Queen Elephantine’s Kala Available to Preorder

Posted in Whathaveyou on September 7th, 2016 by JJ Koczan

Last I heard, Queen Elephantine were still located in Providence, Rhode Island. The info below about preorders for their new album, Kala (review here), being available lists them as having relocated to New York. Entirely possible. Guitarist/founder Indrayudh Shome has been as restless geographically as he has creatively over the years. Hong Kong, New York, Rhode Island. He could basically turn up anywhere and find a host of cohorts with which to express Queen Elephantine‘s always complex and ritualized drone-doom.

Kala has an Oct. 21 release date and some considerable backing from Argonauta Records, Cimmerian Share Recordings, Tartarus Records and Atypeek Music — each imprint releasing it on a different format. If you’ve ever heard the band’s as-yet underrated experimentalism, it’s little wonder so many parties would want to be involved.

From the PR wire:

queen elephantine kala

QUEEN ELEPHANTINE announce new album ‘Kala’ on multiple labels

Release Date – October 21st, 2016
Record Label – Cimmerian Shade Recordings (LP) / Argonauta Records (CD) / Tartarus Records (Cassette) / Atypeek Music (Digital)

Queen Elephantine, the exotic-flavoured doom/ambient band once operating out of Hong Kong (who have since moved to New York), are back with a brand new full length called Kala. They’ve always kept innovating and the new album is even more entrancing, atmospheric and mind-bending. They’ve honed their skills to offer music that’s near unparalleled – the delicate cacophony of the numerous instruments (spaced out, never overcrowding), the suspenseful atmosphere, the ever-lingering sense of intrigue, it’s all there, and better than ever before. Kala taps into your subconscious, creates swirling colourful patterns, a hypnotic effect that doesn’t wear off easily like a rare non-harmful drug. Succumb to the creeping, psychedelic madness that’s Queen Elephantine.

Mastered by Billy Anderson (Neurosis, Swans, Sleep, Eyehategod, High on Fire)

Artwork has been made by Adrian Dexter

Line up:
Indrayudh Shome – Guitar
Ian Sims – Drumset
Mat Becker – Bass
Srinivas Reddy – Guitar
Derek Fukumori – Percussion
Samer Ghadry – Guitar, Synth
Nathanael Totushek – Drumset + Percussion on 2,4,6
Nick DiSalvo – Mellotron on 1, 2, 3
Michael Scott Isley – Percussion on 2,4
Danny Quinn – Surgeon Pepper

Track list:
1. Quartered
2. Quartz
3. Ox
4. Onyx
5. Deep Blue
6. Throne of the Void in the Hundred Petal Lotus

https://www.facebook.com/queenelephantine/
https://queenelephantine.bandcamp.com/album/kala
http://cimmerianshaderecs.storenvy.com/products/17801057-queen-elephantine-kala
http://www.argonautarecords.com/shop/music-/143-queen-elephantine-kala-cd.html
http://tartarusrecords.com/
http://atypeekmusic.com/Atypeek_Music.html

Queen Elephantine, Kala (2016)

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Suma, The Order of Things: Chaos to Chaos (Plus Track Premiere)

Posted in audiObelisk, Reviews on August 23rd, 2016 by JJ Koczan

suma the order of things-700

[Stream Suma’s ‘Bait for Maggots’ by clicking play above. The Order of Things is out Oct. 11.]

A new Suma record doesn’t happen every day. Now in their 15th year, the Malmö, Sweden-based outfit have always stayed active through a variety of splits, compilations and EPs, and they even had a live tape out last year for a fortunate few who were able to grab one, but it’s been six years since their last proper studio full-length, Ashes, and that certainly feels like long enough. The four-piece of drummer Erik, bassist/vocalist Johan, guitarist Peter and noisemaker Rick traveled to Portland, Oregon, to track The Order of Things with Billy Anderson, who also helmed Ashes and the prior 2006 outing, Let the Churches Burn, and if that’s not enough to make the album an event — and it is, make no mistake — the fact that it arrives through no fewer than four different labels should say something about the level of support for Suma‘s churning, deeply atmospheric sludge.

Argonauta and Init Records have CDs, Throne Records the LP and Tartarus Records the cassette, so The Order of Things is nothing if not well represented, and Suma pay back the faith shown in them with 57 minutes of destructive post-metal spread across seven tracks. I’ve talked before about how something oppressively heavy can feel like it’s filling your lungs, and Suma do a better job of that than most. Their fourth album doesn’t necessarily reinvent their methods from what they conjured on Ashes, which Argonauta also reissued last year, but in the interim, they also parted ways with vocalist Jovan, moved Johan into that role and brought in Rick for samples, drones and other assorted ambient contributions, so some measure of sonic shift is inevitable.

