Quarterly Review: King Hitter, Desert Storm, Sendelica, Drifter, Sula Bassana, Strange Here, Once-Ler, Waingro, Motorgoat, The Seduction

Posted in Reviews on March 30th, 2015 by H.P. Taskmaster

quarterly review

I must be out of my damned mind. After wrapping up last year with a special feature comprising 50 reviews spread over five days, I’ve somehow decided that it’s not a bad way to do things. So here we are. It’s been three months, that’s a quarter of a year, so it seems only fair to have a Quarterly Review to catch up on some things that might otherwise have gone missed.

And that’s precisely what we’ll do. Between now and Friday, it’ll be 10 reviews per day, rounding up releases from the last couple months. Some are out now, some aren’t out yet, but it’s all recent one way or another. Like with the Last Licks 2014, I’ll be checking in each day as well. Should be fun to see how my mental status deteriorates over the course of the next few days, until my brains are little more than a stinky jelly dripping from out my ears on Friday. At least that’s how I remember it going last time.

So let’s go:

King Hitter, King Hitter

king hitter king hitter

A North Carolina five-piece fronted by vocalist Karl Agell, best known as the frontman of Corrosion of Conformity for their 1991 Blind album – he’s also currently reviving that album live on stage with drummer Reed Mullin in C.O.C. Blind – the new outfit King Hitter reunites the singer with his former Leadfoot bandmate, guitarist Scott Little, and they test the waters with a five-track self-titled EP delivered via Candlelight Records. Crisply-produced, songs like “King Hitter” and “Feel No Pain” hit hard and gruff with just a touch of Southern heavy rock flair. The power of Agell’s voice is undiminished, but production is maybe too evident at times, and when they get down to the chugging “Suicide (Is the Retirement Plan,” politics meet personal perspective in a way that strikes deeper than might’ve been intended. Little and fellow guitarist Mike Brown, bassist Chuck Manning and drummer Jon Chambliss turn in worthy performances, but Agell’s command captures a good deal of the attention on this satisfying showcase of a songwriting process getting underway.

King Hitter on Thee Facebooks

King Hitter at Candlelight’s Bandcamp

Desert Storm, Omniscient

desert storm omniscient

Because one invariably measures British anything in “waves,” we’ll put Oxford double-guitar five-some at the crest of the New Wave of British Burl. Omniscient is their third full-length behind 2013’s Horizontal Life and their 2010 debut, Forked Tongues (review here), and it arrives through Blindsight Records with all the brash Southern metal riffing and dudely bellow one might expect. Orange Goblin are an immediate name to drop in comparison to opener “Outlander,” but “Queen Reefer”’s quiet solo section adds breadth and the acoustic “Home,” the Clutchy “Night Bus Blues” and the stomping, subtle djentery of closer “Collapse of the Bison Lung” continue to reveal an extended palette. A richer listen than it might appear the first time through, Omniscient still revels in its heaviness on “Blue Snake Moan” and “Sway of the Tides,” etc., but changes like the tempo downshift in “Horizon” give fodder for repeat visits to Desert Storm’s howling third offering.

Desert Storm on Thee Facebooks

Desert Storm at Blindsight Records’ Bandcamp

Sendelica, Anima Mundi

sendelica anima mundi

Welsh space rockers Sendelica feel out some pretty peaceful vibes on songs like “The Pillar of Delhi,” “Azoic” or the sweet-washing closer “The Hedge Witch” from their self-released cosmos-tripper Anima Mundi, but there’s no shortage of spaced-out push either in songs like the 12-minute jam “Master Benjamin Warned Young Albert Not to Step on the Uninsulated Air” and electronic-pulsing “Baalbek Stones.” An experimental spirit underlies each of the eight included instrumental cuts, elements like sax, synth, keyboards, theremin, flute and various effects intertwining throughout Anima Muni’s 54-minute sprawl. Quiet moments like “Azoic” work well, but I won’t take away from the buzzsaw tone or swing behind “The Breyr, the Taeogion and the Caethion” either. The truly fortunate aspect of Sendelica’s latest is that it flows between its individual pieces, putting the listener in a position of open-minded experience while working around and through various psychedelic impulses, carefully woven and balanced in the mix, but vibrant and exciting and loose-feeling just the same.

Sendelica on Thee Facebooks

Sendeica on Bandcamp

Drifter, Violent at Altitude

drifter violent at altitude

Of the 13 songs on Melbourne trio Drifter’s Desert Highways debut LP, Violent at Altitude, only four reach past the three-minute mark, and even most of those play off a fuzz-punk intensity, shades of Melvins weirdness and Nick Oliveri heavy punker charge showing up in cuts like “Cool Breeze” or the raw, open “Another Life.” Closer “So Long” is given another look from Drifter’s 2013 debut EP, Head (review here), which it also capped, but the feel across Violent at Altitude is that guitarist/vocalist Dan King, bassist/vocalist Troy Dawson and drummer/vocalist Dave Payne is exploring the place where grunge and punk met on pieces like “Bi Polar,” the relatively spacey “Devil Digger” and quick-blasting 1:45 rush of “Russian Roulette,” their tones mean and their attack primal in its overall affect in a way that belies the stylistic nuance at work throughout. You can listen on an analytical level or you can be steamrolled by “Drugs.” Your call. Either way, Drifter are gonna tear it up in accordance with the altitude they’ve apparently hit.

