Friday Full-Length: Candlemass, Candlemass

Posted in Bootleg Theater on September 4th, 2020 by JJ Koczan

Candlemass, Candlemass (2005)

As they’ve done so much in the 15 years since to add to it, it’s almost strange to consider that by the time  dissertation report on brand loyalty find this essays about the holocaust columbia dissertation Candlemass got back together and released their declarative self-titled full-length in 2005, the band’s legacy had already been so long established and, in some ways, squandered. The band had broken up following 1999’s  Find the best more info here on our website and get the A for your dissertation! Qualified academic writers for every subject From the 13th Sun, and by then, the Stockholm-based mainstays seemed to have been floundering for some time. Their first four albums were and are largely untouchable. Essential documents of doom, all, from the still-influential 1986 debut, We offer you best and cheap custom essays for sale. Essays for college, essay papers and others. Log In having a website Social Darwinism Essay is easy; Epicus Doomicus Metallicus, to the holy trilogy of LPs fronted by  Become a published ebook author to leverage the viral power of the web and boost your online lead generation with RightlyWritten's Essays For Masters Degree. Messiah Marcolin in 1987’s Assignment Help Review - Stop getting unsatisfactory grades with these custom term paper advice Dissertations, essays & academic papers of highest quality. Nightfall (discussed here), 1988’s Issue Topics For Research Papers - 100% non-plagiarism guarantee of custom essays & papers. choose the service, and our experienced scholars will do your order Ancient Dreams (discussed here) and 1989’s Alpha more info here provides you the best in class, plagiarism free and value for money Custom Writing at your convenient time from experts. Tales of Creation. Issued in a new alliance with  How To Write A History Papers - Proofreading and editing services from best writers. All kinds of academic writings & custom papers. witness the Nuclear Blast Records The Argument About http://www.joyshop.it/?writers-block-school-essay. Our dissertation services are made to supply you with top high quality dissertation assistance at Candlemass‘  English 3 Homework Help - Excellent ghostwriting services of all types! Contact us and you won't regret it! - 1-800-501-3076 Candlemass was intended as a fourth installment in that grand lineage of Choose Our Reword Essay Generator. to use a rehttp://cis.kdu.edu.ua/?descriptive-narrative-essay-help; a reword essay generator will take what you write and change the Marcolin-fronted albums.

Founded by bassist  Looking where to How To Write A Essay Plans online? Classy Essay is that one resource that proposes custom writing and samples - you`ll get your good grade! Leif Edling and fueled as ever by his songcraft, the band had basked in  narrative essay brainstorm watch pay someone to do my assignment australia write essay for money Sabbathian tradition of seeing vocalists come and go, including read this article - Put aside your worries, place your task here and receive your professional project in a few days If you are Thomas Vikström on 1992’s If they really think that http://www.otthonszerviz.com/?how-to-write-essay-for-mba-admission even ready to pay for essay writing and are sure that I have to pay to write essay for me, Chapter VI and Björn Flodkvist on 1998’s Dactylis Glomerata and the aforementioned once-swansong From the 13th Sun. The trio of instrumentalists in guitarists Mats “Mappe” Björkman and Lars “Lasse” Johansson and drummer Jan Lindh had been in the band until a breakup circa 1994, and in addition to pushing outside the range of epic doom for which Candlemass had become known, Edling experimented with other lineups and other players during those years, which built off the work he did in the post-Candlemass project, Abstrakt Algebra, whose lone, self-titled album came out in 1995.

Okay. So it’s a complicated history with Candlemass. Established. Fine. Perhaps it’s best, then, to look at the self-titled not just as a declaration of purpose, but as a complete reorganization of mission for the band. Reformed with Edling, Marcolin, Björkman, Johansson and Lindh, signed to a new label with a nine-song/55-minute (more if you got the version with the bonus track “Mars and Volcanoes”), Candlemass entered a new era with this record and it’s one that has in some ways defined their course over the 15 years since. The strong launch given to the outing in “Black Dwarf” and the likewise catchy “Seven Silver Keys” — on which Edling seems to anticipate riffs Tony Iommi would come up with himself a few years later for Heaven and Hell — soars with righteousness, and the band as a whole are and Marcolin in particular is in top form.

“Assassin of the Light” is quintessential, powerful doom metal, with a highlight solo from Johansson and a modern take on the kind of grandiosity for which the original Marcolin era was known. Building toward the candlemass self titledseven-minute “Copernicus,” this initial salvo sets the tone for everything to follow throughout Candlemass, whether it’s the instrumental “The Man Who Fell From the Sky,” the nod-chugger “Witches” — if you can find me a better opening lyric for a doom song than “Someone stole the starlight from the backside of your hand,” I’d love to know what it is — or the head-scratcher “Born in a Tank,” which goes back and forth between talking about being buried alive in dirt and born in a tank of water in some kind of weird sci-fi scenario that boasts the line, “Buried alive like a dog,” leading one inevitably to wonder just who the hell it is burying dogs alive and why is no one stopping them from doing this awful thing? It’s a great riff and an energetic kick after the hypnotic chugging finish of “Witches,” but someone please call animal control and tell them what’s going on and see if we can put a stop to the horror.

In hindsight, the band might’ve been better off swapping “Born in a Tank” with “Mars and Volcanoes,” which as noted, ended up a bonus track on the limited-edition version of the CD. The two songs share a speedier tempo, but one suspects it was that riff that ultimately made the choice. So be it. The album proper finishes with the pairing of “Spellbreaker” (7:02) and “The Day and the Night” (8:53), a last push that answers the reach of “Copernicus” back at the end of side A and goes that much further into the classic-doom feel that Candlemass helped define in the first place, a pair of stops in “Spellbreaker” reminiscent of “Mirror, Mirror” from Ancient Dreams and the quiet unfolding of “The Day and the Night” leading to a massive concluding march worthy not only of finishing the record and emphasizing the titular duality, but fading while still in progress, Marcolin repeating the line, “I’m lost in the dark,” on his way out as if to enact being actually swallowed up by a great nothingness of silence. Doom. A masterclass therein.

