The Crotals Stream New Album Fuel! Flames! Blast! in its Entirety

Posted in audiObelisk on April 1st, 2015 by H.P. Taskmaster

the-crotals

Swiss trio The Crotals release their debut full-length, the energetically-titled Fuel! Flames! Blast!, on Friday through Tenacity Music. While maybe not as frenetic as the name they’ve given it might suggest, the 10-track record does boast a vital delivery in its push of aggressive sludge, the guitar of Guy Borel and baritone guitar of Maude Oswald crafting waves of nodding riffs punctuated by drummer Fabrice Marguerat‘s steady largesse of crash. Distinguished by Borel‘s throaty screams — more Tomas Lindberg than Mike Williams — the material across the album’s 39-minute span has a metallic underpinning to its noise rock that comes to the fore in songs like “Black Blizzard” or the ferocious but melodic opener “Lipstick on a Pig.”

That song starts with a sample — something about a snake — and later cut “Blast” seems to have one corresponding, but winding though Fuel! Flames! Blast! is, I’m not sure I’d say it’s working purely on a serpentine theme. Raging riffers like “Slave of Damnation” and the instrumental “Wrath” have some punk element, but there’s a post-metal vibe in the back-of-the-beat drumming on “Polar Thoughts”the-crotals-fuel-flames-blast and the slower “Shelter,” which precedes, so The Crotals offer a touch more variety than it might at first seem given the largely unipolar vocals, consuming and satisfyingly layered as those screams are. “Never Sorry” makes for an early highlight, emblematic of some of the album’s more chaotic moments, but the one-two punch of “Blast” and “Mississippi” seems to get to the heart of what Fuel! Flames! Blast! is all about, its pummel and nod presented with a sense of poise. “Mississippi” builds patiently to a furious drum-led apex in its second half, but even there, The Crotals are in full control, and for something so aggressive and destructive sounding, it’s classy. They’re kicking your ass in style.

Same could be said of closer “Desert Odyssey,” which draws Fuel! Flames! Blast! to its finish not with sandy soundscaping, but with rounded-low end thrust and a final wash of noise, a popping snare cutting through melodic guitar that pushes into the finale, topped by one last raw-throated shout for good measure. The Crotals have a pretty tight grasp as it is on what they want their sound to do — i.e. fill your lungs — but there’s also potential in these tracks for longer-term creative progress, and even more than the name of the album, that’s how The Crotals make their exclamation.

Please enjoy the full stream of Fuel! Flames! Blast! below (there was an error with Soundcloud, so I’m using one of my own players), followed by some more bio background, courtesy of Tenacity Music:

Here is the Music Player. You need to installl flash player to show this cool thing!

Featuring current and former members of Favez and Toboggan, Swiss sludge/stoner-rock trio The Crotals will release their debut full-length album entitled “Fuel! Flames! Blast!” on April 3 via Tenacity Music. Recorded at Rec Studio by Serge Morattel, “Fuel! Flames! Blast!” combines sludgy, stoner riffs with oppressive punk rhythms and serrated vocals distilling pure venom.

The Crotals on Thee Facebooks

Tenacity Music

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Quarterly Review: Motherslug, Worshipper, Ape Machine, Churchburn, OMSQ, Unhold, The Heave-Ho, Crypt, Oceanwake, Lunar Electric

Posted in Reviews on March 31st, 2015 by H.P. Taskmaster

quarterly review

When I finished yesterday’s reviews, I felt suitably beat, but as ever, there was a bit of catharsis to it too. Today’s pile takes us all the way to the other end of the world and back again to my (relative) back yard, and then loops around one more time for good measure with a few stops in between. While I’m coherent enough to form sentences, you’ll pardon me if I get right to it.

Quarterly Review #11-20:

Motherslug, Motherslug

motherslug motherslug

If the name Motherslug or the cover art look familiar, it’s because the Melbourne double-guitar five-piece initially released their self-titled EP late in 2012 (review here). This NoSlip Records release, however, takes the tracks from that, couples them with cuts from Motherslug’s subsequent outing, a 2014 two-tracker called Three Kings in Darkness, and remasters both for vinyl as one 39-minute full-length. There’s a bit of progression evident in the newer cuts, “Trippin’ on Evil” and “Three Kings in Darkness,” but the LP smartly arranges them so that each ends its respective side, led into by two songs from the self-titled, so the impression is more that Motherslug are expanding their riffy, Southern-style sludge rock sound – which is still true, it just initially happened over two releases – rather than they’re mixing and matching different recordings. By the time you get to either, however, Motherslug will have already bowled over you with rolling, thick sludge riffs that could just as easily have come from Maryland or Virginia as Australia.

