Quarterly Review: Per Wiberg, Body Void, Ghorot, Methadone Skies, Witchrot, Rat King, Taras Bulba, Opium Owl, Kvasir, Lurcher

Posted in Reviews on July 16th, 2021 by JJ Koczan

the-obelisk-fall-2016-quarterly-review

In my hubris of adding an 11th day to this Summer 2021 Quarterly Review — why not just do the whole month of July, bro? what’s the matter? don’t like riffs? — I’ve rendered today somewhat less of a landmark, but I guess there’s still some accomplishment to be felt in completing two full weeks of writing about 10 records a day, hitting triple digits and all that. Not that I doubted I’d get here — it’s rare but it’s happened before — and not that I doubt I’ll have the last 10 done for Monday, but yeah. It’s been a trip so far.

Quarterly Review #91-100:

Per Wiberg, All Is Well In the Land of the Living But for the Rest of Us… Lights Out

per wiberg all is well in the land of the living but for the rest of us lights out

The cumbersome-seeming title of Per Wiberg‘s new solo EP derives from its four component tracks, “All is Well,” “In the Land of the Living,” “But for the Rest of Us…” and “Lights Out.” The flow between them is largely seamless, and when Wiberg (whose pedigree as an organist/keyboardist includes Opeth, Candlemass, Big Scenic Nowhere and more others than I can count) pauses between tracks two and three, it feels likewise purposeful. It’s a dark mood inflected through the melodies of the opener and the atmospheric piano lines of “But for the Rest of Us…,” but Wiberg offers a driving take on progressive heavy rock with “In the Land of the Living” and the build in the subsequent “Lights Out” is encompassing with the lead-in it’s given. Wiberg sounds more comfortable layering his voice than even on 2019’s Head Without Eyes, and his arrangements are likewise expressive and fluid. Dude is a professional. I think maybe that’s part of the reason everybody wants to work with him.

Per Wiberg on Facebook

Despotz Records website

 

Body Void, Bury Me Beneath This Rotting Earth

Body Void Bury Me Beneath This Rotting Earth

Massive, droning lurch, harsh, biting screams and lumbering, pummeling weight, Body Void‘s third album and first for Prosthetic, Bury Me Beneath This Rotting Earth, boasts feelgood hits like “Wound” and “Laying Down in a Forest Fire,” bringing cacophonous, Khanate-style extremity of atmosphere to willfully, punishingly brutal sludge. It is not friendly. It is devastating, and it is the kind of record that sounds loud even when you play it quietly — and that’s before you get to “Pale Man”‘s added layers of caustic noise. Front to back in the four songs — all of which top 12 minutes — there’s no letup, no moment at which the duo relent in order to let the listener breathe. This is intentional. A conjuring of aural concrete in the lungs coinciding with striking lines like “Your compromises are hollow monuments to your cowardice” and other bleak, throatripping poetry of dead things and our complicity in making them. Righteous and painful.

Body Void on Facebook

Prosthetic Records website

 

Ghorot, Loss of Light

ghorot loss of light

Ghorot is the three-piece of bassist/vocalist Carson Russell (also Ealdor Bealu), drummer/vocalist Brandon Walker and guitarist Chad Remains (ex-Uzala), and Loss of Light is a debut album no less gripping for its push into darkness, whether it’s the almost-toying-with-you Sabbath-style riff of “Harbinger” or the tortured atmospherics in the back end of “Charioteer of Fire,” which follows. Competing impulses result in a sense of grueling even through the barks and faster progression of “Woven Furnace,” while “Dead Gods” offers precious little mourning in its charred deathsludge, saving more ambience for the 12-minute closer “In Endless Grief,” which not only veers into acoustics, but nods toward post-metal later on, despite holding firm to cavernous growls and wails. Obscure? Opaque? There isn’t a way in which Loss of Light isn’t heavy. Everywhere they go, Ghorot carry that weight with them. It is existential.

Ghorot on Facebook

Transylvanian Recordings on Bandcamp

Inverse Records on Bandcamp

 

Methadone Skies, Retrofuture Caveman

methadone skies retrofuture caveman

Lush from the outset and growing richer in aural substance as it plays out, the 17:56 longest/opening (immediate points) title-track of Methadone Skies‘ latest work, Retrofuture Caveman, is an obviously intended focal point, and a worthy one at that. Last heard from with 2019’s Different Layers of Fear (review here), the Romanian four-piece break down walls across the bulk of this fifth full-length, with “Retrofuture Caveman” itself setting the standard early in moving instrumentally between warm heavy psychedelia, prog, drone, doom and darker black metal. It’s prog heavy that ultimately wins the day on the subsequent linear build of “Infected by Friendship” and centerpiece “The Enabler,” but there’s room for more lumber in the 11-mminute “Western Luv ’67” and closer “When the Sleeper Awakens” offers playful shove riffing in its midsection before a final stretch of quiet guitar leads to a last-minute volume burst, no less consuming or sprawling than anything before, even if it feels like it finishes too soon.

