End Boss Post “Feral” Lyric Video; Debut Single Available Now

Posted in Bootleg Theater on December 12th, 2019 by JJ Koczan

end boss

You know the end boss, right? Bowser? Ganon? Whatever that thing was in Metroid? Well, say hello to End Boss. Not to be confused with London noisemakers End of Level BossEnd Boss are a newcomer four-piece out of Wellington, New Zealand, who’ve issued their debut single “Feral” ahead of appearing in March at the Obey the Riff Festival with, among others, Uncle Acid and Beastwars, with whom they share drummer Nato HickeyHickey‘s experience locking in grooves behind massive riffs comes in handy in working alongside guitarists Greg Broadmore and Christian Pearce in the as-yet-sans-bass outfit and in command vocally is E.J Thorpe, whose steady low-in-the-mouth delivery adds shades of doom that remind a bit of what Sharie Neyland once brought to The Wounded Kings in terms of echoing sway and ethereal vibe.

The story on which Thorpe bases the lyrics bears that out, it would seem, but it’s important to remember that while the members of the band have end boss feralexperience in other outfits, with Broadmore and Pearce both of Wellington’s Ghidoragh and Hickey in Beastwars, “Feral” is indeed a first single and it’s just under four and a half minutes long, so before one sits and assesses the totality of what End Boss‘ sound will be — develops a “boss strategy,” if you will — maybe there’s some time to see how things shake out from here. It’s an exciting prospect though, as “Feral” brings together a potent combination of hook and nod that resides comfortably between its own catchiness and a languid kind of shuffle groove. I don’t know if they’re pressing a 7″ or anything, but the Syros Pourlatifi cover art would seem to warrant it, if nothing else, and it would at very least give them something for the merch table at the upcoming shows. Hell, I’d take one. Just saying.

The proverbial good start, and here’s looking forward to more. I know things usually calm down in December and there isn’t as much going on around the holidays and whatever else, but killer music happens all the time and if you’re not open to it, it’s your loss. Put your quarter in the machine and dig this one.

And enjoy:

End Boss, “Feral” official lyric video

Feral is the debut recording of Wellington, New Zealand heavy, sludgy, bluesy rock band End Boss. Featuring the vocal talents of E.J Thorpe, the down-tuned twin guitars of Greg Broadmore and Christian Pearce of Wellington via Hamilton punk band Ghidoragh and Nato from Beastwars on drums.

E.J says about the track “The lyrics are loosely based on an experience someone close to me had after they turned down the advances of a rather dark, witchy woman. She threatened them with a curse, which became a particularly terrifying experience as the ride home from her place in the middle of nowhere became a very close call with death. Because the music reminded me of the sound of a motorbike speeding away from something, the lyrics ended up being based on the story.”

With a huge amount of material already written expect an album later next year.

End Boss play Obey the Riff festival at Panhead Brewery in Upper Hutt alongside Uncle Acid and the Deadbeats, Beastwars, Earth Tongue, Witchskull and Potion on March 7 2020 and support Nebula (USA) at Valhalla on 19th March 2020.

I am feral
and I am free
all that is it comes through me
I’m not the devils daughter
just a wounded will
aching
aching

End Boss is:
E.J Thorpe – Vocals
Greg Broadmore – Guitar
Christian Pearce – Guitar
Nathan Hickey – Drums

End Boss on Thee Facebooks

End Boss on Instagram

End Boss on Bandcamp

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Grey Skies Fallen Announce Cold Dead Lands out Jan. 24

Posted in Whathaveyou on December 4th, 2019 by JJ Koczan

grey skies fallen
New York-based death-doomers Grey Skies Fallen have set a Jan. 24 release for their fifth long-player, Cold Dead Lands, which is about an accurate a description of NY in January as I could ever hope to devise. They’re streaming a teaser for it as well as the whole track “Procession to the Tombs,” and both would seem to speak of a consuming bleakness to come, some inescapable aspects of New York’s death metal crunch making their way into the sound of the tracks. Unsurprisingly, it’s very, very dark. Like 5PM for the next two months.

I’ve observed a phenomenon over the years that when I write about death-doom, no one ever really gives a crap. I don’t know if that’ll be the case here, but I dig the track they’ve posted, so I’m going to try to review the album if I can regardless, so take that, I guess. If you want more fuzz rock, I don’t know, wait five minutes or something. I’m sure it’ll be along soon enough.

