Days of Rona: Dee Calhoun of Spiral Grave

Posted in Features on April 2nd, 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. — JJ Koczan

dee calhoun

Days of Rona: Dee Calhoun of Spiral Grave (Frederick, Maryland)

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?

With Spiral Grave, we’ve put rehearsals off. We are spread so far apart that the distance is already a challenge, and now even more so with people being asked to please stay in. Everyone is doing fine health-wise, just trying to stay as active as possible. I’ve been able to keep working on my solo music with no issues, so that is a huge help mentally.

What are the quarantine/isolation rules where you are?

In Maryland, all non-essential businesses are closed, and schools are currently closed until April 27th. I’m one of the very lucky ones, I’m still able to work full-time, and am teleworking until further notice. I go out for groceries and that’s about it.

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

It seems to be drawing the music community closer together. We’re a family here, and right now we’re cut off from family and it sucks. It is wonderful though, seeing all the live streams and things, getting to see bands and artists in ways that you don’t usually get to see them. I think it will make for a greater appreciation of live music once the Earth starts spinning again.

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

In talking to Willy, Lou and Mot, we’re all doing well. We’re bummed out that things are the way they are, but we’re each trying to be smart and do the things we should be doing while this is happening. Personally, I’m hanging in there, and I’m proud to see my kids handling the situation the way they are. I tell Rob to pay close attention to what’s going on, because future generations are going to want to know about it. Learn from this, in the hopes that society comes out better on the other side of it.

www.screamingmaddee.com
https://www.facebook.com/screamingmaddee/
https://www.facebook.com/SpiralGrave/
www.facebook.com/SaltOfTheEarthRec
www.saltoftheearthrecords.com
www.argonautarecords.com

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Quarterly Review: Ocean Chief, Barnabus, Helen Money, Elder Druid, Mindcrawler, Temple of Void, Lunar Swamp, Huge Molasses Tank Explodes, Emile, Saturno Grooves

Posted in Reviews on March 27th, 2020 by JJ Koczan

quarterly review

I’m not saying I backloaded the Quarterly Review or anything — because I didn’t — but maybe subconsciously I wanted to throw in a few releases here I had a pretty good idea I was gonna dig beforehand. Pretty much all of them, as it turned out. Not a thing I regret happening, though, again, neither was it something I did purposefully. Anyone see A Serious Man? In this instance, I’m happy to “accept the mystery” and move on.

Before we dive into the last day, of course I want to say thank you for reading if you have been. If you’ve followed along all week or this is the only post you’ve seen or you’re just here because I tagged your band in the post on Thee Facebooks, whatever it is, it is appreciated. Thank you. Especially given the global pandemic, your time and attention is highly valued.

Quarterly Review #41-50:

Ocean Chief, Den Tredje Dagen

ocean chief den tredje dagen

The first Ocean Chief record in six years is nothing if not weighted enough to make up for anything like lost time. Also the long-running Swedish outfit’s debut on Argonauta Records, Den Tredje Dagen on CD/DL runs five songs and 59 minutes, and though it’s not without a sense of melody either instrumentally or vocally — certainly its guitars have plenty enough to evoke a sense of mournfulness at least — its primary impact still stems from the sheer heft of its tonality, and its tracks are of the sort that a given reviewer might be tempted to call “slabs.” They land accordingly, the longest of them positioned as the centerpiece “Dömd” seething with slower-Celtic Frost anxiety and the utter nastiness of its intent spread across 15-plus minutes of let-me-just-go-ahead-and-crush-that-for-you where “that” is everything and “no” isn’t taken for an answer. There’s respite in closer “Den Sista Resan” and the CD-bonus “Dimension 5,” but even these maintain an atmospheric severity consistent with what precedes them. One way or another, it is all fucking destroyed.

Ocean Chief on Thee Facebooks

Argonauta Records store

 

Barnabus, Beginning to Unwind

barnabus beginning to unwind

Come ye historians and classic heavy rockers. Come, reap what Rise Above Relics has sown. Though it’s hard sometimes not to think of the Rise Above Records imprint as label-honcho Lee Dorrian (ex-Cathedral, current With the Dead) picking out highlights from his own record collection — which is the stuff of legend — neither is that in any way a problem. Barnabus, who hailed and apparently on occasion still hail from the West Midlands in the UK, issued the Beginning to Unwind in 1972 as part of an original run that ended the next year. So it goes. Past its 10-minute jammy opener/longest track (immediate points) “America,” the new issue of Beginning to Unwind includes the LP, demos, live tracks, and no doubt assorted other odds and ends as well from Barnabus‘ brief time together. Songs like “The War Drags On” and “Resolute” are the stuff of ’70s-riff daydreams, while “Don’t Cry for Me My Lady” digs into proto-prog without losing its psych-folk inflection. I’m told the CD comes with a 44-page booklet, which only furthers the true archival standard of the release.

