Live Review: ROADBURN 2019 – Ignition, 04.10.19

Posted in Features, Reviews on April 10th, 2019 by JJ Koczan

roadburn 2019 banner (Photo by JJ Koczan)

04.11.19 – 00.23 CET – Wednesday night – Hotel

Just like that, Planet Roadburn aligned to the hew-mon visible spectrum with the newly-relocated and rebranded pre-show, Ignition. Once upon a Roadburn or three ago, the Sunday was called the Afterburner. Now it’s just another day of the fest. Next year, maybe Ignition will be two stages. Then four. Then six. Then Roadburn will just be a week long. Then a month. Until, at last, three centuries from now, it will always be Roadburn and Roadburn will never not happen, and if our shitheel species is lucky enough to witness it, it’s as close to utopia as we’d ever be likely to get.

Spilled beer on the camera bag. The wafting smell of dudefart. Volume the likes of which vibrates the shirt you’re wearing. Pro-shop everything. It’s fucking Roadburn, children. Get on your goddamned feet. Yes. This.

Three bands held sway at the 013 — there’s construction at Cul de Sac; a revamp, but it will reportedly return — and it was Temple Fang, Great Grief and Hellripper to cast a spectrum of light, dark and blood across the Green Room for the faithful in attendance to bear witness. Was that you? It probably should’ve been.

Boogie oogie oogie:

Temple Fang

Temple Fang (Photo by JJ Koczan)

I was as impatient to see Temple Fang live as I am now for them to put out an album. The Amsterdam four-piece of bassist/vocalist Dennis Duijnhouwer and guitarist/sometimes-vocalist Jevin de Groot, guitarist Ivy van der Veer and drummer Jasper van den Broeke collided kraut and space rock visions with an even-heavier underpinning thanks to Duijnhouwer‘s formidable Rickenbacker tone. He and de Groot shared a tenure in hyper-underappreciated cosmic doomers Mühr, and Duijnhouwer featured in Death Alley as well, so there’s pedigree there as far as I’m concerned, but if Temple Fang had eyes for anything, it was only the silveriest of futures. I don’t know the name of a single song they played, but woof, they held it down in glorious fashion for the assembled masses. By the time they were done, I wanted to shout at the stage for them to immediately get in the studio and get something together. I’ll hope that while they do that, they also mix and master this live set so I can relive the magic in smug ground-floor fashion. They were the first band who played, and there’s no doubt in my mind that by the end of this weekend, I’ll still consider them a highlight. And sadly, they won’t have an album out by Monday either, so I’ll probably still be complaining about that too.

Great Grief

Great Grief (Photo by JJ Koczan)

Good grief, Great Grief. Roadburn‘s years-since-established fetish for the Icelandic underground in its many forms — yet seemingly not all that many people in the actual bands — continued with the heart-on-sleeve hardcore four-piece, who brought issues of diversity and coping with mental health struggles to the fore in their set, even as frontman Finnbogi Örn batted some dude’s beer out of his hand, and subsequently broke a beer bottle on stage (which was swept up afterward) and cut up his forehead with the shards. I’ve never been huge on hardcore, but I’m not about to take away from the fact that Örn, guitarist Gunnar Ágúst, bassist Fannar Már and drummer Leifur Örn were unreal in how tight they were despite also putting on a show energetic enough to be called visceral. They even had a little mosh going in the Green Room, which thankfully involved no kicking that I saw or felt. It wasn’t even until after their set that some dude dumped his beer on me trying to get a drumstick from Leifur, who was packing away his gear at the time. Up to that point, they very simply put everything they had into their material and the delivery thereof, and while I wouldn’t call myself a convert to the style, I readily acknowledge the convincing argument Great Grief made.

Hellripper

Hellripper (Photo by JJ Koczan)

For as long as Roadburn has had a pre-show, there’s been thrash. Hellripper, from Scotland, might’ve been the youngest dudes in the room, but the kind of no-nonsense, balls-out thrash. fucking. metal. they played is best meted out as a beating from a young person. They stripped the genre to its two-guitar essentials and charred it with an edge of rudimentary black metal and were nothing less than a total blast. Through such family-friendly hits as “Vomit on the Cross” and “All Hail the Goat,” which opens their newly-issued EP, Black Arts and Alchemy, the Aberdeen extremists lost none of their ferocity for also being a really good time, and they were a reminder that although Roadburn-proper over the next four days will unfold in a manner bound to no creative limits and celebrate artistry in multiple media sonic and otherwise, sometimes it really does just need to be about losing your mind and headbanging to a killer speed metal attack. Hellripper were only right to make the point, and their message was well received. By the time they were halfway through the set, Ignition was achieved, and it was Roadburn all the way. Let the vibe begin.

Usually, I’d get to the hotel, put my stuff down and sleep for a bit before the pre-show. Not this year. I’m jetlagged like a bastard and the alarm is set for a sadly few hours from now to get up tomorrow and put the finishing touches on the first issue of the Weirdo Canyon Dispatch, so with photos after the jump, I’m going to punch out and get every second of sleep I possibly can. Tomorrow is Roadburn. Let me take a second and breathe that in.

Thanks for reading.

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Friday Full-Length: The Machine, Solar Corona

Posted in Bootleg Theater on April 5th, 2019 by JJ Koczan

Some bands you go into seeing knowing nothing about them and wind up buying all their albums. That was the case with Netherlands trio The Machine and I. It was the Afterburner for Roadburn 2010 (review here), the chill comedown/get-back-to-reality ease-out that the festival used to have before its lineup also got too crowded and they gave up the ghost and just made it another day of the festival proper, Roadburnout be damned. The Machine had released Solar Corona — their second album — in 2009 through Nasoni Records, and I hobbled my long-since-defeated ass upstairs at the 013 venue to what used to be known as the Bat Cave before the place was redone. Lo and behold, there were guitarist/vocalist David Eering, bassist Hans van Heemst and drummer Davy Boogaard jamming away in unassuming fashion to a not-quite-packed room, absolutely killing it for those not watching Eyehategod next door.

So yes, it was imperative to pick up the records. Solar Corona followed the three-piece’s 2007 debut, Shadow of the Machine, and was the point at which they really began to move into their own place in terms of sound, finding a take on heavy rock that was warm in tone and jammy in a way that, a decade later, feels like an early-adoption of the mindset Colour Haze brought to their own work of that era, warm of tone and brimming with an exploratory spirit. The album ran 66 minutes long, and so was a considerable undertaking, but its most extended pieces “Caterpillar’s Mushroom” (14:41), “Jam No. Phi” (11:11) and the closing “Moons of Neptune” (17:03) — and even the opening title-track (9:55) — served up some of its most satisfying and immersive material. Eering‘s vocals came and went, but were mellow enough consistently to be part of the overarching flow the band brought together, and the uptempo desert rock kick of “X.” (2:47), the percussion-laced aside “Interstellar Medium” (4:20) and the subdued heavy blues of the penultimate “Infinite” (6:22) did much to balance out those larger pieces surrounding, cleverly interspersed between them as they were. This gave Solar Corona a more linear impression to its CD release, and whatever arguments one might want to make about analog warmth and this or that, the fact that you could put on Solar Corona and just drift for an hour certainly had an appeal. Still does, I’d happily argue. Kind of why we’re here.

The Machine were happening at what turned out to be a crucial point for European heavy psychedelia. The the machine solar coronagenerational turn had begun a few years earlier, but as it was advanced through social media, The Machine arose as part of a new crop of bands ready to take on the mantle of the style as the first of a new cohort to take influence from heavy rock and spacey jams. Their sound could be stripped down to essential hook-based rock structures or as expansive as the wind crying Mary on “Jam No. Phi,” and its tone therein was classic enough to nod to greats past and then-present even as the group brought their own personality and chemistry to the mix. It was a question of vibe, and Solar Corona had an hour-plus of vibe waiting for anyone who might come looking for it. Eering‘s solos led the way and van Heemst and Boogaard made for a classic rhythm section in holding down a central progression and letting the guitar meander as it did, while at the same time giving cuts like “Infinite” and the driving “X.” their sense of movement and the force of their impact. It was a special moment, and The Machine were a big part of why.

