Chat Pile Announce West Coast Tour

Posted in Whathaveyou on August 29th, 2023 by JJ Koczan

If you’re reading this post — first, thanks — and second, it’s probably because at some point last year, you caught onto Chat Pile‘s God’s Country (review here) and its everything-is-fucked-no-one-knows-what-to-do-except-people-who-don’t-care-oh-look-more-cancer-and-mass-shootings-what-could-be-more-American-than-that sensibility, post-apathy chest-tunneling and hardcore-born willingness to ask “what the fuck?” in however many words. Fair enough. That record — which already has a follow-up in the band’s 2023 split with Nerver (review here) — played out like the shape of you-wish artpunk to come, and its disaffection was widely hailed along with aural ideologies both innovative and primitive. Shit was raw, in other words, and well received.

Chat Pile went to Europe earlier this year to treat Roadburn to an exclusive show, and I have to think they’ll be back on the continent in 2024, though I’ll readily admit I’ve got no insight into their plans. With the momentum of hype around God’s Country, I would imagine they’ve been fielding offers from various sides. You’ll note a couple of these dates on the West Coast are slated to happen supporting heavy prog forerunners Baroness, and as counterintuitive a pairing as that is, it could definitely work, Baroness so refined in their thinky-thinky metal and Chat Pile sounding like they’re trying to beat their own songs with a wrench. Shit, book that tour now.

From social media or wherever:

Chat Pile tour


Been a long time in the making, but it’s finally here!

Agriculture and Nightosphere will join us for select dates and we also have the honor of opening for Baroness on a couple shows in the midwest.

Tickets go on sale this Friday.

11/2 – Denver, CO – Bluebird Theatre !
11/3 – Salt Lake City, UT – Urban Lounge !
11/5 – Seattle, WA – The Crocodile !
11/6 – Portland, OR – Star Theater !
11/8 – San Francisco, CA – Great American Music Hall !
11/9 – Los Angeles, CA – Substance Festival
11/10 – Phoenix, AZ – Rebel Lounge !
11/12 – Colorado Springs, CO – Vultures
11/14 – Minneapolis, MN – First Avenue ?
11/15 – Chicago, IL – Vic Theater ?
11/17 – Iowa City, IA – Gabe’s Oasis &
11/18 – Columbia, MO – Rose Music Hall &

! w/ Agriculture
? w/ Baroness
& w/ Nightosphere

Incredible poster by Garrett Young

Chat Pile, God’s Country

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Quarterly Review: HIGH LEAF, JAAW, The Bridesmaid, Milana, New Mexican Doom Cult, Gentle Beast, Bloodsports, Night Fishing, Wizard Tattoo, Nerver & Chat Pile

Posted in Reviews on May 8th, 2023 by JJ Koczan


Didn’t we just do this? Yeah, kind of. It’s been a weird season, but I knew last month when I launched the Spring 2023 Quarterly Review that it needed to be more than two full weeks and given the timing of everything else slated around then and now, this is what worked to make it happen. For what it’s worth, I have QRs scheduled for July and early October, subject to change, of course.

The bottom line either way is it’s another batch of 50 reviews this week and then that’s a wrap for Spring. It’s a constant barrage of music these days anyhow, and I’m forever behind on everything, but I hope at least you can find something here you dig, whether previously familiar or not. We go.

Quarterly Review #1-10:

HIGH LEAF, Vision Quest

High Leaf Vision Quest

An awaited debut from this Philadelphia heavy rock scene outfit, HIGH LEAF‘s Vision Quest makes its home among heavy tropes (also some minute cultural appropriation in the title) with unabashed glee and deceptively sharp songwriting. Certainly opener “Green Rider” is perfectly willing to beat you over the head with its chorus — and rightly so, you have it coming — but the spacious title-track that follows stretches over eight minutes and seamlessly works through drift and heavy psych impulses to get to the post-grunge roll that makes its increasingly aggro presence known past six minutes in, and that’s by no means the final bit of sludge to be had as the later “Hard to Find” leans toward nastiness only to be offset by the funky outset of “Painted Desert,” having pushed deeper from the Kyussery of “Dead Eye” and a swagger in “Subversive” worthy of comparison to Earthride. This lineup of the band has already split (there’s a new one, no worries), and how that reboot will affect HIGH LEAF going forward obviously remains to be seen, but this is a ‘serving notice’-type debut, doubling down on that in closing duo “March to the Grave” and “The Rot,” and the eight songs and 38 minutes commune with groove and riffs like they’ve been speaking the language the whole time. There’s definitely a vision at work. Let’s see where the quest takes them.

