Black Lotus Post New Single; Sons of Saturn Due Oct. 19

Posted in Whathaveyou on August 16th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

black lotus

Barcelona doomers Black Lotus are set to make their full-length debut Oct. 19 through Inverse Records with Sons of Saturn, an eight-track outing for which a video of the title-track is now streaming. Their sound preaches to the converted in doom pretty well and shouldn’t take experienced heads long to get on board. It’s a lyric video, and the song is upwards of eight minutes long, so if you’re getting introduced to the four-piece, as I am, it’s a significant way to accomplish that means.

The PR wire brings info about the band and the record below, and it’s pretty much business as usual — artwork, release date, band background, tracklisting, etc. — until you get to the lineup of the band itself and the unveiling of the stage name Charlie Goatskull. I’ve been at this a while and I’ve run into a lot of dudes who call themselves a lot of things, but I feel like Charlie Goatskull has to be up there. Like someone reads the social register and sees Charlie and it’s like, “Of the Barcelona Goatskulls? Very good then.” I love it.

Check it out:

black-lotus-sons-of-saturn

Heavy Doom Metal Band BLACK LOTUS to release album in October, first single out now!

Barcelona-based Heavy & Epic Doom Metal band BLACK LOTUS released a first single from the upcoming album ‘Sons of Saturn’. The album is released in October 19th 2018 by Inverse Records.

Black Lotus is founded by Hug Ballesta in 2015. After finding a proper line-up they headed into the Moontower Studio at the end of 2017. The album is recorded and mixed by Javi Félez and mastered by Brad Boatright at Audiosiege, Portland, Oregon.

Hug Ballesta comments:

“We have chosen Sons of Saturn as the first single because it represents by itself the key sounds we search for as a band. We are lovers of both the classic bands and the new sounds and styles in metal: rawness, heavy-doomy-slow tempos, but at the same time catchy melodies that can equally transport the listener to apparently opposed moods. We are delighted that Inverse Records helps us spread our music… can’t wait for the feedback!”

Black Lotus’ sound is grounded in the diverse influences of the band members. Traditional Heavy Metal is the common factor and driving force of the band, but alternative sounds of the 90s, Stoner Rock, Doom Metal and post metal genres are also colours in their palette. Their compositions are embracing all those influences without limitations or dogmas. Likewise, lyrics are eminently symbolic, expressing a dystopic vision of society and their view of the world. Classic mythology, occultism, and personal experiences and visions are the sources for their compositions.

Track list:
01. Kings
02. The Sandstorm
03. The Pyre – intro.
04. Protective Fire
05. Taurobolium
06. Sons of Saturn
07. The Swamp
08. Return to Erebus – closing.

Album cover by Luca Solo Macello.

Line-up:
Charlie Gotaskull – Rhythm & Lead guitars
Cristian Vil – Bass Guitar, Vocals
Hug Ballesta – Drums, Vocals
Caio Pastore – lead & rhythm guitars (live)

https://www.facebook.com/orderoftheblacklotus
https://orderoftheblacklotus.bandcamp.com/releases
https://www.instagram.com/blacklotuscultband
https://twitter.com/BandBlackLotus
https://www.facebook.com/inverserecords
https://twitter.com/inverserecords
https://www.instagram.com/inverserecords/

Black Lotus, “Sons of Saturn” official video

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Review & Full EP Premiere: Atavismo, Valdeinfierno

Posted in audiObelisk, Reviews on July 20th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

Atavismo Valdeinfierno

[Click play above to stream Atavismo’s Valdeinfierno EP in full. It’s out July 23 on Adansonia Records.]

True to form, even a short release from Atavismo has a pervasive sense of atmosphere. The Algeciras, Spain, band blew any and all minds willing to follow along with last year’s Inerte (review here), and to be perfectly honest, I’m still a little up in the air as to whether Inerte was their full-length debut or a sophomore outing after their first release, which was 2014’s Desintegración (review here). As it’s comprised of four central tracks, Valdeinfierno, which is their new ostensible extended-player and debut on Adansonia Records, shares some structure in common with that first offering, but the palette has grown exponentially. It’s been four years, which can be nothing in the life of a band, and Atavismo do retain some of the heavy psychedelic underpinnings that they began to develop into a more progressive mindset with Inerte, but Valdeinfierno is no less a leap from the last outing than that was from the first.

It once more finds guitarist/vocalist/synthesist Jose “Poti” Moreno (ex-Viaje a 800Mind!), bassist/vocalist Mateo and drummer/vocalist Sandri Pow (also ex-Mind!) expanding their sound. They’ve expanded the lineup of the band as well, welcoming Koe on keys, synth and vocals. I’m not sure who contributes what to which parts of “La Palmosa,” “Quejigo,” “Valdeinfierno” and “Sapo Sagapo” but with the intro “Tropmetillas de la Muerte” and the outro “Etreum al ed Sallitemport” — yes, the outro is the intro backwards, in content as well as name — Valdeinfierno is all the more about progression and showcasing different sides of their personality, with each cut offering something different to stand it out from its surroundings, whether it’s the proggy shuffle of “La Palmosa” or the folk-tinged acoustic/electric blend of “Sago Sagapo” or the jam into which “Quejigo” so fluidly launches or the title-track’s sudden turn from drifting heavy psych into Iberian-folk-tinged percussion and jamming. More and more, Atavismo seem to be defining their own stylistic parameters outside of prescribed genre lines. This only suits them all the more.

