Slomosa Announce First-Ever US Shows This September

Posted in Whathaveyou on June 11th, 2024 by JJ Koczan


As regards the popular demand for ambitious Norwegian heavy rockers Slomosa — which is real, to be sure — I have to wonder how many of those sending messages and leaving comments in the band’s direction might ever have called it that their first US shows would take place in the company of veteran pop-punkers Alkaline Trio. Not me, obviously, but the odd pairing aside, Slomosa‘s ascent to the forefront of the heavy rock underground continues with this significant step, and as I was fortunate enough to see them for the first and hopefully not last time just a couple weeks ago in Germany at Freak Valley 2024 (review here), where they headlined the first night in everything but name, I’ll note that as significant a step as this tour is, the band are ready to take on bigger stages and broader geographies even ahead of releasing their second record.

As to that, no, I don’t have a release date. It was supposed to be this Fall (read: September), but whether or not that’s happening I don’t know since it’s not mentioned here and hasn’t really been confirmed elsewhere. Whatever the plan ends up being, early singles “Rice” and “Cabin Fever” (video premiered here) speak well of the follow-up to their 2020 self-titled debut (review here), and the mark on heavy rock and roll songwriting that Slomosa are just beginning to make. They’ll likely learn a few things on this tour, certainly about the differences between being on the road in Europe and in the States, among who knows what else, but emerging stronger is part of the point.

They’ve got dates listed for when Ripplefest Texas is happening, but I guess the potential for their squeezing in a stop at Desertfest New York is there, though that might be a logistical nightmare. The routing follows here, as posted on socials. See what you think:

slomosa tour with alkaline trio

Finally!!! A million begging messages and comments later, we can finally tell you that we are coming over the damn dam to tour the US for the first time ever!!

Catch Spanish Love Songs & us supporting Alkaline Trio on any (or several) of these 13 dates in September:

11.09 – San Antonio, TX
12.09 – New Orleans, LA
15.09 – Charleston, SC
17.09 – Wilmington, DE
19.09 – Wallingford, CT
20.09 – Wantagh, NY
21.09 – Sayreville, NJ
22.09 – Hampton Beach, NH
24.09 – Buffalo, NY
26.09 – Grand Rapids, MI
27.09 – Milwaukee, WI
28.09 – Columbus, OH
29.09 – Newport, KY

Another milestone for us, still sinking in. Thanks for bringing us along, Alkaline Trio. And who knows, there might even be some more gigs added to our schedule🤷‍♂️

This is going to be a blast, hoping to see y’all somewhere along the road🐫🐫

Tickets on sale this Thursday, 12pm NYC time, on our website and elsewhere!

Benjamin Berdous – Vocals/guitar
Marie Moe – Vocals/bass
Tor Erik Bye – Guitar
Jard Hole – Drums

Slomosa, “Cabin Fever” official video

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Quarterly Review: Pelican, My Dying Bride, Masonic Wave, Bismarck, Sun Moon Holy Cult, Daily Thompson, Mooch, The Pleasure Dome, Slump, Green Hog Band

Posted in Reviews on May 20th, 2024 by JJ Koczan


Welcome back to the Quarterly Review. Good weekend? Restful? Did you get out and see some stuff? Did you loaf and hang out on the couch? There are advantages to either, to be sure. Friday night I watched my daughter (and a literal 40 other performers, no fewer than four of whom sang and/or danced to the same Taylor Swift song) do stand-up comedy telling math jokes at her elementary school variety show. She’s in kindergarten, she likes math, and she killed. Nice little moment for her, if one that came as part of a long evening generally.

The idea this week is the same as last week: 50 releases covered across five days. Put the two weeks together and the Spring 2024 Quarterly Review — which I’m pretty sure is what I called the one in March as well; who cares? — runs 100 strong. I’ll be traveling, some with family, some on my own, for a bit in the coming months, so this is a little bit my way of clearing my slate before that all happens, but it’s always satisfying to dig into so much and get a feel for what different acts are doing, try and convey some of that as directly as I can. If you’re reading, thanks. If this is the first you’re seeing of it and you want to see more, you can either scroll down or click here.

Either way, off we go.

Quarterly Review #51-60:

Pelican, Adrift/Tending the Embers

pelican adrift tending the embers

Chicago (mostly-)instrumentalist stalwarts Pelican haven’t necessarily been silent since 2019’s Nighttime Stories (review here), with a digital live release in Spring 2020, catalog reissues on Thrill Jockey, a couple in-the-know covers posted and shows hither and yon, but the stated reason for the two-songer EP Adrift/Tending the Embers is to raise funds ahead of recording what will be their seventh album in a career now spanning more than 20 years. In addition to that being a cause worth supporting — they’re on the second pressing; 200 blue tapes — the two new original tracks “Adrift” (5:48) and “Tending the Embers” (4:26) reintroduce guitarist Laurent Schroeder-Lebec as a studio presence alongside guitarist Trevor Shelley de Brauw, bassist Bryan Herweg and drummer Larry Herweg. Recorded by the esteemed Sanford Parker, neither cut ranges too far conceptually from the band’s central modus bringing together heavy groove with lighter/brighter reach of guitar, but come across like a tight, more concise encapsulation of earlier accomplishments. There’s a certain amount of comfort in that as they surf the crunching, somehow-noise-rock-inspired riff of “Adrift,” sounding refreshed in their purpose in a way that one hopes they can carry into making the intended LP.

