The Riven Sign to The Sign Records; Debut Album Due in 2019; New Single This Week

Posted in Whathaveyou on October 16th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

On Friday, The Riven will unveil the first single from their impending 2019 debut album. That record doesn’t have a name yet, at least not a public one, but it will be released in a new deal the classic heavy rocking outfit has inked with The Sign Records and it will follow last year’s Blackbird EP (discussed here). Since that five-tracker was recorded in 2016, the band has moved from London to Stockholm, and the new record — because of course — was put to tape in Madrid. Consider it a pan-European heavy rock experience if you must, but The Riven will be another name on 2019’s most anticipated list, and I’ll hope to have more to come on it as we get closer to the release.

For now, here’s the announcement from The Sign Records, as per the PR wire:

THE RIVEN

The Sign Records signs The Riven. The band is set to release their debut album during the spring 2019 and their first single ‘Fortune Teller’ is set for release the 19th of October.

In 2018 The Riven went to Madrid, not to spend time under the Spanish sun but rather curled up in the valved cellar studio at Holy Cuervo Studios. In ten days they powered through the record’s nine songs producing an album that in the words of the drummer Olof Axegärd “Is loud, is rock, is soul, and prog, it has it all!”. The Riven will be releasing their highly anticipated first full length with The Sign Records in the spring of 2019.

The band have recorded their debut album with Ola Ersfjord (Tribulation, Lucifer, Primordial) in Madrid. The album artwork is made by Maarten Donders. The album is a pure injection of Rock into the system.

“The Riven are set to release one of the strongest Swedish debut albums in many years. The band holds a perfect combination of bluesy vocals and classical rock sound. We are humbled over the opportunity to work with, and be able to present The Riven to the world.” – Kaj Sivervik, The Sign Records

“We are super excited to announce that we are signing with the Sign Records. One of the reasons to why we moved the band from the UK to Sweden was that we wanted to be part of the scene over here. We have a great love for bands like Hällas, Hypnos and MaidaVale and to be on the same label as those guys, as well as other great acts too, is really a step in the right direction for us. We knew that working with Kaj and the Patricks would be great for the band when we first heard Kaj speak on Rockpodden. His love and passion for the bands on the label is something you don’t come across too often and we strongly feel that a collaboration of this sort needs to have that element. It was in that moment we knew that we wanted to be on The Sign records. Now let’s bring on the release and let the good times roll!” – Max Ternebring, The Riven

The Riven is:
Charlotta Ekebergh – Vocals
Arnau Diaz – Guitar
Max Ternebring – Bass Guitar
Olof Axegärd – Drums

https://www.facebook.com/TheRivenMusic
https://theriven.bandcamp.com/releases
https://www.facebook.com/thesignrecords/
http://thesignrecords.com/
https://freighttrain.se/en/the-sign-record/skraeckoedlan/

The Riven, Blackbird EP (2017)

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Hällas Announce Live Dates with Graveyard for Nov./Dec.

Posted in Whathaveyou on October 15th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

I had a couple crucial learnings at this year’s Hostsabbat Festival in Oslo. Among them? Patchy pants are all the rage in Norway. I guess it’s a post-apocalyptic kind of thing? Like acknowledging that the dystopia is already here? Anyway, by the time I left town two days later, I wanted a pair. Still do.

More relevant: Hällas do not screw around on stage. Their set opening the fest in the Kulturkirken Jakob was likewise pro-shop and raucous; hot rock delivered with a cool hand but not at all staid or boring to watch. I felt fortunate to be able to catch them, and they more than stood up to the task of the high ceiling under which they played.

In addition to being one of the first bands announced for Desertfest Berlin 2019, they’ll be out for more than a handful of Scandinavian dates alongside kingpins Graveyard starting in early November and finishing up just before the holidays.

Don’t forget your patchy pants:

hallas

Hällas Announces Tour supporting Graveyard

Hällas announces a Scandinavian tour supporting Graveyard. These dates will provide a perfect mixture of Swedish rock during eleven dates. Tickets to the tour is running low on several dates. Secure your tickets through Ticketmaster.

