Desertfest New York 2024 Makes Second Lineup Announcement

Posted in Whathaveyou on June 7th, 2024 by JJ Koczan

Desertfest New York 2024 banner

A righteous dose of lineup additions to Desertfest NYC 2024 today puts High on Fire and Amenra at the top of the bill thus far along with the previously announced Russian Circles, and unveils the bands who’ll play the pre-party as The Skull-offshoot Legions of Doom, Tee Pee Records‘ house classic heavy proggers Mirror Queen, the revamped Satan’s Satyrs, and Mustafina.

All well and good, don’t get me wrong. Killer, all the way through. For me though, the personal highlight here is Spaceslug coming from Poland to play, hopefully on the main stage at the Knockdown Center. Not only is their new album the latest in a string of immersive heavy psych semi-metal explorations, but right around the end of last year, I was angling trying to get myself out to Vegas to see them at Planet Desert Rock Weekend, where they featured this past January. The thought of seeing them in Brooklyn takes some of the sting out of missing their first US appearance, and as that will occur among the likes of Primitive Man, Blackwater Holylight and Spirit Mother, so much the better.

If you’re not from New York and have ever thought about traveling there, take a gander at the following:


🎟️ 🎟️

Performing at the Knockdown Center please welcome…
↠ High On Fire
↠ Amenra
↠ Blackwater Holylight
↠ Spaceslug
↠ Spirit Mother

Who will all be joining the likes of Russian Circles, Acid King, GREEN LUNG, Truckfighters, Dozer, BelzebonG for the 4th edition of our independent East Coast venture, celebrating the best in underground heavy music! With more still to announce, including day splits – which will be released in July.

We are extremely proud of this line-up and the amount of EU bands we are able to bring over to you!
Plus we are thrilled to welcome doom metal super-group Legions of Doom (ft. members of Trouble, Saint Vitus, The Skull & COC) to headline our SOLD OUT pre-party, hosted by TeePee Records alongside the return of Satan’s Satyrs, plus local heroes Mirror Queen & Mustafina!

Will we see you there?? Check out more info at

Desertfest New York 2024 will take place September 12th – 14th. 3-Day Festival Passes (incl. pre-party access) and 2-Day Festival passes are available now via &

Spaceslug, Out of Water (2024)

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Northwest Terror Fest 2024 Announces Lineup; Early Bird Tickets on Sale

Posted in Whathaveyou on November 14th, 2023 by JJ Koczan

Some crossover here, admittedly, in acts like Messa, Amenra, Blackwater Holylight, the Giant Squid reunion (nice), Mother of Graves, Body Void, and so on. Immortal Bird, whom I’ve spent the last 15 years feeling like I should be writing about, etc., alongside the extremity of grindcore pioneers Repulsion and plenty of other noise of varying harshnesses. I’ve covered the fest before, but if you’ll note the first word of the post, it’s “some” crossover, and that’s true here too. Even some bands, like Sumerlands or Mother of Graves, I can’t decide if they fit here or not. I like that about them, and I like that about Northwest Terror Fest 2024, which has early bird tickets on sale as of 1PM Eastern yesterda.

But while there’s badassery in the bill and that’s not at all a surprise, the dual-prong motive for posting is sharing the GoFundMe link for Northwest Terror Fest (and Southwest Terror Fest) founder David Rodgers, who has a rare form of cancer detailed below. I remember working with David about a decade ago when he had his band Godhunter (still ahead of their time) going and his label Battleground Records, both of which seem to take a back seat ultimately to the success of the festivals, and fair enough. He’s someone who’s done excellent work to move aesthetic forward, in his own artistic output and in terms of supporting the work of others, and if you can help, you should. This country has shit for medicine and doesn’t care if you live or die. Would in many ways prefer you dead. All we as humans have is each other. No one’s coming to save us.

From the PR wire:

northwest terror fest 2024 tix on sale

Northwest Terror Fest Announces 2024 Line-up; Early Bird Tickets On Sale Monday November 13, 10am PST

NORTHWEST TERROR FEST, the Pacific Northwest’s only destination extreme music festival, will make its triumphant return for its 6th year, in Seattle, WA.

A limited number of early-bird tickets go on sale Monday, November 13, 2023 at 10am PST.

The inclusive extreme music festival will take place over three days – May 9th to May 11th – at two of Seattle’s premier music venues, Neumos and Barboza, located in Seattle’s historical Capital Hill neighborhood.

