Quarterly Review: Novembers Doom, Abrams, The Grand Astoria, Hosoi Bros, Codeia, Ealdor Bealu, Stone Lotus, Green Yeti, Seer, Bretus

Posted in Reviews on July 13th, 2017 by JJ Koczan

quarterly-review-summer-2017

So, after kvetching and hemming and hawing and all that other stuff that basically means ‘fretting and trying to shuffle a schedule around’ for the last several days, I think I’ve now found a way to add a sixth day to this Quarterly Review. Looking at all the records that still need to be covered even after doing 50, I don’t really see any other way to go. I could try to do more The Obelisk Radio adds to fit things in, but I don’t want to over-tax that new server, so yeah, I’m waiting at the moment to hear back on whether or not I can move a premiere from Monday to Tuesday to make room. Fingers crossed. I’ve already got the albums picked out that would be covered and should know by tomorrow if it’s going to happen.

Plenty to do in the meantime, so let’s get to it.

Quarterly Review #31-40:

Novembers Doom, Hamartia

novembers-doom-hamartia

Look. Let’s be honest here. More than 20 years and 10 records in, one knows at least on a superficial level what to expect from Chicago’s personal statements essays - Allow the specialists to do your homework for you. Get started with research paper writing and make the best college research Novembers Doom. Since their first album arrived in 1995, they’ve played to one side or the other between the spectrum of death-doom, and their work legitimately broke ground in the style for a US band and in general. After a push over their last couple albums including 2014’s research methods qualitative Dissertation Deadline Extensions order system thesis cotton dissertation Bled White (review here) into more deathly fare, Uncover the aspects of getting services form http://thangtienthanglong.edu.vn/?business-operational-plan-example - real-time feedback and up-to-date offers. Hamartia (on PhD Thesis Editors in UK offer unmatched PhD http://www.joyshop.it/?buy-answers-homeworks. Our editing service in UK includes Grammar check, Structure and Sentence Flow and The End Records) brings 10 tracks and 58 minutes of the melancholy dramas – special hello to the piano/acoustic-led title-track – and gut-wrenching, crushingly emotive miseries – special hello to “Waves in the Red Cloth” and “Ghost” – that have defined them. One doesn’t expect a radical departure from them at this point and they don’t deliver one even as they turn to another side of their overarching aesthetic, but whether it’s the still-propulsive death gallop of “Apostasy” or the lush nine-minute finale “Borderline,” best college admission essays harvard Psychology Master Thesiss homework help for biology dissertation university of california los angeles Novembers Doom reinforce their position as absolute masters of the style and give their longtime fans another collection of vital woes in which to revel.

Novembers Doom on Thee Facebooks

The End Records website

 

Abrams, Morning

abrams morning

Not a hair out of place in the execution of Trust this http://bmatovu.com/dissertation-help-in-georgia writing service even for the most difficult writing assignments. Enjoy quick turnaround times and high standard quality papers. Try Morning, the Seek essay ghostwriter? Get ahead this year by relying on our page! Our benefits: fast turnaround, 100% originality, strict quality control Sailor Records second long-player from Denver three-piece http://geomedia.co.uk/just-anwser-homework-help/s and have one of the best custom dissertation writing services. We have experienced dissertation writers from every field Abrams (interview here). That has its ups and downs, naturally, but is suited to the band’s take on modern progressive heavy rock à la newer Godot essay writers for hire australia - Get Custom eBooks Written by Professional eBook Writers. Mastodon and correction dissertation bac 2006 Best Mfa Programs Creative Writing Zemyx professional papers written cite sources research paper Baroness, and with production from Want the best tips on how to ? We've been doing it for years, and we put together this guide to help you hire writers for your business. Andy Patterson (of 27-4-2018 How how to write a university research paper to Write an Essay. An Award-Winning Author's Practical homework help for government Writing Tips on SAT Essay Prep SubRosa) and Doctoral Thesis In Computer Science The Management of Strategy: Concepts and Cases, (10th International Edition The Management of Strategy: Concepts and Cases, Dave Otero ( Great essay writers have been working since the early days of American history, and we can be proud of this fact for sure. Each period of our history has its own Phd Dissertation Proposal In Economics, and their works are a great example of what a power words have and how beautiful our speech can be when we express our thoughts consistently and concisely. Khemmis, http://m2online.at/have-my-essay-done/ without empty words. EssayViewer.com provides only proof facts about all best and cheap paper companies. Check top list sites Cephalic Carnage, etc.), the crisp feel is both purposeful and well earned. Their 2015 debut, Lust. Love. Loss. (review here), dealt with a similar emotional landscape, but bassist/vocalist Taylor Iversen, guitarist/vocalist Zachary Amster and drummer Geoffrey Cotton are tighter and more aggressive here on songs like opener “Worlds Away” (video posted here), “At the End,” “Rivers,” “Can’t Sleep” and “Burned” (video posted here), and “Mourning,” “In this Mask” and closer “Morning” balance in terms of tempo and overall atmosphere, making Morning more than just a collection of master-blasters and giving it a full album’s flow and depth. Like I said, not a hair out of place. Structure, performance, delivery, theme. Abrams have it all precisely where they want it.

Abrams on Thee Facebooks

Abrams on Bandcamp

 

The Grand Astoria, The Fuzz of Destiny

the-grand-astoria-the-fuzz-of-destiny

Dubbed an EP but running 29 minutes and boasting eight tracks, The Grand Astoria’s The Fuzz of Destiny is something of a conceptual release, with the St. Petersburg, Russia-based outfit paying homage to the effect itself. Each song uses a different kind of fuzz pedal, and as the ever-nuanced, progressive outfit make their way through the blown-out pastoralism of opener “Sunflower Queen” and into the nod of “Pocket Guru,” the organ-inclusive bursting fury of “Glass Walls” and the slower and more consuming title-track itself, which directly precedes closer “Eight Years Anniversary Riff” – yup, it’s a riff alright – they’re able to evoke a surprising amount of variety in terms of mood. That’s a credit to The Grand Astoria as songwriters perhaps even more than the differences in tone from song to song here – they’ve certainly shown over their tenure a will to embrace a diverse approach – but in giving tribute to fuzz, The Fuzz of Destiny successfully conveys some of the range a single idea can be used to conjure.

The Grand Astoria on Thee Facebooks

The Grand Astoria on Bandcamp

 

Hosoi Bros., Abuse Your Allusion III

hosoi-bros-abuse-your-allusion-iii

Oh, they’re up to it again, those Hosoi Bros. Their 2016 full-length, Abuse Your Allusion III, from its Guns ‘n’ Roses title reference through the Motörhead riffing of “Saint Tightus” through the stoner punk of “Topless Gnome” and the chugging scorch of the penultimate “Bitches are Nigh” offer primo charm and high-order shenanigans amid the most professional-sounding release of their career. Across a quick 10 tracks and 36 minutes, Hosoi Bros. readily place themselves across the metal/punk divide, and while there’s plenty of nonsense to be had from opener “Mortician” onward through “Lights Out” (video premiere here) and the later swagger of “Unholy Hand Grenade,” the band have never sounded more cohesive in their approach than they do on Abuse Your Allusion III, and the clean production only seems to highlight the songwriting at work underneath all the zany happenings across the record’s span, thereby doing them and the band alike a service as they make a convincing argument to their audience: Have fun. Live a little. It won’t hurt that much.

