Posted in On the Radar on December 6th, 2016 by H.P. Taskmaster
I’ll admit to knowing next to nothing about Stockholm psychedelic rockers Deem. I know they’re from Stockholm because their social media says so, but there’s very little other info announced about the release, and quite frankly, I’ve seen their moniker written as Deem, as D?em, with the mid-central vowel-style, upside-down ‘e’ (the character for which WordPress won’t show, hence that question mark), and as Daem, all in the span of less than a single day since I got sent the tracks by producer Paris Fragkos, also of Greek desert rock upstarts Tuber. The only reason I’m going with Deem is because it’s a word.
Sometimes new bands start out this way, and I’ll admit I have a soft spot for that process unknowing. It means I put on Deem‘s apparently untitled four-track EP and dig into the vaguely Mideastern psychedelic inflection of “Three Doors Leading out of the Dark Room” or the subsequent meditativeness of “Qurban” — named for the animal slaughter practiced during Eid — and have only the music to go on. I don’t know who made it, don’t know where they come from originally or what their connection might be to the ideas they’re working with. “Qurban” even obscures its vocals deep in the mix in its quietest parts, letting a subdued drum progression move the song forward for a time as it starts its build. As the spacier shuffle and percussive intricacy in “Digital Paganist” and return to ritualism on the chant-laden psych-folk of finisher “The Trail” continue to expand the palette beyond genre confines, I feel refreshed and renewed by the fact that I’m curious about how the release was made, where Deem are coming from sound-wise, how they wound up recording in Greece and incorporating what sound like regional influences while being based in Stockholm, and so on. Or hell, how many people are involved. My interest is piqued.
Even their artwork carries a sense of mystery. And so, needless to say, I’ll be keeping an eye out for more from them going forward. Here’s the art and tracklisting for now, along with what little info they posted about the release itself, and of course the stream of the tracks from Bandcamp, which I hope you find as exciting as I do.
_ by Deem
Recorded, mixed and produced by Paris Fragkos at Flow Recordings, Serres, Greece. Assistant Yannis Goudanos.
Tracklisting: 1. Three doors leading out of the dark room 07:43 2. Qurban 05:41 3. Digital paganist 06:07 4. The trail 08:55
Posted in Whathaveyou on December 5th, 2016 by H.P. Taskmaster
Been a long time since I last saw Swedish masters of melancholy Katatonia, and I have to say I wouldn’t mind catching a gig at Irving Plaza in NYC in April to see them close out a North American headlining run in support of earlier 2016’s The Fall of Hearts. The intervening months will tell if I actually get there — one struggles with the four-hour drive to New York these days — but it’s a formidable month-plus Katatonia will spend on the road either way, so wherever you might be throughout the continent, from Edmonton to Charlotte, they seem to be looking to cover all, or at least most, of their bases this time around. Like they say below, it’s been three and a half years since the last time they were over here. I guess that makes them about due.
Also 10 years in 2017 since The Great Cold Distance, which they’ll reissue deluxe-style in January. This year marked 15 since Last Fair Deal Gone Down, if you needed further evidence of time in flight. Bizarre.
Copious info and dates from the PR wire:
KATATONIA ANNOUNCE “FALLEN HEARTS OF NORTH AMERICA 2017” HEADLINE TOUR
Katatonia, the Swedish purveyors of dark progressive rock/metal, have announced they will be heading out on a headline tour of North America in March and April 2017 to support the release of their latest studio album The Fall of Hearts.
Founding Katatonia member and guitarist Anders Nyström comments, “We did three North American tours in support for Dead End Kings and it’s been three-and-a-half years since the last one when we toured with Cult of Luna, so having already embraced the new cycle of The Fall of Hearts over here, we are eager to once again cross the Atlantic to continue from where we left off and to reap what we planted over there.”
Vocalist Jonas Renkse introduces the bands they have chosen to join them on the tour, saying, “We are very excited to finally announce our headline tour in North America for The Fall of Hearts. Also invited for this run are post-rock titans Caspian and young, promising act Uncured. Come out and celebrate the downfall of hearts (and everything else) with us.”
