Kamchatka to Release New Single Stone Cold Shaky Bones; German Tour Announced

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

Stone Cold Shaky Bones b/w Midnight Charmer is the first offering from Swedish traditionalist heavy rockers Kamchatka. Set for release this October, it follows behind 2015’s full-length, Long Road Made of Gold (review here), which found the band out supporting it at Desertfest Berlin and elsewhere. They’ve got a string of German dates announced for October and a festival weekender in November as well, leading to December’s Sankt Hell fest, where they’ll take the stage with Colour Haze, Mustasch, Horisont and many more.

There isn’t an exact release date listed beyond October — I’d assume it’s whenever they’re back from the press and ready to be shipped — but with the timing of the tour and whatnot that seems pretty firm. The PR wire updates on all the doings and gives some history on the band:

kamchatka stone cold shaky bones

New Kamchatka 7″ vinyl after a three years break from H42 Records

KAMCHATKA is finally back on the boards of the European stages. Close to a compulsory break of almost 3 years, they will release new songs on a 7″ this October and do a small tour through germany.

Kamchatka are no strangers to the Swedish hard rock/heavy metal scene; having begun well over a decade ago, they released their first album in 2004, and have rubbed shoulders with the legendary Clutch on multiple tours and and have recently taken on new bassist Per Wiberg (ex-keys player for Opeth, Spiritual Beggars, Candlemass), who also produced their latest album. Rounding out the line-up is Tobias Strandvik on drums and Thomas ‘Juneor’ Andersson on guitar and vocals.

Their sound is a mix of stoner rock (very similar to Clutch and Kyuss) and a very traditional blues-based hard rock sound that pays homage to such classic groups as Uriah Heep, Cream, and The Allman Brothers.

Growing up in Varberg, a small town on the west coast of Sweden, Roger, Thomas and Tobias were all rehearsing at the same place,though in different bands, except for the occasional weekend jamsession. In their mid teens, Roger and Thomas moved to pursue their musical career elsewhere,Roger to the east and Thomas to the north, while Tobias continued his back home. Some learnful years of touring and recording albums with all kinds of different acts later,they met up again in Varberg for a Jimi Hendrix tribute concert in 2001, and after a successful performance the guys simply came to the conclusion that they should start a band.Roger came up with the name Kamchatka, and the band was formed.

KAMCHATKA live:
23.08 DE-Duisburg, Steinbruch
24.08 CH-Herzogenbuchsee, Kreuz
25.08 DE-Sirzenich, Rebel Run Festival

Germany w/ Basement Saints
05.10 DE-Düsseldorf, Pitcher
06.10 DE-Cottbus, Zum Faulen August
07.10 DE-Weinheim, Cafe Central
09.10 DE-Stuttgart, Keller Club
10.10 DE-Frankfurt, Das Bett
11.10 DE-Erfurt, Museumskeller
12.10 DE-Oldenburg, Cadillac
13.10 DE-Münster, Hot Jazz Club
16.11 DE-Marsberg, Diemelkult Festival
17.11 DE-Passau, Blackwood Music Fest
27-28.12 DE-Hamburg, Sankt Hell, Gruenspan

KAMCHATKA
Per Wiberg – Bass & Vocals
Thomas Juneor Andersson – Guitar & Vocals
Tobias Strandvik – Drums

https://www.facebook.com/Kamchatkaofficial
https://twitter.com/KamchatkaSWE
https://instagram.com/kamchatkaofficial
http://kamchatka.se/
http://www.h42records.com/
https://www.facebook.com/H42Records
https://twitter.com/H42Records

Kamchatka, Long Road Made of Gold (2015)

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Kingnomad, The Great Nothing: Into the Outer

Posted in Reviews on August 14th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

kingnomad the great nothing

As to what might be Swedish progressive cult rockers Kingnomad‘s fascination with emptiness, I can’t say, but it’s worked out for them thus far into their relatively brief tenure. Ripple Music released their debut long-player, Mapping the Inner Void, and now issues the quick-turnaround follow-up in the form of The Great Nothing; six tracks recorded by vocalist/guitarist/organist Mr. Jay at The Crazy Heart Studio. It is a work of significant and multifaceted growth that may surprise those who heard the debut for only coming a year later — the band formed in 2014 — but still holds true to a classically naturalist ’70s sound while being modern in both production and atmosphere.

With the lineup of Mr. Jay, fellow guitarist Marcus, bassist/backing vocalist Maximilian and drummer Mano, Kingnomad make an obvious focal point of the 22-minute title-track, which closes out and comprises the entirety of side B, but even when it comes to the rest of what surrounds, from the introduction “The Yoga of Desolation” through “Cosmic Serpent,” “The Mysterious Agreement,” “All Those Things” and “Collapsing Pillars of the Earth,” the group patiently delivers proggy sounds and an engaging ambience without necessarily resorting to trickery to do it.

It is a nighttime album, to be sure, but there is nothing about it that feels like caricature. Kingnomad are sincere in their approach and clearly serious about the forward creative drive they demonstrate in these songs, following a narrative course through the early cuts and into the latter reaches of the title-cut, with its late acoustic strum and volume-swell of effects adding spaciousness and a psychedelic feel to a sweet post-payoff epilogue. That aspect of the band’s execution is pivotal and feels as willful as any of the individual arrangements, and from the harmonized intro “The Yoga of Desolation” onward into the sweep of guitar that starts the space-boogie of “Cosmic Serpent,” the four-piece make plain their intent to invite listeners along the course they’re taking, a winding but consuming path guided by sure hands all the while.

