Quarterly Review: Kungens Män, PFUND, Crystal Spiders, The Misery Men, Hubris, Woorms, Melody Fields, Oreyeon, Mammoth Grove, Crimson Devils

Posted in Reviews on March 19th, 2019 by JJ Koczan

quarterly-review-spring-2019

I used to be pretty artsy and write poetry. Let’s give it a shot:

There was an old man who wore no-toe shoes.
He said, I’mma go do 60 reviews.
He was out of his head,
Should’ve gone back to bed,
But he loves him some dirty psych blues.

Years from now, when I link back to this post for a “(review here)”-type scenario, I’m going to see that and I’ll still think it’s funny. The planet’s dying. I’d say a bit of silly is more than called for.

Quarterly Review #11-20:

Kungens Män, Chef

kungens man chef

Krautrockers, assemble! Or, you know, whatever krautrockers do — I assume it involves homemade spacecraft that, yes, absolutely fly. Perhaps one of these days I’ll ask Stockholm’s Kungens Män, whose latest outing for Riot Season, simply titled Chef, is an outbound delight of psych-infused progressivism. Beginning with the opening throb of “Fyrkantig Böjelse” and moving into the volume swells, steady drum line and wandering guitar that starts “Öppen För Stängda Dörrar” on side A, its four extended tracks craft otherworldly textures through a meld of organic instrumental flow and waves of synth, the second cut building to a tense wash of distortion all the while keeping that hypnotic march. The two corresponding 10-minute-plus cuts on side B waste no time in offering cosmic boogie in “Män Med Medel” with a more active rhythmic flow, and closer “Eftertankens Blanka Krankhet” — longer than the opener by one second at 11:24 — fades in on meditative guitar and explores a serene minimalism that only underscores the all around joy of the album.

Kungens Man on Thee Facebooks

Riot Season Records webstore

 

PFUND, PFUND

pfund pfund

The self-titled, self-released debut full-length from Kiel, Germany’s PFUND arrives and departs with a guesting horn section, and while that inevitably adds a bit of grandeur to the proceedings, the bulk of the outing is dedicated to straightforward, semi-metallic heavy rock, held to ground even in the seven-minute “Spaceman” by a considered sense of structure and an earthy drum sound that draws the songs together, whether it’s the classic riff rock in “Sea of Life” or the moodier sway in the earlier “Lost in Rome.” Dual guitars effectively multiply the impact, and the vocals showcase a nascent sense of melody that one imagines will only continue to grow as the band moves forward. At nine songs and 44 minutes, it shows some breadth and nuance in “Exhaustion” and “Paranoia,” the former tapping into an edge of progressive metal, but the primary impact comes from PFUND‘s heft of groove and how it blends with a rawer edge to their production. The Kyuss-referencing centerpiece here might be called “Imbalance,” but that’s hardly representative of what surrounds, horns and all.

PFUND on Thee Facebooks

PFUND on Bandcamp

 

Crystal Spiders, Demo

crystal spiders demo

Three songs, 11 minutes and three distinct vibes from the aptly-titled Demo demo of North Carolinian three-piece Crystal Spiders. On “Tigerlily,” “Flamethrower” and “Devil’s Resolve,” the trio of bassist/vocalist Brenna Leath (also Lightning Born), guitarist/vocalist Mike Deloatch and drummer/backing vocalist Tradd Yancey careen from bluesy spaciousness to hard-driving catchiness and end up — because why not? — in repeating cult-sludge chants, “Come to the devil’s resolve!” like Black Widow trying to lure people to the sabbat, except shouting. If the purpose of a demo is for a new band to try different methods of working and thereby take a first step in discovering their sound, Crystal Spiders are well on their way, and for what it’s worth, there isn’t anything within their scope as they present it that doesn’t work for them. There are edges to smooth out, of course, but that too is a part of the process starting here.

Crystal Spiders on Thee Facebooks

Crystal Spiders on Bandcamp

 

The Misery Men, Deathspiration

The Misery Men Deathspiration

If you’d asked, depending on which part of Deathspiration was on, I’d probably have called The Misery Men a bass/drum duo, but nope, that’s guitar. Tonally one is reminded of At Devil Dirt from Chile, but the Portland, Oregon, two-piece of vocalist/guitarist Corey G. Lewis and drummer Steve Jones are entirely more barebones in their craft, eschewing digital involvement of any sort in the recording or mixing process and sounding duly raw as a result throughout the subtle earworm of “C.W. Sughrue” and the lumbering “Harness the Darkness.” The subsequent “Night Creeps In” brings a Northwestern noise payoff to quiet/loud trades and the near-10-minute closer “Stoned to Death,” well, it seems to meet an end befitting its title, to say the least. As their stated intent was to capture the most organic version of their sound possible, and made a point of working toward that ideal in their recording, one could hardly fault them for the results of that process. They wanted something human-sounding. They got it.

