Review & Full Album Stream: Somnus Throne, Somnus Throne

Posted in audiObelisk, Reviews on September 22nd, 2020 by JJ Koczan

Somnus Throne Somnus Throne

[Click play above to stream Somnus Throne’s Somnus Throne in full. Album is out Sept. 24 on Burning World Records.]

Gutter riffs. Riffs to turn your soul green. The narrative — blessings and peace upon it — has it that We provide excellent my review here service 24/7. Enjoy proficient essay writing and custom writing services provided by professional academic writers. Somnus Throne‘s self-titled debut was realized after years spent on the part of guitarist/vocalist What term paper writing service do you trust? Trust when you need to Help In Architecture Essay online. Order your paper today! Evan hobo’ing around the country, living in flops and finding himself in that very lost, druggy, American vastness, all the while accompanied by a latent urge for volume satisfied only upon discovery of amp-worshiping doom, sludge and stoner idolatry. As narratives go, it’s a pretty good one, and though one has learned over time to approach such things with a healthy raised eyebrow of curiosity if not outright skepticism, the fact that Do you need an Get revision professional essay when you click here. Evan, bassist dissertation on customer service 800 Business Plan Writing Companies South Africa custom woodworker resume essay help for dental school Haley and drummer admission essay custom writing 101 Article Essay Proofreading London a level politics essay help college essay application review service Luke — everyone in the trio seems to have lost their surname along the way — all hail from different cities would seem to speak to a certain transient nature behind their work.

Congregation, as it were, happened in Los Angeles to record the album, and online at professional essay writing service. Order custom research academic papers from the best trusted company. Just find a great help for Evan credits  Get Quality Resume Chemist Phds and Dissertation Help at Best Price Ever, DissertationHelpUK all kind of writing services in UK. Contact us now! Luke for having it together enough to corral the band and make  We provide Best site are standard based. Our custom PhD thesis proposal are efficient to all professionals. Somnus Throne happen, and if that’s the case, then those seeking immersive nod and back-to-zero distorted lumber will want to send a thank-you card — address it to “Luke in L.A.” and I’m sure it’ll get there — since the three-piece manifest four rolling, downer-vibing, what’s-this-again-oh-well-shrug-and-inhale subfloor slabs of weighted groove. Apart from the 47-second intro “Caliphate Obeisance,” there is nothing on  Request a free quote for professional follow url, business documents, and writing services by professional business writers. Somnus Throne‘s first album under 10 minutes long — a statement in itself — and throughout “Sadomancer,” “Shadow Heathen,” “Receptor Antagonist” and the 14-minute finale “Aetheronaut – Permadose,” they bask in darkly-lysergic disaffection and a sense of abiding fuckall as few in the post- see this here - Learn everything you need to know about custom writing Let specialists accomplish their tasks: receive the required task Electric Wizard strain of anti-artisans have been able to conjure. It is noteworthy that their first outing comes courtesy of  Are you afraid of math? Thats not a big tragedy as you can take advantage of persuasive essay on sexual harassment. Burning World Records, which was once responsible for unleashing  phd thesis in service marketing Essays On Color pre written papers master science telecommunication system thesis in Conan‘s early work, but what  help with writing pseudocode iwe like it secondhand clothing thesis phd accountant resume Somnus Throne represent is the stylistic going to ground of a new generation, digging to find the roots of what heavy has become over the last 20 years.

That has led  We offer premier scientific and Home Page. Our scientific and medical writing services are completed by scientific writers with expertise in Somnus Throne to a style that wouldn’t have been at all be out of place on Read guide to about types, features, and other must-know topics in our headlight restoration kit buying guide guide to buying Man’s Ruin Records during that era, with a sense of overarching fog that reminds of a more aggro  Sons of Otis — so, say, earlier Sons of Otis — even when “Receptor Antagonist” kicks into its speedier second half. It wouldn’t be appropriate to call it a “fresh” take on that style, because sounding “fresh” is far from the intent of these songs — fetid, more like — but the energy they bring to the material is unmistakably that of a group who are excited about what they’re playing as they’re playing it, who are realizing something new for them even if the aesthetic scope is playing toward genre. Throughout “Sadomancer” and “Shadow Heathen” especially, this happens with a palpable sense of will behind it. Somnus Throne are letting their audience know that their mission is to harness the primitive.

somnus throne other art

Think of how the first Monolord record seemed so simple on its surface that one could almost miss its innovation, or even earlier Conan to some degree. Somnus Throne operate in a similar fashion, but are rawer in their substance and still manage to offer hints of variety in the changes in vocal approach from Evan. There are moments that sound like call and response as his voice shifts from one line to the next. If indeed that is all him and not, say, Luke, taking on a backing role — information is purposefully sparse in this regard — then that malleability is an asset already working in the band’s favor that one can only expect to do so even more as they move forward. As it stands, the plodding wash in “Shadow Heathen” is enhanced, and the rough edge that emerges circa nine minutes into “Aetheronaut – Permadose” and directly winks at ’90s-era Sleep being a further sense of character to the songs, and however barebones the offering may feel as a whole, there’s no taking away either from the effectiveness of those changes or the fullness of tone in the mix that surrounds them. Somnus Throne, in short, know their shit.

