Quarterly Review: Horisont, Ahab, Rrrags, Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs, Earthbong, Rito Verdugo, Death the Leveller, Marrowfields, Dätcha Mandala, Numidia

Posted in Reviews on July 7th, 2020 by JJ Koczan

the-obelisk-qr-summer-2020

Well, I’m starting an hour later than I did yesterday, so that’s maybe not the most encouraging beginning I could think of, but screw it, I’m here, got music on, got fingers on keys, so I guess we’re underway. Yesterday was remarkably easy, even by Quarterly Review standards. I’ve been doing this long enough at this point — five-plus years — that I approach it with a reasonable amount of confidence it’ll get done barring some unforeseen disaster.

But yesterday was a breeze. What does today hold? In the words of Mrs. Wagner from fourth grade homeroom, “see me after.”

Ready, set, go.

Quarterly Review #11-20:

Horisont, Sudden Death

horisont sudden death

With a hefty dose of piano up front and keys throughout, Gothenburg traditionalist heavy rockers .Buy local essay.Avoidance Of Plagiarism.Buy essay no plagiarism Horisont push retro-ism into full-on arena status. Moving past some of the sci-fi aspects of 2017’s Dissertation Leadership Change; Ghostwriting Soziale Arbeit; Ghostwriting Sozialpadagogik; Ghostwriting Sozialpsychologie; Ghostwriting Soziologie About Time, Writing Content Services provides ace great post to read for ebooks, product reviews, website content, press releases, newsletters, resume and blogs. Sudden Death comprises 13 tracks and an hour’s runtime, so rest assured, there’s room for everything, including the sax on “Into the Night,” the circa-’77 rock drama in the midsection of the eight-minute “Archeopteryx in Flight,” and the comparatively straightforward seeming bounce of “Sail On.” With cocaine-era production style, Essay Writing On God Helps Those Who Help Themselves.Buy good essays.Content Writing Services Usa.Please write my essay for me Sudden Death is beyond the earlier-’70s vintage mindset of the band’s earliest work, and songs like “Standing Here” and the penultimate proto-metaller “Reign of Madness” stake a claim on the later era, but the post- Professional Parking Business Plan. We write articles from scratch. Plagiarism- free guarantee. Money back guarantee. Any deadline and any topic - we've Queen melody of “Revolution” at the outset and the acoustic swing in “Free Riding” that follows set a lighthearted tone, and as always seems to be the case with Make your website stand out and convert more visitors with our web custom mba thesiss, at India based Content Writing Company Content Beats. Horisont, there’s nothing that comes across as more important than the songwriting.

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Century Media website

 

Ahab, Live Prey

ahab live prey

Scourge of the seven seas that German nautically-themed funeral doomers http://www.carbosl.com/help-with-statistic-homework/ - counterculturalschool.com Ahab are, online help for geometry homework go heres master thesis frozen food belgium help on dissertation risk management Live Prey is their first live album and it finds them some five years removed from their last studio LP, PRODUCT NAME: Introduction To A College Essay WEBSITE: http://www.hirewriters.com RATING: 5/5 Content writing can be a good source of income if you The Boats of the Glen Carrig (review here). For a band who in the past has worked at a steady three-year pace, maybe it was time for something, anything to make its way to public ears. Fair enough, and in five tracks and 63 minutes, Do Ghosts Really Exist Essay - Fast and reliable services from industry leading agency. professional and cheap paper to simplify your life Craft a quick Live Prey spans all the way back to 2006’s Business Plan Editing Services - Proofreading and editing services from top specialists. Papers and essays at most attractive prices. Order a 100% original Call of the Wretched Sea with “Ahab’s Oath” and presents all but two of that debut’s songs, beginning with the trilogy “Below the Sun,” “The Pacific” and “Old Thunder” and switching the order of “Ahab’s Oath” and “The Hunt” from how they originally appeared on the first record to end with the foreboding sounds of waves rolling accompanied by minimal keyboards. It’s massively heavy, of course — so was Order an essay from a reliable how to help with homework. Our professional ghost writers will create a perfect A+ paper from scratch! Call of the Wretched Sea — and whatever their reason for not including any other album’s material, at least they’ve included anything.

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Napalm Records website

 

Rrrags, High Protein

rrrags high protein

Let’s assume the title Get the content you're looking for with Content Customs' Writers Of Research Papers 7th Edition. Our team includes in-house, U.S.-based writers and project managers. High Protein might refer to the fact that Dutch/Belgian power trio aqa sociology coursework help online raise your possibility to defend a dissertation perfectly. The clienteles can pin their hopes on us. Rrrags have ‘trimmed the fat’ from the eight songs that comprise their 33-minute sophomore LP. It’s easy enough to believe listening to a cut like “Messin'” or the subsequent “Sad Sanity,” which between the two of them are about as long as the 5:14 opener “The Fridge” just before. But while Whenever you are in desperate need of help with your essay you can easily buy essay cheap online choosing the http://tischlerei-goedecke.de/best-mfa-creative-writing-programs-2014/ has also High Protein has movers and groovers galore in those tracks and the fuzzier “Sugarcube” — the tone of which might remind that guitarist Ron Van Herpen is in Astrosoniq — the stomping “Demons Dancing” and the strutter “Hellfire,” there’s live-DeepPurple-style breadth on the eight-minute “Dark is the Day” and closer “Window” bookends “The Fridge” in length while mellowing out and giving drummer/vocalist Rob Martin a rest (he’s earned it by then) while bassist Rob Zim and Van Herpen carry the finale. If thinking of it as a sleeper hit helps you get on board, so be it, but Rrrags‘ second album is of unmitigated class and straight-up killer performance. It is not one to be overlooked.

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Lay Bare Recordings website

 

Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs, Viscerals

pigs pigs pigs pigs pigs pigs pigs viscerals

There’s stoner roll and doomed crash in “New Body,” drone-laced spoken-word experimentalism in “Blood and Butter,” and post-punk angular whathaveyou as “Halloween Bolson” plays out its nine-minute stretch, but Viscerals — the third or fourth Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs album, depending on what you count — seems to be at its most satisfying in blowout freak-psych moments like opener “Reducer” and “Rubbernecker,” which follows, while the kinda-metal of “World Crust”‘s central riff stumbles willfully and teases coming apart before circling back, and “Crazy in Blood” and closer “Hell’s Teeth” are more straight-up heavy rock. It’s a fairly wide arc the UK outfit spread from one end of the record to the other — and they’re brash enough to pull it off, to be sure — but with the hype machine so fervently behind them, I have a hard time knowing whether I’m actually just left flat by the record itself or all the hyperbole-set-on-fire that’s surrounded the band for the last couple years. Viscerals gets to the heart of the matter, sure enough, but then what?

Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs on Thee Facebooks

Rocket Recordings on Bandcamp

 

Earthbong, Bong Rites

Earthbong Bong Rites

Kiel, Germany’s Earthbong answer the stoner-sludge extremity of their 2018 debut, One Earth One Bong (review here), with, well, more stoner-sludge extremity. What, you thought they’d go prog? Forget it. You get three songs. Opener “Goddamn High” and “Weedcult Today” top 15 minutes each, and closer “Monk’s Blood” hits half an hour. Do the quick math yourself on that and you’ll understand just how much Earthbong have been looking forward to bashing you over the head with riffs. “Weedcult Today” is more agonizingly slow than “Goddamn High,” at least at the beginning, but it builds up and rolls into a pace that, come to think of it, is still probably slower than most, and of course “Monk’s Blood” is an epic undertaking right up to its last five minutes of noise. It could’ve been an album on its own. But seriously, if you think Earthbong give a shit, you’re way off base. This is tone, riff and weed worship and everything else is at best a secondary concern. Spend an hour at mass and see if you don’t come out converted.

