Quarterly Review: We Lost the Sea, Nebula Drag, Nothing is Real, Lotus Thief, Uncle Woe, Cybernetic Witch Cult, Your Highness, Deep Valley Blues, Sky Shadow Obelisk, Minus Green

Posted in Reviews on January 9th, 2020 by JJ Koczan

quarterly review

Yesterday was marked by a decisive lack of productivity. I got there, don’t get me wrong, but it took friggin’ forever to make it happen. I’m obviously hoping for a different result today and tomorrow. You would think 10 records is 10 records, but some days it’s easy flowing, bounce from one to the next without any trouble, and some days you’re me sitting there wondering how many times you can get away with using the word “style” in the same post. Punishing. The saving factor was that the music was good. Amazing how often that serves as the saving factor.

Just today and tomorrow left, so let’s dive in. Lots of different kinds of releases today, so keep your ears and mind open.

Quarterly Review #31-40:

We Lost the Sea, Triumph and Disaster

we lost the sea triumph and disaster

There is plenty of heavy post-rock floating — and I do mean floating — around these days, spreading ethereal and contemplative vibes hither and yon, but none have the emotional weight brought to bear instrumentally by Sydney, Australia’s We Lost the Sea. Across their 65-minute 2LP, Triumph and Disaster (on Translation Loss), the six-piece band recount a wordless narrative of the aftermath of the end of the world through the eyes of a mother and child on their last day. It is a touching and beautiful flow of sentiment, regret and weight that comes through the wash of three guitars and synth, bass and drums, and though 2015’s Departure Songs (review here, discussed here) worked in a similar vein in terms of style if not story, these seven tracks and 65 minutes are wholly distinguished by a willful-seeming progression on the part of the band and a patience and poise of execution as they alternate between longer and shorter pieces that only underscores how special their work truly is. At least the apocalypse is gorgeous.

We Lost the Sea on Thee Facebooks

Translation Loss store

 

Nebula Drag, Blud

nebula drag blud

Nothing against the progenitors of the form, but Nebula Drag seem with Blud to pull off the feat that Helmet never really could, bringing together a noise-rock derived dissonance of riff with a current of melody in the vocals and even moments of patience in the guitar to go along with the crunch of its more aggressive points. This inherently makes the Desert Records offering from the San Diego outfit a less outwardly intense affair than it might otherwise be, but songs like “Always Dying,” “Numb” and the closer “Mental” — as well as the album as a whole — are ultimately richer for it, and there’s still plenty of drive in opener “Dos Lados” and the shorter “Faces” and “What Went Wrong,” which arrive back to back on side B and lend the momentum that carries Nebula Drag through the remainder of the proceedings. It’s easy to hear to Blud superficially and pass it off as noise or heavy rock or this or that, but Nebula Drag earn and reward deeper listens in kind.

Nebula Drag on Thee Facebooks

Desert Records on Bandcamp

 

Nothing is Real, Pain is Joy

nothing is real pain is joy

Los Angeles oppressive and misanthropic noise project Nothing is Real manifested some of the harshest sounds I heard in 2019 on Only the Wicked are Pure (review here), and the just-months-later follow-up, Pain is Joy, reminds of the constant sensory assault under which we all seem to live. Across five extended tracks of increased production value — still raw, just not as raw — the band seems to be forming a coherent philosophical perspective in “Existence is Pain,” the guest-vocalized “Realms of Madness,” “Life is but a Dream,” “Pain is Joy,” and “We Must Break Free,” but if there’s a will to explain the punishment that is living, there’s not much by way of answer forthcoming in the sludgy riffing, grinding onslaught and surprising solo soar of “We Must Break Free,” instrumental as it is. Still, the fact that Pain is Joy allows for the possibility of joy to exist at all, in any form, ever, distinguishes it from its predecessor, and likewise the clearer sound and cogent expressive purpose. A focused attack suits Nothing is Real. I have the feeling it won’t be long before we find out where it takes the band next.

Nothing is Real on Thee Facebooks

Nothing is Real on Bandcamp

 

Lotus Thief, Oresteia

lotus thief Oresteia

If the name Oresteia isn’t immediately familiar, maybe “Agamemnon” will give some hint. San Francisco’s Lotus Thief, with their third full-length and second for Prophecy Productions, not only bring together progressive black metal, post-rock and drama-laced doom, but do so across eight-tracks and 38 minutes summarizing a 5th century Greek tragedy written in three parts. Ambitious? Yes. Successful? I’ll claim zero familiarity with the text itself, but for the eight-minute “Libation Bearers” alone — never mind any of the other immersive, beautiful wash the band emits throughout — I’m sure glad they’re engaging with it. Ambient stretches like “Banishment” and “Woe” and the barely-there “Reverence” add further character to the proceedings, but neither are “The Furies,” “Agamemnon,” “Sister in Silence” or subdued-but-tense closer “The Kindly Ones” lacking for atmosphere. Oresteia is grim, theatrical, stylistically forward-thinking and gorgeous. A perfect, perfect, perfect winter record.

