Friday Full-Length: Lord Vicar, Signs of Osiris

Posted in Bootleg Theater on December 6th, 2019 by JJ Koczan

It has only ever been appropriate that the cover art of Lord Vicar albums should be classical-style paintings. Their work on the whole is very much about being in conversation with masters even as they’ve emerged as masters themselves, and it adds to the poise within their traditionalist doom, while placing in context the sense of reverence for form with which their material is executed. Their second album, Signs of Osiris, was released in 2011 through The Church Within Records as the follow-up to 2008’s debut, Fear No Pain, as well as roughly concurrent splits with Griftegård and Funeral Circle (review here), on Ván Records and Eyes Like Snow, respectively. It was a busy time for the four-piece of vocalist Christian “Lord Chritus” Linderson, guitarist/Mellotronist Kimi “Peter Vicar” Kärki, bassist Jussi “Iron Hammer” Myllykoski and drummer Gareth Millsted, but the clarity of their purpose continues to resound through the timeless/anachronistic doom they crafted. Kärki‘s songwriting is at the root of much of Signs of Osiris but with early contributions from Myllykoski on “The Answer” and Millsted on the multi-movement “Child Witness (Including ‘The Father’ and ‘The Pain of a Maiden’ and ‘Release’),” a sense of variety emerges throughout the 58-minute seven-tracker even beyond that which the flourish of acoustic guitar in opener “Signs of Osiris Slain” that later manifests in the acoustic-led penultimate cut “Endless November” already brings. Whether it’s longer-form pieces like the 15-minute finale “Signs of Osiris Risen (Including ‘Isis and the Needle’ and ‘The Ritual’ and ‘For the Love of War’),” or “Child Witness” and the subsequent “Between the Blue Temple and the North Tower” — both of which hover around nine and a half minutes — or the more active and rolling tempos of “Signs of Osiris Slain” and the later “Sinking City,” Lord Vicar manifest doom not as an elitist standard or fodder for a backpatch or a slogan in some meme, but as an emotive and existential mode of being. It’s doom as a way of life, turned into songs.

Unavoidably, the focus on Lord Vicar will forever be Linderson and Kärki. There’s just no getting away from it, and frankly I’m not sure there should be. One’s Lord, and one’s Vicar, and the band is called Lord Vicar. More than a decade after their founding, it still doesn’t seem like an accident, and when one considers their pedigree, with Chritus having served the crusade in Count Raven, Saint Vitus, Terra Firma and more recently Lord Vicar Signs of Osirison the first two Goatess LPs, and Kärki‘s multi-faceted creative force manifest in E-Musikgruppe Lux Ohr, Orne, Reverend Bizarre, and so on, top billing is well earned. That said, right up there with the doomly tradition of follow-the-riff is secret-weapon-rhythm-section, and Lord Vicar live up to that on Signs of Osiris as well. Myllykoski would be out of the band by the time their third record showed up, but he and Millsted are locked in here, driving home the turns in “Sinking City” reminiscent of The Obsessed or carrying the midsection part-shifts of “Child Witness” as if to remind any and all listening that Black Sabbath at their heart were a blues band — in itself a perfect backing for Linderson, who is a better Ozzy than Ozzy has been since 1975 — while staying coherent, clear, and improbably straightforward. Even just the crashes behind the mellotron in “Between the Blue Temple and the North Tower” add to the grandiosity and the drama in that song’s first half, and when Millsted‘s bass takes the forward position to set up the riff that unfolds thereafter for a short time, it is the stuff of doomed glory. It’s easy to put the focus on Linderson and Kärki, and again, I’m not sure it’s inappropriate to do so either, but Signs of Osiris demonstrates plainly from Osiris’ slaying to Osiris’ rising that Lord Vicar have always been a full band in terms of impact. Even the cymbal washes later in “Endless November” add to that track’s acoustic melody and the classical-styled folkish guitar work that Kärki would later manifest through his solo work.

That song is a highlight of the album, and not just for its departure from the tonal heft that surrounds or the manner in which it builds at its conclusion to transition into “Sign of Osiris Risen,” but the hook of “Child Witness” — strong enough to pull the band back to it even after their running through the subsections in one-after-the-next-fashion — also serves as a standout, and the rocking “The Answer” does likewise, again bringing to light what the rhythm section adds to the core of guitar and vocals. Of course, that’s not to take away from Kärki‘s craftsmanship on the opener and its companion closer, “Between the Blue Temple and the North Tower,” “Sinking City” or “Endless November,” which is no less effectively consuming in its doom than one could ask it to be, or from the performance of Linderson, which is stellar in such a way as to highlight how generally undervalued he is as a frontman in the genre. After a split with Revelation in 2012 that was Myllykoski‘s final release with the band, it would be four years before they resurfaced with 2016’s Gates of Flesh (review here), bringing in bassist Rich Jones, who like Millsted, is based in the UK as opposed to Finland or Sweden. This incarnation of the band would prove no less potent than the preceding, and even as Linderson split time with Goatess and Kärki explored solo work, Lord Vicar remained active in writing and performing. Gates of Flesh received a follow-up earlier this year with The Black Powder (review here), which will shortly feature again around here on the list of 2019’s best releases, as it was certainly among the most gloriously doomed offerings of the last 12 months, continuing to show the inescapable power of what Lord Vicar do to move, affect, and sway the listener to its own spiritual alignment, as did Signs of Osiris, and as might a classical painting.

