Pastor Sign to Cursed Tongue for Unveil Vinyl Release May 8

Posted in Whathaveyou on February 21st, 2020 by JJ Koczan

pastor

What, you thought just because they’re not a band anymore that might stop a vinyl release? Oh no, no, no, my friends. Because while the members of Vienna classic-style proto-metal-tinged heavy rockers Pastor may have already moved onto new bands like Ryte, Mothers of the Land, White Scorpion, Avalanche and Galactic Pot Healer, they did so by posting their second and final album, Unveil, on Bandcamp like it wasn’t no thing. Except it was a thing. It was a cool record. And cool records get vinyl releases on Cursed Tongue. That’s just the way of life.

So don’t expect to see Pastor anytime soon on a bunch of festival lineups or think there’s a long list of tour dates coming, because really what the May 8 vinyl issue of Unveil is doing is serving as a proper sendoff and a thanks-for-kicking-ass-while-you-did to the four-piece, who released their 2015 debut album, Evoke (review here) and prior 2014 single, Wayfaring Stranger/The Oath (review here), on Who Can You Trust? Records, earning kudos all the while for their combined manner of boogie and shred. Whether or not the band end up doing anything else at any point down the line, I don’t think you can listen to Unveil and not agree it earns its platter.

Preorders start April 3, as the label informs:

pastor unveil

HEAVY PSYCH RIFF ROCKERS PASTOR SIGN TO CURSED TONGUE RECORDS FOR A GLOBAL VINYL RELEASE OF THEIR NEW ALBUM ‘UNVEIL’ MAY 8 2020

Cursed Tongue Records is very happy to announce the signing of Vienna, AU based riff-4some Pastor and look forward to release their sophomore and (potentially last) album entitled ‘Unveil’ premium vinyl. Pastor has yet again created an energetic, engaging and riff-heavy psych rock album full of heft and groove. ‘Unveil’ will kick your face in, knock you over, shred your skin to pieces, melt your brain and crush your skull to powder and all that will be left is your burned skin, shattered bones and knackered grinning skull.

Pastor is no new acquaintance to Cursed Tongue Records, as we have known about this band since their brilliant debut album ‘Evoke’ was released some 4+ years ago. So, when news about the digital release of a sophomore album pierced our radar, there was no hesitation and the quest for a vinyl release of this new album quickly formed in the deep dungeons at CTR headquarters. It didn’t take long for band and label to reach a common understanding that the world needed this album on the paramount medium and we quickly engaged in a plot to unveil the new album on vinyl.

The plot thickens, the plans solidify, and come May 8 2020 ‘Unveil’ will hit doom street and the Heavy Underground can rejoice in the heavy riffage that’s about to commence. Pre-orders for vinyl will run one months prior with a launch date scheduled for April 3rd 2020.

ALBUM BACKGROUND

‘Unveil’ is Pastor second album following a successful debut album entitled ‘Evoke’ released via Austrian label Who can you trust? Records in 2015. The band has the following insight to the story behind the creation of the follow-up album ‘Unveil’:
“So after our first record ‘Evoke’ was released we started gathering some songs. We did a couple weekenders here and there and ended up being on tour for a couple of weeks. During that time our tunes got slightly darker and more psych and we wanted to write songs reflecting the heavier side of our influences. It seemed we were going the direction we wanted to in the first place. “Unveil” documents this process very well, as we find.

In July 2017 we ended up again in lower Austria, where our first 7” was done and recorded there again. Bazoka Jürxn, who was our man of choice this time, captured perfectly what we wanted. Lots of beers were slammed and this time recording was way more of a party than a studio experience. We guess it was just because we knew what to expect and what we exactly wanted.

After the record was done we sort of mellowed out for a while. We started some new bands and Pastor kind of went on hiatus. The songs didn’t come naturally and we called it an end before writing stuff we couldn’t really identify with anymore. Our time was just up. We wanted to release “Unveil” somewhere, somehow and so we ended up putting it on Bandcamp. From there the good people from Cursed Tongue Records got aware of us and our last album and Niels was crazy enough to engage in releasing a record by a band that just split up.

We are more than happy that our last release is finding its way on vinyl, which was the way we wanted it to be right off the bat! So, sit back, grab a beverage of your preference and enjoy our last jams as Pastor called ‘Unveil’ Pastor was arik, shardik, alex & georg.”

Pastor might be done as a band (for now) in its current constellation, but the music lives on and we in Cursed Tongue Records firmly believe that music of this order demands a vinyl release no matter the situation – and we are pretty convinced that you, after having listened to ‘Unveil’, will testify to this as well! So in that in that we spirit we say: “For those about to riff, we salute you”!

https://www.facebook.com/pastorshreds/
https://www.instagram.com/pastorshreds/
https://pastor.bandcamp.com/
http://cursedtonguerecords.bigcartel.com/
https://www.facebook.com/CursedTongueRecords/

Pastor, Unveil (2019)

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Review & Track Premiere: Sleepwulf, Sleepwulf

Posted in audiObelisk, Reviews on February 13th, 2020 by JJ Koczan

Sleepwulf Sleepwulf

[Click play above to hear the premiere of ‘Wizard Slayer’ from Sleepwulf’s self-titled debut, out digitally March 6 with LP preorders up the same day.]

Traditionalist heavy rock has itself become a generation-spanning tradition, most especially in Sweden, where more than 20 years ago, early purveyors of hyper-stylized heavy ’70s analog-worshipers began to coalesce an aesthetic that continues to resonate with bands domestic and international. Though many of the microgenre’s once-lead advocates in acts like Witchcraft and Graveyard and last-decade comers like Blues Pills and Kadavar have moved on to more modern sounds in their particular approaches, there have been plenty of others to pick up the slack in bands like Dunbarrow, Demon HeadMaidaVale or any number of Sverige boogie acts. Newcomers Sleepwulf take a doomier approach to vintage vibes on their self-titled Cursed Tongue Records debut long-player.

