Satan’s Satyrs Announce Breakup; SonicBlast Moledo Performance Canceled

Posted in Whathaveyou on July 29th, 2019 by JJ Koczan

I guess in the end it was probably lineup trouble that did in Satan’s Satyrs. Bassist/vocalist Clayton Burgess was a founding member, and guitarist Jarrett Nettnin, if he wasn’t, joined pretty early on as well, but in their decade together, they’d been through a handful of drummers, and though they brought in guitarist Nate Towle in 2016, they’d seen a few other six-stringers come and go along the way as well. That kind of thing can take a toll on a band over time.

Still, Satan’s Satyrs‘ run was plenty productive. Over the course of their 10 years, they released four full-lengths — the latest of which, The Lucky Ones, came out in 2018 on RidingEasy and Bad Omen Records — as well as their 2010 breakthrough EP, Lucifer Lives!, a 2018 split on Relapse with their oft-tourmates Windhand and a host of other live and EP-type outings. While we’re on the subject, they toured steadily as well, hitting Europe multiple times as well as the US, where among many others, they did a run alongside Electric Wizard as Burgess pulled double-duty playing bass at the time for the UK doom legends.

As to what future plans might be, I’m not sure on the whole. Towle has hinted at something coming together with drummer Jason Oberuc — who filled in on Satan’s Satyrs‘ last tour — and vocalist Alyson Dellinger, but it’s all still pretty murky, and as to what the others’ plans might be, I can’t say. They were confirmed to take part in SonicBlast Moledo 2019 in Portugal next month with Sean Saley (ex-Pentagram, etc.) behind the kit, but that appearance as well as all other live dates have been canceled.

For being relatively young, they were veterans who came out of the gate 10 years ago with an aesthetic that was ahead of its time in blending ’70s biker boogie and doom to a VHS-grained effect. They would seem to have influenced more bands one way or another than they know.

Their statement was short and sweet:

satans satyrs done

Satan’s Satyrs is no more. The band’s scheduled appearance at Sonicblast Modelo is cancelled. Thanks for the last ten years, from the first demo tape to the final show.

– Clayton, Jarrett, Nate

https://www.facebook.com/satanssatyrs
https://instagram.com/satanssatyrs/

Satan’s Satyrs, The Lucky Ones (2018)

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Et Mors Announce October Tour Supporting Lux in Morte

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

ET MORS

The Chesapeake duo (Maryland and Virginia) Et Mors will tour this October supporting their grit-caked Lux in Morte (review here) release, which kind of skirts the line between an EP and a full-length but is ultimately three records’ worth of nasty all on its own. They issued the beast at the end of May, having recorded it as a four-piece with their last lineup, and they’ll get out in their new incarnation and presumably bring at least a somewhat different vibe to the material. In addition to shows with Dour and Fistula there are a few dates on here that are TBA, so if you happen to be in that part of the world — come on Stroudsburg, PA, you can fill that Oct. 14 show! — you should make it happen. Not just because it’s the right thing to do. Not just because the band is heavy. But because it’s the right thing to do and the band is heavy. Crazy persuasive, right? So do it up. Make pie and have them play your house. I bet it’ll be a blast.

I think I’ve made my point.

Here are the dates:

et mors tour

Et Mors – Tombswayer Tour

Tombswayer tour for October 2019 is starting to really come together. We have 3 dates with Fistula and 8 dates with DOUR. Still some unknown venues to be filled in…

Et Mors Tombswayer Tour October 2019:
10/10 Richmond VA Wonderland
10/11 Philadelphia PA Century Bar
10/12 Allentown PA Alternative Gallery
10/13 Wilkes Barre PA Curry Donuts*
10/14 UNKNOWN TBA
10/15 Pittsburgh PA Howler’s
10/16 Youngstown OH Westside Bowl^
10/17 Canton OH Buzzbin^
10/18 Columbus OH Summit
10/19 Dayton OH TBA
10/20 Indianapolis IN State Street Pub
10/21 Fort Wayne IN TBA
10/22 Cleveland OH TBA
10/23 Ithaca NY TBA*
10/24 Rochester NY Bug Jar*
10/25 Albany NY Pauly’s Hotel*
10/26 Wocester MA Ralph’s Rock Diner Terry’s Bday Show w/ Come to Grief*
10/27 Providence RI TBA*
10/29 Montclair NJ Meatlocker*
* with Dour ^ with Fistula

Et Mors is:
Z.S – Guitar. Vocals
A.A – Drums, Vocals

https://www.facebook.com/EtMors/
https://etmors.bandcamp.com/

Et Mors, Lux in Morte (2019)

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Inter Arma Announce East Coast Tour Supporting Sulphur English

Posted in Whathaveyou on July 12th, 2019 by JJ Koczan

inter arma

I know by now you’ve heard Inter Arma‘s latest masterpiece Sulphur English (review here) and so you don’t need me to recount for you its multifaceted righteousness, but if you’ll indulge me just a minute, consider how much even compared to the work the band was doing a few years ago their sound has become not a mash of different styles together — not doom one moment, death metal the next, post-this or that along the way — but one cohesive and identifiable aesthetic that they have made their own. It’s an easy-pick candidate for one of the best metal albums of the year, which makes it all the more of an exciting time to see the band live if you’re able. I don’t know what Inter Arma‘s future holds after Sulphur English, but it’s not a stretch to think this is a landmark moment for them one way or the other. I think I may have just talked myself into going to this show.

