On Wax: Candlemass, Epicus Doomicus Metallicus Live at Roadburn 2011

Posted in On Wax on April 18th, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster

As somebody who was in that room when it happened, I don’t so much want to listen to this vinyl as build an altar to its graces. It was Candlemass‘ 25th anniversary show at Roadburn 2011, celebrating a quarter-century since the release of the seminal Swedish doomers’ debut, Epicus Doomicus Metallicus. To mark the occasion, they reunited for the first time with original signer Johan Längquist, who had never really even played with the band or done much more with them than sing on that record, and I tell you in all honesty, it was one of the best sets I’ve ever seen a band — any band — play, at Roadburn or otherwise. The Main Stage room at the 013 in Tilburg was jammed with people waiting to see what was billed as an early headlining set. Candlemass was the first act to go on that day, and they had originally been scheduled to appear in 2010, but for the Icelandic volcano Eyjafjallajökull’s eruption and subsequent disrupting of European airspace. So there they were, a year after the fact, fronted by Robert Lowe of Solitude Aeturnus and running through a string of hits, when Lowe takes a bow and moves off stage to make room for the arrival of Längquist.

Svart has done the moment justice on this 2LP set. It is a gatefold, limited to 800 copies — 400 black, 400 white — thick stock package and vinyl, three sides of music with side D an etching of the LP art, interpreted from the original Epicus cover by Erik Rovanperä. In look and in sound, it is a reverential artifact of that set. Two songs appear on each of the three sides, with the recordings helmed by Astrosoniq drummer and habitual captor of Roadburns Marcel van de Vondervoort as well as Robi de Lorijn, running in the standard album order, and live photos are included from in front of the stage, the band donating brief quotes of memories about playing along the bottom of the gatefold, bassist and principle songwriter Leif Edling going so far as to remark that he hopes one day to release a DVD of the performance as well. I wouldn’t mind that either. Looking at it on paper beforehand, it had seemed questionable whether Längquist, who hadn’t performed with Candlemass in so long, would be able not just to pull off the material, but match presence and fit with the rest of the band — Edling, guitarists Lars Johansson and Mats “Mappe” Björkman and drummer Jan Lindh — and by the time they hit the first chorus of “Solitude,” it was clear there was no issue.

Obviously those questions are long-since answered, but to hear that version of “Solitude,” as well as “Demon’s Gate,” “Crystal Ball,” “Black Stone Wielder,” “Under the Oak” and “A Sorcerer’s Pledge” — each a classic, each essential — so clearly and crisply on this vinyl only underscores how righteously Längquist stood in for the performance. It wasn’t just special, it was also good. Of course, 25 years later, the voice changes, and the highs in “Solitude” were left there in favor of something more attainable, but Längquist‘s voice had power enough not just to step in for Lowe, but to own those songs, which other singers had been working to make their own for over two decades. By the time I get to trading out the first LP for the second to hear them close out with “Under the Oak” and “A Sorcerer’s Pledge,” the little differences between the studio versions and the live ones stand out, how Johansson tackles the solos, the pacing differences, etc., and in both spirit and presentation, it’s Candlemass playing arguably their most classic outing, front to back, celebrating their legacy in what if I’m not mistaken has been a one-time-only fashion — that is, I don’t think they’ve done it again since. Whether you saw it or not, what doomed soul wouldn’t want to bear witness to such a thing?

Edling better get moving on that DVD.

Candlemass, “Under the Oak” Live at Roadburn 2011

Candlemass on Thee Facebooks

Svart Records

Epicus Doomicus Metallicus Live at Roadburn 2011 at Burning World Records

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Mexicoma’s Obsidian Monolith Available to Preorder

Posted in Whathaveyou on April 18th, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster

Swedish heavy rockers Mexicoma, who of course take their name from one of the highlight cuts of the first Queens of the Stone Age record, will release their second full-length album on vinyl through Bilocation Records on May 15. The pressing will be 300 copies total with a mix of colors in 180g wax, and while the Umeå outfit had made the release available late last year, to the best of my knowledge this will be the first physical version. As the info off the PR wire shows, they’re clearly doing it in style.

There are two tracks from Obsidian Monolith available for streaming from the Mexicoma Bandcamp, and they’re available with the preorder link and all the other info below:

MEXICOMA – Obsidian Monolith

available: 15.05.2014

Mexicoma is back with full throttle! On their second full length vinyl output they offer five fresh remastered tracks which appeared on the Supervoid EP from 2012 and 4 brandnew tracks who show the potential this band has.

The tracks are shorter and more accessible than on their epic same titled debut and show a wider variety of styles – which fits perfect to the heavyrockers from Umea in Northern Sweden. The three guitars are building huge walls of sound over the massive fundaments that charlie & oscar lay down. Over this impressive instrumentation sings and cries Magnus better than ever! A tour in 2014 with festival appearances is in the planning – let them conquer the stages!


- 100x transparent blue w/ white vinyl (exclusive Mailorder edition with extra 12″x12″ handnumbered insert)
– 200x transparent green vinyl
– all high-quality heavy 180g vinyl pressed in Germany
– matte laquered 300gsm gatefold cover
– handnumbered


A1. Keep Me Alive 4:03
A2. Mortified 4:08
A3. Supersonic Speed 5:15
A4. Alien Radio 4:08
A5. Room 101 4:18
B1. Island Of Ghost 5:13
B2. West Of Memphis 5:57
B3. Abyssus Abyssum Invocat 4:59
B4. Bored Beyond Belief 4:11

Available at: http://shop.bilocationrecords.com/


Mexicoma, Obsidian Monolith (2014)

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Deville Announce European Tour Dates

Posted in Whathaveyou on April 4th, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster

After a gig-heavy 2013, hard-rocking Swedish crowdpleasers Deville are getting set to head out on another European tour in support of 2013′s Hydra (review here). The four-piece also reportedly have a video in the works for “The Knife” from that album — it’ll be their second behind “Lava,” which you can see below — and in December, they issued a re-recorded version of their 2007 Buzzville Records debut, Come Heavy Sleep, through Italian imprint Heavy Psych Sounds.

