Review & Track Premiere: Blues Funeral, Awakening

Posted in audiObelisk, Reviews on August 14th, 2017 by JJ Koczan

blues funeral awakening

[Click play above to listen to ‘Shadow of the Snake’ from Blues Funeral’s Awakening. Album is out Aug. 25.]

Immediately the sense from Awakening is one of continuity. To make their second full-length, and their second in as many years behind July 2016’s The Search (review here), Houston four-piece Blues Funeral returned to Lucky Run Studios to record and mix with Jeremy Dudman and Mike Mikulka. Like the debut before it, the sophomore outing features six tracks, five of which run between five and six-plus minutes long, plus one cut that branches out longer — last time it was the title-track, here it’s 8:21 closer “The Gathering Dust.” Like the debut before it, Awakening features the dual-guitar-led lineup of guitarists/vocalists Maurice Eggenschwiler and Jan “El Janni” Kimmel (the latter also keys), bassist Gabriel Katz and drummer Cory Cousins (the latter also backing vocals on “Awakening” and “Casimir”), a mastering job by Collin Jordan at the Boiler Room, artwork by David Paul Seymour and a sound that toys with the lines between progressive and classic rock, classic rock and classic metal, and classic metal and doom. Listening to songs like opener “Shadow of the Snake” and “Illusions of Reality,” it’s pretty clear that Blues Funeral had plenty about their debut they liked and wanted to use as a model to build from.

Fair enough. Given how solidified The Search was in its approach and the cohesive presentation that it brought forth from the band, one isn’t inclined to argue, but just because that record and Awakening share core aspects doesn’t preclude growth on the part of Blues Funeral either. Rather, as a group and as individual players, they demonstrate a forward-looking mentality in terms of their own development that seems to have been taken on with willful purpose, and like other let’s-have-a-guitar-fight-except-it’s-not-really-a-fight-and-also-we-harmonize, prog-fueled outfits of their ilk — the underrated likes of Valkyrie and Corsair come to mind most readily, as well as newer Beelzefuzz — Blues Funeral do justice to their influences in their own progression as much as through the sonic foundation from which they work.

Melody is central throughout. Awakening‘s six tracks run a manageable 39 minutes and while for the bulk of that time there’s more rhythmic motion going on or more active lead-taking than one would generally classify as “pastoral,” the material is rife with nuance, be it in the form of the layered-in acoustics of “Casimir,” the organ that accompanies the initial bounce of “Shadow of the Snake,” the mellotron in “The Gathering Dust,” guest vocals on “Firedrake” or even just the way “Awakening” itself so skillfully blends metallic and heavy rocking impulses, taking cues from Uriah Heep, Deep Purple and later Opeth in its blend of organ and guitar and the clean delivery of the vocal harmonies between Kimmel and Eggenschwiler, which prove throughout once again to be central figure of Blues Funeral‘s sound, as well as a tasteful example of their development as songwriters and players.

The two guitarists and Cousins played together in the less prog-rocking Sanctus Bellum, so they weren’t strangers coming into Blues Funeral or anything, but among the elements of the newer outfit established on this follow-up is the ongoing shaping of a personality all its own, increasingly distinct as it digs into the soul-infused boogie of “Illusions of Reality” and subtle vocal arrangement complexity there as complemented by Katz‘s highlight bass performance in the quieter lead break in the midsection. Once again, melody is the root, even from the rhythm section.

blues funeral (photo Grooverock)

Couple this with a firm sense of two-sided intent. The first three tracks — “Shadow of the Snake,” “Awakening” and “Illusions of Reality” — are rockers. The title-track especially feels dug into a more crunching tonality at its launch before opening to its more flowing chorus, but it and the two pieces surrounding are defined by a more straightforward lean on hooks and structural classicism. At 5:05, “Illusions of Reality” is the shortest inclusion on Awakening, and its uptempo push is friendly, warm and inviting in a good-times-listening-to-ThinLizzy fashion that even vaguely metal-derived songcraft rarely dares to be. Blues Funeral, as much time as they spend with Eggenschwiler and Kimmel‘s guitars at the fore, are aiming to directly engage their listeners on Awakening‘s side A, and their success in this effort is precisely what allows them to hold a sense of full-album fluidity as the subsequent side B begins to branch out its more expansive modus.

