Greenleaf to Release The Head and the Habit June 26; New Video Posted

Posted in Whathaveyou on March 26th, 2024 by JJ Koczan

Greenleaf (photo by Mats Ek)

Well, the album was the missing piece to Greenleaf spending much of the rest of 2024 on tour supporting a new album, so this little bit of paperwork takes care of that. The announcement just came through and brings the first single “Breathe, Breathe Out” from the record in question, titled The Head and the Habit and due June 26 through Magnetic Eye Records, which I haven’t even had time yet to hear owing to the domestic whathaveyou of a given morning. I’ll get there as soon as possible, to be sure. [EDIT: Got there. The video is charming and the song feels right on. Duh, I’m stoked for the record.]

Expect summer and autumn tours around the fest appearances listed below, more to come on the album, and, well, probably a lot of me nerding out about Greenleaf coinciding with all of it. I’ve been lucky enough to see the band a couple times in the last few years, and in addition to being gentlemen of the highest order, they’re brilliant on stage. Catch them if you can.

More later. This now:

Greenleaf the head and the Habit

GREENLEAF release first video single ‘Breathe, Breathe Out’ and details of new album “The Head & The Habit”!

Swedish heavy rockers GREENLEAF release the tongue-in-cheek video clip and super catchy tune ‘Breathe, Breathe Out’ as the first driving single taken from their forthcoming full-length “The Head & The Habit”, which is slated for release on June 26, 2024 via Magnetic Eye Records!

The album pre-sale has just started at

The video ‘Breathe, Breathe Out’ combines the struggles of great parenting with social commentary on the generational gap and film directing.

“The first single ‘Breathe, Breathe Out’ conveys a message of self-reflection and resilience”, explains vocalist Arvid Hällagård. “The repetition of the chorus emphasizes the importance of taking a moment to relax and let go of negative emotions. The overall theme encourages embracing one’s current state, appreciating what you have, and navigating through life with a sense of control and acceptance. I’ve had to teach these things to myself during the last couple of years. This is also the overall theme of the album, the head and its habits.”

With their ninth full-length “The Head & The Habit”, GREENLEAF have reached the pinnacle of a long evolution. The musical handwriting and well-honed mastery of guitarist Tommi Holappa, who has been a pioneer and pillar of the European stoner rock scene for more than 25 years, shines clearly through. This is perfectly complemented by the soulfulness, intuitive sense of melody, and depth of character that the vocals of classically-trained singer Arvid Hällagård brings to the sound of GREENLEAF.

Apart from world-class vocal lines and massive riffs with electric fuzz-power, GREENLEAF have put extra thought into the themes of “The Head & The Habit”, which lift its lyrics far above much of the often cliché-ridden genre. As the album title implies, the new songs resemble symbolic short stories that revolve around emotional struggles and even mental illness. Written by the vocalist, the lyrics reflect real life experience as Hällagård works with people who suffer from problems with drug abuse and psychological health.

1. Breathe, Breathe Out
2. Avalanche
3. Different Horses
4. A Wolfe in My Mind
5. That Obsidian Grin
6. The Sirens Sound
7. Oh Dandelion
8. The Tricking Tree
9. An Alabastrine Smile

2 APR 2024 Barcelona (ES) BCN @ Sala Upload
3 APR 2024 Bilbao (ES) Bullitt Groove Club
04 APR 2024 Avilés (ES) Factoria Sound
05 APR 2024 Porto (PT) Hard Club
06 APR 2024 Madrid (ES) Wurlitzer Ballroom
05 JUN 2024 London (UK) Stoomfest
12 June 2024 Erfurt (DE) Stoned from the Underground
31 AUG 2024 Aarschot (BE) Down the Hill
12 OCT 2024 München (DE) Keep It Low

Recording with Karl Daniel Lidén at Studio Gröndahl, Stockholm (SE)
Additional vocals recorded by Arvid Hällagård at Studio Baking Cabin
Mix by Karl Daniel Lidén in Tri-lamb Studios, Stockholm (SE)
Mastering by Karl Daniel Lidén in Tri-lamb Studios, Stockholm (SE)

Artwork by Arvid Hällagård
Layout by Arvid Hällagård & Lili Krischke

Arvid Hällagård – vocals
Tommi Holappa – guitars
Sebastian Olsson – drums
Hans Fröhlich – bass

Greenleaf, “Breathe, Breathe Out” official video

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Skraeckoedlan Premiere Vermillion Sky LP in Full; Out Wednesday

Posted in audiObelisk, Reviews on March 25th, 2024 by JJ Koczan

Skraeckoedlan Vermillion Sky

This Wednesday, March 27, Swedish heavy and progressive rockers Skraeckoedlan return with their fourth full-length, Vermillion Sky. It is their second LP through Fuzzorama Records behind the sprawling realization of 2019’s Eorþe (review here), with the years between finding the Borlänge/Norrköping four-piece reissuing their 2011 debut, Äppelträdet (review here) and its 2015 follow-up, Sagor (review here), through The Sign Records, and its arrival has been anticipated since the band unveiled “The Vermillion Sky” as a standalone single over half a year ago.