They recently played Hammer of Doom in Germany and have done other appearances to support the release, and if you’re ever in a position to see them play, I can only recommend doing so.

In the meantime, and as always, I hope you enjoy.

Guess the week’s over, since I’m writing a Friday Full-Length post. That’s cool. I’m sure the weekend will be super-restful.

Ha.

This week it was Wednesday. Wednesday was the hard day. Wednesday was the day I was looking at the clock unable to believe it wasn’t even 10AM yet. The Pecan and I didn’t leave the house because it was cold and looked shitty out and I couldn’t even bring myself to go outside and warm up the car, and I had nowhere to go that didn’t cost money and The Patient Mrs. and I have been living beyond our means since, well, pretty much forever. Some days that shit catches up with you, I guess. That was Wednesday.

So the kid was a nightmare pretty much the whole day. Full-on fuck-you-wreck-shit-scream-hit-kick-bite-two-year-old madness. By the early afternoon, when I put him upstairs for a nap and he didn’t even go to sleep, I was ready to collapse on an existential level. Like, “How is this my life?’ It was bad. Even relative to the bad days, it was bad.

Yesterday, by contrast, Thursday, was easier. We went out in the morning to the grocery store, and my mother came and sat with him for an hour and there was other stuff going on during the day. He napped — hour-twenty; not terrible, not great — and afterward we ran a few errands then came back to the house and he ate dinner. The Patient Mrs. had left in the morning to drive up to Massachusetts for a funeral, so for a day that was 100 percent him and me, it actually wasn’t, and it was much easier for that. Kid’s better for everyone else. My mother’ll tell you he’s a gem.

Monday’s a blur, both this past Monday and this one coming. I’m going to go see Kings Destroy play an early show at Vitus Bar in Brooklyn tomorrow night with Borracho and a couple other bands, and that’ll be good. They’re doing a live record and I expect I’ll know a good number of people in the room. Om and Kadavar are also playing New York next week, but as of now I’m not planning to get to either show. That’s probably a mistake on my part. It’s been a really long time since I’ve seen either of them. I don’t know. I don’t get to spend much time with The Patient Mrs. these days, and our evenings together, even if we’re just sitting on ass watching Star Trek — actually, especially if that’s what we’re doing — have become pretty precious to me. I’ll do some math and see where I land.

So next week, that KD live review — “duh, they’re good” — plus a Church of the Cosmic Skull album review and a Doomraiser video premiere and Domo album stream later in the week. Only day I don’t yet have anything planned for is Wednesday. I’m sure something will come along, and if not, I’ve got a goddamn backlog of stuff on my desktop waiting for writeups. So yeah, it’ll be fine.

Don’t forget, The Obelisk Show on Gimme Radio is on at 1PM Eastern: http://gimmeradio.com

Don’t forget, new Obelisk shirts and sweatpants and such at Made in Brooklyn Silk Screeners: https://mibk.bigcartel.com/products

And don’t forget to have a great and safe weekend, to have fun and be kind.

FRM. Forum, Radio, Merch.

The Obelisk Forum

The Obelisk Radio

The Obelisk merch

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Orbiter Announce New Single “Bone to Earth” Due out Nov. 28

Posted in Whathaveyou on November 27th, 2019 by JJ Koczan

Orbiter (photo by Pauli Bostrom)

Not the kind of thing I usually say when I put up a track with a news post, but the song at the bottom here, which comes from Orbiter‘s 2019 split with Roadog (review here), doesn’t really do much to represent where the Helsinki five-piece are coming from on their new single, “Bone to Earth.” Sure, the new cut still has some of those haze-doom underpinnings — a feeling of psychedelic immersion set to big-feeling riffly-roll derived in part from “Witchcult Today” but transmogrified into something less willfully cartoonish, but with vocalist Carolin Koss making her debut in the band, it’s nonetheless a significant change that’s taken place, and it has an effect on their sound of course. For what it’s worth, I’ve heard the new song — it’s out tomorrow, so you know, not really so much advance listening there — and it’s awesome. Also of note is the uptick in the production of the drums. The snare sounds right on in the new track.

Promises of good things to come? Here’s hoping. We’ve got a whole new decade arriving in a little over than a month. Time to start filling it with killer tunes.

From the PR wire:

orbiter bone to earth

Orbiter – New single ‘Bone to Earth’ out on November 28!

Founded at the turn of the year 2014-2015, the band has been influenced by the genre ancestor Black Sabbath, 90s stoner bands like Kyuss, and 21st century doom bands. Additional influences have been drawn from psychedelic and progressive rock.

Now Orbiter is releasing new music! Bone to Earth single will be released on Thursday 28 November. The song is a pre-release from the band’s upcoming debut EP The Deluge, which will come out on January 29.

Bone to Earth is a song about the duality of human nature, which is self-destructive and yet longing for wisdom. The song’s unhurried and heavy riffing blends hypnotically with the voice of the new vocalist, Carolin Koss, who joined the band in April. Koss is an artist, filmmaker and singer originally from Germany, and now residing in Finland.

The upcoming four-song EP contains previously unrecorded material from the band’s earlier days as well as newer songs composed with Koss. Orbiter has previously released three singles, most recently Anthropocene in early 2019.

