Stoned Monkey Sign to Argonauta Records for Debut Album

Posted in Whathaveyou on June 19th, 2019 by JJ Koczan

As habit dictates, I was scouring the internet for some media to include with this post about Italy’s Stoned Monkey signing to countryman imprint Argonauta Records for the CD and tape release of their forthcoming debut album. I managed to find a clip on their YouTube page that’s 57 seconds long and pretty much just a riff. One riff. A minute of riff. And you know what? I feel like I get it. I get why Argonauta picked them up. All it took was one riff.

Bongripper would seem to be a reference point for the instrumental three-piece, what with the largesse of that lone riff and all, but I won’t claim to speak for their sound as I’ve heard basically nothing. Still, that was a sick riff, as in, “Sick riffs, bro,” which is what you’d probably say to the guitarist right after they got off stage.

In my case, it’s “sick riff, bro.” Singular. Fair enough.

Info from the PR wire:

stoned monkey

Sludge rockers STONED MONKEY ink worldwide deal with ARGONAUTA RECORDS!

Born in Varese, Italy, in 2017, Sludge ‘n Doom Noise rockers STONED MONKEY have signed a worldwide record deal with Argonauta Records! Mesmerizing atmospheres, high pitched amplifiers, heavy soundwalls and a strong scent of the weed distinguish the experience on a STONED MONKEY trip: An unmistakable Sludge timbre mixed with the rhythmic-sonorous intensity by influences such as Doom and noisy Stoner Rock.

Says Argoanuta Records owner Gero Lucisano: “Once I’ve heard the very first notes of these guys, I’ve been totally levelled by their massive approach. Back in the days I received some rough mixes and I have been surprised how an instrumental band can generate a so huge wall of sound. I heard echoes of Bongripper and Sleep, though in a more dynamic way yet a lot hypnotic and abrasive”.

While the band is currently working on their upcoming debut, followed by an extensive touring schedule, STONED MONKEY are excited to have signed with Argonauta:

“As fans of the genre, we are proud to sign with such an important label in the sludge/doom scene and we are glad to release out debut with them soon. This record will be the fruits of a lot of hard work, commitment and dedication, and let’s not forget about the neurons we burnt on every single track. We are ready to share our concept of music with the whole world soon!“

STONED MONKEY is:
CPX – Drums
DESA – Guitar
TIA – Bass

www.facebook.com/stonedlikeamonkey
www.argonautarecords.com

Stoned Monkey, “Satanic Warhead” live Circolo Degli Artisti Vinago, April 7 2018

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Quarterly Review: Chron Goblin, Slabdragger, Jupiter, Izo, Cultist, Haoma, Spaceslug, Slush, Menimals, The Linus Pauling Quartet

Posted in Reviews on April 1st, 2016 by JJ Koczan

the obelisk quarterly review spring 2016

Thus ends another successful Quarterly Review. And by successful I mean I survived. There were a few minutes there when I actually thought about spreading this out to six days, doing another batch of 10 on Monday, but then what happens? Then it’s seven days, then eight, then nine, and before I know it I’m just doing 10 reviews every day and it’s more of a daily review than a quarterly one. Next week we’ll get back to whatever passes for normality around this place, and at the end of June, I’ll have another batch to roll with. Maybe the beginning of July, depending on time. In any case, thank you for reading this week. I hope you’ve found something in all this that you’ve dug, and that this final round offers something else that resonates.

Quarterly Review #41-50:

Chron Goblin, Backwater

chron goblin backwater

Calgary party rockers Chron Goblin pay homage to Seattle with a song named after the city on their third album, Backwater (on Ripple Music), but they continue to have way more in common with Portland, Oregon. The follow-up to 2013’s Life for the Living (review here) pushes into psychedelic groove early in its title-track and gets bluesy for most of the subsequent “The Wailing Sound,” but it seems even that song can’t resist the urge to throw down and have a good time by the end, and cuts like “Give Way,” the galloping opener “Fuller” and the requisite “Hard Living” reaffirm the band’s commitment to heavy riffs and positive vibes. The stylistic elephant in the room continues to be Red Fang, but as they’ve done all along, Chron Goblin work in shades of other influences in heavy rock – if they were from the Eastern Seaboard, I’d call it Roadsaw – and put a stamp of their own on the style.