One doesn’t want to overstate it, but even in light of what they were able to bring to their first album, The Great Nothing is a significant achievement, and where that record was concerned with the ‘Inner,’ this collection seems to answer back by centering around an expanse of creative exploration in its songwriting. Elements like the short break to organ at the halfway point of “Cosmic Serpent,” or Mano‘s cyclical tom patterning in the third minute of “The Mysterious Agreement” — let alone anything the title-track brings to bear — demonstrate a nuanced take that only continues in the bed of bass under the guitar at the outset of “All Those Things” and the structure of “Collapsing Pillars of the Earth,” which abandons its opening progression only to embark on King Crimson-y starts and stops, turn that on its head with some early-Witchcraft-ed doom classicism, return to the start-stop, break into a stretch of quiet guitar on its own, work its way into a worthy boogie fleshed out as so much of the record is by the organ, and only then return back to the long-ago opening movement to close out.

kingnomad

This would be dizzying were it not so well done, and especially when taken in kind with the songs before it and in consideration of the smooth flow between them and how one leads into the next, all the more so. Making complex ideas sound organic seems to be a running theme throughout, but it’s also worth remembering the basic elements of songwriting at play. “Cosmic Serpent,” which its layers of vocal harmonies over tripped-out crashes, offers a memorable hook and taps cult rock aspects without giving itself entirely to the post-Uncle Acid garage doom aesthetic.

And likewise, “Collapsing Pillars of the Earth” seems to draw on the smoothly-done harmonies of Swedish countrymen Ghost without aping them at all. From the samples at the beginning of the proto-metal-chugging “The Mysterious Agreement” through the foreshadowing sense of purpose in the not-all-who-wander-are-lost midsection of “All Those Things,” The Great Nothing proves to be of marked character and noteworthy detail, unfolding new elements and aspects on subsequent listens one might have missed the first time around.

Likewise, parsing the title-track, which also begins with the aforementioned acoustic strum that closes, is something that requires several visits to that alleged void. And I say “alleged” because “The Great Nothing” is anything but empty. Sure it has its atmospheric stretches, but even these are filled with subtle keys, drums building in tension, and interplay between the two guitars that is as hypnotic as it is thoughtful. Whether loud or quiet at any given time, Kingnomad keep a mind on their ultimate direction and as they make their way into the psychedelic reaches as seven minutes becomes eight and the song seems to almost completely stop, there’s never any doubt that the band know what they’re doing and that none of it is happenstance.

They’ve earned that trust over the course of side A and they put it to use in side B, which picks up around 8:40 with a percussion-backed rumble that pushes into the next heavier section and verse, crossing the halfway point during a chorus that unfolds to bluesy versemaking before it nestles into a bluesy jam. A break after crossing the 14-minute mark returns to the chorus and thicker riffing takes hold to mark the beginning of the last march and payoff. “The Great Nothing” almost can’t help but summarize what Kingnomad do so successfully throughout the LP that shares its name — how could it not? it takes up more than half the runtime! — but particularly the decision to end in relatively subdued form speaks further to the purposefulness of how far they’ve come in so short a time.

It reinforces the suggestion that not only did Kingnomad know what they wanted to do with The Great Nothing, but with their aesthetic as a whole, and that they’ve been working toward those ends over the last four years. I doubt their development is over, but The Great Nothing does not seem to set a goal for itself it subsequently doesn’t achieve. It’s really something.

Kingnomad, The Great Nothing (2018)

Kingnomad on Thee Facebooks

Kingnomad on Twitter

Kingnomad on Bandcamp

Ripple Music website

Ripple Music on Bandcamp

Ripple Music on Thee Facebooks

Ripple Music on Twitter

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Skraeckoedlan Announce New Album Eorþe for 2019 Release

Posted in Whathaveyou on August 13th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

skraeckoedlan (Photo Mats Ek)

Well how about that? I said a thing might happen and it’s happening. Are you impressed at my prescience? No? Yeah, me neither. Fact is, that when Swedish fuzzlifters Skraeckoedlan announced the 180g vinyl reissue of their first album, Äppelträdet (review here), on The Sign Records, it wasn’t such a huge leap to think a new full-length would follow sometime soon.

Their third, it follows behind 2015’s Sagor (review here) and has been given the title Eorþe. The word translates to ‘earth,’ which makes sense given that the ‘þ’ character roughly equates to a “th” sound (if I learned nothing else from Icelandic black metal, I learned that), and while it’s a pretty ambitious stage-setter in terms of scope, Skraeckoedlan have only grown increasingly progressive as time has gone on, so it’s likewise easy to imagine the planet is only a launching point for the ground the record will actually cover.

There’s a teaser clip playing now — or at least it’s playing after you click play — at the bottom of this post that gives a quick sampling of the fuzzy depth of tone the band brings to bear this time around for what, suitably enough, will be their debut on Fuzzorama Records. The label announcement follows, via the PR wire:

skraeckoedlan logo

SKRAECKOEDLAN announces new album!

Fuzzorama Records proudly presents, from the imaginarium of author Nils Håkansson: Eorþe. As the enlightened has predicted since the birth of the aeons, 2019 will set in motion events of cosmic proportions. Be they good or evil or beyond our understanding of intent, questions better asked of species to come, for dim lay the waters of tomorrow’s reflection. But take heart, the seas will part in the springtime, and that which was meant for the depths will reemerge anew.