Lotus Thief website

Prophecy Productions on Bandcamp

 

Uncle Woe, Our Unworn Limbs

Uncle Woe Our Unworn Limbs

Chugging, sprawling, and most of all reaching, the late-2019 debut LP, Our Unworn Limbs, from Ontario as-yet-solo-outfit Uncle Woe — composed, performed and recorded by Rain Fice — is one of marked promise, taking elements of modern progressive and cosmic doom from the likes of YOB‘s subtly angular riffing style and unfolding them across an emotionally resonant but still manageable 43-minute span. The stomp in “That’s How They Get You” is duly oppressive in following the opener “Son of the Queen,” but with the one-minute experiment “When the Night Fell Pt. 2” and jagged but harmonized “Mania for Breaking” ahead of 15-minute closer “Push the Blood Back In,” the record’s tumult and triumphs are presented with character and a welcome feeling of exploration. I would expect over time that the melodic basis and vocal presence Fice demonstrates in “Mania for Breaking” will continue to grow, but both are already significant factors in the success of that song and the album surrounding it, the first 20-plus minutes of which is spent mired in “Son of the Queen” and “That’s How They Get You,” as early proof of the sure controlling hand at the helm of the project. May it continue to be so.

Uncle Woe on Thee Facebooks

Uncle Woe on Bandcamp

 

Cybernetic Witch Cult, Absurdum ad Nauseam

cybernetic witch cult absurdam ad nauseam

Guitarist/vocalist Alex Wyld, bassist Doug MacKinnon and drummer Lewis May have processed the world around them and translated it into a riffy course of sci-fi and weirdo semi-prog thematics across Absurdum ad Nauseam. What else to call such a thing? At eight songs and 52 minutes, it stands astride the lines between heavy rock and doom and sludge in lengthier pieces like “The Cetacean,” “The Ivory Tower” and the finale “Hypercomputer Part 2,” yet when it comes to picking out discernible influences, one has to result to generalizations like Black Sabbath and Acrimony, the latter in the rolling largesse of “Spice” and “The Myth of Sisyphus” later on in the outing and the vocal effects there particularly, but neither is enough to give a sense of what Cybernetic Witch Cult are actually about in terms of the modernity of their approach and the it’s-okay-we-know-what-we’re-doing-just-trust-us vibe they bring as they rush through “Cromagnonaut” after the intro and “Hypercomputer Part 1.” I’m inclined to just go with it, which should tell you something in itself about the band’s ability to carry their listener through. They earn that trust.

Cybernetic Witch Cult on Thee Facebooks

Cybernetic Witch Cult on Bandcamp

 

Your Highness, Your Highness

Your Highness Your Highness

Heavy blues meets heavy metal on Your Highness‘ self-titled and self-released third album, collecting eight tracks that divide evenly across two sides of an LP, each half ending with a longer piece, whether it’s “Black Fever” (9:00) on side A or “Kin’s Blood” (14:14) on side B. Through these, in full-throttle movements like opener “Devil’s Delight” and “Rope as a Gift” and in nestled-in groovers like “The Flood” and “To Wood and Stone,” Your Highness don’t shy away from bringing a sense of atmosphere to their material, but maintain a focus on burl, gruffness and tonal weight, an aggressive undercurrent in a song like “Born Anew” — the riff to which is nonetheless particularly bluesy — being emblematic of the perspective on display throughout. It moves too fleetly to ever be considered entirely sludge, but Your Highness‘ 51-minute span is prone to confrontation just the same, and its ferocious aspects come to a head in satisfying fashion as the wash of crash pays off “Kin’s Blood,” shouts cutting through en route to a finish of acoustic guitar that lands as a reminder to release the breath you’ve been holding the whole time. Heavy stuff? Why yes, it is.

Your Highness on Thee Facebooks

Your Highness on Bandcamp

 

Deep Valley Blues, Demonic Sunset

Deep Valley Blues Demonic Sunset

Italy’s fervor for stoner rock is alive and well as represented in Demonic Sunset, the eight-song/34-minute debut full-length from Catanzaro’s Deep Valley Blues. Their sound works out to be more heavy rock than the desert one might imagine given the album cover, but that influence is still there, if beefed up tonally by guitarists Alessandro Morrone and Umberto Arena (the latter also backing vocals), bassist/vocalist Giando Sestito and drummer Giorgio Faini, whose fluid turns between propulsion and swing enable a song like “Dana Skully” to come together in its verse/chorus transitions. The penultimate nine-minute “Tired to Beg For” is an outlier among more straight-ahead songwriting, but they use the time well and close with the acoustic-led “Empire,” an encouraging showcase of sonic breadth to follow up on the start of “Lust Vegas” and a widening of the melodic range that one hopes Deep Valley Blues push further on subsequent releases. Centered around issues of mental health in terms of its lyrics, if somewhat vaguely, Demonic Sunset is a first LP that extends its focus to multiple levels while still keeping its feet on the ground in a way that will be familiar to experienced genre heads.

Deep Valley Blues on Thee Facebooks

Deep Valley Blues on Bandcamp

 

Sky Shadow Obelisk, The Satyr’s Path

sky shadow obelisk the satyrs path

You can toss a coin as to whether Sky Shadow Obelisk are death-doom or doom-death, but as you do, just keep an eye on the bludgeoning doled out by the solo-project of Rhode Island-based composer Peter Scartabello on his latest EP, The Satyr’s Path, because it is equal parts thorough and ferocious. Flourish of keys and melody adds a progressive edge to the proceedings across the five-track release, particularly in its two instrumentals, the centerpiece “Ouroboros” and the first half of closer “Shadow of Spring,” but amid the harnessed madness of “Chain of Hephaestus” — which from its lyrics I can only think of as a work song — and the one-two of “The Serpent’s Egg” and the title-track early on, those moments of letup carry a tension of mood that even the grand finish in “Shadow of Spring” seems to acknowledge. It’s been since 2015 that Scartabello last offered up a Sky Shadow Obelisk full-length. He shows enough scope here to cover an album’s worth of ground, but on the most basic level, I’d take more if it was on offer.

