Quarterly Review: Endless Boogie, Sula Bassana, Redscale, Seven Rivers of Fire, Cult Burial, Duster 69, Tankograd, Mother Iron Horse, Ouzo Bazooka, Pilot Voyager


Somewhere just before I started this Quarterly Review, the contact form on this website was fixed. This, obviously, was a mistake. On my desktop that have come in over the last week and a day are more than enough releases to have continued the Fall 2021 QR for at least two more days, if not longer. That’s just not happening. The music’s been good, but I’ve had both of our family cars break down in the last two days, I’ve been fighting to get a bus to pick my kid up for school in the morning, and waking up at 4:30 to write only seems to result in nodding off while brushing my teeth. Not to mention, as The Patient Mrs. very gracefully doesn’t tell me during these times, I’m a total bitch when I do this. Again, she doesn’t say it. The message though is pretty clear.

So best to quit while I’m… already behind again…

Thanks for reading.

Quarterly Review #61-70:

Endless Boogie, Admonitions

endless boogie admonitions

Let’s not talk about how Paul Major has cool hair. Or how he’s well known in record-trader circles or whatever else. Let’s talk about Endless Boogie‘s largely-insurmountable 80-plus minutes of jams on Admonitions and how reliable the band have become when one seeks sleek-grooved expanses, not reliant on effects wash and synthesized swirl, but just the rawer guitar, bass, drums, periodic-but-don’t-go-expecting-them vocals. You put on Endless Boogie, you’re gonna get some groove. Pick a favorite between the sides-A-and-C-consuming 22-minute tracks “The Offender” and “Jim Tully” if you want, I’ll take both, and the minimal drone of “The Conversation” and “The Incompetent Villains of 1968” for a bonus. At 5:12 and with vocals, “Bad Call” is about as close as they come to a ‘single’ in the traditional sense — it’s the centerpiece of side B, with “Disposable Thumbs” before and the cool-built funk of “Counterfeiter” after — but if you’re looking for singles you’re missing the point here. The point is to put it on and go. So go, god damn it.

Endless Boogie on Bandcamp

No Quarter website


Sula Bassana, Loop Station Drones

sula bassana loop station drones

A collection of various pieces — aren’t we all? — by Dave “Sula Bassana” Schmidt (Electric Moon, Zone Six, etc.), Loop Station Drones may be aptly named in terms of the basic process of creation, but that hardly covers the scope of the release’s 78-minute span, whether that’s the meditative undercurrent in opener “Roadburn Haze,” slightly edited from Schmidt‘s Roadburn Redux appearance earlier in 2021, the 16-bit cosmic soundtracking of “Rolling in Outer Space” (I’d play the shit out whatever game that is on SNES), the moodier breadth of “Die Karawane der Unsterblichen” and “Wastelandgarden” or the motorik pulse of the 17-minute “Dopeshuttle.” Especially pivotal is the closing duo of “Stargate” (14:06) and “One Way” (6:04), which offer serenity and wistfulness, respectively, that bridge a rare emotionality for what according to its title is a simple ‘drone.’ Anytime Schmidt wants to turn this into an ongoing series, that’ll be fine.

Sula Bassana on Facebook

Sulatron Records webstore


Redscale, The Old Colossus

redscale the old colossus

Rock for rockers. Berlin four-piece Redscale roll out a scenario in which Clutch and Kyuss and Soundgarden and Truckfighters and probably six or seven other of your favorite heavy rock live acts got together and decided to put down a batch of kickass songs. That’s what’s up. The Old Colossus is the band’s fourth LP, first for Majestic Mountain, and if they spent their first two albums figuring out how to get shit done, well, they sound like it. Things get duly big-sounding on “Hard to Believe” and they go acoustic on “At the End” ahead of the closer “The Lathe of Heaven,” but basically what Redscale do here is identify the boxes needing ticking and then tick the crap out of them. They’re not reshaping the genre, but they’re definitely doing righteous work within it. The rockers will know the rock when they hear it. Everyone else can get bent.

Redscale on Facebook

Majestic Mountain Records webstore


Seven Rivers of Fire, Hail Star of the Sea!