This fuzzy masterpiece will be released early 2019!

Skraeckoedlan:
Robert Lamu – Vocals/Guitar
Henrik Grüttner – Guitar
Tim Ångström – Bass
Martin Larsson – Drums

http://www.skraeckoedlan.com/
http://instagram.com/skraeckoedlan
https://www.facebook.com/SKRAECKOEDLAN/
http://twitter.com/skraeckoedlan
http://www.fuzzoramarecords.com/
https://www.facebook.com/Fuzzorama
https://twitter.com/fuzzorecords

Skraeckoedlan, Eorþe teaser

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Skraeckoedlan to Reissue Äppelträdet Oct. 12 on The Sign Records

Posted in Whathaveyou on August 7th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

skraeckoedlan

As you can see in the photo above, Sweden’s Skraeckoedlan were really just kids when they made their debut in 2011 with Äppelträdet (review here). Kids who kicked ass. That album, originally released through Transubstans, is set to arrive as a 180g vinyl and CD through The Sign Records on Oct. 12. I have an enduring affection for that record, as it was my introduction to the band, who’ve since grown into a progressive fuzz metal individualism drawing from a number of modern sources and made their own — as heard on their 2015 follow-up, Sagor (review here) — so it’s cool to see it getting back out to public ears and given a due deluxe-ification with new LP artwork and whatnot.

Skraeckoedlan have peppered out a few singles and live outings since Sagor, but one hopes for a third album maybe sometime in 2019. Last I heard, they were picked up by Fuzzorama Records, which seems only fitting since their relationship with Truckfighters obviously goes back a ways.

Info and preorder link from the PR wire:

SKRAECKOEDLAN – ÄPPELTRÄDET -The Second Coming-

Fuzz-science fiction rockers Skraeckoedlan are set to do the international release of their debut album ‘Äppelträdet’ (The Apple Tree), the 12th of October. Since its initial release 2011 in Sweden, ‘Äppelträdet‘ have been a gem hard to find. When the album was first released it reignited and marked the start of the modern Swedish stoner scene. The record will be released through The Sign Records and comes available on CD and vinyl with world wide distribution.

Äppelträdet is available for pre-order HERE

Originally recorded in 2010, in Truckfighters’ Studio Bombshelter, the album will once again see the light of day this fall, when it returns as a 180g transparent green vinyl housed in a single sleeve cover with updated artwork. A CD version with the original artwork will also be available, both versions featuring the ten seeds that grow to be the Apple Tree.

Also emerging anew are Skraeckoedlan themselves. While still singing in their native tongue, telling stories about mythological beings and cosmic wonders, having just come out of hiatus the band recently made the transition from quartet to trio. The as of now three-piece shares the following words concerning the reprint:

“The reissue of Äppelträdet is, in a somewhat allegorical sense, a celebration of what has been and to a certain extent of what still is, but it also serves as a kind of bridge to what will be. These are our roots and they grow deep.”

https://www.facebook.com/SKRAECKOEDLAN
https://twitter.com/skraeckoedlan
https://skraeckoedlan.bandcamp.com/
http://thesignrecords.com/
https://freighttrain.se/en/the-sign-record/skraeckoedlan/

Skraeckoedlan, Äppelträdet (2011/2018)

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CB3 Premiere “From Nothing to Eternity” Video; Recording New Album in August

Posted in Bootleg Theater on July 23rd, 2018 by JJ Koczan

CB3

Next month, Malmö, Sweden’s CB3 will head into the studio to record their yet-untitled third full-length. It’s a pretty quick turnaround for guitarist Charlotta Andersson and her instrumentalist Burnin’ Trio — bassist Pelle Lindsjö and drummer Natanael Salomonsson — who released their sophomore long-player in earlier this year’s From Nothing to Eternity, an album rife with heavy psychedelic character amid jazz-hued influences and a broad sense of atmosphere. CB3 made their debut in 2015 with the even-jazzier Charlotta’s Burnin’ Trio, and since have grown more and more psychedelic with each release. As to whether or not that trend will continue, we don’t yet know, but before the recording process begins, the excellently-logo’ed three-piece are unveiling a series of hopped-up live videos that capture a full set at Klubb Kristallen in the band’s hometown. The series is called Cult of the Crystals, in honor of the venue.

Live record? Maybe. Watching the clip for the title-track of From Nothing to Eternity, it certainly doesn’t seem unreasonable to think Andersson and company might snag that audio for a special release on its own. The sound iscb3 clear and the performance vibrant, and they had 2016’s Live in Action! out after the first album, so there’s precedent. But for now at least it’s video-only, and there’s plenty to dig into with that, as Andersson‘s own mix and edit of the raw footage finds the live video manipulated with added psychedelic elements, band members interlaid over each other oozing in and out of view as the track itself likewise oozes forward toward an effects-drenched climax, the chemistry of the band’s jazzier days very much held over in the musical conversation particularly between the guitar and drums — Lindsjö is a more recent addition to the band, though he certainly makes his presence known as well — a riffy nod echoing out atop a steady roll past the eight-minute mark only to recede back as the band spends the last minute or so in concluding meander.

Heavy psych heads with a hankering for jammy fare will delight no doubt at what CB3 bring forth in From Nothing to Eternity‘s flowing course, and if you haven’t heard it — it came out in January via Lazy Octopus Records, Eggs in Aspic and Drone Rock Records — it’s streaming in full on the Bandcamp player at the bottom of this post. Because you should probably hear it.

