The Presolar Sands to Release The Big Noise April 21

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

the presolar sands

If you’ve got a couple minutes and a will to drift, Swedish psych rockers The Presolar Sands would like to have a word. Or at least some tone. And a few words. Okay it’s a streaming song. Fine. You got me. Happy now?

Jeez.

The Stockholm-based four-piece make their full-length debut on April 12 via Lazy Octopus Records with The Big Noise, and though the title hints at cacophony and maybe the album has plenty of it, the track they’re streaming in advance, “Witches’ Hill,” soothes as much as it ranges over the course of its classic cult-poppy three-minutes.

You can check it out at the bottom of the post, under all the album art and info and whatnot, which was snagged from the interwebs:

the presolar sands the big noise

THE PRESOLAR SANDS – ”THE BIG NOISE” – RELEASE APRIL 12

The Presolar Sands creates music from a broad spectrum of genres that comes together in a world where melodic and psychedelic elements resonate with crushed explosive noise and dark witch symbolism. Since the debut in 2015, The Presolar Sands have released a 7” and an EP, they’ve supported international acts such as Kikagaku Moyo and White Hills and played shows around Scandinavia and Europe including festivals like Sweden Rock Festival (2016), Malmö Psych Fest (2015), Copenhagen Psych Fest (2016), Malmöfestivalen (2016) and Where’s The Music? (2017).

Their debut album THE BIG NOISE is out April 12 via Lazy Octopus Records. It draws inspiration from the Witch Hunts of the 17th century, and the period of mass hysteria in Sweden, called The Big Noise (Det Stora Oväsendet), where hundreds of women were assassinated for ”practicing witchcraft”.

THE BIG NOISE has heart-beat drums, vibrating guitars, reverberating piano, dark lyrics and the witchy voices of Jessica (sings lead vocals on “Exposure”, “Witches’ Hill”, “State Of Loneliness”, “Panic Disorder”, “Skinchanger” and “We Own You”) and Charlotta (sings lead vocals on “Det Stora Oväsendet” and “Dig You Out”).

It was recorded at Studio Cobra in Stockholm in November 2016 together with producer/engineer Martin Ehrencrona and mastered by Hans Olsson Brookes at Svenska Grammofonstudion in Gothenburg.

Tracklisting:
1. Exposure
2. Det Stora Oväsendet
3. Witches’ Hill
4. Dig You Out
5. State Of Loneliness
6. Panic Disorder
7. Skin Changer
8. We Own You

https://www.facebook.com/ThePresolarSands/
http://instagram.com/thepresolarsands
https://www.thepresolarsands.com/
https://lazyoctopus.bandcamp.com/album/the-big-noise
http://www.lazyoctopusrecords.se/
http://facebook.com/lazyoctopusrecords

The Presolar Sands, The Big Noise (2017)

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Troubled Horse Premiere Video for “Hurricane”

Posted in Bootleg Theater on March 6th, 2017 by JJ Koczan

troubled-horse-photo-by-Oskar-Omne

Is it a surprise to find the new single from Örebro, Sweden, heavy rockers Troubled Horse to be catchy as all hell, loaded with groove and a heavy-but-modern sense of boogie that’s far too busy kicking ass to worry about what decade you think it’s influenced by? Probably not if you caught wind of the four-piece’s debut, Step Inside (review here), when Rise Above released it in 2012. As announced in January, the same label will offer up Troubled Horse‘s awaited second album, Revolution on Repeat, on March 31, and “Hurricane,” which you can see and hear below, gives due emphasis on the above while also highlighting the urgency that shows itself throughout the record as a whole. Five years on from their first outing, Troubled Horse are very clearly ready to get down to business. Emphasis on “get down.”

Along with the crisp production, blistering performance by the band and unmistakably Svensk vibing, “Hurricane” offers the near-maddening hook: “I know you hate me/It doesn’t bother me though/I’ve got nothing but love for you.” troubled horse revolution on repeatIt comes quick as delivered by cheapeau-clad frontman Martin Heppich, but even as he, lead guitarist Mikael Linder (also bass on the album), and newcomer guitarist Tom and drummer Jonas get their asses kicked by the throng that the thin-tie-wearing square calls in for backup, presumably in response to an initial noise complaint, that message resonates. It’s not about aggression (at least not on the part of those getting their asses kicked), or chestbeating, or any of that stuff. It’s about the idea of music as something that can bring people together. I dig that. As a species, we need more of that.

