Review & Full Album Premiere: Duel, Live at the Electric Church

Posted in audiObelisk, Reviews on May 15th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

duel live at the electric church

[Click play above to stream Duel’s Live at the Electric Church in full. Album is out May 18 on Heavy Psych Sounds.]

On Cesar Chavez St. in Austin, Texas, far enough from the 6th St. epicenter of the hype machine known as SXSW, the weirdos seem to have made a haven called The Electric Church. On a given night, one might see an open mic/psych jam played out while video games are projected on the wall outside — they call it “Triptendo,” and rightly so — or local acts like Greenbeard, Amplified Heat or Peyote Coyote. I don’t know when Duel recorded Live at the Electric Church there, and I kind of like that. I’m sure somewhere on the CD or LP package there’s the date (digital promo) or I’m sure if you asked the band when they played that particular set, they wouldn’t keep it a secret, but I kind of like the thought of not knowing. If you’ve never been to Austin, it has traditionally been an enclave in Texas for artists, musicians, hippies and others who don’t fit the norm.

It’s cool to think that one might head up to a kind of off-the-path locale on the other side of the highway and find creativity flourishing in all its constantly misunderstood glory. Maybe Duel are on stage. The four-piece outfit have made themselves ambassadors of classic stoner rock, delivering the goods with ’70s flair, modern fuzz, and abundant hooks as they bounce and careen through deceptively memorable tracks. They’ve got two full-lengths out via Heavy Psych Sounds in 2016’s Fears of the Dead (review here) and 2017’s Witchbanger (review here), and with Live at the Electric Church, they show off the energy and the clear delivery that typifies the approach they’ve developed on tours of the US and Europe.

The set is a little over half an hour long and is comprised of six songs, four of which come from Fears of the Dead, with only “The Snake Queen” and the subsequent “Heart of the Sun” taken from Witchbanger. Likely that has more to do with the timing of when the show was taped than some aesthetic consideration or a preference for the band for their debut over their sophomore outing. That is, Witchbanger probably just hadn’t been out all that long when they played that gig, or the four/two split might just as easily be reversed. As it is, “The Snake Queen” and “Heart of the Sun” make up the middle third of the set, with the brash “This Old Crow” and the righteous hook of “Electricity” before and the Fears of the Dead title-track and longer closer “Locked Outside” after.

duel

Throughout, on new material and old, Duel‘s lineup of guitarist/vocalist Tom Frank, guitarist Jeff Henson, bassist/vocalist Shaun Avants and drummer JD Shadowz leave no question as to why they’d want to release this particular evening’s set as they not only sound dynamic in terms of speeding up or slowing down songs, but also in bringing different vibes through in their material, such as the transition from “Electricity” to the largely more subdued “Snake Queen,” which forsakes the all-go-all-destroy live ethic of some bands — nothing against it, especially for a shorter set — in favor of something richer on the whole. Captured by Crow Studios on a mobile recording unit, Live at the Electric Church is crisp and sharp sounding, but doesn’t lose its live edge in order to preserve its underlying melody or the aforementioned dynamic of approach. As with Duel on the whole, it finds a balance that works.

And if on this particular night they happened to play more cuts from the first album, so be it. I don’t think I’d trade the slow-roll-into-reignition of “Fears of the Dead” for much anyway. That song and the 8:49 “Locked Outside” are the longest two on Live at the Electric Church, and as on Fears of the Dead, much of the second half of the closer is given to a last instrumental push that after the shared vocals of Frank and Avants in the trippy midsection takes hold fluidly and moves with natural ease toward the eventual grand crescendo of the set as a whole. From the quick and straightforward bruiser “This Old Crow” at the start, it’s a pretty wide-ranging journey toward “Locked Outside,” but as Duel shuffle and boogie their way through, they leave a trail of hooks behind for the audience to follow, and from the whoops and shouts between the songs, it sounds like they succeeded in that.

I haven’t had the pleasure of watching Duel live and I’m quite sure that if I had I’d be speaking about Live at the Electric Church in a different way, but part of the purpose of live albums in the first place isn’t just to give ans something else to latch onto between studio releases, but to give those who haven’t seen the band yet a teaser of what they’ve been missing. As someone in the latter category, I can only say Live at the Electric Church succeeds there as well, showcasing both the songwriting prowess and the vitality of the band while holding to the brazen feel that the songs demand. Everything works. Band, songs, performance. If you’ve got experience with Duel‘s prior work or you want a 32-minute sampler of what they can do, Live at the Electric Church serves to inform and thrill in kind.

