Quarterly Review: Primitive Man, Black Lung & Nap, Zone Six, Spectral Haze, Cosmic Fall, Epitaph, Disastroid, Mastiff, Demons from the Dungeon Dimension, Liblikas

Posted in Reviews on October 2nd, 2017 by JJ Koczan

the obelisk quarterly review

The final round of the Fall 2017 Quarterly Review starts now. 60 reviews done. I think if this particular QR session proves anything it’s that come hell or high water, once it’s set, there’s no stopping this train. Not to toot my own horn or anything, but the site was down for half of last week and we’re still getting to 60 reviews from Monday to Monday. That’s not not impressive from where I sit, especially since I spent that downtime going out of my mind trying to get things up and running again while also trying to write posts that I didn’t even know if they were going to happen. But they happened — thanks again, Slevin and Behrang — and here we are. All is well and we can get back to normal hopefully for the rest of this week. Thanks for reading any of this if you did. Let’s get to it.

Quarterly Review #51-60:

Primitive Man, Caustic

primitive-man-caustic

Primitive Man’s Caustic is the concept of “heavy” taken to the superlative. It is a 12-track/77-minute onslaught for which no less than absolute hyperbole will suffice. In following-up their 2013 Relapse Records debut, Scorn (review here), a series of splits and 2015’s Home is Where the Hatred Is EP (review here), the Denver trio reign in terror as they make Caustic live up to its name in the crushing tones, feedback of and slow churn of “My Will,” “Commerce” “Tepid,” and “Sugar Hole,” the consuming wave of “Victim,” the blastbeating death assault of “Sterility,” and the biting atmospherics of harsh interludes “Caustic,” “Ash” and “The Weight,” which preface the nine minutes of vague noise that close on “Absolutes,” following the grueling slaughter of “Disfigured” and the rightfully-named 12-minute “Inevitable,” which seems even slower and more weighted somehow than everything before it. On the sheer level of heft for that song alone, it’s time to start thinking about Primitive Man among the heaviest bands in the world. I’m serious. Caustic is an overwhelming masterwork of unbridled extremity, and with it, Primitive Man set a new standard both for themselves and for anyone else who’d dare to try to live up to it in their wake.

Primitive Man on Thee Facebooks

Relapse Records webstore

 

Black Lung & Nap, Split

black-lung-nap-split

A heavy blues trio from Baltimore and a progressive boogie outfit from Oldenburg, Germany, might seem like an odd pairing, but by the time the 25 minutes of Black Lung and Nap’s split 12” platter (on Noisolution) are up, the release has come to make its own peculiar kind of sense. In following 2016’s See the Enemy (review here), Black Lung present two new songs in “Strange Seeds” and “Use this Stone” as well we the prior-issued Marvin Gaye cover “Inner City Blues” done in collaboration with rapper Eze Jackson, where Nap answer their debut album, Villa (review here), with the shuffle-into-psychedelia of “Djinn,” the spacious, patient rollout of the airy guitars in “Vorlaut” and the final thrust of “Teer.” Each of the two acts establishes a context for itself quickly – Black Lung brazenly defying theirs in the shift from “Use this Stone” to “Inner City Blues”; Nap expanding between “Djinn” and “Vorlaut” – and though one wouldn’t be likely to mistake one group for the other, their disparate sounds don’t at all hinder the ability of either group to make an impression during their brief time.

Nap on Thee Facebooks

Black Lung on Thee Facebooks

Noisolution webstore

 

Zone Six, Zone Six

zone-six-zone-six

Originally issued in 1998 via Early Birds Records with the lineup of bassist/synthesis/Mellotronist Dave “Sula Bassana” Schmidt, guitarist Hans-Peter Ringholz, drummer/keyboardist Claus Bühler and vocalist Jodi Barry, the self-titled debut from German space/krautrock explorationists Zone Six sees something of a redux via Sulatron Records to mark the 20th anniversary of the band’s founding. Eight minutes shorter than the original edition at 51 minutes, the new version whittles down the original 13-track presentation to two vinyl sides – titles: “Side A” (27:04) and “Side B” (24:39) – and drops the vocal tracks entirely to make it a completely instrumental release. That’s a not-insignificant change, of course, but let there be no doubt that it works in terms of highlighting the flow, which as it transitions between what used to be one song and another loses not one step and instead simply becomes an engrossing and multifaceted jam. This is truer perhaps to the band Zone Six have become – if you missed their 2015 full-length Love Monster (review here), it was glorious and it’s not too late to catch up – than the band they started out as, but Zone Six have found a way to make an old release new again, and new Zone Six is never anything to complain about, whatever the occasion.

Zone Six on Thee Facebooks

Sulatron Records? webstore

 

Spectral Haze, Turning Electric

spectral-haze-turning-electric

Space rock warriors Spectral Haze return after three years in the Gamma Quadrant with Turning Electric via Totem Cat Records, a six-song sophomore outing behind 2014’s I.E.V.: Transmutated Nebula Remains (review here) that quickly enters a wormhole of Hawkwindian thrust on opener “The Dawn of the Falcon” – perhaps that’s what’s represented on the glorious Adam Burke cover art – and takes a winding but directed course deeper and deeper into interstellar realms for its duration of what on earth is only six songs and 33 minutes. Each of the intended two vinyl sides boasts a longer track, be it “Cathexis/Mask of Transformation” on side A or “They Live” on side B, but whether it’s in those or shorter rocket boosters like the title-track, “Ajaghandi” or the aforementioned leadoff, the Oslo-based four-piece keep it dreamy and kosmiche even unto the doomlier roll of closer “Master Sorcerer,” a collection of final psychedelic proclamations that cuts off quickly at the end as though breaking a transmission from the heart of the galaxy itself. Heck of a destination, and getting there’s a blast, too.

Spectral Haze on Thee Facebooks

Totem Cat Records webstore

 

Cosmic Fall, Jams for Free

cosmic-fall-jams-for-free

Kind of a bummer how Jams for Free came about, but for the reassurance that Berlin heavy psych improvisationalists Cosmic Fall will keep going after what seems to have been an unceremonious split with now-ex-guitarist/vocalist Mathias, I’ll take it. With two new explorations, bassist Klaus and drummer Daniel introduce new guitarist Martin, and those worried they might lose the funk of their original incarnation should have their fears duly allayed by “A Calmer Sphere” (12:19) and “The Great Comet” (8:10), which begin a new era of Cosmic Fall after the remaining founders were forced to stop selling their prior works. If there’s anger or catharsis being channeled in Jams for Free, though, it comes through as fluidity and serene heavy psych, and with the resonant live-in-studio vibe, Cosmic Fall essentially seem to be picking up where they left off. With Martin making a distinguishing impression in the soloing of “A Calmer Sphere”’s second half particularly, the future continues to look bright for the German asteroid riders. Right on, guys. Keep jamming.

Cosmic Fall on Thee Facebooks

Cosmic Fall on Bandcamp

 

Epitaph, Claws

Epitaph-Claws

Doomers of Verona Epitaph trace their origins back some 30 years, but Claws (on High Roller Records) is just their second long-player behind 2014’s Crawling out of the Crypt. Matters not. Theirs is the doom of ages one way or the other, presented in this collection of five songs in traditional fashion with an edge of the Italian bizarrist movement (think early Death SS) and, from the “Neon Knights”-style riff of “Gossamer Claws” to the “After All (The Dead)”/”Falling off the Edge of the World”-style dramaturge of “Wicked Lady,” the nods to ‘80s and early-‘90s Black Sabbath are manifold and executed with what sounds like a genuine love for that era of the band and classic metal in general. Hard to fault Epitaph that influence, particularly as they bring it to bear in the guttural riffly chug of centerpiece “Sizigia,” tonally as much as in the form of what’s actually being played. As a mission, the homage is perhaps a bit single-minded, but as they continue to build their own legacy in these classic sounds, it’s impossible to say Epitaph’s collective heart isn’t in the right place.