Sky Shadow Obelisk on Thee Facebooks

Yuggoth Records on Bandcamp

 

Minus Green, Equals Zero

Minus Green Equals Zero

Following up on a 2015 self-titled the material on Minus Green‘s sophomore album, Equals Zero, would seem to have at least in part been kicking around for a couple years, as the closer here, “Durial” (11:22) was released in a single version in 2016. Fair enough. If the other three cuts, opener “Primal” (9:58), “00” (11:51) and the penultimate “Kames” (10:08), have also been developed over that span, the extra rumination wouldn’t seem to have harmed them at all — they neither feel overthought to a point of staleness nor lack anything in terms of the natural vibe that their style of progressive instrumentalist heavy psychedelia warrants. The procession unfolds as a cleanly-structured LP with two songs per side arranged shorter-into-longer, and their sound is duly immersive to give an impression of exploration underway without being entirely jam-based in their structure. That is, listening to “00,” one gets the feeling it’s headed somewhere, which, fortunately it is. Where it and the record surrounding go ultimately isn’t revolutionary in aesthetic terms, but it is well performed and more than suitable for repeat visits. Contrary to the impression they might seek to give, it amounts to more than nothing.

Minus Green on Thee Facebooks

Kerberos Records website

 

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Ryte Stream “Invaders”; Self-Titled Debut out Jan. 17

Posted in Whathaveyou on October 24th, 2019 by JJ Koczan

ryte

Sure enough, we’ve been down this road a few times where Heavy Psych Sounds has unveiled a new signing and then, with preorders launched, gone ahead and posted a track with the album details. Yesterday was the day listed for Ryte when word of the pickup came through and lo, the PR wire delivered on the news with the art and indeed a track, in this case, the closer, “Invaders.” It’s nice to know what to expect, and the band had a demo of “Raging Mammoth” streaming as well, so with (some version of) the opener and the finished product of the ending out there, it’s possible for those inclined to do so to get a pretty decent idea of where they’re coming from on the record. I’ll take that.

You’ll find “Invaders” at the bottom of this post, and I’ll hope to have more to come ahead of the Jan. 17 release date as well, so maybe keep an eye out.

From the PR wire:

ryte ryte

Austrian psychedelic doom mongers RYTE deliver irresistible first single and debut album details on Heavy Psych Sounds Records!

Vienna-based psychedelic doom unit RYTE announce the release of their self-titled debut album ‘Ryte’ and unleash a trance-inducing first song right now.

“‘Invaders’ is the fourth, last and shortest track on the record. We intended to do something heavy ‘n psychedelic, so we created ‘Invaders’ which is basically about the fact that we are not the primary force in the universe. Inter-dimensional creatures from the deepest depths of another dimension, invading the minds of sleeping earthlings and forcing them into lucid dreaming. Dare to dig in!” comments the band

RYTE’s debut album is the result of an intense one-and-a-half-year writing process. The album consists of four long tracks, that pushes the boundaries of Psych rock as it is influenced by Doom, Prog Rock, Jazz and even World Music. The sound is dominated by down-tuned, sometimes doomy, sometimes epic twin guitars, dynamic and jazzy drums, distorted, playful bass lines and spacey Theremin landscapes. Drummer Hannes Ganeider recorded the LP at his own rehearsal space, while Michael Piller did the mixing and none other than the underground producer-legend Tim Green mastered the album at Louder Studios in California.

Debut album ‘Ryte’ will be available in the following formats:
– 20 Test Press vinyl
– 250 Ultra LTD Orange Transparent vinyl
– 350 LTD Clear Water Green vinyl
– Black vinyl
– CD and digital

RYTE Debut album “Ryte”
Out January 17th on Heavy Psych Sounds
PREORDER NOW: https://www.heavypsychsounds.com/

TRACK LISTING:
1. Raging Mammoth
2. Shaking Pyramid
3. Monolith
4. Invaders

RYTE is:
Lukas Götzenberger – Vocals/Bass
Hannes Ganeider: Drums, Percussions
Arik Stangl: Guitar/Vocals
Shardik: Guitar/Effects

https://www.facebook.com/rytejams/
https://www.instagram.com/rytejams/
https://rytejams.bandcamp.com/
heavypsychsoundsrecords.bandcamp.com
www.heavypsychsounds.com
https://www.facebook.com/HEAVYPSYCHSOUNDS/

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Ryte Sign to Heavy Psych Sounds for Debut Album

Posted in Whathaveyou on October 16th, 2019 by JJ Koczan

I’ll give it up for Heavy Psych Sounds. With a packed roster that includes desert rock legends like Brant BjorkFatso Jetson, Yawning Man, and Nebula, as well now as Mondo Generator, the Italian imprint could easily rest on its laurels for a minute, catch its breath and at least ride out 2020 as is. Instead? Nope. Gabriele Fiori (also Black Rainbows, Killer Boogie and The Pilgrim) is relentless. Dude is out picking up brand new bands like Acid Mammoth, who were just recently announced as having signed to HPS, and Ryte below. The relative newcomer Austrian outfit boasts members of Pastor and not only are they signed, nebulously, to issue some kind of release at some point in the future, but they’re signed with preorders for their debut album set to start on Oct. 23. Expect details on the album to come then as well and maybe even some audio, if they don’t decide to roll that out separately.

Figure early-ish 2020 for a release? February, maybe March, I guess. I doubt Heavy Psych Sounds is going to waste any time in getting it out there, as no doubt their schedule is full.

