Cities of Mars Announce Debut Recording Plans

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

cities-of-mars

Never heard of Cities of Mars? Don’t sweat it. I hadn’t either until bassist/vocalist/spacetime-transmissionist Danne Palm (formerly of Monolord) reached out yesterday to inform of his intentions to lead the newcomer trio into the studio this Spring to record their debut album. No audio yet, but the band’s concept sold me on it anyway, inventing a tale of a successful Soviet expedition to Mars in the 1970s and chronicling the experience there of a female cosmonaut who arrives to discover an ancient civilization.

Sounds pretty awesome, right? I’d read that short story, and when the time comes, I’ll check out the record. Until they go in to track the beast, with Monolord‘s Esben Willems no less, there’s just the basic announcement to go by, so here’s that in case you’d like an early glimpse at what they’ll be going for in the studio:

cities of mars logo

The Cities of Mars revealed via Monolord producer in 2015

Vocalist/bassist and Cities of Mars’ main songwriter Danne Palm co-formed and wrote material with Swedish doom titans Monolord in early 2013, formed from the ashes of Sweden’s hardest working boogie rock band Marulk. Wanting to pursue another musical direction, Cities of Mars emerged in 2014 with guitarist/vocalist Christoffer Norén (also in Benevolent) and drummer Anders Runesson. Keeping a close friendship with the guys in Monolord, drummer/engineer/producer Esben Willems was happy to offer his massive-sound producing skills for a two track single scheduled for recording in late spring 2015.

Not only a power trio with experienced musicians, Cities of Mars also features an extensive background story dating back to 9000 BC, closely knit into the lyrics and artwork – an extra treat for those sci-fi, fantasy and comic aficionados out there.

In short:

In the early 1970’s, the Soviet Union made several attempts to land on Mars. Officially, they failed.

What if the opposite was true, that a highly trained female operative succeeded in landing on the red planet and found a dark ancient civilization buried beneath the surface?

Cities of Mars has risen to tell this tale, with an asteroid-sized hulk of spaced out, fuzz-drenched, high gravity riffage. With three experienced rock musicians cranking the best out of their songcraft and high wattage amps, a dramatic interplanetary mythology dating back thousands of years is revealed, piece by piece, song by song.

Spacetime transmissions will begin in mid-2105.

Danne Palm: bass,vox & spacetime transmissions
Christoffer Norén: guitar, vox & vortex navigation
Anders Runesson: drums, vox & black hole calculations

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Cities-of-Mars/844239638921754
info@citiesofmars.se
 

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Duude, Tapes! Skunk Hawk, Skunk Hawk

Posted in Duuude, Tapes! on February 24th, 2015 by H.P. Taskmaster

skunk-hawk-tape-and-case

While Philadelphia-based Randall Coon has a few prior digital releases under his belt for the solo-project Skunk Hawk, as I understand it, the six-song self-titled/self-released tape is the first to receive a physical pressing. The cassette is limited to 100 copies with a pro-printed tape and two-panel j-card, and finds the multi-instrumentalist/vocalist Coon — who appeared with King Buffalo on their 2013 demo (review here) and was in Velvet Elvis at the time of their 2012 release, In Deep Time (review here); both obviously based in Upstate NY — employing a variety of gleefully strange pop textures in a meld of psychedelic folk and bedroom stoner fuzz. Interestingly, the tracklist on the j-card lists the song “Frigidaire,” which closes side two, twice. The download version (not included with the tape, but available on Bandcamp) has it listed with side one comprised of skunk hawk“Water Born Devil,” “High School Ball” and “All My Heart,” and side two “There Will be Another Day, Love” (listed on the tape as “Another Day”), “Lovers of Pompeii” and “Frigidaire,” though in the download version, “Lovers of Pompeii” and “Frigidaire” are the same song. The tape also lists “Stone Embrace” on side two, so maybe there are still some kinks to work out.