Methadone Skies on Facebook

Methadone Skies on Bandcamp

 

Witchrot, Hollow

witchrot hollow

Stood out by the gotta-hear bass tone of Cam Alford, the ethereal-or-shouting-and-sometimes-both vocals of Lea Reto, the crash of Nick Kervin‘s drums and the encompassing wah of Peter Turik‘s guitar, Toronto’s Witchrot offer a striking debut with their awaited first full-length, Hollow, oozing out through opener/longest track (immediate points) “Million Shattered Swords” before the stomping wash of “Colder Hands” sacrifices itself on an altar of noise, leading to the more directly-riffed “Spiral of Sorrow,” which nonetheless maintains the atmosphere. Things get noisier and harsher in the second half of Hollow, which is presaged in the plod of “Fog,” but as things grow more restless and angrier after “Devil in My Eyes” and move into the pair “Burn Me Down” and “I Know My Enemy,” both faster, like blown-out Year of the Cobra toying with punk rock and grunge, Witchrot grow stronger for the shift by becoming less predictable, setting up the atmospheric plunge of the closing title-track that finishes one of 2021’s most satisfying debut albums.

Witchrot on Facebook

Fuzzed and Buzzed Records website

DHU Records store

 

Rat King, Omen

Rat King Omen

Omen is the first long-player from Evansville, Indiana, four-piece Rat King, who use rawness to their advantage throughout the nine included tracks, at least one of which — “Supernova” — dates back to being released as a single in 2017. With manipulated horror samples and interludes like the acoustic “Queen Anne’s Revenge” and “Shackleton” and the concluding “Matryoshka” spliced throughout the otherwise deep-toned and weighted fare of “Capsizer” and the chugging, pushing, scream-laced “Druid Crusher,” Omen never quite settles on a single approach and is more enticing for that, though the eight-minute “Vagrant” could well be a sign of things to come in its melodic reach, but the band revel in the grittier elements at work here as well — the thunderplod of “Glacier,” the willful drag of “Nepenta Divinorum,” and so on — and the ambience they create is dreary and obscure in a way that comes across as purposeful. Is Omen a foreshadow or just the name of a movie they dig? I don’t know, but I hope it’s not too long before we find out.

Rat King on Facebook

Rat King store

 

Taras Bulba, Sometimes the Night

Taras Bulba Sometimes the Night

What was Earthling Society continues to evolve into Taras Bulba at the behest of Fleetwood, UK’s Fred Laird. Sometimes the Night (on Riot Season) is a mostly solo affair, and truth be told, Laird doesn’t need much more than his own impulses to conjure a full-sounding record, as he quickly shows on the acid lounge opener “The Green Eyes of Dragon,” but the guest vocals from Daisy Atkinson bring echoing presence to the subsequent “Orphee” and Mike Blatchford‘s late-arriving sax on “The Sound of Waves,” “The Big Duvall” and “House in the Snow” highlight the jazzy underpinnings of the organ-laced “Night Train to Drug Town” and the avant, anti-anything guitar strum and piano strikes of “One More Lonely Angel.” No harm done, in any case, unless we’re talking about the common conception of what a song is, and hey, if it didn’t need to happen, it wouldn’t have. An experiment in vibe, perhaps, in psychedelic brooding, but evocative for that. Laird‘s no stranger to following whims. Here they lead to moodier space.

Taras Bulba on Facebook

Riot Season Records website

 

Opium Owl, Live at Hodila Records

Opium Owl Live at Hodila Records

I’ll admit, there’s a part of me that, when “Intro” hits its sudden forward surge, kind of wishes Opium Owl had kept it mellow. Nonetheless, the Riga, Latvia-based double-guitar (mostly) instrumental heavy psych four-piece offer plenty of serenity throughout the four-song live set Live at Hodila Records, and the back and forth patterning of the subsequent “Echo Slam” is all the more effective at winning conversion, so fair enough. “Stone Gaze” dips into even bigger riffage, while “Tempest Double” dares vocals over its quieter noodling, dispensing with them as it pushes louder toward the finish. For a live recording, the sound is rich enough to convey what would seem to be the full warmth of Opium Owl‘s tonality, and in its breadth and its impact, there’s no lack of studio-fullness for the session-style presentation. Live at Hodila Records may be formative in terms of establishing the methods with which the band — who formed in 2019 — will continue to work, but showcases significant promise in that.

Opium Owl on Facebook

Hodila Records on Facebook

 

Kvasir, 4

kvasir 4

Doled out with chops to spare and the swagger to show them off, Kvasir‘s eight-song debut LP, 4, puts modern heavy rock riffing in blender and sets it on high. Classic, epic heavy in “Where Gods to to Pray” and a more nodding groove in “Authenticity & the Illusion of Enough” meet with the funkier starts-stops of “Slow Death of Life” and the languid Sabbathism of “Earthly Algorithms.” “Chill for a Church” opens side B with trashier urgency and suitable rhythmic twist, and “The Brink” sets its depressive lyric to a ’70s boogie swing, not quite masking it, but working as a flowing companion piece for “The Black Mailbox,” which follows in like-minded fashion, letting closer “Alchemy of Identity” underscore the point with a rawer take on what once made The Sword so undeniable in their groove. There’s growing to do, patience to learn, etc., but Kvasir make it easy to get on board with 4 and their arguments for doing so brook little contradiction. Onto the list of 2021’s best debut albums it goes.

