Quarterly Review: Khanate, Space Queen, King Potenaz, Treedeon, Orsak:Oslo, Nuclear Dudes, Mycena, Bog Monkey, The Man Motels, Pyre Fyre

Posted in Reviews on July 19th, 2023 by JJ Koczan


Ah, a Quarterly Review Wednesday. Always a special occasion. Monday starts out with a daunting look at the task ahead. Tuesday is all digging in and just not trying to repeat myself too much. Wednesday, traditionally, is where we hit the halfway point. The top of the hill.

Not the case this time since I’ll have 10 records each written up next Monday and Tuesday, but crossing the midpoint of this week alone feels like an accomplishment and you’ll pardon me if I mark it as such. If you’re wondering how the rest of the week will go, tomorrow is all-business and Friday’s usually a party one way or the other. My head gets so in it by the middle of next week I’ll be surprised not to be doing this anymore. So it goes.

Quarterly Review #21-30:

Khanate, To Be Cruel

Khanate To Be Cruel

Who among mortals could hope to capture the horrors of Khanate in simple words? The once-New York-based avant sludge ultragroup end a 14-year hiatus with To Be Cruel, a fourth album, comprising three songs running between 19-21 minutes each that breed superlative hatefulness. At once overwhelming and minimalist, with opener “Like a Poisoned Dog” placing the listener in a homemade basement dungeon with the sharp, disaffection-incarnate bark of Alan Dubin (also Gnaw) cutting through the weighted slog in the guitar of Stephen O’Malley (also SunnO))), et al), the bass of James Plotkin (more than one can count, and he probably also mastered your band’s record) and the noise free-jazz drumming of Tim Wyskida (Blind Idiot God, etc.), they retain the disturbing brilliance last heard from in 2009’s Clean Hands Go Foul (discussed here) and are no less caustic for the intervening years. “It Wants to Fly” is expansive and wretched death poetry set to drone doom, a ritual made of its own misery, and the concluding title-track goes quiet in its midsection as though to let every wrenching anguish have its own space in the song. There is no one like them, though many have tried to convey some of what apparently only Khanate can. As our plague-infested, world-burning, war-making, fear-driven species plunges further into this terrible century, Khanate is the soundtrack we earn. We are all complicit. All guilty.

Khanate on Facebook

Sacred Bones Records store


Space Queen, Nebula

Space Queen Nebula EP

Though plenty atmospheric besides, Vancouver heavy fuzz rockers Space Queen add atmosphere to their nine-song/26-minute Nebula EP through a series of four interludes: the a capella three-part harmonies of “Deluge,” the acoustic-strummed “Veil” and “Sun Interlude,” and the finishing manipulated space-command sample in “End Transmission” after the richly melodic doom rock of “Transmission/Lost Causemonaut.” That penultimate inclusion is the longest at 6:14 and tells a story in a way that feels informed by the three-piece of drummer/vocalist Karli MacIntosh, guitarist/vocalist Jenna Earle and bassist/keyboardist/vocalist Seah Maister‘s past in the folk outfit Sound of the Sun, but transposes its melodic sensibility into a heavier context. It and the prior garage-psych highlight “When it Gets Light” — a lighter initial electric strum that arrives in willful-seeming contrast to “Darkest Part” immediately preceding — depart from the more straight-ahead push of opener “Battle Cry” and the guitar-screamer “Demon Queen” separated from it by the first interlude. Where those two come across as working with Alice in Chains as a defining influence — something the folk elements don’t necessarily argue against — the Nebula EP grows broader as it moves through its brief course, and flows throughout with its veering into and out of songs and short pieces. This is Space Queen‘s second EP, and if they’re interested in making a full-length next, they sound ready.

Space Queen on Facebook

Space Queen on Bandcamp


King Potenaz, Goat Rider

king potenaz goat rider

Fasano, Italy’s King Potenaz debut on Argonauta Records with Goat Rider, which conjures raw fuzz, garage-doom atmospherics, and vocals that edge toward aggression and classic cave metal, early Venom or Celtic Frost having a role to play even alongside the transposition of Kyuss riffing taking place in the title-track, which follows “Among Ruins” and “Pyramids Planet,” both of which featured on the trio’s 2022 Demo 6:66, and which set a tone of riff-led revelry here with a sound that reminds of turn-of-the-century era stoner explorations, but grows richer as it moves into “Pazuzu (3:33)” — it’s actually 5:18 — with guest vocals from Sabilla and the quiet three-minute instrumental “Cosmic Voyager” planet-caravanning into the 51-minute album’s second half, where “Moriendoom (La Ballata di Ippolita Oderisi)” and the even doomier “Monolithic” dig into cultish vibes and set up the bleak shuffle of nine-minute closer “Dancing Plague,” departing from its central ’90s-heavy riff into a mellow-psych movement and then returning from that outward stretch to end. Even at its most familiar, Goat Rider finds some way to harness an individual edge, cleverly using the mix itself as an instrument to create the space in which the songs dwell. It may take a few listens to sink in, but there’s real potential in what they’re doing.

King Potenaz on Facebook

Argonauta Records store


Treedeon, New World Hoarder

Treedeon New World Hoarder

With the release of their third album, New World Hoarder, German art-sludgers Treedeon celebrate their first decade as a band. The combined vinyl-with-CD follows 2018’s Under the Manchineel (review here) and proffers raw cosmic doom in “Omega Time Bomb,” crossing the 10-minute line for the first time after the particularly-agonized opener “Nutcrème Superspreader” and before the title-track’s nodding riff brings bassist Yvonne Ducksworth to the fore vocally, trading off with guitarist Arne Heesch as drummer Andy Schünemann crashes cyclically behind. “New World Hoarder” gives over to side B opener “Viking Meditation Song,” which rolls like an evil-er version of Goatsnake, and “RHV1,” on which Heesch and Ducksworth share vocal duties, as they also do in 12-minute closer “Läderlappen” — a shouting duet in the first half feels long in arriving, but that’s how you know the album works — as the band cap with more massive chug following an interplay of melody and throatier fare. They’re right to ride that groove, as they’re right about so much else on the record. Like much of what Exile on Mainstream puts out, Treedeon are stylistically intricate and underrated in kind.

