Quarterly Review: Uncle Acid and the Deadbeats, Dopethrone, Anandammide, Tigers on Opium, Bill Fisher, Ascia, Cloud of Souls, Deaf Wolf, Alber Jupiter, Cleen

Posted in Reviews on May 16th, 2024 by JJ Koczan


It is an age of plenty as regards the underground. Between bands being able to form with members on different continents, to being able to record basically anything anywhere anywhen, the barriers have never been lower. I heard an all-AI stoner rock record the other day. It wasn’t great, but did it need to be?

The point is there’s gotta be a reason so many people are doing the thing, and a reason it happens just about everywhere, more than just working/middle class disaffection and/or dadstalgia. There’s a lot of documentary research about bands, but so far I don’t think anyone’s done a study, book, bio-doc, whatever about the proliferation of heavy sounds across geographies and cultures. No, that won’t be me. “Face made for radio,” as the fellow once said, and little time to write a book. But perhaps some riff-loving anthropologist will get there one day — get everywhere, that is — and explore it with artists and fans. Maybe that’s you.

Happy Thursday.

Quarterly Review #31-40:

Uncle Acid and the Deadbeats, Nell’ Ora Blu

uncle acid and the deadbeats nell ora blu

My favorite part of the press release for Uncle Acid‘s Nell’ Ora Blu was when founding guitarist/vocalist and apparent-auteur Kevin Starrs said, “I know something like this might have limited appeal, but who cares?” Though it was initially billed as an instrumental record and in fact features Starrs‘ trademark creeper vocal melodies in a few of its 19 tracks, the early “Giustizia di Strada/Lavora Fino Alla Morte” and pretty-UncleAcidic-feeling “La Vipera,” and the later march of the seven-minute “Pomeriggio di Novembre Nel Parco – Occhi Che Osservano,” catchy and still obscure enough in its psychedelia to fit, and “Solo la Morte Ti Ammanetta,” though most of the words throughout are spoken — genre cinephiles will recognize the names Edwige French and Franco Nero; there’s a lot of talking on the phone, all in Italian — as Starrs pays homage to giallo stylization in soundtracking an imaginary film. It’s true to an extent about the limited appeal, but this isn’t the first time Uncle Acid have chosen against expanding their commercial reach either, and while I imagine the effect is somewhat different if you speak Italian, Starrs‘ songwriting has never been so open or multifaceted in mood. Nell’ Ora Blu isn’t the studio follow-up to 2018’s Wasteland (review here) one might have expected, but it takes some of those aspects and builds a whole world out of them. They should tour it and do a live soundtrack, but then I guess someone would also have to make the movie.

Uncle Acid and the Deadbeats on Facebook

Rise Above Records website

Dopethrone, Broke Sabbath

Dopethrone Broke Sabbath

If “fuck you” were a band, it might be Dopethrone. With six new tracks spread across a sample-laced (pretty sure Joe Don Baker is in there somewhere; maybe “Truckstop Warlock?”) and mostly-crushing-of-spirit-and-tone 39 minutes, the crusty Montreal trio of guitarist/vocalist Vince, bassist Vyk and drummer Shawn pound at the door of your wellness with their scum-sludge extremity, living up to their reputation in gnash and nastiness for the duration. The penultimate “Uniworse” brings in Weedeater‘s “Dixie” Dave Collins for a guest spot, but by the time they get there, the three-piece have already bludgeoned your bones with album-centerpiece “Shlaghammer” and loosed the grueling breadth of “Rock Slock,” so really, Collins is the gravy on the pill-based bottom-hitting binge. From opening single “Life Kills You” through the final punishing moments of “Sultans of Sins” — presumably a side B mirror in terms of heft to “Slaghammer” — and the choice Billy Madison sample that follows, Dopethrone offer a singular unkindness of purpose. I feel like I need a shower.

Dopethrone on Facebook

Totem Cat Records store

Anandammide, Eura


Where even the melancholy progression of “Song of Greed” is marked by the gorgeousness of its dual-vocal melody and flowing arrangement of strings, guitar, and strings, Eura is the second full-length and Sulatron Records label-debut for Parisian psych-folkies Anandammide. At the core of the diverse arrangements is songwriter Michele Moschini (vocals, synth, organ, guitar, drums), who brings purposefully Canterburyian pastoralia together with prog rock tendencies on “Phantom Limb” and the title-track while maintaining the light-touch gentility of the start of “Carmilla,” the later flow between “Lullaby No. 2” and “Dream No. 1,” or the gracefully undrummed “I Am a Flower,” with synth and strings side-by-side. Though somewhat mournful in its subject matter, Eura is filled with life and longing, and the way the lyrics of “Phantom Limb” feel out of place in the world suits the aural anachronism and the escapist drive that seems to manifest in “The Orange Flood.” Patient, immersive, and lovely, it sees ruin and would give solace.

Anandammide on Facebook

Sulatron Records webstore

Tigers on Opium, Psychodrama

tigers on opium psychodrama

An awaited first full-length from Portland, Oregon’s Tigers on Opium, the 10-song/44-minute Psychodrama builds on the semi-sleazed accomplishments of the four-piece’s prior EPs while presenting a refreshingly varied sound. The album begins as “Ride or Die” unfolds with Juan Carlos Caceres‘ vocals echoing in layers over quiet guitar — more of an intro, it is reprised to deliver the title line as a post-finale epilogue — and directly dives into garage-doom strut with “Black Mass” before a Styx reference worked into “Diabolique” makes for an immediate, plus-charm highlight. The parade doesn’t stop there. The Nirvana-ish beginning of “Retrovertigo” soft-boogies and drifts into Jerry Cantrell-style melody backed by handclaps, while Thin Lizzy leads show up in “Sky Below My Feet” and the more desert rocking “Paradise Lost” ahead of the farther-back, open swing and push of “Radioactive” giving over to “Wall of Silence”‘s ’70s singer-songwriterism, communing with the “Ride or Die” bookend but expanded in its arrangement; capper-caper “Separation of the Mind” paying it all off like Queens of the Stone Age finding the Big Riff and making it dance, too. On vocals, guitar and keys, Caceres is a big presence in the persona, but don’t let that undercut the contributions of guitarist Jeanot Lewis-Rolland, bassist Charles Hodge or drummer Nate Wright, all of whom also sing. As complex in intent as Psychodrama is, its underlying cohesion requires everybody to be on board, and as they are, the resulting songs supersede expectation and comprise one of 2024’s best debut albums.

