The Angelus Premiere “Hex Born”; Why We Never Die out Aug. 20

Posted in audiObelisk on July 20th, 2021 by JJ Koczan

the angelus

The Angelus make their label debut for Desert Records on Aug. 20 with their third album, Why We Never Die. It is perhaps an unfortunate outing, monetarily, since for anyone not previously familiar with the band’s work, it just might make one inclined to buy everything they’ve done to-date. Heavy Western vibes pervade the Dollars-trilogy-esque bells of the introductory “Honor to Feasts,” and that two-minute preliminary is followed immediately by the bluesier fuzz of “Hex Born,” of a spiritual kinship somehow to the likes of All Them Witches, latter-day Greenleaf, harmony-laced Wovenhand‘s tense rhythm changes, Lord Buffalo and others while working with their own carefully carved identity. They make fitting labelmates to Cortége in mood (also those bells), and though their arrangements have been stripped down somewhat since their string-laced 2011 debut, On a Dark and Barren Land, and the choruses in “Hex Born” and the subsequent “Ode to None” are hooks enough to set a tone of songcraft-focus for everything that follows, the Dallas trio led by guitarist/vocalist Emil Rapstine with Justin Evans on drums/backing vocals and Justin Ward on bass, are not at all without subtlety either in presentation or aesthetic. Earthy psychedelia pervades as Why We Never Die moves deeper into its ultra-manageable 34-minute procession, but The Angelus never grow so ethereal as to forget to bring their audience along.

“Ode to None” in particular has the feeling of a landmark in its position backing “Honor to Feasts” and “Hex Born” with a longer runtime and a more patient feel. The following “Of Ashen Air” is suitably floating in its midsection vocals and brings fluid forward motionThe Angelus Why We Never Die in the drums, less lush than the song before it, but flowing easily enough from one to the other. Momentum is already on The Angelus‘ side as the first half of Why We Never Die careens ahead, never really bursting out with energy or pushing over the top, but not at all staid in its delivery either. Both “Of Ashen Air” and the more shimmer-and-crash-prone heavy post-rock of “When the Hour is Right” hold to the central atmosphere, which is not necessarily paramount — that’s songwriting and performance, as regards priorities — but always there in terms of the backdrop on which the action of the songs takes place; a stretched out Western landscape, breeze blown and looming, maybe threatening. The quicker “Another Kind” sneaks in post-industrial electronics ahead of its satisfyingly thickened payoff, leading into the seven-minute title-track, the arrival of which feels no less momentous than that of “There Will Be No Peace” on the 2017 sophomore LP of the same name, despite the fact that the intro didn’t reference it specifically. Harmonies and instrumental dynamics alike serve as strengths alongside old-timey phrasing in the lyrics, as heard when the instruments drop out behind the vocals after four minutes in, the melody quickly setting up the building triumph that follows. This is considered, progressive movement in craft, but the mood behind it feels real.

Along with a looped-seeming fuzzy guitar line that borders on techno, the outro “Hustle the Sluggard” provides closing Morricone-ism to bookend that of “Honor to Feasts,” right down to a moment of military snare drum, as the album carries to its finish. It is a last reminder of the coherence at work in The Angelus‘ material, pushing forward even as they move farther out from the place they were as a unit. This is bolstered by a smoothness of the production and a balance of mix brings perfect emphasis on the shifting balance of melody and heft throughout. Why We Never Die is impeccable in its realization, but it does not come across as forced even in its most nuanced reaches.

On the player below, you can stream the premiere of “Hex Born.” Rapstine, also of Dead to a Dying World, offers some comment on the track, and more PR wire info follows.

Please enjoy:

Emil Rapstine on “Hex Born”:

Death and rock & roll, rock & roll and death. Hex Born was one of the first songs I started working on for “Why We Never Die” and the first I finished the lyrics for. Those lyrics would set the theme and tone for the rest of the record.

“The curse is spoken, cast down to me.
The spell remains unbroken, calling out forever unto thee.”

The curse mentioned is one shared by all humanity and one handed down from generation to generation. A curse to die. The unbroken spell is the music we summon up, an eternal current we connect to to find meaning, and one that will ring out long after we are gone.

“Come lay your head beneath this heavy stone, come carve your given name.
We’ll save you a space, where we’re dreaming no more, with the waking and the slain”

As we leave this world we mark our place with headstones and engravings for others to remember us by. Music can also serve this purpose, creating a record and space for the world to remember our hopes and desires and in a way letting us live forever.