Epitaph on Thee Facebooks

High Roller Records webstore

 

Disastroid, Screen

disastroid-screen

The nine songs of Disastroid’s fourth self-released LP, Screen, are drawn together by a songwriting prowess that’s better heard than described and by a heft of tone that, especially on stompers like “Dinosaur” early and “Coyote” later on, proves likewise. Is the point of this review, then, that you should listen to the album? Yuppers. At a crisp 35 minutes, Screen finds the Bay Area trio willfully nestled someplace between heavy rock riffing, noise crunch, punk and metal, and they fly this refusal to commit to one style over another no less proudly than they do the hook of “Getting in the Way” or “I Didn’t Kill Myself,” which along with the push of “Choke the Falcon” and the Melvinsian “Clinical Perfection” make up a series of short burst impressions contrasted by the longer “Screen” and “New Day” at the outset and the six-minute finale “Gunslinger,” though wherever Disastroid seem to go, they bring a current of memorable craft with them, making an otherwise purposefully bumpy ride smooth and a chaos-fueled joy to undertake.

Disastroid website

Disastroid on Bandcamp

 

Mastiff, Bork

mastiff-bork

Ultimately, bludgeon-ready UK five-piece Mastiff might owe as much to grind as they do to doom or sludge – at least if “Nil by Mouth” has anything to say about it – but more than loyalty to any subgenre or other, the Hull unit’s 25-minute Bork full-length (released on CD by APF Records) is interested in presenting an extreme vision of sonic heft. Brutal pummel infects the rolling chorus of “Everything Equals Death” and the initial chug of “Tumour” alike, and where opener “Agony” was content to blast out its cacophony in fury of tempo as much as weight, as they settle in for the mosh-ready six minutes of closer “Eternal Regret,” Mastiff seem to have dug out a position between lumbering doom and early ‘00s deathcore, a telltale breakdown capping Bork in grooving and familiar fashion. Their intensity might prove a distinguishing factor over the longer term, though, and they certainly have plenty enough of it to go around.

Mastiff on Thee Facebooks

APF Records website

 

Demons from the Dungeon Dimension, An Organic Mythology

demons-from-the-dungeon-dimension-an-organic-mythology

The righteously-monikered Demons from the Dungeon Dimension made a striking and individualized – and bizarre – impression in 2016 with the There was Ogres EP (discussed here), a follow-up to the debut full-length, As the Crow Flies, released just weeks earlier. With the new single An Organic Mythology and the five-minute, raw-recorded track of the same name, the Durban, South Africa-based project is laid to rest. A burly opening and thickened distortion lead to a pushing verse with dry vocals over top – sounding very much like a home-recorded demo outright and not trying to be anything else – and soon enough the track shifts into a spoken-word-dissertation over an instrumental build that carries it into its final minute, at which point the verse kicks back in to end. As with the prior EP, which topped 25 minutes, the vibe is willfully strange throughout “An Organic Mythology,” and if this is indeed the last we’ll hear from Demons from the Dungeon Dimension (doesn’t it just sound like something TOR Books would put out?), somehow it seems right we live in an age where the material can reside in the digital ether, waiting to be stumbled on by curious parties soon to be blindsided by what they hear.

Demons from the Dungeon Dimension on Bandcamp

Demons from the Dungeon Dimension on YouTube

 

Liblikas, Unholy Moly

liblikas-unholy-moly

From the initial semi-gothic vibes from vocalist Oliver Aunver to the progressive fuzz rock that ensues on opener “Holy Underground,” Estonian five-piece Liblikas seem to specialize in the unexpected on their second full-length, Unholy Moly. Aunver, guitarists Temo Saarna (also vocals) and Henrik Harak, bassist Joosep Käsper and drummer/backing vocalist Mihkel Rebane, oversee a brisk 45-minute run across eight tracks of genre-spanning grooves, from the chugging almost-doom of “Highest Hound” to the semi-folk experimentalist interlude “Fugue Yeah! (Diary Pt. II),” which follows “Dear Diary, Yeah!” a track that starts out with what might be a Japanese-language sample and psychedelic unfolding to more cohesive, harmony-topped prog rock bounce before the fuzz emerges and meets with forward vocals and effective interplay of acoustics in the chorus. Why yes, there is a six-minute song called “Pornolord” – funny you should ask. It appears before the oud-laced “Ol’ Slime” and nine-minute closer “Keezo,” which embraces the difficult task of summing up the weirdo intensity that’s been on display throughout Liblikas’ songwriting all along, and with wispy guitar leading to a big, noisy finish, succeeds outright in doing so.

Liblikas on Thee Facebooks

Liblikas on Bandcamp

 

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Cloud Catcher Announce Oct. West Coast Tour

Posted in Whathaveyou on August 25th, 2017 by JJ Koczan

Denver-based classic heavy rock rippers Cloud Catcher are mere days away from embarking on a string of shows alongside San Diego’s Earthless, arguably the standard bearers of the West Coast’s heavy boom, and arguably the biggest gigs Cloud Catcher have yet played. I don’t think there’s a soul who heard their 2017 second album, Trails of Kozmic Dust (review here), or who’s ever seen them demolish a stage, who wouldn’t say they were ready for the task. Cloud Catcher have hit the road multiple times already throughout 2017, and they’ll do so again following the run with Earthless, this time for a West Coast stint that will take up the bulk of October and that also includes a few nights alongside former tourmates Slow Season.

The band just announced the latter batch of shows, and you’ll find those as well as the Earthless dates below:

cloud catcher

CLOUD CATCHER – West Coast Tour

We are absolutely stoked to be returning back to California and Texas this October for our Fall 2017 tour! It’s been too long… an updated tour poster will be available soon, but while you wait on that here are the dates. Thanks to HiWattage booking and @fuzzfamily for helping us book the gigs. See you all soon!

Cloud Catcher with Earthless:
9/1 Ft. Collins, CO Hodi’s Half Note
9/2 Denver, CO Marquis Theatre
9/3 Albuquerque, NM Launchpad
9/4 Tempe, AZ Yucca Taproom

Cloud Catcher on tour:
10/12- BOISE, ID- SHREDDER
10/13- SEATTLE, WA- SUBSTATION
10/14- PORTLAND, OR- HIGH WATER MARK
10/15- EUGENE, OR- OLD NICKS
10/16- REDDING, CA- THE DIP
10/17- ARCATA, CA- THE ALIBI
10/19- SACRAMENTO, CA- BLUE LAMP*
10/20- NEVADA CITY, CA- COOPERS*
10/21- RENO, NV- JUB JUBS THIRST PARLOR*
10/22- LOS ANGELES, CA- VIPER ROOM*
10/23- TBA
10/24- SAN DIEGO, CA- BRICK BY BRICK
10/25- TEMPE, AZ- YUCCA TAPROOM
10/26- ALBUQUERQUE, NM- LAUNCHPAD
10/27- SAN ANTONIO, TX- LIMELIGHT
10/28- AUSTIN, TX- SWAN DIVE
10/29- FORT WORTH, TX- THE GROTTO
10/30- OKLAHOMA CITY, OK- BLUE NOTE LOUNGE
*WITH SLOW SEASON

