Mark Deutrom to Reissue The Silent Treatment in February

Posted in Whathaveyou on December 13th, 2017 by JJ Koczan

Well, when Mark Deutrom signed to Season of Mist back toward the end of this summer, in addition to a forthcoming new album set for a tentative Fall 2018 release, there was some discussion of reissues in the works. I guess there’s no place to start like the beginning when it comes to that kind of thing, so off we go with a catalog revisit that by the time it arrives in February will look back 17 years to 2001’s The Silent Treatment, which was Deutrom‘s debut solo offering.

I’ll admit to having missed it the first time around, so as far as I’m concerned this is a cool chance to catch up to Deutrom‘s back catalog, and as someone who’s very much dug his recent work with Bellringer, that’s something I’ll look forward to. Feb. 9 is the release date, and Season of Mist is streaming the track “The Hobnail Paisley” ahead of that now. One can hear some shades of what Masters of Reality were doing around that time in some of the all-growed-up heavy/desert style, but of course Deutrom, even then, had a sonic personality of his own.

From the PR wire:

mark deutrom the silent treatment

MARK DEUTROM announce ‘The Silent Treatment’ reissues

MARK DEUTROM, the prolific musician from Texas and former MELVINS member has announced a reissue of his debut album ‘The Silent Treatment’. The critically acclaimed album will be reissued worldwide on February 9, 2018 as an expanded edition, featuring artwork and a bonus track. Pre-orders for the album are available now at the Season of Mist E-Shop.

MARK DEUTROM is streaming a track off the multi-faceted ‘The Silent Treatment’. The track, a blues-inspired rock song titled “The Hobnail Paisley” is streaming now, here.

The cover art and track list for ‘The Silent Treatment’ can be found below.
Track list
1. Toshiro Mifune
2. The Hobnail Paisley
3. El Morocco
4. One Thousand Delights
5. Chihuahua
6. Coffinmaker’s Complaint
7. Fat Hamlet
8. The Hottentot Venus
9. Borehole
10. Your Necklace
11. Revelator
12. A Catastrophe
13. Honey Drop
14. Gateau d’Amour
15. Van Diemen’s Land
16. Candlelight and Wisteria
17. OKC (Bonus Track)

MARK DEUTROM will release his 6th solo album via Season of Mist. More information about this new album will be available in the weeks and months to come.

https://www.facebook.com/markdeutrom
https://www.instagram.com/markdeutrom/
http://www.markdeutrom.com/
https://som.lnk.to/MarkDeutromSilentTreatment
https://shopusa.season-of-mist.com/band/mark-deutrom
https://www.facebook.com/seasonofmistofficial
https://www.instagram.com/seasonofmistofficial/

Mark Deutrom, “The Hobnail Paisley”

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Gypsy Sun Revival Release New Album Journey Outside of Time

Posted in Whathaveyou on December 12th, 2017 by JJ Koczan

gypsy sun revival

Some changes from Texas-based heavy psych rockers Gypsy Sun Revival since they made their self-titled debut (review here) last year via Nasoni Records. The band has become a five-piece with the addition of vocalist Mario Rodriguez and organist Tyler Gene Davis, and as they return with their second full-length, Journey Outside of Time, and a new recording helmed by Kent Stump of Wo Fat and mastered by wizard-of-all-things-psych John McBain (ex-Monster MagnetKandodo/McBain, etc.), those changes are apparent in the flourish even of relatively straightforward cuts like album-opener “Cadillac to Mexico,” let alone the later immersive trippery of the eight-minute “Pisces (Part 1).” Either way you go, there’s plenty to dig into.

And plenty to dig about it in the digging. Also pressed to vinyl by NasoniJourney Outside of Time is streaming in its entirety now via Gypsy Sun Revival‘s Bandcamp, and you’ll find it, of course, at the bottom of this post. I even used the big embed so you don’t scroll past by mistake.

Dig it:

gypsy sun revival journey outside of time

Gypsy Sun Revival – Journey Outside of Time

Blasting through the airwaves to tickle your auditory senses, comes the sophomore release from these Texas psychedelic pariahs. Take a Journey Outside of Time and experience the weirdness that can only come from an unwavering sense of pushing the possibilities of musical instruments. Guaranteed to blow you out of reality into new sonic realms of enlightenment, this is a release that you do not want to miss. Growing on their debut album, this Texas trio has grown into a 5 piece with a new vocalist and organist, and produced a new, refined sound that will open up doors to previously unconscionable auditory ideas. So join the journey and hang on for the ride.

