Willow Child Sign to StoneFree Records; Paradise & Nadir LP Coming Soon

Posted in Whathaveyou on March 14th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

I know it’s not exactly unheard of, but I think it’s interesting that what first brought German classic-style, organ-inclusive heavy rockers Willow Child together wasn’t the impulse to immediately create something of their own, but to pay homage to their heroes of the late ’60s and early ’70s. They were a cover band. A lot of people slag off tribute acts — not me. If you can get together with your friends for a night, play songs you love in some bar that’s probably going to give you at least like $300 for the effort? I’ve been on the other end of that — playing original material to nobody for no money — and it’s not exactly always a blast. That romance? It fades. So yeah, cover bands. I get it.

Something tells me, however, that even playing original material, Willow Child aren’t going to have any trouble drawing an audience. The five-piece released their debut EP, Trip Down Memory Lane, last year and you’ll find it streaming at the bottom of this post. Later in 2018, they’ll follow up with their first long-player, Paradise and Nadir, which will be out thanks to the estimable tastes of StoneFree Records, who announced the alliance thusly:

willow child

StoneFree Records is more than proud to announce the signing of Willow Child.

After listening to their very promising „Trip Down Memory Lane EP“ in February 2017 we kept in touch and forged out plans concerning a future release.
Now the time has come! BIG TIME!

Willow Child recorded their debut album „Paradise & Nadir“ with Richard Behrens at Big Snuff Studio Berlin in January 2018. The result sounds stunning and will go places for sure. We’ll keep you posted about the release details pretty soon!

Willow Child establish a powerful symbiosis of vivid arrangements and intense lyrics. The quintet based around Nuremberg plays warm blues rock fueled by impelling hard rock riffs and psychedelic instrumental outbursts. Floating guitar licks, thrilling organ grooves and occult vibes are joined together by a rich songwriting.

The band was started 2014 under the name of “Trip Down Memory Lane” and firstly covered old classics from Led Zeppelin, Deep Purple, The Doors and many more. But in late 2015 they began to write their own songs and somehow got stuck with it.

Willow Child’s debut album „Paradise & Nadir“ opens the door to a mystic cosmos!

Willow Child is:
Eva Kohl – vocals, guitar
Flo Ryan Kiss – guitar
Jonas Hartmann – organ
Javier Zulauf – bass
David Kohl – drums


Willow Child, Trip Down Memory Lane (2017)

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Quarterly Review: Wolves in the Throne Room, Gravy Jones, Marmora, Mouth, Les Lekin, Leather Lung, Torso, Jim Healey, Daxma, The Re-Stoned

Posted in Reviews on January 9th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

Lodewijk de Vadder (1605-1655) - 17th Century Etching, Landscape with Two Farms

The Obelisk’s Quarterly Review continues today with day two of five. I don’t mind telling you — in fact I’m pretty happy to tell you — that this one’s all over the place. Black metal, post-metal, singer-songwriter stuff, psych jams, heavy rock. I feel like I’ve had to go to great pains not to use the word “weird” like 17 times. But I guess that’s what’s doing it for me these days. The universe has plenty of riffs. All the better when they start doing something different or new or even just a little strange. I think, anyhow. Alright, enough lollygagging. Time to dive in.

Quarterly Review #11-20:

Wolves in the Throne Room, Thrice Woven

wolves in the throne room thrice woven

True, it’s something of a cliché when it comes to Wolves in the Throne Room to think of their work as “an awaited return,” and perhaps that speaks to the level of anticipation with which their outings are greeted generally. Nonetheless, Thrice Woven arrives via the band’s own Artemisia Records six years after Celestial Lineage, their last proper full-length, and three after its companion, Celestite (review here), so the five-track/42-minute offering from the USBM innovators is legitimately due. The Washington-based troupe’s black-metal-of-the-land remains heavily focused on atmosphere, with a sharp, experimental-feeling turn to ambience and melody in opener “Born from the Serpent’s Eye” and the later drone interlude “Mother Owl, Father Ocean” that precedes the rampaging closer “Fires Roar in the Palace of the Moon,” which caps Thrice Woven with a long fade into the sound of rolling waves. Between them, “The Old Ones are with Us” casts a vision of blackened folk-doom that seems to pull off what Agalloch was always aiming for, and centerpiece “Angrboda” blasts through an early wash before splitting near the midsection to minimalism and rebuilding itself on a slow march. 15 years on from their beginning, Wolves in the Throne Room still sound like no one else, and continue to push themselves forward creatively.