Upcoming gigs (in Finland)
30.11.19 Ravintola La Barre, Joensuu
11.1.20 UUS HOI SIE, Lappeenranta
10.4.20 Ravintola Cactus, Helsinki
23.5.20 Henry’s Pub, Kuopio

Orbiter
Carolin Koss – Vocals
Alexander Meaney – Guitar
Jere Remes – Guitar
Tuomas Talka – Bass
Sami Heiniö – Drums

https://www.facebook.com/orbiterconnection
https://www.instagram.com/orbiterband/
https://orbiterconnection.bandcamp.com/

Orbiter, “Anthropocene”

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Oulu Space Jam Collective to Release 3LP on Adansonia Records

Posted in Whathaveyou on October 24th, 2019 by JJ Koczan

I’m not sure what exactly is going to be on the triple-vinyl that Adansonia Records will release from Finnish cosmic-improv unit Oulu Space Jam Collective, but apparently there will be plenty of it. I mean, it’ll be jams one way or the other, since that’s what the band — such as they are — does, but they do it pretty often, so maybe it’s the full-length they put out in September, Drug Rings of Saturn, or maybe it’s a collection of other material or some other past release or maybe it’s something new. A group like this, you never really know. Could be a 3LP pumped out every time they get together. When your ethic is “plug in and go,” adding a step to hit record along the way isn’t such a huge ask.

It’s definitely cool for the band though, whatever might ultimately manifest, so right on. Details are apparently forthcoming, but good news is good news, so here’s good news:

oulu space jam collective

Oulu Space Jam Collective – New release on Adansonia Records

It’s been quiet here for a while and now it’s high time for a new fantastic release.

In the meantime a new band has joined the roster of Adansonia Records. Please welcome Oulu Space Jam Collective from Finland.

Oulu Space Jam Collective channels cosmic streams of the universe through a great variety of instruments, which they choose for their jam sessions. It’s their intention to celebrate extended Space Rock Jams with jazzy grooves and Krautrock experiments. Sounds like they are in good company at Adansonia.

We have managed to prepare one of their numerous recordings for release on vinyl. It is the first official physical release of Oulu Space Jam Collective! The package of test pressings arrived yesterday and is just waiting to be checked. We expect to be able to deliver an incredibly spacey 3LP box in early December. Very soon detailed info…

Check them out!!!

Oulu Space Jam Collective in photo above:
Petri Loukusa
Antti Yrjö Olavi Ylijääskö
Olli Niemitalo
Kalle Veikko
Markus Pitkänen
Joonatan Aaltonen
Jani Pitkänen

https://www.facebook.com/Ouluspacejamcollective
https://ouluspacejamcollective.bandcamp.com/
https://www.facebook.com/adansoniarecords/
https://www.adansoniarecords.de/

Oulu Space Jam Collective, Drug Rings of Saturn (2019)

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Review & Full Album Stream: The Lone Madman, Let the Night Come

Posted in audiObelisk, Reviews on October 22nd, 2019 by JJ Koczan

the lone madman let the night come

[Click play above to stream Let the Night Come by The Lone Madman in its entirety. Album is out Oct. 25 on Saturnal Records.]

With the melodic grandeur of Candlemass, the grim moral certitude of Reverend Bizarre and a patient-but-intense severity behind their execution across four mostly-extended tracks of darkened doom, Helsinki, Finland’s The Lone Madman offer an unconventional take on the genre’s traditional elements with their Saturnal-issued debut LP, Let the Night Come. A dual-guitar four-piece with Turkka Inkilä (also vocals) and Juuso Raunio handling the downtrodden riffery, Veera Vallinkoski on bass and Leevi Lönnrot on drums, there isn’t much about the group on paper that would make one necessarily expect anything crazy from the 42-minute proceedings. They’ve been together for five years, released a single and their Dreary Task EP in 2016, have played shows mostly around their hometown and are very clearly dug into doom as a foundation for what they do. Fine. Certainly there are worse places to start, but unless one has a particular fetish for Finnish doom — which would be understandable — there’s not much to immediately catch the brain. No gimmick to speak of. Even when the flute shows up in “Häxan,” it feels reasonable. But The Lone Madman nonetheless subtly bring together shades of NWOBHM self-righteousness with doom’s utter disaffection in a way that strikes a surprisingly individualized note. The gang shouts in “The Downfall” feel to my East Coast US ears derived from Type O Negative, while some of Inkilä‘s melodies on vocals bring to mind a Finnfolk-infused vision of underground metal that’s a tradition unto itself, apart from doom or anything else.

The Lone Madman thrive in this context, offering little by way of letup in terms of the emotional and spiritual downerism being showcased. From the catchy opening provided by the title-track to the plotted lead in the first half of closer “House of Mourning” before a tempo kick ignites a midsection charge — leading, naturally, to the final slowdown acting as the apex of the song — this is not drink-a-beer-and-ride-a-motorcycle doom, or if it is, it’s with the addendum of being miserable while doing so. Perhaps helping distinguish Let the Night Come from some of its traditionalist forebears (Reverend Bizarre notwithstanding) is the fact that the material feels purposefully longform. The penultimate “Häxan” (7:29) is the only inclusion under 11 minutes long, while “Let the Night Come” (11:04),” “The Downfall” (11:27) and “House of Mourning” (12:47) each seem to push deeper into the spiritual miasma in which the band are, well, not quite reveling — that would imply some kind of celebration — but certainly enamored. This I guess leads to another impressive aspect of Let the Night Come, particularly as The Lone Madman‘s debut album, in that it presents itself in this emotional mire and down-down-down existentialist position, but it isn’t a drag to hear. Of course that’s owed to the songwriting generally, and also to the band’s will to throw in a curve every now and again, usually on a one-per song basis.

