Nebula and Black Rainbows Announce In Search of the Cosmic Tale: Crossing the Galactic Portal Split LP Out June 28; Premiere Nebula’s “Acid Drop”

Posted in audiObelisk, Whathaveyou on April 10th, 2024 by JJ Koczan

nebula black rainbows In Search of the Cosmic Tale Crossing the Galactic Portal

Not that you need one in the first place, but if you would look for an excuse as to what might bring SoCal heavy psychedelic rock forebears Nebula and Italian cosmosblasters Black Rainbows together, both will be on tour in Europe in the coming months, Nebula are well documented heroes of founding Black Rainbows guitarist/vocalist Gabriele Fiori, and the split is listed as #300 in the catalog of Fiori‘s label, Heavy Psych Sounds, which has also stood behind Nebula‘s two post-resurgence LPs, 2022’s Transmission From Mothership Earth (review here) and 2019’s Holy Shit (review here).

Each act contributes three songs for a short but full-length-enough runtime of 32 minutes. Black Rainbows‘ tracks, as noted below, come from the sessions for their latest album, 2023’s Superskull (review here), while Nebula‘s side is newly recorded. Led off by Nebula‘s “Acid Drop” as the first single — it premieres below — the outing has been given the cumbersome title In Search of the Cosmic Tale: Crossing the Galactic Portal, which I have no doubt it has absolutely earned.

And if you’ve already stopped reading at the mention of the premiere below, or you skipped outright to the player, you won’t hear me argue. It’s a pretty straightforward proposition to bring these two together, however winding and/or spaced the course of the actual music may turn out to be, and something of a no-brainer to keep on your radar as summer starts to heat up. Nebula were in Europe last Fall as well, so I don’t know whether they’ll make the return trip to meet up with Black Rainbows at the Heavy Psych Sounds Fests in Germany, but it’s a universe of infinite possibility.

The raw crunch-punk fuckery of “Acid Drop,” with its blown-out vocals and swirling jam into the fade, follows on the player below. Beyond that, the PR wire takes over.

Dig if you dig:

Nebula, “Acid Drop” track premiere

HPS300 – NEBULA / BLACK RAINBOWS – In Search Of The Cosmic Tale: Crossing The Galactic Portal

There’s not much to add, two of the greatest Heavy Psych bands of the scene join the forces to give birth to an incredible Split Album.

Packed with 32 minutes of the highest quality heavy rock you can find out there; a joint venture which can happen only once every 100 years!!

Heavy Psych king-pioneers Nebula bring to life three brand new songs, recorded expressly for this incredible project. Three new gems which follow their latest “Holy Shit” and “Transmission….”

Black Rainbows add in three songs of their own, handpicked from the recording session of their latest success “Superskull”, released back in 2023. Delivering two Stoner in-your-face Heavy Fuzz pieces and one Heavy Space tune to celebrate this awesome collaboration!!

The cover art pairs perfectly with the vision and vibe of the album and is credited to the mighty Simon Berndt.

NEBULA
1. Acid Drop
2. Eye of the Storm
3. Ceasar XXXIV

Recorded at “High Desert Sound Studios “ Spring Equinox 2024.
Produced and Mixed by Nebula
Mastered by Claudio Pisi Gruer at Pisi Studio 

Eddie Glass : Guitars, Vocals, Drums
Ranch Sironi : Bass, Vocals, Mix Down
Warzone Speedwolf : Drums 

BLACK RAINBOWS
1. The Secret
2. Thunder Lights on the Greatest Sky
3. Dogs of War

Recorded 11-12-13 May 2022 at Forward Studio, Rome, Italy by Fabio Sforza and Andrea Secchi
Vocals, Synths, Overdubs Recorded in November and December 2022
At Forward Studios and Channel 5 Studio by Andrea Secchi and Gabriele Fiori
Mixed and Engineered by Fabio Sforza
Mastered by Claudio Pisi Gruer at Pisi Studio
All Songs, Music and Lyrics written by Gabriele Fiori

BLACK RAINBOWS are
Gabriele Fiori — Guitars & Vocals
Edoardo “Mancio” Mancini — Bass
Filippo Ragazzoni — Drums

BLACK RAINBOWS European shows 2024
03.05 – Barcelona (SP) 62 Club
04.05 – Vidiago (SP) Vidiago Rock Fest
07.06 – Winterthur (CH) Gaswerk – Heavy Psych Sounds Fest
14.06 – Genova (ITA) TBA
28.06 – Clisson (FR) Hellfest
29.06 Passau (DE) Blackdoor Fest
13.07 – Trieste (IT) TBA
10.08 – Bagnes (CH) Palp Fest
12/13.10 – Berlin (DE) Heavy Psych Sounds Fest
27/28.10 – Dresden (DE) Heavy Psych Sounds Fest

NEBULA European Tour 2024
TH. 06.06.24 IT PRATO – OFF TUNE FESTIVAL
FR. 07.06.24 IT BERGAMO – ROCK IN RIOT
SA. 08.06.24 CH MARTIGNY – HPS FEST CH
SU. 09.06.24 IT ***OPEN SLOT***
MO. 10.06.24 IT ZERO BRANCO – ALTROQUANDO
TU. 11.06.24 SL LJUBLJANA – GALA HALA
WE. 12.06.24 HR ZAGREB – THE VINTAGE INDUSTRIAL
TH. 13.06.24 DE RAVENSBURG – IRISH PUB SLAINTE
FR. 14.06.24 DE ***OPEN SLOT***
SA. 15.06.24 DE MUNSTER – RARE GUITAR
MO. 17.06.24 FR SEIGNOSSE – THE BLACK FLAG
TU. 18.06.24 ES SAN SEBASTIAN – DABADABA
WE. 19.06.24 ES MADRID – WURLIZER
TH. 20.06.24 ES BARCELONA – SALA UPLOAD
FR. 21.06.24 FR BORDEAUX – LA FETE DE LA MUSIQUE
SA. 22.06.24 FR ***OPEN SLOT***
SU. 23.06.24 FR BOURLON – ROCK IN BOURLON
FR. 28.06.24 FR CLISSON – HELLFEST
SA. 29.06.24 FR MANIGOD – NAMASS PAMOUSS FESTIVAL
SU. 30.06.24 FR CHAMBERY – BRIN DE ZINC
MO. 01.07.24 FR PARIS – SUPERSONIC
WE. 03.07.24 UK ***OPEN SLOT***
TH. 04.07.24 UK SHEFFIELD – YELLOW ARCH STUDIO
FR. 05.07.24 UK LONDON – STOOMFEST
SA. 06.07.24 UK NOTTINGHAM – ROUGH TRADE

https://www.facebook.com/NebulaBand/
https://www.instagram.com/the_official_nebula/
https://atomicritual.com/

http://www.theblackrainbows.com/
https://www.facebook.com/BLACKRAINBOWSROCK/
http://blackrainbows.bandcamp.com/

heavypsychsoundsrecords.bandcamp.com
www.heavypsychsounds.com
https://www.facebook.com/HEAVYPSYCHSOUNDS/
https://www.instagram.com/heavypsychsounds_records/