Barnabus on Thee Facebooks

Rise Above Relics store

 

Helen Money, Atomic

helen money atomic

To those for whom Helen Money is a familiar entity, the arrival of a new full-length release will no doubt only be greeted with joy. The ongoing project of experimental cellist Alison Chesley, though the work itself — issued through Thrill Jockey as a welcome follow-up to 2016’s Become Zero (review here) — is hardly joyful. Coping with the universality of grief and notions of grieving-together with family, Chesley brings forth minimalism and electronics-inclusive stylstic reach in kind across the pulsating “Nemesis,” the periodic distortion of her core instrument jarring when it hits. She takes on a harp for “Coppe” and the effect is cinematic in a way that seems to find answer on the later “One Year One Ring,” after which follows the has-drums “Marrow,” but wherever Chesley goes on Atomic‘s 47 minutes, the overlay of mourning is never far off.

Helen Money on Thee Facebooks

Thrill Jockey Records store

 

Elder Druid, Golgotha

elder druid golgotha

Belfast dual-guitar sludge five-piece Elder Druid return with seven tracks/39 minutes of ready punishment on their second album, Golgotha, answering the anger of 2017’s Carmina Satanae with densely-packed tones and grooves topped with near-universal harsh vocals (closer “Archmage” is the exception). What they’re playing doesn’t require an overdose of invention, with their focus is so much on hammering their riffs home, and certainly the interwoven leads of the title-track present some vision of intricacy for those who might demand it while also being punched in the face, and the transitional “Sentinel,” which follows,” brings some more doomly vibes ahead of “Vincere Vel Mori,” which revives the nod, “Dreadnought” has keys as well as a drum solo, and the penultimate “Paegan Dawn of Anubis” brings in an arrangement of backing vocals, so neither are they void of variety. At the feedback-soaked end of “Archmage,” Golgotha comes across genuine in its aggression and more sure of their approach than they were even just a couple years ago.

Elder Druid on Thee Facebooks

Elder Druid on Bandcamp

 

Mindcrawler, Lost Orbiter

mindcrawler lost orbiter

I know the whole world seems like it’s in chaos right now — mostly because it is — but go ahead and quote me on this: a band does not come along in 2020 and put out a record like Lost Orbiter and not get picked up by some label if they choose to be. Among 2020’s most promising debuts, it is progressive without pretense, tonally rich and melodically engaging, marked out by a poise of songcraft that speaks to forward potential whether it’s in the coursing leads of “Drake’s Equation” or the final slowdown/speedup of “Trappist-1” that smoothly shifts into the sample at the start of closer “Dead Space.” Mindcrawler‘s first album — self-recorded, no less — is modern cosmic-heavy brought to bear in a way that strikes such a balance between the grounded and the psychedelic that it should not be ignored, even in the massively crowded international underground from which they’re emerging. And the key point there is they are emerging, and that as thoughtfully composed as the six tracks/29 minutes of Lost Orbiter are, they only represent the beginning stages of what Mindcrawler might accomplish. If there is justice left, someone will release it on vinyl.

Mindcrawler on Thee Facebook

Mindcrawler on Bandcamp

 

Temple of Void, The World That Was

Temple of Void The World that Was

Michigan doom-death five-piece Temple of Void have pushed steadily toward the latter end of that equation over their now-three full-lengths, and though The World That Was (their second offering through Shadow Kingdom) is still prone to its slower tempos and is includes the classical-guitar interlude “A Single Obulus,” that stands right before “Leave the Light Behind,” which is most certainly death metal. Not arguing with it, as to do so would surely only invite punishment. The extremity only adds to the character of Temple of Void‘s work overall, and as “Casket of Shame” seems to be at war with itself, so too is it seemingly at war with whatever manner of flesh its working so diligently to separate from the bone. Across a still-brief 37 minutes, The World That Was — which caps with its most-excellently-decayed nine-minute title-track — harnesses and realizes this grim vision, and Temple of Void declare in no uncertain terms that no matter how they might choose to tip the scale on the balance of their sound, they are its master.

