Sun of the Dying Release The Earth is Silent Vinyl

Posted in Whathaveyou on December 4th, 2019 by JJ Koczan

It’s winter and there’s snow on the ground, which means only two things: I want to leave the house even less than usual and it’s time for death-doom. Madrid-based Sun of the Dying have plenty of the keyboard-orchestral morose vibes and mournful wails that my soul needs this time of year, and their new album, The Earth is Silent, is newly issued through Art of Propaganda. The PR wire mentions Swallow the Sun as a reference point amid the classics of the style, and yeah, I can hear that in some of the more melodic moments of “A Dying Light,” but when that deathliness hits in Eduardo Guilló‘s growls, one almost can’t help but raise a claw in salute. I guess I missed out on their 2017 debut, The Roar of the Furious Sea, when that came out — hi, I suck at this, thanks — but I’m glad to be getting caught up now.

And by glad, I mean miserable.

You find solace where you can:

sun of the dying the earth is silent

Spain’s quickly rising death/doom band SUN OF THE DYING has released their second album, The Earth Is Silent, with AOP Records. Fans can check out the record that’s storming the genre now!

PURCHASE “THE EARTH IS SILENT” VINYL LP:
AOP Records (EU-Store) https://shop.aoprecords.de
AOP Records (US-Store) https://www.indiemerchstore.com/b/aop-records

SUN OF THE DYING crafts a style of death and doom with its roots drawing influence from early acts like MY DYING BRIDE, PARADISE LOST and ANATHEMA, and adding a more modern sound inspired by the likes of SHAPE OF DESPAIR, AHAB and SWALLOW THE SUN.

SUN OF THE DYING began in 2013 as a side project between Casuso and Lavín from their main bands (APOCYNTHION and CRYSTALMOORS). In April of 2017, the band released their debut record, “The Roar of the Furious Sea,” with the mexican label Throats Productions, and after which they performed shows with OCELON, ADE, TRONO DE SANGRE, MALAMMAR and ATREXIAL and WOMB.

Now the SUN OF THE DYING returns with a breathtaking and ferocious follow up, The Earth Is Silent; a bleak and beautifully chaotic record of some of the best death/doom to come out of Spain in years.

The Earth Is Silent Track Listing:
The Earth Is Silent
A Dying Light
A Cold Unnamed Fear
Orion
When The Morning Came
Monolith
White Skies and Grey Lands

Lineup:
Eduardo Guilló – vocals
Casuso – guitars
Roberto Rayo – guitars
José Yuste – bass
Diego Weser – drums
David Muñoz – keyboards and backing vocals

https://www.facebook.com/SunofTheDying/
https://www.instagram.com/sunofthedying
https://sunofthedying.bandcamp.com
http://www.aoprecords.de/
https://www.facebook.com/aoprecs/
https://www.instagram.com/aop.records/
https://artofpropaganda.bandcamp.com/
https://www.indiemerch.com/aoprecords

Sun of the Dying, The Earth is Silent (2019)

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Surya Premiere Debut Album Overthrown in Full; Out This Week

Posted in audiObelisk on November 19th, 2019 by JJ Koczan

SURYA

Based in Cádiz on Spain’s southern coast, the heavy psychedelic four-piece Surya make their debut through Spinda RecordsSurnia RecordsOdio Sonoro and a host of others — Spanish labels should form a conglomerate and take over the world or at very least the heavy underground — with the eight-track/40-minute LP, Overthrown. Set to release Nov. 20 (which, holy shit, is tomorrow), the unpretentiously atmospheric outing works smoothly to make itself comfortable in a balance between harder-pushing rhythms and tonal warmth, an overarching shimmer of melody coming through the lead work on tracks like “Golden Tower” that reminds some of their countryfolk to the east in Algeciras in groups like Híbrido and Atavismo, though their aims for the most part aren’t so directly progressive at this point. Rather, while “Crystal Gate” is the longest inclusion at 7:29, it uses most of that time in developing a jammy flow, and even the decidedly linear, post-Elder sway of “Turtle Shaman,” which would seem to be side B’s answer back to “Crystal Gate” in terms of soundscaping reach, manages not to overindulge in its own lushness.