Drifter on Thee Facebooks

Drifter at Desert Highways’ Bandcamp

Sula Bassana, Live at Roadburn 2014

sula bassana live at roadburn 2014

Sula Bassana’s performance at Roadburn 2014 was their first as a full band. The experimental psychedelic project of guitarist Dave “Sula Bassana” Schmidt (see also Electric Moon, Krautzone, Zone Six, Weltraumstaunen, etc.) came to life with his Electric Moon bandmates Komet Lulu on bass and Marcus Schnitzler on drums, as well as Zone Six’s Rainer Neeff on guitar, and the four jams of the live recording Live at Roadburn 2014 tell the tale brilliantly. Schmidt, who is quite simply among the foremost heavy psych jammers in the world, leads the four-piece through cascading movements, immersive and clear on record as they were in person, rich with a sense of improvised creation even if based on prior parts. Anything went, as the 18-minute “Dark Days” showcases here, with synth and guitar and heavy bass intertwining to a brilliant cosmic whole, Schnitzler’s drums holding the proceedings together wonderfully. Short at 50 minutes, it’s every bit as switched on as one might expect in a studio album from these players, blurring yet another line as they expand psych-rock consciousness.

Sula Bassana on Thee Facebooks

Live at Roadburn 2014 at Sulatron Records

Strange Here, II

strange here ii

To listen to opener “Still Alone” from Strange Here’s Minotauro Records raw second LP, II, one might expect that Alexander Scardavian (ex-Paul Chain) and Domenico “Dom” Lotito (ex-Hand of God) are presenting some loosely-swung classic doom, shades of Candlemass and Death SS filtered through heavy riffing and Scardavian’s gruff vocals, but that’s barely half the story. More is told by putting eight-minute tracks “Born to Lose” and “Black, Grey and White” next to each other, as they appear here. Following the opening duo of “Still Alone” and the echoing “Kiss of Worms,” the two longer cuts unveil a sound alternately diving into morose doomed march and spacious psychedelic flourish. That blend continues as the marching “Acid Rain” gives way to the acoustic/drone interplay of “Only If…”and comes to a head on closer “Shiftless,” a contrast of back-and-forth impulses played off each other throughout the 47-minute offering. There’s work to do bringing the sides together should Strange Here choose to go that route, though the lines drawn between make it that much easier to catch the listener off guard, which II just might.

Strange Here on Thee Facebooks

Strange Here at Minotauro Records’ Bandcamp

Once-Ler, Once-Ler

once-ler once-ler

Marked out by the jazzy noodling of “The Douche Bag Guru” and the funky bassline on “Drift,” the new self-titled EP from Dayton, Ohio, four-piece Once-Ler dates back a decade in some of its material, the track “Law Dog” having appeared on the band’s 2005 full-length, Entropy. It’s an unassuming rumble, sort of humbly produced for a garage-heavy feel, but the clarity of purpose in centerpiece “Swing the Leg”’s crashing progression is plain enough to hear, and opener “The Victim” is the longest cut at 6:43, earning immediate points. A prog-metal undertone in that track sets up some expectation that the EP veers quickly away from with “Drift,” but guitarist Burns, bassist Deininger, vocalist Reif and drummer Minarcek make a solid case despite the rough sonic edges in the recording. At 25 minutes, Once-Ler’s Once-Ler is enough to give an impression of where the band is headed and a demo-style look at what their progressive heavy rock has to offer.

Once-Ler on Thee Facebooks

Once-Ler on Bandcamp

Waingro, Waingro

waingro waingro

Pummel, pummel, pummel. Vancouver trio Waingro debut at full-sprint with their 11-track/31-minute self-titled, which wastes little time shaking hands and goes immediately for the jugular on “Firebird.” About 10 seconds in, and the ride is underway with little letup to come as Waingro shove heavy tones along at breakneck speed on cuts like “Tailwind,” “Force Fed” and “Bathed in Tongues.” A remarkable sense of control lies beneath, the trio blending hardcore punk, heavy tones and modern metal twists fluidly as interludes like “Matador,” “St. Regis” and “Arboria” add complexity of method and “Rekall,” “Ride” and most especially side B cappers “Black Dawn” and “True North” brazenly craft something of Waingro’s own from familiar components. This album is self-released, but particularly if Waingro are able to tour at any length, it’s hard to imagine some imprint wouldn’t want to stand behind their brash but engaging thrust, professional already in its assured sensibility and rhythmic impact. The real question is whether they’ll wait around for anyone to notice or push ahead with the momentum they build here.

