The Obelisk Show on Gimme Metal Playlist: Episode 101

Posted in Radio on January 6th, 2023 by JJ Koczan

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This gets pretty heavy, pretty nasty. Then it kind of gets pretty. What happened was I knew I wanted to start with Basalt Shrine because that’s just too killer a beginning to pass up. But I was barely two days into the Quarterly Review and I knew I didn’t want to do a whole show based on that, so I just kind of went from Basalt Shrine forward on a line of extreme sludge of varying kinds, and that was fun for a while. When I started stumbling coming up with inclusions off the top of my head, I decided to switch gears.

That’s where you see the second voice break. I was going to put it at the top of the second hour but figured screw it. I wanted to play Indian and Wren and KVLL, so I did. And then I jump on, announce the change happening, and jump off. I didn’t even really end the show, just “here’s something else” and done. That was a little liberating, if I’m honest. I feel like I have to say hi, thanks, thanks to Gimme, explain what The Obelisk is to anyone who doesn’t know (which I assume is everyone), then thanks again and see you in two weeks. Felt good to skip even a little of that formality/formula.

I don’t think I’ll be rewriting how I do the show entirely, but I apparently needed something different, and that’s what I got.

Thanks for listening if you make it. Thanks for reading if you see this.

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

Full playlist:

The Obelisk Show – 01.06.23 (VT = voice track)

Basalt Shrine In the Dirt’s Embrace From Fiery Tongues
Bongzilla Free the Weed Weedsconsin
Come to Grief Death Can’t Come Soon Enough When the World Dies
Seum Snowbird Snowbird
Grales All Things are Temporary Remember the Earth but Never Come Back
Gg:ull Hoisting Ruined Sails Ex Est
Nomadic Rituals The Burden Tides
Belzebong Pot Fiend Light the Dankness
Wren Chromed Groundswells
Indian Directional From All Purity
KVLL Suffocation Suffocation
DUNDDW VII Part 4 Flux
Aktopasa Agarthi Journey to the Pink Planet
Mister Earthbound Wicked John Shadow Work
Amon Acid Death on the Altar Cosmogony

The Obelisk Show on Gimme Metal airs every Friday 5PM Eastern, with replays Sunday at 7PM Eastern. Next new episode is Jan. 6 (subject to change). Thanks for listening if you do.

Gimme Metal website

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Quarterly Review: Alunah, QAALM, Ambassador Hazy, Spiral Skies, Lament Cityscape, Electric Octopus, Come to Grief, ZOM, MNRVA, Problem With Dragons

Posted in Reviews on June 27th, 2022 by JJ Koczan


This is the part where I’m supposed to tell you I’m quaking in my flip-flops about doing 100 reviews in the span of two weeks, how worried I am I’ll run out of ways to say something is weird, or psychedelic, or heavy, or whatever. You know what? This time, even with a doublewide Quarterly Review — which means 100 records between now and next Friday — I feel like we got this. It’ll get done. And if it doesn’t? I’ll take an extra day. Who even pretends to give a crap?

I think that’s probably the right idea, so let’s get this show on the road, as my dear wife is fond of saying.

Quarterly Review #1-10:

Alunah, Strange Machine

alunah strange machine

Following on from 2019’s Violet Hour (review here), Birmingham’s Alunah offer the nine songs and 42 minutes of Strange Machine on Heavy Psych Sounds. It’s a wonder to think this is the band who a decade ago released White Hoarhound (review here), but of course it’s mostly not. Alunah circa 2022 bring a powerhouse take on classic heavy rock and roll, with Siân Greenaway‘s voice layered out across proto-metallic riffs and occasional nods such as “Fade Into Fantasy” or “Psychedelic Expressway” pulling away from the more straight-ahead punch. One can’t help but be reminded of Black Sabbath with Ronnie James Dio — a different, more progressive and expansive take on the same style they started with — which I guess would make Strange Machine their Mob Rules. They may or may not be the band you expected, but they’re quite a band if you’re willing to give the songs a chance.