And to take it back for a second to the narrative, to the context of the album’s making, one can hear the disillusion. They’re not hiding it. Even in “Sadomancer” with all the discussion of witches and spells and samples about the devil and other trappings of turn-of-the-century sludge-doom, the atmosphere feels genuine, and being aware of that background changes the listening experience, making Somnus Throne all the more relevant as a record of a particular On the Road American experience set to task by and for a generation who came of age in a time of rampant corruption, economic collapse, climate change and endless war. Throw in governmental collapse and a global pandemic for the next album, and how else should it sound? Somnus Throne don’t tackle these issues directly — again, witches, spells, monsters, etc. — but their material feels affected and influenced by the moment of its creation in an intangible drudgery throughout. Plod born of turmoil. So be it.

Even the use of the word “caliphate” in the title of the intro — which is a sample offering young people an experience of a quaint, gourmet drug culture that gives way to noise — speaks to the time in which the album was made and the generation of its makers. The question is what Somnus Throne might do next. If this album represents a turn toward stability and sustainability as a band, despite the members living in different places between Portland, Oregon, Los Angeles and San Antonio — if they can find a way to operate — they’ve given themselves a crucial first outing from which to progress; and should that progression keep or enhance the rawness here, that’s still progression, not regression, in aesthetic terms. Even if they can’t or don’t, or whatever, and Somnus Throne becomes a one-off, what-could’ve-been footnote of a heavy release in arguably the worst year to put out an album in the last half-century, it does its part to capture the wretchedness of the time and turn it back on itself with disgust that is righteous and heavy in kind.

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Somnus Throne to Release Self-Titled Debut Oct. 9

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

When Burning World Records takes notice of a new band, your ears should perk up. Somnus Throne would seem to be a project for an era of working remotely, with members spread throughout multiple cities, and though their origins are murky, that’s nothing compared to their riffs. They come big and slow on the band’s self-titled debut, which will be out Oct. 9, topped with samples and a free-your-mind lumber that’s thoroughly genre-based and it knows it.

Digging it as I am, I sent an email about doing a premiere since I guess the digital release is Sept. 23 and I’ve got this coming Monday open as of now. I haven’t heard back about that, but maybe it’ll come together and maybe it won’t. If it does, it’ll be a little bit of double coverage with this news post in such close proximity, but I sincerely doubt anyone cares half as much as I do about that kind of thing. In case that doesn’t happen — there’s no audio out from it yet — I wanted to post this just as a heads up that the record is a good time and coming out to the few people who might see this post and get turned onto it. New band, new record. You like new bands and new records, right? Me too.

Here’s one:

Somnus Throne Somnus Throne

With members spread out across New Orleans, Los Angeles, Portland and San Antonio, Somnus Throne is a new heavy and psychedelic doom band that pays homage to legends such as Sleep, High On Fire and Pentagram.

The band’s self-titled debut album is now set for release on October 9 via Burning World Records and sees Somnus Throne playing some Sabbath-tinged, mammoth-size and hypnotic doom riffs across five epic tracks. Each riff is so spine-asphyxiating heavy as if they possess the power to create a seismic tremor in the walls of your houses.

Somnus Throne proves that the music Black Sabbath birthed decades ago can still hit hard and sound engaging after all these years.

1. Caliphate Obeisance 0:45
2. Sadomancer 10:17
3. Shadow Heathen 10:13
4. Receptor Antagonist 10:15
5. Aetheronaut – Permadose 14:30

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Celestial Season Announce New Album The Secret Teachings Due Oct. 23

Posted in Whathaveyou on August 28th, 2020 by JJ Koczan

celestial season

Here’s one I genuinely didn’t expect to see. Dutch doomers-turned-heavy-rockers-apparently-turned-doomers-again Celestial Season will release their first full-length in two decades on Oct. 23 through Burning World Records. They were a pretty significant presence in the Netherlands heavy underground, first as a death-doom band and then later on as rockers — think Cathedral‘s career arc — and their return is being positioned right alongside their heavier-crunching first two records, with Burning World going so far as to bundle the new album, The Secret Teachings, with reissues of 1995’s Solar Lovers and 1993’s Forever Scarlet Passion in a 3LP Box set. I am fascinated, and a little taken aback by what might be in store.

Consider this year has already seen releases from Katatonia, Paradise Lost and My Dying Bride. To throw Celestial Season into that mix is substantial, to say the least. I look forward to hearing what they’ve come up with after all this time.