Waingro on Thee Facebooks

Waingro on Bandcamp

Motorgoat, The Iron Hoof of Oppression

motorgoat the iron hoof of oppression

There’s little room left for frills amid the sludge-punk sneer of Motorgoat’s The Iron Hoof of Oppression, which makes no bones about its affinity for booze, metal and fuckall on songs like “Satanic Slacker,” which boasts the lines, “Trippin’ balls is total bliss/He don’t know what day it is,” and so on. Obviously there’s a humor element to “Revenge of the Towndrunk” and “No Pants – No Problems,” but the German four-piece have a sincere vibe as well as they recount loser tales in a viciously-toned punk-metal spirit, less tune-in-drop-out than tune-out-drop-tune, but it turns out heavy either way. Cohesive in spite of its stated penchant for chaos, The Iron Hoof of Oppression offers partytime disaffection that’s so prevalent it might as well be post-modern. After the world has ended, there’s nothing left to do but dance, and Motorgoat seem (mal)content to let their own hooves stomp the floor. An album that gets better when you read the lyrics. Don’t be fooled by how dumb they seem to be calling themselves.

Motor Goat on Thee Facebooks

Motor Goat on Bandcamp

The Seduction, You Catch Fire

the seduction you catch fire

The tell? The tell is the scream just before North Carolina foursome The Seduction move into the bouncing bridge on “Volga,” which launches their Mechanical Pig Records debut, You Catch Fire. From there, it’s pretty easy to hear the metallic vibe beneath their stoner-punk aesthetic. It comes up again in the breakdown for the later “Hell on Two Wheels,” but it’s there anyway, adding an aggressive edge to the record, which at 53 minutes has plenty of room for the breadth of the rocking highlight centerpiece “Flavor of the Weak” or the depth-charge of the penultimate “Starmageddon” – a few more screams there amid spit-out hardcore shouts – but it’s the meld of these with the party-pit vibe of “Daughter of a Holy Man” and “Irish Flu” that makes You Catch Fire effective in taking cues from some of the West Coast’s heavy methods – some Red Fang, some Queens of the Stone Age — and presenting them with a definitively East Coast punch.

The Seduction on Thee Facebooks

The Seduction on Bandcamp

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Galley Beggar Announce Silence and Tears Release on Rise Above Records

Posted in Whathaveyou on March 30th, 2015 by H.P. Taskmaster

galley beggar

UK acid folkers Galley Beggar will release their third album, Silence and Tears, on May 19. It’s their label debut on Rise Above, which in itself is notable, but even more so is the six-piece’s warm, melodic approach to classic folk ideals and how subtly they work in just a hint of modern revivalist psychedelia — not quite tonally weighted, but hinting in that direction and giving a sense of spontaneity and a broader stylistic reach to the material on the record. In short, it’s a release worth keeping an eye on. A logical pick-up for Rise Above given some of the imprint’s ’60s fascinations of the last couple years, and it should be interesting to see how Silence and Tears is received by their audience. For what it’s worth, I’m digging it so far.

Details follow, off the PR wire:

galley beggar silence to tears

GALLEY BEGGAR to Release Silence & Tears May 19th via Rise Above Records

Unbelievably, it’s almost 50 years since Fairport Convention and their followers – Steeleye Span, Trees, Dando Shaft, Mellow Candle and others – fashioned British folk-rock. Kent-based sextet GALLEY BEGGAR – who take their name from a mischievous spirit in English folklore – describe their mission as ‘to imagine the next phase of English folk-rock’ on their third album, Silence & Tears. “We’ve always loved English folk, but when we formed in 2009 it felt like nothing much was happening to carry the style forward,” says guitarist Mat Fowler, “so we thought, we love listening to folk-rock and we love playing it – why not try to write something in that vein?”

The results can be heard on their earlier albums, Reformation House and Galley Beggar, and now on Silence & Tears. “Our first record was very folky,” reflects Mat, “but since then we’ve moved towards a more electric rock feel.” Indeed, the eight tracks on the new album span traditional song, Gothic balladry and peculiarly British acid rock, the mood alternately fragile and robust, with sweet vocal harmonies (led by Maria O’Donnell), lyrical guitar playing from Mat and his cohort David Ellis, and added texture from the violin of Celine Marshall (calling to mind Mr. Fox’s Carolanne Pegg), all anchored by Bill Lynn’s steady bass and Paul Dadswell’s deft drumming. The material spans reworkings of the ancient classics Geordie and Jack Orion, brooding ballads like Adam & Eve and the otherworldy Empty Sky, and the intense 9-minute epic Pay My Body Home, which triumphantly recalls folk-rock’s early 70s glory days.