If we’re arguing that Valdeinfierno is an EP — and since the band says it is, basically we’re not arguing at all beyond a hypothetical — a point in favor of that position is the diversity within the tracks. Even from where they were early last year, Atavismo have taken very clear steps to move forward. That would be all well and good, except for the fact that there’s still such a flow between the songs. At 28 minutes, it could go either way– the debut, for what it’s worth, was 37, and Inerte was 42 — and the way these songs work off each other and seem to add to an overarching statement of stylized progadelic intent speaks to an LP methodology. Maybe it’s a hard sell. What matters more than what one should call it is the vibe the band takes such obvious care to present and to maintain over the course of those 28 minutes. The patient drift past the midpoint in “La Palmosa.” The brightness of the fuzz guitar blast in “Sapo Sagapo.” The slow beginning of “Valdeinfierno.” The mini-freakout of “Quejigo” with its uptempo bounce. All of these things help give the respective tracks a sense of personality of their own, and yet all of them tie the material together as well. They unite as much as they distinguish.

Atavismo

After the wash of keyboard and plucked acoustic guitar notes and clarinet and mellotron of “Trompetillas de la Muerte” — which, by the way, is 39 seconds long — “La Palmosa” takes hold with an insistent strum and plays back and forth between fuzz-laden breaks and an immediate build of forward momentum. Keys in the background help tie together transitions, and Atavismo jam their way through a midsection break that’s the hypnotic beginning of a build, except that instead of paying it off in traditional fashion, they leave off to silence and let the start-stop riff at the core of “Quejigo” — no less danceable than its predecessor — keep the spirit moving. The drums are crucial to this as the guitar joins their rhythm and blown-out vocals mark the beginning of the first verse. Like “La Palmosa,” “Quejigo” builds its own tension, but at 3:22, it opens up to pay it off with an uptempo jam and the already-noted bounce en route to the presumed end of side A.

The title-track is also the longest song on Valdeinfierno at 8:26, and in its concept, it’s the most striking inclusion of them. It works in two sections and the first of them is a lull. Gently, it rises to a serene level of volume with a patience over the course of its first two-plus minutes that feels born out of classical music, never mind prog, and when the airy guitar and drums kick in a bit before 2:30, their entry isn’t even so much a “kick in” as a “oh hi do you mind if we do this thing we promise it’ll be awesome ah cool thanks” and with what sounds an awful lot like a xylophone backing — keys? — Moreno unfurls a slow, jammy lead. By the midpoint about two minutes later, the mood is set and Atavismo set to exploring the landscape they’ve drawn, but then at 5:50 a surge of volume signals to the drums, which then begin cycles of tom runs and the guitar moves into a speedy and winding lead that seems to carry a Middle Eastern influence in its scales, but drops out after seven minutes to percussion and room-mic’ed shouts that end. That switch in volume and meter is so resoundingly important to Valdeinfierno. It’s the moment where the band proves that not only are they able to pull off different stylistic turns between their songs, but within them as well. As “Sago Sagapo” comes through with its soft keys in the background, easy lead layer behind acoustic strumming, the peaceful feel of earlier in the title-track returns, but it’s hard not to think maybe Atavismo will jump ship again and start adventuring into different terrain.

They don’t, really, and “Sapo Sagapo” brings up another fuzzy solo before dropping to silence and letting “Etreum al ed Sallitemport” run backwards through the EP’s intro with all the more of a progressive feel. But the lack of predictability remains firm and it’s become one of the strongest assets Atavismo have at their disposal. Ultimately, it doesn’t matter whether Valdeinfierno is an EP or an album. It only matters to me because when I invariably salivate over what they do next, compulsion will lead me to wonder if it’s their second LP, third EP, second EP, etc. Of far greater importance is that this mini-album is precisely that: a condensed full-album flow executed over a shorter series of tracks. It acts as a showcase of Atavismo‘s growth and experimental sensibilities, but it also inevitably bridges any and all gaps between those experiments as they arise. This band makes some of the most beautiful music I’ve heard in underground psych. It’s time more people started taking notice.

Atavismo on Thee Facebooks

Atavismo on Bandcamp

Adansonia Records website

Adansonia Records on Thee Facebooks

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Quarterly Review: Khemmis, Morag Tong, Holy Mushroom, Naisian, Haunted, Pabst, L.M.I., Fuzz Forward, Onségen Ensemble, The Heavy Eyes

Posted in Reviews on July 18th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

quarterly-review-CALIFORNIA-LANDSCAPE-Julian-Rix-1851-1903

I always say the same thing on the Wednesday of the Quarterly Review. Day 3. The halfway point. I say it every time. The fact is, doing these things kind of takes it out of me. All of it. It’s not that I don’t enjoy listening to all these records — well, I don’t enjoy all of them, but I’m talking more about the process — just that it’s a lot to take in and by the time I’m done each day, let alone at the end of the week, I’m fairly exhausted. So every time we hit the halfway point of a Quarterly Review, I feel somewhat compelled to note it. Cresting the hill, as it were. It’s satisfying to get to this point without my head falling off.

Quarterly Review #21-30:

Khemmis, Desolation

khemmis desolation

Continuing their proclivity for one-word titles, Denver doom forerunners Khemmis take a decisive turn toward the metallic with their third album for 20 Buck Spin, the six-track/41-minute Desolation. Songs like opener “Bloodletting” and its side B counterpart “The Seer” are still tinged with doom, but the NWOBHM gallop in “Isolation” and “Maw of Time” – as well as the sheer force of the latter – is an unexpected twist. Khemmis showed classic metal elements on 2016’s was-a-very-big-deal Hunted (review here) and 2015’s debut, Absolution (review here), but it’s a question of balance, and as they’ve once again worked with producer Dave Otero, one can only read the shift as a conscious decision. The harder edge suits them – certainly suits the screams in “Maw of Time” and side A finale/album highlight “Flesh to Nothing” – and as Khemmis further refine their sound, they craft its most individualized manifestation to-date. There’s no hearing Desolation and mistaking Khemmis for another band. They’ve come into their own.