Over three days of NORTHWEST TERROR FEST – which is sponsored by the highly revered heavy metal site NO CLEAN SINGING, – the festival will showcase extreme metal, hardcore punk, and experimental music from 36 acts from the heavy metal underground and beyond. The festival packs a powerful lineup with Washington/Oregon exclusive performances by Daeva, Eternal Champion, Forbidden, Giant Squid (reunion performing Metridium Fields), Repulsion, Spiritual Poison, Sumerlands, and Weekend Nachos!

About the festival, The Northwest Terror Fest Planning Committee shares:

“We’re excited to once again bring three days of diverse and devastating music to Seattle in May, 2024. This year’s lineup features many of the most exciting new bands in metal, a handful of long-awaited reunions, excursions into industrial and darkwave, and a showcase of young and ambitious bands keeping underground music alive in the Pacific Northwest. Team NWTF is eternally grateful for the support of Washington and Oregon’s extreme music community – Northwest Terror Fest will always be for you. We’re looking forward to seeing you all in the pit. Until then, leave no cross unturned!”

Northwest Terror Fest VI 2024 Full Line-up
May 9-11 2024 | Seattle, WA
Neumos & Barboza

Ascended Dead
Blackwater Holylight
Body Void
Colony Drop
Daeva (WA/OR Exclusive)
Diabolic Oath
Eternal Champion (WA/OR Exclusive)
Foie Gras
Forbidden (WA/OR Exclusive)
Giant Squid performing Metridium Fields (WA/OR Exclusive)
Grave Infestation
Immortal Bird
Mother of Graves
Nox Novacula
Physical Wash
Primitive Man
Repulsion (WA/OR Exclusive)
Slow Crush
Spiritual Poison (WA/OR Exclusive)
Sumerlands (WA/OR Exclusive)
Warp Chamber
Weekend Nachos (WA/OR Exclusive)



david northwest terror fest

David, a founder of Southwest Terror Fest and Northwest Terror Fest, has unfortunately been diagnosed with an incurable form of cancer called Multiple Myeloma cancer. The cancer can only be treated, with the goal of entering a remission state that will allow David to live longer. Without treatment, his life expectancy would be two years, at most. The end of his life would be on a dialysis machine. David’s family has decided to throw everything they have at this and fight it with chemotherapy and stem cell replacement therapy. His doctors are hopeful that these treatments will push the cancer into a dormant state. They believe that this will give David nine years, or more.

Anything that you can give will help David and his family greatly. If you are unable to financially support the fundraiser, simply sharing the Gofundme page on the internet would be immensely appreciated:

Giant Squid, Metridium Fields (2006)

Northwest Terror Fest 2024 teaser

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Desertfest Berlin 2024 Makes First Lineup Announcement

Posted in Whathaveyou on November 3rd, 2023 by JJ Koczan

Behold as Desertfest Berlin launches its 2024 season with 15 bands like hey getting 15 bands in a place is no big deal. Of course, maybe it isn’t for the now-long-running German event with close ties to the Sound of Liberation booking concern, but for the rest of the planet. You’ll note Belgian post-metallers Amenra and always-hip weirdos Osees at the top of the thus-far bill followed immediately by Acid King and The Brant Bjork Trio, both of whom will also take part in Desertfest Oslo 2024 as announced yesterday. Norway’s Full Earth, an offshoot of Kanaan with a debut album coming next year on Stickman, will also be at both events, and they’re likely not the last.

So, context tells us to expect at least two weeks of touring in Europe from those three outfits. Monkey3 are on the road now, Siena RootDÿse and Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs — new live LP out — were recently confirmed for Bear Stone Festival 2024 in July, and it’s not unthinkable they’d be doing shows from one to the other. They’re confirmed here alongside Tuareg rockers Tamikrest, Earth Tongue from New Zealand, Thronehammer, Dirty Sound Magnet, Praise the Plague and Neànder. Sounds like a festival to me. I’m ashamed at this point to say I’ve never been.

Info came down the PR wire, courtesy of Sound of Liberation:

DESERTFEST BERLIN 2024 first announce square

DESERTFEST BERLIN Announces First Bands For 2024! Tickets On Sale Now!

Desertfest Berlin friends (#129304#)

We’re delighted to finally share with you the first names of the bands that are going to play on our stage in 2024❤️‍(#128293#) AMENRA from Belgium are going to be one of our headliners along with the LA’s psych-punk warrior OSEES ⚡️ We’re happy to see again the great ACID KING and BRANT BJORK TRIO and welcome TAMIKREST for the first time with their mix of traditional African music and Western rock (#128165#) The Newcastle’s doom rockers PIGS x7 will play for us their new album ‘Land of Sleeper’ while MONKEY3 and SIENA ROOT will bring their instrumental psychedelic rock and bluesy hard rock to our stage. Get ready for the emotional as well as decal-laden music of DŸSE and the psychedelic rock by the trio Dirty Sound Magnet (#127786#)️ You’re going to experience the heavy psychedelic / fuzz music of EARTH TONGUE directly from New Zealand, and the epic doom of THRONEHAMMER (#128588#) The experimental Oslo based rock-quintet Full Earth will play along the black metallers PRAISE THE PLAGUE and NEÀNDER both from Berlin ⚡️

Get ready for more names very soon. We’re stoked!!



