Orange Goblin Begin Recording New Album

Posted in Whathaveyou on January 19th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

UK stalwarts Orange Goblin have entered Orgone Studios in London with producer Jaime Gomez Arellano at the helm to begin tracking their ninth full-length. Presumably set for release later this year, what will be an awaited follow-up to 2014’s Back from the Abyss (review here) also marks a significant turn for the four-piece of vocalist Ben Ward, guitarist Joe Hoare, bassist Martyn Millard and drummer Chris Turner in being their first offering to be issued through Spinefarm Records, which signed them in 2016.

Though its been four years since their last offering arrived, Orange Goblin have hardly rested in that time. In addition to a complete touring cycle, they could still be found supporting Back from the Abyss last year at festivals like SonicBlast Moledo, Up in Smoke 2017, Desertfest Athens 2017 and, in their only US appearance, Ozzfest Meets Knotfest last Fall in California. Their influence having expanded greatly in their native England and well beyond, anticipation will no doubt be high when it comes to hearing what they bring to their next collection of material. I know I’m looking forward to it, to put it mildly.

In that regard, the choice of Arellano as producer is particularly striking. His metal pedigree is long and storied in producing, engineering and mastering, but recent years have found him directly associated with the output of Rise Above Records and groups like With the Dead, Ghost, Death Penalty and The Admiral Sir Cloudesley Shovell. Of course, Orange Goblin have their history with releases through Rise Above as well, and Arellano has also recently sat behind the board on records for Sólstafir and Paradise Lost, but his involvement adds another level of intrigue to what’s in store with the new Orange Goblin LP when it arrives.

The band marked the occasion of arriving at the studio by posting a couple pictures and a quick update on the social medias, which you’ll find below. More to come:

orange goblin

It begins! Day one of recording album #9 at Orgone Studios with Jaime Gomez Arellano (Grave Pleasures, Paradise Lost, Ghost, Cathedral etc..) We are very excited about this one!!

https://www.facebook.com/orangegoblinofficial/
https://twitter.com/OrangeGoblin1
https://www.instagram.com/orangegoblin1/
http://www.orange-goblin.com/
https://www.facebook.com/spinefarm
www.spinefarmrecords.com/

Orange Goblin, Live at Desertfest Athens 2017

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Electric Wizard, Wizard Bloody Wizard: This Dying World

Posted in Reviews on November 2nd, 2017 by JJ Koczan

Electric Wizard Wizard Bloody Wizard

And so the scumbag overlords return to once more claim their position at the top of the heap they’ve made. Electric Wizard are inarguably one of the most influential doom bands of their generation, with nearly 30 years of history going back to guitarist/vocalist Jus Oborn‘s founding of Lord of Putrefaction in 1988, which begat Thy Grief Eternal circa 1991 before taking shape as Electric Wizard ahead of the band’s 1995 self-titled debut. In the 22 years since that record hit, much has changed, of course, but with their ninth long-player, Wizard Bloody Wizard — licensed to Spinefarm Records through the band’s own Witchfinder Records imprint — the band reaffirms much of what has led to their longevity in terms of style and songwriting.

In some ways, the Dorset, UK-based outfit have existed in their own shadow since marking something of a comeback with 2007’s landmark Witchcult Today (discussed here), and subsequent LPs, Black Masses (review here) in 2010 and Time to Die (review here) in 2014, found the group working to develop ideas and themes largely along similar lines, and largely succeeding, but as Oborn, guitarist Liz Buckingham, bassist Clayton Burgess (also Satan’s Satyrs) and drummer Simon Poole step into the willfully-crafted muck of Wizard Bloody Wizard‘s six-track/42-minute span, they bring something of a pivot toward a rawer, less directly cultish sound. The change is due if not overdue and has been part of the discussion for as long as the band has been talking about the proverbial “next album,” but to have it manifest here in songs like “Necromania” and “Wicked Caresses” underscores the band’s tie between holding fast to the elements that have worked in their favor since classic outings like 1997’s Come My Fanatics… and 2000’s Dopethrone (discussed here) and attempting to move forward into a pivot in style if not an actual leap.