The Misery Men on Thee Facebooks

The Misery Men on Bandcamp

 

Hubris, EP #II Live

hubris ep ii live

Some — not all — of what one needs to know about HubrisEP #II Live is right there in the title. Indeed, it’s their second EP. Indeed, it was recorded live. And indeed, like using a ‘#’ sign with a Roman numeral, there’s something about the way the three included songs from the Toulouse, France-based outfit sound that’s just a little bit off-kilter from what you might expect. “Zugzwang” (7:19), “Tergo” (19:58) and “Biotilus” (27:04) are arranged shortest to longest, and while the opener starts off like Queens of the Stone Age on an Eastern-tinged psychedelic bender, the lengthy jams that follow — the first of them with a fervent drum punctuation, the second a gradual intertwining of synth and guitar with hardly any percussion at all until after its 22nd minute. The instrumental flow that ensues from there is almost like a hidden bonus track, at least until they Hubris get to minute 26 and the whole thing explodes in crash and plod. The underlying message, of course, is that if you think you’re safe at any point, you’re not.

Hubris on Thee Facebooks

Hubris on Bandcamp

 

Woorms, Slake

woorms slake

Lumbering fuckall pervades the debut full-length, Slake, from Baton Rouge, Louisiana, sludgers Woorms — also stylized all-caps — which incorporates past singles “Find a Meal Find a Bed Find a God” and “Mouth is a Wound” amid the sample/noise barrage of “Our Lady of Perpetually Shitfaced” and the willfully brash “Racist Kevin” that follows. There’s an edge of Melvinsian chug to the proceedings, but Woorms‘ take, though presented in finished compositions, comes across as almost nihilistic rather than making a show of its experimentalism. That is, they’re trying to say they don’t give a fuck, and in listening, they make it kind of easy to believe, but there’s still something about the cohesiveness of “Veni Vidi Fucki” and “Rice Crispy” and the saved-the-best-nod-for-last finale “Sore Afraid” that undercuts the notion even while making the listening experience all the more pummeling, and from the intro “Corpse Corps” through “Urine Trouble Now”‘s echoing shouts and the closer’s unmitigated stomp, there’s still plenty of exploration being done.

WOORMS on Thee Facebooks

WOORMS on Bandcamp

 

Oreyeon, Ode to Oblivion

Oreyeon Ode to Oblivion

Rebranded since their 2016 debut, Builders of Cosmos (discussed here), from their more phonetically intuitive original moniker, Orion, Italy’s Oreyeon issue a cosmically expansive spacescape follow-up in their six-song/40-minute sophomore outing, Ode to Oblivion, also their first release through Heavy Psych Sounds. Echoing vocals pervade “Big Surprise” after the introductory “T.I.O.” and “Trudging to Vacuity” establish the wide-cast mix and anti-grav rhythmic density, and the nine-minute side A finale title-track runs mostly-instrumental circles around most of what I’d usually call “prog” only after it lays down a sleek hook in the first couple minutes. After “Big Surprise,” the 8:45 “The Ones” trades volume back and forth but finds its breadth at about the sixth minute as the dramatic lead turns on a dime to desert rock thrust en route to wherever the hell it goes next. Honestly, after that moment, everything’s gravy, but Oreyeon lay it on thick with closer “Starship Pusher” and never neglect melody in the face of nod. Worth a deeper dig if you get the chance.

Oreyeon on Thee Facebooks

Heavy Psych Sounds website

 

Melody Fields, Melody Fields

melody fields melody fields

Sometimes you hear a record and it’s like the band is doing you a favor by existing. To that, thanks Melody Fields. The Gothenburg psych troupe lace their lysergic flow with folkish harmonies and an open sensibility on their self-titled debut that comes coupled with enough tonal presence to still consider them heavy not that it matters. They break out the sax on “Morning Sun” to welcome effect, and the sun continues to shine through “Liberty” and the garage-buzzing “Run” before “Rain Man” turns water droplets into keyboard notes and Beatlesian — think “Rain” — voice arrangements atop soothing instrumental drift, every bit the centerpiece and an excellent precursor to the acoustic-based “Fire” and the 10-minute “Trädgränsen,” which is the crowning achievement of this self-titled debut, which, if I’d been hip to it in time, would’ve made both the 2018 best albums and best debuts list. They cap with a reprise of “Morning Sun” and underscore the solid foundation beneath the molten beauty of their work throughout. To ask for another album seems greedy, but I will anyway. More, please.

