sludge and doom. Much as I try to keep the stream running at all times — one has server blips; it happens — I also try to mix things up at least in a context that makes sense from one song to the next, though every now and again as I listen I hear something that completely blindsides me. That can be fun too.

As always, I hope you find something in here you dig.

The Obelisk Radio adds, Feb. 6, 2017:

Woodsplitter, Inflamed

woodsplitter-inflamed

For those who know guitarist Ben McLeod for the bluesy, psychedelic flow he brings to the languid jamming of All Them Witches, no doubt the Inflamed debut from his Woodsplitter solo/side-project is going to be a marked surprise. That would seem to be at least in part the intent. Working in a fire-fueled vein of instrumental progressive metal, “Liturgy” introduces a sense of extremity yet unheard from McLeod. Backed only by his own programmed drums, self-recorded, -mixed and -released, it’s a 39-minute mostly-onslaught that calls to mind a sans-vocal Genghis Tron at times while perhaps nodding at Steve Vai technicality via Devin Townsend‘s more metallized approach. McLeod locks in a plodding groove on “Fatty’s Waltz,” but even this is a bold step stylistically, and subsequent “Pile” and two-part title-track — the second piece of which secures Inflamed‘s ultimate triumph — only continue the push into experimentation. Ultimately, McLeod lands sure-footed in this exploration, showcasing roots that many who’ll take on Woodsplitter probably didn’t know he had — including some post-rock layering at the tail end of closer “The Weather Outside is Frightful” — and setting up a future progression almost entirely distinct from that of his main outfit. Won’t be for everybody, but hits with an equal measure of purpose and force.

Woodsplitter on Bandcamp

All Them Witches on Thee Facebooks

 

Shroud Eater & Dead Hand, Split

shroud-eater-dead-hands-split

As to what unites Georgian five-piece Dead Hand and Floridian trio Shroud Eater on this late-2016 Southern Druid Records split 7″, it won’t take long to figure out. Both bands are heavy as hell. With “Guaiacol” from the former going head-to-head with the latter’s “Destroy the Monolith” it becomes a contest of churn vs. roll, Dead Hand taking an atmospheric approach that feels in comparison more derived from post-metal than Shroud Eater‘s nonetheless spacious sludgy pummeling. Either way you go, you’re getting crushed by a six-minute track that seems only to revel in the cruelty of its lumbering, Dead Hand‘s chug arriving over a torrent of double-kickdrum before opening to a more forward thrust on “Guaiacol” and locking into a nod that persists even in the relatively minimalist midsection before, the lumbering, growling extremity resumes. As a title like “Destroy the Monolith” might hint, Shroud Eater aren’t exactly taking it easy either. With a multi-vocalist arrangement and vastness of groove, they represent their core sound well as a precursor to the awaited arrival of their second album hopefully sometime in 2017. It’s a quick release — in and out in 12 minutes — but both acts are bound to make an impression on the listener as each shows off their own brand of brutality.

Shroud Eater on Bandcamp

Dead Hand on Bandcamp

Southern Druid Records webstore

 

Moaning Cities, D. Klein

moaning-cities-d-klein

Issued through EXAG Records, the oddly-but-somehow-appropriately-stylized D. Klein is the second full-length from Belgium’s Moaning Cities, who seem as much at home in referencing The Velvet Underground and The Stooges on “Solitary Hawk” as drifting out All Them Witches-esque on the earlier “Sex Sells.” At 10 tracks/39 minutes, the Brussels-based outfit don’t express any particular need to settle into one sound-niche or another, but they keep a languid flow of psychedelic heavy blues in songs like “Insomnia” and the poetically-stomping “Vertigo Rising” that makes the okay-it’s-freakout-time arrival of the penultimate “Drag” all the more satisfying, even if their clear element of control is well maintained throughout. Flourish like the electronic beats in opener “Expected” and the soundscaping guitar in the finale “Daggers” add further depth to a release that already offers plenty, but Moaning Cities retain a classy, nigh-on-chic atmosphere without losing the tonal substance needed beneath to hold up such a strong aesthetic presentation. Whether they’re digging into ’90s alt vibes on “Born Again” — Violent Femmes goes West? — or tossing some sitar to go along with the spoken word of “Yell-Oh-Bahn,” Moaning Cities thrive on never quite letting their listeners know what’s coming next, and that nuance suits D. Klein well.

Moaning Cities on Bandcamp

EXAG Records webstore

 

Wartime, Wartime Vol. 1

wartime-vol-1

Between its five-minute, horror-sample-topped intro “Breaking Wheel” and its corresponding five-minute, horror-sample-topped outro “Magical Law,” Wartime‘s Wartime Vol. 1 delves so deep into classic doom via NWOBHM cultishness that I’m amazed Shadow Kingdom Records has yet to pick it up for a release. The Colombian trio’s 2016 debut, it’s as effective in the moodiness of its acoustic centerpiece “A Whisper” as in the brash Sabbathism of the eponymous “Wartime,” and an overarching rawness in the tracks only feeds the vision of doomed purity within them. Pressed in a limited number of CDs that, like their prior 2015 demo tape, are already long gone, it’s a fist-pump-worthy execution of doom for doomers that asks little by way of indulgences and delivers much in riff, metal-of-yore ambience and the songcraft of drummer/vocalist Alejandro, guitarist D-Pig and bassist Scum, who hold onto a punkish thrust for “Another Reality” before the Vitus-style plod of “Wicked Son.” Children of doom indeed. At 32 minutes, it’s on the shorter end of a full-length album, but it unquestionably sets the groundwork for an LP-style flow, and as Wartime‘s debut, impresses double with the realization of its conceptual bleakness. Special thanks to Juan Lopez for the recommendation on this one. I’m glad I got to check it out and will look forward to what Wartime do next.

Wartime on Bandcamp

Wartime merch page

 

Megaritual, Temple

megaritual-temple

I’ve been doing my dernedest to keep up with Australian one-man outfit Megaritual since getting hip to the White Dwarf aptly-named LP compilation, Mantra Music (review here), late last year. The product of multi-instrumentalist/vocalist Dale Paul WalkerMegaritual followed that release with the 25-minute single-song Eclipse EP (review here), and it’s to that offering that the 18-minute single-tracker Temple seems to have direct lineage, though actually the recording dates back further, to 2013/2014, and finds Walker joined by drummer Govinda Das in a duo incarnation of the band. Not entirely to find “Temple” is a little older, since Megaritual seem to be finding the patience later shown throughout the Mantra Music EPs that comprised the vinyl and then Eclipse afterward here, but you absolutely will not find me complaining about the edge of tonal buzz that complements the massive riff of this track, nor the improvised-sounding spaces around it being explored early on, nor the noise/drone that plays out over the course of the second half. If this is Walker giving a look at the project’s origins, he would seem to have come into Megaritual with an expressive concept in mind, and while it’s clear he’s put himself to the task of refining it, Temple demonstrates it was immersive even in its most formative moments.

Megaritual on Bandcamp

To see everything that joined The Obelisk Radio playlist today, click here.

Thanks for reading and listening.

