Bushfire Post Video for “Die Trying”

Posted in Bootleg Theater on October 18th, 2017 by JJ Koczan

bushfire

Apparently if you want to get into a headquarters building for EUMETSAT, it’s all about who you know. Having a killer van like the one from Dumb and Dumber probably helps too — one imagines that helps everything — and it would seem Darmstadt, Germany-based heavy rockers Bushfire have both working in their favor in their new video for “Die Trying.” The clip is the second to be unveiled from their forthcoming third full-length, When Darkness Comes, behind one for “Zombi” posted in August, and where that had kind of a creeper lyric video vibe going, the metaphor of zombies being put to use as a descriptor for our relationship to technology — think dead-eyed people staring at their phones, etc. — “Die Trying” plays up a little bit more of the fun side that Bushfire bring to their personality.

To wit, that Dumb and Dumber van. And if you’re not familiar — I certainly wasn’t — the EUMETSAT stands for “Europäische Organisation für meteorologische Satelliten” and is essentially a network of weather satellites used across the European Union to share meteorological data between member states. There are headquarters throughout the EU, and oneBushfire-When-Darkness-Comes is in Bushfire‘s native Darmstadt, so yeah, they clearly found some way to get in and have a good time in the process, so kudos all around. One assumes they didn’t knock any orbital apparatus out of alignment in the process, and the lighter-hearted spirit of the video does well to represent When Darkness Comes, which, while severe in its title, cover art and in the themes of cuts like the aforementioned “Zombi” and the later “Fallen from Grace,” does have some letup in brooding in this track as well as the fuzz-rolling march of closer “Liberation” amid the moodiness of songs like “Shelter,” “Another Man Down” and “Wild Eyes,” all of which seem to bring together elements from the sonic personae of bands like Borracho, Clutch and Down to follow Bushfire‘s 2013 outing, Heal Thy Self (review here), with their most cohesive sonic vision to-date.

You can check out the burl and the groove of “Die Trying” on the player below, followed by more info about When Darkness Comes, for which Bushfire have a hometown CD release show booked for Oct. 27. Last I heard the record was due in December, but I guess if you can get it while the getting’s good, then yeah, get it while the getting’s good. Maybe vinyl later? I don’t know anything anymore.

Enjoy the video:

Bushfire, “Die Trying” official video

BAND – BUSHFIRE
SONG – DIE TRYING
ALBUM – WHEN DARKNESS COMES (2017)

This video would not have been possible without the following persons and their contributions: EUMETSAT, Phil Harvey, Ry Evill, James Snook, Patrick Boyny, Beate Springer, and Jonas Roem — BUSHFIRE, THANKS YOU ALL!!!

This video was filmed and edited by Schnittsache.
https://www.facebook.com/schnittsache/

Bushfire on Thee Facebooks

Bushfire on Bandcamp

Bushfire website

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Great Electric Quest Stream New Split with Lords of Beacon House; Announce Midwestern Tour Dates

Posted in Whathaveyou on October 13th, 2017 by JJ Koczan

great electric quest

On Halloween, San Diego’s Great Electric Quest will release a new split via Glory or Death Records with L.A. compatriots Lords of Beacon House. It’s been in the works for a while — you might recall Lords of Beacon House had their track “Cadillac Daddy” premiered here back in May — but it’s actually coming out, and the very next day, Great Electric Quest will head out on a run they’ve dubbed the ‘Beer Vikings Tour,’ because well, you gotta call it something. As we get closer to the release date, it’s their turn to premiere a track, and you’ll find that below along with a stream of their righteous 2016 Chapter I full-length, which is due for a follow-up presumably sometime in the New Year.

Veterans of this year’s Psycho Las Vegas festival, it’s hard to decide which of Great Electric Quest‘s inclusions on the split is more classic metal in style: their cover of Iron Maiden‘s “Murders in the Rue Morgue” or the original “Ruling this World.” Pick one and run with it — turns out there isn’t a wrong answer — and either way you go, expect to be handed a vicious helping of grit to go with your riffage. As they showed all throughout Chapter I, their take on heavy rock is well informed by attitude and craftsmanship alike, but as right on and ready for tape-trading as cuts from that record like “Egypt” and “Cry of the Wolf” were, the new stuff has it beat. I don’t know if “Ruling this World” might show up on Chapter II when that surfaces, but it certainly bodes well for what’s invariably to come.

Tour dates and more info on the split follow, as well as the track premiere and exclusive download.

Enjoy:

great-electric-quest-tour-poster

Great Electric Quest – Split with Lords of Beacon House & “Beer Vikings Tour 2017”

Rock & Roll, Heavy Metal, Doom & Shredders GREAT ELECTRIC QUEST and Super Trippy, Kings of Cool, Groove Masters, LORDS OF BEACON HOUSE bring you a split to inhale…two WICKED LADIES jamming in the Caddy toking Spliffs and enjoying the tunes… sounds like a good time.

GEQ’s “Madam Elbib” the Gypsy Fortune Teller from their album CH.I and LOBH’s Black Majik Voodoo Woman from their to be released 2nd LP “Recreational Sorcery”, inspire this split brought to you by GLORY OR DEATH RECORDS and the ripping art work of AUSTIN BARRETT.

Pump the V’s, Puff a Spliff, and Cruise out to this 4 song split that’s just long enough to pick up another 12er from the Corner Liquor.

CHEERS! and Thank you to Midnite Collective and XYZ clothing for their support!

