The Obelisk Show on Gimme Radio Recap: Episode 18

Posted in Radio on June 24th, 2019 by JJ Koczan

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Before I get started, I want to say thanks to Mark Kitchens from Stone Machine Electric for the artwork above. He did the platypus design and I added the blue background and yellow text kind of thinking it would be like one of those old title cards from David Letterman or something. I love it, so yeah. Thanks, Mark.

Like the prior episode, this one was themed around a playlist of some of the best of 2019 so far. I actually didn’t get to hear the whole show because I was at Maryland Doom Fest this past weekend, but I did check in on it while doing other stuff in Frederick. One way or the other, the playlist starts with Holy Grove and has Yawning ManMagic CircleDuelNebulaRoadsawEarth and Across Tundras on it, so you know it’s going to be killer. Really, the only thing I’d have listened for was to make sure I didn’t ruin it with my own derpy derp derp.

I wanted to include some lesser-known stuff here too, so check out the Cosmic Fall, SÂVEREaldor Bealu and Mount Saturn tracks if you haven’t, and that Centrum at the end I really dig a lot. Hell, the whole thing is great. You really can’t go wrong when your operating theme is “stuff that’s awesome.”

Thanks if you got to check it out.

Here’s the full playlist:

The Obelisk Show – 06.21.19

Holy Grove Valley of the Mystics Holy Grove II 0:10:37
Duel Drifting Alone Valley of Shadows 0:04:27
The Well Death Song Death and Consolation 0:04:48
BREAK
Across Tundras The Rugged Ranges of Curbs & Broken Minds The Rugged Ranges of Curbs & Broken Minds 0:06:58
Yawning Man I Make Weird Choices Macedonian Lines 0:07:21
Cosmic Fall Lackland Lackland 0:08:32
Lamp of the Universe Rite of the Spheres Align in the Fourth Dimension 0:05:12
SÂVER Dissolve to Ashes They Came with Sunlight 0:07:43
Atala Upon the Altar The Bearer of Light 0:06:06
Magic Circle I’ve Found My Way to Die Departed Souls 0:05:11
BREAK
Mount Saturn Idol Hands Kiss the Ring 0:04:11
Nebula Man’s Best Friend Holy Shit 0:04:56
Ruff Majik Seasoning the Witch Tårn 0:06:31
Earth An Unnatural Carousel Full Upon Her Burning Lips 0:06:51
Ealdor Bealu Smoke Signals Spirit of the Lonely Places 0:07:32
BREAK
Roadsaw Under the Devil’s Thumb Tinnitus the Night 0:03:54
Centrum Sjön För Meditation 0:08:39

The Obelisk Show on Gimme Radio airs every other Friday at 1PM Eastern, with replays every Sunday at 7PM Eastern. Next show is July 5. Thanks for listening if you do.

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Pinto Graham Premiere “Further” from Dos EP out July 12

Posted in audiObelisk on June 17th, 2019 by JJ Koczan

pinto graham

Connecticut power trio Pinto Graham release their Dos EP on July 12. Formed in 2016 in New Haven, the three-piece issued their first full-length, Uno, the next year, and the six tracks/24 minutes of the follow-up feel more like half an album than an EP for the flow they conjure and the obvious care put into their arrangements of and within the material itself, blending Southern heavy rock, bluesy vibes and a touch of the ethereal around largely straightforward songwriting in order to create a sound that’s at once familiar and still malleable enough for them to toy with pace and the balance of their influences. A bit of this, a bit of that, in other words, but it suits them as guitarist/vocalist Andre Roman, bassist/vocalist Ant Reckart and drummer Brian Harris roll through the changes in tempo of “Dreamcatcher,” Roman and Reckart and guest singer Kelly L’Heureux — who would seem as well to appear on the prior “Southern Superstitions” — in a blend of forward lines and far-off-mic backing voices almost in harmony. It’s semi-traditionalist heavy rock that benefits from the diversity of experience from its creators, but perhaps most of all so in being clear-headed in its intent and knowing what it wants to do in terms of sound and how.

