Spiral Grave Sign to Salt of the Earth Records; Premiere “Nothing” Lyric Video

Posted in Whathaveyou on April 10th, 2019 by JJ Koczan

You knew someone was going to step up and snag Spiral Grave for an initial release, whether it was Argonauta Records, with whom frontman Dee Calhoun works on his solo stuff, or Shadow Kingdom, which has in the past released outings from Iron Man, or somebody else. The label pulling this oh-so-doomly rabbit out of its hat is Salt of the Earth Records out of Connecticut, and they’ll release the band’s debut single, from which you can hear the premiere of the track “Nothing” in the lyric video at the bottom of this post.

A debut album is slated to follow either late this year or early in 2020, but Spiral Grave have been gearing up with live shows over the last month in their native Chesapeake region, and they’ll make their first appearance outside those geographical confines next month at the New England Stoner and Doom Festival, in which Salt of the Earth also has a hand. Given the band’s pedigree in Iron Man and Lord — a perennial favorite who were underrated from their outset to their demise — to say I’m looking forward to their set would be something of an understatement.

The PR wire has the signing announcement:

spiral grave

Spiral Grave – Salt of the Earth Records

SALT OF THE EARTH RECORDS is proud to announce the addition of Maryland Doom cult SPIRAL GRAVE to their roster.

Spiral Grave is comprised of the three surviving members of IRON MAN in vocalist “Screaming Mad” Dee Calhoun, bassist “Iron” Louis Strachan and drummer Mot Waldmann, as well as former LORD guitarist Willy Rivera, whose sharp-edged riffing sets the mood for the band as heavy-as-hell aggressive doom.

“The music Spiral Grave is creating is some of the most ferocious doom metal I have heard. Ever. They take tradition and fury, and melt them together for a devastating ride.” – Scott Of The Earth

SPIRAL GRAVE recently recorded two songs for an upcoming CD single release, which will be followed by a full-length release late-2019/early-2020. The band will be performing at The New England Stoner and Doom Festival next month (May 3-5) at Altones Music Hall in Jewett City CT. Tickets are available at www.NewEnglandStonerAndDoomFest.com

Preorder your CD Single @ www.SaltOfTheEarthRecords.com

Spiral Grave live:
May 3-5 Altone’s Music Hall Jewett City CT – New England Stoner & Doom Fest II
June 8 Guido’s Speakeasy Frederick MD

Spiral Grave is:
Screaming Mad Dee – voice
Willy Rivera – guitars
“Iron” Louis Strachan – bass
Jason “Mot” Waldmann – drums

https://www.facebook.com/SpiralGrave/
www.facebook.com/SaltOfTheEarthRec
www.saltoftheearthrecords.com

Spiral Grave, “Nothing” lyric video

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Book of Wyrms Release New Single “Spirit Drifter”

Posted in Whathaveyou on April 9th, 2019 by JJ Koczan

book of wyrms

New Book of Wyrms single at a name-your-price price, you say? Yeah, I think that’ll do nicely. The Richmond, Virginia, four-piece are releasing their second album, Remythologizer — which I promise I’ll learn to spell by the time I review it so I don’t have to keep cutting and pasting the title — this summer through purveyors of specialty tone Twin Earth Records, and they bring a nodding psych-doom groove to the “Spirit Drifter” that still manages to bask in a traditionalist hook even as it finds the band pushing itself in terms of melody and atmosphere. They call it a “freaky trip,” and that’s about as succinct as anything I could come up with, so yeah.

I haven’t seen a solid release date yet for Remythologizer — there; that time I spelled it without looking — but Stoner Witch Records will have it out on tape in addition to the CD, LP and DL through Twin Earth, so one assumes it’ll get plenty of attention one way or the other. I’ll certainly hope to have more to come on it before we get to the actual release.

Until then, the PR wire:

book of wyrms spirit drifter

BOOK OF WYRMS release new single

Doom metal band BOOK OF WYRMS have just released their stunning new single “Spirit Drifter”. The song is taken from their upcoming album Remythologizer which will be released via Twin Earth Records in summer of 2019.

The band commented, “We are proud as hell to offer up this freaky trip and grateful to everyone digging it in their starcrafts and space trucks or what have you.”

Engineered at Absolute Future Studios by Jamie Rose and Chris Ratterree; Mastered by Bryan Walthall at Stereo Image; Cover art by Barla Horn, Photography by Joey Wharton Photography.

