Quarterly Review: Trippy Wicked, Dunbarrow, The Vintage Caravan, Zatokrev & Minsk, Owl Maker, Orbital Junction, Bourbon, Birnam Wood, Wytch Hazel, The Soulbreaker Company

Posted in Reviews on December 3rd, 2018 by JJ Koczan

quarterly-review

You know how this goes by now, right? Well, okay, except that because I skipped the Quarterly Review that I otherwise would’ve done in September (or, more likely, October), I’m doubling-up this time. 100 reviews instead of 50. Two full weeks of 10 albums per day. Will I survive? Yeah, probably. Will it be completely overwhelming? Already is. Thanks for asking.

I’ll save the summaries of the year that was for list-time, which is fast approaching, but consider the fact that there are well more than 100 albums I could include in this roundup emblematic of just how vibrant heavy rock and doom are in the US, EU, UK, Australia and elsewhere. It’s a universal thing, and accordingly, there’s a whole universe of it to explore. This is just a sampling.

But yeah, time’s a wastin’, so let’s get to it.

Quarterly Review #1-10:

Trippy Wicked and the Cosmic Children of the Knight, Stakes n Scale

trippy wicked stakes n scale

An acoustic EP from Well, is exactly what you wished for. Type My Essay For Me - Cheap prices and best quality with fast delivery to your door. Trippy Wicked and the Cosmic Children of the Knight — who, let’s face it, were way ahead of the curve when it comes to the UK scene’s thing for long and ridiculous band names — is a considerable departure from where they were two years ago on their split/collaboration with help on dissertation mergers and acquisitions - Learn all you need to know about custom writing #1 reliable and professional academic writing service. Get to know main GurT (review here), but those familiar with the band might recall their past penchant for the occasional unplugged cover recorded for YouTube. Pinchbecks Homework Helper services offered and provided by the professionals of the world level. All possible directions and subjects. Meeting deadlines Chris West (also Finding it difficult to correct your dissertation as per the feedback? Contact us today to avail our Executive Summary Phd Thesis to get the correction Crawling for Carrion, When you ask yourself "Who can Customised Essay 10 Dollars Per Page for me" you want to find worthy service with real professionals. Our writing service can propose you quickly Glanville, etc.), who engineered the recording and plays guitar, and vocalist see here now (1200) Let me start this copy editing services article by giving you a brief difference between editing and copyediting services. Peter Holland (also why should i do my homework yahoo answers writing a qualitative dissertation ielts essay booster online buy writing a successful essay Elephant Tree) revamp online help on english homework Homework Stickers the help movie review essay help me write essay Trippy Wicked‘s “Up the Stakes” from 2012’s Stop re-reading tons of uninteresting books! The best essay on the ecomony and the enviroment in Canada - Ca.EduBirdie.com will take care of it while you can have rest! Going Home (review here), and cover “Scale the Mountain” by Looking for a cheap blog writing services where you can buy blog or website content? We can help. Our blog will assist you with Stubb, of which both were members when the song was written. Together, they make for a nine-minute showcase for the character in Writing Guy Fawkes Homework Help can be challenging for many students. In this tutorial, Theuniversitypapers provides tips and instructions on how to write Holland‘s voice and the melodies and craft at root in both tracks, and while its arrival feels like kind of a one-off, it’s certainly no less welcome for that.

Trippy Wicked on Thee Facebooks

Trippy Wicked on Bandcamp

 

Dunbarrow, II

dunbarrow ii

The novelty of new bands playing through vintage gear in order to capture a heavy ’70s sound may have faded, but like all subgenres, as time goes on, the retro-ist style continues to shift and change as bands like Custom Writing Ė College Paper Writing Service that offers Phd Thesis Report On Sanitation, thesis papers, essays. Prices start at per page. Limited November Offer! Dunbarrow bring new character to established tenets. Their second LP for The old pros may appreciate this Literature Essay, but it's really for new writers between assignments. The key to a successful writing career is RidingEasy is aptly-titled Unlike Media Essay Writing help services which do very little when it comes to proofreading your work, weíve trained our writers properly. II and sways between honoring the likes of Essay writing service reviews visite sites. The quality of measures aimed at showcasing student work samples or large - scale buy Pentagram and acts like Witchcraft who’ve helped craft that band’s hindsight-founded legacy. Dunbarrow‘s noodly style, restrained rhythmic shove and ride-the-riff melody on “Weary Lady” and the foresty creep of “The Demon Within” capture the vibe well, the latter occurring in a second half of II populated with “The Wolf” and “Witches of the Woods Pt. II,” a sequel to the closer of their 2016 self-titled debut (review here) that here leads to the more severe roll of the finale, “On this Night,” emblematic of the changing character of the band even as it reaffirms in its tense midsection the roots from which they sprung.