HIGH LEAF on Facebook

HIGH LEAF on Bandcamp


JAAW, Supercluster

jaaw supercluster

Fucking hell I wish this was what the future sounded like. It rocks. It’s interesting. It’s driven to be its own thing despite traceable roots. It’s got edge but it’s not hackneyed. It’s the tomorrow we were promised when industrial rock and metal became a thing in the 1990s and that corporate alt-everything and pop-punk usurped. I knew I wanted to write about it now, because it’s coming out now, but I’ll tell you honestly, I’ve barely scratched the surface of JAAW‘s Svart-issued debut, Supercluster — recorded at Bear Bites Horse in London by Wayne Adams, who’s also in the band alongside Andy Cairns of Therapy?, Mugstar‘s Jason Stoll and Adam Betts (of Squarepusher and others) — and this is the kind of album that’s going to be years in revealing itself. How about this? Sometime in 2028, if this site is still here, I’ll follow-up and let you know what I’ve found digging into the sinister groove of “Rot” or the shout-kraut rumble and noise of “Bring Home the Motherlode, Barry,” “The Dead Drop” going from minimalism to full heavy New Wave wash in five minutes’ time, and so on, but for right now, let it serve as the cannonball to be lobbed at anyone who says there aren’t any acts out there doing new things or pushing different styles forward, because hell’s bells, that’s the only place this goes even as it also seems to go everywhere at the same time, unto closing out with a Björk cover “Army of Me” as imagined by Ministry doing ’90s drum ‘n’ bass. Some things are just bigger than the year of their release, and I look forward to living with this record.

JAAW on Facebook

Svart Records website


The Bridesmaid, Come on People Now, Smile on Your Brother

The Bridesmaid Come on People Now Smile on Your Brother

From the opening drone-and-toy-chime-forward over industrial black metal of “Leytonstone: Eat Your Landlord” through the sample-fed machine sludge-turned-psych experimentalism that gives way to a shimmering haze of jazz metal in “Cleveland: And the Rain Came Down” and the can’t-fool-me-by-now acoustic strum at the start of “Summerland: A Long, Maintenance-Free Life” that runs a current of cello under its aural collage and low-end lumber early only to bask in news-and-drone departure with percussion later on the way to what post-hardcore could still someday be, the name of the EP is Come on People Now, Smile on Your Brother and The Bridesmaid deliver the proceedings in a manner more suited to Kurt Cobain‘s fuckall rasp of that line rather than the Youngbloods original. So it’s probably the latter. In any case, the UK solo-plus-friends outfit helmed and steered by JJ Saddington are an aural barrage, and while the temptation is to think of the three-song/21-minute offering as a blender on liquefy, the truth is the material is more thought out, more considerately mixed, and more engaging, than that kind of spastic randomness implies. If you can keep up with the changes, the adventure of listening is well worth the ankles sprained in its twists, but you should go into it knowing that the challenge is part of the appeal.

The Bridesmaid on Facebook

The Bridesmaid on Bandcamp


Milana, Milvus

milana milvus

If the hard push and tonal burl of comparatively straight-ahead opener “The Last Witch” aren’t convincing, stick around through “Celestial Bird Spirit” and “Impermanence” on the rest of side A before you resolve one way or the other as regards Milana‘s debut album, Milvus. The Mallorca-based four-piece are for sure in conversation with fest-ready modern European heavy rock, and that’s the thread that weaves throughout the album, but in the 11-minute “Impermanance,” they build on the more temperate rollout of “Celestial Bird Spirit” and find an intriguing blend of atmosphere and dense fuzz, more moody than psychedelic, but smart to hold back its weightiest tonality for the rolling end. Appropriately enough, “Lucid Reality” brings them back to ground at the start of side B, but still has an atmospheric effect in its verse, with vocal layering over open-spaced guitar and an alt-rock pickup as they move toward the chorus, and Howling Wolf gives a class-conscious definition of the blues, in the long intro of “Gray City Lights,” setting a difficult standard for the rest of the song to match, but the organ helps. And all seems well and fine for “Whispering Wind” to wrap up mirroring the rocker “The Last Witch” at the start until the song breaks, the harmony starts, and then the growls and massive fuzz start in the last minute and it turns out they were metal all along. Go figure. There’s growing to do, but there’s more happening on Milvus than one listen will tell you, and that in itself is a good sign.

Milana on Instagram

Milana on Spotify


New Mexican Doom Cult, Necropolis

New Mexican Doom Cult Necropolis

Swedish upstart four-piece New Mexican Doom Cult offer a distinctly Monolordian weep of lead guitar on “Seven Spirits,” but even that is filtered through the band’s own take, and that’s true of their first full-length, Necropolis more generally, as the Gävle outfit now comprised of guitarist/vocalist/principal songwriter Nils Ahnland, guitarist Johan Klyven Kvastegård, bassist Emil Alstermark and drummer Jonathan Ekvall present seven songs and 48 minutes of dug-in rockers, distortion keyed to its fuzziest degree as Ahnland hints vocally on “Underground” toward a root in darker and more metallic fare ahead of the chugging build that rounds out the eight-minute centerpiece title-track and the make-doom-swing ethic being followed in closer “Worship the Sun.” “Vortex” is a highlight for the melody as much as the double-dose of nodfuzz guitar work, and opener “Architect” sets an atmospheric course but assures that the sense of movement is never really gone, something that’s a benefit even to the righteous Sabbath blowout verse in the penultimate “Archangel.” Much of what they’re doing will be familiar to experienced heads, but not unwelcome for that.

