The Obelisk Radio Adds: Yama, Bellhound Choir, Atala, Astralnaut & Weed Priest, Mammoth Weed Wizard Bastard

Posted in Radio on February 25th, 2015 by H.P. Taskmaster

the obelisk radio

I’ve been listening to a lot of The Obelisk Radio this week, so it seemed only fair to do a round of adds to the server. Might just be what came up in the selection process, but it’s seemed pretty off the wall of late. Yeah, there’s plenty of heavy riffs and whatever else, but a lot of sludge and noise stuff too. I like that because hopefully it appeals to a wider variety of listeners, though part of me thinks I should cut out everything that isn’t Goatsnake, Kyuss, Electric Wizard and two or three of the stoner-flavor-of-the-month types and just let it roll with that. One tries to quiet the cynical impulse. You know how it is.

In all seriousness though, at some point I’m going to have to trim down what’s on there. It’s only a three terabyte drive and I have neither the know-how nor the cash to expand it further, so yeah. But that’s not this week. This week, 11 new records joined the playlist — see them all at the Obelisk Radio Playlist and Updates page — and that includes those that follow here.

The Obelisk Radio adds for Feb. 25, 2015:

Yama, Ananta

yama ananta

While definitely rooted tonally in heavy rock, there’s an underlying current of metal flowing through Yama‘s debut long-player, Ananta. The four-piece, who hail from the home of Roadburn in Tilburg, the Netherlands, offer plenty of driving riffs and nodding grooves on songs like the opening title-track and the slower centerpiece “Migraine City,” nonetheless take a sharper approach than some to the style. It comes through in the vocals, which get pretty gruff by the end of the aforementioned “Migraine City,” but also over ascending notes of classic metallic soar late in “Ruach Elohim” — a song that, it’s worth noting, also starts out with harmonica — and push the John Garcia impulse to more guttural range on “Hollow” and “Swordsman of the Crossroads I.” The latter also kicks into some blastbeats, to further the metallic edge. Still, Yama – the four-piece of Alex Schenkels, Peter Taverne, Joep Schmitz and Sjoerd Albers – wield the blend well throughout and keep a solid balance. “Swordsman of the Crossroads I” and the subsequent “II” are the arguable pinnacle here, but the acoustic-led closer “Vy” seems to hint that Yama haven’t quite yet shown all their cards. Yama on Thee Facebooks, on Bandcamp.

Bellhound Choir, Stray Screech Beast

Bellhound Choir Stray Screech Beast

As per the immortal words of Monty Python: “And now for something completely different.” Bellhound Choir is a solo-project from guitarist/vocalist Christian Hede Madsen, also of Copenhagen-based rockers Pet the Preacher, but there’s little in common between one and the other, and Bellhound Choir‘s debut release, Stray Screech Beast, finds Madsen exploring folk and particularly country stylizations, a sense of brooding pervasive throughout the album’s eight tracks. It’s a dark vibe that pervades “Stuck (Old Song)” and the electrified, spacious blues bombast of “Bless Me,” and as a later, relatively minimal cut like “Black Spot” shows, Madsen isn’t afraid of delving into guy-and-guitar singer-songwriterism. His voice and playing is strong enough to carry the material, though one wonders how he got that Southern twang, and Stray Screech Beast doesn’t overplay its hand at 27 minutes. There may be fire and brimstone beneath, but Madsen isn’t quite there yet in bringing it out for righteous proclamations, though I wouldn’t be surprised to find him taking on a preacherman quality on subsequent outings, as well as pushing into more complex arrangements as the experiment continues. Some rocker heads might be put off by the country vibe, but I suspect plenty will feel right at home amid the moody atmosphere and plucked guitar of “God’s Home.” Bellhound Choir on Thee Facebooks, on Soundcloud.

