PH Post “We Fly High” Video

Posted in Bootleg Theater on May 10th, 2017 by JJ Koczan

ph photo Elias Jokiranta

It’s hardly a we’re-a-band-in-our-rehearsal-space-with-a-GoPro-or-two kind of video, but if that’s what you’d expect from Finnish post-everything experimentalists PH — formerly Mr. Peter Hayden — then you probably haven’t been paying attention. After swapping out their moniker for the simple two letters that have served as their luminescent on-stage logo for their years together, the group aligned with respected purveyor Svart Records for a somewhat unexpected fourth outing, Eternal Hayden (review here), earlier this year, moving themselves beyond a stated trilogy of full-lengths and essentially beginning a new era for the band.

Some of that, I think even they would admit, is bookkeeping. Mr. Peter Hayden offered a thematic stretch across 2010’s Faster than Speed (review here), 2012’s Born a Trip (review here) and 2014’s Archdimension Now (review here), to be sure, and no shortage of sprawl in their drone-laden process, and as they look back at what they’ve accomplished — to wit, the 16-minute opener of Eternal Hayden is called “Looking back at Mr. Peter Hayden” — they’re conscious as well of the need for sonic progression. Hence the corresponding later cuts “Reach,” “Higher,” and “Rock and Roll Future.” These songs are aspirational, looking forward, and that puts second track “We Fly High” right where it belongs: in the present tense.

At a seven-minute lumber, “We Fly High” makes an excellent representation for where PH are in this moment of transition that Eternal Hayden captures. They’ve already gotten some mileage out of the piece, having previously released it as a single in 2014 (streamed here), but as well as it suits their purposes one can hardly argue against its inclusion on the record as well. It earns its spot, in other words. As for the video, it’s much more of an ambient visualization than the standard fare, put together by Jonne Pitkänen as the kind of thing that might appear on a screen behind the group as they play live, mostly in the dark from my experience, with light flashing from the aforementioned logo. If you’ve never had the pleasure of seeing them, it’s quite a trip.

In any case, a couple months now removed from the release of Eternal Hayden, I’m happy to have this excuse to sit again and fill my brain to the point of explosion with its atmospheric intensity, and if you’d like to do the same — and I know you would — you can check out “We Fly High” below. Come on, you’ve got seven minutes in your day to give over to mind expansion. You know you do.

PR wire info follows the video. Please enjoy:

PH, “We Fly High” visualization

From album Eternal Hayden.

Visual magick performed by Jonne Pitkänen with his all-analog self-crafted gear.

Finnish meta-rocking freebirds Mr. Peter Hayden, now referring to themselves just by their PH-insignia, are back with a new album. Their fourth full-length Eternal Hayden is released through Svart Records on March 10th 2017.

“This album is all about letting go and achieving, reaching something more after giving up everything. It is a guide to spiritual growth, ascension and overall progression towards freedom. At the same time it is a pre-written vision coming true aptly depicting our journey as a band and a spiritual entity.”

Eternal Hayden is the capstone, not only for their discography so far, but also for their whole existence. Their return from the voyage through trilogy of albums exploring the depths of mind, time and dimensions finally to reveal what it was all about. This album is everything they have ever done before and fair share of what they are going towards in the future, but performed in a manner none of the earlier albums were. It’s as much a return to the time before the trilogy as it is a brand new start, the future and the past.

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PH on Twitter

Svart Records website

Svart Records on Thee Facebooks

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Review & Track Premiere: Alunah, Solennial

Posted in audiObelisk, Reviews on March 1st, 2017 by JJ Koczan

alunah solennial

[Click play above to hear the premiere of ‘A Forest’ from Alunah’s Solennial. Album is out March 17 on Svart Records.]

Visions of countryside rituals, changing seasons, old growth forests and the quiet, wistful contemplations that these ideas can inspire are nothing new atmospherically for Midlands four-piece Alunah, who from their earliest goings have had a strong sense of aesthetic mindfulness and set about developing it. 2017 marks a decade since their first demo, Crystal Voyage, and what they’ve accomplished in the last 10 years is considerable, from their nascent Fall to Earth EP in 2008 and 2009’s split with Queen Elephantine (review here) up through Solennial, their fourth album, which aligns them with respected purveyor Svart Records and brings forth their most complex and deepest-running work yet.

One can trace a clear line of progression on Alunah‘s albums, across 2010’s Call of Avernus (review here), 2012’s White Hoarhound (review here) and 2014’s Awakening the Forest (review here), but the eight tracks/43 minutes of Solennial celebrate a particular moment of arrival for them. Working alongside much-lauded producer and Conan bassist/vocalist Chris Fielding at Skyhammer Studio, Alunah — guitarist/vocalist Sophie Day, guitarist Dave Day, bassist Daniel Burchmore and drummer Jake Mason — bring more of an ambient sensibility to their output than ever before, and while Fielding is known for his own crushing tones and those he’s able to bring out of others in the studio, and Solennial is plenty heavy in its raw sound, it’s the spaces that Alunah create and fill that allow these songs to come to life in the vivid, colorful way they do.

To wit, the layers of guitar in subdued intro “The Dying Soil” arrive both far forward and far back, and the room between them comes populated by foreboding string sounds. It’s more than a minute before Mason‘s drums enter with thudding toms behind Sophie‘s vocals, calm and descriptive, and the tension the band creates in that moment isn’t unlike what SubRosa brought to “Despair is a Siren” last year, but as “The Dying Soil” ends with a single snare hit snapping the listener to attention, they of course take their own path into the woods. Those curious, as I was, to hear what kinds of tones Alunah would get out of recording at Skyhammer receive an answer in about the first six seconds of “Light of Winter,” which begins with guitar alone proffering a rich, full and churning fuzz, warm and engrossing. It becomes a defining element of Solennial and lends the band a foundation from which to wonder as they will and do.

“Light of Winter” itself is more straightforward in its rolling groove, though Burchmore adds intriguing fills on bass as he’ll do even more righteously in the subsequent “Feast of Torches,” and as songwriting has always been a strength for Alunah, it’s little surprise that “Light of Winter” begins a succession of memorable cuts running through the rest of side A and beyond. And to Solennial‘s credit, it stays informed by the quiet beginning it goes on from “The Dying Soil,” which seems to find an echo at the start of “Feast of Torches.” Though the latter moves into its nod patiently, that only seems to make it more comfortable once it gets there, and the hook is marked out by the addition of male backing vocals behind Sophie, which will come even more to prominence later on the penultimate “Lugh’s Assembly” and bring a gothic flair to the catchiness in the meantime. “Feast of Torches” explores heavy-psych lead work briefly but ends on its chorus and gives way to the ultra-heavy thud and rumble of “The Reckoning of Time,” which clears to let the first verse take hold over guitar and empty space, gradually brought to a movement of airy tones, layered voice and mid-paced toms that kicks into later-Iommi-style riffing.