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Shroud Eater Premiere 13-Minute Single “:th:ree: :cvrses:”

Posted in audiObelisk, Reviews on February 1st, 2017 by JJ Koczan

shroud eater

On Feb. 8, Miami three-piece Shroud Eater will unleash a new 13-minute single different from everything they’ve done before. Known generally for a pummeling sludge, varying from all-out assault to being tinged with atmosphere, the trio’s last outing was also a single, 2015’s Face the Master (video premiere here), and it was a suitable follow-up to the intensity of 2013’s Dead Ends EP (review here) and their 2011 debut full-length, ThunderNoise (review here). The only bummer was there wasn’t more to go around. Their long-overdue sophomore album, Strike the Sun, was announced last summer as set for release through STB Records, and the band has continued to play shows all the while, but the new song “:th:ree: :cvrses:” — translated to “Three Curses” — is a suckerpunch wall of noise that, again, is unlike anything Shroud Eater have delivered to-date.

Well, there are three of them, and there are three curses, so if you want to find a decent place to start, that’s probably it. The reality of “:th:ree: :cvrses:,” though, has its makings in a night of Miami’s International Noise Conference curated by Beatriz Monteavaro of Holly Hunt. It gave the band an outlet perhaps they didn’t even know they were looking for in terms of experimentation and branching beyond the core aggression of their sound, and “:th:ree: :cvrses:” is a studio offshoot of that, finding guitarist/vocalist Jean Saiz, bassist/vocalist Janette Valentine and drummer/vocalist/engineer Davin Sosa all contributing synth. The primary vocal impression of the track comes from samples obscured by an opaque, murky wash of drone, as “:th:ree: :cvrses:” brazenly departs chugging and winding riffs in favor of an ambient sprawl that lasts for its entire runtime, but there are far-back screams and shouts as well, also buried alive under noise, that bring to mind something that might show up on a modern Burning Witch album were such a thing to exist. In other words, it is unremittingly dark.

shroud eater three cursesIf you’re having a really nice day, you might want to hold off. Or at very least prepare your psyche for a considerable turnaround in mood, because this is no mere dabble. In fact, if anything draws “:th:ree: :cvrses:” into a recognizable sphere for Shroud Eater, it’s the headfirst-dive, full-plunge they make into these atmospheric horrors. Boldness is nothing new for SaizValentine and Sosa, and that goes back to the band’s earliest output in their formative 2009 demo (review here), but there’s little they’ve done that would prepare the fanbase they’ve built for this turn. And that’s what makes it work. On a sheer level of sonics and in terms of methodology, the expansion that “:th:ree: :cvrses:” represents makes Shroud Eater‘s processes that much richer and carries the feeling of an exorcism — something the band had to purge out of their collective system. I asked them to tell me about the song’s origins — you can see their responses under the player below — because I wanted to know what impulses they were following in its making, and you’ll note as you read that all three members make particular mention of enjoying the prospect of what this might eventually bring to their core sound.

Sosa calls it “refreshing,” while Valentine puts forth the possibility of more noise-based releases and Saiz backs her up and confirms more experimentalism to come. The only question at this point is whether “:th:ree: :cvrses:” becomes a working model for one-offs — a noisy incarnation of Shroud Eater — or a general move toward ambience they’re able to apply progressively to the sludge songwriting that’s been more familiar from them. I do not know which way they’ll go, if either, but listening to the horror show that “:th:ree: :cvrses:” conjures across its consuming and extended span, one more thing that ties the piece to the rest of their work is the mountain of potential it represents. One hates to think of anything delaying their second album further as we move toward six years post-ThunderNoise, but they’ve opened a doorway here and given themselves a fresh side to explore, and one is likewise excited at the prospect of what they might find as they creep deeper within the contrast. We’ll see.

Please find the stream of “:th:ree: :cvrses:” below, followed by the aforementioned quotes from SaizValentine and Sosa. Once again, the official release date is Feb. 8.

Enjoy:

“:th:ree: :cvrses:” is performed by Shroud Eater: Jean Saiz (vocals, guitar, synthesizer), Janette Valentine (bass, synthesizer), Davin Sosa (vocals, drums, synthesizer). With additional instrumentation by Lauren Palma (guitars), Zeus Chirinos (bass). Recorded & engineered by Davin Sosa. Mixed & Mastered by Aric Meerbot.

Davin Sosa on “:th:ree: :cvrses:”:

The idea for the track came from our inclusion in last year’s INC (International Noise Conference), among other things. We prepared a 15-minute piece between two synthesizers and a noisemaker. Wielding the atmosphere instead of our guitars and drums was really damn fun, not to mention refreshing! It only made sense to try and record it proper. Another motivating factor for me was the new Boris x Merzbow record released around the same time. Their use of weird, affected vocals and overwhelming walls of sound was a big influence on my contributions to the track. Definitely wouldn’t mind doing more like this in the future!

Janette Valentine on “:th:ree: :cvrses:”:

I’ve been eager to try something different and new as a band and this was the perfect thing for us to tap into. I dig noise that is heavy, sinister and sad. Holding down the groove and mood on synths is something I plan to continue to do, and my hopes are that we can record a full EP that explores more of this dark and meditative realm.

Jean Saiz on “:th:ree: :cvrses:”:

In all honesty, the idea of creating noise as music was pretty foreign to me at first. After attending and watching friends perform at the International Noise Conference for a few years, there was definitely certain soundscapes and moods that I was really drawn to and resonated with me. During the summer of 2014, where we were sans-drummer and Davin had yet to join the band, I listened almost exclusively to weird, avant-garde, drone, noise, experimental stuff; I didn’t want to hear anything that sounded like a traditional rock/metal/whatever song. Fast forward a bit, and as previously mentioned we were asked to perform at INC on a night curated by Holly Hunt’s Beatriz Monteavaro, and immediately we all knew as a band we were going to ditch the guitar, bass, and drums formula and do something different. What followed was a kind of loose structure of synths, noisemakers and doped-out, meditative vocals that we used as a base for what would later be properly recorded on :th:ree: :cvrses:. We’ll definitely be doing more experimental recordings in the future, as the three of us really enjoyed the freedoms associated with creating something that’s so out there and starkly different from the usual Shroud Eater sound.

Shroud Eater on Thee Facebooks

Shroud Eater on Bandcamp

Shroud Eater’s website

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Tomorrow’s Dream: 200+ of 2017’s Most Anticipated Releases

Posted in Features on January 23rd, 2017 by JJ Koczan

tomorrow's dream 2017

Looks like it’s going to be another busy 12 months ahead. It’s been a busy better-part-of-a-month already, so that stands to reason, but you should know that of the several years now that I’ve done these ‘Tomorrow’s Dream’ posts, this is the biggest one yet, with over 150 upcoming releases that — one hopes — will be out between today and the end of 2017.

Actually, at last count, the list tops 180. Do I really expect you to listen to all of them? Nope. Will I? Well, it would be nice. But what I’ve done is gone through and highlighted 35 picks and then built lists off that in order of likelihood of arrival. You’ll note the categories are ‘Gonna Happen and/or Likely Candidates,’ ‘Definitely Could Happen’ and ‘Would be Awfully Nice.’

Beyond that last one, anything else just seems like speculation — one might as well go “new Sabbath this year!” with zero info backing it up. The idea here is that no matter where a given band is placed, there has been some talk of a new release. In some cases, it’s been years, but I think they’re still worth keeping in mind.