Desertfest Berlin
May 24th – 26th 2024
Columbia Venues


Acid King, Beyond Vision (2023)

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Absent in Body to Release Plague God March 25 on Relapse

Posted in Whathaveyou on February 3rd, 2022 by JJ Koczan

If you were curious as to how Scott Kelly of Neurosis has spent the pandemic, this collaboration with Mathieu Vandekerckhove and Colin H. van Eeckhout of Amenra and Igor Cavalera (ex-Sepultura, Cavalera Conspiracy, Petbrick, etc.) would seem to answer the question. And yes, that’s all well and good — a band with pedigree. Amenra have released stuff through Neurot, toured with Neurosis and Deafbrick, on which Cavalera played, was on Neurot as well, so yeah, it’s not outside the realm of possibility that they’d collaborate at some point.

Honestly, what I have more trouble with here is the assertion that the band “formed in 2017.” Come on. Vandekerckhove and Kelly did a thing at that point, but they called the band Absent in Body and they called the record Plague God, and I have to wonder what’s wrong with just saying “this is a pandemic project?” Many, many people have seen lives and livelihoods upended, and everyone has been affected one way or the other. So maybe some creativity got routed into something new building on the one-off they’d done a few years earlier. From where I sit, that’s about the only good thing to come out of the last two years of this bullshit.

Video’s great. Of course it is. One more disc to buy:

Absent in Body Plague God



ABSENT IN BODY make their Relapse Records debut with the terrifying new album Plague God, out March 25, 2022 on LP/CD/CS/Digital. Watch “The Acres/The Ache” music video and pre-order AT THIS LOCATION:

Initially the brainchild of AMENRA guitarist Mathieu J. Vandekerckhove, and NEUROSIS vocalist/guitarist Scott Kelly, ABSENT IN BODY formed in 2017. Immediately recognizing their kinship, and with AMENRA frontman Colin H. Van Eeckhout brought in on vocals and bass, what emerged is a reflection of the intervening years of turbulence, extending it’s scope as it navigates across five stretches of unstable terrain. From the opening Rise From Ruins with Sepultura drummer, Iggor Cavelera’s tribal beat emerging from foreboding, near-subsonic oscillations to explode in a tide of corrosive riffs and feral howls, through Sarin’s steadfast, procession-through-purgatory groove, to The Half Rising Man’s matrix of organic/mechanic evolution, it’s an album in constant dialogue between the animalistic, the human and the industrial, and a hunger to distill a truth, something unpolluted from the fray.

Plague God doesn’t just give voice to these moments of truth, but in the band’s deep kinship integral to every claustrophobic judder, every stretch of atmospheric dread and helpless alias assumed, lies a freedom we both forget and attain at our peril.

Mathieu Vandekerckhove comments:

“We had not imposed any limitations or boundaries on ourselves to create this music. Everything happened without any compromise, we gathered and let inspiration run freely. It is the beauty and the strength of this album.”

Iggor Cavalera comments:

“It feels great to collaborate with such forward-thinking minds like Colin, Mathieu, and Scott on AIB. The music is dense and slowly brutal, very similar to the times we are living.”

Direct Plague God physical pre-order via is available HERE:

“The Acres/The Ache” music video was filmed and edited by Mathieu Vandekerckhove.

Absent in Body, “The Acres/The Ache” official video

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Quarterly Review: Amenra, Liquid Sound Company, Iceburn, Gods and Punks, Vouna, Heathen Rites, Unimother 27, Oxblood Forge, Wall, Boozewa

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


You’ll have to forgive me, what the hell day is it? The url says this is day eight, so I guess that’s Wednesday. Fine. That’s as good as any. It’s all just 10 more records to my brain at this point, and that’s fine. I’ve got it all lined up. As of me writing this, I still haven’t heard about my busted-ass laptop that went in for repair last Saturday, and that’s a bummer, but I’m hoping that any minute now the phone is going to show the call coming in and I’ll just keep staring at it until that happens and I’m sure that will be awesome for my already brutalized productivity.

