High Desert Queen Sign to Ripple Music; Debut Album Coming Soon

Posted in Whathaveyou on July 29th, 2021 by JJ Koczan

Can’t say this one is terribly surprising. I mean, High Desert Queen are set to play Ripplefest Texas early next month in New Braunfels, and the band’s vocalist Ryan Garney had a significant hand in putting that together via Lick of My Spoon Productions, so yeah, it makes sense that the label would be stepping in to put out the band’s debut full-length as well. In being picked up as a part of Blasko‘s curated series, they join The Crooked WhispersHoly Death TrioMother Iron Horse and Hail the Void. Dude’s penchant for bands with three-word monikers continues unabated.

Lick of My Spoon was originally supposed to handle the release of the album in June, so I’m going to make the rash assumption that the thing is finished. It’s set now for later this year or early next year, and I suspect part of that lack of specificity is owed to the fact that no one has any idea what’s going on with pressing times. One way or the other, it’s happening, so the news is good.

Here’s what everybody had to say on the subject:

high desert queen ripple music

High Desert Queen Sign to Ripple Music

Says Ripple Music:

Thrilled to announce the latest addition to the Ripple family, High Desert Queen! Executive produced by the one and only Blasko, new album coming this autumn/winter and don’t miss seeing them storm the stage at the upcoming Ripplefest Texas! Please welcome them to the family.

Says High Desert Queen:

Beyond thrilled and humbled to announce that we have teamed up with the ultimate dream team in Ripple Music and Blasko!

Excited to have our musical family grow and to have our music in the hands of people who share the same vision and know exactly what they are doing!

Our debut album will be available for preorder soon…

High Desert Queen is:
Ryan Garney- Vocals
Rusty Miller- Guitar
Matt Metzger- Bass
Phil Hook- Drums

https://www.facebook.com/highdesertqueen/
http://www.instagram.com/highdesertqueen
http://highdesertqueen.bandcamp.com/
https://www.facebook.com/theripplemusic/
https://ripplemusic.bandcamp.com/
http://www.ripple-music.com/

High Desert Queen, “The Mountain vs. the Quake”

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Quarterly Review: Elara Sunstreak Band, Lost Breed, T.G. Olson, Acid Reich, White Powder, Hellish Form, Mosara, Tombstunner, Moanhand, Appalooza

Posted in Reviews on July 12th, 2021 by JJ Koczan

the-obelisk-fall-2016-quarterly-review

Second week, locked in and ready to roll. The message of today is that the Quarterly Review goes where it wants when it wants. If I’m steering this ship at all, it’s in only the most passive of ways. I hope you had a good weekend. I hope you spent it listening to killer music. I hope you managed to get all your reviews done. Ha.

So much good stuff to come this week. I’m looking forward to diving into it. And you know what? I did end up adding the extra day, so the Summer 2021 QR will go 11 days instead of 10, bringing it to 110 releases covered. Pretty sure that’s the longest I’ve ever gone.

Better get to it.

Quarterly Review #51-60:

Elara Sunstreak Band, Vostok I

Elara Vostok 1

True, Elara Sunstreak Band‘s second album and first for Sulatron Records, dubbed Vostok 1, is not a minor ask at four songs and 72 minutes. But by the time you’re through the 19:44 opener/longest track (immediate points) “Nexus,” the three-piece of bassist/vocalist Daniel Wieland, drummer Martin Wieland and guitarist/sitarist/synthesist Felix Schmidt have set their course outward and they continue to surprise along the way, from the shimmering Elder-style progressive guitar work in the title-track to the guest vocals of Felix Seyboth nodding at Blind Melon in the crescendo of sitar-laced closer “Orange October.” Even “On a Drink With Jim” manages to thrill with its blend of the terrestrial with the spacious, let alone its Doors homage as hinted in its title. These nuances meld with an overarching hypnosis to create a satisfying depth of presentation on the part of Elara Sunstreak Band, and it becomes all the more a far out journey worth taking.

Elara Sunstreak Band on Facebook

Sulatron Records webstore

 

Lost Breed, Speak No Evil

Lost Breed Speak No Evil

Classic doom metal from experienced practicioners of the art. Speak No Evil is kind of a curious release. Vinyl only as yet, and self-released by the band, it answers back to the group’s initial Hellhound Records run in the 1990s and also their 1989 Wino Daze demo that featured Scott “Wino” Weinrich on vocals around the same time he left Saint Vitus and restarted The Obsessed. Weinrich appears on vocals and lead guitar throughout the first half of Speak No Evil, fronting the catchy opener “My Way Out” as well as “Thrift Store Girl,” “Cradle to the Grave” and the double-kick-laced “Doom,” which is nothing if not aptly-titled, while guitarist Pat Lydon sings on “Snakebite,” the less outwardly political “Wake the Dead,” “Siren Song” and “Stalker,” the pairing of which feels intentional. One might think the two sides/two-frontmen thing would make the release uneven, or the fact that it was recorded across two coasts, but nah, it’s doom either way and these guys know what they’re doing. Don’t sweat it. Do hope it gets a wider release.