I’m not sure if I’d call their approach measured in the sense of being overly controlled, but the songs have an organic, carved-from-jams feel, and whether it’s a SoCal riffer like opener “Tales of the Great Fharats” and the subsequent echoer “Sundazed” or the from-the-ground-up build of the finale in “No Further,” they once again make a noble drive toward finding their identity in a sense of balance between sides. The four-piece of guitarist/vocalist Antonio Hierro, guitarist/synthesist José Moares, bassist José María Zapata (also percussion) and drummer/acoustic guitarist/vocalist Carlos Camisón (also also percussion) do well in setting and attaining this goal for themselves on Overthrown, recounting a surya overthrownnarrative across the record’s span but not sacrificing the impressions made by individual tracks in order to do so — not taking away from the songs for the story, in other words, as “concept records” sometimes do.

Instead, whether it’s the boogie in the penultimate “Begone” or the dreamy acid-strum of side A capper “Thousand Year Bridge,” which though it’s just four and a half minutes long does much to bolster a kind of Floydian pastoralism that only adds to the overall tally of their breadth of sound. “Golden Tower” is a fine example of how they bring these different sides together — the acoustic guitar notwithstanding — but wherever Surya end up on their first full-length, they get there with a remarkable sense of awareness for what they’re doing and a style that’s all the more engaging for that. It’s that much easier to go along with the fluidity they conjure because they seem to present it with such confidence.

As to what their future might hold, it’s hard to surmise where the mix of sound might take them or, likewise, where they might take it. But that too is part of what makes Overthrown an exciting listening experience, as their prospects seem to unfold with each careening riff or each patiently-delivered turn. And whatever they do, one can only hope that the current of songwriting they bring to these eight tracks continues to develop along with their aesthetic, since it’s what ultimately works to tie the material together, long with Hierro‘s vocals and a quickly-earned sense of trust that they pay back in kind with laudable effort for the converted and open-minded alike.

Happy to host the stream of the full album below. Dig in and enjoy:

Surya is a 4-piece Heavy Rock/ Heavy Psych band based in Jerez de la Frontera, Spain. After an EP (Vol. 1) released in 2017, Overthrown is their first full length album, culmination of almost one year of work. Although they are all in their early 20s, Surya takes influence from 70s dual guitars with plenty of harmonies, classic sounds and powerful vocals, but with a 90s twist to spice it all up. Recorded at Estudio 79 in April 2019 by Rafa Camisón (G.A.S Drummers, Gentemayor), Overthrown tells us the story of an banished prince and his revenge on his father with roaring guitars, earth-shattering bass and huge drums. A very limited 300 copy vinyl (released between Spinda Records, Odio Sonoro, Monasterio de Cultura, Surnia Records, Bandera Records, Violence in the Veins, Sacramento Records, Noizeland Records, Discosxmil and Gato Encerrado Records) is also available for purchase in their bandcamp. Enjoy!

Releases November 20, 2019

Surya:
Antonio Hierro – guitar & vocals
Carlos Camisón – drums, percussion, acoustic guitar & vocals
José Moares – guitars and synth
José María Zapata – bass and percussion

Recorded, produced and mixed at Estudio 79 by Rafa Camisón.
Mastered at Kadifornia by Mario G. Alberni.
Artwork by Nacho Fernández-Trujillo (@nachoooft).

Edited by Spinda Records, Surnia Records, Monasterio de Cultura, Violence In The Veins, Bandera Records, Sacramento Records, Odio Sonoro, Gato Encerrado Records, Discos X Mil and Noizeland Records.

Surya on Thee Facebooks

Surya on Instagram

Surya on Bandcamp

Spinda Records on Thee Facebooks

Spinda Records website

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Lewis and the Strange Magics to Release Melvin’s Holiday Tape on Dec. 20

Posted in Whathaveyou on November 15th, 2019 by JJ Koczan

lewis and the strange magics

I haven’t given Melvin’s Holiday, the third long-player from Barcelona, Spain, retro weirdos Lewis and the Strange Magics, a proper review yet — it came out in September digitally — but perhaps the Dec. 20 tape release will light a fire under my ass in that direction. The record, which follows their 2018 EP, The Ginger Sessions (review here) and 2017’s Evade Your Soul (review here), embraces a narrative concept, telling the story of its titular character who falls into temptation on a post-divorce tropical bender. Lewis and the Strange Magics tell this story by embracing island vibes and heavy psychedelic oddity in a sound that has evolved out of its garage rock beginnings into something as progressive as it is bizarre, and the album is indeed a lot of fun. Their attention to detail is little short of meticulous and Melvin’s Holiday greatly benefits from it.