Dates came down the PR wire:

inter arma tour

INTER ARMA ANNOUNCE EAST COAST TOUR IN AUGUST & SEPTEMBER

Sulphur English out now on Relapse Records

Following the release of their universally acclaimed new album Sulphur English, Richmond’s Inter Arma have announced another string of North American tour dates in support of it. The band will tour along the east coast in late August into September with Creeping Death in tow. Check out the dates and venues listed below.

Out last April on Relapse, Sulphur English finds Inter Arma mining deeper in the proggy organic doom fields that made their prior albums so thrilling while expanding further the on the psych-folk strain that made those albums’ peaks seem so lofty. Despite all the new territory being covered both musically and lyrically, Sulphur English isn’t an experiment. It’s not Inter Arma testing the waters. It’s a necessary step in the evolution of a band whose music remains unclassifiable. Few bands make music as engrossing as Inter Arma; their lengthy, almost meditative songs rumble patiently forward until you’re ready to get thrown off a bridge — and then they throw you, with great force.

See Inter Arma on tour later this summer and look for more news from the band soon. Order your copy of Sulphur English here.

INTER ARMA – ON TOUR:
August 30 Washington, DC @ Atlas Brew Works *
August 31 Philadelphia, PA @ Kung Fu Necktie *
September 1 Northampton, MA @ RPM Fest *
September 2 Portland, ME @ Geno’s Rock Club *
September 3 Brooklyn, NY @ Saint Vitus *
September 4 Buffalo, NY @ Mohawk Place *
September 5 Hamtramck, MI @ Small’s *
September 6 Youngstown, OH @ Blackout Cookout
September 7 Harrisonburg, VA @ The Golden Pony *
* w/ Creeping Death

INTER ARMA Is:
Mike Paparo – vocals
T.J. Childers – drums
Steven Russell – guitars
Trey Dalton – guitars
Andrew Lacour – bass

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

Inter Arma, Sulphur English (2019)

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Friday Full-Length: Windhand, Windhand

Posted in Bootleg Theater on July 5th, 2019 by JJ Koczan

I’ve been thinking again about some of the best albums from this rapidly-coming-to-a-close decade, and how could Windhand not be on that list? The Richmond, Virginia, doom lurkers made their self-titled debut (review here) through Forcefield Records in 2012. They’ve never been a catchy band. In the studio and on stage, their method has always been to overwhelm with sound. Distortion comes in swells of riffs, plodding grooves that are massive both in terms of pace and in their sheer tonality — a largesse brought to bear on the first album by founding guitarists Garrett Morris and Asechiah Bogdan. The latter played guitar in Alabama Thunderpussy, so that was an immediate draw to the band, while drummer Ryan Wolfe had done a stint in The Might Could with guitarist/vocalists T.J. Childers (currently of Inter Arma) and also-ex-ATP guitarist Erik Larson (currently drumming in Backwoods Payback) and also played in post-Eyehategod sludgers Facedowninshit. Together with vocalist Dorthia Cottrell and then-bassist Nathan Hilbish, Wolfe, Bogdan and Morris embarked on the creation of an immersive wash of doom that has become among the most distinctive calling cards of their generation. A touchstone for their sound has always been an Electric Wizard influence, but listening back to the self-titled these seven years later, hindsight makes even clearer just how much the band were charting an individual path even at their outset. That is to say, Windhand‘s Windhand doesn’t sound so much like anything as much as it sounds like Windhand.

Cottrell‘s vocals, echoing through the fog in vague, forlorn lines, are a signature part of that. Pacing back and forth across the stage, sometimes not even looking at the crowd, her performance has never been one reaching out in some cloying or showy way, but like the music itself, holds some kind of hypnotic aspect. I’ve been lucky enough to see the band on probably more than a handful of occasions — not every time, but definitely some of the times — as they’ve toured hard over the last half-decade-plus, and the sound is consuming in how it follows the patterns of the studio versions of the material, the central difference being the level of attainable volume for that wash. But it was there at the beginning. It doesn’t matter whether you’re listening to “Black Candles” or “Libusen” or “Heap Wolves” on side A or the longer pair “Summon the Moon” and “Winter Sun” on side B, Windhand‘s Windhand makes its intent felt from front to back in a molten boil of abyssal doom. It is at once cavernous and claustrophobic. The riff of “Summon the Moon” seems to rise and fall like a chest inhaling and exhaling. The music becomes this breathing, lurching thing and still manages to convey some sense of happening in the real world with samples of rain and thunder at the beginning of “Black Candles” and between the side A tracks and wind later at the start of “Winter Sun,” whatever landscape they’re conjuring taking on an otherworldlyWindhand - Windhand cover art presence thanks to the riffs, melodies and lumber of the rhythm — and indeed, to Cottrell‘s vocals.

