Øresund Space Collective Sign to The Laser’s Edge; Orgone Unicorn Out July 26

Posted in Whathaveyou on May 27th, 2024 by JJ Koczan

ORESUND SPACE COLLECTIVE 2015

If you’d asked — and you didn’t, I realize — I probably would have put multinational cosmic conglomerate Øresund Space Collective north of 44 albums at this point, but I guess that’s the official count so I’m not about to argue. The improv-minded space jammers have signed to the reactivated The Laser’s Edge to release their new album, Orgone Unicorn, on July 26. Øresund Space Collective with, like, a release date? And a PR wire press release announcing it? Weird.

Given the personnel assembled for Orgone Unicorn, it’s even easier to look forward to the album. The sitar of KG Westman (formerly Siena Root), Wicked Lady‘s Martin Weaver adding drum machine, Saturnia founder Luis Simões adding guitar (and gong!) to the proceedings, along with Scott “Dr. Space” Heller‘s core synth and a cast of familiar/veteran characters jamming out across two LPs, and it’s backed by an outside label? Good for them, man. I don’t know if The Laser’s Edge is going to put out like five Øresund Space Collective and related-project releases a year, but it’s pretty cool to see a band who’ve been around for 18 years get picked up like newbies, and I hope the record does well for them. I generally consider writing about Øresund Space Collective a favor to myself, a chance to depart into pure vibe, so yeah, I’ll likely have more to come on Orgone Unicorn.

Looking forward to it:

ORESUND SPACE COLLECTIVE Orgone Unicorn

ØRESUND SPACE COLLECTIVE: Prolific Scandinavian Instrumental Prog/Jazz Collective Signs With Laser’s Edge; Band’s 44th Title, Orgone Unicorn, To See July 26th Release + Video Clip And Preorders Posted

The progressive music authorities at Laser’s Edge have signed prolific Scandinavian instrumental improvisational progressive/space-jazz group ØRESUND SPACE COLLECTIVE for the release of the band’s impressive forty-fourth title, Orgone Unicorn. Confirming the mammoth album for release July 26th, the label today issues the cover art, preorders, and a video clip taken from the title track.

Founded in 2006 by Scott Heller, aka Dr. Space, ØRESUND SPACE COLLECTIVE is based primarily out of København, Denmark, with roots across Scandinavia, Portugal, and more. A supergroup of sorts, the members of this expansive entity come from a wide array of Scandinavian rock groups, including The Carpet Knights (SE), Mantric Muse (DK), Bland Bladen (SE), Gas Giant (DK), Hooffoot (SE), First Band From Outer Space (SE), Siena Root (SE), My Brother The Wind (SE), Agusa (SE), Tangle Edge (NO), The Univerzals (DK), Papir (DK), Black Moon Circle (NO), among many others.

In 2012, prominent Danish guitarist Claus Bøhling (Hurdy Gurdy, Secret Oyster) played with ØRESUND SPACE COLLECTIVE both live and on three studio albums. In 2018, the band was joined by guitarist Martin Weaver (Dark, Wicked Lady), and 2022 saw the addition of amazing multi-instrumentalists, Mattias Olsson (Ånglagård, Molesome) and Luis Simões (Saturnia).

An exciting live act that always gets the crowd moving and dancing to the improvised progressive grooves, ØRESUND SPACE COLLECTIVE has played well-over one hundred concerts in ten countries. The band has performed at numerous European festivals including the Copenhagen Jazz Festival three times, Kildemose Festival many times, Roadburn Festival, Space Rock Odyssey, Slotsskogen Goes Progressive, Space Force 1, Psychedelic Network, Occultrance Festival, Freak Valley Festival, Burg Herzberg, Roskilde Festival, and Reverence Festival, and even made it to North America to play Psycho Las Vegas.

In their eighteen years of existence thus far, ØRESUND SPACE COLLECTIVE has amassed thirty-two studio albums and twelve live albums, and more. Initially releasing their music through the Swedish label Transubstans, they’ve subsequently partnered with an array of labels, eventually forming their own Space Rock Productions label through which most of their albums over the past several years were released.

Following their illustrious Everyone Is Evil album, released in May of 2023, ØRESUND SPACE COLLECTIVE arrives with their monolithic forty-fourth title Orgone Unicorn, their first for The Laser’s Edge Group. Orgone Unicorn features many of the musicians who played on Everyone Is Evil, with Mattias Olsson, Jonathan Segel (ex-Camper Van Beethoven), Larry Lush, Martin Weaver, Luis Simões, Hasse Horrigome, and KG Westman, joining Scott Heller. The record courses with surreal space passages, with a dark, proggy mood. Along with the array of guitars, bass, synths, keys, mellotron, and more used throughout the record, the percussion showcases interplay between drums, gong, and drum machines.

Recorded at Éstudio Paraíso Nas Nuvens in Central Portugal, Orgone Unicorn was engineered by Larry Lush and Dr Space, mixed and mastered by Jonathan Segel and Dr Space, and completed with cover art by David Graham of Moonboy Art. The 2xLP version comprises five songs, while the 2xCD and digital versions feature two additional songs not on the vinyl – including extended versions of several of the songs – which culminate into an engulfing two hours and sixteen minutes of music.

Laser’s Edge Group founder Ken Golden states, “I’ve been following Scott Heller and the all-star ØRESUND SPACE COLLECTIVE for years. In my mind, they are the premier space rock ensemble. It’s a thrill for us to reactivate our Laser’s Edge label with Orgone Unicorn. Space is the place!”

Scott Heller adds, “It is an honor for ØRESUND SPACE COLLECTIVE to join the ranks of the many great bands that are or have been on Lasers Edge. Great to work with Ken, whom I have known for many, many years. I hope the fans will enjoy this new adventure in sound, as we continue to push totally improvised music into weird and wonderful places.”

A portion of the title track to ØRESUND SPACE COLLECTIVE’s Orgone Unicorn has been issued through a surreal and captivating video clip created by Batu Bintas (Imaginatrix), now playing.

Orgone Unicorn 2xLP Track Listing:
Side A
Skin Walker
Side B
Eno´s Donut
Orgone Unicorn
Side C
Kraut Toe Trip
Side D
Omnia Magnifico

Orgone Unicorn 2xCD Track Listing:
CD1
1. Skin Walker
2. Eno’s Donut
3. Orgone Unicorn
4. Red Panda In Rhodes
CD2
1. David Graham´s Wormhole Ride
2. Kraut Toe Trip
3. Omnia Magnifico

ØRESUND SPACE COLLECTIVE on Orgone Unicorn:
Mattias Olsson – drums, congas, mellotron, Poly D
Jonathan Segel – guitar, slide guitar, violin, Fender Rhodes
Martin Weaver – Microfreek and Roland drum machines
Luis Simões – gong, guitar, noise box
Hasse Horrigmoe – bass
Larry Lush – Fender Rhodes, mellotron
KG Westman – sitar; mellotron, synths
Dr. Space – Hammond, Mellotron, Modular Synth, Octave Cat, ARP Odyssey, Poly D

http://oresundspacecollective.com
https://oresundspacecollective.bandcamp.com
https://www.facebook.com/OresundSpaceCollective
https://www.instagram.com/oresundspacecollective

https://www.lasercd.com
https://lasersedge.bandcamp.com
https://www.facebook.com/TheLasersEdge

Øresund Space Collective, Orgone Unicorn teaser

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Quarterly Review: Lamp of the Universe Meets Dr. Space, Inter Arma, Sunnata, The Sonic Dawn, Rifflord, Mothman and the Thunderbirds, The Lunar Effect, Danava, Moonlit, Doom Lab

Posted in Reviews on May 24th, 2024 by JJ Koczan

The-Obelisk-Quarterly-Review

This is it. This one’s for all the marbles. Well, actually there are no marbles involved, but if you remember way back like two weeks ago when this started out, I told you the tale of a hubristic 40-something dickweed blogger who thought he could review 100 albums in 10 days, and assuming I make it through the below without having an aneurysm — because, hey, you never know — today I get to live that particular fairy tale.