Book of Wyrms is:
Chris DeHaven – Drums/ Percussion
Sarah Moore Lindsey – Vocals/ Synthesizer
Jay “Jake” Lindsey – Bass/ Synthesizer
Kyle Lewis – Guitar
AND
Ben Coudriet – Guitar

https://twitter.com/BookofWyrms
https://www.facebook.com/Bookofwyrms/
https://instagram.com/bookofwyrms
https://bookofwyrms.bandcamp.com/
https://www.facebook.com/twinearthrecords/
https://twinearthrecords.bandcamp.com/
twinearthrecords.storenvy.com/
https://www.facebook.com/stonerwitchrecords/
https://www.instagram.com/stonerwitchrecords/

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Quarterly Review: JOY Feat. Dr. Space, Rosetta, Pendejo, Lightsabres, Witch Hazel, CBBJ, Seedium, Vorrh, Lost Relics, Deadly Sin (Sloth)

Posted in Reviews on March 22nd, 2019 by JJ Koczan

quarterly-review-spring-2019

Day Five. What would traditionally be the end of the Quarterly Review if going to six wasn’t the new going to 11. Whatever, I can hack it. The amount of good stuff included in these batches really helps. I’m not saying there are days that are a flat-out bummer, but I feel like the proportion of times in this Quarterly Review I’ve gone, “Wow, this is pretty awesome,” has seen a definite spike this time around. I won’t complain about that. Makes the whole thing fun.

Today will be no exception, and then we finish up on Monday with the last 10. Thanks for reading if you do.

Quarterly Review #41-50:

JOY Feat. Dr. Space, Live at Roadburn 2018

joy feat dr space live at roadburn 2018

Brought together as part of the ‘San Diego Takeover’ at Roadburn 2018 that featured a host of that city’s acts performing in an even broader host of contexts, JOY and Scott “Dr. Space” Heller of Øresund Space Collective took the stage at the tiny Cul de Sac near the very end of the festival. It was how I closed out my Roadburn (review here). Dr. Space did a short spoken introduction and then they were off and they didn’t look back. The centerpiece of the limited LP is an extended jam simply titled “Jam.” It’s edited on the platter, but the digital version has the full 54 minutes, and the more the merrier. They round out with takes on Road‘s “Spaceship Earth” and JOY‘s “Miles Away,” and those are cool too, but the real highlight is about halfway through the longer “Jam” when the drums kick into the next gear and you suddenly snap out of your trance to realize how far you’ve already come. And you’re still only at the midpoint. I don’t know. Maybe you had to be there. So be there.

Øresund Space Collective on Thee Facebooks

JOY on Thee Facebooks

JOY Feat. Dr. Space at Øresund Space Collective Bandcamp

 

Rosetta, Sower of Wind

rosetta sower of wind

Philadelphia-based post-whatever-you-got outfit Rosetta continue to set their own terms with Sower of Wind, a self-recorded four-track/half-hour offering that’s something of an outgrowth of their most recent album, Utopioid. Broken into four tracks each assembled from ideas and layers churning throughout the four sections of that record, it brings out the ambient side of the band as guitarist/keyboardist/bassist Matt Weed serves as engineer for “East,” “South,” “West” and “North” as he, guitarist/keyboardist Eric Jernigan and vocalist Mike Armine — who here just adds samples and noise — construct fluid soundscapes that can either build to a head, as on “East” or offer a sense of foreboding like “West” and “North,” depending solely on the band’s will. It’s intended as an exploration, and it sounds like one, but if that wasn’t the point, Sower of Wind probably wouldn’t have been released in the first place. It’s not at all their first ambient release, but this modus continues to be viable for them creatively.

Rosetta on Thee Facebooks

Pelagic Records webstore

 

¡Pendejo!, Sin Vergüenza

pendejo sin verguenza

Whatever your current working definition might be for “over the top,” chances are Pendejo — also stylized as the exclamatory ¡Pendejo! — will make short work of it. Sin Vergüenza, their third long-player, sees release through their own Chancho Records imprint, and it’s not through opener “Don Gernàn” before the Amsterdam-based outfit break out the horns. Fronted by El Pastuso, who supplies the trumpet, the band roll through dense toned heavy rock in a crisply-executed, high-energy 10 tracks and 40 minutes that, even when you think they’re letting up, on the later “El Espejo,” they still manage to burst out a massive riff and groove in the second half. It’s the kind of record that’s breathtaking in the sense of you’re trying to run to keep up with its energy. That, however, should not be seen as undercutting the value of the band’s songwriting, which comes through regardless of language, and whether it’s the start-stops of “La Mala de la Tele” or the gleeful weirdo push of “Bulla,” Pendejo have their sonic terrain well staked out and know how to own it. They sound like a band who destroy live.