Meantime:

grey skies fallen cold dead lands

Grey Skies Fallen to Release “Cold Dead Lands” January 24th, 2020

Grey Skies Fallen will self-release Cold Dead Lands on January 24, 2020. Cold Dead Lands is the 5th studio album from the New York-based melodic death metal/doom band in a 23-year career.

Cold Dead Lands was produced by Grey Skies Fallen. The album was recorded at Audio Playground, and engineered by Keith Moore. Dan Swanö (Nightingale, ex-Edge of Sanity, ex-Bloodbath) mixed and mastered the album at Unisound Recordings Studio.

Travis Smith (Opeth, Nevermore, Katatonia) created the artwork. Dan Gargiulo (Revocation, Artificial Brain) and Will Smith (Buckshot Facelift, Artificial Brain, Afterbirth) appear as guests.

Listen to the Album Teaser
Cold Dead Lands Tracklisting
1. Visions from the Last Sunset
2. Cold Dead Lands
3. Procession to the Tombs
4. Picking Up the Pieces
5. Ways of the World
6. After the Summer Comes the Fall

Pre-order a digital download or digipack CD of Cold Dead Lands via the band’s Bandcamp page. All pre-orders include an instant, high-quality download (MP3, FLAC, more) of the album track “Procession to the Tombs,” plus the complete album the moment it’s released on January 24th.

Grey Skies Fallen is:
Rick Habeeb – Guitar/Vocals
Tom Anderer – Bass
Sal Gregory – Drums

http://www.facebook.com/greyskiesfallen
https://greyskiesfallen.bandcamp.com/

Grey Skies Fallen, Cold Dead Lands album teaser

Grey Skies Fallen, Cold Dead Lands (2020)

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Friday Full-Length: Geezer, Electrically Recorded Handmade Heavy Blues

Posted in Bootleg Theater on November 29th, 2019 by JJ Koczan

I recently had reason to go back and pop on Geezer‘s first record, Electrically Recorded Handmade Heavy Blues. And I’ll be honest, it’s probably the most I’ve dug into it since it was released in Sept. 2013. Maybe it was the fact that I’d just moved out of the New York region, where they’re from, and the last thing I needed was another thing to be bummed about leaving behind. Maybe it was the fact that Bandcamp was just really starting to come up as an outlet for heavy music and it seemed like every band with a “stoner rock” tag was being mega-hyped on social media as the next Whoever.

Maybe I wasn’t feeling guitarist Pat Harrington‘s gravelly vocal approach — which can sound at first glance like a put-on, but I tell you as someone who’s had extensive conversations with the man, he’s no less ‘whiskey-soaked’ when you’re quietly chatting about your kids than he is on “Full Tilt Boogie” here — or lyrics like “You’re such an evil bitch” in opener “Planes, Trains and Automobiles” and “My girl is built like a pony/Long legs and curves that ain’t phony” on “Pony,” which only lace one of the catchiest slide guitar riffs I’ve heard in the last 10 years with a fervent eyeroll even now as I’ve come to appreciate Electrically Recorded Handmade Heavy Blues on an aesthetic level, for its songwriting, and for its subtle hints at the band that Geezer would become.

At the time, they were comprised of Harrington, bassist Freddy Villano and drummer Chris Turco, and their stock-in-trade was indeed a heavy blues rock marked out by rolling grooves and the use of slide guitar — something Harrington has pulled back on in years since, possibly as he’s grown more confident in working without it and the band has changed direction — but from their bouncing cover of The Beatles‘ “Why Don’t We Do it in the Road” to the mellow post-Clutch‘s “The Regulator” twanger “Rain on the Highway,” to “Underground” and the penultimate shuffler “I Just Wanna Get High with You,” which boogie enough between them to remind that the blues can be a party as much as it can be anything, their early work reaches beyond those simple stylistic confines. Or at very least it pushes the limits of expectation for them.

Villano and Turco would both eventually be out of Geezer, but the three-piece had a chemistry that worked well and sounded natural throughout Electrically Recorded Handmade Heavy Blues and their subsequent offerings together, and that dynamic is clearly established in these 10 songs. For the title and cover art’s speaking to an earlier era of recorded music — too bad I don’t think a 78RPM platter can hold a 39-minute release, otherwise a limited reissue pressing could be a lot of fun; maybe a double-78 just for kicks and collectors? — the production is never especially retro sounding, but the tracks still come though with enough energy to carry their largely comfortable tempos and there’s enough range between them that Geezer give a showing of character and craft that, had I done a list of 2013’s best debut albums, probably would’ve deserved to be on it.

geezer electrically recorded handmade heavy blues

But that’s hindsight, and of course informed by my experience with the band since as well as the group they’d become. I had seen them and written positive things about their 2013 Gage EP (review here) that would become an STB Records LP (review here) in 2014 — so it’s not like they were completely off my radar — but I just kind of missed out on Electrically Recorded Handmade Heavy Blues when it came out. I tell you all the time I suck at this. It ain’t like Pokemon. You can’t catch ’em all.

