Kurokuma & Under to Release Kurokunder Split 7″ Nov. 15

Posted in Whathaveyou on October 21st, 2019 by JJ Koczan

I played the crap out of the original Ecco the Dolphin on Sega Genesis in 1992, but I don’t recall ever picking up the sequel, Ecco II: The Tides of Time, when it came around two years later in ’94. No doubt I was too busy reveling in the easy access to porn and bootlegged software provided by America Online on my dial-up, finding beta versions of Windows 95 that invariably destroyed whatever Pentium PC I was using. Oh, also solitaire. Played a lot of solitaire. I was a pretty lonely kid.

What were we talking about?

Ah yes. Apparently the second Ecco installment made an impression on the dudes from Kurokuma, as their inclusion on a new split 7″ with Under is a cover of the soundtrack to the game, so hey, that’s fun. Under, meanwhile offer the eight-minute “Abyssal Gigantism,” which leaves one to wonder how they’re even fitting it on a 7″ platter. Science, I guess. The future is wow.

There’s a trailer below with a kind of atmospheric snippet taken from what’s been cleverly dubbed Kurokunder, and info follows from the PR wire as well. Have at it:

kurokuma under split

KUROKUMA / UNDER SPLIT 7″ EP RELEASE – ASTRAL NOIZE RECORDS

NOV 15th 2019 – VINYL / DIGITAL – AN 016

Two of the weirdest bands from the UK heavy underground, KUROKUMA and UNDER join forces to each release a brand new song for this 7″ vinyl exclusive through ASTRAL NOIZE RECORDS. Available to pre-order here.

Kurokuma follow from the success of their latest EP release Sheffield’s Best Metal Bands, Vol.1, keeping up their love of unlikely cover songs with a doomy rendition of the theme music from retro gaming classic Ecco The Dolphin: The Tides of Time. The song builds patiently around a swirling arpeggio, slowly escalating into a pulverising and trippy doom riff, leading to one of Kurokuma’s most melodic and grandiose songs yet.

Under push their craft further forward with their lengthiest composition to date, Abyssal Gigantism. Sonically and compositionally, this track branches further from their dense and eerie sophomore album Stop Being Naive. Abyssal Gigantism is a multi-faceted nightmare, taking the listener through unsettling twists and turns. Their signature use of harmonised vocals and unconventional time signatures are intact, but with a much more daring exploration of erratic tempo changes, recalling the wild ebb and flow of The Dillinger Esc. Plan.

Pairing Kurokuma and Under for this exclusive 7″ vinyl release makes perfect sense. Both are unique and talented acts that think outside the box and stand tall amongst their contemporaries. The two bands have already toured together and share a dark and twisted sense of humour, absurd lyrical themes and a daring desire to experiment and challenge listeners.

TRACKLIST
A. Kurokuma – The Tides of Time [5:32]
B. Under – Abyssal Gigantism [8:03]

CREDITS
ANR 016. Artwork by Mullet. Mastered by John Simm at Hidden Colour Audio.
‘The Tides of Time’ written by Attila Dobos, Andras Magyari, David Javelosa and Andy Armer.
Performed by Kurokuma. Recorded and mixed by Tich.
‘Abyssal Gigantism’ written and performed by Under. Recorded and mixed by Rian Gamble.

KUROKUMA
Joe E Allen – Drums
George Ionita – Bass
Jacob Mazlum – Guitar

UNDER
Matt Franklin – Bass & vocals
Simon Mayo – Guitar & vocals
Andy Preece – Drums & vocals

https://www.facebook.com/kurokumauk/
https://www.instagram.com/kurokumauk/
https://kurokumauk.bandcamp.com/

https://www.facebook.com/understockport/
https://www.instagram.com/under_ist_krieg/
https://understockport.bandcamp.com/

https://astralnoizeuk.com/
https://www.facebook.com/astralnoizerecords/
https://www.instagram.com/astralnoize/
https://astralnoize.bandcamp.com/music

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Quarterly Review: Thou, Liquid Visions, Benthic Realm, Ape Machine, Under, Evil Triplet, Vestjysk Ørken, Dawn of Winter, Pale Heart, Slowbro

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

quarterly-review

We meet again! The second week of this amply-proportioned Quarterly Review begins today as we move ever closer toward the inevitable 100-album finish line on Friday. There is an incredible amount of music to get through this week, so I don’t want to delay for too long, but as we look out across the vast stretch of distortion to come, I need to say thank you for reading, and I hope that you’ve been able to find something that’s kicking your ass a little bit in all the right ways so far. If not, well, there are 50 more records on the way for you to give it another shot.

Here goes.

