Notes From Desertfest New York Night Two, 09.16.23

Posted in Features, Reviews on September 17th, 2023 by JJ Koczan

Ecstatic Vision (Photo by JJ Koczan)

09.16.23 – Saturday – Knockdown Center – Before show

First thing, got kicked out of the parking lot. “Who are you with?” Alone in the car, clearly I’m by myself. Whatever. That’s New York. “You can’t be here.” Is it okay if I exist anywhere else?

Yesterday was great, front to back. Knockdown Center has apparently gotten a new sound system since last year and I’ll confirm with my ringing ears that it is fully functional. But even aside from that, saw cool people I don’t often get to see, met some I’d never met, dared to enjoy myself amid the back and forth.

Got to bed at about 2AM, was up a bit after seven. Charged the camera batteries, phone, etc. Traffic was light on the way in, which felt like a gift, and I did find parking on the street nearby, so yeah.

What does the day hold? An intimidating amount of music. Today opens the third stage — called ‘The Ruins’ though actually it looks pretty nice — outside in back where the food trucks were last year. Brant Bjork Trio out there will be cool, as well as Clouds Taste Satanic and Mick’s Jaguar early. And both inside stages are packed, so it’s right back to it. It is my sincere hope that adrenaline will carry me through. Guess we’ll find out.

Conan loading in. Clouds Taste Satanic checking on the outside stage, where by the grace of Geezer Butler’s bass tone on Master of Reality there is a photo pit. Thank you Desertfest for that specifically. Maybe I’ll just hang out outside all afternoon. Crazy ideas you get.

Here’s the day:

Clouds Taste Satanic

Clouds Taste Satanic (Photo by JJ Koczan)

Did not turn out to be a photo pit, just a barricade — Geezer’s bass giveth and taketh away; it’s okay though because Tomoko went in and I’m going to do the same next time — but though I went up and laid out on a picnic table before New York’s own instrumentalists Clouds Taste Satanic went on, here supporting this year’s Majestic Mountain-issued 2LP, Tales of Demonic Possession (discussed here) as they are after a first European stint this Spring, they bore the naked riffing and groove that tells you how little you need anything else when you do it right. I grabbed some photos and put myself in a shady spot. It’s a long day ahead, and especially as I’m outside in the sun, gotta hydrate. Clouds Taste Satanic, with their LSD name and raw sound, were a wakeup for me — almost literally — but there’s no arguing with their approach, they drew a good early crowd and more came as they played, and a broken kick pedal only cost about a minute before they were back at it. I’d never seen them though and I’m glad to have rectified that. Imagine sans-vocal toe-tappers, but like 15 minutes long.

Mick’s Jaguar

Mick's Jaguar (Photo by JJ Koczan)

A check-in with New York-based attitude rockers Mick’s Jaguar is appreciated after the late-2022 release of their Salvation (review here) album, and their catchy, ultra-NYC take on heavy revels in a lineage that goes back actual generations, not just musical ones that are like four years or whatever. They’re the middle installment in a NYC triad opening the ourdoor stage, and their party vibe and brash swing and crash were suited to that spot, with some flow held over from Clouds Taste Satanic, but brought to a different context. There’s a narrative there, Clouds Taste Satanic into Mick’s Jaguar into White Hills, Desertfest celebrating the local sphere and its aural diversity. Other than to fill my water bottle — 16 oz. per band; I am a firm believer in radical hydration — I haven’t been inside yet, and I suppose that’s not really saying anything since there haven’t been any bands on in there yet, but the sunshine, gently autumnal breeze and buzz in the crowd were suitable accommodation for an energetic take and people were into it. I’ll say it was different being outside as opposed to when I saw them at Desertfest NY 2019 (review here), when they played the small room at The Well, which has only become smaller in my mind in the years since. Almost the opposite, really, but the fact that they owned both spaces is a unifying factor.


Mantar (Photo by JJ Koczan)

I didn’t go in the photo pit, because jesus there’s gotta be a break somewhere and I could not envision a scenario in which somebody said to themselves “oh man he didn’t shoot Mantar — fucking poseur,” and I was all set to remain on the picnic bench where I’d been writing and hanging out, but the ultra-aggressive German two-piece drew me inside for a bit. Nasty, gnashing, pummeling and biting as they are, Mantar still groove. If that’s the crossover appeal that lets them play a fest like this, fair enough. They’ll always be an outlier, but you need that for something like this. Yesterday I called Windhand the sore thumb, and they were. That’s Mantar today, if less so with the always devastating Conan on the bill. Godflesh are mean, but it’s not the same intensity. Even punk as they are, Mantar cross that line between heavy and metal, and when you’re on one side there, it’s easy to recognize the other. They’re not really my thing most of the time, but I like that they wreck up the place, sonically speaking.

White Hills

White Hills 1 (Photo by JJ Koczan)

White Hills are weirder than you, weirder than me, weirder than the fact that an electron doesn’t technically exist until something is used to measure it. The list goes on. But the stalwart NYC outfit — third of three in the noted triumvirate — seem perfectly content to inhabit their own spacial plane. Comprised of drummer/vocalist Ego Sensation and guitarist/vocalist Dave W., their persistently exploratory psychedelia — here droning, there rolling, somehow freaking out ALL THE TIME like they’re me with any kind of social obligation — is wholly immersive. Even in the great out-of-doors. Their sound bounced off the concrete wall up by where the trains go (I don’t think it’s an actual station, but could be wrong; it’d be an odd spot for one but these are odd times) and seemed to come from behind as well as in front while standing near the stage, and the effect was hypnotic. A roll you can just go with, a drift set adrift, jams for the universe. Spirals of water down a drain casting hurricane echoes and a scale at which even galaxies rotate. The sun’s out. Everything is great. Let’s be friends in real life.


Conan 1 (Photo by JJ Koczan)

I went outside for a bit during Conan’s set to let some air back in my lungs after they had squeezed it all out. They’re was about three entire seconds of my earplugs not being in, and I suspect that’ll be enough for me to hear their low distortion in my head when I try to go to sleep tonight. Fine. I don’t know how many superlatives are left to say it — also don’t care — but there’s no mistaking Conan as one of the heaviest bands on the planet. When I was done with pictures, I stood over by the sound desk for optimal fidelity. All hail “Volt Thrower.” Jon Davis, Chris Fielding, Johnny King — guitar, bass, drums — and if you put it on paper it’s nothing so special, but when these dudes hit it, you know damn well to whom you are listening. And if you do go see them, which you should, wear earplugs. The whole time. Sad to say, however, my foamies aren’t holding up to Conan’s volume assault — “Thronehammer” laying waste, as it will — which is probably to be expected. But against all common sense and every piece of advice one might receive from a medical professional, I stayed there and let that volume and tone just kill me. And sure enough, I was obliterated. 9 got another bottle of water though and felt better after that.

Dorthia Cottrell

You could hear Mondo Generator playing outside before Dorthia Cottrell — vocalist for Windhand, who played last night — started her set, playing as a three-piece with guitar and violin accompaniment. As to the metric by which I ended up inside instead of out, the math is easy. Last time I saw Mondo Generator was a month ago. saw Cottrell play solo was 2015, and Also last June. Both have new records. From hers, which is called Death Folk Country (review here), Cottrell eased quickly into the sad blues and dark folk — you might say she’s influenced by, death, folk, and country — with the breathy melody of her voice bolstered by the textures of the additional guitar (it was Leanne Martz, formerly of Heavy Temple) and fiddle. To their credit, once they started, I didn’t even know anymore whether you could still hear the noise from outside. Got lost in the mood and the ambience and and somehow it no longer mattered.