This era of Candlemass, somewhat sadly, didn’t last. The band split with Marcolin ahead of 2007’s King of the Grey Islands — one recalls Edling at the time calling him “crazy” — and wound up recruiting Texas’ Robert Lowe, best known for his work in Solitude Aeturnus and currently back with his prior outfit, TyrantLowe completed his own trilogy of albums in that one, 2009’s Death Magic Doom (review here) and 2012’s Psalms for the Dead (review here) as well as a smattering of EPs and singles, before likewise parting ways with Edling and company. Mats Levén, who already had years of performing alongside Edling to his credit and who had completed demos for King of the Grey Islands before Lowe joined, took up the role and performed ably on EPs in 2016 and 2018, but as Johan Längquist — who sang on Epicus Doomicus Metallicus in 1986 but was never actually a member of the band — joined on for 2019’s The Door to Doom (review here) in a landmark return, the group again switched directions. And considering they were nominated for a Grammy for the track “Astorolus – The Great Octopus,” which featured a guest solo from Tony Iommi himself — touched by the hand of god, it was — it’s safe to say the change worked out in the band’s favor.

Earlier this year, Candlemass released the EP The Pendulum (discussed here) and likely would’ve hit a number of festivals and tour dates, etc., were it not for the global pandemic. A live stream in July (review here) helped keep their palpable forward momentum going and demonstrated the utter vitality of their approach all the more resonant some 35 years on from their first demo tapes, and I won’t profess to know what’ll come next for them, but it’s worth looking back at their accomplishments of the last decade and a half and noting that this self-titled was the point at which they restarted and firmly stated who they were and what their intentions were as a group. They’ve only lived up to that since.

As always, I hope you enjoy. Thanks for reading.

A little bit after 6AM. Sun’s not quite up yet. Went for a run in between the top part of this post and this. About 1.3 miles, same course through the neighborhood I do basically every other day — though I usually give myself one bye a week to account for timing, feeling crappy, being busy as I was yesterday, kid or dog being up early, and so on. There’s a big hill just up the road that is satisfying to climb at a jog. I’ve been doing so long enough where I can get to the top without dragging my feet and that feels good. I also have a stretch where I run on the balls of my feet and a stretch where I high-step a little bit and a sprint to finish. It’s a whole thing. I stretch before and after, work on breathing, try not to be crazy about it. Try try try. All you can do.

The left side of my groin has been tight for like two months. Stretch stretch stretch. Trying to live by the Ichiro Suzuki model. Dude stretched every other second of his career. That shit matters as you get older.

Two cool-looking objects in the sky besides the moon despite the beginning-to-dawn day. I assume one was Jupiter or Mars, that’s closer to the moon, and the other has to be Venus. It’s practically punching you in the face with yellow. Star-viewing around here isn’t the best because of light pollution, but I’ll take what I can get. I’ve seen some nice sunrises too.

The Pecan was coming with me for a while. We were going later — after he got up, obviously. But he kind of decided he didn’t want to do it anymore and I didn’t really feel like making him and myself miserable. I ask him every now and again if he wants to go. I asked yesterday before we took him to daycare if he wanted to go for a run, reminded him of some of his favorite landmarks, and it basically took the entire morning off the rails. He’s starting hitting again, and he bites himself when he’s frustrated. He still hits and kicks the dog with every available opportunity. I guess that’s just what life is now. Kid’s rainboot being brought down heel-first on the dog’s head in the back seat of the car. Wham.

He blew off nap yesterday as well, so I took him to his favorite sandbox to basically kill time letting him play. He wanted to go on the swings and wouldn’t accept “in a little bit” so ran up to where I was sitting and slapped me in the face. I picked him up and we left, him literally kicking and screaming as I put him back in his car seat. It was substantially less than fun.

The week was like that. Ups and downs.

They buried my father I think on Wednesday. In Pennsylvania, a national cemetery because he was in the Air Force. They put Vietnam on his memorial but he never went. My sister called to correct and they took basically my position, which was “whatever who cares he’s dead,” but fine. That’s done.

We’re going to the zoo today with The Patient Mrs.’ mother, sister, and her sister’s two kids, all of whom are lovely. It’s the kind of thing one might look forward to in a normal year. Zoos, if you didn’t know, are immoral as shit. To think that we, as a species, stand around and pretend some lion is fucking happy walking back and forth in a pen for its entire life when it should be out there chasing down zebras and giraffes and the occasional human out on the savanna? You gotta be kidding me. But you know what? I got a kid, and that kid wants to see an elephant, and I know elephants are intelligent, thinking, feeling creatures, but fuck it, there it is. Rainboot on the dog’s head. The choices we make. I don’t expect history to be kind to us. I do expect the future to be blind to its own failings.

Speaking of, anyone outright terrified of the presidential election yet? Did Trump declare victory yet? It’s kind of astounding to think I might actually be alive to witness the downfall of American democracy to some half-assed Putin wannabe who used social media to sublimate an entire political party to his every will. And a global pandemic! Wow. If I didn’t have to then live with the ramifications of it — I don’t know, maybe a cross between The Handmaid’s Tale and even more cops killing Black people while millions are out of work aching for a resurgent Civil War? — it would be a fascinating science experiment. To the rest of the world, hi from the test tube. Guard your votes, kids.

The Pecan’s up, which is fair enough as it’s after 6:30 now. He’s reading books (such as he does), but I should probably go grab him. Two quick things:

1. New Gimme show today. 5PM Eastern. Please listen. I promise it’s good. http://gimmemetal.com.

2. Next week is PACKED. Doubled up most days. Lot of good stuff as we move into Fall, so keep an eye out.

Meantime, great and safe weekend. See you at the zoo, though I probably won’t recognize you because of the mask. Ha.

Much love.

FRM.