Having signed to the label following two well-received singles spread widely through social media word of mouth, the Kristianstad four-piece of vocalist Owen Robertson, guitarist Sebastian Ihme, bassist Viktor Sjöström and drummer Carl Lindberg present nine tracks and 36 minutes of proto-doomed songcraft, willfully familiar as it should be but marked out nonetheless by warmth of tone, catchiness of the songwriting and the band’s clear ability to affect a mindset in their listener. Sleepwulf, which includes the two singles “Lucifer’s Light” and “Misty Mountain” on sides A and B, respectively, is a beginning point of what one hopes will be a longer-term progression, but its fluidity speaks to the band’s commitment to what they’re doing in style as well as the substance of the tracks themselves.

They are not dabbling, not getting their feet wet. They’re schooled in the methods and the modes, and whether it’s the sweeping groove of closer “One Eyed Jailor” or the shuffling jive of pieces like “Beasts of Collision” and “Tumbling Towers,” Sleepwulf effectively convey the tenets of vintage heavy doom without losing sight of bringing something of themselves to the proceedings, whether that’s in Ihme‘s soloing style or the melodies of Robertson‘s vocals, Sjöström‘s bass tone or Lindberg‘s clever snare work.

These are, again, familiar elements, and the spectre that looms over much of Sleepwulf‘s Sleepwulf is that of Pentagram‘s First Days Here, their ultra-seminal collection of early and/or lost recordings which, compiled in 2004, helped ease the path to set a generation of retro heavy in motion. And the dictates of trend have perhaps left vintage doom behind over the last few years, but that suits a band like Sleepwulf just fine as they roll through the immediately nodding riff of “Wizard Slayer” at the outset or tap Witchcraft‘s “Her Sisters They Were Weak”-riffing for their own finale.

The album as a whole is not necessarily slow in terms of pace, but seems to crawl just the same, or perhaps ooze as its tones unfurl themselves in the songs, and that makes its actually-downtempo stretches all the more effective. Cuts like presumed side A capper “Standing Stones” are spacious and emblematic of the patience that might emerge in Sleepwulf‘s sound over time, and even as it picks up pace to stand next to the likes of “Beasts of Collision,” there’s a sense of the return pending that does nothing to undercut appreciation for it when it arrives.

sleepwulf

That’s a skill in itself — to telegraph a thing and then pull it off anyway — but it speaks to the quality of the turns Sleepwulf are able to make all throughout the tracks here. They didn’t give much indication of such proclivities in “Lucifer’s Light,” keeping largely to a bouncing rhythm for the abidingly-unpretentious three-minute single, but the more insistent feel that comes to a head in “Misty Mountain” offers some clue as to where they’re coming from overall, though the subsequent “Wicked Man” — the opening line, “You were born a wicked man,” immediately bringing to mind Uncle Acid and the Deadbeats‘ “I’ll Cut You Down” — turns back to a more dead-ahead, hairy-toned style of riffing.

Rather, it’s in moments like the centerpiece interlude/side B opener “God of the Gaps” that Sleepwulf reinforce the atmosphere in which they’re working, and having done so, they’re all the more free to let loose a moment of boogie in “Tumbling Towers” as they do. You can have all the gear in the universe, record live to tape in a cave 5,000 meters below the surface of the earth with microphones made of mammoth bones or in the moldiest of decrepit low-ceiling basements, but the most necessary component to pull off a vintage approach is vibe, and that’s exactly what Sleepwulf have working most in their favor on their debut album.

Of course, the last remaining question about the band and their impressive debut is what will come next. There are a couple newer acts out there — the above-cited among them — who to one degree or another have carried across retro stylizations without losing their edge or creative progression, even if those who helped forge the path have largely let it languish. But it can be a tricky balance, and as ever, even more than the commitment to genre tenets, what’s going to help Sleepwulf most in the longer term is their songwriting, which is readily on display throughout these tracks, if in nascent form. The real trick will be to discover how Sleepwulf grow their doom over time. Will their sound expand to incorporate outside elements? What will that inherently do to the shuffle and roll that serves them so well here? Can they twist the tradition of traditionalism?

Naturally, it’s hard to even guess at this point, but even the simple curiosity should speak to the quality of the work Sleepwulf are doing and the fact that their project, whatever it ends up being, is worth pursuing, wherever it might lead. For what it’s worth, if one reads into the self-titled the idea that the prior singles were written earlier, then some of the material that surrounds, particularly in the longer side-ending tracks, does find a way to balance sonic complexity without giving up the basic sonic foundation underscoring the record as a whole. It’s another angle at which Sleepwulf‘s potential can be seen, but really, through any you might view, the picture is the same.

Sleepwulf, “Lucifer’s Light” official video

Sleepwulf on Thee Facebooks

Sleepwulf on Instagram

Sleepwulf on Bandcamp

Cursed Tongue Records BigCartel store

Cursed Tongue Records on Thee Facebooks

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Sleepwulf Sign to Cursed Tongue Records for Self-Titled Debut

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

sleepwulf

I have to say, there’s a piece of me that kind of feels like Michael Corleone in the third Godfather flick when it comes to retro heavy at this point. How could it not be surpassing salty fish among Swedish exports? I don’t have the figures to back that supposition up, but if you’re coming here for hard economic data, you’re on the wrong site. I’m the “likes riffs” guy.

So anyway, I’m all, “Just when I think I’m out…” and then Sleepwulf come along with their super-organic, live recorded, sleek-ass riffing on “Lucifer’s Light” and their self-titled debut pulls me right back in. Clocks in at nine songs/36 minutes, wants nothing more than to toss in a bit of boogie with the First Daze Here vibes and god damn, I’m into it. There ain’t much mystery to the thing on paper — it is what it is — but there’s character here and no pretense and I dig it, I dig it, I dig it. This sound has become a microgenre unto itself, and I am sucker for it.

Maybe this kind of thing has fallen out of favor with whoever decides which brand of heavy rock is hip this week, I don’t give a shit, and I take the fact that Cursed Tongue Records has picked up Sleepwulf for a vinyl release of the album only as affirmation that I’m right not to. They’ve got the vibe nailed and the songs to back it up. Sold.

LP is out April 10. Preorders and digital release March 6.

