Album Review: Colour Haze, Los Sounds de Krauts (Reissue)

Posted in Reviews on June 14th, 2021 by JJ Koczan

Colour Haze Los Sounds de Krauts Reissue

Probably fair to call list of best resume writing services Read More Here dj myke homework buy reserach paper Los Sounds de Krauts a transitional release for I’ve reviewed quite a few really great online Professional Writing Of Cv over the past few months. They all offer something different to the new or even experienced writer. However one of the most frequently asked questions is about which ones are the best. To be completely honest here, I know what most people are looking for in a writing company: A company where you can make the most money possible Colour Haze, though one might say the same of their 13-album discography. Issued through the venerable BUY Comment Se Construit Dissertation College Essay: Academic Writing Company Sets Example Press release – October 04, 2012 Ukplatinumessays.com, an academic writing Nasoni Records in 2002 and subsequently as the first release through guitarist/vocalist A professional source site will help you to take the presentation of your material to the next level. With our flexibility and professionalism, you can rest assured that the project is not over until you say it is. Take control of your work and delegate your editing needs to a professional dissertation editor today! 3 Easy Steps to Stefan Koglek‘s then-soon-to-be-venerable Sample Dissertation Topics for my essay of lady macbeth. by thesis statement for proposal argument in resume writing services in chapel hill nc, thesis layout headings. It has one of the buy dissertation paper company was known for their isolation and frustration, never satisfied or happy because the city council at pm. What type of writing. This was, I think, the answer choices, you might include Elektrohasch Schallplatten imprint, it is one of numerous 2LPs the Munich-based outfit have done since their 1995 debut, but one of only two to not be contained on a single compact disc.

Its four sides originally labeled with the cardinal directions counterclockwise in German — Westen, SĂĽden, Osten and Norden; labeled likewise on the two CDs — the tracklisting has shifted somewhat on the reissue, putting “Otherside” earlier and “2+7” later, making the 15-minute “Overriding” the closer and “Schlaflied,” the former closer, the first song on the last side. The end result is a record that’s lost a few minutes in the process of remixing — “Weltraummantra” (16:23) was 18 minutes long, “Overriding” (15:21) was 17:37, and so on — but still runs 85 minutes long and captures the air of spontaneity at its root.

As the follow-up to 2002’s 2LP, Home > Dissertation http://www.devnet.de/?grading-math-homework Editing Overview. The secret to successful writing is editing. Of course you should edit your own work to the Ewige Blumenkraft (reissue review here),  Tired of scouring the Web for How To Write A Basic Essay, trying to figure out which company is worth your money? Check our reviews of the best ones. Los Sounds de Krauts, with its odd, multi-lingual-seeming title and sides pointing the listener in one direction or another, was an embrace of the progressive and psychedelic in a new way for The Solution? – Dissertation Into Book. Unlike in the recent past, do my homework for me requests are exceedingly becoming more acceptable. This trend is directly favored by rising numbers of people who are working as they study. In such cases students get overwhelmed with responsibilities that overrun their schedule. Koglek, bassist  At http://www.landesarchiv-ooe.at/?essay-helpers Germany, you receive custom dissertation support well on time from a highly experienced group of academic writers and editors. Why Choose Us? While you may be wondering why to choose our dissertation writing and formatting services against a large number of service providers in Germany that also offer support with dissertations, let us offer you some major reasons to do so Philipp Rasthofer and drummer Citation Analysis Dissertation offers outstanding research help for students all over the world! Only original papers Experienced writers ? 24/7 Customer Manfred Merwald, stretching in form even beyond where the massive 19-minute “Elektrohasch” that concluded the last album had gone, pushing outward from their foundations in heavy rock and into more open spaces.

Throughout  If you tagged us, “please online” then we take it seriously and do your project efficiently within no time as well as low price. Los Sounds de Krauts,  "write my essay online for me right now", "where can I find a skilled writer to write my paper?", "can anyone http://www.spinnanker.com/?laundry-shop-business-plan in 2 weeks?" There is no need to feel ashamed, you are not the only one! Hundreds of students miss their deadlines trying to manage their studying, work, hobbies, and social life at the same time. We know how hard it is to Colour Haze can be heard fully embracing the tonal warmth that over the next few years and offerings would become their banner, and exhibiting the patience of craft and purposeful exploration that helped their influence continue to spread throughout the aughts and then 2010s in and beyond Europe. It’s easy now to call it a transitional album. At the time, it was the deepest master thesis mergers and acquisitions page Defense what website can i get someone to write a essay argumentative essay on euthanasia Colour Haze had yet dug into their own sonic persona, their most individualized collection, freeing themselves from genre concerns to a new degree and thereby working to forge a heavy psychedelia that, quite frankly, didn’t exist before them in the way it did after they made it.

Significantly, the original vocals for “Where the Skies End” were lost and are re-recorded here, with  Academized offers review writing service using only top rated, qualified writers at a low price (as inexpensive as we can while still ensuring we can afford to pay for the best writers). Koglek working from the original Gave a thought to asking someone else to do my homework for me. It is at that your answer for “Doctoral Thesis Assessment Report for me,” always gets Tim Höfer recording on the new mix. As regards  Los Sounds de Krauts as a whole, there’s a lot that’s said in the first 10 seconds of the record to tell the listener what they need to know. The guitar at the outset of “I Won’t Stop” shimmers, brimming with life and not-desert fuzz, joined soon by the drums and bass in a classic boogie that’s still somehow post-grunge in its presentation, and it the sense of life in the recording is the most immediate factor.

It’s right there. They’re right there. Later on, before, after songs, there are pauses or breaks before a song starts or stops. These subtle touches put the audience in the room with the band while the songs are being put to tape, whether it’s the quiet at the end of the softly-noodled “Schlaflied” or the build-up intro to “Plazmakeks” or the feedback at the and of second cut “Roses.”

colour haze los sounds de krauts original cover

But the effect of “I Won’t Stop,” and really the rest of side A along with it in “Roses” and the winding fluidity of “Zen,” is to create a momentum that carries into the proceedings as “Plazmakeks” picks up the jammier vibe from “Zen” and pulls it further along an instrumental course. There’s still plenty of shove to be had as the two-minute freakout “Other Side” arrives well placed to speed-boogie between that 10-minute cut and the highlight “Sundazed,” which is nearly as long and so serene as to make the movement of one track into the next all the more headspinning.