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Quarterly Review: Katatonia, Marmalade Knives, King Witch, Glass Parallels, Thems That Wait, Sojourner, Udyat, Bismarck, Gral Brothers, Astral Glide

Posted in Reviews on July 9th, 2020 by JJ Koczan

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Welcome to the penultimate day of the Summer 2020 Quarterly Review. I can only speak for myself, but I know it’s been a crazy couple months on this end, and I imagine whatever end you’re on — unless and probably even if you have a lot of money — it’s been the same there as well. Yet, it was no problem compiling 50 records to review this week, so if there’s a lesson to be taken from it all, it would seem to be that art persists. We may still be painting on cave walls when it comes to the arc of human evolution, but at least that’s something.

Have a great day and listen to great music.

Quarterly Review #31-40:

Katatonia, City Burials

katatonia city burials

Like their contemporaries in My Dying Bride and Paradise Lost, the latter-day period of work from Sweden’s Katatonia veers back toward some measure of direct heaviness, as City Burials showcases in cuts like “Rein,” “Heart Set to Divide” and “Behind the Blood,” but more than either of those others mentioned, the Stockholm outfit refuse to forsake the melody and progressivism they’ve undertaken with their sound in the name of doing so. By the time they get to “Untrodden” at the end of the album’s 50-minute/11-song run, they’ve run a gamut from dark electronica to progressive-styled doom and back again, and with the founding duo of guitarist Anders Nyström and vocalist Jonas Renkse at the helm of the songwriting, they are definitive in their approach and richly emotive; a melancholy that is as identifiable in their songs as it is in the bands working under their influence. Their first work in four years, City Burials is an assurance that Katatonia are in firm ownership and command of all aspects of their sound. As they approach their 30th year, they continue to move forward. That’s a special band.

Katatonia on Thee Facebooks

Peaceville Records website

 

Marmalade Knives, Amnesia

marmalade knives amnesia

Boasting production, mixing and percussion from The Golden GrassAdam Kriney, Marmalade Knives‘ debut album, Amnesia, is a delight of freaky-but-not-overblown heavy psychedelia. Oh, it’s headed far, far out, but as the opening narration and the later drones of second cut “Rivuleting” make plain, they might push, but they’re not trying to shove, if you know what I mean. The buzz in “Best-Laid Plans” doesn’t undercut the warmth of the improvised-seeming solo, and likewise, “Rebel Coryell” is a mellow drifter that caps side A with a graceful sense of wandering the soundscape of its own making. The vibe gets spacey on “Xayante,” and “Ez-Ra” touches on a funkier swing before seeming to evolve into light as one does, and the 10-minute “Astrology Domine” caps with noise and a jammed out feel that underscores the outbound mood of the proceedings as a whole. Some of the pieces feel like snippets cut from longer jams, and they may or may not be just that, but though it was recorded in three separate locations, Amnesia draws together well and flows easily, inviting the listener to do the same.

Marmalade Knives on Thee Facebooks

Electric Valley Records webstore

 

King Witch, Body of Light

king witch body of light

Edinburgh’s King Witch toe the line between classic metal and doom, but whatever you want to call them, just make sure you don’t leave out the word “epic.” The sweeping solo and soaring vocals on the opening title-track set the stage on their second LP, the hour-long Body of Light, and as much mastery as the band showed on their 2018 debut, Under the Mountain (review here), vocalist Laura Donnelly, guitarist Jamie Gilchrist, bassist Rory Lee and drummer Lyle Brown lay righteous waste to lofty expectations and bask in grandiosity on “Of Rock and Stone” and the linear-moving “Solstice I – She Burns,” the payoff of which is a high point of the album in its layered shred. Pieces like “Witches Mark” and “Order From Chaos” act as confirmation of their Euro-fest-ready fist-pumpery, and closer “Beyond the Black Gate” brings some atmosphere before its own headbang-worthy crescendo. Body of Light is a reminder of why you wanted to be metal in the first place.

King Witch on Thee Facebooks

Listenable Records on Bandcamp

 

Glass Parallels, Aisle of Light

Glass Parallels Aisle of Light

Eminently listenable and repeat-worthy, Glass Parallels‘ debut LP, Aisle of Light, nonetheless maintains an experimentalist flair. The solo-project of Justin Pinkerton (Golden Void, Futuropaco), covers a swath of ground from acid folk to psych-funk to soul vibes, at times bordering on shoegaze but seeming to find more expressive energy in centerpiece “Asphyxiate” and the airy capper “Blood and Battlegrounds” than any sonic portrayal of apathy would warrant. United by keys, pervasive guitar weirdness and Pinkerton‘s at-times-falsetto vocals, usually coated in reverb as they are, Aisle of Light brings deceptive depth for being a one-man production. Its production is spacious but still raw enough to give the drums an earthy sound as they anchor the synth-laden “March and April,” which is probably fortunate since otherwise the song would be liable to float off and not return. One way or another, the songs stand out too much to really be hypnotic, but they’re certainly fun to follow.

Glass Parallels on Thee Facebooks

Glass Parallels on Bandcamp

 

Thems That Wait, Stonework

thems that wait stonework

Stonework is the self-aware debut full-length from Portland, Maine, trio Thems That Wait, and it shoulders itself between clenched-teeth metallic aggression and heavier fuzz rock. They’re not the first to tread such ground and they know it, but “Sidekick” effectively captures Scissorfight-style groove, and “Kick Out” is brash enough in its 1:56 to cover an entire record’s worth of burl. Interludes “Digout” and “Vastcular” provide a moment to catch your breath, which is appreciated, but when what they come back with is the sure-fisted “Paragon” or a song like “Shitrograde,” it really is just a moment. They close with “Xmortis,” which seems to reference Evil Dead II in its lyrics, which is as good as anything else, but from “Sleepie Hollow” onward, guitarist/vocalist Craig Garland, bassist Mat Patterson and drummer Branden Clements find their place in the dudely swing-and-strike of riffs, crash and snarl, and they do so with a purely Northeastern attitude. This is the kind of show you might get kicked at.