Album release date: 31 October 2017

Tracklisting:
1. Lords of Beacon House – Cadillac Daddy
2. Lords of Beacon House – Spliff Ripper
3. Great Electric Quest – Murders in the Rue Morgue (Iron Maiden cover)
4. Great Electric Quest – Ruling this World

GREAT ELECTRIC QUEST Beer Vikings Tour 2017:
11/01 Tucson AZ The Flycatcher
11/02 El Paso TX CJ’s W
11/03 San Angelo TX The Deadhorse
11/04 Austin TX Swan Dive
11/05 Dallas TX Gas Monkey
11/09 Oklahoma City OK Blue Note
11/10 Lawrence KS Replay Lounge
11/11 Savage MN Sword Metal Fest VI
11/13 Omaha NB Lookout Lounge
11/14 Wichita KS The Elbow Room
11/16 Albuquerque NM Launchpad
11/17 Tempe AZ Yucca Tap Room

Great Electric Quest is:
Tyler “T-Sweat” Dingvell – Vocals
Buddy Donner – Guitar
Daniel “MuchoDrums” Velasco – Drums
Jared Bliss – Bass

https://www.facebook.com/electricquest/
https://electricquest.bandcamp.com/
https://gloryordeathrecords.bandcamp.com

Lords of Beacon House & Great Electric Quest, Wicked Ladies split (2017)

Great Electric Quest, Chapter I (2016)

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Egypt, Cracks and Lines: Expanding the Known

Posted in Reviews on October 13th, 2017 by JJ Koczan

egypt cracks and lines

When North Dakotan trio Egypt issued their second full-length in 2015, already there were stirrings of a companion-piece tracked at the same time that was coming soon. Not that they didn’t say plenty with Endless Flight (review here) itself, which was a delight in tone and groove and its general approach to songcraft — I said at the time that it was immediately recognizable as Egypt‘s own, and I very much stand by that. That there would be more material to come drawn from those recording sessions was an exciting prospect. The trio of bassist/vocalist Aaron Esterby, guitarist/recording engineer Neal Stein and drummer/cover artist Chad Heille had never sounded so fluid, and one knew from the wait between Egypt‘s original demo, released in 2009 via MeteorCity as a self-titled EP (review here) and 2013’s Become the Sun (review here), that Egypt records don’t come along every day, so hey, the more the merrier.

As it turns out, Cracks and Lines is less of a companion-piece or Endless Flight than one might expect — at least in the sense of being more of the same. Instead, with Stein at the helm recording, mixing and mastering, the three-piece course through five tracks and 38 minutes that greatly expand the scope of who Egypt are and what they do as a band, finding a stylistic foothold in a blend of their trademark bluesy sludge on songs like “Final Heist” and the 11-minute rolling title-cut, while elsewhere delving into melancholy psychedelia on “Dirge” or tripping out in a spacious, Hammond-infused jam on 13-minute closer “What Lights this Ocean.” Oh, and for good measure? There’s a KISS cover. They do “Watchin’ You” from 1974’s Hotter than Hell and have no trouble making it their own.

All of this, and especially the languid finish of “What Lights this Ocean” has the effect of broadening Egypt‘s overall reach. Yeah, in their more straightforward nodding moments, on “Watchin’ You” or the apex of “Cracks and Lines,” they still nod toward the likes of Weedeater with Esterby‘s dry-throated shouts and one-time splitmates Wo Fat — with whom they issued Cyclopean Riffs (review here) in 2013 — but that expectation in no way accounts for putting the melodic, calm and wistful “Dirge” as the three-minute centerpiece of the offering, with its subtle swirl of backward guitar and clean-sung verses. Nor does it jibe with “What Lights this Ocean” on the whole, which, while it draws from elements Egpyt have put to use in the past, represents a marked shift in focus toward psych-blues that stands as a realignment from anything they’ve done before. Even “Final Heist,” which at just under seven minutes long one might argue is intended as a familiar lead-in for listeners before the band gets to their more ranging fare, plays to a more patient feel in its rollout, saving a weighted boogie for its final third as the payoff for the slow nod preceding.

egypt

Again, not necessarily unheard of from Egypt, but done in a new way. It’s interesting to think of these songs as having been put to tape at the same time as Endless Flight, if indeed that’s how it worked out, because the band clearly then took the glut of material and sculpted two different outings from it — one that affirmed the direction of their debut and built on the accomplishments there, and this one, which pushes into newer territory altogether. Without knowing the circumstances of the recording, it would be almost too easy to read progression into this material — the sense of Egypt continuing to move forward from Endless Flight, when the reality is that what they accomplish with Cracks and Lines isn’t growing beyond its predecessor, it’s completing the picture of how much they’ve grown since the debut. The mind boggles.

The most important bottom line, of course, is that it works. From “Final Heist” through the early bounce of “Cracks and Lines,” into the melodic drift of “Dirge,” the stage-ready swing of “Watchin’ You” and the final, liquefied wanderings of “What Lights this Ocean” — on which Andrew Steinberg sits in for the aforementioned Hammond contribution, much bolstering the ending of the full-length as a whole — Cracks and Lines succeeds in delivering the impression of Egypt as a richer band in their presentation than one knew they could be before, while maintaining a loose, natural feel throughout. As it was finally put together to coincide with a summer 2017 European tour, Cracks and Lines might be thought of along similar lines to Geezer‘s Psychoriffadelia (review here), with which the New York heavy psych-blues rockers similarly jammed their way into more expansive terrain, but however one might want to frame them, these five tracks showcase a side of Egypt not previously heard in this way.

