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

Tags: , , , , ,

Under the Sun Premiere “The Shot” Video; The Bell of Doom Out April 5

Posted in Bootleg Theater, Reviews on March 26th, 2024 by JJ Koczan

under the sun the bell of doom

Athens-based five-piece Under the Sun are set to issue their debut LP, The Bell of Doom, on April 5 through the e’er-reliable Sound Effect Records. And man, some albums just manage to sound loud no matter at what volume you’re actually playing them. Starting with a hearty “Oh yeah!” and diving almost immediately into a celebration of riff and drive with “Smoking Angels,” the shove is inviting through the slowdown and into the dual guitars assuring no dip in the heavy as they shred the solo into the fade. The initial impression is a party and they back that for sure in the burly swagger of “Cry Out,” the more rolling “One Reason” and side B’s pairing of “The Shot” (video premiering below) and “Pony Ride,” with classic-style hooks and careening riffs offered with no pretense in their impulse toward audience engagement. Sounds like a good time? Hell yes it does.

But if you’re looking at the cover art with its graveyard and kraken-church, red sky and vertigo-style swirl, dark hues and creeper logo treatments wondering if I’ve posted the wrong image or some such based on the above description, there’s another side to Under the Sun that manifests throughout the eight-song/38-minute LP. In the video for “The Shot,” they’re getting ready for the show, getting to the show, playing the show, and that focus on on-stage energy is an obvious priority. If they showed up at your front door and started rocking out (after knocking politely, of course), they could hardly make it easier to get on board with the groove. What’s not accounted for in that are cuts like the title-track, which trades “Oh yeah!” for a tolling bell ahead of its crashes and redirects the momentum built across “Smoking Angels” and “Cry Out” toward a post-Cathedral lurch that even when they seem to break out of their own trance later on with a last-minute tempo kick, continues to define “The Bell of Doom” as a marked turn fromunder the sun whence they set forth minutes earlier.

Side B leadoff “Going Down” subs in Sabbathian swing for its own second-half pickup, and they find some middle ground in brash closer “My Name” — which is the longest inclusion at 6:34 but departs to a residual drone around the 4:45 mark — but in that finale the vibe likewise feels grimmer. The vocals are throatier, and the on-beat forwardness that brought the double-time hi-hat, strutting riff and Southern-style soloing of “Pony Ride” has shifted its urgency to act as a setup for the quick drop to bass that precedes a markedly sludged-out nod, which serves as their mostly-instrumental outro before the aforementioned drone takes hold, pausing again to get even slower before it’s through and thereby hammering its teardown all the more into your brain. This dual-faceted ethic isn’t always so stark in presentation, which “One Reason” also demonstrates in sticking to its bigger-feeling lumber, and one has to acknowledge that the lines being drawn are between microniches under the umbrella of ‘heavy.’

It’s the sense of purpose with which Under the Sun toll their bell — aesthetically and literally speaking — when they do that is striking, ultimately, and it may be that as they press forward from The Bell of Doom, they’ll draw the various sides of their persona closer together and end up somewhere in the middle. The opposite feels no less likely; that the lines between their rocker and doomer sides will become more prevalent. As their first record, The Bell of Doom sets out on a path that’s unknowable as yet — though it’s almost always fun to guess, even when I say it isn’t — but what allows it to do so is a strength of performance and songwriting that communes with genre and audience even as the band begin to search for their place, their sound. Or maybe I should take a cue from “The Shot” below, let tomorrow worry about tomorrow, and bask in the revelry of the moment captured and offered, whatever form it might take.

Yeah, let’s roll with it.

Enjoy the video. PR wire info and links of course follow after:

Under the Sun, “The Shot” video premiere

Under the Sun, one of Athens, Greece’s best-kept secrets, announce their debut album “The Bell of Doom”, due out on vinyl and CD on April 5, 2024 on Sound Effect Records. A thunderous stoner-sludge album shaking the foundations of all-things-heavy with its combination of amp-splitting power and red-eyed psychedelics.

Under The Sun is a sludgerotic stoner band that emerged from the depths of heavy riffing and jamming, back in 2015. Inspired by historic ’70s bands like Black Sabbath and embracing the sound of newer bands, like Orange Goblin, Kyuss, and C.O.C., Under the Sun forge their own sound that appeals to both fans of 70s heavy rock and stoner / doom music lovers.

Passionate about creating music driven by fuzz-drenched guitars and groovy bass lines, Under the Sun operate on the event horizon between heavy-doom and sunbaked stoner-rock. Armed with tough riffing, powerful vocals and traveling drums, Under the Sun merge a punk-attitude (the album was recorded live and required a maximum of two takes for each song) with the “sweet surrender” of their more laid-back, psych-blues escapism, resulting in a classic r’n’r record!