It’s ultimately with “Feast of Torches” and “The Reckoning of Time” that the narrative of Solennial seems to really let itself be felt. As Alunah shift into “Fire of Thornborough Henge,” “Petrichor,” “Lugh’s Assembly” and the closing The Cure cover, “A Forest,” the lyrics seem to tie together ideas across tracks, and indeed across albums, as Awakening the Forest is alluded to several times, first in “Fire of Thornborough Henge” and then again in “Petrichor” directly. The final two cuts mention forests as well — you might say it’s the title of the last song, which is the first recorded cover Alunah have done — in a more general way, seemingly as a metaphor for confusion, grief, and the seeking of resolution. This would also tie Solennial to its predecessor, but if Alunah needed to distinguish their fourth outing from their third, they do so both in the execution of this conceptual focus and in the performances within the tracks themselves, whether it’s Burchmore‘s bass, which continues to shine, or Sophie‘s vocals, which show greater range throughout but make a particular highlight of “Fire of Thornborough Henge” and carry “Petrichor” through the bulk of its brooding run — string sounds returning deep in the mix along with plotted lead lines of weeping guitar — until the build playing out subtly behind her reaches its apex in greater force of guitar, bass and drums.

Further, Alunah grow more brazen in toying with structure on “Lugh’s Assembly,” the longest inclusion at 7:52. It essentially breaks in half just about four minutes in, departing its initial verse and chorus in favor of a quieter, progressive flow. The drift is held together first by Sophie‘s vocals and then by a fuzzy guitar solo, and “Lugh’s Assembly” rounds out with the reintroduction of those backing vocals for a few lines, again, goth in their impression. They’re quickly arrived and gone — it really is just a few lines — but a new dynamic for Alunah and a point of potential future growth. As Mason‘s drums pick up to start “A Forest,” joined soon by guitar and bass, the atmosphere remains affected by the track prior, though the intro has little in the end to do with the plodding that emerges in the finale at about a minute into the total six-plus.

One can strain to hear some Electric Wizard brought to the closer at points, but again, this is folded into Alunah‘s overarching intent, which has become all the more individual over time and reaches new heights in that regard on Solennial as well. Ending with a momentary push-into-slowdown that brings the strings back up to close along with the last crashes, “A Forest” even as an adopted song underscores the boldness of the four-piece’s forward movement here, instrumentally, vocally, in arrangement, craft and production. Now past their first 10 years, Alunah have yet to conjure an offering that did not build off what they’ve done in the past while introducing new aspects to their sound, and though they’ve never been prone to drastic shifts — that is, one can feel reasonably certain in putting on “The Reckoning of Time” that they’re not about to start playing grindcore for no reason in the middle of it — they’ve only become steadier in their approach. Solennial basks in a solar ritualizing true to its etymology, but moreover, it carries a feeling of mastery behind its creation that stands in henge-like testament to Alunah‘s hard-won maturity as a band. By no means to they seem like they are finished growing, but then, a forest never is.

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Hallatar to Release Debut Album No Stars upon the Bridge this Fall on Svart Records

Posted in Whathaveyou on March 1st, 2017 by JJ Koczan

Hard not to be intrigued at the prospect of Hallatar‘s debut album or touched by the story behind the band’s formation. The Finnish trio got together at the behest of multi-instrumentalist Juha Raivio (also Swallow the Sun) to pay homage to his wife and Trees of Eternity bandmate, Aleah Starbridge, who passed away last year prior to the release of the band’s Hour of the Nightingale debut album on Svart Records. Hallatar brings Raivio together with Amorphis vocalist Tomi Joutsen, who’ll be performing Starbridge‘s lyrics, and ex-HIM drummer Gas Lipstick, and their own first outing, titled No Stars upon the Bridge, is due out this Fall, also through Svart.

It’s a crushing story to say the least, and all three members of the new outfit offer comment below via the PR wire on how it all came together and how they hope to turn tragedy into something beautiful in Starbridge‘s honor.

Goes like this:

hallatar

Members of Swallow The Sun, Amorphis, and HIM form HALLATAR – prepare SVART debut

Svart Records announces the signing of Hallatar. The first fruit of this union shall be the band’s debut album, No Stars Upon the Bridge, which is based on the lyrics and poems of Aleah Starbridge, and is tentatively slated for release this autumn.

Although a brand-new name, Hallatar features among its ranks Swallow the Sun and Trees of Eternity guitarist Juha Raivio, Amorphis vocalist Tomi Joutsen, and former HIM drummer Gas Lipstick. In fact, one could see Hallatar as an extension of Trees of Eternity, whose massively acclaimed debut for Svart, Hour of the Nightingale, served as the swansong of vocalist Aleah Starbridge.

Juha Raivio explains the genesis of Hallatar: “After the death of my beloved and my life partner Aleah Starbridge last April, I have been gathering writings, lyrics, and the poems of Aleah to keep them safe and close to my heart. About one month after the world came down on the blackest day of my life on April 18th, I knew I needed to pick up the guitar and try to create something or I would be truly destroyed. And something did arrive out of the darkness, and I wrote the music for the Hallatar album in a week’s time. I don’t have much memory of this week, not a memory of a single day of writing the music. But all I remember when going into this abyss of the writing process was a promise to myself that whatever music would come out, I would not touch or change anything of it afterwards. What mattered was that the music would stay forever as an absolute truth of those moments as they came out. I asked my good friends – and amazing musicians – Tomi Joutsen and Gas Lipstick if they would want to record this music with me, and both of them said yes without even hearing a note of it. I am forever grateful to both of them for sharing this road with me; even the weight of the process has not been easy to carry, or will be.”

Adds Gas Lipstick, “I am grateful and very honored to be asked to join this band. Juha is a dear friend of mine since many years ago, and when he told me about his vision for Hallatar and asked me to join, I said yes instantly – I just had to be part of this amazing journey. I had never heard a single note of the music before I gave my ‘yes’ because I didn’t need to. Juha has been one of my favorite songwriters already for years, and I knew that Hallatar will be a very deep, personal, and one-of-a-kind story which I wanted to help him to bring alive.”

Continues Tomi Joutsen: “I have known Juha from the year 2007, when we worked together for the first time. A couple years ago, I had the privilege to meet Juha’s life partner, Aleah Starbridge, who was such a beautiful person, inside and outside, and had an angelic voice out of this world. Aleah lent her voice on the latest Amorphis album, and we called her ‘the whispering ghost.’ When I heard about Aleah’s passing last spring, it came as a total shock and heartbreaking news out of the blue. When Juha asked me if I would want to be part of this album and carry Aleah’s flame with him, I didn’t have to think twice. When everything has been taken, all that is left is the music. The sorrow strips us naked and leave us humble – this is how it sounds like.”

Concludes Raivio, “What we recorded was a raw moment in time honoring the memory, lyrics, and poems of Aleah Starbridge with all its pain, beauty and darkness. There are no stars left upon the bridge to light the way anymore, but the music will always be a dim light, even in the darkest of the night.”

