Sunnata, Outlands: Travel Beyond Borderlines

Posted in Reviews on March 28th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

sunnata outlands

This year marks a decade of activity for Poland’s Sunnata, who began their career releasing a series of EPs and a full-length under a prior name before beefing up their sound and adopting the new identity for 2014’s Climbing the Colossus. The impressive Zorya (review here) followed in 2016 and expanded their progressive reach, and their apparent penchant for putting out records on even years continues with Outlands, which also continues a theme of vague figures on the cover art, keeping in kind with both LPs prior in that regard.

If one were to look at the many faces and arms/branches of the person/alien/deity on the front of Outlands and think Sunnata — the lineup of vocalists/guitarists Szymon Ewertowski and Adrian Gadomski, bassist Michal Dobrzanski and drummer Robert Ruszczyk — might be shooting for something to convey a multifaceted existence of some sort, their sound bears that out across the eight-song/47-minute release, which is comprised of nothing less than brilliantly composed progressive post-heavy rock, so spacious that one can hardly see from one end of it to the other, and encompassing enough to genuinely feel like it’s creating its own world as it plays out.

Consistent in overall largesse, it varies in songcraft so that a piece like the nine-minute post-intro opener “Lucid Dream” and the later thrust of “Gordian Knot” hit their own targets, but the underlying force of the production and the expansiveness of the sounds being created tie the songs together and create an overarching flow that moves the listener carefully along Outlands‘ otherwise tumultuous path. If Climbing the Colossus was about Sunnata establishing what was then a new identity and Zorya about expanding their reach into new cross-genre territories, then Outlands feels like the realization of Sunnata of something unto itself, born of but not necessarily beholden to its influences and expressive on both emotional and cerebral levels.

It’s not every band who is able to make that leap, but Sunnata have quite clearly dedicated themselves to pushing ahead creatively, and that seems to guide the Warsaw four-piece’s craft on Outlands, be it the subtle build and surge of volume and groove in “Lucid Dream” that provides the record’s first payoff and arguably most effective moment of consumption, or the Alice in Chains-style harmonies and layering that tops the blastbeats of “Scars,” which follows. More even than their last time out, there’s a prevalent sense of ritual to Outlands — with some of the Eastern inflection in the guitar work, one is almost reminded of a less Om-derived Ethereal Riffian — but the real key to the album is patience.

Sunnata Aleksandra Burska

Even when they’re playing fast, as on “Scars” or in “The Ascender,” they’re in no rush, and suitably enough, the best example — if it’s not “Lucid Dream” — might be Outlands‘ side-A-capping title-track, which begins with an underlying tension of drums and whispers and moves fluidly through hypnotic repetitions through its early verses; the bottom-of-the-mouth vocals vague but working in intertwined layers to mask the build happening beneath them. Finally, at about the five-minute mark and in a mirror of “Lucid Dream” before it, “Outlands” slams into a massive groove that only grows larger when the drums slow to half-time. That would usually be enough to end on, but Sunnata push through the crescendo and dip back into atmospheric reaches and rebuild a progression that’s never really meant to take off in the way of the prior movement, but ends with acapella harmonies to give way to the low-end heft of “The Ascender” at the start of side B, which will ultimately be defined by the album’s 12-minute finale, “Hollow Kingdom” but still has plenty of crunch to offer along its path toward that ending.

To wit, the pairing of “The Ascender” and “Gordian Knot” at the start of side B doesn’t seem accidental. I’m not sure I’d all either track straightforward, but with some harsher vocals included in both — shouts that in the first verse of “Gordian Knot” are metallic enough to remind me of the last Amebix record (which I liked) — and shorter runtimes (5:33 and 4:21, respectively) compared to everything on side A except Outlands‘ 40-second noise-build “Intro,” the impression is still of a more direct methodology. Fortunately, Sunnata handle the intensity of “Gordian Knot” with no less grace than they did the worldbuilding of “Lucid Dreams,” and there are still all manner of backing vocal layers and other noises to contend with, so it’s not like the depth has disappeared, it’s just being used toward rawer ends. “Gordian Knot” caps at full-throttle and gives way to the manipulated guitar noise (and maybe keys?) of “Falling (Interlude),” which serves as a direct lead-in for “Hollow Kingdom,” the 12:35 run of which begins minimal, quiet and spacious, before moving through early sections that are more chants than verses but engagingly melodic nonetheless and serving as something of a hook anyway with the repetition of the word “hollow” as a kind of mantra.