Kvasir on Facebook

Glory or Death Records on Bandcamp

 

Lurcher, Coma

lurcher coma

Lurcher might go full-prog before they’re done, but they’re not their yet on their four-song debut EP, Coma, and the songs only benefit from the band’s focus on impact and lack of self-indulgence. The leadoff title-track has an immediate hook that brings to mind an updated, tonally-heavier version of what Cave In innovated for melodic post-hardcore, and the subsequent “Remove the Myth From the Mountain” follows with a broader-sounding reach in its later solo that builds on the heavy rock foundation the first half of the song put forth. Vocalist/guitarist Joe Harvatt — backed by the rhythm section of bassist Tom Shortt and drummer Simon Bonwick — is prone, then, to a bit of shred. No argument as that’s answered with the Hendrix fuzz at the outset of “All Now is Here,” which both gets way-loud and drones way-out in its seven minutes, in turn setting up the lush-and-still-hard-hitting capper “Cross to Bear,” which rounds off the 26-minute release with all the more encouraging shifts in tempo, flowing melody, and mellotron sounds to add to the sweeping drama. I know the UK underground is hyper-crowded at this point, but consider notice served. These cats are onto something.

Lurcher on Instagram

Trepanation Recordings on Bandcamp

 

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Head Premiere “Burning Bridges” Video Ahead of Livestream May 7

Posted in Bootleg Theater on May 5th, 2021 by JJ Koczan

head

Toronto bluesy heavy rockers Head will release their debut full-length later this year through Fuzzed and Buzzed Records. To celebrate that fact, and, one assumes, life in general, the three-piece will stream a live set from the Monarch Tavern — you know it, right there on Clinton St.; cool font on the wall outside; the place with all the whiskey; you’ve been there — on May 7. For those who didn’t catch them on the glammy The Powder Box 7″ comp that Fuzzed and Buzzed put out circa 2019 or who didn’t hear their 2018 self-titled three-songer produced by Ian Blurton, the live take premiering here of “Burning Bridges” sees the three-piece putting drummer Hunter Raymond to work with Danzig-style backing howls behind bassist Elyse Besler‘s lead vocal lines, the track grooving its way easy into the slowdown given due fuzz both in the low end and as the setup for guitarist Michael Starnino‘s solo, a little bit of effects swirl thrown in for good measure. And by “good measure” I mean a bit of danger.

Dig it? Yeah, you probably will. There’s no pretense but a lot of attitude, and they sell that well in antihero fashion. I haven’t seen the full set or heard the record, but taken next to the 2018 tracks, “Burning Bridges” is longer, slower, and more languid in how it plays out, and none of that is cause for complaint on this end. Whether you’re itching for live shows or you just take this little snippet and file it away under “vinyl to look for later,” that’s fine. The point is the song’s cool and the band put you right where they want you for the duration, offering a memorable hook as your reward for having made the trek along with them.

‘Almost Live at the Monarch’ — cute — is streaming May 7 and the yet-untitled debut album is set to release this summer. I’ll take it as it comes and hope “Burning Bridges” makes the cut for the final tracklisting there. Until then, I’m glad to host this premiere.

Get into it:

Head, “Burning Bridges” live video premiere

Heart pounding, fist pumping, hard charging rock ‘n roll power trio Head will be releasing their debut album on Fuzzed and Buzzed. Head was previously heard on the Powder Box, a glam rock ripper triple 7 inch set put out by Fuzzed and Buzzed. Ahead of their bombshell release this summer, Head will be performing “Almost Live at the Monarch!” a “live” stream on Friday May 7 filmed at the Monarch Tavern and put together by Lexology Ltd. The “live” stream will feature the entire new album along with old hits from the past and some surprising wicked covers. For a rockin’ rollin’ good time, all you need is Head.

Check out the full show under “events” at: http://facebook.com/monarchtavern/ OR at https://www.facebook.com/events/844354159485192/.

Head is:
Hunter Raymond – Drums / Vocals
Elyse Besler – Bass / Vocals
Michael Starnino – Guitar

Head, Head EP (2018)

Head on Thee Facebooks

Head on Instagram

Head on Bandcamp

Fuzzed and Buzzed Records on Thee Facebooks

Fuzzed and Buzzed Records on Instagram

Fuzzed and Buzzed Records website

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Witchrot: Debut Album Hollow Preorders May 1; Album Teaser Premieres

Posted in Whathaveyou on April 16th, 2021 by JJ Koczan

witchrot 2

If you’re not already looking forward to Hollow, the debut album from Toronto’s Witchrot, then the 50-second teaser making its first airing at the bottom of this post should take care of that with all due efficiency. The four-piece outfit will have the Tony Reed-mastered record up for preorder on May 1, and from its moody-then-explosive opening in “A Million Shattered Swords” and the equal-parts massive and soaring “Burn Me Down” and the final closing statement in its title-track — the word “hollow,” incidentally, is how guitarist Peter Turik once described the voice of singer Leo Reto as making him feel — the band make spaces and fill them with drenched tones and post-grunge melody. They may have made their name by breaking up, but this album is nothing if not alive.

Vinyl release date is June 30, and there are the preorder links that you’ll find with that teaser clip below in shimmering PR wire blue:

witchrot hollow

Witchrot – Hollow

https://witchrot.bandcamp.com

Two years ago, Witchrot splattered across the internet with an infamous breakup post on Facebook. The notoriety from the breakup gave them renewed vigor and they soldiered on to fashion themselves into the seventh best band of all time (narrowly pushing the Beatles out of the top ten).

