The Riven Premiere “Far Beyond” Lyric Video; Self-Titled Debut out March 1

Posted in Bootleg Theater on February 21st, 2019 by JJ Koczan

the riven

The Riven call Stockholm, Sweden, their home base, but with members hailing from Spain and the UK, they’re just as easily tagged as a multinational conglomerate. There’s no clash, however, when it comes to bringing their material to life. To wit, the four-piece issue their The Sign Records-backed self-titled debut album March 1, and with it proffer nine songs and 40 minutes of crisply executed traditionalist heavy rock and roll. They’re not so much dug into the vintage sound, but that influence is there for sure in songs like the single “Far Beyond,” for which you can see the lyric video premiering below, as well as the bluesy “Shadow Man,” the subdued and soulful “I Remember” and the presumed side A finale “Finnish Woods,” which quietly meanders in its beginning and opens to a slow-rolling chorus in its first half only to unveil a NWOBHM gallop after its midpoint that complements and offsets the boogie that surrounds. On The Riven, as on their 2017 debut EP, Blackbird (discussed here), there’s a sense of the classic as a foundation to work from, rather than a modus to be so directly emulated. That mindset only helps The Riven as they make their debut.

Comprised of vocalist Charlotta Ekebergh, guitarist Arnau Diaz, bassist Max Ternebring and The Riven The Rivendrummer Olof Axegärd, the band recorded in Madrid and very clearly worked to capture a naturalist spirit in so doing. As straight-ahead shufflers like the Thin Lizzy-style opener “The Serpent,” the dug-in groover “Edge of Time” and the penultimate “Leap of Faith” hit all their marks, it’s the organic style that unites them with longer cuts like “I Remember” and the jammy closer “Sweet Child.” As it should be for classic-style heavy rock, the rhythm section proves crucial to the overarching effectiveness of the band, with Ternebring‘s tone and Axegärd‘s snare work both serving as standout performances along with Ekebergh‘s dynamic vocals and Diaz‘s guitar leading the way for all to follow. The hook of “Far Beyond” is a highlight, but it’s far from the only one the record has on offer, and whether it’s “Shadow Man” or the momentum-building side B launch in “Fortune Teller,” The Riven draw from the strengths of its component members even as they unite for the purpose of memorable songwriting.

Part of the work The Riven does as an album is set the stage for the band The Riven will become, even as it signals their arrival at this starting point. They won’t get to put out another first record, and they make the most of the opportunity before them. These songs feel worked through and honed for maximum effect, and while the Swedish and wider European heavy underground has seen a surge of similarly-minded blues-influenced ’70s-rock aficionados, The Riven‘s collective ability to drop the rush of “Fortune Teller” right into the moody sway of “I Remember” and still carry the listener with them speaks to their confidence as songwriters as well as the justification for that confidence in the output itself. Are they done growing? Probably not, but The Riven makes an encouraging place to start from not the least because it demonstrates how clear the band are in their purpose. They’re schooled in what they want to do and how they want to do it. What they’ll do next is a question, of course, for some later time. There’s plenty of rock and roll here to last until then.

The Riven‘s The Riven is out March 1 on The Sign Records. PR wire info follows the “Far Beyond” lyric video here.

Please enjoy:

The Riven, “Far Beyond” lyric video premiere

Far Beyond is taken from The Riven’s debut album released by The Sign Records.

In 2018, The Riven went to Madrid, not to spend time under the Spanish sun but rather curled up in the cellar studio at Holy Cuervo Studios. In ten days they powered through the record’s nine songs, producing an album that in the words of the drummer Olof Axegärd, “is loud, is rock, is soul, and prog. It has it all!” The Riven will be releasing their highly anticipated first full length with The Sign Records in the spring of 2019. Produced by Ola Ersfjord (Lucifer, Primordial, Dead Lord) the album manages to merge the diverse influences of its four members into a solid unit of Rock and Roll that will leave no one oblivious.