When I saw them, they were mere months away from signing to Elektrohasch Schallplatten in Oct. 2010 for the 2011 release of their third album, Drie (review here). They would be contemporary to fellow Netherlander trio Sungrazer on the label and end up putting out a split (review here) and touring together in 2013. By then, The Machine had proven themselves a highly productive band, releasing their fourth LP, Calmer Than You Are (review here), in 2012. It was easy to see the two at the forefront of a wave of heavy psych just beginning to make its mark on the greater European underground, and indeed maybe they were. Still, it was Solar Corona that stood as the foundation of making that happen, in combination with The Machine‘s ultra-engaging live performance and the burgeoning persona in their songs. Listening now to “Caterpillar’s Mushroom,” it doesn’t sound dated for the 10 years that have passed since its arrival, and if anything, I’d only be glad to have its meandering explorations come in for a review if it did today. I kind of feel like I’m doing myself a favor in writing about it, to be honest.

First time I heard this record was on the train to the airport back from Roadburn. I loaded it into my portable CD player, put on my headphones, and let fly from Tilburg to Amsterdam, and by the time I got to the wall of fuzz finish in “Solar Corona,” it was safe to say The Machine were onto something. They would ultimately move beyond the sound that defined Solar Corona and Drie, bringing in more elements from noise rock on Calmer Than You Are, 2015’s Offblast! (review here) and 2018’s Faceshift (review here), the latter of which was the first outing to be released through their own imprint, Awe Records, but still hold onto some of the jammier stylizations that were so prevalent in the sophomore LP, and though van Heemst would eventually leave the band and be replaced by Chris Both, they’ve retained a characteristic style even as they’ve expanded the parameters of what that style can encompass. They remain a band whose “new stuff” I always look forward to hearing, as well as one who consistently defy predictability. They might jam out their whole next album. I wouldn’t bet either way.

I haven’t seen word on a new one in the works — it’s early yet — but The Machine do have festival dates booked, from headlining at Esbjerg Fuzztival in Denmark next month to a slot at Keep it Low in Munich this October. No doubt more will be added as well, so keep an eye out, but I guess if there’s an underlying point here it’s that Solar Corona was just near the beginning of The Machine‘s creative growth, and not at all the end of it.

As always, I hope you enjoy.

It got really chaotic all of a sudden today. Orange Goblin announced US shows and then Psycho Las Vegas put out the details for their pool party and I basically put the two posts up at the same time. And it’s Friday afternoon. I got in from the YOB show last night in Brooklyn at about 1AM, was asleep soon enough thereafter and up at 5. Did some laptop-futzing and put up the Colour Haze at Høstsabbat announcement and started to sort pics for the YOB review, and then the baby got up, and from there the day has just kind of been a whirlwind.

The above I wrote yesterday, basically swapping out that for doing the YOB review this morning, which I feel like only captured a fraction of how good that show actually was. Package tours, man. I guess they’re a logistical nightmare, but you could have a show with one badass band or you could have a show with three, it seems like an obvious answer to me. More heavy package tours. Make it happen, ye lords of booking. I wanna see Fu Manchu headlining with Elder and Wo Fat supporting by this Fall, or… well… or nothing, but that would be pretty rad.

No notes today. Next week is Roadburn. The note I’d post would only read “out to lunch.” I’ll be reviewing the fest as always and if you’re going, I’m the guy with the cosmic backpack. Might wear some hippie pants too. We’ll see how much laundry time there is this weekend. Still in NJ until Sunday morning and then back north to Massachusetts again. Fly out on Tuesday evening. Get in Wednesday morning. Crash, pre-show, review, sleep, wake up, Weirdo Canyon Dispatch, go, go, go until Sunday night when the universe collapses on itself and I go back to real life. By then I’ll be exhausted enough that it will feel like time.

But of course, I can’t wait to go.

So that’s where we’re at. I of course still have a ton of crap I need to get done before I get on the plane, but, you know, that’s pretty standard. Monday I’m reviewing Bible of the Devil. That’ll be fun. Check back in for it if you have time.

And even if not, thanks for reading. Have a great and safe weekend, and please don’t forget about the forum, radio stream and Obelisk shirts and hoodies.

The Obelisk Forum

The Obelisk Radio

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Quarterly Review: JOY Feat. Dr. Space, Rosetta, Pendejo, Lightsabres, Witch Hazel, CBBJ, Seedium, Vorrh, Lost Relics, Deadly Sin (Sloth)

Posted in Reviews on March 22nd, 2019 by JJ Koczan

quarterly-review-spring-2019

Day Five. What would traditionally be the end of the Quarterly Review if going to six wasn’t the new going to 11. Whatever, I can hack it. The amount of good stuff included in these batches really helps. I’m not saying there are days that are a flat-out bummer, but I feel like the proportion of times in this Quarterly Review I’ve gone, “Wow, this is pretty awesome,” has seen a definite spike this time around. I won’t complain about that. Makes the whole thing fun.

Today will be no exception, and then we finish up on Monday with the last 10. Thanks for reading if you do.

Quarterly Review #41-50:

JOY Feat. Dr. Space, Live at Roadburn 2018

joy feat dr space live at roadburn 2018

Brought together as part of the ‘San Diego Takeover’ at Roadburn 2018 that featured a host of that city’s acts performing in an even broader host of contexts, JOY and Scott “Dr. Space” Heller of Øresund Space Collective took the stage at the tiny Cul de Sac near the very end of the festival. It was how I closed out my Roadburn (review here). Dr. Space did a short spoken introduction and then they were off and they didn’t look back. The centerpiece of the limited LP is an extended jam simply titled “Jam.” It’s edited on the platter, but the digital version has the full 54 minutes, and the more the merrier. They round out with takes on Road‘s “Spaceship Earth” and JOY‘s “Miles Away,” and those are cool too, but the real highlight is about halfway through the longer “Jam” when the drums kick into the next gear and you suddenly snap out of your trance to realize how far you’ve already come. And you’re still only at the midpoint. I don’t know. Maybe you had to be there. So be there.

Øresund Space Collective on Thee Facebooks

JOY on Thee Facebooks

JOY Feat. Dr. Space at Øresund Space Collective Bandcamp

 

Rosetta, Sower of Wind

rosetta sower of wind

Philadelphia-based post-whatever-you-got outfit Rosetta continue to set their own terms with Sower of Wind, a self-recorded four-track/half-hour offering that’s something of an outgrowth of their most recent album, Utopioid. Broken into four tracks each assembled from ideas and layers churning throughout the four sections of that record, it brings out the ambient side of the band as guitarist/keyboardist/bassist Matt Weed serves as engineer for “East,” “South,” “West” and “North” as he, guitarist/keyboardist Eric Jernigan and vocalist Mike Armine — who here just adds samples and noise — construct fluid soundscapes that can either build to a head, as on “East” or offer a sense of foreboding like “West” and “North,” depending solely on the band’s will. It’s intended as an exploration, and it sounds like one, but if that wasn’t the point, Sower of Wind probably wouldn’t have been released in the first place. It’s not at all their first ambient release, but this modus continues to be viable for them creatively.