Hosoi Bros on Thee Facebooks

Hosoi Bros. on Bandcamp

 

Codeia, “Don’t be Afraid,” She Whispered and Disappeared

codeia-dont-be-afraid-she-whispered-and-disappeared

There’s actually very little that gets “Lost in Translation” in the thusly-titled 22-minute opener and longest cut (immediate points) of German post-metallers Codeia’s cumbersomely-named Backbite Records debut album, “Don’t be Afraid,” She Whispered and Disappeared. With heavy post-rock textures and an overarching sense of cerebral progressivism to its wash underscored by swells of low-end distortion, the three-piece of guitarist/backing vocalist Markus L., bassist/vocalist Denis S. and drummer Timo L. bring to bear patience out of the peak-era Isis or Cult of Luna sphere, sudden volume shifts, pervasive ambience, flourish of extremity and all. Nine-minute centerpiece “Shaping Stone” has its flash of aggression early before shifting into hypnotic and repetitive groove and subsequent blastbeaten furies, and 16-minute closer “Facing Extinction” caps the three-song/48-minute offering with nodding Russian Circles-style chug topped with growls that mask the layer of melodic drone filling out the mix beneath. They’re on familiar stylistic ground, but the breadth, depth and complexity Codeia bring to their extended structures are immersive all the same.

Codeia on Thee Facebooks

Backbite Records website

Mountain Range Creative Factory website

 

Ealdor Bealu, Dark Water at the Foot of the Mountain

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“Water Cycle,” the 13-minute opener and longest track (immediate points) of Ealdor Bealu’s debut full-length, Dark Water at the Foot of the Mountain, introduces a meditative feel and a breadth of sound that helps to define everything that follows. The ostensible side B leadoff of the self-release, “This too Shall Endure” (11:04), offers no less depth of atmosphere, and the graceful psychedelic expanses of the penultimate “Behind the Veil” continue to add to the overall scope with interplay of tempo variety and acoustic and electric guitar, but even earlier, shorter cuts like the wistful indie rocker “Deep Dark Below” and the linear-building “Behold the Sunrise” have an underlying progressivism that ties them to the longer form material, and likewise the particularly exploratory feeling “Ebb and Flow,” which though it’s the shortest cut at just over five minutes resonates as a standout jam ahead of “Behind the Veil” and subtly proggy seven-minute closer “Time Traveler.” The Boise-based four-piece of guitarist/vocalist/spearhead Carson Russell, guitarist Travis Abbott (also The Western Mystics), bassist/vocalist Rylie Collingwood and drummer/percussionist/saxophonist Alex Wargo bring the 56-minute offering to bear with marked patience and impress in the complexity of their arrangements and the identifiable human core that lies beneath them.

Ealdor Bealu on Thee Facebooks

Ealdor Bealu on Bandcamp

 

Stone Lotus, Comastone

I can take spicier foods than I ever could before.

One might consider the title of “Mountain of Filth,” the second cut on Stone Lotus’ debut album, Comastone, a mission statement for the Southwestern Australian trio’s vicious ‘n’ viscous brand of rolling, tonal-molasses sludge. Yeah, the three-piece of guitarist/vocalist Dave Baker, bassist Samuel Noire and drummer Reece Fleming bring ambience to the interlude “Aum,” the slower loud/quiet shifts in “Anthropocene” and the subsequent “Umbra” that leads into the creepy launch of the title-track – in fact, quiet starts are something of a theme throughout Comastone; even the thudding toms that begin opener “Swamp Coven” pale in comparison to the volume swell of massive distortion that follows closely behind – but it’s the rhythmic lumber and the harsh vocals from Baker that define their course through the darker recesses of sludged-out misanthropy. No complaints there, especially on a first long-player, but Stone Lotus are right to keep in mind the flourish of atmosphere their material offers, and one hopes that develops parallel to all the crushing weight of their mountainous approach.

Stone Lotus on Thee Facebooks

Stone Lotus on Bandcamp

 

Green Yeti, Desert Show

I'm not sure if that's an effect of dropping carbs or how it would be, but it's strange.

Even before it announces its heft, Green Yeti’s Desert Show casts forth its spaciousness. The second offering from the Athens-based trio in as many years dogwhistles heavy riffing intent even unto its David Paul Seymour album cover, but the five track rollout from guitarist/vocalist Michael Andresakis, bassist/producer Danis Avramidis and drummer Giannis Koutroumpis, as it shifts from the opening salvo of “Black Planets (Part 1)” and “Black Planets (Part 2)” into the Spanish-language centerpiece “Rojo” (direct homage perhaps to Los Natas? if so, effectively done) and into the broader-ranging “Bad Sleep (Part 1)” and 15-minute closer “Bad Sleep (Part 2)” builds just as much on its atmosphere as on its newer-school stoner rock groove and fuzz riffing. It is a 41-minute span that, without question, speaks to the heavy rock converted and plays to genre, but even taken next to the band’s 2016 debut, The Yeti has Landed, Desert Show demonstrates clear growth in writing and style, and stands as further proof of the emergence of Greece as a major contributor to the sphere of Europe’s heavy underground. Something special is happening in and outside of Athens. Green Yeti arrive at the perfect time to be a part of it.

Green Yeti on Thee Facebooks

Green Yeti on Bandcamp

 

Seer, Victims

seer victims

Let’s just assume that Seer won’t be asked to play at Dorney Park anytime soon. The Allentown, Pennsylvania, three-piece dig into largesse-minded instrumental riffing someplace between doom and sludge and do so on raw, formative fashion on the two-song Victims EP, which features the tracks “Victims… Aren’t We All?” and “Swollen Pit,” which is a redux from their 2015 debut short release, Vaped Remains. Some touch of Electric Wizard-style wah in Rybo’s guitar stands out in the second half of the opener, and the closer effectively moves from its initial crawl into post-Sleep stonerized idolatry, but the point of Victims isn’t nearly as much about scope as it is about Rybo, bassist Kelsi and drummer Yvonne setting forth on a stomping path of groove and riff worship, rumbling sans pretense loud enough to crack the I-78 corridor and offering the clever equalizer recommendation to put the bass, treble and mids all at six. Think about it for a second. Not too long though.