Just before two minutes in, Sunnata shift into the next section of the song, but instead of continuing to build forward, cut back again after this verse and return to the patience shown in “Lucid Dreams” and the title-track. A chorus is established and while it seems like “Hollow Kingdom” is headed for an inevitable payoff, just before its halfway point, the song breaks — the kick drum and some sparse guitar letting you know it’s still there at all — and turns to a completely different progression. It’s a little out-of-nowhere, but one suspects that’s the whole idea. They’re building again, patiently, subtly, and they do indeed move into an apex for “Hollow Kingdom” with lumbering crashes that begin just passed nine minutes in, but to my mind, the real confirmation of the band’s achievement with Outlands is what follows, when they return to the original chorus to close out. By then, they’ve shifted so far away from where they originally came that it’s completely unexpected, and the turn is pulled off flawlessly as a final confirmation of the level of craft that Sunnata have been executing all along.

One wonders if, 10 years ago, the members of Sunnata might have had any sense of the accomplishments in style and substance they would ultimately attain, but whether Outlands is the result of a conscious evolutionary process or an organic growth from release to release, the fact remains that it stands in a place all its own.

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Sunnata to Release Outlands March 23

Posted in Whathaveyou on March 7th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

sunnata

Points for consistency to Polish heavy progressive psychedelic rockers Sunnata. Their last album, 2016’s Zorya (review here), kicked ass, and so does their new one, Outlands. The Warsaw-based group’s third offering, Outands is out March 23, and it plays between influences extreme and atmospheric, metallic and rocking, and it bears a heaviness as much of spirit as of sound. Each record Sunnata have done has seen them come more into themselves sound-wise, and listening to the patient unfolding of the title-track as you can at the bottom of this post, you’ll clearly see that’s the case here as well.

Get yourself ready for a journey:

sunnata outlands

Ritual heavy unit SUNNATA unveil details for new album “Outlands” and share title track

Warsaw’s ritual heavy specialists SUNNATA return with their third full-length “Outlands” this March 23rd. Open your minds and enjoy the title track off this new sonic experience.

Hailing from Warsaw, Poland, SUNNATA have kept paving their own way to higher metal skies since their 2014 debut “Climbing The Colossus”. Weaving together sounds of the heaviest kind, dark psychedelia and grunge-infused hooks and vocals, the gifted foursome crafts a trippy and epic brand of metal that can only be accurately described as ‘ritual heavy’. Their spellbinding sophomore album “Zorya” (2016) made the band gather even more momentum with regard to the European alternative heavy scene. This third album entitled “Outlands” brilliantly brings out even more ‘ritual’ in the ‘heavy’, confidently crossing the frontier of progressive doom to land in even more melancholic and mind-expanding alleys. SUNNATA are back and set to blow minds once again.

SUNNATA give an insight into this new song and record: « We have chosen the title track ‘Outlands’, because it lays right at the crossroads of all influences that made our new album’s sound. It’s a trance-inducing, shamanic journey with a story about sacrifice of the self, as a way to reveal a deeper truth behind it. The longer we worked on our third album, the more surprised we were with the outcome. ‘Outlands’ was one of the first songs we wrote, and it definitely is a good representative of the new record. It shows the shift in our sound, that definitely pushed us more towards modern psychedelia merged with strong 90s influences, and a bit of ritualism and doom in the background. We’ve had over a year long journey with this material and we feel that it shows yet another face of Sunnata. We let ourselves loose to go with the flow. No boundaries. This is first taste of what happened. Open your mind and experience it. »

“Outlands” artwork was designed by Polish artist Maciej Kamuda. Band photo courtesy of Aleksandra Burska. The album was recorded, mixed and mastered by Haldor Grunberg at Satanic Audio.