To the PR wire:

Sleepwulf Sleepwulf

SLEEPWULF – CURSED TONGUE RECORDS

EARLY DOOM ROCK QUARTET SLEEPWULF SIGNS TO CURSED TONGUE RECORDS FOR A GLOBAL VINYL RELEASE OF SELF-TITLED DEBUT ALBUM APRIL 10 2020.

Cursed Tongue Records is very happy to announce the signing of Kristianstad, SE based quartet Sleepwulf and look forward to release their self-titled debut album on premium vinyl. This album will kick down the door to the Heavy Underground as it will, by ways of the old, bring new and fresh songs that will appeal to any fan of late 60’s / early 70’s doom rock. Brace yourself for all retro, organic and vintage!

When we first heard Sleepwulf’s first single ‘Lucifer’s Light’ back in July last year it instantaneously wormed its way into our mind and soul and left us humming the chorus for a week. Cause that was about the time span before the band decided to drop their second single ‘Misty Mountain’. And if the first single was a cracking example on how to bring new life into a proved and tested formula of early doom rock, it was little compared with the full-fledged doom rock riff fest that the second single demonstrates. There’s no denying that a possible third single or even a full-length album would be any less excellent nor relevant to today’s doom rock scene.

With these two first singles the three Swedes and a Scot proved that they fully understand how to utilize the wisdom and strength of the old titans like Pentagram, Witchfinder General, Leaf Hound and Cream all while keeping it fresh and present. There were no doubt in the cave of the Cursed Tongue that a new doom child had emerged on the international heavy underground scene and it was one we could not miss.

The self-titled debut album is a tour de force in retro-tinged, organic played vintage sounds that take you right back to the late 60’s where British band Earth transformed into its latter and more known constellation. At play on Sleepwulf’s debut are blues-rooted, doom-flavored, riff-based rock of the absolute highest order. Musicianship on par with the contemporary scene’s greats such as Dunbarrow, Graveyard, Asteroid, Burning Saviours, Clan, Demon Head, Doublestone. In fact, we have little trouble comparing the quality of Sleepwulf’s debut album with Witchcraft’s ‘Alchemist’ album. Yup, it’s that good.

Sleepwulf’s debut album releases digitally on Bandcamp and all major streaming outlets on March 6 2020.

Track listing:
1. Wizard Slayer
2. Beasts of Collision
3. Lucifer’s Light
4. Standing Stones
5. God of the Gaps
6. Tumbling Towers
7. Misty Mountain
8. Wicked Man
9. One Eyed Jailor

Inspired heavily from the work of renowned occultist John Dee, this album attempts to rekindle his vision of a united cosmos. “The moon and sun of our monad desire their elements, in which the Denarian proportion will rule, to be separated, and this is to be done with the ministry of fire.” From conception, every aspect of this album is routed in these core principles and can be traced back to each of these foundations.

The entire album was recorded live in the studio, no overdubs or retakes!

The front cover artwork is drawn by the singer’s father Iain Robertson while living in the forest near Loch Ness. It’s likely influenced by numerous mushroom journeys.

It is with much joy, that Cursed Tongue Records can roll out the red carpet and give this early doom rock inspired album a dire needed vinyl treatment. We open the doors for the vinyl pre-order on March 6 with official vinyl release April 10 2020.

Sleepwulf is:
Carl Lindberg – Drums
Owen Robertson – Vocals
Sebastian Ihme – Guitar
Viktor Sjöström – Bass

https://www.facebook.com/sleepwulf
https://www.instagram.com/sleepwulf/
https://sleepwulf.bandcamp.com/
http://cursedtonguerecords.bigcartel.com/
https://www.facebook.com/CursedTongueRecords/

Sleepwulf, “Misty Mountain”

Sleepwulf, “Lucifer’s Light”

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Hippie Death Cult Premiere “Treehugger” Video; 111 Repress Preorders Available Today

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

hippie death cult

The riff that opens Hippie Death Cult‘s 111 (review here) sounds so much like Alice in Chains‘ “Junkhead” to my ears that I keep half-expecting Layne Staley to start in with the “yeah-yeah”s over the lumbering guitar of Eddie Brnabic. He doesn’t, of course, but the key word there is “keep” — as in, I keep listening. To that song, to the album in general, and to the rampant praise that’s flooded over 111 before and since its release on vinyl through Cursed Tongue Records.

Usually that kind of thing is an immediate turnoff for me, and indeed, all the “holy shit!” around the work of Brnabic (who also recorded, mixed and mastered the album initially; Tony Reed did vinyl mastering, as he will), vocalist/keyboardist Ben Jackson (also of the undervalued Sioux), bassist Laura Phillips and drummer Ryan Moore (who was also in Nether Regions) had me hesitant to really dig into the record. And I’m not saying my opinion means anything one way or the other, because it doesn’t, but the fact is there is a draw to 111 that not only holds attention in the immediate, but keeps the listener coming back, in part to figure out what that draw is.

Near as I can estimate, it’s the balance of Brnabic‘s tone, which is very much Hippie-Death-Cult-111at the forefront of the band’s sound and sets their range in terms of depth of mix, driving both their heaviest moments and the acoustic centerpiece interlude “Mrtyu,” etc., and Jackson‘s soulful, at times gruff, vocals. The singer brings a bluesy sensibility that, in a song like the penultimate “Treehugger,” for which you can see a video premiering below — if you didn’t already see it premiering on YouTube at midnight Pacific last night; always love getting the exclusive, thanks y’all — almost touches on country, as though Hippie Death Cult were filtering a Texas heavy rock mindset through Portland’s attention to detail when it comes to tones and riffy tradition. With subtle lyrics touching on issues of faith and politics in opener “Sanctimonious” and elsewhere, there’s all the more depth to explore for the audience.

You’ll note the rhythm section has gone yet-unmentioned. That’s because their work is an utter given. Phillips, who also did some of the camera work in the video, alongside Brnabic and Alice Kollinzas, and Moore nail down and fill out the grooves of 111 with an understated fluidity that is never overly showy but is also never anything less than it needs to be. The balance, in other words, is just right, and in the respective eight- and nine-minute side A and B finales, “Unborn” and “Black Snake,” the full band works to enhance each other’s contributions so that it’s not just about the guitar or the vocals or the bass, drums or keys. It’s all of it, together. Considering 111 is a first album as the title would seem to indicate, this accomplishment isn’t to be understated.

