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.

Gravy Jones on Thee Facebooks

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.

Marmora on Thee Facebooks

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.

Mouth on Thee Facebooks

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.

Les Lekin on Thee Facebooks

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.

Leather Lung on Thee Facebooks

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.

Torso on Thee Facebooks

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.

Jim Healey on Thee Facebooks

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.

Daxma on Thee Facebooks

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.

The Re-Stoned on Thee Facebooks

Oak Island Records on Thee Facebooks

 

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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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Pastor Premiere Title-Track of Debut LP Evoke; Album out Aug. 17

Posted in audiObelisk on July 17th, 2015 by JJ Koczan

pastor-(Photo-by-Thomas-Shellraiser)-cropped

Austrian four-piece Pastor will make their full-length debut one month from today — that’s Aug. 17, if you don’t feel like checking the calendar — with Evoke, pressed in an edition of 500 LPs by Who Can You Trust? Records with cover art by the esteemed Adam Burke. A quick-running 29 minutes, the album nonetheless finds plenty of time to nestle itself into a classically-minded groove, the Vienna outfit putting together seven tracks that toe the line betwixt ’70s boogie and what would later become doom, managing to bring to mind a retro spirit — you might say they evoke it — without delving as far as some into retro fetishism. In addition, a punkish snottiness in side B’s “Moving On” adds a sense of attitude to go with the prevalent swing in the rhythm section of bassist Georg drummer Alex, which is a major factor throughout and puts Pastor in line with the likes of Denmark’s Demon Head in an up and coming push of Pentagram-influenced heaviness.

Vocalist/guitarist Arik and guitarist Shardik take forward position as the riffs lead the charge on the opening chug of “Voodoo,” but immediately the bass and drums play a key role in setting the heavy course and opening into the more rushing verse, weighted, swinging and talking of demons and things from “the other side.” A roll familiar in some aspects pastor evokeensues, but Pastor bring a sense of presence to the material as well, and that thread continues to develop as “Voodoo” feeds into “Drowning Thoughts,” the songs feeling open despite a defined structure thanks in no small part to that rhythmic surefootedness. The story was much the same with their 2014 single, Wayfaring Stranger/The Oath (review here), which Who Can You Trust? also released, but of course the vibe of a full-length is different. “Wolf Vein” nods at the chug of “Hand of Doom” before shifting into a dual-guitar shuffle, replete with wah, soaked in vibe, and “Wicked Whispers” closes out side A with a proto-metallic gallop that finds Arik going a little guttural in his delivery in order to further the doomed feel.

“Moving On” kicks the second, shorter half of Evoke into immediate groove, marked out by fluid leads, the prior-noted punker edge, and a particularly memorable course of starts and stops, while “Devil’s Reef” pushes through early shuffle toward a slowdown in its second half that provides the foundation for a bluesy last-minute solo, the lyrics earlier in the track urging the listener to “be forewarned” in a well placed dogwhistle reference for the also-converted. And with “Evoke” itself, everything gets tied together, but a darkened swing still moves, and Arik pushes his vocals past the breaking point in delivering the title-line over winding Iommic riffery. Traditional in its overall approach, the album nonetheless carries a fresh feel in its stylized restlessness, and as Pastor‘s debut long-player, it finds them utterly cognizant of where they want to be as a band and the kind of ambience they want their material to… well, you know what I’m going to say.

Today I have the pleasure of hosting opener “Voodoo” as a track premiere to herald the album’s arrival one month from today. Evoke is available now to preorder from Who Can You Trust?, and Pastor will tour in Europe with Black Wizard beginning in Sept. A quote from Alex on the album’s making, the tour dates, the preorder link and more info follow the song on the player below.

Please enjoy:

RELEASE DATE: August 17th

Released in an edition of 500 copies on black vinyl.

“Evoke is basically a collection of our heaviest riffs we jammed in our rehearsal room and it’s raw,” explains drummer Alex. “It was recorded without a click track because let’s be honest, life won’t play to a steady beat either. We also didn’t do any of the usual post production fancy stuff because that’s just not us. Some of them songs were written in a hellish atmosphere, during the summer and some of them during the frosty days of a Vienna winter. I think you can hear that difference on the album pretty well. We entered the mighty halls of Elephant West Studios, with lady Sabina Sloth on the throne, chugged down some beers and just played all together in one room. We are more than excited about the result and the artwork, which was crafted by none other than Adam Burke. So sit back and turn your speakers all the way up until your whole neighborhood joins you for a drink. Enjoy the sounds of Evoke.”