Rosetta on Thee Facebooks

Pelagic Records webstore

 

¡Pendejo!, Sin Vergüenza

pendejo sin verguenza

Whatever your current working definition might be for “over the top,” chances are Pendejo — also stylized as the exclamatory ¡Pendejo! — will make short work of it. Sin Vergüenza, their third long-player, sees release through their own Chancho Records imprint, and it’s not through opener “Don Gernàn” before the Amsterdam-based outfit break out the horns. Fronted by El Pastuso, who supplies the trumpet, the band roll through dense toned heavy rock in a crisply-executed, high-energy 10 tracks and 40 minutes that, even when you think they’re letting up, on the later “El Espejo,” they still manage to burst out a massive riff and groove in the second half. It’s the kind of record that’s breathtaking in the sense of you’re trying to run to keep up with its energy. That, however, should not be seen as undercutting the value of the band’s songwriting, which comes through regardless of language, and whether it’s the start-stops of “La Mala de la Tele” or the gleeful weirdo push of “Bulla,” Pendejo have their sonic terrain well staked out and know how to own it. They sound like a band who destroy live.

Pendejo on Thee Facebooks

Pendejo webstore

 

Lightsabres, A Shortcut to Insanity

LIGHTSABRES A SHORTCUT TO INSANITY

It’s rare for an artist to grow less predictable over time, but Lightsabres mastermind and multi-instrumentalist John Strömshed hits that standard with his former one-man outfit. Joined by session drummer Anton Nyström, Strömshed brings forth 11 tracks of genre-bending songcraft, melding fuzz and progressive folk, downer rock and thoughtful psych, garage push with punker edge, and seemingly whatever else seems to serve the best interests of the song at hand. On “Born Screaming,” that’s a turn to classical guitar plucking sandwiched on either side by massive riffs and vocals, like that of “Tangled in Barbed Wire,” remind of a fuzz-accompanied take on Life of Agony. At just 36 minutes, A Shortcut to Insanity isn’t long by any means, but it’s not an easy album to keep up with either, as Strömshed seems to dare his listenership to hold pace with his shifts through “Cave In,” rolling opener and longest track (immediate points) “From the Demon’s Mouth” and the sweetly melodic finale “Dying on the Couch,” which is perhaps cruelest of all for leaving the listener waiting for the other shoe to drop and letting that tension hang when it’s done.

Lightsabres on Thee Facebooks

DHU Records webstore

 

Witch Hazel, Otherworldly

Witch Hazel Otherworldly

Classic-style doom rockers Witch Hazel shift back and forth between early metal and heavy rock on their second full-length, Otherworldly, and the York, Pennsylvania, four-piece of vocalist Nate Tyson, guitarist Andy Craven, bassist Seibert Lowe and drummer Nicholas Zinn keep plenty of company in so doing, enlisting guest performances of organ and other keys throughout opener “Ghost & the Fly” and “Midnight Mist” and finding room for an entire horn section as they round out 11-minute closer “Devastator.” Elsewhere, “Meat for the Beast” and “Drinking for a Living” marry original-era heavy prog with more weighted impact, and “Zombie Flower Bloom” plays out like what might’ve happened if mid-’80s Ozzy had somehow invented stoner rock. So, you know, pretty awesome. The strut and shuffle of “Bled Dry” adds a bit of attitude late, but it’s really in cuts like the title-track and the aforementioned “Midnight Mist” earlier on that Witch Hazel showcase their formidable persona as a group.

Witch Hazel on Thee Facebooks

Witch Hazel on Bandcamp

 

CBBJ, 2018 Demo

CBBJ 2018 Demo

To a certain extent, what you see is what you get with CBBJ‘s 2018 Demo, right down to the wood paneling on the cover art. The band’s name — also written as CB/BJ — would seem to be taken from its members, Cox (that being Bryan Cox, founding drummer of Alabama Thunderpussy), Ball, Bone, and Jarvis, and as they look toward a Southern Thin Lizzy on demo finale “The Point of it All,” there’s something of a realization in what they’re putting together. It’s four tracks total, and finds some thrust in “Wreck You,” but keeps it wits there as well as in the sleazier nod of “The Climb” that precedes it as the opener and even in the penultimate “Can’t Go Home,” which gives booziest, earliest AC/DC a treatment of righteous bass. They’re apparently in the studio again now, or they just were, or will, or won’t, or up, or down, but whatever. Point is it’ll be worth keeping an ear out for when whatever comes next lands.

CBBJ on Thee Facebooks

CBBJ on Bandcamp

 

Seedium, Awake

seedium awake

Go on and get lost in the depths of Seedium‘s debut three-songer, Awake. The Polish outfit might be taking some cues as regards thickness from their countrymen in Dopelord or Spaceslug, but their instrumental tack on “Mist Haulers,” “Brain Eclipse” and “Ruina Cordis” oozes out of the speakers with right-on viscosity and comes across as infinitely stoned. The centerpiece tops 11 minutes and seems to indicate very little reason they couldn’t have pushed it another 10 had they so desired, and through “Ruina Cordis” is shorter at a paltry 7:08, its blasted sensibility and ending blend of spaciousness and swirl portends good things to come. With the murky first impression of “Mist Haulers” calling like a prayer bell to the riff-worshiping converted, Seedium very clearly know what they’re going for, and what remains to be seen is how their character and individual spin on that develops going forward. Still, for its tones alone, this first offering is a stunner.

Seedium on Thee Facebooks

Seedium on Bandcamp

 

Vorrh, Nomads of the Infinite Wild

vorrh nomads of the infinite wild

Programmed drumming gives Nomads of the Infinite Wild, the debut release from the Baltimore duo of Zinoosh Farbod and John Glennon an edge of dub, but the guitar work of songs like “Mercurial,” looped back on itself with leads layered overtop and Farbod‘s echoing vocals, remains broad, and the expansive of atmosphere puts them in a kind of meditative post-doom feel. Opener “Myths” strikes as a statement of purpose, and as “Morning Star” shows some Earth influence in the spaces left by Glennon‘s guitar, the band immediately uses that nuance to craft an individual identity. “Flood Plane” saunters through its instrumental trance before getting noisy briefly at the finish, only to let “These Eyes” work more effectively through a similar structure with Farbod on keys, seeming to set up the piano-foundation of “Ancient Divide,” which closes. This is a band who will benefit greatly from the fact that they record themselves, because they’ll have every opportunity to continue to experiment in the studio, which is exactly what they should be doing. In the meantime, Nomads of the Infinite Wild effectively heralds their potential for aesthetic innovation.

Vorrh on Thee Facebooks

Vorrh on Bandcamp

 

Lost Relics, 1st

lost relics 1st

Well, they didn’t call it 1st because it’s their eighth album. Denver noise rock trio Lost Relics debut with the aptly-titled 18-minute four-songer, bringing Neurosis-style vocal gutturalism to riffy crunch more reminiscent at times of Helmet‘s discordant heyday. Dense tonality and aggression pervade “Dead Men Don’t Need Silver,” “Scars,” the gets-raucous-later “Whip Rag” and closer “Face Grass,” which somehow brings a Clutch influence into this mix, and even more somehow makes it work, and then even more somehow indulges a bit of punk rock. The vocals and sense of tonal lumber tie it all together, but Lost Relics set a pretty wide base for themselves in these tracks, leaving one to wonder how the various elements at work might play out over the course of a longer release. As far as a debut EP goes, then, that’s the whole point of the thing, but something seems to be saying Lost Relics have more tricks up their sleeve than they’re showing here. One looks forward to finding out if that’s the case.

Lost Relics on Thee Facebooks

Lost Relics on Bandcamp

 

Deadly Sin (Sloth), VII: Sin Seven

deadly sin sloth vii sin seven

Deadly Sin (Sloth) play the kind of sludge that knows how well and truly fucked we are. The kind of sludge that doesn’t care who’s president because either way the chicken dinner you’re cooking is packed full of hormones. The kind of sludge that well earns its Scott Stearns tape artwork. VII: Sin Seven is not at all void of melody or purpose, as “Ripping Your Flesh” and the Danziggy “Glory Bound Grave” grimly demonstrate, but even in those moments, its intent is abrasion, and even the slower march of “Icarus” seems to scathe as much as the raw gutterpunk in “F One” and opener “Exit Ramp”‘s harshest screams. Not easy listening. Not for everybody. Not really for people. It’s a malevolent bludgeoning that even in the revivalism of “Blood Bought Church” seems only to be biding its time until the next strike. It does not wait all that long.