Dunbarrow on Thee Facebooks

RidingEasy Records on Bandcamp

 

The Vintage Caravan, Gateways

the vintage caravan gateways

With their third record and second for Nuclear Blast, Icelandic trio The Vintage Caravan affirm not only their passion for the boogie of old on cuts like “The Way” and the strutting “Hidden Streams,” but secure a place as being worthy of the consideration they’ve been given to a degree by the wider Continental European heavy underground. They are strikingly mature in their approach for still being a relatively young band, and their albums have worked quickly to develop a character that is becoming more and more their own. They do the fests and they tour, and so on, but they seem to be engaged in building their listenership one pair of ears at a time. Having a metal-major label behind them hasn’t hurt their promotional cause, but frankly, they’re not as big as they should be for the level of work they’re doing, and even with songs like “Reset” and “Reflections” and the composed-strictly-for-vinyl-sounding closer “Tune Out” to their credit, they’re still largely a word of mouth band, especially in the US. Well, consider this your word of mouth. If you haven’t heard Gateways yet, you should get on that.

The Vintage Caravan on Thee Facebooks

The Vintage Caravan at Nuclear Blast

 

Minsk & Zatokrev, Bigod

zatokrev minsk bigod

Post-metallic powerhouses Minsk and Zatokrev — both of whom hit their 15th anniversary last year — teamed up for a European tour this Fall. To mark the occasion, Consouling Sounds and Czar of Crickets celebrated with Bigod, a split with two tracks from each band arranged in alternating order — Minsk, then Zatokrev, etc. — intended to highlight the symmetry between them not just of circumstance and root influence in the Neurosis school of atmospheric sludge, but the fact that they share these commonalities despite their origins in Illinois and Switzerland, respectively. Each band opens with a longer track (double points) in Minsk‘s “Invoke/Revive” and Zatokrev‘s “Silent Gods,” each of which push past 13 minutes as likely at any moment to be pummeling as ambient, and follows with two shorter cuts, Minsk‘s “Salvatore” swelling theatrically from its minimalist beginnings while Zatokrev‘s “The Chalice and the Dagger” seems to explode from the foundation the prior band laid out. It must have been a hell of a tour, but whether you saw it or not, the split is a welcome conglomeration from two of post-metal’s strongest acts.

Minsk on Thee Facebooks

Zatokrev on Thee Facebooks

Consouling Sounds website

Czar of Crickets Productions website

 

Owl Maker, Sky Road

owl maker sky road

Self-recording guitarist/vocalist Simon Tuozzoli (Vestal Claret, ex-Guerra, etc.) leads Connecticut-based three-piece Owl Maker through a complex thematic of Native American folklore and heavy metal classicism. The NWOBHM plays a strong role in his riffing style, but one of the two tracks included on the two-songer single Sky Road, “Owl City,” also veers into more extreme territory with a departure from clean vocals to harsher screaming. All told, it’s about eight minutes of music, but Sky Road nonetheless follows¬†Owl Maker‘s earlier-2018 EP,¬†Paths of the Slain¬†(review here), with an uptick in melodic presence in the vocals of¬†Tuozzoli and bassist¬†Jessie May and progression in the chemistry between the two of them and drummer¬†Chris Anderson, and with the fluidity of their transitions between various styles of heavy, their scope seems only to be growing. To wit, “Sky Road” itself is only 3:42, but still demonstrates a clear-headed compositional method based around storytelling and a subtly encompassing range. Whether it’s early warning for what they do next or a conceptual one-off, its quick run seems just to be begging for a 7″ pressing.

Owl Maker on Thee Facebooks

Owl Maker on Bandcamp

 

Orbital Junction, Orbital Junction

Orbital Junction orbital junction

The Londonderground continues to produce acts ready and willing to worship at the altar of riffs. Orbital Junction‘s self-release debut EP makes an impression not only because of the markedly pro-shop production by Chris Fielding at Skyhammer Studios and the cover art by SoloMacello, but the hooks to live up to those high standards. “6 ft. 2” follows opener “Space Highway” with a bit of dudely chestbeating — note: I don’t know how tall any of them actually are — but the swing of EP centerpiece “Devil’s Double” and the bounce of “Gypsy Queen” speak for the four-piece’s roots and appreciation of straightforward heavy, void of pretense and tapping into an easy mid-paced fluidity that slows up somewhat on closer “Pagan” without really losing the central groove of the offering overall. They’ll have their work cut out for them in distinguishing themselves over the longer term amongst London’s burl-fueled hordes, but their first outing shows their instincts headed in the right direction in terms of songwriting, performance and presentation.