“Evoke” track list:
SIDE A
A1 VOODOO
A2 DROWNING THOUGHTS
A3 WOLF VEIN
A4 WICKED WHISPERS
SIDE B
B1 MOVING ON
B2 DEVILS REEF
B3 EVOKE

Pastor Euro tour with Black Wizard:
Thu – 10.09 AUT – Graz @ Club Volt
Fri – 11.09 AUT – Linz @ Ann And Pat
Sat – 12.09 AUT – Innsbruck @ Prometheus
Sun – 13.09 – TBA
Mon – 14.09 – TBA
Tue – 15.09 AUT – Vienna @ Arena Beisl
Wed – 16.09 GER – Berlin @ Cortina Bob
Thu – 17.09 – TBA
Fri – 18.09 – TBA
Sat – 19.09 GER – Erfurt @ Cafe Tiko
Sun – 20.09 – TBA
Mon – 21.09 – TBA
Tue – 22.09 GER – Essen @ Panic Room
Wed – 23.09 – TBA
Thu – 24.09 SWI – Geneva @ L’Usine
Fri – 25.09 SWI – Olten @ Coq D’Or
Sat – 26.09 BEL – Arlon @ L’Entrepot
Sun – 27.09 BEL – Kortrijk @ The Pits
Sun – 27.09 BEL – Antwerp @ Music City
Mon – 28.09 – TBA
Tue – 29.09 ITA – Bologna @ Freak Out
Wed – 30.09 ITA – Bibione (VE) @ Beach Invaders Music Bar
Thu – 01.10 SLO – Ljubljana @ Channel Zero
Fri – 02.10 SLO – Ilirska Bistrica @ MKNZ
Sat – 03.10 ITA – Trieste @ Tetris Club

Pastor is:
Arik – vox/guitar
Shardik – guitar
Georg – bass
Alex – drums

Evoke Preorders

Pastor on Thee Facebooks

Pastor on Bandcamp

Who Can You Trust? Records BigCartel Store

Who Can You Trust? Records on Thee Facebooks

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Pastor to Release Debut LP Evoke Aug. 17

Posted in Whathaveyou on July 2nd, 2015 by JJ Koczan

pastor

Austrian shuffle-prone trad heavy rockers Pastor announce that their full-length debut, Evoke, is set to arrive next month via Who Can You Trust? Records. You might recall the same label issued their 2014 7″ Wayfaring Stranger/The Oath (review here), but the LP is all new material, and though it shares cover art by Adam Burke in common with the preceding single, it’s far more cohesive stylistically, Pastor sounding sure of who they are as a band and what they want their songs to do across the relatively brief 29-minute span of the album.

I’ll be doing a track premiere in a couple weeks for one of the seven inclusions — not sure which yet, though I’m digging the title-track at the moment — so expect more on Evoke to come, but by way of an early heads up, here’s the album info, some comment from drummer Alex about making the record and the dates for Pastor‘s upcoming European tour with Black Wizard, set to begin Sept. 10.

All, of course, off the PR wire:

pastor evoke

“Evoke” is the debut full-length of Pastor from Vienna, Austria. It is the follow-up to last years debut 7″ that featured the tracks “Wayfaring Stranger” and “The Oath”. The album will be released on August 17th through Who Can You Trust? Records in an Edition of 500 LPs on black Vinyl!

“It was done within five days,” says drummer Alex. “The recording dates were set pretty quickly after we decided to hit the studio so we had no time to work on the songs or think a lot about details, but we wanted it just that way. Chris from Who Can You Trust? Records was down with us again and we just had to do it. Evoke is basically a collection of our heaviest riffs we jammed in our rehearsal room and it’s raw. It was recorded without a click track because let’s be honest, life won’t play to a steady beat either. We also didn’t do any of the usual post production fancy stuff because that’s just not us.”

“Some of them songs were written in a hellish atmosphere during the summer and some of them during the frosty days of a Vienna winter,” he continues. “I think you can hear that difference on the album pretty well. We entered the mighty halls of Elephant West Studios, with lady Sabina Sloth on the throne, chugged down some beers and just played all together in one room. We are more than excited about the result and the artwork, which was crafted by none other than Adam Burke. So sit back and turn your speakers all the way up until your whole neighborhood joins you for a drink. Enjoy the sounds of Evoke.”