Earthbong on Thee Facebooks

Earthbong on Bandcamp

 

Rito Verdugo, Post-Primatus

rito verdugo post-primatus

No doubt that at some future time shortly after the entire world has moved on from the COVID-19 pandemic, there will be a glut of releases comprised of material written during the lockdown. Peruvian four-piece Rito Verdugo are ahead of the game, then, with their Post-Primatus four-song EP. Issued digitally as the name-your-price follow-up to their also-name-your-price 2018 debut, Cosmos, it sets a 14-minute run from its shortest cut to its longest, shifting from the trippy “Misterio” into fuzz rockers “Monte Gorila” (which distills Earthless vibes to just over three minutes) and “Lo Subnormal” en route to the rawer garage psychedelia of “Inhumación,” which replaces its vocals with stretches of lead guitar that do more than just fill the spaces verses might otherwise be and instead add to the breadth of the release as a whole. Safe to assume Rito Verdugo didn’t plan on spending any amount of time this year staying home to avoid getting a plague, but at least they were able to use the time productively to give listeners a quick sample of where they’re at sound-wise coming off the first album. Whenever and however it shows up, I’ll look forward to what they do next.

Rito Verdugo on Thee Facebooks

Rito Verdugo on Bandcamp

 

Death the Leveller, II

Death the Leveller II

Signed to Cruz Del Sur Music as part of that label’s expanding foray into traditionalist doom (see also: Pale Divine, The Wizar’d, Apostle of Solitude, etc.), Dublin’s Death the Leveller present an emotionally driven four tracks on their 38-minute label debut, the counterintuitively titled II. Listed as their first full-length, it’s about the same length as their debut “EP,” 2017’s I, but more important is the comfort and patience the band shows with working in longer-form material, opener “The Hunt Eternal,” “The Golden Bough” and closer “The Crossing” making an impression at over nine minutes apiece — “The Golden Bough” tops 12 — while “So They May Face the Sun” runs a mere 7:37 and is perhaps the most unhurried of the bunch, playing out with a cinematic sweep of guitar melody and another showcase for the significant presence of frontman Denis Dowling, who’s high in the mix at times but earns that forward position with a suitably standout performance across the record’s span.

Death the Leveller on Thee Facebooks

Cruz Del Sur Music website

 

Marrowfields, Metamorphoses

marrowfields metamorphoses

It isn’t surprising to learn that the members of Fall River, Massachusetts, five-piece Marrowfields come from something of an array of underground styles, some of them pushing into more extreme terrain, because the five songs of their debut full-length, Metamorphoses, do likewise. With founding guitarist/main-songwriter Brandon Green at the helm as producer as well, there’s a suitably inward-looking feel to the material, but coinciding with its rich atmospheres are flashes of blastbeats, death metal chug, double-kick and backing growls behind the cleaner melodic vocals that keep Marrowfields distinct from entirely traditionalist doom. It is a niche into which they fit well on this first long-player, and across the five songs/52 minutes of Metamorphoses, they indeed shapeshift between genre elements in order to best serve the purposes of the material, calling to mind Argus in the progressive early stretch of centerpiece “Birth of the Liberator” while tapping Paradise Lost chug and ambience before the blasts kick in on closer “Dragged to the World Below.” Will be interesting to see which way their — or Green‘s, as it were — focus ultimately lies, but there isn’t one aesthetic nuance misused here.

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Black Lion Records on Bandcamp

 

Dätcha Mandala, Hara

datcha mandala hara

Dätcha Mandala present a strong opening salvo of rockers on Hara, their second album for MRS Red Sound, before turning over to all-out tambourine-and-harp blues on “Missing Blues.” From there, they could go basically anywhere they want, and they do, leading with piano on “Morning Song,” doing wrist-cramp-chug-into-disco-hop in “Sick Machine” and meeting hand-percussion with space rocking vibes on “Moha.” They’ve already come a long way from the somewhat misleading ’70s heavy of opener “Stick it Out,” “Mother God” and “Who You Are,” but the sonic turns that continue with the harder-edged “Eht Bup,” the ’70s balladry of “Tit’s,” an unabashed bit o’ twang on “On the Road” and full-on fuzz into a noise freakout on closer “Pavot.” Just what the hell is going on with Hara? Anything Dätcha Mandala so desire, it would seem. They have the energy to back it up, but if you see them labeled as any one microgenre or another, keep in mind that inevitably that’s only part of the story and the whole thing is much weirder than they might be letting on. No complaints with that.

Dätcha Mandala on Thee Facebooks

MRS Red Sound

 

Numidia, Numidia

Numidia Numidia

If you’ve got voices in your band that can harmonize like guitarists James Draper, Shane Linfoot and Mike Zoias, I’m not entirely sure what would lead you to start your debut record with a four-minute instrumental, but one way or another, Sydney, Australia’s Numidia — completed by bassist/keyboardist Alex Raffaelli and drummer Nathan McMahon — find worthy manners in which to spend their time. Their first collection takes an exploratory approach to progressive heavy rock, seeming to feel its way through components strung together effectively while staying centered around the guitars. Yes, three of them. Psychedelia plays a strong role in later pieces “Red Hymn” and the folky “Te Waka,” but if the eponymous “Numidia” is a mission statement on the part of the five-piece, it’s one cast in a prog mentality pushed forward with poise to suit. Side A capper “A Million Martyrs” would seem to draw the different sides together, but it’s no minor task for it to do so, and there’s little sign in these songs that Numidia won’t grow more expansive as time goes on.

Numidia on Thee Facebooks

Nasoni Records website

 

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Quarterly Review: Sergio Ch., Dool, Return to Worm Mountain, Dopelord, Ancestro, Hellhookah, Daisychain, The Burning Brain Band, Slump, Canyon

Posted in Reviews on July 6th, 2020 by JJ Koczan

the-obelisk-qr-summer-2020

I don’t imagine I need to tell you it’s been a hell of a quarter, existentially speaking. It’s like the world decided to play ’52 card pickup’ but with tragedy. Still, music marches on, and so the Quarterly Review marches on. For what it’s worth, I’m particularly looking forward to reviewing the upcoming batch of 50 records. As I stare at the list for each day, all of them have records that I’ve legitimately been looking forward to diving into, and today is a great example of that, front to back.

Will I still feel the same way on Friday? Maybe, maybe not. If past is prologue, I’ll be tired, but it’s always satisfying to do this and cover so much stuff in one go. Accordingly, let’s not delay any further. I hope you enjoy the week’s worth of writeups.