Tracklisting:
1. Cadillac to Mexico 04:54
2. To the Sky 04:13
3. Indigo 05:40
4. Growing Shadows 04:25
5. Pisces (Part 1) 08:07
6. Pisces (Part 2) 06:34
7. Departure 08:53

Engineered and mixed by Kent Stump (Wo Fat) at Crystal Clear Sound, Dallas, TX
Mastered by John McBain (Monster Magnet) at JPM Mastering
Album Design by Robin Gnista

We would like to dedicate this album to the memory of Hans-Georg Bier, founder of Nasoni Records, who was a crucial pillar for this band and a true believer in underground music. He will be truly missed.

Gypsy Sun Revival is:
Mario Rodriguez – Vocals, Hand Drums
Tyler Gene Davis – Organ
Ben Harwood – Drums, Synth
Lee Ryan – Bass
Will Weise – Guitar

https://www.facebook.com/gypsysunrevival/
https://gypsysunrevival.bandcamp.com/album/journey-outside-of-time
http://www.gypsysunrevival.com/
http://www.nasoni-records.com/GYPSY_SUN_REVIVAL_release_Journey_Outside_Of_Time.html

Gypsy Sun Revival, Journey Outside of Time (2017)

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Fuzz Evil and Switchblade Jesus Team up for The Second Coming of Heavy – Chapter Seven

Posted in Whathaveyou on November 14th, 2017 by JJ Koczan

This news came in and I realized that somewhere in there I missed a chapter of Ripple Music‘s ongoing The Second Coming of Heavy series of splits. I’ve done my best to cover all of them — been late on almost every one, but still, I’ve gotten there eventually — but when I saw word that Chapter Seven was set to feature Fuzz Evil and Switchblade Jesus my joy at the prospect of some quality rock and roll was tempered by the question nagging at the back of my mind: Hey wait a second, what happened to Chapter Six?

I don’t have the promo for it in my email, which is kind of a bummer, but I’ll assume I did at one point or another or that it got lost in the transition between laptops from the one I called Ol’ Dusty to the one I use now, Big Red. In any case, if I can, I might try to sneak that Kayleth and Favequaid shared offering in at some point while also doing my best to cover Switchblade Jesus and Fuzz Evil, whose installment is set to arrive on Dec. 8, of course on Ripple.

The PR wire has it like this:

the second coming of heavy chapter 7

Switchblade Jesus / Fuzz Evil “Chapter 7: The Second Coming of Heavy” out on December 8 via Ripple Music

Ripple Music sets December 8th, 2017 as official release date for Switchblade Jesus / Fuzz Evil “Chapter 7: The Second Coming of Heavy” split!

Formed in 2014, Fuzz Evil is a chug-heavy 3 Piece that tames the fuzziest guitar and bass tones on the planet and wields them to blast a monolithic speaker-ripping fuzzapocaplyse for your ears and soul. Raw and dirty in “Stooges-like” fashion with soaring soulful vocals. Fuzz Evil released their first single, “Glitterbones” on a 7” split with the California trio Chiefs on Battleground records in 2014. In 2016 they followed up the single with a full self-titled debut release on Battleground records. In the past few year they have gone through a few line-up changes.. The current line-up is Orgo Martinez on drums, Wayne Rudell on guitar and vocals, and his brother Joey Rudell on bass and vocals.

From the depths of Texas, Switchblade Jesus returns with a heaviness and deep grooves that succeed their previous recordings. Mixing southwestern boogie, desert-worn blues, retro-metal assault and fierce rocking into a sound that screams Texas–at times sanguine and starkly beautiful, at others full of damn sexy groove and assaulting violence can only describe the music of Texan power rocking, fuzzed out stoner blues trio, Switchblade Jesus.