“Evoke” track list:
SIDE A
A1 VOODOO
A2 DROWNING THOUGHTS
A3 WOLF VEIN
A4 WICKED WHISPERS
SIDE B
B1 MOVING ON
B2 DEVILS REEF
B3 EVOKE

Pastor Euro tour with Black Wizard:
Thu – 10.09 AUT – Graz @ Club Volt
Fri – 11.09 AUT – Linz @ Ann And Pat
Sat – 12.09 AUT – Innsbruck @ Prometheus
Sun – 13.09 – TBA
Mon – 14.09 – TBA
Tue – 15.09 AUT – Vienna @ Arena Beisl
Wed – 16.09 GER – Berlin @ Cortina Bob
Thu – 17.09 – TBA
Fri – 18.09 – TBA
Sat – 19.09 GER – Erfurt @ Cafe Tiko
Sun – 20.09 – TBA
Mon – 21.09 – TBA
Tue – 22.09 GER – Essen @ Panic Room
Wed – 23.09 – TBA
Thu – 24.09 SWI – Geneva @ L’Usine
Fri – 25.09 SWI – Olten @ Coq D’Or
Sat – 26.09 BEL – Arlon @ L’Entrepot
Sun – 27.09 BEL – Kortrijk @ The Pits
Sun – 27.09 BEL – Antwerp @ Music City
Mon – 28.09 – TBA
Tue – 29.09 ITA – Bologna @ Freak Out
Wed – 30.09 ITA – Bibione (VE) @ Beach Invaders Music Bar
Thu – 01.10 SLO – Ljubljana @ Channel Zero
Fri – 02.10 SLO – Ilirska Bistrica @ MKNZ
Sat – 03.10 ITA – Trieste @ Tetris Club

Pastor is:
Arik – vox/guitar
Shardik – guitar
Georg – bass
Alex – drums

https://www.facebook.com/pastoraustria
http://pastor.bandcamp.com/
http://whocanyoutrustrec.bigcartel.com/
http://www.facebook.com/pages/Who-Can-You-Trust-Records/187406787966906

Pastor, Wayfaring Stranger b/w The Oath (2014)

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The Obelisk Radio Adds: Mugstar & The Cosmic Dead, Goya, Gangrened, Attalla and TarLung

Posted in Radio on December 19th, 2014 by JJ Koczan

the obelisk radio

I’ve been listening to The Obelisk Radio a lot this week, particularly while starting to put together my top albums of 2014 list, so it seemed only appropriate to get a new round of adds up to the server. As we come to the end of the year, there’s always a slowdown in terms of releases, but if I had to put a number to it, I’d call it a 10, maybe 20 percent drop at most. If it was running water and you were looking at it, you’d notice no difference. A flood is still a flood.

As such, 14 records joined the server today. Some are recently reviewed, some aren’t out yet, some have been out for a little bit. It’s a solid batch of stuff, and if you haven’t yet had enough of lists — more to come, believe me — it’s worth a look at the Playlist and Updates Page. The amount of stuff on there is staggering. It’s a wonder the radio stream manages to fit in so much Clutch at all.

Let’s get to it.

The Obelisk Radio Adds for Dec. 19, 2014:

Mugstar & The Cosmic Dead, Split LP

Mugstar & Cosmic Dead Split LP

Two sides, one song from each band, each a massive slab of a jam. Glasgow’s The Cosmic Dead and Liverpool’s Mugstar make a solid pairing, and by solid I definitely mean liquid, and by liquid I mean that’s what your brains will be by the time Mugstar‘s “Breathing Mirror” (18:42) and The Cosmic Dead‘s “Fukahyoocastulah” (25:51) are done. Instrumental in their entirety and jammed out on a subspace frequency that I only imagine they can already hear in the Delta Quadrant — and no doubt they’re wondering what the title of The Cosmic Dead‘s contribution means exactly — both cuts share an affinity for progressive heavy psych exploration, kosmiche and krautrock alike, but with a fresh take on the classic idea of we’re-gonna-get-in-a-room-and-this-is-what-happens that runs through, whether it’s in the drone midsection of “Breathing Mirror” after the jam has died down and before its resurgence, or the later reaches of “Fukayoocastulah,” which rest on the nigh-eternal bassline that’s steady enough to hold the course despite the various effects freakouts, slow swirls and experiments happening around it. About 45 minutes solid of primo heavy jamming? Sign me up. Mugstar’s website, on Bandcamp, The Cosmic Dead on Thee Faceboks, on Bandcamp.