The Riven is:
Charlotta Ekebergh – Vocals
Arnau Diaz – Guitar
Max Ternebring – Bass Guitar
Olof Axegärd – Drums

The Riven on Thee Facebooks

The Riven on Bandcamp

The Sign Records on Thee Facebooks

The Sign Records website

The Sign Records at Freighttrain.se

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Skraeckoedlan Announce New Bassist; Touring with Vokonis

Posted in Whathaveyou on February 18th, 2019 by JJ Koczan

skraeckoedlan

I happen to know for a fact that Skraeckoedlan vocalist/guitarist Robert Lamu has the winged deer from the cover of Dozer‘s Through the Eyes of Heathens tattooed on his arm, so it’s easy to imagine he’s good and stoked to share the stage with Skraeckoedlan‘s usually-not-all-that-active countrymen forebears. That’s badass in itself, but word that Skraeckoedlan will share the stage this Spring with fellow badass Swedes Vokonis, will play Desertfest London 2019 and are welcoming a new bassist even as they release their third album, Eorþe (review here), on Fuzzorama only broaden the scope of awesomeness surrounding them at this point. The moral of the story? It’s a good week to be in Skraeckoedlan.

The following is culled from social media and the PR wire:

skraeckoedlan tour

Swedish fuzz-fictioneers SKRAECKOEDLAN announce Desertfest London appearance and Spring Tour with Vokonis

People of Earth!

We are super excited to welcome our new band member and bass player extraordinaire. Skraeckoedlan is once again a 4 piece.

Please give Erik Berggren the warmest of welcomes.

Skraeckoedlan live:
02.23 Malmö SE Plan B (Stad I Mörker)*
03.16 Göteborg SE Truckstop Alaska*
03.23 Köpenhamn DK Beta*
04.20 Borlänge SE Broken Dreams (w/ Dozer)
05.03 London UK Desertfest
05.17 Umeå SE Droskan (Make it Sound)*
05.18 Vilhelmina SE Folkets Hus*
06.01 Sundsvall Aveny (Club Deströyer)
* with Vokonis

Heading into 2019 with the help of Fuzzorama Records, Skraeckoedlan steer a course to Eorþe, their first album in over three years and undoubtedly their most progressive. With the big metal riffs of new single ‘Kung Mammut’ riding shotgun alongside the more introspective and explorative moments of songs like ‘Mammutkungens Barn’ and ‘Angra Mainyu’, the trio have cut a definitive and spellbinding record of light and dark. In addition to the CD and standard vinyl editions, Eorþe will also come in a limited-edition box set which sees the album split across two gatefold vinyl records; Earth: Above and Earth: Below. The set will come packed with pieces of merchandise that revolve around the story and feature alternative artwork.

Skraeckoedlan:
Robert Lamu – Vocals/Guitar
Henrik Grüttner – Guitar
Erik Berggren – Bass
Martin Larsson – Drums

http://www.skraeckoedlan.com/
http://instagram.com/skraeckoedlan
https://www.facebook.com/SKRAECKOEDLAN/
http://twitter.com/skraeckoedlan
http://www.fuzzoramarecords.com/
https://www.facebook.com/Fuzzorama
https://twitter.com/fuzzorecords

Skraeckoedlan, “Creature of Doggerland”

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Dun Ringill Premiere “The Door” Video; Welcome out March 1

Posted in Whathaveyou on February 12th, 2019 by JJ Koczan

dun ringill

Just when you think you might have Dun Ringill figured out, that’s when the flute kicks in. The Gothenburg-based doom rock six-piece — three guitars! — make their debut March 1 with the suitably-enough titled Welcome, and it presents a realization of progressive doom that’s anti-genre enough to earn a Cathedral comparison. Metal, and not. Doom, and not. Prog, and not. And so on. The nine-minute opener and longest track (immediate points), “Welcome to the Fun Fair Horror Time Machine” sets a pretty broad context between its clean and growled vocals, copious riffing and title-line hook, and while they don’t quite hit that same level of weird-for-weird’s-sake again, the rest of the album remains informed by the moves that song makes. And that is not without purse. They’re not short on pedigree, and at no point does the Argonauta Records release feel like they’re trying to reach beyond their intentions. That is, that weirdness at the outset is on purpose. You’re supposed to be thrown off. That’s the idea. It’s why you put the longest track first, and here, it works.

Not that the rest of what follows dun ringill welcomeis entirely straightforward, either. Following the Mellotron-laced rocker “Black Eyed Kids,” third cut “Open Your Eyes (And See the Happiness and Truth)” once more ups the theatrics over a classic metal riff that shifts in its middle section to a stretch of acoustic strumming then bursts back to life like nothing ever happened, and “The Door” turns from rocking swing to a doomed march and back again, all the while vocalist Thomas Eriksson repeats “The door! The door! The door! The door!” like a madman. Eriksson‘s dramatic approach plays a large role in the personality of the album — he indeed is the one welcoming you to the fun fair horror time machine at the outset — but that’s not to downplay the contributions of guitarists Jens Florén, Tommy Stegemann and Patric Grammann, bassist Patrik Andersson Winberg and drummer Hans Lilja, who are able not only to provide a backdrop for the stagecraft on display even in the recording, but to build a world around it in which it can take place.