Godflesh 1 (Photo by JJ Koczan)

The Main Stage heft streak continues, and it turns out that what I’ve needed all day was to be churned into so much human goo by industrial metal pioneers and still-ahead-of-their-time crushbringers Godflesh. They have a new record out, Purge. I didn’t see it on the merch table earlier, but will check again to be sure. They played at least initially mostly in the dark and fog, and fair enough, but the onslaught of their beats and distortion, of guitarist Justin K. Broadrick’s gruff, barking shout and the filthy tone of G.C. Green’s bass, was consuming regardless of how visible they might or might not have been. I’ve been destroyed. Bludgeoned. Godflesh were a culmination of the progression on the main stage today that drew through Mantar and Conan; another triad. A decidedly angrier one, and if you want to hear what it feels like when your brain is running a thousand miles an hour and you don’t want it to and your entire body feels overwhelmed to the point of physical collapse — if you want to hear something that will remind you of being an insecure kid — Godflesh are here for it. I’d heard a bunch of good things about them on their current tour — mostly from Boston — and I was not misinformed. Now, about that album. Not on the table. Oh, if only someone would invent the internet so I can buy a Godflesh CD. Oh wait, sold out online too. You’ve betrayed me, circumstance! JK Flesh, one of Broadrick’s many other projects, plays NYC tomorrow. Good for him, making the most of the trip. Also, Godflesh rule. Thanks.

The Brant Bjork Trio

The Brant Bjork Trio (Photo by JJ Koczan)

Brant Bjork, Mario Lalli and Ryan Güt are The Brant Bjork Trio, and they played songs from Bjork’s solo catalog. I don’t have any insight into the narrative of how they got together this time around, but I know that Bjork and Lalli have known each other for decades and worked together periodically over that time. Lalli played on Bjork’s 1999 solo debut, Jalamanta, so that’s about all the way back at least as far as this thing goes. And Mario Lalli and The Rubber Snake Charmers supported Bjork’s Stõner three-piece last year. On and on. Güt is a part of Stöner as well with Nick Oliveri on bass/vocals, and I kind of assumed that when Nick was ready to go back to Mondo Generator, keeping a trio configuration made sense. And crap, if there’s a chance to go on tour in a band with Lalli on bass, of course you’re gonna do that. Together, Bjork and Lalli are sculptors of desert rock, Lalli having actively participated in the forming of the style in Yawning Man and brought weird to the desert in Fatso Jetson, Bjork having played drums and contributed to the songwriting of Kyuss before joining Fu Manchu and embarking on the solo thing in various formats over the last 24 years, the latter I’d argue as his most crucial work. I could go on about this — blah blah generator parties; the horrible truth is I think the timeline is fun — but what I’m trying to say is these guys are real deal lifers, and in addition to having influenced two-plus generations of bands in a global underground that exists in part because of them, they also rock. “Cleaning Out the Ashtray” was a nice touch, and “Let the Truth Be Known.” There was a longer-maybe new song with a classic, sleek groove called “Sunshine” that broke after a couple verses into an even more languid flow, and if there’s new material, maybe this band will put out an LP. That’d be just ducky, thanks. Maybe I’d even get to tell the same story about how these guys are legends all over again! Perhaps with slight variations in the phrasing! Sweet!


Volume and thrust, lumber and noise. Shove. GO. Boris make it all exciting, and are somehow frenetic in their energy no matter what they’re actually playing. They drew the biggest crowd of the festival. Significant, statistically. Brant Bjork Trio finished and Djunah — of whom I saw a few minutes; knew nothing about them beforehand, turned out they were cool; a note-to-self moment — and I guess everybody who was at another stage congregated in front of Boris only to be blown back by a bulldozer of volume. Whoosh. It’s been a few years, but Boris were Boris, and that’s maybe the highest compliment they might be paid, since it actually means so many things, nearly all of them awesome. Wata, Atsuo and Takeshi took the whole building on a ride through a vortex of shred, the set becoming an assault of noise and fog with the band in the eye of their own storm, and while I could go on mixing metaphors and trying to craft suitable hyperbole for what they do on stage, the truth is that I’m really, really fucking tired and that I don’t need to hide that. Doesn’t mean I didn’t appreciate Boris, doesn’t mean I don’t think they’re an incredible band with decades of influence and legacy who also absolutely slay live. The not-even-the-end-of-the-day fatigue might’ve put Boris closer to the line between immersion and abrasion for my own experience, but hell’s bells, they’re dizzying when they want to be.

Ecstatic Vision

Ecstatic Vision (Photo by JJ Koczan)

Because I’ve seen the band before, I showed up 25 minutes early to Ecstatic Vision on the Texas stage. Does it make sense to leave a band from Japan’s set to go see a band from Philadelphia when you’re in New York? It does if that band is Ecstatic Vision. Psychrippers extraordinaire. Bombast in excelsis. Willfully sliding into most of humanity’s definition of obnoxious, but hitting this crowd just right. I wasn’t the only one there early, nor first in the room. A reputation, preceding. I knew I was going to miss the Melvins — I saw them in June and as I said then, I’m not a huge fan, though they were and are good live — and somehow having Ecstatic Vision in the small room as my capper seemed just right. It goes without saying they destroyed. The sax, the guitar, bass and drums, the effects wash, the intense push inherited from Hawkwind and Monster Magnet both, cosmic heavy rock turned into a party unparalleled by anyone I’ve encountered in current US psych. They were the blowout, and as excellent as the Melvins are live (and yes I know they’ve got Coady Willis drumming in place of Dale Crover; the point stands), I knew that was how I wanted to cap my Desertfest New York 2023. Three days of heavy stuffed into a cannon and launched into the sun, and everyone in the room with it. I’d take a new record from them for sure, but I do also feel like they shouldn’t even stop playing live long enough to make one. These guys are providing a valuable service guiding all involved parties on a direct line into the supermassive black hole at the center of the galaxy.

I made it home from Brooklyn in under an hour. It was beautiful. Unheard of. “Magic,” as Ronnie James Dio might say. Falling asleep at the keyboard now.

That’s it for me. Thanks to Desertfest New York for coming back, to Sarika, Reece and Matte and all behind the making of the thing. Friends old and new — in the photo pit: Falk-Hagen Bernshausen (so glad you made it over), Tim Bugbee (you’re the best), Dante Torrieri (that Star Trek nerd-out turned my whole day around), Dylan Gonzalez (smartest guy in the room, also sweetest), Tomoko (thanks for the fruit offer, by the way you’re a genius), Charles (rarely do I find somebody who so much speaks the same language of sarcasm) — and everyone who came to say hi or something nice about the site. Thanks to The Patient Mrs. for the time. Thank you for reading.

More pics after the jump.

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Desertfest New York 2023: Colour Haze, 1000mods, Boris and More in First Lineup Announcement

Posted in Whathaveyou on January 30th, 2023 by JJ Koczan

This is some of the biggest news of my year, right here, and precisely some of what I’ve been hoping for since the advent of Desertfest New York in 2019. The NYC branch of Europe’s foremost heavy festival brand is slates do the seemingly impossible this Fall and bring German heavy psychedelic rock progenitors Colour Haze to the States for the second time as well as Greek heavy rock forerunners 1000mods, overcoming the pandemic-interrupted growth after a successful 2022 edition to realize a genuinely world-class event already just with the first reveal. And that’s before you get to the badassery of Lo-Pan, Heavy Temple, bringing Duel back, Boris, and so on.

I mean that. This puts Desertfest New York on a level of scope and reach with Psycho Las Vegas, Monolith on the Mesa or Fire in the Mountains or whoever else you want to namedrop, while maintaining club-show roots in its pre-party and secondary stages. I also wouldn’t surprised if a third stage isn’t added to the fest proper, as Knockdown Center certainly has that space available.

Either way, this is a big fucking deal and I’m excited at the prospect of what’s still to come. Will Steak return? My Sleeping Karma? Perhaps even a Green Lung US debut? The doors are thrown wide here as Desertfest New York 2023 takes it to that next level. The possibilities are that much closer to endless.