Treedeon on Facebook

Exile on Mainstream site


Orsak:Oslo, In Irons

Orsak Oslo In Irons

There are a couple different angles of approach one might take in hearing Orsak:Oslo‘s In Irons full-length. The Norway/Sweden-based instrumental troupe have been heretofore lumped in with heavy post-rock and ambient soundscaping, which is fair enough, but what they actually unveil in “068 The Swell” (premiered here), is a calming interpretation of space rock. With experimentalism on display in its late atmospheric drone comedown, “068 The Swell” moves directly into the more physical “079 Dutchman’s Wake (Part I),” the languid boogie feeling modern in presentation and classic in construction and the chemistry between the members of the band. The drums sit out much of the first half of “069 In What Way Are You Different,” giving a sense of stillness to the drone there, but the song embraces a bigger feel toward its finish, and that sets up the feedback intro to “078 The Mute (Part II),” which veers dreamily between amplifier drone and complementary melodic guitar flourish. Taking 17 minutes to do it, they close with “074 Hadal Blue,” which more broadly applies the space-chill of “068 The Swell” and emphasizes flow and organic changes from one part to the next. Immersive, it would be one to get lost in if it weren’t so satisfying to pay attention.

Orsak:Oslo on Facebook

Vinter Records website


Nuclear Dudes, Boss Blades

Nuclear Dudes Boss Blades

Fuck. Yes. As much grind as sludge as electronics-infused hardcore as it is furious, unadulterated noise, the 12-song/50-minute onslaught that is Boss Blades arrives via Modern Grievance at the behest of Jon Weisnewski, also of Sandrider, formerly of Akimbo. If Weisnewski‘s name alone and the fact that Matt Bayles mixed the self-recorded debut LP aren’t enough to pull you into the tornado of violence and maddening brood that opener “Boss Blades” uses to open — extra force provided by one of two guest vocal spots from Dave Verellen of Botch; the other is on “Lasers in the Jungle” later on — then perhaps the seven-minute semi-industrial march of “Obsolete Food” or the bruising intensity of “Poorly Made Pots” or the minute and a half of sample-topped drone psych in “Guitart,” the extreme prog metal of “Eat Meth” or “Manifest Piss Tape” will do the trick, or the nine-minute near-centerpiece “Many Knives” (which, if there’s a Genghis Tron influence here generally — and there might be — is more the last record than the older stuff) with its slow keyboard unfolding as a backdrop for Dust Moth‘s Irene Barber to make her own guest appearance, plenty of post-everything cacophony mounting by the end, grandiose and consuming. I could go on — every track is a new way to die — but suffice it to say that this is what my brain sounds like when my kid and my wife are talking to me about different things at the same time and it feels like my skull is on fire and I have an aneurysm and keel over. Good wins.

Nuclear Dudes on Instagram

Modern Grievance Records website


Mycena, Chapter 4

mycena chapter 4

Sometimes harsh but always free, 2022’s Chapter 4 from Croatian instrumentalist double-guitar five-piece Mycena — guitarists Marin Mitić and Pavle Bojanić, bassist Karlo Cmrk, drummer Igor Vidaković and synthesist/noisemaker Aleksandar Vrhovec — brings three tracks that are distinct unto themselves but listed as part of the same entirety, dubbed “Dissolution” and divided into “Dissolution Part 1” (17:49), “Dissolution Part 2” (3:03), and “Dissolution Part 3” (18:11), and it may well be that what’s being dissolved is the notion that rock and roll must be confined to verse/chorus structuring. Invariably, Earthless are a comparison point for longform instrumental heavy anything, and given the shred in “Dissolution Part 1” around five minutes deep and the torrent rockblast in the first half of “Dissolution Part 3” before it melts to near-silence and quietly noodles its way through its somehow-dub-informed last 11 or so minutes, building in presence but not actually blowing up to full volume as it caps. While totaling a manageable 39 minutes, Chapter 4 is a journey nonetheless, with a scope that comes through even in “Dissolution Part 2,” which may just be an interlude but still carries a steady rhythm that seems to reorient the band ahead of their diving into the extended final part, the band sounding natural in making changes that would undo acts with less chemistry.

Mycena on Facebook

Mycena on Bandcamp


Bog Monkey, Hollow

bog monkey hollow

Filthy tone. Just absolutely nasty. Atlanta’s Bog Monkey tracked Hollow, their self-released debut LP, with Jay Matheson at The Jam Room in South Carolina, and if they ever go anywhere else to try to capture their sound I’d have to ask why. With seven cuts totaling 33 minutes play-time and fuzz-sludge blowouts a-plenty in “Facemint,” the blastbeaten “Blister” and the heads-down largesse-minded shove-off-the-cliff that is “Slither” at a whopping 2:48, Hollow transposes Conan-style shouted vocals on brash, thickened heavy, the bass in “Tunnel” and forward-charging leadoff “Crow” with its thrash-riffing hook is the source of the heft, but it’s not alone. Spacious thanks to echoes on the vocals, Hollow crushes just the same, and as the trio plunder toward the eight-minute “Soma” at the end, growing intense quickly out of a calmer intro jam and slamming their message home circa 3:40 with crashes that break to bass and guitar noise to establish the nod around which the ending will be based, all you can really do is look forward to the bludgeoning to come and be glad when it arrives. Don’t be fooled by their generic name, or the silly stoner rock art (which I’m not knocking; it being silly is part of the point). Bog Monkey bring together different styles in a way that’s thoughtful and make songs that sound like they just rose out of the water to fucking obliterate you. So go on. Be obliterated.