Seer on Thee Facebooks

Seer on Bandcamp

 

Bretus, From the Twilight Zone

bretus-from-the-twilight-zone

Doom! Horror! Riffs! Though it starts out with quiet acoustics and unfolds in echoing weirdness, Bretus’ new album, …From the Twilight Zone, more or less shouts these things from the proverbial cathedral rafters throughout its seven tracks. The Catanzaro, Italy, foursome weren’t shy about bringing an air of screamy sludge to their 2015 sophomore outing, The Shadow over Innsmouth (discussed here), but …From the Twilight Zone shifts more toward a Reverend Bizarre trad doom loyalism that suits the Endless Winter release remarkably well. Those acoustics pop up again in expanded-breadth centerpiece/highlight “Danza Macabra” and closer “Lizard Woman,” and thereby provide something of a narrative thread to the offering as a whole, but on the level of doom-for-doomers, there’s very little about the aesthetic that Bretus leave wanting throughout, whether it’s the faster-chug into drifting fluidity of “The Murder” or the nodding stomp of “In the Vault” (demo posted here) and crypto-NWOBHM flourish of “Old Dark House” (video posted here). Not trying to remake doom in their own image, but conjuring an eerie and engaging take in conversation with the masters of the form.

Bretus on Thee Facebooks

Endless Winter Records

 

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Novembers Doom to Release Hamartia April 14; New Single Streaming

Posted in Whathaveyou on February 1st, 2017 by JJ Koczan

novembers doom

Just to put something the band says below to scale: Novembers Doom trace their roots back to 1989. They’re coming up on their 30th anniversary before the end of this decade, and there’s nothing to make one think they won’t get there. So when vocalist Paul Kuhr notes that the upcoming Hamartia is the first time they’ve ever had the same lineup from one album to the next, it’s a pretty striking statistic. By my count, it’s their 10th album. That’s 10 records, each marked out by some change in personnel. It’s a wonder they’ve managed to survive, let alone progress through the darkened extremities they have as one of the US’ groundbreaking death-doom acts.

The lineup that Hamartia shares last appeared on 2014’s Bled White (review here), also released through the band’s longtime label home, The End Records. April 14 is the appointed issue date for Hamartia, cover art is by Eugen Poe, there’s a gloriously gloomy new single streaming, and more album details follow here, courtesy of the PR wire.

Dig it:

novembers-doom-hamartia-eugen-poe

NOVEMBERS DOOM IS SET TO RELEASE NEW STUDIO ALBUM HAMARTIA ON APRIL 14 // PRE-ORDER

NEW TRACK & ALBUM DETAILS

Novembers Doom is set to release their tenth full-length album entitled Hamartia, out April 14 via The End Records. Formed in 1989, this release marks the band’s 28th anniversary year, and is a sonic testament to their legacy as one of the earliest U.S. dark & doom metal bands still active today. The album is available now for pre-order on iTunes, Amazon, and Google Play.

Considered by the band to be their best work to date, Harmartia’s mastery is due in part to the synergy of its lineup, who constituted their previous album Bled White: Paul Kuhr (founder/vocalist), Larry Roberts (guitars), Vito Marchese (guitars), Mike Feldman (bass), and Garry Naples (drums).

Recorded at Belle City Sound in Racine, WI, this album sees production from long-time Novembers Doom producer Chris Djuricic (Jungle Rot, Malevolence), and Mix Master metal legend Dan Swano (Opeth, Dissection, Katatonia). The album also sees guest appearances from Ben Johnson on keyboards, Rhiannon Kuhr on backing vocals (“Ever After,” “Miasma,” “Zephyr”), Andrew Craighan (My Dying Bride) on guitar melody (“Waves In The Red Cloth”), Bernt Fjellestad (Susperia) on backing vocals (“Borderline”), and Dan Swanö on backing vocals (“Borderline”).

Says vocalist Paul Kuhr, “For the first time in this band’s existence, we have the same line-up on two consecutive albums. Without the need to focus on a new element, we could concentrate on the writing process more clearly, and the synergy between the group is apparent in the end result. I actually mean it when I say in my own humble opinion, I truly feel Novembers Doom have created our very best work to date. From the writing, to the captured performances, to the overall mix and sound of this album. Hamartia is a logical evolution from Bled White but adds some of the darker elements from The Pale Haunt Departure. It’s a Novembers Doom album, through and through, and hopefully others will share my enthusiasm once they get a chance to hear it.”

The first single “Plague Bird” is available now for download and streaming. CLICK HERE to reserve your copy today!

Official Tracklist

01. Devils Light
02. Plague Bird
03. Ghost
04. Ever After
05. Hamartia
06. Apostasy
07. Miasma
08. Zephyr
09. Waves In The Red Cloth
10. Borderline

https://www.facebook.com/NovembersDoom1989/
https://twitter.com/NovembersDoom
http://www.novembersdoom.com/
https://www.facebook.com/theendrecords
https://twitter.com/theend

Novembers Doom, “Plague Bird”

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Friday Full-Length: Hull, Beyond the Lightless Sky

Posted in Bootleg Theater on July 29th, 2016 by JJ Koczan

Just five years after its release and about 18 months since the Brooklyn outfit called it a day, it’s probably early yet to start enshrining Hull‘s second album, 2011’s Beyond the Lightless Sky (review here), but I think it was safe to say even when they were still together that Hull was among the most underrated metal bands New York ever produced. I mean that, and especially if you listen to this record it holds up. Their 2009 debut, Sole Lord, felt insular in its production and dense narrative, but by the time they got around to this consuming 57-minute offering it was clear they’d learned valuable lessons in the two-year interim.

Released through The End RecordsBeyond the Lightless Sky was stunning in its complexity and reach and structure, bringing together ambience and intense, fierce drive in a way that few bands could or would dare to try, sounding aggressive but not necessarily angry, desperate for knowledge in that way Neurosis sometimes seems to be, but only using post-metal as one among many stylistic influences — that is to say, Beyond the Lightless Sky was no more post-metal than it was thrash or doom or sludge.

In the end, it was one of those records you just kind of had to tag as “progressive” and leave it at that, both because it was a legitimate progression from where they’d been before and because nothing else quite captured the scope of what they accomplished even in 11-minute opener and longest track “Earth from Water,” let alone in songs like “Fire Vein,” “False Priest” or the title cut.

And when it came to the response, I think maybe it was the broadness of Hull‘s songwriting that held some listeners back from fully appreciating the entirety of the record. As I recall, Beyond the Lightless Sky was well reviewed and the response generally positive, but I never thought it got quite as huge as it should’ve.

I mean, here comes a band who basically offer up the next stage of what Mastodon should have become. They toured to support it multiple times on multiple continents, but maybe were too aggro for bigger labels — though where Relapse was on picking them up, I couldn’t say — and always resided somewhere between a heavy rock/sludge scene that embraced them initially and the wider spectrum of metal, which had too easy a time casting them in the light of being a stoner act, which I really don’t think they ever were, on Sole Lord or the Viking Funeral demo that preceded.

