Quarterly Review: Geezer, Spaceslug, Expo Seventy, Boss Keloid, Bong-Ra, Zebu, Los Disidentes del Sucio Motel, LáGoon, Maha Sohona, The Bad Sugar Rush

Posted in Reviews on July 13th, 2021 by JJ Koczan

the-obelisk-fall-2016-quarterly-review

Oh my breaking heart as we move into day seven of the Summer 2021 Quarterly Review and I am reminded that the wages of hubris are feeling like a dumbass later. I was loading up my laptop on Saturday — so pleased with how ahead-of-the-game I was able to stay all last week — when the thing decided it was gonna give itself some time off one way or the other.

I dropped it for repair about 20 minutes before the guy I’ve come to trust was closing shop. He said he’d be in touch on Monday. Needless to say, I’m on my backup cheapie Chromebook, reviewing off Bandcamp streams, eagerly awaiting that call which I can only hope has come in by the time this is posted. I’ll keep you in the loop, of course, but putting together the reviews for yesterday? That was not pretty.

I expressly thank The Patient Mrs., through whom all things are possible.

Onward.

Quarterly Review #61-70:

Geezer, Solstice

Geezer Solstice

Geezer‘s ambition could hardly be clearer in their 17-minute “Solstice” jam. It was the Solstice — Winter 2020, to be specific — and the Kingston, New York, trio jammed. Guitarist/vocalist Pat Harrington (who doesn’t sing on the track) added some dreamy synth after the fact, and the affect is all the more hypnotic for it. Harrington, bassist Richie Touseull and drummer Steve Markota are no strangers to exploratory fare, as they showed on 2020’s righteous Groovy (review here), and as a Bandcamp Friday-era stopgap offering, “Solstice” brings a sampling of who they are in the rehearsal space, willing to be heavy, willing to not, ready to go where the music leads them. If Geezer wanted to do a whole full-length like this, I wouldn’t fight them, so you most definitely will not find me arguing against a digital single either. With jams this tasty, you take what you can get.

Geezer on Facebook

Heavy Psych Sounds website

 

Spaceslug, The Event Horizon

spaceslug the event horizon

Issued less as a stopgap, which a digital-only single might normally be, than as a response to the band having lost gear in a practice space flood, the 8:52 single-song outing The Event Horizon was recorded at the same time as Spaceslug‘s late 2020 EP The Leftovers (review here) and in a way acts to bridge the melancholy beyond-genre push of that release with the more weighted, spacious roll that has typified the Polish outfit’s work to-date — their latest full-length was 2019’s Reign of the Orion (review here), and they recently finished a new one. So perhaps “The Event Horizon,” with its hypnotically languid rhythm and concluding drift, is a stopgap after all, but between helping the band recoup their losses and thinking of what might be coming next, it’s an exciting if not-unalloyed listening experience, and the three-piece move deeper into a signature sound even as they continue to bring the definition of what that means to new places.

Spaceslug on Thee Facebooks

Spaceslug on Bandcamp

 

Expo Seventy, Evolution

Expo Seventy Evolution

Creating sometimes-scorching, droning psychedelic soundtracks to all your favorite classic sci-fi films that never existed, Kansas City’s Expo Seventy offer a call to worship for freaks and converted heads on their new album, Evolution. Still headed by guitarist James Wright as on late-2016’s America Here and Now Sessions (review here), the band offer new glories celestial and terrestrial instrumental chemistry throughout the six tracks (seven on the CD) of Evolution, lumbering away on “Echoes of Ether” only after floating in brass-section antigrav conditions on “The Slow Death of Tomorrow.” Can you hang? You’ll know one way or the other as the culminating duo “Second Vision, First Sight” and “First Vision, Second Sight” are done with you, having altered dimensions so thoroughly that the ethereal will either come to feel like home or you will simply have melted. In any case, lash yourself to it. Own that shit.

Expo Seventy on Facebook

Essence Music on Bandcamp

 

Boss Keloid, Family the Smiling Thrush

boss kelod family the smiling thrush

Peak-era Faith No More reborn in progressive heavy fuzz? What stoner rock might’ve been if it went to college instead of spending all that time hanging around talking about old cars? I don’t know where UK four-piece Boss Keloid ultimately stand on their admirable fifth LP, Family the Smiling Thrush — the follow-up to 2018’s also-well-received Melted on the Inch (review here) — but they most certainly stand on their own. Across seven tracks, the band careen, crash, lumber, rush and ponder — lyrics no less worth a close read than any other component — and from opener/longest track (immediate points) “Orang of Noyn” on, they make it abundantly clear that their style’s unpredictability is an asset, and that just because you might not know where they’re going next doesn’t mean they don’t. Melodic, complex and cerebral, there’s still a human presence here, a sense of a plan unfolding, that makes the album seem all the more masterful.

Boss Keloid on Facebook

Ripple Music on Bandcamp

 

Bong-Ra, Antediluvian

BONG-RA Antediluvian

Though it’s ultimately less electric-kool-aid than endless-churning-abyss-with-psychdelic-saxophone-screaming-up-at-you-like-free-jazz-trapped-in-the-downward-tonal-spiral, Bong-Ra‘s four-tracker Antediluvian is duly experimentalist in being born out of the mind of Jason Köhnen, whose work on this project not only extends more than 20 years, but who has been a part of landmark Dutch outfits like Celestial Season, The Kilmanjaro Darkjazz Ensemble and The Mount Fuji Doomjazz Corporation, among scores of others. The procession on this full-length, originally released in 2018 through Svart Lava, is wild times indeed, but immersive despite feeling at times like a litmus for how much you can take, with Köhnen‘s bass/keys/etc. and Balazs Pandi‘s drums meeting with Colin Webster‘s saxophone and Chloe Herrington‘s bassoon, willfully plodding through long-ish form improv-seeming movements of atmospheric heft creation.