New Mexican Doom Cult on Facebook

Ozium Records on Bandcamp

Olde Magick Records on Bandcamp


Gentle Beast, Gentle Beast

Gentle Beast Gentle Beast

Capable double-guitar heavy rock pervades the 43-minute Gentle Beast by the Swiss five-piece of the same name. Mixed by Jeff Henson of Duel and issued through Sixteentimes Music, the eight-song run is defined by knowing itself as stoner rock, and that remains true as “Super Sapiens” departs into its post-midsection jam, eventually returning to the chorus, which is almost unfortunately hooky. “Greedy Man” is almost purely Kyuss in its constructed pairing of protest and riff, but the “Caterpillar” shows a different side of the band’s character in its smooth volume shifts, winding leads and understated finish, leading into the sharper-edged outset of closer “Toxic Times.” In the forward thrust of “Joint Venture,” the opener “Asteroid Miner” with its gruff presentation, and the speedier swing of “Headcage” reinforcing the vocal reference to Samsara Blues Experiment in the leadoff, Gentle Beast tick all the boxes they need to tick for this debut long-player some four years after the band’s initial 7″ single, setting up multiple avenues of possible and hopeful progression while proving dexterous songwriters in the now. Won’t change your life, but isn’t trying to convince you it will, either.

Gentle Beast on Facebook

Sixteentimes Music store


Bloodsports, Bloodsports

bloodsports bloodsports

Denver four-piece Bloodsports — also stylized all-lowercase: bloodsports — give a heavygaze impression with “Sky Mall” at the launch of their self-titled debut EP that the subsequent “Crimp” gleefully pulls the rug right from under with a solo section like All Them Witches grew up listening to The Cure after its Weezery verse, and the proceedings only gets grungier from there with the low-key Nirvana brooding of “Sustain” (also issued in 2022 as a standalone single) and its larger-scale, scorch-topped distorted finish and the shaker-inclusive indie ritual that is “Carnival” until it explodes into a blowout ending like the release of tension everyone always wanted but never actually got from Violent Femmes. Some noisy skronk guitar finishes over the hungover fuzz, which is emblematic of the way the entire release — only 11 minutes long, mind you — derives its character from the negative space, from its smaller moments of nuance, as well as from its fuller-sounding stretches. They’re young and they sound it, but there’s a sonic ideal being chased through the material and Bloodsports may yet carve their aural persona from that chase. As it is, the emotive aspects on display in “Sustain” and the volatility shown in the roll of “Sky Mall” make in plain that this project has places it wants to go and areas to explore, and one hopes Bloodsports continue to bring their ideas together with such fluidity.

Bloodsports on Instagram

Candlepin Records on Bandcamp


Night Fishing, Live Bait

Night Fishing Live Bait

Recorded seemingly almost entirely live on audio and video, vibrancy would seem to be the underpinning that draws Night Fishing‘s Live Bait together, if fishing isn’t. The Denver four-piece are a relatively new formation, with guitarists Graham Zander (also Green Druid) and Zach Amster (Abrams), bassist Justin Sanderson (Muscle Beach) and drummer Gordon Koch (Call of the Void) all coming together from their sundry other projects to explore a space between the kosmiche, heavy rock and semi-improv jamming. The turns and fills and crashes that round out the second of three cuts, “No Services,” for example, feel off-the-cuff, but throughout most of “Alone With My Thoughts” and at least in the initial Slift-like shuffle at the start of “Slapback Twister,” there’s a plan at work. At 25 minutes, they’re only about a song shy of making Live Bait a full-length — though another track might mess up the shortest-to-longest and alphabetical ordering Live Bait has now, which are fun — but the instrumentalist exploration is suited to the nascent feel of the outfit, and while I don’t think Night Fishing is anybody’s only band here, if they can build on the sense of purpose they give to the jangly rhythm and airy solo of “Slapback Twister” and the right-on push of “Alone With My Thoughts,” they can make their records as long or as short as they want and they’re still bound to catch ears.

Night Fishing on Instagram

Brutal Panda Records website


Wizard Tattoo, Fables of the Damned

Wizard Tattoo Fables of the Damned

Following last year’s self-titled debut EP, Indianapolis solo-project Wizard Tattoo cuts itself open and bleeds DIY on the seven songs and 40 minutes of the self-recorded, self-released Fables of the Damned, beginning with distinct moments of departure in opener “Wizard Van” and “The Black Mountain Pass,” the latter of which returns to its gutted-out chorus with maestro Bram the Bard (who also did the cover) cutting through the tonescape of his own creation to underscore the structure at work. There are stories to be told in “The Vengeful Thulsa Dan” and the folkish “Any Which Way but Tuned,” which brings together acoustics and chanting like a gamer version of Wovenhand, deep-mixed tom thud peppered throughout while the chimes are more forward, while the seven-minute “The Ghost of Doctor Beast” picks up with the slowest and most doomed of the included rollouts, “God Damn This Wizard Tattoo” ups the tempo with a catchy chorus, a little bit of mania in the hi-hat under the guitar solo, and hints dropped in the bassline of the grunge aspects soon to be highlighted in instrumental closer “Abendrote.” The sense of character is bigger than the production, and that balance is something that will need to be ironed out over time, but the dug-in curio aspects of Fables of the Damned make it engaging, whatever it may or may not lead toward.