Pelican website

Pelican on Bandcamp

My Dying Bride, A Mortal Binding

My Dying Bride A Mortal Binding

Something of a harsher take on A Mortal Binding, which is the 15th full-length from UK death-doom forebears My Dying Bride, as well as their second for Nuclear Blast behind 2020’s lush The Ghost of Orion (review here. The seven-song/55-minute offering from the masters of misery derives its character in no small part from the front-mixed vocals of Aaron Stainthorpe, who from opener “Her Dominion” onward, switches between his morose semi-spoken approach, woeful as ever, and dry-throated harsher barks. And that the leadoff is all-screams feels like a purposeful choice as that rasp returns in the second half of “The 2nd of Three Bells,” the 11-minute “The Apocalyptist,” “A Starving Heart” and the ending section of closer “Crushed Embers.” I don’t know when the last time a My Dying Bride LP sounded so roiling, but it’s been a minute. The duly morose riffing of founding guitarist Andrew Craighan unites this outwardly nastier aspect with the more melodic “Thornwyck Hymn,” “Unthroned Creed” and the rest that isn’t throatripper-topped, but with returning producer Mark Mynett, the band has clearly honed in on a more stripped-down, still-room-for-violin approach, and it works in just about everything but the drums, which sound triggered/programmed in the way of modern metal. It remains easy to get caught in the band’s wretched sweep, and I’ll note that it’s a rare act who can surprise you 15 records later.

My Dying Bride website

Nuclear Blast webstore

Masonic Wave, Masonic Wave

Masonic Wave Masonic Wave

Masonic Wave‘s self-titled debut is the first public offering from the Chicago-based five-piece with Bruce Lamont (Yakuza, Corrections House, Led Zeppelin II, etc.) on vocals, and though “Justify the Cling” has a kind of darker intensity in its brooding first-half ambience, what that build and much besides throughout the eight-song offering leads to is a weighted take on post-hardcore that earlier pieces “Bully” and “Tent City” present in duly confrontational style before “Idle Hands” (the longest inclusion at just under eight minutes) digs into a similar explore-till-we-find-the-payoff ideology and “Julia” gnashes through noise-rock teethkicking. Some of the edge-of-the-next-outburst restlessness cast by Lamont, guitarists Scott Spidale and Sean Hulet, bassist Fritz Doreza and drummer Clayton DeMuth reminds of Chat Pile‘s arthouse disillusion, but “Nuzzle Up” has a cyclical crunch given breadth through the vocal melody and the sax amid the multiple angles and sharp corners of the penultimate “Mountains of Labor” are a clue to further weirdness to come before “Bamboozler” closes with heads-down urgency before subtly branching into a more spacious if still pointedly unrelaxed culmination. No clue where it might all be headed, but that’s part of the appeal as Masonic Wave‘s Sanford Parker-produced 39 minutes play out, the songs engaging almost in spite of themselves.

Masonic Wave on Bandcamp

Masonic Wave on Bandcamp

Bismarck, Vourukasha


There are shades of latter-day Conan (whose producer/former bassist Chris Fielding mixed here) in the vocal trades and mega-toned gallop of opening track “Sky Father,” which Bismarck expand upon with the more pointedly post-metallic “Echoes,” shifting from the lurching ultracrush into a mellower midsection before the blastbeaten crescendo gives over to rumble and the hand-percussion-backed whispers of the intro to “Kigal.” Their first for Dark Essence, the six-song/35-minute Vourukasha follows 2020’s Oneiromancer (review here) and feels poised in its various transitions between consuming aural heft and leaving that same space in the mix open for comparatively minimal exploration. “Kigal” takes on a Middle Eastern lean and stays unshouted/growled for its five-plus minutes — a choice that both works and feels purposeful — but the foreboding drone of interlude “The Tree of All Seeds” comes to a noisy head as if to warn of the drop about to take place in the title-track, which flows through its initial movement with an emergent float of guitar that leads into its own ambient middle ahead of an engrossing, duly massive slowdown/payoff worthy of as much volume as it can be given. Wrapping with the nine-minute “Ocean Dweller,” they summarize what precedes on Vourukasha while shifting the structure as an extended, vocal-inclusive-at-the-front soundscape bookends around one more huge, slow-marching, consciousness-flattening procession. Extremity refined.

Bismarck on Facebook

Dark Essence Records website

Sun Moon Holy Cult, Sun Moon Holy Cult

Sun Moon Holy Cult Sun Moon Holy Cult

That fact that Sun Moon Holy Cult exist on paper as a band based in Tokyo playing a Sabbath-boogie-worshiping, riff-led take on heavy rock with a song like “I Cut Your Throat” leading off their self-titled debut makes a Church of Misery comparison somewhat inevitable, but the psych jamming around the wah-bass shuffle of “Out of the Dark,” longer-form structures, the vocal melodies and the Sleep-style march of “Savoordoom” that grows trippier as it delves further into its 13 minutes distinguish the newcomer four-piece of vocalist Hakuka, guitarist Ryu, bassist Ame and drummer Bato across the four-song LP’s 40 minutes. Issued through Captured Records and SloomWeep Productions, Sun Moon Holy Cult brings due bombast amid the roll of “Mystic River” as well, hitting its marks stylistically while showcasing the promise of a band with a clear idea of what they want their songs to do and perhaps how they want to grow over time. If this is to be the foundation of that growth, watch out.