Atala, Atala

atala atala

Desert-dwelling trio Atala recorded their self-titled/self-released debut with Scott Reeder (Kyuss, The Obsessed, Fireball Ministry, etc.), and its eight songs break easily into two halves — the end of each signaled by a cut north of the 10-minute mark — of raucous, occasionally surprisingly aggressive heavy rock. Opener “Broken Glass” positions Atala somewhere near Fatso Jetson sonically, but less punk in their roots, guitarist/vocalist Kyle Stratton and bassist John Chavarria having previously played together in metallers Rise of the Willing while drummer Jeff Tedtoatoa is a former member of punkers Forever Came CallingStratton‘s vocals veer into sludge-metal screams from cleaner territory and seem comfortable in the back-and-forth, and that, blended with the fullness of sound, and pop in Tedtoatoa‘s snare — a hallmark of Reeder‘s production; see also Blaak Heat Shujaa — makes the meandering jam in “Labyrinth of Mind” seem all the more like a standout moment of varied impulses working to find their balance. By the time they get down to the chugging “Virgo Moon” and the ebbs and flows of closer “Sun Worship,” Atala seem to have it worked out for the most part, and while there’s still growth to be undertaken, the chemistry between the three players comes across as plain as the sands they call home. Atala’s website, on Thee Facebooks.

Astralnaut & Weed Priest, Split


Irish outfits Astralnaut and Weed Priest team up for a split single, and while it’s just one song from each, there’s plenty of substance between them. Thick, gooey substance, if their tones are anything to go by. Both Astralnaut‘s “Parasitic” (9:20) and Weed Priest‘s “Graveyard Planet” (7:42) are big, lumbering riffers marked out with a sludgy feel, but there are subtle differences between them as well, the former being more forward vocally and meaner in-tone and the latter more fuzzed-out and obscure in a kind of Sons of Otis-via-Electric Wizard fashion. No real mystery why they’d pair up, though, with geography and a penchant for riffy bludgeoning shared, and their split should make a fitting introduction for anyone who might be running into either band for the first time, or maybe caught wind of Weed Priest‘s lumbering 2013 self-titled debut (review here) or any of Astralnaut‘s prior short releases. First timer or not, “Parasitic” and “Graveyard Planet” tap into amp rumble and slow-motion nod that should please any riff-worshiping head looking for a sample of the bands’ wares, Astralnaut spacing out a bit in the second half of their selection as though to smooth the path into Weed Priest‘s heady, darkened roll. For the converted, a reminder of why and how they got that way. Astralnaut on Thee Facebooks, on Bandcamp. Weed Priest on Thee Facebooks, on Bandcamp.

Mammoth Weed Wizard Bastard, Nachthexen


I’ll give the UK stoner surge one thing: It wins on band names. I don’t think per capita there’s any country in the world with more stoned-as-fuck monikers than Britain. To wit, Mammoth Weed Wizard Bastard. The Wrexham unit make a churning debut on Tape Worship Records with the half-hour-long “Nachthexen,” a single-song EP that moves smoothly between droned-out space exploration, crush-prone doom riffs and stoner metal gallop. The latter comes to the fore just past the midsection of this mammoth, weedian, wizardly bit of bastardism — one wonders how they got their name in the first place — but by then, “Nachthexen” has already careened through cosmic doom psych-osis early on, like roughed-up YOB with droney underpinnings, and teased a thrash influence in their Slayer-style interplay of chugging guitar and ride cymbal. Of course, the most satisfying build is the last one, which builds over the song’s final seven minutes from ambient noise and sparse guitar strum to suitably huge and suitably doomed payoff. This is the kind of shit that if you played it for actual human beings, they’d look at you and wonder just what the fuck species you belong to, and that’s clearly the idea. For their psychedelic elements, I can’t help but wonder if a more colorful artwork approach isn’t called for next time out, but beyond that, there’s little about Mammoth Weed Wizard Bastard‘s take that brooks any argument whatsoever, instead drowning it out in deep low end and otherworldly, malevolent vibes. Mammoth Weed Wizard Bastard on Thee Facebooks, on Bandcamp, Tape Worship Records.

Like I said, this is less than half of what was added to the server today. Recently-covered records from Mansion, Stoned Jesus, Blut, Skunk Hawk and others also went up, hopefully adding to the diversity of sound and overall strength of the playlist. For the full line on everything that went up, check the Playlist and Updates page. If you wind up checking out any of this stuff and take the time to dig in, I hope you enjoy.

Thanks as always for reading and listening.

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Groan: Highrospliffics EP Coming March 23

Posted in Whathaveyou on February 23rd, 2015 by H.P. Taskmaster


What does a Witchfinder General Finder find? He finds Witchfinders General. Or maybe he finds the band Witchfinder General, I don’t know. I haven’t heard the song yet. Maybe London’s Groan — who’ll release their new EP, Highrospliffics, as a free download through Bandcamp on March 23 — are working on a “Whatever Happened to Celtic Frost?” kind of thing. Or maybe I’m overthinking it. I don’t know, but it’ll be fun to find out. With Groan, the safer bet is always that shenanigans will ensue.

