Frydee Dark Castle

Posted in Bootleg Theater on October 29th, 2010 by JJ Koczan

Thanks to all who commented for your podcast suggestions. I kind of like the one about the new Southern stuff, but I’d have to find out if I actually have enough material for it. We’ll see. In the meantime, we close out this week with Dark Castle, in honor of that idea.

This weekend is Halloween, and I’m going as “The Guy Who Spent His Whole Weekend Doing Homework.” Seriously, it feels like every week I do all this homework and then another week comes and there’s just more. What the hell is that about? Enough already.

I’m going to try to make it out to Brooklyn tomorrow night to catch Moth Eater, The Resurrection Sorrow, King Giant and Solace. More info on that show here. It’s getting awfully exhausting driving into Brooklyn for shows every weekend for what feels like and might actually be the past month, but I guess until anyone in Jersey starts giving a shit about good music, I’m stuck. Stupid lack of convenience.

Whatever your plans are, I wish you well. Have a happy and safe whathaveyou and we’ll see you back here next week to wrap up October’s numbers, get that new podcast up and — if I’m feeling fancy and have time to transcribe an hour-long phone conversation — maybe even my interview with Chris Goss from Masters of Reality. Either way, stay tuned. More fun to come.

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Black Pyramid and Blood Farmers to Play Roadburn Afterburner

Posted in Whathaveyou on October 29th, 2010 by JJ Koczan

The Roadburn website is reporting that Massachusetts doom bashers Black Pyramid will be playing the Afterburner event this year, and I thought I’d just take a second to congratulate the band. They’re hard-working, heavy as hell and a nice bunch of dudes to boot. Blood Farmers has also been confirmed for the Afterburner, which will be expanded to all three rooms of the 013 venue in Tilburg. Here’s what Roadburn organizer Walter had to say on the site:

You might have noticed that we haven’t announced any bands for the additional Afterburner event yet. What’s going on? We have invited Black Mountain to headline this year’s Afterburner, and based upon our gut feeling, we think it might happen. This means that we’ll be using Roadburn‘s main stage for the Afterburner as well, as well as the Green Room and Bat Cave. We’re currently looking into all the logistics, and completing the extended lineup. We just need an extra week or two to get it all done properly.

There have been rumors about Blood Farmers and Black Pyramid, and we are delighted to say that both of them are indeed playing the Afterburner. Consider this a preview, and there will be an official announcement soon. It’s also true that we’re talking to Coffins, but it’s not finalized yet. We’re are also looking into ticketing for the Afterburner, and there’s a good chance that we’ll be offering a four-day pass for those who want to experience to entire festival, as well as offering an additional Afterburner ticket as always.

Please keep checking the website for updates.

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Sweet Cobra Show Some Mercy

Posted in Reviews on October 29th, 2010 by JJ Koczan

Veterans of Seventh Rule Recordings, Chicago heavy hitters Sweet Cobra make their Black Market Activities debut with the surprisingly melodic Mercy, an album that also serves as epitaph for guitarist Mat Arluck, who succumbed to cancer in 2009. Mercy, recorded by the ubiquitous Sanford Parker at Volume Studios in Chicago, features Arluck’s last studio performances with the band, giving the record an emotional context completely outside of the music – put to tape in the early part of last year even as Sweet Cobra released the stopgap Bottom Feeder EP, comprised of leftover cuts from 2007’s Forever full-length – but nonetheless inseparable from it.

Likening them to Seattle merchants Akimbo, what I’ve always enjoyed most in Sweet Cobra’s work has been the reckless bombast of it, like the hardcore kids grew up a little and wanted something thicker but no less angry. On Forever (reissued by Black Market in 2008) and the preceding Praise from 2004, Sweet Cobra touched on stoner riffage, but used it more as ploy to lure audiences into a false sense of security before pummeling them over the head with unhinged intensity and the feeling that at any moment the sound is going to manifest itself from out the speakers and actually kick your ass. On Mercy, they seem to show a little bit of just that, marrying neo-prog metal angularity with the branded Torche melodic vocal approach to hone their most accessible sound yet. And it’s not a fluke, they do it straight through the record, bassist Tim Remus employing a sub-melodic noise rock shout as the harshest vocal technique on the album on a song like the early-arriving title cut.

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Any Podcast Ideas?

Posted in audiObelisk on October 29th, 2010 by JJ Koczan

I’m planning on putting together the next audiObelisk Transmission this next week, and I have a few ideas, but screw it, I take requests. Anything you want to hear in a podcast? Any themes you think are begging to be covered?

Leave a note in the comments and let me know what you think the next podcast should be all about.


Enslaved Interview with Ivar Bjørnson: Embracing the Opposite, Becoming Whole, and Sampling 16 Varieties of Sierra Nevada in a Single Sitting

Posted in Features on October 28th, 2010 by JJ Koczan

I was the last in line for phoners during Enslaved guitarist Ivar Bjørnson‘s recent weekend press day to discuss his band’s latest album, Axioma Ethica Odini (review here), and as such, I expected that by the time he got around to me, he’d probably want little more than to go get a sandwich, go to the bathroom, or at very least, talk about anything other than Enslaved, the record, touring or any of it. It was a thrill to find out how mistaken I was.