Wizard Tattoo on Facebook

Wizard Tattoo on Bandcamp


Nerver & Chat Pile, Brothers in Christ Split


I’ll never claim to be anything more than a dilettante when it comes to noise rock, and I’ll tell you outright that Kansas City’s Nerver are new to me as of this Brothers in Christ split with Oklahoma City’s Chat Pile, but both acts are coming from a strong Midwestern tradition of post-industrial (talking economy not genre) disaffection and building on momentum from strong 2022 releases, those being Nerver‘s even-the-CD-sold-out (aha! but not from the label! got it!) sophomore full-length CASH and Chat Pile‘s much-lauded debut, God’s Country (review here), and the scream-topped bombast of the one and volatile emotive antipoetry of the other make fitting companions across the included four songs, as Nerver‘s “Kicks in the Sky” underscores its jabs with deep low rumble as a bed for the harshly delivered verse and “The Nerve” shoves itself faceward in faster and less angular fashion, consuming like Chicago post-metal but pissed off like Midwestern hardcore while Chat Pile build through “King” en route to the panicked slaughter of “Cut,” which is sure enough to trigger fight-or-flight in your brain before its sub-five-minute run is up. Neither arrives at this point without hype behind them, both would seem to have earned it. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m gonna go put on that Nerver album and play a bit of catchup.

Chat Pile on Instagram

Nerver on Facebook

Reptilian Records website

The Ghost is Clear Records website


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Roadburn 2023 Makes First Lineup Announcement

Posted in Whathaveyou on November 3rd, 2022 by JJ Koczan

Names like David Eugene Edwards and Julie Christmas are bound to draw eyes, along with Deafheaven, but dig into the lineup announcement for Roadburn 2023 and you’ll find even more genre-spanning righteousness from the e’er forward-looking Dutch fest, which recently unveiled its pretty-people-doing-stuff thematic artwork by William Lacalmontie. Burst and Chat Pile stand out to me immediately, and Norna whom I recently saw for the fist time, but LLNN will kill it in their commissioned collaboration, and a special set from Wolves in the Throne Room is an idea that has a proven history at Roadburn of being, well, special.

I didn’t get to go to Roadburn 2022, which if we’re being honest is a lack in my life that I’ve felt throughout the entire year since. I don’t imagine they’re bringing back the daily ‘zine for 2023, having now thrived without it for the first time in however many years it was. But if I can get back over for next April, I’m going to do everything I can to try and make that happen. Assuming I can walk by then, I’ll carry amps from one end of the loading bay to the other, I don’t care. Just please let me be in Tilburg again.

This is the first announcement. More will follow. This is always one of the best and most hopeful times of the year.

From the PR wire:

Roadburn 2023

Roadburn announces first names for 2023, including Deafheaven, Julie Christmas, and David Eugene Edwards

Roadburn has announced the first names for the 2023 line up ahead of tickets going on sale later this month. The festival will take place at the 013 venue, Tilburg, The Netherlands between April 20-23, 2023. Tickets will go on sale at 7pm CET (6pm GMT, 1pm EST, 10am PST) on November 15.

Roadburn Artistic Director, Walter Hoeijmakers comments:

“We are very thrilled to see Roadburn 2023 coming together, especially in a world turned upside down and all the challenges facing the live music industry. Roadburn 2023 is shaping up to be a very exciting edition of the festival even while navigating the underground post-pandemic. This year’s Roadburn won’t see a curator as there are so many obstacles and pitfalls to overcome; it would be hard for a curator to fully realise their artistic and musical dreams. We at Roadburn will make sure the 2023 edition will be as adventurous and explorational as always, and it will be an anchor point as usual. It will be a very current edition, reflecting the world as it is now.”

Line up announcements:
Deafheaven will fly in to Roadburn to celebrate the 10th anniversary of their groundbreaking sophomore album, Sunbather, by performing the album in full alongside a second set where they will play their latest incredible album, Infinite Granite.

Originally scheduled to perform at Roadburn 2020, Julie Christmas will finally perform next April as a European exclusive set. With a diverse back catalogue and the promise of new material on the horizon, this will be a must-see show.

Also drawing from a rich back catalogue, Roadburn will welcome back David Eugene Edwards, who will be performing cuts from his 16 Horsepower, Wovenhand and solo discographies.

Wolves In The Throne Room will enhance their already immersive performances with additional audio and visual components to create a special, exclusive set titled Shadow Moon Kingdom.