From the pure r’n’r of “Smoking Angels” to the seemingly-occult aura of “The Bell of Doom” (in essence an allegorical song about the distortion of human relationships), Under the Sun revisit their childhood dreams (“Shot”), or embark on some… psychedelic ones (“Pony Ride”), pay tribute to choices turned sour and wrong paths (“One Reason”, “Going Down”), though, after all, they do not forget to praise Friday night in the city (“Looking for some dirt, 20 euros in my pocket, welcome to my world”, from “Know My Name”), or make a tender gesture to all those who have a hard time and need to take life in their own hands (“Cry Out”)…cause, as the band insists on, we are all equal under the sun.

Video credits:
Artist: Under The Sun
Song Title: The Shot
Album: The Bell Of Doom
Label: Sound Effect Records (www.soundeffect-records.gr)
Director: Spyros Kourkoulas

Tracklisting:
1. Smoking Angels
2. Cry Out
3. The Bell of Doom
4. One Reason
5. Going Down
6. The Shot
7. Pony Ride
8. My Name

Album credits:
Recorded at Unreal Studios
Engineered by Nick Dimitrakakos
Mixed and mastered by Alex Ketenjian
Artwork by CLLK

Under the Sun, The Bell of Doom (2024)

Under the Sun on Facebook

Under the Sun on Instagram

Under the Sun on Bandcamp

Sound Effect Records on Facebook

Sound Effect Records on Bandcamp

Sound Effect Records website

Tags: , , , , ,

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

Tags: , , , , , ,

Acid Mammoth Premiere “Fuzzorgasm (Keep on Screaming)” Video; Supersonic Megafauna Collision Out April 5

Posted in Bootleg Theater, Reviews on March 22nd, 2024 by JJ Koczan

acid mammoth supersonic megafauna collision

Dug-in Athenian riffchuckers Acid Mammoth are set to issue their fourth LP, Supersonic Megafauna Collision, on April 5 through Heavy Psych Sounds. It arrives three years after their duly rolling 2021 offering, Caravan (review here), and feels no less self-aware in highlighting its elephantine nature, a largesse of sound that begins in the opening title-track — catchy, doomed but not necessarily miserable, more reveling in the worship of volume and tone, a nodding testimony — and follows where the smoke goes throughout its six-track/41-minute entirety.

And if you’re expecting me to drop a reference here to that smoke leading to the Riff-Filled Land, well, I guess that’s reasonable enough. But don’t let that take away from the fact that Acid Mammoth have been declaring their brand of stoner-doom dogma since their 2017 self-titled debut caught the attention of Heavy Psych Sounds in the first place. And along with the over-the-top, heavy-speaking-to-heavy title underscoring the latest outing’s aural heft in language the genre-converted should have no trouble understanding — that is, it feels like one is supposed to look at Supersonic Megafauna Collision and/or the Branca Studio cover that adorns it and rightly anticipate being flattened by the proceedings — the overarching crush that gets a bit more down and dirty in “Fuzzorgasm (Keep on Screaming)” (video premiering below) becomes not a downer slog, but instead a vital celebration of its own motion.

This is an aspect of the work the band themselves acknowledge in the PR wire info below — thinking specifically of “all that enthusiasm and excitement,” etc. — and part of it might just be down to that the record, with the exceptions of 11:53 closer “Tusko’s Last Trip” and the trade-volume-for-hypnosis “One with the Void” (4:35) before it, keeps its songs to about six minutes in length, keeps its energy high, and feels in its bulk specifically composed to be played live. Through the title cut, “Fuzzorgasm (Keep on Screaming),” the Electric Wizardly slough of “Garden of Bones” on which Marios Louvaris seems to keep the momentum going in part by peppering in double-kick amid the tempo comedown riffery, and “Atomic Shaman,” which leads off side B in what feels like direct complement to the catchiness that began in “Supersonic Megafauna Collision,” Acid Mammoth dare to bring vibrancy to a style of doom that in the hands of many outfits in Europe and elsewhere has a hard time acid mammothgetting out of the way of its own misery. Among the many other things Acid Mammoth accomplish on Supersonic Megafauna Collision, they make it fun to play in the mud.

The vocals of Chris Babalis, Jr., which are Sabbath-rooted but have never wanted for their own character in that — Babalis on guitar/vocals and Louvis on drums make up half the returning lineup with guitarist Chris Babalis, Sr. and bassist Dimosthenis Varikos are another piece of what carries that fervor through to the listener. This is true even as one waits for the volume burst in “One With the Void” that doesn’t actually arrive until after the riff of “Tusko’s Last Trip” enacts its own build, and as infectious as the earlier pieces are in their choruses and brighter mood, it’s the vocals that provide consistency as the second half of the record departs from “Atomic Shaman” into the last two songs, fostering tension in “One With the Void” that “Tusko’s Last Trip” pays off in its outbound march and the gritty low end that leaves space for lead guitar to cut through before and after they set up and execute the concluding, jammier procession, an especially scorching solo over brash plod that could probably have just kept going all day like that providing the album’s final statement before the quick fade brings it down.

