Review & Track Premiere: Papir, VI

Posted in audiObelisk, Reviews on April 19th, 2019 by JJ Koczan

papir vi

[Click play above to stream “VI.I” from Papir’s new album, VI. It’s out May 10 on Stickman Records.]

The trio of trio of guitarist Nicklas Sørensen, drummer Christoffer Brøchmann Christensen and bassist Christian Becher Clausen would seem to reach a new level of maturity in their presentation on their sixth album, suitably titled VI. Issued through Stickman Records as the follow-up to their debut on the label, 2017’s V (review here), it continues the Danish instrumentalists’ progressive streak that began with their 2010 self-titled and saw them align to El Paraiso for the subsequent three studio offerings, the last of which was 2014’s IIII (review here), as well as a live album. However, it’s also a marked departure from its predecessor in terms of basic intent, and where V was a 2LP with a staggering 94-minute runtime, VI pulls back on that impulse and instead offers four tracks in an entirely more manageable 39 minutes, feeling less like a splurge and more like a quick excursion to someplace peaceful and other.

Its songs are extended enough and lush with warm crash and mellotron filling out the mix, never mind the dream-toned guitar and effects, to be genuinely immersive, but the mood for the bulk of VI is bright and creative, as though the band were looking to open a conversation or at very least elicit one among those who’d engage with their work. To call it a headphone album is basically to ask someone if they like peaceful summer afternoons, and as the band evoke Yawning Man with some slide guitar and Colour Haze in the apex of “VI.III,” even this is brought into the broader context of their own characterization. That is, Papir have their influences, but rather than work toward them, they’re using them to the band’s own ends. They’re not trying to sound like anything other than themselves, and perhaps unsurprisingly, it suits them.

That shortened runtime is crucial to the experience of the album. It was no hardship to put V on and bliss out for the duration, but part of that experience was getting lost in the flow of Papir‘s material. VI is best given a more conscious approach to shifts like the percussiveness of “VI.IV” or the linear build in “VI.II” or the interplay of drift and wash that opens with “VI.I.” And they make that easy. There is some sense of structure as “VI.I” and “VI.IV” bookend the record at 10:07 and 11:04, respectively, while both “VI.II” and “VI.III” hover on either end of the nine-minute mark, ending side A and beginning side B with a fluidity that seems to extend to the conceptual. Yes, it’s still easy to get lost in what they’re doing if that’s the way you want to go, but doing so misses out on moments like the cascading river of tone in “VI.I” as it moves toward its conclusion, or the gradual opening of “VI.II,” with a bouncing, almost playful guitar leading the way accompanied by quiet but nuanced drums.

papir

I’m not going to try to dissuade anyone from listening to VI however they want, but to just float off on Clausen‘s “VI.III” bassline misses some of the exceptional details surrounding and obvious care the band have put into crafting their work. I guess what’s most called for, then, are multiple listens. So be it. The chemistry between Sørensen, Clausen and Christensen makes that a pleasurable undertaking, to be sure, and hey, if every now and again one might return to VI for a bit of escapism, I’m nobody to call it wrong. The point is that what Papir have created something that’s worth conscious interaction. Once you’ve done that, however you want to spend your time is up to you. Perhaps most crucial, they invite multiple listens in no small part through the accessibility of these tracks and the quicker runtime of the entire affair. You could put it on twice in less than the time it would take to listen to V once. That’s a considerable change, but it shows that growth doesn’t always have to mean just doing things bigger.

Indeed, I’ll gladly argue that VI is Papir‘s most progressive work to-date in no small part because they’ve taken such a conscious step to allow for easier audience engagement. Their material is still plenty far out, of course. The jazz drumming in “VI.IV” and the consuming effects that surround it demonstrate that plainly enough. But they make it so easy to listen. And to listen again, and to listen again. It’s not just about being shorter. That’s a piece of it, but even the songs themselves seem to flesh out in a way that signals Papir reaching a new sphere of expression. They are memorable even without verse or chorus hooks, and the atmosphere they set rests easily atop the entire LP as a welcome presence. Their style has always been exploratory, and that holds true here as well, but VI is as much about being in a place as it is about finding somewhere new to go. One can hear a certain restlessness in “VI.IV” as it rounds out the album with a last, well-earned payoff and crashes out quickly to end, and that’s consistent with what Papir have done in the past, but the difference is in the context through which that moment arises.