#DenverIsHeavier #CloudCatcher

Cloud Catcher is:
Rory Rummings – Guitar and Vocals
Kam Wentworth – Bass and Vocals
Jared Soloman Handman – Drums

https://cloud-catcher.bandcamp.com/
https://www.facebook.com/cloudcatcherco

Cloud Catcher, Trails of Kozmic Dust (2017)

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Spectral Haze Post Title-Track & Cover Art for Turning Electric

Posted in Whathaveyou on August 7th, 2017 by JJ Koczan

spectral haze

I’m not entirely sure how long Spectral Haze‘s Turning Electric has been in the works, or if the band even deigns to recognize the linear motion of our space-time continuum, but it seems like it might be a while. In 2015, the Oslo, Norway, heavy psych/space rockers posted a notice about new t-shirts coming soon and said “prepare to turn electric” as a part of that, so at very least they’ve been sitting on the title for some time. They signed to France-based imprint Totem Cat Records at the end of last year and said at that point that the record would be out in May, so its current Oct. 20 release date is the end result of some delay as well — reportedly owing to the usual concerns of pressing vinyl.

What matters, of course, is that the album is coming out. Then a five-piece and apparently having some fluidity of lineup anyhow, Spectral Haze made their debut in late 2014 with I.E.V.: Transmutated Nebula Remains (review here) via Soulseller Records, which followed a self-titled 2012 demo EP that you can still hear on their Bandcamp. Speaking of audio, the now-foursome are giving a first taste of what’s to come on Turning Electric by means of streaming the title-track, which is only 3:42 long, but still gives a sense of the cosmic thrust they’re working with anyhow, as excellently complemented by the gorgeous Adam Burke cover art that’s also newly unveiled.

I mean seriously, just look at this thing. I could do a year-end list of the best artwork and just have it all be Burke covers. Hell, maybe I should.

While I kick that idea around, here’s that cover and release date confirmation from the label, followed by the song stream:

spectral haze turning electric

Totem Cat Records – COMING NEXT / Spectral Haze – Turning Electric

Available October 20 on CD/LP
Artwork by Adam Burke

Psyched Out Doom Rock Rituals

Spectral Haze is:
Spacewülff – Interstellar Howls/Geetarrrgh
Sönik Slöth – Supercosmic overdrive pedalinfused guitarvoid
Döômdögg – Dronemachinated AUM
Cëlestïal Cöbra – Conjurer of souls through ritual drums

Occasional appearances:
Elêctrïc Stårlïng – Space wizard beckoning astral animal guardians, manipulating aether
Pòwêr Pänthêr – Percussive boddhisattva, aspect of the conjuring ritual drums

https://www.facebook.com/SpectralHaze/
https://spectralhaze.bandcamp.com/
https://www.facebook.com/totemcatrecords/
http://totemcatrecords.bigcartel.com/

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Egypt Announce July European Tour Dates

Posted in Whathaveyou on April 14th, 2017 by JJ Koczan

egypt

Go back if you will through the last couple years of this site’s archive of posts about Fargo, North Dakota, sludge rockers Egypt (dig in if you dare) and you’ll probably find the running theme of their being included in two kinds of lists — most anticipated albums and best albums of the year. Their most recent outing, late-late-late 2015’s Endless Flight (review here), was both, and I’ve basically been waiting for them to follow that up since they released it, so the thread continues.

Another kind of post common for Egypt? European tour dates. They made a trip to Europe last year in Spring to play Desertfest and the by-now-veterans will head back this summer for slots at Dome of Rock, EXIT FestivalStoned from the Underground and Red Smoke, as well as club shows between. All this as eagerness mounts for their next album, the coming of which they heralded last month by unveiling a rough version of the new track “Cracks and Lines” (posted here) that found their crusty vibes and rolling grooves well intact, not that there was any doubt.

I don’t know how much new material they’ll be playing on this run or what exactly the status is of the recording for the next LP, but Egypt are definitely “between records” at this point, so if you ever thought of catching a sneak peak at some new material from them, this would seem to be a prime chance.

Dates follow:

egypt tour poster

Egypt – 2017 European Tour

Hello. Here are our 2017 European tour dates. We’re super stoked to be heading back over to Europe this Summer. Check it.

1-jul Rare Guitar – Münster DE
2-jul Le Garage – Liege BE
3-jul Glazart – Paris FR
4-jul Le Ferraileur – Nantes FR
5-jul OFF
6-jul Coq D´Or – Olten CH
7-jul Dome of Rock Festival – Salzburg AT
8-jul KVLT – Budapest HU
9-jul EXIT festival – Novi Sad RS
10-jul Club Daos – Timisoara RO
11-jul Elektropionir – Belgrade RS
12-jul Vintage Industrial Bar – Zagreb HR
13-jul Das Bach – Vienna AT
14-jul Club 007 – Prague CZ
15-jul Stoned From the Underground Fest – Erfurt DE
16-jul Red Smoke Festival – Pleszew PL

https://www.facebook.com/Egypt-Doom-220951734668136/
https://egypt1.bandcamp.com/

Egypt, “Cracks and Lines”

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Tomorrow’s Dream: 200+ of 2017’s Most Anticipated Releases

Posted in Features on January 23rd, 2017 by JJ Koczan

tomorrow's dream 2017

Looks like it’s going to be another busy 12 months ahead. It’s been a busy better-part-of-a-month already, so that stands to reason, but you should know that of the several years now that I’ve done these ‘Tomorrow’s Dream’ posts, this is the biggest one yet, with over 150 upcoming releases that — one hopes — will be out between today and the end of 2017.

Actually, at last count, the list tops 180. Do I really expect you to listen to all of them? Nope. Will I? Well, it would be nice. But what I’ve done is gone through and highlighted 35 picks and then built lists off that in order of likelihood of arrival. You’ll note the categories are ‘Gonna Happen and/or Likely Candidates,’ ‘Definitely Could Happen’ and ‘Would be Awfully Nice.’

Beyond that last one, anything else just seems like speculation — one might as well go “new Sabbath this year!” with zero info backing it up. The idea here is that no matter where a given band is placed, there has been some talk of a new release. In some cases, it’s been years, but I think they’re still worth keeping in mind.

Another caveat: You can expect additions to this list over the next week — probably album titles, band names people (fingers crossed) suggest in the comments, and so on — so it will grow. It always does. The idea is to build as complete a document as possible, not to get it all nailed down immediately, so please, if you have something to contribute and you’re able to do so in a non-prickish, “You didn’t include Band X and therefore don’t deserve to breathe the same air as me,” kind of way, please contribute.

Other than that, I think it’s pretty straightforward what’s going on here and I’ll explain the category parameters as we go, so by all means, let’s jump in.

— Tomorrow’s Dream 2017 —

Presented Alphabetically

1. Abrahma, TBA

Late last year, Paris heavy progressives Abrahma announced a new lineup and third full-length in progress. No reason to think it won’t come to fruition, and a follow-up to 2015’s Reflections in the Bowels of a Bird (review here) is an easy pick to look forward to. Even with the shift in personnel, it seems likely the band will continue their creative development, driven as they are by founding guitarist Seb Bismuth.

