Posted in Reviews on October 17th, 2016 by H.P. Taskmaster
If you want to look at the trajectory of Swedish heavy rockers Truckfighters, it’s easy to read their catalog as a series of forward steps. There is a clear narrative arc to their work that can be traced right to its latest chapter in their new offering, V. Their 2005 debut, Gravity X, boasts a few tracks that even 11 years later tap into a timeless imperative of desert rock. It established them as a noteworthy presence within the sphere of European fuzz and set in motion a touring and promotion ethic that has gone largely unmatched within that sphere.
Working as a four-piece for Phi in 2007, the Örebro-based outfit began to branch out, but it was with 2009’s Mania (review here) that their progressive side really first showed itself as the path they would follow in songwriting. They hit the road hard in the years that followed, released a feature-length documentary, and began a seemingly endless round of changes in lineup, with the core duo of vocalist/bassist Oskar “Ozo” Cedermalm, guitarist Niklas “Dango” Källgren joined by an ongoing succession of drummers. On 2014’s Universe (review here), which was preceded by the EP The Chairman in 2013 and followed earlier this year by Live in London (review here), it was Andre “Poncho” Kvarnström, now of Blues Pills. For V, it’s Daniel “El Danno” Israelsson of Dexter Jones’ Circus Orchestra taking up the call, though my understanding is he too is already out of the band.
These shifts around Cedermalm and Källgren seem to have done little to ultimately slow the progression or momentum of Truckfighters, who as well as being one of the heavy underground’s most kinetic live acts have established one of its most immediately identifiable sounds — you know when you’re listening to Truckfighters — have taken another step forward in inking a deal with Century Media for the distributing of the seven-track/47-minute V, licensing through their own Fuzzorama Records, which has been home to each of their prior outings. A shift in profile, if not necessarily aesthetic, but noteworthy all the same in showing the multi-tiered evolution of the band, whose songcraft continues to grow as well. To listen to V front to back from opener and longest track (immediate points) “Calm Before the Storm” to the finisher “Storyline,” the larger portion of what the trio does in the span will be recognizable to those who heard Universe.
Certainly, in tone, their penchant for fuzz has remained consistent. It’s what they do with that fuzz that has changed over time, and a steady development in vocal confidence from Cedermalm combined with an increased comfort with complex modes of expression overall, which on the first two albums simply wasn’t there and in hindsight was only beginning to emerge on Mania, that results in such fluidity throughout V. Credit in setting the mood has to go to “Calm Before the Storm” as well. While V has plenty of upbeat moments of push in “Hackshaw,” “The 1,” “Gehenna,” and “Fiend” — and indeed the opener increases thrust as it builds through its hook — “Calm Before the Storm” is an especially bold choice to lead off for its brooding sensibility, which seems to find complement and emphasis even in the most raucous of moments that immediately follow, be it the winding chorus of “Hackshaw” or the thick-fuzzed push that begins “The 1.”
To an extent, this was true of Universe as well, and with half as much time between Universe and V as there was between Mania and Universe, it’s not surprising the two would share some characteristics, whatever Truckfighters have been through over the last couple years. But the scope has once again broadened, and one can hear that in how smoothly centerpiece “Gehenna” ebbs and flows, how the momentum of “The 1” seems to subside only to rise again, in the melodic reach of the chorus to “The Contract,” which might be V‘s standout moment, and in the poise with which Truckfighters claim such breadths and depths as their own. As much of their persona — which is not to say “brand” — is defined by onstage acrobatics, Källgren‘s madman energy running back and forth, jumping up and down, spinning in circles, etc., on record they seem even more daring how deeply they plunge into contemplative stretches.
The verse to “The Contract” is spacious, the bridge in the second half of “Hackshaw” dizzying but precisely executed, and the interplay of acoustic and electric guitar in “Storyline” a new level of emotional crux entirely. That Truckfighters can be patient and that band who are such a force in a live setting, and that they can ultimately do so without contradicting themselves and having their foundation collapse under them, makes them all the more special as a group contributing to the expansion of their genre. Even the subtlety that shows itself in the midsection of “Fiend,” teasing those acoustics that play a more prominent role after the blown-out push that starts “Storyline,” stands as an example of the delicate balance Truckfighters strike.