Mostly it sounds like progression. To wit, the 13-minute “Education for Death” late in the record. I’m not sure “highlight” is the word for something that seems to plunge so deep, but either way the thudding tension Suma create is gloriously excruciating, cave-echo vocals swirling in the background behind apocalyptic tone and stomp. Much of the album plays back and forth between longer-form material and three shorter atmospheric pieces, the first of which, “The Sick Present,” opens. I’d call it an intro but for the fact that it’s still over the four-minute mark, but it does the work of immersing the listener in the darkened space Suma will continue to build and tear down across the subsequent pair “Bait for Maggots” and “RPA.” The sense of discomfort is almost immediate, and as “Bait for Maggots” begins its chugging pulsation, Suma seem right at home in the midst of that tempest. Johan‘s shouts are commanding throughout but far back enough in the mix to be obscured by the paramount groove that emerges, led by Peter‘s guitar.

suma

Mercifully, “Bait for Maggots” gives due payoff to its onslaught, and in so doing sets up the key dynamic for the rest of The Order of Things, which is the play between foreboding, tension, and release. “RPA,” which follows directly, isn’t quite as linear as “Bait for Maggots” or the later, aforementioned “Education for Death,” but it too offers a thrust built on making the listener’s blood boil before finally letting go. Because it’s so inhuman(e)-sounding and because of the samples and effects wash, etc., there’s an almost industrial element to “RPA,” but the crux of Suma‘s effect on their audience still comes from the madness that seems to be at the root of their delivery and the weight and density with which their material lands.

While, again, that’s probably not new for anyone who’s dug into AshesLet the Churches Burn, their 2003 self-titled debut or any of their sundry shorter outings, it does still feel like the band has pushed forward, and the direct contrast of heft with atmospherics moving from “RPA” into the dream-haunting samples of “Being and/or Nothingness” shows that well leading into “Education for Death” itself, which is the longest inclusion at 13:36 and doesn’t even begin to think about releasing its grip around the listener’s throat until nine minutes in, and even then, it’s another minute-plus before they get there. Beautifully crafted, challenging in the hearing, but when they do finally roll out the apex, building to an all-grey swirl of noise, the result is fitting. The penultimate “Disorder of Things” continues to push forward at a faster clip from where “Education for Death” tore itself to shreds, the wash and crash becoming overwhelming. There might be vocals, and that’s the most honest assessment I can give you. Its ferocity is just about unmatched by anything else on The Order of Things, but “Disorder of Things” is also a lead-in for the quiet post-rocking guitar squibblies that give a spacious start to 12:37 closer “The Greater Dying.” Not a minor title and not a minor way to finish their record either.

That righteous space will continue to open up as Erik enters on drums, and Suma roll out a patient, masterful and consuming groove as they thrust ahead toward the crash-heavy peak of the song, bringing about something of a change in structure as they hit that crescendo closer to the middle third and dedicate about the last three minutes to a long fade of guitar, cymbals and other ambient noise. I wouldn’t speculate on how long they could actually keep that line going past the fade, but the impression is perpetual all the same, and the sheer fact that after all that bludgeoning, Suma would let their listeners go so gently, drifting, into the album’s finish can really only lead one to conclude that the overriding message of The Order of Things is death. I don’t know if that’s what they were going for, but it’s certainly the takeaway from the work itself, and Suma‘s contemplation thereof resonates in its intensity and breadth alike. They are a rare band, and woefully underappreciated.

Suma on Thee Facebooks

Suma on Bandcamp

Argonauta Records website

Init Records website

Tartarus Records website

Throne Records website

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Ortega Announce Sacred States Release; Stream New Track “Maelstrom”

Posted in Whathaveyou on August 5th, 2016 by JJ Koczan

“Maelstrom” sets a raw post-metal vibe for Ortega‘s impending second album, Sacred States, and as the first audio made public from the Netherlands-based outfit for the follow-up to their 2013 debut, The Serpent Stirs (review here) — they also released the 18-minute single “Crows” (review here) in 2014 — it shows progression in its rougher edges and less cerebral take overall — as though the Groningen four-piece decided to cut ties with their preconceptions and just go for being as expressive as possible. That’s a hard vibe not to dig, and guest appearances from Gnaw Their Tongues and Primitive Man‘s Ethan Lee McCarthy only add intrigue for the rest of the album.