While consistent in tone, “Tusko’s Last Trip” is purposeful in delivering on the trope of a harder-hitting, broader-in-scope capstone, and it ends up hitting its mark — not unexpectedly, considering it’s Acid Mammoth‘s fourth full-length — in a way that also calls out the clarity of big-riff-party intent throughout Supersonic Megafauna Collision‘s early going. And yet, if they wrote it for Caravan, it would’ve been a completely different song three years ago. The band have never sounded tighter than they do in these songs, and while that’s part of the appeal, they neglect neither the atmospheric scope nor the raw impact crucial to engaging the audience whose passion for the form they so readily share. All of these elements, plus melody, chemistry, aesthetic and craft, align just right to let Supersonic Megafauna Collision present a fresh take to those with ears willing to hear it. Whatever else they do or don’t do from here, they’ve captured a moment.

Enjoy the clip for “Fuzzorgasm (Keep on Screaming)” — which is mostly safe for work, if that helps? — below, followed by some words from the band on it and more from the PR wire:

Acid Mammoth, “Fuzzorgasm (Keep on Screaming)” video premiere

Acid Mammoth on “Fuzzorgasm (Keep on Screaming)”:

“Fuzzorgasm (Keep on Screaming)” is the third track of our upcoming new album ‘Supersonic Megafauna Collision’. It is a witchy track, filled with fuzzy riffs and an unholy atmosphere. Debauchery is taking place in the wickedest of covens, with smoke and blood transcending your soul. Join the coven and relish its serpentine bliss!”

Preorder: https://www.heavypsychsounds.com/shop.htm#HPS299

About their upcoming fourth studio album “Supersonic Megafauna Collision”, vocalist and guitarist Chris Babalis Jr. says: “While the previous album was composed and recorded during a state of total COVID lockdown in 2020, our new album was composed and recorded after the world had gotten back to a new state of normalcy after we had toured and played shows all over Europe, and all that enthusiasm and excitement we gathered while touring was put into this new album. We wanted to record a heavy and explosive album with lots of fuzz, that retains what made our sound great in our previous releases but take it a few steps further, and that’s exactly what we did. The album starts as a celebration of all things fuzzy with the title track, and it just gets darker and darker as the album progresses, until it concludes in complete and utter heartbreak with the song “Tusko’s Last Trip”, telling the heart-wrenching real story of Tusko, an elephant who was murdered as a result of cruel human experimentation.”

“Supersonic Megafauna Collision” was recorded, mixed, and mastered at Descent Studio, with drums recorded at Ritual Studios. The artwork was created by Branca Studio.

*** ACID MAMMOTH *** EUROPEAN TOUR 2024
SA 27/04/2024 IT TORINO – Blah Blah
SU 28/04/2024 *** OPEN SLOT ***
MO 29/04/2024 ES BARCELONA – Razzmatazz 3
TU 30/04/2024 ES MADRID – Wurlitzer Ballroom
WE 01/05/2024 ES PORTUGALETE – Sala Groove
TH 02/05/2024 FR MARSEILLE – Le Molotov
FR 03/05/2024 FR CHAMBERY – Brin de Zinc
SA 04/05/2024 CH ALTDORF – Vogelsang
SU 05/05/2024 IT BOLOGNA – TBA
MO 06/05/2024 IT *** OPEN SLOT ***
TU 07/05/2024 IT *** OPEN SLOT ***

TRACKLISTING:
1. Supersonic Megafauna Collision (6:38)
2. Fuzzorgasm (Keep on Screaming) (6:12)
3. Garden of Bones (6:28)
4. Atomic Shaman (6:12)
5. One With the Void (4:35)
6. Tusko’s Last Trip (11:53)

ACID MAMMOTH is
Chris Babalis Jr. – Vocals, Guitars
Chris Babalis Sr. – Guitars
Dimosthenis Varikos – Bass
Marios Louvaris – Drums

Acid Mammoth, Supersonic Megafauna Collision (2024)

Acid Mammoth on Facebook

Acid Mammoth on Instagram

Acid Mammoth on Bandcamp

Heavy Psych Sounds on Bandcamp

Heavy Psych Sounds website

Heavy Psych Sounds on Facebook

Heavy Psych Sounds on Instagram

Tags: , , , , ,

Haunted Premiere “Garden of Evil” Video; Stare at Nothing Out April 19

Posted in Bootleg Theater, Reviews on March 21st, 2024 by JJ Koczan

Haunted Stare At Nothing album cover

Italian murk-doomers Haunted are set to make their label debut on Ripple Music April 19 with their third album overall, Stare at Nothing. Below, they premiere the third single, “Garden of Evil.” Based in Catania, which rests at the foot of the volcano Mt. Etna in Sicily, the four-piece made their self-titled debut (review here) in 2016 through Twin Earth Records — see also KabbalahValkyrieStars That Move; any association with the label helmed by Richard Bennett of Stars That Move and Starchild is an automatic endorsement of quality of tone in my mind — and followed with the dug-in 2LP Dayburner (review here) in 2018, also on Twin Earth Records as well as DHU Records and Graven Earth Records. The jump to Ripple for the nine-song/46-minute lurch, churn and brood of Stare at Nothing comes across as something the band have been building toward, and they meet that moment with due command of their approach, no less doomed for dwelling as it does in ethereal mists.