Another postponed Roadburn debut will finally come to fruition as Brutus will perform off the back of their stunning new album, Unison Life.

Big Brave warranted a rare back-to-back Roadburn booking and will be performing their upcoming new album nature morte at Roadburn 2023.

The Soft Moon has made such an impact over the years, but their latest album, Exister, takes things to a new level. They will be performing the album in full at Roadburn 2023.

Giles Corey will be making their live debut with a full band at Roadburn; originally scheduled for 2020 this underground phenomenon will bring catharsis and emotion in abundance.

Chat Pile have made an immense impact in a short space of time, and Roadburn has snagged the exclusive European debut of this much-hyped quartet.

Candy will be performing their blistering new album, Heaven is Here in full at Roadburn.

KEN Mode are doing their bit for the thriving noise-rock resurgence of 2022, and they’ll be flying in for a one-off show at Roadburn 2023.

The genre-defying experimentalism found on Show Me the Body’s latest album Trouble the Water will be brought to life in the flesh with their Roadburn debut next April.

Recently reformed and raring to go, Roadburn will host Sweden’s Burst, bringing the sound of early Scandinavian post-metal to Tilburg.

Norna will also represent Sweden with a crushing take on sludgy post-hardcore.

Commissioned Music:

Roadburn has been commissioning artists to create and perform original compositions at the festival since 2018. 2023 will see an array of such commissioned projects – this year with a particular focus on giving a platform to underground artists – the first of which is announced today.

John Cxnnor performing All My Future’s Past.
Brothers Ketil and Rasmus Sejersen grew up in Denmark’s hardcore scene and the influence of that is felt in the music they create as part of LLNN, but it also infiltrates their work under the John Cxnnor moniker. For this commissioned project, they will enhance the industrial electronics of the John Cxnnor project with the contributions of fellow musicians from the hardcore scene they were shaped by.

Collaboration with Schouwburg Tilburg:
For the first time, Roadburn is collaborating with Schouwburg Tilburg to embrace dance as part of the Roadburn landscape. Dance Of The Seven Veils will be brought to life by director Aïda Gabriëls with musical accompaniment courtesy of Colin H. Van Eeckhout (CHVE, Amenra), Pieter-Jan Van Assche (Innerwoud) and soprano Astrid Stockman. Tickets for this event will be sold as an upgrade to Roadburn tickets, with a discount for Roadburn attendees.

More information on all these announcements can be located HERE:

Roadburn’s official visual artist for 2023 is William Lacalmontie, more information about his collaboration with the festival can be found HERE:

Weekend tickets and accommodation options will go on sale via at 7pm CET (6pm GMT, 1pm EST, 10am PST) on November 15. 4-day tickets will be priced at €244, 3-day tickets at €214, and single day tickets at €79 (all costs inclusive of fees and service charges).

Julie Christmas, The Bad Wife Live in full

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Quarterly Review: Crippled Black Phoenix, Chat Pile, Early Moods, Larman Clamor, The Necromancers, Les Lekin, Highbay, Sound Animal, Warcoe, DONE

Posted in Reviews on September 23rd, 2022 by JJ Koczan


See you back here Monday, huh? Yeah. If onslaughts of new music are your thing and you’ve been following along throughout this week — first, thank you — and second, we’ll pick up after the weekend with another 50 albums in this double-wide Fall 2022 Quarterly Review. This was a good week though. Yesterday had some genuine killers, and I’ve added a few to my best-of lists for the end-of-year stuff to come. There’ll be another Quarterly Review then too. Never any trouble filling slots with new releases. I’ve already started, in fact.

Madness. Didn’t I say something yesterday about one thing at a time? Ha.

Quarterly Review #41-50:

Crippled Black Phoenix, Banefyre

crippled black phoenix banefyre

There are times where I wonder if Crippled Black Phoenix aren’t just making fun of other bands, their audience, themselves, and everything, and then there are times when I’m pretty sure they are. To wit, their latest outing for Season of Mist, Banefyre, is nearly an hour into its 90-plus-minute runtime before they offer up the 10-minute “Down the Rabbit Hole,” and, well, if we’re not down it by then, where the hell are we? See also “Wyches and Basterdz” near the outset. Whatever else they may be, the long-running, dynamic, progressive, dark heavy rock troupe surrounding founding songwriter and guitarist Justin Greaves are like nothing else. They offer shades of influences, discernable elements from this or that style, this or that band — “The Reckoning” has a bit of The Cure, “Blackout77” filters that through Katatonia, etc. — but are never working to be anyone but themselves. Accordingly, the thoroughly British depressive triumphs throughout Banefyre — looking at you, “I’m OK, Just Not Alright” — are part of an ongoing narrative of creative development that will hit its 20th year in 2024 and has offered listeners an arc of emotive and stylistic depth that, in whatever genre you want to try to confine it, is only ever going to escape. The only real tragedy of Banefyre is that they’ll probably have another record out before this one can be properly digested. That’ll take a few years at least.