The Fallen Hearts of North America 2017 Dates: Thu/Mar-16 Washington, DC 9:30 Club Fri/Mar-17 Cleveland, OH Agora Sat/Mar-18 Pittsburgh, PA Mr. Smalls Sun/Mar-19 Charlotte, NC The Underground Tue/Mar-21 St. Petersburg, FL State Theatre Thu/Mar-23 New Orleans, LA Republic Fri/Mar-24 Houston, TX Scout Bar Sat/Mar-25 Austin, TX Grizzly Hall Sun/Mar-26 Dallas, TX Gas Monkey Bar & Grill Tue/Mar-28 Mesa, AZ Club Red Wed/Mar-29 Los Angeles, CA El Rey Theatre Fri/Mar-31 Pomona, CA The Glass House Sat/Apr-01 San Francisco CA Slim’s Mon/Apr-03 Portland, OR Hawthorne Theatre Tue/Apr-04 Seattle, WA Studio Seven Wed/Apr-05 Vancouver, BC Venue Fri/Apr-07 Calgary, AB The Gateway Sat/Apr-08 Edmonton, AB Starlite Room Mon/Apr-10 Salt Lake City, UT The Complex Tue/Apr-11 Denver, CO Summit Music Hall Wed/Apr-12 Lincoln, NE Bourbon Theatre Fri/Apr-14 Minneapolis Fine Line Sat/Apr-15 Chicago, IL Metro Sun/Apr-16 Detroit, MI Majestic Theater Mon/Apr-17 Toronto, ON The Opera House Wed/Apr-19 Montreal, QC Club Soda Thu/Apr-20 Philadelphia, PA The TLA Fri/Apr-21 New York, NY Irving Plaza
Formed back in 1991 and hailed as one of the leaders of the death-doom genre along My Dying Bride, Paradise Lost and Anathema, Sweden’s Katatonia have spent the last 25 years ever-changing and evolving to become the much loved purveyors of dark progressive rock/metal we know today.
Their latest studio album The Fall OF Hearts, the official follow-up to 2012’s acclaimed Dead End Kings was recorded at Stockholm’s Studio Gröndahl & Tri-lamb Studio, and was self-produced by Anders Nyström & Jonas Renkse. Mixing and mastering duties were carried out by Jens Bogren (Opeth, Ihsahn, Devin Townsend) at Fascination Street Studios, with Karl Daniel Lidén (Switchblade, The Ocean, Greenleaf) brought in as engineer. It is the first record to feature new drummer Daniel ’Mojjo’ Moilanen and guitarist Roger Öjersson (Tiamat).
A new, two-disc tour edition of The Fall of Hearts is due for release on March 17, 2017 through Peaceville, the new version will feature live tracks taken from the band’s show and the band’s show in the Ancient Theater in Plovdiv Bulgaria in September 2016.
January 20, 2017 also sees the release of a limited edition tenth anniversary version of their class album The Great Cold Distance. This new, four-disc deluxe hardback 40 page, book edition of the album. It will include three bonus discs featuring B-sides and bonus songs, a new 5.1 remix of the album by Bruce Soord (Wisdom Of Crowds) and a live album of Katatonia playing the The Great Cold Distance in its entirety with the renowned Plovdiv Philharmonic Orchestra in Bulgaria, performed in September 2016. The design of this essential tenth anniversary edition has once again been taken care of by long time collaborator Travis Smith. pre-order here and here.
Swedish cultists Year of the Goat are getting ready to release their new seven-incher Song of Winter this Friday, Dec. 9, via Napalm Records. They made their debut in 2015 through the same imprint with their second full-length, The Unspeakable, and with the leadoff A-side of the single, they’re moving forward from that album toward their next one and an early-2017 push that will find them on the road in Jan./Feb. alongside countrymen/labelmate doomers The Order of Israfel and Norwegian heavy-hitters Tombstones, keeping their momentum going from the last few years and perhaps making sure the proper demons are exorcized and/or represented in new material before they hit the studio to bring their third album to fruition.