Good to stay busy, I’m told. The PR wire has tour dates:

Deville, European Spring Tour

Deville will hit the road again and these are the spring dates for Europe!

April25 2014 Dusseldorf,Germany-Pitcher
April26 2014 Lugano,Switzerland-TI/STREET/ART Festival
April27 2014 Pescara,Italy-Orange Rock Cafè
April28 2014 Roma,Italy-Sinister Noise funeral mantra
April29 2014 Santa Croce Sull’ Arno,Italy-Rock City
April30 2014 Montecchio Maggiore,Italy-E20
May12014 Piacenza,Italy-Cuncertass Festival
May2 2014 St Gallen,Switzerland-Rumpeltum
May3 2014 Torino,Italy-Cafè Liber
May5 2014 Draguignan,France-Bucephale
May6 2014 Padova,Italy-Sotterranei
May7 2014 Besanqon,France-Les passagers du Zinc
May8 2014 Hasselt,Belgium-Carpe Diem
May9 2014 Munster;Germany-Rare Guitar
May10 2014 Berlin,Germany-Jaegerklause


Deville, “Lava” official video

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The Order of Israfel to Release Debut this Fall on Napalm Records

Posted in Whathaveyou on April 3rd, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster

No word on an album title yet for the debut from Swedish outfit The Order of Israfel, but the four-piece have signed a deal to release what will be their debut on Napalm Records this fall. The Order of Israfel came together last year in Gothenburg after former Church of Misery guitarist Tom Sutton moved to the country for reasons that, well, really need no explaining. Seriously, if presented with an opportunity, why wouldn’t you move to Sweden? Particularly for someone whose riffy softshoe is so dead on, it’s the only logical choice.

Given his and the rest of the band’s pedigree, it makes sense they’d get picked up by Napalm/Spinning Goblin, and though audio is pretty sparse as yet, a few live clips herald the doom to come.

The PR wire says dig it:


When Tom Sutton left the doom band Church of Misery, it was to make his long-established grand vision of an epic doom band come true. To accomplish this, he moved to Sweden and hooked his strings together with Patrik Andersson Winberg (ex Doomdogs ), Hans Lilja as Lotus (which for a period had Brian Robertson, ex Thin Lizzy as guitarist) and Staffan Bjorck from the band Wildebeest. Together with his and the band’s Doom and Heavy Metal influences, folk music, twinguitars and feel of old horror movies to create dark divine music, they became THE ORDER OF ISRAFEL. The band has now signed a record deal with Spinning Goblin / Napalm Records, and commented the signing as follows:

“THE ORDER OF ISRAFEL are thrilled to announce that we have signed to Napalm Records, and will be releasing our first album, ‘Wisdom’, in the Autumn, 2014. We’re extremely proud of the record, and know that Napalm will be the perfect home for it. We are also very excited to be sharing a label with the extremely legendary Candlemass, who have been one of the biggest influences on the sound of the band from the beginning. Cheers!”

For More Info Visit:

The Order of Israfel, “Wisdom” Live

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Jeremy Irons and the Ratgang Malibus to Release Spirit Knife April

Posted in Whathaveyou on March 28th, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster

As the old idiom goes, the world’s all yours when you’re a young band with a funny name. I’ve said it before, but it’s worth reiterating that Sweden’s Jeremy Irons and the Ratgang Malibus are one to watch out for this year. After reissuing their prior outing, Bloom, on Small Stone late last year, the four-piece will debut proper on the label with Spirit Knife next month. They’ve also got European touring throughout April and May booked to mark the occasion, so one way or another, they’ll be around. The track “Wind Seized” from Spirit Knife is available to stream now and gives a pretty solid example of their spaced-out approach to writing songs that get stuck in your head almost without your realizing it.

The PR wire wants to be your friend. Won’t you open your heart?

JEREMY IRONS & THE RATGANG MALIBUS: Swedish Psychedelic Space Rockers To Release New Full-Length Via Small Stone This April

According to ancient lore, and cult of the antediluvian pagan deity, Ginsu the Magnificently Pointy, a Spirit Knife consists of a bone blade bonded to the souls of the Mud People. He or she that defended oneself or took the life of an enemy with the Spirit Knife became magically bonded to the blade and, thus, the only person who could touch or wield it in future battle. Spirit Knife is also the title of the new album by JEREMY IRON & THE RATGANG MALIBUS – aka JIRM – and we have it on good authority that every musical warrior brave and proud enough to wield it upon release this April through Small Stone Recordings will find him or herself spiritually and eternally bound to its preternatural musical goodness – just like the Mud People of yore.

Imagine, if you will, Jeff Buckley jamming with Can, and you’ll have a fair gist of the fantastic voyage that awaits the armies of the Spirit Knife; an album that finds JIRM rekindling their time-traveling communion with vintage psychedelia and Krautrock, while expanding on the sonic palette revealed by the ensemble’s past full-lengths, Elefanta and Bloom.

