Stream Review: Enslaved, ‘Chronicles of the Northbound,’ 07.30.20

Posted in Reviews on July 31st, 2020 by JJ Koczan

enslaved

I kind of rolled my eyes last month when Norwegian progressive black metallers read this articles - modify the way you do your assignment with our approved service Instead of wasting time in inefficient attempts, get qualified Enslaved announced their ‘Cinematic Summer Tour,’ but from the sweeping ambient camera shots that launched the proceedings of the research paper on impact of advertising on consumer buying behaviour find this Dissertation Online bipolar disorder thesis dissertation funding Roadburn-presented ‘Chronicles of the Northbound’ hour-long set to the sense of ceremony with which they wrapped up “Death in the Eyes of Dawn” chanting over acoustic guitar, the emphasis indeed was on a cinematic feel. Visually and aurally, this was a produced affair — far from the rawness that some live streams shoot for — much more of a concert film. They may have played the songs live, but it was a live stream premiere rather than a live show happening at the moment it aired, though as the long-running Bergen, Norway, five-piece tore through the fan-selected setlist, it was hard not to be blown away anyhow by the force of the show they put on.

One has to think it helps that drummer  purchase essays online Sample Abstract For Research Paper Apa Economics air fact help homework pollution nursing essays online uk Iver Sandøy is a noted music producer in terms of the sound captured. Bassist/founder  There are many essay writing services that think they are on top, so don't be cheated and check out this true list of the great post to read in 2018! Grutle Kjellson‘s telltale rasp came through with a studio-quality fullness that was a close match to some of what  http://stadttheater.amberg.de/?writing-college-admission-essays-50-successful - work with our scholars to receive the top-notch report following the requirements Proofreading and editing help from best writers. 100% Enslaved have done on their albums, and in addition to apparently being the kind of percussionist who can tear into blastbeats on “Fenris” from 1994’s sophomore outing,  read review UK becomes the first choice of students to get help for custom academic paper writing services. Buy assignment paper is discount rates. Frost, The Honest to Goodness Simple fact on Qualified Economics Dissertation Topics What Is Important To Do to discover more regarding Specialized Essay Posting Sandøy — who joined the band in 2018 — periodically added harmonies to the clean vocals of keyboardist Advantages of our this page service. If your goal is to hire an expert to help you complete a top-notch doctoral paper, then our website Håkon Vinje, who made his debut enslavedwith  There are many essay writing services that think they are on top, so don't be cheated and check out this true list of the quality assignment help in 2018! Enslaved on 2017’s  . admission college essay help Succeeding in college starts with your application package and asking for college admission essay help is a step in the and with our admissions essay help,personal statement, admission essay, application essay. E (review here) and only sounded more integrated in the band on the older material here.  Lab Report Writing Service - Dissertations, essays and academic papers of best quality. choose the service, and our qualified scholars will accomplish your assignment Vinje and best college essay help books find more conflict perspective in gender inequality louisiana purchase essay thesis Sandøy quickly brought a marked sense of presence to “Ethica Odini” from 2010’s  Tech Writer Today article that defines technical writing, introduces key concepts and provides guidance for Help Courseworks starting their careers. Axioma Ethica Odini (review here) at the start of the set, and  Dissertation Consulting Service Et Juge Administratif - forget about your concerns, place your assignment here and get your professional project in a few days commit your paper to qualified Vinje‘s and  Are you about starting a South University Accounting Iii Homework Help? If YES, here is a complete sample freelance writing business plan template & FREE feasibility report Kjellson‘s subsequent handling of the chorus to “Roots of the Mountain” was likewise a soaring early highlight that preceded the more dug-in vibes of “Fenris” and “793 (Slaget om Lindisfarne),” the latter epic taken from 1997’s Eld.

The live chat on the YouTube feed, which gives one an odd sense of togetherness while watching something like this, blew up at that point. People had been well on board with “Fenris” and the organ that kept it in line with the more recent, progressive fare surrounding, but when “793” hit, there was a palpable sense of digitally-expressed joy and copious exclamation points. Well earned on the band’s part, twisting through the various stretches of that track before bringing things back to ground with the landmark title-cut of 2004’s Isa; the song that made black metal swing and the album that set Enslaved on the proggier path they’ve spent the last 16 years marching. The placement of its hook after the more expansive “793” was a clever way to snag wandering or otherwise hypnotized attentions, and the keys running alongside the guitars of Ivar Bjørnson and Arve “Ice Dale” Isdal sounded incredible. Really. I took notes of the setlist while watching, and next to “Isa” I wrote: “keys sound incredible.” I stand by it.

It was a little bit of a bummer not to hear anything off the forthcoming Utgard album that Nuclear Blast will release on Oct. 2 — they’ve put out videos thus far for “Homebound” (posted here) and “Jettegryta” (posted here) — and having asked to hear the record in advance and been shut down for not being cool enough, twice as much so. Still, Enslaved will wrap the cinematic tour with a full performance of the album on Sept. 30 co-presented by the Summer Breeze Festival, so they’ll take care of it one way or the other, and I found no argument with the fan-picked songs they played. “The Watcher,” which caps 2008’s Vertebrae, is one of few pieces that could hope to follow “Isa” and not stand in its shadow in terms of chorus grandiosity, and as they tore through it — again with Vinje making his presence felt — and shifted into “Death in the Eyes of Dawn,” I suddenly realized just how quickly the stated hour of the set was proceeding.