Alunah on Facebook

Heavy Psych Sounds on Bandcamp


QAALM, Resilience & Despair

QAALM Resilience Despair

Skipping neither the death nor the doom ends of death-doom, Los Angeles-based QAALM make a gruesome and melancholic debut with Resilience & Despair, with a vicious, barking growl up front that reminds of none so much as George “Corpsegrinder” Fisher, but that’s met intermittently with airy stretches of emotionally weighted float led by its two guitars. Across the four-song/69-minute outing, no song is shorter than opener “Reflections Doubt” (14:40), and while that song, “Existence Asunder” (19:35), “Cosmic Descent” (18:23) and “Lurking Death” (17:16) have their more intense moments, the balance of miseries defines the record by its spaciousness and the weight of the chug that offsets. The cello in “Lurking Death” adds fullness to create a Katatonia-style backdrop, but QAALM are altogether more extreme, and whatever lessons they’ve learned from the masters of the form, they’re being put to excruciating use. And the band knows it. Go four minutes into any one of these songs and tell me they’re not having a great time. I dare you.

QAALM on Facebook

Hypaethral Records website

Trepanation Recordings on Bandcamp


Ambassador Hazy, The Traveler

Ambassador Hazy The Traveler

The Traveler is Sterling DeWeese‘s second solo full-length under the banner of Ambassador Hazy behind 2020’s Glacial Erratics (review here) and it invariably brings a more cohesive vision of the bedroom-psychedelic experimentalist songcraft that defined its predecessor. “All We Wanted,” for example, is song enough that it could work in any number of genre contexts, and where “Take the Sour With the Sweet” is unabashed in its alt-universe garage rock ambitions, it remains righteously weird enough to be DeWeese‘s own. Fuller band arrangements on pieces like that or the later “Don’t Smash it to Pieces” reinforce the notion of a solidifying approach, but “Simple Thing” nonetheless manages to come across like Dead Meadow borrowed a drum machine from Godflesh circa 1987. There’s sweetness underlying “Afterglow,” however, and “Percolator,” which may or may not actually have one sampled, is way, way out there, and in no small way The Traveler is about that mix of humanity and creative reaching.

Ambassador Hazy on Facebook

Cardinal Fuzz webstore


Spiral Skies, Death is But a Door

spiral skies death is but a door

Strange things afoot in Stockholm. Blending classic doom and heavy rock with a clean, clear production, shades of early heavy metal and the odd bit of ’70s folk in the verse of “While the Devil is Asleep,” the five-piece Spiral Skies follow 2018’s Blues for a Dying Planet with Death is But a Door, a collection that swings and grooves and is epic and intimate across its nine songs/43 minutes, a cut like “Somewhere in the Dark” seeming to grow bigger as it moves toward its finish. Five of the nine inclusions make some reference to sleep or the night or darkness — including “Nattmaran” — but one can hardly begrudge Spiral Skies working on a theme when this is the level of the work they’re doing. “The Endless Sea” begins the process of excavating the band’s stylistic niche, and by “Time” and “Mirage” it’s long since uncovered, and the band’s demonstration of nuance, melody and songwriting finds its resolution on closer “Mirror of Illusion,” which touches on psychedelia as if to forewarn the listener of more to come. Familiar, but not quite like anything else.

Spiral Skies on Facebook

AOP Records website


Lament Cityscape, A Darker Discharge

Lament Cityscape A Darker Discharge

Almost tragically atmospheric given the moods involved, Wyoming-based industrial metallurgists Lament Cityscape commence the machine-doom of A Darker Discharge following a trilogy of 2020 EPs compiled last year onto CD as Pneumatic Wet. That release was an hour long, this one is 24 minutes, which adds to the intensity somehow of the expression at the behest of David Small (Glacial Tomb, ex-Mountaineer, etc.) and Mike McClatchey (also ex-Mountaineer), the ambience of six-minute centerpiece “Innocence of Shared Experiences” making its way into a willfully grandiose wash after “All These Wires” and “Another Arc” traded off in caustic ’90s-style punishment. “The Under Dark” is a cacophony early and still intense after the fog clears, and it, “Where the Walls Used to Be” and the coursing-till-it-slows-down, gonna-get-noisy “Part of the Mother” form a trilogy of sorts for side B, each feeding into the overarching impression of emotional untetheredness that underscores all that fury.