Hällas Tour supporting Graveyard
2018.11.02 – SE – Nöjesfabriken – Karlstad
2018.11.03 – SE – Nordfest – Sundsvall
2018.11.09 – SE – Frimis Salonger – Örebro
2018.11.10 – DK – Pumpehuset – Copenhagen
2018.11.22 – SF – Tavastia – Helsinki
2018.11.23 – SF – Lutakko – Jyväskylä
2018.11.24 – SF – Klubi – Tampere
2018.12.14 – SE – Pustervik – Göteborg
2018.12.15 – SE – Pustervik – Göteborg (Sold Out)
2018.12.21 – SE – Cirkus – Stockholm

Hällas album “Excerpts from a future past” was released in October 2017 by the Sign Records. The band have toured all over Europe upon the release. The band have played festivals as Høstsabbat (NO), Devilsstone (Lit), Fusion Fest (De), Roadburn (NL) and Muskelrock (SE) during the last couple of months. The bands just released their hit single ‘Star Rider’ as a flexi seven inch as the band once again heads out on tour, this time in Scandinavia.

Hällas is:
Tommy Alexandersson (bass/vocals)
Alexander Moraitis (guitar)
Kasper Eriksson (drums)
Marcus Pettersson (guitar)
Nicklas Malmqvist (keys)

https://www.facebook.com/haellas/
https://www.instagram.com/hallasband/
http://www.hallasband.com/
https://www.facebook.com/thesignrecords/
http://freighttrain.se

Hällas, “Star Rider” official video

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Demon Head on Tour Now; “The Resistence” Live Video Posted

Posted in Whathaveyou on September 25th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

demon head

Demon Head hit the road at the end of last week doing both headlining gigs and support spots for Magna Carta Cartel. Their latest EP, The Resistance (review here), came out earlier this year on The Sign Records, and it’s for the title-track of that two-songer that the band have a new live video. Shot at Muskelrock 2018 in the great outdoors of Southern Sweden — because fucking a right — the clip finds the Copenhagen outfit right at home for their proto-metallic vibes and the assembled masses before them seem largely to be eating up their classic-style riffs like so much fare cooked on a portable campground stove. Sounds gnarly. Looks gnarly. Is probably gnarly.

They’re no strangers to touring at this point, and especially after The Resistence provided the ‘two’ in a one-two wallop after 2017’s long-player, Thunder on the Fields (review here), one only looks forward all the more to what their inevitable third record might bring. Dark grooves and warm tones? That’ll work just fine, thanks.

Here’s the remaining tour dates, should you happen to be in that part of the world, and the video to dig into:

demon head tour poster

DEMON HEAD EUROPEAN TOUR

The diabolic rock band Demon Head is once again on their way out on a tour. The band is doing a headline tour in Scandinavia and are then heading out in Europe supporting MCC [Magna Carta Cartel].

In April Demon Head released their ‘The Resistance’. The EP was an epilogue to their second album ‘Thunder on the Fields’ released in 2017. Demon Head did a large tour all over Europe in May 2018 where the final show took place at Muskelrock Festival. The song ‘The Resistance’ was caught on tape and is now released as a live video.

+++ ILDFÆRD OVER SKANDINAVIEN +++
Let’s go!

– 25. Sep. Stockholm, SWE – Geronimo
– 26. Sep. Malmö, SWE – Plan b
– 27. Sep. Oslo, NO – Krøsset
– 28. Sep. Haugusund, NO, heavy nights Fest
– 29. Sep. Aarhus, DK – HQ
– 30. Sep. Oldenburg, DE – MTS
– 1. Oct. Leipzig, DE – Black Label
– 2. Oct. Hamburg, DE – Logo*
– 3. Oct. Berlin, DE – BiNuu*
– 4. Oct. Cologne, DE – Luxor*
– 5. Oct. Paris, FR – Etoiles*
– 6. Oct. Leiden, NL – Gebr de nobel*
– 7. Oct. Vosselaar, BE – Biebob*

* as special guests for MCC [Magna Carta Cartel]

https://www.facebook.com/Demoncoven/
http://demonhead.bandcamp.com/
https://www.facebook.com/thesignrecords/
http://caligarirecords.storenvy.com/
http://freighttrain.se/en/