My backup laptop — because yes, I have one and will gladly argue with you that it’s necessary citing this week as an example — is a cheapie Chromebook. The nicest thing I can say about it is it’s red. The meanest thing I can say about it is that I had to change the search button to a caps lock and even that doesn’t respond fast enough to my typing, so I’m constantly capitalizing the wrong letters. If you don’t think that’s infuriating, congratulations on whatever existence has allowed you to live this long without ever needing to use a keyboard. “Hello computer,” and all that.

Enough kvetching. Too much to do.

Quarterly Review #71-80:

Amenra, De Doorn

Amenra De Doorn

I’ve made no secret over the last however long of not being the biggest Amenra fan in the universe. Honestly, it’s not even about the Belgian band themseves — live, they’re undeniable — but the plaudits around them are no less suffocating than their crushing riffs at their heaviest moments. Still, as De Doorn marks their first offering through Relapse Records, finds them departing from their Mass numbered series of albums and working in their native Flemish for the first time, and brings Caro Tanghe of Oathbreaker into the songs to offer melodic counterpoint to Colin H. van Eeckhout‘s nothing-if-not-identifiable screams, the invitations to get on board are manifold. This is a band with rules. They have set their own rules, and even in pushing outside them as they do here, much of their ideology and sonic persona is maintained. Part of that identity is being forward thinking, and that surfaces on De Doorn in parts ambient and quiet, but there’s always a part of me that feels like Amenra are playing it safe, even as they’re working within parameters they’ve helped define for a generation of European post-metal working directly in their wake. The post-apocalyptic breadth they harness in these tracks will only continue to win them converts. Maybe I’ll be one of them. That would be fun. It’s nice to belong, you know?

Amenra on Facebook

Relapse Records website


Liquid Sound Company, Psychoactive Songs for the Psoul

Liquid sound company psychoactive songs for the psoul

A quarter-century after their founding, Arlington, Texas, heavy psych rockers Liquid Sound Company still burn and melt along the lysergic path of classic ’60s acid rock, beefier in tone but no less purposeful in their drift on Psychoactive Songs for the Psoul. They’re turning into custard on “Blacklight Corridor” and they can tell you don’t understand on “Who Put All of Those Things in Your Hair?,” and all the while their psych rock digs deeper into the cosmic pulse, founding guitarist John Perez (also Solitude Aeturnus) unable to resist bringing a bit of shred to “And to Your Left… Neptune” — unless that’s Mark Cook‘s warr guitar — even as “Mahayuga” answers back to the Middle Eastern inflection of “Blacklight Corridor” earlier on. Capping with the mellow jam “Laila Was Here,” Psychoactive Songs for the Psoul is a loving paean to the resonant energies of expanded minds and flowing effects, but “Cosmic Liquid Love” is still a heavy rollout, and even the shimmering “I Feel You” is informed by that underlying sense of heft. Nonetheless, it’s an acid invitation worth the RSVP.

Liquid Sound Company on Facebook

Liquid Sound Company on Bandcamp


Iceburn, Asclepius

iceburn asclepius

Flying snakes, crawling birds, two tracks each over 17 minutes long, the first Iceburn release in 20 years is an all-in affair from the outset. As someone coming to the band via Gentry Densley‘s work in Eagle Twin, there are recognizable elements in tone, themes and vocals, but with fellow founders Joseph “Chubba” Smith on drums and James Holder on guitar, as well as bassist Cache Tolman (who’s Johnny Comelately since he originally joined in 1991, I guess), the atmosphere conjured by the four-piece is consuming and spacious in its own way, and their willingness to go where the song guides them on side A’s “Healing the Ouroboros,” right up to the long-fading drone end after so much lumbering skronk and incantations before, and side B’s “Dahlia Rides the Firebird,” with its pervasive soloing, gallop and veer into earth-as-cosmos terradelia, the return of Iceburn — if in fact that’s what this is — makes its own ceremony across Asclepius, sounding newly inspired rather than like a rehash.

Iceburn on Facebook

Southern Lord Recordings website


Gods & Punks, The Sounds of the Universe

gods and punks the sounds of the universe

As regards ambition, Gods & Punks‘ fourth LP, The Sounds of the Universe, wants for nothing. The Rio De Janeiro heavy psych rockers herein wrap what they’ve dubbed their ‘Voyager’ series, culminating the work they’ve done since their first EP — album opener “Eye in the Sky” is a remake — while tying together the progressive, heavy and cosmic aspects of their sound in a single collection of songs. In context, it’s a fair amount to take in, but a track like “Black Apples” has a riffy standout appeal regardless of its place in the band’s canon, and whether it’s the classic punch of “The TUSK” or the suitably patient expansion of “Universe,” the five-piece don’t neglect songwriting for narrative purpose. That is to say, whether or not you’ve heard 2019’s And the Celestial Ascension (discussed here) or any of their other prior material, you’re still likely to be pulled in by “Gravity” and “Dimensionaut” and the rest of what surrounds. The only question is where do they go from here? What’s outside the universe?