Dudes wastes no time getting down in the opening track “Further,” and that sets the course with about four and a half winding minutes of go-go-go thrust that manages not to sacrifice melodyPinto Graham Dos even in its crunchiest pivots. The guitar solo hints at some of the more Southern vibing that will make itself known after the crashing roller “Sleeping Giant” when “Southern Superstitions” takes hold, the flow of the EP seeming to take it from more uptempo movements to slower ones, but even when the harmonica hits in “Southern Superstitions,” it does so over a riff that’s as much Seattle grunge as Texas ramble. “Further,” though, is clearly tasked with providing the momentum for the rest of what follows — another reason I’d consider Dos a short album rather than an EP; the way the songs interact with each other — and it succeeds in that and then some, having an effect even as the mid-tempo hook of “Southern Superstitions” feeds, vocals only, into the noisy beginning of “Dreamcatcher,” Echoes give the vocals a howling feel that suits the piece, but it’s clearly meant to be a standout and it is, letting “Old Man of the Mountain” straighten out and fly right with some classic-feeling boogie that’s still well in context for what surrounds.

That leaves only “The Weight” to close out, and it does so with, yes, a slower tempo, and the immediate roll of a southbound highway (and no, I don’t mean I-95 at the intersection with I-91 where all the food trucks are), melded with a bluesy solo and some righteously dirty bass beneath. The track runs 4:51, the solo comes in at about 2:42, and I’d be content if Pinto Graham wanted to just ride out that jam for the next three minutes or so — by then, there’s nothing reasonably asked of Dos that’s not been delivered, and as far as I’m concerned, they’ve demonstrated both progress since Uno and their songwriting acumen more generally — but they do turn back to the chorus to finish out, holding to the idea of structure that is an underpinning for the EP as a whole. It’s a clean break and a fitting end for the short set done up in a style that would seem poised to grab the ears and eyes of Ripple Music, fitting in along the likes of Wo FatFoghoundFreedom Hawk, etc., as well perhaps as Valley of the Sun and some other modern practitioners of noteworthy craft. For those seeking a bottom line, it’s that’s Pinto Graham are more than a clever name, and for anyone who perhaps missed the first album, Dos offers a brief opportunity to get caught up before they pass by on the way to the next one. I’d advise taking advantage.

Dig into the premiere of “Further” below, followed by more info from the PR wire.

Enjoy:

Hailing from New Haven, Connecticut, southern rock trio Pinto Graham serves up psychedelic riffage that pulls audiences to their feet. The diverse musical experiences of bassist/vocalist Ant Reckart, guitarist/vocalist Andre Roman, and drummer Brian Harris make for a perfect meeting of groove, grit, and melody. With influences ranging from Lynyrd Skynrd to Pentagram — both of whom they pay homage to with their band name — Pinto Graham will shake, rattle, and roll any stage they set foot on.

Formed in 2013 by Reckart and Harris, the band kicked into high gear with the addition of Roman in 2016. The three creative spirits came together from different paths, with Florida transplant Reckart drumming for industrial shock rockers Genitorturers for many years, Roman touring across the country on bass with punk outfit Murdervan, and Harris playing with Araca París and S26 in his native Argentina.

But this unusual combination of history and influences has become something greater than the sum of its parts. Pinto’s 2017 debut album Uno solidified their place in the underground music scene, with songs featured on many podcasts, blogs, and compilations including Alternative Control’s Volume Doom. The band has played live all over New England, and was especially proud to perform at a Florida benefit for St. Michael’s Soldiers alongside southern rock giants Molly Hatchet and Johnnie and Donnie Van Zant.

2019 promises to bring these “High Flyers” to new heights with the release of their second album, Dos. Recorded at Studio Wormwood in rural Connecticut with engineer Dave Kaminsky, Dos will be released on July 12, 2019 in CD and digital formats. Pinto will also return to Florida to perform at St. Michael’s Soldiers’ third annual benefit later this year, set to share the stage with .38 Special.

Photo by Rick Casados Photo.