Another caveat: You can expect additions to this list over the next week — probably album titles, band names people (fingers crossed) suggest in the comments, and so on — so it will grow. It always does. The idea is to build as complete a document as possible, not to get it all nailed down immediately, so please, if you have something to contribute and you’re able to do so in a non-prickish, “You didn’t include Band X and therefore don’t deserve to breathe the same air as me,” kind of way, please contribute.

Other than that, I think it’s pretty straightforward what’s going on here and I’ll explain the category parameters as we go, so by all means, let’s jump in.

— Tomorrow’s Dream 2017 —

Presented Alphabetically

1. Abrahma, TBA

Late last year, Paris heavy progressives Abrahma announced a new lineup and third full-length in progress. No reason to think it won’t come to fruition, and a follow-up to 2015’s Reflections in the Bowels of a Bird (review here) is an easy pick to look forward to. Even with the shift in personnel, it seems likely the band will continue their creative development, driven as they are by founding guitarist Seb Bismuth.

2. All Them Witches, Sleeping Through the War

all them witches sleeping through the warIf 2017 ended today, Sleeping Through the War would be my Album of the Year. Of course, there’s a lot of year to go, but for now, Nashville’s All Them Witches have set the standard with their second album for New West Records behind 2015’s Dying Surfer Meets His Maker (review here) and fourth overall outing. They’ve got videos up so far for “3-5-7” (posted here) and “Bruce Lee” (posted here). Both are most definitely worth your time. Out Feb. 24. Full review should be later this week.

3. Alunah, Solennial

Seems like UK forest riffers Alunah are on this list every year. Wishful thinking on my part. Nonetheless, their fourth LP and Svart Records debut, Solennial, is out March 17, and if the tease they gave already with the clip for “Fire of Thornborough Henge” (posted here) is anything to go from, its Chris Fielding-produced expanses might just be Alunah‘s most immersive yet.

4. Arbouretum, TBA

I asked the Baltimore folk fuzzers a while back on Thee Facebooks if they had a new record coming in 2017 and they said yes, so that’s what I’m going on here. The last Arbouretum album was 2013’s Coming out of the Fog (review here), and even with frontman Dave Heumann‘s 2015 solo outing, Here in the Deep (review here), factored in, you’d have to say they’re due. Keep an eye on Thrill Jockey for word and I’ll do the same.

5. Atavismo, Inerte

This is another one that already has a spot reserved for it on my Best-of-2017 year-end list. Spanish heavy psych rockers Atavismo up the progressive bliss level with their second full-length, Inerte, without losing the depth of style that made 2014’s Desintegración (review here) so utterly glorious. It probably won’t have the biggest marketing budget of 2017, but if you let Atavismo fly under your radar, you are 100 percent missing out on something special.

6. Bison Machine, TBA

In addition to the video for new track “Cloak and Bones” that premiered here, when Michigan raucousness-purveyors Bison Machine put out the dates for their fall 2016 tour, they included further hints of new material in progress. As much as I dug their earlier-2016 split with SLO and Wild Savages (review here) and 2015’s Hoarfrost (review here), that’s more than enough for me to include them on this list. Killer next-gen heavy rock.

7. Brothers of the Sonic Cloth, TBA

News of a follow-up to Brothers of the Sonic Cloth‘s 2015 Neurot Recordings self-titled debut (review here) came through in October, and it remains some of the best news I’ve heard about 2017 doings. Took them a while to get the first record out, so we’ll see what happens, but it kind of feels like looking forward to a comet about to smash into the planet and cause a mass extinction, and by that I mean awesome. Can’t get here soon enough.

8. Cloud Catcher, Trails of Kosmic Dust

cloud catcher trails of kosmic dustOkay, so maybe I jumped the gun and did a super-early review of Denver trio Cloud Catcher‘s second long-player and Totem Cat Records debut, Trails of Kosmic Dust, but hell, no regrets. Some albums require an early-warning system. Their 2015 debut, Enlightened Beyond Existence (discussed here), was a gem as well, but this is a band in the process of upping their game on every level, and the songwriting and momentum they hone isn’t to be missed.

9. Colour Haze, TBA

I’ve gotten some details on the upcoming full-length from Colour Haze. They do not include a title, artwork, audio, song titles or general direction. Less details, I guess, than word that the CD version of this answer to 2015’s To the Highest Gods We Know (review here) is set to come out next month, as ever, on Elektrohasch. That puts it out in time for Colour Haze‘s upcoming tour with My Sleeping Karma (announced here). Fingers crossed it happens. Colour Haze are perpetual top-albums candidates in my book.

10. Corrosion of Conformity, TBA

Signed to Nuclear Blast after being rejoined by guitarist/vocalist Pepper Keenan, North Carolina’s C.O.C. have been in the studio since last year. The lineup of Keenan, bassist/vocalist Mike Dean and guitarist Woody Weatherman and Reed Mullin on drums is the stuff of legend and last worked together on 2000’s America’s Volume Dealer, so no question this reunion makes for one of 2017’s most anticipated heavy rock records. They nailed the nostalgia factor on tour. Can they now add to their legacy?

11. Elder, TBA

I was incredibly fortunate about a month ago to visit progressive heavy rockers Elder at Sonelab in Easthampton, MA, during the recording process for their upcoming fourth album. I heard a couple of the tracks, and of course it was all raw form, but the movement forward from 2015’s Lore (review here) was palpable. That LP (on Stickman) brought them to a wider audience, and I expect no less from this one as well, since the farther out Elder go sound-wise, the deeper the level of connection with their listeners they seem to engage.

12. Electric Wizard, TBA

Could happen, could not happen. That’s how it goes. Announced for last Halloween. That date came and went. Word of trouble building their own studio surfaced somewhere along the line. That was the last I heard. Frankly, I wouldn’t be surprised if it showed up tomorrow, if it showed up in 2018, or if the band broke up and never put it out. They’re Electric Wizard. Anything’s possible.

13. John Garcia, The Coyote Who Spoke in Tongues

Out Jan. 28 on NapalmThe Coyote Who Spoke in Tongues (review here) is the first-ever acoustic album from former Kyuss frontman John Garcia, also of Unida, the reunited Slo BurnHermanoVista ChinoZun, etc. — basically the voice of desert rock. He does a couple Kyuss classics for good measure, but shines as well on the new/original tracks, and while it’s a piece for fans more than newcomers — that is, it helps if you know the original version of “Green Machine” — his presence remains as powerful as ever despite this new context.

14. Goya, Harvester of Bongloads

Riffs, dude. Goya seem to have them to spare. The Arizona-based wizard doomers have set a pretty prolific clip for themselves at this point, with at least two short releases out in 2016, one a 7″ of Nirvana covers (review here), and the The Enemy EP (review here). Set for a March 3 release through their own Opoponax Records imprint, Harvester of Bongloads continues the march into the abyss that 2015’s Obelisk (review here) and 2013’s 777 set in motion, finding the band coming more into their own as well. Creative growth — and bongloads! The best of both worlds.

15. Ides of Gemini, TBA

Ides of Gemini are set to record their yet-untitled third album with Sanford Parker early this year, and it will also mark their debut on Rise Above Records upon its release. They’ve also got a new lineup around vocalist Sera Timms and guitarist J. Bennett, so as they look to move forward from 2014’s Old World New Wave (review here), one can’t help but wonder what to expect, but to be honest, not knowing is part of the appeal, especially from a band who so readily specialize in the ethereal.