Preorders are up as of today for the Cursed Tongue repress of 111, and you’ll find that info under the video for “Treehugger” below, courtesy of the PR wire.

Please enjoy:

Hippie Death Cult, “Treehugger” official video premiere

CURSED TONGUE RECORDS IS DELIGHTED TO ANNOUNCE: PRE-ORDER AND OFFICIAL RELEASE DATE FOR THE REPRESS OF GRUNGY STONER DOOM ALBUM ‘111’ BY HIPPIE DEATH CULT

REPRESS RELEASE FEBRUARY 14TH 2020

PRE-ORDER STARTS JANUARY 17TH 6PM CET* ON:
http://cursedtonguerecords.bigcartel.com/

Stream/Buy: https://hippiedeathcult.bandcamp.com

hippie death cult 111 vinylDue to continued high demand for the vinyl release of HIPPIE DEATH CULT’s debut album ‘111’ that has sold out completely from the label and all distros, we are thrilled to announce the REPRESS of this belter of an album!

HIPPIE DEATH CULT have been hitting it hard since laset summer both live on the stage and in the online spheres, where they have amazed many heavy heads across the globe as well as received an impressive amount of high ranking scores on a wide array of Best Of 2019 charts. Now a new year has begun and more new endavours lie at the feet of the death cult hippies in 2020.

The REPRESS of “111” on dark ‘Treehugger Green’ vinyl will see the light of day on February 14 2020 via Cursed Tongue Records with pre-orders starting later today!

This premium vinyl release boasts high quality 180 grams vinyl plated and pressed in Germany, housed in 6mm spine full colour gatefold cover with smoking hot artwork by the singer Ben Jackson in collaboration with guitarist Eddie Brnabic. This CTR Exclusive REPRESS is ltd. to just 300 copies and comes with a super rad A3 sized poster by Shane Horror Design (ltd. 100 copies) and digital download coupon for the full album plus two kickass stickers.

So if you missed out on the 1st pressing or simply want to add this sick REPRESS edition to your vinyl collection, now is time to start your engines!

Video produced, Shot & Edited By : Eddie Brnabic
Additional footage shot by Laura Phillips & Alice Kollinzas

Hippie Death Cult live:
Feb 07 Hawthorne Theatre Portland, OR
Mar 19 McFiler’s Chehalis, WA
Mar 20 Substation Seattle, WA
Mar 21 High Water Mark Lounge Portland, OR
Mar 22 Sessions Music Hall Eugene, OR
Apr 15 The Big Dipper Spokane, WA
Apr 16 Badlander Missoula, MT
Apr 17 Royal Canadian Legion Branch 1 Calgary, AB
Apr 17 Rocky Mountain Riff Fest Kalispell, MT

Hippie Death Cult are:
Eddie Brnabic : Guitar
Laura Phillips : Bass
Ryan Moore : Drums
Ben Jackson : Vocals/Keys

Hippie Death Cult, 111 (2019)

Hippie Death Cult on Bandcamp

Hippie Death Cult on Instagram

Hippie Death Cult on Thee Facebooks

Hippie Death Cult website

Cursed Tongue Records webstore

Cursed Tongue Records on Thee Facebooks

Cursed Tongue Records on Instagram

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Review & Track Premiere: Hazemaze, Hymns of the Damned

Posted in audiObelisk, Reviews on October 14th, 2019 by JJ Koczan

Hazemaze Hymns of the Damned

[Click play above to stream the premiere of ‘Shadow in the Night’ from Hazemaze’s Hymns of the Damned. Album is out November 22 through Cursed Tongue Records and Ripple Music.]

Vinyl preorders for Hazemaze‘s Hymns of the Damned start Nov. 1 through Cursed Tongue Records for a Nov. 22 LP/DL release. Ripple Music is putting the Swedish troupe’s second album out on CD as well, and the band have announced two release shows that are six days apart from each other, so one way or another, you might say the new record from Hazemaze is coming soon and choose your angle of approach accordingly. While there may be several threads involved in the arrival of the eight-track/41-minute follow-up to the Stockholm trio’s 2018 Kozmik Artifactz-delivered self-titled debut (discussed here), the LP itself is a heavy amalgam much easier to process in its garage-doom churn and dug-in riffage, informed by heavy blues but not beholden to them and bearing a persistent atmosphere of threat that speaks to an affinity for classic doom, particularly in songs like “Green River” (premiered here) and the subsequent weighted boogie of the penultimate “Reverend Death.” Those two cuts, as well as the raucous finisher “Forever Trapped in Hell” are shorter, in the three-to-four-minute range, than the five cuts prior that make up side A and the start of side B, and the effect is almost like Hazemaze have reversed the plot of many LPs and put the opening salvo in the closing position and turned the B side into the A side and the A side into the B side. The bottom line? If the release dates don’t disorient you, they’re going to get you one way or the other.

Actually, when it comes to what’s going to “get you,” it’s probably the songwriting. Hazemaze — guitarist/vocalist Ludvig Andersson, bassist Estefan Carrillo and drummer Nils Arkitekten Einéus — might not be revolutionary in aesthetic terms, but what they do, they do well and with the confidence of a band of much longer standing. There’s some element of Monolord-style atmospherics to the vocals on “Shadow in the Night,” the opening track and new single premiering above, but though certainly riffy, Hazemaze‘s trip is rawer in form and more about roll than crush. What “Shadow in the Night” sets in motion continues through the end of Hymns of the Damned in terms of forward momentum and classic affinity. There’s plenty of nod-fodder, to be sure, but as Hazemaze lead the way into “Morbid Lust” on a swinging bassline, there’s no question that movement is a focal point for the band and crucial to their approach. Einéus is duly beastly on his crash cymbal, adding uptempo flair to Andersson‘s riffing and languid vocals, while Carrillo‘s low end lurks beneath the distortion, carrying the weight that is so essential to the proceedings in mood and the sheer delivery. By the time they’re into “Thrill Seeker,” the course is set in terms of overarching groove and the sound and general spirit of the offering, which is ultimately to the band’s credit in terms of their efficiency conveying the grim (but still kind of a good time) ambience through the early tracks.