I’ll hope to have more on CB3 as they continue this video series and begin recording their next album, but until then, you can watch “From Nothing to Eternity” on the player below, followed by more background on the band courtesy of the PR wire.

Please enjoy:

CB3, “From Nothing to Eternity” official video premiere

CB3 – Swedish instrumental heavy psychrock trio releases new super-spacey live music videos. First up is “From Nothing to Eternity” (released on vinyl on Drone Rock Records, UK). Recorded May 12, live at Klubb Kristallen, Malmö, Sweden. It’s 100% dedication and DIY! We call this project “Cult of the Crystals”

Recorded by Edvin Lorinius
Mixed, Video edited by Charlotta Andersson.

CB3:
Charlotta Andersson – Electric Guitar
Pelle Lindsjö – Electric Bass
Natanael Salomonsson – Drums

CB3’s sound and music can be described as a mix of heavy psych jams of Earthless blended with progrock like Rush, Yes and with the spacerockiness of Hawkwind and Pink Floyd.

In 2018 CB3 has released “From Nothing to Eternity” on cassette and vinyl, supported Monolord, Firebreather and Kaleidobolt and played a bunch of shows.

CB3, From Nothing to Eternity (2018)

CB3 on Thee Facebooks

CB3 on Bandcamp

Lazy Octopus Records website

Eggs in Aspic on Bandcamp

Drone Rock Records website

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Quarterly Review: Lucifer, Heilung, Amarok, T.G. Olson, Sun Dial, Lucid Grave, Domadora, Klandestin, Poor Little Things, Motorowl

Posted in Reviews on July 19th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

quarterly-review-CALIFORNIA-LANDSCAPE-Julian-Rix-1851-1903

You know what’s disheartening? When someone goes ‘thanks dudes.’ You know, I share a review or something, the band reposts and goes ‘thanks to the crew at The Obelisk blah blah.’ What fucking crew? If I had a crew, I’d put up 10 reviews every single day of the year. “Crew.” Shit. I am the crew. In the description of this site, the very first thing it says is “One-man operation.” It’s a fucking solo-project. That’s the whole point of it. It’s like me looking at your bass and going, “Sweet guitar, thanks for the solos brah.” I’m happy people want to share links and this and that, but really? It’s been nine years. Give me a break.

Oh yeah, that’s right. Nobody gives a shit. Now I remember. Thanks for reading.

And while we’re here, please remember the numbers for these posts don’t mean anything. This isn’t a countdown. Or a countup. It’s just me keeping track of how much shit I’m reviewing. The answer is “a lot.”

Grump grump grump.

Quarterly Review #31-40:

Lucifer, Lucifer II

lucifer lucifer ii

Recorded as the trio of vocalist Johanna Sardonis (ex-The Oath), guitarist Robin Tidebrink (Saturn) and guitarist/drummer Nicke Andersson (Death Breath, ex-Entombed, ex-The Hellacopters), Lucifer’s second album, Lucifer II (on Rise Above), follows three years after its numerical predecessor, Lucifer I (review here), and marks its personnel changes with a remarkable consistency of mission. Like Mercyful Fate gone disco, the formerly-Berlin/London-now-Stockholm group bring stage-ready atmospheres to songs like “Phoenix” and the riff-led “Before the Sun,” while unleashing a largesse of hooks in “Dreamer” and the boogie-pushing “Eyes in the Sky.” “Dancing with Mr. D” brings nod to a Rolling Stones cover, and “Before the Sun” reaffirms a heavy ‘70s root in their sound. I can’t help but wonder if the doomier “Faux Pharaoh” is a sequel to “Purple Pyramid,” but either way, its thicker, darker tonality is welcome ahead of the bonus track Scorpions cover “Evening Wind,” which again demonstrates the ease with which Lucifer make established sounds their own. That’s pretty much the message of the whole album. Lucifer are a big band. Lucifer II makes the case for their being a household name.

Lucifer on Thee Facebooks

Rise Above Records webstore

 

Heilung, Lifa

heilung lifa

Lifa is the audio taken from the live video that brought Denmark’s Heilung to prominence. Captured at Castlefest in The Netherlands in last year, the impression the expansive Viking folk group made was all the more powerful with elaborate costuming, bone percussive instruments, antlers, animal-skin drums, and so on. Their debut studio album, Ofnir, came out in 2015 and like LIFA has been issued by Season of Mist, but the attention to detail and A/V experience only adds to the hypnotic tension and experimentalist edge in the material. Does it work with just the audio? Yes. The 12-minute “In Maijan” and somehow-black-metal “Krigsgaldr” maintain their trance-out-of-history aspect, and the 75-minute set blends multi-tiered melodies and goblin-voiced declarations for an impression unlike even that which Wardruna bring to bear. Whether it’s the drones of “Fylgija Futhorck” or the chants and thuds of “Hakkerskaldyr,” LIFA is striking from front to back and a cohesive, visionary work that should be heard as well as seen. But definitely seen.

Heilung on Thee Facebooks

Season of Mist website

 

Amarok, Devoured

amarok devoured

Eight years after their founding, an EP and several splits, Chico, California, atmosludge extremists Amarok make their full-length debut with Devoured on Translation Loss. If it’s been a while in the making, it’s easy enough to understand why. The album is rife with brutalist and grueling sensibilities. Comprised of just four tracks, it runs upwards of 70 minutes and brings a visceral churn to each cut, not forgetting the importance of atmosphere along the way, but definitely focused on the aural bludgeoning they’re dealing out. Tempos, duh, are excruciating, and between the screams and growls of bassist Brandon Squyres (also Cold Blue Mountain) and guitarist Kenny Ruggles – the band completed by guitarist Nathan Collins and drummer Colby ByrneAmarok make their bid for Buried at Sea levels of heft and rumble their way across a desolate landscape of their own making. Eight years to conjure this kind of punishment? Yeah, that seems about right. See you in 2026.