Lament Cityscape on Facebook

Lifeforce Records website


Electric Octopus, St. Patrick’s Cough

Electric Octopus St Patricks Cough

You got friends? Me neither. But if we did, and we told them about the wholesome exploratory jams of Belfast trio Electric Octopus, I bet their hypothetical minds would be blown. St. Patrick’s Cough is the latest studio collection from the instrumentalist improv-specialists, and it comes and goes through glimpses of various jams in progress, piecing together across 13 songs and 73 minutes — that’s short for Electric Octopus — that find the chemistry vital as they seamlessly bring together psychedelia, funk, heavy rock, minimalist drone on “Restaurant Banking” and blown-out steel-drum-style island vibes on “A2enmod.” There’s enough ground covered throughout for a good bit of frolicking — and if you’ve never frolicked through an Electric Octopus release, here’s a good place to start — but in smaller experiments like the acoustic slog “You Have to Be Stupid to See That” or the rumbling “Universal Knife” or the shimmering-fuzz-is-this-tuning-up “Town,” it’s only encouraging to see the band continue to try new ideas and push themselves even farther out than they were. For an act who already dwells in the ‘way gone,’ it says something that they’re refusing to rest on their freaked-out laurels.

Electric Octopus on Facebook

Interstellar Smoke Records store


Come to Grief, When the World Dies

come to grief when the world dies

Behold, the sludge of death. Maybe it’s not fair to call When the World Dies one of 2022’s best debut albums since Come to Grief is intended as a continuation by guitarist/backing vocalist Terry Savastano (also WarHorse) and drummer Chuck Conlon of the devastation once wrought by Grief, but as they unleash the chestripping “Life’s Curse” and the slow-grind filthy onslaught of “Scum Like You,” who gives a shit? When the World Dies, produced of course by Converge‘s Kurt Ballou at GodCity, spreads aural violence across its 37 minutes with a particular glee, resting only for a breath before meting out the next lurching beating. Jonathan Hébert‘s vocal cords deserve a medal for the brutality they suffer in his screams in the four-minute title-track alone, never mind the grime-encrusted pummel of closer “Death Can’t Come Fast Enough.” Will to abrasion. Will to disturb. Heavy in spirit but so raw in its force that if you even manage to make it that deep you’ve probably already drowned. A biblical-style gnashing of teeth. Fucking madness.

Come to Grief on Facebook

Translation Loss Records store


ZOM, Fear and Failure

Zom Fear and Failure

In the works one way or the other since 2020, the sophomore full-length from Pittsburgh heavy rockers ZOM brings straight-ahead classicism with a modernized production vibe, some influence derived from the earlier days of Clutch or The Sword and of course Black Sabbath — looking at you, “Running Man” — but there’s a clarity of purpose behind the material that is ZOM‘s own. They are playing rock for rockers, and are geared more toward revelry than conversion, but there’s no arguing with the solidity of their craft and the meeting of their ambitions. Their last record took them to Iceland, and this one has led them to the UK. Don’t be surprised when ZOM announce an Australian tour one of these days, just because they can, but wherever they go, know what they have the songs on their side to get them there. In terms of style, there’s very little revolutionary about Fear and Failure, but ZOM aren’t trying to revamp what you know of as heavy rock and roll so much as looking to mark their place within it. Listening to the burly chug of “Another Day to Run,” and the conversation the band seems to be having with the more semi-metal moments of Shadow Witch and others, their efforts sound not at all misspent.

ZOM on Facebook

StoneFly Records store


MNRVA, Hollow

mnrva hollow

Making their debut through Black Doomba Records, Columbia, South Carolina’s MNRVA recorded the eight-song Hollow in Spring 2019, and one assumes that the three-year delay in releasing is owed at least in to aligning with the label, plus pandemic, plus life happens, and so on. In any case, from “Not the One” onward, their fuzz-coated doom rock reminds of a grittier take on Cathedral, with guitarist Byron Hawk and bassist Kevin Jennings sharing vocal duties effectively while Gina Ercolini drives the march behind them. There’s some shifting in tempo between “Hollow” and a more brash piece like “With Fire” or the somehow-even-noisier-seeming penultimate cut “No Solution,” but the grit there is a feature throughout the album just the same. Their 2019 EP, Black Sky (review here), set them up for this, but only really in hindsight, and one wonders what they may have been up to in the time since putting this collection to tape if this is where they were three years ago. Some of this is straight-up half-speed noise rock riffing and that’s just fine.