Sun Moon Holy Cult on Instagram

Captured Records website

SloomWeep Productions on Bandcamp

Daily Thompson, Chuparosa

Daily Thompson Chuparosa

Dortmund, Germany’s Daily Thompson made their way to Port Orchard, Washington, to record Chuparosa with Mos Generator‘s Tony Reed at the helm, and the three-piece of guitarist/vocalist Danny Zaremba, bassist/vocalist Mercedes Lalakakis and drummer/vocalist Thorsten Stratmann bring a duly West Coast spirit to “I’m Free Tonight” and the grunge-informed roll of “Diamond Waves” and the verses of “Raindancer.” The former launches the 36-minute outing with a pointedly Fu Manchuian vibe, but the start-stops, fluid roll and interplay of vocals from Zaremba and Lalakakis lets “Pizza Boy” move in its own direction, and the brooding acoustic start of “Diamond Waves” and more languid wash of riff in the chorus look elsewhere in ’90s alternativism for their basis. The penultimate “Ghost Bird” brings in cigar-box guitar and dares some twang amid all the fuzz, but as “Raindancer” has already branched out with its quieter bassy midsection build and final desert-hued thrust, the album can accommodate such a shift without any trouble. The title-track trades between wistful grunge verses and a fuller-nodding hook, from which the three-piece take off for the bridge, thankfully returning to the chorus in Chuparosa‘s big finish. The manner in which the whole thing brims with purpose makes it seem like Daily Thompson knew exactly what they were going for in terms of sound, so I guess you could say it was probably worth the trip.

Daily Thompson on Facebook

Noisolution website

Mooch, Visions

mooch visions

Kicking off with the markedly Graveyardian “Hangtime,” Mooch ultimately aren’t content to dwell solely in a heavy-blues-boogie sphere on Visions, their third LP and quick follow-up to 2023’s Hounds. Bluesy as the vibe is from which the Montreal trio set out, the subsequent “Morning Prayer” meanders through wah-strum open spaces early onto to delve into jangly classic-prog strum later, while “Intention” backs its drawling vocal melody with nylon-stringed acoustic guitar and hand percussion. Divergence continues to be the order of the day throughout the 41-minute eight-songer, with “New Door” shifting from its sleepy initial movement into an even quieter stretch of Doors-meets-Stones-y melody before the bass leads into its livelier solo section with just a tinge of Latin rhythm and “Together” giving more push behind a feel harkening back to the opener but that grows quiet and melodically expansive in its second half. This sets up the moodier vibe of “Vision” and gives the roll of “You Wouldn’t Know” an effective backdrop for its acoustic/electric blend and harmonized vocals, delivered patiently enough to let the lap steel slide into the arrangement easily before the brighter-toned “Reflections” caps with a tinge of modern heavy post-rock. What’s tying it together? Something intangible. Momentum. Flow. Maybe just the confidence to do it? I don’t know, but as subdued as they get, they never lose their momentum, and as much movement as their is, they never seem to lose their balance. Visions might not reveal its full scope the first time through, but subsequent listens bring due reward.

Mooch on Facebook

Mooch on Bandcamp

The Pleasure Dome, Liminal Space

The Pleasure Dome Liminal Space EP

The narrative — blessings and peace upon it — has it that guitarist/vocalist Bobby Spender recruited bassist Loz Fancourt and drummer Harry Flowers after The Pleasure Dome‘s prior rhythm section left, ahead of putting together the varied 16 minutes of the Liminal Space EP. For what it’s worth, the revamped Bristol, UK, trio don’t sound any more haphazard than they want to in the loose-swinging sections of “Shoulder to Cry On” that offset the fuller shove of the chorus, or the punk-rooted alt-rock brashness of “The Duke Part II (Friends & Enemies),” and the blastbeat-inclusive tension of “Your Fucking Smile” that precedes the folk-blues finger-plucking of “Sugar.” Disjointed? Kind of, but that also feels like the point. Closer “Suicide” works around acoustic guitar and feels sincere in the lines, “Suicide, suicide/I’ve been there before/I’ve been there before/On your own/So hold on,” and the profession of love that resolves it, and while that’s at some remove from the bitter spirit of the first two post-intro tracks, Liminal Space makes its own kind of sense with the sans-effects voice of Spender at its core.

The Pleasure Dome on Facebook

Hound Gawd! Records website

Slump, Dust

Slump Dust EP

A solid four-songer from Birmingham’s Slump, who are fronted by guitarist Matt Noble (also Alunah), with drummer David Kabbouri Lara and bassist Ben Myles backing the riff-led material with punch in “Buried” after the careening hook of “Dust” opens with classic scorch in its solo and before the slower and more sludged “Kneel” gets down to its own screamier business and “Vultures” rounds out with a midtempo stomp early but nods to what seems like it’s going to be a more morose finish until the drum solo takes off toward the big-crash finish. As was the case on Slump‘s 2023 split with At War With the Sun, the feel across Dust is that of a nascent band — Slump got together in 2018, but this is their most substantial standalone release to-date — figuring out what they want to do. The ideas are there, and the volatility at which “Kneel” hints will hopefully continue to serve them well as they explore spaces between metal and heavy rock, classic and modern styles. A progression underway toward any number of potential avenues.

Slump on Facebook

Slump on Bandcamp

Green Hog Band, Fuzz Realm

Green Hog Band Fuzz Realm

What dwells in Green Hog Band‘s Fuzz Realm? If you said “fuzz,” go ahead and get yourself a cookie (the judges also would’ve accepted “riffs” and “heavy vibes, dude”), but for those unfamiliar with the New Yorker trio’s methodology, there’s more to it than tone as guitarist/producer Mike Vivisector, bassist/vocalist Ivan Antipov and drummer Ronan Berry continue to carve out their niche of lo-fi stoner buzz marked by harsh, gurgly vocals in the vein of Attila Csihar, various samples, organ sounds and dug-in fuckall. “Escape on the Wheels” swings and chugs instrumentally, and “In the Mist of the Bong” has lyrics in English, so there’s no lack of variety despite the overarching pervasiveness of misanthropy. That mood is further cast in the closing salvo of the low-slung “Morning Dew” and left-open “Phantom,” both of which are instrumental save for some spoken lines in the latter, as the prevailing sense is that they were going to maybe put some verses on there but decided screw it and went back to their cave (presumably somewhere in Queens) instead, because up yours anyhow. 46 minutes of crust-stoned “up yours anyhow,” then.