“Hurricane” isn’t really a complete summary of everything Troubled Horse do throughout Revolution on Repeat in terms of its general sound, but it makes for an energetic statement of purpose. It’s memorable, and presents the band as having their own take on elements that might be familiar to those for whom the mere mention of Örebro is a dogwhistle of a host of acts in the Swedish retro set, but moreover, it puts the focus on songcraft, which is what shines through most of all in Revolution on Repeat regardless of where an individual track actually starts out or winds up.

Once again, the album is out March 31 on Rise Above. Please find the “Hurricane” video premiere below, followed by more background from the PR wire.

Enjoy:

Troubled Horse, “Hurricane” official video

Formed in 2003 in their hometown of Örebro (also home to Witchcraft), the Horse crew erupted into the consciousness of riff-worshippers everywhere with a low-key seven-inch vinyl release in 2010, and then their debut album Step Inside, which was released by Rise Above Records in 2012. An invigorating whirlwind of spiky garage rock, propulsive psychedelia and thunderous, overdriven soul-meets-doom riffing, Step Inside showcased a band with little interest in current or nostalgic trends, instead revelling in a consciously classic but undeniably fresh new take on the most revered and ageless of musical components.

Troubled Horse’s forthcoming second album is Revolution On Repeat. With a refreshed line-up featuring new members Jonas (drums) and Tom (bass) alongside loyal guitar lord Mikael Linder, frontman Martin Heppich’s vision of a no-holds-barred celebration of heavy rock in all its colourful, subversive glory has never sounded stronger. From the barrelling, high-energy thunder of Hurricane and Which Way To The Mob through to the sprawling head-rush of The Haunted and acid-tinged, lo-fi psych of Desperation, Revolution On Repeat is an instinctive and naturalistic triumph for fire, fury and feel over the forces of plodding revisionism. Throw in a sublime rendition of Warren Zevon’s death-premonition anthem My Shit’s Fucked Up, and the album amount to a bold, pertinent and subtly dispiriting statement on the state of the world, all underpinned by the loudest guitars imaginable.

“Hopefully people will enjoy the record and we’ll get to go on tour and play live,” Martin grins. “That would be really awesome! I know it’s a cliché, but playing and writing songs is a venting process at least for me. But this is a team effort, even though I always have the last word because I’m a jerk…ha ha ha!”

Troubled Horse on Thee Facebooks

Troubled Horse on Instagram

Rise Above Records website

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Review & Full Album Stream: Kingnomad, Mapping the Inner Void

Posted in audiObelisk, Reviews on February 22nd, 2017 by JJ Koczan

kingnomad-mapping-the-inner-void

[Click play above to stream Kingnomad’s Mapping the Inner Void in full. Album is out this Friday, Feb. 24, on Ripple Music.]

When it comes to new bands, there are some who just kind of get together in a room and see what comes out. Not a bad approach by any means. In many instances, for a lot of acts with the right combination of players, it works. Others seem to approach even their very beginnings with a specific idea of what they want to accomplish and then set to building on that. Notwithstanding Kingnomad‘s purported history — that guitarists Jay and Marcus got together in 2014 to jam Sabbath and then riffs came out and they called up bassist Maximilian and drummer Andreas to join in — the sound of their Ripple Music debut full-length, Mapping the Inner Void, would seem to place them squarely in the latter camp.

