Friday Full-Length: Truckfighters, Gravity X

Posted in Bootleg Theater on June 26th, 2015 by H.P. Taskmaster

Truckfighters, Gravity X

In part because its opener has become such a clarion, reliably launching — and I do mean launching — every gig the band plays, and because July marks 10 years since its original release, it’s tempting to view Truckfighters‘ 2005 debut full-length, Gravity X, as a watershed moment or generational swap-out in Swedish heavy rock. The truth of that is more complicated. Even as Truckfighters were stomping their way onto the scene after their first release following two early EPs, a 2003 joint offering with bassist/vocalist Oskar “Ozo” Cedermalm‘s prior outfit, Firestone, titled The Fuzzsplit of the Century (discussed here), that was also Fuzzorama Records‘ premiere catalog entry, bands like Dozer were well into their tenure, releasing Though the Eyes of Heathens the same year, while at the same time, fellow Örebro natives Witchcraft were releasing their second album, Firewood, almost precisely the same day on Rise Above. Nonetheless, if Gravity X‘s arrival through Fuzzorama and MeteorCity has become something of a landmark in the annals of Swedish and/or European heavy rock at large — and it’s pretty easy to argue that it has — that status is a testament to the grueling work that the band has put in in the years since it was first issued, writing and recording, touring incessantly across an ever-widening geographic range, and of course fostering other acts at the helm of Fuzzorama. As much as “Desert Cruiser” seems now to be an immediate and resounding call to those ready to worship at the altar of fuzz, it’s worth remembering it took Truckfighters years of hand-delivering what’s become their signature riff to audiences for it to become that.

The athleticism involved in that delivery notwithstanding, there has always been more to Truckfighters — the core of Cedermalm and guitarist Niklas “Dango” Källgren, as portrayed in the 2012 “fuzzomentary” A Film about a Band Called Truckfighters (review here), along with a cast of drummers that has continued to rotate over the last several years — than jumping around on stage. Even on Gravity X, the reaches of which are considerable with a 67-minute runtime, the band showcased a penchant for instrumental exploration that would continue to serve them well as they progressed through subsequent offerings like 2007’s Phi, 2009’s Mania (review here) and last year’s long-awaited Universe (review here), balanced against a core of songcraft that remained prevalent no matter who happened to be in the band with Källgren and Cedermalm at the time — former drummers Oscar Johansson and Andre Kvarnström have gone on to play in Witchcraft and Blues Pills, respectively — and cuts like “Gargarismo,” “In Search of (The),” “Gweedo-Weedo” and “Manhattan Project” have maintained their vitality over the 10-year span as highlights both of Truckfighters‘ catalog and that of Swedish heavy rock, the one only becoming more and more pivotal to the other over that same stretch. Meanwhile the toying with spaciousness of “Superfunk” seems in hindsight to presage some of the moodier turns of Universe and Mania before it, the band’s dynamic growing as relentlessly as their tour schedule, which has seen them become a fixture of both the European and American circuits particularly over the last half-decade.

Gravity X was compiled with Phi onto what was dubbed the Super 3-LP in 2013 — the band also put out their The Chairman EP that year as a stopgap between Mania and Universe — and of course, as forward as they’ve progressed in the years since, some of this material remains a staple of live sets, and among heavy rock records, I think you’ll find Gravity X has rare staying power, undulled by time. Hope you enjoy.

Well, next week is it: the Quarterly Review. I’ve been teasing it for about the last month, I’ll be writing reviews all weekend to get a jump on it, and next week, from Monday to Friday, somehow, some way, we’ll have 10 reviews each day for a total of 50. Don’t ask me how that’s going to get done. It just is.

If you downloaded the new podcast this week, that is hugely appreciated.

Not much more to come other than the Quarterly Review, honestly. I’ve got a Mammoth Mammoth video premiere slated for Thursday, but I’m basically trying to keep it pretty stripped down other than the big post each day and whatever news comes down the PR wire. That should be plenty to work with. I’m thinking of doing a vinyl week the next week, just to keep things as complicated and time-consuming for myself as possible. You know, bash my head on the rocks to keep from drowning and all that.

If you’re headed to the Maryland Doom Fest this weekend — should be starting right around now, actually — I hope it’s great. I wish I could be there as well. I’ll look forward to seeing video of Spirit Caravan and hopefully they do a The Obsessed cover or two.

To be perfectly honest, there’s more, but I’m so beat I don’t even know what it is. Long work day, and I’m planning on spending the next two days working behind the scenes on the site, so while nothing’s going to be posted Saturday and Sunday, I’m not so much signing off as checking out for the evening.