Not yet is mentioned six-minute closer “Still a Fool,” and that’s on purpose. It’s about a minute and a half longer than the next longest track, and something of a standout as well as very purposefully placed where it is on the record. It starts out with an up and down riff and Harrington‘s vocals, talking about back-door-creepin’ on someone else’s wife or some such, and resolves itself in a blues rock cacophony worthy of any ’70s comparison you want to make for it — MC5, Cactus, Zeppelin, doesn’t matter who — before capping off as a gig might. In so doing, Geezer sends advance notice of a skill that would emerge in their sound over subsequent offerings, including that Gage LP the next year, and that is the jam.

Ah, the jam. Take a breath. In. Out. The jam.

As the band began its gradual shift in lineup, it was the jam that would begin to emerge as the dominant force within their sound, and it was through the jam that Harrington‘s true persona came through on guitar. Gage and the Live! Full-Tilt Boogie tape (review here) in 2014 showed more flashes of it, and their 2015 participation in Ripple Music‘s The Second Coming of Heavy split series (review here) alongside D.C.’s Borracho led into their 2016 self-titled LP (review here), their second proper full-length, that really marked their arrival as something more than an object of temporary social media interest.

Now signed to Ripple, they brought that bluesy sound with them as they veered into more psychedelic and melodically adventurous fare, balancing songs and extended explorations in a way that successfully captured their live spirit with studio clarity. 2017’s Psychoriffadelia (review here) followed and built on that principle, and early 2019’s Spiral Fires EP (review here) on Kozmik Artifactz not only kept the momentum and progression going, but tested the waters with drummer Steve Markota alongside the longer-set pairing of Harrington and bassist Richie Touseull. And “waters” is the right word for the fluidity they were able to conjure between the three of them.

Nonetheless, the reason I had for going back and finally giving Geezer‘s debut long-player its due was that in 2020 the band — HarringtonTouseullMarkota — will release another new album that they’ve been working on throughout 2019. I’m not saying I’ve heard any of the tracks or anything, but I will say there’s a good chance it marks another significant forward step in their ongoing sonic evolution and features some of their best and most developed songwriting to-date. I have no release plans or details to share, but consider it something to look forward to, even as you look back at their first record.

As always, I hope you enjoy.

Yesterday was Thanksgiving here in the US. Like just about everything in this country — including the country itself — its history is racist and horrifying. Hi, colonialism.

Turkey was good, family time was even better. My Jersey crew and The Patient Mrs.’ Connecticut crew (plus a rare but crucial appearance from the Maryland blood-relative branch) all got together up in CT and we went up with The Pecan on Wednesday, stayed over and then were there until after dinner and at least the first stage of cleanup on Thursday before getting in the car so the kid could fall asleep on the ride and then just basically be thrown in bed. It was good.

I’ve slept an extra hour the last few days, waking up at 5 instead of 4AM. It’s been good for my rest level, bad for productivity. My disposition is still shit either way, so, you know, I might as well at least do what I need to do to get done what I need to get done. Head down, keep working.

Like now. It’s 9AM. I just put up that Roadburn post — actually just got to write it too, with all the inherent chaos of the holiday yesterday — and The Pecan and The Patient Mrs. are playing hide and seek while I’m off watch and buried in my computer. I must really need this as much as I think I do.

I have an appointment to finish up a root canal in about an hour and a half, so that’s a thing to look forward to. This is the follow-up to the surprise root canal I had a couple Fridays ago. Third one on the same tooth. I don’t like the tooth’s chances longterm, but I’ll try and give it as much of a shot as I can. The crown is too big and shaped wrong for the surrounding teeth. The human mouth is a cesspool anyway. Why should my bite be any less awkwardly shaped than any of the rest of me?

So anyway, I’ll probably spend the next 45 minutes or so trying to brush the coffee taste and residual garlic from yesterday out of my mouth (and fail) before I head out and then come back and start to worry about weekend stuff like the press release I need to write for STB Records this weekend — I’ve sworn to myself that I’m stepping back from such usually-unpaid labors as this, liner notes, bios, etc., and I am, but some projects you can’t refuse — and a playlist for the next Gimme Radio show, which airs next Friday. I guess it’s best-of-2019 time already. Go figure.