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Review & Full Album Premiere: Bottenhavet, Ljud i Tysta Rum

Posted in audiObelisk, Reviews on April 10th, 2024 by JJ Koczan

Bottenhavet Ljud i tysta rum

Stockholm’s Bottenhavet make their full-length debut this week with Ljud i Tysta Rum on Fuzzorama Records. And yes, it’s in Swedish; titles and lyrics. I’ll spare you Anglicizing the songs or words — part out of respect to what feels like an aesthetic choice on the part of the four-piece, part just because there’s only so much room to go around and I’d rather talk about the music — and the truth of the matter is that while I don’t doubt the band have something to say, there’s plenty that gets posted around here in English that’s even less decipherable. If you find yourself wanting to sing along, swept up perhaps by opening cut “Våg” as it moves into its soaring chorus driven by a duly-fuzzed surge from Andreas Bohman‘s guitar, David Lecander‘s bass and Marcus Wigren‘s drums with the vocals of Kim Minkkinen, especially to my fellow Americans reading this sentence, I’ll just remind you that nobody’s gonna yell at you if you get the accent wrong in following the melody. We’re all friends here.

Its eight songs split in half such that the cyclical hum of interlude “Frågor Utan Svar” feeds into the start of “Jord” on side B — obviously in CD/DL, that’s a direct shift — Ljud i Tysta Rum (‘sound in quiet rooms’) plays out its 36 minutes with hook-minded accessibility, hitting hard at the outset with the aforementioned “Våg” to make sure all who are getting on board have good reason, before letting a more spacious verse hint at some of the progressive aspects that underscore “Bränn Broar” or the piano-inclusive “I Skuggan” in the shimmering, patient solo that matches the soulful vocal atop its post-Soundgarden nodding fluidity, and the twisting stylizations of guitar leading through vibrant closer “Hennes Liv.” To complement this emergent nuance, the big-riff ideology of “Talar Miljon,” the space cast in “Motorväg” to follow that of “Våg,” and even the drop to strum and vocals at the culmination of “Jord” — just talking about the last 20 seconds of the song, never mind what’s before that — offer character and craft alike, resulting in anBottenhavet across-album flow that is neither hurried nor content to dwell in one place in terms of sound.

These elements seem to have been there at the band’s beginnings in 2021’s Ett Hav av Tå​rar EP, which was answered over the next year by a trio of standalone singles, but Ljud i Tysta Rum is clear in its intention to continue to move forward along its varied course. What draws the individual pieces that comprise the record together are the tones, the vocals and the commitment to traditional heavy rock verse/chorus structures — “Frågor Utan Svar” notwithstanding — that make “Våg,” “Talar Miljon” and “Bränn Broar” with its furiously-drummed intro such an effective opening salvo. And while the dynamic at root in Bottenhavet‘s sound lets them explore the reaches and breadth in the payoff of the latter there before side A ends with its guitar almost solely focused on atmosphere is surely bolstered through the production of Robert Pehrsson, the immediacy of those initial moments never dissipates, even as the melancholic blues of “I Skugget” set out on their linear building course soon followed by . That is to say, in the foundations of the songs, Bottenhavet capture and maintain a live energy and momentum front-to-back, and the audience’s listening experience feels like a consideration in that balance.

And balance is a big part of by Ljud i Tysta Rum works so well and holds such promise. Regardless of the language barrier, it is thoroughly Swedish in style, and whether it’s a flash of Skraeckoedlan‘s melodiousness or Truckfighters‘ shove, Graveyard‘s soul or a Dozerian charge — and don’t make me namedrop November for classic prog; I’m just crazy enough to do it — a rich history and tapestry of Bottenhavet‘s native underground influences can be felt throughout, even as the band begin to distill them into the persona that they will hopefully carry ahead on subsequent offerings. To present thrills and optimistic futures, then. Skål.

Ljud i Tysta Rum streams in its entirety below. Bottenhavet have dates coming up in Sweden, Poland and Finland, and you’ll find those along with more PR wire background and the video for “Våg” after the YouTube embed.

Happy trails:

Bottenhavet, Ljud i Tysta Rum album premiere

Preorder link: https://www.fuzzoramastore.com/

Bottenhavet (translates to ’The Bothnian Sea’) was originally formed in 2020 by Marcus Wigren, Kim Minkkinen and Charlie Karlsson (2020-2023), and later joined by Andreas Bohman (2021). All being musicians with various musical backgrounds adding their skills and preferences to the mix that together creates the ”Bothnian sound”. To add another layer of uniqueness to the music, the songs are sung in their native language, Swedish. After gaining a steadily increasing following with their initial four track EP release “Ett hav av tårar” (released March 19th 2021) as well as follow up singles “När tiden dör”, “Faller” (released summer and autumn of 2021) and “Allt på svart” (released spring of 2022), the band knew it was about time to start working on their debut album.

The writing process started late 2022. And in mid April 2023 Bottenhavet entered Studio Humbucker, owned and run by the legendary Robert Pehrsson (known from Robert Pehrsson Humbucker, Death breath, Dundertåget, Imperial state electric etc), to record drums. Vocals and guitars were recorded by the band themselves before Pehrsson later mixed and mastered the album. In the summer of 2023 Bottenhavet signed a record deal with Fuzzorama Records, run by none less than the masterminds behind fuzz rock giants Truckfighters, Oskar Cedermalm and Niklas Källgren. The album ‘Ljud i tysta rum’ is to be released on Fuzzorama Records in early 2024.

In 2023 the band played the 4th edition of Fuzz Festival in Stockholm and David Lecander joined the band.

‘Ljud i tysta rum’ album tracklisting:
1. Våg
2. Talar miljon
3. Bränn Broar
4. Frågor Utan Svar
5. Jord
6. Motorväg
7. I Skuggan
8. Hennes Liv

Touring coming up as well, don’t miss out:

APR 13 – LATITUDE 59 – Uppsala, SWE
APR 18 – UTOPIA – Turku, FIN
APR 19 – TULLIKAMARI KLUBI – Tampere, FIN
MAY 4 – TBA – Stockholm, SWE
MAY 16 – 2PROGI – Poznan, PL
MAY 17 – PROXIMA – Warzawa, PL
MAY 24 – DIRTY DEEDS ROCK CLUB – Göteborg, SWE

Get tickets HERE: https://www.bottenhavet.se/gigs

Bottenhavet:
Kim Minkkinen – Vocals
Marcus Wigren – Drums
Andreas Bohman – Guitar
David Lecander – Bass