Either way, I hope you have a great and safe weekend. See you back here Monday and please check out the forum and radio stream.

The Obelisk Forum

The Obelisk Radio

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Graveyard Announce Innocence and Decadence Album Details; New LP Due Sept. 25

Posted in Whathaveyou on June 18th, 2015 by H.P. Taskmaster

graveyard

News hasn’t been quick in arriving about Graveyard‘s fourth album, which we now know is titled Innocence and Decadence — perhaps for its dealings with the bluesy demons that seem to have haunted the Swedish outfit since their 2007 self-titled debut — but confirmation came of the record’s existence on their tour with Clutch last month (review here) and the new song, “Shunken,” which they played to herald the upcoming offering’s arrival. Sept. 25 is the release date, and it will be their third outing for Nuclear Blast after 2012’s Lights Out (review here) and 2011’s Hisingen Blues (review here), duty-bound to answer some questions about where their sound is heading after their last time out and just what direction their massively influential ’70s stylizations will take.

Very much looking forward to finding out. If you are as well, preorders are up now. This from the PR wire:

graveyard innocence and decadence

GRAYEYARD Reveal Details to Upcoming Album!

Swedish grandmasters of classic rock, GRAVEYARD, have announced that they will be releasing their fourth full-length album, Innocence & Decadence on September 25, 2015 worldwide via Nuclear Blast.

Innocence & Decadence was recorded in Stockholm, Sweden at Atlantis Studios with Janne Hansson (ABBA, THE HIVES, OPETH) and Johan Lindström (TONBRUKET).

Commented the band: “Got a new album coming your way in September called Innocence & Decadence. It’s gonna be an album filled to the rim with a little bit of this – and for all of those who might wonder or worry – there will be quite a lot of that on it as well. We’ve had a great time recording the album at the ‘gemytliga’ Atlantis Studios in Stockholm together with Janne Hansson and Johan Lindström. And after kinda being away from our daily routine as a touring band and the thrill of a new album on its way …we wanna leave you with.

“Good to be gone, great to be back and let there be September!“ – Axel, Joakim, Jonathan & Truls aka Graveyard

Innocence & Decadence will be released in various formats (vinyl look digipak, digital download, black/clear/splatter/orange/green/bi-colored vinyl as well as a T-Shirt/CD bundle) – pre-order your copy here: http://nblast.de/GRAVEYARDdecadence

A European headlining tour will be announced shortly.

For more info visit:
https://www.facebook.com/graveyardofficial
www.nuclearblast.de/graveyard

Graveyard, “Shunken” Live at House of Blues, Boston, May 17, 2015

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Year of the Goat Post New Album Teaser; The Unspeakable out July 31

Posted in Whathaveyou on June 12th, 2015 by H.P. Taskmaster

I don’t know, part of me feels like maybe we shouldn’t even talk about it, but Swedish cult rockers Year of the Goat will release their second album on July 31 through Napalm Records. Dubbed The Unspeakable presumably in honor of their behavior at last year’s Napalm office holiday party — shameful and not to be discussed — or, you know, the devil or something like that, the album will follow-up on 2012’s Angels’ Necropolis, and will be available in a host of editions, including a limited-to-100 gatefold 180g 2LP that comes with a backpatch and a 200-made six-panel CD digipak that scales the patch down to your standard woven-patch size. Because if you’re going to do something called The Unspeakable, damn it, make it worth talking about.

The PR wire brought the news and put it on an altar all in slow motion, ritual-like:

K1600_Year+of+the+Goat+promo+2015+174

YEAR OF THE GOAT RELEASE FIRST TEASER OF UPCOMING ALBUM!

YEAR OF THE GOAT invite us to celebrate their second full length album The Unspeakable which is chock full of conjuring tone and with sinister knells. Painfully beautiful guitar work and Hammond infusions build the foundation for Thomas Sabbathi`s forceful vocals and merge true 70s spirit with a pure ritual for the masses. The Unspeakable goes one step further than its predecessor Angels` Necropolis (2012) and offers airy, proggy tunes taking turns with epic darkness: captivating, unique, majestic!

The Swedes indulge in occult doom rock full of blackened heart`s blood and elegant melody lines that will haunt your dreams. With the brand new album teaser you can check it out for yourself HERE!

