CB3 Sign to The Sign Records; Aeons out Feb. 28

Posted in Whathaveyou on October 16th, 2019 by JJ Koczan

cb3

Cool band. Swedish trio CB3 have been picked up by The Sign Records — wasn’t it just yesterday I was talking about the label’s reliable taste? well here’s another example of it — to release their second long-player, Aeons, on Feb. 28 as the follow-up to 2018’s From Nothing to Eternity (discussed here) and the subsequent live EP, Cult of the Crystals. The progressive psychedelic instrumental outfit are led by and named for guitarist Charlotta Andersson — they’re Charlotta’s Burning Trio when go long-form — and though February 2020 feels like a great and unknown future somewhere off in the distance, actually it’s only a couple months and the band will unveil the new single “Sonic Blaze” from the five-track offering next week, so you don’t actually have to wait all that long to get at least a quick fix.

Until then, here’s info courtesy of The Sign via the PR wire:

cb3 aeons

CB3 – Aeons – The Sign Records

We welcome CB3 (Charlottas Burning Trio) to The Sign Records! CB3 will release their new album “Aeons” the 28th of February 2020, and next Friday – the 25th of October, you’ll be able to enjoy the first cosmic frequencies of the album as the single “Sonic Blaze” reaches earth after a long journey through outer space.

CB3 is here to bring you on a journey with their explosive rock jams and mind-bending cosmic soundscapes. CB3 brings the spirit of psychedelic music to the 21th century; with a style that ranges from heavy psych rock jams like Jimi Hendrix to delicate atmospheric passages like Pink Floyd and progressive rhythms like King Crimson and Mahavishnu Orchestra. Close your eyes, set your mind free and drift away into the musical universe of CB3.

The autumn of 2018, CB3 celebrated a five year anniversary as a band in their hometown of Malmö, Sweden. Half a decade of constant exploration of the unconventional way of playing, fusing rock with jazz tonality and experimenting with rhythms, sounds and structures. After two self-released and self-produced albums, multiple collaborative projects and touring, CB3 signed with Lazy Octopus Records and Drone Rock Records for a cassette and vinyl release of their debut album “From Nothing to Eternity” in 2018. It was sold out immediately and received flourishing reviews.

In spring of 2020 they will release their new album “Aeons” on The Sign Records. Charlotta said of the process “It’s been an exciting journey. Me, Pelle and Nate has almost been living, eating and sleeping music, but above all experimenting with the idea of making the most exciting and kickass instrumental album ever.”. Since the beginning the trio has valued and nourished their thriving lust of exploring new ways in composing music and playing live shows.

The album is recorded by Björn Lindberg at Rabbit Holes Studios in Malmö and mixed and mastered by Joona Hassinen at Studio Underjord in Norrköping, Sweden. Björn is a sound engineer that worked with Hey Elbow. Joona is the sought after engineer in the underground scene in Sweden and has worked with bands like MaidaVale and Vokonis. The last track “Apocalypse” features Martin Wirén on saxophones and Charlotta on mellotrones. Artwork by Robin Gnista (Brant Björk, Radio Moscow, Imperial State Electric). Press Photos by Gianluca La Bruna. Video animations by Matteo Nobis Sandén (3D-artist, illustrator).

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

www.charlottasburningtrio.com
https://www.facebook.com/charlottasburningtrio/
https://www.instagram.com/charlottasburningtrio/
https://cb3band.bandcamp.com/
https://www.facebook.com/thesignrecords/
http://www.thesignrecords.com

CB3, “From Nothing to Eternity” (Live 2018)

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Hot Breath Stream Self-Titled Debut EP in Full; Out Friday on The Sign Records

Posted in audiObelisk on October 15th, 2019 by JJ Koczan

hot breath (Photo by Marcus Eriksson)

Swedish classic style heavy rockers Hot Breath will release their self-titled debut this coming Friday, Oct. 18, through The Sign Records. The conglomerate label has emerged as a home for retro-minded heavy (among other styles), from Hypnos and Heavy Feather to Märvel and MaidaVale, and in aligning with newcomer Göteborg four-piece Hot Breath, they continue the tradition of traditionalism, as well as specifically an association with Jennifer Israelsson and Jimi Karlsson. Both the vocalist and drummer of Hot Breath are former members of Honeymoon Disease, whose sophomore LP and apparent swansong, Part Human, Mostly Beast (discussed here), came out through the label in 2017, and the new outfit brings them together with Hypnos bassist Anton Frick Kallmin as well as guitarist Karl Edfeldt, whose other band, Grand, haven’t actually worked with The Sign (yet), but still, three out of four is a compelling enough statistic to tempt one to call Hot Breath a house band for their label. Nothing wrong with that, of course, and it only makes it more appropriate that as Hot Breath offer up the six tracks/21 minutes of Hot Breath just about a year after forming, they’re playing four dates over the next few weeks as part of The Sign Fest with labelmates in Skraeckoedlan, Vokonis, Children of the Sün, and more. Clearly a family affair.

