Borer Premiere Video for Title-Track of Debut LP Bag Seeker; Album Out May 10

Posted in Bootleg Theater, Reviews on April 2nd, 2024 by JJ Koczan

BORER Photo by Dan Cooper

New Zealand’s Borer are set to make their full-length debut May 10 with Bag Seeker, on Landmine Records. With it, they bring the sludge of one thousand deaths, and no, that doesn’t mean they’re giving you a bunch tiny cuts until eventually you bleed out. It means they sound like they’ve died inside a thousand times and perhaps, somewhere around 920 or so with that last 80 still ahead of them, they got bitter about it. The resulting five-tracker waves its disaffection like a banner; a resolved call to everybody who, perhaps only for today, has landed at “fuck it” as the endgame of their existence. If you can’t relate as the leadoff title-track “Bag Seeker” moves from its opening sample of Ozzy talking about drugs — immediately writing off 99 percent of the planet’s population who won’t get how brilliantly on/up the nose that is — into the dense low-end lurch wrought through Boden Powell and Tim Hunt‘s guitars and Greg Newton-Topp‘s bass, with Josh Reid‘s drumming making it roll and vocalist Tom Brand‘s mood-defining, actively-doing-damage raspy gurgle telling a story few will be able to decipher but getting the point across anyhow in its omnidirectional fuckyouism, well, you’re probably lucky.

The video premiering below for “Bag Seeker” brings this ultra-stoned, ultra-heavy despondency to the visual realm as Brand stands in a not-warm-looking flow of river water and mimes the lyrics deadpan for the bulk of the song’s nine minutes as the rest of the band hangs around behind. Save for passing a joint, vaping and drinking some beer, they barely move until it’s time to de-tableau and split as a bookending sample of some guy from a viral TikTok talking about how having too much gear is better than running out of gear brings the track to its end — Terence McKenna starts the subsequent “Ket Witch,” pontificating on the effects of ketamine — and the vibe is set.

There’s more on offer in Bag Seeker‘s 55-minute stretch than raw, searing punishment, but the more subdued moments happen around the core extremity, like the baked-creeper nod in the five-minute buildup of “Ket Witch” before it reverts to the primitive assault methodology of the opener or the shorter backdrop at the outset of 21-minute finale “Lord of the Hanged,” which puts dialogue from the 2010 Cohen Bros. remake of True Grit of three men about to be executed saying their last words before the riff kicks in and Borer dive into a by-then-characteristically scathing verse section with stops beneath the screams offset BORER Bag Seekerby crash and death-stench sensory overload. These stretches, a longer break in “Lord of the Hanged” after that verse, and the two-and-a-half-minute centerpiece “6.32” — mostly harsh noise and a likely-inebriated voicemail telling you that you missed the party; “I hope you had a good sleep” sounds like an accusation — add to the atmosphere and provide some opportunity to breathe before, say, the markedly-soaked-in-feedback “Wretch” or the next round of tonally-consuming gnash in “Lord of the Hanged” takes hold, but the five-piece leave no question as to where their priorities lie in the filthier end of caustic, slow subjugation.

I had to go to the urgent-care place down the road yesterday. They built it in the middle of a strip-mall parking lot last summer, which should tell you the state of the American healthcare system just by virtue of being somehow normal, last summer. It is cube-shaped. I’ve had an infection in my left middle finger, probably a hangnail I tore out; can’t really remember. The doctor — who was not an actual doctor, but I don’t even ask anymore because I trust nurses more anyway in that kind of situation — took some cold-spray and numbed up the swollen, hard and very-clearly-full-of-pus side of my finger before digging in with a scalpel to drain it and as I watched this fluid ooze out of my person, saw the faces of the two women in the room trying to maintain their professional aspect in the face of something universally ‘ugh,’ it was echoes of Borer‘s Bag Seeker ringing in my head. I felt the cut despite the cold, felt the gunk being pushed out, got a band-aid and a prescription and was sent on my unmerry way, alone. You check in with a QR code now. They already have your information because of course they do. $15. Supposed to be a bargain.

This experience may end up defining my engagement with Borer‘s first album, because as much as I’ve been unable to get that picture of metal cutting into my skin and some tiny manifestation of the sheer wretchedness of my being leaking forth, the physical catharsis, the Kingdom Animalia satisfaction of resolving a thing, resonates as the extended soloing in the back half of “Lord of the Hanged” gives over to the last screams, crashes and feedback that end Bag Seeker as they invariably would. Release of pressure bought with pain. Expurgation. Put on the record again and churn into foul-smelling-goo oblivion what used to be vaguely human. Fucking a.

