Quarterly Review: Mrs. Piss, Ulcerate, Shroom Eater, Astralist, Daily Thompson, The White Swan, Dungeon Weed, Thomas V. Jäger, Cavern, Droneroom

Posted in Reviews on October 9th, 2020 by JJ Koczan

THE-OBELISK-FALL-2020-QUARTERLY-REVIEW

Today is what would be the last day of the Fall 2020 Quarterly Review, except, you know, it’s not. Monday is. I know it’s been a messed up time for everybody and everything, but there’s a lot of music coming out, so if you’re craving some sense of normalcy — and hey, fair enough — it’s right there. Today’s an all-over-the-place day but there’s some killer stuff in here right from the start, so jump in and good luck.

And don’t forget — back on Monday with the last 10 records. Thanks for reading.

Quarterly Review #41-50:

Mrs. Piss, Self-Surgery

mrs piss self surgery

If “Nobody Wants to Party with Us” as the alternately ambient/industrial-punk fuckall of that song posits, most likely that’s because they’re way too intimidated to even drop a text to invite Contact our Printing Business Plan Samples world to get awesome papers written by writing experts | We guarantee attractive prices | With us, you will submit Mrs. Piss over. The duo comprised of vocalist/guitarist Welcome to the website of Dont Feel Like Writing My Essay Conglomerate 2014 (SWC 2014), a conference held in New Delhi, India in the year 2014. Chelsea Wolfe and guitarist/bassist/drummer/programmer Thorsten, self-determined and without a crown, defrosts his images of mounds or whips in a resistant Community Service Essay Papers manner. The most unpleasant Jess Gowrie issue Have you decided to read here from a custom writing service? Learn which points to check out when you receive the piece. Self-Surgery as an act of sheer confrontation. The screams of “You Took Everything.” The chugging self-loathing largesse of “Knelt.” The fuzzed mania of ‘M.B.O.T.W.O.,” which, yes, stands for “Mega Babes of the Wild Order.” The unmitigated punk of “Downer Surrounded by Uppers” and the twisted careen-and-crash of the title-track. The declaration of purpose in the lines, “In the shit/I’m sacrosanct/I’m Mrs. Piss” in the eponymous closer. Rage against self, rage against other, rage and righteousness. Among the great many injustices this year has wrought, that help me with my math homework http://lacedes.com/literature-review-of-customer-satisfaction/ college application writing job resume writing experts york Wolfe and "Can you see page?" - we hear it all the time. The answer is - yes, we can do your paper for you! Gowrie aren’t touring this material, playing 20-something-minute sets and destroying every stage they hit has to be right up there. It’s like rock and roll to disintegrate every tired dude cliché the genre has. Yes. Fuck. Do it.

Mrs. Piss on Instagram

Sargent House website

 

Ulcerate, Stare into Death and Be Still

Ulcerate Stare into Death and Be Still

As progressive/technical death metal enjoys a stylistic renaissance, New Zealand’s Our custom essay papers writing service is one of the cheap essay writing service online which provide custom essay help and Help In Homework Assignments in essay Ulcerate put out their sixth full-length, People who Master Thesis Entrepreneurship - confide your report to qualified scholars employed in the service Instead of having trouble about essay writing find Stare into Death and Be Still and seem right in line with the moment despite having been around for nearly 20 years. So be it. What distinguishes https://byota.ca/essays-on-the-help - Dissertations, essays and academic papers of best quality. Get to know common tips as to how to receive the greatest Stare into Death and Be Still amid the speed-demon wizardry of a swath of other death metallers is the sense of atmosphere across the release and the fact that, while every note, every guitar squibbly, every sharpened turn the 58-minute album’s eight tracks make is important and serves a purpose, the band don’t simply rely on dry delivery to make an impression. To hear the cavernous echoes of the title-track or “Inversion” later on, The http://nanomat.uprrp.edu/tmp/cache/?custom-book-reports-online we provide for students suits all their needs, but more importantly, it tailors the work directly to their immediate problems. When students contact us, they immediately receive the college homework assistance they've been looking for. Ulcerate seem willing to let some of the clarity go in favor of establishing a mood beyond extremity. In the penultimate “Drawn into the Next Void,” their doing so results in a triumphant build and consuming fade in a way that much of their genre simply couldn’t accomplish. There’s still plenty of blast to be found, but also a depth that would seem to evoke the central intention of the album. Don’t stare too long.

Ulcerate on Thee Facebooks

Debemur Morti Productions on Bandcamp

 

Shroom Eater, Ad.Inventum

shroom eater ad inventum

Nine songs running an utterly digestible 38 minutes of fuzz-riffed groove with samples, smooth tempos and an unabashed love for ’90s-style stoner rock, Posts about my site written by EduPedia Publications Shroom Eater‘s debut album, Place an Order for do my assignment Services Today! When you whisper Paper Writers Cheap in our ears, we delightfully offer our Ad.Inventum feels ripe for pickup by this or that heavy rock label for a physical release. LP, CD and tape. I know it’s tough economic times, but none of this vinyl-only stuff. The Indonesian five-piece not only have their riffs and tones and methods so well in place — that is, they’re schooled in the style they’re creating; the genre-converted preaching to the genre-converted, and nothing wrong with that — but there are flashes of burgeoning cultural point of view in the lead guitar of “God Isn’t One Eyed” or the lyrics of “Arogant” (sic) and the right-on riffed “Traffic Hunter” that fit well right alongside the skateboarding ode “Ride” or flourish of psychedelia in the rolling “Perspective” earlier on. Closing with “Dragon and Tiger” and “Friend in the High Places,” How To Write A 6 Page Research Paper welcome to the college essay writing service across the Internet! Our professional essay writers are glad to offer you their assistance Ad.Inventum feels like the work of a band actively engaged in finding their sound and developing their take on fuzz, and the potential they show alongside their already memorable songwriting is significant.

