Quarterly Review: Khemmis, Morag Tong, Holy Mushroom, Naisian, Haunted, Pabst, L.M.I., Fuzz Forward, Onségen Ensemble, The Heavy Eyes

Posted in Reviews on July 18th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

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

I always say the same thing on the Wednesday of the Quarterly Review. Day 3. The halfway point. I say it every time. The fact is, doing these things kind of takes it out of me. All of it. It’s not that I don’t enjoy listening to all these records — well, I don’t enjoy all of them, but I’m talking more about the process — just that it’s a lot to take in and by the time I’m done each day, let alone at the end of the week, I’m fairly exhausted. So every time we hit the halfway point of a Quarterly Review, I feel somewhat compelled to note it. Cresting the hill, as it were. It’s satisfying to get to this point without my head falling off.

Quarterly Review #21-30:

Khemmis, Desolation

khemmis desolation

Continuing their proclivity for one-word titles, Denver doom forerunners Khemmis take a decisive turn toward the metallic with their third album for 20 Buck Spin, the six-track/41-minute Desolation. Songs like opener “Bloodletting” and its side B counterpart “The Seer” are still tinged with doom, but the NWOBHM gallop in “Isolation” and “Maw of Time” – as well as the sheer force of the latter – is an unexpected twist. Khemmis showed classic metal elements on 2016’s was-a-very-big-deal Hunted (review here) and 2015’s debut, Absolution (review here), but it’s a question of balance, and as they’ve once again worked with producer Dave Otero, one can only read the shift as a conscious decision. The harder edge suits them – certainly suits the screams in “Maw of Time” and side A finale/album highlight “Flesh to Nothing” – and as Khemmis further refine their sound, they craft its most individualized manifestation to-date. There’s no hearing Desolation and mistaking Khemmis for another band. They’ve come into their own.

Khemmis on Thee Facebooks

20 Buck Spin website

 

Morag Tong, Last Knell of Om

morag tong last knell of om

A rumbling entry into London’s Heavy Generation, the four-piece Morag Tong unfold voluminous ritual on their debut full-length, Last Knell of Om. Largely slow and largely toned, the work of guitarists Alex Clarke and Lewis Crane brings the low end to the forefront along with the bass of James Atha while drummer Adam Asquith pushes the lurch forward on cuts like “New Growth” and “To Soil,” the band seemingly most comfortable when engaged in crawling tempos and weighted pummel. Asquith also adds semi-shouted vocals to the mire, which, surrounded by distortion as they are, only make the proceedings sound even more massive. There’s an ambience to “We Answer” and near-13-minute closer “Ephemera: Stare Through the Deep,” which gives the record a suitably noisy finish, but much of what Morag Tong are going for in sound depends on the effectiveness of their tonality, and they’ve got that part down on their debut. Coupled with the meditative feel in some of this material, that shows marked potential on the band’s part for future growth.

Morag Tong on Thee Facebooks

Morag Tong on Bandcamp

 

Holy Mushroom, Blood and Soul

holy mushroom blood and soul

Working quickly to follow-up their earlier-2018 sophomore long-player, Moon (review here), Spain’s Holy Mushroom present Blood and Soul, an EP comprised of two songs recorded live in the studio. I’m not entirely sure why it’s split up at all, as the two-minute “Introito” – sure enough, a little introduction – feeds so smoothly into the 19-minute “Blood and Soul” itself, but fair enough either way as the trio shift between different instrumentation, incorporating sax, piano and organ among the guitar, bass, drums and vocals, and unfold a longform heavy psychedelic trip that not only builds on what they were doing with Moon but is every bit worthy of being released on its own. I don’t know if it was recorded at the same time as the record or later – both were done at Asturcon Studios – but it’s easy to see why the band would want to highlight “Blood and Moon.” Between the deep-running mix, the easy rhythmic flow into and out from drifting spaciousness, and the turn in the middle third toward more expansive arrangement elements, it’s an engaging motion that makes subtly difficult shifts seem utterly natural along the way. And even if you didn’t hear the latest full-length, Blood and Soul makes for a fitting introduction to who Holy Mushroom are as a band and what they can do.

Holy Mushroom on Thee Facebooks

Clostridium Records website

 

Naisian, Rejoinder

naisian rejoinder

Sludge-infused noise rock serves as the backdrop for lyrical shenanigans on the three-song Rejoinder EP from Sheffield, UK, trio Naisian. Running just 12 minutes, it’s a quick and thickened pummel enacted by the band, who work in shades of post-metal for “90 ft. Stone,” “Mantis Rising” and “Lefole,” most especially in the middle cut, but even there, the focus in on harsh vocals and lumbering sonic heft. It’s now been seven years since the band sort-of issued their debut album, Mammalian, and six since they followed with the Monocle EP, and the time seems to have stripped down their sound to a degree. “Lefole” is the longest track on Rejoinder at 5:18 and it’s still shorter than every other song Naisian have put out to-date. Their crunch lacks nothing for impact, however, and to go with the swing of “Lefole,” everybody seems to contribute to a vocal assault that only adds to the punishing but thoughtful vibe.