If you’ve kept up, and I hope you have, thanks. If not, click here to see all the posts in this Quarterly Review. Either way, I appreciate your time.

Quarterly Review #91-100:

Lamp of the Universe Meets Dr. Space, Enters Your Somas

Lamp of the universe meets dr space Enter Your Somas

Who’s ready to get blasted out the airlock? New Zealand solo-outfit Lamp of the Universe, aka multi-instrumentalist Craig Williamson (also Dead Shrine, ex-Datura, etc.), and Portugal-residing synth master Dr. Space, aka Scott Heller of Øresund Space Collective, Black Moon Circle, and so on, come together to remind us all we’re nothing more than semi-sentient cosmic dust. Enters Your Somas is comprised of two extended pieces, “Enters Your Somas” (18:39) and “Infiltrates Your Mind” (19:07), and both resonate space/soul frequencies while each finds its own path. The title-track is more languid on average, where “Infiltrates Your Mind” reroutes auxiliary power to the percussive thrusters in its first half before drifting into drone communion and hearing a voice — vague, but definitely human speech — before surging back to its course via Williamson‘s drums, which play a large role in giving the material its shape. But with synthy sweeps from Heller, Mellotron and guitar coming and going, and a steady groove across both inclusions, Lamp of the Universe Meets Dr. Space offer galactic adventure limited only by where your imagination puts you while you listen.

Lamp of the Universe on Facebook

Dr. Space on Facebook

Sound Effect Records website

Inter Arma, New Heaven

inter arma new heaven

Richmond, Virginia’s Inter Arma had no small task before them in following 2019’s Sulphur English (review here), but from the tech-death boops and bops and twists of New Heaven‘s leadoff title-track through the gothic textures of “Gardens in the Dark,” self-aware without satire, slow-flowing and dramatic, this fifth full-length finds them continuing to expand their creative reach, and at this point, whatever genre you might want to cast them in, they stand out. To wit, the blackdeath onslaught of “Violet Seizures” that’s also space rock, backed in that by the subsequent “Desolation’s Harp” with its classically grandiose solo, or the post-doom lumber of “Concrete Cliffs” that calls out its expanse after the seven-minute drum-playthrough-fodder extremity of “The Children the Bombs Overlooked,” or the mournful march of “Endless Grey” and the acoustic-led Nick Cavey epilogue “Forest Service Road Blues.” Few bands embrace a full spectrum of metallic sounds without coming across as either disjointed or like they’re just mashing styles together for the hell of it. Inter Arma bleed purpose in every turn, and as they inch closer to their 20th year as a band, they are masters unto themselves of this form they’ve created.

Inter Arma on Facebook

Relapse Records website

Sunnata, Chasing Shadows

sunnata chasing shadows

The opening “Chimera” puts Chasing Shadows quickly into a ritualized mindset, all the more as Warsaw meditative doomers Sunnata lace it and a decent portion of their 11-track/62-minute fifth album with an arrangement of vocals from guitarists Szymon Ewertowski and Adrian Gadomski and bassist/synthesist Michal Dobrzanski as drummer/percussionist Robert Ruszczyk punctuates on snare as they head toward a culmination. Individual pieces have their own purposes, whether it’s the momentary float of “Torn” or the post-Alice in Chains harmonies offset by Twin Peaks-y creep in “Saviours Raft,” or the way “Hunger” gradually moves from light to dark with rolling immersion, or the dancier feel with which “Like Cogs in a Wheel” gives an instrumental finish. It’s not a minor undertaking and it’s not meant to be one, but mood and atmosphere do a lot of work in uniting the songs, and the low-in-the-mouth vocal melodies become a part of that as the record unfolds. Their range has never felt broader, but there’s a plot being followed as well, an idea behind each turn in “Wishbone” and the sprawl is justified by the dug-in worldmaking taking place across the whole-LP progression, darkly psychedelic and engrossing as it is.

Sunnata on Facebook

Sunnata on Bandcamp

The Sonic Dawn, Phantom

The Sonic Dawn Phantom

Among the most vital classic elements of The Sonic Dawn‘s style is their ability to take spacious ideas and encapsulate them with a pop efficiency that doesn’t feel dumbed down. That is to say, they’re not capitulating to fickle attention spans with short songs so much as they’re able to get in, say what they want to say with a given track, and get out. Phantom is their fifth album, and while the title may allude to a certain ghostliness coinciding with the melancholy vibe overarching through the bulk of its component material, the Copenhagen-based trio are mature enough at this stage to know what they’re about. And while Phantom has its urgent stretches in the early going of “Iron Bird” or the rousing “Think it Over,” the handclap-laced “Pan AM,” and the solo-topped apex of “Micro Cosmos in a Drop,” most of what they’re about here harnesses a mellower atmosphere. It doesn’t need to hurry, baby. Isn’t there enough rush in life with all these “21st Century Blues?” With no lack of movement throughout, some of The Sonic Dawn‘s finest stretches here are in low-key interpretations of funk (“Dreams of Change,” “Think it Over,” “Transatlantique,” etc.) or prog-boogie (“Scorpio,” “Nothing Can Live Here” before the noisier crescendo) drawn together by organ, subdued, thoughtful vocal melodies and craft to suit the organic production. This isn’t the first The Sonic Dawn LP to benefit from the band knowing who they are as a group, but golly it sure is stronger for that.

The Sonic Dawn on Facebook

Heavy Psych Sounds website

Rifflord, 39 Serpent Power

RIFFLORD 39 Serpent Power

It’s not until the hook of second cut “Ohm Ripper” hits that Rifflord let go of the tension built up through the opening semi-title-track “Serpent Power,” which in its thickened thrashy charge feels like a specific callout to High on Fire but as I understand it is just about doing hard drugs. Fair enough. The South Dakota-based five-piece of bassist/vocalist Wyatt Bronc Bartlett, guitarists Samuel Hayes and Dustin Vano, keyboardist Tory Jean Stoddard and drummer Douglas Jennings Barrett will echo that intensity later in “Church Keys” and “Tumbleweed,” but that’s still only one place the 38-minute eight-track LP goes, and whether it’s the vocals calling out through the largesse and breadth of “Blessed Life” or the ensuing crush that follows in “LM308,” the addled Alice in Chains swagger in the lumber of “Grim Creeper” or the righteously catchy bombast of “Hoof,” they reach further than they ever have in terms of sound and remain coherent despite the inherently chaotic nature of their purported theme, the sheer heft of the tonality wielded and the fact that 39 Serpent Power has apparently been waiting some number of years to see release. Worth the wait? Shit, I’m surprised the album didn’t put itself out, it sounds so ready to go.