Deadly Sin (Sloth) on Thee Facebooks

Deadly Sin (Sloth) on Bandcamp

 

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Quarterly Review: Stuck in Motion, AVER, Massa, Alastor, Seid, Moab, Primitive Man & Unearthly Trance, Into Orbit, Super Thief, Absent

Posted in Reviews on March 18th, 2019 by JJ Koczan

quarterly-review-spring-2019

Let the games begin! The rules are the same: 10 albums per day, this time for a total of 60 between today and next Monday. It’s the Quarterly Review. Think of it like a breakfast buffet with an unending supply of pancakes except the pancakes are riffs and there’s only one dude cooking them and he’s really tired all the time and complains, complains, complains. Maybe not the best analogy. Still, it’s gonna be a ton of stuff, but there are some very, very cool records included, so please keep your eyes and your mind open for what’s coming, because you might find something here you really dig. If not, there’s always tomorrow. Let’s go.

Quarterly Review #1-10:

Stuck in Motion, Stuck in Motion

stuck in motion self-titled

The classic style cover art of Swedish trio Stuck in Motion‘s self-titled debut tells much of the story. It’s sweet-toned vintage-style soul rock, informed by Graveyard to some degree, but more aligned to retroism. The songs are bluesy and natural and not especially long, but have vibe for weeks, as demonstrated on the six-minute longest-track “Dreams of Flying,” or the flute-laden closer “Eken.” What the picture doesn’t tell you is the heavy use of clavinet in the band’s sound and just how much the vintage electric piano adds to what songs like “Slingrar” with its ultra-fluid shifts in tempo, or the sax-drenched penultimate cut “Orientalisk.” Comprised of guitarist/vocalist Max Kinnbo, drummer Gustaf Björkman and bassist/vocalist/clavinetist Adrian Norén, Stuck in Motion‘s debut successfully basks in a mellow psychedelic blues atmosphere and shows a patience for songwriting that bodes remarkably well. It should not be overlooked because you think you’re tired of vintage-style rock.

Stuck in Motion on Thee Facebooks

Stuck in Motion on Bandcamp

 

AVER, Orbis Majora

aver orbis majora

Following up their 2015 sophomore outing, Nadir (review here), which led to them getting picked up by Ripple Music, Australia’s AVER return with the progressive shove of Orbis Majora, five songs in 50 minutes of thoughtfully composed heavy progadelica, and while it’s not all so serious — closer “Hemp Fandango” well earns its title via a shuffling stonerly groove — opener “Feeding the Sun” and the subsequent “Disorder” set a mood of careful craftsmanship in longform pieces. The album’s peak might be in the 13-minute “Unanswered Prayers,” which culls together an extended linear build that’s equal parts immersive and gorgeous, but the rest of the album hardly lacks for depth or clarity of purpose. An underlying message from the Sydney four-piece would seem to be that they’re going to continue growing, even after more than a decade, because it’s not so much that they’re feeling their way toward their sound, but willfully pushing themselves to refine those parameters.

AVER on Thee Facebooks

Ripple Music on Bandcamp

 

Massa, Walls

massa walls

Flourish of keys adds nuance to Massa‘s moody, heavy post-rock style, the Rotterdam-based trio bringing an atmosphere to their second EP, Walls, across five tracks and 26 minutes marked by periodic samples from cinema and a sense of scope that seems to be born of an experimental impulse but not presented as the experiment itself. That is, they take the “let’s try this!” impulse and make a song out of it, as the chunky rhythm of instrumental centerpiece “Expedition” or the melodies in the prior “#8” show. Before finishing with the crash-into-push of the relatively brief “Intermassa,” the eight-minute “The Federal” complements winding guitar with organ to affect an engaging spirit somewhere between classic and futurist heavy, with the drums holding together proceedings that would seem to convey all the chaos of that temporal paradox. Perhaps it was opener “Shiva” that set this creator/destroyer tone, but either way, Massa bask in it and find a grim sense of identity thereby.

Massa on Thee Facebooks

Massa on Bandcamp

 

Alastor, Slave to the Grave

alastor slave to the grave

The first full-length from Swedish doomplodders Alastor and their debut on RidingEasy Records, late 2018’s Slave to the Grave is the four-piece’s most expansive offering yet in sonic scope as well as runtime. Following the 2017 EPs Blood on Satan’s Claw (review here) and Black Magic (review here), the seven-song/56-minute offering holds true to the murk-toned cultism and dense low-end rumble of the prior offerings, but the melodic resonance and sense of updating the aesthetic of traditional doom is palpable throughout the roller “Your Lives are Worthless,” while the later acoustic-led “Gone” speaks to a folkish influence that suits them surprisingly well given the heft that surrounds. They make an obvious focal point of 17-minute closer “Spider of My Love,” which though they’ve worked in longer forms before, is easily the grandest accomplishment they’ve yet unfurled. One might easily say the same applies to Slave to the Grave as a whole. Those who miss The Wounded Kings should take particular note of their trajectory.

Alastor on Thee Facebooks

RidingEasy Records website

 

Seid, Weltschmerz, Baby!

seid-weltschmerz_baby-web

If Norwegian space-psych outfit Seid are feeling weary of the world, the way they show it in Weltschmerz, Baby! is by simply leaving it behind, substituting for reality a cosmic starscape of effects and synth, the odd sample and vaguely Hawkwindian etherealism. The centerpiece title-track is a banger along those lines, a swell of rhythmic intensity born out of the finale of the prior “Satan i Blodet” and the mellow, flowing “Trollmannens Hytte” before that, but the highlight might be the subsequent “Coyoteman,” which drifts into dream-prog led by echoing layers of guitar and eventually given over to a fading strain of noise that “Moloch vs. Gud” picks up with percussive purpose and flows directly into the closer “Mir (Drogarna Börjar Värka),” rife with ’70s astro-bounce and a long fadeout that’s less about the record ending and more about leaving the galaxy behind. Starting out at a decent clip with “Haukøye,” Weltschmerz, Baby! is all about the journey and a trip well worth taking.

Seid on Thee Facebooks

Sulatron Records website

 

Moab, Trough

moab trough

A good record tinged by the tragic loss of drummer Erik Herzog during the recording and finished by guitarist/vocalist Andrew Giacumakis and bassist Joe Fuentes, the 10-track/39-minute Trough demonstrates completely just how much Moab have been underrated since their 2011 debut, Ab Ovo (discussed here), and across the 2014 follow-up, Billow (review here), as they bring a West Coast noise-infused pulse to heavy rock drive on “All Automatons” and meet an enduring punker spirit face first with “Medieval Moan,” all the while presenting a clear head for songcraft amid deep-running tones and melodies. “The Will is Weak” makes perhaps the greatest impact in terms of heft, but heft is by no means all Moab have to offer. With the very real possibility this will be their final record, it is a worthy homage to their fallen comrade and a showcase of their strengths that’s bound someday to get the attention it deserves whenever some clever label decides to reissue it as a lost classic.

Moab on Thee Facebooks

Moab on Bandcamp

 

Primitive Man & Unearthly Trance, Split

primitive man unearthly trance split

Well of course it’s a massive wash of doomed and hate-filled noise! What were you expecting, sunshine and puppies? Colorado’s Primitive Man and Brooklyn’s Unearthly Trance team up to compare misanthropic bona fides across seven tracks of blistering extremity that do Relapse Records proud. Starting with the collaborative intro “Merging,” the onslaught truly commences with Primitive Man’s 10-minute “Naked” and sinks into an abyss with the instrumental noisefest “Love Under Will,” which gradually makes its way into a swell of abrasive drone. Unearthly Trance, meanwhile, proffer immediate destructiveness with the churning “Mechanism Error” and make “Triumph” dark enough to live up to its most malevolent interpretations, while “Reverse the Day” makes me wonder what people who heard Godflesh in the ’80s must’ve thought of it and the six-minute finishing move “418” answers back to Primitive Man‘s droned-out anti-structure with a consuming void of fuckall depth. It’s like the two bands cut open their veins and recorded the disaffection that spilled out.