Bog Monkey on Facebook

Bog Monkey on Bandcamp


The Man Motels, Dead Nature

The Man Motels Dead Nature EP

Punkish in its choruses like the title-track or opener “Sports,” the four-song Dead Nature EP from South Africa’s The Man Motels is the latest in a string of short releases and singles going back to their 2018 full-length, Quit Looking at Me!, and they temper the urgency of their speediest parts with grunge-style melody and instrumental twists. Bass and drums at the base of “Young Father” set up the sub-three-minute closer as purely punk, but sure enough the guitar kicks in coming out of the verse and one can hear the Nirvana effect before it drops out again. Whether it’s a common older-school hardcore influence, I don’t know, but “Sports” and “Young Father” remind of a rawer Fu Manchu with their focus on structure, but “The Fever” is heavier indie rock and culminates in a tonally satisfying apex before cutting back to the main riff that’s led the way for… oh, about three minutes or so. All told, The Man Motels are done in 15 minutes, but they pack a fair amount into that time and they named the release after its catchiest installment, so there. Maybe not the kind of thing I’d always reach for in my own listening habits, but I’m not about to rag on a band for being good at what they do or showcasing their material with the kind of energy The Man Motels put into Dead Nature.

The Man Motels on Facebook

Mongrel Records website


Pyre Fyre, Pyre Fyre

pyre fyre pyre fyre

With a couple short(er) outings to their credit, Bayonne, New Jersey, three-piece Pyre Fyre present seven songs in the 18 minutes of their self-titled, which just might be enough to make it a full-length. Hear me out. They start raw with “Hypnotize,” more of a song than an intro, punkish and the shortest piece at 1:22. From there, the Melvins meet Earthride on “Flood Zone” and the range of shenanigans is unveiled. Produced by drummer/noisemaker Mike Montemarano, with Dylan Wheeler on guitar, Dan Kirwan on bass and vocals from all three in its hithers and yons, it is a barebones sound across the board, but Pyre Fyre give a sense of digging in despite that, with the echo-laced “Wyld Ryde” doled out like garage thrash, while “Dungeon Duster/Ice Storm” sounds like it was recorded in two different sessions and maybe it was and screw you if that matters, “Don’t Drink the Water” hits the brakes and dooms out with stoner-drawl vocals later, “Arachnophobia” dips into a darker, somehow more metal, mood, and the fuzzy “Cordyceps” ends with swagger and noise alike in just under two and a half minutes. All of this is done without pretense, without the band pausing to celebrate themselves or what they just accomplished. They get in, kick ass, get out again. You don’t want to call it an album? Fine. I respectfully disagree, but we can still be friends. What, you thought because it was the internet I was going to tell you to screw off? Come on now.

Pyre Fyre on Instagram

Pyre Fyre on Bandcamp


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Hot Ram to Tour Around Maryland Doom Fest Appearance

Posted in Whathaveyou on June 15th, 2023 by JJ Koczan

Hot Ram

Now with even more beard, Atlanta three-piece Hot Ram will do a solid weekender run around their return appearance at the Maryland Doom Fest, slated for Sunday, June 25. Between that and the several live shows booked for August and September in their home state of Georgia, the trio will look to record three follow-up to 2021’s Electric Medicine (review here), which will also be their first release with drummer Brian Ricks pounding away behind. Ricks has played with Order of the Owl, and the new album will reportedly be tracked by Matt Washburn, who produced Mastodon‘s Lifesblood once upon a time, so if you’re already thinking heavy, you might ahead and think heavier just to be safe.

Also note the date supporting UK troupe Dunes as that band make their initial incursion on US terrain to play Desertfest New York in September. By then it’s entirely likely that Hot Ram‘s next full-length will be finished, and if not released, then likely on the way. Cool things to come, in any case.

The band was kind enough to send the following down the PR wire:

Hot ram tour to Maryland Doom Fest

HOT RAM – The Road to Doom

Atlanta’s HOT RAM announce “The Road To Doom” , an excellent weekend run to this year’s Maryland Doom Fest.

After playing last year’s Maryland Doom Fest for the first time, they are returning this year to play the mainstage this year at Cafe 611 on Sunday June 25th. For this year’s show they have an excellent set of show’s for a small run up the Carolina’s, on the way to Frederick. For this year’s “The Road To Doom” run, they start off at Greenville SC’s Ground Zero w/ Witchpit, Auralayer and Black River Rebels, and then shoot up to Fleetwoods in Asheville, NC to play with Mean Green (Bongfoot just dropped off this show) and The Beard Cult.

This run begins an exciting summer and fall for the Atlanta band. With the addition of new drummer Brian Ricks (Ape Vermin, Order of the Owl) in fall of 2022, the band has been super busy with a flurry of songwriting and playing show’s opening for Caustic Casanova, Thunderchief, Witchpit, Wyndrider and were scheduled to debut with Brian at the inaugural Snowblind Festival w/ High on Fire and C.O.C., but had to cancel due to the death of founding member Billy Konkel’s mother.

In July, they will start recording their next album, the follow up to The Swamp Records 2022 “Electric Medicine ”, with Matt Washburn (Mastodon) in the mountains of North Georgia, and follow that up with three august shows. One at the Flicker Theater in Athens’s GA for a Shadebest Records show, then play the second annual “In the Pit ” Festival in Atlanta, and then trek up to Gainesville GA, to play the new venue “The Black Strap ”. And for September 18th a show at Atlanta’s The EARL with Dunes and Red Beard Wall.

A full list of tour dates can be found below:

“The Road to Doom”
6/23 Greenville, SC @ Ground Zero
6/24 Asheville, NC @ Fleetwoods
6/25 Frederick, MD @ Cafe611 (Maryland Doomfest)
8/3 Athens, GA @ Flicker Theater
8/11 Atlanta, GA @ Inner Space “In the Pit 2”
8/19 Gainesville, GA @ The Black Strap
9/18 Atlanta, GA@ The EARL

Billy Konkel-Guitar/Vocals
Dan Giampietro-Bass
Brian Ricks-Drums

Poster: Jim Bob Cooter Jr.
Photo: Syd Howell


Hot Ram, “Conamara Chaos” official video

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Irreversible Reissue 2007’s Sins; Post “Blackness That Spread” Video

Posted in Whathaveyou on April 28th, 2023 by JJ Koczan

irreversible (Photo by Stan Johnson)

So this came out last week. Originally released in 2007, Sins was the debut album from Atlanta-based post-metallers Irreversible, and its new edition has seen release through Dipterid Records. Neat, right? Sure. That’s pretty much the whole story. Oh, there’s a video and they’re playing with Godflesh, but basically it’s a band putting out a record they put out 16 years ago.