the lone madman

That’s maybe how you wind up with the gang shouts on “The Downfall,” the flute on “Häxan,” later Valborgian shouts and the faster solo that tops the (relative) thrust in “House of Mourning.” With “Let the Night Come” at the outset, The Lone Madman set a working foundation for themselves by giving their audience a straightforward look at their style, with a strong presence from Inkilä on vocals and hints at layering of melodies, crashing riffs and flourish of softer complementary meanderings that enhance the overarching impact of that to which they invariably lead, i.e. more doom. I wouldn’t suggest The Lone Madman — yes, all four of them — sat down and decided they needed a way to change up each track on the album just a little bit, but following an instinct for what a given song needs in its arrangement isn’t something to be ignored in a band’s sound. Especially on their first record. So as Let the Night Come unfolds, it sees the band making these decisions with clarity and purpose, resulting in a whole that’s even richer than it would otherwise be, tense in its execution, but using that to help convey its emotional state, not beating the listener over the head with its depression diagnosis as some modern melodic doom can do, but finding a ground that expresses such a state on multiple levels. The changes from song to song, while minute on the bigger scale of the album itself — it’s not like at some point they put the guitars down and pick up a lute; though if they did I bet they could make that work — bolster the underlying affect.

At the same time, there’s a formative feel to Let the Night Come as well, as though this instinct is really just beginning a larger exploration of style and intent and that, yeah, The Lone Madman may get those lutes yet, or at least a kantele. Or maybe just some keyboard. Either way, the ground they lay out on these tracks holds the potential for future statements even as they make their own in the present, bringing a weight of atmosphere as much as tone while remaining mindful of its roots and striving toward something more individual. There’s little else one could reasonably ask of a debut album, and though living in a culture of mass shootings, an American might raise an eyebrow at a moniker like The Lone Madman, it’s worth keeping in mind that Finland, by contrast, had three such sprees between 2008 and 2013, and for what it’s worth, the band give no outward signs of being fascinated with political extremism of any sort. With the storytelling of “Häxan” perhaps as an exception, they seem more concerned with inner turmoil and alienation, and though their sound is cold and isolated, its nascent outward reach demonstrates a will to progress that one hopes The Lone Madman pursue as they move forward. As it is, they find a balance where they need one and thereby secure a place for themselves to proceed however they should desire to do so. Future prospects are exciting, but present accomplishments shouldn’t be overlooked on that account either.

The Lone Madman on Thee Facebooks

The Lone Madman on Bandcamp

Saturnal Records on Thee Facebooks

Saturnal Records on Bandcamp

Saturnal Records website

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Death Hawks, Death & Decay & Death Hawks: Dawning Suns

Posted in Reviews on October 16th, 2019 by JJ Koczan

death-hawks-death-and-decay

Two limited reissues bring out the beginnings of Finnish experimentalists Death Hawks and provide fresh context to the work the Tampere-based band has done since signing to Svart Records for 2015’s Sun Future Moon (review here). The band’s first two albums, Death and Decay and Death Hawks, were originally released in 2012 and 2013 through GAEA Records and have been out of print since, sought after by late-comers like yours truly who didn’t catch them the first time around. With 500 copies of pressed of each, Svart does the universe a solid in this instance and puts Death & Decay on a gold LP and Death Hawks in black and white — suited to their respective artwork — and allows for curious parties to discover more about the band’s roots. As it turns out, there’s plenty to learn.

For example, that the stylistic experimentation of 2019’s Psychic Harmony (review here) were by no means a new impulse, and indeed, central to the ethic of the band. You might say it’s the root of Death & Decay, though it’s manifested not in synth-driven progressive disco, but a psychedelic take on country blues, putting the guitar and vocals of Teemu Markkula front and center like an otherworldly John Lee Hooker on a cut like “Death Hawk on My Trail” or the rockabilly-style “Roamin’ Baby Blues,” taking its structure from the Robert Johnson school of proto-blues and adding a speedy snare for that riding-the-rails vibe — filtered, of course, through Finnish psychedelia. With 11 tracks unfolding from the mellow ramblin’-“Planet Caravan”-style understatement of opener “Blue Void” to the later Tom Waits-of-Alpha-Centauri severity of “Priest’s March,” amid fuzzier tones and subtle backing synth also provided by Markkula, Death & Decay is a formative tour de force.

“The Beast” touches on organ-laced ’70s folk while “Holy Water,” which immediately follows, starts with a wild bark and turns itself into a tent revival of psychedelic wash, while over on side B, “Death Has No Reprieve” weaves hypnotic background vocals into its deceptive depths, and the catchy “Dead Man” (probably a reference to the 1995 Jim Jarmusch film of the same name), foreshadows some of the melodic sweetness Markkula will bring to his vocal style on subsequent outings, letting closer “The Peace Maker” touch on Morricone — among other things — as a direct foreshadow for some of what the self-titled would do the next year. Ultimately, Death & Decay is broader in its sound than just tagging it “psych-blues” could hope to convey, but especially with Markkula‘s performance so much at the root of the material on guitar/vocals/keys/producer/composer/etc., the feeling throughout is less full-band-expanse and more solo-exploration, and that gives the 44-minute 11-tracker even more of a “starting out” vibe, as though the material were experiments that came together as songs as they were fleshed out. As sure as the band has been of what they’ve done since, it’s kind of refreshing to know this sense of adventure was what sparked their origin in the first place. Their will to push beyond and between stylistic confines is readily on display, and the songs are memorable and weird in kind, recognizable in themselves and in the nascent sprawl the band would go on to develop from the foundation they set.