Super-groovy, as the kids might say, and the same applies to the EP itself, which in a song like “1,000 Miles” careens through speed-at-night winding late-’70s proto-metallic riffing, topped with the vocals of Israelsson (I wonder if she’s any relation hot breath hot breathto Truckfighters drummer Daniel Israelsson), whose melodies fit right in with the hard-corner turns in the guitar and the forward propulsion of the rhythm. Whether it’s the hooky “What You Reap” at the conclusion, the earlier “Maniac” or the build-up back at the start with “Still Not Dead,” Hot Breath bring an infectious sense of energy to their tracks, here and there tapping into some non-glam/non-NWOBHM ’80s worship but as likely to pull influence from Joe Walsh as Scorpions as Electric Citizen as Death Alley, the latter seeming specifically to inform “What You Reap” and “Slight Air” before it, wrapping up the quick offering with some of its most fervent and insistent thrust, though that’s not at all to take away from “Got it All,” which is no less brash when it comes right down to it, and boasts some choice backing vocals in the chorus, adding to the already so prevalent catchiness thereof.

If it needs to be said, songwriting is a feature throughout Hot Breath‘s Hot Breath, and though one has to factor in that they’re still basically a brand new band, it shouldn’t be a mystery as to why they seem to have their wits about them in terms of what they want to be doing. It’s because they do. And whether it’s Israelsson and Karlsson‘s prior experience together in Honeymoon Disease or everyone’s experience more generally heavy rock bands of various stripes, clearly the effect of it all is that Hot Breath hit the ground running on their first outing in terms of style and substance both, with tight, high-quality songcraft and an energetic, natural performance captured that serves these tracks well and gives the listener notice of more to come. I don’t know how long it’ll be before Hot Breath get around to a debut album, but if one takes the Hot Breath EP as an advance warning of that, the heads up is indeed all the more appreciable. The converted will have no trouble digging in, and even those less experienced with Sweden’s classic/boogie set will find plenty to grasp onto in the songwriting and delivery.

So, uh, have at it.

The full stream of Hot Breath‘s Hot Breath is available on the player below, followed by more background from the PR wire and live dates, including those at The Sign Fest in the coming weeks.

Please enjoy:

the sign fest

Hot Breath delivers a six track K.O that is set for release the 18th of October on The Sign Records. Blending that immortal sound of 70s classic rock with their own pure attitude, add a bit of all those influences that you like, and you get Hot Breath’s self titled debut. Guitar solos stand side-by-side with Jennifer Israelsson’s (previously seen fronting Honeymoon Disease) swagger-filled vocals and a brilliant rhythm section in Jimi Karlsson (also ex-Honeymoon Disease) and Anton Frick Kallmin (Hypnos). Every track is a hit of its own accord, and by the time “What You Reap” rolls around, it’s clear that Hot Breath provides the soundtrack to the last drink that never ends.

Recorded and mixed by Jamie Elton (ex-Amulet) in Gothenburg during the summer of 2019. Axel Söderberg (Horisont) helped out on keys on the recording. Mastered by Hans Olsson Brookes at Svenska Grammofon Studion. Artwork by Jimi Karlsson. Cover photo by Marcus Eriksson.

Formed in October 2018 (with members from Honeymoon Disease, Hypnos and Grand) the band wanted to mix their various pasts into one vibrating sound. With a common ground of heavy rock Hot Breath quickly took shape and turned into a wicked animal that will twist your hips.

The release will be available on CD in Digipack, 180g Vinyl and Digital formats. Hot Breath is touring and kicks off their first Swedish tour joining a four-date The Sign Fest throughout Sweden.

Live:
18 October, Skylten, Linköping, Sweden (The Sign Fest)
19 October, Slaktkyrkan, Stockholm, Sweden (The Sign Fest)
25/26 October – Skövde, Sweden, In Rock Festival
8 November – Musikens Hus, Göteborg, Sweden (The Sign Fest)
9 November – Plan B, Malmö, Sweden (The Sign Fest)

Hot Breath are:
Jennifer Israelsson – Vocals and Guitar
Karl Edfeldt – Guitar
Anton Frick Kallmin – Bass
Jimmy Karlsson – Drums

Hot Breath on Thee Facebooks

The Sign Records on Thee Facebooks

The Sign Records website

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Asteroid Announce First-Ever South American Tour Dates

Posted in Whathaveyou on October 15th, 2019 by JJ Koczan

asteroid

Two cryptic posts last week on thee social medias from Swedish heavy psych blues jammers Asteroid. The first: they’d be traveling to a new continent before the end of the year. I’m pretty sure they’ve been to Australia before, and I know they’ve sworn off North America while the current US administration is in power — there are plenty of days I think when a good portion of the country wishes it could do the same — so that led me to speculate South America was their destination, and it turns out, yes, Abraxas Produtura — among others — is bringing the trio from their Swedish home-base to play a set of four exclusive shows capping in Rio de Janeiro on Dec. 7 at the Festa da Firma.

Ending that run in Rio de Janeiro brings me to the second cryptic social medias post, which was that the band has new material in the works. That’s an awfully long way to travel to play four shows, even if one of them is a fest, so I had to wonder if they’d be recording with Gabriel Zander while in Brazil, and the band confirms that, yes, that seems to be part of the plans. I don’t know if it’s a full album or what, but either way, it’ll be their first offering since 2016’s III (review here), and whatever shape it ultimately takes, there’s just about no way new Asteroid isn’t going to be welcome as far as I’m concerned.

So good news all around and one more perhaps to look forward to in 2020.

Here’s the info:

asteroid south america shows

Asteroid – South America Tour

Asteroid will hit South America this December. See you in Argentina, Uruguay and Brazil.

