Posted in Whathaveyou on May 17th, 2016 by H.P. Taskmaster
Multi-level intrigue from Austin’s Destroyer of Light, who were also recently confirmed for the Shadow Woods Metal Fest in September (info here). The band will tour as a trio for the first time in June/July, still supporting last year’s Endsville (video premiere here) split with Godhunter — with whom they also toured in 2015 — and have a new album in the works, to be released early next year through a TBA label. Could be their Heavy Friends imprint will link up with Battleground again, as happened with the split, or could be they’ve been picked up by someone else. Also curious to see what happens with their lineup, since the PR wire hints at future announcements in that regard as well.
These dates were announced a bit ago at this point, but curiosity reigns:
DESTROYER OF LIGHT: Texas Outfit Confirms Western US June/July Tour; New Album In The Works
Austin, Texas-based psychedelic doom metal outfit, DESTROYER OF LIGHT, has confirmed a string of tour dates spanning the Western US in late June into mid-July.
The upcoming trek is the first extensive tour from the outfit since their massive run through the US in the Summer of 2015 with cohorts and labelmates, Godhunter, which was booked in support of their Endsville split 2xLP. This new trek sees DESTROYER OF LIGHT taking their Endsville anthems back out to the masses, beginning in Fort Worth on June 16th, then running up through the Central and Midwestern states to the Pacific Northwest, before running down the West Coast on their way back to Texas, the final show going down in the band’s hometown on July 11th.
Following the recent departure of their brother Keegan Kjeldsen, this tour will see DESTROYER OF LIGHT taking to the streets as a three-piece for the first time, with Jeff Klein handling lead guitars, Steve Colca on guitars and vocals, and Penny turner on drums, the trio strategically bulking up on extra amplification for the journey. The band is working on their new album, which will see release in early 2017 on a label to be announced at a later date along with more info on the permanent lineup.
Endsville is available through a joint release with Godhunter co-owned Battleground Records and DESTROYER OF LIGHT’s Heavy Friends Records, the 2xLP bearing two slabs of 180-gram vinyl on two colors packed in a gatefold sleeve. Order the digital and vinyl HERE.
DESTROYER OF LIGHT West Coast Tour 2016: 6/16/2016 The Grotto – Fort Worth, TX 6/17/2016 Road Map – Texarkana, AR 6/18/2016 Soundpony – Tulsa, OK 6/19/2016 The Elbow Room – Wichita, KS 6/20/2016 Bourbon Theatre – Lincoln, NB 6/21/2016 Three Kings Tavern – Denver, CO 6/22/2016 Flux Capicitor – Colorado Springs, CO 6/24/2016 Wastelander Studio – Boise, ID 6/25/2016 VFW – Missoula, MT 6/26/2016 Emerald of Slam – Richland, WA 6/27/2016 Victory Lounge – Seattle, WA 6/28/2016 The Panic Room – Portland, OR 6/29/2016 The Wandering Goat – Eugene, OR 6/30/2016 Club 66 – Ashland, OR 7/01/2016 Starlite – Sacramento, CA 7/02/2016 Hemlock Tavern – San Francisco, CA 7/03/2016 Sweet Water Saloon – Los Osos, CA 7/04/2016 Lexington – Los Angeles, CA 7/05/2016 Soda Bar – San Diego, CA 7/06/2016 The Womb Room – Las Vegas, NV 7/07/2016 Yucca Tap Room -Tempe, AZ 7/08/2016 Gary’s Place – Tucson, AZ 7/09/2016 The Sandbox – El Paso, TX 7/10/2016 The District O’Bar – Lubbock, TX 7/11/2016 The Grand – Austin, TX
Comprised of members of Project Armageddon, Sparrowmilk and Venomin James, Doomstress is a new trio looking to make their debut sometime in the coming months with an EP titled Supernatural Kvlt Sounds. The first audio from the recently-formed outfit arrives as a lyric video to the song “Way of the Mountain,” which finds the three-piece — “Doomstress” Alexis Hollada on bass/vocals, Brandon Johnson on guitar and Tomasz Scull on drums — chugging through doomed-out riffs and grooving into a solid introductory chorus. With empowerment lyrics and nature footage in the video for atmosphere, one begins to get a sense of what Doomstress are about, and the different vibe they’re going for separate from Project Armageddon, from whence Hollada and Johnson hail, who released their more metallic third album, Cosmic Oblivion (review here), last year.