Melody Fields on Thee Facebooks

Sound Effect Records website

 

Mammoth Grove, Slow Burn

mammoth grove slow burn

Okay, look, enough screwing around. It’s time for someone to sign Mammoth Grove. The Calgary natives have been putting out quality heavy psych rock since their 2011 self-titled debut (review here), and their latest long-player, the four-song Slow Burn is a righteous amalgam of peace-thru-rock that lives up to its freewheeling vibes in “Seasons” after the methodical opener “Valleys” and rolls out a bit of melodic ’70s biker rock bliss in “Black Meadow” before the side-B-consuming “Gloria” (18:42) asks early if you’re ready to go and then goes like gone, gone, gone, and gone further. Given the analog mindset involved and the heart on display throughout, there’s something fitting about it being pressed up in an edition of 100 hand-screenprinted LPs and 100 CDs likewise, but the more people who could hear it, the merrier, so yeah, some label or other needs to step up and make that happen, and I dare you to listen to the solo that hits past the 14-minute mark in “Gloria” and tell me otherwise. Dare you.

Mammoth Grove on Thee Facebooks

Mammoth Grove on Bandcamp

 

Crimson Devils, A Taste for Blood

crimson devils a taste for blood

Since pared down to a trio from the four-piece incarnation they present here, Austin’s Crimson Devils first released their debut, A Taste for Blood, in 2017, but gave it a vinyl revisit last year and it’s little mystery why. The record comprises 11 sharply-composed tracks of Small Stone-style heavy rock, taking cues from Sasquatch in modern-via-classic modus, picking and choosing elements of ’70s and ’90s rock to conjure formidable groove and engaging hooks. There’s considerable swagger and weight in “They Get It,” and while opener “Dead and Gone” seems to show an influence in its vocal patterning from Elder, as the album unfolds, it’s more about the blast of “Captain Walker” or the penultimate “Nothing to Claim” and the straight-ahead vibes of “Bad News Blues” and “No Action” than anything so outwardly prog. There’s plenty to dig in the rock-for-rockers mindset, and it’s the kind of offering that should probably come with an octane rating. However such things are measured, safe to say it would not be low.

Crimson Devils on Thee Facebooks

Crimson Devils on Bandcamp

 

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Snowy Dunes Premiere New Single “Let’s Save Dreams”

Posted in Bootleg Theater on February 25th, 2019 by JJ Koczan

snowy dunes

Maybe you’ve been wondering what Stockholm heavy blues-jammers Snowy Dunes have been up to since the release of their second album, Atlantis (review here), in 2017. Well, changes. As in, going through them. Their label folded in what by most reports I’ve seen was an unceremonious clusterfuck — as that kind of thing sometimes is — and they’ve not only swapped out drummers, but added a fifth member in keyboardist/guitarist Alex Gatica, so yeah, combined with playing shows all the while and writing new material, that’s probably enough to eat up a year or so.

2019, then, is the inevitable bounce-back. Snowy Dunes have a batch of new songs and more in the works with intentions toward a yet-unnamed third long-player, and their new single, “Let’s Save Dreams,” carriessnowy dunes lets save dreams just as much of a sense of self-reflection as it does an outward psychedelic shimmer. The underlying current of heavy tonal presence is still there, but “Let’s Save Dreams” tips the balance in Snowy Dunes‘ sound even more toward classic fare, the contributions of Gatica on organ alongside guitarist Christoffer Kingstedt, bassist Carl Oredson, new drummer Jonathan Wårdsäter and vocalist Niklas Eisen, do much to stand out the song from Atlantis and the band’s preceding 2015 self-titled debut (discussed here), expanding the scope of their sound even as Eisen‘s vocals keep it grounded in a hook that delivers the title line not only in imploring fashion, but in such a way as to excite one as to the possibilities of doing just that.

One could hardly ask more of what’s essentially a teaser single and a heads up to their audience that they’re on their way back from what, if it wasn’t the brink, probably looked a little bit like it for a while there. You can check out the suitably trippy and colorful video for “Let’s Save Dreams” below, followed by some comment from Oredson filling everyone in on what’s been happening in the land of Snowy Dunes.

Please enjoy:

Snowy Dunes, “Let’s Save Dreams” official video premiere

Carl Oredson on “Let’s Save Dreams”:

In October, 2017, our drummer, Stefan Jakobsson, left the band to pursue his own musical projects. We decided that we wanted to continue as Snowy Dunes and reached out to Jonathan Wårdsäter (Mamont, Bad Acid) to see if he was interested. Luckily for us, Bad Acid where beginning to fold and he immediately jumped on board.

We had, for some time, considered adding someone who could play keys and also handle some guitar work so we contacted Alex Gatica (Carubine, Rymddröm) and he gladly stepped into that position. Both Jonathan and Alex are amazing musicians who quickly learnt our back catalogue and withing a couple of weeks we did our first gig with the new lineup.

We dedicated a lot of rehearsal time to jamming and trying to come up with ideas for new songs and realized we suddenly had a plethora of new ideas. A couple of these ideas morphed into Let’s Save dreams, our first co-written song with the new members.

