Darsombra European Tour Starts March 29

Posted in Whathaveyou on March 11th, 2019 by JJ Koczan

Like most of us, Darsombra are always somewhere, but unlike most of us, the places they are tend to change with exceptional regularity. Last Fall, they were out west for more than a month. Already this year, they’ve made quick stops through the Southeast, and later this month they’ll head to Europe for a stint that looks like it’s at least going to be a month in a half long already and for which they’re still filling in dates. They go, and go, and go. They’ll be playing Exile on Mainstream‘s 20th anniversary party in Leipzig on April 4, and the SWR Barroselas Metalfest in Portugal on April 28, but there’s plenty to still come together around both. You know the drill: if you have a spot where it’s cool to make noise, you should let Darsombra do that. I can’t think of a bill they wouldn’t fit on, because really, they don’t fit anywhere and that’s the point. So whether it’s a night of singer-songwriter coffee-house stuff or grindcore, book Darsombra. Because they’re awesome and it’s the right thing to do.

Dates thus far confirmed follow here, courtesy of the band’s social media:

darsombra euro tour

Here are the dates so far!!! More to be added!!!

DARSOMBRA EUROPE TOUR 2019

29 Mar Leuven BELGIUM @ Flugzeug Music-Art-Design
30 Mar Antwerp BELGIUM @ Palazzo sessions
1 Apr Cologne GERMANY @ Halle am Rhein
2 Apr Berlin GERMANY @ Zukunft am Ostkreuz
4 Apr Leipzig GERMANY – 20 Years of Exile On Mainstream festival
9 Apr Potsdam GERMANY @ Archiv
10 Apr Hamburg GERMANY @ Hafenklang
13 Apr Nuremburg GERMANY @ Z-Bau
17 Apr Maribor SLOVENIA @ Kibla
18 Apr Treviso ITALY @ Krach Club
19 Apr Milan ITALY @ Ligera
23 Apr Móra d’Ebre SPAIN @ Societat Obrera Móra d’Ebre
24 Apr Madrid SPAIN @ Rock Palace
26 Apr Lisbon PORTUGAL @ Zaratan
28 Apr Barroselas PORTUGAL @ SWR Barroselas Metalfest 22
2 May Paris FRANCE @ La Cantine De Belleville
5 May Newcastle Upon Tyne UK @ Cluny 2
6 May Inverness UK @ Tooth and Claw
8 May Glasgow UK @ BLOC
11 May Bristol UK @ The Cube
12 May London UK @ The Islington

http://facebook.com/darsombra
https://www.instagram.com/darsombra/
http://www.darsombra.com/
https://www.facebook.com/TranslationLossRecords/
https://translationlossrecords.bandcamp.com/
translationlossrecords.bigcartel.com/

Darsombra, Polyvisions (2016)

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Quarterly Review: A Storm of Light, Z/28, Forrest, 1476, Owl, Brass Hearse, Craneium & Black Willows, Magmakammer, Falun Gong, Max Tovstyi

Posted in Reviews on December 4th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

quarterly-review

Day Two of the Quarterly-Review-Mega-Super-Ultra-Year-End-Wrap-Up-Spectacular-Gnarly-Edition — name in progress — begins now. First day? Smooth. Wrote it over the weekend to get a jump on the week, cruised through a morning and into baby-naps, finished with time left over to still go and read the Star Trek novel I’m currently making my way through. Easy. Also peasy.

Today? Well, apparently I turned off my alarm in my sleep because I rolled over 40 minutes later and certainly didn’t remember it going off. Whoops. Not a great start, but there is a lot of cool stuff in this batch, so we’ll get through it, even if it’s awfully early in the week to be sleeping in. Ha.

Have a great day everybody. Here are 10 more records for the QRMSUYEWUSGE. Rolls right off the tongue.

Quarterly Review #11-20:

A Storm of Light, Anthroscene

A Storm of Light Anthroscene

“America the sick and crumbling/Liberty she’s weeping/The tired and poor are huddled and dying/As the wretched ones are touched aside.” The lines, from A Storm of Light‘s “Blackout” — the second cut from their fifth LP, Anthroscene (on Translation Loss) — lead to the inevitable question: “What the fuck is wrong with us?,” and thereby summarize the central sociopolitical framework of the record. A dystopian thematic suits the band’s aesthetic, and there’s certainly no shortage of material to work from between current events and future outlook. Guitarist/vocalist/keyboardist/graphic artist Josh Graham, bassist Domenic Seita and guitarist/keyboardist Dan Hawkins are five years removed from the band’s last outing, however, so their post-apocalyptic post-metal is welcome either way, and Anthroscene taps a Killing Joke influence and turns it to its dark and churning purposes over the course of its eight tracks/51 minutes, delving into harsh shouts on “Short Term Feedback” and capping with the resistance-filled “Rosebud,” which surges forth from ambience like the anti-facist/anti-capitalist critique that it is, ending with the lyric, “When you die, we will spit on your grave,” which could hardly be more appropriate.