One can’t help but wonder if on their next outing, the Fargoans might try to bring these stylistic maneuvers together with the more forward sludge rock that typified Endless Flight, essentially combining the vibes of the two albums as a logical next step forward for their sound. If anything, Cracks and Lines makes it harder — though also more fun — to speculate what might be next for Egypt, but either way, the underlying message here is that while one might have come out of Endless Flight feeling like the total scope of the band had shown itself and that the task before them was then to set about refining that scope on a third album through songwriting and general level of performance, production, etc. — that, in other words, their course was set — they’ve instead shifted their narrative with a sonic left turn and given themselves a broader palette to draw from as they move toward what might be a more satisfying long-term development. So while Cracks and Lines complicates guessing who Egypt want to be as a band, it excites in demonstrating just how unsettled that issue still is and that there remains plenty of exploring to do.

Egypt, Cracks and Lines (2017)

Egypt on Thee Facebooks

Egypt on Bandcamp

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Negative Reaction Begin Recording New Album

Posted in Whathaveyou on October 12th, 2017 by JJ Koczan

Holy macaroni, it’s been six years since Negative Reaction released their last record. Wow. Not that it doesn’t feel like it’s been a while, but once you put a number to it the whole context changes. Six years! That album from the early sludge innovators and mainstays was Frequencies from Montauk (review here), a collection that was arguably their most adventurous to-date, bringing in elements of psychedelia and drone and languid heavy rock alongside the trademark Eastern Seaboard hardcore punk-influenced intensity that they’ve always brandished so passionately.

In the years since sending FrequenciesNegative Reaction‘s inimitable frontman, Kenny Bones (who seems to have dropped the “Ken-E” spelling previously used for what seemed like forever), has relocated himself and thus the band from Long Island, New York, to Normantown, West Virginia — a significant geographic shift that’s also brought an entirely new lineup with it. Hardly the first time Bones has revamped Negative Reaction, but it’s still a major part of the change. He’s also embarked on a solo career playing outlaw country under his own name and opened Steer Run Studio to track his own work as well as that of other area groups.

To that end, Negative Reaction have apparently begun recording their next studio offering. I’ve got no details on what it might be called, when it might be done or what it might sound like — been a while since I had a proper chat with Kenny — but after so long and so much realignment on his part and the band’s, it would be pointless to speculate anyway. It could go pretty much anywhere, which only means it’ll be more fun to find out where it ends up.

Here’s a quick update Bones posted on the social medias:

negative reaction

Wow what a busy few days here at Steer Run Studio….

The Kenny Bones Solo album is finally finished….(Details on the release soon)

Negative Reaction has just started recording a new album here….

And Browbeater has been recording here and I have just started the mix down and mastering for the new Browbeater EP!!!!!! It’s gunna be some Heavy shit!!!!!!

https://www.facebook.com/Negative-Reaction-166679340107961/
https://www.facebook.com/pages/Steer-Run-Studio/152766388654183

Negative Reaction, “Docking Bay 94” Live at Stoner Hands of Doom XII, 2012

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Lark Self-Titled EP Due out Oct. 31; New Teaser Streaming

Posted in Whathaveyou on October 5th, 2017 by JJ Koczan

lark

Newcomer modern progressive metal duo Lark is comprised of Raphaël and Zacharie Mizzi, former members of Sail in Between and Bright Curse, respectively. Their self-released, self-titled debut EP is due out on Halloween, and though listening to opener “Hailstorm” it seems easy enough to figure out the release — yeah, it’s got some of that post-Baroness winding proggy riffing, multiple vocal layers, etc. — by the time they get into the subsequent “Red Eye,” that pretty much goes out the window. The second track takes on a much more metallic feel, with growled and deathly vocals and a harsher vibe all the way around.

Between “Decay,” “Too Far Gone” and “Heavy,” which follow, Lark never quite get back to that kind of intensity again on the EP, but no question that on first listen it’s a jarring shift that makes it much harder to predict where they might end up in a given track — and likewise on any future release. Pretty awesome and unexpected turn.

The EP is out Oct. 31 and they have a teaser posted for it now, which came down the PR wire along with the following info:

lark lark

LARK to release debut EP on Halloween

Progressive sludge/stoner metal band LARK are set to release their debut, self-titled album on October 31st 2017. The band features former members of BRIGHT CURSE and SAIL IN BETWEEN.

Lark is the overdue collaboration of two French brothers, Raph, former guitarist and lead singer of Sail In Between and former bassist of Angher Incorporated and Zach, former drummer of Bright Curse. The elder resides in their native south of France, while the younger moved to London in 2009 to explore the UK music scene.

Zach evolved in the Stoner, Psyche and Hard Rock tones in recent years while Raph followed his love for Hardcore and Prog, but their tastes meet in a Rock and Metal avalanche of riffs, grooves and all that is heavy. They shared a vision of music that combines massive and textured sound with the groove of their early metal influence.

The two brothers rapidly found ways around the distance between them and started their first creative collaboration at the beginning of 2017. The EP came to life thanks to the help of Robin Mariat of Grey Matter Studio (Lyon, Fr), Chris Painter of Red Roof Sounds (London, Uk), Marco of Marc&Cheese (London, Uk) and Jake Read of Living Room Studios (London, Uk).