If by the end of VI the band are ready to head elsewhere, well, they should be, but that doesn’t diminish the ground they’ve covered in the songs preceding. Rather, across “VI.I,” “VI.II,” “VI.III” and “VI.IV,” they poetically ask their listeners to join them in this space they’ve created. That they don’t ultimately stay there shouldn’t be a surprise — they’ve done nothing to this point in their career that one would call static — but there is a sense throughout of having arrived on the part of the band, and if that’s part of how their maturity comes through in the material, then it finds Papir with an individualized take born of an organic development in their sound that’s played out over their records to this point, getting them to where they are. As to where they might go, the only guess I’d hazard is “forward,” since that’s where they’ve always gone. More important for the moment is what they’ve accomplished here in terms of positioning themselves among upper echelon of European heavy psychedelia.

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High Priest Stream Sanctum EP in Full; Out Tomorrow on Magnetic Eye

Posted in audiObelisk on April 18th, 2019 by JJ Koczan

high priest

Rife with melody and a brooding post-grunge atmosphere, High Priest‘s new EP, Sanctum, sees release mere hours from now through Magnetic Eye Records. The April 19 offering is the band’s first for the label and follows a limited 2016 7″ — they added a few more tracks to the download — and is what might be legitimately called their debut EP. If one considers that, the grip the band has on their aesthetic is downright terrifying, balancing as it does classic doom riffing with a harder rock edge in the melodies, all the while without flogging itself into hyper-emotionalism as so many do in these after-Pallbearer times. The band’s pedigree in deathcore mongerers Like Rats isn’t really relevant sonically to what High Priest do throughout the four-track/20-minute Sanctum, but no question there’s a definite comfort level at play. That some of these guys have known each other since they were kids, as the PR wire explains below, isn’t really much of a surprise when one listens to Sanctum. They don’t at all sound like strangers who just wound up in the same band.

All the better then that bassist Justin Pence would so righteously high priest sanctumtap into his inner Cornell on opener “Descent” — and, more impressively, pull it off — or that guitarists Pete Grossmann and John Regan would so fluidly wrap their tone around the subsequent “Creature” while drummer Dan Polak thuds away behind as though his toms spent a week telling yo-mamma jokes and he’s finally getting payback. The final track of the four, “Offering,” is longer at seven minutes flat, and ties together a lot of what High Priest — who of course are not to be confused with L.A.-based High Priestess, on Ripple; though they should tour together — are doing throughout the EP, but even the NWOBHM twist in the guitars of “Paradigm” just before seem to add something new to the proceedings when the four-piece have otherwise established their modus. “Paradigm” also boasts a significant hook, but is ultimately less of an outlier for that among “Descent” and “Creature,” both of which evoke burl without getting lost in chestbeating cliche and seem to reside easily in a place where metal meets rock, rock meets doom and kick meets ass.

But not to harp on it, but the really striking factor here is the newness. Sure, that prior single came out three years ago, so High Priest have been at it for a bit, but Sanctum is still ostensibly their first EP, and while I might want to hear them get a little weirder with melody across a full-length release and change up arrangements as they hint toward between “Descent” and “Creature” here — with the guitars giving up lead position instrumentally to the bass and drums going from one song to the next — there’s no question in listening through that High Priest sound ready to give it a shot. If taking their time was what let them come up with these songs, then keep doing that, but otherwise, the sooner the better works fine for me, thanks. Oh, and make that High Priest/High Priestess tour happen too. How could you not?

Stream Sanctum in its entirety on the player below. Beneath that, you’ll find some quick comment from the band and more background off the PR wire. You know how we do.

Enjoy:

High Priest on Sanctum EP:

“This band started as an excuse to do something fun. What would all our weird influences sound like if we mashed them together? I think this record is a perfect amalgamation of that. Our only goal is for people to hear it and hopefully have as much fun listening as we have playing it. We also hope people are moved to go out and buy deep cut Thin Lizzy records and headbang to Mercyful Fate. If this record inspires one person to make something, or gets someone excited the way those records make me feel, that’s the biggest compliment we could ever get. We’re so excited for ‘Sanctum’ to see the world!”

Order Link: https://highpriestchicago.bandcamp.com/album/sanctum-ep

Although they formed in 2016, the members of Chicago’s HIGH PRIEST have known each other for a good portion of their lives. Guitarists Pete Grossmann and John Regan, singer/bassist Justin Pence and drummer Dan Polak have been playing together in various bands for over 15 years, with Grossman and Polak’s friendship going back to actual childhood (Pete remembers Dan getting the training wheels off his first bike).

Dan and John were already playing together in Southern Lord death/hardcore fusion outfit Like Rats when, during a night out seeing Electric Wizard, John yelled to Dan, “we should do a band like this!”