It’s not that Windhand don’t have verses or choruses — every now and then, they land a zinger of a hook — but that’s never been the priority. Among the accomplishments of the self-titled was to set the atmosphere they would continue to develop afterward, to cast it so vividly and paint the world as deeply purple as the cover art. That commitment to ambience has been one of the most consistent factors of their sound, and as they’ve moved through signing to Relapse for the release of Soma (review here) and their split with Cough — whose Parker Chandler had (I’m pretty sure) by then already joined them on bass — in 2013, 2015’s Grief’s Infernal Flower (review here) and last year’s Eternal Return (review here), their style has never stopped progressing or growing, but that growth has come not at the expense of their murk, but to its refinement. Even as they touched on psychedelic grunge with the last album, Windhand‘s core, lung-crushing sonic oozing was as prevalent as ever.

Given the work they’ve put in on tour, the measure of influence they’ve had and their ongoing creative evolution, I have no qualms in calling them one of the best American doom acts of their generation. I think sometimes because they don’t beat their audience over the head with choruses and they’re not up there “selling it” on stage — though they tour hard and have for years at this point — they get forgotten about when people consider the league of acts like Pallbearer and whoever else. Gender, of course, has to be considered as well. But if Windhand have taken the longer, less marketing-ready route to notoriety, they’ve gotten there just the same, and one looks forward as much to their next studio work as to the next time they’ll come through and play live. They’ve refused to work not on their own terms and they’ve refused to compromise the essential components of their aesthetic even as they’ve pushed those into new territory and helped expand the boundaries of genre as a whole. What the hell else would you want for a magazine cover?

Windhand‘s self-titled — five tracks, 42 minutes, one great overarching plunge — probably isn’t their greatest sonic achievement to-date. Once Chandler joined the band and they really solidified the lineup they began to develop something really special through Soma and the subsequent offerings, and even as they’ve become a four-piece, Eternal Return has kept that thread going. But it’s the fact that it doesn’t seem unreasonable to think their next album will be even better that really emphasizes the level of achievement at which they work. They’ve been a band for over a decade, and in that time, they’ve established a pattern for finding their own way through their own songs, not so much guiding the listener through to safety, but leading down an overgrown and harrowing path that only seems to get deeper as it goes. What their ultimate story will be remains to be seen, but Windhand was the beginning of it, preceded just by a 2010 demo, and a crucial moment of arrival for and band who’ve only proved more and more necessary with time.

As always, I hope you enjoy, and thanks for reading.

So yesterday was the Fourth of July. America puts immigrants in camps. We steal children from their moms. We were founded on the backs of slaves and continue to pay women less for equal work. Also, apparently endless war.

I was in bed before the fireworks were on tv last night. I didn’t even make it to the end of the baseball game. We’re at the beach in CT and the next-door neighbor took it upon himself to play reggae for eight hours straight through his $20,000 outdoor speaker system. Which is a long way of saying he’s a fucking asshole and should get hit by a train.

Quarterly Review wraps up Monday.

The Obelisk Show on Gimme Radio is a repeat today, but it’s still on at 1PM Eastern, so please check it out if you can: http://gimmeradio.com.

The rest is blah blah blah, and as Captain Kirk once said, “No more blah blah blah.”

Have a great and safe weekend. Forum, Radio, merch at Dropout.

The Obelisk Forum

The Obelisk Radio

The Obelisk shirts & hoodies

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Quarterly Review: Tia Carrera, Inter Arma, Volcano, Wet Cactus, Duskwood, Lykantropi, Kavod, Onioroshi, Et Mors, Skånska Mord

Posted in Reviews on July 4th, 2019 by JJ Koczan

quarterly-review

Day four. I should’ve known we’d hit a snag at some point in the week, but it happened yesterday afternoon when Windows decided I desperately needed some update or other and then crapped the bed in the middle of said update. I wound up taking my laptop to a repair guy down the road in the afternoon, who said the hard drive needed to be wiped and have a full reinstall. Pretty brutal. He was going to back up what was there and get on it, said I could pick it up today. We’ll see how that goes, I guess. Also, happy Fourth, if America’s your thing. Let’s dive in.