Preorders up next week. Announcement came down the PR wire:

celestial season the secret teachings

Celestial Season – Dutch Cult Doom-Metal Group Announce Their Return With New Album “The Secret Teachings”

Nearly twenty years after their last studio effort, Dutch cult doom-metal group Celestial Season announce their return with a new album titled “The Secret Teachings”, due out on October 23rd via Burning World Records.

Formed in the early nineties, the Dutch group attained international acclaim with their first two full-length albums, “Forever Scarlet Passion” from 1993 and “Solar Lovers” from 1995, both still regarded as seminal doom-metal releases right next to Anathema’s “Serenades”, Paradise Lost’s “Gothic” and My Dying Bride’s “Turn Loose the Swans”.

A mix of the “Forever Scarlet Passion” and “Solar Lovers” line-ups re-grouped to create what they labelled as the ‘Doom Era’ line up; with Stefan Ruiters back on vocals, Lucas van Slegtenhorst on bass, Olly Smit and Pim van Zanen on guitars, Jason Köhnen on drums and Jiska Ter Bals back on violin and Elianne Anemaat on cello.

Together, they’ve created and recorded an hour-long musical journey that not only recaptures the magic and splendor of their early years but also shows a masterful and well-balanced collaboration between seven talented and experienced musicians.

“The seeds of this new album have been growing and cultivated for many years, and there were many reasons to complete the full cycle, initiated so many years ago. It is a personal album but also a big thank you to those dedicated fans that have supported us all these years.” Says the band about this new album.

Burning World Records will proudly release the new album along with the re-release of the previous two classic ‘Doom Era’ LPs : “Forever Scarlet Passion” and “Solar Lovers”, both albums remastered from the original tapes by James Plotkin. Pre-orders for the two re-issues and a box set containing these albums and the new album “The Secret Teachings” will go live next Friday, September 4th, to coincide with Bandcamp Friday.

Celestial Season, Solar Lovers (1995)

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Days of Rona: Jurgen van den Brand of Burning World Records

Posted in Features on May 18th, 2020 by JJ Koczan

The ongoing nature of the COVID-19 pandemic, the varied responses of publics and governments worldwide, and the disruption to lives and livelihoods has reached a scale that is unprecedented. Whatever the month or the month after or the future itself brings, more than one generation will bear the mark of having lived through this time, and art, artists, and those who provide the support system to help uphold them have all been affected.

In continuing the Days of Rona feature, it remains pivotal to give a varied human perspective on these events and these responses. It is important to remind ourselves that whether someone is devastated or untouched, sick or well, we are all thinking, feeling people with lives we want to live again, whatever renewed shape they might take from this point onward. We all have to embrace a new normal. What will that be and how will we get there?

Thanks to all who participate. To read all the Days of Rona coverage, click here. — JJ Koczan

burning world records jurgen ven den brand

Days of Rona: Jurgen van den Brand of Burning World Records (Haarlem, The Netherlands)

How have you been you dealing with this crisis as a label? As an individual? What effect has it had on your plans or creative processes?

To be honest, as most of my contacts with people are digital anyway, this crisis did not hit me on a personal level that much. Yes, my daughters stayed at home and me and my wife had to homeschool them (no talent at all in that department ;-)) but that went ok. Also I’m not the kind of person that thinks in a “what if … then”-kind a way. No festivals, ok, that sucks but let’s look at other ways to spend that time.. At the same time…

Yes, I missed Roadburn Festival and DesertFest Berlin, which sucked mostly sales-wise. A lot of the mailorder stock would be gone after that and I could invest in new music. Which I cannot now as much as I would want to. And also I missed talking to people about music (or mostly other stuff to be honest!) and meeting the people you send records to during the year. And the sales I will never get back but hey, if that is all I guess I consider myself blessed.

I can still talk about music and other stuff of life with the two people I share an office with: Guy Pinhas (The Obsesses, Acid King, now Southern Lord Europe) and Tos Nieuwenhuizen (Sunn, Motorpsycho, Beaver, etc.). On top of things I started a new company with Guy in January, just before shit hit the fan. As we were fulfilling orders for Roadburn Records, Burning World Records and Southern Lord Europe anyway, why not do that for other bands and labels as well? We got the set up ready and it’s not used 100 percent so why not help some fellow travelers out with storage and shipping their items? Justin Broadrick has come aboard recently and also Japanese label Gurugurubrain which is run by the guys of Kikagaku Mojo does their shipping through us. And we are talking to some other people now. Nome nest omen for this venture: WeShipVinyl ;-).

How do you feel about the public response to the outbreak where you are? From the government response to the people around you, what have you seen and heard from others?

It’s hard to think on this in only one way, as in “fuck I’m losing my job” or “where is the money coming from that we spend to support all those businesses? Are my daughters gonna have to pay that back later down the line?” I mostly fear for the musical infrastructure that was in place in Europe. All those venues and festivals were counting on countless freelancers to get the job done, may it be sound, light, bar or building the tents bands play in on festivals.

