The Obelisk Questionnaire: Francis Roberts of Old Man Wizard & King Gorm

Posted in Questionnaire on February 22nd, 2021 by JJ Koczan

francis roberts

The Obelisk Questionnaire is a series of open questions intended to give the answerer an opportunity to explore these ideas and stories from their life as deeply as they choose. Answers can be short or long, and that reveals something in itself, but the most important factor is honesty.

Based on the Proust Questionnaire, the goal over time is to show a diverse range of perspectives as those who take part bring their own points of view to answering the same questions. To see all The Obelisk Questionnaire posts, click here.

Thank you for reading and thanks to all who participate.

The Obelisk Questionnaire: Francis Roberts of Old Man Wizard, King Gorm, etc.

How do you define what you do and how did you come to do it?

It’d take awhile to itemize it, but when I boil it down I basically look for new ways to have fun, and one of my favorite things to do is writing music. Right now I’m working on a new Old Man Wizard album (the songs are recorded! Now for the boring business side lol) and the first full-length Yaga-Shura album (that one is further away from being done). I’m toying with ideas for a second King Gorm release but that’s not really past the ideas phase. I’m focusing a great deal of my energy on my YouTube channel at the moment, too. I scored a portion of the upcoming film “The Spine of Night” which is the first feature-length film with my name in the credits!

Describe your first musical memory.

I may have it mixed up, but my parents either got me a toy guitar in Tijuana as a kid, a toy keyboard as a kid. After that it was recorder in school and then clarinet, and then generally not liking music for years before discovering the electric guitar as a teenager.

Describe your best musical memory to date.

I have a few that are pretty close to a tie:

-hearing my songs on an LP for the first time (it’s cool every time, one of the best feelings).

-being told I have created someone’s favorite song or album (also amazing every time it happens).

-watching a theater of people who (mostly) didn’t speak my language trying to sing along with a song I wrote.

When was a time when a firmly held belief was tested?

When I was growing up I always firmly believed in the power of good, and that even the worst people can find ways to redeem themselves. Although I’m still an optimistic person, I no longer believe that.

Where do you feel artistic progression leads?

When executed purely, I think it leads to true honesty.

How do you define success?

Are you able to experience happiness regularly? You’re successful.

What is something you have seen that you wish you hadn’t?

I typed out my answer, but even looking at it written down made me physically uncomfortable, so I’ve decided I’d rather not force you to read about it. Let’s just say that I’ve seen exactly one thing so fucking vile that I’d probably choose to erase the memory completely, given the choice. I guess it’d also be nice to unsee the entirety of whatever disgusting images people showed me in the early 2000s on rotten.com and other old internet nightmares like tubgirl.

Describe something you haven’t created yet that you’d like to create.

A hobby I come back to from time to time is creating video games. At some point I hope I make one that I feel good enough about to share publicly.

What do you believe is the most essential function of art?

To inspire the imaginations of others (ideally leading to the creation of more art).

Something non-musical that you’re looking forward to?

Spending time with my friends. Visiting my dad’s new home when it’s safe to travel by plane.

https://www.facebook.com/Old.Man.Wizard/
http://twitter.com/oldmanwizard
https://www.instagram.com/oldmanwizard/
http://oldmanwizard.com/
https://www.facebook.com/king.gorm.usa/
https://www.instagram.com/king.gorm/
https://kinggorm.bandcamp.com/
https://francisroberts.bandcamp.com/
https://twitter.com/f_c_r_
http://instagram.com/francisroberts

Francis Roberts, Story From Another Time (2020)

King Gorm, King Gorm (2020)

Old Man Wizard, Blame it all on Sorcery (2018)

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Live Stream Review: Spirit Mother, Live in the Mojave Desert

Posted in Reviews on February 22nd, 2021 by JJ Koczan

spirit mother live in the mojave desert vol 3

Long Beach, California-based four-piece Spirit Mother have the sound, look and mood pretty much nailed. Laced with echoing violin and lead guitar playing off each other in a song like “Martyrs” from their 2020 debut, Cadets (review here), if their inclusion as the third of five in the ‘Live in the Mojave Desert’ series left anyone scratching their head, the issue is promptly cleared up once they start playing.