I kind of keep my fingers crossed that they will just announce one day they have a new record done and mastered and ready to launch, but I think even in the best case scenario, we have a ways to go before we get there, and the further we move in time from Beyond the Lightless Sky — which I still feel like I get something new from every time I hear it — the clearer it becomes just how special a document Hull left behind before they went their separate ways.

As always, I hope you enjoy.

Had this one on my mind after reviewing the Phantom Glue record earlier this week and being reminded of how awesome the drums sounded on it. Figured all the better to close out with it since between that and High Fighter‘s Scars and Crosses (review here), it was pretty metal around here this week, though the Nathanael Larochette on Tuesday and King Buffalo record today provided some counterbalance, which I like. A little of this, a little of that. In any case, thanks for reading.

Have you gotten your tickets yet for The Obelisk All-Dayer, Aug. 20 at Saint Vitus Bar??? They’re going. Get them here.

No, really. Do it.

I don’t mind telling you that last week was one of the worst I’ve ever had. I might write about it at some point, I might not, but yeah. Truly abysmal on a life-altering scale. It’s been a tough time, particularly for the last month — though starting a new job has been a largely positive experience — but I’m feeling better this week than I was last week and I’ll get through whatever I need to get through. I feel fortunate to have things like this site and The Obelisk All-Dayer in my life, both to provide distraction and to provide support when I need one or the other. And of course thank you to my wife, The Patient Mrs., for her boundless wisdom and love.

Next week? Let me check the notes…

Okay, gonna review the Bonehawk/King Nomad split from Ripple and hopefully Beelzefuzz if no other streams come through (there are a couple that might), but I’ve got a track stream and review planned for Church of the Cosmic Skull, who are kind of a new band who do a very lush classic prog, super-harmonized in the vocals with organ to match. Very cool sound. That’ll be up next Thursday, so look out for it. Also videos from Howling Giant and Lava Moth, which features former members of 500 ft. of Pipe, all the news that’s fit to cut, paste and put in blue typeface, and anything else I can think of along the way.

Headed to the beach this weekend, and though it’s raining today, I’m looking forward to watching the drops fall on the water and don’t at all mind a lack of pre-August overwhelming sun-assault. The Patient Mrs. and I have some friends coming north from Maryland, and I expect great times and great vibes to abound. I hope whatever you’ve got planned, you have a great and safe weekend.

Please check out the All-Dayer, the forum and the radio stream.

The Obelisk All-Dayer

The Obelisk Forum

The Obelisk Radio

 

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Heliotropes Sign to The End Records; New Album Due in Spring

Posted in Whathaveyou on November 25th, 2015 by JJ Koczan

Psychedelic rockers Heliotropes — now, but not always, a four-piece — have signed a deal to release their sophomore full-length through The End Records in Spring 2016. Led by vocalist/songwriter Jessica Numsuwankijkul, the band made their debut in 2013 with A Constant Sea, and though the specifics are few and far between for the follow-up, the band shared the stage earlier this month with Matt and Kim at Music Hall of Williamsburg and they’ll open for Rob Crow in March. Maybe they can convince him to do another Goblin Cock record. That’d be spiffy.

Speaking of spiffy, If you didn’t hear it, A Constant Sea was right on. It’s streaming below, after the announcement from the PR wire:

heliotropes-(Photo-by-Son-Le)

Brooklyn Psych-Rockers HELIOTROPES Sign To THE END RECORDS!

Brooklyn-based genre-benders Heliotropes have officially signed with The End Records for the release of their upcoming full-length studio album, set for release Spring 2016.

Heliotropes combine sludgy metal guitar tones, introspective shoegaze interludes, psychedelic drone, and atmospheric harmonies to create a sound that’s as equally hard to pin down as it is alluring.

Heliotropes is comprised of founding member/songwriter/vocalist Jessica Numsuwankijkul, along with a rotating cast of collaborators, including drummer Cici Harrison, bassist Richard Thomas, and guitarist Ricci Swift, who are all featured on the band’s upcoming album.

The band’s first recorded offering came with 2012’s Ribbons 7”, followed the next year by their debut LP entitled A Constant Sea, which was named by Mother Jones as one of the 10 Best Albums Of 2013. Since then, the band has performed on the road with Esben And The Witch and toured nationally with stops at South By Southwest, Firefly and Culture Collide, sharing the stage with a far-reaching variety of bands including Thurston Moore, The Geto Boys, Matt and Kim, Kurt Vile, Parquet Courts, The Black Angels and The Raveonettes.

Says Jessica, “I’m very excited to release our upcoming album. We’ve been working on it for a while now and we’re very pleased to work with The End, who are gracious enough to remind us to do normal stuff like make album artwork.”

https://www.facebook.com/Heliotropes
https://twitter.com/heliotropesband
https://www.instagram.com/heliotropesband/
http://heliotropes.bandcamp.com/
http://theendrecords.com/
https://www.facebook.com/theendrecords/

Heliotropes, A Constant Sea (2013)

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Anathema, Judgement, A Fine Day to Exit & A Natural Disaster: Of Continued Resonance

Posted in Reviews on July 9th, 2015 by JJ Koczan

anathema a natural disaster judgement and a fine day to exit covers

British label Music for Nations went under in 2004 after 21 years of releasing landmark metal in Europe from everyone from Entombed and Candlemass and Opeth to Tygers of Pan Tang, Savatage and Legs Diamond. Now owned by Sony via BMG, it has been reactivated and a series of reissues is underway highlighting Music for Nations‘ rather formidable catalog, which includes three records by Liverpool’s Anathema, who signed to the label in 1999 after the release of their fourth album, 1998’s Alternative 4, which would be their last — for a time — on Peaceville Records.

Remastered and issued as deluxe 180g LPs (plus CDs) with liner notes by the band and distributed in the US by The End Records, the three albums Anathema released with Music for Nations are what I usually consider from the middle era of the band. “Mid-period Anathema,” is the phrase I use. Ever-progressing, always changing, one can look at the career of Anathema in three stages: Their early days of doomed extremity that made them contemporaries of Paradise Lost and My Dying Bride, the middle era of melancholy influenced heavily by Pink Floyd, and the increasingly progressive work of the last half-decade plus, which has seen them return to Peaceville via its prog-minded offshoot Kscope and found them sounding happier to be alive than they’ve ever been.

Of course, that’s one way of thinking about it. Another would be breaking Anathema‘s discography into two stages — essentially “Then” and “Now” — which leaves their three Music for Nations offerings somewhat lost in the transition, and still another would be to simply say that each of their 10-to-date albums is its own era. Probably the most accurate in terms of the actual processes involved, but hardly useful in understanding the progression either of their lineup around brothers Vincent, Danny and Jamie Cavanagh or of their songwriting, which has retained a vivid core no matter how dark the material actually got. And it got pretty dark there for a while. Gloriously so.