The shape of their genre has changed in that time, naturally, but Sins fits well in the current sphere of atmospheric sludge and heavy crunch exploration. The five-piece (remember having four friends? I don’t) rage through the two minutes of “Blackness That Spread,” cavern-echo on the vocals and shove in the rhythm to follow the more lurching opener “Tambora” — if you’re looking for the “Stones From the Sky” riff necessary for all post-metal, it’s in there — and I’m pretty sure they use a jet engine for a transition, so that’s a nice touch as well. The full dynamic range would seem to be on display in “Iblis,” however, as the ambient beginning leads to claustrophobic crush later, melody spreading out in a way that makes me think at least one of these dudes was in a metalcore band in the early ’00s. They were probably 10 at the time. So be it.

In any case, usually I have some angle here, but not really. Just a cool record that I hadn’t heard before that’s available again. If you want to dig into the full thing, it’s below via Bandcamp, and the video’s down there too if you’re just looking to dip toes. No judgment either way. Enjoy:

irreversible sins



Order link: https://irreversible.bandcamp.com/album/sins

Atlanta-based post-metal band, Irreversible released one of their most well-known albums, SINS, on vinyl for the first time on Thursday, April 20 via Dipterid Records.

While the album is relatively esoteric, the audience is connected by its dense and heavy riffs, moody and atmospheric electronics, hypnotic rhythms, and emotionally resonant vocals/lyrics. Each side of the double LP seamlessly blends cryptic, dusty ambiance; sweeping waves of post-metal grandeur; textual electronic experimentation; psychedelic flourishes; and pummeling explosions of post-hardcore—all into a singular cinematic journey.

Irreversible consists of Billy Henis on electronics/vocals, CJ Ridings on bass, Jackob Franklin on guitar/vocals, JJ Hodge on guitar/vocals, and Zachary Richards on drums. Over the years they’ve played shows with Red Sparowes and Municipal Waste, and will open up for Godflesh on Saturday, July 1, at Terminal West in Atlanta, Georgia (Johnny Dang from O’Brother/HISSELF will be filling in on guitar). Additional tour dates will be announced soon.

“This whole experience has felt like a dream. We had always envisioned SINS as a double LP, from the writing, tracklist, down to the art. But after 15 years we had truly given up hope of that ever becoming a reality. Dipterid Records reaching out to see if we would be interested was really a turning point. Several of us hadn’t spoken in years and we had a lot of work to do to come back together. But as soon as we did the spark was totally back, and gathering our larger group of collaborators around the project has been amazing. The video for ‘Blackness That Spread” is such a great encapsulation of that. They were able to fuse old footage from the original era, along with clips from some of the films that inspired SINS and our vibe in general. Speakeasy Promotions has been our savior multiple times, so when they reached out to offer us the Godflesh show, we knew we couldn’t say no. Working with CJ again, and Johnny Dang from O’Brother/HISSELF has me especially excited because I think this lineup is going to bring a very special energy to these songs.” – Billy Henis


Irreversible, “Blackness That Spread” official video

Irreversible, Sins (2007/2023)

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Quarterly Review: Jo Quail, Experiencia Tibetana, People of the Black Circle, Black Capricorn, SABOTØR, The Buzzards of Fuzz, Temple of Void, Anomalos Kosmos, Cauchemar, Seum

Posted in Reviews on July 8th, 2022 by JJ Koczan


Last day. Maybe I’m supposed to have some grand reflection as we hit 100 of 100 records for the Quarterly Review, but I’ll spare you. I’ve put a few records from the bunch on year-end lists, enjoyed a lot of music, wondered why a few people got in touch with me in the first place, and generally plotzed through to the best of my ability. Thanks as always to The Patient Mrs., through whom all things are possible, for facilitation.

And thank you for reading. I hope you’ve managed to find something killer in all this, but if not, there’s still today to go, so you’ve got time.

Next QR is probably early October, and you know what? I’ve already got records lined up for it. How insane is that?

Quarterly Review #91-100:

Jo Quail, The Cartographer

Jo Quail The Cartographer

To list the personnel involved in Jo Quail‘s Roadburn-commissioned five-movement work The Cartographer would consume the rest of this review, so I won’t, but the London electric cellist is at the center of an orchestral experiment the stated purpose of which is to find the place where classical and heavy musics meet. Percussion thuds, there’s piano and electric violin and a whole bunch of trombones, and whatever that is making the depth-charge thud underneath “Movement 2,” some voices and narration at the start by Alice Krige, who once played the Borg Queen among many other roles. Though Quail composed The Cartographer for Roadburn — originally in 2020 — the recording isn’t captured on that stage, but is a studio LP, which lets each headphone-worthy nuance and tiny flash of this or that shine through. So is it heavy? Not really in any traditional sense, but of course that’s the point. Is SunnO))) heavy? Sure. It’s less about conforming to given notions of genre characteristics than bringing new ideas to them and saying this-can-be-that in the way that innovative art does, but heavy? Why the hell not? Think of it as mind-expansion, only classy.

Jo Quail on Facebook

By Norse Music website


Experiencia Tibetana, Vol. II

Experiencia Tibetana Vol. II

An aptly named second full-length from Buenos Aires trio Experiencia Tibetana greatly solidifies the band’s approach, which of course itself is utterly fluid. Having brought in Gaston Saccoia on drums, vocals and other percussion alongside guitarist/vocalist Walter Fernandez and bassist Leandro Moreno Vila since their recorded-in-2014-released-in-2020 debut, Vol. I (review here), the band take the methodology of meditative exploration from that album and pare it down to four wholly expansive processions, resonant in their patience and earthy psychedelic ritualizing. Each side of the 48-minute LP is comprised of a shorter track and a longer, and they’re arranged for maximum immersion as one climbs a presumably Tibetan mountain, going up and coming back down with the longest material in the middle, the 16-minute pair “Ciudad de latahes” and “(Desde el) Limbo” running in hypnotic succession with minimalism, noise wash, chanting, percussive cacophony, dead space, bass fuzz, spoken word and nearly anything else they want at their disposal. With “El delito espiritual I” (8:18) and the maybe-eBow(?) ghost howls of “El delito espiritual II” (7:19) on either side, Vol. II charts a way forward for the trio as they move into unknown aural reaches.