Brian Harris – drums
Andre Roman – guitar and vocals
Ant Reckart – bass and vocals

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Stinking Lizaveta Premiere Rehearsal Recording “The Odor of Corruption”

Posted in audiObelisk on June 13th, 2019 by JJ Koczan

Stinking Lizaveta

The other morning, just after The Pecan went down for a nap, I got a message through thee social medias from Yanni Papadopoulos of Philadelphia’s Stinking Lizaveta. Now, we’ve never really been in touch, maybe an email here and there around releases or something like that, or I may have said an awkward hello at a gig at some point in the last 15 years, but it’s not like we talk. Nothing against the guy, he seems very nice, and his band certainly rules, but they’ve always had publicity representation, so that’s how it’s gone. Fair enough.

So this note comes over, and it says — direct quote, cut and paste — “Hi JJ, this is Yanni from Stinking Lizaveta, just found a forgotten track we recorded at a practice that kind of encapsulates everything I’m going for in heavy music. Can I send it to you?”

Honestly, what the hell am I going to say to that? “No?” “Don’t send it over?”

Here’s a guy who’s been kicking around in one of the ultra-underground’s most creative bands for well over 20 years, turning heavy rock into jazz and heavy jazz into rock, and he’s saying he’s got a song that brings to life everything he’s going for in heavy music? Come on. Of course send it over. Hook it to my veins and give it to me in an IV.

For anyone to say something like that out of the blue to essentially a stranger is not nothing. But especially for someone whose creativity has been so broadly manifest over his band’s tenure — their last album was 2017’s Journey to the Underworld (review here) on Translation Loss — and someone who does not strike me as being particularly given to hyperbole, I had to hear what that sounded like. Had to.

The track is indeed a rehearsal room recording that’s been given the title “The Odor of Corruption” as taken from a chapter in The Brothers Karamazov, and it was captured in 2018. Those familiar with Stinking Lizaveta‘s work — the lineup is Yanni, upright electric bassist Alexi Papadopoulos and drummer Cheshire Agusta — will find its four-minute run less manic than the instrumentalists can be at their most chaotic, but still with plenty of dynamic on display. A creeping initial guitar line trades into and subsequently out of a soulful solo, rising and falling and rising again into a crescendo that fades out, balancing atmosphere and mood against raw impact in Agusta‘s drums and the slow progression on which it all rests.

In addition to having to hear it, I had to know what it was about “The Odor of Corruption” that particularly stood out to Papadopoulos and made him get in touch in the first place. What is it that the song encapsulates? I asked him for an answer and you can see what he had to say under the player below, on which I’m proud to host the premiere of the song.

Please enjoy it:

Yanni Papadopoulos on “The Odor of Corruption”:

I was poring over some old music files and in a folder labeled “Stinking Liz ideas” and I found this track. The recording is from a rehearsal, done in a basement, with two live mics in the room running into the computer. We do this from time to time just to make sure we don’t forget things. Well, in this case we forgot all about this song. I put my ears to it and started to think, “This is what I’m going for in heavy music.” It’s funny how hard it is to appreciate your own work. Sometimes it will take me years to listen to my own band’s record, and it’s always best when it happens by accident.

I’m calling the song “The Odor of Corruption.” The title comes from a chapter in The Brothers Karamazov in which a young Alyosha anxiously waits to see if the body of his mentor, the good and wise Father Zosima, will rot after his death, or will remain pure and be declared saintly. The body starts to stink, as dead bodies do. Sorry, we are all mortal.

This track reminds me that a mission of Stinking Lizaveta has always been to be as present as possible in our music. I was talking to a fellow musician backstage at a gig recently and said, “I just hope to play reliable versions of our songs tonight.” He responded, “Isn’t that all anyone hopes for?” To which I replied, “Well, sometimes I hope for a little bit of magic too.” I enjoy good musicianship, but rock is about inspiration rather than technical perfection. Our band has found a place where we demand more than just mechanics from each other. It’s not always possible to access that real beyond the material world, but it is paradise when you do open that portal for yourselves and the audience.

