Glory or Death Records Announces ‘Friends and Family’ Showcases for June 7-8

Posted in Whathaveyou on May 10th, 2024 by JJ Koczan

Glory or Death Records has announced a pair of label showcases for next month. Set to take place over two nights — June 7 in Tempe, Arizona, and June 8 in El Cajon, California (in San Diego County) — and true to the ‘Friends and Family’ tag applied to the duly wizardly posters below, the lineups feature Glory or Death denizens like Great Electric QuestFormula 400Hudu AkilPhantom HoundTzimani and a solo performance from guitarist Kelley Juett of Mothership, who recently signed to the Cali-based imprint to release his first solo album, Wandering West.

Juett is billed as doing “loops,” which is fair enough if you take a listen to the initial single “Mind Mirage” from his upcoming LP (at the bottom of the post, as it happens), and seems to be in the opening spot for both nights, though that kind of thing can also be cool during changeovers between more-than-one-person-involved bands sometimes, so you never know. In addition, Phoenix psychedelic instrumental outfit Secrets of Lost Empires — whose Joshua Mathus has done comic-style graphic work for Zac Crye of Hudu AkilDesert RecordsStone Machine Electric and scores of others — will appear at the Temple show only.

The posters (by MontDoom), info, ticket links and such came down the PR wire:

Glory or Death Records Friends and Family Showcase Back-to-Back shows in Tempe and San Diego

Glory or Death Records Friends & Family Showcase

Tempe Date: June 7 at Yucca Tap Room

Featuring live solo loop performance by Kelley Juett; Secrets of Lost Empires, Tzimani, Phantom Hound, Hudu Akil, Formula 400, and Great Electric Quest

7:30 pm // 21 + // $12 adv $15 door

Event Link:

Ticket Link:

San Diego Date: June 8 at Burning Beard Brewery

We will even be giving out free DIY Lightsabers! First come first serve. Kids first. We’ll start handing them out when the sun sets! Come hang!

June 8th 4-9pm All Ages!

Great Electric Quest (Oside)
Formula 400 (Vista)
Phantom Hound (Oakland)
Hudu Akil (PHX)
Tzimani (SD)
Kelley Juett (PHX)

Ticket Link:

Flyer art by @montdoom

Kelley Juett, “Mind Mirage”

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Fuzz Evil Post New Single “Wanderer’s Wake”; Smear Merchants Out Later This Year

Posted in Whathaveyou on May 1st, 2024 by JJ Koczan

fuzz evil

What do we know about Arizona’s Fuzz Evil? They’re songwriters. No matter what the Sierra Vista-based troupe led by brothers Joey and Wayne Rudell get up to on a given release — whether it’s their new single “Wanderer’s Wake” below, issued ahead of their Desert Records label-debut, Smear Merchants, or the 2023 full-length that preceded it, New Blood (review here), or anything else they’ve done over the eight years since their 2016 self-titled debut (review here) — they have songs. They’ve never been an overly self-indulgent band, never left their audience behind, and their catalog is that much stronger for it.

Even as they pivot to heavier fare with “Wanderer’s Wake” and introduce the lineup they revealed in January alongside their cover of The Cars‘ “Just What I Needed” (speaking of songwriters…), the song remains the priority, and that’s also what lets them pull off the dive into gruff vocals and harder-hitting tones without losing the plot. It’s a less friendly sound on the surface, but still very much Fuzz Evil in the underlying groove and structure. I would say it meets the stated intention toward more of a stoner-doomed feel, and not that I wasn’t already keeping an eye for Smear Merchants — not sure if it’s an EP or LP at this point, but it’s a title, which is more than you sometimes get — but I hear all the more reason to do so in the single’s sub-five-minute stretch.

TL;DR: New Fuzz Evil track mixes it up with a little bit o’ nasty to go around. Dig it:

fuzz evil wanderer's wake

“Wanderer’s Wake” is the first single from Fuzz Evil’s fourth studio record “Smear Merchants” to be released in late 2024 on Desert Records.

“We are always trying to evolve our music each record and with “Smear Merchants” it will be our take on more doom metal/stoner.” -FUZZ EVIL

As purveyors of chug-heavy, fuzz-laden riffs, this heavy rock ensemble unleashes a monolithic fuzzpocalypse that reverberates through your ears and straight to your soul. With raw, gritty Fuzz and unique tones, FUZZ EVIL combines baritone fuzz, extraordinary riffs, and heavy bass tones to create a sound that’s as soulful as it is earth-shattering.

To stay updated on Fuzz Evil’s latest releases and upcoming shows, follow them on handles here:

Song written by Fuzz Evil
Song Recorded, Produced, and Mixed by: Joseph Rudell
Art by: Joseph Rudell

Fuzz Evil is:
Vocals & Guitar: Wayne Rudell
Bass & Backing Vocals: Joseph Rudell
Baritone Guitars: Preston Jennings
Drums: Cajun Adams

Fuzz Evil, “Wanderer’s Wake” (2024)

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Fuzz Evil Release Cars Cover “Just What I Needed”; Revamp Lineup & Announce New EP Smear Merchants

Posted in Whathaveyou on January 9th, 2024 by JJ Koczan

Not so terribly far removed from the Sept. 2023 release of their latest full-length, New Blood (review here), Sierra Vista, Arizona’s Fuzz Evil would seem to have answered the call for some themselves. Founded by brothers Joey Rudell and Wayne Rudell, the band have welcomed Cajun Adam, who is at least their fourth drummer, and multi-instrumentalist/guitarist Preston Jenning, who’ll make their debut with the now-a-four-piece band on the new EP, Smear Merchants. When’s that out? I don’t know, but they covered The Cars‘ “Just What I Needed” — and I’m sorry for getting the song stuck in your head just by mentioning the title, Ric Ocasek‘s magnum opus of catchy is infectious — and that’s a fun nugget to go on for today.

Looking at the below, I’m not actually sure “Just What I Needed” will show up on the EP, either, but I guess we’ll find out sometime in the coming months. Until then, the cover tune and the stream of New Blood are down at the bottom there and you can read more from the PR wire in the blue text.


fuzz evil just what you needed

Fuzz Evil Expands Sonic Horizon as a Four-Piece Band with New Single and EP Release

Fuzz Evil, the powerhouse three-piece known for their infectious blend of doom and stoner rock, is set to kick off 2024 with a bang. On January 5, the band will drop their latest single, a cover of The Cars’ classic hit “Just What I Needed,” available on all major streaming platforms. This marks a thrilling departure from their signature sound and showcases the band’s versatility.