Wolves in the Throne Room on Thee Facebooks

Artemisia Records on Bandcamp


Gravy Jones, Funeral Pyre

gravy jones funeral pyre

It’s a crazy world into which Gravy Jones invite their listeners on their self-issued debut full-length, Funeral Pyre, and the fire they bring is born of a molten classic psychedelic rock underpinned by low end weight and further distinguished by its use of organ and proto-metallic vocal proclamations. Opener and longest track (immediate points) “Heavens Bliss” tops 10 minutes in its weirdo roll, and subsequent cuts “The Burning of the Witch” and “It Came from the Sea” do little to dispel the off-center vibe, the former dug into rawer NWOBHM-ism and the latter, the centerpiece of the five-tracker, beaming in from some kind of alt-universe Deep Purple idolatry to lead into the particularly doomed “Gilgamesh” and the shuffle-into-noisefest onslaught of the closing title-track. All told it’s 41 minutes of bizarre excursion that’s deceptively cohesive and feels like the start of a longer-term sonic exploration. Whether or not Gravy Jones even out sound-wise or hold to such an unhinged vibe, they definitely pique interest here.

Gravy Jones on Thee Facebooks

Gravy Jones on Bandcamp


Marmora, Criterion

marmora criterion

Criterion – yes, like the collection – is the debut EP from Chicago four-piece Marmora, who released a single in 2013 before the core brotherly trio of Zaid (guitar), Alejandro (bass) and Ulysses (drums) Salazar hooked up with vocalist/guitarist/synthesist Allan Cardenas in 2015. The three-tracker that has resulted begins with its title-cut, which thrusts forth a wash of heavy post-rock that makes an impression in weight as much as space before turning to the more grounded, propulsive, aggressive and punkishly noise-caked “Apathy” and closer “Flowers in Your Garden,” which turns traditional heavy rock riffery on its head with frenetic drum work and rhythmic turns that feel born of modern progressive metal. Significant as the crunch factor and aggro pulsations are, Criterion isn’t at all without a corresponding sense of atmosphere, and though there isn’t much tying these three tracks together, for a first EP, there doesn’t need to be. Let that come later. For now, the boot to the ass is enough.

Marmora on Thee Facebooks

Marmora on Bandcamp


Mouth, Live ’71

mouth live 71

Perhaps in part as a holdover between their 2017 second album, Vortex (review here), and the impending Floating to be issued in 2018, German progressive retroists Mouth offer Live ’71. No, it was not actually recorded in 1971. Nor, to my knowledge, was it recorded in 2071 and sent back in time in a slingshot maneuver around the sun. It’s just a play on the raw, captured-from-the-stage sound of the 55-minute set, which opens at a 19-minute sprawl with “Vortex” itself and only deep-dives further from there, whether it’s into the keyboard throb of “Parade,” the nuanced twists of “Into the Light” or the more straightforward riffing of “On the Boat.” There’s room for all this scope and the stomp of “Master Volume Voice” in a Mouth set, it would seem, and if Live ’71 is indeed a stopgap, it’s one that shows off the individualized personality of the long-running band who seem to still be exploring even as they approach the 20-year mark.