You can see that even in the vinyl-era artwork for the tape, which looks like something I might’ve picked up at Bradlee’s at the Morris County Mall circa 1988. If you can’t get behind that kind of loyalism, then I’m sorry, I’ve got nothing for you.

Melvin’s Holiday is of course streaming at the bottom of this post, and tape preorders are up now through Bandcamp.

Info follows:

Lewis and the Strange Magics – Melvin’s Holiday

Limited Edition White Cassette Out on December 20 via Wishu Wishu Records

Pre-Order now the ‘Melvin’s Holiday’ Limited Edition Cassette via: https://lewismagics.bandcamp.com/album/melvins-holiday

Ships worldwide on December 20.
Band logo by Branca Studio.

It’s a concept album that tells the story about a rich man, called Melvin, that after a divorce goes to spend his summer vacation to his Mediterranean countryside house, thinking he will feel free and happy.

The songs of the album describe every moment of his holiday, ending in a decadence which makes him coming back to the city and rethinking his life: although he has everything to live like a king he feels lonely and empty.

The album has been produced, recorded and mixed by Luis Pomés at his home studio (Barcelona), and mastered by Jarkko Mattheiszen at Tainted Studio (Finland).

Cover artwork by Shaun Miller (Weather Press).

1. Melvin 02:51
2. Sad in Paradise 03:48
3. The Answering Machine 02:11
4. Fashion Siren 05:31
5. Carpet Sun 02:21
6. Village’s Wizard 04:32
7. Only a Fantasy 04:13
8. Lounge Decadence 02:27
9. Afternoon on the Sand 06:28

Lewis and the Strange Magics is:
Lewis P. – vocals, guitar, keys, synth, bass, percussion
Ivan Miguel – drums, percussion
Javi Bono – guitar, vocals
Pol Parés – bass (track 1)
Marta N. Lloret – wordless vocals (track 5)

https://www.facebook.com/lewismagics
https://lewismagics.bandcamp.com/

Lewis and the Strange Magics, Melvin’s Holiday (2019)

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Kristonfest 2020 Adds Masters of Reality, Brant Bjork and MaidaVale to Complete Lineup

Posted in Whathaveyou on November 13th, 2019 by JJ Koczan

kristonfest 2020 logo

As will happen from time to time, the announcement info below was run through a major tech company’s translation matrix, so take the actual verbiage with a figurative grain of salt. The important thing to note is that there are five bands booked for Madrid’s Kristonfest 2020 all-dayer next May and not a clunker in the bunch. Truth. I haven’t seen Masters of Reality — something I’d hope to correct sooner or later — but I’ve seen the other four and they’re all awesome. MaidaVale, who’ll open the show, bring classic rock vibes straight out of tomorrow, and of course you don’t at all need me to extol the many virtues of Brant Bjork or C.O.C., and probably not Swans either, as I’m sure you’ve already heard their latest record and know it’s ridiculously good.

And if you’re still on the fence, I have the utmost faith Masters of Reality will be astounding. I’m keeping my fingers crossed for a new record from them around Springtime next year. Doing this and Desertfests means perhaps a tour, and a tour is rare enough to make me think a full-length is coming. Fingers crossed.

Here’s that info:

kristonfest 2020 poster

Kristonfest 2020 – May 9 – Madrid

Masters of reality (USA), Brant Bjork & Band (USA) and maidavale (Sweden) Join Swans (USA) and corrosion of conformity (USA) to complete the poster of the kristonfest 2020. Five Bands with a very marked style That will bring diversity and excellence to a new edition in the La Riviera room in Madrid.

The tickets, which are already available through the website of the festival www.kristonfest.com and in Escridiscos, will not vary their price, staying in the 45 € + Distribution Costs announced initially.

Formed in 1981 and led by legendary producer Chris Goss, Masters of reality is a very important band in the history of rock, as it clearly influenced many bands that were springing up in the state of California at the end of the ‘ 80 And principles of the ’90s, coming to create a musical movement with its own name. So much so that bands like kyuss, fu manchu, sleep, Nebula, yawning man, fatso jetson, etc… have openly declared their admiration for masters of reality.