One can hear traces of the original version of “Song of Winter” in Year of the Goat‘s version. Released by Parisian singer/actress/model Francoise Hardy on 1969’s One-Nine-Seven-Zero, it has a duly haunting melody bolstered by the Norrköping six-piece’s arrangement of guitar and Mellotron and a light, poetic simplicity to the lyrics that speaks to the era from which it comes and resonates even now, the better part of half a century later. Or maybe I’m just a sucker for any song that features lines like, “I’m a misty rainbow.” In any case, “Song of Winter” earns its art deco cover, and if it’s offering a glimpse at where Year of the Goat might be headed, then the modern sensibility they bring to the classic structure bodes well to say the least. Presumably we’ll see how it all works out sometime before the end of 2017.
The band offers some insight on “Song of Winter” under the lyric video, which you’ll find below. Also down there are the dates for the aforementioned tour, should you happen to be or find yourself in that part of the world when it’s happening.
Year of the Goat, “Song of Winter” lyric video
Year of the Goat on “Song of Winter”:
“For many years Francoise Hardy has been part of our playlist while on the road. As soon as ‘Song of Winter’ played, the thought that we really should do a cover of it at some point always presented itself. Lyrically we find it going very well with the theme of our first album and also with the one we’re planning at the moment. The B-side on the other hand lyrically draws more towards our second album, The Unspeakable. One could probably say that the wonderful and talented Francoise Hardy is helping us build a bridge between our last album and the one to come.”
Year of the Goat, “Song of Winter” limited gold 7″ 1. Song of Winter (Side A 2. Strange Shadows (Side B)
Strictly Limited Napalm Records Mailorder Edition to 200 Copies in GOLDEN Vinyl. EXCLUSIVELY AVAILABLE VIA THE NAPALM RECORDS MAILORDER AND ONLINE STORE.
Year of the Goat European tour w/ The Order of Israfel & Tombstones: 28.01.17 DE – Berlin / Badehaus 29.01.17 DE – Osnabrück / Bastard Club 30.01.17 DE – Hamburg / Hafenklang 31.01.17 DE – Wiesbaden / Schlachthof 01.02.17 NL – Arnhem / Willemeen 02.02.17 UK – London / Underworld 04.02.17 TBA 06.02.17 CH – Olten / Coq D’Or 07.02.17 IT – Milano / Lo Fi 08.02.17 DE – Munich / Backstage 09.02.17 AT – Vienna / Viper Room 10.02.17 DE – Leipzig / UT Connewitz 11.02.17 DE – Siegen / Vortex
Year of the Goat is: Thomas Sabbathi – vocals, guitar Jonas Mattsson – guitar Don Palmroos – guitar Fredrik Hellerström – drums Joona Hassinen – bass Pope – mellotron, vocals
Posted in Whathaveyou on December 5th, 2016 by H.P. Taskmaster
Kudos to Swedish heavy rock traditionalists Horisont on calling out the Comic Code Authority on the cover art for their forthcoming Century Media debut, About Time. It’s that kind of attention to detail — you’ll note they change it to “Cosmic Code Authority” — that’s emblematic of the nuance in their approach overall, last shown on 2015’s progressively engaging Odyssey (review here), and as the cover itself seems to be calling out classic sci-fi/horror à la Re-Animator and others, it couldn’t be more fitting. The band recently wrapped up their first US tour, which they undertook alongside Ohio troupe Electric Citizen, and this fall gave a first taste of what’s to come with About Time in the video for “Electrical,” which you can see at the bottom of this post.
The PR wire dutifully takes it from here:
HORISONT Release Details For New Album ‘About Time’
Swedish hard-rockers HORISONT will release their upcoming album About Time on February 3rd, 2017 via Century Media Records!
The band comments on the cover artwork, stating,
“The fabulous artwork for our fifth album ‘About Time’ is once again crafted by the wizard of art himself – Henrik Jacobson, who also did the ‘Odyssey’ artwork. Henrik has managed to capture the concept of the album and title in a brilliant Horisont way. We couldn’t be happier with the result and we hope you’ll enjoy it!”
About Time will be available as Special Edition Digipak (EU only), Jewel Case CD (US only), Gatefold LP and as digital album.