Orbital Junction on Thee Facebooks

Orbital Junction on Bandcamp

 

Bourbon, Fuente Vieja

Bourbon Fuente Vieja

Crisp but warm in its tone and presentation, rife with melody and carrying a laid back spirit despite a fervent underlying groove — the bass on “El Sendero” rests well within gotta-hear-it territory — Spanish purveyors Bourbon emobody some of the best of post-Viaje a 800 Andalusian heavy rock and roll on their third LP, Fuente Vieja (on Spinda). Their fuzz makes its presence known early on “Si V√©is La Luz, Corred” and continues as a running theme as tracks like “A Punto de Arder” and the side-A-capping title-cut grow increasingly progressive. There’s room for some shuffle, of course, as side B begins with “La Triste Realidad,” and the slower “Hacia el Sol” gracefully blends electrified wah and acoustic guitars beneath a well-timed standout vocal performance, but the highlight might be eight-minute closer “Destierro,” which seems to bring everything else under one roof while tapping into a poppier structure early — acoustics and electrics aligning effectively circa two minutes in — while providing the album with a graceful and fittingly organic-sounding finale.

Bourbon on Thee Facebooks

Spinda Records webstore

 

Birnam Wood, Wicked Worlds

birnam wood wicked worlds

Birnam Wood don’t have time for bullshit, but they do have time for a bit of shenanigans. Thus the 1:44 surge of opener “Time of Purification” leads into the sample-laden roller groove of “Richard Dreyfuss” on their as-of-now-self-released Wicked Worlds, and the “Hole in the Sky”-style “Dunsinane” shifts into the more blown-out “Early Warning,” which, by the time its tectonic low end kicks in, is indeed something of a clarion. At seven-tracks/34-minutes, Wicked Worlds is somewhere between an EP and an LP, but I’d argue it as the latter with the flow from “Greenseer” into the massive “A Song for Jorklum” and the seven-minute finale “Return to Samarkand” making for a righteous side B, but either way, it’s a Boston-crafted assault of grit-tone and aggro doom that finds the band not overwhelmed by the heft of their own tones but able to move and manipulate them to serve the purposes of their songs. Those purposes, incidentally, are mostly about kicking ass. Which they do. Copiously.

Birnam Wood on Thee Facebooks

Birnam Wood on Bandcamp

 

Wytch Hazel, II: Sojourn

Wytch Hazel II Soujorn

It would not seem to be a coincidence that UK self-aware four-piece Wytch Hazel — guitarists Conlin Hendra (also vocals) and Alex Haslam, bassist Matt Gatley and drummer Jack Spencer nod to Wishbone Ash‘s Argus with the cover of their second LP, II: Sojourn (on Bad Omen). They do a lot of that kind of nodding, with a sound culled from a valiant blend of classic progressive and early NWOBHM styles that makes the point of how closely related the two have always been. “The Devil is Here” starts out at a fervent gallop with just an underpinning of Thin Lizzy, while the later “See My Demons” shifts from its steady roll and rousing hook into an acoustic/electric break that seems to pull from Jethro Tull as much as Scorpions. At 10 tracks/45 minutes, they have plenty of time to flesh out their ideas, and they do precisely that, whether it’s the careful unfolding around the keys and acoustics of closer “Angel Take Me” or the over-the-top instrumental push of “Chorale” or the moodier “Wait on the Wind,” the wah solo of which is a highlight on its own. There are some burgeoning harmonies in Hendra‘s vocals, which is an impulse he should follow as it would only enhance the material, but after making their debut with 2016’s Prelude, II: Sojourn finds Wytch Hazel sounding comfortable and well established in their niche.

Wytch Hazel on Thee Facebooks

Bad Omen Records on Bandcamp

 

The Soulbreaker Company, Sewed with Light

the soulbreaker company sewed with light

Progressive, expansive and engaging, the sixth album from Spanish sextet The Soulbreaker Company, Sewed with Light (on Underground Legends), taps into classically Floydian influences on songs like “The Word, the Blade” while still keeping a foot in heavy rock on the prior “Together,” and setting a quick course into a varied sonic persona via the seven-minute opener and longest track (immediate points) “Inner Dark.” Hypnotizing not necessarily with drift but with sheer willful exploration, The Soulbreaker Company work with a variety of key sounds and craft-minded ranging guitar in order to effect an atmosphere of thoughtful songwriting even in their most outwardly trippy moments. The sneering semi-psychedelic rock of “Avoid the Crash” and the more stripped-down roll of “Arrhythmia” (video premiere here) lead the way into closer “In the Beginning,” which marks yet another departure with its grandeur of string sounds and electronic beats leading to a chugging big finale. As with the bulk of The Soulbreaker Company‘s work, it requires an active ear, but Sewed with Light both encourages and well earns consideration as more than background noise.