HALLATAR is:
Tomi Joutsen – vocals
Gas Lipstick – drums
Juha Raivio – guitar, bass, keys

https://www.facebook.com/Hallatardoom/
https://treesofeternity.bandcamp.com/
www.svartrecords.com
www.facebook.com/svartrecords
www.twitter.com/svartrecords

Trees of Eternity, “A Million Tears” lyric video

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Sabbath Assembly Release Rites of Passage May 12 on Svart

Posted in Whathaveyou on February 22nd, 2017 by JJ Koczan

sabbath-assembly-photo-Justina-Villanueva

Six albums deep, Sabbath Assembly remain something of an anomaly even in the cult rock set. Their last outing, 2015’s self-titled, made no effort to shy away from its metallic underpinnings, and between that and the member changes that seem to surround the group on the regular, I’m not even a little confident in predicting what their new one, titled Rites of Passage, might have to say for itself.

A May 12 release date has been marked by Svart Records, and it’s almost certain they’ll leak some audio prior to that, but Sabbath Assembly has proven elusive since their heady conceptual days around 2009’s Eno ot Derotser and 2010’s Restored to One, so yeah, what we’re getting this time around is anyone’s best guess.

And not knowing, frankly, is part of the fun.

The PR wire brings art and details:

sabbath-assembly-rites-of-passage

SABBATH ASSEMBLY set release date for new SVART album

Today, Svart Records sets May 12th as the international release date for Sabbath Assembly’s highly anticipated sixth album, Rites of Passage. The album shall be released on vinyl, CD, and digital formats.

Led by vocalist Jamie Myers (ex-Hammers of Misfortune), Sabbath Assembly anno 2017 features guitarist Kevin Hufnagel (Gorguts, Dysrhythmia), who has been with the band since 2011; original Sabbath Assembly drummer Dave Nuss; bassist Johnny Deblase, who also played on the band’s self-titled album; and the new addition of second guitarist Ron Varod (Kayo Dot, Psalm Zero, Zvi). Rites of Passage marks a moment in which Sabbath Assembly truly “comes of age” as a unique combination of its members, creating progressive metal influenced by Gorguts and Hammers of Misfortune while maintaining a melodic edge true to the roots of the band in the hymnody of the Process Church of the Final Judgment.

Thematically, Rites of Passage is a reflection on the complexity of the transitional stages of life. Ethnographer Arnold van Gennep first defined “rites of passage” in 1960 as birth, childhood, puberty, marriage, parenthood, religious initiation, and funerals. In our current age, when many eschew these specific rites, Sabbath Assembly’s newest songs define transitional moments based on experiences in their own lives that have left them feeling truly changed. The songs on Rites of Passage include stories of losing one’s religion (rather than initiation), dissolution of a relationship (rather than marriage), and managing the dementia and physical decline of a loved one (as more profound than a funeral rite).

In a time when others in the occult rock genre remain preoccupied with fantasy and dark mysticism, Sabbath Assembly finds the most profound of transformative moments in everyday experience. Rites of Passage presents its listeners with a set of songs that the band hopes will mirror their own experiences of transition, and in some way provide necessary passage. First track premiere as well as video to be revealed imminently. Cover art, by Alex Reisfar, and tracklisting are as follows:

Tracklisting for Sabbath Assembly’s Rites of Passage
1. Shadows Revenge
2. Angels Trumpets
3. I Must Be Gone
4. Does Love Die
5. Twilight of God
6. Seven Sermons to the Dead
7. The Bride of Darkness

www.sabbathassembly.com
www.facebook.com/sabbathassembly
www.svartrecords.com
www.facebook.com/svartrecords
www.twitter.com/svartrecords

Sabbath Assembly, “Apparition of the Revolution” official video

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Mansion and Cardinal Wyrm Release Split Single

Posted in Whathaveyou on February 16th, 2017 by JJ Koczan

Finnish narrative cultists Mansion offered up a couple remixes of their 2015 single Altar Sermon (review here) late last year, and together with their new split with Cardinal Wyrm, the intention seems to be to keep momentum going leading into their awaited debut full-length, which I hear is in progress. That can only be good news after the band’s 2013 We Shall Live (review here) and 2014 Uncreation (review here) EPs, and the new single — which, hey, is limited to 50 copies, released on Valentine’s Day, and streaming nowhere — pairs them with their doomly Californian labelmates working on a theme of both bands covering Joy DivisionMansion taking on “The Eternal” while Cardinal Wyrm lead off the release with “Exercise One.”

Cardinal Wyrm had their Cast Away Souls full-length out late last year on Svart, and that’s streaming in full below, as well as the aforementioned Mansion remixes. I haven’t heard the covers yet, but will hope I get to before the platters are gone, if they’re not already. Pressing is by their pressed by collaborative RR Records imprint, and it’s available only from the bands directly via their Thee Facebooks/Bandcamp pages.

Info and buy links follow, as sent along the PR wire:

mansion

cardinal wyrm

Mansion / Cardinal Wyrm split 7″

Californian epic doom wanderers Cardinal Wyrm and Finland’s doomed congregation Mansion collaborate on this unique transmission of heart and soul. Released on the day of the lords 2017, this split 7” offers insight into the shadowplay of dead souls wandering the interzone, a perfect candidate for that one record you’d play as the new dawn fades into the wilderness of isolation.

The bands have neither walked in line nor rendered these songs as a means to an end, instead interpreting each track as its own ceremony, the sound of music as firm and brittle as glass, bringing them to the brink at which something must break into the realm of disorder. The only mistake you could make would be to passover this limited-issue 7” – pick it up while it lasts!

Cardinal Wyrm – Exercise One
Mansion – The Eternal

In a recent, depressing recording session we produced our version of the Joy Division song Eternal with guest vocals by brother Albert. We leave the year 2016 behind on this bleak note. Repent.

– Mikael / Mansion

https://cardinalwyrm.bandcamp.com/
https://www.facebook.com/Cardinal-Wyrm-157603967620024/
https://weshalllive.bandcamp.com/album/mansion-cardinal-wyrm-split-7
https://www.facebook.com/mansionalma/

Mansion, Altar Sermon Remix 2016

Cardinal Wyrm, Cast Away Souls (2016)

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Review & Track Premiere: PH, Eternal Hayden

Posted in Whathaveyou on January 26th, 2017 by JJ Koczan

ph eternal hayden

[Click play above to stream ‘Reach’ from PH’s Eternal Hayden. Album is out March 10 on Svart Records.]

If you think your mind might be up to the task, PH‘s Eternal Hayden best offers its ethereal, droning delights of cosmic doom in full headphone submersion. The question is whether one can listen without being overwhelmed by its pulsations, by its strong lines of synth, by the guitar that scours underneath and by the vocals that speak through the wash no less a part of it. Eternal Hayden is the first album by the Finnish collective through Svart Records, and the first to be released under the moniker of PH after a trilogy of full-lengths issued as Mr. Peter Hayden between 2010 and 2014. Those records, 2010’s Faster than Speed (review here), 2012’s Born a Trip (review here) and 2014’s Archdimension Now (review here) all arrived via Kauriala Society and were works of increasing scope one into the next until the band, at the end of Archdimension Now, seemed finally to obliterate themselves through sonic means.