“Bag Seeker” video follows below. Jewel case CD of the album is limited to 100 copies. If you get one, give it plenty of room.


Borer, “Bag Seeker” video premiere

Clocking just under a ten-minute runtime, the resin-coated title track to Bag Seeker is delivered through a video directed by Tim Hunt and edited by Nick Smith, that rolls in like the tidal waters depicted within. The band reveals, “‘Bag Seeker’ captures a year-long descent into the shadows, where a man pursues fleeting happiness through the enigmatic allure of a bag, a quest for joy in the embrace of ephemeral highs.”

Bag Seeker will be released on CD and all digital platforms on Landmine Records May 10th. Find preorders HERE:

Bag Seeker was recorded and mixed in Christchurch by Joseph Veale (Blindfolded And Led To The Woods), mastered by Luke Finlay at Primal Mastering, and completed with artwork and layout by Jake Clark (Mr Wolf), and is a detrimental listen for fans of Iron Monkey, Bongzilla, Weedeater, Fistula, Indian, Dystopia, and Electric Wizard.

1. Bag Seeker (9:33)
2. Ket Witch (11:36)
3. 6.32 (2:30)
4. Wretch (10:21)
5. Lord of the Hanged (21:44)

BORER has also booked two release shows for the album, taking place in Dunedin on Bag Seeker’s release date and in their hometown of Christchurch the following day. Watch for additional shows to be announced over the months ahead.

BORER Bag Seeker album release shows:
5/10/2024 The Crown Hotel – Dunedin, NZ w/ Brackish, Festering Death
5/11/2024 Churchill’s Tavern – Christchurch, NZ w/ Witchcult, From Moose Mountain


Tom Brand – vocals
Boden Powell – guitar
Tim Hunt – guitar
Greg Newton-Topp – bass
Josh Reid – drums

Borer on Facebook

Borer on Instagram

Borer on Bandcamp

Landmine Records on Facebook

Landmine Records on Bandcamp

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Borer Announce May 10 Release for Debut Album Bag Seeker

Posted in Whathaveyou on March 22nd, 2024 by JJ Koczan

BORER Photo by Dan Cooper

Amid the various distractions of another day like the other days, the teaser for Borer‘s Bag Seeker caught my eye in coming down the PR wire. I don’t remember what I was supposed to be doing when I was rerouted, but that’s hardly the first time that’s happened. It’s why I keep notes, and Borer quickly went into those as well. The New Zealand extreme-sludge five-piece will release their debut album — the title as noted above is Bag Seeker — on May 10 through Landmine Records. Fair enough.

I’m not generally one for teasers. Usually you don’t get much more than 30 seconds or a minute or so of music and if you’re already excited for a thing, a snippet is really just there to piss you off that you can’t hear more. Ultimately, it was Borer‘s teaser, where you see the band in the studio sort of standing around, looking like they’re getting ready to record something or other, as part of a track plays. There’s a moment in there as the 57-second video plays out where the tone kicks in, and not then, but maybe like the next measure, the way they take that surge and lock it into the stankfaced nod they’ve already established hit me just right. All of a sudden, well, I was pissed off I couldn’t hear more.

The cover, album info, order link, etc., are below, as well of course as that teaser. By way of a plug, I’ll have the video mentioned in the press release premiering here April 2. That’s a Tuesday, if you were curious. Sometime between now and then I’m going to try to find out exactly what kind of bag is being sought.

For now:

BORER Bag Seeker

BORER: Christchurch, New Zealand Caustic Sludge Metal Quintet To Release Debut LP, Bag Seeker, On Landmine Records May 10th; Album Details, Teaser, And Preorders Posted

Landmine Records, formed and operated by members of Blindfolded And Led To The Woods, welcomes fellow New Zealand crew BORER to the label, for the May release of their caustic debut LP, Bag Seeker.

BORER was expelled into the void in 2021 during the COVID-19 lockdowns in Christchurch, Aotearoa, by vocalist Tom Brand and guitarist Boden Powell, shortly thereafter fleshed-out by guitarist Tim Hunt, bassist Greg Newton-Topp, and drummer Josh Reid. Worshipping the tones of Electric Wizard, Iron Monkey, and the like, they released their two track EP, Priest Thrower, in October 2021 which created a buzz in the sludge/doom scene and led to support slots with Beastwars, Stalker, and more, as well as playing some of the most renowned rock and metal festivals in Aotearoa.

