Video Premiere: Dead Quiet, “Of Sound and Fury”

Posted in Bootleg Theater on June 24th, 2021 by JJ Koczan

dead quiet

While the hard data tells us that Vancouver is located in British Columbia, tucked neatly on the northern side of the US/Canada border along the Pacific Coast, you might be forgiven for watching/listening to Dead Quiet‘s “Of Sound and Fury” and assuming the band is Swedish. The five-piece issued their third long-player, Truth and Ruin (discussed here), on the tail end of last year’s lost summer, and if they’re looking to remind listeners of the record’s sundry strengths — the Scandi-esque fluidity with which they bring together classic heavy rock sounds and modern production and tonality among them, as heard here — “Of Sound and Fury” is a righteous place to start.

Maybe it’s the organ, or the subtle underpinning of precision in delivery that tips hand to the players’ roots in more aggressive fare, but these two are elements working decidedly in favor of “Of Sound and Fury” and Dead Quiet more generally across Truth and Ruin‘s seven component tracks, weaving in and out of classic metal and various other microgenres en route to the sweeping nine-minute capper “Cold Grey Death,” dropping earworm hooks all the while that bring substance as much as style behind them. Hey kid, you like rock and roll? Here’s some. And they got t-shirts.

I say this as someone who’s had “Of Sound and Fury” on repeat in my stuck-in-my-head mental jukebox for the last couple days: no regrets. The song is honestly enough of a sell in itself, but you’ll see too in the video the five-piece seem to arm up with various weaponry, and I think they might be enacting socialist revolution? One of the dudes they take down looks like Grover Cleveland and the other looks like not-Patrick Bateman from American Psycho, and the back-room dealings of capitalism would seem to be what’s being conveyed as they play games with people’s lives. Legit. Their Jeff Bezos lookalike must have been in space that day, lest we forget our modern-day robber barons.

In any case, the best part is when they’re all standing around at the end and it’s just a second or so, but they’re like, “Okay, now what?” Indeed, gentlemen. With sincerity in my heart, I wish the members of Dead Quiet good luck in forming a new provisional representative government. My understanding is that shit gets tricky.

Enjoy the clip:

Dead Quiet, “Of Sound and Fury” video premiere

Forming in 2014, Dead Quiet established themselves quickly with the release of their debut self titled record in 2015. By the time writing commenced for their follow up record, Grand Rites in 2017, Dead Quiet had found their perfect line up in Kevin Keegan (Barn Burner), Brock MacInnes (Anciients), Mike Grossnickle (Hashteroid) and Jason Dana. The release of Grand Rites on Toronto’s Artoffact Records was followed by two European tours, one of which being direct support for John Garcia (Kyuss), as well as numerous festival appearances including Desertfest Belgium and Into the Void (NL), further cementing the band as one to watch out for.

After a rigorous year of touring, the band had no intention of slowing down and swiftly entered the studio to record their third record: Truth and Ruin. Again teaming up with Artoffact, Truth and Ruin saw the addition of Mike Rosen to the band and further broadened the already keyboard laden sound they’d established on previous efforts. Truth and Ruin proves that work ethic and chemistry can truly refine a band’s sound to what they had always been striving for: heavy instrumentation combined with rich melody and uniquely personal lyricism, making Dead Quiet one of the hottest, must-see bands on the Canadian landscape.

Lineup:
Kevin Keegan – vocals, guitar
Brock MacInnes – guitar
Mike Grossnickle – bass
Mike Rosen – keyboards, backing vocals
Jason Dana – drums

Dead Quiet, Truth and Ruin (2020)

Dead Quiet on Thee Facebooks

Dead Quiet on Bandcamp

Dead Quiet on Spotify

Artoffact Records on Bandcamp

Artoffact Records on Instagram

Artoffact Records website

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The Obelisk Questionnaire: Murray Acton of Stinkhorn & Dayglo Abortions

Posted in Questionnaire on May 14th, 2021 by JJ Koczan

stinkhorn

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: Murray Acton of Stinkhorn & Dayglo Abortions

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

I don’t really identify with genres and from the start, I wanted this band to be genre neutral. I would like to be able to play whatever style of music seems appropriate for the song. That said I am heavily influenced by the music of my youth. I was a teenager in the ‘70s, I remember when Master of Reality came out. That changed everything for me. Back then it was all about Black Sabbath, King Crimson, Rush, UFO, basically ‘70s metal. I can’t hide nor would I try to hide where I came from. I also have a punk band called the Dayglo Abortions. I built a song around a Black Sabbath riff on all nine (I think) of their albums. I don’t consider it theft, everyone knows it’s a Black Sabbath riff. It’s more of a tribute.
Describe your first musical memory.

My first record was the Walt Disney release of “Peter and the Wolf” conducted by Leopold Stakowski. There is a part in there where the wolf is stalking Peter in the woods. The music in that part gets all low and creepy, with woodwinds and strings. I loved it. I would play it over and over again. I spent my whole childhood trying to find more music like that. I found some. The Hall of the Mountain King from the Peer Gynt symphony was one. Then when I was I think 12 or 13, Master of Reality finally made it to the backwoods town I lived in. I remember rushing home with it. My cousin had the first Sabbath album and I liked it, but it didn’t prepare me for what I was about to hear. It was as profound as my first acid trip. At that point I new what I was going to be doing with my life.

Describe your best musical memory to date.