Quarterly Review #51-60:

Thou, Magus

thou magus

How can something be so raw and forward thinking at the same time? Baton Rouge’s Thou might be the band of their generation who’ve added the most to sludge in terms of pushing the style in new directions and shaping genre to their purposes. Magus (on Sacred Bones), their fourth or fifth full-length depending on whom you ask, is an overwhelming 75-minute 2LP of inward and outward destructive force, as heavy in its ambience as in its weight and throat-ripping sonic extremity, and yet somehow is restrained. To listen to the march of “Transcending Dualities,” there’s such a sense of seething happening beneath the surface of that chugging, marching riff, and after its creeping introduction, “In the Kingdom of Meaning” seems intent on beating its own rhythm, as in, with fists, and even a stop-by from frequent guest vocalist Emily McWilliams does little to detract from that impression. Along with Magus, which rightly finishes with the lurching threat of “Supremacy,” Thou have released three EPs and a split this year, so their pace runs in something of a contrast to their tempos, but whether you can keep up or not, Thou continue to press forward in crafting pivotal, essential brutalizations.

Thou website

Sacred Bones Records website

 

Liquid Visions, Hypnotized

Liquid Visions Hypnotized

Sulatron Records‘ pressing of Liquid Visions‘ 2002 debut, Hypnotized, is, of course, a reissue, but also the first time the album has been on vinyl, and it’s not long into opener “State of Mind” or the grunge-gone-classic-psych “Waste” before they earn the platter. Members of the band would go on to participate in acts like Zone Six, Wedge, Electric Moon and Johnson Noise, so it’s easy enough to understand how the band ties into the family tree of underground heavy psych in Berlin, but listening to the glorious mellow-unfolding-into-noise-wash-freakout of 15-minute closer “Paralyzed,” the appeal is less about academics than what the five-piece of vocalists/guitarists H.P. Ringholz (also e-sitar) and Kiryk Drewinski (also organ), bassist Dave “Sula Bassana” Schmidt (also Fender Rhodes and Mellotron), drummer Chris Schwartzkinsky and thereminist Katja Wolff were able to conjure in terms of being both ahead of their time and behind it. As the album moves from its opening shorter tracks to the longer and more expansive later material, it shows its original CD-era linearity, but if an LP reissue is what it takes to get Hypnotized out there again, so be it. I doubt many who hear it will complain.

Liquid Visions on Thee Facebooks

Sulatron Records webstore

 

Benthic Realm, We Will Not Bow

Benthic Realm We Will Not Bow

The second short release from Benthic Realm behind a 2017 self-titled EP (review here) finds the Massachusetts-based trio of guitarist/vocalist Krista van Guilder (ex-Second Grave, ex-Warhorse), bassist Maureen Murphy (ex-Second Grave) and drummer Dan Blomquist (also Conclave) working toward a refined approach bridging the divide between doom and darker, harder hitting metal. They do this with marked fluidity, van Guilder shifting smoothly between melodic clean singing and harsher screams as Murphy and Blomquist demonstrate like-minded ease in turns of pace and aggression. The penultimate semi-title-track “I Will Not Bow” is an instrumental, but “Save us All,” “Thousand Day Rain” and closer “Untethered” — the latter with some Slayer ping ride and ensuing double-kick gallop — demonstrate the riff-based songwriting that carries Benthic Realm through their stylistic swath and ultimately ties their ideas together. If they think they might be ready for a debut full-length, they certainly sound that way.

Benthic Realm on Thee Facebooks

Benthic Realm website

 

Ape Machine, Darker Seas

ape machine darker seas

Maybe Ape Machine need to make a video with cats playing their instruments or something, but five albums deep, the Portland outfit seem to be viciously underrated. Releasing Darker Seas on Ripple, they take on a more progressive approach with songs like “Piper’s Rats” donning harmonized vocals and more complex interplay with guitar. It’s a more atmospheric take overall — consider the acoustic/electric beginning of “Watch What You Say” and it’s semi-nod to seafaring Mastodon, the likewise-unplugged and self-awarely medieval “Nocturne in D Flat (The Jester)” and the rocking presentation of what’s otherwise fist-pumping NWOBHM on “Bend Your Knee” — but Ape Machine have always been a band with songwriting at their center, and even as they move into the best performances of their career, hitting a point of quality that even producer Steve Hanford (Poison Idea) decided to join them after the recording as their new drummer, there’s no dip in the quality of their work. I don’t know what it might take to get them the attention they deserve — though a cat video would no doubt help — but if Darker Seas underscores anything, it’s that they deserve it.