“Let’s Save Dreams” is a bit of a departure for us from the heavy, stoner riffage, as all of us draw a lot of inspiration from the late ’60s and early ’70s. The melodic psych vibes just came naturally to us. We also continued to work with the amazing graphical artist Robin Gnista for this single release. Robin has done our previous two album covers and did the cover for the latest Brant Bjork album.

We are currently working hard on writing for our as of yet untitled third album, which we plan on recording this fall. In the meantime we hope everyone enjoys our new single and video!

Snowy Dunes are:
Christoffer Kingstedt: Guitars
Carl Oredson: Bass
Niklas Eisen: Vocals, etc.
Alex Gatica: Keys, Guitars, Vocals, etc.
Jonathan Wårdsäter: Drums

Snowy Dunes on Thee Facebooks

Snowy Dunes on Instagram

Snowy Dunes on Twitter

Snowy Dunes on Bandcamp

Snowy Dunes website

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Candlemass, The Door to Doom: Welcome Company

Posted in Reviews on February 22nd, 2019 by JJ Koczan

candlemass the door to doom

It’s not that having Tony Iommi of Black Sabbath do a guest spot on guitar with Candlemass isn’t a big deal. And the solo he donates to “Astorolus (The Great Octopus)” is true to form in its multiple layers and ensuing doomly vibe. He’s Tony Iommi, and if his presence turns heads to The Door to Doom, which is Candlemass‘ 12th studio full-length and second for Napalm Records, then all the better. But as the Swedish epic doom progenitors return with their first LP since 2012’s Psalms for the Dead (review here) — though they’ve also had live outings out since and two EPs in last year’s House of Doom (discussed here) and 2016’s Death Thy Lover (review here) — the focus on that one guitar solo takes away from the real lead of the record when it comes to narrative, which is the return of vocalist Johan Längquist to the fold.

Since the band’s reunion from the abyss of hiatus 14 years ago with their self-titled eighth album, they’ve worked with three frontmen. On that outing was Messiah Marcolin, a frontman’s frontman, whose voice helped propel Candlemass to their legendary status in the late ’80s. He didn’t last. By the time the follow-up came around, it was Robert Lowe of Solitude Aeturnus in the singer role, fronting the hurried-but-righteous King of the Grey Islands in 2007 and 2009’s Death Magic Doom (review here), which was positioned at the time as the band’s last album.

It wasn’t. Lowe split circa 2012 and on Death Thy Lover it was journeyman vocalist Mats Levén — who’d been in the running for the job when Lowe came aboard in the first place — taking on the role. However — and that’s a big “however” — Candlemass in celebration of the 25th anniversary of their debut album, Epicus Doomicus Metallicus, reunited with Längquist for a one-off show playing the LP in full at Roadburn in the Netherlands. The set was later released on vinyl through Svart as Epicus Doomicus Metallicus: Live at Roadburn 2011 (review here). I was there. It was a glorious show, with Lowe starting out on some newer stuff and then Längquist arriving to take over, and no disrespect to Lowe — whose voice is of Dio-esque caliber; not a compliment I hand out lightly — but Längquist was such a perfect fit with the rest of the band that the obvious question even as they were playing was, “Why the hell isn’t this guy in this band?”

Well, with The Door to Doom, he is. Steering Candlemass, as always, is Leif Edling. The band’s founding bassist and principle songwriter, he’s responsible over the course of more than 30 years for some of doom’s most resilient landmarks. He’s the reason they’ve survived so much tumult as regards frontmen, and his craft is on high display here, from opener “Splendor Demon Majesty” through the final lumber of “The Omega Circle.” And the story of The Door to Doom, even more than the 60 seconds dominated by Iommi, is the reunion between Längquist and Edling.

That’s not to take away from the contributions of guitarists Mats “Mappe” Björkman (rhythm) and Lars “Lasse” Johansson (lead) or drummer Jan Lindh — all of whom have been in the band at least three decades for as much as there’s been a band to be in — but the performance Längquist gives atop the grand riffing of “Under the Ocean” or the quiet and moody “Bridge of the Blind,” which provides a comedown moment coming out of the appropriately massive “Astorolus (The Great Octopus),” is nothing if not the standout it’s intended to be, and Edling‘s songwriting also seems to rise to the occasion, be that in the catchy side B launch “Death’s Wheel” or “Splendor Demon Majesty” at the outset or “House of Doom,” repurposed here (and re-recorded, obviously) from the EP of the same name to serve as the penultimate, organ-topped nodder ahead of “The Omega Circle,” which rounds out.

candlemass (photo Anders Palsson)

And not for nothing, but the solos Johansson adds to “House of Doom,” “Death’s Wheel” and the particularly Dehumanizer-esque “Black Trinity” go toe-to-toe with that on “Astorolus (The Great Octopus),” and I know there’s only one Tony Iommi, but there’s only one Candlemass as well, and they’re absolutely on fire in these tracks. The Door to Doom sounds revitalized and fully charged, and even as the cover art ties it directly to Epicus Doomicus Metallicus with its iconic impaled devil-skull design, the band seems only ready to move forward.