Pendejo on Thee Facebooks

Pendejo webstore

 

Lightsabres, A Shortcut to Insanity

LIGHTSABRES A SHORTCUT TO INSANITY

It’s rare for an artist to grow less predictable over time, but Lightsabres mastermind and multi-instrumentalist John Strömshed hits that standard with his former one-man outfit. Joined by session drummer Anton Nyström, Strömshed brings forth 11 tracks of genre-bending songcraft, melding fuzz and progressive folk, downer rock and thoughtful psych, garage push with punker edge, and seemingly whatever else seems to serve the best interests of the song at hand. On “Born Screaming,” that’s a turn to classical guitar plucking sandwiched on either side by massive riffs and vocals, like that of “Tangled in Barbed Wire,” remind of a fuzz-accompanied take on Life of Agony. At just 36 minutes, A Shortcut to Insanity isn’t long by any means, but it’s not an easy album to keep up with either, as Strömshed seems to dare his listenership to hold pace with his shifts through “Cave In,” rolling opener and longest track (immediate points) “From the Demon’s Mouth” and the sweetly melodic finale “Dying on the Couch,” which is perhaps cruelest of all for leaving the listener waiting for the other shoe to drop and letting that tension hang when it’s done.

Lightsabres on Thee Facebooks

DHU Records webstore

 

Witch Hazel, Otherworldly

Witch Hazel Otherworldly

Classic-style doom rockers Witch Hazel shift back and forth between early metal and heavy rock on their second full-length, Otherworldly, and the York, Pennsylvania, four-piece of vocalist Nate Tyson, guitarist Andy Craven, bassist Seibert Lowe and drummer Nicholas Zinn keep plenty of company in so doing, enlisting guest performances of organ and other keys throughout opener “Ghost & the Fly” and “Midnight Mist” and finding room for an entire horn section as they round out 11-minute closer “Devastator.” Elsewhere, “Meat for the Beast” and “Drinking for a Living” marry original-era heavy prog with more weighted impact, and “Zombie Flower Bloom” plays out like what might’ve happened if mid-’80s Ozzy had somehow invented stoner rock. So, you know, pretty awesome. The strut and shuffle of “Bled Dry” adds a bit of attitude late, but it’s really in cuts like the title-track and the aforementioned “Midnight Mist” earlier on that Witch Hazel showcase their formidable persona as a group.

Witch Hazel on Thee Facebooks

Witch Hazel on Bandcamp

 

CBBJ, 2018 Demo

CBBJ 2018 Demo

To a certain extent, what you see is what you get with CBBJ‘s 2018 Demo, right down to the wood paneling on the cover art. The band’s name — also written as CB/BJ — would seem to be taken from its members, Cox (that being Bryan Cox, founding drummer of Alabama Thunderpussy), Ball, Bone, and Jarvis, and as they look toward a Southern Thin Lizzy on demo finale “The Point of it All,” there’s something of a realization in what they’re putting together. It’s four tracks total, and finds some thrust in “Wreck You,” but keeps it wits there as well as in the sleazier nod of “The Climb” that precedes it as the opener and even in the penultimate “Can’t Go Home,” which gives booziest, earliest AC/DC a treatment of righteous bass. They’re apparently in the studio again now, or they just were, or will, or won’t, or up, or down, but whatever. Point is it’ll be worth keeping an ear out for when whatever comes next lands.

CBBJ on Thee Facebooks

CBBJ on Bandcamp

 

Seedium, Awake

seedium awake

Go on and get lost in the depths of Seedium‘s debut three-songer, Awake. The Polish outfit might be taking some cues as regards thickness from their countrymen in Dopelord or Spaceslug, but their instrumental tack on “Mist Haulers,” “Brain Eclipse” and “Ruina Cordis” oozes out of the speakers with right-on viscosity and comes across as infinitely stoned. The centerpiece tops 11 minutes and seems to indicate very little reason they couldn’t have pushed it another 10 had they so desired, and through “Ruina Cordis” is shorter at a paltry 7:08, its blasted sensibility and ending blend of spaciousness and swirl portends good things to come. With the murky first impression of “Mist Haulers” calling like a prayer bell to the riff-worshiping converted, Seedium very clearly know what they’re going for, and what remains to be seen is how their character and individual spin on that develops going forward. Still, for its tones alone, this first offering is a stunner.

Seedium on Thee Facebooks

Seedium on Bandcamp

 

Vorrh, Nomads of the Infinite Wild

vorrh nomads of the infinite wild

Programmed drumming gives Nomads of the Infinite Wild, the debut release from the Baltimore duo of Zinoosh Farbod and John Glennon an edge of dub, but the guitar work of songs like “Mercurial,” looped back on itself with leads layered overtop and Farbod‘s echoing vocals, remains broad, and the expansive of atmosphere puts them in a kind of meditative post-doom feel. Opener “Myths” strikes as a statement of purpose, and as “Morning Star” shows some Earth influence in the spaces left by Glennon‘s guitar, the band immediately uses that nuance to craft an individual identity. “Flood Plane” saunters through its instrumental trance before getting noisy briefly at the finish, only to let “These Eyes” work more effectively through a similar structure with Farbod on keys, seeming to set up the piano-foundation of “Ancient Divide,” which closes. This is a band who will benefit greatly from the fact that they record themselves, because they’ll have every opportunity to continue to experiment in the studio, which is exactly what they should be doing. In the meantime, Nomads of the Infinite Wild effectively heralds their potential for aesthetic innovation.