16. Kind, TBA

Three-fourths of Kind feature elsewhere on this list. Bassist Tom Corino plays in Rozamov. Drummer Matt Couto is in Elder. Vocalist Craig Riggs is in Roadsaw. And for what it’s worth, guitarist Darryl Shepherd has a new band coming together called Test Meat. How likely does that make Kind to release a second LP in 2017? I don’t know, but their 2015 Ripple Music debut, Rocket Science (review here), deserves a follow-up, and I know they’ve demoed some new songs. If it happens, great. If it’s 2018, at least these dudes will be plenty busy besides.

17. Lo-Pan, In Tensions

lo-pan in tensionsYes, Lo-Pan‘s In Tensions (review here) has already been released — CD/LP with an artbook on Aqualamb. It’s out. Limited numbers. You can get it now. Why include it on a list of most anticipated releases? Because that’s how strongly I feel about your need to hear it. The fruit of a shortlived lineup with guitarist Adrian Zambrano, it distinguishes itself from everything they’ve done before in style while still keeping to the core righteousness that one hopes the Ohio outfit will continue to carry forward. It’s more than a stopgap between albums. Listen to it.

18. The Midnight Ghost Train, TBA

It seems to have been a rough ride for hard-boogie specialists The Midnight Ghost Train since their 2015 Napalm debut and third album overall, Cold was the Ground (review here). They’ve never taken it easy on the road or in terms of physicality on stage, and between injuries and who knows what else, their intensity at this point veers toward the directly confrontational. Nonetheless, they’ve been writing for album number four, may or may not have started the recording process, and I expect that confrontationalism to suit them well in their new material.

19. Monster Magnet, TBA

I have it on decent authority that NJ heavy psych innovators Monster Magnet were in the studio this past autumn. I’ve seen no concrete word of a new album in progress from Dave Wyndorf and company, and I wouldn’t necessarily expect to until it was time to start hyping the release, but after their two redux releases, 2015’s Cobras and Fire (review here) and 2014’s Milking the Stars (review here), their range feels broader than ever and I can’t wait to hear what they come up with next.

20. Mothership, High Strangeness

A pivotal moment for Mothership arrives with High Strangeness, and the heavy-touring, heavy-riffing Texas power trio seem to know it. Their third record on Ripple Music pushes into new avenues of expression and keeps the energy of 2014’s Mothership II (review here) and 2012’s Mothership (review here), but thus far into their career, it’s been about their potential and what they might accomplish going forward. 2017 might be the year for Mothership to declare a definitive place in the sphere of American heavy rock.

21. The Obsessed, Sacred

On Halloween 2016, founding The Obsessed guitarist/vocalist and doom icon Scott “Wino” Weinrich announced a new lineup for the band, with his former The Hidden Hand bandmate Bruce Falkinburg on bass/vocals, Sara Seraphim on guitar and Brian Costantino continuing on drums. A genuine surprise. Their first album since 1994, Sacred (due on Relapse) was tracked as the trio of WeinrichCostantino and bassist/vocalist Dave Sherman, but clearly they’ve moved into a new era already. Wouldn’t even guess what the future holds, but hopefully Sacred still comes out.

22. Orange Goblin, TBA

When it was announced that London’s Orange Goblin were picked up by Spinefarm as part of that label’s acquisition of Candlelight Records last Spring, the subheadline from the PR wire was “Working on Ninth Studio Album.” I haven’t heard much since then, but even as 2014’s Back from the Abyss (review here) pushed them deeper into metallic territory than ever before, their songs retained the character that’s made the band the institution they are. Always look forward to new Orange Goblin.

23. Pallbearer, Heartless

pallbearer heartlessDoomers, this is your whole year right here. I haven’t heard Pallbearer‘s third album, Heartless (out March 24 on Profound Lore), but I have to think even those who haven’t yet been won over by the Arkansas four-piece’s emotive, deep-running style have to be curious about what they’ve come up with this time around. I know I am. These guys have been making a mark on the genre since their 2012 debut, Sorrow and Extinction (review here), and there’s little doubt Heartless will continue that thread upon its arrival.

24. Radio Moscow, TBA

Fact: Radio Moscow stand among the best classic heavy rock live acts in the US. They’re the kind of band you can watch upwards of 15 gigs in a row — I’ve done it — and find them putting on a better show night after night, in defiance of science, logic and sobriety. Word of their signing to Century Media came just this past week and brought with it confirmation of a follow-up to 2014’s stellar Magical Dirt (review here), and for me to say hell yes, I’m absolutely on board, seems like the no-brainer to end all no-brainers. Can’t wait.

25. Roadsaw, TBA

Nearly six full years later, it’s only fair to call Boston scene godfathers Roadsaw due for a follow-up to their 2011 self-titled (review here). Granted, members have been busy in KindWhite Dynomite, and other projects, but still. Their upcoming outing finds them on Ripple Music after years under the banner of Small Stone Records, and though I haven’t seen a solid release date yet, my understanding is they hit Mad Oak Studio in Allston, MA, this past fall to track it, so seems likely for sooner or later. Sooner, preferably.

26. Rozamov, This Mortal Road

Speaking of albums by Boston bands a while in the making, This Mortal Road (out March 3 on Battleground Records and Dullest Records) is the debut full-length from Boston atmospheric extremists Rozamov. Haven’t heard it yet, but I got a taste of some of the material when I visited the band at New Alliance Audio in Aug. 2015, and the bleak expanses of what I heard seem primed to turn heads. I’m a fan of these guys, but in addition, they’ve found a niche for themselves sound-wise and I’m curious to hear how they bring it to fruition.

27. Samsara Blues Experiment, TBA

It’s been a pleasure over the last couple months to watch a resurgence of Berlin heavy psych trio Samsara Blues Experiment take shape, first with the announcement of a fourth album in October, then with subsequent confirmations for DesertfestRiff Ritual in Barcelona, and a South American tour. Reportedly due in Spring, which fits with the timing on shows, etc., the record will follow 2013’s righteous Waiting for the Flood (review here) and as much as I’m looking forward to hearing it, I’m kind of just glad to have these guys back.

28. Seedy Jeezus, TBA

Work finished earlier this month on Melbourne trio Seedy Jeezus‘ second full-length. As with their 2015 self-titled debut, the band brought Tony Reed of Mos Generator to Australia to produce, and after their blissed-out 2016 collaboration with Earthless guitarist Isaiah MitchellTranquonauts (review here), it’s hard not to wonder what experimentalist tendencies might show in the trio’s style this time out, and likewise difficult not to anticipate what guitarist Lex “Mr. Frumpy” Wattereus comes up with for the cover art.

29. Shroud Eater, Strike the Sun

Not to spoil the surprise, but Feb. 1 I’ll host a track premiere from Florida’s Shroud Eater that finds them working in a different context from everything we’ve heard from them to this point in their rightly-celebrated tenure. They also recently had a split out with Dead Hand, and their second long-player, Strike the Sun, will be their debut through STB Records. It’s been since 2011’s ThunderNoise (review here) that we last got a Shroud Eater album, so you bet your ass I’m dying to know what the last six years have wrought.

