Elephant Tree to Release Habits April 24; New Video Posted

Posted in Whathaveyou on January 22nd, 2020 by JJ Koczan

Elephant Tree at Saint Vitus Bar (Photo by JJ Koczan)

If I can be honest for a second here, I don’t even want to start talking about Elephant Tree‘s new album, Habits, yet because I know that if I do I won’t be able to stop. Let me say this, I know we’re early in the year, but they’ve made their candidacy for the best album of 2020 known, and in following up their 2016 self-titled debut (review here), they’ve blown the doors down in terms of sonic expansion. The new record is more psychedelic, heavier in places, and more progressive on the whole in terms of its sense of craft and clarity of intention. If you are madly anticipating its arrival, you are correct.

I’ll stop there and of course there will be more to come as we get closer to the release, but as the London four-piece unveil the first album details, cover art, tracklisting and video — as well as the preorder link; just go ahead and get it done — I felt it necessary to chime in. All that potential they showed on their first record is starting to come to fruition. I’m your friend out here and I’m telling you: don’t miss out.

Fresh off the PR wire:

elephant tree habits

Prog-psych-doom rockers ELEPHANT TREE announce new album and stream new single

Habits released April 24th via Holy Roar Records

‘Sails’ streaming now

London-based prog-psych-doom artisans ELEPHANT TREE have announced their highly-anticipated third album Habits, after four years of honing their sound on the international live circuit.

Released April 24th via Holy Roar Records, you can pre-order Habits here: http://smarturl.it/elephanttree

The champions of the underground have delivered perhaps their most cohesive record yet, a scintillating blur of prog, stoner, psych, and melodic heavy rock. Opening on a hazy note of foreboding dread on ‘Wake.Repeat (Intro)’, the band explode into life soon after and rarely let up.

Every aspect of ELEPHANT TREE’s previously established sound has been amplified to 11 and fine-tuned to perfection. Their heavy, driving, grooves hold a more calculated rhythmic swing counterbalanced with leads that hold a soberingly clear gentleness. This is all tied together with vocals that possess a charming hedonism to their timbre, sure to win over legions more fans.

Elements of a heavy Pink Floyd, Melvins, and Deftones all combine with exhilarating effect, cementing the status of this group who have already sold tens of thousands of records and streams into the millions.

The union of sonic density and yearning is captured wonderfully, thanks in no small part to the band’s production choice of The Church Studios, famed for the sounds of U2, Nick Cave, The Jesus and Mary Chain and Adele amongst others.

If the sound of Kyuss and Smashing Pumpkins partying with Hunter S. Thompson and Cult Of Luna in an arena sounds like a good time, then this is the album for you. If there’s any justice, 2020 will be the year ELEPHANT TREE bloom out of best kept underground secret into a household name.

Tracklisting:
1. Wake.Repeat (Intro)
2. Sails
3. Faceless
4. Exit The Soul
5. The Fall Chorus
6. Bird
7. Wasted
8. Broken Nails

https://www.facebook.com/elephanttreeband
http://instagram.com/elephant_tree_band
https://elephanttree.band
http://www.holyroarrecords.com/
https://www.facebook.com/holyroarrecords/

Elephant Tree, “Sails” official video

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Desertfest London 2020: I Mean, Seriously. God Damn.

Posted in Whathaveyou on January 20th, 2020 by JJ Koczan

desertfest london 2020 header

Even apart from how it relates to the other festivals under the Desertfest banner — Berlin, Belgium, New York — Desertfest London set an extremely high standard for itself last year, and it was obvious coming into Desertfest London 2020 that they’d have their work cut out for them in reaching those same heights. Their lineup isn’t finished yet, and of course we’ll see how it all looks when the day-schedule is fully unveiled, but bringing Lowrider on board to support their first release in 20 years, Refractions, is nothing if not significant — they played there in 2013 and were fantastic — but they’ll also be the the UK debut for Khemmis from the US and at least the first time at Desertfest for MaidaVale from Sweden. They’ve pretty much lost their minds and added 20 bands in a single shot here, so there’s plenty to dig into, but you’ll note King Witch, who are frickin’ awesome, as well as The Hazytones, Alunah and the slew of others taking part. They’re building a desert empire in Camden Town.

Has it been nine years already? I may have to start planning my return for year 10 if they’ll have me.

From thee social medias:

desertfest london 2020 poster

DESERTFEST ADDS 20 NAMES TO LONDON LINE-UP, INCLUDING GRAVEYARD AS NEXT HEADLINER

Tickets – https://dice.fm/festival/desertfest20

Desertfest is thrilled to be kicking off the new year in style with the apt number of 20 names added for our 9th edition this May. Sweden’s most beloved export of hard rock, the impeccable Graveyard will bring their unique bluesy tones to London as headliners of Desertfest London 2020. The Swedish family reunion continues as we welcome back one of the most synonymous desert rock (and Desertfest) bands, the iconic Lowrider return with not only a rare live performance, but their first record in almost two decades. A masterclass in the melting pot of genre fluidity comes from two-man powerhouse Big Business, whilst psychedelic stoner rock trio Somali Yacht Club will make the trip from Ukraine to play Desertfest for the first time.