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Ealdor Bealu Announce New LP Spirit of the Lonely Places & Fall Tour; Premiere “Smoke Signals”

Posted in audiObelisk, Whathaveyou on June 11th, 2019 by JJ Koczan

ealdor bealu

As was the case with their first outing, 2017’s Dark Water at the Foot of the Mountain (review here), there is a keen awareness of geography in Ealdor Bealu‘s sophomore LP, Spirit of the Lonely Places, as well as a purposefulness in the atmosphere being conveyed. Alluded to in the title, the album basks in that feeling of being humbled by nature, the Boise, Idaho, four-piece seeming to look around them and see giant mountains, giant trees, giant skies and to feel duly small as a result. Spirit of the Lonely Places is comprised of five tracks that vary in mood and in terms of composition but are united in ambience and grim melody — the fruit of multiple songwriters coming together with common intent — and while it may not be a concept record in terms of narrative storytelling, its sense of identity is as strong as it is lonely. Standing alone would seem to suit Ealdor Bealu.

It’s out July 20 as issued on LP by the band to coincide with their hometown release show at Neurolux. Preorders are up through Bandcamp and you can stream the premiere of “Smoke Signals” at the bottom of this post. Make sure you do that. They’ll also be touring the West Coast in September.

Dates and info follow:

ealdor bealu spirit of the lonely places

Ealdor Bealu – Spirit of the Lonely Places

Spirit of the Lonely Places, sophomore full-length album. Saturday, July 20th Worldwide Release.

Recorded/Mixed by Andy A. at THE CHOP SHOP (Boise, ID). Mastered by Brad Boatright at AUDIOSIEGE MASTERING (Portland, OR). Artwork/Design/Layout by Adam Rosenlund (Boise, ID).

Independently Released on 180G Milky Clear Vinyl (limited to 300) and Digital.

Album Release Show @ Neurolux Lounge in Boise, ID on Saturday, July 20th.

Vinyl Pre-Order goes live on Tuesday, June 11th. All pre-orders receive immediate download of Smoke Signals as well as Ealdor Bealu Patch and Stickers. Vinyls will begin shipping out Monday July 22nd.

Tracklisting:
1. Sink like Stone 06:52
2. Firebird 06:38
3. Smoke Signals 07:32
4. Isolation 09:21
5. The Four Horsemen 08:44

Fall West Coast Tour:
9/10 Tues Boise, ID The Olympic Venue
9/12 Thurs Reno, NV Dead Ringer Analog Bar
9/13 Fri Pasadena, CA Old Towne Pub
9/14 Sat San Diego, CA The Tower Bar
9/15 Sun Oceanside, CA TBA
9/16 Mon Fresno, CA TBA
9/17 Tues San Luis Obispo, CA The Pour House
9/18 Wed Santa Cruz, CA The Blue Lagoon
9/19 Thurs Oakland, CA Elbo Room Jack London
9/20 Fri Chico, CA The Maltese Bar
9/21 Sat Sacramento, CA TBA

Ealdor Bealu is:
Carson Russell: Guitars, Vocals
Rylie Collingwood: Bass, Vocals
Travis Abbott: Guitars, Vocals
Craig Hawkins: Drums, Percussion

Ealdor Bealu, “Smoke Signals” track premiere

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Review & Full Album Premiere: Yawning Man, Macedonian Lines

Posted in audiObelisk, Reviews on June 11th, 2019 by JJ Koczan

Yawning Man Macedonian Lines

[Click play above to stream Yawning Man’s Macedonian Lines in full. It’s out June 14 through Heavy Psych Sounds.]

Between 1986 and 2005, Yawning Man released no albums. Between 2016 and 2019, with the advent of Macedonian Lines on Heavy Psych Sounds, they’ve now released three. That debut outing was 2005’s Rock Formations (discussed here), and it helped lead the band toward not just the subsequent Pot Head EP, but also to the 2007 release of their demo tracks,  The Birth of Sol (discussed here), and 2010’s sophomore studio album Nomadic Pursuits (review here), which launched what has unquestionably been the band’s most productive decade to-date. Solidified as the trio of guitarist Gary Arce (also Big Scenic Nowhere, Ten East, Zun, etc.), bassist Mario Lalli (also Fatso JetsonBig Scenic Nowhere, etc.) and drummer Bill Stinson (Chuck Dukowski, etc.), Yawning Man has at last begun to capitalize on the incredible reputation that precedes them as one of the founding architects of Californian desert rock.