Following the single release, Fuzz Evil will treat fans to a brand new EP titled “Smear Merchants,” an eagerly anticipated follow-up to their 2023 ,”New Blood ” album. “Smear Merchants” is poised to captivate listeners with its immersive sonic experience, delving deeper into the realms of doom and stoner rock. Serving as a sister record to their self-titled release in 2016, this EP promises to deliver a fresh perspective on Fuzz Evil’s evolving musical journey.

In 2023, Fuzz Evil expanded their sonic horizons by adding two new talented members to their lineup, further enriching their musical tapestry. Preston Jenning, a versatile multi-instrumentalist, joined the band to lend his skills on guitar, baritone, and synth duties. His musical prowess is expected to add new dimensions to Fuzz Evil’s evolving sound. Cajun Adam, the newest addition on drums, brings a rhythmic intensity that complements the band’s dynamic energy.

Fuzz Evil has built a solid reputation in the rock scene, and “Smear Merchants” is poised to be a milestone in their discography. Fans can look forward to a sonic journey that transcends boundaries, blending the familiar with the unexpected.

To stay updated on Fuzz Evil’s latest releases and upcoming shows, follow them on handles here:

Fuzz Evil, “Just What I Needed” (Cars cover)

Fuzz Evil, New Blood (2023)

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Hudu Akil Post New Single “El Mirage”

Posted in Whathaveyou on December 8th, 2023 by JJ Koczan

The first Hudu Akil song in half a decade presents itself in three main movements across its readily-consumable six-plus minutes. The first is a hard-landing succession of hits that opens to the main riff, the drums pulled out with some genre-style ghost-shuffle on the snare — drummer Angel Calderon distinguishes himself throughout — before the layered drawling vocals from founding guitarist Zac Crye start the verse. All is rolling as the trio move through the chorus — the lyrics a warning, “It’s coming for us/Hell and high water/It’s coming for us” — and they cycle through again smoothly to end the first movement.

The second part launches immediately, right at 3:14. A stop shifts into quieter layers of guitar and bass noodling before a forward surge brings an extended instrumental course continuing through the next couple minutes. The first time I heard it I thought the song was over and something else had started to play, but as languid and stoned as Hudu Akil are in “El Mirage”‘s first half, the reality they unveil subsequent to that is sharp and precise while still consistent in sound with the first part.

The last movement is another quiet stretch of guitar, this one developing further with some jangly percussion alongside before it flips over and plays backwards in the fade, the lesson learned being that if you think you know what Hudu Akil‘s next album might sound like and you’re not actually in the band, you’re talking out of your ass. I don’t know where “El Mirage” will end up on that record to be, but it’s an enticing first look at something to keep an eye out for in the New Year.

Crye sent the following down the PR wire:

Hudu Akil El Mirage

Phoenix Stoner Metal Band Hudu Akil | New Single “El Mirage”

“El Mirage,” is the first release from the band since we dropped our full-length ‘Eye for an Eye’ with Glory or Death Records in 2018. The track precedes an entire new album of music which is currently in the mixing process.

We released the track exclusively to our bandcamp December 1st, and it goes live on all streaming services on the 11th.

“We just wanted to make an offering to everyone before the years’ end. Making music can be a bit of a process at times so we couldn’t wait to finally release something after wokring on these songs for the last two years. The track hits all streaming platforms on 12.11, and we will be dropping a cool video shortly after. Once we finally have the album in the can, we plan to make a lot more noise in the following months!” -Zac Crye, singer/guitarist

We’re not saying much about the album now, just want to share El Mirage with you guys.

El Mirage available here:

Written by Zac Crye
Recorded at Switchblade Sound in Tempe, AZ
Engineered by Joseph Asselin
Mix and Mastered by Tony Reed at Heavyhead Recordings

Hudu Akil is:
Zac Crye – Guitars, Vocals
Daniel Rangel – Bass
Angel Calderon – Drums

Hudu Akil, “El Mirage” (2023)

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Quarterly Review: Negative Reaction, Fuzz Evil, Cardinal Point, Vlimmer, No Gods No Masters, Ananda Mida, Ojo Malo, Druid Fluids, Gibbous Moon, Mother Magnetic

Posted in Reviews on November 27th, 2023 by JJ Koczan


Don’t ask me if the ‘quarter’ in question is Fall or Winter, and I’m still planning another QR probably in early January or even December if I can sneak it, but I was able to sneak this week in while no one was looking at the calendar — mostly, that is, while I wasn’t filling said calendar with other stuff — and I decided to make it happen. I even used the ol’ Bing AI to make a header image for it. I was tired of all the no-color etchings. It’s been a decade of that at this point. I’ll try this for a bit and see how I feel about it. The kind of thing that matters pretty much only to me.

This might go to 70, but for right now it’s 50 releases Monday to Friday starting today, 10 per day. I know the drill. You know the drill. Let’s get it going.

Quarterly Review #1-10:

Negative Reaction, Zero Minus Infinity

Negative Reaction Zero Minus Infinity

Holy fucking shit this rips. You want sludge? Call the masters. There are two generations of bands out there right now trying to tap into the kind of slow and ultra-heavy disaffection — not to mention the guitar tone — of Negative Reaction, and yet, no hype whatsoever. This record didn’t come to me from some high-level public relations concern. It came from Kenny Bones, who founded Negative Reaction over 30 years ago in Long Island (he and thus the band are based in West Virginia now) and whose perpetual themes between crushing depression and the odd bit of Star Wars-franchised space opera have rarely sounded more intentionally grueling. Across six songs and a mood-altering 46 minutes, Bones, bassist KJ and drummer Brian Alien bludgeon with rawness and volume-worship weight that, frankly, is the kind of thing riff-dudes on social media should be tripping over themselves to be first to sing its praises, the lurch in “Back From the Sands” feeling sincere in its unconscious rifference (that’s a reference you make with a riff) to Saint Vitus‘ “Born Too Late,” and maybe Negative Reaction were, or maybe they were born too early, or whatever, but it’s not like they’ve been a fit at any point in the last 30-plus years — cheeky horror riff chugging in “Space Hunter,” all-out fuckall-punker blast in “I’ll Have Another” before the 13-minute flute-laced (yes, Bones is on it) cosmic doom finish of “Welcome to Infinity,” etc., reaffirming square-peg status — because while there’s an awful lot of sludge out there, there’s only ever been one Negative Reaction. Bones‘ and company’s angry adventures, righteous and dense in sound, continue unabated.