Bottenhavet, “Våg” official video

Bottenhavet on Facebook

Bottenhavet on Instagram

Bottenhavet on YouTube

Bottenhavet on Bandcamp

Bottenhavet website

Fuzzorama Records website

Fuzzorama Records on Facebook

Fuzzorama Records on Instagram

Fuzzorama Records on Bandcamp

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Northern Heretic Premiere New Single “Angrboda”

Posted in audiObelisk on April 9th, 2024 by JJ Koczan

northern heretic angrboda

This Friday marks the release of Northern Heretic‘s new single, “Angrboda.” It is the second offering from the New York three-piece of guitarist/vocalist Ken Wohlrob, bassist Davis Schlachter and drummer Rob Sefcik — whose collective NY-doom-tinged pedigree as you can see below includes Eternal Black, Reign of Zaius, Kings Destroy, Begotten, End of Hope, and so on — and like the preceding “Killing Floor” (premiered here), it offers a low-slung swing and moody vibe as part of what will be a series of four individually-issued tracks that one assumes will be compiled at some point onto an LP or CD or I don’t know just tape ’em off the computer speakers or something. Whatever, man. Format wars are over; no gods no masters no pressing plants no distro. DIY and die. The future’s already terrible. What’s more plastic?

Anyhow.

Something about the way “Angrboda” crashes in, lays out its groove and saunters into its verse reminds me of Soundgarden, but the abiding message in “Angrboda” is that Northern Heretic know who they are and what they’re about musically. The shift from verse to chorus isn’t overblown, northern hereticand in the steady flow from one to the other and back, there’s a flourish either of keys or another layer of guitar — maybe even acoustic? — that adds to the tension building up to the solo, which finds Wohlrob underscoring pulled notes with shred in the classic Iommic dance. The title “Angrboda” comes from Norse mythology — she’s Loki’s special lady, a giantess, and a mother of monsters, reportedly; thanks, internet — and that the song’s six minutes pass with such fluidity is testament to the even-keeled production and the sense of their digging into a structure born out of a riff-following jam. Not to spoil it, but what happens is doom.

I consider the hypnosis cast in “Angrboda” a strength on the part of the band, and with two songs out, I’m curious what the corresponding next pair of singles will bring when they arrive. No clue when that is beyond ‘this year,’ but fair enough. If they follow a similar course of low-key swagger and unpretentious, take-it-for-a-walk vibes, you won’t hear me complain about it. I like these guys and I like their band. Could hardly be more straightforward than that.

Comment from Northern Heretic and more PR wire info follows “Angrboda” on the player below.

Please enjoy:

Northern Heretic on “Angrboda”:

“Angrboda” predates Northern Heretic. Ken originally wrote this song during the pandemic while working on songs for what was supposed to be the third Eternal Black album. The song always had something different about it. It never quite felt like an Eternal Black song. It was going in a different direction than EB’s grittier doom. Once rehearsals began for Northern Heretic, “Angrboda” found a home. It was the first song that we all locked in on and in many ways it became ground zero for where the band wanted to go.

The track was recorded at Suburban Elvis Studios in New York State, the same studio where the Eternal Black and End of Hope albums were recorded, as well as the last Begotten album. Once again, we worked with Joe Kelly, who produced all of those albums and helped us to achieve the big sonic boom we wanted for this new project. The cover art for “Angrboda” is by New York artist Melissa Pracht, who also painted the cover for the “Killing Floor.” She will be creating art for all four NORTHERN HERETIC singles released in 2024. Each cover will be unique, but there will be a shared thematic feel to them.

NORTHERN HERETIC – a new heavy rock trio made up of members from Kings Destroy, Eternal Black, End of Hope, Clothesline, and Begotten – are releasing their second single “Angrboda” on Friday, April 12, 2024 via all streaming platforms and their Bandcamp page (northernheretic.bandcamp.com).

Formed in April 2022, NORTHERN HERETIC consists of Rob Sefcik (Kings Destroy, Begotten) on drums, Davis Schlachter (Reign of Zaius, Clothesline, End of Hope) on bass, and Ken Wohlrob (Eternal Black, End of Hope) on guitar and vocals. “Angrboda” follows the band’s first single, “Killing Floor, ” which was released on November 10th, 2023.

Northern Heretic is:
Davis Schlachter (Reign of Zaius, Clothesline, End of Hope): bass, keyboards, backup vocals
Rob Sefcik (Kings Destroy, Begotten, Thinning the Herd): drums
Ken Wohlrob (Eternal Black, End of Hope): guitars, vocals, keyboards

Northern Heretic on Facebook

Northern Heretic on Instagram

Northern Heretic on Soundcloud

Northern Heretic on Bandcamp

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Zolfo Premiere “Apoptosis”; Descending Into Inexorable Absence Coming Soon

Posted in audiObelisk, Reviews on April 8th, 2024 by JJ Koczan

zolfo

Italian lurch-conjurers Zolfo return with their second album, Descending Into Inexorable Absence, on Zann’s RecordsViolence in the Veins and Riff Merchant Records. Comprised of six tracks running 58 doom-resounding minutes, it is the light-consuming follow-up to their 2020 debut, Delusion of Negation (review here), which set them forth on the course of malevolent extremity that the new album continues. The initially subdued take on post-“Black Sabbath” nod with the sax-laced intro “Last Layers” that provides entry into the dark, scream-topped churn that is foundational to the titular descent — and the sax gets a little jazz-active, but otherwise, the movement down is already grueling — and “Lament of the Light” seems to raise the level of impact as each of its crashes and thuds slams down, a correspondingly huge death growl providing decisively inhuman presence.

In the midsection of “Lament of the Light,” the five-piece — first names only: Dave on vocals, Fabrizio (also sax) and Nicolò on guitar, Saverio on bass and Piero on drums — preface some of the speed they’ll inject periodically throughout, whether it’s the early rush of “Apoptosis” (premiering below), the title of which references a withering and death of a body’s cells, or the wall o’ punishment that the subsequent 18-minute closer “Silence of the Absolute Absence” becomes around 10 minutes in. You know, before the guitar hints at psych and drops out to leave the listener momentarily to their fate with bass and drums before shifting into a more post-metallic procession. Extremity is the thread that draws Descending Into Inexorable Absence together, though, and that resonates even in the spaces of “No Home for an Eternal Wayfarer” purposefully left open early on in the style of Bell Witch, an engrossing melancholy pushing toward caustic with the screams overlaid on its about-to-explode dirge. There is a beat’s pause right about at 7:35 into “No Home for an Eternal Wayfarer,” barely there, but there, and the build that ensues thereafter pushes into an absolute overwhelm of harsh, densely-toned chaos, wielded with a controlled hand but pointedly vicious. Have you ever been shoved off a cliff into a pit of metal spikes? Me neither, but if I was, I have to think the silence to which that track cuts at its end is how it would feel to be thusly impaled.