Directed by Ryan Jones (also of the Stoned and Dusted fest), edited by Sam Grant with Dan Joeright of Joshua Tree’s Gatos Trail Studio doing sound and psychedelic oil projections lighting up Skull Rock — because where else? — by Lance Gordon and his Mad Alchemy team, the level of production, the sheer concert film-ness of ‘Live in the Mojave Desert’ remains staggering, and as parts of the country struggle to keep the lights and heat on and others are dug into cold winter chill, Jones and company successfully make the West-is-best argument seem moot.

As with prior installments featuring Earthless (review here) and Nebula (review here), Spirit Mother‘s ‘Live in the Mojave’ sets and lives up to a high standard. The first hour of the stream is dedicated to interview footage and the odd music video — a preview of Mountain Tamer still to come in the series, as well as clips from Stoned and Dusted and videos from Acid King and King Buffalo; all certainly welcome, content-wise — with Jones hosting in a kind of early-to-mid 1990s MTV atmosphere, including a few awkward moments preserved for posterity.

Unlike Earthless or Nebula, however, when Spirit Mother take the stage — by which I mean a kind of flat piece of land some distance away from Skull Rock, and, apparently, anything else, with lights on either side, projections around and behind and drones and hand-cameras (phones and not?) capturing it all — it’s already night. I don’t know why the band decided to start playing after dark, maybe it was just timing, but the decision meant more time for the liquid lightshow, and more Mad Alchemy is never a bad choice. Particularly for an act as atmospheric as Spirit Mother show themselves to be.

They start the set with what would seem to be a new song in “Toxic (Exodus Inc.)” and guitarist Sean McCormick and drummer Landon Cisneros, violinist/vocalist SJ and bassist/vocalist Armand Lance are immediately locked in. The vibe is vibe if you can vibe, like languid grunge blasted into outer space in the desert night. Credit to Cisneros, who puts on a clinic in holding together elements that a less capable drummer would simply watch fall apart in a cut like “Premonitions,” which begins the second half of the set after a quick break to find out everybody’s favorite live album — Allman Bros.Dave Brubeck, something classical from SJ I couldn’t quite hear over the wind — and ethereal bursts from Cadets like, indeed “Ether,” “Go Getter” and “My Head is Sinking.”

spirit mother live in the mojave desert

Spirit Mother‘s songs are fairly short, so they’re able to pack more in than, say, Earthless, and the double-effect that has is that it never quite lets them wander off. Lance as a vocalist is somewhere between grunge and shoegaze in his delivery, a classic sort of reluctance, keeping it casual as the bass drops out and returns to add impact to McCormick‘s steadier progressions of guitar. Off to stage right, SJ‘s violin fills out the sound with overarching melody as the movements grow more chaotic before cutting out cold, à la “Martyrs” or “Black Sheep,” both of which manage to take the listener/viewer for a ride in a little over three minutes’ time.

Her vocals feature more prominently on “Dead Cells,” which since my tired eyes can’t find it anywhere else I’ll assume is another new track, and that may be a hint of more active interplay between her and Lance in the lead role — she carries the song well and is a good match for Lance in attitude; belting “Dead Cells” out a bit works. Watching Cisneros playing “Space Cadets,” the opener of Cadets, one might be reminded a bit of The Golden GrassAdam Kriney in style, but there’s not the same kind of underlying intensity that feels like it’s trying to break out, and so Cisneros operates fluidly with the lumber in “Space Cadets” and elsewhere, helping not necessarily to keep things grounded, but at least cohesive on its own level, the songs feeling almost willfully incomplete, because really, what’s the point anyway, man?

I can’t argue. Spirit Mother are so Californian I wouldn’t be the least bit surprised to find out they’re all originally from the Midwest, but they’re ridiculously suited to their purpose throughout ‘Live in the Mojave,’ locking in highlight grooves in “My Head is Sinking” or “Heathens” — the sudden stop there feeling especially cruel — which caps what turns out to be a pretty short evening’s set. It will make a killer live record — Italy’s Heavy Psych Sounds is seeing to that and I wouldn’t be surprised if they picked the band up for their sophomore studio release — but with the break in between, they’re at about 35 minutes of material, so yeah, a quick run.