They’re not trying to recapture 1986 — and they don’t need to. They’re relishing their position as overlords of what doom has become in their wake. They take their time through the quiet intros to “Under the Ocean” or “The Omega Circle,” knowing their own strength in setting a mood for the epic riffing to come, and when that closer hits, it’s about not even about Edling or Längquist, but about the entire band. There’s a reason why the cliché is “firing on all cylinders,” and The Door to Doom gives a fervent example of what that sounds like. It has the poise and stately feel of Candlemass‘ experience and long-since-attained maturity of approach, but even as it taps into classic styles, dipping to acoustic in the midsection of “The Omega Circle” to mirror “Bridge of the Blind” at the end of side A in summary of the album as a whole, its overarching feel is refreshed and refreshing in kind. No question that when 2019 is done, The Door to Doom will stand among its finest doom albums.

The danger, of course, is that it’s Candlemass‘ last. That’s always the danger with Candlemass, and sometimes it happens. It’s worth nothing that the break between full-lengths between Psalms for the Dead and The Door to Doom, at seven years, is longer than when they “broke up” after 1999’s From the 13th Sun and didn’t put out another LP until Candlemass in 2005. Change has long been a factor for the band, but that’s all the more reason to enjoy the triumph that is The Door to Doom — because it might not last. It might be a one-off with Längquist, and it might be more than half a decade before they put out another record, if they do at all. Something about the idea of “coming full circle” and reuniting with their first singer seems very much in Edling‘s wheelhouse in bringing the band to close.

Listening to these songs, one only hopes that’s not how it plays out, and Candlemass continue to explore the doomed reaches with their original frontman, adding an essential and unexpected chapter to their story that they’ve given such a righteous beginning here. Recommended.

Candlemass, The Door to Doom (2019)

Candlemass on Thee Facebooks

Candlemass on Instagram

Candlemass website

Napalm Records website

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The Riven Premiere “Far Beyond” Lyric Video; Self-Titled Debut out March 1

Posted in Bootleg Theater on February 21st, 2019 by JJ Koczan

the riven

The Riven call Stockholm, Sweden, their home base, but with members hailing from Spain and the UK, they’re just as easily tagged as a multinational conglomerate. There’s no clash, however, when it comes to bringing their material to life. To wit, the four-piece issue their The Sign Records-backed self-titled debut album March 1, and with it proffer nine songs and 40 minutes of crisply executed traditionalist heavy rock and roll. They’re not so much dug into the vintage sound, but that influence is there for sure in songs like the single “Far Beyond,” for which you can see the lyric video premiering below, as well as the bluesy “Shadow Man,” the subdued and soulful “I Remember” and the presumed side A finale “Finnish Woods,” which quietly meanders in its beginning and opens to a slow-rolling chorus in its first half only to unveil a NWOBHM gallop after its midpoint that complements and offsets the boogie that surrounds. On The Riven, as on their 2017 debut EP, Blackbird (discussed here), there’s a sense of the classic as a foundation to work from, rather than a modus to be so directly emulated. That mindset only helps The Riven as they make their debut.

Comprised of vocalist Charlotta Ekebergh, guitarist Arnau Diaz, bassist Max Ternebring and The Riven The Rivendrummer Olof Axegärd, the band recorded in Madrid and very clearly worked to capture a naturalist spirit in so doing. As straight-ahead shufflers like the Thin Lizzy-style opener “The Serpent,” the dug-in groover “Edge of Time” and the penultimate “Leap of Faith” hit all their marks, it’s the organic style that unites them with longer cuts like “I Remember” and the jammy closer “Sweet Child.” As it should be for classic-style heavy rock, the rhythm section proves crucial to the overarching effectiveness of the band, with Ternebring‘s tone and Axegärd‘s snare work both serving as standout performances along with Ekebergh‘s dynamic vocals and Diaz‘s guitar leading the way for all to follow. The hook of “Far Beyond” is a highlight, but it’s far from the only one the record has on offer, and whether it’s “Shadow Man” or the momentum-building side B launch in “Fortune Teller,” The Riven draw from the strengths of its component members even as they unite for the purpose of memorable songwriting.

Part of the work The Riven does as an album is set the stage for the band The Riven will become, even as it signals their arrival at this starting point. They won’t get to put out another first record, and they make the most of the opportunity before them. These songs feel worked through and honed for maximum effect, and while the Swedish and wider European heavy underground has seen a surge of similarly-minded blues-influenced ’70s-rock aficionados, The Riven‘s collective ability to drop the rush of “Fortune Teller” right into the moody sway of “I Remember” and still carry the listener with them speaks to their confidence as songwriters as well as the justification for that confidence in the output itself. Are they done growing? Probably not, but The Riven makes an encouraging place to start from not the least because it demonstrates how clear the band are in their purpose. They’re schooled in what they want to do and how they want to do it. What they’ll do next is a question, of course, for some later time. There’s plenty of rock and roll here to last until then.