Motherslug on Thee Facebooks

NoSlip Records

Worshipper, Black Corridor/High Above the Clouds

worshipper black corridor high above the clouds

Allston(e) newcomers Worshipper make an accomplished-sounding debut with Black Corridor/High above the Clouds, two self-released tracks that mark their first release as a band. The two-guitar four-piece balance classic metal riffs and doom tendencies with soaring-style clean vocals and fast-moving grooves, as much Candlemass as High on Fire. “Black Corridor” wows with its solo but more with its hook, guitarist John Brookhouse and bassist Bob Maloney sharing vocals while Alejandro Necochea adds guitar and Dave Jarvis draws it all together on drums, and “High above the Clouds” adds some choice early-Dio “Egypt”-ology to the mix. It’s a sense of grandeur that’s neither overblown nor mishandled by the winding track, which coupled with its predecessor demonstrates Worshipper’s firm grip on a style melding heavy rock and metal into a take of their own, and a progression beginning that seems to have a definite idea of where it wants to end up. One can’t help but look forward to finding out.

Worshipper on Thee Facebooks

Worshipper on Bandcamp

Ape Machine, Live at Freak Valley

ape machine live at freak valley

Hard to think of a band from Portland, Oregon, these days as being underrated, but Ape Machine fit the bill all the same. The four-piece of vocalist Caleb Heinze, guitarist Ian Watts, bassist Brian True and drummer Damon de la Paz played Germany’s Freak Valley festival as part of a 2013 European tour in support of the then-recently-released Mangled by the Machine (review here), their third album and Ripple Music debut, and accordingly, most of what shows up on the 48-minute Live at Freak Valley comes from that record, later album cuts like the swaying “Strange are the People” and stomp-slide-fueled “Ruling with Intent” leading to a run through Mangled by the Machine’s first five tracks, in order, to close the set. With a cover of Deep Purple’s “Black Night” (something they also did on their second record) in tow with others from their first two records, Live at Freak Valley makes a solid intro to a group more people should know.

Ape Machine on Thee Facebooks

Ripple Music on Bandcamp

Churchburn, The Awaiting Coffins

churchburn the awaiting coffins

A compilation that draws from Churchburn’s 2013 self-titled and two tracks recorded late in 2013/early in 2014 – opener “Embers of Human Ash” and the subsequent “V” – The Awaiting Coffins revels in its extremity of doom and no-light-shall-pass atmospherics. The duo of vocalist/multi-instrumentalist Dave Suzuki (ex-Vital Remains, among others) and Ray McCaffrey (ex-Sin of Angels) issue the CD/LP via Armageddon Shop, and while there are plenty of droning moments, acoustic interludes and stretches of depressive noise, the Rhode Island outfit is primarily brutal. Suzuki, joined on vocals for the first two cuts by guitarist Kevin Curley and bassist Mike Cardoso, leads a pummeling charge in “V” that’s more death than death-doom, but far be it from me to quibble. For “Come Forth the Swarm,” the Sin of Angels cover “Crown of Fallen Kings” and “Kneel upon Charred Remnants,” it’s just McCaffrey and Suzuki, and the dynamic is different and the recording rawer, but the bleak territory being explored has a similar root. Add on an unlisted cover of Celtic Frost’s “Return to the Eve,” and The Awaiting Coffins is even more of a sure thing.

Churchburn on Thee Facebooks

Armageddon Shop

OMSQ, Thrust/Parry

omsq thrust parry

Instrumental save for some samples, spoken proclamations and field recordings, Thrust/Parry was released by Belgian outfit OMSQ in limited numbers via Navalorama Records on CD to mark the occasion of a late-2014 UK tour, and it showcases an outfit of rare sonic adventurousness. Progressive, heavy structures unfold across three overarching movements in the 68-minute whole of the album, which at any moment makes shifts between dense riffs and crashing drums and exploratory washes of noise sound not only smooth but fitting, culminations like “North Sea” and 16-minute closer “4:48” as much about finishing a story as providing a sonic payoff, each cut serving not only the movement of which it’s component, but also the overarching flow of the record as whole. Stylistically wide open an unhindered by genre constraints, Thrust/Parry is a challenging listen that satisfies in proportion to how much one is willing to shift along with its changes in mood and style. Evocative throughout, it proves more than worth the effort.