From the PR wire:

Desertfest New York 2023 first poster

Desertfest New York returns for 3rd edition this September announcing
Melvins, Boris, Colour Haze, Truckfighters & more


Leading independent stoner rock, doom, psych & heavy rock festival Desertfest returns to
New York this September. Hot off the heels of their largest US event to date in May ‘22, the
globally renowned festival will return to the unique space of the Knockdown Center in
Queens, alongside an exclusive pre-party at heavy metal institution, Saint Vitus Bar from 14th to 16th September 2023.

Headlining the 3rd edition of the festival will be genre-defining trailblazers the MELVINS.
With King Buzzo & Dale Crover at the helm ensuring their 40-year status as icons of the
underground, Desertfest attendees can expect a MELVINS performance unlike any other, as
they are treated to the bands’ expansive & iconic back catalogue.

Joining them on the Knockdown Center main-stage, with a rare New York performance, will
be Japan’s own BORIS. An exercise in auditory marksmanship for any whom are lucky
enough to bear witness, BORIS continue to redefine heavy on their own terms.

German psychedelic trio COLOUR HAZE will join the festival for a US exclusive,
headlining Thursday’s pre-party at Saint Vitus Bar. A band who move beyond a space of
labels, their continued evolution propels them out of any current galaxy recognised as ‘stoner
rock’. Thursday night will also welcome the infectiously groovy sounds of LO-PAN &
Texan goodtimers DUEL to help warm up the gears.

Long-time friends in the Desertfest-sphere, high-octane Swedish rockers
TRUCKFIGHTERS join proceedings for their first New York performance in three years.

Greece’s stoner rock heroes 1000MODS also make the jump overseas, ready to bring their
ear-worm worthy riffs to revellers. Local legends WHITE HILLS, raucous street doom
reapers R.I.P & ‘heavy primal psych’ outfit ECSTASTIC VISION all join the bill.

Elsewhere Desertfest NYC also welcomes HEAVY TEMPLE, CLOUDS TASTE SATANIC, MICK’S JAGUAR, CASTLE RAT, GRAVE BATHERS & SPELLBOOK, with more still to be announced…

3-day passes (incl. access to Saint Vitus Pre-Party) & 2-day passes (Knockdown Center
only) are on sale NOW via the following link –

Day Tickets will be released in April. There are no individual Day Tickets for Thursday’s

Full Line-Up
Saint Vitus – Sept 14th | Knockdown Center Sept 15th & 16th 2023
Melvins | Boris | Colour Haze | Truckfighters | 1000Mods | White Hills | Lo-Pan | Duel |
R.I.P | Ecstatic Vision | Heavy Temple | Clouds Taste Satanic | Mick’s Jaguar | Castle
Rat | Grave Bathers | Spellbook

Colour Haze, Sacred (2022)

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Desertfest London 2023 Adds More Than 40 Bands; Yes, for Real.

Posted in Whathaveyou on December 2nd, 2022 by JJ Koczan

I mean, what can you say to this other than ‘can I come?’ I’ve known this festival was capable of some real-deal shit over the last decade, but this is absolutely epic, which is a word I do my best to avoid. And they end it by saying there’s more to come. God damn. Really. God damn.




Desertfest London announce over 40 bands for 2023

Friday 5th May – Sunday 7th May 2023 | Weekend Tickets on sale now


Desertfest London is rounding off the year with an ear-shattering bang, announcing a mammoth 43 artists to their 2023 line-up. Joining the likes of Uncle Acid & The Deadbeats, Graveyard, Kadavar and Church of Misery, the Camden-based festival also welcomes back Corrosion of Conformity as headliners.

Pioneers of a groove-laden sound that is undeniably their own, Corrosion of Conformity have not been back on UK soil since 2018 so expect big, loud and memorable things from their appearance at Desertfest next year. Corrosion of Conformity have been due to play the event since 2020 – making their return one of the most widely requested in the event’s history.

Japan’s own avant-garde maestros of down-tuned psychedelia Boris leap over to London alongside the crushingly loud tones of NOLA’s own Crowbar. One of the most exciting bands in recent memory King Buffalo, make their long-awaited debut plus Desertfest favourites, Weedeater are back after five long years of chugging whiskey lord-knows-where.

The pace moves up a notch with New York City’s noise-rock guru’s Unsane and British punk-legends Discharge, all of whom bring a detour from the slow’n’low sounds the festival is best recognised for. Montreal’s Big | Brave will play the festival for the first time showcasing their experimental and minimalist take on the notion of ‘heavy’, whilst the doors to the Church of The Cosmic Skull are open, as they ask Desertfest revellers to join them in a union unlike any other.

Desertfest also warmly welcomes noise from STAKE, British anti-fascist black metallers Dawn Ray’d and London’s loudest duo Tuskar as well as some of the best recent stoner acts in the form of Telekinetic Yeti, Weedpecker & Great Electric Quest. Elsewhere the weekend will also see Wren, The Necromancers, Dommengang, Samavayo, Morass of Molasses, Sum of R & GNOB offer up unique live performances.

Rounding off this beast of an announcement are Acid Mammoth, Deatchant, Zetra, Trevor’s Head, Our Man in The Bronze Age, Wyatt E., Iron Jinn, Mr Bison, Troy The Band, Oreyeon, Warren Schoenbright, Early Moods, Longheads, Terror Cosmico, Thunder Horse, TONS, Vinnum Sabbathi, Bloodswamp, The Age of Truth, Earl of Hell and Black Groove.

Weekend Tickets for Desertfest London 2023 are on-sale now via
with more acts still to be announced.

Day splits and day tickets will be on sale from January.

Full Line-Up for Desertfest London 2023:

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Quarterly Review: Boris, Mother Bear, Sonja, Reverend Mother, Umbilicus, After Nations, Holy Dragon, Trillion Ton Beryllium Ships, Deer Creek, Riffcoven

Posted in Reviews on September 26th, 2022 by JJ Koczan


Welcome back to the Fall 2022 Quarterly Review. It’s not quite the same as the Mountain of Madness, but there are definitely days where it feels like they’re pretty closely related. Just the same, we, you and I, persist through like digging a tunnel sans dynamite, and I hope you had a great and safe weekend (also sans dynamite) and that you find something in this batch of releases that you truly enjoy. Not really much point to the thing otherwise, I guess, though it does tend to clear some folders off the desktop. Like, 100 of them in this case. That in itself isn’t nothing.

Time’s a wastin’. Let’s roll.

Quarterly Review #51-60:

Boris, Heavy Rocks

Boris Heavy Rocks (2022)

One can’t help but wonder if Boris aren’t making some kind of comment on the franchise-ification of what sometimes feels like every damn thing by releasing a third Heavy Rocks album, as though perhaps it’s become their brand label for this particular kind of raucousness, much as their logo in capital letters or lowercase used to let you know what kind of noise you were getting. Either way, in 10 tracks and 41 minutes that mostly leave scorch marks when they’re done — they space out a bit on “Question 1” but elsewhere in the song pull from black metal and layer in lead guitar triumph — and along the way give plenty more thick toned, sometimes-sax-inclusive on-brand chicanery to dive into. “She is Burning,” “Cramper” and “My Name is Blank” are rippers before the willfully noisy relative slowdown “Blah Blah Blah,” and Japanese heavy institution are at their most Melvinsian with the experiment “Nosferatou,” ahead of the party metal “Ruins” and semi-industrial blowout “Ghostly Imagination,” the would-be-airy-were-it-not-crushing “Chained” and the concluding “(Not) Last Song,” which feeds the central query above in asking if there’s another sequel coming, piano, feedback, and finally, vocals ending what’s been colloquially dubbed Heavy Rocks (2022) with an end-credits scene like something truly Marvelized. Could be worse if that’s the way it’s going. People tend to treat each Boris album as a landmark. I’m not sure this one is, but sometimes that’s part of what happens with sequels too.

