The Top 20 of 2016 Year-End Poll — RESULTS!

Posted in Features on January 1st, 2017 by JJ Koczan

top 20 year end poll results

The poll is closed, the results are counted and the top 20 albums of 2016 have been chosen. Hard to argue with the list as it’s shown up over the course of the past month, so I won’t try. Instead, let me just say thanks to incredible amount of participants who contributed this year.

All told, between Dec. 1 and Dec. 31, 612 people added their picks to the proceedings, compared to 388 in last year’s poll. Considering how much that number blew my mind on Jan. 1, 2016, I’m sure you can imagine how I feel about adding another 200-plus lists to the pot. In short, I’m astounded, deeply humbled and so, so, so grateful. I feel like we got enough of a sampling this year to give a genuinely representative showing for where people’s heads have been at, so thank you if you were a part of it.

Thank you as well as always to Slevin for running the poll’s back end and tabulating the results. As ever, the weighting system is one in which a 1-4 ranking is worth five points, 5-8 worth four, 9-12 worth three, 13-16 worth two and 17-20 worth one. You’ll find that list (plus some honorable mentions) below, followed by the raw-vote tally.

And after the jump, as has become the tradition, are the full lists of everyone who submitted, alphabetized by name. I’m in there too. It’s a huge amount to wade through, and even if you thought you heard everything in 2016, it should be more than enough to keep you busy for the next year.

One last note: I’m no statistician. Please allow for these numbers to change over the next couple days on some small level.

Let’s go:

Top 20 of 2016 — Weighted Results

wo fat midnight cometh

1. Wo Fat, Midnight Cometh (375 points)
2. Greenleaf, Rise Above the Meadow (368)
3. Elephant Tree, Elephant Tree (324)
4. Asteroid, III (302)
5. Brant Bjork, Tao of the Devil (295)
6. Gozu, Revival (274)
7. Neurosis, Fires Within Fires (253)
8. King Buffalo, Orion (244)
9. Mars Red Sky, Apex III (Praise for the Burning Soul) (238)
10. Conan, Revengeance (232)
11. Cough, Still They Pray (228)
12. Holy Grove, Holy Grove (218)
13. SubRosa, For this We Fought the Battle of Ages (213)
14. Truckfighters, V (206)
15. Blood Ceremony, Lord of Misrule (200)
16. Khemmis, Hunted (192)
16. Red Fang, Only Ghosts (192)
17. Inter Arma, Paradise Gallows (181)
18. Witchcraft, Nucleus (174)
19. Opeth, Sorceress (173)
20. Church of Misery, And then there Were None (159)

Honorable mention to:
Causa Sui, Return to Sky (157)
Goatess, II: Purgatory Under New Management (157)
Black Mountain, IV (148)
Mos Generator, Abyssinia (144)
Wretch, Wretch (140)

Look at those tallies for number one and two. That race was close all month. Wo Fat kept out front for the most part, but Greenleaf kept it interesting and Elephant Tree’s debut snuck in there at third, which I love to see, both because it’s their first album and because that record was indeed so great. King Buffalo, another debut, also made the top 10, underscoring those two as bands to watch, and though Brant Bjork, Conan, Asteroid, Neurosis, Gozu and Mars Red Sky might be more expected names, they still certainly delivered excellent records, so again, nothing to fight with here. Things flesh out a bit in the 10-20 range, but I don’t think there’s one album on this list you could call is “miss.”

Top 20 of 2016 — Raw Votes

wo fat midnight cometh

1. Wo Fat, Midnight Cometh (109)
2. Greenleaf, Rise Above the Meadow (92)
3. Brant Bjork, Tao of the Devil (87)
4. Elephant Tree, Elephant Tree (82)
5. Asteroid, III (80)
6. Gozu, Revival (76)
7. Conan, Revengeance (73)
8. Cough, Still They Pray (70)
9. Mars Red Sky, Apex III (Praise for the Burning Soul) (68)
10. King Buffalo, Orion (67)
11. Truckfighters, V (62)
12. Red Fang, Only Ghosts (61)
13. Khemmis, Hunted (60)
14. Blood Ceremony, Lord of Misrule (59)
14. SubRosa, For this We Fought the Battle of Ages (59)
15. Holy Grove, Holy Grove (58)
16. Church of Misery, And then there Were None (53)
17. Inter Arma, Paradise Gallows (49)
17. Witchcraft, Nucleus (49)
18. Opeth, Sorceress (47)
19. Mos Generator, Abyssinia (45)
20. Black Mountain, IV (44)
20. Causa Sui, Return to Sky (44)
20. Wretch, Wretch (44)