The band is set to release their first EP “Lark’’, a new blend of metal inspired by Mastodon, Opeth, Gojira, Black Peaks, Russian Circles and more this fall. The D day is set for Halloween 2017 when their extensive network of VIPs will meet and celebrate at a location not yet disclosed.

facebook.com/LarkBandOfficial/
instagram.com/lark_band/

Lark, Lark teaser trailer

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Quarterly Review: Spotlights, War Cloud, Rubble Road, Monte Luna, High Reeper, Frozen Planet….1969, Zaius, Process of Guilt, Sundus Abdulghani & Trunk, Owlcrusher

Posted in Reviews on September 28th, 2017 by JJ Koczan

the obelisk quarterly review

Day two of the Quarterly Review and feeling groovy so far. Managed to survive yesterday thanks in no small part to good music and good coffee, and looking at what’s coming up in today’s batch, I don’t expect the situation will be much different — though the styles will. I try to keep in mind as I put these weeks together to change up what’s in each round, so it’s not just all psych records, or all doom, or heavy rock or whatever else. This way I’m not burning myself out on anything particular and I hopefully don’t wind up saying the same things about albums that maybe only share vague genre aspects in common — riffs, etc. — in the same way. Essentially trying to trick my brain into being creative. Sometimes it even works. Let’s see how it fares today.

Quarterly Review #11-20:

Spotlights, Seismic

spotlights seismic

After touring hard with the likes of Melvins, Deftones and Refused, heavy post-rockers Spotlights mark their first release on Ipecac Recordings with their second album, Seismic, which finds the core duo of Mario and Sarah Quintero working with producer Aaron Harris (Isis) to follow-up 2016’s Tidals with 65 minutes/11 tracks of weighted atmospherics and far-spanning melodic textures as shown on emotive heft-bringers like “Ghost of a Glowing Forest.” Heavygaze, I suppose, is the genre tag that’s emerged, but with the opening title-track, the chugging “Learn to Breathe” and the later percussive turns of “A Southern Death,” there’s as much focus on crush as on ambience, though as Seismic makes its way through the pair of eight-minute tracks “Hollow Bones” (wonder if they know the 30 Rock reference they’re making) and “Hang us All” before the minimal subdued drones and melodic effects swirls of closer “The Hope of a Storm,” Spotlights succeed in finding a middle ground that offers plenty of both. In its moments of intensity and its range, Seismic builds cohesion from ether and immediately benefits from the purposeful growth the Quinteros have clearly undertaken over the past year by hitting the road with the dedication they have.

Spotlights on Thee Facebooks

Ipecac Recordings website

 

War Cloud, War Cloud

war cloud war cloud

Bay Area rockers War Cloud don’t get too fancy on their self-titled debut, which they make via Ripple Music as the follow-up to their 2016 single Vulture City (discussed here), but as they prove quickly in the dual-guitar Thin Lizzyisms of opener “Give’r” and the later post-Motörhead/Peter Pan Speedrock careening of “Speed Demon,” neither do they necessarily need to. Comprised of guitarists Alex Wein (also vocals) and Tony Campos, bassist Sean Nishi and drummer Joaquin Ridgell, War Cloud offer 31 minutes of brisk, unpretentious asskickery, riffs trading channels at the outset of “Hurricane” as it makes ready to settle into its proto-thrashing rocker groove, and the mood of the release as a whole engaging as much through its reimagining 20-year-old Metallica as a heavy rock band there as on the more grandly riff-led “Divide and Conquer.” Structures are straightforward, and not one of the eight tracks tops five minutes, but they’re more than enough for War Cloud find their place between metal form and heavy rock tone, and cuts like “Chopper Wired” and brazenly charged closer “Vulture City” nail the core message of the band’s arrival.

War Cloud on Thee Facebooks

Ripple Music website

 

Rubble Road, The Clowns Have Spoken

rubble-road-the-clowns-have-spoken

Rubble Road ain’t hurtin’ nobody. The Orlando-based double-guitar four-piece take two prior singles and put them together with four new tracks as their 29-minute/six-song debut EP, The Clowns Have Spoken, and thereby bring forth straightforward heavy rock that seems to be finding its personality in tone but nonetheless has a strong structural foundation underlying that holds up the material and “The Judge” tosses in a bit of metallic gallop to go with the forward-directed heavy rock proffered on the prior “Galactic Fugitives” and “Gospel (Get it Together).” I won’t say much for the politics of “Truck Stop Hooker,” which caps with the line, “Your mother gives great helmet, baby,” but “Wizard Staff” and “Do it Yourself” broaden the dynamic of the release overall. They’ve got some growing to do, but again, there’s an efficiency in their songwriting that comes through these songs, and as an initial showcase/demo, The Clowns Have Spoken shows Rubble Road with the potential to continue to grow.

Rubble Road on Thee Facebooks

Rubble Road on Bandcamp

 

Monte Luna, Monte Luna

monte luna monte lona

You might check out the self-titled debut from Austin, Texas, duo Monte Luna. You might even pick up the digipak or tape version. You might listen to extended tracks like “Nameless City” (12:53) and “6,000 Year March” (17:42) and be like, “Yeah, cool riffs dudes.” You might even then chase down the The Hound EP that guitarist/vocalist/bassist James Clarke and drummer/synthesist Phil Hook put out last year. At some point though, you’re going to put Monte Luna’s Monte Luna on your shelf and leave it there. Fair enough. However – and I’m not going to say when; could be sooner, could be later — then you’re going to find yourself remembering its massive, 71-minute sprawl of riffs, its doomed-out grooves, shouts, screams, growls and the way its builds become so utterly immersive, and you’re going to put Monte Luna on again. And that’s the moment when it will really hit you. It might take some time, and part of that is no doubt that there’s simply a lot of record to wade through, but whether it’s the rumbling start of “Nightmare Frontier” (14:26), the cacophonous stomp of “Inverted Mountain” (12:04) or the righteous crash of “The End of Beginning” (9:42), Monte Luna will have earned that deeper look, and if you allow them to make that deeper impression with their self-titled, they almost certainly will.