The EP brings forth two originals in “Way of the Mountain” and “Sleep Among the Dead,” as well as covers of Uriah Heep and Coven, and while I wouldn’t attempt to judge a new band’s trajectory from hearing one song and reading the titles of three others, between that, the logos courtesy of The Perverted Old Goatess and the “Way of the Mountain” video below, Doomstress distinguish themselves by bringing a hard edge to modern doom, the heft in Johnson‘s guitar tone holding onto some of that punch from Cosmic Oblivion. Where Supernatural Kvlt Sounds, as their initial recordings, might lead them, probably best not to speculate, but the underlying foundation of songwriting they show in “Way of the Mountain,” the nodding toward a classic influence in their choice of covers and the clear intention toward aesthetic commitment they’re making at the outset all would seem to auger well.
Go ahead and get yourself introduced by checking out the video below, which is followed by some more background on the band, and please enjoy:
Doomstress, “Way of the Mountain” lyric video
Formed by Doomstress Alexis of Project Armageddon from Houston,TX, covering bass & vocals, she asked fellow Project Armageddon bandmate Brandon Johnson to bring his guitar skills to the sonic altar for her new project. Rounding out the project, Doomstress Alexis tapped Sparrowmilk drummer, Tomasz Scull from Cleveland, OH (also guitarist for Venomin James) to contribute his percussive stylings.
Doomstress Alexis and Brandon travelled to Ohio in March to complete writing and to record a 4 song demo ep, “Supernatural Kvlt Sounds”, consisting of 2 originals and 2 covers.
Doomstress Alexis had certain artistic aesthetic ideas in mind for the new DOOMSTRESS project and shared these with Goatess Doomwych (the674society) who crafted the logo and art designs.
“Doomstress was spawned by Doomstress Alexis’s desire to take a more personal musical direction. While still rooted in doom and metal, Doomstress seeks to invoke heavier grooves found more in vintage & stoner rock. The layering of twin guitar and vocal harmonies allows Doomstress to bring a darker ambience and mood to the music. Lyrically and visually Doomstress appeals to free spiritedness, strength of self, elements of nature & the supernatural, as well as some occult and gothic themes.”
EP tracklisting: 1-Way of the Mountain 2-Rainbow Demon (Uriah Heep cover) 3-Sleep Among the Dead 4-Wicked Woman (Coven cover)
Posted in Whathaveyou on May 10th, 2016 by H.P. Taskmaster
Last time we heard from Austin boogie-hard-and-boogie-all-the-time three-piece Honky, they were announcing a UK tour to be performed this July/August in the burly company of Desert Storm. As the PR wire now confirms, their first album in four years, Corduroy, will be out May 27 via Housecore Records. The record finds the band joined by Dixie Witch‘s Trinidad Leal on drums, which if that doesn’t mean anything to you, should. If Dixie Witch were putting out the albums today that they were putting out 10-15 years ago, you can bet your ass you’d know who they were. As it stands, like Honky, they’re way underrated, so in addition to being ass-kicking Texan heavy rockers, it’s a good fit on multiple levels.
The new song “Outta Season” is streaming in advance of the album release, and you’ll find it under the info below. Enjoy:
HONKY: Long-Running Austin-Based Superboogie Trio Featuring Butthole Surfers, Melvins, Down, And Dixie Witch Alumni To Release Corduroy Full-Length This Month; New Track Posted
When you think of Texas, what comes to mind? Big skies? Big trucks? Hot women with big… hair? Everything, as they say, is bigger in Texas… And that what ain’t bigger is more bizarre. After all, in a state that refers to itself as a republic, things can get pretty skewed.