Primitive Man on Thee Facebooks

Unearthly Trance on Thee Facebooks

Relapse Records website

 

Into Orbit, Shifter

Into Orbit Shifter

Progressive New Zealander two-piece Into OrbitPaul Stewart on guitar and Ian Moir on drums — offer up the single Shifter as the answer to their 2017 sophomore long-player, Unearthing. The Wellington instrumentalists did likewise leading into that album with a single that later showed up as part of a broader tracklist, so it may be that they’ve got another release already in the works, but either way, the 5:50 standalone track finds them dug into a full band sound with layered or looped guitar standing tall over the mid-paced drumming, affecting an emotion-driven atmosphere as much as the cerebral nature of its craft. Beginning with a thick chug, it works into more melodic spaciousness as it heads toward and through its midsection, lead guitar kicking in with harmony lines joining soon after as the two-piece build back up to a bigger finish. Whatever their plans, Into Orbit make it clear that just because something is prog doesn’t mean it needs to be staid or lack expressiveness.

Into Orbit on Thee Facebooks

Into Orbit on Bandcamp

 

Super Thief, Eating Alone in My Car

super thief eating alone in my car

Noise-punk intensity pervades Eating Alone in My Car, the not-quite-not-an-LP from Austin four-piece Super Thief. They call it an album, and that’s good enough for me, especially since at about 20 minutes there isn’t much more I’d ask of the thing that it doesn’t deliver, whether it’s the furious out-of-mindness of minute-long highlight “Woodchipper” or the poli-sci critique of that sandwiches the offering with opener “Gone Country” immediately taking a nihilist anti-stance while closer “You Play it Like a Joke but I Know You Really Mean It” — which consumes nearly half the total runtime at 9:32 — seems to run up the walls unable to stick to the “smoke ’em if you got ’em” point of view of the earlier cut. That’s how the bastards keep you running in circles, but at least Super Thief know where to direct the frustration. “Six Months Blind” and the title-track have a more personal take, but are still worth a read lyrically as much as a listen, as the rhythm of the words only adds to the striking personality of the material.

Super Thief on Thee Facebooks

Learning Curve Records website

 

Absent, Towards the Void

absent towards the void

Recorded in 2016, released on CD in 2018 and snagged by Cursed Tongue Records for a vinyl pressing, Absent‘s Towards the Void casts a shimmering plunge of cavernous doom, with swirling post-Electric Wizard guitar and echoing vocals adding to the spaciousness of its four component tracks as the Brasilia-based trio conjure atmospheric breadth to go along with their weighted lurch in opener “Ophidian Womb.” With tracks arranged shortest to longest between eight and a half and 11 minutes, “Semen Prayer,” “Funeral Sun” and “Urine” follow suit from the opener in terms of overall approach, but “Funeral Sun” speeds things up for a stretch while “Urine” lures the listener downward with a subdued opening leading to more filth-caked distortion and degenerate noise, capping with feedback because at that point what the hell matters anyway? Little question in listening why this one’s been making the rounds for over a year now. It will likely continue to do so for some time to come.

Absent on Thee Facebooks

Cursed Tongue Records webstore

 

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Review & Video Premiere: No Man’s Valley, Outside the Dream

Posted in Bootleg Theater, Reviews on March 7th, 2019 by JJ Koczan

no mans valley outside the dream

No Man’s Valley, “Eyeball” official video premiere

[Click play above to stream the premiere of No Man’s Valley’s “Eyeball” video. Their new album, Outside the Dream, is out March 22 on Tonzonen Records.]

Both their 2016 debut album, Time Travel (review here), and the new follow-up, Outside the Dream (on Tonzonen), immediately clue the listener into No Man’s Valley‘s priorities. This is not a band dealing in grounded fare. The Horst, Netherlands-based five-piece meld ethereal atmospherics with classic psychedelic blues, resulting in a two-sided long-player that channels Doors-style drift on “From Nowhere” after the earlier “Eyeball” melds echoing lysergics with airy post-rocking guitar and a fervent stomp in its drums. Modern touchstones would be The Flying Eyes (“From Nowhere”) or maybe even All Them Witches (“7 Blows”), but No Man’s Valley present these aspects of their sound with a distinctive, open feeling take on songwriting that’s nonetheless memorable, with a depth of mix that lends even the more straightforward push of “Hawk Rock” an ambient character.

Comprised of vocalist Jasper as well as guitarist Christian, bassist Rob, keyboardist Ruud and drummer Dinand, all of whom contribute backing vocals at one point or another, the band are able to tie together seemingly disparate moods and elements, suck that the subdued and malevolent closer “Murder Ballad” is preceded by “Lies,” which seems to call back to the earlier circus feel in the apex of “Eyeball,” but with something even more vicious at play. If one thinks of the album as a progression of dreaming, the opening title-track leads the listener into a fuzz-drenched subconscious along a soulful, organ-inclusive march, and “Eyeball,” “Hawk Rock” — as in, Hawkwind? certainly possible — and “From Nowhere” follow with a pattern of increasing depth, malleable the way one dream can turn into another instantly, getting weirder all the while. That would make side B opener “Into the Blue,” which is appropriately named as the bluesiest track on the record, a similar launchpoint into something darker throughout “7 Blows,” “Lies” and “Murder Ballad.”

That’s a convenient-enough narrative, but I’m not sure it’s what the band are actually shooting for. The lines aren’t so clearly drawn, and they don’t seem to want to be. There’s no question they end dark with “Lies” and “Murder Ballad,” but the path they take to get there isn’t so black and white, and to think it might be is to undervalue the complexity on display throughout sides A and B of the eight-song/40-minute outing. One would call it grey in its approach if it weren’t so gosh darn colorful. Ultimately, No Man’s Valley‘s breadth is not a detriment, of course, and they have the songwriting behind their explorations of mood to hold it all together. Fair enough, but even to look at the almost-manic assembly of images and figures on Outside the Dream‘s cover art, it’s clear they’re crafting a dreamscape — more inside the dream than out of it; though perhaps the title is referring to that haze in one’s first waking moments when consciousness and the unconscious seem to intertwine.

no mans valley

If that’s the case, the shouts in “Eyeball” and the surrounding swirl of effects, as well as the echoing ramble of “Into the Blue” would seem to make even more sense, making sense — from a conceptual standpoint — isn’t really the idea here. Whatever they might be expressing in terms of theme or story, there’s no question No Man’s Valley distinguish themselves among a swath of European psychedelic heavy by means of both style and substance in their work. “Into the Blue” descends into a glorious wash of guitar while the keys — Rhodes, maybe — still stand out all the more dream-like for cutting through the mix as they do, while the earlier “Hawk Rock” is all about thrust, with a garage-rocking style that resolves itself in a Hammond-drenched verse and a sudden stop ahead of the brooding “From Nowhere,” which indeed makes “nowhere” sound like the place to be.

All along this varied course, the band provide a trail of deceptively lush melody for the audience to follow along with them as they go deeper, and even as “7 Blows” seems to break in its midsection in order to vibe out ahead of the closing duo, there’s a return to the hook impending as if to let everyone know they’re not all the way gone yet. This care and attention to detail further help distinguish No Man’s Valley, but frankly, if their second album proves anything, it’s that they don’t need much help. Even in that vast, mostly empty landscape in the middle of “7 Blows,” Jasper plays a fitting Jim Morrison in order to give a human presence ahead of the cacophonous payoff to come. That transition, like Outside the Dream as a whole, is handled with fluidity and grace, and much as they seem to invite all parties to go get lost with them, they’re never actually lost. Even “Lies” has a swinging undercurrent despite its more cynical take and shorter runtime, and its percussive motion, start-stop guitar and bouncing organ line all come together with boozy verse lines to build to the standout chorus.