And though they then seem to delight in stomping all over that balance, it emerges unscathed. It might be fair to call this the triumph within V itself were it not for the level of songwriting Cedermalm and Källgren bring forth. Fifteen years on from their first getting together and with countless miles under their collective belt, they’ve become one of heavy rock’s most crucial teams, and more encouragingly, while they’ve clearly established a working modus, they refuse to sit still from one release to the next, to rest on past laurels, or to give in to the expectations of others. It is a rare band who, five albums in, can remain defined by their forward potential, and Truckfighters have worked hard to hold true to that reality.
Posted in Whathaveyou on September 28th, 2016 by H.P. Taskmaster
The final addition to the lineup for Up in Smoke 2016, which starts this Friday at Z7 in Pratteln, Switzerland? Camping space. Namely the floor of the venue, which will be cleaned after the last band finishes each night so that fest goers can grab their sleeping bags and bed down for the night, only to find breakfast waiting when they roll back to consciousness the next morning. I’ve never slept on a venue floor before. That would be a new one. But provided they get the beer/other fluids up, which I’ve no doubt they’ll be able to do because it’s Switzerland and things like that increase the likelihood that anyone gives a shit about what they’re doing, it seems like a cool way to achieve total immersion in a festival atmosphere. I’ve never gone camping either, though, so don’t necessarily take my word as an expert or anything.
With the festival’s most massive lineup yet, Up in Smoke 2016 kicks off this Friday. A new trailer for the fest with some 1000mods in it has been posted and you can find that under the camping info and complete billing below:
SOUND OF LIBERATION and Z7 KONZERTFABRIK PRATTELN proudly present the 4th edition of UP IN SMOKE INDOOR FESTIVAL on September 30th and October 1st 2016! Musical Highlights include Electric Wizard, Yob, Truckfighters, Pentagram and many many more.
Many of you asked for the chance to sleep over in the venue, like we offered in the last editions. Here´s the procedure:
After the last band is done playing, we will go on partying with Dj music for another hour. Then afterwards, we will ask everybody to step out of the main hall for a few minutes. The floor will be cleaned and covered with a sheet so that the place gets clean for all our “in site – campers”. If you want to sleep over in the venue, you should bring your sleeping bag and camping mat. Upon your arrival on the festival site you can store your belongings in the wardrobe and get it back for the night.
In the morning, we will offer you a nice breakfast with coffee/tea, bread and breadrolls, meat and cheese and sweet stuff to get you in shape for the next festival day! The price for sleep over and breakfast is 15.- CHF per person/night. There´s no option of separate bookings like ” only sleep over and no breakfast” or “only breakfast”.
Up in Smoke 2016 Final Line Up Electric Wizard Pentagram Truckfighters YOB Elder Greenleaf Monkey 3 Cough Black Cobra 1000mods Yawning Man Fatso Jetson Dyse Wucan Desert Mountain Tribe Giobia High Fighter Mother’s Cake Ephedra
Also not to forget: No overlapping set times, sleep over/breakfast possibiity in the venue + some more specials to be announced soon to sweeten you the “TWO NOT TO BE MISSED DAYS OF VOLUME WORSHIP” !!! Grab your ticket (2-day passes) right now on our website, on www.z-7.ch and on our Facebook (tab ‘Buy Tickets’). If you prefer to buy an original, real hard-ticket, our partner Woolheads is selling them!
I slept. I slept and slept and slept. Then I wrote. Then I slept more. Then I wrote more, and by the time I was done with all that writing and sleeping, it was almost the start of Høstsabbat‘s second night. An earlier launch and more bands, but still a lineup of unmistakable quality, I didn’t want to miss any of it.
I’d hardly call myself an expert on the place, but Oslo seems like a really cool town if you like bands. On the 10-minute walk from the hotel to the Arena Vulkan I passed no fewer than three places that looked like they might host a rock show on any given night. Maybe that doesn’t sound like that many, depending on where you live, but it’s an embrace of culture that doesn’t exist in the place I’m from. Again, no expert, but that’s the initial impression.
Before I jump into the wrap of the day, I want to extend a personal thanks to Ole Helstad, Jens Storaker and all involved with the festival for having me over. The chance to see Oslo at all and to see these bands in this place is something very special and they clearly believe in what they’re doing. Rightly so. The vibe throughout the weekend was fantastic and I went almost the whole show without having beer thrown on me, so mark it a win for sure. Skål.