Shroom Eater on Instagram

Shroom Eater on Bandcamp

 

Astralist, 2020 (Demo)

astralist 2020 demo

I’m not usually one to think bands should be aggrandizing their initial releases. It can be a disservice to call a demo a “debut EP” or album if it’s not, since you only get one shot at having an actual first record and sometimes a demo doesn’t represent a band’s sound as much as the actual, subsequent album does, leading to later regret. In the case of Cork, Ireland’s Our PhD Expert Professors provide standard Homework Order Of Operationss, Thesis writing service with online guidance and support. We also provide Research Astralist, it’s the opposite. Professional research paper visite site au help research paper service oriented . PLOS Medicine publishes research and commentary of general 2020 (Demo) is no toss-off, recorded-in-the-rehearsal-space-to-put-something-on-Bandcamp outing. Or if it is, it doesn’t sound like it. Comprised of three massive slabs of atmospheric and sometimes-extreme doom, plus an intro, in scope and production value both, the 36-minute release carries the feel and the weight of a full-length album, earning its themes of cosmic destruction and shifting back and forth between melodic progressivism and death-doom or blackened onslaught. In “The Outlier,” “Entheogen” and “Zuhal, Rise” they establish a breadth and an immediate control thereof, and their will to cross genre lines gives their work a fervently individualized feel. Album or demo doesn’t ultimately matter, but what they say about Astralist‘s intentions does.

Astralist on Thee Facebooks

Astralist on Bandcamp

 

Daily Thompson, Oumuamua

daily thompson oumuamua

Lost in the narrative of initial singles released ahead of its actual arrival is the psychedelic reach Dortmund trio Daily Thompson bring to their fourth album, Oumuamua. Yes, “She’s So Cold” turns in its second half to a more straightforward heavy-blues-fuzz push, but the mellow unfurling that takes place at the outset continues to inform the proceedings from there, and even through “Sad Frank” (video posted here) and “On My Mind” (video posted here), and album-centerpiece “Slow Me Down,” the vibe remains affect by it. Side B has its own stretch in the 12-minute “Cosmic Cigar (Oumuamua),” and sandwiched between the three-minute stomper “Half Thompson” and the acoustic, harmonized grunge-blues closer “River of a Ghost,” it seems that what Daily Thompson held back about the LP is no less powerful than what they revealed. It’s still a party, it’s just a party where every room has something different happening.

Daily Thompson on Thee Facebooks

Noisolution website

 

The White Swan, Nocturnal Transmission

The White Swan Nocturnal Transmission

Following up 2018’s Touch Taste Destroy (review here), Ontario’s The White Swan present their fourth EP in Nocturnal Transmission. That’s four EPs, in a row, from 2016-2020. If the trio — which, yes, includes Kittie‘s Mercedes Lander on vocals, drums, guitar and keys — were waiting to figure out their sound before putting out a first full-length, they were there two years ago, if not before. One is left to assume that the focus on short releases is — at least for now — an aesthetic choice. Like its predecessor, Nocturnal Transmission offers three circa-five-minute big-riffers topped with Lander‘s floating melodic vocals. The highlight here is “Purple,” and unlike any of the other The White Swan EPs, this one includes a fourth track in a cover of Tracy Bonham‘s “Tell it to the Sky,” given likewise heft and largesse. I don’t know what’s stopping this band from putting out an album, but I’ll take another EP in the meantime, sure.

The White Swan on Thee Facebooks

The White Swan on Bandcamp

 

Dungeon Weed, Mind Palace of the Mushroom God

Dungeon Weed Mind Palace of the Mushroom God

A quarantine project of Dmitri Mavra from Skunk and Slow Phase, Dungeon Weed is dug-in stoner idolatry, pure and simple. Mavra, joined by drummer Chris McGrew and backing vocalist Thia Moonbrook, metes out riff after feedback-soaked, march-ready, nod-ready, dirt-toned riff, and it doesn’t matter if it’s the doomier tolling bell of “Sorcerer with the Skull Face” or the tongue-in-cheek hook of “Beholder Gonna Fuck You Up” or the brash sludge that ensues across the aptly-named “Lumbering Hell,” all layered solos and whatnot, the important thing is that by the time “Mind Palace” comes around, you’re either out or you’re in, and once you make that choice there’s no going back on it. Opener “Orcus Immortalis/Vox Mysterium” tells the tale (or part of it, as regards the overarching narrative), and if ever there was a band that could and would make a song called “Black Pudding” sound heavy, well, there’s Dungeon Weed for you. Dungeon Weed, man. Don’t overthink it.