From the PR wire:

ryte

Heavy Psych Sounds Records&Booking is really proud to present a NEW BAND signing *** RYTE ***

We are so stoked to welcome in our roster a brand new band. Ladies and gentlemen please welcome the Vienna based rockers RYTE !!!

The band will release its debut album via Heavy Psych Sounds.

DEBUT ALBUM PRESALE STARTS: OCTOBER 23rd

In mid- 2016, Hannes, Arik & Shardik decided to start a new project together. Arik & Shardik, at that time have already been playing several years together in „Pastor” and were looking for someone to jam with. By chance they met drummer Hannes at a Saviours show in Vienna. Shortly afterwards RYTE was founded. The only thing that was still missing was a bass-player. The band finally found the last missing part in late 2016 and was then a complete four-piece with Lukas on bass. They spent at least one intense year of continuous rehearsals and songwriting sessions in order to get a live-set and of course, an album together.

In late 2017 they set up their very first (private) show at their rehearsal space in Vienna, spiked with a mind-blowing liquid light show done by “Ufonauten”. Then, in 2018 and ’19 they were lucky enough to play festivals like Lake on Fire, Stick & Stone and share stages with amazing like-minded bands such as Sacri Monti, Golden Void and Mothers of the Land just to name a few! Since day one, the band’s goal was to play sophisticated, mostly instrumental Heavy Psych with little hints of classic Prog, Space Rock, Doom and plenty of other stuff. Speaking of influences, the band is not limited by any means as long as it sounds fresh and interesting and does the band’s initial idea of adventurous heaviness justice. RYTE’s self-titled debut album will be out soon via Heavy Psych Sounds!

SAYS THE BAND: “We are super stoked to announce that we will be collaborating with Heavy Psych Sounds records for our upcoming record. HPS is a label run by musicians for musicians and we are very happy to be part of that family!”

RYTE is:
Lukas Götzenberger – Vocals/Bass
Hannes Ganeider: Drums, Percussions
Arik Stangl: Guitar/Vocals
Shardik: Guitar/Effects

https://www.facebook.com/rytejams/
https://www.instagram.com/rytejams/
https://rytejams.bandcamp.com/
heavypsychsoundsrecords.bandcamp.com
www.heavypsychsounds.com
https://www.facebook.com/HEAVYPSYCHSOUNDS/

Ryte, “Raging Mammoth” (Rehearsal)

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The Ghost and the Machine Premiere “Caroline”; Announce Red Rain Tires LP out Sept. 28

Posted in audiObelisk, Whathaveyou on June 15th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

the ghost and the machine photo by Karin Hackl

On Sept. 28, Noise Appeal Records will release the second album from Vienna-based blues rockers The Ghost and the Machine. Titled Red Rain Tires, the long-player is preceded by the single ‘Caroline,’ for which the trio previously released a video back in April. The track, complete with artwork as seen on the Soundcloud player below where the sort-of-premiere of the audio is hosted, brings a particular sonic melancholy to life over the course of its five minutes. Nonetheless wistful, it doesn’t howl out its blues, but answers back the distinct Americana flair of the three-piece’s 2016 self-titled debut with a patience it also hinted at in songs like “Anything” or “One for C” — also leaving one to wonder if the ‘C’ in question stood for the name in the title of the new single — and a more refined overall take.

With atmospheric influence from the likes of 16 Horsepower and athe ghost and the machine red rain tires vast swath of Delta blues players, The Ghost and the Machine have Red Rain Tires available to preorder, and though they’re not specifically of a heavy rock or psychedelic style, their sound will no doubt find some appeal there just the same, both for its retro aspects — one is inherently speaking to the past when in conversation with the blues, even if it’s just long enough ago to remember when one was done wrong — and for the underlying groove brought to bear as “Caroline” unfolds by guitarist/vocalist Andreas Lechner, standup-bassist/vocalist Heidi Fial and drummer Matthias Macht, the guitar echoing out over a fluidity of swampy low end and percussive push, building to an apex in the second half and then cutting to near silence with just enough time to head back to the verse and instrumental chorus, almost dirge-like in its march.

In addition to sort-of-premiering “Caroline” today, The Ghost and the Machine are newly making public the details for Red Rain Tires and the aforementioned preorder link. In the name of being thorough, I’ve included the video for “Caroline” as well at the bottom of this post, which adds some context to the warmth of the song itself in its brooding ambience, deep colors and lighting, and both wide open and enclosed spaces.

Audio, PR wire info and video follow here.

Please enjoy:

THE GHOST AND THE MACHINE RELEASE BRAND NEW SINGLE ‘CAROLINE’!

New Album ‘RED RAIN TIRES’ Coming September 28th!

Austrian-based post-blues trio THE GHOST AND THE MACHINE has unveiled first and hotly anticipated details about their upcoming album! ‘RED RAIN TIRES’ is the second record by THE GHOST AND THE MACHINE and will be released on September 28th with Noise Appeal Records.

To give a first appetizer, the band just released a single for the track ‘Caroline’ which can be now streamed and downloaded HERE! A touching music video for ‘Caroline’ has been premiered earlier, dive into the unique and atmospheric sounds of THE GHOST AND THE MACHINE and watch the video right HERE!

“On RED RAIN TIRES we created floating structures within the songs to dive into,“ the band comments. “It’s full of weird but yet precise sonic landscapes and still in constant touch with the rough spirit of long-forgotten prison songs. We’re really looking forward to share this piece of intimate but untamed music with you – Love it, hate it, buy it, spread it – in either case enjoy it!”