Negative Reaction on Facebook

Negative Reaction on Bandcamp

Fuzz Evil, New Blood

fuzz evil new blood

Arizona brothers Wayne and Joey Rudell return with New Blood, the first Fuzz Evil full-length since High on You (review here) in 2018, and make up for lost time with 53 minutes of new material across 13 songs from the post-Queens of the Stone Age rock at the outset in “Suit Coffin” to the slow, almost Peter Gabriel-style progressivism of “Littlest Nemo,” the nighttime balladry of “Gullible’s Travel” or the disco groove of “Keep on Living.” Those three are tucked at the end, but Fuzz Evil telegraph new ideas and departures early in “My Own Blood” and even the speedier “Run Away,” with its hints of metal, pulls to the side from “Souveneers,” the hooky “G.U.M.O.C.O.,” a cut like “Heavy Glow” (premiered here) finding some middle ground between attitude-laced desert rock and the expansions thereupon of some New Blood‘s tracks. Shout to “We’ve Seen it All” as the hidden gem. All Fuzz Evil have ever wanted is to write songs and maybe make someone — perhaps even you — dance at a show. With the obvious sweat and soul put into New Blood, a little boogieing doesn’t seem like too much to ask.

Fuzz Evil on Facebook

Fuzz Evil on Bandcamp

Cardinal Point, Man or Island

Cardinal Point Man or Island

A second full-length from Serbia’s Cardinal Point, Man or Island asks its central question — are you a man or an island — in the leadoff title-track. I’m not sure what being one or the other delineates, but masculinity would seem to be preferred judging by the Down-style riffing of “Stray Dog” or the heavy-like-1991 “Right ‘n’ Ready,” which feels like it was written for the stage, whether or not it actually was. “Sunrise” borders on hard country with its uber-dudeliness, but closer “This Chest” offers tighter-twisting, Lo-Pan-style riffing to cap. The tracks are pointedly straightforward, making no pretense about where the band is coming from or what they want to be doing as players. The grooves swing big and the choruses are delivered with force. You wouldn’t call it groundbreaking, but the Vranje-based four-piece aren’t trying to revolutionize heavy so much as to speak to various among those traditions that birthed it. They succeed in that here, and in making the results their own.

Cardinal Point on Facebook

Cardinal Point on Bandcamp

Vlimmer, Zersch​ö​pfung

vlimmer zerschopfung 1

Voices far more expert than mine have given pinpointed analyses of Vlimmer‘s goth-as-emotive-vehicle, semi-electronic, sometimes-heavy post-punk, New Dark Wave, etc., stylistic reach as relates to the Berlin-based solo artist’s latest full-length, Zersch​ö​pfung, but hearing The Cure in “Makks” and “Fatalideal” taken to a place of progressive extrapolation on “Platzwort” and to hear the Author & Punisher-informed slow industrial churn of the penultimate “Todesangst” become the backdrop for a dreamy vocal like Tears for Fears if they stayed up all night scribbling in their notebook because they had so much to say. Vlimmer (né Alexander Leonard Donat) has had a productive run since the first numbered EPs started showing up circa 2015, and Zersch​ö​pfung feels like a summation of the style he’s established as his own, able to speak to various sides of underground and outsider musics without either losing itself in the emotionalism of the songs or sublimating identity to genre.

Vlimmer on Facebook

Blackjack Illuminist Records on Bandcamp

No Gods No Masters, Torment

No Gods No Masters Torment

Dutch sludge metallers No Gods No Masters may seem monolithic at first on their second full-length, the self-released Torment, but the post-metallic dynamics in the atmospheric guitar on lead cut “Into Exile” puts the lie to the supposition. Not that there isn’t plenty of extreme crush to go around in “Into Exile” and the four songs that follow — second track “Towering Waves” and closer “End” on either side of the 10-minute mark, “Such Vim and Vigor” and “A God Among the Waste” shorter like “Into Exile” in a five-to-six-minute range — as the band move from crawling ambience to consuming, scream-topped ultra-doom, leave bruises with elbows thrown before the big slowdown in “Such Vim and Vigor” and tear ass regardless of tempo through the finale, and while they never quite let go of the extremity of their purpose, neither do they forget that their purpose is more than extremity. Torment sounds punishing superficially — certainly the title gives a hint that all is not sunshine and puppies — but a deeper listen is met by the richness of No Gods No Masters‘ approach.

No Gods No Masters on Facebook

No Gods No Masters on Bandcamp

Ananda Mida, Reconciler

Ananda Mida Reconciler

Italian psych rockers Ananda Mida are joined by a host of guests throughout their third full-length, Reconciler, including a return appearance from German singer-songwriter Conny Ochs on the extended heavy psych blueser “Swamp Thing” (14:52) and the four-part finale “Doom and the Medicine Man (Pt. V-VIII)” (22:09), which draws a thread through the history of prog and acid rocks, kraut and space applying no less to the 12-minute “Lucifer’s Wind” as to the surf-riffing “Reconciling” after — the latter gets a reprise on platter two of the 83-minute 2LP — as Ananda Mida dig deep into the shining thrust in the early verses of “Never Surrender” that give over to thoughtful jamming in the song’s second half, finding proto-metallic resolve in “Following the Light” before reconciling “Reconciling (Reprise)” and unfurling “Doom and the Medicine Man” like the lost ’70s coke-rock epic it may well be in some other universe, complete with the acoustic postscript. It’s two records’ worth of ambitious, and it’s two records’ worth of record. This is exploratory on a stylistic level. Searching.