Rifflord on Facebook

Ripple Music website

Mothman and the Thunderbirds, Portal Hopper

Mothman and the Thunderbirds Portal Hopper

At the core of Mothman and the Thunderbirds is multi-instrumentalist and songwriter Alex Parkinson, and on the band’s second album, Portal Hopper, he’s not completely on his own — Egor Lappo programmed the drums, mixed, and plays a guitar solo on “Fractals,” Joe Sobieski guests on vocals for a couple tracks, Sam Parkinson donates a pair of solos to the cause — but it’s still very much his telling of the charmingly meandering sci-fi/fantasy plot taking place across the 12 included progressive metal mini-epics, which he presents with an energy and clarity of purpose that for sure graduated from Devin Townsend‘s school of making a song with 40 layers sound immediate but pulls as well from psychedelia and pop-punk vocals for an all the more emphatic scope. This backdrop lets “Fractals” get funky or “Escape From Flatwoods” hold its metallic chicanery with its soaring melody while “Squonk Kingdom” is duly over-the-top in its second-half chase soon enough fleshed out by “So Long (Portal Hopper)” ahead of the lightly-plucked finale “Attic.” The specificity of influence throughout Portal Hopper can be striking as clean/harsh vocals blend, etc., but given the narrative and the relative brevity of the songs complementing the whims explored within them, there’s no lack of character in the album’s oft-careening 38-minute course.

Mothman and the Thunderbirds on Instagram

Mothman and the Thunderbirds on Bandcamp

The Lunar Effect, Sounds of Green and Blue

The Lunar Effect Sounds of Green & Blue

Given its pro-shop nature in production and performance, the ability of The Lunar Effect to grasp a heavy blues sound as part of what they do while avoiding either the trap of hyper-dudely navelgazing or cultural appropriation — no minor feat — and the fluidity of one piece into the next across the 40-minute LP’s two sides, I’m a little surprised not to have been sick of the band’s second album, Sounds of Green and Blue before I put it on. Maybe since it’s on Svart everyone just assumed it’s Finnish experimentalist drone? Maybe everybody’s burnt out on a seemingly endless stream of bands from London’s underground? I don’t know, but by the time The Lunar Effect make their way to the piano-laden centerpiece “Middle of the End” — expanding on the unhurried mood of “In Grey,” preceding the heavy blues return of “Pulling Daisies” at the start of side B that mirrors album opener “Ocean Queen” and explodes into a roll that feels like it was made to be the best thing you play at your DJ night — that confusion is a defining aspect of the listening experience. “Fear Before the Fall” picks on Beethoven, for crying out loud. High class and low groove. Believe me, I know there’s a lot of good stuff out already in 2024, but what the hell more could you want? Where is everybody?

The Lunar Effect on Facebook

Svart Records website

Danava, Live

danava live

Even if I were generally inclined to do so — read: I’m not — it would be hard to begrudge Portland heavy rock institution Danava wanting to do a live record after their 2023’s Nothing But Nothing (review here) found them in such raucous form. But the aptly-titled Live is more than just a post-studio-LP check-in to remind you they kick ass on stage, as side A’s space, classic, boogie, heavy rocking “Introduction/Spinning Temple” and “Maudie Shook” were recorded in 2008, while the four cuts on side B — “Shoot Straight with a Crooked Gun,” “Nothing but Nothing,” “Longdance,” “Let the Good Times Kill” and “Last Goodbye” — came from the European tour undertaken in Fall 2023 to support Nothing But Nothing. Is the underlying message that Danava are still rad 15 years later? Maybe. That certainly comes through by the time the solo in “Shoot Straight with a Crooked Gun” hits, but that also feels like reading too much into it. Maybe it’s just about representing different sides of who Danava are, and if so, fine. Then or now, psych or proto-thrashing, they lay waste.

Danava on Instagram

Heavy Psych Sounds website

Moonlit, Be Not Afraid

moonlit be not afraid

A free three-songer from Varese, Italy’s Moonlit, Be Not Afraid welcomes the listener to “Death to the World” with (presumably sampled) chanting before unfurling a loose, somewhat morose-feeling nighttime-desert psych sway before “Fort Rachiffe” howls tonally across its own four minutes in more heavy post-rock style, still languid in tempo but encompassing in its wash and the amp-hum-and-percussion blend on the shorter “Le Conseguenze Della Libertà” (1:57) gives yet another look, albeit briefly. In about 11 minutes, Moonlit — whose last studio offering was 2021’s So Bless Us Now (review here) — never quite occupy the same space twice, and despite the compact presentation, the range from mid-period-QOTSA-gone-shoegaze (plus chanting! don’t forget the chanting!) to the hypnotic Isis-doing-space-push that follows with the closer as a but-wait-there’s-more/not-just-an-afterthought epilogue is palpable. I don’t know when or how Be Not Afraid was recorded, whether it’s portentous of anything other than itself or what, but there’s a lot happening under its surface, and while you can’t beat the price, don’t be surprised if you end up throwing a couple bucks Moonlit‘s way anyhow.

Moonlit on Instagram

Moonlit on Bandcamp

Doom Lab, Northern Lights

Doom Lab Northern Lights

Much of Northern Lights is instrumental, but whether or not Leo Scheben is barking out the endtimes storyline of “Darkhammer” — stylized all-caps in the tracklisting — or “Night Terrors,” or just digging into a 24-second progression of lo-fi riffing of “Paranoid Isolation” and the Casio-type beats that back his guitar there and across the project’s 16-track latest offering, the reminder Doom Lab give is that the need to create takes many forms. From the winding scales of “Locrian’s Run” to “Twisted Logic” with its plotted solo lines, pieces are often just that — pieces of what might otherwise be a fleshed-out song — and Doom Lab‘s experimentalism feels paramount in terms of aural priorities. Impulse in excelsis. It might be for the best that the back-to-back pair “Nice ‘n’ Curvy” and “Let ’em Bounce” are both instrumental, but as madcap as Scheben is, he’s able to bring Northern Lights to a close with resonant homage in its title-track, and cuts like “Too Much Sauce on New Year’s Eve” and “Dark Matter” are emblematic of his open-minded approach overall, working in different styles sometimes united most by their rawness and uncompromising persona. This is number 100 of 100 records covered in this Quarterly Review, and nothing included up to now sounds like Doom Lab. A total win for radical individualism.