Though 1999’s fifth album, Judgement, 2001’s A Fine Day to Exit and 2003’s A Natural Disaster weren’t close to being Anathema‘s angriest or most outwardly metallic work — for which one would have to go back to their 1993 debut, Serenades, or 1992’s The Crestfallen and 1995’s Pentecost III EPs; their rawness still eviscerating what since have become the conventions of modern theatrical doom — the three albums retain an emotional and atmospheric heft that continues to resonate even more than a decade after the fact. Each presents its own vision of the band, and each has its own sound, but over the course of the three — which The End has bundled together in special edition packages that include extras like a turntable slip mat and as the Fine Days 1999-2004 3CD/DVD mediabook — one can trace a line of vigilant creative progress, and that has always been what draws Anathema‘s discography together.

On a personal note, I’ll say that these three records particularly — I might take Alternative 4 over Judgement, but it’s close and that’s splitting hairs anyway — mark out my favorite era of Anathema‘s work. These are albums I’ve held sacred for years now, and a chance to revisit them is welcome long past the point of impartiality. I’ve been a nerd on this stuff for way too long not to call myself out on it.

Still, we dive in:

Judgement (1999)

anathema judgement vinyl and cover

One of the most striking things about the new version of Judgement is how clear it sounds. Not that the original was muddy by any stretch — Anathema had some lackluster productions in their early going, but had gotten it out of their system by the time they came around to their fifth album — but still, the backgrounds of songs like “Deep” and “Forgotten Hope” and “Parisienne Moonlight” seem to stand out more. It’s true of the other two records as well. Vinyl compression suits the atmosphere of Judgement, which retains a lonely, brooding sensibility despite a pretty broad range of songwriting, and the flow of “Forgotten Hope” into the tense repetitions of “Destiny is Dead” is as vital as ever. In the context of these reissues, the penultimate “Anyone, Anywhere,” with its piano and acoustic blend, seems to directly presage A Fine Day to Exit, though the emergent surge of slow distortion could just as easily be traced to the preceding Alternative 4. In any case, there’s no question as to what band you’re hearing, and though its mood is as blue and deep-running as its cover art, Judgement boasts enough space for more than a fair share of breadth, Vincent Cavanagh coming into his own as the lead vocalist and carrying “One Last Goodbye” across with a flair for drama that does nothing to undercut the emotionalism of the song itself. It was the height of the CD era, and accordingly, Judgement runs long for a standard single LP at 13 tracks and nearly 57 minutes — the side split coming between “Judgement” and “Don’t Look too Far,” the latter every bit worthy of the highlight position opening the second side — but it’s time well spent or re-spent depending on your experience in the band, and in addition to being their debut on Music for Nations, Judgement was pivotal in expanding the reach of Anathema‘s songcraft. Cavanagh mentions in the liner notes that it was also vocalist Lee Douglas‘ intro to the band — she’s on “Parisienne Moonlight” and “Don’t Look too Far” — and as she became more established in the lineup, that reach would only continue to grow.

A Fine Day to Exit (2001)

anathema a fine day to exit cover and lp

As with anything, opinions among the converted vary, and mine is by no means the prevailing one on this issue. However, from where I sit, 2001’s A Fine Day to Exit is Anathema‘s best record. It has all the weight and depressive vibing of their early work but presents itself with an absolute clarity of purpose in memorable songs that stay with the listener — provided the listener lets them and isn’t too busy expecting the album to be something it isn’t or resenting it for not being that thing — long after play has stopped. Its rich melodies and textures foreshadow the progressive mindset that would come when the band resurfaced with 2010’s We’re Here Because We’re Here (discussed here), but as a band, they were still more about atmosphere than pinpoint execution, and A Fine Day to Exit continues to benefit greatly from the specificity of the moment in Anathema‘s development it captures. Of the three reissues, it’s also the most different from its original version. What was the album opener with its distinctive piano stokes, “Pressure” has moved to the end of side A, and now arrives after the tense pulsations of “Underworld” and before the side flip, which brings the suicidal manic chaos of “Panic” — a song whose existential torture remains writ in its confusing lyrical turns, “Air bubbles in your veins turning my hands black,” and so on — and A Fine Day to Exit‘s heaviest thrust, still beautiful for its poetic bleakness and the stark contrast that its rush maintains with the slower flows surrounding. “Panic” as the starter for side B makes even more sense with the inclusion of new opener, the previously unreleased “A Fine Day,” which provides side A with a jump at the beginning of the record, an acoustic strum giving way to a cacophony (though if you listen, that acoustic line never leaves) of crashes and jagged guitar that cuts short with about a minute to go and ends with a sweet acoustic line that feeds into “Release.” In addition to shifting “Pressure,” side A’s “Looking Outside Inside” has been moved to the second half, where it follows “Breaking down the Barriers,” which used to just be called “Barriers” and used to lead into “Panic” instead of following it as it does here. To fit the format, closer “Temporary Peace” is also a truncated seven minutes on the vinyl, down from 18 on the original version (what with the “What about dogs, what about cats, what about chickens?” and all that silliness at the end) and down from 15 on this one’s accompanying CD. Do all these changes make A Fine Day to Exit a better album? I don’t know. Talk to me in 14 years. What they do is dramatically change the listening experience, and I think it says something that with what’s really some comparatively little minor tooling, Anathema‘s sixth offering can sound as fresh as it does here. It remains one of the best records I’ve ever heard. Ever? Ever.

A Natural Disaster (2003)

anathema a natural disaster cover and lp

After Anathema released A Natural Disaster in 2003, it would be five years before they managed to put out another long-player, and that was Hindsight, a revisit/reworking of older material. I remember wondering if they were done for some time. And in a way, they were, because when We’re Here Because We’re Here came out in 2010, they were a different band. A Natural Disaster found bassist Jamie Cavanagh back in the band alongside VincentDanny, drummer John Douglas (who’d played on the prior two albums as well, having come aboard for Judgement), Lee Douglas (still listed as a guest vocalist), additional vocalist Anna Livingstone who added lines to “Are You There?,” and keyboardist/programmer/recording engineer Les Smith, who makes a more significant impact on the material than one might initially think to hear the songs, but more than the lineup it established — the three Cavanaghs and the two Douglases being in the current incarnation of Anathema with drummer Daniel Cardoso — this was the record where Anathema pushed that sense of inward-looking darkness as far as it could go. A winter hasn’t passed in the last 12 that I haven’t at some point put it on to hear the kick-in of opener “Harmonium” and the sort of wandering ethereal melody of “Balance,” which follows, both songs drawing the listener into a programmed but organic-seeming world the tracks create. If one considers A Fine Day to Exit the trauma, then A Natural Disaster is the post-trauma, that moment of aftershock where damage is assessed. Of the three Music for Nations outings, it is also the most masterful, the steps that Judgement seemed to take as bold moves forward now refined to a point where Anathema could bend their own methods to suit purposes like the build-into-payoff-into-minimalism of “Closer,” or the meandering impressionism of “Childhood Dream,” the soft wistfulness of the aforementioned “Are You There?” and the bass-driven tension of the intro to “Pulled Under at 2,000 Metres,” which here makes a finish to side A no less driving than how “Panic” started side B of the album preceding — the two songs have always been linked in my mind, the outward heaviness of the other making it a spiritual successor to the one. Perhaps most terrifying of all is how comfortable Anathema seem inhabiting this emotional space, the longing that pervades “A Natural Disaster” and “Flying” at the start of side B emblematic of the range that has taken shape by this point in the band’s methods and the variety of forms their expression could, by this point, take. Backed by wisps of guitar, the piano and acoustic strum of “Electricity” provide a last human landmark before 10-minute instrumental closer “Violence” begins its movement forward and through a well-charted build and quiet finish. Far closer to being the same as it was to start with than was A Fine Day to Exit, if listening to the LP of A Natural Disaster has done anything, it’s forced me to really take on those last two cuts, where with the CD of the album that I’ve had since it was released I always tended to zone out after “Flying” and lose myself in the wash of “Violence.” Can’t say I regret paying closer attention.