Once again, but more powerfully than ever before, JIRM, deliver imposing passages of torrential guitars that rattle and roll, shimmy and soar with oceanic reverb and sweaty rock and roll, partnering with thrumming keys and mesmerizing Motorik drums to incite cyclical hypnosis for protracted song-suites,ever teetering between tight instrumental control and loose vibes to achieve optimal tantric tension and release through music.

All this from a group founded in 2004, in the town of Eskilstuna, Sweden, before relocating to Stockholm three years later, where and whence vocalist/guitarist Karl Apelmo, guitarist Micke Pettersson, bassist Viktor Källgren and drummer Henke Persson have since produced the aforementioned two albums and, now, the impending Spirit Knife.

Elaborates Pettersson, “The result of Spirit Knife is, by its lion’s share, an overgrown and large album where the quartet certainly isn’t making any further compromising of the epic.”

Spirit Knife was recorded at Puch Studios in Stockholm, Sweden, mixed by Viktor Källgren, produced by the JIRM collective and mastered by Chris Goosman (Early Man, Sasquatch, Dixie Witch, Solace et al) at Baseline Audio Labs in Ann Arbor, Michigan and features the striking cover art of Sebastian Thomsson.

Spirit Knife Track Listing:
1. Fog by the Steep
2. Wind Seized
3. Sworn Collision
4. Once Levitated
5. Clang
6. Deep Hardened Woods
7. Point Growth
8. Spirit Knife

So remember the legends of the ancients as you file into record stores (or wherever it is people get their music in these modern, troubled and godless times) to pick up your copy of Spirit Knife – on CD, digital formats, or just maybe some crazy colored LP version that could happen down the line – and shout “Hail to the Mud People!” They knew how to rock out with their bad pre-historic selves.

Spirit Knife will be released via Small Stone Records on April 29th, 2014. Preorder your copy today at THIS LOCATION where you can also check out second track, “Wind Seized.”


Jeremy Irons and the Ratgang Malibus, “Wind Seized” from Spirit Knife (2014)

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Mamont to Release New EP The Valleys Below on May 9

Posted in Whathaveyou on March 24th, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster

Last we heard of Swedish jammy riffers Mamont, the four-piece were Passing through the Mastery Door on their 2012 debut long-player of the same name (review here). That album has had enduring appeal since it hit, the elephantine cover standing in as a representation of the Nyköping rockers’ ability to land a heavy foot when they wanted to and the fact that mammoths are extinct matching with their traditionalist approach. Primarily, their debut established them as a cool band worth keeping up with, so it’s not really much of a surprise they come so well aligned on the follow-up EP, titled The Valleys Below.

Due out May 9, Mamont‘s The Valleys Below will be available on vinyl through Napalm Records, on CD through Ozium Records and in an exclusive transparent blue vinyl pressing through Kozmik Artifactz. Seems there’s no substitute for being in demand.

Mamont will also partner up once again with Mud Walk for a run of shows in Europe. Dates, other info, preorder links, and album trailer follow, culled from Ozium‘s website and Mamont‘s Thee Facebooks:

Mamont’s second ep album revives the sounds of 70′s heavy classic rock. The mix of classic rock, progressive, blues and psychedelic brings the mind back to the days of BLUE CHEER, BLACK SABBATH and LEAFHOUND. The wha-wha, fuzz, slide, double riffs, thunderous drums and a killer voice, it’s all here. MAMONT’s second release has a thick and warm analog overall feel and heavy as it should be. The masterful songwriting and skilled performance is throughout. from High Time exploding right from the start with swelling drums and heavy riffs, in order to beautifully sliding over to a soft and melodic refrain. The ep album is nicely rounded off with the 30 minutes evil, heavy Stooner-ish leaving the listener pleased but craving for more. MAMONT are ready to face their fans with the brand new ep album “The Valleys Below” containing 5 solid hard-hitting, memorable songs. MAMONT carves its own path, and “The Valleys Bellow” establishes the band as one of catalysts aiming to change the face of classic heavy rock music for the better. Release date : 2014-05-09

1. Airbourne
2. Miranda
3. No Pills, No Power
4. Nebula VII
5. Morning Star

Pre-order soon at Napalm Records (Vinyl release).
Exclusive transparent blue vinyl at Kozmik Artifactz.
CD at Ozium Records.

Here’s some sweet news! We will hit the road once again with our lovely friends in Mud Walk this May! More European dates coming up!

Mamont & Mud Walk Tour:
9/5: Helsingborg, The Tivoli (SWE)
10/5: Copenhagen, Ungdomshuset (DEN)
11/5: Berlin, Jägerklause (GER)
14/5: Jena (GER)
15/5: Nijmegen, De onderbroek (NL)
17/5: Nantes, Crumble Fight Fest (FR)


Mamont, The Valleys Below EP Trailer

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The Graviators Stream New Album Motherload in its Entirety

Posted in audiObelisk on March 24th, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster

One thing’s for sure: When boozy Swedish doom rockers The Graviators decided to call their new album Motherload, they weren’t kidding. The 2LP — their third overall and second for Napalm Records — checks in at a massive 76 minutes, and is an undertaking front to back of bluesy classic heavy rocking and pure, traditional-style doom. They’ve got one foot in the grave and one in the arena, in other words, and across Motherload, they put on a show of considerable proportion, beginning right from the start of “Leif’s Last Breath/Dance of the Valkyrie” to showcase a varied but fluid and engaging approach from the four-piece of vocalist Niklas Sjöberg, lead and rhythm guitarist Martin Fairbanks, bassist Johan Holm and drummer Henrik Bergman.