Crippled Black Phoenix on Facebook

Season of Mist website


Chat Pile, God’s Country

Chat Pile God's Country

An Oklahoma hardcore-born circus of sludge-toned tragedies personal, cultural and socioeconomic played out across nine songs/42 minutes held together at times seemingly most of all by their disenchantment, Chat Pile‘s debut album, God’s Country is arthouse angularity, raw aggression and omnidirectional intensity. As the UK’s post-industrial waste once birth’d Godflesh, so now come vocalist Raygun Busch, guitarist Luther Manhole, bassist Stin and electronic-drummer Cap’n Ron with brilliantly constructed tales of drugs, murder, suicide, loss, violence, misery, and general wretchedness of spirit, presented instrumentally with quick turns that draw from hardcore as noted, but also death metal, sludge, industrial doom, and so on. The lyrics are masterful drug poetry and delivered as such, semi-spoken, shouted, some singing, some acting out, such that you never know from what direction the next punch is coming. “Why” tackles homelessness, “Pamela” demonstrates the impossibility of coping with loss, “Slaughterhouse” is what it says, and closer “Grimace_Smoking_Weed.jpeg” resolves its nine minutes in long-held feedback and crashes as Busch frantically screams with decreasing intelligibility until it’s even words anymore. A perfect finish to a stunning, terrifying, moving first album. Don’t go into it expecting listenability. Even as “I Don’t Care if I Burn” offers some respite, it does so while describing a murder fantasy. It’s not the only one.

Chat Pile on Instagram

The Flenser store


Early Moods, Early Moods

Early Moods Early Moods

Fuck yes Gen-Z doom. Yes. Yes. Yes. Show the old men how it’s done. Please. Not a gray hair in the bunch, or a bullshit riff, or a lazy groove. Early Moods got their influences in line with their 2020 debut EP, Spellbound (review here), and you can still hear some Candlemass in “Broken,” but their self-titled debut LP stamps its foot to mark their arrival as something new and a fresh take on classic ideas. Vocalist Alberto Alcaraz is a distinct presence atop the hard-distorted guitars of Eddie Andrade and Oscar Hernandez, while Elix Feliciano‘s bass fuzz-rumbles through the interlude “Memento Mori” and Chris Flores‘ big-room-ready kick counts in the Trouble‘d early highlight “Live to Suffer.” Later on, “Curse of the Light” leans into the metal end of classic doom metal ahead of the chugging roll of “Damnation” and the finisher “Funeral Macabre,” but Early Moods have already put these things in play by then, as demonstrated with the eponymous title-track. Songs are tight, crisply produced, and executed to style with a promise of more growth to come. It’s an easy record to get excited about, and one of 2022’s best albums. I might just buy the tape and the CD.

Early Moods on Facebook

RidingEasy Records store


Larman Clamor, With a Deadly Hiss

Larman Clamor With a Deadly Hiss

Less than a year after a return born of celebrating the project’s 10th anniversary with the Ink fo’ Blood (review here) full-length, prolific visual artist, songwriter, multi-instrumentalist and singer Alexander von Wieding returns with Larman Clamor‘s latest, With a Deadly Hiss. As ever, formalities are dispensed with in favor of deceptively intricate arrangements of slide acoustic and electric guitar, whatever’s-around-style percussion and von Wieding‘s telltale throaty vocals, which on “Swamp Jive” and even a bit of the six-minute finale “Eleventh Spell to Cast” draw back the throaty grit in favor of a more melodic, somewhat less performative delivery that suits the material well. Songs are mostly short — there are 11 of them and the aforementioned closer is the longest by about three minutes — but each is a blinking glimpse into the humid, climbing-vine world of von Wieding‘s creation, and in instrumentals like the manic percussion of “Monkey and the Trash Goblins” and the distortion-backed algae-delica of “Iguana at the Fountain,” the brashness of “Tortuga” and the playful falsetto of the leadoff title-track are expanded in such a way as to hint of future paths to be explored. One way or the other, Larman Clamor remains an entity unto itself in concept, craft and delivery, and if With a Deadly Hiss is just another forward step en route to the next stop on down the road, even better.

Larman Clamor on Facebook

Larman Clamor on Bandcamp


The Necromancers, When the Void Rose

The Necromancers When the Void Rose

Recorded in 2021, The Necromancers‘ third album would seem to have a mind toward picking up where the Poitiers, France-based four-piece left off pre-pandemic with 2018’s Of Blood and Wine (review here). Can hardly blame them, frankly. Now self-releasing (their first two albums were on Ripple), the semi-cult heavy rockers bring an air of classic metal to the proceedings but are remarkably cohesive in their craft, with guitarist/vocalist Basile Chevalier-Coudrain fronting the band even in the studio as demonstrated on the ’80s metal roller “The Needle,” which follows the eight-minute doom-adjacent unfolding of “Crimson Hour” — and that “adjacent” is a compliment, by the way; The Necromancers are less concerned with playing to genre than with it — wherein guitarist Robin Genais adds a short but classy solo to underscore the willful grandiosity. Bassist Simon Evariste and drummer Benjamin Rousseau underscore the grooves, prominent in the verse of the title-track, and while it’s guitars up front in traditionalist fashion, the truth is all four players are critical here, and it’s the overarching affect of the whole that makes When the Void Rose such an engaging listen, rather than the individual parts. That is to say, listen front to back for best results.