High Priest Sanctum was produced, engineered and mixed by guitarist Pete Grossmann at his Bricktop Recording studio in Chicago. The 4-song EP contrasts dark, soulful doom with massive riffs and delicate undertones, bringing to mind the juxtaposition of despair, hope and resignation across a foundation of churning heaviness that bands like Alice in Chains and Trouble make so appealing.

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Dune Sea Premiere “Dune Sea” from Self-Titled Debut LP out May 3

Posted in audiObelisk on April 18th, 2019 by JJ Koczan

dune sea

Dune Sea release their self-titled debut album May 3 through All Good Clean Records. The Norwegian band began as the project of guitarist, vocalist, keyboardist and noisemaker Ole Nogva, who gradually was joined by drummer Erik Bråten and bassist Petter Solvik Dahle, and though their moniker might conjure all sorts of images of retread desert rock riffing, the truth of what they do throughout the nine-track/31-minute Dune Sea is much more complex, drawing from the synth-laced space thrust of closer “Cosmic Playground” and the jangle-into-drift-into-futuristic-push of “Morphine,” which isn’t the first track on the record to be named after a controlled substance, following as it does a few songs behind opener “Pentobarbital and Ethanol.” All around the album, cuts like the eponymous “Dune Sea” and the subsequent brief fuzz wash and stomping rhythm of “Future,” the brief keyboard infusion in “Bounty Hunter” — like a heavy version of proto-New Wave space vibing — and the cosmic command in “Astrodelic Breakdown” lead the listener on a charted but varied course into the greater reaches of the far out, engines burning at warp factor whatever as the stars turn to streaks outside the window.

If it’s desert rock, then, it’s a desert on some distant undiscovered world waiting for the most intrepid of explorers.

But let’s leave the moniker behind much as the penultimate “Awake” leaves the ground. Dune Sea play dune sea cosmic playgroundfully-activated cosmic heavy rock. It’s an amalgam ultimately of space, psych and progressive styles, but their debut full-length — and when you listen through and think about that, that’s really the scary part; this is their first record — careens between them with such a fluid playout that it’s nearly impossible to pin down where one element ends and the next begins. Tones and grooves are hypnotic, melody is pervasive, and the spirit and energy with which Dune Sea handle the turns from one piece to another, as on the absolutely-drenched-in-acid classic psych rocking centerpiece “Green,” are infectious to the point of entering the bloodstream. That starts right from the ultra-swing at the apex of “Pentobarbital and Ethanol,” with a full album’s worth of swagger packed into about 35 seconds that lead the way into the rest of Dune Sea with an assured push that sets up the rest of the madness to follow. Dudes are right off the wall. I mean really. We’re talking about the snozzberries tasting like snozzberries, here. It’s a trip that should come with a warning label: “This machine alienates squares.”

And it’s 31 minutes. Short for an LP, but that too becomes a strength on the part of the band, because they manage to pack so much into that time. It’s condensed, but somehow when you listen, it feels like the songs unfold over a much more spacious scale than they do. That’s credit to the mix, which is packed with layers of lysergic detailing, but there’s a constant melodic presence as well through even the various vocal effects that helps the listener along this purposefully bumpy path, and that only makes the record all the more of a joyful undertaking. I’m saying that if you think you can get down, you should.

To that end, I’m thrilled to host Dune Sea‘s “Dune Sea” from Dune Sea as a premiere for your streaming pleasure below. Second of the nine inclusions, the eponymous song on any band’s record can serve as a crucial statement of intent and who they are, and as Dune Sea cry out for freedom in the track, they would seem to be making precisely that statement. Crack open your skull and pour this one in. Somehow I doubt you’ll regret it.

Enjoy:

Dune Sea is a power trio from Norway playing a stoner rock mixed with shoegaze and space rock. The Trondheim based group are often compared with bands like Hawkwind and Queens of the Stone Age.

The Dune Sea album features nine tracks that range from stretched out psychedelic sci-fi soundscapes to synth based monolithic riffs. The sound unfolds within a cinematic universe, which is both retro and futuristic.

The band started out as Ole Nogva’s solo project back in 2012. Drummer Erik Bråten joined Ole in the spring of 2017 to record drums for the EP “All Quiet Under The Suns”.

In early 2018 bassplayer Petter Solvik Dahle became a permanent member of Dune Sea and the recording process of their self-titled debut album began. The album is recorded and produced by the band themselves in various locations in Trondheim and will be released through All Good Clean Records on May 3rd 2019. The mastering is done by Rhys Marsh at Autumnsongs Recording Studio.