hazemaze (Photo by Magnus Nicander)

That might be an effect of the noted A/B swap method, or it might just be a consequence of knowing what they want out of their material more generally, but on either level, it only makes Hymns of the Damned more immersive and engaging on the whole for those willing to take it on. “Thrill Seeker” brings chug and violent threat in its verse alike in the Uncle Acid spirit with Andersson touching on layered self-harmony in the vocals, and “Lobotomy” stands among the most outwardly catchy of the inclusions as it rounds out the first half of the tracklist with a hook that continues the momentum set up on the first several tracks. Hazemaze‘s sense of movement might be subtle — that is, it doesn’t feel like they’re shoving you through one track to the next — but it’s there if not brazen in its intensity. They set a balance between atmosphere and push that works well across the span and, again, highlights the contributions particularly of Einéus and Carrillo to the songs on the whole. And though I haven’t seen a lyric sheet, even “Solicitor of Evil” — the longest cut at 6:56 and the presumed side B leadoff — doesn’t seem to be explicitly about killing women, so that’s a plus too if we’re thinking in the sphere of post-Uncle Acid garage doom. Certainly not every band can say the same. I like to think of “Solicitor of Evil” like a devilish attorney, but I’ll say again, I haven’t seen a lyric sheet to confirm that. Would be fun though.

On a lot of records, “Solicitor of Evil,” with its late wah bass and ultra-swing, would be the grand finale, but on Hymns of the Damned it’s just an introduction to the next stage, with “Green River,” “Reverend Death” and “Forever Trapped in Hell” reigniting the riffy momentum — and cowbell — of “Shadow in the Night” and bringing about a more bounding conclusion. In terms of general sound, there’s isn’t so much of a radical shift, but especially across multiple listens, the change is evident as “Solicitor of Evil” gives way to “Green River,” the storytelling aspect of which — “Walking down that dusty road…,” etc. — likewise signals a change of angle. Like the structure of the album generally, it’s not a move a less confident band could pull off, but Hazemaze do it by simply doing it, and that in itself is a statement of who they are as a group. As their second album careens to its brash finish with “Forever Trapped in Hell,” the more active and tightened craft only seems to underscore the point of Hazemaze‘s momentum earlier on the LP, their last hook giving way to a winding charge with a solo in the last minute and a series of hits that uses every single one of the track’s four minutes and 11 seconds. It is righteous and portentous in kind, since Hazemaze come across in the end like a band that still has much more to say; “leave ’em wanting more,” and all that. They do, even with the rest of Hymns of the Damned leading into “Forever Trapped in Hell,” and one can’t help but think that whatever the three-piece do from here, they’ll only have benefited from being so sure and so correct in the decisions they made with and within this material.

Hazemaze on Bandcamp

Hazemaze on Thee Facebooks

Hazemaze on Instagram

Cursed Tongue Records webstore

Cursed Tongue Records on Thee Facebooks

Cursed Tongue Records on Instagram

Ripple Music on Thee Facebooks

Ripple Music on Bandcamp

Ripple Music website

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Quarterly Review: Total Fucking Destruction, Hippie Death Cult, The Cosmic Dead, Greenthumb, Elepharmers, Nothing is Real, Warish, Mourn the Light & Oxblood Forge, Those Furious Flames, Mantra Machine

Posted in Reviews on October 3rd, 2019 by JJ Koczan

quarterly review

I’d like to find the jerk who decided that the week I fly to Norway was a good time for the Quarterly Review. That, obviously, was a tactical error on my part. Nonetheless, we press on with day four, which I post from Oslo on CET. Whatever time zone you may find yourself in this Thursday, I hope you have managed to find something so far in this onslaught of whatnot to sink your chompers into. That’s ultimately, why we’re here. Also because there are so many folders with albums in them on my desktop that I can’t stand it anymore. Happens about every three months.

But anyhoozle, we press on with Day Four of the Fall 2019 Quarterly Review, dutiful and diligent and a couple other words that start with ‘d.’ Mixed bag stylistically this time — trying to throw myself off a bit — so should be fun. Let’s dive in.

Quarterly Review #31-40:

Total Fucking Destruction, #USA4TFD

Total Fucking Destruction USA4TFD

Who the hell am I to be writing about a band like Total Fucking Destruction? I don’t know. Who the hell am I to be writing about anything. Fuck you. As the Rich Hoak (Brutal Truth)-led Philly natives grind their way through 23 tracks in a 27-minute barrage of deceptively thoughtful sonic extremity, they efficiently chronicle the confusion, tumult and disaffection of our age both in their maddening energy and in the poetry — yeah, I said it — of their lyrics. To it, from “Is Your Love a Rainbow”: “Are you growing? Is everything okay? Are you growing in the garden of I don’t know?” Lines like this are hardly decipherable without a lyric sheet, of course, but still, they’re there for those ready to look beyond the surface assault of the material, though, frankly, that assault alone would be enough to carry the band — Hoak on drums/vocals, Dan O’Hare on guitar/vocals and Ryan Moll on bass/vocals — along their willfully destructive course. For their fourth LP in 20 years — most of that time given to splits and shorter releases, as one might expect — Total Fucking Destruction make their case for an end of the world that, frankly, can’t get here fast enough.

Total Fucking Destruction on Thee Facebooks

Give Praise Records website

 

Hippie Death Cult, 111

Hippie-Death-Cult-111

Issued first by the band digitally and on CD and then by Cursed Tongue Records on vinyl, 111 is the impressively toned debut full-length from Portland, Oregon’s Hippie Death Cult, who cull together heavy rock and post-grunge riffing with flourish of organ and a densely-weighted groove that serves as an overarching and uniting factor throughout. With the bluesy, classic feeling vocals of Ben Jackson cutting through the wall of fuzz from Eddie Brnabic‘s guitar and Laura Phillips‘ bass set to roll by Ryan Moore‘s drumming, there’s never any doubt as to where Hippie Death Cult are coming from throughout the seven-track/42-minute offering, but longer, side-ending pieces “Unborn” (8:24) and “Black Snake” (9:06) touch respectively on psychedelia and heavy blues in a way that emphasizes the subtle turns that have been happening all along, not just in shifts like the acoustic “Mrtyu,” but in the pastoral bridge and ensuing sweep of “Pigs” as well. “Sanctimonious” and “Breeder’s Curse” provide even ground at the outset, and from there, Hippie Death Cult only grow richer in sound along their way.