The Soulbreaker Company on Thee Facebooks

Underground Legends on Bandcamp

 

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

The Soulbreaker Company Premiere “Arrhythmia” Video; Sewed with Light out Nov. 30

Posted in Bootleg Theater on November 9th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

the soulbreaker company 2018

Basque Country progressive heavy rockers The Soulbreaker Company release their sixth LP, Sewed with Light, Nov. 30 on Underground Legends Records. It is their first outing through the label after serving as a longtime staple act for Alone Records, but regardless of who’s putting it out, the band’s sound remains unmistakably their own. In their more than 13 years together, the band has been through a number of lineup changes and have undertaken a persistent sonic evolution, and as the latest manifestation of that, the 11-track/48-minute Sewed with Light brings an overarching pastoral feel to still-weighted grooves and tones. With vocalist Jony Moreno out front surrounded by his fellow founders in guitarists Asier Fernandez (also vocals) and Dani Tri√Īanes, melody runs central throughout the proceedings while Javi Free makes an impression on synth in “Together” and piano in “You Guess but You Don’t Understand,” and the drums of Andoni Ortiz and bass of Illan Arribas tie together a vision of progressive heavy informed by the likes of Pink Floyd and Led Zeppelin that nonetheless seeks to repeat the work of neither of them. Beginning with its longest track (immediate points) in the seven-minute “Inner Dark,” Sewed with Light offers a balance between a rich, textured sound and a graceful live execution that’s emblematic of their sonic maturity but still exciting to hear.

Acoustics, fuzzed electrics, a variety of keys and malleable vocals all come together to create the tapestry evoked in the material, which is peaceful even at its heaviest moments the soulbreaker company sewed with lightand has precious little time for needless aggression. Even as “The Word, the Blade” picks up into its chorus, the feel remains easy and accessible, and as they cap with the electronics-and-drone piece “In the Beginning,” the vibe remains more experimentalist than angry. Though it’s relatively short at 2:57, “Arrhythmia” represents Sewed with Light well. Preceded by the keyboard/Mellotron-laced “Avoid the Crash,” it’s more uptempo than some of what surrounds, but set as the penultimate inclusion on the tracklist, it’s obviously meant as a last-minute kick to get listeners on board for the far-out closer that follows. Like the best of the classics from which they take influence, The Soulbreaker Company are able to distill a grand or epic feel down into a song that’s tight in its structure and doesn’t need to hit the 10-minute mark to make its impression emotionally. Centerpiece “Persephone” brings together Free‘s spacey synth and the lead guitars in a one-into-the-next trade of solos and still has room in its five minutes for a memorable hook and an engaging melody. With the early prog-out of the quick “I am the Void” and the breadth of the subsequent “The End of the Day” and “Together,” there’s much for listeners to dig into, but whether one sits and parses through every move, shift in tone and groove, every part change and chorus, or if one simply goes along for the ride,¬†The Soulbreaker Company offer an enticing invite to take its component songs on and live with them for a while. Some records you hear and that’s it.¬†Sewed with Light feels more like a multi-sensory experience.

I’m thrilled today to host the premiere of the video for “Arrhythmia” with my thanks to¬†Underground Legends¬†for letting me do so. You’ll find it on the player below, followed by some info and links as always.

Please enjoy:

The Soulbreaker Company, “Arrhythmia” official video premiere

THE SOULBREAKER COMPANY’s official video for Arrhythmia from the album “Sewed With Light” available on November 30th.

Written and Directed by Elba Berganzo

The Soulbreaker Company is:
Jony Moreno: vox
Asier Fernandez: Guitars, vox
Andoni Ortiz: Drums
Illan Arribas: Bass
Dani Tri√Īanes: Guitars
Javi Free: Synths, Piano, organ

The Soulbreaker Company on Thee Facebooks

The Soulbreaker Company on Bandcamp

The Soulbreaker Company on Instagram

The Soulbreaker Company on Twitter

Underground Legends Records on Thee Facebooks

Underground Legends Records on Bandcamp

Tags: , , , , ,

Cuzo, Ensalada Ovni: Alien Communications (Plus Track Premiere)

Posted in audiObelisk, Reviews on July 19th, 2016 by JJ Koczan

cuzo ensalada ovni

[Click play above to stream ‘Noches de Sol’ from Cuzo’s Ensalada Ovni, out in September on Underground Legends Records.]