“Snow of Ashes” touches on psychedelia in its second half, while closer “The Demon Within” turns from an opening guest vocal from Matilda Winberg to a culminating Hammond organ appearance by Per Wiberg of Candlemass, Opeth, etc. It’s not quite as far out as the piano and flute on the opener, but it makes a substantial bookend just the same, and Eriksson layers harmonies to rise to the occasion in his soaring early verses. Of course a Hammond lends a classic feel inherently, but again, even as Dun Ringill set up their last march, they do so with a resonant foundation in metal, not quite the NWOBHM, but not quite not. Add that to the list above of stylistic elements touched on by Welcome even as the album refuses to commit to any single style and thereby casts its identity in that refusal.

First outing? Doesn’t seem like it’ll be their last. You can check out the premiere of the video for “The Door” below, and preorders for Welcome are up now from Argonauta.

Enjoy:

Dun Ringill, “The Door” official video premiere

Of what started as a dark and doomy project with Nordic folk influences, when some of the best musicians the Gothenburg scene has to offer came together for a jam in 2017, should become something bigger: Welcome DUN RINGILL, your next favorite new Doom Rock band featuring members of The Order Of Israfel, Doomdogs, Intoxicate, ex Grotesque and many more! Set for a release on March 1st 2019 with Argonauta Records, today DUN RINGILL have unveiled the hotly anticipated details about their first and full-length debut album titled ‘Welcome’!

Recorded with mastermind sound wizard Julien Fabré and co-produced together with the band, the album artwork has been created by Niklas Sundin (Dark Tranquility). DUN RINGILL’s debut ‘Welcome’ will also feature songs with guest musicians such as Per Wiberg of Candlemass, Kamchatka and formerly Opeth.

The ‘Welcome’ track list will read as follows:
1. Welcome To The Fun Fair Horror Time Machine (feat. Emil Rolof on Piano + Björn Johansson on Flute)
2. Black Eyed Kids (feat. Emil Rolof on Mellotron)
3. Open Your Eyes (And See The Happiness And Truth)
4. The Door
5. Snow Of Ashes
6. The Demon Within (feat. Per Wiberg on Hammond + Matilda Winberg on Intro Vocals)

Coming in CD, LP and Digital Download formats, ‘Welcome’ by DUN RINGILL is available to pre-order at: www.argonautarecords.com

DUN RINGILL live:
08.03.2019 SWE – Helsingborg / Rockbåten
04.05.2019 SWE – Gothenburg / Sticky Fingers

DUN RINGILL is:
Thomas Eriksson – Vocals
Hans Lilja – Drums
Patrik Andersson Winberg – Bass
Jens Florén – Guitar
Tommy Stegemann – Guitar
Patric Grammann – Guitar

Dun Ringill on Thee Facebooks

Argonauta Records website

Argonauta Records on Thee Facebooks

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The Other Sun Premiere “Stalking the Stalker” Video; Debut EP Available Now

Posted in Bootleg Theater on February 11th, 2019 by JJ Koczan

the other sun logo

Pressed to tape in an edition of 150 copies through Lapis Niger Productions and released today, Horizon Between the Eyes is the debut EP from Swedish outfit The Other Sun. And though its members might be recognizable from bands like Nuclear Spells and Saturnalia Temple, their formative collection speaks to a different kind of vibe, blending modern cultistry with a surf rock sound that gives an impression as much fresh as it is familiar. Sleek-sounding guitar and semi-spoken vocals commune with dark atmospheres to give a brooding and urbane feel to what’s presented nonetheless with an intricacy of rhythm and craft. Thanks in no small part to their echoing guitar tones, “Fifth Sun,” “Stalking the Stalker” and “Horizon Between the Eyes” carry a significant spaciousness but there’s an early-rock influence to them as well, as shown in structures used and periodically cast aside.

the other sun horizon between the eyesFrom “Fifth Sun” onward, there’s a sense of restraint one can hear in the material that, to me at least, speaks to a metallic root on the part of project-founder Fredrik Eytzinger. The Other Sun is not metal — willfully, directly not — but as Eytzinger and co-conspirator Tommie Eriksson play toward different levels of tension, a bit of holding back an explosive impulse can be heard. Instead of shooting up, though, “Fifth Sun” spreads out, and that method works in kind of diffuse the finale title-track. Somewhat shorter and more direct in its swing, “Stalking the Stalker” doesn’t seem to want its tension shunted, and while capping off its surf vibe in wisps of floating guitar, the distorted vocals still maintain a particular threat of violence that lends weight as well to the song’s title.