The different stages of masters of reality have counted with relevant musicians, where ginger baker is featured (Cream, hawkwind, p.i.l.), Josh Homme (Kyuss, Queens of the stone age), Mark Lanegan (screaming trees), Dave catching (Queens of The Stone Age, Eagles of death metal, Mondo Generator, etc…. and where the combination of experimenting with hard-Rockers riffs and their tastes for the progressive rock of the ‘ 70 s let their hobby be revealed by King Crimson and Black Sabbath,… so much so the band took its name from the album that these last published in 1971, “Masters of reality”.

The letters of Chris Goss, who is considered the godfather of the whole desert-rock movement, are like reading the Bible of everything that surrounded the birth and development of a scene that was never supported by the great record labels, but that has managed to keep Live thanks to the passion of your followers.

The fourth confirmation is that of Brant Bjork & band, key name of the stoner-rock scene for being the drummer of the legendary kyuss and who has recently reissued one of his best albums, “Jalamanta” (1999). If To this we add that the great Sean Wheeler is part of the band is a news that makes us very excited, since Sean is a key piece of the desert scene for being the leader of throw rag and have collaborated in many projects next to Jesse Hughes, Josh Homme, Chris Goss, Mark Lanegan, etc….

The last confirmation is that of the Swedish MaidaVale, which shines like few in the skies of psychedelia-Rock and heavy-Blues of the last decade. Without a doubt, Mathilda Roth (voice), Sofia Ström (Guitar), Linn Jóhannesson (Bass) and Johanna Hansson (Drums) drink from the influences they left for history the decade of the ‘ 60 s, contributing to their repertoire A more direct, atmospheric and forceful sound.

His passage through festivals such as Sweden rock, desertfest, freak valley and red smoke festival has helped them to build the reputation of live, soulful and charismatic band, so get ready to be captivated by this quartet that has a lot to say.

https://www.facebook.com/events/793147224452006/
https://www.wegow.com/es-es/festivales/kristonfest-2020
http://www.facebook.com/kristonfest
http://www.instagram.com/kristonfest/
https://www.kristonfest.com/

Brant Bjork, Live at Freak Valley 2019

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Viaje a 800 Reissuing Santa Águeda for 20th Anniversary

Posted in Whathaveyou on November 12th, 2019 by JJ Koczan

At the time of this posting, there are five (5) copies left of Viaje a 800‘s Santa Águeda available on tap through Spinda Records, and as I watch and listen through to the video for the 11-minute closing track “Al-Yazhira,” I have to think they’ll be gone in no time flat. The desert tones are raw and gorgeous in the guitar and yet there’s an airy effects layer as well that serves as foreshadow for some of the more progressive and psychedelic elements the band would bring to their sound later on. After reissuing their first two records through Spinda, putting out a live album and now this demo — the tape limited to just 50 copies worldwide — I have to wonder if maybe the Algeciras-based troupe might be headed toward the inevitability of a new full-length. I know José “Pot” Moreno is plenty busy with other projects, and Algeciras isn’t exactly short on related bands at this point, but there’s an awful lot going on the last couple years with Viaje a 800 in terms of playing shows and putting out releases for a band who are, you know, not really a band anymore.

If you’re lucky enough to grab one of these tapes, congratulations. You will have beat me to it, thereby giving you bragging rights into perpetuity.

Don’t forget Viaje a 800 also play Spinda RecordsSpinda Fest this month. Info on that is here.

From the PR wire:

Santa Águeda viaje a 800

New from Viaje a 800: Santa Águeda, Limited Edition Cassette

A bit earlier than expected… We’ve just started pre-sale for Viaje a 800’s demo tape ‘Santa Águeda’. Ah, and there are only 50 copies worldwide, so be quick!!!

