The Vulcan Itch Premiere “Wasted” Video; Rise of the Fallen Out Now

Posted in Bootleg Theater, Reviews on April 4th, 2024 by JJ Koczan

the vulcan itch

Athens-based heavy rockers The Vulcan Itch released their second full-length, Rise of the Fallen, this past Friday through The Lab Records, and there’s barely a second to spare in its 10-song/31-minute run. Sure, in the later reaches of side B’s “The Way” and “Chained Freedom” the trio might have a measure or two of flourish as part of their pointed, directed, plan-in-action execution, and closer/longest track “Drowning” dares to top four minutes, but particularly as “Wasted” (video premiering below) opens with such charge, the subsequent “Perfect Life” makes its sub-three minutes a showcase of perpendicular-feeling corners while unveiling the shoutier backing vocals from bassist and recording engineer Nikos “Lizard” Chalkousis that add a singalong kind of feel soon reinforced in the call-and-response payoff of “Addicted to the Dark” — the verse of which is the first time they really take their foot off the gas in terms of tempo, and even there they stay busy en route to the next chorus surge — the emphasis from Chalkousis, guitarist/lead vocalist Spy Das and drummer Erotokritos “Pepper” Kolaitis is on immediacy.

Their Spring 2020 self-titled debut hardly wanted for urgency in cuts like “Don’t Give a Fuck” or “Addiction,” and 2022’s Trapped in a Cage EP hit a similar degree of rush in “Find Yourself,” but on Rise of the Fallen — and yeah, the title is kinda generic; could you do better in Greek? — The Vulcan Itch have made an obvious effort to strip away anything that could be considered ‘excess’ during the writing process, and as such, “Now or Never,” the side B leadoff “Liars and Betrayers” that both hints at the sociopolitical lyric of “Chained Freedom” and has a bit of Don Henley in the lead guitar, and the already-noted one-two punch that starts the record come across as both worked on and an energetic rush. Das‘ vocals lean almost into pop-punk in “Wasted” and “Now or Never,” etc., but while thrust is such an overarching factor, they’re not at all monolithic in sound or arrangement as “Is it Happening” changes up the melody to evoke vibes from Beatles and Queens of the Stone Age at some remove from the palm-muting The Vulcan Itch Rise of the Fallenand crunching tonality of “The Way,” which puts riffy twists at the end of its start-stop verse measures and straightens its course through the hook before cycling through again.

As one might anticipate, it’s “Drowning” that is the real slowdown, but even there the fuzzy low end flow intertwines with airy guitar and the sense of movement isn’t given up in the chugging bridge and nodder chorus. Whether it’s the skronky flourishes of “Is it Happening,” the return of the shouts in “So Cold” and “Chained Freedom,” or the welcoming burst of speed offered in “Wasted,” The Vulcan Itch are professional in both the production and the consideration of their audience in the writing. Their material is accessible even at its most aggressive and able to deliver “Addicted to the Dark,” which is by no means optimistic in its theme, in such a way as to sound organic coming out of “Perfect Life” as part of Rise of the Fallen‘s momentum build rather than departing from that as more of the record’s personality is revealed. The sense of command and direction is palpable, the writing not at all haphazard in its level of depth or detail, and even at their most all-go-now-now-now, they never lose sight of their goals within the individual songs or in the overarching front-to-back journey, however brief that may be.

And while, yeah, that’s about Rise of the Fallen — the entirety of which is streaming near the bottom of this post — being on the shorter side of ‘full-length,’ that The Vulcan Itch didn’t pad it out and thereby risk giving up the efficiency so central to their purposes should be taken as further indication that they know what the hell they’re doing. The clip for “Wasted” premiering below is about as straightforward as you can get — the band, in a place, playing the track — but as with the record the song leads off, there’s no denying the personality brought to it through their collective performance.

Credits and such follow under the embed. Please enjoy:

The Vulcan Itch, “Wasted” video premiere

The Vulcan Itch – “Wasted” from the album “Rise Of The Fallen”
The Lab Records (2024)

Video credits:
Directed by Gerasimos Kolaitis
Cinematography by Alex Haritakis

Album credits:
Music written and performed by The Vulcan Itch
Lyrics by Spy Das
Recorded and mixed by Nikos Chalkousis at Lychnopolis studio
Mastered by Bill Lagos at Entasis studio
Design and illustration by A.D.Visions

1. Wasted (2:12)
2. Perfect Life (2:47)
3. Addicted to the Dark (3:11)
4. Now or Never (2:44)
5. Is it Happening (3:18)
6. Liars and Betrayers (2:28)
7. The Way (3:37)
8. So Cold (3:23)
9. Chained Freedom (3:32)
10. Drowning (4:14)

Formed in 2018, The Vulcan Itch have released one self-titled album and one EP titled “Trapped In A Cage” which were both met with great critical acclaim and allowed the band to play numerous throughout Greece.

