Quarterly Review: Sandrider, Witchkiss, Satta Caveira, Apollo80, The Great Unwilling, Grusom, Träden, Orthodox, Disrule, Ozymandias

Posted in Reviews on December 5th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

quarterly-review

Good morning from the kitchen table. It’s a couple minutes before 4AM as I get this post started. I’ve got my coffee, my iced tea in the same cup I’ve been using for the last three days, and I’m ready to roll through the next 10 records in this massive, frankly silly, Quarterly Review. Yesterday went well enough and I’m three days into the total 10 and I don’t feel like my head is going to explode, so I’ll just say so far so good.

As ever, there’s a lot to get through, so I won’t delay. I hope you find something here you dig. I certainly have.

Quarterly Review #21-30:

Sandrider, Armada

sandrider armada

Armada is the third full-length from Seattle noiseblasters Sandrider, and at this point I’m starting to wonder what it’s going to take for this band to get their due. Produced by Matt Bayles and released through Good to Die Records, the album is an absolute monster front to back. Scathing. Beastly. And yet the songs have character. It’s the trio’s first outing since 2015’s split with Kinski (review here) and follows 2013’s Godhead (review here) and 2011’s self-titled debut (review here) in melding the band’s West Coast noise superiority with a sense of melody and depth as the trio of guitarist/vocalist Jon Weisnewski, bassist/vocalist Jesse Roberts, and omegadrummer Nat Damm course and wind their way through intense but varied material. “Banger” has been tapped for its grunge influence. Eh. Maybe in the riff, but who cares when there’s so much more going on with it? “Brambles” is out and out brutal but still has a hook, and cuts like “Industry” and the closing “Dogwater” remind of just how skilled Sandrider are at making that brutality fun. If the record was six minutes long and just had “Hollowed” on it, you’d still call it a win.

Sandrider on Thee Facebooks

Good to Die Records website

 

Witchkiss, The Austere Curtains of Our Eyes

witchkiss the austere curtains of our eyes

Goodness gracious. Cavernous echo accompanies the roars of guitarist Scott Prater that are offset by the more subdued melodies of drummer Amber Burns, but even in the most spacious reaches of 11-minute second cut “Blind Faith,” Witchkiss are fucking massive-sounding. Their debut album, The Austere Curtains of Our Eyes, presents an especially crushing take on ritualistic volume, sounding its catharsis in a song like “Spirits of the Dirt” and sounding natural as it trades between a rolling assault and the atmospheres of its quieter moments. With the departure since the recording of bassist Anthony DiBlasi, the New York-based outfit will invariably shift in dynamic somewhat coming out of this record, but with such an obvious clarity of mission, I honestly doubt their core approach will change all that much. A band doesn’t make a record like this without direct intention. They may evolve, and one hopes they do just because one always hopes for that, but this isn’t a band feeling their way through their first record. This is a band who know exactly the kind of ferocity they want to conjure, and who conjure it without regret.

Witchkiss on Thee Facebooks

Witchkiss on Bandcamp

 

Satta Caveira, MMI

Satta Caveira MMI

Argentinian instrumentalist trio Satta Caveira make a point of saying they recorded MMI, their second or third album depending on what you count, live in their home studio without edits or overdubs, click tracks or anything else. Clearly the intention then is to capture the raw spirit of the material as it’s happening. The eight songs that make up the unmanageable 62-minute listen of MMI — to be fair, 14 of those minutes are opener “Kundalini” and 23 are the sludge-into-jam-into-sludge riffer “T.H.C.” — are accordingly raw, but that in itself becomes a component of their aesthetic. Whether it’s the volume swell that seems to consume “Don Santos” in its second half, the funk of closer “Afrovoid” or the drift in “Kalifornia,” Satta Caveira manage to hone a sense of range amid all the naturalism, and with the gritty and more aggressive riffing of the title-track and the rush of the penultimate “Router,” their sound might actually work with a more elaborate production, but they’ve got a thing, it works well, and I’m not inclined to argue.