Temple of Void on Thee Facebooks

Shadow Kingdom Records store

 

Lunar Swamp, Shamanic Owl

Lunar Swamp Shamanic Owl

Lunar Swamp have spawned as a blusier-directed offshoot of Italian doomers Bretus of which vocalist Mark Wolf, guitarist/bassist Machen and drummer S.M. Ghoul are members, and sure enough, their debut single “Shamanic Owl,” fosters this approach. As the band aren’t strangers to each other, it isn’t such a surprise that they’d be able to decide on a sound and make it happen their first time out but the seven-minute roller — also the leadoff their first EP, UnderMudBlues, which is due on CD in June — also finds time to work in a nod to the central riff of Sleep‘s “Dragonaut” along with its pointed worship of Black Sabbath, so neither do they seems strictly adherent to a blues foundation, despite the slide guitar that works its way in at the finish. How the rest of the EP might play out need not be a mystery — it’s out digitally now — but as far as an introduction goes, “Shamanic Owl” will find welcome among those seeking comfort in the genre-familiar.

Lunar Swamp on Thee Facebooks

Lunar Swamp on Bandcamp

 

Huge Molasses Tank Explodes, II

Huge Molasses Tank Explodes II

The nine-track/42-minute second LP, II, from Milano post-this-or-that five-piece Huge Molasses Tank Explodes certainly finds the band earning bonus points based on their moniker alone, but more than that, it is a work of reach and intricacy alike, finding the moment where New Wave emerged from out of krautrock’s fascination with synthesizer music and bring to that a psychedelic shimmer that is too vintage-feeling to be anything other than modern. It is laid back enough in its overarching affect that “The Run” feels dreamy, most especially in its guitar lines, but never is it entirely at rest, and both the centerpiece “No One” and the later “So Much to Lose” help continue the momentum that “The Run” manages so fluidly to build in a manner one might liken to space rock were the implication of strict adherence to stylistic guidelines so implicit in that categorization. They present this nuance with a natural-seeming sense of craft and in “High or Low,” a fuzzy tone that feels like only a welcome windfall. Those who can get their head around it should seek to do so, and kudos to Huge Molasses Tank Explodes for being more than just a clever name.

Huge Molasses Tank Explodes on Thee Facebooks

Retro Vox Records on Bandcamp

 

Emile, The Black Spider/Det Kollektive Selvmord

Emile The Black Spider Det Kollektive Selvmord

Set to release through Heavy Psych Sounds on the same day as the new album from his main outfit The Sonic Dawn, The Black Spider/Det Kollective Selvmord is the debut solo album from Copenhagen-based singer-songwriter and guitarist Emile Bureau, who has adopted his first name as his moniker of choice. Fair enough for the naturalism and intended intimacy of the 11-track/39-minute outing, which indeed splits itself between portions in English and in Danish, sounding likewise able to bring together sweet melodies in both. Edges of distortion in “Bundlos” and some percussion in the second half’s title-track give a semblance of arrangement to the LP, but at the core is Emile himself, his vocals and guitar, and that’s clearly the purpose behind it. Where The Sonic Dawn often boast a celebratory feel, The Black Spider/Det Kollective Selvmord is almost entirely subdued, and its expressive sensibility comes through regardless of language.

Emile on Thee Facebooks

Heavy Psych Sounds store

 

Saturno Grooves, Cosmic Echoes

saturno grooves cosmic echoes

Sonic restlessness! “Fire Dome” begins with a riffy rush, “Forever Zero” vibes out on low end and classic swing, the title-track feels like an Endless Boogie jam got lost in the solar system, “Celestial Tunnel” is all-thrust until it isn’t at all, “Blind Faith” is an acoustic interlude, and “Dark Matter” is a punk song. Because god damn, of course it is. It is little short of a miracle Saturno Grooves make their second album, Cosmic Echoes as remarkably cohesive as it is, yet through it all they hold fast to class and purpose alike, and from its spacious outset to its bursting finish, there isn’t a minute of Cosmic Echoes that feels like happenstance, even though they’re obviously following one impulse after the next in terms of style. Heavy (mostly) instrumentalism that works actively not to be contained. Out among the echoes, Saturno Grooves might just be finding their own wavelength.