Amarok on Thee Facebooks

Translation Loss Records webstore

 

T.G. Olson, Ode to Lieutenant Henry

tg olson ode to lieutenant henry

Here’s a curious case: T.G. Olson, founding guitarist and vocalist of Across Tundras, is a prolific experimental singer-songwriter. His material ranges from psychedelic country to fuller-toned weirdo Americana and well beyond. He’s wildly prolific, and everything goes up on Bandcamp for a name-your-price download, mostly unannounced. It’s not there, then it is. Olson’s latest singe, Ode to Lieutenant Henry, was there, and now it’s gone. With the march of its title-track and a complementary cover of Townes van Zandt’s “Silver Ships of Andilar,” I can’t help but be curious as to where the tracks went and if they’ll be back, perhaps in some other form or as part of a different release. Both are plugged-in and coated in fuzzy tones, with Olson’s echoing vocals providing a human presence in the wide soundscape of his own making. The original is shorter than the cover, but both songs boast a signature sense of ramble that, frankly, is worth being out there. Hopefully they’re reposted at some point, either on their own as they initially were or otherwise.

Across Tundras on Thee Facebooks

T.G. Olson/Across Tundras on Bandcamp

 

Sun Dial, Science Fiction

sun dial sci fi

If space is the place, Sun Dial feel right at home in it. The long-running UK psychedelic adventurers collect two decades’ worth of soundtrack material on Science Fiction, their new release for Sulatron Records. Made with interwoven keyboard lines and a propensity to periodically boogie on “Mind Machine,” “Airlock,” “Infra Red,” etc., the experimentalist aspect of Science Fiction is all the more remarkable considering the album is compiled from different sources. One supposes the overarching cosmos is probably what brings it together, but with the samples and synth of “Saturn Return” and the lower end space-bass of pre-bonus-track closer “Starwatchers” – that bonus track, by the way, is a 15-minute version of opener “Hangar 13” – and though the vast majority of the Science Fiction relies on synth and keys to make its impression, it’s still only fair to call the proceedings natural, as the root of each one seems to be exploration. It’s okay to experiment. Nobody’s getting hurt.

Sun Dial on Thee Facebooks

Sun Dial at Sulatron Records webstore

 

Lucid Grave, Demo 2018

lucid grave demo 2018

There are three songs on Lucid Grave’s first outing, the aptly-titled Demo 2018, and the first of them is also the longest (immediate points), “Star.” It presents a curious and hard to place interpretation of psychedelic sludge rock. It is raw as a demo worthy of its name should be, and finds vocalist Malene Pedersen (also Lewd Flesh) echoing out to near-indecipherable reaches atop the feedback-addled riffing. Quite an introduction, to say the least. The subsequent “Desert Boys” is more subdued at the start but gets furious at the end, vocals spanning channels in an apparent call and response atop increasingly intense instrumental thrust. And as for “Ride the Hyena?” If I didn’t know better – and rest assured, I don’t – I’d call it doom. I’m not sure what the hell the København five-piece are shooting for in terms of style, but I damn sure want to hear what they come up with next so I can find out. Consider me enticed. And accordingly, one can’t really accuse Demo 2018 of anything other than doing precisely what it’s supposed to do.

Lucid Grave on Thee Facebooks

Lucid Grace on Bandcamp

 

Domadora, Lacuna

domadora lacuna

Comprised of four-tracks of heavy psychedelic vibes led by the scorch-prone guitar of Belwil, Domadora’s third album, Lacuna, follows behind 2016’s The Violent Mystical Sukuma (discussed here) and taps quickly into a post-Earthless league of instrumentalism on opener “Lacuna Jam.” That should be taken as a compliment, especially as regards the bass and drums of Gui Omm and Karim Bouazza, respectively, who hold down uptempo grooves there and roll along with the more structured 14-minute cut “Genghis Khan” that follows. Each of the album’s two sides is comprised of a shorter track and a longer one, and there’s plenty of reach throughout, but more than expanse, even side B’s “Vacuum Density” and “Tierra Last Homage” are more about the chemistry between the band members – Angel Hidalgo Paterna rounds out on organ – than about crafting a landscape. Fortunately for anyone who’d take it on, the Parisian unit have plenty to offer when it comes to that chemistry.

Domadora on Thee Facebooks

Domadora on Bandcamp

 

Klandestin, Green Acid of Last Century

klandestin green acid of last century

That’s a big “fuck yes, thank you very much” for the debut album from Indonesian stoner metallers Klandestin. Green Acid of the Last Century arrives courtesy of Hellas Records and is THC-heavy enough that if they wanted to, they could probably add “Bong” to the band’s name and it would be well earned. Eight tracks, prime riffs, watery vocals, dense fuzz, stomp, plod, lumber, shuffle – it’s all right there in homegrown dosage, and for the converted, Green Acid of the Last Century is nothing short of a worship ceremony, for the band itself as well as for anyone taking it on. With the march of “Doomsday,” the unmitigated rollout of “Black Smoke,” and the swirling green aurora of “The Green Aurora,” Klandestin wear their holding-back-a-cough riffage as a badge of honor, and couldn’t be any less pretentious about it if they tried. From the hooded weedian on the cover art to the Sleepy nod of closer “Last Century,” Green Acid of Last Century telegraphs its intent front-to-back, and is all the more right on for it.