Thems That Wait on Thee Facebooks

Thems That Wait on Bandcamp

 

Sojourner, Premonitions

sojourner premonitions

Complexity extends to all levels of Sojourner‘s third album and Napalm Records debut, Premonitions, in that not only does the band present eight tracks and 56 minutes of progressive and sprawling progressive black metal, varied in craft and given a folkish undercurrent by Chloe Bray‘s vocals and tin whistle, but also the sheer fact that the five-piece outfit made the album in at least five different countries. Recording remotely in Sweden, New Zealand, Scotland and Italy, they mixed/mastered in Norway, and though one cringes at the thought of the logistical nightmare that might’ve presented, Sojourner‘s resultant material is lush and encompassing, a tapestry of blackened sounds peppered with clean and harsh singing — Emilio Crespo handles the screams — keyboards, and intricate rhythms behind sprawling progressions of guitar. At the center of the record, “Talas” and “Fatal Frame” (the shortest song and the longest) make an especially effective pair one into the other, varied in their method but brought together by viciously heavy apexes. The greatest weight, though, might be reserved for closer “The Event Horizon,” which plods where it might otherwise charge and brings a due sense of largesse to the finale.

Sojourner on Thee Facebooks

Napalm Records website

 

Udyat, Oro

udyat oro

The order of the day is sprawl on Udyat‘s recorded-live sophomore LP, Oro, as the Argentinian outfit cast a wide berth over heavy rock and terrestrial psych, the 13-minute “Sangre de Oro” following shorter opener “Los Picos de Luz Eterna” (practically an intro at a bit over six minutes) with a gritty flourish to contrast the tonal warmth that returns with the melodic trance-induction at the start of “Los últimos.” That song — the centerpiece of the five-track outing — tops 15 minutes and makes its way into a swell of fuzz with according patience, proceeding through a second stage of lumbering plod before a stretch of noise wash leads pack to the stomp. The subsequent “Después de los Pasos, el Camino Muere” is more ferocious by its end and works in some similar ground, and closer “Nacimiento” seems to loose itself in a faster midsection before returning to its midtempo roll. Oro borders on cosmic doom with its psychedelic underpinnings and quiet stretches, but its movement feels ultimately more like walking than floating, if that makes any sense.

Udyat on Thee Facebooks

Udyat on Bandcamp

 

Bismarck, Oneiromancer

Bismarck Oneiromancer

To anyone who might suggest that extreme metal cannot also be forward-thinking, Bismarck submit the thoughtful bludgeon of Oneiromancer, a five-song/35-minute aesthetic blend that draws from doom, death, hardcore and sundry other metals, while keeping its identity in check through taut rhythm and atmospheric departures. Following the chants of opening intro “Tahaghghogh Resalat,” the Chris Fielding-produced follow-up to Bismarck‘s 2018 debut, Urkraft (review here), showcases an approach likewise pummeling and dynamic, weighted in ambience and thud alike. “Oneiromancer” itself starts with blastbeats and a plundering intensity before breaking into a more open midsection, but “The Seer” is absolutely massive. Despite being shorter than either the title-track or “Hara,” both of which top nine minutes, and closer “Khthon” underscores the blood-boiling tension cast throughout with one last consuming plod. Fucking raging. Fucking awesome. Pure sonic catharsis. Salvation through obliteration. If these are dreams being divined as the title hints, the mind is a limitless and terrifying place. Which, yes.

Bismarck on Thee Facebooks

Bismarck on Bandcamp

 

The Gral Brothers, Caravan East

gral brothers caravan east

I won’t say it’s seamless or intended to be, but as Albuquerque, New Mexico, two-piece The Gral Brothers make their initial move on Caravan East between cinematic Americana and industrial brood, samples of dialogue on “Cactus Man” and violin in the seven-minute soundscaper “In Die Pizzeria” seem to draw together both a wistfulness and a paranoia of the landlocked. Too odd to fall in line with the Morricone-worship of Cali’s Spindrift, “Crowbar” brings Spaghetti West and desert dub together with a confidence that makes it seem like a given pairing despite the outwardly eerie vibes and highly individualized take, and “Santa Sleeves” is beautiful to its last, even if the lone bell jingle is a bit much, while “Silva Lanes” pushes even further than did “Circuit City” into mechanized experimental noisemaking. They end with the birdsong-inclusive “Ode to Marge,” leaving one to wonder whether it’s sentiment or cynicism being expressed. Either way, it’s being expressed in a way not quite like anything else, which is an accomplishment all on its own.

The Gral Brothers on Thee Facebooks

Desert Records on Bandcamp

 

Astral Glide, Flamingo Graphics

astral glide flamingo graphics

When you’re at the show and the set ends, Flamingo Graphics is the CD you go buy at the merch table. It’s as simple as that. Recorded this past March over the course of two days, the debut album from Floridian foursome Astral Glide is raw to the point of being barebones, bootleg room-mic style, but the songwriting and straightforward purposes of the group shine through. They’re able to shift structures and mood enough to keep things from being too staid, but they’re never far off from the next heavy landing, as “Devastation” and the closer “Forever” show in their respective payoffs, that latter going all out with a scream at the end, answering back to the several others that show up periodically. While their greatest strength is in the mid-paced shove of rockers like “Space Machine” and “Scarlett” and the speedier “Workhorse,” there are hints of broader intentions on Flamingo Graphics, though they too are raw at this point. Very much a debut, but still one you pick up when the band finishes playing. You might not even wait until the end of the show. Meet them back at the table, and so on.

Astral Glide on Thee Facebooks

Astral Glide on Bandcamp

 

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Stream Review: Candlemass Live from Studio Gröndahl, Stockholm, Sweden, 07.03.20

Posted in Reviews on July 6th, 2020 by JJ Koczan

candlemass

The stage was set, the lights were lit, the fog machine was rolling out a steady haze, and legit doom legends Candlemass brought an immediate sense of presence to their July 3 streamed concert at Studio Gröndahl in Stockholm. One has to wonder how many ‘new’ experiences are left to the Swedish outfit headed by bassist and principal songwriter Leif Edling, but surely a streamed show would be one of them. The group are 34 years on from their ultra-seminal 1986 debut, Epicus Doomicus Metallicus, which helped pave the way for what traditionalist and doom metals subsequently became, and as a fan of the band, any opportunity to see them with vocalist Johan Längquist — who sang on that first record and then left the band ne’er to return until 2019’s The Door to Doom (review here), from which only the Grammy-nominated “Astorolus – The Great Octopus” was aired. They were, to put it mildly, robbed.