Enter HONKY, who proudly carries the torch held by the likes of Bloodrock, Pantera, ZZ Top and the red-headed stranger himself, Mr. Willie Nelson. This Austin superboogie trio was founded in 1996 by long time Butthole Surfer/part time Melvins bassist JD Pinkus, Bobby Ed Landgraf (Down, Skrew, …) on guitar, and Trinidad Leal (Dixie Witch) on them skins. Together the riff-rocking three-some have released some of the best stripped down, butt-shakin’, rock ever cut to wax, tape, or CD and have toured with the likes of Nashville Pussy, the Reverend Horton Heat, Fu Manchu, Melvins, Peter Pan Speedrock, Down, and David Allan Coe.
HONKY’s newest release (and eighth overall!) entitled Corduroy is another feast of down and dirty rock, rollin’ across the finish line on May 27th via on Philip Anselmo’s Housecore Records. Boasting nine tracks thick enough to eat with a fork but you’ll wanna keep a spoon handy so ya don’t miss out on that gravy, Corduroy was produced by JD Pinkus and mastered by Paul Leary with artwork and layout by Ryan Everett. Drum duties were handled by a more-than-qualified group of drummers, including Leal, Michael “Night Train” Brueggen (Blackula, Syrup, Supagroup), Dale Crover (Melvins), and even original HONKY drummer, Lance Farley, all makin’ the grooves proper. Guest appearances include Mark “Speedy” Gonzales and the Fantasma Horns, as well as the band’s favorite Honkette, Rae Comeau.
Corduroy Track Listing: 1. Corduroy 2. Baby Don’t Slow Down 3. Outta Season 4. Bad Stones 5. Ain’t Got The Time 6. Double Fine 7. Snortin’ Whiskey 8. I Don’t Care 9. Mopey Dick
Get down with HONKY live on their upcoming Texas and UK dates with additional live performances to be announced soon.
HONKY with Desert Storm: 6/11/2016 R.O.T. Rally @ Cowboy Harley-Davidson – Austin, TX 7/08/2016 Boneshakers – Corpus Cristi, TX 7/09/2016 White Oak Music Hall – Houston, TX 7/26/2016 Portland Arms – Cambridge, UK 7/27/2016 The Cavern – Exeter, UK 7/28/2016 The Underworld – London, UK 7/29/2016 The Bullingdon – Oxford, UK 7/30/2016 Red Sun Festival – Cardiff, UK 7/31/2016 Craufurd Arms – Milton Keynes, UK 8/01/2016 Exchange – Bristol, UK 8/02/2016 The Iron Road – Evesham, UK 8/03/2016 Arches Venue – Coventry, UK 8/04/2016 The Anvil – Bournemouth, UK
Posted in audiObelisk on May 4th, 2016 by H.P. Taskmaster
Texas fuzz forerunners Wo Fat are inching closer to the May 20 release date of their sixth album, Midnight Cometh (review here), on Ripple Music. The Dallas trio are newly returned from a second round through Europe alongside heavy rock chaosbringers Mothership that included stops at Desertfest in Berlin and London, as well as a host of packed-out club shows that only seemed to put an exclamation point on how much Wo Fat have grown over the last several years, in prestige as much as sound. They find themselves now among the foremost in the American heavy underground, legitimate ambassadors of US heavy with a sound of their own they’ve meticulously developed over the course of records like 2014’s The Conjuring (review here), 2012’s The Black Code (reviews here and here) — the two comprising an inescapable duo of LPs issued through Small Stone — and so on back through their catalog, each grown out of the accomplishments of the album before it. Crucially, while dealing familiar elements to their audience — heavy riffs, sprawling jams, bluesy vibes, an undercurrent of Southern grit and what guitarist/vocalist Kent Stump once referred to as “bayou juju” — they’ve never failed to move forward with each new release.