Now, are Blues Funeral going experimental black metal drone? Nope. While all three are longer than “Shadow of the Snake,” “Awakening” or “Illusions of Reality,” tonally and atmospherically, “Firedrake,” “Casimir” and “The Gathering Dust” stay consistent with what the first half of Awakening has on offer — and they’re correct to do so — but each of the last three pieces also has some bit of flourish to stand it out from its surroundings. Perhaps “Firedrake” is the most obvious, with the already-noted guest vocal appearance from Kelly Cousins Adams (sister to Cory) marking a departure from the choruses delivered by the guitarists together and the tradeoffs between them. Complemented by particularly righteous Nord from Kimmel and guitar ambling alongside the keys’ winding course — also another must-hear bassline from Katz — “Firedrake” holds a patient and flowing presentation that, while in its last third gives into some doomier-feeling riff and solo work, also sets up the arrival of the acoustic/electric blend that will continue in “Casimir.”

One does not imagine the similarity in title to Led Zeppelin‘s “Kashmir” is coincidental, as Awakening‘s penultimate track takes on some loosely Eastern-feeling scales in its intricate barrage of leads and has a narrative drama in its verses no less born of classic heavy rock. Resolution, as it will, comes in a last solo punctuated by ride bell from Cousins and a sudden stop to let “The Gathering Dust” take hold on its own terms — a thrust of NWOBHM-style poise is backed by carefully-woven drawn-out lead lines (perhaps the most Akerfeldtian moment on Awakening, especially with the key section and riff that follow), and suddenly the point of emphasis becomes how much Blues Funeral have been able to build and maintain a momentum across the album’s span while still allowing individual songs their moment, not sounding rushed or hurried in any way, but never still either.

The guitars are key in this, of course, but it’s a whole-band function just the same, and another example of Blues Funeral‘s second offering having moved ahead from the first. As the closer makes its way through more harmonized soloing in its middle and toward its instrumental, also-solo-topped final minutes, and ends in classy fashion with a quick wash of cymbals and pulled-string scorch, the message is no less plain than it has been all along that the foursome have a determined idea of what they want to do as a band, who they are as players and songwriters, and how they should be working together toward the common goals of their processes. The value of that isn’t to be understated when it comes to making Awakening work as well as it does. Given the progressive feel they elicit throughout, that underlying consciousness couldn’t be more appropriate, and it is one more way in which Blues Funeral earn the listener’s trust in terms of the moves they make here and, invariably, those that will follow their next time out.

Blues Funeral on Thee Facebooks

Blues Funeral on Bandcamp

Tags: , , , , ,

End Hip End It: Acid King, Elder, Dead Meadow, Josefus & Many More to Play

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

I’m not gonna discount the notion of seeing the likes of Josefus sharing the stage with The Well and Doomstress, or of watching the almighty Acid King roll out their riffly triumphs next to Dead MeadowElderMothership and a megaslew of others, but I think the fact that if you buy a ticket for the second day of End Hip End It you get two slices of pizza speaks volumes to the vibe the Spring, Texas-based festival is going for, and that’s a vibe with which I think just about anybody can get down.

The lineup is varied from Funeral Horse and Switchblade Jesus to King Buffalo and Stone Machine Electric, but there’s a heaping representation of the fertile Texan underground here, and that’s likewise respectable. My understanding is they’ve run into some branding issues — I guess repeating any word in your fest name in Texas is verboten because you’re making fun of SXSW? seems to me SXSW could stand to be taken down a peg or two, but couldn’t we all? — and might rename the event for 2018, but whatever you call it, it looks like a good time to me.

Lineup, other info and ticket link follow:

end-hip-end-it-2017

END HIP END IT MUSIC FESTIVAL

OCT 21 – OLD TOWN SPRING, TEXAS

DAY 1 will feature 25 bands in Old Town Spring, Texas. Preservation Park will have three stages of music as well as many interactive art projects thanks to the Generators Playground.

Stage 1
Dead meadow 12:00 – 1:00
The Bright Light Social Hour 10:40 – 11:20
Golden Dawn Arkestra 9:20 – 10:00
Bayonne 8:00 – 8:40
The deer 6:40 – 7:20
AMERICAN SHARKS 5:20 – 6:00
ROSE ETTE 4:00 – 4:40
VANILLA WHALE 3:00 – 3:40
pyreship 2:00 – 2:30
JODY SEABODY & THE WHIRLS 1:00 – 1:30

Stage 2
Acid King 11:20 – 12:00
ELDER 10:00 – 10:40
MOTHERSHIP 8:40 – 9:20
king buffalo 7:20 – 8:00
eagle claw 6:00 – 6:40
greenbeard 4:40 – 5:20
funeral horse 3:30 – 4:00
SWITCHBLADE JESUS 2:30 – 3:00
WARLUNG 1:30 – 2:00