death hawks death hawks

This, of course, was realized in the quick turnaround of Death Hawks, and though it’s a shameful cliché, I’ll note that it does not seem at all a coincidence that the second album is self-titled in terms of their laying claim to who they are as a group and their intentions going forward. Shorter at 35 minutes/seven tracks with a recurring theme in “Cain Go Home (2. Session)” on side A and “Cain Go Home (1. Session)” on side B — the Morricone influence returning in the whistle of both — the self-titled is immediately immersive in its psychedelic reach, with whispers and backing melodies and winding hypnotic guitar on six-minute opener “Night Children,” the title doing little in the end to convey the colorfulness of the tone there or in songs like “Blind Daughter of Death” and the string-and-organ-backed mellow meander of “Quiet Sun,” a not-all-who-wander-are-lost krautrock texture pervading the spirit of what sounds rooted in a live recording.

That, in turn, is answered by the flamenco strum of the “Cain Go Home (1. Session),” which is nothing if not based around conveying a feeling of motion, so a dynamic emerges across the self-titled that is broad while remaining unified not just by Markkula‘s continued melodicism, but through more of a full-band feel around him, with the centerpiece “Grim-Eyed Goat” and sax-inclusive nine-minute closer “Black Acid” ranging into the beyond of subdued-and-not space rock while holding firm to Death Hawks‘ identity as they establish it throughout. Like its predecessor, Death Hawks is very much about its mood and vibe, but it’s an essential step in coming off of the debut and does much to convey what became the overarching intent of the band at the time. True, that intent would shift by the time Sun Future Moon came around and continue to do so for Psychic Harmony earlier this year, but if anything, the first two Death Hawks LPs highlight the purposefulness behind that.

Because it’s not just about how there’s a leap in sound from one record to the next one — which it’s worth reiterating: the sophomore album followed just a year after the first — but about the creative ethic that’s behind making that leap in the first place. Death Hawks‘ open sensibility and forward drive is something that continues to push their material in exciting directions and down paths that others probably wouldn’t dare to tread even if they thought to do so. What Death & Decay and Death Hawks make plain is that this is a founding principle under which Death Hawks have operated for as long as they’ve been a band, and really since before they were a band as they are now. Perhaps more than anything else, these Svart represses make Death Hawks seem like an even less predictable group, with their origins in unexpected climes and an even broader palette than that for which I’d previously given them credit. I wasn’t about to predict what they’d do next anyhow, but I find myself less inclined than ever to speculate.

Death Hawks, “Dead Man” official video

Death Hawks, “Black Acid” official video

Death Hawks website

Death Hawks on Thee Facebooks

Svart Records

Svart Records on Thee Facebooks

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PH Post “Origo” Artwork Video; Osiris Hayden Due Nov. 1

Posted in Bootleg Theater on October 15th, 2019 by JJ Koczan

ph

Peel open your brain and embrace the Hayden. An artwork-based video is the most appropriate outlet for PH at this stage in their seemingly ongoing evolution. As the Finnish atmospheric heavy experimentalists prepare the ground for the Nov. 1 Svart Records release of their new album, Osiris Hayden (review here), rife with cinematic soul-stirring synth, electronic soundscaping and a vague sense of futurism that’s neither u- nor dystopian, they’ve got a duly purple clip up for “Origo,” the nine-minute highlight/focal point of the offering and arguably its deepest plummet into the depths of weighted ambience. PH — also known as Mr. Peter Hayden at their outset — have never been a group to compromise their creative impulses, and their path has led them continually outward into climes (and climbs) both weirder and more gloriously spaced. In that regard, Osiris Hayden fits right in with the bunch.

So is this the part where I warn you about flashing lights and stuff like that? Oh, most definitely. “Origo” isn’t the most visually abrasive, by any means, but if you’re particularly sensitive to such things, you’re going to want to watch out. Still, it’s hard to imagine a song like this presented another way. It wouldn’t work as a band-in-rehearsal-space video, or even live unless it was done with some kind of visual twist maybe, but what the artwork clip allows PH to do is remove the human element from the creation itself and focus instead on the sound and atmosphere of the track, letting that shine through as what really matters and give their audience in some way a purer glimpse at the work than they might otherwise get. With the sense of immersion that “Origo” brings, it becomes all the more visually hypnotic as the pink/purple and black swap in rapid succession around the logo that has also become the band’s moniker, PH, as seen in the photo above. These guys have spent the last decade out on their own wavelength. With Osiris Hayden, they sound more at home there than ever before.

Dig into “Origo” on the player below. Preorder links for the record, live dates in suitably reverse-future order and further PR wire whatnot follow.

Please enjoy:

PH, “Origo” official video

Visual video for ‘Origo’ on Svart Records’ Youtube channel. Audio available on Spotify and other digital platforms. ‘Osiris Hayden’ album to be released on November 1st on LP/CD via Svart Records.