Anyway, if you’re in the States, I hope you got the four-day weekend thing going. I’ll be in my sweatpants probably the entire time, fretting about this and that and enjoying leftovers. May you rock and roll and have fun and be safe and be kind and have kindness done to you, wherever you are.

FRM. Forum, Radio, Merch.

The Obelisk Forum

The Obelisk Radio

The Obelisk merch

 

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Orbiter Announce New Single “Bone to Earth” Due out Nov. 28

Posted in Whathaveyou on November 27th, 2019 by JJ Koczan

Orbiter (photo by Pauli Bostrom)

Not the kind of thing I usually say when I put up a track with a news post, but the song at the bottom here, which comes from Orbiter‘s 2019 split with Roadog (review here), doesn’t really do much to represent where the Helsinki five-piece are coming from on their new single, “Bone to Earth.” Sure, the new cut still has some of those haze-doom underpinnings — a feeling of psychedelic immersion set to big-feeling riffly-roll derived in part from “Witchcult Today” but transmogrified into something less willfully cartoonish, but with vocalist Carolin Koss making her debut in the band, it’s nonetheless a significant change that’s taken place, and it has an effect on their sound of course. For what it’s worth, I’ve heard the new song — it’s out tomorrow, so you know, not really so much advance listening there — and it’s awesome. Also of note is the uptick in the production of the drums. The snare sounds right on in the new track.

Promises of good things to come? Here’s hoping. We’ve got a whole new decade arriving in a little over than a month. Time to start filling it with killer tunes.

From the PR wire:

orbiter bone to earth

Orbiter – New single ‘Bone to Earth’ out on November 28!

Founded at the turn of the year 2014-2015, the band has been influenced by the genre ancestor Black Sabbath, 90s stoner bands like Kyuss, and 21st century doom bands. Additional influences have been drawn from psychedelic and progressive rock.

Now Orbiter is releasing new music! Bone to Earth single will be released on Thursday 28 November. The song is a pre-release from the band’s upcoming debut EP The Deluge, which will come out on January 29.

Bone to Earth is a song about the duality of human nature, which is self-destructive and yet longing for wisdom. The song’s unhurried and heavy riffing blends hypnotically with the voice of the new vocalist, Carolin Koss, who joined the band in April. Koss is an artist, filmmaker and singer originally from Germany, and now residing in Finland.

The upcoming four-song EP contains previously unrecorded material from the band’s earlier days as well as newer songs composed with Koss. Orbiter has previously released three singles, most recently Anthropocene in early 2019.

Upcoming gigs (in Finland)
30.11.19 Ravintola La Barre, Joensuu
11.1.20 UUS HOI SIE, Lappeenranta
10.4.20 Ravintola Cactus, Helsinki
23.5.20 Henry’s Pub, Kuopio

Orbiter
Carolin Koss – Vocals
Alexander Meaney – Guitar
Jere Remes – Guitar
Tuomas Talka – Bass
Sami Heiniö – Drums

https://www.facebook.com/orbiterconnection
https://www.instagram.com/orbiterband/
https://orbiterconnection.bandcamp.com/

Orbiter, “Anthropocene”

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Review & Full Album Stream: The Whims of the Great Magnet, Good Vibes & High Tides

Posted in audiObelisk, Reviews on November 25th, 2019 by JJ Koczan

The Whims of the Great Magnet Good Vibes High Tides

[Click play above to stream The Whims of the Great Magnet’s Good Vibes & High Tides in Full. Album is out Dec. 1 with preorders direct from the band.]

Founded seven years ago by Sander Haagmans in Maastricht, the Netherlands, The Whims of the Great Magnet returns with a second full-length album in the self-released Good Vibes & High Tides. The follow-up to early 2017’s The Purple & Yellow Album (discussed here), it would seem to be in conversation with Haagmans‘ work as bassist/vocalist for the much-missed Sungrazer, whose 2013 disbanding was followed in 2015 by the death of guitarist/vocalist Rutger Smeets, thereby obviating an eventual reunion. As willfully as The Purple & Yellow Album pushed in alternate directions away from what Sungrazer was, the 10-track/44-minute Good Vibes & High Tides embraces it without necessarily trying to recapture that sound and moment entirely. Haagmans instead hones across the new album’s span a kind of summery grunge fuzz, occasionally given to psychedelic shimmer — some added pedal steel on “Simple” courtesy of Ingo Jetten at Trashed Attic Audio doesn’t hurt — and holding onto the intimacy of solo songwriting while adopting a more full-band feel with drummer Iwan Wijnen, even unto capturing a fluid, at-least-part-improv guitar-led jam on 11-minute closer “Roerloze Beweger.”