Experiencia Tibetana on Facebook

Experiencia Tibetana on Bandcamp


People of the Black Circle, People of the Black Circle

People of the Black Circle People of the Black Circle

Not quite like anything else, Athenian conjurors People of the Black Circle plunge deep into horror/fantasy atmospheres, referencing H.P. Lovecraft and Robert Howard within the five tracks of their nonetheless concise 34-minute/five-track self-titled debut. Weighted in tone and mood, almost garage-doom in its production, the synth-backing of “Cimmeria” unfolds after the outward crunch of leadoff “Alchemy of Sorrow” — like Euro doom dramaturge transposed onto a bed of ’80s synths with Om-style bass — and from centerpiece “The Ghoul and the Seraph (Ghoul’s Song II)” through the bookending choral figures and either sampled or synthesized horns over the resolute chug of “Nyarlathotep” and more straight-ahead slow-motion push of closer “Ghosts in Agartha,” which swirls out a highlight solo after a wailing verse lets go and seems to drift away after its payoff for the album as an entirety. While in concept, People of the Black Circle‘s aesthetic isn’t necessarily anything new, there’s no denying the boundaries of dungeon synth and horror/garage doom are being transcended here, and that mixture feels like it’s being given a fresh perspective in these songs, even if the thematic is familiar. A mix of new and old, then? Maybe, but the new wins out decisively. In the parlance of our times, “following.”

People of the Black Circle on Facebook

Red Truth Productions on Bandcamp


Black Capricorn, Cult of Blood

black capricorn cult of blood

It always seems to be a full moon when Black Capricorn are playing, regardless of actual cloud cover or phase. The Sardinian trio of guitarist/vocalist Fabrizio Monni (also production; also in Ascia), bassist Virginia Pras and drummer Rachela Piras offer an awaited follow-up to their 2019 Solstice EP (discussed here). Though it’s their fifth full-length overall, it’s the second with this lineup of the band (first through Majestic Mountain), and it comes packed with references like the doomly “Worshipping the Bizarre Reverend” and “Snake of the Wizard” as distorted, cultish and willfully strange vibes persist across its 44-minute span. Doom. Even the out-there centerpiece kinda-interlude “Godsnake Djamballah” and the feedback-laced lurch-march of the nine-minute “Witch of Endor” have a cauldron-psych vibe coinciding with the largely riff-driven material, though, and it’s the differences between the songs that ultimately bring them together, closer “Uddadhaddar” going full-on ritualist with percussion and drone and chanting vocals as if to underscore the point. It’s been five years since they released Omega (review here), their most recent LP, and Cult of Blood wholly justifies the wait.

Black Capricorn on Facebook

Majestic Mountain Records store


SABOTØR, Skyggekæmper

SABOTØR Skyggekæmper

The Danish title Skyggekæmper translates to English as “shadow fighter,” and if punk-informed heavy rocking Aarhus three-piece SABOTØR mean it in a political context, then fair enough. I speak no Danish, but their past work and titles here like “2040-Planen” — seemingly a reference to Denmark’s clean energy initiative — the stomping, funky “Ro På, Danmark!” (‘calm down, Denmark’) and even the suitably over-the-top “King Diamond” seem to have speaking about Danishness (Danedom?) as an active element. Speaking of “active,” the energy throughout the nine-song/49-minute span of the record is palpable, and while they’re thoroughly in the post-Truckfighters fuzz rock dominion tonally, the slowdowns of “Edderkoppemor” and the closing title-track hit the brakes at least here and there in their longer runtimes and expand on the thrust of the earlier “Oprør!” and “Arbejde Gør Fri,” the start-stop riffing of which seems as much call to dance as a call to action — though, again, I say that as someone without any actual idea if it’s the latter — making the entire listening experience richer on the whole while remaining accessible despite linguistic or any other barriers to entry that might be perceived. To put it another way, you don’t have to be up on current issues facing Denmark to enjoy the songs, and if they make you want to be afterward, so much the better.

SABOTØR on Facebook

SABOTØR on Bandcamp


The Buzzards of Fuzz, The Buzzards of Fuzz

The Buzzards of Fuzz The Buzzards of Fuzz

Vocalist/rhythm guitarist Van Bassman, lead guitarist/backing vocalist Benjamin J. Davidow and bassist/backing vocalist/percussionist Charles Wiles are The Buzzards of Fuzz. I’m not sure who that leaves as drummer on the Atlanta outfit’s self-titled Sept. 2021 debut LP — could be producer/engineer Kristofer Sampson, Paul Stephens and/or Nick Ogawa, who are all credited with “additional instrumentation” — and it could be nobody if they’re programmed, but one way or the other, The Buzzards of Fuzz sure sound like a complete band, from the trippin’-on-QOTSA vibe of “Tarantulove” and “Desert Drivin’ (No Radio)” (though actually it’s Kyuss alluded to in the lyrics of the latter) to the more languid psych pastoralia of “All in Your Head” and the spacious two minutes of “Burned My Tongue on the Sun,” the purposeful-feeling twist into Nirvana of “Mostly Harmless” and the nod to prior single “Lonely in Space” that is finale “Lonely in Space (Slight Return).” Sleek grooves, tight, hooky songwriting and at times a languid spirit that comes through no matter how fast they’re playing give The Buzzards of Fuzz, the album, a consistent mood across the 11 songs and 32 minutes that allows the delivery to play that much more of a role in making short pieces feel expansive.