OMSQ on Thee Facebooks

Navalorama Records

Unhold, Towering

unhold towering

Swiss five-piece Unhold trace their lineage back to an early-‘90s demo, but Towering (on Czar of Crickets) is their fourth album since their 2001 full-length debut, Walking Blackwards, and their first offering in seven years since Gold Cut in 2008. Something of an unexpected return from the Bern troupe, then, but not unwelcome, their Neurosis-influenced post-hardcore/post-metal finding renewed expression in the moody unfolding of “I Belong” or the tense bellow of the later, keyboard-infused “Hydra,” moments of triumph in ambient/crushing tradeoffs of “Voice Within” as guitarists Thomas Tschuor and Philipp Thöni step back and pianist Miriam Wolf takes lead vocals for a movement almost Alcest-like in its melodic course. Drummer Daniel Fischer and bassist Leo Matkovic are less a foundation than part of Towering’s nodding, modern-proggy whole, and it probably works better that way in smoothing out the various turns in extended pieces like the title-track or “Dawn,” which provides the apex of the album with the calmer “Ascending” and “Death Dying” as an epilogue.

Unhold on Thee Facebooks

Czar of Crickets

The Heave-Ho, Dead Reckoning

the heave-ho dead reckoning

Three words: Rock and roll. With Boston four-piece The Heave-Ho, it’s less about subgenre and more about paying homage to a classic ideal of straightforward expression. Dead Reckoning, the debut full-length from the lineup of guitarist/vocalist Pete Valle (ex-Quintaine Americana), bassist Keith “Barry” Schleicher (ex-Infernal Overdrive), drummer Dylan Wilson and lead guitarist Lawrence O’Toole, is eight songs (plus a closing radio edit, presumably for WEMF) of unpretentious rendition, steady in its delivery of grown-up-punker hooks and barroom rock such that, when Valle calls for “guitar!” prior to the solo in “Buffalo,” it’s entirely without irony or cynicism. Would be hard for “Thirsty Jesus” not to be a highlight on its title alone, but the lyrics also hold up. With a clean production style, centerpiece moment of clarity in “Afraid to Die,” and particularly riotous finish in “The Line,” Dead Reckoning has little use for stylistic nuance and a confident delivery across the board. Drunk as it is, it does not stumble.

The Heave-Ho on Thee Facebooks

The Heave-Ho at CDBaby

Crypt, Kvlt MMXIV

crypt kvlt mmxiv

Though Adelaide three-guitar six-piece Crypt title their debut release Kvlt MMXIV, it’s actually a Jan. 2015 release, a half-hour’s worth of stoner chicanery pressed up in a recycled-material digipak with a fold-out liner poster – the lyrics, yes, are written in a rune font – and the disc held in place by a piece of cork. The presentation of the songs themselves is no less off the wall, the lumbering “Green Butter” taking hold from the crust-raw opener “Siberian Exile” with unhinged low-end, drum stomp and some deceptively subtle airy guitar, and the weirdo blues howl of the following “These Last Days” only broadens the scope. Seems fair to say “expect the unexpected” since so much effort has been put into throwing off the frame of reference, but as the fuzz of “Idle Minds” and ambience into righteous groove of closer “Dead River” show, Crypt have more working in their favor than variety for its own sake, namely a fire in their delivery that burns away any slim chance this material had of sounding stale.

Crypt on Thee Facebooks

Crypt on Bandcamp

Oceanwake, Sunless

oceanwake sunless

Ferocious death-doom meets with melodic atmospheres on Oceanwake’s second album, Sunless – a title that’s not quite a full summary of what the Finnish five-piece have on offer throughout the four tracks/44 minutes. Opener “The Lay of an Oncoming Storm,” also the longest cut at 15:35 (immediate points), shifts back and forth between lumbering brutality and sparse guitar atmospherics, and while one waits for the inevitable clean vocals that would put Oceanwake in league with countrymen Swallow the Sun, they don’t come yet. Instead, the track explodes into crashes and screams. Ten-minute closer “Ephemeral” holds the most satisfying build, but between the two, “Parhelion” (9:09) and “Avanturine” (8:03) manage to remind of the particular melancholic beauty of death-doom – including some of those melodic vocals – and how resonant its contrast of light and dark can be when held together by an emotional core as resonant as that of Oceanwake. Sunless is gorgeous and devastating, and not necessarily alternating between the two.