Release date is Oct. 5, but preorders for the vinyl are available now from Narshardaa Records, and Sacred States will also be out on CD through Consouling Sounds and tape through Tartarus Records.

Details go like this:

ortega sacred states art

Ortega – Sacred States

New track ‘Maelstrom’ + vinyl pre-orders

It has been quiet for a long time.

We are thrilled we can finally announce the release of our second full length ‘Sacred States’.

Since 2007, Ortega have been exploring the murky depths of humanity’s longing for the horizon. Perilous courses which drag carcasses ashore, sojourns that tell of the bells that chime on the sands below, collisions of doom, sludge and noise that tell tales of abyssal mankind.

Now, Sacred States is the first glance upwards. But whereas the depths below are finite, the chasms above ridicule every human attempt to realise itself. Whether he looks above or inside, the void remains. The tentative grasps into the great unknown will never hold anything but pain, and Ortega recount every step into the understanding of this fate that we turn away from more often than not. The hollow is here:

Recorded by John Bart van der Wal and mastered by James Plotkin.

Featuring contributions by Gnaw Their Tongues and Ethan Lee McCarthy of Primitive Man fame.

Sacred States is a collaborative effort between Consouling Sounds (CD), Narshardaa Records (Vinyl) and Tartarus Records (Cassette).

Vinyl pressing info:
100 multicolored splatter vinyl
100 clear vinyl
300 black vinyl

Pre-orders for Sacred States vinyl have started at Narshardaa Records: http://narshardaa.bigcartel.com/product/ortega-sacred-states-2xlp-pre-order

Release date: October 5th

https://www.facebook.com/ortegadoom
https://ortegaband.bandcamp.com/
https://www.instagram.com/ortegadoom/
http://consouling.be/
http://narshardaa.bigcartel.com/
http://tartarusrecords.com/

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30,000 Monkies Release Watch the Drone Tape

Posted in Whathaveyou on July 20th, 2016 by JJ Koczan

30000 monkies (photo by Paul Verhagen)

Hope you like parentheses, because Belgian noisewashers 30,000 Monkies — also stylized as 3((0)),((0))((0))((0)) M((O))NKIES — have plenty on offer. The four-piece first issued their Watch the Drone — aka Watch the Dr((o))ne, naturally — back in 2011, but the multispectrum effects onslaught has been newly pressed to tape courtesy of Tartarus Records. After this and a couple other EP-type releases, 30,000 Monkies put out their first full-length album, I Ate Myself to Grow Twice as Big this past Spring via Consouling Sounds. If you’re up for getting freaked out, it’s all streaming on Bandcamp.

Tapes are hot pink and limited to 100 copies. From the PR wire:

30000 monkies watch the drone

TAR057 3((0)),((0))((0))((0)) M((O))NKIES – WATCH THE DR((O))NE

“Welcome, welcome, welcome children!” His smile hid his bile. These sentences had been repeated so many times, that to feel actual joy was impossible. It was numbness that drove him on, a constant, hovering grey which never ceased.

Surrounded by the garishly coloured fetters, the clasping happiness of the young, a tiny spark lifted his spirits. A fire was lit, if you will. His eyes shone brightly, as the plan hatched. A sign of what life is would inspire many present, right? Their lives would be illuminated by his death!Yes!
Boffo smiled his first sincere smile in years. Tomorrow, the arena would be coloured brighter still.”

But this is not the same thing.

3((0)),((0))((0))((0)) M((O))NKIES is the new dronemetal/ambient project by 30,000 Monkies. It’s XL on almost every level: longer, louder, heavier, more cheerful, more uplifting and… bigger.

Live they’ll be accompanied by some friends to form a fierce, 7-headed, rainbow coloured puppy that will riff you silly and leave you behind with a warm, loving smile, buried in tons of confetti.

Now, for those who missed the mystery tape: This tape will see an actual release again!

Edition of 100 hot pink tapes
Housed in a diecut cardstock case

https://www.facebook.com/30000monkies/
http://30000monkies.bandcamp.com/album/watch-the-dr-o-ne
http://vi.be/30000monkies
http://tartarusrecords.com/album/watch-the-dr-o-ne
https://www.facebook.com/TartarusRecords

30,000 Monkies, Watch the Drone (2016)

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Bismuth to Release Unavailing Nov. 25

Posted in Whathaveyou on October 27th, 2015 by JJ Koczan

bismuth

Slow and low UK skullbashers Bismuth will release their debut album, Unavailing, on Nov. 25. Among the noteworthy factoids concerning the release is the following: There are no fewer than five labels involved. Frickin’ five. Meanwhile, there are only two people actually in the band, which with a bit of quick arithmetic tells us that there are quite literally more than twice as many imprints standing behind Bismuth‘s first album as there are people in the band. It’s not every group who can make such a claim.