Khemmis on Thee Facebooks

20 Buck Spin website

 

Morag Tong, Last Knell of Om

morag tong last knell of om

A rumbling entry into London’s Heavy Generation, the four-piece Morag Tong unfold voluminous ritual on their debut full-length, Last Knell of Om. Largely slow and largely toned, the work of guitarists Alex Clarke and Lewis Crane brings the low end to the forefront along with the bass of James Atha while drummer Adam Asquith pushes the lurch forward on cuts like “New Growth” and “To Soil,” the band seemingly most comfortable when engaged in crawling tempos and weighted pummel. Asquith also adds semi-shouted vocals to the mire, which, surrounded by distortion as they are, only make the proceedings sound even more massive. There’s an ambience to “We Answer” and near-13-minute closer “Ephemera: Stare Through the Deep,” which gives the record a suitably noisy finish, but much of what Morag Tong are going for in sound depends on the effectiveness of their tonality, and they’ve got that part down on their debut. Coupled with the meditative feel in some of this material, that shows marked potential on the band’s part for future growth.

Morag Tong on Thee Facebooks

Morag Tong on Bandcamp

 

Holy Mushroom, Blood and Soul

holy mushroom blood and soul

Working quickly to follow-up their earlier-2018 sophomore long-player, Moon (review here), Spain’s Holy Mushroom present Blood and Soul, an EP comprised of two songs recorded live in the studio. I’m not entirely sure why it’s split up at all, as the two-minute “Introito” – sure enough, a little introduction – feeds so smoothly into the 19-minute “Blood and Soul” itself, but fair enough either way as the trio shift between different instrumentation, incorporating sax, piano and organ among the guitar, bass, drums and vocals, and unfold a longform heavy psychedelic trip that not only builds on what they were doing with Moon but is every bit worthy of being released on its own. I don’t know if it was recorded at the same time as the record or later – both were done at Asturcon Studios – but it’s easy to see why the band would want to highlight “Blood and Moon.” Between the deep-running mix, the easy rhythmic flow into and out from drifting spaciousness, and the turn in the middle third toward more expansive arrangement elements, it’s an engaging motion that makes subtly difficult shifts seem utterly natural along the way. And even if you didn’t hear the latest full-length, Blood and Soul makes for a fitting introduction to who Holy Mushroom are as a band and what they can do.

Holy Mushroom on Thee Facebooks

Clostridium Records website

 

Naisian, Rejoinder

naisian rejoinder

Sludge-infused noise rock serves as the backdrop for lyrical shenanigans on the three-song Rejoinder EP from Sheffield, UK, trio Naisian. Running just 12 minutes, it’s a quick and thickened pummel enacted by the band, who work in shades of post-metal for “90 ft. Stone,” “Mantis Rising” and “Lefole,” most especially in the middle cut, but even there, the focus in on harsh vocals and lumbering sonic heft. It’s now been seven years since the band sort-of issued their debut album, Mammalian, and six since they followed with the Monocle EP, and the time seems to have stripped down their sound to a degree. “Lefole” is the longest track on Rejoinder at 5:18 and it’s still shorter than every other song Naisian have put out to-date. Their crunch lacks nothing for impact, however, and to go with the swing of “Lefole,” everybody seems to contribute to a vocal assault that only adds to the punishing but thoughtful vibe.

Naisian on Thee Facebooks

Naisian on Bandcamp

 

Haunted, Dayburner

haunted dayburner

The effects-laden vocal swirl at the outset of Haunted’s “Mourning Sun” and moments in the Italian act’s longer-form material, “Waterdawn” or “Orphic,” for example, will invariably lead some listeners to point to a Windhand influence, but the character of the band’s second album, Dayburner (on Twin Earth, DHU and Graven Earth all), follows their 2016 self-titled (review here) by holding steady to a developing identity of its own. To be sure, vocalist Christina Chimirri, guitarists Francesco Bauso and Francesco Orlando, bassist Frank Tudisco and drummer Dario Casabona make their way into a deep, murky swamp of modern doom in “Dayburner” (video posted here), but in the crush of their tones amid all that trance-inducing riffing, they cast themselves as an outfit seeking to express individuality within the set parameters of style. Their execution, then, is what it comes down to, and with “Orphic” (12:46) and “Vespertine” (13:19) back to back, there’s plenty of doom on the 66-minute 2LP to roll that out. And they do so in patient and successful form, with marked tonal vibrancy and a sense of controlling the storm they’re creating as they go.

Haunted on Thee Facebooks

Twin Earth Records website

DHU Records webstore

Graven Earth Records webstore

 

Pabst, Chlorine

pabst chlorine

So, the aesthetic is different. Pabst play a blend of noise, post-punk, heavy rock and grunge, but with the ready pop influence — to wit, the outright danceability of “Shits,” reminiscent in its bounce of later Queens of the Stone Age – and persistent melodicism, there’s just a twinge of what Mars Red Sky did for heavy rolling riffs happening on Chlorine, their Crazysane Records debut. It’s in that blend of dense low-end fuzz and brighter vocal melodies, but again, Pabst, hailing from Berlin, are on their own trip. Weird but almost more enjoyable than it seems to want to be, the 12-track/35-minute outing indulges little and offers singalong-ready vibes in “Catching Feelings” and “Waterslide” while “Waiting Loop” chills out before the push of “Accelerate” and the angularity of “Cheapskate” take hold. Chrlorine careens and (blue) ribbons its way to the drive-fast-windows-open stylization of “Summer Never Came” and the finale “Under Water,” a vocal effect on the latter doing nothing to take away from its ultra-catchy hook. It’s not for everyone, but it’s a record someone with just the right kind of open mind can come to love.