My working theory is that “Stone Embrace” and “Lovers of Pompeii” are the same track with a changed title, and that that song is the middle one on side two of the tape, also the most intense of the collection, and that the actual closer of the tape is “Frigidaire,” which has a pulsing bassline and howled hook, which is accidentally listed twice on the tape but doesn’t come in the download. Nonetheless, it’s kind of hard to know what’s where, but however one chooses to listen, there’s plenty to dig into. A rawer form of “There Will be Another Day, Love” appeared on Skunk Hawk‘s 2011 EP, I Fell into the Sea and into the Earth, but other than that, the material here is new, and from the Angelo Badalamenti-style pop drama of “High School Ball” to the church organ-laced rhythmic drive of “Stone Embrace/Lovers of Pompeii,” Coon never relinquishes the experimental edge in the sound. “There Will be Another Day, Love” winds up a highlight for its insistent play of fuzz guitar and keys and Neil Young-via-Arbouretum vocal performance, but the jangly oddity and blown-out singing of “All My Heart” and the subtly-drummed vulnerability of “Water Born Devil” offer likewise satisfying results even if they take different routes to get there. If it’s confusing in a practical skunk hawk skunk hawkway, Skunk Hawk is as proportionally an engaging listen, toying with the balance between fuzzy rock and off-kilter less-frenetic Man Man-style indie songwriting in a manner that few would attempt, and pulling it off while crafting a personality of its own.

One can see easily why after several other releases, Coon might see fit to make Skunk Hawk‘s Skunk Hawk the first physical pressing from the project. I hope it’s not the last. It may be tough to figure out where one is at any given moment, but somehow that makes the listener more receptive to turns like the sneering apex of “Another Day,” “High School Ball”‘s abrasive midsection feedback or the low-mixed currents of effects noise, drones and other flourish sounds that crop up throughout. It’s not a release looking to be fully understood, and that’s one of the most exciting aspects of it.

Skunk Hawk, Skunk Hawk

Skunk Hawk on Bandcamp

Randall Coon on Soundcloud

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Blut, Demo 2014: Madness Reborn

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

blut demo 2014

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

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

blut

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

Blut, “Child Killer on Cloven Hoof”

Blut’s Blogspot

Blut on Soundcloud

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The Obelisk Radio Adds: Primitive Man, Sandrider + Kinski, Hiram-Maxim, Obrero and Elbrus

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

the obelisk radio

I know it’s not the usual custom to do Radio adds on Mondays, but what the hell, it’s not exactly like there are rules one way or another, and my desktop has hit eight rows deep of folders with albums in them, so whatever day it might be, it’s time to clear out as much of it as possible. A full 22 records join The Obelisk Radio playlist today. Some of it is very strange, some of it pretty straightforward, but one way or another, I think it all makes the stream better and more diverse, and that’s what it’s all about. For the full list of everything added, check out the Playlist and Updates page.

The Obelisk Radio adds for Feb. 16, 2015:

Primitive Man, Home is Where the Hatred Is

12 Jacket (3mm Spine) [GDOB-30H3-007}

After their destructive 2013 Relapse Records debut, Scorn (review here), Primitive Man‘s reputation for brutality precedes them. The Denver trio’s new EP, Home is Where the Hatred Is, is only likely to further that reputation, its four tracks alternating between grueling, unrepentantly slow-lumbering, ungodly-toned extremity and fits of grinding megaviolence. The release is arranged longest to shortest so that opener “Loathe” (11:03) is sure to weed out the weaker constitutions en route to the ensuing crushers “Downfall” (8:43) and “Bag Man” (7:09). The closer, “A Marriage with Nothingness” (4:17) is a collage of noise and fedback threat topped with a sample of a woman either in ecstasy or agony — in context it’s kind of hard to tell — but the message is plain either way. One might think of that cut as an answer to Primitive Man‘s 2013 P//M Noise Tape, which also explored droning forms between covers of PortisheadBlack Sabbath and Crowbar. Perhaps most foreboding of all is how smoothly Primitive Man shift between the facets of their increasingly diverse sound, since it speaks to a progression in progress in terms of bringing the various elements together. A beast is one thing, but a thinking beast seems all the more ominous. They may be in the process of outgrowing their name, but a savage force remains at the heart of their bludgeoning. Primitive Man on Thee Facebooks, Relapse Records.