If you’re wondering why it was two years between their first two albums and it’s been six between the second and third, first of all, time is all pretend. Second, duh, pandemic. Third, it could be that swapping out more than half their lineup had something to do with it. Since DayburnerHaunted have moved from two guitars to one and brought in a new drummer, leaving vocalist Cristina Chimirri and bassist Frank Tudisco as the remaining members from the debut as new guitarist Kim Crowley takes the mantle of riff-conjuration and Luca Strano sets forth a roll in “Catamorph” after Stare at Nothing‘s intro that becomes a thread through the volume changes of “Garden of Evil” and into the bleakly psych-leaning “Back to the Nest,” drawing together the flow of side A as it heads toward its 7:25 capper “Malevolent” and the bombast it brings to the creeper-vibe melodic doom and surrounding tonal density. Immersion is key to the intent, as the whispers and cultish aural obscurities of “Intro” convey at the outset, and Haunted feel purposeful in that without hauntedlosing themselves in the consumption of their own making as they stride toward oblivion.

Those who caught wind either of Haunted or Dayburner likely already know that Virginia’s Windhand have been a touchstone comparison point up to now in the band’s output. I won’t tell you that’s not still a factor, but with a greater depth of layering and harmony from Chimirri, the guitar howls that offset the low distortion in “Potsherds” as the song rears back for its next sneakily uptempo verse, the exploration of minimal spaces in “Catamorph,” “Garden of Evil” and the even-more-mournful voice-and-guitar piece “Fall of the Seven Veils,” and the way the title-track seems to stomp that much harder before giving over to eight-minute nod-revelry closer “Waratah Blossom,” Haunted commit themselves to the craft of identity through their material, and the effort pays off in a more individualized sound within the sphere of modern cult doom. While resonating a lost kind of despondency, they nonetheless come across as wholly engaged in what they’re doing. It feels daring to suggest, but they might even be enjoying themselves?

Too far? Okay, fair enough.

In all seriousness, that a passion for the dark arts is so prevalent throughout the atmosphere of Stare at Nothing isn’t really anything new for Haunted or the corners of microgenre in which they lurk, but throughout these songs, they communicate malaise without giving up the immersive tonality that’s been on their side all along, despite the lineup changes. The band recorded last year, but I wouldn’t be surprised if pieces like “Garden of Evil” and “Stare at Nothing” date back longer, as they at least feel like they’ve been stewing and worked on for a while, whether or not that’s actually the case. Alongside the general development Haunted have taken on in terms of their sound throughout the last half-decade-plus, the potential for further growth as a four-piece if in fact they want to keep the current configuration, the consciousness emergent in Stare at Nothing goes beyond actually thinking about where a given part of a song is going to end up, extrapolating across the entirety of the record as a whole, varied landscape no less notable for its melodic reach in the end than for its monolithic riffing.

PR wire info follows the “Garden of Evil” premiere below. Please enjoy:

Haunted, “Garden of Evil” video premiere

From the upcoming full-length album by Italian Occult Doomers HAUNTED – this is the third single, “Garden of Evil.”

The full album, “Stare at Nothing”, will be available thru Ripple Music on Vinyl/CD/Digital on April 19, 2024! Pre-order your copy at one of the links below!

US Customers – Pre-order physical copies @ https://ripplemusic.bigcartel.com/
EURO Customers – Pre-order your physical copy @ https://en.ripple.spkr.media/
Or get your digital AND physical copies WORLDWIDE @ https://ripplemusic.bandcamp.com/

Dark and twisted, the follow-up to 2018’s critically-lauded “Dayburner” dives even deeper into traditional doom territory with Kim Crowley’s ominous Vitus-esque riffs rolling over the listener upon each chord on top of the now-foursome’s sharp and harrowing rhythm section. Vocalist Cristina Chimirri’s mystical siren-like incantations slowly drag you thousands feet deep into the abyss, making “Stare At Nothing” a vibrant pitch-black doom release.

Recorded & Mixed by Carlo Longo at NuevArte Studio, Catania, IT – June 2023
Mastered by Esben Willems at Studio Berserk, Gothenburg, SE – Aug 2023
Album Cover Photo by Kristina Lerner
Visualizer Video by Matt Wood of Ripple Music

Haunted is:
Cristina Chimirri: Keening
Kim Crowley: Guitars
Luca Strano: Battery
Frank Tudisco: Low

Haunted, Stare at Nothing (2024)

Haunted on Facebook

Haunted on Instagram

Haunted on Bandcamp

Ripple Music on Facebook

Ripple Music on Instagram

Ripple Music on Bandcamp

Ripple Music website

Tags: , , , , ,

Review & Full Album Premiere: Iota, Pentasomnia

Posted in audiObelisk, Reviews on March 20th, 2024 by JJ Koczan

Iota Pentasomnia

[Click play above to stream Iota’s Pentasomnia in full. It’s out this Friday, March 22, through Small Stone Records.]