Tigers on Opium on Facebook

Heavy Psych Sounds website

Bill Fisher, How to Think Like a Billionaire

Bill Fisher How To Think Like A Billionaire

Self-identifying as “yacht doom,” How to Think Like a Billionaire is the third solo full-length from Church of the Cosmic Skull‘s Bill Fisher, and while “Consume the Heart” and “Yell of the Ringman” tinge toward darkness and, in the case of the latter, a pointedly doomly plog, what the “yacht” translates to is a swath of ’80s-pop keyboard sounds and piano rock accompanying Fisher‘s guitar, vocals, bass and drums, a song like “Xanadu” sending up tech-culture hubris after “Ride On, Unicorn” has given a faux-encouraging push in its chorus, rhyming “Ride on, unicorn” with “In the valley of Silicon.” Elsewhere, “Overview Effect” brings the cover to life in imagining the apocalypse from the comfort of a private spaceship, while “Lead Us Into Fire” idolizes a lack of accountability in self-harmonizing layers with the thud that complements “Intranaut” deeper in the mix and the sense that, if you were a big enough asshole and on enough cocaine, it might just be possible Fisher means it when he sings in praise of capitalist hyperexploitation. A satire much needed and a perspective to be valued, if likely not by venture capital.

Bill Fisher on Facebook

Bill Fisher website

Ascia, The Wandering Warrior

ascia the wandering warrior

While one could liken the echo-born space that coincides with the gallop of opening cut “Greenland” to any number of other outfits, and the concluding title-track branches out both in terms of tempo and melodic reach, Ascia‘s debut long-player, The Wandering Warrior follows on from the project’s demoes in counting earliest High on Fire as a defining influence. Fair enough, since the aforementioned two are both the most recent included here and the only songs not culled from the three prior demos issued by Fabrizio Monni (also Black Capricorn) under the Ascia name. With the languid fluidity and impact of “Mother of the Wendol” and the outright thrust of “Blood Bridge Battle,” “Ruins of War” and “Dhul Qarnayn” set next to the bombastic crash ‘n’ riff of “Serpent of Fire,” Monni has no trouble harnessing a flow from the repurposed, remastered material, and picking and choosing from among three shorter releases lets him portray Ascia‘s range in a new light. That may not be able to happen in the same way next time around (or it could), but for those who did or didn’t catch the demos, The Wandering Warrior summarizes well the band’s progression to this point and gives hope for more to come.

Ascia on Bandcamp

Perpetual Eclipse Productions store

Cloud of Souls, A Constant State of Flux

Cloud of Souls A Constant State of Flux

Indianapolis-based solo-project Cloud of Souls — aka Chris Latta (ex-Spirit Division, Lavaborne, etc.) — diverges from the progressive metallurgy of 2023’s A Fate Decided (review here) in favor of a more generally subdued, contemplative presentation. Beginning with its title-track, the five-song/36-minute outing marks out the spaces it will occupy and seems to dwell there as the individual cuts play out, whether that’s “A Constant State of Flux” holding to its piano-and-voice, the melancholic procession of the nine-minute “Better Than I Was,” or the sax that accompanies the downerism of the penultimate “Love to Forgive Wish to Forget.” Each song brings something different either in instrumentation or vibe — “Homewrecker Blues” harmonizes en route to a momentary tempo pickup laced with organ, closer “Break Down the Door” offers hope in its later guitar and crash, etc. — but it can be a fine line when conveying monotony or low-key depressivism, and there are times where A Constant State of Flux feels stuck in its own verses, despite Latta‘s strength of craft and the band’s exploratory nature.

Cloud of Souls on Facebook

Cloud of Souls on Bandcamp

Deaf Wolf, Not Today, Satan

Deaf Wolf Not Today Satan

Not Today, Satan, in either its 52-minute runtime or in the range of its songcraft around a central influence from Queens of the Stone Age circa 2002-2005, is not a minor undertaking. The ambitious debut full-length from Berlin trio Deaf Wolf — guitarist/vocalist Christian Rottstock (also theremin on “Silence is Golden”), bassist/vocalist Hagen Walther and Alexander Dümont on drums and other percussion — adds periodic lead-vocal tradeoffs between Rottstock and Walther to further broaden the scope of the material, with (I believe) the latter handling the declarations of “Survivor” and the gurgle-voice on “S.M.T.P.” and “Beast in Me,” which arrive in succession before “The End” closes with emphasis on self-awareness. The earlier “Sulphur” becomes a standout for its locked-in groove, fuzz tones and balanced mix, while “See You in Hell” finds its own direction and potential in strut and fullness of sound. There’s room to refine some of what’s being attempted, but Not Today, Satan sets Deaf Wolf off to an encouraging start.

Deaf Wolf on Facebook

Deaf Wolf on Bandcamp

Alber Jupiter, Puis Vient la Nuit

Alber Jupiter Puis Vient la Nuit

Five years on from their also-newly-reissued 2019 debut, We Are Just Floating in Space, French instrumentalist heavy space rock two-piece Alber Jupiter — bassist Nicolas Terroitin, drummer Jonathan Sonney, and both of them on what would seem to be all the synth until Steven Michel guests in that regard on “Captain Captain” and the title-track — make a cosmic return with Puis Vient la Nuit, the bulk of which is unfurled through four cuts between seven and 10 minutes long after a droning buildup in “Intro.” If you’re waiting for the Slift comparison somewhat inevitable these days anywhere near the words “French” and “space,” keep waiting. There’s some shuffle in the groove of “Daddy’s Spaceship” and “Captain Captain” before it departs for a final minute-plus of residual cosmic background, sure, but the gradual way “Pas de Bol Pour Peter” hits its midpoint apex and the wash brought to fruition in “Daddy’s Spaceship” and “Puis Vient la Nuit” itself is digging in on a different kind of vibe, almost cinematic in its vocal-less drama, broad in dynamic and encompassing on headphones as it gracefully sweeps into the farther reaches of far out, slow in escape velocity but with depth in three dimensions. It is a journey not to be missed.

Alber Jupiter on Facebook

Foundrage Label on Bandcamp

Up in Her Room Records on Bandcamp

Araki Records on Bandcamp

Cleen, Excursion

cleen excursion

There’s something of a narrative happening in at least most of the 10 tracks of Cleen‘s impressive debut album, Excursion, as the character speaking in the lyrics drifts through space and eventually meets a perhaps gruesome end, but by the time they’re closing with “A Means to an End” (get it?), the Flint, Michigan, trio of guitarist/vocalist Patrick, bassist Cooley and drummer Jordan are content to leave it at, “I just wanna worship satan and go the fuck to sleep.” Not arguing. Their sound boasts an oozing cosmic ethereality that might remind a given listener of Rezn here and there, but in the post-grunge-meets-post-punk-oh-and-there’s-a-scream movement of “No One Remembers but You,” the punkier shove in the first half of “Year of the Reaper,” the dirt-fuzz jangle of “Aroya” and the sheer heft of “Menticidal Betrayal,” “Sultane of Sand” and “Fatal Blow,” Cleen blend elements in a manner that’s modern but well on its way to being their own in addition to being a nodding clarion for the converted.