Taken from 2012’s Riitiir (review here), “Death in the Eyes of Dawn” enabled the band to express many of the strengths of their current incarnation. After the memorable “Isa” and “The Watcher,” “Death in the Eyes of Dawn” unfolded with a more progressive feel, still keeping extremity at its core, but allowing room for Sandøy to return on harmonies with Vinje, and finding Isdal moving to acoustic for the Viking-folk finish already noted. Along the way, the various turns and executions were sharply brought to bear and the band as a whole handled the song with the poise of the established masters they are. In reality, one could hardly have expected less. I could’ve done with more shots of Sandøy at work, but that might just be curiosity as well to see what “the new guy” is up to behind the kit. The final setlist:

“Ethica Odini”
“Roots of the Mountain”
“Fenris”
“793 (Slaget om Lindisfarne)”
“Isa”
“The Watcher”
“Death in the Eyes of Dawn”

Though the presentation style was something of a surprise, the manner in which Enslaved proceeded through that set brought a live enslaved pretend tourshow’s intensity to such outright professional smoothness, making for a showcase worthy of the scope of 20-plus years the band wound up covering. For those seeking a rawer take from Enslaved, I might suggest their 2017 offering, Roadburn Live (review here), recorded in 2015 when Bjørnson curated alongside Wardruna‘s Einar Selvik. That was Enslaved‘s first official live release, and it was before either Vinje or Sandøy were in the band — between the two of them, they simply bring the melodic reach to a new level — but I wouldn’t be surprised either if this ‘Chronicles of the Northbound’ set showed up as a live album either, or a BluRay/video download or some such kind of A/V outing. While the quality of the product was outstanding for a live stream, frankly, to have it end there seems like a waste of material, even with the special merch they’ve made available.

As one looks forward to the arrival of Utgard this Fall, and mourns the actual-touring Enslaved won’t get to do to herald its coming, the start of their cinematic tour was a refresher on just how far the band has pushed their sound and their live chemistry and how — as they approach 30 years from their founding by Bjørnson and Kjellson in 1991 — they only continue to grow and evolve.

Enslaved‘s cinematic tour continues on Aug. 20 playing Below the Lights in full as presented by Beyond the Gates Festival, and wraps with the aforementioned Sept. 30 rendition of Utgard presented by Summer Breeze. I’ll hope to have more on Utgard closer to the release, and thanks for reading in the meantime.

Enslaved, ‘Chronicles of the Northbound’ live stream (limited time only)

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Bismarck Post Oneiromancer Live Playthrough

Posted in Bootleg Theater on July 27th, 2020 by JJ Koczan

bismarck (photo by Vegard Fimland)

They recommend watching in 4K, but I think even if you’re slumming it in 1080p the focus on professionalism comes across in Bismarck‘s whole-album playthrough of their 2020 sophomore full-length, Oneiromancer (review here). The video, which trims the 35-minute long-player down to just under 32, was reportedly shot in one take and features pro-shop sound and lighting — there’s even a fan on frontman Torstein Tveiten — as well as three working cameras throughout. Lights flash, cuts are sharp, and the band themselves waste none of their or the audience’s time. Clearly it was a show-up-and-get-down-to-business kind of affair.

With it, the Bergen, Norway, five-piece give an impression of some of the intensity they might bring to a stage show, the darkened hammering of their rhythms bringing together post-metal’s claustrophobia with the sheer bite of aggressive and extreme sludge, and unsurprisingly, their performance proves worthy of the presentation they’re making of it. When I reviewed the album, I called it thoughtful, and the same applies here. Aggro as they are, Bismarck know exactly what they’re doing. The low lighting during quiet stretches, the attention to detail in the camera swaying, the balance of ambience and crush that pervades — it all serves the experience of the record as whole, and if the underlying point of Bismarck playing the thing front-to-back is to emphasize just how well it functions in that kind of listening context, the message isn’t at all lost.

Obviously the intent here, aside from maybe telling you to put in the entire and eminently manageable 35-minute ask that Oneiromancer is making, is to capture a live feel, and in that sense, the manner in which they do so actually runs against the current expectation born of so much of the live-streaming happening by bands around the world due, duh, to the COVID-19 pandemic. This may be Bismarck‘s answer to such a thing, since they are playing live and all, but this is professionally filmed and edited, wasn’t premiered live at the same time it was played. Thus it’s more like a concert video than a live performance being aired at the same time it’s played.

In either case, Bismarck crush it.

To wit, the video:

Bismarck, Oneiromancer live playthrough

This is a 100% live, one take playthrough of our latest album “Oneiromancer”! Performed, filmed and recorded at Carte Blanche’s Studio Bergen!

Bismarck is
Torstein Tveiten – Vocals
Eirik Goksøyr – Guitar
Tore Lyngstad – Drums
Trygve Svarstad – Guitar
Leif Herland – Bass

Lights by Thomas Bruvik
Filmed by Martin Borge & Lars Inge Torp
Edited by Martin Borge
Recorded, mixed and mastered by Leif Herland in Polyfon Studio

Bismarck, Oneiromancer (2020)

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Slomosa Set Aug. 28 Release for Self-Titled Debut

Posted in Whathaveyou on July 21st, 2020 by JJ Koczan

slomosa

So here’s a cute one. I’ve written about Slomosa a couple times. Last Fall, when the Norwegian band posted the “There is Nothing New Under the Sun” from their upcoming self-titled debut album, I thought the track was cool and put it up with the press release that came through. And again, much the same leading up to “In My Mind’s Desert,” the second cut from the record to be unveiled. Now, with the third — that’s opener “Horses,” streaming at the bottom of the post here — I’m seeing a quote from The Obelisk: “Norway’s new shooting stars of huge rock.”