Hippie Death Cult on Thee Facebooks

Cursed Tongue Records BigCartel store

 

The Cosmic Dead, Scottish Space Race

The Cosmic Dead Scottish Space Race

Heavyweight Glaswegian space jammers The Cosmic Dead present four massive slabs of lysergic intensity with their eighth long-player, Scottish Space Race (on Riot Season Records), working quickly to pull the listener into their gravity well and holding them there for the 2LP’s 75-minute duration. As hypnotic as it is challenging, the initial churn that emerges in the aptly-named 20-minute opener “Portal” clenches the stomach brutally, and it’s not until after about 12 minutes that the band finally lets it loose. “Ursa Major,” somewhat thankfully, is more serene, but still carries a sense of movement and build in its second half, while the 12-minute title-track is noisier and has the surprising inclusion of vocals from the generally instrumental outfit. They cap with the 24-minute kosmiche throb of “The Grizzard,” and there are vocals there too, but they’re too obscured to be really discernible in any meaningful way, and of course the end of the record itself is a huge wash of fuckall noise. Eight records deep, The Cosmic Dead know what they’re doing in this regard, and they do it among the best of anyone out there.

The Cosmic Dead on Thee Facebooks

Riot Season Records website

 

Greenthumb, There are More Things

greenthumb there are more things

With just three tracks across a 20-minute span, There are More Things (on Acid Cosmonaut) feels like not much more than a sampler of things to come from Italian post-sludgers Greenthumb, who take their name from a Bongzilla track they also covered on their 2018 debut EP, West. The three-songer feels like a decided step forward from that offering, and though they maintain their screamier side well enough, they might be on the verge of needing a new name, as the rawness conveyed by the current moniker hardly does justice to the echoing atmospherics the band in their current incarnation bring. Launching with the two seven-minute cuts “The Field” and “Ogigia’s Tree,” they unfurl a breadth of roll so as to ensnare the listener, and though “The Black Court” is shorter at 5:37 and a bit more straight-ahead in its structure, it still holds to the ambient sensibility of its surroundings well, the band obviously doing likewise in transposing a natural feel into their sound born of landscape real or imagined.

Greenthumb on Thee Facebooks

Acid Cosmonaut Records on Bandcamp

 

Elepharmers, Lords of Galaxia

Elepharmers Lords Of Galaxia Artwork

Riffy Sardinians Elepharmers set themselves to roll with “Ancient Astronauts” and do not stop from there on Lords of Galaxia, their third LP and debut through Electric Valley Records. There are some details of arrangement between the guitars of El Chino (also bass, vocals and harmonica) and Andrea “Fox” Cadeddu and the drums of Maurizio Mura, but as Marduk heralds his age on second cut “Ziqqurat,” the central uniting factor is g-r-o-o-v-e, and Elepharmers have it down through “The Flood” and into side B’s classic stoner rocking “Foundation” and the driving “The Mule,” which shifts into laser-effects ahead of the fade that brings in closer “Stars Like Dust” for the last 10 minutes of the 47-minute offering. And yes, there’s some psychedelia there, but Elepharmers stay pretty clearheaded on the whole in such a way as to highlight the sci-fi theme that seems to draw the songs together as much as the riffage. More focus on narrative can only help bring that out more, but I’m not sure I’d want that at the expense of the basic songwriting, which isn’t at all broken and thus requires no fixing.

Elepharmers on Thee Facebooks

Electric Valley Records website

 

Nothing is Real, Only the Wicked are Pure

nothing is real only the wicked are pure

How do you recognize true misanthropy when you come across it? It doesn’t wear a special kind of facepaint, though it can. It doesn’t announce itself as such. It is a frame. Something genuinely antisocial and perhaps even hateful is a worldview. It’s not raise-a-claw-in-the-woods. It’s he-was-a-quiet-loner. And so, coming across the debut album from Los Angeles experimentalist doom outfit, one gets that lurking, creeping feeling of danger even though the music itself isn’t overly abrasive. But across the 2CD debut album, a sprawl of darkened, viciously un-produced fare that seems to be built around programmed drums at the behest of Craig Osbourne — who may or may not be the only person in the band and isn’t willing to say otherwise — plays out over the course of more than two hours like a manifesto found after the fact. Imagine chapters called “Hope is Weakness,” “Fingered by the Hand of God,” and “Uplift the Worthy (Destroy the Weak).” The last of those appears on both discs — as do several of the songs in different incarnations — as the track marries acoustic and eventual harder-edged guitar around murderous themes, sounding something like Godflesh might have if they’d pursued a darker path. Scary.

Nothing is Real on Thee Facebooks

Nothing is Real on Bandcamp

 

Warish, Down in Flames

warish down in flames

The fact that Warish are blasting hard punk through heavy blowout tones isn’t what everyone wants to talk about when it comes to the band. They want to talk about the fact that it’s Riley Hawk — of royal stock, as regards pro skateboarding — fronting the band. Well, that’s probably good for a built-in social media following — name recognition never hurts, and I don’t see a need to pretend otherwise — but it doesn’t do shit for the album itself. What matters about the album is that bit about the blasting blowout. With Down in Flames (on RidingEasy), the Oceanside three-piece follow-up their earlier-2019 debut EP with 11 tracks that touch on horror punk with “Bones” and imagine grunge-unhinged with “Fight” and “You’ll Abide,” but are essentially a display of tonal fuckall presented not to add to a brand, but to add the soundtrack to somebody’s blackout. It’s a good time and the drunkest, gnarliest, most-possibly-shirtless dude in the room is having it. Also he probably smells. And he just hugged you. Down in Flames gets high with that dude. That matters more than who anyone’s dad is.