Cleen on Facebook

Electric Desert Records website


Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Quarterly Review: Motorpsycho, Abrams, All India Radio, Nighdrator, Seven Rivers of Fire, Motherslug, Cheater Pipe, Old Million Eye, Zoltar, Ascia

Posted in Reviews on September 29th, 2022 by JJ Koczan


Welcome to the penultimate day of the Fall 2022 Quarterly Review, and yes, I will make just about any excuse to use the word “penultimate.” Sometimes you have a favorite thing, okay? The journey continues today, down, out, up and around, through and across 10 records from various styles and backgrounds. I hope you dig it and check back tomorrow for the last day. Here we go.

Quarterly Review #81-90:

Motorpsycho, Ancient Astronauts

motorpsycho ancient astronauts

There is no denying Motorpsycho. I’ve tried. Can’t be done. I don’t know how many records the Norwegian progressive rockers have put out by now, and honestly I wonder if even the band members themselves could give an accurate count. And who would be able to fact check? Ancient Astronauts continues the strong streak that the Trondheim trio of Tomas Järmyr, Bent Sæther, and Hans “Snah” Ryan have had going for at least the last six years — 2021’s Kingdom of Oblivion (review here) was also part of it — comprising four songs across a single 43-minute LP, with side B consumed entirely by the 22-minute finale “Chariot of the Sun/To Phaeton on the Occasion of Sunrise (Theme From an Imaginary Movie).” After the 12-minute King Crimsony build from silence to sustained freakout in “Mona Lisa Azazel” — preceded by the soundscape “The Flower of Awareness” (2:14) and the relatively straightforward, welcome-bidding “The Ladder” (6:41) — the closer indeed unfurls in two discernible sections, the first a linear stretch increasing in volume and tension as it moves forward, loosely experimental in the background but for sure a prog jam by its 11th minute that ends groovy at about its 15th, and the second a synthesizer-led arrangement that, to no surprise, is duly cinematic. Motorpsycho have been a band for more than 30 years established their place in the fabric of the universe, and are there to dwell hopefully for a long(er) time to come. Not all of the hundred-plus releases they’ve done have been genius, but they are so reliably themselves in sound it feels silly to write about them. Just listen and be happy they’re there.

Motorpsycho on Facebook

Stickman Records store


Abrams, In the Dark

Abrams In the Dark

Did you think Abrams would somehow not deliver quality-crafted heavy rock, straightforward in structure, ’00s punk undercurrent, plus metal, plus melody? Their first offering through Small Stone is In the Dark, the follow-up to 2020’s Modern Ways (review here), and it finds guitarist/vocalist Zachary Amster joined by on guitar by Patrick Alberts (Call of the Void), making the band a four-piece for the first time with bassist/vocalist Taylor Iversen and drummer Ryan DeWitt completing the lineup. One can hear new textures and depth in songs like “Better Living” after the raucous opening salvo of “Like Hell” and “Death Tripper,” and longer pieces like “Body Pillow,” the title-track and the what-if-BlizzardofOzz-was-really-space-rock “Black Tar Mountain,” which reach for new spaces atmospherically and in terms of progressive melody — looking at you, “Fever Dreams” — while maintaining the level of songwriting one anticipates from Abrams four records in. They’ve been undervalued for a while now. Can their metal-heavy-rock-punk-prog-that’s-also-kind-of-pop gain some of the recognition it deserves? It only depends on getting ears to hear it.

Abrams on Facebook

Small Stone Records on Bandcamp


All India Radio, The Generator of All Infinity

All India Radio The Generator of All Infinity

Australia-based electronic prog outfit All India Radio — the solo ambient/atmospheric endeavor of composer and Martin Kennedy — has been releasing music for over 20 years, and is the kind of thing you may have heard without realizing it, soundtracking television and whatnot. The Generator of All Infinity is reportedly the final release in a trilogy cycle, completely instrumental and based largely on short ambient movements that move between each other like, well, a soundtrack, with some more band-minded ideas expressed in “The New Age” — never underestimate the value of live bass in electronic music — and an array of samples, differing organs, drones, psychedelic soundscapes, and a decent bit of ’80s sci-fi intensity on “Beginning Part 2,” which succeeds in making the wait for its underlying beat excruciating even though the whole piece is just four minutes long. There are live and sampled drums throughout, shades of New Wave, krautrock and a genuine feeling of culmination in the title-track’s organ-laced crescendo wash, but it’s a deep current of drone that ends on “Doomsday Machine” that makes me think whatever narrative Kennedy has been telling is somewhat grim in theme. Fair enough. The Generator of All Infinity will be too heady for some (most), but if you can go with it, it’s evocative enough to maybe be your own soundtrack.

All India Radio on Facebook

All India Radio on Bandcamp


Nighdrator, Nighdrator

Nighdrator Nighdrator

Mississippi-based heavygaze rockers Nighdrator released the single “The Mariner” as a standalone late in 2020 as just the duo of vocalist/producer Emma Fruit and multi-instrumentalist JS Curley. They’ve built out more of a band on their self-titled debut EP, put to tape through Sailing Stone Records and bringing back “Mariner” (dropped the ‘The’) between “Scarlet Tendons” and the more synth-heavy wash of “The Poet.” The last two minutes of the latter are given to noise, drone and silence, but what unfurls before that is an experimentalist-leaning take on heavier post-rock, taking the comparatively grounded exploratory jangle of “Scarlet Tendons” — which picks up from the brief intro “Crest/Trough” depending on which format you’re hearing — and turning its effects-laced atmosphere into a foundation in itself. Given the urgency that remains in the strum of “Mariner,” I wouldn’t expect Nighdrator to go completely in one direction or another after this, but the point is they set up multiple opportunities for creative growth while signaling an immediate intention toward individuality and doing more than the My-Bloody-Valentine-but-heavy that has become the standard for the style. There’s some of that here, but Nighdrator seem not to want to limit themselves, and that is admirable even in results that might turn out to be formative in the longer term.

Nighdrator on Bandcamp

Sailing Stone Records store


Seven Rivers of Fire, Sanctuary

Seven Rivers of Fire Sanctuary

William Graham Randles, who is the lone figure behind all the plucked acoustic guitar strings throughout Seven Rivers of Fire‘s three-song full-length, Sanctuary, makes it easy to believe the birdsong that occurs throughout “Union” (16:30 opener and longest track; immediate points), “Al Tirah” (9:00) and “Bloom” (7:30) was happening while the recording was taking place and that the footsteps at the end are actually going somewhere. This is not Randles‘ first full-length release of 2022 and not his last — he releases the new Way of the Pilgrim tomorrow, as it happens — but it does bring a graceful 33 minutes of guitar-based contemplation, conversing with the natural world via the aforementioned birdsong as well as its own strums and runs, swells and recessions of activity giving the feeling of his playing in the sunshine, if not under a tree then certainly near one or, at worst, someplace with an open window and decent ventilation; the air feels fresh. “Al Tirah” offers a long commencement drone and running water, while “Bloom” — which begins with footsteps out — is more playfully folkish, but the heart throughout Sanctuary is palpable and in celebration of the organic, perhaps of the surroundings but also in its own making. A moment of serenity, far-away escapism, and realization.

