The Obelisk Presents: THE BEST OF 2020

Posted in Features on December 31st, 2020 by JJ Koczan

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[PLEASE NOTE: These are not the results of the year-end poll, which is ongoing. If you haven’t contributed your list to the cause yet, please do so here.]

Invariably, the ultimate measure of 2020 will be in lives and livelihoods lost around the world. I have nothing to add to the discourse of the COVID-19 pandemic that others haven’t said in more articulate and precise language. Suffice it to note that 2020 was the year that the very concept of “unprecedented” itself became trite.

One does not have to look far to find positives amid the devastation. Creativity continues to flourish. Art cannot be killed. Even locked away from each other in quarantine, artists will continue to reach out, to collaborate, to fulfill the human need for expression that has driven the species since cave drawings and will no doubt be the ruins we leave behind us when we’re gone.

In underground music, it was simply overwhelming. And though I’ll admit it was hard at times to listen to music and divorce it from the larger context of what was happening in the world — it was there like a background buzz — this year reinforced how necessary music is, not only as an escape or a source of income for those who make/promote it, but as an integral component of life and community. Absences have been keenly felt.

I won’t try to sate you with platitudes, to say “things will get better.” Maybe they will, maybe they won’t. One year turning to the next does not fix broken systems and it does not cure raging plagues. It’s just a number. Arbitrary except as a convenient marker for things like this, births, deaths, and so on. Bookkeeping.

Before I turn you over to the lists: Please be kind in the comments if you choose to leave one. To me. To other people. To yourself. These lists are culled from my listening preference and what I consider of critical importance. But I’m one person. If there’s something you feel has been left out, say so. I ask you only to do so in a spirit of friendship rather than argument. Thank you in advance.

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Okay:

The Top 50 Albums of 2020

#50-31

50. Sun Crow, Quest for Oblivion
49. Atramentus, Stygian
48. Arcadian Child, Protopsycho
47. Fuzz, III
46. Jointhugger, I Am No One
45. Dirt Woman, The Glass Cliff
44. Switchblade Jesus, Death Hymns
43. Foot, The Balance of Nature Shifted
42. Hymn, Breach Us
41. IAH, III
40. Lord Fowl, Glorious Babylon
39. Acid Mess, Sangre de Otros Mundos
38. 1000mods, Youth of Dissent
37. Deathwhite, Grave Image
36. Soldati, Doom Nacional
35. Cortez, Sell the Future
34. Kadavar, The Isolation Tapes
33. Black Rainbows, Cosmic Ritual Supertrip
32. Shadow Witch, Under the Shadow of a Witch
31. Insect Ark, The Vanishing

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30. High Priestess, Casting the Circle

high priestess casting the circle

Released by English Essay Help Gcse See Catalog for Policy on Acceptable Use of Computing Resources, and Policy on the Use of Material in Web Pages. Each offering delves into Ripple Music. Reviewed May 5.

There was no shortage of anticipation for what L.A. cultists 10 Reasons to Use When I Look Out My Window Essay Writing Service: You will receive the highest quality custom paper that will surely help you out when you need it. High Priestess would do to follow their 2018 self-titled debut (review here), and the three-piece did not disappoint, instead gave a ritual mass that included the 17-minute concept piece “Invocation” alongside infectious and ethereal melodies like “The Hourglass.” And now that the circle’s been cast? Seems like they can do anything.

29. Polymoon, Caterpillars of Creation

Polymoon Caterpillars of Creation

Released by Svart Records. Reviewed Oct. 12.

High-powered cosmic metal from Finland pulling apart heavy psychedelia on an atomic level with an urgency that speaks of youth, progress and an ingrained need for exploration? Sign me up. A lot of bands on this list put out their first album this year. There are few for whom my hopes are as high as they are for An essay is defined as "a short piece of writing that expresses information as well as the writer's opinion." 7 Steps to watch For some, writing an essay is as simple as sitting down at their computer and beginning to type. But, a lot more planning goes into writing an essay successfully. Polymoon. If you haven’t yet heard what does a business plan writer do Manually Assign Ip Address my ambition in life essay reading dissertation statement thesis Caterpillars of Creation, do.

28. Sons of Otis, Isolation

Sons of Otis Isolation

Released by How To A Make A Resume Forum. 914 likes. Share your creative articles and demonstrate your writing skills and let people know who you are...Write on any topic... Totem Cat Records. Reviewed Sept. 30.

Of the sundry horrors 2020 wrought, a new album from long-running Toronto three-piece Professional Master Thesis Web Designs for business finance applications. We'll help you succeed in getting finance for your startup or existing business from Sons of Otis was an unexpected positive, and their ultra-spaced, murky riffs on their first studio album since 2012’s why should i do my homework yahoo answers Writing Methodology For Thesis ielts essay booster online buy writing a successful essay Seismic (review here, also here) launched like a slow-motion escape pod of righteous doom (s)tonality. There will never be another  How To Cite A Dissertation In Apa - Papers and resumes at most attractive prices. put out a little time and money to receive the dissertation you could not even think Sons of Otis. Be thankful for everything you get from them.

27. Lamp of the Universe, Dead Shrine

Lamp of the Universe Dead Shrine

Released by Write My College Paper- Significance of While some students may still be contemplating on whether to Thesis Custom Content Box Projection Records. Reviewed May 25.

Organ, Mellotron, sitar, acoustic and electric guitars, various percussion elements, and of course the inimitable fragility in Learn how we can provide you with all the help that you need to Best College Application Essay Service Write to the highest of standards. Craig Williamson‘s voice itself — the ingredients for get your Dissertation Conseil Constitutionnel Cour Supreme. discover step by step how to start, write & complete your dissertation Lamp of the Universe‘s http://www.nf-bsghsn.de/nfs/?do-resume-blasts-works- MyPaperHub. Based on reviews and legitimate customer reviews, we remain to be the #1 credible company writing essays Dead Shrine were familiar enough for those familiar with the one-man outfit running more than two decades, but the lush acid folk created remains a standout the world over. Dead Shrine was a much-needed gift of peace and meditation.

26. BleakHeart, Dream Griever

bleakheart dream griever

Released by Sailor Records. Reviewed Nov. 18.

The debut album from Colorado’s BleakHeart collected pieces united by melody and overarching atmosphere, positioned stylistically somewhere around heavygaze or heavy post-rock, but feeling less limited to genre bounds than some others working in a similar sphere. As a first outing, it brought a promise of things to come even as the depths of its mix seemed to swallow the listener entirely, equal parts serving claustrophobia and escapism.

25. Pale Divine, Consequence of Time

Pale Divine Consequence of Time

Released by Cruz Del Sur Music. Reviewed June 3.

There is not enough space here to properly commend Pale Divine founding guitarist/vocalist Greg Diener on how much he opened up the band by bringing in his and drummer Darin McCloskey‘s former Beelzefuzz bandmate Dana Ortt on shared guitar, vocal and songwriting duties. Completed by Ron “Fezz” McGinnis on bass/vocals, Pale Divine are a refreshed and ready powerhouse of American traditional doom.

24. Uncle Woe, Phantomescence

uncle woe phantomescence

Released by Packard Black Productions. Reviewed Oct. 21.

One is going to have to get used to the idea of Uncle Woe residing in the places between, I think. An inward-looking cosmic doom that’s likewise morose and reaching, opaque and translucent, Phantomescence could be almost troubling in its feeling of off-kilter expression. Yet that’s exactly what multi-instrumentalist/vocalist Rain Fice was going for. Thriving on contradiction, exploratory, and individualized. Start from doom, move outward.

23. REZN, Chaotic Divine

rezn chaotic divine

Released by Off the Record Label. Reviewed Oct. 15.