Recorded at Estudios Pinrrel de Santa Águeda in 1997 and 1998.
Please listen to this as a demo as that is what it is.
Re-issued by Spinda Records to celebrate band’s 20th Anniversary

Tracklisting:
1. El dios de mi mentira
2. Equivocación
3. Solo
4. Cardio Límite
5. Esfera Violencia
6. Al-Yazhira

Viaje a 800 is:
José Pot Moreno – vocals, bass
Océano Galindo – guitar
David Ruiz – drums
Carlos Navas – bass
Miguel Acuña – guitar

https://www.facebook.com/Viaje-a-800-373382802690104/
https://viajea800.bandcamp.com/
http://www.spindarecords.com/
https://spindarecords.bandcamp.com/

Viaje a 800, “Al-Yazhira” official video

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Domo Set Dec. 15 Release for Domonautas Vol. 1; Teaser Clip Posted

Posted in Whathaveyou on November 7th, 2019 by JJ Koczan

domo (Photo by Rafa Perdomo)

What’s that you say? You were just thinking it had been a while since we heard from jammy Spanish heavy psych four-piece Domo? Well that’s pretty wild. You’re not wrong. Their last outing was four years ago in 2015, and that was a split with Pyramidal called Jams from the Sun (review here), so yes, if you believe in due, they’re due. They’ve aligned with Clostridium Records for the limited vinyl edition(s) of their new full-length, which is titled Domonautas Vol. 1 and will be out Dec. 15. No full songs from the record — and with four extended tracks making it up, I’m not sure there will be — but there’s a teaser posted that at least offers a kind of ambient glimpse at the mood they’re shooting for.

Of course, those looking to dig further can always go back and revisit Jams from the Sun and/or their 2011 self-titled debut (review here). Jeez. Eight years from their first record to their second. I might have to start calling this band “prog” if they’re going to take that long to put stuff out.

Looking forward to it, either way. They posted the following on thee social medias:

domo domonautas vol 1

Domo – Domonautas Vol. 1

We are very excited to show you the cover of our next album (Domonautas Vol. 1)! , which we can confirm that it will go on sale on December 15 on Clostridium Records. The artwork has been created by the great Maarten Donders, and has done a fantastic job that has left us with our mouths wide open.

Besides, we´re advancing you the tracklist of the album, which will consist of four songs, and as you can imagine, they will be progressive and psychedelic long songs in a classic Domo way:

1. Oxymoron
2. Astródomo
3. Ritual of the sun
4. the planisphere

Soon, more news!

It will be 150 copies in red & black splatter color, and 250 copies in black. And of course, all accompanied by the wonderful artwork made by Maarten Donders.

Remember the date: December 15th 2019.

Video by Javi Peral

Domo is:
Sam (guitar/fx)
Pablo (guitar/fx/trumpet)
Óscar (bass/vocals)
Paco (drums/percussion)

https://www.facebook.com/domorockband/
https://www.instagram.com/domoband/
https://domoband.bandcamp.com/
http://www.domoband.com/
https://www.facebook.com/clostridiumrecords/
http://www.clostridiumrecords.com/

Domo, Domonautas Vol. 1 teaser

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Spinda Records Announces Spinda Fest with Viaje a 800, Bourbon and Grajo

Posted in Whathaveyou on October 29th, 2019 by JJ Koczan

viaje a 800

Spinda Records will celebrate its second anniversary on Nov. 23 by hosting the inaugural edition of what it has suitably dubbed Spinda Fest. It’s a three-band bill — now that’s the kind of festival I can get behind — with a free warm-up show before that Doctor Sax are playing, and the fest proper will feature Viaje a 800Bourbon and Grajo. In Algeciras, which is in the Andalusian home region of the bands. Fucking cool, right? Viaje a 800 have done just a handful of shows to this point celebrating the reissues of their first two records — which I very much need to review and kind of can’t believe I haven’t yet; enough that I just stopped writing this sentence and went and looked to double-check that I hadn’t, and nope, not there — and this will be the next one, and they’ll be joined for it by two more than companionable outfits of similar heavy psychedelic intent. What I’m saying here is if you can get there, you should. It’ll be cool.

Here’s the info, as run through a major internet company’s translation matrix and tweaked by me to preserve titles and whatnot:

What better way to celebrate the second anniversary of Spinda Records than with a party surrounded by friends?

And what a party! Point:

*** SPINDA FEST 2019 ***
* THE SOUTH CALLING *

23 NOVEMBER 2019, 20:30 H
SALA GRAMOLA, ALGECIRAS

FB event: https://www.facebook.com/events/2416998745249154/
FREE Warm-up party FB event: https://www.facebook.com/events/730956160676684/

VIAJE A 800 / Heavy Psych: after 2 years of celebrations with the reissues of ‘Estampida de trombones’ and ‘Diablo roto dë …’, and their performances at the Festival Sound Isidro de Madrid and at SonicBlast Moledo (Portugal), those of La Novena had to finish celebrating their 20th Anniversary as a band with a pitch at home, where they did not play since 2012. If you did not have the opportunity to see them on their previous dates of this year, do not miss this one because he finds out when they get back on stage … Madness is coming! Ready to scream?