Highrospliffics will be the first new Groan release since 2013’s Ride the Snake EP (review here) offered vibe by the slice. Details follow from the PR wire, including the tracklisting, which, if you were wondering what the hell I was talking about in the paragraph above, should have some answers:


GROAN: Cheeky English Doom ‘N’ Rollers Announce New EP, Highrospliffics, Out Via FREE Download March 23

The cheekiest of party-doom bands, London’s GROAN, have confirmed themselves as the number one party-stoner band in the UK and returned with a new EP, Highrospliffics (recorded by Sam Thredder of Slabdragger), which will be available via FREE digital download on March 23 via the group’s Bandcamp.

1. Run Out Of Fucks
2. Witchfinder General Finder
3. March Of The Druids
4. Buried In Leather

If you’re a stranger to the Spinal Tap-esque history of Groan, here it is: Groan were formed in 2010 and put a few demos online that rapidly caught the stoner/doom scene’s attention. They released their first album, The Sleeping Wizard, on Doomanoid Records that year. The band soon earned a reputation as an exciting, entertaining and completely ridiculous force live, with charismatic (and generally barefoot) lead singer Mazzereth acting as ringmaster general at gigs. Confused and amused fans soon grew to know this group as a party-doom band that is high and giggling, not a stoner rock band that is tuned-out and derivative.

In the nine months after the album was released, the band played live all over the country, smoked the GDP of a small African nation, wrote off a brand new Ferrari California, decorated their rehearsal room with gifts from hookers, and even split up and re-formed in a day. After a split EP with Finnish doomers Vinum Sabbatum in 2011, Groan‘s second album was released in 2012 by Dutch label Soulseller Records, The Divine Right of Kings, to great critical acclaim.

With new members Zel Kaute (Vodun, ex-Pettybone) and Mike Pilat (ex-Ocean Collective) joining on drums and guitar respectively, the band took a heavy metal sidestep with their five track EP, Ride the Snake, in late 2013. With yet another new lineup in 2014, Groan went back into the studio with founder members Mazzereth (vocals) and Leigh Jones (bass) joined by long-time drummer Zel Kaute and new guitarist Lindsay Hamilton. Across their five releases, Groan have proven their ability to write songs that marry catchy hooks with heavy riffs and plan to dominate 2015 with the release of Highrospliffics and the destruction of many live music venues.

Mazzereth – Vocals
Leigh Jones – Bass
Lindsay Hamilton – Guitar
Zel Kaute – Drums


Groan, “Slice of that Vibe” official video

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Blut, Demo 2014: Madness Reborn

Posted in Reviews on February 23rd, 2015 by H.P. Taskmaster

blut demo 2014

As the guitar and bass duo of S.M. (also drums and vocals) and N.B. (also synth and vocals), Blut began a reign of terror in the Dorset, UK, underground with 2010’s Ritual and Ceremony (review here). Their concoctions were immediately an absinthe of ill-intended noise, a wash of murderous disaffection. Grief and Incurable Pain (review here) followed in 2011, and Drop out and Kill (review here) after that in 2012, each one more demented than the last, the coherence of Blut‘s chaos, the precision behind it, serving as one of its most vicious aspects. They owed a minor debt to Dorset’s doom lords, Electric Wizard, but their strain was more virulent and just plain meaner than that band ever showed interest in being. When 2013 came and went without word, it seemed safe to assume S.M. and N.B. had inadvertently conjured a Lovecraftian hellbeast of one sort or another that swifted them off to a darkened plane of existence littered with intestines and other sundry viscera. Turns out that’s not the case. They got a drummer. Bringing on board Shaun Rutter (should he be S.R. from here on out?), who bashed the rolling grooves of Electric Wizard‘s landmark 2007 return, Witchcult Today, and its 2010 follow-up, Black Masses (review here), probably won’t do much to lessen the comparisons between the two groups, but it has made Blut‘s grooves all the more lethal, and the three-song Demo 2014 makes that plain over the course of 44 grueling minutes of slow churn, nasty screams, dense low end and, of course, the psychedelic violence to which Blut has become so prone.