Demon Head, “The Resistance” live at Muskelrock 2018

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Hypnos Premiere “Caught in the Night”; Set Fire to the Sky out Sept. 28

Posted in audiObelisk on August 30th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

hypnos

Swedish classicists Hypnos release their third album, Set Fire to the Sky, on Sept. 28 as their more-or-less debut on The Sign Records, which also issued the live-in-studio GBG Sessions earlier this year. The five-piece Gothenburg outfit would seem to be progressing not only in their songwriting but along a pattern of corresponding years, as their second LP, 2016’s Cold Winds (review here), followed the boogie rock of their 2014 self-titled debut with a tilt toward early metal that more than hinted at heavy rock giving way as it did to the NWOBHM. Well, the Iron Maiden runs thick throughout Set Fire to the Sky, and while there are still some outward shades of classic heavy rock in the shuffle of “Ain’t No Fool” or the strutting “Tell Me Goodbye,” there’s no question that across the bulk of their latest work, the balance has shifted toward the metallic.

Whether it’s the proto-thrash of “Looking Out” or the expansive grandiosity of the 7:44 “Deadline,” the bassline of which seems to directly wink at Black Sabbath‘s “Heaven and Hell” in the verses en route to yet another hook in an apparently Hypnos Set Fire to the Skyongoing series thereof. The rush of “Caught in the Night” would seem to be in conversation with opener “Get Out,” and between those two and the uptempo pacing of the aforementioned “Ain’t No Fool,” the sense of urgency is palpable from front to back. One could argue even the title Set Fire to the Sky speaks to a kind of intensity with which the record brims even unto the more comfortably-swinging title-track with its effective backing vocals and Scorpions-style groove. The outliers, then, are “Time is Running Out,” which despite its title working on the theme departs the NWOBHM shove in favor of a mellow and atmospheric rock with shades of Morricone in the lead guitar and layers of acoustic behind, and closer “Slutet,” which sure enough translates to “end” and tops seven minutes with a build into the grand finale that starts out no less mellow than “Time is Running Out” earlier.

Not that one shouldn’t consider those songs as part of the overarching impression Set Fire to the Sky makes — they’re essential in adding depth to the atmosphere and to expanding the general character of the band — but the primary personality Hypnos have on display is still a classic metal party. If you could put stone-washed denim on a turntable and have it make a sound, it would start playing “Get Out.” All told, the nine-track/44-minute is stunningly coherent in its aesthetic choices, but that doesn’t come at the sacrifice of songwriting either. Hypnos have always been able to work with classic structures and classic styles alike, and whether it’s “Caught in the Night” — there are few things that could be more natural than this band writing songs about “the night” — “Tell Me Goodbye” or the reaches of “Slutet,” Set Fire to the Sky is nothing if it isn’t the furthest point yet on their progressive forward line. You can call it rock, or you can call it metal. Neither is wrong and I honestly doubt the band cares much either way, but what matters more is that Set Fire to the Sky finds Hypnos further refining their place in the sphere of heavy, standing apart from both the most modern of practitioners and those who’ve sworn fealty solely to the tenets of ’70s boogie.

You can hear the premiere of “Caught in the Night” below, followed by more background on the recording, courtesy of the PR wire. Set Fire to the Sky is available to preorder now from The Sign Records.

Please enjoy:

Hypnos blast off with their new album ”Set Fire To The Sky”. A more high flying and dynamic album that hits Mach 3 on the band’s career. Eight loud rock tracks that hold a playful and vigorous vibe. On their third album, Hypnos have refined their sound together with producer Ola Ersfjord (Tribulation, Primordial, Honeymoon Disease). Stronger songwriting, catchier hooks, together with a groovy rhythm section makes ”Set Fire To The Sky” Hypnos strongest album to this day. Hypnos are establishing their sound. It´s clear that ”Set Fire To The Sky” is the launchpad for the bands future. The new album is released on The Sign Records on the 28th of September.

It´s hard to mistake the Gothenburg based band’s Swedish roots. The intensity of their approach to music, and how their influences are cherry-picked out of the best of rock history. The pumping bass and epic solos side by side with Linus Johansson’s powerful vocals creates a modern take on classic rock in 2018. The songs were written during the short time frame of two months and show a re-born band on fire. There is both the raw energy that comes with something new and the wisdom from an experienced band on the album. ”Set Fire To The Sky” was recorded during nine days at Studio Ganymeden.