These people have no job now so will have to look elsewhere to support themselves. Some of these very good people you will never get back. Government here in The Netherlands gave some money to the cultural sector, but mostly to already heavy subsidized organization, not to the underground environment we live in and depend on.

Plus, do people wanna go to gigs again? Of course they will in spirit! But will they want to get together with 400 in a hot room before there is vaccine? I don’t think so. We will be looking at this for at least another six to 12 months. Venues and companies will go bust in the coming months that are part of our ecosystem. So after those 6-12 months there will be another period of rebuilding. I mean I have faith in the creativity of people to bounce back but still, it will take a while to recover.

What do you think of how the music community specifically has responded? How do you feel during this time? Are you inspired? Discouraged? Bored? Any and all of it?

In the beginning I felt confused. And if you feel confused you get tired as you can not wrap your head around what is happening but you keep on trying. After a while I accepted the situation (or got used to it) and tried to look around what to do. My luck was – and is – that my overhead is not that high. My rent is ok. The records that I have in are paid for and I can decide what to buy for the store, or stop buying or releasing for a while. All the same I am eternally grateful to the people that kept on buying records in March and April. As this means I can go on buying from other labels and keep releasing records.

I also noticed that I had more time now as not a lot was happening around me to focus on releases and try and be more smart about them. Luckily, I was working with managements who feel the same. For the Zola Jesus Live At Roadburn 2018 record for instance, we had the record planned for the fall. But when we heard about Bandcamp waiving their fee for a day we jumped on it and released the album guerrilla style that day. And worked hard on the vinyl versions that we had up a week later with all variants, a poster and an industrial style shaped disc version that really fits her aesthetic. I had doubts a month ago about releasing a record in this period but the pre-sales proved me wrong. Of course Zola Jesus is a good name to go out with, but still. Next month hopefully I can do a Earthless set the same way.

What is the one thing you want people to know about your situation, either as a band, or personally, or anything? What is your new normal? What have you learned from this experience, about yourself, your band, or anything?

On a personal level I learned to take more charge of what can or should happen for record. And that ideas that I have usually have some merit. And that works while talking to management of bands and other labels. It opens roads that would have been closed before. I’be been in the business now since 2008, seen a lot of stuff coming and going and if I – and with me also the guys in the office – can survive this kind of crisis I guess we’ll be around for a little longer.

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Friday Full-Length: Wino, Live at Roadburn 2009

Posted in Bootleg Theater on April 17th, 2020 by JJ Koczan

This was a special moment. In 2009, Scott ‘Wino’ Weinrich played Roadburn Festival in Tilburg, the Netherlands, with his newly-formed Wino trio, comprised of himself on vocals/guitar, Jon Blank (Resin) on bass and Clutch‘s Jean-Paul Gaster on drums. It was my first Roadburn, and Wino himself was in no small part the reason I ended up making the trip, since in addition to the set with what ended up by default being thought of as The Wino Band, he was also playing with a reunited Saint Vitus on the main stage of the 013 venue, one of the headliners of the multi-day fest, the scope for which seemed insurmountable at the time and has only grown more so in the years since.

The Wino set took place in the Green Room — a midsize space apart from the main stage in the 013, and then one of three rooms available as part of the fest. It was the final day of the fest, then called the Afterburner, so the Bat Cave, the smallest room, had merch available but no bands playing. I always liked the Afterburner. It was comparatively mellow but you could still see something incredible and the bands all still brought their best. Wino, Blank and Gaster were a fitting example of this, and the Live at Roadburn 2009 (review here) recording that Roadburn/Burning World Records released in 2010, is the evidence. The Wino trio had issued Punctuated Equilibrium (discussed here) on Southern Lord earlier in the year, and it brought together multiple sides of the man’s unmatched pedigree, which already by then included the aforementioned Saint Vitus, The Obsessed, Spirit Caravan and The Hidden Hand, as well as the supergroup Shrinebuilder and a CV with more guest appearances than anyone could hope to count, and with Gaster on drums, well, the live record tells the tale. It’s got a groove and a flow that holds strong even as the setlist jumps from new material to old, bringing in Spirit Caravan‘s “Lost Sun Dance” late after already playing back and forth righteously between The Obsessed and The Hidden Hand, sandwichingwino live at roadburn 2009 the latter’s “Sunblood” with the former’s “Streetside” and “Streamlined.” It was a damn good show.

I watched it from the balcony in the Green Room, and though I can’t do so, I also wouldn’t want to separate the experience of having been there from listening to the recording. I mean, don’t get me wrong. If you’ve got trouble listening to Wino blow out “Yen’s Sleep” from a stage, there’s not much I can really do for you about that — it’s your loss — but they were so locked in, so tight and so utterly triumphant in playing these songs that I value the recording that much more even 11 years after the fact because it evokes that personal memory. Whether you have that connection or not, whether you were there or not, the thing still rules.

