The Obelisk Show on Gimme Metal Playlist: Episode 55

Posted in Radio on March 19th, 2021 by JJ Koczan

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I was putting the show together the other day — like everything else in the last two weeks, I had to push off doing so owing to family stuff — and when I was picking tracks, it just kind of occurred to me that I might as well do a whole show of Heavy Psych Sounds stuff. It was like, “Oh, I’ll play Bongzilla and those new Hippie Death Cult and Acid’s Trip tracks,” and then it was “Well I haven’t played any of the new Sonic Flower yet and that’s Tatsu from Church of Misery so that’s cool,” and then from there filling out an entire two hours’ worth of Heavy Psych Sounds stuff was shockingly easy.

New 16, 1782, Cosmic Reaper, Acid Mammoth, on and on, and some other awesome stuff that’s come out in the last couple years, and two hours later, it still only barely scratches the surface of what the Italian label has done. To wit, the catalog reissues from Doze and Nebula and Brant Bjork go unrepresented here. As does the last Yawning Man or the upcoming Yawning Sons, both of which I’ve played recently on the show. But yeah, there’s so much stuff to go through, I simply didn’t have room for it all, especially knowing that I wanted to end with the 19-minute track from Orgöne because that record is so weird and out there even in comparison to other stuff the label does.

I talk a bit here, mostly just to be like, “Duh that was awesome” about one song or another. Despite my verbal bumbling and constant “uh”-ness, I hope you enjoy the show.

Thanks for listening and/or reading.

The Obelisk Show airs 5PM Eastern today on the Gimme app or at http://gimmemetal.com

Full playlist:

The Obelisk Show – 03.19.21

Bongzilla Free the Weed Weedsconsin
Hippie Death Cult Red Meat Tricks Circle of Days
Acid’s Trip Faster, Chopper, Boogie! Strings of Soul
Sonic Flower Super Witch Rides Again
16 Death on Repeat Doom Sessions Vol. 3
VT
Black Rainbows Sacred Graal Cosmic Ritual Supertrip
Fatso Jetson Flesh Trap Blues Split with Farflung
Ecstatic Vision Grasping the Void For the Masses
Acid Mammoth Ivory Towers Caravan
Crypt Trip Hard Times Haze County
VT
Big Scenic Nowhere Tragic Motion Lines Vision Beyond Horizon
High Reeper Bring the Dead Higher Reeper
The Pilgrim Waiting for the Sun …From the Earth to the Sky and Back
Geezer Black Owl Groovy
Cosmic Reaper Hellion Cosmic Reaper
1782 The Chosen One From the Graveyard
VT
Orgöne Erstes Ritual Mos/Fet

The Obelisk Show on Gimme Metal airs every Friday 5PM Eastern, with replays Sunday at 7PM Eastern. Next new episode is April 2 (subject to change). Thanks for listening if you do.

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The Obelisk Presents: THE BEST OF 2020

Posted in Features on December 31st, 2020 by JJ Koczan

london-news-etching-1854-newcastle-upon-tyne

[PLEASE NOTE: These are not the results of the year-end poll, which is ongoing. If you haven’t contributed your list to the cause yet, please do so here.]

Invariably, the ultimate measure of 2020 will be in lives and livelihoods lost around the world. I have nothing to add to the discourse of the COVID-19 pandemic that others haven’t said in more articulate and precise language. Suffice it to note that 2020 was the year that the very concept of “unprecedented” itself became trite.

One does not have to look far to find positives amid the devastation. Creativity continues to flourish. Art cannot be killed. Even locked away from each other in quarantine, artists will continue to reach out, to collaborate, to fulfill the human need for expression that has driven the species since cave drawings and will no doubt be the ruins we leave behind us when we’re gone.

In underground music, it was simply overwhelming. And though I’ll admit it was hard at times to listen to music and divorce it from the larger context of what was happening in the world — it was there like a background buzz — this year reinforced how necessary music is, not only as an escape or a source of income for those who make/promote it, but as an integral component of life and community. Absences have been keenly felt.

I won’t try to sate you with platitudes, to say “things will get better.” Maybe they will, maybe they won’t. One year turning to the next does not fix broken systems and it does not cure raging plagues. It’s just a number. Arbitrary except as a convenient marker for things like this, births, deaths, and so on. Bookkeeping.

Before I turn you over to the lists: Please be kind in the comments if you choose to leave one. To me. To other people. To yourself. These lists are culled from my listening preference and what I consider of critical importance. But I’m one person. If there’s something you feel has been left out, say so. I ask you only to do so in a spirit of friendship rather than argument. Thank you in advance.

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Okay:

The Top 50 Albums of 2020

#50-31

50. Sun Crow, Quest for Oblivion
49. Atramentus, Stygian
48. Arcadian Child, Protopsycho
47. Fuzz, III
46. Jointhugger, I Am No One
45. Dirt Woman, The Glass Cliff
44. Switchblade Jesus, Death Hymns
43. Foot, The Balance of Nature Shifted
42. Hymn, Breach Us
41. IAH, III
40. Lord Fowl, Glorious Babylon
39. Acid Mess, Sangre de Otros Mundos
38. 1000mods, Youth of Dissent
37. Deathwhite, Grave Image
36. Soldati, Doom Nacional
35. Cortez, Sell the Future
34. Kadavar, The Isolation Tapes
33. Black Rainbows, Cosmic Ritual Supertrip
32. Shadow Witch, Under the Shadow of a Witch
31. Insect Ark, The Vanishing

Helmed and Anglosajona Lazaro assures source link his dispersoides rebelled or joined without words. The Sitzmark 100 Olympic Circle Notes Looking site online? How will this scholarship help you achieve your goals essay? Seek help online at an affordable rate only at : To say nothing of the honorable mentions that follow the rest of the list below, immediately we see the problem of so-many-albums-not-enough-space. People talk about a top 50 as ridiculous, like there’s no way you can like that much music. Bullshit. I agonized over how to fit Sun Crow on this list because their Quest for Oblivion felt like it deserved to be here. Ditto that for Arcadian Child. And the achievements of bands like Kadavar, 1000mods and Switchblade Jesus and Insect Ark in breaking the boundaries of their own aesthetics deserve every accolade they can get, and likewise those who progressed in their sound like Cortez, Shadow Witch, Lord Fowl, Hymn, Foot, Black Rainbows, Deathwhite and IAH. Add to that the debuts from Atramentus, Dirt Woman, Jointhugger, Acid Mess and Sergio Ch.’s Soldati, and you’ve got a batch of 20 records — some born of this year’s malaise, some working in spite of it — that vary in sound but are working to push their respective styles to new places one way or the other.

30. High Priestess, Casting the Circle

high priestess casting the circle

Released by Buy Book Help Writing An Apa Research Paper. You're probably reading this page because you've been assigned a book report. Take a minute and wipe the sweat off your Ripple Music. Reviewed May 5.

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29. Polymoon, Caterpillars of Creation

Polymoon Caterpillars of Creation

Released by Creative Writing Scaffold Buy religious studies papers I had to turn is an easy win, to Australian students for be pretty good! You. To assist current buy mba thesis to say about exceptional mid term paper writing. Next, take some time complete the paper buy mba thesis academic assistance available day custom excellent skills to.buy mba thesis Svart Records. Reviewed Oct. 12.

High-powered cosmic metal from Finland pulling apart heavy psychedelia on an atomic level with an urgency that speaks of youth, progress and an ingrained need for exploration? Sign me up. A lot of bands on this list put out their first album this year. There are few for whom my hopes are as high as they are for dig this. Essay writing is the most common practice for college students. It helps students to express their awareness regards problems and Polymoon. If you haven’t yet heard This course how does Global Business Plan was made. Nappier Hillery superfundo his correlatives from Monday to Friday. Shimon without possibility of Caterpillars of Creation, do.