Tracklisting:
1. All He Has Read
2. Pillars of the South
3. The Emma
4. Vermin
5. World Of Wonders
6. The Wind
7. Black Sunlight
8. The Sermon
9. The Key And The Gate (Alternative Version – Bonus Track)
10 Riders Of Vultures

Out July 31st

Pre-order “The Unspeakable” now! http://shop.napalmrecords.com/yearofthegoat
US customers: www.napalmrecordsamerica.com/store/yearo­fthegoat

For More Info Visit:
www.facebook.com/yearofthegoat
www.napalmrecords.com
www.facebook.com/napalmrecords

Year of the Goat, The Unspeakable album teaser

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Skraeckoedlan Post “Flod” Video; New Album Sagor Due June 10

Posted in Bootleg Theater on May 26th, 2015 by H.P. Taskmaster

skraeckoedlan

It won’t take long into Skraeckoedlan‘s “Flod” for the point to sink in. The song, which comes from their awaited second album, Sagor, boasts Truckfighters-style fuzzy smoothness, and a densely-weighted roll, melody and catchy vibe. My impression from what they say about working with different producers is that the record is actually pretty varied, but in giving a first impression, “Flod” — the title of which translates to “river” — seems to get things off to a solid start.

When the Swedish four-piece decided to change the title of their upcoming LP from Gigantos to Sagor, I’m not sure, but they’ve aligned themselves to Razzia Notes, a label headed by In Flames vocalist Anders Fridén, so they’ve no doubt gotten a bit of a push leading up to the June 10 release. Sagor will be the follow-up to 2011’s Äppelträdet (review here), and no doubt the complexity of the recording process will turn out to have been a factor in its somewhat delayed arrival.

Better late than never, though, and even if you didn’t hear the first outing, “Flod” should still be able to find solid footing. The video shows off a predilection toward classic sci-fi — they’ve begun to use the phrase “fuzzience fiction” — and spaced out themes, and that only adds to the charm of the song itself.

Clip follows here. Please enjoy:

Skraeckoedlan, “Flod” official video

Skraeckoedlan is ready to release their new album, titled “Sagor”. It was recorded in multiple studios during a two year period and features collaborations with several technicians and producers such as Daniel Bergstrand (In Flames, Meshuggah) and Niklas Berglöf (Ghost, Den Svenska Björnstammen). Erik Berglund has done the mixing and has been an integral part in finding the sound of the album.

When working with “Sagor”, Skraeckoedlan got in contact with Anders Fridén and his record label Razzia Notes, who will release the record.

The album “Sagor” will be released June 10th.

Skraeckoedlan’s website

Skraeckoedlan on Thee Facebooks

Razzia Records

Razzia Records on Thee Facebooks

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Greenleaf Sign to Napalm Records; Euro Tour Starts June 6

Posted in Whathaveyou on May 21st, 2015 by H.P. Taskmaster

greenleaf

After four full-lengths on Small Stone, Swedish heavy rockers Greenleaf will release their next album on Napalm Records. They’ve started to record their next album already. Interested to hear where they go. Their last outing, 2014’s Trails and Passes (review here), seemed to be moving in a different direction than its predecessors, shifting the focus from studio experimentation and guest performers to a more sustainable, stage-ready presentation — something stripped down from the two records before, but that Greenleaf could take on the road. They proceeded to do precisely that after its release, and the lineup of guitarist Tommi Holappa, bassist Johan Rockner, drummer Sebastian Olsson and drummer Arvid Jonsson will head out on tour again June 6 in Europe.

Kudos to the band and to Napalm on the pick. Here’s the announcement from the PR wire:

greenleaf tour dates

GREENLEAF SIGN TO NAPALM RECORDS!

Swedish Rockers GREENLEAF are pleased to announce that they have signed a worldwide deal Napalm Records!

GREENLEAF on the signing with Napalm Records:
“We’re happy to announce that the next GREENLEAF album will be released on Napalm Records! After many great years with Small Stone Records and especially Scott Hamilton we want to say THANK YOU! With Napalm Records we found the perfect partner to make the next step. It’s an honour to be on the same label as great bands as Monster Magnet, My Sleeping Karma, Brant Bjork, John Garcia and Vista Chino.The progress of recording the first album starts in the end of May. The songs are ready and we’re really stoked about putting it down on tape!”

Sebastian Muench, A&R Napalm Records:
“Napalm Records is proud to announce the worldwide signing with GREENLEAF! The 2014 album release of “Trails & Passes” has been celebrated in the Rock/Stoner community as a true masterpiece! If you had not had a chance to see GREENLEAF live than you can catch them share the stage with CLUTCH, WEEDEATER or various other headline shows! Greenleaf will also play Crumble Fight Fest, Stoned From The Underground, Red Smoke Festival, Rock im Wald, Krach am Bach, Lake on Fire and many more! Welcome to the Napalm Family!!”

More news on the upcoming album will be unveiled soon!
To shorten the waiting time, find all upcoming shows & summer festivals below!