Active in its drums at the start, “Admire the Mire” almost teases respite in context. At Zolfo Descending into Inexorable Absencenine minutes long, its tempo finds a mid-paced groove in which to dwell, but even here the gnashing harshness of the vocals and the punishing brutality led by the guitars preside, and as it gets faster, it gets noisier, and the outright will to crush persists, certainly no less so with the big-doom slowdown around seven minutes in. Later in the reaches of “Silence of the Absolute Absence,” Dave‘s voice doesn’t so much give out, but echoes with the kind of high-register shout that results when your throat is done tearing itself apart for the next however long, and I don’t know over how long a period Descending Into Inexorable Absence was tracked, but I remember recording screaming takes, and if “Admire the Mire” and that finale were done the same day, or even just the latter piece on its own, I’d have no trouble believing genuine physical recovery was required afterward. That they chose to preserve that moment rather than dub it over is admirably organic, and gives “Silence of the Absolute Absence” a suitably desperate crescendo to its initial voidward cries and fuller death-doom plod.

Before they get there, “Apoptosis” bursts forth from the faded feedback of “Admire the Mire,” a count-in of one before the onslaught begins. While still nowhere near accessible in terms of broader stylistic geography, the effects-topped shouts that cut through in the first half are as close as Zolfo come to ‘clean’ vocals, but the screams and growls resume amid a pummel that tips the balance toward more death than doom, holding to the monolithic presence and tonality of its surroundings as its pushes itself down your throat, no doubt with some kind of cellular decay in mind. If by the time “Silence of the Absolute Absence” kicks in — and the only question is if it’s your life or all life that’s gone; could go either way — you don’t feel as though the chasm into which you’ve plunged was inside you all along, chances are you’ve already stopped listening and gone about your day as a probably-well-adjusted human being. Depressive aural misanthropy has never been for everyone, and Descending Into Inexorable Absence could hardly be called shy in its motives.

Nonetheless, if you’re up for it, “Apoptosis” premieres in the embed below, courtesy of the band. Some other preliminaries follow — recording credits, tracklisting, lineup; the necessities — and the music is the rest of what you need to know at this point, apart perhaps from an exact release date, which is to-be-announced. Don’t worry though, you’ll hear it coming in the distance when it’s time.

With best wishes:

Zolfo, “Apoptosis” track premiere

This spring we are going to release our new full-length album “Descending into Inexorable Absence”.

A polyphasic compound of 58 minutes, divided into a massive blend of doom/sludge intensity and layers of blackened and post-metal contamination, recorded at MOLOTOV recording by Andrea Lenoci, mixed and mastered at Skyhammer Studio by Chris Fielding and framed by Khaos Diktator Design.

The second chapter of our discography, will be released on double gatefold coloured vinyl by Zann’s Records and Violence In The Veins, and on a limited edition tape by Riff Merchant Records.

TRACKLIST:
1. Last Layers (2:55)
2. Lament of the Light (9:25)
3. No Home for an Eternal Wayfarer (11:19)
4. Admire the Mire (9:43)
5. Apoptosis (6:14)
6. Silence of the Absolute Absence (18:04)

Zolfo:
Dave – Vocals and Lyrics
Fabrizio – Guitars and Sax
Nicolò – Guitars
Saverio – Bass
Piero – Drums

Zolfo on Facebook

Zolfo on Instagram

Zolfo on Bandcamp

Zolfo linktr.ee

Zann’s Records linktr.ee

Violence in the Veins linktr.ee

Riff Merchant Records linktr.ee

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Full Album Stream & Track-by-Track: Esben Willems, Glowing Darkness

Posted in audiObelisk, Features on March 28th, 2024 by JJ Koczan

esben willems glowing darkness

This Friday, Esben Willems will make his solo debut with the full-length Glowing Darkness on Majestic Mountain Records, and I won’t mince words in telling you that for some of the built-in audience who know him only from his output as the drummer of Swedish riff magnates Monolord, it’s going to seem like a pretty stark departure. The path of influence that’s brought Willems to this nine-song, 33-minute long-player is more complex than a simple ‘band wasn’t on tour so I made a record by myself’ narrative one might try to impose on it, and from the insistent weirdo-pop urgency of “Cabaret Street” — as if to jolt one awake at the outset — through the guitar-led bounce of the title-track and the finale “Across the Everything,” which presents a sound that is full and atmospheric while still not tying itself to this or that microgenre, the personality of the procession becomes like a series of experiments brought to fruition in order to actively work against the generic in and around heavy music.

Recording himself on all instruments at Studio Berserk in Gothenburg, where there’s at least a 30 percent chance he also mastered your album, Willems runs through a succession of cuts that seems to owe its core ethic of creative freedom to Talking Heads no less than Masters of Reality, with “Dear Demon” and “Carte Blanche” building on the catchy structure of “Cabaret Street” in a way that allows Glowing Darkness to remain cohesive as it chasing down different ideas. Would it be a shock if I told you it’s well produced?

Those who’ve perhaps followed Willems through his various collaborations in recent years — lest we forget the “here’s some beats have fun” drum patterns he posted during the covid pandemic that led to his ‘guesting’ on releases from all over the world — or who even took on the earlier-this-year self-titled debut from doom-does-Slayer covers project Slower (review here), might be better set up to follow where Glowing Darkness is headed, but one way or the other, the reward is there for the open-minded, and the palpable defiance of expectation brims with purpose. As the standalone layered vocals and last guitar noodle of “Carte Blanche” give over to the more sauntering groove of “Embrace the Fall,” daring a bit of funk in the nuanced pattern of the verse before opening to the rolling chorus, Willems feels strikingly clearheaded in his arrangements and the balance of the mix.

And while mostly traditionalist in verse/chorus structures, the material is all the more able to explore and expand stylistically for that sure footing, but it’s also concise enough that only “Cabaret Street” and “Across the Everything” push beyond a four-minute runtime, the latter serving as the longest inclusion at 5:01. It may be that Willems sat down and plotted out measure by measure, layer by layer, waveform by waveform, the various reaches into which Glowing Darkness delves — I honestly don’t know and I don’t have the track-by-track yet, so maybe we’ll find out together — but whatever the initial spark might have been for the minimalist-Nirvana-meets-cavernous-nod centerpiece “Slow Rain,” the feeling of spontaneity, and of a creative chase, of an artist figuring out in real-time who they are and how they want to bring the songs in their head to life, remains amid the tight and Esben Willemshammered-out spirit of the finished LP.

Tucked away cozily in the procession of side B, “Space Bob” leans percussive intricacy on a fuzzy riff that’s simpler but sturdy enough to support all the activity and finds Willems repeating the lines, “I had to save myself/This head/Caught fire,” as the guitar grows more fervent before receding. It’s three minutes long and doesn’t come anywhere near summarizing Glowing Darkness as a whole — it’s not trying to — but it does capture a specific portrait of creative urgency. Have you ever felt like your head’s on fire? Like there’s something you need to get out, to express, to say or do or share and you’re consumed by that thing until you actually make it happen? I do, often. In that way, “Space Bob” feels like it’s about its own making, the way it’s built up to what Willems wanted it to be or until he was satisfied enough with what it became to say it’s done. Isn’t that what being an artist is like? Your head’s just on fire all the time? Maybe Willems intended the metaphor and maybe not, but the notion of artistic expression being what ‘saves’ you from the fire resonates. Sometimes it’s like that.