Klandestin on Thee Facebooks

Hellas Records on Bandcamp

 

Poor Little Things, Poor Little Things

poor little things poor little things

You get what you pay for with “Rock’n’Roller,” which leads off the self-titled debut EP from Bern, Switzerland-based Poor Little Things. Around the core duo of vocalist Tina Jackson and multi-instrumentalist Dave “Talon” Jackson (also of Australia’s Rollerball) on guitar, bass, synth and percussion is Talon’s The Marlboro Men bandmate Fernando Marlboro on drums, and together the band presents five tracks of remember-when-rock-rocked-style groove. Fueled by ‘70s accessibility and a mentality that seems to be saying it’s okay to play big rooms, like arenas, cuts like “Drive” seem prime for audience participation, and “Break Another Heart” gives a highlight performance from Tina while “About Love” showcases a more laid back take. They close with the 6:37 “Street Cheetah,” which struts appropriately, and end with a percussive finish on a fadeout repeating the title line. As a showcase of their style and songwriting chops, Poor Little Things shows significant promise, sure, but it’s also pretty much already got everything it needs for a full-length album.

Poor Little Things on Thee Facebooks

Poor Little Things on Bandcamp

 

Motorowl, Atlas

motorowl atlas

Every now and then you put on a record and it’s way better than you expect. Hello, Motorowl’s Atlas. The German troupe’s second for Century Media, it takes the classic stylizations of their 2016 debut, Om Generator, and pushes them outward into a vast sea of organ-laced progressive heavy, soaring in vocal melodies and still modern despite drawing from an array of decades past. The chug in “The Man Who Rules the World” would be metal for most bands, but on Atlas, it becomes part of a broader milieu, and sits easily next to the expansive title-track, as given to post-rocking airiness in the guitar as to synth-laden prog. That mixture of influences and aesthetics would be enough to give the five-piece an identity of their own, but Atlas is further characterized by Motorowl’s ambitious songwriting and benefits greatly from the melodic arrangements and the clear intention toward creative development at work here. Those who take on its seven-track/45-minute journey will find it dynamic, spacious and heavy in kind.

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Motorowl at Century Media website

 

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Quarterly Review: CHRCH, Bongripper, King Chiefs, Bonnacons of Doom, Boar, June Bug, Tired Lord, Bert, Zen Bison, Wheel in the Sky

Posted in Reviews on July 16th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

quarterly-review-CALIFORNIA-LANDSCAPE-Julian-Rix-1851-1903

You know the deal by now, I’m sure: 50 reviews this week between now and Friday, in batches of 10 per day. It’s an unholy amount of music, but those who really dig in always seem to find something cool within a Quarterly Review. Frankly, with this much to choose from, I’d certainly hope so. I’m not going to delay at all, except to say thanks in advance for coming along on this one. It’s got some core-heavy and some-not-really-core-heavy stuff all bundled next to each other, so yeah, your patience is appreciated. Okay. No time like the present. Let’s do it.

Quarterly Review #1-10:

CHRCH, Light Will Consume Us All

chrch light will consume us all

Yeah, yeah, yeah, the songs are long. Blah blah blah it’s heavy as whatever kind of construction equipment you could want to name. What’s even more striking about Los Angeles doomers CHRCH’s Neurot Recordings debut, Light Will Consume Us All, is the sense of atmosphere. The follow-up to 2015’s massively well-received Unanswered Hymns (review here) is comprised of three songs presented in descending time order from opener/longest track (immediate points) “Infinite” (20:41) to centerpiece “Portals” (14:50) and closer “Aether” (9:29) and it finds CHRCH refining the unremitting patience of their rollout, so that even when “Aether” explodes in its second half to charred blastbeating and abrasive screams, the ambience is still dense enough to feel it in one’s lungs. CHRCH keep up this level of progression and soon enough someone’s going to call them post-something or other. As it stands, their second album builds righteously on the achievements of their debut, and is a revelation in its bleakness.

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Neurot Recordings website

 

Bongripper, Terminal

bongripper terminal

Pressed up as ever in DIY fashion, Bongripper’s Terminal presents two gargantuan slabs – one per vinyl side – that only seem to highlight the strengths in the Chicago instrumentalists’ approach. The tones are huge, the grooves nodding, the impact of each kick drum forceful. Repetition is central, that feeling of aural mass and destructiveness, but neither is Terminal – comprised of “Slow” (25:11) and “Death” (18:15) – lacking a sense of atmosphere. After 21 minutes of grueling pummel, “Slow” devolves into droning layers of noise wash and quiet guitar to finish out, and “Death” seems to hold onto an echoing lead in its closing minutes that accomplishes much the same thing in broadening the atmosphere overall. I don’t know if the two songs were composed to fit together –the titles would hint yes – but they invariably do, and as “Death” unleashes a more insistent punch before turning to a post-YOB gallop, it reconfirms Bongripper’s worship-worthy place in the stoner doom milieu, how their sound can be so familiar in its threat and yet so much their own.