Jeasus there are so many. A few years ago the dayglo abortions played at the Montebello Rockfest in Quebec. They were really good to us and put us on the Punk stage just after the sun went down, and there was nobody playing on the corporate stages. I got to watch Converge from New York play right before us (if that doesn’t inspire you to play you’re in the wrong business). Then we went on. There were no other bands playing so the people from the corporate side all came over to see what was going on. There must have been 100,000 people in front of us. The French Canadian punks were up front and they were singing our songs with us at deafening volume that was out of hand. There’s video of it on Youtube as well. When it gets down to it though, the big shows are a bit weird. You are so disconnected from the audience, with the lights right in your face so you can’t even see them. There is nothing on earth that is as much fun as playing in a packed sweaty bar in Slovenia or something. I played in Slovenia in the middle of the Serb/Croat war. We were only a few miles from the Croatian border where the fighting was, and people from four countries, three of them were at war with each other, came to the show. It was awesome. They made us play our entire set twice, and one song four or five times in a row at the end. They would just push us back on the stage yelling, “You drink with us!”

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

Hmmm. I’m not sure. I was a weird kid. I had a bunch of beliefs right from the start. Adults are all liars and they want to take all your cool shit. No authority can be trusted for the same reason. Credit cards are a bad idea that the banks enslave people with. I really didn’t even like money for the same reasons. As I got older I picked up some more beliefs like beer and weed are good for you. The drugs that the pharma companies make are very bad for you, and the pharma companies are the worst drug pushers on the planet. Right along with the psychiatrists. There are more I’m sure… the universe is not held together by gravity. It’s electromagnetism, and there is no dark matter, or dark energy. Anyways I’ve got all these beliefs but none of them have ever been disproved.

Where do you feel artistic progression leads?

The Beautiful think about pursuits like that is your progression takes you to new places of creativity, which in turn inspires new ideas and directions for your so called “quest to enlightenment” I personally believe that us humans evolved into what we are with our big brains, because of the music we play, and it is our duty to the larger system that we are a part of to make our song join in with the songs of all the other creatures we share this place with. We’re not doing a very good job of it. That’s why the Mayan mystics say were disconnected from the universe. We need to connect to it with our music. It is a language that transcends spoken languages, and is capable of transmitting pure emotion. It is also the only thing we do that uses our entire brain. It’s obvious to me.

How do you define success?

Well seeing as I didn’t start playing music for the money, and I’m always broke, it’s obviously not for the money. (if that’s what you want in life, get a fucking job, you probably won’t make much playing music) Success to me is seeing three generations of a family at a show. Sitting in a locals-only bar, thousands of miles from home, with friends I’ve known for years from coming to that town once a year on tour. To have a bunch of top rated bands do a tribute album of your songs. That might be the biggest compliment I ever been given. There is a comp with bands like Napalm Death, Municipal Waste. Gwar, Agnostic Front. And stuff playing Dayglo Abortions songs. All those bands are better known than my band but apparently I was a big influence to them when they were growing up and shit. Crazy eh.

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

I’ve had friends die in my arms from drug overdoses. I’ve been in multiple high speed car accidents. I’ve been beaten and pepper sprayed by the cops so many times it wasn’t even spicy anymore. But there is one thing I wish I hadn’t seen. Once in the ‘70s I walked into an orgy. It was on a kitchen floor and they were all friends. They tried to get me to stay and join in. I think I said. There’s 10 people here already, and eight of you are dudes. No thank you.
Describe something you haven’t created yet that you’d like to create.

When I was a kid I thought I could save the world with music. I was naive. Now I have concluded that it’s going to take more than that… wait… that’s it… something that I believed in that I have UN-believed. (to answer your question from earlier) I want to do a project that explores the use of instrumental music as a language to communicate directly to the creative force of the universe. Maybe make music that can be heard in other dimensions, or music that can be heard across the universe because it resonates with reality and propagates forever like a toroidal vortex, that folds in on itself like a smoke ring, and just keeps on going. Not sure how to go about it

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

Our art does so much for us. It tells us who we should hang with, how we should dress, who to vote for. It cheers us up when were sad. It helps us remember our past. But possibly it’s most important function is to point out and provide solutions to the things that we are doing wrong. The injustices, and the intolerance. It shows us how to defeat evil. It show us what true evil really is, and helps us fight it.

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

I am looking forward to our solar system crossing the galactic plane. When it does the Earth’s magnetic field flips, and the earth will start spinning in the other direction. The Sun will go micro-nova, and just about everything on the planet will be killed. It happens every 12,00 years. The last time it happened was the younger dries extinction event. Humans have survived it several times, but not very many of them. That is why our DNA can be traced back to less than a thousand individuals. That is why there are so many indications that people went underground. (it takes 200 years for us to cross the galactic plane and things will be really shitty on the surface for much of that time) That is why all of the ancient sites are astronomical clocks, and why our ancestors were so hung up about the stars. They new it would happen again at the end of the long year, aka the procession of the zodiac. The Mayan calendar maps this out, and it says that the end of this age there will be a cleansing by fire. Anyways, I think it is an incredible privileged to be alive to witness the end of the world. It should be starting in the next 20 or so years, and I hope I live long enough to be there.

[Art at top of post by Trevor R. Coles.]

https://www.facebook.com/StinkhornStonerMetal/
https://murraythecretinacton.bandcamp.com/

Murray Acton, Covid-19 Nervous Breakdown (2021)

Stinkhorn, “High on Beans”

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Hail the Void Sign to Ripple Music for Blasko-Curated Series

Posted in Whathaveyou on March 3rd, 2021 by JJ Koczan

Following up on the recent snag of Austin, Texas’ Holy Death Trio, the Ripple Music series helmed and curated with the blessing of Rob “Blasko” Nicholson — who’s probably the highest-profile proponent of heavy you know — gets its second act in the form of BC trio Hail the Void. The Victoria-based outfit issued their self-titled debut (stream it below) last year and ticked the boxes of a welcome reception from the digitally-remote heavy underground (which is to say, no touring but the album was well received). Their second LP is reportedly due later this year and they have a live video up as well that’s a humble three songs and 20 minutes long. Time well spent.