Monte Luna on Thee Facebooks

Monte Luna on Bandcamp

 

High Reeper, High Reeper

high reeper high reeper

Newcomer five-piece High Reeper telegraph Sabbathian heavy rocker intent with their self-released, self-titled debut album. The Delaware-based lineup of Zach Thomas, Napz Mosley, Andrew Price, Pat Daly and Shane Trimble make no bones about their roots in opener “Die Slow,” and as the stoner-swinging “High Reeper,” the doom-swaggering “Reeper Deadly Reeper” and the yo-check-out-this-bassline nodder “Weed and Speed” play out in the record’s midsection, it seems increasingly likely that, sooner or later, some imprint or other will pick up High Reeper for a wider release. As the band demonstrates through the stomping “Soul Taker” and the seeming mission statement “Black Leather (Chose Us)” ahead of closer “Friend of Death,” which breaks its six minutes in half between Judas Priest thrust and an instrumental finish that calls to mind “Heaven and Hell,” they’ve got a keen ear for updating classic elements, and though formative, their first outing is cleverly memorable and an immediately resonant display of songcraft. Now we know High Reeper can engage these stylistic components — the test will be how they develop them into something individualized going forward.

High Reeper on Thee Facebooks

High Reeper on YouTube

 

Frozen Planet….1969, From the Centre of a Parallel Universe

Frozen-Planet-1969-From-the-Centre-of-a-Parallel-Universe

From the Centre of a Parallel Universe is the second long-player of 2017 from Sydney/Canberra’s Frozen Planet….1969. It arrives on CD through Pepper Shaker and LP via Headspin with five tracks/43 minutes of improv-style psych jams following suit from the prior Electric Smokehouse (review here) and helps to bring the band’s funk-infused, spacious dynamic all the more into focus. Also out of focus. Like, blurry vision-style. They range far and wide and keep the proceedings delightfully weird in the three extended pieces “Celestial Gambler,” “Through Hell’s Kaleidoscope, Parts I & II” and “Ancient Wings Taking Flight” – all north of 11 minutes – and with “Signals (Channelling…)” and “The Lady and the Archer” leading the way into each LP side, Frozen Planet….1969 take the time to assure they’re bringing their listeners along with them on their potent journey into the cosmically far out. The must-hear bass tone in “Ancient Wings Taking Flight” is but one of many reasons to dig in, but whatever it takes, From the Centre of a Parallel Universe’s invitation to get lost is not one to be missed.

Frozen Planet….1969 on Thee Facebooks

Pepper Shaker Records on Bandcamp

 

Zaius, Of Adoration

zaius of adoration

Chicago’s history with instrumentalist post-metal goes back as far as the notion of the subgenre itself with acts like Pelican and Russian Circles providing aesthetic-defining landmarks over the last 15-plus years even as a group like Bongripper embraces darker, more lumbering fare. The four-piece Zaius, who make their full-length debut with Of Adoration on Prosthetic Records after two self-released EPs in 2013 and 2011, position themselves more toward the shimmering airiness of the former rather than the latter’s raw lumber, but there’s heft to be found in the expanses of “Sheepdog” and “Seirenes” all the same, and the second half of “Echelon” and closer “Colin” tighten up some of the ethereality of pieces like opener “Phaneron” and the driftingly progressive “Reformer” or the penultimate, patient rollout of “Anicca” to hone a sense of balance that feels as emotionally driven as it is cerebral in its construction. Hard for a band like Zaius to stand themselves out at this point given the swath of acts working in a similar style in and out of the Windy City, but in its textural approach and held-steady flow, Of Adoration satisfies.

Zaius on Thee Facebooks

Prosthetic Records webstore

 

Process of Guilt, Black Earth

process-of-guilt-black-earth

Portuguese post-doomers Process of Guilt hit the 15-year mark with the release of their fourth album, Black Earth (on Division/Bleak Recordings), and with a mix by Brooklyn noise-rock specialist Andrew Schneider, a mastering job by Collin Jordan in Chicago and striking cover art by growler/guitarist Hugo Santos with images by Pedro Almeida, the sense of atmosphere is thick and the mood is aggressive throughout. Santos, along with guitarist Nuno David, bassist Custódio Rato and drummer Gonçalo Correia chug and flow through a linear 42 minutes and five tracks on the suitably darkened offering, touching on progressive nuance but not letting cerebral underpinnings take away from the onslaught feel of “Feral Ground” or the tension mounted early in the 11-minute penultimate title-track, which uses feedback as a weapon throughout no less capably than the subsequent closer “Hoax” affects immediately with its nodding tonal wash. Taken as a whole, Black Earth finds Process of Guilt exploring depths of their sound as much as with it, and the directions they go feel as much inward as out.