Consisting of Eric Calvert (Vox/Guitar) Jon Elizondo (Drums) and new comer Chris Black (bass) to the fold to create a new chapter in Switchblade Jesus, more Doom and Gloom but no lack of the groove that the Texan’s brought in the beginning.

https://www.facebook.com/theripplemusic/
http://www.ripple-music.com

Kayleth & Favequaid, The Second Coming of Heavy Chapter Six (2017)

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Josefus Debut New Lineup; Confirm Recording in Progress

Posted in Bootleg Theater on November 5th, 2017 by JJ Koczan

josefus

New lineup, new material and new recordings on the way — the news from reunited Texas heavy rockers Josefus would seem to be all good at this point. The four-piece have been relatively quiet since their reformation was announced back in May, but it would seem that tracking has begun on their next studio album, and the stage lineup of founders Pete Bailey (vocals) and Dave Mitchell (guitar) and newcomers Doomstress Alexis, (bass/backing vocals, also of Doomstress and Project Armageddon) and Michael Morris (drums, also of Lone Star Hippie) made their live debut on Oct. 22 as part of the End Hip End It festival at Walter’s Downtown in Houston.

Amid classics from the band’s original run — their 1970 outing Dead Man should be considered essential proto-heavy for anyone who hasn’t heard it — the band broke out at least two new songs from the yet-untitled outing that will be the first from the band since 2006’s State of the Union, and a live clip with both has been posted from the fest, with Mitchell and Bailey front and center of the cult classic outfit, proffering unbridled boogie on “Guns and Fun” while digging into a darker, bluesier and loosely Sabbathian style of riffing on the subsequent “The Shade.” Each song offers a distinct take from the other and bodes well for what the studio outing might bring.

A considerable risk with new studio offerings from groups with ’70s era bands has consistently been an incongruity between the intent of the songwriting — to capture that raw spirit and energy that fueled the early days of heavy rock — with a sometimes-too-slick, or at very least dry, modern production. This can be heard on numerous contemporary from artists at multiple echelons, from Leslie West and Cactus to Leaf Hound. An exception to the rule might be Ripple Music jammers Poobah.

Likewise, it’s something Pentagram largely avoided with their Last Rites comebacker in 2009 I think in no small part because of guitarist Victor Griffin‘s ongoing connnections to the heavy underground, and I think in Josefus, having that awareness of what the current heavy audience is looking for is the role one might find Doomstress Alexis and Morris playing (in addition to their instruments, obviously). It will be up to them to ensure the sound of the record matches not only the purpose behind the material in the first place, but the vibe that listeners will invariably crave from a band like this in the first place. Fortunately, they would seem to be readily up to the task.

To my mind, this only makes the next Josefus long-player, previewed with the stage performance at End Hip End It, all the more worth looking forward to. One assumes at this point it’ll be a 2018 arrival, but of course when I hear something, I’ll let you know.

Until then, enjoy “Guns and Fun” and “The Shade” below, as filmed by IcedRelics in Houston:

Josefus, “Guns and Fun” & “The Shade” Live at End Hip End It

Josefus performing live at Walter’s Downtown at End Hip End It Festival in Houston, Texas on Sunday, October 22, 2017. Harvey Relief Benefit. Houston Psych Fest.

Brand new Josefus tunes debuted at End Hip End It Fest on 10/22/17 marking Josefus’s return to the stage and with new recording/live lineup:

Pete Bailey-vocals/harmonica
Dave Mitchel-guitar
Doomstress Alexis-bass/backing vocals
Michael Morris-drums/backing vocals

1st song “Guns & Fun”
2nd song “The Shade”
Video credit: Iced Relics (YouTube)

New record currently in studio production being recorded by Richard Cagle @ Montrose Studios in Houston, TX.

Josefus live:
11/25 Rockefellers Houston TX w/ The Dirty Seeds, Fiddle Witch & Mr. Plow

Josefus on Thee Facebooks

Josefus on Instagram

Josefus website

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Doomstress Premiere Video for “Bitter Plea”

Posted in Bootleg Theater on October 24th, 2017 by JJ Koczan

doomstress

Texas heavy doom rockers Doomstress filmed their new video on one of the several cleverly-named tours they undertook in 2016, playing as the four-piece of bassist/vocalist Doomstress Alexis, guitarists Brandon Johnson (lead) and Joe Fortunato (rhythm) and drummer Tomasz Scull. Fortunato, whose pedigree includes tenure alongside Scull in Sparrowmilk and Venomin James, also directed and edited the clip for “Bitter Plea,” and the song represents the newest work to come from the Houston-based outfit, featured on their new EP, Supernatural Kvlt Sounds: The Second Rite, a follow-up and apparent sequel to their 2016 debut, Supernatural Kvlt Sounds (video premiere here).