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Fatal Curse Stream Debut Album Breaking the Trance in Full

Posted in audiObelisk, Reviews on April 17th, 2019 by JJ Koczan

fatal curse

New York-based classic metal trio Fatal Curse release their debut full-length on April 19 through the venerable Shadow Kingdom Records. By and large, it is a ripper. Sure, they cut the pace a bit on “Priestess of Fire,” which is also the longest inclusion on the record at 5:39 and appears right ahead of closer “Eyes of the Demon,” but for the greater majority of its seven tracks and 28 minutes, Breaking the Trance is more about the three-piece tearing through their material with righteous velocity and headbanging intent. It is not an overly complex aim, but a noble one particularly when it comes to homage to the metal of yore. One could rattle off a list of reference points of varying obscurity, but at this point, the style of classic metal, whether it’s infused with retro thrash or NWOBHM pomp or as in the case of Fatal Curse some combination thereof, has become its own aesthetic. Fatal Curse seem less outwardly committed to the style than some — at least going by their press shot, you wouldn’t look at them and say they’re “in costume” as others might be — but their bleed-for-metal ideology is writ large all throughout the brief, intense and well stated long-player.

So maybe cuts like the opening title-track and subsequent “Blade in the Dark” are about fist-pumping, neck-breaking metal for metal’s sake, but the production on Breaking the Trance — and indeed the cassette-ready thrash-rasp of vocalist Mike Bowen when he’s not soaring over the razor-edged riffs of guitarist Dave Gruver and the rush of Chris Bowen‘s drums — gives a sense Fatal Curse Breaking the Tranceof rawness that doesn’t tip over to retroism in terms of trying to sound like it’s 1984, but neither comes across as overblown in such a way that would detract from the naturalism at heart in the material. It’s not quite garage thrash, but if you’ve got a garage, and they could play there every now and again, that’d be really cool, man. “Gang Life” follows the opening salvo and continues the energy with a catchy chorus and a oh-hello solo in its second half that works in stages and works its way toward blisters one way or another before bass gallop reignites the charge for the full band, soon enough joined by a blazing motor-riff. I’m just going to go ahead and give heavy metal bonus points — for those of you keeping score at home — to the band for calling the centerpiece of their debut album “Can’t Stop the Thunder.” Somewhat shockingly, they don’t have any songs specifically about “the night” — “Blade in the Dark” might count; I’d have to see a lyric sheet — but at an all-go 2:49, “Can’t Stop the Thunder” is as charged as Fatal Curse get on Breaking the Trance, and the method suits them, to put it mildly.

The sense of precision there underscores how crucial it’s always been for a band like this to be tight. In some respects, heavy metal has always been a test — can you play this fast? can your ears take this? do you get it? — and those who’ve passed have been all the more loyal for it, but there’s no pretense on Breaking the Trance, and while Fatal Curse have their chops, at least on their first record there’s no condescension in their songwriting or grandiosity in their approach. The vibe throughout is that these are dudes who love metal and just want to manifest that. It’s not about picking out which riff sounds like which one from which year — though that’s fun too, and I’m sure there’s plenty of fodder for it throughout — but about celebrating the release that metal was in its adolescence. Fatal Curse careen and chug their way through “Chains of Eternity” before “Priestess of Fire” and the mosh-shove of “Eyes of the Demon” cap off, and even then, their style remains brash but not conceited. They very clearly take what they do seriously, but that never had to come at the expense of a good time, and it doesn’t here either.

I’ve said this before, but it’s worth repeating that Shadow Kingdom has an ear for classic metal and doom that is simply unmatched in its reliability. Fatal Curse aren’t reinventing metal or classic metal their first time out, but Breaking the Trance is all-heart, front-to-back, and even more than how well the songs come together or the band’s performance, it’s the heart behind it that makes it so prime for repeat listens.

To that end, I’m thrilled today to host the full stream of Breaking the Trance ahead of the release on Friday. Please find it below, followed by more from the PR wire.

Enjoy:

SHADOW KINGDOM RECORDS is proud to present FATAL CURSE’s striking debut album, Breaking the Trance, on CD, vinyl LP, and cassette tape formats.

Hailing from New York, FATAL CURSE are a veritable throwback to earlier, simpler times. Theirs is a roots-oriented sound squarely focusing on early speed metal on both sides of the Atlantic and America’s contemporaneous power metal movement. No thrashing like a maniac here: FATAL CURSE create classy ‘n’ cruising anthems of ageless heavy metal might on Breaking the Trance!