30. Sleep, TBA

If Sleep were any other band, they’d probably be in the “Would be Awfully Nice” category. But they’re Sleep, so even the thought of a new record is enough to put them here. The lords of all things coated in THC are reissuing their 2014 single, The Clarity (review here), on Southern Lord next month, but rumors have been swirling about a proper album, which of course would be their first since the now-legendary Dopesmoker. If it happens, it’ll automatically be a heavy underground landmark for 2017, but it’s one I’m going to have in my ears before I really believe it.

31. Stoned Jesus, TBA

Even as they tour playing their second album, 2012’s Seven Thunders Roar (review here), to mark its fifth anniversary and continued impact, Ukrainian trio Stoned Jesus are forging ahead with a fourth record behind 2015’s The Harvest (review here). The capital-‘q’ Question is whether or not looking back at Seven Thunders Roar and engaging that big-riffing side of their sound will have an impact on the new material, and if so, how it will meld with the push of The Harvest. Won’t speculate, but look forward to finding out.

32. Stubb, TBA

Since reveling in the soul of 2015’s Cry of the Ocean (review here) on Ripple, London trio Stubb have swapped out bassists, and they were in Skyhammer Studio this month recording a single that may be an extended psychedelic jam. I’ll take that happily, but I’m even more intrigued at the prospect of a third LP and what guitarist/vocalist Jack Dickinson, bassist/vocalist Tom Hobson and drummer Tom Fyfe might have in store as the band moves forward on multiple levels. Might be 2017, might not.

33. Sun Blood Stories, It Runs Around the Room with Us

sun blood stories it runs around the room with usIt Runs around the Room with Us seems to find peace in its resonant experimentalist drones, loops, open, subdued spaces, but there’s always some underlying sense of foreboding to its drift, as if Boise’s Sun Blood Stories could anticipate the moment before it happened. Toward the end of the follow-up to 2015’s Twilight Midnight Morning (review here), they execute the 90-second assault “Burn” and turn serenity to ash. Look for it in April and look for it again on my best of 2017 list in December.

34. Ufomammut, TBA

Any new offering from the Italian cosmic doom magnates is worth looking forward to, and while Ufomammut have left the 15-year mark behind, they’ve never stopped progressing in style and form. To wit, 2015’s Ecate (review here) was a stunner after 2012’s two-part LP, Oro (review here and review here), tightening the approach but assuring the vibe was no less expansive than ever. They started recording last summer, finished mixing in November, so I’m hoping for word of a release date soon.

35. Vokonis, The Sunken Djinn

Born out of Creedsmen Arise, whose 2015 demo, Temple (review here), offered formative thrills, Swedish trio Vokonis debuted with last year’s Olde One Ascending (review here) and proved there’s still life in post-Sleep riffing when it’s wielded properly. They signed to Ripple in November and confirmed the title of their sophomore effort as The Sunken Djinn, as well as a reissue for the first album, which will probably arrive first. I don’t know how that will affect the timing on this one, but keep an eye out anyway.

Gonna Happen and/or Likely Candidates

Obviously some of these are more likely than others. Some have solidified, announced release dates — Dopelord‘s out this month, Demon Head‘s out in April, etc. — and others come from social media posts of bands in studios and hints at upcoming releases and so on. A big tell is whether or not a band has an album title with their listing, but even some of those without have their new albums done, like Atala and Royal Thunder, so it’s not necessarily absolute.

Either way, while I’m spending your money, you might want to look into:

36. Against the Grain
37. Amenra
38. Atala
39. Attalla, Glacial Rule
40. Ayahuasca Dark Trip, II
41. Beastmaker
42. Beaten Back to Pure
43. Blackout
44. Bretus
45. Buried Feather, Mind of the Swarm
46. The Clamps
47. Cold Stares
48. Coltsblood, Ascending into the Shimmering Darkness
49. Come to Grief, The Worst of Times EP
50. Cortez
51. Cruthu, The Angle of Eternity
52. The Dead-End Alley Band, Storms
53. Dead Witches, Dead Witches
54. Dealer
55. Death Alley, Live at Roadburn
56. Demon Head, Thunder on the Fields
57. The Devil and the Almighty Blues, II
58. Devil Electric
59. Doctor Cyclops, Local Dogs
60. Dool, Here Now There Then
61. Dopelord, Children of the Haze
62. Doublestone, Devil’s Own/Djævlens Egn
63. Dread Sovereign, For Doom the Bell Tolls
64. Drive by Wire
65. Elbrus, Elbrus
66. Electric Age
67. Electric Moon, Stardust Rituals
68. Endless Floods, II
69. Five Horse Johnson
70. Forming the Void, Relic
71. Funeral Horse
72. Greenbeard
73. Green Desert Water
74. Greenleaf
75. Grifter / Suns of Thunder, Split
76. Hair of the Dog, This World Turns
77. Heavy Temple, Chassit
78. Here Lies Man, Here Lies Man
79. Hollow Leg, Murder EP
80. Holy Mount, The Drought
81. Hooded Menace
82. Horisont, About Time
83. Hymn, Perish
84. Lecherous Gaze
85. Magnet, Feel Your Fire
86. Mastodon
87. Merlin, The Wizard
88. Merchant
89. Mindkult, Lucifer’s Dream
90. Mirror Queen
91. Moonbow, War Bear
92. Mos Generator
93. The Moth
94. MotherSloth
95. Mouth, Vortex
96. My Sleeping Karma, Mela Ananda – Live
97. Orango
98. Papir
99. PH, Eternal Hayden
100. Psychedelic Witchcraft, Magick Rites and Spells
101. Royal Thunder
102. Saturn, Beyond Spectra
103. Season of Arrows, Give it to the Mountain
104. Siena Root
105. Six Organs of Admittance, Burning the Threshold
106. Six Sigma, Tuxedo Brown
107. Sólstafir
108. The Sonic Dawn, Into the Long Night
109. Spelljammer
110. Spidergawd, IV
111. Steak
112. Stinking Lizaveta, Journey to the Underworld
113. Sula Bassana, Organ Accumulator
114. Summoner
115. Sun Voyager, Sun Voyager
116. Sweat Lodge, Tokens for Hell EP
117. Thera Roya, Stone and Skin
118. Toke
119. Troubled Horse, Revelation on Repeat
120. VA, Brown Acid The Third Trip
121. Weedpecker
122. Youngblood Supercult, The Great American Death Rattle

Definitely Could Happen

Maybe a recording process is upcoming (Gozu, Cities of Mars, YOB), or a band is looking for a label (The Flying Eyes), or they’ve said new stuff is in the works but the circumstances of an actual release aren’t known (Arc of Ascent, Dead Meadow, High on Fire), or I’ve just seen rumors of their hitting the studio (Freedom Hawk, La Chinga, Ruby the Hatchet). We’ve entered the realm of the entirely possible but not 100 percent.

So, you know, life.