Midnight Cometh is no exception to that. I’ve already reviewed it — hence the link in the first sentence above — so I won’t dive too deep here, but the progression that Wo Fat have undertaken over their records, from one to the next, is as evident in the listening experience as it is clear in its intent. With an increased drive toward improvisation matched with a penchant for straightforward, landmark hooks like those in “Of Smoke and Fog” and “There’s Something Sinister in the Wind” and “Nightcomer” on the new album, Stump and drummer/vocalist Michael Walter (who played with bassist Ryan Lee of Crypt Trip on the Euro tour) still sound most of all like themselves, but increase their grasp on their aesthetic in a way that speaks not only to pushing themselves in their writing process, but to the chemistry they’ve developed on stage. They stand at the top of a crowded Dallas scene and have rightly garnered an international reputation for quality output, and as they ease into a more statesman-style role, their refusal to rest on past laurels becomes even more admirable. They are, to be blunt, the very best kind of heavy rock band.
With the record release looming like a devil at the crossroads of blues and fuzz, I’m thrilled to be able to premiere “Nightcomer,” the 10-minute closing track from Midnight Cometh. Don’t want to spoil it, so I won’t say much about it other than it sums up a lot of what’s working best throughout the album preceding, and that if you know Wo Fat — and by now, you probably should — you’re going to be glad you took the time to dig in.
Please find the track on the player below, followed by some comment from Stump, and enjoy:
Kent Stump on “Nightcomer”
“’Nightcomer’ is a heavy voodoo blues doom jam. The name is a reference to the midnight rider at the crossroads of blues lore and it’s essentially about corporate greed, dealings with the devil and consequences.”
Wade patiently into the murky depths of Stone Machine Electric‘s first single from their new album, Sollicitus es Veritatem, and imagine that the Texas two-piece are setting the stage on which, as the title indicates, nightmares might become reality. Of course, the nightmare they’re talking about — at least if the album artwork is anything to go by — is 30-plus years of Republican anti-government rhetoric coming home to roost, but that otherworldly sense of darkness is evident in the opening of “I am Fire” as well. And as much as Stone Machine Electric — the duo of guitarist/vocalist William “Dub” Irvin and drummer/vocalist/Thereminist Mark Kitchens — teased jammy vibes with their late 2015 EP, The Amazing Terror (review here), “I am Fire” does wind up with a hook to go with its rolling groove, centering the nightmare in a real-world structure.
As much as this is the real world, anyway.
As previously announced, The Obelisk is presenting Stone Machine Electric‘s release show for Sollicitus es Veritatem, which takes place at The Grotto in Fort Worth on May 27 and finds Dub and Kitchens joined by Fogg, Thinman Conspiracy and The FTW. My reasoning for climbing on board for said event was pretty simple: I dig Stone Machine Electric a lot. Their material has always kind of a weirdo underpinning, whether they’re working in open structured jams or more grounded songcraft, and in combination with a richness of tone often captured by Wo Fat‘s Kent Stump, the appeal is that you never quite know what Stone Machine Electric are going to do next. You’ll know what I mean as “I am Fire” jumps from its intro into the nod of the first verse. They’re still able to catch their audience off guard. I like that.
Sollicitus es Veritatem is out May 17 — though if you’re in Europe, you can apparently buy copies from Wo Fat‘s merch table now — and you can find the premiere of the “I am Fire” video below.
Stone Machine Electric, “I am Fire” official video
The Obelisk presents “I Am Fire” – the first track off Stone Machine Electric’s anticipated album “Sollicitus Es Veritatem”. The new album is set to be released May 17th, 2016.