Here’s how night two went down at Høstsabbat 2016:
Post-sludge played through three guitars (plus bass) geared toward general tonal push, Reptile Master were an aggressive start to the day. I remembered the band from the release of their 2015 debut, In the Light of a Sinking Sun (track stream here), on Blues for the Red Sun Records, but live, the Tromsø five-piece made much more of an impression, bassist Rolf Ole Rydeng Jenssen and guitarist Nicolay Tufte Østvold set up facing each other with their mic stands crossed so as to accentuate the dual screams that permeated their set. They also had a split with Black Moon Circle out earlier this year, but their sound is much more crushing in its atmosphere, holding a tension even in its quiet moments without coming across as a post-metallic Neurosis clone. In that, the general pissed off nature of the material served them well as a distinguishing factor that changed the context even of those quiet moments, and the nod factor only became more prevalent as they went on. They’ve clearly started to make a mark in Norway, if the early crowd was anything to judge by.
It was my first exposure to Dublin’s Wild Rocket, whose debut album, Geomagnetic Hallucinations, came out in 2014. Much as the night before at Høstsabbat had shifted vibe almost on a per-band basis, they were a significant jump in style from what Reptile Master had on offer, trading off between driving heavy rock and more spaced impulses, like that moment when the song “Motorhead” became the band Motörhead. About 25 minutes into their set opening the Vulkan stage upstairs, they announced it was time for their last song, warning, “It’s kind of a long one.” Fair enough. More people came up as their time went on — it was early yet — and they very clearly turned a few heads, including mine, with that final space jam, seeming to push further out in a way that recalled to my mind some of Death Alley‘s post-Hawkwind cosmic triumphs, though in the case of Wild Rocket, the interstellar was even more of a factor with the inclusion of keys. Their set still wound up short at roughly 35 minutes, but it was a welcome sampling of what they’re about, and their energy was infectious.
Arguably the most impressive headbanging I saw all weekend came from Mammoth Storm bassist/vocalist Daniel Arvidsson, and there was some stiff competition. The Swedish four-piece rolled out huge, clunky riffs on the Pokalen stage in a spirit that found them aptly named. They weren’t far off from what Reptile Master were doing tonally, but ultimately less angry, less atmospheric, and more about the heft itself than the cathartic expression derived therefrom. Still, they were way into it. Formerly a trio, they were on tour earlier this summer with High Fighter and Earthship, and the Høstsabbat crowd seemed to be the beneficiary of that experience. Their first album, Fornjot, was issued late last year by Napalm Records, and while they seemed to be figuring out some elements of presentation, no question they had their direction sorted, all skull-pummel and unrelenting push. Heavy band playing heavy music, is the bottom line. It was an easy set to enjoy and another jump to a different style from the band before them; that once again would become something of a running theme throughout the night.
To wit, Kollwitz. Quite simply a band I’d probably never get the chance to see anywhere else, the Bodø six-piece proffered vicious post-metal with a hardcore edge, the intensity of Converge met with the strict chug and strobe lighting of Amenra. They had the most crowded stage of the festival, but still plenty of room upstairs at the Arena Vulkan to thrash around, and they took advantage of it, their motion tied to the undulating lumber of their songs. They were another band I’d never heard before, which was by design — that is, I knew they were playing and could’ve checked them out, but sometimes it’s fun to go into these things blind — but they hit the decade mark in 2016 and came across with the command of an experienced act. Rarer for acts of their ilk, their material had a kind of direct thrust, and even when they did drone out an ambient section, quieting down all that push, percussion, screams, keys, and so on, it was plain enough that it was a temporary situation before the assault began anew. In accordance with the tenets of the style, they were cerebral and bludgeoning in kind. There’s nothing else I would’ve asked of them.