Jason Köhnen website

Tartarus Records store

 

Zebu, Reek of the Parvenu

zebu reek of the parvenu

A coherent and forceful debut full-length, Reek of the Parvenu quickly shows the metallic undercurrent from Athens-based four-piece Zebu on opener “The Setting Dust,” and pushes from there in groove metal fashion, taking some impulses from heavy rock but holding largely to a central aggressive stance and tension in the rhythm that is a backdrop even as the later “Nature of Failure” breaks from its chugging shove for a quieter stretch. That is to say, the next punch is always coming, and Zebu‘s blows are effectively delivered — looking at you, “Burden” — though some of the slower, sludgier cuts like “Our Shame” or the doomier finale “The City” bring a welcome atmosphere to go with the coinciding burl. I’m not sure if “People Under the Stairs” wants to kick my ass or crack a beer, but the songwriting is air tight and the thrashy threat only contributes to the immediacy of the release on the whole. They’re not screwing around.

Zebu on Facebook

Zebu on Bandcamp

 

Los Disidentes del Sucio Motel, Polaris

Los Disidentes Del Sucio Motel Polaris

It’s been 11 years since France’s Los Disidentes del Sucio Motel debuted with Soundtrack From the Motion Picture (review here), an engaging, kind of silly play on stoner rock and B-movie tropes. Beneath that, however, it was also a concept album, and the band — who now seem to prefer LDDSM for a moniker — still work from that foundation on their fourth full-length, Polaris. The difference scope and sonic maturity. Rife with vocal harmonies and progressive flourish, the 10-track answer to 2016’s Human Collapse (review here) smoothly shifts between the patient and the urgent, the intimate and the grand — and that’s in the first two minutes of “Blue Giant” alone — finding their way into a proggy post-heavy rock that’s too clearheaded to be psychedelic, but that balances the crunch of “Horizon” with a sense of the otherworldly just the same.

Los Disidentes del Sucio Motel on Facebook

Klonosphere Records website

 

LáGoon, Skullactic Visions

LáGoon skullactic visions

With their fourth long-player, guitarist/vocalist Anthony Gaglia and drummer Brady Maurer of Portland, Oregon’s LáGoon welcome bassist Kenny Combs to the fold and dive as a trio — their first three-piece outing was last year’s Father of Death EP — headfirst into murky riffing and heady heavy rock, made all the more spacious through cavern echo and the garage doom vocals Gaglia brings on the title-track, as well as the synth that surfaces on the subsequent interlude “Buried” and elsewhere throughout. The earlier “Beyond the Trees” is particularly bleak and otherworldly, but I won’t take away from the further-down procession of “Hill Bomb” and “The Slow Down” into “Final Ride,” the last of which closes out with scummer doom that’s familiar but distinct enough to be their own. There are moments on Skullactic Visions where, for as much as they could sound like Electric Wizard given the ingredients, I’m all the gladder they don’t.

LaGoon on Facebook

Interstellar Smoke Records webstore

Forbidden Place Records on Bandcamp

 

Maha Sohona, Endless Searcher

Maha Sohona endless searcher

Maha Sohona‘s second album comes some seven years after their self-titled debut, but who cares about time when you’ve got your headphones on and you’re surrounded by the richness of tone on offer throughout Endless Searcher‘s five rolling tracks? Heavy and laid back, the trio of guitarist/vocalist Johan Bernhardtson, bassist Thomas Hedlund and drummer David Lundsten finding some kinship with Polish three-piece Spaceslug in their post-Sungrazer blend of weight and flow, a jam like “Luftslot” nodding and conjuring depth even as it soars. Can’t argue with the quicker push of “A Black Star” or the purposefully straightforward “Scavengers” (where the title-line is delivered) but some of the mellow moments in opener “Leaves” and especially the building instrumental finisher “Orbit X” are even more satisfying for how effectively they move you place to place almost without your realizing it. I’ve got nothing for you if you can’t dig this vibe.

Maha Sohona on Facebook

Made of Stone Recordings on Bandcamp

 

The Bad Sugar Rush, Liar/Push Me

The Bad Sugar Rush Liar Push Me

Keen observers will recognize The Bad Sugar Rush vocalist René Hofmann from his work with Wight, but the work here alongside guitarist Josko Joke-Tovic, bassist Minyeong Fischer and drummer Peter Zettl is distinct from that other unit here, even as the Humble Pie-esque “Push Me” and semi-sleeze “Liar” both have some shade of funk to their procession. Both cuts circa four minutes makes for a suitable debut 7″ with respected purveyor H42 Records doing the honors, and the results are an encouragingly catchy display of what a first full-length might accomplish when and however such a thing emerges. There’s classic heavy rock as the foundation, but more than outright ’70s worship — though some of that too — it’s the organic feel of the songs that leaves an impression on the listener, though the background singers on “Push Me” don’t hurt in that regard, certainly. An auspicious and intriguind first showing.