Bongripper on Bandcamp

Bongripper webstore

 

King Chiefs, Blue Sonnet

King Chiefs Blue Sonnet

Born as Chiefs ahead of their 2015 debut album, Tomorrow’s Over (review here), Arizona-based four-piece King Chiefs make their own first outing in the form of the easily-digestible desert rocker Blue Sonnet (on Roosevelt Row and Cursed Tongue Records), comprised of 10 tracks running just under 40 minutes of older-school laid back heavy, swinging easy on cuts like “Surely Never” and “Drifter” while still finding some Helmeted aggressive edge in the riffs of “Slug” and “Walk the Plank.” The overarching focus is on songwriting, however, and King Chiefs hone in cleverly on ‘90s-era desert rock’s post-grunge sensibility, so that their material seems ready for an alternative radio that no longer exists. Such as it is, they do just fine without, and hooks pervade the two-guitar outfit’s material in natural and memorable fashion all the way to five-and-a-half-minute closer “Shrine of the Beholder,” which embraces some broader textures without losing the structural focus that serves so well on the songs before it.

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Roosevelt Row Records website

Cursed Tongue Records website

 

Bonnacons of Doom, Bonnacons of Doom

bonnacons of doom bonnacons of doom

Heavy psychedelic experimentalism pervades the Rocket Recordings-issued self-titled debut album from Liverpool collective Bonnacons of Doom, rife with tripout ritualism and exploration of sound as it is, all chasing light and getting freaky in any sense you want to read it. Five tracks, each a voyage unto itself – even the bass-fuzzy push of shortest cut “Rhizome” (5:55) is cosmos-bound – feed into the larger weirdness at play that culminates in the undulating grooves of “Plantae” (8:39), which is perhaps the most solidified cut in terms of choruses, verses, etc., but still a molten, headphone-worthy freakout that pushes the limits of psychedelia and still holds itself together. If the album was a to-do list, it would read as follows: “Eat mushrooms. Get naked. Dance around. Repeat.” Whether you do or don’t is ultimately up to you, but Bonnacons of Doom make a pretty convincing argument in favor, and I don’t generally consider myself much of a dancer. Among the most individualized psych debuts I’ve heard in a long time.

Bonnacons of Doom on Thee Facebooks

Rocket Recordings on Bandcamp

 

Boar, Poseidon

Boar Poseidon

Poseidon, at six songs and 39 minutes, is the second long-player from Finnish four-piece Boar. Released on vinyl with no shortage of backing — Lost Pilgrims Records, Dissonant Society, Impure Muzik, S.K.O.D., Rämekuukkeli-levyt – it hurls forth a High on Fire-informed vision of noise rock on its opening title-track only to take on a slower roll in the subsequent “Shahar’s Son” and dig into massive crashing on “12.” Using echo to add a sense of depth all the while, they scream in tradeoffs à la Akimbo and boogie in “Featherless” and seem to find a post-metallic moment on “Dark Skies” before closing with the alternately brooding and scathing “Totally out of This World,” the song sort of falling apart into the feedback and noise that ends the album. There’s a persistent sense of violence happening, but it’s as much inward as outward, and though some of Boar’s most effective moments are in that rawness, there’s something to be said for the contemplation at the outset of “Shahar’s Son” and “12” as well.

Boar on Thee Facebooks

Boar on Bandcamp

 

June Bug, A Thousand Days

June bug A Thousand Days

Seemingly unrestrained by genre, the Lille, France-based duo June BugJune on vocals and multiple instruments and Beryl on backing vocals and multiple instruments – dig into some post-punk nudge on early cut “Reasons” from their debut album, A Thousand Days (Atypeek Music) after the folkish melodies of opener “Now,” but whether it’s the fuzzy indie vibes of “Freaks” or the harmonies, electronics and acoustic guitar of “Let it Rest,” or the keyboard-handclaps, lower tones and poppish instrumental hook of centerpiece “Mama,” there’s plenty of variety throughout. What ties the differing vibes and richly nuanced approach together is the vocals, which are mostly subdued and at times hyper-stylized, but never seem to fail to keep melodicism as their central operating method. That remains true on the subdued “Does it Matter” and the beat-laden “Silenced” at the album’s finish and brings everything together with an overarching sense of joy that holds firm despite shifts in mood and approach, making the complete front-to-back listen as satisfying as it might seem all over the place.

June Bug on Thee Facebooks

Atypeek Music website

 

Tired Lord, Demo

tired lord demo

Released by the band last year, the four-song Demo by San Francisco outfit Tired Lord has been picked up for an official cassette issue through From Corners Unknown Records and will reportedly be the only release from the black metal/sludge genre-benders. Presumably that means they broke up, rather than just refuse to ever record again, though the latter possibility intrigues as well and would be meta-black metal. Spearheaded by guitarist Bryce Olson, Tired Lord effectively bring a thickness of tone to charred riffing, and a balance between screams and growls brings a cast of general extremity to the material. So I guess this is the part where I’m supposed to regret their dissolution and wish they’d do a proper release. Fair enough for the brutal chug in “Serpent’s Ascent” and the 7:51 closer “Astaroth,” which one wouldn’t mind hearing fleshed out from their current form. Failing that, one of the 30 tape copies pressed of Demo seems like decent consolation. At least while they’re there for the getting and before Tired Lord go gleefully into that black metal demo tape ether where so many seem to dwell.