With more to come, the PR wire puts it thusly:

hail the void

HAIL THE VOID ink worldwide deal with Ripple Music; new album coming as part of special series curated by Blasko

Canadian hard rockers HAIL THE VOID announce their signing to Ripple Music for the release of their sophomore full-length this year. The Victoria, B.C. trio is the second band to join the Californian label as part of the special series of releases curated by Blasko.

HAIL THE VOID are a Canadian hard rock band forged in the flames of the coronavirus pandemic. The band came together to play original material in December 2019 with Kirin Gudmundson on guitar and vocals, Dean Gustin on bass and Lucas McKinnon on drums. Within a month, they had recorded their self-titled debut LP, which received critical acclaim. Now they’ve signed with Ripple Music under the mentorship of the one and only Blasko.

About this new signing, Blasko comments: “Hail the Void released one of strongest debuts I have ever heard. The lead single ‘Parasite ‘was one of my most listened to songs of the year. I am beyond excited to work with these dudes on their sophomore release. Expect to see big moves from Hail the Void in the years to come!”

The band’s sound fuses the psychedelic magic of acts like Pink Floyd and All Them Witches with the classic doom of Electric Wizard and Windhand. Their drop-tuned riffs provide the backdrop for themes exploring societal frustration, antitheism, nihilism and mental illness. Hail The Void’s self-stated goal is to make listeners realize that the true horror and doom of this world, consistently and without fail, comes from the primitive and instinctual mind of man, and his blind ignorance to the one true master towhom we all must submit, the void.

Now, HAIL THE VOID are gearing up for their next release, their debut with Ripple Music. Beyond that, they hope to finally play a live show together, while further advancing their sound in new and increasingly original directions. Will you join them as they preach the good word of the endless void? Or will you turn in fear? Whatever you do, just know that Hail The Void are only just beginning to spread their message of madness across the globe. Bow to the void or be left vanquished in its path.

The band recently released a live performance entitled “Live at Silversound”, which you can watch in full at this location. They will soon unveil more details about their forthcoming sophomore album, keep your eyes peeled…

HAIL THE VOID is
Kirin Gudmundson — Guitar & Vocals
Dean Gustin — Bass
Lucas McKinnon — Drums

https://facebook.com/hailthevoidmusic/
https://www.instagram.com/hailthevoid_music/
https://open.spotify.com/artist/38X56uz4Ur7QIqDJN2IACZ?si=KoGNWKjcReydANxYXYTPgA&nd=1
https://hailthevoid666.bandcamp.com/
https://www.facebook.com/theripplemusic/
https://www.instagram.com/ripplemusic/
https://ripplemusic.bandcamp.com/
http://www.ripple-music.com/

Hail the Void, Hail the Void (2020)

Hail the Void, Live at Siverside Sound

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Quarterly Review: Celestial Season, Wren, Sumokem, Oginalii, Völur, Wedge, SpellBook, Old Blood, Jahbulong, Heavy Trip

Posted in Reviews on December 25th, 2020 by JJ Koczan

THE-OBELISK-FALL-2020-QUARTERLY-REVIEW

The end of the week for the Quarterly Review is a special time, even if this particular QR will continue into next Monday and Tuesday. Also apparently today is Xmas? Okay. Whatever, I’ve got writing to do. I hope you’re safe and not, say, traveling out of state to see family against the urging of the CDC. That would be incredibly irresponsible, etc. etc. that’s what I’m doing. Don’t get me started.

However you celebrate or don’t, be safe. Music will help.

Quarterly Review #41-50:

Celestial Season, The Secret Teachings

celestial season the secret teachings

Like many of the original death-doom set, Dutch masters Celestial Season gave up the style during their original run, departing toward heavy rock after 1995’s Solar Lovers. At an hour’s run spread across 13 tracks including ambient guitar and violin/cello interludes, The Secret Teachings has no time for such flighty fare. Reunited with original vocalist Stefan Ruiters and bassist Lucas van Slegtenhorst, the band return in grand fashion for their first full-length in 20 years, and songs like “Long Forlorn Tears” and “Salt of the Earth” conjure all the expert-grade morose plod one could possibly ask, as each side of the 2LP begins with its own intro and sets its own mood, from the almost-hopeful wistfulness of opener/longest track (immediate points) “The Secret Teachings of All Ages” at the start to the birdsong-laced “Beneath the Temple Mount” that leads the way into “A Veil of Silence” and “Red Water” at the finish, the latter a Type O Negative cover that fits well after the crescendo of the song before it.

Celestial Season on Thee Facebooks

Burning World Records website

 

Wren, Groundswells

wren groundswells

The gift Wren make to post-metal is that even in their quietest stretches, they maintain tension. And sure, the Londoners’ second LP, Groundswells — also stylized all-caps: GROUNDSWELLS — has in “Murmur” its “Stones From the Sky” moment as all works of the genre seemingly must, but the six-cut/44-minute follow-up to 2017’s Auburn Rule (discussed here) casts a scope less about pretense or ambition than largesse and heft, and that serves it well, be it in the shorter “Crossed Out Species” or longer pieces like the opener “Chrome” and the penultimate “Subterranean Messiah,” which injects some melodic vocals into the proceedings and airy string-inclusive prog amid all the surrounding crush. All well and good, but it’s hard to deny the sheer assault of the doomed apex in closer “The Throes,” and you’ll pardon me if I don’t try. Ambience through volume, catharsis through volume, volume all things.