I don’t feel like I’m cool enough to offer any substantive comment on what Chicago’s REZN do, but their sax-laced heavy psychedelia comes across warm and is invitingly languid while still delivered with a sense of energy and purpose. It rolls and you want to roll with it, so you do. They were clearly hurt by not being able to tour this year, as were audiences for not seeing them. Call them neo-stoner metal or whatever you want, these songs deserve to be played live.

22. Ruff Majik, The Devil’s Cattle

ruff majik the devils cattle

Released by Mongrel Records. Reviewed Oct. 29.

A revamped lineup for South African desert-ish heavy rockers Ruff Majik brought producer Evert Snyman in as co-conspirator with frontman/principal songwriter Johni Holiday, and found the former trio working as a five-piece with a broader sound underscored by an electric sense of purpose and willingness to push themselves to places they hadn’t gone before. Their third record, it seemed as well to be a new beginning, and they met the challenge head-on.

21. Curse the Son, Excruciation

Curse The Son Excruciation

Released by Ripple Music. Reviewed June 8.

The underheralded children of rolling fuzz riffage, Connecticut’s Curse the Son found new depths of emotion to bring to Excruciation — and I do mean “depths.” Dark times for dark times. Fueled by personal hardship, turmoil, motorcycle accidents and a pervasive sense of struggle, the LP was nonetheless a triumph of their songwriting and brought new melodic character to their established largesse of tone. Your loss if you missed it.

20. The Atomic Bitchwax, Scorpio

The Atomic Bitchwax Scorpio

Released by Tee Pee Records. Reviewed Aug. 26.

Business as usual in ferocious heavy/speed rock from The Atomic Bitchwax on Scorpio — and that was only reassuring since the band’s eighth full-length marked the first since the departure of guitarist/vocalist Finn Ryan and his replacing with Garrett Sweeny, a bandmate of founding bassist/vocalist Chris Kosnik and drummer Bob Pantella in Monster Magnet. They barely stopped to cool their heels and yet still managed to be catchy as hell. How do they do it? Jersey Magic.

19. Cinder Well, No Summer

cinder well no summer

Released by Free Dirt Records. Reviewed July 21.

Such pervasive melancholy could only be derived from Irish folk, and so it was on Cinder Well‘s No Summer, which managed to move between singer-songwriter minimalism from Amelia Baker and arrangements of deceptive and purposeful intricacy. Wherever it went, from traditional songs “Wandering Boy” and “The Cuckoo” to originals like “Fallen” and the nine-minute “Our Lady’s,” it was equal parts gorgeous and sad and resonant. It remains so, despite the fleeting season.

18. Pallbearer, Forgotten Days

pallbearer forgotten days

Released by Nuclear Blast Records. Reviewed Dec. 24.

Their fourth album and first since crossing the decade-mark since their inception, Pallbearer‘s Forgotten Days wasn’t just heavy, emotional or big-sounding; it was the most their-own of anything they’ve done. It felt exactly like the record they wanted it to be, and reconfirmed that the generation of listeners being introduced to doom by their music is going to be just fine if they follow the cues laid out for them here.

17. Slift, Ummon

slift ummon

Released by Stolen Body and Vicious Circle Records. Reviewed March 26.

Less a reinvention of space rock than a kick in its ass, Slift‘s Ummon pushed well past the line of manageability at 72 minutes and reveled in that. The French outfit were greeted as liberators when they released the album, and with the way the respect has been maintained in the months since they’ve given themselves a high standard to meet, but there’s only promise to be heard as you get lost in the nebular wash of this sprawling 2LP. They’ll have two more records out before this one’s fully digested.

16. My Dying Bride, The Ghost of Orion

my dying bride the ghost of orion

Released by Nuclear Blast Records. Reviewed Feb. 25.

The first album in half a decade from long-established UK death-doom forebears My Dying Bride found vocalist Aaron Stainthorpe coping with his daughter’s cancer diagnosis and translating that into the morose poetry for which the band is so well known and with which they’ve been so influential. My Dying Bride has never wanted for sincerity, but to call them affecting here would be underselling the quality of their craft and the heart they put into it. Follow-up EP is already out with extra non-album tracks.

15. Causa Sui, Szabodelico

causa sui Szabodelico

Released by El Paraiso Records. Reviewed Nov. 11.

Denmark’s Causa Sui may be on a mission to unite jazz and heavy psychedelia — and blessings on them for that — but the mellow jammy vibes they conjured on Szabodelico only emphasized how much it’s the character of what they do and the chemistry they’ve brought as bandmates that has allowed them to branch thusly in terms of aesthetic. It was the kind of album you wanted to put on again even before it was over, and its sweet instrumentals felt born to a greater timeline than a single year can encompass.

14. All Souls, Songs for the End of the World

All Souls Songs for the End of the World

Self-released. Reviewed Sept. 21.

I’m not a punk rocker, but All Souls make me wish I was. Their emotive and engaged heavy rock looks out as much as in on Songs for the End of the World — their second LP behind a 2018 self-titled debut (review here) — but it’s undeniably punk in its foundation, and what the four-piece of Antonio Aguilar and Meg Castellanos (both ex-Totimoshi), Erik Trammell (Black Elk) and Tony Tornay (Fatso Jetson) have put together builds on that in exciting, inventive and individualized ways, while staying nonetheless true to its roots.

13. Kind, Mental Nudge

kind mental nudge

Released by Ripple Music. Reviewed Oct. 20.

Five years after their debut album, Rocket Science (review here), Boston four-piece Kind return with Mental Nudge. And despite the different situations in which it finds the band’s members — bassist Tom Corino is now ex-Rozamov, drummer Matt Couto now ex-Elder — the group’s focus remains on carving memorable, mostly structured tracks out of ethereal heavy psychedelia, guitarist Darryl Shepard (Milligram, etc.) and vocalist Craig Riggs (RoadsawSasquatch, etc.) adding space and melody to the crunching, driving grooves.

12. Molassess, Through the Hollow

Molassess Through the Hollow

Released by Season of Mist. Featured Aug. 17.

Founded by vocalist Farida Lemouchi (ex-The Devil’s Blood) and guitarist Oeds Beydals (ex-Death Alley, also ex-The Devil’s Blood) and commissioned as a project for Roadburn Festival 2019 (review here), Molassess are inextricably tied to Lemouchi‘s groundbreaking former outfit and its tragic ending, but the musical branching out into darkened progressive textures on Through the Hollow isn’t to be understated. It was an album that pushed past the past, not overlooking it, but finding new ways of moving forward in life and sound.

11. Tony Reed, Funeral Suit

tony reed funeral suit

Released by Ripple Music. Reviewed Sept. 28.

While of course the Mos Generator frontman is no stranger to writing or recording on his own, Funeral Suit was Tony Reed‘s debut as a solo artist and it carried his progressive stamp in melody and arrangement. It was not just a guitarist playing acoustic instead of electric, and it was not a manifestation of self-indulgence. Whether it was reworking a Mos Generator song like “Lonely One Kenobi” or pursuing a new piece like the title-track or “Waterbirth,” Reed found balance between personal and audience, evoking traditional songsmithing even as he reminded listeners of his dual role as a producer.

10. Geezer, Groovy

Geezer Groovy

Released by Heavy Psych Sounds. Reviewed May 18.

Spectacular showing from Kingston kingpins Geezer with Groovy as their first offering for Heavy Psych Sounds. Led by guitarist/vocalist Pat Harrington, the three-piece brought material that flowed with the organic feel of jams despite being structured and catchy songs. In pieces like “Dead Soul Scroll” and “Drowning on Empty,” they melded stonerized groove with what felt like genuine emotional expression, and “Dig” and “Groovy” still managed to be a heavy fuzz-blues party. And they still had room at the end to jam out on “Slide Mountain” and “Black Owl.” It was nothing but a win, rising to the occasion on every level.