2023 saw the BORER crew work away on their debut full-length, the now completed Bag Seeker. The resin-coated grooves of the hulking album deliver five tracks, most of which pass the ten-minute-mark, dragging the listener on a harrowing, bongwater and lukewarm beer bender which culminates in the twenty-one-minute epic “Lord Of The Hanged.”

Bag Seeker was recorded and mixed in Christchurch by Joseph Veale (Blindfolded And Led To The Woods), mastered by Luke Finlay at Primal Mastering, and completed with artwork and layout by Jake Clark (Mr Wolf), and is a detrimental listen for fans of Iron Monkey, Bongzilla, Weedeater, Fistula, Indian, Dystopia, and Electric Wizard.

Bag Seeker will be released on CD and all digital platforms on Landmine Records May 10th. Find preorders HERE:

Stand by for an official video, live announcements, and more to be dispatched surrounding the release of the record.

Bag Seeker Track Listing:
1. Bag Seeker
2. Ket Witch
3. 6.32
4. Wretch
5. Lord Of The Hanged

Tom Brand – vocals
Boden Powell – guitar
Tim Hunt – guitar
Greg Newton-Topp – bass
Josh Reid – drums

Borer, Bag Seeker teaser

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Quarterly Review: Grails, Expo Seventy, Coltsblood, Rhino, Cruthu, Spacetrucker, Black Habit, Stone Angels, The Black Willows, Lamagaia

Posted in Reviews on March 31st, 2017 by JJ Koczan


Arrival. Welcome to the final day of The Obelisk’s Spring 2017 Quarterly Review. After today, I clean off my desktop and start over with a mind toward the next round, which in my head I’ve already scheduled for late June. You know, at the end of the next quarter. I do try to make these things make sense on some level. Anyway, before we get to the last 10 albums, let me please reiterate my thanks to you for reading and say once again that I hope you’ve found something this week that really speaks to you, as I know I have and continue to today. We finish the Quarterly Review out strong to be sure, so even if you’re thinking you’re done and you’ve had enough, you might be surprised by the time you’re through the below.

Quarterly Review #41-50:

Grails, Chalice Hymnal

grails chalice hymnal

Even if one counts the 2013 collection culled from GrailsBlack Tar Prophecies ongoing series of short releases that showed up via Temporary Residence, it’s been a long while since their last proper outing. Deep Politics (review here) was issued in 2011, but it seems the intervening time and members’ participation in other projects – among them Om and Holy Sons in the case of Emil Amos – disappear for Grails on Chalice Hymnal, which speaks directly to its predecessor in sequel pieces like “Deeper Politics,” “Deep Snow II” and “Thorns II,” taking the prog-via-TangerineDream cinematics of Deep Politics to vibrant and continually experimental places on the surprisingly vocalized “Empty Chamber,” the soundscaping “Rebecca” and the imaginative, evocative jazz homage “After the Funeral,” the album’s 10-minute closer. Hearing the John Carpenter keyboard line underpinning “Pelham,” I’m not sure I’d call Chalice Hymnal limitless in its aesthetic – Grails have definitive intentions here, as they always have – but they continue to reside in a space of their own making, and one that has yet to stop expanding its reach.

Grails on Thee Facebooks

Grails at Temporary Residence Ltd.


Expo Seventy, America Here and Now Sessions

expo seventy america here and now sessions

Yes. Yes. This. With extended two tracks – “First Movement” (22:17) and “Second Movement” (27:04) – unfolding one massive longform immersion that drones pastoral, delves into hypnotic bliss and fills the soul in that way that only raw exploration can, the America Here and Now Sessions from Kansas City (by way of the moon) outfit Expo Seventy is an utter joy to experience. Purposeful and patient in its execution, graceful in the instrumental chemistry – even with a second drummer sitting in amid the core trio led by guitarist Justin Wright – the album well fits the deep matte tones and nostalgic feel of its accompanying artwork, and is fluid in its movement from drone to push especially on “Second Movement,” which sandwiches a resonant cacophony around soundscapes that spread as far as the mind of the listener is willing to let them. Whether you want to sit and parse the execution over every its every subtle motion and waveform or put it on and go into full-brain-shutdown, America Here and Now Sessions delivers. Flat out. It delivers.

