Quarterly Review: Saturnalia Temple, Dool, Abrams, Pia Isa, Wretched Kingdom, Lake Lake, Gnarwhal, Bongfoot, Thomas Greenwood & The Talismans, Djiin

Posted in Reviews on May 15th, 2024 by JJ Koczan

The-Obelisk-Quarterly-Review

Today is Wednesday, the day we hit and pass the halfway mark for this week, which is a quarter of the way through the entirety of this 100-release Quarterly Review. Do you need to know that? Not really, but it’s useful for me to keep track of how much I’m doing sometimes, which is why I count in the first place. 100 records isn’t nothing, you know. Or 10 for that matter. Or one. I don’t know.

A little more variety here, which is always good, but I’ve got momentum behind me after yesterday and I don’t want to delay diving in, so off we go.

Quarterly Review #21-30:

Saturnalia Temple, Paradigm Call

saturnalia temple paradigm call

For the band’s fourth album, Paradigm Call, founding Saturnalia Temple guitarist/vocalist Tommie Eriksson leads the newcomer rhythm section of drummer Pelle Åhman and bassist Gottfrid Åhman through eight abyss-plundering tracks across 48 minutes of roiling tonal mud distinguished by its aural stickiness and Eriksson‘s readily identifiable vocal gurgle. The methodology hasn’t changed much since 2020’s Gravity (review here) in terms of downward pull, but the title-track’s solo is sharp enough to cut through the mire, and while it’s no less harsh for doing so, “Among the Ruins” explores a faster tempo while staying in line with the all-brown psychedelic swirl around it, brought to fruition in the backwards-sounding loops of closer “Kaivalya” after the declarative thud of side B standout “Empty Chalice.” They just keep finding new depths. It’s impressive. Also a little horrifying.

Saturnalia Temple on Facebook

Listenable Records website

Dool, The Shape of Fluidity

dool the shape of fluidity

It’s easy to respect a band so unwilling to be boxed by genre, and Rotterdam’s Dool put the righteous aural outsiderness that’s typified their sound since 2017’s Here Now There Then (review here) to meta-level use on their third long-player for Prophecy Productions, The Shape of Fluidity. Darkly progressive, rich in atmosphere, broad in range and mix, heavy-but-not-beholden-to-tone in presentation, encompassing but sneaky-catchy in pieces like opener “Venus in Flames,” the flowing title-track, and the in-fact-quite-heavy “Hermagorgon,” the record harnesses declarations and triumphs around guitarist/vocalist Raven van Dorst‘s stated lyrical thematic around gender-nonbinaryism, turning struggle and confusion into clarity of expressive purpose in the breakout “Self-Dissect” and resolving with furious culmination in “The Hand of Creation” with due boldness. Given some of the hateful, violent rhetoric around gender-everything in the modern age, the bravery of DoolVan Dorst alongside guitarists Nick Polak and Omar Iskandr, bassist JB van der Wal and drummer Vincent Kreyder — in confronting that head-on with these narratives is admirable, but it’s still the songs themselves that make The Shape of Fluidity one of 2024’s best albums.

Dool on Facebook

Prophecy Productions website

Abrams, Blue City

abrams blue city

After releasing 2022’s In the Dark (review here) on Small Stone, Denver heavy rockers Abrams align to Blues Funeral Recordings for their fifth album in a productive, also-touring nine years, the 10-track/42-minute Blue City. Production by Kurt Ballou (High on Fire, Converge, etc.) at GodCity Studio assures no lack of impact as “Fire Waltz” reaffirms the tonal density of the riffs that the Zach Amster-led four-piece nonetheless made dance in opener “Tomorrow,” while the rolling “Death Om” and the momentary skyward ascent in “Etherol” — a shimmering preface to the chug-underscored mellowness of “Narc” later — lay out some of the dynamic that’s emerged in their sound along with the rampant post-hardcore melodies that come through in Amster and Graham Zander‘s guitars, capable either of meting out hard-landing riffs to coincide with the bass of Taylor Iversen (also vocals) and Ryan DeWitt‘s drumming, or unfurling sections of float like those noted above en route to tying it all together with the closing “Blue City.” Relatively short runtimes and straightforward-feeling structures mask the stylistic nuance of the actual material — nothing new there for Abrams; they’re largely undervalued — and the band continue to reside in between-microgenre spaces as they await the coming of history which will inevitably prove they were right all along.

Abrams on Facebook

Blues Funeral Recordings website

Pia Isa, Burning Time

pia isa burning time

Superlynx bassist/vocalist Pia Isaksen made her solo debut under the Pia Isa moniker with 2022’s Distorted Chants (review here), and in addition to announcing the SoftSun collaboration she’ll undertake alongside Yawning Man‘s Gary Arce (who also appeared on her record), in 2024, she offers the three-song Burning Time EP, with a cover of Radiohead‘s “Burn the Witch” backed by two originals, “Treasure” and “Nothing Can Turn it Back.” With drumming by her Superlynx bandmate Ole Teigen (who also recorded), “Burn the Witch” becomes a lumbering forward march, ethereal in melody but not necessarily cultish, while “Treasure” digs into repetitive plod led by the low end and “Nothing Can Turn it Black” brings the guitar forward but is most striking in the break that brings the dual-layered vocals forward near the midpoint. The songs are leftovers from the LP, but if you liked the LP, that shouldn’t be a problem.

Pia Isa on Facebook

Argonauta Records website

Wretched Kingdom, Wretched Kingdom

Wretched Kingdom Wretched Kingdom

A late-2023 initial public offering from Houston’s Wretched Kingdom, their self-titled EP presents a somewhat less outwardly joyous take on the notion of “Texas desert rock” than that offered by, as an example, Austin’s High Desert Queen, but the metallic riffing that underscores “Dreamcrusher” goes farther back in its foundations than whatever similarity to Kyuss one might find in the vocals or speedier riffy shove of “Smoke and Mirrors.” Sharp-cornered in tone, opener “Torn and Frayed” gets underway with metered purpose as well, and while the more open-feeling “Too Close to the Sun” begins similar to “You Can’t Save Me” — the strut that ensues in the latter distinguishes — the push in its second half comes after riding a steady groove into a duly bluesy solo. There’s nothing in the material to take you out of the flow between the six component cuts, and even closer “Deviation” tells you it’s about to do something different as it works from its mellower outset into a rigorous payoff. With the understanding that most first-EPs of this nature are demos by another name and (as here) more professional sound, Wretched Kingdom‘s Wretched Kingdom asks little in terms of indulgence and rewards generously when encountered at higher volumes. Asking more would be ridiculous.