Vorrh on Thee Facebooks

Vorrh on Bandcamp

 

Lost Relics, 1st

lost relics 1st

Well, they didn’t call it 1st because it’s their eighth album. Denver noise rock trio Lost Relics debut with the aptly-titled 18-minute four-songer, bringing Neurosis-style vocal gutturalism to riffy crunch more reminiscent at times of Helmet‘s discordant heyday. Dense tonality and aggression pervade “Dead Men Don’t Need Silver,” “Scars,” the gets-raucous-later “Whip Rag” and closer “Face Grass,” which somehow brings a Clutch influence into this mix, and even more somehow makes it work, and then even more somehow indulges a bit of punk rock. The vocals and sense of tonal lumber tie it all together, but Lost Relics set a pretty wide base for themselves in these tracks, leaving one to wonder how the various elements at work might play out over the course of a longer release. As far as a debut EP goes, then, that’s the whole point of the thing, but something seems to be saying Lost Relics have more tricks up their sleeve than they’re showing here. One looks forward to finding out if that’s the case.

Lost Relics on Thee Facebooks

Lost Relics on Bandcamp

 

Deadly Sin (Sloth), VII: Sin Seven

deadly sin sloth vii sin seven

Deadly Sin (Sloth) play the kind of sludge that knows how well and truly fucked we are. The kind of sludge that doesn’t care who’s president because either way the chicken dinner you’re cooking is packed full of hormones. The kind of sludge that well earns its Scott Stearns tape artwork. VII: Sin Seven is not at all void of melody or purpose, as “Ripping Your Flesh” and the Danziggy “Glory Bound Grave” grimly demonstrate, but even in those moments, its intent is abrasion, and even the slower march of “Icarus” seems to scathe as much as the raw gutterpunk in “F One” and opener “Exit Ramp”‘s harshest screams. Not easy listening. Not for everybody. Not really for people. It’s a malevolent bludgeoning that even in the revivalism of “Blood Bought Church” seems only to be biding its time until the next strike. It does not wait all that long.

Deadly Sin (Sloth) on Thee Facebooks

Deadly Sin (Sloth) on Bandcamp

 

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Spiral Grave Announce First Live Shows Including New England Stoner & Doom Fest and More

Posted in Whathaveyou on March 14th, 2019 by JJ Koczan

spiral grave

With members of Iron Man and Lord coming together for the first time on stage, Spiral Grave will make their first live appearance tomorrow night, March 15, at The Depot in Baltimore. The four-piece were in the studio last month putting together a single previously teased in a rehearsal clip on thee social medias, and I’m not saying I heard the results of that session or anything, but yeah, that is what I’m saying and if their intent was as stated to capture the feel of “doom meets Dehumanizer,” they’re well on their way to that. I don’t know if they just did the one song or what — I think so, but don’t quote me — but either way, they must have at least a few songs together, since they’ve got two shows this weekend and they’ll be at New England Stoner & Doom Fest II in May and playing sets requires, you know, a set.

Still looking forward to more from these guys, and to seeing them in Connecticut:

We’re hitting the ground running…

Spiral Grave Upcoming Shows:
Friday March 15 The Depot Baltimore MD
Sunday March 17 The Pinch Washington D.C.
Saturday March 23 Bricks Staunton VA
Friday March 29 VFW 9724 Falls Church VA
May 3-5 Altone’s Music Hall Jewett City CT – New England Stoner & Doom Fest II
Saturday June 8 Guido’s Speakeasy Frederick MD

Spiral Grave is the collaboration of the members of two legendary mid-Atlantic bands: Iron Man, who disbanded in early 2018 following the death of their guitarist and founder Al Morris III, and Lord.

In mid-2018, former Lord guitarist Willy Rivera reached out to longtime friend and former Iron Man voice “Screaming Mad” Dee Calhoun about forming a new project, something that Willy described as “doom meets Dehumanizer.” Former Iron Man rhythm section “Iron” Louis Strachan (bass) and Jason “Mot” Waldmann (drums) came onboard, and Spiral Grave was born.