Indeed, much of FATAL CURSE’s flash ‘n’ finesse stems from their power-trio lineup, with each member locked in to the other and pumping out seamless, gleaming-chrome odes to such timeless topics as “Blade in the Dark,” “Priestess of Fire,” “Chains of Eternity,” and “Eyes of the Demon,” among others. Nope, you “Can’t Stop the Thunder” here, especially those lightning-explosive yet narrative leads at the hands of guitarist Dave Gruver.

From later Thin Lizzy to Tokyo Blade in the prime, early Virgin Steele to early Jag Panzer, Borrowed Time-era Diamond Head to Witch Cross’ Fit for Fight, Liege Lord to Omen to Helstar and beyond: step onto the wayback machine with FATAL CURSE and start Breaking the Trance!

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The Obelisk Show on Gimme Radio Recap: Episode 14

Posted in Radio on April 15th, 2019 by JJ Koczan

gimme radio logo

No real running theme here other than it’s stuff that’s had my ears for the last couple weeks. I put the playlist together with a few tracks that were premiered here from The Dry Mouths and Cities of Mars, the new single from Astral Hand and a Bible of the Devil track to lead off because their amount of kickassery should most definitely put them up front. Some stuff here I haven’t covered as well. On the social medias I put out a question looking for album of the year suggestions and Elizabeth Colour Wheel were one of the top names that came back, so I included them for sure, and Magic Circle too. And I’ll listen to Lamp of the Universe any chance I get anyway, so having them was a no-brainer. Oh, and new Nebula, because duh.

I ended up cutting the voice tracks at Boston Logan Airport before my flight to Roadburn, so maybe there’s a little bit of muzak in the background. It was a little weird sitting there at the gate in Logan talking into my phone about how badass Dozer are, but you know, there’s a kind of anonymity in being in public like that too, and I wasn’t exactly projecting my voice. Bottom line is there’s a bunch of cool stuff though, so whatever I needed to to get it done was worth it. Similarly, I’m writing this from the office of the 013 before the show has even aired, so I don’t actually know yet how it’s all turned out [ed. – it sounds like crap]. If I sound like a jackass, we’ll call it par for the course.

Good fun.

Here’s the full playlist:

The Obelisk Show – 04.14.19

Bible of the Devil Idle Time Feel It*
Astral Hand Universe Machine Universe Machine*
Cities of Mars Trenches of Bahb-elon The Horologist*
BREAK
Nebula Witching Hour Holy Shit*
The Druids Cruising Astral Skies The Druids*
Pharlee Warning Pharlee*
Magic Circle Valley of the Lepers Departed Souls*
Elizabeth Colour Wheel Life of a Flower Nocebo*
BREAK
Dozer Octanoid Madre de Dios
The Dry Mouths Impromental VII: Moustachette Memories from Pines Bridge*
Lamp of the Universe The Leaving Align in the Fourth Dimension*
Temple of the Fuzz Witch Infidel Temple of the Fuzz Witch*
BREAK
Picaporters M.I. XXIII*
Electric Moon Transmitter Hugodelia*

The Obelisk Show on Gimme Radio airs every other Sunday night at 7PM Eastern, with replays the following Thursday at 9AM. Next show is April 28. Thanks for listening if you do.

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The Dry Mouths Stream Memories from Pines Bridge in Full; Album out Tomorrow

Posted in audiObelisk on April 4th, 2019 by JJ Koczan

the dry mouths

The Dry Mouths release their sixth full-length, Memories from Pines Bridge, tomorrow, April 5. For those familiar with the Almeria-based trio’s past work, it will no doubt seem like something of a departure from their generally straightforward desert-rocking songcraft, which may or may not be rooted in jams, but ultimately pushes much farther out here in songs like “Impromental VII – Moustachette,” a nine-minute off-the-cuff exploration of canyon echoes and cymbal wash, or the earlier “Low Savvia,” which brings a bit of thicker distortion to the dream-toned modus of Yawning Man. The instrumental outing is a departure even just for its lack of vocals, but the resonant tonality and the adventurous spirit of the sonic interaction between the three-piece of guitarist/thereminist Christ O. Rodrigues, bassist Andrés Reyes and drummer Josh Morales makes it a joyful undertaking despite the tragic circumstances of its arrival following the death of Reyes in February.