For the last several years, they’ve toured in Europe and — more surprisingly — the US, releasing a split with Fatso Jetson in 2013, Historical Graffiti (review here) in 2016 and last year’s The Revolt Against Tired Noises (review here), the latter beginning the alliance with Heavy Psych Sounds, to which Lalli‘s outfit Fatso Jetson are also signed. Arce, whose drifting guitar tone is as much a signature for Yawning Man as any band could have, has always been involved in a number of projects and continues to be, but a successive-year turnaround for Yawning Man full-lengths is simply unprecedented in the band’s 33-year history. Yet Macedonian Lines, with six tracks and an almost humble 31-minute runtime, offers not just a batch of new jams from a trio of nigh-unmatched sonic fluidity — somewhat ironic since, you know, the desert and all — but also a showcase of the potential that’s been in their dynamic all along, waiting, essentially, to be honed by the players involved. Stinson is not an original member, but he plays like one, and Lalli and Arce are, and the chemistry between the three of them, especially as it’s been honed on tour over the last few years, is at a new level in these songs.

And it’s appropriate, then, that the material throughout Macedonian Lines would find its root in live performances, coming together around jams from the last tour. Bookended by its two longest cuts in leadoff “Virtual Funeral” (6:49) and closer “I Make Weird Choices” (7:25), flows like a short live set, the three-piece building momentum as they move through the title-track and into “Melancholy Sadie” — presumably that’s as opposed to “Sexy Sadie” — as well as “Bowie’s Last Breath” and “I’m Not a Real Indian (But I Play One on TV),” all of which check in at under five minutes long. Being born of jams, it speaks to the band’s songwriting process that the finished products would end up on the shorter side, as Yawning Man seem to be moving toward an efficiency of delivery — five of the eight cuts on The Revolt Against Tired Noises were over five minutes — that, somewhat incredibly, doesn’t take away from the laid back spirit of the LP itself.

yawning man heavy psych sounds

Especially with the memorable melody the guitar brings forth on “Virtual Funeral” accompanied by piano and Lalli‘s rumbling bass beneath, as well as Stinson‘s drums tying it all together, Macedonian Lines works quickly to immerse the listener in its atmospheric warmth, easing into “Macedonian Lines” with a speedier, winding guitar line that’s still very much in their wheelhouse before opening up to a broader progression, building and releasing tension in a way that even just a few years ago the band likely wouldn’t have done. It’s a different kind of awareness and engagement with the audience happening on Macedonian Lines, and the feel throughout is very much like a second album — which it is, of their tenure on Heavy Psych Sounds — in terms of how it builds on what The Revolt Against Tired Noises introduced idea-wise about who and what Yawning Man are as a group. Here, they offer gracefully expansive arrangements of guitar, bass and drums, setting their sights on open spaces and conveying not just the soul of the desert or some idea of what they’re expected to be, but of how they’ve grown and are still progressing as players. Matured and maturing still.

“Melancholy Sadie” is anchored by a bassline that lives up to the title, and the weight Lalli adds to “Bowie’s Last Breath” is likewise crucial, as he and Arce set up in a you-go-high-I’ll-go-low attack as regards frequency range with Stinson cutting through the tonal wash with a punctuating snare even as his crash adds to the methodical, patient patterning of the bass and guitar. Stinson is more than timekeeper, but he’s not an overly flashy player, and part of the reason he has come to fit so well in Yawning Man since joining in 2011 is he allows the string section room to breathe. The longer cuts emphasize this more, unsurprisingly, but even the march he brings to “I’m Not a Real Indian (But I Play One on TV)” resounds with purpose and continues the momentum into the serene beginning of “I Make Weird Choices,” a culmination with far-back keyboard flourish — though I’ll allow that could be guitar effects — that echoes the trance-inducing aspects of the opener even as it calls to mind more of a heavy post-rock feel in its quiet-loud tradeoffs, taking what might otherwise be verses and choruses and setting them up not in opposition to each other, but as complementary elements toward the same purpose.

The same essentially applies to the work of Arce and Lalli throughout Macedonian Lines, as they are two players with different mindsets who come together for the common end of defining Yawning Man‘s ultra-influential sound. Macedonian Lines, though ultimately brief, is a triumph of the cohesion between their two strong personalities, and a showcase of what has not only let the band survive their long tenure, but to do so in such a way as to be more vital now than they’ve ever been. I don’t know if Yawning Man will have another album out in 2020, or what their future will bring, but as they ascend to their rightful place in the forefront of desert rock consciousness, their ongoing progression seems bound to inspire yet another generation of players. As a fan, I hope they keep the momentum going.