In other words, I thought they were done. And maybe they were, but, taking the new name PH from the illuminated logo/symbol they play beneath on stage — also seen on the Eternal Hayden cover art, in a fitting declaration of purpose — the band seem to be willfully embarking on a new era with these five tracks, and where the first three Mr. Peter Hayden albums broadened exponentially, first to over an hour, then to about two hours, their first as PH seems to reset the sphere, clocking in at a manageable, single LP’s 37 minutes. Hell, the second to last song, “Higher,” is under four minutes — and it’s one of three cuts included that would qualify individually as the shortest song the band has ever done. Clearly a shift in approach is underway.

And PH are well aware of it. Consciousness and purpose at the root of their work are nothing new — all along, they’re what’s made it breathtakingly progressive instead of haphazard in its experimentalism — but Eternal Hayden itself seems to become the band’s process of resetting, as much how they’re explaining it to themselves as how they’re explaining it to their audience. They begin with 16:45 of self-examination on “Looking back at Mr. Peter Hayden,” the opener and longest track (immediate points) that directly tackles the issue of where they were and where they are through an emergent noise wash and richly atmospheric build, post-metal as much as it’s post everything else, but underscored by low end rumble enough to keep the guitars, synth, vocoder-style effects-laden singing and open-spaced ambience from spiriting itself away into nothingness. Its drones have underlying movement, in other words, and if Eternal Hayden is starting off with this extension of its self-awareness, then PH‘s conclusion doesn’t seem to be without its sentimentality, though after about seven minutes in, the band goes into full-crush mode and plunders for the next minute-plus until drones, synth and other un-drummed atmospherics take hold for the duration, hypnotic, immersive and — yes — potentially overwhelming on headphones, depending largely on the volume at which one consumes/is consumed by them.

ph

At various moments minimal and others seemingly endless in its depth, the ending of “Looking back at Mr. Peter Hayden” feeds seamlessly into the resonant crashing of “We Fly High,” which Mr. Peter Hayden released as a single in 2014 (review here), prior to the release of Archdimension Now. Re-recorded and at least somewhat reinterpreted from its first showing, it ups the plod factor from the opener while holding to the post-Jesu vocal-style and wash of keyboard melody, coming to a swirling apex as it hits the halfway mark and receding into ambience from there. Crashes are peppered throughout, and the bassline remains consistent to hold it together, but “We Fly High” soothes as much as it crushes, and its position between the past and the future makes it the perfect linear fit as PH move into Eternal Hayden‘s final trio of cuts.

All three of Eternal Hayden‘s final titles — “Reach,” “Higher” and “Rock and Roll Future” — give some indication of moving forward, and they do likewise in their sound as well, feeding one into the next and finding a place between heavy post-rock, cosmic drone and doomly lumbering. “Reach” is backed by a swirl that holds for the entirety of its four and a half minutes, and though these songs are all shorter, as noted, PH maintain the sense of sprawl brought to “Looking back at Mr. Peter Hayden” and “We Fly High” as they execute the turn into this new aural reality. Even the keys in “Higher” seem to nod, and the guitar line is happy to follow suit, a crash gradually arising that echoes “We Fly High” without being quite as direct until the last minute or so, when joined by what might be buried vocals, more layers of guitar and further wash. It’s not necessarily about stripping down from where PH were at the start of Eternal Hayden so much as redirecting how the elements at play function to create a song — “Higher” could’ve just as easily been titled “More Efficient,” and as a standalone piece, it doesn’t lose anything for its sense of compression, particularly as its crescendo leads into the closer.

The last movement of this miniaturized trilogy, “Rock and Roll Future” brings the guitar line forward to emphasize the well-punctuated post-rock drift and the push that PH are able to bring to it, so that their material seems to drone even as its motion carries toward a clearheaded ending. One or two measures is all it takes. As “Rock and Roll Future” approaches the four-minute mark, the noise wash rises quickly, the song dissipates and that’s it. To conclude Eternal Hayden in such a fashion only highlights the purpose of the album as a whole — PH have made the transition to set themselves on a new path with this fourth and/or first record — and they’ve done so while sharing the process with their listeners on a meta level. That honesty of approach is rare, but moreover, as PH assess their past and their way forward, they engage the audience as a part of it. This is crucial to the immersion that Eternal Hayden creates with its depth of mix and atmospherics, and it makes it plain that as Mr. Peter Hayden become simply PH, they’re carrying pivotal lessons with them as to what that process means.

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Hymn, Perish: Rising to Fall

Posted in Reviews on January 25th, 2017 by JJ Koczan

hymn perish

I wouldn’t exactly call Hymn‘s debut album, Perish, hopeful. Released through respected purveyor Svart Records, the Oslo two-piece’s six-songer traffics way more in density, like some kind of module for chest compression accomplished through low end tones, and its forcefully-doomed atmosphere centers around a darkness that goes beyond moody in its presentation to be consuming in a metallic context. To that end, a stretch of blackened blastbeating like that in the penultimate “Spectre” is just one side of the extremity shown throughout, and even in its quiet spaces — the drone intro “Ritual” or post-midsection break in “Rise,” which follows — Perish holds firm to the notion that something is lurking around the next corner or at the start of the next measure.

As a first record, it unquestionably benefits from guitarist/bassist/vocalist Ole Rokseth and drummer Markus Støle‘s prior experience respectively in Buckaduzz and Tombstones, but, departing sound-wise somewhat from both outfits, Hymn approach an impulse toward the vicious from a different angle and push it further. Still, a more than nascent chemistry between Rokseth and Støle is palpable, bolstering the ideas from which Perish‘s 46-minute onslaught is constructed. Further cohesion is shown in conceptual ideas like positioning each of the tracks as a single-word title — “Ritual,” “Rise,” “Serpent,” “Hollow,” “Spectre” and finally, “Perish” — in a manner that both feels minimal and allows the listener to read some narrative progression between them.

While we’re deciding what to call and what not to call Perish, I wouldn’t go with “subtle” either, but that does not at all mean it has nothing to offer but pummel and bleakness. To coincide with the perceptible underlying complexity of its titles, the aesthetic Rokseth and Støle conjure throughout likewise balances between the raw and the full. With a recording, mix and master by Kim Lillestøl at Amper Tone Studio in Oslo, Perish can effectively scathe, as it does in the shouting madness in the second half of “Hollow,” and bask in massive lurch, as “Rise” does in its initial stages following the intro’s ambient tone-setting. The splitting up of “Ritual” and “Rise” at the start of the album is also telling. No doubt the two could’ve easily been presented as one track — “Rise” is already over 12 minutes long, another 1:46 would hardly make or break it — so the decision to push forward with a standalone intro has to be considered a conscious one, and the affect it has is to throw the listener’s expectation off.

hymn

So where Perish would otherwise simply be bookended by extended cuts — the finale title-track tops 10 minutes — the structure here becomes something else, something deeper. It is, in fact, a subtle aspect of presentation, but it makes a big difference in how Hymn seem to execute the rest of the record that follows “Ritual,” spanning genres fluidly in “Rise” before digging into what might be considered the meat of the tracklisting in “Serpent,” “Hollow” and “Spectre.” This trio succession — with roughly similar runtimes of 7:32, 7:50 and 6:28, respectively — digs into a core approach for Hymn in which tempos shift easily and Støle and Rokseth feel just as much at home in rolling forth a Neurosis-style swirl/churn on “Serpent” as a post-Conan roll on “Hollow” as a surprising turn into YOBian half-time-drum guitar gallop at the tail end of “Spectre.” Much to their credit, Hymn set their own context into which these elements are factored, and broaden their own sphere rather than simply derive parts of songs from familiar pieces.