SUNNATA – New album “Outlands”
Available on March 23rd on CD and digital

TRACK LISTING:
1. Intro
2. Lucid Dream
3. Scars
4. Outlands
5. The Ascender
6. Gordian Knot
7. Falling (Interlude)
8. Hollow Kingdom

SUNNATA ARE
Szymon Ewertowski – vocals, guitar
Adrian Gadomski – vocals, guitar
Michal Dobrzanski – bass
Robert Ruszczyk – drums, percussion

https://www.facebook.com/sunnataofficial
https://twitter.com/followsunnata
http://sunnataofficial.bandcamp.com/
https://www.youtube.com/user/sunnataofficial/videos

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Six Dumb Questions with Weedpecker (Plus Full Album Stream)

Posted in audiObelisk, Six Dumb Questions on January 5th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

weedpecker

Today, Jan. 5, marks the official release date of Polish heavy psych rockers Weedpecker‘s awaited third album, III. Also their debut outing through respected purveyor Stickman Records, its tracks have been floating around the interwebs for the better part of the last several months in one form or another, and the whole thing might well have been on YouTube already, I don’t really know, but if you click play below, you can stream it in full courtesy of the band and label, and whether it’s your first time hearing it or not, it’s one I’m thrilled to be able to feature for the wide-spreading wash it enacts and the inviting warmth with which it greets its audience.

Comprised now of founding brothers/guitarists/vocalists Piotr Wyroslaw “Wyro” Dobry and Bartek “Bando” Dobry, bassist Grzegorz “Mroku” Pawlowski, who joined in time for the release of II (review here) and drummer Pan Falon, the Warsaw-based troupe have held firm to a creatively progressive course since their self-titledweedpecker iii debut (review here) surfaced in 2013, but with III, their approach reaches new levels of patience and fluidity. Across the first two of the five inclusions, “Molecule” and “Embrace,” they employ dream-toned otherworldliness wielded with stonerly fascination and exploratory aplomb. Layers are rich but spread wide, allowing the listener to breathe easy as they make their way through toward the cyclonic churn that, prefaced in the second half of “Molecule,” takes fuller hold with album centerpiece “Liquid Sky” and the early going of the subsequent “From Mars to Mercury,” shades of latter-day Elder‘s lush melodies showing themselves amidst the swirl of fuzz and echo.

The full-length rounds out with the nigh-Beatlesian harmonies of “Lazy Boy and the Temple of Wonders,” a stretch of just under nine minutes that builds in linear fashion to a smoothly-executed apex pulled off with class and confidence alike, first swelling in the midsection before drawing back to highlight the Pawlowski‘s bassline as the Dobry brothers weave lines of guitar and (maybe?) Mellotron together for a serenity that thrusts forward circa 5:45 to begin to provide III with its well-earned final payoff. This, naturally, is no less fluid than anything that’s come before it, and III on the whole reveals itself to be a molten joy of heavy psych that finds Weedpecker more come into their own sonic persona than they’ve ever been.

Accordingly, and with the album out today, it seemed like the perfect opportunity to hit the Dobrys up with a few questions about the making of III and their sense of where Weedpecker are coming from generally and where they might be headed. You’ll find the results of that Q&A after the album player immediately following here.

Please enjoy the following stream and Six Dumb Questions:

Six Dumb Questions with Weedpecker

Tell me about writing III. When did the process start? Was there anything in particular you were looking to accomplish coming off of the last album and going into this one?

Piotr Dobry: We started writing the material for III right after we finished recording II. To be honest, I don’t quiet remember how it went. We were just working hard on upgrading the sound and compositions comparing to II. The experiences we earned from previous records are very precious, we wanted to use them to make the best possible album.

Bartek Dobry: I remember that I was really happy with the sound of II when we left the studio, but later on I started to notice that I don’t like it to be honest. The compositions and the sound. They seemed to be flat and boring. We really wanted not to repeat mistakes we did during the last studio session. I think it turned out okay but still I see lots of things that we can work on in the future.

How do Weedpecker songs take shape? A track like “Embrace” seems to have a lot of interwoven parts – how do they come together for you guys generally? Has this process changed at all over the course of your three albums?