Pabst on Thee Facebooks

Crazysane Records webstore

 

L.M.I., IV

lmi iv

If you’ve got a dank basement full of skinny college kids, chances are Lansdale, Pennsylvania’s L.M.I. are ready to tear their faces off. The sludge-thickened riff punkers run abut 11 minutes with their five-song release, L.M.I. IV, and that’s well enough time to get their message across. Actually, by the end of “Neck of Tension” and “Weaning Youth,” roughly four and half minutes in, the statement of intent is pretty clear. L.M.I. present furious but grooving hardcore punk more given to scathe than pummel, and their inclusions on L.M.I. IV bring that to life with due sense of controlled chaos. Centerpiece “Lurking Breath” gives way to “First to Dark” – the longest cut at a sprawling 2:55 – and they save a bit of grunge guitar scorch and lower-register growling for closer “June was a Test,” there isn’t really time in general for any redundancy to take hold. That suits the feeling of assault well, as L.M.I. get in and get out on the quick and once they’re gone, all that’s left to do is clean the blood off the walls.

L.M.I. on Thee Facebooks

L.M.I. on Bandcamp

 

Fuzz Forward, Out of Nowhere

fuzz forward out of nowhere

Released one way or another through Discos Macarras, Odio Sonoro, Spinda Records and Red Sun Records, the eight-song/43-minute debut album from Barcelona’s Fuzz Forward, Out of Nowhere, has earned acclaim from multiple corners for its interpretation of grunge-era melodies through a varied heavy rock filter. Indeed, the vocals of Juan Gil – joined in the band by guitarist Edko Fuzz, bassist Jordi Vaquero and drummer Marc Rockenberg – pull the mind directly to a young Layne Staley, and forces one to realize it’s been a while since that low-in-the-mouth approach was so ubiquitous. It works well for Gil in the laid back “Summertime Somersaults” as well as the swinging, cowbell-infused later cut “Drained,” and as the band seems to foreshadow richer atmospheric exploration on “Thorns in Tongue” and “Torches,” they nonetheless maintain a focus on songwriting that grounds the proceedings and will hopefully continue to serve as their foundation as they move forward. No argument with the plaudits they’ve thus far received. Seems doubtful they’ll be the last.

Fuzz Forward on Thee Facebooks

Fuzz Forward on Bandcamp

 

Onségen Ensemble, Duel

Onsegen ensemble duel

The kind of record you’re doing yourself a favor by hearing – a visionary cast of progressive psychedelia that teems with creative energy and is an inspiration even in the listening. Frankly, the only thing I’m not sure about when it comes to Oulu, Finland, outfit Onségen Enseble’s second album, Duel, is why it isn’t being released through Svart Records. It seems like such a natural fit, with the adventurous woodwinds on opener “Think Neither Good Nor Evil,” the meditative sprawl of the title-track (video posted here), the jazz-jam in the middle of “Dogma MMXVII,” the tribalist percussion anchoring the 12-minute “Three Calls of the Emperor’s Teacher,” which surely would otherwise float away under its own antigravity power, and the free-psych build of closer “Zodiacal Lights of Onségen,” which shimmers in otherworldly fashion and improvised-sounding spark. On Svart or not, Duel is one of the best albums I’ve heard this year, and one the creativity of which puts it in a class of its own, even in the vast reaches of psychedelic rock. Whether it means to or not, it tells a story with sound, and that story should be heard.

Onségen Ensemble on Thee Facebooks

Onsegen Ensemble on Bandcamp

 

The Heavy Eyes, Live in Memphis

the heavy eyes live in memphis

Since so much of The Heavy Eyes’ studio presentation has consistently been about crispness of sound and structured songwriting, it’s kind of a relief to hear them knock into some feedback at the start of “Mannish Boy” at the outset of Live in Memphis (on Kozmik Artifactz). The three-piece of guitarist/vocalist Tripp Shumake, bassist Wally Anderson and drummer Eric Garcia are still tight as hell, of course, and their material – drawn here from the band’s LPs, 2015’s He Dreams of Lions (review here), 2012’s Maera, 2011’s self-titled, as well as sundry shorter offerings – is likewise. They’ve never been an overly dangerous band, nor have they wanted to be, but the stage performance does add a bit of edge to “Iron Giants” from the debut, which is followed by singing “Happy Birthday” to a friend in the crowd. One of the most enjoyable aspects of Live in Memphis is hearing The Heavy Eyes loosen up a bit on stage, and hearing them sound like they’re having as good a time playing as the crowd is watching and hearing them do so. That sense of fun suits them well.

The Heavy Eyes on Thee Facebooks

The Heavy Eyes at Kozmik Artifactz

 

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Atavismo Premiere “La Palmosa”; Announce Valdeinfierno EP Due July 23

Posted in audiObelisk, Whathaveyou on June 25th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

Atavismo

Atavismo will release their new EP, Valdeinfierno, on July 23 via Adansonia Records. With it, the Algeciras, Spain, outfit present six tracks — well, four with an intro and outro — that to each very one, explore new territory of range and scope. From the flowing Iberian folk in “La Palmosa” to the shuffling tension of “Quejigo” to drifting into Afrobeat-inspired rhythms of the title-track to the Mellotron-inclusive fuzz-prog of “Sapo Sagapo,” Atavismo venture into deeply varied ground and feel their way through ideas both rich in tone, all over place and still somehow able to flow together as an execution of a single idea and spirit. If you have an excuse for not digging them, I’d love to hear it.

The label is new, some of the sounds are new, but Atavismo‘s identity still comes through strong on Valdeinfierno — it just so happens that all that exploration is a huge part of it. Check back July 20 for a review and full stream of the EP, but in the meantime, I’m happy to host the unveiling of “La Palmosa, which you’ll find at the bottom of this post. Led into by the intro “Trompetillas de la Muerte” — which appears backwards as the EP’s outro, “Eteum al ed Sallitepmort” — it presents a fuzzy roll and intricacy that only reveals itself more with subsequent listens, whether it’s the percussion deeper in the mix or the vocal harmonies atop. I sincerely hope you enjoy it and stay tuned for more.