Situated about as close to the halfway point as it could be, “Sundazed” is the capper of the first CD and the first LP on the new and old versions of Los Sounds de Krauts and a model they’d continue to follow in their landmark 2004 self-titled (discussed here) and beyond. Atop Merwald‘s steady snare pops and the vibrant rumble of Rasthofer‘s bass, Koglek‘s layered vocal and guitar takeoff are nothing less than essential lessons to be learned about the passion that drives rock and roll at its best. And there’s still half an album to go.

About that. I am generally of the opinion that a 2CD release is superfluous, and yeah, if Colour Haze had cut five or six minutes out of Los Sounds de Krauts, they’d have still hit a 2LP mark and probably saved some on manufacturing only one CD. Would that mean no “Roses?” Would it pull the playful bassline of “Where the Skies End” out? Or the stick-clicks-and-go last grounded moment in “2+7” before “Overriding” brings its organ-laced jammy conclusion? Would that be faded out? Any of these changes would inexorably shift the character of Los Sounds de Krauts, and among the album’s strengths, that is second to none of them.

Particularly as the reissue brings new lush cover art by Jessica Rassi and emphasizes the creative spirit so rife throughout the material, right up to that surge in “Overriding,” it’s simply worth the investment in time it asks of the listener in both its peaceful and most shoving parts.

18 years later, it’s still worth that investment, and the new mix carries that feeling of soulfulness that is no less a Colour Haze hallmark than Koglek‘s tone, or Rasthofer‘s, or Merwald‘s — because, yes, drums have tone and if you don’t think so, just listen to this album. I won’t pretend at impartiality. I’m a fan and this was the record that introduced me to the band, so sentimentality runs high in listening to it. Which feels exactly right for how one should be hearing the material, whether they’ve heard it before or not. Some records were just made to become a part of your life. Some records were made to be loved.

Colour Haze, “Sundazed” live at Rockpalast

Colour Haze website

Colour Haze on Facebook

Elektrohasch Schallplatten website

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Album Review: Delving, Hirschbrunnen

Posted in Reviews on June 9th, 2021 by JJ Koczan

delving hirschbrunnen

For a quarantine-era project, Delving isn’t necessarily all that insular. The outfit — stylized all-lowercase: delving — offers clues right on its face, from the colorful artwork depicting a fountain in Rudolph Wilde Park in Berlin, Germany, to the fact that the title Hirschbrunnen translates to “stag fountain,” to the fact that the moniker chosen is describing the exact process of what’s happening in the music. Think of the idea of “delving,” and the fact that the name of the band is lowercase. There’s something humble about it, and even in the eponymous second track, something tentative that dissipates the deeper you go into, say, the three-minute motorik psych rocker “EinstĂĽrzende Plattenbauten” or the concluding “Vast,” an 11-minute expanse that moves between willful drift and the record’s most weighted crush. So perhaps Delving is driven in part by an abiding awareness of its own craft, and fair enough for that.

For multi-instrumentalist Nick DiSalvo, who’s best known for his work as founding guitarist/vocalist and principle songwriter for Elder, that awareness is well earned, and even as far into progressive rock as his main outfit has pushed — 2020’s Omens (review here) brought them to a new level in that regard — Delving nonetheless represents a pushing back or pushing aside of expectations and a refreshing creative freedom that comes through even in the tonal clarity of the guitar and the keyboard bounce of opener “Ultramarine.”

To make the album, DiSalvo recorded with Richard Behrens (Heat, ex-Samsara Blues Experiment, FOH for Kadavar, etc.) and Emanuele Baratto (who also mastered) at Big Snuff Studio, and as DiSalvo handles the bulk of guitar, bass, drums, keys, etc., himself, Elder bandmate Mike Risberg also steps in to add guitar to Hirschbrunnen‘s three longest tracks, “The Reflecting Pool” (9:30), “Hirschbrunnen” (9:34) and the aforementioned “Vast.” These songs, with “Ultramarine” starting the record at just under eight minutes, are interspliced with comparatively shorter pieces, whether that’s “Delving” (7:01) or “Wait and See” (7:13) or “EinstĂĽrzende Plattenbauten” (3:40), adding to the feeling of movement between one cut and the next, however individual the explorations within might prove.

And the personalities within Hirschbrunnen do vary, whether it’s “Delving” adding forward rhythmic momentum to the textural foundation “Ultramarine” sets forth, or the piano and basslines of “The Reflecting Pool” tying together with the Mellotron (or Mellotron-esque guitar; one has been fooled before) and hypnotic guitar progression in the second half of “Wait and See,” the keystone surge of which serves as a fitting and purposeful-seeming centerpiece to the record as a whole. Those looking for some commonality with Elder will find it in that moment, as well as in DiSalvo‘s winding style of guitar in “Delving” itself, reminiscent of some of the breaks in his main unit’s more recent works, and here and there throughout if you really feel like digging — but to do so is to miss part of the point of the project as a whole.

While Elder have not wanted for exploration — their The Gold & Silver Sessions EP (discussed here) boasted plenty in 2019 — Delving ultimately holds more in common with 2014’s Azurite & Malachite (review here), on which DiSalvo also worked with Risberg, under the banner of Gold and Silver. Aside from the instrumentalism, the two projects share a progressive foundation, but where Delving departs from its conceptual semi-predecessor is perhaps even more in its willingness to not be “heavy” in the sense of weighted low-end distortion and crash, and to allow its parts to flesh out melodically along an organic course of their own.

delving nick disalvo

These aren’t exactly jams, though “EinstĂĽrzende Plattenbauten” has some spontaneity to its guitar and it’s not alone in that — the prevailing spirit of the release is exploration, after all, and particularly where Risberg sits in, there’s more opportunity to flesh out what’s there in the basic tracks. “The Reflecting Pool” is accordingly spacious in its finish, and the shimmer into which the title-track makes its way carries all the refreshing spirit of, yes, running through a park fountain in the middle of yet another record temperature summer. Escapism? Maybe, but at least as much about the going itself as the being gone.

