Djinn and Miskatonic Premiere “Doombringer”; Even Gods Must Die out Jan. 10

Posted in audiObelisk on December 6th, 2017 by JJ Koczan

djinn and miskatonic

Bangaluru-based doomers Djinn and Miskatonic will release their new full-length, Even Gods Must Die, on Jan. 10 via Transcending Obscurity Records. Their second offering behind 2013’s Forever in the Realm, the record runs six tracks and 66 minutes (666, in case you missed it), using that purposefully unmanageable runtime to conjure an unconfused mash between extreme metal impulses and stonerly fare, as demonstrated on the 15:36 longest cut and opener (immediate points) “I, Zombie,” which sets the tone for what follows throughout earlier slabs like the languid “Bones of My Brothers” and the organ-topped “Doombringer” before the speedier “Frost and Steel” brings about a sharp turn toward epic, still-plenty-doomly metal that continues its thread across the final two songs, “Harvest of Kings” and “Hangman’s Hope.” The apparent addition of second guitarist Mushaf Nazeer alongside fellow axe-wielder Sriram Kvlteswaran, bassist Jayaprakash Satyamurthy, drummer Siddharth Manoharan and vocalist Gautham Khandige only thickens the fare, and as “Frost and Steel” runs through its hook delivering the title line in the catchy refrain, “Frost and steel/Swords and ice magic/On the edge of the world,” genreless and genre-defining works by the likes of Bathory come to mind for the blend of rawness and precision at work in the craft.

That’s not a comparison to be made flippantly, and I’m not, though it’s worth pointing out that it applies almost exclusively to side B (or more likely LP two, given the hour-plus runtime), and that the march of “I, Zombie” pulls much more from the Sleep‘s Dopesmoker vein of nod-riffing. These two interpretations of heavy are united by the strength and djinn and miskatonic even gods must dieheft in Satyamurthy‘s low end work and a pervasive atmosphere of doom that stays resonant even as “Hangman’s Hope” begins to crib lines from “Gallow’s Pole” near its conclusion. The vocal style with which Khandige delivers those and the rest of the lyrics throughout Even Gods Must Die (one recalls a Nile song of a similar name, and death metal is not at all absent here as an influence) is adaptable to either side, as he moves between echoing growls and cleaner, lower-register chants that play toward a ritualized feel in “Doombringer” while seeming to underscore the notion of medieval battling on “Harvest of Kings.” I suppose context is everything, and wherever he’s tasked to do so, Khandige thrives as a frontman presence cutting through the willfully summoned morass of riffs led by Kvlteswaran and Nazeer, his growls feeding the bare cruelty of their tone even as they touch on melodies in the leads of “Harvest of Kings” and elsewhere. As the source of root influence shifts almost out from under him between the hypnotically repetitive “Doombringer” and the vest-worthy metallurgy of “Frost and Steel,” he retains a sense of poise to his execution and helps to draw the line between the two sides at work on the album’s course, keeping the proceedings from losing their way and the progression from losing its flow.

Persistently dark and calling to mind smoke rising from blood-stained fields, Even Gods Must Die turns stoner-doom, sludge, and more extreme metal into a palette from which it freely draws its brooding roll. There are questions as to whether Djinn and Miskatonic might at some point seek to further unite the houses when it comes to the differing sides of this sonic persona, but after four years and a breakup that reportedly led to a reunion at the behest of Transcending Obscurity, the band has delivered a sophomore full-length of marked character and stylistic nuance made all the more subtle by an overarching rawness in its presentation. It is violent, but not at all so simple as a mere bludgeoning.

Today I have the pleasure of hosting the official premiere of “Doombringer.” Please find it on the player below, followed by more background on the band and release, courtesy of the PR wire. One more time, Djinn and Miskatonic‘s Even Gods Must Die is out Jan. 10.

Enjoy:

Djinn and Mistkatonic, “Doombringer” official premiere

India’s premier doom metal band Djinn and Miskatonic return with a mammoth album of dire tunes and bloody tales. Following up on their massively successful debut in ‘Forever in the Realm, they’ve taken things up several notches and produced an album that will stay with you long after it’s over. “Even Gods Must Die’ contains six sordid, gloomy and memorable songs with varying objectives and melancholia. Each of them follow a storylike trajectory and spring to life at the opportune moments. Meditative and meaningful, this is a well thought and properly executed album by Djinn and Miskatonic.