PD: It depends, the whole material is written by me and Bartek, we bring patterns to the rehearsals and then we try to make songs out of them. Sometimes it takes very long for us to finish the song. Like the song is almost done but it needs one or two more patterns which just can’t come to your head, and then you wait even couple of months till you find what you were looking for. After finishing such a song we want to do something spontaneous and just jam something out.

BD: The process definitely changed, we started to put more attention on what patterns are getting in the songs. The selection was really raw. We probably had to give up riffs that could make another LP but they weren’t good enough. Also I’ve never recorded music in home just to register riffs and to work on them, which I did during working on III. It really makes a good work.

What was your time in the studio like for III? How long were you recording? What was the vibe like? Did you have any specific goals for the sound and, if so, what were some of the challenges along the way in making them happen?

PD: We recorded it in freshly built studio of Tides From Nebula fellas. Haldor of Satanic Audio was our recording guy just like on II. We’ve spent very intense week there, we’ve been recording for 12 hours a day and sometimes even more. We’ve smoked literally ton of weed during the session. It was pure pleasure. I love to record and it gives me lots of joy when I hear particular tracks being combined and slowly becoming a song on which we were working for two years. We knew exactly what kind of gear (guitars, amps and the whole rest) we wanted to use on this record. We bought some and some we borrowed from our good friends. On II we didn’t put as much effort.

BD: Special thanks to Cheesy Dude for being our backup sound guy for one night!

How did signing to Stickman come about? The label seems to have such distinctive taste. What does it mean to you to have them backing your record?

PD: It means a lot to us! Personally I love many records published by this label and I was really happy when we got the proposition. Good friend of ours, Nick DiSalvo came to the gig in Berlin, and he said that he’d like to show the material to Rolf [Gustavus], owner of the label. After something about a week we got an official proposition from Stickman.

How do you feel that Weedpecker has grown generally since the first album? Is that something you think about and try to purposefully make happen, or do you just prefer to let the songs take shape as they will and see what comes out? How much of your progression is intentional?

PD: Of course we care about the continuous growth of the band. We want every each album to sound better than the previous one. That means we have to work harder and invest more money each time. Still it gives us lots of pleasure and satisfaction. On each rehearsal we smoke blunts together, play, and talk about stuff.

BD: The progression is partly intentional. As we play more and have more experience with composing and stuff we begin to have more expectations about our music. I want songs to be more complicated and melodic. But still the most important is just to have fun out of playing. If we play the riff and we really feel it during the rehearsal than propably it’s good. Or perhaps it’s shit and we were too high while playing it. You never know.

Any plans or closing words you want to mention?

PD: Right after releasing III we go on the small tour around the Germany and Poland, and then we will see.

BD: Peace and love brothers and sisters!

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Weedpecker Sign to Stickman Records; III Coming Soon; New Song Streaming Now

Posted in Whathaveyou on August 21st, 2017 by JJ Koczan

weedpecker

Poland’s Weedpecker already have two strong albums under their collective belt in their 2013 self-titled (review here) and 2015’s even more expansive II (review here), but with an endorsement like that of Stickman Records behind the forthcoming III, it seems all the more like they might just be about to hit their finest hour to-date. The Warsaw four-piece are the latest impressive pickup from the German label, which seems to be on something of a spree over the course of the last year-plus, with King Buffalo, Papir and a distro deal with The Heads‘ imprint Rooster Rock, as well as releases by ElderMotorpsycho, OrangoThe Devil and the Almighty Blues, the aforementioned Papir, etc. All the better, as their taste is basically unfuckwithable as far as I’m concerned.

In the case of Weedpecker, they’re yet another band who take familiar sonic elements and turn them into something brazenly individual. With an underlying influence from their now-labelmates Elder, they honed a progressive feel across the still-psychedelic and very much still-heavy II, and based on what Stickman says about it and the track “Liquid Sky” that’s streaming below, I can’t wait to hear what’s in store for III. Good band. Good news. Positive vibes and kudos all around.