The legendary Swedish trio comes to review all their discography in a show that promises tons of high-flying fuzz rock, stoner rock and heavy psych on their first visit to South America that will include presentations in Argentina, Uruguay (within the framework from the second edition of the Noiseground Festival in that country) and Brazil.

Their latest album “III” released by Fuzzorama Records, record label commanded by the Truckfighters is considered by the specialized press as one of the most outstanding releases of the last 10 years within the heavy rock scene in Europe.

There will be gems like “Time”, “Doctor Smoke” and “Pale Moon” a traveling and super electric show, you can’t miss it!

Asteroid live:
12/04 Buenos Aires Casa Colombo
12/05 Montevideo Bluzz Live
12/06 Sao Paulo Jai Club
12/07 Rio de Janeiro Festa Da Firma

Asteroid is:
Robin Hirse – Vocals & Guitar
Johannes Nilsson – Vocals & Bass
Jimmi Kohlscheen- Drums

https://www.facebook.com/Asteroidband/
http://www.asteroid.se/
http://www.fuzzoramastore.com/en/bands/asteroid/

Asteroid, “Til’ Dawn” official video

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Review & Track Premiere: Hazemaze, Hymns of the Damned

Posted in audiObelisk, Reviews on October 14th, 2019 by JJ Koczan

Hazemaze Hymns of the Damned

[Click play above to stream the premiere of ‘Shadow in the Night’ from Hazemaze’s Hymns of the Damned. Album is out November 22 through Cursed Tongue Records and Ripple Music.]

Vinyl preorders for Hazemaze‘s Hymns of the Damned start Nov. 1 through Cursed Tongue Records for a Nov. 22 LP/DL release. Ripple Music is putting the Swedish troupe’s second album out on CD as well, and the band have announced two release shows that are six days apart from each other, so one way or another, you might say the new record from Hazemaze is coming soon and choose your angle of approach accordingly. While there may be several threads involved in the arrival of the eight-track/41-minute follow-up to the Stockholm trio’s 2018 Kozmik Artifactz-delivered self-titled debut (discussed here), the LP itself is a heavy amalgam much easier to process in its garage-doom churn and dug-in riffage, informed by heavy blues but not beholden to them and bearing a persistent atmosphere of threat that speaks to an affinity for classic doom, particularly in songs like “Green River” (premiered here) and the subsequent weighted boogie of the penultimate “Reverend Death.” Those two cuts, as well as the raucous finisher “Forever Trapped in Hell” are shorter, in the three-to-four-minute range, than the five cuts prior that make up side A and the start of side B, and the effect is almost like Hazemaze have reversed the plot of many LPs and put the opening salvo in the closing position and turned the B side into the A side and the A side into the B side. The bottom line? If the release dates don’t disorient you, they’re going to get you one way or the other.

Actually, when it comes to what’s going to “get you,” it’s probably the songwriting. Hazemaze — guitarist/vocalist Ludvig Andersson, bassist Estefan Carrillo and drummer Nils Arkitekten Einéus — might not be revolutionary in aesthetic terms, but what they do, they do well and with the confidence of a band of much longer standing. There’s some element of Monolord-style atmospherics to the vocals on “Shadow in the Night,” the opening track and new single premiering above, but though certainly riffy, Hazemaze‘s trip is rawer in form and more about roll than crush. What “Shadow in the Night” sets in motion continues through the end of Hymns of the Damned in terms of forward momentum and classic affinity. There’s plenty of nod-fodder, to be sure, but as Hazemaze lead the way into “Morbid Lust” on a swinging bassline, there’s no question that movement is a focal point for the band and crucial to their approach. Einéus is duly beastly on his crash cymbal, adding uptempo flair to Andersson‘s riffing and languid vocals, while Carrillo‘s low end lurks beneath the distortion, carrying the weight that is so essential to the proceedings in mood and the sheer delivery. By the time they’re into “Thrill Seeker,” the course is set in terms of overarching groove and the sound and general spirit of the offering, which is ultimately to the band’s credit in terms of their efficiency conveying the grim (but still kind of a good time) ambience through the early tracks.

hazemaze (Photo by Magnus Nicander)

That might be an effect of the noted A/B swap method, or it might just be a consequence of knowing what they want out of their material more generally, but on either level, it only makes Hymns of the Damned more immersive and engaging on the whole for those willing to take it on. “Thrill Seeker” brings chug and violent threat in its verse alike in the Uncle Acid spirit with Andersson touching on layered self-harmony in the vocals, and “Lobotomy” stands among the most outwardly catchy of the inclusions as it rounds out the first half of the tracklist with a hook that continues the momentum set up on the first several tracks. Hazemaze‘s sense of movement might be subtle — that is, it doesn’t feel like they’re shoving you through one track to the next — but it’s there if not brazen in its intensity. They set a balance between atmosphere and push that works well across the span and, again, highlights the contributions particularly of Einéus and Carrillo to the songs on the whole. And though I haven’t seen a lyric sheet, even “Solicitor of Evil” — the longest cut at 6:56 and the presumed side B leadoff — doesn’t seem to be explicitly about killing women, so that’s a plus too if we’re thinking in the sphere of post-Uncle Acid garage doom. Certainly not every band can say the same. I like to think of “Solicitor of Evil” like a devilish attorney, but I’ll say again, I haven’t seen a lyric sheet to confirm that. Would be fun though.