Spiral Grave is:
Screaming Mad Dee – voice
Willy Rivera – guitars
“Iron” Louis Strachan – bass
Jason “Mot” Waldmann – drums

https://www.facebook.com/SpiralGrave/

Spiral Grave, “Abgrund” rehearsal clip

Spiral Grave, “Nothing” rehearsal demo

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Tel Set March 29 Release for Lowlife on Aural Music

Posted in Whathaveyou on February 27th, 2019 by JJ Koczan

tel

Listening to TEL‘s 2017 single, ‘Daybreak,’ it’s easy to imagine what an engineer like Garrett Morris (also of Windhand) might be able to bring to their sound in terms of a fullness of tone and a more forward sense of volume. The Richmond, Virginia, outfit have signed to Italy’s Aural Music, thereby becoming labelmates with Messa, Imperial Triumphant and many others, and their approach indeed speaks to a measure of extremity in its doomed feel, drawing on stated influence from the emotionalism of Katatonia and the deathly ways of early Paradise Lost and blending it with the particular air of disaffection that has remained so resonant from those bands’ work in the early and mid 1990s.

The album is set to arrive on March 29, and I’ll hope to have more to come on it around then, but there hasn’t been any official audio or even a tracklist leaked as yet, so, you know, maybe they’re looking to keep it secret. That happens sometimes.

From the PR wire:

tel lowlife

TEL sign with Aural Music

Richmond VA sludge/doom metal band TEL have signed with Aural Music and will release Lowlife on March 29 2019. The album was produced by Garrett Morris (the guitarist of Windhand) and mastered by Dan Randall of Mammoth Sound Recordings (Iron Reagan, Ghoul, Cannabis Corpse).

The band commented “We are extremely excited to be releasing this album through Aural Music. Quite a few albums that we love or were inspired by have come from this label. The music on this album is incredibly personal and dear to us, so to have recorded it with one of my favorite songwriters (Garrett Morris of Windhand), and then get to release it with an international label is amazing and surreal for us.”

More information will be made available in the next few days!

TEL is:
Dante DuVall – Vocals
Michael Potts – Guitars
Ed Fierro – Bass
Matt Grigsby – Drums

https://www.facebook.com/TelRVA/
https://telrva.bandcamp.com/releases
https://www.facebook.com/auralmusicgroup/
https://www.auralmusic.com/

TEL, “Daybreak”

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Inter Arma Set April 12 Release for Sulphur English; Stream “Citadel”

Posted in Whathaveyou on February 18th, 2019 by JJ Koczan

inter arma (photo by Joey Wharton)

Richmond, Virginia-based anti-genre extremists Inter Arma will release their fourth album, Sulphur English, April 12 through Relapse Records. That’s pretty much what you need to know. There’s a new Inter Arma record. It’s coming out. If that isn’t enough of an immediate argument in favor of itself, the band have posted the new song “Citadel” with a march and underlying groove straight out of classic death metal to further their position. Their consistent refusal to settle into one style or another would seem to remain prevalent, and that’s just fine, especially because you can expect a decent amount of “Inter Arma announce tour dates” news stories forthcoming. These guys never hang around for too long.

They’ll mark Sulphur English‘s arrival at the Decibel Metal and Beer Fest — where I hear they’ll have both metal and beer — and continue to slaughter the unsuspecting from there while no doubt remaining persistently underrated for the value of the work they do in the studio and on stage.

Death. March. To oblivion:

inter arma sulphur english

INTER ARMA: Announce 4th-Studio Album Sulphur English Coming April 12; Share New Song “Citadel”

Richmond’s INTER ARMA, reigning masters of the slow build, continue to trace a distinctly ambitious trajectory through modern metal. Today, the band announces their 4th full-length offering Sulphur English, coming April 12th, 2019, and share the first single entitled “Citadel”.

Vocalist Mike Paparo comments:

“The lyrics to “Citadel” were written as a sort of clarion call to myself about overcoming depression and the demons that manifest with it. It, like most of the lyrical content on the record, is deeply personal to me.

For the band as a whole, Sulphur English is an ill-tempered, unrepentant act of defiance towards stagnation and complacency. We create this music on our own terms and we refuse to compromise our collective vision, for better or worse.”

Sulphur English is due out April 12th on CD/2xLP/Digital. Physical packages are available for pre-order via Relapse.com HERE. Digital Downloads / Streaming Services are available HERE.

Additionally, INTER ARMA have been announced for Decibel’s Metal & Beer Fest Pre-Fest and celebrate the release of Sulphur English with labelmates Integrity, Full of Hell & Devil Master. Stay tuned for more INTER ARMA live announcements in the near future.