Boris on Facebook

Relapse Records store


Mother Bear, Zamonian Occultism

Mother Bear Zamonian Occultism

Along with the depth of tone and general breadth of the mix, one of the aspects most enjoyable about Mother Bear‘s debut album, Zamonian Occultism, is how it seems to refuse to commit to one side or the other. They call themselves doom and maybe they are in movements here like the title-track, but the mostly-instrumental six-track/41-minute long-player — which opens and closes with lyrics and has “Sultan Abu” in the middle for a kind of human-voice trailmarker along the way — draws more from heavy psychedelia and languid groove on “Anagrom Ataf,” and if “Blue Bears and Silver Spliffs” isn’t stoner riffed, nothing ever has been. At the same time, the penultimate title-track slows way down, pulls the curtains closed, and offers a more massive nod, and the 10-minute closer “The Wizaaard” (just when you thought there were no more ways to spell it) answers that sense of foreboding in its own declining groove and echo-laced verses, but puts the fuzz at the forefront of the mix, letting the listener decide ultimately where they’re at. Tell you where I am at least: On board. Guitarist/vocalist Jonas Wenz, bassist Kevin Krenczer and drummer Florian Grass lock in hypnotic groove early and use it to tie together almost everything they do here, and while they’re obviously schooled in the styles they’re touching on, they present with an individual intent and leave room to grow. Will look forward to more.

Mother Bear on Facebook

Mother Bear on Bandcamp


Sonja, Loud Arriver

sonja loud arriver

After being kicked out of black metallers Absu for coming out as trans, Melissa Moore founded Sonja in Philadelphia with Grzesiek Czapla on drums and Ben Brand on bass, digging into a ‘true metal’ aesthetic with ferocity enough that Loud Arriver is probably the best thing they could’ve called their first record. Issued through Cruz Del Sur — so you know their ’80s-ism is class — the 37-minute eight-tracker vibes nighttime and draws on Moore‘s experience thematically, or so the narrative has it (I haven’t seen a lyric sheet), with energetic shove in “Nylon Nights” and “Daughter of the Morning Star,” growing duly melancholy in “Wanting Me Dead” before finding its victorious moment in the closing title-track. Cuts like “Pink Fog,” “Fuck, Then Die” and opener “When the Candle Burns Low…” feel specifically born of a blend of 1979-ish NWOBHM, but there’s a current of rock and roll here as well in the penultimate “Moans From the Chapel,” a sub-three-minute shove that’s classic in theme as much as riff and the most concise but by no means the only epic here. Hard not to read in catharsis on the part of Moore given how the band reportedly came about, but Loud Arriver serves notice one way or the other of a significant presence in the underground’s new heavy metal surge. Sonja have no time to waste. There are asses to kick.

Sonja on Facebook

Cruz Del Sur Music store


Reverend Mother, Damned Blessing

Reverend Mother Damned Blessing

Seven-minute opener ends in a War of the Worlds-style radio announcement of an alien invasion underway after the initial fuzzed rollout of the song fades, and between that and the subsequent interlude “Funeral March,” Reverend Mother‘s intent on Damned Blessing seems to be to throw off expectation. The Brooklynite outfit led by guitarist/vocalist/songwriter Jackie Green (also violin) find even footing on rockers like “Locomotive” or the driving-until-it-hits-that-slowdown-wall-and-hey-cool-layering “Reverend Mother,” and the strings on the instrumental “L.V.B.,” which boasts a cello guest spot by High Priestess Nighthawk of Heavy Temple, who also returns on the closing Britney Spears cover “Toxic,” a riffed-up bent that demonstrates once again the universal applicability of pop as Reverend Mother tuck it away after the eight-minute “The Masochist Tie,” a sneering roll and chugger that finds the trio of Green, bassist Matt Cincotta and drummer Gabe Katz wholly dug into heavy rock tropes while nonetheless sounding refreshing in their craft. That song and “Shame” before it encapsulate the veer-into-doom-ness of Reverend Mother‘s hard-deliver’d fuzz, but Damned Blessing comes across like the beginning of a new exploration of style as only a next-generation-up take can and heralds change to come. I would not expect their second record to sound the same, but it will be one to watch for. So is this.

Reverend Mother on Instagram

Seeing Red Records store


Umbilicus, Path of 1000 Suns

Umbilicus Path of 1000 Suns

The pedigree here is notable as Umbilicus features founding Cannibal Corpse drummer Paul Mazurkiewicz and guitarist/engineer Taylor Nordberg (also visuals), who’s played with Deicide, The Absence and a host of others, but with the soar-prone vocals of Brian Stephenson out front and the warm tonality of bassist Vernon Blake, Umbilicus‘ 10-song/45-minute first full-length, Path of 1000 Suns is a willful deep-dive into modernly-produced-and-presented ’70s-style heavy rock. Largely straightforward in structure, there’s room for proto-metallurgy on “Gates of Neptune” after the swinging “Umbilicus,” and the later melodic highlight “My Own Tide” throws a pure stoner riff into its second half, while the concluding “Gathering at the Kuiper Belt” hints at more progressive underpinnings, it still struts and the swing there is no less defining than in the solo section of “Stump Sponge” back on side A. Hooks abound, and I suppose in some of the drum fills, if you know what you’re listening for, you can hear shades of more extreme aural ideologies, but the prevailing spirit is born of an obvious love of classic heavy rock and roll, and Umbilicus play it with due heart and swagger. Not revolutionary, and actively not trying to be, but definitely the good time it promises.

Umbilicus on Facebook

Listenable Insanity Records on Facebook


After Nations, The Endless Mountain

After Nations The Endless Mountain

Not as frenetic as some out there of a similar technically-proficient ilk, Lawrence, Kansas, double-guitar instrumental four-piece After Nations feel as much jazz on “Féin” or “Cae” as they do progressive metal, djent, experimental, or any other tag with which one might want to saddle the resoundingly complex Buddhism-based concept album, The Endless Mountain — the Bandcamp page for which features something of a recommended reading list as well as background on the themes reportedly being explored in the material — which is fluid in composition and finds each of its seven more substantial inclusions accompanied by a transitional interlude that might be a drone, near-silence, a foreboding line of keys, whathaveyou. The later “Širdis” — penultimate to the suitably enlightened “Jūra,” if one doesn’t count the interlude between (not saying you shouldn’t) — is more of a direct linear build, but the 40-minute entirety of The Endless Mountain feels like a steep cerebral climb. Not everyone is going to be up for making it, frankly, but in “}}}” and its punctuationally-named companions there’s some respite from the head-spinning turns that surround, and that furthers both the dynamic at play overall and the accessibility of the songs. Whatever else it might be, it’s immaculately produced and every single second, from “Mons” and “Aon” to “))” and “(),” feels purposeful.

After Nations on Facebook

After Nations on Bandcamp


Holy Dragon, Mordjylland

Holy Dragon Mordjylland

With the over-the-top Danzig-ian vocals coming through high in the mix, the drums sounding intentionally blown out and the fuzz of bass and guitar arriving in tidal riffs, Denmark’s Holy Dragon for sure seem to be shooting for memorability on their second album, Mordjylland. “Hell and Gold” pulls back somewhat from the in-your-face immediacy of opener “Bong” — and yet it’s faster; go figure — and the especially brash “War” is likewise timely and dug in. Centerpiece “Nightwatch” feels especially yarling with its more open riff and far-back echoing drums — those drums are heavy in tone in a way most are not, and it is appreciated — and gives over to the Judas Priestly riff of “Dunder,” which sounds like it’s being swallowed by the bass even as the concluding solo slices through. They cap with “Egypt” in classic-metal, minor-key-sounds-Middle-Eastern fashion, but they’re never far from the burly heft with which they started, and even the mellower finish of “Travel to Kill” feels drawn from it. The album’s title is a play on ‘Nordjylland’ — the region of Denmark where they’re from — and if they’re saying it’s dead, then their efforts to shake it back to life are palpable in these seven songs, even if the end front-to-back result of the album is going to be hit or miss with most listeners. Still, they are markedly individual, and the fact that you could pick them out of the crowd of Europe’s e’er-packed heavy underground is admirable in itself.