Yawning Man, “Macedonian Lines” official video

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The Obelisk Show on Gimme Radio Recap: Episode 17

Posted in Radio on June 10th, 2019 by JJ Koczan

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So because I suck at naming themed episodes, this episode of The Obelisk Show on Gimme Radio was ‘Some of the Best of 2019 So Far.’ Yeah, I know, way to commit. Whatever. You get the point. We’re six months deep into the year if you can wrap your head around it, and it’s a good time to check in and see where we’re at.

One thing that stood out to me in making the playlist is that it’s been an exceedingly good half-year for doom. New records from Saint Vitus, Candlemass and Lord Vicar would be enough of their own, then you toss in stuff like Obsidian Sea and Demon Head, among others and it’s kind of incredible. Kings Destroy’s “Dead Before” is high on the list of the best songs I’ve heard this year, so I wanted to include that for sure, and there was room to space out a bit with Mammoth Weed Wizard Bastard and Bees Made Honey in the Vein Tree. I also really dug the Sigils record, and kind of felt like I didn’t write enough about it, so that’s in there too.

The bottom line, of course, is there was more than I could fit in one episode, and there are enough tracks that feel conspicuous in their absence for me to not put together a second episode working on the same theme. So I think I’ll probably do that next time. Can I get away with playing The Claypool Lennon Delirium on Gimme Radio? I don’t know, but it might be fun to try.

Here’s the full playlist:

The Obelisk Show – 06.07.19

Uffe Lorenzen Angakkoq Triprapport 0:04:08
Kings Destroy Dead Before Fantasma Nera 0:04:25
Green Lung May Queen Woodland Rites 0:06:41
BREAK
Spidergawd All and Everything Spidergawd V 0:06:12
Mammoth Weed Wizard Bastard Katyusha Yn Ol I Annwn 0:13:23
Bees Made Honey in the Vein Tree Grandmother Grandmother 0:10:58
Sigils Samhain You Built the Altar, You Lit the Leaves 0:09:39
Thunderbird Divine Bummer Bridge Magnasonic 0:05:34
BREAK
Candlemass Under the Ocean The Door to Doom 0:06:15
Saint Vitus 12 Years in the Tomb Saint Vitus 0:05:23
Demon Head Strange Eggs Hellfire Ocean Void 0:07:01
Obsidian Sea A Shore Without a Sea Strangers 0:08:49
Lord Vicar Levitation The Black Powder 0:04:57
BREAK
Lo-Pan A Thousand Miles Subtle 0:04:06
Valley of the Sun Dim Vision Old Gods 0:03:55
Yatra Snakes in the Temple Death Ritual 0:06:41

The Obelisk Show on Gimme Radio airs every other Friday at 1PM Eastern, with replays every Sunday at 7PM Eastern. Next show is June 21. Thanks for listening if you do.

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Review & Full Album Premiere: Eternal Black, Slow Burn Suicide

Posted in audiObelisk, Reviews on June 7th, 2019 by JJ Koczan

eternal black slow burn suicide

[Click play above to stream Slow Burn Suicide by Eternal Black in its entirety. Album is out June 13.]

At least as regards rock and roll, the sound of New York City has always been one fueled by grit and concrete. From the speed-pop of the Ramones to the bruiser noise of Unsane, New York has always been at its best when it manifests the intensity of its surroundings in an almost unconscious fashion, and that would seem to be precisely what’s happening with Eternal Black‘s second full-length, Slow Burn Suicide. Because for sure while the trio, in following their 2017 debut, Bleed the Days (review here), speak directly to NYC-based influences like early Type O Negative, River Runs Red-era Life of Agony, Cro-Mags — right about when RoadRacer became Roadrunner — bringing that aggression and heft of presence into the context of the traditional doom of their first record, they do so in a manner that sounds overarchingly natural. It’s clear they were consciously pushing themselves as songwriters — the returning lineup is guitarist/vocalist Ken Wohlrob, bassist Hal Miller, and drummer Joe Wood — and in so doing, they’ve entered into conversation with influences beyond the standard fare for doom.