Chron Goblin on Thee Facebooks

Ripple Music

 

Slabdragger, Rise of the Dawncrusher

slabdragger rise of the dawncrusher

“Mercenary Blues” is near-immediate in telegraphing the level of heft Slabdragger will emit across their second album, Rise of the Dawncrusher, which tops an hour in five tracks (one of them four minutes long) and shifts between clean vocals, screams and growls from bassist/vocalist Yusuf Tary and guitarist/vocalist Sam Thredder as drummer Jack Newham holds together tempo shifts no less drastic. The shorter cut, “Evacuate!,” is an extreme take on heavy rock, but as Slabdragger move through the extended “Shrine of Debauchery” (12:23), “Dawncrusher Rising” (15:16) and “Implosion Rites” (17:20), their methods prove varied enough so that their material is more than just an onslaught of thickened distortion. I wouldn’t call it progressive exactly, but neither is it lunkheaded in its intention or execution, as the chanted melodies buried deep in “Shrine of Debauchery”’s lumber, derived perhaps in part from Conan and Sleep but beholden to neither so much as its own righteous purposes.

Slabdragger on Thee Facebooks

Holy Roar Records

 

Jupiter, Interstellar Chronodive

jupiter interstellar chronodive

Finnish heavy psychedelic rockers Jupiter take a decidedly naturalist position when it comes to their style. Yeah, there are some effects on the guitars throughout Interstellar Chronidive, the trio’s second album behind 2014’s Your Eccentric State of Mind, but it’s more about what the three players can accomplish with dynamic tempo and mood changes than it is creating a wash, and that gives songs like “Stonetrooper” and “Dispersed Matter/Astral Portal” a classic feel despite a decidedly modern production. “Premonitions” provides raucous fuzz worthy of any next-gen stoners you want to name, and the 14-minute “In Flux” answers its own initial thrust with and expansive, liquefied jam that’s all the more emblematic of the organic core to their approach, Hendrix-derived but not Hendrix-emulating. Bright guitar tone, rich bass and swinging drums aren’t necessarily unfamiliar elements, but the touches of space rock narration on “Dispersed Matter/Astral Portal” and the consuming nod of closer “Vantage Point” assure there’s no shortage of personality to go around.

Jupiter on Thee Facebooks

Jupiter on Bandcamp

 

Izo, Izo

izo izo

Also stylized as IZ? with a long accent over the ‘o,’ Izo is the self-titled debut from Italian double-guitar instrumental four-piece Izo, who bookend four flowing and densely weighted progressions with an intro and outro to add to the atmospheric breadth. Rather than choose between heaviness or ambience, Izo – guitarists Paolo Barone and Maurizio Calò, bassist Francesco de Pascali and drummer Luca Greco – play both into each other so that a song like “Hikkomori” is as engaging in its heft as it is hypnotic. That might be easier to do without vocals, but it’s essential to Izo’s approach, and something that, for their debut, sets up future expansion of post-metal and psychedelic elements. I’m not sure if there’s a theme or narrative for the album, but consistent use of Japanese language and imagery ties the material together all the same, and Izo emerge from their first album having shown a clearheadedness of purpose that can only continue to serve them well.

Izo on Thee Facebooks

Acid Cosmonaut Records

 

Cultist, Three Candles

cultist three candles

Cultist made their introductory statement in the early hours of 2016 with Three Candles, a five-song EP from the social media-averse Cleveland, Ohio, trio featuring members of Skeletonwitch, Mockingbird and Howl. In the wall of fuzz they construct, the swing injected into their rhythms and the use of multiple vocalists, there’s a strong undercurrent of Uncle Acid to “Path of the Old One,” but “Consuming Damnation” distinguishes itself with a more aggressive take, rawer in its melodies, and the creeping closer “Eternal Dark” is up to something entirely more doomed. How this balance will play out with the more familiar riff-patterning in “Follow Me” is the central question, but for their first tracks to be made public, Cultist’s Three Candles offers fullness of sound and the realization of an aesthetic purpose. Yes, there’s room to grow, but they already have a better handle on what they want to do than a lot of bands, so it should be interesting to keep up.