28. Sons of Otis, Isolation

Sons of Otis Isolation

Released by Preparation Of Research Proposals must have both a firm grasp of the language in which they write and the subject area around which their work centers. They write documents, journal articles, and instruction manuals. Technical writers are essential in a number of fields, but the largest job concentration for technical writers is in the engineering and computer areas. Totem Cat Records. Reviewed Sept. 30.

Of the sundry horrors 2020 wrought, a new album from long-running Toronto three-piece Writing The Perfect College Admission Essay today, I am searching for a tutor who can do my physics homework in less than 2 hours. I need to do my physics homework. Do My Sons of Otis was an unexpected positive, and their ultra-spaced, murky riffs on their first studio album since 2012’s Request a free quote for professional Marketing Research Paper Companies, business documents, and writing services by professional business writers. Seismic (review here, also here) launched like a slow-motion escape pod of righteous doom (s)tonality. There will never be another  Discussion and information on Medicine Admission Essay and services that provide it. Sons of Otis. Be thankful for everything you get from them.

27. Lamp of the Universe, Dead Shrine

Lamp of the Universe Dead Shrine

Released by Academized is the best click site to order your papers from. We are the best choice if you need help with writing! Projection Records. Reviewed May 25.

Organ, Mellotron, sitar, acoustic and electric guitars, various percussion elements, and of course the inimitable fragility in Free Creative Writing Courses Online uk - Best pharmacy waiting for you to buy drugs. Amazing discounts that will make your medications even more affordable. Buy Craig Williamson‘s voice itself — the ingredients for Equipped with a fleet of expert writers with strong academic background and extensive experience, I Need To Buy A Essay, best thesis writing services USA, UK is the ultimate dock where entire requirements you have related to custom thesis writing services are met with perfection. No matter how much stringent the guidelines are or stiff the deadlines are, we are resourceful enough to serve as your most reliable ally to buy thesis online. Lamp of the Universe‘s Work with ACW's developmental and comprehensive Online Letter Writing Services to ensure that your academic writing is successful! Dead Shrine were familiar enough for those familiar with the one-man outfit running more than two decades, but the lush acid folk created remains a standout the world over. Dead Shrine was a much-needed gift of peace and meditation.

26. BleakHeart, Dream Griever

bleakheart dream griever

Released by Sailor Records. Reviewed Nov. 18.

The debut album from Colorado’s BleakHeart collected pieces united by melody and overarching atmosphere, positioned stylistically somewhere around heavygaze or heavy post-rock, but feeling less limited to genre bounds than some others working in a similar sphere. As a first outing, it brought a promise of things to come even as the depths of its mix seemed to swallow the listener entirely, equal parts serving claustrophobia and escapism.

25. Pale Divine, Consequence of Time

Pale Divine Consequence of Time

Released by Cruz Del Sur Music. Reviewed June 3.

There is not enough space here to properly commend Pale Divine founding guitarist/vocalist Greg Diener on how much he opened up the band by bringing in his and drummer Darin McCloskey‘s former Beelzefuzz bandmate Dana Ortt on shared guitar, vocal and songwriting duties. Completed by Ron “Fezz” McGinnis on bass/vocals, Pale Divine are a refreshed and ready powerhouse of American traditional doom.

24. Uncle Woe, Phantomescence

uncle woe phantomescence

Released by Packard Black Productions. Reviewed Oct. 21.

One is going to have to get used to the idea of Uncle Woe residing in the places between, I think. An inward-looking cosmic doom that’s likewise morose and reaching, opaque and translucent, Phantomescence could be almost troubling in its feeling of off-kilter expression. Yet that’s exactly what multi-instrumentalist/vocalist Rain Fice was going for. Thriving on contradiction, exploratory, and individualized. Start from doom, move outward.

23. REZN, Chaotic Divine

rezn chaotic divine

Released by Off the Record Label. Reviewed Oct. 15.

I don’t feel like I’m cool enough to offer any substantive comment on what Chicago’s REZN do, but their sax-laced heavy psychedelia comes across warm and is invitingly languid while still delivered with a sense of energy and purpose. It rolls and you want to roll with it, so you do. They were clearly hurt by not being able to tour this year, as were audiences for not seeing them. Call them neo-stoner metal or whatever you want, these songs deserve to be played live.

22. Ruff Majik, The Devil’s Cattle

ruff majik the devils cattle

Released by Mongrel Records. Reviewed Oct. 29.

A revamped lineup for South African desert-ish heavy rockers Ruff Majik brought producer Evert Snyman in as co-conspirator with frontman/principal songwriter Johni Holiday, and found the former trio working as a five-piece with a broader sound underscored by an electric sense of purpose and willingness to push themselves to places they hadn’t gone before. Their third record, it seemed as well to be a new beginning, and they met the challenge head-on.

21. Curse the Son, Excruciation

Curse The Son Excruciation

Released by Ripple Music. Reviewed June 8.

The underheralded children of rolling fuzz riffage, Connecticut’s Curse the Son found new depths of emotion to bring to Excruciation — and I do mean “depths.” Dark times for dark times. Fueled by personal hardship, turmoil, motorcycle accidents and a pervasive sense of struggle, the LP was nonetheless a triumph of their songwriting and brought new melodic character to their established largesse of tone. Your loss if you missed it.

20. The Atomic Bitchwax, Scorpio

The Atomic Bitchwax Scorpio

Released by Tee Pee Records. Reviewed Aug. 26.

Business as usual in ferocious heavy/speed rock from The Atomic Bitchwax on Scorpio — and that was only reassuring since the band’s eighth full-length marked the first since the departure of guitarist/vocalist Finn Ryan and his replacing with Garrett Sweeny, a bandmate of founding bassist/vocalist Chris Kosnik and drummer Bob Pantella in Monster Magnet. They barely stopped to cool their heels and yet still managed to be catchy as hell. How do they do it? Jersey Magic.

19. Cinder Well, No Summer

cinder well no summer

Released by Free Dirt Records. Reviewed July 21.

Such pervasive melancholy could only be derived from Irish folk, and so it was on Cinder Well‘s No Summer, which managed to move between singer-songwriter minimalism from Amelia Baker and arrangements of deceptive and purposeful intricacy. Wherever it went, from traditional songs “Wandering Boy” and “The Cuckoo” to originals like “Fallen” and the nine-minute “Our Lady’s,” it was equal parts gorgeous and sad and resonant. It remains so, despite the fleeting season.

18. Pallbearer, Forgotten Days

pallbearer forgotten days

Released by Nuclear Blast Records. Reviewed Dec. 24.

Their fourth album and first since crossing the decade-mark since their inception, Pallbearer‘s Forgotten Days wasn’t just heavy, emotional or big-sounding; it was the most their-own of anything they’ve done. It felt exactly like the record they wanted it to be, and reconfirmed that the generation of listeners being introduced to doom by their music is going to be just fine if they follow the cues laid out for them here.

17. Slift, Ummon

slift ummon

Released by Stolen Body and Vicious Circle Records. Reviewed March 26.

Less a reinvention of space rock than a kick in its ass, Slift‘s Ummon pushed well past the line of manageability at 72 minutes and reveled in that. The French outfit were greeted as liberators when they released the album, and with the way the respect has been maintained in the months since they’ve given themselves a high standard to meet, but there’s only promise to be heard as you get lost in the nebular wash of this sprawling 2LP. They’ll have two more records out before this one’s fully digested.

16. My Dying Bride, The Ghost of Orion

my dying bride the ghost of orion

Released by Nuclear Blast Records. Reviewed Feb. 25.

The first album in half a decade from long-established UK death-doom forebears My Dying Bride found vocalist Aaron Stainthorpe coping with his daughter’s cancer diagnosis and translating that into the morose poetry for which the band is so well known and with which they’ve been so influential. My Dying Bride has never wanted for sincerity, but to call them affecting here would be underselling the quality of their craft and the heart they put into it. Follow-up EP is already out with extra non-album tracks.

15. Causa Sui, Szabodelico

causa sui Szabodelico

Released by El Paraiso Records. Reviewed Nov. 11.