Seven Rivers of Fire Hail Star of the Sea

A solo-project of William Randles, also of Durban, South Africa’s Rise Up, Dead Man, the acoustic-led Seven Rivers of Fire brings a sense of outbound ritualism to drone-folk and organic psychedelia with this second self-released offering, Hail Star of the Sea!. I’m not sure if he’s handling all the instruments himself or not, but one is reminded of Om-split-era Six Organs of Admittance throughout the 20-minute “Crossing the Abyss / The Magician’s Journey,” and instrumental pieces like “I Saw Satan Fall Like Lightning” and “Ghost Dance / Sign of the Goddess” and “Ha-Sulam / Drawing Down the Moon” have a current of tension running alongside their largely-unplugged peacefulness. The 76-minute entirety of the outing is best enjoyed in the sun, outside, but whatever the context in which one might visit it in part or whole, the material is evocative of warmth and its swells and recessions effectively call out to the water. Not a minor undertaking, but neither should it be.

Seven Rivers of Fire on Facebook

Seven Rivers of Fire on Bandcamp


Cult Burial, Oblivion EP


What to call it? Wrench metal, because it feels like it’s systemically pulling you apart? Cement metal because of all that crushing? Post-death metal because all that sludge and doom mixed in sure sounds like decay and that’s what comes after? I don’t know. None of my names for anything ever stick anyway — the tragedy of being irrelevant — but London extremity-purveyors Cult Burial offer three-tracks of doom-laced death in Oblivion, with the short outing following-up on their well-received 2020 self-titled debut in an impressively seamless melding of genres, technical leads searing through lumbering riffs, harsh vocals, various barks and screams, populating this dense and pummeling sampler from the nine-minute opening title-slab through “Parasite” and “Paralysed,” and I’d say they save the heaviest for last, but they hammer-smashed the scale to bits because who the hell cares anyway? All this and atmosphere too. Whatever big-timey metal label ends up snagging this band is gonna have a beast on their hands.

Cult Burial on Facebook

Cult Burial website


Duster 69, 2021

duster 69 2021

German heavy rockers Duster 69 — or Duster69, if you prefer — seem to be testing the waters with their first release in 13 years. Called 2021, the two-songer brings just nine minutes of music in a kind of see-how-it-goes spirit. During their initial run, the outfit with Daredevil Records honcho Jochen Böllath (also of Grand Massive) on guitar released three full-length and splits alongside the likes of Calamus, Rickshaw, The Awesome Machine and House of Broken Promises, and though there’s something unassuming about thinking of “Oppose” and “Remember” as a comeback, it seems more about the band internally figuring out if they still work together as a unit. The answer, of course, is yes, or presumably 2021 wouldn’t see release. The production is rough, but if this is Duster 69 heralding a return in “soft opening” fashion, then something grand may yet be to come.

Duster 69 on Facebook

Daredevil Records website


Tankograd, Klęska

tankograd kleska

With Tomasz “Herr Feldgrau” Walczak, now also drumming in Weedpecker on vocals and guitar, Warsaw’s Tankograd present a Soviet-aftermath through a meld of styles that pulls together heavy rock, sludge, death and black metal. Second album Klęska is as likely to find Walczak — joined by drummer Jakub “Herr Stoß” Kaźmierski, guitarist Grzegorz “Herr Berg” Góra and bassist Herr “I Can’t Find His Real Name” Schnitt — harmonizing as engaging guttural growls over blastbeats, nodding riffs, and so on. “Niech Liczą Trupy” seems to willfully take on Paradise Lost and My Dying Bride, but this is only after “Za Ofiarną Służbę” and “Nie Dać Się Zarżnąć” have blown genre convention out of the water. Tankograd continue in this fashion through the blues-into-blasts “Hańba” and the mostly-more-doomed “SLAM,” with “Nostalgia” closing out in a manner one can only call progressive for its clearsighted execution of vision. Bonus track “Polska” is anthemic and to translate the lyrics is a lesson in perspective waiting to happen. I’ve heard 70 albums for this Quarterly Review, and plenty of them have mixed styles. I haven’t heard anything else like this in that process.