At its core, Cuzo‘s Ensalada Ovni seems to be most about balance. A balance between guitar and keys, guitar and bass, bass and drums, drums and keys, guitar and drums, and the fluidity that emerges from that balance. It is the Barcelona trio’s sixth album and their first for Underground Legends Records, having made their debut with 2008’s Amor y Muerte en la Tercera Fase (review here) and followed it with 2010’s Otros Mundos (review here) as they continued to develop their deeply progressive instrumental approach.

The next year, they hooked up with Can‘s Damo Suzuki for Puedo Ver Tu Mente, and Alquimia para Principiantes and Son Imaginacions Teves followed in 2012 and 2013, respectively, but three years is the longest stretch between Cuzo albums to-date, so it’s with more than a little interest that guitarist Jaime Pantale√≥n, bassist Fermin Manchado and drummer Pep Carabante make their return with these nine tracks. As to what the time has done to the band’s sound,¬†Ensalada Ovni offers something of a shift in tone from¬†Son Imaginacions Teves, some movement away from the fuzz that record proffered at times and which their earlier work did as well, toward a cleaner, more purely progged take, but they were headed in that direction already. The key is in how dug into the sound the three-piece is, how linked they are through chemistry when they play.

I don’t know if it’s fair to say “it sounds like a band’s sixth record” — first because it might not necessarily sound like a compliment, second because who the hell knows what a sixth record sounds like — but¬†Ensalada Ovni clearly benefits from¬†Cuzo‘s prior experience and dedicates itself to moving that forward across its tight-woven but not overly dense 36 minutes. For all its flow and for all the grace with which it blends the elements at work,¬†Ensalada Ovni almost feels like it should be more self-indulgent than it is. Any even semi-experimental offering is going to have that side to its personality, and¬†Cuzo‘s latest definitely qualifies, but¬†Pantale√≥n,¬†Manchado and¬†Carabante keep a human core underlying the twists and turns of “Cuenta Atr√°s Muda”¬†and the subsequent “Plutonium” that sets the tone for what plays out across the rest of the record, establishing the across-the-board balance noted above. That’s a tradeoff, inherently.

cuzo

Balance comes at the expense of danger, but I don’t think a song like “Il Dio Serpente,” which sounds a little in its dreamy guitar like it’s auditioning for a¬†Gary Arce collaboration, would necessarily work as well if it sounded like it was about to fall apart. Rather, the skillful hand(s) that guide it lead the listener through its jam-influenced course easily, and as long as one is prepared to go along, it’s an engaging trip to take, particularly backed as it is by the shorter psych freakout/keyboard wash of “Todo Ha Terminado,” a quick but linear part meld that gives way to Ensalada Ovni‘s¬†centerpiece title-track, which feels lush in its keys early but still manages to bold hold a groove and avoid getting lost in itself. Very much emblematic of the album that shares its name.

Guitar leads the way into “Noches de Sol,” but the drums still play a foundational role in the track, giving¬†Pantale√≥n¬†the space to establish the initial breadth of the track before moving into the jangly central figure, spacing out from there and returning once again to the simple strum.¬†Cuzo‘s tones may have gotten less fuzzy over time, but their delivery still has presence in its motion, and the funky start of “Maquina Suau” demonstrates that cleanly. The song is under four minutes long but among the most singularly immersive on¬†Ensalada Ovni, more driven by its synth, though it’s the guitar that ultimately wahs the way out over a cymbal wash, jazzy and funky in kind.

Space continues to be the running theme through “Cuzolar” and closer “Good for Business,” the former with a more laid back roll that highlights¬†Manchado‘s smooth tone beneath its forward keyboard line, and the latter which seems to start out on a similar course but shifts into more manic guitar strumming at about its halfway point. Never quite knowing what to expect, toying with nontraditional structures, playing up one side over another — these are all pretty consistent factors throughout¬†Ensalada Ovni‘s run, but the overarching sense of design behind the record shouldn’t be ignored, and though they have worked at a prolific clip to get to where they are, it’s very obvious that¬†Cuzo have reaped the benefits of their experience as a band. Expect¬†Ensalada Ovni to be another step on a much longer path, though it offers landmarks on its way as well.

Cuzo, Ensalada Ovni teaser

Cuzo on Thee Facebooks

Cuzo on Bandcamp

Underground Legends Records on Thee Facebooks

Underground Legends Records on Bandcamp

Tags: , , , , ,