In that time, however, they distinguish themselves in style and substance alike. Their songs function like poems rather than verse/chorus pieces, and the linear feel they bring about results in dynamic shifts as they play one into the next. The same was true of Cadets, of course, but to watch Spirit Mother playing live, even prior-recorded as this was, gives further insight into how they function as a unit, and with the new material, where they might be heading next. I only look forward to finding out.

The ‘Live in the Mojave Desert’ can’t take the place of a concert experience, and it’s to its eternal credit that it isn’t trying. Instead, it democratizes a once-in-a-lifetime exclusivity — that night that you just happened to be in the right place in Joshua Tree National Park to find this — so that everyone can be that person, in that place, feeling like they’re floating above all the more as the drones hover around Skull Rock. If that’s escapism in the pandemic age, that doesn’t make it any less beautiful.

Spirit Mother, “Space Cadets” from ‘Live in the Mojave Desert’

Spirit Mother on Thee Facebooks

Spirit Mother on Instagram

Spirit Mother on Bandcamp

Spirit Mother website

Live in the Mojave Desert tickets at Tixr

Stoned and Dusted Instagram

Stoned and Dusted on Thee Facebooks

Heavy Psych Sounds on Thee Facebooks

Heavy Psych Sounds on Instagram

Heavy Psych Sounds website

Heavy Psych Sounds on Bandcamp

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Beastwars Announce 10th Anniversary Tour Dates & Reissue

Posted in Whathaveyou on February 22nd, 2021 by JJ Koczan

beastwars

Hard not to look at this and be insanely jealous. In another continuum, I would’ve seen New Zealand’s Beastwars last year at Freak Valley in Germany. In this continuum, Freak Valley 2021 has already been postponed to 2022. Even in this decidedly shittier continuum, however, New Zealand remains safe to tour and Beastwars — celebrating the 10th anniversary of their self-titled debut (review here) while two years removed from their unexpected fourth album, IV (review here) — are making the most of it. Rightfully so.

They and Earth Tongue will do six dates together throughout May and Beastwars will play the self-titled in full, press it anew and release a new 7″. Tickets for the band’s hometown of Wellington are gone on presales, which isn’t a surprise, but if you’re in New Zealand and reading this, I’m sure you can travel and see them in another town. Because your country beat the plague.

The tour poster rules and can be found below, as well as the new recording of “When I’m King” the band has done to mark the occasion.

Dig:

beastwars tour

Beastwars – 10th Anniversary Tour

Big news! Our debut album is turning 10(!) so we are repressing the album, releasing a limited edition 7″ of 2 songs from that era and going on tour playing the whole thing start to finish (+ whole heap of other tunes). And even better, Earth Tongue are joining us for the whole tour!

Find the link to limited early bird tickets and the new recording of “When I’m King” [below].

Thanks for such a great response to the tour! Wellington early bird tickets sold out this arvo and all other shows are selling strong. Highly recommend hitting Under the Radar. That’s pretty much the price of a beer!

Tickets from: https://www.undertheradar.co.nz/news/18238/Beastwars-Announce-10th-Anniversary-Tour–Vinyl-Reissue-Of-Debut-Album.utr

Auckland tix from: https://aaaticketing.co.nz/event/42df7656330b301012fc0b4a99b5ae47

BEASTWARS 10th Anniversary Tour with special guests EARTH TONGUE
Friday 7th May – Totara St. – Mount Maunganui
Saturday 8th May – Powerstation, Auckland
Friday 14th May – Starters, Dunedin
Saturday 15th May – Cassels Blue Smoke, Christchurch
Friday 21st May – Wakatu Hotel, Nelson
Saturday 22nd May – Hunter Lounge, Wellington

BEASTWARS:
Clayton Anderson – Guitar
Nathan Hickey – Drums
Matt Hyde – Vocals
James Woods – Bass

https://www.facebook.com/beastwars666/
https://beastwars.bandcamp.com/
https://twitter.com/beastwarsband
https://www.instagram.com/beastwarsband/
http://www.obeytheriff.com

Beastwars, “When I’m King” (2021)