Behold the album of five sleeps. Positioning themselves at the junction between the conscious and unconscious feels fair enough for Salt Lake City trio Iota, whose five-track Pentasomnia LP marks a return from the ether some 16 years after their debut, Tales (discussed here, also here, and I wrote the bio for the reissue), appeared via Small Stone Records and heralded a new generation’s take on what turn-of-the-century heavy rock had accomplished, blowing it out with purposefully epic jamming and putting cosmic-minded heavy, blues and intense desert thrust together to create something immediately of its own from it. I could go on about it — which is obvious if you click those links — but the bottom line is Iota tapped into something special and the 32-minute Pentasomnia is arrives not as the follow-up Tales never got, but as a new realization of self formed from the same components.

Founded in 2002 by guitarist/vocalist Joey Toscano (also synth), who would put out two albums with the more pointedly bluesy Dwellers in 2012’s Good Morning Harakiri (review here) and 2014’s Pagan Fruit (discussed here, review here), Iota solidified as the trio of Toscano, bassist Oz Yosri (who’d later join Xur and Bird Eater) and drummer/engineer Andy Patterson, who had already joined SubRosa by the time Tales was released, would play with that band for the rest of their time and is now in The Otolith and sundry other projects in addition to helming recordings at his studio, Boar’s Nest. That’s where Pentasomnia was assembled and recorded, at least partly live, between late 2018 and early 2019, to be mixed at some point in the last half-decade by Eric Hoegemeyer, mastered by Chris Goosman and issued now through Small Stone.

Those who caught onto Iota and made the jump to Dwellers will recognize elements of his approach in Pentasomnia, particularly in the vocals. Where much of Tales was topped by a reverb-laced Pepper Keenan-esque shout, Pentasomnia brings a more patient take, melodic layers weaving into and out of harmony on closer “The Great Dissolver,” which loses none of its guitar’s shimmering resonance for being just three and a half minutes long and which, like much of what precedes it from the immediately-into-the-verse-maybe-because-it’s-been-long-enough smokey blues of leadoff “The Intruder” onward, feels suited to the dream-state being conveyed. “The Intruder” soon enough fills the space in the mix left open in that verse with rolling distortion and a solo overhead, building through the chorus, exhales and inhales again during the bridge (instrumentally speaking) and shifts into a cascading gallop before the riff and vocals come back ahead of the final comedown. Toscano‘s delivery complements both languid sway and Pentasomnia‘s most active moments, lending character and emotional depth to the songs as a defining feature.

One of the two longer inclusions at 8:14 — the other is centerpiece “The Returner” at 9:15 — “The Intruder” is perhaps named for that willful post-midpoint flow disruption, but the work that the opener does in aligning the listener to where Iota are circa 2024 (or were circa 2019, as it were) is pivotal. It tells you in clear terms that at no point on Pentasomnia are Iota trying to dream it’s 2008, but back then you could hear them pushing themselves creatively and you can hear it now too.

iota

Amid the Soundgardeny thrust of “The Timekeeper,” the vocal reach at the end preserves the moment where breath gives out, and the way the three of them dig into the angular-but-fluid rhythm of “The Witness,” meeting a riff that wouldn’t be out of place in progressive metal with an organic nod and distinctly grunge-tinged vocal harmonies, likewise comes across as a manifestation of personal growth. If you are or think you are the same person now you were 16 years ago, well, you might want to have a hard look at that. By not aping what they did on the debut, by not trying to rebottle that particular lightning, Iota allow themselves to emphasize the sonic adventurousness was so much a part of the band’s appeal in the first place. Pentasomnia doesn’t take you to the same places as Tales, and it’s not supposed to. This is a new journey.

I suppose all of this is in some way an attempt to prepare those who got on board with Tales for the differences in aesthetic and intensity wrought through Pentasomnia, but honestly, I’m not sure it’s that big a deal. It’s the same players, even if Yosri is credited as Oz Inglorious, and the new collection is unquestionably a richer listening experience that accounts for Iota as its own entity in its creative drive, atmosphere and groove — Yosri‘s basswork being the very opposite of his nom de plume — while sharing its predecessor’s lack of pretense and bent toward individual expression in an updated way. I was a big fan of Tales. Hell, I had it on yesterday ahead of writing this review. It holds up. Pentasomnia says and does more than Iota could have during their first run, codifying elements of their style that they never had the chance to reaffirm as their own in Toscano‘s sleek riffs and transcendental soloing and Patterson‘s stately flow on drums — both the motor behind “The Witness” and the sunny hilltop on which the pastoralia early in “The Returner” takes place — and a range in songcraft that makes them all the more identifiably themselves.