For S.M. and N.B., working with Rutter is a major change, not only in the lineup of Blut, but also the configuration. A trio’s dynamic is much different than that of a duo, and so it makes sense that they might want to feel out the shift with a demo before embarking on a fourth full-length, but to be honest, if Demo 2014 had arrived tagged as a long-player, given its own fuck-off-and-die-esque title, I probably wouldn’t have blinked. Blut‘s recordings have always been tape-worthy rough, and the rawer they go, the meaner they sound, so in the past they’ve reveled in it. Demo 2014, at least in the basic sound of it, isn’t much different. The change is more stylistic than sonic. Three cuts, “Child Killer on Cloven Hoof” (13:28), “Abuse” (7:05) and “Murder before Larceny” (23:35), find Blut still caked in noise, but somewhat less excruciating than they have been. Drop out and Kill showed evidence of a move away from pure noise and drone, so I won’t put it all on Rutter‘s joining, but that S.M. and N.B. would bring in anyone else at all speaks to their wanting to make Blut more readily able to translate to a live setting, and to make it more of a band. The songs show that as well, and while “Child Killer on Cloven Hoof” — which may or may not be a sequel to “Alcoholic on Cloven Hoof” from the last album — is still a thick morass, it also has movement to it that continues through most of its span until abrasive feedback takes hold in the last two minutes or so. Before that, however, the sludge-style roll is a genuine nod, cut through periodically with rhythmic screaming, but making its most resonant impression in the depths of its rumble and the swing that carries it across.


And taking Demo 2014 as a demo release, that is, as a demonstration, it showed Blut‘s development not only in personnel, but in developing a more varied attack. The instrumental “Abuse” is seven minutes of hypnotic drone, but the smoke-wisps of psych-fuzz lead guitar put the listener in a different mindset entirely from the opener. “Murder before Larceny” resumes more of the sludgy roll that “Child Killer on Cloven Hoof” worked with, but seems also to bring the two sides together, leads peppered into the initial movement as verses make way until, shortly before 10 minutes in, the drums cut out and an echoing feedback takes hold. A hard-edged drone takes hold and develops into a consuming wash over the next six minutes, and though by then it seems there’s no escape, Rutter kicks back in on drums at 15:55 and “Murder before Larceny” resumes a march, such as it is. More of a slog, perhaps. The tempo is down like it’s been shot in the leg, the screams that arrive soon after are depraved, and the atmosphere takes on an almost Godfleshian sense of inhumanity. What devolves from there is the final stretch of “Murder before Larceny,” as S.M.N.B. and Rutter proceed to end the march with toxic rumble and feedback that nonetheless has a sort of trance-inducing effect. Their malevolence has always been what’s distinguished them, but as they return from their year-plus in the ether, Blut show there’s method to their madness beyond the creation of searing bite and volume. That they’d turn back and make a demo is reasonable as they explore the new dynamic with Rutter on board, but if these three songs prove anything, it’s that they’re ready to continue moving forward.

Blut, “Child Killer on Cloven Hoof”

Blut’s Blogspot

Blut on Soundcloud

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Friday Full-Length: Jethro Tull, Aqualung

Posted in Bootleg Theater on February 20th, 2015 by H.P. Taskmaster

Jethro Tull, Aqualung (1971)

I love this record. Jethro Tull‘s oh-yeah-they’re-the-band-with-the-flute reputation and the sort of over-the-top aspects of Aqualung, whether it’s Ian Anderson‘s vocal delivery or grandiose songwriting too often get the focus when it comes to modern perceptions of Tull, but their early work is a landmark in heavy rock as well as prog, albums like 1968’s debut This Was and 1969’s Stand Up setting the stage for the proggy indulgences that really took hold with 1972’s single-song wonder Thick as a Brick and continued to develop from there. Aqualung, released in 1971, is sort of the middle ground between the impulses of blues rock and prog. You of course have the opening title-track, a great, crashing thing, with its vocal proclamations and guitar-led grandeur, but it’s still the riff that makes it, and later cuts like “Hymn 43,” “Locomotive Breath” and “Wind-Up,” let alone the unmitigated groove of the subsequent “Cross-Eyed Mary,” follow a similar course. Even “Mother Goose,” which is acoustic, follows its central guitar figure. That song is practically flute-less, as is the subsequent quiet contemplation “Wond’ring Aloud,” but perhaps the best blend of Anderson‘s flute and Martin Barre‘s guitar is the expansive side B opener “My God.” There’s an audible switch in the tape when the choral vocals and extended flute solo kick in (it’s 25:03 into the album), and that’s a pivotal moment for the band. The tone of the woodwind instrument changes and the feel becomes more orchestral, brazenly moving away from heavy rock to something with greater aspirations.