This week should’ve been Roadburn 2020. In different circumstances, I’d be in the Netherlands right now, and though the fest hasn’t had Wino there for a while at this point in any of his many incarnations, having pushed off in multiple different aesthetic directions over recent years, it’s still always something amazing to behold. I guess I’m missing it, if you want me to be honest. So, nostalgia. I’ll cop to that.

It was a beautiful and strange time. My first foreign fest. I’d never seen anything like it and though I’ve been fortunate enough to do more traveling to other places since I’m still not sure I ever have. The scope of Roadburn has become so expansive it practically takes over the town of Tilburg at this point, but it was still building its base community in 2009, though it had been running for a decade already in one form or another. It was becoming what it would become. I felt lucky to be there, and I was. I’ve never felt anything other than lucky to be there. Except maybe tired. I’ve felt tired a bunch.

Of course, Wino‘s Live at Roadburn 2009 is tainted. It was the last performance of a European tour — a true victory lap — and on May 2, 2009, Jon Blank died of a heroin overdose, just two weeks after returning home. Wino went on tour with Clutch, I remember, but was flailing and rudderless enough as a result that when he put out his first-ever acoustic album the next year, he called it Adrift (review here). A stint in the short-lived and largely forgotten Premonition 13 followed, and then reunions with Spirit Caravan and The Obsessed, the latter which started first and is continuing, Weinrich‘s time in Saint Vitus having come to an end, and acoustic performances and periodic collaborations with German singer-songwriter Conny Ochs having continued all the while. He’ll reportedly have a new acoustic album out in June on Ripple Music. I haven’t heard it yet, which makes me a little sad, but after a decade since Adrift, anticipation is high as it invariably is for just about anything in which he’s involved.

As a general rule, I’m not huge on live albums, and even this one I don’t go back to all that often, but the point it emphasizes for me is the preciousness of the moment in which it happened and the idea that whatever you’re experiencing at the time, it’s fleeting. Positive or negative, “this too shall pass,” as my grandfather was apparently wont to say (we never met). No way the Wino band knew that Roadburn would be their last show, and no way Blank knew he’d pass away less than a month later, but as we look back, it seems like that’s as much a reason as any to celebrate the time that was when it was at least as much as to mourn what came after. Life is huge, and it encompasses all that joy, all that sadness, all the mania and the up and down and side to side of existence. We’re so small and yet our brains can’t even comprehend the expanses around and within us.

As always, I hope you enjoy.

Did I leave the house this week? Yeah, I did. I tried to go to Costco, but the line was down the side and around back of the building and I threw my hands up and said “fuck it” through my face mask, got back in the car and hit Wegman’s instead. The line was shorter to get in there.

These days are long.

I’ve been sleeping late to try to mitigate. I’ve been napping to make up for lost sleep overnight — also maybe causing the lost sleep overnight? I don’t know. I’ve been having anxiety dreams. I’ve been taking half a xanax pretty much daily. I find that if I eat something when I take it, it doesn’t put me to sleep in the same way. Novelty. The Patient Mrs. made me cookies with almond and macadamia flour. There have been days where dessert is the finish line getting me through the rest of it.

I feel terrible for The Pecan. He’s up now and I can see him on the monitor dancing in his bedroom. He wants to do stuff. Go to his places, see people. We video chat with grandmas, but it’s nowhere near the same. Last weekend we drove up to Connecticut for the day. We might do the same this weekend. Fuck it, at this point. If I didn’t catch COVID-19 from the Shop-Rite in Morris Plains, I ain’t gonna catch it from The Patient Mrs.’ mom.

Today is a new The Obelisk Show on Gimme Radio. 5PM Eastern. Listen at

And I say that all the time, but please actually listen this time, huh? What else you got going on? It’s cool tunes and I recorded the voice tracks in my living room with the kid and The Patient Mrs. in the background, so it’s a mess, but it’s a fun mess, so yeah, please tune in.

More rona stuff next week. More of everything next week. I’m totally overwhelmed by all of it, which I guess is my preferred scenario, but speaking of that, it’s time for me to go grab The Pecan from upstairs, change his diaper and start the day. Another day. Another day in lockdown. Might go to Lowe’s later to get a five-gallon jug of water. We hydrate like bastards in this house. It’s the only way to be.

Next week: album streams from Lord Fowl and Gaffa Ghandi, a video premiere from The Earth Below, more rona than I can handle, an Elder review and whatever else I can throw together. It’ll be fun. It’ll be more than I can handle, which is the idea. It’ll occupy my brain in troubling ways. I love that.

Thanks for reading. Hope you’re well and staying safe. Oh, there ain’t no roneys on me.

Great and safe weekend. FRM.