Goya, Satan’s Fire

Goya Satan's Fire

Eleven-minute opener “Malediction and Death” makes its primary impression in its consuming tonality — a harsh but encompassing low end that emerges out of the initial cavalcade of feedback starting the song. The first three minutes of “Malediction and Death” are noise before Phoenix’s Goya kick in their riff, drums and vocals, sounding as huge on the Satan’s Fire EP as on their preceding split with Wounded Giant (review here) but perhaps even more malevolent as they continue to find their place within wizard doom, marked out by the two-at-once solo shredding of guitarist/vocalist Jeff Owens, the lurching rhythm behind him and the swing of drummer Nick Lose, whose snare punctuates “Malediction and Death” like a life-preserver tossed into the abyss. Unsurprisingly, they end noisy. “Symbols” picks up with two minutes of sparse, atmospheric drumming, and the title-track (5:58) finishes with a tale of antichristianity, dropping out of life, and watching the world fall apart. Doom? Yes. Perhaps not as patient as “Malediction and Death,” “Satan’s Fire” itself offers suitable heat, and delivered through amps that likewise sound about ready to melt, provides a memorable impression even beyond its Oborn-style hook. Goya on Thee Facebooks, on Bandcamp.

Attalla, Attalla

Attalla Attalla

Somewhere between classic doom and more aggressive, hardcore punk-derived noise, Oshkosh, Wisconsin, four-piece Attalla are the kind of band who could probably release nothing but 7″ singles for the next five years and still make a go of it. As it stands, their self-titled debut offers a stirring rawness in the dual guitars that reminds there’s more ways to make an impact tonally than just with volume or fuzz. Their roots are in punk, and that’s plain enough to hear in lead guitarist Cody Stieg‘s vocals on songs like “Light” and “Lust,” but “Haze” nestles into a stoner groove late that suits Attalla well, and the later “Veil” offers charged propulsion in the drums of Aaron Kunde, whose snare sound is tinny but fitting with the sans-frills stylings of Stieg, rhythm guitarist Brian Hinckley and bassist Bryan Kunde. Some variation in tempo throughout changes things up, but a particularly triumphant moment comes with the raw Slayer-esque foreboding (think slow Slayer) that begins “Doom,” a fitting closer to Attalla‘s Attalla with its subtly complex stylistic blend and relatively barebones presentation. I’m not sure where Attalla go from here in terms of developing their sound, but the debut offers reason enough to want to find out. Attalla on Thee Facebooks, on Bandcamp.

TarLung, TarLung

TarLung TarLung

If you played me TarLung‘s TarLung debut full-length and told me the trio were from North Carolina, I’d undoubtedly believe you. In fact, they hail from Vienna, Austria, but just so happen to have the Southern sludge ideology nailed down on their first offering. Roots in Crowbar and Eyehategod and Sourvein can be heard throughout, big nod, harsh vocals, weighted plod. The guitars of Rotten and Phillipp “Five“ Seiler (the latter also vocals) brings in some of that Pepper Keenan-style Southern riffing, on “Last Breath” particularly, but the bulk of what they and drummer Marian Waibl get up to on these seven tracks is rawer and nastier, the album’s last three cuts — “Apeplanet,” “Black Forest” and “Space Caravan” — providing the best glimpse at TarLung‘s effective aesthetic interpretation. Tonally and methodologically sound, what remains for them to do is hone a more individualized approach, but particularly for a self-released first album, the crisp harshness they convey on the centerpiece “C2” — a kind of maddening high pitch running throughout — satisfies when taken on its own level, and among the three-piece’s assets, their lack of pretense will no doubt serve them well moving forward. TarLung on Thee Facebooks, on Bandcamp.

Gangrened, We are Nothing

Gangrened We are Nothing

Proffering lurching, aggressive sludge over three tracks arranged longest to shortest, Finnish trio Gangrened conjure sweeping chaos on We are Nothing, blatantly contradicting the title of the release despite whatever riff-laden nihilism might be at work philosophically. Among the most telling moments on the release — which follows a split tape from the four piece of  vocalist Ollijuhani Kujansivu, guitarist/bassist Andreas Österlund, guitarist Jon Imbernon and drummer Owe Inborr, who’ve since traded out their rhythm section — is the opening sample of “Them” in which a man in a Southern US accent rants in paranoid rage about helicopters flying over his property, indicative of some conspiracy or other. In both their influence and their execution, that fits Gangrened‘s overall portrayal well, but both the 12-minute opener “Lung Remover” and closing semi-Black Flag cover “Kontti” (translated “24 Pack” and a feedback-soaked, sludged-up play on “Six Pack”) are pissed off enough to warrant the attention they seem to be demanding in their noisy charge, snail-paced and malevolent as it is. Gangrened on Thee Facebooks, on Bandcamp.

As always, this is just a fraction of what was added to The Obelisk Radio today. If you get the chance to check any of this stuff out, I hope you dig it, and if you decide to launch the player, I hope whatever’s playing is awesome.