Quarterly Review #31-40:

Tia Carrera, Visitors / Early Purple

tia carrera visitors early purple

They had a single out between (review here), but the two-song LP Visitors / Early Purple is Tia Carrera‘s first album since 2011’s Cosmic Priestess (review here). The Austin, Texas, three-piece — which now includes bassist Curt Christianson of Dixie Witch alongside guitarist Jason Morales and drummer Erik Conn — haven’t missed a beat in terms of creating heavy psychedelic sprawl, and as the side-consuming “Visitors” (18:32) and “Early Purple” (16:28) play out, it’s with a true jammed sensibility; that feeling that sooner or later the wheels are going to come off. They don’t, at least not really, but the danger always makes it more exciting, and Morales‘ tone has been much missed. In the intervening years, the social media generation has come up to revere Earthless for doing much of what Tia Carrera do, but there’s always room for more jams as far as I’m concerned, and it’s refreshing to have Tia Carrera back to let people know what they’ve been missing. Here’s hoping it’s not another eight years.

Tia Carrera on Thee Facebooks

Small Stone Records on Bandcamp

 

Inter Arma, Sulphur English

inter arma sulphur english

I can’t help but think Inter Arma‘s Sulphur English is the album Morbid Angel should have made after Covenant. And yes, that applies to the harmonies and organ of “Stillness” as well. The fourth full-length (third for Relapse) from the Richmond, Virginia, outfit is a beastly, severe and soulful 66-minute stretch of consuming, beyond-genre extremity. It punishes with purpose and scope, and its sense of brutality comes accompanied by a willful construction of atmosphere. Longer pieces like “The Atavist’s Meridian” and the closing title-track lend a feeling of drama, but at no point does Sulphur English feel like a put-on, and as Inter Arma continue their push beyond the even-then-inventive sludge of their beginnings, they’ve become something truly groundbreaking in metal, doing work that can only be called essential to push forward into new ground and seeming to swallow the universe whole in the meantime. It’s the kind of record that one can only hope becomes influential, both in its purpose toward individualism and its sheer physical impact.

Inter Arma on Thee Facebooks

Relapse Records website

 

Volcano, The Island

volcano the island

So you’ve got Harsh Toke‘s Gabe Messer on keys and vocals and JOY guitarist/Pharlee drummer Zach Oakley on guitar, and bassist Billy Ellsworth (also of Loom) and Matt Oakley on drums, plus it seems whoever else happened to be around the studio that day — and in San Diego, that could be any number of players — making up Volcano, whose debut, The Island (on Tee Pee) melds Afrobeat funk-rock with the band’s hometown penchant for boogie. The songs are catchy — “10,000 Screamin’ Souls,” “Naked Prey,” “Skewered,” “No Evil, Know Demon”; hooks abound — but there’s a feeling of kind of an unthinking portrayal of “the islander” as a savage that I can’t quite get past. There’s inherently an element of cultural appropriation to rock and roll anyway, but even more here, it seems. They make it a party, to be sure, but there’s a political side to what Afrobeat was originally about that goes unacknowledged here. They might get there, they might not. They’ve got the groove down on their first record, and that’s not nothing.

Volcano on Instagram

Tee Pee Records website

 

Wet Cactus, Dust, Hunger and Gloom

wet cactus dust hunger and gloom

Sometimes you just miss one, and I’ll admit that Wet CactusDust, Hunger and Gloom got by me. It likely would’ve been in the Quarterly Review a year ago had I not been robbed last Spring, but either way, the Spanish outfit’s second long-player is a fuzz rocker’s delight, a welcoming and raucous vibe persisting through “Full Moon Over My Head,” which is the second cut of the total five and the only one of the bunch under seven minutes long. They bring desert-jammy vibes to the songs surrounding, setting an open tone with “So Long” at the outset that the centerpiece “Aquelarre” fleshes out even further instrumentally ahead of the penultimate title-track’s classic build and payoff and the earth-toned nine-minute finale “Sleepy Trip,” which is nothing if not self-aware in its title as it moves toward the driving crescendo of the record. All throughout, the mood is as warm as the distortion, and Wet Cactus do right by staying true to the roots of desert rock. It’s not every record I’d want to review a year after the fact; think of it that way.

Wet Cactus on Thee Facebooks

Wet Cactus on Bandcamp

 

Duskwood, The Long Dark

duskwood the long dark

A follow-up EP to Duskwood‘s 2016 debut long-player, Desert Queen, the four-track The Long Dark is a solid showcase of their progression as songwriters and in the capital-‘d’ Desertscene style that has come to epitomize much of the UK heavy rock underground, taking loyalism to the likes of Kyuss and topping it off with the energy of modern London-based practitioners Steak. The four-piece roll out a right-on fuzzy groove in “Mars Rover” after opening with “Space Craft” and show more of a melodic penchant in “Crook and Flail” before tying it all together with “Nomad” at the finish. They warn on their Bandcamp page this is ‘Part 1,’ so it may not be all that long before they resurface. Fair enough as they’ve clearly found their footing in terms of style and songwriting here, and at that point the best thing to do is keep growing. As it stands, The Long Dark probably isn’t going to kick off any stylistic revolution, but there’s something to be said for the band’s ability to execute their material in conversation with what else is out there at the moment.