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Motorpsycho to Release Kingdom of Oblivion April 16

Posted in Whathaveyou on February 22nd, 2021 by JJ Koczan

motorpsycho

Business as usual for Motorpsycho, being nominated for the Spellmann for one record even as they announce they’ve got another one in the can and due out in a couple months. Typical. You know what the difference is between Motorpsycho and other bands who put out a ton of records? The consistency. Motorpsycho could put out an album (or two) every year, and if some of them weren’t that good, well fine, you wait for the next. But they’ve amassed this insurmountable catalog, and I’m sure they’re not all gold — no way I’m going to tell you I’ve heard them all — but I’ve yet to find a real stinker in the bunch. And the run they’ve been on for the last decade is enviable to say the least. And when Enslaved shouts you out as an influence on their own latter-day work — and it’s true! — you’re doing alright.

Once again, onto my running upcoming albums list Motorpsycho go. I don’t know why I ever take them off, frankly.

Still, this is not a band to take for granted.

From the PR wire:

motorpsycho kingdom of oblivion

MOTORPSYCHO Announce New Album “Kingdom of Oblivion”!

Hard times call for big riffs. And, it seems, also for big news:

Not only was Motorpsycho’s 2020 album “The All is One” nominated for a Spellemannprisen (a Norwegian Grammy) in the Best Rock Album category, but just recently the band also announced a new Motorpsycho album titled Kingdom of Oblivion!

“It is clear to us that TAIO reached a pretty wide audience, and we are as grateful as ever for all of you taking the time to listen to what we do.” Comments the band on their homepage. “It is really important to us to not become an oldies band merely dealing in nostalgia, and the only way we can avoid that is by forging ahead and trying to make music that is true to who we are. When you lot show your appreciation by buying the new records and not just baying for the old schlägers, that makes it all feel worthwhile and important, and that is all we can ask. Thank you!

“On that subject … we have a new record coming out in a couple of months!”

[ Artwork by Sverre Malling ]

The release date has been slated for April 16th, 2021 through Stickman Records, Kingdom of Oblivion will be available on 2LP, CD and digitally. While the pre-sale is scheduled to start on Friday, March 5th, watch out for many more details and a first single to follow in the weeks ahead!

Motorpsycho is: Bent Sæther, Hans Magnus “Snah” Ryan, Tomas Järmyr.

https://www.facebook.com/motorpsycho.official/
https://twitter.com/motorpsychoband
http://motorpsycho.no/
https://www.facebook.com/Stickman-Records-1522369868033940/
https://www.instagram.com/stickmanrecords/
https://www.stickman-records.com/

Motorpsycho, “The All is One”

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Friday Full-Length: Rickshaw, Sonic Overload

Posted in Bootleg Theater on February 19th, 2021 by JJ Koczan

Sometimes you gotta go back to basics. I first encountered Sweden’s Rickshaw circa 2003, probably because they put out a split single with The Awesome Machine (among many others), who I way into at the time. I was in college, feeling my way through the post-Man’s Ruin landscape of European and American heavy rock and doom for a radio show I’d started at my school’s station, and with a cable modem and file-sharing know-how, I was able to experience records like this at a point when there was just about no way I could’ve done so otherwise. I’m still going back and buying CDs from that stretch of years, by the way. At least those that are available. This one I was fortunate to get in a promo pack from Devil Doll Records a long time ago, and as I’ve said on numerous occasions, I keep everything.

If their Bandcamp page is anything to go by, Rickshaw now think of themselves mainly as a precursor to The Chuck Norris Experiment, who debuted in 2005 — another good record — and put out their most recent offering, a split 7″ with Scumbag Millionaire, in January, continuing an apparently long tradition of cohabitating releases. Fair enough for the catalog that The Chuck Norris Experiment have amassed since Rickshaw gave way, but even if they’re assuming it’s fans of the one who’ll go back to the other, it’s on its own merits that I pay Sonic Overload, the second and final Rickshaw full-length, another visit.