Gods & Punks on Facebok

Abraxas on Facebook

Forbidden Place Records website


Vouna, Atropos

vouna atropos

Released (appropriately) by Profound Lore, Vouna‘s second full-length Atropos is a work of marked depth and unforced grandeur. After nine-minute opener “Highest Mountain” establishes to emotional/aural tone, Atropos is comprised mostly of three extended pieces in “Vanish” (15:34), “Grey Sky” (14:08) and closer “What Once Was” (15:11) with the two-minute “What Once Was (Reprise)” leading into the final duo. “Vanish” finds Vouna — aka Olympia, Washington-based Yianna Bekris — bringing in textures of harp and violin to answer the lap steel and harp on “Highest Mountain,” and features a harsh guest vocal from Wolves in the Throne Room‘s Nathan Weaver, but it’s in the consuming wash at the finish of “Grey Sky” and in the melodic vocal layers cutting through as the first half of “What Once Was” culminates ahead of the break into mournful doom and synth that Vouna most shines, bridging styles in a way so organic as to be utterly consuming and keeping resonance as the most sought target, right unto the piano line that tops the last crescend, answering back the very beginning of “Highest Mountain.” Not a record that comes along every day.

Vouna on Facebook

Profound Lore website


Heathen Rites, Heritage

heathen rites heritage

One gets the sense in listening that for Mikael Monks, the Burning Saviours founder working under the moniker of Heathen Rites for the first time, the idea of Heritage for which the album is titled is as much about doom itself as the Scandinavian folk elements that surface in “Gleipner” or in the brief, bird-song and mountain-echo-laced finish “Kulning,” not to mention the Judas Priest-style triumphalism of the penultimate “The Sons of the North” just before. Classic doom is writ large across Heritage, from the bassline of “Autumn” tapping into “Heaven and Hell” to the flowing culmination of “Midnight Sun” and the soaring guitar apex in “Here Comes the Night.” In the US, many of these ideas of “northern” heritage, runes, or even heathenism have been coopted as expressions of white supremacy. It’s worth remembering that for some people it’s actually culture. Monks pairs that with his chosen culture — i.e. doom — in intriguing ways here that one hopes he’ll continue to explore.

Heathen Rites on Facebook

Svart Records website


Unimother 27, Presente Incoerente

Unimother 27 Presente Incoerente

Some things in life you just have to accept that you’re never going to fully understand. The mostly-solo-project Unimother 27 from Italy’s Piero Ranalli is one of those things. Ranalli has been riding his own wavelength in krautrock and classic progressive stylizations mixed with psychedelic freakout weirdness going on 15 years now, experimenting all the while, and you don’t have to fully comprehend the hey-man-is-this-jazz bass bouncing under “L’incontro tra Phallos e Mater Coelestis” to just roll with it, so just roll with it and know that wherever you’re heading, there’s a plan at work, even if the plan is to not have a plan. Mr. Fist‘s drums tether the synth and drifting initial guitar of “Abraxas…il Dio Difficile da Conoscere” and serve a function as much necessary as grooving, but one way or the other, you’re headed to “Systema Munditotius,” where forward and backward are the same thing and the only trajectory discernible is “out there.” So go. Just go. You won’t regret it.

Unimother 27 on Facebook

Pineal Gland Lab website


Oxblood Forge, Decimator

Oxblood Forge Decimator

Not, not, not a coincidence that Massachusetts four-piece Oxblood Forge — vocalist Ken Mackay, guitarist Robb Lioy, bassist Greg Dellaria and drummer/keyboardist Erik Fraünfeltër — include an Angel Witch cover on their third long-player, Decimator, as even before they get around to the penultimate “Sorcerers,” the NWOBHM is a defining influence throughout the proceedings, be it the “hey hey hey!” chanting of “Mortal Salience” or the death riders owning the night on opener “Into the Abyss” or the sheer Maidenry met with doom tinge on “Screams From Silence.” Mackay‘s voice, high in the mix, adds a tinge of grit, but Decimator isn’t trying to get one over on anyone. This blue collar worship for classic metal presented in a manner that could only be as full-on as it is for it to work at all. No irony, no khakis, no bullshit.