The tracklist for ‘RED RAIN TIRES’ reads as follows:
1. Falling
2. Dirty Mind
3. Blue Day / Yellow City
4. Caroline
5. Passengers And Slaves
6. Complex Animal
7. Scars
8. Butterflies & Dust
9. Wrecks Of Innocence

Wood meets steel, and blues meets surrealism. THE GHOST AND THE MACHINE plays rough and honest songs, intimate and untamed. Pristine elements collide and embrase eachother. The metallic cutting-edge overtones of the resonatorguitar meet the wooden shallow depth of the doublebass, carried by infectious drumming, and the dadaistic but yet pictorial vocals form sonic landscapes that pull you in. The result offers insights to an undistored sound- and soulportrait. There are no pictures in nature. A picture is peculiar to human beings, the ordinary content of the mind is abstract, amorphous and vague. That cut surface is the stomping ground of THE GHOST AND THE MACHINE’s new album ‘RED RAIN TIRES’, which will be released on September 28th 2018 with Noise Appeal Records.

Coming as CD Digipak, LP and Digital Download, ‘RED RAIN TIRES’ is now available to pre-order HERE!

In support of their upcoming album, THE GHOST AND THE MACHINE will be playing live on the following dates:

27.09.18 Wien / Fluc (Album Release Show!)
14.11.18 München / Glockenbachwerkstatt
16.11.18 Pohrsdorf / Saxstall
17.11.18 Dresden / Blue Note
with many more to be announced soon!

The Ghost and the Machine are:
Andreas Lechner – Resonatorguitar, Vocals
Heidi Fial – Upright Bass, Vocals
Matthias Macht – Drums

Spotify: https://tinyurl.com/y9s8yv7v
Deezer: https://tinyurl.com/y7x4aun9
Napster: https://tinyurl.com/yarae787
Amazon Album Preorder & Caroline: https://tinyurl.com/yckeqp6c
iTunes Album Preorder & Caroline: https://tinyurl.com/y7ylkeg4

www.the-ghost-and-the-machine.com
www.facebook.com/theghostandthemachine
www.noiseappeal.com
https://store.noiseappeal.com/shop/music/the-ghost-and-the-machine-red-rain-tires/
https://www.facebook.com/noiseappealrecords/

The Ghost and the Machine, “Caroline” official video

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Great Rift Release Vesta June 22; “Siren of the Night” Streaming Now

Posted in Whathaveyou on June 12th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

great rift

Later this month will bring the debut album from Vienna heavy psychedelic rockers Great Rift. The Austrian four-piece made their debut last year on Electric Fire Records and that same imprint has joined forces with StoneFree Records to stand behind the new outing, giving it even more of a push than it would otherwise receive. The band have the new song “Siren of the Night” streaming now at the bottom of this post. You know, where the streams go.

In its cover art and color scheme, the Vesta artwork could be said to be in conversation with woefully-missed Dutch outfit Sungrazer, and sure enough there is a tinge of that kind of psychedelic warmth in Great Rift‘s sound, but Vesta owes a more distinctive debt to the blues and hits with a harder edge, as one can hear in the rolling groove that caps the six-minute “Siren of the Night.” As to how the balance tips on the rest of the outing, what’s what June 22 is for, with the vinyl and the album coming out and whatnot.

Some light details about the record follow, more or less as a bridge and an excuse to get to the track posted. Surprise, it’s really about the music. Always was.

In young Majel Barret’s voice: “Working”:

great rift vesta

Great Rift is a four headed heavy/psychedelic Rockband from Vienna, Austria. In 2017 the band recorded their debut EP “Voodoowoodland”, released on “Electric Fire Records“.

In June 2018 their first full length album “Vesta” will be out via “Electric Fire Records” with a vinyl co-release on “StoneFree Records”. Their sound is strongly reminiscent of the heavy blues, hard & psychedelic rock of the 70s.

Tracklisting:
1. The Long High
2. Atlas
3. Siren Of The Night
4. Mercury Sunrise
5. Waves
6. The Grim Reaper
7. Dragonfly

Written by Great Rift
Recorded, Mixed & Mastered by Thomas Ranosz
at Pure Sound Recordings, Vienna
Produced by Great Rift and Thomas Ranosz

Great Rift is:
Thomas Gulyas – Voice & Guitar
David Hüttner – Guitar & Voice
Peter Leitner – Bass
Alexander Böbel – Drums & Voice

https://www.facebook.com/GreatRift.Vienna/
https://greatrift.bandcamp.com
http://www.stonefree.co.at/
https://www.electricfirerecords.com/

Great Rift, Vesta (2018)

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Quarterly Review: Wolves in the Throne Room, Gravy Jones, Marmora, Mouth, Les Lekin, Leather Lung, Torso, Jim Healey, Daxma, The Re-Stoned

Posted in Reviews on January 9th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

Lodewijk de Vadder (1605-1655) - 17th Century Etching, Landscape with Two Farms

The Obelisk’s Quarterly Review continues today with day two of five. I don’t mind telling you — in fact I’m pretty happy to tell you — that this one’s all over the place. Black metal, post-metal, singer-songwriter stuff, psych jams, heavy rock. I feel like I’ve had to go to great pains not to use the word “weird” like 17 times. But I guess that’s what’s doing it for me these days. The universe has plenty of riffs. All the better when they start doing something different or new or even just a little strange. I think, anyhow. Alright, enough lollygagging. Time to dive in.