A four-track 2LP — presumably that’s one per side — recorded and mixed by Chris Fielding (Conan) at Skyhammer StudioUnavailing will be out on Dry CoughDe GraanrepubliekBox RecordsTartarus Records and Viral Age. The band is comprised of bassist/vocalist Tanya Byrne and drummer Joe Rawlings. The numbers do not lie.

Into the void with you:

bismuth unavailing

Bismuth – Unavailing: Double LP and cassette released Nov 25th

Unavailing is the debut album by aptly named Nottingham duo, BISMUTH.

“Bismuth has long been considered as the element with the highest atomic mass that is stable. However, in 2003 it was discovered to be weakly radioactive: its only primordial isotope, bismuth-209, decays via alpha decay with a half life more than a billion times the estimated age of the universe. Bismuth often appears as beautiful iridescent, spiral-stepped crystals.” This sums up the sound of the band well.

Like their namesake, the music that Bismuth create is incredibly dense, slow and heavy, but with moments of subtle, ethereal beauty. Bismuth balance stripped down ‘less is more’ approach to songwriting with a ‘more is more’ approach to amplification, volume and fuzz to create a crushing and monolithic sound.

Unavailing consists of four epic tracks recorded and mixed at Skyhammer Studios by Chris Fielding, and mastered by James Plotkin. It will be presented as a double LP in an edition of 300 copies as a cooperative release between the band, De graanrepubliek, dry cough, box records and viral age, with tartarus records handling the cassette version.

https://www.facebook.com/bismuthslow
www.bismuthslow.bandcamp.com
www.degraanrepubliek.com
www.drycoughrecords.com
www.box-records.com
www.tartarusrecords.com
viralagerecords.blogspot.com

Bismuth, Live at SOAN 25/07/2014

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Duuude, Tapes! Ortega, Crows

Posted in Duuude, Tapes! on April 22nd, 2014 by JJ Koczan

Seems odd to say it, but Crows isn’t the first 18-minute single that Netherlands-based post-metal four-piece Ortega have released in their time together. The last one was late-2012’s The Serpent Stirs (review here), and as the follow-up to that and reportedly the precursor to a new full-length album, Crows winds up making a lot of sense with its limited tape release through Tartarus Records, a black-ink-on-grey-box unfolding with a handmade feel to match the Groningen group’s intricate heavy/ambient tradeoffs throughout the song’s 18 minutes. The program repeats on both sides of the tape, which has crows and branches printed on it, and for what’s purported to be a demo track, the sound is awfully full and the band is awfully tight, leaving me to wonder what they might look to change going into the album — that is, how much more there is to build on from what they have here. It’s almost unfair to use the word “cassingle” for a song that’s en EP unto itself, but technically I suppose that’s what Crows is.

And taken on the level of a single, it’s a strikingly cohesive one, with guitarists Alex Loots and Richard Postma trading between thick waves of riffing and sparse atmospherics, ambient squigglies floating into the sonic space of a mix that, again, is done little justice by being designated as a demo. Bassist Frank de Boer distinguishes himself in the song’s midsection with a surprisingly warm tone, while drummer Sven Jurgens manages to keep the proceedings fluid for the most part without falling into the trap of the Isis drumbeat (you know the one!), which is one of the core challenges at this point of post-metal percussion styles — how to make it not sound like Panopticon. Postma handles vocals as well when they arise, his assured growl topping the later payoff of a fervent instrumental build playing out in a rising tide of start-stop chugging; a measured, restrained groove finally letting loose just in time for the growls to reemerge. For those familiar with the style, Ortega‘s take won’t be wholly strange, but Crows remains a solid execution of the progressive aspects of post-metal and even over its extended course doesn’t dull the attention more than it intends to do with hypnotic repetition of parts.

It’s easy to imagine “Crows” paired with another piece of similar length as opposing vinyl sides as Ortega‘s next long-player, but I guess we have some time yet before we get there. Fair enough. Maybe by then I’ll have it figured out what exactly makes Crows a demo.

Ortega, “Crows” from Crows (2014)

Ortega on Thee Facebooks

Ortega on Bandcamp

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Ortega Release New Demo “Crows”; New Album Coming Soon

Posted in Whathaveyou on April 1st, 2014 by JJ Koczan

After completely selling through their run of vinyl and tapes for their 2013 single-song EP outing, The Serpent Stirs (review here), Netherlands-based post-doom crushers Ortega have announced work in progress on a sophomore full-length that will serve as the follow-up to 2010’s 1634 — though with The Serpent Stirs and 2012’s A Flame Never Rises on its Own between, you could hardly call the four-piece inactive — set to release later this year. The new 18-minute demo track, “Crows,” is the first audio to surface related to the album.