BOURBON / Psych Hard Rock: after kicking Spain with their most recent work ‘Fuente Vieja’ (among the best albums of 2018 according to many national media), those from Sanlúcar arrive at the Spinda Fest to make us fly with their particular way of understanding the hard rock; full of Andalusian psychedelia and folklore. If you have not seen them live, you do not know what you are missing; and if you’ve seen them, your repeat fixed … what if?

GRAJO / Space Doom Rock: like a true steamroller, that’s how Grajo sounds on stage. If you still had a good ear, you have little left because they are going to burst on the basis of the best doom that is done today in Spain, seasoned with a lot of space rock and Andalusian essence. Crushing rhythms and sidereal journeys, with a simply “unique” voice. A little jewel, come on!

http://spindarecords.com/spinda-fest-2019
https://www.facebook.com/events/2416998745249154/
https://entradium.com/es/events/spinda-fest-algeciras-2019-viaje-a-800-bourbon-grajo
https://www.facebook.com/SpindaRecords

Viaje a 800, Diablo Roto De… (2019 reissue)

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Quarterly Review: Ufomammut, Horehound, Lingua Ignota, Valborg, Sageness, Glacier, MNRVA, Coroza, Noosed, zhOra

Posted in Reviews on October 4th, 2019 by JJ Koczan

quarterly review

Oh hi, I didn’t see you there. Earlier this week — Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, and yes, even Wednesday — the alarm went off at 4AM as usual and I got up, got coffee going and a protein bar and sat down to write, starting basically around quarter-after with a quick email check and whatnot. In terms of basic timing, this last morning of the Fall 2019 Quarterly Review is no different. I even have the baby monitor streaming on my phone as I would most mornings, so I can keep an eye on when The Pecan gets up. What’s changed is I’m sitting in a hotel lobby in Oslo, Norway, having just arrived on an overnight flight from Newark. Managed to sleep some on the plane and I’m hopeful adrenaline will pick up the rest of the slack as regards getting through the day. That and caffeine, anyhow.

Although, speaking of, my debit card doesn’t work and I’ll need to sort that out.

First thing’s first, and that’s reviews. Last batch of 10 for the week. We made it. Thanks as always for reading and being a part of this thing. Let’s wrap it up in style, and because I like working on a theme, three Irish bands in a row close out. Hey, I went to Ireland this year.

Quarterly Review #41-50:

Ufomammut, XX

UFOMAMMUT XX

Five years ago, Roman cosmic doom masters Ufomammut took a reflective look back at their career for its 15th anniversary with the documentary/live-performance DVD XV (review here). And since one might define the arc of their tenure as constantly trying to top themselves, for their 20th anniversary, they’ve issued a 12LP boxed set, titled simply XX, that compiles their nine albums to-date and tops them off with the mostly-subdued-style XX itself, which reimagines past cacophonies like “Mars” and “Plouton” in a quieter context. That part of the mega-offering issued through their own Supernatural Cat imprint comprises six songs recorded live and makes highlights out of the hypnotic strum and incantations of “Satan” as well as the rumbling drone of “Lacrimosa,” which takes on new emotional resonance for the shoegazy treatment it receives. I’ve said on multiple occasions throughout the years that Ufomammut are a band to be treasured, and I stand by that 100 percent. The XX box should be perceived by fans as an opportunity to do likewise.

Ufomammut on Thee Facebooks

Supernatural Cat website

 

Horehound, Weight

horehound weight

Less than a year after issuing their second long-player in the form of Holocene (review here) through Blackseed and Doom Stew Records, Pittsburgh atmosludgers Horehound align with DHU Records for the two-song 8″ EP Weight, which brings “Unbind” and “The Heavy,” two new cuts that, while I’m not sure they weren’t recorded at the same time as the last album — that is, they may have been — they nonetheless showcase the emergent melodic breadth and instrumental ambience that is developing in their sound. Even as “Unbind” rolls toward its low-end tempo kick, it does so with marked patience and a willingness to stay slow until just the right moment, which is not something every band cane effectively do. “The Heavy,” meanwhile, builds itself around a Crowbar-style dirge riff before Shy Kennedy‘s verse arrives as a standalone element, all the instruments around her dropping out from behind. That moment alone, frankly, is worth the price of admission, as whether it’s through that extra inch in diameter of the platter itself or through the audio of the tracks in question, Horehound continue to distinguish themselves.