What Willems in the track-by-track/interview that follows refers to as “limitations” become quirks in craft and style. The way the vocals are layered and patterned. The stops in the guitar of “Fortune Teller” that bounce while feeling intimate and personal like some lost McCartney-era experiment, or the way “Across the Everything” lets itself submerge in the wash of tone and space before Glowing Darkness ends with drums and voice alone, heavy in tone and presence but still very much its own take. One could hardly ask a more fitting resolution, not the least because it also doesn’t attempt to summarize so much as to keep adding to the breadth of the whole album while staying grounded in structure. That duality becomes crucial throughout.

I’ve been fortunate enough to interview Willems a few times over the last several years, and probably could’ve fired up Zoom to make an ass out of myself for a video chat. But since the album’s streaming in full, you’re not likely to watch a video at the same time you’re listening to the record, and I think there’s something appealing about reading an artist’s view of their work while you listen to the work itself; a multi-sensory immersion. One way or the other, I hope you enjoy, and thanks for reading.

Glowing Darkness can be heard in its entirety on the player below, followed by the track-by-track:

Glowing Darkness track-by-track with Esben Willems

When did Glowing Darkness start to come together? How far back do these songs go, and at what point did you know you wanted to make an album under your own name as opposed to starting another band?

It’s been lingering for a long time, I wanted to get back to writing and recording music on the side again. I love side-projects and how they fuel the creativity in unexpected ways, I’ve always had the need to create in multiple different directions. The journey we’ve made with Monolord the past decade has been overwhelmingly amazing; the effect of that has also been that between tours, behind the scenes admin work and most important of all family, I haven’t had the time to explore much else. In 2019, we decided to take one season off from touring with the band – simply to recharge – and shortly after that the pandemic hit, so all that combined was the perfect opportunity to play around with these song ideas, some of them probably about 15 years old, I don’t really remember. Misfit, maladjusted little nuggets that didn’t really fit in any other project along the way, but all of them ideas I returned to when rummaging through the digital archives, as one does every now and then.

I figured that if these songs made me smile, there should be at least a handful of people on this planet that are wired the same way I am and would feel the same, so I started reworking them and rewriting most of the lyrics to what felt relevant in my life now. Also, I’ve often preached to people around me that they should embrace their limitations and create regardless of them, instead turning those limitations into creative tools, but I have been really bad at adapting that mindset myself, so I felt that this would be a great way to give myself a Henry Rollins asskicking to get going. So, that’s the reason this is not a new band and it’s also the reason that I’m playing all the instruments and singing all the vocals, warts and all, just to see what I could accomplish with the quite substantial limitations I have outside of the drumkit. And inside of it, for that matter. Incredibly scary, which also fueled the inspiration even further.

What do you most want people who only know you from Monolord to know about these songs? Imagine someone is about to put it on for the first time. What should their mindset be?

That it’s not Monolord, at all. I don’t want to deceive anyone into expecting that this will be a rumble fest in a slightly different direction. I love that and those projects of mine will also be recorded and released, but this one is a ticket to somewhere else. Speaking of describing music, I love how we all perceive music so differently. We can love the same thing, but most likely from entirely different perspectives and we can hate something the same way. I’ve seen this described as some sort of post-punk several times now and that is not even remotely close to what I hear myself. Which is really cool, it’s all been mentioned as a compliment and I’ll take it, regardless of whatever genre this might be considered as.

Let’s go through the tracks. “Cabaret Street”:

I was frustrated about how so much of my surroundings and even my own behaviour revolved around the insatiable search for validation. It might sound like a “social media is bad and I’m afraid of wifi” statement, but I feel that blaming social media only is a bit one-dimensional and lazy, to me this virus culture is equally fueled by how our society is constructed. Social media is just a tumorous result of that, I think. Social media is also an amazing tool, if used right.

If this song is anti- anything, it would be anti-capitalism.

“Dear Demon”

I guess many of us have that head demon that never sleeps, that beast who’s never out of energy to remind you that you’re not good enough, that your desperate attempts to matter are nothing more than embarrassingly transparent and laughable theatrics. This is my love letter to my own demon, just to confuse it. I know it won’t confuse it for long, it will be back with full force tomorrow. But so will I and my coffee is both stronger and real.

“Carte Blanche”

It seems to be a permanent human flaw that we in the bigger picture never – or very rarely – really learn from our mistakes. When a relationship, a job, any human interaction goes wrong we tend to just end it without reflection, replace it with something similar and repeat the process elsewhere with someone else, naively hoping that this utopia will be different. We start things the same way and we end things the same way, rinse and repeat. Denial is an addictive spice.

“Embrace the Fall”

Speaking of denial, the collective version of that in the shape of the silently socially accepted self medication is peak tragicomedy to me. Or rather, the tragicomedy lies in it’s collective denial, not the actual numbing by beers, by I’m-not-addicted-I-can-quit-anytime-there-are-no-side-effects-420brah weed or whatever your preferred sedative might be. Not saying that I don’t embrace the buzz of my gentrified hazy IPA – I really do – I just find some kind of dark humor in that I also participate in that game of pretending.

“Slow Rain”

A deliberately slow one about the process of breaking on the inside, over and over, but still keep functioning on the outside, no matter what. The constant battle between strength and fragility.

“Glowing Darkness”

Even though life can feel bleak and uphill, there are always bright spots in the darkness. They might be small and seemingly insignificant, but they sometimes shines a brighter light than you’d maybe expect.

“Space Bob”

I think and hope this one is self-explanatory. If not, it might be because you didn’t save yourself when your head caught fire. You have to.

“Fortune Teller”

This is to my life companion, what we have is incredible to me. Through all the bumps and twists and turns, we have the best of rides. I love her.

“Across the Everything”

I love playing live and being able to travel the world to do so. But it comes at the expense of deeply missing my loved ones, especially my kid as a parent. Not being there in the flesh is heartbreaking and something I always struggle with when I tour. This is to my son, my promise that I will always come home.

Now that Glowing Darkness is coming out – and releasing it has been in the works for a while, right? – how are you feeling about the release? Are you relieved to have it out in the world (almost), inspired to move forward as a songwriter, tired of the whole idea? What comes next?

It’s indeed been in the works for quite a while, yes, so it feels really good to finally have it out. Also, as with every new release, nervous. I hope that people that are into this kind of music will enjoy it.

I’m always inspired to move forward, to make new music. More projects are already in the works, both solo type stuff and projects with others. Regarding writing music, I’m finally getting back to it, having been away from it for almost a decade. I’m rusty, but I’m having tons of fun in the process.