Process of Guilt on Thee Facebooks

Division Records website

Bleak Recordings website

 

Sundus Abdulghani & Trunk, Sundus Abdulghani & Trunk

Sundus-Abdulghani-Trunk-self-titled

The challenge for an outfit like Stockholm’s Sundus Abdulghani & Trunk, whose self-titled debut arrives via respected purveyor Kozmik Artifactz, lies separating themselves from the shadow of fellow Swedes Blues Pills, whose semi-psych heavy-blues-rocking first album has cast a wide influence that can be heard here as well as in any number of other bands currently kicking around the Euro underground proffering as balance of soul and heavy rock as songs like “It Ain’t Love (But Close Enough)” and “Like Water” do here. Where Sundus Abdulghani & Trunk most succeed in doing this is in the harmonies of “Black Magic Man,” which brings to mind classic acid folk while holding to a heavy blues vibe, but there are other moments throughout when individuality flourishes as well. The attitude is laid on a bit thick in “Them Dames,” but the hooks of “Sister Sorrow,” “She Knows,” “The Devil’s Got a Hold on You” and “Stay” and the burgeoning sense of arrangements complementing Abdulghani’s vocals do well in helping cast an identity one hopes will continue to develop.

Sundus Abdulghani & Trunk on Thee Facebooks

Kozmik Artifactz website

 

Owlcrusher, Owlcrusher

owlcrusher owlcrusher

Conceived by guitarist/vocalist Andrew Spiers, bassist/vocalist Steve Hobson and drummer Damien McKeown, Banbridge trio Owlcrusher conjure three extended, slicing slabs of black-singed sludge extremity on their self-titled Seeing Red Records debut, and it’s enough to make one wonder just what the fuck is going on in Northern Ireland to inspire such outright bleakness. Beginning with the 16-minute “Feeble Preacher” (also the longest inclusion here; immediate points), Owlcrusher’s Owlcrusher lumbers excruciatingly forth with screams and growls cutting through a tonality geared for max-volume consumption, though it remains to be seen who is consuming whom as “Feeble Preacher” gives way to the likewise scorched eponymous “Owlcrusher” (11:30) and 15-minute closer “Spoiler,” the last of which brings the only real moment of letup on the album after about nine minutes in, and even that takes the form of an interlude of Khanate-style minimalist ambience before the rolling megacrush resumes and plods to a somehow-even-heavier finish. Clearly a band pushing themselves toward the superlative, Owlcrusher get there much faster than their crawling tones would have you believe. Madness.

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Seeing Red Records on Bandcamp

 

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Fungus Hill Post Animated Video for “Ludenben”

Posted in Bootleg Theater on September 26th, 2017 by JJ Koczan

Swedish heavy psych rockers Fungus Hill released their Ludenben single this past Spring as the follow-up to January’s Creatures EP (review here), and I wouldn’t be the least bit surprised if the animated video for the track has been in the works since that time. I’ll admit that were it not for the English subtitles given to the lyrics, I’d have basically no idea what the story being told is about beyond what the band says about it, but it tells the tale of a goat farmer who has four goats named after colors that get stolen by a troll. Because of course that’s what happens. Trolls friggin’ love goats. Everybody knows this.

So anyway, the farmer, whose name is Petter, is all bummed out about his goats being taken — and well he should be; they look like some pretty badass goats in the video, if not exactly the petting-zoo type — and his cat winds up going and scaring the troll so he falls off a cliff and Petter gets his goats back. Does it rule? Oh yes, it mightily rules. The animation is excellent, and Fungus Hill tell the story with soul and a perfectly folkish edge that finds them well earning the furs in which they appear throughout. Dead-on vibe and execution of what as a concept and realization could’ve easily fallen flat in less capable hands.

In fact, and this isn’t a comparison I’m going to make lightly, but if you miss some of the sweet fuzz of the defunct-once-again Örebro natives Asteroid, you especially might want to dig into “Ludenben,” because in amidst the dual vocals and expansively psychedelic rollout, there’s some of that depth and warmth to be found. I’ve posted about Fungus Hill a couple times now over the past few months, but let me say outright in case the point hasn’t gotten across that I think they’re onto something special in their sound and chemistry and I’m looking forward to seeing and hearing how that develops going into their next release and, hopefully, beyond that as well.

Until then, you’ll find the video for “Ludenben” below and I hope agree that if was in fact a while in the making, it’s definitely been worth the wait.

Enjoy:

Fungus Hill, “Ludenben” official video

The music video is officially released!!!

Turn of the lights, plug in your speakers and check out our new animated tale about goats, magic and trolls. Inspired by the book “Petter och hans fyra getter” written by Einar Norelius.

Special thanks to Jörgen Rabben who painted and illustrated the animated pictures… You did an amazing job!! Also thank you to Lars Samuel Olsson who helped out filming.

Produced by JAQ Studios.
Director, animator & editor: Gustav Orvefors
Painter and illustrator: Jörgen Rabben
Camera operator: Samuel Olsson
Mix and master: Nils Mörtzel

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Quarterly Review: The Necromancers, The Asound & Intercourse, Bohr, Strobe, Astrosaur, Sun Q, Holy Mount, Sum of R, IIVII, Faces of the Bog

Posted in Reviews on September 25th, 2017 by JJ Koczan

the obelisk quarterly review

The season is changing here in the Northeastern part of the US. Leaves have just barely started to change, and the summertime haze that settles over the region for for the better parts of June, July and August has largely dissipated. It’s getting to be hoodie weather after the sun goes down. This past weekend was the equinox. All of this can only mean it’s time for another Quarterly Review — this one spanning a full Monday-to-Monday week’s worth of writeups. That’s right. 60 albums between now and a week from today. It’s going to be a genuine challenge to get through it all, but I’m (reasonably) confident we’ll get there and that when we’re on the other side, it will have been completely worth the lengthy trip to get there. Hell, you know the drill by now. Let’s not waste any time and get to it, shall we?