Horehound on Thee Facebooks

DHU Records BigCartel store

 

Lingua Ignota, CALIGULA

LINGUA IGNOTA CALIGULA

I’m not sure I’m qualified to write about Lingua Ignota‘s CALIGULA (on Profound Lore), but I’m not sure anyone else is either. Like a self-harmonizing mega-Jarboe turning existential horror into epic proclamations of “I don’t eat/I don’t sleep” on “DO YOU DOUBT ME TRAITOR?” amid bass throb and terrifying melodic layering before making bedroom black metal sound like the lightweight self-indulgence it’s always been on the subsequent check-out-the-real-shit “BUTCHER OF THE WORLD,” Kristin Hayter‘s work is little short of experimentalist brilliance. She is minimal and yet over-the-top, open in creative terms but unwaveringly dark and rife with melody but severe to the point now and again of true aural abrasion. She weaves a context of her own into “FUCKING DEATHDEALER” as she recalls the lyrics to the aforementioned “BUTCHER OF THE WORLD,” while the outright brutality of “SPITE ALONE HOLDS ME ALOFT” is married to a piano-led meditation that, even without the noise wash from whence it comes, is enough to recast visions of what heavy is and can be in musical terms. I won’t pretend to get all the references like “kyrie eleison” (“lord have mercy”) worked into “IF THE POISON WON’T TAKE YOU MY DOGS WILL” and the violent strains surrounding, but it’s impossible not to realize the power of what you’re hearing when you listen.

Lingua Ignota on Thee Facebooks

Profound Lore Records on Bandcamp

 

Valborg, Zentrum

valborg zentrum

With an intensity born out of a history of industrial music and focus on tight rhythms making an impact in even-tighter songwriting, Valborg are neither beholden to death metal nor entirely separate from it, but their style has taken on a life of its own over the course of the last 10 years, and their latest offering, Zentrum (on Prophecy Productions), is the German trio’s most individualized take yet, whether that’s shown in the unbridled melodicism of “Anomalie,” the sludgy riff that drives the barking “Ultragrab” or the seemingly unrelenting snare pops of “Kreuzer” that, even when they finally release that tension, still make it only a temporary reprieve. Valborg‘s sense of control through the epic “Nonnenstern” should not be understated, and though the track is under four minutes long, yes, “epic” very much applies. Suitably enough, they close with “Vakuum” and throw everything at the listener at once before resolving in relatively peaceful atmospherics that could just as easily serve as an introduction to the next round of malice to come, whenever it shows up.

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Prophecy Productions webstore

 

Sageness, Akmé

sageness akme

Spanish trio Sageness — also written SageNESS — conjure smooth Electric Moon-style soundscapes on their second album, Akmé, and yes, that is a compliment. The record brings forth six tracks of easy-rolling instrumentalist jam-based heavy psychedelia that offer much and take little in return, the richness of the guitar tone from Dawyz and Michi‘s bass given jazzy fluidity by Fran‘s drumming. “Ephemeral” touches most directly on a Colour Haze, as it would almost have to, but even there, the feeling of spaciousness that Sageness present in the recording is a factor that helps them come across as more individual. Earlier, “The Thought” is a little more directly space rock, but opener “Andromeda” seems to be charting the course with its liquefied effects and somehow-even-more-liquefied groove, and if you can’t get down with that, I’ve got nothing for you and neither does the rest of the universe.

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Spinda Records website

 

Glacier, No Light Ever

glacier no light ever

It’s not exactly true, about their being no light ever on Boston post-metallers Glacier‘s latest full-length, No Light Ever. Sure, it’s plenty dark and heavy and brooding and all that fun stuff, and the riffs get loud and the drums break stuff and all that, but it’s certainly colorful in its way as well, and more than just shades of black on black. Comprised of four tracks cumbersomely titled in keeping with the traditions of the likes of Red Sparowes and the band’s own past work, cuts like “O World! I Remain No Longer Here.” and “The Bugles Blow, Fanned by Hysteria.” stretch themselves out along a scope as massive as the tonality the band emits, and as the wash of “We Glut Our Souls on the Accursed,” — the comma is part of the title there — gives way to feedback and the onset of “And We Are Damned Amid Noble Sound.” the sense of immersion is complete and clear as the priority under which they’re working. It’s about the whole album, or at least the two sides, as a unified work, and about crafting a world through the atmosphere evoked in the material. It works. If they say there’s no light in that world, so be it. It’s whatever they want it to be.