Line up –
Gautham Khandige – Vocals
Sriram Kvlteswaran – Guitar, Backing Vocals
Mushaf Nazeer – Guitar
Jayaprakash Satanmurthy – Bass
Siddharth Manorahan – Drums

Cover art by Fabled and The Painter Of Oz.

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Jupiterian Premiere “Us and Them”; Terraforming out Nov. 15

Posted in audiObelisk, Reviews on October 26th, 2017 by JJ Koczan

jupiterian

Brazilian sludge extremists Jupiterian will issue their second album, Terraforming, Nov. 15 via Transcending Obscurity Records. The be-hooded São Paulo four-piece debuted in 2015 with Aphotic (review here) on Caligari Records, and the six-track/39-minute follow-up works with a likewise sense of bleak extremity, derived in part from black metal, traditional depressive doom and an overarching sense of murk. Atmosphere is central to the approach on pieces like “Unearthly Glow” and the creepily spacious but short title-track, on which Maurice de Jong of Gnaw Their Tongues, who also mixed, makes a vocal guest appearance, but as engrossingly dark as they are, even cuts like opener “Matriarch” and the penultimate chug-and-blaster “Us and Them” have a rich depth and ambient mentality behind them.

That balance of sheer aural cruelty and breadth becomes the crux of Terraforming, and whether it’s the nods to tribalism/ritualism that emerge suitably enough at the outset of “Matriarch” and “Forefathers” or the more immediate nod of closer “Sol,” which insteadJupiterian terraforming caps with a spread of atmospheric guitar, Jupiterian never seem to be too distant from playing between one side and the other. This not only enriches the overarching stylistic character of the tracks, but it makes the more “extreme” parts come across with even more impact regardless of tempo, since they so clearly emerge from a place of progressive thoughtfulness of craft and arrangement, rather than a band simply putting forth something geared toward brutality for its own sake. Nothing against that approach necessarily when it works, but Jupiterian have a more complex goal with Terraforming as they did with Aphotic, and the meld present in their sound is what allows them to accomplish it as completely as they do.

In addition to the first album, Terraforming was preceded by a number of short releases, one of them a 2017 EP titled URN that featured only two tracks — a cover of Black Sabbath (“Behind the Wall of Sleep”) and a cover of early Anathema (“Mine is Yours to Drown In [Ours Is the New Tribe]”), and in a way, that divide between the two would seem to give some decent clue of the influences Jupiterian are contorting to their own purposes with Terraforming, but the clear emphasis should be on just how much work the initials-only lineup of guitarist/vocalist/synthesist/percussionist V, guitarist A, bassist R and drummer G have put into individualizing these varied impulses and making them their own. Be it the roaring of “Unearthly Glow” or the final build and release within “Us and Them,” the album offers moment after moment of payoff for that effort.

Today I have the pleasure of hosting the official premiere of “Us and Them” ahead of the album’s Nov. 15 release. You can find it on the player below, followed by more info from the PR wire.

Please enjoy:

Jupiterian, “Us and Them” official track premiere

From Brazil, underground masked entity JUPITERIAN reemerge with their unique brand of atmospheric sludge/doom metal. Haunting both musically and aesthetically, JUPITERIAN delve into subtler, more visceral sounds while retaining their crushing style. Like the dichotomy in their country, their music too encompasses the stark contrast between the intense and atmospheric bits, sometimes transmuting into a dark ambient form aided by Maurice de Jong of GNAW THEIR TONGUES. ‘Terraforming’ is the much awaited full length that will see the light of day on multiple formats through Indian label Transcending Obscurity Records late this year. The die has been cast.