Wretched Kingdom on Facebook

Wretched Kingdom on Bandcamp

Lake Lake, Proxy Joy

lake lake proxy joy

Like earlier Clutch born out of shenanigans-prone punk, Youngstown, Ohio’s Lake Lake are tight within the swinging context of a song like “The Boy Who Bit Me,” which is the second of the self-released Proxy Joy‘s six inclusions. Brash in tone and the gutted-out shouty vocals, offsetting its harder shoving moments with groovy back-throttles in songs that could still largely be called straightforward, the quirk and throaty delivery of “Blue Jerk” and the bluesier-minded “Viking Vietnam” paying off the tension in the verses of “Comfort Keepers” and the build toward that leadoff’s chorus want nothing for personality or chemistry, and as casual as the style is on paper, the arrangements are coordinated and as “Heavy Lord” finds a more melodic vocal and “Coyote” — the longest song here at 5:01 — leaves on a brash highlight note, the party they’re having is by no means unconsidered. But it is a party, and those who have dancing shoes would be well advised to keep them on hand, just in case.

Lake Lake on Facebook

Lake Lake on Bandcamp

Gnarwhal, Altered States

Gnarwhal Altered States

Modern in the angularity of its riffing, spacious in the echoes of its tones and vocals, and encompassing enough in sound to be called progressive within a heavy context, Altered States follows Canadian four-piece Gnarwhal‘s 2023 self-titled debut full-length with four songs that effectively bring together atmosphere and impact in the six-minute “The War Nothing More” — big build in the second half leading to more immediate, on-beat finish serving as a ready instance of same — with twists that feel derived of the MastoBaroness school rhythmically and up-front vocal melodies that give cohesion to the darker vibe of “From Her Hands” after displaying a grungier blowout in “Tides.” The terrain through which they ebb and flow, amass and release tension, soar and crash, etc., is familiar if somewhat intangible, and that becomes an asset as the concluding “Altered States” channels the energy coursing through its verses in the first half into the airy payoff solo that ends. I didn’t hear the full-length last year. Listening to what Gnarwhal are doing in these tracks in terms of breadth and crunch, I feel like I missed out. You might also consider being prepared to want to hear more upon engaging.

Gnarwhal on Facebook

Gnarwhal on Bandcamp

Bongfoot, Help! The Humans..

bongfoot help the humans

Help the humans? No. Help! The Humans…, and here as in so many of life’s contexts, punctuation matters. Digging into a heavy, character-filled and charging punkish sound they call “Appalachian thrash,” Boone, North Carolina, three-piece Bongfoot are suitably over-the-top as they explore what it means to be American in the current age, couching discussions of wealth inequality, climate crisis, corporatocracy, capitalist exploitation, the insecurity at root in toxic masculinity and more besides. With clever, hooky lyrics that are a total blast despite being tragic in the subject matter and a pace of execution well outside what one might think is bong metal going in because of the band’s name, Bongfoot vigorously kick ass from opener “End Times” through the galloping end of “Amazon Death Factory/Spacefoot” and the untitled mountain ramble that follows as an outro. Along the way, they intermittently toy with country twang, doom, and hardcore punk, and offer a prayer to the titular volcano of “Krakatoa” to save at least the rest of the world if not humanity. It’s quite a time to be alive. Listening, that is. As for the real-world version of the real world, it’s less fun and more existentially and financially draining, which makes Help! The Humans… all the more a win for its defiance and charm. Even with the bonus tracks, I’ll take more of this anytime they’re ready with it.

Bongfoot on Facebook

Bongfoot on Bandcamp

Thomas Greenwood & The Talismans, Ateş

Thomas Greenwood and the Talismans Ateş

It’s interesting, because you can’t really say that Thomas Greenwood and the Talismans‘ second LP, Ateş isn’t neo-psychedelia, but the eight tracks and 38 minutes of the record itself warrant enunciating what that means. Where much of 2020s-era neo-psych is actually space rock with thicker tones (shh! it’s a secret!), what Greenwood — AKA Thomas Mascheroni, also of Bergamo, Italy’s Humulus) brings to sounds like the swaying, organ-laced “Sleepwalker” and the resonant spaciousness in the soloing of “Mystic Sunday Morning” is more kin to the neo-psych movement that began in the 1990s, which itself was a reinterpretation of the genre’s pop-rock origins in the 1960s. Is this nitpicking? Not when you hear the title-track infusing its Middle Eastern-leaning groove with a heroic dose of wah or the friendly shimmer of “I Do Not” that feels extrapolated from garage rock but is most definitely not that thing and the post-Beatles bop of “Sunhouse.” It’s an individual (if inherently familiar) take that unifies the varied arrangements of the acidic “When We Die” and the cosmic vibe of “All the Lines” (okay, so there’s a little bit of space boogie too), resolving in the Doors-y lumber of “Crack” to broaden the scope even further and blur past timelines into an optimistic future.

Thomas Greenwood and The Talismans on Facebook

Subsound Records website

Djiin, Mirrors

djiin mirrors

As direct as some of its push is and as immediate as “Fish” is opening the album right into the first verse, the course that harp-laced French heavy progressive rockers Djiin take on their third album, Mirrors, ultimately more varied, winding and satisfying as its five-track run gives over to the nine-minute “Mirrors” and uses its time to explore more pointedly atmospheric reaches before a weighted crescendo that precedes the somehow-fluidity in the off-time early stretch of centerpiece “In the Aura of My Own Sadness,” its verses topped with spoken word and offset by note-for-note melodic conversation between the vocals and guitar. Rest assured, they build “In the Aura of My Own Sadness” to its own crushing end, while taking a more decisively psychedelic approach to get there, and thereby set up “Blind” with its trades from open-spaces held to pattern by the drums and a pair of nigh-on-caustic noise rock onslaughts before 13-minute capstone “Iron Monsters” unfolds a full instrumental linear movement before getting even heavier, as if to underscore the notion that Djiin can go wherever the hell they want and make it work as a song. Point taken.