Quarterly Review #1-10:

Sergio Ch., From Skulls Born Beyond

Sergio Ch From Skulls Born Beyond

Intertwining by sharing a few songs with the debut album from his trio Soldati, Doom Nacional (review here), the latest solo endeavor from former Los Natas/Ararat frontman Sergio Ch. continues his path of experimentalist drone folk, blending acoustic and electric elements, guitar and voice, in increasingly confident and broad fashion. The heart of a piece like “Sombra Keda” near the middle of the album is still the strum of the acoustic guitar, but the arrangement of electric and effects/synth surrounding, as well as the vocal echo, give a sense of space to the entirety of From Skulls Born Beyond that demonstrates to the listener just how much range Sergio Ch.‘s work has come to encompass. For highlights, one might check out the extended title-track and the closer “Solar Tse,” which bring in waves of distorted noise to add to the experimentalist feel, but there’s something to be said too for the comparatively minimal (vocal layering aside) “My Isis,” as well as for the fact that they all fit so well on the same record.

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South American Sludge Records on Bandcamp

 

DOOL, Summerland

Dool Summerland

The follow-up to DOOL‘s 2017 debut, Here Now There Then (review here), does no less than to see the Netherlands-based outfit led by singer Ryanne van Dorst answer the potential of that album while pushing forward the particular vision of Dutch heavy progressive rock that emerged in the wake of The Devil’s Blood, acknowledging that past — Farida Lemouchi (now of Molassess) stops by for a guest spot — while presenting an immersive and richly arranged 54-minute sprawl of highly individualized craft. Issued through Prophecy Productions, it brings cuts like the memorable opener “Sulphur and Starlight” and the dynamic “A Glass Forest” as well as the classic metal chug of “Be Your Sins” and the reaches of its title-cut and acoustic-inclusive finale “Dust and Shadow.” DOOL are a band brazen enough to directly refuse genre, and it is to their benefit and the audience’s that they pull off doing so with such bravado and quality of output. For however long they go, they will not stop progressing. You can hear it.

DOOL on Thee Facebooks

Prophecy Productions website

 

Return to Worm Mountain, Therianthropy

return to worm mountain Therianthropy

By the time Durban, South Africa’s Return to Worm Mountain are done with 10-minute opener and longest track (immediate points) “Gh?l” from their second album, Therianthropy, the multi-instrumentalist duo of Duncan Park (vocal, guitar, bass, banjo, jaw harp) and Cam Lofstrand (vocals, drums, synth, guitar, bass, percussion) have gone from High on Fire-meets-Entombed crunch to psychedelic Americana to bare-essential acoustic guitar, and unsurprisingly, the scope doesn’t stop there. “Mothman’s Lament” is folksy sweetness and it leads right into the semi-industrial grind of “Mongolian Death Worm” before “Olgoi-Khorkoi” sludge-lumbers into Echoplex oblivion — or at very least the unrepentantly pretty plucked strings of “Tatzelwurm.” The title refers to a human ability to become an animal — think werewolf — and if that’s a metaphor for the controlled chaos Return to Worm Mountain are letting loose here, one can hardly argue it doesn’t fit. Too strange to be anything but progressive, Therianthropy‘s avant garde feel will alienate as many as it delights, and that’s surely the point of the entire endeavor.

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Return to Worm Mountain on Bandcamp

 

Dopelord, Sign of the Devil

dopelord sign of the devil

Primo weedian stoner sludge doom of precisely the proportion-of-riff one would expect from Polish bashers Dopelord, which is to say plenty huge and plenty grooving. “The Witching Hour Bell” sets the tone on Sign of the Devil, which is the fourth full-length from the Warsaw-based four-piece. They lumber, they plod, they crash, and yes, yes, yes, they riff, putting it all on the line with “Hail Satan” with synth flourish at the end before “Heathen” and the ultimately-more-aggro “Doom Bastards” reinforce the mission statement. You might know what you’re getting going into it, but that doesn’t make the delivery any less satisfying as Dopelord plod into “World Beneath Us” like a cross between Electric Wizard and Slomatics and of course stick-click in on a quick four-count for the 94-second punk blaster “Headless Decapitator” to cap the 36-minute vinyl-ready run. How could they not? Sure, Sign of the Devil preaches to the choir, but hell’s bells it makes one happy to have joined the choir in the first place.

Dopelord on Thee Facebooks

Dopelord on Bandcamp

 

Ancestro, Ancestro

ancestro self titled

Numbered instrumental progressions comprise this third and self-titled offering from Peruvian trio Ancestro (issued through Necio Records and Forbidden Place Records), and the effect of the album being arranged in such a fashion is that it plays through as one long piece, the cascading volume changes of “II” feeding back into the outset count-in of the speedier “III” and so on. Each piece of the whole has its own intention, and it seems plain enough that the band composed the sections individually, but they’ve been placed so as to highlight the full-album flow, and as Ancestro move from “IV” into “V” and “VI,” with songs getting longer as they go en route to that engrossing and proggy 13-minute closer, their success draws from their ability to harness the precision and maybe even a little of the aggression of heavy metal and incorporate it as part of an execution both thoughtful and no less able to be patient when called for by a given piece. Hard-hitting psychedelia is tough to pull off, but Ancestro‘s Ancestro is no less spacious than terrestrial.

Ancestro on Thee Facebooks

Necio Records on Bandcamp

Forbidden Place Records on Bandcamp

 

Hellhookah, The Curse

hellhookah the curse

In 2016, Lithuanian two-piece Hellhookah made it no challenge whatsoever to get into the traditionalist doom of their debut album, Endless Serpents (review here), and the seven songs of The Curse make for a welcome follow-up, with an uptick in production value and the fullness of the mix and a decided affinity for underground ’80s metal in cuts like “Supremacy” and “Dreams and Passions” to coincide with the Dio-era-Sabbath vibes of centerpiece “Flashes” and the nodding finisher “Greed and Power,” which follows and contrasts “Dreams and Passions” in a manner that feels multi-tiered in its purpose. Departing from some of the Vitus-ness of the first full-length, The Curse adopts a more complex tack across its 38 minutes, but its heart and its loyalties are still of doom, by doom, and for the doomed, and that suits them just fine. Crucially, their lack of pretense carries over, and their love of all things doomed translates into every riff and every stretch on offer. If you’d ask more than that of them, well, why?

Hellhookah on Thee Facebooks

Hellhookah on Bandcamp

 

Daisychain, Daisychain EP

Daisychain Daisychain EP

Bluesy in opener “Demons,” grunge-tinged in “Lily” and fuzz-folk-into-’70s-soul-rock on “How Can I Love You,” Daisychain‘s self-titled debut EP wants little for ambition from the start, but the Chicago-based four-piece bring a confidence to their dually-vocalized approach that unites the material across whatever stylistic lines it treads, be it in the harmonies of the midtempo rocker “Are You Satisfied” or the righteously languid “Fake Flowers,” which follows. With six songs and 21 minutes, the self-released outing is but a quick glimpse at what Daisychain might have in store going forward, but the potential is writ large from the classic feel of “Demons” to the barroom spirit of closer “The Wrong Thing,” which reminds that rock and roll doesn’t have to sacrifice efficiency in order to make a statement of its own force. There’s plenty of attitude to be found in these songs, but beneath that — or maybe alongside it — there’s a sense of an emergent songwriting process that is only going to continue to flourish. What they do with the momentum they build here will be interesting to see/hear, but more than that, they’re developing a perspective and persona of their own, and that speaks to a longer term ideal. To put another way, they don’t sound like they’re half-assing it.