Stage 3
John Evans Band 8:20 – 9:00
Flower Graves 7:10 – 7:50
The Cuckoos 6:10 – 6:50
Ancient Cat Society 5:10 – 5:50
The Mammoths 4:10 – 4:50
Mantra Love 3:10 – 3:50
Howard & the Nosebleeds 2:10 – 2:40

OCT 22 – WALTER’S DOWNTOWN
SUNDAY at Walter’s Downtown there will be two stages with 13 bands on rotation. Ticket purchasers will receive two drink tickets and two pizza slices!

the well
L.A. Witch
doomstress
amplified heat
space villains*
white dog
josefus
crypt trip
stone machine electric
only beast
concrete heat
daze
shallow

KIP Passes get you…
Entry to both days
backstage access
FREE T-shirt on Saturday
access to hammock hangout
one extra beer on Sunday

At End Hip End It you will find a tightly tucked 20 acre plot of land filled with green grass, craft breweries, interactive art projects, live music, beer tasting events, auctions for charities, Light shows, food trucks, VIP access, local vendors, and more. Interactive art projects will be hosted by Bao Pham of the Generators Playground.

https://www.facebook.com/HoustonPsychFest/
https://www.facebook.com/events/444285199249564/
http://www.endhipendit.com/
http://www.endhipendit.com/tickets
https://www.instagram.com/end_hip_end_it/
http://www.twitter.com/endhipendit

Acid King, Live at Electric Funeral Fest, June 17, 2017

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Mark Deutrom Signs to Season of Mist; New Album Due this Winter

Posted in Whathaveyou on August 2nd, 2017 by JJ Koczan

Hearty congratulations to Mark Deutrom on inking a deal to release his next solo album through Season of Mist. The Austin-based producer, solo artist, Clown Alley and Bellringer founder and peak-era Melvins (yeah, that’s right — I said it) bassist seems to have made a multi-tiered pact with the increasingly broad-minded and deeply respected purveyor imprint, and one can’t help but wonder if in addition to reissuing at least some of his back catalog — likely including Bellringer‘s 2016 debut full-length, Jettison (review here) — the next couple years won’t find Deutrom behind the board tracking other Season of Mist-related acts. I don’t know that you’d ever pry them away from Steve Albini at this point, but how cool would a Deutrom-helmed Weedeater album be? Or Crippled Black Phoenix?

There’s no word about anything of the sort, of course, but cool to know Deutrom, who’s been a pretty steady presence around here the last couple years, has more new stuff in the works and will be taking his audience reach to an entirely different level with this new affiliation. Right on.

From the PR wire:

mark deutrom

MARK DEUTROM signs to Season of Mist

Season of Mist are proud to announce the signing of MARK DEUTROM. The prolific musician from Texas and former MELVINS member will not only release his next album via Season of Mist, but will also reissue his solo-material, and albums published under the BELLRINGER banner.

Regarding the signing, Mark comments: “I am delighted to be working with Season of Mist, and to be a part of their diverse and accomplished cabal. I’m also looking forward to a new chapter for my back catalog, as well as exploring new and uncharted sonic landscapes.”

MARK DEUTROM is a renowned guitarist, composer, songwriter, and producer. Mark studied composition at California Institute of the Arts in Valencia, USA. There he attended seminars with such composers as John Cage, Lou Harrison, Morton Feldman, Aaron Copland, and Morton Subotnick.

In 1986, MARK DEUTROM co-founded Alchemy Records in San Francisco, CA. During his time at the label he produced a record for his own band, CLOWN ALLEY, as well as records for scene stalwarts SACRILEGE, MELVINS, RKL, and NEUROSIS. Mark also released records for bands such as POISON IDEA, VIRULENCE, and more.

MARK DEUTROM was invited to play bass in the MELVINS in 1993. He joined the same year and remained in the band until 1998. Mark contributed material to the albums ‘Prick’, ‘Stoner Witch’, ‘Stag’, ‘Honky’, and additional releases. During his time with MELVINS, they toured with TOOL, NIRVANA, NINE INCH NAILS, KISS, and RUSH among others.

In 2006, MARK DEUTROM was invited to collaborate with SUNNO))) on various live dates in the USA and Europe.

Mark has released various solo projects and continues to produce for other bands.

Deutrom’s band BELLRINGER has served as the main live vehicle for his music and also collaborations with other musicians. BELLRINGER released their latest album ‘Jettison’ in 2016.