Tull would of course head in that direction in the years that followed, forging an influential legacy in classic prog, but Aqualung remains their defining moment and it’s easy to speculate that the reason why is because songs like “Up to Me” refuse to give up their rock and roll swagger in the name of forging a new take on classical music’s technical focus. Of course, “Aqualung” became one of rock’s great characters — do I need to reference “Sgt. Pepper” or “Corporal Clegg”; two military figures, yes, but “Aqualung”‘s veteran status is unknown — but even in its smallest passages, “Cheap Day Return,” “Wond’ring Aloud” or “Slipstream,” Aqualung is afraid to be neither sweet nor sour, and even if Jethro Tull had never released another album, it would be enough to ensure legendary status.

As always, I hope you enjoy.

Had a pipe burst this week. It froze. The townhouse we’re in apparently isn’t much for insulation, so much to the surprise of The Patient Mrs. and I on Monday afternoon, steam started flooding the guest room and water started streaming down from the kitchen ceiling. That ceiling, now stained, will need painting. The carpet upstairs, maybe cleaning will do it rather than outright replacement? Took two days to dry out the floor, dehumidifier and box fan and towels. Took the plumber about 20 minutes to fix the busted pipe. Suggested we keep the heat up more on colder nights. It was at 60 when it broke. Also had the plumber back this afternoon to look at our hot water. These are the joys of home ownership. The American Dream: A Year on Unemployment Spending Money on Home Repair. At least it’s supposed to be above freezing this weekend, though as I understand it will rain the whole time.

Oh, I used to go to shows. Now I just stay home and think about the weather. That’s my life now. I’ve canceled my trip to Roadburn in favor of the Northeastern Meteorological Conference in New Haven.

Not really, but it has been a lot about the weather. I’m still going to Roadburn. One must get right with one’s gods, after all.

Seems kind of like I’m checking out early, but what the hell. A particularly efficient day is a welcome change from the norm, and a (lukewarm) shower and a run to the grocery store await. Monday starts with a video premiere from Mammoth Mammoth, and then we get deeper from there. Reviews of Blut and Mansion, and hopefully The Midnight Ghost Train, and a look at the Skunk Hawk tape and a little more of this or that. The early part of this week — like, Monday through Thursday — had a lot of premieres, and I’m into that since it’s basically just a review with some exclusive audio attached, but those don’t always do a lot to whittle down the stuff on the pile. And after the late-2014 50-reviews-in-one-week purge, there’s already a pile built back up. Might have to make “Last Licks” a seasonal thing.

Whatever. Too much music is a good problem to have, and if I can’t keep up, well at least that keeps me busy. Sometimes it’s worth stepping back and realizing how much more I need this than it needs me, I guess is what I’m saying.

On that note, I’ll skip out. Not actually skipping because my foot’s all messed up, but figuratively skipping for the deep, resonant, warm joy I feel inside. Dianetics!

Have a great and safe weekend, and please check out the forum and radio stream. If you get the chance to dig into the new podcast, that’d rule as well.

The Obelisk Forum

The Obelisk Radio

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Earthling Society Release New Album It’s Your Love that’s Sound

Posted in Whathaveyou on February 16th, 2015 by H.P. Taskmaster

earthling society

Among many other things in this infinite and expanding universe, I’d be interested to know just what exactly UK psychedelic soundscapers Earthling Society mean when they say “linear.” Their newly-issued work, It’s Your Love that’s Sound, is comprised of three tracks, two of them, “Dharma Transmission” and “It’s Your Love that’s Sound,” on either side of 17 minutes long, and the intro — such as it is — “Ah Will be Done” is over four minutes as well, so what’s the definition of “linear” in this context? Are they talking about how the songs progress and build? Is it a narrative carried through the album’s whole? I’d speculate, but it’s apparently the last time they’re working in linear form anyway, so maybe the moment has passed.