Wren on Thee Facebooks

Gizeh Records website

 

Sumokem, Prajnaparadha

sumokem prajnaparadha

With strength of performance to fall back on and progressive realization in their songwriting, Little Rock, Arkansas’ Sumokem would seem to come of age on their third long-player, Prajnaparadha, answering the flourish of 2017’s The Guardian of Yosemite (discussed here) with an even more confident stylistic sprawl and an abiding patience that extends even to the album’s most intense moments. Not at all a minor undertaking in dynamic or its run of five long songs following the intro “Prologue,” Prajnaparadha manages not to be dizzying mostly because of the grace with which it’s crafted, tied together by ace guitar work and a propensity for soaring in order to complement and sometimes willfully contrast the tonal weight. When the growls show up in “Fakir” and carry into “Khizer,” Sumokem seem to push the record to its final level, and making that journey with them is richly satisfying.

Sumokem on Thee Facebooks

Cursed Tongue Records webstore

 

Oginalii, Pendulum

Oginalii Pendulum

Psychedelia comes poison-tipped with brooding post-grunge atmospheres as Oginalii‘s Pendulum swings this way and that between “Scapegoat” and “Black Hole” and “Pillars” and “Veils” across its too short 24 minutes. The Nashvillainous four-piece explore an inner darkness perfect for these long months of forced-introspection, and though calling something pandemic-appropriate has become a tired compliment to give, the underlying rhythmic restlessness of “Scapegoat” and the crying out overtop, the fuzzy burst of “Veils” and the interweaving drums and guitar noise behind the recited semi-sung poetry of “Pillars” serve the soundtrack cause nonetheless, to say nothing of the two-minute minimalist echoing stretch of “Black Hole” or the oh-okay-it’s-indie-post-rock-but-oh-wait-what-the-hell-now-it’s-furious closer “Stripped the Screw.” Anger suits Oginalii as it comes through here, not in tired chestbeating but in spacious craft that manages to sound intense even in its languid reach. Pretty fucking cool, if you ask me.

Oginalii on Thee Facebooks

Devil in the Woods on Bandcamp

 

Völur, Death Cult

Völur death cult

Toronto’s Völur offer their third album, Death Cult, in cooperation with Prophecy Productions, and it comes in four string-laced tracks that waste little time in pushing genre limits, bringing folk influences in among doom, blackened metallurgy and more ethereal touches. Arrangements of violin, viola, cello, double-bass, keys, and the shared vocals of Laura Bates and Lucas Gadke (the latter also of Blood Ceremony) give a suitably arthouse feel to the proceedings rounded out by the drums and percussion of Justin Ruppel, and it’s far from unearned as the four songs play out across 37 minutes, “Dead Moon” veering into lumbering death-doom in its apex ahead of the jazz-into-choral-into-drone-into-freer-jazz-into-progressive-black-metal of the 11-minute “Freyjan Death Cult,” subsequent closer “Reverend Queen” leaving behind the chaos in its last few minutes for an epilogue of mournful strings and drums; a dirge both unrepentantly beautiful and still in keeping with the atmospheric weight throughout. Bands like this — rare — make other bands better.

Volur on Thee Facebooks

Volur at Prophecy Productions

 

Wedge, Like No Tomorrow

wedge like no tomorrow

Bursting with enough energy to make one miss live music, Wedge‘s third album, Like No Tomorrow, transcends vintage-ism in its production if not its overall mindset, bringing clarity to Deep Purple organ-tics on opener “Computer” while keeping the lyrics purposefully modern. Bass leads the way in “Playing a Role” and the spirit is boogie fuzz until the jam hits and, yeah, they make it easy to go along for the ride. “Blood Red Wine” has arena-rock melody down pat while centerpiece and likely side A closer “Across the Water” at last lets itself go to that place, following the guitar until the surge that brings in “Queen of the Night” indulges purer proto-metal impulses, still accomplished in its harmonized chorus amid the charge. Is that the guitar solo in “U’n’I” panning left to right I hear? I certainly hope so. The shortest cut on Like No Tomorrow feels like it’s in a hurry to leave behind a verse, and sets up the surprisingly modestly paced “At the Speed of Life,” which is lent a cinematic feel by the organ and layered choral vocals that bolsters yet another strong hook, while the nine-minute “Soldier” is bluesier but still sounds like it could be the live incarnation of any of these tracks depending on where a given jam takes Wedge on any given night. Here’s hoping, anyhow.

Wedge on Thee Facebooks

Heavy Psych Sounds website

 

SpellBook, Magick and Mischief

SpellBook Magick and Mischief

About a year and a half after issuing Otherworldly (review here), their third album under the moniker Witch Hazel, the dukes of York, PA, are back with a new name and a refreshed sound. As SpellBook, vocalist Nate Tyson, guitarist Andy Craven, bassist Seibert Lowe and drummer Nicholas Zinn push through two vinyl sides of classic heavy f’n metal, less concerned with doom than they were but still saving a bit of roll for the longer centerpiece “Not Long for This World” and the airy, dramatic closer “Dead Detectives.” Elsewhere, “Black Shadow” brings a horns-at-the-ready chorus, “Motorcade” reminds that the power of Judas Priest was always in the basslines (that’s right, I said it), and “Ominous Skies” brims with the vitality of the new band that SpellBook are, even as it benefits from the confidence born of these players’ prior experience together.