The Buzzards of Fuzz on Facebook

The Buzzards of Fuzz on Bandcamp


Temple of Void, Summoning the Slayer

Temple of Void Summoning The Slayer

Crawl into Temple of Void‘s deathly depths and you may find yourself duly consumed. Their style is less outright doom than it used to be, but the Detroit extremist five-piece nonetheless temper their bludgeoning with a resilient amount of groove, and even at their fastest in songs like “Hex, Curse & Conjuration” and some of the more plundering moments in “A Sequence of Rot” just prior, the weight behind their aural violence remains a major factor. The keys in “Deathtouch,” which follows down-you-go opener “Behind the Eye” and leads into “Engulfed” branches out the band’s sound with keyboards (or guitar-as-keyboards, anyway) and a wider breadth of atmosphere than they’ve enjoyed previously — “Engulfed” seems to touch on Type O Negative-style tonality as it chugs into its midsection — and the concluding “Dissolution” introduces a quieter, entirely-clean approach for just under three key-string-laced minutes that Temple of Void have legitimately never shown before. Seems doubtful they’ll take that as far as Opeth in putting out Damnation — though that’s just crazy enough to work — but it shows that as Temple of Void move toward the 10-year mark, their progression has not abated whatsoever. And they still kill, so no worries there.

Temple of Void on Facebook

Relapse Records website


Anomalos Kosmos, Mornin Loopaz

Anomalos Kosmos Mornin Loopaz

Psych jazz, instrumental save for some found voice samples which, if you were listening on headphones out in the wild, say, might have you wondering if you’re missing the announcement for your train at the station. Based in Thessaloniki, Greece, Anomalos Kosmos brim with experimentalist urgency on the half-hour of Mornin Loopaz, the seven tracks of which are titled playing off the days of the week — “Meinday,” “Chooseday,” “Whensday,” etc. — but which embark each on their own explorations of the outer reaches of far out. The longest of the bunch is “Thirstday” at just over five minutes, and at 30 minutes one could hardly accuse them of overstaying their welcome. Instead, the shimmering tone, fluid tempos and unpredictable nature of their style make for a thrilling listen, “Thirstday” remaining vital even as it spaces out and “Friedday” picking up directly from there with a ready sense of relief. They spend the weekend krautrocking in “Shatterday” and managing to squeeze a drum solo in before the rushing Mediterranean-proggy end of “Sinday,” the crowd noise that follows leaving one wondering if there aren’t more subversive messages being delivered beneath the heady exterior. In any case, this is a band from a place where the sun shines brightly, and the music stands as proof. Get weird and enjoy.

Anomalos Kosmos on Facebook

Anomalos Kosmos on Bandcamp


Cauchemar, Rosa Mystica

Cauchemar Rosa Mystica

This third full-length from Quebec-based doom outfit Cauchemar brings the band past their 15th anniversary and makes a bed for itself in traditionalist metallurgy, running currents of NWOBHM running through opener “Jour de colère” and “Rouge sang” while “Danger de nuit” takes a more hard rock approach and the penultimate roller “Volcan” feels more thoroughly Sabbathian. With eight songs presumably arranged four per vinyl side, there’s a feeling of symmetry as “Le tombeau de l’aube” tempts Motörhead demons and answers back with wilful contradiction the late-’70s/early-’80s groove that comes late in “Notre-Dame-sous-Terre.” Closer “La sorcière” tolls its bells presumably for thee as the lead guitar looks toward Pentagram and vocalist Annick Giroux smoothly layers in harmony lines before the church organ carries the way out. Classic in its overarching intentions, the songs nonetheless belong to Cauchemar exclusively, and speak to the dead with a vibrancy that avoids the trappings of cultism while working to some of its strengths in atmosphere, sounding oldschool without being tired, retro or any more derivative than it wants to be. No argument here, it’s metal for rockers, doom for doomers, riffs for the converted or those willing to be. I haven’t looked to see if they have patches yet, but I’d buy one if they do.

Cauchemar on Facebook

Temple of Mystery Records website


Seum, Blueberry Cash

seum blueberry cash

If you ever wanted to hear Weedeater or Dopethrone hand you your ass with Sons of Otis-worthy tones, Seum‘s Blueberry Cash has your back. The no-guitar-all-bass-and-drums-and-screams Montreal three-piece are just as crusty and weedian as you like, and in “Blueberry Cash,” “John Flag” and the seven-minute “Hairy Muff,” they reinforce sludge extremity with all that extra low end as if to remind the universe where the idea of music being heavy in the first place comes from. Grooves are vital and deathly, produced with just enough clarity to come through laced with what feels like extra nastiness, and “John Flag”‘s blues verse opens into a chasm of a chorus, waiting with sharpened teeth. Rounding out, “Hairy Muff” is a take on a song by vocalist Gaspar‘s prior band, Lord Humungus, and it’s drawn out into a plodding homage to liberation, pubes and the ability of sludge to feel like it’s got its hands on either side of your face and is pressing them together as hard as it can. These guys are a treasure, I mean that, and I don’t care what genre you want to tag it as being or how brutal and skinpeeling they want to make it, something with this much fuckall will always be punk rock in my mind.

Seum on Facebook

Seum on Bandcamp


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Chew to Release Horses on Friday; Title-Track Video Posted

Posted in Whathaveyou on March 8th, 2022 by JJ Koczan


When it comes to stuff I’m posting about, I usually have a pretty good idea if something will go over or not. Not so much here. I think Chew‘s “Horses” is a pretty interesting eight-minute run combining three or four different genres minimum that is able to pull itself off simply by doing so. The swagger in the now-this-happens of it, if not necessarily in a showiness for the track itself. It’s the title-track of their third album, and the record is out this Friday, March 11, through reliable purveyors Stolen Body Records, who you always know are up to some fascinating shenanigans, and yeah, I’ve got a certain amount of trust in their taste — not everything is a fit all the time, but none of it is boring — but I also feel like what I’m hearing in “Horses” backs that up.

Maybe you’ll dig it too. Maybe you won’t. Music like this isn’t intended for a universal audience, though I don’t think they’d argue if everybody caught on all at once. Vinyl preorders start next month.

UK and European tour dates, as well as album background and of course the aforementioned video all follow here, courtesy of the PR wire:

chew horses


We are delighted to announce the third album from Atlanta psych experimenters CHEW. Check out out the video for the new single Horses.

TITLE: Horses
RELEASE DATE: March 11th

We are delighted to announce the third album from Atlanta psych experimenters CHEW. Horses is another leap into the unknown. Another trip through the weird. A wonderfully crafted instrumental album that takes elements of psych, break beat, prog, electronica and much much more. Delve into the world of CHEW.

Chew explain the process of their third album.