Duskwood on Thee Facebooks

Duskwood on Bandcamp

 

Lykantropi, Spirituosa

Lykantropi-Spirituosa

Sweet tones and harmonies and a classic, sun-coated progressivism persist on Lykantropi‘s second album, Spirituosa (on Lightning Records), basking in melodic flow across nine songs and 43 minutes that begin with the rockers “Wild Flowers” and “Vestigia” and soon move into the well-paired “Darkness” and “Sunrise” as the richer character of the LP unfolds. “Songbird” makes itself a highlight with its more laid back take, and the title-track follows with enough swing to fill whatever quota you’ve got, while “Queen of Night” goes full ’70s boogie and “Seven Blue” imagines Tull and Fleetwood Mac vibes — Flutewood Mac! — and closer and longest track “Sällsamma Natt” underscores the efficiency of songwriting that’s been at play all the while amidst all that immersive gorgeousness and lush melodicism. They include a bit of push in the capper, and well they should, but go out with a swagger that playfully counteracts the folkish humility of the proceedings. Will fly under many radars. Shouldn’t.

Lykantropi on Thee Facebooks

Lightning Records website

 

Kavod, Wheel of Time

kavod wheel of time

As Italian trio Kavod shift from opener “Samsara” into “Absolution” on their debut EP, Wheel of Time, the vocals become a kind of chant for the verse that would seem to speak to the meditative intention of the release on the whole. They will again on the more patient closer “Mahatma” too, and fair enough as the band seem to be trying to find a place for themselves in the post-Om or Zaum sphere of spiritual exploration through volume, blending that aesthetic with a more straight-ahead songwriting methodology as manifest in “Samsara” particularly. They have the tones right on as they begin this inward and outward journey, and it will be interesting to hear in subsequent work if they grow to work in longer, possibly-slower forms or push their mantras forward at the rate they do here, but as it stands, they take a reverent, astral viewpoint with their sound and feel dug in on that plane of existence. It suits them.

Kavod on Thee Facebooks

Kavod on Bandcamp

 

Onioroshi, Beyond These Mountains

onioroshi beyond these mountains

Onioroshi flow smoothly from atmospheric post-sludge to more thrusting heavy rock and they take their time doing it, too. With their debut album, Beyond These Mountains, the Italian heavy proggers present four tracks the shortest of which, “Locusta,” runs 10:54. Bookending are “Devilgrater” (14:17) and “Eternal Snake (Mantra)” (20:30) and the penultimate “Socrate” checks in at 12:29, so yes, the trio have plenty of chances to flesh out their ideas as and explore as they will. Their style leans toward post-rock by the end of “Devilgrater,” but never quite loses its sense of impact amid the ambience, and it’s not until “Socrate” that they go full-on drone, setting a cinematic feel that acts as a lead-in for the initial build of the closer which leads to an apex wash and a more patient finish than one might expect given the trip to get there. Beyond These Mountains is particularly enticing because it’s outwardly familiar but nuanced enough to still strike an individual note. It’s easy to picture Onioroshi winding up on Argonauta or some other suitably adventurous imprint.

Onioroshi on Thee Facebooks

Onioroshi on Bandcamp

 

Et Mors, Lux in Morte

et mors lux in morte

Whoever in Maryland/D.C. then-four-piece Et Mors decided to record their Lux in Morte EP in their practice space had the right idea. The morose death-doom three-songer takes cues from USBM in the haunting rawness of “Incendium Ater,” and even though the 19-minute “House of Nexus” comes through somewhat clearer — it was recorded to tape at Shenandoah University — it remains infected by the filth and grit of the opener. Actually, “infected” might be the word all around here, as the mold-sludge of closer “Acid Bender” creeps along at an exposed-flesh, feedback-drenched lurch, scathing as much in intent as execution, playing like a death metal record at half-speed and that much harsher because they so clearly know what they’re doing. If you think it matters that they mixed stuff from two different sessions, you’re way off base on the sound overall here. It’s patch-worthy decay metal, through and through. Concerns of audio fidelity need not apply.

Et Mors on Thee Facebooks

Et Mors on Bandcamp

 

Skånska Mord, Blues from the Tombs

skanska mord blues from the tombs

When Sweden’s Skånska Mord are singing about the deep freeze in album opener “Snow” on the Transubstans-released Blues from the Tombs, I believe it. It’s been seven years since Small Stone issued their Paths to Charon LP (review here), and the new record finds them more fully dug into a classic rocker’s take on hard-blues, rolling with Iommic riffs and a mature take on what earliest Spiritual Beggars were able to capture in terms of a modern-retro sound. “Snow” and “Simon Says” set an expectation for hooks that the more meandering “Edge of Doom” pulls away from, while “The Never Ending Greed” brings out the blues harp over an abbreviated two minutes and leads into a more expansive side B with “Blinded by the Light” giving way to the wah-bassed “Sun,” the barroom blueser “Death Valley Blues” and the returning nod of closer “The Coming of the Second Wave,” stood out by its interwoven layers of soloing and hypnosis before its final cut. It’s been a while, but they’ve still got it.