Duel on Thee Facebooks

Duel on Bandcamp

Heavy Psych Sounds on Thee Facebooks

Heavy Psych Sounds website

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Funeral Horse to Release Psalms for the Mourning June 15; New Song Posted

Posted in Whathaveyou on May 14th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

funeral horse

If you think you know what to expect from Funeral Horse, you’re probably thinking of another band. The Houston weirdos specialize in being ever-so-slightly-and-sometimes-way-way off-kilter, and even in their new single “Burial Under the Sun” you can hear a swath of influences from desert rock to classic metal to raw punk working their way into their songwriting. It’s been a minute since they released their last record, 2015’s Divinity for the Wicked (review here), but the intervening stretch seems to have done nothing do dull their delight in toying with various styles and substances throughout their process of craft. To wit, the piano end of the track at the bottom of this post.

Psalms for the Mourning — did I forget to mention there was a new album coming? well there is — is out June 15 via Artificial Head Records. The PR wire brings details and whatnots and the preorder link:

funeral horse psalms for the mourning

FUNERAL HORSE RETURN: Texan doom punks deliver new album, Psalms For The Mourning

Psalms For The Mourning by Funeral Horse is released worldwide on 15th June via Artificial Head Records

Stream and share new song ‘Burial Under The Sun’ now!

Made up of front man/guitarist Paul Bearer, drummer Chris Bassett and new addition, Clint Rater on bass, Funeral Horse return to the fold this June with a brand-new studio album; their third in the canon for the Houston-based record label, Artificial Head Records.

Catching up on almost three years in the wilderness since the release of their 2015’s stoned-opus, Divinity For The Wicked, Psalms For The Mourning finds the industrious Texan trio revamping the thunderous doom-pop and hard rock that secured their cult status amidst the current crop of underground US rock. As an aural monument for the maligned, Divinity… made several inroads into the media with positive reviews from the likes of Terrorizer and Decibel, but here on Psalms For The Mourning, Funeral Horse serve up a true rock ‘n’ roll sermon for the masses. It’s an album that’s positively waiting to be picked up and played by those that have chosen their whole lives to turn on, tune in and drop out in pursuit of volume.

Amid a mass brawl of fresh proto-metal riffs, warped vocals, neo-folk and red eyed ’80s post-hardcore punk, under the influence of bands such as The Melvins, Led Zeppelin, Kyuss and Harvey Milk, the sonic experimentation Funeral Horse found on previous albums remains, but is now deeply woven into their songs and not separated into stand-alone pieces. This is music to gouge minds to. From the seemingly/misleadingly upbeat opener ‘Better Half of Nothing’, to the brooding and bold ‘No Greater Sorrow (Than My Love)’ and outright brutality of ‘Sacrifice of A Thousand Ships’, the band opens its doors once more to an even wider world of distortions and digressions.

“We took more time writing and recording this material, taking in the turmoil from touring and personal conflicts and the loss of some good friends along the way,” explains front man Paul Bearer. “We’ve kept to the roots of who we are but the band’s tours in England, Wales, Scotland, Ireland and Mexico last year was another big factor in the amount of care and time we took with the album. Those tours exposed us to some amazing bands and people who have helped to share in what the band is today.”

Psalms For The Mourning by Funeral Horse is released worldwide on 15th June via Artificial Head Records.

Pre-order now at artificialheadrecords.bandcamp.com

FUNERAL HORSE:
Paul Bearer – Vocals, Guitars
Chris Bassett – Drums
Clint Rater – Bass

LIVE DATES:
16/6 – RECORD RELEASE SHOW: Spruce Goose Social Flyers Club – Houston, TX
17/6 – RECORD RELEASE SHOW: Antone’s Record Shop – Austin, TX
20/6 – 524 Studios – Baton Rouge, LA
21/6 – Hops and Habanas – Jackson, MS
22/6 – Old Nicks – Birmingham, AL
23/6 – Autograph Rehearsal Studio – Murfreesboro, TN
24/6 – Hot Springs Event Centre – Hot Springs, AR
7/7 – ARTIFICIAL HEAD RECORDS SHOWCASE: The Almighty Moontower Inn – Houston, TX

https://www.facebook.com/FuneralHorse
https://www.instagram.com/funeralhorse/
https://funeralhorse.bandcamp.com/
https://funeralhorse.com/

Funeral Horse, “Burial Under the Sun”

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Stone Machine Electric Post Update on New Material

Posted in Whathaveyou on May 11th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

A vague update, a merch sale, and then, hey, a send-us-your-address-and-we’ll-send-you stickers-and-whatnot, and yeah, that’s pretty much the latest from Texas duo Stone Machine Electric. Charming as ever, and no, I’m not being sarcastic about that. They’ve had new material in the works for a while now for an album that either will or will not get out before the end of the year, and last we heard from them, they were talking up a CD pressing of their 2014 Garage Tape (review here) release that seems to be available to order now from their Bandcamp.