The Vulcan Itch are:
Vocals and guitars : Spy Das
Bass and backing vocals : Nikos “Lizard” Chalkousis
Drums : Erotokritos “Pepper” Kolaitis

The Vulcan Itch, Rise of the Fallen (2024)

The Vulcan Itch on Facebook

The Vulcan Itch on Instagram

The Vulcan Itch on Bandcamp

The Lab Records on Facebook

The Lab Records on Instagram

The Lab Records website

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Under the Sun Premiere “The Shot” Video; The Bell of Doom Out April 5

Posted in Bootleg Theater, Reviews on March 26th, 2024 by JJ Koczan

under the sun the bell of doom

Athens-based five-piece Under the Sun are set to issue their debut LP, The Bell of Doom, on April 5 through the e’er-reliable Sound Effect Records. And man, some albums just manage to sound loud no matter at what volume you’re actually playing them. Starting with a hearty “Oh yeah!” and diving almost immediately into a celebration of riff and drive with “Smoking Angels,” the shove is inviting through the slowdown and into the dual guitars assuring no dip in the heavy as they shred the solo into the fade. The initial impression is a party and they back that for sure in the burly swagger of “Cry Out,” the more rolling “One Reason” and side B’s pairing of “The Shot” (video premiering below) and “Pony Ride,” with classic-style hooks and careening riffs offered with no pretense in their impulse toward audience engagement. Sounds like a good time? Hell yes it does.

But if you’re looking at the cover art with its graveyard and kraken-church, red sky and vertigo-style swirl, dark hues and creeper logo treatments wondering if I’ve posted the wrong image or some such based on the above description, there’s another side to Under the Sun that manifests throughout the eight-song/38-minute LP. In the video for “The Shot,” they’re getting ready for the show, getting to the show, playing the show, and that focus on on-stage energy is an obvious priority. If they showed up at your front door and started rocking out (after knocking politely, of course), they could hardly make it easier to get on board with the groove. What’s not accounted for in that are cuts like the title-track, which trades “Oh yeah!” for a tolling bell ahead of its crashes and redirects the momentum built across “Smoking Angels” and “Cry Out” toward a post-Cathedral lurch that even when they seem to break out of their own trance later on with a last-minute tempo kick, continues to define “The Bell of Doom” as a marked turn fromunder the sun whence they set forth minutes earlier.

Side B leadoff “Going Down” subs in Sabbathian swing for its own second-half pickup, and they find some middle ground in brash closer “My Name” — which is the longest inclusion at 6:34 but departs to a residual drone around the 4:45 mark — but in that finale the vibe likewise feels grimmer. The vocals are throatier, and the on-beat forwardness that brought the double-time hi-hat, strutting riff and Southern-style soloing of “Pony Ride” has shifted its urgency to act as a setup for the quick drop to bass that precedes a markedly sludged-out nod, which serves as their mostly-instrumental outro before the aforementioned drone takes hold, pausing again to get even slower before it’s through and thereby hammering its teardown all the more into your brain. This dual-faceted ethic isn’t always so stark in presentation, which “One Reason” also demonstrates in sticking to its bigger-feeling lumber, and one has to acknowledge that the lines being drawn are between microniches under the umbrella of ‘heavy.’

It’s the sense of purpose with which Under the Sun toll their bell — aesthetically and literally speaking — when they do that is striking, ultimately, and it may be that as they press forward from The Bell of Doom, they’ll draw the various sides of their persona closer together and end up somewhere in the middle. The opposite feels no less likely; that the lines between their rocker and doomer sides will become more prevalent. As their first record, The Bell of Doom sets out on a path that’s unknowable as yet — though it’s almost always fun to guess, even when I say it isn’t — but what allows it to do so is a strength of performance and songwriting that communes with genre and audience even as the band begin to search for their place, their sound. Or maybe I should take a cue from “The Shot” below, let tomorrow worry about tomorrow, and bask in the revelry of the moment captured and offered, whatever form it might take.

Yeah, let’s roll with it.

Enjoy the video. PR wire info and links of course follow after:

Under the Sun, “The Shot” video premiere

Under the Sun, one of Athens, Greece’s best-kept secrets, announce their debut album “The Bell of Doom”, due out on vinyl and CD on April 5, 2024 on Sound Effect Records. A thunderous stoner-sludge album shaking the foundations of all-things-heavy with its combination of amp-splitting power and red-eyed psychedelics.

Under The Sun is a sludgerotic stoner band that emerged from the depths of heavy riffing and jamming, back in 2015. Inspired by historic ’70s bands like Black Sabbath and embracing the sound of newer bands, like Orange Goblin, Kyuss, and C.O.C., Under the Sun forge their own sound that appeals to both fans of 70s heavy rock and stoner / doom music lovers.

Passionate about creating music driven by fuzz-drenched guitars and groovy bass lines, Under the Sun operate on the event horizon between heavy-doom and sunbaked stoner-rock. Armed with tough riffing, powerful vocals and traveling drums, Under the Sun merge a punk-attitude (the album was recorded live and required a maximum of two takes for each song) with the “sweet surrender” of their more laid-back, psych-blues escapism, resulting in a classic r’n’r record!