Naisian on Thee Facebooks

Naisian on Bandcamp

 

Haunted, Dayburner

haunted dayburner

The effects-laden vocal swirl at the outset of Haunted’s “Mourning Sun” and moments in the Italian act’s longer-form material, “Waterdawn” or “Orphic,” for example, will invariably lead some listeners to point to a Windhand influence, but the character of the band’s second album, Dayburner (on Twin Earth, DHU and Graven Earth all), follows their 2016 self-titled (review here) by holding steady to a developing identity of its own. To be sure, vocalist Christina Chimirri, guitarists Francesco Bauso and Francesco Orlando, bassist Frank Tudisco and drummer Dario Casabona make their way into a deep, murky swamp of modern doom in “Dayburner” (video posted here), but in the crush of their tones amid all that trance-inducing riffing, they cast themselves as an outfit seeking to express individuality within the set parameters of style. Their execution, then, is what it comes down to, and with “Orphic” (12:46) and “Vespertine” (13:19) back to back, there’s plenty of doom on the 66-minute 2LP to roll that out. And they do so in patient and successful form, with marked tonal vibrancy and a sense of controlling the storm they’re creating as they go.

Haunted on Thee Facebooks

Twin Earth Records website

DHU Records webstore

Graven Earth Records webstore

 

Pabst, Chlorine

pabst chlorine

So, the aesthetic is different. Pabst play a blend of noise, post-punk, heavy rock and grunge, but with the ready pop influence — to wit, the outright danceability of “Shits,” reminiscent in its bounce of later Queens of the Stone Age – and persistent melodicism, there’s just a twinge of what Mars Red Sky did for heavy rolling riffs happening on Chlorine, their Crazysane Records debut. It’s in that blend of dense low-end fuzz and brighter vocal melodies, but again, Pabst, hailing from Berlin, are on their own trip. Weird but almost more enjoyable than it seems to want to be, the 12-track/35-minute outing indulges little and offers singalong-ready vibes in “Catching Feelings” and “Waterslide” while “Waiting Loop” chills out before the push of “Accelerate” and the angularity of “Cheapskate” take hold. Chrlorine careens and (blue) ribbons its way to the drive-fast-windows-open stylization of “Summer Never Came” and the finale “Under Water,” a vocal effect on the latter doing nothing to take away from its ultra-catchy hook. It’s not for everyone, but it’s a record someone with just the right kind of open mind can come to love.

Pabst on Thee Facebooks

Crazysane Records webstore

 

L.M.I., IV

lmi iv

If you’ve got a dank basement full of skinny college kids, chances are Lansdale, Pennsylvania’s L.M.I. are ready to tear their faces off. The sludge-thickened riff punkers run abut 11 minutes with their five-song release, L.M.I. IV, and that’s well enough time to get their message across. Actually, by the end of “Neck of Tension” and “Weaning Youth,” roughly four and half minutes in, the statement of intent is pretty clear. L.M.I. present furious but grooving hardcore punk more given to scathe than pummel, and their inclusions on L.M.I. IV bring that to life with due sense of controlled chaos. Centerpiece “Lurking Breath” gives way to “First to Dark” – the longest cut at a sprawling 2:55 – and they save a bit of grunge guitar scorch and lower-register growling for closer “June was a Test,” there isn’t really time in general for any redundancy to take hold. That suits the feeling of assault well, as L.M.I. get in and get out on the quick and once they’re gone, all that’s left to do is clean the blood off the walls.

L.M.I. on Thee Facebooks

L.M.I. on Bandcamp

 

Fuzz Forward, Out of Nowhere

fuzz forward out of nowhere

Released one way or another through Discos Macarras, Odio Sonoro, Spinda Records and Red Sun Records, the eight-song/43-minute debut album from Barcelona’s Fuzz Forward, Out of Nowhere, has earned acclaim from multiple corners for its interpretation of grunge-era melodies through a varied heavy rock filter. Indeed, the vocals of Juan Gil – joined in the band by guitarist Edko Fuzz, bassist Jordi Vaquero and drummer Marc Rockenberg – pull the mind directly to a young Layne Staley, and forces one to realize it’s been a while since that low-in-the-mouth approach was so ubiquitous. It works well for Gil in the laid back “Summertime Somersaults” as well as the swinging, cowbell-infused later cut “Drained,” and as the band seems to foreshadow richer atmospheric exploration on “Thorns in Tongue” and “Torches,” they nonetheless maintain a focus on songwriting that grounds the proceedings and will hopefully continue to serve as their foundation as they move forward. No argument with the plaudits they’ve thus far received. Seems doubtful they’ll be the last.