Dig it:

123. The Age of Truth
124. Ape Machine
125. Arc of Ascent
126. At Devil Dirt
127. Bantoriak
128. Bask
129. BCAD
130. BoneHawk
131. La Chinga
132. Chubby Thunderous Bad Kush Masters
133. Cities of Mars
134. Crypt Sermon
135. Dead Meadow
136. Death Alley (Studio LP)
137. Dee Calhoun
138. Destroyer of Light
139. Devil
140. Devil Worshipper
141. Duel
142. Dustrider
143. Egypt
144. Electric Moon
145. Elephant Tree
146. Farflung
147. The Flying Eyes
148. Freedom Hawk
149. Gozu
150. The Great Electric Quest
151. Green Meteor, Consumed by a Dying Sun
152. High on Fire
153. Horrendous
154. Insect Ark
155. In the Company of Serpents
156. Iron Monkey
157. Jeremy Irons and the Ratgang Malibus
158. The Judge
159. Killer Boogie
160. King Dead
161. The Kings of Frog Island
162. Lords of Beacon House, Recreational Sorcery
163. Mangoo
164. Mondo Drag
165. Monolord
166. Mountain God
167. The Munsens
168. Naxatras
169. Never Got Caught
170. Ommadon
171. Orchid
172. Ordos
173. Pilgrim
174. Poseidon
175. Purple Hill Witch
176. Ruby the Hatchet
177. Sasquatch
178. Satan’s Satyrs
179. Serpents of Secrecy
180. Shabda
181. Shooting Guns
182. Sleepy Sun
183. Slow Season
184. Snowy Dunes, Atlantis
185. Spectral Haze
186. The Sweet Heat
187. Switchblade Jesus
188. Superchief
189. Tÿburn
190. YOB
191. Zone Six

Would be Awfully Nice

This last category is basically as close as I’m willing to come to rampant speculation. Endless Boogie have hinted at new material, and Queens of the Stone Age have talked about hitting the studio for the last two years. There were rumors about Om, and though Kings Destroy just put out an EP, they have new songs as well, though I doubt we’ll hear them before the end of 2017. I’ll admit that Across Tundras, Fever Dog, Lord Fowl, Lowrider and Hour of 13 are just wishful thinking on my part. A boy can hope:

192. Across Tundras
193. Eggnogg
194. Elephant Tree
195. Endless Boogie
196. Fever Dog
197. Fu Manchu
198. Halfway to Gone
199. Hour of 13
200. Kadavar
201. Kings Destroy
202. Lord Fowl
203. Lowrider
204. Masters of Reality
205. Om
206. Orodruin
207. Queens of the Stone Age

If you’ve made it this far, thanks for reading. Whatever this year brings, I hope it’s been great so far for you and I hope it continues to be so as we proceed inexorably to 2018 and all the also-futuristic-sounding numbers thereafter. At least we know we’ll have plenty of good music to keep us company on that voyage.

As always, comments section is open if there’s anything I’ve left out. I’m happy to add, adjust, etc., as need be, so really, have at it, and thanks in advance.

All the best.

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Shroud Eater & Dead Hand Team up for Split 7″ out Nov. 21; Preorders Available

Posted in Whathaveyou on October 28th, 2016 by JJ Koczan

I’m a pretty easy sell at this point on Shroud Eater anything. Presumably the Miami trio’s forthcoming split seven-incher alongside Georgian doomers Dead Hand will serve as a precursor to their upcoming STB Records full-length, Strike the Sun, which was announced over the summer and (also) presumably will be out early 2017. Not a moment too soon, frankly, and while I don’t know if their inclusion on the split, which will be out on Southern Druid Records and is available to preorder now, will show up on the LP as well, if it does then it’s a preview for the record and if it doesn’t then it’s a bonus for those who seek it out. Either way, it’s not like you really lose. But then again, like I say, I’m a pretty easy sell.

Release date for the split is Nov. 21. Info follows from the PR wire:

SHROUD EATER / DEAD HAND split 7″

Dead Hand and Shroud Eater join forces to deliver this sonic pummeling of a 7″.

Shroud Eater brings their Miami Sludge groove harder than ever on “Destroy the Monolith”. Dead Hand prove once again that they are masters of Doom with their track “Guaiacol”.

Pre-order ships on 11/21/16.

Brooding Miami riff sorcerers SHROUD EATER continue to deliver crushing alms to the altar of heavy. Riding high off the frenetic energy of their last release, the trio are releasing a newly recorded version of slow-churning wickedness in “Destroy the Monolith”. The song will be released on a split 7″ with Georgia’s tone lords Dead Hand. The split is set to be released 11-18-2016 via Jacksonville’s Southern Druid Records.

Starting as an idea in 2012, Dead Hand hit the ground running with a split 7 inch with Philly shredders, Repellers in Jan 2014 on Divine Mother Recordings.Mastered by Dan Randall of Mammoth Sound (Ash Borer, Noothgrush, Unearthly Trance), the split received stellar reviews. An EP in July 2014 and regional touring filled up the remainder of the year. In June 2015, Dead Hand released their first full length, “Storm of Demiurge” on Divine Mother Recordings in the USA and Third I Rex in Europe.

SHROUD EATER // “Destroy the Monolith”

Recorded by: Davin Sosa & Aric Meerbot / Guzu Recordings
Mixed & Mastered by: Aric Meerbot

Written & performed by: Shroud Eater
Jean Saiz – guitar, vox
Janette Valentine – bass, vox
Davin Sosa – drums, vox, synth

Art & Lyrics by Jean Saiz

DEAD HAND // “Guaiacol”
Recorded, mixed and mastered at Ledbelly Sound Studios by Matt Washburn

Art by Matt Mills.

http://southerndruidrecords.storenvy.com/products/18254516-shroud-eater-dead-hand-split-7
https://www.facebook.com/shroudeater/
https://shroudeater.bandcamp.com/album/shroud-eater-dead-hand-split
https://www.facebook.com/deadhandcollective/
http://deadhandcollective.blogspot.com/

Shroud Eater, Face the Master (2015)

Dead Hand, Storm of Demiurge (2015)

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Shroud Eater Sign to STB Records; Strike the Sun Coming Soon

Posted in Whathaveyou on July 15th, 2016 by JJ Koczan

Why, it seems like only yesterday Miami’s Shroud Eater were announcing the string of tour dates that would take them west to Psycho Las Vegas. Oh wait. That was yesterday. Well, today the trio are signing to STB Records and having the title of their forthcoming second full-length revealed, so there you go. The album is called Strike the Sun and it will be the follow-up to 2011’s ThunderNoise (review here) — it’s astonishing that it’s been five years since Shroud Eater‘s debut album — and the 2013 EP, Dead Ends (review here). Due out in late 2016 or early 2017, no doubt it will be given the full STB treatment as regards limited editions, special version LPs and so on, and since it’s Shroud Eater, no doubt it will crush.

Word came down the PR wire from STB Records, and I included the tour dates again as well in case you forgot since yesterday:

shroud eater stb

STB Records is proud to announce that we have signed Miami’s Shroud Eater to release their new full length album, “Strike The Sun”! The album will be released later this year or early 2017. Anyone familiar with this amazing band knows that this album promises to be a monster killer!

The band says:
“Shroud Eater is incredibly excited to become part of the STB Records family to release our upcoming full-length album ‘Strike the Sun’. STB’s DIY ethos and fierce commitment to the artistic quality and merit of their bands made it obvious to us that this was the perfect partnership to release this crushing record.”