MARK DEUTROM will release his 6th solo album via Season of Mist in the coming winter.

www.markdeutrom.com
www.bellringeratx.com
www.facebook.com/BellringerTX
http://www.season-of-mist.com/
https://www.facebook.com/seasonofmistofficial
https://www.twitter.com/seasonofmist

Bellringer, Jettison (2016)

Tags: , , , ,

The Obelisk Presents: Heavy Mash Fest, Sept. 23 in Arlington, TX

Posted in The Obelisk Presents on July 12th, 2017 by JJ Koczan

heavy mash fest poster

Few things in life are better than spending a full day at a fest with a killer lineup, and so I’m happy as hell to have The Obelisk stand among the presenters for the inaugural Heavy Mash on Sept. 23 in Arlington, Texas. The all-dayer-type event features 10 bands from all around Arlington and Fort Worth, as well as one from Monroe and one from — because, hey, why not? — Adelaide, Australia, but a good swath of Lone Star heavy is represented, and anytime you get Wo Fat on board to headline, you know choice-cut groove will be had. The Dallas trio don’t do it any other way.

Heavy Mash will be held at Division Brewing, so one imagines all the more of a party atmosphere as the day plays out amid fine beers and good times from band to band, and with the likes of jam-psych duo Stone Machine Electric, classic style stoner rockers Boudain, and more aggressive groove-rollers like Cursus on the bill — not to mention the swaggering two-piece Filthy Lucre, who will make that journey across the Pacific to get there — it’s a sonically diverse lineup to which I’m proud to have this site’s name attached. I don’t think I’ll get to Arlington for it, because money, and money, and money, but if you’re either in the area or can make the trip, doing so seems like a total no-brainer. Hopefully it’ll be recorded one way or another, video and/or audio.

You already saw the awesomeness of the poster above, the Thee Facebooks event page is here, but here’s the full lineup and more info:

Heavy Mash 2017 featuring Wo Fat and more!

Arlington, TX Heavy Music Festival – Sept. 23, 2017

Division Brewing
506 E Main St, Arlington, Texas 76010

In conjunction with Division Brewing in Arlington, TX, we are pleased to announce this small fest sponsored by Division Brewing, The Obelisk, Off the Record Label, and Fistful of Doom Radio! It will be held at Division Brewing in Arlington, TX on September 23rd from 2pm to midnight. Below is our full line-up, starting with the headlining act:

Wo Fat – the veteran swampadelic trio from Dallas, TX
Filthy Lucre – desert blues from Adelaide, South Australia
Stone Machine Electric – weird doom-jazz duo from Fort Worth, TX
Cursus – psychedelic sludge from San Antonio, TX
Orcanaut – heavy/progressive shit from Denton, TX
Boudain – stoner-groove four-piece from Monroe, LA
FTW – heavy blues trio from Fort Worth, TX
The Dirty Seeds – face melting stoner rock from Houston, TX
Black on High – three true thugs from Fort Worth, TX
Justinian – stoner metal from Arlington, TX

Wo Fat, Live at Maryland Doom Fest 2017

Heavy Mash 2017 event page on Thee Facebooks

Heavy Mash on Thee Facebooks

Division Brewing website

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Heavy Glow Announce Breakup; New Projects in the Works

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

Songcraft specialists Heavy Glow have called it quits. Actually, if you want to go by their minimal statement of same, they’re calling it a ‘day,’ but it works out to be the same anyhow. They’re not a band anymore. The announcement came through Thee Facebooks late last week and as you can see below, that’s basically all they had to say about it.

Well, fair enough, right? Cool band breaks up? We’ve all heard that story before and really, that bottom line is what it is. Fine. But I decided to get some more info on the subject — investigative reporting! — and so I emailed frontman Jared Mullins over the weekend and asked what happened and what he’d be up to next. You might recall the trio had new material in progress as a follow-up to 2014’s Pearls and Swine and Everything Fine (review here), which was also released last year by Kozmik Artifactz (info here).

Turns out that next album has been recorded and Mullins may still do something with it. He offered a frank update on the end of Heavy Glow and the plan going forward that you can find below in its entirety:

heavy glow

Heavy Glow – Breakup Announcement

We’ve decided to call it a “day.” Two more shows and then its on to better things. Thank you all.