2. All Them Witches, Sleeping Through the War

all them witches sleeping through the warIf 2017 ended today, Sleeping Through the War would be my Album of the Year. Of course, there’s a lot of year to go, but for now, Nashville’s All Them Witches have set the standard with their second album for New West Records behind 2015’s Dying Surfer Meets His Maker (review here) and fourth overall outing. They’ve got videos up so far for “3-5-7” (posted here) and “Bruce Lee” (posted here). Both are most definitely worth your time. Out Feb. 24. Full review should be later this week.

3. Alunah, Solennial

Seems like UK forest riffers Alunah are on this list every year. Wishful thinking on my part. Nonetheless, their fourth LP and Svart Records debut, Solennial, is out March 17, and if the tease they gave already with the clip for “Fire of Thornborough Henge” (posted here) is anything to go from, its Chris Fielding-produced expanses might just be Alunah‘s most immersive yet.

4. Arbouretum, TBA

I asked the Baltimore folk fuzzers a while back on Thee Facebooks if they had a new record coming in 2017 and they said yes, so that’s what I’m going on here. The last Arbouretum album was 2013’s Coming out of the Fog (review here), and even with frontman Dave Heumann‘s 2015 solo outing, Here in the Deep (review here), factored in, you’d have to say they’re due. Keep an eye on Thrill Jockey for word and I’ll do the same.

5. Atavismo, Inerte

This is another one that already has a spot reserved for it on my Best-of-2017 year-end list. Spanish heavy psych rockers Atavismo up the progressive bliss level with their second full-length, Inerte, without losing the depth of style that made 2014’s Desintegración (review here) so utterly glorious. It probably won’t have the biggest marketing budget of 2017, but if you let Atavismo fly under your radar, you are 100 percent missing out on something special.

6. Bison Machine, TBA

In addition to the video for new track “Cloak and Bones” that premiered here, when Michigan raucousness-purveyors Bison Machine put out the dates for their fall 2016 tour, they included further hints of new material in progress. As much as I dug their earlier-2016 split with SLO and Wild Savages (review here) and 2015’s Hoarfrost (review here), that’s more than enough for me to include them on this list. Killer next-gen heavy rock.

7. Brothers of the Sonic Cloth, TBA

News of a follow-up to Brothers of the Sonic Cloth‘s 2015 Neurot Recordings self-titled debut (review here) came through in October, and it remains some of the best news I’ve heard about 2017 doings. Took them a while to get the first record out, so we’ll see what happens, but it kind of feels like looking forward to a comet about to smash into the planet and cause a mass extinction, and by that I mean awesome. Can’t get here soon enough.

8. Cloud Catcher, Trails of Kosmic Dust

cloud catcher trails of kosmic dustOkay, so maybe I jumped the gun and did a super-early review of Denver trio Cloud Catcher‘s second long-player and Totem Cat Records debut, Trails of Kosmic Dust, but hell, no regrets. Some albums require an early-warning system. Their 2015 debut, Enlightened Beyond Existence (discussed here), was a gem as well, but this is a band in the process of upping their game on every level, and the songwriting and momentum they hone isn’t to be missed.

9. Colour Haze, TBA

I’ve gotten some details on the upcoming full-length from Colour Haze. They do not include a title, artwork, audio, song titles or general direction. Less details, I guess, than word that the CD version of this answer to 2015’s To the Highest Gods We Know (review here) is set to come out next month, as ever, on Elektrohasch. That puts it out in time for Colour Haze‘s upcoming tour with My Sleeping Karma (announced here). Fingers crossed it happens. Colour Haze are perpetual top-albums candidates in my book.

10. Corrosion of Conformity, TBA

Signed to Nuclear Blast after being rejoined by guitarist/vocalist Pepper Keenan, North Carolina’s C.O.C. have been in the studio since last year. The lineup of Keenan, bassist/vocalist Mike Dean and guitarist Woody Weatherman and Reed Mullin on drums is the stuff of legend and last worked together on 2000’s America’s Volume Dealer, so no question this reunion makes for one of 2017’s most anticipated heavy rock records. They nailed the nostalgia factor on tour. Can they now add to their legacy?

11. Elder, TBA

I was incredibly fortunate about a month ago to visit progressive heavy rockers Elder at Sonelab in Easthampton, MA, during the recording process for their upcoming fourth album. I heard a couple of the tracks, and of course it was all raw form, but the movement forward from 2015’s Lore (review here) was palpable. That LP (on Stickman) brought them to a wider audience, and I expect no less from this one as well, since the farther out Elder go sound-wise, the deeper the level of connection with their listeners they seem to engage.

12. Electric Wizard, TBA

Could happen, could not happen. That’s how it goes. Announced for last Halloween. That date came and went. Word of trouble building their own studio surfaced somewhere along the line. That was the last I heard. Frankly, I wouldn’t be surprised if it showed up tomorrow, if it showed up in 2018, or if the band broke up and never put it out. They’re Electric Wizard. Anything’s possible.

13. John Garcia, The Coyote Who Spoke in Tongues

Out Jan. 28 on NapalmThe Coyote Who Spoke in Tongues (review here) is the first-ever acoustic album from former Kyuss frontman John Garcia, also of Unida, the reunited Slo BurnHermanoVista ChinoZun, etc. — basically the voice of desert rock. He does a couple Kyuss classics for good measure, but shines as well on the new/original tracks, and while it’s a piece for fans more than newcomers — that is, it helps if you know the original version of “Green Machine” — his presence remains as powerful as ever despite this new context.

14. Goya, Harvester of Bongloads

Riffs, dude. Goya seem to have them to spare. The Arizona-based wizard doomers have set a pretty prolific clip for themselves at this point, with at least two short releases out in 2016, one a 7″ of Nirvana covers (review here), and the The Enemy EP (review here). Set for a March 3 release through their own Opoponax Records imprint, Harvester of Bongloads continues the march into the abyss that 2015’s Obelisk (review here) and 2013’s 777 set in motion, finding the band coming more into their own as well. Creative growth — and bongloads! The best of both worlds.

15. Ides of Gemini, TBA

Ides of Gemini are set to record their yet-untitled third album with Sanford Parker early this year, and it will also mark their debut on Rise Above Records upon its release. They’ve also got a new lineup around vocalist Sera Timms and guitarist J. Bennett, so as they look to move forward from 2014’s Old World New Wave (review here), one can’t help but wonder what to expect, but to be honest, not knowing is part of the appeal, especially from a band who so readily specialize in the ethereal.

16. Kind, TBA

Three-fourths of Kind feature elsewhere on this list. Bassist Tom Corino plays in Rozamov. Drummer Matt Couto is in Elder. Vocalist Craig Riggs is in Roadsaw. And for what it’s worth, guitarist Darryl Shepherd has a new band coming together called Test Meat. How likely does that make Kind to release a second LP in 2017? I don’t know, but their 2015 Ripple Music debut, Rocket Science (review here), deserves a follow-up, and I know they’ve demoed some new songs. If it happens, great. If it’s 2018, at least these dudes will be plenty busy besides.

17. Lo-Pan, In Tensions

lo-pan in tensionsYes, Lo-Pan‘s In Tensions (review here) has already been released — CD/LP with an artbook on Aqualamb. It’s out. Limited numbers. You can get it now. Why include it on a list of most anticipated releases? Because that’s how strongly I feel about your need to hear it. The fruit of a shortlived lineup with guitarist Adrian Zambrano, it distinguishes itself from everything they’ve done before in style while still keeping to the core righteousness that one hopes the Ohio outfit will continue to carry forward. It’s more than a stopgap between albums. Listen to it.