Satta Caveira on Thee Facebooks

Satta Caveira on Bandcamp

 

Apollo80, Lizard! Lizard! Lizard!

apollo 80 lizard lizard lizard

Vocalized only by spoken samples of astronauts, the thrice-exclamatory Lizard! Lizard! Lizard! is the debut EP from Perth, Australia, three-piece Apollo80, who are given mostly to exploring an outpouring of heavy molten vibes but still able to hone a bit of cacophony following the “godspeed, John Glenn” sample in second cut “FFH.” There are four songs on the 26-minute offering, and its spaciousness is brought to earth somewhat by the dirt in which the guitar and bass tones are caked, but it’s more the red dust of Mars than anything one might find kicking around a Terran desert. Unsurprisingly, the high point of the outing is the 10:46 title-track, where guitarist Luke, bassist Brano and drummer Shane push farthest into the cosmos — though that’s debatable with the interstellar drone of closer “Good Night” — but even in the impact of “Apollo” at the outset, there’s a feeling of low-oxygen in the atmosphere, and if you get lightheaded, that’s exactly how it’s supposed to be.

Apollo80 on Thee Facebooks

Apollo80 on Bandcamp

 

The Great Unwilling, EP

the great unwilling ep

The prevailing influence throughout the untitled debut EP from Minnesota’s The Great Unwilling is Queens of the Stone Age, but listening to the layer of wah intertwine with the solo on “Sanguine,” there’s more to their approach than just that, however dreamy the vocal melodies from guitarist Jesse Hoheisel might be. Hoheisel, bassist Joe Ulvi and Mark Messina present a clean four tracks and 20 minutes on their first outing, and for having been together for about 18 months, their songwriting seems to have a firm grasp on what they want to do. “If 3 was 7” rolls along at a heavy clip into an effectively drifting midsection and second half jam before returning to the initial riff, while “Current” leads off with a particularly Hommeian construction, and soon gives way to the flowing pace and apparent lyrical references of the aforementioned “Sanguine.” They finish with the dirtier tonality of “Apostasy” and cap with no more pretense than they started, bringing the short release to a close with a chorus that seems to finish with more to say. No doubt they’ll get there.

The Great Unwilling on Thee Facebooks

The Great Unwilling on Bandcamp

 

Grusom, II

grusom ii

A prominent current of organ alongside the guitars gives Grusom‘s aptly-titled second album on Kozmik Artifactz, II, a willfully classic feel, and even the lyrics of “Peace of Mind” play into that with the opening lines, “I always said I was born too late/This future is not for me,” but the presentation from the Svendborg six-piece isn’t actually all that retro-fied. Rather, the two guitars and organ work in tandem to showcase a modern take on those classic ideas, as the back and forth conversation between them in the extended jam of “Skeletons” demonstrates, and with a steady rhythmic foundation and soulful vocals overtop, Grusom‘s craft doesn’t need the superficial trappings of a ’70s influence to convey those roots in their sound. Songs like “Dead End Valley” and “Embers” have a bloozy swing as they head toward the melancholy closer “Cursed from Birth,” but even there, the proceedings are light on pretense and the atmosphere is more concerned with a natural vibe rather than pretending it’s half a century ago.

Grusom on Thee Facebooks

Kozmik Artifactz website

 

Träden, Träden

traden traden

Having originated as Träd Gräs och Stenar, the group now known as Träden is the product of a psychedelic legacy spanning generations. Founder Jakob Sjöholm has joined forces with Hanna Östergren of Hills, Reine Fiske of Dungen and Sigge Krantz of Archimedes Badkar to create a kind of supergroup of serenity, and their self-titled is blissful enough not only to life up to Träd Gräs och Stenar‘s cult status, but to capture one of its own. It’s gorgeous. Presumably the painting used on the cover is the cabin where it was recorded, and its eight tracks — sometimes mellow, sometimes more weighted, always hypnotic — are a naturalist blueprint that only make the world a better place. That sounds ridiculous, I know. But the truth is that for all the terrible, horrifying shit humanity does on a daily basis, to know that there are people on the planet making music like this with such a genuine spirit behind it is enough to instill a bit of hope for the species. This is what it’s all about. I couldn’t even make it through the Bandcamp stream without buying the CD. That never happens.