Djiin on Facebook

Klonosphere Records website

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Dopelord and Red Sun Atacama Touring Together This Fall

Posted in Whathaveyou on May 1st, 2024 by JJ Koczan

If you find yourself this November in one of the below-listed locales and are wondering perhaps how to cope with the ending of another busy, festival-filled October in Europe, Poland’s Dopelord and France’s Red Sun Atacama have your back as they join forces for about two weeks of club shows in Germany, France, Spain, Switzerland and Belgium. The Warsaw stoner-doom titans will head out in support of 2023’s Songs for Satan (review here), which turned the familiar genre trope of devil-worship in cult riffing into a political statement against their home country’s religion-backed push to the right in addition to having suitably burned its hooks into the foreheads of those who heard it.

Red Sun Atacama touched on modern space boogie blowout with 2022’s Darwin (review here), the three-piece scorching their way through a cosmos of expansive tones and resonant crashing bombast. I probably don’t need to say it, but one way or the other, it’s a tour that’s gonna groove. In heaping doses.

Poster and dates follow in blue, as they will:

Dopelord Red Sun Atacama tour

DOPELORD (Doom, Poland) and RED SUN ATACAMA (Heavy Psych, France) to tour Europe this Fall

Polish heavier-than-heavy quartet DOPELORD and French riff machine RED SUN ATACAMA to hit the road together in November! Presented by Doomstar Bookings and 3C, the tour party plans to cross Germany, Switzerland, France, Spain and Belgium. Get tickets!

TICKETS: https://www.bandsintown.com/a/11502723-red-sun-atacama

03.11.2024 DE KARLSRUHE – Alte Hackerei
04.11.2024 CH BASEL – Hirscheneck
05.11.2024 FR LYON – Rock’n’Eat
06.11.2024 FR MONTPELLIER – L’Antirouille
07.11.2024 SP BARCELONA – Sala Upload
08.11.2024 SP MADRID – Wurlitzer Ballroom
09.11.2024 FR BORDEAUX-PESSAC – Sortie 13
10.11.2024 FR NANTES – Le Ferrailleur
11.11.2024 FR PARIS – Petit Bain
12.11.2024 BE ANTWERP – Kavka Zappa
13.11.2024 DE BOCHUM – Die Trompete
14.11.2024 DE BRAUNSCHWEIG – B58
15.11.2024 DE BERLIN – Urban Spree
16.11.2024 DE COTTBUS – Muggefug e.V. (without Red Sun Atacama)

DOPELORD is
Paweł Mioduchowski – Guitars and Vocals
Piotr Ochociński – Drums
Grzegorz Pawłowski – Guitars
Piotr Zin – Bass, Vocals and Mellotron

LINE-UP:
Clément Marquez: bass, vocals
Robin Caillon: drums
Vincent Hospital: guitar, keyboard

https://www.facebook.com/Dopelord666
https://www.instagram.com/dopelord_666/
https://dopelord.bandcamp.com/

https://www.facebook.com/bluesfuneral/
https://www.instagram.com/blues.funeral/
https://bluesfuneralrecordings.bandcamp.com/
bluesfuneral.com

https://www.facebook.com/ElsolrojodeAtacama
https://elsolrojodeatacama.bandcamp.com/
https://www.instagram.com/redsunatacama/

https://www.facebook.com/mrsredsound33
https://www.instagram.com/mrsredsound/
https://mrsredsound.com/

Dopelord, Songs for Satan (2023)

Red Sun Atacama, Darwin (2022)

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Horseburner to Release Voice of Storms June 21; “The Gift” Video Posted

Posted in Whathaveyou on April 16th, 2024 by JJ Koczan

horseburner

Yeah, I’m late on this news from last week. I talked about it on Friday; only so many hours in the day and a lot a lot a lot of music coming down the line in the next few months. Horseburner‘s Voice of Storms will be their fourth full-length upon its arrival as June makes ready to give over to July’s swelter, and I’d say their urgency, melody, and progressive angularity will make a fitting accompaniment to that time of year’s sweating-while-doing-nothing sunscorch, even if it’s not themed around the climate crisis.

Actually, as regards theme, I’m curious how much the narrative described below — girl slays oppressors, in shorty-short — frames the songs, and how the album came together around the central story. With a ‘concept record’ of any sort, I always tend to want to know whether the idea was first or the music, but I guess there’s time for digging in between now and June. The single/video, “The Gift,” can be found at the bottom of this post, and for anyone who dug on 2019’s Ripple-issued The Thief (review here), it well lives up to its title. If you watch the clip, it looks like they had a good time in the studio.

The Brian Mercer cover art — dude nails it, as he will — album details and live dates follow, courtesy of the PR wire:

horseburner voice of storms

US progressive sludge unit HORSEBURNER to release new album “Voice of Storms” on Blues Funeral Recordings; stream new single “The Gift”!

West Virginia progressive sludge stalwarts HORSEBURNER have signed to Blues Funeral Recordings for the release of their new album “Voice of Storms” this June 21st, with the roaring first single “The Gift” streaming on all platforms now. The band also announced a string of US live shows in support of the release.

Blasting out loud and surgical riffs, driving grooves and fire-driven vocal harmonies, HORSEBURNER’s new single “The Gift” is a massive-sounding heavy rock rager that perfectly encapsulates the West Virginia foursome’s knack for uncompromisingly technical yet strikingly melodic anthems.

Watch Horseburner’s brand new video “The Gift” + listen to the official single at this location: https://lnkfi.re/thegift

HORSEBURNER blasted onto the scene in 2009 amid comparisons to Mastodon and Baroness, with an iteration of high-energy sludge metal informed by their Appalachian industrial background and elevated conceptual themes. And, from the impact of galloping full-length “Dead Seeds, Barren Soil” to their growth into a tremendous live force to the watershed leap of 2019’s acclaimed “The Thief”, Horseburner have not only endured, they have progressed.

HORSEBURNER distinguish themselves from their stoner-psych contemporaries with staggering musicianship. Gear-shifting from hard-charging to restrained to urgent and angular, these musical flexes find Horseburner invoking a broader range of tools to craft their driving, soaring, obliterating mini-epics than a lot of bands have in their bags. Never concerned with proving what they can do, they sweep us up in the ease of their brilliance and go places a lot of heavy rock doesn’t.