9. Big Scenic Nowhere, Vision Beyond Horizon

big scenic nowhere vision beyond horizon

Released by Heavy Psych Sounds. Reviewed Jan. 29.

So Bob Balch from Fu Manchu and Gary Arce from Yawning Man have a band. They get Tony Reed from Mos Generator on board. Mario Lalli from Yawning Man/Fatso Jetson comes and goes. Nick Oliveri comes and goes. Bill Stinson from Yawning Man plays drums. Alain Johannes sits in on vocals. Reed does a bunch of vocals; his kid does a track too. Per Wiberg from Spiritual Beggars, Opeth, Candlemass, etc., lends some keys. What do you call such a thing? Who cares? You call yourself lucky it exists. They called the record Vision Beyond Horizon. Can’t wait to find out what they call the next one.

8. Elder, Omens

elder omens

Released by Armageddon Shop and Stickman Records. Reviewed April 27.

Omens marked a new beginning for Elder as the band pushed deeper into the realm of progressive rock and beyond their weightier beginnings. The arrival of Georg Edert (also Gaffa Ghandi) on drums in place of Matt Couto shifted the band’s dynamic in a number of ways, providing not a swinging anchor for the rhythm section necessarily, but another avenue of prog fluidity. Bassist Jack Donovan brought a steady presence in the low end as guitarist/vocalist Nick DiSalvo and guitarist/keyboardist Mike Risberg embarked on new melodic explorations while staying loyal to the band’s established penchant for sweeping changes. Omens may live up to its name as a sign of things to come, but either way, it was a strong display of the band’s will to pursue new ideas and methods.

7. Forming the Void, Reverie

forming the void reverie

Released by Ripple Music. Reviewed April 15.

First words that come to mind here: “eminently listenable.” With seven tracks and 36 minutes, Reverie may not have taken up much of your afternoon… once. But by the time you gave it its proper respect and listened through three times in a row, the situation was somewhat different. The Lafayette, Louisiana, four-piece gracefully brought together structured songwriting with proggier leanings and were able to bring together rampaging hooks like “Trace the Omen” and “Manifest,” casting a sense of sonic hugeness without forgetting to add either melody or personality along with that. The band — who here welcomed bassist Thorn Letulle alongside guitarist/vocalist James Marshall, guitarist Shadi Omar Al-Khansa and drummer Thomas Colley — have worked quickly and evolved with a sense of urgency. Is Reverie the goal or another step on that path?

6. Grayceon, MOTHERS WEAVERS VULTURES

grayceon mothers weavers vultures

Released by Translation Loss Records. Reviewed Nov. 18.

Vocalist/cellist Jackie Perez Gratz (interview here), guitarist Max Doyle and drummer Zack Farwell comprise Grayceon, and with their fifth record, the band looks around thematically at environmental devastation through the lens of record-breaking California wildfires from their vantage point in the Bay Area. Even as the world shifted priorities (at least most of it did) to yet another global crisis in the COVID-19 pandemic, genre-melting-pot songs like “Diablo Wind,” “The Lucky Ones,” and “This Bed” reminded of the horrors humanity has wrought on its battered home, and still managed to find hope and serenity in “And Shine On” and “Rock Steady,” a closing duo that shifted to a more personal discussion of family and one’s hope for a better future for and by the next generation. 2020 had plenty of horror. At least we got a new Grayceon record out of it.

5. Brant Bjork, Brant Bjork

brant bjork brant bjork

Released by Heavy Psych Sounds. Reviewed April 28.

When Sho’Nuff asked Bruce Leroy “who’s the master?,” dude should’ve said Brant Bjork. It would’ve been a confusing end to Berry Gordy’s The Last Dragon, but ultimately more accurate, as Brant Bjork‘s homegrown kung fu was unfuckwithable as ever on the album that shares his name. After two decades of solo releases in one form or another, Bjork is not just a pivotal figurehead for desert rock, he’s a defining presence, as well as one of its most treasured practitioners. Brant Bjork, the album, brought initial waves of funk in “Jungle in the Sound,” explored weedy worship in “Mary (You’re Such a Lady)” and toyed with religious dogma in offsetting that with “Jesus Was a Bluesman” while still tossing primo hooks in “Duke of Dynamite” and “Shitkickin’ Now” ahead of the more open “Stardust and Diamond Eyes” and the acoustic closer “Been So Long.” With Bjork recording all the instruments himself, a due feeling of intimacy resulted, and yet he still found a way to make it rock. How could it be otherwise?

4. Enslaved, Utgard

enslaved utgard

Released by Nuclear Blast Records. Reviewed Sept. 29.

Why do I feel the immediate need to defend this pick? I’m not sure. Norway’s Enslaved are an institution, not just of black metal, but of bringing an ideology of creative growth to that style that often willfully resists it. They are iconoclastic even unto their own work. Utgard was released as the band stood on the precipice of 30 years together and yet it stood as their most forward-looking offering yet, as co-founders Grutle Kjellson (bass/vocals) and Ivar Bjørnson (guitar/sometimes vocals), as well as longtime lead guitarist Arve “Ice Dale” Isdal backed up the change from 2017’s E (review here) that brought in new keyboardist/vocalist Hakon Vinje with the incorporation of drummer Iver Sandøy, who doubles as a vocalist (and triples as a producer). The “new blood” made all the difference on Utgard, allowing Enslaved to piece together new ranges of melody in their work and offset instrumental shifts into and out of krautrock-derived progressions. Simply the work of a band outdoing itself from a band who does so at nearly every opportunity.

3a. Colour Haze, We Are

colour haze we are

Released by Elektrohasch Schallplatten and Ripple Music. Reviewed Dec. 3, 2019.

Every year I allow myself one addendum pick, and this is it. We Are was on last year’s list because it was digitally released, but the vinyl came out this year and it received its North American release this year as well, so it seemed only right to acknowledge that. So here it is in its proper place.

3. All Them Witches, Nothing as the Ideal

All-Them-Witches-Nothing-as-the-Ideal

Released by New West Records. Reviewed Sept. 3.

This is a band controlling their own narrative. Instead of Nothing as the Ideal being ‘the one they made as a three-piece,’ the Nashville outfit decided to make it ‘the one they recorded at Abbey Road.’ Were they thinking of it on those terms? Yeah, likely not, but it goes to demonstrate all the same just how much of themselves All Them Witches put into what they do musically, since not only are they continuing to refine and define and undefine their approach, but they’re setting the terms on which they do it. Each of their records has been a response to the one prior, but that conversation has never been so direct as to make them predictable. So what are they chasing? Apparently nothing. I’m not entirely sure I buy that as a complete answer, but I am sure I love these songs and the experiments with tape loops and other sounds that fill these spaces. Whatever they do next — or even if nothing — their run has been incredible and exciting and one only hopes their influence continues to spread over the next however many years.

2. Elephant Tree, Habits

elephant tree habits

Released by Deathwish Inc.. Reviewed April 13.

There was a high standard set by Elephant Tree‘s 2016 self-titled debut (review here), but their second LP, Habits, surpassed even the loftiest of expectations. With vocals centered around harmonies from guitarist Jack Townley and bassist Peter Holland, the former trio completed by drummer Sam Hart brought in guitarist/keyboardist John Slattery (also sometimes vocals), and the resultant breadth gave the material on Habits spaciousness beyond even what the first album promised. Drifting, rolling, unflinchingly melodic and somehow present even in its own escapism, Habits was not just an early highlight for a rough 2020, but a comforting presence throughout, and the further one dug into tracks like “Sails,” “Exit the Soul,” “Faceless,” “Wasted” and the acoustic “The Fall Chorus,” the more there was to find — let alone “Bird,” which I’ll happily put against anything else one might propose for song of the year. As their former UK label crumbled, Habits emerged unscathed and Elephant Tree‘s future continues to shine with ever more hope for things to come. Being able to say that about anything feels like a relief.