Dungeon Weed on Thee Facebooks

Forbidden Place Records website

 

Thomas V. Jäger, A Solitary Plan

thomas v jager a solitary plan

The challenge of rendering songcraft in the nude can be a daunting one for someone in a heavy band doing a solo/acoustic release, but it’s a challenge Thomas V. Jäger of Monolord meets with ease on the home-recorded A Solitary Plan, his solo debut. Those familiar with his work in Monolord will recognize some of the effects used on his vocals, but in the much, much quieter context of the seven-song/29-minute solo release — Jäger plays everything except the Mellotron on the leadoff title-track — they lend not only a spaciousness but a feeling of acid folk serenity to “Creature of the Deep” and “It’s Alright,” which follows. Mixed/mastered by Kalle Lilja of Långfinger, A Solitary Plan is ultimately an exploration on Jäger‘s part of working in this form, but it succeeds in both its most minimal stretches and in the electric-inclusive “The Drone” and “Goodbye” ahead of the buzzing synth-laced closer “The Bitter End.” It would be a surprise if this is the only solo release Jäger ever does, since so much of what takes place throughout feels like a foundation for future work.

Thomas V. Jäger on Bandcamp

RidingEasy Records website

 

Cavern, Powdered

CAVERN POWDERED

Change has been the modus operandi of Cavern for a while now. They still show some semblance of their post-hardcore roots on their new full-length, Powdered, but having brought in bassist/vocalist Rose Heater in 2018 and sometime between then and now let out of Baltimore for Morgantown, West Virginia, their sonic allegiance to a heavier-ended post-rock comes through more than ever before. Guitarist/synthesist Zach Harkins winds lead lines around Heater‘s bass on “Grey,” and Stephen Schrock‘s drums emphasize tension to coincide, but the fluidity across the 24-minute LP is of a kind that’s genuinely new to the band, and the soul in Heater‘s vocals carries the material to someplace else entirely. A song like “Dove” presents a tonal fullness that the title-track seems just to hint at, but the emphasis here is on dynamic, not on doing one thing only or locking their approach into a single mindset. As Heater‘s debut with them, Powdered finds them refreshed and renewed of purpose.

Cavern on Thee Facebooks

Cavern on Bandcamp

 

Droneroom, …The Other Doesn’t

droneroom the other doesnt

Droneroom is the solo vehicle of guitarist Blake Edward Conley and with …The Other Doesn’t, experiments of varying length and degree of severity are brought to bear. The abiding feel is spacious, lonely and cinematic as one might expect for such guitar-based soundscaping, but “Casual-Lethal Narcissism” and “The Last Time Someone Speaks Your Name” do have some measure of peace to go with their foreboding and troubling atmospherics. An obvious focal point is the 15-minute dronefest “This Circle of Ribs,” which feels more forward and striking than someone of Droneroom‘s surrounding material, but it’s all on a relative scale, and across the board Conley remains a safe social distance away from structural traditionalist. Recorded during Summer 2020, it is an album that conveys the anxiety and paranoia of this year, and while that can be a daunting thing to face in such a way or to let oneself really engage with as a listener — shit, it’s hard enough just living through — one of the functions of good art is to challenge perceptions of what it can be. Worth keeping in mind for “Home Can Be a Frightening Place.”

Droneroom on Thee Facebooks

Humanhood Recordings on Bandcamp

 

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Dungeon Weed to Release Mind Palace of the Mushroom God LP on Forbidden Place Records

Posted in Whathaveyou on August 26th, 2020 by JJ Koczan

There comes a time in everyone’s life, I think, when you have to sit back, look at the big picture and understand that you’re 38 years old writing about a band called Dungeon Weed and a record they’ve put out called Mind Palace of the Mushroom God. What do any of those words even mean?

Well, I guess Dungeon Weed is self-explanatory. It’s weed in or from a dungeon. Fine.

Actually, the whole thing is less about specific descriptors than how it willfully positions itself in line with other records of the style. That style, as they put it, is “wizard doom,” which is a phrase I myself have used here to describe bands who play off an Electric Wizard influence. There’s some of that happening in Mind Palace of the Mushroom God, so fair enough. And they sound like they were making the most of the pandemic, and it’s Dmitri Mavra from Skunk and Slow Phase telling the story, so one way or the other you’re in good hands. Shit man, life is short. Find your fucking joy. If it’s in mind palace of a mushroom god, well, at least you didn’t have to shoot a Black person seven times in the back to get there.

Sorry.

The recording is rough, but not so much so that Forbidden Place Records hasn’t signed on to put the album out on vinyl — for which the artwork seems well suited — so take that as you will. Stream and video are at the bottom of the post if you want to dive in. Don’t mind if I do:

Dungeon Weed Mind Palace of the Mushroom God

DUNGEON WEED – Mind Palace of the Mushroom God

MIND PALACE OF THE MUSHROOM GOD is available now on cd/download, coming this winter on vinyl from Forbidden Place Records.

DUNGEON WEED is a collaboration between Dmitri Mavra (SKUNK, SLOW PHASE) and Chris McGrew, session drummer/studio engineer at San Francisco’s Wally’s Hyde Out (formerly Hyde Street Studio C).

Born from the darkness of pandemic isolation, the album features 6 lengthy tracks of “wizard doom” that reflect these dark times.