Sulphur English Tracklist:
1. Bumgardner
2. A Waxen Sea
3. Citadel
4. Howling Lands
5. Stillness
6. Observances of the Path
7. The Atavist’s Meridian
8. Blood on the Lupines
9. Sulphur English

INTER ARMA are:
T.J. Childers – Drums, guitars, lap steel, keyboards, synthesizers, noise, vocals
Trey Dalton – Guitars, keyboards, vocals
Andrew Lacour – Bass
Mike Paparo – Vocals
Steven Russell – Guitars

http://relapse.com/inter-arma-sulphur-english/
https://www.facebook.com/INTERARMA/
https://www.instagram.com/interarmamusic/
http://interarma.bandcamp.com/

Inter Arma, “Citadel”

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Spiral Grave: New Band Brings Together Members of Iron Man and Lord

Posted in Whathaveyou on January 2nd, 2019 by JJ Koczan

The surviving members of Iron Man have announced a new project together, as vocalist “Screaming Mad” Dee Calhoun, bassist Louis Strachan and drummer Jason “Mot” Waldmann have joined with guitarist Willy Rivera, who until this past summer was one of the essential figures behind heavy thrashers Lord. The new band is called Spiral Grave, and it will mark the first outing from WaldmannStrachan and Calhoun together since the death last January of Iron Man founder “Iron” Alfred Morris IIICalhoun and Strachan — the latter of whom seems to have inherited the “Iron in front of his name, and rightly so — have continued working together on Calhoun‘s solo-project, but Spiral Grave seems much more of a full-band entity than the singer-songwriter-gone-metal-isms of Dee‘s two to-date records.

Iron Man‘s final album was 2013’s South of the Earth (review here), issued by Rise Above Records and a fitting-if-unfortunate capstone on the band’s career of more than 20 years. Lord meanwhile announced their breakup last year even as they were getting ready to release their finest album in Desperation Finds Hunger in All Men (review here), which found their oft-chaotic approach on its most solid ground while giving up none of it razor-sharp edge. Spiral Grave would seem to draw from both sides in terms of its groove, though at least in the posted rehearsal room demo for “Nothing,” the band seems to lean much more toward doom than extreme sludge or thrash, as Lord sometimes would.

But they’re a new band, so it’s up in the air where their sound and exploration of influences might take them. They’re reportedly set to hit the studio next month for a single, and then I suppose it’s on from there. The start of a New Year is always supposed to hold some kind of promise of good things to come, so here’s this:

spiral grave

Spiral Grave is the collaboration of the members of two legendary mid-Atlantic bands: Iron Man, who disbanded in early 2018 following the death of their guitarist and founder Al Morris III, and Lord.

In mid-2018, former Lord guitarist Willy Rivera reached out to longtime friend and former Iron Man voice “Screaming Mad” Dee Calhoun about forming a new project, something that Willy described as “doom meets Dehumanizer.” Former Iron Man rhythm section “Iron” Louis Strachan (bass) and Jason “Mot” Waldmann (drums) came onboard, and Spiral Grave was born.

In February 2019, Spiral Grave will record their first single, and will take to the live stage.

Spiral Grave is:
Screaming Mad Dee – voice
Willy Rivera – guitars
“Iron” Louis Strachan – bass
Jason “Mot” Waldmann – drums

https://www.facebook.com/SpiralGrave/

Spiral Grave, “Nothing” rehearsal demo

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Quarterly Review: Earthless, Satan’s Satyrs, Mantar, Child, T.G. Olson, Canyon, Circle of the Sun, Mythic Sunship, Svarta Stugan, Bast

Posted in Reviews on December 6th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

quarterly-review

There isn’t enough coffee in the universe, but I’ve got mine and I’m ready to burn the living crap out of my tongue if that’s what it takes to get through. We’ve arrived at Day 4 of the Quarterly Review, and though we’re less than halfway to the 100-album goal set by some maniac sitting at his kitchen table with a now-burnt tongue, there’s been an awful lot of good stuff so far. More even than I thought going into it, and I slate this stuff.

That said, today’s list is pretty killer. A lot of these bands will be more familiar than maybe has been the case or will be on some of the other days of this Quarterly Review. It just kind of worked out that way as I was putting it together. But hey, a few bigger bands here, a few “debut EP” demos there. It’s all good fun.

So let’s go.

Quarterly Review #31-40:

Earthless, From the West

earthless from the west

Bonus points to whatever clever cat correctly decided that Earthless‘ 2018 studio album, Black Heaven (review here), needed a companion live record. With artwork mimicking a Led Zeppelin bootleg of the same name, From the West arrives through Silver Current and Nuclear Blast capturing the most powerful of power trios earlier this year in San Francisco, and it’s like the fire emoji came to life. With Mike Eginton‘s bass as the anchor and Mario Rubalcaba‘s drums as the driving force, guitarist Isaiah Mitchell starts ripping holes in the fabric of spacetime with “Black Heaven” and doesn’t stop until 64 minutes later as “Acid Crusher” dissolves into noise. Of course “Gifted by the Wind” from the latest LP is a highlight, and suitably enough, they cover Zeppelin‘s “Communication Breakdown,” but I’m not sure anything tops the extended take on “Uluru Rock” from 2013’s From the Ages (review here) — and yes, I mean that. Of course they pair it with the 1:48 surge of “Volt Rush,” because they’re Earthless, and brilliant is what they do. Every set they play should be recorded for posterity.