All good stuff, and I’m curious to find out if they’ll put together another Heavy Mash for this year. You might recall, the inaugural edition in 2017 was presented in part by this site. Still one of my favorite show posters as well.

Here’s the latest newsletter from the band:

stone machine electric

THE ELECTRIC REPORT 13

We’ve been a little recluse this year, but that’s because we’re working on all that “behind the scenes” stuff you never see. It’s ugly, we’re ugly, but everything is ugly! Don’t fret, unless you’re playing guitar, that means we’ve got news we’re not disclosing quite yet. Nothing big, just working on the newer material. Getting ready to do things with it.

In the meantime, feel free to raid our merch store so you can help us bring you more news (wink-wink, say no more)! Use the code – electricreport – at our bandcamp site and get 20% off of anything. Anything.

You can still email us at band@stonemachineelectric.net and send us your physical mailing address. Maybe we’ll send you a postcard, a sticker, or who knows what! Yeah, who knows what we’re doing – we don’t….

I bet you want to know Will we be playing Heavy Mash again this year? Are you wondering what Heavy Mash is?

Did you know Kitchens released a solo effort under the name Slow Draw? You should check it out!

https://www.facebook.com/StoneMachineElectric/
https://twitter.com/SME_band
http://stonemachineelectric.bandcamp.com/
http://www.stonemachineelectric.net/
www.offtherecordlabel.com

Stone Machine Electric, “The Demon and the Bird” official video

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Cloud Catcher & Crypt Trip Announce ‘Wheels of Fire 2018’ Tour

Posted in Whathaveyou on May 3rd, 2018 by JJ Koczan

I’m just going to assume ‘Wheels of Fire’ is like ‘Chariots of Fire’ but with a much, much, much better soundtrack. The tour will unite Denver headspinners Cloud Catcher with Texas heavy rockers Crypt Trip, whose debut on Heavy Psych Sounds, Rootstock, is out next week. Presented by Hi-Wattage Booking, it looks like a healthy run, covering a goodly portion of California from north to south before swinging back to Texas and letting Cloud Catcher — still supporting last year’s righteous Trails of Kozmic Dust (review here) on Totem Cat play a gig in Oklahoma City on their way back to Colorado.

A little surprising they’re not hitting up the Pacific Northwest — Seattle, Portland, etc. — this trip, but Cloud Catcher were there last Fall, so it’s not exactly like the ground hasn’t been covered. Still, this seems like it’ll be a good time and I can’t help but wonder at this point if Cloud Catcher don’t have some new material they might be trying out on the road. If you get to see them, let me know.

Here’s the poster and dates:

cloud catcher crypt trip tour

CLOUD CATCHER & CRYPT TRIP
WHEELS OF FIRE 2018 TOUR

May 19 Denver, CO Hi-Dive
May 21 Salt Lake City, UT Urban Lounge
May 23 Las Vegas, NV Bunkhouse
May 24 Reno, NV Jub Jubs
May 25 Nevada City, CA Coopers Ale House
May 26 San Francisco, CA Thee Parkside
May 27 Sacramento, CA Blue Lamp
May 28 Los Angeles, CA The Griffin
May 29 Long Beach, CA Que Sera
May 30 San Diego, CA Brick By Brick
June 1 San Antonio, TX The Mix
June 2 Austin, TX Hotel Vegas
June 3 Ft. Worth, TX Tin Panther
June 4 Oklahoma City, OK Blue Note (CC ONLY)

Presented by Hi-Wattage Booking

Poster by Christina Hunt http://www.heavymetaltalisman.com

CLOUD CATCHER is:
Rory Rummings – Guitar and Vocals
Kam Wentworth – Bass and Vocals
Jared Soloman Handman – Drums