Hyper fuzzed riffs, droning synths, and massive, sludgy drumming lay the foundation for solos that range from esoteric weirdness to soaring majesty as the album obliquely tells a dream fantasy in which a wizard seeking eternal life travels through the “Mind Palace of the Mushroom God” to strike a deal with Orcus, Lord of the Underworld. Terrible creatures are encountered on his quest before his wish for eternal life is finally granted, but was it worth the price? (Spoiler: of course not!)

While Mavra is known for the retro-drenched riffs of SKUNK and SLOW PHASE, DUNGEON WEED explores a slower, heavier, feedback-tinged sludge vibe. McGrew played and recorded the drums. Mavra played and recorded everything else, and illustrated the album. Guest vocals by Thia Moonbrook.

Available now on cd and digital:
https://dungeonweeddoomsludge.bandcamp.com/album/mind-palace-of-the-mushroom-god

Vinyl Edition pre-order:
https://forbiddenplacerecords.bandcamp.com/

https://www.facebook.com/dungeonweed/
https://dungeonweeddoomsludge.bandcamp.com/
https://www.facebook.com/forbiddenplacerecords/
https://forbiddenplacerecords.bandcamp.com/

Dungeon Weed, Mind Palace of the Mushroom God (2020)

Dungeon Weed, “Sorcerer with the Skull Face” official video

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Ruff Majik Closing 2018 with Cape Town Shows

Posted in Whathaveyou on November 8th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

ruff majik

When last heard from, South African trio Ruff Majik were getting ready to hit the studio in September to track a quick-turnaround sophomore album to answer their 2018 debut, Seasons (review here). They did shows throughout the country last month following up on two European tours earlier this year, and I’d have to imagine the new record is at least finished in terms of the actual recording process, if not mixed or yet mastered. Their eye was on an early 2019 release, so hopefully that actually comes together.

In the meantime, they’ll play four shows in Cape Town to close out the year, two of which are free. That in itself is pretty nifty, but kudos the band on getting four bookings in the same city on four consecutive nights. It’s not every group in every town who could make that happen, even with a variety of openers. Clearly there’s some respect there, so right on.

The PR wire brings the dates and the whatnot:

ruff majik tour

Ruff Majik Reveal Cape Town Tour Dates for December

Pretoria’s sludge n rollers Ruff Majik have announced a couple dates for Cape Town shows in December. They’ll be joined by Cape Town based hardcore heroes Peasant for two shows along with a host of the city’s finest heavy bands including MA-AT, Monstroid, Behest, Blood Ret, Pooch, The Man Motels and more.

Pieter Jordaan from Peasant comments on the tour “Cape Town is often starved of the doomy goodness that a band like Ruff Majik can provide, so we are very stoked to have them pull through for the long weekend! With Peasant joining on two dates, and some of the best garage, fuzz and hardcore the city has to offer, the tour will be the best way to start off the holiday season right!”

Ruff Majik guitarist and vocalist Johni Holiday does on to add “Cape Town is always such a magic experience. The crowds are always intensely invested in the music, and we get the best green when we visit! This time around, we’re really excited to be joined by the dudes of Peasant and some of the finest doom, garage and hardcore bands that CPT has to offer!”

THUR 13 DEC – Black Irish – 1 Scher Street, Durbanville R40 ENTRANCE
FRI 14 DEC – Prison – 28 Somerset Rd, Green Point, Cape Town FREE ENTRANCE
SAT 15 DEC – Scary Canary – 225 Long St, Cape Town City Centre R50 ENTRANCE
SUN 16 DEC – Surfarosa – 61a Harrington St, Zonnebloem FREE ENTRANCE

Ruff Majik:
Johni Holiday – Guitar, vocals
Jimi Glass – Bass guitar
Benni Manchino – Drums

https://www.ruffmajik.com/
https://www.facebook.com/ruffmajik
https://twitter.com/ruff_majik
https://www.instagram.com/ruffmajik/
https://forbiddenplacerecords.bandcamp.com/album/ruff-majik-seasons
http://shop.rockfreaks.de/en/home/92-ruff-majik-seasons-coming-soon-.html

Ruff Majik, Seasons (2018)

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Ruff Majik to Begin Recording New Album; Announce South Africa Shows

Posted in Whathaveyou on September 7th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

South African heavy psych trio Ruff Majik are set to enter the studio to record the follow-up to their 2018 debut album, Seasons (review here), for an early 2019 release. I won’t claim to have any insight on the band’s processes, but given the live sound of the last record and the series of EPs that preceded it, it doesn’t seem out of line to expect they’ll get their sophomore full-length to tape with all good speed. That’s all the better since at the end of the month they’ll take stage at the Krank’d Up festival in Johannesburg, as one of a select round of live dates they’ll do in their home country to correspond with the European tour they undertook this past Spring following Seasons‘ release. You’ll note in the announcement below for the shows it says they’ve never played in their hometown of Lydenburg. Even knowing nothing about urban populations and demographics in South Africa, that seems astonishing to me. Smaller town, I guess? Still fascinating.

Gotta figure they’ll be back in Europe supporting the new album whenever it arrives. Hopefully that happens sooner than later.