Doom Lab on YouTube

Doom Lab on Bandcamp

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Quarterly Review: Monkey3, The Quill, Nebula Drag, LLNN & Sugar Horse, Fuzzter, Cold in Berlin, The Mountain King, Witchorious, Skull Servant, Lord Velvet

Posted in Reviews on February 29th, 2024 by JJ Koczan

The-Obelisk-Quarterly-Review

Day four of five puts the end of this Quarterly Review in sight, as will inevitably happen. We passed the halfway point yesterday and by the time today’s done it’s the home stretch. I hope you’ve had a good week. It’s been a lot — and in terms of the general work level of the day, today’s my busiest day; I’ve got Hungarian class later and homework to do for that, and two announcements to write in addition to this, one for today one for tomorrow, and I need to set up the back end of another announcement for Friday if I can. The good news is that my daughter seems to be over the explosive-vomit-time stomach bug that had her out of school on Monday. The better news is I’ve yet to get that.

But if I’m scatterbrained generally and sort of flailing, well, as I was recently told after I did a video interview and followed up with the artist to apologize for my terribleness at it, at least it’s honest. I am who I am, and I think that there are places where people go and things people do that sometimes I have a hard time with. Like leaving the house. And parenting. And interviewing bands, I guess. Needing to plow through 10 reviews today and tomorrow should be a good exercise in focusing energy, even if that isn’t necessarily getting the homework done faster. And yeah, it’s weird to be in your 40s and think about homework. Everything’s weird in your 40s.

Quarterly Review #31-40:

Monkey3, Welcome to the Machine

monkey3 welcome to the machine

What are Monkey3 circa 2024 if not a name you can trust? The Swiss instrumental four-piece are now more than 20 years removed from their 2003 self-titled debut, and Welcome to the Machine — their seventh album and fourth release on Napalm Records (three studio, one live) — brings five new songs across 46 minutes of stately progressive heavy craft, with the lead cut “Ignition” working into an early gallop before cutting to ambience presumably as a manifestation of hitting escape velocity and leaving the planetary atmosphere, and trading from there between longer (10-plus-minute) and shorter (six- and seven-minute) pieces that are able to hit with a surprising impact when they so choose. Second track “Collision” comes to crush in a way that even 2019’s Sphere (review here) didn’t, and to go with its methodical groove, heavy post-rock airiness and layered-in acoustic guitar, “Kali Yuga” (10:01) is tethered by a thud of drums that feels no less the point of the thing than the mood-aura in the largesse that surrounds. Putting “Rackman” (7:13, with hints of voice or keyboard that sounds like it), which ends furiously, and notably cinematic closer “Collapse” (12:51) together on side B is a distinct immersion, and the latter places Monkey3 in a prog-metal context that defies stylistic expectation even as it lives up to the promise of the band’s oeuvre. Seven records and more than two decades on, and Monkey3 are still evolving. This is a special band, and in a Europe currently awash in heavy instrumentalism of varying degrees of psychedelia, it’s hard to think of Monkey3 as anything other than aesthetic pioneers.

Monkey3 on Facebook

Napalm Records website

The Quill, Wheel of Illusion

the quill wheel of illusion

With its Sabbath-born chug and bluesy initial groove opening to NWOBHM grandeur at the solo, the opening title-track is quick to reassure that Sweden’s The Quill are themselves on Wheel of Illusion, even if the corresponding classic metal elements there a standout from the more traditional rock of “Elephant Head” with its tambourine, or the doomier roll in “Sweet Mass Confusion,” also pointedly Sabbathian and thus well within the wheelhouse of guitarist Christian Carlsson, vocalist Magnus Ekwall, bassist Roger Nilsson and drummer Jolle Atlagic. While most of Wheel of Illusion is charged in its delivery, the still-upbeat “Rainmaker” feels like a shift in atmosphere after the leadoff and “We Burn,” and atmospherics come more into focus as the drums thud and the strings echo out in layers as “Hawks and Hounds” builds to its ending. While “The Last Thing” works keyboard into its all-go transition into nodding capper “Wild Mustang,” it’s the way the closer seems to encapsulate the album as a whole and the perspective brought to heavy rock’s founding tenets that make The Quill such reliable purveyors, and Wheel of Illusion comes across like special attention was given to the arrangements and the tightness of the songwriting. If you can’t appreciate kickass rock and roll, keep moving. Otherwise, whether it’s your first time hearing The Quill or you go back through all 10 of their albums, they make it a pleasure to get on board.

The Quill on Facebook

Metalville Records website

Nebula Drag, Western Death

Nebula Drag Western Death

Equal parts brash and disillusioned, Nebula Drag‘s Dec. 2023 LP, Western Death, is a ripper whether you’re dug into side ‘Western’ or side ‘Death.’ The first half of the psych-leaning-but-more-about-chemistry-than-effects San Diego trio’s third album offers the kind of declarative statement one might hope, with particular scorch in the guitar of Corey Quintana, sway and ride in Stephen Varns‘ drums and Garrett Gallagher‘s Sabbathian penchant for working around the riffs. The choruses of “Sleazy Tapestry,” “Kneecap,” “Side by Side,” “Tell No One” and the closing title-track speak directly to the listener, with the last of them resolved, “Look inside/See the signs/Take what you can,” and “Side by Side” a call to group action, “We don’t care how it gets done/Helpless is the one,” but there’s storytelling here too as “Tell No One” turns the sold-your-soul-to-play-music trope and turns it on its head by (in the narrative, anyhow) keeping the secret. Pairing these ideas with Nebula Drag‘s raw-but-not-sloppy heavy grunge, able to grunge-crunch on “Tell No One” even as the vocals take on more melodic breadth, and willing to let it burn as “Western Death” departs its deceptively angular riffing to cap the 34-minute LP with the noisy finish it has by then well earned.

Nebula Drag on Facebook

Desert Records store

LLNN & Sugar Horse, The Horror bw Sleep Paralysis Demon

LLNN Sugar Horse The Horror Sleep Paralysis Demon

Brought together for a round of tour dates that took place earlier this month, Pelagic Records labelmates LLNN (from Copenhagen) and Sugar Horse (from Bristol, UK) each get one track on a 7″ side for a showcase. Both use it toward obliterating ends. LLNN, who are one of the heaviest bands I’ve ever seen live and I’m incredibly grateful for having seen them live, dig into neo-industrial churn on “The Horror,” with stabbing synth later in the procession that underscores the point and less reliance on tonal onslaught than the foreboding violence of the atmosphere they create. In response, Sugar Horse manage to hold back their screams and lurching full-bore bludgeonry for nearly the first minute of “Sleep Paralysis Demon” and even after digging into it dare a return to cleaner singing, admirable in their restraint and more effectively tense for it when they push into caustic sludge churn and extremity, space in the guitar keeping it firmly in the post-metal sphere even as they aim their intent at rawer flesh. All told, the platter is nine of probably and hopefully-for-your-sake the most brutal minutes you might experience today, and thus can only be said to accomplish what it set out to do as the end product sounds like two studios would’ve needed rebuilding afterward.