Now, to be fair, I say a lot of shit. Maybe I said that, right? My first thought wasn’t, “No way I said that,” it was, “Did I say that? That doesn’t sound like me.”

Turns out it wasn’t me. It was the press release I posted. So I’m being quoted quoting the press release, which, of course, ran in blue as those things do around here to signify their being quoted directly as they came in (okay, sometimes I fix spellings and take out quotes, but otherwise it’s exact). So yeah, I never quite called Slomosa Norway’s new shooting stars of huge rock. They sound like a cool band from what I’ve heard so far. You can quote me on that if you want. As for the rest, I’d probably like to hear the album before I make any such grand proclamations.

Okay then. To the PR wire:

slomosa slomosa

Norwegian Stoner/ Desert Rockers SLOMOSA Debut Album Announced for August 2020 Release on Apollon Records.

Bringing desert rock from what is probably the least desert country in the world, Norwegian rockers SLOMOSA are due to release their self-titled debut album on August 28th, which has been highly anticipated ever since debut single Horses, which premiered in October 2019.

Acclaimed Norwegian music journalist Totto Mjelde (NRK P13) claimed it to be “some of the best new music to surface in the last couple of years”, saying the song “took his breath away”. At the end of the year the same radio station picked Horses as one of their five best songs of 2019. Regional newspaper Bergens Tidende proclaimed the band had released “one of the year’s best rock songs” with Horses, raising the expectations for their next release. The following single, There Is Nothing New Under the Sun, also debuted on P13, and Spotify quickly added the song to their official “Stoner Rock” and “Norwegian Rock” playlists.

The songs have amassed 170 000 streams and counting – and with their music’s international reach the band has managed to gain a following in countries such as Sweden, Germany and USA, making the band “Norway’s new shooting stars of huge rock”, music blog The Obelisk aptly put it.

The latest single from the upcoming album, is the sun-dazed In My Mind’s Desert, showcasing the band’s ability to make rock songs that appeal not only to the traditional rock crowd.

1. Horses
2. Kevin
3. There Is Nothing New Under The Sun
4. In My Mind`s Desert
5. Scavengers
6. Just to Be
7. Estonia
8. On and Beyond

www.facebook.com/slomosaband
https://www.instagram.com/slomosa
https://soundcloud.com/slomosa
https://sptfy.com/4Qaf
www.apollonrecords.no
www.facebook.com/bergenapollonrecords

Slomosa, Slomosa (2020)

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Friday Full-Length: Enslaved, Ruun

Posted in Bootleg Theater on July 10th, 2020 by JJ Koczan

My dominant memory of Enslaved during the Ruun era was — perhaps unsurprisingly — seeing them live for the first time. By Spring 2007, the Bergen, Norway, progressive black metallers were on their ninth album and had been around for 15 years, founding guitarist Ivar Bjørnson and bassist/vocalist Grutle Kjellson having over time built a lineup that included Arve “Ice Dale” Isdal on guitar — still with the band — as well as drummer Cato Bekkevold and keyboardist/vocalist Herbrand Larsen. Ruun was their second full-length to receive US distribution and promotion through Candlelight Records in the US behind 2004’s Isa, which introduced Larsen to the fold and in so doing brought a major change in the band’s sound on both fronts. Surely, Enslaved had been pushing in a more progressive direction for several years at that point, with records like 2000’s Mardraum: Beyond the Within, 2001’s Monumension and 2003’s Below the Lights showcasing an increasing breadth of influence, but employing a full-time keyboardist and clean vocalist to complement Kjellson‘s signature rasp was a significant step. It began to show just how much on Isa, but it was with Ruun that the complexity really came to fruition in the songwriting.

Enslaved did not have to forsake their black metal origins in order to take on more stylistic range — they simply added to what was already there. Thus Ruun still has its raging stretches, whether it’s the beginning charge of “Fusion of Sense and Earth,” the later twists of “Api-Vat” or even the opener “Entroper,” which seems to spend its six-plus minutes building to this massive swell of scream-topped push, but ultimately cedes the apex to Larsen, signaling the evolution taking place in Enslaved‘s approach. With backing growls from Bjørnson behind Kjellson‘s verse lines, even a riffer like “Path to Vanir” demonstrates an uptick in the depth of the arrangements, as Enslaved were able to bring a wash to their sound as they’d only hinted toward since bringing in their first keyboardist, Øyvind Madsen (Vulture Industries), in 2002. Still, it’s with vocals that Larsen was able to make the greatest impact on the band, and in the break of “Path to Vanir,” he shows how. His voice is somewhat tentative and would grow more confident over time, but the softness of his singing style and the contrast it brought to the blackened churn surrounding helped make Enslaved all the more unique as they reached beyond the bounds of genre traditionalism.