The trick to Electric Wizard is and has been for at least the last decade that they sound like the human embodiment of fuckall. One can put on an Electric Wizard track like the chugging, feedback-laden “See You in Hell,” hear Oborn‘s addled drawl, the rawness of tone and the lumbering progression, and hear a signature attitude on the part of the band that seems to advocate checking out of life by following its example at having already long since done so. This has made the band forerunners in witch doom, wizard doom, cult doom, garage doom — whatever you want to call it — but as a feat of craft it’s all the more impressive when one engages the details.

To wit, if they actually didn’t give a crap, Wizard Bloody Wizard wouldn’t be nearly as impeccably mixed as it is, promoting depth as well as a touch of atmosphere while still fostering barebones tonality and an overarching lack of flourish in all tracks save perhaps for the three-minute horror-themed drifter interlude “The Reaper.” Poole‘s drums wouldn’t come through as clearly and crisply as they do if they were actually lazily tracked, and frankly, songs like “Necromania,” “Hear the Sirens Scream” and “Wicked Caresses” wouldn’t be nearly as catchy as they are while also feeding into a larger, full-LP flow that presents “See You in Hell,” “Necromania” and “Hear the Sirens Scream” as a one-two-three salvo of hooks on side A while sleeking deeper into the VHS-grit mire on side B with “The Reaper” before returning to solid ground on “Wicked Caresses” before letting consciousness fade at last on 11-minute closer “Mourning of the Magicians.” None of this is haphazard, whatever superficial impressions the band might make — and want to make — to the contrary.

electric wizard

On their own level, Electric Wizard are absolute professionals — arguably all the more so here since they’re recording themselves and releasing in part through their own label — and the maturity of their approach comes through this material without sacrificing its dark vitality or the core attitude necessary to carry it. Oh yeah, a part sounds sloppy? It’s supposed to. That’s the idea. The filthier, the nastier Electric Wizard are able to come across, the more they’ve succeeded in realizing one of their most essential tenets. And among the generation of imitators they’ve spawned, almost no one has been able to do the same thing as well as they do it. Wizard Bloody Wizard, with its tossoff Sabbathian title, classless cover art, and seeming trashcan simplicity of presentation, reaffirms all of it. Electric Wizard have beat the system. Again.

Their themes as ever set in drugs, horror, murder, disaffection, and so on, one might accuse Oborn and company of playing to familiar elements in their work — still, in other words, existing in that shadow. As “Mourning of the Magicians” talks about the children of Saturn amid its intertwining layers of chug and wah-caked lead guitar, and “Necromania” seems to call back to “Venus in Furs” from Black Masses in its psychosexual vibe, that argument might prove valid, but there’s no question that in texture and overarching sound, Electric Wizard have indeed pulled off a turn in these tracks, away from the swirl and toward the churn, generally speaking. That’s not to say the organ-led “The Reaper” or the dirge-marching “Mourning of the Magicians” — in the chorus of which Oborn delivers the title-line to “See You in Hell,” tying the first and last songs together for yet another display of underlying cohesion — are lacking in ambience, just that they take a slightly different route to get there than they might have on the last couple records.

Whatever else they do sonically or in terms of songwriting, Electric Wizard brook no middle ground when it comes to opinion. “Yes!” or “Yuck!,” but almost never “meh,” in terms of audience responses, and whichever category a given listener might fall into, one doubts Wizard Bloody Wizard will do much to sway the opinions of those whose minds are already made up, but when engaged on its own level and taken in appreciation for the subtlety that exists beneath its purposefully harsh and at times gleefully wretched exterior, there’s little else one can call it but the band’s finest work in the decade since Witchcult Today. It may or may not be the beginning of a next stage of their already storied and massively successful career — and in a way that’s not something we can know until they follow it up — but by changing the balance of aspects already relevant to their style, Electric Wizard have managed to find new life in their craft while still cloaking themselves in the unmistakable stink of death. There’s a reason they are who they are.

Electric Wizard, “See You in Hell” official video

Electric Wizard webstore

Electric Wizard on Thee Facebooks

Spinefarm Records on Thee Facebooks

Spinefarm Records website

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Electric Wizard Evoke Classic Sabbath in “See You in Hell” Video

Posted in Bootleg Theater on September 29th, 2017 by JJ Koczan

electric wizard

You know the clip, right? Almost certainly if you’re of a certain age and were a witness to the original coming of Beavis and Butt-Head on MTV. It’s Black Sabbath standing in front of a blue-screen with a bunch of weird projections playing out behind them and then “Iron Man” plays and they do the riff and Beavis calls out one of the heads for looking like Paul Schaffer and you’re a kid and it’s the ’90s and so everything’s hilarious but it’s also maybe the first time you’re really hearing Black Sabbath and they’re also kind of kicking your ass in a way you can’t really articulate yet. Relive the nostalgia here. A pretty emotionally complex moment — again, if you’re of a certain age — and it would seem to be that precise video with which Electric Wizard are in dialogue in their new clip for “See You in Hell.” Not by any means a bad choice.