Their new album “Voice of Storms” is an allegorical commentary on the mistreatment of women across history. It’s the story of a girl being sold into child marriage who is imbued with the spirit of ancient Greek hunt goddess Diana, unleashed and wreaking havoc on a society that regards females as objects or currency. Sonically, the record is a sludge-prog triumph, ready to grab listeners by the throat and immerse them in a fluid amalgam of blistering tempos, fearless hooks and burly crush, like a more brutal Torche or a more adept High on Fire. This is HORSEBURNER blazing into sonic territory that few bands ever reach, pushing forward, challenging their abilities and always progressing as far as their ambition can take them.

The album was recorded and engineered by Neil Tuuri at Amish Electric Chair Studio, and mastered by Billy Joe Bowers. Artwork by Brian Mercer with a layout by Jacob Dunn.

New album “Voice of Storms”
Out June 21 on Blues Funeral Recordings (LP/CD/digital)

Preorder via Bandcamp: https://horseburner.bandcamp.com/album/voice-of-storms

Preorder via Blues Funeral store: https://www.bluesfuneral.com/search?q=horseburner

TRACKLIST:
1. Summer’s Bride
2. The Gift
3. Heaven’s Eye
4. The Fawn
5. Hidden Bridges
6. Palisades
7. Diana
8. Silver
9. Widow

HORSEBURNER on tour:
4-19 – Philadelphia, PA – Century
4-20 – NYC – Saint Vitus presents at Main Drag Music
5-17 – Cleveland, OH – 5 O’ Clock Lounge
6-20 – Columbus, OH – Spacebar *
6-21 – Parkersburg, WV – Tracey’s Pub *
6-22 – Johnson City, TN – Capone’s *
6-23 – Raleigh, NC – The Pour House *
6-28 – Buffalo, NY – Area 54/Amy’s Place
6/29 – Youngstown, OH – Westside Bowl
*release weekend with Howling Giant

HORSEBURNER is:
Jack Thomas – guitar, vocals, keys
Adam Nohe – drums, vocals, percussion
Matt Strobel – guitar
Ryan Aliff – bass, upright bass

https://www.horseburner.com/
https://www.facebook.com/Horseburner/
https://horseburner.bandcamp.com/
https://www.instagram.com/horseburner/

https://www.facebook.com/bluesfuneral/
https://www.instagram.com/blues.funeral/
https://bluesfuneralrecordings.bandcamp.com/
bluesfuneral.com

Horseburner, Voice of Storms (2024)

Horseburner, “The Gift” official video

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Hashtronaut Unveil New Single “Dweller”; No Return Out March 22

Posted in audiObelisk, Reviews on March 4th, 2024 by JJ Koczan

hashtronaut no return

Denver’s Hashtronaut make their full-length debut on March 22 with No Return, issued through Blues Funeral Recordings. “Dweller,” premiering below, is the third single from the nine-song/41-minute long-player, and like the preceding “Rip Wizard” and “Cough it Up,” it is not subtle as regards intention. At the floor of the open verse is Daniel Smith‘s bass and the crash of Eric Garcia‘s drums (Michael Honiotes is in the lineup now, apparently), setting a languid march that, unlike “Rip Wizard” with its war-on-drugs-PSA samples and unbridled next-gen stoner idolatry — and I say “next-gen” both because Hashtronaut have a modern style and because when bands were following riffs to the Failed-Piss-Test Land about 20-25 years ago, nobody wanted to call themselves “stoner rock”; stigma is clearly not an issue in the same way anymore — emphasizes largesse in the space it creates rather than the fullness of its roll or, as with “Cough it Up,” which seems to come apart during its own sample-laced course and emerge boogieing at the end in genuine Sabbathian scoot, the four-piece’s readiness to conjure an addled feel.

But especially when taken together as representing a third of the tracklist (and more than a third of the runtime) of No Return, the three singles give a suitable impression of the places Hashtronaut go throughout this first collection while still holding back the lurch of eight-minute third cut “Carcinogen,” which dutifully slogs through its first half, sounding like it’s an effort to carry itself through and very much wanting to sound like that, before Robb Park — credited with ‘stunt guitar’ below, as opposed to Kellen McInerney‘s ‘regular guitar,’ which might want further clarification as I don’t know if regular guitars are so huge — slow-wah’s out a solo, Smith‘s vocals grow rougher in their cavernous echo in preface to the harsh-your-mellow, sludgier vibe brought to the gutturalisms of “Lung Ruiner,” which as the PR wire notes situates Hashtronaut in a sphere of low-key volatility — that is to say, the aggression might come but you don’t necessarily know when until it happens — not unlike their now-labelmates in Poland’s Dopelord, while the lumber and melodic reach of “Dead Cloud” solidifies the procession coming out of “Carcinogen.” Hashtronaut show themselves as comfortable shifting into a medium-paced nod, getting noisy, and answering the hook of “Rip Wizard,” which is fortunate because the 1:51 blowout “Hex” awaits at the start of side B.

Well, it’s the first blowout, anyhow. Waiting at No Return‘s endgame is the 30-second punker gallop of “Blast Off” — if you need a High on Fire comparison to make it fit, it’s applicable, but it had me wondering if it was named in honor of B’last — to which “Hex” serves as a brash if more complete precursor, with time to squeeze a verse and chorus and a bit of thrashy-scorch soloing before the still-thick movement ends cold to let “Lung Ruiner” take hold as the benefactor of its momentum. Some of the spaciousness to follow in “Dweller” shows itself in the song before as well, in the spoken-word-topped early stretch made foreboding in hindsight as the riff floods in and the vocals turn to a low-register growl for the first time. Higher screams are layered in, but Hashtronaut don’t really depart from the atmosphere they’ve already cast — and it’s murky enough that they don’t need to — so the more extreme turn isn’t out of place as they go back to the verse and cycle through again before they ride the elephantine stomp of the main riff to the finish. “Dweller” certainly has its shout as well, but accompanies that with more of a melodic lean and a feel like they’re doubling-down on what “Lung Ruiner” just proffered without really repeating themselves, finding another corner in the sonic landscape from which to strike.

Hashtronaut, Dec 15, 2023, Denver, CO. Copyright 2023 Mitch Kline, mitchkline.com.