Aside from new mixes of “Way of the Mountain” and “Sleep Among the Dead” from the original EP, The Second Rite boasts the Uriah Heep cover “Rainbow Demon” (premiered here) and “Bitter Plea,” and indeed, it’s the latter that shows where the band is truly at in their development. I’m not sure if Fortunato is a permanent member or not at this point, but either way, the 4:26 track swings with a sense of classic metal coming through its dual guitars and finds a balance in its mix that outshines even the redux versions of the original EP cuts, as well as a confidence in presentation obviously born of the band’s significant time on the road. Even with an underlying darkness in the lyrics, Alexis and company keep a firm sense of momentum moving forward in the track as well as across the entirety of the 22-minute offering from which it comes, and though they seem to be taking their time crafting songs rather than working to try to bang out a first album simply for the sake of doing so, the results that come through on “Bitter Plea” are hard to argue with in terms of their sense of being fully realized and engaging. Proof? The hook and guitar solo. The arrangement of vocals. The return to the central riff at the end. It’s all there, waiting to be heard in “Bitter Plea.”

Also, as it happens, seen. Captured live on stage and on the shores of Lake Erie, the video gives an unpretentious representation of the song while adding in its style a sense of drama befitting to the lyrics. The underlying message is Doomstress are continuing to take shape as a band, progressing in their songwriting processes and becoming all the more capable of manifesting a style that resides someplace between doom, metal and heavy rock and makes its mark in memorable choruses and choice grooves.

Supernatural Kvlt Sounds: The Second Rite is out on CD now via NoSlip Records and will be released as a split with Sparrowmilk in November via DHU Records. More info at the links following the video below.

Please enjoy:

Doomstress, “Bitter Plea” official video premiere

Doomstress – “Bitter Plea” official video ©2017
From the ep “Supernatural Kvlt Sounds-The Second Rite”
CD on NoSlip Records (USA) available late September 2017
12″ vinyl split w/Sparrowmilk on DHU Records (Netherlands) available November 2017

Live footage filmed @ The Foundry in Cleveland, OH on the Wicked Summer Tour in August 2016.

Scenic footage filmed at the sand dunes of Lake Erie in Ohio in late August or early September 2016.

Video concept by Doomstress Alexis

Directed & edited by Joe Fortunato

Band members on this tour:
Doomstress Alexis – bass & vox
Brandon Johnson – lead guitar
Tomasz Scull – drums
Joe Fortunato – rhythm guitar

Doomstress website

Doomstress on Bandcamp

Doomstress webstore

Doomstress on Thee Facebooks

Doomstress on Instagram

Doomstress on Twitter

DHU Records webstore

NoSlip Records webstore

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Burn Ritual Sign to Cursed Monk Records

Posted in Whathaveyou on October 11th, 2017 by JJ Koczan

Texas doomgazers Burn Ritual issued the two-song EP Like Suffering this past summer, and the hazy ways the then-one-man outfit showed have been enough to get the now-a-full-band picked up by Irish imprint Cursed Monk Records. My chief question going forward is whether the garage-raw nod of “Unleash the Dogs” and “Like Suffering” will be maintained now that Jake Lewis has a complete lineup working around him, but I guess we’ll find out in the New Year when he and the rest of his cohorts get around to recording and releasing the album.

Until then, if you didn’t hear Like Suffering, which was mastered by Mos Generator‘s own Tony Reed, you’ll find it at the bottom of this post courtesy of the Burn Ritual Bandcamp. Here’s the announcement from Cursed Monk about having snagged the band for the impending release:

burn ritual

Burn Ritual have joined the cult of the Cursed Monk

Burn Ritual have signed with Cursed Monk Records!

Burn Ritual is a doom metal band based out of San Antonio, Texas, brewing its own brand of heavy riffs, bluesy hazy vocals, and massive hypnotic fuzzed out tones. The band combine their love for traditional doom and stoner rock bands with a modern element making it a unique but familiar journey for the listener. Burn Ritual is the brainchild of vocalist/guitarist Jake Lewis, who performed and recorded on most of the band’s debut EP Like Suffering, which was mastered by Tony Reed of Mos Generator.

The one man project soon paved way for the necessity for a full band of musicians to bring the songs to the stage the way they were meant to be heard , loud and in your face! Now a full four piece band, Burn Ritual plans to keep performing for the rest of the year and then start recording its first full length album in the beginning of 2018 which will be released by Cursed Monk Records.