Cultist on Instagram

Cultist on Bandcamp

 

Haoma, Eternal Stash

haoma eternal stash

Ultra-thick, ultra-dank, Haoma is the work of Swedish duo R (bass/vocals) and S (drums), and the three-tracker Eternal Stash is their second self-released EP. The offering takes its title from the opener and longest track (immediate points), and wastes no time with subtlety in getting down on molten Cisneros-style stoner-doom grooves. Sleep meets Om isn’t a huge divide to cross, but there’s a blown-out sensibility to the vocals as well that speaks to some element of Electric Wizard at play, and the overarching roughness suits Haoma’s tonal crunch well. Even when they break to wah bass in the second half of “Eternal Stash” to set up the ensuing jam, this underlying harshness remains, and “Unearthly Creatures” and “Orbital Flight” build on that, the latter with a march that feels more decidedly individual even if constructed on familiar ground. Heavy, raw, unpretentious celebration of groove is almost always welcome by me, and so Haoma’s Eternal Stash is likewise.

Haoma on Thee Facebooks

Haoma on Bandcamp

 

Spaceslug, Lemanis

spaceslug lemanis

Another boon to Poland’s emerging heavy rock scene, Wroclaw’s Spaceslug slime their way out of the ground with their debut long-player, Lemanis, a seven-cut paean to weighted tone and laid back roll. Vocally, the trio seem to take a cue from the Netherlands’ Sungrazer, but their riffs are far more dense and while the penultimate interlude “Quintessence” and the earlier “Galectelion” demonstrate a sense of spaciousness, the context in which that arrives is much more weighted and, particularly in the second half of “Supermassive,” feels culled from the Sleep school of Iommic idolatry. No complaints. The record clocks in at 43 minutes all told and in no way overstays its welcome, rounding out with the nine-minute title-track, an instrumental that’s probably not improvised but comes across as exploratory all the same. The CD version is out through BSFD Records, but don’t be surprised when someone picks it up for a vinyl issue, as both the front-to-back flow and the artwork seem to be made for it.

Spaceslug on Thee Facebooks

Spaceslug on Bandcamp

 

Slush, American Demons

slushies american demons

An element of twang that seems present even in the most uproarious moments of SlushAmerican Demons tape comes to the fore with the brief “Leshy,” a quick, fleetly-strummed bit of slide guitar the follows highlight cut “Bathysphere” and precedes “Death Valley,” both of which bask full-on in the garage shake, proto-punk vibe and anything goes swagger the Brooklynite trio have on offer throughout their third EP. That countrified twist plays well alongside the drawling skate rock of “In the Flesh,” which seems to take on some of The Shrine’s West Coast skate vibes with a twist of New York fuckall, and the quick crotchal thrust off “Silk Road,” which serves as Slush’ most purely punkish moment. “Death Valley” closes out with a tale of drugs and the desert, the vocals somewhere between Misfits and early Nick Cave, drenched in attitude and accompanied by fuzz that seems to be likewise. Bonus points for the silver tape and copious included art and info.

Slushies on Bandcamp

Lean on Bandcamp

 

Menimals, Menimals

menimals menimals

Strange spirits are afoot throughout MenimalsMenimals, the maybe-debut from the Italian troupe who engage wantonly in the proliferation of post-Mike Patton creepy darkjazz across five cuts of sparse, spacious weirdness. Issued through Phonosphera/Riot Season, it’s a work of high atmospheric density but ultimately more about mood than sonic impact, evoking complex shapes – dodecahedrons, tetrahedrons, octahedrons – as a mirror for its own quizzical mission. The kind of record that those who don’t spend time trying to figure it out are going to have more fun with, it makes its most effective impression on “Transitioning from a Cube to the Octahedron” on side B, evoking minimalist drone rock atmospheres as whispered vocals tie it to the rest of Menimals’ bizarre vibe. That’s not to take away from the noisy finish of closer “Bird on the Wind as a Hinge,” which follows, just to note that Menimals manage to somehow find balance in all the subdued seething and resonant experimentalism.