Speaking of debuts we’ll play host to the first UK show for Denver melancholic doom outfit Khemmis and Sweden delivers once again with rock’n’roll four-piece MaidaVale. Elsewhere on the bill we are thrilled to welcome Your Highness, Hexis, FIREBREATHER, The Hazytones, Opium Lord, King Witch, GURT, Alunah, 1782, Tides Of Sulfur, Doomicidal, Under, A Gazillion Angry Mexicans and Dunes.

As you may have noticed, The Picturebooks have unfortunately had to cancel their performance at Desertfest due to a schedule conflict out of our control. However with more acts still to be unveiled, plus day tickets on sale soon there’s much more to come for our 9th edition.

Weekend tickets are on sale now via this link – https://link.dice.fm/desertfest20

Artwork by Piotr w. Osburne

https://www.facebook.com/events/464163361105416/
http://www.desertfest.co.uk/
https://www.facebook.com/DesertfestLondon
https://www.instagram.com/desertfest_london/

Lowrider, Ode to Io Deluxe Edition (2017)

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Sigiriya Announce New Album Maiden Mother Crone; Premiere “Cwn Annwn”

Posted in audiObelisk on January 20th, 2020 by JJ Koczan

SIGIRIYA

Welsh rockers of time and space Sigiriya will release their third full-length, Maiden Mother Crone, this Spring through Burning World Records. By the time it arrives, it will be their first offering of any sort in six years, and in addition to introducing drummer Rhys Miles to the fold, the album collects eight tracks for a 45-minute run of of-the-earth-but-nonetheless-ethereal rolling grooves that seem to draw as much from the mythological as from the world around them in presence and theme alike. Early cuts like “Cwn Annwn,” “Tau Ceti” and “Peace of My Mind” establish Sigiriya circa 2020 as a band afraid neither to touch ground nor sky, and the spaciousness in the echoing vocals of Matt “Pipes” Williams (also Suns of Thunder) only adds breadth to the fluid distortion and heft of Stu O’Hara‘s guitar and Paul Bidmead‘s bass.

The latter two, of course, are alumni of Swansea-based troupe Acrimony — the bulk of whose studio work Burning World recently remastered and issued as the boxed set Chronicles of Wode (review here) — and though when Sigiriya started out with their 2011 debut, Return to Earth (review here), their mission seemed to further that band’s rather significant legacy, subsequent years have found them pulling in a new direction, and Maiden Mother Crone continues that thread. Part of it is sheer lineup. Matt Williams — who also did some recording on the new album, while Richard Whittaker mixed and mastered — took the frontman spot from Dorian Walters, who also had been in Acrimony, and sure enough, Rhys Miles comes to Sigiriya in place of Darren Ivey, who’d also been in the prior outfit. Some change of dynamic, then, seems inevitable as half the makeup of the band has changed from the first album to the third, but O’Hara‘s guitar tone is a signature element and recognizable throughout Maiden Mother Crone, whether it’s the crunching riff in opener “Mantis” or the shorter “Dark Call” later on, which seems to get swallowed up by the sheer overload of dense, hairy fuzz.

Whatever familiar elements persist, and however welcome they may be — because, frankly, I’ll take that guitar sound anytime it wants to show up — Sigiriya‘s sonic identity has never sounded more their own and more distinct than it does Sigiriya Maiden Mother Cronethroughout Maiden Mother Crone. After the resonant cast and grit of “Seeking Eden” and “Dark Call”‘s push, the record’s two longest tracks take hold in succession, with “Arise (Darkness Died Today)” referencing the band’s second album, 2014’s Darkness Died Today (review here, also discussed here) as it digs into suitably moodier vibes and touches on some vocal harmonies from Williams along with a fullness of sound that extends even to Miles‘ crash cymbals, the song still relatively straightforward in structure and, at 6:21, not much longer than “Cwn Annwn” or “Peace of My Mind” back on side A, but just an extra touch more atmospheric as to justify its position as the penultimate cut ahead of 8:21 closer “Crushed by the Weight of the Sky.”

It is a particular credit to Miles and Bidmead as the rhythm section that Maiden Mother Crone rolls with such a nodding flow across its span the drums and bass allow for the psychedelic, airier flourish in the guitar as well as the dead-ahead shove when that comes up, but they show a steadiness of pace that isn’t to be overlooked when it comes to how immersive the record ends up being. That’s true even in the up-front rockers “Mantis,” “Cwn Annwn” and “Tau Ceti” — the latter of which should be enough to sate anyone’s Acrimony fix if the box set didn’t do it — but comes to the forefront starkly at the halfway point of “Crushed by the Weight of the Sky” as well as Miles switches to timekeeping with his crash cymbal. It seems like such a simple moment, such an easy thing for a drummer to do, but it is just right in serving the purpose of the song’s overarching groove, and though Williams soon enough begins the next verse/hook and O’Hara‘s guitar will after six minutes in take the reins and lead the band through a tempo kick as they build to the organ-or-at-least-organ-sound-laced last crescendo, of which the band take full advantage, not letting the opportunity pass to pay off both the track in question and the album as a whole.