“See You in Hell” is the opening track on Electric Wizard‘s forthcoming LP, Wizard Bloody Wizard, which is out Nov. 10 via Spinefarm Records and the band’s own Witchfinder Records imprint. The song doesn’t actually deliver its own title line — that comes later in the 11-minute closer “Mourning of the Magicians” — but it does leadoff the record with a telling display of tone and set the very-much-ElectricWizardly perspective in its hook, “This dying world gasps its last breath as we turn off our minds/All hope is lost/There’ll be no new dawn/And all of your dreams will die.” Yeah, the start-stop riff is awesome, and yeah, Electric Wizard — guitarist/vocalist Jus Oborn, guitarist Liz Buckingham, bassist Clayton Burgess (also Satan’s Satyrs) and drummer Simon Poole — sound filthy as hell, but I think one of the least appreciated aspects of what they do and what Oborn does as a songwriter is make nihilism catchy.

Yeah, you’re high and don’t give a shit about anything and that’s great, but on the other hand you just made your fuckall one of 2017’s catchiest hooks. It’s the great irony of Electric Wizard‘s work and in cuts like “Necromania” and “Wicked Caresses,” it’s as prevalent as ever throughout Wizard Bloody Wizard.

More to come on the album (like, say, a review) as we get closer to the release date. In the meantime, dig into the classic Sabbo-vibe of “See You in Hell” and enjoy:

Electric Wizard, “See You in Hell” official video

UK cult legends ELECTRIC WIZARD have premiered the video for the new song “See You in Hell,” which singer/guitarist Jus Osborn called “the most brutally simple and Neanderthal song ever.”

The song appears on Wizard Bloody Wizard, the long-anticipated new LP, which is full of cranium-crushing bludgeon rock – a relentless aural brain rape and, like the band’s beloved vintage horror/exploitation movies, definitely not for those of a nervous disposition.

Wizard Bloody Wizard arrives via Witchfinder/Spinefarm on November 10.

ELECTRIC WIZARD ARE:
Jus Oborn – guitar/vocals
Liz Buckingham – guitar
Simon Poole – drums
Clayton Burgess – bass

Electric Wizard webstore

Electric Wizard on Thee Facebooks

Spinefarm Records on Thee Facebooks

Spinefarm Records website

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Electric Wizard Announce Wizard Bloody Wizard Due Nov. 10; “See You in Hell” Streaming Now

Posted in Whathaveyou on September 10th, 2017 by JJ Koczan

electric wizard

Did you get your preorder in for Electric Wizard‘s Wizard Bloody Wizard yet? Something tells me that the release between Spinefarm Records and the band’s own Witchfinder Records won’t exactly be in short supply, but hey, better safe than sorry. Preorders also come with a download of the album opener “See You in Hell,” which you can hear below because the internet, and which gives an immediately rawer impression from its self-recorded sound than did anything on their last offering, 2014’s Time to Die (review here), which was perhaps overstaying its welcome in the cultish psychedelic swirl proffered as well across the prior two records.

While I haven’t heard the full thing so can’t really speak to it, at least going from “See You in Hell,” this time around it feels much more geared toward churn. That’s fair enough to the roots of the band, but again, we’ll see what happens when Nov. 10 gets here and their ninth full-length is actually released. They’ve got an opportunity to walk away with a late entry as album of the year. I’ve heard some great records in 2017, but I’m still waiting for the one that defines the year as a whole. Electric Wizard just might be totally fucked enough sounding to do it. One can only hope they take advantage.

Spinefarm posted the preorder info thusly:

electric-wizard-wizard-bloody-wizard

Electric Wizard – Wizard Bloody Wizard

‘Wizard Bloody Wizard’ is the long anticipated new LP from UK cult legends ELECTRIC WIZARD and, man, is it HEAVY!!!! 43 minutes of cranium crushing bludgeon rock, a relentless aural brain rape and, like the band’s beloved vintage horror/exploitation movies, definitely not for those of a nervous disposition.