Pre-Order album here: https://freighttrain.se/en/the-sign-record/hypnos/

Tracklist:
Get Out
Ain’t No Fool
Set Fire To The Sky
Deadline
Time Is Running Out
Caught In The Night
Tell Me Goodbye
Looking Out
Slutet

Hypnos is:
Linus
Oskar
Pontus
Anton
Hampus

Hypnos on Thee Facebooks

Hypnos on Bandcamp

The Sign Records on Thee Facebooks

The Sign Records website

The Sign Records on Bandcamp

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Skraeckoedlan to Reissue Äppelträdet Oct. 12 on The Sign Records

Posted in Whathaveyou on August 7th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

skraeckoedlan

As you can see in the photo above, Sweden’s Skraeckoedlan were really just kids when they made their debut in 2011 with Äppelträdet (review here). Kids who kicked ass. That album, originally released through Transubstans, is set to arrive as a 180g vinyl and CD through The Sign Records on Oct. 12. I have an enduring affection for that record, as it was my introduction to the band, who’ve since grown into a progressive fuzz metal individualism drawing from a number of modern sources and made their own — as heard on their 2015 follow-up, Sagor (review here) — so it’s cool to see it getting back out to public ears and given a due deluxe-ification with new LP artwork and whatnot.

Skraeckoedlan have peppered out a few singles and live outings since Sagor, but one hopes for a third album maybe sometime in 2019. Last I heard, they were picked up by Fuzzorama Records, which seems only fitting since their relationship with Truckfighters obviously goes back a ways.

Info and preorder link from the PR wire:

SKRAECKOEDLAN – ÄPPELTRÄDET -The Second Coming-

Fuzz-science fiction rockers Skraeckoedlan are set to do the international release of their debut album ‘Äppelträdet’ (The Apple Tree), the 12th of October. Since its initial release 2011 in Sweden, ‘Äppelträdet‘ have been a gem hard to find. When the album was first released it reignited and marked the start of the modern Swedish stoner scene. The record will be released through The Sign Records and comes available on CD and vinyl with world wide distribution.

Äppelträdet is available for pre-order HERE

Originally recorded in 2010, in Truckfighters’ Studio Bombshelter, the album will once again see the light of day this fall, when it returns as a 180g transparent green vinyl housed in a single sleeve cover with updated artwork. A CD version with the original artwork will also be available, both versions featuring the ten seeds that grow to be the Apple Tree.

Also emerging anew are Skraeckoedlan themselves. While still singing in their native tongue, telling stories about mythological beings and cosmic wonders, having just come out of hiatus the band recently made the transition from quartet to trio. The as of now three-piece shares the following words concerning the reprint:

“The reissue of Äppelträdet is, in a somewhat allegorical sense, a celebration of what has been and to a certain extent of what still is, but it also serves as a kind of bridge to what will be. These are our roots and they grow deep.”

https://www.facebook.com/SKRAECKOEDLAN
https://twitter.com/skraeckoedlan
https://skraeckoedlan.bandcamp.com/
http://thesignrecords.com/
https://freighttrain.se/en/the-sign-record/skraeckoedlan/

Skraeckoedlan, Äppelträdet (2011/2018)

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Quarterly Review: CHRCH, Bongripper, King Chiefs, Bonnacons of Doom, Boar, June Bug, Tired Lord, Bert, Zen Bison, Wheel in the Sky

Posted in Reviews on July 16th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

quarterly-review-CALIFORNIA-LANDSCAPE-Julian-Rix-1851-1903

You know the deal by now, I’m sure: 50 reviews this week between now and Friday, in batches of 10 per day. It’s an unholy amount of music, but those who really dig in always seem to find something cool within a Quarterly Review. Frankly, with this much to choose from, I’d certainly hope so. I’m not going to delay at all, except to say thanks in advance for coming along on this one. It’s got some core-heavy and some-not-really-core-heavy stuff all bundled next to each other, so yeah, your patience is appreciated. Okay. No time like the present. Let’s do it.