Now Witchrot are set to premiere their debut vinyl long player – Hollow. This killer mix of ethereal vocals, crushing riffs and bottom end dredged up from your local graveyard will be available on Fuzzed and Buzzed Records in North America and DHU in Europe.

The wax comes in three different colorways including the Band edition, the DHU edition and Fuzzed and Buzzed black. Artwork is by ZZ Corpse and each edition comes with a bonus poster from Shane Horror. The whole thing is mastered to vinyl by the heaviest of all heads, Tony Reed.

Celebrate the Beltane Festival with pre-orders on May 1 at Noon EST and 6pm CEST. Available from fuzzedandbuzzed.com in North America and darkhedonisticunionrecords.bigcartel.com in Europe or straight from the band https://witchrot.bandcamp.com/.

Witchrot are:
Lea Reto
Peter Turik
Nick Kervin
Cam Alford

https://www.facebook.com/witchrot
https://www.instagram.com/witchrotband/
https://witchrot.bandcamp.com/
https://www.facebook.com/Fuzzedandbuzzed-631019733954614/
https://www.instagram.com/fuzzedandbuzzed/
https://www.fuzzedandbuzzed.com/
https://www.facebook.com/DHURecords/
https://www.instagram.com/dhu_records/
https://darkhedonisticunionrecords.bandcamp.com/
darkhedonisticunionrecords.bigcartel.com/

Witchrot, Hollow teaser video

Witchrot-Hollow_Promo(Pre-order_May_1).mov from Fuzzed and Buzzed on Vimeo.

Witchrot, Strega / Hey Hey My My (2020)

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Witchrot: Debut Album Hollow Coming Soon

Posted in Whathaveyou on February 2nd, 2021 by JJ Koczan

witchrot

Right on. I dug the 2020 Strega / Hey Hey My My (review here) single from Toronto’s Witchrot, and the news of an impending full-length debut is only welcome as far as I’m concerned. The release — which will be out… ever — is unsurprisingly set to issue through the ongoing collaboration between Fuzzed and Buzzed and DHU Records that has wrought much cultishness of purpose and much fuzz of tone already and one hopes will only continue to do so throughout 2021. The more the merrier.

If you didn’t hear the single last year, it’s streaming below as there’s no audio as yet from the album, which is titled Hollow. One assumes that will come in time along with stuff like, oh, a release date and preorders and all that whatnot.

DHU sent the preliminaries along the PR wire:

witchrot hollow

New release by Fuzzed and Buzzed & DHU Records: Witchrot ~ Hollow

DHU Records is excited to announce we will be teaming up once again with that super stoned label of Canadian descent Fuzzed and Buzzed Records to bring you the debut full length LP Hollow by Toronto Doom Cult Witchrot!!

“After releasing 2 crushing 7″ & 8” singles in 2019 and 2020, the time has come for Canadian Doomers Witchrot to unleash their debut full length and they did not hold back to bring you earth shattering hymns of colossal proportions!

Ultra Heavy riffing, uncomfortable atmospheres coiled in overwhelming & mesmeric chants from singer Lea make Hollow a Doom Masterpiece!”

DHU Records & Fuzzed and Buzzed Records are proud to bring you Hollow on Limited Edition Vinyl in the second quarter of 2021. DHU, Fuzzed and Buzzed and Witchrot Editions will be available. All Editions will be available to order in EU and CAN/US

More info & details coming soon…

Side A:
A1. Million Shattered Swords 6:44
A2. Colder Hands 5:42
A3. Spiral Of Sorrow 5:58
A4. Fog 2:46

Side B:
B1. Devil In Your Eyes 5:10
B2. Burn Me Down 5:27
B3. I Know My Enemy 4:16
B4. Hollow 5:04

Engineered and mixed by Dylan Frankland
At Palace Sound // Candle Studio November 2019 and October 2020.
Assistant Engineer Simon Kou
Mastered by Tony Reed at HeavyHead Recording Co.
Album art & layout by ZZ Corpse
Executive Producer Lex Shuper

Witchrot are:
Lea Reto
Peter Turik
Nick Kervin
Cam Alford

https://www.facebook.com/witchrot
https://www.instagram.com/witchrotband/
https://witchrot.bandcamp.com/
https://www.facebook.com/Fuzzedandbuzzed-631019733954614/
https://www.instagram.com/fuzzedandbuzzed/
https://www.fuzzedandbuzzed.com/
https://www.facebook.com/DHURecords/
https://www.instagram.com/dhu_records/
https://darkhedonisticunionrecords.bandcamp.com/
darkhedonisticunionrecords.bigcartel.com/

Witchrot, Strega / Hey Hey My My (2020)

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Astral Witch Premiere “Embodied” Video from Self-Titled LP

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

astral witch

Featured as the second track on Astral Witch‘s soon-to-be-issued-on-vinyl 2018 self-titled debut, the cut ‘Embodied’ began its life as — well, probably as a riff, since that’s how these things go — but also as “Embodied by the Stars” from the Hamilton, Ontario, three-piece’s 2015 Bang-Over EP. The later incarnation, is longer, slower and somewhat clearer — though both it and the record it comes from want nothing for a blown-out sensibility — and with DHU Records in the Netherlands and Fuzzed and Buzzed in Toronto standing behind the LP edition of Astral Witch‘s Astral Witch in the requisite limited and oh-so-FOMO-able numbers as they are, the revision the band works only highlights how purposeful the abiding rawness of their debut actually is, and how much that rawness becomes a part of their aesthetic throughout. It sounds rough because it wants to and it wants to sound rough because it does.