The plan as I understand it from the info below is for The Other Sun to go back and create a full-length from the foundation laid with Horizon Between the Eyes. After that, the future will be what it is, of course, but the particular stylistic niche into which Eytzinger and Eriksson have inserted themselves is yet-uncharted, and the EP only piques interest as far as curiosity to know what they might be able to do with a complete album’s reach. For now, the lesson seems to be that darkness can and will lurk just about anywhere.

You can see the premiere of the “Stalking the Stalker” video below, and stream the full EP at the bottom of this post.

Please enjoy:

The Other Sun, “Stalking the Stalker” official video premiere

Second track from debut EP ‘Horizon Between the Eyes’ by The Other Sun. Released by Lapis Niger Productions in 2019.

Horizon Between the Eyes is the debut release from Swedish band The Other Sun formed by guitarist/singer Fredrik Eytzinger (Nuclear Spells, ex-Masugn) known as writer of Solomonic Magical Arts (Three Hands Press).

A three track EP is released on cassette and in digital format through Tommie Eriksson’s (Saturnalia Temple, Eldhamn etc) Lapis Niger Productions. Tommie is also drummer and guitarist in The Other Sun. Mastered by Esoteric founder Greg Chandler at Priory Recording Studios. The artwork, a painting called Yak’Ab Balam was made by fine artist Davis Herrerías.

“We wanted a sound that embodied both the curious spirit of the 50’s and captured the feeling of walking through an endless desert towards a setting sun at the horizon. Having lived in Mexico, I guess I have been very inspired by the vibes and rhythms of Latin America, and while I have my roots in Sweden it has been very interesting to explore the mystical relationship between these two enchanted landscapes,” Fredrik says and adds that the outpouring is a result of a continuous spiritual exploration of himself, the world and the otherness.

“Otherness is everything that has not yet been defined. It can be basically anything, but deals essentially with the exploration of uncharted territory, either related to your shadow, your own notion about reality, or it could be something completely objective. That’s why thresholds, borders and passages are generally interesting to explore both musically and spiritually.”

Currently working on a full-length album, The Other Sun is hoping to dive even further into uncharted territory and bring back yet another psychedelic, uncanny release.

The Other Sun, Horizon Between the Eyes (2019)

The Other Sun on Thee Facebooks

The Other Sun on Bandcamp

Lapis Niger Productions on Thee Facebooks

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Deville Announce March European Tour

Posted in Whathaveyou on February 7th, 2019 by JJ Koczan

deville

Swedish heavy rockers Deville have a couple dates this month in their native land; a weekender in Trollhättan and Motala in the Southern part of the country, and that will likely be the warmup for their tour next month. They go supporting last year’s raucous Pigs with Gods (review here) and in addition to this run, they will be in Spain this coming October to take part in the Tabernas fest alongside Karma to BurnCowboys and AliensRotor and more than a fistful of others. I don’t know if that means they’ll be touring again in the Fall or if that’s a one-off, but Deville are no strangers to hitting the road either way, so it’s entirely possible it’s a couple weeks here and a couple weeks there. Could be summer plans too. They like to keep busy.

Their video below for “Cut it Loose” was premiered here with the review linked above, but if you haven’t checked it out, you’d only be doing your day a favor. The album came out through Fuzzorama Records.

From the PR wire:

DEVILLE – European tour

We are proud to announce european headline tour in March across seven countries supporting the new album “Pigs with Gods”.