Holy Dragon on Instagram

Holy Dragon on Bandcamp


Trillion Ton Beryllium Ships, Consensus Trance

Trillion Ton Beryllium Ships Consensus Trance

Lincoln, Nebraska, trio Trillion Ton Beryllium Ships are right there. Right on the edge. You can hear it in the way “Beg Your Pardon” unfolds its lumbering tonality, riff-riding vocals and fervency of groove at the outset of their second album, Consensus Trance. They’re figuring it out. And they’re working quickly. Their first record, 2021’s TTBS, and the subsequent Rosalee EP (review here) were strong signals of intention on the part of guitarist/vocalist Jeremy Warner, bassist Karlin Warner and drummer Justin Kamal, and there is realization to be had throughout Consensus Trance in the noisy lead of “Mystical Consumer,” the quiet instrumental “Distalgia for Infinity” and the mostly-huge-chugged 11-minute highlight “Weeping Beast” to which it leads. But they’re also still developing their craft, as opener “Beg Your Pardon” demonstrates amid one of the record’s most vibrant hooks, and exploring spaciousness like that in the back half of the penultimate “Silo,” and the sense that emerges from that kind of reach and the YOB-ish ending of capper “I.H.” is that there’s more story to be told as to what Trillion Ton Beryllium Ships have to offer in style and substance. So much the better since Consensus Trance has such superlative heft at its foundation.

Trillion Ton Beryllium Ships on Facebook

Trillion Ton Beryllium Ships on Bandcamp


Deer Creek, Menticide

Deer Creek Menticide

Kind of funny to think of Menticide as a debut LP from Deer Creek, who’ve been around for 20 years — one fondly recalls their mid-aughts splits with Church of Misery and Raw Radar War — but one might consider that emblematic of the punk underpinning the sludgy heavy roll of “(It Had Neither Fins Nor Wings) Nor Did it Writhe,” along with the attitude of fuckall that joins hands with resoundingly dense tonality to create the atmosphere of the five originals and the cover medley closer “The Working Man is a Dead Pig,” which draws on Rush, Bauhaus and Black Sabbath classics as a sort of partially explanatory appendix to the tracks preceding. Of those, the impression left is duly craterous, and Deer Creek, with Paul Vismara‘s mostly-clean vocals riding a succession of his own monolithic riffs, a bit of march thrown into “The Utter Absence of Hope” amid the breath of tone from his and Conan Hultgren‘s guitars and Stephanie Hopper‘s bass atop the drumming of Marc Brooks. One is somewhat curious as to what drives a band after two full-length-less decades to make a definitive first album — at least beyond “hey a lot of things have changed in the last couple years” anyhow — but the results here are inarguable in their weight and the spaces they create and fill, with disaffection and onward and outward-looking angst as much as volume. That is to say, as much as Menticide nods, it’s more unsettling the more attention you actually pay to what’s going on. But if you wanted to space out instead, I doubt they’d hold it any more against you than was going to happen anyway. Band who owes nothing to anyone overdelivers. There.

Deer Creek on Facebook

Deer Creek on Bandcamp


Riffcoven, Never Sleep at Night

Riffcoven Never Sleep at Night

Following the mid-’90s C.O.C. tone and semi-Electric Wizard shouts of “Black Lotus Trance,” “Detroit Demons” calls out Stooges references while burl-riffing around Pantera‘s “I’m Broken,” and “Loose” manifests sleaze to coincide with the exploitation of the Never Sleep at Night EP’s cover art. All of this results in zero-doubt assurance that the Brazilian trio have their bona fides in place when it comes to dudely riffs and an at least partially metal approach; stylistically-speaking, it’s like metal dudes got too drunk to remember what they were angry at and decided to have a party instead. I don’t have much encouraging to say at this juncture about the use of vintage porn as a likely cheap cover option, but no one seems to give a shit about moving past that kind of misogyny, and I guess as regards gender-based discrimination and playing to the male gaze and so on, it’s small stakes. I bet they get signed off the EP anyway, so what’s the point? The point I guess is that the broad universe of those who’d build altars to riffs, Riffcoven are at very least up front with what they’re about and who their target audience is.

Riffcoven on Facebook

Riffcoven on Bandcamp


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Psycho Las Vegas 2022 Makes Second Lineup Announcement

Posted in Whathaveyou on March 17th, 2022 by JJ Koczan

It was probably inevitable, but if you’d asked I’m not sure I would’ve said that at some point we’d be talking about Wu-Tang around these parts not in the context of the badass PS1 fighting game they had. Also in the realm of things-I-probably-should’ve-seen-coming is the fact that it’s Psycho Las Vegas as the occasion for doing so. Don’t get me wrong, having the GZA and Raekwon & Ghostface on the bill alongside Watain and Mayhem and Boris and Monster Magnet and The Juliana Theory is fucking genius (natch), but it’s a very particular kind of genius that one doesn’t find anywhere else. You want Ulver and Suicidal Tendencies and Primitive Man together? Well, you’re probably booking your flight to Vegas as we speak. Psycho, as you, me, and everyone around us knows, is in a class of its own here.

KatatoniaCirith UngolBone Thugs-n-Harmony — who I would totally watch, by the way — and High on FireAt the Gates. Fucking a, Psycho.

The lineup as so far announced for Psycho Las Vegas 2022 follows here, as per the PR wire. Fest is Aug. 19-21:

psycho las vegas 2022 logo square

Psycho Las Vegas Announces Second Wave of Artists for 2022 Lineup; Reveals Festival Destination: Resorts World Las Vegas – the Strip’s newest integrated resort

As previously announced, the 2022 installment of Psycho Las Vegas will see Mercyful Fate (USA-exclusive performance), Emperor (USA-exclusive performance), Mayhem, Satyricon, Watain, Wolves In The Throne Room, Samael, Boris, MGLA, Cirith Ungol, King Woman, Marissa Nadler, Bömbers and Year Of No Light perform at the annual bacchanal, set to take place at Resorts World Las Vegas Aug. 19 – Aug. 21. Already an other-worldly line-up, today, Psycho Las Vegas has revealed the second wave of artists for America’s premier Rock ‘N Roll festival (with tickets available for purchase at:

Mercyful Fate
Suicidal Tendencies
Bone Thugs-N-Harmony
Carpenter Brut
She Past Away
Raekwon & Ghostface Killah
At The Gates
High On Fire
Beats Antique
Paradise Lost
Cirith Ungol
The Accüsed AD
Dance With The Dead
The Juliana Theory
Monster Magnet
Wolves In The Throne Room
…And You Will Know Us by the Trail of Dead
Primitive Man
King Woman
Marissa Nadler
Year Of No Light
The Goddamn Gallows
200 Stab Wounds
Last Podcast On The Left
Chessboxing with GZA

Bridge City Sinners
Early Moods

Psycho Las Vegas 2022 is set to be the wildest ride yet as the festival will move to a new destination, Resorts World Las Vegas. The Strip’s newest ground-up resort to be built in over a decade, Resorts World Las Vegas ventures into a new frontier of entertainment, offering an immersive trip for festivalgoers with six stages, with every genre under the sun performing from the pool’s tropics to the Resorts World Event Center. Additionally, Resorts World Las Vegas contains the most options for leisure, cuisine, and gambling in Psycho Las Vegas history, while providing a more intimate musical experience in the epitome of Las Vegas elegance and extravagance. Fans can also spend the day at AWANA Spa & Wellness, enjoy a meal or drink at one of over 40 food and beverage venues or hit the poker tables because Texas Hold ‘Em is back with a vengeance at Psycho Las Vegas. Without curfews, the party doesn’t stop as sets and Psycho dance parties go on through all hours of the night.