18. The Midnight Ghost Train, TBA

It seems to have been a rough ride for hard-boogie specialists The Midnight Ghost Train since their 2015 Napalm debut and third album overall, Cold was the Ground (review here). They’ve never taken it easy on the road or in terms of physicality on stage, and between injuries and who knows what else, their intensity at this point veers toward the directly confrontational. Nonetheless, they’ve been writing for album number four, may or may not have started the recording process, and I expect that confrontationalism to suit them well in their new material.

19. Monster Magnet, TBA

I have it on decent authority that NJ heavy psych innovators Monster Magnet were in the studio this past autumn. I’ve seen no concrete word of a new album in progress from Dave Wyndorf and company, and I wouldn’t necessarily expect to until it was time to start hyping the release, but after their two redux releases, 2015’s Cobras and Fire (review here) and 2014’s Milking the Stars (review here), their range feels broader than ever and I can’t wait to hear what they come up with next.

20. Mothership, High Strangeness

A pivotal moment for Mothership arrives with High Strangeness, and the heavy-touring, heavy-riffing Texas power trio seem to know it. Their third record on Ripple Music pushes into new avenues of expression and keeps the energy of 2014’s Mothership II (review here) and 2012’s Mothership (review here), but thus far into their career, it’s been about their potential and what they might accomplish going forward. 2017 might be the year for Mothership to declare a definitive place in the sphere of American heavy rock.

21. The Obsessed, Sacred

On Halloween 2016, founding The Obsessed guitarist/vocalist and doom icon Scott “Wino” Weinrich announced a new lineup for the band, with his former The Hidden Hand bandmate Bruce Falkinburg on bass/vocals, Sara Seraphim on guitar and Brian Costantino continuing on drums. A genuine surprise. Their first album since 1994, Sacred (due on Relapse) was tracked as the trio of WeinrichCostantino and bassist/vocalist Dave Sherman, but clearly they’ve moved into a new era already. Wouldn’t even guess what the future holds, but hopefully Sacred still comes out.

22. Orange Goblin, TBA

When it was announced that London’s Orange Goblin were picked up by Spinefarm as part of that label’s acquisition of Candlelight Records last Spring, the subheadline from the PR wire was “Working on Ninth Studio Album.” I haven’t heard much since then, but even as 2014’s Back from the Abyss (review here) pushed them deeper into metallic territory than ever before, their songs retained the character that’s made the band the institution they are. Always look forward to new Orange Goblin.

23. Pallbearer, Heartless

pallbearer heartlessDoomers, this is your whole year right here. I haven’t heard Pallbearer‘s third album, Heartless (out March 24 on Profound Lore), but I have to think even those who haven’t yet been won over by the Arkansas four-piece’s emotive, deep-running style have to be curious about what they’ve come up with this time around. I know I am. These guys have been making a mark on the genre since their 2012 debut, Sorrow and Extinction (review here), and there’s little doubt Heartless will continue that thread upon its arrival.

24. Radio Moscow, TBA

Fact: Radio Moscow stand among the best classic heavy rock live acts in the US. They’re the kind of band you can watch upwards of 15 gigs in a row — I’ve done it — and find them putting on a better show night after night, in defiance of science, logic and sobriety. Word of their signing to Century Media came just this past week and brought with it confirmation of a follow-up to 2014’s stellar Magical Dirt (review here), and for me to say hell yes, I’m absolutely on board, seems like the no-brainer to end all no-brainers. Can’t wait.

25. Roadsaw, TBA

Nearly six full years later, it’s only fair to call Boston scene godfathers Roadsaw due for a follow-up to their 2011 self-titled (review here). Granted, members have been busy in KindWhite Dynomite, and other projects, but still. Their upcoming outing finds them on Ripple Music after years under the banner of Small Stone Records, and though I haven’t seen a solid release date yet, my understanding is they hit Mad Oak Studio in Allston, MA, this past fall to track it, so seems likely for sooner or later. Sooner, preferably.

26. Rozamov, This Mortal Road

Speaking of albums by Boston bands a while in the making, This Mortal Road (out March 3 on Battleground Records and Dullest Records) is the debut full-length from Boston atmospheric extremists Rozamov. Haven’t heard it yet, but I got a taste of some of the material when I visited the band at New Alliance Audio in Aug. 2015, and the bleak expanses of what I heard seem primed to turn heads. I’m a fan of these guys, but in addition, they’ve found a niche for themselves sound-wise and I’m curious to hear how they bring it to fruition.

27. Samsara Blues Experiment, TBA

It’s been a pleasure over the last couple months to watch a resurgence of Berlin heavy psych trio Samsara Blues Experiment take shape, first with the announcement of a fourth album in October, then with subsequent confirmations for DesertfestRiff Ritual in Barcelona, and a South American tour. Reportedly due in Spring, which fits with the timing on shows, etc., the record will follow 2013’s righteous Waiting for the Flood (review here) and as much as I’m looking forward to hearing it, I’m kind of just glad to have these guys back.

28. Seedy Jeezus, TBA

Work finished earlier this month on Melbourne trio Seedy Jeezus‘ second full-length. As with their 2015 self-titled debut, the band brought Tony Reed of Mos Generator to Australia to produce, and after their blissed-out 2016 collaboration with Earthless guitarist Isaiah MitchellTranquonauts (review here), it’s hard not to wonder what experimentalist tendencies might show in the trio’s style this time out, and likewise difficult not to anticipate what guitarist Lex “Mr. Frumpy” Wattereus comes up with for the cover art.

29. Shroud Eater, Strike the Sun

Not to spoil the surprise, but Feb. 1 I’ll host a track premiere from Florida’s Shroud Eater that finds them working in a different context from everything we’ve heard from them to this point in their rightly-celebrated tenure. They also recently had a split out with Dead Hand, and their second long-player, Strike the Sun, will be their debut through STB Records. It’s been since 2011’s ThunderNoise (review here) that we last got a Shroud Eater album, so you bet your ass I’m dying to know what the last six years have wrought.

30. Sleep, TBA

If Sleep were any other band, they’d probably be in the “Would be Awfully Nice” category. But they’re Sleep, so even the thought of a new record is enough to put them here. The lords of all things coated in THC are reissuing their 2014 single, The Clarity (review here), on Southern Lord next month, but rumors have been swirling about a proper album, which of course would be their first since the now-legendary Dopesmoker. If it happens, it’ll automatically be a heavy underground landmark for 2017, but it’s one I’m going to have in my ears before I really believe it.

31. Stoned Jesus, TBA

Even as they tour playing their second album, 2012’s Seven Thunders Roar (review here), to mark its fifth anniversary and continued impact, Ukrainian trio Stoned Jesus are forging ahead with a fourth record behind 2015’s The Harvest (review here). The capital-‘q’ Question is whether or not looking back at Seven Thunders Roar and engaging that big-riffing side of their sound will have an impact on the new material, and if so, how it will meld with the push of The Harvest. Won’t speculate, but look forward to finding out.

32. Stubb, TBA

Since reveling in the soul of 2015’s Cry of the Ocean (review here) on Ripple, London trio Stubb have swapped out bassists, and they were in Skyhammer Studio this month recording a single that may be an extended psychedelic jam. I’ll take that happily, but I’m even more intrigued at the prospect of a third LP and what guitarist/vocalist Jack Dickinson, bassist/vocalist Tom Hobson and drummer Tom Fyfe might have in store as the band moves forward on multiple levels. Might be 2017, might not.