Anything else you want to say about the record, or anything else generally?

Listen to music, a lot of music, as far and wide in genres and cultures as you can. Don’t limit yourself with predefined taste. Puritanism is boring. Curiosity is not.

Esben Willems, “Dear Demon” official video

Esben Willems, “Cabaret Street” official video

Esben Willems on Facebook

Esben Willems on Instagram

Esben Willems on Bandcamp

Studio Berserk linktr.ee

Majestic Mountain Records on Instagram

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Majestic Mountain Records store

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Cancervo Premiere New LP III in Full; Out Friday

Posted in audiObelisk, Reviews on March 27th, 2024 by JJ Koczan

Cancervo III

Cancervo will release their new album, III, this Friday, March 29, through Electric Valley Records (US distro through Glory or Death Records). And it’s by far the darkest, bleakest affair the first-names-only Lombardy, Italy, three-piece of bassist/vocalist Luka, guitarist Francesco and drummer Sam have yet manifest, as an ongoing incremental evolution of their take on cult doom over the last three years has seen them grow from the instrumentalist beginnings of 2021’s I (review here) and Luka‘s emergent metal-of-eld declarations across most of early-2023’s II (review here) to the 32 minutes and five tracks — four plus the sans-vocals church organ mood-setter “Intro” — of III, each numerical outing presenting a deeper plunge into their lurching and abyssal nod.

And III goes fairly deep into its own inky atmosphere, even before “Burn Your Child” wraps side A with its repetitions of “Burn your child/Burn your child,” with the band having already underscored their malevolence as the organ “Intro” gave over to the riff-forward march of “Sacrilegious Mass,” which in its sub-six minutes quickly establishes the vocals not only as an element of the band’s sound of increasing prominence, but as a defining feature. Luka, working in a low register not-quite-monotone that speaks to influences far and wide while carrying a distinctly Celtic Frostian poise, follows the pattern of the riff in the song’s midsection hook, letting the listener know “You’re gonna suffer” as a central line that feels by the time it comes around again like he’s as much in the trance as he is a part of making it. Meanwhile, Sam‘s drums keep a steady swing beneath a noisy ripper of a solo from Francesco, filled out in the bottom end by Luka‘s bass. The difference is confidence.

I wouldn’t call II or even I tentative in their approach, but what the band has wanted to accomplish has grown along with their sound, and in “Burn Your Child,” “St. Barnabas” and “Red Pig” — two near-eight-minute tracks bookending the nine-minute “St. CANCERVO (Photo by Christian Riva)Barnabas” — their ambitions resonate in kind with the drear, reaching into more extreme fare for a d-beat stretch in “Burn Your Child” that admirably holds to the same riff that led into it before going back to the second of three choruses, the last of which swaps “wife” for “child” in the lyrics and leads to another furious solo and speedy drum breakout to finish. Momentum on their side, the trio feel willful in the contrasting quiet open to “St. Barnabas,” which builds up around the guitar over its first minute before ultimately slamming into its grueling procession. As noted below, Cancervo take their lyrical inspiration from regional folklore, and while the connection between a saint who lived in Cyprus isn’t immediate, in nearby Milan, there’s a sect called the Barnabites that was founded in the 1500s, so yeah, it fits, and yeah, I had to look all that up. You’re welcome.

“St. Barnabas” lumbers to its close and brings about the final immersion of “Red Pig,” with a looser-feeling chant and a resumption of the overarching nod that has been at the core all along and remains even as the finale shifts after three-plus minutes into more ambient sounds, either actual bells or evocations thereof soon enough transitioning back into the riff as Cancervo drop hints as to where their continued explorations of style and craft might lead without giving up the for-the-converted worship of slow-delivered distortion until the solo builds on “Sacrilegious Mass” and “Burn Your Child” and “St. Barnabas” with a more brazen overall freakout. But that they know who they are is never in doubt across III, and sure enough, “Red Pig” turns back to a few measures of riff to end, the message of structural priority consistent and welcome.

Because of the thread of progression across their work thus far, I’m not at all willing to say Cancervo are done growing or that they’ve realized everything they could ever hope to do musically here. They follow patterns well, and that helps give III a defined shape where much cult-leaning doom feels content to disappear in its own murk, and it’s easy to imagine that intention as a way for them to keep pushing themselves as songwriters and performers. As it stands, III comes across as sure of what it wants to be and casts Cancervo as increasingly individual within their genre, finding their niche and taking it as far into the depths as they can go, candles lit for thanatos behind them. Until they next arise, then.

PR wire background follows the full stream of III on the player below.

Please enjoy:

Cancervo, III album premiere

Cancervo derive their name from an iconic mountain near Bergamo, Italy, nestled in a valley steeped in rich traditions and folklore. Charmed by the tale of a mythical creature, part dog and part deer, that roamed on Cancervo, three local heavy riff enthusiasts from San Giovanni Bianco formed the band as a homage to their cherished valley and its mystical legends.

Their 2021 debut, simply titled I, represents local places and myths. A complete instrumental outing, the album dabbles in sedating psych, deserted stoner/doom, and preternatural prog.

II, the sophomore album, released in 2023, continues Cancervo’s occult narratives of their land. In search of doom roots, the album takes more and more motivating forces from the early ’70s and passably abandons the psych moments of the first album. Unlike the first full-length, I, which was entirely instrumental, this record incorporates vocals on most tracks.

The forthcoming full-length, III, heralds a darker and more introspective phase for the band. Each track on the last album evolved from concert to concert, paving the way for this transformative phase. A distinct vocal presence emerges as the guiding force, alongside the inevitable and recognizable doomy riffs that have always been the trio’s trademark. This tale promises to immerse listeners in the timeless struggle between the sacred and the profane — a theme deeply ingrained in the folklore of the valley beneath the shadow of Mount Cancervo.

Track Listing:
1. Intro (1:52)
2. Sacrilegious Mass (5:50)
3. Burn Your Child (7:52)
4. St. Barnabas (9:02)
5. The Red Pig (7:55)

Album Credits:
All songs written and played by Cancervo. (“Intro” written and played by Fido)
Recorded, mixed and mastered by Alessandro “Otto” Galli at the Otto Engineering Mobile Studio 2029.
Band Photo by Christian Riva.
Graphics by EVR Studio.

Band Lineup:
Luka – Bass & Vocals
Francesco – Guitars
Sam – Drums

Cancervo on Facebook

Cancervo on Instagram

Cancervo on Bandcamp

Electric Valley Records website

Electric Valley Records on Facebook

Electric Valley Records on Instagram

Electric Valley Records on Bandcamp

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Skraeckoedlan Premiere Vermillion Sky LP in Full; Out Wednesday

Posted in audiObelisk, Reviews on March 25th, 2024 by JJ Koczan

Skraeckoedlan Vermillion Sky

This Wednesday, March 27, Swedish heavy and progressive rockers Skraeckoedlan return with their fourth full-length, Vermillion Sky. It is their second LP through Fuzzorama Records behind the sprawling realization of 2019’s Eorþe (review here), with the years between finding the Borlänge/Norrköping four-piece reissuing their 2011 debut, Äppelträdet (review here) and its 2015 follow-up, Sagor (review here), through The Sign Records, and its arrival has been anticipated since the band unveiled “The Vermillion Sky” as a standalone single over half a year ago.