On a lot of records, “Solicitor of Evil,” with its late wah bass and ultra-swing, would be the grand finale, but on Hymns of the Damned it’s just an introduction to the next stage, with “Green River,” “Reverend Death” and “Forever Trapped in Hell” reigniting the riffy momentum — and cowbell — of “Shadow in the Night” and bringing about a more bounding conclusion. In terms of general sound, there’s isn’t so much of a radical shift, but especially across multiple listens, the change is evident as “Solicitor of Evil” gives way to “Green River,” the storytelling aspect of which — “Walking down that dusty road…,” etc. — likewise signals a change of angle. Like the structure of the album generally, it’s not a move a less confident band could pull off, but Hazemaze do it by simply doing it, and that in itself is a statement of who they are as a group. As their second album careens to its brash finish with “Forever Trapped in Hell,” the more active and tightened craft only seems to underscore the point of Hazemaze‘s momentum earlier on the LP, their last hook giving way to a winding charge with a solo in the last minute and a series of hits that uses every single one of the track’s four minutes and 11 seconds. It is righteous and portentous in kind, since Hazemaze come across in the end like a band that still has much more to say; “leave ’em wanting more,” and all that. They do, even with the rest of Hymns of the Damned leading into “Forever Trapped in Hell,” and one can’t help but think that whatever the three-piece do from here, they’ll only have benefited from being so sure and so correct in the decisions they made with and within this material.

Hazemaze on Bandcamp

Hazemaze on Thee Facebooks

Hazemaze on Instagram

Cursed Tongue Records webstore

Cursed Tongue Records on Thee Facebooks

Cursed Tongue Records on Instagram

Ripple Music on Thee Facebooks

Ripple Music on Bandcamp

Ripple Music website

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Gaupa Self-Titled Debut EP out on Vinyl Oct. 25

Posted in Whathaveyou on October 11th, 2019 by JJ Koczan

gaupa
Bookended by two seven-minute sprawlers, Gaupa‘s five-track 2018 self-titled EP is set to see vinyl reissue this month through Kozmik Artifactz. As one might expect, the band give multiple looks throughout the release, from the mystical grunge of “Febersvan” and “Bergatroll” to the strutting “Gryt” and the punkish “The Drunk Autopussy Wants to Fight You.” With “Kartan” in the middle, it seems for a bit like the Swedish outfit are veering into and out of the ethereal — and maybe they are, to a degree — but with vocalist Emma Näslund showcasing a strong Björk influence and a strong sense of weight in the guitar and bass, they seem to have no trouble whatsoever with that complex navigation.

I hadn’t heard the EP before or I’d probably have written about it one way or the other, so if nothing else, I’m glad the news of the reissue gave me a chance to take a listen. I’ve included the Bandcamp stream of the thing — though the vinyl’s been remastered by Tony Reed, so take that into consideration as well — for you to check out in case you’d like to do the same.

Dig:

gaupa gaupa

Gaupa Release Special Edition Debut EP On Vinyl!

GAUPA (lynx in Swedish) is a rock band from Falun, Sweden. With surreal lyrics, an energetic female singer, and a sound of progressive stoner rock with doom/folk/psychedelic influences. GAUPA released their debut EP in June 2018 to much praise and excitement throughout the underground scene.

Now this great five track EP has been spiced up with 2 live tracks which were recorded at Sweden Rock Festival 2018, resulting in a full-length vinyl release carefully remastered by the incredible Tony Reed (Mos Generator) for the best possible sound on heavy wax!

Gaupa will be released on limited edition heavyweight vinyl on the 25th of October on Kozmik Artifactz.

VINYL FACTZ
– Plated & pressed on high performance vinyl at Pallas/Germany
– limited & coloured vinyl
– 300gsm gatefold cover
– special vinyl mastering

TRACKS
1. Febersvan
2. The Drunk Autopussy Wants To Fight You
3. Kartan
4. Gryt
5. Bergatroll

Gaupa are:
Emma Näslund – Vocals
David Rosberg – Guitars
Daniel Nygren – Guitar
Erik Jerka Sävström – Bass
Jimmy Hurtig – Drums

https://www.facebook.com/gaupaband/
https://www.instagram.com/gaupaband/
https://gaupaband.bandcamp.com/
http://kozmik-artifactz.com/
https://www.facebook.com/kozmikartifactz

Gaupa, Gaupa EP (2018)

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Review & Full Album Stream: Stew, People

Posted in audiObelisk, Reviews on October 10th, 2019 by JJ Koczan

stew people

[Click play above to stream Stew’s People in its entirety. Album is out tomorrow on Ripple Music. Preorder here.]

Dig into the speed-shuffle vibes and overlaid bluesy overtones of sub-three-minute centerpiece “Play the Fool” and all questions about what Stew are up to should be summarily put to bed. There are few name brands as reliable these days as Swedish Boogie Rock, and while the country and the greater European underground has seen no shortage thereof over the course of this decade, the heavy ’10s round out in strong fashion with Stew‘s Ripple Music-delivered debut album, People. They tip the balance to one side or another in terms of mood and tempo, as one would hope, over the course of the 11-tracker — really 10 and the 32-second “Intro” that starts off — but what makes the crisp 37-minute offering so distinct is the momentum that carries the Lindesberg three-piece through and in particular how much guitarist Nicklas Jansson is responsible for that.