In a dim world, with death our only guarantee, The Angelus returns with their third full-length offering ‘Why We Never Die’. An album full of songs both powerfully engulfing and mesmerizingly intimate, the album’s title alludes to one’s constant rebirth through the creation of music and to the band’s hope to transcend the impending eventuality of death when all that remains is the music, and art becomes artifact. The cover art, featuring a highly stylized rendering of a white peacock resembling the traditional description of the phoenix, reinforces the hope that rebirth through creation allows us to live forever in the material world. The Dallas, Texas trio consists of Emil Rapstine (Dead To A Dying World) on guitar and vocals, accompanied by his stalwart co-conspirator Justin Evans on drums and backing vocals, and their newest accomplice Justin Ward on bass. The album, saturated with plaintive, intoning, and harmonizing vocals, despairing lyrics and darkly droning guitar, draws from post-rock, doom, folk, and dark psychedelic rock. The pleading voices and resounding chords here do not decay because they belong to any ears open to hear them as they reverberate for eternity.

Honor To Feasts
Hex Born
Ode To None
Of Ashen Air
When The Hour Is Right
Another Kind
Why We Never Die
Hustle The Sluggard

“Why We Never Die” was recorded by Alex Bhore (formerly of This Will Destroy You) in Dallas, TX at Elmwood Recording, which belongs to Grammy Award winning producer John Congleton (SWANS, Chelsea Wolfe, St. Vincent, Angel Olsen). The album was mastered by Sarah Register (Protomartyr, Horse Lords, Lower Dens).

The Angelus: Emil Rapstine (guitar, vocals), Justin Evans (drums, vocals), and Justin Ward (bass)

The Angelus on Facebook

The Angelus on Twitter

The Angelus on Instagram

The Angelus on Bandcamp

The Angelus website

Desert Records on Facebook

Desert Records on Instagram

Desert Records on Bandcamp

Tags: , , , , ,

Dizygote Announce Fathoms EP out Aug. 6; Premiere “Drowning”

Posted in audiObelisk, Whathaveyou on June 22nd, 2021 by JJ Koczan


Floriffian two-piece Dizygote will issue their new EP, Fathoms, on Aug. 6 as their first outing for Desert Records. The duo’s debut full-length, Freedom, Incorporated, was issued in 2020 and the band recently announced their signing with all due stoked-ness. Comprised of the father and son pair of Ned and Ethan DuRant, who respectively handle guitar/vocals and drums/backing vocals, the band weave various forms of hard and heavy through their grooving context, a song like “Children of Talos” from the last album neither shying away from thrash nor fully committing at the expense of the later feedback-soaked sludgery.

To go with the announcement of Fathoms, the band are premiering the track “Drowning,” and they were kind enough to provide the lyrics with it as well as some comment from Ned giving a track-by-track through the impending four-song release. Note Steven Yoyoda cover, if only because it rules.


Dizygote, “Drowning” track premiere

dizygote fathoms

Ned DuRant on Fathoms:

Stuck in the mire of the goddamned pandemic, fighting boredom and depression we needed an outlet so we wrote and wrote and wrote. With no idea when we’d be able to play out again, we decided to experiment writing songs with more parts than we had players. In the studio we both layered guitar tracks like stacks of roast beef through lots of different amp and cab combinations. You can hear Ethan’s seven string work here and there. I (Ned) think we flipped a coin to see who’d play bass on one of the tracks… it’s all fuzzy and we can’t remember exactly how that went down.

These are the first songs we’ve written with actual guitar solos and we kinda dig it. When I recorded the solo for Poison Garden, I wanted a classic-sounding tone, so I went straight into the amp and cranked the gain… no pedals.

“Fathoms” is our antidote for the pandemic blues. Poison Garden is a reflection on why America ain’t so great. Drowning was inspired by accounts I’ve read about near-death experiences. Keeping things experimental, we added a metalcore breakdown in the middle of Stimulate Me! – a song inspired by the boneheaded madness surrounding the pandemic. Finally, Ethan released his inner demons on Out For Blood… another nod to the early days of punk rock.

Lost in the open raging sea
Dark as the ink on the page
A cold only known by the sage

Terrified by the thrashing unleashed
The lightning is Zeus in a rage
Battered by sheer crashing waves

Choking and hoping your god hears your plea
Your prayers have you locked in a cage
Drowning in sins that you’ve waged

Panicking wild, you have to breathe
Your lungs fill so quickly you drift of to sleep

The body knows which way’s down
It’s a memory the moment you drown

DIZYGOTE are a father and son loud and heavy metal duo from Cape Coral, FL. Ned plays guitar and sings, while Ethan smashes the drums and handles backup vocals. Ned is a disciple of classic punk rock and all things loud and heavy, while Ethan dabbles with the technicalities of prog and newer metal genres. Their sound is a riot of sludge, doom, punk, thrash and prog.