That in itself is an impressive feat, even for Haagmans, who’s had plenty of time in the studio over the course of the last decade and seems at this point to do most of his recording at home, but as the title of the record puts it first, the focus here indeed is on the vibe, and the vibe is good. Good Vibes & High Tides is marked by a welcome sense of tonal warmth that lo-fi neopsych has replaced with naked shimmer, and the depth that’s been forsaken by so much jammy psych is evident right from the opening roll of “Lose My Head,” which counts in on the hi-hat and then is on its way like it was never off. Haagmans‘ vocals are laid back in the verse and layered in the chorus, the bass tone is an early highlight — as it would almost have to be — and immediately the spirit is melodic, welcoming and engaging, continuing onto “Here to Party” as if to underscore its intent. Through up and down verse lines that shift quickly into the chorus, the 3:40 “Here to Party” is marked by its abiding lack of pretense.

The Whims of the Great Magnet

I wouldn’t call it a party song in the “party rock” sense — the hook lines, after all, are, “We are only here to party/We are only here” — but its straightforward presentation is a fitting summary of the perspective from which Good Vibes & High Tides seems to be working in general in balancing personal expression and a complete-group sound. Even shorter at 3:19, “Guess it’s True” follows in subtly more patient fashion, alternative rock and fuzz melding without argument beneath layers of sweet-toned post-Cobain vocals and a third-in-a-row memorable chorus. Three makes a salvo, and there’s still the title-track to round out the opening movement, which would seem to be delineated from the rest of the LP by the 40-second interlude “Hay.”

That’s just a riff and the word repeated a couple times — a lost art of sneaky listener-disorientation that any number of in-some-ways-more-loyal ’90s preservationists have neglected — over in flash and maybe a vinyl-flip to bring on “Oew,” with a vocal drawl and particularly Sungrazer-style chorus sort of bounding through a thick and immersive fuzz after more of a strummed verse. Though it has the briefest runtime of Good Vibes & High Tides‘ non-interlude tracks at 2:23, it nonetheless keeps the underlying structure as barebones as possible, cutting off at the end and refusing a jam that might otherwise have taken hold in spite of itself in Haagmans‘ one-time four-piece incarnation of the band. I don’t think it would be missing if it wasn’t there, but the presence of pedal steel doesn’t take anything away from “Simple,” certainly, and it plays up the pastoralia-memory of the verse ahead of the crunchier chorus, just a touch of BrantBjork-at-the-beach coming through but ultimately establishing its own personality ahead of “Cocaine & Yoga,” the verse of which seems to have derived part of its structure directly from Nirvana‘s “School.”

There’s some slide in the chorus (I don’t think it’s more pedal steel?), but the song itself is a high point — “What the hell is going on today?/Cocaine and yoga all the way” is a hook that deserves to be delivered from a stage — and the noisy transitional mess and quiet guitar line that picks up to end the song is a surprising and, frankly, delightfully honest, moment put to tape. By then he’s well into the depths of side B, but the closing duo of “Wei Wu Wijnen” (6:01) and “Roerloze Beweger” (11:41) are a movement unto themselves just the same, the former establishing itself quietly with fading-in drum swing and a guitar/bass bed for soft, bluesy melodic vocals.

The Whims of the Great Magnet doing not so much

This too would seem to come from a similar place as some of the more atmospheric stretches of Sungrazer‘s second long-player, 2011’s Mirador (review here), hypnotic guitar noodling leading the way out and directly into the righteous opening strum of “Roerloze Beweger.” A well-placed tambourine shake signals the launch of the groove and the finale is underway, uptempo and exciting if still overridingly mellow of vibe. The push settles down for the verses but plays well back and forth, and the song pays off the layered vocal melodies heard prior, the forwardness of the rhythm of Good Vibes & High Tides‘ most rocking moments, and its hinted-at sense of nod, arriving at the latter circa three minutes in and taking spot-on ownership of it. An instrumental jam ensues from then on, moving through a plotted progression into more improvised-sounding fare in the basslines standing out around five minutes in and the guitar that takes the reins after the final builds and crashes of Wijnen‘s drums, a meandering line that recedes to silence gently to end the album.