Those merits are plenty and plain to be heard. It is heavy rock of its era in Sweden. Issued in 2002, the band would have come up as contemporaries of the likes of Dozer, Lowrider, the aforementioned The Awesome Machine as well as other splitmates in Adam West, Hateball, Trigger, and so on. Unsurprisingly, it’s more in line with the hard-garage latter grouping that Rickshaw fit, rather than with the post-Kyussism happening elsewhere. That said, the band — formed by the core duo of vocalist Joacim “Jocke” Olsson and guitarist Robert “Bobby Dawn” Nilsson — flirt with that style on their sophomore outing in a song like “Last Man Standing,” which finishes a maddeningly catchy four-song opening salvo that elsewhere finds Olsson tapping his inner Dave Wyndorf on opener “Point of Orange” and the subsequent “Lick My Flames,” both of which work to set the scene for the various punker bursts that will follow, including in “I’m Ready,” another hard-landing chorus that stands out all the more with the contrast of a subdued middle section and a runtime that dares pass the four-minute mark. Rickshaw do that only twice on Sonic Overload; the second time is “Get You Down” (4:53) a few tracks later.

The feedback that begins “White Light” after “Last Man Standing” is kind of a signal that Sonic Overload is moving into its next phase. Recall this is arguably the peak of the CD era, so while 1999’s rickshaw sonic overloaddebut, Tender Songs of Love, and various splits along the way only came out on vinyl, Devil Doll pressed to compact disc, and so far as I know, an LP version has never followed. For what it’s worth, with 12 songs in 40 minutes, it would split into two sides easily enough, but alas. In any case, “White Light” is a direct beam to the heavy punk/garage rock side of Rickshaw‘s sound, and it pairs dynamically with the already-noted “Get You Down,” another fuzzier vibe, that lets the bass take the fore momentarily even as it pushes outward in a fashion that ends up being near motorik despite the grounding factor of its hook. The shifts throughout Sonic Overload can be subtle or not, but the album was clearly constructed with a live show in mind, and it works in that spirit throughout.

Thus, the opening salvo that leads into the back and forth of “White Light” and “Get You Down,” which is followed by “Kitten Natividad,” a paean to the Russ Meyer-era actress of the same (stage) name that seems to play off Alice Cooper lyrical patterning, thinking of lines cribbed from “Poison” particularly. So be it: Rickshaw‘s purposes are their own. From there, “Ahead of the Game” and “Perfect Crime (Electrified)” follow in succession, the former faster, the latter still pretty fast in the grand scheme, and both somewhat overwhelmed by the catchiness of “All You Jazz” immediately after. It’s a trope of the compact disc form that, if songs are going to get lost anywhere on a record, that’s the spot — right past the opening, before the closing, of what would be side B on a 12″. Fair enough. “Kitten Natividad” and “All You Jazz” are stronger in their delivery, but it’s not like “Ahead of the Game” and “Perfect Crime (Electrified)” are hurting anybody. Far worse ways to spend about six minutes of your life.

Sonic Overload, again, as a live show would, finishes strong with “Islands in Your Stream” and “Who’s Your Bobby?,” the latter marking the age in which the disc arrived perhaps even more than the progression of the tracks could. The penultimate cut seems to be a kind of apex, and it fades out gently on guitar until “Who’s Your Bobby?” brings one final two-minute thrust that nonetheless summarizes one of Rickshaw‘s greater strengths throughout, which is being able to leave a landmark of a chorus for the listener to hold onto even as the band seems to sprint onward to the next part. Strong songwriting structure is a tenet of garage rock and punk, and in drawing from both traditions while edging them further toward heavier riff rock, the band found a niche for themselves that was distinct and deceptively multifaceted.

But at its heart, this is a rock and roll album. It didn’t change the world. I don’t think you’d call it “classic” except maybe as being representative of the the style of its time, and maybe the band are right when they note that mostly what Rickshaw did at the end was provide the transition to The Chuck Norris Experiment. Fine. Truth be told, I needed some straight-up rock, and this was that. Maybe feeling the same. Either way, as always, I hope you enjoy.

Thanks for reading.

My mouth hurts. It’s been eight days now since I had that molar unceremoniously yanked from my face — by a surgeon, don’t worry; not a Cardassian interrogation or any such thing — and though The Patient Mrs. assures me that the hole in my mouth “looks good” in the relative way a hole in the mouth might, I have visions of continued infection and an ache that extends down my jaw. I took my last antibiotic this morning. I’ve been rinsing my mouth with the prescription mouthwash I was given. I have not yet taken ibuprofen today, but I will shortly.