Quarterly Review #1-10:

CHRCH, Light Will Consume Us All

chrch light will consume us all

Yeah, yeah, yeah, the songs are long. Blah blah blah it’s heavy as whatever kind of construction equipment you could want to name. What’s even more striking about Los Angeles doomers CHRCH’s Neurot Recordings debut, Light Will Consume Us All, is the sense of atmosphere. The follow-up to 2015’s massively well-received Unanswered Hymns (review here) is comprised of three songs presented in descending time order from opener/longest track (immediate points) “Infinite” (20:41) to centerpiece “Portals” (14:50) and closer “Aether” (9:29) and it finds CHRCH refining the unremitting patience of their rollout, so that even when “Aether” explodes in its second half to charred blastbeating and abrasive screams, the ambience is still dense enough to feel it in one’s lungs. CHRCH keep up this level of progression and soon enough someone’s going to call them post-something or other. As it stands, their second album builds righteously on the achievements of their debut, and is a revelation in its bleakness.

CHRCH on Thee Facebooks

Neurot Recordings website

 

Bongripper, Terminal

bongripper terminal

Pressed up as ever in DIY fashion, Bongripper’s Terminal presents two gargantuan slabs – one per vinyl side – that only seem to highlight the strengths in the Chicago instrumentalists’ approach. The tones are huge, the grooves nodding, the impact of each kick drum forceful. Repetition is central, that feeling of aural mass and destructiveness, but neither is Terminal – comprised of “Slow” (25:11) and “Death” (18:15) – lacking a sense of atmosphere. After 21 minutes of grueling pummel, “Slow” devolves into droning layers of noise wash and quiet guitar to finish out, and “Death” seems to hold onto an echoing lead in its closing minutes that accomplishes much the same thing in broadening the atmosphere overall. I don’t know if the two songs were composed to fit together –the titles would hint yes – but they invariably do, and as “Death” unleashes a more insistent punch before turning to a post-YOB gallop, it reconfirms Bongripper’s worship-worthy place in the stoner doom milieu, how their sound can be so familiar in its threat and yet so much their own.

Bongripper on Bandcamp

Bongripper webstore

 

King Chiefs, Blue Sonnet

King Chiefs Blue Sonnet

Born as Chiefs ahead of their 2015 debut album, Tomorrow’s Over (review here), Arizona-based four-piece King Chiefs make their own first outing in the form of the easily-digestible desert rocker Blue Sonnet (on Roosevelt Row and Cursed Tongue Records), comprised of 10 tracks running just under 40 minutes of older-school laid back heavy, swinging easy on cuts like “Surely Never” and “Drifter” while still finding some Helmeted aggressive edge in the riffs of “Slug” and “Walk the Plank.” The overarching focus is on songwriting, however, and King Chiefs hone in cleverly on ‘90s-era desert rock’s post-grunge sensibility, so that their material seems ready for an alternative radio that no longer exists. Such as it is, they do just fine without, and hooks pervade the two-guitar outfit’s material in natural and memorable fashion all the way to five-and-a-half-minute closer “Shrine of the Beholder,” which embraces some broader textures without losing the structural focus that serves so well on the songs before it.

King Chiefs on Thee Facebooks

Roosevelt Row Records website

Cursed Tongue Records website

 

Bonnacons of Doom, Bonnacons of Doom

bonnacons of doom bonnacons of doom

Heavy psychedelic experimentalism pervades the Rocket Recordings-issued self-titled debut album from Liverpool collective Bonnacons of Doom, rife with tripout ritualism and exploration of sound as it is, all chasing light and getting freaky in any sense you want to read it. Five tracks, each a voyage unto itself – even the bass-fuzzy push of shortest cut “Rhizome” (5:55) is cosmos-bound – feed into the larger weirdness at play that culminates in the undulating grooves of “Plantae” (8:39), which is perhaps the most solidified cut in terms of choruses, verses, etc., but still a molten, headphone-worthy freakout that pushes the limits of psychedelia and still holds itself together. If the album was a to-do list, it would read as follows: “Eat mushrooms. Get naked. Dance around. Repeat.” Whether you do or don’t is ultimately up to you, but Bonnacons of Doom make a pretty convincing argument in favor, and I don’t generally consider myself much of a dancer. Among the most individualized psych debuts I’ve heard in a long time.