That leaves No Man’s Valley right at the precipice of “Murder Ballad,” which indeed lives up to its title. Foreboding guitar howls behind the quietly-delivered vocals and a steady, grounding, bassline. One would be remiss not to mention Nick Cave, but “Murder Ballad” isn’t out of place with the rest of Outside the Dream, it’s just a darker manifestation of that unconsciousness. Without the push of drums, it feels like the moment when the band finally let go into the ether, and even at just over four minutes, it is something of a grand finale in terms of execution without actually being overbearing in terms of volume. Fitting, then, that it should close, since it effectively draws down the dream-side of the album, leaving off to silence in such a way as to make one wonder what happens next. Did we wake up? Are we still asleep? Perhaps that’s an answer that will come with No Man’s Valley‘s third record, but either way, their second builds on the debut in terms of structure and expansion of sound, showing the band as perfectly comfortable in or out of the reaches of the waking world. Like a lucid dream, where they go from here would seem to be entirely up to them.

No Man’s Valley on Thee Facebooks

No Man’s Valley on Twitter

No Man’s Valley on Instagram

No Man’s Valley website

Tonzonen Records on Thee Facebooks

Tonzonen Records on Instagram

Tonzonen Records website

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Friday Full-Length: 7Zuma7, Untitled EP

Posted in Bootleg Theater on February 8th, 2019 by JJ Koczan

7Zuma7, Untitled EP (1998)

7Zuma7 — or 7 Zuma 7, if you’re feeling more spaced out — weren’t necessarily the earliest heavy rock band out of the Netherlands. That title might belong to the likes of 35007 or Beaver or Celestial Season, but the Eindhoven-based four-piece weren’t far behind either, and the 1998 arrival of their untitled debut EP put them right in line with what one might consider the MySpace era of heavy rock — a moment of burgeoning, pre-mobile social media engagement and, with the arrival of higher-speed internet in more places, the ability to stream media. They got their start in ’95, but by 1998, the “stoner rock” wave was well enough underway in the Europe and the US alike, and 7Zuma7 were particularly adept in taking influence from all that was going on around them and bringing it into their own context. Sure, their logo/cover art was of its era, but the straightforward push in their material on the five-song/22-minute outing, which presented a cover of Donna Summer‘s “Hot Stuff” as its centerpiece that turned disco fever into ’70s rock swagger and seemed to be in conversation with the likes of Kyuss, Roadsaw and Dozer on the six-and-a-half-minute closer “Nugtohs” — “shotgun” backwards — was righteously positioned the band in the dug-in style of the genre of the day.

More than two decades later, the work of vocalist/guitarist Jerry van Eyck, guitarist John Peate, bassist Nick Sanders and drummer Jacco van Rooij on this first EP might seem like something of a precursor. Prior to calling it quits, the 7Zuma7 released Deep Inside in 2000 as their lone full-length. And they’re further notable for in 1999 working with bassist Miranda van der Voort, who by then was already a founding member of Toner Low. But while that might be enough to make them a footnote in the Netherlands’ heavy rock family tree, it’s the songs on 7Zuma7‘s EP that continue to hold such relevance. I feel like I say this about bands from this era a lot — and I probably do, so apologies if I’m being redundant — but taking 7Zuma7 in comparison to some of the straight-ahead heavy and roll coming out now, and it’s like the 21 years between just melt away. If these guys were around today, they’d be signed to Ripple Music and I’d be writing about how awesome it was they were going to play at Desertfest and a bunch of other European festivals I won’t be fortunate enough to go to.

7zuma7 epIt’s not that heavy rock is a stagnant thing. If anything, the definition has expanded beyond recognition. But 7Zuma7, especially in tracks like the catchy opener “Velvet Slide” or “An Instant Cool” here, speak to a core groove and energy that in no small part works to epitomize the style then and now. You can hear it when you listen to Fu Manchu, and you can hear it when you listen to 7Zuma7. The inheritance of rhythmic swing is a big part of it, but it’s not the whole thing. In the second-half solo of “Velvet Slide,” or in the post-grunge drive of “Blue T.S.” and the slowdown that follows, it’s the kind of sound one has to step back from and say, “Yes. This is that thing.” To typify genre is not the same as to play to it, and in that regard, it’s important to remember that this was more than two decades ago, and even as 7Zuma7 weren’t the first to fuzz-blast their guitars and blow the doors off a surprising cover song, they were at very least earlier adopters of the style, and they would soon enough pay off the potential they showed on the EP with Deep Inside, while showing even more.

You know those hundreds of heavy ’70s bands who put out one or two records, were awesome, and then broke up? I’ll gladly put 7Zuma7 in that category. Listening to the rolling groove of “An Instant Cool” and the midsection break there that seems to foreshadow the outbound trip later in “Nugtohs,” yeah, the production might be somewhat dated, but the methods should still be familiar, and it’s hard to imagine that, sooner or later, some generous soul won’t dip back into this pool and bring similar “lost” outings to the surface for reissue and exposure to the now-two generations of listeners who’ve been turned on to heavy rock since it was first released. Maybe that’s wishful thinking, and I don’t imagine it’s the kind of thing that would entice much venture capital, but aside from its own merits, which extended both to songwriting and performance — that is, on the most basic level, it’s not 22 minutes of your life you’re going to regret spending — the tracks on 7Zuma7‘s EP represent a moment in the history of heavy rock that’s at this point relatively forgotten. And like all those bands from the ’70s who still seem to show up out of the blue, there’s a project waiting to be undertaken in exploring and rediscovering this moment. Where’s the Akarma Records of ’90s heavy?

While I, as ever, daydream about having things like money and time in infinite supply, I’ll go back and put on 7Zuma7‘s EP again and dig the raw drum sound, the way the vocals seem to ride over top of the riffs and the general swagger on display throughout. That’s all I’m advocating for here, ultimately. A revisit. Right now, we are once again awash in bands. It’s astounding how much stuff there is out right now. Between Bandcamp and a vinyl resurgence, a multifaceted movement of heavy is playing out. And it will recede for a time again, and take a lot of similar one-album or two-album groups with it as people move on to different stages of their life and other projects. It’s a life-cycle, basically. But even as there’s a constantly overwhelming forward motion, releases like this one underscore the importance of looking back and drawing the line from then to now. I’m pretty sure I’ve mixed metaphors irreparably throughout this post, but if you take away anything from it at all, understand that whatever your angle of approach to exploring heavy rock and roll, there’s always going to be more to find.

As always, I hope you enjoy.

I let myself sleep until 4:30 this morning, which felt like a luxury. Alarm went off an hour earlier, but in my head I saw myself yesterday afternoon, dead to the world on the couch during the baby’s second nap, and decided it was worth investing in the day now. I don’t know if it was the right call or not, but screw it. As The Patient Mrs. told me the other day, “You’ll get your shit done.” And so I will. The only question, I suppose, is the freneticism of pace at which that happens. I shouldn’t complain. I mean, I do anyway — constantly — but I shouldn’t.

The Pecan woke up at about 5:30. It takes him a bit to get going, but that’s when he really started to stir. I grabbed him a couple minutes before six, as usual, and that started the morning. I’m beat. The Patient Mrs. and I are pretty dug into the beginning of her Spring semester teaching, so she’s out most days for some measure of time or other, and there’s always grading besides. I’m just trying to get through the days. I’ve had some ferocious ups and downs the last couple weeks — more downs, if I’m honest — but whatever. I’m getting through the way I get through, which is by writing and trying to catch my quiet moments where and when I can.