Fuzz Forward on Thee Facebooks

Fuzz Forward on Bandcamp

 

Onségen Ensemble, Duel

Onsegen ensemble duel

The kind of record you’re doing yourself a favor by hearing – a visionary cast of progressive psychedelia that teems with creative energy and is an inspiration even in the listening. Frankly, the only thing I’m not sure about when it comes to Oulu, Finland, outfit Onségen Enseble’s second album, Duel, is why it isn’t being released through Svart Records. It seems like such a natural fit, with the adventurous woodwinds on opener “Think Neither Good Nor Evil,” the meditative sprawl of the title-track (video posted here), the jazz-jam in the middle of “Dogma MMXVII,” the tribalist percussion anchoring the 12-minute “Three Calls of the Emperor’s Teacher,” which surely would otherwise float away under its own antigravity power, and the free-psych build of closer “Zodiacal Lights of Onségen,” which shimmers in otherworldly fashion and improvised-sounding spark. On Svart or not, Duel is one of the best albums I’ve heard this year, and one the creativity of which puts it in a class of its own, even in the vast reaches of psychedelic rock. Whether it means to or not, it tells a story with sound, and that story should be heard.

Onségen Ensemble on Thee Facebooks

Onsegen Ensemble on Bandcamp

 

The Heavy Eyes, Live in Memphis

the heavy eyes live in memphis

Since so much of The Heavy Eyes’ studio presentation has consistently been about crispness of sound and structured songwriting, it’s kind of a relief to hear them knock into some feedback at the start of “Mannish Boy” at the outset of Live in Memphis (on Kozmik Artifactz). The three-piece of guitarist/vocalist Tripp Shumake, bassist Wally Anderson and drummer Eric Garcia are still tight as hell, of course, and their material – drawn here from the band’s LPs, 2015’s He Dreams of Lions (review here), 2012’s Maera, 2011’s self-titled, as well as sundry shorter offerings – is likewise. They’ve never been an overly dangerous band, nor have they wanted to be, but the stage performance does add a bit of edge to “Iron Giants” from the debut, which is followed by singing “Happy Birthday” to a friend in the crowd. One of the most enjoyable aspects of Live in Memphis is hearing The Heavy Eyes loosen up a bit on stage, and hearing them sound like they’re having as good a time playing as the crowd is watching and hearing them do so. That sense of fun suits them well.

The Heavy Eyes on Thee Facebooks

The Heavy Eyes at Kozmik Artifactz

 

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Review & Full Album Stream: Saint Karloff, All Heed the Black God

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

saint karloff all heed the black god

[Click play above to stream Saint Karloff’s All Heed the Black God in full. Album is out on LP/CD July 27 through Twin Earth Records with cassettes through Hellas Records.]

Opening with the call of a crow, shortly working its way into sampled thunder and in the meantime igniting immediately Sabbathian riffage marked out by a subtle brightness in its fuzz, the debut album from Saint Karloff, All Heed the Black God, arrives via Twin Earth Records and Hellas Records like a message telegraphed to the converted. Opener “Ghost Smoker” tops seven minutes and dips into blues rocking twists and turns as guitarist Mads Melvold layers his own harmonies — unless that’s bassist Ole Sletner or drummer Adam Suleiman backing — in a midsection shuffle, and the Oslo three-piece delve into accessible melodies as they cross reaches they won’t see again until the bookending closer, pushes closer to the eight-minute mark with an even purer Sabbath worship, like “Under the Sun”‘s malevolent boogie given a modern edge.

I say this nearly every time I mention Twin Earth Records in any context, but the label has an ear for tone that’s second to none, and as Saint Karloff join the imprints ranks, they fit excellently in that regard. The thrust of “Space Junkie” and the birdsong-laced acoustic interlude “Ganymedes” follow “Ghost Smoker,” each following the Black Sabbath blueprint in their own way, but Saint Karloff manage to make their own impression tonally and the deftness of Sletner and Suleiman in pulling off shifts in tempo and lacing one groove into the next set the three-piece apart from the masses when it comes to capturing that aspect of their forebears. In that regard and in terms of general pacing, they’re simply better at it than most bands.

The task of “Ghost Smoker” is clear at the outset in terms of setting the mood and tone — figuratively and literally — for what will follow, and “Space Junkie” answers back the patient groove with the album’s most fervent shove, leading to the interlude. This one-two-three progression of songs is pivotal to the impression All Heed the Black God makes one whole. For one, it is utterly classic. Put your intro where your intro goes, dig into a righteous groove, follow with a good sprint and then hang a louie into something entirely unexpected. It’s a smart play, and clearly intended to keep the listener on their toes as they make their way through especially for the always-pivotal first listen — going for the, “I don’t know what’s happening here, but I’m into it” impression, which they succeed in capturing — but most importantly, it speaks to a conscientiousness of craft from Saint Karloff, so what while their sound might be easy to pinpoint in terms of its influences early — hang on, we’re getting there — the very fact of that stems from a clarity of purpose on the part of the trio. They meant to make it that way, in other words, and they’re educated enough in the roots of their approach to know what they’re doing.