Memories from Pines Bridge is one of two albums The Dry Mouths will reportedly release in 2019 in that most unfortunate of contexts, and while there hasn’t been any information given on whether it will follow the band’s more established methodology or the the dry mouths memories from pines bridgepattern set forth by these tracks, there’s no denying that what they’re doing here works. With Rodrigues‘ guitar drifting outward in pieces like “Promenade” or “Mangai Maroke” or conjuring desert visions in opener “La Chasseure,” or delving into minimalist ambience on “Bootha,” there’s a sense of patterning behind most of what the band are doing here. With the exception of the aforementioned “Impromental VII – Moustachette” and “El Cairo ’78” right before it, most of the tracks are under five minutes long, and the theremin-laced “L’Enfer” is 63 seconds, so while they range far in the nine songs, it’s still just a 40-minute outing, and that too feels purposeful. Songs ease their way in and gently fade out, like the penultimate “Bootha” or “El Cairo ’78” after “L’Enfer,” and even when The Dry Mouths build a wash, they do so with patience and melodic emphasis. It sounds like it was a joy to make, and that carries into the execution of the songs themselves, as well as the listening experience.

Immersion is the key. Hypnosis is the key. The Dry Mouths are issuing an invitation to get lost with them. Closer “La Siesta (Sleep Paralysis)” has a little bit of a darker foundation, but the vast, vast majority of Memories from Pines Bridge is dedicated to sweetly melodic instrumentalist passages of these fleeting musical ideas that weave their way in and out fluidly as the album progresses. It’s the kind of record that is exceedingly easy to put on and lose time with. “What just happened?” and on it goes again. Its blend of plotted material and improv keeps things moving in a way that adds a subtle sense of variety, and no matter where the band seems to head, they’re able to bring the listener along with them for the ride. And their scope is pretty broad while being tethered to its desert rock foundation, so while you might get lost in listening to it, the band are never really any more lost than they want to be in their playing.

With the release tomorrow, I’m thrilled today to be able to host the full stream of Memories from Pines Bridge. And whether their next outing is a return to their prior form or another willful excursion into the unknown along these lines, the fact remains that they’ve brought something special to light in these tracks — and no, I don’t just mean the theremin, though that’s always fun — and that despite the loss of Reyes following the sessions for this and the impending follow-up, the work will always remain a moment worthy of celebration.

Please enjoy:

‘Memories From Pines Bridge’ is the sixth album by the Almerians The Dry Mouths. It is a 40-minute LP composed of 9 tracks performed live as “jam sessions” and instrumental passages of psycho-hypnotic character.

“Our intention is to create a sound sensation with which to delve into the mind towards memories of a past that we long for, whose memory is far away in a sensation that vanishes, that sometimes surfaces, and makes us relive experiences that still remain in our unconscious , that make us who we are, that represent the harshness of our lives…” — The Dry Mouths

‘Memories From Pines Bridge’ is the first of two albums that the band will release in 2019, after the tragic death of bassist Andrés Reyes earlier this year. Both works had previously been recorded and mixed by Chris O. Rodrigues, Josh Morales and Andy Reyes himself.

The artwork of the album is a work by Iván Carreño (who already worked with the band in 2018 in ‘When The Water Smells Of Sweat’). This new work will be published in CD format and in a careful edition on transparent vinyl by co-editing between the labels Spinda Records, Aneurisma Records, Surnia Records, Zona Rock Productions, Monasterio de Cultura and Odio Sonoro.

TRACK-LIST
1. La Chaussure
2. Low Savvia
3. MangaiMakore
4. L’Enfer
5. ElCairo78
6. Impromental VII – Moustachette
7. Promenade
8. Bootha
9. La Siesta (Sleep Paralysis)

The Dry Mouths are: Andy Reyes (bajos), Christ O. Rodrigues (guitarras and theremin) and Josh Morales (batería).
Recorded at Sonobalance Studio by Víctor Ortíz, Alberto Chamorro and Daniel Ruíz.
Mixed at Desert City Studio by Christ O. Rodrigues, Andy Reyes and Josh Morales.
Mastered at Kadifornia Mastering by Mario G. Alberni.

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The Pilgrim Premiere “Dragonfly” from Walking into the Forest

Posted in audiObelisk, Reviews on April 3rd, 2019 by JJ Koczan

the pilgrim

Available to preorder since January, the debut album from The Pilgrim will be released April 26 through Heavy Psych Sounds. The 10-song/38-minute Walking into the Forest is a new venture for Gabriele Fiori, who’s already well known for being the head of the Heavy Psych Sounds label and booking agency as well as the frontman of Black Rainbows and Killer Boogie. Hey, some people like to stay busy.