Psycho Las Vegas is the ultimate rock ‘n roll all night and party everyday experience. Go all in – buy the ticket and take the ride:

Viva Psycho

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Boris to Release New Album W Jan. 21; “Drowning by Numbers” Video Posted

Posted in Whathaveyou on December 1st, 2021 by JJ Koczan

boris wata

A new Boris record with Wata taking lead vocals on all the songs? Well that should go over pretty well with the universe. Boris follow-up last year’s self-issued No (discussed here) by aligning with Sacred Bones Records for what’s simply been called W, though whether that’s because of Wata — and if so, are A and T soon to follow? — or if they’ll get distracted by a thing and go off and be brilliant in some other completely different direction is anyone’s best guess. But good for the perpetually-on-their-own-wavelength Japanese post-universe trio on picking up where they left off before continuing to do whatever the hell they want. It’ll still be a century or two before humanity has caught up to them, but one assumes by then we’ll have some AI specializing in WTF to help us mortals with the task.

Oh, and preorders are up. And a video. So there.

Sacred Bones Records sent word down the PR wire:

boris w cover

New Boris album W up for pre-order!

Huge announcement today: The legendary experimental band Boris, one of the heaviest bands ever to come out of Japan, has joined the Sacred Bones family! In their nearly three decades together, Boris has infused doom, hardcore, thrash, noise-core, ambient, free improv, drone, psychedelia, and more into their extensive discography and have earned legions of zealous fans along the way. We feel honored to be working with them and are excited to announce their forthcoming record W with an incredible video for the standout track “Drowning by Numbers.”


In an effort to sublimate the negative energy surrounding everyone in 2020, legendary Japanese heavy rock band Boris focused all of their energy creatively and turned out the most extreme album of their long and widely celebrated career, “NO.” The band self-released the album, desiring to get it out as quickly as possible but intentionally called the final track on the album “Interlude” while planning its follow-up.

The follow-up comes with “W”, the band’s debut album for Sacred Bones Records. The record opens with the same melody as “Interlude” in a piece titled “I want to go to the side where you can touch…” and in contrast to the extreme sounds found on “NO”, this new album whispers into the listener’s ear with a trembling hazy sound meant to awaken sensation.

On all of “W” Wata carries the lead vocal duties. In general the styles on the album range from noise to new age, as is typical with one of our generation’s most dynamic and adventurous bands, but there is a thread of melodic deliberation through each song that successfully accomplishes the band’s goal of eliciting deep sensation. Be it through epic sludgey riffs, angelic vocal reverberations or the seduction of their off-kilter percussion, Boris will have you fully under their spell. This languid and liquifying sound is perfectly represented in the beautiful Kotao Tomozawa cover art and in suGar yoshinaga’s sound production.

“NO” and “W” weave together to form NOW, a duo of releases that respond to one another. In following their hardest album with this sensuous thundering masterpiece they are creating a continuous circle of harshness and healing, one that seems more relevant now than ever and shows the band operating at an apex of their musical career.

Additional details on EarthQuaker Devices exclusive pedal:

Releases January 21, 2022.

Boris is:
Takeshi: Vocals, Guitar & Bass
Wata: Vocals, Guitar & Echo
Atsuo: Vocals, Percussion & Electronics

Boris, “Drowning by Numbers” official video

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Quarterly Review: Boris, DVNE, Hydra, Jason Simon, Cherry Choke, Pariiah, Saavik, Mountain Tamer, Centre El Muusa, Population II

Posted in Reviews on December 21st, 2020 by JJ Koczan


Kind of a spur of the moment thing, this Quarterly Review. I’ve been adding releases all the while, of course, but my thought was to do this after my year-end list went up, and I realized, hey, if I’ve got like 70 records I haven’t reviewed yet, maybe there’s some of that stuff worth considering. So here we are. I’ve pushed back my best-of-2020 stuff and basically swapped it with the Quarterly Review. Does it matter to you? I seriously, seriously doubt it, but I believe in transparency and that’s what’s up. Thought I’d let you know. And yeah, this is going to go into next week, take us through the X-mas holiday this Friday, so whatever. You celebrate your way and I’ll celebrate mine. Let’s roll.

Quarterly Review #1-10:

Boris, No

boris no

As a general project, reviewing Boris is damn near pointless. One might as well review the moon: “uh, it’s big and out there most of the time?” The only reason to do it is either to exercise one’s own need to hyperbolize or help the band sell records. Well, Boris doesn’t need my push and I don’t need to tell them how great they are. No is 40 minutes of the widely and wildly lauded Japanese heavy rock(s) experimentalists trying to riff away existing in 2020, delving high speed into hardcore here and there and playing off that with grueling sludge, punk, garage-metal and the penultimate “Loveless,” which is kind of Boris being their own genre. Much respect to the band, and I suppose one might critique Boris for, what?, being so Boris-y?, but there really isn’t a ton that hasn’t been said about them because such a ton has. I’m not trying to disparage their work at all — No is just what you’d expect as regards defying expectation — but after 20-plus years, there’s only so many ways one wants to call a band genius.

Boris on Thee Facebooks

Boris on Bandcamp


DVNE, Omega Severer

DVNE Omega Severer

Kind of a soft-opening for Edinburgh’s DVNE as an act on Metal Blade Records, unless of course one counts the two songs on the Omega Severer EP itself, which are post-metallic beasts of the sort that would and should make The Ocean blush. Progressive, heavy, and remarkably ‘next-wave’ feeling, DVNE‘s awaited follow-up to 2017’s Asheran may only be about 17 and a half minutes long, but it bodes remarkably well as the band master a torrent of intensity on the 10-minute opening title-cut and answer that with the immediately galloping “Of Blade and Carapace,” smashing battle-axe riffing and progressive shimmer against each other and finding it to be an alchemy of their own. Album? One suspects not until they can tour for it, but if Omega Severer is DVNE serving notice, consider the message received loud, clear, dynamic, crushing, spacious, and so on. Already veterans of Psycho Las Vegas, they sound like a band bent on capturing a broader audience in the metallic sphere.

DVNE on Thee Facebooks

Metal Blade Records website


Hydra, From Light to the Abyss

hydra from light to the abyss

There’s no questioning where Hydra‘s heart is at on their debut full-length, From Light to the Abyss. It belongs to the devil and it belongs to Black Sabbath. The Polish four-piece riff hard and straightforward throughout most of the five-track offering (released by Piranha Music), and samples set the kind of atmosphere that should be familiar enough to the converted — “No One Loves Like Satan” reminds of Uncle Acid in its initial channel-changing and swaggering riff alike — but doomly centerpiece “Creatures of the Woods” and the layered vocal melodies late in closer “Magical Mind” perhaps offer a glimpse at the direction the band could take from here. What matters though is where Hydra are at today, and that’s bringing riffs and nod to the converted among the masses, and From Light to the Abyss offers no pretense otherwise. It is doom rock for doom rockers, grooves to be grooved to. They’re not void of ambition by any means — their songwriting makes that clear — but their traditionalism is sleeve-worn, which if you’re going to have it, is right where it should be.