Seven Rivers of Fire on Facebook

Aural Canyon Music on Bandcamp


Motherslug, Blood Moon Blues

Motherslug Blood Moon Blues

Half a decade on from The Electric Dunes of Titan (review here), Melbourne sludge rock bruisers Motherslug return with Blood Moon Blues, a willfully unmanageable 58-minute, let’s-make-up-for-lost-time collection that’s got room enough for “Hordes” to put its harsh vocals way forward in the mix over a psychedelic doom sprawl while also coexisting with the druggy desert punkers “Crank” and “Push the Venom” and the crawling death in the culmination of “You (A Love Song)” — which it may well be — later on. With acoustic stretches bookending in “Misery” and the more fully a song “Misery (Slight Return),” there’s no want for cohesion, but from naked Kyussism of “Breathe” and the hard Southern-heavy-informed riffs of “Evil” — yes I’m hearing early Alabama Thunderpussy there — to the way in which “Deep in the Hole” uses similar ground as a launchpad for its spacious solo section, there’s an abiding brashness to their approach that feels consistent with their past work. Not every bands sees the ways in which microgenres intersect, let alone manages to set their course along the lines between, drawing from different sides in varied quantities as they go, but Motherslug do so while sounding almost casual about it for their lack of pretense. Accordingly, the lengthy runtime of Blood Moon Blues feels earned in a way that’s not always the case with records that pass the single-LP limit of circa 45 minutes, there’s blues a-plenty and Motherslug brought enough riffs for the whole class, so dig in, everybody.

Motherslug on Facebook

Motherslug on Bandcamp


Cheater Pipe, Planetarium Module

Cheater Pipe Planetarium Module

Keep an ear out because you’re going to be hearing more of this kind of thing in the next few years. On their third album, Planetarium Module, Cheater Pipe blend Oliveri-style punk with early-aughts sludge tones and sampling, and as we move to about 20 years beyond acts like Rebreather and -(16)- and a slew of others including a bunch from Cheater Pipe‘s home state of Louisiana, yeah, there will be more acts adapting this particular stoner sludge space. Much to their credit, Cheater Pipe not only execute that style ably — Emissions sludge — on “Fog Line Shuffle,” “Cookie Jar” or “White Freight Liner Blues” and the metal-as-punk “Hollow Leg Hobnobber,” they bring Floor-style melody to “Yaw” and expand the palette even further in the second half of the tracklist, with “Mansfield Bar” pushing the melody further, “Flight of the Buckmoth” and closer “Rare Sunday” turning to acoustic guitar and “The Sad Saga of Hans Cholo” between them lending atmospheric breadth to the whole. They succeed at this while packing 11 songs into 34 minutes and coming across generally like they long ago ran out of fucks to give about things like what style they’re playing to or what’s ‘their sound.’ Invariably they think of these things — nobody writes a song and then never thinks about it again, even when they tell you otherwise — but the spirit here is middle-fingers-up, and that suits their sound best anyway.

Cheater Pipe on Facebook

Cheater Pipe on Bandcamp


Old Million Eye, The Air’s Chrysalis Chime

Old Million Eye The Air's Chrysalis Chime

The largely solo endeavor of Brian Lucas of Dire Wolves and a merry slew of others, Old Million Eye‘s latest full-length work arrives via Cardinal Fuzz and Feeding Tube with mellow psychedelic experimentalism and folk at its core. The Air’s Chrysalis Chime boasts seven pieces in 43 minutes and each one establishes its own world to some degree based around an underlying drone; the fluidity in “Louthian Wood” reminiscent of windchimes and accordion without actually being either of those things — think George Harrison at the end of “Long Long Long,” but it keeps going — and “Tanglier Mirror” casts out a wash of synthesizer melody that would threaten to swallow the vocals entirely would they not floating up so high. It’s a vibe based around patience in craft, but not at all staid, and “White Toads” throws some distorted volume the listener’s way not so much as a lifeline for rockers as another tool to be used when called for. The last cosmic synthesizer on “Ruby River,” the album’s nine-minute finale, holds as residual at the end, which feels fair as Lucas‘ voice — the human element of its presence is not to be understated as songs resonate like an even-farther-out, keyboard-leaning mid-period Ben Chasny — has disappeared into the ether of his own making. We should all be so lucky.

Old Million Eye on Bandcamp

Cardinal Fuzz Records store

Feeding Tube Records store


Zoltar, Bury

Zoltar Bury

“Bury” is the newest single from Swedish heavy rockers Zoltar, who, yes, take their moniker from the genie machine in the movie Big (they’re not the only ones either). It follows behind two songs released last year in “Asphalt Alpha” and “Dirt Vortex.” Those tracks were rawer in overall production sound, but there’s still plenty of edge in “Bury,” up to and including in the vocals, which are throatier here than on either of the two prior singles, though still melodic enough so that when the electric piano-style keys start up at about two and a half minutes into the song, the goth-punk nod isn’t out of place. It’s a relatively straight-ahead hook with riffing made that much meatier through the tones on the recording, and a subtle wink in the direction of Slayer‘s “Dead Skin Mask” in its chorus. Nothing to complain about there or more generally about the track, as the three-piece seem to be working toward some kind of proper release — they did press up a CD of Bury as a standalone, so kudos to them on the physicality — be it an EP or album. Wherever they end up, if these songs make the trip or are dropped on the way, it’s a look at a band’s earliest moves as a group and how quickly that collaboration can change and find its footing. Zoltar — who did not have feet in the movie — may just be doing that here.

Zoltar on Facebook

Zoltar store


Ascia, III

Ascia III

Sardinia’s Fabrizio Monni (also of Black Capricorn) has unleashed a beast in Ascia, and with III, he knows it more than ever. The follow-up to Volume II (review here) and Volume I (review here) — both released late last year — is more realized in terms of songcraft, and it would seem Monni‘s resigned himself to being a frontman of his own solo-project, which is probably the way to go since he’s obviously the most qualified, and in songs like “The Last Ride,” he expands on the post-High on Fire crash-and-bash with more of a nodding central groove, while “Samothrace” finds a place for itself between marauder shove and more direct heavy rock riffery. Each time out, Monni seems to have more of an idea of what he wants Ascia to be, and whether there’s a IV to come after this or he’s ready to move onto something else in terms of release structure — i.e., a debut album — the progression he’s undertaken over the last year-plus is plain to hear in these songs and how far they’ve come in so short a time.