Whatever their use is intended to convey, It’s Your Love that’s Sound is a brazen and experimental work, ranging from expansive drones and chants to noisy effects rock and swirling psych-osis. Perhaps it’s better not to try to understand, but to just immerse and dive in, enjoying the fact that they’re giving it away and wait to see what comes next. It’s Your Love that’s Sound is the follow-up to 2014’s kosmiche England Have My Bones and is available now for streaming and downloading, as per their announcement:

earthling society it's your love that's sound

This is a free album to you all. We are giving it away because music is free. There’s no scam, no ploy, It’s just us giving you something to say thanks. This is also the last set of songs ES will be recording with a linear structure.

We’ve never been making music to get famous or ‘somewhere’ otherwise we wouldn’t have sounded like we do.

We are just transmitters of sound that comes from somewhere in the soul. We dont need to record this stuff on top of a pyramid in the heat of a desert or on the edge of a cliff in the Andes while a condor hovers above our heads. We dont need to swim with dolphins whilst playing water flute with mermaids with diamond smiles. That’s because we have already done it; In our minds eye. You see we are idiots. Not your normal everyday idiots like politicians but the ones like Prince Myshkin. We try to see the good things through all the shit, and as the shit piles higher we see more clearly.

I would like to make a special mention to my youngest son Lewis for the great artwork. Thankyou x

We have 3000 fans on here. It would be nice of you all to share this album for valentines day and beyond. Like I said its free like everything should be free

Take care xxxx

Earthling Society, It’s Your Love that’s Sound

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Desertfest London 2015: Jeremy Irons and the Ratgang Malibus and Moaning Cities Added to Lineup

Posted in Whathaveyou on February 16th, 2015 by H.P. Taskmaster

desertfest london 2015 banner

Desertfest London 2015 has added two more acts to its already remarkable lineup. Youngin’ Swedish rockers Jeremy Irons and the Ratgang Malibus impressed last year with their Small Stone label debut, Spirit Knife (review here), while Belgium’s Moaning Cities‘ 2014 release, Pathways through the Sail, only came to my attention when the four-piece was recently added to the Roadburn lineup, but made an impression at the time and has warranted several revisits since.

The two acts join a huge roster of bands, where even four lines down on the poster it’s like you’re still looking at headliners (as you can see below), from Red Fang and Sleep and Eyehategod to The Atomic BitchwaxMy Sleeping Karma and Black Pyramid, and the announcements from Desertfest make it official:

desertfest london 2015 poster



This band is the musical, northwest passage between classic rock and the unholy spirit of Pink Floyd.

It’s like finding an interstellar sound portal to a hidden space desert, that only can be seen and heard through a kaleidoscope, which is blessed by a spiritual shaman from Saturn.

The band’s latest album “Spirit Knife” is perhaps the ultimate record for inner and outer road tripping beyond all boundaries. But have no fear of getting lost, the soundscape and the groove serves as your existential guide and compass, through the purple mist of the desert.



The band comes from the ’60s psych revival end of the scene; think The Doors, 13th Floor Elevators, Baby Woodrose, The Heads and Wooden Shjips, or even some acts closer to home like Ride and The Stone Roses. Vocalist Valérian Meunier is especially reminiscent of the honest approach of singers like Ian Brown and Richard Ashcroft of The Verve.

The band have another strong element to them: their love of North African and Middle-Eastern instruments. On stage they wrap many of their songs in a blissed-out haze, with Timothée Sinagra’s hypnotic sitar and Melissa Morales’ ethnic percussion. They know how to wig-out too, fuzz rockers like lead single ‘Bread and Games’ will get your ass moving on the dance floor.

A nice diversion from the doom and sludge at the heavier end the festival experience, Moaning Cities will get London howling with satisfaction at this years’ DesertFest.

Kind Words: Rich AfterSabbath

Jeremy Irons and the Ratgang Malibus, Spirit Knife (2014)

Moaning Cities, Pathways through the Sail (2014)

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Desertfest London 2015: The Order of Israfel and Mike IX Williams Added to Lineup

Posted in Whathaveyou on February 9th, 2015 by H.P. Taskmaster

desertfest london 2015

We’re getting to the point now where, after a couple months of one-at-a-time lineup adds, the April festivals have really taken their shape and we can step back and take a look at what each has to offer. In the case of Desertfest London, this is both a year of branching out stylistically — Angel Witch, SSSSatanic Dystopia and Cancer in the lineup isn’t a small turn from the “desert” part of the festival’s name — and looking geographically inward, bringing in UK acts like Sweet Billy PilgrimAmplifierSex SwingAmuletSly and the Family Drone and others to reaffirm their commitment to English heavy amid a still-international lineup, to which Sweden’s The Order of Israfel and New Orleans’ Mike IX Williams – who’s also headlining with Eyehategod – have just been added.