Vermillion Sky is a multifaceted project even before one gets to the rhythmic twists and melodic reaches, the grandiosities and quiet moments offered in its component eight tracks and 47 minutes, and if part of either that span of months or the not-accounted-for-by-plague portion of the five years it’s been since Eorþe comes from lining up logistics on either the video game or English-language novel intended to be released to complement the music, fair enough, though it was four between Sagor and that record as well, so it’s not an outlandish dearth of activity by any means. The novelization of Vermillion Sky, reportedly broken into chapters around each song, will perhaps be of particular interest to that non-Swedish-speaking contingent of their listenership who’ve maybe not been curious enough to run their lyrics through a translation matrix to get a semblance of the themes out of science-fiction, daikaiju, and so on.

To wit, “The Vermillion Sky,” caps an expansive A-side that begins with the drone-backed staticky dialogue in the two-minute intro “Cosmic Dawn” from whence a Devin Townsendy prog flow emerges with the anchoring fuzz on Erik Berggren‘s bass and fluid drumming of Martin Larsson‘s drums complemented by shimmer of synth and the guitars of Robert Lamu and Henrik Grüttner in a showcase of maturity and (condensed) patience that serves as preface to the stately composition of the title-track and others here. That obscured speech, mixed low enough that you genuinely might not hear it the first time through, ties into the escape-from-earth — and no, it’s not lost on me that their last record was ‘earth’ in translation — narrative of “The Vermillion Sky,” and while they seem to work in as well as around this thematic and it might at first be unclear how the hooky repetitions of the in-English title lyric to second single “Night Satan” fit in, the concept remains present for the lines, “Så lägg din hand i min och visa mig bland stjärnorna/Jag la min hand i din och du visa mig oändlighet” (“So put your hand in mine and show me the stars/I put my hand in yours and you show me infinity,” according to the internet), so those connections are there if not always obvious. One assumes the same applies for the likes of “Starsquatch,” “Metagalactic Void Honcho,” who sounds as burly as one might expect given the title, “Meteorb” or “Astronautilus” as well.

But even if you as the listener don’t take Vermillion Sky on for its storyline at all or if scrolling shooter games aren’t your thing, the songs are enough to carry you through. “Starsquatch” enters with a burst, resets in an open expanse of keyboard and sweeps in the first of a vast collection of massive grooves, characteristic in its adherence to fuzzier tonality and arrangement depth evident even just in the space between the guitar and drums, never mind the e-bow or whatever effect it is or the arrangement of lead and backing vocals in the rolling chorus. Hitting a stop at 4:40 into its 7:58, they break to echoing vocals and standalone guitar before surging forward again in a pointed wash of distortion that turns out to be a misdirect as they cut to clearer-sounding dual-guitar leads and a faster tempo verse ahead of the actual solo. Of course the riff comes back, bigger and more consuming, and the pattern of side A is set when “Mysteria” takes its turn riff-punching through the wall with dense low end and purposeful shove — the first half of the album trading shorter-to-longer pieces starting with “Cosmic Dawn” and the second half switching that to its own two longer tracks bookending the relative brevity of “Night Satan” and “Meteorb.”


So Skraeckoedlan are playing with time as well as space on Vermillion Sky, and the level of composition and nuance with which they do so shouldn’t be understated. Lamu‘s vocal melodies — and I’m sorry, I don’t know every detail on who’s doing what vocally here, but there are voice-swaps enough to make me think it’s multiple singers — go beyond following the riffs, which are occasionally busy enough that that would be a challenge anyway, and feel like part of the atmosphere along with the Mellotron and Rhodes (or some such) that further distinguish “Mysteria” after the push through its first half has already brought intense strikes of piano as part of its culminating build just before the two-and-a-half-minute mark.

That holds true in rougher-delivered or shoutier stretches like the end of “Mysteria,” or the gutted-out verses of “Metagalactic Void Honcho” surrounded by what sounds like duly gravitational destruction that dares some hope in its lead-topped final nod before it cuts to far-back guitar echoes and thud to end, or the galloping midsection of “Meteorb,” wherein even the air-tight structure and quick 3:38 runtime are enough for the band to use vocals as an instrument corresponding to the mood of a given part. The scorch of keyboard in that song’s charge, the way the drums open up the groove in the last hook, the details and nuance of the keys, synth, guitar, effects, whatever, in the mix — it all comes together as a complete representation of craft from Skraeckoedlan that feels deeper and more dug into its own processes than they’ve been before, but at the same time is more engaging and outward-reaching for that. If that’s a mature Skraeckoedlan self-producing and wielding their own sound, cognizant of their dynamic and the physicality of the material they’re writing, I’ll take it happily. They always feel like they’re ready to break out and run. That catch-up-to-this energy is always there, pulling the audience forward.

At the same time, their sense of control is palpable, whether it’s the look-what-we-can-do-with-a-stoner-riff mid-tempo chug in the verses of “Night Satan” — lest we forget their tonal and recording tutelage under Truckfighters (who also run Fuzzorama Records) — or the furies manifest in dramatic style on “Metagalactic Void Honcho” just before, but detracts neither from the energy in their delivery or their willingness to go all-in on an arrangement like “Astronautilus,” mellowing after its verse for a moment of proggy, key-topped exploration as it circles around and builds tension for its flowing, deceptively graceful emergence, leading into a solo and chorus that reinforce notions of structure even as they adrenaline-boost Vermillion Sky out of the atmosphere and into the resonant float of its comedown, some staticky layer there calling back to the opening of “Cosmic Dawn” as that structural cohesion finds its own meta level on which to operate.