CRYPT TRIP is
Ryan Lee: Guitar, Vocals, Elec. Piano
Cameron Martin: Drums, Vocals, Perc.
Sam Bryant: Bass

https://cloud-catcher.bandcamp.com/
https://www.facebook.com/cloudcatcherco

https://www.facebook.com/CryptTrip/
https://crypttrip.bandcamp.com/

Cloud Catcher, Trails of Kozmic Dust (2017)

Crypt Trip, Rootsock (2018)

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Doomstress Touring Midwest Next Month

Posted in Whathaveyou on April 26th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

doomstress

Doomstress ride again. Actually, that’s pretty much been the story of the band since the first time they rode. They’ve toured steadily since the release of their first EP 2016’s Supernatural Kvlt Sounds (video premiere here), which got a follow-up in last year’s The Second Rite (discussed here), issued via NoSlip Records and DHU Records.

Appropriately enough, the run starts and ends in Texas, heading up to Wisconsin and back between May 18 and May 26, and as they go out again, I still can’t help but wonder when we might see a full-length from them. Two EPs and numerous runs later, I don’t think anyone would say they aren’t ready or sounding like they’re not up to the task. Hell, they started out up to the task, even before all the touring. Maybe I’m just impatient. Scratch that. I’m definitely just impatient. Point stands.

Nonetheless, off they go:

doomstress may tour

Texas heavy metal doomers, DOOMSTRESS, will be rolling back out on the US highways for their 3rd tour in 2018 to support their “Supernatural Kvlt Sounds-The Second Rite” ep (released on cd via NoSlip Records and 12″ vinyl split w/Sparrowmilk via DHU Records)

The tour kicks off at the 11th annual Loud!Fest in Bryan/College Station, TX on Friday, May 18th, travelling as far north as Madison, WI and covering much of the central US region before it wraps up back in Alington,TX at Division Brewing.

DOOMSTRESS – May tour dates:

5/18-Bryan, TX at Loud!Fest @ Revolution Cafe
5/19-Oklahoma City, OK @ Blue Note
5/20-Albuquerque, NM @ Moonlight Lounge
5/21-Denver, CO @ Streets of London Pub
5/22-Omaha, NB @ Lookout Lounge
5/23- Madison, WI @ The Wisco
5/24-Lawrence,KS @ Replay Lounge
5/25-Little Rock, AR @ Vino’s
5/26-Arlington,TX @ Division Brewing

Doomstress is out supporting their latest release, Supernatural Kvlt Sounds: The Second Rite. The EP contains remixed versions from the original, very limited self release and 7″ DHU single, as well as new song “Bitter Plea” recorded at the end of the Wicked Summer tour and featuring additional rhythm guitar by guitarist Joe Fortunato (Sparrowmilk/Venomin James/ex-Ancient VVisdom). The artwork that will appear on both the CD & vinyl is by renowned psychedelic artist, Goatess Doomwych.

www.doomstress.com
www.doomstress.bandcamp.com
www.doomstress.bigcartel.com
https://www.facebook.com/DoomstressBand/
instagram.com/Doomstress_band
twitter.com/Doomstress
www.darkhedonisticunion.bigcartel.com
https://www.facebook.com/DHURecords/
https://twitter.com/dhu_records

Doomstress, “Bitter Plea” official video

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Destroyer of Light Announce Hopeless EP; New Track Posted; Touring West Coast

Posted in Whathaveyou on April 2nd, 2018 by JJ Koczan

destroyer of light

Last year, Texas four-piece Destroyer of Light hit a new level of misery entirely with their third long-player, Chamber of Horrors (review here). Seriously. Did you hear it? Don’t get me wrong, there’s a lot of doom out there these days, and a fair amount of it comes from the Lone Star state, but fucking hell, you want to talk about a band outdoing themselves, that’s exactly what happened with that record. All these guys have done is tour and kick ass. They’re like specialists.

Destroyer of Light have a new track posted now called “Nyx” that comes from their upcoming EP, Hopeless, which is out May 11 on their affiliated imprint, Heavy Friends Records. It’s nine minutes long, and the video’s cool, but if you have to put it on and switch to another tab or something because your life is just that busy — and hey, it may well be; if so, thanks for taking the time to check in — the important thing obviously is that you listen to the song, which once again is dead-on in its crawl and atmosphere. I swear this band would be bigger if their name didn’t make you think they were grindcore.

They’re not, by the way. Not grindcore.