Mouth on Thee Facebooks

Mouth on Bandcamp


Les Lekin, Died with Fear

les lekin died with fear

A second full-length from Austrian heavy psych trio Les Lekin, Died with Fear is perhaps more threatening in its title than in its overall aesthetic. The four inclusions on the 43-minute follow-up to 2014’s All Black Rainbow Moon (review here) set their mission not necessarily in conveying terror or some overarching sense of darkness – though low end is a major factor throughout – as in cosmic hypnosis born of repetition and chemistry-fueled heavy psychedelic progressivism. Well at home in the extended and atmospheric “Orca” (10:41), “Inert” (10:21), “Vast” (8:59) and “Morph” (13:34), the three-piece of guitarist Peter G., bassist Beat B. and drummer Kerstin W. recorded live and in so doing held fast to what feels very much like a natural and developing dynamic between them, their material all the more fluid for it but carrying more of a sense of craft than most might expect from a release that, ostensibly, is based around jams. Sweeping and switched-on in kind, Died with Fear turns out to be remarkably vibrant for something under a banner so grim.

Les Lekin on Thee Facebooks

Tonzonen Records webstore


Leather Lung, Lost in Temptation

leather lung lost in temptation

Oh, they’re mad about it, to be sure. I’m not sure what ‘it’ ultimately is, but whatever, it’s got Leather Lung good and pissed off. Still, the Boston-based onslaught specialists’ debut full-length, Lost in Temptation, has more to its cacophony than sheer violence, and though that intelligence is somewhat undercut by the hey-check-it-out-it’s-cartoon-tits-and-also-because-snakes-are-like-wieners cover art, the marriage between fuckall noise intensity on “Gin and Chronic” and trades between growl-topped thrust and more open and melodic plod on “Shadow of the Scythe” and upbeat rock on “Momentum of Misfortune.” Put it in your “go figure” file that the closer “Destination: Void,” which is marked as an outro, is the longest inclusion on the 28-minute offering, but by then due pummel has been served throughout pieces like “Deaf Adder” and “Freak Flag” amid the willful stoner idolatry of “The Spice Melange,” so there’s texture in the assault as well. Yeah though, that cover. Woof.

Leather Lung on Thee Facebooks

Leather Lung on Bandcamp


Torso, Limbs

torso limbs

I won’t deny the strength of approach Austria’s Torso demonstrate across Limbs, their StoneFree Records debut LP, in the straightforward structures of songs like “Meaning Existence” or “Mirror of My Mind” or “Skinny and Bony” and the semi-acoustic penultimate grown-up-grunge alternarocker “Down the Highway,” but it’s hard to listen to the nine-minute spread of “Red Moon” in the midsection of the album and not come away from its patient psychedelic execution thinking of it as a highlight. Shades of post-rock and moodier fare make themselves known in “Come Closer” and the righteously melodic “Ride Up,” and closer “Voices” delivers a resounding payoff, but it’s “Red Moon” that summarizes the atmospheric and emotional scope with which Torso are working and most draws together the various elements at play into a cohesive singularity. One hopes it’s a model they’ll follow going forward, but neither should doing so necessarily draw away from the songwriting prowess they show here. It’s a balance that, having been struck, feels ready to be manipulated.

Torso on Thee Facebooks

StoneFree Records website


Jim Healey, Just a Minute More

jim healey just a minute more

Companioned immediately by a digital release of the demos on which it’s based, including four other songs that didn’t make the cut of the final, studio-recorded EP, Jim Healey’s Just a Minute More conveys its sense of longing in the title and moves quickly to stake its place in a long-running canon of singer-songwriterisms. Healey, known for fronting metal and heavy rock acts like We’re all Gonna Die, Black Thai, Set Fire, etc., could easily come across as a case of dual personality in the sweetly, unabashedly sentimental, acoustic-based opener “The Road” or the more-plugged-in “You and I” at the outset, but in the fuzzed-out centerpiece “Swamp Thing,” the emotionally weighted memorable hook of “Faced,” and the piano-topped payoff of closer “Burn Up,” the 18-minute EP unfurls a sense of variety and a full-band sound that sets the project Jim Healey on its own course even apart from the man himself. Some of those other demos aren’t too bad either. Just saying.

