Quarterly Review: Trippy Wicked, Dunbarrow, The Vintage Caravan, Zatokrev & Minsk, Owl Maker, Orbital Junction, Bourbon, Birnam Wood, Wytch Hazel, The Soulbreaker Company

Posted in Reviews on December 3rd, 2018 by JJ Koczan

quarterly-review

You know how this goes by now, right? Well, okay, except that because I skipped the Quarterly Review that I otherwise would’ve done in September (or, more likely, October), I’m doubling-up this time. 100 reviews instead of 50. Two full weeks of 10 albums per day. Will I survive? Yeah, probably. Will it be completely overwhelming? Already is. Thanks for asking.

I’ll save the summaries of the year that was for list-time, which is fast approaching, but consider the fact that there are well more than 100 albums I could include in this roundup emblematic of just how vibrant heavy rock and doom are in the US, EU, UK, Australia and elsewhere. It’s a universal thing, and accordingly, there’s a whole universe of it to explore. This is just a sampling.

But yeah, time’s a wastin’, so let’s get to it.

Quarterly Review #1-10:

Trippy Wicked and the Cosmic Children of the Knight, Stakes n Scale

trippy wicked stakes n scale

An acoustic EP from Trippy Wicked and the Cosmic Children of the Knight — who, let’s face it, were way ahead of the curve when it comes to the UK scene’s thing for long and ridiculous band names — is a considerable departure from where they were two years ago on their split/collaboration with GurT (review here), but those familiar with the band might recall their past penchant for the occasional unplugged cover recorded for YouTube. Chris West (also Crawling for Carrion, Glanville, etc.), who engineered the recording and plays guitar, and vocalist Peter Holland (also Elephant Tree) revamp Trippy Wicked‘s “Up the Stakes” from 2012’s Going Home (review here), and cover “Scale the Mountain” by Stubb, of which both were members when the song was written. Together, they make for a nine-minute showcase for the character in Holland‘s voice and the melodies and craft at root in both tracks, and while its arrival feels like kind of a one-off, it’s certainly no less welcome for that.

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Trippy Wicked on Bandcamp

 

Dunbarrow, II

dunbarrow ii

The novelty of new bands playing through vintage gear in order to capture a heavy ’70s sound may have faded, but like all subgenres, as time goes on, the retro-ist style continues to shift and change as bands like Dunbarrow bring new character to established tenets. Their second LP for RidingEasy is aptly-titled II and sways between honoring the likes of Pentagram and acts like Witchcraft who’ve helped craft that band’s hindsight-founded legacy. Dunbarrow‘s noodly style, restrained rhythmic shove and ride-the-riff melody on “Weary Lady” and the foresty creep of “The Demon Within” capture the vibe well, the latter occurring in a second half of II populated with “The Wolf” and “Witches of the Woods Pt. II,” a sequel to the closer of their 2016 self-titled debut (review here) that here leads to the more severe roll of the finale, “On this Night,” emblematic of the changing character of the band even as it reaffirms in its tense midsection the roots from which they sprung.

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RidingEasy Records on Bandcamp

 

The Vintage Caravan, Gateways

the vintage caravan gateways

With their third record and second for Nuclear Blast, Icelandic trio The Vintage Caravan affirm not only their passion for the boogie of old on cuts like “The Way” and the strutting “Hidden Streams,” but secure a place as being worthy of the consideration they’ve been given to a degree by the wider Continental European heavy underground. They are strikingly mature in their approach for still being a relatively young band, and their albums have worked quickly to develop a character that is becoming more and more their own. They do the fests and they tour, and so on, but they seem to be engaged in building their listenership one pair of ears at a time. Having a metal-major label behind them hasn’t hurt their promotional cause, but frankly, they’re not as big as they should be for the level of work they’re doing, and even with songs like “Reset” and “Reflections” and the composed-strictly-for-vinyl-sounding closer “Tune Out” to their credit, they’re still largely a word of mouth band, especially in the US. Well, consider this your word of mouth. If you haven’t heard Gateways yet, you should get on that.