Ape Machine on Thee Facebooks

Ripple Music on Bandcamp

 

Under, Stop Being Naive

under stop being naive

Stockport, UK, three-piece Under bring a progressive edge to their pummel with their second album, Stop Being Naive (on APF), beginning with the deceptively thoughtful arrangement of crushing opener and longest track (immediate points) “Malcontent,” which unfurls a barrage of riffs and varied vocals contributed by guitarist Simon Mayo, bassist Matt Franklin and drummer/keyboardist Andy Preece. Later cuts like “Soup” and “Grave Diggers” tap into amorphous layers of extremity, and “Happy” punks out with such tones as to remind of the filth that became grindcore in the UK nearly 40 years ago, but while “Big Joke” rolls out with a sneer and closer “Circadian Driftwood” has a more angular foundation, there’s an overarching personality that comes through Under‘s material that feels misanthropic and critical in a way perhaps best summarized by the record’s title. Stop Being Naive is sound enough advice, and it comes presented with a fervent argument in its own favor.

Under on Thee Facebooks

APF Records webstore

 

Evil Triplet, Have a Nice Trip

evil triplet have a nice trip

Trimming the runtime of their 2017 debut, Otherworld (review here) nearly in half, Austin weirdo rockers Evil Triplet present the six-song/38-minute single LP Have a Nice Trip on Super Secret with classic garage buzz tone on “A Day Like Any Other,” a cosmic impulse meeting indie sneer on opener “Space Kitten” and a suitably righteous stretch-out on “Aren’t You Experienced?” — which is just side A of the thing. The pulsating “Open Heart” might be the highlight for its Hawkwindian drive and momentary drift, but “Pyramid Eye”‘s blown-out freakery isn’t to be devalued, and the eight-minute capper “Apparition” is dead on from the start of its slower march through the end of its hook-topped jam, reminding of the purpose behind all the sprawl and on-their-own-wavelength vibes. A tighter presentation suits Evil Triplet and lets their songs shine through while still highlighting the breadth of their style and its unabashed adventurousness. May they continue to grow strange and terrify any and all squares they might encounter.

Evil Triplet on Thee Facebooks

Super Secret Records website

 

Vestjysk Ørken, Cosmic Desert Fuzz

Vestjysk orken Cosmic Desert Fuzz

To a certain extent, what you see is what you get on Vestjysk Ørken‘s debut EP, Cosmic Desert Fuzz. At very least, the Danish trio’s three-tracker first outing is aptly-named, and guitarist/vocalist Bo Sejer, bassist Søren Middelkoop Nielsen and drummer Thomas Bonde Sørensen indeed tap into space, sand and tone on the release, but each song also has a definite theme derived from cinema. To wit, “Dune” (11:41) samples Dune, “…Of the Dead” (9:13) taps into the landmark George Romero horror franchise, and “Solaris” (14:15) draws from the 1972 film of the same name. The spaciousness and hypnotic reach of the latter has an appeal all its own in its extended and subtle build, but all three songs not only pay homage to these movies but seem to work at capturing some aspect of their atmosphere. Vestjysk Ørken aren’t quite rewriting soundtracks, but they’re definitely in conversation with the works cited, and with an entire universe of cinema to explore, there are accordingly no limits as to where they might go. Something tells me it won’t be long before we find out how deep their obsession runs.

Vestjysk Ørken on Instagram

Vestjysk Ørken on Bandcamp

 

Dawn of Winter, Pray for Doom

Dawn of Winter Pray for Doom

I have no interest in playing arbiter to what’s “true” in doom metal or anything else, and neither am I qualified to do so. Instead, I’ll just note that Germany’s Dawn of Winter, who trace their roots back nearly 30 years and have released full-lengths on a one-per-decade basis in 1998, 2008 and now 2018 with Pray for Doom, have their house well in order when it comes to conveying the classic tenets of the genre. Issued through I Hate, the eight-track/51-minute offering finds drummer Dennis Schediwy punctuating huge nodder grooves led by Jörg M. Knittel‘s riffs, while bassist Joachim Schmalzried adds low end accentuation and frontman Gerrit P. Mutz furthers the spirit of traditionalism on vocals. Songs like “The Thirteenth of November” and the stomping “The Sweet Taste of Ruin” are timeless for being born too late, and in the spirit of Europe’s finest trad doom, Dawn of Winter evoke familiar aspects without directly worshiping Black Sabbath or any of their other aesthetic forebears. Pray for Doom is doom, because doom, by doomers, for doomers. The converted will be accordingly thrilled to hear them preach.