33. Sun Blood Stories, It Runs Around the Room with Us

sun blood stories it runs around the room with usIt Runs around the Room with Us seems to find peace in its resonant experimentalist drones, loops, open, subdued spaces, but there’s always some underlying sense of foreboding to its drift, as if Boise’s Sun Blood Stories could anticipate the moment before it happened. Toward the end of the follow-up to 2015’s Twilight Midnight Morning (review here), they execute the 90-second assault “Burn” and turn serenity to ash. Look for it in April and look for it again on my best of 2017 list in December.

34. Ufomammut, TBA

Any new offering from the Italian cosmic doom magnates is worth looking forward to, and while Ufomammut have left the 15-year mark behind, they’ve never stopped progressing in style and form. To wit, 2015’s Ecate (review here) was a stunner after 2012’s two-part LP, Oro (review here and review here), tightening the approach but assuring the vibe was no less expansive than ever. They started recording last summer, finished mixing in November, so I’m hoping for word of a release date soon.

35. Vokonis, The Sunken Djinn

Born out of Creedsmen Arise, whose 2015 demo, Temple (review here), offered formative thrills, Swedish trio Vokonis debuted with last year’s Olde One Ascending (review here) and proved there’s still life in post-Sleep riffing when it’s wielded properly. They signed to Ripple in November and confirmed the title of their sophomore effort as The Sunken Djinn, as well as a reissue for the first album, which will probably arrive first. I don’t know how that will affect the timing on this one, but keep an eye out anyway.

Gonna Happen and/or Likely Candidates

Obviously some of these are more likely than others. Some have solidified, announced release dates — Dopelord‘s out this month, Demon Head‘s out in April, etc. — and others come from social media posts of bands in studios and hints at upcoming releases and so on. A big tell is whether or not a band has an album title with their listing, but even some of those without have their new albums done, like Atala and Royal Thunder, so it’s not necessarily absolute.

Either way, while I’m spending your money, you might want to look into:

36. Against the Grain
37. Amenra
38. Atala
39. Attalla, Glacial Rule
40. Ayahuasca Dark Trip, II
41. Beastmaker
42. Beaten Back to Pure
43. Blackout
44. Bretus
45. Buried Feather, Mind of the Swarm
46. The Clamps
47. Cold Stares
48. Coltsblood, Ascending into the Shimmering Darkness
49. Come to Grief, The Worst of Times EP
50. Cortez
51. Cruthu, The Angle of Eternity
52. The Dead-End Alley Band, Storms
53. Dead Witches, Dead Witches
54. Dealer
55. Death Alley, Live at Roadburn
56. Demon Head, Thunder on the Fields
57. The Devil and the Almighty Blues, II
58. Devil Electric
59. Doctor Cyclops, Local Dogs
60. Dool, Here Now There Then
61. Dopelord, Children of the Haze
62. Doublestone, Devil’s Own/Djævlens Egn
63. Dread Sovereign, For Doom the Bell Tolls
64. Drive by Wire
65. Elbrus, Elbrus
66. Electric Age
67. Electric Moon, Stardust Rituals
68. Endless Floods, II
69. Five Horse Johnson
70. Forming the Void, Relic
71. Funeral Horse
72. Greenbeard
73. Green Desert Water
74. Greenleaf
75. Grifter / Suns of Thunder, Split
76. Hair of the Dog, This World Turns
77. Heavy Temple, Chassit
78. Here Lies Man, Here Lies Man
79. Hollow Leg, Murder EP
80. Holy Mount, The Drought
81. Hooded Menace
82. Horisont, About Time
83. Hymn, Perish
84. Lecherous Gaze
85. Magnet, Feel Your Fire
86. Mastodon
87. Merlin, The Wizard
88. Merchant
89. Mindkult, Lucifer’s Dream
90. Mirror Queen
91. Moonbow, War Bear
92. Mos Generator
93. The Moth
94. MotherSloth
95. Mouth, Vortex
96. My Sleeping Karma, Mela Ananda – Live
97. Orango
98. Papir
99. PH, Eternal Hayden
100. Psychedelic Witchcraft, Magick Rites and Spells
101. Royal Thunder
102. Saturn, Beyond Spectra
103. Season of Arrows, Give it to the Mountain
104. Siena Root
105. Six Organs of Admittance, Burning the Threshold
106. Six Sigma, Tuxedo Brown
107. Sólstafir
108. The Sonic Dawn, Into the Long Night
109. Spelljammer
110. Spidergawd, IV
111. Steak
112. Stinking Lizaveta, Journey to the Underworld
113. Sula Bassana, Organ Accumulator
114. Summoner
115. Sun Voyager, Sun Voyager
116. Sweat Lodge, Tokens for Hell EP
117. Thera Roya, Stone and Skin
118. Toke
119. Troubled Horse, Revelation on Repeat
120. VA, Brown Acid The Third Trip
121. Weedpecker
122. Youngblood Supercult, The Great American Death Rattle

Definitely Could Happen

Maybe a recording process is upcoming (Gozu, Cities of Mars, YOB), or a band is looking for a label (The Flying Eyes), or they’ve said new stuff is in the works but the circumstances of an actual release aren’t known (Arc of Ascent, Dead Meadow, High on Fire), or I’ve just seen rumors of their hitting the studio (Freedom Hawk, La Chinga, Ruby the Hatchet). We’ve entered the realm of the entirely possible but not 100 percent.

So, you know, life.

Dig it:

123. The Age of Truth
124. Ape Machine
125. Arc of Ascent
126. At Devil Dirt
127. Bantoriak
128. Bask
129. BCAD
130. BoneHawk
131. La Chinga
132. Chubby Thunderous Bad Kush Masters
133. Cities of Mars
134. Crypt Sermon
135. Dead Meadow
136. Death Alley (Studio LP)
137. Dee Calhoun
138. Destroyer of Light
139. Devil
140. Devil Worshipper
141. Duel
142. Dustrider
143. Egypt
144. Electric Moon
145. Elephant Tree
146. Farflung
147. The Flying Eyes
148. Freedom Hawk
149. Gozu
150. The Great Electric Quest
151. Green Meteor, Consumed by a Dying Sun
152. High on Fire
153. Horrendous
154. Insect Ark
155. In the Company of Serpents
156. Iron Monkey
157. Jeremy Irons and the Ratgang Malibus
158. The Judge
159. Killer Boogie
160. King Dead
161. The Kings of Frog Island
162. Lords of Beacon House, Recreational Sorcery
163. Mangoo
164. Mondo Drag
165. Monolord
166. Mountain God
167. The Munsens
168. Naxatras
169. Never Got Caught
170. Ommadon
171. Orchid
172. Ordos
173. Pilgrim
174. Poseidon
175. Purple Hill Witch
176. Ruby the Hatchet
177. Sasquatch
178. Satan’s Satyrs
179. Serpents of Secrecy
180. Shabda
181. Shooting Guns
182. Sleepy Sun
183. Slow Season
184. Snowy Dunes, Atlantis
185. Spectral Haze
186. The Sweet Heat
187. Switchblade Jesus
188. Superchief
189. Tÿburn
190. YOB
191. Zone Six

Would be Awfully Nice

This last category is basically as close as I’m willing to come to rampant speculation. Endless Boogie have hinted at new material, and Queens of the Stone Age have talked about hitting the studio for the last two years. There were rumors about Om, and though Kings Destroy just put out an EP, they have new songs as well, though I doubt we’ll hear them before the end of 2017. I’ll admit that Across Tundras, Fever Dog, Lord Fowl, Lowrider and Hour of 13 are just wishful thinking on my part. A boy can hope:

192. Across Tundras
193. Eggnogg
194. Elephant Tree
195. Endless Boogie
196. Fever Dog
197. Fu Manchu
198. Halfway to Gone
199. Hour of 13
200. Kadavar
201. Kings Destroy
202. Lord Fowl
203. Lowrider
204. Masters of Reality
205. Om
206. Orodruin
207. Queens of the Stone Age

If you’ve made it this far, thanks for reading. Whatever this year brings, I hope it’s been great so far for you and I hope it continues to be so as we proceed inexorably to 2018 and all the also-futuristic-sounding numbers thereafter. At least we know we’ll have plenty of good music to keep us company on that voyage.