Posted in Reviews on April 21st, 2016 by H.P. Taskmaster
There are few if any US heavy rock acts going who can match the consistent quality of Wo Fat‘s output over the last half-decade. The Dallas fuzz riffers have grown into a distinct and distinguished outfit that is always identifiable from release to release, but never fails to grow. This is true as well of their sixth studio LP, Midnight Cometh — also their first for Ripple Music after issuing 2014’s The Conjuring (review here) and 2012’s The Black Code (reviews here and here) on Small Stone — in that its six songs/49 minutes bring the band’s sound another step forward, as shown in adding percussion elements to opener “There’s Something Sinister in the Wind,” in the vocal confidence of guitarist Kent Stump and in the overarching fluidity of the trio’s jams, of which there are many, and the poise with which they blend the catchy hooks of “There’s Something Sinister in the Wind,” “Riffborn,” “Of Smoke and Fog,” “Le Dilemme de Detenu,” “Three Minutes to Midnight” and “Nightcomer” — yes, all six tracks — with the more open and improvised-feeling stretches.
In some ways, Wo Fat aren’t doing much different than they did on earlier outings like 2011’s Noche del Chupacabra (review here) or 2008’s Psychedelonaut (review here), in that they blend a swamp boogie atmosphere with memorable songcraft, a jam-ready sensibility and strong chemistry between Stump, bassist Tim Wilson and drummer/backing vocalist Michael Walter, but they leave little room as to the question of whether or not that basic pattern has been refined, and while The Conjuring felt like a landmark in their ascent to the fore of the American heavy underground — it was the record that took them to Europe, for example — Midnight Cometh once again reaffirms that their position is well earned.
It does not fix what wasn’t broken in their sound, but neither is it stagnant. In much the same way Wo Fat‘s sound has become more identifiable over the last decade since their 2006 debut, The Gathering Dark, so too has it progressed. They begin at a tumult with “There’s Something Sinister in the Wind” but soon hammer out an upbeat groove over which Stump slides in a solo before a percussion-laden verse and are into the chorus before the two-minute mark, wasting no time in setting the table for much of what will follow and build on the Southern voodoo blues atmosphere represented in David Paul Seymour‘s cover art and which “Of Smoke and Fog,” “Three Minutes to Midnight” and “Nightcomer” would seem to address directly while second track “Riffborn” and side B opener “Le Dilemme de Detenu” take their focus elsewhere.
The split between the two halves of Midnight Cometh is of particular note, since it’s something of a departure from The Conjuring, which wrapped with its 17-minute jam-minded title-track. Here, Wo Fat give each portion of the record a grand finale, in “Of Smoke and Fog” and “Nightcomer,” respectively, and the effect is to make the listening experience focused less on any individual piece than on the affect and the flow of the album as a whole. I wouldn’t argue with either methodology, particularly since while there are commonalities between songs mostly in the structuring of choruses, the band takes care to shift here and there in vibe, whether it’s the more stripped down “Riffborn,” which is faster and jams its way through its second half and out having long since left its hook behind, or the mega-swinging “Le Dilemme de Detenu” (“the dilemma of the detained”), with swagger enough for a full-length on its own, never mind the ultra-fluid hypnosis they’ve just enacted across “Of Smoke and Fog.”
That track — “Of Smoke and Fog” — emphasizes a lot of what Wo Fat have come to accomplish at this stage in their progression. It moves easily through hooks and jams and even trips out psychedelic around eight minutes in, but never lets go of its sense of purpose, and while it’s also the longest cut on Midnight Cometh at 10:47, it puts that time to use summarizing the album’s course. At the end of side B, “Nightcomer” works in a similar vein, but with a darker feel and bigger chorus, with Stump and Walter offering some vocal harmonies before the final jam. Prior to that, the penultimate “Three Minutes to Midnight” showcases the comfort level the trio feel in pushing out a faster hook and more straightforward songcraft — yet another stuck-in-your-head hook — while also bringing back some of the percussive elements of the opener, and the fact that their structures are no less molten than their jams, able to be manipulated to suit the purposes of a given track, is among Midnight Cometh‘s most engaging aspects.