Recording info follows here, courtesy of the band via the PR wire:

atavismo valdeinfierno

This EP was recorded in October 2017 and April 2018 in Trafalgar Studios, the place we always use to record all our stuff. Recorded by Curro Ureba.

Only one song (called Sapo Sagapo) was recorded in Tagarnina Studios by Océano Galindo (aka Jose Angel Galindo, the guitarist of Viaje a 800).

The mastering was made by DJM in “Studio Fleisch” (Germany).

The release of the album will be on 23th July, and, exceptionally, this album will be released by Adansonia records (Germany).

Tracklisting:
1. Trompetillas de la Muerte
2. La Palmosa
3. Quejigo
4. Valdeinfierno
5. Sapo Sagapo
6. Etreum al ed Sallitepmort

Atavismo live:
JUL 21 Louie Louie, Estepona, Andalusia, Spain
AUG 10 SonicBlast Moledo, Portugal

ATAVISMO are:
Poti: Guitar and vocals
Sandra: Drums and vocals
Mateo: Bass and vocals
Koe: Keyboard, Synth & vocals

https://www.facebook.com/Atavismo-233096556878903/
https://atavismo.bandcamp.com/
https://www.adansoniarecords.de/
https://www.facebook.com/adansoniarecords/

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VOR Premiere Video for “Cudgel”; Depravador out May 19

Posted in Bootleg Theater on April 25th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

vor

Framed by images of roaches, needles, faceless masks and other visually striking and abrasive imagery, the new video from Spanish noise-slinging sludge duo VOR tells a good portion of the tale. On May 19, the Madrid-based outfit will issue Depravador through a host of involved labels, including Third I Rex, Noizeland Records, Noorirax Producciones, Odio Sonoro, Sacramento Records, Base Record Production and Fuzz T-Shirts, the latter two of which I’ll confess I’m not even sure if they are record labels, but it’s yet more companies standing behind the band’s work and it goes to prove the overarching point that this is material and this is a band that a lot of people really believe in and are willing to support.

The bass/drum filth-revelry of thevor depravador track “Cudgel,” which is the single for which the new video has been put together, justifies that, I think. It’s a quick blast of ’90s-style sludge intensity, reminiscent maybe of Buzzov*en or Eyehategod in some of their especially biting moments, but the rawness they conjure as only being a two-piece becomes part of the aesthetic in a fascinating way, feeding into the overarching rawness of their approach and making the whole affair even meaner than it started out. I haven’t heard the full record yet — so many cooks in the kitchen on a release, sometimes these things are hard to come by — but once again, it’s easy to understand why people would believe in what VOR are up to stylistically, taking the classic tenets of mud-in-your-eye sludge and bringing something of their own to it. One way or another, it’s noisy as all hell.

My go-to word for this kind of sludge always seems to be “nasty,” and the crust that outlines “Cudgel” much the same way those needles, roaches, etc. frame the video, certainly meets that standard. Depravador, one more time, lands May 19, and it’s with the permission of Third I Rex that I have the pleasure of hosting the premiere of the clip that you’ll find below, with more background beneath, courtesy of the PR wire.

Please enjoy:

VOR, “Cudgel” official video premiere

The Spanish noisemongers VOR bring to the table one of the most corrosive releases of the year. This bass and drum duo is no joke! Coming from projects such as Lazharus, Warchetype, Moho, Cuzo, The Eyes Y and more levels of filth, these guys have got something you should really take a listen to.

Their new album “Depravador” comes after another killer release, the band’s debut album “Tu Clave Es Jonàs”, pressed early in 2017 by another bunch of labels, including some of those collaborating for this new LP. Seven tracks of trippy, abrasive, odd, heavy sludge which, funneled through a punk attitude, is able to take off your face like thick tar on naked skin.

An absolute must listen to for all of the uncompromised sludge supporters, fuzzy doom sounds lovers, punk-fueled hatred preachers, and all of those people out there who wanna listen to something new after tons of boring late releases! “Depravador” will be out on May 19th!

Recorded at La Cortina Roja in 2017.
Mastered at Kadifornia Mastering in 2018.
Front cover art by Calabaza Cosmica.
Photo by Sergio Albert Aviles.

VOR is:
Iván: bass, noise & shrieks
Edu: drums & noise
Anxela (Bala): guest vocals in “Dark Fraga”

VOR on Thee Facebooks

VOR on Bandcamp

VOR on Tumblr

Third I Rex on Thee Facebooks

Third I Rex on Bandcamp

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Viaje a 800 to Reissue Estampida de Trombones June 5

Posted in Whathaveyou on April 17th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

The simple fact is that Viaje a 800 were years ahead of their time. Years. After their Diablo Roto De… debut in 2001, the band took more than half a decade to deliver a follow-up in Estampida de Trombones, but they made that wait absolutely worth it. Rife with memorable songs that crossed any and all language barriers with their fludity of groove and memorable melodies, it was a record that, if it came out today in the sphere of social media word-of-mouth, would have them headlining tours and digging into slots at one festival after the next. Don’t believe me? Listen to the record. You’ll understand.

Estampida de Trombones is being given a get-it-while-you-can limited vinyl repressing through Spinda Records that’s up for preorder now and officially out June 5. If there’s any justice in the universe, they’ll be long gone by the time June gets here. Make that happen.

Info from the PR wire and the preorder page:

viaje a 800 estampida de trombones vinyl

Viaje a 800 re-edit ‘Estampida de Trmobones’ on vinyl

The stampede returns … YELL!