Denmark’s Causa Sui may be on a mission to unite jazz and heavy psychedelia — and blessings on them for that — but the mellow jammy vibes they conjured on Szabodelico only emphasized how much it’s the character of what they do and the chemistry they’ve brought as bandmates that has allowed them to branch thusly in terms of aesthetic. It was the kind of album you wanted to put on again even before it was over, and its sweet instrumentals felt born to a greater timeline than a single year can encompass.

14. All Souls, Songs for the End of the World

All Souls Songs for the End of the World

Self-released. Reviewed Sept. 21.

I’m not a punk rocker, but All Souls make me wish I was. Their emotive and engaged heavy rock looks out as much as in on Songs for the End of the World — their second LP behind a 2018 self-titled debut (review here) — but it’s undeniably punk in its foundation, and what the four-piece of Antonio Aguilar and Meg Castellanos (both ex-Totimoshi), Erik Trammell (Black Elk) and Tony Tornay (Fatso Jetson) have put together builds on that in exciting, inventive and individualized ways, while staying nonetheless true to its roots.

13. Kind, Mental Nudge

kind mental nudge

Released by Ripple Music. Reviewed Oct. 20.

Five years after their debut album, Rocket Science (review here), Boston four-piece Kind return with Mental Nudge. And despite the different situations in which it finds the band’s members — bassist Tom Corino is now ex-Rozamov, drummer Matt Couto now ex-Elder — the group’s focus remains on carving memorable, mostly structured tracks out of ethereal heavy psychedelia, guitarist Darryl Shepard (Milligram, etc.) and vocalist Craig Riggs (RoadsawSasquatch, etc.) adding space and melody to the crunching, driving grooves.

12. Molassess, Through the Hollow

Molassess Through the Hollow

Released by Season of Mist. Featured Aug. 17.

Founded by vocalist Farida Lemouchi (ex-The Devil’s Blood) and guitarist Oeds Beydals (ex-Death Alley, also ex-The Devil’s Blood) and commissioned as a project for Roadburn Festival 2019 (review here), Molassess are inextricably tied to Lemouchi‘s groundbreaking former outfit and its tragic ending, but the musical branching out into darkened progressive textures on Through the Hollow isn’t to be understated. It was an album that pushed past the past, not overlooking it, but finding new ways of moving forward in life and sound.

11. Tony Reed, Funeral Suit

tony reed funeral suit

Released by Ripple Music. Reviewed Sept. 28.

While of course the Mos Generator frontman is no stranger to writing or recording on his own, Funeral Suit was Tony Reed‘s debut as a solo artist and it carried his progressive stamp in melody and arrangement. It was not just a guitarist playing acoustic instead of electric, and it was not a manifestation of self-indulgence. Whether it was reworking a Mos Generator song like “Lonely One Kenobi” or pursuing a new piece like the title-track or “Waterbirth,” Reed found balance between personal and audience, evoking traditional songsmithing even as he reminded listeners of his dual role as a producer.

10. Geezer, Groovy

Geezer Groovy

Released by Heavy Psych Sounds. Reviewed May 18.

Spectacular showing from Kingston kingpins Geezer with Groovy as their first offering for Heavy Psych Sounds. Led by guitarist/vocalist Pat Harrington, the three-piece brought material that flowed with the organic feel of jams despite being structured and catchy songs. In pieces like “Dead Soul Scroll” and “Drowning on Empty,” they melded stonerized groove with what felt like genuine emotional expression, and “Dig” and “Groovy” still managed to be a heavy fuzz-blues party. And they still had room at the end to jam out on “Slide Mountain” and “Black Owl.” It was nothing but a win, rising to the occasion on every level.

9. Big Scenic Nowhere, Vision Beyond Horizon

big scenic nowhere vision beyond horizon

Released by Heavy Psych Sounds. Reviewed Jan. 29.

So Bob Balch from Fu Manchu and Gary Arce from Yawning Man have a band. They get Tony Reed from Mos Generator on board. Mario Lalli from Yawning Man/Fatso Jetson comes and goes. Nick Oliveri comes and goes. Bill Stinson from Yawning Man plays drums. Alain Johannes sits in on vocals. Reed does a bunch of vocals; his kid does a track too. Per Wiberg from Spiritual Beggars, Opeth, Candlemass, etc., lends some keys. What do you call such a thing? Who cares? You call yourself lucky it exists. They called the record Vision Beyond Horizon. Can’t wait to find out what they call the next one.

8. Elder, Omens

elder omens

Released by Armageddon Shop and Stickman Records. Reviewed April 27.

Omens marked a new beginning for Elder as the band pushed deeper into the realm of progressive rock and beyond their weightier beginnings. The arrival of Georg Edert (also Gaffa Ghandi) on drums in place of Matt Couto shifted the band’s dynamic in a number of ways, providing not a swinging anchor for the rhythm section necessarily, but another avenue of prog fluidity. Bassist Jack Donovan brought a steady presence in the low end as guitarist/vocalist Nick DiSalvo and guitarist/keyboardist Mike Risberg embarked on new melodic explorations while staying loyal to the band’s established penchant for sweeping changes. Omens may live up to its name as a sign of things to come, but either way, it was a strong display of the band’s will to pursue new ideas and methods.

7. Forming the Void, Reverie

forming the void reverie

Released by Ripple Music. Reviewed April 15.

First words that come to mind here: “eminently listenable.” With seven tracks and 36 minutes, Reverie may not have taken up much of your afternoon… once. But by the time you gave it its proper respect and listened through three times in a row, the situation was somewhat different. The Lafayette, Louisiana, four-piece gracefully brought together structured songwriting with proggier leanings and were able to bring together rampaging hooks like “Trace the Omen” and “Manifest,” casting a sense of sonic hugeness without forgetting to add either melody or personality along with that. The band — who here welcomed bassist Thorn Letulle alongside guitarist/vocalist James Marshall, guitarist Shadi Omar Al-Khansa and drummer Thomas Colley — have worked quickly and evolved with a sense of urgency. Is Reverie the goal or another step on that path?

6. Grayceon, MOTHERS WEAVERS VULTURES

grayceon mothers weavers vultures

Released by Translation Loss Records. Reviewed Nov. 18.

Vocalist/cellist Jackie Perez Gratz (interview here), guitarist Max Doyle and drummer Zack Farwell comprise Grayceon, and with their fifth record, the band looks around thematically at environmental devastation through the lens of record-breaking California wildfires from their vantage point in the Bay Area. Even as the world shifted priorities (at least most of it did) to yet another global crisis in the COVID-19 pandemic, genre-melting-pot songs like “Diablo Wind,” “The Lucky Ones,” and “This Bed” reminded of the horrors humanity has wrought on its battered home, and still managed to find hope and serenity in “And Shine On” and “Rock Steady,” a closing duo that shifted to a more personal discussion of family and one’s hope for a better future for and by the next generation. 2020 had plenty of horror. At least we got a new Grayceon record out of it.

5. Brant Bjork, Brant Bjork

brant bjork brant bjork

Released by Heavy Psych Sounds. Reviewed April 28.

When Sho’Nuff asked Bruce Leroy “who’s the master?,” dude should’ve said Brant Bjork. It would’ve been a confusing end to Berry Gordy’s The Last Dragon, but ultimately more accurate, as Brant Bjork‘s homegrown kung fu was unfuckwithable as ever on the album that shares his name. After two decades of solo releases in one form or another, Bjork is not just a pivotal figurehead for desert rock, he’s a defining presence, as well as one of its most treasured practitioners. Brant Bjork, the album, brought initial waves of funk in “Jungle in the Sound,” explored weedy worship in “Mary (You’re Such a Lady)” and toyed with religious dogma in offsetting that with “Jesus Was a Bluesman” while still tossing primo hooks in “Duke of Dynamite” and “Shitkickin’ Now” ahead of the more open “Stardust and Diamond Eyes” and the acoustic closer “Been So Long.” With Bjork recording all the instruments himself, a due feeling of intimacy resulted, and yet he still found a way to make it rock. How could it be otherwise?