LLNN on Facebook

Sugar Horse on Facebook

Pelagic Records website

Fuzzter, Pandemonium

fuzzter pandemonium

Fuzzter aren’t necessarily noisy in terms of playing noise rock on Pandemonium, but from the first cymbal crashes after the Oppenheimer sample at the start of “Extinción,” the Peruvian outfit engage an uptempo heavy psych thrust that, though directed, retains a chaotic aspect through the band’s willingness to be sound if not actually be reckless, to gang shout before the guitars drift off in “Thanatos,” to be unafraid of being eaten by their own swirl in “Caja de Pandora” or to chug with a thrashy intensity at the start of closer “Tercer Ojo,” doom out massive in the song’s middle, and float through jazzy minimalism at the finish. But even in that, there are flashes, bursts that emphasize the unpredictability of the songs, which is an asset throughout what’s listed as the Lima trio’s third EP but clocks in at 36 minutes with the instrumental “Purgatorio,” which starts off like it might be an interlude but grows more furious as its five minutes play out, tucked into its center. If it’s a short release, it is substantial. If it’s an album, it’s substantial despite a not unreasonable runtime. Ultimately, whatever they call it is secondary to the space-metal reach and the momentum fostered across its span, which just might carry you with it whether or not you thought you were ready to go.

Fuzzter on Facebook

Fuzzter on Instagram

Cold in Berlin, The Body is the Wound

cold in berlin the body is the wound

The listed representation of dreams in “Dream One” adds to the concrete severity of Cold in Berlin‘s dark, keyboard-laced post-metallic sound, but London-based four-piece temper that impact with the post-punk ambience around the shove of the later “Found Out” on their The Body is the Wound 19-minute four-songer, and build on the goth-ish sway even as “Spotlight” fosters a heavier, more doomed mindset behind vocalist Maya, whose verses in “When Did You See Her Last” are complemented by dramatic lines of keyboard and who can’t help but soar even as the overarching direction is down, down, down into either the subconscious referenced in “Dream One” or some other abyss probably of the listener’s own making. Five years and one actual-plague after their fourth full-length, 2019’s Rituals of Surrender, bordering on 15 since the band got their start, they cast resonance in mood as well as impact (the latter bolstered by Wayne Adams‘ production), and are dynamic in style as well as volume, with each piece on The Body is the Wound working toward its own ends while the EP’s entirety flows with the strength of its performances. They’re in multiple worlds, and it works.

Cold in Berlin on Facebook

Cold in Berlin website

The Mountain King, Apostasyn

the mountain king apostasyn

With the expansive songwriting of multi-instrumentalist/sometimes-vocalist Eric McQueen at its core, The Mountain King issue Apostasyn as possibly their 10th full-length in 10 years and harness a majestic, progressive doom metal that doesn’t skimp either on the doom or the metal, whether that takes the form of the Type O Negative-style keys in “The White Noise From God’s Radio” or the tremolo guitar in the apex of closer “Axolotl Messiah.” The title-track is a standout for more than just being 15 minutes long, with its death-doom crux and shifts between minimal and maximal volumes, and the opening “Dødo” just before fosters immersion after its maybe-banging-on-stuff-maybe-it’s-programmed intro, with a hard chug answered in melody by guest singer Julia Gusso, who joins McQueen and the returning Frank Grimbarth (also guitar) on vocals, while Robert Bished adds synth to McQueen‘s own. Through the personnel changes and in each piece’s individual procession, The Mountain King are patient, waiting in the dark for you to join them. They’ll probably just keep basking in all that misery until you get there, no worries. Oh, and I’ll note that the download version of Apostasyn comes with instrumental versions of the four tracks, in case you’d really like to lose yourself in ruminating.

The Mountain King on Facebook

The Mountain King on Bandcamp

Witchorious, Witchorious

WITCHORIOUS SELF TITLED

The self-titled debut from Parisian doomers Witchorious is distinguished by its moments of sludgier aggression — the burly barks in “Monster” at the outset, and so on — but the chorus of “Catharsis” that rises from the march of the verse offers a more melodic vision, and the three-piece of guitarist/vocalist Antoine Auclair, bassist/vocalist Lucie Gaget and drummer Paul Gaget, continue to play to multiple sides of a modern metal and doom blend, while “The Witch” adds vastness and roll to its creeper-riff foundation. The guitar-piece “Amnesia” serves as an interlude ahead of “Watch Me Die” as Witchorious dig into the second half of the album, and as hard has that song comes to hit — plenty — the character of the band is correspondingly deepened by the breadth of “To the Grave,” which follows before the bonus track “Why” nod-dirges the album’s last hook. There’s clarity in the craft throughout, and Witchorious seem aware of themselves in stylistic terms if not necessarily writing to style, and noteworthy as it is for being their first record, I look forward to hearing how they refine and sharpen the methods laid out in these songs. The already-apparent command with which they direct the course here isn’t to be ignored.

Witchorious on Facebook

Argonauta Records website

Skull Servant, Traditional Black Magicks II

skull servant traditional black magicks ii

Though their penchant for cult positioning and exploitation-horror imagery might lead expectations elsewhere, North Carolinian trio Skull Servant present a raw, sludge-rocking take on their second LP, Traditional Black Magicks II, with bassist Noah Terrell and guitarist Calvin Bauer reportedly swapping vocal duties per song across the five tracks while drummer Ryland Dreibelbis gives fluidity to the current of distortion threaded into “Absinthe Dreams,” which is instrumental on the album but newly released as a standalone single with vocals. I don’t know if the wrong version got uploaded or what — Bauer ends up credited with vocals that aren’t there — but fair enough. A meaner, punkier stonerism shows itself as “Poison the Unwell” hints at facets of post-hardcore and “Pergamos,” the two shortest pieces placed in front of the strutting “Lucifer’s Reefer” and between that cut and the Goatsnake-via-Sabbath riffing of “Satan’s Broomstick.” So it could be that Skull Servant, who released the six-song outing on Halloween 2023, are still sorting through where they want to be sound-wise, or it could be they don’t give a fuck about genre convention and are gonna do whatever they please going forward. I won’t predict and I’m not sure either answer is wrong.

Skull Servant on Facebook

Skull Servant on Bandcamp

Lord Velvet, Astral Lady

lord velvet astral lady

Notice of arrival is served as Lord Velvet dig into classic vibes and modern heft on their late 2023 debut EP, Astral Lady, to such a degree that I actually just checked their social media to see if they’d been signed yet before I started writing about them. Could happen, and probably will if they want it to, considering the weight of low end and the flowing, it’s-a-vibe-man vibe, plus shred, in “Lament of Io” and the way they make that lumber boogie through (most of) “Snakebite Fever.” Appearing in succession, “Night Terrors” and “From the Deep” channel stoned Iommic revelry amid their dynamic-in-tempo doomed intent, and while “Black Beam of Gemini” rounds out with a shove, Lord Velvet retain the tonal presence on the other end of that quick, quiet break, ready to go when needed for the crescendo. They’re not reinventing stoner rock and probably shouldn’t be trying to on this first EP, but they feel like they’re engaging with some of the newer styles being proffered by Magnetic Eye or sometimes Ripple Music, and if they end up there or elsewhere before they get around to making a full-length, don’t be surprised. If they plan to tour, so much the better for everybody.