A Storm of Light on Thee Facebooks

Translation Loss Records on Bandcamp

 

Z28, Nobody Rides for Free

Z28 Nobody Rides for Free

Massachusetts’ Z28 — also stylized as Z/28 and Z-28; I don’t think they care so long as you get the point they’re named after the Camaro — make their full-length debut with Nobody Rides for Free on Fuzzdoom Records, and with the occasional bit of organ on songs like “Touch of Evil” and “Angst III (I Don’t Want to Die),” they nonetheless give a raw take on heavy rock laced with that particularly Northeastern aggression. Guitarist Jeff Hayward (also organ), bassist/acoustic guitarist/engineer Jason Negro and drummer Breaux Silcio all contribute vocals to the outing, and yet the minute-long instrumental intro tells much of the story of what it’s about in terms of the chemistry between them. Impressive guitar solos are rampant throughout, and the rhythm section carries over a weighted groove through cuts like “Wandering” that’s fluid in tempo but still able to create an overarching flow between the tracks. I’ll give bonus points for the Black Sabbath nods in the multi-layered lead work toward the end of “Spirit Elk (Lord of the Hunt)” as well as the title “Keep on Rockin’ (In the Invisible World),” and Z28 have something to build on here in terms of songwriting and that chemistry. It’s raw-sounding, but that doesn’t necessarily hurt it.

Z28 on Thee Facebooks

Fuzzdoom Records on Bandcamp

 

Forrest, Kickball with Russians

forrest kickball with russians

Granted, Forrest telegraph some measure of quirk by naming their debut EP Kickball with Russians, but the four-piece from Lexington, Kentucky, still seem to be rolling along in a straightforward-enough manner on six-minute instrumental opener and longest track (immediate points) “(I Dream of) Kickball with Russians,” until the keyboards start in. That turn gives their EP an edge of the unexpected that continues to inform “DAN,” “Deew” and the closing “My Son Looks Just Like Me,” and “DAN” continues the thread with gang shouts popping up over its chugging progression and receding again after about two words to let the track get quiet and build back up. And is that a velociraptor at the start of “Deew?” Either way, that song’s Mr. Bungle-style angularity, a return of the keys and intermittent heavy nod work to underscore the willful weirdness that’s very much at play in the four-piece’s work, and the closer adds Ween-style effects work into the mix while still keeping a heavy presence in tone and lumber. They’ll get weirder with time, but this is a good start toward that goal.

Forrest on Thee Facebooks

Forrest on Bandcamp

 

1476, Our Season Draws Near

1476 our season draws near

Coastal melancholy and a pervasive sense of atmosphere seem to unite the varied tracks on 1476‘s 2017 Prophecy release, Our Season Draws Near, which otherwise draw across their span from goth rock, punk, doom and extreme metal, able to blur the line especially between punk and black metal on songs like “Ettins” while acoustics pervade “Solitude (Exterior)” en route to the Anathema-gone-char rasps of “Solitude (Interior)” a short time later. I know I’m late to the party on the Salem, MA, duo, and likewise late on this record, but from opener “Our Silver Age” to closer “Our Ice Age” to the “Solitude” pairing to “Winter of Winds” — finally: David Bowie fronts Joy Division — and “Winter of Wolves,” there’s so much of Our Season Draws Near that has a bigger-picture thought process behind its construction that its impact is multi-tiered. And it’s not just that they pit genres against each other in their sound, it’s that their sound brings them together toward something new and malleable to the purposes of their songwriting. Not to be missed, so this is me, not missing it. Even though I kind of missed it.

1476 on Thee Facebooks

Prophecy Productions on Bandcamp

 

Owl, Nights in Distortion

owl nights in distortion

Joined on Nights in Distortion by bassist René Marquis as well as longtime drummer Patrick Schroeder, guitarist/vocalist/synthesist Christian Kolf (also Valborg) greatly expands his former solo-ish-project Owl with their second release of 2018 behind March’s Orion Fenix EP (review here), bringing together elements of post-metal churn with deeply atmospheric sensibilities, cuts like “Transparent Moment” churning as much as they are surprising with their underlying melody. A Type O Negative influence continues to be worked into their sometimes grueling context, but it’s hard to listen to the keyboard-laced “Inanna in Isolation” and hear Owl being anything other than who they’ve become, and their third album is the most distinct statement of that yet, airy lead guitars floating over a still-fervent, industrial-style chug amid vocals veering from barking shouts to quiet, low-register semi-spoken fare and cleaner singing. Nights in Distortion is the evolving work of a mastermind, captured in progress.

Owl on Thee Facebooks

Temple of Torturous website

 

Brass Hearse, Hollow on the Surface

Brass Hearse Hollow on the Surface

Synth-laden heavy horror garage dance rock could probably use a more succinct genre name, but while those in charge of such things sit and scratch their butts, Boston’s Brass Hearse carve out a niche unto themselves with their second EP, Hollow on the Surface. The five-track offering is in and out in 14 minutes but wants nothing for either a show of craft or arrangement, tapping into psych-folk in the strummy interlude “Dwellers in the Static Valley” after the hook-led “Death by Candlelight” and before the John Carpenter-style pulsations that underscore “The Thing from Another World.” Opener “Fading” is the only song to top four minutes and has a distinctly progressive take, but while it and the organ-ic closer “Headaches & Heartbreaks” has a theatricality to it, Brass Hearse are too cohesive to charge with being weird for weirdness’ sake, and their experimentation is presented in complete, engaging songs, rather than self-indulgent collections of parts mashed together. Would love to hear what they do over the course of a full-length.