Ananda Mida on Facebook

Go Down Records website

Ojo Malo, Black Light Fever Tripping

ojo malo black light fever tripping

Lumbering out of El Paso, Texas (where folks know what salsa should taste like), with seven tracks across a 23-minute debut EP, Ojo Malo follow a Sabbathian course of harder-edged doom, thick in its groove through “Crow Man” after the “Intro” and speedier with an almost nu-metal crunch in “Charon the Ferryman.” There’s Clutch and C.O.C. influences in the riffing, but there are tougher elements too, a tension that wouldn’t have been out of place 28 years ago on a Prong record, and the swing in “Black Trip Lord” has an undercurrent of aggression that comes forward in its chugging second half. The penultimate “Grim Greefo Rising” offers more in terms of melody after its riffy buildup, and “Executioner” reveals the Judas Priest that’s been in the band’s collective heart all the while. Bookended with manipulated sounds from the recordings in “Intro” and “Outro,” Black Light Fever Tripping sounds exactly like it doesn’t have time for your bullshit so get your gear off stage now and don’t break down your cymbals up there or it’s fucking on.

Ojo Malo on Facebook

Ojo Malo on Bandcamp

Druid Fluids, Then, Now, Again & Again

druid fluids then now again and again

Druid Fluids — aka Adelaide, Australia’s Jamie Andrew, plus a few friends on drums, piano, and so on — inhabits a few different personae out of psychedelic historalia throughout Then, Now, Again & Again, finding favorites in The Beatles in “Flutter By,” “Into Me I See” (both with sitar), and “Layers” while peopling other songs specifically with elements drawn from David Bowie and the solo work of Lennon and McCartney, all of which feels like fair game for the meticulously-arranged 11-song collection. “Sour’s Happy Fantasy” offers sci-fi fuzz grandeur, while “Timeline” is otherworldly in all but the central strum holding it to the ground — a singularly satisfying melody — and “Out of Phase” swaggers in like Andrew knows he was born in the wrong time. He might’ve been, but he seems to have past, present and future covered either way in this material, some of which was reportedly written when he was a teenager but which has no doubt grown more expansive in the intervening years.

Druid Fluids on Facebook

Druid Fluids on Bandcamp

Gibbous Moon, Saturn V

Gibbous Moon Saturn V

The years between their 2017 self-titled three-songer EP and the forthcoming 11-track debut full-length, Saturn V, would seem to have found Philly heavy rockers Gibbous Moon refining their approach in terms of craft and process. “Blue Shelby” has a turn on guitar like Dire Straits as vocalist Noelle Felipe (also bass) drops references to Scarface in “Blue Shelby” and brings due classicism to Mauro Felipe‘s guitar on “Ayadda.” That song, as well as “Everything” and closer “Peacemaker,” tie the EP to the LP, but Noelle, Mauro and drummer Michael Mosley are unquestionably more confident in their delivery, whether it’s the bass in the open reaches of “Sine Wave” or the of-course-it’s-speed-rock “Follow that Car” and its punker counterpart “Armadillo.” Space rock is a factor in “Indivisible,” and “Inflamed” is almost rockabilly in its tense verse, but wherever Gibbous Moon go, their steps are as sure as the material itself is solid. I’m not sure when this is actually out, if it’s 2023 or 2024, but heads up on it.

Gibbous Moon on Facebook

Gibbous Moon on Bandcamp

Mother Magnetic, Mother Magnetic

mother magnetic

Arranged shortest to longest between the ah-oo-oo-ah-ah hookiness of “Sucker’s Disease” (3:03), the nodder rollout of “Daughters of the Sun” (5:47) and the reach into psych-blues jamming in “Goddess Land” (7:03), Mother Magnetic‘s self-titled three-song EP is the first public offering from the Brisbane four-piece of vocalist Rox, guitarist James, bassist Tim and drummer Danny, and right into the later reaches of the last of those tracks, the band’s intentions feel strongly declarative in establishing their melodic reach, an Iommi-circa-’81 take on riffmaking, and a classic boozy swagger to the vocals to match. There was a time, 15-20 years ago, when demos like this ruled the land and were handed to you, burned onto archaic CD-Rs, in the vain hope you might play them in your car on the way home from the show. To not do so in this case would be inadvisable. There’s potential in the songwriting, yes, but also on a performance level, for growth as individuals and as a group, and considering where Mother Magnetic are starting in terms of chemistry, that’s all the more an exciting prospect.

Mother Magnetic on Facebook

Mother Magnetic on Bandcamp

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Quarterly Review: AAWKS & Aiwass, Surya Kris Peters, Evert Snyman, Book of Wyrms, Burning Sister, Gévaudan, Oxblood Forge, High Brian, Búho Ermitaño, Octonaut

Posted in Reviews on October 6th, 2023 by JJ Koczan

the obelisk winter quarterly review

Last day, this one. And probably a good thing so that I can go back to doing just about anything else beyond (incredibly) basic motor function and feeling like I need to start the next day’s QR writeups. I’m already thinking of maybe a week in December and a week or two in January, just to try to keep up with stuff, but I’m of two minds about it.

Does the Quarterly Review actually help anyone find music? It helps me, I know, because it’s 50 records that I’m basically forcing myself to dig into, and that exposes me to more and more and more all the time, and gives me an outlet for stuff I wouldn’t otherwise have mental or temporal space to cover, so I know I get something out of it. Do you?

Honest answers are welcome in the comments. If it’s a no, that helps me as well.

Quarterly Review #41-50:

AAWKS & Aiwass, The Eastern Scrolls

AAWKS & Aiwass The Eastern Scrolls

Late on their 2022 self-titled debut (review here), Canadian upstart heavy fuzzers AAWKS took a decisive plunge into greater tonal densities, and “1831,” which is their side-consuming 14:30 contribution to the The Eastern Scrolls split LP with Arizona mostly-solo-project Aiwass, feels built directly off that impulse. It is, in other words, very heavy. Cosmically spaced with harsher vocals early that remind of stonerkings Sons of Otis and only more blowout from there as they roll forth into slog, noise, a stop, ambient guitar and string melodies and drum thud behind vocals, subdued psych atmosphere and backmasked sampling near the finish. Aiwass, led by multi-instrumentalist/vocalist Blake Carrera and now on the cusp of releasing a second full-length, The Falling (review here), give the 13:00 “The Unholy Books” a stately, post-metallic presence, as much about the existential affirmations and the melody applied to the lyrics as it moves into the drumless midsection as either the earlier Grayceon-esque pulled notes of guitar (thinking specifically “War’s End” from 2011’s All We Destroy, but there the melody is cello) into it or the engrossing heft that emerges late in the piece, though it does bookend with a guitar comedown. Reportedly based around the life of theosophy co-founder and cult figure Madame Helena Blavatsky, it can either be embraced on that level or taken on simply as a showcase of two up and coming bands, each with their own complementary sound. However you want to go, it’s easily among the best splits I’ve heard in 2023.