To the PR wire:

destroyer of light hopeless

DESTROYER OF LIGHT: Texan Harbingers of Doom Return with Hopeless EP | West Coast Tour Kicks Off Next Month

Hopeless EP by Destroyer of Light is released on 11th May 2018 on Heavy Friends Records

From deep within the belly of the beast, Texan harbingers of doom Destroyer of Light rise in 2018 with the release of a brand-new EP and string of West Coast tour dates throughout North America.

Hopeless EP is the latest in the Austin-based quartet’s devastating canon and will get an official release on 11th May through Heavy Friends Records. Containing two, practically feature-length tracks which set out to fill the silence between the praise of last year’s Chamber of Horrors and the promise of their follow up full-length next year, the EP charts an ominous course into the heart of darkness which deals directly with depression, suicide and drug addiction. Reworking the grim theatricality and crushing, heavy metal dirges of their earlier recordings, death and destruction is very much the order of service but with a new and somewhat progressively charged life-force.

“With Hopeless, I wanted to focus more on my clean singing, and our song writing has become more melodic while still maintaining the heavy riffs,” explains guitarist/vocalist Steve Colca. “We don’t limit ourselves to what we write, and the direction you’ll hear on this EP is a taste of what’s to come in the future.”

Unmistakably influenced by the likes of Electric Wizard, Mercyful Fate, EYEHATEGOD, Sleep and Autopsy, along with countless literary and horror anthologies, this new EP signals a massive shift in potential and a development that will see the band step out of cavernous, dank basements and into psychedelic realms hitherto unknown. What’s more, on their way to that strange place, over the coming months the band takes to the road for an extensive West Coast tour (see tour info below) in support of Hopeless, which will be released on 11th May 2018 on Heavy Friends Records.

TOUR DATES:
20th April – El Paso, TX – Neon Rose
21st April – Albuquerque, NM – Sister Bar
22nd April – Denver, CO – Streets of London
23rd April – Boise, ID – High Note Cafe
24th April – Richland, WA – Emerald
25th April – Tacoma, WA – The Valley
26th April – Portland, OR – High Water Mark
27th April – Sacramento, CA – The Blue Lamp
28th April – San Francisco, CA – Thee Parkside
29th April – Pacifica, CA – Winter’s Tavern East
30th April – Los Angeles, CA – Five Star Bar
1st May – San Diego, CA – Til Two Club
2nd May – Tempe, AZ – Yucca Tap Room
3rd May – El Paso, TX – Rockin’ Cigar Bar
4th May – Odessa, TX – The Gabby Doo Saloon
5th May – San Antonio, TX – Faust Tavern
DESTROYER OF LIGHT:

Steve Colca – Guitar, Vocals
Nick Coffman – Bass
Keegan Kjeldsen – Guitar, Synth
Penny Turner – Drums

https://www.facebook.com/destroyeroflight/
http://www.instagram.com/destroyeroflightofficial/
http://www.twitter.com/DoLAustinDoom
http://destroyeroflight.bandcamp.com/

Destroyer of Light, “Nyx” official video

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Quarterly Review: Avon, The Discussion, Alms, Vessel of Light, Enojado, Mother Mars, Southfork, Gypsy Sun Revival, Valhalla Lights, L.O.W.

Posted in Reviews on April 2nd, 2018 by JJ Koczan

Quarterly-Review-Spring-2018

This is the part of each Quarterly Review when I begin to question my life choices. Otherwise known as ‘the beginning.’ I still haven’t decided if this is going to be a five-dayer or a six-dayer, but one way or another, between now and whenever it ends, at least 50 records will be reviewed in batches of 10 per day. It’s completely insane. Completely. Every three months or so I remind myself of this by doing it again, and every time it ends up being worth the insanity. I’ve no doubt that will be the case here as well, but looking across the next five days at placeholders where reviews need to be, well, yeah. It’s pretty insane.

So let’s go.

Quarterly Review #1-10:

Avon, Dave’s Dungeon

avon daves dungeon

Dave’s Dungeon is the second full-length from Californian desert rockers Avon, and with it they make their debut on Heavy Psych Sounds. Peppered with varied songwriting across alternately garage rocking cuts like “Yello,” “On Fire” and “Red Barn” (video premiere here), languid psychedelic excursions in “Space Native” and the subtly proggy “Hero with a Gun,” and the classic desert crunch of “Dungeon Dave,” “Mace Face” and “Terraformations,” the three-piece of vocalist/guitarist James Childs, bassist Charles Pasarell (also Waxy) and drummer Alfredo Hernández (ex-Kyuss, Yawning Man, etc.) have no doubt garnered attention due to the participation of the latter, but all three manage to leave their mark across the 10 tracks, particularly Childs. His English-accented vocals become a defining element in “Hero with a Gun” and “Yello,” and whether fast or slow, the rhythm section offers air-tight accompaniment. Straightforward in their approach but not without some flourish, Avon bring their own touch to the classic desert style and offer memorable songs in the process. Nobody loses.