4. Enslaved, Utgard

enslaved utgard

Released by Nuclear Blast Records. Reviewed Sept. 29.

Why do I feel the immediate need to defend this pick? I’m not sure. Norway’s Enslaved are an institution, not just of black metal, but of bringing an ideology of creative growth to that style that often willfully resists it. They are iconoclastic even unto their own work. Utgard was released as the band stood on the precipice of 30 years together and yet it stood as their most forward-looking offering yet, as co-founders Grutle Kjellson (bass/vocals) and Ivar Bjørnson (guitar/sometimes vocals), as well as longtime lead guitarist Arve “Ice Dale” Isdal backed up the change from 2017’s E (review here) that brought in new keyboardist/vocalist Hakon Vinje with the incorporation of drummer Iver Sandøy, who doubles as a vocalist (and triples as a producer). The “new blood” made all the difference on Utgard, allowing Enslaved to piece together new ranges of melody in their work and offset instrumental shifts into and out of krautrock-derived progressions. Simply the work of a band outdoing itself from a band who does so at nearly every opportunity.

3a. Colour Haze, We Are

colour haze we are

Released by Elektrohasch Schallplatten and Ripple Music. Reviewed Dec. 3, 2019.

Every year I allow myself one addendum pick, and this is it. We Are was on last year’s list because it was digitally released, but the vinyl came out this year and it received its North American release this year as well, so it seemed only right to acknowledge that. So here it is in its proper place.

3. All Them Witches, Nothing as the Ideal

All-Them-Witches-Nothing-as-the-Ideal

Released by New West Records. Reviewed Sept. 3.

This is a band controlling their own narrative. Instead of Nothing as the Ideal being ‘the one they made as a three-piece,’ the Nashville outfit decided to make it ‘the one they recorded at Abbey Road.’ Were they thinking of it on those terms? Yeah, likely not, but it goes to demonstrate all the same just how much of themselves All Them Witches put into what they do musically, since not only are they continuing to refine and define and undefine their approach, but they’re setting the terms on which they do it. Each of their records has been a response to the one prior, but that conversation has never been so direct as to make them predictable. So what are they chasing? Apparently nothing. I’m not entirely sure I buy that as a complete answer, but I am sure I love these songs and the experiments with tape loops and other sounds that fill these spaces. Whatever they do next — or even if nothing — their run has been incredible and exciting and one only hopes their influence continues to spread over the next however many years.

2. Elephant Tree, Habits

elephant tree habits

Released by Deathwish Inc.. Reviewed April 13.

There was a high standard set by Elephant Tree‘s 2016 self-titled debut (review here), but their second LP, Habits, surpassed even the loftiest of expectations. With vocals centered around harmonies from guitarist Jack Townley and bassist Peter Holland, the former trio completed by drummer Sam Hart brought in guitarist/keyboardist John Slattery (also sometimes vocals), and the resultant breadth gave the material on Habits spaciousness beyond even what the first album promised. Drifting, rolling, unflinchingly melodic and somehow present even in its own escapism, Habits was not just an early highlight for a rough 2020, but a comforting presence throughout, and the further one dug into tracks like “Sails,” “Exit the Soul,” “Faceless,” “Wasted” and the acoustic “The Fall Chorus,” the more there was to find — let alone “Bird,” which I’ll happily put against anything else one might propose for song of the year. As their former UK label crumbled, Habits emerged unscathed and Elephant Tree‘s future continues to shine with ever more hope for things to come. Being able to say that about anything feels like a relief.

2020 Album of the Year

1. Lowrider, Refractions

Lowrider Refractions

Released by Blues Funeral Recordings. Reviewed Jan. 24.

Twenty years ago, Sweden’s Lowrider put out what would become a heavy rock landmark in their 2000 debut, Ode to Io (reissue review here). A follow-up years in the making even after the band got back together to play Desertfest in London (review here) and Berlin in 2013, Refractions first saw limited release in 2019 as part of Blues Funeral‘s PostWax series (discussed here), but its proper arrival was in early 2020, and there was really no looking back after that. It wasn’t just the novelty of a new Lowrider album that made Refractions such a joy, but the manner in which the band went about its work. There was no pretending that 20 years didn’t happen. There was no attempt to recapture the bottled lightning that was the first record, and Lowrider did not sound like a band “making a comeback” rife with expectations and fan-service. Refractions acknowledged the legacy of Ode to Io, sure enough, but as a step toward adding to it in meaningful and engaging ways. The songs — “Red River,” “Ode to Ganymede,” “Sernanders Krog,” “Ol’ Mule Pepe,” “Sun Devil/M87” and the 11-minute finale “Pipe Rider” — were fashioned without pretense and came across as the organic output of a band with nothing to prove to anyone but themselves. They made it their own. In a wretched year, Lowrider shined.

The Top 50 Albums of 2020: Honorable Mention

Yeah, okay. There are a lot of these, so buckle in. Last year I just threw out a list of bands. This year I’m a little more organized, so here are bands and records alphabetically.

Across Tundras, LOESS ~ LÖSS
Across Tundras, The Last Days of a Silver Rush
Alain Johannes, Hum
Arboretum, Let it All In
Bell Witch & Aerial Ruin, Stygian Bough Vol. 1
Black Helium, The Wholly Other
Boris, No
Brimstone Coven, The Woes of a Mortal Earth
CB3, Aeons
Celestial Season, The Secret Teachings
Crippled Black Phoenix, Ellengæst
Cruthu, Athrú Crutha
Domo, Domonautas Vol. 2
DOOL, Summerland
Dopelord, Sign of the Devil
Dwaal, Gospel of the Vile
Elder Druid, Golgotha
Ellis Munk Ensemble, San Diego Sessions
Emma Ruth Rundle & Thou, May Our Chambers Be Full
EMBR, 1823
Familiars, All in Good Time
Forlesen, Hierophant Violent
Galactic Cross, Galactic Cross
The Heavy Eyes, Love Like Machines
Hum, Inlet
Human Impact, Human Impact
Humulus, The Deep
Jupiterian, Protosapien
Kariti, Covered Mirrors
Khan, Monsoons
Kingnomad, Sagan Om Ryden
King Witch, Body of Light
Kryptograf, Kryptograf
Light Pillars, Light Pillars
Lord Buffalo, Tohu Wa Bohu
Lord Loud, Timid Beast
Lotus Thief, Oresteia
Malsten, The Haunting of Silvåkra Mill
Mindcrawler, Lost Orbiter
Motorpsycho, The All is One
Mountain Tamer, Psychosis Ritual
Mr. Bison, Seaward
Mrs. Piss, Self-Surgery
Mugstar, GRAFT
Murcielago, Casualties
Oranssi Pazuzu, Mestarin Kynsi
Paradise Lost, Obsidian
Parahelio, Surge Evelia Surge
The Pilgrim, …From the Earth to the Sky and Back
Pretty Lightning, Jangle Bowls
Psychlona, Venus Skytrip
Puta Volcano, AMMA
Ritual King, Ritual King
River Cult, Chilling Effect
Rrrags, High Protein
Shores of Null, Beyond the Shores (On Death and Dying)
Sigiriya, Maiden – Mother – Crone
Six Organs of Admittance, Companion Rises
16, Dream Squasher
Slomosa, Slomosa
Somnus Throne, Somnus Throne
Steve Von Till, No Wilderness Deep Enough
Stone Machine Electric, The Inexplicable Vibrations of Frequencies Within the Cosmic Netherworld
Sumac, May You Be Held
Temple of the Fuzz Witch, Red Tide
Temple of Void, The World That Was
The Kings of Frog Island, VI
Tia Carrera, Tried and True
Turtle Skull, Monoliths
Uffe Lorenzen, Magisk Realisme
Ulcerate, Stare Into Death and Be Still
Vessel of Light, Last Ride
Vestal Claret, Vestal Claret
Vinnum Sabbathi, Of Dimensions and Theories
Wight, Spank the World
Wino, Forever Gone
Yatra, All is Lost
Yuri Gagarin, The Outskirts of Reality

By no means is that list exhaustive. And to look at stuff like Psychlona, Oranssi Pazuzu, Wight, Wino, Puta Volcano, Kingnomad, Ellis Munk Ensemble, Paradise Lost, Alain Johannes, Arbouretum, Uffe Lorenzen, Tia Carrera — on and on and on — I can definitely see where arguments are to be made for records that should’ve been in the list proper. I can only go with what feels right to me at the time.