The PR wire — blessings and peace upon it — calls them “occult space grunge,” which is brilliant enough to quote directly, the way I see it. I’m not sure I 100 percent agree on the “space” front, but if you want to sit here with me for half an hour and split hairs between what makes something space-doom and what makes it cosmic-doom, we can do that. I’m on quarantine lockdown — I’ve got the time. If, however, you’d prefer to spend your next six minutes in inevitably more constructive fashion, you’ll find the video for “Embodied” premiering below to highlight the fact that preorders are going live for the vinyl from all three parties involved — both labels and the band — tomorrow, April 18. The details of who gets what version of the album are below that, mostly because I think they’re interesting, and I’ve included the full stream of Astral Witch from the band’s Bandcamp too, because I know that after I heard “Embodied,” I wanted more, and hearing the direct lyrical juxtaposition between “Embodied” and “Love,” which follows, is definitely worth the additional effort it takes to, say, click another thing.

Rumble, grit, attitude and mastering by Tony Reed. Some bands have it all.

Please enjoy:

Astral Witch, “Embodied” official video premiere

Occult space grungers Astral Witch release their debut album on wax via Fuzzed and Buzzed Records in North America and DHU in Europe.

Sounding like a Sabbath worshipping L7 or Babes In Toyland, these Babes in Doomland bring the heavy on the vinyl version of their debut mastered by the legendary Tony Reed the mastering master of Mos Generator fame.

The wax comes in three different colorways including the Band edition, the DHU edition and the Fuzzed and Buzzed edition.

Pre-orders will be on April 18 at Noon EST and 6pm CEST from fuzzedandbuzzed.com in North America and darkhedonisticunionrecords.bigcartel.com in Europe or straight from the band https://astralwitch.bandcamp.com/

Side A:
A1. Rune
A2. Embodied
A3. Love
A4. Blood III

Side B:
B1. Black Denim
B2. 86ed
B3. Witch Knife

DHU Records Edition
Limited to 100 copies
Single sleeve w/ 3mm spine
Black flood inside
Full color double sided insert
Black polylined innersleeve
DHU Bside label
A3 poster by Shane Horror
Comes on Bone/Black Aside/Bside 12″ vinyl

Astral Witch Edition
Limited to 100 copies
Single sleeve w/ 3mm spine
Black flood inside
Full color double sided insert
Black polylined innersleeve
Astral Witch Bside label
A3 poster by Shane Horror
Comes on Purple/Black Aside/Bside 12″ vinyl

Fuzzed and Buzzed Edition
Limited to 100 copies
Single sleeve w/ 3mm spine
Black flood inside
Full color double sided insert
Black polylined innersleeve
Fuzzed and Buzzed Bside label
A3 poster by Shane Horror
Comes on Green w/ Black Smoke 12″ vinyl

Astral Witch are:
Alyssa – vox/guitar
Jon – vox/bass
Jen – drums/vox

Astral Witch, Astral Witch (2018)

Astral Witch on Thee Facebooks

Astral Witch on Instagram

Astral Witch on Bandcamp

Fuzzed and Buzzed Records on Thee Facebooks

Fuzzed and Buzzed Records on Instagram

Fuzzed and Buzzed Records website

DHU Records on Thee Facebooks

DHU Records on Instagram

DHU Records on Bandcamp

DHU Records webstore

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Witchrot Premiere “Strega” From 8″ Single out June 12

Posted in audiObelisk on April 3rd, 2020 by JJ Koczan

witchrot

With the premiere of its title-track, the new two-songer Strega from Toronto doom-drifters Witchrot is streaming in its entirety. By that I mean the other song was already streaming.

The release, cartoon-boobs cover and all, will see issue as an 8″ single — that’s right: “it’s one more, innit?” — through the cross-ocean partnership between Toronto’s Fuzzed and Buzzed Records and the Netherlands’ DHU Records, and to be sure, it puts that extra inch above the standard to good use. With a total 13-minute runtime, “Strega” and “Hey Hey My My” dwell in a realm of hypnotic riffy largesse. With the guitar and bass of Peter Turik clearly attuned toward maximum density, drummer Shane Tyrer brings forth a slow march on the B side after conjuring a pointed thud on the leadoff, in both cases giving Lea Reto a not-at-all-missed opportunity to cut through the morass as only melody can.

For added intrigue, not only does Reto do this, but she plays into the hypnotic aspects of both tracks almost entirely, patterning lyrics around a few repeating lines rather than whole verses and choruses. “Strega” is just “La strega/Hit me with her evil eye” — though certainly there’s a story behind it, as you can see in the quote from Turik below — and even “Hey Hey My My,” which derives straight from Neil Young, chooses one of the most distinctive progressions of his long career and reinterprets it as almost a religious chant. The attempt isn’t to turn it into the stuff of cult rock cliché — despite the fact that the band have “witch” in their name, I don’t actually get much of that kind of “I’m a spooky supernatural being and I live in the woods” vibe, thankfully — and neither does it need to be. Witchrot are plainly able to conjure the ethereal without hyperperformance of genre tropes. All they need are the riffs, and clearly they have those.

One would be tempted to call Strega deceptively memorable if there were anything deceptive about it. Rather, Witchrot are up front about what they’re doing and ask little indulgence on the listener’s part other perhaps than a definitely-earned nod along. So get to it.