Bonnacons of Doom on Thee Facebooks

Rocket Recordings on Bandcamp

 

Boar, Poseidon

Boar Poseidon

Poseidon, at six songs and 39 minutes, is the second long-player from Finnish four-piece Boar. Released on vinyl with no shortage of backing — Lost Pilgrims Records, Dissonant Society, Impure Muzik, S.K.O.D., Rämekuukkeli-levyt – it hurls forth a High on Fire-informed vision of noise rock on its opening title-track only to take on a slower roll in the subsequent “Shahar’s Son” and dig into massive crashing on “12.” Using echo to add a sense of depth all the while, they scream in tradeoffs à la Akimbo and boogie in “Featherless” and seem to find a post-metallic moment on “Dark Skies” before closing with the alternately brooding and scathing “Totally out of This World,” the song sort of falling apart into the feedback and noise that ends the album. There’s a persistent sense of violence happening, but it’s as much inward as outward, and though some of Boar’s most effective moments are in that rawness, there’s something to be said for the contemplation at the outset of “Shahar’s Son” and “12” as well.

Boar on Thee Facebooks

Boar on Bandcamp

 

June Bug, A Thousand Days

June bug A Thousand Days

Seemingly unrestrained by genre, the Lille, France-based duo June BugJune on vocals and multiple instruments and Beryl on backing vocals and multiple instruments – dig into some post-punk nudge on early cut “Reasons” from their debut album, A Thousand Days (Atypeek Music) after the folkish melodies of opener “Now,” but whether it’s the fuzzy indie vibes of “Freaks” or the harmonies, electronics and acoustic guitar of “Let it Rest,” or the keyboard-handclaps, lower tones and poppish instrumental hook of centerpiece “Mama,” there’s plenty of variety throughout. What ties the differing vibes and richly nuanced approach together is the vocals, which are mostly subdued and at times hyper-stylized, but never seem to fail to keep melodicism as their central operating method. That remains true on the subdued “Does it Matter” and the beat-laden “Silenced” at the album’s finish and brings everything together with an overarching sense of joy that holds firm despite shifts in mood and approach, making the complete front-to-back listen as satisfying as it might seem all over the place.

June Bug on Thee Facebooks

Atypeek Music website

 

Tired Lord, Demo

tired lord demo

Released by the band last year, the four-song Demo by San Francisco outfit Tired Lord has been picked up for an official cassette issue through From Corners Unknown Records and will reportedly be the only release from the black metal/sludge genre-benders. Presumably that means they broke up, rather than just refuse to ever record again, though the latter possibility intrigues as well and would be meta-black metal. Spearheaded by guitarist Bryce Olson, Tired Lord effectively bring a thickness of tone to charred riffing, and a balance between screams and growls brings a cast of general extremity to the material. So I guess this is the part where I’m supposed to regret their dissolution and wish they’d do a proper release. Fair enough for the brutal chug in “Serpent’s Ascent” and the 7:51 closer “Astaroth,” which one wouldn’t mind hearing fleshed out from their current form. Failing that, one of the 30 tape copies pressed of Demo seems like decent consolation. At least while they’re there for the getting and before Tired Lord go gleefully into that black metal demo tape ether where so many seem to dwell.

From Corners Unknown Records on Thee Facebooks

From Corners Unknown Records website

 

BerT, Relics from Time Zero

bert relics from time zero

Lansing, Michigan, trio BerT – bassist Phil Clark and brothers Ryan (guitar) and Rael (drums) Andrews – broke up. They even put out a posthumous rare tracks release in 2017’s The Lost Toes (review here), so what’s left? Well, another album, of course. Intended as a sequel to the sci-fi narrative of the never-released long-player Return to the Electric Church, the five-track/35-minute Relics from Time Zero is unfinished, sans vocals where they might otherwise be, and basically a look at what might’ve been had the band not dissolved. For those prior-exposed to the once-prolific heavy rock bizarros, some of the proceedings will seem familiar: riffs are plentiful and fluid in their tempo changes from driving rock to droned-out stomp, and there seems to be about 1.5 of them in the four-minute “In the Cave of the Batqueen,” so but for the fact that it’s not done, I’d just about call it business as usual for BerT. I know they’re done and all, but I still wouldn’t mind hearing these songs with some lyrics, let alone the record this one was intended to follow-up. Either way, even defunct, BerT remain on their own wavelength.