It is a record whose seven tracks/38 minutes brim with aesthetic purpose, and granted they’ve had a couple years to put it together, but even so, their sound does not come across as one onto which one might just stumble blindly, melding as it does modern cultishness with classic progressive melodies and semi-vintage tonality, marked out by the sporadic use of spellcasting samples to play up further ghoulish sentiments amid the fuzzed-out roll of a short Lovecraftian nod like “Whispers from R’lyeh,” which follows the one-two opening salvo of the catchy, almost post-Ghost pop spirit of “Lucifer’s Dream” and “Nameless Cult,” and sets up transitions into blues rock, expansive psych and garage doom that follow throughout “The Witches Garden,” “The Green Meadow Part 1 & 2,” “She Wizard” and closer “The Waiting Game.” With the flow the four-piece enact between these cuts and the standout moments of songcraft in them, yes, it seems utterly reasonable to me to attribute their making to more than happenstance. This is a band with a stylistic message.

That message? Perhaps that there are still realms of dark magic to be explored in classic-minded heavy rock. I’m not talking necessarily about the tropes of cult lyrics — though there’s some of that to be had throughout Mapping the Inner Void, for sure — but more about the magic of a collaborative creative effort. Jay, who in addition to playing guitar also sings and handles keys (piano and organ), is a formidable presence throughout the record as he was when Kingnomad met with Michigan’s BoneHawk on Ripple‘s The Second Coming of Heavy: Chapter Three split (review here) in 2016, but a considerable difference is in the production, which feels hairier by the time the audio collage at the start of “Lucifer’s Dream” has given over to the song itself. Its arrival is marked by Dead Meadow-style fuzz riffing and a slow drum march for the verse that calls to the aforementioned Ghost with falsetto backing layers in the first chorus.

Immediately, structure seems to be something to toy with as the band launches at the halfway point into more uptempo swing before deftly returning to the fuzzy march, this time topping with a flourish of organ and piano to lull the listener into a false sense of security before the explosive open of “Nameless Cult” proffers old horror sampling en route to one of Mapping the Inner Void‘s strongest choruses. They lean on it a bit and rightly so, since while “Nameless Cult” will find something of a mirror in the penultimate “She Wizard” toward the album’s end, the journey there in the three songs between — not to mention the closer after — is varied enough to warrant a stretch on the most solid of ground. Or at least as close as one can come to it with a hook that seems to take flight as that of “Nameless Cult” does. In any case, though “Whispers from R’lyeh” is almost definitely still on side A, as an interlude it functions almost as a second intro to the album, with an already-noted brief but heavier roll and a few airy lines of guitar leading into centerpiece track “The Witches Garden,” which makes itself a highlight in subtler fashion than did “Nameless Cult” via boogie shuffle and a laid back vocal from Jay that adds atmosphere and melody in kind.

Ringing bells begin “The Green Meadow Part 1 & 2” in what’s almost certainly intended as a call to worship, and dense garage-doom fuzz takes hold on a slow-rolling plod for the next two-plus minutes, dropping out to let the vocals stand alone for the first line of the song before there emerges a blown-out nod that reintroduces the organ around its midpoint and consumes with tone and the lumbering of its rhythm. At seven-plus minutes, “The Green Meadow Part 1 & 2” has room for guitar and drum solos, but Kingnomad rightly bring it back around to the chorus again at the end and harmonize guitar lines over the last percussive roll in order to change the progression even as they’re tying the song together, making it whole and complete and that much broader at once.

As mentioned, “She Wolf” is the second to last cut on Mapping the Inner Void, which also makes it the centerpiece of side B — I think — and it functions well between the more extended “The Green Meadow Part 1 & 2” and “The Waiting Game,” with a simpler arrangement of neo-biker chug and forward rhythmic movement, once again using its keys well for depth of arrangement as it heads directly for the start of “The Waiting Game,” which with its intro of hi-hat and lazily strummed guitar and ensuing march seems to be speaking directly to Uncle Acid and the Deadbeats‘ “Death’s Door,” though much to their credit, Kingnomad make this influence their own.

Layered-in backing vocals add to the chorus as the band plays between fuller and sparser places on their stomp, and though it seems with the pre-midsection solo at about three minutes in that they’re headed out for good, they pull back for another verse before actually making their departure into concluding instrumental exploration, a controlled freakout that runs “The Waiting Game” to its full 8:38, bringing samples back in amid increasing noise before cutting everything out and letting the guitar finish Mapping the Inner Void on the central line of the song, held out at the end on a satisfying fade.