Produced by Howard “Merlin” Wulkan at Farmadelica Sound, Bokeelia, FL during the goddamned pandemic.
Cover & CD artwork by Steven Yoyada
Inside photo by Ned
Back cover still shot from video produced by Liam & Cameron Wright

Dizygote is:
Ned DuRant: Guitar/Bass/Vocals
Ethan DuRant: Drums/Guitar/Bass/backing vocals

Dizygote, Freedom, Incorporated (2020)

Tags: , , , , ,

L’Uomo Nero Premiere “Too Late too Long”; New EP Elle, de la Mer out July 16

Posted in audiObelisk on June 15th, 2021 by JJ Koczan

luomo nero

Albuquerque, New Mexico-based heavy rockers L’Uomo Nero will continue their collaboration with Desert Records July 16 with the release of their second EP, Elle, de la Mer. And what they don’t make easy in terms of linguistics — their moniker is Italian, the first EP was 2020’s Andiamo Nel Deserto (review here), its title in Spanish, and this one is French, for “she, of the sea” — they certainly have covered in the actual listening process. Vocals are high in the mix through my speakers (always), but as guitarist Dominic Cagliostro, bassist Robson Guy and drummer Luke Seelau venture past their first offering, they do so with poise and a confident step, bringing together four tracks that launch with “De la Mer,” a song that wastes no time imagining Danzig in the House of the Rising Sun before unfolding to catchy post-grunge heavy blues, setting the tone for “I Know” to push further, its own hook a highlight of the four-song/18-minute release.

L’Uomo Nero manage to make thoughtful structures sound easy.luomo nero elle de la mer Their material is not unworked-on, but they offer few frills of arrangement beyond a straight-up melody, and to be perfectly honest, they don’t need anything else. “I Know” carries smoothly into its second-half solo, the guitar speaking back to the vocal line in classic form, and even as “Elle” brings a more weighted tone and active kick, the sense of balance remains in the increased fullness of sound, so that as “Too Late too Long” pushes a more garage-style jangle in its riff, the arrival of post-Rolling Stones backing vocals isn’t any more jarring than the band intends it to be. Efficiently putting itself in position for a bigger-sounding payoff, “Too Late too Long” delivers that as the closing track on Elle, de la Mer, and is no less satisfying a trip for knowing where you’re going to end up when it’s done. Same could be said of the EP as a whole, really. L’Uomo Nero, in addition to being multilingual, know what they’re doing when it comes to songwriting.

EP release info follows under the player here, on which you can stream the premiere of “Too Late too Long.”


New EP “Elle, De La Mer” out July 16 on Desert Records. Preorder:

About the second chapter of the trilogy: “She’s not dead, she is from Innsmouth a fictional town in Massachusetts created by American author H. P. Lovecraft and must return to that town and eventually the sea. ”The Innsmouth look” a result of the hybridization of humans with Deep Ones increases with age as does the heed to the call of the sea, there is some sort of hope that they can figure something out to be together, some spell, or a gift from a magical being.”

About the song, Dominic Cagliostro says: “This is a metaphor regarding addiction. The “innsmouth look” is the result of repeated use of drugs and alcohol, the progression with age of the deep ones is the progression of the circumstance of addiction. Before it’s too late, there’s always hope that we/they/she can get help AA, Counseling or treatment or all of the above.”

L’uomo Nero is a desert rhythm and blues rock three-piece hailing from the New Mexican High Desert. Are we helpless victims of unimaginable forces that can drive humans mad by their mere manifestation? Or fearless Investigators and Occult Detectives who confront the minions of darkness in encounters, in which humans, although appear outmatched, defend their sanity uncovering the mysteries of tranquility in defiance of the suffering we experience from the things we cannot manage or restrain.

Occult blues rockers L’uomo Nero play with their band name, ‘The Boogeyman’, to build an intriguing sonic trilogy made of three 4-track EPs: ‘Andiamo Nel Deserto’, ‘Elle, De La Mer’ and ‘Voda Atebo Ohen’. These follow the adventures of occult detectives Nico L’oscuro, Quello Bello and Sentire, and their supernatural and magical practices to uncover the mystery behind the disappearance of a woman from New Mexico. Created on a fantastic thriller basis and inspired by true events and by American author H.P. Lovecraft, the three EPs take the protagonist through the stages of grief, denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance. All three records together form the framework of a gloomy occult crime investigation illustrated by a special artwork and layouts that reveals some missing clues. The entire trilogy will be issued between fall 2020 and spring 2021, with first EP ‘Andiamo Nel Deserto’ coming out via Desert Records.