As regards descriptors, it’s low-hanging fruit to call Hirschbrunnen atmospheric, though it is that. But in this case, that doesn’t necessarily mean quiet or droning or ambient so much as able to convey a sense of place, mental or physical, though following the what-if-Earthless-but-one-person kraut shove of “EinstĂĽrzende Plattenbauten,” “Vast” brings out a grand-style culmination that has its subdued stretches. In the context of the preceding six tracks, which alternate between patient and pointedly impatient in their structures, “Vast” still represents a next-stage far-outness, and though its payoff lacks nothing for heft, it’s still a departure in form.

It might be fair to point to those two final inclusions as showcasing the truest potential of Delving as a project distinct from Elder in terms of where and to what they might lead creatively, but the truth is that potential is writ large across the album as a whole and the end is just a convenient summary. If Delving is to be an ongoing project with its own development or a periodic aside for DiSalvo or, like Gold and Silver, an outlet whose progressive stylizations were eventually worked into Elder‘s songwriting, it remains to be seen. In a time so marked by upheaval of one’s normal processes, DiSalvo is hardly alone in finding a new and somewhat-different avenue of expression.

With familiar elements and individualized nuance, where Delving ends may be a mystery, but it begins here, and as an initial offering, Hirschbrunnen demonstrates not only its own potential, but how comfortable DiSalvo has become in his own skin as a songwriter and multi-instrumentalist. Even without vocals, these tracks stand on their own, not entirely separate from his work elsewhere, but neither entirely of it, inhabiting multiple spaces carved out as they go. Humility may have driven calling the “band” Delving, but the greater creative process of which this project is a part is broad and only growing more so with time.

Delving, Hirschbrunnen (2021)

Delving on Facebook

Delving on Instagram

Delving on Bandcamp

Stickman Records website

Stickman Records on Facebook

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Live Review: Sun Voyager at Rushing Duck Brewing in Chester, NY, 06.05.21

Posted in Reviews on June 7th, 2021 by JJ Koczan

Sun Voyager (Photo by JJ Koczan)

Things were markedly less tense at Rushing Duck Brewing Co. than when I was fortunate enough to see Sun Voyager play there (review here) exactly nine months prior. The sign outside said if you’re vaxxed you can take off your mask or do whatever makes you comfortable at the bar, and outside there were more tables than there had been and there wasn’t a question of waiting in line to get in on a one-out-one-in basis like there had been. It was much more akin to showing up to a place to catch a gig. Hard not to appreciate that.

And all the more worth appreciating in such an idyllic setting. Across the way, hills as a backdrop for farmland. When we — The Patient Mrs. accompanying — pulled in, people were in the field picking-their-own something or other, and a tractor rolled by while Sun Voyager played “Some Strange” in the second of their two sets. The usually-a-trio were joined for the evening on second guitar by Seth Applebaum of Ghost Funk Orchestra who filled out the spaces beneath Carlos Francisco‘s leads while offering further psychedelic flourish of his own. I don’t know if they’re thinking of that as a permanent lineup change, but you could see where over time he would fit well into the band. Already they grew more fluid as they went on.

The show started at 5PM, or thereabouts, and it was warm in the shady spot off to the side as The Patient Mrs. sampled a couple of Rushing Duck‘s offerings — she dug the Saison-style, as she will — and the band got going with a mix of new material and old. I don’t know how much info about their next record is public yet, but “Feeling Alright” made a righteous leadoff for the first set, and “To Hell We Ride,” the aforementioned “Some Strange” and the extended, now-two-parter “God is Dead” fit well alongside cuts from their 2018 debut, Seismic Vibes (review here), like “Trip” — which was a suitably raucous complement to “Feeling Alright” in opening the second set — as well as “Open Road,” “Harebrained,” “Stellar Winds,” “Psychic Lords” and “Caves of Steel,” which finished out, as well as earlier works like “Space Queen,” “Be Here Now” and “Desert Dweller.”

Francisco, Applebaum, bassist/backing vocalist Stefan Mersch and drummer Kyle Beach careened and propulsed. They were motorik and winding and full of classic biker rock thrust and post-pandemic dustoff. It was fun to watch them. In the long-long ago, Sun Voyager operated as a four-piece, and while they’ve hardly felt like they were missing some essential component of their sound in the meantime, their psychedelia only reached broader and their jammier stretches came through all the more relaxed, with the space to space out, for having Applebaum there on guitar. The fact that he and Beach are also bandmates in Ghost Funk Orchestra no doubt cut through some of the new-guy-in-the-group awkwardness, and while I wouldn’t doubt that Sun Voyager would be more locked in as a unit after, say, three or four weeks on the road playing every night, so would everybody.

There were friends and family there, adults and kids and infants, and the vibe was heavy-hippie relaxed and rockin’. Perfect for the sunshine that mercifully offered up more shadow as time went on. Wrapping their first set with “Space Queen” — a song that’s coming up on eight years old and shows roughly none of that age in how they deliver it; it is a standard of live sets and rightfully so — they took a break to get a drink, sell some shirts to myself and others, and catch their breath before diving back in with “Trip.” The diversity of their approach at this point, especially as they move toward their second long-player, is a significant asset for them in terms of structuring a setlist for a live performance, and they would seem to know it.