While not flawless in its performance in a manner that would speak to studio trickery, from the click-of-play that starts “Lucifer’s Dream” to that guitar line closing “The Waiting Game,” one finds no aesthetic missteps on the part of Kingnomad, who thereby further the notion of stylistic purpose behind their work. That’s not to say they haven’t left themselves room to grow — watch out next time for increased confidence in the vocals — but that their starting point has given them a clear path to travel. As a debut, the complexity of Mapping the Inner Void unfolds more on repeat listens, and the band earn those listens all the more through songwriting, making the album all the more a success in terms of balance, craft and execution.

Kingnomad on Thee Facebooks

Kingnomad on Twitter

Kingnomad on Bandcamp

Ripple Music website

Ripple Music on Bandcamp

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Ripple Music on Twitter

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Greenleaf Cancel North American Tour

Posted in Whathaveyou on February 15th, 2017 by JJ Koczan

Bummer news out of Sweden today in that Greenleaf have been forced to cancel their planned US tour. The run, which was slated to begin March 5 at Brooklyn’s Saint Vitus Bar, would’ve been the first for the band, and was to take place over two legs, with desert legends Yawning Man and fellow Swedes Truckfighters keeping company as Greenleaf supported their 2016 Napalm Records release, Rise Above the Meadow (review here), which was without question one of the best albums of last year.

On a purely selfish level, I’m sorry to see this news come out because it means I won’t get to see the band, but they leave open the possibility of making another attempt to get over later in 2017 or next year, and so at least the idea isn’t completely off the table as of now. Visa issues. As ever.

I haven’t seen word of whether Yawning Man will press forward with their intention to play the East Coast for the first time, or who will fill in on the Truckfighters run, if anybody, but when and if I hear, I’ll do my best to post accordingly.

Greenleaf‘s announcement and the list of canceled dates follows:

greenleaf tour off

GREENLEAF – North American Tour CANCELLED

We regret to inform everyone who was so excited to see us on our upcoming dates with Yawning Man and Truckfighters that due to complications with our visas we are very sad to say that we must cancel our appearances on this tour. We’ll do our best to solve this issue and appear on your shores later this year or in worst case in 2018.
And yes we know… this really sucks DONKEY BALLS.

All the best
Tommi Holappa, Sebastian Olsson, Arvid Jonsson and Hans Fröhlich

Affected dates:
03/05 Brooklyn NY Saint Vitus Bar
03/06 Richmond VA Strange Matter
03/07 Chapel Hill NC Local 506
03/08 Pittsburgh PA Smiling Moose
03/09 Chicago IL Reggies
03/10 Kansas City MO Riot Room
03/11 Saint Louis MO Fubar
03/12 Oklahoma City OK TBA
03/13 El Paso TX TBA
03/15 San Diego CA Brick by Brick
03/16 Los Angeles CA Complex
03/17 San Francisco CA Bottom of the Hill
03/18 Sacramento CA Starlite
03/19 Portland OR Ash St. Saloon
03/20 Seattle WA El Corazon
03/21 Vancouver BC Rickshaw
03/23 Calgary AB Distortion
03/24 Edmonton AB Starlite
03/25 Saskatoon SK Amigos
03/26 Regina SK Exchange
03/28 Denver CO Moon Room
03/29 Albuquerque NM Launchpad
03/30 Tucson AZ Flycatcher
03/31 Mesa AZ Club Red

http://www.napalmrecordsamerica.com/store/greenleaf
http://shop.napalmrecords.com/greenleaf
www.facebook.com/greenleafrocks
www.napalmrecords.com
www.facebook.com/napalmrecords

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Friday Full-Length: Mammoth Volume, Mammoth Volume

Posted in Bootleg Theater on February 3rd, 2017 by JJ Koczan

Mammoth Volume, Mammoth Volume (1999)