The Bad Sugar Rush on Facebook

H42 Records website

 

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The Obelisk Questionnaire: Alex Hurst of Boss Keloid

Posted in Questionnaire on May 20th, 2021 by JJ Koczan

boss keloid alex hurst

The Obelisk Questionnaire is a series of open questions intended to give the answerer an opportunity to explore these ideas and stories from their life as deeply as they choose. Answers can be short or long, and that reveals something in itself, but the most important factor is honesty.

Based on the Proust Questionnaire, the goal over time is to show a diverse range of perspectives as those who take part bring their own points of view to answering the same questions. To see all The Obelisk Questionnaire posts, click here.

Thank you for reading and thanks to all who participate.

The Obelisk Questionnaire: Alex Hurst of Boss Keloid

How do you define what you do and how did you come to do it?

I make sounds and melody with my vocal chords and my guitar over twisting landscapes of music. I came to do this by meeting like-minded lovers of music and strangeness and having an urge to create.

Describe your first musical memory.

Watching my older brother’s band jamming in my mum and dad’s garage as a young kid. I think they were covering Nirvana ‘Smells Like Teen Spirit’ and it blew my tiny, young mind.

Describe your best musical memory to date.

Playing live and seeing someone singing the words you have written back to you with passion, it always gets me every single time and each time the memory becomes engraved in my brain.

When was a time when a firmly held belief was tested?

I don’t have any firmly held beliefs. I like to think I’m a very open minded person and I will always listen to someone else’s point of view before realising I was right all along… haha.

Where do you feel artistic progression leads?

It can only lead to greatness but that’s only if your artistic path is good in the first place of course.

How do you define success?

Success to me is happiness. If I’m happy and smiling then it’s a complete success as far as I’m concerned.

What is something you have seen that you wish you hadn’t?

I run a rehearsal studios and have done for the past 20 years in Wigan called Urbansound and one time I walked in on someone (who I knew) having sex in one of my rooms and I just happened to have a Henry Hoover in my hands at the time, it was a very awkward encounter.

Describe something you haven’t created yet that you’d like to create.

The greatest Dub Reggae album ever! It will happen at some point and it’s going to have vibes galore I promise.

What do you believe is the most essential function of art?

Making people buzz and provoking thoughts. Without art this world would be a dead planet.

Something non-musical that you’re looking forward to?

A proper get together at the Hurst palace of sound (my house). We did have these gatherings quite frequently before Mr. Covid came a-knocking.

https://www.facebook.com/bosskeloidband
https://twitter.com/bosskeloid
http://www.bosskeloid.bandcamp.com/
https://www.facebook.com/theripplemusic/
https://www.instagram.com/ripplemusic/
https://ripplemusic.bandcamp.com/
http://www.ripple-music.com/

Boss Keloid, “Smiling Thrush”

Boss Keloid, “Gentle Clovis” official video

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The Obelisk Show on Gimme Metal Playlist: Episode 57

Posted in Radio on April 16th, 2021 by JJ Koczan

the obelisk show banner

Here’s the deal — last week or somewhere thereabouts, someone on Twitter was bitching about rock music being dead and blah blah the usual good music doesn’t come to me in the ways it did when I was 12 and therefore I think it’s irrelevant. The usual. Gimme Metal was mentioned as an outlet delivering good heavy to those who care enough to invest the minimal effort of clicking ‘listen.’ Dude was all “well if they played Trouble I’d listen” and Gimme rightly responded with a list of DJs who might be on board for such a thing. I was one of them.

Brought into the conversation I said hell yes I’d play Trouble. And as it happens I’ve gone ahead to play them twice, at the start of the show, and then follow it up with a bunch of other killer doom, old, newer and newer still, before circling back on the mother of them all, Black Fucking Sabbath, because when my name is brought into a random Twitter conversation and a challenge is issued, you bet your ass I’m going overboard. So pretty much the first hour of the show is doomed as all get-out. Trouble even through The Quill, who I thought were a good match for Dehumanizer-era Sabbath with that track from their new record.

Sometimes you gotta step up. Or something. I don’t know. I was just happen to have something to talk about in the voice breaks other than my kid or “thanks for listening.”

By the way, thanks for listening and/or reading. As always, I hope you enjoy.

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

Full playlist:

The Obelisk Show – 04.16.21

Trouble The Tempter Psalm 9
Trouble R.I.P. Trouble
Saint Vitus Burial at Sea Saint Vitus
Place of Skulls Last Hit With Vision
VT
The Gates of Slumber The Awakening (Interpolating the Wrath of the Undead) …The Awakening
Apostle of Solitude Grey Farewell From Gold to Ash
The Obsessed Neatz Brigade The Church Within
Black Sabbath After All (The Dead) Dehumanizer
The Quill Evil Omen Earthrise
VT
Boss Keloid Gentle Clovis Family the Smiling Thrush
Hippie Death Cult Hornet Party Circle of Days
NOÊTA Elm Elm
Kosmodemonic Morai Liminal Light
Hellish Form Shadows with Teeth Remains
VT
Darsombra Call the Doctor (Sun Side) Call the Doctor / Nightgarden

The Obelisk Show on Gimme Metal airs every Friday 5PM Eastern, with replays Sunday at 7PM Eastern. Next new episode is April 30 (subject to change). Thanks for listening if you do.