From Corners Unknown Records on Thee Facebooks

From Corners Unknown Records website

 

BerT, Relics from Time Zero

bert relics from time zero

Lansing, Michigan, trio BerT – bassist Phil Clark and brothers Ryan (guitar) and Rael (drums) Andrews – broke up. They even put out a posthumous rare tracks release in 2017’s The Lost Toes (review here), so what’s left? Well, another album, of course. Intended as a sequel to the sci-fi narrative of the never-released long-player Return to the Electric Church, the five-track/35-minute Relics from Time Zero is unfinished, sans vocals where they might otherwise be, and basically a look at what might’ve been had the band not dissolved. For those prior-exposed to the once-prolific heavy rock bizarros, some of the proceedings will seem familiar: riffs are plentiful and fluid in their tempo changes from driving rock to droned-out stomp, and there seems to be about 1.5 of them in the four-minute “In the Cave of the Batqueen,” so but for the fact that it’s not done, I’d just about call it business as usual for BerT. I know they’re done and all, but I still wouldn’t mind hearing these songs with some lyrics, let alone the record this one was intended to follow-up. Either way, even defunct, BerT remain on their own wavelength.

BerT on Thee Facebooks

BerT on Bandcamp

 

Zen Bison, Krautrocker

zen bison krautrocker

Classic-style heavy rock riffing pervades opener “Blow My Mind” (5:47) and the subsequent “Backseat Lovers” (5:15) – somewhere between Stubb and Radio Moscow — on Zen Bison’s debut LP, Krautrocker, but as the five-track/42-minute self-release moves into the 11-minute title-track, guitarist/vocalist Philipp Ott, bassist Steffen Fischer and drummer Martin Konopka – joined by organist Hans Kirschner and percussionist Bobby Müller –move into deeper-grooving and more psychedelic fare. That turn suits the mostly-live-recorded outfit well on the longer instrumental piece, and that leads to a side B with the likewise-sans-vocals “La Madrugada” (9:56) and the closing cover of Don Nix’s blues rocker “Going Down” (10:24), jammed out at the end in its middle and end with quick return to the chorus between. There isn’t much on Krautrocker one might actually consider krautrock in the traditional sense, but there’s certainly plenty of rock to go around on the impressive and varied first offering from the Rostock trio.

Zen Bison on Thee Facebooks

Zen Bison on Bandcamp

 

Wheel in the Sky, Beyond the Pale

wheel in the sky beyond the pale

From opener “Rivers of Dust” onward, Wheel in the Sky’s second album, Beyond the Pale (on The Sign Records), proffers classy and classic digs, informed by a heavy ‘70s uptempo spirit on its title-track and moving into more complex volume and arrangement shifts in “Burn Babylon Burn” (video premiere here) and a poppy, goth-informed hook on “The Only Dead Girl in the City,” all the while held together through a quality of songwriting that even the band’s 2015 debut, Heading for the Night (review here), seemed to hint toward. It’s a mover, to be sure, but Wheel in the Sky execute their material with poise and a sense of clear intention, and no matter where they seem to go, their tonality and natural production assures the listener has an easy time tagging along. Might be a sleeper for some, but there are going to be people who really, really dig this album, and I’ve got no argument with them.

Wheel in the Sky on Thee Facebooks

The Sign Records website

 

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Hällas Summer Tour Starts This Week

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

hallas

I don’t care if each one was five copies — and rest assured, each one was substantially more in this case — getting through two full album pressings and releasing a third in the span of eight or nine months is pretty impressive. Such is the cast for Swedish heavy rockers Hällas, whose Excerpts from a Future Past came out last October through The Sign Records to wide-ranging “ooh”s and “aah”s. Good on ’em, what with the rock and roll and all. They’ll start taking it to the people — the people! — this week in support of the album, heading out for a weekender in Finland and Lithuania ahead of more fest dates later on. Much to do, much to do. The five-piece have been a steadily growing presence in the European heavy underground, and even as they seem to be gearing their summer toward hitting as many eyes as possible each time out, I wouldn’t be surprised if they kept up the festival appearances going into the busy Fall season, unless other plans should interfere. One never knows.

The PR wire sent the dates along, as follows:

hallas summer tour poster

Hällas Announces Summer Tour!

Today, Hällas announces their summer tour. The band will play 8 show between July and August in Finland, Lithuania, Germany and Norway.

Hällas just released the third press of their album “Excerpts from a future past” that was originally released in October 2017 by the Sign Records. The band has reached great success with their single “Star Rider”, and are now ready for the European festival summer.

Since the release of their debut album back in 2015, Hällas has gained a lot of popularity amongst rockers all over the world. With a sound that crosses the borders between the future and the past, between experimentation and catchiness, all wrapped together by spacey storytelling lyrics, the band has created something totally unique – by themselves referred to as “Adventure Rock”.

Summer Tour Dates:
12/7 Klubi -Tampere, Finland
13/7 Devilstone -Anyksciai, Lithuania
14/7 Uleaborg Psych Fest -Oulu, Finland
21/7 Chaos Descends Festival -Crispendorf, Germany
3/8 Kaupungin Aanet -Lahti, Finland
10/8 Aquamaria Festival -Plattenburg, Germany
11/8 Void Fest -Sinzendorf, Germany – SOLD OUT
25/8 Beyond The Gates -Bergen, Norway

Hällas is:
Tommy Alexandersson (bass/vocals)
Alexander Moraitis (guitar)
Kasper Eriksson (drums)
Marcus Pettersson (guitar)
Nicklas Malmqvist (keys)

https://www.facebook.com/haellas/
https://www.instagram.com/hallasband/
http://www.hallasband.com/
https://www.facebook.com/thesignrecords/
http://freighttrain.se

Hällas, “Star Rider” official video

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