Exact release date still to come. Here’s the cover art and the announcement from the label:

weedpecker iii

STICKMAN WELCOMES WEEDPECKER WITH NEW ALBUM “III”!

It’s the year of the roman numeral at Stickman Records, beginning with Papir’s “V” and continuing the trend with our latest addition to the family – Poland’s WEEDPECKER for their third album, aptly titled “III”!

Weedpecker started turning heads with their fantastic debut album in 2013, no small feat in the oversaturated world of drug rock in the 21st century. Mixing grungy riffs with dreamy, psychedelic soundscapes, their heavy and trippy sound is singular and instantly recognizable. Numerous European tours including shows with our own Elder won the Warsaw quartet the kind of quiet reverence that accompanies any underground band who’s just too good to be let out into the mainstream and discovered for all, and the second LP “II” remains a sought-after gem. When we got the chance to work with them for their latest offering, of course we jumped at the chance!

If the band name conjures up images of marijuana haze – as it undoubtedly should – “III” is a whole ‘nother drug; showing no inhibitions in breaking out of the “stoner rock” mold, the extended trips float over the listener with lush keys, beautiful guitar melodies and ethereal vocal harmonies. Borrowing more heavily from the lighter psychedelia a la early Tame Impala, Pond or Morgan Delt, “III” shows the band experimenting and jamming more than ever before with unexpected and wonderful results.

Says Weedpecker: “We are very happy to announce that our new album will be released by Stickman Records! We’re super proud that Elder, Motorpsycho, Papir, Mos Generator, Anekdoten are our label buddies!”

Release date and details to follow soon!

Weedpecker is:
Wyro-guitar
Bartek-guitar
Mroku-bass
Falon-drums

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Weedpecker, “Liquid Sky”

Weedpecker, II (2015)

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Sunnata Announce Fall European Tour Dates

Posted in Whathaveyou on September 27th, 2016 by JJ Koczan

sunnata

Polish heavy rockers Sunnata have a new live video out captured at a recent hometown gig in Warsaw that found them opening for none other than Mastodon. Not a bad bill at all to be on. The extended cut “Beasts of Prey” opened Sunnata‘s latest album, Zorya (review here), earlier this year and was among its most striking impressions, and yeah, let’s just say it seems to carry over live as well. The four-piece head out on a European tour beginning Thursday, again in Warsaw, and will play Germany, Belgium, France and the Czech Republic in addition to other shows in Poland as they continue to support Zorya, their most progressive and weighted outing yet.

Dates and more background came down the PR wire:

sunnata-european-tour

Ritual heavy merchants SUNNATA on tour across Europe this fall; watch their new video for “Beasts Of Prey” now!

Poland’s ritual heavy unit SUNNATA will embark on their first European tour this fall. The band also released the live video for “Beasts Of Prey”, captured during their Warsaw show with Mastodon.

The band comments: “We are very excited about it! It’s been an awesome year already, but it seems that best is yet about to come. Upcoming european tour is the first result of our cooperation with the Dead Pig Entertainment crew, who are responsible for all our touring activities. They teamed us up with great acts on the road, so expect us to share stages with Yob, Elder, Cough, Black Cobra and local mates from post-metal Obscure Sphinx and Au-Dessus. Don’t miss it. Come, open your mind and experience the sound of Sunnata. Let there be noise.”

To come with this first European tour, SUNNATA will make available a limited LP version of their latest album “Zorya”, to be found at the merch table on each show. The “Zorya” LP comes in gatefold 180g gold vinyl, beautifully illustrated by Ascending Storm.