Oxblood Forge on Facebook

Oxblood Forge on Bandcamp


Wall, Vol. 2

wall vol 2

They keep this up, they’re going to have a real band on their hands. Desert Storm/The Grand Mal bandmates and twin brothers Ryan Cole (guitar/bass) and Elliot Cole (drums) began Wall as a largely-instrumental quarantine project in 2020, issuing a self-titled EP (review here) on APF Records. Vol. 2 follows on the quick with five more cuts of unbridled groove, including a take on Karma to Burn‘s “Nineteen” that, if it needs to be said, serves as homage to Will Mecum, who passed away earlier this year. That song fits right in with a cruncher like “Avalanche” or “Speed Freak,” or even “The Tusk,” which also boasts a bit of layered guitar harmonies, feeling out new ground there and in the acousti-handclap-blues of “Falling From the Edge of Nowhere.” The fact that Wall have live dates booked — alongside The Grand Mal, no less — speaks further to their real-bandness, but Vol. 2 hardly leaves any doubt as it is.

Wall on Facebook

APF Records website


Boozewa, Deb

Boozewa Deb

The second self-recorded outing from Pennsylvania trio Boozewa, Deb, offers two songs to follow-up on Feb. 2021’s First Contact (review here) demo, keeping an abidingly raw, we-did-this-at-home feel — this time they sent the results to Tad Doyle for mastering — while pushing their sound demonstrably forward with “Deb” bringing bassist Jessica Baker to the fore vocally alongside drummer Mike Cummings. Guitarist Rylan Caspar contributes in that regard as well, and the results are admirably grunge-coated heavy rock and roll that let enough clarity through to establish a hook, while the shorter “Now. Stop.” edges toward a bit more lumber in its groove, at least until they punk it out with some shouts at the finish. Splitting hairs? You betcha. Maybe they’re just writing songs. The results are there waiting to be dug either way.

Boozewa on Instagram

Boozewa on Bandcamp


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Amenra to Release De Doorn June 25; “De Evenmens” Video Posted

Posted in Whathaveyou on May 4th, 2021 by JJ Koczan


Belgian post-metal forerunners Amenra will release their first offering for Relapse Records, titled De Doorn, next month. They’ve got a video up now for “De Evenmens” that you can see at the bottom of this post and witness all its black-and-white and screamy, then not screamy, then definitely screamy again shifting, the band as heavy on atmosphere as they are on heavy as they are on contemplation. “De Evenmens” is one of five tracks on the upcoming outing, which is the follow-up to Amenra‘s 2017 LP, Mass VI, and at the very least it shows they haven’t lost their edge of extremity or the consuming lurch that has led to their becoming one of Europe’s foremost purveyors of the style. They got a thing. They do it well.

Album info follows here, courtesy of the PR wire:

amenra de doorn

AMENRA announce their Relapse Records full-length debut De Doorn coming June 25th! Watch AMENRA’s official “De Evenmens” music video, directed by Dehn Sora

AMENRA vocalist Colin H. van Eeckhout comments:

“We are only here for a split second in history. This song is about finding the answer within the question, man’s search for his place here on earth. A journey of sorrow with mere moments of beauty and happiness and this all in relation to his or her fellowman. To accept what is. Our brother Dehn Sora sculpted the digital world where Everman dwells, protected by its thorns, wounded by the others. Sacrificing blood of gold.”


De Doorn is out June 25 on Deluxe 2xLP/2xLP/CD/CS/Digital. Physical pre-orders via are available HERE. Digital Downloads/Streaming HERE. A super limited, one time press features gold foil stamping printed on jackets and are available exclusively through and at band live performances.

De Doorn Tracklist:

De Dood In Bloei
De Evenmens
Het Gloren
Voor Immer

AMENRA Tour Dates:
May 22 Grauzone Festival (Acoustic Stream Concert)
July 2+3 Openluchttheater De Goffert, Nijmegen i.s.m. Doornroosje
Sept 4 Paaspop, Schijndel
Sept 21 Tivoli Vredenburg, Utrecht

Colin H. van Eeckhout – Lead Vocals
Mathieu Vandekeckhove – Guitar
Bjorn J. Lebon – Percussion
Lennart Bossu – Guitar
Tim De Gieter – Guitar
Caro Tanghe – Backup Vocals

Recorded by Tim De Gieter at Much Luv Studio, Lembeke BE
Mastered by Frank Arkright, Abbey Road Studio, London UK

Amenra, “De Evenmens” official video

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Amenra Sign to Relapse Records; New Album out Next Year

Posted in Whathaveyou on October 14th, 2020 by JJ Koczan

Curious how inevitable this feels. Belgian post-metal touchstones Amenra have set the genre standard by which Europe abides. Their pervasive aesthetic sensibility, balance of ambience and extreme sonic aggression and heft, can be heard across an entire swath of acts working largely in their strobe-pumping wake. I’ve never been the biggest Amenra fan in the world — something about their unwillingness to break their own rules continues to leave me cold — but one would have to be a fool not to acknowledge the impact they’ve had or to respect the force they represent when they take the stage.