Jeremy Irons and the Ratgang Malibus
Shit they were good. Come over from Stockholm, Jeremy Irons and the Ratgang Malibus were among the bands I was most looking forward to seeing this weekend, and they were quick to justify that anticipation. Most of what they played came from 2014’s Spirit Knife (review here), and that was zero reason to complain as they nestled into the classic groove and modern energy of “Wind Seized” after the opening cut “Andra,” which may or may not have been new. They’d get more tripped out as they went on, vocalist/guitarist Karl Apelmo — whose voice sounds even better live — leading the charge with guitarist Micke Pettersson, bassist Viktor Källgren and drummer Henke Persson all on the same page, fluid and vibrant. They tapped into four decades’ worth of Swedish heavy rock without losing sight of their own personality, and their play between the boogie of ages and a modern soulfulness was exceedingly well met, especially with the psychedelic range that emerged later on with “Fog by the Steep” and “Point Growth” closing out. How they’re not playing every single festival this fall, or, you know, all the time, I have no idea. Excellent band, and clearly still growing as well. Put them on the road with Radio Moscow immediately.
Sweden’s Siena Root have been making the festival rounds across Europe over the last several months while working on a follow-up to their 2014 album, Pioneers. Next month, they’ll play Smoke the Fuzz in Athens, and they’re veterans of the likes of Freak Valley, Dome of Rock and so on. I said on the social medias that seeing Siena Root took some of the sting out of knowing I’d never get to watch peak-era Deep Purple play live, and while that’s perhaps simplifying their appeal, I think the comparison holds up, with the classic ’70s vibe Siena Root bring to life in their songs, costumes and delivery, the focus on interplay between the organ of Erik “Errka” Petersson (the only full organ setup on either stage at Høstsabbat) and the guitar of Matte Gustavsson, and the powerhouse vocals of Samuel Björö, the robe-clad guru bass from Sam Riffer and the swing-ready drumming of Love Forsberg. They were unabashed fun, all-in, and a pro execution that wasn’t at all staid. So genuine were they in their performance that it made me think it might be time to start considering Siena Root in the same league as Spiritual Beggars when it comes to crafting their songs and representing a natural lineage to the birth of heavy.
They were the one. Slomatics. The headliners for the Pokalen stage were the band I was most dying to see all weekend, and the disappointment factor was zero. The Belfast trio of guitarists David Majury and Chris Couzens and drummer/vocalist/noisemaker Marty Harvey rolled out some of Høstsabbat‘s most satisfying riffs, and with a set spanning back to 2012’s A Hocht for “Tramontane,” “Return to Kraken” and closer “Beyond Acid Canyon,” and included “Electric Breath” and “Supernothing” from this year’s stellar Future Echo Returns (review here) as well as a host of cuts from 2014’s Estron (review here), they crashed, bashed and rumbled so loudly and so righteously that when it came to it, I just couldn’t remove myself from the front of the stage. Not only that, I did something I hadn’t done the entire time at the Arena Vulkan, which was to remove my earplugs part-way and let the full brunt of the volume hit my eardrums directly. That, I soon enough realized, was a mistake, but even so, the fact that the impulse was there should say something. Slomatics don’t get out of Ireland much, so to have them in Oslo was something special, and their performance showed it. A joy of ultra-heavy revelry. It was reportedly their first time playing “Supernothing” live, and I felt ridiculously lucky to be there to witness it. They’re the reason my neck is sore today. Don’t even care.
Very much the headliners for the fest as a whole. Immediately. No warmup. All go. The Swedish fuzzdudes left nothing to mystery as to why they were atop the bill. No place else to put them, frankly. They played in front of a banner so huge that it didn’t fit the Vulkan stage and all you could see from the crowd was the word “TRUCK,” but that was enough to get the point across. I’d had the good fortune earlier in the evening to sit and interview bassist/vocalist Oskar “Ozo” Cedermalm about the band’s new album, V (review pending), and some of the growth the group has undertaken over their last couple records, the push past straightforward desert-style groove into more progressive territory, and something I wondered about was how they would continue to strike that balance onstage when it comes to songs like “Calm Before the Storm” from the latest record. The answer is basically they just do. Cedermalm still headbangs, guitarist Niklas “Dango” Källgren is as kinetic as ever, jumping in circles, running from one side to the other of the stage, generally playing the madman role and doing it well. They had a new drummer — Marcus was the name I got, if he has a last name or a Truckfighters-style nickname, I don’t know it — who will reportedly be one of two joining them on their Euro tour this fall, and from what I hear they’ll be back in the US in spring, but the gist of watching a Truckfighters set is the excitement of how much they put into playing their songs, and whether they’re fast or slow, upbeat or melancholy, that continues to be the case. I stuck around to the finish because not only were they killing it, but the setlist didn’t have “Desert Cruiser” written on it — though they did include “Mexico,” which was a nice touch — and I was curious to see if they could actually get away with not playing that song, ending instead with “The Chairman” from 2014’s Universe (review here). They wound up using it for an encore, closing out the evening and the Høstsabbat as a whole with a sing-along of the chorus that continued even after they left the stage. I’m not sure a more suitable ending would’ve been possible.