Each album Skraeckoedlan have released has been an incremental step forward creatively from the one before it, and that applies to Vermillion Sky even as the band further define and distinguish an idea of their individual sound. That they recorded and mixed it themselves (Magnus Lindberg mastered) is also a crucial consideration — not because of any kind of down-scaling in production value; there isn’t one — but as another way to continue to grow as a unit and a means of more directly bringing their music to life. And whatever else is happening around them in various media, whatever apocalypses they’re conveying in the world they’ve conjured, these songs feel utterly alive.

The album streams in full below. Please enjoy:

Skraeckoedlan, Vermillion Sky album premiere

Order link:

In short, this is a sci-fi themed concept piece that screams DIY, having been entirely written, recorded, produced and mixed by the band themselves. A huge undertaking, especially considering one of the first steps in the process was basically to google: “how to properly mic a snare drum”. Mastering however has been beautifully done by Magnus Lindberg (Cult of Luna), which as always has yielded fantastic results.

Speaking of DIY and huge undertakings, Vermillion Sky will also be available as a novel (date to come), where each chapter corresponds to a track on the album. The story has been written by the band and is for those that want to take a real deep dive into the concept and join the crew of the Vermillion Sky as they unravel a mystery with galactic consequences. Contrary to the signature Swedish lyrics of the songs, the novel is in English.

An even more active way to interact with the release is to play the Vermillion Sky computer game the band has helped create. It’s an 8-bit style point chaser, where you travel through the Void as the ship, collecting upgrades to survive the multitude of enemies trying to put an end to your journey. If you want the absolute best experience of the game, make sure to come to one of the release tour shows, where Skraeckoedlan’s very own Vermillion Sky-arcade machine will be featured.

Live long and prosper!

Vermillion Sky tracklist
1. Cosmic Dawn (2:42)
2. Starsquatch (7:58)
3. Mysteria (5:21)
4. The Vermillion Sky (7:10)
5. Metagalactic Void Honcho (8:07)
6. Night Satan (4:53)
7. Meteorb (3:38)
8. Astronautilus (7:50)

Robert Lamu – Vocals, Guitar
Henrik Grüttner – Guitar, Vocals
Erik Berggren – Bass, Vocals
Martin Larsson – Drums, Vocals

Skraeckoedlan, Vermillion Sky game preview

Skraeckoedlan’s website

Skraeckoedlan on Instagram

Skraeckoedlan on Facebook

Fuzzorama Records website

Fuzzorama Records on Facebook

Fuzzorama Records on Instagram

Fuzzorama Records on Bandcamp

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Skraeckoedlan: New Album Vermillion Sky Out March 27

Posted in Whathaveyou on January 15th, 2024 by JJ Koczan

Time for new Skraeckoedlan. Indeed, perhaps the Swedish progressive heavy rockers/metallers were feeling some of the weight of the long stretch since they put out 2019’s Eorþe (review here) when they released “The Vermillion Sky” — which it turns out is the title-track of the new record, Vermillion Sky — as a standalone single last year. The four-piece’s impending fourth long-player will see release March 27 in continued collab with Fuzzorama Records, and I’ll tell you right now it’s a burner. If you didn’t hear that track, it and “Night Satan” are both streaming below.

I value your time and wouldn’t try to waste it by recommending crap, so if you don’t know Skraeckoedlan yet, please take that endorsement for what it’s worth. I do feel like the greater likelihood at this point is that people do know the band. The last album got a great response, they’ve been at it for well over 10 years now, and they’ve toured consistently if not constantly during that time. But if you didn’t hear that single, now’s a good time, what with album preorders up and t-shirt bundles and all that sort of whatnot.

The announcement came through in Fuzzorama‘s newsletter and I combined it with info from the preorder page. Have at it:

Skraeckoedlan Vermillion Sky

Skraeckoedlan announce new album ‘VERMILLION SKY’ out March 27th


Introducing the ultimate auditory experience for all rock enthusiasts – SKRAECKOEDLAN’s “Vermillion Sky”

Four bearded Swedes who’s forged their unique sound of progressive stoner rock in the cold northern forests. Previous album Earth was a massive domestic success as it hit the hard rock charts in Sweden.

Dive headfirst into the surreal world of Swedish stoner rock with this mind-bending album.

“Vermillion Sky” is a sonic journey that transcends boundaries, with SKRAECKOEDLAN’s signature blend of heavy riffs, mesmerizing melodies, and haunting vocals. Let the adrenaline-infused tracks transport you to a parallel universe, where the vermillion sky reigns supreme!

Crafted by masterful musicians, this album offers an immersive experience. Discover Vermilion Sky, out after five years of silence.

Five years. Is that a long time to wait? Generally speaking, yes. Probably. Well, maybe. Time is after all relative, so there surely isn’t a fail-safe answer.