SpellBook on Thee Facebooks

Cruz Del Sur Music website

 

Old Blood, Acid Doom

old blood acid doom

Kudos to L.A.’s Old Blood for at least making the classification part easy when it comes to their debut album, conveniently titled Acid Doom, though that category hardly accounts for, say, the piano stretch of second cut “Bridge to Nowhere,” or the heavy rock theatricality in “Heavy Water” or the horn sounds of “Slothgod” a few songs later, but I suppose one has to start somewhere, and ‘acid doom’ is fair enough when it comes to accounting for the sleekery in the vocals of Lynx, the weight of the riffs of C. Gunner, the roll of bassist Octopus and drummer Diesel and the classic-style organ work of J.F. Stone. But if Old Blood want to unfurl something deceptively complex and stylistically intricate on their debut, that’s certainly cool as far as I’m concerned. Production is a strong presence throughout in a way that pulls a bit from what the impact of the songs might be on stage (remember stages?), but the songwriting is there, and Lynx‘s voice is a noteworthy presence of its own. I’m not sure where they’ll end up sound-wise, but at the same time, Acid Doom comes across like nothing else in the batch of 70 records I’m doing for this Quarterly Review, and that in itself I find admirable.

Old Blood on Thee Facebooks

Metal Assault Records on Bandcamp

DHU Records webstore

 

Jahbulong, Eclectic Poison Tones

JAHBULONG ECLECTIC POISON TONES

Just because you know the big riff is going to kick in about a minute into opening track “Under the Influence of the Fool” on Jahbulong‘s tarot-inflected stoner doom four-songer Eclectic Poison Tones doesn’t make it any less satisfying when it happens. The deep-rolling three-piece from Verona make their full-length debut with the 45-minute offering through Go Down Records, and the lurching continues in “The Tower of the Broken Bones” and “The Eclipse of the Empress,” which is the only cut under 10 minutes long but still keeps the slow-motion Sabbath rolling into the 15-minute closer “The Eremite Tired Out (Sweed Dreams)” (sic), which plays off some loud/quiet changes fluidly without interrupting the nod that’s so central to the entirety of the album. Look. These guys know the gods they’re worshiping — Sleep, Black Sabbath, Electric Wizard maybe, etc. — and they’re not trying to get away with saying they invented any of this. If you can’t get down with 45 minutes of slower-than-slow grooves, maybe you’re in the wrong microgenre. For me, it’s the lack of pretense that makes it.

Jahbulong on Thee Facebooks

Go Down Records website

 

Heavy Trip, Heavy Trip

heavy trip heavy trip

Heavy Trip. Four songs. Two sides. Three dudes. Instrumental. Accurately named. Yeah, you’ve heard this story before, but screw it. They start out nice and spacious on “Hand of Shroom” and they finish with high-speed boogie in the 13-minute “Treespinner,” and all in between Heavy Trip make it nothing less than a joy to go along wherever it is they’re headed. The Vancouver three-piece make earlier Earthless something of an elephant in the room as regards influences, but the unhurried groove in second cut “Lunar Throne” is a distinguishing factor, and even as “Mind Leaf” incorporates a bit more shove, it does so with enough righteousness to carry through. As a debut, Heavy Trip‘s Heavy Trip might come across more San Diego than Vancouver, but screw it. Dudes got jams like Xmas hams, and the chemistry they bring in holding listener attention with tempo changes throughout here speaks to a progressive edge burgeoning in their sound.

Heavy Trip on Thee Facebooks

Burning World Records on Bandcamp

 

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Moths & Locusts Premiere Title-Track of New LP Exoplanets

Posted in audiObelisk on October 23rd, 2020 by JJ Koczan

moths & locusts

Exoplanets is the fourth long-player from British Columbia space rockers Moths & Locusts, due out Oct. 30 through NoiseAgonyMayhem and Weird Beard Records. “Exoplanets” is also the 15:39 title-track of said album, and from its quietly progressive flute-included opening through the gradual unfolding of harmonized vocals and opera of cosmic noise that builds to fruition across its first six-plus minutes, only to recede into airy drift and fuzz as it meanders through its midsection, through an ensuing stretch of barely-there minimalism, darker-atmosphere krautrock vocal manipulations and the fed-through-a-grinder tonality that typifies its final movement, it is only fair to call it alien.

The six-piece outfit recorded “Exoplanets” itself with James Paul in Toronto at what was apparently once a slaughterhouse — fair enough — and it’s one of at least four separate sessions in which the recording took place, the other out in rural Saskatchewan at Sinewave Studios with Chad Mason at the helm, the third at Lap of Luxury in Sooke, Vancouver Island, with Scott Henderson, and the last in the band’s studio, Republic of Doom, in Nainamo.

So, the numbers: Seven tracks, 44 minutes, six players, four studios, infinite freakout.

Comprised of vocalists Valentina Cardinalli and Samantha Letourneau (also flute), guitarists Angus Barter (also vocals) and Mike Breen (also electric sitar on “Exoplanets”), and the doubly-Dave’d rhythm section of bassist/synthesist Dave Read and drummer/vocalist Dave BeanMoths & Locusts are simply too cognizant to not be progressive and at the same time too weird not to be experimental. Oh yes, most certainly Exoplanets opens with the five-minute fuzz-from-space rocker “Cocaine Kangaroo” tapping modern and classic heavy interstellarism with a hook to boot as it pushes outward in motorik fashion toward and through a jam and finish of residual synth en route to the percussive thud of “Ghenghis Khan,” which indulges some orientalism in its guitar, flute and chant-like vocal, but is also explosive and bombastic at its loudest, despite the flute tying its loud and quiet parts together. Low end drone adds an undercurrent layer behind the more out-there stretch, and by the time the song comes back around to its verse, Moths & Locusts have established their own sense of normality so that the return feels grounding when in fact it’s still ethereal in the extreme.