AAWKS on Facebook

Aiwass on Facebook

Black Throne Productions store

Surya Kris Peters, Strange New World

Surya Kris Peters Strange New World

The lines between projects are blurring for Surya Kris Peters, otherwise known as Chris Peters, currently based in Brazil where he has the solo-project Fuzz Sagrado following on from his time in the now-defunct German trio Samsara Blues Experiment. Strange New World is part of a busy 2023/busy last few years for Peters, who in 2023 alone has issued a live album from his former band (review here) and a second self-recorded studio LP from Fuzz Sagrado, titled Luz e Sombra (review here). And in Fuzz Sagrado, Peters has returned to the guitar as a central instrument after a few years of putting his focus on keys and synths with Surya Kris Peters as the appointed outlet for it. Well, the Fuzz Sagrado had some keys and the 11-song/52-minute Strange New World wants nothing for guitar either as Peters reveals a headbanger youth in the let-loose guitar of “False Prophet,” offers soothing and textured vibes of a synthesized beat in “Sleep Meditation in Times of War” (Europe still pretty clearly in mind) and the acoustic/electric blend that’s expanded upon in “Nada Brahma Nada.” Active runs of synth, bouncing from note to note with an almost zither-esque feel in “A Beautiful Exile (Pt. 1)” and the later “A Beautiful Exile (Part 2)” set a theme that parts of other pieces follow, but in the drones of “Past Interference” and the ’80s New Wave prog of the bonus track “Slightly Too Late,” Peters reminds that the heart of the project is in exploration, and so it is still very much its own thing.

Fuzz Sagrado on Facebook

Electric Magic Records on Bandcamp

Evert Snyman, All Killer Filler

evert snyman all killer filler

A covers record can be a unique opportunity for an artist to convey something about themselves to fans, and while I consider Evert Snyman‘s 12-track/38-minute classic pop-rock excursion All Killer Filler to be worth it for his take on Smashing Pumpkins‘ “Zero” alone, there is no mistaking the show of persona in the choice to open with The Stooges‘ iconic “Search and Destroy” and back it cheekily with silly bounce of Paul McCartney‘s almost tragically catchy “Temporary Secretary.” That pairing alone is informative if you’re looking to learn something about the South African-based songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, vocalist and producer. See also “The Piña Colada Song.” The ’90s feature mightily, as they would, with tunes by Pixies, Blur, Frank Black, The Breeders and Mark Lanegan (also the aforementioned Smashing Pumpkins), but whether it’s the fuzz of The Breeders’ 1:45 “I Just Wanna Get Along,” the sincere acoustic take on The Beatles “I Will” — which might as well be a second McCartney solo cut, but whatever; you’ll note Frank Black and Pixies appearing separately as well — or the gospel edge brought to Tom Waits‘ “Jesus Gonna Be Here,” Snyman internalizes this material, almost builds it from the ground up, loyal in some ways and not in others, but resonant in its respect for the source material without trying to copy, say, Foo Fighters, note for note on “The Colour and the Shape.” If it’s filler en route to Snyman‘s next original collection, fine. Dude takes on Mark Lanegan without it sounding like a put on. Mark Lanegan himself could barely do that.

Evert Snyman on Facebook

Mongrel Records website

Book of Wyrms, Storm Warning

book of wyrms storm warning

Virginian heavy doom rockers Book of Wyrms have proved readily in the past that they don’t need all that long to set up a vibe, and the standalone single “Storm Warning” reinforces that position with four-plus minutes of solid delivery of craft. Vocalist/synthesist Sarah Moore Lindsey, bassist Jay “Jake” Lindsey and drummer Kyle Lewis and guitarist Bobby Hufnell (also Druglord) — the latter two would seem to have switched instruments since last year’s single “Sodapop Glacier” (premiered here) — but whatever is actually being played by whoever, the song is a structurally concise but atmospheric groover, with a riff twisting around the hook and the keyboard lending dimension to the mix as it rests beneath the guitar and bass. They released their third album, Occult New Age (review here), in 2021, so they’re by no means late on a follow-up, and I don’t know either when this song was recorded — before, after or during that process — but it’s a sharp-sounding track from a band whose style has grown only  more theirs with time. I have high expectations for Book of Wyrms‘ next record — I had high expectations for the last one, which were met — and especially taken together, “Storm Warning” and “Sodapop Glacier” show both the malleable nature of the band’s aesthetic, the range that has grown in their sound and the live performance that is at their collective core.

Book of Wyrms on Facebook

Desert Records store

Burning Sister, Get Your Head Right

burning sister get your head right

Following on from their declarative 2022 debut, Mile High Downer Rock (review here), Denver trio Burning Sister — bassist/vocalist Steve Miller (also synth), guitarist Nathan Rorabaugh and drummer Alison Salutz — bring four originals and the Mudhoney cover “When Tomorrow Comes” (premiered here) together as Get Your Head Right, a 29-minute EP, beginning with the hypnotic nod groove and biting leads of “Fadeout” (also released as a single) and the slower, heavy psych F-U-Z-Z of “Barbiturate Lizard,” the keyboard-inclusive languid roll of which, even after the pace picks up, tells me how right I was to dig that album. The centerpiece title-track is faster and a little more forward tonally, more grounded, but carries over the vocal echo and finds itself in noisier crashes and chugs before giving over to the 7:58 “Looking Through Me,” which continues the relatively terrestrial vibe over until the wall falls off the spaceship in the middle of the track and everyone gets sucked into the vacuum — don’t worry, the synthesizer mourns us after — just before the noted cover quietly takes hold to close out with spacious heavygaze cavern echo that swells all the way up to become a blowout in the vein of the original. It’s a story that’s been told before, of a band actively growing, coming into their sound, figuring out who they are from one initial release to the next. Burning Sister haven’t finished that process yet, but I like where this seems to be headed. Namely into psych-fuzz oblivion and cosmic dust. So yeah, right on.