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Wolves and Vibrancy Records webstore

 

MNRVA, Black Sky

mnrva black sky

Not-entirely-bereft-of-vowels South Carolina heavy trio MNRVA make their debut with the three-song EP Black Sky, a beast of a short release led by the riffs of guitarist Byron Hark on a stretch of ’90s-style crunch and sludge, with bassist/vocalist Kevin Jennings and drummer Gina Ercolini adding to the weight and shove of the proceedings, respectively. “Not the One” has the hook, “No Solution” has the impact and the title-track has both, and though I’m by no means saying the issue of their sound is settled 100 percent and they won’t grow or find their way from this — again, their debut — EP, they do prove to be well in charge of where their songs head in terms of mood and the atmosphere that comes through elements like the blown-out vocals and the rumbling bass beneath the lead guitar in the second half of “Black Sky” itself. Indeed, it’s those harsher aspects that help MNRVA immediately establish their individuality, and the vibe across these 18-plus minutes is that the punishment is only getting started.

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Coroza, Chaliceburner

coroza chaliceburner

Just because Irish four-piece Coroza — guitarist/vocalists Ciaran Coghlan and Jack O’Neill, bassist/vocalist Jonny Canning and drummer Ollie Cunningham — might write a song that’s 18 minutes long, that doesn’t mean they forgot to actually make it a song as well. Thus it is that extended cuts like “The Plutonian Drug” (18:24) and closer “Iron from the Sky” (19:30) have plenty of room to flesh out their more progressive aspects amid the other three also-kind-of-extended pieces on Chaliceburner, the group’s ambitious hour-plus/five-track debut full-length. Each song essentially becomes a front-to-back movement on its own, with shifts between singers arranged thoughtfully from one part to the next and hooks along the way to serve as landmarks for those traversing, as in the opening “Chaliceburner” or the gruff winding moments of “Mountain Jaw,” which follows the nine-minute sax-inclusive centerpiece “Scaltheen,” because of course there’s a saxophone in there somewhere. All of this is a recipe for a band biting off more than they can chew stylistically, but Coroza manage pretty well the various twists and turns of their own making, particularly considering it’s their first album.

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Coroza on Bandcamp

 

Noosed, She of the Woods

noosed she of the woods demo

Encased front and back by witchy samples and creepy vibes, Sept. 2019’s She of the Woods is the second demo in two months to come from Cork, Ireland’s Noosed. And you know it when they get around to the closing seven-minute title-track because it’s just about the only thing other than “Intro” that isn’t raging with grind intensity, but that stuff can be fun too. I don’t know how much witch-grind-doom is out there, but Noosed‘s first, self-titled demo (released in August) had a sludgy edge that seems to have separated out to some degree here into a multifaceted personality. Can one possibly be certain of the direction the band will ultimately take? Shit no. It’s two demos with basically no time differential between them. But if they can effectively bridge the gap between “Fuck Up,” “Wretch” and “She of the Woods,” or even play directly with the contrast, they could be onto something with all this noise and fuckall.

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Noosed on Bandcamp

 

zhOra, Ruthless Bastards

zhora ruthless bastards

The narrative — blessings and peace upon it — has it such that Irish four-piece zhOra wanted to do something less complicated than was their 2017 album, Ethos, Pathos, Logos (discussed here), so they went ahead and wrote a song that’s five minutes long and purposefully hops between subgenres, going from sludge to doom to a deathcore breakdown, with a snare-pop count-in, to blackened death metal and then back to a lumbering chug to finish out. Okay, zhOra, “Ruthless Bastards” is a an awful lot of metal and an awfully good time, but you missed the mark on “simple” by a considerable margin. If indeed the band had been plotting toward something, say, easier to play or to compose, “Ruthless Bastards” ain’t it. They’ll have to settle for being brutal as fuck instead. Something tells me they’ll survive having made that trade, as much as anything will.

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