While there’s no doubt Good Vibes & High Tides both lives up to its title and the legacy of Haagmans‘ former three-piece, it does leave one wondering what his plans ultimately are for the project. To wit, this material is really, really engaging, and where The Purple & Yellow Album seemed almost to be an act of expression-as-exorcism — a release in the truest sense — Good Vibes & High Tides has more of an outreach kind of feel, connecting to the listener with outwardly catchy songs meant to do precisely that. Will Haagmans put together another full lineup? Will he continue down this sonic path, or is it a directional one-off en route to the next thing? Would he combine this with some of the more bedroom-acoustic material he’s done before? As much as Hunter S. Thompson advised following the Great Magnet’s directives, Haagmans seems to-date to be charting his own course with The Whims of the Great Magnet, and as to where that will take him (rumor has it a trio incarnation is to debut live next month), we’ll just have to wait and see. This record is nothing less than a gift as a part of that process.

The Whims of the Great Magnet on Thee Facebooks

The Whims of the Great Magnet on Bandcamp

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Review & Track Premiere: Vessel of Light, Thy Serpent Rise

Posted in audiObelisk, Reviews on November 20th, 2019 by JJ Koczan

vessel of light thy serpent rise

[Click play above to stream Vessel of Light’s cover of Black Sabbath’s ‘Wasp.’ Their third album, Thy Serpent Rise, is out now.]

With that title and that artwork, is there any way it’s at all possible, even in the remotest of distant universes, that the “serpent” in question in Vessel of Light‘s Thy Serpent Rise isn’t a cock? Not in this genre, folks. The lines from “Rush of Blood” — you’ll never guess where the blood is going — read, “You make my serpent rise/When you stare into my eyes” before transitioning into the chorus, “I feel a rush of blood/And a rush of drugs/Coursing through my veins/The fire and the flood,” and indeed: cock. By then, the New Jersey/Ohio outfit founded by guitarist Dan Lorenzo (Hades, Non-Fiction) and vocalist Nathan Opposition (né Jochum) and now featuring Jimmy Schulman (also Hades and Dan Lorenzo‘s solo band) on bass and Ron Lipnicki (ex-Overkill) on drums have run through a tight trio of songs for a post-intro opening salvo to Thy Serpent Rise, finding a sound on an aggressive end of the spectrum of traditional doom and heavy rock and roll, Opposition‘s sometimes guttural vocals upping the metallic quotient amid mostly AA/BB rhyme scheme murder and death poetry lyrics. “Rush of Blood” is something of an aberration, if a still-kinda-violent one.

The band’s second long-player behind last year’s Woodshed (review here) and a 2017 self-titled EP (review here) — both released by Argonauta Records — Thy Serpent Rise is comprised of 12 tracks with the title-track intro at the outset and two other guitar-based interludes, titled “Skin in the Game” and “Hello Darkness” interspersed throughout, the latter appearing just before the finale duo of “Decomposing Mental Health” and “After Death.” Ending with “After Death” of course seems fair enough after opening with “Abandon Life,” as the death fetish comes to define the point of view from which the songs stem, and as Opposition leans back and forth between suicide on “After Death” and “Decomposing Mental Health” and murder on “Meet and Bone” and “Bleed into the Night” — the latter of which boasts some ’90s-era Marilyn Manson-style “hey!” shouts in its later moments — the territory should be familiar to anyone who’s followed Vessel of Light at all, walking the fine line as it does between cultish and silly-cultish.

But though the words are the kinds of things that would’ve gotten you suspended from your junior year of high school for furiously scribbling in your notebook during class — picture Vice Principal Ludwig, horrified — there’s no question that Thy Serpent Rise is a figuring-it-out point for Vessel of Light. As the band expands beyond just Lorenzo and Opposition, their songwriting seems to tighten, such that the cuts in that initial push, “Abandon Life,” Meet and Bone” and “Urge to Kill,” barely top three minutes in the longest of them, but are strikingly efficient in getting the message across and still conveying a sense of darkness in the atmosphere. As with Woodshed, hooks about, and even if Opposition is consistent in rhyme scheme, he is a singer of marked presence whose voice is a distinguishing factor here and across his entire discography.