BerT on Thee Facebooks

BerT on Bandcamp

 

Zen Bison, Krautrocker

zen bison krautrocker

Classic-style heavy rock riffing pervades opener “Blow My Mind” (5:47) and the subsequent “Backseat Lovers” (5:15) – somewhere between Stubb and Radio Moscow — on Zen Bison’s debut LP, Krautrocker, but as the five-track/42-minute self-release moves into the 11-minute title-track, guitarist/vocalist Philipp Ott, bassist Steffen Fischer and drummer Martin Konopka – joined by organist Hans Kirschner and percussionist Bobby Müller –move into deeper-grooving and more psychedelic fare. That turn suits the mostly-live-recorded outfit well on the longer instrumental piece, and that leads to a side B with the likewise-sans-vocals “La Madrugada” (9:56) and the closing cover of Don Nix’s blues rocker “Going Down” (10:24), jammed out at the end in its middle and end with quick return to the chorus between. There isn’t much on Krautrocker one might actually consider krautrock in the traditional sense, but there’s certainly plenty of rock to go around on the impressive and varied first offering from the Rostock trio.

Zen Bison on Thee Facebooks

Zen Bison on Bandcamp

 

Wheel in the Sky, Beyond the Pale

wheel in the sky beyond the pale

From opener “Rivers of Dust” onward, Wheel in the Sky’s second album, Beyond the Pale (on The Sign Records), proffers classy and classic digs, informed by a heavy ‘70s uptempo spirit on its title-track and moving into more complex volume and arrangement shifts in “Burn Babylon Burn” (video premiere here) and a poppy, goth-informed hook on “The Only Dead Girl in the City,” all the while held together through a quality of songwriting that even the band’s 2015 debut, Heading for the Night (review here), seemed to hint toward. It’s a mover, to be sure, but Wheel in the Sky execute their material with poise and a sense of clear intention, and no matter where they seem to go, their tonality and natural production assures the listener has an easy time tagging along. Might be a sleeper for some, but there are going to be people who really, really dig this album, and I’ve got no argument with them.

Wheel in the Sky on Thee Facebooks

The Sign Records website

 

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Hällas Summer Tour Starts This Week

Posted in Whathaveyou on July 10th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

hallas

I don’t care if each one was five copies — and rest assured, each one was substantially more in this case — getting through two full album pressings and releasing a third in the span of eight or nine months is pretty impressive. Such is the cast for Swedish heavy rockers Hällas, whose Excerpts from a Future Past came out last October through The Sign Records to wide-ranging “ooh”s and “aah”s. Good on ’em, what with the rock and roll and all. They’ll start taking it to the people — the people! — this week in support of the album, heading out for a weekender in Finland and Lithuania ahead of more fest dates later on. Much to do, much to do. The five-piece have been a steadily growing presence in the European heavy underground, and even as they seem to be gearing their summer toward hitting as many eyes as possible each time out, I wouldn’t be surprised if they kept up the festival appearances going into the busy Fall season, unless other plans should interfere. One never knows.

The PR wire sent the dates along, as follows:

hallas summer tour poster

Hällas Announces Summer Tour!

Today, Hällas announces their summer tour. The band will play 8 show between July and August in Finland, Lithuania, Germany and Norway.

Hällas just released the third press of their album “Excerpts from a future past” that was originally released in October 2017 by the Sign Records. The band has reached great success with their single “Star Rider”, and are now ready for the European festival summer.

Since the release of their debut album back in 2015, Hällas has gained a lot of popularity amongst rockers all over the world. With a sound that crosses the borders between the future and the past, between experimentation and catchiness, all wrapped together by spacey storytelling lyrics, the band has created something totally unique – by themselves referred to as “Adventure Rock”.