Green Hog Band on Facebook

The Swamp Records on Bandcamp

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Gjenferd Premiere “Starless”; Self-Titled Debut out May 10

Posted in audiObelisk, Whathaveyou on February 29th, 2024 by JJ Koczan

gjenferd starless

Norway’s heavy renaissance continues with the May 10 release of Gjenferd‘s self-titled debut on Apollon Records. To be sure, youth is on Gjenferd‘s side as they unfurl “Starless” (premiering below) as the first single from the upcoming six-track LP, but with hints in “High Octane” of upstanding countrymen heavy rock preservationists Spidergawd, a thread of organ running throughout that is more than just mix-filler or complementary happenstance following the guitar pattern, and what seems like a clear idea of the kind of band they want to be, it’s a noteworthy arrival for more than just the harmonies and ’70s-prog-classicism-gone-rockin’ in the culmination of “Restless Nights,” the sweeping chorus in “Burning Soil” or the way the lead guitar in “Beneath the Wave” surges to the fore ahead of the jammier reach (still plotted but maybe part-improv) in “All That Remains is Haze,” though certainly all of those help.

There’s vintage worship happening, but not enough to push aside the breadth of the Hans Uhre production or the mix/master by now-of-Enslaved‘s Iver Sandøy. That speaks to the idea of the band knowing what they’re about as noted above, and in terms of the actual listening experience, I think you can hear in the seven minutes of “Starless” how they take advantage of modern tonal largesse to coincide with their root melodicism. I don’t think anyone’s claiming to have invented space here or trying to pretend they’ve invented a wholly new style, but neither is there want of personality or freshness of approach in the songs. If I tell you ‘heads up’ on the record and invite you to dig into the single, know that I’m trying to make your day better and think there’s a good chance this’ll do it. A bit of Rhodes dreaminess is good for the soul anyhow.

Please enjoy:

gjenferd (Photo by Vegard Ekberg)

Gjenferd is a brand new band from Bergen (but formed in Kristiansand), Norway, inspired by heavy rock’s childhood when hammond organs and walls with guitar amplifiers dominated the stages. Long nights of lager, noise, obscure 70s records and rigging of way too heavy Fender Rhodes have resulted in an album that is a sonic explosion of tenacious and hard-hitting riffs, electric noise and idiotically catchy vocal harmonies.

On 1 March, the band will release the album’s first single “Starless”.

The band consists of members from, among others, Kryptograf, Edvard Borneo and Metusalem.

gjenferd self titledRecorded by: Hans Uhre
Mix and master by: Iver Sandøy
Artwork and layout: Robert Høyem
Recorded at Grisehuset (Odderøya)

Gjenferd er:
Vegard Bachmann Strand – Gitar og vokal
Jakob Særvoll – Keyboard og vokal
Samuel Robson Gardner – Bass
Sivert Kleiven Larsen – Trommer

Photo by Vegard Ekberg.

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Enslaved Announce Deluxe Edition of Heimdal w/ Extra Tracks

Posted in Whathaveyou on January 12th, 2024 by JJ Koczan

I’ll not waste your time recounting the various glories of Enslaved‘s early-2023 outing, Heimdal (review here), because holy crap, we’ve arrived at the next stage of the covering-Enslaved-on-The-Obelisk running gag, wherein although I never really get much response when I write about the band — I assume because they’re not Electric Wizard, which is a standard that few bands will ever meet; just one comes to mind — I now assume you’re actually as huge a fan as I am. Sweet, right? I know!

As such, a deluxe edition of Heimdal from the Bergen, Norway-based progenitors of progressive black metal, which includes their ‘The Otherworldly Big Band Experience’ live recording, the new track “Gangandi” that you can see the visualizer for — it’s got more scope in its first three minutes than some bands have in their career, but you know that — at the bottom of this post, and a couple alternate versions of songs from teh record with Jo Quail on cello. Mark it a win for fans like you and I.

The release is out March 1, which puts it in time for the band’s upcoming European and UK tour, though I don’t know how you sell digital releases at the merch table. I’m sure there’s a way. It’s the future. You can always spend money here.

From the PR wire:

enslaved heimdal deluxe edition

ENSLAVED | announce ‘Heimdal (Deluxe)’ digital album + release single/visualizer ‘Gangandi’

One year ago, Norway’s trailblazing cosmic voyagers, Enslaved, released their latest avant-garde creation titled Heimdal. To commemorate the studio album’s first year of existence, the band are proud to announce the Heimdal (Deluxe) digital album, set to be released on March 1st 2024 via Nuclear Blast Records.

Heimdal (Deluxe) will include the studio album in full, as well as bonus track ‘Gangandi’, alternative versions of two album tracks ‘Congelia’ and ‘Forest Dweller’, both featuring sublime performances from renowned cellist Jo Quail, plus the entirety of ‘The Otherworldly Big Band Experience’ – Enslaved’s stunning 2022 streaming event featuring fellow psychedelic Norwegian prog band Shaman Elephant.

Today, the band have released their deeply mesmerising track ‘Gangandi’ as a preview to the deluxe digital album, which is accompanied by a visualizer.

Vocalist/bassist Grutle Kjellson commented,

“Gangandi was the last song we made before the recording sessions for Heimdal took place. I remember Ivar driving down to my place from Bergen on a Friday night to play a demo for a new song for me, and I went like, “Daaaaamn, this is something else!” I absolutely loved it, but at the same time, I sensed that it was a little bit to the left of the rest of the material. When I started to figure out what to sing over it, I ended up writing a poem in cross rhyme in archaic western Norwegian, which even separated the whole effort even further away from the rest of the material.

So, ultimately, we ended up not including it on the album, other than as a bonus track on the most “exclusive” and limited vinyl versions.