Sandrider and Kinski, Sandrider + Kinski Split

sandrider kinski split

With geography in common in their Seattle base of operation, Sandrider and Kinski present their Sandrider + Kinski split on Good to Die Records with three new songs from the former, including a cover of Jane’s Addiction‘s “Mountain Song,” and two from the latter, working in instrumental, textured heavy psychedelic forms that complement Sandrider‘s bombastic approach as heard on their two full-lengths to date, 2013’s Godhead (review here) and 2011’s self-titled debut (review here). Both “Beyond in Touch with My Feminine Side” (8:42) and “The Narcotic Comforts of the Status Quo” (5:17) flesh out open spaces, rich in tone and flowing movement, with the closer more of a riffy, space-rock feel while “Beyond in Touch with My Feminine Side” is more exploratory, fading out at its end is the jam sort of deconstructs below lead guitar. As for Sandrider‘s “Rain” (4:47) and “Glaive” (4:40), for anyone who’s heard the rolling punk heaviness of their albums, it should be enough to say they sound like Sandrider – upbeat and catchy and furious and kinetic — and while I’m not sure anyone ever needed to hear a Jane’s Addiction song ever again (ever.), they take what was probably the band’s best riff and re-suit it to their own purposes, which if you’re going to do it at least is the right way to go about it. Sandrider on Thee Facebooks, Kinski on Thee Facebooks, Good to Die Records.

Hiram-Maxim, Hiram-Maxim

hiram-maxim hiram-maxim

Ultimately, Hiram-Maxim‘s self-titled Aqualamb debut reads more like an experiment in the deconstruction of sound than an album in the traditional sense, and perhaps I use the word “reads” because it’s a book. As has become Aqualamb‘s modus, the four-track release comes as a 100-page artbook and a download that contains its nonetheless-vinyl-ready darkened forms, whether it’s the brooding “One” (11:47) with backing drones and open guitars or the preceding “Can’t Stop” (11:55) with its rising current of abrasive, almost grating noise that gradually consumes whatever song was there to start with. It is a dark atmosphere, and the opener, “Visceral”  (7:14), is well titled, but the pervading vibe is more exploratory than theatrical; like the listener, the Cleveland four-piece are feeling their way through these deep reaches, and when they come around to the apex of closer “Worship” (6:25), the resolution they seem to find is frantic and desolate in turn. In another universe, one might call it punk rock. Here, it is gleefully and thoroughly fucked. Hiram-Maxim on Thee Facebooks, Aqualamb.

Obrero, The Infinite Corridors of Time

Obrero The Infinite Corridors of Time

The Infinite Corridors of Time, the second long-player from Stockholm old-schoolers Obrero should — contrary to their logo — appeal to fans of Hour of 13 and Argus and others who’ve made preservation of classic metal their mission, skirting the fine line between doomly Sabbath worship and proto-NWOBHM stylized forwardness of purpose. The double-guitar five-piece show some penchant for ’70s heavy rock on cuts like “Oneironaut” (6:20) and “The Axial Age” (5:40) but by and large their purposes are more metallic, meshing AC/DC and Judas Priest impulses into the keyboard-laden “Manchester Morgue” (5:01) or “Phobos and Deimos” (5:42), which stands out for its hook and successful blend alike. At eight tracks/52 minutes, The Infinite Corridors of Time is no minor undertaking — there is no song under five minutes long — but their use of keys allows Obrero to work in various moods, and for those seeking purity in their metal, the Swedish outfit offer glimpses without being wholly derivative of what’s come before. Obrero on Thee Facebooks, To the Death Records.