Lost Breed on Facebook

Pat Lydon on YouTube

 

T.G. Olson, T.G. Olson

T.G. Olson T.G. Olson

Though it’s been a minute as he’s reprioritized Across Tundras, embarked on other projects, relocated to Iowa, farmed, and so on, T.G. Olson has still put out enough records under his own name that to have one arrive as a self-titled is significant in itself. Sure enough and somewhat ironically for someone who’s done so much him-and-guitar work in the past, the nonetheless-unassuming 35-minute eight-tracker features more personnel and broader arrangements than one might expect. That’s hardly a detriment, as even the layers of voice on “Steal a Day” come through as benefitting from the attention to detail, and the harmonica-inclusive twang of “Scythe” has its blues all the more emphasized for the clarity of its strum, while closer “Downer Town” invites a singalong. Personnel varies throughout, but the contibutions of Abigail Lily O’Hara (vocals), Ben Schriever (guitar, bass) and Caleb R.K. Williams (synth, guitar, banjo) — all of whom feature in the latest incarnation of Across Tundras as well — aren’t to be understated, as identifiable as Olson‘s songcraft is at the core of this material.

Across Tundras/T.G. Olson on Bandcamp

 

Acid Reich, Mistress of the Perpetual Harvest

Acid Reich Mistress of the Perpetual Harvest

John McBain, Tim Cronin and Dave Wyndorf — in Dog of Mystery together at the time — would go on to form Monster Magnet a short time after, seemingly on a whim, Acid Reich‘s freakout Mistress of the Perpetual Harvest was put to tape in their rehearsal space as one of a number of “fake” weirdo projects. Listening to these five tracks, including likewise irreverent takes on “Set the Controls for the Heart of the Sun” and “Amazing Grace,” the feel here is like an acid psych treasure trove of Jersey Shore fuckery. Joining the trio were Ripping Corpse‘s Shaune Kelley and Joe Paone of hellSausage, and by their own admission, the audio’s a mess. It’s an archival tape dug up from 1989 — if you’re thinking you’re getting high fidelity, you’re missing at least one of the points of putting it out in the first place. Laced with acid culture samples that may or may not have been added after the fact, this is the first official release this material has ever gotten, and it’s nasty, raw, demo fare that, if it wasn’t so blown into the cosmos you’d call it punk rock. If that doesn’t sound right on to you, it’s probably your loss.

Guerssen Records on Bandcamp

Guerssen Records website

 

White Powder, Blue Dream

white powder blue dream

Based in Austin, Texas, and operatin as the four-piece of guitarist Jason Morales (also Tia Carrera), bassist Win Wallace, keyboardist Ezra Reynolds and drummer Jeff Swanson, White Powder recorded their whoa-this-shit-is-awesome mostly-instrumentalist debut LP, Blue Dream in 2014 and only now is it being at last pressed to vinyl. Given their chosen moniker, the 46-minute/nine-song session is perhaps surprisingly laid back, with the keys/synth and guitar coming together in mellow-prog style atop not-entirely-languid-but-not-overly-insistent grooves; all parties seeming geared toward immersion as much of self as for their listenership, be it in the piano of “Connemara” or the later fuzzer “Rula Jabreal,” where ripplng organ lines top the popping-snare rhythmic tension until the guitar pushes it over the edge of volume swell and wash. Some classic heavy for good measure in “Alice Walker,” but Blue Dream works best taken in its entirety, and listening to it that way, one only hopes they manage to do another in seven years or so. Or seven months. That’d work too. Extra points for the sleek-as-hell soul vocals in the Steely Dan cover “Dirty Work” on side B.

White Powder on Spotify

White Powder on Bandcamp

 

Hellish Form, Remains

Hellish Form Remains

Quarantine-era cross-country duo Hellish Form earn a Khanate comparison on their debut release, Remains, for their sheer unwillingness to pull back from the grueling, punishing tension they create in the slowly unfolding opener/longest track (immediate points) “Your Grave Becomes a Garden.” The dirge is so much forward that it makes the post-Bell Witch lead guitar mourning feel like an afterthought, and the screaming, echoing vocals shared between multi-instrumentalists Willow Ryan (Body Void) and Jacob Lee — who both recorded their parts at home — are a harsh reminder of the existential chaos serving as the background to these songs’ making. “Ache” is shorter and puts synth more forward, and “Shadows with Teeth” thicker and nastier if that’s possible, but through them and the 10-minute finale “Another World,” the feeling of dread, fear, and loss is palpable, and Remains is a fitting name for a record that feels so much like an aftermath.

Hellish Form on Facebook

Translation Loss Records website

 

Mosara, Mosara

Mosara Mosara

Mosara emerge from Phoenix, Arizona, with a sound that just as easily could’ve come down from the mountains as out of the desert, and that’s by no means a complaint. Big riffs promulgate their eight-song self-titled debut LP, and they bring forth aggro sludge undertones alongside lumbering rollout, rawly-captured in the recording but not lacking presence for that, as the mounted chug of “Cypher” demonstrates. Is it heavy enough to crash your hard drive? I’m not trying to lay blame on Mosara‘s riffs or anyone else’s, but apparently there’s only so much assault modern technology can take before falling victim. We’ll call that computer a sacrifice to the eight-minute “Earth God,” its crashing drums and deceptively spacious mix creating a cavernous largesse in spite of the barebones vibe that persists across the span, “Clay and Iron” and “Majestik XII” establishing the atmosphere early but not the full sonic reach of the band, whose plunge is made all the deeper by the High on Fire-style drive of “Oumuamua.” Doesn’t have to be a revolution to fuck you up.