Gimme Metal website

The Obelisk on Thee Facebooks

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Boss Keloid Set June 4 Release for Family the Smiling Thrush; “Gentle Clovis” Streaming

Posted in Whathaveyou on April 12th, 2021 by JJ Koczan

boss keloid

The release details and unveiling of the first single from the upcoming Boss Keloid album, Family the Smiling Thrush — let alone the bevvy of preorder links — feels like an occasion worth marking, even if I’m a few days late on it. June 4 it’s out, as their debut on Ripple Music, fifth album overall (I had it as fourth previously) and the follow-up to 2018’s Melted on the Inch (review here). So be it. I haven’t even had a second to sit with the album — Boss Keloid require attention in the listening, or at very least they’re best enjoyed when given their due — or maybe I’m just nervous it’ll be really good? You ever feel that way? Like, oh no, what if this rules?

Sometimes it’s hard being a people.

Anyway, their video for the lead single “Gentle Clovis” — Clovis united the Frank tribes, which does not strike me as being an especially gentle process, but fair enough — is at the bottom of this post and there are UK tour dates as well because we all like a bit of optimism in our day.

So here goes:

boss kelod family the smiling thrush

Boss Keloid announce new album; release video for first single

New album Family The Smiling Thrush arrives June 4th via Ripple Music

First single ‘Gentle Clovis’ streaming now

British heavy prog-psych band Boss Keloid are back with their new LP Family The Smiling Thrush, to be released worldwide 4th June via Ripple Music. The band have also released their uplifting first single ‘Gentle Clovis’.

Pre-order the album here:
WW: https://ripplemusic.bandcamp.com/album/family-the-smiling-thrush
UK/EU: https://en.ripple.spkr.media/ripple-music/boss-keloid-family-the-smiling-thrush.html
UK/EU Vinyl – https://www.plastichead.com/item.aspx?catno=RIPLP144
UK/EU CD – https://www.plastichead.com/item.aspx?catno=RIPCD158

Vocalist Alex Hurst comments on the first single: “Gentle Clovis is is all about staying true to your roots and those parts of you which make you individual, whilst abandoning your ego when the greater good can benefit. It’s a song about family, friends and letting your strengths individually or as part of a collective flourish and carry you.”

Perhaps their most ambitious album yet, Family The Smiling Thrush demonstrates Boss Keloid’s biggest transformation to date. Entering a new realm which leans more towards the soaring majesty of monumental prog-rock whilst still embracing their metal edge, the album is a true masterclass in versatility. Seven towering tracks of emotional energy, psychedelic grooves and riff-oriented guitar work combine with the signature melodic yet passionate style that vocalist Alex Hurst has been tweaking and perfecting since their debut, Angular Beef Lesson, in 2010.

Produced and mastered by Chris Fielding at the legendary Foel Studios in Wales, the band entered the studio with a focus on gaining a clearer, more open sounding recording than ever before. The end result is a typically Boss Keloid gargantuan soundscape, littered with spacious jams and sticky grooves which twist and turn in euphonic harmony. Family The Smiling Thrush is their most attention-grabbing effort to date and only further cements their status as one of this era’s most interesting and vital bands.

Lyrically throughout Family The Smiling Thrush Boss Keloid explore the notion of the collective being greater than the individual, embracing all flaws and the strengths of each. Each song burrows deeply into areas such as community, communication, family, personal growth, mindfulness and positive inner reflection, inviting the listener to not only join but truly revel in the journey of being alive.

Family The Smiling Thrush track-list

1: Orang of Noyn
2: Gentle Clovis
3: Hats the Mandrill
4: Smiling Thrush
5: Cecil Succulent
6: Grendle
7: Flatt Controller

Dates of Boss Keloid’s 2021 tour as follows:

Aug 19 – Arctangent 2021, UK
Nov 6- Damnation Festival 2021, Leeds UK
Nov 18 – Headline Tour, The Anvil , Bournemouth, UK
Nov 19 – Headline Tour, Boston Music Rooms , London, UK
Nov 20 – Headline Tour, The Exchange, Bristol, UK
Nov 21- Headline Tour, Clwb Ifor Bach, Cardiff, UK
Nov 22 – Headline Tour, The Chameleon, Nottingham, UK
Nov 23 – Headline Tour, Dead Wax, Birmingham, UK
Nov 24 – Headline Tour, The Underground, Stoke, UK
Nov 25 – Headline Tour, Mulberry Bar & Venue, Sheffield, UK
Nov 26 – Headline Tour, Ivory Blacks, Glasgow, UK
Nov 27 – Headline Tour, Opium, Edinburgh, UK
Nov 28 – Headline Tour, Breadshed, Manchester, UK

Boss Keloid are:
Paul Swarbrick | Guitar
Alex Hurst | Vocals and Guitar
Ste Arands | Drums
Liam Pendlebury-Green | Bass

You can watch live videos from their Bloodstock Festival set and the full live session of their 2018 album Melted On The Inch, plus stream the band’s entire discography here: https://linktr.ee/bosskeloid

https://www.facebook.com/bosskeloidband
https://twitter.com/bosskeloid
http://www.bosskeloid.bandcamp.com/
https://www.facebook.com/theripplemusic/
https://www.instagram.com/ripplemusic/
https://ripplemusic.bandcamp.com/
http://www.ripple-music.com/

Boss Keloid, “Gentle Clovis” official video

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Boss Keloid Sign to Ripple Music; New Album This Summer

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

Yeah, this makes sense. Following the apparently-rightful implosion of their former label, Holy Roar Records, UK outfit Boss Keloid have inked a deal with Ripple Music with an eye toward wider distribution and, one assumes, reaching an American audience. They will no doubt be greeted as liberators upon the release of their next album this summer, as 2018’s Melted on the Inch (review here) found them further digging into their own niche of heavy, too weird, too purposeful and too much their own to be called anything other than progressive. That continued an evolutionary path set out across 2016’s Herb Your Enthusiasm (review here) and their 2013 debut, The Calming Influence of Teeth.