Six years between records is a long time. That’s double the stretch between their first and second albums. And it’s not in their nature stylistically to sound “refreshed,” but Sigiriya do come across as vital throughout Maiden Mother Crone, and as they craft their folkloric place within the greater sphere of the UK heavy underground, they do so by stepping further out of the rather significant shadow of O’Hara and Bidmead‘s former outfit and into their own light. Will it be six years before another Sigiriya album surfaces? Maybe. Hell if I know. But if it is, Maiden Mother Crone shows clearly that Sigiriya are able to translate all that time into sonic growth on the part of the band. Like the songs themselves, that is not to be taken lightly.

You can stream the premiere of “Cwn Annwn” on the player below. More PR wire details from Burning World Records follow. Preorders and all that coming soon.

Please enjoy:

Shine on…

Welsh mountain men and valley crawlers Sigiriya are the first to admit to their faults – and yes, they got it wrong. The darkness hadn’t died. The eternal turn is undeniable. After the light of every day comes a veil of night, throwing real-world shadows into the soul of the Light Seeker.

Personal trauma, mental and physical health issues, and even new drummer Rhys Miles (who replaced Darren “TDB” Ivey before the writing of ‘Maiden…’) staring down the grim Reaper directly, have taken their toll on Sigiriya – ‘Maiden Mother Crone’ has been a tough album to harness.

Recorded with Adam Howell at UWTSD Studios in Swansea (with additional work by Matt Williams at Sunnyvale Studios), and mixed and mastered at The Bridge Studios & FX London by the lord of heaviness Richard Whittaker, it’s a monolith of light at the end of the tunnel, a rage against the system, a modern myth and a call to atavism.

‘Maiden Mother Crone’ is undeniably heavier, slower and darker in places, yet in others it soars and roars higher and brighter than ever. More mature in its focus, sound and integration of lyrics and influences than previous releases, with ‘Maiden Mother Crone’, Sigiriya shine onwards through this eternally turning cosmos.

Tracklisting:
1. Mantis
2. Cwn Annwn
3. Tau Ceti
4. Peace of My Mind
5. Seeking Eden
6. Dark Call
7. Arise (Darkness Died Today)
8. Crushed by the Weight of the Sky

Sigiriya are:
Matt ‘Pipes’ Williams (vocals)
Rhys Miles (drums)
Stu O’Hara (guitar)
Paul ‘Mead’ Bidmead (bass)

Sigiriya on Thee Facebooks

Burning World Records website

Burning World Records on Thee Facebooks

Burning World Records on Instagram

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Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs to Release Viscerals April 3; Playing SXSW & More

Posted in Whathaveyou on January 15th, 2020 by JJ Koczan

pigs pigs pigs pigs pigs pigs pigs

I guess I missed it when UK spacepunks Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs became a big deal after 2018’s King of Cowards, but hey, that’s cool. Good for them. I don’t think there are many who’d tell you they didn’t earn it, or at least not for reasons beyond their own bitterness. That’s part of the thing though.

Their new album, Viscerals, is due in April with vinyl through Rocket Recordings. They’ll be at SXSW before that, also making a stop at Brooklyn’s famed Saint Vitus Bar before that, as one will. Neat. Go get ’em, dudes.

Art and info from the trusty PR wire:

pigs pigs pigs pigs pigs pigs pigs viscerals

PIGS PIGS PIGS PIGS PIGS PIGS PIGS ANNOUNCE NEW ALBUM VISCERALS

True to form, Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs have left the wiser of us aware that they are no band to be messed with. In the seven years since this band’s inception, the powerful primal charge at their heart has been amplified far beyond the realms of their original imagination. What’s more, no one has been more taken aback by this transformation than the band itself.

This culminated recently at a sold-out show at London’s renowned former fleapit Scala. “That was the first gig where we were properly smacked with a feeling that something had shifted,” reflects vocalist Matt Baty. “Something big and bold and positive. I felt quite overwhelmed with emotion at one point during that show. I’m not sure anyone paid to see me cry onstage, but I was close.”

This upward trajectory has done nothing to make the Newcastle-based quintet complacent, however, as they’ve used the cumulative force behind them as fuel for their most ambitious and hard-hitting record yet.

Viscerals, their third proper release, is an enormous leap forward in confidence, adventure, and sheer intensity even from their 2018 breakthrough King Of Cowards. Incisive in its riff-driven attack, infectiously catchy in its songcraft, and more intrepid than ever in its experimental approach, Viscerals is the sound of a leaner, more vicious Pigsx7, and one with their controls set way beyond the pulverizing one-riff workouts of their early days.

Watch the video for the fearsome opener “Reducer,” which has a battle cry of “Ego kills everything” that brings a philosophical bent to its Sabbathian abjection, here.

“This is the first taste of our new album Viscerals,” the band says. “It’s called ‘Reducer’ and it has a very strong flavor. It’s one of the songs that came together quickest during the writing process. It’s immediate and unruly and has that cathartic edge we seek out from the music we make together. It’s going to be a hell of a lot of fun to play live. Let’s rock.”

Elsewhere “Rubbernecker” may be the most melodious ditty this band has yet attempted, redolent of the debauched swagger of Jane’s Addiction.