Honorable mention to:
Goatess, II: Purgatory Under New Management (43)
Mondo Drag, The Occultation of Light (43)
Geezer, Geezer (41)
Crowbar, The Serpent Only Lies (41)
Gojira, Magma (37)
Slomatics, Future Echo Returns (36)
Graves at Sea, The Curse that Is… (35)
Black Rainbows, Stellar Prophecy (33)
Beastmaker, Lusus Naturae (32)
Vokonis, Olde One Ascending (31)

Left a few more honorable mentions in the raw-vote count, just for fun and so you could get more of a feel beyond the top 20 itself, which you’ll notice has a couple ties in it as the raw votes usually do and reorganizes a bit from the weighted results. One and two remain the same, however, and in the same order, and you’ll see Wo Fat was the only album that scored more than 100 votes on its own. As a whole, there were over 2,400 separate entries for albums this year, which is by far the most spread out that the voting has ever been. Frankly, with so many people involved and such a variety of stuff being voted on, I’m amazed anyone managed to agree on anything at all, but of course they did and once again a stellar list is the result.

Well, Happy New Year.

Before I go, thanks again to Slevin for the work put into running the back end of this site and this poll particularly. I show up with the finish lists, but it’s his code that makes it happen, and his efforts are appreciated more than I can say. Dude has never asked me for anything in the nearly eight years I’ve been a constant pain in his ass.

After the jump, you’ll find everybody’s list, alphabetized by name. Please enjoy browsing. I hope you find something awesome, because there’s certainly plenty in there that qualifies, and if you see something that looks like it appears often enough that it should be included in one or both of the counts above, let me know in the comments.

Thanks.

Read more »

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

Truckfighters Interview with Oskar Cedermalm: Storms and Calms

Posted in Features on November 25th, 2016 by JJ Koczan

truckfighters-1

Truckfighters‘ ascent to the forefront of European heavy rock is no accident. For over a decade, the Örebro, Sweden, natives have been nearly unparalleled in their efforts both to be heard and to compose and execute material worthy of the attention they’ve demanded for it. Their loyalty to fuzz tones and thick grooves has come packaged with an unflinching dedication to creative growth on the part of the core duo of bassist/vocalist Oskar “Ozo” Cedermalm and guitarist Niklas “Dango” Källgren, and their live performance remains among the most physically engaged in the genre. More than nearly any other current act, Truckfighters aspire to literally throw themselves into their music.

As their influence has continued to spread — there are an awful lot of bands jumping around Euro club stages these days, it seems — so has the range of their songwriting. This fall, they released V (review here) as their debut in licensed conjunction with Century Media after years working exclusively through their own Fuzzorama Records imprint on prior outings like earlier-2016’s live album, Live in London (review here), 2014’s Universe (review here), 2009’s Mania (review here), 2007’s Phi and their landmark 2005 debut, Gravity X (discussed here), and offered the latest chapter in their ongoing progression. More confident in the sometimes-brooding sensibility that came to fruition on Universe, songs like “Calm Before the Storm,” “The Contract” and “Storyline” nonetheless retained the memorable craftsmanship that has always been at root in Truckfighters‘ work, and only become broader in its emotional and sonic reach.

Like most good things in life, my conversation with Cedermalm happened outside a café in Oslo, Norway. It was the second night of the Høstsabbat festival, which Truckfighters would headline, and the band had finished soundcheck shortly before. We’ve met a few times over the years, but this was my first sit-down with him and I was grateful for the chance to talk about V, some of the controversy that had been stirred by the then-recently-released video for “Calm Before the Storm,” the particulars of the deal with Century Media, their apparent inability to keep a drummer in the lineup, and most importantly, about the creative partnership he shares with Källgren, since that is ultimately what has always been the center of the band.