Lord Velvet on Facebook

Lord Velvet website

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The Sonic Dawn Announce Phantom LP Out May 10; Premiere “Iron Bird”

Posted in audiObelisk, Whathaveyou on February 13th, 2024 by JJ Koczan

Copenhagen psychedelic heavycrafters The Sonic Dawn are releasing their new album, Phantom, on May 10 through Heavy Psych Sounds. Preorders are up as of this announcement and you’ll find the links below, under the player bringing us “Iron Bird” as the first single to come from the record. You might recall their most recent long-player was 2020’s Enter the Mirage (discussed here). That was their third outing under the Heavy Psych Sounds banner behind 2019’s Eclipse (discussed here), 2017’s Into the Long Night (review here), their debut, Perception (review here), having been issued through Nasoni in 2015.

That makes Phantom their fourth album, and it’s also the first to be released since they marked their 10th anniversary as a band last year. In the interim since Enter the Mirage, frontman Emile Bureau has focused on solo work playing as just Emile and also releasing through Heavy Psych Sounds. “Iron Bird” marks a striking return for The Sonic Dawn, who with it present an earthier groove than one might expect from a band so generally given to ethereal float. Not that there’s none of that happening in the track, but they call it proto-metal, and you can hear that in there; a lean toward a more straightforward side of vintage-ism is by no means beyond The Sonic Dawn‘s reach at this point, or entirely unexpected. They’re songwriters. At a certain point, once you’ve got that, you can take it anywhere.

I haven’t heard Phantom in full, so can’t speak to how “Iron Bird” ties in, but it’s neither the band’s nor the label’s nor my first time at this particular dance, so I’ll cut the bullshit and say I hold this band to a pretty high standard of craft. They’ve shown themselves to be up to that over time, and their work has developed a personality and perspective of its own while remaining open to new ideas and thoughtful of its audience. They’re not going to be for everyone, but nothing is. Maybe they’re for you and that’s why you’re here. Great, and I mean that.

You’ll find “Iron Bird” on the player below, followed by a quote from the band, preorder links and more info from the PR wire.

Goes like this:

The Sonic Dawn, “Iron Bird” track premiere

The Sonic Dawn on “Iron Bird”:

Iron Bird is a protest against organized mass murder and the war pigs who run the show. As we see it humanity stands at a crossroads – a choice between sharing and coexistence or inevitable extinction. There will be no winners only death. Such a message calls for a heavy sound. On Iron Bird we explore an almost proto-metal style but fully psychedelic. If that sounds unsettling to you you’re getting the right picture. Much like the psychedelic experience itself our new album “PHANTOM” oscillates between the terrifying and the beautiful. Iron Bird certainly resides on the dark side of that spectrum. Brace yourself for a journey into some heavy acid rock.

THE SONIC DAWN – New album “PHANTOM” out May 10th on Heavy Psych Sounds

ALBUM PRESALE:
https://www.heavypsychsounds.com/

USA PRESALE:
https://www.heavypsychsounds.com/shop-usa.htm

Hailing from Copenhagen, Denmark, The Sonic Dawn is one of Europe’s most prominent current acid rock bands.

Formed in 2013 by childhood friends Emil Bureau, Jonas Waaben, and Niels ‘Bird’ Fuglede, the trio has delivered four albums, celebrated for their dynamic fusion of genres from sitar pop to heavy psych. Their highly anticipated fifth LP is slated for release this spring via Heavy Psych Sounds.

The debut album, Perception (2015), marked their international breakthrough with Berlin-based Nasoni Records. The sophomore release, Into the Long Night (2017), launched on Heavy Psych Sounds, accompanied by an extensive European album tour—some 60 shows, including two weeks with Brant Bjork (US)—solidifying their presence. The subsequent album, Eclipse (2019), earned acclaim as “easily one of the best psychedelic pop albums of the decade,” and once again the group hit the road hard, playing in 11 different countries.

In 2020, The Sonic Dawn unveiled Enter the Mirage, recognized as “a modern psych classic” by Shindig Magazine. While the planned album tour was cut short, it was possible to play on WDR’s legendary TV show Rockpalast, which has featured David Bowie, the Grateful Dead, and many more through the years.

Now, their highly anticipated fifth album, Phantom (2024), is set for a worldwide release on May 10th, 2024. Formally welcoming long-time collaborator Erik ‘Errka’ Petersson as a new studio band member on organ/keys, The Sonic Dawn continues its sonic journey. Culminating from four years of creating music, the album showcases a raw and heavy musical style blended with the melodic psychedelia for which the band is renowned.

The band is gearing up for an extensive European tour in 2024-2025, promising a further development of their mind-altering exploration.

THE SONIC DAWN is
Emil Bureau – Guitars / Vocals
Jonas Waaben – Drums
Niels Bird – Bass

https://www.facebook.com/thesonicdawn/
https://www.instagram.com/thesonicdawn/
https://thesonicdawn.bandcamp.com/
http://thesonicdawn.com/

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The Sonic Dawn, Enter the Mirage (2020)

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Album Review: Edena Gardens, Dens

Posted in Reviews on December 20th, 2023 by JJ Koczan

Edena Gardens Dens

When it was announced by El Paraiso Records earlier this Fall, it was suggested that Dens might be the final release from Danish instrumentalist trio Edena Gardens, who feature in their ranks drummer Jakob Skøtt and bassist/baritone guitarist Martin Rude and Nicklas Sørensen of Papir. The project is one of a slew in the orbit of Causa Sui and El Paraiso, which has become an ecosystem of sometimes-jazzy psych and heavy psych, with exploration as a core value uniting the works released under its banner no less than the themed layouts of the albums being issued.

That said, Edena Gardens has stood out both for quick turnarounds — their self-titled debut (review here) came out in Oct. 2022, and they followed with Agar (review here) earlier this year and still had room to put out the Live Momentum (review here) concert-capture LP, which if this is really it for them one will be glad to have for the documentation — and Dens brings seven pieces spread gracefully across 47 minutes brimming with mellow-psych meander. In Edena Gardens and in his own band, Sørensen has demonstrated again and again an ability to keep solid footing in a molten and shifting context, and whether it’s the brief drone-laced pastoral drift of “Vini’s Lament” (titled in honor of Vini Reilly of The Durutti Column) or the way “Morgensol” takes a conceptual cue from raga and sets itself not toward conveying the energy of the day but the slow-motion manner in which the sun hoists itself above the horizon.

If the first album was Eden — and it wasn’t at the time, but we’re all friends here, you and I, and we’re just talking, and maybe sometimes you want to make a revision so you can someday do a special 4LP box set or some such — and the second Agar, then Dens is the missing syllable to complete the band’s name spelled across their titles: EdenAgarDens. As the third in a maybe-trilogy, then, its shimmering resonance is leant that much more gravitas, but gravity doesn’t really apply here. “Morgensol” runs nine minutes long and is serene throughout, and while the organ and more active drumming in the crescendo of the 14-minute penultimate cut “Sienita” fuels a movement that is vibrant and energetic, Edena Gardens aren’t aiming for impact so much as ambience in terms of the general balance of what they do. Through opener “Wald” (‘forest,’ in Danish) and breeze that seems to blow “Dusted” along its light tumble, seeming to build some tension around three minutes in but resisting the impulse to break out volume-wise, the trio hypnotize in a way that feels multi-tiered, like they’re in it as much as the listener — the very epitome of ‘dug in’ — but if they ever actually get lost at any point, I can’t find where.

edena gardens (Photo by Hannibal-Bach)

Causa Sui‘s Jonas Munk engineered the recording and Skøtt produced — careful hands, is what that tells you — and it’s pretty clear there’s been some level of editing done, which is to say there are fades in and out and pieces like “Vini’s Lament” or the slightly-fuzzier-in-its-leads “An Uaimh Bhinn” (referencing a cave in Scotland) that separates “Morgensol” and “Sienita” were likely carved out of larger improvisations, whereas “Sienita,” reportedly, is the front-to-back live jam with only the aforementioned organ overdubbed.