Available on:
Limited Edition 300 copies Gatefold Yellow vinyl with Red splatter
Limited Edition 500 copies Gatefold blue vinyl with red splatter
Limited Edition 400 copies Black vinyl
CD digipack

Robert Lamu – Vocals/Guitar
Henrik Grüttner – Guitar
Erik Berggren – Bass
Martin Larsson – Drums

Skraeckoedlan, The Vermillion Sky (2024)

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Friday Full-Length: Vaka, Kappa Delta Phi

Posted in Bootleg Theater on January 5th, 2024 by JJ Koczan

There are about five different angles of approach I’ve come up with that I could take in discussing Vaka‘s 2009 full-length debut and lone-to-date offering, Kappa Delta Phi (review here). Here they are:

1. I could start by telling you about the career trajectory that led Karl Daniel Lidén to form the studio project, solo-based but expanded into complete-band arrangements filled out by players recruited for bass, guitar, vocals, even some cello tucked into expansively marching, gloriously Mellotronned closer “For Redemption.” Already by 2009, Lidén had been a member of Demon Cleaner, Greenleaf and Dozer. He’d founded Tri-Lamb Studios, where he’d not only record his own drums, piano, Mellotron and other keys, synth and probably a little bit of whatever was around for the Vaka material he composed, but would go on to helm albums for Katatonia, Greenleaf, Switchblade, Propane Propane, Bloodbath, Crippled Black Phoenix and a slew of others. He’s been an essential part of the course of Swedish heavy music over the last 20-plus years and Kappa Delta Phi remains the project of his own that, to-date, he has most spearheaded as a musician, songwriter, and producer. It’s a fun story, and a multifaceted enough record to stand up to the winding course which brought Lidén to it circa 2008-2009.

2. I could talk about the songs themselves, which are varied as one might expect for an album that features upwards of 10 different players contributing to its 10 component pieces and built on mostly post-metallic foundations given distinction through heavy use of piano — it starts on the intro “The Ship” and piano and keys are prominent throughout; a common element skillfully tying otherwise disparate ideas together; it’s very much a producer’s record — and marked by the shifts in atmosphere from the call-and-response barks and Neurosis-style churn of the nine-minute “Born to Secrecy” to the rumbling, lumbering payoff of the writhing “Stalemates” near the finish, to the midsection, might’ve-been-the-side-B-intro-to-a-vinyl-release interlude “Glacialis” and the various drones abounding blending the grounded and ethereal, severity and float. What might’ve been a messy process (let alone mix) working remotely before doing so became commonplace resulting in crushing, purposeful, and thrillingly volatile songs. There’s a lot going on here and a lot to talk about. This also would be fun.

Vaka Kappa Delta Phi3. I could tell you that when the Bandcamp broken heart thing came up because I’d streamed the album so many times revisiting it over the last couple weeks, I bought it (I have the CD from when it was released on Murkhouse Recordings in ’09 as well), and downloaded the wav files instead of mp3s because I wanted to hear it as full and uncompressed as possible.

4. I could run down that aforementioned significant number of artists involved in making the record, from vocalist Manne Ikonen (also ex-Zerocharisma) and guitarist Wille Naukkarinen (also ex-Sunride, he runs St-st-studio as well), both of Finland’s Ghost Brigade, contributing to “Born to Secrecy,” Ikonen trading lines with Misha Sedini of Come Sleep and Lingua, among others, to cellist Christoffer Ohlsson (Blue Foundation) adding to the breadth of “For Redemption,” where Melloboat Festival founder Stefan Dimle (also Landberk) handles bass. Ikonen and Naukkarinen, the Finnish contingent, both take part in the linear build across “At the Hands of Loss,” and also on bass are Johan Rockner, known for his work in Dozer and Greenleaf and up until 2023 also in Besvärjelsen, and Peder Bergstrand, who in 2008 released the debut from I Are Droid (who played in Stockholm last month; a third LP would be a pleasant surprise), and had already issued one of the most influential heavy rock records of the turn-of-the-century era in Lowrider‘s ultra-classic 2000 debut, Ode to Io (reissue review here). Bergstrand (who also did the design and layout for the digipak) and Rockner had both worked with Lidén previously in some context or other between Greenleaf and Dozer. Very much a drummer picking his bassists, which is probably what you want here. Erik Nilsson (Come Sleep, runs Version Studio in Stockholm) contributes guitar to highlight cut “I of Everything” — a hook to serve as landmark, and a righteous takeoff in its second half hitting its mark for post-metal’s requisite “Stones From the Sky” moment — as well as “Stalemates” and “For Redemption,” where Tommi Holappa (DozerGreenleaf) also adds the slide guitar that courses the melodic thread through the adrenaline-push crescendo. With Lidén‘s drums and keys at the core represented through his own signature production style — he gets a drum sound that is his own, period — the tracks on Kappa Delta Phi range far into atmospheric heavy and are willing to sound messy without being a mess, unfold into a landscape’s shimmer drone or dive into make-a-stinkface bludgeonry as “Born to Secrecy” nails its apex to your forehead. I count Vaka alongside Battle of Mice and SubRosa as an example of what I wish post-metal had evolved into.