It was right after they finished that some dick behind me decided to launch the rest of his beer into the crowd. Jerk move, but a great set, and I wasn’t exactly fresh and clean as it was by that point. I’d been watching the end of the show with the Slomatics guys, and said a few goodnights before making my way out. Always sad to walk out of an even like this for the last time, knowing that it’s over, but this was a special time and a special event, and those things have a tendency to be fleeting. All the more reason to treasure the memories of them.
Thanks again to everyone involved for having me over. I am humbled by the experience and deeply, deeply grateful for the opportunity. I wouldn’t presume to think I would be, but if I was invited again, I’d be here in a flash.
Flight takes off bound for JFK Airport via Copenhagen in about two hours. I very much appreciate you reading and know full well that if you didn’t, I wouldn’t get to do awesome stuff like fly to a festival in Oslo for a weekend, so thank you, thank you, thank you.
Posted in Whathaveyou on September 12th, 2016 by H.P. Taskmaster
With the final addition of Cough, the lineup for Desertfest Athens 2016 is complete. The fest is set for Oct. 7 and 8 — less than a month from now — and Cough join the bill as they’ll be on tour at the time with Elder (dates here) supporting their new album, Still They Pray (review here), which was released by Relapse.
The roster of bands they join, including Red Fang and Greek forerunners 1000mods, whose new song “The Son” you can hear below (more to come on that album), is ridiculously strong, and seems to draw from the history of Desertfest itself in various ways, Steak representing London’s incarnation, Colour Haze that of Berlin (though they’re from Munich), and really any number of these acts the Belgian edition. It’s a great mix that does well to represent its home country as well in Automaton (who’ll be joined by Dr. Space himself), Sadhus, and the aforementioned 1000mods.
Looks like a great show, and particularly as it’s the first one, I wish them all the best of luck with it.
Final announcement and lineup follow:
Doom/Sludge masters COUGH joining the bill for Desertfest Athens 2016 1st edition!
This is the full line up for the 1st ever Desertfest Athens!
Red Fang 1000mods Pentagram Torche Colour Haze Truckfighters My Sleeping Karma Karma to Burn Elder Cough Black Rainbows House of Broken Promises Steak Beggars Sadhus Black Hat Bones Automaton with Dr. Space We Own the Sky
Enjoy desert army!
After London, Berlin and Antwerp, the Desertfest franchise is keeping up its conquest of Europe by launching the very first Greek edition of the famous stoner, doom and psych festival. DESERTFEST ATHENS will take place over the second weekend of October, as a sister event of the autumnal Belgium edition.
Over the years, DESERTFEST has become one of the most popular events in Europe for everything heavy, stoner, doom and psyche. “Made by fans for the fans”, the festival gathers thousands of people from across the globe each year by hosting the finest headliners, while also constantly stretching the limits of its own niche with dozens of quality live acts throughout a weekend. Nurturing a friendly atmosphere since the very beginning, DESERTFEST is a urban festival that has won the loyalty of heavy music lovers, so expect your Greek holiday to be a unique and memorable music and human experience!
Swedish fuzz forerunners Truckfighters will release their fifth album, V, on Sept. 30 through their own Fuzzorama Records in conjunction with Century Media. The trio of vocalist/bassist Oskar “Ozo” Cedermalm, guitarist Niklas “Dango” Källgren and drummer Daniel “El Danno” Israelsson begin the record with “Calm Before the Storm,” and it’s a track that emphasizes the kind of duality that has come to take root in the band’s approach.
On the one hand, you have their stage show. Truckfighters live are like the human embodiment of an exclamation point. They are rightly known for holding nothing back: zero irony, all-in, 100 percent go. I’ve seen them play and been exhausted afterwards just from watching.