Ascia on Bandcamp

The Swamp Records on Bandcamp


Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

The Obelisk Show on Gimme Metal Playlist: Episode 77

Posted in Radio on February 4th, 2022 by JJ Koczan

the obelisk show banner

There’s a lot going on here. A lot to unpack, in the parlance of our times, but I’m gonna keep it short because I always feel like I screw these posts up by making it more than the list of bands and encouragement and thanks for listening that it should be. Hey, guess what? I think the songs I picked for the show I made don’t suck. If that wasn’t going to be the case, why would I pick them?

As for the voice breaks here, I barely remember what I said other than I was awkward. My wife was giving our son a bath at the time and I was worried he tub sounds would show up in the recording. That’s my rock and roll lifestyle. I’ve been considering a cocaine addiction so I can convince myself I’m fun again. Maybe go to a show.

Thanks for listening. Or reading. Whatever, really. Just thanks.

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

Full playlist:

The Obelisk Show – 02.04.22

Author & Punisher Maiden Star Kruller
Purple Dawn Death to a Dying World Peace & Doom Session Vol. II
Eric Wagner Maybe Tomorrow In the Lonely Light of Mourning
Madmess Stargazer Rebirth
Stone House on Fire Waterfall Time is a Razor
Hazemaze Ceremonial Aspersion Blinded by the Wicked
Spaceslug Spring of the Abyss Memorial
Mt. Echo These Concrete Lungs Electric Empire
Slugg Yonder Yonder
KYOTY Ventilate Isolation
JIRM You Fly The Tunnel, the Well, Holy Bedlam
Carcaňo I Don’t Belong Here By Order of the Green Goddess
Ascia Eternal Glory Volume II
MWWB The Harvest The Harvest
All Them Witches Blacksnake Blues Baker’s Dozen

The Obelisk Show on Gimme Metal airs every Friday 5PM Eastern, with replays Sunday at 7PM Eastern. Next new episode is Feb. 18 (subject to change). Thanks for listening if you do.

Gimme Metal website

The Obelisk on Facebook

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Quarterly Review: SOM, Dr. Space, Beastwars, Deathbell, Malady, Wormsand, Thunderchief, Turkey Vulture, Stargo, Ascia

Posted in Reviews on January 20th, 2022 by JJ Koczan


Welcome to Day Four of the Jan. 2022 Quarterly Review. Or maybe it’s the other half of the Dec. 2021 Quarterly Review. Or maybe I overthink these things. The latter feels most likely. Inanycase, welcome. If you’ve been keeping up with the records as they’ve been coming in 10-per-day batches over the course of this week, thanks. If not, well, if you’re interested, it’s not like the posts disappeared. Just keep scrolling, then I think click through. One of these days I’ll get an infinite scroll plug-in. Those are for the cool kids.

Also, ‘Infinite Scroll’ is, as of right now, the name of my ’90s-style pixel-art role playing game. Ask me about the plot when these reviews are done.

For now…

Quarterly Review #31-40:

SOM, The Shape of Everything

SOM The Shape Of Everything

Working from a foundation in heavy post-rock, Connecticut’s SOM soar and float like so many shoreline seagulls over the Long Island Sound on the eight-song/34-minute The Shape of Everything, which would call to mind the melancholy of Katatoniia were its sadness not even more shimmering. Early pieces “Moment” and “Animals” build a depth of modern progressive metal riffing beneath only the airiest of guitar leads, a wash of distortion meeting a wash of melody, and with guitarist/vocalist/producer Will Benoit helming, his voice rings through clear in melody and still somewhat ethereal, calling to mind a more organically-constructed Jesu in poppier as well as some heavier stretches. The penultimate “Heart Attack” tips into heavier fare with a steady bassline and bursts of crunching guitar, and the finale “Son of Winter” answers back with a (snow)blinding spaciousness and an entrancing last buildup. There’s enough room here to really get lost, and SOM are too mindful of their craft to let it happen.

SOM website

Pelagic Records webstore


Dr. Space, Muzik 2 Loze Yr Mynd Inn

Dr. Space Musik 2 Loze Yr Mynd Inn

Alright, I admit it. I went to “Icy Flatulence” first. Even before “Cyborgian Burger Hut” or “Euphoric Nostril.” Scott Heller, otherwise known as Dr. Space of Øresund Space Collective and any number of other outfits on a given day, is as-ever exploring on Muzik 2 Loze Yr Mynd Inn, and the results are hypnotic enough that they might leave you using the kind of spelling on the album’s title, but even in the relatively serene “Garden of Rainbow Unicorns” there’s a forward keyline — and actually, in that song, an undercurrent of horror soundtracking that makes me think the unicorn is about to eat me; could happen — and the extended pair of “T-E-T” and “Ribbons in Time” are marked by ’80s sci-fi beeps and boops and a kind of electronic shuffle, respectively, though the latter is probably as close as the 54-minute six-songer comes to soundscaping. Which is like landscaping only, in this case, happening in another galaxy somewhere. And there they call it jazz as they should and all is well. In all seriousness, I keep a running list in my brain of bands who should ask Dr. Space to guest on their records. Your band is probably on it. It’s pretty much everybody.

Dr. Space on Bandcamp

Space Rock Productions website


Beastwars, Cold Wind / When I’m King

beastwars cold wind when im king

Here’s some context you probably don’t need: “Cold Wind” and “When I’m King” were written around the time of Wellington, New Zealand’s Beastwars‘ 2011 self-titled debut (review here). They may even have been recorded — I could’ve sworn “When I’m King” popped up somewhere at some point — but they’ve now been redone from the ground up and they’re pressed to a limited 7″ as part of the 10th anniversary celebration that also saw the self-titled get a new vinyl issue. Now, is it helpful knowing that? Yeah, sure. If I came at you instead and said, “Hey, new Beastwars!” though, it’d probably be more of a draw, and whatever gets Beastwars in as many ears as possible is what should invariably be done. “When I’m King” is a banger (bonus points for gang shouts), “Cold Wind” a little more seething, but both tracks harness that peculiarly sludged tonality that the band has owned for more than a decade now, and the guttural delivery of Matthew Hyde is only more resonant for the years between the writing and the execution of these songs. That execution is beheading by riffs, by the way.

Beastwars on Facebook

Beastwars on Bandcamp


Deathbell, A Nocturnal Crossing

deathbell a nocturnal crossing

A Nocturnal Crossing, the second album from Toulouse, France’s Deathbell and their first for Svart Records, can come at you from any number of angles seemingly at any point. Which thread are you following? Is it the soaring, classic-feeling occult rock melodies of Lauren Gaynor, or her organ work that, at the same time, adds gothic drama to so much of the material on the six-songer? Is it the lumbering groove of “Shifting Sands” and the doomed fuzz of “Devoured on the Peak” earlier, speaking to entirely different traditions? Or maybe the atmosphere in “Silent She Comes,” which is almost post-metallic in its shining lead guitar? Or perhaps, and hopefully I think, it’s all of these things as skillfully woven together as they are in these tracks. Opener “The Stronghold and the Archer” and the closing title-track mirror each other in their underlying metallic influence, but that too becomes one more texture at Deathbell‘s disposal, brought forward in such a way as to emphasize the unity of the whole work as much as the individual progressions.