Enjoy “Strega” below, followed by a few words from Turik about the song, and “Hey Hey My My” under that, for completeness’ sake:

Peter Turik on “Strega”:

This song was recorded at Candle Studio by Dylan Frankland. He has become the ultimate behind-the-scenes man for our band. He always knows what works and what doesn’t. Of course Lea belted it all out on this track with minimal effort. There is never a time when she goes into the studio with something set, she is in a constant state of experimentation.

I wrote this song about an encounter my Nono had with a witch back in Italy. She asked him for a ride on his donkey and when he denied she cursed him with some sort of paralysis. Apparently he was bed ridden for weeks and nearly died. His family eventually had to get another witch to reverse the spell.

DHU Records is releasing the song on a special edition 8″ vinyl with our Neil Young cover as the B side. So heavy a 7″ wouldn’t cut it! We also had a tour planned for May which would have been our first time heading to the USA, as of now I can only imagine that will be postponed. Along with that, Fuzzed and Buzzed was going to help us finish recording our first full-length. Of course that will be put off as well.

The state of the world is completely fucked up right now and I can only hope that there is a way to reverse this curse laid upon us.

It seems we’re doomed. Time will tell.

Stay safe… stay heavy.

Witchrot are:
Lea Reto – Vox
Peter Turik – Guitar/Bass
Shane Tyrer – Drums

Witchrot, “Hey Hey My My”

Witchrot on Thee Facebooks

Witchrot on Instagram

Witchrot on Bandcamp

Fuzzed and Buzzed Records on Thee Facebooks

Fuzzed and Buzzed Records on Instagram

Fuzzed and Buzzed Records store

DHU Records on Thee Facebooks

DHU Records on Instagram

DHU Records on Bandcamp

DHU Records store

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Quarterly Review: Slift, IIVII, Coogans Bluff, Rough Spells, Goblinsmoker, Homecoming, Lemurian Folk Songs, Ritual King, Sunflowers, Maya Mountains

Posted in Reviews on March 26th, 2020 by JJ Koczan

quarterly review

Thursday. Everyone doing well? Healthy? Kicking ass? Working from home? There seems to be a lot of that going around, at least among the lucky. New Jersey, where I live, is on lockdown with non-essential businesses shuttered, roads largely empty and all that. It can be grim and apocalyptic feeling, but I’m finding this Quarterly Review to be pretty therapeutic or at least helpfully distracting at a moment when I very much need something to be that. I hope that if you’re reading this, whether you’ve been following along or not, it’s done or can do the same for you if that’s what you need. I’ll leave it at that.

Quarterly Review #31-40:

Slift, Ummon

slift ummon

The second album from French space/psych trio Slift is a 72-minute blowout echoshred epic — too aware not to be prog but too cosmic not to be space rock. Delivered through Stolen Body Records and Vicious Circle, Ummon is not only long, it speaks to a longer term. It’s not an album for this year, or for this decade, or for any other decade, for that matter. It’s for the ongoing fluid now. You want to lose yourself in the depths of buzz and dreamy synth? Yeah, you can do that. You want to dig into the underlying punk and maybe a bit of Elder influence in the vocal bark and lead guitar shimmer of “Thousand Helmets of Gold?” Well hell’s bells, do that. The mega-sprawling 2LP is a gorgeous blast of distortion, backed by jazzy, organic drum wud-dum-tap and the bass, oh, the bass; the stuff of low end sensory displacement. Amid swirls and casts of melodic light in “Dark Was Space, Cold Were the Stars,” Slift dilate universal energy and push beyond the noise wash reaches of “Son Dong’s Cavern” and through the final build, liftoff and roll of 13-minute closer “Lions, Tigers and Bears” with the deft touch of those dancing on prior conceptions. We’d be lucky to have Ummon as the shape of space rock to come.

Slift on Thee Facebooks

Stolen Body Records store

Vicious Circle Records store

 

IIVII, Grinding Teeth/Zero Sleep

Two LPs telling two different stories released at the same time, Grinding Teeth/Zero Sleep (on Consouling Sounds) brings Josh Graham‘s aural storytelling to new cinematic reaches. The composer, guitarist, synthesist, programmer, visual artist, etc., is joined along the way by the likes of Jo Quail, Ben Weinman (ex-The Dillinger Escape Plan), Dana Schecter (Insect Ark), Sarah Pendleton (ex-SubRosa) and Kim Thayil (Soundgarden) — among others — but across about 90 minutes of fluidity, Graham/IIVII soundtracks two narratives through alternatingly vast and crushing drone. The latter work is actually an adaptation from a short sci-fi film about, yes, humanity losing its ability to sleep — I feel you on that one — but the former, which tells a kind of meth-fueled story of love and death, brings due chaos and heft to go with its massive synthesized scope. Josh Graham wants to score your movie. You should let him. And you should pay him well. And you should let him design the poster. And you should pay him well for that too. End of story.

antiestrogensonline.net
bestabortionpillsonline.com

IIVII on Thee Facebooks

Consouling Sounds store

 