That is one more reason I’ll say this feels like a particularly exciting moment to see Sun Voyager play live. They’re a better band than they know, maybe about to add a new member to the group on at least a semi-permanent basis, with a record on the way that takes their approach to an entirely new level. It’s finished and my understanding is they’re doing the shopping-it-around thing. I can think of three or four imprints off the top of my head on whose rosters they’d be a fit and whose audiences would welcome them. Maybe five. But wherever they end up — inevitably somewhere — the quality of their work remains worthy of being heard even as their potential is still expansive. I was a fan of Seismic Vibes. Hell, I was a fan of Mecca (review here) in 2013. In terms of growing as a band, as players and songwriters, they have not at all wasted their time in the years since, even if they haven’t put out more than the one full-length to this point.

I hope to see them again soon, and that’s about as deep an insight as I’m going to offer here. Once more, I don’t know if, when that happens, the band will comprise three or four players, but I’m glad to take what I can get from these guys. Here’s hoping their record is out before the end of the year. If not, next year’s list it is. I’ll spare you the wax poetry about live music in the pandemic era — it’s all been said and I’m enough of a hack without indulging. I was grateful to be able to go to a place with my wife and see good music. I didn’t take video because I was concentrating on enjoying myself. The band killed. On another planet, that kind of thing happens all the time.

Sun Voyager on Bandcamp

Sun Voyager on Facebook

Sun Voyager on Instagram

Sun Voyager on Twitter

Sun Voyager on Tumblr

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Review & Full Album Premiere: Somnuri, Nefarious Wave

Posted in audiObelisk, Reviews on June 2nd, 2021 by JJ Koczan

somnuri nefarious wave

[Click play above to stream Somnuri’s Nefarious Wave in its entirety. Album is out Friday on Blues Funeral Recordings.]

The dive into pummeling intensity isn’t quite immediate on Somnuri‘s Nefarious Wave. They give it about three seconds. And though the Brooklynite trio will showcase a number of different looks on their second album and Blues Funeral Recordings debut — their first LP, 2017’s self-titled (review here, also discussed here), came out through Magnetic Eye, and they’ve since taken part in that label’s ‘Redux’ series twice, on tribute releases for Pink Floyd (discussed here) and Alice in Chains (review here) in 2018 and 2020, respectively, and issued a split LP with fellow NYC noisebringers Godmaker (review here) in 2018 through The Company — Nefarious Wave remains defined at least in part by its volatility, by the notion that at any moment the band can and might kick their sludge until it becomes mad enough to be the thrash and grind it is as they unleash “Tied to Stone” (3:54) and “Tooth and Nail” (2:26) at the outset.

Those two songs comprise just over six of Nefarious Wave‘s total 36-minute run, and the rest of the seven-track outing moves from shortest to longest as it makes its way toward the seven-minute titular cut, and though there’s some letup in tempo and further fleshing out of melody in that process, beginning with third song “Desire Lines” and its blend of weighted crash and airier singing — vocals handled by guitarist Justin Sherrell (ex-Blackout, etc.), who also handles bass here, and bassist Philippe Arman, while drummer Phil SanGiacomo (ex-Family) supplies the crash and mixed — and culmination in a build into angular riffing and throaty shouts worthy of comparison to Swarm of the Lotus. Perhaps it’s because they so very much nailed “Dirt” on the Alice in Chains tribute that one can’t help but hear an edge of grunge in their layered and harmonized vocals, but the context is different as Somnuri make these elements their own, and “Desire Lines” ultimately answers the unmitigated rush of “Tooth and Nail” with a massive lumber that opens wide enough to devour that false sense of security whole. What rough beast, its hour come at last, slouches toward Brooklyn to be born?

They’re not tricky about it. Somnuri aren’t trying to be clever for cleverness’ sake and the prog-noise-metal-sludge they choose at any given moment to inhabit is way more Lifesblood than even Remission, if one has to draw a line to Mastodon as the gallop in the beginning of centerpiece “Beyond Your Last Breath” would seem to warrant. But they wear brutality well, and just because it’s part of the plan rather than the entirety of it doesn’t make their proceedings any less brutal. As it moves into its midsection, a throaty bellow echoes out over a stomping procession, and soon the three-piece are twisting between one riff and the next as SanGiacomo gracefully handles change upon change, a quick stretch of melodic vocals giving way to a comedown before the chug surges forth again to round out. “Beyond Your Last Breath” is transitional no matter the format on which one listens.

somnuri

It not only finishes side A of the vinyl, but taking Nefarious Wave as a linear entirety — CD/DL — it functions as a lead-in to the three longer pieces that comprise the remaining circa 20 minutes of the release. The longer half, as it were, made up of fewer tracks. Particularly, it’s easy to pair “Beyond Your Last Breath” and “Watch the Lights Go Out,” which follows, in terms of theme. The latter track trades cleaner verses for a harsher pre-chorus before the soaring hook, and feels not quite patient in its execution, but not far off. Its apex, which arrives around 4:40 into its 6:09, is as furious as it is restrained, lurching back and forth on drawn out lines of guitar topped with hard growls, where the beginning of the song, with its ride cymbal and engaging bludgeonry, seemed to recall the impulses that drove “Tied to Stone” and “Tooth and Nail” in we-like-to-start-fast fashion. Can’t blame them, given how well it works.

But “Watch the Lights Go Out,” whatever it carries over from side A and however malevolent its crescendo proves to be, moves Nefarious Wave into its next stage, bringing on the at-first-hypnotic-then-destructive-then-righteously-melodic-then-everything-all-together-then-breakdown-elbow-to-your-face “In the Grey,” the penultimate inclusion on the album and by no means its first tour de force. It’s true that Somnuri save actual patience for the title-track that finishes, but already coming from “Watch the Lights Go Out,” there’s a sense of the reach going wider that sets that up, so that the melodies that top “Nefarious Wave” aren’t out of place and the echoing solo in its first half is no more random than the are-those-keyboards-or-guitar-effects? layer that accompanies the last crashes before the title-track gives over its last minute to noise. One might be tempted to think of that as time to process, but it’s hardly enough for the head-spinnery Nefarious Wave has had on offer throughout.