Thanks for reading and listening.

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On Wax: Pastor, Wayfaring Stranger b/w The Oath 7″

Posted in On Wax on April 23rd, 2014 by JJ Koczan

On their debut single for Who Can You Trust? Records, Austrian four-piece Pastor — and just to save you the trouble of trying to seek them out on Thee Facebooks, here’s the link — run pretty quickly through a barrage of doom and classic heavy rock influences. Throughout the just-over-eight-minute Wayfaring Stranger b/w The Oath 7″, one can hear traces of early Pentagram‘s post-Sabbath doom rock, metered out with ’70s swing and swagger that makes the most of a catchy, nod-ready groove and immediately strong rhythmic sensibility. It’s worth emphasizing that the A-side is not a cover of the traditional ballad — the most memorable version I can think of for “Wayfaring Stranger” was by 16 Horsepower, but plenty of people have done it, including Johnny Cash — and that the B-side is not referring to the German doom/cult rock outfit so far as I can tell. Both songs are originals and delivered with a brash tossed-off feel that speaks to some roots in punk and keeps a natural, live feel to the recording.

The band is a two-guitar four-piece based out of Vienna, comprised of the first-name-only lineup of guitarist/vocalist Arik, guitarist Shardik, bassist Georg and drummer Alex. Once again, this single is their first release, but arriving in a sleeve that unfolds to show a full piece by Adam Burke on the outside and a picture of the band on the inside, they’ve put together a presentation that stands the two tracks out as something more professional than a demo that got picked up by a label, though the effect is still basically giving an introductory sample to what Pastor are shooting for sonically in their early stages. To that end, “Wayfaring Stranger” greets with motoring stomp, natural echo on the vocals and an underlying grit that pans out in winding riffs, lead/rhythm interplay and a sense of rush in the chorus that’s not actually overly fast, the midsection opening to a groove that would be begging for vinyl pressing if it wasn’t already done. They finish the A-side big — no surprise there — and pick up after the platter flip with more ’70s-stylized hijinks with “The Oath.”

Some of the doomly feel is maintained, but “The Oath” builds on its companion track with even more swagger, shifting near its own middle to a Radio Moscow-esque thrust of heavy psych, Arik donning a similar bluesy inflection to Parker Griggs. Crashing back to the reality of the heavy-landing central groove, Pastor once again seem to turn up as the “The Oath” boogies to its finish, but the blues-by-doom impression is made, and without giving themselves wholly over to the post-Graveyard/Kadavar school of retro worship, the foursome have nonetheless managed to hone an authentic-sounding update of a familiar but still engaging vibe. The vinyl, with the 7″ itself in a white sleeve and the art from Burke surrounding, is pressed in an edition of 500 copies. If you can dig it, you might dig it.

Pastor, Wayfaring Stranger b/w The Oath (2014)

Pastor on Thee Facebooks

Pastor on Bandcamp

Who Can You Trust? Records webstore

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Wino Wednesday: Acoustic “Manifesto” in Vienna, Austria, 2010

Posted in Bootleg Theater on July 24th, 2013 by JJ Koczan

Hard to determine what’s my favorite thing about this clip of Wino performing the song “Manifesto” live at Substance Record Store in Vienna on his 2010 European tour. He laughs as he breaks a string about two minutes in, and that’s pretty enjoyable — probably less for him at the time — and he takes his guitar and walks out into the crowd, troubadour-style, toward the end. Plus the song itself, which lives up to its name in continuing Wino‘s penchant for socially conscious lyric-writing — something that arguably was most present in the word of The Hidden Hand but has been a factor all along — while the quick acoustic strumming provides a kind of tension that usually comes coated in fuzz where his songwriting is concerned.

Either way, it’s a winner, and for me, even more interesting in context. Toward the end of last year, I posted a video shot on the same tour of the same song, and he did basically the same thing — out into the crowd and all that. That video was shot in Belgium on Oct. 10. This one was Vienna just 10 days earlier, and what’s really great about it is Wino, fresh off a tour with Premonition 13, had been on the road for about two weeks at the time, so basically you get to see him become more comfortable with the idea as you go from the earlier video (this one) to the later one. Maybe that’s me putting a narrative to it, or just a bit of super-nerdery, but it’s pretty cool to see, either way, since by the time October rolled around, it was a spirited protest-song bit of populism and here it’s getting there, but not quite as triumphant yet.

Keep your eyes open for that and the broken string, and have a great Wino Wednesday:

Wino, “Manifesto” live at Substance Record Store, Vienna, Sept. 30, 2010

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