Whatever the pace or trajectory, Wo Fat play like a band six albums deep. They know what they want their sound to do, they know how to make it happen, and they know that to keep it interesting for themselves and their audience, they need to continue to challenge beyond what they’ve done before. Stump has emerged as a frontman and sounds in command of the material here, and together with Walter and Wilson, they’re more of a power trio able to bring their live dynamic to a studio recording without sacrificing fidelity to the cause of a superficially organic sound. Midnight Cometh comes across as full and natural, and continues Wo Fat‘s streak of highlight outings, making it all the more apparent just how much they need to be in the conversation of the best currently active fuzz purveyors, within Texas or without. They’ve long since come into their own, but they’re reshaping what “their own” is, and it’s a joy to watch for those lucky enough to be paying attention. One of the year’s best in heavy.
Posted in Reviews on April 1st, 2016 by H.P. Taskmaster
Thus ends another successful Quarterly Review. And by successful I mean I survived. There were a few minutes there when I actually thought about spreading this out to six days, doing another batch of 10 on Monday, but then what happens? Then it’s seven days, then eight, then nine, and before I know it I’m just doing 10 reviews every day and it’s more of a daily review than a quarterly one. Next week we’ll get back to whatever passes for normality around this place, and at the end of June, I’ll have another batch to roll with. Maybe the beginning of July, depending on time. In any case, thank you for reading this week. I hope you’ve found something in all this that you’ve dug, and that this final round offers something else that resonates.
Quarterly Review #41-50:
Chron Goblin, Backwater
Calgary party rockers Chron Goblin pay homage to Seattle with a song named after the city on their third album, Backwater (on Ripple Music), but they continue to have way more in common with Portland, Oregon. The follow-up to 2013’s Life for the Living (review here) pushes into psychedelic groove early in its title-track and gets bluesy for most of the subsequent “The Wailing Sound,” but it seems even that song can’t resist the urge to throw down and have a good time by the end, and cuts like “Give Way,” the galloping opener “Fuller” and the requisite “Hard Living” reaffirm the band’s commitment to heavy riffs and positive vibes. The stylistic elephant in the room continues to be Red Fang, but as they’ve done all along, Chron Goblin work in shades of other influences in heavy rock – if they were from the Eastern Seaboard, I’d call it Roadsaw – and put a stamp of their own on the style.
“Mercenary Blues” is near-immediate in telegraphing the level of heft Slabdragger will emit across their second album, Rise of the Dawncrusher, which tops an hour in five tracks (one of them four minutes long) and shifts between clean vocals, screams and growls from bassist/vocalist Yusuf Tary and guitarist/vocalist Sam Thredder as drummer Jack Newham holds together tempo shifts no less drastic. The shorter cut, “Evacuate!,” is an extreme take on heavy rock, but as Slabdragger move through the extended “Shrine of Debauchery” (12:23), “Dawncrusher Rising” (15:16) and “Implosion Rites” (17:20), their methods prove varied enough so that their material is more than just an onslaught of thickened distortion. I wouldn’t call it progressive exactly, but neither is it lunkheaded in its intention or execution, as the chanted melodies buried deep in “Shrine of Debauchery”’s lumber, derived perhaps in part from Conan and Sleep but beholden to neither so much as its own righteous purposes.
Finnish heavy psychedelic rockers Jupiter take a decidedly naturalist position when it comes to their style. Yeah, there are some effects on the guitars throughout Interstellar Chronidive, the trio’s second album behind 2014’s Your Eccentric State of Mind, but it’s more about what the three players can accomplish with dynamic tempo and mood changes than it is creating a wash, and that gives songs like “Stonetrooper” and “Dispersed Matter/Astral Portal” a classic feel despite a decidedly modern production. “Premonitions” provides raucous fuzz worthy of any next-gen stoners you want to name, and the 14-minute “In Flux” answers its own initial thrust with and expansive, liquefied jam that’s all the more emblematic of the organic core to their approach, Hendrix-derived but not Hendrix-emulating. Bright guitar tone, rich bass and swinging drums aren’t necessarily unfamiliar elements, but the touches of space rock narration on “Dispersed Matter/Astral Portal” and the consuming nod of closer “Vantage Point” assure there’s no shortage of personality to go around.