Earthless website

Silver Current Records on Bandcamp

Earthless at Nuclear Blast webstore

 

Satan’s Satyrs, The Lucky Ones

satans satyrs the lucky ones

Encased in cover art that begs the Spinal Tap question, “what’s wrong with being sexy?” and the response that Fran Drescher gave it, Virginia classic heavy rockers Satan’s Satyrs return with their fourth full-length, The Lucky Ones (on RidingEasy and Bad Omen), which also marks their first record as a four-piece with guitarist Nate Towle (Wicked Inquisition) joining the returning lineup of bassist/vocalist Clayton Burgess, guitarist Jared Nettnin and drummer Stephen Fairfield, who, between the fact that Burgess founded the band and played in Electric Wizard, and all the lead guitar antics from Nettnin and Towle, might be the unsung hero of the band. His performance is not lost in the recording by Windhand‘s Garrett Morris or Burgess‘ own hefty mix, and as one would expect, Satan’s Satyrs continue to deliver deceptively refined ’70s-heavy vibes caked in cult biker horror aesthetics. Some songs hit more than others, but Satan’s Satyrs‘ dust-kicking approach continues to win converts.

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Mantar, The Modern Art of Setting Ablaze

mantar the modern art of setting ablaze

One generally thinks of Hamburg duo Mantar as having all the subtlety of a bone saw caught on video, and yet, in listening to “Seek + Forget” from their third album, The Modern Art of Setting Ablaze (on Nuclear Blast), there are some elements that seem to be reaching out on the part of the band. Guitarist Hanno‘s vocals are more enunciated and discernible, there is a short break from the all-out blackened-sludge-punk assault that’s been their trade since their start in 2012, and “Obey the Obscene” even has an organ. Still, the bulk of the 12-track/48-minute follow-up to 2016’s Ode to the Flame (review here) is given to extremity of purpose and execution, and in pieces like the churning “Anti Eternia” and the particularly-punked “Teeth of the Sea,” they work to refine their always-present threat of violence. Closer “The Funeral” brings back some of the quiet moodiness of intro “The Knowing” and underscores the point of sonic expansion. I hope next time they use a string section.

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Child, I

child i

It took me a few minutes to get to the heart of what my problem with Child‘s I EP is. Really, I was sitting and listening to “Age Has Left Me Behind” — the first of the three included tracks on the 20-ish-minute 12″ — and I had to ask myself, “Why is this annoying me?” The answer? Because it’s not an album. That’s it. It’s not enough. Kudos to the Melbourne, Australia, heavy blues trio on having that be the biggest concern with their latest release — it follows 2016’s righteously-grooved Blueside (review here) — and kudos to them as well for their cover of Spirit‘s “The Other Song,” but of course it’s the 10-minute jam “Going Down Swinging” on side B that’s the immersive highlight of I, as Child‘s balance of softshoe-boogie and expansive mellow-psych is second to none in their subgenre. It’s not an album, and that’s kind of sad, but as a tide-ya-over until the next long-player arrives, I still does the trick nice and easy. And not to get greedy, but I’d take a II (or would it be You?) whenever they get around to it.

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T.G. Olson, Wasatch Valley Lady & The Man from Table Mountain

tg olson wasatch valley lady and the man from table mountain

Across Tundras frontman T.G. Olson, who by now has well lapped that band’s output with his solo catalog, would seem to have sat down with his guitar sometime in the last week and put two songs to tape. The resulting 10-minute offering is Wasatch Valley Lady & The Man from Table Mountain, its component title-tracks stripping down some of the more elaborate arrangements he’s explored of late — his latest full-length, Riding Roughshod (review pending; it’s hard to keep up), came out in October — to expose the barebones construction at root in his Rocky Mountain country folk style. “Wasatch Valley Lady” and “The Man from Table Mountain” make an engaging couple, and while Olson has a host of videos on YouTube that are similarly just him and his acoustic, something about the audio-only recordings feel like a voice out of time reaching for human connection. The first seems to have a natural fade, and the second a more prominent rhythm showcased in harder strum, but both are sweet melodies evocative as ever of open landscapes and wistful experience.

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Canyon, Mk II

canyon mk ii

The Deep Purple-referential Mk II title of Canyon‘s second EP, also the follow-up to their 2017 debut LP, Radiant Light, refers to the lineup change that’s seen Dean Welsh move to drums so that he and guitarist Peter Stanko can welcome bassist/vocalist Fred Frederick to the fold. The three included songs, the hooky “Mine Your Heart,” expansively fuzzed “Morphine Dreams” and bouncing “Roam” make a hell of a first offering from the reconstituted trio, who capture classic heavy naturalism in a chemistry between players that’s mirrored in the songwriting itself. Canyon‘s 2016 self-titled debut EP (review here) held marked promise, and even after the full-length, that promise would seem to be coming to fruition here. Their tones and craft are both right on, and there’s still some gelling to do between the three of them, but they leave no doubt with Mk II that this incarnation of Canyon can get there. And, if they keep up like this, get there quickly.