Deathbell on Facebook

Svart Records website


Malady, Ainavihantaa

Malady Ainavihantaa

After debuting on Svart with 2018’s Toinen Toista (review here), sax-laced Helskini classic prog pastoralists Malady offer Ainavihantaa (‘all the time’) across a lush and welcoming six tracks and 37 minutes. The flow is immediate and paramount on opener “Alava Vaara” and through the flute/sax tradeoff in “Vapaa Ja Autio,” which follows, and though it’s heady fare, somehow the “Foxy-Lady”-if-KingCrimson-wrote-it strut-into-meander of “Sisävesien Rannat” skirts a line of indulgence without fully toppling over. Side B is jazzy and winding across “Dyadi” and “Haavan Väri” ahead of the title-track, but the human presence of vocals, even in a language I don’t speak, does wonders in keeping the proceedings grounded, right up to the Beatlesian finish of “Ainavihantaa” itself. This was on a lot of best-of-2021 lists and it’s not a challenge to see why.

Malady on Facebook

Svart Records website


Wormsand, Shapeless Mass

Wormsand Shapeless Mass

The Earth, ecologically devastated by industrialization and the wastefulness of humans — capitalism, in other words — becomes a wasteland. A few billionaires, who’ve been playing around with laughably-phallic rockets anyway, decide they’re going to escape out into space and leave the rest of the species, which they’ve destroyed, to suffer. It would be — and used to be — the stuff of decent science fiction were it not basically what homo sapiens are living through right now. A mass extinction owing to climate change the roots of which are in anthropocene action and inaction alike. French outfit Wormsand tell this utterly-plausible story in cascading doom riffs that reminds at once of Pallbearer and Forming the Void, keeping an edge of modern heavy prog to their plodding and accompanying with clean vocals and some more gutty shouts. As one might expect, things get pretty grim by the time they’re down to “Carrions,” “Collapsing” and “Shapeless Mass” near the album’s end, but the trio get big, big points for not trying to offer some placating “you can avoid this future” message of hope at the end, instead highlighting the final message, “The oracles warned us long ago/That a huge mass would swallow us all.” Ambitious in narrative concept, expertly conveyed.

Wormsand on Facebook

Stellar Frequencies on Bandcamp

Saka Čost on Bandcamp


Thunderchief, Synanthrope

Thunderchief Synanthrope

I hate to call out a falsehood, but Virginia duo Thunderchief‘s claim that, “No fucks were used, or given, on this recording,” just isn’t the case. I’m sorry. You don’t rip the fuck out of your throat like Rik Surly does on “Aiboh/Phobia” without a clear intent. That intent might be — and would seem to be — fuckall, but fuckall’s way different from ‘no fucks.’ If they didn’t give a fuck, Synanthrope could hardly come across as furious as it does in these seven tracks, totaling a consuming, gruff, sludged 39 minutes, marked out by centerpiece “King of the Pleistocene” fucking with your conception of desert rock, the second part of “Aiboh/Phobia” — the part named after a grind band, oddly enough — and “Toss Me a Crumb” fucking around with some grind, and closer “Paw” trodding out its feedback-laden course with Erik Larson‘s drums marching in crash with Surly‘s riffs. Hell, you got Mike Dean to record the thing. That’s giving a fuck all by itself. This kind of heavy and righteous, purposeful aural cruelty doesn’t happen by mistake. It’s too good to be fuckless. Sorry.

Thunderchief on Facebook

Thunderchief on Bandcamp


Turkey Vulture, Twist the Knife

turkey vulture twist the knife

No lyric sheet necessary to get that the longest song on Turkey Vulture‘s Twist the Knife EP, the three-minute “Livestock on Our Way to Slaughter,” is based lyrically on the ever-relevant film They Live. The married Connecticut duo of guitarist/bassist/vocalist Jessie May and drummer Jim Clegg (also in charge of visuals), find thrashy release on the four-song release, which totals about eight minutes and in opener “Fiji,” “Where the Truth Dwells,” as well as “Livestock on Our Way to Slaughter,” they rip with surprising metallic thrust. The closing “She’s Married (But Not to Me)” is something of a further shift, and had me searching for an original version out there somewhere thinking it was a cover either of Buddy Holly or some wistful punk band, but no, seems to be an original. So be it. Clearly, at this point, May and Clegg are finding new modes of sonic catharsis that even a couple years ago they likely wouldn’t have dared. They’re a stronger band for their readiness to follow such whims.

Turkey Vulture on Facebook

Turkey Vultre on Bandcamp


Stargo, Dammbruch

Stargo Dammbruch

In Stargo‘s Dammbruch, I hear a signal back to European heavy rock’s prior instrumentalist generation, the Dortmunder three-piece not completely divorced from the riffy progressions that drove the warmth creating heavy psychedelia in the first place, even as the four-part, 14-minute title-track of the EP shifts between those impulses and more progressive, weighted, extreme or airy movements before its eerily peaceful conclusion. “Copter,” which could be titled after its wub-wub-wub effect early and the guitar chug that takes hold of it, and the closer “Bathysphere,” with its outward reach of guitar telegraphed in the first half but still resonant at the end, bring likeminded breadth in shorter bursts, but the abiding story of the EP is what the band — who made their full-length debut with 2020’s Parasight — might continue to offer as their style continues to develop. 35007, My Sleeping Karma, The Ocean, Pelican and Russian CirclesStargo‘s sound is a melting pot of ideas. They only need to keep exploring.

Stargo on Facebook

Stargo on Bandcamp


Ascia, Volume II

Ascia Volume II

Fabrizio Monni, also of Black Capricorn, issues a second EP from the solo-project Ascia following up on Sept. 2021’s Volume I (review here) with the marauding lumber of Dec. 2021’s Volume II, bringing his axe down across five tracks in a sub-20-minute run that’s been compiled onto a limited CD with the first release. Makes sense. The two outings share an affinity for the running megafuzz of earliest High on Fire and showcase the emerging personality of the new outfit in the melodies of “The Will of Gods” and the untempered doom of the later slowdown in “Thousands of Ghosts.” The instrumental “A Night with Shahrazad” closes, and feels a bit like a piece of a song — it crashes out just when you think the vocals might kick in — but if Monni‘s leaving his audience wanting more, well, he also seems quick enough to provide. “Eternal Glory” and “Ruins of War” will remind you what you liked about the first EP, and the rest will remind you why you’re looking forward to the next one. Mark it a win.