Jared Mullins on what’s next:

We’re changing the band name. When I first started HG in 2008 I didn’t know any other bands that had “Heavy” in their name. I just thought it was a cool hippy thing kinda like Iron Butterfly where you put two extremes next to each other. I don’t think I was the first to use “Heavy” in a band name but I didn’t know anyone else that did at the time. It stood out to me. Now almost 10 years later, every city has at least one band with “heavy” in their names. For years we’ve fought off comments about Red Hot Chili Peppers, Heavy Flows, Heavy Blows, Heavy Snows etc. So we’ve got two more shows as Heavy Glow and then we’ll go silent and come back under a different band name.

The new name will I think do us better by not poisoning the first impression of music-listeners. I’ve never been a stoner rock listener. For years I’ve been told my inspiration for writing has been all these stoner rock bands I’ve never listened to. Honestly I had no idea what stoner rock was when I was started the band. Now the name is synonymous with a genre I’m not truly a part of, and as the only contributing member of Heavy Glow since the start I need to be apart of something I believe in. I mean what really does “Got My Eye On You” have in common with bands like Mothership? Apples and oranges. Plus I have the added advantage of not being all that successful with the band so I’m not reluctantly forced to keep going with it.

So we’ll go blank for a few months and come back in a few with a new band name, new band members, new website, new photos etc. We recorded an album of 50 minutes of music in Oxfordshire England with Ian Davenport (Radiohead, Band of Skulls) back in January. Hardly anyone has paid attention to that I guess (proof it’s time after almost 10 years of Heavy Glow to do something else.) The album is the best thing I’ve ever written and closer to what I’ve been wanting to do with Heavy Glow. You don’t get invited to record in England if the material is no-good. So that’s the plan.

https://www.facebook.com/heavyglowband/
http://instagram.com/heavyglowmusic
https://twitter.com/heavyglowmusic
https://heavyglowband.bandcamp.com/
http://www.heavyglowmusic.com/

Heavy Glow, Pearls and Swine and Everything Fine (2014)

Tags: , , , , ,

Linus Pauling Quartet & Colt .38 to Release Psychedelic Battles Vol. 3 this Weekend

Posted in Whathaveyou on July 7th, 2017 by JJ Koczan

I have zero problem admitting that I don’t know what’s going on with the following update from Texan bizzaro-rockers Linus Pauling Quartet. It is a mystery. From the headline and the last couple paragraphs, I’ve gleaned that guitarist/vocalist Clinton Heider seems to be on his way out of the band and plans are nebulous as to whether or not they’ll continue or reform under another name or who knows what. In the meantime, their perhaps-last outing will be released this weekend in the form of Psychedelic Battles Vol. 3, a new split with Colt .38. The update though is 1,000 words and tells its story well enough, so if you can figure it out, good luck to you. There’s info in there somewhere.

Have at you:

linus-pauling-quartet-colt-38-psychedelic-battles-vol-3

Could this be the final LP4 release? Linus Pauling Quartet / Colt .38: Psychedelic Battles Volume Three – Available 10 July 2017

Linus Pauling Quartet/ Colt .38
Psychedelic Battles Volume Three
Available 10 July 2017 (Split LP)
10 October 2017 (LP4 Side – Digital)
Vincebus Eruptum Records, ITALY

PSYCHEDELIC BATTLES: MISSION REPORT
URGENT

From: Viperfish Command Vessel – S. Finley, Linus Pauling Quartet Central Command
To: Vincebus Eruptum Deep Sea Exploration HQ – Davide Pansolin for his eyes only
RE: Psychedelic Battles Volume Three – final report
Ref. No. 869492 03 July 2017

Davide,
I am well aware that it has been quite a while since our last communique and I apologize for our long silence. As Ti Ying informed you, our recent mission to seek out the sacred Eightfold Tube of Sa?s?ra met with great difficulty thanks in no small part to her misunderstanding of our motives. Yet, thanks to her timely delivery of our message to you, disaster was averted and we thank you for your decisive actions to, once again, save the universe.

Unfortunately, we write to you in dark times. It seems we have encountered a rogue faction, one that calls itself “Colt .38” who follows the words and deeds of a mysterious leader who simply goes by the moniker “Claudio C.” Their ruthlessness and cunning is like none we have ever encountered and while their motives are shrouded in mystery, the object of their obsession is quite clear – the work of one Doctor Daniel Franklin. His most recent creation – a hand made PIG 100 based on the fabled Mick Ronson Marshall PIG used in the Spiders from Mars era but scaled down to 100 watts (dual KT 88 tubes in the power section) – was like nothing anyone had seen or heard in recent memory. Dr. Franklin’s scholarship of the old ones and skills in the laboratory are without equal so it came as no surprize to us when we intercepted a message expressing Colt .38’s interest in placing his skills at the service of their nefarious goals.