Quarterly Review #11-20:

Wolves in the Throne Room, Thrice Woven

wolves in the throne room thrice woven

True, it’s something of a cliché when it comes to Wolves in the Throne Room to think of their work as “an awaited return,” and perhaps that speaks to the level of anticipation with which their outings are greeted generally. Nonetheless, Thrice Woven arrives via the band’s own Artemisia Records six years after Celestial Lineage, their last proper full-length, and three after its companion, Celestite (review here), so the five-track/42-minute offering from the USBM innovators is legitimately due. The Washington-based troupe’s black-metal-of-the-land remains heavily focused on atmosphere, with a sharp, experimental-feeling turn to ambience and melody in opener “Born from the Serpent’s Eye” and the later drone interlude “Mother Owl, Father Ocean” that precedes the rampaging closer “Fires Roar in the Palace of the Moon,” which caps Thrice Woven with a long fade into the sound of rolling waves. Between them, “The Old Ones are with Us” casts a vision of blackened folk-doom that seems to pull off what Agalloch was always aiming for, and centerpiece “Angrboda” blasts through an early wash before splitting near the midsection to minimalism and rebuilding itself on a slow march. 15 years on from their beginning, Wolves in the Throne Room still sound like no one else, and continue to push themselves forward creatively.

Wolves in the Throne Room on Thee Facebooks

Artemisia Records on Bandcamp

 

Gravy Jones, Funeral Pyre

gravy jones funeral pyre

It’s a crazy world into which Gravy Jones invite their listeners on their self-issued debut full-length, Funeral Pyre, and the fire they bring is born of a molten classic psychedelic rock underpinned by low end weight and further distinguished by its use of organ and proto-metallic vocal proclamations. Opener and longest track (immediate points) “Heavens Bliss” tops 10 minutes in its weirdo roll, and subsequent cuts “The Burning of the Witch” and “It Came from the Sea” do little to dispel the off-center vibe, the former dug into rawer NWOBHM-ism and the latter, the centerpiece of the five-tracker, beaming in from some kind of alt-universe Deep Purple idolatry to lead into the particularly doomed “Gilgamesh” and the shuffle-into-noisefest onslaught of the closing title-track. All told it’s 41 minutes of bizarre excursion that’s deceptively cohesive and feels like the start of a longer-term sonic exploration. Whether or not Gravy Jones even out sound-wise or hold to such an unhinged vibe, they definitely pique interest here.

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Gravy Jones on Bandcamp

 

Marmora, Criterion

marmora criterion

Criterion – yes, like the collection – is the debut EP from Chicago four-piece Marmora, who released a single in 2013 before the core brotherly trio of Zaid (guitar), Alejandro (bass) and Ulysses (drums) Salazar hooked up with vocalist/guitarist/synthesist Allan Cardenas in 2015. The three-tracker that has resulted begins with its title-cut, which thrusts forth a wash of heavy post-rock that makes an impression in weight as much as space before turning to the more grounded, propulsive, aggressive and punkishly noise-caked “Apathy” and closer “Flowers in Your Garden,” which turns traditional heavy rock riffery on its head with frenetic drum work and rhythmic turns that feel born of modern progressive metal. Significant as the crunch factor and aggro pulsations are, Criterion isn’t at all without a corresponding sense of atmosphere, and though there isn’t much tying these three tracks together, for a first EP, there doesn’t need to be. Let that come later. For now, the boot to the ass is enough.

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Marmora on Bandcamp

 

Mouth, Live ’71

mouth live 71

Perhaps in part as a holdover between their 2017 second album, Vortex (review here), and the impending Floating to be issued in 2018, German progressive retroists Mouth offer Live ’71. No, it was not actually recorded in 1971. Nor, to my knowledge, was it recorded in 2071 and sent back in time in a slingshot maneuver around the sun. It’s just a play on the raw, captured-from-the-stage sound of the 55-minute set, which opens at a 19-minute sprawl with “Vortex” itself and only deep-dives further from there, whether it’s into the keyboard throb of “Parade,” the nuanced twists of “Into the Light” or the more straightforward riffing of “On the Boat.” There’s room for all this scope and the stomp of “Master Volume Voice” in a Mouth set, it would seem, and if Live ’71 is indeed a stopgap, it’s one that shows off the individualized personality of the long-running band who seem to still be exploring even as they approach the 20-year mark.

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Mouth on Bandcamp

 

Les Lekin, Died with Fear

les lekin died with fear

A second full-length from Austrian heavy psych trio Les Lekin, Died with Fear is perhaps more threatening in its title than in its overall aesthetic. The four inclusions on the 43-minute follow-up to 2014’s All Black Rainbow Moon (review here) set their mission not necessarily in conveying terror or some overarching sense of darkness – though low end is a major factor throughout – as in cosmic hypnosis born of repetition and chemistry-fueled heavy psychedelic progressivism. Well at home in the extended and atmospheric “Orca” (10:41), “Inert” (10:21), “Vast” (8:59) and “Morph” (13:34), the three-piece of guitarist Peter G., bassist Beat B. and drummer Kerstin W. recorded live and in so doing held fast to what feels very much like a natural and developing dynamic between them, their material all the more fluid for it but carrying more of a sense of craft than most might expect from a release that, ostensibly, is based around jams. Sweeping and switched-on in kind, Died with Fear turns out to be remarkably vibrant for something under a banner so grim.