SUNNATA EUROPEAN TOUR:
29.09 – PL Warsaw, Proxima*
30.09 – PL – Lublin, Graffiti*
01.10 – PL – Kraków, Kwadrat*
02.10 – DE – Leipzig, Haifischbar**
03.10 – BE – Antwerp, Antwerp Music City**
04.10 – FR – Lille, El Diablo**
05.10 – FR – Paris, Glazart %
06.10 – FR – Bron, Jack Jack***
07.10 – FR – Nantes, Le Ferrailleur***
08.10 – FR – Tours, The Winchester
10.10 – CZ – Prague, Cross Club**
13.10 – PL – Pozna?, U Bazyla
14.10 – PL – Bielsko-Bia?a, Rudeboy Club*

*with Obscure Sphinx and Sounds like the end of the world
**with Au-Dessus ***with Elder and Cough %)with Yob and Black Cobra

After a year and half wisely spent writing and experimenting, and a mere four days in Satanic Audio studios (Thaw, Belzebong, Weedpecker), SUNNATA delivered their second album Zorya, which they describe as “an exploration of impermanent nature of sound, full of rapid changes and distortion overdose” and will soon take over the European continent with a extensive bunch of dates. Let there be noise.

SUNNATA IS
Szy – Vocals
Gad – Guitars
Dob – Bass
Rob – Drums

https://www.facebook.com/sunnataofficial
https://twitter.com/followsunnata
http://sunnataofficial.bandcamp.com/
https://www.youtube.com/user/sunnataofficial/videos

Sunnata, “Beasts of Prey” live in Warsaw

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Sunnata: Zorya Due in April

Posted in Whathaveyou on January 6th, 2016 by JJ Koczan

sunnata

Good news out of Warsaw that heavy crunchers Sunnata have a new record in the can and will release what’s been titled Zorya in Spring. The band themselves quoted an April release on their Twitter, but figure one or the other, sometime when it’s above freezing, the album will show up. The band released their debut under the moniker, Climbing the Colossus, in 2014.

There’s plenty more to say about it and hopefully I’ll get the chance to do that in advance of the release. Sunnata toured Europe last year alongside German sludgecore upstarts High Fighter and it seems reasonable to think they’ll head out again maybe this summer if not sooner. When and if I hear of something along those lines, I’ll let you know. For now, you can check out the cover art and more info below, as sent down the PR wire:

sunnata-zorya

Behold the starship. . . Poland’s doom lords SUNNATA return with new album “Zorya” this spring.

Warsaw-based magnificent heavy unit SUNNATA is back with their sophomore full-length entitled “Zorya”. Described as “deeper and heavier” by the band and largely influenced by Slavic myths, this is one record meant to cast a spell on all heavy music worshippers…

“Zorya is totally different than Climbing the colossus from top to bottom, says drummer Robert Ruszczyk about this new album. Sound, songs, atmosphere and our approach has changed and evolved towards something deeper, yet less direct. It means that Zorya is definitely heavier, but not that aggressive.”

SUNNATA – New album “Zorya” out in spring 2016…

SUNNATA (sanskrit, noun for “voidness”, “emptiness”) is a soundscape, where noise crossfades clearness – where walls of fuzz, delay and reverb confront the monolith of absolute silence. Driven by addiction to low frequencies, SUNNATA merge psychedelic trips, doomed & catchy heavy riffage with oriental vibe along with grungy vocals and intense grooves.

Known from expressive live performances, the Polish four-piece has already been invited to share stages with headliners like Conan, Kylesa, Ufomammut or Suma, just to name some of the most remarkable influencers. Their debut full-length Climbing The Colossus has gained notable feedback from many printed and online journals, thanks to their monstrous, agressive and fuzzed-out steamroller songs.

After a year and half wisely spent writing and experimenting, and a mere four days in Satanic Audio studios (Thaw, Belzebong, Weedpecker), SUNNATA are now ready to deliver their second album Zorya, which they describe as “an exploration of impermanent nature of sound, full of rapid changes and distortion overdose”.

Let there be noise.

SUNNATA IS
Szy – Vocals
Gad – Guitars
Dob – Bass
Rob – Drums

http://sunnataofficial.bandcamp.com/
https://www.facebook.com/sunnataofficial
https://twitter.com/followsunnata
https://www.youtube.com/user/sunnataofficial/videos

Sunnata, Climbing the Colossus (2014)

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Weedpecker, II: Reality Fading

Posted in Reviews on November 4th, 2015 by JJ Koczan

weedpecker ii

Heavy psychedelic rockers Weedpecker hit their stride with their second offering, II. The seven-track/42-minute release is out on vinyl through Pink Tank Records and independently-pressed CD (DL also), and it answers the easy-flowing vibes of the Polish natives’ late-2013 self-titled debut (review here) with a fuller sound and more mature execution. II marks the arrival of bassist Grzegorz “Mroku” Pawlowski (ex-Dopelord), who glides smoothly into the rhythm section alongside returning drummer Pan Falon, and with him, helps set a foundation of solid, weighted grooves over which guitarists/vocalists Piotr Wyroslaw “Wyro” Dobry and Bartek “Bando” Dobry cast out dreamy and exploratory fuzz.