Now then, LängquistEdling, guitarists Mats “Mappe” Björkman (joined in 1985) and Lars “Lasse” Johansson (joined in ’87) and drummer Jan Lindh (also ’87) are veteran performers, who probably had a considerable amount of touring planned for 2020 to support the album, the follow-up-take-advantage-of-momentum EP, The Pendulum (discussed here), and perhaps even Edling‘s righteous beard, which surely is on the list of correct choices the band have made in the last decade. Those plans, candlemassobviously, evaporated in a cloud of pandemic statistics — like so much else — but with this stream, its important to note that they still put on a show. Goes without saying it wasn’t the same as seeing the band live, and I’ve been very, very, very fortunate to do that on more than one occasion, including the 2011 reunion set that first brought Längquist back to the lineup. About which, yes, I will brag forever; thank you, Roadburn 2011.

But this was a concert, and having seen a few acts bring different approaches to the advent of streaming live shows — everything from acoustic-guitar-in-the-kitchen to outside-at-a-would-be-festival — Candlemass‘ stream felt decidedly like a concert video in the classic metal sense. Production company Blackbox, which hosted the stream through its page, embedding a live YouTube player with a live chat, ran a professional shop. The lighting, the previously-noted fog, the quick cuts between multiple cameras, moving around, some at exaggerated upward angles, some head-on, even the candles lit around the room and the bouquets of flowers on Lindh‘s drum kit made it feel less like a studio space and more like a stage. It was a fitting environment for Candlemass to break out so many of their classics, from the opening “The Well of Souls” and “Dark Are the Veils of Death” from 1987’s Nightfall (discussed here) and “Mirror Mirror” from 1988’s Ancient Dreams (discussed here), to “Dark Reflections” from 1989’s Tales of Creation to landmarks like “Bewitched,” “Mirror Mirror” from the same era.

That era, which started with Längquist being replaced by vocalist Messiah Marcolin, ended after Tales of Creation (the blip that was the 2004 reunion notwithstanding), and while the debut was duly represented in “Under the Oak,” “A Sorcerer’s Pledge” and “Solitude,” which rounded out, it was interesting to see Längquist take on Marcolin‘s parts, their voices being of different character. Though the band also played a new song — listed as “Nytt Riff,” which is ‘new’ in Swedish — it was noted in the chat that the entire period in which the band was fronted by Solitude Aeturnus/Tyrant vocalist Robert Lowe was left out. Hazards, one assumes, of having a catalog full of classics. Perhaps Candlemass assumed that those seeking them out for a live-stream experience would be more established fans looking for ‘the old stuff’ as opposed to something from 2007’s King of the Grey Islands, 2009’s Death Magic Doom (review here) or 2012’s Psalms for the Dead (review here). I don’t know that they were wrong in that, and with a set time a little over an hour, keeping it to the most essential essentials was fair enough. Maybe if they start taking requests for another one I’ll ask for “Emperor of the Void” and see how it goes.

Last time I did a stream review, I was struck by the shift in experience between going to a show and putting one on — how rather than be something separate from a regular, day-to-day existence, the show became a part of it. I suppose it wouldn’t be any different for any live event being televised, but with the change from physically moving yourself from your home to a venue to see a band to not doing that, it’s a big change. To wit, when the stream started, I was on the highway. I turned it on on my phone, turned the speaker up and sang along to “Mirror Mirror” while my toddler called out different trucks he saw from the back seat. And when I got home, I unpacked the car from an overnight trip and changed a diaper while watching. By the time I finally got to sit down and live with it a little bit, they were through candlemassthe solo and Hammond-laced roll of “Nytt Riff” — which one assumes would get vocals at some point, but was a welcome inclusion as an instrumental anyhow — and on into “A Sorcerer’s Pledge” nearing the end of their time. It was an 8PM start for Europe, so that made plenty of sense, but I was and remain thankful for the ability to rewatch afterward, for whatever limited time the stream is still available.

I know that the notion of bands streaming live shows like this instead of doing concerts and touring is new, and I know that they’re certainly no replacement for seeing a band live, but Candlemass more than held their own under the circumstances. Periodically mugging for the cameras, they seemed to be enjoying the chance to deliver a show of any sort to an audience. And though the pauses between songs brought a kind of awkward silence where applause would be and the video screen behind them went under-used except during those transitions, the big rock finish as “A Sorcerer’s Pledge” moved into “Solitude” was nothing if not earned by that performance and all that came before it, and the inclusion of what I assume was soundcheck footage of “Demon’s Gate” after the show-proper made for a smart twist on the idea of an encore, so while there were lessons to take going forward from this new experience, Candlemass gave their virtual crowd something to be happy to have witnessed, as well as a limited ‘Ancient Streams’ t-shirt to pick up afterward. Clever.

Can’t go see Candlemass, and that’s a bummer. But god damn, it felt good to see Candlemass.

Candlemass on Thee Facebooks

Candlemass on Instagram

Candlemass website

Napalm Records website

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Truckfighters Fuzz Festival #2: Kings Destroy and Steak Added

Posted in Whathaveyou on June 12th, 2020 by JJ Koczan

Of course, all the many caveats of 2020 apply. But shit, Truckfighters are putting together a party and it’d be awful shame if for one reason or another (or another… or another…) it didn’t come together. You know what I’d give to see Lowrider and Asteroid on the same bill? I’d give airfare. With Truckfighters themselves at the top of the bill, I’m happy to see New York’s Kings Destroy added along with UK Desertscene forerunners Steak, and they join Firestone — I guess that means Oskar Cedermalm is pulling double-duty? — and Swan Valley Heights and Elden with more still reportedly to be announced.

If it happens, that’s a killer show. And while we’re thinking about it, I’d rather think positive, so here’s the announcement:

truckfighters fuzz festival 2

Truckfighters Fuzz festival announce two bands!