Fortunately, he was open about all of these things and much more. Seemingly perpetual in their touring ethic, Truckfighters were out through parts of October and earlier this month and are once again on the road to finish off 2016. They’ll continue into 2017 to support V. Here are the remaining current dates:

Truckfighters with Deville & Dot Legacy:
Nov 25 Underground, Koln, Germany
Nov 26 Hublot, Nancy, France
Nov 27 Petit Bain, Paris, France
Nov 28 Le Ferrailleur, Nantes, France
Nov 30 Magasin 4, Brussels, Belgium
Dec 04 Mama Roux’s Birmingham, United Kingdom
Dec 05 King Tuts, Glasgow, United Kingdom
Dec 06 Rescue Rooms, Nottingham, United Kingdom
Dec 07 Thekla, Bristol, United Kingdom
Dec 08 The Ruby Lounge, Manchester, United Kingdom
Dec 09 Islington Academy, London, United Kingdom
Dec 10 Patterns, Brighton, United Kingdom
Dec 27 Sankt Hell Festival, Hamburg, Germany w/ Orange Goblin, Bullet and more

Full Q&A can be found after the jump. Thanks for reading.

Read more »

Tags: , , , , , ,

Truckfighters, V: Creating the Storm

Posted in Reviews on October 17th, 2016 by JJ Koczan

truckfighters-v

If you want to look at the trajectory of Swedish heavy rockers Truckfighters, it’s easy to read their catalog as a series of forward steps. There is a clear narrative arc to their work that can be traced right to its latest chapter in their new offering, V. Their 2005 debut, Gravity X, boasts a few tracks that even 11 years later tap into a timeless imperative of desert rock. It established them as a noteworthy presence within the sphere of European fuzz and set in motion a touring and promotion ethic that has gone largely unmatched within that sphere.

Working as a four-piece for Phi in 2007, the Örebro-based outfit began to branch out, but it was with 2009’s Mania (review here) that their progressive side really first showed itself as the path they would follow in songwriting. They hit the road hard in the years that followed, released a feature-length documentary, and began a seemingly endless round of changes in lineup, with the core duo of vocalist/bassist Oskar “Ozo” Cedermalm, guitarist Niklas “Dango” Källgren joined by an ongoing succession of drummers. On 2014’s Universe (review here), which was preceded by the EP The Chairman in 2013 and followed earlier this year by Live in London (review here), it was Andre “Poncho” Kvarnström, now of Blues Pills. For V, it’s Daniel “El Danno” Israelsson of Dexter Jones’ Circus Orchestra taking up the call, though my understanding is he too is already out of the band.

These shifts around Cedermalm and Källgren seem to have done little to ultimately slow the progression or momentum of Truckfighters, who as well as being one of the heavy underground’s most kinetic live acts have established one of its most immediately identifiable sounds — you know when you’re listening to Truckfighters — have taken another step forward in inking a deal with Century Media for the distributing of the seven-track/47-minute V, licensing through their own Fuzzorama Records, which has been home to each of their prior outings. A shift in profile, if not necessarily aesthetic, but noteworthy all the same in showing the multi-tiered evolution of the band, whose songcraft continues to grow as well. To listen to V front to back from opener and longest track (immediate points) “Calm Before the Storm” to the finisher “Storyline,” the larger portion of what the trio does in the span will be recognizable to those who heard Universe.

Certainly, in tone, their penchant for fuzz has remained consistent. It’s what they do with that fuzz that has changed over time, and a steady development in vocal confidence from Cedermalm combined with an increased comfort with complex modes of expression overall, which on the first two albums simply wasn’t there and in hindsight was only beginning to emerge on Mania, that results in such fluidity throughout V. Credit in setting the mood has to go to “Calm Before the Storm” as well. While V has plenty of upbeat moments of push in “Hackshaw,” “The 1,” “Gehenna,” and “Fiend” — and indeed the opener increases thrust as it builds through its hook — “Calm Before the Storm” is an especially bold choice to lead off for its brooding sensibility, which seems to find complement and emphasis even in the most raucous of moments that immediately follow, be it the winding chorus of “Hackshaw” or the thick-fuzzed push that begins “The 1.”