Silence & Tears may echo centuries of folk tradition, but its crisp, punchy sound is resolutely modern, despite calling on retro flourishes such as phasing, wah-wah and backwards guitar. Much of that is down to the fact that it was recorded at the profoundly analogue Toe Rag studios, where White Stripes, Tame Impala, the Zutons and many others have also worked with renowned producer-engineer Liam Watson. “We made our first two albums ourselves,” says Mat, “so this was the first time someone else has produced us. Recording at Toe Rag was just wonderful – to see all that incredible gear at work, and to have a tangible recording experience rather than staring at a screen, was amazing. And watching Liam at work is mesmerizing – the sounds he gets onto tape are better than they are in real life!”

In an era when bands such as Trembling Bells, Circulus and Wolf People have brought folk-rock to the fore again, the hypnotic interplay and inspired jamming on Silence & Tears is sure to find an enthusiastic audience. “We’ve already got a few festivals lined up this summer, including Leigh Folk Festival and Wessex Festival, and several other shows are still being arranged,” says Mat. “It’s an honour to be compared to other folk-rock bands – but we like to think we’ve got something of our own to offer too.”

For More Info Visit:
http://www.galleybeggar.com/
https://twitter.com/galleybeggar
http://www.riseaboverecords.com/

Galley Beggar, “Willow Tree” Live Dec. 7, 2013

Tags: , , , , ,

Purson Sign to Spinefarm Records

Posted in Whathaveyou on March 26th, 2015 by H.P. Taskmaster

Stylish UK outfit Purson issued their In the Meantime EP late last year as a stopgap to help keep the momentum going that they’d built over the couple years prior leading up to the 2013 release of their debut full-length, The Circle and the Blue Door, on Rise Above. That album, remarkably well-received, springboarded them to a wider public consciousness, and with signing to Spinefarm Records and working toward completing their sophomore LP, Desire’s Magic Theatre, they’ll look to continue winning converts to their classically cultish rock (or is it their classically rockish cult?) with a new release hopefully later in 2015.

The PR wire brings reason for anticipation:

purson

PURSON Sign Worldwide Deal With SPINEFARM RECORDS

Second Album, Desire’s Magic Theatre, Nearing Completion

Download Appearance Confirmed!

PURSON have joined forces with Spinefarm Records for a worldwide deal that will see their second studio album, Desire’s Magic Theatre, released this autumn in the wake of a number of high-profile festivals and shows, including Download in the UK.

The UK outfit, whose music touches a variety of realms, including folk, prog, psychedelic, gothic and classic rock, blending other-worldly romance with shadowy foreboding are currently in the studio putting the finishing touches to Desire’s Magic Theatre, which will be released under the Spinefarm/Machine Elf Records banner.

Says singer/guitarist/songwriter Rosalie Cunningham, “As I sit here in the control room at Gizzard Studios, the pride of East London, I’m excitedly realizing that our second album has turned out to be everything I’d imagined and more! My world has been so consumed by it that I’ve barely been able to reflect on what it has become: a technicolor variety show, a playful display of the musical whims only briefly hinted at in our previous work; a psychedelic rock opera dedicated to our good friends Sarge Pepper and Zig Stardust.”

She continues, “The twists in the tale have been carved out by the path we’ve taken over the last 12 months. It’s been constantly shape-shifting and developing with all the wonderful experiences we’ve had.On behalf of the band, I give thanks to everyone who has bought a PURSON record and been to our shows. Your continued support means everything… and you have our promise that the best is yet to come…”

Says Spinefarm Records General Manager UK, Dante Bonutto, “I’ve been following PURSON since the early days of their career, and I’ve always considered the band something special; I like their vision, their theatricality, and their refusal to be corralled by a single musical genre. PURSON really do have an expansive approach to their craft, and as a song-writer, Rosalie is a unique talent on the rise. In all ways, their future is bright, and I’m delighted that Spinefarm and PURSON have now forged this fresh alliance…”

PURSON are also thrilled to confirm an appearance at this year’s Download Festival, playing live on the hallowed ground of Donington Park for the first time.

The band-Cunningham, George Hudson (guitars), Justin Smith (bass), and Sam Shove (keyboards)- will once again meet up with KISS at Download, having opened for them on last year’s KISS Kruise.

PURSON also rounded off 2014 with a nomination in the “Limelight” category for new and emerging talent at the Classic Prog Awards. They also released the four-track In the Meantime EP, mastered by John Davis from Metropolis (Zeppelin, U2, Lana Del Rey) in November.

https://www.facebook.com/pursontheband
https://twitter.com/_purson
http://www.purson.co.uk/
http://www.spinefarmrecords.com/

Purson, The Circle and the Blue Door (2013)

Tags: , , , ,

Bong Announce New Album We Are, We Were and We Will Have Been

Posted in Whathaveyou on March 26th, 2015 by H.P. Taskmaster

bong (Photo by Mark Savage)

UK drone-trippers Bong seem to be so perennially lost in the cosmic fog that it’s a wonder their material can even be recorded. Like you’d try to put it on tape and the tape would melt. Their discography is a largely-impossible-to-track current of EPs, splits and limited releases, but damn it, Bong just keep going. It’s like they’re mining an asteroid to find a path to the Great Zoneout so we don’t have to. They’re not always heavy in the sense of tonal overload, but their explorations carry weight beyond common measurement, and they’re immersive past the point of no return. If a Bong record is on repeat, you might not escape.