Oceanwake on Thee Facebooks

ViciSolum Productions on Bandcamp

Lunar Electric, Lunar Electric

lunar-electric-lunar-electric

While one struggles not to be skeptical of any release in this day and age that opens with a “Radio Edit,” I won’t discount the quality of songwriting L.A.-based Lunar Electric display throughout their self-titled EP. Now a duo driven by guitarist/vocalist Dre DiMura, the band is highly-stylized but brims with a classic heavy rock swagger in “Bread and Circuses” (the aforementioned radio edit) and the subsequent “Moonlight,” a steady swing emerging in layers of heavy riffing and DiMura’s own croon, pushed ahead by the straightforward drumming of Kaleen Reading and the low-end heft of bassist Geena Spigarelli. They make a solid trio across “Moonlight” and “Sleepwaker,” which follows with its chugging break foreshadowing closer “Crossfire Child” (video premiere here) while building a tension of its own, though it seems unlikely that whatever Lunar Electric do next will have the same lineup because of geographic spread. Too bad. While young, and somewhat brooding, Lunar Electric nonetheless offer up a work of marked potential in their EP’s quick 17-minute span.

Dre DiMura’s website

Dre DiMura on Instagram

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Sons of Morpheus Premiere Live Video of Three Songs in One Take

Posted in Bootleg Theater on February 23rd, 2015 by H.P. Taskmaster

sons of morpheus

Swiss trio Sons of Morpheus released their self-titled debut last September through Deepdive Records. Earlier this month, they hit Studio Stübio in Luzern to record three songs from that album. Intent on doing it live to best capture the chemistry between guitarist/vocalist Manuel Bissig, bassist Lukas Kurmann and drummer Simon Gautsch, they wound up bringing to life the tracks “Eye of the Storm,” “Sugar Boogie” and “Psilocybin” all in one take. Snakehill Productions, whose Karma to Burn behind-the-scenes videos were recently featured here, was on-hand to tape the proceedings, and I’m happy today to be able to host the premiere of that video.

The clip is 28 minutes long, and accordingly it doesn’t seem unreasonable to think of it as a short live set from the three-piece. “Eye of the Storm” and the aptly-titled “Sugar Boogie” appear next to each other on the Sons of Morpheus album as well, though in the opposite order, and the flow between those songs and “Psilocybin” is palpable. The openers are a catchy, natural-toned pair that work well side-by-side in showcasing the rhythmic fluidity between Kurmann and Gautsch and Bissig‘s penchant for tossing off classic-style leads at the drop of a hat. As they move into the faster “Sugar Boogie,” that dynamic holds, and it does so as well once they get into the more stretched out “Psilocybin.”

It’s a psychedelic jam directly descended from Jimi Hendrix‘s “Voodoo Child (Slight Return).” On the album, “Psilocybin” stretches over nine minutes, and I think it’s longer than that here, as Sons of Morpheus gradually build from a quiet psychedelia to more propulsive blues rock en route to jamming the whole thing to pieces in an intense final barrage. That too is a pretty classic notion, but whatever familiar elements Sons of Morpheus are working with, they’re right to do it live, because what most distinguishes them is how well the three-piece work together. If you’re not convinced by the end of the Snakehill/Studio Stübio video, I’m not sure what to tell you.

Please find the whole video on the player below (quite a future we live in), followed by some thoughts from the band on recording live and more. Enjoy:

Sons of Morpheus, “Eye of the Storm”, “Sugar Boogie” and “Psilocybin” Live

We all have our own answer regarding the question what it takes for a band to be truly special. The songs? The excess? The looks? All wrong. What makes music special is the life which is pumped into it. The sorcery. The magic. Enter Sons Of Morpheus: Three Swiss musicians, united in wish and goal. “We are a unit following the same thoughts and the same aims”, vocalist Manuel Bissig explains. No words are needed to express what these are. You hear it. Feel it. With their self-titled debut, they evoke a sonic trance between Stoner, Blues, Rock and wavering psychedelia, between the golden aura of yesterday and the expectant hiss of tomorrow. What unites Sons Of Morpheus with the heroes of the sixties and seventies, with all these iconic forefathers of our contemporary riff, is absolute freedom.

That’s why Sons Of Morpheus shows a sense of jamming, of improvising and of courageous edges despite all that groove and Stoner dust. Only all too clear that playing live lies at the very core of their art. “We are a live band, thus we record live”, Bissig states as if this was no big deal at all. Recording with titan Jim Waters (Sonic Youth, Jon Spencer Blues Explosion), consequently, was not only a logical step but also the best decision this band could ever make. This record rumbles, it roars, it creaks as if the band was thrashing your living room. “When recording live, this single moment gives birth to something that is feeding on the emotions present in this room. In this moment, only music matters.” And precisely this music is of such a dreamlike power that evokes envy even in the eponymous God of Sleep.