There’s a trailer for the new album, yet untitled, streaming below that gives a quick snippet of some of the soaring to come. One looks forward to more.

And the PR wire makes it official:

boss keloid

Heavy prog-psych band Boss Keloid sign with Ripple Music

New album anticipated this summer

British heavy prog-psych band Boss Keloid have announced their signing to Ripple Music for the release of their as-yet untitled fifth full-length album in summer 2021.

After earning worldwide acclaimed reviews for Melted On The Inch (2018), Herb Your Enthusiasm (2016) and The Calming Influence of Teeth (2013), Boss Keloid’s notoriety for producing heavy and magnificently multi-layered music has continued to grow. Rising from the stoner/prog underground in the UK, for more than a decade Boss Keloid have produced some of the most mind altering, genre bending music whilst gaining a reputation album on album for never musically standing still.

Now the band are ready to take their next step internationally with their signing to Ripple Music.

Boss Keloid comment: “We are delighted to be signed to Ripple Music for the release of our new album, and grateful to Todd for believing in our music and giving us his backing. We look forward to working with him and joining a fine calibre of bands whose music we’ve enjoyed for many years.”

President/CEO at Ripple Music, Todd Severin adds: “Boss Keloid had long ago established themselves as a tremendous innovator in the heavy underground scene, with a sound unlike any others. We’re thrilled to welcome them to the Ripple family and cannot wait to unveil their latest vision of what heavy music can be.”

Hailed as one of the heavy music world’s most unbelievably stunning experiences, Boss Keloid are a band driven by a burning need to move forward. With the herald of their fifth studio album upon the horizon, fans can expect Boss Keloid’s unique voice to ring loud and clear, transcending labels like stoner, psych and even metal, fully bursting out of any and all classifications, to create something upliftingly fresh and unique.

Boss Keloid are:
Paul Swarbrick | Guitar
Alex Hurst | Vocals and Guitar
Ste Arands | Drums
Liam Pendlebury-Green | Bass

You can watch live videos from their Bloodstock Festival set and the full live session of their 2018 album Melted On The Inch, plus stream the band’s entire discography here: https://linktr.ee/bosskeloid

https://www.facebook.com/bosskeloidband
https://twitter.com/bosskeloid
http://www.bosskeloid.bandcamp.com/
https://www.facebook.com/theripplemusic/
https://www.instagram.com/ripplemusic/
https://ripplemusic.bandcamp.com/
http://www.ripple-music.com/

Boss Keloid, New Album Teaser 2021

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Boss Keloid Perform Melted on the Inch Live in Studio

Posted in Bootleg Theater on July 4th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

boss keloid

I’d like to think more bands would do this if they had access to the resources to make it happen, but the truth is most bands do. It’s easy enough to put word out on thee social medias that you’re looking for a couple cameras to film, and if you’ve made an album, chances are you have access to a studio or mixing board of some kind already, so there you go. Live-in-studio performance video. So why don’t more acts put out live performance videos, either of individual songs or, as UK progressive heavy rockers Boss Keloid have, their full albums? I think they’re intimidated.

It’s kind of a scary thought, isn’t it? You just put your heart, time, effort and money into making the best record you can possibly make. It’s out, you feel really good about it even after the pain in the ass that was mixing, waiting for the master, and so on. Reviews are good. Now you’re supposed to get back in the studio and play the whole thing live and film it? Fuck that. Book a show, pick your favorites, play ’em live, sell some vinyl and kick ass. Nothing wrong with that approach — people do it every day. Boss Keloid, though, don’t seem like the type to shy away from a good challenge.

The Wigan five-piece released their latest outing, Melted on the Inch (review here), earlier this year on Holy Roar Records, and it presented a bold step forward in their sound and approach overall. Their songwriting has grown to be more thoughtful and aware of the full-album flow of which each track is a part, and their movements within songs have become more nuanced without losing their central edge or their effective conveyance of tonal weight. In an absolutely saturated UK heavy underground, Boss Keloid stand out with an individualized approach and a bravery of style that obviously extends to their willingness to bring their material to life in the rawest of gotta-prove-it settings. Because if Melted on the Inch didn’t work, there’s just about no way to hide that fact while engaged in a project like this.

They emerge unscathed, however, and in the 41-minute clip, they run through each of the album’s six tracks and give proof positive of their creative energy and forward thinking mindset. If you don’t feel like watching the full video, the audio of the session is also streaming at Boss Keloid‘s Bandcamp, and I’ve included the player near the bottom of this post for your streaming convenience. Well worth your time, in any case.