MNRVA on Facebook

Black Doomba Records on Bandcamp


Problem With Dragons, Accelerationist

Problem With Dragons Accelerationist

The third full-length, Accelerationist, from Easthampton, Massachusetts’ Problem With Dragons is odd and nuanced enough by the time they get to the vocal effects on “Have Mercy, Show Mercy” — unless that’s a tracheostomy thing; robot voice; that’s not the first instance of it — to earn being called progressive, and though their foundation is in more straightforward heavy rock impulses, sludge and fuzz, they’ve been at it for 15 years and have well developed their own approach. Thus “Live by the Sword” opens to set up lumbering pieces like “Astro Magnum” and the finale title-track while “In the Name of His Shadow” tips more toward metal and the seven-minute “Don’t Fail Me” meets its early burl (gets the wurlm?) with airier soloing later on, maximizing the space in the album’s longest track. “A Demon Possessed” and “Dark Times (for Dark Times)” border on doom, but in being part of Problem With Dragons‘ overall pastiche, and in the band’s almost Cynic-al style of melodic singing, they are united with the rest of what surrounds. Some bands, you can just tell when individualism is part of their mission.

Problem With Dragons on Facebook

Problem With Dragons on Bandcamp


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Come to Grief to Release When the World Dies May 20

Posted in Whathaveyou on March 11th, 2022 by JJ Koczan

come to grief

Come to Grief are like the beast you absolutely see coming that still consumes you. New Hampshire’s state motto is “live free or die,” the band’s might be “go ahead and die anyway.” The inheritors of one of sludge’s filthiest legacies — that of Grief — have set May 20 as the release date through Translation Loss Records of their debut album, When the World Dies, and true to their New England roots, they’ve got Converge‘s Jacob Bannon on the lead single. That band’s Kurt Ballou also recorded, which, yes, makes sense. Even mentioning that seems superfluous. Of course he did.

Devastating live and crushing across their various short releases to this point, I see no reason why Come to Grief‘s awaited first full-length shouldn’t absolutely flay any and all who take it on upon its arrival. I’ll gladly suffer a reverse graft for the cause when the time comes.

From the PR wire:

come to grief when the world dies



New England nihilistic, extreme sludge/doom band COME TO GRIEF announce their highly-anticipated and long-awaited debut full-length album, “When The World Dies” – to be released on May 20, 2022 via Translation Loss Records.

COME TO GRIEF have risen from the ashes of a hellish existence to bring seven tracks of sinister, hypnotic filth – dank with suffocating depravity. Powerful and catchy grooves lace each track with grimy black n’ roll undertones while vocalists Terry Savastano and Jonathan Hebert lay waste to tortured, spite-filled and personal lyrics – spitting true life stories and observations on the bleak, lack of humanity that plagues the earth. Recorded by Kurt Ballou at GodCity Recording Studio and featuring Jacob Bannon (CONVERGE), who contributes vocals that storm in like a whirlwind of chaotic ferver. A lurking rhythm section soldered together with smoldering riffs demands you to bang your head and proves “When The World Dies” is no pentatonic picnic – this is sonic annihilation.

Along with the announcement of “When The World Dies” the band have released the first single from the album titled, “Life’s Curse”. The ferocious track features blistering vocals from CONVERGE frontman, Jacob Bannon.

About the album announcement and track release, COME TO GRIEF share the following statement:

When the World Dies has finally reared its ugly head after nearly 8 years of constant shows and EP’s. The long-awaited long-player shall bludgeon your existence. Not merely ‘Sludge’ or ‘Doom’, ‘When The World Dies’ melds many sounds and feelings that parallel the horrid human situation. “Life’s Curse” is a raging culmination of 50 years of anguish, depression and dejection. Do you sometimes feel lonely? Awkward? Like you don’t belong? This is for you.

About working alongside Jacob Bannon, Terry Savastano (guitar, vocals) comments:

“Having Jacob sing vocals was a really big deal. I’m super grateful for it. We go back a long way, actually. He, myself, (Chuck – COME TO GRIEF drummer) and some of the CONVERGE guys come from the same area north of Boston called the Merrimack Valley. He had my first band’s (AFTERBIRTH) demo very early on – we’re talking 1988! We were recording with Kurt Ballou so I thought it would be awesome and kinda appropriate if he could contribute vocals. He’s such an emotional singer I thought it would go perfect with Jonathan’s (Herbert) roar, and I was right! ‘Life’s Curse’ is a pretty emotional song already; he just added a whole lot more.”

“When The World Dies” will be released on May 20, 2022 on two LP variants, compact disc, and on all digital platforms worldwide. Limited edition merch is also available via Translation Loss Records. Pre-order and digital pre-save is available now.