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Tonzonen Records webstore

 

Leather Lung, Lost in Temptation

leather lung lost in temptation

Oh, they’re mad about it, to be sure. I’m not sure what ‘it’ ultimately is, but whatever, it’s got Leather Lung good and pissed off. Still, the Boston-based onslaught specialists’ debut full-length, Lost in Temptation, has more to its cacophony than sheer violence, and though that intelligence is somewhat undercut by the hey-check-it-out-it’s-cartoon-tits-and-also-because-snakes-are-like-wieners cover art, the marriage between fuckall noise intensity on “Gin and Chronic” and trades between growl-topped thrust and more open and melodic plod on “Shadow of the Scythe” and upbeat rock on “Momentum of Misfortune.” Put it in your “go figure” file that the closer “Destination: Void,” which is marked as an outro, is the longest inclusion on the 28-minute offering, but by then due pummel has been served throughout pieces like “Deaf Adder” and “Freak Flag” amid the willful stoner idolatry of “The Spice Melange,” so there’s texture in the assault as well. Yeah though, that cover. Woof.

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Leather Lung on Bandcamp

 

Torso, Limbs

torso limbs

I won’t deny the strength of approach Austria’s Torso demonstrate across Limbs, their StoneFree Records debut LP, in the straightforward structures of songs like “Meaning Existence” or “Mirror of My Mind” or “Skinny and Bony” and the semi-acoustic penultimate grown-up-grunge alternarocker “Down the Highway,” but it’s hard to listen to the nine-minute spread of “Red Moon” in the midsection of the album and not come away from its patient psychedelic execution thinking of it as a highlight. Shades of post-rock and moodier fare make themselves known in “Come Closer” and the righteously melodic “Ride Up,” and closer “Voices” delivers a resounding payoff, but it’s “Red Moon” that summarizes the atmospheric and emotional scope with which Torso are working and most draws together the various elements at play into a cohesive singularity. One hopes it’s a model they’ll follow going forward, but neither should doing so necessarily draw away from the songwriting prowess they show here. It’s a balance that, having been struck, feels ready to be manipulated.

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StoneFree Records website

 

Jim Healey, Just a Minute More

jim healey just a minute more

Companioned immediately by a digital release of the demos on which it’s based, including four other songs that didn’t make the cut of the final, studio-recorded EP, Jim Healey’s Just a Minute More conveys its sense of longing in the title and moves quickly to stake its place in a long-running canon of singer-songwriterisms. Healey, known for fronting metal and heavy rock acts like We’re all Gonna Die, Black Thai, Set Fire, etc., could easily come across as a case of dual personality in the sweetly, unabashedly sentimental, acoustic-based opener “The Road” or the more-plugged-in “You and I” at the outset, but in the fuzzed-out centerpiece “Swamp Thing,” the emotionally weighted memorable hook of “Faced,” and the piano-topped payoff of closer “Burn Up,” the 18-minute EP unfurls a sense of variety and a full-band sound that sets the project Jim Healey on its own course even apart from the man himself. Some of those other demos aren’t too bad either. Just saying.

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Jim Healey on Bandcamp

 

Daxma, The Head Which Becomes the Skull

daxma-the-head-which-becomes-the-skull

Signed to Magnetic Eye for the release, Oakland post-metal five-piece Daxma answer the ambition of their half-hour single-song 2016 debut EP, The Nowhere of Shangri-La, with the even-fuller-length The Head Which Becomes the Skull, demonstrating a clear intent toward sonic patience and ambient reach that balances subtle builds and crashes with engaging immersiveness and nod. Three of the six total inclusions top 10 minutes, and within opener “Birth” (10:53), “Abandoning All Hope” (11:34) and the penultimate “Our Lives Will be Erased by the Shifting Sands of the Desert” (13:42), one finds significant breadth, but not to be discounted either are the roll of “Wanderings/Beneath the Sky,” the avant feel of the closing title-track or even the 80-second drone interlude “Aufheben,” which like all that surrounds it, feeds into a consuming ambience that undercuts the notion of The Head Which Becomes the Skull as a debut album for its purposefulness and evocative soundscaping.

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Magnetic Eye Records on Bandcamp

 

The Re-Stoned, Chronoclasm

the re-stoned chronoclasm

For their first new outing since they revisited their debut EP in 2016 with Reptiles Return (review here), Moscow instrumentalists The Re-Stoned cast forth Chronoclasm, a six-track long-player of new material recorded over 2015 and 2016 that ties together its near-hour-long runtime with a consistency of guitarist Ilya Lipkin’s lead tone and a steady interweaving of acoustic elements. “Human Without Body,” “Save Me Under the Emerald Glass,” “Psychedelic Soya Barbecue” and the title-track seem to have some nuance of countrified swing to their groove, but it’s lysergic swirl that ultimately rules the day throughout Chronoclasm, Yaroslav Shevchenko’s drums keeping the material grounded around Lipkin’s guitar and Vladimir Kislyakov’s bass. The trio are joined on percussion by Evgeniy Tkachev on percussion for the CD bonus track “Quartz Crystals,” which picks up from the quiet end of “Chronoclasm” itself and feels like a nine-minute improve extension of its serene mood, adding further progressive sensibility to an already wide scope.

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TarLung Release New Album Beyond the Black Pyramid

Posted in Whathaveyou on June 15th, 2017 by JJ Koczan

tarlung

There are some for whom the deathly growls that permeate TarLung‘s second full-length, Beyond the Black Pyramid, will simply be too much. That’s fine. I don’t think a band takes on a sound like theirs anyway if mass-accessibility is a huge concern. The record, which is the follow-up to the Vienna, Austria, trio’s 2014 self-titled debut (review here) and the 2016 self-produced Void EP, is out now via Black Bow Records and can be streamed in its entirety through the band’s page on Bandcamp, where the CD version is also available.