I can’t help but wonder if “Marsquake” isn’t somehow a sequel to the band’s 2021 debut standalone single “Moonquake” (discussed here) — perhaps a series is beginning that someday will bring Saturnquakes and, with an inevitable snicker, a Uranusquake — but the shred-topped penultimate instrumental feels like a victory lap as it reaffirms the tone and grooving intent Hashtronaut have been communicating all the while, speaking to the modern sphere of stonerized heavy that’s able to touch on doom, sludge or psych and be confident that the listener can keep up and, at what’s still a pretty nascent stage for the band, starting to mark out their place in the genre. “Marsquake” crashes out with due noise before the feedback and snare-drum-count-in of “Blast Off” lead into No Return‘s final statement, which is rousing in the heated-up-molecules sense of its pace but also for highlighting the fact that this is Hashtronaut‘s first album and for as aware of their approach as they come across in these songs and in the changes in personality between the two sides, their growth could lead them in any number of directions.

It’s not the most likely thing in the universe that a band who spends so much time on their debut exploring the monolithic would suddenly go full-on speed rock, but stranger things have happened. In any case, that last half-minute is crucial to No Return in staking a claim for the band on something they may or may not want to explore further and a bookend for “Hex.” Consistent in production, it nonetheless broadens their scope in a a way even “Hex” wouldn’t, and builds on the vibrancy in even the most grueling reaches of “Carcinogen” (which is more addled than confused, but still) for a surprising, brisk culmination that you might not even catch if you’ve been so lulled by the flow of “Marsquake” or had your brain flattened by the heft paraded throughout. Fodder for repeat visits, then, and a listening experience made richer with efficiency that’s hard to ignore. I’ll tell you outright that No Return is already in my notes under the the ‘best debuts of 2024’ section for year-end list time, but that’s secondary to what Hashtronaut are laying out as their own potential course of voluminous communion and what they might continue to bring to it moving forward.

It’s a hell of a thing.

Enjoy “Dweller” premiering below. Under the player is PR wire info, preorder links, the “Rip Wizard” video and the album player from Bandcamp. By all means, dig in:

Hashtronaut, “Dweller” track premiere

HASHTRONAUT “No Return”
Out March 22nd on Blues Funeral Recordings
Preorder on the Blues Funeral store: https://www.bluesfuneral.com/
and Bandcamp: https://wearehashtronauts.bandcamp.com/album/no-return

Red-eyed at the crossroads of thunderous stoner sludge and towering doom, HASHTRONAUT is more than ready to daze and inebriate the riff-obsessed masses on this planet and beyond. their debut album “No Return” is a resiny slab in the grand tradition of weed-fiend odysseys from Sleep, Weedeater and Bongzilla, an intoxicating and pummeling trip with a lungful of potent hook-doom and strikingly anthemic vocals that will enthrall fans of Monolord, Windhand and Dopelord.

Their debut album “No Return” will be released in limited Astral High Splatter vinyl edition, limited Heavy Resin vinyl edition, CD digipack and digital on March 22nd, with preorders available on Blues Funeral Recordings. “No Return” was recorded by Felipe Patino at Green Door Recordings in Denver and Seanan Hexenbrenner at Helvete Sound in Portland. Mixed and Mastered by Matt Qualls at Easley McCain Recording, Memphis TN. Cover art by Francisco Abril and Nuria Velasco (Welder Wings), album layout by Peder Bergstrand.

TRACKLIST:
1. Rip Wizard
2. Cough It Up
3. Carcinogen
4. Dead Cloud
5. Hex
6. Lung Ruiner
7. Dweller
8. Marsquake
9. Blast Off

Hashtronaut upcoming US shows:
3/11 – Replay Lounge, Lawrence KS
3/12 – Opolis, Norman OK
3/14 – SXSW Stoner Jam, Far Out Lounge, Austin TX
3/15 – The Lost Well, Austin TX
3/16 – Black Magic Social Club, Houston TX
3/17 – The Living Room, El Paso TX

HASHTRONAUT current lineup:
Michael Honiotes – Drums*
Kellen McInerney – Regular Guitar
Robb Park – Stunt Guitar
Daniel Smith – Bass/Vocals
*all tracks on the album recorded by Eric Garcia

Hashtronaut, “Rip Wizard” official video

Hashtronaut, No Return (2024)

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Hashtronaut’s Linktr.ee

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Hashtronaut Announce March Live Dates; New Single “Cough it Up” Posted

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

hashtronaut

Ahead of releasing their debut album, No Return, on March 22 through Blues Funeral Recordings, Denver, Colorado’s Hashtronaut will head down from their Mile High hometown to play a string of six shows, mostly in Texas (one TBA in Austin; I don’t know if they need help or not but it’s almost never wrong to ask) but starting out in Kansas and Oklahoma as well. Three states in my head makes a definite-tour (that counts weekenders), so there you go. I’m sure you have your own imaginary qualifications for what counts as “shows” and what is a “tour” and “dates” and so on. That’s a perfectly normal thing that perfectly normal people concern themselves with, right? Right?

I haven’t actually purposefully gotten stoned and written about an album in a long time. Like, a long time. And Hashtronaut aren’t the dankest outfit walking the earth — recall it’s 2024 and there’s an entire genre now called ‘bong metal’ — nor are they trying to be, but I feel in listening to new single “Cough it Up” that their grooves are right in a sweet-spot where applying the ‘stone’ part of ‘stoner’ might be an interesting experiment. I don’t know that that’ll happen or not, but a little sensory hyperfocus on these riffs and tones doesn’t sound like the worst kind of deep-dive to make. Could even be… fun? High critique.

I won’t get to these shows, and I realize you probably won’t either. They’re here in hopes of more and in view of the band’s potential more broadly speaking, as well as to let anyone in their path know they’re coming. If there’s more, and hopefully there is, I’ll do my best to keep up.

From the PR wire:

hashtronaut march shows

HASHTRONAUT release ferocious new single off debut album “No Return” on Blues Funeral Recordings; US shows announced!

Denver, Colorado’s stoner doom newcomers HASHTRONAUT unleash their intoxicating new single “Cough It Up” on all streaming platforms, and announce a string of US dates in support of the March release of their debut album “No Return” on Blues Funeral Recordings.