The Riven‘s The Riven is out March 1 on The Sign Records. PR wire info follows the “Far Beyond” lyric video here.

Please enjoy:

The Riven, “Far Beyond” lyric video premiere

Far Beyond is taken from The Riven’s debut album released by The Sign Records.

In 2018, The Riven went to Madrid, not to spend time under the Spanish sun but rather curled up in the cellar studio at Holy Cuervo Studios. In ten days they powered through the record’s nine songs, producing an album that in the words of the drummer Olof Axegärd, “is loud, is rock, is soul, and prog. It has it all!” The Riven will be releasing their highly anticipated first full length with The Sign Records in the spring of 2019. Produced by Ola Ersfjord (Lucifer, Primordial, Dead Lord) the album manages to merge the diverse influences of its four members into a solid unit of Rock and Roll that will leave no one oblivious.

The Riven is:
Charlotta Ekebergh – Vocals
Arnau Diaz – Guitar
Max Ternebring – Bass Guitar
Olof Axegärd – Drums

The Riven on Thee Facebooks

The Riven on Bandcamp

The Sign Records on Thee Facebooks

The Sign Records website

The Sign Records at Freighttrain.se

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Siena Root European Tour Starts Feb. 27; New Single out Soon

Posted in Whathaveyou on January 10th, 2019 by JJ Koczan

siena root

Siena Root touring? Sweet. Siena Root releasing a new single? Even sweeter. Siena Root working on a new record? Ah, there it is. That’s the stuff.

The Swedish classic heavy rockers will head out a mostly-Germany tour starting Feb. 27, bringing their collaboration with vocalist Lisa Lystam to stages also in Belgium and Austria. Neat. I won’t get to see them, but hey, I’m glad they’re getting out. It’s really the prospect of new material from the Swedish outfit that’s got my interest piqued. Their last record was 2017’s A Dream of Lasting Peace (review here), so it hasn’t been all that long since they had a release, but a new single and word of progress on a new LP is definitely welcome. Even if it doesn’t happen until 2020, the point is it’s happening. And that only makes the world a better place.

The tour was announced a bit ago by the band, but I’m slow, so here are the dates and their word of progress on the next full-length:

siena root tour poster

We’re proud to let you know that Siena Root is on tour again! This time the spotlight will be on their recent successful collaboration with blues singer Lisa Lystam, as well as the upcoming single release “In the Fire”. The band is hitting the road in the middle of their work on the next album.

“We had the opportunity to work [on songs] in this vintage rural cinema where legends like Ingmar Bergman used to active. The song writing continues and we are looking forward to make another recording soon.”

27.02 DE Hamburg, Logo
28.02 DE Osnabrück, Kleine Freiheit
01.03 DE Oldenburg, Cadillac
02.03 DE Hagen, Kultopia
03.03 BE Bree, Ragnarok Live Club
05.03 DE Jena, Kulturbahnhof
06.03 DE Leipzig, Moertelwerk
07.03 DE Nürnberg, Der Cult
08.03 DE Aschaffenburg, Colos-Saal
09.03 DE Siegen, Vortex
10.03 DE Mannheim, MS Connexion Complex
12.03 DE München, Backstage
13.03 AT Wien, Viper Room

Siena Root is:
Matte Gustavsson – lead guitar
Sam Riffer – bass and vocals
Love “Billy” Forsberg – drums and vocals
Erik “Errka” Petersson – organs and keyboards
Samuel Björö – lead vocals

https://www.facebook.com/sienaroot
https://sienaroot.bandcamp.com/
https://www.instagram.com/sienaroot/
http://www.sienaroot.com/
http://www.mig-music.de/

Siena Root, “Growing Underground” live at Zytanien 2017

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MaidaVale Announce Spring 2019 Euro & UK Tour Dates

Posted in Whathaveyou on December 21st, 2018 by JJ Koczan

maidavale

Classic-style heavy rockers MaidaVale took on a more expansive sound with their 2018 album, Madness is Too Pure (discussed here), and they haven’t exactly been shy about showing it off. They’ll keep the thread going early in 2019 with a Spring tour of Europe and UK that includes a stop at the Bordeaux Psych Fest in France and rooms in the UK like the famed Star and Garter in Manchester and The Black Heart in London. Seems like they’ve got some really good momentum on their side going into much of next year. I have to wonder where it might all be leading and when they’ll get to work on their next record. Madness is Too Pure followed just two years behind 2016’s Tales of the Wicked West (review here), so if it was early 2020 for the next one, I’d hardly be surprised. Sooner works too though, ha.

Here are the tour dates:

maidavale tour poster

MAIDAVALE announce European tour in Spring 2019

MaidaVale is heading out on a lengthy European tour in March 2019. The tour takes the band to Norway, Germany, France, UK and the Netherlands.