Exhausted years ago, with skyrocketing prices in the second-hand market and over time become an authentic cult album among the followers of progressive rock, stoner or psychedelic rock, ‘Estampida de trombones’ from Viaje a 800 is re-edited these days through the independent label Spinda Records.

PRE-ORDER NOW AVAILABLE

Released: June 5, 2018
Price: € 20 (pre-order offer)

‘Estampida de Trombones’ 11th Anniversary Numbered-Limited Edition Orange-Translucent 12″ Vinyl, including new artwork and lyrics.

Music & Lyrics by Viaje a 800.
Special guests: Andeas Papandreus (‘Cáncer Bahía’) & Curro Snortil (‘Estampida de Trombones’).
Produced by Viaje a 800 & Spinda Records.
Recorded & Mixed at La Casa del Perro (Algeciras) by Curro Snortil.
Mastering by J.M. Sagrisa at Estudios Punta Paloma (Tarifa).
Photography by Steele-grasza.
Artwork by Artidoto.

Track-list:
SIDE A
1. Los ángeles que hay en mi piel
2. El amor es un perro del infierno
3. Dios astrónomo
4. Ossario
5. Zé
SIDE B
6. Luto
7. Patio Custodio
8. Estampida de trombones
9. Cabezas de tugsteno
10. Cáncer bahía

Vinyl Edition by Spinda Records (5th June 2018)

300 numbered units
Vinyl 12 “Gatefold
Translucent orange vinyl
Includes lyrics
Good trip…

https://www.facebook.com/Viaje-a-800-373382802690104/
https://viajea800.bandcamp.com/
http://www.spindarecords.com/product/viaje-a-800-estampida-de-trombones-vinyl

Viaje a 800, Estampida de Trombones (2007)

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Green Desert Water Premiere “The Deepest Sea” Video

Posted in Bootleg Theater on April 10th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

green desert water

If your ears don’t automatically perk up on hearing the phrases ‘classic-style heavy rockers’ and ‘on Small Stone Records‘ in the same sentence, well, to put it mildly they should. Thus we find Spanish classic-style heavy rockers Green Desert Water making their debut on Small Stone Records with their second album overall, Solar Plexus. Quick to make an impression and earn immediate points with the opener and longest track “Open Your Wings,” the band trio channels earliest AC/DC on the swinging heavy blues of “Souls of the Woodland,” and offers a fluid dose of fuzz in “Chaman,” demonstrating a propensity both for hooks and for adding modern flair to the core heavy ’70s influence. The shuffle that emerges near the midsection of “Chaman,” for example, or the tambourine-laced jam in the penultimate “Mother Moon.” These are well-established methods, but as Small Stone has endeavored in recent years to demonstrate, a balance can surely be struck between the classic and the modern. Green Desert Water do this exceptionally well.

Solar Plexus breaks neatly into two vinyl halves, with three cuts on either side: two longer and one shorter to finish. Side B concludes with the Green Desert Water Solar Plexustitle-track, only about a minute shorter than “Souls of the Woodland” or “Mother Moon” before it, but the difference is more striking on Side A, where “The Deepest Sea,” which is the shortest inclusion overall at 4:44, follows “Open Your Wings” and “Chaman,” both of which are more extended. “The Deepest Sea,” however, is an effective condensation of many of the record’s other impulses, with a strong hook, a perfect tempo, and an easy rhythmic swing that’s neither forced nor overstated. It engages quickly and asks little of the listener in terms of indulgences. These traits it shares in common with its surroundings, and while it may not be as long as “Open Your Wings” or “Mother Moon,” there’s no question the song accomplishes its task and represents the album well for its natural-sounding structure, modern production style and energetic delivery.

The three-piece is comprised of guitarist/vocalist Kike Sanchís, bassist Juan Arias García and drummer/backing vocalist Javi Gonzalez and Solar Plexus is out April 27, once again on Small Stone, which has preorders up now. Below, you can see the video premiere for “The Deepest Sea” and get some more background on the band from the PR wire.

Please enjoy:

Green Desert Water, “The Deepest Sea” official video premiere

After getting their feet wet in a molten pool of heavy blues on their 2012 self-titled debut EP, GREEN DESERT WATER is ready for their next conquest. The Oviedo, Spain-based three-piece have been making a name for themselves as one of the best-kept-secrets of the Iberian heavy underground, and with Solar Plexus – their second LP – they’ve never sounded readier to let the cat out of the proverbial bag. And by “cat out of the bag,” we mean unleashing classic power trio grooves – all primo, all soul, but heavier and thicker and more modern than the first record.

Solar Plexus was recorded and mixed by Pablo Martínez Pérez at Ovni Estudio, mastered by Kike Sanchís at Green Desert Mastering and comes wrapped in the cover art of Héctor Castañón. The six-track offering will see release on CD, digital, and limited edition vinyl formats on April 27th via Small Stone.

GREEN DESERT WATER:
Juan Arias García – fuzz bass
Javi González – drums, percussion, backing vocals
Kike Sanchís – guitars, vocals
Additional guitar on “The Deepest Sea” by Pablo Martínez Pérez.

Green Desert Water on Thee Facebooks

Small Stone Records website

Small Stone Records on Thee Facebooks

Small Stone Records on Bandcamp

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Quarterly Review: Eagle Twin, Wight, Sundrifter, Holy Mushroom, Iron and Stone, Black Capricorn, Owl Maker, Troll, Malditos, The Freak Folk of Mangrovia

Posted in Reviews on April 5th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

Quarterly-Review-Spring-2018

I’m pretty sure this Quarterly Review — life eater that it is — is going to wind up being six days long. That means next Monday look for sixth installment, another batch of 10 records, which were not hard to come by among everything that’s come in lately for review. I do my best to keep up, often to little avail — some random act’s Bandcamp page starts trending and all of a sudden they’re the best band ever, which hey, they’re probably not and that’s okay too. Anyhowzer, I’m trying is the point. Hopefully another 10 records added into this Quarterly Review underscores that notion.