From the PR wire:

ruff majik

Pretoria’s Ruff Majik Divulge Details for their “Season of the Witch” tour.

Coming off the back of 2 very successful European tours, South Africa’s sludge n roll kings Ruff Majik have revealed dates and details for their Season of The Witch tour.

Kicking off on the 29th September with their mainstage appearance at this year’s chapter of the mighty Krank’d Up Music Festival, the tour will see them play in Johannesburg, Pretoria, Durban and for the very 1st time in their home town of Lydenburg.

“We’re extremely excited to be hitting the road for a few select dates with some good friends! Each show will be an entirely different experience with these line-ups, so we can’t wait!” – Johni Holiday, vocals / guitar

29 September // JHB // Krank’d Up Music Festival
12 October // PTA // The Grind Bar // with from Apocalypse Later, Wolkberg
13 October // JHB // Sundowners // with Them Dirty Shrikes, Caution Boy
20 October // DBN // Winston // with Pollinator, Mad God
26 October // LYD // Jam Jar Lounge // with Wolkberg, Them Dirty Shrikes

The band released their debut full length album Seasons on the 20th April 2018 which was well received by the local and international metal and rock media.

Seasons available now on all digital platforms including BandCamp Apple Music Spotify Deezer and on CD and cassette via Forbidden Place Records

The band will be in studio in September 2018 recording the follow up to Seasons with the aim of releasing early in 2019.

Ruff Majik:
Johni Holiday – Guitar, vocals
Jimi Glass – Bass guitar
Benni Manchino – Drums

https://www.ruffmajik.com/
https://www.facebook.com/ruffmajik
https://twitter.com/ruff_majik
https://www.instagram.com/ruffmajik/
https://forbiddenplacerecords.bandcamp.com/album/ruff-majik-seasons
http://shop.rockfreaks.de/en/home/92-ruff-majik-seasons-coming-soon-.html

Ruff Majik, Seasons (2018)

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Ruff Majik Announce Seasons Physical Releases

Posted in Whathaveyou on May 17th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

ruff majik

A conceptual work wherein each batch of three songs was actually written in a different season, the suitably titled Seasons was self-released by Pretorian trio Ruff Majik digitally on April 20. As the band is set to tour Europe this summer twice, making stops first at Freak Valley and then at SonicBlast Moledo, and, you know, as the album kicks ass, it’s not a huge surprise that it’s been picked up for physical release. And it’s all the more telling that rather than trickle out one format at a time over a period of years (or seasons, for that matter), Ruff Majik are taking care of it all in one shot. The limited 2LP will be out through the Freak Valley-associated Rock Freaks Records in a variety of editions, and the CD and tape versions will arrive through US imprint Forbidden Place.

Both labels have the album up for preorder now. Here’s the PR wire to tell you pretty much exactly what I just told you using different words:

ruff-majik-seasons

Ruff Majik Reveal Details to Release SEASONS on CD, Cassette and Vinyl

2018 is turning out to be an incredible year for South African Sludge n Rollers Ruff Majik. With two European tours booked that will see them playing Freak Valley Festival and SonicBlast as well as a host of club shows.

They also released their debut full-length album Seasons on the 20th April to widespread critical acclaim. The guys are happy to announce that they have signed deals with US label Forbidden Place Records to release and distribute Seasons on CD and cassette, while German label Rock Freaks Records will be releasing three versions of the double LP: classic black, coloured (still a secret) and die-hard (very limited).

Vocalist and guitarist Johni Holiday commented on the news “Ruff Majik is immensely excited to take the next step in furthering our career by bringing out physical copies. With the backing of Rock Freaks and Forbidden Place, we’re making a lifelong dream come true!”

Pre-order Seasons on CD or Cassette here and on Vinyl here.

Tracklisting:
1. Harpy 04:49
2. Gone down in the woods today 05:15
3. Breathing ghosts 04:20
4. Last of the witches 03:53
5. It flies at night 03:48
6. Hanami Sakura (and the ritual suicide) 04:26
7. The deep blue 08:04
8. Hammered are the gods 04:42
9. Birds stole my eyes 04:17
10. Tar black blood 03:15
11. Come all ye druids 05:04
12. Asleep in the leaves 14:10

Ruff Majik:
Johni Holiday – Guitar, vocals
Jimi Glass – Bass guitar
Benni Manchino – Drums

https://www.ruffmajik.com/
https://www.facebook.com/ruffmajik
https://twitter.com/ruff_majik
https://www.instagram.com/ruffmajik/
https://forbiddenplacerecords.bandcamp.com/album/ruff-majik-seasons
http://shop.rockfreaks.de/en/home/92-ruff-majik-seasons-coming-soon-.html

Ruff Majik, Seasons (2018)

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Stahv Premiere “Jardín Infinito”; Self-Titled Debut out in January

Posted in audiObelisk on December 1st, 2017 by JJ Koczan

stahv

Seattle’s Stahv has set a January release date for its self-titled but on cassette through Solid 7 Records, with an LP edition to follow later in the year. The moody and progressive heavy ambient outfit is comprised of Solomon Arye Rosenschein, and the album basks in an insular feeling driven alternately by post-JK Broadrick electronic beatmaking on a cut like “Djinn Rumi” and swells of atmospheric, buzzing distortion and minimalist dronescapes on the penultimate “Preta Realm.” All told, it’s seven tracks in a manageable 32 minutes of solo studio experimentalism writ large. Each piece feels somewhat self-contained in its purpose — to wit, “The Test” indeed sounds like Rosenschein is trying something new out — but the whole of Stahv‘s Stahv ties together through its arrangements of guitar, bass, keys, drums and programming, as well as the evocative places its instrumental progressions lead toward.