Saturno Groove on Thee Facebooks

LSDR Records store

 

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Smoke Mountain Premiere “Deathproof” Video from Debut LP Queen of Sin

Posted in Bootleg Theater on March 19th, 2020 by JJ Koczan

smoke mountain

The opening title-track on Smoke Mountain‘s debut LP, Queen of Sin, is also its longest cut (immediate points). The Floridian three-piece will issue the album on March 27 through Argonauta Records as the follow-up to their 2017 self-titled first EP (review here), and all told, it comprises eight tracks running a concise, dirt-coated, fuzz-laden, sans-bullshit 34 minutes of doomed riffing, bedeviled lyrics and grooves that would be antisocial if they weren’t also such a party. Cultish themes pervade “Queen of Sin” and “The Master Serpent” and “Midnight Woman” and “Devil Woman,” but could hardly be considered uncalled for considering the wash of distortion from which they arise and the raw atmosphere of denim-clad fuckall they bolster. Smoke Mountain very obviously have no time for screwing around. The record gets down to business and stays down to business for the duration, its songs classic in structure and deceptive in efficiency and melody for being as outwardly gritty as they are.

Clarions to the converted pervade through “Touch the Sun” and the slow-crashing “I Walk Alone,” and “Deathproof,” which follows and for which one can see the video premiering below, brings biker imagery and VHS grain in both aural and visual realms. Smoke Mountain Queen of SinI didn’t see the Tarantino short of the same name when it came out as part of the Grindhouse feature, but he wasn’t the first to use the title either, and Smoke Mountain are likewise tapping into an obsession with ’60s and ’70s dropout/biker culture, fires burning around the hook line, “I’m deathproof till I die.” Though less Satan-minded than some of what surrounds, “Deathproof” is a fitting example of Smoke Mountain‘s penchant for songcraft that works as a steady theme across Queen of Sin along with the persistent buzz tone, and as it’s consistent in length and overall structure with much of what surrounds — “Devil Woman,” which follows, brings a speedier blast, satisfyingly proto-punk but still consistent in aesthetic ahead of the crawling closer “End of Days” — it’s as fitting an introduction as one might ask to the sort of nastiness the trio have on offer throughout their first long-player.

Counterculturalism is a welcome vibe in these heady days, and if one is looking for an escape into riffs, Queen of Sin gives a thick morass to dive into, its consuming push and echoing vocals only seeming to add to the nod that remains true regardless of an individual song’s tempo. It’s an easy one to dig, with zero pretense and zero attempt to be something it isn’t. Each half of the album closes with a slower cut and that brings a bit of Electric Wizard to the proceedings, but on the whole Smoke Mountain are working to dig out their own filthy niche, and in so doing they draw together a cast of right on songs and would-rebel-but-why-even-bother-man? vibes. If you can’t get down with that — shrug.

Fucking a.

“Deathproof” premieres below. Please enjoy:

Smoke Mountain, “Deathproof” official video premiere

“Queen of Sin is our first full-length release. It picks up where our debut EP left off, with tracks ranging from 70s-influenced stoner fuzz to slow and crushing modern doom.” The band comments. “We even tossed a post-apocalyptic biker track on there just to mix things up. This album has something for everyone.”

Florida-based occult fuzz rockers, Smoke Mountain, are set to release their hotly anticipated debut! The album, titled Queen of Sin, is slated for release on March 27th 2020 via Italy’s renowned Argonauta Records. Smoke Mountain, which is the brainchild of family members Sarah, Lee and Brian Pitt, introduced stoner and doom fans worldwide to its doomy, fuzz-drenched sound in 2017 with the release of its highly acclaimed self-titled EP. The band combines elements of vintage and modern doom to create a sound that is both current and timeless.

Smoke Mountain on Thee Facebooks

Argonauta Records website

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Ocean Chief Post Den Tredje Dagen Title-Track; Album out April 17

Posted in Whathaveyou on February 25th, 2020 by JJ Koczan

OCEAN CHIEF

I like the fact that the reason Ocean Chief have a bonus track exclusive to the CD version of their new album, Den Tredje Dagen, is probably because with it included the album would be too long to fit on an LP. The crush-doom Swedish four-piece will put out the record on April 17 through none other than Argonauta Records, and to mark the occasion of unveiling the grim-enough-to-suit-their-atmospheric-purposes cover art, they’ve also posted the title-track, which opens the outing at just under 10 minutes long. It’s a plodder, and a throaty shouter, and yes, a crusher, and frankly, if you can’t get on board with the kind of pummel these dudes are bringing to bear — if this doesn’t get you raising a claw in appreciation — then I promise you it’s your loss. Because Ocean Chief will just go right on bludgeoning without you if they have to.