1. Our End Begins
2. Life’s Curse
3. Scum Like You
4. Devastation of Souls
5. When the World Dies
6. Bludgeon The Soul / Returning to the Void
7. Death Can’t Come Soon Enough

Recorded by Kurt Ballou in July of 2021 at GodCity Recording Studio in Salem, MA.
Mastered by Brad Boatright at Audiosiege.

Guest vocals by Jacob Bannon (CONVERGE) on “Life’s Curse” and “Bludgeon The Soul”.
Bass on the entirety of When The World Dies by Randy Larsen.

Album artwork by Paulo Girardi.
Promo photos by COME TO GRIEF.

Jonathan Hebert – Lead Vocals and Rhythm Guitar
Terrenza Savastano – Lead Guitar & Backing Vocals
Chuck Conlon – Drums
Jon Morse – Bass

Come to Grief, When the World Dies (2022)

Come to Grief, Pray for the End (2020)

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Come to Grief Announce Debut Album Recording Plans

Posted in Whathaveyou on June 10th, 2021 by JJ Koczan

Reigniting one of sludge’s most extreme and vicious legacies is no minor ask, but Come to Grief — born from the cleaved skull of New England brutalizers Grief — have done precisely this thing. Their 2020 EP, Pray for the End, is enough to make your skin crawl, and it follows four years-plus of the band lurking and lurching around the Eastern Seaboard and beyond, honing their disgusting craft.

Time for a debut album? You betcha. The final Grief LP was 2000’s …And Man Will Become the Hunted, so if you want to say guitarist Terry Savastano and drummer Chuck Conlon — the carry-over contingent — are due, you’re not wrong. SavastanoConlon, bassist Randy Larsen (ex-Cable) and guitarist/vocalist Jonathan Hébert will enter GodCity next month to track their first full-length with Kurt Ballou (Converge, etc.) helming. There is nothing else one might possibly ask at this point, other than they please have mercy and make it quick once they start flaying their listenership.

They made the announcement through social media, as one will. No clue as to release date, label situation, or anything like that. An album will be recorded, and then it will exist.

There you go:

Come to Grief

In one month from today we will be entering New England’s own GodCity Studio in Salem, MA to finally record our first full length! ‘When the World Dies’ will be recorded, mixed and produced by Kurt Ballou! Stay tuned over the next few weeks/months for all the news and updates regarding the new album and maybe even a few tour dates later this year! Thank you to every one of you for your patience and support over the past several years! We’re very excited to finally unleash this new material on you all, and are looking forward to see you all again on the road once the album is complete!

Terry, Jonathan, Chuck, Randy

Come to Grief, Pray for the End (2020)

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The Obelisk Show on Gimme Radio Playlist: Episode 36

Posted in Radio on June 12th, 2020 by JJ Koczan

the obelisk show banner

This one gets heavy, and mean. A lot of both. The opening is kind of spaced out and rocking, and the end is all the way gone, but there’s that middle part where it’s just fucking nasty. Vile Creature through Bismarck — one after the other after the other. I was trying to make it abrasive, and then I snuck in Gral Brothers to let anyone listening catch their breath before Come to Grief just impales the eardrums.

So yeah, it was kind of a rough week, though honestly, things kind of turned around after I put this together. Catharsis? Probably not, but it’s a nifty idea. Either way, it was all hunky-dory by the time I went and recorded the voice tracks for the show, this time in the car while taking The Pecan to go look at construction equipment. Little dude is hitting the truck phase with everything he’s got. If you listen, you’ll hear him talk about dump trucks. Maybe excavators? I can’t remember. Something. Always something.

But you know, thanks for listening if you do.

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

Full playlist:

The Obelisk Show – 06.12.20

ORGÖNE Mothership Egypt MOS/FET*
All Them Witches Saturnine & Iron Jaw Nothing as the Ideal*
Worshipper Lonesome Boredom Overdrive Lonesome Boredom Overdrive*
Vile Creature When the Path is Unclear Glory! Glory! Apathy Took Helm!*
Bible Basher So Samson Sang Loud Wailing*
Earthbong Weedcult Today Bong Rites*
Gral Brothers In Die Pizzeria Caravan East*
Come to Grief March of the Maggots Pray for the End*
Bismarck Oneironmancer Oneironmancer*
Centre El Muusa Turkeyfish Centre El Muusa
Tia Carrera Tried and True Tried and True*
Kamni A.T.O.M. A.T.O.M.*

The Obelisk Show on Gimme Radio airs every Friday 5PM Eastern, with replays Sunday at 7PM Eastern. Next new episode is June 25 (subject to change). Thanks for listening if you do.