Deville live:
Feb 22nd @ Backstage Bar, Trollhättan (SWE)
Feb 23rd @ Bomber Bar, Motala (SWE)
March 8th @ Peter Weiss Haus, Rostock (DE)
March 9th @ Bastard Club, Osnabruck (DE)
March 10th @ Zauberberg, Passau (DE)
March 11th @ FUGA, Bratislava (SV)
March 12th @ Rockhaus, Salzburg (AU)
March 14th @ Rock n´Eat, Lyon (FR)
March 15th @ KUFA, Lyss (CH)
March 16th @ Café Albatross, Pisa (IT)
March 17th @ Scumm, Pescara (IT)
March 19th @ Stadtwerkstatt, Linz (AU)
March 20th @ The Tube, Dusseldorf (DE)
March 21st @ Sonic Ball Room, Cologne (DE)
March 22nd @ Innocent, Hengelo (NL)
March 23rd @ De Engel, Den Helder (NL)
April 13th @ Plan B, Tranås (SWE)

Deville lineup:
Andreas Bengtsson: guitar/vocals
Andreas Wulkan: guitar
Martin Nobel: bass
Martin Fässberg: drums

http://deville.nu/
https://www.facebook.com/devilleband
http://www.fuzzoramarecords.com/
https://www.facebook.com/Fuzzorama
https://twitter.com/fuzzorecords

Deville, ‘Cut it Loose’ official video

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Firebreather Sign to RidingEasy Records; Touring UK with Conan

Posted in Whathaveyou on January 21st, 2019 by JJ Koczan

firebreather

This week, Swedish heavy thrashers Firebreather will take to the UK to tour on a run co-presented by The Obelisk — hey, that’s this site! — alongside the ever-crushing Conan. Fitting company for Firebreather, who released their self-titled debut (review here) in 2017 through Suicide Records, to keep, and as they go, they’ll be celebrating as well their newly-announced signing to RidingEasy for the follow-up to that first album. Of course, RidingEasy served as home to fellow Goteborgers Monolord as they made their breakthrough across three records, so one can’t help but wonder if that means a US incursion is imminent for Firebreather, who hit the road a year ago in Scandinavia alongside Monolord and toured Canada this past Fall with Zaum. Their ducks would seem to be finding a row, is what I’m saying, and if that’s indeed the direction they’re headed as the move toward and through the cycle of their second album, don’t be surprised if and when you start seeing their name more often.

The dates for the UK shows this week are below, along with the signing announcement from the PR wire. Congrats to the band:

conan firebreather tour

FIREBREATHER sign to RidingEasy Records, announce tour with Conan

Gothenburg, Sweden trio Firebreather have signed to L.A. purveyors of heavy, RidingEasy Records for worldwide release of future recordings. The band also launch a series of dates supporting Conan next week. Please see dates below.

There’s no escaping the fact that Sweden is an incomparable breeding ground for some of the heaviest and most crushing metal bands. One such band is Gothenburg trio Firebreather, who’ve released their self-titled debut album on Suicide Records, October 13th, 2017.

Relatively new to the fold having formed in the spring of 2016 from the ashes of underground doom heavyweights Galvano, Firebreather is a devastatingly weighty statement of intent. Tooth shattering riffs from guitarist/vocalist Mattias Nööjd and crunching rhythms via bassist Kyle Pitcher and drummer Axel Wittbeck, Firebreather are a jaw-breaking triptych of sludge and doom rock.

FIREBREATHER LIVE:
01/24 Hull, UK @ Gorilla
01/25 Brighton, UK @ Green Door
01/26 Nottingham, UK @ Stuck On a Name Studio – SOLD OUT
01/27 London, UK @ The Black Heart
01/28 Sheffield, UK @ Record Junkie

Line-up
Mattias Nööjd – Guitar & Vocals
Axel Wittbeck – Drums
Kyle Pitcher – Bass

https://www.facebook.com/firebreathergbg/
https://www.instagram.com/firebreathergbg/
https://firebreatherdoom.bandcamp.com/
ridingeasyrecs.com

Firebreather, Firebreather (2017)

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Friday Full-Length: Dozer, Through the Eyes of Heathens

Posted in Bootleg Theater on January 18th, 2019 by JJ Koczan

Part of the magic of listening to Dozer is being able to say, no matter which of their five albums you put on, that, yes, this was the moment when they came into their own. Even going back to their 2000 debut, In the Tail of a Comet (discussed here), as their sound was so highly influenced by the desert rock coming out of California, they inevitably brought their own spin to those established elements. 2005’s Through the Eyes of Heathens was their penultimate album ahead of 2008’s Beyond Colossal (discussed here), and it was their first release through Small Stone Records in the US, which became their home after moving from Man’s Ruin Records to their own Molten Universe imprint. They were, of course, an absolute monster of a band by then, and given the swath of early and later splits and singles they released and the touring they did, it’s easy to forget that only five years separate their first and fourth long-players. But that momentum can be heard as well across the 10 songs on Through the Eyes of Heathens, and it sounds utterly unstoppable.