As a frontman, Sjöberg is a steady presence in the mix, but as the opening cut shows, he’s not an overbearing singer and knows when the song is best served by stepping back to let Fairbanks top a building Sabbathian groove with a worthy solo. The shortest of Motherload‘s nine cuts is “Bed of Bitches” at 5:31, so everyone gets plenty of room throughout to ply their trade, whether it’s on the hook-laden “Narrow Minded Bastards” (video premiere here) — Holm‘s bassline alone makes the song a necessity — or the longest form works, “Lost Lord” (11:09) and “Druid’s Ritual” (13:50), each of which serves as the finale for its half of the album and offers a spirited jam to mark the occasion, Fairbanks leading the way on guitar, but both Holm and Bergman exploring as well a jazzy and deep-running rhythm section dynamic that’s obviously developed over the course of The Graviators‘ years since making their self-titled full-length debut in 2009.

Those songs provide a neat summary of the scope, but whether it’s that bass ‘n’ drum swing and spacey guitar, huge riffing, wailing doom defiance, bottle-tipping rush or plodding, feedback-heavy doom, Motherload delivers what Motherload promises, whether it’s the traditional metal of “Tigress of Sibiria,” the eerie spaciousness of “Drowned in Leaves” (note the “Die Young” reference from Sjöberg in the second half), or the floor-shaking siren-topped nod of “Eagles Rising.” The Graviators tie it all together through a clear affinity for big riffs, big tones all things wicked and/or doomed, and even though one could hardly accuse them of brevity, Motherload is never more over-the-top than it wants to be and The Graviators never meander so far that they lose sight of serving the track at hand.

It’s my pleasure today to host a full stream of Motherload for those who’d go wandering through its blue skies and murky depths. The album hits beginning this week (it’s out April 8 in North America), and The Graviators start a European tour to support it on April 21, playing the Berlin Desertfest and Copenhagen’s Heavy Days in Doomtown along the way. More details about the release and tour dates can be found under the player below.

Please enjoy:

After the release of their fantastic and critically acclaimed full length “Evil Deeds” and the split 7″ with their label mates MONKEY3, THE GRAVIATORS return with their latest studio effort “Motherload”. The brilliant vintage analog sound combines the Hard Rock of the Seventies with a good dose of Doom Metal and Stoner Rock. For the very first time, THE GRAVIATORS pay homage to their cultural heritage. The result is the song “Leifs Last Breath / Dance of the Valkyrie”. It is an epic track that could have been written by Quorthon (BATHORY) himself. The songs give off an occult vibe that mainly results from the enthralling vocals. A special bonus is the re-recording of “Druid´s Ritual”, a classic from the band’s back catalogue. The song clocks in at almost 14min and is a testament to the band’s brilliance. “Motherload” is an impressive Doom Stoner Metal album filled with highlights and will elevate THE GRAVIATORS from being an insider’s tip to the top of the scene.

Release Dates:
ESP/SWE/NOR: 02.04.2014
G/A/S, FIN & Benelux: 28.03.2014
EUROPE: 31.03.2014
USA/CAN: 08.04.2014

21.04.14 SE – Stockholm / tba
22.04.14 SE – Lund / Hemgarden
23.04.14 DE – Berlin / Jägerklause
24.04.14 DE – Wiesbaden / Kulturpalast
25.04.14 NL – Groningen / Vera
26.04.14 DE – Berlin / Desertfest
27.04.14 DE – Köln / Underground
28.04.14 DE – Dresden / Ost Pol
29.04.14 DE – München / Feierwerk
30.04.14 DE – Dresden / Ost-Pol
02.05.14 DE – Jena / Black Night
04.05.14 DK – Copenhagen / Heavy Days Doom Town

The Graviators on Thee Facebooks

Graviators at Napalm Records

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Space Probe Taurus to Release Mondo Satan this Summer on Ripple Music

Posted in Whathaveyou on March 17th, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster

I managed to find Space Probe Taurusself-titled Buzzville Records debut at the since-defunct Bullit Records in beautiful Eindhoven, the Netherlands in 2012, and it wasn’t a purchase I regretted making. Today the news has come down the PR wire that the Swedish heavy rockers have inked a deal to release their forthcoming sophomore outing — some six years in the making — on Ripple Music this coming summer. Exact date is TBA, but though Space Probe Taurus have done numerous soundtrack and compilation appearances over their many years, it seems reasonable to expect they’d be in a hurry to get Mondo Satan out after so long.

Dig it:

Cult Acid Fuzz Rockers SPACE PROBE TAURUS Sign Worldwide Deal With Ripple Music!

New album “Mondo Satan” to be released in summer 2014!

RIPPLE MUSIC is proud to announce the signing of acclaimed, hard-hitting acid biker heavy rockers, SPACE PROBE TAURUS to their ever-expanding roster!

Space Probe Taurus has been around in one form or another since 1992, but it wasn’t until a name change and shortening of the songs in 1997 that the band settled down into doing what they still do today: preaching the gospel of dirty garage rock Swedish style. Their music has been called Biker Movie Acid Fuzz and that sums it up as well as anything we could say!

Since the release of the Blue Cheer tribute CD “Blue Explosion”, by Black Widow Records, the band has been part of many compilations. And the year after saw the release of their first own record, the “Insect City” EP on Game Two/Slowdive Records. The band has also been involved deeply in the American low budget movie scene, first providing a song for the “I Am Vengeance” soundtrack (released by Meteor City Records in 2001), then having 12 songs in the movie “Actress Apocalypse”. Upcoming in 2014 is the movie “Franklin” which will include yet another song (a demo version of the song “Mondo Satan”).