From the pure r’n’r of “Smoking Angels” to the seemingly-occult aura of “The Bell of Doom” (in essence an allegorical song about the distortion of human relationships), Under the Sun revisit their childhood dreams (“Shot”), or embark on some… psychedelic ones (“Pony Ride”), pay tribute to choices turned sour and wrong paths (“One Reason”, “Going Down”), though, after all, they do not forget to praise Friday night in the city (“Looking for some dirt, 20 euros in my pocket, welcome to my world”, from “Know My Name”), or make a tender gesture to all those who have a hard time and need to take life in their own hands (“Cry Out”)…cause, as the band insists on, we are all equal under the sun.

Video credits:
Artist: Under The Sun
Song Title: The Shot
Album: The Bell Of Doom
Label: Sound Effect Records (
Director: Spyros Kourkoulas

1. Smoking Angels
2. Cry Out
3. The Bell of Doom
4. One Reason
5. Going Down
6. The Shot
7. Pony Ride
8. My Name

Album credits:
Recorded at Unreal Studios
Engineered by Nick Dimitrakakos
Mixed and mastered by Alex Ketenjian
Artwork by CLLK

Under the Sun, The Bell of Doom (2024)

Under the Sun on Facebook

Under the Sun on Instagram

Under the Sun on Bandcamp

Sound Effect Records on Facebook

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Sound Effect Records website

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Acid Mammoth Premiere “Fuzzorgasm (Keep on Screaming)” Video; Supersonic Megafauna Collision Out April 5

Posted in Bootleg Theater, Reviews on March 22nd, 2024 by JJ Koczan

acid mammoth supersonic megafauna collision

Dug-in Athenian riffchuckers Acid Mammoth are set to issue their fourth LP, Supersonic Megafauna Collision, on April 5 through Heavy Psych Sounds. It arrives three years after their duly rolling 2021 offering, Caravan (review here), and feels no less self-aware in highlighting its elephantine nature, a largesse of sound that begins in the opening title-track — catchy, doomed but not necessarily miserable, more reveling in the worship of volume and tone, a nodding testimony — and follows where the smoke goes throughout its six-track/41-minute entirety.

And if you’re expecting me to drop a reference here to that smoke leading to the Riff-Filled Land, well, I guess that’s reasonable enough. But don’t let that take away from the fact that Acid Mammoth have been declaring their brand of stoner-doom dogma since their 2017 self-titled debut caught the attention of Heavy Psych Sounds in the first place. And along with the over-the-top, heavy-speaking-to-heavy title underscoring the latest outing’s aural heft in language the genre-converted should have no trouble understanding — that is, it feels like one is supposed to look at Supersonic Megafauna Collision and/or the Branca Studio cover that adorns it and rightly anticipate being flattened by the proceedings — the overarching crush that gets a bit more down and dirty in “Fuzzorgasm (Keep on Screaming)” (video premiering below) becomes not a downer slog, but instead a vital celebration of its own motion.

This is an aspect of the work the band themselves acknowledge in the PR wire info below — thinking specifically of “all that enthusiasm and excitement,” etc. — and part of it might just be down to that the record, with the exceptions of 11:53 closer “Tusko’s Last Trip” and the trade-volume-for-hypnosis “One with the Void” (4:35) before it, keeps its songs to about six minutes in length, keeps its energy high, and feels in its bulk specifically composed to be played live. Through the title cut, “Fuzzorgasm (Keep on Screaming),” the Electric Wizardly slough of “Garden of Bones” on which Marios Louvaris seems to keep the momentum going in part by peppering in double-kick amid the tempo comedown riffery, and “Atomic Shaman,” which leads off side B in what feels like direct complement to the catchiness that began in “Supersonic Megafauna Collision,” Acid Mammoth dare to bring vibrancy to a style of doom that in the hands of many outfits in Europe and elsewhere has a hard time acid mammothgetting out of the way of its own misery. Among the many other things Acid Mammoth accomplish on Supersonic Megafauna Collision, they make it fun to play in the mud.

The vocals of Chris Babalis, Jr., which are Sabbath-rooted but have never wanted for their own character in that — Babalis on guitar/vocals and Louvis on drums make up half the returning lineup with guitarist Chris Babalis, Sr. and bassist Dimosthenis Varikos are another piece of what carries that fervor through to the listener. This is true even as one waits for the volume burst in “One With the Void” that doesn’t actually arrive until after the riff of “Tusko’s Last Trip” enacts its own build, and as infectious as the earlier pieces are in their choruses and brighter mood, it’s the vocals that provide consistency as the second half of the record departs from “Atomic Shaman” into the last two songs, fostering tension in “One With the Void” that “Tusko’s Last Trip” pays off in its outbound march and the gritty low end that leaves space for lead guitar to cut through before and after they set up and execute the concluding, jammier procession, an especially scorching solo over brash plod that could probably have just kept going all day like that providing the album’s final statement before the quick fade brings it down.