Of course, guitar leading the way through what’s essentially a riff-driven style of heavy rock isn’t so much a surprise as it is a tenet of the genre — and indeed, Stew‘s work will be readily familiar in its ’70s-worship purposes to the converted — but even with that in consideration, the way Jansson interacts musically with bassist/vocalist Markus Åsland and drummer Nicklas Dahlgren proves fascinating and is something that stands the band out among their many bluesy peers. Solos and lead lines periodically step forward to do the work of riffs, as in side B’s “Sweet and True” or the earlier title-track, with its subtly winding progression during the verse and nigh-on-hypnotic jam in its second half (the song, by the way, is under four minutes long, so take “jam” relative to that), and that gives Stew an all the more dynamic sound as they move through more straightforward fare like “Newborn” at a comfortable mid-paced sleek, dropping hooks as they go as trailmarkers for those making their way through an album that still somehow feels light on flourish.

Åsland‘s performance on vocals as well is worth specific note, as the character he brings to a song like “Endless Journey,” finds him settled into a niche somewhere between Chris Cornell and Robert Plant as the track careens between volume changes. From the outset of post-“Into” opener “Right on Time,” through “People” and the slower turn of “Newborn” after the opening salvo is concluded, Åsland is in command of the proceedings vocally and he remains so for the duration. Between his presence and Jansson‘s standout guitar work, Stew hone the very classic-power-trio impression they would so much seem to be shooting for — and in righteous fashion, most especially for the spirited edge they bring to the style. That is, they’re playing to genre, no question, but they’re bringing a sense of who they are as artists to that. It can be heard in a track like “Fruits,” which delves into more spacious fare pushed forward by Dahlgren‘s drumming, the swing of which is a somewhat understated but ultra-necessary anchor for the proceedings as a whole, and it’s their burgeoning identity that helps them stave off stylistic redundancy.

stew

And it is burgeoning. One should know going in that Stew seem by no means to be a finished product on their first album, but what they do throughout People, all the way down to the birdsong-laced acoustic closer “Morning Again,” is to give an initial showcase from which to build as they move forward. They’re working to establish themselves within a crowded subset of heavy rock that has been largely abandoned by its foremost champions, and while they bring classic ideas to bear with a modern production style and clarity, their purposes remain fluid throughout in songwriting and their ability to shift between various vibes, from the smooth semi-psych melodies of “Goddess” and the mellow blues in the first half of “Afraid of Getting Nowhere” to the rock ‘n’ riot of “Play the Fool” and the earlier one-two punch in “Right on Time” and “People,” they’re only bolstered by the obvious strength that comes from such flexibility.

When it comes to getting on board, they make it easy. People isn’t about issuing challenges to its audience so much as bidding welcome, and of course the familiarity at play in their sound is a part of that. They’re using the more established aspects of their sound — their direct influence from modern takes on vintage heavy — as a way of connecting with a specific listener, who knows what they’re doing and appreciates it, but the whole thing would fall flat were it not for the songwriting and performance underlying. It’s easy enough — if potentially expensive — to fire up the right gear and roll out a bit of boogie here and there, but to do so while leaving behind memorable tracks marked by highlight interplay between the members of the band is something else and something worth celebrating. As People plays out across its tight 37-minute run, it’s no challenge to discern where the band are coming from, but especially in considering it as their debut LP, even that fact says something positive about how they’re able to bring their stylizations to bear in such an effective way.

I don’t necessarily think Stew are setting out to rewrite the script when it comes to how boogie jams happen, and frankly, they don’t need to be. The only real shame about People is that it’s coming out as the air is getting colder and the nights are getting longer, instead of the opposite. Maybe it’s perfect Australian summer album. It’s not so much that its centered around tonal warmth, but there is something wholesome and sincere about its bluesy execution that seems just made for the outdoors, for sunshine, for some small “festival” happening on a stage outside in a Swedish forest with good friends and copious coolers of beer, maybe. I’m sure a given listener can paint their own scenario, but inspiring that too stands as one of Stew‘s marked strengths. There are more than a few throughout People, and they all tend to bode well for the band’s future prospects.

Stew on Thee Facebooks

Stew on Instagram

Stew on Bandcamp

Ripple Music on Thee Facebooks

Ripple Music on Bandcamp

Ripple Music website

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Besvärjelsen Premiere “All Things Break” Video; Frost EP out Now

Posted in Bootleg Theater on October 2nd, 2019 by JJ Koczan

besvarjelsen

The message of Besvärjelsen‘s latest single would seem to be pretty clear, as it’s right there in the title. But there’s a secondary, more subtle lesson to be learned from “All Things Break” from the band’s recently-issued Frost EP — and especially from the video for it. That message? If you’re going to film your video on an old train bridge, be damn certain there aren’t any trains coming.

Frost was issued in August after being included in Blues Funeral Recordings‘ limited-deluxe-edition-subscription service, PostWax. I did the liner notes for that version of the five-song outing, which also included an exclusive track, and was proud to help them tell their story in that way, because, you know, good band and all that. Their approach throughout Frost was fascinating in the five members of Besvärjelsen adjourning to the out-in-the-woods home studio of guitarist/backing vocalist Andreas Baier (also of V) to record their parts, and considering that their debut album, Vallmo (review here), came out just last year, a quick turnaround to boot. The time factor does nothing to take away from the progressive sensibility of the songs, however — that is to say, they don’t sound rushed — and the pervasive moody feeling that emanated from the first LP is definitely intact in cuts like “When We Fall,” “In the Dark,” and of course, “All Things Break,” which brings us to the video in question and out to that train bridge in Sweden.