Together with the top 50, this makes over 110 albums in the best of 2020. If you find yourself needing something to hang your hat on, be glad you’re alive to witness this much excellent music coming out.

Debut Album of the Year

Molassess, Through the Hollow

Molassess Through the Hollow

Other notable debuts (alphabetically):

Atramentus, Stygian
Bethmoora, Thresholds
BleakHeart, Dream Griever
Crystal Spiders, Molt
Dirt Woman, The Glass Cliff
Dwaal, Gospel of the Vile
Electric Feat, Electric Feat
Familiars, All in Good Time
Galactic Cross, Galactic Cross
Human Impact, Human Impact
Jointhugger, I Am No One
Light Pillars, Light Pillars
Love Gang, Dead Man’s Game
Malsten, The Haunting of Silvåkra Mill
Might, Might
Mindcrawler, Lost Orbiter
Mrs. Piss, Self-Surgery
Parahelio, Surge Evelia Surge
Polymoon, Caterpillars of Creation
Ritual King, Ritual King
SEA, Impermanence
Slomosa, Slomosa
Soldati, Doom Nacional
Somnus Throne, Somnus Throne
SpellBook, Magick & Mischief
Spirit Mother, Cadets
Temple of the Fuzz Witch, Red Tide
The Crooked Whispers, Satanic Melodies
White Dog, White Dog

Notes: I sparred with myself every step of the way here. The last couple years I’ve tried to give the top-debut spot to not just a new band, but a new presence. Green Lung, King Buffalo, etc. Molassess, with members from The Devil’s Blood, Death Alley and Astrosoniq, isn’t exactly that. So what do I do? Do I go with something newer like Polymoon, Dirt Woman, BleakHeart, SEA, White Dog or The Crooked Whispers, or something with more established players like Molassess, Soldati, or even Light Pillars?

In the end, what made the difference was not just how brilliant the songs on Molassess’ Through the Hollow, but how honestly the band confronted the legacy they were up against. The songs had a familiar haunting presence, but they were also moving ahead to somewhere new. It was that blend of old and new ideas, and the resonant feeling of emotional catharsis — as well as the sheer immersion that took place while listening — that ultimately made the decision. Turns out I just couldn’t escape it.

And why not a list? Because this feels woefully inadequate as it is. I reviewed over 250 records this year one way or another — and that’s a conservative estimate — but a lot gets lost in the shuffle and somehow it just seemed wrong this time around to call something the 13th best first record of the year. I wanted to highlight the special achievement that was the Molassess album, but really, all of these records kicked my ass one way or the other.

Short Release of the Year 2020

King Buffalo, Dead Star

King Buffalo Dead Star

Other notable EPs, Splits, Demos, etc.:

Big Scenic Nowhere, Lavender Blues
Coma Wall, Ursa Minor
Conan/Deadsmoke, Doom Sessions Vol. 1
Fu Manchu, Fu30 Pt. 1
Grandpa Jack, Trash Can Boogie
Howling Giant/Sergeant Thunderhoof, Masamune/Muramasa (split)
Oginalii, Pendulum
Kings Destroy, Floods
Lament Cityscape, The Old Wet
Limousine Beach, Stealin’ Wine +2
Merlock, That Which Speaks
Monte Luna, Mind Control Broadcast
Mos Generator/Di’Aul, Split
Pimmit Hills, Heathens & Prophets
Rito Verdugo, Post-Primatus
Rocky Mtn Roller, Rocky Mtn Roller
Spaceslug, Leftovers
10,000 Years, 10,000 Years
The White Swan, Nocturnal Transmission
Thunderbird Divine, The Hand of Man
Witchcraft, Black Metal

Notes: If you were wondering why King Buffalo’s Dead Star (review here) wasn’t on the big list, this is why. It was pitched to me as an EP and that’s how I’m classifying it. I’m taking the out. Is it an EP? Not really, but neither is it a full-length album, given its experimental nature and focus around its extended two-part title-track. Whatever it was, it was the best that-thing, and this is the category where such things go.

Again, tough choices after King Buffalo. Thunderbird Divine’s EP was wonderfully funk-blasted and woefully short (new album, please). The newly-issued Spaceslug EP branches out their sound in fascinating ways as a result of the lockdown. Witchcraft’s acoustic EP, Coma Wall’s EP and Big Scenic Nowhere’s EP all signaled good things to come, and Howling Giant’s split with Sergeant Thunderhoof was a highlight of the most recent Quarterly Review. There really isn’t a bummer on the list there, from the bitter psych of Oginalii to the industrial metal of Lament Cityscape, the unadulterated riffery of Merlock to the live-captured rawness of Monte Luna.

So again, why no list? Same answer. I want to highlight the progression King Buffalo made in their sound and leave room open elsewhere for things I missed. Please let me know what in the comments. Cordially.

Live Album of the Year 2020

Yawning Man, Live at Giant Rock

yawning man live at giant rock

Other notable live releases:

Ahab, Live Prey
Amenra, Mass VI Live
Arcadian Child, From Far, for the Wild (Live in Linz)
Author and Punisher, Live 2020 B.C.
Cherry Choke, Raising Salzburg Rockhouse
Dead Meadow, Live at Roadburn 2011
Dirty Streets, Rough and Tumble
Electric Moon, Live at Freak Valley Festival 2019
Kadavar, Studio Live Session Vol. 1
King Buffalo, Live at Freak Valley
Monte Luna, Mind Control Broadcast
Orange Goblin, Rough & Ready: Live and Loud
Øresund Space Collective, Sonic Rock Solstice 2019
Pelican, Live at the Grog Shop
SEA, Live at ONCE
Sumac, St Vitus 09/07/2018
Sun Blood Stories, (a)Live and Alone at Visual Arts Collective
Temple Fang, Live at Merleyn
YOB, Pickathon 2019 – Live From the Galaxy Barn

Notes: In this wretched year (mostly) void of live music, marked by canceled tours and festivals, the live album arguably played a more central role than it ever has, whether it was a band trying to keep momentum up following or leading into a studio release, taking advantage of the emergence of the Bandcamp Friday phenomenon or just trying to maintain some connection to their fans and the process of taking a stage. Or even playing in a room together. Or not a room. Anything. What was once a tossoff, maybe an afterthought companion piece became an essential worker of the listening experience.

You might accuse desert rock progenitors Yawning Man of playing to their base with Live at Giant Rock (featured here), and if so, fine. At no point in the last 50 years has that base more needed playing-to. And in the absence of shows, being able to hear (and watch, in the case of the accompanying video) Yawning Man go out to the landscape that spawned them and engage with their music was a beautiful moment of reconciliation. An exhale for the converted that didn’t fill one with empty promises of better tomorrows or tours to come, but served to remind what’s so worth preserving about the spirit of live music in the first place. The fact that anything can happen. A replaced note here, a tuning change there — these things can make not just an evening, but memories that go beyond shows, tours, to touch our lives.

There were a ton of live records this year. Some were benefits for worthy causes between saving venues, Black Lives Matter, voting rights organizations, and so on. And whether these were new performances from captured livestreams (Monte Luna, Kadavar) or older gigs that had been sitting around waiting for release at some point (Sumac, Dead Meadow), this, very much, was that point, and these live offerings kept burning a fire that felt at times very much in danger of being extinguished.