Warish on Thee Facebooks

RidingEasy Records website

 

Mourn the Light & Oxblood Forge, Split

It’s a double-dose of New England doom as Connecticut’s Mourn the Light and Boston’s Oxblood Forge pair up for a split release. The former bring more material than the latter, particularly when one counts the digital-only bonus cover of Candlemass‘ “Bewitched,” but with both groups, it’s a case of what-you-see-is-what-you-get. Both groups share a clear affinity for classic metal — and yes, that absolutely extends to the piano-led drama of Mourn the Light‘s mournful “Carry the Flame” — but Oxblood Forge‘s take thereupon is rougher edged, harder in its tone and meaner in the output. Their “Screams From Silence” feels like something from a dubbed-and-mailed tape circa ’92. Mourn the Light’s “Drags Me Down” is cleaner-sounding, but no less weighted. I don’t think either band is out to change the world, or even to change doom, but they’re doing what they’re doing well and without even an ounce of pretense — well, maybe a little bit in that piano track; but it’s very metal pretense — and clearly from the heart. That might be the most classic-metal aspect of all.


Mourn the Light on Thee Facebooks

Oxblood Forge on Thee Facebooks

 

Those Furious Flames, HeartH

those furious flames hearth

Swiss heavy rockers Those Furious Flames push the boundaries of psychedelia, but ultimately remain coherent in their approach. Likewise, they very, very obviously are into some classic heavy rock and roll, but their take on it is nothing if not modern. And more, they thrive in these contradictions and don’t at all sound like their songs are in conflict with themselves. I guess that’s the kind of thing one can pull off after 15 years together on a fifth full-length, which HeartH (on Vincebus Eruptum) is for them. Perhaps it’s the fact that they let the energy of pieces like “VooDoo” and the boogie-laced “HPPD” carry them rather than try to carry it, but either way, it’s clearly about the songs first, and it works. With added flash of organ amid the full-sounding riffs, Those Furious Flames round out with the spacey “Visions” and earn every bit of the drift therein with a still-resonant vocal harmony. You might not get it all the first time, but listening twice won’t be at all painful.

Those Furious Flames on Thee Facebooks

Vincebus Eruptum Recordings BigCartel store

 

Mantra Machine, Heliosphere

mantra machine heliosphere

This is what it’s all about. Four longer-form instrumentalist heavy psych jams that are warm in tone and want nothing so much as to go out wandering and see what they can find. Through “Hydrogen,” “Atmos,” “Delta-V” and “Heliosphere,” Amsterdam-based three-piece Mantra Machine want nothing for gig-style vitality, but their purpose isn’t so much to electrify as to find that perfect moment of chill and let it go, see where it ends up, and they get there to be sure. Warm guitar and bass tones call to mind something that might’ve come out of the Netherlands at the start of this decade, when bands like Sungrazer and The Machine were unfolding such fluidity as seemed to herald a new generation of heavy psychedelia across Europe. That generation took a different shape — several different shapes, in the end — but Mantra Machine‘s Heliosphere makes it easy to remember what was so exciting about that in the first place. Total immersion. Total sense of welcoming. Totally human presence without speaking a word. So much vibe. So much right on.

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Mantra Machine on Bandcamp

 

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Marijannah Sign to Cursed Tongue Records; New LP Coming Jan. 2020

Posted in Whathaveyou on October 1st, 2019 by JJ Koczan

To answer your first question, yes, the new Marijannah album is done. It’s in the can, it’s got six tracks. To answer your second question, no you can’t hear it. Well, not apart from the single “Bloodsucker” that they posted in August. That you can hear. The rest, you’ll have to wait for, and in fact, they’re not even going to tell you what the record is called yet. Oh it has a name, but you gotta wait to find out what it is. And when you catch first wind of the low-end lumber they bring in “Shapeless,” you’re going to want as much information as possible when it comes to how to own such a thing.

Today begins that process. Marijannah, who made a right-on-right-on-fuck-yes debut with Till Marijannah (review here) early last year on Pink Tank Records, have signed to Cursed Tongue Records for the vinyl release of the title-TBA sophomore outing. That’ll be in January, like the headline says above, but they’ll have it out sooner via the ol’ interwebs in streamy/downloady fashion, just in time to screw with all your year-end list action. Take that, and yes, you will.

You’ll find the announcement below from Cursed Tongue, whose taste only continues to become even-less-fuckwithable as each signing passes.

Dig:

marijannah cursed tongue records

PSYCHEDELIC STONER DOOMERS MARIJANNAH SIGNS TO CURSED TONGUE RECORDS FOR WORLD WIDE VINYL RELEASE OF THEIR SOPHOMORE ALBUM LATE JANUARY 2020

Cursed Tongue Records is very happy to announce the signing of Singapore based quartet Marijannah and look forward to unleash the band’s new tunes onto an off guard audience of heavy-tunes-craving stoner skeleton mob.

If fuzzed-out, bass-heavy, psychedelic stoner doom anthems is the thing that rock your worn-out van, make your eyes go all wet and make your bongwater bobble then Marijannah will have you covered in loads with their brand new to-be-named album. Because, why bother with an album title when you have riffs and grooves so addictive that they completely submerge you and makes you forget who you are and whether you have eaten or not.

Although this is just Marijannah’s second album the band members aren’t exactly new to the music scene and if such a thing as a Singapore heavy rock supergroup exists, it might as well be it. Featuring members of grindcore fanatics in Wormrot and pop punk band The Caulfield Cult we find Marijannah deeply rooted within the Heavy Underground. Root and stem indeed encrusted in metal and drenched in dank-smelling stoner sensibilities.

Marijannah exhibits on their new album a cohesiveness of sound and sonic depth that isn’t found often in the genre. The four band members also allow the songs to evolve organically, each section moving seamlessly to the next one, leaving the listener mesmerized by the astral-hazed journey he/she has been taken on over the course of the entire album.