This is supposed to be a 10-month dental process at the best. Have tooth pulled and infection cleaned out, bone graft put in. Heal. Then in like April or May I guess have the foundation put in for an implant. Heal again. Then sometime by October or November, get the implant in and actually be done. Human bodies are so, so, so stupid. Anyone who tries to sell you on “intelligent design” has clearly been designed with their head up their ass. If we were intelligently designed, we’d grow new teeth when our old ones come out. You know, more than once.

Anyhoo, hurts, so I’m bitching about it.

While I’m bitching, yesterday was a virtual-school day because of snow. The Pecan — still three years old — and I do virtual preschool together, him sitting on my lap in front of my laptop. It’s a fucking nightmare. Yesterday, he bit me hard enough that I was bleeding on one arm, and scratched the other hard enough that, again, I was bleeding. I also had to stop him from biting himself, which he did on several occasions and does regularly — you want unnerving, there’s your toddler self-harming — when overwhelmed or frustrated or asked to do anything. Yesterday he would not say the words “cement mixer.” He knows cement mixer. He points them out on the road. And yet, when called upon to do say “cement mixer,” he lost it. I wanted to take a hammer and smash myself in the face. I still do.

Today is another all-virtual “snow day,” but in hope of preserving the rest of the day surrounding from turning to absolute shit, we’re skipping it. I feel bad for The Patient Mrs., who no doubt dreads coming downstairs from work only to be immersed in my sundry fucking miseries.

Did I tell you we bought a boat? We need to move it at some point this weekend. I don’t know.

I got up before 5:30 this morning — it’s just after 7 now — and put a fire in the fireplace. I’ve been dealing with a sore wrist because, again, bodies were intelligently designed in god’s image and it hurts when god jerks off too, but in a bit I’ll grab The Pecan from upstairs, do breakfast, and take him outside to shovel snow. In his case, that mostly means shovel it into his mouth with his hands, but that’s fine too. As long as he’s happy, not running into the street and not trying to use the shovel on the car, he can eat all the snow he wants.

Next week, more Questionnaires, as well as some Dozer interviews about their reissues that should’ve gone up this week but apparently I had the release dates wrong because I’m fucking inept. Could’ve sworn I tried to coordinate that with streams like last time, like with Dozer and Nebula both, but there you go. I thought that shit was out in March.

So those’ll be posted. And Monday a review of the Spirit Mother stream that’s this weekend, and this and that and the other thing. New Gimme show today. I got in trouble for it, so please listen. 5PM Eastern: http://gimmeradio.com.

Great and safe weekend. Hydrate.

FRM.

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The Obelisk Questionnaire: Spring Chase of Generator Doom Doc & More

Posted in Questionnaire on February 19th, 2021 by JJ Koczan

spring chase

The Obelisk Questionnaire is a series of open questions intended to give the answerer an opportunity to explore these ideas and stories from their life as deeply as they choose. Answers can be short or long, and that reveals something in itself, but the most important factor is honesty.

Based on the Proust Questionnaire, the goal over time is to show a diverse range of perspectives as those who take part bring their own points of view to answering the same questions. To see all The Obelisk Questionnaire posts, click here.

Thank you for reading and thanks to all who participate.

The Obelisk Questionnaire: Spring Chase of ‘Generator Doom’ Documentary & More

How do you define what you do and how did you come to do it?

Filmmaker, Graphic Designer, Illustrator, Journalist and drummer for the most unearthed, underground female Doom Metal band out there. That’s exactly how and when I started too. I met my old guitar player Amber Von Doom at Emissions for the Monolith Fest in 2002. Barbitchuwitch procreated from the wickedness, and I moved to Detroit. We never toured or were invited to a fest because after the EP was recorded I left the murder capital. The artistic people are the ones that make up Motor City. I wouldn’t have missed the opportunity for the world to hone more of my love for doom, death, black and punk n’ metal. I learned along the way I am a solo, visual artist and the exact opposite of a military brat which doesn’t make any room left to be in a band for a long enough period to even have a discography.