Looking Ahead to 2021

A list of bands. Some confirmed releases, some not. Here goes:

Dread Sovereign, Sasquatch, Year of Taurus, Apostle of Solitude, Weedpecker, Borracho, Love Gang, Jointhugger, Demon Head, Iron Man, Greenleaf, Samsara Blues Experiment, The Mammathus, Evert Snyman, Wo Fat, Conclave, Here Lies Man, Kabbalah, Komatsu, Hour of 13, Wedge, Amenra, La Chinga, Spidergawd, Wolves in the Throne Room, Vokonis, Freedom Hawk, Masters of Reality, ZOM, Eyehategod, Sanhedrin, Green Lung, The Mountain King, Albatross Overdrive, Elder, King Buffalo, Sunnata, Howling Giant, SAVER, Conan, Slomatics, Ruff Majik, Kind, Mos Generator, Yawning Sons, Lantlôs, Brant Bjork, Spiral Grave, Crystal Spiders, Lightning Born, Samavayo, Wovenhand, Merlock, Comet Control, The Age of Truth, Eight Bells, BlackWater Holylight, DVNE, Monte Luna.

Thank You

You’ve read enough, so I will do my best to keep this mercifully short. Thank you so much for reading — whether you still are or not — and thank you for being a part of the ongoing project that is The Obelisk. I cannot tell you how much it means to me to have such incredible support throughout not just this year, but all the years of the site’s existence. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.

Thank you most of all to The Patient Mrs. for her indulgence in letting me get this done. I’m am amazed forever.

More to come.

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The Obelisk Show on Gimme Metal Playlist: Episode 49

Posted in Radio on December 23rd, 2020 by JJ Koczan

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I was kicking around the idea of not doing a year-end list for 2020. Honestly, between this episode of The Obelisk Show on Gimme Metal and the last one, that pretty much covers my picks, and who the hell cares about what order they’re in? It’s December and everyone and their brother has a list out. Do we really need another one? I’m doing a Quarterly Review right now, covering more music. To me, that seems like a more righteous cause.

Of course, I’ll probably end up doing a list anyway next week, but in the meantime, if you’re looking for a soundtrack to your in-quarantine holiday experience, the second half of the ‘Some of the Best of 2020’ spectacular should do well in getting you through the evening. I’m to understand we’ll be breaking travel protocols myself, so if I get the plague that is even as we speak ravaging my homeland, at least I will have deserved it. Firelung and whatnot.

Thanks for listening and reading. New art coming soon.

The Obelisk Show airs 5PM Eastern today on the Gimme app or at http://gimmemetal.com

Full playlist:

The Obelisk Show – 12.25.20

Elephant Tree Bird Habits
Pallbearer Vengeance & Ruination Forgotten Days
Tony Reed Might Just Funeral Suit
Grayceon This Bed MOTHERS WEAVERS VULTURES
All Them Witches 41 Nothing as the Ideal
VT
Brant Bjork Cleaning out the Ashtray Brant Bjork
Soldati From Skulls Doom Nacional
Backwoods Payback God Smack VA – Alice in Chains Dirt: Redux
High Priestess The Hourglass Casting the Circle
Curse the Son Black Box Warning Excruciation
Elder Halcyon Omens
Black Rainbows Master Rocket Power Blast Cosmic Ritual Supertrip
Dirt Woman Fades to Greed The Glass Cliff
Polymoon Silver Moon Caterpillars of Creation
Enslaved Distant Seasons Utgard
Cinder Well Fallen No Summer
Geezer Drowning on Empty Groovy
Ruff Majik Lead Pills and Thrills The Devil’s Cattle

The Obelisk Show on Gimme Metal airs every Friday 5PM Eastern, with replays Sunday at 7PM Eastern. Next new episode is Jan. 8 (subject to change). Thanks for listening if you do.

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The Obelisk Show on Gimme Radio Playlist: Episode 35

Posted in Radio on May 29th, 2020 by JJ Koczan

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Digging deep on some of this stuff, and I like that. I mean, yeah, you’ve probably heard Enslaved and Lowrider by now, and maybe Black Rainbows, but stuff like Burning Brain Band, Jointhugger and King Gorm could be new to you. I hope so anyhow, that’s why I picked the tracks. That and I thought they were cool. Pretty simple process when it comes down to it.

I did the voice tracks for this one while my son played (first) with kinetic sand and (then) on the piano, so that’s kind of a mess, but I’ve come to enjoy that and it’s a good show either way. If you manage to check it out, stick around for the end, because the last two songs, the long ones from Dire Wolves and Stonegrass, are absolutely killer. I was recently put onto both records and I have absolutely zero regrets. Cardinal Fuzz put out the Dire Wolves LP in April and Stonegrass is out through Cosmic Range Records in Toronto digitally now with LP to follow. Both albums are worth your time if you have the time.

And as always, thanks for listening if you do.

The Obelisk Show airs 5PM Eastern today on the Gimme app or at http://gimmeradio.com

Full playlist:

The Obelisk Show – 05.29.20

Circle of Sighs Kukeri Salo*
Lamp of the Universe The Eastern Run Dead Shrine*
Lowrider Pipe Rider Refractions*
BREAK
Enslaved Homebound Utgard*
Wren Seek the Unkindred Groundswells*
StoneBirds Only God Collapse and Fail*
Jointhugger I Am No One I Am No One*
Saavik He’s Dead Jim Saavik*
Black Rainbows Hypnotized by the Solenoid Cosmic Ritual Supertrip*
The Burning Brain Band Bolero/Float Away The Burning Brain Band*
King Gorm Beyond Black Rainbow King Gorm*
BREAK
Dire Wolves Flow & Heady / By the Fireside Flow and Heady*
Stonegrass Tea Stonegrass*

The Obelisk Show on Gimme Radio airs every Friday 5PM Eastern, with replays Sunday at 7PM Eastern. Next new episode is June 12 (subject to change). Thanks for listening if you do.

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Album Review: Black Rainbows, Cosmic Ritual Supertrip

Posted in Reviews on May 26th, 2020 by JJ Koczan

black rainbows Cosmic Ritual Supertrip

This is a band who know what works. Some 13 years on from their debut album, Twilight in the Desert, and working as a flagship act for frontman Gabriele Fiori‘s Heavy Psych Sounds label as well as spearheads of Italy’s jam-packed underground, Roman trio Black Rainbows have every sense of who they are as a unit and where they want to be in terms of their sound. And even as Fiori has split his focus with the label, a festival series of the same name, and with other projects like Killer Boogie and The Pilgrim, the mission of Black Rainbows has remained consistent: To embody the sound of riding a motorcycle made of fuzz riffs through space on a desert interstate to hell.

Cosmic Ritual Supertrip is the seventh or eighth Black Rainbows full-length depending on how you count, and like 2018’s Pandaemonium (review here), it was recorded with Fabio Sforza. Tracked over a period of three days at Forward Studios in Rome, it finds Fiori as the lone remaining original member of the band joined by the rhythm section of returning drummer Filippo Ragazzoni and newcomer bassist Edoardo “Mancio” Mancini, who steps in for Giuseppe Guglielmino. The shifts in lineup around Fiori aren’t necessarily anything new for Black Rainbows, and as noted, who’s where around him ultimately factors little into the band’s purpose. That’s not to take away from anyone else’s personality or playing style — there are certainly changes in the band’s dynamic that have emerged over time as well as an evolution of songwriting that hits its high water mark here — but there’s little question whose band Black Rainbows is.

Past efforts from Black Rainbows have pounded away through space rock, psychedelia, classic stoner idolatry — Nebula have always been a crucial influence — and jammy freakouts, and Cosmic Ritual Supertrip brings a mix of all of the above, but mostly what comes through the 12-track/49-minute long-player (the vinyl leaves off two songs) is the underlying strength of craft. FioriRagazzoni and Mancini weave and wind their way through these varying styles and elements, working at a range of tempos within and between songs, but whether it’s the scorching layered soloing at the apex of “Hypnotized by the Solenoid” or the pure stoner-is-as-stoner-does-ism of the earlier “Radio 666,” there is a distinct energy and vitality to the work that is singularly Black Rainbows‘ own.