Coogans Bluff, Metronopolis

coogans bluff metronopolis

Following the initial sax-laden prog-rock burst and chase that is opener “Gadfly,” Berlin’s Coogans Bluff bring a ’70s pastoralia to “Sincerely Yours,” and that atmosphere ends up staying with Metronopolis — their fifth album — for the duration, no matter where else they might steer the sound. And they do steer the sound. Sax returns (as it will) in the jabbing “Zephyr,” a manic shred taking hold in the second half accompanied by no-less-manic bass, and “Creature of the Light” reimagines pop rock of the original vinyl era in the image of its own weirdness, undeniably rock but also something more. Organ-inclusive highlight “Soft Focus” doesn’t so much touch on psychedelics as dunk its head under their warm waters, and “The Turn I” brings an almost Beatlesian horn arrangement to fruition ahead of the closer “The Turn II.” But in that finale, and in “Hit and Run,” and way back in “Sincerely Yours,” Coogans Bluff hold that Southern-style in their back pocket as one of several of Metronopolis‘ recurring themes, and it becomes one more element among the many at their disposal.

Coogans Bluff on Thee Facebooks

Noisolution store

 

Rough Spells, Ruins at Midday

rough spells ruins at midday

An underlying current of social commentary comes coated in Rough Spells‘ mysticism on Ruins at Midday, the Toronto unit’s second LP. Recorded by Ian Blurton and presented by Fuzzed and Buzzed and DHU Records, the eight-track LP has, as the lyrics of “Chance Magic” say, “No bad intentions.” Indeed, it seems geared only toward eliciting your participation in its ceremony of classic groove, hooks and melodies, even the mellow “Die Before You Die” presenting an atmosphere that’s heavy but still melodic and accessible. “Grise Fiord” addresses Canada’s history of mistreating its native population, while “Pay Your Dues” pits guitar and vocal harmonics against each other in a shove of proto-metallic energy to rush momentum through side B and into the closing pair of the swaggering “Nothing Left” and the title-track, which is the longest single cut at five minutes, but still keeps its songwriting taut with no time to spare for indulgences. In this, and on several fronts, Ruins at Midday basks in multifaceted righteousness.

Rough Spells on Thee Facebooks

Fuzzed and Buzzed store

DHU Records store

 

Goblinsmoker, A Throne in Haze, A World Ablaze

goblinsmoker a throne in haze a world ablaze

Upside the head extreme sludgeoning! UK trio Goblinsmoker take on the more vicious and brutal end of sludge with the stench of death on A Throne in Haze, A World Ablaze (on Sludgelord Records), calling to mind the weedian punishment of Belzebong and others of their decrepit ilk. Offered as part two of a trilogy, A Throne in Haze, A World Ablaze is comprised of three tracks running a caustic 26 minutes thick enough such that even its faster parts feel slow, a churning volatility coming to the crash of “Smoked in Darkness” at the outset only to grow more menacing in the lurch of centerpiece “Let Them Rot” — which of course shifts into blastbeats later on — and falling apart into noise and echoing residual feedback after the last crashes of “The Forest Mourns” recede. Beautifully disgusting, the release reportedly furthers the story of the Toad King depicted on its cover and for which the band’s prior 2018 EP was named, and so be it. The lyrics, largely indecipherable in screams, are vague enough that if you’re not caught up, you’ll be fine. Except you won’t be fine. You’ll be dead. But it’ll be awesome.

Goblinsmoker on Thee Facebooks

Sludgelord Records on Bandcamp

 

Homecoming, LP01

homecoming lp01

Progressive metal underpins French trio Homecoming‘s aptly-titled first record, LP01, with the guitars of second cut “Rivers of Crystal” leading the way through a meandering quiet part and subsequent rhythmic figure that reminds of later Opeth, though there’s still a strong heavy rock presence in their tones and grooves generally. It’s an interesting combination, and all the more so because I think part of what’s giving off such a metal vibe is the snare sound. You don’t normally think of a snare drum determining that kind of thing, but here we are. Certainly the vocal arrangements between gruff melodies, backing screams and growls, etc., the odd bit of blastbeating here and there, bring it all into line as well — LP01 is very much the kind of album that would title its six-minute instrumental centerpiece “Interlude” — but the intricacy in how the nine-minute “Return” develops and the harmonies that emerge early in closer “Five” tell the tale clearly of Homecoming‘s ambitions as they move forward from this already-ambitious debut.

Homecoming on Thee Facebooks

Homecoming on Bandcamp

 

Lemurian Folk Songs, Logos

lemurian folk songs logos

Tracked in the same sessions as the Budapest outfit’s 2019 album, Ima (review here), it should not come as a major surprise that the six-track/49-minute Logos from Lemurian Folk Songs follows a not entirely dissimilar course, bringing together dream-drift of tones and melodies with subtle but coherent rhythmic motion in a fashion not necessarily revolutionary for heavy psych, but certainly well done and engaging across its tracks. The tones of guitar and bass offer a warmth rivaled only by the echoing vocals on opener/longest cut (immediate points) “Logos,” and the shimmering “Sierra Tejada” and progressively building “Calcination” follow that pattern while adding a drift that is both of heavy psych and outside of it in terms of the character of how it’s played. None of the last three tracks is less than eight minutes long — closer “Firelake” tops nine in a mirror to “Logos” at the outset, but if that’s the band pushing further out I hear, then yes, I want to go along for that trip.