That said, that doesn’t mean that we don’t enjoy the song! Quite the contrary! We love this odd little hybrid of folk rock, early Mayhem, and King Crimson! It just ended up being the weird cousin of the rest of the songs. Kind of like Enslaved itself as a matter of fact.”


Enslaved’s latest studio album Heimdal (released March 2023) is both a departure and a communion with roots forged over three decades ago in the turbulent birth throes of Norway’s black metal scene. It’s a record that points towards new beginnings, and a dawn that’s on the other side of the apex of the land. A psychedelic journey through arcane Norse folklore, connecting with one’s ancient ancestors and our future selves.

‘The Otherworldly Big Band Experience’ was an Enslaved show like none other, their biggest, boldest project to date – a colossal, kaleidoscopic stage show featuring a stellar setlist covering their career, both past and present. Including some tracks never previously performed live.

Enslaved will be touring the UK and Europe in March 2024. The 16-date run will take the band across 10 different countries, with support coming from British post-hardcore quartet Svalbard and US metallers Wayfarer.

Tickets are on-sale now from

w/ Svalbard + Wayfarer
06/03 – UK London, Islington Assembly Hall
07/03 – UK Leeds, Brudenell Social Club
08/03 – UK Manchester, Club Academy
09/03 – UK Glasgow, Slay
10/03 – IE Dublin, Opium
12/03 – NL Helmond, Cacaofabriek
13/03 – FR Paris, La Machine
14/03 – CH Geneva, PTR/l’Usine
15/03 – FR Montpellier, Victoire 2
16/03 – IT Milan, Legend
18/03 – CZ Prague, Futurum
19/03 – AT Vienna, Szene
21/03 – DE Cologne, Club Volta
22/03 – DE Leipzig, Taubchenthal
23/03 – DE Berlin, Hole44
24/03 – PL Warsaw, Proxima

Enslaved have also been announced for some festivals in 2024:

31/07-03/08 NO Beyond The Gates, Bergen
11/08 UK Bloodstock Festival, Derby
14/08-17/08 DE Summer Breeze, Dinkelsbühl
16/11-17/11 MX Mexico Metal Fest, Mexico City

Enslaved are:
Ivar Bjørnson | guitars
Grutle Kjellson | vocals
Arve ‘Ice Dale’ Isdal | guitar
Håkon Vinje | keyboards, clean vocals
Iver Sandøy | drums

Enslaved, “Gangandi” official visualizer

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Bismarck Sign to Dark Essence Records; Vourukasha Due Early 2024

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

You can see below that Norwegian post-metallic crushers Bismarck actually go as far as to apologize for the delay in getting their new record, titled Vourukasha, into audience earholes. Fair enough, but hey, look, sometimes you’ve got a lot going on, or there’s a global pandemic that fucks everyone’s everything for like two full years and then there’s scheduling delays and life and it’s only been since 2020, dudes. It’s not like they released Oneiromancer (review here) in 1999 and we’ve been waiting for a follow-up ever since. But I bet if you’re in the band it feels like it at this point, and that’s what that’s about. A band sitting on their collective ass trying to get this thing out. It can be consuming, frustrating beyond compare. You have this thing, all you want to do is share it. Hurry up and wait. Maybe for a year or two.

Bismarck had previously been inked with Majestic Mountain, and scheduling is the likely demon that undid that deal, but the band will move forward with Dark Essence Records (DwaalTaakeMadder MortemSuperlynx, etc.) and Vourukasha is due to arrive early next year, as the label confirmed on its site:


Dark Essence Records welcomes doom metallers Bismarck to its roster.

Dark Essence Records have announced that Norwegian Doom Metallers BISMARCK will be joining the label, bringing with them a well-deserved reputation for being one of the heaviest bands from Norway, one that has been stirring things up in the Norwegian underground scene ever since the 2018 release of the acclaimed debut album “Urkraft”.

BISMARCK’s trademark sound is an uncompromising mix of sludgy riffs and psychedelic nuances, inspired by a wide array of genres and styles. The end result is an amp melting form of stoner doom, combined with atmospheric post-rock, and with a hint of Middle Eastern folk music and the Norwegian black metal they grew up listening to.

With music that alternates between intense, fuzzed-out heaviness, and clean, atmospheric drones, and with a lyrical content that explores western esotericism, altered states of consciousness and a mystical apocalypse, BISMARCK are now ready for their latest full-length album to be unleashed upon the world.

A follow up to 2020’s critically acclaimed sophomore album “Oneiromancer”, the band’s third studio outing, which we can reveal will be named “Vourukasha” is scheduled for release in early 2024.

Commenting on the fact that they will be joining one of Norway’s best known labels, BISMARCK had this to say:

We’re stoked to sign with Dark Essence Records! They have been, and still are, a crucial part of the heavy music scene both nationally and internationally!

This is an important signing for us, and we’re looking forward to working with professional and dedicated people. Furthermore, they are people whom we consider our friends so we’re excited for the next chapter of our journey!

We would, though, just like to apologise to our fans for the long wait you’ve had for new material. We know it seems like you’ve been hanging on forever, but the album is finally on the way! We don’t want to say too much about it at the moment, but you will not be disappointed. Let’s just say that it has all you would expect from BISMARCK – and then some.

BISMARCK’s lineup is comprised of Torstein Tveiten on Vocals, Leif Herland on Guitar and Backing Vocals, Eirik Goksøyr on Guitar, Tomas Osland on Bass and Tore Lyngstad on Drums.

The band has been confirmed to appear at Oslo’s Desertfest in May 2024.