More coffee. More albums. Let’s rock.

Quarterly Review #31-40:

Eagle Twin, The Thundering Heard (Songs of Hoof and Horn)

eagle twin the thundering heard songs of hoof and horn

Consuming tones, throat-sung blues, a wash of lumbering doom – yes, it’s quite a first three minutes on Eagle Twin’s The Thundering Heard (Songs of Hoof and Horn). Released by Southern Lord, it’s the Salt Lake City duo’s first outing since 2012’s The Feather Tipped the Serpent’s Scale (discussed here), which arrived three years after their 2009 debut, The Unkindness of Crows (review here). Once again, the four-song outing finds guitarist/vocalist Gentry Densley and drummer Tyler Smith exploring the natural order and the natural world the 11-minute “Quanah un Rama” and the 14-minute “Antlers of Lightning” bookend “Elk Wolfv Hymn” (8:22) and album highlight “Heavy Hood” (7:21), creating an ever-more immersive and grit-laden flow across the album’s span. It’s hard to know if Densley and Smith are the hunters or the hunted here, but the tones are massive enough to make YOB blush, the rhythms are hypnotic and the use they’re both put to is still unlike anything else out there, ending after the chaos and assault of low end on “Antlers of Lightning” with a moment of contemplative guitar lead, as if to remind us of our solitary place in imagining ourselves at the top of the food chain.

Eagle Twin on Thee Facebooks

Southern Lord Recordings website

 

Wight, Fusion Rock Invasion

wight fusion rock invasion

One wonders what it might’ve been like to see Wight on the 2015 tour on which the Bilocation Records-issued vinyl-only Fusion Rock Invasion: Live Over Europe was captured. Still a year out from releasing their third album, Love is Not Only What You Know (review here), the former trio had already become a four-piece with guitarist/vocalist/keyboardist René Hofmann, bassist Peter-Philipp Schierhorn and drummer Thomas Kurek bringing in percussionist Steffen Kirchpfening and already undertaken the funkier aesthetic turn that LP would represent coming off of 2012’s Through the Woods into Deep Water (review here). At least I’d think it would be something of a surprise as the band hit into “Helicopter Mama” and “The Muse & the Mule” and “Kelele,” which comprise side A of Fusion Rock Invasion, but by all appearances listening to the crowd response between songs, they seem into it. Who could argue? Wight’s groove in those songs as well as the older “Master of Nuggets” and Love is Not Only What You Know finale “The Love for Life Leads to Reincarnation” on side B, are infectious in their grooves and the soul put into them is genuine and unmistakable. One more reason I wouldn’t have minded being there, I suppose.

Wight on Thee Facebooks

Wight at Bilocation Records

 

Sundrifer, Visitations

sundrifter visitations

Name your bet someone picks up Sundrifter’s Visitations for a proper release. The Boston three-piece of vocalist/guitarist Craig Peura, bassist Paul Gaughran and drummer Patrick Queenan impress in performance, aesthetic and craft across the nine songs and 48 minute of their for-now-self-released debut long-player, and whether it’s Queenan dipping into blastbeats on “Targeted” or Gaughran’s rumble on the Soundgarden-gone-doom “Fire in the Sky” or the fuzz that leads the charge on the Queens of the Stone Age-style “Hammerburn,” Peura doing a decent Josh Homme along the way, each member proves to add something to a whole greater than the sum of its parts and that is able to take familiar elements and use them to hone an individualized atmosphere. In the wake of melodically engaged Boston acts like Gozu, Sundrifter would seem to be a focused newcomer with a solidified mindset of who they are as a group. That said, I wouldn’t be surprised either if they kept growing their sound. Something about the psychedelic distance in “Fire in the Sky” and “I Want to Leave,” says there’s forward movement yet to be had.

Sundrifter on Thee Facebooks

Sundrifter on Bandcamp

 

Holy Mushroom, Moon

holy mushroom moon

Serenity and presence. There’s no shortage of either on the second Holy Mushroom full-length, Moon. Incorporating the prior-issued digital single “Éufrates,” the five-track/43-minute excursion is rife with natural-toned psychedelic resonance, marked out by organ/piano working alongside the guitar (see “Birdwax Blues”), as well as guest contributions of double bass and saxophone, and other sundry moments of depth-creating flourish. Their trance-effect is palpable, and Moon is an easy album to get lost in, especially as the Spanish three-piece make their way through 12:35 centerpiece “The Preacher,” moving from a dreamy opening line of guitar into funk-laden heft that only pushes forward with Hendrixian abandon through a massive jam before rounding out sweetly with vocals over background organ and sweetly-strummed guitar. “Éufrates” would seem to start the same way, but varies the structure in more of a back and forth format before closer “Grand Finale in the Blind Desert” brings both Holy Mushroom’s most patient execution and their most vibrant jam (sax included), essentially building from the one into the other to end the album in energetic fashion. To say it works for them would be underselling it.

Holy Mushroom on Thee Facebooks

Holy Mushroom on Bandcamp

 

Iron and Stone, Petrichor

iron and stone petrichor

A debut long-player of no-pretense, no-nonsense sludge-infused doom, Petrichor (on Backbite Records) shows German five-piece Iron and Stone as ready to follow where the riff will lead them. The late 2017 album is a solidly-delivered 10 tracks and 43 minutes that strikes mostly in monochrome intent, save perhaps for the acoustic “Interlude” near the midpoint. Their 2015 EP, Old Man’s Doom (review here), was similarly upfront in its purposes, but carrying across a full-length – especially a debut – is a different beast from a shorter outing. Their heavier push on “Monolith” is welcome and the break-then-chug of “Deserts” does plenty to satisfy, but Petrichor might require a couple concerted listens to really sink in on its audience, though as I’ve said time and again, if you can’t handle repetition, you can’t handle doom. Iron and Stone effectively balance traditional doom and rawer sludge groove, playing fluidly to whichever suits their purposes at a given moment.