Daisychain on Thee Facebooks

Daisychain on Bandcamp

 

The Burning Brain Band, The Burning Brain Band

The Burning Brain Band The Burning Brain Band

Capping with a slide-tinged take on the traditional “Parchman Farm” (see also: Blue Cheer, Cactus, etc.), Ohio’s The Burning Brain Band‘s self-titled debut casts a wide net in terms of influences, centering the penultimate “The Dreamer” around 12-string acoustic guitar on an eight-minute run that’s neither hurried nor staid, but all the more surprising after the electronica-minded “Interlude (Still Running),” which, at four minutes is of greater substance than one might expect of an interlude just as the seven-and-a-half-minute warm-up “Launch Sequence” is considerably broader than one generally considers an intro to an album. There isn’t necessarily a foundational basis from which the material emanates — though “Brain Food” is an effective desert-ish rocker, it moves into the decidedly proggier “Bolero/Floating Away” — but “Launch Sequence” is immersive and the four-piece bring a performance cohesion and a clarity of mindset to the proceedings of this debut that may not unite the songs, but carries the listener through with a sure hand just the same. Who ever said everything on a record had to sound alike? For sure not The Burning Brain Band, who translate the mania of their moniker into effective sonic variety.

The Burning Brain Band on Thee Facebooks

The Burning Brain Band on Bandcamp

 

Slump, Flashbacks From Black Dust Country

Slump Flashbacks from Black Dust Country

Count Slump in a freakout psych renaissance, all punk-out-the-airlock and ’90s-noise thisandthat. Delivered through Feel It Records, the Richmond, Virginia, outfit’s debut, Flashbacks From Black Dust Country indeed touches ground every now and again, as on “Desire Death Drifter,” but even there, the vocals are so soaked wet with echo that I’m pretty sure they fucked up my speakers, and as much as “Tension Trance” tries, it almost can’t help but be acid grunge. In an age of nihilism, Slump aren’t so much unbridled as they are a reminder of the artistry behind the slacker lean, and in the thrust of “(Do The) Sonic Sprawl” and the far-out twist of “Throbbing Reverberation,” they affirm that only those with expanded minds will survive to see the new age and all the many spectral horrors it might unfurl. Can it be a coincidence that the album starts “No Utopia?” Hardly. I’m not ready to call these cats prophets, but they’ve got their collective ear to the ground and their boogie is molten-core accordingly. Tell two friends and tell them to tell two friends.

Feel It Records on Thee Facebooks

Feel It Records on Bandcamp

 

Canyon, EP III

canyon ep iii

It’s a ripper, inciting Larry David-style “prettay good” nods and all that sort of approval whatnot. If you want to think of Canyon as Philly’s answer to Memphis’ Dirty Streets, go ahead — and yes, by that I mean they’re dirtier. EP III boasts just three tracks in “No Home,” “Tent Preacher” and “Mountain Haze,” but with it the classic-style trio backs up the power they showed on 2018’s Mk II (review here), tapping ’70s blues rock swagger for the first two tracks and then blowing it out in a dreamy Zeppelin/Rainbow jam that’s trippy and righteous and right on and just plain right. Maybe even right-handed, I don’t know. What I do know is that these guys should’ve been picked up by some duly salivating label like last week already and they should be putting together a full-length on the quick. They’ve followed-up EP III with a stonerly take on The Beatles‘ “Day Tripper,” and that’s fun, but really, it’s time for this band to make an album.

Canyon on Thee Facebooks

Canyon on Bandcamp

 

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Temple Fang Stream Live at Merleyn in Full

Posted in audiObelisk, Reviews on June 23rd, 2020 by JJ Koczan

temple fang

This Saturday, June 27, Amsterdam’s Temple Fang will release their debut long-player, Live at Merleyn on vinyl. Whether you know or not, you’ve been waiting for it. It is the first release of any kind from the four-piece spacious psych resonators, and the decision for it to be a live outing comes as a marked signal of aesthetic intent.

Regardless of the de rigeur nostalgia that has taken hold in the first half of 2020 for live shows owing to a season-plus of limited social gathering due to a global pandemic, a concert recording is a notion inherently defined by — and in some ways, working in defiance of — ephemera. It is a fleeting moment. True, some live albums draw from an entire tour or even a span of years, but for an offering like Live at Merleyn — which arrives as a bootleg-style stamped LP cover and three or four tracks (depending on what counts) consuming two sides of a 40-minute set — it’s one night. They took the stage, played on the stage, and left the stage. Maybe had some beers or something afterward, I don’t know.

But the point of Live at Merleyn isn’t that Temple Fang isn’t just that the band recorded a show, it’s that they’re using this particular show as a first statement of who they are as a band. That whole thing about first impressions? Well, consider that Temple Fang are not arriving as an entirely unknown entity. I was lucky enough to see them twice at Roadburn last year (review here and here) and I can definitely confirm I wasn’t alone in either room. They also played Desertfest Belgium last Fall and a swath of temple fang live at merleynothers, and this Spring alone they would’ve been at Freak Valley and Desertfest Berlin in Germany, and no doubt more. No doubt a pedigree that includes Dennis Duijnhouwer‘s tenure on bass in Death Alley doesn’t hurt, but if he, guitarist/vocalist Jevin de Groot, guitarist Ivy van der Veer and drummer Jasper van den Broeke couldn’t meet the demand of establishing their own presence, the entire project would fall flat. And as Live at Merleyn proves in raw fashion, Temple Fang do anything but.

De Groot and Duijnhouwer are both members of the much-underappreciated cosmic doom outfit Mühr, so to find them exploring such vast sonic reaches throughout “Gemini/Silky Servants” on side A and the two-part “Not the Skull” on side B of Live at Merleyn isn’t necessarily such a surprise, and de Groot and van der Veer offer a distinct chemistry as well on guitar, pushing into a sound that’s as progressive as it is organic. There are verses and parts plotted out, but Temple Fang don’t sound restricted as the show plays out by form. Maybe on another night “Gemini/Silky Servants” would sound different. Maybe it would lean on different progressions, tip its balance one way or the other. Not knowing is part of what makes it an adventure in the listening. There are soundscapes being created that are unquestionably formative, and more likely than not that’s precisely Temple Fang‘s intention. As much as the atmosphere of both sides of the long-player brims with psychedelic shimmer, the two guitars winding into and out of harmonized leads over a languid rolling rhythm in side B as de Groot‘s vocals come and go like so much consciousness itself, more than that, what Live at Merleyn captures is the spirit of creativity at work beneath, driving each of the changes in the linear build of “Not the Skull Pt. 1” and its coinciding second installment, which picks up after 12 minutes in with a heavy kraut riff and points itself in the direction of FAR OUT at a steady churn and gallop.

You can mourn for what’s been lost in live music. Over these last several months. Or what will continue to be lost for however long it is. You’re not wrong to do so, and in some ways, Live at Merleyn is a reminder of that too. But as van der Veer, de Groot, van den Broeke and Duijnhouwer all seem to align in the final thrust of “Not the Skull Pt. 2,” it’s not so much the nebulousness of Temple Fang‘s creativity that comes across as it is the progressive intention; the idea that not every night will be the same because the band will learn, adapt and grow as players and as a unit in conversation with itself. Live at Merleyn, a show from last October in the Netherlands — just another night in Nijmegen — is something special precisely for that. It’s one night, of many, preserved. It calls the listener to realize that Temple Fang were not this thing before and may not be this thing again, but right then, they were. Whatever comes next, this has been said, upfront and without pretense. It can’t and won’t be denied. Reality audio.