That’s something that only continues to help them as “Ganymedes” gives way to the three-song punch of centerpiece “Dark Sun,” “Radioactive Tomb” and “When the Earth Cracks Open” ahead of “Spellburn.” This middle salvo is likewise crucial to the overarching feel of the record, particularly as it represents a branching out in terms of influence. “Dark Sun” feeds Uncle Acid‘s “Death’s Door” garage doom through a filter of early Witchcraft — and better, works well doing so — before launching at around four minutes into its total 5:35 into thicker riffing and an all-around meaner roll, Melvold either bemoaning or bragging, “We have no soul/We are soulless,” with just a touch of post-Jus Oborn inflection in his voice. That twist fades out to finish “Dark Sun” as a highlight and the subsequent “Radioactive Tomb” confirms a suspicion heretofore held throughout the tracks regardless of speed or anything else: that Saint Karloff have a great drummer.

saint karloff

I am a firm believer that a truly excellent drummer — like an excellent singer, bassist, guitarist or even keyboardist sometimes — can make the difference in a band, and listening to Suleiman shove along the gallop of “Radioactive Tomb” as naturally as he held back during the verses of “Ghost Smoker,” his class and creativity as a player come through in such a way as to vibrantly enhance the work of the other two players around him. “Radioactive Tomb” laces additional percussion into its first half, but even so, it’s the drums holding it together it all opens up heading into and through the midpoint, a consistent, familiar beat that Suleiman makes his own. And even as he counts on his ride after everything else has dissipated, it’s clear just how central the swing and character of his playing is to the band. On the more blown-out “When the Earth Cracks Open,” as Melvold wahs out a lead and Sletner explores a highlight performance of his own, the drums carry over a straightforward progression that makes each cymbal hit count amid tom runs every bit worthy of the Bill Ward comparison they seem to be shooting for. That, “how on earth is he keeping this together?” vibe.

That’s not to take away from the work Melvold and Sletner do here — as noted, Twin Earth sniffs out excellent tone, and they both bring plenty of it — it’s just that when called on to do so, Suleiman is more than able to hold down the songs in a way that sounds easy and simply isn’t. From that shift in “Dark Sun” through the early movement in “Spellburn” en route to the aforementioned “Under the Sun” chug, he always seems to be where he needs to be, and the whole band benefits from it. Still, it’s the guitar in the foreground as “Spellburn” heads toward its sudden cold ending, and the balance across the ultra-manageable 38 minutes of the release of contributions balances well.

There are many aspects of All Heed the Black God — one assumes such heeding would be done on, say, a special day of observance, likewise absent of light — which will seem familiar to the more experienced heads who take it on, but that’s half the point. The other half is in the potential for growth Saint Karloff demonstrate throughout this thesis in Iommic Studies. Even more than the universal symptom on display throughout much of the riffing, it’s that potential left as the primary impression of the album, and one hopes Saint Karloff will continue to build on the vital chemistry and aesthetic willfulness they conjure here.

Saint Karloff, “Spellburn” official video

Saint Karloff, “Ghost Smoker” official video

Saint Karloff on Thee Facebooks

Saint Karloff on Bandcamp

Saint Karloff on Instagram

Twin Earth Records on Bandcamp

Twin Earth Records webstore/

Twin Earth Records on Thee Facebooks

Hellas Records on Thee Facebooks

Hellas Records on Bandcamp

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Haunted Post “Dayburner” Video; New Album out Now

Posted in Bootleg Theater on July 5th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

haunted

The trippy visuals in Haunted‘s new video are almost as much a representation of the title-track of their new album, Dayburner, as the song itself. Amid deep-hued skylines, manipulated film footage, the cover art and sundry other elements, the Italian doomers give the nine-minute “Dayburner” over to the capable hands of Gryphus Visual for the proceedings, which are every bit full-screen-worthy and likewise suitable for maximum volume. The album “Dayburner” represents tops 66 minutes with its eight tracks, and is released with backing from Twin Earth Records (CD), DHU Records (LP, presumably) and Graven Earth Records (tape) as the follow-up to the band’s likewise immersive 2016 self-titled debut (review here).