Describe your first musical memory?

I grew up around Kentuckiana and attended bluegrass festivals early on, but my first introduction to Stonerock was with “Sky Valley” and “Blues For The Red Sun.” Monster Magnet was my first official metal concert. A lot of these moments and albums inspired me to start writing for European rock zines online and Sleazegrinder.com.

Describe your best musical memory to date?

I truly believe I levitated when Pentagram played at Maryland Death Fest, but best memorable moments in music was making the Doom Metal documentary that took eight plus years to make. I worked with the legends, like Terry Jones (Pagan Altar) and Al Morris III (Iron Man) who passed away before I could officially release the uncut version for others to see. The Gates of Slumber, Saint Vitus and many more would come into the scenery, and probably my favorite interview from the documentary was with Candlemass.

When was a time when a firmly held belief was tested?

Interviewing The Obsessed for the Doom Metal documentary tested some dignity and every last nerve I had. It came to the point during the making that I was becoming the fifth and sixth member of every band in it, and learning things I could have gone without knowing, perhaps. Some stoner rock is better left unturned.

Where do you feel artistic progression leads?

It can lead to the gallows if you put all of your heart into it without your head.

How do you define success?

I like how Lori from Acid King once put it. Success could be interpreted by remaining in the same band while balancing out your home life all the while you do it.

What is something you seen that you wished you hadn’t?

Watching some of the TGOS bandmates die was pretty heavy. They are nearby my region where I am based out of and is sad to see the imprint that could leave on people playing in Doom Metal. Drugs are a thing of the hair metal past we all seen coming in our early pre-teens and had viable enough time to avoid it. The way I see it really is these horrible manufactured drugs nowadays are not even worth the total loss of creativity and talent by any means. A couple bad seeds could break a genre that hasn’t every really had the full potential to expand to maximum capacity. Corruptions lame and it doesn’t have a music preference.

Describe something you haven’t created yet that you would like to create?

If I told you I would have to order a film and photo release if not a Confidentiality Agreement.

What do you believe is the most essential function of art?

An artist must have the environment if not the workspace to create, therefore the most essential function of art is the atmosphere it produces.

Something non-musical that you are looking forward to do?

This is funny that you ask, because as of lately I have seen so many musicians pulling rabbits out of their hats to make ends meet now that so many current obstacles stand in their way financially and economically. I am looking forward to creating more essential visual artworks without bending a single belief. Take Victor Griffin’s commentary from Generator Doom documentary, “Keep your eye on the prize, and spend your time wisely.” With that being said, I should be graduating with a Bachelors if I heed the warning in Summer/Fall 2022.

https://www.springchase.org/
https://vimeo.com/buzzcoven
http://miseryisland.blogspot.com/

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The Obelisk Show on Gimme Metal Playlist: Episode 53

Posted in Radio on February 19th, 2021 by JJ Koczan

the obelisk show banner

Two hours, two songs. It’s become a novelty in the Gimme Metal chat that I play long songs. I don’t know if anybody actually asked, but (maybe) ask you shall receive.

I feel unfortunately compelled to point out that these jams offer quality as well as quantity. Hot Box Sound Machine are based in Chicago and offer 48 minutes of improvisational running, careening up and down and loud and quiet sort of in the post-Earthless vein, but less planned out. As for Oulu Space Jam Collective — well, for starters, they’re from Oulu, Finland, and they’re a space rock/jam collective. Go figure. Their “Side A: A Pastoral Paradise” runs over an hour on its own and the actual vinyl release of the Harvest Sage album from whence it comes had to feature an edited version of the original track even to fit it on two sides. To put it mildly, it is a journey. Watch out for the sitar.

So there you have it. I’m deeply appreciative to Gimme Metal for giving me this space to do weird shit like this and to get on the air with my kid and all that kind of stuff. It has become an outlet I value greatly, and if nothing else at all, these posts give me one more chance to recommend bands for people to check out. Maybe you will, maybe you won’t. I can’t control that, but at least I’m here doing the thing.

Thanks for listening and/or reading.