2020 Album of the Year

1. Lowrider, Refractions

Lowrider Refractions

Released by Blues Funeral Recordings. Reviewed Jan. 24.

Twenty years ago, Sweden’s Lowrider put out what would become a heavy rock landmark in their 2000 debut, Ode to Io (reissue review here). A follow-up years in the making even after the band got back together to play Desertfest in London (review here) and Berlin in 2013, Refractions first saw limited release in 2019 as part of Blues Funeral‘s PostWax series (discussed here), but its proper arrival was in early 2020, and there was really no looking back after that. It wasn’t just the novelty of a new Lowrider album that made Refractions such a joy, but the manner in which the band went about its work. There was no pretending that 20 years didn’t happen. There was no attempt to recapture the bottled lightning that was the first record, and Lowrider did not sound like a band “making a comeback” rife with expectations and fan-service. Refractions acknowledged the legacy of Ode to Io, sure enough, but as a step toward adding to it in meaningful and engaging ways. The songs — “Red River,” “Ode to Ganymede,” “Sernanders Krog,” “Ol’ Mule Pepe,” “Sun Devil/M87” and the 11-minute finale “Pipe Rider” — were fashioned without pretense and came across as the organic output of a band with nothing to prove to anyone but themselves. They made it their own. In a wretched year, Lowrider shined.

The Top 50 Albums of 2020: Honorable Mention

Yeah, okay. There are a lot of these, so buckle in. Last year I just threw out a list of bands. This year I’m a little more organized, so here are bands and records alphabetically.

Across Tundras, LOESS ~ LÖSS
Across Tundras, The Last Days of a Silver Rush
Alain Johannes, Hum
Arboretum, Let it All In
Bell Witch & Aerial Ruin, Stygian Bough Vol. 1
Black Helium, The Wholly Other
Boris, No
Brimstone Coven, The Woes of a Mortal Earth
CB3, Aeons
Celestial Season, The Secret Teachings
Crippled Black Phoenix, Ellengæst
Cruthu, Athrú Crutha
Domo, Domonautas Vol. 2
DOOL, Summerland
Dopelord, Sign of the Devil
Dwaal, Gospel of the Vile
Elder Druid, Golgotha
Ellis Munk Ensemble, San Diego Sessions
Emma Ruth Rundle & Thou, May Our Chambers Be Full
EMBR, 1823
Familiars, All in Good Time
Forlesen, Hierophant Violent
Galactic Cross, Galactic Cross
The Heavy Eyes, Love Like Machines
Hum, Inlet
Human Impact, Human Impact
Humulus, The Deep
Jupiterian, Protosapien
Kariti, Covered Mirrors
Khan, Monsoons
Kingnomad, Sagan Om Ryden
King Witch, Body of Light
Kryptograf, Kryptograf
Light Pillars, Light Pillars
Lord Buffalo, Tohu Wa Bohu
Lord Loud, Timid Beast
Lotus Thief, Oresteia
Malsten, The Haunting of Silvåkra Mill
Mindcrawler, Lost Orbiter
Motorpsycho, The All is One
Mountain Tamer, Psychosis Ritual
Mr. Bison, Seaward
Mrs. Piss, Self-Surgery
Mugstar, GRAFT
Murcielago, Casualties
Oranssi Pazuzu, Mestarin Kynsi
Paradise Lost, Obsidian
Parahelio, Surge Evelia Surge
The Pilgrim, …From the Earth to the Sky and Back
Pretty Lightning, Jangle Bowls
Psychlona, Venus Skytrip
Puta Volcano, AMMA
Ritual King, Ritual King
River Cult, Chilling Effect
Rrrags, High Protein
Shores of Null, Beyond the Shores (On Death and Dying)
Sigiriya, Maiden – Mother – Crone
Six Organs of Admittance, Companion Rises
16, Dream Squasher
Slomosa, Slomosa
Somnus Throne, Somnus Throne
Steve Von Till, No Wilderness Deep Enough
Stone Machine Electric, The Inexplicable Vibrations of Frequencies Within the Cosmic Netherworld
Sumac, May You Be Held
Temple of the Fuzz Witch, Red Tide
Temple of Void, The World That Was
The Kings of Frog Island, VI
Tia Carrera, Tried and True
Turtle Skull, Monoliths
Uffe Lorenzen, Magisk Realisme
Ulcerate, Stare Into Death and Be Still
Vessel of Light, Last Ride
Vestal Claret, Vestal Claret
Vinnum Sabbathi, Of Dimensions and Theories
Wight, Spank the World
Wino, Forever Gone
Yatra, All is Lost
Yuri Gagarin, The Outskirts of Reality

By no means is that list exhaustive. And to look at stuff like Psychlona, Oranssi Pazuzu, Wight, Wino, Puta Volcano, Kingnomad, Ellis Munk Ensemble, Paradise Lost, Alain Johannes, Arbouretum, Uffe Lorenzen, Tia Carrera — on and on and on — I can definitely see where arguments are to be made for records that should’ve been in the list proper. I can only go with what feels right to me at the time.

Together with the top 50, this makes over 110 albums in the best of 2020. If you find yourself needing something to hang your hat on, be glad you’re alive to witness this much excellent music coming out.

Debut Album of the Year

Molassess, Through the Hollow

Molassess Through the Hollow

Other notable debuts (alphabetically):

Atramentus, Stygian
Bethmoora, Thresholds
BleakHeart, Dream Griever
Crystal Spiders, Molt
Dirt Woman, The Glass Cliff
Dwaal, Gospel of the Vile
Electric Feat, Electric Feat
Familiars, All in Good Time
Galactic Cross, Galactic Cross
Human Impact, Human Impact
Jointhugger, I Am No One
Light Pillars, Light Pillars
Love Gang, Dead Man’s Game
Malsten, The Haunting of Silvåkra Mill
Might, Might
Mindcrawler, Lost Orbiter
Mrs. Piss, Self-Surgery
Parahelio, Surge Evelia Surge
Polymoon, Caterpillars of Creation
Ritual King, Ritual King
SEA, Impermanence
Slomosa, Slomosa
Soldati, Doom Nacional
Somnus Throne, Somnus Throne
SpellBook, Magick & Mischief
Spirit Mother, Cadets
Temple of the Fuzz Witch, Red Tide
The Crooked Whispers, Satanic Melodies
White Dog, White Dog

Notes: I sparred with myself every step of the way here. The last couple years I’ve tried to give the top-debut spot to not just a new band, but a new presence. Green Lung, King Buffalo, etc. Molassess, with members from The Devil’s Blood, Death Alley and Astrosoniq, isn’t exactly that. So what do I do? Do I go with something newer like Polymoon, Dirt Woman, BleakHeart, SEA, White Dog or The Crooked Whispers, or something with more established players like Molassess, Soldati, or even Light Pillars?

In the end, what made the difference was not just how brilliant the songs on Molassess’ Through the Hollow, but how honestly the band confronted the legacy they were up against. The songs had a familiar haunting presence, but they were also moving ahead to somewhere new. It was that blend of old and new ideas, and the resonant feeling of emotional catharsis — as well as the sheer immersion that took place while listening — that ultimately made the decision. Turns out I just couldn’t escape it.

And why not a list? Because this feels woefully inadequate as it is. I reviewed over 250 records this year one way or another — and that’s a conservative estimate — but a lot gets lost in the shuffle and somehow it just seemed wrong this time around to call something the 13th best first record of the year. I wanted to highlight the special achievement that was the Molassess album, but really, all of these records kicked my ass one way or the other.