We are proud and happy to present our own fuzz festival!

After a sold out 1st edition in 2019 this will be the 2nd edition of our annual festival in our home country of Sweden. We hope for cold weather and and snow outside so we can go in and let the fuzz warm us up. Yeah this festival is all about the FUZZ.

After years of touring around the world we bring our favorite concept home to Sweden: a club festival dedicated to fuzz/stoner and heavy rock.

In the year of the Corona virus we expand to a two day festival. The virus will hopefully be long gone in November. There’ll be two stages, ca sixteen bands and of course a lot of fuzz…

STEAK [UK] and KINGS DESTROY [US] will be joining our fuzz filled party that takes place on Nov 20 + 21 at Debaser and Bar Brooklyn, Stockholm, Sweden. They will join previously announced TRUCKFIGHTERS, ASTEROID, LOWRIDER, FIRESTONE, SWAN VALLEY HEIGHTS, ELDEN – Many more bands will be added.

Confirmed acts so far are
TRUCKFIGHTERS (the fuzz planet)
LOWRIDER (swe)
ASTEROID (swe)
FIRESTONE (swe)
STEAK (UK)
KINGS DESTROY (USA)
SWAN VALLEY HEIGHTS (Ger)
ELDEN (swe)

*Live music from ca 6pm til midnight.
*Afterparty at Bar Brooklyn until 3am.

The Venue is located on the island of Södermalm, in Stockholm. This is a very nice area in the central parts of town.

Get there with subway or bus to ‘Hornstull’ station.

The festival has two stages, one big and one smaller. The smallest stage (Bar Brooklyn) has a limited space and can take up to 250 people standing. If you want to see a band in our smallest stage, come early! First come first served!
/ Truckfighters

As there was issues with the early bird ticket link we offer everyone who buys a ticket in June a 10EUR discount code at the Fuzzoramastore. Just e-mail a screenshot of your ticket to info@fuzzoramarecords.com

https://www.facebook.com/events/606699896853794/
http://www.truckfighters.com/festival/

Steak, “Living Like a Rat” official video

Kings Destroy, “Fantasma Nera” official video

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Days of Rona: Martin Wegeland of Domkraft

Posted in Features on April 28th, 2020 by JJ Koczan

The statistics of COVID-19 change with every news cycle, and with growing numbers, stay-at-home isolation and a near-universal disruption to society on a global scale, it is ever more important to consider the human aspect of this coronavirus. Amid the sad surrealism of living through social distancing, quarantines and bans on gatherings of groups of any size, creative professionals — artists, musicians, promoters, club owners, techs, producers, and more — are seeing an effect like nothing witnessed in the last century, and as humanity as a whole deals with this calamity, some perspective on who, what, where, when and how we’re all getting through is a needed reminder of why we’re doing so in the first place.

Thus, Days of Rona, in some attempt to help document the state of things as they are now, both so help can be asked for and given where needed, and so that when this is over it can be remembered.

Thanks to all who participate. To read all the Days of Rona coverage, click here. — JJ Koczan

domkraft martin wegeland

Days of Rona: Martin Wegeland of Domkraft (Stockholm, Sweden)

How are you dealing with this crisis as a band? Have you had to rework plans at all? How is everyone’s health so far?

Well, since our focus right now is to get the next album written and recorded, it hasn’t really affected the band that much. A few shows have been cancelled, but since most of our booked shows this year are in the fall, there’s still hope that those will happen. We’re all healthy (as for now) and are still able to get together in our practice space so we are pretty much as active as we can be.

What are the quarantine/isolation rules where you are?

[As of April 9:] There are restrictions, but not as strict as in most other affected countries. Schools are still open and the limit for gatherings is 50 persons, so many restaurants and bars are also still up and running, but many of them are on their knees right now. I live in Stockholm, which is the by far most affected region in Sweden and I think this is where we’ve seen the biggest impact on daily life also. I’ve been working from home for a month, like most people in lines of work that allow that. Sweden has gone the route where we lay a lot of responsibility on the individual instead of governmental restrictions, basically to keep a social distance, not travel or use public transportation unless completely necessary – and to keep washing hands and to stay home at the very tiniest sign of illness whether it be a runny nose or a headache. The only strict restriction apart from the gathering limit is that no visits are allowed in nursing homes and hospitals, basically. And it does feel like most people take the threat seriously and adhere to the recommendations, so fingers crossed the flattened curve strategy will work.

How have you seen the virus affecting the community around you and in music?

The streets are less crowded, no doubt about that. But it’s not full on ghost town mode. As far as the music scene goes, I think the biggest concern is that – apart from the disease itself and the fact the people die from it, obviously – many already struggling venues and promoters are going through extremely rough times right now. It has always been a game with tight margins, and I honestly don’t know how many of them will make it through this. And that also goes for all the freelancers in the scene. And we also have friends in other bands that really, really suffered from this with tours being cancelled with all the costs already taken and non-refundable. Our own losses from cancelled shows are nothing in comparison.

What is the one thing you want people to know about your situation, either as a band, or personally, or anything?

Personally, I really hope that everyone takes this seriously. My mother is old and in the risk group and she will most likely neither see her kids nor grandchildren until this is over. And there is no telling how far away that is. The uncertainty is really frustrating since it affects us on so many levels; the damage done by the actual disease, but also all the effects of the lockdowns and restrictions all over the world. The only thing that is for certain is that we will come out to a something very different when this is over. From a band perspective, it does give us time to work on new music, but it’s strange to not have any idea of when we will be able to perform in front of a crowd again. Which of course is a non-issue when set against the fatalities and personal tragedies of those directly affected by the virus, but in the micro perspective of what the aftermath of all this will bring on a personal level, music still feels really important. Hopefully, this test of respect and solidarity will lead to something good coming out of it also. And not just an endless blame game fueled by political cheap shots.

domkraft.bandcamp.com
facebook.com/domkraftband
https://www.instagram.com/domkraftdomkraft/
https://www.facebook.com/bluesfuneral
https://www.bluesfuneral.com/

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Days of Rona: Leif Edling of Candlemass

Posted in Features on April 9th, 2020 by JJ Koczan

The statistics of COVID-19 change with every news cycle, and with growing numbers, stay-at-home isolation and a near-universal disruption to society on a global scale, it is ever more important to consider the human aspect of this coronavirus. Amid the sad surrealism of living through social distancing, quarantines and bans on gatherings of groups of any size, creative professionals — artists, musicians, promoters, club owners, techs, producers, and more — are seeing an effect like nothing witnessed in the last century, and as humanity as a whole deals with this calamity, some perspective on who, what, where, when and how we’re all getting through is a needed reminder of why we’re doing so in the first place.