In anticipation of the album’s release, Summer 2016 will see the Miami, FL sorcerers take their sludge-laden doom out west on a 2-week tour to perform at PSYCHO LAS VEGAS festival at the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino, (Playing along side label mates Hornss), as well as a headlining slot at the Tennessean Sludge Festival in Murfreesboro, TN. While the band has borne comparisons to metal behemoths like High on Fire, Acid King, Kylesa and others, Shroud Eater stands firmly in a pioneering sound they have culled out as their own.

Shroud Eater on tour:
Friday August 19: Jacksonville, FL @ Rain Dogs
Saturday August 20: Atlanta, GA @ The Earl with Iron Whip, Savagist, and Tokers
Sunday August 21: Murfreesboro, TN @ Tennessean Sludge Fest with Place of Skulls, Order of the Owl, Doomstress, Act of Impalement, Dead Hand, Close the Hatch, and more…
Monday August 22: Memphis, TN @ Murphy’s
Tuesday August 23: Oklahoma City, OK @ TBA
Wednesday August 24: Albuquerque, NM @ Launchpad with The Body and Full of Hell, Bathhouse and Ol’ Dagger
Thursday August 25: Flagstaff, AZ @ The Green Room
Friday August 26: Las Vegas, NV @ Psycho Las Vegas @ Hard Rock Hotel & Casino with Pentagram, The Crazy World of Arthur Brown, Converge, Yob, Wovenhand, The Shrine and many, many more…
Monday August 29: Tempe, AZ @ Yucca Tap Room
Tuesday August 30: El Paso, TX @ The Sandbox
Wednesday August 31: Austin, TX @ Lost Well
Thursday Sept 1: New Orleans, LA @ TBA
Friday September 2: Tallahassee, FL @ Rotten Fest
Saturday September 3: St. Petersburg, FL @ The Bends with Bleeth and Hell’s Fauna

https://www.facebook.com/events/1645784665741058/
https://www.facebook.com/shroudeater/
http://www.shroudeater.bandcamp.com/
http://stbrecords.bigcartel.com
http://www.facebook.com/STB-Records-471228012921184

Shroud Eater, “Face the Master” official video

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Shroud Eater Announce Summer Tour Dates

Posted in Whathaveyou on July 14th, 2016 by JJ Koczan

shroud eater

Miami sludge machine Shroud Eater will journey West next month in order to make an appearance alongside everyone and their cousin at Psycho Las Vegas. That in itself should be news enough to justify this post, since the Floridian trio have been stomping ass for years now, basically waiting for people to notice that fact, and a festival of that caliber would seem to be a good way to make that happen at least in part. However, that’s just the beginning of the story, and Shroud Eater, who premiered their video for the single “Face the Master” here, will also appear at the Tennessean Sludge Fest put on by Murfreesboro’s own Flummox, and at other assorted lucky venues along the way there and back again. To be blunt, it hurts me in organs I don’t know the names of that I’ve never seen Shroud Eater live. Don’t be like me, with my hurty organs.

Dates and assorted links follow:

shroud eater summer tour poster

Shroud Eater – Summer Tour

Join us as we raid across the states this summer starting
Friday, August 19 through Saturday September 3!

Tour dates and event pages below.

Friday August 19: Jacksonville, FL @ Rain Dogs
https://www.facebook.com/events/296502347358274/

Saturday August 20: Atlanta, GA @ The Earl with Iron Whip, Savagist, and Tokers
https://www.facebook.com/events/1192094764167964/

Sunday August 21: Murfreesboro, TN @ Tennessean Sludge Fest with Place of Skulls, Order of the Owl, Doomstress, Act of Impalement, Dead Hand, Close the Hatch, and more…
https://www.facebook.com/tnsludgefest/

Monday August 22: Memphis, TN @ Murphy’s

Tuesday August 23: Oklahoma City, OK @ TBA

Wednesday August 24: Albuquerque, NM @ Launchpad with The Body and Full of Hell, Bathhouse and Ol’ Dagger
https://www.facebook.com/events/241767589542078/

Thursday August 25: Flagstaff, AZ @ The Green Room

Friday August 26: Las Vegas, NV @ Psycho Las Vegas @ Hard Rock Hotel & Casino with Pentagram, The Crazy World of Arthur Brown, Converge, Yob, Wovenhand, The Shrine and many, many more…
http://psycholv.com/

Monday August 29: Tempe, AZ @ Yucca Tap Room

Tuesday August 30: El Paso, TX @ The Sandbox

Wednesday August 31: Austin, TX @ Lost Well

Thursday Sept 1: New Orleans, LA @ TBA

Friday September 2: Tallahassee, FL @ Rotten Fest
https://www.facebook.com/events/1782481065317567/

Saturday September 3: St. Petersburg, FL @ The Bends with Bleeth and Hell’s Fauna
https://www.facebook.com/events/241767589542078/

https://www.facebook.com/events/1645784665741058/
https://www.facebook.com/shroudeater/
http://www.shroudeater.bandcamp.com/

Shroud Eater, “Face the Master” official video

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The Obelisk Presents: The Top 20 Singles, EPs, Splits and Demos of 2015

Posted in Features on December 29th, 2015 by JJ Koczan

top 20 short releases of 2015

Please note: This list is not culled in any way from the Readers Poll, which is ongoing. If you haven’t yet contributed your favorites of 2015 to that, please do.

What’s a short release? Anything that’s not a full-length. I’ve done this list in the past and given a small list — The Top 20 EPs, Splits, Demos and Singles, or whatever — but “Short Releases” seemed more concise, and believe it or not, that’s something I shoot for.

Essentially, what we’re taking a look at here is everything else a band might put out in a given year. No question that albums are where the greatest impact is made over the longer term, but from landmark 7″s to EPs that provide crucial experiments or serve notice of bands solidifying their sound or marking pivotal first impressions, the shorter offerings have tremendous value, and it’s worth considering them on their own merit, rather than in comparison to LPs directly.

I know for a fact that there are releases I’ve missed here. Particularly among the Bandcamp-only demos, there’s just so much out there that for any one person to keep up with all of it is even more impossible than it’s ever been before. Before you berate me immediately with, “Hey you forgot X Band!” and start throwing tomatoes at your computer or mobile device screen, please keep in mind The Obelisk is run by a single individual and there are only so many hours in the day. As always, I do the best I can.

Here we go:

foehammer foehammer

The Obelisk Presents: The Top 20 Short Releases of 2015

1. Foehammer, Foehammer EP
2. Mos Generator & Stubb, The Theory of Light and Matter Split
3. Sun Voyager, Lazy Daze EP
4. All Them Witches, A Sweet Release
5. Geezer & Borracho, The Second Coming of Heavy: Chapter 1 Split
6. Fatso Jetson & Farflung, Split
7. Eggnogg & Borracho, Sludgy Erna Bastard Split 7″
8. Shroud Eater, Face the Master EP
9. Bedroom Rehab Corporation, Fortunate Some EP
10. Stars that Move, Demo Songs
11. Wight, Helicopter Mama 7″
12. Thera Roya, Unraveling EP
13. Shatner, EP
14. Cities of Mars, Cyclopean Ritual EP
15. Pyramidal & Domo, Jams from the Sun Split
16. Sandrider & Kinski, Split
17. Mount Hush, Low and Behold! EP
18. Godhunter & Amigo the Devil, The Outer Dark Split
19. Groan, Highrospliffics EP
20. Rozamov & Deathkings, Split

Honorable Mention

The Sunburst EP by Valley continues to resonate, as do splits from Goya & Wounded Giant and King Buffalo & Lé Betre. plus Derelics‘ IntroducingTime Rift‘s demo, the Carpet 7″, Watchtower‘s EP, Eternal Black‘s debut demo, Dorre‘s half-hour single One Collapsed at the Altar, and Mount Desert‘s two-songer all deserve serious consideration, as well I’m sure as many others.