Red-eyed at the crossroads of thunderous stoner sludge and towering doom, HASHTRONAUT is more than ready to daze and inebriate the riff-obsessed masses on this planet and beyond. their debut album “No Return” is a resiny slab in the grand tradition of weed-fiend odysseys from Sleep, Weedeater and Bongzilla, an intoxicating and pummeling trip with a lungful of potent hook-doom and strikingly anthemic vocals that will enthrall fans of Monolord, Windhand and Dopelord.

Listen to Hashtronaut’s new single “Cough It Up”

Their debut album “No Return” will be released in limited Astral High Splatter vinyl edition, limited Heavy Resin vinyl edition, CD digipack and digital on March 22nd, with preorders available on Blues Funeral Recordings. Don’t miss their riff-tastic debut video for “Rip Wizard”!

Hashtronaut upcoming US shows:
3/11 – Replay Lounge, Lawrence KS
3/12 – Opolis, Norman OK
3/14 – SXSW Stoner Jam, Far Out Lounge, Austin TX
3/15 – The Lost Well, Austin TX
3/16 – Black Magic Social Club, Houston TX
3/17 – The Living Room, El Paso TX

HASHTRONAUT “No Return”
Out March 22nd on Blues Funeral Recordings
Preorder on the Blues Funeral store: https://www.bluesfuneral.com/
and Bandcamp: https://wearehashtronauts.bandcamp.com/album/no-return

HASHTRONAUT launched into orbit from their Denver-based Mission Control in the summer of 2020. Coalescing through a string of hazy jam sessions during the darkest days of the pandemic, the four-piece began playing live the minute they could, and it took only a few gigs to solidify their electrifying reputation in the Colorado heavy scene.

With a distinct sonic identity that channels classic elements from Black Sabbath and Thin Lizzy to mainstays of the modern canon like Windhand and Monolord — along with their collective love of vintage gear, walls of speakers and the sweetest leaf of all — HASHTRONAUT’s galactic tones, colossal riffs and driving rhythms have begun spreading to the farthest corners of the universe.

Keeping momentum high on the heels of a self-released EP and opening slots for icons like Pallbearer, Bongzilla and High on Fire, HASHTRONAUT head into 2024 preparing for the release of their debut LP “No Return” — a resiny slab in the grand tradition of weed-fiend odysseys from Sleep — on March 22nd through New Mexico-based independent label Blues Funeral Recordings.

“No Return” was recorded by Felipe Patino at Green Door Recordings in Denver and Seanan Hexenbrenner at Helvete Sound in Portland. Mixed and Mastered by Matt Qualls at Easley McCain Recording, Memphis TN. Cover art by Francisco Abril and Nuria Velasco (Welder Wings), album layout by Peder Bergstrand.

HASHTRONAUT current lineup:
Michael Honiotes – Drums*
Kellen McInerney – Regular Guitar
Robb Park – Stunt Guitar
Daniel Smith – Bass/Vocals
*all tracks on the album recorded by Eric Garcia

https://www.facebook.com/wearehashtronauts
https://instagram.com/wearehashtronauts
https://wearehashtronauts.bandcamp.com/
https://linktr.ee/Hashtronaut

https://www.facebook.com/bluesfuneral/
https://www.instagram.com/blues.funeral/
https://bluesfuneralrecordings.bandcamp.com/
bluesfuneral.com

Hashtronaut, No Return (2024)

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Hashtronaut to Release No Return March 22; “Rip Wizard” Video Posted

Posted in Whathaveyou on January 22nd, 2024 by JJ Koczan

hashtronaut

If I called the new Hashtronaut single a burner, would it be enough to earn a pun-punch? Here’s hoping. The Denver four-piece have unveiled the first single from their forthcoming debut album, No Return (it’s okay, they probably will), in the form of the riff-clarion “Rip Wizard,” a call to stoner heads, riff worshipers and others skinking their way along the resin-coated chambers of the underground. Blues Funeral Recordings — among the finer endorsements a band can have in America or out — will have the record out on March 22, which puts the newcomer Colorado act as labelmates to Acid King and Dopelord, so, you know, as regards “starting out,” that’s pretty decent.

And should you be curious as to how such a thing came to be, the answer’s in the music. You’ll find the “Rip Wizard” video at the bottom of this post. I got the record the other day but didn’t get the chance to dig in before my laptop met its unceremonious end (see bottom of this post, or this on FB), but I plan to as soon as tech and time allow. Until then, it’s “Rip Wizard” on my phone for a bit. Not the worst of fates by any means.

Enjoy:

hashtronaut no return

HASHTRONAUT to release debut album “No Return” on Blues Funeral Recordings; watch “Rip Wizard” video now!

Denver, Colorado stoner doom metallers HASHTRONAUT have signed to Blues Funeral Recordings for the release of their debut album “No Return” this March 22nd, with preorders and a highly addictive first single available now!

Red-eyed at the crossroads of thunderous stoner sludge and towering doom, HASHTRONAUT are ready to daze and inebriate the riff-obsessed masses on this planet and beyond! “No Return” is a resiny slab in the grand tradition of weed-fiend odysseys from Sleep, Weedeater and Bongzilla, an intoxicating and pummeling journey through time and space infused with a lungful of potent hook-doom.

https://lnkfi.re/ripwizard

Their debut album “No Return” will be released in limited Astral High Splatter vinyl edition, limited Heavy Resin vinyl edition, limited CD digipack and digital on March 22nd, with preorders available now on Blues Funeral Recordings.