Hydra on Thee Facebooks

Piranha Music on Bandcamp


Jason Simon, A Venerable Wreck

jason simon a venerable wreck

Dead Meadow guitarist/vocalist Jason Simon follows 2016’s Familiar Haunts (review here) with the genre-spanning A Venerable Wreck, finding folk roots in obscure beats and backwards this-and-that, country in fuzz, ramble in space, and no shortage of experimentalism besides. A Venerable Wreck consists of 12 songs and though there are times where it can feel disjointed, that becomes part of the ride. It’s not all supposed to make sense. Yet what happens by the time you get around to “No Entrance No Exit” is that Simon (and a host of cohorts) has set his own context broad enough so that the drone reach of “Hollow Lands” and sleek, organ-laced indie of closer “Without Reason or Right” can coexist without any real interruption of flow between them. The question with A Venerable Wreck isn’t so much whether the substance is there, it’s whether the listener is open to it. Welcome to psychedelic America. Please inject this snake venom and turn in your keys when you leave.

Jason Simon on Bandcamp

BYM Records website


Cherry Choke, Raising Salzburg Rockhouse

Cherry Choke-Raising Salzburg Rockhouse-Cover

You won’t hear me take away from the opening psych-scorch hook of “Mindbreaker” or the fuzzed-on, boogie-down, -up, and -sideways of “Black Annis” which follows, but there’s something extra fun about hearing Frog Island’s Cherry Choke jam out a 13-minute, drum-solo-inclusive version of “6ix and 7even” that makes Raising Salzburg Rockhouse even more of a reminder of how underrated both they are as a band and Mat Bethancourt is as a player. Look no further than “Domino” if you want absolute proof. The whole band rips it up at the Austrian gig, which was recorded in 2015 as they supported their third and still-most-recent full-length, Raising the Waters (review here), but Bethancourt puts on a Hendrixian clinic in the nine-minute cut from 2011’s A Night in the Arms of Venus (review here), which is actually less of a clinic than it is pure distorted swagger followed by a mellow “cheers, thanks” before diving into “Used to Call You Friend.” A 38-minute set would be perfect for an vinyl release, and anytime Cherry Choke want to get around to putting together a fourth studio album, well, that’ll be just fine too.

Cherry Choke on Thee Facebooks

Cherry Choke on Bandcamp


Pariiah, Swallowed by Fog

Pariiah swallowed by fog

It’s a special breed of aggro that emerges as a result of living in the most densely populated state in the union, and New Jersey’s Pariiah have it to spare. Bringing together sludge tonality with elder-style New York hardcore lumbering riffs on their Trip Machine Laboratories tape, Swallowed by Fog, they exude a thickened brand of pissed off that’s outright going to be too confrontation for many who take it on. But if you want a middle finger to the face, this is what it sounds like, and the six songs (compiled into four on the digital version of the release) come and go entirely without pretense and leave little behind except bruises and the promise of more to come. They’re a new band, started in this most wretched of years, but there’s no learning curve whatsoever among the members of Devoid of Faith, The Nolan Gate, Kill Your Idols, Changeörder and others. I’d go to Maplewood to see these cats. I’m just saying. Maybe even Elizabeth.

Pariiah on Bandcamp

Trip Machine Laboratories website


Saavik, Saavik

saavik saavik

So you’ve got both members of Holly Hunt in a four-piece sludging out with spacey synth and the band is named after a Star Trek character? Not to get too personal, but that’s going to pique my interest one way or the other. Saavik — and they clearly prefer the Kirstie Alley version, rather than Robin Curtis, going by drummer Beatriz Monteavaro‘s artwork — are damn near playing space rock by the end of “He’s Dead Jim,” the opener of their self-titled debut EP, but even that’s affected by a significant tonal weight in Didi Aragon‘s bass and the guitar of Gavin Perry, however much Ryan Rivas‘ synth and effects-laced vocals might seem to float overhead, but “Meld” rolls along at a steadier nod, and “Horizon” puts the synth more in the lead without becoming any less heavy for doing so. Likewise, “Red Sun” calls to mind Godflesh in its proto-machine metal stomp, but there’s more concern in Saavik‘s sound with expanse than just pure crush, and that shows up in fascinating ways in these songs.

Saavik on Thee Facebooks

Other Electricities on Bandcamp


Mountain Tamer, Psychosis Ritual

mountain tamer psychosis ritual

There’s been a dark vibe all along nestled into Mountain Tamer‘s sound, and that’s certainly the case on Psychosis Ritual, with which the Los Angeles-based trio make their debut on Heavy Psych Sounds. It’s their third full-length overall behind 2018’s Godfortune // Dark Matters (review here) and 2016’s self-titled debut (review here), and it finds their untamed-feeling psychedelia rife with that same threat of violence, not necessarily thematically as much as sonically, like the songs themselves are the weapon about to be turned on the listener. Maybe the buzz of “Warlock” or the fuckall echo of the prior-issued single “Death in the Woods” (posted here) aren’t out there trying to be “Hammer Smashed Face” or anything, but neither is this the hey-bruh-good-times heavy jams for which Southern California is known these days. Consider the severity of “Turoc Maximus Antonis” or the finally-released screams in closer “Black Noise,” which bookends Psychosis Ritual with the title-track and seems at last to be the point where whatever grim vibe these guys are riding finally consumes them. Mountain Tamer continue to be unexpected and righteous in kind.

Mountain Tamer on Thee Facebooks

Heavy Psych Sounds on Bandcamp


Centre El Muusa, Centre El Muusa

centre el muusa centre el muusa

Hypnotic Estonian psychedelic krautrock instrumentals not your thing? Well that sounds like a personal problem Centre El Muusa are ready to solve. The evolved-from-duo four-piece get spaced out amid the semi-motorik repetitions of their self-titled debut (on Sulatron), and that seems to suit them quite well, thanksabunch. Drone trips and essential swirl brim with solar-powered pulsations and you can set your deflectors on maximum and route all the secondaries to reinforce if you want, there’s still a decent chance 9:53 opener an longest track “Turkeyfish” (immediate points, double for the appropriately absurd title) is going to sweep you off what you used to call your feet when that organ line hits at about six minutes in. That’s to say nothing of the cosmic collision later in “Burning Lawa” or the just-waiting-for-a-Carl-Sagan-voiceover “Mia” that follows. Even the 3:46 “Ain’t Got Enough Mojo” lives long enough to prove itself wrong. Interstellar tape transmissions fostered by obvious weirdos in the great out-there in “Szolnok,” named for a city in Hungary that, among other things, hosts the goulash festival. Right fucking on.

Centre El Muusa on Thee Facebooks

Sulatron Records webstore


Population II, À La Ô Terre

Population II a La o Terre

The first Population II album, a 2017 self-titled, was comprised of two tracks, each long enough to consume a 12″ side. Somehow it’s fitting with the Montreal-based singing-drummer trio’s aesthetic that their second long-player, À la Ô Terre, would take a completely different tack, employing shorter freakouts like “L’Offrande” and “La Nuit” and the garage-rocking “La Danse” and what-if-JeffersonAirplane-but-on-Canadian-mushrooms “À la Porte de Demain” and still-more-drifting finisher “Je Laisse le Soleil Briller” amid the more stretched out “Attaction,” the space-buzzer “Ce n’est Réve” while cutting a middle ground in the greaked-out (I was gonna type “freaked out” and hit a typo and I’m keeping it) “Il eut un Silence dans le Ciel,” which also betrays the jazzy underpinnings that somehow make all of À la Ô Terre come across as progressive instead of haphazard. From the start to the close, you don’t know what’s coming next, and just because that’s by design doesn’t make it less effective. If anything, it makes Population II all the more impressive.

Population II on Thee Facebooks

Castle Face Records website


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Boris Release ‘Archive’ Series of Studio & Live Recordings

Posted in Whathaveyou on August 11th, 2020 by JJ Koczan

Damn, Boris. I guess the selling-via-Bandcamp process for their latest studio album, NO (discussed here), went pretty well, because here they are about a month later following it up with an archive of six out-of-print or otherwise previously-unavailable offerings. If that New York show that’s on Pink Days was at the old Knitting Factory in Manhattan, I was there that night, though I can’t remember if that was for Pink or Smile. Hard to keep up with Boris, and things like this are pretty much why. But hell, I’ll take the excuse to listen to “Flood” today, that’s fine by me, and those demos and whatnot should be plenty blown out, so even for established fans, there’s a lot to dig into as they continue to deal with firelung-induced societal collapse. So it goes.