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The Necromancers on Bandcamp


Les Lekin, Limbus

Les Lekin Limbus

Though instrumental across its vast stretches, Les Lekin‘s Limbus — their first full-length since 2017’s Died with Fear, also on Tonzonen, and third overall — begins with a verbal message of hope, lyrics in German, in the beginning intro “Licht.” That gives a specifically covid-era context to the proceedings, but as the subsequent three massive sans-vocal pieces “Ascent” (14:14), “Unknown” (8:18) and closer “Return” (22:00), unfold, they do so with a decidedly otherworldly, deeply-weighted psychedelic verve. The narrative writes itself in the titles, so I’ll spare you the pretense of insight (on my part there), but note that if it was escapism through music being sought on the part of the meditative Salzburg three-piece, the richness of what’s on offer throughout Limbus is generous enough to share that experience with the audience as well. “Ascent” swells and builds as it moves duly upward, and in “Unknown,” the trio explores post-metallic atmospherics in a crunching midsection without ever losing sight of the ambience so central to what they’re doing, while it would be hard for “Return” not to be the highlight, drums and initial bass rumble giving way to a huge sounding, engrossing procession of atmospheric density. Les Lekin have been a critical favorite for a while now, and it’s easy to hear why, but their work here holds far more than academic appeal or to-genre conformity. They embody the release they would seem to have sought and still carry an exploratory spirit despite the clearly charted course of their songs.

Les Lekin on Facebook

Tonzonen Records store


Highbay, LightShower

highbay lightshower

LightShower is the fourth session from Hungarian jammers Highbay to see release in the last year-plus, and it arrives with the immediately noteworthy backing of Psychedelic Source Records. In the vein of many of that collective’s offerings, it is live recorded, probably improvised, and wholly instrumental, the trio vibing their way into a groove early on “Walking on Bubbles” and holding gently to that locked-in, entranced feel across the following five jams. The shimmering guitar tone, particuly as “Miracle Under Water” moves into the more extended “Spaceship” and the pleasantly funky “FunKing Dragons Above Fissure Mountains,” is a highlight, but the intention here is a full set, and I won’t take away from the fuzzier, riffier emergence later on in “FunKing Dragons” either, or, for that matter, the ready-to-wander post-rock float of closer “3D(ays) Trippin’.” It’s a big universe, and Highbay have their work cut out for them if they want to feel their way through all of it, but “Spaceship” mellows its way off into a greater beyond, and even “Hungover Sadness (’90s Romance)” manages to not be a drag as filtered through the trio’s chemistry. Maybe it will, maybe it won’t be the last time Highbay are heard from this year, but they’re yet another name to add to the list of Psychedelic Source-associated acts whose jammy sensibilities are helping manifest a new generation of Eastern European lysergic rock and roll.

Psychedelic Source Records on Facebook

Psychedelic Source Records on Bandcamp


Sound Animal, Yes, Yes, You

Sound Animal Yes Yes You

Think of this as less of a review and more of a general reminder to throw a follow in the direction of Berkeley, California’s dug-in-as-hell Sound Animal, or at very least let your ears pay a visit every now and again to soak up some of the weirdo drone, dance, psych electronics and whatever else might be had on any given afternoon from the prolific solo-project. “Yes, Yes, You” is the latest single, but likely not for long, and it plays out across 3:33 of keyboardian ambience and recitations of the titular reassurance that would be soul-pop were they not so definitively experimental and part of such an ongoing creative splurge. Tucked away in a corner of the Bandcamp dimension, Sound Animal comes across as an outlet for ideas as much as sonics, and with the persistent thud of a beat beneath, one, two, three, four, the melodic serenity of the wash feels like direct conversation, with the listener, the self, or, more likely, both. It is beautiful and brief, as I’m told life also is, and it may just be the thing that came after one thing and before the next, but if you stop for a minute or three and let it sink in, you just might find a more substantial place to reside. Not gonna be for everyone, but the fact that “Yes, Yes, You” is so vague and yet so clearly encouraging rather than accusatory speaks to the artistic purpose writ large throughout Sound Animal‘s e’er expanding catalog. Wouldn’t be surprised or sad to find a subsequent single going somewhere else entirely, but again, just a reminder that it’s worth finding that out.