Skånska Mord on Thee Facebooks

Transubstans Records website

 

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Quarterly Review: Salem’s Bend, Motorpsycho, Sigils, Lord Dying, Sunn O))), Crimson Heat, Molior Superum, Moros, Glitter Wizard, Gourd

Posted in Reviews on July 2nd, 2019 by JJ Koczan

quarterly-review

Today is Tuesday, I’m pretty sure, and hey, that’s nifty. I thought yesterday kicked off the Summer 2019 Quarterly Review really well, and any time I get through one of these without my head caving in on itself, I feel like that’s a victory, so yeah. Now we wade even deeper into what will ultimately be a 60-review plunge, with another 10 offerings of various stripes and takes on heavy. Some higher profile stuff in here, which is fine, I guess, but most of it is pretty recent, so if there’s something you haven’t heard yet, I hope you find something you dig, as always.

Quarterly Review #11-20:

Salem’s Bend, Supercluster

salems bend supercluster

This is the sound of a band who’ve figured it out. Salem’s Bend have taken retroist boogie and modern tonalism, production and melody and turned it into something of their own. Supercluster (on Ripple) follows the Los Angeles trio of guitarist/vocalist Bobby Parker, bassist/vocalist Kevin Schofield and drummer Zach Huling‘s 2016 self-titled debut (review here), and with an uptick in the complexity of songwriting overall and particularly in the arrangements of dual-vocals, it is a marked step forward palpable as much in the hook of “Ride the Night” — and if you’re gonna call a song that, you better bring it — as the heavy crash ending “Heavenly Manna” and the languid, lucidly dreaming groove in “Infinite Horizon,” which appears ahead of the acoustic hidden track “Beltaine Chant.” That won’t be the last time these guys unplug, but whether it’s the raw Zeppelin vibe of “Show Me the Witch” or the crunching low-end nod of “Thinking Evil” or the leadoff thrust in “Spaceduster,” the message is clear that Salem’s Bend have arrived.

Salem’s Bend on Thee Facebooks

Ripple Music webstore

 

Motorpsycho, The Crucible

motorpsycho the crucible

The latest in Motorpsycho‘s nigh-on-impossible-to-chart and ever-growing discography is The Crucible, issued through Stickman Records, and taking some of the heavy rock push of 2017’s The Tower (review here) and stretching out to more willfully progressive execution across three increasingly extended tracks. Running from shortest to longest, the album begins with “Psychotzar” (8:44) which resolves itself in maddening turns after fleshing through an energetic beginning, and rounds out side A with the 11-minute “Lux Aeterna,” with vocal harmonies and mellotron building into a graceful swell of volume before a headspinner solo and jam take hold, break to near-silence and finish in a burst of directly earliest-King Crimson majesty. This all before the 20:51, side B-consuming title-track crashes in with immediate tension and plays back and forth at releasing that through a course that is rife with melody and an emphasis on the mastery of Motorpsycho over their sound and direction. Onto the list of the year’s best records it goes.

Motorpsycho on Thee Facebooks

Stickman Records website

 

Sigils, You Built the Altar, You Lit the Leaves

Sigils You Built the Altar You Lit the Leaves

Hypnotic and immersive heavy post-rock and metal becomes the genre tag well enough, but what New York’s Sigils do on their markedly impressive self-recorded, self-released debut album, You Built the Altar, You Lit the Leaves, is more soulful and emotive than “post-” anything generally conveys. With four tracks/38 minutes best taken as a whole, single listening experience, the band offer resonant depths of tone and vocal echoes centered around airy but still weighted guitar and consuming rhythms brought to bear with the patience of an organic Jesu. The ultimate triumph is in the melody and payoff of 13-plus-minute closer “The Wicked, the Cloaked,” which seems to manifest the haunting sensibility that “Samhain” and “Ritual” advocate on side A, but neither will I discount the chug of the prior “Faceless” or the underlying churn in those two leadoff tracks. Especially as a first album, You Built the Altar, You Lit the Leaves casts a sonic identity for itself that is striking and sees the band already beginning to push themselves forward. One hopes they continue to do so.