Dayburner saw release June 8 and arrived even as it was announced Haunted would be included in the four-label split showcase Skull Mountain, which featured highlights from the rosters of Twin Earth, Ripple Music, DHU and Kozmik Artifactz, pushing even further the notion of Haunted catching the attention of some of the underground’s foremost tastemakers. Reasonably so. The outlander approach to rolling out stoner-doom groove fits into the post-Windhand cultistry, and yet there’s a sharper edge to Haunted‘s soulfulness. With Christina Chimirri at the fore vocally, the two guitars of Francesco Bauso and Francesco Orlando — that’s right, dueling Francescos — leading the charge with riffs and solos, and bassist Frank Tudisco (could he be Francesco number three?) and drummer Dario Casabona holding down the nodding grooves, Haunted hit just a little harder rather than get completely lost in the mire, and that difference proves crucial in the listening experience of Dayburner as a whole. It’s not just about hypnotic riffing, but about impact as well.

You can check out the clip for “Dayburner” below, followed by more info from the PR wire. I hope to have a review of the album in the next week or so, so please keep an eye out for that as well.

Dig:

Haunted, “Dayburner” official video

The international doom promises HAUNTED recently unleashed their new studio album, “Dayburner” via Twin Earth Records.

The band revealed the video of the new single ‘Dayburner’.

Francesco Bauso, guitar player, states:
“Basically, it’s one of the most spontaneous songs we have composed so far. We started from a verse and then built the rest around the main riff. The idea of the acoustic guitars came to our mind directly in studio, to add emphasis to the song’s intro. It’s actually the most catchy track on the record, boasting a Sabbathian riffing. On the finale we had the chance to experiment a bit with some overdubs, such as floor-toms for example; whose rhythm evokes a sort of witches dance.”

The video has been created by Gryphus Visual, who works with different labels (Twin Earth, Argonauta, Ripple Music) and made background visuals for Lucifer at Roadburn 2015, besides being the visual master of Addicthead and Echolot.

Purchase ‘Dayburner’ digitally here: https://hauntedband.bandcamp.com/track/dayburner

Haunted as:
Francesco Bauso: Guitars
Dario Casabona: Drums
Cristina Chimirri: Vocals
Francesco Orlando: Guitars
Frank Tudisco: Bass

Haunted on Thee Facebooks

Haunted on Bandcamp

Haunted on Instagram

Twin Earth Records website

DHU Records webstore

Graven Earth Records webstore

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The Mad Doctors Tour Starts Tonight; New Single Streaming

Posted in Whathaveyou on May 28th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

the mad doctors

You know, I was going to start out this post by wondering if Brooklyn trio The Mad Doctors knew that there was already a sequel to the 1992 movie Sister Act. It also starred Whoopi Goldberg, came out in ’93, and it was called Sister Act 2: Back in the Habit. But you know what? I bet The Mad Doctors already knew that shit. And if you think about it, doesn’t that just kind of make the joke funnier? So the title of their new single, “Sister Act II: Electric Boogaloo (What if Idris Elba was the Next James Bond),” isn’t only a goof reference on the first Sister Act, it’s even more tongue-in-cheek because it’s a fake sequel to that movie when there’s already a real one. Plus, that whole thing with Idris Elba in the parenthesis. I believe the answer is, “white people on the internet got really pissed off about something that doesn’t matter in the slightest,” which, you know, is kind of the answer to any such “what if” scenario.

Because white people love bitching about shit that doesn’t matter. Like the deficit.

Other point: the title of the new The Mad Doctors single is clever as hell and the band are headed out on a Northeastern run as of this very evening to support it. I doubt they’ll be explaining the joke to everyone as they go, like, “It’s funny because there’s already a movie,” but you know, it’s still pretty funny. And the song’s streaming at the bottom of this post and a name-your-price download, so even better.

Details

the mad doctors tour

The Mad Doctors – Sneakin Out The Web Tour

Northeast coffee fiends, booze hounds (and pitbulls), party rock boys, and folks of all things n stuff – after PIZZAFEST V we’re hitting the road for a week and spending some good quality time with our pals Fire Heads from Wisconsin!! It’s gunna be fuzzy! Check us out in the following places:

M 5/28 – Saratoga NY – Desperate Annie’s
Tu 5/29 – Portland ME – Matthew’s Pub*
W 5/30 – Salem MA – Koto*
Th 5/31 – Pawtucket RI – News Cafe*
F 6/1 – Stamford CT – Riot at Amadeus*
Sa 6/2 – Rutherford, NJ – The Jungeon
* = Fire Heads (WI)

Tour poster by Erick Freuhling (of Fire Heads)

The Mad Doctors are:
Seth Applebaum – Gtr/vox
Joshua Park – Bass
Greg Hanson – Drums

https://www.facebook.com/events/2021766151389187/
http://facebook.com/themaddoctors
https://themaddoctors.bandcamp.com/
http://kingpizzarecords.storenvy.com/
https://www.facebook.com/kingpizzarecs/

The Mad Doctors, “Sister Act II: Electric Boogaloo (What if Idris Elba was the Next James Bond)”

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Saint Karloff to Release All Heed the Black God on Twin Earth Records

Posted in Whathaveyou on May 28th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

I don’t know about you, but every time I read ‘signed to Twin Earth Records,’ my mind immediately flashes to thinking this is some tone I probably need to hear. The Midwestern imprint has a knack for finding the kind of distortion you can dive into, and as they step up to issue the debut album from Oslo three-piece Saint Karloff, the standard would definitely seem to apply. I don’t see a set release date for when the label will deliver the band’s debut album, All Heed the Black God, but a first taste thereof is being given now with the video for “Ghost Smoker” that you can see at the bottom of this post, and it certainly bodes well for showing off a doom-rocking, horror-minded sensibility. Makes me look forward to hearing the rest of the record.