Gimme Radio website

The Obelisk on Thee Facebooks

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Come to Grief Announce June Weekender; Welcome New Bassist

Posted in Whathaveyou on March 17th, 2020 by JJ Koczan

come to grief

Holding down low end for a band as heavy as Come to Grief is no minor task, and it has been taken on by Randy Larsen of Connecticut-based sludge rockers Cable, who’ll join the extreme-sludge offshoot of Grief for their set weekender in Brooklyn, Connecticut and New Hampshire at the end of June and then head into the studio with them later in the summer to track a new album which, if it comes out as we head into winter 2021 can only be an appropriate soundtrack to the lifeless wasteland society is sure to be by that point. Can’t wait. Look forward to it.

Come to Grief issued their latest EP, Pray for the End, last month, and, well, it’s got all the disdain for humanity as a whole that one could possibly ask, plus riffs. If you choose to take it on, you won’t hear anything else today more scathing, I assure you.

Good luck to us all:

come to grief shows


We are very pleased to announce the addition of our new bassist Randy Larsen (Cable/Slow Death)! We’ve been hard at work the past few weeks rehearsing the set, as well as making great progress on the new album, which we will be recording in August! More good news, the new line up will be hitting the road with our friends BARISHI on a short, three day run to get a few shows in with Randy prior to returning to the studio. We won’t be playing many shows this year, so we’re looking forward to seeing you all for these! We hope to see you all there!

Terry, Jonathan, Chuck, Randy, and Carl!

Come to Grief live:
June 25 – Come to Grief & Barishi at Saint Vitus Bar
June 26 – Come to Grief & Barishi in New Haven at the State House
June 27 – Come to Grief & Barishi at the Stone Church

Come to Grief are:
Terry Savastano – Guitars / Backing vocals
Jonathan Hébert – Vocals / Guitars
Chuck Conlon – Drums
Randy Larsen – Bass

Come to Grief, Pray for the End (2020)

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Fistula and Come to Grief Announce Spring Tour

Posted in Whathaveyou on January 25th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

Safe bet this one isn’t gonna be pretty. Hell, I ain’t even sure this is street legal. Fistula from Ohio, Come to Grief from Massachusetts, kicking around the country and meeting up with the likes of Cough along the way? If you ever thought you liked your sludge nasty, this would be the way to find out how true that is. A litmus test the entire planet seems doomed to fail.

They’ve got splits and whatnot for the merch table, should you want to take the scathe home with you and show everyone where those scars came from.

Oh yeah, and it’s misanthropic too.

To the PR wire:


FISTULA: Ohio Sludgecore Veterans Announce May Tour With Come To Grief

Ohio sludgecore veterans FISTULA have confirmed a spring tour this May with fellow sludge stalwarts Come To Grief. The soul-crushing journey will commence on May 1st in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and trample thirteen venues through May 13th in Portland, Maine with Cough, Midmourner, and No Funeral to appear on select shows. See confirmed dates below.

FISTULA recently issued the first wave of an ongoing split seven-inch series celebrating twenty years of sonic misery. Released via PATAC Records, the first two installments find FISTULA sharing wax space with Come To Grief and -(16)-.

The band’s split with Come To Grief features two original and categorically scathing unreleased tracks while the second features -(16)- ‘s cover of “Complications” by Killing Joke and FISTULA’s rendition of “Mongoloid,” by Devo.

Each limited edition seven-inch is available in various color variants (all clear vinyl is sold out). The Come To Grief / FISTULA split is also available on cassette. To order, visit THIS LOCATION.