The Swedish band released their latest album ‘Madness Is Too Pure’ in March 2018. The record has since been nominated to a P3 Guld award in their native country.

The tour kicks off at the By:Larm Festival in Norway.

Tour Dates:
28/02 (NO) OSLO – by:Larm Festival
01/03 (NO) OSLO – by:Larm Festival
03/03 (DE) HAMBURG – Hafenklang
04/03 (DE) GOETTINGEN – Dots
05/03 (DE) MANNHEIM – 7er Club
06/03 (DE) NIJMEGEN – Merleyn
07/03 (DE) COLOGNE – Sonic Ballroom
08/03 (FR) STRASBOURG – La Laiterie
10/03 (FR) PARIS – Le Glazart
11/03 (FR) ANGERS – Joker’s Pub
12/03 (FR) POITIERS – Le Cluricaume
13/03 (FR) NANTES – La Scène Michelet
14/03 (FR) RENNES – TBA
15/03 (FR) BORDEAUX – Salle du Gran Parc / Bordeaux Psych Fest
16/03 (FR) LYON – Le Farmer
18/03 (DE) FREIBURG – Slow Club
19/03 (DE) STUTTGART – Keller Club
20/03 (DE) KARLSRUHE – Alte Hackerei
22/03 (UK) LONDON – The Black Heart
23/03 (UK) MANCHESTER – Star and Garter
25/03 (UK) BRISTOL – The Lanes
27/03 (NL) AMSTERDAM – Melkweg
28/03 (DE) BREMEN – Zollkantine

Members:
Matilda Roth – Vocals
Johanna Hansson – Drums
Linn Johanesson – Bass
Sofia Ström – Guitar

http://www.maidavaleband.com/
https://www.facebook.com/maidavaleswe/
https://twitter.com/maidavaleband
https://www.instagram.com/maidavaleband/
https://open.spotify.com/artist/7rsoTsWjPBw9tyPbLXJko2
http://www.thesignrecords.com
https://www.facebook.com/thesignrecords/
http://freighttrain.se/sv/

MaidaVale, Madness is Too Pure (2018)

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The Moth Gatherer Announce New Album Esoteric Oppression out Feb. 22

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

the moth gatherer

Swedish post-metallers The Moth Gatherer have teased the release of a new single to precede their upcoming album, Esoteric Oppression, out Feb. 22 on Agonia Records. They say the new song will be out “before the end of the year.” I’ll just assume that means that as soon as this post goes live, they’ll post the track, which will render this news immediately obsolete in terms of keeping up with the band. And if that happens, I’ll post that song here, just so I can say — to myself, mind you — I told you so. Because that’s how I do.

Esoteric Oppression follows 2015’s sophomore outing, The Earth is the Sky (review here), which was an expansive and atmospheric push into weight of tone and ambience alike. You can stream that below, if you like, and find yourself caught in the maddening tension of 11-minute closer “In Awe Before the Rapture.” Frankly, there are far worse ways to lose your mind.

Info comes from the PR wire:

the moth gatherer esoteric oppression

THE MOTH GATHERER detail new album “Esoteric Oppression”

Sweden’s THE MOTH GATHERER, an atmospheric doom/sludge/post metal band based in Stockholm, will release its third studio album, successor to critically acclaimed “The Earth Is The Sky” (2015) on February 22nd via Agonia Records. The new album is titled “Esoteric Oppression”. Its cover artwork and tracklisting are available below, in anticipation of a new single, due out before 2019.

THE MOTH GATHERER is a band of varying genres, centered around atmospheric doom, sludge and post metal. Their prolific approach includes electric musical stylings, along with traces of melodic post-rock.

The band commented on the new album: “We’ve put our very fabric into it. Its creation has been a path paved with distress and frustration; one that has left us totally exhausted. But all our effort shows in the music and we can now say that it was worth the turmoil. We’re extremely proud to present Esoteric Oppression to you all. We hope you love it as much as we do”.

THE MOTH GATHERER emerged in 2008 on the initiative of Victor Wegeborn and Alex Stjernfeldt, as a form of therapy to help them deal with loss. The name of the band is an allegory for finding hope; similairly to moths who are always searching for the light. Operating as a duo, they released a debut album “A Bright Celestial Light” in 2010. The recording showcased an attraction towards long and complex compositions, rich in content, and exposed thet band’s urge to channel emotions and difficult experiences into music. Their sound evolved on the second and last album, “The Earth Is The Sky”, from 2015, which took the songwriting to a whole new level, and have deepened the band’s subtle, yet significant electronic aesthetic. The music clearly matured, along with the line-up, which now included Svante Karlsson on drums. Their sophomore work met with warm reception from fans and critics alike, with two singles featured on BBC Radio 1’s Rock Show with Daniel P. Carter, and numerous inclusions on year-end lists from magazines and websites. Having recruited Ronny Westphal on guitars, they later released an EP “The Comfortable Low” (2016), which featured a guest appearance from Dennis Lyxzén (Refused/INVSN) and Fred Burman (Satan Takes A Holiday). The EP also landed on Radio 1’s Rock Show, thanks to the track “This Providence Of Bones”. While the new album, “Esoteric Oppression”, follows in the same direction as previous works, the band went through a transformation, which left co-founder Alex behind. Even though he participated in writing lyrics for the album, bass duites have been taken over by Victor, who also handles vocals, guitars and electronis. Dan Hemgren has been introduced as a new bass player, who’ll continue with the group post the new album.