Through multiple sessions, the skeleton of HORSES was crafted. Bone by bone by experimental noise freak-out shut-ins. For days at a time, we would lock ourselves in our rehearsal space with no pre-arranged music and tried to incorporate more synthesisers and electronics to establish an atmosphere. Riffs and patterns formed until they resembled songs, eventually polished to purity in live sets until taking their final alchemical shape.

In the summer of 2021, we started production and HORSES was the dream sequence pulled from our heads. Recording dreams is highly experimental and often times resembles the warm, nostalgic warble of the unstable VHS format. We did all we could to salvage the integrity of the original dreams, but we did lose a lot in the process.

In an attempt to refurbish the dream state, we imported more delicious synth, incorporated electronic drums and breaks, and added extreme new flavour with the addition of our friend and multi-instrumentalist Morgan Soltes. Having completed the triptych of 3D EP, A Fine Accoutrement, and Darque Tan, HORSES rides in a new direction for CHEW defining an upcoming era of style and creativity.

Track List
1. Kisouma
2. Horses
3. Holy Fountain
4. If You Are Sensitive To Simulators, Close Your Eyes And The Feeling Will Pass
5. Palo Santo
6. Pseudocide
7. All Operators Will Be On Site
8. Rosette Pattern
9. The Mall

CHEW pushes the boundaries of psychedelic electronic and post-rock with a combination of articulated and monstrously heavy rhythm section work, sample-based analog leads, and discorded psychedelic guitar. What at first seems like a strange mix of concepts quickly pulls you in and immerses you in a controlled chaos of the most melodic kind.


Sarah Wilson: Drums, Electronic Drums, Percussion Brett Reagan: Guitars, Electronics, Sound Manipulation Morgan Soltes: Bass, Synth, Effects

We are doing this one a little different than normal. The album comes out next Friday! The vinyl pre order goes live April 8th and will be very special and very limited. With current wait times as they are we felt this to be the best way to present the album. Especially as the band head out on their postponed EU tour in May/June. Dates below.

Escape From USA Tour (May/June 2022)
20.05.22 – IT- SAVONA – RAINDOGS
21.05.22 – IT – VERONA – FINE DI MONDO
22.05.22 – IT – BOLOGNA – FREAKOUT
25.05.22 – CZ – PRAGA – CROSS CLUB
26.05.22 – DE – MANNHEIM – ALTER
31.05.22 – FR – ROUEN – Le 3 Pièces Muzik’Club
02.06.22 – UK – LONDON – The Victoria, Dalston
04.06.22 – UK – HASTINGS – THE PIPER
05.06.22 – UK – BRISTOL – THE LANES
06.06.22 – FR – BRUXELLES – CHAFF
07.06.22 – FR – ALENCON – Chapêlmêle
08.06.22 – FR – Angoulême – Le Point CaRré
09.06.22 – FR – PARIS – SUPERSONIC
10.06.22 – FR – NANCY – LE ROYAL
11.06.22 – FR – LYON – LE FARMER
12.06.22 – IT – SOLIERA (MO) – NOWHERE

Written, Produced and Mixed by: CHEW
Engineered by: Morgan Soltes
Recorded at: Grandma’s Casket at Ember City, West End, Atlanta, Georgia.
Mastered By: Benjamin Price
Published by: Church of the Abundant Cheeseburger (ASCAP)
Video by: Riley Morgan

Brett Reagan – guitar/electronics
Sarah Wilson – drums/percussion
Morgan Soltes – bass/synth bass




Chew, “Horses” official video

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The Obelisk Questionnaire: Anton Samford of Telestrion, Hooray Saturday, Qualone & More

Posted in Questionnaire on February 28th, 2022 by JJ Koczan

Anton Samford

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

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

Thank you for reading and thanks to all who participate.

The Obelisk Questionnaire: Anton Samford of Telestrion, Hooray Saturday, Qualone & More

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

I record psychedelic stoner guitar fuzz pop music on my own at home and release it for free on Bandcamp, because I am addicted to writing songs and making albums and creating artwork and uploading it to the internet, born of a love of home recording and guitars and melodies and good songs and interesting and strange sounds.

Describe your first musical memory.

Listening to the Beatles “Revolution” 45 on 78 speed. I called it The Ducky Song. I was three.

Describe your best musical memory to date.

Seeing King Crimson perform “21st Century Schizoid Man” in Washington DC on September 11th, 2021. I felt the spirit of music enter the room and observe itself.

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

I believe nothing.

Where do you feel artistic progression leads?

Discipline, freedom, enlightenment.

How do you define success?

By writing and recording a song that I enjoy listening to over and over.

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

My friend read her suicide note live on Instagram before shutting off the camera and shooting herself in the heart. RIP Shannon “Daffney” Spruill 09/01/21.

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

An album about my train ride to D.C. I took a lot of drugs on the train, went and saw King Crimson, got home, and got Covid. During this time I finally learned what it truly means to forgive others and forgive myself and I quit smoking weed, I quit microdosing mushrooms, I quit eating meat, and I found out what it means to truly be alive.

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

To bring people together and connect them with something that they cannot see.

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

Finishing my house renovations.


Anton Samford, 23 Hours Late EP (2022)

Telestrion, Official Bootleg III: Live At Buffingtons, Milledgeville, GA (2022)

Hooray Saturday, H for Hooray (2022)

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Hot Ram Premiere “Conamara Chaos” Video; Electric Medicine Limited Vinyl Out Today

Posted in Bootleg Theater on February 4th, 2022 by JJ Koczan

hot ram

Today, Feb. 4, Atlanta three-piece Hot Ram release a special vinyl edition of their 2021 album, Electric Medicine, through The Swamp Records. And for those unfamiliar, whatever you might be expecting of a group with a name like Hot Ram — which is to say, a grand thrusting of crotch — and its Led Zeppelin-meets-modern-stoner cover art, I’m glad to report that the record, which runs six songs and 39 minutes and was originally issued last May, works quickly to defy that anticipation. Founded by guitarist/vocalist Billy Konkel and here featuring bassist Dee Flores and drummer Gordon WhiteHot Ram‘s third long-player unfolds with a sense of patience in “The Hunter,” teasing aggression to come while loosing a headphone-ready spaciousness and melody that sounds more akin to Spaceslug than not. “Conamara Chaos” (video premiering below) is riffier and rougher around the proverbial edges, with an element of metal at play that works to set up the later take on Judas Priest‘s “Riding on the Wind,” and one might say the same of the chug that begins “Trans Am.”