Brass Hearse on Thee Facebooks

Playing Records on Bandcamp

 

Craneium & Black Willows, Split

Different missions from Finland’s Craneium and Switzerland’s Black Willows on their BloodRock Records split. Craneium nod through “Your Law” and mark their second inclusion, “Try, Fail, Repeat,” with a Sabbathian swing that only kicks up in tempo as it moves through its five minutes. Black Willows, on the other hand, present a single track in the 19-minute, noise-soaked post-everything “Bliss,” which trades back and forth between minimalism and crushing riffs en route to a consuming wash and long, long, long fadeout. Released in March, the outing showcases both bands well, but one is left wondering where the connection is between the two of them that they’d come together for a joint vinyl release. Either way, I won’t detract from what they do individually, whether it’s the catchiness of “Your Law” and the jam in its second half or “Bliss” with its frost-covered expanse of tonality, it’s just a marked leap from side A to side B. Maybe that was the idea all along, and if that’s the case, then one can only say they succeeded.

Craneium on Thee Facebooks

Black Willows on Thee Facebooks

BloodRock Records on Bandcamp

 

Magmakammer, Mind Tripper

magmakammer mindtripper

Following a 2015 self-titled debut EP, Oslo trio Magmakammer align with Kozmik Artifactz for their first long-player, Mindtripper, and so effect a garage doom sound that’s quickly relatable to Uncle Acid on songs like “Fat Saturn” and the chug-shuffling “Along the Crooked Roads.” Where they distinguish themselves from this core influence, though, is in the density of their tones, as opener “Druggernaut” and the rolling “Acid Times” prove thicker in their charge. Still, there’s no mistaking that swing and the blown-out sound of the vocals. Closer “Cosmic Dancers,” which is one of two tracks over seven minutes long, shows more dynamic in its loud/quiet tradeoffs, and resolves itself in a righteous nodder of a riff. It’s essentially in the same vein, but still displaying some emerging personality of Magmakammer‘s own that one hopes they continue to develop. And in the meantime, the foundation of craft and stylistic awareness they hone is still welcome, familiar or not.

Magmakammer on Thee Facebooks

Kozmik Artifactz webstore

 

Falun Gong, Figure 2

Falun Gong Figure 2

Mystique isn’t easy to come by in this Age of Access, but the anonymous London-dwelling duo Falun Gong have succeeded in piquing interest with their two-to-date singles, “Figure 1” (review here), and the eight-minute “Figure 2,” which like its predecessor is raw in the recording, sounds like it was performed live, and follows a trance-inducing course of riffing. The central groove is a slow march that makes its way through obscure voices delivered in buried fashion — the whole thing may or may not be mastered; somehow I’m thinking not, but I’ve been wrong before — through a self-aware drift that rounds out following a soulful culmination fitting the song’s lyrical theme, which would seem to be tied to the cover art about baptism in a river’s waters. There’s just something off-kilter about Falun Gong to this point, and while it’s still early going for them, they bring an eerie persona to their work that feels less performative than it so often does.

Falun Gong on Bandcamp

 

Max Tovstyi, Mesmerize

Max Tovstyi Mesmerize

Though he’s had a slew of live outings out with the Max Tovstyi Blues Band and the Max Tovstyi Blues Association, Mesmerize (LP on Nasoni) is the Ukrainian heavy blues rocker’s first solo studio outing since 2014. He’s credited with all the instruments on the 10- or 12-track offering save for a couple arrangement-flourish guest appearances, and he pulls in a classic spirit and full-band sound without any trouble on a moody piece like “World of Sin” or the bonus track “Show Me the Way,” which isn’t a Peter Frampton cover so far as I can tell but still has plenty of guitar scorch to go around. “From the Blues to the Funk” jams its way along its stated trajectory, and “Feel Like Dying Now” brings together organ and keys in a fashion far less dramatized than one might initially think. With a clean production, Tovstyi — also known for his work in The Heavy Crawls, Lucifer Rising, and others — carries through his sentimentality for blues rock’s past and finds himself well at home leading the pack of guest vocalists on “Make Up Your Mind,” which closes the album proper with a semi-country twang and sweet melody.

Max Tovstyi on Thee Facebooks

Nasoni Records website

 

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Stinking Lizaveta Announce East Coast & Midwest Tour Dates

Posted in Whathaveyou on November 9th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

Stinking Lizaveta (Photo by Dante Torrieri)

Philadelphia’s Stinking Lizaveta head out at the end of this month on a round of touring in the Midwest and along the Eastern Seaboard supporting last year’s Journey to the Underworld (review here) on Translation Loss. They remain a one-of-a-kind outfit in underground music, adherent to style not nearly so much as to substance, and able to leap tall genres in a single bound. It’s been a while since I’ve seen them live, but their chemistry is born of a history that spans more than two decades, and simply put, they’re the kind of band who, if you can see them, you should see them. Not just because they take jazz and make it heavy, and not just because they take heavy and make it jazz, but because they take all of it and make it their own.

Go see Stinking Lizaveta.

Here’s where to do so in the coming weeks, courtesy of the PR wire:

stinking lizaveta tour poster

Stinking Lizaveta Announce Fall Tour Dates

Philadelphia instrumental heavy rock doom-jazz trio Stinking Lizaveta announce a fall tour beginning on November 30th in Lancaster, PA. For fourteen days, the trio will deliver experimental fusion in support of their 2017 mind-melting and critically acclaimed Translation Loss Records release, Journey To The Underworld.

From Lancaster, PA to Lafayette, LA, Paul Webb (Clearlight,/Mystical Crew Of Clearlight, Mountain Of Wizard will join Stinking Lizaveta on second guitar.

A list of tour dates can be found below.

For over 20 years, Stinking Lizaveta have released multiple critically acclaimed albums and shared the stage with national headlining bands such as Clutch, Corrosion of Conformity, Fugazi, Weedeater and more. They have held the reins as rock pioneers and have built a worldwide cult following for their legendary and unrelenting sound.