“About Time” track-listing: 01. The Hive 00:03:34 02. Electrical 00:03:30 03. Without Warning 00:03:24 04. Letare 00:03:41 05. Night Line 00:03:28 06. Point of Return 00:03:52 07. Boston Gold 00:03:02 08. Hungry Love 00:03:41 09. Dark Sides 00:02:51 10. About Time 00:06:26
The LP will be available in the following vinyl colors: Black vinyl – unlimited Lilac vinyl – limited to 200 copies/exclusively available at Bengans Clear vinyl – limited to 100 copies/exclusively available at CMDistro Silver vinyl – limited to 200 copies/exclusively available at Green Hell Transparent Green vinyl – limited to 200 copies/exclusively available at Nuclear Blast Yellow vinyl – limited to 300 copies / US only
HORISONT have recently released a video for their first single off of About Time, titled “Electrical”. You can check it out below.
Posted in Features on November 25th, 2016 by H.P. Taskmaster
Truckfighters‘ ascent to the forefront of European heavy rock is no accident. For over a decade, the Örebro, Sweden, natives have been nearly unparalleled in their efforts both to be heard and to compose and execute material worthy of the attention they’ve demanded for it. Their loyalty to fuzz tones and thick grooves has come packaged with an unflinching dedication to creative growth on the part of the core duo of bassist/vocalist Oskar “Ozo” Cedermalm and guitarist Niklas “Dango” Källgren, and their live performance remains among the most physically engaged in the genre. More than nearly any other current act, Truckfighters aspire to literally throw themselves into their music.
As their influence has continued to spread — there are an awful lot of bands jumping around Euro club stages these days, it seems — so has the range of their songwriting. This fall, they released V (review here) as their debut in licensed conjunction with Century Media after years working exclusively through their own Fuzzorama Records imprint on prior outings like earlier-2016’s live album, Live in London (review here), 2014’s Universe (review here), 2009’s Mania (review here), 2007’s Phi and their landmark 2005 debut, Gravity X (discussed here), and offered the latest chapter in their ongoing progression. More confident in the sometimes-brooding sensibility that came to fruition on Universe, songs like “Calm Before the Storm,” “The Contract” and “Storyline” nonetheless retained the memorable craftsmanship that has always been at root in Truckfighters‘ work, and only become broader in its emotional and sonic reach.
Like most good things in life, my conversation with Cedermalm happened outside a café in Oslo, Norway. It was the second night of the Høstsabbat festival, which Truckfighters would headline, and the band had finished soundcheck shortly before. We’ve met a few times over the years, but this was my first sit-down with him and I was grateful for the chance to talk about V, some of the controversy that had been stirred by the then-recently-released video for “Calm Before the Storm,” the particulars of the deal with Century Media, their apparent inability to keep a drummer in the lineup, and most importantly, about the creative partnership he shares with Källgren, since that is ultimately what has always been the center of the band.
Fortunately, he was open about all of these things and much more. Seemingly perpetual in their touring ethic, Truckfighters were out through parts of October and earlier this month and are once again on the road to finish off 2016. They’ll continue into 2017 to support V. Here are the remaining current dates:
Truckfighters with Deville & Dot Legacy:
Nov 25 Underground, Koln, Germany
Nov 26 Hublot, Nancy, France
Nov 27 Petit Bain, Paris, France
Nov 28 Le Ferrailleur, Nantes, France
Nov 30 Magasin 4, Brussels, Belgium
Dec 04 Mama Roux’s Birmingham, United Kingdom
Dec 05 King Tuts, Glasgow, United Kingdom
Dec 06 Rescue Rooms, Nottingham, United Kingdom
Dec 07 Thekla, Bristol, United Kingdom
Dec 08 The Ruby Lounge, Manchester, United Kingdom
Dec 09 Islington Academy, London, United Kingdom
Dec 10 Patterns, Brighton, United Kingdom
Dec 27 Sankt Hell Festival, Hamburg, Germany w/ Orange Goblin, Bullet and more
Full Q&A can be found after the jump. Thanks for reading.