Drummer Erik Bäckwall, who, like bassist Johan Rockner, is a Dozer alum — Besvärjelsen is completed by vocalist Lea Amling Azalam and guitarist/backing vocalist Staffan Stensland Vinrot — sets the scene in his quote below, so I won’t take away from that and recount a narrative you can already read here, but I will note that the entirety of Frost can be streamed below, with the aforementioned cuts as well as the adrenaline build of “Human Habits” and the surge and deconstruction that seems to take place in seven-minute closer “Past in Haze” as the band touches new ground in drive as well as atmosphere. After you dig into the video, I hope you’ll check that out as well.

And please enjoy:

Besvärjelsen, “All Things Break” official video premiere

Lea Amling Azalam on “All Things Break”:

“‘All Things Break’ was the first song I finished for the EP. The lyrics handle the bitter side of relationships that don’t work out. It’s about the emotions when you feel left behind. Not only romantically but the general feeling of loneliness. And that everything turns to shit in the end.”

Erik Bäckwall on the video:

“The video was shot in the northwest of our region by our friend Tony at Az Foto. I had an idea of the video with us isolated in the woods to supplement the lyrics. Tony had done some location scouting and said he had a perfect place for shooting. An old railroad bridge, built in 1903, with no train traffic any more. Close to a waterfall called Helvetesfallet (‘the Hell fall’). The bridge is about 186 feet tall, with creaky wooden planks with space between, so you could see all the way down. It wasn’t a good place to be if you didn’t like heights.

“We had set up the drums on the middle of the bridge and I was just adjusting the toms when Johan shouted ‘traaaain!’ Of course we thought it was a joke, but it wasn’t. I turned around and heard the train behind the trees. Me and Lea took whatever drum pieces we could get and ran with the train coming behind us. My first thought was to get away from the bridge, the second was that It’s probably gonna hit the parts of the drum kit we couldn’t carry, bass drum included. Fortunately the traindriver saw us and stopped. We had to do a walk of shame to collect the rest of the drums with seniors taking pictures from the train and face an angry train driver. So after the Stand by Me moment we checked the time table and saw that we had three hours before the next train. So we just got on with it.”

Besvärjelsen “All Things Break”
Taken from the EP “Frost”
Originally released as PostWax Year One, Volume 3
Available at besvarjelsen.bandcamp.com/album/frost

On “Frost” — the follow-up to BESVA?RJELSEN’s 2018 debut “Vallmo” — the feeling of being isolated in a cold wilderness in the grip of higher forces is palpable throughout the five tracks, with haunting, enveloping vocals from singer Lea Amling Alazam, outstanding songwriting from guitarists/vocalists Andreas Baier and Staffan Stensland Vinrot, and the forceful rhythm section of Johan Rockner and Erik Bäckwall (both formerly of Dozer).

“Frost” was recorded in the dead of winter in a cabin in the woods of Dalarna county in Sweden, and mastered by Karl Daniel Lidén.

BESVÄRJELSEN is
Andreas Baier – Guitar, vocals
Staffan Stensland Vinrot – Guitar, vocals
Johan Rockner – Bass, vocals
Lea Amling Alazam – Vocals
Erik Bäckwall – Drums

Besvärjelsen, Frost EP (2019)

Besvärjelsen on Thee Facebooks

Besvärjelsen on Bandcamp

Besvärjelsen website

Blues Funeral Recordings on Thee Facebooks

Blues Funeral Recordings on Bandcamp

Blues Funeral Recordings website

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Quarterly Review: High on Fire, Ruff Majik, Merlin, Workshed, E-L-R, Sibyl, Golden Legacy, Saint Karloff & Devil’s Witches, Burden Limbs, El Supremo

Posted in Reviews on October 1st, 2019 by JJ Koczan

quarterly review

Another day, another batch of 10 reviews on the march to 50 by the end of the week. Will we make it? Yeah, probably. I mean, I think there was once when I had to skip a day or something but even then I made up for it and there’s never been an instance where the Quarterly Review fell apart. The one quarter I decided to nix it (was it last year?) I made up for it by doing 100 reviews instead of 50 the next time out, so we got there eventually. It being Tuesday, the end of the week looks far off, but indeed we’ll ge there eventually, and there’s a lot of good music between now and then, so let’s hit it.

Quarterly Review #11-20:

High on Fire, Bat Salad

high on fire bat salad

A limited vinyl EP released as part of Record Store Day 2019, High on Fire‘s Bat Salad comprises three songs: an original instrumental and two covers, one of Celtic Frost and one of Bad Brains. And I won’t take away from the “Rat Salad” Sabbath-does-blues-jazz-jam-except-it’s-HighonFire-so-it-sounds-nasty-as-hell spirit of “Bat Salad” at all, but the real highlight here is hearing Matt Pike‘s gravel-throated vocals take on “Into Crypts of Rays.” Celtic Frost have always been a central factor in what High on Fire were doing stylistically, so to have the band take them on directly seems long in the making. They approach Bad Brains‘ “Don’t Bother Me” with due reverence as well, careening through an intense three-minute burst of energy with the grit and underlying precision one has come to expect from these singular masters. Soon enough, bands will be covering High on Fire with the same spirit of fan homage. Doubly notable for being founding drummer Des Kensel‘s last recorded appearance alongside Pike and bassist Jeff Matz in the band.