Iron and Stone on Thee Facebooks

Backbite Records webstore

 

Black Capricorn, Omega

black capricorn omega

Sardinian doom cult Black Capricorn push well beyond the limits of the manageable with their 95-minute fourth album, Omega (released Nov. 2017 on Stone Stallion Rex), and that’s clearly the idea. The three-piece of bassist Virginia, drummer Rakela and guitarist/vocalist Kjxu offer grim ambience and tempos that sound slow regardless of their actual speed. That said, the 17-minute “Antartide” is an accomplishment as regards crawl. After a sweetly melancholic opening of guitar, it lurches and lumbers out its miserable heft until a return to that intro bookends. Even shorter tracks like “Flower of Revelation” or “Stars of Orion” hold firm to the tenet of plod, and though the results are obviously a lot to take in, the idea that it should be a slog seems all the more appropriate to Black Capricorn’s style. The band, which hits the decade mark in 2018, churn out one last bit of wretchedness in the nine-minute closing title-track before giving way to an acoustic finish, as if to remind that Omega’s sorrows are conveyed as much through atmosphere as actual sonic heft.

Black Capricorn on Thee Facebooks

Stone Stallion Rex website

 

Owl Maker, Paths of the Slain

owl maker paths of the slain

Guitarist/vocalist Simon Tuozzoli, also of malevolent doomers Vestal Claret, leads the new trio Owl Maker, and in the company of bassist Jessie May and drummer Chris Anderson, he embarks on a heavy rock push of six tracks with the debut EP, Paths of the Slain, still holding to some elements of metal, whether it’s the double-kick in opener “Ride with Aileen” or the backing vocals and guitar solo of the subsequent “99.” Songwriting is clearheaded across the EP’s 23 minutes, and in terms of first impressions, “Mashiara” shows a focus on melody that retains a metallic poise without losing its riff-driven edge. The balance shifts throughout “Freya’s Chariot” and the all-go “Witches,” the latter of which touches on black metal in its first half before turning on a dime to mid-paced heavy rock, and closer “Lady Stoneheart” nods in its back end to NWOBHM gallop, as Owl Maker seem to tip their audience to the fact that they’re just getting started on their exploration of the many interpretations of heavy.

Owl Maker on Thee Facebooks

Owl Maker on Bandcamp

 

Troll, Troll

troll troll

When one considers the multiple connotations of the word, Portland’s Troll are definitely going more for “lives under a bridge” than “meddling in elections” when it comes to their sound. Their self-titled debut EP, issued in 2017 before being picked up by respected purveyor Shadow Kingdom Records for a 2018 CD/tape release, is a highlight offering of classic-style doom worthy of Orodruin and Pilgrim comparisons and headlined by the vocal performance of John, who carries songs like opener “The Summoning” and the later, more swinging “Infinite Death” in a manner impressive in both frontman presence and melodic range. His work is only bolstered by the riffs of guitarist Lou and the consistent groove held together by bassist Wayne and drummer Ryan, whose drive in centerpiece “An Eternal Haunting” is neither overdone nor incongruous with the wall its tempo hits, and who meld shuffle and plod on closer “Savage Thunder” with naturalist ease. Potential abounds, and they reportedly already have new material in the works, so all the better.

Troll on Thee Facebooks

Shadow Kingdom Records website

 

Malditos, II

malditos ii
Some bands, you just have to accept the fact that they’re on a different wavelength and that’s all there is to it. Magma. Master Musicians of Bukkake. Circle. Enter Oakland, California’s Malditos, whose sophomore outing, II: La Réve, arrives via Svart Records. From bizarre psychedelic chants to ritualized repetitions that seems to be daring you to play them backwards on your turntable, the spiritual freakout to songs like “Azadeh” and the penultimate “Momen” is palpable. Reach out and touch it and it will ripple like water in front of you. A sense of space is filled with elements alternatingly horrifying and engrossing, and after they make their way through “Le Passage” and centerpiece “Disparu” and wind up in the title-track to close out, the journey to the final wash of noise gives the distinct impression that for neither the listener nor the band is there any coming back. High order head trippery. Will simply be too much for some, will gloriously expand the minds of others.

Malditos on Thee Facebooks

Svart Records webstore

 

The Freak Folk of Mangrovia, Sonic Meditations: Live @ Palach

the freak folk of mangrovia sonic meditations live at palach

I don’t know how much improvisation is a factor in the sound of The Freak Folk of Mangrovia, but the Croation collective bring an ultra-organic presence to their perhaps-debut release, Sonic Meditations: Live @ Palach. The group, which seems also to have gone under the names Marko Mushan & the Mangrovian Orchestra and The Free Folk of Mangrovia, was opening for Acid Mothers Temple that night, and Sonic Meditations mostly breaks down into parts – “Sonic Meditation I,” “II,” “III” and “IV” – before the band closes out with “’Mangrovian Summer,” all the while with The Freak Folk of Mangrovia making their way through progressive dreamscapes, dripping with effects and spacious enough to house an entire Mangrovian village, however big that might be. It is otherworldly and jazzy and moves with such fluidity that the entire “Sonic Meditation” becomes one overarching piece, complemented by the closing “Mangrovian Summer,” which ebbs and flows through louder, more active jamming before capping in a wash of noise.

The Freak Folk of Mangrovia on Thee Facebooks

The Freak Folk of Mangrovia on Bandcamp

 

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