Sons of Morpheus website

Sons of Morpheus on Thee Facebooks

Sons of Morpheus on Bandcamp

Snakehill Productions on YouTube

Snakehill Productions on Thee Facebooks

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Triptykon Release New Video for “Tree of Suffocating Souls”

Posted in Whathaveyou on November 19th, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster

triptykon

Considering it’s been getting dark at around 4:15PM and temperatures were in the 20s last night (that’s negative numbers for your Celsius types), safe to say winter’s here, and winter more or less was a season made for Triptykon. Or maybe that’s the other way around. I don’t know. If you can figure out which came first between freezing, malevolent darkness and Tom G. Warrior‘s soul-consuming croak, be my guest. I have no technology to aid with such things.

This year, Triptykon released their second album, Melana Chasmata, which I successfully avoided reviewing because I knew I’d only want to buy it if I did (ask me sometime about the struggle between placing value on my own work and supporting artists), and celebrated the occasion by headlining the Sunday date at Roadburn 2014, the festival where they also made their live debut in 2010. “Tree of Suffocating Souls” is the opener from the newer outing, and Triptykon have just posted a video for it today to herald a tour on which they’ll embark next month alongside the reactivated At the Gates.

Triptykon are also already confirmed for a multitude of 2015 festivals, including TemplesMaryland Deathfest, and Hellfest, so clearly their story is set to continue. The PR wire fills us in:

triptykon tour poster

Triptykon – New video clip for “Tree Of Suffocating Souls”; Touring commencing soon!

On the eve of returning to the stage in their native Switzerland after an absence of more than two years, and two weeks before embarking on a tour of Europe with At The Gates, Swiss avant-garde extreme metal act Triptykon are debuting a new visualization of a song off their acclaimed second album, Melana Chasmata.

The video was directed by Philipp Hirsch (who previously worked with Triptykon for the group’s highly acclaimed “Shatter” and “Aurorae” video clips).

Triptykon singer/guitarist Tom Gabriel Warrior: “In producing this footage, we have elected to once again work in partnership with long-standing Triptykon collaborator and director, Philipp Hirsch, in Leipzig, Germany. As intensely minimalist as Triptykon’s approach and music are, as perfect and passionate was Philipp in creating images which combine such minimalism with the required darkness. The night during which most of these images were created was, for many reasons, a truly extraordinary night none of us shall ever forget.”

Next to the soon commencing European tour with At The Gates and Morbus Chron, Triptykon have recently confirmed a string of festival dates, including appearances at next year’s Maryland Deathfest (US) and Hellfest (FR). Here is a list of all confirmed and announced upcoming live-shows for Triptykon:

Triptykon Live:
SA 22.11.2014 Bern (Switzerland) – Saint Ghetto Festival
TH 04.12.2014 London (UK) – Forum + At The Gates, Morbus Chron & Code Orange
FR 05.12.2014 Manchester (UK) – Academy 2 + At The Gates, Morbus Chron & Code Orange
SA 06.12.2014 Glasgow (UK) – Garage + At The Gates & Morbus Chron
SU 07.12.2014 Birmingham (UK) – The Oobleck + At The Gates, Morbus Chron & Code Orange
MO 08.12.2014 Cardiff (UK) – The Globe + At The Gates, Morbus Chron & Code Orange
WE 10.12.2014 Essen (Germany) – Turock + At The Gates & Morbus Chron
TH 11.12.2014 Hamburg (Germany) – Markthalle + At The Gates & Morbus Chron
FR 12.12.2014 Eindhoven (The Netherlands) – EMM
SA 13.12.2014 Leipzig (Germany) – Conne Island + At The Gates & Morbus Chron
SU 14.12.2014 Wien (Austria) – Arena + At The Gates & Morbus Chron
TU 16.12.2014 Aarau (Switzerland) – Kiff + At The Gates & Morbus Chron
WE 17.12.2014 Munich (Germany) – Backstage Werk + At The Gates & Morbus Chron
TH 18.12.2014 Antwerpen (Belgium) – Trix + At The Gates & Morbus Chron
FR 19.12.2014 Cologne (Germany) – Essigfabrik + At The Gates & Morbus Chron
SA 20.12.2014 Berlin (Germany) – Postbahnhof + At The Gates & Morbus Chron
SA 23.05.2015 Baltimore (US) – Maryland Deathfest
SA 30.05.2015 Bristol (UK) – Temples Fest
SA 13.06.2015 Bucharest (Romania) – Metalhead Meeting
19.-21.06.2015 Clisson (France) – Hellfest
05.-08.08.2015 Jaromer (Czech Republic) – Brutal Assault Open Air