Before the album was being announced, I was fortunate enough to be asked to write the bio for The Pilgrim, and of course I jumped at the opportunity as I tend to do. My motivation was pretty simple, and I think listening to Walking into the Forest makes the argument perhaps best of all, which was why I was so keen to host the premiere of “Peace of Mind,” the album’s opening track, when the time came for the announcement to go out. With The PilgrimFiori and his cohort drummer Filippo Ragazzoni don’t just take on new textures, but as songs like the Hawkwind cover “Brainstorm” show, there’s a definite tie-in with the work Fiori has done in the past. It comes in a more peaceful form throughout “The Time You Wait” and the finger-picked beginning of “Pendulum,” perhaps, but that sense of collective psychedelic trip is still there, and it feels all the more resonant for its foundation in earthy acoustic guitar, to which quiet-but-welcome drums/percussion are added along with keys and vocals. “Peace of Mind” begins the record at a hippie ramble, and soon enough after, “Sailor” seems to speak to the exploration that’s getting underway in this material, with a broader melodic scope and an affecting, bigger finish.

Because that’s what Walking into the Forest is: the beginning of a new exploration. It’s right The-pilgrim-walking-into-the-forestthere in the title in the word “into,” which implies you’re starting from somewhere else and entering the forest, and it’s right there in the prominent front foot of the Maarten Donders cover art. These songs may have been years in the making, but the recording unites them in the purpose of feeling out and establishing this unfamiliar sonic terrain, where it’s not about the effects wash or the space rock thrust, or about the classic ’70s shuffle, but about creating a not entirely dissimilar atmosphere through the most natural of folkish elements — a guitar and a voice. That’s the core of what The Pilgrim does, but of course Fiori and Ragazzoni expand the sound with drums and keyboards, echo on the vocals and so on. It’s all part of conjuring an acid folk vibe, and they do it well from “Peace of Mind” through the relatively subdued guitar/keys finish of “Suite #2.” Not every song is trying to manifest the same idea — that would invariably lead to a monotonous listening experience, which the album isn’t, but they all work together in order to create the sense of journeying along with the duo in the creative process.

When asked for the bio, Fiori described the song “Dragonfly” as a “mind-dream,” which I like a lot, as well as his favorite on the album. Indeed, the track traffics well in the ethereal, and makes its presence felt through early intertwining of soft vocals and guitar with spaced-out keys before the strumming and drumming picks up before the two-minute mark. Those keyboard droplets stay consistent throughout, and late in the track a sweeping solo comes forward in the mix and ends up gently leading the way out just past the song’s fifth minute — it’s the only inclusion on Walking into the Forest to cross that line.

Fiori, as noted, or at least implied, has a fairly manic (and admirable) work ethic, so it’s easy to imagine that, should he choose to focus on it, a second The Pilgrim record could arrive sooner than the years it took to put together Walking into the Forest. Between Black RainbowsKiller Boogie, putting out other bands’ albums and booking events like the Obelisk-co-presented Heavy Psych Sounds Fest tour in the US (info here), he’s not exactly short on current projects, but sometimes once you start on a path through the forest, the best thing to do is just keep going and see where it leads you.

I’ve included that bio I wrote for the album here, in case you’re interested. It’s under the player with the premiere of “Dragonfly” and a quick comment from Fiori about the track specifically.

Please enjoy:

Gabriele Fiori on “Dragonfly”:

Dragonfly is the fourth track of the album and the one I personally like the most because its different phases; one is heavenly and choral, but then suddenly starts with rhythm parts and nice vocals, to end with a guitar solo that intertwines with the other instruments to create something truly magic.

The Pilgrim’ debut album Walking Into The Forest will be released on April 26th via Heavy Psych Sounds. Cover art by Maarten Donders.

Preorder available now: https://www.heavypsychsounds.com/shop.htm?#HPS092

Bio:

Gabriele Fiori — already frontman of Rome-based outfits Black Rainbows and Killer Boogie and a key figure in Europe’s heavy underground as the head of the Heavy Psych Sounds label and booking agency — was not exactly lacking for things to do. And yet, a couple years back, The Pilgrim started to nebulously take shape as an idea for a solo-project, something different than the hard-driving psychedelia and garage heavy rock for which he’d already been so revered.

It wasn’t until Jan. 2018 that he really got to putting songs together, but the end result on Walking into the Forest is a space-folk release with a personality unto itself. Songs like opener “Peace of Mind” evoke some of Fiori’s more rocking side, while “Sunset in the Desert” feels like an ode to the acoustic album Kyuss never made, and side B, which starts with the Hawkwind cover “Brainstorm” and ends with the moody strum of “Suite #2” — originally from Void Generator’s 2004 debut EP; when Fiori was in the band — hones a cosmic drift and textures that nonetheless remain accessible and organic thanks to their acoustic foundation.