If you heard the first record, the new one is a noteworthy progression in sound from the Southern-style sludge previously on offer, more atmospheric and richer on the whole in terms of tone. As someone who digs the occasional blend of fuzz and gurgle, it’s kind of hard not to be charmed by what TarLung are doing. Again, I know it’s not for everyone, but it’s a good time from where I sit.

The PR wire has more info:

tarlung-beyond-the-black-pyramid

TARLUNG (Austria) – ‘Beyond The Black Pyramid’

Dense and suffocating, TARLUNG’s music crawls along ponderously, squeezing the life out of its listeners. This kind of expression in sludge is rarely done but ends up being most satisfying. The riffs command the direction, as within the mire of the deafening sludge you have catchy hooks and memorable tunes. Influences from closely related genres such as death metal and even stoner doom coalesce to form their monolithic sound. This is the band’s latest full length album and it lays waste to everything else they’ve done before. Listen to one of the heaviest albums in this style and quiver under its might.

Track list:
1. It Waits In The Dark 01:50
2. Dying Of The Light 08:16
3. Mud Town 06:27
4. Kings And Graves 09:47
5. The Prime Of Your Existence 10:56
6. Resignation 04:02
7. Born Dead 09:13
8. Beyond The Black Pyramid 07:29
9. Karma 08:21

Line up:
Rotten – Guitars
Marian Waibl – Drums
Phillip “Five” Seiler – Guitars and Vocals

Artwork – Alex Eckman Lawn (DEFEATED SANITY, MARUTA, KREIG, ZEALOTRY)

https://www.facebook.com/tarlungband
https://tarlung.bandcamp.com/
http://www.blackbowrecords.com/

TarLung, Beyond the Black Pyramid (2017)

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Succopuss Premiere “Back in Hell” Video; Self-Titled EP out March 31

Posted in Bootleg Theater on March 24th, 2017 by JJ Koczan

succopuss

It starts out innocently enough — easy taps on the ride cymbal, a smoky, bluesy, Mark Lanegan-style vocal delivery — smooth in its inclusion of sax, in its tone and overall execution. But the song is called “Back in Hell,” so you you know trouble’s not far off, and indeed, Vienna duo Succopuss raise a bit of it before they’re through. The song comes from their upcoming StoneFree Records self-titled EP, set to release March 31 as a limited four-song 10″ vinyl. Heavy blues is the foundation but not necessarily the limit of what vocalist/guitarist Tobias Paul and drummer Krystof Hümer bring to bear in the track, and from the classic reefer-in-the-dancehall feel of the transition to the chorus to the deceptively thick guitar push that serves as payoff, “Back in Hell” plays cleverly around notions of sonic heft throughout its six-plus minutes.

As to how “Back in Hell” might stand in line with its companion cuts “Succopuss,” “Death Groove” and “Black Flash,” I don’t know as I haven’t heard the full release, but “Black Flash” and maybe the eponymous opener (though it was spelled differently) could also be found on the band’s 2013 debut full-length, Austrian Power Kush, albeit in much rawer form. Much rawer. Like garage rock. Maybe that vibe shows up in the Succopuss EP as well, but “Back in Hell” plays it with a cooler and more patient head on the whole and a fuller sound, and so makes a fitting introduction if you, like me, are taking on the band for the first time with the new offering. Likewise, the video by Christian Fischer is pastoral in its vibe emphasizing a visual flow that feeds off the energy of the song while engaging its own narrative.

If you think you might be able to dig it — and if you do, you just might — you can check out the clip for “Back in Hell” below. More info, preorder links for Succopuss‘ Succopuss EP, and other whatnot follow beneath, courtesy of the PR wire.

Hope you enjoy:

Succopuss, “Back in Hell” official video

Video-Premiere for the first Single “Back In Hell” of their upcoming EP shot by Filmmaker CHRISTIAN FISCHER.

Succopuss is the name of a rock and roll, stoner, blues duo based in Vienna, founded after Tobias Paul (vocals, guitar) and Krystof Hümer (drums) met each other at a nightclub in their hometown 2013, one dressed up as a sailorman and the other as Nick Cave. Tobias’ 24-year-old voice sounding more like he had already lived decades of rock and roll lifestyle, complementary to Krystof’s drumming, a rhythmic eardrum stimulating penetration.

Their notorious live performances, with jam passages often resulting in more or less obvious acoustic sexual innuendos, are a damage of space and time, causing the crowd flashbacks to a more analog era, when psychedelics were taken before breakfast.

They recorded their “Succopuss EP” which will be released soon as a limited 10″ Vinyl Version (Black/Mint)

Tracklisting:
Succopuss
Death Groove
Back In Hell
Black Flesh

Pre-Order for Succopuss 10” is available now and comes in a tasty limited edition via StoneFree Records, Artwork done by KVSH:
Limited to 300 Pieces – 10″ Black Vinyl 33rpm
Limited to 200 Pieces – 10″ Mint Vinyl 33rpm

Pre-Order:
http://www.stonefree.co.at/succopuss10inch.html
https://succopuss.bandcamp.com/album/succopuss-succopuss-10

Release set to 31st of March 2017

Succopuss is:
Krystof Hümer – drums, percussions
Tobias Paul – vocals, guitar

Succopuss on Thee Facebooks

Succopuss on Bandcamp

Succopuss at StoneFree Records

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