HASHTRONAUT “No Return”
Out March 22nd on Blues Funeral Recordings
Preorder on the Blues Funeral store: https://www.bluesfuneral.com/
and Bandcamp: https://wearehashtronauts.bandcamp.com/album/no-return

TRACKLIST:
1. Rip Wizard
2. Cough It Up
3. Carcinogen
4. Dead Cloud
5. Hex
6. Lung Ruiner
7. Dweller
8. Marsquake
9. Blast Off

HASHTRONAUT current lineup:
Michael Honiotes – Drums*
Kellen McInerney – Regular Guitar
Robb Park – Stunt Guitar
Daniel Smith – Bass/Vocals
*all tracks on the album recorded by Eric Garcia

https://www.facebook.com/wearehashtronauts
https://instagram.com/wearehashtronauts
https://wearehashtronauts.bandcamp.com/
https://linktr.ee/Hashtronaut

https://www.facebook.com/bluesfuneral/
https://www.instagram.com/blues.funeral/
https://bluesfuneralrecordings.bandcamp.com/
bluesfuneral.com

Hashtronaut, No Return (2024)

Hashtronaut, “Rip Wizard” official video

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Acid King Announce European Tour

Posted in Whathaveyou on January 19th, 2024 by JJ Koczan

A fine trilogy of Desertfest appearances anchors the upcoming Acid King return to Europe this Spring, as the San Francisco mellow-heavy progenitors continue their existential victory lap following the release of the Beyond Vision LP (review here) that ended up being both my album of the year for 2023 as well as the winner of the year-end poll, garnering praise far and wide for the boldness of its synth-inclusive approach to heavy psychedelic rock, the e’er fluid riffing of Lori S., and an atmosphere that was both signature Acid King and like nothing they’d ever done before. As it been eight years since their last album, anything they did wields would’ve gotten noticed. A couple years from now, when there are not only even more bands under their influence, but specifically under the semi-electronic soundscaping warm fuzz psych drift blend of Beyond Vision, we’ll start to see the real impact of that record.

So much the radder that Acid King will be back out to hand-deliver vinyl at the merch table and give their latest outing its due from the stage. The lineup is the same as when the trio played SonicBlast (review here) last summer, so I’ll just tell you outright that whether you’ve ever seen Acid King before or not, this is an incarnation you don’t want to miss. It’s not my job to sell tickets, I don’t work for the band, or Sound of Liberation, or any of the fests or venues. I’m just some dude on the internet who thinks this might make your day better. That’s all I’ve got going on here.

Dates come from socials and were posted by the aforementioned Sound of Liberation, audio comes from the ether:

Acid King tour

ACID KING EUROPE TOUR 2024

Get ready for a sonic escapade like no other as we proudly bring you Acid King with special guest Earth Tongue!💥

Mark your calendars and prepare to be immersed in the thunderous waves of doom and stoner rock across Europe.🇪🇺

🗓️TOUR DATES:

7.5.24 (DE) Bremen, Zollkantine
8.5.24 (DK) Copenhagen, Loppen
9.5.24 (SE) Gothenburg, Musikens Hus
10.5.24 (NO) Oslo, Desertfest
11.5.24 (SE) Stockholm, Debaser
13.5.24 (DE) Leipzig, Werk2
14.5.24 (DE) Bochum, Trompete
15.5.24 (FR) Paris, Backstage By The Mill
16.5.24 (FR) Nantes, Le Ferrailleur
17.5.24 (BE) Diksmuide, 4AD
18.5.24 (UK) London, Desertfest
20.5.24 (DE) Wiesbaden, Schlachthof
21.5.24 (DE) Munich, Feierwerk
22.5.24 (AT) Innsbruck, p.m.k.
23.5.24 (DE) Erfurt, VEB Kultur
24.5.24 (DE) Berlin, Desertfest
25.5.24 (NL) Groningen, Vera
26.5.24 (NL) Deventer, Burgerweeshuis

Gear up to be surrounded by the heavy vibes and electrifying performances of Acid King and Earth Tongue!🔥

Don’t miss out on this epic tour – secure your tickets now and let the riffage commence! ✨

Buy Tickets Here: http://www.acidking.com/tour-dates/

ACID KING lineup:
Lori S. – guitar & vocals
Bryce Shelton – bassist & keyboardist
Jason Willer – drummer

https://www.facebook.com/AcidkingSF
https://www.instagram.com/acidkingrocks/
https://acidking.bandcamp.com/
www.acidking.com

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Acid King, Beyond Vision (2023)

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Friday Full-Length: REZN & Vinnum Sabbathi, Silent Future

Posted in Bootleg Theater on December 22nd, 2023 by JJ Koczan

This was a PostWax release. The vinyl subscription service put forth by Blues Funeral Recordings has produced a string of stellar, genuinely special records in its second volume — Acid King were my pick for album of the year this year, and Dozer and Dopelord, which were in my top 10, both came out in PostWax editions; deluxe vinyl, exclusive tracks, artwork and layout that’s so gorgeous I don’t even want to touch it with my greasy fingers, etc. — and as with all of them, I was fortunate enough to do liner notes for this special collaboration between Chicago fog rockers REZN and Mexico City conceptual plodders Vinnum Sabbathi, titled Silent Future.

I always feel a little weird when it comes to covering PostWax stuff here on the site, and that’s precisely because I also work behind the scenes (in a limited but capacity, of course) on the releases as well, and I was compensated monetarily for doing that writing. I say so every time, but even with full disclosure I’m not trying to give an impression I’m doing promo. It’s not my job to sell you records. But the stuff is undeniable at this point, and what, I’m going to let 2023 end without talking about the exploratory textures of Silent Future, the album’s narrative foundation and the meld of climate anxiety, cosmic pulse and futurism that makes it such a hypnotically immersive listening experience? Come on.

REZN also had their fourth long-player, Solace (review here), out this year, but Silent Future is its own thing and has its own intention. For the four-piece of guitarist/vocalist Rob McWilliams (also lyrics), synthesist/saxophonist/flutist Spencer Ouellette, bassist Phil Cangelosi and drummer Patrick Dunn (who also had the monumental task of mixing), it was a self-recorded affair, done late in 2021 DIY in their own spot, and their basic tracks were sent to Vinnum Sabbathi — the lineup of guitarist/synthesist Juan Tamayo, effects specialist Roman Tamayo, bassist Samuel Lopez and Gerardo Arias on drums and lead guitar, with more guitar from Victor “KB” Velazquez — who also wrote the script for the storytelling monologue in intro “Born into Catatonia” and the likewise keyboardy side B complement, “Clusters,” delivered by the voice of Manuel Wohlrab, also of Yanos and Zone Six in Germany.