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Sigiriya Announce New Album Maiden Mother Crone; Premiere “Cwn Annwn”

Posted in audiObelisk on January 20th, 2020 by JJ Koczan


Welsh rockers of time and space Sigiriya will release their third full-length, Maiden Mother Crone, this Spring through Burning World Records. By the time it arrives, it will be their first offering of any sort in six years, and in addition to introducing drummer Rhys Miles to the fold, the album collects eight tracks for a 45-minute run of of-the-earth-but-nonetheless-ethereal rolling grooves that seem to draw as much from the mythological as from the world around them in presence and theme alike. Early cuts like “Cwn Annwn,” “Tau Ceti” and “Peace of My Mind” establish Sigiriya circa 2020 as a band afraid neither to touch ground nor sky, and the spaciousness in the echoing vocals of Matt “Pipes” Williams (also Suns of Thunder) only adds breadth to the fluid distortion and heft of Stu O’Hara‘s guitar and Paul Bidmead‘s bass.

The latter two, of course, are alumni of Swansea-based troupe Acrimony — the bulk of whose studio work Burning World recently remastered and issued as the boxed set Chronicles of Wode (review here) — and though when Sigiriya started out with their 2011 debut, Return to Earth (review here), their mission seemed to further that band’s rather significant legacy, subsequent years have found them pulling in a new direction, and Maiden Mother Crone continues that thread. Part of it is sheer lineup. Matt Williams — who also did some recording on the new album, while Richard Whittaker mixed and mastered — took the frontman spot from Dorian Walters, who also had been in Acrimony, and sure enough, Rhys Miles comes to Sigiriya in place of Darren Ivey, who’d also been in the prior outfit. Some change of dynamic, then, seems inevitable as half the makeup of the band has changed from the first album to the third, but O’Hara‘s guitar tone is a signature element and recognizable throughout Maiden Mother Crone, whether it’s the crunching riff in opener “Mantis” or the shorter “Dark Call” later on, which seems to get swallowed up by the sheer overload of dense, hairy fuzz.

Whatever familiar elements persist, and however welcome they may be — because, frankly, I’ll take that guitar sound anytime it wants to show up — Sigiriya‘s sonic identity has never sounded more their own and more distinct than it does Sigiriya Maiden Mother Cronethroughout Maiden Mother Crone. After the resonant cast and grit of “Seeking Eden” and “Dark Call”‘s push, the record’s two longest tracks take hold in succession, with “Arise (Darkness Died Today)” referencing the band’s second album, 2014’s Darkness Died Today (review here, also discussed here) as it digs into suitably moodier vibes and touches on some vocal harmonies from Williams along with a fullness of sound that extends even to Miles‘ crash cymbals, the song still relatively straightforward in structure and, at 6:21, not much longer than “Cwn Annwn” or “Peace of My Mind” back on side A, but just an extra touch more atmospheric as to justify its position as the penultimate cut ahead of 8:21 closer “Crushed by the Weight of the Sky.”

It is a particular credit to Miles and Bidmead as the rhythm section that Maiden Mother Crone rolls with such a nodding flow across its span the drums and bass allow for the psychedelic, airier flourish in the guitar as well as the dead-ahead shove when that comes up, but they show a steadiness of pace that isn’t to be overlooked when it comes to how immersive the record ends up being. That’s true even in the up-front rockers “Mantis,” “Cwn Annwn” and “Tau Ceti” — the latter of which should be enough to sate anyone’s Acrimony fix if the box set didn’t do it — but comes to the forefront starkly at the halfway point of “Crushed by the Weight of the Sky” as well as Miles switches to timekeeping with his crash cymbal. It seems like such a simple moment, such an easy thing for a drummer to do, but it is just right in serving the purpose of the song’s overarching groove, and though Williams soon enough begins the next verse/hook and O’Hara‘s guitar will after six minutes in take the reins and lead the band through a tempo kick as they build to the organ-or-at-least-organ-sound-laced last crescendo, of which the band take full advantage, not letting the opportunity pass to pay off both the track in question and the album as a whole.

Six years between records is a long time. That’s double the stretch between their first and second albums. And it’s not in their nature stylistically to sound “refreshed,” but Sigiriya do come across as vital throughout Maiden Mother Crone, and as they craft their folkloric place within the greater sphere of the UK heavy underground, they do so by stepping further out of the rather significant shadow of O’Hara and Bidmead‘s former outfit and into their own light. Will it be six years before another Sigiriya album surfaces? Maybe. Hell if I know. But if it is, Maiden Mother Crone shows clearly that Sigiriya are able to translate all that time into sonic growth on the part of the band. Like the songs themselves, that is not to be taken lightly.

You can stream the premiere of “Cwn Annwn” on the player below. More PR wire details from Burning World Records follow. Preorders and all that coming soon.

Please enjoy:

Shine on…

Welsh mountain men and valley crawlers Sigiriya are the first to admit to their faults – and yes, they got it wrong. The darkness hadn’t died. The eternal turn is undeniable. After the light of every day comes a veil of night, throwing real-world shadows into the soul of the Light Seeker.