FISTULA w/ Come To Grief:
5/01/2018 Kung Fu Necktie – Philadelphia, PA
5/02/2018 Strange Matter – Richmond, VA w/ Cough
5/03/2018 Maywood Tavern – Raleigh, NC w/ Midmourner
5/04/2018 529 Bar – Atlanta, GA w/ Midmourner
5/05/2018 White Water Tavern – Little Rock, AR
5/06/2018 Fubar – St. Louis, MO
5/07/2018 Rock Island Brewing Co. – Rock Island, IL w/ No Funeral
5/08/2018 Eagles 34 – Minneapolis, MN w/ No Funeral
5/09/2018 Reggie’s – Chicago, IL
5/10/2018 Black Circle Brewing Co. – Indianapolis, IN
5/11/2018 Mohawk Place – Buffalo, NY
5/12/2018 The Irish Wolf Pub – Scranton, PA
5/13/2018 Geno’s Rock Club – Portland, ME

Come to Grief & Fistula, Split EP (2017)

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The Obelisk Presents: The Top 20 Short Releases of 2017

Posted in Features on December 22nd, 2017 by JJ Koczan

the obelisk top 20 short releases

Please note: This post is not culled in any way from the Year-End Poll, which is ongoing. If you haven’t yet contributed your favorites of 2017 to that, please do.

This is the hardest list to put together, no question. Don’t get me wrong, I put way too much thought into all of them, but this one is damn near impossible to keep up with. Every digital single, every demo, every EP, every 7″, 10″ one-sided 12″, whatever it is. There’s just too much. I’m not going to claim to have heard everything. Hell, that’s what the comments are for. Let me know what I missed. Invariably, something.

So while the headers might look similar, assuming I can ever remember which fonts I use from one to the next, this list has a much different personality than, say, the one that went up earlier this week with the top 20 debuts of 2017. Not that I heard everyone’s first record either, but we’re talking relative ratios here. The bottom line is please just understand I’ve done my best to hear as much as possible. I’m only one person, and there are only so many hours in the day. Eventually your brain turns into riffy mush.

With that caveat out of the way, I’m happy to present the following roundup of some of what I thought were 2017’s best short releases. That’s EPs, singles, demos, splits — pretty much anything that wasn’t a full-length album, and maybe one or two things that were right on the border of being one. As between genres, the lines are blurry these days. That’s part of what makes it fun.

Okay, enough dawdling. Here we go:


The Obelisk Presents: The Top 20 Short Releases of 2017

1. Lo-Pan, In Tensions
2. Godhunter, Codex Narco
3. Year of the Cobra, Burn Your Dead
4. Shroud Eater, Three Curses
5. Stubb, Burning Moon
6. Canyon, Canyon
7. Solace, Bird of Ill Omen
8. Kings Destroy, None More
9. Tarpit Boogie, Couldn’t Handle… The Heavy Jam
10. Supersonic Blues, Supersonic Blues Theme
11. Come to Grief, The Worst of Times EP
12. Rope Trick, Red Tape
13. Eternal Black, Live at WFMU
14. IAH, IAH
15. Bong Wish, Bong Wish EP
16. Rattlesnake, Outlaw Boogie Demo
17. Hollow Leg, Murder
18. Mars Red Sky, Myramyd
19. Avon, Six Wheeled Action Man Tank 7″
20. Wretch, Bastards Born

Honorable Mention

Across Tundras, Blood for the Sun / Hearts for the Rain
The Discussion, Tour EP
Fungus Hill, Creatures
Switchblade Jesus & Fuzz Evil, The Second Coming of Heavy – Chapter Seven
The Grand Astoria, The Fuzz of Destiny
Test Meat, Demo
Blood Mist, Blood Mist
Sweat Lodge, Tokens for Hell
Dautha, Den Foerste
Scuzzy Yeti, Scuzzy Yeti
Howling Giant, Black Hole Space Wizard Part 2
Decasia, The Lord is Gone
Bible of the Devil/Leeches of Lore, Split 7″

I can’t imagine I won’t add a name or two or five to this section over the next few days as I think of other things and people remind me of stuff and so on, so keep an eye out, but the point is there’s way more than just what made the top 20. That Across Tundras single would probably be on the list proper just on principle, but I heard it like a week ago and it doesn’t seem fair. Speaking of unfair, The Discussion, Howling Giant, The Grand Astoria and the Bible of the Devil/Leeches of Lore split all deserve numbered placement easily. I might have to make this a top 30 in 2018, just to assuage my own guilt at not being able to include everything I want to include. For now though, yeah, this is just the tip of the doomberg.