Bismarck, Oneironmancer (2020)

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Enslaved Announce 2024 UK & European Touring

Posted in Whathaveyou on November 13th, 2023 by JJ Koczan


Move along, people! Business as usual here. Just Enslaved touring with Svalbard and Wayfarer, supporting early-2023’s Heimdal (review here) at club shows probably ahead of another summer of festivals and more traveling as they complete the touring cycle for their 16th album, having built a catalog unparalleled in its commitment to sonic progression either in or out of black metal. Yeah, they’re not the only ones who’ve been around that long, but who else has had the kind of trajectory Enslaved have had, incorporating sounds and styles from prog and krautrock while maintaining their ability to conjure tempests of tremolo seemingly at will.

I guess Opeth would be the big analog, but Opeth ‘went prog’ from a beginning in death metal. They started as one thing and became another. Enslaved have done that without dropping their original intention toward extremity. They changed the sound to suit them, rather than themselves to suit the sound.

This concludes today’s lecture on why you don’t listen to enough Enslaved. Put on Below the Lights twice today after you watch the video for “Congelia” at the bottom of this post and we’ll talk about this again tomorrow. No, probably not really.

From the PR wire. Or was it socials. Oh who cares:

Enslaved tour


In March next it is happening; we are going to tour Europe + UK! Enslaved will be hitting the road, together with Wayfarer and Svalbard. We will visit 10 different countries and play in 16 different venues. Ticket sales will kick off tomorrow, so make sure you find yours!

Due to events and circumstances beyond everybody’s control, our first European club tour since 2018 as a matter of fact! No less!

The blare of the great horn shall resound once again, and Heimdal will guide you through pain and anxiety and to victory!

Looking forward to see you all again.

Alu Alu Laukar!!

At which of these shows can we expect to see you?

06/03/2024 – Islington Assembly Hall – London (UK)
07/03/2024 – Brudenell Social Club – Leeds (UK)
08/03/2024 – Club Academy – Manchester (UK)
09/03/2024 – Slay – Glasgow (UK)
10/03/2024 – Opium – Dublin (IE)
12/03/2024 – Cacaofabriek – Helmond (NL)
13/03/2024 – La Machine – Paris (FR)
14/03/2024 – Geneva PTR/l’ Usine – Geneva (CH)
15/03/2024 – Victoire 2 – Montpellier (FR)
16/03/2024 – Legend – Milan (IT)
18/03/2024 – Futurum – Prague (CZ)
19/03/2024 – Szene – Vienna (AT)
21/03/2024 – Club Volta – Cologne (DE)
22/03/2024 – Taubchenthal – Leipzig (DE)
23/03/2024 – Hole44 – Berlin (DE)
24/03/2024 – Proxima – Warsaw (PL)

Enslaved are:
Ivar Bjørnson | guitars
Grutle Kjellson | vocals
Arve ‘Ice Dale’ Isdal | guitar
Håkon Vinje | keyboards, clean vocals
Iver Sandøy | drums

Enslaved, “Congelia” official video

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Masheena Premiere “Looks Like a Man” Video; West Coast Hard Rock Out Now

Posted in Bootleg Theater, Reviews on September 5th, 2023 by JJ Koczan


Norwegian heavy rockers Masheena released their debut album, West Coast Hard Rock, this past Friday, Sept. 1, through Majestic Mountain Records. From the heavy hotbed of Bergen — home to, among others, Enslaved, Slomosa, Strange Horizon, Green Sky Accident, Bismarck, Kryptograf, Melt Motif, on and on across a range of genres — the four-piece of Luis-Alberto SalomonTarjei A. Heggernes (formerly Lost at Last), drummer Gerhard “Armagedda” Herfindal (ex-Immortal, I, etc.) and Ole Andre “El Mago” Farstad (Abbath) offer eight tracks in a 35-minute salvo of immediately-pro-shop performance and production.

The latter was helmed by producer Iver Sandøy (also drums/vocals in Enslaved), and when you add in a mix/master by thrice-over Clutch producer Machine, the output sounds as clear, sharp and full as any larger-scale, commercially relevant offering, without necessarily being that thing. In terms of general sound, one might recognize elements of latter-day Alice in Chains in Masheena tracks like “Under the Same Sun,” the semi-acoustic harmonies in “Looks Like a Man” (video premiere below) and the more-acoustic-but-still-not-completely-unplugged “Sun Remains” on side B, where the early vocals lug a Jerry Cantrell-esque burden.

That is only part of the conversation Masheena are having, however. Being on Norway’s west coast, they’re positioning themselves in terms of place and giving name to the varied style they show throughout these songs, richly melodic, able to be huge or intimate, deep-toned but accessible in its structure and presentation. From the hooky launch of opener “1979” — not a Smashing Pumpkins cover, thankfully; the PR wire tagged it as KISS-meets-Sabbath and I ain’t arguing — they’re also speaking to a sense of Gen-X nostalgia in rock and roll and communing with various aspects of American West Coast rock, from desert heavy and grunge to the sitar-laced psych flourish of “Where Are You Now,” engaging modernity in the lyrics of “Five Seconds of Fame” while at the same time tapping into a rocker strut of a lead line that becomes an increasingly spacious solo as the band gallops through the “Okay/It’s okay” reassurance in the back half, double-kick drum providing extra push and maybe showing some of the band’s metallic roots in making that choice, but not interrupting the flow or putting aggressive elements where the songs don’t want them.

Side A’s got hooks. Side B’s got hooks.masheena west coast hard rock Rest assured, here be hooks. West Coast Hard Rock isn’t trying to challenge its audience so much as carry it, and as broad as the layered chorus of “Under the Same Sun” is, Masheena never come remotely close to losing themselves or meandering from their purpose in craft. True, starting off with “1979” carries some risk in alienating post-Millennial heads, but (1:) that’ll last about as long as it takes to press play on the record and (2:) it’s likely honest to the band’s experience and what drove them to start this project in the first place, so I’m not about to knock it. And there’s a bit of burl in the repeated delivery of the title-line in “Looks Like a Man,” but rather than some chestbeating hyper-masculine trumpeting, the lyrics unfold a story about blacking out, maybe-murder, and the police investigation through its three verses as the electric/acoustic guitar blend gives a lush feel as they creep into the building chorus.