In 2008 it was time for the first album, a self-titled debut released by the Belgian label Buzzville Records, which got outstanding reviews from all over the world. Since the release of the album the band has kept writing new material, played live and kept recording new demos. In 2012 the general feeling was that a new album needed to be done, and after a long process of deciding on the songs the band started to record, what would become the album “Mondo Satan”, scheduled to be released on Ripple Music in summer 2014!

On “Mondo Satan” Space Probe Taurus are:
Sjöberg – vocals, guitars
Tömte – guitars, backing vocals
Enberg – bass, backing vocals
Boman – drums

“Mondo Satan” tracklist:
1. Scorpio Queen
2. Kill City Death Cult
3. Spahn Ranch Motherfucker
4. Make Me Bleed
5. Galaxy Travelin’ Blues
6. Superfuzzed
7. Mondo Satan
8. Dust Joint
9. The Iguana
10. The Righteous One

For the growing ranks of Ripple fans, known as the Waveriders, Space Probe Taurus will be another must-hear addition to the ranks of bands that already include such heavy rockers as Volume IV, Devil to Pay, Mothership, or Ape Machine.

For More Info Visit:

Space Probe Taurus, “Mondo Satan” demo

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Abramis Brama to Release Enkel Biljett May 2

Posted in Whathaveyou on March 13th, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster

It’s been a quick five years since Stockholm’s Abramis Brama released their last album, Smakar Söndag (review here), but the time differential seems to be something the long-running Swedish rockers are looking to address with Enkel Biljett, which immediately vibes more along the lines of their gloriously boogie-fied early works. This is twice as interesting since founding bassist Dennis Berg split in 2012, but Abramis Brama seem to have weathered the change well judging by the new song “Blåa Toner,” which can be streamed below courtesy of the Transubstans Soundcloud page. They sent the following info down the PR wire as well about the May 2 release for Enkel Biljett.

If you were looking for an excuse to learn Swedish other than their fantastic healthcare and general having-Western-Civilization-figured-out-ness try this:

Through the last 15 years Abramis Brama has released heavy, ecstatic, riff-oriented hard rock with Swedish lyrics and with the new album ”Enkel Biljett”, the band continues their journey with new found energy.

As the band’s sixth studio album, ”Enkel Biljett” proudly shares the heavy hard rock foundation with it’s predecessors and at the same time showcasing other dimensions of Abramis Brama than previously recorded.

2012 was a year of evolution in Abramis Brama, bassist and co-founding member Dennis Berg left the band after having completed a European tour including a live performance on the legendary German Tv show Rockpalast. Soon after, the remaining members found just what they were looking for in Mats Rydström (Backdraft, Pontus Snibb 3) who gladly accepted the offer to join the band. This progression gave the band new energy and inspiration that transpired in the studio and lead to nine vigorous songs.

The title track and lead single ”Enkel Biljett” was released in January 2014 (as a split vinyl with tour brothers Black Debbath of Norway). It was immediately picked up by the Swedish national radio and other commercial radio stations.

In Swedish the title ”Enkel Biljett” means one-way ticket, and the album is injected with a new spark and fire. The heavy riffs are of course still present as well as the psychedelic folky elements. Yet this time around there’s more to comprehend, savor and appreciate.

Current line-up:
Ulf Torkelsson, vocals.
Peo Andersson, guitar.
Fredrik Liefvendahl, drums.
Mats Rydström, bass.


Abramis Brama, “Blåa Toner” from Enkel Biljett (2014)

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Friday Full-Length: Lowrider, Ode to Io

Posted in Bootleg Theater on March 8th, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster

Lowrider, Ode to Io (2000)

MeteorCity released some fantastic stuff in their early going — records from Nebula, The Ribeye Bros., Spirit Caravan and Solace come to mind — but I don’t know if anything from that era matches up to Lowrider‘s 2000 full-length debut, Ode to Io. By any standard you might want to measure it, what remains Lowrider‘s only long-player to date is an absolute classic, and one that stands up with the best that fuzz and heavy rock have to offer, even 14 years later. Not only has it been wildly influential in Sweden’s fertile underground and beyond, but it still sounds fantastic. To put it on and hear that opening riff of “Caravan” remains an absolute pleasure, and Ode to Io is one of those records at this point that, if you and I are total strangers, one of us can say to the other, “Dude, Ode to Io?” and we’re immediately friends.

To be perfectly honest, I’m not 100 percent that I haven’t closed a week out with it before — in fact, I’m relatively sure I have at least with “Texas Pt. I & II,” but screw it. I’ve had Lowrider on the brain since they let the news out that they had a sophomore outing in the works, that they’re set to record this year for their first release since Ode to Io, and after seeing them at the 2013 Desertfest in London — something I never through I’d be able to say I’ve done — I couldn’t be more thrilled at the prospect. I’ve already encountered a few records over the last couple months that I know will be landmarks for the year, but even sight-unseen, a new Lowrider earns a place on that list. I wouldn’t go into it expecting a clone of Ode to Io, but I do believe the band still has plenty to offer, and I’m greatly looking forward to finding out what that might be.

And if it’s an excuse to break out Ode to Io again in the meantime, you definitely will not hear me complaining. As always, I hope you enjoy.

Quite a week. I feel like I never stopped from last week because, oh wait, I didn’t. I’ve heard stories for years about people coming home from a tour and having a rough go adjusting back to real life. Presumably it’s different when you’re playing a show, but making an adjustment back wasn’t so much my problem as being tired and braindead. I might’ve phoned it in for a while but I felt like I couldn’t even get a dial tone. Of course there was more I wanted to write about this week than I had time or energy to cover — that’s pretty much standard — but even trying to keep up with email was a challenge.