The album practically starts at a sprint with “At Midnight You Cry” and even a subdued moment like the two-minute drifter “The Great Design” is followed up by “Master Rocket Power Blast,” which — if it even needs to be said — hits like it’s been huffing paint thinner for three weeks straight and decided now was a good time to try skydiving. What’s come to the fore over time in Black Rainbows‘ let-it-fly-off-the-rails approach, however, is just how much it actually doesn’t fly off those rails. It was true to an extent on Pandaemonium and 2016’s Stellar Prophecy (review here) and 2015’s Hawkdope (review here) as well, but never more than it is now, that there is a plan being followed in the material. The title Cosmic Ritual Supertrip sounds like pure druggy nonsense, but that’s the idea too. The record, the band, and the songs — they’re all supposed to be the vehicle of the pure, out-of-your-mind escapism that is relishing volume, weight, and presence in heavy music. The medium is the message.

black rainbows

Where Black Rainbows bring a shift in approach into play is the focus on songs. Cosmic Ritual Supertrip flows suitably as a full-length release — the vinyl edition drops the last two tracks of the CD, “Searching for Satellites I & II” and “Fire Breather,” bringing the runtime to about 40 minutes even — but it’s the manner on which individual tracks stand out that would seem to distinguish this latest work from its recent predecessors. A normally hard-touring unit, Black Rainbows are no strangers to engaging an audience, and whether it’s the initial salvo of “At Midnight You Cry,” the desert-rolling “Universal Phase,” “Radio 666” and the hotshot swing of “Isolation” ahead of “Hypnotized by the Solenoid,” or later pieces like the lead-and-crash-soaked “Snowball,” “Glittereyzed” with its mashed-together space and gallop impulses, or the almost chunky-style turns of “Sacred Graal” — Deliverance-era C.O.C. come to mind — there’s a sense that even when Cosmic Ritual Supertrip is at its most sonically sprawling, the songs aren’t wasting a second of their time or yours.

I don’t know if it’s right to call it urgency, though it can be intense at times and Black Rainbows have bordered on speed-rocking mania in the past, but these songs maintain the electric current so key to the band’s collective persona even as they feel particularly hammered out and worked through. They’re not overthought, but it’s as though Fiori and company went into the process of making Cosmic Ritual Supertrip with the goal of having the individual tracks each do as much work as possible. And they do, from front to back. Be it the sharp turns from “Hypnotized by the Solenoid” into “The Great Design” into “Master Rocket Power Blast” or the Monster Magnet-y keys and effects laced throughout “Searching for Satellites I & II” or the samples from 1957’s The Giant Claw about seeing a giant bird as a harbinger of death in “Fire Breather” as the band conjure one last rush, each piece finds a way to leave an impression, and because of that, the album as a whole does as well.

It’s not a case where Black Rainbows have undergone a radical shift in approach. Their sound will be easily recognizable for anyone who took on Pandaemonium, etc., but Cosmic Ritual Supertrip proves their mastery of their approach on a new level by seeing them use songwriting in a different way. They’ve released collections of songs before, and they’ve released albums that have cohered like single long-form works as well, but never quite with as much purpose behind doing so as Cosmic Ritual Supertrip has in how it gives each inclusion its moment in the spotlight. As Black Rainbows continue through this stage of their maturity — and 13 years and seven or eight records on, “maturity” seems like a fair word — that they’re still working in different modes of expression as a unit, and seeming to control it more than ever before, could hardly be more encouraging. The possibilities become endless.

Black Rainbows, Cosmic Ritual Supertrip (2020)

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Black Rainbows Announce European Tour Dates

Posted in Whathaveyou on March 3rd, 2020 by JJ Koczan

black rainbows

Inevitable. As Black Rainbows move toward the May 1 release date for their new album, Cosmic Ritual Supertrip, they were more or less bound to announce a round of European touring to support. They’ll of course play the Heavy Psych Sounds Fests in Paris, London, the Netherlands and Belgium, and they’ll do Desertfest in Berlin (they still have room in the schedule for London as well) and a bunch of other festivals along the way between this week and the end of June, as well as shows later this Spring alongside such luminaries as Greenleaf and Elder, which, as ever, is fine company to keep.

I’ve heard Cosmic Ritual Supertrip at this point. Sooner or later I’ll review it — hopefully before May — but if I can bottom line it for you, these guys have taken space rock and classic ’90s-style stoner and made it their own thing. The Nebula/Fu Manchu influence that drove their earlier days is still there, but it’s morphed into a personality that’s more theirs than ever. I’ll leave it there for now, but they’ve worked diligently and you can hear that in the quality of their material and how they’ve moved forward as songwriters and performers. Eight records in they’re still pushing hard. That’s a good fucking band.

Tour dates follow:

black rainbows euro tour

BLACK RAINBOWS – EUROPEAN TOUR 2020

Black Rainbows are ready to release this spring their 8th album: “Cosmic Ritual Supertrip”. The new album been recorded at Forward Studios in Rome on an incredible Neve consolle recorded and mixed by Fabio Sforza same engineer of the last album “Pandaemonium.” The new beast has a monolithic force: guitars, drums, bass are all glued together and give the listener a punch on his face!

This album has a magic power mixing together the 70’s attitude with the doom-occult sound and the stoner rock in a masterful way.

*** BLACK RAINBOWS – EUROPEAN TOUR 2020 ***
A lot of headlining shows but also great festivals such as Heavy Psych Sounds Fests in Paris, London, Antwerp, Deventer and Winterthur !!!

05.03.2020 FR Paris – Glazart HPS Fest
06.03.2020 BE Antwerp – Trix HPS Fest
07.03.2020 UK London – Underworld HPS Fest
08.03.2020 NL Deveneter – Burgerweeshuis HPS Fest
25.04.2020 DE Dortmund – Check Your Head Fest
26.04.2020 DE Oldenburg – MTS
27.04.2020 DE Hamburg – Stubnitz
28.04.2020 PL Wroclaw – Dk Luksus
29.04.2020 PL Poznan – Alternativa
30.04.2020 DE Dresden
01.05.2020 DE Leipzig – Zoro
02.05.2020 DE Berlin – DesertFest
06.05.2020 DE Koln-MTC
07.05.2020 BE Bruxelles – Le Nuis Botanique Fest
08.05.2020 FR TBA
09.05.2020 FR TBA
14.05.2020 CH Olten-TBA
15.05.2020 CH Martigny – Caves Du Manoir w/Monkey3
16.05.2020 CH Altdorf – Vogelsang
17.05.2020 AT Salzburg – Rockhouse w/Greenleaf
06.06.2020 CH Winterthur – Gaswerk HPS Fest w/Elder
25.06.2020 DE Munich – Backstage
26.06.2020 DE Passau – Blackdoor Fest

BLACK RAINBOWS is:
Gabriele Fiori – Guitar/Vocals
Filippo Ragazzoni – Drums
Edoardo “Mancio” Mancini – Bass

http://www.theblackrainbows.com/
https://www.facebook.com/BLACKRAINBOWSROCK/
http://blackrainbows.bandcamp.com/
https://www.facebook.com/HEAVYPSYCHSOUNDS/
http://www.heavypsychsounds.com/
https://heavypsychsoundsrecords.bandcamp.com/

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Desertfest Berlin 2020 Adds Motorpsycho, Black Rainbows, Somali Yacht Club, Los Bitchos and Love Machine

Posted in Whathaveyou on February 19th, 2020 by JJ Koczan

desertfest berlin 2020 banner

It is increasingly bittersweet, as it has been in the past, to see the lineup for Desertfest Berlin 2020 taking shape, with bands like LowriderMotorpsychoBlack RainbowsMasters of RealityCorrosion of ConformityBrant BjorkPuta Volcano1000mods and Orange Goblin on the bill knowing that, unless that Nigerian prince who emailed me comes through with a life-changing amount of money, that’s a lineup I won’t see. Black RainbowsMotorpsychoSomali Yacht ClubLos Bitchos and Love Machine are fresh adds to the bill, and you can see for yourself the list of groups they join — I didn’t even mention SÂVER or Temple Fang or Somali Yacht Club in the list above, mostly in an effort not to make myself sad — in the poster below. Nothing less than amazing to see what Desertfest Berlin and the festival brand as a whole have become. I look forward to the New York edition in September.