Someday, some brave soul is going to reissue all the records like Mammoth Volume‘s 1999 self-titled debut and notch an asterisk in the history of Swedish heavy rock. Like the first Sgt. Sunshine offering (which actually has been reissued), the 2000 debut from Blind Dog — the still-going Sparzanza and Mustasch would soon hit the scene — and a mountainous slew of others, not to mention then-contemporary works by Dutch acts like 35007 (also reissued), 7Zuma7 and Astrosoniq or any of the countless bands Germany produced at the time, it’s a collection that remains distinctly undervalued in the context of when it arrived and what it brought with it. Consider as you listen to “Dervishsong” that the self-titled Queens of the Stone Age had arrived only one year earlier in 1998. By then, Europe’s heavy underground was already flourishing, acts like Dozer and Demon Cleaner releasing early, desert-style singles (also ripe for reissue, as I’ve said many times) to put Sweden at the forefront, and by 1999, the prefacing of the vintage-heavy movement Norrsken would do — members going on to form Witchcraft, Graveyard, and Dead Man — was nearly at its end. It was a time of transition, in other words, and bands like Mammoth Volume, with their easy, open grooves on songs like “Closer to the Sun” on this self-titled, and the continuing progression of their second and third albums, Noara Dance (2000) and A Single Book of Songs (2001), helped establish stylistic parameters that groups continue to follow nearly two decades later.

One can hear classic psychedelia alongside post-Fu Manchu roll in Mammoth Volume‘s “Shindig” and a direct conversation with Californian desert rock happening in the later “The Pinball Referee” that’s true to Kyuss-style tonality than most at that point could come. Comprised of vocalist Jorgen Andersson, guitarist/producer Daniel Gustafsson, bassist Kalle Berlin and drummer/producer Nicklas Andersson would explore jazzy fluidity on “Matthew 6:21” as naturally as chugging heavy swing on opener “Seagull” and the subsequent “Morningsong,” which made the leap from one of the self-titled’s most satisfying rolls into open acoustic strum and subtle post-grunge harmonies with all the care of a shoulder shrug — and only then got into the stoner-jangle-shuffle en route back to the chorus and into an organ-topped bridge in the second half. It’s a familiar story, or at least it should be, of a release that seems ready to get a due that, at the time, just wasn’t there for the getting. Indeed, with the growth and seemingly endless appetite that’s developed for heavy rock and roll on the part of its audience’s next generation over the last five or so years, it’s no stretch to imagine Mammoth Volume‘s Mammoth Volume working next to an entire catalog of repress-worthy outings from its era. If one is given to such daydreaming, anyhow.

If you’d like to do some more digging — “visit your local library!” — in the US, their records were released on a label called The Music Cartel, which also partnered with Rise Above at the time on outings by CathedralOrange GoblinElectric WizardSheavy, LidFirebird and Hangnail while also releasing records by SallyLeadfootThe Bronx Casket Company and righteous compilations like In the Groove and Rise 13 – Magick Rock Vol. 1Ufomammut‘s Snailking was another pivotal The Music Cartel release, proving they were willing to take a chance on these relatively unknown acts when just about no one else would. Sure, Monster Magnet had a label deal, and Fu Manchu, and Queens of the Stone Age would soon enough, but fewer and farther between were people ready to step up and put out Sleep‘s Jerusalem, and like a less aesthetically inclined East Coast answer to Man’s Ruin Records (Frank Kozik‘s cover art was sometimes as much of an event as the music itself), The Music Cartel did that — as well as Mammoth Volume‘s first three full-lengths and the 2002 The Early Years comp that would end up as the band’s last physical release.

A few digital offerings followed, the most recent of them titled quizzically titled Loved by Few, Hated by Dolphins and put out as a free download from the band’s now-defunct website on the occasion of their official breakup in 2008. I’m not sure if members have gone on to other outfits or what, but if you have any info, I’d love to know in the comments.

In the meantime, I hope you enjoy.

I’ve avoided talking about it, but it’s been an unhinged couple of weeks in the country where I live, and much as I’ve tried to live in a bubble of good tunes, Star Trek and Final Fantasy, I’ve not been unaffected. Having lived through the George W. Bush era as an adult-type person aware of the world around me, I’ve seen things get plenty fucked before — anyone remember 2006? — but even on that scale, it would be impressive if it wasn’t all so tragic and terrifying. You don’t need a big fascism-is-bad internet thinkpiece essay from the likes of me, and I can all but promise one isn’t coming, but I’ll just say that thus far, remembering “this isn’t normal” has not been a challenge.