Mosara on Facebook

Transylvanian Tapes on Bandcamp

 

Tombstunner, Call to the Void

Tombstunner Call to the Void

I don’t know if Grand Rapids, Michigan, yet has an officially designated “scourge,” but I’d be happy to see Tombstunner end up with the title. The band’s debut album, Call to the Void, reminds at once of fellow sneering Midwestern chicanery-bringers Bloodcow and also of early ’90s, Blind-era C.O.C., their tones refusing to give themselves over to one side or the other of the argument between metal and heavy rock. Marked out by considered and sometimes willfully clever lyrics, the record strikes with plenty of groove — plenty of “strike,” for that matter — and not an ounce of pretense on pieces like “ASH” or the later “Contempt’s Concrete,” which touches on harsher fare, but again, isn’t really keen to leave its rock foundation behind. They probably make the right choice in that. Eight-minute capper “The Last Ride” is catchy and weighted in kind, seeming to pack as much as possible into its finale as though to let there be no uncertainty the band has more to say. Fair enough. There’s growing to be done, but Call to the Void‘s untamed sensibility is ultimately a strength, not a weakness.

Tombstunner on Facebook

Tombstunner on Bandcamp

 

Moanhand, Present Serpent

moanhand present serpent

Sometimes there’s nothing like a good scream. Moscow-based Roman Filatov has one. The lone figure behind Moanhand can growl, and unlike many harsher metal vocalists, he can also sing, and does so readily across his band’s first album, Present Serpent, but god damn, that’s a good scream. Enviable. Comprised of six tracks, Present Serpent is as progressive as it is extreme, as doom as it is any number of other microgenres, and despite the formidable and varied nature of his performances throught — second track “The Charmthrower” has more scope than many bands do in an entire career arc — he does not fail to put songwriting first ahead of either technique or impact. Present Serpent will not hit a nerve with everyone, but the lumbering “Raw Blessings” and the atmosludge metal of finisher “The Boomering of Serpents,” calling back to opener “Serpent Soul (A Tale of Angels’ Slaughter)” in semi-blackened throb, just leaves me wondering why the hell not. On the level of Moanhand‘s forward potential alone — never mind any of the actual songs — it is a staggering debut.

Moanhand on Facebook

Moanhand on Bandcamp

 

Appalooza, The Holy of Holies

appalooza-the-holy-of-holies-cover

The percussion nuance and guitar lick nodding at Morricone in opener “Storm” amid all the post-Alice in Chains vocal arrangements should be a signal of the reach France’s Appalooza bring to their second LP and Ripple debut, The Holy of Holies. To wit, the subsequent “Snake Charmer” is off and careening almost immediately on its own path, and it’s commendable on the band’s part that where they go on the burlier “Reincarnation” and the more spacious “Nazareth” and the centerpiece “Conquest” — which starts out particularly hard-hitting and by the time it’s done is given over to standalone acoustic guitar without sounding disjointed in getting there — remains so seemingly even-handed in its delivery. Their material is considered, then. It proves no less so through the brash/tense “Azazael,” the desert-but-not “Distress” and “Thousand Years After,” which is a melodic highlight even among the many other surrounding. Tasked with summarizing, closer “Canis Majoris” answers “Conquest” with melancholy and heft, its ending satisfying in an emotional context in additing to being a well earned sonic payoff.

Appalooza on Thee Facebooks

Ripple Music website

 

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Duel Premiere “Children of the Fire”; In Carne Persona Preorder Available

Posted in audiObelisk, Whathaveyou on June 30th, 2021 by JJ Koczan

duel

Austin, Texas, heavy rockers Duel are ready to roll out their fourth album, In Carne Persona. The Lone Star purveyors have done precious little since debuting with 2016’s Fears of the Dead (review here) beyond kick ass and take names, in the studio and on the road, and of course as there was that whole thing about the plague last year, In Carne Persona arrives following their longest time off tour in the last five years. They had Europe booked for Feb. and March last year, and, well, yeah.

But go ahead and get you some of “Children of the Fire” — an appropriate-enough title for a burner — with its dual-guitar classicism and unbridled shove-that-swings and tell me they’re not ready to party. Four records deep, they sound like they know who they are and what they want to do, and from the melody of the hook into the take-no-nonsense solo-plus-final-chorus, it’s four and a half minutes of organic efficiency that speaks only to the follow-up to 2019’s Valley of Shadows (review here) as one worth marking the calendar for.

Or preordering — and hey, wouldn’t you know, preorders are up as of right now. This very second.

Dig in. PR wire info follows the song:

Duel, “Children of the Fire” track premiere

duel in carne persona

Duel – In Carne Persona – Oct. 1

CHILDREN OF THE FIRE is the first single taken from the DUEL upcoming brand new album In Carne Persona. The release will see the light October 1st via Heavy Psych Sounds.