Late Fall US Tour
11/30/2018 Lancaster, PA, Lizard Lounge
12/02/2018 Philadelphia, PA, Mothership
12/03/2018 Richmond, VA, Strange Matter
12/04/2018 Chapel Hill, NC, Local 506
12/05/2018 Athens, GA, Caledonia
12/06/2018 Knoxville, TN, Pilot Light
12/07/2018 Chattanooga, TN, Ziggy’s
12/08/2018 New Orleans, LA, Portside Lounge
12/09/2018 Lafayette, LA, Freetown Boom Boom Room
12/10/2018 Austin, TX, Lost Well
12/12/2018 Kansas City, MO, Minibar
12/13/2018 Lombard, IL, Brauerhaus
12/14/2018 Iowa City, IA, Gabes
12/16/2018 Pittsburgh, PA, Spirit
12/17/2018 Brooklyn, NY, Saint Vitus

Stinking Lizaveta are:
Yanni Papadopoulos – Guitar
Alexi Papadopoulos – Upright electric bass
Cheshire Agusta – Drums

https://www.facebook.com/Stinking-Lizaveta-175571942466657/
http://www.stinkinglizaveta.com/
https://stinkinglizaveta.bandcamp.com
http://www.translationloss.com/
http://translationlossrecords.bigcartel.com/
https://www.facebook.com/TranslationLossRecords/

Stinking Lizaveta, Journey to the Underworld (2017)

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Jarboe Announces The Cut of the Warrior Due Dec. 14

Posted in Whathaveyou on November 6th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

jarboe

As to just how many decades ahead of her time Jarboe remains, science is still unclear. A new study published in the journal Physics postulates that in fact her work doesn’t emanate from this timeline at all, and is rather an import from another dimension. Certainly there are arguments to be made in favor of such theories, but the inarguable fact of her massive catalog speaks to more localized cosmic origins. Her work is, however, consistently unique unto itself, and she’ll add to the aforementioned discography next month by issuing The Cut of the Warrior via Translation Loss. Comprised of four songs and three remixes — a certain amount of manipulation in the material is to be expected, no? — it’s the first Jarboe outing since… last year, when she released the 4CD Artbox, which easily lived up to its title.

We go now live to the PR wire at the portal between universes:

jarboe the cut of the warrior

Jarboe announces “The Cut of the Warrior”

Translation Loss Records
December 14, 2018

Jarboe offers a spiritually enlightened work titled “The Cut of the Warrior”. Four gorgeous compositions that pull inspiration from Jarboe’s kinship to buddhism are meticulously crafted and presented. The album is armed with three alternative mixes/collaborations with Byla (featuring members of Gorguts, Dysrhythmia), End Christian and Kris Force (Amber Asylum) while being housed in a stunning layout by Dehn Sora.

“The Cut of the Warrior refers to the practice of Chöd by illustrating repeated attempts to cut through the ego”, explains Jarboe. “The Chöd practitioner seeks to tap the power of fear through activities such as rituals set in graveyards and visualizations of offering their bodies in a tantric feast in order to put their understanding of emptiness to the ultimate test.”

“The Cut of the Warrior” will be released on December 14, 2018.

Track Listing:
1. Wayfaring Stranger In The Bardo
2. GodGoddess
3. Feast
4. Karuna
5. Karuna (Byla mix)
6. Wayfaring Stranger In The Bardo (End Christian mix)
7. GodGoddess reprise (Kris Force mix)

Album credits:
Written, performed, recorded by Jarboe
Mastered by Kris Force

Album layout by Dehn Sora
Video by Monto Mccleery

https://www.thelivingjarboe.com
https://www.facebook.com/TheLivingJarboe
http://translationlossrecords.bigcartel.com/
https://translationlossrecords.bandcamp.com/

Jarboe, “Ode to V”

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Darsombra Announce West Coast Tour

Posted in Whathaveyou on October 2nd, 2018 by JJ Koczan

darsombra

I’ll in no way claim to keep up with posts on everything Darsombra do. How could I? They spend more time on the road than the entire rosters of some labels. To wit, they just wrapped a run through Southeast Asia — because of course they did — and head out in less than two weeks on their next stint, this one through the American Midwest and West Coast. I don’t know if that counts as a homecoming or not, since ostensibly they’re from Baltimore, but I guess they’ll at least have enough time to do some laundry and put gas in their van before they head out again. They just keep going. It’s astounding.

They’re still supporting 2016’s two-song LP, Polyvision (review here), but I think even more than that, they’re just supporting the idea of open creativity itself and trying to put that in front of as many people as possible. They’ll hit everyone sooner or later.

For now, here’s where they’re headed next:

darsombra US tour

Hello America!

We still have a few shows in Indonesia before we come home. Then in a couple of weeks we hit the road again. This time we’re touring the U.S. and coming to some places that we haven’t been to in a few years!