5. Inevitably, I would finish by noting the never-say-never nature of rock and roll and life more generally, and perhaps wonder what might’ve been had Vaka done a second album or what might be if you rolled a 20 on a longshot and Lidén picked up the project again at some point. Not the most likely, not impossible, but for how much of Kappa Delta Phi is constructed around experiments in synth and keys laid over the drum tracks and then layered again with guitar, bass, more synth, vocals, etc., Lidén could have taken the band in any number of directions even just as regards his own songwriting, never mind putting together a lineup, playing live, or continuing with the ethic of guest performers. Whatever aesthetic elements might have been working in accord with the tenets of post-metal, Kappa Delta Phi was too much its own thing to be derivative, and wound up a singular expression and perhaps a footnote in a storied career, but only a footnote because not nearly enough people have heard this record.

And to go back to the top, I couldn’t decide which of these five approaches I wanted to take… so I took them all. For a collection that on paper might seem like a jumble but that proves coherent when engaged, it doesn’t seem like the least appropriate move. As always, I thank you for reading and hope you enjoy.

Costco trip in a couple minutes, so I’m short on time. Need eggs, cheese, rug cleaner, a few other odds and ends. More possible during school hours, which are also my main writing hours these days. I’ve been playing a good bit of Zelda and relaxing some as well. The Patient Mrs. and I are doing a January yoga challenge that we also did last year, which I feel like a dork about but is actually awesome in the doing. Never underestimate the value of a good stretch in middle-age. That shit can make your whole day better.

The Patient Mrs. got sworn in on the Board of Education last night, so The Pecan and I rolled along (also like half my family was there) to see mommy continue to be amazing. We spent most of the time in a conference room down the hall with the Switch (kiddo also enjoys a good bit of Tears of the Kingdom and we mostly play as a family, but I do a decent bit of resource farming on my own as well because I’m compulsive and enjoy it), but she did get to be in the room for the actual thing. The board is divided politically, so her reasonable, ultra-competent, able-to-listen-and-process-and-then-respond-to-a-thing presence as a progressive can only be a boon. To say I am proud of her is laughable because she’s in another league entirely. I might as well be proud of the planet Jupiter.

Up and down week. The Pecan, super-punchy, mostly to The Patient Mrs. She’s got a long-term sub at school since her kindergarten teacher went out on maternity leave — till April rather than like the three years that are actually required for such a thing, because Americans are savages — and has never handled going from one thing to the other with smoothness generally. I don’t like having my routine upset either, if you couldn’t tell just from looking around this site, so I get where she’s coming from. She’s also not sleeping because ADHD drugs and being super-tired, super-resistant to the idea of laying down pretty much ever, and broadly given to ignoring you no less than 80 percent of the time when you ask her to do a thing, whether it’s go pee or grab a game to play — often that’s a question of her being hyperfocused on a thing, but yeah sometimes she’s just not giving a fuck — so perhaps it’s fair to note what success is being had despite the wobbly setup for it of late. I haven’t heard from the principal since at least early December for anything behavioral. The meds are working, which is a mantra. She lets me brush her hair. And sometimes, maybe once every day or two, you can say to please throw her socks in the wash or get her jacket and it’ll happen. It’s hard to remember after the tumult that defined the second half of 2023, but I don’t think that was the case last January, or at least not to the same proportion between the yes and no. We argue less than we used to, but I did say “bullshit” the other day when we were fighting to get her to take a bath. Ugh. In my defense, I was in the process of calling her a genius and telling her not to waste her time on bullshit. There are only so many hours in the day. Before dropoff this morning, The Patient Mrs. got the shit kicked out of her trying to put in pony tails for a school spirit day. We spend so much time doing that, we miss out on other stuff.

I also will note that I suck at and apparently don’t particularly enjoy fun. Fun is not fun for me. Fun is work. Fun is I gotta go to some place that I don’t want to be at, probably see a bunch of people, feel weird and put on and then do whatever wrong or badly and feel like garbage later. I’ve never been good at fun. I sucked at sports. I was fat and weird didn’t have a lot of friends. I wrote stories as a kid. I trudged around my neighborhood listening to Alice in Chains’ Dirt on my tape Walkman. This was my idea of a good time. What’s changed is that when you have a kid you have to go do all kinds of shit. You have to go to see things and be in places where people are and you have to pretend you feel normal doing any of it and it gets pretty wretched in my head. People talk about stuff that’s fun and I fear the word. Who the hell wants to get on a rollercoaster? Not even just for the fact that they’re shoddy or some safety concern. I mean who wants to get up, get dressed, leave their house to go to some expensive-ass theme park or some extra-rundown local thing or a town fair and go stand in line to get in, stand in line for tickets, stand in line for the ride, bake in the sun on a hot day, and then be shoved around and up and down in a machine at high speed, only to return to the ground like three minutes later expected to be grateful for the experience? Fuck that shit. I’ll stay home and eat a gummy.

And on that happy note, it’s time to go to Costco. I hope you have a great and safe weekend, and as always, I appreciate your time and value your being a part of this thing. Watch your head, don’t forget to hydrate, and I’ll be back on Monday with I don’t know probably a review and some more complaining about stuff, because I’m charming like that.