What carries the album, however, is the sense of control with which the band deliver the material. The songs certainly are not without an element of danger — there’s a feeling at times like they’re pushing themselves physically as well as creatively — and of course a certain amount of confrontationalism is a regional delicacy of NYC, but Somnuri find a niche for themselves amid that tempest, and they’re able to create both a purpose in the album’s structure and a flow within and between the songs to enact that purpose. It would be easy to have Nefarious Wave unfold as base chaos, an extreme-sludge onslaught running the length of an LP, in and out and done. And there’s nothing wrong with that, but the mission here is different and one finds the richness of melody that ensues leaving no less an impression in the end than did the outright violence of the first two songs. You can hear as much in Nefarious Wave as you want to put into hearing it, and any such effort on the part of the listener is given due reward.

Somnuri, “Beyond Your Last Breath” official video

Somnuri on Facebook

Somnuri on Instagram

Somnuri on Bandcamp

Blues Funeral Recordings on Bandcamp

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Blues Funeral Recordings website

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The Penitent Man Premiere “A Long Deep Breath of Sadness” from Legends of the Desert Vol. 2

Posted in audiObelisk, Reviews on June 1st, 2021 by JJ Koczan

the penitent man

cortege

This Friday, June 4, marks the release of Legends of the Desert Vol. 2, the second in an intended series of seven splits put together at the behest of New Mexican imprint Desert Records. And while the two bands differ some in aesthetic and certainly in composition — The Penitent Man a five-piece from Salt Lake City, Utah, and CortĂ©ge a duo from Austin, Texas — they’re united here by a focus on atmosphere and an underlying heavy Western theme. On a more practical level, neither act is a stranger to the Desert Records sphere. The Penitent Man issued their previously self-released, self-titled debut (review here) through the label in Fall 2020, while CortĂ©ge‘s two-songer Chasing Daylight EP (review here) landed in February. As each one follows up recent work, it shouldn’t be a surprise that there’s consistency of sound, but as with 2020’s Legends of the Desert Vol. 1 (discussed here), the intention here leans toward storytelling, and from the lyrics and moody vibes in The Penitent Man‘s three songs to the gunslinger samples that provide the transition between CortĂ©ge‘s two, there’s a classic balladeerism happening one way or the other.

For “A Long Deep Breath of Sadness,” which stands on its own in addition to serving as an intro for the subsequent “The Butcher,” and across those two as well as “Rest My Weary Head,” which rounds out, the band pays particular attention to arrangement and presentation. Todd Ogren of Rival Sons steps in on keys and makes an argument for the group acquiring a sixth member, following up the 10,000 Days-era Tool guitar moodiness and ambient echoing lead lines of “A Long Deep Breath of Sadness” the penitent man cortege legends of the desert vol 2with Deep Purple-style Hammond and ’60s-ish maybe-Hohner flourish later into “The Butcher,” taking the band’s patient unfurling and depth of mix to another level entirely. They readily cross genre boundaries between heavy country, blues and prog, but beneath that is a core of bedrock from which they explore outward. The acoustic that serves to underscore “Rest My Weary Head” feels earned and organic, and the buildup that surrounds over the track’s nine minutes is much the same, somehow grunge while being largely disconnected from that sound in its entirety. Maybe it’s just dirt. Downer dirt rock, and brimming with purpose in that.

“As it Lay (Heavy in the Air)” (10:26) and “Circling Above” (8:37), at just over 19 minutes put together, actually run longer than did Chasing Daylight earlier this year, but unless they’re actually scoring a film — and, really, why aren’t they? — the single-vinyl-side length suits CortĂ©ge. It’s consistently a challenge to write anything about them without mentioning Ennio Morricone, but that’s more a credit than a critique since it coincides so much with their stylistic intent. Their use of tubular bells to convey melody as opposed to their guitar adds to the Western feel and plays especially well off the bass in “As it Lay (Heavy in the Air),” an Earth-ier drone march underway quickly (such as it is quick) in the drums with footsteps made that much heavier for the ringing aspect that cuts through the backing ethereal effects. It’s not so much a build, but ricocheting pistol shots ring out ahead of a crying vulture as the first cut ends, and that brings in “Circling Above” to continue the theme. The explosion, topped with horns or something like them, happens after three minutes in, and is gone within a minute’s time, but returns later as “Circling Above” rounds out in surprising cacophony, CortĂ©ge loosing the reins for a bit of free jazz crashout before the wind fades.

Beneath all the hard stylization and attention to detail, Legends of the Desert Vol. 2 also functions on the simple level of showcasing two of Desert Records‘ associated acts, and it does well in that, such that the listener will be more drawn to find the common ground between them rather than to see each in opposition to the other. CortĂ©ge build on what The Penitent Man establish, and going back to the start again, the entire release seems peopled with characters who resonate with stories of their own to tell.

You can stream “A Long Deep Breath of Sadness” premiering on the player below ahead of the release on Friday. Think of it as the opening credits. More info follows, courtesy of the PR wire.

Enjoy:

Side A:
The Penitent Man is a 5-piece from Salt Lake City. Blending Desert Rock, Classic Rock, Heavy Blues. These exclusive songs featuring the special guest, Todd Ogren from Rival Sons on keyboard for all three tracks! Sounds like Led Zeppelin teamed up with Alice in Chains to make an album in the desert.

A Long Deep Breath of Sadness–4:26
The Butcher–6:32
Rest My Weary Head–9:01
All songs written and produced by The Penitent Man
Drum Tracking and Mixing by Greg Downs at Pale Horse Sound

Steve King–Guitars
Phill Gallegos–Guitars
Allan Davidson–Vocals
Chris Garrido–Drums
Ethan Garrido–Bass
Todd Ogren–Keyboards (from Rival Sons).

Side B:
Cortége is a duo from Austin, TX. They play Ambient Doom mixed with post-western cinematic scores. Heavy bass guitar, drums, and tubular bells. Sounds like if Earth and Pink Floyd teamed up to do a soundtrack to a David Lynch film.