Jim Healey on Thee Facebooks

Jim Healey on Bandcamp


Daxma, The Head Which Becomes the Skull


Signed to Magnetic Eye for the release, Oakland post-metal five-piece Daxma answer the ambition of their half-hour single-song 2016 debut EP, The Nowhere of Shangri-La, with the even-fuller-length The Head Which Becomes the Skull, demonstrating a clear intent toward sonic patience and ambient reach that balances subtle builds and crashes with engaging immersiveness and nod. Three of the six total inclusions top 10 minutes, and within opener “Birth” (10:53), “Abandoning All Hope” (11:34) and the penultimate “Our Lives Will be Erased by the Shifting Sands of the Desert” (13:42), one finds significant breadth, but not to be discounted either are the roll of “Wanderings/Beneath the Sky,” the avant feel of the closing title-track or even the 80-second drone interlude “Aufheben,” which like all that surrounds it, feeds into a consuming ambience that undercuts the notion of The Head Which Becomes the Skull as a debut album for its purposefulness and evocative soundscaping.

Daxma on Thee Facebooks

Magnetic Eye Records on Bandcamp


The Re-Stoned, Chronoclasm

the re-stoned chronoclasm

For their first new outing since they revisited their debut EP in 2016 with Reptiles Return (review here), Moscow instrumentalists The Re-Stoned cast forth Chronoclasm, a six-track long-player of new material recorded over 2015 and 2016 that ties together its near-hour-long runtime with a consistency of guitarist Ilya Lipkin’s lead tone and a steady interweaving of acoustic elements. “Human Without Body,” “Save Me Under the Emerald Glass,” “Psychedelic Soya Barbecue” and the title-track seem to have some nuance of countrified swing to their groove, but it’s lysergic swirl that ultimately rules the day throughout Chronoclasm, Yaroslav Shevchenko’s drums keeping the material grounded around Lipkin’s guitar and Vladimir Kislyakov’s bass. The trio are joined on percussion by Evgeniy Tkachev on percussion for the CD bonus track “Quartz Crystals,” which picks up from the quiet end of “Chronoclasm” itself and feels like a nine-minute improve extension of its serene mood, adding further progressive sensibility to an already wide scope.

The Re-Stoned on Thee Facebooks

Oak Island Records on Thee Facebooks


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Down with the Gypsies Sign to StoneFree Records

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

While there are elements at work that fall into the scope of the modern heavy blues rock one finds increasingly coming out of various Northern European corners, I think if one listens to a Down with the Gypsies track like the piano-into-later-percussion-exploration “Sky Full of Cars” from their 2017 debut album, Kassiopeia, the beginnings of an aesthetic standout can be heard taking shape. I’m also pretty sure the German five-piece are “down” with the gypsies in the sense of “I’m on board with this” rather than like a protest against the Romani people or anything like that, at least judging by the hippie-style presentation. That’s supposition on my part, but it seems like Down with the Gypsies have bigger fish to fry than discriminatory tribalism.

You can stream Kassiopeia in its entirety at the bottom of this post. StoneFree will have the album out on vinyl and CD with new cover art early next year, so keep an eye out and enjoy in the meantime.

The label announced the alliance as follows:

down with the gypsies

NEW SIGNING // band introduction #7 // Down with the Gypsies

We’re honoured to welcome Down with the Gypsies to the family.

After experiencing their intense live show at this years Void Fest, a real goosebumps moment, we decided to look no further and signed this five piece!

DOWN WITH THE GYPSIES is a young psych / folk / prog five piece, based in Karlsruhe, Germany and Linz, Austria. The band was formed in late 2015 by singer & guitarist Gaba Wierzbicka and drummer Tom Schneckenhaus.

In 2016 they already shared the stage with bands like DEATH HAWKS, Mondo Drag, Forever Pavot, Wucan and many more. The first demo tape was recorded in April, just before Melina Tzimou joined the band on guitar. After the show at Psyka Festival, Karlsruhe in October 2016, Maik left the band and Mitja Besen took over on bass.