“In Carne Persona”, the upcoming fourth full length album from Texas heavy rockers DUEL, is more of what you have come to expect from the band. Nine new heavy riff soaked tracks from a dungeon in the desert. Written and recorded during plague lockdown, In Carne Persona has the feel of an album that takes its time and full attention to detail. Several upbeat classic guitar rockers in the vain of Thin Lizzy, early UFO, and the beginnings of KISS. A handful of old school NWOBHM anthems channeling early Judas Priest and Iron Maiden, tripped out stoner and proto metal soundscapes. Always pushing the barriers of their sound and offering up something new with the soul of the classic DUEL evil boogie.

SAYS THE BAND:
“Children of the fire is the opening track from our new album. A sun scorched upbeat rocker with a killer dual guitar solo section. The vibe of this one we felt was reminiscent of the earliest DUEL songs like Fears of the Dead.”

ALBUM PRESALE:
https://www.heavypsychsounds.com/

USA PRESALE:
https://www.heavypsychsounds.com/shop-usa.htm

Austin, Texas occult rockers DUEL are super heavy, tripped out 4 piece old school stoner metal. Steeped in the more sinister sounds of dungeon-esque early 80’s heavy metal, Proto metal of the 70’s and late 60s psych. Their tunes spin dark tales of ritual horror, occult sex and Apocalyptic doom. Exploring alternate realms, and the depth of infinite space with a head full of mushroom tea. Dueling Thin Lizzy esque guitars with the aggression of Motorhead meets the MC5. Dealing their own brand of dark boogie

DUEL is
Tom Frank – Guitars / Vocals
Shaun Avants – Bass / Vocals
Justin Collins – Drums
Jeff Henson – Guitars / Vocals

https://www.facebook.com/DUELTEXAS/
https://www.instagram.com/dueltexas/
https://duel3.bandcamp.com/
https://www.facebook.com/HEAVYPSYCHSOUNDS/
https://www.instagram.com/heavypsychsounds_records/
https://heavypsychsoundsrecords.bandcamp.com/
http://www.heavypsychsounds.com/

Duel, Valley of Shadows (2019)

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Duel Announce Fourth Album Preorders Start Next Week

Posted in Whathaveyou on June 23rd, 2021 by JJ Koczan

Count Austin heavy rockers Duel among the multitudes whose forward momentum got usurped by circumstances well beyond their control last year. Their last record was 2019’s Valley of Shadows (review here), which saw them continue to tour hither and yon on various continents, and while they haven’t been able to do that over the last 15 months, at least somebody was writing. Their fourth studio album — fifth overall release for Heavy Psych Sounds when one includes 2018’s Live at the Electric Church (review here) — will presumably be out sometime in the Fall since preorders are starting next week.

In keeping with the label’s promotional style, this is kind of the announcement of the announcement, and when the preorders start, that’ll be when there’s a track premiere, the album details, probably artwork and all that stuff. Fair enough. Duel have proven nothing if not reliable over the course of their career to-date, and I look forward to hearing how they counter the restlessness they no doubt felt having to sit on ass for so damn long.

Easy bet this’ll be good.

From the PR wire:

duel

Heavy Psych Sounds to announce DUEL is coming back with a brand new album!!!

ALBUM PRESALE + FIRST TRACK PREMIERE START: JUNE 30th

SAYS THE BAND

“We here at cult DUEL are absolutely stoked to announce we are releasing yet another full length album with our Heavypsychsounds family. We have made good use of our time during our modern plague, and are looking forward to sharing it with y’all.”

Austin, Texas occult rockers DUEL are super heavy, tripped out 4 piece old school stoner metal. Steeped in the more sinister sounds of dungeon-esque early 80’s heavy metal, Proto metal of the 70’s and late 60s psych. Their tunes spin dark tales of ritual horror, occult sex and Apocalyptic doom. Exploring alternate realms, and the depth of infinite space with a head full of mushroom tea. Dueling Thin Lizzy esque guitars with the aggression of Motorhead meets the MC5. Dealing their own brand of dark boogie

They have earned a reputation with their beer soaked high energy live performances, relentless touring, writing and recording schedule. Since 2016 the band have released 3 albums with a 4th LP “Valley of Shadows” set to be released on Heavy Psych Sounds Records in May of 2019. DUEL is about to embark on their sixth extensive European tour once again hitting many of the major festivals that they have in the past. Desert Fest, Freak Valley, Stick and Stone, Black Deer Fest in the UK etc. The band has also stayed extremely busy at home in the United States with a brand new album to come in 2021.