Also stylized as IZ? with a long accent over the ‘o,’ Izo is the self-titled debut from Italian double-guitar instrumental four-piece Izo, who bookend four flowing and densely weighted progressions with an intro and outro to add to the atmospheric breadth. Rather than choose between heaviness or ambience, Izo – guitarists Paolo Barone and Maurizio Calò, bassist Francesco de Pascali and drummer Luca Greco – play both into each other so that a song like “Hikkomori” is as engaging in its heft as it is hypnotic. That might be easier to do without vocals, but it’s essential to Izo’s approach, and something that, for their debut, sets up future expansion of post-metal and psychedelic elements. I’m not sure if there’s a theme or narrative for the album, but consistent use of Japanese language and imagery ties the material together all the same, and Izo emerge from their first album having shown a clearheadedness of purpose that can only continue to serve them well.
Cultist made their introductory statement in the early hours of 2016 with Three Candles, a five-song EP from the social media-averse Cleveland, Ohio, trio featuring members of Skeletonwitch, Mockingbird and Howl. In the wall of fuzz they construct, the swing injected into their rhythms and the use of multiple vocalists, there’s a strong undercurrent of Uncle Acid to “Path of the Old One,” but “Consuming Damnation” distinguishes itself with a more aggressive take, rawer in its melodies, and the creeping closer “Eternal Dark” is up to something entirely more doomed. How this balance will play out with the more familiar riff-patterning in “Follow Me” is the central question, but for their first tracks to be made public, Cultist’s Three Candles offers fullness of sound and the realization of an aesthetic purpose. Yes, there’s room to grow, but they already have a better handle on what they want to do than a lot of bands, so it should be interesting to keep up.
Ultra-thick, ultra-dank, Haoma is the work of Swedish duo R (bass/vocals) and S (drums), and the three-tracker Eternal Stash is their second self-released EP. The offering takes its title from the opener and longest track (immediate points), and wastes no time with subtlety in getting down on molten Cisneros-style stoner-doom grooves. Sleep meets Om isn’t a huge divide to cross, but there’s a blown-out sensibility to the vocals as well that speaks to some element of Electric Wizard at play, and the overarching roughness suits Haoma’s tonal crunch well. Even when they break to wah bass in the second half of “Eternal Stash” to set up the ensuing jam, this underlying harshness remains, and “Unearthly Creatures” and “Orbital Flight” build on that, the latter with a march that feels more decidedly individual even if constructed on familiar ground. Heavy, raw, unpretentious celebration of groove is almost always welcome by me, and so Haoma’s Eternal Stash is likewise.
Another boon to Poland’s emerging heavy rock scene, Wroclaw’s Spaceslug slime their way out of the ground with their debut long-player, Lemanis, a seven-cut paean to weighted tone and laid back roll. Vocally, the trio seem to take a cue from the Netherlands’ Sungrazer, but their riffs are far more dense and while the penultimate interlude “Quintessence” and the earlier “Galectelion” demonstrate a sense of spaciousness, the context in which that arrives is much more weighted and, particularly in the second half of “Supermassive,” feels culled from the Sleep school of Iommic idolatry. No complaints. The record clocks in at 43 minutes all told and in no way overstays its welcome, rounding out with the nine-minute title-track, an instrumental that’s probably not improvised but comes across as exploratory all the same. The CD version is out through BSFD Records, but don’t be surprised when someone picks it up for a vinyl issue, as both the front-to-back flow and the artwork seem to be made for it.
An element of twang that seems present even in the most uproarious moments of Slush’ American Demons tape comes to the fore with the brief “Leshy,” a quick, fleetly-strummed bit of slide guitar the follows highlight cut “Bathysphere” and precedes “Death Valley,” both of which bask full-on in the garage shake, proto-punk vibe and anything goes swagger the Brooklynite trio have on offer throughout their third EP. That countrified twist plays well alongside the drawling skate rock of “In the Flesh,” which seems to take on some of The Shrine’s West Coast skate vibes with a twist of New York fuckall, and the quick crotchal thrust off “Silk Road,” which serves as Slush’ most purely punkish moment. “Death Valley” closes out with a tale of drugs and the desert, the vocals somewhere between Misfits and early Nick Cave, drenched in attitude and accompanied by fuzz that seems to be likewise. Bonus points for the silver tape and copious included art and info.