Short Release of the Year 2020

King Buffalo, Dead Star

King Buffalo Dead Star

Other notable EPs, Splits, Demos, etc.:

Big Scenic Nowhere, Lavender Blues
Coma Wall, Ursa Minor
Conan/Deadsmoke, Doom Sessions Vol. 1
Fu Manchu, Fu30 Pt. 1
Grandpa Jack, Trash Can Boogie
Howling Giant/Sergeant Thunderhoof, Masamune/Muramasa (split)
Oginalii, Pendulum
Kings Destroy, Floods
Lament Cityscape, The Old Wet
Limousine Beach, Stealin’ Wine +2
Merlock, That Which Speaks
Monte Luna, Mind Control Broadcast
Mos Generator/Di’Aul, Split
Pimmit Hills, Heathens & Prophets
Rito Verdugo, Post-Primatus
Rocky Mtn Roller, Rocky Mtn Roller
Spaceslug, Leftovers
10,000 Years, 10,000 Years
The White Swan, Nocturnal Transmission
Thunderbird Divine, The Hand of Man
Witchcraft, Black Metal

Notes: If you were wondering why King Buffalo’s Dead Star (review here) wasn’t on the big list, this is why. It was pitched to me as an EP and that’s how I’m classifying it. I’m taking the out. Is it an EP? Not really, but neither is it a full-length album, given its experimental nature and focus around its extended two-part title-track. Whatever it was, it was the best that-thing, and this is the category where such things go.

Again, tough choices after King Buffalo. Thunderbird Divine’s EP was wonderfully funk-blasted and woefully short (new album, please). The newly-issued Spaceslug EP branches out their sound in fascinating ways as a result of the lockdown. Witchcraft’s acoustic EP, Coma Wall’s EP and Big Scenic Nowhere’s EP all signaled good things to come, and Howling Giant’s split with Sergeant Thunderhoof was a highlight of the most recent Quarterly Review. There really isn’t a bummer on the list there, from the bitter psych of Oginalii to the industrial metal of Lament Cityscape, the unadulterated riffery of Merlock to the live-captured rawness of Monte Luna.

So again, why no list? Same answer. I want to highlight the progression King Buffalo made in their sound and leave room open elsewhere for things I missed. Please let me know what in the comments. Cordially.

Live Album of the Year 2020

Yawning Man, Live at Giant Rock

yawning man live at giant rock

Other notable live releases:

Ahab, Live Prey
Amenra, Mass VI Live
Arcadian Child, From Far, for the Wild (Live in Linz)
Author and Punisher, Live 2020 B.C.
Cherry Choke, Raising Salzburg Rockhouse
Dead Meadow, Live at Roadburn 2011
Dirty Streets, Rough and Tumble
Electric Moon, Live at Freak Valley Festival 2019
Kadavar, Studio Live Session Vol. 1
King Buffalo, Live at Freak Valley
Monte Luna, Mind Control Broadcast
Orange Goblin, Rough & Ready: Live and Loud
Øresund Space Collective, Sonic Rock Solstice 2019
Pelican, Live at the Grog Shop
SEA, Live at ONCE
Sumac, St Vitus 09/07/2018
Sun Blood Stories, (a)Live and Alone at Visual Arts Collective
Temple Fang, Live at Merleyn
YOB, Pickathon 2019 – Live From the Galaxy Barn

Notes: In this wretched year (mostly) void of live music, marked by canceled tours and festivals, the live album arguably played a more central role than it ever has, whether it was a band trying to keep momentum up following or leading into a studio release, taking advantage of the emergence of the Bandcamp Friday phenomenon or just trying to maintain some connection to their fans and the process of taking a stage. Or even playing in a room together. Or not a room. Anything. What was once a tossoff, maybe an afterthought companion piece became an essential worker of the listening experience.

You might accuse desert rock progenitors Yawning Man of playing to their base with Live at Giant Rock (featured here), and if so, fine. At no point in the last 50 years has that base more needed playing-to. And in the absence of shows, being able to hear (and watch, in the case of the accompanying video) Yawning Man go out to the landscape that spawned them and engage with their music was a beautiful moment of reconciliation. An exhale for the converted that didn’t fill one with empty promises of better tomorrows or tours to come, but served to remind what’s so worth preserving about the spirit of live music in the first place. The fact that anything can happen. A replaced note here, a tuning change there — these things can make not just an evening, but memories that go beyond shows, tours, to touch our lives.

There were a ton of live records this year. Some were benefits for worthy causes between saving venues, Black Lives Matter, voting rights organizations, and so on. And whether these were new performances from captured livestreams (Monte Luna, Kadavar) or older gigs that had been sitting around waiting for release at some point (Sumac, Dead Meadow), this, very much, was that point, and these live offerings kept burning a fire that felt at times very much in danger of being extinguished.

Looking Ahead to 2021

A list of bands. Some confirmed releases, some not. Here goes:

Dread Sovereign, Sasquatch, Year of Taurus, Apostle of Solitude, Weedpecker, Borracho, Love Gang, Jointhugger, Demon Head, Iron Man, Greenleaf, Samsara Blues Experiment, The Mammathus, Evert Snyman, Wo Fat, Conclave, Here Lies Man, Kabbalah, Komatsu, Hour of 13, Wedge, Amenra, La Chinga, Spidergawd, Wolves in the Throne Room, Vokonis, Freedom Hawk, Masters of Reality, ZOM, Eyehategod, Sanhedrin, Green Lung, The Mountain King, Albatross Overdrive, Elder, King Buffalo, Sunnata, Howling Giant, SAVER, Conan, Slomatics, Ruff Majik, Kind, Mos Generator, Yawning Sons, Lantlôs, Brant Bjork, Spiral Grave, Crystal Spiders, Lightning Born, Samavayo, Wovenhand, Merlock, Comet Control, The Age of Truth, Eight Bells, BlackWater Holylight, DVNE, Monte Luna.

Thank You

You’ve read enough, so I will do my best to keep this mercifully short. Thank you so much for reading — whether you still are or not — and thank you for being a part of the ongoing project that is The Obelisk. I cannot tell you how much it means to me to have such incredible support throughout not just this year, but all the years of the site’s existence. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.

Thank you most of all to The Patient Mrs. for her indulgence in letting me get this done. I’m am amazed forever.

More to come.

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Days of Rona: Labros G. from 1000mods

Posted in Features on April 21st, 2020 by JJ Koczan

The statistics of COVID-19 change with every news cycle, and with growing numbers, stay-at-home isolation and a near-universal disruption to society on a global scale, it is ever more important to consider the human aspect of this coronavirus. Amid the sad surrealism of living through social distancing, quarantines and bans on gatherings of groups of any size, creative professionals — artists, musicians, promoters, club owners, techs, producers, and more — are seeing an effect like nothing witnessed in the last century, and as humanity as a whole deals with this calamity, some perspective on who, what, where, when and how we’re all getting through is a needed reminder of why we’re doing so in the first place.

Thus, Days of Rona, in some attempt to help document the state of things as they are now, both so help can be asked for and given where needed, and so that when this is over it can be remembered.

Thanks to all who participate. To read all the Days of Rona coverage, click here. — JJ Koczan

1000mods labros

Days of Rona: Labros G. from 1000mods (Chiliomodi, Greece)

How are you dealing with this crisis as a band? Have you had to rework plans at all? How is everyone’s health so far?

First of all, thanks for doing this and thanks a lot for caring! The band is healthy and everyone is safe at home! The plan was to release our new album on the 24th of April and on the 1st of May embark on our headline European tour in order to promote the new album. The spring tour has been postponed and we are still waiting for the rest of summer dates, as we have already booked a lot of festivals and club shows for the whole summer.

The album release date was not affected.

What are the quarantine/isolation rules where you are?

We are in lockdown. The majority of business have been shut down and most of employees either work from home or have been seriously affected by losing their job or are unsure about their future when this is over.