truckfighters

To an extent, this was true of Universe as well, and with half as much time between Universe and V as there was between Mania and Universe, it’s not surprising the two would share some characteristics, whatever Truckfighters have been through over the last couple years. But the scope has once again broadened, and one can hear that in how smoothly centerpiece “Gehenna” ebbs and flows, how the momentum of “The 1” seems to subside only to rise again, in the melodic reach of the chorus to “The Contract,” which might be V‘s standout moment, and in the poise with which Truckfighters claim such breadths and depths as their own. As much of their persona — which is not to say “brand” — is defined by onstage acrobatics, Källgren‘s madman energy running back and forth, jumping up and down, spinning in circles, etc., on record they seem even more daring how deeply they plunge into contemplative stretches.

The verse to “The Contract” is spacious, the bridge in the second half of “Hackshaw” dizzying but precisely executed, and the interplay of acoustic and electric guitar in “Storyline” a new level of emotional crux entirely. That Truckfighters can be patient and that band who are such a force in a live setting, and that they can ultimately do so without contradicting themselves and having their foundation collapse under them, makes them all the more special as a group contributing to the expansion of their genre. Even the subtlety that shows itself in the midsection of “Fiend,” teasing those acoustics that play a more prominent role after the blown-out push that starts “Storyline,” stands as an example of the delicate balance Truckfighters strike.

And though they then seem to delight in stomping all over that balance, it emerges unscathed. It might be fair to call this the triumph within V itself were it not for the level of songwriting Cedermalm and Källgren bring forth. Fifteen years on from their first getting together and with countless miles under their collective belt, they’ve become one of heavy rock’s most crucial teams, and more encouragingly, while they’ve clearly established a working modus, they refuse to sit still from one release to the next, to rest on past laurels, or to give in to the expectations of others. It is a rare band who, five albums in, can remain defined by their forward potential, and Truckfighters have worked hard to hold true to that reality.

Truckfighters, “Hackshaw” official video

Truckfighters on Thee Facebooks

Truckfighters on Twitter

Truckfighters on Instagram

Century Media website

Fuzzorama Records website

Tags: , , , , , ,

Truckfighters Post “Calm Before the Storm” Video

Posted in Bootleg Theater on August 23rd, 2016 by JJ Koczan

truckfighters

Swedish fuzz forerunners Truckfighters will release their fifth album, V, on Sept. 30 through their own Fuzzorama Records in conjunction with Century Media. The trio of vocalist/bassist Oskar “Ozo” Cedermalm, guitarist Niklas “Dango” Källgren and drummer Daniel “El Danno” Israelsson begin the record with “Calm Before the Storm,” and it’s a track that emphasizes the kind of duality that has come to take root in the band’s approach.

On the one hand, you have their stage show. Truckfighters live are like the human embodiment of an exclamation point. They are rightly known for holding nothing back: zero irony, all-in, 100 percent go. I’ve seen them play and been exhausted afterwards just from watching.

On the other hand, you have their albums. Really since 2009’s staggering Mania (review here), but certainly even more on 2014’s Universe (review here), the songcraft of Cedermalm and Källgren has taken on an increasing scope in texture and emotion. It’s true on V as well that while they still have their raucous moments, they’re just as likely to bring out a melancholy progressive feel, and no less at home in doing so.

“Calm Before the Storm” — its video with an oddly and offputtingly violent narrative — starts V and is the longest track on it (immediate points), and I think it emphasizes what I’m talking about pretty well in terms of the band Truckfighters have become and the multifaceted aspects of their approach. They will, of course, tour heavily to support the new long-player, and you can find the dates for that run under the video below.

Please enjoy:

Truckfighters, “Calm Before the Storm” official video

YEAHHH the new video for “Calm before the Storm” is out!

The new album “V” will be released worldwide through Fuzzorama in cooperation with Century Media Records on September 30th, 2016.