Earlier this month, I assume for Bandcamp Friday, they released a collection of demo material for what became 2017’s Mass VI, and you’ll find that streaming below. In addition to their signing to Relapse, where they join recent acquisitions Temple of Void and the likes of Monolord, you’ll also find word below of a new album coming next year. One will expect that to arrive with no shortage of anticipation behind it.

From the PR wire:



Relapse Records is proud to announce the signing of Belgium’s AMENRA! Formed in 1999, the critically acclaimed band have since captivated audiences through their raw, ethereal, sonic energy, both live and in the studio. AMENRA’s monstrous live performances and cinematic albums have earned them a cult following. Touring the world over, the band has played some of the most prestigious festivals in Europe and North America. AMENRA will release a highly anticipated new album in 2021. Stay tuned for more information in the near future.

Regarding the signing, AMENRA comments:

“We are thrilled to announce that from now on we will be signed to Relapse records. A haven to a lot of our friends, and now to us as well. We are looking forward to work with this more than capable team, and are eager to see where it will lead us. Our new record will see its first light mid 2021. Ever onwards.”

Colin H. Van Eeckhout – Vocals
Mathieu Vandekerckhove – Guitars
Bjorn Lebon – Drums
Lennart Bossu – Guitars
Tim De Gieter – Bass

Amenra, The Cradle: Demos (2020)

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Finding Comfort in Live Music When There Isn’t Any

Posted in Features on August 12th, 2020 by JJ Koczan

Bands and festivals have begun to announce 2021 dates and all that, but let’s be realistic: it’s going to be years before live music is what it once was. Especially in the United States, which is the country in the world hardest hit by the ol’ firelung in no small part because of the ineptitude of its federal leadership, an entire economic system of live music — not to mention the venues, promotions and other cultural institutions that support it on all levels — needs to be rebuilt from the ground up. It isn’t going to be just as simple as “social distancing is over and we can all crowd into the bar again.” Maybe not ever.

You’ve likely seen a band do a live stream at this point, even if after the fact, and I have too. Not the same as a real-life gig, duh, but if it helps raise some funds and keeps creative people working on something and gives an act a way to connect with its audience, you can’t call it bad. I’ve found, though, that with the dearth of live music happening and the nil potential that “going to a show” will happen anytime soon, I’ve been listening to more and more live albums.

This, in no small part, is because there are plenty to listen to. Some groups attempting to bring in cash either for themselves or relevant causes have put out live records in the last few months and made use of the downtime that would’ve otherwise been given to actually being on a stage or writing together in a room or whatever it might be. It’s been a way for a band to not just sit on its collective hands and wonder what the future will bring. When so much is out of your own control, you make the most of what you’ve got.

In that spirit, here’s a quick rundown of 10 recent live outings that I’ve been digging. If you’ve found you’re in the need of finding comfort in live music and whatever act you want to see isn’t doing a stream just this second, maybe you can put one of these on, close your eyes, and be affected a bit by the on-stage energy that comes through.

Thanks as always for reading, and thanks to Tim Burke, Vania Yosifova, and Chris Pojama Pearson for adding their suggestions when I asked on social media. Here we go, ordered by date of release:

Arcadian Child, From Far, for the Wild (Live in Linz)

arcadian child from far for the wild

Released Jan. 24.

Granted, this one came out before the real impact of COVID-19 was being felt worldwide, but with the recent announcement of Arcadian Child‘s next studio album coming out this Fall, including From Far, for the Wild (Live in Linz) (discussed here) on this list seems only fair. The Cyprus-based four-piece even went so far as to include a couple new songs in the set that’ll show up on Protopsycho as well this October, so it’s a chance to get a preview of that material as well. Bonus for a bonus. Take the win.

Kadavar, Studio Live Session Vol. 1

kadavar studio live session

Released March 25.

Germany began imposing curfews in six of its states on March 22. At that point, tours were already being canceled, including Kadavar‘s European run after two shows, and the band hit Blue Wall Studio in Berlin for a set that was streamed through Facebook and in no small part helped set the pattern of streams in motion. With shows canceled in Australia/New Zealand and North America as well, Kadavar were hoping to recover some of the momentum they’d lost, and their turning it into a live record is also a part of that, as is their upcoming studio release, The Isolation Tapes.

Øresund Space Collective, Sonic Rock Solstice 2019

Øresund Space Collective Sonic Rock Solstice 2019

Released April 3.