People are only allowed to get outside for getting supplies, exercise (max two persons) or to walk their dogs and they have to send an SMS to the government in order to declare personal information, time and reason of transfer.

How have you seen the virus affecting the community around you and in music?

Since mid-March, all the gigs in Greece have been canceled, all the venues, bars, studios, merch printing companies etc. have been closed. A lot of bands from our scene are being forced to cancel/postpone their European and Greek tours. The music community is united and there have already been some online live sessions, or cover/jam challenges on social media. People try to deal with the quarantine with artistic expression, online socializing and humor.

What is the one thing you want people to know about your situation, either as a band, or personally, or anything?

? think the whole Covid-19 crisis is a chance to reconsider the structure of our society, the economical system and our future as a human species in general. It’s time for people to prioritize our needs and wants and realize that we are guided by irrational leaders, who reacted really slow on taking the situation seriously, chose to mislead the public with wrong information and prefer thousands of people dying — although we have the science and the technology to prevent this — just in order to continue supporting the rotten capitalistic system and favor the chosen few.

In every crisis there is opportunity for bigger gains and this is exactly what’s happening right now. The only positive outcome is that humanity finally gave nature some time to recover from an unstoppable destroy that takes place the last century. It’s real odd to see in real-time how much, our way of living affects the planet and how nature recovers with just a little bit of human absence. Of course this is not going to bring the solution to big nature problems, like climate change and planet’s overheating, but it clearly shows that if we want to change our planet’s future, we still can.

It’s 2020, we have moved a lot forward with scientific breakthroughs, amazing technology and we have reached a point where knowledge is shared instantly across the world. So I think there are no excuses. It’s in peoples’ hands to decide if we are going to continue the same way, or gonna change our perspective to a more humanistic society powered by solidarity and respect for each other, using all our knowledge and wisdom in order to make people’s lives better.

https://www.facebook.com/1000mods/
https://1000mods.bandcamp.com/
https://soundcloud.com/1000mods

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Album Review: 1000mods, Youth of Dissent

Posted in Reviews on April 8th, 2020 by JJ Koczan

1000mods Youth of DissentIt seems to be the mark of generational shifts that one invariably criticizes the one after. Baby Boomers and Generation X. Generation X and Millennials. Millennials and Gen-Z and whatever they call the proverbial “kids nowadays” nowadays. Coming from Greece, which is a nation that has seen arguably more than its fair share of turmoil even before the worldwide COVID-19 outbreak — from economic upheaval to being an epicenter of Europe’s greatest refugee crisis in over half a century, to the all-encompassing apocalyptic linger that is climate change currently in progress — 1000mods appear to depart from this “when I was your age we walked uphill both ways” norm with Youth of Dissent, their fourth album and second to be self-released through their own Ouga Booga and the Mighty Oug Recordings imprint.

The cover art and the general theme of the engrossing 11-track/55-minute long-player seems to be framed not around calling the youth lazy, but standing in admiration and being inspired by the likes of the school-walkout climate protests and other youth movements happening worldwide, and fair enough. Bassist/vocalist Dani G., guitarists Giannis S. and George T., and drummer Labros G. return accordingly with an energetic and powerful collection of songs, perhaps less directly politically oriented than one might think, but from the careening opener “Lucid” onward as the salvo continues into the crunch-riff/open-verse-combo “So Many Days” and start-stop shover “Warped” ahead of the slower roll of the seven-minute “Dear Herculine,” 1000mods offer the best summary of their purpose right there in the name of their first track. They are lucid. Strikingly so.

The Chiliomodi four-piece have never exactly been shy about their purposes. Their 2016 full-length, Repeated Exposure To… (review here), back through 2014’s Vultures (review here), 2012’s Valley of Sand EP (discussed here), 2011’s breakthrough debut, Super Van Vacation (review here; discussed here), 2009’s Liquid Sleep EP (review here), and 2006’s Blank Reality EP all one way or another have made heavy rock and roll the root of what they do. From an early fascination with desert vibes in Super Van Vacation and Valley of Sand, they’ve shifted toward a more straight-ahead approach to weighted tones and riff-led fare, with Vultures capturing the transition in action ahead of further realization on Repeated Exposure To…, which before Youth of Dissent, was their most mature release to-date. That title has been usurped, and in somewhat ironic fashion given Youth of Dissent‘s homage to upstart-ism.

Still, it is the clarity of their intention and the feeling of purpose in their songwriting that comes through so much in the material on Youth of Dissent, with “Dear Herculine” displaying a more patient take, which the duly wistful “Young” and the slow progressive build of closer “Mirrors” will bear out later, and while that’s a consistent theme across the 1000mods‘ work from their earliest days of Kyuss worship, the sense of just how much they’ve adopted and adapted their own approach is hard to ignore in these songs, and the effectiveness of their work has yet to sound so broad in its reach. That is to say, Youth of Dissent feels worldlier, speaking not just to a heavy underground, but a wider audience of anyone who might hear it. It is an album with a message it hopes to convey to as many ears as possible.

1000mods

In making it, 1000mods traveled to Washington to record with producer/engineer Matt Bayles, who’s best known in heavy circles for his work with MastodonIsis, Sandrider and multitudes of others in the Pacific Northwest noise sphere. And to be sure, Youth of Dissent accordingly lacking nothing for volume. It comes out in the stage-ready drive of “Warped” and the later pair of “Pearl” and the well-we’re-in-Seattle-so-let’s-make-a-Nirvana-song “Blister” ahead of “Young,” but as can be heard in the comfortably floating melody of “Less is More,” the centerpiece interlude “21st Space Century” and even the gallop of the penultimate “Dissent” — which also brings about some of the record’s most physically dense riffing — it wasn’t simply volume so much as dynamic that the band wanted to hone in the recording.

Bayles brings a keen ear for performance, which is unsurprising given his pedigree, but through that, Youth of Dissent also highlights how much 1000mods‘ approach to  has to offer at this stage in their now-15-year tenure. There is an overarching professionalism to pieces like “So Many Days” and the recent speedy single “Pearl” that offer a vision of heavy rock intended for a mass audience. They are not just preaching to the converted here, as they otherwise might. They’re trying to win new converts. And there is a sizable distinction between the two in terms of boldness and, again, lucidity.

While not cloying in the way of commercial hard rock, stripping away personality in search of a universal lowest common pop denominator of dumbed-down (usually white) male aggression, Youth of Dissent makes its own willful rebellion in its refusal to isolate itself. It’s true the dominant social narrative of the day may have shifted out from under the record’s feet to some degree — plagues happen, apparently — but that doesn’t make 1000mods‘ message any less relevant. Their pointed admiration and you-inspire-us point of view comes through as surely as any of the guitar, bass, drums or vocals, and gives an impression that lasts right alongside the strongest of hooks in “So Many Days,” or “Pearl” or “Young” or “Dissent,” etc., and invariably, they’re speaking to an audience beyond the bounds of the heavy rock norm. Maybe even a younger one.

Their worldlier perspective and veteran status are both remarkably well earned. Even in the last five years, the band have toured extensively through Europe as well as hitting North America and Australia, and their audience has only continued to grow, making them not only ambassadors and spearheads of the vibrant Greek heavy underground, but one of the foremost acts of the European live circuit. They translate that experience into the tracks of Youth of Dissent, and if what they’re drawing in terms of inspiration is the energy of the young itself and the fervency of belief in what they’re doing, then the success of the album is writ large across its near-hour runtime. There seems also to be an undercurrent of hope throughout the proceedings, and along with their craft generally, that too feels more crucial now than ever.