DUEL is
Tom Frank – Guitars / Vocals
Shaun Avants – Bass / Vocals
Justin Collins – Drums
Jeff Henson – Guitars / Vocals

https://www.facebook.com/DUELTEXAS/
https://duel3.bandcamp.com/
https://www.facebook.com/HEAVYPSYCHSOUNDS/
http://www.heavypsychsounds.com/

Duel, “Black Magic Summer” official video

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Witchcryer Premiere “I Rise!”; When Their Gods Come for You out Aug. 20

Posted in audiObelisk on June 8th, 2021 by JJ Koczan

Witchcryer

I’ll make this real, real easy for you. Austin, Texas’ Witchcryer release their new album, When Their Gods Come for You, on Aug. 20 through Ripple Music. The song premiering below is called “I Rise!” and it’s a burner. It’s got classic rock stomp to spare, attitude out the wazoo, and songwriting to back up the performances of its players. The vocals of Suzy Bravo feature alongside Jason Muxlow‘s guitar, impeccably mixed for an organic feel, but the weight of Marilyn Monroe‘s bass and Javi Moctezuma‘s drums is a grooving presence not to be understated. Across the span of the record, they move between hard-doom Sabbathian roll and Scorpions-style drive-at-night rightonnery — looking at you, “Nemesis, the Inevitable” — and in “Quetzalcoatl” alone, there’s enough swagger to carry the entirety of the record were it called upon to do so, which, guess what, it’s not.

But as an initial public offering from When Their Gods Come for You, they chose well in “I Rise!” even aside from the title’s inherent exclamatory excitement, but you should note, if they’d picked “Hellmouth” instead, I’d be sitting here praising the choice just the same for the low-end P-U-N-C-H of the bassline and severity of the still-melodic vocals. And if they’d gone with “Sisyphus (Holy Roller),” well, aside from the immediate points for cleverness, the clean, efficient and proto-metallic-but-modern-in-its-delivery Witchcryer When Their Gods Come for Youpath the track takes to its apex is an argument in favor of itself. Even opener “The Devil and the Deep Blue See,” though more atmospheric and serving as an intro to the record as a whole, would work. And of course any number of these or the rest of the tracks might show up between now and August, I’m just saying “I Rise!” is a standout among standouts. It represents Witchcryer‘s sophomore LP well in its sound and style — on the album, it leads into the purposeful stretch of the closing duo “Blackfoot Creation Story/Spirit Power” (7:38) and “When Their Gods Come for You” (7:34), which are the two broadest cuts included — but is by no means the sum-total of all they have to offer. You’re gonna want to be friends with it.

“I Rise!” has a guest appearance from Steve Colca from Destroyer of Light — speaking of underrated — in the chorus. The two are bandmates in Temple of Love and, even more crucially, married, and they complement each other well with Colca backing Bravo to add to the impact of the hook. And as you can see below, When Their Gods Come for You takes its lyrical foundation in a purposeful range of creation mythologies, and I’m not going to minimize the stories being told throughout — they are, after all, epics — but even the theme doesn’t outshine the songcraft, and Witchcryer‘s sound refuses to be bogged down by anything in the progression of the album’s 47 minutes. There are ebbs and swells, naturally, and the final two tracks reveal a deeper patience than anything prior, but even there, the songs move and are rife with intent and clarity of method. I feel I could go on, but you should probably just listen to the fucking song.

So do that. And if you want to know much, much more, there’s copious PR wire info below to dive into.

Album’s out Aug. 20. Witchcryer will be at RippleFest Texas 2021 on Aug. 7. More info on that via Facebook.

Enjoy:

Witchcryer on “I Rise!”:

“I Rise!” is first out the gate and it’s an uptempo stomper that tells of the resurrection of the vengeful mythological Greek Titan god Menoetius. Menoetius (“doomed might” in Greek) was known as a violent hot headed and prideful god. He was eventually struck down by Zeus with a bolt of lightning and banished to Tartarus. Menoetius was impetuous to the very end. In the song Menoetius returns from Tartarus threatening to destroy all humans and gods by harnessing the thunderous might of Zeus. Backing vocals in the chorus by Steve Colca from Destroyer of Light.

Preorder: https://ripplemusic.bandcamp.com/

Witchcryer was created by guitarist Jason Muxlow during his time with Chicago doom band, Earthen Grave (Ripple Records) and became his priority when he moved to Austin in early 2015. That summer, he began co-writing songs with drummer Javi Moctezuma and vocalist/lyricist Suzy Bravo joined the band later that year. The band’s demo, The Preying Kind was released that year to strong reviews.

With the final addition of San Antonio bassist Marilyn Monroe (Pillcrusher, Las Cruces), Witchcryer played its first show in April 2016.

In 2018, Witchcryer’s proper debut, Cry Witch was released on Ripple Records. Containing nine songs of classic doom produced by the band & Brant Sankey (recording & mix engineer). The band toured the Southern states with Italian doom band, Messa, made their way north to Chicago on their own later in the year, and played regularly throughout Texas.

In the fall of 2019, the band headed back to producer Brant Sankey’s new Studio E facility in San Antonio to begin working on the new album. Basic tracks were cut in two days. Guitars, vocals, and guest appearances were recorded between shows all the way up to the start of the pandemic, with the final mix and master delivered in the early months of 2021. This time out, the sound is bigger, grander, and more epic, and the band covers far more musical ground, leaning into their rock and metal roots with special guest vocals by doom metal vocalists Gary Rosas (Ungrieved, Mala Suerte) and Steve Colca (Destroyer of Light).