As there were a lot of changes in their line-up, the band took a break from playing live and turned it into a creative process of songwriting and a period of finding their own sound.

In March 2017 their debut LP “Kassiopeia” was recorded & mixed by Sabina Sloth at KAPU Studio and self-released in July 2017. The band toured Europe for the first time in August & September.

In early 2018 “Kassiopeia” will be released in a new outfit on vinyl & cd. We’re looking forward to release this beast!

Down with the Gypsies are:
Gaba Wierzbicka – Vocals, Guitar, Keys
Melina Tzimou Weis – Guitar
Mitja Besen – Bass
Philipp Reiter – Flute, Clarinette, Percussion
Tom Schneckenhaus – Drums, Saz


Down with the Gypsies, Kassiopeia (2017)

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Lizardmen Premiere “Steady Rolling Man” Video

Posted in Bootleg Theater on October 30th, 2017 by JJ Koczan


German trio Lizardmen may have had their moniker in mind when they decided to call their 2016 StoneFree Records debut release Cold Blooded Blues (review here), but the truth is there’s very little frigid about it. Instead, the full-length comes across with an immediate tonal warmth, basking in neo-heavy fuzz and a post-Truckfigthers energy to which Lizardmen — the lineup comprised of guitarist/vocalist Nikki Engelbrecht, bassist Niklas Giese (also Into the Wild) and drummer Tobias — bring their own spin in the form of a blend of thickened grunge and weighted blues rock. Opener “Dust” sets the tone in a hook that owes as much of its churn to the ’90s as to the late ’10s, and where the subsequent “Turn the Screw” feels in part derived from the post-Queens of the Stone Age quirk of “Monte Gargano” by the aforementioned Truckfighters, the way the track takes off in its second half belongs more purely to Lizardmen themselves, and offers a clear signal that they’ve begun a process of exploring and discovering their sound and set forth to distinguish themselves from their influences.

That thread holds as “Seven” introduces more of their side rooted in blues progressions, and this will come up again later in the album on the penultimate “Steady Rolling Man” as well. The six-plus-minute track builds off a Robert Johnson original, “I’m a Steady Rollin’ Man,” recorded circa 1937, a sample of which also leads off in Lizardmen‘s new video, as if to emphasize the point. From there, however, Lizardmen coat the Delta blues vibe in fuzz riffing and a hard-driven groove, turning the line “You can’t give your sweet woman everything she wants at one time” from Johnson‘s version into their own “I ain’t got what you need — fuck off” as they rock out in an open space with their tour van behind them, standing ready to carry that message forth to any and all ears willing to hear it. As they add a psychedelic break and album-highlight solo in the song’s midsection, joints are rolled, weed is smoked and what looks like good times are had, so clearly, despite their protests to the contrary, they’ve got what somebody needs.

“Steady Rolling Man” caps with a final chorus before giving way to the crashing opening of nine-minute finale “The Cannibal,” which unfolds a chaos of its own in a more fuzzy bounce, psychedelia, and a particularly aggressive march that caps with a return of its initial thrust, so while the song before is catchy, righteously and thoroughly baked and born of multiple sonic traditions, it doesn’t necessarily speak to the entirety of Cold Blooded Blues from whence it comes. Fortunately, the whole thing is streaming on Bandcamp — also at the bottom of this post — for those who’d seek a deeper dive.

And the video makes a solid argument for one. Check it out below and please enjoy:

Lizardmen, “Steady Rolling Man” official video premiere

LIZARDMEN – you can hear the social isolation of the cold-blooded, feel the scaly saurian skin that spurns all touch. Sometimes, a guitar solo cleanses you like a venomous fang, and the white-hot pain creeps through your blood vessels straight into your heart.

Beasts in disguise invite you to revel in playful melodies or driving rhythms, but as soon as frontman Nikki approaches the mic, the grimy Grunge inevitably cracks the surface. His vocals are rough and alien, like after decades of silence – but at the same time gripping in his subliminal ire. The hooks implant themselves in your lobes after the first playthrough, as stubborn as termites in a rotten tree, hollow you out, may yet wrest a tear or two from your eye – would not the bone-dry sound swallow them up in the same instant.