From the very start of “Drawing Dead” through the memorable lead line in the slower-paced closer “Big Sky Theory,” Dozer assembled a work of impeccable songwriting and deep-rooted character. In the arc of their career, every record was another step forward, and just as 2001’s Madre de Dios built on the debut and 2003’s Call it Conspiracy (discussed here) built on that, so too did Through the Eyes of Heathens pick up from where its predecessor left off. Its sound was still rooted in a heavy rock feel, but Dozer were able to translate that into something more aggressive when they wanted — their sound had bite as well as lumber, and while a cut like “Born a Legend” could be traced back to their desert-minded beginnings in its basic structure, by the time it was finally executed, it was something else entirely. Working with the core trio of guitarist/vocalist Fredrik Nordin, guitarist Tommi Holappa (see also: Greenleaf), bassist Johan Rockner (now of Besvärjelsen), the band had parted with drummer Erik Bäckwall (also now in Besvärjelsen) after the third LP, and they brought in Karl Daniel Lidén to fill in behind the kit.

No minor change. Lidén had played in Greenleaf with Holappa as well as in Demon Cleaner, and was already by then well into honing his craft as a producer/engineer. On drums for Through the Eyes of Heathens, he added to the propulsion of songs like “From Fire Fell” and the underlying intensity of “The Roof, the River, the Revolver,” while holding together the airy groove in the volume-surge chorus of “Days of Future Past.dozer through the eyes of heathens” His approach to the riffs was to meet them head on, such that every turn of “Blood Undone” seems punctuated and “Man of Fire” seems to run at a clip trying to convey putting itself out. His work, alongside Holappa‘s leads and riff construction, Nordin‘s ultra-distinctive and ever-more-confident vocals, and Rockner‘s classic you-guys-just-go-ahead-and-have-fun-if-you-need-me-I’ll-be-here-being-the-foundation-of-these-songs style of bass, helped bring the pointed energy of Through the Eyes of Heathens to live, such that it wasn’t just heavy, or grooving, or loud, or whatever else. It was vibrant. On a sheer delivery level, Dozer evoked a sense of shove that spoke to the urgency of its own creation. Putting it on was like having Arnold Schwarzenegger hold out his robot hand and say, “Come with me if you want to live.”

And while, yes, definitely some of Through the Eyes of Heathens‘ highlight moments were found in its intense push, there was never a lack of atmosphere. Sure, flourish of piano, organ, percussion, etc., helped with that, but most of it was owed to the breadth of the guitar tones and to Nordin‘s ease of melody. His shouts in “Born a Legend,” and the standalone lines in “Until Man Exists No More” — which almost made the guest vocal spot on that track from Mastodon‘s Troy Sanders feel superfluous — made for an essential presence throughout, and as much reach as there was in the songs, Nordin‘s performance was one more standout factor tying the material together. One could say the same of Holappa‘s work on guitar. I already said it about Rockner on bass, and the same applied to Lidén‘s drums. It was everything in these songs. There was no “miss” anywhere on the album.

Which is what it came down to. It was the songs. There was a memorable line, or a riff, or just something about the way it was played, to go with every single track on Through the Eyes of Heathens. It’s a 44-minute record, so not short — though the standard has gotten shorter in intervening years with the vinyl resurgence and so on — but a cut like “Omega Glory” seemed to move from hook to hook to hook, and even in the eight-minute stretch of “Big Sky Theory” at the end or in the quieter verses of “Days of Future Past,” there was ultimately nothing spare about it.

There are arguments to be made for each of Dozer‘s full-lengths as being their best work. Through the Eyes of Heathens, for me at least, seems to summarize much of what made them so rich and hard-hitting as well as the individualized sensibility of their material. I won’t take away from anything they did before or after — their last offering, 2013’s Vultures (review here), was the compiled pre-production demos for this album — but I still find myself going back to Through the Eyes of Heathens not infrequently and it feels each time like not only does it still have something new to offer, that it’s not just nostalgia, but also that it stands up to the time since it first came out with an ease that makes almost a decade and a half seem like nothing at all. Maybe that is nostalgia in itself. Fine, and well earned. True front-to-back releases are rare. They don’t happen every year, contrary to what hyperbole and promospeak tell you. Through the Eyes of Heathens is a blueprint for how to make an album last longer than its runtime.