Sigils on Thee Facebooks

Sigils on Bandcamp

 

Lord Dying, Mysterium Tremendum

Lord Dying Mysterium Tremendum

Following 2015’s Poisoned Altars (review here), subsequent years of touring and a jump from Relapse to eOne Metal, Lord Dying‘s Mysterium Tremendum is enough of a stylistic melting pot that the best thing to do is call it progressive and just let it roll. Comprised of 11 tracks themed around death and the afterlife, the record takes the Portland, Oregon, outfit’s prior death-doom ways and expands them to incorporate an array of styles and melodies, like a vocoder-less Cynic or even Atheist, but more focused on the songs themselves. It’s being widely hailed as one of 2019’s best metal releases, and honestly I can’t speak to that because who the hell knows what “metal” even means, but it sees Lord Dying pull off a major sonic leap and if this is the direction they’re headed from now on, then I guess “metal” is going to be whatever the hell they want. So there. Expect to see a lot of Lord Dying t-shirts around in the years to come.

Lord Dying on Thee Facebooks

eOne Heavy on Thee Facebooks

 

Sunn O))), Life Metal

sunn life metal

The core of Sunn O)))‘s sound — that is, the drone-riffed tonality of Greg Anderson and Stephen O’Malley, has proven amorphous enough over the last two decades to either be orchestral, minimalist, impossibly bleak, or now, something brighter. The Steve Albini-recorded Life Metal is one of two purported Sunn O))) releases slated for this year, and it follows behind 2015’s Kannon (review here) in manifesting their project in a new way. It is 68 minutes long, comprised of four tracks — the first, “Between Sleipnir’s Breaths,” is notable for the inclusion of vocals from Hildur Guðnadóttir; the rest is instrumental — and while one wonders how much is the power of suggestion amid their colorful artwork and titular presentation, “life” as opposed to death metal, etc., their resonance throughout “Aurora” (19:07) and “Novae” (25:24) strips away much of the flourish that has engulfed Sunn O))) in their post-maturity years and reminds of the power at their center. They chose the right producer.

Sunn O))) on Bandcamp

Southern Lord Recordings website

 

Crimson Heat, Crimson Heat

Crimson Heat Crimson Heat

With a handful of tracks of dirt-coated Sabbathian doom rock, Crimson Heat make their debut with a self-titled demo/EP in no small part defined by its lack of pretense. I’d buy the tape at the show. You’d buy the tape at the show. The download is free. Clearly this is a band figuring out what they want to do and trying to catch a few ears, but the sound is right on. Notable as well for the participation of Sam Marsh of Sinister Haze, tracks like “At My Door” blend Tee Pee Records-style skate vibes with darker traditionalist crunch, and the subsequent acoustic interlude “Firewood” indeed adds a bit of burning-stove smell to the procession ahead of doomed shuffler finale “Deep Red.” They might be new, but from the nod of “Premonition” and the double-layered guitar of “Fortune Teller,” they very clearly know where they’re coming from. What they do with that from here will tell the tale, but for now, selling the tape at the show isn’t nothing. Guess they better get on pressing some up.

Sinister Haze on Thee Facebooks

Crimson Heat on Bandcamp

 

Molior Superum, As Time Slowly Passes By…

Molior Superum As Time Slowly Passes By

The boogie runs strong in Molior Superum‘s first album in seven years, As Time Slowly Passes By… (on H42 Records), the title of which might just hint at the distance between their two full-lengths. Their debut was Into the Sun (discussed here) in 2012, and they answered that with 2014’s Electric Escapism (review here), but for a band who sound so energized on cuts like “Att Födas Rostig” and “Through Valleys of Wonder,” the time differential from one record to the next is curious. Still, no question the Swedish four-piece make the most of the 36 minutes they present on their sophomore offering, realizing classic vibes and fuzz tones through modern production that recalls the likes of GraveyardJeremy Irons and the Ratgang Malibus and even, on “Into the Grey,” Demon Head‘s doomier fare, with an overarching bluesy sensibility that remains exciting even in moments like the hypnotic midsection build of centerpiece “Divinity Blues.” Even the closing soft-guitar title-track has movement. They sound hungry in a way that suggests maybe it won’t be another seven years before a third LP arrives.

Molior Superum on Thee Facebooks

H42 Records

 

Moros, Weapon

moros weapon

Just because Philly is leading the Eastern Seaboard in terms of psychedelic charge, that doesn’t mean there isn’t room for the guttersludge extremity of a unit like Moros. The destructive three-piece’s first full-length, Weapon (on Hidden Deity Records), is vicious in its bite and downright nasty in its groove, abrasive from the static intro “(Vortexwound)” onward through “We Don’t Deserve Death” and “Devil Worshipper,” which recalls slower Napalm Death in its riff but is met with a harsh scream as well as shouts. The brutality continues through “Wizard of Loneliness” and into the outright pummel of “Death Nebula,” such that the locked-in nodder groove in the second half of “Every Day is Worse Than the Last” feels almost like a lifeboat, though there’s little salvation on offer in the closing title-track, which fades out on a noisy note in much the same way it faded in. Filthy, mean and heavy. The crust is real and it is thick.