The Vintage Caravan on Thee Facebooks

The Vintage Caravan at Nuclear Blast

 

Minsk & Zatokrev, Bigod

zatokrev minsk bigod

Post-metallic powerhouses Minsk and Zatokrev — both of whom hit their 15th anniversary last year — teamed up for a European tour this Fall. To mark the occasion, Consouling Sounds and Czar of Crickets celebrated with Bigod, a split with two tracks from each band arranged in alternating order — Minsk, then Zatokrev, etc. — intended to highlight the symmetry between them not just of circumstance and root influence in the Neurosis school of atmospheric sludge, but the fact that they share these commonalities despite their origins in Illinois and Switzerland, respectively. Each band opens with a longer track (double points) in Minsk‘s “Invoke/Revive” and Zatokrev‘s “Silent Gods,” each of which push past 13 minutes as likely at any moment to be pummeling as ambient, and follows with two shorter cuts, Minsk‘s “Salvatore” swelling theatrically from its minimalist beginnings while Zatokrev‘s “The Chalice and the Dagger” seems to explode from the foundation the prior band laid out. It must have been a hell of a tour, but whether you saw it or not, the split is a welcome conglomeration from two of post-metal’s strongest acts.

Minsk on Thee Facebooks

Zatokrev on Thee Facebooks

Consouling Sounds website

Czar of Crickets Productions website

 

Owl Maker, Sky Road

owl maker sky road

Self-recording guitarist/vocalist Simon Tuozzoli (Vestal Claret, ex-Guerra, etc.) leads Connecticut-based three-piece Owl Maker through a complex thematic of Native American folklore and heavy metal classicism. The NWOBHM plays a strong role in his riffing style, but one of the two tracks included on the two-songer single Sky Road, “Owl City,” also veers into more extreme territory with a departure from clean vocals to harsher screaming. All told, it’s about eight minutes of music, but Sky Road nonetheless follows Owl Maker‘s earlier-2018 EP, Paths of the Slain (review here), with an uptick in melodic presence in the vocals of Tuozzoli and bassist Jessie May and progression in the chemistry between the two of them and drummer Chris Anderson, and with the fluidity of their transitions between various styles of heavy, their scope seems only to be growing. To wit, “Sky Road” itself is only 3:42, but still demonstrates a clear-headed compositional method based around storytelling and a subtly encompassing range. Whether it’s early warning for what they do next or a conceptual one-off, its quick run seems just to be begging for a 7″ pressing.

Owl Maker on Thee Facebooks

Owl Maker on Bandcamp

 

Orbital Junction, Orbital Junction

Orbital Junction orbital junction

The Londonderground continues to produce acts ready and willing to worship at the altar of riffs. Orbital Junction‘s self-release debut EP makes an impression not only because of the markedly pro-shop production by Chris Fielding at Skyhammer Studios and the cover art by SoloMacello, but the hooks to live up to those high standards. “6 ft. 2” follows opener “Space Highway” with a bit of dudely chestbeating — note: I don’t know how tall any of them actually are — but the swing of EP centerpiece “Devil’s Double” and the bounce of “Gypsy Queen” speak for the four-piece’s roots and appreciation of straightforward heavy, void of pretense and tapping into an easy mid-paced fluidity that slows up somewhat on closer “Pagan” without really losing the central groove of the offering overall. They’ll have their work cut out for them in distinguishing themselves over the longer term amongst London’s burl-fueled hordes, but their first outing shows their instincts headed in the right direction in terms of songwriting, performance and presentation.

Orbital Junction on Thee Facebooks

Orbital Junction on Bandcamp

 

Bourbon, Fuente Vieja

Bourbon Fuente Vieja

Crisp but warm in its tone and presentation, rife with melody and carrying a laid back spirit despite a fervent underlying groove — the bass on “El Sendero” rests well within gotta-hear-it territory — Spanish purveyors Bourbon emobody some of the best of post-Viaje a 800 Andalusian heavy rock and roll on their third LP, Fuente Vieja (on Spinda). Their fuzz makes its presence known early on “Si Véis La Luz, Corred” and continues as a running theme as tracks like “A Punto de Arder” and the side-A-capping title-cut grow increasingly progressive. There’s room for some shuffle, of course, as side B begins with “La Triste Realidad,” and the slower “Hacia el Sol” gracefully blends electrified wah and acoustic guitars beneath a well-timed standout vocal performance, but the highlight might be eight-minute closer “Destierro,” which seems to bring everything else under one roof while tapping into a poppier structure early — acoustics and electrics aligning effectively circa two minutes in — while providing the album with a graceful and fittingly organic-sounding finale.