On the other hand, you have their albums. Really since 2009’s staggering Mania (review here), but certainly even more on 2014’s Universe (review here), the songcraft of Cedermalm and Källgren has taken on an increasing scope in texture and emotion. It’s true on V as well that while they still have their raucous moments, they’re just as likely to bring out a melancholy progressive feel, and no less at home in doing so.
“Calm Before the Storm” — its video with an oddly and offputtingly violent narrative — starts V and is the longest track on it (immediate points), and I think it emphasizes what I’m talking about pretty well in terms of the band Truckfighters have become and the multifaceted aspects of their approach. They will, of course, tour heavily to support the new long-player, and you can find the dates for that run under the video below.
Truckfighters, “Calm Before the Storm” official video
YEAHHH the new video for “Calm before the Storm” is out!
The new album “V” will be released worldwide through Fuzzorama in cooperation with Century Media Records on September 30th, 2016.
Naturally we will hit the road again to play an extensive European tour following the new album release. Support bands for first half will be We Hunt Buffalo and Witchrider, and the second half it will be Deville and Dot Legacy. Here are the tour dates confirmed so far:
20.10.2016 Berlin (Germany) – SO36 21.10.2016 Chemnitz (Germany) – AJZ 22.10.2016 Vienna (Austria) – Fuzzfest 23.10.2016 Munich (Germany) – Backstage Halle 25.10.2016 Milan (Italy) – Lo-Fi 27.10.2016 Bologna (Italy) – Freakout 28.10.2016 Puget (France) – Le Rats 29.10.2016 Bron (France) – Le Jack Jack 02.11.2016 Bilbao (Spain) – Stage Live 03.11.2016 Barcelona (Spain) – Razz 3 04.11.2016 Madrid (Spain) – Chango 05.11.2016 Lisbon (Portugal) – Stairway Club 06.11.2016 Porto (Portugal) – Cave 45 09.11.2016 Amsterdam (The Netherlands) – Melkweg Oude Zaal 10.11.2016 Groningen (The Netherlands) – Vera 11.11.2016 Tilburg (The Netherlands) – O13 12.11.2016 Hengelo (The Netherlands) – Metropool 25.11.2016 Cologne (Germany) – Underground 04.12.2016 Birmingham (UK) – Rainbow 05.12.2016 Glasgow (UK) – King Tuts 06.12.2016 Nottingham (UK) – Rescue Rooms 07.12.2016 Bristol (UK) – Thekla 08.12.2016 Manchester (UK) – Ruby Lounge 09.12.2016 London (UK) – Islington Academy 10.12.2016 Brighton (UK) – Green Door Store 27.12.2016 Hamburg (Germany) – Sankt Hell Festival
Posted in Whathaveyou on July 11th, 2016 by H.P. Taskmaster
Høstsabbat 2016 is set for Sept. 16 and 17 at Vulkan Arena in Oslo, Norway. Already confirmed at the top of the current bill are Conan and Truckfighters, and newly announced as joining are UK drone improvisationalists Bong, Swedish heavy psych rockers Jeremy Irons and the Ratgang Malibus, French blackened metallers Cult of Occult and native Norwegian heavy rockers Day of the Jackalope. That’s a pretty wide spectrum for a single round of fest additions to cover, but as Høstsabbat has grown over the past couple years, it’s only broadened its stylistic reach, though it seems fair to use “heavy” as a kind of universally applicable umbrella for what’s on offer.
To wit, the full lineup and new band announcements below:
September 16 – September 17 Vulkan Arena Vulkan 26, 0175 Oslo, Norway
Conan Truckfighters BONG Siena Root Cult of Occult Jeremy Irons & the Ratgang Malibus Kollwitz Mammoth Storm Slomatics Reptile Master WILD ROCKET MaidaVale Day of the Jackalope
It’s been a long time coming, but we’re finally set to announce four new acts for this years edition of Høstsabbat.
First out, and for the first time in Norway, the British masters of droning doom; BONG. They’re back after a brief hiatus and returning in their original state as a power trio.
Solemn in its delivery and frightening in its implications, as masters of mesmeric drone, freeing listeners from the increasingly unfamiliar material world and mercifully trapping them in the weightlessness of Bong’s sonic void.
Expect the same Amon Duul, Ash Ra Temple Improvisational basslines, glacial tempo and crushing guitar fuzz drone tones.