That too can be related back to Rokseth and Støle working in other outfits, as well as the four years they’ve operated as Hymn, which is to say if they were brand new to a creative partnership, the balance of Perish might not provide such multifaceted nuance alongside its outward aggression. Nonetheless, that is what it proves out to be, and with “Rise” at the start of the proceedings (roughly), and the guitar-led push of “Perish” at the end, the point is only further driven into the audience’s collective skull. Again, forcefully. As the closer, the title-track feels especially tense in its early thrust and build, but before it’s three minutes into its total 10, the guitar and bass have dropped out and Rokseth is setting a foundation of bass on which the last delve into cacophony will be laid.

This stretch of ambience gives way to roll as they near the halfway point and, over its last several minutes, let “Perish” tear itself apart amid nodding push, feedback and noise — layered shouts and screams only emphasizing the feeling of molten chaos — but even as they seem to relinquish control of the assault, there’s a certain feeling of mastery as Hymn figuratively stand back, cross their arms and look at the devastation their material has wrought. That’s certainly as fitting an end for Perish as any I could think of, and unto their last fadeout, Støle and Rokseth demonstrate clear purpose behind the methods they employ. Perish embarks on a direction distinct in its brutality, and its varied approach bodes well for further trodding along Hymn‘s own path. Maybe it is subtle and hopeful after all, but whatever one ultimately calls it, Perish remains willfully defined by its sonic impact, and that’s plenty.

Hymn on Thee Facebooks

Hymn on Bandcamp

Svart Records website

Svart Records on Thee Facebooks

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Tomorrow’s Dream: 200+ of 2017’s Most Anticipated Releases

Posted in Features on January 23rd, 2017 by JJ Koczan

tomorrow's dream 2017

Looks like it’s going to be another busy 12 months ahead. It’s been a busy better-part-of-a-month already, so that stands to reason, but you should know that of the several years now that I’ve done these ‘Tomorrow’s Dream’ posts, this is the biggest one yet, with over 150 upcoming releases that — one hopes — will be out between today and the end of 2017.

Actually, at last count, the list tops 180. Do I really expect you to listen to all of them? Nope. Will I? Well, it would be nice. But what I’ve done is gone through and highlighted 35 picks and then built lists off that in order of likelihood of arrival. You’ll note the categories are ‘Gonna Happen and/or Likely Candidates,’ ‘Definitely Could Happen’ and ‘Would be Awfully Nice.’

Beyond that last one, anything else just seems like speculation — one might as well go “new Sabbath this year!” with zero info backing it up. The idea here is that no matter where a given band is placed, there has been some talk of a new release. In some cases, it’s been years, but I think they’re still worth keeping in mind.

Another caveat: You can expect additions to this list over the next week — probably album titles, band names people (fingers crossed) suggest in the comments, and so on — so it will grow. It always does. The idea is to build as complete a document as possible, not to get it all nailed down immediately, so please, if you have something to contribute and you’re able to do so in a non-prickish, “You didn’t include Band X and therefore don’t deserve to breathe the same air as me,” kind of way, please contribute.

Other than that, I think it’s pretty straightforward what’s going on here and I’ll explain the category parameters as we go, so by all means, let’s jump in.

— Tomorrow’s Dream 2017 —

Presented Alphabetically

1. Abrahma, TBA

Late last year, Paris heavy progressives Abrahma announced a new lineup and third full-length in progress. No reason to think it won’t come to fruition, and a follow-up to 2015’s Reflections in the Bowels of a Bird (review here) is an easy pick to look forward to. Even with the shift in personnel, it seems likely the band will continue their creative development, driven as they are by founding guitarist Seb Bismuth.

2. All Them Witches, Sleeping Through the War

all them witches sleeping through the warIf 2017 ended today, Sleeping Through the War would be my Album of the Year. Of course, there’s a lot of year to go, but for now, Nashville’s All Them Witches have set the standard with their second album for New West Records behind 2015’s Dying Surfer Meets His Maker (review here) and fourth overall outing. They’ve got videos up so far for “3-5-7” (posted here) and “Bruce Lee” (posted here). Both are most definitely worth your time. Out Feb. 24. Full review should be later this week.

3. Alunah, Solennial

Seems like UK forest riffers Alunah are on this list every year. Wishful thinking on my part. Nonetheless, their fourth LP and Svart Records debut, Solennial, is out March 17, and if the tease they gave already with the clip for “Fire of Thornborough Henge” (posted here) is anything to go from, its Chris Fielding-produced expanses might just be Alunah‘s most immersive yet.

4. Arbouretum, TBA

I asked the Baltimore folk fuzzers a while back on Thee Facebooks if they had a new record coming in 2017 and they said yes, so that’s what I’m going on here. The last Arbouretum album was 2013’s Coming out of the Fog (review here), and even with frontman Dave Heumann‘s 2015 solo outing, Here in the Deep (review here), factored in, you’d have to say they’re due. Keep an eye on Thrill Jockey for word and I’ll do the same.

5. Atavismo, Inerte

This is another one that already has a spot reserved for it on my Best-of-2017 year-end list. Spanish heavy psych rockers Atavismo up the progressive bliss level with their second full-length, Inerte, without losing the depth of style that made 2014’s Desintegración (review here) so utterly glorious. It probably won’t have the biggest marketing budget of 2017, but if you let Atavismo fly under your radar, you are 100 percent missing out on something special.

6. Bison Machine, TBA

In addition to the video for new track “Cloak and Bones” that premiered here, when Michigan raucousness-purveyors Bison Machine put out the dates for their fall 2016 tour, they included further hints of new material in progress. As much as I dug their earlier-2016 split with SLO and Wild Savages (review here) and 2015’s Hoarfrost (review here), that’s more than enough for me to include them on this list. Killer next-gen heavy rock.

7. Brothers of the Sonic Cloth, TBA

News of a follow-up to Brothers of the Sonic Cloth‘s 2015 Neurot Recordings self-titled debut (review here) came through in October, and it remains some of the best news I’ve heard about 2017 doings. Took them a while to get the first record out, so we’ll see what happens, but it kind of feels like looking forward to a comet about to smash into the planet and cause a mass extinction, and by that I mean awesome. Can’t get here soon enough.