The LP’s stunning all analogue recording has been produced by Jus Oborn and Liz Buckingham (guitars) in their own ‘Satyr IX Recording Studio’….

Pre order ‘Wizard Bloody Wizard’ here: https://spinefarmrecords.lnk.to/bloodywizard

“Wizard Bloody Wizard” track listing:
01. See You In Hell
02. Necromania
03. Hear The Sirens Scream
04. The Reaper
05. Wicked Caresses
06. Mourning Of The Magicians

Album Release Date Is November 10th 2017

http://electricwizard.merchnow.com/
https://www.facebook.com/electricwizarddorsetdoom/
https://www.facebook.com/spinefarm/
http://www.spinefarmrecords.com/
https://open.spotify.com/track/5gG15aEI4zv1hohsjFBhtD

Electric Wizard, “See You in Hell”

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Orange Goblin Announce Only US Appearance of 2017

Posted in Whathaveyou on July 10th, 2017 by JJ Koczan

orange goblin

The last few years have been once of marked dominance for Orange Goblin. They’ve emerged as a central point of influence for a massive underground movement in their hometown of London, and as they set their eyes on broader territory — i.e. touring, everywhere — they couldn’t seem to find a stage they didn’t subsequently crush. In the meantime, records like 2014’s Back from the Abyss (review here) and 2012’s A Eulogy for the Damned (review here) — as well as the 2013 live album, A Eulogy for the Fans (review here) — went a long way toward earning Orange Goblin wider respect that they’ve long since deserved.

And they’ve stepped rightly into focus as a headlining act, on tour and otherwise. They just hit Download, play SonicBlast Moledo 2017 next month, and this Fall, they’re already confirmed to take part in Desertfest Athens 2017 and Up in Smoke 2017. Then there was that time that drummer Chris Turner apparently got to hang out with Tony Iommi, which is always a win. Amid the nebulous notion of “working on” their ninth studio full-length, the band signed to Spinefarm Records in March 2016 prior to headlining at Freak Valley, and today they announce they’ll join such major commercial properties as Ozzy Osbourne, Rob Zombie and Marilyn Manson at this year’s Ozzfest Meets Knotfest which (1:) is apparently a thing that exists and (2:) will mark their only US appearance for 2017.

They teased the announcement over this past weekend, and while I’ll be honest and say I was hoping for news about their next album, it’s good to see them continuing to get the respect and recognition they’ve long since earned on a bill like this one.

Word follows via the social medias:

ozzfest meets knotfest 2017

ORANGE GOBLIN FOR OZZFEST MEETS KNOTFEST 2017!!

It is an honour to announce that Orange Goblin will return to the US later this year to play the biggest Heavy Metal Festival in America…Ozzfest Meets Knotfest!

This will be an exclusive and the ONLY US show for the band in 2017.

Tickets on sale Friday July 14 @ 10AM Pacific Time.

See you there!

Orange Goblin is:
Ben Ward – Vocals
Joe Hoare – Guitar
Martyn Millard – Bass
Chris Turner – Drums

https://www.facebook.com/orangegoblinofficial/
http://twitter.com/OrangeGoblin1
http://www.orange-goblin.com/
https://www.facebook.com/spinefarm

Orange Goblin, A Eulogy for the Fans (2013)

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From Beyond Sign to Candlelight/Spinefarm; Debut Album Coming Soon

Posted in Whathaveyou on June 13th, 2017 by JJ Koczan

Been a minute since last we heard from Austin four-piece From Beyond, and by that I mean three years since they release their split single with ASG (premiered here) as a free download via Scion A/V. Remember those? Alas, the Scion era may be over, but From Beyond have apparently been working toward a bright future all the while, as the news arrives they’ve inked a deal to put out what will be their debut long-player this Fall via the combined efforts of Candlelight Records and Spinefarm Records. Not too shabby.

As it has been so long, I’m going to make the narrow-minded assumption the record — whatever it winds up being called — is already in the can and that it was duly shopped before being picked up, in part causing a delay. I don’t know any of that, of course, but it’s a narrative that fits. Could just be From Beyond took their time writing, or it’s still in progress. I know nothing about nothing.