We therefore, made our way to Dr. Franklin’s laboratory deep inside the West Rota submarine volcano as hastily as our submarine would take us. Unfortunately, we arrived to a ransacked laboratory and no sign of Dr. Franklin. It is at this stage where we found a set of portal controls, clearly of Dr. Franklin’s design, that had been beaten badly with some implement to hinder ours or anyone else’s ability to follow. This posed little resistance against the savvy skills of our own engineer, Larry Liska, and repairs were made in less than a day.

After the repairs, we entered the portal and soon found ourselves in a dimension much like our own but quite different. Dr. Carol Sandin Cooley surmised it to be in parallel to our own but simply resonating at a different frequency where color and sound are both vibrant and disorienting. It is in this dimension where we finally encountered Colt .38. Upon a ridge with a wary Dr. Franklin at his side, Claudio C. cast various incantations shouting, “Persona! Chrismagic! Happy! Amplesso in DO m!” that conjured up such beasts as we have never dreamt. In response, Charlie Naked used his powers to call upon the powerful “Jólakötturinn” to our side while Clinton Heider drew upon the resolute force of “Trees” to aid us. There, in that dimension, we engaged for many months in Psychedelic Battle with Colt .38 of which we have provided you with this audio log.

I cannot say whether or not our mission was successful for, while we were able to rescue Dr. Franklin, Colt .38 was able to escape with many volumes of his notes and, worse yet, it appears as if this mission may perhaps be the last for our First Lieutenant Clinton Heider. Upon looking at the carnage in the killing fields – the many guitars and tubes senselessly butchered over these many months – he turned to us is a low and weary voice,”You’re seeing now a veteran of a thousand psychic wars! My energy is spent at last, and my armor is destroyed. I have used up all my weapons, and I’m helpless and bereaved. Wounds are all I’m made of! Did I hear you say that this is victory? Don’t let these shakes go on! It’s time we had a break from it!” And with those words, he removed his dog tags, discarded them upon the ground before us, and walked away towards the “Hearts of Animals.” Asked if he would return he, paused with his back to us and simply shrugged his shoulders before continuing on his path.

With his departure from the Linus Pauling Quartet, this could very well be the last transmission sent under that name. The rest of us, of course, will soldier onward to other adventures albeit under a different name as without Clinton’s contributions, it would be a disservice to our decades of work together to continue on under that title. We hope that you can understand our wished in this matter. Naturally, we will soon send you word on our latest expeditions but, for now, we ask that you simply review the audio log.

Keep on rockin’ in the free world.
CDR S.F.
Viperfish Command Vessel

PSYCHEDELIC BATTLES: TECHNICAL DETAILS (SIDE A)
Italy’s Vincebus Eruptum Records Presents:
The third volume of the Psychedelic Battles series…

Linus Pauling Quartet/ Colt .38
Psychedelic Battles Volume Three
Release date (ltd. ed. 300 LP): 10th of July 2017
Release Date (side A – Digital): 10 October 2017
Limited edition vinyl (VELP018): 300 copies on coloured vinyl
Track-list:
A1 -Linus Pauling Quartet- Jólaköttur
A2 -Linus Pauling Quartet – Trees
B1 -Colt .38- Persona
B2 -Colt .38 – Chrismagic
B3 -Colt .38- Happy
B4 -Colt .38- Amplesso in DO m

Side A Notes
Linus Pauling Quartet – Jólaköttur/Trees

Carol Sandin Cooley: electronics, light theremin, vocals, Weapon of Annihilation
Stephen Finley: bass, Taurus pedals, Hammond B3, Bow of the High Forest
Clinton Heider: vocals, guitars, Life Drinker
Larry Liska: batterie, gong, Doomhammer
Ramon Medina: electric and acoustic guitars, backing vocals, Morne’s Great Hammer
Charlie Naked: guitars, backing vocals, Wand of Misplaced Objects
Flip Osman- PolyMoog, backing vocals, Axe of Hurling

Recorded at Digital Warehaus Productions Houston, TX
Stephen Finley – Recording and Mixing engineer
Andrew King – Asst engineer

Mastered by Mark Kidney at The Stone Sound

www.digitalwarehausproductions.com
All music side A
(c) 2015 The Linus Pauling Quartet, BMI
Music & Lyrics by the Linus Pauling Quartet
Dedicato alla memoria di Enrico Ramunni.

http://vincebuseruptum.bigcartel.com/product/the-linus-pauling-quartet-colt38-psychedelic-battles-volume-three
https://www.facebook.com/VincebusEruptumHeadquarter/

Linus Pauling Quartet, “Jólaköttur”

Colt .38, “Persona” official video

Tags: , , , , , , ,

Review & Track Premiere: Venomous Maximus, No Warning

Posted in audiObelisk, Reviews on July 5th, 2017 by JJ Koczan

venomous-maximus-no-warning

“‘Sea of Sleep’ is a song that is broken up into three parts: past, present and future. We always try to include little references to our personal influences in our music. Whether or not you know realize it, we know it’s there. The song title itself is a reference to Saturn. The bass intro is very ‘NIB.’