As always, comments section is open if there’s anything I’ve left out. I’m happy to add, adjust, etc., as need be, so really, have at it, and thanks in advance.

All the best.

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Review, Track Premiere & Tour Announcement: Cloud Catcher, Trails of Kosmic Dust

Posted in audiObelisk, Reviews, Whathaveyou on December 9th, 2016 by JJ Koczan

cloud catcher trails of kosmic dust

[Click play above to stream ‘Beyond the Electric Sun’ from Cloud Catcher’s Trails of Kosmik Dust. Album is out in March 2017 on Totem Cat Records. Tour dates announced at the bottom of this post.]

If you want to make an album, go on tour. That’s what Denver trio Cloud Catcher did to get ready to record their second offering. Their plan was to take to the road, get themselves in peak form, and then hit the studio to record as live as possible with Slow Season‘s Cody Tarbell at the helm. Listening to the raw scorch of Trails of Kosmic Dust — also their first release through Totem Cat Records — it would be difficult to say the tactic was anything other than a complete success. Their 2015 debut, Enlightened Beyond Existence (discussed here), skillfully blended progressive instrumental performance and classic-style heavy songwriting, but I don’t think there’s a level on which Trails of Kosmic Dust doesn’t bring Cloud Catcher‘s presentation to another level entirely.

Comprised of guitarist/vocalist Rory Rummings, bassist/vocalist Kam Wentworth and drummer Jared Soloman Handman, they benefit from the classic power trio construction in how the bass and drums hold down the boogie of a cut like “Celestial Empress” so that Rummings can embark on dizzying runs up and down the fretboard, but even when Cloud Catcher take a rare moment to slow their Atomic Bitchwaxian grooving onslaught, as on the well-placed “Dimensional Interlude” that would seem to finish side A or first half of the penultimate instrumental on side B, “Super Acid Magick,” Trails of Kosmic Dust isn’t necessarily about the work of one player or another more than the affect of the three-piece as a unit. They grant that some overdubs took place, and given some of the layering of feedback and leads I believe it, but one can hear in the basic underlying tracks how righteously tight they’ve become in such a short time. Across the span of eight tracks/39 minutes, they sound hungry, and mean, and perhaps scariest of all, like they’re still growing.

There may or may not be a consistent narrative taking place through the material, but it’s safe to say the lyrics are taking listeners on an adventure one way or the other, and though there are moments of spaced-out flourish even in a cut like “Beyond the Electric Sun” — the longest inclusion at just over seven minutes, with a jammy vibe and some thrilling start-stop moments in its second half before it returns to sprinting circles around the audience — perhaps the most psychedelic aspect of Trails of Kosmic Dust are the words. They come through clearly and mostly raw, playing to the live feel, from Rummings and Wentworth, at times reminiscent of Mos Generator‘s Tony Reed, as on “Righteous Ruler” or the ultra-Sabbathian boogie blues of “Visions” that leads off side B, and introduce characters like the “Astral Warlord” and “Celestial Empress” before embarking “Beyond the Electric Sun” and traveling through the “Dimensional Interlude” to see “Visions” in “Trails of Kosmic Dust” made from “Super Acid Magick” by a “Righteous Ruler.” That they’d tie “Righteous Ruler” at the end back to the opening duo — each of which would also seem to refer to a leader or monarch of one sort or other — is telling when it comes to a deceptive mindfulness in their structuring and processes.

It’s not all just chaos and boogie, in other words. There’s thought put into it, which is part of why one feels comfortable considering Trails of Kosmic Dust a progressive work. But the pummel-pummel-pummel impression the record makes through its opening salvo in “Astral Warlord,” “Celestial Empress” and “Beyond the Electric Sun” isn’t to be understated either. Those three tracks, one after another, would be almost impossibly frenetic were it not for their catchy hooks allowing for something to grab onto. Organic tones and shuffle are the basis for what makes a cut like “Celestial Empress” work — specific mention should be made of Wentworth‘s handling the low end, both in terms of what he’s playing either following the guitar or not and how it sounds — and Cloud Catcher demonstrate plainly the dynamic they’ve built from those elements before giving the peaceful minute of “Dimensional Interlude” as a means to transition into the expansion that side B brings.

And brings quickly. A change in vocals (I think) brings Wentworth to the fore for the shorter and more straightforward track, clean in tone and plainly playing toward earliest Sabbath in the patterning of lyrics and overall feel. Way more Black Sabbath than Master of Reality, “Visions” gives way to the title-track via a cymbal wash and “Trails of Kosmic Dust” calls back to the boogie thrust of side A in its construction early, but fluidly shifts in its midsection to a spacious and more open vibe. It’s still tense with the progression of Handman‘s drums under layers of Rummings‘ guitar, but hinting maybe at a patience in development within their approach that might come more to fruition on subsequent outings. Also welcome is the instrumental return to the bouncing chorus they insert at the end, so that “Trails of Kosmic Dust” doesn’t simply jam itself into oblivion, but highlights a sense of songwriting as well, making it all the more fitting that the album bears its name.

Nascent patience might be a factor early in “Super Acid Magick” as well. There are moments on Trails of Kosmic Dust when it sounds like the psychedelia is asserting itself as a setup for the band to use as a launch point, and “Super Acid Magick” directly recalls Death Alley‘s “Supernatural Predator” on a shorter scale in how it solidifies into a full-throttle thrust and continues to move outward from there. Another well-positioned instrumental, it changes up expectation on the part of the listener going into the finale, expands the palette of the record overall and reinforces the live feel while also providing a direct bleed into the initial nodding riff that introduces “Righteous Ruler,” a bluesy lead line from Rummings met by Wentworth‘s foundation of tone and rolling drums from Handman as it gradually builds speed before kicking into the verse line after a minute or so.

The closer is less a summary of Trails of Kosmic Dust on the whole than one might expect, but it does bring to mind a lot of what works well about it, whether that’s the cyclical feel of its hook, the on-a-dime shifts in tempo and rhythm or the final instrumental push that — this time — leads Cloud Catcher all the way out with no return, getting slower until finally a cymbal wash and noise leads to a last crash and cold finish. Show’s over, folks. They put on a hell of a set, and as noted above, there are ways in which Cloud Catcher, who got together in 2013, still feel like a growing band. Though their urgency often serves them well, I’ll be interested to hear next time out how the balance shifts between that and the more liquefied aspects in some of these tracks shifts, and what influences will emerge as they continue to tour. Ultimately though, one of the most encouraging results on Trails of Kosmic Dust is that Cloud Catcher come across as a band actively, consciously involved in that evolutionary process. It wasn’t happenstance that they went right from doing shows to the studio, and that kind of willful creative drive will only serve them well as they move forward from here.