“Their Gods Will Come For You” is a conceptual album that features songs about gods across various ages of civilization throughout time. The album starts with “Devil & The Deep Blue See,” a Faustian tale of a damned soul swallowed whole by an apocalyptic leviathan, Hellmouth and the narrator’s attempt to fight for their life by climbing out of the fish’s mouth. The album continues with the song “Hellmouth” in which the narrator is now the Anglo-Saxon depicted demon fish itself. The album continues with songs about mythological Greek gods and titans with their tales of pride and punishment, a Mesoamerican sun deity that teaches its doomed warrior people to fly, a Roman goddess seeking justice for crimes against women, the tale of the Blackfoot creation god, and then the title track, “When Their Gods Come For You”. The title track comes full circle proclaiming that if one does not stand up for what they believe in, someone else will do the believing and choosing for them.

The album will include a digital download of a digital mythological book to accompany the concept of the album with album lyrics and artwork from artists that contributed their renderings of each god featured in the album. Artists include; David Paul Seymour for drawing “I Rise!”, John Michael Bowley for “Hellmouth”, Daniel Augustus Marschner for drawing “Nemesis, the Inevitable”, Gerardo Quetzatl Garcia for “Quetzatlcoatl”, and cover artist, Kyle Otto.

“On a personal note. This is the album that I’ve been writing in my head my entire life. When I was about 7 years old in 1983, my grandmother took me to the Aztec theatre in San Antonio to see a double feature of “Hercules” starring Lou Ferrigno and “Clash of the Titans”. I fell in love with Greek mythology and stories about these mighty gods. I would obsess over encyclopedias around the house and find every book I could about gods from every religion. I became a Jehovah Witness by myself when I was about 8 or 9. I used to read my yellow “Children’s Book of Bible Stories” and recite every story to memory. I’ll never forget how dazzled I was by the illustrations. I became a Christian when I was 11 years old all by myself. I would go to churches by myself and even got baptized by myself. I knew that whoever I wanted to be, I had to figure it out by myself. In high school I briefly got into Buddhism and then a teacher loan me a book called, “If You Meet the Buddha On the Road, Kill Him”. I was taken aback and was offended by the title. But, when I read the book, the book taught me that it was okay to question religious hierarchies. This is a very personal album, but I’m not trying to tell anyone what to believe in. Overall, the album is just my chance to tell a bunch of great stories with great illustrations.” -Suzy Bravo

Witchcryer are:
Suzy Bravo – vocals, lyrics
Jason Muxlow – guitar
Marilyn Monroe – bass
Javi Moctezuma – drums

Witchcryer website

Witchcryer on Bandcamp

Witchcryer on Facebook

Witchcryer on Instagram

Ripple Music on Facebook

Ripple Music on Instagram

Ripple Music on Bandcamp

Ripple Music website

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The Penitent Man Premiere “A Long Deep Breath of Sadness” from Legends of the Desert Vol. 2

Posted in audiObelisk, Reviews on June 1st, 2021 by JJ Koczan

the penitent man

cortege

This Friday, June 4, marks the release of Legends of the Desert Vol. 2, the second in an intended series of seven splits put together at the behest of New Mexican imprint Desert Records. And while the two bands differ some in aesthetic and certainly in composition — The Penitent Man a five-piece from Salt Lake City, Utah, and Cortége a duo from Austin, Texas — they’re united here by a focus on atmosphere and an underlying heavy Western theme. On a more practical level, neither act is a stranger to the Desert Records sphere. The Penitent Man issued their previously self-released, self-titled debut (review here) through the label in Fall 2020, while Cortége‘s two-songer Chasing Daylight EP (review here) landed in February. As each one follows up recent work, it shouldn’t be a surprise that there’s consistency of sound, but as with 2020’s Legends of the Desert Vol. 1 (discussed here), the intention here leans toward storytelling, and from the lyrics and moody vibes in The Penitent Man‘s three songs to the gunslinger samples that provide the transition between Cortége‘s two, there’s a classic balladeerism happening one way or the other.

For “A Long Deep Breath of Sadness,” which stands on its own in addition to serving as an intro for the subsequent “The Butcher,” and across those two as well as “Rest My Weary Head,” which rounds out, the band pays particular attention to arrangement and presentation. Todd Ogren of Rival Sons steps in on keys and makes an argument for the group acquiring a sixth member, following up the 10,000 Days-era Tool guitar moodiness and ambient echoing lead lines of “A Long Deep Breath of Sadness” the penitent man cortege legends of the desert vol 2with Deep Purple-style Hammond and ’60s-ish maybe-Hohner flourish later into “The Butcher,” taking the band’s patient unfurling and depth of mix to another level entirely. They readily cross genre boundaries between heavy country, blues and prog, but beneath that is a core of bedrock from which they explore outward. The acoustic that serves to underscore “Rest My Weary Head” feels earned and organic, and the buildup that surrounds over the track’s nine minutes is much the same, somehow grunge while being largely disconnected from that sound in its entirety. Maybe it’s just dirt. Downer dirt rock, and brimming with purpose in that.