But hey, music, right? Rock and roll?

Plenty of that to go around, and I’ve been working hard to remind myself of the love that I’m so fortunate to have in my life. That seems to carry me over, so I recommend it if you’ve been similarly disturbed.

I’ve been looking forward to this weekend since before the week started. A little dude-time and record shopping with the esteemed Johnny Arzgarth will be fun on Saturday, and otherwise I plan on relaxing and taking it easy as much as possible ahead of what’s sure to be more adventures next week. Writing, coffee, couch-time — all good things.

Here’s what I’ve got in my notes for next week around here (subject to change, as always):

Mon.: A batch of Radio adds and a video premiere from Drone Hunter, also news on two different fests and other tours.
Tue.: Godstopper track premiere, new Naxatras video, more news from Samsara Blues Experiment.
Wed.: Dool review, Against the Grain video.
Thu.: Six Organs of Admittance review, Lung Flower video.
Fri.: Keeping open pending a premiere, otherwise maybe Goya or Rozamov review, mood depending. Something heavy.

Of course, I hope you have a great and safe weekend, whatever you’re up to. Have fun, be safe, watch your back and please check out the forum and the radio stream.

The Obelisk Forum

The Obelisk Radio

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Siena Root Sign to MIG Music; A Dream of Lasting Peace Due in April

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

Stockholm-based heavy rock classicists Siena Root have signed a deal to issue their next album, A Dream of Lasting Peace, in April on MIG Music. The German imprint is probably best known for its many releases recorded for Rockpalast, as well as a vast swath of krautrock reissues that run in varying degrees of obscurity. Between then two, a band like Siena Root should fit perfectly, with a classic, live-feeling sound that’s given to progressive touches. US distribution will be through MVD, which if I’m not mistaken also handled 2014’s Pioneers, but either way it’s cool to see the record will be out in Spring. Couldn’t be a better time for something that’s bound to be so brimming with life.

Oh, and I promise you I didn’t know this news was coming when I decided to close out last week with Siena Root. Pure serendipity. Kind of nice how it worked out though, right? Everything around here should be so cohesive.

The label’s announcement follows, as well as Siena Root‘s upcoming tour dates in Poland and Germany:

Siena Root – A Dream of Lasting Peace – Made in Germany Music

The Swedish band SIENA ROOT has signed a worldwide record contract with M.I.G. Made In Germany Music in Hanover. “A Dream Of Lasting Peace” is the sixth studio album of the Swedish retro rock pioneers and is already scheduled for release end of April this year. The psychedelic and progressive rockers of SIENA ROOT already have an established and loyal fan base in many European countries and played at the most important festivals on the continent in the last year.

Manfred Schütz, MD of MIG Music, about the new deal: “We have seen and heard the band almost two years ago at the Burg Herzberg festival. After that, it was clear to us that we had to work with these guys! We here at MIG cultivate a very selective signing of artists and bands. That is why we are especially pleased to collaborate with these creative and ambitious musicians.”

Siena Root live:
09.03 PL Gdansk Protokultura
10.03 PL Warsawa Chmury
11.03 DE Seelow Blues Rock Festival
12.03 PL Chorzow Lesniczowka Club
13.03 DE Reichenbach Bergkeller

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

https://www.facebook.com/sienaroot
https://sienaroot.bandcamp.com/
https://www.instagram.com/sienaroot/
http://www.sienaroot.com/
http://www.mig-music.de/en/siena-root-are-signing-with-mig-music/

Siena Root, Pioneers (2014)

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Friday Full-Length: Siena Root, Kaleidoscope

Posted in Bootleg Theater on January 27th, 2017 by JJ Koczan

Siena Root, Kaleidoscope (2006)

If you’ve ever listened to Siena Root and not immediately wanted to purchase everything they’ve ever put out, I dare say you weren’t paying close enough attention. The longish-running classic heavy rockers have had enough people come in and out of their lineup over the years to populate a small village in their native Sweden, but they never fair to bring something special to their output.