1. As it Lay (Heavy in the Air) – 10:25
2. Circling Above – 8:39

All songs written and recorded by Cortége.
Recorded and mixed by Kevin Sparks.

Mike Swarbrick – Bass, Tubular Bells
Adrian Voorhies – Drums

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Album Review: Monster Magnet, A Better Dystopia

Posted in Reviews on May 31st, 2021 by JJ Koczan

monster magnet a better dystopia

Monster Magnet‘s first covers record could just as easily have been a compilation. Over the band’s 30-plus years, they’ve taken on a range of artists and songs, from Black Sabbath, MC5, Grand Funk Railroad, Hawkwind and The Stooges to Depeche Mode, Donovan and The Velvet Underground. A Better Dystopia — released in a continuing association with Napalm Records — is nothing quite so haphazard. Perhaps inevitable in its own right, it is a collection of 13 tracks (12 with a bonus) and 47 minutes that purposefully digs deeper into the band’s influences in heavy ’70s rock and proto-metal, and carries with it a more specific feeling of curation on the part of founding frontman Dave Wyndorf. No stranger to visualizing who and what Monster Magnet is on a conceptual level — also in terms of personnel — it’s easy to imagine Wyndorf picking these songs, delighting in the obscurity of some and the for-the-converted recognizability of others.

Before we get any further, the tracklisting:

1. The Diamond Mine (Dave Diamond)
2. Born to Go (Hawkwind)
3. Epitaph for a Head (JD Blackfoot)
4. Solid Gold Hell (The Scientists)
5. Be Forewarned (Macabre)
6. Mr. Destroyer (Poobah)
7. When the Wolf Sits (Jerusalem)
8. Death (The Pretty Things)
9. Situation (Josefus)
10. It’s Trash (The Cave Men)
11. Motorcycle (Straight to Hell) (Table Scraps)
12. Learning to Die (Dust)
13. Welcome to the Void – Bonus Track (Morgen)

Those who’ve done their own explorations of the 1968-’74 underground will know names like Dust, Poobah, The Pretty Things, Macabre, J.D. Blackfoot maybe even Jerusalem and Josefus thanks to reissues. Of course Hawkwind, from whose melted skulls space rock burst, were no less an influence on Monster Magnet‘s early freakouts than Black Sabbath. But Table Sraps, the spoken piece written by Dave Diamond and the Higher Elevation that leads off, and the near-punk of The Cave Men‘s “It’s Trash” — the original is an echoing, teenaged testosterone gnashing of teeth released as a 45RPM in 1966 — plunge deeper into record-collector obscurity, and that’s part of the point. Inevitable as it might be, and as much as it’s a fan-piece for sure and a plague-era holdover until Wyndorf and company can tour again and all that other stuff, it’s also a crash course in what’s made Monster Magnet who they are.

As they would, tracks range in style, tempo and structure, but the intent at the outset is to build momentum. “The Diamond Mine” sets an almost manic tone in Wyndorf‘s delivery, and “Born to Go” from Hawkwind‘s 1971 classic In Search of Space follows suit in its unmitigated thrust, which J.D. Blackfoot‘s “Epitaph for a Head” meets with two minutes of shred-forward jabbing that Wyndorf uses as a backdrop for a horror show in gleefully odd fashion. The current lineup of the band is Wyndorf, guitarists Phil Caivano and Garrett Sweeny (the latter also now in The Atomic Bitchwax), bassist Alec Morton (Raging Slab) and drummer Bob Pantella (also of Bitchwax and Raging Slab fame), but who’s playing what on a given song on an album is a crapshoot at the best of times, never mind in the middle of a pandemic lockdown, which is when A Better Dystopia would’ve come together. Still, the turn toward straight-ahead riffer fare in The Scientists‘ “Solid Gold Hell” provides a sense of repetition that serves to fluidly lead into Macabre/later-Pentagram‘s “Be Forewarned” and Poobah‘s “Mr. Destroyer,” both high points of the outing in terms of hooks and the latter settling into a righteous jam along the way. Behold Monster Magnet, digging in. Right on.

monster magnet (Gonzales Photo/Per-Otto Oppi/Alamy Live News)

So is it time to get weird? Yeah, probably. “When the Wolf Sits” rules like the lost-classic it is, and is handled with care as one would hope, and as the band plunge into side B with C still to come — the 2LP edition of A Better Dystopia has an etching on side D — it’s with the sitar-esque sounds of The Pretty Things‘ “Death” from 1968’s bizarro-prog concept opus S.F. Sorrow that the band most reinforce their ability to range where they will. The trilogy that follows in “Situation,” “It’s Trash” and “Motorcycle (Straight to Hell)” is fast — three songs in under eight minutes — but brings three likewise differing vibes, with the scorched lead guitar clarion that culminates “Situation” leading to the push and swagger of “It’s Trash” and “Motorcycle (Straight to Hell)” a dive into willful simplicity made more complex through call and response echoes and some later-in-the-party lysergic malevolence.

A more fitting lead-in for Dust‘s “Learning to Die” would be difficult to find. Performance-wise, the pre-bonus-track closer of A Better Dystopia is an easy favorite, with Wyndorf nailing the emotional urgency of the original while of course doing so as the song is brought into Monster Magnet‘s sonic context. A maddening tension of rhythm ensues. “Learning to Die” is the longest inclusion at 6:28 and the inarguable apex, but with Morgen‘s “Welcome to the Void” behind it, there’s one last bit of psycho-delic, Echoplex’ed chicanery to be had, and that’s just fine. Think of it as a victory lap more than a song that just didn’t fit anywhere else on the album. It’s more fun that way.