Oct 12 – Pittsburgh PA @ Black Forge
Oct 13 – Dayton OH @ Blind Bob’s
Oct 14 – Indianapolis IN @ Melody Inn
Oct 15 – Bloomington IN @ Blockhouse
Oct 16 – Peoria IL @ Peoria Pizza Works
Oct 17 – Rock Island IL @ Rock Island Supper Club
Oct 18 – Lincoln NE @ 2SMOO
Oct 19 – Laramie WY @ The Great Untamed
Oct 20 – Denver CO @ Seventh Circle Music Collective
Oct 21 – Colorado Springs CO @ Triple Nickel
Oct 26 – Flagstaff AZ @ Flagstaff Brewing Company
Oct 27 – Prescott AZ @ Mousetrap
Nov 1 – Arcata CA @ Richards’ Goat Tavern
Nov 2 – San Francisco CA @ Space Bar Headquarters
Nov 3 – Pomona CA @ 57 Underground
Nov 6 – Tucson AZ @ Galactic Center
Nov 7 – Bisbee AZ @ The Quarry Bisbee
Nov 9 – Albuquerque NM @ Sister Bar
Nov 10 – Amarillo TX @ 806
Nov 12 – Dallas TX @ RBC
Nov 13 – Oklahoma City OK @ The Root
Nov 14 – Kansas City MO @ Record Bar
Nov 15 – Topeka KS @ The Boobie Trap Bar
Nov 16 – Lawrence KS @ Replay Lounge
Nov 17 – Louisville KY @ house show
Nov 18 – Morgantown WV @ 123 Pleasant

http://facebook.com/darsombra
https://www.instagram.com/darsombra/
http://www.darsombra.com/
https://www.facebook.com/TranslationLossRecords/
https://translationlossrecords.bandcamp.com/
translationlossrecords.bigcartel.com/

Darsombra, Live in Indonesia, Sept. 18, 2018

Darsombra, Polyvisions (2016)

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A Storm of Light to Release Anthroscene Oct. 5; Post New Song “Slow Motion Apocalypse”

Posted in Whathaveyou on August 23rd, 2018 by JJ Koczan

a storm of light

New York’s A Storm of Light have set an Oct. 5 release date for their first album in a half-decade, Anthroscene. You would not necessarily call it a hopeful sound they’ve conjured on their fifth outing, and among the battery of influences that project-spearhead/vocalist/guitarist/etc.-ist/graphic-designer-extraordinaire Josh Graham namechecks in his comments below, I can definitely hear Killing Joke in opener “Prime Time,” the lyrics to which are a meditation on the self-as-celebrity social media climate and hypersaturation of the information climate in which we reside. Second cut “Blackout” asks the question in as plain language as possible: “What the fuck is wrong with us?” They’re streaming “Slow Motion Apocalypse” now, which is a fair-enough summary of the perspective as regards social commentary.

Personally, I’d say we were screwed from the moment it was decided “all men created equal” was a limited standard, but hindsight’s 20/20 and multiculturalism is still a nice idea. In the meantime, we’ll grit and grind and chip our teeth as nationalism pulls off its hey-we’re-definitely-not-fascist mask and the boots of empire trod the skulls of those who sewed them together while we all bathe in incel jizz go deaf from the volume of their shouts of blind hatred formerly disguised as pride for something they have no right to feel prideful for the first place and wait for the next flood or wildfire or both to wipe the slate clean for the next round of fucking scumbags. Make a joyful noise, assholes.

But yeah, the album. You kind of lose me quoting a dude who got outed for jacking off under his desk and who was neither that smart nor that funny to start with, but I’ll hardly disagree shit feels dire, so the point stands. If you need me, I’ll be watching PBS Newshour and crying awake in the middle of the night for no reason. No reason at all.

The album’s Blade Runner-reminiscent cover art — of course by Graham himself — and details came down the PR wire, along with the aforementioned track:

a storm of light anthroscene

STORM OF LIGHT ANNOUNCE DETAILS OF THEIR NEW ALBUM AND SHARE THE AUDIO FOR NEW ALBUM TRACK ‘SLOW MOTION APOCALYPSE’

PRE-ORDERS AT CONSOULING SOUNDS ARE NOW LIVE FOR CD & VINYL

A Storm of Light return with a new record. Five years after their last studio album (Nation To Flames, Southern Lord), Josh Graham and his companions Chris Common, Dan Hawkins and Domenic Seita have completed their fifth full length Anthroscene, to be released via Consouling Sounds (EU and UK), Translation Loss (US) and Daymare (JP) on 5th October.

Josh Graham explains the different mood on this record; “Anthroscene ignores genre and freely combines a lot our our early influences. Christian Death, The Cure, Discharge, Lard, Fugazi, Big Black, Ministry, Pailhead, Melvins, Pink Floyd, Killing Joke, NIN, Tool, etc. Where Nations to Flames was a very a focused sonic assault, this record has more time to breathe, yet still keeps the intensity intact. We allowed the songs to venture into new territory and push our personal boundaries. It’s heavy and intense, but always focuses on interwoven melodies, song structure and dynamic. Bringing Dan Hawkins (old friend and high school bandmate) on second guitar and keyboards, has further expanded the album’s palette”.

Lyrically the songs are an honest, brutal and emotional response to what is happening all around us: the disaster of American politics, racism, greed, climate change, climate change denial, nationalism, war, refugees, and how technology is actively changing us as human beings.

Josh continues… ”The current events happening across the planet right now are very overwhelming. It’s difficult not to feel very hopeless at times. This record is a big cathartic release… not offering much in the way of fixes, but serving more as a surreal document of our current times.“

With everyone being spread out across the US, the band worked separately and shared files online. From there Josh would put together modified ideas that bridged the different styles, getting a similar result to rehearsing in a room together: “This writing process is a good example of how technology is changing the way we work and interact with each other. In some ways it is great…this would have been almost impossible even ten years ago. In other ways it feels like human contact is being replaced by screen-contact. At times I feel like I am anchored to, and becoming one with the computer. Between music, my design work, composing, music videos, concert visuals, etc etc, it’s all in the computer. No escape. In the background is social media and streaming news, etc. Louis CK said something like — we watch all of these atrocities regularly on little streaming videos, and before that comes on, we see some mundane commercial, like it’s our penance for getting to watch all of this from the comforts of our home. This article was also an influence to some of the lyrics, along the same lines”.