Elbrus, Far Away and into Space Pt. 2

Elbrus Far Away and into Space Pt. 2

If you feel like you missed out on Far Away and into Space Pt. 1, don’t worry about it. Melbourne, Australia, four-piece Elbrus are actually starting out with Pt. 2, and it’s their debut single, an 11-minute psychedelic push of heavy blues rock, stoner rollout and organ-blessed jamming. I’m not sure it’s safe yet to call what’s happening in Melbourne right now a “heavy blues revival” as acts like Elbrus and Child delve into such sonic territory — if only because with bands like Horsehunter and Hotel Wrecking City Traders out there, the city’s take on heavy isn’t so easily categorized — but one rarely recognizes such things until beaten over the head by them. Either way, “Far Away and into Space Pt. 2″ gracefully looses a molten flow over its 11:06 stretch, vocalist/organist Ollie Bradley-Smith unafraid to cut through the natural-sounding, weighted tones of guitarist Ringo Camilleri and bassist Mafi Watson while Tom Todorovic‘s drums smooth the way between volume and tempo changes and add cymbal-crash swing to both. It’s a smooth-grooved nod, and aside from making me curious to hear the first installment of “Far Away and into Space,” it makes me wonder what Elbrus might next encounter as that journey unfolds. Elbrus on Thee Facebooks, on Bandcamp.

One more time, this is not even a quarter of what’s been added today. There’s also stuff from Black Rainbows, Felipe Arcazas, Headless Kross, Warhorse, Twingiant and others, so please make sure you hit up the Obelisk Radio Playlist and Updates page to see the full list.

Thanks as always for reading and listening.

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Desertfest Berlin 2015 Adds Cigale to Lineup

Posted in Whathaveyou on February 4th, 2015 by H.P. Taskmaster

DesertFest Berlin

I expect that for many who attend, Desertfest Berlin 2015 will serve as the introduction to Dutch dream rockers Cigale, whose airy tones and sweet melodies will make a recorded debut — their song “Harvest Begun” was premiered here — later this year. Their lineup features guitarist Rutger Smeets and drummer Hans Mulders, both formerly of fuzz jammers Sungrazer, but Cigale seem to be on a different wavelength, and what I’ve heard so far has certainly piqued my interest to hear where they go with their first album, for which a teaser can be heard below.

But first, the announcement from DesertfestDesertfest Berlin 2015 runs from April 23-25 at the Astra Kulturhaus, which one of these days/years I’d very much like to see for myself:

CIGALE DesertFest Berlin

We are proud to announce today a band you may not know yet, but that you are going to love very quickly: Cigale!!

CIGALE was born about a year ago from the ashes of Sungrazer, and features 2 former members of the trio (Rutger and Hans). Still in the nymph state in 2014, CIGALE stayed pretty quiet, composing and polishing their songs. But they have now finished to develop, and are ready to take-off and get themselves heard!

And for what we’ve heard so far, CIGALE just sound incredibly hypnotic! They have managed to capture their atmospheric sounds and dreamy lyrics combined with a dose of heaviness on their selftitled debut-album, to be released in March and celebrated at DesertFest Berlin in April!

We can only encourage you to like their page, check-out the teaser they published yesterday and succumb to the CIGALE’s song!

Tickets on www.desertfest.de/tickets! (85€ + taxes)

DESERTFEST BERLIN #4 – APRIL 23th, 24th, 25th 2015
ASTRA KULTURHAUS / F-HAIN/X-BERG BERLIN (GER)
www.desertfest.de - www.soundofliberation.com

Red Fang + Orange Goblin + Brant Bjork & The Low Desert Punk Band + Acid King + Ufomammut + My Sleeping Karma + Conan + Black Pyramid + Karma To Burn + Brutus + Dopethrone + The Atomic Bitchwax + Lo-Pan + The Picturebooks + Toner Low + Dirty Fences + Heat + Mountain Witch + Mother Engine + The Sun And The Wolf + Cigale + Riff Fist + Travelin Jack + more

https://www.facebook.com/cigaleband/
www.soundofliberation.com
www.desertfest.de
http://www.desertfest.de/tickets

Cigale, Cigale album teaser

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High Fighter Get up Close and Personal in “2Steps Blueskill” Video

Posted in Bootleg Theater on February 2nd, 2015 by H.P. Taskmaster

high fighter (Photo by Frau-Siemers-Fotografiert)

Hamburg-based riff metallers High Fighter made a self-released debut last October with their EP, The Goat Ritual (review here). The five-song collection scorched out chug-ready tones and ground-beef grooves, vocalist Mona Miluski cruising over the power-thrust of guitarists Christian “Shi” Pappas (rhythm) and Ingwer Boysen (lead), bassist Constantin Wüst and drummer Thomas Wildelau in a pro-quality showing of sure aesthetic that one could only really call formative because it was their first release and that’s how first releases work.