Cult of Occult
Concealed from the view of the moribund mass of humanity, hidden in the darkness of the gates of Hell, waiting to spread the evil sound of the extermination of life is the most powerful and misanthropic force; Cult of Occult.
Fed by hatred, loudness and alcohol, the four headed monster of Apocalypse will destroy everything on its way with its unwavering wall of sound. Like the scream of Satan himself, the rising trio Cult of Occult, will make another first time appearance in the North.
Jeremy Irons & the Ratgang Malibus
From our beloved neighbor in the East, another Ratgang has emerged from its extremely vibrant scene. Jeremy Irons & the Ratgang Malibus rides the astral wave of psychedelic-progressive-desert rock, firmly rooted in the 70’s.
This band is the musical, northwest passage between classic rock and the unholy spirit of Pink Floyd.
They have been around, brimming in the underground for quite some time. Releasing albums on Transubstans and Small Stone Records, playing festivals such as Freak Valley and Desertfest, we’re surely in for a treat at Høstsabbat.
Day of the Jackalope
The last year, Day of the Jackalope has become a name on everyone’s lips, who’s following the underground scene in Norway. Filled with energy and groove, fusing old school 70’s bluesy rock ‘n’ roll with modern stoner rock, Day of the Jackalope are ready to get it on. Having existed for years with changing lineups in various rehearsal spaces, the band is now finally complete, the debut EP is out to rave reviews, and Day of the Jackalope is hitting the stage. Taking inspiration from bands like Led Zeppelin, Black Sabbath, Clutch, Church of Misery and the ever imminent collapse of human civilization, Day of the Jackalope invites you into their universe. It is a fuzzy and warm place of dark and confusing lyrical landscapes, screaming guitars and thumping rhythms.
Posted in Whathaveyou on July 7th, 2016 by H.P. Taskmaster
One never knows at the start what a day will bring. Today, Swedish fuzz forerunners Truckfighters announce that they’ve signed to Century Media and they’ll release their new album, V, through the label in conjunction with their own Fuzzorama Records on Sept. 30. The signing is a surprise, not because either of the quality of Truckfighters‘ work or the diligent road time they’ve put in over the last decade, but because they’ve been so committed to self-releasing over that same period of time, right up to their 2016 live album, Live in London (review here), which came out just weeks ago.
And what does this mean for the rest of the bands on Fuzzorama? Is it a deal for the whole label? Select acts? Remains to be seen, but either way, it’s a quicker turnaround to V from Truckfighters‘ last studio outing, 2014’s Universe (review here), and word of a new record is most certainly welcome.
From the PR wire:
TRUCKFIGHTERS sign deal with Century Media Records!
The mighty TRUCKFIGHTERS’ own label, Fuzzorama Records, and Century Media Records team up to floor the gas and fuzz pedal. The Örebro, Sweden based band was formed in 2001 by Oskar “Ozo” Cedermalm (vocals & bass) and Niklas “Dango” Källgren (guitar). Since that time, they have released four studio albums and several more releases through their own label Fuzzorama Records – including the 2011 DVD documentary (Fuzzomentary) featuring guests such as Josh Homme (Queens Of The Stone Age) and more friends from bands Kyuss, Fu Manchu, Witchcraft, Graveyard and more.
“Signing to Century Media Records is like kicking in the fuzz pedal with all knobs turned to 11 – maximum energy, maximum output and totally out of control!”, comments the band.
The new album “V” will be released worldwide through Fuzzorama in cooperation with Century Media Records on September 30th, 2016. To celebrate the band’s 15th anniversary and nearly 700 shows around the world, we’ve created a new website which allows fans to mark a TRUCKFIGHTERS show they have attended in the past. All gig dates and the names of the fans who sign in and mark their show will be printed in the special edition of the album. To join in and find more info please head over tohttp://truckfighters.centurymedia.com.
Shortly after the album release, the TRUCKFIGHTERS will hit the road again to play an extensive European tour. Exact tour dates and further plans to play the rest of the world will be announced soon. Expect something big. Super fuzz big!
TRUCKFIGHTERS is: Oskar “Ozo” Cedermalm (vocals & bass) Niklas “Dango” Källgren (guitar) Daniel “El Danno” Israelsson (drums)
[Watch the full-length video version of Truckfighters’ Live in London by clicking play above. 2LP/CD out June 24 on Fuzzorama Records.]