Dominic Cagliostro (Domenico L’oscuro) – Vocals and guitar
Robson Guy (Quello Bello) – Bass guitar
Luke Seelau (Sentire) – Drums

L’uomo Nero on Facebook

L’uomo Nero on Instagram

Desert Records website

Desert Records on Facebook

Desert Records on Bandcamp

Desert Records store

Tags: , , , , ,

The Penitent Man Premiere “A Long Deep Breath of Sadness” from Legends of the Desert Vol. 2

Posted in audiObelisk, Reviews on June 1st, 2021 by JJ Koczan

the penitent man


This Friday, June 4, marks the release of Legends of the Desert Vol. 2, the second in an intended series of seven splits put together at the behest of New Mexican imprint Desert Records. And while the two bands differ some in aesthetic and certainly in composition — The Penitent Man a five-piece from Salt Lake City, Utah, and Cortége a duo from Austin, Texas — they’re united here by a focus on atmosphere and an underlying heavy Western theme. On a more practical level, neither act is a stranger to the Desert Records sphere. The Penitent Man issued their previously self-released, self-titled debut (review here) through the label in Fall 2020, while Cortége‘s two-songer Chasing Daylight EP (review here) landed in February. As each one follows up recent work, it shouldn’t be a surprise that there’s consistency of sound, but as with 2020’s Legends of the Desert Vol. 1 (discussed here), the intention here leans toward storytelling, and from the lyrics and moody vibes in The Penitent Man‘s three songs to the gunslinger samples that provide the transition between Cortége‘s two, there’s a classic balladeerism happening one way or the other.

For “A Long Deep Breath of Sadness,” which stands on its own in addition to serving as an intro for the subsequent “The Butcher,” and across those two as well as “Rest My Weary Head,” which rounds out, the band pays particular attention to arrangement and presentation. Todd Ogren of Rival Sons steps in on keys and makes an argument for the group acquiring a sixth member, following up the 10,000 Days-era Tool guitar moodiness and ambient echoing lead lines of “A Long Deep Breath of Sadness” the penitent man cortege legends of the desert vol 2with Deep Purple-style Hammond and ’60s-ish maybe-Hohner flourish later into “The Butcher,” taking the band’s patient unfurling and depth of mix to another level entirely. They readily cross genre boundaries between heavy country, blues and prog, but beneath that is a core of bedrock from which they explore outward. The acoustic that serves to underscore “Rest My Weary Head” feels earned and organic, and the buildup that surrounds over the track’s nine minutes is much the same, somehow grunge while being largely disconnected from that sound in its entirety. Maybe it’s just dirt. Downer dirt rock, and brimming with purpose in that.

“As it Lay (Heavy in the Air)” (10:26) and “Circling Above” (8:37), at just over 19 minutes put together, actually run longer than did Chasing Daylight earlier this year, but unless they’re actually scoring a film — and, really, why aren’t they? — the single-vinyl-side length suits Cortége. It’s consistently a challenge to write anything about them without mentioning Ennio Morricone, but that’s more a credit than a critique since it coincides so much with their stylistic intent. Their use of tubular bells to convey melody as opposed to their guitar adds to the Western feel and plays especially well off the bass in “As it Lay (Heavy in the Air),” an Earth-ier drone march underway quickly (such as it is quick) in the drums with footsteps made that much heavier for the ringing aspect that cuts through the backing ethereal effects. It’s not so much a build, but ricocheting pistol shots ring out ahead of a crying vulture as the first cut ends, and that brings in “Circling Above” to continue the theme. The explosion, topped with horns or something like them, happens after three minutes in, and is gone within a minute’s time, but returns later as “Circling Above” rounds out in surprising cacophony, Cortége loosing the reins for a bit of free jazz crashout before the wind fades.

Beneath all the hard stylization and attention to detail, Legends of the Desert Vol. 2 also functions on the simple level of showcasing two of Desert Records‘ associated acts, and it does well in that, such that the listener will be more drawn to find the common ground between them rather than to see each in opposition to the other. Cortége build on what The Penitent Man establish, and going back to the start again, the entire release seems peopled with characters who resonate with stories of their own to tell.