“The main point in common with Black Rainbows is the diversity of the songs,” Fiori explains. “You have mind-dreams like ‘Dragonfly’ or ‘Sailor,’ or the more folk rock ‘Peace of Mind,’ passing through space with ‘The Time You Wait’ and the melodic-melancholic ‘When I Call Your Name.’”

In completing the arrangements, Fiori turned to Black Rainbows drummer Filippo Ragazzoni, and as he says, “Songs came out so spontaneously and easy. I always played acoustic guitar and wanted to push further on this path. The songwriting, rehearsing and recording approach was so different from usual Rainbows or Boogie style, both to me and Filippo for drums, because all the instruments needed to be played smoothly, softly.”

With Walking into the Forest, Fiori evokes a sound that is both classic and fresh, melodically rich and creatively constructed. It is a new outlet for Fiori that demands spiritual as well as auditory engagement, and an all-things-permissible sonic context that one can only hope The Pilgrim continues to explore.

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Heavy Psych Sounds website

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Morass of Molasses Premiere “Woe Betide” from The Ties that Bind out June 7; Tour Dates Announced

Posted in audiObelisk, Whathaveyou on April 2nd, 2019 by JJ Koczan

morass of molasses

Morass of Molasses will release their second album, The Ties that Bind, on June 7 through Wasted State Records. The follow-up to the trio’s 2017 debut, These Paths We Tread is heralded by the premiere of “Woe Betide,” which you can stream at the bottom of this post, as well as a slew of live dates the band will undertake this and next month in the UK. Already veterans of Desertfest and HRH Doom vs. Stoner, the three-piece seem to solidify around a classic heavy rock sound tinged with just an element of noise to keep things dangerous.

I’m going by one track and it’s four minutes long, but even that has room for a stretch of progressive departure before the solo leads them back to the hooky verse and chorus from whence they came, so as to how the balance might shake out or if they want it to at all on the LP, I can’t say, but from the raucousness in “Woe Betide,” it certainly seems like it’ll be worth finding out.

Preorders soon. Art, info and audio now, courtesy of the PR wire:

morass of molasses the ties that bind

MORASS OF MOLASSES UNLEASH ALBUM DETAILS + FIRST SINGLE!

The Ties That Bind coming June 7th on Wasted State Records!

June 7th will see Swamp master generals of the Reading scene MORASS OF MOLASSES, return with their sophomore album on Wasted State Records. The low-tuned trio create the kind of lumbering heavy blues riffs which induce involuntary head nodding, now awake from a brief slumber, and emerge from the shadows to deliver their latest musical offering; The Ties That Bind. Taking on an altogether more earthly visage, this album is framed by themes of human connection, and delves into the deep-rooted interactions we share with each other and ourselves. The ‘Dark Forest’ motif that runs throughout this collection is the manifestation of these themes and uses familiar archetypes to guide us on this journey.

Today the band is not only sharing with us the hotly anticipated details with the album artwork and track list of The Ties That Bind, but also a first single to the track ‘Woe Betide’ Frontman Bones Huse says: ‘This song is about how quickly a relationship can change, and not allowing someone else to treat you without respect anymore. Regardless of how close you were in the past.’

The Ties That Bind Track list:

Side A
1. The Darkening
2. Woe Betide
3 . Death Of All
4 . Estranger
5 . Legend Of The Five Suns

Side B
6. As Leaves Fall
7. Persona Non Grata
8. In Our Sacred Skin
9. The Deepest Roots

In the lead up to the new album, the band will hit the road for their upcoming Goddess Shrine Tour, to allow audiences to catch a glimpse of the new material ahead of its release. Make sure to catch MORASS OF MOLASSES live at the following dates, to kick-off this Friday in their hometown Reading!

Goddess Shrine Tour:
05.04.19 – The Swamp, Reading
06.04.19 – The Black Heart, London
12.04.19 – Trash, Bradford
13.04.19 – Opium, Edinburgh
14.04.19 – West Street Live, Sheffield
15.04.19 – Rebellion, Manchester
16.04.19 – Lady Luck, Canterbury
24.05.19 – The Anvil, Bournemouth
25.05.19 – Firehouse, Southampton
26.05.19 – The Underground, Plymouth
31.05.19 – The White Horse, Tiverton
01.06.19 – Mothers Ruin, Bristol

www.facebook.com/MorassOfMolasses
www.morassofmolasses.bandcamp.com
www.wastedstate.com

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