This was also a band who knew the power of a riff. “Fusion of Sense and Earth” remains a hair-standing-on-end catalog highlight for the band — it’s one of the best songs they’ve ever written. Moving from its Enslaved Ruunheadbang-ready thrash, it opens wide to release tension first in a pre-chorus transition led by keys, then shifts through growls to an instrumental hook that is the stuff from which air-drumming legends are made, the double-kick intricately keeping up with the nuances of Bjørnson‘s riff as the lead enters and the band rightly rides that groove to oblivion. That’s hardly the only instance on Ruun of standout riffage, as the title-track subsequently reminds, with its outright departure for prog rock, back and forth clean and harsh vocals and heavy-in-spite-of-itself rhythm; a precision of chug that still marks them as extreme metal, but is decidedly outside of the black metal norm. They bring it around, but “Ruun” ultimately resolves in a wash that includes acoustic strum, and it’s built around that initial riff with keyboards adding melodic breadth and Larsen and Kjellson coming together on vocals. “Tides of Chaos” is meaner, its chorus clean, but engulfed by screams and growls, and Kjellson coming across like he’s committing an atrocity against his vocal cords during the verses. It is demented and glorious, and pairs brilliantly with “Essence,” where the melody is more center and the call and response more direct, the band finding a middle ground that hints at what psychedelic black metal would become largely in their wake before straight-up thrashing the song into the ground, leaving “Api-Vat” to pick up the pieces and renew the sense of structure before closer “Heir to the Cosmic Seed” rounds out with a hypnotic epilogue.

The shows, which may or may not have been their first US gigs — I honestly can’t remember — were at SXSW, I think in 2007. The first was in a tent at night and the second was during the day. They may have played others — it was a long time ago and I was very intoxicated. I’m pretty sure Motörhead were also on the daytime bill though, and I remember Enslaved only got to play three songs because they only had a half-hour set. “Fusion of Sense and Earth” was one of them, and there I was, headbanging outside Emo’s at like 11AM, still hungover from the night before and probably a couple beers already into the day. One did what one had to do in order to survive down there.

Soon enough, Enslaved would sign to Nuclear Blast and their touring North America would become a matter of course. 2008’s Vertebrae pushed the impulses of Ruun further, while 2010’s Axioma Ethica Odini (review here) pursued rawer fare, 2012’s Riitiir (review here) brought ferocious grandiosity, 2015’s In Times (review here) boasted their most progressive style to-date, and 2017’s E (review here) introduced new keyboardist Håkon Vinje in place of Larsen and showed how yet again they were able to expand their sonic reach.

In October, Enslaved will release their 15th full-length, Utgard, through Nuclear Blast and by what I swear is pure coincidence, the band just posted today a video for the track “Jettegryta,” which is the second single taken from the album. Where the prior “Homebound” showcased the work of new drummer/vocalist Iver Sandøy, “Jettegryta” focuses more on Kjellson‘s voice and even features some clean singing from him with harmonies behind, as well as what sounds like some pointedly experimental guitar in its second half. The lesson, such as it is, is to understand just how dynamic Enslaved have become as a band, and I assume that when Utgard arrives — I’m not cool enough to have heard it in full yet — just how much it will see them revel in the multifaceted nature of their particular vision of extreme metal. Here’s that video, just for the hell of it.

Enslaved, “Jettegryta” official video

I hope you enjoy that, and Ruun as well. As always, I thank you for reading.

Enslaved is one of those bands who I can rely on to get just about no response when I write about them. They’re crazy popular, of course, but for whatever reason, every time I put something up about them, it gets about no feedback. Crickets. Rest assured, I blame my own lack of insight, but it’s true of several others as well. Swallow the Sun, My Dying Bride, Paradise Lost, Anathema. I guess at least I’m consistent.

I wasn’t looking for privacy though in writing about Ruun, just something that I knew I’d enjoy, and really, the timing of that new video was coincidental. I didn’t even know it was up until it was pointed out to me while I was putting this post together. I’ve watched it once.

I hope you had a good week. The Patient Mrs. and I hit a really good working rhythm this week. The Pecan in daycare for the morning helped make Wednesday and Thursday easier, work-wise, but even Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, we had it pretty much down. I fed him breakfast, we went for a run every other day, and then we hung out and played and read books and all that stuff while she worked in the morning, then I picked up after that and worked while she kept him for lunch and into his afternoon nap. She was able to get some research work done, I was able to do the Quarterly Review — which, again, thankfully, was a breeze full of good records — and we both kept our heads reasonably above water.

Of course, it was only a couple posts per day, but I was glad to do stuff like that Crystal Spiders premiere, hosting the Swarm of Flies track and that Candlemass review, which was worth it solely to get a comment from an old friend who I haven’t seen in a long time.

Need to catch up on email and messages this weekend, which will take some doing, and I’m going to review the Forlesen album for Monday, which is a little bit of brilliant. Tuesday a premiere from TOOMS, Wednesday a special feature I’m very much looking forward to putting together, and Thursday, a video premiere from The Brothers Keg. Friday, I’ll review that YOB live record they did to benefit the Navajo Nation Covid Relief Fund. Here’s a preview: “Duh. YOB are great. Great great great great. Duh.”

Seven bucks well spent on that, either way, and I love that music isn’t existing in a vacuum.

New Gimme show. You know the drill. 5PM. http://gimmeradio.com

Whatever you’re up to this weekend, I wish you good fun and the utmost safety. I let The Patient Mrs. go into Whole Foods yesterday, which was a little nerve-racking, even though it’s a new store so everything is well spaced out. In a few minutes I’ll split out and head to Coscto on my own. That place is like a free-for-all, so yeah. I told her maybe next year on that one. She’s apparently going back to campus to work in August though, which will be interesting.

But hey, almost 60,000 cases of COVID-19 yesterday, huh? Anyone tired of all that winning yet?

Alright, time to put on my mask and go buy a block of cheddar cheese. Oh, and apparently we’re getting a puppy this weekend?