8. Cloud Catcher, Trails of Kosmic Dust

cloud catcher trails of kosmic dustOkay, so maybe I jumped the gun and did a super-early review of Denver trio Cloud Catcher‘s second long-player and Totem Cat Records debut, Trails of Kosmic Dust, but hell, no regrets. Some albums require an early-warning system. Their 2015 debut, Enlightened Beyond Existence (discussed here), was a gem as well, but this is a band in the process of upping their game on every level, and the songwriting and momentum they hone isn’t to be missed.

9. Colour Haze, TBA

I’ve gotten some details on the upcoming full-length from Colour Haze. They do not include a title, artwork, audio, song titles or general direction. Less details, I guess, than word that the CD version of this answer to 2015’s To the Highest Gods We Know (review here) is set to come out next month, as ever, on Elektrohasch. That puts it out in time for Colour Haze‘s upcoming tour with My Sleeping Karma (announced here). Fingers crossed it happens. Colour Haze are perpetual top-albums candidates in my book.

10. Corrosion of Conformity, TBA

Signed to Nuclear Blast after being rejoined by guitarist/vocalist Pepper Keenan, North Carolina’s C.O.C. have been in the studio since last year. The lineup of Keenan, bassist/vocalist Mike Dean and guitarist Woody Weatherman and Reed Mullin on drums is the stuff of legend and last worked together on 2000’s America’s Volume Dealer, so no question this reunion makes for one of 2017’s most anticipated heavy rock records. They nailed the nostalgia factor on tour. Can they now add to their legacy?

11. Elder, TBA

I was incredibly fortunate about a month ago to visit progressive heavy rockers Elder at Sonelab in Easthampton, MA, during the recording process for their upcoming fourth album. I heard a couple of the tracks, and of course it was all raw form, but the movement forward from 2015’s Lore (review here) was palpable. That LP (on Stickman) brought them to a wider audience, and I expect no less from this one as well, since the farther out Elder go sound-wise, the deeper the level of connection with their listeners they seem to engage.

12. Electric Wizard, TBA

Could happen, could not happen. That’s how it goes. Announced for last Halloween. That date came and went. Word of trouble building their own studio surfaced somewhere along the line. That was the last I heard. Frankly, I wouldn’t be surprised if it showed up tomorrow, if it showed up in 2018, or if the band broke up and never put it out. They’re Electric Wizard. Anything’s possible.

13. John Garcia, The Coyote Who Spoke in Tongues

Out Jan. 28 on NapalmThe Coyote Who Spoke in Tongues (review here) is the first-ever acoustic album from former Kyuss frontman John Garcia, also of Unida, the reunited Slo BurnHermanoVista ChinoZun, etc. — basically the voice of desert rock. He does a couple Kyuss classics for good measure, but shines as well on the new/original tracks, and while it’s a piece for fans more than newcomers — that is, it helps if you know the original version of “Green Machine” — his presence remains as powerful as ever despite this new context.

14. Goya, Harvester of Bongloads

Riffs, dude. Goya seem to have them to spare. The Arizona-based wizard doomers have set a pretty prolific clip for themselves at this point, with at least two short releases out in 2016, one a 7″ of Nirvana covers (review here), and the The Enemy EP (review here). Set for a March 3 release through their own Opoponax Records imprint, Harvester of Bongloads continues the march into the abyss that 2015’s Obelisk (review here) and 2013’s 777 set in motion, finding the band coming more into their own as well. Creative growth — and bongloads! The best of both worlds.

15. Ides of Gemini, TBA

Ides of Gemini are set to record their yet-untitled third album with Sanford Parker early this year, and it will also mark their debut on Rise Above Records upon its release. They’ve also got a new lineup around vocalist Sera Timms and guitarist J. Bennett, so as they look to move forward from 2014’s Old World New Wave (review here), one can’t help but wonder what to expect, but to be honest, not knowing is part of the appeal, especially from a band who so readily specialize in the ethereal.

16. Kind, TBA

Three-fourths of Kind feature elsewhere on this list. Bassist Tom Corino plays in Rozamov. Drummer Matt Couto is in Elder. Vocalist Craig Riggs is in Roadsaw. And for what it’s worth, guitarist Darryl Shepherd has a new band coming together called Test Meat. How likely does that make Kind to release a second LP in 2017? I don’t know, but their 2015 Ripple Music debut, Rocket Science (review here), deserves a follow-up, and I know they’ve demoed some new songs. If it happens, great. If it’s 2018, at least these dudes will be plenty busy besides.

17. Lo-Pan, In Tensions

lo-pan in tensionsYes, Lo-Pan‘s In Tensions (review here) has already been released — CD/LP with an artbook on Aqualamb. It’s out. Limited numbers. You can get it now. Why include it on a list of most anticipated releases? Because that’s how strongly I feel about your need to hear it. The fruit of a shortlived lineup with guitarist Adrian Zambrano, it distinguishes itself from everything they’ve done before in style while still keeping to the core righteousness that one hopes the Ohio outfit will continue to carry forward. It’s more than a stopgap between albums. Listen to it.

18. The Midnight Ghost Train, TBA

It seems to have been a rough ride for hard-boogie specialists The Midnight Ghost Train since their 2015 Napalm debut and third album overall, Cold was the Ground (review here). They’ve never taken it easy on the road or in terms of physicality on stage, and between injuries and who knows what else, their intensity at this point veers toward the directly confrontational. Nonetheless, they’ve been writing for album number four, may or may not have started the recording process, and I expect that confrontationalism to suit them well in their new material.

19. Monster Magnet, TBA

I have it on decent authority that NJ heavy psych innovators Monster Magnet were in the studio this past autumn. I’ve seen no concrete word of a new album in progress from Dave Wyndorf and company, and I wouldn’t necessarily expect to until it was time to start hyping the release, but after their two redux releases, 2015’s Cobras and Fire (review here) and 2014’s Milking the Stars (review here), their range feels broader than ever and I can’t wait to hear what they come up with next.

20. Mothership, High Strangeness

A pivotal moment for Mothership arrives with High Strangeness, and the heavy-touring, heavy-riffing Texas power trio seem to know it. Their third record on Ripple Music pushes into new avenues of expression and keeps the energy of 2014’s Mothership II (review here) and 2012’s Mothership (review here), but thus far into their career, it’s been about their potential and what they might accomplish going forward. 2017 might be the year for Mothership to declare a definitive place in the sphere of American heavy rock.

21. The Obsessed, Sacred

On Halloween 2016, founding The Obsessed guitarist/vocalist and doom icon Scott “Wino” Weinrich announced a new lineup for the band, with his former The Hidden Hand bandmate Bruce Falkinburg on bass/vocals, Sara Seraphim on guitar and Brian Costantino continuing on drums. A genuine surprise. Their first album since 1994, Sacred (due on Relapse) was tracked as the trio of WeinrichCostantino and bassist/vocalist Dave Sherman, but clearly they’ve moved into a new era already. Wouldn’t even guess what the future holds, but hopefully Sacred still comes out.