Band lineup –
G – Drums
R – Bass
V – Voices, Guitars, Percussions, Synths
A – Guitars

Recorded at Duna Studios
Mixed by Maurice de Jong (GNAW THEIR TONGUES)
Mastered by Stephen Lockhart (SVARTIDAUDI, TCHORNOBOG, ZHRINE)

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Review & Track Premiere: Mindkult, Lucifer’s Dream

Posted in audiObelisk, Reviews on August 11th, 2017 by JJ Koczan

mindkult-lucifers-dream

[Click play above to listen to the premiere of ‘Behold the Wraith’ from Mindkult’s Lucifer’s Dream, out Sept. 20 through Transcending Obscurity Records and Caligari Records.]

Virginian one-man outfit Mindkult quickly affirms the potential of 2016’s debut EP on the full-length follow-up, Lucifer’s Dream. Released through Transcending Obscurity and Caligari Records, the album arrives with some measure of fanfare as compares to last year’s Witch’s Oath (review here), but that’s a considerable testament to the niche that multi-instrumentalist, vocalist and producer Fowst immediately carved out for himself between doom, shoegaze, dreary psychedelia and garage cultistry. At six tracks and 42 minutes, Lucifer’s Dream gracefully, patiently fleshes out these textures and weaves them together to form not a mesh of disparate or semi-disparate approaches, but a coherent and individualized aesthetic that, were the word “kult” not already in such wide use, one might call “kult doom” in the project’s honor.

That is, though one can recognize flashes of Uncle Acid in an uptempo shuffle like second cut “Nightmares,” even that track pursues its own path via resonant lead guitar, Fowst sounds most of all like himself, and by placing more extended cuts “Drink My Blood” (8:06), “Behold the Wraith” (9:20) and “Lucifer’s Dream” (9:24) at the beginning, middle (-ish) and end positions of the tracklisting, Mindkult ensures a dirge-style vibe is maintained throughout. A rough production becomes an essential facet of the presentation in the blown-out guitar and bass tones, and whether they’re real drums or programmed, the march they elicit in “Infernals” on side B and the slow-swing of “Drink My Blood” at the outset help to ground and punctuate the downer trajectory. Mindkult, as a vehicle for Fowst in the tradition of black metal’s adopted monikers — see Wrest in Leviathan, Malefic in Xasthur, etc. — is going to bum you out and smile malevolently as it does. Accordingly, Lucifer’s Dream is one of 2017’s best debut albums, and in building out the potential of the EP before it, it also sets Fowst up for a longer term progression of songwriting and sonic persona.

The future of Mindkult will be whatever it will be, but what’s more important for the moment is the level of accomplishment that Fowst brings to cuts like “Behold the Wraith,” third of the six and the finale of side A, which fluidly shifts pace as it nears its midpoint from an initial slog to which the drawn-out, shoegazing vocals are perfectly suited, toward a relatively speedier chug. Layering in solo guitar over the rhythm adds to the sense of forward motion, and though the stretch is short-lived ultimately, it shows the deft hand with which Fowst already controls the proceedings within Mindkult. Lucifer’s Dream is rife with these moments of detail and nuance, and though from its artwork, overarching mournful spirit, loosely horror-derived thematics and sundry don’t-worry-about-all-of-us-being-doomed-because-it’s-already-happened miseries one gets a distinctly misanthropic impression, the songs themselves remain accessible, melodic and engaging. As much as “Drink My Blood” repels outwardly, it does so in a manner that engages the listener.

mindkult-logo

Fowst‘s obscure moans and howls in “Drink My Blood” and “Nightmares” set the tone for the significant and headphone-worthy presence that “Behold the Wraith” and the five-minutes-apiece pair of “Infernals” and “Howling Witch” flesh out ahead of the title-track, a full-album flow enacted that bridges one side to the next even as it stays vinyl-ready with “Infernals” opening side B with a psycho-Satanic lyric to follow the the distinct movements within “Behold the Wraith.” Dark immersion is at the root of Mindkult‘s style, and while Fowst‘s vocals are at times buried (alive) beneath the guitars and bass — the drums are a steady but never really forefront presence so much as the strings — the intent doesn’t seem so much to create a spaciousness as to demonstrate the feeling of being lost within the whole muck that is the end product of Lucifer’s Dream as a whole.