“Esoteric Oppression” was worked on in several recording studios. Guitars, bass and drums were tracked at Studio Underjord with Joona Hassinen, who later mixed the entire album. Electronics and vocals were recorded at The Lifestream Studio. Magnus Lindberg (Cult Of Luna) mastered the album at Redmount Studios, while the production was laid out by THE MOTH GATHERER. The recording features a guest appearance from Messy Mathi (Barst) on the track “The Drone Kingdom”. SCG prepared the album’s cover artwork and layout.

Tracklist:
1. The Drone Kingdom
2. Motionless In Oceania
3. Utopia
4. The Failure Design
5. Phosphorescent Blight

Line-up:
Ronny Westphal – guitars
Svante Karlsson – drums
Victor Wegeborn – vocals, guitars, electronics
Dan Hemgren – bass

https://www.themothgatherer.com/
https://www.facebook.com/TheMothGatherer/
https://twitter.com/themothgatherer
https://www.instagram.com/themothgatherer/
http://agoniarecords.com
http://tinyurl.com/agoniashop
https://facebook.com/agoniarecords
https://twitter.com/agoniarecords
https://soundcloud.com/agoniarecords
https://agoniarecords.bandcamp.com
https://instagram.com/agoniarecordsofficial

The Moth Gatherer, The Earth is the Sky (2015)

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Candlemass Set Feb. 22 Release for The Door to Doom; Tony Iommi Makes Guest Appearance

Posted in Whathaveyou on December 10th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

candlemass (photo Anders Palsson)

Have you ever been ridiculously happy on a personal level for someone you’ve never actually met? That’s how I feel for Candlemass bassist, founder and principle songwriter Leif Edling on the occasion of his band having Tony Iommi in for a guest spot on their new record. Candlemass — now past the 30-year mark — reunite with original vocalist Johan Langquist for The Door to Doom, which is out Feb. 22, and they’ve been worshiping Black Sabbath in one way or another pretty much the whole time, so yeah, it seems only fitting. Oh, and of course Iommi sits in on the song about the giant octopus. Because fucking a right he does.

A new record from Candlemass would’ve been a highlight of 2019 in doom anyway. But with Langquist fronting the band and Iommi adding guitar? Yeah, well, I mean, you know, uh, yeah.

From the PR wire:

candlemass the door to doom

CANDLEMASS – New Album The Door To Doom Out February 2019

CANDLEMASS have come full circle: their first singer Johan Langquist (who left the band after singing on the legendary 1986 debut Epicus Doomicus Metallicus) has returned!

Now, the epic doom metal veterans announce their 12th full length album The Door to Doom! The album will be released February 22nd via Napalm Records

The Door To Doom unsurprisingly follows the plotline mastermind, songwriter and bass player Leif Edling established in the past years: epic world class doom metal that relies on slow mammoth riffing. With Johan Langquist`s highly dramatic vocal style and the love for details, the band made this album to the next “Epicus”. This masterpiece is rounded off by a beautiful guest appearance by none other than Black Sabbath`s Tony Iommi on ‘Astorolus – The Great Octopus.’

Tony Iommi on his appearance:
“Candlemass are a major force in Scandinavian heavy rock and have always acknowledged the influence we had on their music. They asked if I’d contribute to a track which sounded pretty good so I thought ‘why not’ “.
Leif Edling states:

“We feel very honoured that Tony Iommi said yes to play the solo on ASTOROLUS. The song was sent to the management and amazingly enough, the master agreed to let his mighty SG sing on the track! For me personally this is a dream come true. Tony Iommi has always been my hero and guiding light when it comes to heavy music, so to hear that he likes the song and also would like to play on it, gave me chills down the spine! I’m still in shock! But kudos to him to be so cool to even listen to it. Hats off! Tony Iommi is and will always be God!”

The Door to Doom Tracklisting:
1. Splendor Demon Majesty
2. Under The Ocean
3. Astorolus – the Great Octopus
4. Bridge Of The Blind
5. Death´s Wheel
6. Black Trinity
7. House Of Doom
8. The Omega Circle

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

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

Candlemass, Epicus Doomicus Metallicus (1986)

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