TRACK LISTING:
1 Prime Time
2 Blackout
3 Short Term Feedback
4 Life Will Be Violent
5 Slow Motion Apocalypse
6 Dim
7 Laser Fire Forget
8 Rosebud

A STORM OF LIGHT LIVE WITH MONO
01/10 – UK Bristol, The Fleece
02/10 – UK Norwich, Arts Centre
03/10 – UK Glasgow, Classic Grand
04/10 – UK Newcastle, The Cluny
05/10 – UK Leeds, Left Bank
06/10 – BE Ghent, De Central
07/10 – NL Utrecht, Tivoli De Helling
08/10 – DE Bremen, Tower
09/10 – DE Dresden, Beatpol
10/10 – DE Wiesbaden, Schlacthof
11/10 – CH Aarau, Kiff
12/10 – FR Lyon, CCO
13/10 – ES Barcelona, AMFest
14/10 – FR Toulouse, Le Rex
15/10 – FR Bordeaux, Iboat
16/10 – FR Orleans, Astrolabe
17/10 – NL Heerlen, Nieuwe Nor
18/10 – DE Oberhausen, Drucklufthaus
19/10 – NL Leeuwarden, Into The Void
20/10 – GR Athens, Fuzz Club
22/10 – RU Moscow, Zil
23/10 – RU St. Petersburg, Zal

https://www.facebook.com/astormoflight
https://astormoflight.com/
https://astormoflightsl.bandcamp.com/
https://consouling.be/
https://www.translationloss.com/

A Storm of Light, “Slow Motion Apocalypse”

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Quarterly Review: Lucifer, Heilung, Amarok, T.G. Olson, Sun Dial, Lucid Grave, Domadora, Klandestin, Poor Little Things, Motorowl

Posted in Reviews on July 19th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

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

You know what’s disheartening? When someone goes ‘thanks dudes.’ You know, I share a review or something, the band reposts and goes ‘thanks to the crew at The Obelisk blah blah.’ What fucking crew? If I had a crew, I’d put up 10 reviews every single day of the year. “Crew.” Shit. I am the crew. In the description of this site, the very first thing it says is “One-man operation.” It’s a fucking solo-project. That’s the whole point of it. It’s like me looking at your bass and going, “Sweet guitar, thanks for the solos brah.” I’m happy people want to share links and this and that, but really? It’s been nine years. Give me a break.

Oh yeah, that’s right. Nobody gives a shit. Now I remember. Thanks for reading.

And while we’re here, please remember the numbers for these posts don’t mean anything. This isn’t a countdown. Or a countup. It’s just me keeping track of how much shit I’m reviewing. The answer is “a lot.”

Grump grump grump.

Quarterly Review #31-40:

Lucifer, Lucifer II

lucifer lucifer ii

Recorded as the trio of vocalist Johanna Sardonis (ex-The Oath), guitarist Robin Tidebrink (Saturn) and guitarist/drummer Nicke Andersson (Death Breath, ex-Entombed, ex-The Hellacopters), Lucifer’s second album, Lucifer II (on Rise Above), follows three years after its numerical predecessor, Lucifer I (review here), and marks its personnel changes with a remarkable consistency of mission. Like Mercyful Fate gone disco, the formerly-Berlin/London-now-Stockholm group bring stage-ready atmospheres to songs like “Phoenix” and the riff-led “Before the Sun,” while unleashing a largesse of hooks in “Dreamer” and the boogie-pushing “Eyes in the Sky.” “Dancing with Mr. D” brings nod to a Rolling Stones cover, and “Before the Sun” reaffirms a heavy ‘70s root in their sound. I can’t help but wonder if the doomier “Faux Pharaoh” is a sequel to “Purple Pyramid,” but either way, its thicker, darker tonality is welcome ahead of the bonus track Scorpions cover “Evening Wind,” which again demonstrates the ease with which Lucifer make established sounds their own. That’s pretty much the message of the whole album. Lucifer are a big band. Lucifer II makes the case for their being a household name.

Lucifer on Thee Facebooks

Rise Above Records webstore

 

Heilung, Lifa

heilung lifa

Lifa is the audio taken from the live video that brought Denmark’s Heilung to prominence. Captured at Castlefest in The Netherlands in last year, the impression the expansive Viking folk group made was all the more powerful with elaborate costuming, bone percussive instruments, antlers, animal-skin drums, and so on. Their debut studio album, Ofnir, came out in 2015 and like LIFA has been issued by Season of Mist, but the attention to detail and A/V experience only adds to the hypnotic tension and experimentalist edge in the material. Does it work with just the audio? Yes. The 12-minute “In Maijan” and somehow-black-metal “Krigsgaldr” maintain their trance-out-of-history aspect, and the 75-minute set blends multi-tiered melodies and goblin-voiced declarations for an impression unlike even that which Wardruna bring to bear. Whether it’s the drones of “Fylgija Futhorck” or the chants and thuds of “Hakkerskaldyr,” LIFA is striking from front to back and a cohesive, visionary work that should be heard as well as seen. But definitely seen.