Lemurian Folk Songs on Thee Facebooks

Para Hobo Records on Bandcamp

 

Ritual King, Ritual King

ritual king ritual king

Progressive heavy rockers Ritual King display a striking amount of grace and patience across their Ripple Music-issued self-titled long-player. Tapping modern influences like Elder and bringing their own sense of melodic nuance to the proceedings across a tightly-constructed seven songs and 42 minutes, the three-piece of vocalist/guitarist Jordan Leppitt, bassist Dan Godwin — whose tone is every bit worthy of gotta-hear-it classification — and drummer/backing vocalist Gareth Hodges string together linear movements in “Headspace” and “Dead Roads” that flow one into the next, return at unexpected moments or don’t, and follow a direction not so much to the next chorus but to the next statement the band want to make, whatever that might be. “Restrain” begins with a sweet proggy soundscape and unfolds two verses over a swaying riff, then is gone, where at the outset, “Valleys” offers grandeur the likes of which few bands would dare to embody on their third or fourth records, let alone their first. Easily one of 2020’s best debuts.

Ritual King on Thee Facebooks

Ripple Music on Bandcamp

 

Sunflowers, Endless Voyage

sunflowers endless voyage

You know what? Never mind. You ain’t weird enough for this shit. Nobody’s weird enough for this shit. I have a hard time believing the two souls from Portugal who made it are weird enough for this shit. Think I’m wrong? Think you’re up for it and you’re gonna put on SunflowersEndless Voyage and be like, “oh yeah, turns out mega-extreme krautrock blasted into outer space was my wavelength all along?” Cool. Bandcamp player’s right there. Have at it. I dare you.

Sunflowers on Thee Facebooks

Stolen Body Records store

 

Maya Mountains, Era

maya mountains era

Italian heavy rockers Maya Mountains formed in 2005 and issued their debut album, Hash and Pornography, through Go Down Records in 2008. Era, which follows a narrative about the title-character whose name is given in lead cut “Enrique Dominguez,” who apparently travels through space after being lost in the desert — as one does — and on that basis alone is clearly a more complex offering than its predecessor. As to where Maya Mountains have been all the time in between records — here and there, in other bands, etc. But Era, at 10 tracks and 44 minutes, is the summation of five years of work on their part and its blend of scope and straight-ahead heavy riffing is welcome in its more heads-down moments like “Vibromatic” or in the purposefully weirder finale “El Toro” later on. Something like a second debut for the band after being away for so long, Era at very least marks the beginning of a new one for them, and one hopes it continues in perhaps more productive fashion than the last.

Maya Mountains on Thee Facebooks

Go Down Records store

 

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Häxan: Debut Album Aradia Preorders Start Tomorrow

Posted in Whathaveyou on March 13th, 2020 by JJ Koczan

haxan

The latest pickup for collaboration between Fuzzed and Buzzed Records in Canada and DHU Records in Europe is Häxan, a Toronto-based four-piece whose debut album, Aradia, is set to come out on April 11 with preorders going live, oh, how’s tomorrow sometime in the afternoon sound? That work for you? Good. We’ll roll with that. I haven’t heard the full release, but the track “Baba Yaga” is streaming below and is right on in its balance between raw classic doom and cultish-style melody. The album was produced by Alia O’Brien of Blood Ceremony, and of course Häxan complete the trilogy of artists whose releases will have been backed by Fuzzed and Buzzed after appearing on the label’s ambitious 7″ compilation The Altar Box — the other two being Astral Witch and Rough Spells. Clearly working on a theme.

Three different versions of the record being pressed. Dare you to collect ’em all:

haxan aradia

Fuzzed and Buzzed & DHU present Aradia the debut album by hex groovers Häxan

Heavy groove hexers Häxan release their debut album Aradia on Fuzzed and Buzzed Records in North America and DHU in Europe.

Produced by the high goddess of heavy enchantment Alia O’Brien from Blood Ceremony, Aradia is the grooviest hipshakinest story of a Tuscan witch ever committed to wax.

That wax comes in three different colorways including the Band edition, the DHU edition and the Fuzzed and Buzzed edition.

Pre-orders will be on Mar 14 at Noon EST and 5pm CEST from fuzzedandbuzzed.com in North America and darkhedonisticunionrecords.bigcartel.com in Europe or straight from the band haxanto.bandcamp.com/ who will release Aradia digitally that same day.

Aradia will officially drop on wax on April 11 with a celebratory party that includes special guests epic dume metallers Smoulder (https://smoulder.bandcamp.com/) celebrating the release of their latest EP Dream Quest Ends and beats & riffs party doomers NLP (https://nlpmusic.bandcamp.com/).

Party details can be found here: https://www.facebook.com/events/monarch-tavern/aradia-record-release-h%C3%A4xan-smoulder-nlp/622294925225623/

Häxan are:
Kayley Bomben – Vocals
Paul Colosimo – Lead guitar
Eric Brauer – Bass
Paul Ciuk – Drums

https://www.facebook.com/Haxantoronto/
https://www.instagram.com/haxanto/
https://haxanto.bandcamp.com/
https://www.facebook.com/Fuzzedandbuzzed-631019733954614/
https://www.instagram.com/fuzzedandbuzzed/
https://www.fuzzedandbuzzed.com/
https://www.facebook.com/DHURecords/
https://www.instagram.com/dhu_records/
https://darkhedonisticunionrecords.bandcamp.com/
darkhedonisticunionrecords.bigcartel.com/

Häxan, “Baba Yaga”

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