Updates from the Desertfest website:

the order of israfel



…but with an acclaimed debut album under their belts, a hectic touring schedule and plenty of pedigree in their ranks, we’re delighted to welcome them to bring the noise at DesertFest 2015!

The brainchild of Tom Sutton (ex-Church of Misery, Horisont), the songs that would make up The Order of Israfel’s debut album ‘Wisdom’ were written over the course of a decade, but the band only came together when Sutton made the move to Gothenburg in 2012 where he was joined by former members of the appropriately named DoomDogs. Uniting in a shared love of all things Sabbath, the band quickly gelled and recorded their debut for Napalm Records.

But don’t just expect all-out Sabbath grooves from these guys because The Order of Israfel bring plenty of soul and a technical edge to their unique brand of doom.

Kind Words: Tom McKibbin



Williams is someone who has had an interesting life to say the least; with the ups of fronting Eyehategod come the downs of the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, so it is no surprise that he can craft deep, dark prose. Backed on record by the ambient tones of Ryan McKern, the pure darkness of mere words can even sometimes feel heavier than the most crushing doom.

Definitely one of the more unique spectacles at this years DesertFest, Williams’ words could be the most brutal thing you hear all weekend.

Kind Words: Tom Geddes

The Order of Israfel, “Wisdom” official video

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The Obelisk Radio Adds: HARK, Lucifer, Diesel King, Planes of Satori and Stonebride

Posted in Radio on February 6th, 2015 by H.P. Taskmaster

I have continued to enjoy putting together these posts, and hopefully, whether you listen to The Obelisk Radio or you don’t, you get some use out of them. The fact is that it’s a pretty overwhelming amount of music being released these days — I feel like I’ve been behind all week, and for good reason — but it’s a good problem to have, and all you can really do is your best to keep up as much as you can. Accordingly, some of the stuff joining the playlist this week isn’t out yet, some is newly released and some of it has been out for a long time. Months are irrelevant. Riffs are timeless.

Let’s get to it.

The Obelisk Radio adds for Feb. 6, 2015:

HARK, Crystalline


UK heavy proggers Hark – also stylized in all-caps and with spaces between the letters — have all the noodly twists and turns one might expect in the shouty post-Mastodonic sphere of modern heavy, but what the trio do even better is use those turns toward building crescendos, so that songs like “Palendromeda,” the opener from their 2014 Season of Mist debut, Crystalline, isn’t just a mash of technical indulgence, but it actually moves somewhere too. Later cuts like “Sins on Sleeves” and “All Wretch and No Vomit” have some straightforward heavy rock to them as well – guitarist/vocalist/cover artist Jimbob Isaac used to play in Taint — but as one might expect, neither he nor bassist Nikolai Ribnikov (who seems to have since been replaced by Joe Harvatt, unless I have that backwards; things like who plays on what don’t matter in the age of digital promos) and drummer Simon Bonwick stay in one place too long. A guest appearance from Clutch‘s Neil Fallon on 10-minute closer “Clear Light of…” follows some particularly fervent tapping and presages another in Crystalline‘s series of crescendos, a long fade following topped by heady swirl that finishes out. Parts can be a bit much, but the full-on sprint that starts “Breathe and Run” and the weighty groove that follows make Hark‘s debut a solid fit for those seeking blinding fretwork that doesn’t necessarily sacrifice dynamic on the altar of technicality. HARK on Thee Facebooks, Season of Mist.

Lucifer, Anubis


Born out of last year’s hot-shit-and-then-gone The Oath, London/Berlin four-piece Lucifer make their Rise Above debut with the Anubis/Morning Star 7″, vocalist Johanna Sadonis crooning out vaguely devilish incantations over The Wizards‘ riffs, Dino Gollnick‘s bass and Andrew Prestidge drums. The results on “Anubis” are probably the most Sabbathian bit of Sabbathery that’s come along since Orchid wandered along — the progression of “Anubis” is almost singularly indebted to “Snowblind.” “Morning Star” is likewise familiar, nestled somewhere between a theatrical take on ’80s proto-doom and ’70s cultistry and bolstered by the craft of Sadonis and former Cathedral guitarist Gary “Gaz” Jennigs. Hey, if it works, fair enough. One imagines that by the time the single arrives in April, word of Lucifer‘s coming will have spread far and wide, and if the single is meant to intrigue and pique interest ahead of a full-length to be issued later in 2015, I’ve no doubt it will do precisely that. Lucifer on Thee Facebooks, Rise Above Records.