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Spinda Records webstore

 

Birnam Wood, Wicked Worlds

birnam wood wicked worlds

Birnam Wood don’t have time for bullshit, but they do have time for a bit of shenanigans. Thus the 1:44 surge of opener “Time of Purification” leads into the sample-laden roller groove of “Richard Dreyfuss” on their as-of-now-self-released Wicked Worlds, and the “Hole in the Sky”-style “Dunsinane” shifts into the more blown-out “Early Warning,” which, by the time its tectonic low end kicks in, is indeed something of a clarion. At seven-tracks/34-minutes, Wicked Worlds is somewhere between an EP and an LP, but I’d argue it as the latter with the flow from “Greenseer” into the massive “A Song for Jorklum” and the seven-minute finale “Return to Samarkand” making for a righteous side B, but either way, it’s a Boston-crafted assault of grit-tone and aggro doom that finds the band not overwhelmed by the heft of their own tones but able to move and manipulate them to serve the purposes of their songs. Those purposes, incidentally, are mostly about kicking ass. Which they do. Copiously.

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Birnam Wood on Bandcamp

 

Wytch Hazel, II: Sojourn

Wytch Hazel II Soujorn

It would not seem to be a coincidence that UK self-aware four-piece Wytch Hazel — guitarists Conlin Hendra (also vocals) and Alex Haslam, bassist Matt Gatley and drummer Jack Spencer nod to Wishbone Ash‘s Argus with the cover of their second LP, II: Sojourn (on Bad Omen). They do a lot of that kind of nodding, with a sound culled from a valiant blend of classic progressive and early NWOBHM styles that makes the point of how closely related the two have always been. “The Devil is Here” starts out at a fervent gallop with just an underpinning of Thin Lizzy, while the later “See My Demons” shifts from its steady roll and rousing hook into an acoustic/electric break that seems to pull from Jethro Tull as much as Scorpions. At 10 tracks/45 minutes, they have plenty of time to flesh out their ideas, and they do precisely that, whether it’s the careful unfolding around the keys and acoustics of closer “Angel Take Me” or the over-the-top instrumental push of “Chorale” or the moodier “Wait on the Wind,” the wah solo of which is a highlight on its own. There are some burgeoning harmonies in Hendra‘s vocals, which is an impulse he should follow as it would only enhance the material, but after making their debut with 2016’s Prelude, II: Sojourn finds Wytch Hazel sounding comfortable and well established in their niche.

Wytch Hazel on Thee Facebooks

Bad Omen Records on Bandcamp

 

The Soulbreaker Company, Sewed with Light

the soulbreaker company sewed with light

Progressive, expansive and engaging, the sixth album from Spanish sextet The Soulbreaker Company, Sewed with Light (on Underground Legends), taps into classically Floydian influences on songs like “The Word, the Blade” while still keeping a foot in heavy rock on the prior “Together,” and setting a quick course into a varied sonic persona via the seven-minute opener and longest track (immediate points) “Inner Dark.” Hypnotizing not necessarily with drift but with sheer willful exploration, The Soulbreaker Company work with a variety of key sounds and craft-minded ranging guitar in order to effect an atmosphere of thoughtful songwriting even in their most outwardly trippy moments. The sneering semi-psychedelic rock of “Avoid the Crash” and the more stripped-down roll of “Arrhythmia” (video premiere here) lead the way into closer “In the Beginning,” which marks yet another departure with its grandeur of string sounds and electronic beats leading to a chugging big finale. As with the bulk of The Soulbreaker Company‘s work, it requires an active ear, but Sewed with Light both encourages and well earns consideration as more than background noise.

The Soulbreaker Company on Thee Facebooks

Underground Legends on Bandcamp

 

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The Soulbreaker Company Premiere “Arrhythmia” Video; Sewed with Light out Nov. 30

Posted in Bootleg Theater on November 9th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

the soulbreaker company 2018

Basque Country progressive heavy rockers The Soulbreaker Company release their sixth LP, Sewed with Light, Nov. 30 on Underground Legends Records. It is their first outing through the label after serving as a longtime staple act for Alone Records, but regardless of who’s putting it out, the band’s sound remains unmistakably their own. In their more than 13 years together, the band has been through a number of lineup changes and have undertaken a persistent sonic evolution, and as the latest manifestation of that, the 11-track/48-minute Sewed with Light brings an overarching pastoral feel to still-weighted grooves and tones. With vocalist Jony Moreno out front surrounded by his fellow founders in guitarists Asier Fernandez (also vocals) and Dani Triñanes, melody runs central throughout the proceedings while Javi Free makes an impression on synth in “Together” and piano in “You Guess but You Don’t Understand,” and the drums of Andoni Ortiz and bass of Illan Arribas tie together a vision of progressive heavy informed by the likes of Pink Floyd and Led Zeppelin that nonetheless seeks to repeat the work of neither of them. Beginning with its longest track (immediate points) in the seven-minute “Inner Dark,” Sewed with Light offers a balance between a rich, textured sound and a graceful live execution that’s emblematic of their sonic maturity but still exciting to hear.