Quarterly Review #1-10:

The Necromancers, Servants of the Salem Girl

the-necromancers-servants-of-the-salem-girl

A noteworthy debut from the Poitier, France-based four-piece The Necromancers, whose coming has been much heralded owing in no small part to a release through Ripple Music, the six-track/41-minute Servants of the Salem Girl lumbers through doom and cultish heavy rock with likewise ease, shifting itself fluidly between the two sides on extended early cuts like opener “Salem Girl Part I” and the nine-minute “Lucifer’s Kin,” which gets especially Sabbathian in its roll later on. The album’s midsection, with the shorter cuts “Black Marble House” (video premiere here) and “Necromancers,” continues the flow with a general uptick of pace and ties together with the opening salvo via the burly vocals of guitarist Tom, the solo work of Rob on lead guitar, and the adaptable groove from bassist Simon and drummer Ben, and as the penultimate “Grand Orbiter” engages moody spaciousness, it does so with a refusal to commit to one side or the other that makes it a highlight of the album as a whole. The Necromancers finish contrasting rhythmic tension and payoff nod on “Salem Girl Part II,” having long since thoroughly earned their hype through songwriting and immediately distinct sonic persona. There’s growth to do in melodicism, but for being “servants,” The Necromancers show an awful lot of command in structure and style.

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Ripple Music website

 

The Asound & Intercourse, Split 7″

the asound intercourse split

Noise is the order of things on the Tsuguri Records split 7” between New Haven, Connecticut’s good-luck-Googling aggressives Intercourse and North Carolinian sludge rockers The Asound. Each band offers a two-song showcase of their wares, with Intercourse blasting short jabs of post-hardcore/noise rock angularity on “Too Fucked to Yiff” and “Corricidin is a Helluva Drug” and The Asound bringing a more melodic heavy rock swing to “Slave to the Saints” while saving a more galloping charge for “Human for Human.” It’s a quick sampling, of course, and “Slave to the Saints” is the relative epic inclusion as the only one over three minutes long – it goes to 4:20, naturally – but boasts a surprisingly professional production from The Asound and an unhinged vibe from Intercourse that meets them head on in a way both competitive and complementary to the aggression of “Human for Human.” Fodder for the bands’ merch tables in its limited-to-300, one-time-only pressing, but there’s hardly anything wrong with that. All the more worth grabbing it if you can, while you can.

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Bohr, Bohr

bohr bohr

Officially called Self-Title, this two-song outing released by Tandang Records and BTNKcllctv serves as the first release from Malaysia’s Bohr, and with shouts and growls duking it out over massive plodding tones on opener “Voyager,” they seem to take position right away in the post-Conan verve of megadoom. Peppered-in lead work showcases some welcome nuance of personality, but it’s the second track “Suria” that trips into more surprising terrain, with a faster tempo and something of a letup in thickness, allowing for a more rocking feel, still met with shouted vocals but hinting at more of a melodic reach nonetheless. The shift might be awkward in the context of a full-length, but on a debut single/EP, it works just fine to demonstrate what may or may not be a nascent breadth in Bohr’s approach. They finish “Suria” with hints of more to come in a plotted guitar lead and are done in about 10 minutes, having piqued interest with two disparate tracks that leave one to wonder what other tricks might be up their collective sleeve.

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Strobe, Bunker Sessions

strobe bunker sessions

It’s worth noting outright that Strobe’s Bunker Sessions was recorded in 1994. Not because it sounds dated, but just the opposite. The Sulatron Records release from the under-exposed UK psychedelic rockers finds them jamming out in live-in-studio fashion, and if you’d told me with no other context that the resultant six-track/40-minute long-player was put to tape two months ago, I’d absolutely have believed it. This would’ve been the era of their 1994 third album, The Circle Never Ends, and while some can hear some relation between that and Bunker Sessions in the shimmering lead and warm underscoring basslines of 10-minute opener and longest track (immediate points) “Sun Birth,” the drift in “Chameleon Earth,” synth-laden space rock meandering of “Opium Dreams” and cymbal-wash-into-distortion-wash of closer “Sun Death” are on a wavelength of their own. It’s something of a curio release – a “lost album” – but it’s also bound to turn some heads onto how ahead of their time Stobe were in the ‘90s, and maybe we’ll get lucky and Sulatron will use it to kick off a full series of convenient LP reissues.

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Sulatron Records webstore

 

Astrosaur, Fade In / Space Out

astrosaur-fade-in-space-out

While their moniker brings to mind pure stoner idolatry, Oslo instrumentalists Astrosaur acquit themselves toward more progressive fare with Fade In // Space Out, their Bad Vibes Records debut album, finding open spaces in bookending extended opener “Necronauts” and the dramatic shift between droning experimentalism and weighted lumber of the closing title-track even as middle cuts “Space Mountain,” “Yugen” and “Fishing for Kraken” balance with fits of driving progressive metallurgy. Comprised of Eirik Kråkenes, Steinar Glas and Jonatan Eikum, Astrosaur do get fuzzy for a bit on “Yugen,” but by the time they’re there, they’ve already space-doom-jazzed their way through such a vast aesthetic swath that it becomes one more stylistic element in fair-enough play. Open in its structure and building to an affecting cacophony in its ending, Fade In // Space Out is defined in no small part by its stylistic ambition, but whether it’s in the head-spinning initial turns of “Fishing for Kraken” or the stretch of peaceful, wistful guitar after the seven-minute mark in “Necronauts,” that ambition is admirable multifaceted and wide-reaching.