“As it Lay (Heavy in the Air)” (10:26) and “Circling Above” (8:37), at just over 19 minutes put together, actually run longer than did Chasing Daylight earlier this year, but unless they’re actually scoring a film — and, really, why aren’t they? — the single-vinyl-side length suits Cortége. It’s consistently a challenge to write anything about them without mentioning Ennio Morricone, but that’s more a credit than a critique since it coincides so much with their stylistic intent. Their use of tubular bells to convey melody as opposed to their guitar adds to the Western feel and plays especially well off the bass in “As it Lay (Heavy in the Air),” an Earth-ier drone march underway quickly (such as it is quick) in the drums with footsteps made that much heavier for the ringing aspect that cuts through the backing ethereal effects. It’s not so much a build, but ricocheting pistol shots ring out ahead of a crying vulture as the first cut ends, and that brings in “Circling Above” to continue the theme. The explosion, topped with horns or something like them, happens after three minutes in, and is gone within a minute’s time, but returns later as “Circling Above” rounds out in surprising cacophony, Cortége loosing the reins for a bit of free jazz crashout before the wind fades.

Beneath all the hard stylization and attention to detail, Legends of the Desert Vol. 2 also functions on the simple level of showcasing two of Desert Records‘ associated acts, and it does well in that, such that the listener will be more drawn to find the common ground between them rather than to see each in opposition to the other. Cortége build on what The Penitent Man establish, and going back to the start again, the entire release seems peopled with characters who resonate with stories of their own to tell.

You can stream “A Long Deep Breath of Sadness” premiering on the player below ahead of the release on Friday. Think of it as the opening credits. More info follows, courtesy of the PR wire.

Enjoy:

Side A:
The Penitent Man is a 5-piece from Salt Lake City. Blending Desert Rock, Classic Rock, Heavy Blues. These exclusive songs featuring the special guest, Todd Ogren from Rival Sons on keyboard for all three tracks! Sounds like Led Zeppelin teamed up with Alice in Chains to make an album in the desert.

A Long Deep Breath of Sadness–4:26
The Butcher–6:32
Rest My Weary Head–9:01
All songs written and produced by The Penitent Man
Drum Tracking and Mixing by Greg Downs at Pale Horse Sound

Steve King–Guitars
Phill Gallegos–Guitars
Allan Davidson–Vocals
Chris Garrido–Drums
Ethan Garrido–Bass
Todd Ogren–Keyboards (from Rival Sons).

Side B:
Cortége is a duo from Austin, TX. They play Ambient Doom mixed with post-western cinematic scores. Heavy bass guitar, drums, and tubular bells. Sounds like if Earth and Pink Floyd teamed up to do a soundtrack to a David Lynch film.

1. As it Lay (Heavy in the Air) – 10:25
2. Circling Above – 8:39

All songs written and recorded by Cortége.
Recorded and mixed by Kevin Sparks.

Mike Swarbrick – Bass, Tubular Bells
Adrian Voorhies – Drums

The Penitent Man on Facebook

The Penitent Man on Instagram

The Penitent Man on Bandcamp

Cortége on Facebook

Cortége on Instagram

Cortége on Bandcamp

Desert Records on Facebook

Desert Records on Instagram

Desert Records on Bandcamp

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The Obelisk Questionnaire: James Cl of Monte Luna

Posted in Questionnaire on March 30th, 2021 by JJ Koczan

monte luna james cl

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: James Cl of Monte Luna

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

I play to live, music is life to me and a true universal language. Playing music is the closest thing to a higher power I’ve ever felt. It is a connection with everyone involved. I started getting serious into music when my ex-wife killed herself in 2015. It was either drink myself to death or play more music, and I’m thankful for the decision I made.

Describe your first musical memory.

My first musical memory was listening to Dark Side of the Moon with my Father when I was a child. It was such an awakening. My first memory of actually playing music was when I was 16. My friend Joe Pacelli and I would sing Alice in Chains songs. He would play guitar and sing doing the Jerry leads and I would do Layne’s. It was amazing, it wasn’t too long after that that I got into guitar, but didn’t get serious about it until after I got out of the Navy when I was 22 (I’m 33 now).

Describe your best musical memory to date.

I would say our 2018 tour across the East Coast. We met so many wonderful people and had such a blast, I was hooked. Second to that would be our Free Week performance at Mohawk Austin. Packed house, stellar lineup and all the homies.

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

When Phil left Monte Luna after our EU tour fell through I was devastated. But I’m thankful for the music community here in Austin and for such great friends, now bandmates, and about to be roommates (Yes, Monte Luna band house is coming in April!!). I really thought it was over, but new energy and the ability to get more live layers of sound really has us pushing. We already have the album written and are working on recording. I believe the bass and drums are done! So that leaves my rhythm, vocals and leads/keys and samples! I love two-piece Monte Luna, but it was mostly for proof of concept, and I got big dreams JJ!

Where do you feel artistic progression leads?

I think there is no one direction artistic progression leads. Sometimes you do art for so long you change course and become better at another form of art. Hell, my first art was doing scripts and goofy movies with my friend Eric Oneil. Now, I play doom, before that I was doing more of a punk rock thing. You just need to be in touch with yourself and keep from limitations of people, genres and anything. Art comes from the soul, and you grow with it.

How do you define success?