If the hyperbole hasn’t made it plain, I find these to be admirable qualities, even if it means Bong aren’t everyday listening. After releasing their 2014 don’t-call-us-this Stoner Rock full-length, they’ll return with two more side-consuming extended slabs on May 25. Dubbed We Are, We Were and We Will Have Been, it will be released by Ritual Productions, and the PR wire brings album art and details:

bong we are we were we will have been

BONG REVEAL DETAILS OF A BRAND NEW ALBUM, WE ARE, WE WERE AND WE WILL HAVE BEEN

UPCOMING ON RITUAL PRODUCTIONS, 25TH MAY

The fifth album from Bong has been declared and is upcoming on Ritual Productions on 25th May.

We are, we were and we will have been continues the band’s unregulated experiments on tonal prolonging. Solemn in its delivery and frightening in its implications, this latest LP signifies a point of no return from the Pied Pipers of mesmeric drone, its two near twenty minute tracks will surely loop and envelop indefinitely, freeing the listener from this increasingly unfamiliar material world and mercifully trapping them in the weightlessness of Bong’s sonic void.

Microtonal adjustments and invading frequencies are pleated into a tapestry of gooey guitar and midnight-ritual percussion, melting at a glacial pace across ‘Time Regained’ and ‘Find Your Own Gods’. The first of the two tracks creaks under the weight of residual distortion and unfathomable density, while the second opens with the powerful command of the track title, evoking a deity-defying thought process that unravels through the duration of the song, providing the synth-mist and distant rumbles with an origin so ancient it predates comprehension.

We are, we were and we will have been is Bong’s report from their explorations past the point where others fear. Dangerous and sublime, you can sample their findings when the album is released on LP/CD and DL on 25th May via Ritual Productions. The album was captured and mixed in November 2014 by Mark Wood at the Soundroom in Gateshead, and the cover art is from ‘Thomson’s Aeolian Harp’, by famed pre-impressionist painter JMW Turner, picturing an infant London in the background.

We are, we were and we will have been
1. Time Regained
2. Find Your Own Gods

www.ritualproductions.net
ritualproductions.bandcamp.com
www.facebook.com/BONG-DOOM
bong.bandcamp.com

Bong, Stoner Rock (2014)

Tags: , , , ,

The Obelisk Radio Adds: XII Boar, Deadpeach, Suzukiton, Torpor and Monsternaut

Posted in Radio on March 20th, 2015 by H.P. Taskmaster

the obelisk radio

Once again it’s been a couple weeks since I was last able to do a round of radio adds. But I have a good excuse! I was… uh… reviewing stuff? Well, that’s what I was doing, anyway. Anyhow, I’m way backed up on stuff to join the server, so for at least the next couple weeks it seems reasonable to expect regular adds while I get caught up. By then I’m sure I’ll be behind again, because somehow that’s how it works. Anyway, point is that as usual, a lot more was added to the server this afternoon than appears here, so make sure you check the Playlist and Updates page for the full list. Most of it is pretty new as well, so you might stumble on something you didn’t know was out. Could happen. Alright, let’s do this.

The Obelisk Radio adds for March 20, 2015:

XII Boar, Pitworthy

xii boar pitworthy

Before “Sharpshooter,” the opening track of their debut full-length, Pitworthy, actually starts, Hampshire, UK, trio XII Boar are introduced by a ring announcer in full arena-echo style. Somebody is about to get their ass kicked. That mentality tells you a lot about where the three-piece of guitarist/vocalist Tommy Hardrocks, bassist/vocalist Adam “Baddog” Thomas and drummer David Wilbraham are coming from on the 10-track outing, rife with heavy, Southern-style boogie presented with weighted burl whether it’s a slower groove like “Crushing the P” or a thrasher like “Chicken Hawk.” Side A caps with the title-track, a seven-minute Southern metal highlight, but the real party is at the end of the record’s second half, when the 11-minute “Quint” takes hold in a raucous fury of rhythmic thrust, seafaring tales and off-the-wall soloing. It is a riotous debut after a few promising EPs, and if nothing else, XII Boar make it clear that if anyone’s going to get their ass kicked, it won’t be the band. Their dudely growls and whisky this-or-that might be too much for some, but there’s no denying these guys sound like they’re having a blast, and that energy proves infectious throughout their first album. XII Boar on Thee Facebooks, on Bandcamp.