Of course, the record succeeds in no small part because it never actually gets lost. As “Behold the Wraith” slows itself back down and heads into the mid-paced “Infernals” and the sample from the 1976 horror flick Satan’s Black Wedding (“He is pleased with you, Nina…”) that starts the speedier, hookier “Howling Witch,” Fowst smartly hones a palpable momentum to carry into the finale, which starts out at a stomp and makes its way toward wah-drenched psychedelic garage doom in its middle third. Hypnotic, it’s the kind of passage one might miss on an initial listen, but in terms of furthering Mindkult‘s potential, it opens another avenue for future exploration on the part of Fowst, and one hopes he’ll pursue it, especially since he’s able to transition so smoothly into its reaches and back toward a more grounded solo section as he delivers the title line after the five-minute mark.

A crunching slowdown provides a bridge to the return of the snare-punctuated stomp that began the closer and “Lucifer’s Dream” rounds out the album that shares its name with a marked showcase of the symmetry that’s been at the foundation of the material all along. It’s not chaos, though it might sound like it at times with the rough-hewn recording, persistent tonal buzz and so on. The truth of the matter is Fowst is more mastermind or perhaps mad scientist when it comes to Mindkult than he is conjurer, but the results of his work on Lucifer’s Dream are otherworldly just the same. Listening in the context of these tracks serving as Mindkult‘s debut, their cohesion becomes all the more striking, and once again, as much work as Fowst does here to realize the potential shown on Witch’s Oath, the affect of Lucifer’s Dream is just as much in accomplishing that as it is beating its path toward new depressive reaches still to be discovered.

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audiObelisk Transmission 062

Posted in Podcasts on July 25th, 2017 by JJ Koczan

the obelisk podcast 62

Click Here to Download

 

It’s easy when you’re putting one of these things together to get locked into a headspace and all of a sudden everything you’re putting next to each other kind of sounds the same, kind of blurs together. I’m immensely pleased to say that’s not at all what happened this time around. The sounds throughout vary from heavy psych to rock to proggy jams to Blaak Heat who are on their own wavelength entirely to doom and space rock and so on. It flows though. I’m really happy with how it flows.

That includes the second hour, which has a couple different vibes as opposed to just the usual all-psych head-trip. Also, as you make your way through, keep in mind that a lot of this stuff is coming from debut albums. Moon Rats, Kabbalah, Eternal Black, Mindkult, The Raynbow, Bees Made Honey in the Vein Tree. Hell, Steak’s track is their second album, and Youngblood Supercult too, so yeah, there’s a lot of fresh stuff included from newer bands. I didn’t come into it with a plan at all. This is just how it worked out, which of course is more fun anyway.

As always, I hope you enjoy.

Track details follow:

First Hour:

0:00:00 Moon Rats, “Highway Lord” from Highway Lord
0:03:36 Youngblood Supercult, “The Hot Breath of God” from The Great American Death Rattle
0:07:31 Kabbalah, “Phantasmal Planetoid” from Spectral Ascent
0:12:11 Wretch, “The Wretch” from Bastards Born
0:20:25 Steak, “Creeper” from No God to Save
0:24:28 Eternal Black, “Stained Eyes on a Setting Sun” from Bleed the Days
0:31:44 Mindkult, “Howling Witch” from Lucifer’s Dream
0:36:51 Shooting Guns, “Flavour Country” from Flavour Country
0:45:04 Endless Boogie, “Vibe Killer” from Vibe Killer
0:53:22 Blaak Heat, “Marr El Kallam” from The Arabian Fuzz 7”
0:57:55 The Grand Astoria, “The Sleeper Awakes” from The Fuzz of Destiny

Second Hour:

1:02:45 Eggnogg, “Overture / Wild Goose Chase” from Rituals in Transfigured Time – Prologue
1:16:06 Elara, “Harmonia” from Deli Bal
1:31:41 Bees Made Honey in the Vein Tree, “Sail Away I” from Medicine
1:45:50 The Raynbow, “Changes” from The Cosmic Adventure

Total running time: 2:01:51

 

Thank you for listening.