Strange spirits are afoot throughout Menimals’ Menimals, the maybe-debut from the Italian troupe who engage wantonly in the proliferation of post-Mike Patton creepy darkjazz across five cuts of sparse, spacious weirdness. Issued through Phonosphera/Riot Season, it’s a work of high atmospheric density but ultimately more about mood than sonic impact, evoking complex shapes – dodecahedrons, tetrahedrons, octahedrons – as a mirror for its own quizzical mission. The kind of record that those who don’t spend time trying to figure it out are going to have more fun with, it makes its most effective impression on “Transitioning from a Cube to the Octahedron” on side B, evoking minimalist drone rock atmospheres as whispered vocals tie it to the rest of Menimals’ bizarre vibe. That’s not to take away from the noisy finish of closer “Bird on the Wind as a Hinge,” which follows, just to note that Menimals manage to somehow find balance in all the subdued seething and resonant experimentalism.
By way of a confession, I wanted to end this batch of 50 reviews with something I knew I dug, and that distinction goes to Houston rockers Linus Pauling Quartet, whose latest full-length, Ampalanche, is released via the label wing of Italian ‘zine Vincebus Eruptum. An album that offers some of the most pretense-free rock flute I’ve ever heard on “Slave to the Die,” it’s a down-home weirdo rocker that might, at a moment’s notice, plunge full-on into psychedelia in “Sometimes” or, say, include a 49-minute echoing space-drone “Vi, de Druknede (We, the Drowned)” as a download-only bonus track, and the fact that Linus Pauling Quartet can always be relied on for something different but consistent in charm and the quality of songwriting is not to be taken for granted, whether it’s the Midwestern noise rock of “Brisket” or the fuzzy roll of dreamy album-closer “Alive.” Yeah, I was doing myself a favor by finishing with Ampalanche. I have absolutely zero regrets. Linus Pauling Quartet continue to be woefully underappreciated.
Texas two-piece Stone Machine Electric are getting ready to release their new full-length album, Sollicitus es Veritatem, in May. The release show is set for May 27 at The Grotto in Fort Worth, where Stone Machine Electric will be joined by Texas outfits FTW, Thinman Conspiracy and Fogg.
If the album artwork (posted here) and the translated title “nightmares are reality” are anything to go by, it seems more and more like Stone Machine Electric are commenting on the times in which we live. If that’s so, then all the better have their jam-prone bizarro rock as the soundtrack, since if our ultra-self-aware-yet-utterly-blind post-post-modernism has taught anyone anything at all, it’s that it’s not like we’re going to turn a corner and have existence suddenly make sense. We, as a species, might as well get down with some heavy exploratory grooves and vibe out while we wait for that comet to hit.
Guitarist William “Dub” Irvin and drummer/thereminist Mark Kitchens offered a glimpse at the record to come in late-2015’s The Awesome Terror (review here), and they’ll release Sollicitus es Veritatem officially on May 17 as nearly an hour of forward-thinking output captured by Kent Stump of Texas fuzz forerunners Wo Fat. Fogg, who offered up their self-titled debut (review here) last year on Tee Pee Records, have a new improv jam EP out called Pinko, and between that and the burly rock of FTW and Thinman Conspiracy‘s progressive methods, it should be a night worthy of ringing in the arrival of Stone Machine Electric‘s latest opus. I’m proud to be involved and thank the band for letting me be a part of it in the small way I am.
Show particulars and links follow:
Live at The Grotto: The Obelisk Presents – Stone Machine Electric Album Release Party featuring FTW, FOGG & Thinman Conspiracy
The Grotto 517 University Dr. Fort Worth, TX 76107