“We want you to always hear our influences; it’s what keeps it classic. We don’t steal from it. We were born with it. We are here to keep it alive. I think that’s a big difference between us and other bands nowadays. Some people try so hard to have it and some were born to live it.” — Gregg Higgins on “Sea of Sleep”

[Click play above to stream the premiere of “Sea of Sleep” from Venomous Maximus’ No Warning. Album is out July 28 via Shadow Kingdom Records.]

Now at some six years’ remove from their debut EP, 2011’s The Mission (review here), dark-toned Houston rockers Venomous Maximus remain a band unto themselves. No Warning is their third long-player and second for Shadow Kingdom Records, which brought the four-piece aboard for 2015’s Firewalker (review here) — a workmanlike follow-up to their 2012 debut, Beg upon the Light (review here) — and like everything they’ve done to this point in their tenure, it is marked out by its crisp sense of songwriting and cohesive aesthetic presentation. Their sound, like their cover art this time around, is a multi-faceted collage. It finds them dug deep into horror rock and classic metal influences, tinged with doom so that in any given riff one might hear strains of PentagramIron Maiden, the Misfits, or in the case of the acoustic-minded “All of My Dreams” and the penultimate side B interlude “Endless” here, more cavernous strains of the NWOBHM at its creepiest.

Presented over two clearly demarcated halves, each with its own synth-y intro — aptly-titled “I” and “II” on the digital version, seemingly unnamed in the vinyl tracklist — No Warning adds a progressive edge to Venomous Maximus‘ well-honed theatrical sensibility, and though guitarist Gregg Higgins has his fist-in-the-air vocal declarations working to the group’s advantage in sway and personality alike, he, fellow guitarist Christian Larson, bassist Trevi Biles and drummer Bongo Brungardt sound more assured than ever of the bewitching nature of their hooks and more poised in executing the sonic turns between the chugging “Pray for Me” and the more metallic “Return of the Witch,” which would seem to be a direct sequel to “Give up the Witch,” which was a highlight of both The Mission and Beg upon the Light. Could it be that, six years later, Venomous Maximus are feeling a little reflective on how far they’ve come and what they’ve done in their time thus far?

If so, on that level, No Warning is woefully misnamed. The fact of the matter is everything the band has conjured in terms of craft and sound has been a warning to those who’ve been willing to pay attention for what their third outing brings across its efficient 10-track/41-minute stretch. That’s not to say it’s redundant — far from it — just that the point at which Venomous Maximus show themselves having arrived throughout cuts like post-intro opener “Spellbound” and the later, Mercyful Fate-d guitar weep of “Blood for Blood” is one predicated on their prior accomplishments. They couldn’t be where they are without having been where they were. That No Warning was recorded by Toxic Holocaust‘s Joel Grind certainly adds a sense of metallic cred to the proceedings, and his handling of the mix creates a sense of depth throughout that only further draws the material together.

venomous maximus

Bottom line, perhaps, is that Venomous Maximus are an experienced band at this point and they sound like it, and that their third record stands as an affirmation of their style and execution at its strongest. As “Spellbound” starts off with ghoulish glee and the central riff of “Pray for Me” seems to nod at the doom-pop of Ghost without losing its edge, overall Venomous Maximus still sound most like themselves. They’re a powerful live act, and as always, Higgins brings a formidable presence to the studio as well, whether it be in the sharp-edged turns of “Pray for Me” or the longer “Return of the Witch,” which follows and is a clear focus point for the outing as a whole. It may or may not be intended as an answer to “Give up the Witch” — which still stands among the band’s most landmark choruses — but the title-line repetitions across its 5:50 run would seem to make it one either way, and if that’s an easter egg for those who’ve followed the band throughout their years, then fair enough. They’ve more than earned the right to speak directly to their fans.