Either way, it’s great news for the band, whose grim, suitably candlelit visages you can peep below, courtesy of the PR wire:

from beyond

Austin’s From Beyond have signed to Candlelight/Spinefarm.

With several EPs, including a split with ASG in their repertoire, the band is ready to take things to the next level by linking up with the label and releasing their debut album this fall.

With a tour history that includes gigs with The Sword, Purson, Truckfighters, and Saint Vitus, From Beyond make new fans and believers the minute they step on any stage.

Blending thundering amplifier stacks and massive drums with synthesizers and effects, the band create something hauntingly familiar in unexplored sonic territory.

Everything you love about horror and all things strange, dark, and heavy find their way into their music in a something-for-everyone approach that leaves no stone unturned — no matter how heavy.

From Beyond is:
Rob McCarthy – Guitar, Vocals, Synthesizers
Dave Grooman – Guitars
Anthony Vallejo – Drums
Brooks Willhoite- Bass

https://www.facebook.com/FromBeyondBand/
https://musicfrombeyond.bandcamp.com/
http://bandfrombeyond.com/
http://www.spinefarmrecords.com/usa/
https://www.facebook.com/spinefarm
https://twitter.com/Spinefarm

From Beyond, “The Fall to Earth”

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Purson Announce Final Single and Breakup

Posted in Whathaveyou on April 27th, 2017 by JJ Koczan

If you’re thinking the demise of Purson is the last we’re likely to hear from guitarist/vocalist Rosalie Cunningham, I’ll just say that seems deeply unlikely. Though the London-based psych rock outfit released what has now become their swansong full-length in last year’s Desire’s Magic Theatre (discussed here), the fact that they’re not even able to break up without putting out a new single speaks to a desire on the part of Cunningham to keep things going. And she’s not the only one. Guitarist George Hudson premiered a new project called Flare Voyant in London last weekend, so things are already afoot in the Purson aftermath, and that only seems likely to continue as the rest of 2017 plays out into the unknown beyond.

For now though, kind of a bummer to lose Purson, because while a primary part of their expression was always their hyperstylization, they were also legit songwriters. Their last single, “Chocolate Money,” is out now through Spinefarm, as the PR wire informs:

purson photo peter brenchley

PURSON RELEASE FINAL SINGLE “CHOCOLATE MONEY”

BAND CONFIRMS DECEMBER 2016 LONDON SHOW WAS ITS LAST

“FAREWELL” SINGLE SET FOR RELEASE VIA SPINEFARM RECORDS AS SINGER/SONGWRITER/GUITARIST ROSALIE CUNNINGHAM PLANS NEXT MUSICAL MOVE

PURSON are officially no more.

After a career spanning five years, two studio albums, one EP, a number of singles and videos, plus live shows and festivals in both Europe and America, including a full U.S. run guesting with Ghost, the acclaimed, award-winning, ever-flamboyant UK outfit have decided to call a halt to proceedings.

Singer and guitarist Rosalie Cunningham, the creative force behind the project and the one who provided both the songs and the vision while playing most of the instruments in the studio, had this to say about Purson’s split.

“The past five years have been an unforgettable whirlwind, for which I have to thank our wonderful fans around the world, the band, and all the people who have contributed to Purson’s success over the years. Their support has been overwhelming, but the Purson framework has gone as far as it could go, and now it’s simply time to move on. I feel strongly drawn to a more DIY approach to my career in music, and look forward to the freedom to explore many avenues as a solo artist.”

As a way of going out with a (glam rock) bang, Spinefarm Records released a farewell Purson single on April 21.

“Chocolate Money” was and produced and mixed by Cunningham and John Mitchell (Steven Wilson, It Bites). The song features guest contributions from Jon Seagroatt (Comus) on saxophone and Vodun frontwoman Chantelle Brown on backing vocals. It also boasts wickedly tongue-in-cheek lyrics, taking in “cocoa casanova,” “raison d’etre cake,” and more. The song joyfully celebrates an era when bands like Slade and Wizard ruled the charts, Top of the Pops was essential viewing and vinyl was king.

“‘Chocolate Money’ is a snapshot of the ostentatious decadence of the ’70s,” said Cunningham. “The mythical rock star character with his double-entendre and self-centred hedonism. The industry has become a very different world since then, which is something I will expand on lyrically with my next album. It has inspired my desire to go back to basics and remember what music is supposed to be about.”