Download audiObelisk Transmission 062

 

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Mindkult Set Sept. 20 Release for Lucifer’s Dream; Teaser Video Playing Now

Posted in Whathaveyou on June 27th, 2017 by JJ Koczan

Misanthropic Virginian one-man garage doom outfit Mindkult will release Lucifer’s Dream on Sept. 20. A debut full-length to be released on Transcending Obscurity Records, the new outing follows last summer’s Witch’s Oath EP (review here) which impressed in both the form of its aesthetic and the substance of its songwriting. I’m not saying I’ve heard it or anything, but as Fowst moves his project forward with this debut long-player, songs like the nine-minute “Behold the Wraith” and the closing title-track assure that both of those aspects are kept well intact and that there’s plenty of misery to go around. Wouldn’t have it any other way.

It was a pretty considerable list, but Mindkult‘s debut was among my most anticipated releases for 2017 back at the start of the year, and — again — not that I’ve heard it or anything, but it’s awfully nice to have that anticipation so thoroughly vindicated. Will hope to have more on it as we get closer to the release, but there’s a teaser clip playing now that you can see at the bottom of this post to whet your appetite.

And of course, info follows off the PR wire. Dig it:

mindkult lucifer's dream

MINDKULT announce new doom/stoner/shoegaze release on Transcending Obscurity Records

MINDKULT (US) – ‘Lucifer’s Dream’ Silver-embossed Box Set / CD / Merch / Digital (September 20th, 2017)

US band MINDKULT are turning the genre on its head. Stepping out of the confines of what can be called doom, they are going back in time musically to create all over again raw, heavy and stoner-tinged music that oozes horror appeal and bears a soothing post-punk sensibility. Call it doom, stoner or even shoegaze, all of it is correct because it’s a distilled blend to forge a sound that MINDKULT can call it its own. Nostalgic and dark, this is the band’s much-awaited debut full length that displays rare charisma and soulful expression.

Track list:
1. Drink My Blood
2. Nightmares
3. Behold the Wraith
4. Infernals
5. Howling Witch
6. Lucifer’s Dream

Line up:
Fowst – Everything

Mastered by James Plotkin (CONAN, ELECTRIC WIZARD, ISIS, JUPITERIAN, NADJA).
Artworks by Misanthropic Art (HOODED MENACE, FUNEBRARUM, HERESIARCH, INTERMENT).
Logo by Maldo Illustration (Spain).

https://mindkult.bandcamp.com/
https://www.facebook.com/mindkult/
https://tometal.com/
https://www.facebook.com/transcendingobscurityrecords/
https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCgViVqEZ6aiW7G9O-lGWiAg

Mindkult, Lucifer’s Dream teaser

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Drug Honkey Post Lyric Video for “Pool of Failure”

Posted in Bootleg Theater on May 30th, 2017 by JJ Koczan

drug honkey

If you haven’t yet heard it, the new album from Chicago’s Drug Honkey contains some of the most thoroughly fucked-sounding audio you’re likely to encounter in 2017. I mean it. Not only is Cloak of Skies (review here) unremitting in its bleakness, but the sheer aural harshness the band conveys with their industrialized sludge is like almost nothing else out there. With a background in extreme metal, they bring that intensity to their first outing since 2013’s Ghost in the Fire (review here), and the aggressive, malevolent place they wind up with the record is as brutal in its atmospheric purpose as in its raw assault factor. By the time it’s over, one feels as though they’ve earned this sonic punishment, even if one isn’t entirely sure what it is they’re supposed to feel so guilty for.

A noteworthy guest remix by Justin Broadrick has helped get the word out some about what Drug Honkey are doing, and sure enough Godflesh are a central influence or at very least a starting point when it comes to trying to understand where Cloak of Skies is coming from, but the real impact of the album comes from its deranged vibe and opaque violence. As the leadoff track, “Pool of Failure” offers the first signal of this mission and gets it underway in terrifyingly immersive form. Like much of what follows throughout Cloak of Skies, it is a nightmarish pulse peppered with impressionist lyrics, expressive and evocative half-thoughts that lead the listener downward on a course that will only continue in that direction.

Do you get the fucking point yet that Drug Honkey are basically out to wreck consciousness? Good. They’ve got a new video for “Pool of Failure” posted now with even more nightmare-style imagery, and I’d hate for you to go into such a thing unprepared to have your day melted by the song or the clip’s depressive disaffection. You have, as the saying goes, been warned.