One thing The Pecan is good for though is he gets me out of the house. The Patient Mrs. and I are sharing a car (her car, to be more precise), but even aside from dropping her off at work, the kid needs to get out of the house at least once per day, preferably twice. It was warm and sunny earlier this week so we spent the whole day more or less at different parks. There’s a skatepark down the way from where we live and I took him there just to run up and down the ramps and stuff. No one’s ever there — it’s right next to the police station, oddly enough — so we had it to ourselves and he had a good time. Then we went to the regular park and he faceplanted coming down a big-kid slide. He was fine, but displeased. Point is he’s happy getting out as much as he can. In Massachusetts winter, you have to take those days when you can get them. There’s usually one per month or so.

He’s down for a nap now — it’s a bit after breakfast — but I can hear him singing to himself upstairs. He’ll fall asleep eventually. Domestic bliss.

Agenda for the weekend includes getting the ball rolling for the Roadburn ‘zine and driving to CT to celebrate The Patient Mrs.’ upcoming birthday with her family. That, honestly, will probably be enough.

I’ve got notes for next week though. Here they are:

MON 02/11 OLD MEXICO REVIEW; THE OTHER SUN VID PREMIERE
TUE 02/12 SAVER PREMIERE/REVIEW; DUN RINGILL VID PREMIERE
WED 02/13 VAREGO ALBUM STREAM/REVIEW; HIGH BRIAN VID PREMIERE
THU 02/14 RED EYE PREMIERE
FRI 02/15 DEMON HEAD REVIEW

I’m also slated to go see C.O.C. next weekend in Boston and I’m already anxious about it. What if crowds, what if photos, what if parking, what if Boston. All that stuff. You know the deal.

Or more, I hope you don’t.

Thanks to everyone who’s bought a shirt or hoodie from Dropout Merch lately. I’m trying to save money for a new lens for the camera, so that is much appreciated.

No new ‘The Obelisk Show’ this weekend, but as you can see, plenty going besides. I’ll be around if you need anything though. You know where to find me.

Please have a great and safe weekend, and please, forum, radio, merch.

The Obelisk Forum

The Obelisk Radio

The Obelisk shirts & hoodies

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Roadburn 2019 Adds Another Fest’s Worth of Bands; Lineup “Complete”

Posted in Whathaveyou on January 25th, 2019 by JJ Koczan

roadburn 2019 banner

So, Roadburn 2019 has moved the pre-party from Cul de Sac — which was always packed — to the 013 proper, where it will be held in the Green Room for the first time. I’d expect that to fill up as well, as Temple Fang, Hellripper and one more band still to be announced take the stage to kick off the festival. It’s just one more example of how Roadburn keeps getting bigger. Sunday used to be the Afterburner, with fewer stages. Now it’s a full-blown fest day. The pre-party used to be two bands, then three, now a new venue. Pretty soon Roadburn is just going to be a full week long and will take over the entire town of Tilburg each April. You won’t hear me complain when it happens.

I’m thrilled to say I’ll be back in the Netherlands for Roadburn 2019 this April, once again serving as the editor of the Weirdo Canyon Dispatch daily ‘zine. I am honored and humbled to one again have the opportunity to be there and to do that work — I need to get an email out to the writing staff like yesterday, which is typical — as it’s a project I believe in deeply and an opportunity to work with a group of writers, photographers, graphic artists and others I deeply respect. Thank you to Walter and the 013 for having us back for another go. It’ll be fun.

With day schedules and the occasional TBA act still to come, I doubt this will be the last Roadburn 2019 announcement before April gets here, but the lineup is officially complete, so here’s how it rounds out. See you in Tilburg:

Final bands announced for Roadburn 2019

-Tomas Lindberg adds CRAFT to his curated event
-Roadburn’s pre-show party gets a new home
…and more!

Roadburn’s artistic director, Walter Hoeijmakers comments:
“Whilst this is our final band announcement for the 2019 festival, we’re still working on various other things behind the scenes which we’ll bring to you in due course, including the side programme and of course the day schedules. Once again, we’re delighted to have sold out the festival before Christmas and our gratitude to all those Roadburn supporters is unwavering. We’re extremely happy to be adding some true cult bands to the festival with this announcement.”

TOMAS LINDBERG’S THE BURNING DARKNESS

CRAFT
Rounding out the announcements for Tomas Lindberg’s The Burning Darkness curated event is the cult Swedish band, CRAFT. As ever, we hand over to our esteemed curator to tell us why this was such an essential pick for him…

“Craft was one of the first bands that I contacted for my announcement. I have been a big fan for a long time, and with the release of the astounding ‘White Noise and Black Metal’, it was a no brainer to include them.”
Read more here.

BOSSE-DE-NAGE
With each member initially only known by an initial, as though mere spectres channeling this labyrinthine music from some other galaxy, BOSSE-DE-NAGE have navigated the last decade expertly, creating five incredible records, of which last year’s Further Still is the culmination so far. Melding black metal, shoegaze, post rock and screamo, we’re prepared for a mind-melting experience when BOSSE-DE-NAGE take to the stage at Roadburn.

STREET SECTS
Check out any STREET SECTS album artwork, and you’ll feel like you’ve plunged into the gritty, harsh world of a hardboiled crime novel, a genre famous for its unflinching realism and toughness. Adjectives that can well be applied to the music this duo from Austin, Texas creates, as well. Music is often described as escapism, but when Leo Ashline hollers, shrieks and proclaims hard truths over Shaun Ringsmuth’s pounding, pulsing rhythms, it’s the absolute opposite – it’s as if someone’s forcing your eyes wide open, Clockwork Orange-style, to stare at the ugliest and harshest realities this world has to offer.

GLERAKUR
Founded by Icelandic composer and sound designer Elvar Geir Sævarsson in order to perform his contemplative yet titanic score for Fjalla-Eyvindur & Halla – a production by The National Theater – GLERAKUR (Icelandic for ‘Glass Field’) is currently one of the most important cornerstones of the country’s thriving music scene.

GLERAKUR’s debut album, The Mountains Are Beautiful Now – the soundtrack to the aforementioned play – is very impressive, and won Iceland’s prestigious Kraumur Award in 2017. Though the band’s cinematic take on Godspeed You! Black Emperor and Swans really comes to life over a full set, as we experienced at last year’s Eistnaflug. With two drummers, and four guitarists, GLERAKUR multiplied their hypnotic waves of dreamlike-atmospheres and harmonic feedback into such an overwhelming and mesmerising performance that we simply had to invite them for the 2019 festival.

MJ GUIDER
Melissa Guion will be at Roadburn performing as part of the Thou Artist In Residence extravaganza, which we are already breathlessly anticipating. However, we’re thrilled to announce that she will also be performing her own set – aided and abetted by live collaborators – under the moniker, MJ GUIDER.

If you’re unfamiliar with the hypnotic fayre of her 2016 release, Precious Systems, then the good news is that there’s just about 11 weeks before Roadburn to get yourself up to speed. Immerse yourself in the swirling landscapes and enchanting melodies on offer; lay back in the stream of lush instrumentation and let it wash over you. MJ GUIDERs output is a multilayered offering, and yet remains delicately sparse at times.

L’ACÉPHALE
Never the most prolific of bands, nor the most well-known, nevertheless L’ACÉPHALE have offered some of the most intelligent blackened folk music throughout the years. While this decade has only witnessed a few small releases – after Malefeasance and Stahlhartes Gehäuse, their only full-lengths, punctuated an unusually productive period in 2008 and 2009 – they have all been remarkable, and once we were made aware that the band was getting ready to become more active, we saw the perfect opportunity to satiate our hunger for more L’ACÉPHALE. With the announcement of their self titled, 74-minute album coming this April on Eisenwald, what better time to explore the abyss than now?

GREY AURA
As well as participating in the Maalstroom commissioned performance, GREY AURA, hailing from Utrecht, The Netherlands, will also bring their conceptual Black Metal to Roadburn 2019 on Sunday, April 14. GREY AURA are using their playful yet sometimes schizophrenic take on this genre (like some of the others participating in Maalstroom) as a vehicle to expose and explore the darker side of the mind.