Expo Seventy on Thee Facebooks

Essence Music website


Coltsblood, Ascending into Shimmering Darkness

coltsblood ascending into shimmering darkness

After surviving the acquisition of Candlelight Records by Spinefarm, UK doom extremists Coltsblood return with their second album, Ascending into Shimmering Darkness, and follow-up 2014’s Into the Unfathomable Abyss (review here) with 54 minutes of concrete-thick atmospheric bleakness spread across five tracks. The headfuckery isn’t quite as unremitting as it was on the debut – a blend of airy and thick guitar in the intro of the opening title-cut (also the longest inclusion; immediate points) reminds of Pallbearer – but the three-piece thrive in this more-cohesive-overall context, and their lumbering miseries remain dark and triumphant in kind. A closing duo of “Ever Decreasing Circles” and “The Final Winter” also both top 12 and 13 minutes, respectively, but the shorter second track “Mortal Wound” brings blackened tendencies to the fore and centerpiece “The Legend of Abhartach” effectively leads the way from one side to the other. Still, the most complete victory here for bassist/vocalist John McNulty, guitarist Jemma McNulty and drummer Jay Plested might be “The Final Winter,” which melds its grueling, excruciatingly slow crash to overarching keyboard drama and becomes a work of cinematic depth as well as skull-crushing wretchedness. Such ambient growth fascinates and shows marked progression from their first offering, and even if the primary impression remains one from which no light escapes, don’t be fooled: Coltsblood are growing and are all the more dangerous for that.

Coltsblood on Thee Facebooks

Candlelight Records website


Rhino, The Law of Purity

rhino the law of purity

Once they get past the aptly-titled minute-long “Intro,” Rhino keep their foot heavy on the gas for the vast majority of The Law of Purity, their Argonauta Records debut album. The 10 included tracks veer into and out of pure desert rock loyalism – “Eat My Dust” comes across as particularly post-Kyuss, perhaps melded with some of the burl of C.O.C.’s “Shake Like You” – and the throttle of “Nuclear Space,” “Nine Months,” “A. & B. Brown” and “Cock of Dog” later on come to define the impression of straightforward push that puts the riffs forward even more than earlier inclusions like the post-“Intro” title-track or the more mid-paced “Bursting Out,” which hints at psychedelia without really ever fully diving into it. Capping with the roll of “I See the Monsters,” The Law of Purity reminds at times of earlier Astrosoniq – particularly in the vocals – but finds the Sicilian five-piece crafting solid heavy rock tunes that seem more concerned with having a couple beers and a good time than changing the world or remaking the genre. Nothing wrong with that.

Rhino on Thee Facebooks

Argonauta Records website


Cruthu, The Angle of Eternity

cruthu the angle of eternity

As it happens, I wrote the bio and release announcement for Cruthu’s debut album, The Angle of Eternity (posted here), and I count guitarist “Postman Dan” McCormick as a personal friend, so if you’re looking for impartiality as regards the self-released six-tracker, look elsewhere. If you’re looking for primo trad doom and classic metal vibes, the Michigan-based four-piece offer touches of progressive flourish amid the shuffle of opener “Bog of Kildare,” a grueling post-“Crystal Ball” nod in “From the Sea” and a bit of ‘70s proto-metallurgy in the closing title-track, which finds vocalist Ryan Evans at his most commanding while McCormick, bassist Erik Hemingsen (Scott Lehman appears as well) and drummer Matt Fry hold together the fluid and patient groove of weighted downer metal. The sense of Cruthu as an outfit schooled in the style is palpable through the creep of “Lady in the Lake” and the post-Trouble chug of “Séance,” but they’re beginning to cast their own identity from their influences – even the penultimate interlude “Separated from the Herd” is part of it – and the dividends of that process are immediate in these tracks.

Cruthu on Thee Facebooks

Cruthu on Bandcamp


Spacetrucker, Launch Sequence

spacetrucker launch sequence

From the Kozik-style artwork of their cover to the blown-out vocals on opener “New Pubes” of guitarist Matt Owen, St. Louis three-piece Spacetrucker – how was there not already a band with this name? – make no bones about their intentions on their late-2016, 26-minute Launch Sequence seven-track EP. Owen, bassist Patrick Mulvaney and drummer Del Toro push into a realm of noise-infused stoner grunge loyal to the ‘90s execution of “Supa Scoopa and Mighty Scoop” in the stops of the instrumental “Giza” even as they thicken and dirty up their tonality beyond what Kyuss laid forth. The cowbell-inclusive “Science of Us” rests easily on Mulvaney’s tone and nods toward burl without going over the top, and cuts like “Old Flower,” the penultimate roller “Trenchfoot” and the closing post-Nirvana punker blast of “Ain’t Gonna be Me” reimagine a past in which the language of heavy rock was there to explain where grunge was coming from all along. Not looking to reinvent stylistic parameters in their image at this point, Spacetrucker is nonetheless the kind of band one might’ve run into at SXSW a decade and a half ago and been made a fan for life. As it stands, the charm is not at all lost.