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Quarterly Review: Katatonia, Marmalade Knives, King Witch, Glass Parallels, Thems That Wait, Sojourner, Udyat, Bismarck, Gral Brothers, Astral Glide

Posted in Reviews on July 9th, 2020 by JJ Koczan

the-obelisk-qr-summer-2020

Welcome to the penultimate day of the Summer 2020 Quarterly Review. I can only speak for myself, but I know it’s been a crazy couple months on this end, and I imagine whatever end you’re on — unless and probably even if you have a lot of money — it’s been the same there as well. Yet, it was no problem compiling 50 records to review this week, so if there’s a lesson to be taken from it all, it would seem to be that art persists. We may still be painting on cave walls when it comes to the arc of human evolution, but at least that’s something.

Have a great day and listen to great music.

Quarterly Review #31-40:

Katatonia, City Burials

katatonia city burials

Like their contemporaries in My Dying Bride and Paradise Lost, the latter-day period of work from Sweden’s Katatonia veers back toward some measure of direct heaviness, as City Burials showcases in cuts like “Rein,” “Heart Set to Divide” and “Behind the Blood,” but more than either of those others mentioned, the Stockholm outfit refuse to forsake the melody and progressivism they’ve undertaken with their sound in the name of doing so. By the time they get to “Untrodden” at the end of the album’s 50-minute/11-song run, they’ve run a gamut from dark electronica to progressive-styled doom and back again, and with the founding duo of guitarist Anders Nyström and vocalist Jonas Renkse at the helm of the songwriting, they are definitive in their approach and richly emotive; a melancholy that is as identifiable in their songs as it is in the bands working under their influence. Their first work in four years, City Burials is an assurance that Katatonia are in firm ownership and command of all aspects of their sound. As they approach their 30th year, they continue to move forward. That’s a special band.

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Peaceville Records website

 

Marmalade Knives, Amnesia

marmalade knives amnesia

Boasting production, mixing and percussion from The Golden GrassAdam Kriney, Marmalade Knives‘ debut album, Amnesia, is a delight of freaky-but-not-overblown heavy psychedelia. Oh, it’s headed far, far out, but as the opening narration and the later drones of second cut “Rivuleting” make plain, they might push, but they’re not trying to shove, if you know what I mean. The buzz in “Best-Laid Plans” doesn’t undercut the warmth of the improvised-seeming solo, and likewise, “Rebel Coryell” is a mellow drifter that caps side A with a graceful sense of wandering the soundscape of its own making. The vibe gets spacey on “Xayante,” and “Ez-Ra” touches on a funkier swing before seeming to evolve into light as one does, and the 10-minute “Astrology Domine” caps with noise and a jammed out feel that underscores the outbound mood of the proceedings as a whole. Some of the pieces feel like snippets cut from longer jams, and they may or may not be just that, but though it was recorded in three separate locations, Amnesia draws together well and flows easily, inviting the listener to do the same.

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Electric Valley Records webstore

 

King Witch, Body of Light

king witch body of light

Edinburgh’s King Witch toe the line between classic metal and doom, but whatever you want to call them, just make sure you don’t leave out the word “epic.” The sweeping solo and soaring vocals on the opening title-track set the stage on their second LP, the hour-long Body of Light, and as much mastery as the band showed on their 2018 debut, Under the Mountain (review here), vocalist Laura Donnelly, guitarist Jamie Gilchrist, bassist Rory Lee and drummer Lyle Brown lay righteous waste to lofty expectations and bask in grandiosity on “Of Rock and Stone” and the linear-moving “Solstice I – She Burns,” the payoff of which is a high point of the album in its layered shred. Pieces like “Witches Mark” and “Order From Chaos” act as confirmation of their Euro-fest-ready fist-pumpery, and closer “Beyond the Black Gate” brings some atmosphere before its own headbang-worthy crescendo. Body of Light is a reminder of why you wanted to be metal in the first place.

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Listenable Records on Bandcamp

 

Glass Parallels, Aisle of Light

Glass Parallels Aisle of Light

Eminently listenable and repeat-worthy, Glass Parallels‘ debut LP, Aisle of Light, nonetheless maintains an experimentalist flair. The solo-project of Justin Pinkerton (Golden Void, Futuropaco), covers a swath of ground from acid folk to psych-funk to soul vibes, at times bordering on shoegaze but seeming to find more expressive energy in centerpiece “Asphyxiate” and the airy capper “Blood and Battlegrounds” than any sonic portrayal of apathy would warrant. United by keys, pervasive guitar weirdness and Pinkerton‘s at-times-falsetto vocals, usually coated in reverb as they are, Aisle of Light brings deceptive depth for being a one-man production. Its production is spacious but still raw enough to give the drums an earthy sound as they anchor the synth-laden “March and April,” which is probably fortunate since otherwise the song would be liable to float off and not return. One way or another, the songs stand out too much to really be hypnotic, but they’re certainly fun to follow.

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Thems That Wait, Stonework

thems that wait stonework

Stonework is the self-aware debut full-length from Portland, Maine, trio Thems That Wait, and it shoulders itself between clenched-teeth metallic aggression and heavier fuzz rock. They’re not the first to tread such ground and they know it, but “Sidekick” effectively captures Scissorfight-style groove, and “Kick Out” is brash enough in its 1:56 to cover an entire record’s worth of burl. Interludes “Digout” and “Vastcular” provide a moment to catch your breath, which is appreciated, but when what they come back with is the sure-fisted “Paragon” or a song like “Shitrograde,” it really is just a moment. They close with “Xmortis,” which seems to reference Evil Dead II in its lyrics, which is as good as anything else, but from “Sleepie Hollow” onward, guitarist/vocalist Craig Garland, bassist Mat Patterson and drummer Branden Clements find their place in the dudely swing-and-strike of riffs, crash and snarl, and they do so with a purely Northeastern attitude. This is the kind of show you might get kicked at.