Personal trauma, mental and physical health issues, and even new drummer Rhys Miles (who replaced Darren “TDB” Ivey before the writing of ‘Maiden…’) staring down the grim Reaper directly, have taken their toll on Sigiriya – ‘Maiden Mother Crone’ has been a tough album to harness.

Recorded with Adam Howell at UWTSD Studios in Swansea (with additional work by Matt Williams at Sunnyvale Studios), and mixed and mastered at The Bridge Studios & FX London by the lord of heaviness Richard Whittaker, it’s a monolith of light at the end of the tunnel, a rage against the system, a modern myth and a call to atavism.

‘Maiden Mother Crone’ is undeniably heavier, slower and darker in places, yet in others it soars and roars higher and brighter than ever. More mature in its focus, sound and integration of lyrics and influences than previous releases, with ‘Maiden Mother Crone’, Sigiriya shine onwards through this eternally turning cosmos.

1. Mantis
2. Cwn Annwn
3. Tau Ceti
4. Peace of My Mind
5. Seeking Eden
6. Dark Call
7. Arise (Darkness Died Today)
8. Crushed by the Weight of the Sky

Sigiriya are:
Matt ‘Pipes’ Williams (vocals)
Rhys Miles (drums)
Stu O’Hara (guitar)
Paul ‘Mead’ Bidmead (bass)

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Review & Track Premiere: Acrimony, Chronicles of Wode

Posted in audiObelisk, Reviews on November 26th, 2019 by JJ Koczan

acrimony chronicles of wode

[Click play above to stream ‘Million Year Summer’ from Acrimony’s new remaster box set, Chronicles of Wode. It starts streaming Dec. 7, preorders are here starting today and ship out in mid-Jan. In the interest of full disclosure, I wrote the liner notes for the box set and was compensated for that work. I have not been compensated for this review, and frankly, given the chance to premiere a remastered Acrimony track and an excuse to write about these albums, there was no chance I wasn’t going to jump on it.]

Chronicles of Wode is a 3CD box set from Burning World Records that brings together the bulk of the discography of Welsh heavy rockers Acrimony. It includes their two full-lengths, 1994’s Hymns to the Stone (discussed here) and 1997’s Tumuli Shroomaroom (discussed here), both with new artwork by Jimbob Isaac (also of Taint and Hark)”, as well as a third disc of off-album tracks, some of which were previously collected on 2007’s Bong On – Live Long! compilation and some which were not, including a yet-unheard Doom cover, and so on. Bringing these offerings together is something noteworthy in itself — the band’s influence over UK heavy rock was and is formidable, and they were genuinely ahead of their time when it came to using repetition and jammy vibes as a means to hone a heavy psychedelic feel while retaining a metallic energy beneath — but crucially, Chronicles of Wode gives all of these Acrimony tracks a much-needed remastering, and they’ve never sounded so vibrant. That’s particularly true of Tumuli Shroomaroom, but while Hymns to the Stone is more dated in terms of its basic production, that’s more of a fact of how the record was originally made, and it seems no less integral to preserve that than it does to give Acrimony‘s catalog the detailing it has long since earned.

There’s a balance to be struck between the two sides, of course, and Chronicles of Wode seems to find it in the crunch of “Leaves of Mellow Grace,” the opener of Hymns to the Stone, which rolls out its nod like a clarion, finding Acrimony — the five-piece of vocalist Dorian Walters, guitarists Stu O’Hara and Lee Davies, bassist Paul Bidmead and drummer Darren Ivey — immediately putting the groove first in a way that few acts at the time had understood how to do. Their influences were varied, from ’70s rock to trance techno, but their riffs were undeniably heavy, with lyrics exploring the isolation of their hometown and the same kind of disaffection that once launched Black Sabbath to the outer reaches of doom from a blues rock beginning. Acrimony started out more as death metal or at least death-doom, but Hymns to the Stone was a point of discovery for them in terms of claiming their identity, and whether it’s the nodding pub-homage “The Inn” or the myth-creation they engaged with “Urabalaboom,” the sonic drawl and spacey push of “Spaced Cat #6” or the glorious noise-wash jam of “Whatever” ahead of brash closer “Cosmic AWOL,” Hymns to the Stone is a record that has been persistently undervalued, not just for what it set in motion in terms of Acrimony‘s all-too-short tenure as a band, but on the sheer merits of its material.