Pre-orders available at:
Svart Records: https://bit.ly/2kqyRdN
Levykauppa Äx: https://bit.ly/2lZ2Qdi
Shiny Beast: https://bit.ly/2m534PX
Bandcamp: https://bit.ly/2m0GeJz

Upcoming live shows:
December 13th, On the Rocks, Helsinki
December 6th, Bar 15, Seinäjoki
December 5th, Suistoklubi, Hämeenlinna
November 21st, Henry’s Pub Kuopio, Kuopio

PH on Thee Facebooks

PH on Instagram

Svart Records website

Svart Records on Thee Facebooks

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Desert Hel 2020: New Finnish Fest Announces Lucifer, Lonely Kamel and More

Posted in Whathaveyou on October 11th, 2019 by JJ Koczan

desert hel 2020 banner

Desert Hel is a new heavy fest marking its debut in Finland next April. It’s ‘Hel’ as in -sinki, and the two-dayer is set to take place April 24-25 at On the Rocks in the Finnish capitol. It’s not affiliated with Desertfest in any way so far as I know, but they’ve pulled together a solid lineup nonetheless, with multinational acts Lucifer (UK/Sweden) and Lonely Kamel (Norway) headlining and the likes of natives Craneium and Kaleidobolt and Russia’s The Re-Stoned offering their support of the endeavor. Also noteworthy is the cleverly named One Inch Band, who’ll play not just a set of Kyuss covers, but specifically the setlist that the desert rock legends played at the much-bootlegged Bizarre Festival in 1995. If that doesn’t sound like fun to you, I don’t know what might.

The info below has been run through a major tech company’s translation matrix, but should still be enough for you to get the idea. Spring in Europe is always a busy time, but Desert Hel 2020 promises to bring something to the northern part of the continent that seems well due.

Word follows:

desert hel 2020 poster

Desert Hel is a new stoner & doom music festival in Helsinki. The first event will take place at On the Rocks on 24th-25th of April, 2020! Ticket sale starts on Thursday 10.10.2019

The new Desert Hel Festival, focused on stoner and doom music, will take place 24-25 April 2020 at the Helsinki On the Rocks Club. In addition to foreign and domestic bands, it is also possible to enjoy craft beers and food served during the festival. Tickets for the event will go on sale at Tiketti on Thursday, October 10, 2009 at 9:00 am.

On Friday, the festival’s main performer will be the Swedish heavy rock band Lucifer, who is preparing for the new album. Nicke Andersson, a multifunctional artist known for Hellacopters and Emtombed. Friday’s program will be complemented by Re-Stoned, the Moscow-based messenger of psychedelic Instrumental stoner, Craneium playing heavy-duty riffs, and Jupiter, a psych-rock band.

On Saturday, the show features Norwegian heavy blues and stoner Lonely Kamel, Helsinki-based power trio Kaleidobolt, Thermate from the 70’s heavy and 90’s stoner rock, and Kaiser playing the majestic cruel desert fuzz. In addition, Desert Hel’s backing party picks up a tribute band, One Inch Band plays Kyuss, for Saturday night, which plays Kyuss’s 1995 Bizarre Festival set list.

LINE UP
FRIDAY:
LUCIFER (SWE)
The Re-Stoned (RUS)
Craneium
Jupiter

SATURDAY:
Lonely Kamel (NOR)
KALEIDOBOLT
Thermate
Kaiser
One Inch Band plays Kyuss

Tickets:
Fri 24€/25€
Sat 22€/23€
2 days 42€/45€

https://www.tiketti.fi/desert-hel-2020-on-the-rocks-helsinki-lippuja/65169
https://www.facebook.com/DesertHel/
https://www.facebook.com/events/692507427920533/

Lonely Kamel, Death’s-Head Hawkmoth (2018)

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Quarterly Review: Russian Circles, War Cloud, Here Lies Man, Book of Wyrms, Möyhy-Veikot, Darsombra, Set Fire, Jesus the Snake, Föllakzoid, Dresden Wolves

Posted in Reviews on October 2nd, 2019 by JJ Koczan

quarterly review

Had to take a second this morning to get my email back under 100 unread. It currently stands at 95. There’s just something about being in triple digits that I can’t stand. Press releases and stuff I can usually file right away since not everything’s relevant to the site, etc., but that’s all stuff that either wants follow-up or could be a factor here if there was time. I do my best to try to keep up. And I fail, consistently.

The tradeoff, of course, is I spend that time writing reviews and other stuff for the site. Today’s hump day when we pass the halfway mark of the Fall 2019 Quarterly Review, and we’re doing it in absolutely all-over-the-place style, so all the better. Some pretty familiar names today, but some that might not be as well, so whatever your poison, I hope you enjoy the picking.

Quarterly Review #21-30:

Russian Circles, Blood Year

russian circles blood year

There’s simply no denying the force behind the depths and swell of a song like “Kohokia” on Russian Circles‘ latest offering, Blood Year (Sargent House), and though one knows what to expect to some degree from the Chicago heavy post-rockers at this point in their career, they seem to be doing all they can to deliver their instrumental progressions with energy to match the breadth of the spaces and the heft they conjure. Like 2016’s Guidance (review here), the seven-track/39-minute Blood Year — was recorded with Kurt Ballou, whom the trio imported to their hometown to work at Electrical Audio (aka Steve Albini‘s stomping ground) instead of traveling to Massachusetts to track at Ballou‘s Godcity. If it was the long-famed drum sound of Electrical Audio that they wanted and the live feel that so many of the recordings done there have, they got both, so mark it a success and another notch in the belt of one of the heavy underground’s most immersive and evocative outfits. Their building and releasing of tension is second to none and moves into the spiritual by the time they even get to side B, let alone through it.