As always, I hope you enjoy.

I went last night and saw Yawning Man and Freedom Hawk in Brooklyn. First club show in a while. I get too anxious these days in crowds. Fests I can kind of get away with it, because usually I’m going back and forth from one thing to the next, taking pictures, writing notes, whatever it is, but just standing around at a gig waiting for a band to go on, I feel like I’m losing my mind. It was a good show though, even though The Drunkest Guy in the Room kind of accused me of being a CIA agent. I guess because I looked stiff and was standing in the back? I don’t know. I was just glad he didn’t stab me in the throat with a piece of the glass he subsequently broke. New Yorkers, such as there are any, delude themselves in thinking that a kind of charm.

The baby was up this morning by the time I was done writing about Dozer. 5:30 or thereabouts. Brutal. I got in a little after midnight from the show, which ended a bit before 11, and was up at 4. My alarm had been set for 6. Just up. So it goes. Got some writing done, grabbed the baby, read books — One Fish Two Fish, Hop on Pop, and whatnot — and had breakfast. Gave the baby a bath and put him down for a nap, which The Patient Mrs. rightly decided also to take.

I meanwhile did the voice tracks for Sunday’s episode of ‘The Obelisk Show’ on Gimme Radio, answered some email to the best of my limited ability, and settled in for this. We’ll see if I can finish by the time The Pecan awakes.

Seemed silly to post about it, but this week I put up the 11,000th post on this site. Not bad. They’re not all gold, but you know, it’s a pretty significant number anyway.

So Monday will be the Yawning Man/Freedom Hawk live review. Here’s what else I’ve got in the notes. There’s plenty:

MON 01/21 Yawning Man live review; Hollow Leg album stream.
TUE 01/22 The Sabbathian album stream.
WED 01/23 9Doorsopen track premiere; Benthic Realm video premiere.
THU 01/24 Thermic Boogie track premiere; Sundrifter video.
FRI 01/25 Swallow the Sun review.

Subject to change something something blah blah.

It’s a lot of cool stuff, and it means I won’t just be spending this weekend filing my secret undercover CIA report about the vape-quotient at the Yawning Man show and instead will have plenty of writing to keep me busy. Seriously, what the hell would the CIA be doing at the Vitus Bar? I would love to know what the reason would be. Why would they be there? What’s the operation? Testing the effects of the sustained awesomeness of Mario Lalli’s bass-playing on the fragile human psyche?

Again, I was glad to not be stabbed.

Or slashed.

Alright, I’m gonna punch out so I can go read reviews of the first episode of Star Trek: Discovery season two before I actually watch it so I can sound smart when I make “observations” about canon connections to The Patient Mrs. Don’t tell her.

Have a great and safe weekend. Forum, radio, merch.

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Review & Track Premiere: Skraeckoedlan, Eorþe

Posted in Reviews on January 11th, 2019 by JJ Koczan

skraeckoedlan earth

[Click play above to stream the premiere of Skraeckoedlan’s translated-lyric video for “Creature of Doggerland.” Their new album, Eorþe, is out Feb. 15 on Fuzzorama Records. Preorders are here.]

I generally assume that if I’m writing about something, you already know about it because you’re cooler than I am, because, frankly, that’s how it usually works. But if you haven’t heard of Skraeckoedlan — especially if you don’t live in Sweden — there’s a decent chance it’s because they sing in Swedish. The fuzz rockers have parted with bassist Tim Ångström since their 2015’s Sagor (review here) with Robert Lamu moving from guitar to bass in addition to vocals, while Henrik Grüttner handles the lone guitarist role as well as more vocals and Martin Larsson remains on drums. One might think the band’s third album and first for Fuzzorama Records, Eorþe, would be more stripped down as a result, but the truth is it’s the most progressive record they’ve made in the decade they’ve been together. Their 2011 debut, Äppelträdet (review here) — also recently reissued by The Sign Records from the original release on Transubstans — blended fuzz-drenched tonality with a post-Mastodon style of metal, but they’ve only grown more since then, and as they align with Fuzzorama, they continue an association with sadly-defunct countrymen Truckfighters that extends all the way back to the recording of their first album.