Starting their first album, 2004’s A New Day Dawning, onward, they’ve stayed true one way or another to ’70s heavy vibes, but they were among a few early adopters when it comes to the current wave of boogie rock, even in Sweden, and their first four albums — A New Day Dawning, 2006’s Kaleidoscope, 2008’s Far from the Sun and 2009’s Different Realities (discussed here) — stood out all the more not only for the vintage feel, but for the fullness of their arrangements. Working with labels like Nasoni Records and Transubstans RecordsSiena Root freely explored blends of organ, percussion, Rhodes, Mellotron, vocal changes, and sitar — the last of those provided by multi-instrumentalist KG West, who would play an increasing role in shaping the band’s sound over those four outings.

On Kaleidoscope, the group set a pivotal forward motion, and at the winding-down of the CD era, they purposefully built a two-sided, 51-minute offering of primo naturalist groove. The lineup of vocalist Sanya, vocalist/organist Oskar Lundström, lead vocalist/guitarist Sartez FarajWest on guitar, organ, sitar, Rhodes, and mellotron, bassist/percussionist/vocalist Sam Riffer, and drummer/percussionist Love Forsberg, brought together a bluesy spirit that turned out to be as prescient of what was to come from Sweden and of course the broader European sphere of heavy rock as it was backward-looking to the heavy acts of yore. Anchored by Riffer and Forsberg in the rhythm section, opener “Good and Bad” moved from catchy shuffle into a hazy spaciousness with a certified-organic jam that seemed to be taking its cues via what-would-RitchieBlackmore-do and then built its way back gloriously to the place from whence it came in an eight-minute show of mastery that let listeners know immediately they were in for a killer trip.

From there, side A played to more straightforward and bluesier spirit in “Nightstalker” and “Blues 276,” bringing Sanya‘s soulful delivery forward on the former amid backing organ and sleekly bouncing the low end in the latter in a loose, gorgeously- and clean-toned jammer, efficient at 3:43 but with enough swing for a song of three times the length. It was on the subsequent “Bhairavi Dhun” that West‘s sitar took the lead position, and though the nine-minute track eventually welcomed in wah-soaked bass, drums and flute, the delve into Indian-influenced composition remained a bold and striking turn for Kaleidoscope to take, becoming one of the central impressions left behind when it was over. Siena Root already stood out from what was then a much smaller pack — recall Graveyard wouldn’t have their first record out until 2007 (also on Transubstans) — but the Subcontinental stylization of “Bhairavi Dhun” absolutely put Kaleidoscope over the top.

And they still had half the record to go! The initially minimalist drift-into-jam of “Crossing the Stratosphere,” low-end foreboding into a resuming of the more straight-ahead rock jamming of “Nightstalker” or “Blues 276,” would lead directly into “There and back Again,” marked out by its Purple-hued organ and bass fluidity, and the rumble at the end of “There and back Again” once more set the stage for the full-boogie of the six-minute “Ridin’ Slow,” which might’ve lived up to its name but for the energy with which it was delivered. Another stellar vocal from Sanya, another stellar bassline from Riffer, and another affirmation of jammy righteousness from Siena Root as a whole, “Ridin’ Slow” shifted into open-plucked guitar notes in its midsection in post-Zeppelin fashion, but kept a progressive edge thanks to the Mellotron and vocal effects before moving back into more vibrant push, which is how it ended, making its way out still grooving on a long fade.

As for 11-minute finale “Reverberations,” it would have its work cut out for it in summarizing the suitably multi-color Kaleidoscope as a whole, but a long, linear showing of instrumental chemistry said as much about what made this incarnation of Siena Root work so well as anything else could have. Flute — or flute sounds, anyway — and organ and guitar and bass and drums all came together with class and purpose, and while one might’ve appreciated a return of West‘s sitar layered in for symmetry’s sake with “Bhairavi Dhun,” the cacophony at which “Reverberations” arrived lacked nothing in terms of making its impact and closing Siena Root‘s second album on a delightfully immersive note.