It’s academic, ultimately, to most who will take on Dens or any other of Edena Gardens‘ output past or right-timeline future, but not at all irrelevant to the vibe, which it doesn’t take long to figure out is high on the priority list here, generally speaking. “Sienita,” named for a type of volcanic rock, unfolds with casual wistfulness early, the drums at a slow march, but takes off gradually as it goes and builds to a first head before the halfway point and recedes again to let the second build start from the ground as it meanders into a payoff that feels like it’s maybe speaking to more than just this record but the cycle of three of which this is part.

And maybe, if Edena Gardens do manage to put a batch of jams/songs-carved-therefrom together after Dens it will inherently feel different just because of some imaginary border between what’s their third and fourth full-lengths. I don’t know and when you’re locked into “Sienita,” it hardly matters. It is a worthy moment for mindful hearing, not the least because it isn’t perfect and isn’t trying to convince anyone it is. It is simply that 14 minutes of playing, represented.

Which of course is nothing so simple. Involved in that, and one might argue emphasized here in terms of the position ahead of closer “Dawn Daydreams,” which is nine minutes shorter than “Sienita” and the second inclusion to reference sunrise behind “Morgensol,” is the chemistry shared between Rude and Skøtt and Sørensen and the organic nature of the jam itself. It’s heady stuff, and one must perhaps be willing to grant that jazz- and krautrock-informed light-touch psychedelic instrumentals might not be a universal appeal — rest assured, it’s the universe’s problem — but Edena Gardens in about the span of a year went from being nothing to having an identifiable sonic persona distinct from both Causa Sui and Papir, the two acts from whom its membership draws.

One such record was not a minor achievement. Two felt like a bonus. The live record, well shit, if they’re gonna be on stage, then yeah. And this? I don’t want to call it a victory lap, because it’s too classy to rub your face in its own achievement, but maybe a celebration of the core collab that makes it up, at least, or a potential project sendoff — and nobody’s saying ‘never again’ here to start with — as well as a completion to the arc that was set out by the band. At the very, very least, it is a collection of thoughtful, malleable and immersive tracks put together by artists whose joy for the process(es) of its making resonates as clearly as Sørensen‘s lead lines in the dappled shimmer of “Wald.” If it’s to be a culmination, then yes, it is.

Edena Gardens, “Dusted” official video

Edena Gardens on Facebook

Edena Gardens on Instagram

El Paraiso Records on Instagram

El Paraiso Records on Facebook

El Paraiso Records website

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Album Review: Causa Sui, Loppen 2021

Posted in Reviews on November 10th, 2023 by JJ Koczan

Causa Sui Loppen 2021

One of European heavy psychedelia’s most essential acts, Danish instrumentalist four-piece Causa Sui last released a live album in 2017’s Live in Copenhagen (review here), and six years between them seems like more than enough for an outfit so vibrant. The narrative (blessings and peace upon it) holds that guitarist Jonas Munk, drummer Jakob Skøtt, keyboardist Rasmus Rasmussen and bassist Jess Kahr recorded Loppen 2021 at the renowned Christiania venue named in its title on Sept. 11, 2021, the same week Denmark lifted its covid lockdown. And if you ever wanted to hear that manifest into sound, the kick-in of “Homage” captured here should do the job nicely, even before the organ shows up. Playing to a crowd of 400, Causa Sui left behind the jazzy explorations of their most recent studio LP, 2020’s Szabodelico (review here) and offshoot projects, solo work and collaborations to solidify around what their own label El Paraiso Records once used to call ‘Freedom Fuzz’ when it printed the slogan on trucker hats a decade ago.

Heady considerations of aesthetic? Well, yeah, they’re still there. I mean, it’s Causa Sui — as deep as you want to listen, they’ll meet you on that level — but the vibe here is more casual, perhaps relieved given the context. Causa Sui have never been a road-dog kind of band, and because of that, one assumes that whatever money they make comes from all those fancy records they sell through El Paraiso, but in the 16-minute take on “Ju-Ju Blues” from 2013’s Euporie Tide (discussed here) and in the dulcet, lightly Western ramble of the guitar in “Under the Spell” from Szabodelico, the swirl of effects that rises as “Mondo Buzzo” sloughs into its midsection, soon enough with its guitar solo drawn in, they sound genuinely immersed in the moment.

Maybe that’s me reading into the story I’ve been told about the record. That happens. I’m not sure that makes the energy of Loppen 2021 any less palpable as Causa Sui take eight select pieces from out of their storied and sprawling 18-year catalog for an 81-minute set that, yes, sees the band present their material in its full dynamic range, with the buzzy gotta-jam-now urgency that starts opener “The Juice” flowing smoothly into the subdued dream-keys in “Mondo Buzzo,” which follows, and on from there. “The Juice” and the aforementioned “Ju-Ju Blues” — penultimate to the perma-closer “El Paraiso,” which was on their 2005 self-titled debut — as well as “Mireille” and “Homage” are from Euporie Tide, which makes four out of eight inclusions, where Szabodelico only has “Under the Spell” and the prior 2017 studio LP, Vibraciones Doradas (review here), just “El Fuego”; though, I say “just” there and the track is 11 minutes long.

causa sui loppen 2021 back

Still, the lesson of that is Loppen 2021 isn’t a show the band were playing because they were trying to promote a thing — at least not any more than everybody is trying to promote a thing anytime they do anything; they’re probably not going to fight you if you try to buy a t-shirt or some vinyl — so much as revel in the spirit of that moment and celebrate the not-at-all-simple fact of their ability to be on a stage again. They’re not the only outfit to emerge from the no-live-music portion of the covid pandemic with a live record, but the intention is so resonant, they’re so dug in, and the set is so rock-based — which sounds funny thinking of Causa Sui as a heavy band, but from improv jams to jazzy collaborations, they could have gotten up there and done just about anything they wanted — that the show-as-catharsis storyline can’t help but fit. To wit, the held organ notes in the build as “El Fuego” moves past its middle and comes to life like the ’60s never ended and it was a secret but you just found out, or “Mireille” breezes through its cyclical sans-vocals chorus ahead of the all-in finish of “Ju-Ju Blues” (16:22) and “El Paraiso” (12:21), both of which underscore the resounding and floating nature of their energies.