Like I said, it would be five years before Anathema put out any new studio material — a couple demos surfaced on their website circa 2007 (unless my timeline is way off) for tracks that would show up on the next album; “Angels Walk Among Us” and one or two others — and by the time they did, this moment, the progression of JudgementA Fine Day to Exit and A Natural Disaster would have taken another turn that set in motion the current stage of Anathema‘s development. They plunged deep into a sonic bleakness, maybe too deep for their own liking, ultimately, but what they were able to bring out of that depressive morass remain some of the richest and most honest looks at it a band could hope to give.

Anathema, A Natural Disaster (2003)

Anathema at The End Records

Anathema on Thee Facebooks

Anathema’s website

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Anathema Reissues & Box Set Due in June

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

anathema

As discussed before and after their set at Roadburn 2015, this is actually my favorite period of Anathema‘s work: the middle stage where the near-gothic death-doom dramas of their early days gave way to melodic Floydian spaciousness without letting go of its melancholic sensibility or emotional rawness that seemed all the more laid bare on songs like “One Last Goodbye,” “Temporary Peace” and “Flying” without waves of distortion to cover them up. Wider regard for their catalog before and after will be what it is — the ability to conjure opinions has always been a strong point for the Liverpool outfit — but this stuff is where my heart lies when it comes to Anathema.

As such, it’s with a somewhat wistful eye I look at the info below for 180g vinyl remasters and a box set compiling all of what I consider to be their best stuff, The End Records continuing to do well after having picked up the Music for Nations catalog however many years ago it was. Exclusive bundle, 3CD box, 180g vinyl, this one’s got all the keywords.

From the PR wire:

anathema bundle

ANATHEMA REISSUES 3 TITLES ON VINYL WITH CD PLUS COLLECTOR’S BOXSET & EXCLUSIVE ALBUM BUNDLE

AVAILABLE NOW IN LIMITED EDITIONS VIA THE OMEGA ORDER

OUT 6/30 VIA THE END RECORDS/ADA

British rock group Anathema announces the remastered reissues of Judgement, A Fine Day To Exit, and A Natural Disaster on 180-gram vinyl and CD via The End Records/ADA. All three albums are also available as a 3-CD collector’s boxset, which includes the 38-song DVD mediabook, Were You There?.

This reissue makes available the first ever Anathema collector’s set, including an exclusive album bundle configuration of all three titles, boxset, and screenprinted slipmat.
All Titles Limited Edition

AVAILABLE NOW ON THE OMEGA ORDER!

Judgement
Remastered 180-gram LP + CD
01 Deep
02 Pitiless
03 Forgotten Hope
04 Destiny Is Dead
05 Make It Right (F.F.S)
06 One Last Goodbye
07 Parisienne Moonlight
08 Judgement
09 Don’t Look Too Far
10 Emotional Winter
11 Wings of God
12 Anyone, Anywhere
13 2000 & Gone

CLICK HERE To Order Judgment

A Fine Day To Exit
Remastered 180-gram LP + CD
01 Pressure
02 Release
03 Looking Outside Inside
04 Leave No Trace
05 Underworld
06 Barrier
07 Panic
08 Fine Day To Exit
09 Temporary Peace

CLICK HERE To Order A Fine Day To Exit

A Natural Disaster
Remastered 180-gram LP + CD
01 Harmonium
02 Balance
03 Closer
04 Are You There?
05 Childhood Dream
06 Pulled Under at 2000 Metres a Second
07 A Natural Disaster
08 Flying
09 Electricity
10 Violence

CLICK HERE To Order A Natural Disaster

Fine Days: 1999-2004
3 Remastered CDs & DVD Mediabook
Disc 1: Judgement (13 Songs)
Disc 2: A Fine Day to Exit (10 Songs)
Disc 3: A Natural Disaster (9 Songs)
Disc 4: Were you There? (38 Songs – DVD)

CLICK HERE To Order Fine Days: 1999-2004

Exclusive Reissue Bundle
Screenprinted slipmat
Judgement (LP + CD)
A Fine Day To Exit (LP + CD)
A Natural Disaster (LP + CD)
Fine Days 1999 – 2004 (3CD + DVD)

CLICK HERE To Order The Exclusive Reissue Bundle

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https://www.facebook.com/anathemamusic
https://twitter.com/anathemamusic

Anathema, A Natural Disaster (2003)

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Last Licks 2014: Nate Hall, Nocturnal Poisoning, Snailking, Godmaker, Void Generator, The Mound Builders, Mother Kasabian, Deep Space Destructors, Underdogs and Human Services

Posted in Reviews on December 30th, 2014 by JJ Koczan

Happy to report that I survived the first day of this project. Spirits are good and I look at the stack of discs (plus one book; we’ll get there) in front of me and feel relatively confident that by the time I’m through it, my cerebral cortex will still manage to function in the limited way it usually does. If yesterday’s installment is anything to go by, however, I’ll be well out of adjectives by then. What’s another word for “heavy?”

There’s only one way to find out. These will be reviews 11-20 of the total 50. I don’t know if they say the first 10 are the hardest or the last, but I’ll be in the thick of it when this is posted and while I’m sure I probably could turn back and catch minimal if any flack for it — one “Hey wha happen?” on Thee Facebooks seems likely penance — better to just keep going. Another stack awaits tomorrow, after all.