The song “2Steps Blueskill” — a title that seems to be two words short, somehow — leads off The Goat Ritual, serving as the first impression High Fighter make on the listener. As of today, it’s also the five-piece’s first video. Directed by Wüst and filmed at the same time the EP was recorded back in the fall, it brings the viewer in tight for a look at High Fighter in their rehearsal space as they take names, kick ass and riff large in their mean-meets-Kyuss style, and gives all the more a professional impression considering the band held onto it for a couple months instead of putting it out at the same time as the music itself. Unless, you know, editing took a while, which is also understandable.

In any case, considering High Fighter played their first show Dec. 19, they seem to be looking to play it smart as they head toward the inevitable goal of heavy domination. They’ll play with The Midnight Ghost Train and Greenleaf this Spring, and in the summer they’ll take part in Poland’s Red Smoke festival, which seems likely only to be one of more festival dates to come as they continue to introduce people to their sound.

To that end, here’s the “2Steps Blueskill” video, followed by their announcement of its release:

High Fighter, “2Steps Blueskill” official video

It´s here, it´s rad, and it´s our first music video!!

While we recorded our debut EP “The Goat Ritual“ live & on one weekend of October 2014 in our rehearsal room, what better location could we have picked to film a music video? Right, of course in that same rehearsal room where all magic began!

High Fighter on Thee Facebooks

High Fighter on Bandcamp

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Young Hunter Begin Recording New Album

Posted in Whathaveyou on February 2nd, 2015 by H.P. Taskmaster

young hunter amp

Oregon-by-way-of-Arizona outfit Young Hunter announced over the weekend that they have begun tracking their next full-length at Toadhouse Recording in Portland. At this point, not much more has been said than that as regards a title, tracks, or even who is in the band, which was a seven-piece when their debut, Stone Tools (discussed here), was released in 2012, prior to guitarist/vocalist Benjamin Blake relocating to the Pacific Northwest from the desert he’d previously called home.

The band’s last release was the three-song Embers at the Foot of Dark Mountain EP that arrived first on its own digitally late in 2013 and then as one of 2014’s best short releases in a limited split tape with Ohioan (review here), whose drone-folk experimentalism and Swansian bitterness complemented the emotional depth of sonic weight of Young Hunter‘s “Welcome to Nothing,” “Trail of Tears” and “Dreamer,” which built on the distorted desert impulses Stone Tools laid out while also sounding fuller and more assured, the three songs bleeding together as one longer, dynamic work, as smooth in its flow as it was ranging in its impact. Whether that material is an indication of where Young Hunter might go sonically on the upcoming full-length is unknown; that EP was a significant-enough shift from the prior full-length that it seems pointless to hazard a guess.

Those who’ve been fortunate enough to see them over the last few months in Portland might be better able to speculate. Young Hunter have been playing shows with increasing regularity taking time to put together the new band. Two dates in January found them alongside GalateaLamprey and Johanna Warren, and on Feb. 24 — presumably after the recording is done — they’re set to take the stage with Disenchanter as part of Portland’s “Heavy Tuesdays” series at Rotture. One assumes more will follow once the album, whatever it’s called and whenever it lands, comes out.

Hopefully more to come as they continue the process leading up to the release. Their statement, recounted in full below as posted on Jan. 31, is suitably minimal:

young-hunter-lava-lamp

Today, we begin recording our next album.

Young Hunter on Thee Facebooks

Young Hunter on Bandcamp

Young Hunter, Embers at the Foot of Dark Mountain (2014)

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Shepherd Premiere “Turdspeak” from Stereolithic Riffalocalypse

Posted in audiObelisk on January 26th, 2015 by H.P. Taskmaster

shepherd

Sludge rock trio Shepherd are set to release their debut long-player, Stereolithic Riffalocalypse (spoiler alert: it’s heavy), on March 7. The Bangalore, India-based three-piece — who are not to be confused with the defunct German doom outfit of the same name — have shared stages with countrymen acts like Bevar Sea and Djinn and Miskatonic, among many others, and their first album follows behind demos released in 2011 and 2012 and the 2012 live offering, Live at Kyra (18-02-12) (also apparently known as Open Mic Surgery and pressed in a limited CD edition under that title), all three songs from which also appear on the upcoming record, which basks in classic heavy riffage in a manner befitting the name they’ve given it.