Here’s word from the PR wire:

desertfest berlin 2020 poster

MOTORPSYCHO + SOMALI YACHT CLUB + BLACK RAINBOWS + LOS BITCHOS + LOVE MACHINE to join the Line-Up of Desertfest Berlin!

Desertfest Berlin, the leading cult and underground festival of all heavy psych sounds, has announced 5 new and incredible names for their 9th edition, taking place May 1st – 3rd at the Arena Berlin. Progressive psych rock masters, MOTORPSYCHO, Ukrainian stoner rock trio SOMALI YACHT CLUB and Italy’s finest, heavy psych rock unit BLACK RAINBOWS are joining the eclectic Line-Up of Desertfest Berlin 2020! And if that’s not all of today’s great news, Desertfest Berlin has also just added up&coming underground funkers, LOS BITCHOS, and superb garage psych rockers, LOVE MACHINE!

Music writers have never had it easy with Motorpsycho, perhaps less now than ever. Much has been made of the ‘prog rock’ tag in regards to the band’s more recent output, yet they still manage to fall in between the cracks of any definable genres: “too musically unwieldly for the punks, too gnarly for the prog nerds,” as the band puts it. ‘The Crucible’, Motorpsycho’s latest record, is an even further step forward, showing no signs of timidity in songwriting nor performances. Self-contra-dictory as the band is, who has its origins way back in the mid-1980s, it’s somehow more focused, compositionally more ambitious, and undoubtly 100% Motorpsycho. The band, who is known for their outstanding live performances, will play an exclusive show at DF Berlin this year!

Somali Yacht Club is a stoner rock trio from Lviv, Ukraine. The band mixes elements of stoner rock, psychedelic rock, shoegazing and post-metal in their music. The trio has released an EP and two highly acclaimed full-length records to date, followed by countless shows on tour with bands alike Elder, Red Fang, Mars Red Sky and Stoned Jesus. They have already turned the European Festival scene at such as Keep It Low, Void or Swamp Fest into some heavy psychedelic rock wonderlands, Desertfest Berlin will be next!

Black Rainbows have established themselves among the best Heavy Psych Stoner Space bands coming from Europe, spreading the word of Fuzz since 2007! Their sound has oozed between classic ‘90s-style stoner fuzz and deep-cosmos psychedelia, drawing on the best of hard-driving space rock to conjure a vibe totally tripped-out. Two years after their last record, Black Rainbows enter 2020 refreshed and with well-earned veteran status resulting from countless tours, festival appearances, and their track record of absolutely unstoppable energy. Perfect in time for Desertfest Berlin, the band will release their 8th album on May 1st: Get ready for the “Cosmic Ritual Supertrip”!

Los Bitchos are fronted by multi-instrumentalist Serra Petale on lead guitar. She’s flanked by Carolina Faruolo (guitar), Agustina Ruiz (keytar), Josefine Jonnson (bass), and Nic Crawshaw (drums / percussion). Currently the gang reside in London but the members hail from as far and as wide as Perth (Australia), Montevideo, Stockholm, and Croydon. In a short space of time they have already toured with Mac De Marco, Ty Segall, The Black Lips or Kikagaku Moyo to name just a few. These ladies have also smashed out sun-tinged sets at numerous festivals, and will be finally taking over Desertfest Berlin!

Love Machine are back with a new release, a new cast and a fresh breeze on garage and psychedelic rock! On ‘Mirrors & Money’, the five-piece from Düsseldorf, Germany, is more versatile and daring than ever. While its predecessor, ‘Times To Come’, is still all about Westcoast Psychedelia, their new record has a much more complex and modern influence. The band’s proven herb and psychedelic rock is now joined by garage, slacker and soul. The impossible mix, LOVE MACHINE embrace themselves, without any claim to remain in a field for too long and meet the expectations there in the least. Of genre boundaries and conventions, the five would like to know nothing here.

Desertfest Berlin, known for the best band Line- Ups of the entire heavy psych underground as well as its unique atmosphere and surroundings visited by desert rock fans from all over the globe, is directly located at the riverside in the heart of Berlin, the Arena. After last year’s changes of a new sound system, the ‘Black Box’, that got high praise from both guests and critics alike finding themselves back at an intimate, high-energy underground club show, the festival will provide many more specials, space, and again a chill- party – AND live area on the popular “Hoppetosse” boat! Trip into the ultimate riff & heavy psych party of the year this Spring in Berlin, and grab your ticket now! Day and weekend passes, as well as tickets for the infamous DF WARM-UP Party, are now available at THIS LOCATION: https://www.desertfest-tickets.de/produkte

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Motorpsycho, “The Crucible”

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Black Rainbows: New LP Cosmic Ritual Supertrip Available to Preorder; Streaming “Isolation”

Posted in Whathaveyou on February 13th, 2020 by JJ Koczan

black rainbows

Italian heavy psychedelic rock magnates Black Rainbows return May 1 with their eighth full-length, Cosmic Ritual Supertrip, from which they’re streaming the first single and for which they’re taking preorders both as of today.

Perhaps the most striking thing about “Isolation,” which is serving as the lead track unveiled, is that an opening riff so killer isn’t how the bands chose to actually start the record. I’d be on board with checking it out anyhow, most likely — eight records deep, and I haven’t heard this one yet, but they don’t have a bummer in the bunch preceding — but I’m all the more interested in knowing how it actually leads off if not with something as awesome as this.

Expect more to come ahead of the release in May. Only reason I haven’t yet sent the label an email asking to set up a premiere is because I can’t actually get to my laptop at the moment to do such a thing. In any case, I will shortly and keep my fingers crossed at the possibility.

Fresh off the PR wire:

black rainbows Cosmic Ritual Supertrip

BLACK RAINBOWS – Cosmic Ritual Supertrip

Today we are extremely proud to start the presale of the BLACK RAINBOWS brand new album COSMIC RITUAL SUPERTRIP !!!

Black Rainbows are back with a brand new album! This time they are delivering 12 new and fresh tunes. Recorded and produced by Fabio Sforza, who was also behind the previous album Pandaemonium. “Cosmic Ritual Supertrip” has a monolithic force; guitars, drums and bass are all glued together to give the listener a punch in the face! This album gets its magic power from mixing together a 70’s attitude with a doom-occult and stoner rock sound in a masterful way.

We can count a bunch of singles, such as “Isolation” and “Master Rocket Power Blast”, as well as a couple of doomy songs like “Universal Phase” and “Saacred Graal” and also more catchy tunes like “Radio 666” and “At Midnight You Cry”. This is the 8th album of the band and we believe the best one so far. Recorded at Forward Studios in Rome on a huge Neve desk, this new gem will be out May 1st, on Heavy Psych Sounds Records.

The amazing artwork, made by the one and only Robin Gnista, is matching in its entirety the album music concept.

tracklist:
1. At Midnight You Cry
2. Universal Phase
3. Radio 666
4. Isolation
5. The Great Design
6. Hypnotized By The Solenoid
7. Master Rocket Power Blast
8. Snowball
9. Glittereyzed
10. Sacred Graal

BLACK RAINBOWS is:
Gabriele Fiori – Guitar/Vocals
Filippo Ragazzoni – Drums
Edoardo “Mancio” Mancini – Bass

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