Avon on Thee Facebooks

Heavy Psych Sounds website

 

The Discussion, European Tour EP

The Discussion European Tour Ep 2017

Issued to coincide with an initial string of Fall 2017 European shows, the aptly-titled Tour EP serves as the debut offering from The Discussion, and its five tracks mark the return of guitarist/vocalist Laura Pleasants, not heard from since the end of her prior outfit, Kylesa. With “A Gesture/Other Side,” Pleasants and company commune with post-rock and atmospheric stretch, where “Like Rain” and “Surf Jesus” channel New Wave and Blondie pop with an underlying heft of low end to add presence. Through it all, Pleasants’ vocals prove a patient and melodic element, and as “Before We’re Gone” brings in a moody krautrock sensibility and finale “Cuts Like a Knife” engages louder and more forward riffing in its final minute payoff, the message that The Discussion has only begun comes through loud and clear. Tour EP sounds like the beginning stages of a larger process of experimentation and creative growth, and one hopes it proves to be precisely that.

The Discussion on Thee Facebooks

The Discussion on Bandcamp

 

Alms, Demo Vol. 1

alms demo vol 1

Modern heavy rock groove meets classic metal guitar on AlmsDemo Vol. 1, which, as it turns out, is more of a sampler than an actual demo, comprised as it is of two rough mixes from the band’s forthcoming debut album. The result of this mesh on “The Offering” and “Dead Water” is somewhere between Uncle Acid swing and Iron Maiden twin lead work, and the five-piece do well immediately to own the combination and make it cohesive sonically. Traditional doom play more of a role in “Dead Water,” and the keys of vocalist Jess Kamen – joined by guitarist/vocalist Bob Sweeney, guitarist Danny McDonald, bassist Andrew Harris and drummer Derrick Hans – and while I don’t know what label it is that’s going to pick them up (I’d believe anyone from Ripple to Shadow Kingdom to Season of Mist, depending on how much they want to tour), but if these two songs are anything to go by, they’ll be lucky to get them.

Alms on Thee Facebooks

Alms on Bandcamp

 

Vessel of Light, Vessel of Light

vessel of light vessel of light

Collaborating between Ohio and New Jersey, Vessel of Light brings together vocalist Nathan Opposition of Ancient VVisdom and guitarist Dan Lorenzo of Hades. Their self-titled five-tracker EP (on Argonauta) melds bluesy metallic riffing with tales of murder and drugs on cuts like “Dead Flesh and Bones” (video premiere here) and its eponymous closer, which emphasizes a hook based around the lines, “LSD has got a hold on me/I wanna show you all the things that I’ve seen.” It goes like that. For Lorenzo, parts recall the groove he brought to short-lived heavy rock outfit The Cursed, but with Opposition’s lyrics and the periodic delving into harsher vocals, there’s a moodier and more aggressive edge to the songs that helps define the personality of the duo as a band. How often they’ll work together remains to be seen, they make a murderous introduction with this EP and there’s plenty of fodder here for further exploration should they get there.

Vessel of Light on Thee Facebooks

Argonauta Records website

 

Enojado, Mist and Thunder

enojado mist and thunder

German trio Enojado was founded by guitarist/vocalist Stephan Kieserling circa 2002, and though he’s been through numerous lineups since, with bassist/vocalist Thomas Schnaube and drummer Till Junker, he’s put together the band’s first release since their 2014 The Chain is Loose LP was issued by Setalight. At under half an hour and six tracks plus an intro, late 2017’s Mist and Thunder offers solid heavy rock songwriting with a straightforward approach bordering on the metallic in its tone but never quite departing a heavy rock context in rhythm, even in the starts and stops of “Notorious.” The obvious standout in heft is the seven-minute “Coma,” which seems to add weight to everything around it, from “The Truth About Gold” earlier to “I Saw the Sun,” which follows, and the finale in “Queen of Heaven,” which brings a quick payoff to the release and leaves a residual echo and drone/guitar minimalism for its last two minutes. Less derivative than it at first seems, Mist and Thunder might take multiple rounds to sink in, but proves worth the effort of a dedicated listen.