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Skraeckoedlan to Release “The Vermillion Sky” Single Aug. 17; New Album in 2024

Posted in Whathaveyou on August 1st, 2023 by JJ Koczan


Okay, so it looks like the fourth full-length from Swedish progressive heavy rockers Skraeckoedlan will be released next year through Fuzzorama Records, and that the first single from that album, “The Vermillion Sky,” is out Aug. 17. If you get nothing else from this post, that’s enough of a takeaway. What that doesn’t tell you is the way the new record ties into 2019’s Eorþe (review here) — which is reportedly does — or what else they have in the works as regards narrative and so on, which is a whole other sphere to be explored.

I’ve read some preliminary info, but I don’t think it’s public yet and don’t want to give away something I shouldn’t, so please, consider this a heads up on the forthcoming track and the record to be. I haven’t heard it yet, but Skraeckoedlan have never wanted for ambition and this seems like their broadest reaching work yet. Even beyond digging into the single, I am curious as to how it will all come out when it does. Spring, maybe?

Fuzzorama‘s newsletter had the following:

skraeckoedlan the vermillion sky
It’s been a while. A good, long four years since Skraeckoedlan released their latest album, Earth. Meaning it’s time for something new. It’s time to take off.

The Vermillion Sky, is the first single from Skraeckoedlan’s upcoming 2024-release and will be available digitally on August 17. A mere 7 minutes can take you pretty far. You will hop planets, watch heavenly bodies collide, traverse galaxies and get drawn into the all-encompassing nothingness. The Void. And there are also rainbows. If that’s not enough, good news. This is only part of a continuous, much larger story. But that is something to be heard (and read) at a later date.

So, come August 17, keep your eyes toward the heavens.

Have a look at The Vermillion Sky!

Robert Lamu – Vocals/Guitar
Henrik Grüttner – Guitar
Erik Berggren – Bass
Martin Larsson – Drums

Skraeckoedlan, Eorþe (2019)

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Greenleaf Announce August Tour Dates

Posted in Whathaveyou on June 1st, 2023 by JJ Koczan

This band is basically on fire right now. I was lucky enough to see Greenleaf this past December in Sweden (review here) for the first time in a decade, and what a show. Fully embodied heavy blues with emphasis on both the heavy and the blues, emotive performance from vocalist Arvid Hällagård, signature riffage and off-the-wall stage energy from Tommi Holappa, and all the groove you could hope for in Hans Fröhlich‘s bass and Sebastian Olsson‘s drums. They sound like a band who’ve been dug into album cycle-type productivity for the better part of the last decade (plague notwithstanding), and sure enough they have been. Pro-frickin’-shop, but no less exciting for that professionalism. I await their next record anxiously.

They were just at Esbjerg Fuzztival and Desertfest Belgium, and they’re booked for Lazy Bones in Hamburg at the end of this October (info here), so I don’t expect this will be the last batch of Greenleaf tour dates I post this year, but this August run features stops at Blue Moon Festival in Cottbus as well as Stemweder Open Air, and features New Zealand duo Earth Tongue — check out 2019’s Floating Being (discussed here) in the support slot. That’s a killer context, but anytime you can see Greenleaf is a time you should.

From the social media:

Greenleaf tour


Friends, we’re absolutely stoked to announce this fabulous summer tour of Sweden’s blues influenced stoner-rock heroes GREENLEAF!

Their Desertfest Berlin performance two weeks ago was INSANE FUN and we can guarantee you that this is a live show you don’t want to miss.

And if this was not enough, you can also look forward to one of the most exciting underground psych/fuzz live acts opening the nights: EARTH TONGUE is a duo from New Zealand and will blast your ears!

⚡️Sound of Liberation proudly presents:
Greenleaf + special guests Earth Tongue
„Dead Is The Sound“ Tour 2023

16.8.23 (PL) Kraków, Alchemia
17.8.23 (PL) Warszawa, Hydrozagadka
18.8.23 (DE) Cottbus, Blue Moon Festival
19.8.23 (DE) Stemweder, Stemweder Open Air*
20.8.23 (NL) Utrecht, DB´s
22.8.23 (DE) Frankfurt, Zoom
23.8.23 (NL) Nijmegen, Doornroosje
24.8.23 (DE) Cologne, Club Volta
25.8.23 (DE) Hannover, Café Glocksee
26.8.23 (DK) Copenhagen, Stengade

*Greenleaf only

Grab your tickets, August will be hot!

Your SOL Crew

(#127912#) @branca_studio
(#128248#) @marenmichaelis
(#128248#) Frances Carter

Hans Fröhlich – bass
Arvid Hällagård – vocals
Tommi Holappa – guitars
Sebastian Olsson – drums

Greenleaf, “Tides” official video

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Album Review: Dozer, Drifting in the Endless Void

Posted in Reviews on April 20th, 2023 by JJ Koczan

Dozer Drifting in the Endless Void

Dozer return. A decade almost to the day after beginning a reunion at Desertfest in Berlin and London (review here) and having played festivals and select other dates all the while if not having fully resumed life as a touring band, and the better part of two years announcing the project as part of Blues Funeral Recordings‘ PostWax subscription vinyl series — for which, in the interest of full disclosure, I wrote/write the liner notes — after full catalogue reissues through Heavy Psych Sounds and years of will-they-won’t-they speculation on the part of their audience, Dozer offer the Karl Daniel Lidén-helmed seven songs/42 minutes of Drifting in the Endless Void as a decade-and-a-half-later follow-up to 2008’s Beyond Colossal (featured here, discussed here, 2009 interview here), and part of what’s so stunning about it is that it makes that ridiculous idea a reality. A ‘follow-up’ 15 years later. Imagine where you were 15 years ago, who you were. Do you think you could step back into being that person?