You can stream “A Long Deep Breath of Sadness” premiering on the player below ahead of the release on Friday. Think of it as the opening credits. More info follows, courtesy of the PR wire.


Side A:
The Penitent Man is a 5-piece from Salt Lake City. Blending Desert Rock, Classic Rock, Heavy Blues. These exclusive songs featuring the special guest, Todd Ogren from Rival Sons on keyboard for all three tracks! Sounds like Led Zeppelin teamed up with Alice in Chains to make an album in the desert.

A Long Deep Breath of Sadness–4:26
The Butcher–6:32
Rest My Weary Head–9:01
All songs written and produced by The Penitent Man
Drum Tracking and Mixing by Greg Downs at Pale Horse Sound

Steve King–Guitars
Phill Gallegos–Guitars
Allan Davidson–Vocals
Chris Garrido–Drums
Ethan Garrido–Bass
Todd Ogren–Keyboards (from Rival Sons).

Side B:
Cortége is a duo from Austin, TX. They play Ambient Doom mixed with post-western cinematic scores. Heavy bass guitar, drums, and tubular bells. Sounds like if Earth and Pink Floyd teamed up to do a soundtrack to a David Lynch film.

1. As it Lay (Heavy in the Air) – 10:25
2. Circling Above – 8:39

All songs written and recorded by Cortége.
Recorded and mixed by Kevin Sparks.

Mike Swarbrick – Bass, Tubular Bells
Adrian Voorhies – Drums

The Penitent Man on Facebook

The Penitent Man on Instagram

The Penitent Man on Bandcamp

Cortége on Facebook

Cortége on Instagram

Cortége on Bandcamp

Desert Records on Facebook

Desert Records on Instagram

Desert Records on Bandcamp

Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Red Beard Wall Sign to Desert Records; 3 Out July 2; Premiere “Liberate”

Posted in audiObelisk, Whathaveyou on April 29th, 2021 by JJ Koczan

With a by-now-signature blend of raw sludge and post-hardcore-style melodicism, West Texas’ Red Beard Wall signs to Desert Records for the forthcoming album 3, set to release on July 2. The follow-up to 2019’s The Fight Needs Us All (discussed here) pushes band mastermind/multi-instrumentalist Aaron Wall further along the particular course of purposeful and expressive songwriting — the first line of post-intro opener “Move Forth” is “Oh my god what the fuck have we done?” — and finds him bringing the melodic side of his vocal approach to new prominence in the band’s sound. Effective layering with throaty rasps make for an engaging and malleable dynamic, and even a later cut like “Leave Me Be,” which plays one off the other in verse/chorus fashion, does so fluidly with the crunch of ’90s noise in its riff and enough sludge tonality to be joyous in its harshness.

The ultimately positive nature of Wall‘s lyrics — even “Move Forth” is an encouraging statement, let alone “Keep Fighting” later on — is a distinguishing factor, and feels as much self-directed as outward. This record has been in the works for a while, but no doubt events of the last year played a role as well, and to find “My Brothers” at the center ahead of the first single “Liberate” (premiering below) speaks to the intensity of messaging throughout 3: “You’re a person/We care about what happens to you.” Where this melding of scathe and melody ultimately brings Red Beard Wall is “Home,” which wraps the nine-song/37-minute outing with a mosh-ready apex that feels like it’s just waiting to emanate at full volume from some stage, anywhere, at any time. Fingers crossed that might get to happen ever.

July, huh? That feels like a long time away, but it isn’t. 3 is the most complex and accomplished collection Red Beard Wall have yet done, and as you can see in the announcement below, label and artist alike are pretty thrilled to have come together to make it happen.


Red Beard Wall 3


Two years after the critically acclaimed sophomore effort “The Fight Needs Us All,” and touring incessantly to support it… the mighty Red Beard Wall are BACK!

“Welcome mutha-fuckin’ Red Beard Wall to the ever-growing Desert Records artist roster!” says label head Brad Frye. “This was a no-brainer right here. I’ve known Aaron for years through Red Mesa. He has the fire and passion that is nearly unparalleled in the heavy underground. His positive attitude and energy is contagious. I can’t wait for folks to hear this album… dig the first single, ‘Liberate!'”

The highly anticipated and aptly titled new album “3” has arrived in all its gnarly, yet beautiful amalgamation of heavy! “3” is the band’s most urgently emotional and honest collection of songs to date. Heavier than ever, gnarlier than ever, more passionate than ever, and on the flipside, more lush and beautiful than ever. Riff salad with a healthy side of groove soup.