The weather in Massachusetts is supposed to be halfway decent tomorrow, and The Patient Mrs. and I have a good friend in from out of town, so I’m hoping the combination will prove restorative somewhat over the next couple days. Next week I’ll look to pick back up with reviews of Ogre and a batch of ’60s/’70s psych records from World in Sound. I’ve still got a Conan interview in the can that golly, I’d love to get posted, and a ton of other stuff as well. The Spirit Caravan reunion tour starts tonight, so hopefully by Wednesday there’ll be some video from one of the shows. Got my fingers crossed.

I hope you 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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Goatess Join Roadburn 2014 Lineup

Posted in Whathaveyou on February 20th, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster

The 2013 self-titled debut (review here) from Swedish stoner doomers Goatess — who are fronted by the considerable riff-riding pipes of Chritus Linderson (Lord Vicar, ex-Saint Vitus, ex-Count Raven) — left little room for argument, and while it’s a bummer that Berlin outfit The Oath won’t be able to make it out to Roadburn 2014, Goatess make a more than substantial replacement in the lineup. No clue on when on the opening day of the festival they’ll be playing or which stage in 013 they’ll grace, but cool that they’re involved either way. The countdown to April continues.

Announcement comes courtesy of the Roadburn website:

Goatess To Replace The Oath at Roadburn Festival 2014

We at Roadburn are very sorry to announce that The Oath have sadly had to cancel their appearance at Roadburn Festial 2014 due to personal circumstances. Hopefully, we’ll be able to welcome the band at Roadburn 2015.

Luckily, we’re able to report that Sweden’s Goatess will replace The Oath on Thursday, April 10th at the 013 venue in Tilburg, The Netherlands.

Featuring the vocal talents of one Christian ‘Chritus’ Linderson, formerly of Count Raven, Saint Vitus, Terra Firma, and currently of Lord Vicar, Goatess have taken a different tack and managed to take the previously almost-completely stripmined sound of Kyuss, circa Blues For The Red Sun, and make it sound fresh again!

Sure, there’s more than a tinge of Sabbath on Goatess‘ S/T album (released on the ever prolific Svart Records), but the band hews closer to the fuzzed-up tone of California’s favourite desert-fried sons than to the average bunch of Iommi-worshippers.

Goatess axeman Niklas knocks out a woozy-edged guitar that moves from psych-edged subtlety to great big fuck-off ballsy rifforama, with a sprinkling of eastern-sounding melody woven through, more-than-ably backed up by a bravura drum performance from skinsman Kenta and Findus‘ deeply impressive, fluid, nuanced bass, leaving Chritus to work his magic safe in the knowledge that the heavy lifting is well and truly taken care of.

Make sure to indulge yourself in Goatess‘ primordial, hypno fuzz at Roadburn Festival 2014.

Roadburn Festival 2014 will run for four days from Thursday, April 10th to Sunday, April 13th 2014 at the 013 venue in Tilburg, The Netherlands.

Tickets for the traditional Afterburner event on Sunday, April 13th at the 013 venue in Tilburg, The Netherlands are still available. Get in on the action HERE!


Goatess, “Alpha Omega” from Goatess (2013)

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audiObelisk: The Tower Premiere “Exile” from Hic Abundant Leones Debut LP

Posted in audiObelisk on February 20th, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster

The Latin title of Swedish classic heavy rockers The Tower‘s full-length debut, Hic Abundant Leones, translates to “here are many lions.” A warning. Likewise, one might take a listen to the three-minute track “Exile” from The Tower‘s first outing for Bad Omen (North American distro via Prosthetic) and take it as a sign of what the record itself has in store. Just as a lion isn’t the only thing that can kill you in the jungle, so too does Hic Abundant Leones have a deceptively multi-pronged attack, and while “Exile” gives a solid demonstration of the Uppsala four-piece’s retro vibes and penchant for lyrical references — you’ll note appearances from The Doormouse and Queen of Hearts, à la both Jefferson Airplane and Alice in Wonderland — it’s by no means a complete overview of the album’s nine-track/48-minute span.

Immediate comparisons to Graveyard will be made for “Exile,” thanks in part to the bluesy vocal cadences of frontman Erik, but The Tower are more push than boogie, ultimately, and as cuts like “Lucy,” “Moonstoned” and the closing eponymous cut “The Tower” range past six minutes each — the latter clocking in at 11:41 to serve as the longest on Hic Abundant Leones and a companion piece to the Beatles-references in “Lucy” — the band seem to be pushing against such convenient assignations. Still, with their warmth of tone and natural, live-sounding spaciousness, the guitars of August, bass of Viktor and drums of Tommie, not to mention the nods in the lyrics to Baby Boomer greats, Hic Abundant Leones puts forth a heavy ’70s loyalism that comes through on just about every level of their presentation.

They not only acknowledge this in the songs themselves, but even unto their bio, which follows a timeline beginning in 1938 and carrying the band through the ’70s and into 2012, when they reportedly emerged following rumors of the end of the world with — what else? — the demo that led to this album. Good times.

Hic Abundant Leones is due out April 15 on Bad Omen Records. Preorders are available now. More info from the aforementioned bio follows the premiere of “Exile” below.

Please enjoy:

The Tower, “Exile”

“It was back in 1938 that the brothers Erik and August and their friend Viktor migrated south. They left the small village in the northern forests where they grew up for the big city and the university, to study the science of harvesting the earth. On the fields beside the burial mounds in old Uppsala they met Tommie, a Soviet refugee. He showed them his sole possession, a blues vinyl from 5300 BC, suspecting that it would fit their melancholy northern souls. The four sat down in a barn and played a blues jam which lasted until 1945, when the war ended and the post-apocalyptic nuclear winter began…”

So begins the extraordinary tale of Swedish ‘bad luck boogie’ combo THETOWER, whose cryptic, swinging timewarp of a debut LP is now released via London’s Bad Omen Records. The offbeat freakbeat and phantasmagorical psych-blues of Hic Abundant Leones exude an ageless charm and resounding singularity, striking eerie, dreamlike atmospheres that seemingly confirm THE TOWER’s eccentric parallel-universe narrative.