Of course, the narrative here is more complex. Dozer announced their hiatus in 2009, but haven’t been actually-gone for a long time, and as founding guitarist Tommi Holappa has spent the intervening years building his concurrent outfit Greenleaf into a full-time touring act — in some ways fulfilling the role that Dozer otherwise might and taking on a more modern heavy sound, where Greenleaf was once a classic ’70s-style heavy rock side-project — they’ve never been entirely absent from consideration, the prospect of a new album looming over their being added to one fest or another, here, there, or Germany. But the ease with which Holappa and fellow founding member, guitarist/vocalist Fredrik Nordin — whose voice is no less a part of what makes Dozer who they are than the riffs or bombastic style of a song like “Run, Mortals, Run!” here — bassist Johan Rockner and drummer Sebastian Olsson (also of Greenleaf) have apparently stepped back into being Dozer is striking.

Part of that is the collaboration with the aforementioned Lidén on production. The history between the two parties is significant and winding, with his having been in Demon Cleaner, with whom Dozer did splits early on, having played in Greenleaf and produced Dozer numerous times in the past, which is not to mention drumming on 2005’s Through the Eyes of Heathens (featured here; discussed here) and the demo collection released during their hiatus, Vultures (review herediscussed here) — that, by the way, is the short version of the association thread — but his work at the board of Studio Gröndal is essential to the sound of Drifting in the Endless Void, from the opening riff and ride cymbal taps, thuds and frenetic tension that launches the record with the seven-and-a-half-minute “Mutation/Transformation” to the fullness of the groove that ensues in the last build and don’t-want-to-let-go finish of bookending closer “Missing 13” (also the longest song at 8:35), the balance between spaciousness and crunch in the mix seeming to pick up where the band left off those years ago like nothing ever happened. Like, oh, turns out Dozer were right there the whole time. Here’s “Dust for Blood.”

That song, which caps side A and is a standout hook even among Dozer‘s various surging choruses in “Ex-Human, Now Beast,” “Mutation/Transformation” and the intentionally grandiose crescendo of centerpiece “Andromeda” still to come, is quintessential Dozer. With an energy that comes through the kick drum and a threat of aggression coinciding, it is atmospheric in the reach of its echo around Nordin‘s vocals (which were self-recorded) and immediate in Rockner‘s bassline in the verse with the guitar picking up for the somehow-swaggering chorus push. They toy with pace throughout, as “No Quarter Expected, No Quarter Given” moves into and through a relative frenzy in its second half and hits into a false stop before bursting back into its own chorus, “Andromeda” rides its melancholy groove so fluidly, and “Run, Mortals, Run!” — yes, there is a lot of punctuation in the song titles; don’t get hung up — finds consciousness and purpose within its intensity, guitar howling out like a siren at about three and a half minutes into the 6:44 before the loud/quiet trade and ending ensue, the four-piece clearheaded in following a plot while making a thrill of the going.

dozer (Photo by Mats Ek)

But if one feels in listening like they’re riding a car that’s hitting the bumps in the road on purpose, the adrenaline that courses throughout Drifting in the Endless Void is also a crucial part of Dozer‘s approach and has been at least since 2002’s Call it Conspiracy (discussed herealso discussed here); they write songs you can feel in your blood, and they’d seem to know it. At the same time, it’s not 2009, or 2013, and as this material was written between 2021 and 2022 (recorded in Spring a year ago), it’s a fresh look at who Dozer are today. These aren’t tracks that have been laying around since 2015, and accordingly, Drifting in the Endless Void benefits from not being overworked. Of course there’s a plan at work — it would be hard to follow the course charted by “No Quarter Expected, No Quarter Given” through its snare-stomp-punctuated ebbs and flows and argue otherwise — but part of what lets the album as an entirety live up to the near-impossible expectations upon it is the fact that it avoids the issue entirely. Dozer know who they are.

And that awareness extends to their ability to be sweeping in their largesse or intimate and subdued, or both if we’re talking about the “Everything will be okay” reassurances that become the apex of “Missing 13” at the record’s conclusion, but in that, Drifting in the Endless Void isn’t just Dozer doing an impression of what Dozer used to be, either in sound or substance. These songs reach farther, find new middle grounds between one extreme or the other, and define themselves in part by how they interact with each other — the transitions between “Andromeda” and “No Quarter Expected, No Quarter Given,” or the dead stop of “Ex-Human, Now Beast” and the bright clarion of guitar at the start of “Dust for Blood” create a flow that, while still a series of individual tracks, gives the album a whole-work feel — and to think that a band would release a sixth album 15 years after their fifth and have it sound the same is ludicrous anyway. Dozer have grown. Mutated and transformed? Maybe. I’m not sure they could’ve gone to the same kinds of places during their original run as they do in that first cut or what follows. But they’re still Dozer.