Today I have the pleasure of unveiling “Turdspeak” from Stereolithic Riffalocalypse, the second track on the album. Its low-end-rooted groove relies effectively on bassist/vocalist Abhishek Michael for its foundation, but the steady roll in guitarist/vocalist Namit Chauhan‘s riffs are always in charge, a noisy solo emerging late in the song to add to the nod punctuated by drummer/vocalist Deepak Raghu asshepherd-stereolithic-riffalocalypse the song’s speedier and unpretentious finale plays out having taken off from the more lurching, effects-laden beginning it’s given. “Turdspeak” effectively showcases the core impulses under which Shepherd are working — a mash of stoner groove and punk intensity. With all three members sharing vocal duties, they’re able to add variety in a way that a lot of sludge acts can’t, and as you can hear, the Echoplex-driven tones they bring to bear on “Turdspeak” are nothing if not dense.

Preorders for the album start on Feb. 1, and you can keep an eye on Shepherd‘s doings at any of the links below — their demos and Live at Kyra are available as name-your-price downloads. Reading over their bio, which follows the track here, one gets a sense both of the band’s desire to stand out in the style and their acknowledgement that India’s heavy rock scene is really just beginning to come together. Phrases like “out to make sure 2015 is their year” speak to ambition, and at the same time, they also refer to themselves as “the only band of its kind in India,” which at least to my ears seems kind of lonely. Nonetheless, they do stand out, and for more than their point of origin.

Take a listen to “Turdspeak” below, and enjoy:

Bangalore, India-based sludge/heavy rock band Shepherd is out to make sure 2015 is their year. After two years of writing, recording and several gigs at clubs and festivals in Bangalore, Shepherd is ready with their mammoth debut album, aptly titled ‘Stereolithic Riffalocalypse’, slated to release on 7th March 2015.

To kick things off, they’re giving fans a taste of the album by premiering the song “Bog Slime” on Rolling Stone India, along with revealing the tracklist and album art to Stereolithic Riffalocalypse. Formed in 2011, Shepherd is probably the only Bangalore-based sludge/heavy rock band from India. The band has been making waves in the underground, drawing Influence from the guitar-driven sounds of early 90’s hard rock (Soundgarden, The Melvins, Eyehategod) and the aural assault of 80’s hardcore punk (Black Flag, Discharge, Fear), the band has built a reputation for itself as an ever-evolving and unpredictable heavy rock entity. You don’t need more proof of that than just one listen to the nine tracks that feature on Stereolithic Riffalocalypse, which was recorded at Bangalore’s Area 51 Studio and mixed by Rahul Ranganath and mastered by Brad Boatright at Audiosiege, who has previously worked with the likes of YOB, Obituary, Sourvein and Old Man Gloom.

Despite a setlist that keeps growing with every gig under its belt, the band takes it a step further by introducing improvisational elements into their music – sort of a rarity in heavy music. Shepherd being the only band of its kind in India has been slowly building a reputation as one of the loudest, heaviest three-piece band to watch out for, ready to take on the rest of the country, and the world.

Shepherd is:
Deepak Raghu – drums/vocals
Namit Chauhan – guitars/vocals
Abhishek Michael – bass/vocals

Stereolithic Riffalocalypse tracklist:
1. Spite Pit
2. Turdspeak
3. Crook
4. Black Cock of Armageddon
5. Stereolithic Riffalocalypse
6. Bog Slime
7. Wretch Salad
8. Stalebait

Recorded at Area 51 by Premik Jolly
Mixed by Rahul Ranganath,
Mastered by Brad Boatright at Audiosiege
Album artwork by Sonali Zohra (Dangercat Studio)

Shepherd on Thee Facebooks

Shepherd on Twitter

Shepherd on Bandcamp

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