vessel of light

As “Save My Soul” emerges in bluesy swinging fashion from “Skin in the Game,” he adjusts his approach subtly to ride the groove behind him in order to enhance it rather than contradict, working with the band and not against them with what might be the album’s most uptempo vibe, though oddly enough “After Death” might give it some competition in that regard. Contrast that either way with the slamming weight of “Eternal Sleep,” the stomping force of which is a highlight unto itself as the band drive home the more metal side of their sound in a way that feels natural and intended for the stage. Following “Hello Darkness,” “Decomposing Mental Health” has more of a rolling nod and is a welcome arrival for that, as Lorenzo‘s riff changes are telegraphed around a chorus that would seem to be a point at which Vessel of Light come into their own and establish their identity in this grim mood, a kind of exploration of troubled self lyrically accompanied by choice, straightforward motion, clear, full production and structures that are tight to a point of feeling like they’re about to snap, which as it happens only suits the lyrics all the more, since that’s basically what Opposition would seem to be shooting for as well. Nice when things work out like that.

Are Vessel of Light going to be universally appealing? Nope. Their style finds them in a place between larger genre scopes, hard to pin to one thing or the other, and their report-this-post lyrics are anything but friendly to the listener. But of course, neither are they intended to be universal. It’s now what they’re going for now and not what they’ve been going for over the last two years as they’ve worked quickly to establish themselves and develop this aesthetic. At just 34 minutes — compared to Woodshed‘s 41 — the brevity suits Thy Serpent Rise, and the down-to-business intensity toward which Lorenzo and Opposition steer the material is effective and feels hammered out on a professional level.

What’s the endgame? Who the hell knows. But as Vessel of Light explore the elements that make up their sound, they seem to have with Thy Serpent Rise to have found the balance they were looking for their last time out, which sets them up for a third album should they get there that’s all the more sure of where it stands. At least that’s the narrative I’m going with. That’s not to say the record isn’t without its drawbacks — I’ll come out and say it if it’s not already clear; the lyrics aren’t really my thing, though they’re well performed and carried through with conviction; I just have a hard time believing anyone that into murder isn’t either in jail or too busy killing people to make records about it — but the “Skin in the Game” is as much the band’s own as it is whoever’s face they’re wearing like a mask, and in putting it all on the line, they at very least offer an alternative interpretation to the sense of “rising” in the title on a meta-level, if not one directly in the song itself, which, well, yeah, is about cock.

Vessel of Light, “Meet and Bone” official video

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Cybernetic Witch Cult Post “Cromagnonaut” Video; Absurdum ad Nauseam out Dec. 6

Posted in Bootleg Theater on November 20th, 2019 by JJ Koczan

cybernetic witch cult

UK sludge rockers Cybernetic Witch Cult are edging closer to the Dec. 6 self-release of their new album, Absurdum ad Nauseam, and in the new video for the cleverly-titled “Cromagnonaut,” they would seem to be asking the question of whether humanity is moving at too quick a pace in its self-driven evolution. I gotta say, dudes. Look around. The planet? It’s fucking on fire. And evolution ain’t the problem. The problem is morons. Too many morons, not enough evolution. Hell, throw in a little natural selection while you’re at it and let some of the relocated climate change polar bears start eating a few of these overlord dumbasses — even though they wouldn’t. The dumbasses live behind gates. The bears would do the exact opposite of what we need and eat the poor and we all know it. That’s no use to anyone.

Polar bears as a means to inciting a Marxist socialist paradise? Fucking if only.

But anyway, “Might we be evolving too fast for our own good?” is a question bound to provoke an answer one way or the other. I know that while I listened in the background to impeachment hearings and as I think about Boris Johnson dismantling the UK government because… …. … hang on… nope… uh…

So anyway, I don’t think we’re evolving too fast. Maybe ask the coral reef how it feels about human evolution and our warped idea of what it means. I agree we are an infant species. With nuclear weapons.

Phew, I’m exhausted.

Cybernetic Witch Cult‘s actual video for the song chronicles one of the many UK back-and-forths they’ve done over the last couple years, and it looks like the band are a good time live. Everybody nods and has fun and stops thinking for five minutes about how the world is collapsing. Seems nice.

Enjoy:

Cybernetic Witch Cult, “Cromagnonaut” official video

Taken from the upcoming album: ‘Absurdum ad Nauseam’ (Self release, 6th December 2019)

‘Cromagnonaut’ is examining the human race as being an infant species, and how stone age humans are now essentially piloting spaceships. Might we be evolving too fast for our own good? Can we spread life amongst the stars and preserve the 4.5 billions years worth of evolution before it gets wiped out?