Naturally we will hit the road again to play an extensive European tour following the new album release. Support bands for first half will be We Hunt Buffalo and Witchrider, and the second half it will be Deville and Dot Legacy. Here are the tour dates confirmed so far:

20.10.2016 Berlin (Germany) – SO36
21.10.2016 Chemnitz (Germany) – AJZ
22.10.2016 Vienna (Austria) – Fuzzfest
23.10.2016 Munich (Germany) – Backstage Halle
25.10.2016 Milan (Italy) – Lo-Fi
27.10.2016 Bologna (Italy) – Freakout
28.10.2016 Puget (France) – Le Rats
29.10.2016 Bron (France) – Le Jack Jack
02.11.2016 Bilbao (Spain) – Stage Live
03.11.2016 Barcelona (Spain) – Razz 3
04.11.2016 Madrid (Spain) – Chango
05.11.2016 Lisbon (Portugal) – Stairway Club
06.11.2016 Porto (Portugal) – Cave 45
09.11.2016 Amsterdam (The Netherlands) – Melkweg Oude Zaal
10.11.2016 Groningen (The Netherlands) – Vera
11.11.2016 Tilburg (The Netherlands) – O13
12.11.2016 Hengelo (The Netherlands) – Metropool
25.11.2016 Cologne (Germany) – Underground
04.12.2016 Birmingham (UK) – Rainbow
05.12.2016 Glasgow (UK) – King Tuts
06.12.2016 Nottingham (UK) – Rescue Rooms
07.12.2016 Bristol (UK) – Thekla
08.12.2016 Manchester (UK) – Ruby Lounge
09.12.2016 London (UK) – Islington Academy
10.12.2016 Brighton (UK) – Green Door Store
27.12.2016 Hamburg (Germany) – Sankt Hell Festival

Truckfighters on Thee Facebooks

Century Media website

Tags: , , , , ,

Truckfighters Sign to Century Media; New Album V Due Sept. 30

Posted in Whathaveyou on July 7th, 2016 by JJ Koczan

One never knows at the start what a day will bring. Today, Swedish fuzz forerunners Truckfighters announce that they’ve signed to Century Media and they’ll release their new album, V, through the label in conjunction with their own Fuzzorama Records on Sept. 30. The signing is a surprise, not because either of the quality of Truckfighters‘ work or the diligent road time they’ve put in over the last decade, but because they’ve been so committed to self-releasing over that same period of time, right up to their 2016 live album, Live in London (review here), which came out just weeks ago.

And what does this mean for the rest of the bands on Fuzzorama? Is it a deal for the whole label? Select acts? Remains to be seen, but either way, it’s a quicker turnaround to V from Truckfighters‘ last studio outing, 2014’s Universe (review here), and word of a new record is most certainly welcome.

From the PR wire:

truckfighters

TRUCKFIGHTERS sign deal with Century Media Records!

The mighty TRUCKFIGHTERS’ own label, Fuzzorama Records, and Century Media Records team up to floor the gas and fuzz pedal. The Örebro, Sweden based band was formed in 2001 by Oskar “Ozo” Cedermalm (vocals & bass) and Niklas “Dango” Källgren (guitar). Since that time, they have released four studio albums and several more releases through their own label Fuzzorama Records – including the 2011 DVD documentary (Fuzzomentary) featuring guests such as Josh Homme (Queens Of The Stone Age) and more friends from bands Kyuss, Fu Manchu, Witchcraft, Graveyard and more.

“Signing to Century Media Records is like kicking in the fuzz pedal with all knobs turned to 11 – maximum energy, maximum output and totally out of control!”, comments the band.

The new album “V” will be released worldwide through Fuzzorama in cooperation with Century Media Records on September 30th, 2016. To celebrate the band’s 15th anniversary and nearly 700 shows around the world, we’ve created a new website which allows fans to mark a TRUCKFIGHTERS show they have attended in the past. All gig dates and the names of the fans who sign in and mark their show will be printed in the special edition of the album. To join in and find more info please head over to http://truckfighters.centurymedia.com.

Shortly after the album release, the TRUCKFIGHTERS will hit the road again to play an extensive European tour. Exact tour dates and further plans to play the rest of the world will be announced soon. Expect something big. Super fuzz big!