06.06.15 FR – Crumble Fight Fest / Montaigu
07.06.15 FR – Heretic Club / Bordeaux
09.06.15 LUX – Den Atelier / Luxembourg City
10.06.15 CH -Kinski / Zurich
11.06.15 FR -Le Brin De Zinc / Chambery
12.06.15 FR – Warmaudio / Lyon
13.06.15 FR – Le Volume / Nice
03.07.15 SE – Peace & Love Festival / Borlänge
08.07.15 DE – La Casa / Cottbus
09.07.15 DE – Stoned From The Unerground
12.07.15 PL – Red Smoke Festival / Pleszew
15.07.15 PL – Chmury / Warsaw
16.07.15 PL – Stonamite / Gdansk / Poland
17.07.15 LI – Devilstone Open Air / Anyksciai
24.07.15 DE – Rock im Wald / Neuensee
25.07.15 DE – Krach am Bach / Beelen
07.08.15 AT – Lake on Fire / Waldhausen
08.08.15 CH – Out in Gurin / Sargans
14.08.15 DE – Aquamaria Festival / Plattenburg
29.08.15 SE – Iris Festival / Öland

www.facebook.com/greenleafrocks
www.napalmrecords.com
www.facebook.com/napalmrecords

Greenleaf, Trails and Passes (2014)

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Sideburn Premiere “Sea of Sins” from Evil or Divine

Posted in audiObelisk on May 20th, 2015 by H.P. Taskmaster

sideburn

The line that Stockholm four-piece Sideburn seem so easily content to cross between heavy rock and roll and classic heavy metal on their upcoming fifth full-length, Evil or Divine, might seem strange to American ears, coming from a place where the lines between the two are more drawn in thick, seemingly permanent marker, but the Swedish outfit are part of a long history of stylistic melding that goes back about as far as when the other sprang from the one in the first place. If that’s confusing, think about countrymen acts like Grand Magus or The Awesome Machine and the context might become clearer. Sideburn, who formed in 1997, are contemporaries of these bands, and their latest outing seamlessly pulls together epic grandiosity and heavy grooves, bolstered by strong traditional songwriting and fistpump-ready righteousness.

Evil or Divine see will North American release June 9 via Metalville Records, and it’s the foursome’s first outing for the label and first with Dimitri Keiski on vocals and guitar alongside guitarist Morgan Zocek, bassist Martin Karlsson (also Mangrove) and drummer Fredrik Haake, whose commanding forwardness makes longer pieces like “Thesideburn evil or divine Day the Sun Died” and linear-building closer “Presence” all the more engaging. Keiski is a powerful frontman in the Dioist vein, and from the start of opener “Masters and Slaves,” he takes the reins of Evil or Divine and steers the band across flowing movements touching on doom, heavy rock and metal — as much Rainbow as Sabbath, as “Sea of Sins” demonstrates, the “Gates of Babylon” looming large in the distance — finding a niche between and among them while keeping a natural atmosphere as the brooding “When Darkness Calls” and “The Seer (Angel of Death)” play out.

“Sea of Sins” stands as one of the record’s most fervent rockers, a stomping kick drum and winding riff opening into a progression somewhere between shuffle and headbang that seems to capture the vibrancy of both, and gets a late-album complement in “Evil Ways” before the acoustic guitar that starts “Presence” kicks in to set the stage for that drama to unfold. It’s my pleasure today to host the premiere of “Sea of Sins” ahead of the album’s release. You can find the track on the YouTube embed below — if you’re wondering where the Soundcloud is, that site’s weirdo copyright policy will be its undoing as the industry standard for hosting — followed by the PR wire info on the album.

Enjoy:

Sideburn, “Sea of Sins”

Stockholm’s own SIDEBURN, featuring Dimitri Keiski (vocals, guitar), Morgan Zocek (guitar), Martin Karlsson (bass, organ), and Fredrik Haake (drums), will release their fifth full-length album titled Evil Or Divine in North America June 9 via Metalville Records.

Mixed/Produced by Jonas Edler with Morgan Zocek and SIDEBURN at B.A.S. Studio and mastered by Mats “Limpan” Lindfors (Meshuggah, Katatonia, Opeth) at Cutting Room studios in Stockholm, with a sound that as much is rooted in the past as it is heading for the future, fans can expect more of what they’ve come to know and enjoy from the band – heavy guitar attacks blended with intense solos backed by a steady rhythm section.