Vermillion Sky is a multifaceted project even before one gets to the rhythmic twists and melodic reaches, the grandiosities and quiet moments offered in its component eight tracks and 47 minutes, and if part of either that span of months or the not-accounted-for-by-plague portion of the five years it’s been since Eorþe comes from lining up logistics on either the video game or English-language novel intended to be released to complement the music, fair enough, though it was four between Sagor and that record as well, so it’s not an outlandish dearth of activity by any means. The novelization of Vermillion Sky, reportedly broken into chapters around each song, will perhaps be of particular interest to that non-Swedish-speaking contingent of their listenership who’ve maybe not been curious enough to run their lyrics through a translation matrix to get a semblance of the themes out of science-fiction, daikaiju, and so on.

To wit, “The Vermillion Sky,” caps an expansive A-side that begins with the drone-backed staticky dialogue in the two-minute intro “Cosmic Dawn” from whence a Devin Townsendy prog flow emerges with the anchoring fuzz on Erik Berggren‘s bass and fluid drumming of Martin Larsson‘s drums complemented by shimmer of synth and the guitars of Robert Lamu and Henrik Grüttner in a showcase of maturity and (condensed) patience that serves as preface to the stately composition of the title-track and others here. That obscured speech, mixed low enough that you genuinely might not hear it the first time through, ties into the escape-from-earth — and no, it’s not lost on me that their last record was ‘earth’ in translation — narrative of “The Vermillion Sky,” and while they seem to work in as well as around this thematic and it might at first be unclear how the hooky repetitions of the in-English title lyric to second single “Night Satan” fit in, the concept remains present for the lines, “Så lägg din hand i min och visa mig bland stjärnorna/Jag la min hand i din och du visa mig oändlighet” (“So put your hand in mine and show me the stars/I put my hand in yours and you show me infinity,” according to the internet), so those connections are there if not always obvious. One assumes the same applies for the likes of “Starsquatch,” “Metagalactic Void Honcho,” who sounds as burly as one might expect given the title, “Meteorb” or “Astronautilus” as well.

But even if you as the listener don’t take Vermillion Sky on for its storyline at all or if scrolling shooter games aren’t your thing, the songs are enough to carry you through. “Starsquatch” enters with a burst, resets in an open expanse of keyboard and sweeps in the first of a vast collection of massive grooves, characteristic in its adherence to fuzzier tonality and arrangement depth evident even just in the space between the guitar and drums, never mind the e-bow or whatever effect it is or the arrangement of lead and backing vocals in the rolling chorus. Hitting a stop at 4:40 into its 7:58, they break to echoing vocals and standalone guitar before surging forward again in a pointed wash of distortion that turns out to be a misdirect as they cut to clearer-sounding dual-guitar leads and a faster tempo verse ahead of the actual solo. Of course the riff comes back, bigger and more consuming, and the pattern of side A is set when “Mysteria” takes its turn riff-punching through the wall with dense low end and purposeful shove — the first half of the album trading shorter-to-longer pieces starting with “Cosmic Dawn” and the second half switching that to its own two longer tracks bookending the relative brevity of “Night Satan” and “Meteorb.”

skraeckoedlan

So Skraeckoedlan are playing with time as well as space on Vermillion Sky, and the level of composition and nuance with which they do so shouldn’t be understated. Lamu‘s vocal melodies — and I’m sorry, I don’t know every detail on who’s doing what vocally here, but there are voice-swaps enough to make me think it’s multiple singers — go beyond following the riffs, which are occasionally busy enough that that would be a challenge anyway, and feel like part of the atmosphere along with the Mellotron and Rhodes (or some such) that further distinguish “Mysteria” after the push through its first half has already brought intense strikes of piano as part of its culminating build just before the two-and-a-half-minute mark.

That holds true in rougher-delivered or shoutier stretches like the end of “Mysteria,” or the gutted-out verses of “Metagalactic Void Honcho” surrounded by what sounds like duly gravitational destruction that dares some hope in its lead-topped final nod before it cuts to far-back guitar echoes and thud to end, or the galloping midsection of “Meteorb,” wherein even the air-tight structure and quick 3:38 runtime are enough for the band to use vocals as an instrument corresponding to the mood of a given part. The scorch of keyboard in that song’s charge, the way the drums open up the groove in the last hook, the details and nuance of the keys, synth, guitar, effects, whatever, in the mix — it all comes together as a complete representation of craft from Skraeckoedlan that feels deeper and more dug into its own processes than they’ve been before, but at the same time is more engaging and outward-reaching for that. If that’s a mature Skraeckoedlan self-producing and wielding their own sound, cognizant of their dynamic and the physicality of the material they’re writing, I’ll take it happily. They always feel like they’re ready to break out and run. That catch-up-to-this energy is always there, pulling the audience forward.

At the same time, their sense of control is palpable, whether it’s the look-what-we-can-do-with-a-stoner-riff mid-tempo chug in the verses of “Night Satan” — lest we forget their tonal and recording tutelage under Truckfighters (who also run Fuzzorama Records) — or the furies manifest in dramatic style on “Metagalactic Void Honcho” just before, but detracts neither from the energy in their delivery or their willingness to go all-in on an arrangement like “Astronautilus,” mellowing after its verse for a moment of proggy, key-topped exploration as it circles around and builds tension for its flowing, deceptively graceful emergence, leading into a solo and chorus that reinforce notions of structure even as they adrenaline-boost Vermillion Sky out of the atmosphere and into the resonant float of its comedown, some staticky layer there calling back to the opening of “Cosmic Dawn” as that structural cohesion finds its own meta level on which to operate.

Each album Skraeckoedlan have released has been an incremental step forward creatively from the one before it, and that applies to Vermillion Sky even as the band further define and distinguish an idea of their individual sound. That they recorded and mixed it themselves (Magnus Lindberg mastered) is also a crucial consideration — not because of any kind of down-scaling in production value; there isn’t one — but as another way to continue to grow as a unit and a means of more directly bringing their music to life. And whatever else is happening around them in various media, whatever apocalypses they’re conveying in the world they’ve conjured, these songs feel utterly alive.

The album streams in full below. Please enjoy:

Skraeckoedlan, Vermillion Sky album premiere

Order link: https://eu.fuzzoramastore.com/en/skraeckoedlan.html

In short, this is a sci-fi themed concept piece that screams DIY, having been entirely written, recorded, produced and mixed by the band themselves. A huge undertaking, especially considering one of the first steps in the process was basically to google: “how to properly mic a snare drum”. Mastering however has been beautifully done by Magnus Lindberg (Cult of Luna), which as always has yielded fantastic results.