“We are beyond honored to team up with the amazing and hella fast-rising Desert Records for RBW3!” echoes Red Beard Wall’s Aaron Wall. “Brad is our brother, so that makes it even more special. We’re focused on growing the band, the label, and our friendship. This is more than a collab… this is family. This is home. We can’t wait for you to hear and see what we do together! Gargantuan guaranteed!” Mad love, gratitude, and respect always!! ALL HAIL!!!”

Joining forces with the impeccable and cutting edge Desert Records for vinyl, digital, and cd release, scheduled for July 2, 2021. For fans of Floor, Torche, Helmet, and Snapcase. ALL HAIL Red Beard Wall!!!

1. Tap
2. Move Forth
3. Contrarian
4. Waste
5. My Brothers
6. Liberate
7. Leave Me Be
8. Keep Fighting
9. Home

Tags: , , , , ,

Sorcia Sign to Desert Records; Death by Design EP Coming Soon

Posted in Whathaveyou on April 8th, 2021 by JJ Koczan

Following the release in 2020 of their self-titled debut (review here), Seattle, Washington, three-piece Sorcia have signed on to release their next EP, Death by Design, through Desert Records. Near as I can tell, the forthcoming — no exact date, but figure summer-ish — outing will comprise two tracks. First is a 16-minute title-cut to be recorded by none other than Tad Doyle, and the second is a CD-only bonus live tune, which, as a fan generally of the all-but-forgotten compact disc format, I can appreciate. I mean seriously, CDs use lasers! Lasers! That’s some Back to the Future shit right there.

If you caught the album last year, you already know Sorcia can handle longer-form work, as they demonstrated in the nine-minute “Stars Collide,” so to find them pushing that impulse either as a general direction or a one-off — you’re never really sure when it comes to EPs — feels natural either way. And note too in the comment from Desert Records the apparent intention of owner Brad Frye (also Red Mesa) to build a network of tour stops through geographic spread of the label’s roster. Of course, touring is a hypothetical at the moment, but by sourcing a local knowledge base through its own the catalog of offerings, there’s really no limit to how far the imprint’s routing might end up going. Except, you know, the planet.

Word from Frye and from the band follow here:


SORCIA – Death by Design – Desert Records

“The ink is dry, Sorcia has signed to Desert Records for the release of an EP called ‘Death By Design’ releasing this summer, exact release date TBD. Once I heard their S/T debut album, I knew this was the perfect band for Desert Records, with their mix of styles that range from sludge to doom to blues to grunge to stoner metal. This will be a special release showcasing a 16-minute-long song, plus an acoustic version of ‘Dusty’. Part of the Desert Records touring routes, Sorica helps to complete the Seattle stop. Once venues open back up, you will see Sorica and all Desert Records bands and artists on the road supporting each other across cities and big towns in the US.” -Brad Frye, Desert Records

“We are very pleased to announce that we have joined forces with Desert Records for the release of our forthcoming EP ‘Death By Design’,” says Sorcia. “The creation of this EP was a huge step out of our comfort zone, and it explores some of the farthest depths of our collective creativity. The title track ‘Death By Design’ is an epic journey that delves into the most primitive concepts of human existence and death.”

“The mighty Tad Doyle will be at the helm once again for the recording of this opus as well as the talented Mike Hawkins on board again for the artwork. The CD will include an exclusive bonus track, a smokey, stripped-down acoustic version of the self-reflective song ‘Dusty’. For the recording of this song, we had the pleasure of working with Jessica’s own brother Matt Bos. These songs each had their unique challenges, but they inspired us to push our limits and move beyond the walls of our boundaries.”

Album artwork, preorder info, and release date coming soon.

In the meantime, check out their first album on Bandcamp:

Neal De Atley – Guitar, Vocals
Jessica Brasch – Bass, Vocals
Bryson Marcey – Drums

Sorcia, Sorcia (2020)

Tags: , , , , ,

Book of Wyrms Premiere “Speedball Sorcerer” From Occult New Age LP out May 7

Posted in audiObelisk on April 2nd, 2021 by JJ Koczan

book of wyrms

Richmond, Virginia, boogie doomers Book of Wyrms release their third long-player and Desert Records label debut, Occult New Age, on May 7. The announcement of the album first came down nearly a year ago, but like everybody’s everything, the four-piece’s recording plans were subject to the ravages of global pandemic. No shock that social distancing can make something like getting together to record a little bit harder.