The inevitable next question is to what, if anything, it will lead. A threat of live shows has been issued, but would Iota come back after 16 years, put out an album and do ‘select appearances’ in the manner of, say, Lowrider? I don’t know. Further, if these songs started coming together in 2018 and are landing now, what does that mean for their future? Could they not already have another LP ready to go when they need it, and is it any more or less likely that Pentasomnia will land, hit hard with those it’s going to hit hard with, and the band will re-recede in the face of other priorities in music and life, possibly either for good or some other extended period of time? I don’t know that either. And like the shifts in sound, those kinds of considerations become secondary to the actual listening experience. Part of what allowed Iota‘s music to endure over the course of their long absence was the cohesion they found bringing disparate ideas together. Pentasomnia feels a little more like a fourth LP than a second in how it’s grown, but if you’d hold that against it, you’re making the choice to miss out.

I find that, as regards bottom lines, I’m just really glad Pentasomnia exists. Again, I’m a fan. It’s personal for me, and I’m not going to try to speak to anyone else’s experience. I’d heard rumblings of Iota activity circa the end of the 2010s, but can’t say I ever realistically expected anything else from them, and even if I had, I likely wouldn’t have imagined the kind of progression they have on offer. Whatever is to come or isn’t, the dreams they’re having are real and vivid. This is worth appreciating now before we all wake up and everything disappears.

Iota, “The Timekeeper” official video

Iota on Facebook

Iota on Instagram

Iota website

Small Stone Records on Facebook

Small Stone Records on Instagram

Small Stone Records on Bandcamp

Small Stone Records website

Tags: , , , , ,

Album Review: Rickshaw Billie’s Burger Patrol, Big Dumb Riffs

Posted in Reviews on March 19th, 2024 by JJ Koczan

rickshaw billie's burger patrol big dumb riffs 2

It’s hard to argue with a song called ‘1800EATSHIT.’ Even harder when it’s so damn catchy. Yeah, it’s a little counterintuitive to think of a record called Big Dumb Riffs as refined, but with their third LP, Rickshaw Billie’s Burger Patrol are so clear in their intention and they deliver on it thoroughly enough to make it undeniable. Issued through their own Permanent Teeth Records, the album strips down the Austin, Texas, three-piece’s approach, honing in on tonal character, structure, attitude and, as “1-800-EAT-SHIT” assures, a solid amount of fuckery. Yes, they already their own beer.

The record takes place across 11 songs that span just 23 minutes, and could just as easily position itself as an exploration of the intersectionality between the masculine and the dumbassed writ through lunkheaded hardcore chug, nü-metallic palm-mute dissonance and the Primusian bounce that inspired it — looking at “Papa Pop It” for the latter and “Brat” for the former — stoner riff idolatry and hooks strong enough to hold them up despite the weight of tone emanating from Leo Lydon‘s eight-string guitar and Aaron Metzdorf‘s bass. Both of these dwell in a monolithic low-end space, but with such short songs and make-it-a-party tempos made all the more propulsive through Sean St. Germain‘s drumming, the momentum that opener “Clowntown” sets forth in its initial cycles of tense, head-down chug and subsequent sprint-out is unrelenting through the duration despite slamming into a wall of Even Heavier® brand mega-chug in the metalcore-style breakdown of “Peanut Butter Snack Sticks” on side A.

One thing to understand: Rickshaw Billie’s Burger Patrol know what they’re doing here, and they’re doing it consciously. The short runtime, which is less than many EPs in a heavy underground that often prides itself on longform construction, becomes an advantage. On Big Dumb Riffs, the longest inclusion is closer “In a Jar” at 3:39 and seven of the 11 songs are under two minutes long. They get in, hit hard, make their point, get out. They are not lazy, as the sneering ’90s-style circle-mosher “Whip it Around” clearly demonstrates across its devastatingly efficient 55 seconds, leant a sense of freedom by dropping the pretense of being about anything other than the physicality being conveyed, which is all the more effective since it’s about headbanging, itself a physical act.

Light on flourish by nature and aesthetic choice, they offer a sneering, sometimes-aggressive stance through Lydon‘s vocals and lyrics like, “Stop being a bitch, like your mother,” in “Papa Pop It” or just the screamier backing lines shouting the title later in the penultimate “Blue Collar Man,” which answers both the meaner-sounding distortion of “Peanut Butter Snack Sticks” and the Claypoolish underpinnings noted above following the gets-up-and-runs “Bastard Initiated,” where they foster a similar clenched-teeth tension to that of “Clowntown,” working quickly in a no-bullshit-and-playing-at-being-all-bullshit manner that those who picked up what Rob Crow put down with Goblin Cock should find refreshing. Three dudes in the band means a total of six middle fingers. They all seem to be up here, however busy their hands might otherwise be at any given moment.