Burn Ritual’s positively received E.P Like Suffering was released by the band in August 2017 and can be heard here.

https://www.facebook.com/burnritualband/
https://burnritual.bandcamp.com/releases
https://www.facebook.com/cursedmonk/
https://twitter.com/CursedMonkRec
https://www.instagram.com/cursedmonkrecords/
https://cursedmonk.bandcamp.com/

Burn Ritual, Like Suffering EP (2017)

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Witchcryer Sign to Ripple Music; Cry Witch Due in January; Tour Dates Announced

Posted in Whathaveyou on October 9th, 2017 by JJ Koczan

witchcryer

Austin, Texas, doom rockers Witchcryer have signed a deal to release their debut album, Cry Witch, via Ripple Music on Jan. 19. To herald the full-length’s arrival in the New Year, the four-piece will head out on a Midwestern tour this month brandishing new material onstage and keeping significant company as they join forces with the likes of Astral MassAttalla and Bible of the Devil along the way. The shows are booked by Heavy Friends, and start on Friday, so if you find yourself in their path, keep an eye out.

Witchcryer’s three-song The Preying Kind – Demo MMXVI was released last year as their first outing and can be streamed below in full. The PR wire has more information and gets bonus points here for making a Pillcrusher reference. There’s a name I’ve not heard in a long, long time.

Dig:

witchcryer tour

Witchcryer sign to Ripple Music and Announce new album and “CRY WITCH” FALL 2017 MIDWEST U.S. TOUR

Ripple Music is proud to welcome WITCHCRYER? to their growing roster of the best heavy psych, stoner and doom bands on the planet. Witchcryer are a 4-piece old-school doom metal band as indebted to the heavy rock muscle of Black Sabbath, Deep Purple, Uriah Heep, and Blue Oyster Cult as their doom descendants Witchfinder General, Trouble, and St. Vitus. Their mix of influences puts emphasis on strong riffs, memorable hooks and dynamic strong structures.

Based in Austin, Texas, Witchcryer was created by guitarist Jason Muxlow during his time with Chicago doom band, Earthen Grave (Ripple Music). The band became his priority when he moved to Austin in early 2015 and began co-writing songs with drummer Javi Moctezuma. “The Preying Kind” demo was recorded and released after vocalist/lyricist, Suzy Bravo joined the band later that year.

With the final addition of San Antonio bassist Marilyn Monroe (Pillcrusher, ex-Las Cruces), Witchcryer played its first show in April 2016.

Now, Witchcryer joins with the force that is Ripple Music to release their debut album, “Cry Witch”, due to drop world-wide on January 19th. About their recent signing to Ripple, guitarist Jason Muxlow says, “Witchcryer is beyond stoked to be joining the Ripple family! We can’t wait to get “Cry Witch” out in the world and tear some people new eardrums.”

In support of the upcoming album, Witchcryer will hit the road with tour dates across the midwest.

WITCHCRYER “CRY WITCH” FALL 2017 MIDWEST U.S. TOUR
Friday October 13th San Angelo, TX, Deadhorse w/ Dezorah
Saturday October 14th Dallas, TX, Double Wide w/ Hint of Death & Orcanaut
Sunday October 15th Little Rock, AR, Sonic Temple TBA
Monday October 16th Louisville, KY, ighlands Tap Room w/ Potslammer
Tuesday October 17th Indianapolis, IN, Black Circle Brewing Co. w/ Astral Mass
Wednesday October 18th Madison, WI, The Frequency w/ Bob Log III & Roboman
Thursday October 19th Milwaukee, WI, Cactus Club w/ Galactic Hatchet & Attalla
Friday October 20th Hamtramck, MI, New Dodge Lounge w/ The Watchers, Iron Mountain, TBA
Saturday October 21st Chicago, IL, Livewire Lounge w/ Bible of the Devil, Arriver, & Reivers

https://www.facebook.com/witchcryer/
https://witchcryer.bandcamp.com/releases
http://www.ripple-music.com
https://ripplemusic.bandcamp.com
https://www.facebook.com/theripplemusic/

Witchcryer, The Preying Kind – Demo MMXVI (2016)

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Quarterly Review: Nibiru, The Ditch and the Delta, Cyanna Mercury, Surya Kris Peters, Golden Bats, Blind Hen, The Black Wizards, Low Flying Hawks, Brother Sister Hex, Cold Insight