Deadpeach, Old Fuzz Generation

deadpeach old fuzz generation

Underrated Italian fuzz rockers Deadpeach initially released the debut EP, Old Fuzz Generation, in 2004 on what was apparently severely limited vinyl. Then a three-song 7″, Old Fuzz Generation now sees a digital reissue as a four-track release with the three-minute “Spain ’87” added on to the end. All told, it’s still under 10 minutes long with all four cuts taken together, but while brief, there’s enough fuzzy rush to hearken back to a time when European heavy rock was less concerned with either psychedelic freeform jamming or sounding like it’s 1972, and that the thickened-out, sped-up punk of “Americano” (1:50) needed no frills to get its point across, tapping influences from NebulaFu Manchu and Kyuss even while quoting Bob Marley in the lyrics and expressing what was a pervasive anti-American sentiment throughout Europe following the US invasion of Iraq. Good times. Not really, but good fuzz, and twice as interesting when one considers how European heavy was on the verge of a multi-faceted explosion 11 years ago and Deadpeach were tapping into a similar classic heavy ethic as the likes of Demon Cleaner, earlier Dozer and their countrymen in OJM. A quick but satisfying stoner burst. Deadpeach on Thee Facebooks, on Bandcamp.

Suzukiton, Suzukiton II

suzukiton suzukiton ii

Making their home in the fertile heavy ground of Richmond, Virginia, the instrumental four-piece Suzukiton made their debut a decade ago on Crucial Blast with Service Repair Handbook, a collection of distinctly Southern but still varied rockers that found a cult following at the time. Kind of a surprise to find that 10 years later, the four-piece of guitarists Todd Naumann and David Boyd (Twisted Tower Dire), bassist William Rose and drummer Bryan Cox (ex-Axehandle and Alabama Thunderpussy) would return with the self-released Suzukiton II, but the intervening time has done little to dull their potency, shredding leads cutting through tight rhythms in tones bordering between heavy rock and metal, a chugger like “Death of a Mule” no more out of place than a prog-metal stomper like “Ronin.” Closer “Todd II” would seem a direct sequel to “Todd Song” from the first album, but its eight-minute course feels more than duly expanded from the prior release. Thoughtful in its progressions and well-plotted within its individual pieces, Suzukiton II is nothing if not a welcome return, and if it’s the band’s position to blindside new listeners, that suits the material well. Suzukiton on Thee Facebooks, on Bandcamp.

Torpor, From Nothing Comes Everything

torpor from nothing comes everything

Immediate points to UK atmospheric sludgers Torpor (also stylized in all-caps) for opening their Head of Crom and Black Bow Records debut LP, From Nothing Comes Everything, with “From this Time,” the longest song on the album. Follow-up points for the actual weight of the damn thing. Dense, post-metallic claustrophobia is undercut by trades between spoken or otherwise clearheaded shouts and vicious screams, the foursome of standalone vocalist Nats Spada, guitarist/vocalist Jon Taylor, bassist Lauren Mason and drummer Simon Mason successfully avoiding stylistic cliche throughout the six-track release while executing lethal builds and thunder-toned push. “Surrender to the Light” is as effective for its melody as its chug, the obscure interlude “The Wake” rumbles and growls ferociously, and “As Waves Crash” demonstrates a powerful blend of post-hardcore and doom, from which “Abandon” departs only momentarily, delving into a minimalist midsection before rounding out with a maddening payoff. Nine-minute closer “Everything We Left Behind” might as well be made of skull fragments and burst eardrums, its heft giving way gradually to deconstructed ambience and a finale of abrasive noise. Torpor‘s first is brutal, fierce and terrifying most of all for how solidified and assured the band sounds in their aesthetic — how at home they are in the churning chaos they’ve made. Torpor on Thee Facebooks, on Bandcamp, at Head of Crom, Black Bow Records.

Monsternaut, Monsternaut

monsternut monsternaut

If the art wasn’t clue enough, Monsternaut‘s Monsternaut EP is a stoner rock record. Its motor revs in opener “Dog Town” and doesn’t let up until it hits the slowdown in closer “Black Horizon,” which wraps the Kerava, Finland, trio’s 18-minute debut outing with a fitting show of swing, choice basslines and nod-worthy fuckall. There’s plenty about the five tracks that will prove familiar to listeners who may have seen a record with an El Camino (admittedly, a gorgeous one) on the cover before, but there’s a next-generation freshness in Monsternaut‘s barebones, unabashed heavy rock approach, and cuts like “Back for More” and “Mountain Doom” prove deceptively catchy while also tapping tonal satisfaction in the guitar, bass and drums — Jani Kuusela‘s snare and kick landing no less heavy than Tuomas Heiskanen‘s riffs or Perttu Härkönen‘s low end — and the thud of “Caravan” and the straightforward, unpretentious vibe of all the tracks suits a presentation of genre that offers an edge of individuality while immediately doing more than just aping the band’s stylistic forebear(d)s. In heft, mood and songwriting, it’s a more than solid showcase of a progression underway. Monsternaut on Thee Facebooks, on Bandcamp.