Sorting facts from the fantasy of the band’s complex mythology proves onerous; the quartet bonded during “long, all-night rehearsals in an old vicarage outside of Uppsala” and “began as some kind of personal quest for us but once we realised that we had a gospel we started preaching it. It is not something new. It is as ancient as the Sumerian blues records played by the Dionysos cults of the Postapocalyptic Era. Moreover, there have always been prophets of this gospel: wrayed Indians, electric shamans, crazy horses, black skinheads, exhumed singers, diddlying sheriffs, mean lick hookers, third eye girls, many a stooge, all-man brothers, Birmingham attendants of the Sabbath, and many, many more.”

Allegedly splitting in the 70s, they returned to the Tower in 1983, where they remained until 2012 - “when rumours of the end of the world enticed them to leave”. They recorded a demo (soon pressed to 12″ by Dybbuk Records) before cutting this mystical long-player. “The days in the studio were smooth. The loveable Joona Hassinen, who we recorded with, made us feel very comfortable, as if we were rehearsing in our ‘tower room’.”

And what is the significance of that peculiar title? “We saw it written on an ancient map of the (then known) world. It literally means ‘here are lions in abundance’ and was used by the cartographer to designate a uncivilised, wild and dangerous territory. When applied to Northern Scandinavia it becomes very weird, because there are no lions here, but this only furthers the poetry by making the lions mythical. The record is such a territory. So is the place where we rehearse. And stages we play on, and the vistas of our minds, the future and the past; the unknowns we want to explore and yet, paradoxically, also the regions where we feel the most at home.”

The Tower on Thee Facebooks

Bad Omen Records

Prosthetic Records

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The Graviators Premiere Video for “Narrow Minded Bastards”

Posted in Bootleg Theater on February 20th, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster

The sound that Swedish heavy rockers The Graviators showcase on their impending third album, Motherload, is a melting pot of doomed influences. Their second outing under the banner of Napalm Records behind 2012′s Evil Deeds sophomore outing, Motherload arrives as advertised: It’s a bit of everything. Listen hard across its formidable span and you’re just as likely to hear shades of Electric Wizard as Kadavar, of Graveyard as Cathedral as Pentagram, but always at the core there remains a firm current of Black Sabbath, and from that the band does not waver. They’ve worked quickly since getting their start half a decade ago, but prior to, guitarist Martin Fairbanks did a stint in Kaptain Sun predecessors Clandestine, and he and vocalist Niklas Sjöberg are also currently members of NYMF, whose split 7″ with Dozer marked that band’s recorded return in 2013.

Even so, you can drop as many names as you want and it does little to convey the fluidity of The Graviatorsdoom ‘n’ roll. The four-piece of Fairbanks, Sjöberg , bassist Johan Holm and drummer Henrik Bergman are no less at home in a boogie rock shuffle as a nod-ready doom riff, and as the force tying it together and laying down the hook in a song like “Narrow Minded Bastards,” the charismatic Sjöberg excels in classic frontman form, ready with a “yeah” at the end of each verse to carry the listener along with the groove. Their video for “Narrow Minded Bastards” is relatively simple in concept — band, rocking, in a room — but interestingly shot and actively cut so there’s no drag and it does well to convey the swagger inherent in the track. Of course, Motherload has much more to offer than just that, or presumably they’d have called it something else, but as a first impression, “Narrow Minded Bastards” hits all its marks easily and should have no problem digging into the consciousness of the willing.

Today I have the pleasure of hosting the premiere for the “Narrow Minded Bastards” video. Please find it below, and enjoy:

The Graviators, “Narrow Minded Bastards” official video

The Graviators are set to release Motherload on April 8 in North America. Other dates and more info:

Sweden´s Doom / Stoner Metal Band THE GRAVIATORS will release their highly anticipated third album Motherload in on April 8th in North America (international release dates are below). Motherload will be made available as a limited Digipak Edition and 2 LP Gatefold Vinyl Edition!

Release Dates:
28.03.2013 G/A/S & BE/NE/LUX
31.03.2013 EUROPE
02.04.2013 SWE & NOR
08.04.0213 USA / CAN

The Graviators on Thee Facebooks

Napalm Records

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Salem’s Pot Unveil New Video for “Nothing Hill”

Posted in Bootleg Theater on February 12th, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster

One has to wonder if Monster Magnet had any idea that their toss-off lyric “Goofballs and ’70s nipples” would become the rallying cry for a generation of doom videos mining old movie footage to find both. Probably not. All the same, Swedish doomers Salem’s Pot — who will release their debut LP, …Lurar Ut Dig På Prärien, April 29 on EasyRider Records — certainly seem to have taken the lesson to heart. What their new video for the song “Nothing Hill” lacks in being safe for work, it more than makes up in horror-flick psychedelics, drug use, lady-murder and, indeed, boobage. I guess at that point, work probably isn’t a consideration.

Fair enough. Salem’s Pot‘s 2013 tape, Watch Me Kill You (review here), was right on with no shortage of sleaze to go with its post-Electric Wizard ultra-stoned riffing. Roadburn had the official premiere of the video, so cheers to them, and if you’d like to check out a version of “Nothing Hill” that maybe doesn’t start out with a gagged naked woman getting her throat cut, there’s a the audio just under the PR wire info below.