Meanwhile, the sinister sound-collage of “Blood And Butter” delves into jarring abstraction anew, “New Body” countenances a bracing Melvins-and-Sonic-Youth demolition derby, and, perhaps most memorably of all, the perverse banger “Crazy In Blood” marries MBV-ish guitar curlicues in its verses to a raise-your-fists chorus worthy of Twisted Sister or Turbonegro.

Yet Pigsx7 have effortlessly broadened their horizons and dealt with all these new avenues without sacrificing one iota of their trademark eccentricity and the personality of this band has never been stronger.

“We’re a peculiar bunch of people — a precarious balance of passion, intensity and the absurd,” notes Baty. Indeed, locked into a tight deadline in the studio, the band were forced to rally forces and to throw everything they had into it, and created as concise and powerful a statement as could be summoned forth. “We booked dates in Sam’s studio before we’d written 80% of the album,” reveals guitarist Adam Ian Sykes. “We definitely thrive under pressure. It’s stressful but that stress seems to manifest itself in a positive way.”

Yet, for all that, this record is the most far-reaching yet and its ability to get down to the nitty-gritty of the human condition is implicit from its title outwards. “Viscerals is reflection of many things I guess,” says guitarist Sam Grant, whose Blank Studios was the venue in question for the band, the rogues’ gallery of which is completed by bassist John-Michael Hedley and drummer Christopher Morley. “It’s the internal; it’s our health and physicality; it’s bodily and unseen; it’s essence that forgoes intellect; and it’s not a real word.”

“At times it feels like we’re on a playground roundabout and there’s a fanatical group of people pushing it to turn faster,” reckons Baty. “Then when it’s at peak speed, they all jump on too and for just a few minutes, we all feel liberated, together.”

Such is the relentless momentum of this unique and ever-porcine outfit; hedonists of the grittiest and most life-affirming ride in the land, and still the hungriest animals at the rock trough.

VISCERALS TRACK LISTING:
“Reducer”
“Rubbernecker”
“New Body”
“Blood And Butter”
“World Crust”
“Crazy In Blood”
“Halloween Bolson”
“Hell’s Teeth”

PIGS PIGS PIGS PIGS PIGS PIGS PIGS TOUR DATES:
3/13 — St. Vitus — Brooklyn, NY
3/15 — Moroccan Lounge — Los Angeles, CA
3/16-3/20 — SXSW — Austin, TX

Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs are:
Matt Baty (Vocals)
Sam Grant (Guitar)
Adam Ian Sykes (Guitar)
Christopher Morley (Drums)
John-Michael Hedley (Bass)

https://www.facebook.com/PigsPigsPigsPigsPigsPigsPigs/
https://www.instagram.com/Pigsx7/
https://www.pigsx7.com/
https://rocketrecordings.bandcamp.com/
http://rocketrecordings.blogspot.co.uk/

Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs, “Reducer” official video

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My Dying Bride Post “Your Broken Shore” Video

Posted in Bootleg Theater on January 14th, 2020 by JJ Koczan

my dying bride

As threatened when My Dying Bride released the song as a digital single and announced the March 6 landing of their first album in five years, The Ghost of Orion, there’s now an accompanying video for “Your Broken Shore.” The big difference here, of course, is that it means those without a Spotify account — I actually re-signed up for one (had one, but seem to have lost it somewhere along the way) just for the song — or who don’t feel like shelling out the 99 cents for Apple Music or Amazon or whoever can hear the track, but the video is well-produced and directed as well, so it’s not like it’s a hardship to watch. I kind of like the dueling Aaron Stainthorpes, one lurking in black water or dressed in a monk’s robes screaming at the sky and the other brooding melancholically with a furrowed brow at the microphone, and the rest of the band appear in front of a wall of Marshall stacks that I imagine are just kind of around in founding guitarist Andrew Craighan‘s living room. “Oh that? That’s just my 35th guitar cab. More tea?” and so on. A splendid afternoon had by all.

So if the song was already out there to some extent, why am I posting the video? Well, the democratization of the track and the atmosphere inherent to a visual representation aside — though either of those would be reason enough, or just the fact that it’s My Dying Bride and I felt like it — it reinforces two key points about The Ghost of Orion I put forth when the release date was announced. First, I think the record’s going to be really good. I haven’t heard it yet (tear), so I’m only going on “Your Broken Shore” and my own anticipation, but it’s been half a decade and the band have now signed to Nuclear Blast, so they’ve got a whole new reason to bring their top-level game to the proceedings. Second point, the label’s going to really give this album a push. It’s kind of a risk because while My Dying Bride are legends in doom and hugely influential, I don’t think they’ve ever been a break-the-bank commercial band with mass appeal, but just from the fact that they’ve spaced out the track and video releases over two separate announcements means Nuclear Blast are looking to build momentum going into the arrival of The Ghost of Orion, and with preorders up now, I’d only expect that to continue.

That is to say, more to come.

Enjoy “Your Broken Shore”:

My Dying Bride, “Your Broken Shore” official video

After returning with a giant strike and announcing their new album, the British doom death legend underlines its words with stunning pictures: MY DYING BRIDE release the video for”Your Broken Shore” today, taken from the upcoming album “The Ghost Of Orion” which will be out on 6th March.