Triptykon online:
www.triptykon.net
www.facebook.com/triptykonofficial

Triptykon, “Tree of Suffocating Souls” official video

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Video Premiere: Red Kunz Perform “Four Good Reasons” Live in Switzerland

Posted in Bootleg Theater on July 28th, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster

To the best of my knowledge, this is the only time that the bassists and drummers of Red Fang and Kunz (also ex-The Ocean) came together to perform in front of an audience as Red Kunz. Of course, their debut EP, Teeth, Hair and Skin, was tracked live, as we learned in the video premiere of the session two weeks ago, but this gig at Le Romandie in Lausanne, Switzerland, seems to be it for live shows for the time being, though the two component bands — Red Fang and Kunz — have several shows lined up for August, and I guess there’s a chance Red Kunz could get some stage time in there as well.

The song in the video is “Four Good Reasons,” third of the four tracks on Teeth, Hair and Skin, which is out Aug. 15 through Hummus Records and Division Records. As you can see, Kunz‘s Louis Jucker and Red Fang‘s Aaron Beam share vocal duties while drummers Luc Hess and John Sherman tear up their drums behind. A catchy, upbeat heavy rock push ensues, interrupted only by a feedback-soaked, noisy bridge, and though the track is under four minutes long, its momentum is undeniable. And the crowd — which had never heard this or anything else Red Kunz played that night back in January — would seem to agree.

Teeth, Hair and Skin is out Aug. 15 through Hummus Records and Division Records. Special thanks to both labels for letting me host this second premiere, and even more thanks to you for checking it out. The only reason I’m able to do things like this is because you take the time to listen/watch. It is hugely appreciated.

Enjoy:

Red Kunz, “Four Good Reasons” Live

Red Kunz is a project that gathers RED FANG (Aaron Beam and John Sherman) and KUNZ (Louis Jucker and Luc Hess – ex-THE OCEAN, COILGUNS).

PRE-ORDER (release date august 15th 2014) visit:

http://hummus-records.com/portfolio/red-kunz/

http://divisionrecords.bigcartel.com/product/red-kunz-red-fang-kunz-teeth-hair-skin-lp

The whole HUMMUS RECORDS catalog is available for free here: http://hummusrecords.bandcamp.com

Not sure whether RED KUNZ will be performing, but RED FANG and KUNZ will play the following shows together:

2014
Aug 1st — Le Ferrailleur, Nantes, France
Aug 3rd — Le Grillen, Colmar, France
Aug 12th — Les Caves du Manoir, Martigny, Suisse
Aug 13th — Les Caves du Manoir, Martigny, Suisse
Aug 15th — Rock Altitude Festival, Le Locle, Suisse

Red Kunz on Thee Facebooks

Kunz website

Red Fang on Thee Facebooks

Hummus Records website

Division Records website

 

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PREMIERE: Watch Red Kunz Record Teeth, Hair and Skin Debut LP Live

Posted in Bootleg Theater on July 15th, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster

In January, bassist/vocalist Aaron Beam and drummer John Sherman of Portland, Oregon, heavy rock forerunners Red Fang flew to Switzerland after appearing on The Late Show with David Letterman. There, they met up with drummer Luc Hess and bassist/baritone guitarist/vocalist Louis Jucker, also known as the duo Kunz and also the rhythm section of The Ocean, to record an album together. Thus emerged Red Kunz.

You can read below the day-by-day breakdown of how it happened over the course of the week, but what’s staggering about the results on their Division Records/Hummus Records debut LP, Teeth, Hair and Skin, is both how fresh the material sound and also how solid and tight Red Kunz are as a band. You’d figure Jucker and Hess would work well together, and Beam and Sherman likewise, but on Teeth, Hair and Skin it’s all four of them. It doesn’t sound like two bass/drum duos jamming out at the same time. It sounds like a four-piece band who’ve been playing together for years.

I think even they must’ve been surprised, since the instrumental tracks they recorded live that you can see in the video below wound up as the final takes for the album, with Beam and Jucker putting their vocals on afterwards. No argument though. With the performances they give here — you’ll note Beam is set up in front of Hess and Jucker in front of Sherman — Red Kunz managed to capture a spontaneity that works exceedingly well with the upbeat bounce of the five songs, “Transatlantic,” “The Beggar,” “Four Good Reasons,” “Prisms” and “Teeth, Hair and Skin,” while still getting a full and clear sound.