Setting their own context is a lot of what Moths & Locusts do on Exoplanets. Certainly in the title-track, but consider moths and locusts exoplanetstoo the short acoustic guitar/synth/effects/chant piece “Nero’s Surgery,” which at 2:28 is the briefest cut but still more substantial arrangement-wise than an interlude. That acoustic strum takes hold after “Ghenghis Khan” and by the time it starts, the listener simply goes with it.

Track turns into layers of synth battling for dominance over stretched-out guitar and chants? In under two and a half minutes? Well of course it does. But the reason Moths & Locusts are able to bring so many disparate ideas together and make it flow over the course of the whole LP isn’t just because they’re willing to do so — though rest assured, that’s part of it — but because they establish almost immediately that Exoplanets is going to shift according to these whims.

“A Ram Named Drama” somewhat revives the motorik-ness of “Cocaine Kangaroo,” bringing a prominent and welcome bassline-as-baseline sensibility to the explorational guitar and effects work surrounding. Instrumental save for a spoken sample, it feels improvised and is no less whole for that, capping with birdsong before the more charged “Avulsion 2020” arrives to close side A.

An apparent redux of “Chase River Avulsion” from Moths & Locusts‘ 2011 debut 7″ The Astronomical Significance Of…, “Avulsion 2020” joins “Nero’s Surgery” (which showed up on a 2013 single as the B-side to “Nero’s Tale”) and “Cocaine Kangaroo” (which recorded in 2016 and released in 2018 to accompany “Peyote Coyote”) among Exoplanets‘ at-least-in-part-previously-issued material, but if the group are looking back on their decade together and perhaps making some effort to summarize that time, that would account for the scope one encounters moving between the tracks, such as the robot-voice oddity that comes with “Avulsion 2020” and of course “Exoplanets” itself, which consumes the bulk of side B.

Its doing so leaves “Fresh Red Blood” to close out the record, which it does with an atmospheric comedown vibe, not so much giving up the journey or even landing at its destination as offering a moment of epilogue to the stage of passage that Exoplanets might represent on the longer voyage. Or maybe that’s too meta.

Whatever. The finale answers the patience with which the title-track unfurls with a gradual wash of melodic guitar and synth, seeming to harness stability out of liquefaction, and ending the pattern of who-knows-what like a breathing exercise that’s readying listeners to return to their real lives after being so immersed in Moths & Locusts‘ preternatural quirk. Those six minutes are no less crucial than anything before them, of course, and they complete Exoplanets in a way that gives the audience space to process that preceding undertaking, though to be fair to both the band and their listenership, that might take a bit longer given how deep into far-out the band range in these songs.

I have the pleasure today of hosting the premiere of “Exoplanets” from Exoplanets. You’ll find it below, followed by more info on the various recording sessions from the PR wire.

Enjoy:

2020 marks ten years of existential exploration for Nanaimo BC space rock sextet MOTHS & LOCUSTS, a decade that saw the band release a trio of acclaimed LPs (2013’s Mission Collapse, 2016’s Helios Rising and 2017’s Intro/Outro) alongside numerous assorted EPs and 7” singles. In addition to the aforementioned albums under their own name, they also released a double live album with legendary Can frontman Damo Suzuki in 2014, plus 2019’s Think Pink IV: Return to Deep Space collaboration album with Pink Fairies/Pretty Things man Twink.

Showing only signs of acceleration with time, their 4th LP EXOPLANETS distills several studio recording sessions from across Canada into seven elemental songs that reflect a band at the height of their power.

The album’s centerpiece is the six part, near-16-minute long title track. Exoplanets is a visceral tour through a sonic spectrum of intense emotions and otherworldly landscapes, from the haunting primary melody, through layered vocal harmonies to the cathartic, crushing climax. Recorded with engineer James Paul in a former abattoir in downtown Toronto, each band member features prominently on the track, displaying the musical versatility the band is becoming known for: guitarist Angus Barter & drummer Dave Bean’s harmony vocals on the verses bring to mind pre-Dark Side era Pink Floyd; Samantha Letourneau’s layers of flute in the opening has an element of prog rock; lead guitarist Mike Breen’s serpent-like shredding (and electric sitar) is strategically placed to drill straight through listeners’ skulls. The track ends with vocalist Valentina Cardinalli’s soulful wailing and bassist Dave Read’s massive effects-laden doom choir pushing the speakers to the max.

From a session with engineer Chad Mason at Sinewave Studios, located literally in the middle of Saskatchewan canola fields and reachable only via longitude & latitude coordinates, come crushing versions of live favourites Cocaine Kangaroo and Genghis Khan, the latter remixed by Ian Blurton (Change Of Heart/C’mon/Public Animal). The Saskatchewan session also yielded the album’s closing track Fresh Red Blood, evoking some of Mogwai’s recent soundtrack work.

From closer to the band’s home base of Vancouver Island BC comes triple bass psych freakout A Ram Named Drama, recorded by Scott Henderson at his Lap Of Luxury studio in Sooke; and from the band’s own Republic Of Doom studio in Nanaimo come the tracks Nero’s Surgery and Avulsion 2020. All seven tracks together form a cohesive album, one that perfectly ends one decade and begins another for a band that’s built to last.

EXOPLANETS is a co-release by NoiseAgonyMayhem Records (North America) and Weird Beard Records (EU).