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eOne Heavy on Thee Facebooks

 

Ruff Majik, Tårn

ruff majik tarn

Guitarist/vocalist Johni Holiday, bassist Jimmy Glass and drummer Ben Manchino return with Tårn, Ruff Majik‘s second album on a quick turnaround from their 2018 debut, Seasons (review here). Aligned with Lay Bare Recordings for the vinyl release, the deceptively quick and even more deceptively complex seven-track/36-minute offering finds Ruff Majik digging into dirt-caked tonality and classically punkish sneer in Holiday‘s vocals. There are moments where they sound like Queens of the Stone Age (“Speed Hippie”) and moments where they sound like Black Flag (parts of opener “Schizophrenic”), but as a roller like “Heretically Happy” or the earlier post-Zeppelin stoner sneak of “Gloom & Tomb” show, Ruff Majik are perhaps most interested in sounding like themselves. They’re gleeful as they toy with doomed vibes on closer “Seasoning the Witch,” and the seven-minute “I’ll Dig the Grave” earlier thrills with changes drawn together by a pervasive and righteous groove. With Tårn, Ruff Majik have found their wavelength, and it suits them.

Ruff Majik on Thee Facebooks

Lay Bare Recordings website

 

Merlin, The Mortal

merlin the mortal

Be it heretofore established that sax-laced Kansas City psych-doomers Merlin don’t give a fuck. They don’t give a fuck what you expect, they don’t give a fuck what everyone else is doing, they don’t give a fuck if they meme the crap out of their own band. They’ve got their thing and they’re doing it. And you know what? They’re right. The Mortal is their fifth full-length in six years, following as a sequel to early-2018’s The Wizard (review here), and with flourish galore in arrangements of organ, sax, flute, percussion, accordion, trumpet, etc., alongside the foundation of songcraft that comes through the guitar, bass, drums and always-theatrical vocals of Jordan Knorr, the band recount tales along a dark-magical mystery tour of gorgeously flowing and still-weighted psychedelic plunder. They have become a buried treasure of weirdo/geek rock, and whether it’s the peaceful drift of “Ashen Lake” or the cacophonous heavy riffing of “Basilisk,” the stage-setting prog of “Towerfall” or the consuming swell that carries out the apex of closer “The Mortal Suite” — King Crimson chase and all — Merlin‘s work has never sounded so masterful. Will there be a third installment in the tale? Nothing quite like a trilogy.

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The Company BigCartel store

 

Workshed, Workshed

workshed workshed

They’ve since added a third party in bassist Helen Storer (Fireball Ministry, among others), but Workshed‘s self-titled Rise Above Records debut LP was recorded as the duo of guitarist/vocalist Adam Lehan and drummer Mark Wharton. More than a quarter-century ago, both Lehan and Wharton played on Cathedral‘s pivotal first two albums, but in Workshed, and certainly there are some shades of doom on a stomper like “Anthropophobic” here, but the bulk of Workshed‘s nine-song/47-minute first offering is given to post-Entombed buzzsaw noise sludge, riffs crunched one into the next in an aggro, punk-rooted fashion that rife with a sense of willful punishment that comes through in sheer impact from front to back. Vocals call to mind Tom G. Warrior immediately and are suited to the social commentary of “If This is How it Is” and “This City Has Fallen,” while the grueling march of “A Spirit in Exile” leaves room for some atmosphere to eek through, which it does. They trash out in centerpiece “On Sticks of Wood” and chug their into a last fade on closer “It Doesn’t Have to Be That Way,” but by then they’ve long since made their statement and left a trail of destruction behind them. Would they have been signed to Rise Above without the Cathedral connection? Probably not. Does the album earn their place? Absolutely.

Workshed on Thee Facebooks

Rise Above Records website

 

E-L-R, Mænad

e-l-r maenad

With their first full-length, Mænad, Swiss post-metallers E-L-R cart a gorgeous and textured course through patient and progressive songweaving that lends itself to hypnosis through its churning rhythm as much as its overarching melodies seem to evoke other worlds. It is not without its sense of challenge and certainly plenty heavy in its tone and groove — at least where it wants to be — but it’s also rich and provides a level of depth to its mix that should have others in the genre asking how they did it. A transitional drone at the end of “Devotee” brings about the 10-minute “Above the Mountains There is Light” and a long contemplation begins, working from the ground up on a pilgrim’s path to the eventual payoff. The resonance there is something unto itself, but even as “Ambrosia,” “Lunar Nights” and “The Wild Shore” find the stylistic footing that opener “Glancing Limbs” and “Devotee” seemed to hint at earlier, E-L-R maintain both an ambient sprawl and a consuming sense of passion that makes their work here all the more thrilling. This is a debut, following only a single 2018 demo that had two of the same tracks. What that tells me is look out for this band, because this kind of potential doesn’t come along every day and when it does, you want to be there for the follow-up. The impeccable taste of Prophecy Productions pays dividends once again.