Posted in Reviews on September 28th, 2017 by JJ Koczan

the obelisk quarterly review

Ready for round three of the Fall 2017 Quarterly Review? I hope so, because it’s a doozy. Things get pretty weird and pretty rockin’ in this batch, and at the risk of being completely honest, I much prefer it that way. It’s a varied group — maybe the most diverse in terms of sound throughout the entire week, though there’s stiff competition still to come — and as we hit the 30th review, that brings us to the halfway point of the Quarterly Review itself, which if all keeps proceeding according to plan will wrap up on Monday with a grand total of 60 done. Let’s hope no pianos fall on my head between now and then, literally or figuratively. Onward.

Quarterly Review #21-30:

Nibiru, Qaal Babalon

nibiru qaal babalon

The fourth full-length from Italian sludge ritualists Nibiru, Qaal Babalon (on Argonauta) is an encompassing, 57-minute grind comprised of four extended tracks, the longest of which is opener (immediate points) “Oroch” at 19:07 – a song whose depths run dark and cruel and which, even when the tempo pushes upward from its initial slow crawl, still feels massively slow. Still, the spirit behind “Oroch” as well as the following and much faster “Faboan” (10:51), the buzzsaw noise cutting avant insanity of “Bahal Gah” (16:40) and full-drone rite of “Oxex” (11:05) is less directly about the punishment itself than about the exploration enacted thereby. That is, Nibiru aren’t just heavy for heaviness’ own sake and they’re not just assaulting their listenership without reason. Though I won’t take away from its raw sonic impact, Qaal Babalon’s greatest asset is its atmospheric impression and the experimentalism it brings to bear, which moves Nibiru into a terrifying place sound-wise that they seem to have all to themselves.

Nibiru on Thee Facebooks

Argonauta Records website

 

The Ditch and the Delta, Hives in Decline

the-ditch-and-the-delta-hives-in-decline

Hailing from the unlikely heavy hotbed of Salt Lake City, Utah – though where better for a counterculture to emerge? – sludge rocking trio The Ditch and the Delta made their debut earlier in 2017 with the seven-song Hives in Decline via Battleground Records before being picked up by Prosthetic for this reissue. Comprised of bassist/vocalist Kory Quist (see also: Making Fuck), guitarist/vocalist Elliot Secrist and drummer Charles Bogus, the three-piece pummel handily throughout early cuts like opener and longest track (immediate points) “Hives in Decline” “Fuck on Asphalt” and the nodding “Sleeping Dogs,” but with the instrumental interlude “Dry Land,” they tap into post-Across Tundras heavy Americana and in that brief two-minute stretch deeply affect the mood of the release overall. They’re back to angular noise rock turns soon enough on “Till Body Quits” and the Remission-era-Mastodon-style “Mud” before alternating between lurching crush and airier prog/post-rock on closer “Dread Spectacle,” but by then the secret’s out of their underlying complexity, and rather than offset the sense of drive in the prior cuts, one finds them only enhanced by the later unfolding. Intense, and very much in the process of sorting through these impulses, but loaded with potential.

The Ditch and the Delta on Thee Facebooks

The Ditch and the Delta at Prosthetic Records

 

Cyanna Mercury, Archetypes

Cyanna-Mercury-Archetypes

From Greek dialogue in “Hermes” to the Nick Cave-style piano balladry of “Apollo” to the organ-and-handclaps Mediterranean pop underscoring “Lilith”’s boogie and the spoken verses and explosive hook of “Snake” ahead of moody closer “There will be a Time,” Cyanna Mercury’s debut long-player, Archetypes, seems to leave no sonic stone unturned. The Athens-based five-piece hone a thoroughly progressive approach across the 10-track/40-minute (plus a CD bonus track) outing, touching on heavy psych in opener “Horse Dark as Night” and injecting a darker theatricality into centerpiece “Ode to the Absent Father” and the later “Nothing We Can Do,” but refusing to relegate themselves ultimately to one sound or another. Elements of folk, heavy rock, psychedelia, classic prog, pop and more besides show themselves across what’s a legitimate head-trip of a record, and though it’s hard to get a grip on where Cyanna Mercury are ultimately headed with this sonic brew already so potent and already so much their own, they seem to be completely in control of how it all plays out in arrangement and songwriting, and they work quickly to earn the listener’s trust via a resonant overarching flow that renders Archetypes truly immersive. Will fly under most radar, but a stunningly creative debut.