Menimals on Thee Facebooks

Riot Season Records

Phonosphera Records

 

The Linus Pauling Quartet, Ampalanche

the-linus-pauling-quartet-ampalanche

By way of a confession, I wanted to end this batch of 50 reviews with something I knew I dug, and that distinction goes to Houston rockers Linus Pauling Quartet, whose latest full-length, Ampalanche, is released via the label wing of Italian ‘zine Vincebus Eruptum. An album that offers some of the most pretense-free rock flute I’ve ever heard on “Slave to the Die,” it’s a down-home weirdo rocker that might, at a moment’s notice, plunge full-on into psychedelia in “Sometimes” or, say, include a 49-minute echoing space-drone “Vi, de Druknede (We, the Drowned)” as a download-only bonus track, and the fact that Linus Pauling Quartet can always be relied on for something different but consistent in charm and the quality of songwriting is not to be taken for granted, whether it’s the Midwestern noise rock of “Brisket” or the fuzzy roll of dreamy album-closer “Alive.” Yeah, I was doing myself a favor by finishing with Ampalanche. I have absolutely zero regrets. Linus Pauling Quartet continue to be woefully underappreciated.

Linus Pauling Quartet on Thee Facebooks

Vincebus Eruptum webstore

 

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Duuude, Tapes! Fuoco Fatuo, Fuoco Fatuo

Posted in Duuude, Tapes! on January 9th, 2014 by JJ Koczan

Limited to 100 hand-numbered copies from Caligari Records, the Fuoco Fatuo tape compiles two 2012 EPs by the Italian extreme sludge trio of the same name, and the development is palpable from one to the next. The cassette comes professionally printed, with the screen directly on the tape (i.e. no sticker) and a six-panel j-card that only adds to the blackened atmosphere on hand within the music. Fuoco Fatuo — the lineup of guitarist/vocalist Milo Angeloni, bassist Giovanni “Ken” Piazza and drummer Fabrizio Moalli — released their self-titled, four-song EP in April 2012 and followed just months later with 33 Colpi di Schizofrenia Astrale Nell’Abisso Nero, in August. That latter EP is the rawer of the two, and its three songs come, fittingly enough, sandwiched between an intro, “Alpha,” and outro, “Omega.”

They’re also situated first on the Caligari tape, which basks in its filth without exactly making a show of it. The audio is compressed and dirty sounding even digitally, so on the cassette it self is all the more vicious. If I’d been forced to guess, I would have thought that the later songs on the tape were the newer material from the band, since Angeloni has a few cleaner-sung parts and there’s generally a more diverse approach musically, but it seems that Fuoco Fatuo‘s progression is more of a deconstruction at this initial stage and they’re endeavoring to get even more extreme stylistically. It works for them. A blackened take still comes through with sludge viscosity and the screams sound all the more tortured for the morass out of which they rise on “L’Abisso,” which adds a creepier vibe thanks to guest keys, credited to Adamennon.

But though they crossed the threshold that held the warning, “Abandon melody all who enter here,” there’s still character to their charred assault, and Fuoco Fatuo‘s two EPs show a distinct process solidifying any way you want to look at them. The viciousness and rawness of 33 Colpi and the sludgier push of Fuoco Fatuo play well off each other, and in the end it’s almost like the three-piece were putting out a split tape with themselves. That it was mere months between the two releases I can only chalk up to a genuine decision on the part of the band to become even more fucked sounding. The tape isn’t going to be for everyone — it’s not subtle and it already hates you — but if you’ve got a taste for absolutes and like your lo-fi offset by a bit of tonal weight, Fuoco Fatuo offer pummel and slice in like measure across these two releases compiled as one.

Fuoco Fatuo, Fuoco Fatuo (2013)

Fuoco Fatuo on Thee Facebooks

Fuoco Fatuo on Bandcamp

Caligari Records

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