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Bad Vibes Records website

 

Sun Q, Charms

sun q charms

There’s an encouraging and decidedly pro-shop fullness of sound being proffered on Sun Q’s debut full-length, Charms, to match an immediate sense of songcraft and stylization that puts them somewhere between heavy psych and more driving fuzz rock. Vocalist Elena Tiron takes a forward position in opener “Petals and Thorns” over the briskly-captured tones from guitarist Ivan Shalimov and bassist Denis Baranov while drummer Pavel Poseluev pushes the proceedings along, and whether they’re bringing in Seva Timofeev’s Hammond for the subsequent bluesy vibing of “After This,” toying with pop playfulness on “Plankton,” giving Andrey Tanzu percussive room on “Dancing Souls” or going full-expanse on keyboard-laden centerpiece and aptly-titled longest cut “Space,” there’s purpose behind the variety on offer and Sun Q never seem to lose their sense of poise throughout. There are moments where the bite of the production hits a little deep – looking at you, “Plankton” – but especially as their debut, Charms lives up to the name it’s been given and establishes these Moscow natives as a presence with which to be reckoned as they move forward.

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Holy Mount, The Drought

holy mount the drought

White Dwarf Records picked up what by my count is Holy Mount’s fourth full-length, The Drought, for a vinyl issue following the Toronto foursome’s self-release last year, and with the immersive, dense heavy psych nod of “Division,” it’s little wonder why. The seven-cut LP is the second to feature the lineup of Danijel Losic, Brandon McKenzie, Troy Legree and Clayton Churcher behind 2014’s VOL, and its moments of nuance like the synth at the outset of “Blackened Log” or the blend of tense riffing and post-The Heads shoegaze-style vocal chants on the markedly insistent highlight cut “Basalt” only further the reasoning. The penultimate “Blood Cove” returns some to of the ritual sense of “Division,” and The Drought’s titular finale pierces its own wash with a lead that makes its apex all the more resonant and dynamic. Not nearly as frenetic as its cover art would have you believe, the already-sold-out vinyl brims with a vibe of creative expansiveness, and Holy Mount feel right at home in its depths.

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White Dwarf Records webstore

 

Sum of R, Orga

sum of r orga

Over the course of its near-hour runtime, Orga, the Czar of Crickets-issued third full-length from Bern, Switzerland, ambient outfit Sum of R deep-dives into droning atmospheric wash while effectively producing headphone-worthy depths and avoiding the trap of redundant minimalism. Chimes in a song like “Desmonema Annasethe” and ringing bells in “We Have to Mark this Entrance” give a feeling of lushness instead that serves the release well overall, and these details, nuances, take the place of what otherwise might be human voices coursing through the bleak mire of Orga’s progression. One might look to closing duo “Let us Begin with What We Do Not Want to Be” and “One After the Other” for some sense of hopefulness, and whether or not it’s actually there, it’s possible to read it into the overarching drone of the former and the percussive movement of the latter, but by then Sum of R have well set the mood in an abiding darkness, and that remains the prevailing vibe. Not quite dramatic or brooding in a human/emotional sense, Orga casts its drear in soundscapes of distant nighttime horizon.

Sum of R website

Czar of Crickets Productions website

 

IIVII, Invasion

iivii invasion

Noted graphic artist and post-metal songwriter Josh Graham – formerly visuals for Neurosis, but also art for Soundgarden and many others, as well as being known for his work with A Storm of Light and the woefully, vastly underrated Battle of Mice – makes his second ambient solo release in the form of IIVII’s Invasion on Belgian imprint Consouling Sounds. A soundtrack-ready feel pervades the nine tracks/44 minutes almost instantly and holds sway with opener “We Came Here from a Dying World (I)” finding complement in the centerpiece “Tomorrow You’ll be One of Us (II)” and a thematic capstone in closer “Sanctuary,” only furthering the sense of a narrative unfolding throughout. There are elements drawn in “Unclouded by Conscience” from the atmospheric and score work of Trent Reznor and/or Junkie XL, but Graham doesn’t necessarily part with the post-metallic sense of brooding that has defined much of his work even as the pairing of “We Live” and “You Die” late in the record loops its way to and through its dramatic apex. Obviously not going to be for everyone, but it does make a solid argument for Graham as a composer whose breadth is still revealing itself even after a career filled with landmarks across multiple media.

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Consouling Sounds website

 

Faces of the Bog, Ego Death

faces-of-the-bog-ego-death

In some of their shifts between atmospheric patience and churning intensity – not to mention in the production of Sanford ParkerFaces of the Bog remind a bit of fellow Windy City residents Minsk on their DHU Records debut album, Ego Death, but prove ultimately more aggressive in the thrust of “Drifter in the Abyss” and the later stretch of “The Serpent and the Dagger,” on which the guitars of Mark Stephen Gizewski and Trey Wedgeworth (both also vocals) delve into Mastodonic leads near the finish to set up the transition into the 10:33 title-track, which begins with a wash of static noise before Paul Bradfield’s bass sets up the slow nod that holds sway and only grows bigger as it presses forward. That cut is one of two over the 10-minute mark, and the other, closer “Blue Lotus,” unfolds even more gradually and ventures into cleaner vocals presaged on “The Weaver” and elsewhere as it makes its way toward an album-payoff crescendo marked by drummer Danny Garcia’s thudding toms and a low end rumble that’s as much a presence unto itself as a harbinger of progression to come.

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