1000mods, “Pearl” official video

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1000mods Post Video for “Pearl” from Youth of Dissent LP

Posted in Bootleg Theater on March 9th, 2020 by JJ Koczan

1000mods

Preorders are up now for Youth of Dissent, the upcoming and much anticipated full-length from Greek heavy rock forerunners 1000mods, who through hard touring over the last few years and the general quality of their work over the course of the last decade-plus, have appointed themselves ambassadors of the increasingly crowded national underground from whence they hail, both to the rest of Europe and well beyond. To wit, the photo above was taken on their 2019 Australian tour, and to record Youth of Dissent, the Chiliomodi natives braved US Customs and Border Patrol in order work with producer/engineer Matt Bayles (MastodonIsis, etc.) in Seattle. Set to return to the road in May to support the April 24 release of Youth of Dissent, they are nothing if not an international presence.

Their video for the track “Pearl” from the new album serves as a first introduction to the straight-ahead approach that seems to define a lot of what I’ve heard of the album. In following-up 2016’s Repeated Exposure To… (review here), the band have moved further beyond the desert rock infatuations that drove their 2011 debut, Super Van Vacation (review here; discussed here) or its 2014 follow-up, Vultures (review here), and are continuing to forge their own creative path, tightening their songwriting and sharpening their impact overall. At three and a half minutes, “Pearl” doesn’t necessarily speak to some of the more flowing aspects of Youth of Dissent, but it gives listeners a chance to get a glimpse of what’s on offer with the record and is certainly a welcome blast of energy from a band who are at this point well experienced in the delivery of such things.

One might find a distinct J-horror influence in the clip itself. I’m not sure for what the pearls in “Pearl” are serving as metaphor, but in posting the clip through their social media, the band included the statement “no human being is illegal” and expressed solidarity with refugees and migrants worldwide, so perhaps some connection there. So be it.

Video, info and tour dates follow.

Please enjoy:

1000mods, “Pearl” official video

This is “Pearl”! The first single from our upcoming album “Youth of Dissent”, to be released on the 24th of April!

Preorder “Youth of Dissent”: https://www.1000mods.com/yod

Directed by Nasos Gatzoulis

No human being is illegal – Solidarity to all the refugees/migrants!

1000MODS “Youth of Dissent European Tour 2020”
01.05.20 – Berlin | DesertFest Berlin
02.05.20 – Nijmegen | Sonic Whip Festival
03.05.20 – London | Desertfest London
04.05.20 – Amsterdam | Melkweg Amsterdam
05.05.20 – Strasbourg | La Laiterie Artefact
06.05.20 – Pratteln | Konzertfabrik Z7 – Pratteln
07.05.20 – Brussels | Botanique
08.05.20 – Cologne | Live Music Hall
09.05.20 – Paris | La Machine du Moulin Rouge
11.05.20 – Stuttgart | Universum
12.05.20 – Leipzig | WERK2-Kulturfabrik
13.05.20 – Hamburg | Markthalle-Hamburg
14.05.20 – Copenhagen | VEGA
15.05.20 – Oslo | Youngs Oslo
16.05.20 – Göteborg | Valand Nattklubb
17.05.20 – Rostock | M.A.U. Club Rostock
19.05.20 – Vienna | ARENA WIEN
20.05.20 – Salzburg | Rockhouse Salzburg
21.05.20 – Graz | p.p.c.
22.05.20 – Budapest | A38 Hajó
23.05.20 – Zagreb | Klub Mo?vara

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1000mods Announce ‘Youth of Dissent’ Spring European Tour

Posted in Whathaveyou on February 17th, 2020 by JJ Koczan

1000mods

So what do we learn here? 1000mods are gonna tour. Not really a surprise there, right? They tour hard, and often. Their new album is called Youth of Dissent, and you might recall they traveled to America to record in Seattle with Matt Bayles (Mastodon, etc.). I’m not saying I’ve heard it or anything, but it brings a new level of clarity to their sound while remaining very much a heavy rock album. Their songs continue to resonate and their performance, as one has come to expect, shows no lack of passion for all its accumulated professionalism.

They’re on their game, in other words. I don’t have an exact release date, but sometime around May doesn’t seem unreasonable considering the timing of the tour below, and while we’re speculating, I wouldn’t be at all surprised if they made it back to the US sometime before the end of 2020. They were here in 2018 and did a quick run of gigs when they recorded, because why not, so yeah. I’ll keep my fingers crossed they get snagged for a slot at Desertfest New York and do my best to show up wherever whenever, be it this year or sometime in 2021.

Sound of Liberation announced the tour as follows:

1000mods youth of dissent tour

1000MODS / YOUTH OF DISSENT EUROPEAN TOUR 2020

We are extremely excited to finally announce that 1000mods will hit the road this spring to promote their upcoming album “Youth of Dissent”!

While we can’t wait to listen to some new music after more than 3 years, we suggest you get your tickets fast, as 1000mods are well known for selling out venues no matter the size!

For our German friends, we will offer some LIMITED edition hardtickets and we’ll add a tour poster on top of it! Just go through http://www.sol-tickets.com/ and simply choose the shipping option during the checkout-process.

Ladies and gentlemen Sound of Liberation and Ouga Booga and the Mighty Oug proudly present:

1000MODS “Youth of Dissent European Tour 2020”
01.05.20 – Berlin | DesertFest Berlin
02.05.20 – Nijmegen | Sonic Whip Festival
03.05.20 – London | Desertfest London
04.05.20 – Amsterdam | Melkweg Amsterdam
05.05.20 – Strasbourg | La Laiterie Artefact
06.05.20 – Pratteln | Konzertfabrik Z7 – Pratteln
07.05.20 – Brussels | Botanique
08.05.20 – Cologne | Live Music Hall
09.05.20 – Paris | La Machine du Moulin Rouge
11.05.20 – Stuttgart | Universum
12.05.20 – Leipzig | WERK2-Kulturfabrik
13.05.20 – Hamburg | Markthalle-Hamburg
14.05.20 – Copenhagen | VEGA
15.05.20 – Oslo | Youngs Oslo
16.05.20 – Göteborg | Valand Nattklubb
17.05.20 – Rostock | M.A.U. Club Rostock
19.05.20 – Vienna | ARENA WIEN
20.05.20 – Salzburg | Rockhouse Salzburg
21.05.20 – Graz | p.p.c.
22.05.20 – Budapest | A38 Hajó
23.05.20 – Zagreb | Klub Mo?vara

https://www.facebook.com/1000mods/
https://1000mods.bandcamp.com/
https://soundcloud.com/1000mods
www.soundofliberation.com/id-1000mods

1000mods, Live at Kenton Club, Portland, Oregon, Nov. 17, 2019

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Sonic Whip 2020 Completes Lineup; 1000mods, Causa Sui, Spaceslug, Samavayo & More Added

Posted in Whathaveyou on January 20th, 2020 by JJ Koczan

sonic whip 2020 banner

This looks like fun, simple as that. Well, maybe not three two-headed, four-armed, knife-and-pill-wielding snake beast on the poster. Though obviously cool looking too, that just kind of looks like it would kill you after opening your third eye. But the event itself, Sonic Whip 2020. That looks like a good time. It’s important to be specific about these things.

The Netherlands-based Spring festival to be held May 1 and 2 has completed its lineup, adding seven more names to an already impressive initial batch. Newcomers include Spaceslug, Big Business, and Greek heavy rock forerunners 1000mods, the latter whose addition to the bill makes me wonder if they’ll be on tour at the time, and if so, if their new album might be out to coincide. If that’s so, an announcement would be coming shortly, I’d think. An exciting prospect, whether it pans out that way or not.

You can see the full list of new adds and the complete final lineup below. Dig:

sonic whip 2020 finished poster

SONIC WHIP 2020 – NEW NAMES – LINE-UP COMPLETE

1000MODS (gr), Causa Sui (dk), Big Business (usa), Somali Yacht Club (ukr), Samavayo (ger), Netherlands (usa) and Spaceslug (pol) have been added to the line-up of Sonic Whip 2020.