TRUCKFIGHTERS is:
Oskar “Ozo” Cedermalm (vocals & bass)
Niklas “Dango” Källgren (guitar)
Daniel “El Danno” Israelsson (drums)

http://www.truckfighters.com
https://www.facebook.com/truckfighters
https://twitter.com/truckfighters
https://www.youtube.com/user/TruckfightersTV

Truckfighters, Live in London full concert

Tags: , , , , ,

The Flight of Sleipnir Stream V. in Full

Posted in audiObelisk on November 28th, 2014 by JJ Koczan

the-flight-of-sleipnir

However European (much of) their influential base might be, The Flight of Sleipnir‘s will to bend genre and combine different sounds marks them out as a distinctly American band. The two-piece of David Csicsely (drums, vocals, guitar) and Clayton Cushman (vocals, guitar, bass, keys) hail from a town called Arvada, Colorado, less than 10 miles outside the capitol of Denver, but nestled enough into the sharp-tipped Rocky Mountains that their cascading, blackened fuzz could feasibly be born of its landscape. The duo have maintained an exploratory feel throughout their time together, and their fifth and latest outing, V., continues that run. Their first for Napalm Records after two full-lengths — 2013’s Saga and 2011’s Essence of Nine (review here) — on Eyes Like Snow, it’s as mature and steady in its composition as one might expect, but maintains a fierce creative drive as well, its seven tracks/59 minutes pushing forward in aesthetic and atmosphere.

With their commitment to psychedelia and black metal, it’s tempting to think of The Flight of Sleipnir as the stylistic movement that should’ve happened and never did with Nachtmystium, but the truth is Csicsely and Cushman traffic in more complex fare. Extended cuts like “Sidereal Course” and “Gullveig” have their blackened aspects — I’d still call The Flight of Sleipnir a black metal band before anything else — but the flight of sleipnir vtheir forays into psychedelia also bring an awareness of doom, of heavy rock tendencies toward repetition, and give a post-metal feel to some of the shifts between ambient and dense sections. In addition, the balance struck between screams and clean singing from one track to the next, as on opener “Headwinds” and “Sidereal Course,” only furthers the complexity of V., since where a lot of modern metal has fallen into the formula of screamy verse/clean chorus, The Flight of Sleipnir seem more interested in what best suits the mood of the song at that time. To call the record immersive would be underselling it. The forest-style screams of “The Casting” and the lumbering, doom-laden centerpiece “Nothing Stands Obscured” arrive fairly deep in the mix, and the overarching theme throughout is a three-dimensional tonality in the guitar and bass that, in headphones, takes the rawness of lo-fi black metal and gives it a surprisingly rich incarnation, so that the march at the end of “Nothing Stands Obscured” is as lush as it is searing.

This multifaceted, impeccably layered approach comes to a head with “Gullveig,” on which a light wah lead tops some foreboding underpinnings and becomes a theme played off of for full-toned riffs and screams, paced perfectly for V.‘s most satisfying nod. Cushman and Csicsely build up past the halfway point and then work in acoustics to begin an instrumental exploration that will consume the rest of the runtime, clean singing and screams interweaving for an apex effect that leads fluidly into the closing duo of “Archaic Rites” (9:07) and “Beacon in Black Horizon” (11:26), both of which continue to further the album’s atmospheric impact, the former through shifting the form of “Gullveig” to an even more serene, natural spirit, and the latter stripping back down early to blacksludge roll-riffing before escaping into trippy effects and never seeming to settle as compounds payoff with payoff to cap V. with an appropriately noisy stomp, the undercurrent of low end carrying them smoothly through quick-breath breaks and fuller onslaught to the drone, chanting and long silence that follows the closer’s finish, their sonic adventurousness never having relented once along the way.