It would be hyperbole to say Drifting in the Endless Void was worth the wait as the ‘next thing’ from the band, but that’s kind of true as well. At very least, the album justifies the anticipation that’s greeted it and reaffirms just how not-done Dozer were when they went on hiatus. Calling it a heavy rock landmark for 2023 feels like underselling it. Calling it one of the year’s best records? Superfluous. It’s not a record about this year or the last 15 years or even about next year. It’s a testament to everything Dozer have done that has both stood the test of time and remained so decisively individualized that nobody has been able to come along and do it better. This band, doing this thing, in their way. Inimitable. There has only ever been one Dozer. Thank goodness they showed up here.

Dozer, Drifting in the Endless Void (2023)

Dozer, “Ex-Human, Now Beast” official video

Dozer, “Dust for Blood” official video

Dozer on Facebook

Dozer on Instagram

Dozer on Bandcamp

Dozer website

Blues Funeral Recordings on Facebook

Blues Funeral Recordings on Instagram

Blues Funeral Recordings on Bandcamp

Blues Funeral Recordings website

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Dozer Post “Ex-Human, Now Beast” Video; Drifting in the Endless Void Preorder Available

Posted in Whathaveyou on February 22nd, 2023 by JJ Koczan

dozer (Photo by Mats Ek)

There are going to be a lot of people with Dozer at the top of their best-of-2023 lists about 10 months from now, and none of them will get any argument from me. The venerated Swedish heavy rockers return after 15 years with Drifting in the Endless Void, which is out April 21 through Blues Funeral Recordings. By that time, the subscribers to the label’s PostWax service will have already gotten their platters — the download codes went out a couple evenings ago — and as I wrote the liner notes for that edition of the release, I won’t pretend not to have heard it. It’s new Dozer. I feel like that’s the highest compliment for it, and if you know the band, you know that means something.

Yesterday, the band and label posted the track “Ex-Human, Now Beast,” and I almost put this up then, but got the tipoff that the video was coming today for it, so here we are. I’ve waited a long time to talk about this record, so one more day isn’t killing me, but if you’re still reading, why? The clip is at the bottom of the post. Go. Go!

The PR wire brought the following info, preorder links, and so on. As I said, go:

Dozer Drifting in the Endless Void

Swedish stoner rock godfathers DOZER to release new album “Drifting in the Endless Void” on Blues Funeral Recordings; preorder + first single available!

Preorder: Blues Funeral Recordings website, Bandcamp and European store.

Swedish godfathers of stoner rock DOZER return after over a decade with their long-anticipated sixth studio album “Drifting in the Endless Void”, to be released this April 21st on Blues Funeral Recordings. Watch their brand new video for “Ex-Human, Now Beast” right now!

About Dozer’s awaited comeback, Dozer co-founder and lead guitarist Tommi Holappa comments: “It’s been 15 years since the last Dozer album and this is who we are now. We might be older, maybe not so much wiser, but I think we may have made one of our best albums. When we started writing new material, we didn’t have a clue what this band would sound like in the 2020s. It was a bit nerve-wracking at first, but after we finished “Missing 13”, the first song we wrote for the album, we knew we were onto something. The first single “Ex-Human, Now Beast” has all the energy, power and heaviness we’ve always loved to create, it’s proof we can still rock and we can’t wait for people to hear it!”

About the video: “As soon as I saw the track name, I knew I needed to do a video where one or more of the guys get beastified by a giant tentacled monster,” laughs Peder Bergstrand, director, Lowrider frontman and longtime friend of the band. “The result is a mix of horror, humor, and these relentless animated nightmare sections that I think match the track’s non-stop rocket fuel drum parts really well.”

DOZER still bring the tumultuous churn that longtime fans expect, but their sound has become a gravitational mass that also pulls in massive sludge, fuzzed-out doom, space-tripping grooves, red-eyed psychedelics, and whatever else they find floating in the vast cosmic expanse. Their return to the musical landscape they helped shape is cause enough for celebration, but the explosive playing and fiery purpose is what makes “Drifting in the Endless Void” a truly unmissable experience!

“Drifting in the Endless Void” will be available worldwide on April 21st (with the ultra-limited deluxe vinyl edition shipping earlier to PostWax Vol. II subscribers) on various vinyl formats, limited digipack CD and digital.

New album “Drifting In The Endless Void”
Out April 21st on Blues Funeral Recordings
Get more info & subscribe to PostWax Vol. II at this location

1. Mutation/Transformation
2. Ex-Human, Now Beast
3. Dust for Blood
4. Andromeda
5. No Quarter Expected, No Quarter Given
6. Run, Mortals, Run!
7. Missing 13

Tommi Holappa – Guitar
Fredrik Nordin – Guitar/Vox
Johan Rockner – Bass
Sebastian Olsson – Drums

Photo: Mats Ek @matstxswe

Dozer, “Ex-Human, Now Beast” official video

Dozer, Drifting in the Endless Void (2023)

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