Posted in Whathaveyou on November 24th, 2016 by H.P. Taskmaster
It’s been over two years since the last time we heard from Swedish trio Pike, who even then were reporting a follow-up to their well-received 2012 debut, To Cross the Great Divide. As of 2017, that will have been released half a decade ago, and as Pike prepare to enter into their ninth year of existence, they do so with the promise of moving forward from their first outing and into a second one. Titled Esox Lucifer and set to be recorded at the increasingly-ubiquitous-as-regards-Swedish-heavy Studio Underjord, the sophomore Pike LP will begin tracking in March, and presumably released at some time before the end of next year through a yet-undetermined label.
Pike now have a couple years under their collective belt working with guitarist Ludwig Lovén, and if the sporadic practice videos they’ve posted on the social medias are anything to go by, they’ve been refining the material for Esox Lucifer for a while, so I’d expect it to be fairly hammered out by the time they actually get to the recording process. Whether that will speed things along or not will have to remain to be seen.
Here’s what they had to say about it:
PIKE: RECORDING NEW ALBUM
Finally, we can reveal some big and exciting news.
On March 17th 2017, roughly five years after the release of the critically acclaimed debut album “To Cross The Great Divide”, we will enter Studio Underjord together with producer extraordinaire Joona Hassinen (Vanhelgd, Ocean Chief, Tombstones etc) to record the long overdue follow-up. We can divulge that the album will be called “Esox Lucifer”, it will contain six tracks and it will melt your face like nothing ever has.
That is all the info we can share with you at this time. Keep watching the usual spaces for news.
Death, doom & destruction, Pike
Pike is: Ludvig Lovén: guitar Alvin Risberg: drums Alex Risberg: bass & vocals
Posted in audiObelisk on November 23rd, 2016 by H.P. Taskmaster
One of the best things about these late months — aside from all those thrilling well-we-gotta-put-something-up lists — is speculating what’s coming up in the New Year. What will be the highlights, the lowlights, the creepers, sleepers, hard-hitters, and so on. Today, we’re fortunate enough to get a preview of what Uppsala, Sweden, five-piece Ordos have in store for 2017. They’ll release their second full-length, House of the Dead, via Moving Air Music, and as an early herald of the album’s arrival, you can stream a premiere of the title-track, “House of the Dead,” below.
Ordos made their long-play debut in 2013 with a self-titled that showed promise in their straightforward, near-metallic push and varied tracks driven by the dual guitars of André and Magnus and the lurch-bound propulsion of bassist Martin and drummer Max, all a foundation for the gruff, commanding vocals of Emil. “House of the Dead” works in a similar aesthetic, ultimately, but is entirely more atmospherically engaging, and where different tracks on the debut seemed to work individually from various influences, this new one brings those together to form something both aggressive and ambient from them, given ground through a verse/chorus structure but still giving listeners a sense of space to inhabit as its 6:44 play out.
The thing about premiering one cut without having heard the whole album, of course, is I don’t know what the rest of the offering sounds like, so can’t necessarily vouch for “House of the Dead” speaking for House of the Dead in its entirety. But they did name the record after it, so unless Ordos were playing tricks — always possible — there’s at least some part of this song they thought represented where they are as a band, and in listening I think it’s pretty easy to hear why they would. It may well be they’re on a path to a take on heavy rock that’s dark without necessarily being entirely doomed, or it may be that they’re taking heavy and doom and sludge and a few other things and mashing them together like particles trying to make a black hole.
We’ll find out next year. Till then, you can stream “House of the Dead” on the player here and check out a quote from the band and some more background below.
Ordos on “House of the Dead”:
“After the first album we’ve tried to go further down the nightmarish path. We have been experimenting with thicker riffs, more aggressive singing and subtle harmonics to give the music more flow, and a hint of psychedelic experience ‘gone wrong.'”
In the fall of ’11, yet another band from the infamous rehearsal space in Uppsala, Sweden broke up, and from the ashes, mold and dirt, a new idea and three members rose once again. Inspired by the underground stoner genre and the atmosphere all around them.
Playing some slow riffs, screaming and drinking to find a new style, the sound of one guitar just wasn’t enough, so the strings were tuned down and a second guitarist got thrown into the dark, weird project. Finally! It started to sound like it looked! Trashy stoner-doom with inspiration from black metal, bluesy psychedelic stoner and everything in between. One year later they released a self-recorded demo and plenty of gigs followed while the music developed. Ready for a new album, they visited a friend and recorded twelve new songs. Only six were good enough, and the only amount that would fit into an LP.