Below you’ll find the full stream of Temple Fang‘s Live at Merleyn. They’ll be taking orders through Bandcamp while the pressing lasts. The band tells their story under the player here:

In February of 2018, at the request of Tee Pee Records owner Kenny Sehgal, ex-Death Alley bassist Dennis Duijnhouwer put together a band for a one-off show at Little Devil in Tilburg, a day before the kickoff of Roadburn Festival in that same town.

He recruited his former Mühr bandmate Jevin de Groot to join him on guitar and vocals and pulled in two brand new friends, guitarist Ivy van der Veer and drummer Jasper van den Broeke. And thus Temple Fang was born. After this show the band was asked to open two shows for Coven and after doing those, the band decided to be just that, a band.

A long string of shows followed, that took the band to Roadburn, Sonic Whip, Desertfest Antwerp, Void Fest, Stick and Stone and many other heavy psych fest. All based on word of mouth, since the band hadn’t released any music.

As the band pondered their future and considered offer from various labels, they weren’t quite sure if they were ready to enter the music-biz game of album cycles and thus decided to focus on being a live-band and made no plans on releasing anything for a while, if ever.

But their roadcrew decided otherwise and hatched a plan of their own to secretly start recording the live shows and release them as bootlegs, with or without permission of the band.

The first show they clandestinely recorded was on Oct. 24th at Merleyn, Nijmegen (NL), a sold out night in a small club where the the bill was shared with their good friends of Ecstatic Vision.

When the band heard the result, they decided it to put it out, warts-and-all, with minimal artwork and no promo, only to be available at shows.

And then corona happened…

So here it is, a vinyl document of a Temple Fang show on their first run, an honest representation of what this band was at that moment in time.

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Days of Rona: Jurgen van den Brand of Burning World Records

Posted in Features on May 18th, 2020 by JJ Koczan

The ongoing nature of the COVID-19 pandemic, the varied responses of publics and governments worldwide, and the disruption to lives and livelihoods has reached a scale that is unprecedented. Whatever the month or the month after or the future itself brings, more than one generation will bear the mark of having lived through this time, and art, artists, and those who provide the support system to help uphold them have all been affected.

In continuing the Days of Rona feature, it remains pivotal to give a varied human perspective on these events and these responses. It is important to remind ourselves that whether someone is devastated or untouched, sick or well, we are all thinking, feeling people with lives we want to live again, whatever renewed shape they might take from this point onward. We all have to embrace a new normal. What will that be and how will we get there?

Thanks to all who participate. To read all the Days of Rona coverage, click here. — JJ Koczan

burning world records jurgen ven den brand

Days of Rona: Jurgen van den Brand of Burning World Records (Haarlem, The Netherlands)

How have you been you dealing with this crisis as a label? As an individual? What effect has it had on your plans or creative processes?

To be honest, as most of my contacts with people are digital anyway, this crisis did not hit me on a personal level that much. Yes, my daughters stayed at home and me and my wife had to homeschool them (no talent at all in that department ;-)) but that went ok. Also I’m not the kind of person that thinks in a “what if … then”-kind a way. No festivals, ok, that sucks but let’s look at other ways to spend that time.. At the same time…

Yes, I missed Roadburn Festival and DesertFest Berlin, which sucked mostly sales-wise. A lot of the mailorder stock would be gone after that and I could invest in new music. Which I cannot now as much as I would want to. And also I missed talking to people about music (or mostly other stuff to be honest!) and meeting the people you send records to during the year. And the sales I will never get back but hey, if that is all I guess I consider myself blessed.

I can still talk about music and other stuff of life with the two people I share an office with: Guy Pinhas (The Obsesses, Acid King, now Southern Lord Europe) and Tos Nieuwenhuizen (Sunn, Motorpsycho, Beaver, etc.). On top of things I started a new company with Guy in January, just before shit hit the fan. As we were fulfilling orders for Roadburn Records, Burning World Records and Southern Lord Europe anyway, why not do that for other bands and labels as well? We got the set up ready and it’s not used 100 percent so why not help some fellow travelers out with storage and shipping their items? Justin Broadrick has come aboard recently and also Japanese label Gurugurubrain which is run by the guys of Kikagaku Mojo does their shipping through us. And we are talking to some other people now. Nome nest omen for this venture: WeShipVinyl ;-).

How do you feel about the public response to the outbreak where you are? From the government response to the people around you, what have you seen and heard from others?

It’s hard to think on this in only one way, as in “fuck I’m losing my job” or “where is the money coming from that we spend to support all those businesses? Are my daughters gonna have to pay that back later down the line?” I mostly fear for the musical infrastructure that was in place in Europe. All those venues and festivals were counting on countless freelancers to get the job done, may it be sound, light, bar or building the tents bands play in on festivals.

These people have no job now so will have to look elsewhere to support themselves. Some of these very good people you will never get back. Government here in The Netherlands gave some money to the cultural sector, but mostly to already heavy subsidized organization, not to the underground environment we live in and depend on.

Plus, do people wanna go to gigs again? Of course they will in spirit! But will they want to get together with 400 in a hot room before there is vaccine? I don’t think so. We will be looking at this for at least another six to 12 months. Venues and companies will go bust in the coming months that are part of our ecosystem. So after those 6-12 months there will be another period of rebuilding. I mean I have faith in the creativity of people to bounce back but still, it will take a while to recover.

What do you think of how the music community specifically has responded? How do you feel during this time? Are you inspired? Discouraged? Bored? Any and all of it?

In the beginning I felt confused. And if you feel confused you get tired as you can not wrap your head around what is happening but you keep on trying. After a while I accepted the situation (or got used to it) and tried to look around what to do. My luck was – and is – that my overhead is not that high. My rent is ok. The records that I have in are paid for and I can decide what to buy for the store, or stop buying or releasing for a while. All the same I am eternally grateful to the people that kept on buying records in March and April. As this means I can go on buying from other labels and keep releasing records.

I also noticed that I had more time now as not a lot was happening around me to focus on releases and try and be more smart about them. Luckily, I was working with managements who feel the same. For the Zola Jesus Live At Roadburn 2018 record for instance, we had the record planned for the fall. But when we heard about Bandcamp waiving their fee for a day we jumped on it and released the album guerrilla style that day. And worked hard on the vinyl versions that we had up a week later with all variants, a poster and an industrial style shaped disc version that really fits her aesthetic. I had doubts a month ago about releasing a record in this period but the pre-sales proved me wrong. Of course Zola Jesus is a good name to go out with, but still. Next month hopefully I can do a Earthless set the same way.

What is the one thing you want people to know about your situation, either as a band, or personally, or anything? What is your new normal? What have you learned from this experience, about yourself, your band, or anything?

On a personal level I learned to take more charge of what can or should happen for record. And that ideas that I have usually have some merit. And that works while talking to management of bands and other labels. It opens roads that would have been closed before. I’be been in the business now since 2008, seen a lot of stuff coming and going and if I – and with me also the guys in the office – can survive this kind of crisis I guess we’ll be around for a little longer.