Ascia on Bandcamp

Black Capricorn on Facebook


Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Quarterly Review: Duel, Mastiff, Wolftooth, Illudium, Ascia, Stone From the Sky, The Brackish, Wolfnaut, Trillion Ton Beryllium Ships, Closet Disco Queen

Posted in Reviews on December 15th, 2021 by JJ Koczan


Okay. Day Three. The halfway point. Or the quarter point if you count the week to come in January. Which I don’t. Feeling dug in. Ready to roll. Today’s a busy day, stylistically speaking, and there’s two wolf bands in there too. Better get moving.

Quarterly Review #21-30:

Duel, In Carne Persona

duel in carne persona

Duel seem to be on a mission with In Carne Persona to remind all in their path that rock and roll is supposed to be dangerous. Their fourth album and the follow-up to 2019’s Valley of Shadows (review here) finds the Austin four-piece in a between place on songs like “Children of the Fire” (premiered here) and “Anchor” and the especially charged gang-shout-chorus “Bite Back,” proffering memorable songwriting while edging from boogie to shove, rock to metal. They’ve never sounded more dynamic than on the organ-inclusive “Behind the Sound” or the tense finale “Blood on the Claw,” and cuts like “The Veil” and the particularly gritty “Dead Eyes” affirm their in-a-dark-place songwriting prowess. They’re not uneven in their approach. They’re sure of it. They turn songs on either side of four minutes long into anthems, and they seem to be completely at home in their sound. They’re not as ‘big’ as they should be by rights of their work, but Duel serve their reminder well and pack nine killer tunes into 38 minutes. Only a fool would ask more.

Duel on Facebook

Heavy Psych Sounds website


Mastiff, Leave Me the Ashes of the Earth

mastiff leave me the ashes of the earth

Fading in like the advent of something wicked this way coming until “The Hiss” explodes into “Fail,” Hull exports Mastiff tap chug from early ’00s metalcore en route to various forms of extreme bludgeonry, whether that’s blackened push in “Beige Sabbath,” grind in “Midnight Creeper” or the slow skin-crawling riffage that follows in “Futile.” This blender runs at multiple speeds, slices, dices, pummels and purees, reminding here of Blood Has Been Shed, there of Napalm Death, on “Endless” of Aborted. Any way you go, it is a bleak cacophony to be discovered, purposefully tectonic in its weight and intense in its conveyed violence. Barely topping half an hour, Leave Me the Ashes of the Earth knows precisely the fury it manifests, and the scariest thing about it is the thought that the band are in even the vaguest amount of control of all this chaos, as even the devolution-to-blowout in “Lung Rust” seems to have intent behind it. They should play this in art galleries.

Mastiff on Facebook

MNRK Heavy website


Wolftooth, Blood & Iron

Wolftooth Blood and Iron

Melody and a flair for the grandeur of classic NWOBHM-style metal take prominence on Wolftooth‘s Blood & Iron, the follow-up to the Indiana-based four-piece’s 2020 outing, Valhalla (review here), third album overall and first for Napalm Records. As regards trajectory, one is reminded of the manner in which Sweden’s Grand Magus donned the mantle of epic metal, but Wolftooth aren’t completely to that point yet. Riffs still very much lead the battle’s charge — pointedly so, as regards the album’s far-back-drums mix — with consuming solos as complement to the vocals’ tales of fantastical journeys, kings, swords and so on. The test of this kind of metal should ALWAYS be whether or not you’d scribble their logo on the front of your notebook after listening to the record on your shitty Walkman headphones, and yes, Wolftooth earn that honor among their other spoils of the fight, and Blood & Iron winds up the kind of tape you’d feel cool telling your friends about in that certain bygone age.

Wolftooth on Facebook

Napalm Records on Bandcamp


Illudium, Ash of the Womb

Illudium Ash of the Womb

Another argument to chase down every release Prophecy Productions puts out arrives in the form of Illudium‘s second long-player, Ash of the Womb, the NorCal project spearheaded by Shantel Amundson vibing with emotional and tonal heft in kind on an immersive mourning-for-everything six tracks/47 minutes. Gorgeous, sad and heavy in kind “Aster” opens and unfolds into the fingers-sliding-on-strings of “Sempervirens,” which gallops furiously for a moment in its second half like a fever dream before passing to wistfully strummed minimalism, which is a pattern that holds in “Soma Sema” and “Atopa” as well, as Amundson brings volatility without notice, songs exploding and receding, madness and fury and then gone again in a sort of purposeful bipolar onslaught. Following “Madrigal,” the closing “Where Death and Dreams Do Manifest” finds an evenness of tempo and approach, not quite veering into heavygaze, but gloriously pulling together the various strands laid out across the songs prior, providing a fitting end to the story told in sound and lyric.

Illudium on Facebook

Prophecy Productions store


Ascia, Volume 1

Ascia Volume 1

Ascia takes its name from the Italian word for ‘axe,’ and as a solo-project from Fabrizio Monni, also of Black Capricorn, the 20-minute demo Volume 1 lives up to its implied threat. Launched with the instrumental riff-workout “At the Gates of Ishtar,” the five-tracker introduces Monni‘s vocals on the subsequent “Blood Axes,” and is all the more reminiscent of earliest High on Fire for the approach he takes, drums marauding behind a galloping verse that nonetheless finds an overarching groove. “Duhl Qarnayn” follows in straight-ahead fashion while “The Great Iskandar” settles some in tempo and opens up melodically in its second half, the vocals taking on an almost chanting quality, before switching back to finish with more thud and plunder ahead of the finale “Up the Irons,” which brings two-plus minutes of cathartic speed and demo-blast that I’d like to think was the first song Monni put together for the band if only for its metal-loving-metal charm. I don’t know that it is or isn’t, but it’s a welcome cap to this deceptively varied initial public offering.

Ascia on Bandcamp

Black Capricorn on Facebook


Stone From the Sky, Songs From the Deepwater

Stone From the Sky Songs From the Deepwater

France’s Stone From the Sky, as a band named after a Neurosis singularized song might, dig into heavy post-rock aplenty on Songs From the Deepwater, their fourth full-length, and they meet floating tones with stretches of more densely-hefted groove like the Pelican-style nod of “Karoshi.” Still, however satisfying the ensuing back and forth is, some of their most effective moments are in the ambient stretches, as on “The Annapurna Healer” or even the patient opening of “Godspeed” at the record’s outset, which draws the listener in across its first three minutes before unveiling its full breadth. Likewise, “City/Angst” surges and recedes and surges again, but it’s in the contemplative moments that it’s most immersive, though I won’t take away from the appeal of the impact either. The winding “49.3 Nuances de Fuzz” precedes the subdued/vocalized closer “Talweg,” which departs in form while staying consistent in atmosphere, which proves paramount to the proceedings as a whole.