ROADBURN’S PRE-SHOW PARTY: IGNITION
With a new home (the 013’s Green Room) and a new name, Roadburn’s pre-show party, Ignition, is primed and ready to get the festivities off to a killer start. Featuring TEMPLE FANG and HELLRIPPER – a third band will be announced in due course – Ignition is the perfect way to kick off your Roadburn on Wednesday, April 10 – and sticking with tradition, it will be free to attend.

Though there’s no release yet, TEMPLE FANG – featuring of Death Alley alumni, Dennis Duijnhouwer and Jevin de Groot – are currently making quite a name in the Dutch underground by way of hypnotic and overwhelming live shows. Channeling the spirit of Grateful Dead, Hawkwind, Blue Öyster Cult and Captain Beyond, some fuzzed-out rawk comes to the forefront of their sound as well!

While TEMPLE FANG will bring the psych and expand your mind and your senses, HELLRIPPER will be the perfect antidote for all that! If anything, the Scottish kings of old-school dirty black/speed nastiness will contract your mind into a tiny and super dense ball of steel! Formed in 2014 by backwards visionary James McBain under the spiritual guidance of Venom, Sabbat or Kreator, they’ve since expanded into a full live band and are now ready to tear our head off while thrashing like maniacs.

TICKETS & ACCOMMODATION
Roadburn Festival 2019 is SOLD OUT. Accommodation options remain in Tilburg and further afield – please check the website for more details.

https://www.facebook.com/roadburnfestival/
http://www.twitter.com/Roadburnfest
http://www.instagram.com/roadburnfest
http://www.roadburn.com

Temple Fang, Live at 013, Tilburg, the Netherlands, June 19, 2018

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Roadburn 2019: Grails, Hexvessel, Uran, Lucy in Blue, Bismuth, Third Commissioned Project and More Added

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

roadburn 2019 banner

I mean. Look. Hey. You know. It’s, uh. Yeah.

Roadburn and I kind of hit this point every year — at least we have for the last decade. The lineup announcements come through, and after a while, I just don’t even know what to say about it anymore. “Hey, so, look’s like Roadburn‘s gonna be all things to all people again” doesn’t really cut it as far as editorial content goes.

Here’s a point I’ll make: I think if you look at the Roadburn 2019 lineup, with its three commissioned projects — the third of which is newly announced — two career-spanning headline slots from Sleep, bands from multiple corners of the globe, a couple label showcases thrown in for good measure, and more still to come, it’s pretty safe to say it’s the biggest, farthest-reaching Roadburn yet. And even that. Is something I say. Every friggin’ year.

Doesn’t mean it doesn’t apply. It’ll be nice to see Grails again, and I was hoping Hexvessel would get added when their new video showed up earlier this week. A little more Aaron Turner doesn’t hurt either.

The PR wire has the lot of it, and you’ll see below the gorgeous individual day posters by Maarten Donders.

Dig:

More names announced for Roadburn 2019 including third commissioned project

– Tomas Lindberg adds more names to The Burning Darkness including GRAILS and URAN
– HEXVESSEL to perform All Tree in full
– Dutch black metal to be showcased in commissioned project MAALSTROOM
– Aaron Turner, Will Brooks and Dennis Tyfus to unite as DOOLHOF

Roadburn’s artistic director, Walter Hoeijmakers comments:

“We’re thrilled that 4-day tickets have sold out this side of Christmas – with still some of the line up to announce! Don’t delay on day tickets as we hope that they too will go quickly. We are nearing the end of our announcements, but there is still a handful of bands to present in the new year.”

TOMAS LINDBERG’S THE BURNING DARKNESS

GRAILS

GRAILS are set to return to Roadburn Festival exactly ten years after they performed at Neurosis’ curated event, Beyond The Pale back in 2009. We’re thrilled to announce that they’ll be making a return to join us in Tilburg – once again as a result of an invitation from our curator.

FONTÄN

“The whole vibe of FONTÄN reeks of folky, trippy melancholia, in the most unsentimental way. This is something that could easily have been produced by Brian Eno in his prime.” says Lindberg of his choice.

THE EXORCIST GBG

One of three Gothenburg based bands in this latest announcement, Lindberg describes THE EXORCIST GBG as: “a mind and time bending electronic psych experience, with a serious funk dance groove, like the legendary Goblin on dangerous cult-ritual-inducing drugs.”

URAN

When Tomas Lindberg describes a band as Sweden’s best kept secret, it’s time to start paying attention. He comments of URAN: “Imagine the heaviest psych, in a street fight with the most hypnotizing Stooges riffs, with an electronic Kraut edge and a monstrous Hawkwind presence.”

HEXVESSEL

HEXVESSEL’s new album, All Tree, will be released in February and the sole track released at the time of writing gives a tantalising glimpse of what to expect. It’s considered, haunting and – quite honestly – downright beautiful.
Prepare yourselves for some pin-drop moments amongst some soul shaking sonic shifts: Hexvessel are back!

DOOLHOF

The component parts of DOOLHOF are Aaron Turner, Will Brooks and Dennis Tyfus. Musically and artistically these three men appear to be worlds apart but look a little deeper and it’s obvious there’s a streak of experimental vigour and curiosity that runs through them all – and in this case, unites them.

When the idea of a collaborative project was floated, Turner singled out Will Brooks early on. Brooks made his Roadburn debut with Dälek in 2017; one of the most talked about performances of that edition, Dälek were instrumental in expanding the scope of the festival. Tyfus is a Belgian audio/visual artist whose Ultra Eczema label has served as the nucleus for a vast and eclectic array of creative endeavours.

That its participants have named it DOOLHOF (Dutch for ‘maze’) leads our minds to bubble over with possibilities.

MAALSTROOM

The third and final commissioned piece for Roadburn 2019 is a collaboration between a seething mass of up and coming – not to mention, vitally important – Dutch black metal bands. The project is titled MAALSTROOM and will unite over a dozen musicians from Laster, Verwoed, Witte Wieven, Turia, Fluisteraars, Grey Aura, Terzij de Horde, Folteraar, Nefast – and more.

Roadburn has showcased slivers of this innovative and burgeoning scene in previous years, but never before has such a heavy and accomplished array of Dutch musicians gathered together under one banner.

Exclusively for Roadburn Festival, MAALSTROOM will compose and perform a piece that spans five movements, with an evolving line-up of performers embellishing an ambient backdrop. This is not merely a show, nor a ritual; it is a current to be dragged along by.

MAALSTROOM is possible thanks to the continued support of the City of Tilburg and Brabant C.

As well as participating in MAALSTROOM the following bands will perform their own sets at Roadburn Festival 2019:
LASTER
TERZIJ DE HORDE
WITTE WIEVEN
DODECAHEDRON
TURIA
NUSQUAMA

ALSO ANNOUNCED TODAY:
BISMUTH bring ethereal doom to Roadburn
COILGUNS are primed to deliver an ear pummelling
CROWHURST will bring a world of pain
CROWHURST & GNAW THEIR TONGUES unite in harsh noise
FAUNA evoke manifestations of nature and wilderness through the lens of black metal
FOTOCRIME will shed light on a darkened room
LUCY IN BLUE set off on a psychedelic prog quest to Roadburn
PHARMAKON will summon disconnecting ambience and caustic crescendos of industrial noise
THOR & FRIENDS to bring their warm, hypnotic songs to Roadburn
TWIN TEMPLE’s Satanic doo-wop will reign supreme
WRONG will deliver angular melody and abrasiveness

TICKETS:
Single day tickets will go on sale on tonight – Thursday, December 13 at 8pm CET/7pm GMT/ 2pm EST. 4-day tickets are SOLD OUT, 3-day tickets are still available in limited numbers.

Tickets are be priced as follows:
3 days ticket (Thu-Sat) €181 + €4,50 service fee
Day ticket (Thu, Fri or Sat) €62 + €4,50 service fee
Sunday ticket €55,50 + €4,50 service fee

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Hexvessel, “Old Tree” official video

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