Enojado on Thee Facebooks

Enojado on Bandcamp

 

Mother Mars, On Lunar Highlands

mother mars on lunar highlands

It’s kind of rare for a band to sound like they’re making fun of their own music as they play it, and yet, “Lost Planet Airmen” from Mother Mars’ fourth full-length, On Lunar Highlands, does precisely that. The Aussie trio led by multi-instrumentalists Frank (drums, synth, Clavinet) and Paul (guitar, bass, synth, banjo-mandolin, keys) Attard – who also produced together – and featuring the bluesy stylings of vocalist Dave Schembri, did not make the 11-tracker a minor undertaking. Rather, at 69 minutes, it pushes through stoner boogie on “Thought it Best to Cut You Loose” and still has room for heady jams on extended pieces like “The Stalwarts of Stalwart Castle” (9:31), “Woodhollow Green” (12:55) and the penultimate title-track (8:35), which leads to the far-out banjo shenanigans of closer “The Heavy Hand of the Destroyer.” Needless to say, madness ensues. Interludes like “Bean Stalkin’” and “Bean Stalkin’ Again” and the experimental “The Working Mind of the Creator” add anything-can-happen flair, and the weirder On Lunar Highlands gets, the more it satisfies. It gets very, very weird.

Mother Mars on Thee Facebooks

Mother Mars on Bandcamp

 

Southfork, Through a Dark Lens

southfork through a dark lens
Two decades after their founding in 1997, Stockholm’s Southfork returned late last year with their first album since 2001’s Straight Ahead, the seven-track Through a Dark Lens, which itself is nearly five years in the making. Opening with its longest cut (immediate points) in the 7:59 “Already Gone,” the bass-heavy approach the band takes is indeed emblematic of an era now easily thought of as classic, but one could hardly call it dated for that. Rather, tracks like “Into the Deep” and “Tomb of the Mirror Men” flow easily from one to the next and the record reveals in the strut of “Seventosix” and the answer-back closer “Nowhere Gone” just why someone might put almost half a decade of effort into realizing it. Whether you remember Southfork’s original run or not, Through a Dark Lens offers immersive tone and songwriting and as Southfork have already followed it up with what seems to be a compilation release, it may signal a return to fuller activity on their part.

Southfork on Thee Facebooks

Southfork on Bandcamp

 

Gypsy Sun Revival, Journey Outside of Time

Gypsy Sun Revival Journey Outside Of Time

Production by Kent Stump (Wo Fat). Mastering by John McBain (ex-Monster Magnet). Released through Nasoni Records. Sure enough, the second album from Texas heavy psych rockers Gypsy Sun Revival, Journey Outside of Time, wants nothing for the quality of its associations and with the Hendrixian guitar work of Will Weise and the bluesy classic frontman approach of vocalist Mario Rodriguez, they earn that pedigree through and through. Tyler Gene Davis’ contributions on organ only further the ‘70s vibes on “To the Sky” before Weise takes a wah-soaked solo backed by Lee Ryan on bass and drummer Ben H., and the later two-part “Pisces” combines with closer “Departure” to create a thrilling jammed-out side B that takes the more structured craft of “Indigo” and catchy opener “Cadillac to Mexico” earlier and pulls them through an interdimensional haze that only does more to evoke the album’s title. Between Journey Outside of Time and Gypsy Sun Revival’s 2016 self-titled debut (review here), one is left wondering how long we’ll be able to think of them as a well-kept secret of Texas’ fertile heavy underground.

Gypsy Sun Revival on Thee Facebooks

Nasoni Records website

 

Valhalla Lights, My Gracious Highway

valhalla lights my gracious highway

There’s a commercial sense of clarity to Valhalla LightsMy Gracious Highway, which seems to have been originally issued by the band in 2016 but is being given a renewed international push. It’s a crisp 13-track/45-minute long-player, marked by solid songcraft and the forward performance of vocalist Ange Saul, who takes the place of departed original singer Phoebe Black, who passed away in 2015 just prior to guitarist George Christie, bassist Brent “Badger” Crysell and drummer Deon Driver – all formerly of heavy rockers FORT – entered the studio to record their debut release. Songs veer toward Queens of the Stone Age-style groove on “Hammer the Witch” and closer “Punk,” and there’s enough variety of mood between the brooding “Beautiful,” showcase centerpiece “The One” and “Darker Side of Love” and the all-go rockers “Rise Above,” “Crucify” and “Someday” to carry the listener through smoothly with an abiding sense of professionalism. Will be too clean for some listeners, but is largely inarguable in its execution.