Thanks in advance to anyone reading:

Nate Hall, Electric Vacuum Roar

nate hall electric vacuum roar

Electric Vacuum Roar is one of two Nate Hall physical releases from this fall. The U.S. Christmas frontman and solo performer also has a few digital odds and ends and Fear of Falling, on which he partners with a rhythm section. Released by Heart and Crossbone Records and Domestic Genocide, Electric Vacuum Roar is closer to a solo affair. Hall is joined by Caustic Resin’s Brett Netson on guitar/bass on two extended tracks: “Dance of the Prophet” (16:46) and “Long Howling Decline/People Fall Down” (11:57). The second part of the latter is a reinterpretation of a Caustic Resin song, though here it is droned out and put through a portal of drumless and inward-looking psychedelia, turned into the finale of a communicative and intimate affair. Amp noise and effects swirl around “Dance of the Prophet,” and it’s easy to get lost in it, but Hall maintains a steady presence of obscure vocals and the result is what tribal might be if tribes were comprised of one person.

Nate Hall on Thee Facebooks

Heart and Crossbone Records

Nocturnal Poisoning, Doomgrass

nocturnal poisoning doomgrass

I’ve never tried to break up a one-man band, but I can’t imagine Scott Conner – who helped pave the way for US black metal under the moniker Malefic in Xasthur – has had an easy time of it since he put that band to bed in 2010. Nocturnal Poisoning, whose Doomgass arrives via The End Records, is an entirely different beast. Centered around layers folkish acoustic guitar, cleanly produced backed by occasional bass and tambourine, Doomgrass is still depressive at its core – Robert N. contributes guest vocals, almost gothic in style, to songs like “Starstruck by Garbage” and “Illusion of Worth” – but if the name is a portmanteau of doom and bluegrass, it fits the style. If anything ties Nocturnal Poisoning to Xasthur aside from Conner’s involvement, it’s a focus on atmosphere, but the two ultimately have little in common otherwise, and Nocturnal Poisoning’s exploratory feel is refreshingly individualized and leaves one wondering if Conner will be able to resist the full-band-sound impulse going forward.

Nocturnal Poisoning on Thee Facebooks

Doomgrass at The End Records

Snailking, Storm

snailking storm

Though they’re decidedly post-metal in their influences – Neurosis, YOB, obviously Ufomammut for whose record they are named – Sweden’s Snailking keep to heavy rock tones on their Consouling Sounds debut full-length, Storm, and that greatly bolsters the album’s personality. Even as they lumber, the riffs of 11-minute opener “To Wander” are fuzzed-out, and that remains true throughout the five mostly-extended cuts the trio of drummer Olle Svahn, bassist Frans Levin and guitarist/vocalist Pontus Ottosson present on their first record, which follows the 2012 demo, Samsara (review here). Centerpiece “Slithering” is the shortest and most churning of the bunch at 6:32, but the particularly YOBian “Requiem” underscores another value greatly working in Storm’s favor – the patience with which Snailking present the ambience of their pieces. That will serve them well as they continue to distinguish themselves from their forebears, but for now, Storm makes a welcome opening salvo from the three-piece highlighting both their potential and how far they’ve come already since the release of their demo.

Snailking on Thee Facebooks

Consouling Sounds

Godmaker, Godmaker

godmaker godmaker

The self-titled debut from thoroughly-bearded Brooklynite four-piece Godmaker arrives via Aqualamb as an art-book and download, a full 96 pages of designs, lyrics to the four included tracks of the vinyl-ready 32-minute long-player, live shots from a variety of sources, bizarre geometry and odd etchings feeding the atmosphere of the songs themselves, somewhere between sludge, thrash and aggressive noise with scream-topped moments of doom like “Shallow Points.” Comprised of guitarist/vocalists Pete Ross and Chris Strait, bassist Andrew Archey and drummer Jon Lane, Godmaker fluidly shifts between the various styles at work in their sound, whether it’s the explosion at the end of “Shallow Points” or that beginning the rush of opener “Megalith,” and while their self-titled is a dense listen, with the surprising post-hardcore take of “Desk Murder” and the check-out-this-badass-riff-now-we’re-going-to-smash-your-face-with-it 11-minute metallic closer “Faded Glory,” it efficiently satisfies. More so after a couple listens front to back. If Godmaker were breaking your bones, it would be a clean break, and yes, that’s a compliment to their attack.

Godmaker on Thee Facebooks

Aqualamb

Void Generator, Supersound

void generator supersound

Supersound is the first full-length from Italian heavy psych rockers Void Generator since 2010’s Phantom Hell and Soar Angelic (review here), and where that album held three extended pieces, the latest and third overall breaks into smaller pieces. Some of those are extended – opener “Behind My Door” is 8:09 and “Master of the Skies” tops nine minutes – but the bulk of Supersound’s seven tracks is shorter works somewhere between desert rock and classic psych, guitarist Gianmarco Iantaffi leading the four-piece with a  more subdued vocal approach than last time out, compressed even in the rowdier verses of “What are You Doin’” (written by Sandro Chiesa), on which the keys of Enrico Cosimi feature heavily and add to the sound too crisp to be totally retro but still vehemently organic. Bassist Sonia Caporossi (also acoustic guitar on penultimate interlude “Universal Winter”) and drummer Marco Cenci hold together the fluid grooves as Void Generator follows these varied impulses, and Supersound proves cohesive and no less broadly scoped than its predecessor.

Void Generator on Thee Facebooks

Phonosphera Records

The Mound Builders, Wabash War Machine

the mound builders wabash war machine

There’s a version of The Mound Builders’ 17-minute Wabash War Machine EP from Failure Records and Tapes that includes a comic book, but even the regular sleeve CD edition gives a glimpse at the Lafayette, Indiana, five-piece’s heavy Southern metal push. The middle two of the four inclusions, “Sport of Crows” and “Bar Room Queen,” surfaced earlier this year on a split tape with Bo Jackson 5 (review here), but opener “Wabash War Machine” and the sludged-up closer “The Mound” on which the guitars of Brian Boszor and “Ninja” Nate Malher phase between channels and vocalist Jim Voelz delivers his harshest performance to date, are brand new, albeit recorded at the same sessions in July 2013. “Wabash War Machine” highlights the band’s blend of southern metal and heavy groove, guitar intricacy and a gang-shout chorus meeting thick rollout from bassist Robert Ryan Strawsma and drummer Jason “Dinger” Brookhart, but it’s the finale that’s the EP’s most lasting impression, as pummeling as The Mound Builders have gotten to date.

The Mound Builders on Thee Facebooks

Failure Records and Tapes

Mother Kasabian, Mother Kasabian

mother kasabian mother kasabian

In Olof’s buzzsaw guitar tone, the thud of Karl’s drums and Gidon’s abiding vocal menace, “Strike of the Emperor” gives notice of some Celtic Frost influence, but that’s hardly the whole tale when it comes Stockholm trio Mother Kasabian’s self-titled, self-released debut EP, as “The Black Satanic Witch of Saturn” immediately calls to mind The Doors in its minimal, spacious verse and offsets this with a soulful classic heavy rock chorus en route to the seven-minute “Close of Kaddish,” which works in a similar pattern – hitting notes of Trouble-style doom in its crescendos – and offers Mother Kasabian’s widest ranging moment ahead of the swaggering closer “The Return of the Mighty King and His Cosmic Elephants.” Swinging drums and variety in Gidon’s The Crazy World of Arthur Brown-style approach give the EP a distinguished feel despite raw production and it being Mother Kasabian’s first outing, and with the psych touches in the finale and a generally unhinged vibe throughout, the trio showcase considerable potential at work.