Acoustics, fuzzed electrics, a variety of keys and malleable vocals all come together to create the tapestry evoked in the material, which is peaceful even at its heaviest moments the soulbreaker company sewed with lightand has precious little time for needless aggression. Even as “The Word, the Blade” picks up into its chorus, the feel remains easy and accessible, and as they cap with the electronics-and-drone piece “In the Beginning,” the vibe remains more experimentalist than angry. Though it’s relatively short at 2:57, “Arrhythmia” represents Sewed with Light well. Preceded by the keyboard/Mellotron-laced “Avoid the Crash,” it’s more uptempo than some of what surrounds, but set as the penultimate inclusion on the tracklist, it’s obviously meant as a last-minute kick to get listeners on board for the far-out closer that follows. Like the best of the classics from which they take influence, The Soulbreaker Company are able to distill a grand or epic feel down into a song that’s tight in its structure and doesn’t need to hit the 10-minute mark to make its impression emotionally. Centerpiece “Persephone” brings together Free‘s spacey synth and the lead guitars in a one-into-the-next trade of solos and still has room in its five minutes for a memorable hook and an engaging melody. With the early prog-out of the quick “I am the Void” and the breadth of the subsequent “The End of the Day” and “Together,” there’s much for listeners to dig into, but whether one sits and parses through every move, shift in tone and groove, every part change and chorus, or if one simply goes along for the ride, The Soulbreaker Company offer an enticing invite to take its component songs on and live with them for a while. Some records you hear and that’s it. Sewed with Light feels more like a multi-sensory experience.

I’m thrilled today to host the premiere of the video for “Arrhythmia” with my thanks to Underground Legends for letting me do so. You’ll find it on the player below, followed by some info and links as always.

Please enjoy:

The Soulbreaker Company, “Arrhythmia” official video premiere

THE SOULBREAKER COMPANY’s official video for Arrhythmia from the album “Sewed With Light” available on November 30th.

Written and Directed by Elba Berganzo

The Soulbreaker Company is:
Jony Moreno: vox
Asier Fernandez: Guitars, vox
Andoni Ortiz: Drums
Illan Arribas: Bass
Dani Triñanes: Guitars
Javi Free: Synths, Piano, organ

The Soulbreaker Company on Thee Facebooks

The Soulbreaker Company on Bandcamp

The Soulbreaker Company on Instagram

The Soulbreaker Company on Twitter

Underground Legends Records on Thee Facebooks

Underground Legends Records on Bandcamp

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The Obelisk Presents: Entropía September Tour Dates

Posted in The Obelisk Presents on July 26th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

Entriopía tour

The Obelisk will sponsor the inaugural European tour of newcomer progressive psychedelic rockers Entropía, who head out supporting their debut album, Invisible. You’ll find the self-released full-length streaming in its entirety below courtesy of the band’s Bandcamp page, and with a piano-heavy style in flowing tracks like “Prisionera de la Expresión” and “Invisible,” they want nothing for class or soul or a sense of mastery for it being their first record. In instrumental sections as well as their verses and choruses, frontman/keyboardist Jon Bellido helps provide a foundation for the material on which guitarist Roberto Nieves, bassist Lasto and drummer Andoni Penela build outward. Invisible works in varied passages to evoke a diverse sense of mood and an engaging scope that’s both immersive and demanding attentive interaction. It’s not an album to get lost in so much as converse with, and that conversation only offers more reward with each return.

Entropía — who also stylize their moniker all-lowercase: entriopía — have played local shows in Spain and their native Basque Country and are looking to head out on their first round of tour dates between Sept. 20-30. They have shows booked for the first three nights but are still working to fill out the rest of the tour. If you can help out, help out. Wombat Booking is handling the reservations, and you can see what’s already confirmed below. Very happy to be involved in getting this one out there. Make sure you dig into the record as well.