Dig it:

Drug Honkey, “Pool of Failure” lyric video

Chicago-based industrial doom lords DRUG HONKEY have premiered their macabre new video for ‘Pool of Failure.’

Recorded by the band themselves at SOS Studio in Chicago and Everflow Studios in Berwyn, IL, Cloak of Skies boasts seven tracks, including a remix by the legendary Justin K. Broadrick (Godflesh, Jesu) and a guest saxophone feature from Bruce Lamont (Yazuka, Corrections House, Brain Tentacles). Cover art was hand-painted by renowned artist Paulo Girardi (Inquisition, Power Trip).

DRUG HONKEY is:
Paul Gillis (Honkey Head) – Vocals/Synths/Samples/FX
Gabe Grosso (Hobbs) – Guitars
Ian Brown (Brown Honkey) – Bass
Adam Smith (BH Honkey) – Drums

Cloak of Skies is currently available for purchase (vinyl, CD, digital) at this location: http://drughonkey.bandcamp.com

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Drug Honkey Premiere “Pool of Failure”; Cloak of Skies out May 5

Posted in audiObelisk on March 22nd, 2017 by JJ Koczan

drug honkey

Chicago extremists Drug Honkey will release their fifth album, Cloak of Skies, May 5 via Transcending Obscurity Records. For those unfamiliar with the industrially-tinged sludge dystopias the band conjures, the opening roar of “Pool of Failure” will likely catch you off guard. Hell, even if you caught wind of their last outing, 2013’s Ghost in the Fire (review here), it’s entirely likely that Cloak of Skies will offer more than a few shocking moments in its play toward unremitting darkness, the breadth over which that darkness seems to stretch, the crushing nature of their churn and the somehow punkish undertones at work beneath cuts like “Sickening Wastoid” and “Outlet of Hatred,” which together with “Pool of Failure” form an opening salvo reimagining early C.O.C. or at times even Napalm Death through the lens of a terrible future that, one might argue, has actually come to pass.

As one might figure, Godflesh are a key influence. Enough so that the four-piece of vocalist/synthesist Paul Gillis, guitarist Gabe Grosso, bassist Ian Brown and drummer Adam Smith sought out Justin K. Broadrick to remix “Pool of Failure” as a bonus track. Vast, Jesu-style drone plays a role as well, as “(It’s Not) The Way” drug honkey cloak of skiesdemonstrates, and certainly the more extended finale duo of the 10-minute “The Oblivion of an Opiate Nod” and the eight-minute title-track have their elements of soundscaping as well, but as textured as they are, they’re full of horrors, which is Drug Honkey‘s specialty to be sure. Their roots are in noise and Chicago’s extreme metal underground, but the actual sonics the band emits are twisted beyond whatever their inspirations might be, and through layered growls and spoken lines and a steady wash of synth and effects over the grueling roll of “The Oblivion of an Opiate Nod,” Gillis feels just as much like the one calling down the storm as the one being consumed by it. A deathly expanse at its most ranging, Cloak of Skies is defined by its tortured sensibility and passes its cruelty onto the listener in hyperbole-ready fashion. However one might feel about it listening to “Pool of Failure,” chances are ambivalence won’t be a factor.

But gruesome art is still art, and the band — now also veterans of Denmark’s prestigious Roskilde Festival — are frank in the purposefulness of what they’re doing on Cloak of Skies. These songs, from “Pool of Failure” through the title-cut, are built around the intent to convey a truly misanthropic feel, and accordingly, their churn is simply going to come across as overwhelming to some listeners. That’s been the case with their work for a long time, and while if we’re going by the level of what’s happening in terms of the superficial audio it certainly doesn’t sound like anyone is coming out on top, it’s the source of Drug Honkey‘s success on the record. They revel in these miseries, and by the time “Cloak of Skies” rounds out with its looped vocals — not even words, just syllables at that point — samples, guest saxophone from Corrections House/Yakuza‘s Bruce Lamont and droning abrasion, they’ve turned them into a potent ritual that’s as immersive as it is off-putting. Imagine swirling psychedelia but every color is black. Across seven songs and 50 minutes (including the remix), Drug Honkey bask in tragedy and come out on the other side having covered themselves in filth as if to show us our own complicity in its creation. If there were any justice in the universe, they’d be playing in art galleries.