Occult New Age surfaces now as a clean eight-song/41-minute album in the classic vinyl-minded structure of same. Four songs on each side, and the longest of them, “Hollergoblin,” rounds out side A instead of side B, perhaps in some measure of capitulation to modern attention spans. Or maybe just to give the classic metal that ensues on Occult New Age‘s back half — following the slower rolling “Keinehora,” anyhow — its due. Fair enough, in any case. As with 2019’s Remythologizer (review here) and 2017’s debut, Sci-Fi/Fantasy (review here), the band showcase a range of psychedelic and doomly shifts. Unlike their prior two LPs, however, this one was made as a four-piece, with guitarist Kyle Lewis on board for the recording process for the first time alongside vocalist/synthesist Sarah Moore Lindsey, bassist/synthesist Jay “Jake” Lindsey and drummer Chris DeHaven.

Lewis has been listed as a band member all along, so maybe he just didn’t take part in the recordings for whatever reason, but his presence certainly does nothing to hurt the fullness of tone the band present. Opener “Meteoric Dagger” starts off warm and sleek in its boogie with Sarah‘s vocals working easy in third-record realization over the guitar, drums casual but not lazy in their swing behind. Call it classic if you want because it’s ’70s-derived, but there’s nothing all that retro about it, and the spacey shred that leads to a tempo rollback, if anything, is more ’00s stoner than it is ’70s heavy.

book of wyrms occult new ageIt’s a winner in any case, and a stirring reminder that it was fuzz aficionados Twin Earth Records who first brought the band to daylight. The Sabbath-circa-’74 vibe in Lewis‘ tone on “Colossal Yield” is likewise righteous, and it leads to the quiet, folky interlude “Aubrionlilly” ahead of the aforementioned “Hollergoblin,” a hypnotic two minutes that fades to the silence from whence the side A closer emerges, rumbling, receding, surging and finally running as all-out as the band gets — a satisfying push that in any number of other instances would and could close an album, right unto the synth swapout in the last second. Obviously, it serves its purpose here with nothing more to be desired.

Cymbal wash from DeHaven and a far-back vocal start “Keinehora,” its title derived from the Yiddish words for “no evil eye.” If we’re warding off foul spells and the like, the aura Book of Wyrms set is suitable for doing so, and they unfurl the track en route to flashes of double-kick with patience befitting a group who’ve made the most of opportunities to grow in just the four years since their debut. The riff that launches “Speedball Sorcerer” and the layered interplay that follows is a clarion for what follows there and in the subsequent two tracks — it classic metal of doom.

Flourish of organ adds distinction, but it’s the largesse of the chorus — cymbal crash and churning riff — that make it even more of a standout, at least until about three minutes in when the organ takes the lead. Four minutes well spent (I hope you’ll agree), and it does serve as an entry to the closing salvo, with “Weatherworker” chugging its way into a later melodic ether and the low-end fuzz of “Dracula Prectice” ceding command only when the guitars have swelled to encompass it and the vocals.

The hits at the end and groove they ride out feels organic in purpose, and they don’t overdo it either, jamming their way through into a smoother section of organ and maybe-slide (?) undulations, some more double-kick for emphasis, and a final comedown, purposefully understating the finish after the apex. Legit for a band who’ve clearly focused on bringing more ambience and mood to their approach over time, and after the explorations of Sci-Fi/Fantasy and Remythologizer, they demonstrate a melodic and atmospheric scope that is aware of aesthetic tenets and plays to them well while succeeding in marking out its own stakes of songcraft and performance. Were you to see the band on stage, you might say, “Hey, cool riffs,” but that really wouldn’t begin to cover it. Though yeah, that too, for sure.

You can check out “Speedball Sorcerer” premiering on the player below, followed by some brief comment from the band, preorder link, etc.

Please enjoy:

Book of Wyrms on “Speedball Sorcerer”:

“We are stoked to let everyone hear the fuzzed out boogie of Speedball Sorcerer! This features our friend LJ Rafalko on organ and is about bees. Hope y’all dig.”


Book of Wyrms are back with more out of this world psychedelic metal! The band is set to release their 3rd full-length album, “Occult New Age”, May 7, 2021. With a foundation built on groovy riffs, memorable hooks, and ethereal vocals, the new album contains 8 tracks of energetic and classically catchy metal.

Occult New Age really does mark a new age for the band. Recording for the first time as a four-piece gave the band space to stretch out a little bit and fill the spectrum with big textures and proggy riffs, but their years playing together gives them focus to keep things tight and scatter hooks among the chaos.