This video was filmed entirely on our October 2019 tour. Special thanks to Mother Vulture, Morass of Molasses and Victus for filming our sets and the venues: Underground (Plymouth), Firehouse (Southampton), Cavern (Exeter), Jacobs Ladder (Falmouth), Wheatsheaf (Banbury), Edge of the Wedge (Portsmouth), The Ship (Weymouth).
Hope you enjoy!

Credits:
Editor / Production | Alex Wyld
Camera Assistant | Bones, Georgi, Brodie, Klayton, Sam.
Musicians | Alex Wyld, Doug MacKinnon, Lewis May
Music Production | Cro’s Nest, Sam Thredder
Artwork| Aimee Wyld

Cybernetic Witch Cult are:
Alex Wyld – Vocals & Guitar
Doug MacKinnon – Bass Guitar
Lewis May – Drums & Percussion

Cybernetic Witch Cult website

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Elder Druid Post “Golgotha” Video; Announce Jan. 17 Album Release Date

Posted in Bootleg Theater on November 20th, 2019 by JJ Koczan

elder druid golgotha video

I don’t mind telling you that I’ve seen at this point in my life a fair amount of videos that feature a band walking around, either playing or doing something spooky, in the woods. Like, a lot of them. In the era of the-technology-is-so-cheap-that-every-band-is-basically-expected-to-make-at-least-one-per-LP, it’s only fair there would be some overlap in subject matter in a genre — that’s what genre is, essentially — and in any case, it’s certainly not something to hold against anyone. I like walking in the woods sometimes too, as long as it’s dry. Actually, who the hell am I kidding? I like sitting on my ass on the couch and watching Star Trek. Going grocery shopping for me is like a major effort these days.

Before I get any further off-track here, Elder Druid‘s new clip for the title-track of their impending album, Golgotha — confirmed for a Jan. 17, 2020, release — is indeed one of the off-to-the-forest-type clips, and yet, having seen a number of them as I have, I’m still struck by the woods in question. They’re beautiful. The band apparently filmed in Woodburn Forest, in Carrickfergus, about 35 minutes southeast from their home in Ballymena toward the Northern Irish eastern coastline, and yeah, the scenery is just gorgeous. There’s some shaky-cam stuff in the video — fair enough considering the sludge-doom assault happening at concurrently in the music — but the video is otherwise shot in a kind of sepia filter that plays up the visual impact of the place, and having been in Northern Ireland for a few days earlier this year and felt like I saw any number of righteous sights, I clearly also missed one along the way. Guess my trip’s itinerary was too focused on politically-driven murder to go spend any time dicking around among the trees. So it goes.

Oh, and kudos to the band on finding a sunny day to shoot. That couldn’t have been easy either.

Elder Druid play this week in Bangor (not Maine) and then head across to England for four dates with Barbarian Hermit next week. They’ll do Crypt of the Riff, which they’re involved in organizing, and then it’s on to the album release party — a two-parter party, no less — and more festivals later in 2020 that one assumes will be supplemented by tour dates to come. Nothing like keeping busy.

Or sitting on ass, enjoying the view:

Elder Druid, “Golgotha” official video

Official music video for ‘Golgotha’, the title track from our upcoming album ‘Golgotha’ due for release in January 2020.

Filming and editing: Exposing Shadows Photography.
Performances: Patrycja Dziedzic, April Morgan & Elder Druid.
Special thanks: Fresh Garbage for providing costumes and Peter Clarke for his assistance in shooting the video.

Music:
Written and performed by Elder Druid.
Produced by Dale Hughes in Blackstaff Mill, Belfast.

Elder Druid live:
22.11: Elder Druid & Nomadus | The Goat’s Toe, Bangor
28.11: Elder Druid / Barbarian Hermit / Satlan / Gandalf the Green | Temple of Boom, Leeds
29.11: Elder Druid / Barbarian Hermit / Satlan / Slowbro | The Phoenix, Coventry
30.11: Elder Druid / Barbarian Hermit / Bad Kush | The Lounge 666, London
01.12: Elder Druid / Barbarian Hermit / Satlan / Kong Lives | Fuel Rock Club, Cardiff
13.12: Crypt of the Riff Vol. 4
17.01: Elder Druid • ‘Golgotha’ Album Launch • Voodoo, Belfast
18.01: Elder Druid • ‘Golgotha’ Album Launch • Fibber Magees, Dublin
01.05: Iron Mountain Metal Festival 2020
06.06: Stonebaked Festival
31.07: Monolith 2020

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

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