As much as Big Dumb Riffs is what it tells you it’s about — i.e., riffs, big, dumb — and as much as Rickshaw Billie’s Burger Patrol have put into making it a fun listen, which is absolutely is, there are also some fairly dark themes. I haven’t actually seen a lyric sheet, so pardon if the quotes aren’t exact (I’m happy to correct whatever needs it), but “Body Bag” is the rolling centerpiece that kicks in after “Whip it Around,” and it and “Papa Pop It” both seem to be about suicide on some level. The verse in “Body Bag” tells the story of a protagonist who takes their own life after “Trying to be mama’s little twinkle in her eye,” and, “His father didn’t want him in the first place but he came in first place,” opening to its catharsis in the stuttered, “Ma-ma-ma-ma-mama, I’m about to have a heart attack” and concluding with, “I loved you but you didn’t say it back,” as the backing vocals join in for “You’d better put him in a body bag,” and they ride the chug through a last chorus around that line for another minute or so.

Outwardly poppier (go figure) and likewise grim in substance, “Papa Pop It” is framed as an imperative: “Papa pop it/Papa pull it/Do it,” and what’s happening there is someone telling, almost daring, their father to kill himself. Between these, the ultra-catchy fuck-you of “1-800-Eat-Shit” — which will no doubt be a sing-along on however many tours the band does for the record — as well as the pointedly-mom-voiced “You love it!” that oozes mockery next to a line about nostalgia being a sack of shit, the taunt in the repeated “Whatchu gonna do about that?”s of “Brat,” and the fact that “In a Jar” despite its turn toward patience and more peaceful, semi-doomgaze-comedown feel, is about murder, the vocals delivering the lines “Keep my hands…/Wrapped around your throat,” like wistful post-punk before rolling into the chorus that makes it plain with, “I’m gonna fucking kill you,” without departing the subdued-in-context last-minute drawl. “Blue Collar Man” encapsulates working class disillusion in the single lyric, “But it wasn’t the plan for the blue collar man” — daring to have a point and make it — and both “Clowntown” and “Bastard Initiated” execute their willful arrogance with a decidedly negative bent.

And I’m not sure who or what “El Sapo” (“the toad”) is about, but its 49 seconds of mute-chug and concluding gang shout come across like homage after the fact. What one might take from all of this is that while Big Dumb Riffs directs itself toward truth in advertising, there’s complexity in how it goes about that, and while its songs are short, they want nothing for persona or narrative. That St. GermainMetzdorf and Lydon accomplish this side-by-side with their stated goal of simplifying their sound even from where they were on 2022’s Doom Wop (review here) isn’t to be understated — it makes that act of breaking a thing down to its most essential parts a creative progression — and whether you take it on with that in mind or you put it on just to blow your speakers and pummel your brain with its chunky-style depth of frequency, fair enough. It feels like Rickshaw Billie’s Burger Patrol have arrived at the point they’ve been working toward for the last seven years, harnessing primal rhythm and uniting around a single sonic purpose with a deceptively multifaceted confrontationalism. Fuck around and find… yourself?

Rickshaw Billie’s Burger Patrol, Big Dumb Riffs (2024)

Rickshaw Billie’s Burger Patrol on Facebook

Rickshaw Billie’s Burger Patrol on Instagram

Rickshaw Billie’s Burger Patrol on Bandcamp

Rickshaw Billie’s Burger Patrol website

Rickshaw Billie’s Burger Patrol links

Tags: , , , , ,

Carpet Premiere New Album Collision in Full; Out Friday

Posted in audiObelisk, Reviews on March 19th, 2024 by JJ Koczan

Carpet Collison

https://soundcloud.com/carpet-43360131/sets/carpet-collision-prelistening/s-toatP4L9yE8?si=17e9105cf81a4247a0cbfc3472b02e4c&utm_source=clipboard&utm_medium=text&utm_campaign=social_sharing

[Click play above to stream Carpet’s Collision in its entirety. It’s out this Friday, March 22. At 21:30 CET today, which is 4:30PM Eastern and 1:30PM Pacific, the band will host a listening party on Bandcamp. The invite is here.]

While celebrating the 15th anniversary of their debut album, 2009’s The Eye is the Heart Mirror, Bavarian heavy progressive rockers Carpet move inexorably forward with their fifth long-player, Collision. Releasing through the duly eclectic Kapitän Platte, the seven-song/47-minute offering builds on the songwriting accomplishments of 2018’s About Rooms and Elephants (review here), harnessing an expansive but generous and welcoming sound that is thoughtful in its whole-record flow while showcasing a varied, mature character. They’re veterans of Elektrohasch Schallplatten, having released 2018’s About Rooms and Elephants (review here), 2017’s Secret Box (review here) and 2013’s Elysian Pleasures (review here) via Stefan Koglek of Colour Haze‘s now-dormant label, and heavy psychedelia is an aspect of what they do, but as the eight-minute “The Moonlight Rush” unfolds its immediately-multifaceted take, shifting from a riff-led verse through an atmospheric midsection that’s certainly not any less jazzy for the sway of Martin Lehmann‘s trumpet, into its louder payoff and through to a slowdown finish, Carpet are clear-eyed and purposeful in guiding the listener across what might otherwise be a tumultuous course. Here, one might think of it as an energetic stroll.