Tartarus Records will handle the cassette release of the new record, while Black Bow Records takes on the vinyl. “Crows” will also be issued as a limited cassingle in time for the band’s appearance at Roadburn next weekend.

In the meantime, “Crows” can be streamed below. The PR wire has it like this:

ORTEGA – “Crows” demo streaming now.

A murder of crows, a blackened swarm of liberation, if not from death. This immortality you speak of, three-horned one, gauges out the spirit’s eye. I have been wandering the astral plains and found nothing but stalemates of shapes and impressions. The evolution which I have been taught from the stumbling age onward brought me nothing but fear. It is time to start looking inward. Stare down and rise.

The murky depths of Ortega’s sound drag a darker yet more poignant carcass ashore with Crows, their latest recording. A collision of doom, sludge and noise tells a story of man looking inward and onward.

Crows will be released as a very limited cassette by Tartarus Records on April 10th, coinciding with our show at Roadburn in Tilburg, The Netherlands.

Crows is a part of our yet unnamed album, to be released later this year by Black Bow Records on vinyl and Tartarus Records on cassette.

Thank you.

https://www.facebook.com/ortegadoom/
http://ortegaband.bandcamp.com/merch
https://twitter.com/ortega_band
http://tartarusrecords.com/
http://www.blackbowrecords.com/

Ortega, “Crows” Demo

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Suma and Ethereal Riffian Tapes Available for Preorder via Tartarus Records

Posted in Whathaveyou on February 10th, 2014 by JJ Koczan

On the heels of a colored vinyl split between Undersmile and Bismuth, Netherlands-based imprint Tartarus Records has begun to take preorders for its next two releases, Suma‘s You’re Such a Disappointment: A Split Compilation 2005-2012 and Ethereal Riffian‘s new album, Aeonian. Both are also up for streaming through Tartarus‘ Bandcamp, which as fate would have it is where the preorder links go. Funny how these things work out.

Look and listen:

SUMA and Ethereal Riffian cassettes now available for preorder

The Bismuth / Undersmile split LP has landed a few weeks ago and is now available at our shop. Colored vinyl is sold out, but black vinyl is still available. Highly recommended!

On this month’s menu I have Suma’s ep/split comp You’re Such A Disappointment and the brand new album Aeonian by Ethereal Riffian. A dish best served cold and preferably in space.

TAR026 SUMA – You’re Such A Disappointment: A Split Compilation 2005 – 2012

Hailing from Malmö, Sweden and formed in 2001 : SUMA has been spreading the plague of their sonic weight, noise-ridden hallucinatory doom metal on the world for the past decade. Through these years they’ve lured hordes of humans into the lair with their devastatingly heavy, one way trip into the vortex live performances and crushing delivery on their recorded matters.

This cassette is a compilation of the EP’s and splits they did with bands like Pyramido, Ultraphallus and Unearthly Trance.

Edition of 100 silver cassettes
Comes in a screenprinted cardstock case

Listen/Preorder

TAR027 – Ethereal Riffian – Aeonian

“The second full-length album called Aeonian is the band’s most mature work, which unites all the best talents of its members. The eponimous book merged as a result of our intention to fully disclose the ideas and concepts of this album. While working on the narrative, we realized that from now on books would become an integral part of the band’s creative work, for they let reinforce the images created by the music and inculcate them in the consciousness of our listeners.

The band’s activity has two main objectives: to compose unconventional music, which is able to expand the frames of the listener’s musical perception, and to shed light on the existence of a subtler plane, whose laws if understood properly may help to perceive the reality on a deeper level. In order to achieve the abovementioned goals, we diligently work on each new release. That is exactly why the ones who get acquainted with the creative work of our band need to be very attentive.

We sincerely hope that the message care-fully integrated in our music is able to induce our listeners, and now our readers as well, to open up the new facets of existence and kindle the light of their true self, which will not dim even in the darkest nooks of Sheol.” -Ethereal Riffian

Edition of 100 black cassettes
Comes in a screenprinted cardstock case
Features exclusive artwork by Berbel Zijlstra

Listen/Preorder

https://www.facebook.com/TartarusRecords
http://tartarusrecords.com

Suma, You’re Such a Disappointment (2014)

Ethereal Riffian, Aeonian (2014)

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