There, as well as in “Sun Remains” before and after the fuzz kicks in, in the breadth of the finale’s later reaches and in the relative thrust of the three-and-a-half-minute “Remember the Rain” just before, Masheena‘s songs are extroverted in their intention to affect the listener and loaded with aural details, little things here and there — the held bass note under the shuffle in “Five Seconds of Fame,” or the vocal arrangements in “Under the Same Sun” and “Looks Like a Man,” for example — to be found on repeat visits, which honestly seem to be the whole goal for the LP. To keep you coming back.

Masheena would seem to have built the material accordingly. From Sahg noted below to Grand Magus to any number of other examples, they exist as part of a decades-long history of Scandinavian heavy rock acts comprised of dudes from extreme metal outfits, but that’s only part of the story here. In concept, Masheena have more in common with their Motorpsycho-adacent countrymen Spidergawd, in that the material is straightforward on its face, still has an atmosphere — sun’s out, if you couldn’t tell — and rocks in such a way as to remind one that that’s all it needs to do when done well enough, which it is.

That’s probably more than one would reasonably ask of a newer band, even considering the context of pedigree/production, and they still get there in impressive and inviting fashion, with a batch of songs that are dynamic up to the last moments of “Where Are You Now,” with a heavy-prog roll and consuming, weighted, spacious and crashing outreach. It’ll probably be a few years before they follow it up, and when they do, it will be exciting to see how they grow their approach since four of these tracks — I’m going with side A — were from their initial demo, but West Coast Hard Rock sets its standard for longevity, and might just have delivered it. I’ll let you know in half a decade. Ha.

Video for “Looks Like a Man” premieres below, followed by more from the PR wire. Please enjoy:

Masheena, “Looks Like a Man” video premiere

Masheena on “Looks Like a Man”:

This video was shot over three hectic days on location in the North Coast of the Dominican Republic. Shot, directed and edited by New York -based director Lex Lukas, and video features members from Bergen’s Lovebugs and local rapper El Tampa.

In this video we follow the misadventures of former Austrian police detective Franz Hölzer (@derkommisarfranz) trying to solve a case and keep himself together in a tropical paradise. In between pristine beaches, lush tropical vegetation and pool parties we witness his failed interactions with locals, tourists and expats alike.

Video for the track “Looks Like A Man” from the album “West Coast Hard Rock” out on @majesticmountainrecords (vinyl) @TalonRecordsUSA (CD and cassette) Evil Noise Recordings (cassette) and on all digital platforms. Filmed and Edited by @LexLukas1 / @OutDuhBoxMedia. Story by Masheena and Lex Lukas. Featuring performances by @eltampa7133 and @norwegianlovebugs. Filmed on location in The Dominican Republic.

In 2021, Luis-Alberto Salomon started sharing demos with his longtime friend Tarjei A. Heggernes. Before Masheena, Luis had been a vocal and instrumental cornerstone in Royal Rooster, while Tarjei played bass and drove the rhythm for Lost at Last. Seeing the potential in the demos, Tarjei jumped on board, and also roped in Gerhard Herfindal, better known as Armagedda; A legendary drummer, who has played with formidable acts such as Immortal, I, and Demonaz. The ensemble was completed with the inclusion of Luis’s friend, multi-instrumentalist Ole Andre Farstad aka “El Mago”, current lead guitarist for Abbath.

The group soon decided to form a band, and the raw mixes of their initial four songs, originally slated to form an EP, piqued the interest of the revered label Majestic Mountain Records. Impressed with the sound, the label urged the band to develop a full-length album.

The recording sessions took place at Solslottet Studio in the band’s hometown of Bergen, Norway, with the assistance of another long-time friend, the award-winning producer and Enslaved drummer, Iver Sandøy. For the crucial process of mixing and mastering, they turned to the industry titan known as Machine. As a Clutch fan, Tarjei relished the opportunity to collaborate with the wizard who had shaped the sound of legendary albums like Blast Tyrant and Earth Rocker.

Regarding the album’s title and artwork, Tarjei aka “El Profesor” provides an insight: “Bergen is renowned for its diverse musical genres, from Black Metal to Tropical House. However, the west coast of Norway has always nurtured a vibrant hard rock scene, boasting bands like Kvelertak, Audrey Horne, Sahg, Kal-El, and more. We also draw inspiration from the (US) west coast rock of the ‘70s, the ‘80s LA scene, and the Seattle-based hard rock of the ‘90s. West Coast Hard Rock! For the artwork, we commissioned LA tattoo artist Chon Hernandez, known for his work on Clutch’s Blast Tyrant cover. We requested coastal elements and a potential robot. The resulting hand-drawn masterpiece was nothing short of astonishing, exceeding our wildest dreams!”

Masheena on Facebook

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Masheena on Tiktok

Masheena on Bandcamp


Majestic Mountain Records store

Majestic Mountain Records on Instagram

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Evil Noise Recordings store

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Electric Talon Records store

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Slomosa Premiere “Cabin Fever” Video; Tours Upcoming with King Buffalo and Elder

Posted in Bootleg Theater on July 20th, 2023 by JJ Koczan

slomosa (Photo by Linn Heidi Stokkedal)

Ahead of making their Stickman Records label debut sometime early next year, Slomosa will spend a decent portion of the remainder of 2023 on the road, with a swath of festival dates this and next month and more of those and club shows besides as they swap out touring with King Buffalo at the Lazy Bones Festival in Hamburg for touring with Elder the next at the end of October. This continues a streak of road work for the Bergen, Norway, upstart heavy rockers, who’ve been reaping praise all the while since issuing their self-titled debut (review here) in 2020.