Speaking of DIY and huge undertakings, Vermillion Sky will also be available as a novel (date to come), where each chapter corresponds to a track on the album. The story has been written by the band and is for those that want to take a real deep dive into the concept and join the crew of the Vermillion Sky as they unravel a mystery with galactic consequences. Contrary to the signature Swedish lyrics of the songs, the novel is in English.

An even more active way to interact with the release is to play the Vermillion Sky computer game the band has helped create. It’s an 8-bit style point chaser, where you travel through the Void as the ship, collecting upgrades to survive the multitude of enemies trying to put an end to your journey. If you want the absolute best experience of the game, make sure to come to one of the release tour shows, where Skraeckoedlan’s very own Vermillion Sky-arcade machine will be featured.

Live long and prosper!

Vermillion Sky tracklist
1. Cosmic Dawn (2:42)
2. Starsquatch (7:58)
3. Mysteria (5:21)
4. The Vermillion Sky (7:10)
5. Metagalactic Void Honcho (8:07)
6. Night Satan (4:53)
7. Meteorb (3:38)
8. Astronautilus (7:50)

Skraeckoedlan:
Robert Lamu – Vocals, Guitar
Henrik Grüttner – Guitar, Vocals
Erik Berggren – Bass, Vocals
Martin Larsson – Drums, Vocals

Skraeckoedlan, Vermillion Sky game preview

Skraeckoedlan’s website

Skraeckoedlan on Instagram

Skraeckoedlan on Facebook

Fuzzorama Records website

Fuzzorama Records on Facebook

Fuzzorama Records on Instagram

Fuzzorama Records on Bandcamp

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Maragda Announce Tyrants Out May 8; Premiere Title-Track

Posted in audiObelisk, Whathaveyou on March 21st, 2024 by JJ Koczan

maragda

Barcelona trio Maragda will release their sophomore full-length, Tyrants, on May 8 through Spinda Records. At the bottom of this post, you’ll find two versions of the title-track premiering — the album version of the song and a live-in-studio take as if to demonstrate, “yes, we really can pull this off.” And so they can. And hopefully will for much of the rest of this year on tour in Europe.

Officially, that’s the point of this post. Between you and me, sitting comfortably having a friendly chat together about the things in life that make it tolerable, I’ll tell you that I’ve had the chance to dig into the record and that the hooky proggy cosmic modern space boogie bop of “Tyrants” is no fluke. Maragda pinpoint genre intersections and explore sounds throughout Tyrants that go beyond manifesting the potential of their 2021 self-titled debut (review here). Clear-eyed in their composition, rich in melody and atmosphere, they could hardly be doing more to signal their arrival to the heavy underground in Europe and beyond.

Preorders open tonight at midnight CET, and while I acknowledge that not every track is going to land with every listener, I urge you to take a few minutes for “Tyrants,” which opens the album, to get a glimpse at the sprawl Maragda are conjuring and the manner in which they careen through it. European tribalism has for the better part of 40 years ignored the development of Iberian heavy and progressive rock. Tyrants shows this for how ridiculous it truly is in its flourishing realization and the outreach in the production at Big Snuff Studio by the esteemed Richard Behrens (he was in Heat and Samsara Blues Experiment, has helmed records for Samavayo, Delving and WeiteAbanamat, countless others), actively working to engage the modern heavy psych sphere with all its king-this-and-thats and bouncy galaxial thrust, while also tapping into Spain’s long history of prog melody. Shit, it’s even in English (as was the first record). They could hardly do more if they offered to put your name in a song.

It is an exciting listen. It is not the most hyped album you’re going to hear in 2024, but if you do catch it — and now’s a good time to be introduced — it might just be something you come to treasure.

To wit, it’s one I feel strongly enough about that, in addition to premiering the studio and live versions of “Tyrants” at the bottom of this post, I’m slated to stream the album in full Tuesday, May 7. Keep an eye out.

Art, PR wire info and, crucially, the music, follow. Please enjoy:

maragda tyrants

MARAGDA DROPS ‘TYRANTS’ AS FIRST SINGLE OF THEIR UPCOMING SECOND STUDIO ALBUM

Preorders (midnight CET March 22): https://spindarecords.com/

Maragda, the energetic power-trio from Barcelona, announces the release of their second studio album, “Tyrants”, available on May 8 via Spinda Records. The band is offering a sneak peek of the album with the release of its title track, showcasing both the studio and live versions taken from their recent live session recorded at Siete Barbas Studios.

This highly anticipated album follows their successful self-titled debut album (2021, Spinda Records) and the live EP “The Reckless / Evil Seed” (2022, Spinda Records). In this new musical journey, the band immerses listeners in introspective themes ranging from self-imposed limitations to the fight for values, love, hope, and farewells. All of this unfolds in a hypothetical fantasy universe, where psychedelia and progressive rock continuously merge, adding nuances of other styles like garage.

For the creation of the album “Tyrants”, Maragda embarked on a creative journey that took them to the Big Snuff Studios in Berlin, where they collaborated with studio engineer Richard Behrens, renowned for his work with bands like Kadavar and Elder. Subsequently, the mastering was handled by acclaimed engineer Peter Deimel (known for his work with bands like Motorpsycho) at the Black Box Studios in France, solidifying a successful collaboration that began with their debut album.

In the visual department, the band has once again partnered with Error! Design studio (known for works with Explosions In The Sky, Russian Circles, Mastodon) for the album’s graphic design, ensuring a cohesive and captivating aesthetic experience for their followers.

TRACK-LIST
1. Tyrants
2. Skirmish
3. Endless
4. My only link
5. Sunset room
6. The singing mountain
7. Godspeed
8. Loose

PRE-ORDER:
22 march 2024

RELEASE DATE
8 may 2024

‘Tyrants’ will be available on May 8 through Spinda Records, although album pre-orders will kick off at midnight on Friday, March 22nd, in both CD and vinyl formats. The vinyl edition will be part of the ‘Trippy Series’ from the Andalusian label, alongside acts such as Viaje a 800, Moura, Empty Full Space, or Moundrag. It will be limited to 400 copies on white vinyl with orange splatters and 100 copies on standard black vinyl.

LIVE SHOWS
May 17 | Madrid (ES) @ Madrid Psych Sessions
June 8 | Barcelona (ES) @ Sala Upload (fiesta de presentación)

https://www.instagram.com/maragda.band/
https://www.facebook.com/maragdaaa
http://www.maragda.bandcamp.com/
https://linktr.ee/maragdaband

https://www.facebook.com/SpindaRecords
https://www.instagram.com/spindarecords
https://spindarecords.bandcamp.com/
https://www.spindarecords.com/

Maragda, “Tyrants” track premiere

Maragda, “Tyrants” Live at Siete Barbas Studios video premiere

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