Have at it:

Entriopía

We are happy to announce that the Psychedelic Progressive band from Vitoria – Basque Country (North Spain) – ENTROPIA will embark on this Rock adventure around Europe presenting their latest effort “Invisible”.

Entropía is a Spanish band from Vitoria-Gasteiz, Basque Country, formed at the end of summer 2014. Their music has its roots in alternative rock with clear psychedelia and space rock influences. The band is formed by four young musicians: Jon Bellido (keyboards and vocals), Roberto Nieves (lead guitar), Lasto (bass) and Andoni Penela (drums). Up until now, they’ve given more than thirty concerts, most of them in local bars, but also in Madrid, as well as in Sopelana, Portugalete, Aramaio, Bilbao, Pamplona or Logroño, and at the Mendialdea Music Festival (MMF) in Maeztu. They’re winners of Gazte Talent 2016, and they were also awarded ‘Best Demo’ by the University of La Rioja in 2017, going on to represent this university in the 2018 edition of the national competition ‘G9’.

They’ve recorded their first self-financed long-playing album (LP) named Invisible, which was released in February 22, 2018. They don’t belong to any record label, but for the edition of this album they’re working with the alternative labels Cosmic Tentacles of Vitoria-Gasteiz and Nooirax of Madrid. They’ve also shared the stage with other bands with a similar musical style, such as Astrodome, The Soulbreaker Company, Arenna, Wicked Wizzard, the Bostonians Dyr Faser and the Australians James McCann & The New Vindictives.

September is the time to enjoy the road.

September 20th to September 30th

Already confirmed:
Sept 20th Bordeaux
Sept 21st Toulouse
Sept 22nd Tarbes

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Entriopía on Instagram

Entriopía on Bandcamp

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Arenna, Given to Emptiness: Waves Like Dreams

Posted in Reviews on June 9th, 2015 by JJ Koczan

arenna given to emptiness

Though on the surface its core of warm-toned heavy psychedelia seems straightforward enough, I’ve yet to listen to Given to Emptiness, the second full-length through Nasoni Records from Basque five-piece Arenna, and not hear something new within its span. And it usually doesn’t take all that long, either. The album, which follows their 2011 debut, Beats of Olarizu (review here), is constructed around rich tones and varied arrangements, still jamming and exploratory in the post-Colour Haze tradition, but prone to heavier excursions like that which emerges on “Move through Figurehead Lights,” its impact made all the more forceful by a stretch of acoustic guitar proceeding. As with the first record, the fivesome of bassist Javi, drummer Guille, guitarists Kike (a regional nickname, pronounced like “Quique,” short for Enrique; also acoustics and Tibetan bowls on closer “Low Tide”) and R. Ruiz del Portal (also mellotron on “Visions of Rex”), and vocalist Txus Dr. Sax — who most often backs himself but is joined periodically by Poti (also of Atavismo, formerly Viaje a 800) and Jony Moreno (also of Soulbreaker Company) in the chorus, Poti also handling Mellotron throughout the album and theremin on “Move through Figurehead Lights” — revel in a laid back atmosphere while conjuring fluid expanses of heavy psych, but where Beats of Olarizu topped 68 minutes, Given to Emptiness pares down to an efficient single LP just over 47, its seven tracks cleanly split between two sides, each demarcated by its longest component piece, the longest of which, “Butes,” opens the outing at 10:20.

Immediate points for that, and make it double since they open both sides with the longest track, “Chroma” answering from side B with a nine-minute rollout. “Butes” makes a gorgeous wash to start off Given to Emptiness, gradually unfolding to work in direct contrast to the title of the album, its turns leading it along a building path but showcasing a patience that will come to typify a lot of what they do throughout. Setting the tone, as it were. They do so with liquefied grooves and guitar interplay, soulful vocals from Txus Dr. Sax and a steady nod that holds sway for the duration. This lushness continues into the building “Visions of Rex,” the swirl of which is always present but never overdone, and forward through “Drums for Sitting Bull” (streamed here), which recalls some of the more straightforward moments of the debut but blends them smoothly with the sprawling vibes elicited already throughout the first two cuts. “Drums for Sitting Bull” marks an appearance from both Poti and Moreno on backing vocals, and they’re put to more than solid use, though it’s ultimately Dr. Sax himself who carries the apex of the song over with a sort of wavering, watery presence in his voice. Whether that’s an effect or not, I don’t know, but it’s striking either way, and Arenna roll their way through the end of the track afterwards — Javi‘s bass is a must-hear for appreciators of low end — with the drums dropping out and kicking back in to push the final groove to its eventual crash and ring out, feedback fading to close side A. Already the atmosphere is set for languid, jam-based vibing, but the band’s penchant for deeper arrangements with the touches of Mellotron, additional vocals, acoustics and even just swapping out one effect for another showcase a sense of wanting each track to add something to the larger whole of the effort, and that proves no less true of the four tracks included on side B.