The PR wire tells it like this:

ocean chief den tredje dagen

Doom Heavy Weights, OCEAN CHIEF, Reveal Album Details + First Single!

Den Tredje Dagen Coming April 17th on Argonauta Records!

Hailing from the contemplative province of Mjölby, Sweden, their music in contrast speaks volumes. April 17th will see doom heavy weights OCEAN CHIEF release their sixth studio album, titled Den Tredje Dagen, via Argonauta Records! After 5 years since their last record, this is a heavy ride through the band’s sound roots between the psychedelic and doom, with a crisp approach and a new hunger! The four-piece, formed in 2001 by Björn Andersson and Tobias Larsson, evolved their sound to perfection in long tracks combined with electronic ideas. Following OCEAN CHIEF’s latest album, Universums härd, today the Swedes are not only sharing the album details about their upcoming magnum opus, but also a first single to the heavy as hell album title. Listen HERE!

“We are very happy to present this album after nearly 20 years as a band.“ OCEAN CHIEF comment. “The intension to stay with our roots, with the heavy riff bonanza, and also to present an even harsher and darker side of the band, has been accomplished to our satisfaction. There are haunting passages on the album that almost make us afraid of ourselves…

The album was recorded during a weekend in the spring of 2019, and we have stayed with the formula of not overworking the final product. This is uncompromising doom, not for the faint of heart! And this is meant to be played LOUD.“

Album Tracklisting:
1. Den Tredje Dagen
2. Hyllningen
3. Dömd
4. Den sista resan
5. Dimension 5 (CD Bonus Track)

Slated for a release on April 17th as CD, Vinyl and in Digital formats, the album pre-sale will be available at THIS LOCATION! In support of Den Tredje Dagen, OCEAN CHIEF will perform live at Gloomy Days Stockholm on April 25th, with many more shows to follow soon.

Ocean Chief is:
Tobias Larsson
Björn Andersson
Christian Sandberg
Magnus Linhardt

https://www.facebook.com/oceanchief.official
https://oceanchief.bandcamp.com/
www.argonautarecords.com
https://www.facebook.com/ArgonautaRecords/
https://www.instagram.com/argonautarecords/

Ocean Chief, “Den Tredje Dagen”

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ZOM Set to Begin Recording Second Album

Posted in Whathaveyou on February 21st, 2020 by JJ Koczan

It’s only been two years since Pittsburgh’s ZOM debuted on Argonauta with their first full-length, Nebulos (discussed here), but in that time they’ve not only toured Iceland, but restructured their lineup as a four-piece as well, and when you consider that Nebulos shared much of its material with their prior 2013 self-titled EP (review here), it seems like it’s probably fair to expect something different from them this time around. What that might look or sound like, I don’t know, mostly because the album hasn’t been tracked yet. They’ll enter the studio… soon?… to record their sophomore LP with Steel City go-to Jason Jouver engineering and issue the album either later this year or in 2021. I know they’re working on other touring abroad as well, but I’m not sure what the actual timing is on any of it. I’d think getting the recording done is probably right up there on the priority list though. Just a guess.

They sent the following down the PR wire:

zom

ZOM prepares to enter the studio to record follow up to 2018’s “Nebulos”

Pittsburgh, PA stoner-groove, heavy rockers, ZOM are heading into the studio to record their second album and first with the current lineup.

The band’s debut album, Nebulos was released via Argonauta Records in 2018 and featured founding member and songwriter, Gero von Dehn (Monolith Wielder, Von Dane) on guitars/vox alongside bassist and recording engineer Andrew D’Cagna (Brimstone Coven, Ironflame). Percussion duties were shared by D’Cagna and Ben Zerbe (Monolith Wielder, Mandrake Project).

The band was then retooled for live shows and touring and has performed domestically and abroad as a four piece ever since.

Von Dane and Zerbe remain but added to the band were guitarist Matthew Tuite (Blackfinger, Penance) and bassman Sam Pesce (Del Rios).