More Boris though. That’s good news.

Check it out:



These long out-of-print releases will be available Friday, August 7 on Bandcamp.

Boris will begin to archive past limited releases on their Bandcamp page.

In July, among the turmoil of the Coronavirus sweeping the world, Boris suddenly dropped their new album “NO” as a Bandcamp-only release, which garnered a tremendous response as the band themselves are trying to find a new means of communication with listeners in times of the Coronavirus.

Tomorrow, and over the course of several months, the archiving of Boris past limited releases will take place on their Bandcamp. They’ll start off appropriately with the “Archive” series, 3 live album CD’s released in 2005 from the US label, “aRCHIVE”, limited to 600 copies that sold out immediately.

These 3 live albums were reissued as “Archive I” (Vol. 1, 2, & 3) along with “Archive II” (Vol. 4, 5, & 0) in 2014. Both sets of 3 CD’s each were limited rereleases of 1,000 copies, and thus quite difficult to obtain.

Boris’s early demo tape recordings, as well as a compilation of at the time unreleased live recordings spanning “Heavy Rocks,” “Akuma no Uta,” ”dronevil -final-, ”mabuta no ura,” up through “PINK” can be found on “Archive II”.

These 6 CD’s worth of material, labeled as Boris “Archive” Volume Zero to Five, are a total of 6 releases. Getting a glimpse at a piece of the band from the Boris Book of Genesis to the present, these are some precious recordings indeed.

As a result of the current COVID-19 situation, long-term overseas tours are postponed with no sign of resuming, and the continuation of music culture is in critical condition. Thank you all for your understanding and backing of cultural activity. Your continued support to artists is much appreciated. Please look forward to further successive releases going forward.

Details for each Archive release can be found below. Look for more news and music from Boris in the near future.

Boris Archive Volume Zero “Early Demo”

9 songs selected and compiled from 3 independently produced demo tapes, from the early period of Boris’s formation.
The final 10th track, “Soul Search You Sleep,” was recorded in 1996 during Boris’s first tour of the US west coast, and has been brought out of a long slumber to complete Volume Zero.
(Originally released on March 5, 2014. Included in Archive 2, limited to 1,000 copies)

1. Loudd
2. AYA
3. Spell Down
4. Nods
5. Scar Box
6. Mosquito
7. Matozoa
8. Deep Sucker
9. Water Porch
10. Soul Search You Sleep

Track 1,2 from 1st Demo 1993
Track 3,4 from 2nd Demo 1993
Track 5-9 from 3rd Demo 1994

Recording Engineered by Kokage
Mixed by fangsanalsatan

Track 10 Recorded at Capitol Theater, Olympia, WA. Mar 1st & 2nd 1996

Takeshi: Bass & Vocal
Wata: Guitar & Echo
Atsuo: Drums & Vocal
Nagata: Drums(Track 2,3,4,6,7,8,9)

Mastering: Soichiro Nakamura
Design: fangsanalsatan
Produced by Boris

Boris Archive Volume One “Live 96-98”

Originally released in 2005 from the US label “aRCHIVE,” limited to 600 copies which sold out immediately. Compiled from live recordings during Boris’s “Power Violence” period 1996 – 1998, including songs from the 1998 studio album “Amplifier Worship” and Archive Volume Zero “Early Demo.”
(Reissued as part of Archive 1 on March 5, 2014. Limited to 1,000 copies)

1. Huge
2. In Hush
3. Soul Search You Sleep
4. Vacuuum
5. Mosquito
6. Mass Mercury
7. Scar Box
8. Hama

Track 1,2 Recorded at Koenji 20000V 21st Dec 1996
Track 3,4,5 Recorded at Koenji 20000V 21st June 1996
Track 6,7 Recorded at Shinjuku Loft 4th Oct 1997
Track 8 Recorded at Koenji 20000V 2nd Aug 1998

Takeshi: Bass & Vocal
Wata: Guitar & Echo
Atsuo: Drums & Vocal

Re-Mastering: Soichiro Nakamura
Design: fangsanalsatan
Produced by Boris

Boris Archive Volume Two “Drumless Shows”

Originally released in 2005 from the US label “aRCHIVE,” limited to 600 copies which sold out immediately. Includes 2 songs recorded live from Boris’s 1998 studio album “Amplifier Worship” and 1 song from “Early Demo,” all arranged for a drumless performance. The beginning of Drone Metal history in 1997.
(Reissued as part of Archive 1 on March 5, 2014. Limited to 1,000 copies)

1. Huge
2. Mosquito
3. Vomitself

Track 1 Recorded at Nagoya Music Farm 9th Aug 1997
Sound Engineer: Yukihito Okazaki (from ETERNAL ELYSIUM)

Track 2,3?Recorded at Koenji 20000V 8th Aug 1997

Takeshi: Bass & Vocal
Wata: Guitar & Echo
Atsuo: Drums & Vocal

Re-Mastering: Soichiro Nakamura
Design: fangsanalsatan
Produced by Boris

Boris Archive Volume Three “2 Long Songs”

Originally released in 2005 from the US label “aRCHIVE,” limited to 600 copies which sold out immediately. A precious live recording from their early days, of Boris’s 1996 debut single song release, “Absolutego,” and “flood,” released in 2000, performed live together as “1 song, 1 production.”
(Reissued as part of Archive 1 on March 5, 2014. Limited to 1,000 copies)

1. Absolutego
2. flood

Recorded at Koenji 20000V 3rd May 2001

Takeshi: Bass & Vocal
Wata: Guitar & Echo
Atsuo: Drums & Vocal

Re-Mastering: Soichiro Nakamura
Design: fangsanalsatan
Produced by Boris

Boris Archive Volume Four “Evil Stack Live”

Full set live recording that was broadcast on Japanese government-owned radio. The setlist is compiled from songs representative of their “Uppercase BORIS” distinction, including tracks from “Heavy Rocks” (2002) and “Akuma no Uta” (2003).
(Originally released on March 5, 2014. Included in Archive 2, limited to 1,000 copies)

1. Heavy Friends
2. Korosu
3. Ibitsu
4. Death Valley
5. Naki Kyoku
6. Furi
7. Akuma no Uta
8. Dyna-Sore
9. 1970

Recorded at NHK Tokyo 15th May 2003
Sound Engineer: Yasuaki Satake

Takeshi: Bass, Guitar & Vocal
Wata: Guitar & Echo
Atsuo: Drums & Vocal

Mastering: Soichiro Nakamura
Design: fangsanalsatan
Produced by Boris

Boris Archive Volume Five “Pink Days”

Recorded live in New York during Boris’s 2006 US tour. Selections from “dronevil” “mabuta no ura” and “Akuma no Uta” combined with songs from “PINK,” during the period of its release that transmits wild enthusiasm; the songs in this full set recording could even be called their greatest hits.
(Originally released on March 5, 2014. Included in Archive 2, limited to 1,000 copies)

1. Blackout
3. Woman on the Screen
4. Nothing Special
5. ibitsu
6. Electric
7. A Bao A Qu
8. the evilone which sobs
9. Akuma no Uta
10. Just Abandoned My-Self
11. Farewell

Recorded at New York 31st May 2006
Sound Engineer: Randall Dunn

Takeshi: Bass, Guitar & Vocal
Wata: Guitar & Echo
Atsuo: Drums & Vocal

Mixing: fangsanalsatan
Mastering: Soichiro Nakamura
Design: fangsanalsatan
Produced by Boris

Boris, Pink Days (2020)

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