Moros on Thee Facebooks

Hidden Deity Records website

 

Glitter Wizard, Opera Villains

glitter wizard opera villains

I was enticed to dig further into Glitter Wizard‘s Opera Villains (on Heavy Psych Sounds) by the recent video for opener “A Spell So Evil” (posted here), and it’s not a choice I regret. The San Fran-based weirdo collective are putting on a show, no doubt, but the quality of their songwriting on “The Toxic Lady” and the punkish underpinning of “Dead Man’s Wax,” etc., puts them in a classic rocking no man’s land in which they absolutely revel. The laser-strewn drama of “March of the Red Cloaks” and the organ- and flute-laced swing of “Hall of the Oyster King” embrace the grandiose in brazen fashion, and thereby make it that much easier for the listener to join them on this wavelength that is so thoroughly their own. Closer “Warm Blood” taps prog-of-old pomposity in its largesse while the earlier “Fear of the Dark” seems to do the same thing with just an acoustic guitar and some vocal harmonies. A record that knew exactly what it wanted to be and then became that thing. Awesome.

Glitter Wizard on Thee Facebooks

Heavy Psych Sounds website

 

Gourd, Moldering Aberrations

gourd moldering aberrations

Ambient darkness is inflicted with only the cruelest of spirit throughout Gourd‘s Moldering Aberrations EP, the Irish two-piece alternating minimalist spaciousness with gurgling drone intensity, the extremity of which doesn’t so much come through in pummel or drive, but in the swell of volume and its contrast with the emptiness surrounding. Also the growls. Three tracks are offered up like monuments to pain, and through “Befoulment,” “Mycelium” and the title-track, they conjure a heft of atmosphere as much as one of low end, the claustrophobic feeling of their craft coming through even in the relatively peaceful opening of the last song. That peace, of course, isn’t so much moment of respite as it is precursor to the next plunge, and either way, Gourd work in grueling fashion over 23 minutes to dismantle consciousness and expectation with a grim, distortion-fueled chaos from which there seems to be no escape, until the rumble and noise leave “Moldering Aberrations” and there’s just residual hum and a cymbal crash left. Madness.

Gourd on Thee Facebooks

Cursed Monk Records on Bandcamp

 

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Pontiak to Tour Canada Supporting Sleep

Posted in Whathaveyou on May 28th, 2019 by JJ Koczan

As far as opening gigs go, supporting Sleep is about as good as it gets, at least for heavy shows. Virginian three-piece Pontiak will head out this September with the stoner metal kingpins on a Canadian run, following up on a gig tonight — yes, this very evening — in RVA alongside Dead Meadow. Also not too shabby a spot to land.

Pontiak‘s most recent album is 2017’s Dialectic of Ignorance (review here), which took the lessons of classic heavy to heart and built an earnest vibe therefrom without losing a kind of modern harmonized chic. Cool record from a cool band playing a cool tour. Sounds pretty cool, right? It is!

The PR wire has dates:

pontiak

Powerhouse psych trio Pontiak touring Canada with Sleep this September

Pontiak’s Dialectic of Ignorance out now

This September, powerhouse psych trio Pontiak will be touring throughout Canada with stoner rock outfit Sleep. Ahead of the tour, the Pontiak brothers will also be playing with Dead Meadow in Richmond on May 28th.

In 2017, Pontiak released their latest collection of acid-scorched guitar workouts Dialectic of Ignorance, an album that takes the trio’s colossal riffing into heady new territory. Live, the music takes on a new dimension, free to reach even deeper out into the cosmos. Snaking melodies and irresistible grooves erupt from the brother’s instruments like billowing plumes of psychedelic smoke, expanding to fill the space, with the Carney brothers’ shimmering vocal harmonies providing an anchor through the trip.

Pontiak Tour Dates
May 28 – Richmond, VA – Richmond Music Hall *
Sep. 1 – Victoria, BC – Capitol Ballroom #
Sep. 2 – Vancouver, BC – Commodore Ballroom #
Sep. 3 – Nelson, BC – Spiritbar #
Sep. 4 – Calgary, AB – The Palace Theatre #
Sep. 6 – Edmonton, AB – The Ranch Roadhouse #
Sep. 7 – Saskatoon, SK – Coors Event Centre #
Sep. 8 – Winnipeg, MB – The Garrick #
Sep. 11 – Guelph, ON – Guelph Concert Theatre #
Sep. 12 – Ottawa, ON – Algonquin Commons Theatre #
Sep. 13 – Montreal, QC – MTelus #
Sep. 14 – Quebec City, QC – Theatre Imperial #
Sep. 16 – Halifax, NS – Marquee Ballroom #

* w/ Dead Meadow
# w/ Sleep

thrilljockey.com/products/dialectic-of-ignorance
https://www.facebook.com/BrothersPontiak/
https://www.instagram.com/brotherspontiak/
http://brotherspontiak.com/

Pontiak, “Ignorance Makes Me High” official video

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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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