The new record of MY DYING BRIDE is the product of a vibrantly creative band that is more than willing to build on their successes in the past. Singer Aaron Stainthorpe about “Your Broken Shore”:

“The first song from MY DYING BRIDE for five years comes laced with passion, power and their unyielding desire to create the most thoughtful and heavy music possible.

‘Your Broken Shore’ is recognizably theirs despite an evolution spanning 30 years, it’s new and fresh but with unmistakable provenance and production surpassing anything they have previously released.

This track represents just a taster of things to come as the new LP “The Ghost of Orion” is upon the horizon containing seven further compositions of deliciously crushing gothic doom/death metal.”

Pre-order “The Ghost Of Orion” here:
https://nblast.de/TheGhostOfOrion

My Dying Bride website

My Dying Bride on Thee Facebooks

My Dying Bride at Nuclear Blast website

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Elder Druid Announce European Tour; New Video Posted; Album out Friday

Posted in Whathaveyou on January 13th, 2020 by JJ Koczan

ELDER DRUID

Later this week, Northern Irish sludgebringers Elder Druid will issue their second full-length album, Golgotha. I’ve heard it. It’s a beast, and what’s more, it sees Elder Druid beginning to manifest their potential in terms of tone and general aggression level, starting to show themselves as willing, able and actively trying to branch out from their root influences. Also it’s very, very heavy. So all the way around, it’s a 39-minute win of a pummeler.

They’ll play a couple shows this weekend in Belfast and Dublin to mark the release, and then next month, they head out on their first European tour, with gigs in Belgium, Germany, Poland and the Czech Republic. It’s five dates, so yes, very much an initial incursion, but I’ve seen tours go much longer and not cover as much ground, so there you go. All the best to them, safe travels, lock the van and all that stuff.

In case an album release and tour announcement weren’t enough for you — the internet be greedy — the five-piece also have a new video for the instrumental track “Sentinel” from the new record. At a little over three minutes, it’s the shortest cut on the outing, and it doesn’t have Gregg McDowell‘s varying sludge-metal gutturalisms over top, but it should still give you some idea of where Elder Druid are coming from atmospherically and in terms of their general approach. Enough to whet your appetite ahead of Friday, anyhow.

From the social medias:

elder druid tour

ELDER DRUID – EUROPEAN TOUR 2020

Delighted to finally announce we’ll be going on our first European tour in February 2020, celebrating the release of our new album ‘Golgotha’, due out on 17.01.2020.

We’ll be doing shows across Belgium, Germany and Poland on this tour and the dates are as follows:

12.02 • GHENT, BELGIUM Kinky Star
w/ Welcome to Holyland

13.02 • BERLIN, GERMANY Toast Hawaii
w/ Witch Ritual

14.02 • DRESDEN, GERMANY Eichenkranz
w/ Swan Valley Heights, Morbus Kinski

15.02 • KATOWICE, POLAND Drzwi Zwane Koniem
Fellowship of the Riff Vol. 6 w/ Fish Basket, Plaster Cast, Hermopolis, Raskolnikow

16.02 • OSTRAVA, CZECH REPUBLIC Galerie Nibiru
Klubovna Jeden Tag

Cheers to all the promoters and venues who have helped us organise these shows and to all the absolutely killer bands we have playing with us. The final show will be announced in the coming days. We can’t wait. Cheers to the guys at Galactic SmokeHouse for helping complete the tour dates. Legends.

PRE-ORDER ‘GOLGOTHA’ NOW: https://elderdruidband.bandcamp.com/album/golgotha

Elder Druid is:
Gregg McDowell – Vocals,
Jake Wallace – Guitar,
Mikey Scott – Guitar,
Dale Hughes – Bass,
Brien Gillen – Drums

https://www.facebook.com/elderdruidband
https://elderdruid.bandcamp.com/releases
http://www.instagram.com/elderdruidband

Elder Druid, “Sentinel” official video

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Quarterly Review: We Lost the Sea, Nebula Drag, Nothing is Real, Lotus Thief, Uncle Woe, Cybernetic Witch Cult, Your Highness, Deep Valley Blues, Sky Shadow Obelisk, Minus Green

Posted in Reviews on January 9th, 2020 by JJ Koczan

quarterly review

Yesterday was marked by a decisive lack of productivity. I got there, don’t get me wrong, but it took friggin’ forever to make it happen. I’m obviously hoping for a different result today and tomorrow. You would think 10 records is 10 records, but some days it’s easy flowing, bounce from one to the next without any trouble, and some days you’re me sitting there wondering how many times you can get away with using the word “style” in the same post. Punishing. The saving factor was that the music was good. Amazing how often that serves as the saving factor.

Just today and tomorrow left, so let’s dive in. Lots of different kinds of releases today, so keep your ears and mind open.