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Mercury Boys Premiere “Apollo Phoenix Rising”; Return to Cinders 12″ EP out June 1

Posted in audiObelisk, Whathaveyou on May 4th, 2020 by JJ Koczan

mercury boys return to cinders vinyl

At 13 minutes long and pressed to a 12-inch vinyl, Mercury Boys‘ debut EP, Return to Cinders, runs at a rate of nearly an inch per minute (IPM), and that’s just fine. Those privy to the privyness will be prior acquainted with the production and execution work of Guy Tavares, whose weirdo history is the stuff of niche legend and would no doubt make for a more interesting biopic than any of the Baby Boomer self-glorifications you’ve seen in the last five years, plus with more acid. At the helm of Motorwolf Studios in Den Haag and running his own label Bunker Records under the acid house alter ego of Sulphur Surfer, dude’s also been rockin’ since his days as Johnny Cohen fronting Johnny Cohen and the New Age Nazis over 20 years ago, and with tenure in the persistently-righteous Blue Cheer appreciation society that was Orange Sunshine and now Mercury Boys alongside the youngin’ Timothy Aarbodem, also of Supersonic Blues, on guitar and bass and German imports Janik Ruß (guitar) and Christian Dräger (drums), both of Ragged Barracudas, the blowout continues unabated.

Comprised of three originals that do well in terms of earning the closing cover of MC5‘s “The American Ruse,” Return to Cinders arrives June 1 and is dedicated to the memory of Orange Sunshine guitarist Arthur Van Berkel, who passed away in 2018. But with its tracks tapping the rawest roots of boogie and garage heavy, there’s more going on than continuing Orange Sunshine‘s path forward. As Who Can You Trust? Records marked its 10th anniversary last month, the realization of Dräger — who heads the label — working with Tavares on the project is only a piece of the puzzle, and it seems in listening to the straight-up, no-bullshit, get-up-and-get-down bruiser swag of the two-minute instrumental groove “Saturnus’ Taciturn” that all four players here are working on the same level and toward the same ends. Everyone knows what they’re going for. Everyone’s on board. And whether it’s “Atlas Falling” shoving and stomping at the outset or “Apollo Phoenix Rising,” which in addition to its initial thrust dares to embark on a runtime over four minutes long, the attitude that drips from the songs extends to every level. It’s proto-everything. Lizard-brain rock. Shut-up-and-dig rock.

These songs were recorded in 2018, so as to what Mercury Boys might have in the hopper now or going forward, I’ve got no idea, but they’re on target here and given the chance to premiere “Apollo Phoenix Rising” — watch out for that solo in the second half — I wasn’t about to pass it up. I won’t waste any more of your time.

Preorders are up now from Who Can You Trust?, and the song’s streaming at the bottom of the post.

Have at it:

mercury boys return to cinders

MERCURY BOYS – Return To Cinders 12″ EP release

Who are the MERCURY BOYS? Messengers of the gods of rock in its purest forms, those that tear asunder the trappings of amplified music and gaze upon its raw beauty? Indeed, a quartet comprising members of Supersonic Blues, Ragged Barracudas, and Orange Sunshine, Mercury Boys cannot look back or beyond, but only immerse themselves in the timeless present, harness the primary elements of our aural nature and bow to the inevitable.

“You wouldn’t believe how special of a release this is to me,” says Who Can You Trust? Records founder and Mercury Boys drummer Christian Dräger. “It’s WCYT?’s 10th birthday this April, as well as the fact that Orange Sunshine was ‘planned as’ the very first WCYT? release in 2010 but turned out to be WHO-03 in the end..haha. Now ten years later, as OS isn’t anymore, we’ve teamed up with Guy to record the Mercury Boys EP and dedicate it to Arthur Van Berkel. As everybody knows, recording at Motorwolf Studio obviously involves narrow corridors… Tim Aarbodem, our lead guitar player, had a broken leg during our studio visit and a tough time to properly maneuver while walking on crutches. It’s a testament and sacrificial recording for sure.”

Return To Cinders was captured by Guy Tavares at Motorwolf Studios, The Hague, Holland in early 2018.

Tracklist:
A1 – Atlas Falling
A2 – Saturnus’ Taciturn
B1 – Apollo Phoenix Rising
B2 – The American Ruse

Personnel:
Guy Tavares – vocals
Timothy Aarbodem – guitar, bass
Janik Ruß – guitar
Christian Dräger – drums

All songs by MERCURY BOYS except The American Ruse by MC5.
Artwork by Adam Burke.

Release date – June 1st

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https://mercuryboys.bandcamp.com/
https://www.facebook.com/Who-Can-You-Trust-Records-187406787966906/
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Days of Rona: Vince Trommel of CAVUMscriptorium

Posted in Features on April 15th, 2020 by JJ Koczan

The statistics of COVID-19 change with every news cycle, and with growing numbers, stay-at-home isolation and a near-universal disruption to society on a global scale, it is ever more important to consider the human aspect of this coronavirus. Amid the sad surrealism of living through social distancing, quarantines and bans on gatherings of groups of any size, creative professionals — artists, musicians, promoters, club owners, techs, producers, and more — are seeing an effect like nothing witnessed in the last century, and as humanity as a whole deals with this calamity, some perspective on who, what, where, when and how we’re all getting through is a needed reminder of why we’re doing so in the first place.

Thus, Days of Rona, in some attempt to help document the state of things as they are now, both so help can be asked for and given where needed, and so that when this is over it can be remembered.

Thanks to all who participate. To read all the Days of Rona coverage, click here. — JJ Koczan

vince trommel cavum

Days of Rona: Vince Trommel of CAVUMscriptorium (The Netherlands)

How are you dealing with this crisis? Have you had to rework plans at all? How is your health so far?

Health-wise I am fine, I don’t mind staying at home. As an illustrator I am not leaving home that much. My plans did change, I am trying to help colleagues and friends from behind the drawing table.

My friend and colleague Kim Holm invited me to join the #coronart challenge. I wanted to use that to share artwork to give the world some art to look at and I wanted to tag colleagues in my live drawing streams and posts to put some focus on their creative output. I know I am not one of the big names in the illustration industry but I saw some people following artists I linked and even moved them to the webshops.

I am still able to draw so I am trying to support people with that and also keeping myself busy since I don’t have any confirmed projects in my agenda anyway.

What are the quarantine/isolation rules where you are?

The Netherlands is all about an “intelligent lockdown” or something like that. But I think the authorities are overestimating the intelligence of most people. But then again, I don’t know what is right or wrong at this moment. I’ll try to stay away from the radio (I don’t own a tv) a lot more now. There are a few rules we should all keep in mind, keep a distance of at least 1.5 meters, work from home as much as possible, don’t shake hands, stay at home unless you need to grab some groceries. BUT DON’T BE ONE OF THOSE COVIDIOTS WHO KEEPS ON HOARDING FOOD.

How have you seen the virus affecting the community around you and in music?

I sure did, shows cancelled, illustrators who lost projects, the local brewery I create artwork for is now closed for a while. ROADBURN… that was my holiday and opportunity to see many colleagues and friends again to share our lives. I feel for Walter since his story and the celebration of what the world needs in both a visual as an musical way came to a hold. It is just really sad to see creative outputs and projects not become reality for all of us to enjoy and experience. A Lot of hard work is (partially) lost because of this weird daze.

In the small village where I live it’s always rather quiet but now I don’t even see children playing outside that much and it seems like everyone is staying in when possible. Apparently the virus is raging the elderly homes.

What is the one thing you want people to know about your situation, either as a band, or personally, or anything?