The Obelisk Show airs 5PM Eastern today on the Gimme app or at http://gimmemetal.com

Full playlist:

The Obelisk Show – 02.19.20

Artist Song Album
Hot Box Sound Machine Hot Box Sound Machine Hot Box Sound Machine
VT
Oulu Space Jam Collective Side A: A Pastoral Paradise Harvest Sage

The Obelisk Show on Gimme Metal airs every Friday 5PM Eastern, with replays Sunday at 7PM Eastern. Next new episode is March 5 (subject to change). Thanks for listening if you do.

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Skraeckoedlan Premiere “Universum” Video; Celebrate 10th Anniversary of Debut

Posted in Bootleg Theater on February 19th, 2021 by JJ Koczan

skraeckoedlan

Today, Feb. 19, Swedish progressive fuzz rockers Skraeckoedlan release their new single, Universum. Well, new-ish. The song originally appeared as “Universe” on 2011’s Äppelträdet (review here), the band’s debut album, and below, they talk a bit about their original reasons for recording it in English — as well as a few other tracks they’re redoing to celebrate the debut’s 10th anniversary (they grow up so fast!) — and why they’ve gone back to it now. I think it’s safe to say that if the four-piece were on the road doing 100 shows this year, it might not be happening in this way, but more Skraeckoedlan is not a gift gila-monster I’m about to look in the mouth. They’re welcome around these parts anytime.

You’ll by now be familiar with the format of the pandemic-era performance video. Thus we see the four members of Skraeckoedlan — guitarist/vocalist Robert Lamu, guitarist Henrik Grüttner, bassist Erik Berggren and drummer Martin Larsson — in individual boxes, each playingskraeckoedlan universum his part of the song in sync with the studio version of the track. Much to their credit, they have some fun with that beyond the simple playthrough. Lamu takes advantage of a break to water the plants behind him. Larsson gradually builds his pillow-kit as he goes and likewise seems to defrock from business-casual to headbang-ready in terms of attire. And, well, Berggren is there live and he’s… he’s ready to proceed. He’s not a cat.

I’ll admit, I kept hoping that at some point Grüttner would get in a quick game of ping-pong, but alas. Can’t have everything. And does the swap from English to Swedish make the song any less catchy? Nope. Still a Rampage-worthy stomp ready to get stuck right in your brain — precisely the sort of fare that’s become a specialty of House Skraeckoedlan over the last decade. They kill it and don’t look back and one would expect no less. Way down at the bottom of the post, I’ve included “Universe” so you can do a compare/contrast with “Universum” if so inclined, but while you’re spending time, take the opportunity to dig into 2019’s Eorþe (review here) again as well, if only to remind yourself how far Skraeckoedlan‘s journey has taken them.

I wonder what they mean by, “In April it is Sunrise?”

Enjoy the clip:

Skraeckoedlan, “Universum” official video premiere

SKRAECKOEDLAN – ÄPPELTRÄDET 10 year anniversary

“If you want to make an apple pie from scratch, you must first invent the universe.”
– Carl Sagan

A decade has passed since we in Skraeckoedlan released our debut album.

The year before, we released two demos: Flykten från Tellus and Världarnas fall.

It was on these two demos that we built the songs for what later became the album Äppelträdet.

We were then faced with a choice: Would we continue to have all the songs in Swedish, or would we rewrite some of the songs with English lyrics. We thought that we might limit ourselves as a band, if we only had songs in Swedish.

We cowardly wrote three songs with English lyrics, because we simply did not know if it would work to play heavy, groovy rock in Swedish and still be able to get out and play around the world, something we all had as a childhood dream.

We were wrong.

It has turned out that the Swedish songs have absolutely worked even outside of Sweden.

Due to our cowardly decision, we have almost never played any of these three English songs live. We want to change that.

Now that Äppelträdet turns 10 years old, we therefore are releasing a new version of the album, entirely in Swedish. The release has been re-mastered by Magnus Lindberg (Cult of Luna).

In order to bake an apple pie from scratch, we have had to first invent the Universe, which will be released on February 19th.

In April it is Sunrise.

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

Skraeckoedlan, “Universe” from Äppelträdet (2011)

Skraeckoedlan, Eorþe (2019)

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