While consistent in tone, “Tusko’s Last Trip” is purposeful in delivering on the trope of a harder-hitting, broader-in-scope capstone, and it ends up hitting its mark — not unexpectedly, considering it’s Acid Mammoth‘s fourth full-length — in a way that also calls out the clarity of big-riff-party intent throughout Supersonic Megafauna Collision‘s early going. And yet, if they wrote it for Caravan, it would’ve been a completely different song three years ago. The band have never sounded tighter than they do in these songs, and while that’s part of the appeal, they neglect neither the atmospheric scope nor the raw impact crucial to engaging the audience whose passion for the form they so readily share. All of these elements, plus melody, chemistry, aesthetic and craft, align just right to let Supersonic Megafauna Collision present a fresh take to those with ears willing to hear it. Whatever else they do or don’t do from here, they’ve captured a moment.

Enjoy the clip for “Fuzzorgasm (Keep on Screaming)” — which is mostly safe for work, if that helps? — below, followed by some words from the band on it and more from the PR wire:

Acid Mammoth, “Fuzzorgasm (Keep on Screaming)” video premiere

Acid Mammoth on “Fuzzorgasm (Keep on Screaming)”:

“Fuzzorgasm (Keep on Screaming)” is the third track of our upcoming new album ‘Supersonic Megafauna Collision’. It is a witchy track, filled with fuzzy riffs and an unholy atmosphere. Debauchery is taking place in the wickedest of covens, with smoke and blood transcending your soul. Join the coven and relish its serpentine bliss!”


About their upcoming fourth studio album “Supersonic Megafauna Collision”, vocalist and guitarist Chris Babalis Jr. says: “While the previous album was composed and recorded during a state of total COVID lockdown in 2020, our new album was composed and recorded after the world had gotten back to a new state of normalcy after we had toured and played shows all over Europe, and all that enthusiasm and excitement we gathered while touring was put into this new album. We wanted to record a heavy and explosive album with lots of fuzz, that retains what made our sound great in our previous releases but take it a few steps further, and that’s exactly what we did. The album starts as a celebration of all things fuzzy with the title track, and it just gets darker and darker as the album progresses, until it concludes in complete and utter heartbreak with the song “Tusko’s Last Trip”, telling the heart-wrenching real story of Tusko, an elephant who was murdered as a result of cruel human experimentation.”

“Supersonic Megafauna Collision” was recorded, mixed, and mastered at Descent Studio, with drums recorded at Ritual Studios. The artwork was created by Branca Studio.

SA 27/04/2024 IT TORINO – Blah Blah
SU 28/04/2024 *** OPEN SLOT ***
MO 29/04/2024 ES BARCELONA – Razzmatazz 3
TU 30/04/2024 ES MADRID – Wurlitzer Ballroom
WE 01/05/2024 ES PORTUGALETE – Sala Groove
TH 02/05/2024 FR MARSEILLE – Le Molotov
FR 03/05/2024 FR CHAMBERY – Brin de Zinc
SA 04/05/2024 CH ALTDORF – Vogelsang
SU 05/05/2024 IT BOLOGNA – TBA
MO 06/05/2024 IT *** OPEN SLOT ***
TU 07/05/2024 IT *** OPEN SLOT ***

1. Supersonic Megafauna Collision (6:38)
2. Fuzzorgasm (Keep on Screaming) (6:12)
3. Garden of Bones (6:28)
4. Atomic Shaman (6:12)
5. One With the Void (4:35)
6. Tusko’s Last Trip (11:53)

Chris Babalis Jr. – Vocals, Guitars
Chris Babalis Sr. – Guitars
Dimosthenis Varikos – Bass
Marios Louvaris – Drums

Acid Mammoth, Supersonic Megafauna Collision (2024)

Acid Mammoth on Facebook

Acid Mammoth on Instagram

Acid Mammoth on Bandcamp

Heavy Psych Sounds on Bandcamp

Heavy Psych Sounds website

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Heavy Psych Sounds on Instagram

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Supermoon Post Video for New Single “Inner Sun”

Posted in Bootleg Theater on December 6th, 2023 by JJ Koczan


I don’t know if they’re doing a record or something, but the new Supermoon song is a jam, and watch out for the righteous return late. “Inner Sun” starts out kind of sneaking its way toward the verse before you even really understand the movement that’s taking place, and it keeps that steady, languid procession as it comes to full tonality at around a minute in before receding back to the next verse. The tempo kick comes after the second sans-vocal chorus, a memorable declining figure of guitar matching step with the ride cymbal in heavy psychedelic blossom.

They hold that groove tight, through the tempo shift and everything, and as alluded, there’s time for a slowdown in the second half. The song is intentionally atmospheric, moody without melodrama, so it’s fitting that the video should focus on ambience as well. You’ll find the clip on the player below — don’t have to look too far — and I promise that if I at any point hear about Supermoon getting a full-length together to follow their 2021 self-titled, I’ll keep you in the loop to the best of my admittedly limited capacity.

For now, this. Video info follows, courtesy of the band.

Please enjoy:

Supermoon, “Inner Sun” official video

Supermoon return with a new track and video. Inspired by indigenous medicinal songs, “Inner Sun” is wandering in the forest, across the sea and through the dark, in search of light.