Heilung on Thee Facebooks

Season of Mist website

 

Amarok, Devoured

amarok devoured

Eight years after their founding, an EP and several splits, Chico, California, atmosludge extremists Amarok make their full-length debut with Devoured on Translation Loss. If it’s been a while in the making, it’s easy enough to understand why. The album is rife with brutalist and grueling sensibilities. Comprised of just four tracks, it runs upwards of 70 minutes and brings a visceral churn to each cut, not forgetting the importance of atmosphere along the way, but definitely focused on the aural bludgeoning they’re dealing out. Tempos, duh, are excruciating, and between the screams and growls of bassist Brandon Squyres (also Cold Blue Mountain) and guitarist Kenny Ruggles – the band completed by guitarist Nathan Collins and drummer Colby ByrneAmarok make their bid for Buried at Sea levels of heft and rumble their way across a desolate landscape of their own making. Eight years to conjure this kind of punishment? Yeah, that seems about right. See you in 2026.

Amarok on Thee Facebooks

Translation Loss Records webstore

 

T.G. Olson, Ode to Lieutenant Henry

tg olson ode to lieutenant henry

Here’s a curious case: T.G. Olson, founding guitarist and vocalist of Across Tundras, is a prolific experimental singer-songwriter. His material ranges from psychedelic country to fuller-toned weirdo Americana and well beyond. He’s wildly prolific, and everything goes up on Bandcamp for a name-your-price download, mostly unannounced. It’s not there, then it is. Olson’s latest singe, Ode to Lieutenant Henry, was there, and now it’s gone. With the march of its title-track and a complementary cover of Townes van Zandt’s “Silver Ships of Andilar,” I can’t help but be curious as to where the tracks went and if they’ll be back, perhaps in some other form or as part of a different release. Both are plugged-in and coated in fuzzy tones, with Olson’s echoing vocals providing a human presence in the wide soundscape of his own making. The original is shorter than the cover, but both songs boast a signature sense of ramble that, frankly, is worth being out there. Hopefully they’re reposted at some point, either on their own as they initially were or otherwise.

Across Tundras on Thee Facebooks

T.G. Olson/Across Tundras on Bandcamp

 

Sun Dial, Science Fiction

sun dial sci fi

If space is the place, Sun Dial feel right at home in it. The long-running UK psychedelic adventurers collect two decades’ worth of soundtrack material on Science Fiction, their new release for Sulatron Records. Made with interwoven keyboard lines and a propensity to periodically boogie on “Mind Machine,” “Airlock,” “Infra Red,” etc., the experimentalist aspect of Science Fiction is all the more remarkable considering the album is compiled from different sources. One supposes the overarching cosmos is probably what brings it together, but with the samples and synth of “Saturn Return” and the lower end space-bass of pre-bonus-track closer “Starwatchers” – that bonus track, by the way, is a 15-minute version of opener “Hangar 13” – and though the vast majority of the Science Fiction relies on synth and keys to make its impression, it’s still only fair to call the proceedings natural, as the root of each one seems to be exploration. It’s okay to experiment. Nobody’s getting hurt.

Sun Dial on Thee Facebooks

Sun Dial at Sulatron Records webstore

 

Lucid Grave, Demo 2018

lucid grave demo 2018

There are three songs on Lucid Grave’s first outing, the aptly-titled Demo 2018, and the first of them is also the longest (immediate points), “Star.” It presents a curious and hard to place interpretation of psychedelic sludge rock. It is raw as a demo worthy of its name should be, and finds vocalist Malene Pedersen (also Lewd Flesh) echoing out to near-indecipherable reaches atop the feedback-addled riffing. Quite an introduction, to say the least. The subsequent “Desert Boys” is more subdued at the start but gets furious at the end, vocals spanning channels in an apparent call and response atop increasingly intense instrumental thrust. And as for “Ride the Hyena?” If I didn’t know better – and rest assured, I don’t – I’d call it doom. I’m not sure what the hell the København five-piece are shooting for in terms of style, but I damn sure want to hear what they come up with next so I can find out. Consider me enticed. And accordingly, one can’t really accuse Demo 2018 of anything other than doing precisely what it’s supposed to do.

Lucid Grave on Thee Facebooks

Lucid Grace on Bandcamp

 

Domadora, Lacuna

domadora lacuna

Comprised of four-tracks of heavy psychedelic vibes led by the scorch-prone guitar of Belwil, Domadora’s third album, Lacuna, follows behind 2016’s The Violent Mystical Sukuma (discussed here) and taps quickly into a post-Earthless league of instrumentalism on opener “Lacuna Jam.” That should be taken as a compliment, especially as regards the bass and drums of Gui Omm and Karim Bouazza, respectively, who hold down uptempo grooves there and roll along with the more structured 14-minute cut “Genghis Khan” that follows. Each of the album’s two sides is comprised of a shorter track and a longer one, and there’s plenty of reach throughout, but more than expanse, even side B’s “Vacuum Density” and “Tierra Last Homage” are more about the chemistry between the band members – Angel Hidalgo Paterna rounds out on organ – than about crafting a landscape. Fortunately for anyone who’d take it on, the Parisian unit have plenty to offer when it comes to that chemistry.