V. came out earlier this week through Napalm Records and today I have the pleasure of streaming the album in its entirety. Please check it out on the player below, and enjoy:

The Flight of Sleipnir on Thee Facebooks

The Flight of Sleipnir on Bandcamp

The Flight of Sleipnir at Napalm Records

Tags: , , , , ,

The Flight of Sleipnir’s V Available to Preorder

Posted in Whathaveyou on September 30th, 2014 by JJ Koczan

the flight of sleipnir

Following up 2013’s Saga, Colorado duo The Flight of Sleipnir will release V — their aptly-titled fifth album — this November as their debut on Napalm Records. The Eyes Like Snow veterans cut a wide sonic swath through doom, black metal and Viking forms, with a varied style that plays subgenres off each other and stands in conversation with European traditions while taking a distinctly American approach in the melding. Consistent in their atmosphere and Nordic themes, they’ve been a well-kept secret of the US underground for some time, the two-piece of Clayton Cushman (guitar, bass, keyboard, vocals) and David Csicsely (drums, vocals, guitar) not so much turning genre on its head in a check-us-out-we’re-so-weird cloying kind of way, but bending diverse elements to their will in service to their songs and expression.

is available now to preorder from Napalm and direct from the band. Links follow the killer album art and PR wire info below, with a stream of Saga if you’d like to get acquainted or want to revisit:

the flight of sleipnir v

THE FLIGHT OF SLEIPNIR Unleash Artwork, Title, Release Dates & Track Listing!

Sleipnir, Odin’s eight-legged horse, slides by land, water and air of the Nordic underworld. On its back, Sleipnir carries a very precious cargo: the fifth album by the Stoner Rock/Doomsters THE FLIGHT OF SLEIPNIR, shortly and concisely titled V.!

The American duo has unleashed the artwork, track listing & release dates of the upcoming album as the Germanic-Father sends his messengers again!

V is out on November 24th US/CAN & December 1stin the UK via Napalm Records! It will also be available as a special LP edition with three exclusive bonus tracks!

V Track Listing:
1. Headwinds
2. Sidereal Course
3. The Casting
4. Nothing Stands Obscured
5. Gullveig
6. Archaic Rites
7. Beacon in black horizon

For More Info Visit:
http://shop.napalmrecords.com/theflightofsleipnir
http://theflightofsleipnir.bigcartel.com/
www.flightofsleipnir.com
www.facebook.com/THEFLIGHTOFSLEIPNIR
www.napalmrecords.com

The Flight of Sleipnir, Saga (2013)

Tags: , , , , ,

VINYL WEEK: The Kings of Frog Island, V

Posted in On Wax on September 16th, 2014 by JJ Koczan

Cool record. I'm not sure if they ever pressed IV, but they sure as hell pressed V. Always good to hear from these guys. If I still had a label going, or more appropriately if I ever really had one, like with backing and more than one person involved, I'd want to work with them.

There’s little I’m inclined to argue with less than a new The Kings of Frog Island record. Their 2013 outing, IV (review here), began a new era for the amorphous UK band, self-releasing LPs after a three-album stint on Elektrohasch, and they follow that LP quickly with the heady two-sides of V, which furthers their blend of classic psych, garage rock and heavy/desert rock impulses. I don’t think it really matters who shows up on a given day for the studio, just so long as they can jam, and unquestionably benefits from that mentality, and this time around, steady partakers Mark Buteaux (vocals/guitar), Roger “Dodge” Watson (drums) and Gavin Searle are joined by Gavin Wright and Tony Heslop, who came aboard last time out, and Lee Madel-Toner, with Scarlett Searle guesting. Change and fluidity have been running themes for The Kings of Frog Island since their 2005 self-titled debut, and is no exception.