Teeth, Hair and Skin is out Aug. 15 through Hummus Records and Division Records. Much more info follows the clip below, including pre-order links, but for now, enjoy the making of Red Kunz‘s debut as it happened:

TEETH, HAIR & SKIN will be released on August 15th.

Red Kunz is a project that gathers RED FANG (Aaron Beam and John Sherman) and KUNZ (Louis Jucker and Luc Hess – ex-THE OCEAN, COILGUNS).

This was shot on wednesday january 15th. Although it was not meant to be, these are the final versions you can find on the record. Vocals were recorded the day after so this is completely instrumental.

Filmed and edited by Camille De Pietro & Nathan Jucker (Le Manoir)

PRE-ORDER (release date august 15th 2014) visit:

http://hummus-records.com/portfolio/red-kunz/

http://divisionrecords.bigcartel.com/product/red-kunz-red-fang-kunz-teeth-hair-skin-lp

The whole HUMMUS RECORDS catalog is available for free here: http://hummusrecords.bandcamp.com

Not sure whether RED KUNZ will be performing, but RED FANG and KUNZ will play the following shows together:

2014
Aug 1st — Le Ferrailleur, Nantes, France
Aug 3rd — Le Grillen, Colmar, France
Aug 12th — Les Caves du Manoir, Martigny, Suisse
Aug 13th — Les Caves du Manoir, Martigny, Suisse
Aug 15th — Rock Altitude Festival, Le Locle, Suisse

Good records sometimes need to go that easy:

Saturday, January 11th 2014 : Aaron Beam and John Sherman “RED FANG” fly to Switzerland straight after the band’s performance at the famous Letterman Show in New York to meet Louis Jucker and Luc Hess “KUNZ” at the airport. The 4 guys drive to Lausanne, straight to the venue LE ROMANDIE, put their two bass amps and drums on stage, then go out for a beer in a funny local cover bands festival.

Sunday 12th, They write 4 songs in the deserted venue and go to sleep.

Monday 13th, a whole crew of video makers, graphic designers and other creative minds set up its camp in the club’s backstage. Mission is to get the most work done within a week.

Tuesday 14th, Everyone is super pumped and party a little too hard.

Wednesday 15th, The band spends the day tracking songs, goes out for a walk, buys a small acoustic guitar in a pawn shop, comes back to the club, plays the tunes again in front of the crew’s cameras and decides to keep these takes as the final ones.

Thursday 16th, Aaron and Louis write vocal lines and lyrics in Jucker’s attic studio. John and Luc drink beers and eat pizzas.

Friday 17th, The whole town is gathered in a packed venue to see the new born RED KUNZ playing their first record : TEETH, HAIR AND SKIN, 20 minutes of raw bass riffing and double drums battles that somehow manage to sound like proper catchy songs. Fact is that they were all conceived and taped within a single and cool week of friendship, beers, and jams.

Red Kunz on Thee Facebooks

Kunz website

Red Fang on Thee Facebooks

Hummus Records website

Division Records website

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Brant Bjork Added to Second Up in Smoke Indoor Festival

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

Joining the esteemed ranks of Greenleaf (who were also just announced so they’re not on the poster yet), Naam, Kadavar and the almighty Dozer, Brant Bjork has been added to the lineup for the second installment of the Up in Smoke indoor festival this October in Switzerland. The fest is presented by Sound of Liberation, and is set to take place Oct. 3 and 4 in Switzerland, which puts it the weekend before Desertfest in Belgium. The more the merrier. I can think of few things cooler than two fests on consecutive weekends.

Brant Bjork will play Up in Smoke with his new band, Low Desert Punk. Not sure if that’s the name they’re using — it’s billed as Brant Bjork presents “Low Desert Punk,” so if it’s that or Brant Bjork and the Low Desert Punk or Brant Bjork and the Low Desert Punks, or some other variation, remains to be seen — but with Fatso Jetson‘s Tony Tornay on drums, Dave Dinsmore from Bl’ast on bass and Bubba Dupree (Void) on guitar alongside Bjork himself, they can call it whatever the hell they want and I won’t complain.

That same lineup heads to Australia this weekend for a run of dates that carries them into June. Info on that is on their Thee Facebooks, info on the Up in Smoke gig follows:

Up In Smoke Festival – October 3rd & 4th 2014

Hailing from Palm Desert where all the movement started, we are extremely pleased to welcome the desert rock icon BRANT BJORK, presenting LOW DESERT PUNK!