Mother Kasabian on Thee Facebooks

Mother Kasabian on Bandcamp

Deep Space Destructors, III

deep space destructors iii

Active since 2011 and with two prior full-lengths – 2012’s I (review here) and 2013’s II (review here) – under their belt, Oulu, Finland, heavy psych trio Deep Space Destructors offer their definitive stylistic statement in the wash of III, a five-song/45-minute cosmic excursion with progressive krautrock edge (see “Spaceship Earth”) driven into heavier territory through dense fuzz in guitarist Petri Lassila’s tone and the chemistry between he, vocalist/bassist Jani Pitkänen and drummer Markus Pitkänen. Their extended but plotted jammy course finds culmination in the 15-minute penultimate cut “An Ode to Indifferent Universe,” – King Crimson and Floyd laced together by synth sounds – but the space-rock thrust of closer “Ikuinen Alku” highlights the multifaceted approach Deep Space Destructors have developed since their inception, consistently psychedelic but expansive. The sides gel effectively on “Cosmic Burial,” lending modern crash and tonal heft to classic ideals to craft something new from them in admirable form. As far out as they’ve gone, Deep Space Destructors still seem to be exploring new ground.

Deep Space Destructors on Thee Facebooks

Deep Space Destructors on Bandcamp

Underdogs, Underdogs

underdogs underdogs

Released as a cooperative production between Garage Records and Go Down Records, Italian trio Underdogs’ second, self-titled LP pushes further along the straight-lined course of heavy rock their 2007 debut, Ready to Burn, and 2011’s Revolution Love (review here) charted. Songs like “Nothing but the Best” strip away the Queens of the Stone Age-style fuzz of past outings in favor of a cleaner tone and overall feel, and while that spirit shows up later on side B’s “Called Play” and the rumbling grunge of “My Favourite Game” (a cover of The Cardigans), the prevailing vibe speaks to European commercial viability with clear hooks and straightforward structures. Acoustic finale “The Closing Song” offers a last-minute shift in style, calling to mind UnderdogsDogs without Plugs digital release, but even in more barebones form, the songwriting remains the focus on this mature third offering from a three-piece who’ve clearly figured out the direction in which they want to head and have set about developing an audience-friendly sound.

Underdogs on Thee Facebooks

Go Down Records

Human Services, Animal Fires

human services animal fires

Since they issued their self-titled debut (review here) in 2012, Virginia’s Human Services have brought aboard Steve Kerchner of Lord, and he brings as much a sense of chaos to Animal Fires as one might expect in teaming with Jeff Liscombe, Sean Sanford, Don Piffalo and Billy Kurilko, though the 59-minute full-length isn’t without its structure. Longer songs pair with concise noise experiments throughout the first 10 of the total 13 tracks, and each is different, so that even as the gap between songs is bridged, the stylistic basis for Animal Fires is branched out. The result is that by the time “Onyedinci Yil Sürüsü” closes out the album proper before the 17-minute live inclusion “No Structures in the Eye of the Jungle” hits, Human Services have reimagined the modus of Godflesh as an extremity of organic noisemaking, Southern heavy and eerie progressivism. Shades of Neurosis show up in centerpiece “Rats of a Feather,” but they too are twisted to suit the band’s creative purposes, threatening and engagingly bleak.

Human Services on Thee Facebooks

Human Services on Bandcamp

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Nocturnal Poisoning’s Doomgrass Available to Preorder

Posted in Whathaveyou on August 7th, 2014 by JJ Koczan

Oh, what a difference a decade can make. 2004 was Scott Conner‘s most productive year working with the name Malefic under the Xasthur banner, with two full-lengths, a demo and splits with other US black metal pioneers Leviathan and Nachtmystium, as well as Denmark’s Nortt and Germany’s Angra Mainyu, all out by the time the year was done. Conner was prolific as Xasthur until putting the project to rest in 2010, but never quite with the same intensity.

10 years later, Conner is readying the third album from his acoustic/bluegrass outfit, Nocturnal Poisoning — also the name of the first Xasthur album — for release via The End RecordsDoomgrass is available now to preorder from the label and will be out Oct. 7.

NOCTURNAL POISONING SET TO RELEASE NEW FULL-LENGTH ALBUM DOOMGRASS VIA THE END RECORDS OUT OCTOBER 7TH

PRE-ORDERS NOW AVAILABLE!

Widely known as a pioneer within the often isolated world of black metal, multi-instrumentalist and songwriter Scott Conner has forged ahead to once again reshape what the music community may come to expect from him with Nocturnal Poisoning’s third full-length album – Doomgrass.

Scheduled for release on October 7 via The End Records, Doomgrass is a distinctive, demanding, and altogether rewarding listening experience, one that finds Conner using country and bluegrass guitar playing techniques as well as American folk music weaving dark yet melodious arrangements that are dissonant and melancholic.

Rhythms of finger-picked guitars layered upon each other ebb and flow throughout creating a stirring and galvanic atmosphere, while the vocals are delivered by Robert N. in a bluesy, chant-like style, gritty but clean, adding yet another layer to Nocturnal Poisoning’s unconventional sound.

“I think Doomgrass is probably the most fearless record I’ve done,” says Conner. “I think a lot of the ‘melancholic and ethereal’ elements have taken a backseat and more of a country, western, murky side is coming out in the music more, with a touch of doom, of course. I can learn and change as I go along with Nocturnal Poisoning; and this new album is an indication of that. Third time’s the charm and I think I have the hang of what I want to do now more than ever and how to get the results.”

As the creative force and sole member of Xasthur, the highly influential black metal project that Conner launched back in 1996, while never playing a single show, he went on to release a total of eight studio albums before dissolving the Xasthur project in 2010 to afford him the time to pursue more challenging musical endeavors, namely Nocturnal Poisoning (a name taken from Xasthur’s first official album released in 2002).

PRE-ORDER ‘DOOMGRASS’ NOW!

01. Slowly Passing Through
02. Prisoners Of Their Own Needs
03. Doomgrass
04. Starstruck By Garbage
05. Bet It All
06. Source Of Survival
07. Fight For Another Life
08. Illusion Of Worth
09. Old Light
10. Closure In Reach
11. Vagrant, Seeker Of Empty Treasures
12. Can’t Find The Sky
13. Running Out Of Highways
14. Question The Screen

For More Information:
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Nocturnal Poisoning, Song from Doomgrass

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