Across nine tracks bookended by the into “All These Things Destroy You…” and the outro “All These Things (Slight Return),” Eternal Black cast the identity for themselves that the debut and 2015 self-titled EP (review here), returning to record at Suburban Elvis Studios with Joe Kelly and Kol Marshall at the helm for a tonally consistent work that’s nonetheless a marked step forward from where they were two years ago. On tracks like the post-intro opener “Lost in the Fade” and the rolling “The Ghost,” they tap into this omnidirectional aggression, and even as “Sum of All Your Fears” hits into a chorus ripe for comparison to Deliverance-style C.O.C. — especially followed by the solo as it is — the band maintain their downtrodden atmosphere instrumentally and lyrically, taking what they want from the past and making it their own.

This is pretty much the ideal in all cases, but it especially suits Eternal Black to step into the role of representing trad doom from New York, where the style has never had the same foothold it’s enjoyed for decades a few hours south in Maryland. But from the moody, atmospheric notes and strums that launch the brief “All These Things Destroy You…” onward into the tom hits that build tension at the start of “Lost in the Fade” with feedback roiling behind, Eternal Black is both things: New York and doom. The gang-style shouts in the chorus of “Lost in the Fade” only further demonstrate the point, and the band retain a sense of impact to go along with the thickness in Wohlrob and Miller‘s tones, the hook coming around after a brash verse that keeps a raw feeling despite being produced for clarity.

eternal black

“Lost in the Fade” is the longest song on Slow Burn Suicide, and a highlight, but it doesn’t feel artificially extended or any longer than it needs to be to make its point, and “Below,” which follows, reinforces the core approach of the album, with Wohlrob‘s vocals offering a guttural, low-register melody and riding a groove that, had it been on the first record, I’d probably liken to The Obsessed, while keeping a more understated chorus en route to a sharp finish. This in turn brings “The Ghost,” with smooth hi-hat work from Wood in the nodding verses and more angular turns in the bridge, eventually leveling out to a longer instrumental section ahead of the solo and closing verse riffery, which is as fitting a march as one might make to “Sum of All Fears,” which is the centerpiece and a straightforward showcase of what Eternal Black are bringing to their second LP in terms of atmosphere, lyrical depth, largesse of groove and tone, and the focus on mood throughout. Four years on from their inception, they’ve succeeded in manifesting their sound from the roots of their inspiration, and “Sum of All Fears” might be the point on Slow Burn Suicide where that’s most palpable.

Though of course there’s plenty of competition in that regard, and as “A Desert of No Name” takes hold, it does so by renewing the rhythmic bounce early and moving in its middle third to a percussion-led instrumental break — not quite a jam, but not far off — as Wohlrob pulls a quick solo overtop. They move into a speedier section to finish as one last verse sneaks in at the end, and “Three Fates” provides an interplay of acoustic and electric guitar for an interlude leading to “Saints, Sinners and Madmen.” That track is also the last before the outro “All These Things (Slight Return),” which means essentially it’s surrounded on all sides. Think it’s meant to be a standout? The purposefulness of its positioning is met by its slow-crawling lurch — as with any doom worthy of the name, the bass is the secret weapon, and Miller locks in on “Sinners, Saints and Madmen” in an effective reminder of that — and Wohlrob tosses out the album’s title line amid further grim plodding.

The song is only four and a half minutes long, which is kind of surprising given the ceremony leading into and out of it, but it picks up its pace somewhat to give a fair-enough end, though the outro’s arrival — worth noting the “Slight Return,” at 2:22, is a minute longer than the intro — does much to underscore the true message of Slow Burn Suicide in terms of the consciousness and forward-moving will of Eternal Black‘s work. That can be heard in their songwriting here all the more with the consistency in terms of production, and what while what they do remains thoroughly doomed, it’s their doom. Listening to “All These Things (Slight Return)” as it dissembles at the finish, one does not at all get the sense that Eternal Black have finished exploring the parameters of what “their doom” is, but they take important steps here and find themselves exploring new ground even as they plunge deeper into the foundations of their approach.