Notes

It’s something of a break in routine for me to put any kind of debut in a top spot (other, of course, than on the list of debuts), but Foehammer simply would not be denied. The Virginia trio’s three-song EP release on Grimoire Records (LP on Australopithecus Records), it was a self-titled that seemed to be telling you the name of the band twice as if in a warning against forgetting it. And that warning was one to heed. Foehammer‘s first outing brought the Doom Capitol region to new heights of extremity, and while at over half-an-hour long it could’ve just as easily have been called a full-length, part of the overarching threat is what the band will bring to bear when they actually get around to their first LP.

A good number of splits included here, with Mos Generator and Stubb‘s The Theory of Light and Matter (HeviSike Records), Geezer and Borracho‘s The Second Coming of Heavy: Chapter 1 (launching a series for Ripple Music), Fatso Jetson and Farflung‘s joint release (on Heavy Psych Sounds) and Eggnogg and Borracho‘s Sludgy Erna Bastard (on Palaver Records) all cracking the top 10. No coincidence that Washington D.C. heavy riffers Borracho show up twice in that mix. As Pyramidal and Domo‘s blissful Jams from the Sun, Sandrider and Kinski‘s one-two, Godhunter and Amigo the Devil‘s Battleground Records collaboration and Rozamov and Deathkings‘ joint single feature between #11-20, a total of eight out of the full included 20 releases here are splits. Last year it was only five.

Whether that means the form is growing in an attempt to capture fickle social-media-age attention spans while cutting individual vinyl pressing costs, I couldn’t say — likely a combination of the two and more besides — but it’s noteworthy that a split is more than just a toss-off, between-albums castaway at this point, something for songs to later be included on rare-tracks comps. One could easily say the same of EPs as a whole. To that end, Sun Voyager‘s Lazy Daze was a brutal tease for the NY psychgaze outfit’s first album, hopefully out in 2016. And while All Them WitchesA Sweet Release was over 50 minutes long — longer, actually, than their Dying Surfer Meets His Maker LP, which was also issued this year — they considered it an EP/live collection, and that indeed proved how it worked best, immersive though its stretch remained.

Shroud Eater and Bedroom Rehab Corporation both turned in impressive outings that showed marked progression from their last time out, while Shatner‘s first batch of tracks tipped off a songwriting process well-honed and Stars that Move, Cities of Mars, Thera Roya and Mount Hush — I’d put Mount Desert in this category as well — had compelling outings that, like Foehammer at the top, showed much potential at work in formative sounds. Not to be forgotten, Wight‘s Helicopter Mama 7″ gave listeners a heads up on the funkified stylistic turn their upcoming full-length, Love is Not Only What You Know, will take even further, and UK stoner miscreants Groan proved once and for all that, along with logic and reason, a constantly changing lineup can’t hold back their good times.

Like I said — like I always say — if I left something out, let me know about it in the comments. Really let me have it. Call me a jerk. It’s cool. I can take it.

Please note: I can, in no way, take it.

Still, if I left something/someone out, I hope you’ll let me know. And please don’t forget that if you haven’t yet, you can still contribute your list of 2015 favorites to the year-end poll until Dec. 31. EPs, LPs, whatever, however many, it doesn’t matter. All entries are welcome there.

Thanks for reading.

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Shroud Eater Premiere “Face the Master” Video

Posted in Bootleg Theater on March 17th, 2015 by JJ Koczan

shroud eater

Oh, it does feel good to hear Shroud Eater crushing it once again. The Miami-based trio of guitarist/vocalist Jeannie Saiz, bassist/vocalist Janette Valentine and newcomer drummer Davin Sosa will release a new single, Face the Master, April 7 on Primitive Violence. It’ll be the first new Shroud Eater since 2013’s murder-prone Dead Ends EP (review here), which of course followed 2011’s debut full-length, ThunderNoise (review here) and their 2009 demo (review here), and while it’s just two songs and done in under seven minutes, it reestablishes the three-piece’s momentum, which seemed to be building to a tipping point coming out of Dead Ends, before the lineup change. Some East Coast tour dates following the Face the Master release won’t hurt in that regard either.

But mostly, it’s just a joy to have Shroud Eater back, the efficiency of their neo-sludge on display in the 2:44 “Face the Master,” which culls its lyrical basis from the 1979 film adaptation of Stephen King‘s Salem’s Lot, shroud eater face the masterand moves swiftly from destructive thrash to a slowed-down, harmonized finish worthy of whatever ’90s comparison you’d want to attach to it. The subsequent “House of Endings” is a little longer and more straightforward h-e-a-v-y rock, but spacious and huge-sounding as it rolls into a drawling solo in the second half that leads to a grueling semi-deconstruction, the resonant rumble being the last remaining element to fade out. The hope, of course, is that Face the Master precedes more to come from Shroud Eater either later this year or in 2016, but even if this is it for now, I doubt many who take the time to listen will be complaining.

The video for “Face the Master,” which I have the pleasure of premiering, was put together by Valentine and, like the song itself, features retooled clips from Salem’s Lot asking whether or not your faith is enough.

So is it?

Shroud Eater, “Face the Master” official video

Miami, Florida’s SHROUD EATER will release their two-song EP, Face The Master, April 7th, 2015 on regular and special-edition cassette via Primitive Violence Records & Visual, as well as a digital download. In celebration of the EP’s release, the band will also be embarking on an eight-day trek up and down the east coast in support of the release.

SHROUD EATER continue to deliver crushing alms to the altar of heavy. Their newest two-song offering, FACE THE MASTER, which was recorded by Davin Sosa and Aric Meerbott at Guzu Recordings, Miami, Florida and mixed and Mastered by Jay Matheson at The Jam Room in Columbia, SC, is a face-ripping romp in vicious tones, gritty vocals, and unexpected turns that have come to define the scuzzy Shroud Eater sound. Riding high off 2013’s highly acclaimed EP Dead Ends and re-energized with a new lineup, Shroud Eater has borne comparisons to metal behemoths like Kylesa, High on Fire, and Acid King, all while forging their own dynamic sound in the metal landscape.

TOUR DATES:
4/22 – Savannah, GA @ THE JINX
4/23 – Raleigh, NC @ The Maywood
4/24 – Philly, PA @ Kung Fu Necktie
4/25 – Brooklyn, NY @ St. Vitus
4/26 – Washington DC @ TBA
4/27 – Wilmington, NC @ TBA
4/28 – Charleston, SC – “Tunnel of Lust” House Show

SHROUD EATER is:
Jean Saiz: guitar, vocals
Janette Valentine: bass, vocals
Davin Sosa: drums, vocals

Shroud Eater on Thee Facebooks

Shroud Eater on Bandcamp

Shroud Eater’s website

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