Burning Sister on Facebook

Burning Sister on Bandcamp

Gévaudan, Umbra

Gévaudan UMBRA

Informed by Pallbearer, Warning, or perhaps others in the sphere of emotive doom, UK troupe Gévaudan scale up from 2019’s Iter (review here) with the single-song, 43:11 Umbra, their second album. Impressive enough for its sheer ambition, the execution on the extended titular piece is both complex and organic, parts flowing naturally from one to the other around lumbering rhythms for the first 13 minutes or so before a crashout to a quick fade brings the next movement of quiet and droning psychedelia. They dwell for a time in a subtle-then-not-subtle build before exploding back to full-bore tone at 18:50 and carrying through a succession of epic, dramatic ebbs and flows, such that when the keyboard surges to the forefront of the mix in seeming battle with the pulled notes of guitar, the ensuing roll/march is a realization. They do break to quiet again, this time piano and voice, and doom mournfully into a fade that, at the end of a 43-minute song tells you the band could’ve probably kept going had they so desired. So much the better. Between this and Iter, Gévaudan have made a for-real-life statement about who they are as a band and their progressive ambitions. Do not make the mistake of thinking they’re done evolving.

Gévaudan on Facebook

Meuse Music Records website

Oxblood Forge, Cult of Oblivion

Oxblood Forge Cult of Oblivion

In some of the harsher vocals and thrashy riffing of Cult of Oblivion‘s opening title-track, Massachusetts’ Oxblood Forge remind a bit of some of the earliest Shadows Fall‘s definitively New Englander take on hardcore-informed metal. The Boston-based double-guitar five-piece speed up the telltale chug of “Children of the Grave” on “Upon the Altar” and find raw sludge scathe on “Cleanse With Fire” ahead of finishing off the four-song/18-minute EP with the rush into “Mask of Satan,” which echoes the thrash of “Cult of Oblivion” itself and finds vocalist Ken McKay pushing his voice higher in clean register than one can recall on prior releases, their most recent LP being 2021’s Decimator (review here). But that record was produced for a different kind of impact than Cult of Oblivion, and the aggression driving the new material is enhanced by the roughness of its presentation. These guys have been at it a while now, and clearly they’re not in it for trends, or to be some huge band touring for seven months at a clip. But their love of heavy metal is evident in everything they do, and it comes through here in every blow to the head they mete out.

Oxblood Forge on Facebook

Oxblood Forge on Bandcamp

High Brian, Five, Six, Seven

High Brian Five Six Seven

The titular rhythmic counting in Austrian heavy-prog quirk rockers High Brian‘s Five, Six, Seven (on StoneFree Records, of course) doesn’t take long to arrive, finding its way into second cut “Is it True” after the mild careening of “All There Is” opens their third full-length, and that’s maybe eight minutes into the 40-minute record, but it doesn’t get less gleefully weird from there as the band take off into the bassy meditation of “The End” before tossing out angular headspinner riffs in succession and rolling through what feels like a history of krautrock’s willful anti-normality written into the apocalypse it would seemingly have to be. “The End” is the longest track at 8:50, and it presumably closes side A, which means side B is when it’s time to party as the triplet chug of “The Omni” reinforces the energetic start of “All There Is” with madcap fervor and “Stone Came Up” can’t decide whether it’s raw-toned biker rock or spaced out lysergic idolatry, so it decides to become an open jam complete people talking “in the crowd.” This leaves the penultimate “Our First Car” to deliver one last shove into the art-rock volatility of closer “Oil Into the Fire,” where High Brian play one more round of can-you-follow-where-this-is-going before ending with a gentle cymbal wash like nothing ever happened. Note, to the best of my knowledge, there are not bongos on every track, as the cover art heralds. But perhaps spiritually. Spiritual bongos.

High Brian on Facebook

StoneFree Records website

Búho Ermitaño, Implosiones

Búho Ermitaño Implosiones

Shimmering, gorgeous and richly informed in melody and rhythm by South American folk, Búho Ermitaño‘s Implosiones revels in pastoralia in opener “Herbie” before “Expolosiones” takes off past its midpoint into heavy post-rock float and progressive urgency that in itself is more dynamic than many bands even still is only a small fraction of the encompassing range of sounds at work throughout these seven songs. ’60s psych twists into the guitar solo in the back half of “Explosiones” before space rock key/synth wash finishes — yes, it’s like that — and only then does the serene guitar and, birdsong and synth-drone of “Preludio” announce the arrival of centerpiece “Ingravita,” which begins acoustic and even as it climbs all the way up to its crescendo maintains its peaceful undercurrent so that when it returns at the end it seems to be home again at the finish. The subsequent “Buarabino” is more about physical movement in its rhythm, cumbia roots perhaps showing through, but leaves the ground for its second half of multidirectional resonances offered like ’70s prog that tells you it’s from another planet. But no, cosmic as they get in the keys of “Entre los Cerros,” Búho Ermitaño are of and for the Earth — you can hear it in every groove and sun-on-water guitar melody — and when the bowl chimes to start finale “Renacer,” the procession that ensues en route to the final drone is an affirmation both of the course they’ve taken in sound and whatever it is in your life that’s led you to hear it. Records like this never get hype. They should. They are loved nonetheless.

Búho Ermitaño on Facebook

Buh Records on Bandcamp

Octonaut, Intergalactic Tales of a Wandering Cephalopod

Octonaut Intergalactic Tales of a Wandering Cephalopod

In concept or manifestation, one would not call Octonaut‘s 54-minute shenanigans-prone debut album Intergalactic Tales of a Wandering Cephalopod a minor undertaking. On any level one might want to approach it — taking on the two-minute feedbackscape of “…—…” (up on your morse code?) or the 11-minute tale-teller-complete-with-digression-about-black-holes “Octonaut” or any of their fun-with-fuzz-and-prog-metal-and-psychedelia points in between — it is a lot, and there is a lot going on, but it’s also wonderfully brazen. It’s completely over the top and knows it. It doesn’t want to behave. It doesn’t want to just be another stoner band. It’s throwing everything out in the open and seeing what works, and as Octonaut move forward, ideally, they’ll take the lessons of a song like the mellow linear builder “Hypnotic Jungle” or nine-minute capper “Rainbow Muffler Camel” (like they’re throwing darts at words) with its intermittent manic fits and the somehow inevitable finish of blown-out static noise. As much stoner as it is prog, it’s also not really either, but this is good news because there are few better places for an act so clearly bent on individualism as Octonaut are to begin than in between genres. One hopes they dwell there for the duration.