Quarterly Review #31-40:

We Lost the Sea, Triumph and Disaster

we lost the sea triumph and disaster

There is plenty of heavy post-rock floating — and I do mean floating — around these days, spreading ethereal and contemplative vibes hither and yon, but none have the emotional weight brought to bear instrumentally by Sydney, Australia’s We Lost the Sea. Across their 65-minute 2LP, Triumph and Disaster (on Translation Loss), the six-piece band recount a wordless narrative of the aftermath of the end of the world through the eyes of a mother and child on their last day. It is a touching and beautiful flow of sentiment, regret and weight that comes through the wash of three guitars and synth, bass and drums, and though 2015’s Departure Songs (review here, discussed here) worked in a similar vein in terms of style if not story, these seven tracks and 65 minutes are wholly distinguished by a willful-seeming progression on the part of the band and a patience and poise of execution as they alternate between longer and shorter pieces that only underscores how special their work truly is. At least the apocalypse is gorgeous.

We Lost the Sea on Thee Facebooks

Translation Loss store

 

Nebula Drag, Blud

nebula drag blud

Nothing against the progenitors of the form, but Nebula Drag seem with Blud to pull off the feat that Helmet never really could, bringing together a noise-rock derived dissonance of riff with a current of melody in the vocals and even moments of patience in the guitar to go along with the crunch of its more aggressive points. This inherently makes the Desert Records offering from the San Diego outfit a less outwardly intense affair than it might otherwise be, but songs like “Always Dying,” “Numb” and the closer “Mental” — as well as the album as a whole — are ultimately richer for it, and there’s still plenty of drive in opener “Dos Lados” and the shorter “Faces” and “What Went Wrong,” which arrive back to back on side B and lend the momentum that carries Nebula Drag through the remainder of the proceedings. It’s easy to hear to Blud superficially and pass it off as noise or heavy rock or this or that, but Nebula Drag earn and reward deeper listens in kind.

Nebula Drag on Thee Facebooks

Desert Records on Bandcamp

 

Nothing is Real, Pain is Joy

nothing is real pain is joy

Los Angeles oppressive and misanthropic noise project Nothing is Real manifested some of the harshest sounds I heard in 2019 on Only the Wicked are Pure (review here), and the just-months-later follow-up, Pain is Joy, reminds of the constant sensory assault under which we all seem to live. Across five extended tracks of increased production value — still raw, just not as raw — the band seems to be forming a coherent philosophical perspective in “Existence is Pain,” the guest-vocalized “Realms of Madness,” “Life is but a Dream,” “Pain is Joy,” and “We Must Break Free,” but if there’s a will to explain the punishment that is living, there’s not much by way of answer forthcoming in the sludgy riffing, grinding onslaught and surprising solo soar of “We Must Break Free,” instrumental as it is. Still, the fact that Pain is Joy allows for the possibility of joy to exist at all, in any form, ever, distinguishes it from its predecessor, and likewise the clearer sound and cogent expressive purpose. A focused attack suits Nothing is Real. I have the feeling it won’t be long before we find out where it takes the band next.

Nothing is Real on Thee Facebooks

Nothing is Real on Bandcamp

 

Lotus Thief, Oresteia

lotus thief Oresteia

If the name Oresteia isn’t immediately familiar, maybe “Agamemnon” will give some hint. San Francisco’s Lotus Thief, with their third full-length and second for Prophecy Productions, not only bring together progressive black metal, post-rock and drama-laced doom, but do so across eight-tracks and 38 minutes summarizing a 5th century Greek tragedy written in three parts. Ambitious? Yes. Successful? I’ll claim zero familiarity with the text itself, but for the eight-minute “Libation Bearers” alone — never mind any of the other immersive, beautiful wash the band emits throughout — I’m sure glad they’re engaging with it. Ambient stretches like “Banishment” and “Woe” and the barely-there “Reverence” add further character to the proceedings, but neither are “The Furies,” “Agamemnon,” “Sister in Silence” or subdued-but-tense closer “The Kindly Ones” lacking for atmosphere. Oresteia is grim, theatrical, stylistically forward-thinking and gorgeous. A perfect, perfect, perfect winter record.

Lotus Thief website

Prophecy Productions on Bandcamp

 

Uncle Woe, Our Unworn Limbs

Uncle Woe Our Unworn Limbs

Chugging, sprawling, and most of all reaching, the late-2019 debut LP, Our Unworn Limbs, from Ontario as-yet-solo-outfit Uncle Woe — composed, performed and recorded by Rain Fice — is one of marked promise, taking elements of modern progressive and cosmic doom from the likes of YOB‘s subtly angular riffing style and unfolding them across an emotionally resonant but still manageable 43-minute span. The stomp in “That’s How They Get You” is duly oppressive in following the opener “Son of the Queen,” but with the one-minute experiment “When the Night Fell Pt. 2” and jagged but harmonized “Mania for Breaking” ahead of 15-minute closer “Push the Blood Back In,” the record’s tumult and triumphs are presented with character and a welcome feeling of exploration. I would expect over time that the melodic basis and vocal presence Fice demonstrates in “Mania for Breaking” will continue to grow, but both are already significant factors in the success of that song and the album surrounding it, the first 20-plus minutes of which is spent mired in “Son of the Queen” and “That’s How They Get You,” as early proof of the sure controlling hand at the helm of the project. May it continue to be so.