Centerpiece “Forest Dweller” draws on Isis-style contemplation, while the subsequent “Benevolus” finds a niche between guitar solo flourish, strummed noisemaking, stahv self titledretro keyboard work and synth beats. Where Stahv most succeeds as an album, however, is in bringing these varied pieces together. Rosenschein has more to do in this regard in terms of transitioning from one track to the next, but even as it stands on this first offering, Stahv sets a tone early with opener “Jardín Infinito” that leaves the contextual foundation for everything that follows wide open. Which is to say, it’s not like one goes from the organ-topped rollout and near-Earth dronemaking of “Jardín Infinito” into “The Test” with an expectation of more of the same.

Rather, by attuning himself to the fine details of the sounds he’s composing and how each element and layer affects the whole, Rosenschein allows his scope to grow broader as each track plays out. And it just so happens to do exactly that, right through the somewhat kitchen-sink freakout of closer “Grüver,” which holds together various noises electric and electronic over a core acoustic progression. It’s a strangely fitting (and just generally strange) way to end Stahv‘s Stahv, but again, context is everything, and as far out as Rosenschein has already gone at that point, he leaves himself little reason not to push that much further.

One hopes he’ll continue to do so as Stahv undertakes its sonic development from this point on. In the meantime, I’m happy today to host the premiere of “Jardín Infinito” ahead of the album’s release next month. You’ll find it on the player below, followed by a few words from Rosenschein about its making and some more PR wire background concerning the record.

Please enjoy:

Solomon Arye Rosenschein on “Jardín Infinito”:

“‘Jardín Infinito’ is the sound of time spent in the gloaming, losing the way and finding the way and losing it again. It’s two and a half decades of ears pressed against speakers—the infernal fears of a teenage wastrel talking on the phone to Anton Newcombe about jumping off mountains. It’s placing half steps against whole steps and seeing what shakes out.

STAHV is Solomon Arye Rosenschein, one human creating instrumental post-metal incorporating shoegaze, funeral doom, psychedelia, and esoterica. The name means autumn in Hebrew and winter in both Arabic and Aramaic. For twenty years Rosenschein has released records under a variety of monikers. He lives in Seattle, where he writes fiction and creative nonfiction and is half of spectral-folk duo The Royal Oui.

STAHV’s debut will be available as a limited edition cassette with unique packaging through Solid 7 Records in January 2018 and on vinyl through Forbidden Place later in year.

Stahv on Thee Facebooks

Stahv on Soundcloud

Solid 7 Records on Bandcamp

Forbidden Place Records website

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Quarterly Review: Hallatar, Alastor, The Dead-End Alley Band, Hair of the Dog, Soup, Kungens Män, Smoke Wizzzard, Highburnator, The Curf, Ulls

Posted in Reviews on September 29th, 2017 by JJ Koczan

the obelisk quarterly review

Here we are, gathered for round four of the Fall 2017 Quarterly Review. After the technical issues with the site for the last couple days, I’m glad to have everything back up and running, and one more time I thank Slevin and Behrang Alavi for making that happen. Though I have no idea what it might actually entail, I don’t imagine switching hosts on the fly for a site with as much content as this one has is easy, but they of course killed it and it is thoroughly appreciated. We move forward, as ever, with 10 more records. So let’s go.

Quarterly Review #31-40:

Hallatar, No Stars Upon the Bridge

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Finland’s Hallatar was formed after the passing of Trees of Eternity vocalist Aleah Starbridge, life partner of guitarist and songwriter Juha Ravio (also Swallow the Sun). In the new outfit, Ravio pays homage to Starbridge with the debut long-player No Stars Upon the Bridge (on Svart) by using her poems as lyrics, samples of her voice reading on “Raven’s Song,” “Spiral Gate” and the piano-backed centerpiece “Pieces,” and by bringing in Amorphis vocalist Tomi Joutsen and ex-HIM drummer Gas Lipstick to complete a trio playing nine tracks/40 minutes of deeply mournful/beautiful death-doom. The extremity of lurch in “The Maze” late in the record is matched by the gorgeousness of the chants and shimmering guitar on closer “Dreams Burn Down,” and from the opening strains of “Mirrors,” the emotion driving No Stars Upon the Bridge is sincere and affecting. Cuts like “Melt” and the mostly-whispered-until-it-explodes “My Mistake” have a sense of the theatrical in their delivery, but that makes them no less genuine, and though one wouldn’t wish the circumstances leading to the band’s formation on anybody, there’s no question that with Hallatar, Ravio turns tragedy into a lush, resonant catharsis.