Träden on Thee Facebooks

Träden on Bandcamp

 

Orthodox, Krèas

orthodox kreas

Last year, Spanish experimentalists Orthodox released Supreme and turned their free-jazz meets low-doom into a 36-minute fracas of happening-right-now creativity. Krèas, a lone, 27-minute track with the core duo of bassist Marco Serrato and drummer Borja Díaz joined by saxophonist Achilleas Polychronidis, was recorded in the same session but somehow seems even more freaked-out. I mean, it’s gone. Gone to a degree that even the hepcats who claim to appreciate free-jazz on anything more than a theoretical level (that is, those who actually listen to it) will have their hair blown back. The rest of the universe? Well, they’ll probably continue on, blissfully unaware that Orthodox are out there smashing comets together like they are, but wow. Challenging the listener is one thing. Krèas is the stuff of dissertations. One only hopes Orthodox aren’t holding their breath waiting for humanity to catch up to what they’re doing, because, yeah, it’s gonna be a while.

Orthodox on Thee Facebooks

Alone Records webstore

 

Disrule, Sleep in Your Honour

Disrule Sleep in Your Honour

Danish bruisers Disrule run a brash gamut with their second album, Sleep in Your Honour (on Seeing Red). Leading off with the earworm hook of the title-track (premiered here), the album puts a charge into C.O.C.-style riffing and classic heavy rock, but shades of Clutch-y funk in “Going Wrong” and a lumbering bottom end in “Occult Razor” assure there’s no single angle from which they strike. “(Gotta Get Me Some) Control” elicits a blues-via-Sabbath vibe, but the drums seem to make sure Disrule are never really at rest, and so there’s a strong sense of momentum throughout the eight-song/29-minute EP, perhaps best emphasized by two-minute second cut “Death on My Mind,” which seems to throw elbows as it sprints past, though even shouted-chorus closer “Enter the Void” has an infectious energy about it. If you think something can’t be heavy and move, Disrule have a shove with your name on it.

Disrule on Thee Facebooks

Seeing Red Records on Bandcamp

 

Ozymandias, Cake!

ozymandias cake

First clue that all is not what it seems? The artwork. Definitely not a picture of cake on the cover of Ozymandias‘ debut album, Cake!, and accordingly, things don’t take long before they get too weird. “Jelly Beans” hits on harshest Nirvana — before it goes into blastbeats. “Mason Jar” scathes out organ-laced doom and vicious screaming, before “Hangman” gets all danceable like “All Pigs Must Die” earlier in the record. The wacky quotient is high, and the keyboards do a lot to add to that, but one can’t really call “Doom I – The Daisies” or the later “Doom II – The Lilies” anything but progressive in the Devin Townsend-shenanigans-metal sense of the word, and as wild as some stretches of Cake! are, the trio from Linz, Austria, are never out of control, and they never give a sense that what they’re doing is an accident. They’re just working on their own stylistic level, and to a degree that’s almost scary considering it’s their first record. I won’t claim to know where they might be headed, but it seems likely they have a plan.

Ozymandias on Thee Facebooks

StoneFree Records website

 

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Hollow Leg & Witchkiss Touring in October

Posted in Whathaveyou on August 22nd, 2018 by JJ Koczan

hollow leg

witchkiss

Last time I heard from Florida’s Hollow Leg, it was this Spring when they announced they’d begun work on their next record. I don’t know what their recording process is like off the top of my head, but I’m going to guess that the album is probably done. Since they’re teamed up with New York’s Witchkiss to tour their way out to Doomed and Stoned Fest in Indianapolis — where Hollow Leg are set to play Oct. 6 — and back eastward after, and since Witchkiss‘ 2018 album is called The Austere Curtains of Our Eyes, and since the tour is called “The Austere Civilizations Tour,” I’ll further guess that not only is the new Hollow Leg record done, but the title in some way involves the word “civilizations.” Maybe that’s all it’s called. I don’t know, folks, these are just guesses.

If you’re looking for harder news, well, there’s the tour dates for starters. They’re right here, as per the PR wire:

hollow leg witchkiss tour

HOLLOW LEG/WITCHKISS ANNOUNCE TOUR

HOLLOW LEG and WITCHKISS are pleased to announce that they will be teaming up for a short East/Mid-western tour of the United States this fall. The tour will also include a stop at the Doomed and Stoned festival in Indianapolis. (Hollow Leg only)

Hollow Leg commented “Hollow Leg are really looking forward to this upcoming run with our labelmates in Witchkiss as well as appearance at this year’s Doomed and Stoned fest! Cities like Chicago we’ve been looking to play for a while and our festival appearance is giving us a chance to get there this time around.”