When winter ’13 arrived, the album “Ordos S/T” was officially released, and a half year later the physical record arrived. ‘House Of The Dead’ will be released in early 2017 through Moving Air Music. The first single and title track ‘House Of The Dead’ from their upcoming album will be out on November, 25th! Recorded at the mighty Studio Underjord in Norrköping, Sweden, which has tracked bands like Skraeckoedlan, Tombstones and Saturnalia Temple.
Ordos is: Emil – Sång André – Gitarr Magnus – Gitarr Martin – Bas Max – Trummor
Swedish progressive heavy fuzz rockers Skraeckoedlan aren’t that far removed from their last album — their second, Sagor (review here), it came out about a year ago as their debut on Razzia Records — but the Norrköping four-piece have apparently wasted little time in looking forward. Come January, they’ll release a new two-song 7″ titled Pärlor that leads with a titular cover of long-running countrymen Kent. Coupled with “Eldfagel,” which was recorded during the Sagor sessions and by artwork from Johan Leijon, the new single is very much Skraeckoedlan‘s own despite being a cover. One can hear their Truckfighters-meets-Mastodon sonic blend pushing forward melodically in the hook of “Pärlor” itself, even as their penchant for tonal density and crash continues unabated.
Skraeckoedlan‘s last video, for the Sagor track “El Monstro” (posted here), found them working at a more cinematic level than they had before, and their new clip for “Pärlor” follows suit. Directed by Mats Ek, it seems to tell the tale of a pilgrimage and ultimately an offering being made, though to whom or for what, I’m not sure. Along the way we see a lot — I mean really, a lot — of snow falling on gorgeous Swedish forests and hills, beautiful countryside through which our journeying protagonist traverses at his apparent peril. Sleeping in the snow looks cold as hell, is all I’m saying. But he endures and seems to get where he’s going, and “Pärlor” ends on a creepy enough note to make me wonder if it wasn’t intended to be a sequel in some way to “El Monstro,” which Ek also helmed and still had some performance footage in it, where this one seems to have left that conceit behind entirely.
Bottom line, as the band explains below, is this is their way of paying homage to Kent, who are calling it quits this year after more than a quarter-century of work. Preorders for the 7″ version of the single are available now, and you’ll find those links underneath the clip itself, which I’m thrilled today to be able to premiere.
Skraeckoedlan, “Pärlor” official video
The song is a cover version of “Pärlor” written by Sweden’s biggest rock band Kent, who after 26 years together have decided to call it quits. Through a farewell tour this Fall, covering most of Scandinavia they are saying their good byes to a whole generation of people deeply touched and influenced by their music.
For Skraeckoedlan it started out as a somewhat crazy idea that grew more and more intriguing and eventually the song was recorded in an old missionary church in Dalarna, a region in the midst of Sweden very close to their hearts. By recording this version the band was able to try something new and invited them to get in touch and explore their admiration for pop music. By putting their specific stamp on the song this is a shout out to the great masters – Kent – and a tribute to Swedish music in general.
Skraeckoedlan on Kent and “Pärlor”:
During their 26-year long career Kent has really made a huge impact on the music scene in Sweden.
Their way of composing music has always felt free and without rules and I think that’s why this song in particular attracted us so much. I’ve always considered it a heavy and mighty song and it was so much fun to put our stamp on it.
Even though this cover started out as a goofy idea, it turned out to be so much more for us. A tribute to Swedish music and one of the biggest bands this country has ever produced.
The video is made by the amazing Swedish film maker Mats Ek and is also a tribute. We wanted it to portrait the beauty of Sweden – the glorious nature, from which we get so much inspiration from as a band.
So here you go, a homage to the place where we grew up – both musically and visually.
Skraeckoedlan is: Henrik Grüttner (Guitaring, backup singing) Martin Larsson (Drumming) Robert Lamu (Singing/guitaring) Tim Ångström (Bassing/backup singing)