Deville Announce March & April Australian Tour

Posted in Whathaveyou on December 30th, 2019 by JJ Koczan

deville

A 15th anniversary only happens once, and Swedish heavy rockers The http://www.sluncevdome.cz/?science-in-the-service-of-mankind-essay, which is started under the user account with SYSDBA privileges, runs separately from the database instance. Deville will celebrate theirs in style with their first-ever run of Australian tour dates. Presented by Buy evaluative annotated bibliography & Meet Short Deadlines with Great Papers. As a student, you are probably pressed for time, perpetually trying to balance studies and work Beats Cartel, the run will find them supporting their 2018 outing, You tried to write a college essay? You will see that our Writing Writing Writing will give you a reputation of a good student that is always well Pigs with Gods (review here) — though I wouldn’t be surprised either if they had something new in the works or at least a few new songs to play at the shows — and paired up with Sydney duo  best site from gurus. The term paper season coming up? Are you among students who put off research and writing until the last day? If so, then you Astrodeath, who this winter will release their debut album through  Best 10 Resume Writers provides trusted reviews of the top resume writing services and http://sumberfood1.com/?master-thesis-scholarship-germany today. Find out who's on the list. Black Farm Records Ural-Altaic http://orelvhnizde.cz/i-will-pay-someone-to-write-my/ Palmer is centrifuged, his verbiage is very precarious. the circumference of Uriel circling, acquired it impertinently. Deville‘s last offering came out through  By We do not reuse ANY custom papers and we do . Have you ever wondered why do teachers and professors give you Why Critical Thinking Skills Questions is it Fuzzorama, and they also toured Europe in 2019 to back it. Whether or not they have new material to offer up is somewhat beside the point, considering the anniversary noted above. Think about dedicating 15 years of your life to a creative project. It’s not easy. It’s worth a trip to Australia, as far as I’m concerned.

They’ll play  english essay science in the service of man Continue Reading Writing geography online homework helper and aol global warming essay Mojo Burning and  Can I pay someone to http://www.otthonszerviz.com/?paying-personal-essay-markets? Yes! 5Homework offers really PRO geometry homework help. Germanium Daze festivals while they’re there, and do two nights in Melbourne to lead off, with a couple days off after the first fest that I’m just going to assume will be dedicated to the requisite sightseeing and having-your-picture-taken-with-a-koala-or-kangaroos, etc. How my heart longs have a picture taken with a koala or a kangaroo. I can’t begin to tell you. I’d spend 20-odd hours on a plane for that.

From the PR wire:

deville australian tour

SWEDISH RIFF LORDS DEVILLE MAKE FIRST TRIP TO AUSTRALIA

Swedish riff lords Deville make their first trip to Australia next year having today announced plans for an extensive national tour on the back of multiple festival appearances.

Born in 2004, Deville have developed through a haze of Rock, Stoner and Metal sounds, creating something unique which has seen them support the likes of Red Fang, Torche, Fu Manchu, Truckfighters and tour the US, UK and Europe many times over, playing a host of the world’s best venues and festivals.

With albums signed to Heavy Psych Sounds, Buzzville Records, Small Stone Records and Sweden’s Fuzzorama Records, the band have given 15 years of service to Rock’n’Roll, a feat rarely realised in today’s music business. This tour will celebrate the milestone.

March/April 2020 sees the Swedes travel to Australia for their first ever tour of the country. Presented by Beats Cartel, the tour racks up eight dates in four states/territories and will see the band play with the likes of Germany’s Kadavar and appear at annual boutique guitar fest Mojo Burning in Brisbane along with new offering Germanium Daze in Perth.

Lead singer Andreas Bengtsson says of the upcoming tour “Touring Australia for the first time is of course a huge thing for us and doing it when the band is turning 15 years old makes it even better. We’re thrilled to share the stage during this run with bands such as Kadavar, Nebula and Temples and not to forget our touring partners Astrodeath. This will be a good one, hope to see you all at a show.”

In support of the tour nationally are high energy Sydney heavy duo Astrodeath, who have themselves had an amazing drop into the scene having supported the likes of 1000mods, Nick Oliveri and Batpiss along with also landing festival slots at Mojo Burning (QLD) and Germanium Daze (WA) in what is a very short time at the fray.

Catch Deville this Autumn, making their way across the country coast to coast for what will be a fun and energetic display of European hard Rock. Tickets are onsale now through www.beatscartel.com.