Thems That Wait on Thee Facebooks

Thems That Wait on Bandcamp

 

Sojourner, Premonitions

sojourner premonitions

Complexity extends to all levels of Sojourner‘s third album and Napalm Records debut, Premonitions, in that not only does the band present eight tracks and 56 minutes of progressive and sprawling progressive black metal, varied in craft and given a folkish undercurrent by Chloe Bray‘s vocals and tin whistle, but also the sheer fact that the five-piece outfit made the album in at least five different countries. Recording remotely in Sweden, New Zealand, Scotland and Italy, they mixed/mastered in Norway, and though one cringes at the thought of the logistical nightmare that might’ve presented, Sojourner‘s resultant material is lush and encompassing, a tapestry of blackened sounds peppered with clean and harsh singing — Emilio Crespo handles the screams — keyboards, and intricate rhythms behind sprawling progressions of guitar. At the center of the record, “Talas” and “Fatal Frame” (the shortest song and the longest) make an especially effective pair one into the other, varied in their method but brought together by viciously heavy apexes. The greatest weight, though, might be reserved for closer “The Event Horizon,” which plods where it might otherwise charge and brings a due sense of largesse to the finale.

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Napalm Records website

 

Udyat, Oro

udyat oro

The order of the day is sprawl on Udyat‘s recorded-live sophomore LP, Oro, as the Argentinian outfit cast a wide berth over heavy rock and terrestrial psych, the 13-minute “Sangre de Oro” following shorter opener “Los Picos de Luz Eterna” (practically an intro at a bit over six minutes) with a gritty flourish to contrast the tonal warmth that returns with the melodic trance-induction at the start of “Los últimos.” That song — the centerpiece of the five-track outing — tops 15 minutes and makes its way into a swell of fuzz with according patience, proceeding through a second stage of lumbering plod before a stretch of noise wash leads pack to the stomp. The subsequent “Después de los Pasos, el Camino Muere” is more ferocious by its end and works in some similar ground, and closer “Nacimiento” seems to loose itself in a faster midsection before returning to its midtempo roll. Oro borders on cosmic doom with its psychedelic underpinnings and quiet stretches, but its movement feels ultimately more like walking than floating, if that makes any sense.

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Udyat on Bandcamp

 

Bismarck, Oneiromancer

Bismarck Oneiromancer

To anyone who might suggest that extreme metal cannot also be forward-thinking, Bismarck submit the thoughtful bludgeon of Oneiromancer, a five-song/35-minute aesthetic blend that draws from doom, death, hardcore and sundry other metals, while keeping its identity in check through taut rhythm and atmospheric departures. Following the chants of opening intro “Tahaghghogh Resalat,” the Chris Fielding-produced follow-up to Bismarck‘s 2018 debut, Urkraft (review here), showcases an approach likewise pummeling and dynamic, weighted in ambience and thud alike. “Oneiromancer” itself starts with blastbeats and a plundering intensity before breaking into a more open midsection, but “The Seer” is absolutely massive. Despite being shorter than either the title-track or “Hara,” both of which top nine minutes, and closer “Khthon” underscores the blood-boiling tension cast throughout with one last consuming plod. Fucking raging. Fucking awesome. Pure sonic catharsis. Salvation through obliteration. If these are dreams being divined as the title hints, the mind is a limitless and terrifying place. Which, yes.

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The Gral Brothers, Caravan East

gral brothers caravan east

I won’t say it’s seamless or intended to be, but as Albuquerque, New Mexico, two-piece The Gral Brothers make their initial move on Caravan East between cinematic Americana and industrial brood, samples of dialogue on “Cactus Man” and violin in the seven-minute soundscaper “In Die Pizzeria” seem to draw together both a wistfulness and a paranoia of the landlocked. Too odd to fall in line with the Morricone-worship of Cali’s Spindrift, “Crowbar” brings Spaghetti West and desert dub together with a confidence that makes it seem like a given pairing despite the outwardly eerie vibes and highly individualized take, and “Santa Sleeves” is beautiful to its last, even if the lone bell jingle is a bit much, while “Silva Lanes” pushes even further than did “Circuit City” into mechanized experimental noisemaking. They end with the birdsong-inclusive “Ode to Marge,” leaving one to wonder whether it’s sentiment or cynicism being expressed. Either way, it’s being expressed in a way not quite like anything else, which is an accomplishment all on its own.

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Desert Records on Bandcamp

 

Astral Glide, Flamingo Graphics

astral glide flamingo graphics

When you’re at the show and the set ends, Flamingo Graphics is the CD you go buy at the merch table. It’s as simple as that. Recorded this past March over the course of two days, the debut album from Floridian foursome Astral Glide is raw to the point of being barebones, bootleg room-mic style, but the songwriting and straightforward purposes of the group shine through. They’re able to shift structures and mood enough to keep things from being too staid, but they’re never far off from the next heavy landing, as “Devastation” and the closer “Forever” show in their respective payoffs, that latter going all out with a scream at the end, answering back to the several others that show up periodically. While their greatest strength is in the mid-paced shove of rockers like “Space Machine” and “Scarlett” and the speedier “Workhorse,” there are hints of broader intentions on Flamingo Graphics, though they too are raw at this point. Very much a debut, but still one you pick up when the band finishes playing. You might not even wait until the end of the show. Meet them back at the table, and so on.