Uncle Woe on Thee Facebooks

Uncle Woe on Bandcamp

 

Cybernetic Witch Cult, Absurdum ad Nauseam

cybernetic witch cult absurdam ad nauseam

Guitarist/vocalist Alex Wyld, bassist Doug MacKinnon and drummer Lewis May have processed the world around them and translated it into a riffy course of sci-fi and weirdo semi-prog thematics across Absurdum ad Nauseam. What else to call such a thing? At eight songs and 52 minutes, it stands astride the lines between heavy rock and doom and sludge in lengthier pieces like “The Cetacean,” “The Ivory Tower” and the finale “Hypercomputer Part 2,” yet when it comes to picking out discernible influences, one has to result to generalizations like Black Sabbath and Acrimony, the latter in the rolling largesse of “Spice” and “The Myth of Sisyphus” later on in the outing and the vocal effects there particularly, but neither is enough to give a sense of what Cybernetic Witch Cult are actually about in terms of the modernity of their approach and the it’s-okay-we-know-what-we’re-doing-just-trust-us vibe they bring as they rush through “Cromagnonaut” after the intro and “Hypercomputer Part 1.” I’m inclined to just go with it, which should tell you something in itself about the band’s ability to carry their listener through. They earn that trust.

Cybernetic Witch Cult on Thee Facebooks

Cybernetic Witch Cult on Bandcamp

 

Your Highness, Your Highness

Your Highness Your Highness

Heavy blues meets heavy metal on Your Highness‘ self-titled and self-released third album, collecting eight tracks that divide evenly across two sides of an LP, each half ending with a longer piece, whether it’s “Black Fever” (9:00) on side A or “Kin’s Blood” (14:14) on side B. Through these, in full-throttle movements like opener “Devil’s Delight” and “Rope as a Gift” and in nestled-in groovers like “The Flood” and “To Wood and Stone,” Your Highness don’t shy away from bringing a sense of atmosphere to their material, but maintain a focus on burl, gruffness and tonal weight, an aggressive undercurrent in a song like “Born Anew” — the riff to which is nonetheless particularly bluesy — being emblematic of the perspective on display throughout. It moves too fleetly to ever be considered entirely sludge, but Your Highness‘ 51-minute span is prone to confrontation just the same, and its ferocious aspects come to a head in satisfying fashion as the wash of crash pays off “Kin’s Blood,” shouts cutting through en route to a finish of acoustic guitar that lands as a reminder to release the breath you’ve been holding the whole time. Heavy stuff? Why yes, it is.

Your Highness on Thee Facebooks

Your Highness on Bandcamp

 

Deep Valley Blues, Demonic Sunset

Deep Valley Blues Demonic Sunset

Italy’s fervor for stoner rock is alive and well as represented in Demonic Sunset, the eight-song/34-minute debut full-length from Catanzaro’s Deep Valley Blues. Their sound works out to be more heavy rock than the desert one might imagine given the album cover, but that influence is still there, if beefed up tonally by guitarists Alessandro Morrone and Umberto Arena (the latter also backing vocals), bassist/vocalist Giando Sestito and drummer Giorgio Faini, whose fluid turns between propulsion and swing enable a song like “Dana Skully” to come together in its verse/chorus transitions. The penultimate nine-minute “Tired to Beg For” is an outlier among more straight-ahead songwriting, but they use the time well and close with the acoustic-led “Empire,” an encouraging showcase of sonic breadth to follow up on the start of “Lust Vegas” and a widening of the melodic range that one hopes Deep Valley Blues push further on subsequent releases. Centered around issues of mental health in terms of its lyrics, if somewhat vaguely, Demonic Sunset is a first LP that extends its focus to multiple levels while still keeping its feet on the ground in a way that will be familiar to experienced genre heads.

Deep Valley Blues on Thee Facebooks

Deep Valley Blues on Bandcamp

 

Sky Shadow Obelisk, The Satyr’s Path

sky shadow obelisk the satyrs path

You can toss a coin as to whether Sky Shadow Obelisk are death-doom or doom-death, but as you do, just keep an eye on the bludgeoning doled out by the solo-project of Rhode Island-based composer Peter Scartabello on his latest EP, The Satyr’s Path, because it is equal parts thorough and ferocious. Flourish of keys and melody adds a progressive edge to the proceedings across the five-track release, particularly in its two instrumentals, the centerpiece “Ouroboros” and the first half of closer “Shadow of Spring,” but amid the harnessed madness of “Chain of Hephaestus” — which from its lyrics I can only think of as a work song — and the one-two of “The Serpent’s Egg” and the title-track early on, those moments of letup carry a tension of mood that even the grand finish in “Shadow of Spring” seems to acknowledge. It’s been since 2015 that Scartabello last offered up a Sky Shadow Obelisk full-length. He shows enough scope here to cover an album’s worth of ground, but on the most basic level, I’d take more if it was on offer.