Supermoon are a psychedelic/stoner rock band from Athens, Greece, formed in 2019 by Vasilis Tsigkris. Starting as a solo project, in late 2020 they released their debut album (Made Of Stone Recordings, Southcave Records). They are now a power trio, performing live throughout Greece, opening for Naxatras, playing in the first Mammoth Fest, IMF Festival and more.

Combining heavy psychedelic atmosphere with spiritual lyrics and folkloric musical elements, Supermoon manage to succeed effortless crossovers in music genres, creating a brand new yet intimate musical universe, which stands on the brink of darkness, bathed in light.

Music by Supermoon, Lyrics by Vasilis Tsigkris
Recorded, mixed & mastered by Greg Konstantaras at Ritual Studios
Video by kaziman

Vasilis Tsigkris, Giannis Tassopoulos, Jim Tsarnos

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Supermoon on Bandcamp


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Diesel Cindy Premiere “Spill the Dirt” Video; Debut LP Out Now

Posted in Bootleg Theater, Reviews on November 24th, 2023 by JJ Koczan

diesel cindy spill the dirt

Athens heavy rock and rollers Diesel Cindy released their debut album, Spill the Dirt, last week through Sound Effect Records. If you’re in the Northern Hemisphere and don’t yet miss the summer, it might do the trick. Comprised of eight tracks running an unassuming 33-minutes, the record breaks into four tracks across two sides and is a smooth amalgam of desert-imported tones offered with a careening groove born out of garage rock, vocal melody over top in opener “Sons of Nothing” from guitarist Lee hinting toward Queens of the Stone Age but without much of the caricature that many Homme-style vocals end up portraying and a loosened swing and push that in “Angels” comes with a Mediterranean-folk-ish stretch filtered through scorching lead guitar — also a heaping dose of noise; two guitars between Lee and Red, while Gabriel R. holds down bass and Fivos Flat pounds away behind on drums — and a burst of a chorus near its culmination. What one learns early in Spill the Dirt is that Diesel Cindy are able to affect a change of mood in the span of three minutes without losing the listener.

It’s not the last time that message is delivered. “Seeds” opens up a bit in its verse and is casually psychedelic in the bridge with the martial undertones of space rock in the vocal cadence but a mellower crux overall at least for the most part. At 5:41, it is the longest piece on Spill the Dirt, but not by much and the ‘extra’ time compared to cuts like “Sons of Nothing” or “Angels” before it isn’t some shoehorned-in jam or radical departure from the established structure. It gets raucous enough by its Diesel Cindyfinish to justify the shouts, but its more methodical tempo makes the subsequent side A capper “Bazooka Witch” feel that much more like a ’60s boogie biker party right up to its finish in psych drone and feedback. By then, both momentum and songwriting are on their side, so there’s really no stopping them as “No Truth No End” picks up at the outset of side B with a verse held back an extra measure or two and declarations of truth and lies set against more burner lead work and a subtly insistent backing strum.

Generally when one thinks of ‘headphone records’ it’s something expansive in breadth or minute in its sonic detailing. A lot of really trippy prog, etc. Diesel Cindy don’t necessarily fit with what I would usually say works well listening that way, but it does. The character in the drums and bass comes through as a backdrop for the guitars, the vocals malleable in their position in the mix, the tension in “Chieftains” at once like Talking Heads and synth-affected cosmic post-punk on its steady, rhythmically centered foundation. Tied with “Sons of Nothing” for the shortest track at 3:20, “Spill the Dirt” is the most resonant hook on the record sharing its title, as well as the full reveal of the Stooges influence that’s been a driving factor all along. It’s also something of the finale, since “The Walk” pivots to piano and turns heavy into creepy malevolent blues to round out, but fair enough for the last-minute switcheroo toward the unexpected. I don’t know that you’d say it fits, but it’s not supposed to.

And hell’s bells, I’m not about to hold a band laying claim to atmospheric territory on their first album against them, since in addition to being a kind of cool vibe in itself in a Velvet Underground-y kind of way, who knows to what it might lead. So mark it a win all around, but in terms of representing the record, the title-track appears below in a new video following up on the release date. I’m happy to be able to premiere it and I very much hope you enjoy. PR wire info follows, as you’d expect.

Have fun:

Diesel Cindy, “Spill the Dirt” video premiere

Diesel Cindy is a band of friends from Athens Greece. Them people share a common passion for a wide spectrum of fuzz sounds blended with a dry bass and old school drum sound. This sound, together with the distinctive voice of a tall angry shadow, deliver melodies inspired from favorite garage bands, mostly from the 60’s till the 90’s in a contemporary form of expression, revealing stories from the past, and whispering true tales from the present and future.