22. Orange Goblin, TBA

When it was announced that London’s Orange Goblin were picked up by Spinefarm as part of that label’s acquisition of Candlelight Records last Spring, the subheadline from the PR wire was “Working on Ninth Studio Album.” I haven’t heard much since then, but even as 2014’s Back from the Abyss (review here) pushed them deeper into metallic territory than ever before, their songs retained the character that’s made the band the institution they are. Always look forward to new Orange Goblin.

23. Pallbearer, Heartless

pallbearer heartlessDoomers, this is your whole year right here. I haven’t heard Pallbearer‘s third album, Heartless (out March 24 on Profound Lore), but I have to think even those who haven’t yet been won over by the Arkansas four-piece’s emotive, deep-running style have to be curious about what they’ve come up with this time around. I know I am. These guys have been making a mark on the genre since their 2012 debut, Sorrow and Extinction (review here), and there’s little doubt Heartless will continue that thread upon its arrival.

24. Radio Moscow, TBA

Fact: Radio Moscow stand among the best classic heavy rock live acts in the US. They’re the kind of band you can watch upwards of 15 gigs in a row — I’ve done it — and find them putting on a better show night after night, in defiance of science, logic and sobriety. Word of their signing to Century Media came just this past week and brought with it confirmation of a follow-up to 2014’s stellar Magical Dirt (review here), and for me to say hell yes, I’m absolutely on board, seems like the no-brainer to end all no-brainers. Can’t wait.

25. Roadsaw, TBA

Nearly six full years later, it’s only fair to call Boston scene godfathers Roadsaw due for a follow-up to their 2011 self-titled (review here). Granted, members have been busy in KindWhite Dynomite, and other projects, but still. Their upcoming outing finds them on Ripple Music after years under the banner of Small Stone Records, and though I haven’t seen a solid release date yet, my understanding is they hit Mad Oak Studio in Allston, MA, this past fall to track it, so seems likely for sooner or later. Sooner, preferably.

26. Rozamov, This Mortal Road

Speaking of albums by Boston bands a while in the making, This Mortal Road (out March 3 on Battleground Records and Dullest Records) is the debut full-length from Boston atmospheric extremists Rozamov. Haven’t heard it yet, but I got a taste of some of the material when I visited the band at New Alliance Audio in Aug. 2015, and the bleak expanses of what I heard seem primed to turn heads. I’m a fan of these guys, but in addition, they’ve found a niche for themselves sound-wise and I’m curious to hear how they bring it to fruition.

27. Samsara Blues Experiment, TBA

It’s been a pleasure over the last couple months to watch a resurgence of Berlin heavy psych trio Samsara Blues Experiment take shape, first with the announcement of a fourth album in October, then with subsequent confirmations for DesertfestRiff Ritual in Barcelona, and a South American tour. Reportedly due in Spring, which fits with the timing on shows, etc., the record will follow 2013’s righteous Waiting for the Flood (review here) and as much as I’m looking forward to hearing it, I’m kind of just glad to have these guys back.

28. Seedy Jeezus, TBA

Work finished earlier this month on Melbourne trio Seedy Jeezus‘ second full-length. As with their 2015 self-titled debut, the band brought Tony Reed of Mos Generator to Australia to produce, and after their blissed-out 2016 collaboration with Earthless guitarist Isaiah MitchellTranquonauts (review here), it’s hard not to wonder what experimentalist tendencies might show in the trio’s style this time out, and likewise difficult not to anticipate what guitarist Lex “Mr. Frumpy” Wattereus comes up with for the cover art.

29. Shroud Eater, Strike the Sun

Not to spoil the surprise, but Feb. 1 I’ll host a track premiere from Florida’s Shroud Eater that finds them working in a different context from everything we’ve heard from them to this point in their rightly-celebrated tenure. They also recently had a split out with Dead Hand, and their second long-player, Strike the Sun, will be their debut through STB Records. It’s been since 2011’s ThunderNoise (review here) that we last got a Shroud Eater album, so you bet your ass I’m dying to know what the last six years have wrought.

30. Sleep, TBA

If Sleep were any other band, they’d probably be in the “Would be Awfully Nice” category. But they’re Sleep, so even the thought of a new record is enough to put them here. The lords of all things coated in THC are reissuing their 2014 single, The Clarity (review here), on Southern Lord next month, but rumors have been swirling about a proper album, which of course would be their first since the now-legendary Dopesmoker. If it happens, it’ll automatically be a heavy underground landmark for 2017, but it’s one I’m going to have in my ears before I really believe it.

31. Stoned Jesus, TBA

Even as they tour playing their second album, 2012’s Seven Thunders Roar (review here), to mark its fifth anniversary and continued impact, Ukrainian trio Stoned Jesus are forging ahead with a fourth record behind 2015’s The Harvest (review here). The capital-‘q’ Question is whether or not looking back at Seven Thunders Roar and engaging that big-riffing side of their sound will have an impact on the new material, and if so, how it will meld with the push of The Harvest. Won’t speculate, but look forward to finding out.

32. Stubb, TBA

Since reveling in the soul of 2015’s Cry of the Ocean (review here) on Ripple, London trio Stubb have swapped out bassists, and they were in Skyhammer Studio this month recording a single that may be an extended psychedelic jam. I’ll take that happily, but I’m even more intrigued at the prospect of a third LP and what guitarist/vocalist Jack Dickinson, bassist/vocalist Tom Hobson and drummer Tom Fyfe might have in store as the band moves forward on multiple levels. Might be 2017, might not.

33. Sun Blood Stories, It Runs Around the Room with Us

sun blood stories it runs around the room with usIt Runs around the Room with Us seems to find peace in its resonant experimentalist drones, loops, open, subdued spaces, but there’s always some underlying sense of foreboding to its drift, as if Boise’s Sun Blood Stories could anticipate the moment before it happened. Toward the end of the follow-up to 2015’s Twilight Midnight Morning (review here), they execute the 90-second assault “Burn” and turn serenity to ash. Look for it in April and look for it again on my best of 2017 list in December.

34. Ufomammut, TBA

Any new offering from the Italian cosmic doom magnates is worth looking forward to, and while Ufomammut have left the 15-year mark behind, they’ve never stopped progressing in style and form. To wit, 2015’s Ecate (review here) was a stunner after 2012’s two-part LP, Oro (review here and review here), tightening the approach but assuring the vibe was no less expansive than ever. They started recording last summer, finished mixing in November, so I’m hoping for word of a release date soon.

35. Vokonis, The Sunken Djinn

Born out of Creedsmen Arise, whose 2015 demo, Temple (review here), offered formative thrills, Swedish trio Vokonis debuted with last year’s Olde One Ascending (review here) and proved there’s still life in post-Sleep riffing when it’s wielded properly. They signed to Ripple in November and confirmed the title of their sophomore effort as The Sunken Djinn, as well as a reissue for the first album, which will probably arrive first. I don’t know how that will affect the timing on this one, but keep an eye out anyway.