As previously noted, this is just a fraction of the stuff that joined the server today — one-third, if you want to be more specific about that fraction. To check out everything else or to see what’s been played today and for probably way further back than you’re interested in knowing, check out the Obelisk Radio Playlist and Updates page. Hope you find something good from it.

Thanks for reading and listening.

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Groan Premiere “Witchfinder General Finder” from Highrospliffics EP

Posted in audiObelisk on March 19th, 2015 by H.P. Taskmaster

groan

London heavy rock troublemakers Groan have always asked the hard questions. How black was our Sabbath? What happens when wizards sleep? Now they return with the answer to another query that has plagued doom since Vincent Price donned the mantle of Matthew Hopkins: Who do you call when you can’t find the Witchfinder General?

The answer was right there the whole time.

It won’t take more than one listen for the chorus of Groan‘s “Witchfinder General Finder” to get stuck in your head — if it even takes that — but don’t be surprised if you come back for another round anyway. The Superhot Records-affiliated unit, whose last release was 2013’s Ride the Snake EP (review here), will issue their new four-songer, Highrospliffics, next Monday, March 23, making it available as a free download via their Bandcamp. As a sampler of their chicanery-laced wares, “Witchfinder General Finder” underscores the point that’s been true of Groan since their 2010 debut, The Sleeping Wizard (review here), namely that it’s about the songwriting as much as the goofball ethic. The four cuts on Highrospliffics manage to be ridiculous and ridiculously catchy at the same time, the band’s remaining founders, bassist Leigh Jones and vocalist Andreas “Mazzereth” Maslen, joined as ever by a lineup changed since their last outing, with drummer Zel Kaute returning and newcomer guitarist Lindsay Hamilton making a first appearance here.

And while Groan are probably due for a follow-up full-length to their second album, 2012’s metallized The Divine Right of Kings (review here) — to which the closer groan highrosplifficsof Highrospliffics, “Buried in Leather,” seems to hearken sonically and thematically — it’s hard to complain about any new installment offered. On Highrospliffics, “Witchfinder General Finder” is preceded by “Run out of Fucks,” a suitable starting point, six-minute, solo-ized doom groover with fervent stomp and, yes, a resonant hook, very much in the style that has become Groan‘s own over the last half-decade, making the over-the-top seem perfectly reasonable in some alternate universe of grandiose proclamations and accompanying soar-ready leads. “Witchfinder General Finder” itself is the most infectious of the included tracks, with an effective call and response in the chorus and an irresistible nod leading to its shredding solo, Hamilton making an immediately distinguished impression.

“March of the Druids” follows suit with its hook, but works in more of a build structure, pushing toward its final apex, raucous but not necessarily out of control. Both it and “Buried in Leather” are under four minutes long, working in a classic verse/chorus mode light on pretense and irony-free, but well aware of the laugh they’re having. Gang shouts back Mazzereth in “March of the Druids,” which is no less satisfying than “Witchfinder General Finder” tonally, and “Buried in Leather” kicks in with a rougher, sharper edge, its intro giving way to a motoring rush of a verse after about a minute as they thrust forward to the repeated final chorus, “When I die and they lay me to rest/Bury me in leather and a cut-off denim vest,” unabashed in its fist-pump righteousness and as inviting a heavy metal refrain for crowd participation as I’ve heard from Groan since “Gods of Fire” from The Divine Right of Kings. As ever, Groan are having a party. You can’t hope to stop it, you can’t hope to contain it. You might as well get on board.

The Highrospliffics EP was recorded by Slabdragger‘s Sam Thredder and is out on Monday. Check out “Witchfinder General Finder” on the player below, followed by the complex lineup history in all its twists and turns, and enjoy:

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.

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

Groan on Thee Facebooks

Groan on Twitter

Groan’s Bandcamp

Superhot Records on Bandcamp

Tags: , , , , ,

Bright Curse Debut “Shaman” from New Single

Posted in audiObelisk on March 18th, 2015 by H.P. Taskmaster

bright curse (Photo by Oran Tarjan)

London heavy psych rockers Bright Curse will release their new single, Shaman, on March 20. The two-songer arrives two years and two bassists on from Bright Curse‘s 2013 self-titled debut (review here), and while there was discussion of a new EP before their next album as a showcase for where the new lineup are headed sonically, I’m pretty sure the single will be serving that purpose instead. For what it’s worth, it does so readily, finding guitarist/vocalist Romain Daut, drummer Zacharie Mizzi and new bassist Max Ternebring melding raw psychedelia and fuzz with heavier push and grunge elements. Of course, in terms of getting to know the band again, the fact that “Shaman” and “Fear the Lord” top 15 minutes when played back to back helps, but even more telling is the atmospheric focus the band displays in that time.