The friends, being members of other bands in the past such as One Man Drop, Vibratore Bizarro, Delightful, The Same River, Headquake, have been part of the Athenian underground scene in Greece for many years and have toured around the country several times. However, this time, they share a common project all together. The result is Diesel Cindy’s debut LP titled “Spill the Dirt”.

about the album:

recorded at AUX ‘studio’ Athens / Greece
produced by Diesel Cindy – Yiotis Paraskevaidis – Kimonas Vlachakis
engineered by Kimonas Vlachakis & Yotis Paraskevaidis
mastering at ‘Vu Productions Mastering Studio’ Piraeus / Greece by Nasos Nomikos
graphic design, coordination, photography by Peg Leg Green
front cover illustration by Dekel Hevroni

track list :
side A
1. Sons of nothing
2. Angels
3. Seeds
4. Bazooka Witch
side B
1. No truth no end
2. Chieftains
3. Spill the dirt
4. The walk

Lee – vocals, guitar
Red – guitar
Gabriel R – bass
Fivos Flat – drums, percussions

Diesel Cindy, Spill the Dirt (2023)

Diesel Cindy on Facebook

Diesel Cindy on Instagram

Diesel Cindy on Bandcamp

Sound Effect Records on Facebook

Sound Effect Records on Bandcamp

Sound Effect Records website

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Review & Full Album Premiere: Sadhus, The Smoking Community, Illegal Sludge

Posted in audiObelisk, Reviews on November 16th, 2023 by JJ Koczan

sadhus the smoking communit illegal sludge

Greek sludgeoners Sadhus, The Smoking Community are set to present their third full-length, Illegal Sludge, tomorrow, Nov. 17, through Ouga Booga and the Mighty Oug Recordings. And while I’ll admit I’m not as up on Greek customs and politics as some might otherwise be, I’m pretty sure sludge isn’t really illegal. Think of the multitudes of Greek heavy bands who’d take to the streets, angrily, righteously demanding to steamroll and be steamrolled by riffs. A general strike (at last, everyone just stops going to work), boycotts, calls for regime change — no doubt shit would get severe — and the gnashing dogs on the cover of Illegal Sludge, well, I’m glad that guy’s in his car, and I feel like the terror portrayed in his bent fingers would be like what happened if you played the eight-song/39-minute wreckfest for your grandmother. Those look like German shepherds, despite the yellow eyes, so maybe that’s the cops siccing the dogs on our unsuspecting homeboy just trying to get a little spiritual catharsis on his way to the Costco. Ain’t nobody actually getting hurt, though you might not know that from the sound of the record.

Sadhus, The Smoking Community — whose moniker I always manage to read in the same voice as, “Spaceballs: The Flamethrower!” — shouldn’t be outlawed, but they should probably come with a warning. Whatever they put on room-sized miter saws should be fine. They commence the beatings with the seven-minute opener/longest track (immediate points) “Mel O.D.,” and within 45 seconds, a few key elements have solidified. One, the tones are muck-thick and set to malevolent chug. Guitarist Thomas G., bassist Mak and drummer Greg are at home dug into the marching “Mel O.D.,” and when the harsh screams of vocalist Stavros start, a big part of the personality of Illegal Sludge is unveiled. This is not nearly my first experience with the band. I recall checking them out when they were taking part in the unfortunately shortlived Desertfest Athens in 2016, and their 2018 LP, Big Fish (review here), had similar feelings on subtlety, but in putting Illegal Sludge on, it’s still a surprise just how much aural force is put into this music. Caution: contents are very, very nasty. Do not shake. Do not expose to the well-adjusted.

sadhus the smoking community

Shenanigans abound, from a freakout at the end of “Mel O.D.” with guest trumpet by Bassment Rats, to “Eye on Man” finally breaking out the “Iron Man” riff at the very end to the stomp-mosh of “Woodman,” with its sub-two-minute tempo burst and punkish-and-still-omnidirectional fuckall leading into the closing pair of “Filthy Trust” and “Hold Out.” As once did the mighty Darkthrone, with whom Sadhus have little ultimately in common aside, I expect, from an affection for old metal and raw recordings, the four-piece offer “Fuck Off and Die” with a sense of even stripping down the stripped down. Lyrics are minimal, really some repeated verse lines and the chorus, but as is the case throughout Illegal Sludge, the fucking point gets across coming out of the fast-then-slow “Fuckin’ Apes” prior, itself reversing the structure of the opener. “Fuck Off and Die,” like at least part of “Mel O.D.,” is a march, and it’s not the last one to show up with the title-track still ahead, but they open it some in the second half and release a bit of the tension they’ve amassed. Naturally, they’re nowhere near done yet, and through “Eye on Man” and the dug-in caustic plunder of “Illegal Sludge” itself, they remain intentionally vicious.

If you’d seek some relent after “Illegal Sludge,” you’re on the wrong record. Sadhus, The Smoking Community back the title-cut with “Woodsman” and double-down right at the moment when most acts might pull back on the severity, if just for an interlude or somesuch. That comes in the quiet guitar and for-a-walk drums at the outset of “Filthy Trust,” but it doesn’t last, and by about 90 seconds in, the penultimate cut has burst into its full grimy glory, a roll like Monolord eventually giving way to d-beat hardcore thrust as they find an opportunity to fuse dynamic without giving up the central disaffection at their core, punishing right to the end and carrying that momentum into “Hold Out,” which is a duly consuming finish and presented as a moment of arrival — the slaughterhouse toward which all prior assault was leading. They take that nod through the feedback-drenched conclusion and leave residual noise and bad feelings to linger. Everyone else seems to have already said “fuck it” and gone home.