Hallatar on Thee Facebooks

Svart Records website

 

Alastor, Black Magic

alastor black magic

Cultish echoes pervade Black Magic, the debut album from Swedish doom-rolling four-piece Alastor, and it’s not so much that the initials-only four-piece of guitarists H and J, bassist/vocalist R and drummer S take influence from Electric Wizard and Black Sabbath, it’s what they do with that influence that’s most striking. Black Magic is made up of three extended tracks – “Enemy” (11:51), “Nothing to Fear” (7:42) and “Black Magic” (14:27) – and with a deep tonal engagement, each one embarks on a huge-sounding sprawl of doom. Yes, the guitars owe the swirl in “Nothing to Fear” to Jus Oborn, but the echoes behind R’s voice there and the melody have an almost New Wave-style feel despite the “all right now!” drawn right from the Ozzy playbook. In other words, Alastor are preaching to the converted, and that holds true in the snowblinded Luciferian spaciousness of the title-track’s early going as well, but the converted should have no problem finding the gospel in what they’re hearing, and as “Black Magic” rounds out with its chanted feel, Alastor affirm the potential to progress within this sound and to continue to develop it into something even more their own than it is now. Familiar superficially, but sneaky in the details, so watch out.

Alastor on Thee Facebooks

Twin Earth Records webstore

 

The Dead-End Alley Band, Storms

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Lima-based four-piece The Dead-End Alley Band aren’t far into opener “Red Woman” before the dark-psych vibe and languid groove have properly emphasized just how much the guitar of Leonardo Alva and the organ of Sebastian Sanchez-Botta (also vocals) complement each other. Propelled by the rhythm section of bassist/vocalist Javier Kou and drummer Jafer Diaz, Storms is the third album from them behind 2015’s Odd Stories (discussed here) and 2013’s debut, Whispers of the Night (review here), and it continues to blend fuzz and classic garage doom impulses on songs like “Headstone Fortress” and the shuffling “Thunderbolts and Lace,” the latter of which wah-trips to the max around a stirring boogie before “The Clock has Stopped” weirds out on extra vocal echoes and nine-minute closer “Waiting for the Void” brings in the progressive touches of pan flute and percussion. Even in the earlier, shortest track “Need You (It’s Enough),” The Dead-End Alley Band bring no shortage of personality to the proceedings, and confirm that the rough edges of their early outings have matured into essential aspects of who they have become as a band, completely in control of their craft and able to conjure an atmosphere both classic and individual.

The Dead-End Alley Band on Thee Facebooks

The Dead-End Alley Band on Bandcamp

Forbidden Place Records website

 

Hair of the Dog, This World Turns

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Making their debut on Kozmik Artifactz, Scottish trio Hair of the Dog give their guitar-led compositions plenty of time to flesh out on This World Turns, their third album, as they demonstrate quickly on the nine-plus minute titular opener and longest track (immediate points), but one would hardly call their songwriting indulgent there or anywhere else as “This World Turns” flows easily into the following seven-minute push of “Keeping Watch over the Night” in a resolute one-two punch that soon gives way to the shorter and more driving “Ctrl-Alt-Del,” touching on influences from Thin Lizzy and Scorpions en route as well as modern practitioners like Kadavar, whose stamp can also be heard on side B launch “The Colours in Her Skin.” That’s not to say Hair of the Dog — guitarist/vocalist Adam Holt (interview here), bassist Iain Thomson and drummer Jon Holt – don’t leave their own mark as well, just that their blend stems from multiple sources. A bit of Lynottism surfaces in the penultimate “In Death’s Hands” as well, which has a more subdued feel despite fervent rhythmic movement underlying, and closer “4AM” soars with enough vigor and soul – and a little falsetto – to give This World Turns a suitably smooth and vibrant finish.

Hair of the Dog on Thee Facebooks

Kozmik Artifactz website

 

Soup, Remedies

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With ties to Motorpsycho through guitarist Hans Magnus “Snah” Ryan, Soup issue their sixth long-player in the five-track lush melodicism of Remedies, which feels particularly aptly named for the immersion the wash that opener “Going Somewhere” is able to elicit. That is, of course, just the first of the spacious, semi-folk-infused progressions, and it’s with the longer-form “The Boy and the Snow” (11:33) and the psychedelic purposeful meandering of “Sleepers” (13:35) that Remedies truly unveils its considerable breadth, but the Crispin Glover Records release holds a sense of poise even in the two-minute centerpiece church organ interlude “Audion,” and the harmonies of “Nothing Like Home” bring to mind peak-era Porcupine Tree patience and fluidity while holding fast to the bright, orange-sunshiny warmth of the atmosphere as a whole, instruments dropping out just before three minutes in to showcase the vocals before returning to embark on the march to the final crescendo, not at all overblown but with just a touch of extra volume to let listeners dive deeper into the moment. Remedies feels quick at 42 minutes, but turns out to be just what the doctor ordered.