The new album will be recorded at Plus Minus Studios in Pittsburgh and at the helm will be engineer, Jason Jouver (Monolith Wielder, Lady Beast).

No release date has been set.

https://www.facebook.com/ZOMofficialpage/
https://zom-rock.bandcamp.com/music
http://www.argonautarecords.com
https://www.facebook.com/ArgonautaRecords/

ZOM, Nebulos (2018)

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Soldati Set April 24 Release for Doom Nacional; New Single Streaming

Posted in Whathaveyou on February 19th, 2020 by JJ Koczan

I’ve heard enough Soldati since the band’s inception — that includes prior versions of a couple of the songs included on their debut album, Doom Nacional, as “La Electricidad del Arbol Caido” (posted here) and “Whisky Negro” (posted here) have been featured in the past; that’s not counting the band’s 2016 demo (discussed here) — to know that there’s no way the full-length’s first single represents the entirety of the release, but goodness gracious did they ever pick the right track to put out there first.

Driven by a classic, heavy push of a riff from Sergio Chotsourian, “Suicide Girl” evokes the guitarist/vocalist’s past in Los Natas while keeping a rawer edge that Soldati — who’ll release Doom Nacional on April 24 as part of Chotsourian‘s ongoing partnership with Argonauta Records, which has done his solo material as well as Los Natas reissues in the past — has come to represent. You can stream the song at the bottom of this post. And you should. It is righteous and mean.

Dive in:

soldati doom nacional

LOS NATAS’ Frontman Reveals Album Details Of New Band Project SOLDATI!

Debut Album, Doom Nacional, coming this April via Argonauta Records!

There has been something going on behind the scenes of frontman Sergio Ch., guitarist and vocalist of the Argentinian rock trio Los Natas. Today, he revealed the hotly anticipated details about the upcoming debut album of his new band project, SOLDATI!

SOLDATI, (soldiers in latin), started their generators a couple of years ago already, but have finally revealed a first track taken from their upcoming debut album, Doom Nacional, slated for a release on April 24th via Argonauta Records. Listen to the first single, Suicide Girl, HERE!

Why soldiers? “Maybe we feel we’ve been fighting all our lives for freedom, happiness and mind peace.“ Band mastermind, Sergio Ch., explains. “Growing our children, surviving South America and blasting our heads with the sound and vive that makes us feel good, alive and free at least a couple hours a week. That’s what we live and stand for.“

“Musically I just undusted my old SGs guitars, 3 stomps and my 70s amps I used for Los Natas for more than 20 years. No changes. Just keep on the audio and the legacy I created back in 1994, maybe where I left it, at the doorstep of Los Natas’ album “Nuevo Orden de la Libertad”. He continues. “Not so stoned, not so hanged off, more straight forward in your face, with riffs and words. Just pushing the limits to get to our own truth. This is our debut full length album, where I think we could resume all the war inside our heads, it’s a beast on its own character and warmth. It’s also about love, hate, good and bad shit that happens to us every day. Trying to get in balance and live just for today. The present time. The golden balance of time.“

[ Artwork by Sergio Ch. ]

Doom Nacional Tracklisting:
01 From Skulls
02 Suicide Girl
03 Whisky Negro
04 La Electricidad Del Arbol Caido
05 Los Secretos De Shiva
06 Un Tren Al Sol
07 Solar Tse

Doom Nacional was recorded on analog tape machines, mixed and mastered by Patricio Claypole at Estudio el Attic in Argentina. Set for a release on April 24th 2020 with Argonauta Records as LP and CD, the pre-sale has just started at THIS LOCATION: https://www.argonautarecords.com/shop/en/cerca?controller=search&orderby=position&orderway=desc&search_query=soldati&submit_search=

SOLDATI is:
Sergio Ch. – Guitar & Vocals
Lucas Cassinelli – Bass
Alfredo Felitte – Drums

https://www.facebook.com/SOLDATIDOOMNACIONAL
https://sasrecords.bandcamp.com/
https://www.facebook.com/SASRECORDSARGENTINA
www.argonautarecords.com
www.facebook.com/argonautarecords

Soldati, “Suicide Girl”

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Review & Full Album Stream: Shadow Witch, Under the Shadow of a Witch

Posted in audiObelisk, Reviews on February 12th, 2020 by JJ Koczan

Shadow Witch Under the Shadow of a Witch

[Click play above to stream Under the Shadow of a Witch by Shadow Witch in its entirety. Album is out Friday on Argonauta Records.]