The announcement came down the PR wire, as announcements do:

saint karloff

Saint Karloff sign with Twin Earth Records

Saint Karloff Urge You to “All Heed the Black God”, Scribble Deal with Twin Earth Records

Norwegian distortion pedal lovers Saint Karloff are excited to announce their partnership with Twin Earth Records to release their début album, All Heed the Black God, which will be emerging on July 27 2018. The record is stuffed with seven tracks of riff worship much like the already-released “Ghost Smoker”. The band’s aesthetic – much like their name – draws from oldschool horror films, while the music is a modern twist on that 70s and 80s rockin’ vibe set out by Motorpsycho by way of Black Sabbath – with a touch of acoustic amid the heavy crunch.

The band are understandably fired up to get their début album out to the masses. “We have had great fun making it, and we really hope it will bring some good heavy vibes to the people out there!”

All Heed the Black God will be available on CD, vinyl and digital download.

https://www.facebook.com/SaintKarloff/
https://saintkarloff.bandcamp.com/
http://www.instagram.com/saintkarloff
https://twinearthrecords.bandcamp.com/
http://twinearthrecords.storenvy.com/
https://www.facebook.com/TwinEarthRecords

Saint Karloff, “Ghost Smoker” official video

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The Mad Doctors Announce November Touring

Posted in Whathaveyou on October 31st, 2017 by JJ Koczan

the-mad-doctors-Photo-Jeanette-D-Moses-Pizzamania-Portraits

Granted, I’m not exactly on my A-game as regards general mental power this week, but it took me a while to figure out where Brooklyn’s The Mad Doctors were going with naming their tour ‘November Pain.’ Once I figured it out it seemed pretty obvious, but yeah, it was a minute or two of actual, conscious thought before I got there. ‘Danksgiving’ — way more obvious. Making the connection between ‘November Pain’ and the Guns ‘n’ Roses song “November Rain” was a bit more of a challenge. Again, that one’s on me. I’m sure most human beings wouldn’t have the same kind of trouble, what with the higher brain function and whatnot.

Following the release of their second long-player,  No Waves, Just Sharks (discussed here), earlier this year, The Mad Doctors issued a follow-up split via Twin Earth and King Pizza Records with Heavy Traffic (review here). I guess in the end the band couldn’t decide which clever name they wanted to give the run, but either way, they’ll be out for 10 days supporting both of the recent offerings, playing with Rye PinesSun VoyagerBlack HatchZip-Tie Handcuffs and a whole bunch of others. Details on the shows are available through the Thee Facebooks event page, linked following the dates below.

Goes like this:

the mad doctors tour

The Mad Doctors – November Pain / Danksgiving Tour

We are hitching up the minivan and hitting the road in search of gravy. It’s NOVEMBER PAIN/DANKSGIVING so come party with us, ya turkeys!

Three bearded, lab-coated creeps strung out on a dumpster beach, hi-fiving the sun. Two parts fuzz, one part reverb, and a jigger of formaldehyde.

Wed – 11/8 – Brooklyn @ Our Wicked Lady
Thur 11/9 – New London CT @ 33 Golden St.
Fri 11/10 – Boston @ The Rat’s Nest
Sat 11/11 – Upton MA @ Paulson Stained Glass Studio
Sun 11/12 – Milford NH @ Union Coffee Co.
Mon 11/13 – Saratoga Springs NY @ One Caroline
Tues 11/14 – New Paltz NY @ Snugs
Wed 11/15 – Baltimore @ The Crown
Thur 11/16 – Harrisonburg VA @ Crayola House
Fri 11/17 – Richmond @ Hardywood
Sat 11/18 – Philly @ Tralfamadore

Poster art by Tav Palumbo / Heavy Traffic.

https://www.facebook.com/events/2021766151389187/
http://facebook.com/themaddoctors
https://themaddoctors.bandcamp.com/
http://kingpizzarecords.storenvy.com/
https://www.facebook.com/kingpizzarecs/

The Mad Doctors & Heavy Traffic, Split 7″ (2017)

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Review & Full Stream: Heavy Traffic & The Mad Doctors, Split 7″

Posted in audiObelisk, Reviews on September 21st, 2017 by JJ Koczan

heavy-traffic-mad-doctors-split

[Click play above to stream the new split between Heavy Traffic and The Mad Doctors in its entirety. Seven-inch is out Sept. 22 via Twin Earth Records and King Pizza Records.]