Seems fair to say Truckfighters‘ quest for global fuzz-laden domination has been successful. The Örebro, Sweden-based trio formed in 2001 and particularly since the release of their 2005 full-length debut, Gravity X (discussed here), they’ve put in nearly unparalleled road time as one of the hardest working bands in heavy rock, European or otherwise. Releasing through their own Fuzzorama Records imprint, burning through drummers at a Spinal Tapian pace (an exaggeration, but still), touring the world and bringing an unmatched energy to their performances, Truckfighters are by now a band whose reputation precedes them, but their getting to the point of being a key influence for European heavy rock has been no accident.
One might consider the 77-minute 2LP/CD Live in London (plus a bonus video; debuted above), recorded at the O2 Academy in Nov. 2014, as a victory lap for this triumph. That’s not to assert Truckfighters see it that way or sound at all ready to rest on their laurels, or rest at all for that matter. Both in their on-stage vitality and the creative progression shown on 2014’s Universe (review here) — for which they were touring when Live in London was recorded — they quite clearly still have more to say. But a sense of celebration rings through the 11 tracks of their first live album, and considering it’s the 15th anniversary of the band being founded by bassist/vocalist Oskar “Ozo” Cedermalm and guitarist/backing vocalist Niklas “Dango” Källgren, there would seem to be all the more worth celebrating.
At the time, Ozo and Dango were joined by drummer Axel “Enzo” Larsson. As noted in the 2012 documentary A Film About a Band Called Truckfighters (review here), one of the chief challenges Truckfighters have faced is finding a drummer able to keep pace with their work ethic — Daniel “El Danno” Israelsson of Dexter Jones Circus Orchestra currently holds the position — and the fact that Larssonplays on Live in London emphasizes the one-moment-in-time feel inherent in any such live release. Perhaps the highest compliment one could pay to the outing is that it captures the raw force of Truckfighters on stage. A major portion of how they earned the reputation they have has been by out-rocking rooms one at a time across the world, and Live in London makes a clear demonstration of how they’ve done it, starting with the thick bounce of “Mind Control” and sustaining its impact through the set finale “Desert Cruiser” — which used to open sets, but makes a fitting encore here.
But as inclusions like “Last Curfew” from 2009’s Mania (review here), “The Chairman” and “Get Lifted” from Universe, a nine-minute jammy take on “Manhattan Project” from Gravity X or “Traffic” from 2007’s Phi sophomore LP show, Truckfighters‘ catalog offers more than fodder for jumping around while riffing. There’s plenty of that to go around, of course, with “Monte Gargano” or “Atomic” or “In Search of (the),” but Live in London winds up bringing the depth of the band’s approach forward as much as the calisthenic aspect. And rightly so. Without the foundation of songwriting and of course the tones of Källgren and Cedermalm, whose fuzz comes through full and dense in this recording but still able to move when they need it to, the whole affair would fall flat. Needless to say, that’s not how it works out on Live in London.
Rather, with stage-hewn clarity, they establish the full breadth of their dynamic across the live album’s span, finding middle ground in cuts like “The Chairman,” “Atomic” and “Manhattan Project” (before the jam) where they catch their breath before proceeding with the next high-speed forward drive. With Ozo and particularly Dango encouraging the London crowd to get in on the action — shouts that start with “Good evening London!” and continue with various iterations of “Come on!” and “Are you with us?” assure the audience is as into it as the band, or at least as much as they can be without kicking each other — the momentum is established early and holds sway even in quieter or slower moments.
This can’t be easy to do, to go so hard and then pull back like that, but again, Truckfighters have worked at it. That might be what Live in London says most of all, that the band’s efforts to get to where they are haven’t been in vain, and that it’s from years of grinding it out in a van — something directly addressed on “Traffic” — that they’re able to deliver the caliber of performance that they are. Their slogan as a band is that they’re “Quite possibly the best band in the world.” Part of the appeal of that is the wink-and-nod humor behind it, but it also stands as an example of the scope they’ve been aiming for over the better part of the last 15 years. They don’t want to be the best band in Örebro, or Sweden, or Europe. Truckfighters continue to have their sights set on a bigger picture, and Live in London is another example of how their ambition has come to pay off.