Witchkiss further commented “We are super stoked to be doing this run with Hollow Leg in early October. Getting to play with our Argonauta labelmates who’s music we love in all of these new cities is a dream come true! We might even be playing a new song for y’all too!”

More information can be found on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/events/295316921230835/

HOLLOW LEG/WITCHKISS AUSTERE CIVILIZATIONS TOUR DATES
Oct. 3rd – Athens, GA @ Caledonia Lounge
Oct. 4th – Memphis, TN @ Growler’s
Oct. 5th – Chicago, IL @ Reggie’s
Oct. 6th – Indianapolis, IN @ Doomed and Stoned Fest (HL only)
Oct. 6th Canton, OH @Buzzbin (Witchkiss only)
Oct. 7th – Charlottesville, VA @ Golden Pony
Oct. 8th – Baltimore, MD @ The Depot
Oct. 9th – Raleigh, NC @ Slim’s
Oct 12th- Richmond, VA @Wonderland (Witchkiss only)

https://www.facebook.com/hollowlegfl
https://hollowleg666.bandcamp.com/

http://facebook.com/witchkissband
https://witchkiss.bandcamp.com/

www.argonautarecords.com
https://www.facebook.com/ArgonautaRecords/
https://twitter.com/argonautarex
https://www.instagram.com/argonautarecords/

Hollow Leg, Murder (2017)

Witchkiss, The Austere Curtains of Our Eyes (2018)

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Witchkiss Set July 13 Release for The Austere Curtins of Our Eyes

Posted in Whathaveyou on April 16th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

witchkiss

Down at the bottom of this post you’ll find the stream of the new track by Beacon, New York, heavy riffers Witchkiss. The trio work quickly to show their listeners what they’re all about: heavy-as-hell stomp, a somewhat inhuman feeling post-metal churn, and tonal the likes of which bands usually have to hone over a much longer period of time. Kudos to Witchkiss on the aural assault and on signing to Argonauta Records for the release of their debut long-player, The Austere Curtains of Our Eyes. How much the individual track may represent what Witchkiss do overall, hell if I know, but the song’s worth your time, so by all means, have at it.

Juy 13 is the release date and The Austere Curtains of Our Eyes will be on Argonauta Records, who sent the following update:

witchkiss the austere curtains of our eyes

WITCHKISS signed to ARGONAUTA RECORDS

Argonauta Records is thrilled to announce a new exciting band in the family: WITCHKISS from the States.

Articulate, elegant and ridiculously heavy, WITCHKISS are part of a growing movement coming out of upstate New York in the world of crushingly loud and punishing music. Built around raw emotion, sonic poetry and a sense of longing for a life lost, there is a haunting majesty to the work of WITCHKISS. These Beacon, NY natives are fusing the sounds of bands like Subrosa, Yob and Isis to craft sounds that contemplates the neverending cycle of life and death.

Their upcoming offering, The Austere Curtains Of Our Eyes is a journey through depressed unrealities, punishing truths, and a sense that something better can be made of this world.

Founded by Scott Prater, a longtime metalhead, and his partner Amber Burns, a veritable novice on drums, this debut release has been a long time in the making. With a line-up completed by the thrilling bass playing of Anthony DiBlasi holding down the bands massive bottom end the Hudson scene is buzzing about these new heavyweights. Building on the interplay between eerie female vocals and crushing growls, the groove driven WITCHKISS can’t help but to fascinate. This is the kind of doom metal that fans of Yob, Cult of Luna, Windhand and True Widow can’t help but to love.

Ready to take on the world with an appetite for constant touring, loud riffs and the passion to tackle just about every festival they can, WITCHKISS understand what it takes to grow in the insular art doom community. With music based on raw and uncomfortable emotions, WITCHKISS are striving to bring their craft to the next level. The Austere Curtains Of Our Eyes will be released ARGONAUTA Records and available from July 13th, 2018.

http://facebook.com/witchkissband
https://witchkiss.bandcamp.com/
www.argonautarecords.com
https://www.facebook.com/ArgonautaRecords/
https://twitter.com/argonautarex
https://www.instagram.com/argonautarecords/

Witchkiss, “A Cripping Wind”

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