The two halves of Shadow Witch‘s Under the Shadow of a Witch break just about evenly into vinyl sides, each one bearing its own subtitle. The first is ‘Spearfinger and Other Cautionary Tales’ and the second is ‘Fountain and Other Love Songs.’ In this way, the Kingston, New York, four-piece of vocalist/Mellotronist/noisemaker Earl Walker Lundy, guitarist Jeremy Hall, bassist David Pannullo and drummer Doug Beans (since replaced by Justin Zipperle) introduce the two central concepts with which their third album is working, largely through metaphor, bluesy, distinctly Southern-rooted storytelling, but rife with a realization of the dark heavy rock aesthetic the band have been building toward over the course of their two prior LPs, 2017’s Disciples of the Crow (review here) and 2016’s Sun Killer (discussed here), as they’ve moved from labels like Snake Charmer Coalition, Salt of the Earth and Kozmik Artifactz to find a home on Argonauta Records.

Under the Shadow of a Witch contains nine songs and altogether runs just under 40 minutes in total, indeed opening with “Spearfinger” in immediate and intense fashion, the four-piece clearly rushing to get their audience swept up in the energy of their shortest inclusion, while on the other end, “Fountain” closes at over eight minutes as the longest cut. All between, their songs are crafted, arranged thoughtfully, and very much playing with a studio presentation toward a live energy. That is, they’re not trying to ape a live show by being overly or needlessly raw, but there is attention given in the recording by Paul Orofino at Millbrook Sound to maintaining to one degree or another the vitality with which “Spearfinger” casts such a striking initial impression. Even as the penultimate “Sour” leads into the finale, it does so on a swell of noise and layered soloing from Hall with crashing cymbals behind.

As there would be on a record with such consideration underlying its execution, there is no shortage of dynamic at play in terms of tempo and general style, whether it’s the subdued acoustic beginnings of early highlight “Demon’s Hook” or side B leadoff “Saint Magdalene” — fleeting though they may be — or the effectively-placed emergence of Mellotron in the final-minute slowdown of the former, the chorus of which lives up to its title, i.e., that hook is for sure a demon in its potential to possess. It would perhaps be the catchiest song on Under the Shadow of a Witch — the great irony of the album is that for as much as it’s meant to be taken as Side Caution and Side Love, as it were, the component tracks do so much work to stand out individually — but for the subsequent “Wolf Among the Sheep,” begun with a spoken preach and working along an anti-dogmatic theme critiquing organized religion in a manner well presented if familiar.

While we’re talking about ironies, it’s hard to imagine Shadow Witch, in terms of listeners, aren’t preaching to the converted there, but again, it’s the chorus that’s the real sway of the piece as it rounds out the launchpoint salvo with “Spearfinger” and “Demon’s Hook,” portraying Shadow Witch as a band sure in their approach and ready for consideration at another level from where they’ve been before. They have, in terms of sound, found what they’ve been looking for this whole time.

shadow witch (photo by Kristin Troost Hall)

A third album is a natural place for that to happen, but more specifically, one can’t help but be drawn to the sense of frontman presence Lundy brings to his performance here. Part of that is that his voice, presented often in layers, with harmonies and other nuances of arrangements — dude can sing, and that always helps — is forward in the mix as to stand out from Hall‘s guitar, Pannullo‘s bass and Beans‘ drums, but the storytelling elements that begin with “Spearfinger” continue throughout that lead salvo and into the lush and nodding riff of “Witches of Aendor,” which touches on metal in its later reaches as Shadow Witch are wont to do without ever giving in entirely to aggressive posturing. Through that careening, chugging finish and into the more straightforward side A finale “Shifter” — another chorus not to be discounted — Lundy‘s task is to unite the material through whatever variety surrounds, and he does so impressively while donning a host of characters and perspectives along with ample melodic command.