Thus, Days of Rona, in some attempt to help document the state of things as they are now, both so help can be asked for and given where needed, and so that when this is over it can be remembered.

Thanks to all who participate. To read all the Days of Rona coverage, click here. — JJ Koczan

candlemass leif edling

Days of Rona: Leif Edling of Candlemass (Stockholm, Sweden)

How are you dealing with this crisis as a band? Have you had to rework plans at all? How is everyone’s health so far?

Everybody in the band are okay, fingers crossed. It’s not fun to have all your gigs cancelled or postponed, but we do what we can to do something constructive anyways.

For instance we are planning a live streaming show at the end of the month. Not one of those homemade things that are popular right now, but in a big studio, and with a filmcrew present. :-)

I really hope this will happen. A fun thing for us to do in these strange corona times, also an alternative for those shows that didn’t happen this evil spring.

What are the quarantine/isolation rules where you are?

In Sweden we can gather up to 50 people at the same time, so we can go to the pub and eat in a restaurant, as long as we keep a distance of 1-2 meters.

We don’t have a totally out of control outbreak either. It’s more under the surface as of now, so we’re waiting for the eruption to come. And of course hope it never does….

But everybody I know sit at home, as I do, read a lot, watch Netflix and HBO, clean the house, fixing the basement, sorting the vinyls (again).

How have you seen the virus affecting the community around you and in music?

People are losing their jobs, shops close, economy goes down… people are trying to keep a positive attitude but that bit you see is harder and harder to maintain.

Personally I think that is one of the most important things now in these hard times — be positive, don’t lose faith. We will prevail and come out of this better then ever before!

I’m sure there will be many records and songs written about the pandemic… the Corona pest!

What is the one thing you want people to know about your situation, either as a band, or personally, or anything?

I’m not important. What is key is that we don’t panic. Just take it easy, try to be positive, stay at home, support your near and dear AND also your neighbours. Not with visits, phone them, email, shop groceries for the elderly close.

And don’t forget to listen to A LOT of hard rock and metal! That part is VERY IMPORTANT!

WWW.FACEBOOK.COM/CANDLEMASS
https://www.instagram.com/CANDLEMASS_SWEDEN/
http://www.candlemass.se/
WWW.NAPALMRECORDS.COM

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Candlemass Post “Porcelain Skull” Lyric Video from The Pendulum EP

Posted in Bootleg Theater on February 17th, 2020 by JJ Koczan

candlemass

So far as I know, Candlemass founding bassist and principal songwriter Leif Edling didn’t actually play on Avatarium‘s Nov. 2019 album, The Fire I Long For, though he’s certainly been in the band’s lineup in the past, but he did contribute a few tracks to the proceedings, and one of those was “Porcelain Skull,” which, as interpreted by Candlemass themselves, is now set to appear on the new EP, The Pendulum that the epic doom progenitors will issue on March 27 through Napalm Records. It is the second lyric video they’ve done for the release behind that for the opening title-track, and it finds their rolling righteous grandiosity in fine form, with a subtly catchy chorus from returned frontman Johan Längquist that would’ve fit nicely on 2019’s The Door to Doom (review here) if, well, if it had fit, I suppose.

But indeed, Avatarium did record “Porcelain Skull” as well, and that band’s interpretation of it can be heard below. Edling, who the PR wire quotes below, calls the Candlemass version raw in comparison, and to a certain degree he’s right, though there’s still a sweep in the central riff that there’s really no getting away from either way. My feelings on The Pendulum remain unchanged: “New Candlemass; I’ll take it however it comes.” Seriously, time’s a wasting. Edling has retired the band multiple times over by now and though he hasn’t yet been able to actually put it to rest — and having recently reaped acclaim like winning a Swedish Grammy and being nominated for an American one, the band has rare momentum on their side — but who the hell knows what the future will bring. Particularly with having Längquist back in the fold more than 30 years on from the debut album on which he appeared, every moment they’re able to capture together is a worthwhile endeavor. This is archival-grade doom. Future generations will learn from it.

If they know what’s good for them, anyway.

The video’s a little over-the-top, as it would have to be, but the song is right on. You can dig in below, and please enjoy:

Candlemass, “Porcelain Skull” lyric video

Legendary classic doom icons CANDLEMASS who, in addition to their recent Grammy nomination, just won a Swedish Grammy for ‘Best Hard Rock’ act, recently announced the release of their brand new EP, entitled The Pendulum. Due out on March 27th via Napalm Records, The Pendulum features a fine selection of never-before-heard, unused tracks cut from the The Door To Doom recording sessions.

Pre-order the EP “The Pendulum” here: https://smarturl.it/ThePendulum

“I think the video really captures the schizophrenic lyrics to the Porcelain Skull song. It is about the eternal battle with our dark selves,” says band mastermind, Leif Edling. “Avatarium did a fine version of it on their latest album but this one is rawer and harder, hits you right in the face!”