Rest assured, part of the reason Hymns to the Stone is undervalued is because it exists largely in the shadow of its follow-up. Clocking in at a whopping 65 minutes — prime CD era in 1997 — and originally released through Peaceville RecordsTumuli Shroomaroom is a legitimate heavy rock classic. Its production was clearer, its purpose was clearer and it took the blow-the-doors-down promise shown throughout Hymns to the Stone and brought it to a point of full realization throughout extended pieces like “Motherslug (The Mother of All Slugs),” “Heavy Feather” and “Firedance,” not to mention the nine-minute opener, “Hymns to the Stone,” a title-track for the release before. Go figure. By ’97, Acrimony‘s sense of world-creation was becoming clearer, and their songs — not all of them, but definitely some — had started telling a story beyond the riffs and nods. Of course, Tumuli Shroomaroom had and still has plenty of that too in “Million Year Summer,” “Vy,” “Find the Path” and “The Bud Song” — the arguable “meat” of the album in its post-opener beginning and the middle of the nine-song tracklist — but even amid “The Bud Song”‘s ultra-stoner janga-janga shuffle there’s psychedelic flourish building on that shown at the outset of the song, and Acrimony‘s adventurous sensibility never really dissipates. It’s just presented in dynamic fashion, and they use it to various ends throughout.

And that shows up not just in the odds and ends of percussion and didgeridoo and guitar effects, echo, etc., but in the various structures of of the tracks themselves. The same was true of Hymns to the Stone, if nascent, but Tumuli Shroomaroom realized these impulses in a new way that, even as a stoner rock underground was flourishing in the UK, was pretty rare. Some of the roots of that aural diversity are shown on the disc of extra tracks included in the box — unlike the two album, it’s not available separately to my knowledge — with the aforementioned take on Doom‘s “Exploitation” and the Status Quo cover of “O Baby” that was featured on Bong On – Live Long! alongside raw pieces like “Tumuli” and “100 New Gods” and “Timebomb!!!” and “Earthchild Inferno,” here pushed to the opening position as some of the cuts from the original compilation were cut, presumably for time. These songs have also been remastered and are worth hearing on both an academic level as further context for the band and just on their own merits — I don’t know what Burning World is charging, but “O Baby” alone is a worthy argument in favor of it — fitting well as a complement to the two albums that are obviously the showcase pieces of Chronicles of Wode and giving fans something more to dig into even as the records themselves invite rediscovery.

One also can’t ignore the fact that since Tumuli Shroomaroom was last reissued in 2007 by Leaf Hound Records — to the best of my knowledge and a bit to my surprise, Hymns to the Stone has never been reissued — an entire generation of heavy rockers has emerged and thrived on the ground that Acrimony helped break during their time. That may have been part of the motivation for four-fifths of the original band to come back together in 2010 as SigiriyaDavies was in Lifer and has since moved on to Woven Man — but either way, the important point here is that there’s no level on which these two full-lengths don’t deserve the care and treatment they’re given through the presentation of Chronicles of Wode, and anyone previously unfamiliar with Acrimony‘s work who takes it on is only going to get a more complete picture of from where modern heavy rock stems, especially in the UK, but also across the broader international underground. For prior fans? Well, it’s just a delight, pure and simple. Like visiting old friends.

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Wolf Blood Release Limited 12″ Single Tsunami / Home; Announce Recording Plans

Posted in Whathaveyou on May 3rd, 2018 by JJ Koczan

wolf blood

July, July, July. That’s when Minnesota riffers Wolf Blood head back into the studio to complete work on their second album. The as-yet-untitled offering will follow some four years behind the band’s incredibly well received self-titled debut (review here), which came out through Burning World in Europe and Outer Battery in the US — which is no minor shakes for a group marking their first release. As far as endorsements go, those are two good ones to have.

Before the new album arrives, maybe as a refresher or a lead-in or just because they happened to have them laying around — whatever gets it done — Wolf Blood have released the new two-songer single Tsunami / Home and set it up for streaming now and preorders for the month of May for the upcoming 12″ edition, limited in number and all that good stuff. The art, as you can see below, is pretty right on, and the sound of the two songs is duly huge and a fervent reminder of why I was so looking forward to hearing what this band did next.

Have at it:

wolf blood tsunami home

Minneapolis band WOLF BLOOD are heading back into the studio this July to finish their long awaited 2nd album. To tide fans over till then they’ll release a limited run 12” single for the haunting track “Tsunami” on colored vinyl. Backed by the crushing brand new song “Home”, this will be strictly limited to 200 copies. Pre-orders start May 1st through and run until May 30th. Stream both songs at starting May 1st.

Formed in a dank basement during one of the coldest winters on record in Duluth, Minnesota, guitarist Mike Messina and drummer Jake Paulsrud (Dirty Horse/Dad’s Acid) started writing psycho-sludge experiments that sounded too stoned to be metal, and too baneful to be indie-rock. They recruited renown hard-core guitar sorceress Mindy Johnson (The Keep Aways) and magi-roots bassist Luke to flesh-out the menacing sound, and Wolf Blood came to life.

Wolf Blood is:
Mike Messina – guitar
Jake Paulsrud – drums/vocals
Mindy Johnson – guitar/vocals
Luke – bass
IG @wolfbloodmn

Wolf Blood, Tsunami / Home (2018

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