arenna

In the spirit of “Butes,” “Chroma” takes its time in shifting from its dreamy opening of guitar, cymbal washes and airy swirls to move into its Mellotron-topped breadth, but unlike the album-opener, the side B launch is instrumental save for a late-arriving sample to mark the landing of the progression’s peak. “Chroma” turns and shifts and undulates naturally, a fuzz-caked nod that many among the converted wouldn’t even try to resist let alone have the ability to do so, but gives way to “Move through Figurehead Lights” — a no less otherworldly opening, even if it’s the drums this time leading the charge — without pretense, that track’s subtle volume swells and quiet vibing met just before the two-minute mark by acoustic guitar (courtesy of a guest spot by Manix S.) and vocals that come to drive the build as much as serve as part of it. It’s the voices of Dr. Sax, Poti and Moreno, in a non-lyricized “ohh” chorus near the end that almost become a riff of their own working in conjunction with the bass and drums along with the solo, and they carry through an almost spiritual celebration, which can’t help but add gravity to “The Pursuer,” which follows. A bit of symmetry with “Drums for Sitting Bull” in terms of structure, maybe, but “The Pursuer” has its own personality to be sure, in open verses and alternating echoes of guitar that, with the vocals, shift in the second half of the song to the album’s most purposefully pretty melody, giving way near the end as Arenna come as close as they have to any sort of aggression in progressive start-stop riffing to close out. With the epilogue, 1:41 “Low Tide” at the finish with its quiet acoustics for a last moment of contemplation, Given to Emptiness ends with something of a lonely mood, but even there I’m fairly certain there are (at least) two layers of guitar working at the same time, so even in its most minimal stretch, it remains far from empty. Somewhat understated in this review up to this point is the emotional resonance of the vocals, which are a driving force in engrossing and holding the listener’s attention throughout, but they’re far from the only aspect of Arenna‘s sound working in their favor. Their sophomore album also marks a decade of their tenure, and one can hear their experience and their chemistry in each track as Given to Emptiness unfolds, its patience never meandering so far from the overarching sense of a design at work that it’s unable to return.

Arenna, Given to Emptiness (2015)

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Arenna on Bandcamp

Arenna at Nasoni Records

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Arenna Premiere “Drums for Sitting Bull” from New Album Given to Emptiness

Posted in audiObelisk on April 21st, 2015 by JJ Koczan

Arenna (Photo by Rhythm and Photos)

Spanish heavy psych rockers Arenna will release their second album, Given to Emptiness, on May 7. It’s been four years since the five-piece made their debut on Nasoni Records with the full-length Beats of Olarizu (review here) and today I have the privilege of unveiling track three from Given to Emptiness, “Drums for Sitting Bull.” Duly percussive, but no less centered around its heavy groove and warm, fuzzed-out tones, the song finds the melody front and center in contemplative style somewhat similar to the debut, but understandably developed in the four-year interim between releases.

Immediately laid back and catchy, a tell early on is the vocals following the lead guitar. That will come up again later in the song, before a late break cuts short to resume the roll of the central riff, added to by Mellotron (provided by Poti, who presumably is the same Poti from Atavismo, formerly of Viaje a 800), ending out the instrumental push with a quiet sort of apex. For Arenna — guitarists R. Ruiz de Portal and Kike (which I’m not even comfortable typing, but is apparently how he wants to be known), bassist Javi, vocalist Txus Dr. Sax and drummer Guille — it’s a steady flow that reinforces something the first album did well but also shows them trying new things with their sound. Hopefully that’s indicative of what the rest of Given to Emptiness has to offer.