Valhalla Lights on Thee Facebooks

Valhalla Lights website

 

L.O.W., Bones EP

low bones ep

Located in the northwest of Poland, the acronymic four-piece L.o.W. debut with the Bones EP, which hurls forth three extended works of extreme sludge led into by an atmospheric intro. The band – the lineup of vocalist Adam, guitarist Marek, drummer Witold and bassist Micha? belong to the post-Primitive Man sphere of viciousness, but “Tear Me Open” offers some respite in its closing moments, pulling back on the massive plunder and switching from guttural growls to spoken vocals. With just a touch of Electric Wizard swirl, “Almost Like God’s,” renews the onslaught, offering a break in its middle from the Eyehategod-style sway while saving its most brutal growl for last, and at just under 10 minutes long, the title-track rounds out Bones with bass and drums unfolding a progression soon topped by guitar noise that lets the listener know they’ve just entered another level of punishment. There are moments of impulse toward stonerism that show themselves in Marek’s guitar work, but the primary mission on Bones seems to be assault, and the band has no problem living up to that intent.

L.o.W. on Bandcamp

L.o.W. on Thee Facebooks

 

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Monte Luna Announce April/May Tour Dates; Vinyl Due in June

Posted in Whathaveyou on March 29th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

Preorders are up now for the double-vinyl edition of Monte Luna‘s 2017 self-titled debut (review here), which will be out at the end of June via Argonauta Records. The longform-working purveyors of sonic tectonics are set to hit the road before release day arrives however, and they’ll head out from their home base in Texas and mae their way up the East Coast and deep into Upstate New York — Ithaca, Rochester and Buffalo is a lot of ground to cover — before heading back to the Midwest to cap the run with gig at Black Circle Brewing in Indianapolis. Busy Spring, but cool to see these guys taking their riffs out to public ears. Something about their self-titled tells me it would be absolutely pummeling live.

Must be all that pummeling. Ha.

From the PR wire:

monte luna

MONTE LUNA – “Monte Luna” release date and U.S. tour

Austin Texas two-piece MONTE LUNA announce tour dates and vinyl release date of their highly acclaimed originally self produced album. It weaves the epic 72 minute concept album tale of a band of warriors trying to defeat Father Arbitor, a Necromancer who has destroyed their home.

Monte Luna “Monte Luna” will be re-released worldwide by ARGONAUTA Records and available from June 29th 2018 as a limited double vinyl, lilac opaque edition.

Mastered by Chris Fielding (CONAN), art by Eriko of MontDoom illustrations.

Preorders run now: http://bit.ly/2ERpZa1

MONTE LUNA US TOUR 2018:
Austin TX 4/6 – Worshiper Cabinet Showcase (At the Worshiper Shop)
San Antonio TX – 4/20 Limelight
Austin TX – 4/21 The Lost Well
Houston TX – 5/3 -Rudyards
Lafayette LA 5/4 -Freetown Boom Boom Room
Matiaire LA- 5/5 – Babylon
Birmingham AL 5/6 – The Nick Rocks
Athens GA 5/7 – Caledonia Lounge
Raleigh NC 5/8 – Slims
Richmond VA 5/9 – Wonderland
Baltimore MD – 5/10 – The Depot
Philadelphia PA 5/11 – Century
Danbury CT 5/12 – Billy Beans
Boston MA 5/13 – O’Briens
Ithaca NY 5/14 – Ithaca Ungerground
Rochester NY 5/15 – Rosen Krown
Buffalo NY 5/16 – Sugar City
Pittsburgh PA 5/17 – Gooski’s
Lafayette IN 5/18 – Jerilee’s Pub
Indianapolis IN 5/19 – Black Circle Brewing

Monte Luna is:
James Clark – Guitar, Vocals, Bass
Phil Hook – Drums, Noise, Groove

http://www.facebook.com/MonteLuna666/
https://monteluna666.bandcamp.com/
www.argonautarecords.com
https://www.facebook.com/ArgonautaRecords/
https://twitter.com/argonautarex
https://www.instagram.com/argonautarecords/

Monte Luna, Monte Luna (2017)

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