Axioma Ethica Odini, rich in its sound, complex in its execution and boasting moments of unparalleled progressive extremity, is quickly becoming one of my favorite albums of this very diverse year. It is Enslaved‘s 11th and follows 2008’s Vertebrae, which I felt was held back by its production, and in particular by the mixing job of Joe Barresi (Tool‘s 10,000 Days, Queens of the Stone Age, Clutch, etc.). Though he was quick to correct my impression, Bjørnson noted as well the less than ideal sound of that album, and as Axioma Ethica Odini was recorded by the band themselves in the home and professional studios owned by the five members of EnslavedBjørnson, fellow founder bassist/vocalist Grutle Kjellson, lead guitarist Arve “Ice Dale” Isdal, keyboardist/vocalist Herbrand Larsen and drummer Cato Bekkevold — and mixed by Jens Bogren at Fascination Street in Sweden, one can imagine some change in approach was intended.

Whatever they did, it worked. On the cusp of their 20th year, Enslaved triumph with Axioma Ethica Odini in a way I don’t know if they ever have before. Sure, their oldest material is heralded as being centrally influential among the Viking and black metal sets, but from where I’m sitting (not there, basically), their even more important work began with the incorporation of prog elements on 2001’s Monumension and was built on for subsequent offerings, Below the Lights (2003), Isa (2004), Ruun (2006) and even the aforementioned Vertebrae, which given different production might have even surpassed its landmark predecessors.

Not that I’d do any better — or get past “hello” — in his native language, but there were some parts of the interview I couldn’t quite make out in the transcribing process, and a crappy phone line didn’t help, but I did the best I could to put together the most complete Enslaved interview possible. In the Q&A that follows the jump, Bjørnson discusses the Axioma Ethica Odini recording process, writing during the summer, Enslaved‘s four-show stint at Roadburn this year, and much more.

Hail Norway.

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Serpentina Satélite, Mecanica Celeste: Now Leaving the Stratosphere

Posted in Reviews on October 28th, 2010 by JJ Koczan

With their last record, Nothing to Say, Peruvian psych heads Serpentina Satélite blended deep space with heady riff-led jams, coming out of it sounding neither formulaic nor offensively derivative. On the follow-up, Mecanica Celeste (Rocket Recordings) — their third record overall — the four-piece push even further into the reaches of Hawkwindian psychedelia, staying off the ground almost entirely for 43 minutes of freewheeling exploration, relying on structure about as much as the average amoeba. If they said some of this stuff was made up on the spot after pressing record, I’d believe it, though the clarity in the production leads me to assume otherwise.

Mecanica Celeste finds Serpentina Satélite expanding their repertoire some. The two guitars of Renato Gómez and Dolmo lead the way with moaning solos and almost ceaseless effects. On nine-minute opener “Fobos,” the album gets a subtle start that pans into brighter territory with the one-two hit of “Sangre de Grado” and the title track, which bleed right into each other. Vocals, provided by bassist Félix Dextre, are sparse, but come on heavy with delay on “Sangre de Grado,” drummer Aldo Castillejos providing suitable freakout behind and sounding like he’s having a lot of fun doing it. Centerpiece track “Imaginez Quel Bonheur ce Sera de Voir Nos Chers Disparus Ressuscités!” is something of a ritualistic interlude, its title translating from the French to say, “Imagine What Joy This Will Be to See Our Departed Loved Ones Resurrected.” The atmosphere created is expectedly spooky.

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Long Day Gone Swans

Posted in Bootleg Theater on October 27th, 2010 by JJ Koczan

…Because when you’re still at the office at 8PM, it’s time for some apocalyptic shit.

Screw it, I’m leaving.

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The Machine Sign to Elektrohasch

Posted in Whathaveyou on October 27th, 2010 by JJ Koczan

I first noted The Machine‘s sonic similarities to Colour Haze after their set at Roadburn this year, and lo, here we are a scant six months later and the praiseworthy Dutch psychedelonauts have signed to Elektrohasch for the immanent release of their appropriately-titled third album, Drie. In the picture to the right, you can see the band hard at work on the recording.

Now, I’m not saying I’m solely responsible for getting The Machine signed to Elektrohasch — which is owned by Colour Haze guitarist/vocalist Stefan Koglek — or anything like that. Actually, screw it. That’s totally what I’m saying. Sorry folks. This one was all me. Full credit. All mine.

Congratulations to all parties involved, myself included. Here’s what Koglek, who’s apparently also knee-deep in recording the next Colour Haze album, had to offer as far as info on the release in his latest newsletter:

The Elektrohasch debut of Dutch guitar-psychedelicians The Machine is in print on CD and will be available for 13 Euro plus postage directly at, or at your favorite dealers. The DLP will follow up soon.

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