“Chocolate Money” does not live on Purson’s last album Desire’s Magic Theatre, which is out now.

https://www.facebook.com/pursontheband/
http://purson.tmstor.es/
https://itunes.apple.com/us/album/chocolate-money-single/id1225790684
https://www.facebook.com/spinefarm
https://twitter.com/spinefarm
http://www.spinefarmrecords.com/usa/

Purson, “The Window Cleaner” official video

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Quarterly Review: Grails, Expo Seventy, Coltsblood, Rhino, Cruthu, Spacetrucker, Black Habit, Stone Angels, The Black Willows, Lamagaia

Posted in Reviews on March 31st, 2017 by JJ Koczan

quarterly-review-Charles-Meryon-Labside-Notre-Dame-1854

Arrival. Welcome to the final day of The Obelisk’s Spring 2017 Quarterly Review. After today, I clean off my desktop and start over with a mind toward the next round, which in my head I’ve already scheduled for late June. You know, at the end of the next quarter. I do try to make these things make sense on some level. Anyway, before we get to the last 10 albums, let me please reiterate my thanks to you for reading and say once again that I hope you’ve found something this week that really speaks to you, as I know I have and continue to today. We finish the Quarterly Review out strong to be sure, so even if you’re thinking you’re done and you’ve had enough, you might be surprised by the time you’re through the below.

Quarterly Review #41-50:

Grails, Chalice Hymnal

grails chalice hymnal

Even if one counts the 2013 collection culled from GrailsBlack Tar Prophecies ongoing series of short releases that showed up via Temporary Residence, it’s been a long while since their last proper outing. Deep Politics (review here) was issued in 2011, but it seems the intervening time and members’ participation in other projects – among them Om and Holy Sons in the case of Emil Amos – disappear for Grails on Chalice Hymnal, which speaks directly to its predecessor in sequel pieces like “Deeper Politics,” “Deep Snow II” and “Thorns II,” taking the prog-via-TangerineDream cinematics of Deep Politics to vibrant and continually experimental places on the surprisingly vocalized “Empty Chamber,” the soundscaping “Rebecca” and the imaginative, evocative jazz homage “After the Funeral,” the album’s 10-minute closer. Hearing the John Carpenter keyboard line underpinning “Pelham,” I’m not sure I’d call Chalice Hymnal limitless in its aesthetic – Grails have definitive intentions here, as they always have – but they continue to reside in a space of their own making, and one that has yet to stop expanding its reach.

Grails on Thee Facebooks

Grails at Temporary Residence Ltd.

 

Expo Seventy, America Here and Now Sessions

expo seventy america here and now sessions

Yes. Yes. This. With extended two tracks – “First Movement” (22:17) and “Second Movement” (27:04) – unfolding one massive longform immersion that drones pastoral, delves into hypnotic bliss and fills the soul in that way that only raw exploration can, the America Here and Now Sessions from Kansas City (by way of the moon) outfit Expo Seventy is an utter joy to experience. Purposeful and patient in its execution, graceful in the instrumental chemistry – even with a second drummer sitting in amid the core trio led by guitarist Justin Wright – the album well fits the deep matte tones and nostalgic feel of its accompanying artwork, and is fluid in its movement from drone to push especially on “Second Movement,” which sandwiches a resonant cacophony around soundscapes that spread as far as the mind of the listener is willing to let them. Whether you want to sit and parse the execution over every its every subtle motion and waveform or put it on and go into full-brain-shutdown, America Here and Now Sessions delivers. Flat out. It delivers.

Expo Seventy on Thee Facebooks

Essence Music website

 