The spellbound-like, trance-induced state of mind is abruptly brought to a halt at the end of the last track and the listener suddenly finds him-/herself left alone on an abandoned and icy-cold planetary star somewhere in the far outskirts of cosmos. An itching notion to press repeat and once more indulge in the warm, fuzzy sounds emanating from the glowing inner of Marijannah’s core is impossible to suppress – and you shouldn’t, really!

With its weed-infused, stoned-to-the-bone aesthetics Marijannah drives the nail on the head and certainly got its own addictive, sleepy-eyed charms. Comes highly recommended FFO Goatsnake, Sleep, Acid King, Uncle Acid, Salem’s Pot, Monolord and Black Sabbath.

Marijannah’s new album releases digitally on Bandcamp and all common streaming outlets in late November/ early December 2019 and based on the reception of the first single “Bloodsucker”, we expect a fair amount of buzz by then. It is therefore with much joy that Cursed Tongue Records can roll out the red carpet and give this stoner doom monster of an album a dire needed vinyl treatment.

We open the doors for the tangible pieces of space debris late fall/early winter with a slated vinyl release late January 2020. Pre-order details will be unveiled soon. More info, details and dates as we approach the witching hour!

Marijannah is:
Rasyid Juraimi ~ Guitar, Vocals
Nicholas Wong ~ Drums, Vocals
Nicholas Ng “Skinny”~ Guitar, Vocals
Muhd Azri Azman ~ Bass

http://facebook.com/marijannah
https://www.instagram.com/marijannahband/
https://marijannah.bandcamp.com
http://cursedtonguerecords.bigcartel.com/
https://www.facebook.com/CursedTongueRecords/

Marijannah, “Bloodsucker”

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Hemptress Sign to Cursed Tongue Records; Alchemy Due in October

Posted in Whathaveyou on August 21st, 2019 by JJ Koczan

hemptress

Hemptress issued their debut long-player, Alchemy, earlier this year to a generally warm welcome, and the British Columbia-based four-piece will now release the album through Cursed Tongue Records on vinyl this Fall. Considering the DL version came out in March, that’s a pretty efficient turnaround, and I’m going to guess this one has been in the making since well before right now, when the deal is being made public. I’m sure you’ve heard it by now, because you’re hip like that, but if not, Alchemy can be streamed in full via Bandcamp — you’ll find it below — and though I’ve no doubt a Tony Reed master for vinyl will only make it sound more righteous, there’s no real mystery as to why a label like Cursed Tongue would want to lock in the release. Kind of rules.

No word on what Hemptress‘ plans are for a follow-up, but recall that Alchemy is still pretty new, so I wouldn’t necessarily expect any at this point. In the meantime, the news that this one is getting a proper look is welcome, and most certainly deserved. Release date is Oct. 11.

Here’s the announcement from the label:

CANADIAN RIPPERS HEMPTRESS SIGN TO CURSED TONGUE RECORDS FOR A WORLDWIDE VINYL RELEASE OF THEIR SCORCHING DEBUT ALBUM ‘ALCHEMY’ OCTOBER 2019

Cursed Tongue Records is damn proud to announce the signing of Kamloops, British Columbia, Canada based stoner-fuzzing and heavy-doom-tripping quartet Hemptress. Cursed Tongue Records is dead-set on a mission to bring ‘Alchemy’ and its maple-syrup-dripping, iron-chopping, metal encrusted stoner-doom hymns to a wider audience across the global Heavy Underground ensuring that any heady, heavy music worshipper is reached!

It’s with a fierce fury that Hemptress convey their fuzzed out and amped up riffs that are dragging us head first in the mud to make sure our ears are firmly embedded in the furrows of the sonic landscape conjured up by their alchemistic rituals. Only one listen and we knew that these wizards had actually managed to create gold.

The band has delivered a blistering collection of wild and far-out bluesy stoner rock with enough grit and meat to keep you full for countless spins of their gripping take on an old but well-executed formula. Rest assure these guys know that not all that glitters is gold, but whatever rips and fuzzes like a lazer-tazed bull surely has a lasting impact!

As the band expresses it: “Hemptress is like being saddled on a beastly rock n roll engine trailed by flaming tumbleweeds down a southern psychedelic desert highway, fresh outta hell with the devil’s tears in a hip flask, riding high with a crooked grin while Lady Luck kisses your neck and the wild wind wonders where you’ve been.”

Hemptress debuted their ‘Alchemy’ album digitally on Bandcamp back in March 2019 to general accolade amongst stoner heads and reviewers of the Heavy Underground it is therefore with much joy that Cursed Tongue Records can roll out the red carpet and give this badass beast of an album its well-deserved vinyl treatment. We open the doors for the tangible wonders of alchemy this fall with a slated vinyl release in early October. Pre-orders will run from the latter half of September. More info, details and dates as we approach the witching hour!

‘Alchemy’ has been mastered for optimal vinyl playback by Tony Reed (of Mos Generator fame) and will sport brand spanking new and bewitching artwork by Shane Jones of Shane Horror design. The vinyl release will be out on vinyl via Cursed Tongue Records in October 2019. Pre-orders to commence a few good weeks in advance of release – more on that soon…

CTR-025 Hemptress – ‘Alchemy’; vinyl official release date slated for October 11. 2019.

All tracks written and performed by Hemptress
Recorded, mixed and mastered by Jon Matthies
Artwork & design by Shane Jones
Mastering for vinyl by Tony Reed at HeavyHead Rec.
Additional layout & design by Michael Andresakis

Track listing:
Side A
1. I Hear You Howlin’
2. Moonlight Gunnin’
3. Alabaster
4. When The Sun Goes Down
5. Electric Fire
Side B
1. Mind Corruptor
2. Maniac
3. Alchemy

Hemptress is:
Jesse Mac Taylor – Vocals/Guitar (+ Drums on ‘Alchemy’ album)
Jordan David Easson – Bass
Jordan Peter Bennee – Guitar
Matthew Michael John Bayley – Drums (new member, not on ‘Alchemy’ album)

https://hemptressband.bandcamp.com/
https://www.facebook.com/Hemptress-1430126427206913/
https://instagram.com/hemptressband
http://cursedtonguerecords.bigcartel.com/
https://www.facebook.com/CursedTongueRecords/

Hemptress, Alchemy (2019)

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