To be totally honest with you, that Lo-Pan EP came out Jan. 13 and pretty much had the year wrapped up in my head from that point on. It was going to be hard for anything to top In Tensions, and the Godhunter swansong EP came close for the sense of stylistic adventurousness it wrought alone, and ditto that for Year of the Cobra’s bold aesthetic expansions on Burn Your Dead and Shroud Eater’s droning Three Cvrses, but every time I heard Jeff Martin singing “Pathfinder,” I knew it was Lo-Pan’s year and all doubt left my mind. Of course, for the Ohio four-piece, In Tensions is something of a one-off with the departure already of guitarist Adrian Zambrano, but I still have high hopes for their next record. It would be hard not to.

The top five is rounded out by Stubb’s extended jam/single “Burning Moon,” which was a spacey delight and new ground for them to cover. The self-titled debut EP from Philly psych rockers Canyon, which they’ve already followed up, is next. I haven’t had the chance to hear the new one yet, but Canyon hit a sweet spot of psychedelia and heavy garage that made me look forward to how they might develop, so I’ll get there sooner or later. Solace’s return was nothing to balk at with their cassingle “Bird of Ill Omen” and the Sabbath cover with which they paired it, and though Kings Destroy weirded out suitably on the 14-minute single-song EP None More, I hear even greater departures are in store with their impending fourth LP, currently in progress.

A couple former bandmates of mine feature in Tarpit Boogie in guitarist George Pierro and bassist John Eager, and both are top dudes to be sure, but even if we didn’t have that history, it would be hard to ignore the tonal statement they made on their Couldn’t Handle… The Heavy Jam EP. If you didn’t hear it, go chase it down on Bandcamp. Speaking of statements, Supersonic Blues’ Supersonic Blues Theme 7″ was a hell of an opening salvo of classic boogie that I considered to be one of the most potential-laden offerings of the year. Really. Such warmth to their sound, but still brimming with energy in the most encouraging of ways. Another one that has to be heard to be believed.

The dudes are hardly newcomers, but Grief offshoot Come to Grief sounded pretty fresh — and raw — on their The Worst of Times EP, and the Massachusetts extremists check in right ahead of fellow New Englangers Rope Trick, who are an offshoot themselves of drone experimentalists Queen Elephantine. Red Tape was a demo in the demo tradition, and pretty formative sounding, but seemed to give them plenty of ground on which to develop their aesthetic going forward, and I wouldn’t ask more of it than that.

Eternal Black gave a much-appreciated preview of their Bleed the Days debut long-player with Live at WFMU and earned bonus points for recording it at my favorite radio station, while Argentine trio IAH probably went under a lot of people’s radar with their self-titled EP but sent a fervent reminder that that country’s heavy scene is as vibrant as ever. Boston-based psych/indie folk outfit Bong Wish were just the right combination of strange, melodic and acid-washed to keep me coming back to their self-titled EP on Beyond Beyond is Beyond, and as Adam Kriney of The Golden Grass debuted his new project Rattlesnake with the Outlaw Boogie demo, the consistency of his songcraft continued to deliver a classic feel. Another one to watch out for going into the New Year.

I wasn’t sure if it was fair to include Hollow Leg’s Murder or not since it wound up getting paired with a special release of their latest album, but figured screw it, dudes do good work and no one’s likely to yell about their inclusion here. If you want to quibble, shoot me a comment and quibble away. Mars Red Sky only released Myramyd on vinyl — no CD, no digital — and I never got one, but heard a private stream at one point and dug that enough to include them here anyway. They remain perennial favorites.

Avon, who have a new record out early in 2018 on Heavy Psych Sounds, delivered one of the year’s catchiest tracks with the “Six Wheeled Action Man Tank” single. I feel like I’ve had that song stuck in my head for the last two months, mostly because I have. And Wretch may or may not be defunct at this point — I saw word that drummer Chris Gordon was leaving the band but post that seems to have disappeared now, so the situation may be in flux — but their three-songer Bastards Born EP was a welcome arrival either way. They round out the top 20 because, well, doom. Would be awesome to get another LP out of them, but we’ll see I guess.

One hopes that nothing too egregious was left off, but one again, if there’s something you feel like should be here that isn’t, please consider the invitation to leave a comment open and let me know about it. Hell, you know what? Give me your favorites either way, whether you agree with this list or not. It’s list season, do it up. I know there’s the Year-End Poll going, and you should definitely contribute to that if you haven’t, but what was your favorite EP of the year? The top five? Top 10? I’m genuinely curious. Let’s talk about it.

Whether you have a pick or not (and I hope you do), thanks as always for reading. May the assault of short releases continue unabated in 2018 and beyond.

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