Coltsblood, Ascending into Shimmering Darkness

coltsblood ascending into shimmering darkness

After surviving the acquisition of Candlelight Records by Spinefarm, UK doom extremists Coltsblood return with their second album, Ascending into Shimmering Darkness, and follow-up 2014’s Into the Unfathomable Abyss (review here) with 54 minutes of concrete-thick atmospheric bleakness spread across five tracks. The headfuckery isn’t quite as unremitting as it was on the debut – a blend of airy and thick guitar in the intro of the opening title-cut (also the longest inclusion; immediate points) reminds of Pallbearer – but the three-piece thrive in this more-cohesive-overall context, and their lumbering miseries remain dark and triumphant in kind. A closing duo of “Ever Decreasing Circles” and “The Final Winter” also both top 12 and 13 minutes, respectively, but the shorter second track “Mortal Wound” brings blackened tendencies to the fore and centerpiece “The Legend of Abhartach” effectively leads the way from one side to the other. Still, the most complete victory here for bassist/vocalist John McNulty, guitarist Jemma McNulty and drummer Jay Plested might be “The Final Winter,” which melds its grueling, excruciatingly slow crash to overarching keyboard drama and becomes a work of cinematic depth as well as skull-crushing wretchedness. Such ambient growth fascinates and shows marked progression from their first offering, and even if the primary impression remains one from which no light escapes, don’t be fooled: Coltsblood are growing and are all the more dangerous for that.

Coltsblood on Thee Facebooks

Candlelight Records website

 

Rhino, The Law of Purity

rhino the law of purity

Once they get past the aptly-titled minute-long “Intro,” Rhino keep their foot heavy on the gas for the vast majority of The Law of Purity, their Argonauta Records debut album. The 10 included tracks veer into and out of pure desert rock loyalism – “Eat My Dust” comes across as particularly post-Kyuss, perhaps melded with some of the burl of C.O.C.’s “Shake Like You” – and the throttle of “Nuclear Space,” “Nine Months,” “A. & B. Brown” and “Cock of Dog” later on come to define the impression of straightforward push that puts the riffs forward even more than earlier inclusions like the post-“Intro” title-track or the more mid-paced “Bursting Out,” which hints at psychedelia without really ever fully diving into it. Capping with the roll of “I See the Monsters,” The Law of Purity reminds at times of earlier Astrosoniq – particularly in the vocals – but finds the Sicilian five-piece crafting solid heavy rock tunes that seem more concerned with having a couple beers and a good time than changing the world or remaking the genre. Nothing wrong with that.

Rhino on Thee Facebooks

Argonauta Records website

 

Cruthu, The Angle of Eternity

cruthu the angle of eternity

As it happens, I wrote the bio and release announcement for Cruthu’s debut album, The Angle of Eternity (posted here), and I count guitarist “Postman Dan” McCormick as a personal friend, so if you’re looking for impartiality as regards the self-released six-tracker, look elsewhere. If you’re looking for primo trad doom and classic metal vibes, the Michigan-based four-piece offer touches of progressive flourish amid the shuffle of opener “Bog of Kildare,” a grueling post-“Crystal Ball” nod in “From the Sea” and a bit of ‘70s proto-metallurgy in the closing title-track, which finds vocalist Ryan Evans at his most commanding while McCormick, bassist Erik Hemingsen (Scott Lehman appears as well) and drummer Matt Fry hold together the fluid and patient groove of weighted downer metal. The sense of Cruthu as an outfit schooled in the style is palpable through the creep of “Lady in the Lake” and the post-Trouble chug of “Séance,” but they’re beginning to cast their own identity from their influences – even the penultimate interlude “Separated from the Herd” is part of it – and the dividends of that process are immediate in these tracks.

Cruthu on Thee Facebooks

Cruthu on Bandcamp

 

Spacetrucker, Launch Sequence

spacetrucker launch sequence

From the Kozik-style artwork of their cover to the blown-out vocals on opener “New Pubes” of guitarist Matt Owen, St. Louis three-piece Spacetrucker – how was there not already a band with this name? – make no bones about their intentions on their late-2016, 26-minute Launch Sequence seven-track EP. Owen, bassist Patrick Mulvaney and drummer Del Toro push into a realm of noise-infused stoner grunge loyal to the ‘90s execution of “Supa Scoopa and Mighty Scoop” in the stops of the instrumental “Giza” even as they thicken and dirty up their tonality beyond what Kyuss laid forth. The cowbell-inclusive “Science of Us” rests easily on Mulvaney’s tone and nods toward burl without going over the top, and cuts like “Old Flower,” the penultimate roller “Trenchfoot” and the closing post-Nirvana punker blast of “Ain’t Gonna be Me” reimagine a past in which the language of heavy rock was there to explain where grunge was coming from all along. Not looking to reinvent stylistic parameters in their image at this point, Spacetrucker is nonetheless the kind of band one might’ve run into at SXSW a decade and a half ago and been made a fan for life. As it stands, the charm is not at all lost.