Legit. After just under 40 minutes of crusty pummeling, I’m not sure how much mental capacity is left over for conversationalism anyhow. But as you make your way through, keep in mind that while Sadhus, The Smoking Community seem to be pushing themselves and common aural decency to their respective limits, this is exactly the functioning goal of the work to start with. As harsh as Illegal Sludge is, it is precisely what the band wanted it to be, and that intention resonates through even its most violent stretches. It’s how their community does it. Also stoned. May it and they ever be thus.

Have at you:

Exactly five years following the release of their second full-length “Big Fish”, Greek doom metal crew Sadhus the Smoking Community are gearing up to release their third album “Illegal Sludge” via Ouga Booga and the Mighty Oug! on November 17th. Recorded and mixed by Iraklis Vlachakis and mastered by Brad Boatright, “Illegal Sludge” is like a dangerous and highly intoxicating whiskey made at an illegal distillery.

A five-piece (four musicians plus a ‘rolling engineer’) band from Athens, Sadhus, The Smoking Community have released two full-length albums and two split releases to date where they deliver both hooky riffs and punchy rhythms via a caustic and heavy mix of a bluesy-driven sludge sound with extreme crust-style vocals.

Written & Performed by Sadhus, The Smoking Community
Produced by Sadhus & Iraklis Vlachakis
Recorded & Engineered by Iraklis Vlachakis at Crème Chalet Studio in Kallithea, Athens, GR, Nov – Dec 2022
Mixed by Iraklis Vlachakis
Mastered by Brad Boatright at Audiosiege in Portland, Oregon, USA
Illustration & Layout by Fotini Kaklidi

1. Mel O.D.
2. Fuckin’ Apes
3. Fuck Off & Die
4. Eye On Man
5. Illegal Sludge
6. Woodman
7. Filthy Trust
8. Hold Out

Trumpet on MEL O.D. by Bassment Rats

Released by Ouga Booga & The Mighty Oug, November 2023

Sadhus, The Smoking Community are:
Stavros – Vocals
Thomas G. – Guitars
Mak – Bass
Greg – Drums
Steve – Rolling Engineer

Sadhus, The Smoking Community, “Woodman” official video

Sadhus, The Smoking Community on Facebook

Sadhus, The Smoking Community on Instagram

Sadhus, The Smoking Community on Bandcamp

Ouga Booga and the Mighty Oug Recordings on Facebook

Ouga Booga and the Mighty Oug Recordings on Instagram

Ouga Booga and the Mighty Oug Recordings website

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Godsleep Announce Fall Tour Dates

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

The play-whatever-the-hell-they-want Athenian heavy troupe Godsleep released their latest album, Lies to Survive (review here) earlier in 2023 through Ouga Booga and the Mighty Oug and Threechords Records, and when they did so in Spring, they undertook a pretty significant tour to support it. That makes the upcoming ‘Permanent Vacation’ run — which takes its name from one of the songs on the record; I doubt they’re huge Aerosmith fans, but you never know — their second such stint of the year, and I think it’s even bigger. Starting in September, it carries them into December with a steady amount of live activity, and the band assures below that there’s more to come. It says it right there on the poster.

And about the poster. Usually it’s my modus to transcribe tour dates from a poster so that I can have the shows searchable by text. You never know when, eight years from now, you might need to know what date Godsleep hit Mixtape 5 in Sofia, Bulgaria, for whatever reason. I would do that here, but the wretched truth is I’m pressed for time and I wanted to post about the tour, so in the balance of writing out this entire covers-three-months list or posting about it at all, I went with the latter. I do hope that you’ll forgive me for skipping this usual step that I have absolutely no doubt you wouldn’t have noticed was missing at all if I didn’t mention it because, and here’s another wretched truth, I remain the only one who gives a crap about that kind of thing. So be it.

If you click the poster, the image gets big enough to read. If you click it again — or just give it a nudge with your finger if you’re on your fancyphone — it’ll go away. I promise I’m doing my best.

Their announcement on socials was short and appears below:

Godsleep fall tour 2023 poster sq

GODSLEEP – Permanent Vacation European Tour 2023

We are really happy to be back on the road this Fall to visit old friends but also excited to meet some of you for the first time!

These are the first dates of our “Permanent Vacation” tour and we will announce more dates shortly!

Let us know if we missed anything !

Powdered by: Ouga Booga and the Mighty Oug / Tuned Tools Guitar Lab

Poster by: Bewild Brother

Godsleep, Lies to Survive (2023)

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Last Rizla Premiere “Rebound” Video; New Album Noise Without Decay Out May 12

Posted in Bootleg Theater, Reviews on April 25th, 2023 by JJ Koczan

Last Rizla

Greek sludge rockers Last Rizla release their new album, Noise Without Decay, on May 12 through Venerate Industries. And, well, I’ve heard it, and there’s lots of noise and not much decay, at least in terms of force-of-delivery, as the four-piece of G., C., K. and S. — it’s okay dudes, my name is initials too — craft the follow-up to their 2018 EP Mount Machine (review here), their sound is cast like a cruel shadow over the 40 minutes and nine cuts. Depending on what and when you count, Noise Without Decay is the band’s first long-player since 2009’s self-titled debut, but for a band who’ve shown such a penchant for doling out short offerings and splits, etc., over the intervening 14-plus years, they in no way seem uncomfortable in the form. You’d think they wouldn’t be used to it or something, but no.