Financially I am not doing worse than before haha. But I keep myself busy, mainly to help people I work with who are not really understanding what is going on at this moment. Let’s say they have some side notes to their lives so they could use some help. I am making drawings with instructions and I’m trying to make their day a bit more fun. For example, I’m working on a coloring page for some of them and maybe it would be fun for children to spend their time with as well. And as I mentioned I try to give shoutouts to people who could use some more attention.

I feel like this gives me more of a reason to continue doing what I do and it keeps me distracted from the nasty news updates and situation. Hopefully I will inspire people who are reading this to do the same.

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Roadburn 2020 Postponed

Posted in Whathaveyou on March 23rd, 2020 by JJ Koczan

ROADBURN 2020 BANNER

I’ve included the day schedules here not to wallow, but to emphasize the tremendous amount of creativity and heart that goes into making Roadburn Festival each year. We all knew by now there was no way that as governments are increasingly warning people to shelter in place and beginning to tighten quarantine restrictions because of the global pandemic of COVID-19 that Roadburn 2020 wasn’t going to go forward as was originally planned, but I know at least I held out hope that there would be something next month. Almost anything. Really if I just flew to the Netherlands and hung around the 013 for a couple days pretending I work there like I do every year as we run the Weirdo Canyon Dispatch daily fanzine out of there and publish for the fest-goers, that would’ve been cool. Just some glimmer of that experience.

Not this year.

Everyone knows the circumstances here are bigger than the fest’s control, and while I’m super-bummed I won’t be able to obtain the glorious poster art below on a likewise glorious green Roadburn 2020 hoodie to go with the pinkish/red one I got last year, even I have to look outside myself for about 30 seconds and understand there are wider issues at play. And it looks like I’ll have plenty of time to come to that understanding while not traveling this Spring.

So it goes. Roadburn of course will be back in some way, shape or form, but today’s not the day even to think about what that might look like. For now, I want to send my sincere love and gratitude to Walter and Becky and everyone behind the scenes at the 013 venue who make Roadburn happen every year. Thank you.

Here’s the fest’s statement:

roadburn 2020 poster

Due to the recent announcements from the Dutch government that all events in the Netherlands are forbidden until June, it will be impossible for us to hold Roadburn in April as planned. We know that many of you had already guessed that this would be the case, and we appreciate your patience as we have navigated the necessary processes that come along with organising an event as complex as Roadburn.

The current situation is having an enormous impact already – on the venues we rely on, the bands that we love and the events that we have planned for. Until we come out the other side of this, it will be impossible to do a full assessment of the damage caused to the live music industry. We ask for just a little bit more patience from you whilst we continue to work to bring you the most clear, concise and useful information relating to the postponement of Roadburn 2020. We know you have a lot of questions and we will do our best to answer in the coming days.

With much love, sadness and disbelief…

-Walter, Becky & the whole Roadburn team.

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Quarterly Review: Total Fucking Destruction, Humulus, The River, Phantom Hound, Chang, The Dhaze, Lost Psychonaut, Liquido di Morte, Black Burned Blimp, Crimson Oak

Posted in Reviews on March 23rd, 2020 by JJ Koczan

quarterly review

I’ve got a fresh cup of coffee and 50 records that need to be reviewed, so it must be time for… constant distractions! Oh, no, wait, sorry. It must be time for the Quarterly Review. Yeah, there it is. I know there’s a global-pandemic-sized elephant in the room as a backdrop for the Spring 2020 Quarterly Review, but it seems to me that’s all the more reason to proceed as much as possible. Not to feign normality like people aren’t suffering physically, emotionally, and/or financially, but to give those for whom music is a comfort an opportunity to find more of that comfort and, frankly, to do the same for myself. I’ve said many times I need this more than you do, and I do.

So, you know the drill. 10 records a day, Monday to Friday through this week, 50 when we’re done. As Christopher Pike says, let’s hit it.

Quarterly Review #1-10:

Total Fucking Destruction, …To Be Alive at the End of the World

Total Fucking Destruction To Be Alive at the End of the World

The long-running experimentalist grind trio Total Fucking Destruction remain a sonic presence unto themselves. Their strikingly apropos fifth LP, …To Be Alive at the End of the World, begins with the five-minute psychedelic wash of its unrepentantly pretty, somewhat mournful title-track and ends with a performance-art take on “The Star Spangled Banner” that shifts into eight or so minutes of drone and minimalist noise before reemerging in manipulated form, vocalist/drummer Richard Hoak (also the odd bit of flute and ocarina), bassist/vocalist Ryan Moll and guitarist Pingdum filling the between space with the blasts and jangles of “A Demonstration of Power,” the maddening twists of “Attack of the Supervirus 1138” and other mini-bursts of unbridled aggression like “Stone Bomb,” “Doctor Butcher” and the outright conceptual genius of “Yelling at Velcro,” which, indeed, is just 20 or so seconds of yelling ahead of the arrival of the closer. In an alternate future, Total Fucking Destruction‘s work will be added to the Library of Congress. In this future, we’re boned.

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Translation Loss Records store

 

Humulus, The Deep

humulus the deep

For the six-song/51-minute The Deep, Italian three-piece Humulus somewhat depart the beer-rocking ways of 2017’s second LP, Reverently Heading into Nowhere (review here). Sure, the riff of “Gone Again” is pure Kyuss idolatry (not a complaint), and “Devil’s Peak (We Eventually Eluded Death)” brims with drunkard’s swagger, but factor in the wonderfully executed linear build that takes place across the eight-minute “Hajra,” the mellow emotionalism of the penultimate acoustic track “Lunar Queen,” and the two extended psychedelic bookends in opener “Into the Heart of the Volcano Sun” (14:48) and closer “Sanctuary III – The Deep” (14:59), and the narrative becomes decidedly more complex than just “they drink and play riffs.” These elements have been in Humulus‘ sound all along, but it’s plain to hear the band have actively worked to push themselves forward in scope, and the range suits them, the closer particularly filled with a theatricality that would seem to speak to further storytelling to come on subsequent releases. So be it. They called the album The Deep and have dived in accordingly.

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Kozmik Artifactz website

 

The River, Vessels into White Tides

The River Vessels into White Tides

An atmosphere of melancholy is quickly established on The River‘s third LP, Vessels into White Tides (on Nine Records), and for being the London four-piece’s first album 10 years, it takes place in a sense of unrushed melody, the band rolling out a morose feel born of but not directly aping the likes of My Dying Bride and Paradise Lost as the vocals of guitarist Jenny Newton (also strings, percussion) — joined in the band by guitarist Christian Leitch, bassist Stephen Morrissey and drummer Jason Ludwig — make their presence felt soon in opener “Vessels,” which unfolds gracefully with a crash and rumble fading into the beginning of the subsequent “Into White” (15:01) with the four-minute string-laced “Open” and the 9:44 shifting-into-intensity “Passing” preceding closer “Tides,” which is duly rolling in its progression and offers a sweet bit of release, if wistful, from some of the more grueling moments before it, capping not with a distorted blowout, but with layers of strings reinforcing the folkish underpinning that’s been there all along, in even the most tonally or emotionally weighted stretches.