His influence within the stoner rock community dates back to his time as drummer for the legendary Kyuss, through his stint with fuzz-kings Fu Manchu. With his new outfit featuring Dave Dinsmore on bass (Che, Bl’ast), Bubba Dupree on guitar (Void, Hater) and Tony Tornay on drums (Fatso Jetson, Chuck Dukowski), BRANT BJORK will deliver a near-lethal dose of classic rock and heavy punk to UP IN SMOKE FESTIVAL on OCTOBER 4th 2014!

It grooves. It flows. It’s psychedelic. It’s tough. BRANT BJORK and his live band are guerrilla rock revolutionaries… taking back the rock and letting it roll. Don’t miss your chance at an audience with the legend this fall!

We are proud to present the second edition of our UP IN SMOKE INDOOR FEST!

As last year, it will set up in PRATTELN (Basel area) in one of the very best Swiss venue : Z7 KONZERTFABRIK! After the huge success of the festival last year, we took the decision to do a 2-day event in 2014 featuring around 20 bands on 2 stages with special light shows, after-show DJs, and art exhibition. On OCTOBER 3rd & 4th, Z7 will definitely be the place to be!

You’ll find below in this newsletter the first 7 bands already confirmed, including this afternoon’s announcement as special preview for you guys. Hope you’ll dig it!

TICKETS for UP IN SMOKE FEST #2 can be ordered on www.z-7.ch and soon via Ticketmaster.
Check-out our Facebook page for constant updates.

https://www.facebook.com/UpInSmokeIndoorFestivalInZ7
https://www.facebook.com/pages/Brant-Bjork/123800120977061

Brant Bjork, “Low Desert Punk”

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Tom G. Warrior of Triptykon Comments on Passing of H.R. Giger

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

Noted for his landmark design contributions to the Alien franchise and for his pioneering a dark surrealist aesthetic, Swiss artist H.R. Giger passed away yesterday at the age of 74. He’s recognized in metal circles for, in addition to a requisite poster on the wall, having worked with Celtic Frost and Triptykon on some of underground music’s most landmark cover art. Today, Celtic Frost/Triptykon frontman Tom G. Warrior (né Fischer2010 interview here) offers a remembrance for Giger, with whom he worked professionally and collaborated for many years.

The Obelisk offers condolences to Warrior for what’s clearly a deeply personal loss and to Giger‘s family, friends, fans and the many inspired by his work.

From the PR wire:

“I fight the impending lure of belated sleep
For fear of waking up and you are gone”

Triptykon, My Pain, 2010

For the first time in 74 years, last night was a night not illuminated by the indescribable light that was H.R. Giger.

H.R. Giger became our mentor, against all odds, when we, somewhat audaciously, first established contact with him some 30 years ago. At a time when almost everybody ridiculed, ignored, or even obstructed the music the then almost completely unknown Swiss underground band Hellhammer was creating, Giger listened to us, talked to us, and gave us a chance. Not least at a time when he was at one of many peaks of his path.

A little more than a year later, his exceptionally stunning art made what might be one of Celtic Frost’s most important albums, To Mega Therion, even more significant. Other links to Giger’s universe also manifested themselves, almost as if it was predestined.

Eventually, after many more years, the mentorship became a friendship. It was a friendship and a personal connection I valued infinitely, and it also included his wonderful wife, Carmen, and many other remarkable people that were part of his universe.

When Celtic Frost came to an end so acrimoniously in 2008, H.R. Giger and his wife were among those who witnessed my uncontained despair and stood by me. That Giger subsequently agreed to collaborate with my new group, Triptykon, and thus enabled us to release our first album, Eparistera Daimones, with one of his most dramatic paintings on the cover meant the world to me.

It apparently pleased Giger, too. He told me so on several occasions, and he completely stunned me in October 2011 by proposing that we continue the collaboration between him and Triptykon. I would have never asked for such a thing, because I never would have wanted to appear insatiable. He brushed such reservations aside, and it was his mentorship, friendship, and art that enabled us, once again, to release a second album on which music and cover art formed a seamless symbiosis. Only a few weeks ago, he held the result in his hands and loved it.

Regardless of anything I may write about H.R. Giger, however, none of these words will ever be able to truly, accurately describe him as a person and as a friend. It is utterly inconceivable to imagine a world without his wit, his perception, his genius, his horizon, his determination, his humour, his friendship, and his immeasurable kindness. And yet, we are now left in exactly such a world.

Tom Gabriel Warrior for Triptykon, May 13, 2014

www.triptykon.net
www.facebook.com/triptykonofficial

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