Cloud Catcher 2017 Midwest Tour:

^Saturday March 11th Denver, CO HI-DIVE^
^Sunday March 12th Colorado Springs, FLUX CAPACITOR^
^Monday March 13th Santa Fe, NM THE UNDERGROUND AT EVANGELO’S^
^Tuesday March 14th Ft. Worth, TX The Grotto^
^Wednesday March 15th Austin, TX SXSW^
Thursday March 16th Austin, TX SXSW
Friday March 17th Austin, TX SXSW
^Saturday March 18th San Antonio, TX FAUST TAVERN^
Sunday March 19th Houston, TX SATELLITE BAR
Monday March 20th Texarkana, TX THE ARROW BAR
Tuesday March 21st Memphis, TN BUCANEER LOUNGE
Wednesday March 22nd Columbus, OH HOUSE SHOW
*Thursday March 23rd Ft. Wayne, IN BRASS RAIL*
*Friday March 24th Detroit, MI SMALL’S*
*Saturday March 25th Chicago, IL LIVEWIRE *
*Sunday March 26th Milwaukee, WI RIVERWEST PUBLIC HOUSE*
Tuesday March 28th Denver, CO SUMMIT MUSIC HALL
^ WITH THE MUNSENS
*WITH BISON MACHINE

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Cloud Catcher Sign to Totem Cat Records; Trails of Kozmic Dust Coming Soon

Posted in Whathaveyou on June 3rd, 2016 by JJ Koczan

It was abundantly clear that Denver trio Cloud Catcher were onto something with their 2015 debut, Enlightened Beyond Existence (discussed here and here), and they confirmed same when I was fortunate enough to see them play at Borderland Fuzz Fiesta (review here) in February. Their upstart blend of Sabbath boogie and progressive composition is delivered with righteous vigor both live and in the studio, and today they announce that they’ve signed to French imprint Totem Cat Records and that they’ll release their second full-length, Trails of Kozmic Dust, later this year.

The album was recorded by Cody Tarbell of Slow Season following Cloud Catcher‘s Spring tour. They’ll celebrate the signing this weekend at the Denver Electric Funeral Fest by playing the first of the event’s two nights, directly under Mothership and Radio Moscow as a kind of local headliner, and have an extensive tour in the works for early in 2017 to support Trails of Kozmic Dust.

Their announcement follows:

cloud catcher totem cat

It is with great pride that Cloud Catcher announces its partnership with French label, Totem Cat Records for the release of our second album entitled “Trails Of Kozmic Dust”.

This album is the culmination of friendship, perseverance, and the unyielding spirit of rock ‘n roll. “Trails Of Kozmic Dust” was recorded in a span of 3 days at our good friend Cody Tarbell of Slow Season fame’s house (The Cornfield) at the end of our last Spring tour. This album is raw, organic, and aggressive as there are little to no overdubs, just pure live performance at a time that we felt was right. In other words this is a pure representation of Cloud Catcher.

We are absolutely honored to have Totem Cat Records release “Trails Of Kozmic Dust” and are hoping for a later in the year release date. With that being said Cloud Catcher would like to thank the following: Cody Tarbell for believing in our music enough to let us live and record with him, Ewenn Padovan for giving us a chance to put out a record we believe in, and to you the fans for coming out to our shows, buying merch, letting us crash at your houses and surrounding us with general positivity! This is for you!

Stay HEAVY and keep on keepin’ the faith!

Cloud Catcher
Rory Rummings – Guitar/Vocals
Jared Soloman Handman – Drums
Kameron Wentworth – Bass Guitar

Cloud Catcher live:
06/04 Denver CO 3 Kings Tavern – Denver Electric Funeral Fest
06/24 Denver CO Hi Dive w/ Danava

https://cloud-catcher.bandcamp.com/
https://www.facebook.com/GhostRadioJam/

Cloud Catcher, “Celestial Empress (2015 Demo)”

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R.I.P. Premiere “Tremble” from Debut Album In the Wind

Posted in audiObelisk on February 3rd, 2016 by JJ Koczan

rip

In a flooded Portland bandscape, R.I.P. stand out from the crowd pretty easily. The four-piece release their debut album, In the Wind, on March 14 via Totem Cat Records with cover art by Adam Burke, and unlike much of what’s coming out of the Pacific Northwest, R.I.P. are way more interested in having their party breaking bottles on gravestones at night rather than downing pints in the brewpub.

In the Wind offers up a 10-track/54-minute 2LP’s worth of of classic metal churn delivered with modern heavy buzz in the guitars of Angel Martinez, whose riffs lead the fist-pumping charge alongside vocalist Fuzz, bassist Jon Mullett and drummer Willie D, hell-bent on sourcing purposefully-regressive doom from the metal of yore, whether that’s the Saint Vitus-style riffing of “Bereaved” and “Brave in the Grave,” Fuzz nodding at Eric Wagner in “Smoke and Lightning” and closer “In the Wind Part 3” or the scorching leads Martinez brings to cuts like “Tremble” and “In the Wind Part 2.”

rip in the windWorth acknowledging that for heavy rockers to be mining the tropes of ’80s metal is nothing new. Early Man released their first demo circa 2004 — and they weren’t the first — and while not nearly as indebted to thrash, R.I.P. share some stylistic tendencies on In the Wind, which outwardly proselytizes the righteousness of its aesthetic in the lyrics to “Black Leather” and “Smoke and Lightning,” a self-awareness that, while clearly enjoying itself, avoids an ironic sneer.

With sonic methods drawn from PentagramSabbathVitusTrouble, and so on, R.I.P. are playing to the familiar, but they’re not doing so in a mocking manner so much as in celebration, ready to surprise the crap out of some mostly-empty bar that didn’t know it was about to have its ass kicked like it’s 32 years ago. The element of surprise isn’t necessarily a factor by the time intro “The Scythe” and “In the Wind Part 1” give way to “Brave in the Grave” and “In the Wind Part 3,” but by then the doom has hit the bloodstream and In the Wind‘s headbanger’s ball has either drawn you in or cast you out.

It’s the kind of metal that shows up in grainy big-but-not-glam-hair photos and the kind of metal that you could probably get away with playing in Manowar‘s proverbial hall after a few adult beverages. Across its span, In the Wind isn’t exactly raw and it isn’t exactly retro, but it’s definitely taking the bulk of its influence from a bygone age of demo-tape trading and wearing band t-shirts as a social statement.

Blending those elements with a decidedly heavy rock shuffle in the second half of “Tremble” and slide guitar in the interlude “The Tombstone” (which may or may not be an intro for the second LP) adds complexity to the experience overall, but by no means are R.I.P. aiming for pick-it-apart nuance. They call it “West Coast street doom,” and that’s about as fair as anything I could come up with. Whatever niche genre one might one to invent for R.I.P., like their moniker, their first full-length gets right to the point and leaves little question as to its deathly intent.

Below, you can hear the premiere of “Tremble” ahead of the album’s release on March 14. Please enjoy:

After several years of hammering the west coast with the blunt scythe of street-doom, R.I.P. finally committed to tape an introductory will and testament for the rest of the world to tremble to. “In the Wind” closes the casket on the trends and exhumes the notion that doom isn’t about how slow and de-tuned you can play, but about fear, death, leather and playing as heavy as possible.

A full US tour in the spring follows this Totem Cat Records release, where the band plans to drag the rest of the country down with them. Doom is dead: R.I.P. doom.

ARTWORK: Adam Burke

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