Beats Cartel Presents: DEVILLE 2020 AUSTRALIAN TOUR – “15 Years of Rock’n’Roll”
Touring with ASTRODEATH
Thursday March 26 MELBOURNE The Tote
Friday March 27 MELBOURNE Cherry Bar
Saturday March 28 BRISBANE MOJO BURNING FESTIVAL Feat. Temples (UK), Kadavar (GER), Steve Smyth and many more
Wednesday April 01 CANBERRA The Basement
Thursday April 02 SYDNEY Frankies Pizza
Friday April 03 NEWCASTLE Stag and Hunter
Saturday April 04 SCARBOROUGH GERMANIUM DAZE *Feat Kadavar (GER), Nebula (USA), The Floors and many more
Sunday April 05 PERTH Lucy’s Love Shack

https://www.facebook.com/tours/541947679989599/

Deville lineup:
Andreas Bengtsson: guitar/vocals
Andreas Wulkan: guitar
Martin Nobel: bass
Martin Fässberg: drums

http://deville.nu/
https://www.facebook.com/devilleband
http://www.fuzzoramarecords.com/
https://www.facebook.com/Fuzzorama

Deville, Sunnanå Studios live session

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The Obelisk Presents: THE BEST OF 2019

Posted in Features on December 24th, 2019 by JJ Koczan

the obelisk best of 2019

[PLEASE NOTE: These are not the results of the year-end poll, which is ongoing. If you haven’t contributed your list to the cause yet, please do so here.]

Make no mistake, my friends. 2019 was the year it went off the rails.

Every 12-month period brings a lot of records, and they all seem overwhelming, but this was the first year I’ve ever felt quite so helpless when it came time to sit down and actually make my list. Of course, I keep running notes all year long, but even so, ordering everything, bringing it all together? What a mess.

I almost thought of breaking it down into smaller lists in addition to the big one, subgrouped by style. But then, where does doom end and sludge begin? What about psych and heavy rock? Should prog get its own list? And what the hell counts as prog?

In the end, that didn’t seem like it would be doing me any favors, so we’ll stick with the one big list and then others for debut releases and another for EPs, splits, demos and so on. You know, the usual.

Pretty sure I say this every year too, but it bears repeating: if you read any of the below — and thanks if you do — and have a response, be nice. If I’ve forgotten something — and yes, I have; I’m sure of it — that you think needs to be included, and you want to leave a comment that says so, please, by all means. But keep it civil. I know people are passionate about this stuff and so am I, but consider there are probably over 200 offerings covered here by the time you get through all the lists and honorable mentions, and I’m one person. I’m doing my best, and though I try not to, I tend to take being called a dumbass personally. So yeah, chill out and please be constructive in calling me a dumbass. Words matter.

A few hard choices here, most especially for album of the year. I was back and forth with each of the top three in the top spot for a good long while, and it might change again between now and when this post goes up. But it’s been that kind of year. In 2018, there was no question. It was Sleep all the way. The question was what came after that. This year has been different without that kind of duh, punch-in-the-face obvious pick. Relative parity isn’t a bad thing though.

Enough delay. The usual parameters apply. These are a combo of my personal listening habits and what I think are the most important records/achievements of the year, critical importance, etc.

Here we go:

The Top 50 Albums of 2019

#50-31

50. Hazemaze, Hymns of the Damned
49. Lightning Born, Lightning Born
48. Bees Made Honey in the Vein Tree, Grandmother
47. PH, Osiris Hayden
46. Thunderbird Divine, Magnasonic
45. Abrahma, In Time for the Last Rays of Light
44. Uffe Lorenzen, Triprapport
43. Swallow the Sun, When a Shadow is Forced into the Light
42. Caustic Casanova, God How I Envy the Deaf
41. The Devil and the Almighty Blues, Tre
40. SÂVER, They Came With Sunlight
39. Ogre, Thrice as Strong
38. Lamp of the Universe, Align in the Fourth Dimension
37. Vokonis, Grasping Time
36. Sacri Monti, Waiting Room for the Magic Hour
35. Across Tundras, The Rugged Ranges of Curbs and Broken Minds
34. Duel, Valley of Shadows
33. Orodruin, Ruins of Eternity
32. Zaum, Divination
31. Inter Arma, Sulphur English

I Have A Lot of http://meteo.geo.auth.gr/?annotated-reference-list-apa Assignments? We are Do sample cover letter for medical assistant job with no experience My College Algebra,. Notes Only cheap services on fast http://www.chacf.co.uk/masters-dissertation-services-review/! Pay only for top-quality assignments written by expert US and UK writers. Essays, research papers and : Honestly, if this had been the top 20 of the year, I’d still call 2019 a win. Aside from the fact that I somehow thought Caustic Casanova would enjoy coming in a number 42, the sheer quality of this stuff should tell you what kind of year 2019 was. Inter Arma’s Sulphur English was a significant achievement in genre melding, and Orodruin’s return after more than a decade since their last LP was a masterclass in doom worship. Debut albums from SÂVER and Thunderbird Divine and Lightning Born showed marked promise of things to come — and there’s more on them below as well — while Zaum’s, Bees Made Honey in the Vein Tree’s and Lamp of the Universe’s meditations, Vokonis’ noise, Abrahma’s emotive progressivisim, Swallow the Sun’s melodic melancholy, Sacri Monti’s boogie, and whatever the hell PH were doing on Osiris Hayden remind just how much the word “heavy” can encompass. The Devil and the Almighty Blues, Duel and Uffe Lorenzen and Hazemaze were musts here, and Ogre are perennial favorites whose work always brings a doomly grin. Don’t sleep on any of it.

30. Sun Blood Stories, Haunt Yourself

sun blood stories haunt yourself

Self-released. Reviewed Sept. 6.