Part of what one might appreciate about any given Causa Sui release is the sense of exploration that’s so endemic to their approach, the fact that they seem to make weighted tones step lightly, blending ideas classic, modern and futuristic into a take that has evolved from its mid-aughts European heavy rock foundations — still audible in “El Paraiso” and elsewhere, for sure — into something the band’s own and the basis of an oeuvre fostered through their label in their own output and that of others. I don’t know what it might’ve been like to be at this show — Causa Sui are a bucket-list band for me — but as Munk solos over the roundabout crashes at the crescendo of “Ju-Ju Blues,” the impetus to find out is laid bare. They crash and stop, then follow the organ line’s mellow swagger to the end, which is greeted with well justified howls.

And baby, when that “El Paraiso” strum hits, there’s nowhere to go but out of your own head. On a technical level, Causa Sui are masters of their respective crafts, and “El Paraiso” is the moment on Loppen 2021 where they truly underscore the “we’re back” message, but with a “we” that goes beyond themselves to include the audience present and, by extrapolation, the listener at home. Whoever decided this would be publicly released, whenever that decision was made, the result is a lush and vivid encapsulation of Causa Sui‘s more rocking side and a deeper experience because of how the music is used in hindsight to tell the story of the moment the recording was made.

No doubt the band could take you track-by-track through each miniscule, unnoticeable-to-anyone-else flub, but this is what live heavy music is all about, in terms of the band’s chemistry and the notion of a given night, a given show, as a fleeting thing not to come again. It is to the benefit of all who take it on that Loppen 2021 exists, and if you’d point out the rare nature of an act whose third live album ends up being one of their most essential and evocative offerings, well yeah, that’s kind of what I’ve been saying this whole time. There’s only one Causa Sui. Established fans and newcomers alike should have no trouble after hearing this in extrapolating just how much that means.

Causa Sui, “El Fuego”

Causa Sui on Facebook

El Paraiso Records

El Paraiso Records on Facebook

El Paraiso Records on Instagram

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Dread Witch Sign to DHU Records; Tower of the Severed Serpent to See LP Release

Posted in Whathaveyou on October 31st, 2023 by JJ Koczan

Issued by the band in January, there was little doubt the full-length debut from Danish doom metallers Dread Witch, Tower of the Severed Serpent (review here) would end up plucked from out of the digital ether for vinyl realization. Sure enough, DHU Records has stepped in to do the dirty work of standing behind the pressing, which conveys the severity of its intention and announces its of-the-genre stance with riffs and Branca Studio cover art alike. I almost met that dude this year at SonicBlast. He does art for the Portuguese fest as well and had a merch table. I wasn’t brave enough to say hi in the end. Maybe some day.

If you missed the record, the stream is below and if I didn’t think it was worth your time I wouldn’t be here writing about it. Band and label both posit an early 2024 release for the vinyl of Tower of the Severed Serpent, after which one imagines the band will at some point adjourn to the dank, cold, largely-unlit cave where they composed the first release in order to set fire beneath the cauldron of a follow-up. Be patient. Good doom takes time. It’s like the baked potato of musical genres.

On that note, this from the PR wire:

Dread Witch DHU announce

DHU Signs Dread Witch

*** LISTEN UP ***

DHU Records is thrilled to announce the signing of Denmark Death Doomers Dread Witch !! (#127465#)(#127472#)

“Tower Of The Severed Serpent” is the stunning, otherworldly, debut album by Dread Witch that will surely leave you aghast and in awe when immersing yourself in this bitter & weighty tome! Not to mention the Sinister & Delightfully fitting artwork by Branca Studio (#128013#)(#128128#)(#128396#)

Get ready for a very Dark, Low & Heavy trip at dreadwitch.bandcamp.com (#128266#)⚰

DHU Records will release Tower Of The Severed Serpent on Limited Edition Vinyl early 2024

Test Press, DHU Exclusive & Band Editions will be available…

More details & info to follow…

(#128367#)STAY DOOMED STAY HEAVY(#128367#)

https://www.facebook.com/DreadWitch666/
https://www.instagram.com/dreadwitch.official/
https://dreadwitch.bandcamp.com/

www.darkhedonisticunion.bigcartel.com
https://www.facebook.com/DHURecords/
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Dread Witch, Tower of the Severed Serpent

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Edena Gardens to Release Maybe-Final LP Dens Dec. 1

Posted in Whathaveyou on October 25th, 2023 by JJ Koczan

I like that Edena Gardens basically go, “Yeah, maybe this’ll be the last record or maybe not.” If I’d already put out a self-titled debut (review here) and the follow-up, Agar (review here) and put together a third LP for release — that’s Dens, out Dec. 1 as per the headline above — between 2022 and 2023, I might be somewhat cautious too. If they’re thinking of these three records as a trilogy — they might want to rename the first one Eden for subsequent pressings if they’re using the four-letter-words-from-the-band’s-name as a uniting theme — that’s fine, but they’ve already also done a live album (review here), so they’re not necessarily limited by anything other than what they themselves impose.

Dens is the third Edena Gardens LP. If it’s the last one, well, the collaborative outfit formed by Jakob Skøtt (drums) and Martin Rude (baritone and bass guitar) of Causa Sui and Papir guitarist Nicklas Sørensen didn’t owe anyone anything when they started and they certainly don’t now. If it’s not the last one, and maybe a fourth surfaces sometime in the vast unknowable future, be it six months, six years or whatever, I have no doubt the explorations will continue to resonate as they have through their efforts to-date.

“Veil” in the video below comes from Agar. I haven’t found any a/v from Dens yet but I’m sure both that and preorders are coming. El Paraiso Records knows what’s up, so keep an eye out.

From the PR wire:

Edena Gardens Dens

Edena Gardens: Dens

Members of Papir & Causa Sui finalise Edena Gardens trilogy.

Formats: CD/LP (600 copies) / Digital Download
Release date: December 1st, 2023

True to El Paraiso fashion, Dens concludes a trilogy of albums, aptly spelling out the last third of the group’s name. And true to form, the band turns inwards rather than outwards, drawing on deep shades of ambient, slowcore, and the ghost of Mark Hollis. While maintaining their psychedelic edge, the trio weaves the lines between genres in a way that’s becoming a signature of its own. Never in a hurry, but always moving somewhere.

Causa Sui drummer Jakob Skøtt & Martin Rude’s bass and baritone guitar lay out a robust yet fleeting foundation. Papir’s Nicklas Sørensen’s glistening guitar lines never felt more free and explorative. While The Durutti Column tribute Vini’s Lament is drenched in nostalgia, a cut like Morgensol (Morning Sun in Danish) explodes in Popol Vuh-esque gloomy euphoria.

Engineered by Jonas Munk & produced by Jakob Skøtt, the album culls hours of free improvisation into a coherent size. Seamless edits and studio wizardry enhance the feeling of an almost narrative nature as the album progresses. Invoking anything from a crackling campfire, rattling bones, and the singing of sand dunes. The culmination lies in the 14-minute track Sienita. A fully formed blistering improvisation, abandoning any studio trickery, besides a singly dubbed organ, rising and falling like the tide.

Is Dens the final chapter of Edena Gardens? Who knows, and who cares… Edena Gardens is all about the present anyway.

Stay at Edena Gardens.

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Edena Gardens, “Veil” official video

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