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Astral Glide on Bandcamp

 

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Slomosa Announce New Single “In My Mind’s Desert” out Next Friday

Posted in Whathaveyou on June 12th, 2020 by JJ Koczan

slomosa

This one upcoming is the third single Slomosa are posting ahead of the release of their debut album. I don’t know when that album is coming out, but so far, I dig three songs on it. The Norwegian four-piece are three-for-three in my book between “In My Mind’s Desert,” “There is Nothing New Under the Sun” and “Horses.” I don’t know how long the whole record is, but if you figure the eight-track/38-minute standard average, they’re off to a killer start. There’s a very distinct earliest-Queens of the Stone Age feel to the new track, and that suits the melody of the vocals well — a bit of crunch in the riff is far more playful than aggressive — and they’re not shy with the hook either. It’s not necessarily groundbreaking stuff, but neither is it trying to be, and when I try to think of desert-style rock bands — they call it “tundra rock,” because Norway — coming out of Bergen, I’m drawing a blank.

You’ll note Iver Sandøy mastered. If you don’t know the name, he’s the new drummer in Enslaved and a noted engineer/producer as well.

Also, I’m guessing “In My Mind’s Desert” is the fourth track on the upcoming full-length. I know this because the promo wav file I downloaded had a “04” in front of the title. Context clues!

From the PR wire:

slomosa in my minds desert

Slomosa – In My Mind’s Desert

“An ode to the things I’ve forgot. And not at least, the skills that I’ve lost.”

“In My Mind’s Desert” is Slomosa’s third and last single from their upcoming debut album, out the 28th of August on Apollon Records. With their self-branded genre of “Tundra Rock”, Slomosa has made a name for themselves with their heavy and catchy sound. From Bergen, off the west coast of Norway, the band has garnered a lot of praise and attention for their first two singles, both abroad and back home. Their new single showcases Slomosa’s versatility and opens the listener to a different side of their songwriting: Less epic, more pop – this is definitely the upcoming album’s softest song.

Being the first song they ever wrote, it has become a live favourite among fans with it’s mellow intro, big choruses and addictive main riff. Singer Benjamin Berdous’ personal lyrics evolve around having a stoner lifestyle as life takes a bad turn, and offer an ironic take on the naive thoughts justifying not taking action to better things. Recorded in 2019 at “Lokalet Studio” in Bergen, by co-producer Eirik Sandvik, the single complements the band’s first two releases – making it clear that there is no stopping Slomosa on their way to the big stage.

Music: Slomosa
Lyrics: Benjamin Berdous

Guitar, Lead vocals: Benjamin Berdous
Guitar: Anders Rørlien
Bass: Kristian Tvedt
Drums, percussion: Severin Sandvik

Producer: Eirik Marinius Sandvik & Slomosa
Master: Iver Sandøy
Artwork & photo: Elsa Enestig

From Left to right on the picture: The “new” Slomosa band
Tor Erik “Totto” Bye ,g, Marie Moe, b, Severin Sandvik, dr, Benjamin Berdous, voc, g

www.facebook.com/slomosaband
https://www.instagram.com/slomosa
https://soundcloud.com/slomosa
https://sptfy.com/4Qaf
www.apollonrecords.no
www.facebook.com/bergenapollonrecords

Slomosa, “There is Nothing New Under the Sun”

Slomosa, “Horses”

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Enslaved Announce Streaming Shows

Posted in Whathaveyou on June 4th, 2020 by JJ Koczan

Enslaved at Roadburn (Photo by JJ Koczan)

Enslaved have announced what they’re calling a ‘cinematic summer tour’ to herald the arrival this Fall of their new album, Utgard. Finally, your chance to say, “I wasn’t there, and neither were you.” I can’t wait to see the merch. As long as I don’t have to wait in line to get it, I’m cool.

Hey, we’re all just trying to get through, right? These are weird times, and even as the rest of the world is recovering, the US is still a shitshow. I’ll take Enslaved however it comes. Streaming? Fine. Saves me a ride to Gramercy Theater.

I wonder if I could pitch Enslaved on doing a “secret” show for this site, like a club gig on an off-day they don’t tell anyone about. I could be the Saint Vitus Bar of blogs, which, now that I read the words back having written them, seems far too ambitious for my never-gonna-be-that-cool ass. But hey man, I’ll watch Enslaved play a set online. It’s like a house show. Also, “Chronicles of the Northbound” is what I’m going to call it next time I’m sitting in traffic on I-95 in Connecticut.

Their video for the new single “Homebound” is below from Utgard, which out in September on Nuclear Blast:

enslaved pretend tour

ENSLAVED ANNOUNCE CINEMATIC SUMMER TOUR

ENSLAVED announce their “Cinematic Summer Tour 2020” today! After a very successful innovative streaming event on April 1st from Verftet Online Music, the Norwegian Avantgarde metal heroes decided to take it one step further to enlighten our concertless summer with a series of online events that are much more than just simple online stream concerts:

A cinematic tour experience!

For this forward-thinking concept, ENSLAVED join forces with three festivals to present their fans three different shows:

In cooperation with Roadburn, the tour starts July 30th, with the “Chronicles Of The Northbound” show. Fans will be invited by the festival to choose their favorite ENSLAVED songs to create a career spanning set. The second show will be a “Below The Lights” set on August 20th, presented by Beyond The Gates festival.

The band will end their virtual tour at the Summer Breeze festival on September 30th, with the presentation of their new album in its entirety: “Utgard – The Journey Within“.