Formed in 2014, Book of Wyrms came together to forage strange ingredients for their sonic pot, balancing airy vocals over heavy sludge, cloaking progressive melodies in fuzz, and dropping surprise boogies under retrofuturist synths (people always ask if it’s a theremin). Whenever they could, the band packed into their shiny starcraft to play dive bars and doom fests from New England to Chicago to Texas, leaving a trail of freaked-out squares and demolished tacos in their wake.

Book of Wyrms are:
Chris DeHaven – Drums and Percussion
Sarah Moore Lindsey – Vocals/ Synthesizer
Jay “Jake” Lindsey – Bass/ Synthesizer
Kyle Lewis – Guitar

Book of Wyrms on Thee Facebooks

Book of Wyrms on Instagram

Book of Wyrms on Bandcamp

Desert Records on Thee Facebooks

Desert Records on Instagram

Desert Records on Bandcamp

Tags: , , , , ,

The Penitent Man & Cortége Pair for Legends of the Desert Vol. 2 Split

Posted in Whathaveyou on March 23rd, 2021 by JJ Koczan

There’s a lot of info below, and fair enough, but if you’re looking for the essentials, it goes like this: Desert Records is bringing together Salt Lake City’s The Penitent Man and Austin duo Cortége for the second in its seven-part Legends of the Desert split series. June 4 is the release date. You might recall Vol. 1 (discussed here) came out last year, and this will be Vol. 2.

Both bands are Desert Records veterans, with releases out through the New Mexico-based imprint, and it goes without saying that the intention here is to write legends rather than bask in those longstanding of yore. Ls are limited, as will happen, and CDs and downloads will all be out — all that fun stuff. I don’t have preorder info or any audio yet, but you can hear releases from both bands below, and I think it’ll come through one into the next that each one brings something of its own to the release, with The Penitent Man handling more of the rocking traditionalism while Cortége offer a cinematic take with their tubular-belled instrumentals. Looking forward to hearing this one.

Announcement follows courtesy of the label:

the penitent man cortege legends of the desert vol 2

LEGENDS OF THE DESERT: VOL 2 – The Penitent Man & Cortége

Legends of the Desert: Volume 2 releases on June 4th, 2021. Vol. 2 brings us further into the desert showcasing new and classic Desert Rock bands geographically located in the Southwestern United States. Continuing the vision of Vol.1, the second installment will introduce the world to two new “Legends” bands, carefully curated by Desert Record’s owner Brad Frye.

All the music for Legends of the Desert is exclusive to the series.

Maintaining the quality and consistency throughout the 7-part series, we will see the return of the Legends team.

New & stunning album artwork by the series artist, Joshua Mathis, features an album cover with a Gunslinger riding a Gila Monster.

The timeless, classic looking graphics and layout from Garrett Hellman will be featured along with Mathis’s artwork.

Mastering will be handled by the series audio mastering engineer, Mark Fuller.

Vinyl LP’s will be available in a limited edition of 500, including highly limited special color variants. CD’s and digital downloads will be available. Digital streaming will be available worldwide.

Desert Records is excited to announce the bands: The Penitent Man (Utah) and Cortége (Texas).

Side A:
The Penitent Man is a 5-piece from Salt Lake City. Blending Desert Rock, Classic Rock, Heavy Blues. These exclusive songs featuring the special guest, Todd Ogren from Rival Sons on keyboard for all three tracks! Sounds like Led Zeppelin teamed up with Alice in Chains to make an album in the desert.

A Long Deep Breath of Sadness–4:26
The Butcher–6:32
Rest My Weary Head–9:01
All songs written and produced by The Penitent Man
Drum Tracking and Mixing by Greg Downs at Pale Horse Sound

Steve King–Guitars
Phill Gallegos–Guitars
Allan Davidson–Vocals
Chris Garrido–Drums
Ethan Garrido–Bass
Todd Ogren–Keyboards (from Rival Sons).

Side B:
Cortége is a duo from Austin, TX. They play Ambient Doom mixed with post-western cinematic scores. Heavy bass guitar, drums, and tubular bells. Sounds like if Earth and Pink Floyd teamed up to do a soundtrack to a David Lynch film.

1. As it Lay (Heavy in the Air) – 10:25
2. Circling Above – 8:39

All songs written and recorded by Cortége.
Recorded and mixed by Kevin Sparks.

Mike Swarbrick – Bass, Tubular Bells
Adrian Voorhies – Drums

The Penitent Man, The Penitent Man (2020)

Cortége, Capricorn (2019)

Tags: , , , , , , , ,