Success is based solely on person to person. I used to work for the courts, had a great job and a good life… and I hated it… now, I bartend, play music and live much more modest and I love it. What is success? Well, when they asked me what I wanted to be in college, I said, Happy. That’s what I have been working toward ever since.

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

There are some things I wish I could forget about my time in the Navy for sure. But I don’t wish to talk about or glorify war. So I’m gonna say, Velvet Revolver. They trash.

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

Oh it’s coming… but… an Adventure module for DND 5e based on a Monte Luna album world. Pretty stoked about it, working on characters and adventure hook as we speak! (Multitasking for the win.) It will, for the sake of size, be directly compatible with all 5e books. We are trying to build something very similar to the Lost Mines of Phandelver adventure found in the DND 5e beginners set. We are aiming to include this as a very limited special edition of our next vinyl.

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

To make you feel something.

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

My girlfriend Jenny and I are going to play DND together for the first time right before her birthday! I’m the Dungeon Master too (haha kinda kinky).

www.facebook.com/pg/MonteLuna666
www.monteluna666.bandcamp.com
https://www.instagram.com/monte_luna_tx/
www.argonautarecords.com

Monte Luna, ‘Live at Studio E’

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The Penitent Man & Cortége Pair for Legends of the Desert Vol. 2 Split

Posted in Whathaveyou on March 23rd, 2021 by JJ Koczan

There’s a lot of info below, and fair enough, but if you’re looking for the essentials, it goes like this: Desert Records is bringing together Salt Lake City’s The Penitent Man and Austin duo Cortége for the second in its seven-part Legends of the Desert split series. June 4 is the release date. You might recall Vol. 1 (discussed here) came out last year, and this will be Vol. 2.

Both bands are Desert Records veterans, with releases out through the New Mexico-based imprint, and it goes without saying that the intention here is to write legends rather than bask in those longstanding of yore. Ls are limited, as will happen, and CDs and downloads will all be out — all that fun stuff. I don’t have preorder info or any audio yet, but you can hear releases from both bands below, and I think it’ll come through one into the next that each one brings something of its own to the release, with The Penitent Man handling more of the rocking traditionalism while Cortége offer a cinematic take with their tubular-belled instrumentals. Looking forward to hearing this one.

Announcement follows courtesy of the label:

the penitent man cortege legends of the desert vol 2

LEGENDS OF THE DESERT: VOL 2 – The Penitent Man & Cortége

Legends of the Desert: Volume 2 releases on June 4th, 2021. Vol. 2 brings us further into the desert showcasing new and classic Desert Rock bands geographically located in the Southwestern United States. Continuing the vision of Vol.1, the second installment will introduce the world to two new “Legends” bands, carefully curated by Desert Record’s owner Brad Frye.

All the music for Legends of the Desert is exclusive to the series.

Maintaining the quality and consistency throughout the 7-part series, we will see the return of the Legends team.

New & stunning album artwork by the series artist, Joshua Mathis, features an album cover with a Gunslinger riding a Gila Monster.

The timeless, classic looking graphics and layout from Garrett Hellman will be featured along with Mathis’s artwork.

Mastering will be handled by the series audio mastering engineer, Mark Fuller.

Vinyl LP’s will be available in a limited edition of 500, including highly limited special color variants. CD’s and digital downloads will be available. Digital streaming will be available worldwide.

Desert Records is excited to announce the bands: The Penitent Man (Utah) and Cortége (Texas).

Side A:
The Penitent Man is a 5-piece from Salt Lake City. Blending Desert Rock, Classic Rock, Heavy Blues. These exclusive songs featuring the special guest, Todd Ogren from Rival Sons on keyboard for all three tracks! Sounds like Led Zeppelin teamed up with Alice in Chains to make an album in the desert.

A Long Deep Breath of Sadness–4:26
The Butcher–6:32
Rest My Weary Head–9:01
All songs written and produced by The Penitent Man
Drum Tracking and Mixing by Greg Downs at Pale Horse Sound

Steve King–Guitars
Phill Gallegos–Guitars
Allan Davidson–Vocals
Chris Garrido–Drums
Ethan Garrido–Bass
Todd Ogren–Keyboards (from Rival Sons).

Side B:
Cortége is a duo from Austin, TX. They play Ambient Doom mixed with post-western cinematic scores. Heavy bass guitar, drums, and tubular bells. Sounds like if Earth and Pink Floyd teamed up to do a soundtrack to a David Lynch film.

1. As it Lay (Heavy in the Air) – 10:25
2. Circling Above – 8:39

All songs written and recorded by Cortége.
Recorded and mixed by Kevin Sparks.

Mike Swarbrick – Bass, Tubular Bells
Adrian Voorhies – Drums

https://www.facebook.com/thepenitentmanband
https://www.instagram.com/thepenitentmanband/
https://thepenitentman.bandcamp.com/

cortege.bandcamp.com/
facebook.com/cortegeatx/
instagram.com/cortegeatx/

https://www.facebook.com/desertrecordslabel/
https://desertrecords.bandcamp.com/
https://desertrecords.bigcartel.com/

The Penitent Man, The Penitent Man (2020)

Cortége, Capricorn (2019)

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