Guitarist Ivar states:
“‘We must stick apart’ is a proverb of Discordianism (a religion I might or might not have just made up) that might fit the situation we are all in now. We are all isolated in various degrees; and we all miss live music. So, we have stuck apart and with our fantastic team of super-people in management, label and booking, plus three of our best friends who happen to be the very creme de la creme of European Festivals; we are now able to present this digital festival-tour. We are already hard at work preparing sets and shows that will make this one for the (e-)books. Thank you for your support, faith in us and patience – to have fans like you is an absolute privilege. See you in the ether!”

Each event will be accompanied by different side happenings, on which more light will be shed with each individual event announcement!

Watch it on the Enslaved YouTube channel!
https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCpiAJxyAbGPC2FngeSzlrzQ

To give everyone the chance to be part of this completely novum in music business, all three shows will be free of charge. There will be a donation option and special merch for the “Cinematic Summer Tour”.

Enslaved is:
Ivar Bjørnson – guitar
Grutle Kjellson – vocals/bass
Ice Dale – guitar
Håkon Vinje – keys/vocals
Iver Sandøy – drums

http://www.facebook.com/enslaved
https://www.instagram.com/enslavedofficial
http://www.enslaved.no/
http://www.facebook.com/nuclearblastusa
http://instagram.com/nuclearblastusa

Enslaved, “Homebound” official video

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Enslaved Post “Homebound” Video; 7″ out June 26

Posted in Bootleg Theater on May 28th, 2020 by JJ Koczan

enslaved

I hear good things about the new Enslaved record, but I haven’t actually heard the album yet. But going from the first single to come from the record — “Homebound,” for which you can see the video below and which will receive a limited 7″ pressing from Nuclear Blast with a TNT cover as the B-side, because Enslaved like beer — it would appear they’ve got themselves a lead singer in drummer Iver Sandøy. Of course, founding bassist/vocalist Grutle Kjellson will always be the band’s frontman, and his rasp is one of the band’s hallmarks, but where on 2017’s E (review here), it was then-new keyboardist Håkon Vinje handling the clean vocals, it would seem that now Vinje and Sandøy will share the responsibility.

As Sandøy is stepping in for longtime Enslaved drummer Cato Bekkevold and making his first appearance on their upcoming LP, Utgard, clearly Enslaved‘s core members — Kjellson, founding guitarist/backing vocalist Ivar Bjørnson and guitarist Arve “Ice Dale” Isdal — are keeping the band’s expanding dynamic in mind. They’ve made themselves more versatile.

To that end, the quote from the band under the video below, which comes courtesy of the PR wire, is the first time I’ve seen Enslaved acknowledge progressive Norwegian countrymen Motorpsycho as a direct influence pushing them into broader sonic territory. Doesn’t mean it’s never happened before — can’t say I spend my days reading interviews or anything — but it’s a first for my eyes at least. References to the likes of Led Zeppelin and Kreator et al don’t go unnoticed either.

And the song? Despite the new dynamic edge that Sandøy brings particularly later in the track as it builds toward its apex, it’s very much in latter-day Enslaved‘s wheelhouse of progressive blackened metal, with a cleaner hook offset by screams and a galloping central progression that is given visual accompaniment in the video by flying birds — also a returning theme — and various other symbols drawn from Norse mythology. Knowing the band’s past work, I wouldn’t expect it “Homebound” to speak for the entirety of Utgard, but neither are they picking their singles by happenstance. “Homebound” bodes well for the album to come.

Enjoy:

Enslaved, “Homebound” official video

Norway’s avant-garde metal heroes ENSLAVED release their new single “Homebound” from the upcoming record “Utgard,” that will be released in fall 2020.

Get the new single here: http://nblast.de/EnslavedHomeboundPre

ENSLAVED will be releasing the new single on a Limited Edition 7″ vinyl format, limited to 500 pieces. The single will be out on June 26th and can be pre-ordered here:
http://nblast.de/HomeboundVinyl

The tracklist reads as follows:
1. Homebound [A-side]
2. Knights Of The Thunder (TNT Cover) [B-side]

The B-side of the “Homebound” Vinyl is an exclusive to this format.

The band states:
“‘Homebound’ is about the greatest reward of exploring and traveling into unknown territory – to “go viking” if you will, turning Homebound at the end of the journey. It is a song that takes Enslaved on a musical journey that is as much an homage to those who dared so we could play our very own style of music: from nurturing blackened roots to nodding at zeppelins in the sky, beholding teutonic thrash titans and watching speeding motorpsychos take off into the futures.”

The band recently revealed new details about the upcoming record – propelling the listener deep into their world, the musicians explain:

“‘Utgard’ bears countless meanings to us; an image, metaphor, an esoteric ‘location’, a word on its own etc. – on different levels and layers. From Norse mythology we know it as a landscape where the giants roam; where the gods of Asgard have no control; dangerous, chaotic, uncontrollable and where madness, creativeness, humour and chaos dwell.

The album is a journey into and through ‘Utgard.’ It is a place of unification of that which is above and that which lies below. It is not about avoiding fear of the pitch-black darkness (it will keep on growing until the next confrontation), but to go into the darkness itself. This is the rebirth of the individual. In a world that has become so obsessed with the false lights of greed, jealousy and egotism this is a necessary journey.

‘Utgard’ is not a fairytale, it is a vital part of both your mind and your surroundings, and it has been since the dawn of mankind. Acknowledging that this realm exists and is a vital part of the self, has inspired us deeply since the early days of our lives. Enjoy our journey to the outer limits.”

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Enslaved website

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