Dawn of Winter on Thee Facebooks

I Hate Records website

 

Pale Heart, Jungeland

pale heart jungleland

Semi-retroist Southern heavy blues boogie, some tight flourish of psychedelia, and the occasional foray into broader territory, Stuttgart three-piece Pale Heart‘s StoneFree debut long-player, Junegleland is striking in its professionalism and, where some bands might sacrifice audio fidelity at the altar of touching on a heavy ’70s aesthetic, guitarist/vocalist Marc Bauer, key-specialist Nico Bauer and drummer Sebastian Neumeier (since replaced by Marvin Schaber) present their work in crisp fashion, letting the construction of the songs instead define the classicism of their influence. Low end is filled out by Moog where bass might otherwise be, and in combination with Hammond and Fender Rhodes and other synth, there’s nothing as regard missing frequencies coming from Jungleland, the nine songs of which vary in their character but are universally directed toward honing a modern take on classic heavy, informed as it is by Southern rock, hard blues and the tonal warmth of yore. A 50-minute debut is no minor ask of one’s audience in an age of fickle Bandcamp attentions, but cuts like the 12-minute “Transcendence” have a patience and character that’s entrancing without trickery of effects.

Pale Heart on Thee Facebooks

StoneFree Records website

 

Slowbro, Nothings

Slowbro Nothings

UK instrumentalist three-piece Slowbro‘s full-length debut, Nothings, brings forth eight tracks and 51 minutes of heavy-ended sludge rock notable for the band’s use of dueling eight-string guitars instead of the standard guitar/bass setup. How on earth does something like that happen? I don’t know. Maybe Sam Poole turned to James Phythian one day and was like, “Hey, I got two eight-string guitars. So, band?” and then a band happened. Zeke Martin — and kudos to him on not being intimidated by all those strings — rounds out on drums and together the trio embark on cuts like “Sexlexia” (a very sexy learning disability, indeed) and “Broslower,” which indeed chugs out at a considerably glacial pace, and “Fire, Fire & Fire,” which moves from noise rock to stonerly swing with the kind of aplomb that can only be conjured by those who don’t give a shit about style barriers. It’s got its ups and downs, but as Nothings — the title-track of which quickly cuts to silence and stays there until a final crash — rounds out with “Pisscat” and the eight-strings go ever so slightly post-rock, it’s hard not to appreciate the willful display of fuckall as it happens. It’s a peculiar kind of charm that makes it both charming and peculiar.

Slowbro on Thee Facebooks

Creature Lab Records website

 

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Under Post “Traitor’s Gate” Video; Stop Being Naive Due Oct. 30

Posted in Whathaveyou on October 15th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

under

So long as everyone’s on board with the proceedings proceeding, I’m all for everybody getting down in the manner of their preference. Under bring a bit of harsh kink to their new video for the track ‘Traitor’s Gate’ from their impending second album, Stop Being Naive, which is out Oct. 30 through UK purveyor APF Records, and indeed, it’s the kind of release that should come with a safe word. Listening to the album, I almost have to chuckle at the PR wire’s designation of the band as fuzz rockers. It should come with an asterisk: *Fuzz rock plus about 15 tons of noisy sludge fuckall. It is big, big, big, and mean, mean mean, and preorders are up now.

You can of course see the grainy, video-cassette-looking clip at the bottom of this post, if you don’t mind some flashing lights and chains around ankles, wrists, etc., and the occasional gimp mask. Small price to pay for the low-end assault that ensues.

Here’s info and whatnot:

under stop being naive

Fuzz Rockers Under Release New Video

Trio Unveil Clip For “Traitors Gate”

Fuzz rock trio Under have released the brand-new video for the track “Traitors Gate”! The clip shows the band performing while stripped half nude while chained and gagged. Shot in a grainy, weathered VHS style it fits perfectly with the trio’s lo-fi, bass heavy sound.

When asked on the theme behind the video, the band stated: “Lyrically “Traitors Gate” is a rant about cutting someone off for being a piece of shit. We wanted to create a video that was suitably demented, unsettling and reflected our DIY ethos. We’ll leave it to your imagination why we had chains and masks so readily to hand”.

Their new album, Stop Being Naïve, is set for release via APF Records on October 30th.

Under are a trio from Stockport, Greater Manchester. Formed in 2016. Though rooted in the blueprints of Sludge and Doom Metal, their sound is harder to pin down with elements of Prog, Noise and Avant Garde creeping in. Under play with jagged, slow, off kilter riffs that tease the listener into a false sense of security with dark and abstract lyricism evoking a trippy and sinister unease. The trio cite the likes of Swans, Mr. Bungle, The Melvins and Radiohead as prime influences.

Tracklisting:
1. Malcontents
2. The Climb
3. Traitor’s Gate
4. Big Joke
5. P. Irving
6. Grave Diggers
7. Happy
8. An Inch Of Sun
9. Circadian Driftwood

Under is:
Andy Preece – drums, vocals, keys
Matt Franklin – bass, vocals
Simon Mayo – guitar, vocals

https://www.facebook.com/understockport
https://understockport.bandcamp.com/
https://www.facebook.com/apfrecords
https://apfrecords.bigcartel.com/

Under, “Traitor’s Gate” official video

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