So, multinational, multicontinental collaboration across seven songs and a somehow-digestible 32 minutes of progressive, soulful, and at times very, very heavy music. While the record isrezn vinnum sabbathi silent future patient in the subdued flow it sets up as “Born into Catatonia” shifts into “Unknown Ancestor” (the continuing monologue also helps), the sense of texture is immediate and is a luminescent drone that hints at a feeling of discovery. On some level, that’s what’s happening throughout Silent Future as Vinnum Sabbathi and REZN reveal to themselves and to their respective audiences alike — and let’s assume there’s crossover there, because genre — what happens when they fuse their methodologies. I talked to both bands about this release (granted it was a while ago) to do the liner notes, and I’m still not sure anyone knew going into it what would come out, or how they possibly could, but that adventurous spirit is to be commended and I honestly believe the world is a better place with the crushing roll that emerges in “Unknown Ancestor” than without it, never mind the rest of the slow-swirling and entrancing sway that surrounds, periodically channeling high impact in low gravity.

If you’re a synthesist or keyboardist in a heavy band, there’s plenty to learn here in the work of Ouellette and the Tamayo brothers (who I met this year in Germany and are sweethearts), from the New Age-y throb in behind the deceptively catchy hook of “The Cultigen” meditating lyrically as it does on a black chrysanthemum before the lumber-chuck of centerpiece “Hypersurreal” brings back Wohlrab with talk about multisensory alien contact and a verse that’s quiet but tense in its rhythm in no small part because of the riff that just receded. It comes back, that riff, of course, as McWilliams swaps to a more projected voice for another memorable, this-time-belted-out chorus, “Parallel universe/Parallel universe/The eye reflects itself/Into another realm/Am I the writer or the character?” before the verse repeats in a building cycle.

And when that cycle hits its payoff, the synth/effects are right there as well, and so even at its apex-heaviest, Silent Future remains true to its mood. “Clusters” fades in from silence as a reset, but both “Morphing” and the finale “Obliterating Mists” dig into the procession, and whether or not it was intentional, the two become a representative mini-monolith for the LP as a whole, with earworms revealed through multiple visits to their temporal dimension and a culmination in the latter that rises and ebbs with a fluidity and poise that emphasizes the consciousness at the center of the haze. There’s an episode of Star Trek: The Animated Series where the cartoon-Enterprise gets trapped in a giant thinking cloud. Listening to Silent Future kind of feels like that, or at least one imagines.

But either angle you want to take it from — whether it’s the creative bravery and ego-eschew of the collaboration in the first place or the righteousness of the end result in the material itself — Silent Future is a standout release for 2023 (and beyond) and I didn’t want to let the year end without some proper recognition of that. It’s not the kind of offering every band or pairing of bands could make, and it’s not a pairing that is immediately intuitive because Vinnum Sabbathi and REZN have so much in common in sound, but what they do share is an openness to new ideas and ways of working, and the success of that in these songs I think is inarguable once you hear it.

Which I hope you do. Thanks for reading, and thanks to Jadd Shickler of Blues FuneralMagnetic Eye Records, for making me a footnote part of the PostWax thing in the first place. Dude had the year of a lifetime between those two labels, and it was only because he made it happen.

Please enjoy, and once again, thank you for reading. I appreciate your time and attention. If you can go with this one, do. I admit it’s not the most intuitive of releases, but that’s also part of what makes it special. Might take a couple listens to sink in, but trust, and let it do its thing, and you’ll be set. Safe travels, wherever it takes you.

Monday is Xmas. Happy Xmas if you celebrate. We do, in our pointedly secular fashion, and accordingly I’m taking Monday (which is the weekend’s writing) and Tuesday (which is Monday’s writing) off. I’m going to do my damnedest not to post at all in that time, but if there’s something I feel warrants immediacy — and anything can happen, of course — I’ll roll with it. Let us not forget that Lemmy was born on Dec. 24, died Dec. 27 and that he, more than the favorite fanfic of hateful/genocidal psychopaths and state-sponsored rape cabals, is the true reason for the season.

When I pick up Wednesday, it’ll probably also be pretty mellow. The Pecan is off from school next week and I’m sure that’ll be busy because, well, yes. We’re about to undertake the process of remaking bedtime — current system’s effectiveness has expired; a necessary pivot — and I expect that will result in a few bumpy nights. Almost always the case when transitioning from one thing to the other. Certainly was the story of my summer and fall.

To that. While I am not thrilled to know that my six-year-old goes to school every day on medication, I cannot deny the clear shift said meds have wrought in her day-to-day. I would not call her ‘easy’ or ‘easygoing’ as a personality-type — there is much she has learned from me, including how to be a prick, and there are times where she’s a few grades ahead of kindergarten in that regard — but from what I think everybody who observes her has seen, and that’s the rest of our family, her teacher, aide, other aide at school and therapist, we’ve had movement in a better direction. Between the wreck that was this summer’s kicked-out-of-camp marathon, the stress of her transition (which also has allowed a flourishing not to be denied; I’ve heard reports of another trans kindergartener on the planet, but The Patient Mrs. and I are already joking about the book we’ll write some day), and getting her to a point of being able to get through a school day without hurting someone else or herself is progress visible even in the trenches. By which I mean her mother and I can see it. She remains willful, just flat out ignores me when I ask her to do something most of the time and is ready with an argument for why one should fuck off on a daily if not hourly basis — less when she’s hungry — but she’s growing and she’s strong, which is a thing she is going to very much need to be.

That progress doesn’t mean I didn’t basically chase her back to bed at 10PM last night, but as I said, different methods are being put in place. She might get to sleep with the puppy. We’ll see. The Patient Mrs. is the spearhead of that project; I’ll confess reticence and a general lack of desire to clean up dog piss in my kid’s bed, on her floor, or really anywhere else. We’ve got a good thing going with the crate at night, and the dog is only six months old. I could go on and logic logic logic myself through this. Build reasoned arguments to never say out loud. Lay out a grand case. Clutch once told us “you can’t stop progress,” and so here I am, rolling with it to the limited extent I am able, even as my brain has that catch-fire feeling thinking about getting up at 5AM or earlier, going upstairs to get the dog out of her room, waking her up and then having to both deal with the dog needing to go out and the kid who just might want to tag along with as little light on as possible, as quiet as possible, and then try to sit down and write. A million ways to go wrong, fewer to go right.

Whatever you’re feeling anxious about, I wish you relief. I hope you have a great and safe weekend, and I’ll be back on Wednesday (I can hold off! I can do it!) with maybe a Dr. Space review or something else fun and more of the ol’ blah blah blah. Thanks for reading it.

FRM.

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