It’s a quick one, but there’s enough cacophony in the split between Heavy Traffic and The Mad Doctors to make a larger impression than its seven-minute runtime might lead you to believe. The two New York-based bands pair up for a mini-platter with the cooperation of their respective labels, Twin Earth Records and King Pizza Records, and really, that’s about where the cooperation ends. From the point of its existence onward, the split is much more about brash noisemaking than being friendly, though both bands certainly seem to be having a good time. Maybe “mischief” is the right word. Yeah. It’s like if the night before Halloween was a two-song sampler of what these groups have to offer; as though a release might somehow throw rolls of toilet paper into the tree in your front yard or egg your car. Take that, suburbia.

Pressed in an edition of 500 copies with smaller numbers on clear (150), gold (150) and black (200) vinyl, the split brings one song each from Heavy Traffic and The Mad Doctors, both of whom are following up on relatively new releases. In the case of the four-piece Heavy Traffic, their sixth full-length, Plastic Surgery (review here), was issued late in 2016 via Twin Earth, and the 4:44 of “Daylight Ripoff” begins side A with a fervent charge that answers the heavy psychedelic blister-raising they proffered with the album, which was the debut of the lineup that found guitarist Ian Caddick and drummer/vocalist/cover-artist Tav Palumbo — both formerly of Santa Cruz, California, blowout psych-gazers Spanish Moss — joined by bassist Dave Grzedzinski and drummer Dan Bradica (which presumably moved Palumbo to guitar/vocals, though don’t quote me on that).

Whether or not “Daylight Ripoff” was recorded at the same time as Plastic Surgery or under similar live-tracked conditions, I don’t know, but it’s certainly a believable. The song begins with just a momentary wail of feedback before lurching forth with a blast and wash alike, melodic vocals topping a thrust that could just as easily have come from modern black metal as heavy psych. It’s a surprising way to begin, and no doubt that’s exactly what Heavy Traffic had in mind. About 20 seconds in, they find their footing a prog-metallic churn of intertwining guitars at 53 seconds, they slam on the brakes to hit into a Sabbathian lumber that will slow even further as they hit the second minute, maintaining a spaciousness and fuzzed tonality as it nods itself seemingly into oblivion. The “but wait — there’s more!” moment happens just before the three-minute mark when they bring back the melodious assault that began “Daylight Ripoff” and cycle through it and the more angular riffing again before a distant lead echoes out behind tense chug and a build on the toms in the last minute.

This fades out relatively quickly and relatively noisily and “Daylight Ripoff” seems like anything but as it ends having been marked by its dizzying tempo changes and drawn together through the vague but resonant vocals laid over its shifting bulk. One might be tempted to call it a kitchen-sink approach, but Heavy Traffic keep the arrangement to their two guitars, bass, drums and voice, even if those common elements are put to uncommonly madcap use. In relation to Plastic Surgery, “Daylight Ripoff” feels altogether more unhinged than groove-rolling cuts like “Rule of Nines” or “Three Stigmata,” and whether its punkish refusal to settle into a pace or method is indicative of an overall shift in direction on the part of the band or just a one-off experiment in style and/or structure, it’s impossible to say, but the weirdo vibe suits Heavy Traffic well. If “Daylight Ripoff” is them continuing to refine and explore options with their approach and this relatively new lineup, one can hardly argue with either the variety or the intensity with which they deliver.

Though their inclusion is shorter and more straightforward, The Mad Doctors hardly come across as subdued upon the flip to side B. Their cleverly-titled “Yuengling Malmsteen” checks in at 2:57 and is the first new music they’ve had out since their earlier-2017 sophomore full-length, No Waves, Just Sharks (discussed here). The trio of guitarist/vocalist/recording engineer Seth Applebaum, bassist Joshua Park and drummer Greg Hanson, who also runs King Pizza Records, employed a few guests throughout that album for vocals and had spoken word samples peppered throughout as they shifted between surf punk and heavier impulses, crafting a rare union in atmosphere that actually worked without being either overly punkish, overly surfish, or a crude amalgam of desert and garage, while still sounding impressively off the rails and unpredictable — it really was something, if you didn’t hear it — but here it’s just the three of them and they once again adjust the balance.