Stone From the Sky on Facebook

More Fuzz Records on Bandcamp


The Brackish, Atlas Day

The Brackish Atlas Day

Whenever you’re ready to get weird, The Brackish will meet you there. The Bristol troupe’s fourth album, Atlas Day brings six songs and 38 minutes of ungrandiose artsy exploration, veering into dreamtone noodling on “Dust Off Reaper” only after hinting in that direction on the jazzier “Pretty Ugly” previous. Sure, there’s moments of crunch, like the garage-grunge in the second half of “Pam’s Chalice” or the almost-motorik thrust that tops opener “Deliverance,” but The Brackish aren’t looking to pay homage to genre or post-thisorthat so much as to seemingly shut down their brains and see where the songs lead them. That’s a quiet but not still pastoralia on “Leftbank” and a more skronky shuffle-jazz on “Mr. Universe,” and one suspects that, if there were more songs on Atlas Day, they too would go just about wherever the hell they wanted. Not without its self-indulgent aspects by its very nature, Atlas Day succeeds by inviting the audience along its intentionally meandering course. Something something “not all who wander” something something.

The Brackish on Facebook

Halfmeltedbrain Records on Bandcamp


Wolfnaut, III

Wolfnaut III

Formerly known as Wolfgang, Elverum, Norway’s Wolfnaut offer sharp, crisp modern heavy rock with the Karl Daniel Lidén mixed/mastered III, the three-piece of guitarist/vocalist Kjetil Sæter (also percussion), bassist Tor Erik Hagen and drummer Ronny “Ronster” Kristiansen readily tapping Motörhead swagger in “Raise the Dead” after establishing a clarity of structure and a penchant for chorus largesse that reminds of Norse countrymen Spidergawd on “Swing Ride” and the Scorpions-tinged “Feed Your Dragon.” They are weighted in tone but emerge clean through the slower “Race to the Bottom” and “Gesell Kid.” I’m going to presume that “Taste My Brew” is about making one’s own beer — please don’t tell me otherwise — and with the push of “Catching Thunder” ahead of the eight-minute, willfully spacious “Wolfnaut” at the end, the trio’s heavy rock traditionalism is given an edge of reach to coincide with its vitality and electrified delivery of the songs.

Wolfnaut on Facebook

Wolfnaut on Bandcamp


Trillion Ton Beryllium Ships, Rosalee EP

Trillion Ton Beryllium Ships Rosalee EP

Having released their debut full-length, TTBS, earlier in 2021 as their first outing, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that Lincoln, Nebraska’s Trillion Ton Beryllium Ships still seem to be getting their feet under them in terms of sound and who they are as a band, but as the 34-minute-long Rosalee EP demonstrates, in terms of tone and general approach, they know what they’re looking for. After the thud and “whoa-oh” of “Core Fragment,” “Destroyer Heart” pushes a little more into aggression in its back end riffs and drumming, and the chugging, lurching motion of “URTH Anachoic” brings a fullness of distortion that the two prior songs seemed just to be hinting toward. It’s worth noting that the 16-minute title-track, which closes, is instrumental, and it may be that the band are more comfortable operating in that manner for the time being, but if there’s a confidence issue, no doubt it can be worked out on stage (circumstances permitting) or in further studio work. That is, it’s not actually a problem, even at this formative stage of the project. Quick turnaround for this second collection, but definitely welcome.

Trillion Ton Beryllium Ships on Facebook

Trillion Ton Beryllium Ships on Bandcamp


Closet Disco Queen, Stadium Rock for Punk Bums

Closet Disco Queen Stadium Rock for Punk Bums

Their persistently irreverent spirit notwithstanding, Closet Disco Queen — at some point in the process, ever — take their work pretty seriously. That is to say, they’re not nearly as much of a goof as they’d have you believe, and on the quickie 16-minute Stadium Rock for Punk Bums, the Swiss two-piece-plus, their open creative sensibility results in surprisingly filled-out tracks that aren’t quite stadium, aren’t quite punk, definitely rock, and would probably alienate the bum crowd not willing to put the effort into actively engaging them. So the title (which, I know, is a reference to another release; calm down) may or may not fit, but from “Michel-Jacques Sonne” onward, bring switched-on heavy that’s not so much experimentalist in the fuck-around-and-find-out definition as ready to follow its own ideas to fruition, whether that’s the rush of “Pascal à la Plage” or the barely-there drone of “Lalalalala Reverb,” which immediately follows and gives way to the building-despite-itself finisher “Le Soucieux Toucan.” If these guys aren’t careful they’re gonna have to start taking themselves seriously. …Nah.

Closet Disco Queen on Facebook

Hummus Records website


Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

The Obelisk Show on Gimme Metal Playlist: Episode 70

Posted in Radio on October 15th, 2021 by JJ Koczan

the obelisk show banner

An honest moment: In my head, nobody listens to this show. Three people max, and I’m usually one of them. I don’t even think my mom listens anymore, which really is fair enough.

I expect more or less after every episode that the hammer is going to come down and Gimme — which regularly hosts metal luminaries for guest spots and even among its regular DJ roster has people relevant enough to make me scratch my head and wonder what I’m doing there — is going to shitcan my ass. Too weird, not enough metal, general you-suck as the cause. Or maybe I’m not even worth firing, I don’t know.

All I can do is put together what I think are cool playlists that offer something different and new. I love new music. I love the next album, the potential of new bands, the way sounds grow over time. And I don’t always like talking, but I do love sharing music and doing this show lets me do that, even if you’re only reading this and seeing the playlist as one of the countless lists of bands on the internet with new stuff out. That’s fine. Hopefully you check something out and dig it.


Thanks for listening if you do and/or reading. I hope you enjoy.

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

Full playlist:

The Obelisk Show – 10.15.21

Kryptograf Cosmic Suicide Cosmic Suicide
Simple Forms Reaching for the Shadow Reaching for the Shadow
Uncle Woe Nine Kinds of Time Nine Kinds of Time
Apostle of Solitude Apathy in Isolation Until the Darkness Goes
Gristmill Stone Rodeo Heavy Everything
Snowy Dunes Medicinmannen Sastrugi
Octopus Ride If You’re Happy II
Wooden Fields Should We Care? Wooden Fields
Trillion Ton Beryllium Ships Core Fragment Core Fragment
Kanaan Bourdon Earthbound
Ascia The Great Iskandar Vol. 1
KITE Infernal Trails Currents
LLNN Imperial Unmaker
Churchburn Genocidal Rite Genocidal Rite
Replicant The Ubiquity of Time Malignant Reality
JAVA 24 Zimbabwe 24 Zimbabwe

The Obelisk Show on Gimme Metal airs every Friday 5PM Eastern, with replays Sunday at 7PM Eastern. Next new episode is Oct. 29 (subject to change). Thanks for listening if you do.

Gimme Metal website

The Obelisk on Facebook

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,