And fun is a not-insignificant portion of the motivation here, it seems. There’s an edge of educate-the-people too, make no mistake, but if Monster Magnet found certainty in uncertain times by regressing in their listening habits to early inspirations — pops and hisses of worn vinyl as security blanket — they’d hardly be the only ones. If the last decade of the band’s career has proved anything, it’s that their reach goes wherever they want it to go. Their most recent LP, Mindfucker (review here), arrived early in 2018 with a turn away from some of the spacier aspects that typified the two prior redux outings, 2014’s Milking the Stars (review here; discussed here), which reworked and freaked-up 2013’s Last Patrol (review here), and 2015’s Cobras and Fire: The Mastermind Redux (review here), which had a similar if more arduous task in doing the same for 2010’s Mastermind (review here). But even for its less-psychedelic pulse, it remained petulant, energetic, archetypal. With A Better Dystopia, the view of where that defining attitude came from is made that much clearer.

Monster Magnet, “Learning to Die” (Dust cover) lyric video

Monster Magnet, “Motorcycle (Straight to Hell)” (Table Scraps cover) lyric video

Monster Magnet, “Mr. Destroyer” (Poobah cover) lyric video

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Album Review: Heavy Temple, Lupi Amoris

Posted in Reviews on May 28th, 2021 by JJ Koczan

heavy temple lupi amoris

It has been years of waiting leading to a debut album from Philadelphia’s Heavy Temple. They have since their dawning amassed a not-insignificant catalog of short releases — their self-titled EP (review here) in 2014 was followed by 2016’s Chassit EP (review here), and there was that same year’s take on Type O Negative‘s “Love You to Death” (discussed here) and last year’s P-Funk covers split with Wolf Blood benefitting Black Lives Matter (discussed here) — as well as a likewise not-insignificant amount of alumni. Founding bassist/vocalist High Priestess Nighthawk has overseen multiple full-lineup changes for the three-piece now comprised of herself, guitarist Lord Paisley and drummer Baron Lycan, and would seem to have hammered out the sound she envisioned for the band on the road rather than in the studio. Heavy Temple arrive at their first full-length with no shortage of anticipation and with years of touring behind them and performances as festivals far and wide, among them Psycho Las Vegas, Shadow Woods, SXSW, going back to Eye of the Stoned Goat 2 (review here) in Delaware in 2013.

Lupi Amoris, which sees release through Magnetic Eye Records, is the beneficiary of this experience. Recorded by Will Spectre at Red Water Recordings (points for another Type O reference) and mastered by Dan Randall at Mammoth Sound with striking, symbol-laden cover art by Alex Reisfar, the five-song/33-minute offering follows a theme recasting the folktale Little Red Riding Hood — at least mostly; I’m not sure how opener “A Desert Through the Trees” ties into the narrative, but neither have I seen a lyric sheet — as a tale of feminine empowerment and realized sexual agency. Through “The Wolf,” “The Maiden,” “Isabella (with Unrelenting Fangs)” and “Howling of a Prothalamion” — the latter term refers to a wedding poem — and indeed the prior leadoff cut, Heavy Temple bring the payoff toward which they’ve been working for years. When they issued Chassit, I argued in favor of it being their debut LP for its flow and the complete-feeling sensibility underlying the songs. It was more than the sampling an EP designation implied. Listening to Lupi Amoris half a decade later, the difference is abundantly clear. In sound and style, in the substance and breadth of its songs, Lupi Amoris brings Heavy Temple to a new level entirely.

The imagine of “unrelenting fangs” is a standout, but not necessarily the whole of what Lupi Amoris has to offer. “A Desert Through the Trees” fades in smoothly and builds up quick with a post-Songs for the Deaf weighted-fuzz shuffle, slowing its roll to open wide in the verse before a winding transition that calls to mind half-speed The Atomic Bitchwax leads to the chorus. The song is spacious, vital, full and melodic. Layering of vocals adds further character, and in the second half’s guitar solo, Lord Paisley unfurls the soundscape-minded intent that becomes one of the record’s strengths, blending atmosphere and momentum atop the strong rhythmic foundation of the bass and drums. Much of the focus here will inevitably be on Nighthawk, who is a powerful and charismatic presence in the songs as well as the driving force behind the band, but the contributions of neither Paisley nor Lycan should be discounted when it comes to taking the proceedings as a whole. Everybody’s performance has stepped up, and if this is to be at last the permanent lineup of Heavy Temple — something no less awaited than the record — it would only be to the benefit of the group and their listenership alike. One must keep in mind that while Heavy Temple as a unit have been together since the end of 2012, this incarnation only came together in 2019. In some ways, they’re just getting started.

heavy temple

And given what they achieve throughout Lupi Amoris, that’s an even more exciting prospect. “A Desert Through the Trees” caps furiously as a preface for some of what the nine-minute “Isabella (with Unrelenting Fangs)” will offer later, and “The Wolf” fades in its wah-echoing guitar over the first minute-plus as an intro before the bass arrives to mark the beginning of the creeping groove that ultimately defines the track. It’s a righteous riff in the tradition thereof, and the vocals duly howl upward from the mix, flourish of harmony arriving late in the guitar but no less welcome for its arrival, the band showing a patience of craft that underlies their more forward aspects and only continues to serve them well as “The Wolf” surges its transition directly into the feedback-and-guitar-and-bass beginning of “The Maiden.” The centerpiece of Lupi Amoris might also house the record’s most scorching progressions, pushing, shoving, running all the while, and the vocals join the wash late to emphasize the point, capping cold with quick noise before “Isabella (with Unrelenting Fangs)” takes hold, a psychedelic guitar winding in to build upward toward the eventual marching verse.

Immediately the spirit is looser, the focus more on swing. The nod. And fair enough. At 4:14 into its total 9:30, the drums drop out for a moment and Heavy Temple begin a slower, more thoroughly and willfully doomed stretch. It’s another minute-plus before howling vocals — lower in the mix at first — arrive, but as the song moves past the six-minute mark, a chaos of crashes and vast-echo guitar crescendos and recedes. There’s a pause. And then the guitar goes backward and the drums go forward and they jam their way back into the central riff so long left behind and top it with dual-channel shred and end cacophonous as is their apparent wont, leaving only the key-laced “Howling of a Prothalamion” to close out. Those keyboards bookend the instrumental finale, which likewise offers bounce and gallop, ebb and flow enough to summarize the proceedings on its own while pushing outward from where the prior song’s apex left off. The ultimate moral of the story here is that whatever Heavy Temple do to follow Lupi Amoris, they’ve got their work cut out for them.