Octonaut on Facebook


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The Obelisk Questionnaire: Wayne & Joey Rudell of Fuzz Evil

Posted in Questionnaire on July 27th, 2023 by JJ Koczan

fuzz evil

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

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

Thank you for reading and thanks to all who participate.

The Obelisk Questionnaire: Wayne & Joey Rudell of Fuzz Evil

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

Wayne: Well, we’re two brothers that make some of the dirtiest fuzz rock this side of the San Pedro River.

Joey: Wayne and I have been playing music together since we were little kids. Our parents were ungodly religious, so we ended up starting out playing in Church. At one point we were playing 7 days a week if you include the practices for church and our own band including all the shows/services.

Wayne: Of course, that ended when they found out we listened to Marilyn Manson and Tool.

Joey: Yeah, we’ll the church started turning to a Cult anyway.

Wayne: Hell, but at least we got to learn how to play gospel out of it.

Joey: Right lol. So, our first band was called 12tone. It’s cool to have a recording from when you were just a kid. Some of those songs are a Jam. We were totally a Prog Rock band. Probably because we were so into Tool at the time.

Wayne: We have a bandcamp for 12tone still out there.

Joey: Man, the song Vertigo is still a jam. We played a bunch of local shows as 12tone and then we just kind of morphed into Powered Wig Machine. All the same band members. Really nothing changed except the style of music.

Wayne: The song Seven Four kinda got us into the whole stoner rock movement. It’s wild because our mom was an acute paranoid schizophrenic and the bridge section of Seven Four has a recording of a phone call I got from her.

Joey: I’d say that our very first Powered Wig Machine album still had some 12tone feel to it. Like the song Death by Suplex. That still was very progressive. We played a ton of shows as Powered Wig Machine and really went on some great Journeys. I guess Fuzz Evil happened because Daniel (Drums) and Dusty (Guitar) were both having kids and couldn’t commit as much time to playing anymore.

Wayne: Joey and I wanted to do something different, and it quickly became our main project.

Joey: I really like Fuzz Evil, it’s something that is more akin to Wayne and I playing when we were kids. Just the two of us writing riffs. We play off each other well.

Describe your first musical memory.

Joey: We’ve been playing music together for as long as we can remember.

Wayne: I have distinct memory of Joey and I jamming. We were probably 16 and 12, maybe younger. We were recording on one of those old tape recorders where you had to press down the play and record button at the same time. We had our little amps cranked up to 10 rocking out something fierce.

Joey: Right in the middle of the recording our Mom burst into the room and screams at us “Turn it down” “Turn” “THINGS ARE FALLING”.

Wayne: hahaha. The moment she walked away we started jamming again.

Joey: I remember listening to that recording like a 1000 times. It was hilarious to hear the few second pause after the door closes and then us starting to play again.

Describe your best musical memory to date.

Wayne: Probably playing with Eagles of Death Metal at the Rialto Theatre in Tucson.

Joey: That was a rad show. That show was pretty much sold out.

Wayne: After the show we were hanging out with Jesse, Danger Ehren (from Jackass) who was working as their camera man, and the guys from Black Magic Flower Power showed up for a real rager in the Rialto green room. What a fun night.

Joey: I know this is not like a single memory, but honestly, I’d say that the first time we went on tour up the coast with Orgo will always hold a special place in my heart. We had a blast. Shenanigans every night.

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

Wayne: I’d say, my views on how to put out music and the music scene in general. I guess I had this old guard view of how things had to be done. Because that was the way they were always done. Truth is, there is no right or wrong way to do it. Nowadays it’s even easier for us with platforms like TikTok, Wix, Bandcamp, etc.. You can build a whole career, with a huge demand, without even leaving your house. Within the last year I’ve seen so many people in the entertainment industry gain notoriety on Tiktok without ever touring. Then the moment they do tour they are playing major venues. It’s changing the whole way I’m looking at what we are doing with Fuzz Evil.

Joey: So was this question supposed to be about music or are you trying to take us down the rabbit hole. Honestly, I can’t really think of any belief I firmly hold. Beliefs are perspectives based on assumptions. Most things in life are gray, not black and white. If you go down any path long enough you’ll realize that believing anything too much is probably steeped in logical fallacies. Haha, this perspective probably stems from the emotional trauma of having a schizophrenic mother, and being punished for illogical things as a child.

Where do you feel artistic progression leads?

Wayne: I think artistic progression is a double-edged sword. It can lead you to some real genre inspiring music, similar to what King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard do on every record, or it can lead you down a path where it’s almost like an inside joke, musically. I love Mars Volta, but their last couple albums were so progressive that they lost us. Still an amazing band, but it’s a double-edged sword.

Joey: I’m with you on that. I’d also say that artistic progression has a lot to do with why you want to progress artistically. Some people write music for themselves, and some people write music for others. Which one takes precedence will drive the progression. I think there should be a balance between the two. I love playing music because I like to make something I can look back on with pride and for others to appreciate. For us, even though it was the same members between 12tone and Powered Wig Machine we changed band names and genres. Now we are on to Fuzz Evil, still Wayne and I. I don’t think there is any right or wrong way to go about it.

How do you define success?

Joey: I believe that our lives are our legacy. To me creating something that others appreciate, whether it be art, music, or just memories is success to me. I always joke that you can spend your entire life staying at home doing what you always do and years will go by and you’ll have no distinct memories, or you can go out and do something wild and have a great story to tell.