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Wykan Premiere Brigid: of the Night EP in Full

Posted in audiObelisk on June 6th, 2019 by JJ Koczan

wykan-band-photo-credit-jeremy-perkins

With a beginning of mellow guitar, Montreal blackened psych-sludge — and if such a thing was going to come from anywhere, it would come from a city with such a history of genre-meld — four-piece Wykan set the atmosphere for the centerpiece of their new EP, Brigid: of the Night. Issued by the band tomorrow with cover art from none other than David Paul Seymour, the release comprises three tracks and stands out for the short-album concept centered around the Celtic goddess named in its title. “Breo-Saighead (Triple Goddess)” is the second of the three slices, with “Imbolc (The Cleansing)” before and “Reul-Iuil Bride (Star of Brigid)” serving as the finale after, and its push into doom and black metal is underscored by a heft of tone and groove that makes the post-midpoint slowdown at about 4:30 into the total 7:31 a turn consistent with what’s come before.

That is, by that point, Wykan — vocalist Barrie Butler, guitarist Jeremy Perkins, bassist Corey Thomas and drummer Dug Kawliss — haveWYKAN BRIGID OF THE NIGHT set a pretty broad range for themselves through the opener and into the centerpiece and are as much focused on dwelling without as within the bounds of genre. Butler‘s vocals unquestionably provide a charred spin to the proceedings, but they’re by far the only forward element at play, as Perkins‘ guitar leading from one part to another in classic riff-based fashion. The band made their debut in 2018 with the Solace EP (review here), but what Brigid: of the Night and the conceptual frame in which it arrives signal is clear growth in just a year’s time and the desire to use aesthetic to tell a story as well as to be blisteringly heavy in terms of sonics. Not every band gets there at all — or wants to, I suppose — but even the ambition lends a progressive edge to Brigid: of the Night, and like the first three-tracker before it, gives Wykan another foundation to build from as they go forward toward, you know, the next one.

Perhaps clearest of all is the signal this offering sends that they will indeed go forward, and that they’re only becoming a more complex outfit as they do so.

Enjoy the full EP stream below, followed by comment from the band:

Wykan, “Breo-Saighead (Triple Goddess)” official track premiere

Jeremy Perkins on Brigid: of the Night:

To add a little bit more detail about the inspiration for this album; it’s based on the thematic for Wykan originally – a ceremonial get together – keeping in mind and heart, an atmospheric take on those three major genres I write with. Being Doom, Blackened whatever you wanna call it death or doom and Rock. This album has a deep representation in regards to my roots personally and musically touches various genres which are my inspirations. Being older Sabbath, Floyd, Hendrix, and bands like Immortal and Mayhem.

To expand on my writing for this album I used an older Ovation acoustic for the intro, a 1992 Fender Stratocaster Ultra I’ve had for 23 yrs for the intro for Song 2 and all solos and a 2018 Ibanez Prestige with high-end Dimarzio pickups for all the rest, cranked through my 15 pedals-pedalboard into a newer 5150’s head.

The transitions from the darker heavier blackened doom into soft rock and vice versa were done smoothly. I wrote most on acoustic beforehand and build. The progressiveness of Wykan continuously evolves and it feels together, feels even though you’re going from like some really soft atmospheric 70s rock beginning with an acoustic then transitioning to the black and death metalesque parts came out amazing to me on this EP and edible for the soul.

Anyone will notice, especially those reviewing this album, that its kind of a trip in itself which is what I want to do with Wykan and which is the idea a story an atmosphere a soundscape for a ceremony, in this case summoning Brigíd.

I was pleased with the overall outcome and look forward to another EP this fall.

“Brigid: Of The Night” EP is slated for release on June 7, 2019, and will be available on Bandcamp as a $1 EP or more Pay-What-You-Want download.

1. Imbolc ( The cleansing )
2. Breo-Saighead ( Triple Goddess )
3. Reul-Iuil Bride ( Star of Brigid )

Wykan is:
Guitars : Jeremy Perkins
Vocals : Barrie Butler
Drums : Dug Kawliss
Bass : Corey Thomas

Featuring guest drummer :
Simon McKay ( The Agonist ) Track 3

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