Lizardmen are:
Nikki – Vocals/Guitar
Tobias – Drums
Niklas – Bass

Lizardmen, Cold Blooded Blues (2016)

Lizardmen on Thee Facebooks

Lizardmen on Instagram

Lizardmen at Stone Free

Lizardmen on Bandcamp

Lizardmen at StoneFree Records

StoneFree Records on Thee Facebooks

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Succopuss Premiere “Back in Hell” Video; Self-Titled EP out March 31

Posted in Bootleg Theater on March 24th, 2017 by JJ Koczan


It starts out innocently enough — easy taps on the ride cymbal, a smoky, bluesy, Mark Lanegan-style vocal delivery — smooth in its inclusion of sax, in its tone and overall execution. But the song is called “Back in Hell,” so you you know trouble’s not far off, and indeed, Vienna duo Succopuss raise a bit of it before they’re through. The song comes from their upcoming StoneFree Records self-titled EP, set to release March 31 as a limited four-song 10″ vinyl. Heavy blues is the foundation but not necessarily the limit of what vocalist/guitarist Tobias Paul and drummer Krystof Hümer bring to bear in the track, and from the classic reefer-in-the-dancehall feel of the transition to the chorus to the deceptively thick guitar push that serves as payoff, “Back in Hell” plays cleverly around notions of sonic heft throughout its six-plus minutes.

As to how “Back in Hell” might stand in line with its companion cuts “Succopuss,” “Death Groove” and “Black Flash,” I don’t know as I haven’t heard the full release, but “Black Flash” and maybe the eponymous opener (though it was spelled differently) could also be found on the band’s 2013 debut full-length, Austrian Power Kush, albeit in much rawer form. Much rawer. Like garage rock. Maybe that vibe shows up in the Succopuss EP as well, but “Back in Hell” plays it with a cooler and more patient head on the whole and a fuller sound, and so makes a fitting introduction if you, like me, are taking on the band for the first time with the new offering. Likewise, the video by Christian Fischer is pastoral in its vibe emphasizing a visual flow that feeds off the energy of the song while engaging its own narrative.

If you think you might be able to dig it — and if you do, you just might — you can check out the clip for “Back in Hell” below. More info, preorder links for Succopuss‘ Succopuss EP, and other whatnot follow beneath, courtesy of the PR wire.

Hope you enjoy:

Succopuss, “Back in Hell” official video

Video-Premiere for the first Single “Back In Hell” of their upcoming EP shot by Filmmaker CHRISTIAN FISCHER.

Succopuss is the name of a rock and roll, stoner, blues duo based in Vienna, founded after Tobias Paul (vocals, guitar) and Krystof Hümer (drums) met each other at a nightclub in their hometown 2013, one dressed up as a sailorman and the other as Nick Cave. Tobias’ 24-year-old voice sounding more like he had already lived decades of rock and roll lifestyle, complementary to Krystof’s drumming, a rhythmic eardrum stimulating penetration.

Their notorious live performances, with jam passages often resulting in more or less obvious acoustic sexual innuendos, are a damage of space and time, causing the crowd flashbacks to a more analog era, when psychedelics were taken before breakfast.

They recorded their “Succopuss EP” which will be released soon as a limited 10″ Vinyl Version (Black/Mint)

Death Groove
Back In Hell
Black Flesh

Pre-Order for Succopuss 10” is available now and comes in a tasty limited edition via StoneFree Records, Artwork done by KVSH:
Limited to 300 Pieces – 10″ Black Vinyl 33rpm
Limited to 200 Pieces – 10″ Mint Vinyl 33rpm


Release set to 31st of March 2017

Succopuss is:
Krystof Hümer – drums, percussions
Tobias Paul – vocals, guitar

Succopuss on Thee Facebooks

Succopuss on Bandcamp

Succopuss at StoneFree Records

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