Cloak of Skies will be out May 5 on Transcending Obscurity. I’m not sure “enjoy” is the right word, but you can hear the premiere of “Pool of Failure” below, followed by more info off the PR wire.

And yes, I hope you enjoy:

US band DRUG HONKEY have always been a step ahead of their peers, if there were any in the first place. There’s a form of tenacity in their music of the same kind that will have you crawl ahead in life despite all its inherent ugliness pinning you down. They are taking things to a different level, with guest contributions from the legend himself, Justin K. Broadrick (GODFLESH, JESU) and Bruce Lamont (YAKUZA, CORRECTIONS HOUSE) with his saxophone eeriness, and having the hand-painted artwork of Paolo Girardi (INQUISITION, CHTHE’ILIST) represent the pulsating sickness of this ambitious and unconventional release.

Album lineup –
Paul Gillis (Honkey Head) – Vocals, Synths, Samples, FX
Adam Smith (BH Honkey) – Drums
Gabe Grosso (Hobbs) – Guitar
Ian Brown (Brown Honkey) – Bass

Official release date – May 5th, 2017.

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Altar of Betelgeuze Premiere “The Offering”; Among the Ruins out April 15

Posted in audiObelisk on January 24th, 2017 by JJ Koczan

altar of betelgeuze

Helsinki-based death-doomers Altar of Betelgeuze release their second album, Among the Ruins, April 15 on Transcending Obscurity Records. With it, they continue to make themselves a part of Finland’s long, storied and pivotal history with death-doom, which dates back to early ’90s outfits like Skepticism, Unholy and Thergothon, and follow their 2014 debut, Darkness Sustains the Silence, with a pointed shift toward riffly focus and heavy rock tonality. This might be the root of what the four-piece means when they position their new record as “stoner death doom,” but the question then becomes one of balance between the three elements named — i.e., the stoner, the death, the doom — and how that shakes out over the course of the seven-track/49-minute outing as a whole.

I don’t have the answer. What I do have is the pleasure of hosting opening track “The Offering” as a premiere below. You can hear in its initial tonal rollout, precise but classically-styled lead altar of betelgeuze among the ruinsand overall groove the aspects of heavy rock at work, but the song still settles neatly into a doomed lurch and makes its way between Paradise Lost-style spoken vocals and harsher, deep growls. Stoner, death and doom? Yeah, pretty much, but I’d say the balance definitely tips toward the death-doom on “The Offering,” whereas the closing title-track to Among the Ruins, which you can stream on Altar of Betelgeuze‘s Bandcamp page (linked below), pushes further outward in its atmosphere and feels more patient in its execution — though I’ll admit the nine-minute runtime might also have something to do with that.

Launching the album with a rocker and closing with the longest song? Maybe Altar of Betelgeuze really are a stoner rock band — though however the rest of Among the Ruins might shake out as it works its way toward the finale, it’s clear immediately that they’re coming at these various styles from more than one angle, and one can hear that distinguishing factor even in the relatively quick five-minute sample of “The Offering.”

Again, Altar of Betelgeuze‘s Among the Ruins is out April 15 on Transcending Obscurity. More info follows “The Offering” below.

Please enjoy:

Altar of Betelgeuze from Finland are onto something special. Not content with playing either doom or death metal, the band merge influences from both realms so to speak and create a seamless sound where clean singing and growls both have a place. Essentially Altar of Betelgeuze play stoner doom but with the heaviness and relative structuring of death metal.

Long, winding songs that are at once emotive and crushing enthrall the listener for extended periods of time, while you are left wondering about suitable parallels for this unique band. ‘Among the Ruins’ is a definitive present-day album, when it’s no longer about mimicking your idols but taking the sound forward in a logical, sincere manner.

Altar of Betelgeuze is:
Matias Nastolin – Bass, Vocals (Growling)
Olli “Otu” Suurmunne – Guitars, Vocals (Clean singing)
Juho Kareoja – Guitars
Aleksi Olkkola – Drums

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Altar of Betelgeuze on Bandcamp

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Transcending Obscurity website

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