There are moments where the balance tips one way or the other between band and frontman, but that ends up adding to the overarching dynamic of Under the Shadow of a Witch as a whole. As “Saint Magdalene” introduces the notion of a more patient side B about to unfold, it does so with a stepped-back Lundy (relatively speaking) and a stepped-up groove, an airier guitar returning temporarily in the second half of the song amid soulful, bluesy-almost-in-spite-of-themselves vocals that lead to a rousing solo. The brashest and most aggro of the nine inclusions, “6×6” is call-and-response through the verse and crunch in the rhythm — all business — as it makes its way to the chorus and a jarring strike of guitar after the title line is delivered. If Shadow Witch are metal anywhere on their third LP, it’s in “6×6,” but that doesn’t come at the expense of songwriting, which remains top priority.

It and “Sour” make a fitting pair for a dug-in vibe ahead of the closer, keeping momentum rolling without losing the thread of complexity coinciding, even if less infectious than “Demon’s Hook” or “Wolf Among the Sheep” earlier. The eight minutes of “Fountain” that follow are time well spent, with guest slide guitar from fellow Kingstonian Pat Harrington of Geezer that’s built toward with a payoff of the bluesy aspects both in Lundy‘s singing and in the progression behind him. They cap with howling wails and intertwining solos in a fitting wash atop the solid rhythmic foundation that’s underscored the various moves made all along, and give Under the Shadow of a Witch an earned sendoff into the ether of its own making.

True to its side’s subtitle, “Fountain” is a love song ultimately, and while I’m not sure I’d say the same about “6×6” — I’m not sure I wouldn’t, mind you — Shadow Witch‘s performance across the span of the full-length as a whole, taken in sides or song-by-song, shines with the feeling of an intention fulfilled. It is the work of a band who went into the studio with a purpose, and who realized that purpose in righteous form. Preach on, Shadow Witch.

Shadow Witch, “Wolf Among the Sheep” official video

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Los Natas Post “Soma” Video from Delmar Reissue

Posted in Bootleg Theater on January 29th, 2020 by JJ Koczan

los natas

Stop me if you’ve heard this one before from this site (yes, you absolutely have, and more than once), but NatasDelmar is a special album. The standard comparison I make is I would not trade the songs on this record for all the Kyusses who ever walked the earth, and any chance to hear any part of it is only something I find makes my day better. Every time.

I have a profound association with the album and its centerpiece, “Soma,” from the time I spent working in New York City at Metal Maniacs magazine, when such a thing existed. This was 2007-2008. I commuted by train from the Denville stop in NJ and the trip into Penn Station was well over an hour each way. But for the fact that nearly every penny I made at the gig went to the cost of traveling to and from it, and the loss of four hours of my daily life on the door-to-door, and the fact that the company that owned Maniacs was clueless about the value of the property, that fucking girl in the office with no indoor voice, the shitty jam bands that the other/bigger mag played on the office stereo, the fact that going to shows required going home first then returning to the city by car, and the generally oppressive nature of NYC on general, it wasn’t a terrible job. I continue to have nothing but love for Liz Ciavarella-Brenner, the editor with whom I worked most directly in the office.

On the whole, however, it was a situation that required one to take solace where and when possible. Delmar was a means by which I did exactly that. Every morning I put Natas on my portable CD player and listened through my Bose noise-canceling headphones (since deceased) and it allowed just the right amount of morning escape my probably-hungover self needed. I loved the record before that, but there was a bond formed on that train ride and it has lasted longer than that job, the magazine, or, really, print media itself. I continue to hold it in a regard I hold few full-length albums.

New video for “Soma,” you say? First official video ever from Delmar to honor the next re-press of the 2018 reissue through Argonauta Records, you say? Yes, obviously I’m going to post that.

Enjoy:

Natas, “Soma” official video

VIDEO OFICIAL DEL DISCO DE LOS NATAS – “DELMAR”
PRODUCIDO POR PICHON DALPONT VIDEO
REALIZADO POR SERGIO CH.

LOS NATAS is a trio formed during 1994 in Buenos Aires/Argentina. Their musical influences are numerous and varied, having the base of the raw and psychedelic sound of 1970s bands such as The Doors, Black Sabbath, The Who, Pink Floyd and Hawkwind, among others. Los Natas propose a journey made of basic elements: valvular equipment and vintage instruments, they incorporate the use of the senses and perception of the listener as a part of a sonic trip.

They make music that changes constantly, supported by long jams that give them a different meaning every time they execute them having that way a sense of freedom in the way of interpreting the sounds, making this experience extremely related to the sensations that both the musicians and the audience receive every time a show begins. This is the essence of what people knows today as Stoner Rock.

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