Siena Root reissued a remastered version of Kaleidoscope — which is what you’re (hopefully) hearing above — through their own Root Rock Records imprint in 2015. After the blissfully conceptual Different Realities in 2009, it would be half a decade before they’d put out another studio album in 2014’s more modern-feeling Pioneers (discussed here), though their 2011 live record, aptly titled Root Jam (track stream here), felt like an appropriate celebration of their work in the meantime. Now comprised of RifferForsberg, vocalist Samuel Björö, organist Erik Petersson and guitarist Matte GustavssonSiena Root are currently the process of mastering a new full-length, and, having had the extraordinary pleasure of seeing them live last fall at Høstsabbat in Norway (review here), it is a record to which I’m very much looking forward.

As always, I hope you enjoy.

Call me crazy, but by the time I saw the news last night that the aforementioned Graveyard are getting back together, my head was already spinning from the outright barrage of information this week. Monday and Tuesday, five-post days, but Wednesday was seven, yesterday was six and this post makes seven again for today, and that’s a lot for my poor, feeble brain to take.

I’m already behind on stuff for next week as well — it’s like everyone on the planet chose this week to release their new video — and it’s a busy one besides, but here’s a rundown of how it looks so far:

Mon.: Special post and XII Boar video.
Tue.: Evil Triplet track premiere and Strange Broue video.
Wed.: Shroud Eater premiere and Demon Head video.
Thu.: Hollow Leg premiere and Dot Legacy video.
Fri.: Stinking Lizaveta premiere and Black Mirrors video.

All this stuff is pretty much locked in, so that’s how I’m expecting it to shake out, but of course changes happen.

I’ll say a special thanks to everyone who liked, shared, commented on and helped build the Tomorrow’s Dream post to a point of being over the 200 mark. I especially appreciate the civil tone the comments took and the fact that people genuinely seemed interested in making it a more complete document rather than simply calling me out on things I missed. Thank you for that, and thank you as always for reading.

Do yourself and me a favor and have a great and safe weekend. Please check out the forum and the radio stream.

The Obelisk Forum

The Obelisk Radio

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Alastor Sign to Twin Earth Records; New Album Due in Spring

Posted in Whathaveyou on January 27th, 2017 by JJ Koczan

In the place where most bands might put some biographical information, Swedish cult-style doom rockers Alastor offer only the advice: ‘Die in fire.’ Let’s hope it doesn’t come to that. While hardly descriptive in terms of their background, it is a pretty concise summation of the vibe offered by their 14-minute single “Black Magic,” which you can stream below via their Bandcamp page. The band has signed to Twin Earth Records — so you know immediately going into it their tones are on point; and they are — and will release a new album in May on CD/DL with vinyl to follow in July.

Is Black Magic the title of that album? Will the song actually be on the record? Just what do the initials of the band members stand for? All these questions and several more have yet to be answered, but the band gives kind of a quick middle-finger rundown of what they’ve got going — shows in summer with Vokonis — and that’ll just have to be enough to work with for now. Sometimes you take what you can get.

As forwarded on by Twin Earth:

Alastor signs to Twin Earth Records

Digital/CD due out in May 2017
Vinyl LP July 2017

“Well, we all live in different towns around ‘Southern Sweden’ so I guess we could just go with that. Band members; H – guitar, J – guitar, R – bass/vocals and S – drums. Simple as that. We all come from different bands but the only relevant is Alastor, as that’s where we put the focus now.

“Full length of the Album is 34:36 minutes. We have one show in Malmö, Sweden, booked for the 11th of March as well as some gigs in Belgium and Germany in June currently being planned together with our friends in Vokonis, but that’s pretty much all at the moment.”

Alastor is:
J – guitars
H – guitars
S – drums
R – bass/vox

“Black Magic” recorded by Magnus Sörensen at KulturVerkstan. Mixed and mastered by Hannes Heed at Black Sword Studios. Cover art by Helfvete Art.

https://www.facebook.com/alastordoom/
https://alastordoom.bandcamp.com/album/black-magic
www.twinearthrecords.com

Alastor, “Black Magic”

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