Dig it:

Boss Keloid, Melted on the Inch live at Alien Sound Studio

“Melted On The Inch” – Live In Full at Alien Sound Studio – 2018

Audio recorded, mixed and mastered by Mark Wainwright at:
Alien Sound Studio, Cock Farm, Spa Ln, Lathom, Ormskirk L40 6JQ
aliensound.co.uk

Footage by Chris Bibby at shootsyou.com

Produced and edited by Ste Arands

Melted On The Inch is six anthemic tracks showcasing a matured, evolved BOSS KELOID, as the Wigan based quintet continue to flirt with new genres. Littered with unmistakably Boss Keloidy riffs, Melted On The Inch disrupts notions of genre and song structure. This is rousing, heavy-tinged progressive rock as BOSS KELOID daringly hold, dip and release the reins of the mighty riff whilst Alex Hurst’s bellowing, primal vocals, which are more dynamic than ever, enthrallingly envelop each track. These are undoubtedly the biggest, most intense songs BOSS KELOID have ever written.

Melted On The Inch is now available from Holy Roar Records in the UK/EU here and Deathwish Inc in the USA here.

Buy “Melted On The Inch” here: http://smarturl.it/BOSSKELOID

Boss Keloid is:
Ste Arands – Drums and Percussion
Alex Hurst – Vocals and Guitar
Matthew Milne – Keyboards
Charlie Seisay – Bass
Paul Swarbrick – Guitar

Boss Keloid, Melted on the Inch: Live at Alien Sound Studios

Boss Keloid on Thee Facebooks

Boss Keloid on Instagram

Boss Keloid on Bandcamp

Holy Roar Records website

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Quarterly Review: The Atlas Moth, Across Tundras, The Wizards of Delight, Against the Grain, Our Solar System, Dommengang, Boss Keloid, Holy Smoke, Sabel, Blackwater Prophet

Posted in Reviews on April 4th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

Quarterly-Review-Spring-2018

This is a crucial moment in any Quarterly Review. Today we hit the halfway point one way or the other. I still haven’t decided if this will be a 50- or 60-album edition; kind of playing it by ear, but either way, today’s a landmark in my mind in terms of how far to go vs. how far we’ve come. Uphill vs. downhill to some extent, but I don’t want to give the impression that I’m either half-assing it from here on out or that I don’t enjoy the challenge of reviewing 10 records in a day, one after the next, for (at least) five days in a row. I’ve always been a glutton for a bit of self-flagellation. Ha.

Alright, let’s dive in.

Quarterly Review #21-30:

The Atlas Moth, Coma Noir

the atlas moth coma noir

If one still wants to consider Chicago’s The Atlas Moth post-metal after hearing Coma Noir, at least do them the courtesy of emphasizing the “metal” part of that equation. For their debut on Prosthetic Records and fourth full-length overall, the five-piece worked with producer Sanford Parker to solidify a progressive metal sound that, whether in the harsh and weighted impact of the opening title-track or the later interplay between guitarists Stavros Giannopoulos and David Kush on screams and cleaner vocals in “Furious Gold,” seems to take cues from groups like a less manic Strapping Young Lad and a less watered-down Mastodon more than Isis or Neurosis. With prominent synth from Andrew Ragin (also guitar), and the solid roll from the rhythm section of bassist Alex Klein and drummer Mike Miczek, the band brings revitalized edge to “The Streets of Bombay,” and even on the slower, more atmospheric closer “Chloroform,” they’ve never sounded more lethal. It suits them.

The Atlas Moth on Thee Facebooks

Prosthetic Records webstore

 

Across Tundras, Tumbleweeds III

across tundras tumbleweeds iii

A collection of odds and ends from Across Tundras, the 10-track/52-minute Tumbleweeds III may or may not sate anyone hoping for a follow-up to 2013’s Electric Relics (review here), but it provides some curio fodder along the way to be sure, from raw opener “Final Breath over Venom Falls” to the acoustic-percussion jam “Bullet in the Butt” to the fuller roll of “Cold Ride” and later demos for “Spinning Through the Cosmic Dust,” “Hijo del Desierto,” “Stone Crazy Horse” and “The Stacked Plain,” which later became “Seasick Serenade” on Electric Relics, it’s at very least something for fans to dig into and a fascinating listen, as Across Tundras’ rambling sound is almost eerily suited to a home-recording vibe, as the “Stone Crazy Horse” demo, featuring vocalist Shannon Allie-Murphy along with frontman Tanner Olson, sounds all the more folksome as a result of its lack of production polish. Closing with Bob Dylan’s “The Ballad of Hollis Brown,” then, could hardly be more appropriate. Still waiting for a proper long-player to surface, but happy at this point to take what comes.

Across Tundras on Thee Facebooks

Across Tundras on Bandcamp

 

The Wizards of Delight, The Wizards of Delight

the wizards of delight the wizards of delight

Like a chicanery-laced dusty vinyl with a naked lady on the cover, The Wizards of Delight emerge from the London underground to solidly declare “We’ve got the rock ‘n’ rollz.” And yes, they spell it with a ‘z.’ The presence of frontman Andreas “Mazzereth” Maslen will be familiar to anyone who ever even briefly encountered Groan – dude makes an impression, to be sure – and the four tracks he and the surrounding five-piece of guitarists/backing vocalists Dan Green’s Myth and Lenny Ray, bassist/backing vocalist Eponymous, organist/backing vocalist Henry and drummer Reece bring is both funky and classically heavy, “Gypsy” referencing Dio Sabbath in the first line while “Mountain Woman” brings a heavy ‘70s shuffle to answer the way-un-P.C. “Shogun Messiah,” which seems to be working under the thesis that because it sounds like it’s from 40 years ago, they can get away with it. I’ll give them that the track is, to an unfortunate degree, catchy. As to the rest, give me the groove of “We Got the Rock ‘n’ Rollz” any day. It’s been a while since anyone so brazenly interpreted Mk. II Deep Purple and actually pulled it off.