Gonna Happen and/or Likely Candidates

Obviously some of these are more likely than others. Some have solidified, announced release dates — Dopelord‘s out this month, Demon Head‘s out in April, etc. — and others come from social media posts of bands in studios and hints at upcoming releases and so on. A big tell is whether or not a band has an album title with their listing, but even some of those without have their new albums done, like Atala and Royal Thunder, so it’s not necessarily absolute.

Either way, while I’m spending your money, you might want to look into:

36. Against the Grain
37. Amenra
38. Atala
39. Attalla, Glacial Rule
40. Ayahuasca Dark Trip, II
41. Beastmaker
42. Beaten Back to Pure
43. Blackout
44. Bretus
45. Buried Feather, Mind of the Swarm
46. The Clamps
47. Cold Stares
48. Coltsblood, Ascending into the Shimmering Darkness
49. Come to Grief, The Worst of Times EP
50. Cortez
51. Cruthu, The Angle of Eternity
52. The Dead-End Alley Band, Storms
53. Dead Witches, Dead Witches
54. Dealer
55. Death Alley, Live at Roadburn
56. Demon Head, Thunder on the Fields
57. The Devil and the Almighty Blues, II
58. Devil Electric
59. Doctor Cyclops, Local Dogs
60. Dool, Here Now There Then
61. Dopelord, Children of the Haze
62. Doublestone, Devil’s Own/Djævlens Egn
63. Dread Sovereign, For Doom the Bell Tolls
64. Drive by Wire
65. Elbrus, Elbrus
66. Electric Age
67. Electric Moon, Stardust Rituals
68. Endless Floods, II
69. Five Horse Johnson
70. Forming the Void, Relic
71. Funeral Horse
72. Greenbeard
73. Green Desert Water
74. Greenleaf
75. Grifter / Suns of Thunder, Split
76. Hair of the Dog, This World Turns
77. Heavy Temple, Chassit
78. Here Lies Man, Here Lies Man
79. Hollow Leg, Murder EP
80. Holy Mount, The Drought
81. Hooded Menace
82. Horisont, About Time
83. Hymn, Perish
84. Lecherous Gaze
85. Magnet, Feel Your Fire
86. Mastodon
87. Merlin, The Wizard
88. Merchant
89. Mindkult, Lucifer’s Dream
90. Mirror Queen
91. Moonbow, War Bear
92. Mos Generator
93. The Moth
94. MotherSloth
95. Mouth, Vortex
96. My Sleeping Karma, Mela Ananda – Live
97. Orango
98. Papir
99. PH, Eternal Hayden
100. Psychedelic Witchcraft, Magick Rites and Spells
101. Royal Thunder
102. Saturn, Beyond Spectra
103. Season of Arrows, Give it to the Mountain
104. Siena Root
105. Six Organs of Admittance, Burning the Threshold
106. Six Sigma, Tuxedo Brown
107. Sólstafir
108. The Sonic Dawn, Into the Long Night
109. Spelljammer
110. Spidergawd, IV
111. Steak
112. Stinking Lizaveta, Journey to the Underworld
113. Sula Bassana, Organ Accumulator
114. Summoner
115. Sun Voyager, Sun Voyager
116. Sweat Lodge, Tokens for Hell EP
117. Thera Roya, Stone and Skin
118. Toke
119. Troubled Horse, Revelation on Repeat
120. VA, Brown Acid The Third Trip
121. Weedpecker
122. Youngblood Supercult, The Great American Death Rattle

Definitely Could Happen

Maybe a recording process is upcoming (Gozu, Cities of Mars, YOB), or a band is looking for a label (The Flying Eyes), or they’ve said new stuff is in the works but the circumstances of an actual release aren’t known (Arc of Ascent, Dead Meadow, High on Fire), or I’ve just seen rumors of their hitting the studio (Freedom Hawk, La Chinga, Ruby the Hatchet). We’ve entered the realm of the entirely possible but not 100 percent.

So, you know, life.

Dig it:

123. The Age of Truth
124. Ape Machine
125. Arc of Ascent
126. At Devil Dirt
127. Bantoriak
128. Bask
129. BCAD
130. BoneHawk
131. La Chinga
132. Chubby Thunderous Bad Kush Masters
133. Cities of Mars
134. Crypt Sermon
135. Dead Meadow
136. Death Alley (Studio LP)
137. Dee Calhoun
138. Destroyer of Light
139. Devil
140. Devil Worshipper
141. Duel
142. Dustrider
143. Egypt
144. Electric Moon
145. Elephant Tree
146. Farflung
147. The Flying Eyes
148. Freedom Hawk
149. Gozu
150. The Great Electric Quest
151. Green Meteor, Consumed by a Dying Sun
152. High on Fire
153. Horrendous
154. Insect Ark
155. In the Company of Serpents
156. Iron Monkey
157. Jeremy Irons and the Ratgang Malibus
158. The Judge
159. Killer Boogie
160. King Dead
161. The Kings of Frog Island
162. Lords of Beacon House, Recreational Sorcery
163. Mangoo
164. Mondo Drag
165. Monolord
166. Mountain God
167. The Munsens
168. Naxatras
169. Never Got Caught
170. Ommadon
171. Orchid
172. Ordos
173. Pilgrim
174. Poseidon
175. Purple Hill Witch
176. Ruby the Hatchet
177. Sasquatch
178. Satan’s Satyrs
179. Serpents of Secrecy
180. Shabda
181. Shooting Guns
182. Sleepy Sun
183. Slow Season
184. Snowy Dunes, Atlantis
185. Spectral Haze
186. The Sweet Heat
187. Switchblade Jesus
188. Superchief
189. Tÿburn
190. YOB
191. Zone Six

Would be Awfully Nice

This last category is basically as close as I’m willing to come to rampant speculation. Endless Boogie have hinted at new material, and Queens of the Stone Age have talked about hitting the studio for the last two years. There were rumors about Om, and though Kings Destroy just put out an EP, they have new songs as well, though I doubt we’ll hear them before the end of 2017. I’ll admit that Across Tundras, Fever Dog, Lord Fowl, Lowrider and Hour of 13 are just wishful thinking on my part. A boy can hope:

192. Across Tundras
193. Eggnogg
194. Elephant Tree
195. Endless Boogie
196. Fever Dog
197. Fu Manchu
198. Halfway to Gone
199. Hour of 13
200. Kadavar
201. Kings Destroy
202. Lord Fowl
203. Lowrider
204. Masters of Reality
205. Om
206. Orodruin
207. Queens of the Stone Age

If you’ve made it this far, thanks for reading. Whatever this year brings, I hope it’s been great so far for you and I hope it continues to be so as we proceed inexorably to 2018 and all the also-futuristic-sounding numbers thereafter. At least we know we’ll have plenty of good music to keep us company on that voyage.

As always, comments section is open if there’s anything I’ve left out. I’m happy to add, adjust, etc., as need be, so really, have at it, and thanks in advance.

All the best.

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