Of course, I’m perfectly willing to grant that Sonic Rock Solstice 2019 (review here) wasn’t something Øresund Space Collective specifically put out because of the pandemic, but hell, it still exists and that enough, as far as I’m concerned. As ever, they proliferate top notch psychedelic improv, and though I’ve never seen them and it seems increasingly likely I won’t at the fest I was supposed to this year, their vitality is always infectious.

Pelican, Live at the Grog Shop

pelican Live at The Grog Shop

Released April 15.

Let’s be frank — if you don’t love Pelican‘s music to a familial degree, it’s not that I think less of you as a person, but I definitely feel bad for you in a way that, if I told you face-to-face, you won’t find almost entirely condescending. The Chicago instrumentalists are high on my list of golly-I-wish-they’d-do-a-livestream, and if you need an argument to support that, this set from Ohio should do the trick nicely. It’s from September 2019, which was just nearly a year ago. If your mind isn’t blown by their chugging progressive riffs, certainly that thought should do the trick.

SEA, Live at ONCE

sea live at once

Released June 19.

Also captured on video, this set from Boston’s SEA finds them supporting 2020’s debut album, Impermanence (review here) and pushing beyond at ONCE Ballroom in their hometown. The band’s blend of post-metallic atmosphere and spacious melody-making comes through as they alternate between lumbering riffs and more subdued ambience, and it makes a fitting complement to the record in underscoring their progressive potential. The sound is raw but I’d want nothing less.

Sumac, St Vitus 09/07/2018

sumac st vitus

Released July 3.

Issued as a benefit to Black Lives Matter Seattle and a host of other causes, among them the Philadelphia Womanist Working Collective, this Sumac set is precisely what it promises in the title — a live show from 2018 at Brooklyn’s famed Saint Vitus Bar. I wasn’t at this show, but it does make me a little wistful to think of that particular venue in the current concert-less climate. Sumac aren’t big on healing when it comes to the raw sonics, but there’s certainly enough spaciousness here to get lost in should you wish to do so.

YOB, Pickathon 2019 – Live From the Galaxy Barn

YOB Pickathon 2019 Live from the Galaxy Barn

Released July 3.

They’ve since taken down the Bandcamp stream, but YOB’s Pickathon 2019 – Live From the Galaxy Barn (review here) was released as a benefit for Navajo Nation COVID-19 relief, and is an hour-long set that paired the restlessness of “The Lie that is Sin” next to the ever-resonant “Marrow.” Of all the live records on this list, this is probably the one that’s brought me the most joy, and it also inspired the most recent episode of The Obelisk Show on Gimme Metal, which jumped headfirst into YOB‘s catalog. More YOB please. Also, if you haven’t seen the videos of Mike Scheidt playing his guitar around the house, you should probably hook into that too.

Dirty Streets, Rough and Tumble

dirty streets rough and tumble

Released July 31.

If you’re not all the way down with the realization that Justin Toland is the man when it comes to heavy soul and blues guitar, Dirty Streets‘ new live record, Rough and Tumble, will set you straight, and it won’t even take that long. With the all-killer bass and drums of Thomas Storz and Andrew Denham behind, Toland reminds of what a true virtuoso player can accomplish when put in a room with a crowd to watch. That’s an important message for any time, let alone right now. These cats always deliver.

Amenra, Mass VI Live

amenra mass vi live

Released Aug. 7

Look, I’m not gonna sit here and pretend I’m the biggest Amenra fan in the world. I’m not. Sometimes I feel like they follow too many of their own rules for their own good, but there’s no question that live they’re well served by the spectacle they create, and their atmospherics are genuinely affecting. And I know that I’m in the minority in my position, so for anyone who digs them hard, they put up this stream-turned-record wherein they play a goodly portion of 2017’s Mass VI, and even as the self-professed not-biggest-fan-in-the-world, I can appreciate their effort and the screamy-scream-crushy-crush/open-spaced ambience that ensues.

Electric Moon, Live at Freak Valley Festival 2019

Electric Moon Live at Freak Valley Festival 2019

Releasing Sept. 4.

Yeah, okay, this one’s not out yet, but sometimes I’m lucky enough to get things early for review and sometimes (on good days) those things happen to be new live records from Germany psychonauts Electric Moon. The Always-Out-There-Sula-Komets are in top form on Live at Freak Valley Festival 2019 as one would have to expect, and they’re streaming a 22-minute version of “777” now that rips so hard it sounds like it’s about to tear a hole into an alternate dimension where shows are still going on so yes please everyone go and listen to it and maybe we’ll get lucky and it’ll really happen. The magic was in you all along.

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