Diesel King, Concrete Burial


If you’ve got a quota for burl, London sludge metallers Diesel King will likely meet it with their When Planets Collide debut long-player, Concrete Burial, an album that hands out grueling, ultra-dudely chugging like a beefed-up Crowbar, vocalist Mark O’Regan offering shouting and growling extremity bordering at times on death metal. Shit is heavy, and it lives up to the violent threat of its title on songs like the catchy “Inferis” and “Horror. Disgust.,” the latter of which actually manages to make the lumbering guitar tones of Geoff Foden and Aled Marc move, propelled by the metallic drumming of Bill Jacobs while bassist Will Wichanski adds to the already pummeling low end. The 80-second “Mask of the Leper” is straight-up grind, but don’t be fooled by shifts in tempo — Diesel King‘s bread and butter is in sludged-out chug-riffing and growled chestbeating, like a testosterone supplement you take via your ears. Diesel King on Thee Facebooks, When Planets Collide.

Planes of Satori, Planes of Satori


Made for vinyl and pressed in that manner by Who Can You Trust? Records as the follow-up to last year’s Son of a Gun 7″ (review here), Planes of Satori find easy sanctuary on uneasy ground, smoothing out jagged edges and uncautious twists on their self-titled debut full-length. Bassist Justin Pinkerton doubles as the drummer in Golden Void, but though Planes of Satori share a West Coast affinity for the golden age of krautrock, cuts like “Eyes,” “Gnostic Boogie” and “The Ballad of Queen Milo” are on a much different trip, psychedelic afrobeat rhythms unfolding their insistence under the echoed out vocals of Alejandro Magana while Raze Regal tears into jazzy solos and Chris Labreche somehow manages to make it swing. The airier, more rhythmically settled “KTZ” retains a progressive feel both in the underlying tension of its bassline and in the open, creative vibe through which it careens. Call it “manic peace,” but it works well for Planes of Satori on a cut like the earlier “If You Must Know,” which reimagines ’90s indie weirdness through a lens of what-if-it-wasn’t-so-cool-not-to-give-a-crap, and “Green Summer,” which follows a building course without tipping off its hand until you’re already wrapped up in Regal‘s live-sounding leads. The closing solo guitar echo of “The Snake and the Squirrel” speaks to yet-unexplored drone dynamics and further delving into psychedelia to come. Sign me up. I have the feeling that the more bizarre Planes of Satori get, the more satisfying the trip is going to be. Their debut already shows a pervasive adventurous spirit. Planes of Satori on Thee Facebooks, Who Can You Trust? Records.

Stonebride, Heavy Envelope


Late 2014’s Heavy Envelope is the third Stonebride record behind 2010’s Summon the Waves (review here) and their 2008 debut LP, Inner Seasons. Released by Setalight Records, it finds the Zagreb, Croatia, four-piece’s sound way solidified as compared to the psychedelic sprawl of the prior release, a ’90s-style rolling crunch riff to “Lay Low” following the distinctly Alice in Chainsian vocal melodies of “Lowest Supreme” and preceding the effectively replicated Queens of the Stone Age bounce of “Coloured Blue.” Some intervening solidification in the four years between the second and third albums might explain the shift in sound — the opposite could also be true — but drummer Steps and guitarist Tjesimir, bassist Alen and vocalist Sinisa work well within their newfound sphere, even finding room to branch out a bit on the more extended closing duo of “Sokushinbutsu” and “Venomous,” never quite hitting the same psyched-out feel of Heavy Envelope‘s predecessor, but definitely adding further individual sensibility to an engaging take on heavy rock. Stonebride seem ripe for a new beginning, and Heavy Envelope boasts precisely that kind of energy. Stonebride on Thee Facebooks, on Bandcamp, Setalight Records.

For the complete list of what went up today and everything else that’s been added recently and everything played going back I don’t even remember how long at this point, be sure to check out The Obelisk Radio Updates and Playlist page. Hope you find something you dig and that you think is worth hearing.

Thanks for reading and listening.

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