That said, I’d still call Venomous Maximus somewhat underappreciated as a group. Yes, they’ve toured with High on Fire, and they went abroad earlier in 2017 to play Desertfest in London, but as they expand their palette here with the strums of “All of My Dreams,” the classic biker riffing of their title-track and the later gallop of closer “Sea of Sleep,” what they bring to realization on an aesthetic level still seems generally undervalued. Whether or not No Warning will change that, I don’t know, but it does present the next logical forward step in their ongoing development, tightening their approach from where it was even on Firewalker while holding firm to the atmospheric elements that have helped define who Venomous Maximus are and have become throughout their time.

It may well be that their refusal to play entirely to one subgenre or another has led to some misread on the part of their audience — too metal for the doomers, too doom for the headbangers, too dramatic for the ultra-serious? — but from where I sit that only makes them more admirable. To listen to them toy with vocal echoes on “Blood for Blood,” or dig into raspy call and response there, or to hear the energetic start that “Spellbound” brings to No Warning lead to the sudden stop in the unfolding and turn toward thrashing vibes on “Sea of Sleep,” it seems that no matter where Venomous Maximus want to make their riffs go, it’s fair game.

They cap “Sea of Sleep” with a hidden bonus riff (visible in the wavform above), as if to sneak one more in before actually ending the album, and that too puts the emphasis right where the band wants it. Make no mistake, Venomous Maximus are and have always been putting on a show. Their records are like a black-swirl cultish carnival. But that show has never been pretentious in the slightest about wanting to offer listeners anything more than a good time, and they’ve never sounded more in command of concept, structure and delivery than they do on No Warning. It is a well-earned victory in a hopefully ongoing series thereof.

Venomous Maximus, No Warning (2017)

Venomous Maximus on Thee Facebooks

Venomous Maximus on Instagram

Venomous Maximus on Bandcamp

Shadow Kingdom Records website

Shadow Kingdom Records on Bandcamp

Shadow Kingdom Records on Thee Facebooks

Tags: , , , , ,

Canyon of the Skull Announce The Desert Winter out Aug. 19

Posted in Whathaveyou on June 27th, 2017 by JJ Koczan

Well, it was pretty plain when instrumentalist Texas duo Canyon of the Skull released their 2015 self-titled debut (discussed here), that the band was headed in the direction of a single-song release. It didn’t take them long to get there, it would seem. The first outing was comprised of two cuts, 17 and 18 minutes long, respectively, and the follow-up, which is titled The Desert Winter and due out Aug. 19, is one 37-minute track. Bound to happen. Had to happen. Is happening. Hard to argue.

Interesting that though it was recorded last October and seems to have a colder theme — if one that, like their name, gives a strong sense of place and warmth derived from that; i.e., the desert is hot (I know it’s insights like that that keep you coming back to The Obelisk; stay tuned for more information about the sky being blue) — it’ll arrive at basically the height of summer’s intolerable onslaught. Go figure? Yeah, go figure.

If you missed out on the debut the first go ’round, you can stream it at the bottom of this post. The PR wire checks in with the following:

canyon-of-the-skull-the-desert-winter

CANYON OF THE SKULL Releasing ‘The Desert Winter’ August 19

CANYON OF THE SKULL has returned! The instrumental Doom duo of guitarist Erik Ogershok and Adrian Voorhies (Humut Tabal) will release sophomore album The Desert Winter on August 19. The CD version will be available in a gorgeous 6-panel format.

Consisting of the undeniably epic 37-minute title track of blackened doom, The Desert Winter is a journey deep into the psyche. Listeners are strongly advised to clear out all head space (and any earwax) and settle in for this existential Ride of the Doomed!

The brainchild of Erik Ogershok, COTS was initially manifested in the winter of 2006. Several local appearances and lineup fluctuations later, life happened, and the project lay dormant. 2014 saw the return of Ogershok as he recruited new musical personnel in the form of drummer Adrian Voorhies of the Austin-based Black Metal outfit HUMUT TABAL and once more brought the doom ensemble to life to melt the faces of all who sought shade in the Canyon walls.

Recorded at WoodenHorse studios October 2016
Mixed and Produced by Zawicizuz and Canyon of the Skull
Mastered by Proscriptor McGovern (Russ R. Givens) at Nox Luna Inlustris Music
Artwork Layout and design by Erik Bredthauer

Adrian Voorhies- Drums, Percussion
Erik Ogershok- Guitars, Bass, Percussion

Canyonoftheskull.bandcamp.com
Facebook.com/canyonoftheskull
Twitter.com/canyondoom

Canyon of the Skull, Canyon of the Skull (2015)

Tags: , , , ,