Soup on Thee Facebooks

Crispin Glover Records website

 

Kungens Män, Dag & Natt

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Prolific psych-progging Stockholmers Kungens Män return with Dag & Natt, a 2CD/2LP issued through Kungens Ljud & Bild (CD) and Adansonia Records (LP) that overflows with jazzy fluidity and gorgeous immersion. The band’s last studio outing was late-2015’s Förnekaren (review here), and whether it’s 13-minute pieces like opener “Morgonrodnad” and the even-more-krautrocking “Aftonstjärnan” or the seemingly complementary inclusions of the kosmiche-minded “Dag” and wonderfully drifting “Natt,” the album as a whole is a joy and a boon to anyone looking for an extended psychedelic meander. The saxophone of Gustav Nygren on the aforementioned leadoff and “Natt” makes a particularly striking impression, but with a steady, languid wash of guitar, synth and warm bass throughout, Dag & Natt wants nothing for flow, and the gentle, classy spirit is maintained even as the penultimate “Vargtimmen” ups the sense of thrust leading into the finisher payoff of “Cirkeln är Slut.” As of now, Kungens Män should be considered a too-well-kept secret of Scandinavia’s psych underground, though listening to Dag & Natt, one wonders just how long they’ll stay that way.

Kungens Män on Thee Facebooks

Adansonia Records website

 

Smoke Wizzzard, Run with the Wolf

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Whether it’s through the striking and gruesome cover art or through the lumbering post-Sabbath, post-Cathedral stoner-doom nod contained within, Smoke Wizzzard’s five-song self-titled debut LP thoroughly earns its third ‘z’ – and, for that matter, its second one – with played-to-form thickness and a tonal push that starts with 10-minute opener/longest track (immediate points) “Astro Lord” and continues to swagger and swing with due viscosity through “Reptiles” after the minute-long punker curveball “Soul Train.” The highlight of the Pittsburgh trio’s first outing might be “The Pass,” which has a hazy patience and some rightly-featured bass tone, but as “Run with the Wolf” moves from its early Electric Wizard muckraking to cap with piano and included howls for a doomier feel, it becomes clear Smoke Wizzzard have yet to play their full stylistic hand and the real highlights may still be yet to come. Fair enough. Something tells me getting stranger is only going to be a boon to Smoke Wizzzard’s approach on the whole, so bring it on.

Smoke Wizzzard on Thee Facebooks

Smoke Wizzzard on Bandcamp

 

Highburnator, Keystoned State

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If you hit up Highburnator’s Bandcamp and download their name-your-price Keystoned State EP, you might note the fifth and final inclusion is the entire live-recorded, 28-minute release presented as a single track. No doubt the Pennsylvania three-piece intend the four-song outing to be taken just that way. They begin with the “mad as hell” speech sampled from the 1976 film Network and from there unfold a potent riffly brew met head on with harsh East Coast hardcore-style vocals and more metallic growls. That’s nine-minute opener and longest track (immediate points) “The Brass Rail,” and it sets the tone for what follows on the eponymous “Highburnator” before “Desert Funeral” and the Sleep-style nod of “Peaking at the Coffin” push into even more stonerly vibes. This melding of pissed-off disaffection and mid-paced heavy rock groove is particular to the sludge of the Eastern Seaboard – think of it as regional fare – but Highburnator find space for themselves in the rawness of their riffs and the charm of their puns, and by the time they’re through the four songs, it makes sense why they might want to present the full onslaught as a single entity, essentially giving it to their listeners on one overflowing platter. Got the munchies? It’s right there waiting.

Highburnator on Thee Facebooks

Highburnator on Bandcamp

 

The Curf, Death and Love

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Greek psych-doomers The Curf made their debut in 2007 with I and then went radio silent until last year’s Royal Water EP. Their sophomore full-length, Death and Love, then, arrives via Fuzz Ink Records with some amount of intrigue behind it, but either way, the sans-pretense heavy roll the band unfurls on “Dark Hado,” and the more uptempo “Smoke Ring,” the dig-in low end of “Lunar Lair” and the scream-topped start-stoppery of “California” present a varied take brought together through heft as well as the crispness of production and delivery, such that when it wants to, Death and Love can bite down hard, but as on the closing title-track or the earlier “Order ‘n’ Sin,” it can rumble out spaciousness as well. Whatever might’ve taken The Curf so long to put together a second album beats the hell out of me, but if they were looking to make an argument for a third one, they do so convincingly across these nine songs, which hold firmly to their overarching flow despite the emergent stylistic range.

The Curf on Thee Facebooks

Fuzz Ink Records webstore

 

Ulls, I

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For now, Ulls is the solo-project of Barcelona-based David Trillo, formerly guitarist/vocalist for the heavy progressive trio Lord Summerisle, but the hope seems to be to build a full band at some point in the future. The I EP might rightly be called a demo, then, but for the professionalism and cohesiveness of sound with which its three songs are presented and the clarity of intent behind them. With Trillo rumbling away on bass beneath, six-minute opener “Inhumat” fleshes out its arrangement with organ alongside guitar swirl and sets up the classically swinging strut of “Llot Convuls,” on which the drums post-midsection lead the way through starts and stops à la a restless King Crimson and the guitar joins with no less angularity. Eight-minute closer “L’Emersió de l’Executor” brings about a thicker overall tone, but holds to a similar mood through its first half, Trillo finding room after about the four-and-a-half-minute mark for a standout solo executed with the bass running fluidly alongside that carries the song to its fading finish just before seven minutes in, at which point a residual drone takes hold to lead the way out. That ending is telling when it comes to various impulses that might show themselves in Ulls going forward, but as an initial demonstration, suffice it to say that I makes it plain Trillo shouldn’t have much trouble finding other players to come aboard the band with him.

Ulls on Instagram

Ulls on Bandcamp

 

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