Tracklist:
Cocaine Kangaroo 5:00
Genghis Khan 5:59
Nero’s Surgery 2:28
A Ram Named Drama 5:29
Avulsion 2020 3:54
Exoplanets 15:39
Fresh Red Blood 6:02

Moths & Locusts are:
Angus Barter – guitar, vocals
Dave Bean – drums, vocals
Mike Breen – guitar, electric sitar on “Exoplanets”
Valentina Cardinalli – vocals
Samantha Letourneau – flute, vocals
Dave Read – bass guitar, synths

Moths & Locusts on Thee Facebooks

Moths & Locusts on Bandcamp

Moths & Locusts website

NoiseAgonyMayhem Records website

NoiseAgonyMayhem Records on Bandcamp

NoiseAgonyMayhem Records on Thee Facebooks

Weird Beard Records on Thee Facebooks

Weird Beard Records on Instagram

Weird Beard Records webstore

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Dead Quiet Premiere “Truth and Ruin” Lyric Video; New Album out Sept. 11

Posted in Bootleg Theater on August 13th, 2020 by JJ Koczan

dead quiet (Photo by Milton Stille)

Vancouver’s Dead Quiet will release their third full-length, Truth and Ruin, on Sept. 11 through Artoffact Records. With the advent of “Truth and Ruin,” the title-track of the album, premiering in the video/lyric video below — it’s like a regular video, but also lyrics! — there are now three songs public from the upcoming offering, and they each present some different personality facet of what shape the record might take. To wit, “Forever Unsung” offers organ-laced heavy blues met with post-hardcore crush and a sneaks-into-your-brain hook before they Iron Maiden-out a solo section in classic dual-guitar fashion and turn back skillfully to the verse/chorus to finish. Clever track, and it uses every second of its 4:50 runtime to make its point.

Later in the proceedings comes the six-and-a-half-minute “The Sign of a Sealed Fate”; more spacious in its initial verse, but with an underlying dead quiet truth and ruinrhythmic tension — double-time hi-hat, and so on — that teases the volume push to come. And of course it does come, followed by a surprising keyboardy prog break and huge-sounding, shout-topped, organ-laced shove that leads to a finish of residual guitar and far-back vocals that finish. I’m not sure I’d call it patient since it’s still plenty brash, but there’s a definite loosing of the structural reins happening.

That brings us around to “Truth and Ruin” itself, which again offers a broader beginning, but has a more melancholy feel. The accompanying video takes us through a day in the life of a werewolf as lyrics like “To be alone is to be myself” highlight the alienated impression presented by the visuals. As outwardly arrogant as Dead Quiet might seem at times with Kevin Keegan‘s vocals up front, Truth and Ruin‘s title-cut effectively flips that on its head, shifting with Solace-like efficiency into a thrashier chug and thrust after some quick shouts, tearing into one and then another solos before returning to the hook. So maybe a bit of each of the other two tracks come together in Truth and Ruin, plus metal, plus a bit of downer vibing offset by instrumental triumph. It ends, of course, with a touch of violin, as it would.

Keegan, formerly of Barn Burner, says in the PR wire quote below that he loves a good hook. That affinity serves him and the band well on Truth and Ruin if what they’ve shown off thus far is anything to go by.

Video and more info follows here. Preorders are of course available.

Please enjoy:

Dead Quiet, “Truth and Ruin” lyric video premiere

DEAD QUIET – Truth And Ruin
Title track of Dead Quiet’s third full length album, on Artoffact Records.
Available everywhere September 11, 2020.
Preorder here: https://deadquiet.bandcamp.com/album/truth-and-ruin

From Vancouver, Canada, comes Dead Quiet. The third full-length album, Truth and Ruin, shows the band at its peak, delivering its arena-ready, proto-metal bacchanal with power and flair. Dead Quiet’s dramatic, organ-heavy songs are saturated with respect for the hard rock and heavy metal titans of the late ’70s and early ’80s – there are traces of blazing Deep Purple jams and hellbent Judas Priest bangers – but the band rocks with a prowess all its own. Dead Quiet respects its elders while fully owning its own craft. It is a fine balance, which brings to mind Ghost, among others.

Of new album Truth and Ruin, frontman Kevin Keegan states: “We just wanted to make a record that was relentless. On Grand Rites we took our time and meandered quite a bit but with Truth and Ruin it was more about ‘point and shoot,’ always keeping us and the listener on their toes. I love a good hook. I like the idea of a song that rips but also gets stuck in your head like a good pop song.”

Truth and Ruin was engineered and mixed by Jesse Gander (Japandroids, White Lung) at Rain City Recorders in Vancouver, BC. It was mastered by Alan Douches (Mastodon, Chelsea Wolfe) at West West Side Music in Hudson Valley, NY.

Tracklist:
1) Atoned Deaf
2) Forever Unsung
3) Of Sound and Fury
4) Truth and Ruin
5) Partial Darkness
6) The Sign of a Sealed Fate
7) Cold Grey Death

Lineup:
Kevin Keegan – vocals, guitar
Brock MacInnes – guitar
Mike Grossnickle – bass
Mike Rosen – keyboards, backing vocals
Jason Dana – drums

Dead Quiet, Truth and Ruin (2020)

Dead Quiet on Thee Facebooks

Dead Quiet on Bandcamp

Storming the Base website

Artoffact Records

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Eye of Doom Premiere Title-Track From Curse of the Pharaoh EP out Sept. 25