Salem’s Pot, “Nothing Hill” official video

Sweden’s band of blood drunkards Salem’s Pot return this April to consecrate their union with the LA based label EasyRider Records with a follow up to last year’s Watch Me Kill You.

Following in the footsteps of the sprawling and self-indulgent jam albums of the early 1970s, over three tracks of swirling heavy psych …lurar ut dig på prärien offers the listener little chance of escape. Summoning the writhing sounds of demon fuzz and distant death knells the opening swell of ‘Creep Purple’, a 14 minute purge of lo-fi garage metal riffs and lysergic comedown finds Salem’s Pot setting out their stall from which to peddle the darkest of doom.

Loose, low slung and inspired by the legends of Sabbath and the extended jams of Hawkwind ‘Dr Death’ and the pounding ‘Nothing Hill’ complete the unholy trinity of tracks replete with lyrics that propel the listener into worlds unknown. Atmospheric realms populated with weed and witches in a reality as miserable and malevolent as it mind-bending and majestic.

To hear the track in full visit https://soundcloud.com/easyriderrecords/salems-pot-nothing-hill

Salem’s Pot:
Mentor Mike – Organ, Cult Leader
Nateonomicon – Guitar, Accordion, Howls
Pre-historic Pete – Bass, Howls
The Eagle – Drums, Percussion, Shruti-box

Track listing:
1. Creep Purple (14:28) 2. Dr. Death (9:52)
3. Nothing Hill (9:12)

Label: EasyRider Records Formats: LP/Digital/CD/Cassette

Salem’s Pot, “Nothing Hill”

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Buried Treasure: Mother Superior, The Mothership Has Landed

Posted in Buried Treasure on February 6th, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster

I was talking (or at least typing) not too long ago with Lowrider bassist/vocalist Peder Bergstrand — not to drop the name, but it’s relevant — and he mentioned Mother Superior‘s 1996 debut, The Mothership Has Landed, as having been an especially pivotal album for him in his band’s earliest going. He was a teenager at the time. I think we all have those records, and if you’re passionate about music, then probably you can also recall an album or a song or an artist whose work seemed to hit you just in the right way at just the right time in your life. It’s part of what makes us who we are, and being a nerd for Swedish heavy in general, I was curious to delve into what might have been a piece of its history I’d previously missed.

Whatever it was The Patient Mrs. was ordering from Amazon a few weeks back, I don’t even remember, but I do remember the utter (lack of) smoothness with which I said, “Well maybe I’ll just pick up one or two things for myself too.” Nicely done, chief.

Mother Superior recorded The Mothership Has Landed in Gothenburg, and it’s one of two full-lengths they released in their time, the other being 1998′s The Mothership Movement. Danish label Freakophonic reportedly reissued The Mothership Has Landed on vinyl in 2004, but the CD was through Velodrome/SPV, and though it’s 44 minutes long, the album works well in linear form, with middle cuts “Too Bad (Freddie’s Song)” and “Down the Straight and Narrow” both topping six minutes, albeit with markedly different atmospheres. Vocalist David Berlin has a touch of Mick Jagger in his voice on “Breakin’ it Down” and slide-guitar-and-piano-infused closer “Reach Out” — but cuts like “Radically Cool” and “C’Mon” are fuzzier and fuller than any blatant classic rock worship, and whatever else it is, The Mothership Has Landed is heavy. Opening duo “Yeah Baby” and “Velocity City” work at a pretty fast clip, and the penultimate “Love Gone Bad” seems to bookend with the same idea, but even then, the guitars of Sölvi Blöndal and Per Ellverson keep a thicker tone and bassist Fredrik Cronsten and drummer Anders Stub swing more than much of the garage rock Sweden was producing at that time, whatever other influence they may have taken from it.

In that regard, it’s interesting to try to put Mother Superior‘s first outing in the context of its day. Spiritual Beggars had one album out by 1996 and would release their second, Another Way to Shine, that year, but nothing on it got quite as funky as “Keep on Movin’” does here. Stockholm’s The Hellacopters, who are basically unavoidable in any discussion of Scandinavian garage rock of any era, released their own debut, Supershitty to the Max!, in ’96 following a single the year prior. Sparzanza formed in 1996 but didn’t have their first album out until 2001, and of course by then, both Dozer and Lowrider had issued their respective first full-lengths in 2000. The Awesome Machine was a year earlier than that, in 1999, and Mustasch‘s The True Sound of New West arrived a year later than Lowrider and Dozer‘s albums, in 2001. It’s hard to imagine that in 1996 there wasn’t also a huge contingent of Swedish heavy with its interest invested in the groundbreaking metal being crafted by the likes of At the Gates (their Slaughter of the Soul was 1995), Meshuggah (Destroy Erase Improve, 1995), In Flames (The Jester Race, 1996), Arch Enemy, and so on.

So while there was plenty of rock around, it’s easy to hear in listening to The Mothership Has Landed what might resonate with a burgeoning heavy riffer. The album flows like a classic rock record and for all its stomp and fuzz, it’s still clean enough to be accessible. Stub went on to drum in On Trial prior to their breakup in 2011 and in 2009 released a solo LP called The Silent Boatman that’s available to download for free from his website. The last Mother Superior offering seems to have been a Bad Afro Records 7″ called Brothers and Sisters in 1999 and then like so many others, seem to have just dissipated. Fair enough, but here we are almost two decades later and The Mothership Has Landed still holds up, so I’m glad to have chased it down.

Mother Superior, “C’Mon”

Anders Stub’s website

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