Like IV, there’s no number anywhere on the 12″ sleeve that would tip you off if you didn’t already know it was the fifth album, but even side-by-side with its predecessor, shows off a heady growth in sound and confidence from last year’s offering, Buteaux comfortable topping side A’s tripped-out closer “Raised in a Lion’s Den” with a single line of vocals (“I was born in a desert, raised in a lion’s den”) to add mystique to an already molten atmosphere. In particular, the blend of ambience the kings of frog island v coverand more grounded songwriting — something The Kings of Frog Island have never lacked — is readily on display throughout the new LP, an early highlight arriving with the psychedelic desertisms of “Sunburn,” the opener that billows out of the introductory “Tangerine.” For the first half, divisions between songs are otherwise pretty clear. “Tangerine” hypnotizes early and gives way directly to “Sunburn,” but that song, “Temporal Riff,” which follows, “Born on the Fourth” and “Raised in a Lion’s Den” have definitive starts and finishes, which by the time side B rounds out won’t be the case. “Temporal Riff” is another early high point, departing from “Sunburn”‘s distortion waves and into ’60s-style acoustic psych pop that subtly builds around a wash of cymbals that continues a theme from last time out of patient, impeccably captured drumming from Watson, fluid in the speakers and in the ears and a key element in the band’s approach. The song itself isn’t limited to that or to a jam — it has one of the album’s best hooks, right up there with “Sunburn” — but it makes the transition easier into the classic garage rock swagger of “Born on the Fourth,” a quicker jaunt distinguished by call and response vocals and the lyric “Put your hand in the palm of mine,” which mirrors the rhythmic insistence well.

“Raised in a Lion’s Den” is likewise well placed at the end of side A, since it foreshadows some of what side B gets up to with its lull-your-consciousness rollout and sense of lysergic space rock meandering. “Novocaine” is earthbound compared to some of what follows, with a lightly Beatles-style verse-into-chorus transition, but still plenty groovy, starting out soft and getting into volume-swell guitar antics and subdued airiness before the more purely desert-tinged “Five O Grind” reminds of the expanses a Kyuss influence can cover when put to best use. The swirl and heavier vibe is immediate, echoing vocals deep under the riff, the title repeated as the lyrical center of the song, the fuzz consuming. It’s the most forceful of the riffers on V, but not out of place either with “Novocaine” before it or “Destroy all Monsters” after, which references Godzilla in its title and is pretty clearly named for its largesse of riff, similarly to how “Temporal Riff” may have been titled for its backward-in-time vibing. “Five O Grind” is the last bit of earthly grooving The Kings of Frog Island do here, if you can call it that, since even when their material is structured it’s blissed out, and the last three cuts, “Destroy all Monsters,” “Make it Last”  and “On” bleed together to finish the album in flowing fashion, the clear ending of “Five O Grind” with its lead guitar, buried vocals and steady nod giving way to the stomp of “Destroy all Monsters” — how else would one do that but with giant lizard feet and maybe a bit of laser breath? — which flows nebulously into “Make it Last” and “On.” Where the point of separationthe kings of frog island v back cover is between the last three tracks, I don’t know exactly, but “Destroy all Monsters” seems to separate after several turns of standalone drone riffing into feedback from which a more fuzzed riff emerges (the drums rejoin), and if you told me that was the switch into “Make it Last,” I’d believe you.

From there, one might point out any number of points at which “On” takes hold to round out V, but in doing so I think a crucial intent of the album would be sacrificed. As with IV, it’s pretty clear that a big part of The Kings of Frog Island‘s intent in only releasing an LP edition of is that the record should be experienced as a whole, in one complete sitting split only between sides A and B. Ultimately, where “Make it Last” becomes “On” doesn’t matter. It’s the fades in and out, the feedback, drum-propelled, the steady bassline and the ground the material covers that’s all the more important than if the quick stop is where one ends and another begins. Either way, is finished with its fading, synth-topped jam, a foundational guitar, bass, drum rhythm topped by a wash that continues even as ambient vocals make a surprise return as if to remind that there are still humans somewhere behind all this liquefied noise. Tambourine punctuates for a while and what must be “On” devolves into one last hypnotic wash of psychedelic melody, organ sounds being the last element present before the needle returns. I’ve been a nerd for The Kings of Frog Island since their 2008 fuzz-landmark, II, and in the years since, they’ve showed an unrelenting pursuit of expanded-mind exploration. What’s perhaps most encouraging about is how amiable a companion it is for IV while maintaining a personality of its own. Clearly grown out of the preceding full-length, seems to establish the band’s progression as one set to continue with no end in sight. Again, you won’t hear me argue.

The Kings of Frog Island, “Sunburn” official video

The Kings of Frog Island on Thee Facebooks

V on CDBaby

Tags: , , , , ,