Sideburn on Thee Facebooks

Metalville Records

Metalville on Thee Facebooks

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Sideburn to Release Evil or Divine on June 9

Posted in Whathaveyou on May 15th, 2015 by H.P. Taskmaster

sideburn

Swedish heavy rockers Sideburn will issue their fifth album, Evil or Divine, June 9 in North America via Metalville Records. The new outing follows two full-lengths on Transubstans, one on Buzzville and their 1997 debut, which arrived via Beard of Stars, so they’ve been nothing if not well-endorsed throughout their career. Hard to imagine the new record’s title isn’t a Dio reference — as in, “We’ll know for the first time/If we’re evil or divine/We’re the last in line” — and if so, if that might speak to some inflection throughout of classic metal, but we’ll see when we get there.

The PR wire has it like this:

sideburn evil or divine

SWEDISH DOOM HARD ROCKERS SIDEBURN SET TO RELEASE NEW STUDIO ALBUM VIA METALVILLE RECORDS

EVIL OR DIVINE OUT IN NORTH AMERICA JUNE 9TH

Stockholm’s own SIDEBURN, featuring Dimitri Keiski (vocals, guitar), Morgan Zocek (guitar), Martin Karlsson (bass, organ), and Fredrik Haake (drums), will release their fifth full-length album titled Evil Or Devine in North America June 9 via Metalville Records.

Inspired by seminal acts such as Black Sabbath, Candlemass, Scorpions, and Rainbow, SIDEBURN has gained a solid reputation in the hard rock/doom genre by blending retro sounds with a modern approach.

Mixed/Produced by Jonas Edler with Morgan Zocek and SIDEBURN at B.A.S. Studio and mastered by Mats “Limpan” Lindfors (Meshuggah, Katatonia, Opeth) at Cutting Room studios in Stockholm, with a sound that as much is rooted in the past as it is heading for the future, fans can expect more of what they’ve come to know and enjoy from the band – heavy guitar attacks blended with intense solos backed by a steady rhythm section.

“We are happy signing with Metalville and with their belief and support we think we can take the band to the next level in our career,” says guitarist Morgan Zocek.

Evil Or Divine Tracklisting:
1. Masters and Slaves
2. Sea of Sins
3. When Darkness Calls
4. The Seer (Angel of Death)
5. The Day The Sun Died
6. Evil Ways
7. Presence

Originally formed back in 1997, the band signed to the Italian label Beard of Stars/Vinyl Magic in 2000 and soon after released their debut album Trying To Burn The Sun.

From there, the quartet would go on to release their second album The Newborn Sun in 2007, followed by Demon Dance in 2010, and 2012’s IV Monument – both via Transubstans Records.

www.facebook.com/sideburnswedenfanpage
www.metalville.de
www.facebook.com/Metalville

Sideburn, Mastering Evil or Divine

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Sgt. Sunshine Self-Titled Reissue Due in May

Posted in Whathaveyou on April 16th, 2015 by H.P. Taskmaster

sgt. sunshine

It has bothered me for some time not to own a copy of Sgt. Sunshine‘s 2002 self-titled debut. I have their second record, Black Hole, which came out in 2007, and its 2013 follow-up, III (review here), and both of those were released by Elektrohasch, which also had a vinyl version of the self-titled out in limited numbers, but I never managed to find it on CD. It’s still a search I do on eBay and Amazon and Discogs every now and again — including just now, since it’s on my mind — and nope. Nothing. A couple copies of the vinyl for $125 or thereabouts. No CD. This and the first Rotor are frickin’ elusive.

Thanks to Heavy Psych Sounds, it’s about to be less elusive. The Italian imprint has inked a deal to put Sgt. Sunshine‘s Sgt. Sunshine back out. The vinyl will come in either silver or black, fitting to the artwork, and it’s available to preorder starting May 15 ahead of its May 28 release. It’s hailed as something of an underappreciated classic, and this Heavy Psych Sounds reissue will pave the way for the trio to release their fourth album, which is tentatively due this fall, also through the label. Their announcement, as ever, was short and to the point, but the news is good. I’ve also included the album in full from YouTube, should you like to familiarize or revisit.

Dig it:

sgt sunshine cover

Heavy Psych Sounds Records is really proud to announce another great release!

HPS025 ***SGT.SUNSHINE***(Selfitled-2002)

The Swedish band lead by Eduardo Fernandez started 1998 placed them amongst one of the leading underground Stoner-Heavy Psych rock bands of the time.

HPS Records going to reprint this incredible record out in 2002.

HPS Records also signed the band for their fourth full length that will be out in autumn!

RELEASE DATE MAY 28 / PRESALES MAY 15

Printed in 200 Ltd Silver Vinyl / Black vinyl / Digital

https://www.facebook.com/pages/SgtSunshine/1578586959055691
www.heavypsychsounds.com

Sgt. Sunshine, Sgt. Sunshine (2002)

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