Domadora on Thee Facebooks

Domadora on Bandcamp

 

Klandestin, Green Acid of Last Century

klandestin green acid of last century

That’s a big “fuck yes, thank you very much” for the debut album from Indonesian stoner metallers Klandestin. Green Acid of the Last Century arrives courtesy of Hellas Records and is THC-heavy enough that if they wanted to, they could probably add “Bong” to the band’s name and it would be well earned. Eight tracks, prime riffs, watery vocals, dense fuzz, stomp, plod, lumber, shuffle – it’s all right there in homegrown dosage, and for the converted, Green Acid of the Last Century is nothing short of a worship ceremony, for the band itself as well as for anyone taking it on. With the march of “Doomsday,” the unmitigated rollout of “Black Smoke,” and the swirling green aurora of “The Green Aurora,” Klandestin wear their holding-back-a-cough riffage as a badge of honor, and couldn’t be any less pretentious about it if they tried. From the hooded weedian on the cover art to the Sleepy nod of closer “Last Century,” Green Acid of Last Century telegraphs its intent front-to-back, and is all the more right on for it.

Klandestin on Thee Facebooks

Hellas Records on Bandcamp

 

Poor Little Things, Poor Little Things

poor little things poor little things

You get what you pay for with “Rock’n’Roller,” which leads off the self-titled debut EP from Bern, Switzerland-based Poor Little Things. Around the core duo of vocalist Tina Jackson and multi-instrumentalist Dave “Talon” Jackson (also of Australia’s Rollerball) on guitar, bass, synth and percussion is Talon’s The Marlboro Men bandmate Fernando Marlboro on drums, and together the band presents five tracks of remember-when-rock-rocked-style groove. Fueled by ‘70s accessibility and a mentality that seems to be saying it’s okay to play big rooms, like arenas, cuts like “Drive” seem prime for audience participation, and “Break Another Heart” gives a highlight performance from Tina while “About Love” showcases a more laid back take. They close with the 6:37 “Street Cheetah,” which struts appropriately, and end with a percussive finish on a fadeout repeating the title line. As a showcase of their style and songwriting chops, Poor Little Things shows significant promise, sure, but it’s also pretty much already got everything it needs for a full-length album.

Poor Little Things on Thee Facebooks

Poor Little Things on Bandcamp

 

Motorowl, Atlas

motorowl atlas

Every now and then you put on a record and it’s way better than you expect. Hello, Motorowl’s Atlas. The German troupe’s second for Century Media, it takes the classic stylizations of their 2016 debut, Om Generator, and pushes them outward into a vast sea of organ-laced progressive heavy, soaring in vocal melodies and still modern despite drawing from an array of decades past. The chug in “The Man Who Rules the World” would be metal for most bands, but on Atlas, it becomes part of a broader milieu, and sits easily next to the expansive title-track, as given to post-rocking airiness in the guitar as to synth-laden prog. That mixture of influences and aesthetics would be enough to give the five-piece an identity of their own, but Atlas is further characterized by Motorowl’s ambitious songwriting and benefits greatly from the melodic arrangements and the clear intention toward creative development at work here. Those who take on its seven-track/45-minute journey will find it dynamic, spacious and heavy in kind.

Motorowl on Thee Facebooks

Motorowl at Century Media website

 

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A Storm of Light Announce New Album Anthroscene

Posted in Whathaveyou on June 22nd, 2018 by JJ Koczan

Hard to believe it’s been five years since the last album from A Storm of Light came out. That record was Nations to Flames on Southern Lord and their new one, dubbed Anthroscene in a clever play on the you-are-here era of planetary extinction in which we currently live, will be out via Consouling Sounds in Europe and Translation Loss in the States this Fall as the band get ready to tour overseas with Mono. It’s a pretty significant run that starts in the UK and ends in Russia, but of course A Storm of Light will be up to the task. In addition to frontman Josh Graham‘s work on graphics for Neurosis, Soundgarden, and a host of others, they’ve always kept plenty busy on the road.

Info and dates follow from the PR wire:

a storm of light

A STORM OF LIGHT ARE BACK WITH A NEW ALBUM TO BE RELEASED IN TIME FOR LIVE DATES WITH MONO THIS OCTOBER

A Storm of Light return with news of a new record. Five years after their last studio album (Nation To Flames, Southern Lord), Josh Graham and his companions Chris Common, Dan Hawkins and Domenic Seita have been working on their fifth full length Anthroscene which shall be released via Consouling Sounds (EU and UK) and Translation Loss (US) this Autumn.

A Storm Of Light will be presenting their new album across Europe in October, performing alongside Mono – see the list of dates below.

A STORM OF LIGHT LIVE WITH MONO
01/10 – UK Bristol, The Fleece
02/10 – UK Norwich, Arts Centre
03/10 – UK Glasgow, Classic Grand
04/10 – UK Newcastle, The Cluny
05/10 – UK Leeds, Left Bank
06/10 – BE Ghent, De Central
07/10 – NL Utrecht, Tivoli De Helling
08/10 – DE Bremen, Tower
09/10 – DE Dresden, Beatpol
10/10 – DE Wiesbaden, Schlacthof
11/10 – CH Aarau, Kiff
12/10 – FR Lyon, CCO
13/10 – ES Barcelona, AMFest
14/10 – FR Toulouse, Le Rex
15/10 – FR Bordeaux, Iboat
16/10 – FR Orleans, Astrolabe
17/10 – NL Heerlen, Nieuwe Nor
18/10 – DE Oberhausen, Drucklufthaus
19/10 – NL Leeuwarden, Into The Void
20/10 – GR Athens, Fuzz Club
22/10 – RU Moscow, Zil
23/10 – RU St. Petersburg, Zal

https://www.facebook.com/astormoflight
https://astormoflight.com/
https://astormoflightsl.bandcamp.com/
https://consouling.be/
https://www.translationloss.com/

A Storm of Light, Nations to Flames (2013)

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