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Black Habit, Black Habit

black habit self titled

Clocking in at half an hour, the self-titled debut release from viola-infused Arizona two-piece Black Habit could probably qualify as an EP or an LP. I’m inclined to consider it the latter considering the depths vocalist/guitarist/bassist Trey Edwin and violist/drummer Emily Jean plunge in the five included tracks, starting with the longest of the bunch (immediate points) in the slow-moving “Escape into Infinity” before shifting the tempo upward for “Suffer and Succumb” and digging into deep-toned sludge marked out by consistently harsh vocals. I wouldn’t be surprised if Black Habit became more melodic or at least moved into cleaner shots over time, as the doomly centerpiece “South Beach” and more fuzz-rocking “Travel Across the Ocean” seem to want to head in that direction, but it’s hard to argue with the echoing rasp that accompanies the rumble and hairy tones of finale “Lust in the Dust,” as Black Habit’s Black Habit rounds out with an especially righteous nod. An intriguing, disaffected, and raw but potential-loaded opening salvo from a two-piece discovering where their sound might take them.

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Stone Angels, Patterns in the Ashes

stone angels patterns in the ashes

Massive. Patterns in the Ashes is a malevolent, tectonic three-song EP following up on New Zealand trio Stone Angels’ 2011 debut, Within the Witch, as well as a few shorter live/demo offerings between, and it’s an absolute beast. Launching with the seven-minute instrumental “White Light, White Noise II” – indeed the sequel to a cut from the first album – it conjures a vicious nod and bleeds one song into the next to let “Signed in Blood” further unfold the grim atmospherics underscoring and enriching all that tonal heft. Sludge is the core style, but the Christchurch three-piece’s broader intentions come through with due volume on the grueling “Signed in Blood” and when “For the Glory of None” kicks in after its sample intro, the blasts and growls that it brings push the release to new levels of extremity entirely. As a bonus, the digital edition includes all three tracks put together as one longer, 21-minute piece, so the consuming flow between them can be experienced without any interruption, as it was seemingly meant to be.

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Black Willows, Samsara

the black willows samsara

If Switzerland-based resonance rockers Black Willows had only released the final two tracks, “Jewel in the Lotus” and “Morning Star,” of their late-2016 second full-length, Samsara, one would still have to call it a complete album – and not just because those songs run 15 and 25 minutes long, respectively. Throughout those extended pieces and the four shorter cuts that appear before them, a palpable meditative sensibility emerges, and Black Willows follow-up the promise of 2013’s Haze (review here) by casting an even more immersive, deeper-toned vibe in the post-Om nod of “Sin” (8:08) and the more percussive complement, “Rise” (9:28), keeping a ritualized feel prevailing but not defining. From the lead-in title-track and the spacious psych trip-out of “Mountain” that gives way to the aforementioned extended closing duo, Black Willows find their key purpose in encompassing tonality and languid grooving. Nothing is overdone, nothing loses its patience, and when they get to the linear trajectory of “Morning Star,” the sense is they’re pushing as far out as far out will go. It’s a joy to follow them on that path.

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Lamagaia, Lamagaia

lamagaia lamagaia

Anytime you’re at all ready to quit your job and explore the recesses of your mind via the ingestion of psychedelics, rituals and meditation, Sweden’s Lamagaia would seem to stand prepared to accompany. The Gothenburg four-piece offer two extended tracks of encouragement in that direction on their self-titled 12” (released through Cardinal Fuzz and Sunrise Ocean Bender), and both “Aurora” and “Paronama Vju” carry a heady spirit of kosmiche improvisation and classically progressive willfulness. They go, go, go. Far, far, far. Vocals echo out obscure but definitely there in post-The Heads fashion, but there’s Hawkwindian thrust in the fuzzed bass and drums driving the rhythm behind the howling guitar in “Aurora,” and that only sets up the peaceful stretch that the drones and expansive spaciousness of “Paronama Vju” finds across its 18:55 as all the more of an arrival. Immersive, hypnotic, all that stuff that means gloriously psychedelic, Lamagaia’s Lamagaia offers instrumental chemistry and range for anyone willing to follow along its resonant and ultra-flowing path. Count me in. I never liked working anyway.

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