The Wizards of Delight on Thee Facebooks

APF Records website

 

Against the Grain, Cheated Death

against the grain cheated death

Hard-touring Detroit heavy rockers Against the Grain are known for speed, and rightly so. When they burst into high gear, as on “Sacrifice,” “No Sleep,” “Last Chance,” “Rolling Stone,” “Enough’s Not Enough,” and “Jaded and Faded” from their latest offering and Ripple Music debut, Cheated Death. The follow-up to 2015’s Road Warriors (review here) sees them no less infectious in their live energy, but it’s hard to ignore the more versatile approach that seems to be growing in their sound, from the classic rocking “Smoke” to the near-centerpiece “Devils and Angels” which ballads-out its boozy regrets before entering into an effective mid-paced build that rounds out in choice dual-soloing. Likewise, though they open at a good clip with the title-track, closer “Into the Light” finds a middle ground between thrust and groove. The truth is Against the Grain have never been just about speed, but they’ve never so directly benefited from a dynamic approach as they do on Cheated Death either.

Against the Grain on Thee Facebooks

Ripple Music on Bandcamp

 

Our Solar System, Origins

our solar system origins

Immediate kudos to Stockholm-based psychedelic progressive explorers Our Solar System – aka Vårt Solsystem – for opening their third full-length for Beyond Beyond is Beyond, the five-track/41-minute Origins, with the side-consuming 21-minute “Vulkanen.” One could hardly ask for more effective immersion in the band’s world of patiently unfurled, languid psychedelia, and with the accompaniment of “Babalon Rising,” the jazz-prog tracklist centerpiece “En Bit Av Det Tredje Klotet,” the birdsong-laced “Naturligt Samspel” and the semi-freaked-out melodic wash of “Monte Verita” on side B, a full, rich, and mind-expanding cosmos is engaged, free of restriction even as it remains thoroughly lysergic, and adherent to no structural will so much as the will to adventure into the unknown, to find out where one progression leads. As regards the long- and short-form material on Origins, it leads far, far out, and if you don’t come out the other side wanting to own everything the band has ever released, you’re decidedly in the wrong.

Our Solar System on Thee Facebooks

Beyond Beyond is Beyond website

 

Dommengang, Love Jail

dommengang love jail

Once calling Brooklyn Home, Los Angeles trio Dommengang waste no time in getting down to the business of boogie on their second album for Thrill Jockey, Love Jail. Produced by Tim Green (The Fucking Champs), the 10-track/50-minute long-player has all the room for organ/guitar mashups, righteous West Coast vibes and easy-flowing classic heavy rock one could hope for, and in the opening salvo of “Pastel City,” “Lovely Place” and “Lone Pine,” the three-piece of guitarist Dan “Sig” Wilson, bassist Brian Markham, and drummer Adam Bulgasem reaffirm mellow bluesiness as well on the title-track and dig into ‘90s-style alt bliss on the penultimate “Color out of Space.” There’s a welcoming air throughout that holds steady regardless of tempo, and in heavier moments like the second half of “I’m out Mine,” the band resonates with fuzz and noisy elements that bring just enough danger to the proceedings to keep the listener riveted. Classy, but not too classy, in other words.

Dommengang on Thee Facebooks

Thrill Jockey Records website

 

Boss Keloid, Melted on the Inch

boss keloid melted on the inch

It would seem that Wigan, UK, outfit Boss Keloid — newly signed to Holy Roar Records for the release of their third LP, Melted on the Inch – internalized a few crucial lessons from their sophomore outing, 2016’s Herb Your Enthusiasm (review here). At six tracks and 40 minutes, Melted on the Inch is about 20 minutes shorter than its predecessor. Its title isn’t a weed pun. Its cover art conveys a work of dimensionality, and most importantly, the album itself turns to be precisely that. Taking a significant step toward a more progressive sound, Boss Keloid maintain the heft of their prior outing but base it around material that, frankly, is more complex and dynamic. I won’t say that “Tarku Shavel” and “Lokannok” are without their elements of self-indulgence, but neither should they be for the five-piece to do justice to the multifaceted nature of their purpose. They still roar when they want to, but Boss Keloid strike with breadth on Melted on the Inch as well as sheer impact.

Boss Keloid on Thee Facebooks

Holy Roar Records website

 

Holy Smoke, Pipe Dream

holy smoke pipe dream

After forming in 2015, Philadelphia’s exclamatory Holy Smoke! issued their first three-track release, It’s a Demo! (review here) the next year and showed marked stylistic promise in cuts like “Rinse and Repeat” and “Blue Dreams.” Both of those tracks, as it happens, stand at the opening of the band’s latest EP, the five-song Pipe Dream, and reaffirm the potential in the group. The opener (also the longest track once again; immediate points) is a tale of workaday redundancy, the very sort of monotony that the rest of the offering seems to leave behind in favor of post-grunge heavy rock, marked by the wah-bass on finale “Asch Backwards” and the brooding sensibility of the prior “Golden Retriever,” which surges in its midsection like a lost Alice in Chains demo only to end quiet once again, a departure from the linearity of centerpiece “Missing the Mark” just before. Less psychedelic than their initial impression conveyed, they seem to have undertaken the work of crafting their own sonic niche in Philly’s increasingly crowded scene, and there’s nothing on Pipe Dream to make one think it’s not a realistic possibility they’ll get there.