Recording info for Arenna‘s Given to Emptiness and the lyrics in Spanish and English follow “Drums for Sitting Bull,” which you can find on the player below. Please enjoy:

ARENNA – GIVEN TO EMPTINESS

Format: CD / LP / Digital download
Genre: Rock / Psychedelic / Stoner
Label: Nasoni Records
Release date: May 2015

Tracklist:
1 Butes (10:20)
2 Visions Of Rex (6:29)
3 Drums For Sitting Bull (6:17)
4 Chroma (9:00)
5 Move Through Figurehead Lights (7:02)
6 The Pursuer (6:15)
7 Low Tide (1:40)
total (47:04)

Recorded by Javier Ortiz at Estudio Brazil (Nov. 1-7, 2014)
Mixed by José López Gil at Sound Experience Studio & Estudios K.
Mastered by JJ. Golden
Produced by José López Gil and Arenna
Music by Arenna
Artwork by Khoa Le
Designed by Artidoto

Music by Arenna
Javi: bass
Guille: drums & percusions
Txus Dr. Sax: vocals & chorus
R. Ruiz del Portal: guitars; mellotron (on track 2)
Kike: guitars; acoustic guitars & Tibetan bowls (on track 7)

All lyrics by Cameron Webster, Estíbaliz Urretxu, Javier Arbulu & Txus Dr.Sax with special collaboration of P. Quignard (Butes) & F. Kafka (Drums for Sitting Bull)

Additional musicians: Poti: mellotron (on all tracks), theremin (on track 5) and chorus (on tracks 3, 5 & 6), Jony Moreno: chorus (on tracks 3 & 5), and Manix S. acoustic guitar (on track 5).

3. Drums for Sitting Bull
If one were only an indian,
Alert, on a racing horse,
Leaning against the wind,
Until one shed one’s spurs,
& threw away the reins.
Hardly saw land before one,
When horse’s neck & head
Would be already gone.

3. Tambores para Toro Sentado
Si uno pudiera ser un Piel Roja,
alerta, cabalgando sobre un caballo veloz,
apoyado contra el viento,
hasta arrojar las espuelas,
hasta arrojar las riendas.
Apenas viera ante sí el campo,
ya habrían desaparecido
las crines & la cabeza del caballo.

Arenna on Thee Facebooks

Given to Emptiness preorders

Nasoni Records

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The Soulbreaker Company, Itaca: Careful with That Psych

Posted in Reviews on November 24th, 2010 by JJ Koczan

Whereas much of the movement in the last several years of heavy psychedelic rock has been toward the more freeform, jamming style of bands like Earthless and Naam, the VitoriaGasteiz collective The Soulbreaker Company from the north of Spain present an incredibly tight-wound vision of what space-leaning psych can be on their second Alone Records full-length, Itaca. The six-piece (plus guests) band run through a wide array of sonic motifs, from the jazzy synth-prog of opener “It’s Dirt,” to the Doors-y feel of the ending movement of “Sandstorm,” always maintaining control, always sounding full. Never a hair out of place, so to speak. It’s an accomplishment mostly in the complexity of the song arrangements – I know of plenty two-piece bands who can’t get to the point of togetherness The Soulbreaker Company have with up to eight or nine people on a single track.

Part of that credit has to go to Chris Fielding, who produced Itaca at Foel Studios in Wales (Obiat, Conan, Porcupine Tree) along with the band. The sounds here are crisp but not unnatural, and there’s a remarkable balance between the separation in the instruments and their meshing. The already-noted opener earns kudos not only for its creative breadth, but for being the longest cut on Itaca at 9:38 (I’m almost always a sucker for a band who opens with their longest song instead of tacking it at the end), and cuts like “Oh! Warsaw,” the catchy “Sow the Roses” and the later, piano- and horn-driven “Take a Seat on the Moon” only reinforce the album’s primary statement, that The Soulbreaker Company are a band for whom the limits are few and far between. They have the will (and the personnel) to take listeners on a genuine journey, and the more of Itaca I dig into, the farther-ranging I’m finding it to be. While the classic rock approach of vocalist/guitarist Jony Moreno (backed occasionally by Layla Seville and/or Joanne Deacon) does a lot of the tying together of the different-sounding tracks, there’s also a tonal consistency to the material on Itaca that serves to heighten the drama of the songs while it helps the flow one to the next. Fans of Hypnos 69 will swoon over the guitar work of Daniel Triñanes and Asier Fernandez on “Colours of the Fire” and the sax-playing of Kike Guzman (who might want to think about adopting a nom de guerre) on “It’s Dirt” and “No Way Back Home,” on which the Hammond of Oscar Gil also provides an album highlight.

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