Across its rather considerable span, II demonstrates there’s still room for growth in the realm of post-Colour Haze heavy psych, and more than the debut, Weedpecker leave an individual impression here in songs like “Reality Fades” and the peaceful, patient closer, “Already Gone,” tapping into Elder-style riffing on “Flowering Dimensions” as they did the first time out, but elsewhere taking on a similar low-key mindset that drove Sungrazer‘s second LP toward such expansive jamming. They can be quite heavy at times — “Flowering Dimensions” builds a considerable wall of fuzz in its back half, as does the eight-minute instrumental “Into the Woods,” at least for a while, but the overarching drive of II seems to be more about giving the guitars room to breathe within the songs while setting forth a few choice vocal moments as well, as on the harmonies of the penultimate “The Vibe” or “Reality Fades,” which leads off II in a fashion that both sets up the linear flow that continues from one song into the next but also shows some self-awareness on the part of the band for the immersiveness they’re creating.

Right away, II demonstrates a tranquil pastoralism. “Reality Fades” is obviously conscious of its own hypnotic effect — otherwise presumably Weedpecker would’ve called it something else — but that doesn’t make that effect any less prevalent. Guitars, bass and drums meander toward a fuzzy lead early on, a verse having already arrived over a particularly bright guitar line and gone, and they move into a more densely-fuzzed midsection riff and stay louder for the duration (some Elder-style vocal patterning there as well), but never come close to aggression at any point. That plays well in their favor throughout, as II continues to expound on the far-out beginning, moving through “Flowering Dimensions”‘ somewhat shorter but likewise resonant melodicism, quietly building all the while, but really stomping the pedal at 2:28, just as the vocals seem to hit their peak.

weedpecker

The riff that emerges feels especially Elektrohaschian, but Weedpecker recontextualize the familiarity to suit their own dual-guitar purposes, which sets up the more nodding “Fat Karma” as a marriage of lumbering low end and from-the-deep melodic shouts, engaging and light despite their heft. As the centerpiece of the CD/download, “Nothingness” would seem to have some significance to the overall journey from the moment where “Reality Fades” to when it’s “Already Gone,” and I won’t discount the sweetness of its verse or the tension held in the drums that seems to tease an explosion which — to the band’s credit — never comes, as would be essentially a repeat of “Flowering Dimensions.” Rather, “Nothingness” is another step outward on this cosmic excursion, and while it does swell in volume some around its solo, it never loses the calmness at its center. Like “Already Gone” still to come, and I suppose the subsequent “Into the Woods” as well, it shows the patience that Weedpecker have developed in their sound over the last couple years, and its lack of hurry is infectious.

It’s worth keeping in mind that II is only 42 minutes long — easily placed on two sides of a single LP — because by the time Weedpecker get around to “Into the Woods,” the proceedings have melted to such a degree that it could be five minutes or 500, it doesn’t really matter. The efficiency that underlies their psychedelic lullaby never really takes prevalence to the point of undercutting it, but it’s always there. “Into the Woods” launches a dream-sequence of guitar effects over steady-shuffling drums for its first three and a half minutes or so, but clicks into earthier riffing before the five-minute mark and continues to proffer slow-motion space fuzz from there, letting the fuzz do the talking before ending airy and quiet en route to “The Vibe,” which might as well be the mission statement for the record as a whole. Returning vocals seem to bring the album back to ground, but the truth of the matter is it’s never close, and while I don’t know that the LP’s side B is comprised of “Into the Woods,” “The Vibe,” and “Already Gone” — that is, I’m not sure what side “Nothingness” is on — if it is, the intent to highlight the vocals on “The Vibe” seems clear enough by surrounding it on either side with (mostly) instrumentals.