The actual level of punishment meted out in a given song might vary, but Last Rizla are almost uniformly aggressive. Even the later “Mushy Peas,” which starts out at a sort of bopping-along-casual groove, shifts into more pointed, angular starts and stops and is topped by the blown-out shouts that populate each piece and give the entirety of Noise Without Decay such a post-hardcore vibe. But true to Freek Greek heavy, the story isn’t so simple as band-plays-style, and even truer to the Hellenic underground, Last Rizla know which rules they want to follow and which they want to break. Bookending opener “B52” and closer “B53” fuse punkish bite with tonal heft, and especially in the instrumental finale, they seem to be going for some nod to the ‘bomb-tone’ ethic of Floor, but even there, they keep a rock production, and the rounded edges of their tone and the methodical execution of “Bloody, Hairy” speak to a root in doom/sludge, no matter the actual tempo at which a song is delivered, be it the rager “No Way Out” answering the near-immediate burst of “B52” or the strident “Hades,” which is the longest track at 6:24 and reminds in its howling guitar offsetting dense tonal chug of Swarm of the Lotus, albeit not as harshly produced.

Which is what I’m trying to get at here. Even as compared to Mount Machine — and granted that was five years ago at this point, or four if you want to go by the fact that these songs were recorded nearly a year ago — the recording here by Iraklis Vlachakis Last Rizla Noise Without Decayallows for some breadth and the creation of an atmosphere of more than aggression or bludgeoning. As consistent as the shouting, hard-riffing and nodding grooves are throughout, Last Rizla circa this maybe-second full-length aren’t just one thing, even when they’re trying to convince you otherwise, and the movement behind their sludge is palpable. They make it rock, sprint, or stand up and bring itself down directly on the listener’s head with little thought to mercy or the manner in which that kind of violence tends to ripple. While even the title speaks to a kind of urgency, the material offers that and grit alike, mining individualism from the swaying build-up of centerpiece “The Debt” ahead of the more sprawling “Hades” and the caustic noise rocker “Classic Marathon,” which is duly stripped-down feeling at 3:47 and answers the earlier insistence of “Rebound” in its midtempo post-’90s nastiness.

Still, for as much as Last Rizla gnash and rip and tear and claw throughout the nine-song stretch, there’s depth to the proceedings — “Bloody, Hairy” drops a lyrical reference to misfortune, reminding that Last Rizla once upon a 2011 were involved in the Miss Fortune was a Henhouse Manager (review here) comp of then-up-and-coming Greek acts like 1000modsSadhus, the Smoking CommunityBad TripYassa and others — and as their scene comes to maturity within some of those other groups and without, Last Rizla provide a balance (a mix by Kowloon Walled City‘s Scott Evans doesn’t hurt there either) between bombast and purpose, and the places they go throughout Noise Without Decay are engaging almost in spite of themselves. If you can hang with pissed off sludge rock, that’s still very much at the foundation, but they show that such designations can be as much a beginning as an end all through the record, and while “B53” ends in done-blown-up noise — think Neurosis consumed by the distortion at the end of “Stones From the Sky”; you can hear it in the video below — even in that last moment, there’s no letup, no decay, no flinching from the purpose they’ve established as their own. The word for that kind of thing is “righteous,” and so they are.

Life is full of surprises and if you had ‘Last Rizla roaring back with a more mature and still-plenty-brash second full-length’ on your 2023 Heavy Underground Bingo card, I salute you, but either way, the pit they dig out in this new batch of songs isn’t to be underestimated, and one might find that the more one listens to Noise Without Decay, the more likely skin is to crawl. Don’t worry though, that’s the whole idea. It’s supposed to make that happen. So let it.

The clip below is the premiere of “Rebound,” and should give you some idea of what the band are going for in terms of general construction/destruction throughout. By all means, please dig in and enjoy:

Last Rizla, “Rebound” video premiere

We recorded Noise Without Decay during May and June 2022 in our studio, Créme Chalet, in Kallithea, Athens, Greece.

This city is ruthless, constant and grey. The weather was and has been swinging between dark and stormy but at times sunny and mostly warm.

Noise Without Decay was recorded by Iraklis Vlachakis, mixed by Scott Evans (Antisleep Audio – also guitarist for Kowloon Walled City) and mastered by Saff Mastering.

Like good sauerkraut, it’s now fermenting and will be released by Venerate Industries this May.

Last Rizla, Noise Without Decay behind-the-scenes video

Last Rizla on Facebook

Last Rizla on Bandcamp

Last Rizla website

Venerate Industries on Facebook

Venerate Industries on Instagram

Venerate Industries on Bandcamp

Venerate Industries store

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