Russian Circles on Thee Facebooks

Sargent House website

 

War Cloud, State of Shock

war cloud state of shock

Oh, the riffs you’ll gallop. Oakland, California’s War Cloud skirt the line between classic thrash and heavy rock and roll on their second album for Ripple Music, State of Shock, and from the sound of things, they have a good time doing it. The record’s not much over a half-hour long, which is as it should be for this kind of party, and they toy a bit with the balance between their two sides on a rocker like “Do Anything” or the subsequent “Means of Your Defeat” on side B, but the main crux of State of Shock and certainly the impression it makes off the bat with “Striker” and “White Lightning” up front ahead of the six-minute that-moment-when-ThinLizzy-turned-into-IronMaiden “Dangerous Game” is one of homage to the metal of yore, and in following-up the band’s 2017 self-titled debut (review here), it’s a showcase of energy and craft alike as two guitars shred, chug, groove and charge through the material. If they were from the Eastern Seaboard, I’d say something about getting caught in a mosh. As it stands, I’ll go with urging you to jump in the fire instead. Horns up, either way.

War Cloud on Thee Facebooks

Ripple Music website

 

Here Lies Man, No Ground to Walk Upon

here lies man no ground to walk upon

They should’ve just called it an album. Yeah, it would be short at 26 or so minutes, but it’s got everything you’d want from a full-length, and if they’d put a four-minute jam or something on it, they’d have been there anyhow. In any case, Los Angeles’ Afrobeat-infused heavy psych rockers Here Lies Man present seven tracks of dug-in glory with No Ground to Walk Upon (on RidingEasy), continuing to build on the potential shown across their first two LPs, 2017’s self-titled debut (review here) and last year’s You Will Know Nothing (review here), even as they swagger their way through a groove like “Long Legs (Look Away)” and show their continued forward potential. They continue to be a special band — the kind of band who doesn’t just come along every day and who shouldn’t be overlooked during their time, because maybe they’ll be around 30 years and maybe they won’t, but what they’re doing now is bringing something wholly individual to a heavy context. They’ve already proven influential to some degree, but listening to No Ground to Walk Upon cuts like the dream-keyed “Iron Rattles” and the opening strut-into-drone of “Clad in Silver,” one wonders if they wouldn’t be more so if people weren’t too afraid to try to pull this thing off. Hard to argue with that, since more likely than not most couldn’t.

Here Lies Man on Thee Facebooks

RidingEasy Records website

 

Book of Wyrms, Remythologizer

Book of Wyrms Remythologizer

I won’t take anything away from the eight-minute “Blacklight Warpriest” earlier in the offering, but the highlight of Book of Wyrms‘ second album, Remythologizer (on Twin Earth & Stoner Witch Records) has to be the closing “Dust Toad,” which at 9:25 is the longest track and the slowest crawl included. Led into by the synth-infused “Curse of the Werecop,” it takes the crunch that showed itself through opener “Autumnal Snow” and, later, the melody and swing of “Undead Pegasus” — as seen on the cover art — and brings them together in order to perfectly summarize the doom rocking ethic the Richmond, Virginia, four-piece are working from. Tonally righteous and more solvent in their songwriting than they were on their 2017 debut, Sci-Fi/Fantasy (review here), the band sound assured as they move in “Spirit Drifter” from a standout keyboard line to a likewise standout guitar solo, giving a feeling of progressive nuance that’s continuing to take hold in their sound, balanced by the underlying naturalism of their approach. That dynamic continues to duke it out on Remythologizer, much to the benefit of anyone who takes the record on.

Book of Wyrms on Thee Facebooks

Twin Earth Records on Bandcamp

Stoner Witch Records BigCartel store

 

Möyhy-Veikot, Huume Jet Set Life

moyhy-veikot huume jet set life

Too weird for planet earth and, well, probably too weird for anywhere else too, Helsinki psych-space-kraut-whathaveyou experimentalists issue their third tape in the form of Huume Jet Set Life and whether it’s the cosmo-jamming on “MITÄ ON TULLUT VEDETTYÄ?” or the who-the-hell-knows-what-ism of “MEDIA-AJOJAHTI 2000,” the band at no point fail to make an impression of being out there in the far gone far out there reaches of the far out there. Talkin’ freaked out next level total, like the cassette just fell into the atmosphere to represent some other planet’s culture where things are both dangerous and interesting and you never really know if you’re going to get laid or eaten or both. Still, they may be doing math of the likes not yet conceived by humanity, but Möyhy-Veikot go about it in suitably friendly if totally over-the-top fashion, and it’s fun to play along while also being completely overwhelmed at the various pushes and pulls happening all at once, the media samples and the Windows 95 compatibility of it all. It’s one small step for man, one giant leap for disco.