Indeed, one might look at Eorþe as inheriting the mantle of fuzzprog that the last couple Truckfighters albums were working toward, running a fluid nine songs and 54 minutes with a greater depth of melody and broader sonic reach than they’ve ever shown. Songs like “Mammutkungens Barn,” the earlier highlight “Kung Mammut,” the 10-minute “Elfenbenssalarna” and the acoustic closer “Peggys Sång” demonstrate the range of their composition, while even a song like the under-four-minute “Tentakler & Betar” finds a way to hit new ground with vocal harmonies and a pointedly forward thrust. Whether it’s an extended piece like “Creature of Doggerland” (note the English title), or the opener “Guldåldern” or the drum-led beginning of “Angelica,” Eorþe wants nothing for heft either in tone or construction — indeed, tone has been a strength of Skraeckoedlan all along and very much remains one — but even as they hold onto their stylistic weight, they turn into a more nuanced and individualized unit.

When it comes right down to it, Eorþe is Skraeckoedlan reestablishing themselves after a change in their dynamic. The shift from two guitarists to one, even covered in the studio by layering guitar tracks and whatever else, is not a minor one. It affects songwriting as well as how the material is played. And Skraeckoedlan pull that off, no question. For a band who’ve been around for 10 years and have experience recording and touring, that’s not a huge surprise. They should know what they want to sound like — at least to some basic degree — and be able to make that happen. Fine. Where Eorþe really succeeds though is in not only finding Skraeckoedlan make this claim on who they are as a band, but in moving their sound forward from where it was three years ago. Their work is richly textured and in listening to the melody in the chorus of “Mammutkungens Barn,” one can hear their heritage in Scandinavian metal coming through in more than just the language they’re using, but like the grunge-style opening riff of that song — reminds of something from the early-mid ’90s; is it Sonic Youth? — they bring each of their influences into a context that is their own.

They did the same on Äppelträdet in imagining a fuzz-metal stomp in the first place, but with just about every move they make on Eorþe, they do so with a greater scope and identity born of the maturity of their composition. As a result, Eorþe isn’t just Skraeckoedlan‘s finest hour, but a way forward for them in this new incarnation that builds on what they’ve done before. In the tension of “Guldåldern” or the atmosphere of the penultimate instrumental “Angra Mainyu,” their ability to craft a flow and mood across disparate elements brought into a single presentation is engrossing, and the confidence with which they execute the material is what allows them to carry the audience along every step of the way. LamuGrüttner and Larsson are in absolute control of their sound in these tracks, and the potential that always seemed to be residing in their sound has begun to bear fruit accordingly.

Skraeckoedlan have generally kept to a unifying science-fiction thematic over their years, writing about monsters and in this case specifically, mammoths and beasts that may or may not have tentacles and tusks, etc., but whether or not a given listener speaks Swedish, there’s no mistaking the intent of their craft. They are a band who have worked diligently to hone their approach, and while Eorþe is dense, and not a minor undertaking at 54 minutes long, they remain accessible through their use of melody and rhythmic momentum. The fluidity of Eorþe is not to be understated, and while I don’t know if they’re telling a unified story in the lyrics, the underlying point is that the album itself is unified, and the trio are unified in their mission to grow as a band. They have. They do. One hopes they’ll continue to.

In the largesse-laden instrumental stretches of “Elfenbenssalarna,” Skraeckoedlan make clear not only how they’ve developed, but that their commitment is to keep evolving as a creative force, and that the impact that was so much of their initial appeal remains an important factor in what they do. Listening to Eorþe, one can only be glad that’s the case, but the truth is that Skraeckoedlan have expanded their aesthetic to the point that they’re about so much more than just the volume at which one hears them. The melody, the quick turns, the ambience of Eorþe have just as much of an effect on the overarching experience of the songs as the fuzzy tones, shouts and consistent sense of lumber. Whatever it is that has one hearing them, though, they’re a band who deserve more attention than they’ve gotten, and regardless of whatever language barrier there might be with a broader public, Skraeckoedlan break through it like one of the tentacled mammoths of their own creation.

Skraeckoedlan’s website

Skraeckoedlan on Instagram

Skraeckoedlan on Thee Facebooks

Skraeckoedlan on Twitter

Fuzzorama Records

Fuzzorama on Bandcamp

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