Cyanna Mercury on Thee Facebooks

Cyanna Mercury on Bandcamp

 

Surya Kris Peters, 2nd Chances

surya-kris-peters-second-chances

Numerically-titled three-song EP 2nd Chances is – since we’re going by the numbers – the third release of 2017 from Surya Kris Peters, behind the synth-driven Dream Exit EP digitally-issued this past summer and January’s Holy Holy Holy (review here) full-length. With it, Samsara Blues Experiment frontman Christian Peters further expands the contextual breadth of his solo work, revisiting songs from his prior outfit Terraplane in the Mellotron-infused melancholy of “Smalltown Blues” and the quick, folkish rambling instrumental “Dark Euphoria” while also covering Jefferson Airplane’s “Come up the Years” between. All told, it’s only 10 minutes long, but Peters brings a particularly progressive psychedelic folk vibe to the tracks, and from the shimmering guitar lead that takes hold in “Come up the Years” and the intimate feel of “Smalltown Blues” despite an arrangement of keys, vocals, multiple layers of guitar and effects, an emotional and sonic resonance is still very much achieved. One never wants to guess what Peters will do next, but if he had a full-length of this kind of thing out at some point, you wouldn’t be likely to find me complaining.

Surya Kris Peters on Soundcloud

Electric Magic Records on Bandcamp

 

Golden Bats, Residual Dread

golden-bats-residual-dread

An underlying mournfulness pervades Golden BatsResidual Dread, or maybe that’s just the Brisbane-based solo-project of multi-instrumentalist/vocalist/engineer Geordie Stafford living up to the title chosen for the album on “Nothing.” Elsewhere, Residual Dread takes on guitar-as-keyboard plotted soloing in 11-minute closer “The Crows Build a Fire” and find a place between black metal and doomly roll, and add piano to tapped Godflesh-style programming on opener “Trouble in the Sewers” and bring organ to the relative bounce of “Eye Juices” as far-back echoing shouts provide the vocal presence. Setting elements against each other would seem to be a core aspect of Stafford’s intent, and the feel on Residual Dread is more about the smashing them together and seeing what happens than trying to gently meld one idea from two or three. That lends a raw, experimentalist sensibility to the lumber of “Outer Body” and “Into the Silver Valley” that serves them well, like a Large Hadron Collider driven by riffs and thickness of tone.

Golden Bats on Thee Facebooks

Haemorrhage Records webstore

 

Blind Hen, Life

blind-hen-life

In its first two minutes, Blind Hen’s “As a Monster” moves from electronica-style Euro dance rock to heavy-riffed progressive metal. Then it turns back. This is just the start of the Finnish four-piece’s four-track/21-minute Life EP, and “Titanic” follows stylistic suit with an even more intense thrust early before moving into psychedelia in its second half with an underlying tension in its beat to contrast the melodic wash overtop. The chugging “The Maze” is more guitar-led and straightforward, but even there, Blind Hen find room for nuance in their vocal arrangement, also bringing in acoustics amid the multiple layers of singing, and with a sample at the outset, closer “Catch” moves once again toward the danceability of the earlier fare, if in a via-Mr.Bungle rhythmic restlessness rather than the fusion beatmaking. Weird, weird, weird. What draws Life together is the fact that Blind Hen cross this aesthetic swath with stuck-in-your-head choruses as a constant, essentially giving the audience something to grasp onto while they go wherever they want in terms of sound. It is appreciated to say the least, and shows the band to be all the more attuned to their craft, even when they seem at their most unhinged.

Blind Hen on Thee Facebooks

Blind Hen on Bandcamp

 

The Black Wizards, What the Fuzz!