“Yuengling Malmsteen” doesn’t feel intended to be a summary of The Mad Doctors‘ sound as a whole — I suspect it would have at least as tough a time in providing that summary as I just did — so much as a quick-burst showcase of their craft in general. Its push begins with a deceptive jangle before unveiling a full tonal boar moving at a crisp tempo that shortly opens to the first verse. Momentum is held in Hanson‘s drums throughout and before the first minute is done, The Mad Doctors have trod through the verse and chorus both in shoving, party-time fashion. Not a moment is wasted, but “Yuengling Malmsteen” doesn’t necessarily feel stripped down either — vocals are soaked in reverb and the guitar and bass are both weighted and present a depth of tone, the former particularly with a quick-but-drawn lead around two minutes in that shimmers before a final chorus takes hold to drive the song to its somewhat understated finish. The thickened thrust that kicks in before each verse proves especially righteous, and “Yuengling Malmsteen” is primarily about motion and its own forward drive, which it fulfills while giving the sense that if one just continued to let the record play, ApplebaumPark and Hanson would be on to the next track in no time at all.

Of course, that’s not the case, but in each band giving listeners a look at what they do, Heavy Traffic and The Mad Doctors both acquit themselves well in terms of songwriting and style without necessarily sounding like they’re competing with one another in the way of splits with groups more sonically akin. That’s not to say they don’t have anything in common, just that while both show a strong sense of personality on this short release, those personalities are distinct enough that there’s never going to be any confusion about who it is saying what with their material. Heavy Traffic raise a few questions as to where they might be headed and The Mad Doctors reaffirm the deceptive depth of their latest album, and among the traits the two bands share is a clear efficiency with which this is accomplished. Like I said at the outset, it’s over and done in about seven minutes.

Heavy Traffic on Thee Facebooks

Heavy Traffic on Bandcamp

The Mad Doctors on Thee Facebooks

The Mad Doctors on Bandcamp

Twin Earth Records webstore

King Pizza Records webstore

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Book of Wyrms and Heavy Traffic Announce Tour Dates

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

Twin Earth Records labelmates Book of Wyrms and Heavy Traffic are set to hit the road together later this month. The run shared between the Richmond, Virginia, and Brooklyn, NYC, outfits will begin at Arlene’s Grocery at The Obelisk-co-sponsored Ode to Doom show on Sept. 23. That’s a bill that also features heavy blues specialists Geezer and Shadow Witch, and you can find out more info about it on the Thee Facebooks event page here. It’s a damn good way to spend a night in Manhattan.

The ultimate trajectory of the stint is South Dakota’s Stoned Meadow of Doom fest on Sept. 29, and both groups make their way there supporting new releases. I know I’ve said multiple times over at this point that if you’re looking for pure tone, there are few sources as trustworthy as the taste of Twin Earth Records, and you can definitely apply that here. If you need further proof, dig the streams at the bottom of the post.

From the PR wire:

heavy-traffic-book-of-wyrms-tour

BOOK OF WYRMS/HEAVY TRAFFIC ANNOUNCE US TOUR

Heavy psych-rock band Heavy Traffic and progressive doom band Book of Wyrms will join forces with a seven date tour that will culminate with appearances from both bands at Stoned Meadow of Doom Fest 2017.

Jay from Book of Wyrms commented “We have been excited about this tour for a long time; we get to play with a lot of bands we love and rage with a bunch of weirdos who get what we’re about. These are some places we’ve wanted to play for a while.”

Book of Wyrms will be touring in support of their recently released album Sci/Fi Fantasy, while Heavy Traffic is touring in support of their upcoming split 7″ with The Mad Doctors.

Order Sci/Fi Fantasy here: https://bookofwyrmsrva.bandcamp.com/album/sci-fi-fantasy

Per-Order the Heavy Traffic/Mad Doctors split here: https://heavytraffic.bandcamp.com/album/heavy-traffic-the-mad-doctors-split-7

HEAVY WYRMS TOUR 2017
September 23 -New York, NY @ Arlene’s Grocery with Geezer
September 24 – Rochester,NY @ Firehouse Saloon with Fox 45
September 25 – Detroit,MI @ New Dodge Lounge with Vicious Circles
September 26 – Chicago,IL @ GMan Tavern with Black Road
September 27 – Madison,WI @ Micky’s Tavern with Vanishing Kids
September 28 – Sioux City,IA @ The Marquee with Port Nocturnal
September 29 – Sioux Falls,SD @ STONED MEADOW OF DOOM FEST 2017

BOOK OF WYRMS is:
Jay Lindsey: bass
Ben Coudriet: guitar
Kyle Lewis: guitar
Chris DeHaven: drums
Sarah Moore-Lindsey: vocals, effects

HEAVY TRAFFIC is:
Ian Caddick
Tav Palumbo
David Grzedzinski
Dan Bradica

https://www.facebook.com/Bookofwyrms/
https://www.instagram.com/bookofwyrms/
https://bookofwyrms.bandcamp.com/

https://www.facebook.com/heaviesttraffic
https://twitter.com/heaviesttraffic
https://heavytraffic.bandcamp.com/

https://www.facebook.com/twinearthrecords/
https://twinearthrecords.bandcamp.com/
twinearthrecords.storenvy.com/

Book of Wyrms, Sci-Fi/Fantasy (2017)

Heavy Traffic, Plastic Surgery (2016)

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