Wayne: I’d define success as when people look back on your whole body of work and it holds some weight to it. Maybe, we’ll never be arena famous, but I love making music and that’s the true inspiration. When people look back at Fuzz Evil or Powered Wig Machine, it might not hold as much weight as Led Zepplin or Black Sabbath, but it may hold its own like Rare Earth. I’m ok with being the Rare Earth of stoner rock.

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

Wayne: Uh, Two Girls one Cup?

Joey: That’s a good one. I still wish I never say that Youtube video of those two dogs humping and then the one dies mid banging. In all honesty, I’ve been pretty lucky in life, and haven’t had to experience anything extremely traumatic that keeps me up at night.

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

Wayne: We are currently making shorts of an animated series called “Fuzz Off”. It’s an animated series that personifies guitar pedals. Kinda like South Park meets Beavis and Butthead. I’m really hoping we can get a deal with someone like adult Swim to make these full-time.

Joey: I agree. We’ve come up with about 50 scripts already. These are hilarious. Here is the first episode:

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

Wayne: I believe it’s the tangible expression of who you are as a person. When a song is heavy or beautiful you are experiencing that artist’s interpretations of those emotions through their life experiences.

Joey: To get laid or help others get laid. Haha, I mean think about it. What IS the purpose of art. At a fundamental level it’s peacocking. Seriously though, as an artist I’d say the most essential function of art is to express myself and communicate my emotions. As an appreciator I’d say the most essential function is escapism. Something that helps you forget about everything for just a moment.

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

Wayne: Season 18 of APEX. I’m a huge gamer. They really messed up the ranking in Season 17. Everyone hit the highest rank you can hit. Something like 20% of the player base. I hit Masters, haha. Looking forward to something a little more challenging in Season 18. Hit me up, I’m Wolf_Blitzinator on PS5 if you want to get down.

Joey: Uh, I don’t know. Retirement? Actually, I’m a huge gamer too, but I haven’t touch Diablo 4 or the Zelda yet because I’ve been too busy working on music/art stuff. Looking forward to playing these. I mean, if we are dropping gamertags I’m Shakalo on everything.

Fuzz Evil, New Blood (2023)

‘Fuzz Off’ ep. 1

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Fuzz Evil Premiere “Heavy Glow”; Announce New Blood LP

Posted in audiObelisk on July 6th, 2023 by JJ Koczan

fuzz evil

Tomorrow, July 7, Sierra Vista, Arizona’s Fuzz Evil will release their first new music in five years. The band propelled by the brotherly duo of Wayne and Joey Rudell have been proffering outsider desert rock since they showed up on a 2014 split with Chiefs as they evolved out of Powered Wig Machine, and their new single “Heavy Glow” and upcoming fourth album, New Blood, help get the point across that the band are back and looking to catch as many ears as possible. Last heard from with 2018’s High on You (review here) — they also had the of-era quarantine video “Better off Alone (Redux)” in 2020 — the Rudells look to issue New Blood and claim their place in the desert-heavy pantheon in the coming months, and “Heavy Glow” provides an enticing glimpse at some of what might be on offer.

Which means that, no, I haven’t heard the whole record yet, and no, I don’t have an exact release date yet. Fuzz Evil have never been ones for working without a plan — their songs are well structured and the band seems to function similarly — and in listening to “Heavy Glow,” at least part of the objective seems to have been an expansion of their sound. In under three minutes, Fuzz Evil remove themselves from baseline desert rock and can be heard using the fuzz evil new bloodproduction of the song itself as an instrument. Even before the layered vocals of its chorus, the buildup of the riff around which the song works — insistent but not overbearing, actively working to engage the audience from the first second onward — and the shift into the first verse, the layering there and the shift to the bridge and back; these smooth changes and the shifts in vocal effects and the extra voices in the chorus demonstrate the band’s branching out in terms of sound. Clearly a professional presentation was somewhere among their goals for their latest batch of material, and at least with “Heavy Glow,” they hit that mark easily.

And yes, there was a band called Heavy Glow. They broke up in 2017 and so far as I know, the song is not about them. If I’m wrong about that, fine. Either way, it’s not a diss track or anything. Would be awesome though if bands started writing songs about how cool other bands are. Maybe some day we’ll get there. Same team and all that.

With the caveat of more to come, here’s “Heavy Glow” a day early. The pre-save link and more info follow, courtesy of the band via the PR wire.

Please enjoy:

Fuzz Evil Unleashes the Dirtiest Glow Up from the Deserts of Arizona with New Single “Heavy Glow”

Heavy Glow Spotify “presave”:

Prepare to be engulfed in the relentless, scorching waves of desert fuzz rock as Fuzz Evil, the formidable band from the Borderlands of Arizona, returns with their long-awaited single “Heavy Glow.” Brothers Wayne and Joey Rudell, the dynamic duo behind Fuzz Evil, are back with a vengeance, ready to ignite the music scene once again. This powerful track is the first glimpse of their upcoming third release titled “New Blood,” marking the band’s triumphant return after a three-year hiatus.

Fuzz Evil has long been known for their signature brand of gritty, unapologetic fuzz rock that transports listeners straight to the arid heart of the Arizona desert. Since their inception, the band has been celebrated for their electrifying live performances and ear-rattling studio recordings, building a dedicated fan base both locally and globally.

“Heavy Glow” stands as a testament to the Rudell brothers’ musical prowess, delivering a auditory assault of colossal riffs and thunderous rhythms that will leave fans craving for more. The song showcases Fuzz Evil’s growth and evolution while staying true to their desert rock roots. Wayne’s hauntingly raw vocals intertwine seamlessly with The layers of bass and guitar work, creating an entrancing synergy that echoes through every note.

The single “Heavy Glow” will be released on all major digital platforms on [7.7.23], setting the stage for the arrival of “New Blood.” Fuzz Evil invites all fans, both new and old, to join them on this exhilarating musical odyssey.

1. Suit Coffin
2. My Own Blood
3. Run Away
4. Perfect Slut
5. Heavy Glow
6. The Silver Bells
7. G.U.M.O.C.O
8. We’ve Seen it All
9. New Blood
10. Souveneers
11. Littlest Nemo
12. Gullible’s Travel
13. Keep on Livin’

Fuzz Evil on Facebook

Fuzz Evil on Instagram

Fuzz Evil on Bandcamp

Fuzz Evil merch

Fuzz Evil

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