They toured with Stöner last year and have been making the rounds at events like Kristonfest, Sonic Whip, Høstsabbat, Desertfest, and so on since 2021 when such things became possible, proselytizing their not-fancy-on-its-face-but-deeply-memorable brand of heavy rock, dug into the roots of post-Kyuss stonerism but cast with the inimitable vitality of a fresh generational interpretation. If we’re lucky, they’ll be the shape of riffs to come. At least from Northern Europe, if not the continent more broadly.

The song is a big-hook riff and rocks its way back to the roots of modern heavy fuzz in the early ’00s. Catchy, melodic, excellently composed, organically produced; it is a herald to the converted who either did or didn’t hear the first record of the growth that (hopefully) typifies the second to come. To coincide, the video has a computer-animated claymation-esque storyline about two characters  stuck together who may or may not actually be the same person, and it feels like something one might’ve stumbled onto in the weirdest moment of an episode of Headbanger’s Ball circa 1994. That’s nothing to complain about, of course, and it suits the track well, is wild enough to hold attention, and speaks to the aesthetic of the band more generally, as well as the aforementioned progression in their sound.

“Cabin Fever” is the first single from the upcoming LP — yet untitled, at least so far as I know — and may or may not be the only new music Slomosa unveil before their Fall touring and the end of the year afterward, but they certainly justify anticipation in this track, and I suspect the closer we get to the release, the more than anticipation will grow. It’s fun to be excited about a new band, young, hungry, willing to tour like mad and loaded with forward potential as Slomosa are. They set a high standard for themselves with the self-titled, and “Cabin Fever” lives up to it in terms of craft and execution.

We’ll leave it there for now. Video, which is by Andreas E. Lund, and copious tour dates follow, as per the PR wire.

Please enjoy:

Slomosa, “Cabin Fever” video premiere

Since their sudden appearance on the scene with the self-titled debut album in 2020, Norwegian up-and-coming desert rockers SLOMOSA have hit the ground running with relentless tours alongside bands such as Orange Goblin, Sasquatch and Stöner. Now, following their recent signing with Stickman Records, the four-piece has shared a brand new song taken off their upcoming, second full-length, which they recently recorded at Polyfon Studio in their hometown of Bergen!

As SLOMOSA singer and guitarist Benjamin Berdous recently said:

“The feel good vibes of our first album were apparent in the music, even though the lyrical themes were more serious and angry, but also in some sense comforting for me personally. Since then more of life has happened and things have gotten more serious, and as always this reflects on the music. It’s still important to me that we continue to offer something fresh in an at times homogeneous genre. Catchy vocal hooks and heavy guitar riffs is our recipe, and we don’t plan to mix up our diets!”

To shorten your wait for the band’s new album, slated for an early 2024-release with many more details to be revealed in the months ahead, make sure to catch SLOMOSA live at the following dates:

22.07.2023 – Vang i Valdres (NO), Vinjerock
28.07.2023 – Michela (DE) , Rock Im Wald
29.07.2023 – Aschaffenburg (DE), Colos-Saal w/ Sasquatch
30.07.2023 – Breitenbach (DE), Herzberg Festival
01.08.2023 – Dresden (DE), Chemiefabrik
02.08.2023 – Hannover (DE), Faust
04.08.2023 – Beelen (DE), Krach Am Bach
05.08.2023 – Cernoy (FR), Celebration Days Festival
11.08.2023 – Kortrijk (BE), Alcatraz Festival
25.08.2023 – Voss (NO), Hedleberget

05.10.2023 – Berlin (DE), Lido
06.10.2023 – München (DE), Keep It Low
08.10.2023 – Dudingen (CH), Bad Bonn
10.10.2023 – Barcelona (ES), Razzmatazz3
11.10.2023 – Madrid (ES), Nazca
12.10.2023 – Lisbon (PT), RCA Club
13.10.2023 – Porto (PT), Hard Club
14.10.2023 – Hondarribia (ES), Psilocybenea
15.10.2023 – Toulouse (FR), Connexion Live
22.10.2023 – Deventer (NL), Burgerweeshuis
24.10.2023 – Köln (DE), Club Volta
25.10.2023 – Amsterdam (NL), Melkweg
26.10.2023 – Eindhoven (NL), Effenaar
27.10.2023 – Frankfurt (DE), Zoom
28.10.2023 – Hamburg (DE), Lazy Bones Festival (w/ Elder, King Buffalo & many more!)

with ELDER:
29.10.2023 – Copenhagen (DK), Pumpehuset
31.10.2023 – Amersfoort (NL), Fluor
01.11.2023 – Oberhausen (DE), Kulttempel
02.11.2023 – Nijmegen (NL), Doornroosje
03.11.2023 – Leuven (BE), Het Depot
04.11.2023 – Paris (FR), La Maroquinerie
05.11.2023 – Lille (FR), Black Lab
07.11.2023 – Bristol (UK), The Fleece
08.11.2023 – Brighton (UK), Patterns
09.11.2023 – London (UK), Electric Ballroom
10.11.2023 – Glasgow (UK), Slay
11.11.2023 – Leeds (UK), Brudenell Social Club
12.11.2023 – Manchester (UK), Gorilla

Benjamin Berdous – Vocals/guitar
Marie Moe – Vocals/bass
Tor Erik Bye – Guitar
Jard Hole – Drums

Slomosa, Slomosa (2020)

Slomosa on Facebook

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Slomosa on Bandcamp

Slomosa on Soundcloud

Slomosa on Spotify

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Stickman Records website

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