Sky Shadow Obelisk on Thee Facebooks

Yuggoth Records on Bandcamp

 

Minus Green, Equals Zero

Minus Green Equals Zero

Following up on a 2015 self-titled the material on Minus Green‘s sophomore album, Equals Zero, would seem to have at least in part been kicking around for a couple years, as the closer here, “Durial” (11:22) was released in a single version in 2016. Fair enough. If the other three cuts, opener “Primal” (9:58), “00” (11:51) and the penultimate “Kames” (10:08), have also been developed over that span, the extra rumination wouldn’t seem to have harmed them at all — they neither feel overthought to a point of staleness nor lack anything in terms of the natural vibe that their style of progressive instrumentalist heavy psychedelia warrants. The procession unfolds as a cleanly-structured LP with two songs per side arranged shorter-into-longer, and their sound is duly immersive to give an impression of exploration underway without being entirely jam-based in their structure. That is, listening to “00,” one gets the feeling it’s headed somewhere, which, fortunately it is. Where it and the record surrounding go ultimately isn’t revolutionary in aesthetic terms, but it is well performed and more than suitable for repeat visits. Contrary to the impression they might seek to give, it amounts to more than nothing.

Minus Green on Thee Facebooks

Kerberos Records website

 

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My Dying Bride to Release The Ghost of Orion March 6; New Single Streaming

Posted in Whathaveyou on January 7th, 2020 by JJ Koczan

my dying bride

Coming up on five years since My Dying Bride‘s last record, Feel the Misery (review here), came out in 2015, and when it was announced that the UK doom legends’ awaited Nuclear Blast debut was done back last August, I posited a mid-February release date. Well, first week of March isn’t that far off, so I’m gonna take a second and feel alright about that. Look at me, noticing how stuff works sometimes.

More importantly than the I-told-you-so that I just told, well, myself despite a lack of actual accuracy on the matter in question, My Dying Bride‘s new full-length, dubbed The Ghost of Orion, will be out March 6 and there’s a new single on the Spotifies and other streaming services of the digital universe that’ll be followed by a video later this week. If I may be so bold as to make another prediction? I think this album is going to be one of 2020’s best doom releases. Think about it. They’re touting death metal vocals in the single, which is something longtime fans have wanted, and hinting at more accessible material overall, which seems primed to grab the attention of a waiting new generation of listeners who maybe caught onto Paradise Lost with their Medusa outing a few years ago — also on Nuclear Blast, it’s worth noting — and are hungry for more from the grim masters of the style. Well folks, here come My Dying Bride. Keep an eye out for that video and we can go from there and see if I’m right. It’s not the kind of call I’m totally comfortable making less than 10 days into January, but I’ll put it out nonetheless: I’m betting this record is going to smoke.

From the PR wire:

my dying bride the ghost of orion

MY DYING BRIDE ANNOUNCE NEW ALBUM, “THE GHOST OF ORION” FOR MARCH 2020

MUSIC VIDEO FOR “YOUR BROKEN SHORE” TO BE RELEASED ON JANUARY 10TH

Like a phoenix from the ashes, a legend rises again in 2020: MY DYING BRIDE went through tough some times in last years and fought many struggles along their way, but now the British doom metal band are proud to announce their new studio album “The Ghost Of Orion” for 6th March, 2020.

The new record of MY DYING BRIDE is the product of a vibrantly creative band that is more than willing to build on their successes in the past.

Singer Aaron Stainthorpe about”The Ghost Of Orion”:

“A new album for a new era of MY DYING BRIDE with fresh faces and a more accessible style compared to some of their past, highly technical releases. ‘The Ghost of Orion’ features compositions not only of epic proportions but of intimate quality too, from death metal vocals to the pained cries of a vocalist in longing, the L.P. will raise and fall like the beautiful landscape of Yorkshire in which it was recorded. With layer upon layer of guitars both heavy and harmonic, Andrew Craighan has created a rich soundscape that is beautifully epic, enhanced with violins and keys from Shaun MacGowan along with the ominous murmur of cello from acclaimed cellist Jo Quail. And speaking of guest artists, the wondrous voice of Lindy-Fay Hella (WARDRUNA) adds an ethereal beauty to the album. Adding his particular style of drumming this time round is Jeff Singer whose percussion exploits have elevated the bands’ rhythm section to another level aided by the effortlessly stylish Lena Abe on bass guitar. Aaron Stainthorpe delivers a compelling and often disturbing performance with his own particular style of vocals offering sincere eulogies along with the visceral carnage of a soul in pain, with poetic lyrics of a quality not often seen in this genre. This collection of songs is the band’s most brilliant yet, honing 30 years of experience into the well crafted offering that is ‘The Ghost of Orion’.”

Pre-order “The Ghost Of Orion” here:
https://nblast.de/TheGhostOfOrion

Today, “The Ghost Of Orion” will be targeting our souls in form of the first single “Your Broken Shore” – a haunting, gloomy piece driven by melancholy and deep, dark emotions. A music video for this stunning masterpiece will be released on 10th January.

Check out the single here:
https://nblast.de/MDB-YourBrokenShore

The album will be available as CD, black 2LP in Gatefold, white 2LP in Gatefold, red 2LP in Gatefold and picture 2LP in Gatefold.

www.mydyingbride.net
https://www.facebook.com/MyDyingBrideOfficial/
www.nuclearblast.de/mydyingbride
https://www.facebook.com/nuclearblastusa

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