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Circle of the Sun, Jams of Inner Perception

Circle of the Sun Jams of Inner Perception

One man jams! Psych-jam seekers will recognize Daniel Sax as the drummer for Berlin-based trio Cosmic Fall. Circle of the Sun is a solo-project from Sax and Jams of Inner Perception collects six tracks for 39 minutes of adventuring on his own. Sax sets his own backbeat and layers bass and “effectsbass” for a full-lineup feel amid the instrumental creations, and those looking to be hypnotized by the space-rocking jams will be. Flat out. Sax is no stranger to jamming, and as one soaks in “Jamming in Paradise” or its nine-minute predecessor “Liquid Sand,” there’s little mistaking his intention. Curious timing that Circle of the Sun would take shape following a lineup change in Cosmic Fall — perhaps it was put together in the interim? — but whether Jams of Inner Perception is a one-off of the beginning of a new avenue for Sax, its turn to blues noodling on “Desert Sun,” thick-toned “Moongroove” and fuzzy roll on “Acid Dream” demonstrate there are plenty of outer realms still to explore.

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Mythic Sunship, Another Shape of Psychedelic Music

Mythic Sunship Another Shape of Psychedelic Music

The simplest way to put it is that Mythic Sunship‘s Another Shape of Psychedelic Music lives up to the lofty ambitions of its title. The Danish band is comprised of guitarists Kasper Stougaard Andersen and Emil Thorenfeldt, bassist Rasmus ‘Cleaver’ Christensen, drummer Frederik Denning and saxophonist Søren Skov, and with Causa Sui‘s Jonas Munk — who also produced the album — sitting in on the extended “Backyard Voodoo” (17:41) and “Out There” (13:53) as well as overseeing the release through El Paraiso, the band indeed makes there way into the far out reaches where jazz and psychedelia meet. It’s not about pretentiously saying they’re doing something that’s never been done. You’ll note it’s “another shape” and not a “new shape” or the “shape to come.” But immersion happens quickly on opener “Resolution” (14:23), and even quicker cuts like “Last Exit,” “Way Ahead” and “Elevation” carry the compelling spirit of forward-thinking creativity through their dynamic course, and if Mythic Sunship aren’t the shape of psychedelic music to come, it’s in no small part because there are so few out there who could hope to match what they do.

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El Paraiso Records website

 

Svarta Stugan, Islands / Öar

svarta stugan islands oar

Islands / Öar — the second word being the Swedish translation of the first — is the 40-minute debut full-length from Gothenburg atmospheric heavy post-rock instrumentalists Svarta Stugan, who demonstrate in influence from Hex-era Earth on the opener “Islands III” but go on in subsequent tracks to pull together a sound distinct in its cinematic feel and moody execution. Five out of the seven component tracks are “Islands” pieces, which are presented out of order with “Islands IV” missing and “Islands Unknown” perhaps in its place, and the respective side A/B finales “Inner Space” and “Prospects Quatsi” standing apart. Both bring to bear a style ultimately consistent with the melancholy so rife throughout Islands / Öar as a whole, but they’re obviously intended as outliers, and so they seem to be. The LP release follows a couple shorter outings, issued over the past six-plus years, and it’s clear from the depths and range on display here in the build-to-crescendo of “Inner Space” alone that Svarta Stugan haven’t misspent their time in their progression to this point.

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Bast, Nanoångström

bast nanoangstrom

Largesse of scope and largesse of tone work in tandem on Bast‘s Nanoångström full-length on Black Bow, as they bring together aspects of post-metallic churn and more extreme metal methods to hone a style highly individualized, highly weighted and as much cosmic as it is crushing. Through six tracks and 57 minutes, the London trio (plus two guest spots from Chris Naughton of Winterfylleth) careen and crash and set an atmosphere of chaos without actually being chaotic, their progressive craft working to tie the songs together into a larger impression of the work as a consuming entirety. It’s the kind of record you pick up and still hear new things in by the time they put out their next one. Production from Chris Fielding at Skyhammer Studio only helps creates the heights and depths of their dynamic, and whether they’re rolling out the severity of closer “The Ghosts Which Haunt the Space Between the Stars” or laying out the soundscape of “The Beckoning Void,” Bast shape the tenets of genre to suit their needs rather than try to work within the barriers of any particular style. Nanoångström is all the more complex and satisfying for their efforts in that regard.

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