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

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Wet Cactus Announce Tour Dates Including Resurrection Fest

Posted in The Obelisk Presents, Whathaveyou on April 5th, 2019 by JJ Koczan

WetCactus Oscar Jaime

Spanish heavy desert rockers Wet Cactus are just past a year out from the release of their second album, Dust, Hunger & Gloom, and while it wasn’t the most uplifting of titles, the record itself reached to the core roots of fuzzy means, with a central groove unmistakably drawn from ’70s-via-’90s intentions and thereby tapped into a feeling of timelessness as only heavy rock can. Their self-titled debut (review here) came out in 2015 and they’re getting ready to take part in the massive Resurrection Fest this summer. As they do, they’ll do a string of dates throughout next month that The Obelisk is co-presenting with Wombat Booking and others.

Dust, Hunger & Gloom was yet another of the albums I was all set to review before my laptop got stolen last year, and I’m sure you got to check it out, but if not, it’s streaming at the bottom of this post, and it should answer any and all curiosity as to why I might want to throw an Obelisk logo on the poster for a bunch of sporadic shows I’ve got about no chance in hell of seeing. It’s because I like good bands.

PR wire has dates:

wet cactus tour

Wet Cactus is a Stoner Rock and psychedelia band with progressive hints created in the summer of 2013 in Suances, a surfer village located on Cantabria´s west coast (Spain). Formed by four pals born in the early 90s: Daniel Pascual Salvador (93, Bass and vocals), Ernesto Díez Otí (94, Guitar), Óscar Sánchez Marcano (93, Guitar and vocals) y Jaime Pérez Herrera (92, Drums). The local Auditorium was the place where they started to worship a genre which they had been polishing and personalizing throughout time with every single ritual.

These desert dwellers have been nourishing from the 70s and 90s essence. Dry and open mouths are common in their concerts, where they used to start off with incendiary jams to simply burst the stage.

Wet Cactus “Dust, Hunger & Gloom Tour 2019”
27.04 Muestra de Bandas, Torrelavega
03.05 Beer Garden, Talavera de la Reina
05.05 Wurlizter Ballroom, Madrid
10.05 La Casa de las Musas, Burgos
05.07 Resurrection Fest, Viveiro
27.07 Algortako Jaiak

Wet Cactus is:
Daniel Pascual Salvador – vocals/bass
Jaime Pérez Herrera – drums
Ernesto Díez Otí – guitar
Óscar Sánchez Marcano – guitar/vocals

https://wetcactus.bandcamp.com/
https://www.facebook.com/wetcactus/
https://www.instagram.com/wetcactusband/
https://www.facebook.com/wombatbooking/
wombatbooking.com

Wet Cactus, Dust, Hunger & Gloom (2018)

Tags: , , , , ,

Wet Cactus Announce Dust, Hunger & Gloom out March 15; Premiere Title-Track

Posted in audiObelisk, Whathaveyou on February 15th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

WET CACTUS

Despite the somewhat downer title, Spanish four-piece Wet Cactus sound positively vibrant on their impending second full-length, Dust, Hunger & Gloom. The follow-up to their 2016 self-titled debut (review here) is set to release March 15, and the band today premiere the title-track from the new album ahead of the release. I think it makes my case pretty clearly. If they’re talking about the desert, as the cover art would indicate, then fair enough, but that hardly accounts for the bounce in a classic heavy rocker like “Full Moon Over My Head” or its Sabbathian undertones, or the fluid jamming in “Aquelarre.”

If that’s gloom, I’d love to catch Wet Cactus‘ version of upbeat sometime. All the same, there is a bit of melancholy to the start of “Dust, Hunger & Gloom,” the song, which shows the patience that’s developed in the band’s sound over the last couple years and their attempts to fuse psychedelia, classic boogie, consuming fuzz and so on into a sound all their own. They’re young, and they still sound young, but that only helps them throughout the five-track/37-minute offering, which is represented well in the nod of its titular work.

You can and should stream the song at the bottom of this post. You’ll find it down there following the artwork and announcement of the release.

Dig it:

wet cactus dust hunger and gloom

WET CACTUS – DUST, HUNGER & GLOOM – MARCH 15

Wet Cactus is a Stoner Rock and psychedelia band with progressive hints created in the summer of 2013 in Suances, a surfer village located on Cantabria´s west coast (Spain). Formed by four pals born in the early 90s: Daniel Pascual Salvador (93, Bass and vocals), Ernesto Díez Otí (94, Guitar), Óscar Sánchez Marcano (93, Guitar and vocals) y Jaime Pérez Herrera (92, Drums). The local Auditorium was the place where they started to worship a genre which they had been polishing and personalizing throughout time with every single ritual.

Their first album’s sound is clearly influenced by Palm Desert bands as well as influences of other genres of that time (Grunge, Hardcore, Metal…).

These desert dwellers have been nourishing from the 70s and 90s essence. Dry and open mouths are common in their concerts, where they used to start off with incendiary jams to simply burst the stage.

Just about releasing their second studio album and once the basis of their identity are established, they keep going with experimentations: Pink Floyd´s cover, macabre games full of FX … all inside in a huge bong where they could hardly see each other.

Charming and humble music that makes you escape from pollution and not to turn into a fly to feed frogs.

“Dust, Hunger & Gloom” Tracklist:
1. So Long
2. Full Moon Over My Head
3. Aquelarre
4. Dust, Hunger & Gloom
5. Sleepy Trip

Wet Cactus is:
Daniel Pascual Salvador – vocals/bass
Jaime Pérez Herrera – drums
Ernesto Díez Otí – guitar
Óscar Sánchez Marcano – guitar/vocals

https://wetcactus.bandcamp.com/
https://www.facebook.com/wetcactus/
https://www.instagram.com/wetcactusband/
https://www.facebook.com/wombatbooking/
wombatbooking.com

Wet Cactus, “Dust, Hunger & Gloom”

Tags: , , , , ,