The Pendulum Tracklisting:
1. The Pendulum
2. Snakes Of Goliath
3. Sub Zero
4. Aftershock
5. Porcelain Skull
6. The Cold Room

CANDLEMASS live:
April 11: SWE – Stockholm / Södra Teatern
April 12: SWE – Stockholm / Södra Teatern
April 18: US – Houston, TX / White Oak Music Hall
July 11: BUL – Chelopech / Park Korminesh

Candlemass are:
Leif Edling: Bass
Mats “Mappe” Björkman: Guitars
Jan Lindh: Drums
Lars “Lasse” Johansson: Guitars
Johan Langquist: Vocals

Avatarium, “Porcelain Skull”

Candlemass, “The Pendulum” official lyric video

Candlemass on Thee Facebooks

Candlemass on Instagram

Candlemass website

Napalm Records website

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Review & Full Album Premiere: Kungens Män, Trappmusik

Posted in audiObelisk, Reviews on February 10th, 2020 by JJ Koczan

Kungens Män trappmusik

[Click play above to hear the premiere of Kungens Män’s Trappmusik, out today on Adansonia Records.]

Ye weary souls in search of psychedelic serenity, look no further than the Trappmusik, the latest in a line of offerings from Swedish explorers Kungens Män. Issued through Adansonia, the seven-song/78-minute affair is a mostly-mellow blissout, well beyond the point commonly reserved for consideration as “manageable,” but who cares when the waters they wade in — or scuttle, since these kingsmen seem to have a thing for shellfish, and, one assumes, puns — are so warm? Take the 15 minutes of utter joy in “Vibbdirektivet,” a directive of vibe that’s not only easy to follow, but an utter joy in the doing, with unashamed guitar shimmer and a subtle rhythmic luster to match.

Its subdued take is enough to make even the snare and fuzz meandering of 10-minute opener “Fånge i Universum” seem active by comparison, topped with cosmic echoes of psaxophone (that’s a psychedelic sax for those who can dig it) as it is, and one supposes that cut is more active in its way, but in terms of general scale, it’s still much more about setting an atmosphere of patient, graceful flow than shoving its way into the vacuum of space. Dug in and jazzy in its spirit, Trappmusik is affecting in the manner in which it unfolds across its span, from that leadoff to the trip-hop-via-krautrock-and-more-sax progginess of the subsequent “Senvägen,” which leans harder on the bassline for more of a nighttime richness but still finds its way into the trance of the 2LP overall.

The album is a kind of semi-departure for Kungens Män, who were last heard from only months ago on Dec. 2019’s Hårt Som Ben (discussed here) — which itself followed Feb. 2019’s Chef (review here), which followed Aug. 2018’s Fuzz på Svenska, which followed July 2017’s Dag & Natt (review here), which followed 2016’s Stockholm Maraton, 2015’s Förnekaren (review here), and so on through a slew of live and studio offerings dating back to their start in 2012 — in that it tips the balance in their sound in this mellower direction, but it doesn’t seem like that should be read necessarily as a statement on the band’s part of some future direction.

Rather, Trappmusik appears to have been recorded during the same session in May 2019 as Hårt Som Ben, at Silence Studio in Värmland, Sweden. The band — a listed lineup of drummer/percussionist Mattias Indy Pettersson, synthesist/programmer Peter Erikson, guitarists Hans Hjelm, Mikael Tuominen and Gustav Nygren, with contributions as well from others — reportedly recorded 13 hours of improvised music over the course of three days with engineer Isak Sjöholm, so indeed Trappmusik as the second may not be the last LP to come from that session, but is less perhaps an indication of intent going forward in terms of the band’s growth than it is a question of how this particular release was whittled down from those expansive recordings.

Its purpose is contained, in other words, and thus the editing of the material becomes an instrument unto itself. The framing. The process of selecting and choosing to highlight moments like the shift from airy guitar adventuring into percussive chill in “Tricksen för Transen” and the folkish keyboard of “Främmande i Tillvaron” — the latter entirely appropriate in its position as the centerpiece; its sunbaked golden hue not only rests smoothly alongside “Vibbdirektivet,” which follows, but gives Trappmusik a manifestation perhaps even more fitting than its own 17:50 title-track, which closes in much jazzier and more generally uptempo fashion — plucking these pieces out from the hours of what was tracked speaks to a sense of meaning behind the sheer construction of Trappmusik itself.

Kungens Män

Inherently it is a record that seeks to tell a story or portray an idea, and that is not only rooted in the traditions of Swedish folk and progressive and psychedelic rock, but in the fleeting ambience of these moments as they’re captured — there and gone, sunlight or moonlight, in the flight of escapist fantasy from the rigors and anxieties of the day-to-day. They call it their “chill out album,” and fair enough, but that doesn’t necessarily encompass the entirety of the mission, and it’s also not as if Trappmusik is only doing one thing for all of its rather considerable span either.

“Senvägen” and “Främmande i Tillvaron” could be different bands for the sonic disparity between them, and though the five-minute bass, guitar, drum mood-setting of the penultimate “Lastkajen” is hardly more than an interlude sandwiched between “Vibbdirektivet” and the expansive “Trappmusik” itself, its purpose in setting up that turn is further evidence of a master hand at work in terms of setting the overarching, grander progression of the album in motion even if the closer is inevitably going to consume an LP side on its own. That would be, presumably, side D, and with a more active bassline, far back toms and a returning saxophone in a suitable bookend to “Fånge i Universum,” the album finishes on maybe its most movement-based note.

The bass and drums bounce, and the guitar and brass seem to engage in a conversation based on mutual far-out-ranging. They go and go and go. It’s still trance-inducing to a degree, but one gets shades more of krautrock than the spaced procession of the opener, and it’s a palpable shift between the two. There’s still some tricky echoes working on the saxophone as it dissipates just before the seven-minute mark and lets the bass take the foreground — it gradually winds its way back and out again en route to the last slow-to-a-stop — but the general impression is more earthbound and less given to float than Kungens Män earlier on.

One wonders if perhaps that’s an indication the next offering will be their jazz record? If so, they’d hardly be the first to realize the connections between improvised psych and jazz, but as they have in the past, they make those connections their own as they round off Trappmusik with that gentle letting go, emblematic as it is of the soul and intention behind the collection as a whole and the underlying consciousness at work in making it. A gorgeous celebration waiting to be celebrated.

Kungens Män on Bandcamp

Kungens Män on Thee Facebooks

Kungens Män on Instagram

Kungens Män on Tumblr

Adansonia Records on Thee Facebooks

Adansonia Records website

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