Spacetrucker on Thee Facebooks

Spacetrucker on Bandcamp


Black Habit, Black Habit

black habit self titled

Clocking in at half an hour, the self-titled debut release from viola-infused Arizona two-piece Black Habit could probably qualify as an EP or an LP. I’m inclined to consider it the latter considering the depths vocalist/guitarist/bassist Trey Edwin and violist/drummer Emily Jean plunge in the five included tracks, starting with the longest of the bunch (immediate points) in the slow-moving “Escape into Infinity” before shifting the tempo upward for “Suffer and Succumb” and digging into deep-toned sludge marked out by consistently harsh vocals. I wouldn’t be surprised if Black Habit became more melodic or at least moved into cleaner shots over time, as the doomly centerpiece “South Beach” and more fuzz-rocking “Travel Across the Ocean” seem to want to head in that direction, but it’s hard to argue with the echoing rasp that accompanies the rumble and hairy tones of finale “Lust in the Dust,” as Black Habit’s Black Habit rounds out with an especially righteous nod. An intriguing, disaffected, and raw but potential-loaded opening salvo from a two-piece discovering where their sound might take them.

Black Habit on Thee Facebooks

Black Habit on Bandcamp


Stone Angels, Patterns in the Ashes

stone angels patterns in the ashes

Massive. Patterns in the Ashes is a malevolent, tectonic three-song EP following up on New Zealand trio Stone Angels’ 2011 debut, Within the Witch, as well as a few shorter live/demo offerings between, and it’s an absolute beast. Launching with the seven-minute instrumental “White Light, White Noise II” – indeed the sequel to a cut from the first album – it conjures a vicious nod and bleeds one song into the next to let “Signed in Blood” further unfold the grim atmospherics underscoring and enriching all that tonal heft. Sludge is the core style, but the Christchurch three-piece’s broader intentions come through with due volume on the grueling “Signed in Blood” and when “For the Glory of None” kicks in after its sample intro, the blasts and growls that it brings push the release to new levels of extremity entirely. As a bonus, the digital edition includes all three tracks put together as one longer, 21-minute piece, so the consuming flow between them can be experienced without any interruption, as it was seemingly meant to be.

Stone Angels on Thee Facebooks

Stone Angels on Bandcamp


Black Willows, Samsara

the black willows samsara

If Switzerland-based resonance rockers Black Willows had only released the final two tracks, “Jewel in the Lotus” and “Morning Star,” of their late-2016 second full-length, Samsara, one would still have to call it a complete album – and not just because those songs run 15 and 25 minutes long, respectively. Throughout those extended pieces and the four shorter cuts that appear before them, a palpable meditative sensibility emerges, and Black Willows follow-up the promise of 2013’s Haze (review here) by casting an even more immersive, deeper-toned vibe in the post-Om nod of “Sin” (8:08) and the more percussive complement, “Rise” (9:28), keeping a ritualized feel prevailing but not defining. From the lead-in title-track and the spacious psych trip-out of “Mountain” that gives way to the aforementioned extended closing duo, Black Willows find their key purpose in encompassing tonality and languid grooving. Nothing is overdone, nothing loses its patience, and when they get to the linear trajectory of “Morning Star,” the sense is they’re pushing as far out as far out will go. It’s a joy to follow them on that path.

Black Willows on Thee Facebooks

Black Willows on Bandcamp


Lamagaia, Lamagaia

lamagaia lamagaia

Anytime you’re at all ready to quit your job and explore the recesses of your mind via the ingestion of psychedelics, rituals and meditation, Sweden’s Lamagaia would seem to stand prepared to accompany. The Gothenburg four-piece offer two extended tracks of encouragement in that direction on their self-titled 12” (released through Cardinal Fuzz and Sunrise Ocean Bender), and both “Aurora” and “Paronama Vju” carry a heady spirit of kosmiche improvisation and classically progressive willfulness. They go, go, go. Far, far, far. Vocals echo out obscure but definitely there in post-The Heads fashion, but there’s Hawkwindian thrust in the fuzzed bass and drums driving the rhythm behind the howling guitar in “Aurora,” and that only sets up the peaceful stretch that the drones and expansive spaciousness of “Paronama Vju” finds across its 18:55 as all the more of an arrival. Immersive, hypnotic, all that stuff that means gloriously psychedelic, Lamagaia’s Lamagaia offers instrumental chemistry and range for anyone willing to follow along its resonant and ultra-flowing path. Count me in. I never liked working anyway.

Lamagaia website

Cardinal Fuzz webstore


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