Layered smoothly and moving into harmony with what’s probably a deceptive ease, the verses of “The Vibe” are worth highlighting, and the molten groove that carries the song to its finish is wiser not to try to upstage them. It’s all the more interesting to hear what the Dobrys do with the almost-post-rock drift that “Already Gone” enacts. Rather than shrink from the challenge of such serenity, they meet it for a few lines and then, naturally, let the instruments carry the way to II‘s finish, the work they’ve done prior speaking for itself. The entire album is the beneficiary of that work, and between the seamless integration of Pawlowski into the lineup and the liquefied soundscaping they bring about on these tracks, there’s no question in listening as to whether or not it was worth the effort.

Weedpecker, II (2015)

Weedpecker on Thee Facebooks

Weedpecker on Bandcamp

Pink Tank Records

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High Fighter and Sunnata Announce Tour Dates

Posted in Whathaveyou on March 13th, 2015 by JJ Koczan

high fighter

sunnata

Hamburg-based High Fighter released their debut EP, The Goat Ritual (review here), last year to a flurry of hyperbole highlighting its precise riffing, tradeoff harsh and melodic vocals and schooled songwriting. The band, who also just formed in 2014, are getting ready to head out on their first tour next month, and they’ll be joined by Polish rockers Sunnata, whose transition from the moniker Satellite Beaver was made complete with the issue of the Climbing the Colossus full-length a year ago. A couple dates are still TBA, so keep an eye out.

The PR wire had this to offer:

high fighter sunnata tour

HIGH FIGHTER & SUNNATA announce “Get Doomed In Spring Tour 2015“!

What a heavy-weight package! German newcomer sludge / doom outfit HIGH FIGHTER have announced their first tour ever, alongside with none other than doom mates in SUNNATA! Hailing from Warsaw, Poland & heavily touring Europe over the last years such as at Desertfest & many more stages with well-known acts, Sunnata have already left their remarkable stamp in nowadays doom & fuzz scene.

Formed in the summer of 2014 and started as a total new band project born by former band members of A Million Miles, Buffalo Hump and Pyogenesis, HIGH FIGHTER is a volatile cocktail of heavy as hell riffs fuelled by beer and the mighty weedian riffs. Add a heavy dose of the blues and the deadly schizophrenic vocals by frontlady Mona, and High Fighter offer something new to the Sludge, Blues & Stoner Scene. If you’re looking for a highly polished band then look elsewhere as High Fighter play mean and dirty Blues, Stoner & dark Sludgy riffs to fuel your appetite with.

For their first tour ever, HIGH FIGHTER could not have picked a heavier and better choice to round up this spring tour package: Driven by addiction to low frequencies, SUNNATA (“voidness”) merge psychedelic trips, doomed & catchy heavy riffage with oriental vibes along with grungy vocals and intense grooves. Open your mind and experience it. Let there be noise.

And there will. On the upcoming “Get Doomed In Spring Tour 2015“,
presented by Metal.de, The Sludgelord and Doomed & Stoned:
09.04.2015 – Dresden, GER – Sabotage
10.04.2015 – tba
11.04.2015 – Wiesloch, GER – Rock & Pop
12.04.2015 – Köln, GER – Underground
13.04.2015 – Hastings, UK – The Carlisle
14.04.2015 – London, UK – Unicorn
15.04.2015 – Oxford, UK – Wheatsheaf
16.04.2015 – Antwerp, BE – The Rocking Bull
17.04.2015 – tba
18.04.2015 – Wolfsburg, GER – s.V. Jugenhaus Ost ( *High Fighter only! )
18.04.2015 – Paris, FR – Glazart / Doomed Gatherings ( *Sunnata only! )

For More Info, News & Tickets Visit:
www.highfighter.de
www.facebook.com/HighFighter
www.highfighter.bandcamp.com
www.facebook.com/sunnataofficial
www.sunnataofficial.bandcamp.com

Sunnata, Climbing the Colossus (2014)

High Fighter, The Goat Ritual (2014)

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