Möyhy-Veikot on Thee Facebooks

Möyhy-Veikot on Bandcamp

 

Darsombra, Transmission

Darsombra Transmission

It’s just lovely. Really. In some ways it feels like the 41:20 single-track full-length Transmission — self-released, no less — is what Baltimore ambient exploratory two-piece Darsombra have been building toward all along, but I think the truth is they probably could’ve done this at any time if they’d chosen to do so. Still, the fluidity of “Transmission” itself is something special, with its cascades of manipulated voice, riffs that swell and recede, loops, synth and somehow-manifested light that are as much immersion for the spirit as the eardrum. One doesn’t want to dive too deep into hyperbole and oversell it to the point of dulling the listener’s own impression, but Transmission is the kind of record that even those who profess to never “get” drone or noise offerings can engage with. Part of that is owed to Brian Daniloski‘s guitar, which provides landmarks along the path of swirl conjured by his own effects and the synth from Ann Everton (both add vocals where applicable; don’t look for lyrics or verses) that allow those who’d take it on to do so more easily. But the real joy in Transmission is letting go and allowing the piece to carry you along its progressive course, genuine in its reaching for the unknown. Plus there’s a gong, and that’s always fun too. Go with it.

Darsombra on Thee Facebooks

Darsombra on Bandcamp

 

Set Fire, Traya

set fire traya

Traya is the third three-song full-length from Boston’s Set Fire, and it would seem that, and in addition to marking the last recording to feature drummer Rob Davol, who’s since been replaced by Josh Cronin, it would seem to show the three-piece nailing their sound of classic-tinged duet-fronted heavy rock and roll. With two powerhouse vocalists on board in guitarist Jim Healey (We’re all Gonna Die, Black Thai, etc.) and keyboardist Jess Collins (ex-Mellow Bravo), they work in varying arrangements across a meager 12-minute run that feels short mostly because it is short. Too short. “Any Place Left” puts Collins in the foreground, while “Sacred Song” is more Healey‘s, and unsurprisingly to anyone who’s experienced their past work either together or separate, they’re more than able to carry the material — only more so with the other party backing. “Waves” brings them together around theatrical layers of piano and keyboard and guitar, and that they manage to hold it steady at all, let alone take flight as it does, speaks to how ready they are to embark on a longer offering. Put out an album, already, would ya?

Set Fire on Thee Facebooks

Set Fire on Bandcamp

 

Jesus the Snake, Black Acid, Pink Rain

Jesus the Snake Black Acid Pink Rain

For those feeling adventurous, Portugal’s Jesus the Snake follow-up their 2017 self-titled EP (review here) with the unmitigated warmth of Black Acid, Pink Rain, their live-recorded full-length debut. And for the sort of heavy psych-jazz-prog meandering, one would almost expect the organ-laced instrumentalist four-piece to track the record as they perform it, if not front-to-back then certainly one song at a time across multiple takes. Not one piece of the five total on the 49-minute offering is under eight minutes long, and sandwiched between opener “Karma” (10:28) and the closing title-track (10:55) are three cuts circa nine that prove no less hypnotic. The beginning of “Floyds I” is so fluid with the interplay of organ and guitar that one almost expects a gentle Portuguese spoken word verse to start, but of course one never does. Instead, Jesus the Snake complement mindful drift with flashes of more weighted or active fare, all the while holding to a central vibe that is peaceful even as “Duna” finds its chill before the halfway point, with no loss of spirit in the process.

Jesus the Snake on Thee Facebooks

Jesus the Snake on Bandcamp

 

Föllakzoid, I

follakzoid i

As with any kind of sonic minimalism or release based around trance induction — see Darsombra above — there’s a certain amount of buy-in that needs to happen on the listener’s side. Accordingly, those going into the fourth LP from Chilean duo Föllakzoid, titled I and issued through Sacred Bones Records as a double-vinyl, should be aware that it’s requires that kind of interaction from one side to the other. It’s not especially loud or abrasive, or even demanding in terms of the basic sonics of the thing, but as “I” becomes “II” becomes “III” becomes “IIII” and the songs such as they are alternate between 17- and 13-minute runtimes and the blend of effects and electro beats tips to one side or the other — “II” with a fervent ‘ump-tis’ in its early going while “III” brings a more Vangelis-style cinematic wash — of course there’s an ask in terms of indulgence happening on the part of the two-piece to their audience. Whether an individual is willing to make that jump is obviously going to be up to their headspace and where they’re at, but Föllakzoid‘s work here is more than worth the investment, even for those less familiar with their methods.

Föllakzoid on Thee Facebooks

Sacred Bones Records website

 

Dresden Wolves, Hiedra – Sencillo

dresden wolves Hiedra Sencillo

The sub-three-minute “Hiedra – Sencillo” is the latest in an ongoing series of digital offerings from Mexico City’s Dresden Wolves, and though the two-piece band bill themselves as post-punk and they may actually have a history in playing punk rock — stranger things have happened, certainly — the song finds them working in a taut heavy rock context, brash in delivery but not overly so as to lose the overarching swagger they seem intent on conveying. Particularly as it follows behind two EPs and a swath of other single tracks, and is offered name-your-price through their Bandcamp, “Hiedra – Sencillo” feels like its most nefarious aim is to hook anyone who’d click play on first listen and try and keep them intrigued for next time out. Fair enough. I won’t profess to know what Dresden Wolves‘ plans are, but they’ve got songwriting in their pocket and the production on “Hiedra – Sencillo” is crisp and clear enough to convey the heft of the guitar but not so much so as to dull its rawer aspects. They’ve got the balance ready to go, whatever they might choose to do with it from here.

Dresden Wolves on Thee Facebooks

Dresden Wolves on Bandcamp

 

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