“Fear the Lord” is the shorter of the two cuts at 6:30 and has some satisfying chug to it, but “Shaman” nears nine minutes in length and is more open sonically, early punch and angularity moving into smoothed-out nod and not taking long before shifting into abright curse shaman consuming exploratory jam, Ternebring leading the way, his bass soon joined by ebow-ish guitar and a pervasive classic-prog feel that only increases as the build mounts, giving way eventually to another verse and the apex of the song. Where “Fear the Lord” is more about its hook, “Shaman” itself indicates at a breadth of songwriting expanding since the debut’s release and brought to life with clarity and passion by this latest incarnation of Bright Curse. The differences in structure alone make it harder to guess where Bright Curse might be headed following Shaman, but both tracks portray the band as coming into their own, and that’s always an excellent place to start.

Bright Curse will embark on a round of Ephel Duath-presented tour dates next month with Elephant Tree to herald the single’s arrival, and you’ll find the shows along with some PR wire info under the player below, on which you can hear the streaming premiere of “Shaman,” which it is my pleasure to host. Hope you enjoy:

New single “Shaman” comes along another song entitled “Fear The Lord”, both being available on the band’s Bandcamp as well as all digital platforms on March 20th. The tracks were recorded in London, and mastered by Tony Reed (Mos Generator, Stone Axe) at HeavyHead Recording studios.

BRIGHT CURSE’s frontman Romain Daut comments on this new material: “We wanted to record a single with our new bass mästare Max to show the evolution in our sound, so we wrote “Shaman” in January and recorded it in February. With this song, we tried to find a way between old school riffs and lumberjack heaviness. Max brings more energy and feeling to the band, and I think it’s all over those two songs. It’s a brand new alchemy for Bright Curse.”

BRIGHT CURSE will head back to the studio later in 2015 to record their second album to date. The trio will hit the road on March 16th for a short Euro tour.

“Shaman” will be available March 20th on all digital platforms. Artwork by Elvisdead.

UPCOMING SHOWS:
16.04 (FR) HÉNIN-BEAUMONT – Végas Café
17.04 (FR) ROUEN – Le 3 Pièces
18.04 (BE) LIÈGE – Péniche InsideOut
19.04 (CH) BASEL – Secret Place
20.04 (FR) TBA
21.04 (FR) TBA
22.04 (FR) TBA
23.04 (DE) GÖTTINGEN – Vinyl Reservat
24.04 (DE) HAMBURG – Bambi Galore

Bright Curse on Thee Facebooks

Bright Curse on Twitter

Bright Curse on Bandcamp

Bright Curse website

Tags: , , , , ,

Formes to Release Dysphoria Part 2 this Summer

Posted in Whathaveyou on March 17th, 2015 by H.P. Taskmaster

formes

It’s not the most in-depth critique I’ve ever given, but this Formes track is hitting the spot. The West Yorkshire trio’s label, No Fun Intended, has tomorrow, March 18, listed as the release date for their first album, Dysphoria Part 1 (review here), but news and audio has already surfaced from the follow-up, Dysphoria Part 2, which has been given a Summer 2015 release. Nothing like working quickly.

But to get to the heart of the matter, Formes – the three-piece of guitarist/vocalist/bassist Steve McNamara, drummer/guitarist/growler Jordan McNamara and guitarist/synth-provider Rob “The Alchemist” Hemingway — push deep into their stylistic blend of psychedelic ritual exploration and crushing-but-stately metal with “Vessel,” the first track to appear from Dysphoria Part 2, alternately creating and bulldozing soundscapes while making disparate vibes cohesive across a 12-minute span. Their first album was ambitious in that regard and it doesn’t seem like Dysphoria Part 2 is going to let up either. All the better.

Art and words off the PR wire:

formes dysphoria part 2

Formes – Dysphoria Part 2

‘Vessel’ is the new song from UK psych metal band Formes, taken from the upcoming album ‘Dysphoria Part 2’ which will be released in the summer. This is the eagerly awaited follow up to album ‘Dsyphoria Part 1’ which critics praised for its originality and diversity, receiving a plethora of positive reviews. The 12 minute slab of psych metal is the bands heaviest material to date, whilst also retaining the psych element they are known for. If Dysphoria Part 1 was Formes finding their feet, Part 2 sees them cementing their trademark sound.

The song is available to download upon purchase of the newly released CD version of ‘Dysphoria Part 1’, here:
https://nofunintendeduk.bandcamp.com/album/dysphoria-part-1

Upcoming gigs
28th March – Gullivers Manchester (headline)
25th April – NFI Weekender (with Noothgrush, Agrimonia, Undersmile and more)
15th May – 360 Club Leeds
16th May – Parish, Huddersfield with (Wort, Corinth)

https://www.facebook.com/Formesband
https://twitter.com/formes_band
http://www.formesband.co.uk/
https://nofunintendeduk.bandcamp.com/album/dysphoria-part-1
https://www.facebook.com/NoFunIntendedUK

Formes, “Vessel”

Tags: , , , , ,