The River on Thee Facebooks

Nine Records store

 

Phantom Hound, Mountain Pass

Phantom Hound Mountain Pass

Mountain Pass, which begins with “The Northern Face,” ends with “The Southern Face” and along the way treks through its on-theme title-track and the speedier “You Don’t Know Death,” catchy “Thunder I Am” and fairly-enough bluesy “Devil Blues,” has its foundations in oldschool metal and punk, but is a decidedly rock-based offering. It’s the debut from Oakland’s Phantom Hound, and its eight component tracks make no attempt to mask their origins or coat their material in unnecessary pretense — they are what they are; the album is what it is. The three-piece dip into acoustics on the instrumental “Grace of an Angel,” which shifts with a cymbal wash into the lead guitar at the outset of the eight-minute title-track — the stomp of which is perhaps more evocative of the mountain than the passing, but still works — but even this isn’t so far removed from the straightforward purposes of “Irons in the Fire,” which stakes its claim to dead-ahead metal and rock, barely stopping along the way to ask what else you could possibly need.

Phantom Hound on Thee Facebooks

Phantom Hound on Bandcamp

 

Chang, Superlocomotodrive

chang superlocomotodrive

Munich-based trio Chang, with clear, modern production behind them, present their debut EP release with the 29-minute Superlocomotodrive, and though it’s short, one is left wondering what else they might need to consider it an album. What’s missing? You’ve got the let’s-jam-outta-here in the six-minute opener and longest track (immediate points) “Mescalin,” and plenty of gruff riffing to back that up in “Old Rusty Car” and the later title-track, with a bit of Oliveri-era Queens of the Stone Age edge in the latter to boot, plus some psychedelic lead work in “Sterne,” some particularly German quirk in “Bottle Beach” and a massive buildup in tension in the finale “Bombs Whisper” that seems to arrive at its moment of payoff only to instead cut to silence and purposefully leave the listener hanging — an especially bold move for a first release. Yeah, it’s under half an hour long, but so what? The heavy rock terrain Chang are working in is familiar enough — right down to the less-than-P.C. lyrics of “Old Rusty Car” — but there’s no sense that Superlocomotodrive wants to be something it isn’t. It’s heavy rock celebrating heavy rock.

Chang on Thee Facebooks

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The Dhaze, Deaf Dumb Blind

the dhaze deaf dumb blind

Though the grunge influence in the vocals of guitarist Simone Pennucci speak to more of a hard-rocking kind of sound, the basis of The Dhaze‘s sprawl across their ambitious 53-minute Sound Effect Records debut album, Deaf Dumb Blind, is more in line with progressive metal and heavy psychedelia. Bassist Vincenzo La Tegola backs Pennucci on vocals and locks in fluid mid-tempo grooves with drummer Lorenzo Manna, and makes a highlight of the low end in “Death Walks with Me” ahead of the titular trilogy, presented in the order of “Deaf,” “Blind” and “Dumb,” which flow together as one piece thanks in no small part to the synth work added by La Tegola and Pennucci together. Obviously comfortable in longer-form stretches like “Death Walks with Me” or the earlier “Neurosis,” both of which top nine minutes, the Napoli trio bring a fervent sense of variety to their work while leaving themselves open to future growth in terms of sound and playing with the balance between elements they establish here.

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Lost Psychonaut, Lost Psychonaut

Lost Psychonaut Lost Psychonaut

Hailing — because metal bands hail, to be sure — from the Pittsburgh area, newcomers Lost Psychonaut boast in their ranks two former members of sludgers Vulture in guitarist/vocalist Justin Erb and bassist
Garrett Twardesky, who, together with drummer Tristan Triggs, run through a debut LP made up of five tracks that skirt the line between groove metal and heavy rock, tapping-like-flowing-kegs influences from the likes of ’90s-era C.O.C. and others such burl-laced groovers. Tales of day-to-day struggles make a fitting enough backdrop to the riff-led proceedings, which commence with the prior-issued single “My Time” and roll-groove their way into a duo of longer cuts at the end in “Restitution Day” (8:46) and “On a Down” (7:44). Frankly, any mention of the word “Down” at all in a song that feels so outwardly “buried in smoke” can hardly be coincidental, but that nod is well earned. With a couple years behind them, they know what they’re going for in this initial batch of songs, and the clearheaded nature of their approach only gives their songwriting more of a sense of command. There’s growth to be undertaken, but nothing to say they can’t get there.

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Liquido di Morte, IIII

liquido di morte iiii

I suppose you could, if so inclined, live up to Liquido di Morte‘s slogan, “We play music to take drugs to,” but you’d be shorting yourself on the experience of a lucid listen to their third long-player IIII. Issued in limited handmade packaging by the band, the Milan instrumentalists offer a stylistic take across the late-2019 five-tracker that stands somewhere between heavy post-rock and post-metal, but in that incorporates no shortage of thoughtful psychedelic meditations and even some kraut and space rock vibes. The primary impact is atmospheric, but there’s diversity in their approach such that the centerpiece “Tramonto Nucleare” begins cosmic, or maybe cataclysmic, and ends with an almost serene roll into the floating guitar at the outset of the subsequent “Rebus (6,5),” which is the longest inclusion at 13:40 and an encompassing, hypnotic srpawl that, whether you take drugs or not, seems destined to commune with expanded or expanding minds. The front-to-back journey ends with “The Fattening,” a cinematic run of synth after which a slaughter feels almost inevitable, even if it arrives as silence.

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Black Burned Blimp, Crash Overdrive

Black Burned Blimp Crash Overdrive

Bonus points to Netherlands four-piece Black Burned Blimp for including song titles like “What Doesn’t Kill You, Makes You Weirder” and “The Good, the Bad and the Fucking Horrific” and, at the start of “Desert Wizard,” the sample from Trailer Park Boys wherein Mr. Lahey declares, “I am the liquor” on their debut LP, Crash Overdrive. Native to a heavy rock legacy that includes acts like 13eaver, 35007, Astrosoniq and Celestial Season, among many others, the band hint toward melodic complexity while remaining focused on raw energy in their songwriting, such that even the drumless, harmonized and minute-long “Flock” seems to seethe with unstated tension for “Robo Erectus,” which follows, to pay off. It does, though perhaps with less of a tempo kick than one might expect — certainly less than the careening “The Good, the Bad and the Fucking Horrific” a few tracks later — but somehow, no matter what speed they’re actually playing, Black Burned Blimp seem to make it sound fast. Vitality will do that.

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Crimson Oak, Crimson Oak

crimson oak crimson oak

Though their arrival comes amid a German heavy rock underground that’s nothing if not well populated, Fulda-based five-piece Crimson Oak present with their self-titled debut long-player a stylistic take that’s both modern and genuine sounding, finding solid ground in well-crafted songs drawing more from ’90s-era heavy and punk in “Danger Time,” which follows the contemplative “Of My Youth,” the bulk of what surrounds expressing a similar level of self-awareness, up to and including the nine-minute side B opener “Brother of Sleep,” which sets psychedelic guitar against some of the album’s biggest riffs (and melodies). There’s middle ground to be had in cuts like “Displace” and “Sunset Embrace” still to come and “Fulda Gap” earlier, but Crimson Oak seem to touch that middle ground mostly en route to whichever end of the spectrum next piques their interest. At seven songs and 42 minutes, it’s not an insubstantial LP, but they hold their own with confidence and a poise that speaks to the fact that some of this material showed up on prior EPs. That experience with it shows but does not hold the band or songs back.

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