Sound Animal on Facebook

Sound Animal website


Warcoe, The Giant’s Dream

Warcoe The Giant's Dream

Somewhere between classic metal and doom, heavy rock’s riff-led impulses and cultish atmospheres there resides the Pesaro, Italy, trio Warcoe and their debut album, The Giant’s Dream. Led by guitarist/vocalist Stefano — who also plays bass on some of the later tracks — with bassist Carlo and drummer Francesco proffering thickened roll and punctuating rhythm all the while save for the early acoustic interlude “Omega Sunrise,” the band nestle smoothly into a modern-via-not-at-all-modern sphere, yet neither are they retro or aping ’70s methodologies. Maybe that moment has passed and it’s the ascent of the ’80s metal and doom we’re seeing here — or maybe I just slated Warcoe and Early Moods the same day and both bands dig Trouble and Death Row/Pentagram, I won’t pretend to know — but the bass in “Fire and Snow” is more of a presence than bass was pretty much ever 40 years ago, so to call The Giant’s Dream anything but ‘now’ is inaccurate. They lean into rock on “Thieves, Heretics and Whores” and manifest grim but stately lurch before the fade of the penultimate “Scars Will Remain,” but wherever each piece might end up, the impression is abidingly dark and offers a reminder that Italy’s history of cult doom goes farther back than most. Paul Chain, Steve Sylvester, your legacy is in good hands.

Warcoe on Facebook

Forbidden Place Records on Bandcamp


DONE, Aged and Untreated

DONE Aged & Untreated

Hard to find info on the Boston or Boston-adjacent extreme-metal-inflected, sludge-toned dark hardcore outfit DONE — and that may just as well be anti-social-media mystique creation as the fact that their name is ungooglable — but the tape slays. Aged and Untreated hammers 15 scathing tracks into its 28 minutes, and dies on a hill of wintry black metal and barking hardcore mostly but not completely summarized in the turns of “Soulsplitter.” The fun part is when they bounce back and forth, throw in some grind on “To Curt on Waverly,” scratch your eyes out with “Dance for Them” — the second cut behind says-it-all-in-a-minute opener “Nah” — and willfully crash into a wall on the comparatively sprawling 2:35 “I Fucking Hate Thinking About You.” Haven’t seen a lyric sheet and probably won’t if my success rate in tracking down relevant factoids is anything to go by, but shit, I lived on the South Shore for seven years, including the record-breaking winter of 2014, and it sure felt a lot like this. Maybe they’re from Arizona, and if they are, I’m sure some hack would say the same thing, but hell’s bells Aged and Untreated is an intense listen, and its wreck-your-shit violence is meted out such that even the slightly-slower punch in the first half of “Hope Trickle” makes the song feel sarcastic. I wouldn’t put it on every day, but yeah. Righteously pissed.

Tor Johnson Records on Bandcamp

Tor Johnson Records store


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The Obelisk Show on Gimme Metal Playlist: Episode 89

Posted in Radio on July 22nd, 2022 by JJ Koczan

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Good show. Good tracks. Two Acid King songs to start, new stuff from Nebula, Sasquatch, Obiat, Torpedo Torpedo, Les Nadie — with whose debut album I am enthralled; review next week — Chat Pile, Brujas del Sol, Cities of Mars, Freedom Hawk (also reviewing next week). Classics from YOB, The Devin Townsend Band, Yawning Man, Kyuss, Sleep. New classic, anyhow, from the latter and a live cut from Yawning Man that’s gorgeously immersive to end out before the bonus track Freedom Hawk closes. I don’t know how much sense it makes on paper, but it flows well.

I don’t really have a theme here other than “make a good show.” I wanted to mix it up with stuff people might know and not, hopefully keep listeners hooked. Even 89 episodes of The Obelisk Show, I still a little bit live in fear that at some point Gimme Metal is going to be like, “You’re weird, you play weird shit, you never turn your playlists in on time and you suck at this,” and give me the axe. It’s happened to me on radio before (ask me about that some time; glorious story), but hasn’t happened yet here. Still, a nod to accessibility isn’t the worst idea once every 90 shows or so.

Thanks if you listen and thanks for reading.

The Obelisk Show airs 5PM Eastern today on the Gimme app or at:

Full playlist:

The Obelisk Show – 07.22.22 (VT = voice track)

Acid King Red River Middle of Nowhere, Center of Everywhere
Acid King 2 Wheel Nation III
The Devin Townsend Band Sunday Afternoon Accelerated Evolution
YOB Quantum Mystic The Unreal Never Lived
Cities of Mars Towering Graves (Osmos) Cities of Mars
Torpedo Torpedo Black Horizon The Kuiper Belt Mantras
Les Nadie Del Pombero Les Nadie
Sasquatch Save the Day, Ruin the Night Fever Fantasy
Sleep Giza Butler The Sciences
Kyuss Whitewater Sky Valley
Nebula Highwired Transmission From Mothership Earth
Chat Pile Slaughterhouse God’s Country
Obiat Sea Burial Indian Ocean
Brujas del Sol To Die on Planet Earth Deculter
Yawning Man Blowhole Sunrise/Space Finger Live at Giant Rock
Freedom Hawk Age of the Idiot Take What You Can

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

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