With these last seven names the line-up is complete. We are proud to have been able to book these twenty artists for the upcoming edition. In our opinion a nice cross section of what the sonic and psychedelic -heavy rock- genre has to offer at the moment. From old heroes and established names to new artists who know how to push the boundaries again. Next to that also a number of special acts that can rarely be admired live in the Netherlands like Masters of Reality, Pissed Jeans, Causa Sui and Rotor. Look for the daily schedule on the website or event of Sonic Whip.

Day tickets: http://bit.ly/SonicWhip2020
Combi-tickets: http://bit.ly/SonicWhip2020Combi

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Sonic Whip, the multi-headed rock monster that combines roaring guitars riffs with steaming bass lines, pounding drums and other sonic, psychedelic excesses, is preparing for the third edition. We kick off on May 1 with a pre-party deluxe in Doornroosje to completely unleash sonically on May 2 at the same location.

LINE-UP
MASTERS OF REALITY
KADAVAR
1000MODS
BRANT BJORK
CAUSA SUI
PISSED JEANS
BIG BUSINESS
ROTOR
SOMALI YACHT CLUB
MAIDAVALE
THE COSMIC DEAD
SAMAVAYO
SACRI MONTI
FORMING THE VOID
ACID ROOSTER
SPACESLUG
GUM TAKES TOOTH
NETHERLANDS
BONNACONS OF DOOM
DHIDALAH

https://www.facebook.com/events/427908701471605/
https://www.facebook.com/Sonicwhipfestival/
https://www.instagram.com/doornroosjenl/
https://www.doornroosje.nl/event/sonic-whip-2020/

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Desertfest Berlin 2020: Witchcraft, Amenra, 1000mods, The Vintage Caravan & More Added

Posted in Whathaveyou on November 11th, 2019 by JJ Koczan

desertfest berlin 2020 banner

Desertfest Berlin 2020’s second lineup announcement arrives in coordinated fashion with that of Desertfest London 2020, and even so, finds the two festivals beginning to distinguish themselves from each other. Of course, there are shared factors — Witchcraft will play both, as well as Spirit Adrift — but while there’s always a chance some bands from the one will still be added to the other, as of now, Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs, 1000modsAmenra and The Vintage Caravan are exclusive to the German edition of the festival series. I have zero insight or insider information to offer, so we’ll see if it stays that way, but for now, both Spring Desertfests seem to be growing on their own into something badass, sharing a bit but also having plenty to stand apart.

And Witchcraft headlining certainly doesn’t hurt either. I mean, really.

Here’s the Berlin announcement:

desertfest berlin 2020 poster

WITCHCRAFT, AMENRA, 1000MODS, THE VINTAGE CARAVAN, PIGS PIGS PIGS PIGS PIGS PIGS PIGS and SPIRIT ADRIFT confirmed for DESERTFEST BERLIN 2020!!!

Friends, here we goooooo!

They belong to the most distinctive bands of the Swedish psychedelic classic rock, their sound influenced the heavy rock scene for decades, but they also rarely appear live on stage: The more we are proud to welcome legendary Witchcraft in 2020! This show will already mark a true milestone and unforgettable highlight in the history of Desertfest.

Joining them on the bill are atmospheric post-metal overlords, Amenra, who will turn the ARENA BERLIN stage into a mesmerizing sound landscape. Putting all their heart and soul into every note, word and visuals, AMENRA change the course of people’s lives everywhere their path leads them. After London and their highly acclaimed show at the Electric Ballroom last year, we’re thrilled to become a part of this path in 2020. And because your wish is our command: They are one of the most beloved and requested bands on our socials – yes, your prayers have been heard!

Greek fuzz rock unit 1000mods, THE hottest band in within the current heavy rock scene, will be finally back at Desertfest Berlin. On this special show you’ll be listening to some amazing new tunes from their upcoming album (which is recorded as we “speak” in Seattle), for the very first time! With an average age of nearly 23 years old, Icelandic rockers The Vintage Caravan show a maturity worthy of any band that has been on the road for decades. When the band got on stage at the 2012 edition of the Icelandic Eistnaflug festival, the trio was only allowed to enter the venue accompanied by their parents. The charismatic band released 3 critically acclaimed records to date, their career has been impressive while they toured the globe with bands alike Europe, Blues Pills, Grand Magus or just currently with Opeth to name just a few. Desertfesters, bring your mums and dads, too, when THE VINTAGE CARAVAN will roll over our beloved Desertfest Berlin in 2020!

Furthermore we will see Newcastle’s maximalists, Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs, whose riffs, raw power and rancour have blazed a trail across the darker quarters of the underground in the last five years, finally bring their mighty tsunami of rancorous riffage and unholy abjection over us in Berlin!

Last but not least, today’s’ second and killer announcement will be rounded up by Phoenix-based, Spirit Adrift, who are carving out a sound now patently its own. Lazily labelled Doom by some, the band is in fact the true representation of what modern Heavy Metal should sound like.? Folks, we hope you dig this second announcement as much as we do, while dozens of bands are still to be announced in the weeks ahead!

Treat yourself or your loved ones with an early X-Mas gift, and purchase your Weekend Ticket now at: www.desertfest.de

We can’t wait to party with ya’ll at our 9th edition, May 1st – 3rd at DesertFest Berlin 2020!

https://www.facebook.com/events/520164272080736/
www.desertfest.de
www.facebook.com/DesertfestBerlin
www.instagram.com/desertfest_berlin

Witchcraft, Live at Tons of Rock 2018, Norway

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1000mods Finish Recording Drums; Announce Shows Around Album Sessions in Seattle

Posted in Whathaveyou on November 4th, 2019 by JJ Koczan

1000mods

Greek heavy rock forerunners 1000mods have announced a quick stint of four shows from Nov. 16-20 with Fatso Jetson and Ape Machine. The band have just finished tracking drums for their next album in Seattle and they’re headed to Litho Studio to continue work with Matt Bayles on the record, which is as yet untitled but will follow behind the 2016 highlight Repeated Exposure To… (review here) and presumably get a release sometime next year through their Ouga Booga and the Mighty Oug Recordings imprint as the next stage in their ambassadorship of Greece’s fertile underground and the general ass-kickery that’s already taken them around the world, including to the US.

I don’t know the timing on these shows, if the album will be done by then or not, but given that it’s almost two weeks from now, I have to think at least there will be significant progress on it, if it’s not actually finished. Maybe some new material live? I certainly wouldn’t mind, so long as some kind soul was on hand to film it. Either way, 1000mods keep excellent company for the trip, as one could hardly ask for more suitable accompaniment than Pacific Northwest denizens Ape Machine and desert rock legends Fatso Jetson. There are only a few of them, but those are going to be some excellent shows.

Dig dig dig:

1000mods west coast shows

So, after some days recording drums at the historical London Bridge Studio, the time has come to leave, unfortunately, this wonderful and legendary place! We have to move on to continue this crazy sonic race, for our upcoming album, at Litho Studio (over)driven by the mighty Matt Bayles, doing his magic and getting this incredible huge sound! Stay tuned! Cheers!

1000mods live:
11.16 El Corazon Funhouse Seattle WA w/ Fatso Jetson & Ape Machine
11.17 Kenton Club Portland OR w/ Fatso Jetson & Ape Machine
11.19 Elbo Room Jack London Oakland CA w/ Fatso Jetson & Ape Machine
11.20 Count’s Vamp’d Las Vegas NV w/ Fatso Jetson & Ape Machine

1000mods is:
Dani G. / Bass & Vox
Giannis S. / Guitars
George T. / Guitars
Labros G. / Drums

https://www.facebook.com/1000mods/
https://1000mods.bandcamp.com/
https://soundcloud.com/1000mods
www.soundofliberation.com/id-1000mods

1000mods, Repeated Exposure To… (2016)

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