Summer Tour Dates:
12/7 Klubi -Tampere, Finland
13/7 Devilstone -Anyksciai, Lithuania
14/7 Uleaborg Psych Fest -Oulu, Finland
21/7 Chaos Descends Festival -Crispendorf, Germany
3/8 Kaupungin Aanet -Lahti, Finland
10/8 Aquamaria Festival -Plattenburg, Germany
11/8 Void Fest -Sinzendorf, Germany – SOLD OUT
25/8 Beyond The Gates -Bergen, Norway

Hällas is:
Tommy Alexandersson (bass/vocals)
Alexander Moraitis (guitar)
Kasper Eriksson (drums)
Marcus Pettersson (guitar)
Nicklas Malmqvist (keys)

https://www.facebook.com/haellas/
https://www.instagram.com/hallasband/
http://www.hallasband.com/
https://www.facebook.com/thesignrecords/
http://freighttrain.se

Hällas, “Star Rider” official video

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Wheel in the Sky Premiere “Burn Babylon Burn” Video; Beyond the Pale out Aug. 31

Posted in Bootleg Theater on June 25th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

wheel in the sky photo Martina Lindgren

Sweden’s Wheel in the Sky hone their sound from a time when rock and pop not only weren’t mutually exclusive, but went hand in hand, and yet there’s something sinister to their underpinnings. If the notion sounds familiar, it’s because you’re thinking of their hook-minded countrymen in Ghost, but Wheel in the Sky arrive entirely unpretentious, and with their second album, Beyond the Pale out Aug. 31 on The Sign Records, they embark on a spread of influences that updates the classics and finds a middle-ground between the past and the present. Mood and meter alike vary throughout the release, but if there’s a common theme throughout, it’s that the four-piece have taken the style of classic heavy rock they presented on their 2015 debut, Heading for the Night (review here), and from the John Lennon-style psych melodies of “Far Side of Your Mind” to the careening goth rock of “Only Dead Girl in the City,” and into the quiet intro that precedes the arena-ready hook of “Burn Babylon Burn,” used their original sound as a foundation for a growth only measurable in exponents.

Comprised of Einar Petersson, David Berlin, Daniel Uggla and Carl Norman, the band know when to motor — as on the title-track — and when to space out, as on drifting penultimate cut “Afterglow” that leads the way into the eight-minute finale of “The Weight of the Night,” which brings the psychedelic aspects and the classic heavy rock drive together to a head of a wash before the bouncing piano line — someone in Wheel in the Sky is a Beatles fan; every band should have (at least) one — caps the nine-song/44-minute offering on a contemplative note. They’re dynamic and willing to screw around with different styles, but there isn’t a moment of Beyond the Pale that falls outside the purview of the band. That is, they know what they’re doing and how to manifest the ideas they’re hearing in their head. At least that’s how it sounds to me. You’d have to be in their head to know for sure, I guess. Either way.

And while they have much to offer in terms of variety and bridging the gaps between these various ideas, it’s the level of craft that most shines through across Beyond the Pale and the clear heart and depth that Wheel in the Sky put into what they do, loud or quiet or somewhere in between. Because of that, I’m happy today to host the premiere of their new video for “Burn Babylon Burn” ahead of the album’s arrival. You’ll find it below, followed by more info from the PR wire.

Wheel in the Sky‘s Beyond the Pale is set to release Aug. 31 through The Sign Records.

Please enjoy:

Wheel in the Sky, “Burn Babylon Burn” official video premiere

“Burn Babylon Burn” is taken from Wheel In The Sky´s second album “Beyond The Pale” set for release on The Sign Records.

‘Beyond The Pale’ by Sweden’s WheeI In The Sky is a concept album about darkness and death. The album contains an overflow of melody and a dark gothic energy, while tracks such as ‘Burn Babylon Burn’ and ‘The Only Dead Girl in the City’ also contain catchy pop hooks. The band is obsessed with mystical and religious imagery, obscure politics and harbor a morbid fascination for immolations and blood sacrifices, while trying hard to incorporate it all into a tasteful setting.

The album will be released on August 31 via The Sign Records.

Wheel in the Sky on Thee Facebooks

The Sign Records on Thee Facebooks

The Sign Records website

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