Posted in audiObelisk on July 28th, 2020 by JJ Koczan

Eye of Doom

Vancouver’s Eye of Doom will release their second EP, Curse of the Pharaoh, on Sept. 25. In addition to marking their first offering to be made through Majestic Mountain Records, it’s also something of a shift in approach for the three-piece, whose 2018 self-titled four-songer trafficked in decidedly more metallic and driving fare. With two eight-minute-plus cuts in the opening title-track and the closing “The Scold’s Bride” separated just by the interlude “The Waning” (2:56), the EP hits a 20-minute total listen that’s striking in its push toward atmospherics, with sonar pings backing horror samples and ambient guitar in “The Waning” before the roll that comprised much of “Curse of the Pharaoh” resumes in full nod for the outset of “The Scold’s Bride.” With vocals from bassist Alex Kadhim and guitarist Adam Mattsson atop Derek Staines‘ apparently reliable march, shades of Elephant Tree‘s melodicism show up along with an impact and underlying noise rock influence that calls Cities of Mars and other post-Monolord outfits to mind. Dudes got riffs, in case you were wondering.

Curse of the Pharaoh is strong in its presentation, beginning with a fading in swell of readily immersive tonality. They are perhaps a release or two from bringing to fruition the kind of depth and largesse they hint toward here, but that doesn’t at all stop the material from being engaging on its own level. “Curse of the Pharaoh” crashes in around 1:30 and proceeds to lumber forward in newer-Sleep form, waiting until after three minutes in before introducing the first vocal lines. With a cavernous echo, the verses likewise hint toward a burgeoning reach in what’s being tagged as their “new musical direction,” but they’re smartly mixed to not overwhelm the surrounding guitar bass or drums. Kadhim‘s bass holds true during a short break and soon the guitar solo takes hold in soaring fashion to lead through the apex of the track, the first sonar pings arriving before the shift into “The Waning” is actually complete. That one-into-the-next fluidity is also emblematic of what Eye of Doom are shooting for with their recent doomly conversion, and if the EP is anything to go by, they won’t have any trouble sticking to that — should they want to — when they set themselves to the inevitable task of their full-length debut.

When, how, where, on that, I of course have no idea, but Eye of Doom‘s stated purpose is to give those they’d make their audience an introduction to what they’re all about, and it’s a positive first impression they make, even if that ‘first’ comes with an asterisk. “Curse of the Pharaoh” is streaming on the player below, followed by more info about the release from the PR wire.

Please enjoy:

Eye of doom to release ’Curse of the Pharaoh’ on Majestic Mountain Records September 25th

Majestic Mountain Records is very pleased to announce the first release from Vancover, BC based riff masters Eye of Doom. The 3-track EP ’Curse of the Pharaoh is set for release on a 10” premium vinyl in September and this release will be followed with a full length release in early 2021!

This EP is the first introduction to the new musical direction of Eye of Doom.

The riff-molding for Curse of the Pharaoh was produced and recorded by the band in early 2020. The songs on this EP draw inspiration from the grand scenery found in the towering mountain ranges and vast forests of the band’s hometown, as well as exploring existential questions connected to topics such as mysticism, astronomy, paganism, and the occult. This EP is the result of the collaborative efforts from all members of the band and is an honest and true reflection of everything that is Eye of Doom.

’Curse of the Pharaoh’ will be on pre-order at Majestic Mountain Records, August 7th.
Vinyl is set for release in end of September and the digital release will be available August 28th.

Pre-order link:
https://majesticmountainrecords.bigcartel.com/

Eye of Doom are:
Alex Kadhim: bass and vocals
Adam Mattsson: guitar and vocals
Derek Staines: drums

Eye of Doom on Thee Facebooks

Eye of Doom on Instagram

Eye of Doom on Bandcamp

Majestic Mountain Records webstore

Majestic Mountain Records on Thee Facebooks

Majestic Mountain Records on Instagram

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La Chinga Sign to Ripple Music; New Album Next Year

Posted in Whathaveyou on July 24th, 2020 by JJ Koczan

Vancouver heavy rock trio La Chinga have signed a deal to release their next album through Ripple Music. The classic-influenced three-piece put out their self-titled debut (discussed here) in 2013 and were picked up by Small Stone for the 2016 follow-up, Freewheelin’ (review here), as well as 2018’s Beyond the Sky (review here). In aligning with Ripple, they follow in the footsteps Small Stone veterans like Wo FatRoadsawFreedom Hawk and Gozu — though the latter have since moved on — as well of course as Ripple homegrown staples in Mothership, Salem’s BendWar CloudHigh Priestess, and so on.

All told, it’s a lot of good bands, and as the last few years have seen Ripple grow into the US’ foremost purveyor of underground heavy rock, they’re now in a position to pick and choose the artists they work with more than ever before. So that’s how you get Wino on Ripple. How you get Colour Haze, etc. They’ve simply gone to another level through the quality of what they’ve put out and the audience loyalty they’ve earned over the course of their decade. Bringing La Chinga into the fold definitely isn’t going to hurt their reputation any.

The announcement came through social media:

la chinga

Ripple Music welcome Pacific Northwest’s wildest 70s-worshipping hard rockers La Chinga to their rifftastic roster for the release of their new album in 2021.

“We are so thrilled to be on Ripple Music, having been big fans of the music they have been cranking out! We are in the studio as I type this, working hard on our Ripple debut album. And we can’t wait to put it out there on such a killer label!” says the band.

Keep your eyes peeled for more La Chinga news, and get ready to blow your speakers with the generous hooks, wicked psychedelic highlights and unequaled firepower of the three Vancouver gentlemen!

http://www.facebook.com/La-Chinga
https://www.facebook.com/theripplemusic/
https://ripplemusic.bandcamp.com/
http://www.ripple-music.com/

La Chinga, Beyond the Sky (2018)

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