Holy Smoke on Thee Facebooks

Holy Smoke on Bandcamp

 

Sabel, Re-Generation

sabel re-generation

Sabel know what they want to be and then are that thing. Their third album, Re-Generation, arrives via Oak Island Records as six tracks of to-the-converted stonerism, and from opener/longest track (immediate points) “In the Walls of Eryx,” the Swedish trio do little more than ask their listeners to smell the smoke emanating from their speaker cabinets (oddly sweet), and hone walls of fuzz that each seem to be bigger than the last. There are some elements of earliest Electric Wizard at play in “Atlantean” or the sneering “Voodoo Woman,” but belters like “Interstellar Minddweller” and “Green Priestess” stave off their sounding overly derivative, and though at the end of Re-Generation’s 42-minute run, one might feel as though they need a shower, the record itself proves well worth the dive into the muck. The band would seem to have carved their own descriptor with the title of their self-released 2015 LP, Hard Doom, and that’s as good as anything I could come up with, so let’s roll with it. They seem to.

Sabel on Thee Facebooks

Oak Island Records on Thee Facebooks

 

Blackwater Prophet, As I Watch it Freeze

blackwater prophet as i watch it freeze

Cheers to Christian Peters of Samsara Blues Experiment for putting me onto Spokane, Washington’s Blackwater Prophet, who with the seven-track As I Watch it Freeze collect various tracks recorded between 2015 and 2017. Thus something of a compilation, the 40-minute outing wants nothing for overarching flow, “In My Passing Time” leading off with a mellow psych-blues spirit that only grows more classic-feeling through “House of Stone” and the gorgeously pastoral “The Swamp.” The band have two proper full-lengths out, and if they wanted to count As I Watch it Freeze as their third, I don’t think they’d find much argument, as centerpiece “Gold in the Palm” opens like a gateway leading to the increasingly resonant “Careworn Crow,” the fuzzy swing of “Eating the Sun” and finally, the title-track itself, which answers the acoustics of “The Swamp” earlier while adding flourish of volume-swelling and swirling electric guitar and late choral vocals that only make the proceedings seem all the more complete in their engagement.

Blackwater Prophet on Thee Facebooks

Blackwater Prophet on Bandcamp

 

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Boss Keloid Sign to Holy Roar Records; Melted on the Inch Album Teaser Posted

Posted in Whathaveyou on December 6th, 2017 by JJ Koczan

One has to wonder just how much of the vibe the new teaser for Boss Keloid‘s impending third album, Melted on the Inch, can actually serve to summarize the release. The Wigan, UK, five-piece have signed to Holy Roar Records to issue the record — and kudos and judos on that, as it’s a good fit — but even if one goes by their woefully cartoon-titted 2016 sophomore effort, Herb Your Enthusiasm (review here), as an example, it’s hard to think of a single minute-long stretch that could capture what it was all about. It was just too all over the place. Though, to be fair, the impression I get from the clip below is that when all is said and done much the same will apply to Melted on the Inch, so maybe the teaser is doing its job after all.

Okay, I talked myself into it. We’re all good now.

Boss Keloid‘s Melted on the Inch will be out Spring 2018 via Holy Roar Records.

The PR wire remains clearheaded on the subject, as always:

boss keloid

British Heavy Prog Psych Chiefs BOSS KELOID Sign To Holy Roar Records; Announce New Album

British heavy prog psych chiefs BOSS KELOID have signed a worldwide deal with Holy Roar Records and are set to release their highly anticipated third album in Spring 2018.

After earning acclaimed reviews for Herb Your Enthusiasm (2016) and The Calming Influence of Teeth (2013), BOSS KELOID’s notoriety for producing heavy and magnificently multilayered music has continued to grow. Having joined Holy Roar’s outstanding roster the quintet is poised to continue the momentum that’s been building since their formation in 2010. Now the band are set to take on the world with the release of Melted On The Inch, an evolution in sound and style from the band’s previously relentlessly heavy psych sludge to a dominant multi-dimensional progressive force.

The band comments: “We are delighted to be signing to Holy Roar for the release of our new album, Melted On The Inch. They’re a progressive and passionate label with an ethos that we strongly admire and relate to, so it’s really cool that they’ve shown a great deal of interest and passion in our music. It’s an honour to join such a musically strong and diverse roster.

For us, Melted On The Inch is a strong progression from Herb Your Enthusiasm. It draws from a much wider pond of influence than our previous. It is more progressive, more uplifting, more melancholic, more emotional, more dynamic, there is a greater emphasis on light and shade, it is heavier, it is more delicate, it has more beauty, it has more darkness.“

In addition to their critically acclaimed releases, BOSS KELOID have become revered for their devastatingly heavy live shows, gigging and touring extensively with an array of artists such as Bongzilla, John Garcia, Crowbar, Scissorfight, Bongripper, Conan, Mars Red Sky and Raging Speedhorn plus appearing at renowned festivals such as Bloodstock, ArcTanGent, Deserfest London, Hammerfest, HRH Doom Vs Stoner and Uprising.

More details for Melted On The Inch will be revealed soon.

https://www.facebook.com/bosskeloidband
https://twitter.com/bosskeloid
http://www.bosskeloid.bandcamp.com/
http://www.holyroarrecords.com/
https://www.facebook.com/holyroarrecords/

Boss Keloid, Melted on the Inch teaser

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