But while Hot Ram are in familiar territory there in theme and riff, the twist brought by the gruff vocals is darker and more atmospheric, and White‘s drums hint at the nastier tempo kick to come as the song approaches its midsection, returning to the verse as though just to touch ground before freaking out once and for all and ending what I’ll assume is side A ahead of the aforementioned “Riding on the Wind” starting side B, channel-spanning guitar solos for that twin-lead effect, and harnessing that particular, classic sense of the badass that so much belongs to Priest for Hot Ram‘s own purposes. “The Grave of Arch Stanton” — and here’s a fun bit of trivia; in The Good, the Bad and the Ugly, Arch Stanton was buried Feb. 3, 1862, which was 160 years ago yesterday — follows and fuzzes like Egypt in an echo chamber around its central progression, shorter on the whole but with a reach of its own ahead of the 10-minute finale “Binary Sunset.”

For an extra sense of completion to the full-length as a whole, “Binary Sunset” caps with a mirroring of the kind of somehow-still-earthy psychedelia Hot Ram brought to the outset of Electric Medicine, earning bonus points along the way for weaving guitar solos into and out of its “Planet Caravan”-esque main line, gradually moving into a build underscored only by more rumble rather than some sudden burst of drums. Gorgeously fluid, it finishes Electric Medicine in unpredictable fashion and underscores the notion that, for those of us late to the party on the album as a whole (hi, that’s me, I know you’re way cooler) its ability to run against what one thinks is coming is an asset put to fervent use. With a new lineup in place around Konkel that includes bassist Dan Gianpieto and drummer Lionel Obriot, whatever Hot Ram does next is bound to be somewhat different, but the ambient finish in “Binary Sunset” seems to end this collection on as open a note (figuratively speaking) as possible.

Well kept secret? From me up to this point, at least. I feel fortunate, though, to have the chance to dig into Electric Medicine and find it very much a third-album’s realization on the part of Hot Ram, who present an awareness of style without succumbing to the tenets of genre outright. Their individuality shines through in tone and intent alike. And they’ll be at Maryland Doom Fest, so, bonus.

I’m glad they hit me up to premiere a video. Which, hey, you’ll find right down there, followed by more from the PR wire.


Hot Ram, “Conamara Chaos” video premiere

Limited Edition Vinyl out February 4th, 2022.

“Conamara Chaos” the second single and video from Atlanta’s HOT RAM 2021 album “Electric Medicine.”

Video by Pendleton Studios ATL.

To celebrate a short press of vinyl for this coming bandcamp Friday… HOT RAM dive into psychedelic biker satanic worship territory with the heavy narcotic video “Conamara Chaos” the follow up to the barn banging “The Grave of Arch Stanton” off of the third release from these Deep south gents.

After getting out of the house post pandemic, Konkel lost both original band mates but found kindred riffers Lionel Obriot (Four Hour Fogger) on drums and Dan Gianpieto (Sporelord) on bass to get in some choice gigs with Heavy Temple, Caustic Casanova, Formula 400, Blackjack Mountain, Day Glo Mourning, Empty Black and Drifter.

With the addition of being added to this year’s Maryland Doomfest, HOT RAM is beginning to work on demoing new jams to hit your ears by June 2022.

Hot Ram on ‘Electric Medicine’:
Billy Konkel – Guitar/Vocals
Gordon White – Drums
Dee Flores – Bass

Hot Ram are:
Billy Konkel – Guitar/Vocals
Lionel Obriot – Drums
Dan Gianpieto – Bass

Hot Ram, Electric Medicine (2021)

Hot Ram on Instagram

Hot Ram on Facebook

Hot Ram on Bandcamp

The Swamp Records website

The Swamp Records on Bandcamp

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The Obelisk Questionnaire: Tommy Stewart of Tommy Stewart’s Dyerwulf, Hallows Eve and Black Doomba Records

Posted in Questionnaire on August 16th, 2021 by JJ Koczan

tommy stewart dyerwulf

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

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

Thank you for reading and thanks to all who participate.

The Obelisk Questionnaire: Tommy Stewart of Tommy Stewart’s Dyerwulf, Hallows Eve and Black Doomba Records

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

I am an explorer of music! I’m a producer with a studio, a label, I’m a songwriter, bassist and vocalist mostly. I’m often thought of as the bassist of Hallows Eve. How did I come to do it? I had music and art in the house from the very beginning and my mother began teaching me about music on piano at age four.

Describe your first musical memory.

Playing ‘Silent Night’ on piano at a Christmas recital in kindergarten at age five.

Describe your best musical memory to date.

One of my favorite musical memories was being dragged up onstage at a Supremes show and singing with Mary Wilson plus making her laugh because I did all her dance moves with her. It was quite surreal, being a metal guy.

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

This is a tough one. I keep finding out everything I think is a certain way turns out to be true. Which is pretty scary since I have a fairly bleak opinion of the world that I keep to myself except in art and music where I express it, you lucky people.

Where do you feel artistic progression leads?

I don’t know, I never saw art as a destination which takes us or me anywhere. I just… do. I create in the moment and it reflects what’s happening to me now.

How do you define success?

Being happy. It’s that simple.

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

I can’t think of anything. Most unpleasant things I’ve seen I accept as parts of life, even death right before me. All parts of life are part of life, I accept it. I’m the one not shocked when others around me are freaking.

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

I have painted since I was a kid, it started with coloring. I’m not good at drawing and don’t enjoy it, but I like painting. I’d like to paint much more. I feel that time is coming, wherein I may do less music and paint more, not for anyone in particular but just for the sake of it and myself.

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

To express oneself as a form of language, at times just to oneself. An example is I feel, I play, you hear, you feel. That is language.

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

I’m spending December holidays on a small island with my family!


Tommy Stewart’s Dyerwulf, Doomsday Deferred (2021)

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