One hesitates to speculate on direction or forward intent. It may be another seven or eight years before there’s a follow-up to Lupi Amoris. Or it won’t. And their sound may push into the sinister outer reaches that “Howling of a Prothalamion” hints toward in some of its riffing, or their next outing might find them moving along another path entirely. Universe of infinite possibilities. Another record may never happen. What matters is that after years of hammering out who and what Heavy Temple are and stand for, the accomplishments of this first LP can’t be undone, and they not only justify the band’s wait-until-it’s-right approach, but make a dodged bullet of their possibly having done anything else. There’s a fair amount of year left, and again, universe of infinite possibilities, but this is the best debut album I’ve heard thus far into 2021. Recommended.

Heavy Temple, Lupi Amoris (2021)

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Skraeckoedlan Premiere “Kaktus Galaxus” Remastered Demo from Ă„ppelträdet Anniversary Edition LP

Posted in audiObelisk, Reviews on May 25th, 2021 by JJ Koczan

skraeckoedlan

Skraeckoedlan will release the 10th anniversary edition of their 2011 debut, Ă„ppelträdet (review here), on June 11 through The Sign Records. Ten years ago, Ă„ppelträdet (“apple tree” in English) was an electrified blend of heavy elements, bringing together weighted fuzz and the impact of progressive metal’s rhythmic turns, like a spliced-gene monsterlizard crafted by pulling together elements of Mastodon and Truckfighters, and it remains precisely that. Led by the clarion riffing of “Världarnas Fall,” it was prone to even more massive ready-to-be-called-“slabs” of stomp like the instrumental “Chronos,” and as “Arise the Sun” or the title-track or the duly careening “Universum” demonstrated, there was always more to the Norrköping, Sweden-based outfit’s approach than tonal novelty. Even at their outset, they were songwriters first, and the fact that they had such a clear idea of what they were doing only furthered their cause.

The 3LP edition of Ă„ppelträdet is duly huge, and you can see the details below. If you’ve been keeping up, the band — now comprised of guitarist/vocalist Robert Lamu, guitarist Henrik GrĂĽttner, bassist Erik Berggren and drummer Martin Larsson — haveĂ„ppelträdet 10 ĂĄrsjubileum been posting re-recorded tracks from Ă„ppelträdet ahead of the release of the box set. They’ve unveiled two of three intended thus far, with “Arise the Sun” (posted here) last month following “Universum” (posted here) in February, but also included in the comprehensive offering is a remastered version of Skraeckoedlan‘s two demos, Flykten FrĂĄn Tellus and Världarnas Fall, both originally released in 2010. And it was a different Skraeckoedlan before they hit the studio with Truckfighters‘ own Oskar Cedermalm to record the debut full-length. By and large, the songs are longer, dirtier, and rawer, with “Skräcködlan” and “FrĂĄn Havet Dom Kommer” forming a one-two of surging low-end and spacey melody that presages some of what the band would soon become, but still presents it in nascent fashion, bolstered by the energy of the band’s youth and the sheer excitement of playing that comes from the fact that, at the time, what they were playing was new to them as well as to the listener.

“Kaktus Galaxus,” which would become “Cactus” on Ă„ppelträdet proper, is in its Flykten FrĂĄn Tellus form a blast of fuzzy push and cymbal crash, its chugging verse and nuanced drums allowing the vocal melody to come through in a ready showcase of potential furthered by the chorus. These demos were compiled together on a tape in 2012, but the remaster brings new clarity to the speedy development that took place going from Flykten FrĂĄn Tellus to Världarnas Fall and finally into Ă„ppelträdet, and as a way to mark the passage of 10 years since the latter first arrived, the totality of the release is more about telling the story of who Skraeckoedlan were and how they got their start than it is simply putting a record back into print — although between you and me, even if it was just about getting Ă„ppelträdet back out there, the album holds up now as it has seeing periodic represses. I actively remember when it came in the first time around and I’d still be stoked to have it show up as a brand new outing from a brand new band. A decade after the fact, I can’t think of anything more to ask of it. It tells the story it wants to tell and puts emphasis on the early growth of the band, which, if you’ve followed the course of their career — their most recent LP was 2019’s EorĂľe (review here) — you know has not abated in the time since.

So, as a lead-in for Ă„ppelträdet‘s 10th anniversary edition, let’s go back to the start with the demo of “Kaktus Galaxus” mentioned above. You can dig into the track on the player below, and Lamu was kind enough to offer some words about it beneath that.

Please enjoy:

skraeckoedlan appeltradet

Robert Lamu on “Kaktus Galaxus”:

You are riding along in your space craft through a sandless desert, the world is coming to an end and everything seems lost. That’s when you see her. A giant space cactus, your savior.

“Kaktus Galaxus” is without a doubt our most important recording to this date. Both the writing and recording of that song showed us our sound and a way to play together. That demo made us re-record it for our debut album, and the song “Cactus” was born. That song has become our anthem.

“Ă„ppelträdet” will be released as an anniversary vinyl box on June 11 via The Sign Records. The box will be available in 500 copies and includes:

– 3 X 180g Gold-colored LPs in a black box with Gold Foil
– “Äppelträdet” (10th anniversary edition)
skraeckoedlan appeltradet– “Äppelträdet” (Original)
– Demo recordings “Flykten frĂĄn Tellus” and “Världarnas fall”
– 3x Inner sleeve (black with Gold Foil)
– 2x Posters (size A2)
– Lyric sheet and story from the band

Skraeckoedlan’s debut album ”Äppelträdet” was produced by Truckfighters’ bass player Oskar Cedermalm and released on Transubstans Records in 2011. In 2015 they teamed up with Razzia/Sony for the release of their sophomore album ”Sagor”, and in 2019 they launched their third and latest studio full length, ”Eorþe”.

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

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