Tankograd on Facebook

Piranha Music on Bandcamp


Mother Iron Horse, Under the Blood Moon

Mother Iron Horse - Under The Blood Moon artwork

Something something Salem, Massachusetts, something something witches. Fine. Cheers to Mother Iron Horse, who indeed hail from that storied Halloween tourist destination, on having more in common sound-wise with Doomriders than any tryhard-pagan retro-style novelty acts, and on not pretending to worship the devil despite the theme they’re working with throughout this sophomore LP and Ripple Music debut, Under the Blood Moon. A 37-minute, vinyl-ready-but-is-vinyl-ready-for-it affair that moves between sludge and uptempo heavy rock, there’s little pretense to be found across the eight tracks, even as side B moves through the title-track and into the chuggery of “Samhain Dawn” and the atmospheric-but-for-all-that-screaming-oh-wait-that’s-atmosphere-too “Samhain Night” before the rolling capper “Mass at Dungeon Rock” puts the nail in the proverbial coffin. Cult-themed riffy post-hardcore sludge, anyone? Yeah, probably. Can’t imagine there isn’t a market out there for “Old Man Satan.”

Mother Iron Horse on Facebook

Ripple Music website


Ouzo Bazooka, Dalya

Ouzo Bazooka Dalya

You know that episode of Star Trek where Captain Kirk & Co. end up carting around this bunch of troublemaking space hippies? And they play songs like “Hey brother let’s get together and have some fun?” Of course you do. One of them was Chekhov’s ex-girlfriend from Starfleet Academy. Anyway, if you’re ever out warping from planet to planet wherever and you encounter space hippies and the songs they play don’t sound like Tel Aviv’s Ouzo Bazooka, you should drop their asses at the nearest starbase. Across the six songs and 34 minutes of Dalya, the Freak Valley veterans plant a garden of cosmic weirdness that’s as much retro spacefunk as it is Middle Eastern psychedelic jam rock, and I don’t care what decade you want to trace it to, if “Kruv” isn’t the sound of the 2260s happening right fucking now, then the future is going to be no less a disappointment than the present. Krautrock would’ve been better off if this is what it had become, and yes, I mean that.

Ouzo Bazooka on Facebook

Stolen Body Records website


Pilot Voyager, Roadtrip to Fantazery

Pilot Voyager Roadtrip to Fantazery

Those who’ve engaged with The Obelisk’s Quarterly Review at some point in the last seven-plus years that I’ve been doing them might understand that when it comes to finishing out, I like to do myself a favor and close with something awesome. Thus it is that the last record here is Pilot Voyager‘s Roadtrip to Fantazery, with four extended heavy psychedelic jams recorded by the Hungarian outfit in July at the Fantazery festival in Ukraine. It’s a full-on spacey blowout, with the trio of guitarist Ákos Karancz, bassist Ádám Kalamár and drummer Anton Ostrometskiy pushing interstellar vibes along an uptempo course charted by the likes of Earthless or Slift on “Dog Bitten Blues” (10:20) before “Dark Flood” (14:55) slows down and gets really vibed out. “Polite Screams and Electrolytes Between Me, Myself and My Pickups” (13:37) evens things out a bit, contrary to what its title might lead you to believe, and offers a highlight bassline late, and “Rare Wolfs of Yasinya” (13:29) builds to something of an apex before letting go, but the truth is if you’re not on board from the outset with Pilot Voyager‘s roadtrip — emphasis on ‘trip’ — it’s only going to be your loss. One way or the other, they’re gone.

Pilot Voyager on Facebook

Psychedelic Source Records on Bandcamp


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One Response to “Quarterly Review: Endless Boogie, Sula Bassana, Redscale, Seven Rivers of Fire, Cult Burial, Duster 69, Tankograd, Mother Iron Horse, Ouzo Bazooka, Pilot Voyager”

  1. J. says:

    O man I completely missed there’s a new Endless Boogie album out. What a treat! Thanks for the QR, lots of cool discoveries already. Hats off to you.

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