As the opener, “The Moonlight Rush” presents a crucial summary of some of the places Collision will go. Is it about impact, in raw sonic terms? Not as much as texture, so if one imagines the title referring to running ideas into each other and taking what works from that in terms of the material itself, that seems like a fair interpretation if not necessarily what the band meant in the choice (and it may or may not be, I don’t know). Founding guitarist/vocalist Maximilian Stephan — who released that first 2009 Carpet album as mostly a solo endeavor with some drums by Jakob Mader, who’s been on board since — is distinguished and suited to the instrumental flow in his melodic vocal approach, and while each song has its own intent as well as its own place in the entirety of the release, Stephan‘s vocals and the backing contributions of recording and mixing engineer Maximilian Wörle (presumably) in the chorus harmonies of “The Moonlight Rush,” the repeated line, “Can I just put my foot down,” in “Dead Fingers,” amid the rush of “Passage” later, and so on, are thoughtful in their arrangements and effects treatments, giving a unifying presence and drawing the material together without actually doing the same thing all the time.

Heads more attuned to the realms of desert and heavy rock will hear some Josh Homme in the sinewy semi-falsetto of “Ghosts” and centerpiece “P is for Parrot,” but it’s similarity not impersonation, and considering that the context surrounding in the latter cut is a start-stop crunch take on the angularity of King Crimson until it weaves through pastoral psych highlighting the keys from Sigmund Perner (he’s credited with Fender Rhodes and Roland Juno; I’m pretty sure I’m talking about the Juno in “P is for Parrot”) before bassist Hubert Steiner and Mader bring the group back to its initial shove, more urgently for the payoff finish, well, Carpet end up sounding more like Carpet than whatever other name one might drop. This individuality is something that’s manifest gradually over the course of the band’s time, and as much as one would call them ambitious in terms of growth — that is, actively pursuing a vision of their sound — if they’re chasing anybody, it’s themselves. The linear, almost narrative manner in which Collision unfurls highlights a dynamic that has become essential to who they are.

carpet

With malleable balance in Wörle‘s mix and breadth in Dimi Conidas‘ master, Carpet gracefully follow the plan that “The Moonlight Rush” sets out. By the time they get to nine-and-a-half-minute bookending closer “Cosmic Shape Shifter,” with its riffier, nodding resolution arriving with a swing and strut that even Uncle Acid fans should be able to appreciate, their path has veered into and through the more straight-ahead structures of “Dead Fingers,” its tolling bell in the intro serving as a memento mori complementary to the lyrics and a chorus that’s likewise catchy and sad and an emergent push in the bass as the trumpet sounds and the bell returns and the almost drawling lyrical repetitions noted above, and “Ghosts,” which in the early going of its 5:41 reimagines the beginning of Black Sabbath‘s “Children of the Grave” as shimmering bright and holds that energy for the sweep of its hook offset by a more subdued verse, en route to “P is for Parrot,” which feels like as far as they’ll go into their interpretation of ’70s groove until the boogie-in-earnest of “Passage” kicks in as the apex in that regard. The pivot from airy wash and strum at the end of “Passage” into the tropical jazzscape of the penultimate “Lost at Sea” isn’t to be discounted, and neither is the lush melodic prog that accompanies that rhythmic motion, but again, Carpet own the procession and it’s barely a hiccup one to the next in the mind of the listener despite the amount of ground actually covered.

This is the result of Carpet having already cast such a reach across the span of Collision, and “Cosmic Shape Shifter” answers with a victory lap of affirmation for what the album has presented leading to it, while underscoring the band’s overarching intent in how it digs into both its atmospheric stretch — there’s the Rhodes — and the subsequent, very much held-in-reserve groove that caps. This duality is essential to understanding who Carpet are as a band and the work their material does, but it’s no less crucial to point out that it’s only in that ending where they really seem to pair the opposite ends of that scope together — and it still works, encapsulating the poise with which “Ghosts” and “P is for Parrot” and “Passage” move into “Lost at Sea,” or how “The Moonlight Rush” and “Dead Fingers” act as complements at the outset within its own movements. Mature and considered as it feels, Collision still has outreach in its energy, and its execution leaves a warm, safe space for the listener to inhabit as the choruses ingrain themselves in the memory before departing on dreamy flights. And if you’ve ever believed progressive rock to be staid or emotionally void, Carpet provide ready counterpoint.

Carpet, “Ghosts” official video

Carpet on Facebook

Carpet on Instagram

Carpet on Twitter

Carpet on Bandcamp

Carpet website

Tags: , , , , ,