E-L-R on Thee Facebooks

Prophecy Productions website

 

Sibyl, The Magic Isn’t Real

sibyl the magic isn't real

Otherworldly doom rock marked by echoing vocals oozing out from deep in the mix and gotta-hear-it bass tone complemented by choice riffage and a fervent thud in the drums, even if the aesthetic of Richmond’s Sibyl is familiar enough, there’s plenty to dig about their debut EP — what one might’ve called a “demo” in eras past — The Magic Isn’t Real. The stylistic elephant in the room is RVA’s own Windhand, but Sibyl take a more psychedelic path to heavy oblivion, and with four tracks in the range of four to five minutes, The Magic Isn’t Real comes across as well focused in its songwriting despite the ethereal touches in the actual sound. Cool vibe, and as they work some noisy shuffle into “Spinning Webs,” they show themselves as being less restricted than otherwise might be the case if they were purely committed to doomed drudgery. I’ll give bonus points as well for naming the penultimate track “Sexpionage,” just on principle, but it’s in stretches like the subdued creeper opening of “Blood Moon” and the engrossing, still-somehow-moving wash of “Pendulums” that Sibyl really showcase their intention.

Sibyl on Thee Facebooks

Sibyl on Bandcamp

 

Golden Legacy, Golden Legacy II

golden legacy golden legacy ii

London heavy noise duo Golden Legacy offer five tracks and 23 minutes of anti-genre, adrenaline rock to follow-up their 2016 self-titled EP. There’s a strong undercurrent of modern punk and indie to their sound, which is what gets them the “anti-genre” consideration, but it’s the energy of their delivery carrying them one way or the other as they drive through the harsh snare of “Cut and Crash” following the chunkier tone of opener “Moon” and just before centerpiece “Dirty Mouth” finds its way into grunge-style howling beastliness. Comprised of drummer/vocalist Lorena Cachito and guitarist Yanni Georgiou, the two-piece find winning momentum in “Salvation,” while closer “Thirsty” opens with a mellow drum progression gradually joined by the guitar and builds into more progressive and dramatic movement, casting off some of the rawness of the songs before it in favor of more complex fare. It still manages to soar at the end, though, and that seems to be what counts. They might be rawer now than they’ll eventually turn out, but that suits most of what they’re doing in adding to the emotionality on display in Cachito‘s vocals.

Golden Legacy on Thee Facebooks

Golden Legacy on Bandcamp

 

Saint Karloff & Devil’s Witches, Coven of the Ultra-Riff

saint karloff devils witches coven of the ultra-riff

Alright, look. I don’t even think I have the full thing, but whatever. Saint Karloff and Devil’s Witches came together to release the Coven of the Ultra-Riff split — it can be so hard to find the right coven for your family; have you considered the Ultra-Riff? — and they each play an original track and then they cover each other’s songs and then Saint Karloff introduce the progression of “Supervixen (Electric Return)” and Devil’s Witches take up the mantle and run with it on “Supervixen (Acoustic Return),” so yeah, it’s pretty awesome and kind of all over the place but whatever. Get your head around it and get on board with whatever version you can grab. Vinyl came out through Majestic Mountain Records and tapes were through Stoner Witch Records and I’m fairly certain it’s all sold out already and probably stupid expensive on Discogs, but do what you need to do, because this is what Sabbath worship in the year 2019 is supposed to sound like. It’s bombed out of its gourd and has long since dropped out of life. It’s exactly where and what it wants to be.

Saint Karloff on Thee Facebooks

Devil’s Witches on Thee Facebooks

Majestic Mountain Records BigCartel store

Stoner Witch Records BigCartel store

 

Burden Limbs, There is No Escape

burden limbs there is no escape

I’m not going to pretend to have the grounding in post-hardcore to toss off the influences under which Burden Limbs are working, but to listen to the blast of noise in “How Many Times Must I Reset” and the near-industrial wash of noise they conjure in the subsequent “Hypochondriac,” it’s clear they’re working under one influence anyway. There is No Escape (released through Glasshouse Records) runs 24 minutes and carries four songs, but in that time the band around founding figurehead and guitarist/vocalist Chad Murray manage to challenge themselves and the listener alike to keep up with their turns and emotional resonance. Murray is joined by two bassists, another guitarist, keyboards/synth and drums, so yes, there’s something of a busy feel to it, but even echoing cavernous as they are, the vocals seem to draw the songs together around a central presence and add a human core to the proceedings that only makes them all the more affecting as would seem to be the intent.

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Glasshouse Records on Bandcamp

 

El Supremo, Clarity Through Distortion

El Supremo Clarity Through Distortion

Sometimes these things take a while, but El Supremo was formed by now-ex-Egypt bassist Chad Heille has a solo-project and released a self-titled demo in 2008, to which Clarity Through Distortion is the follow-up full-length. Now joined by guitarist Neil Stein (also ex-Egypt, and who also played some on the demo) and organist Chris Gould as well as bassist Cam Dewald who came aboard after the album’s completion, the instrumentalist full-band incarnation of El Supremo waste no time diving into dead-on tonal and riffy righteousness, taking classic heavy cues and running with them in modern production richness, sounding clear but natural as a jam like “Moanin’ & Groanin'” turns into a shuffler as it moves into its second half, or the mellow sway of the 14-minute “Supercell” at last runs head-on into the lumbering motion that will carry it through to the end. I don’t know how much clarity — at least of the existential sort I think they mean in the title — they might’ve found by the time the bluesy “Lotus Throne” rolls over into the shreddy “Outro” that caps, but if the method is distortion, they’ve certainly got that part down.

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El Supremo on Bandcamp

 

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