the-black-wizards-what-the-fuzz

If you’ve got 68 minutes, Portuguese four-piece The Black Wizards are ready to have a heavy blues shindig on their second 2LP full-length, What the Fuzz!, and I do believe we’re all invited. The nine-song outing emphasizes the vocals of guitarist Joana Brito, who emerges on post-intro opener “Freaks and Geeks” with a prominent kind of trilling in her voice of the sort Parker Griggs brings to Radio Moscow that holds for the duration as a steady presence. Joined by guitarist Paulo Ferreira, bassist/acoustic guitarist B and drummer/backing vocalist Helena Peixoto, Brito leads the way through the fuzzy rollout of the nine-minute “The Story of an Hopeless Drummer” (sic), stepping back to let the guitar/bass have a righteously nodding moment late in the track, but holds firm in a forward position on the short, twanging “Just Not Today” as well as the early going of the prior subdued-blues-smoker highlight “Floating Blues.” “Build Your Home,” “I Don’t Wanna Die” and the particularly-classic-sounding “Fire” revive the classic heavy rock spirit of “Freaks and Geeks,” and 16-minute finale “Everything is Good Until Trouble Comes” uses its extra runtime for a satisfying and patient execution with an expanded arrangement including choral vocals, organ and additional guitar effects. You might be boogied out by the time they’re done, but as The Black Wizards crash through their big finish, they sound like their party’s just getting started.

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Low Flying Hawks, Genkaku

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One might expect that with all the Melvins affiliation going on in the second Magnetic Eye Records full-length from L.A. duo Low Flying Hawks, Genkaku would sound, you know, more like the Melvins, but despite working with bassist Trevor Dunn, drummer Dale Crover and producer Toshi Kasai, and despite bringing in Buzz Osbourne for guest vocal spots on eight-minute opener/longest track (immediate points) “Smile” and side B leadoff “Space Wizard,” initials-only multi-instrumentalists EHA and AAL follow their 2016 debut, Kofuku (review here), with a sound even more their own, balancing between thick riffy rollout and post-rock atmospherics. Of course, they weird out a bit on “Smile” and the lumberingly spacious “Uncool” and “Virgin Witch,” but whether it’s the later mournfulness of “Hallucination” or “Twilight” toying with noisy fuckall while seeming to mock heavy rocker burl ahead of the melodic payoff in closer “Sinister Waves,” there’s more EHA and AAL in Low Flying Hawks than the prominent pedigree of their collaborators might lead you to believe. All the better for what becomes a richly satisfying 43-minute listen rife with depth, patience, and yes, personality.

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Brother Sister Hex, End Times

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Coherent songwriting rests at the core of what Denver’s Brother Sister Hex bring to their five-song third EP, End Times, which darkens up Queens of the Stone Age-circa-Songs for the Deaf vibing on its title-track (also a bit of Kyuss’ “El Rodeo” in there for good measure) before delving into more ambient fare on the centerpiece “Confessions.” Vocalist/guitarist Colfax Mingo demonstrates SubRosa-style vocal command there, but the context is more rock-based, uptempo and straightforward as she, guitarist Patrick Huddleson, bassist Drew Hicks and guest-drummer Jordan Palmer (Plastic Daggers) meld traditionalist structures with atmospheric moodiness. Opener “Hey” offers a suitable greeting through hook and groove, and the shuffle of “Sweet and Sleazy” and the rumbling fuzz (Hicks makes it a highlight) of closer “News Feed” wraps with another grunge-style QOTSA melody efficiently drawn, shouting the question “what have we done?” as it thuds into its second half. Uh, you’ve made a professional-sounding, excellently-constructed EP that shows you’re more than ready to embark on a debut full-length, permanent drummer or no. So yeah, get on that.

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Cold Insight, Further Nowhere

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As progressive as it is brutal, Further Nowhere is ostensibly the debut release from Paris’ Cold Insight. The material seems to date back at least to 2013, if not earlier than that, when band-spearhead Sébastien Pierre (also of Enshine, Fractal Gates, and others) first issued what’s now tagged as a “pre-production album” version, but it’s hardly as though the lush, growling, melodeathly doom sounds dated. With sonic likenesses throughout to bands like Amorphis, Dark Tranquility and Paradise Lost, Cold Insight – on which Pierre, who also did the artwork, is joined by drummer Christian Netzell while Jari Lindholm adds lead guitar – hit on a very particular, very European style, and not an unfamiliar one as displayed in the righteously driving “Distance,” but the find-the-beauty-in-darkness spirit behind “Close Your Eyes” and songs like “Even Dies a Sun” and the more uptempo later piece “I Will Rise” help ensure that the formidable 12-song/66-minute run of Further Nowhere never gets too bogged down in its melancholy. It may have been a while in the making, and one hopes a follow-up won’t take as long to arrive, but the precise execution Pierre hones in these songs and the depths to which he can bring a willing audience are a fitting payoff for the years of work that went into their construction.

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