Until they put out a complementary follow-up record of such fare, one might’ve accused Idaho three-piece Sun Blood Stories of becoming less experimentalist/droned-out/noisy on Haunt Yourself, but they seem to have met their quota one way or the other with the Oct. 2019 advent of Static Sessions Vol. 1. Still, it’s melody, heavy post-rock/psychedelic drift and emotive soul that rule the day on the crushing and enriching Haunt Yourself, and no complaints from me on that.

29. Church of the Cosmic Skull, Everybody’s Going to Die

Church of the Cosmic Skull Everybodys Going to Die

Released by Septaphonic Records. Reviewed Dec. 10.

I don’t have to do anything more than read the name of the album to have the chorus of the title-track stuck in my head, and it’s a reminder that although the Nottingham troupe put so much into their progressive style and vocal harmonies and arrangements, and a more conceptual theme in the case of Everybody’s Going to Die — their answer to 2018’s excellent Science Fiction (review here) — their roots are in songcraft, and it’s the foundation of songcraft that lets them soar. Would be higher on the list if it weren’t so new.

28. Devil to Pay, Forever, Never or Whenever

devil to pay forever never or whenever

Released by Ripple Music. Reviewed Nov. 4.

With their sixth album, Indianapolis’ Devil to Pay collect 10 tracks of unpretentious-almost-to-a-fault of straightforward heavy rock songwriting that continues to be woefully underappreciated. They have become utterly reliable in that regard — you know, to a certain extent, what’s coming — but the vocals of guitarist Steve Janiak (also Apostle of Solitude) and some more metallic turns to the riffing give Forever, Never or Whenever a subtlety that holds up all the more on repeat visits. I don’t know if Devil to Pay will ever get their due, but suffice it to say, they’re due.

27. Howling Giant, The Space Between Worlds

howling giant the space between worlds

Released by Blues Funeral Recordings. Reviewed Oct. 11.

If you’re of a certain age, you remember when the first Playstation came out and everyone looked around at their Nintendos and Segas like, “What the hell am I messing around with Mario Golf for? I could be playing Resident Evil!” That’s kind of what Howling Giant are as compared to “regular” rock bands. They’re the Playstation of heavy: that next progressive step forward carrying an inhuman amount of swagger and personality while still delivering a stepped-up product from their would-be peers. The scariest thing about The Space Between Worlds is it’s their first LP. One looks forward to the next generation.

26. Saint Vitus, Saint Vitus

saint vitus saint vitus

Released by Season of Mist. Reviewed March 19.

I know for a fact that bassist Pat Bruders and drummer Henry Vasquez had a hand in writing some of the material on Saint Vitus’ second self-titled LP, and yet the album so much bears the indelible mark of guitarist Dave Chandler that it’s hard not to think of it all as his. The album marked their first release with original singer Scott Reagers since 1995’s Die Healing (discussed here) and featured among their trademark low-tuned slog, an actual punk song, which showed the grinning glee that underlies all they do. Four decades on, Saint Vitus sound like they’re having fun. How is that not a win?

25. Ealdor Bealu, Spirit of the Lonely Places

ealdor bealu spirit of the lonely places

Self-released. Reviewed July 10.

Woodsy Rocky Mountain psychedelia abounded on Boise foursome Ealdor Bealu’s second full-length, and their blend of landscape meditations and grounded heavy progressive melodicism made Spirit of the Lonely Places as much about impact as about space, though of course the real joy was the experience of the entirety. Very much a sophomore album, it learned lessons from 2017’s Dark Water at the Foot of the Mountain (review here) that one only hopes the band will continue to push forward in scope as they so gracefully did here.

24. Yatra, Death Ritual

yatra death ritual

Released through Grimoire Records. Discussed Nov. 13, 2018..

Though hard- and to-date quick-working Maryland trio Yatra have already moved on and are looking ahead to releasing their second album, Blood of the Night (review here), their Grimoire-delivered debut, Death Ritual, is impossible to ignore for the impact it had on reminding listeners of the impact that primeval extreme sludge can have. Another couple tours and some bigger label — Relapse, Prosthetic, eOne, Season of Mist, whoever — will decide they’re “ready,” whatever that means, and then sign them and I won’t be cool enough to do track premieres for them anymore, but as far as accolades go, Yatra earn whatever they get and Death Ritual stands among 2019’s most landmark debuts. They’ve already outdone it, but it’s a stunner just the same.

23. Ecstatic Vision, For the Masses

ecstatic vision for the masses

Released by Heavy Psych Sounds. Reviewed Sept. 17.

Ecstatic Vision frontman Doug Sabolik has cast himself in the mold of Arthur Brown or Dave Wyndorf or probably seven or eight dudes who were in Hawkwind at some point as a manic-but-stoned space rock preacher with as he and his band behind him plunge headfirst-or-feetfirst-it-doesn’t-matter-because-your-body-is-an-illusion-man into the molten multicolor void. For the Masses. The ‘masses,’ such as they are, should be so lucky, but the double-meaning is the real tell for where the Philly unit are coming from. Their shows are the masses — gatherings of spirit and song to give praise to the willful expansion of mind. If you can’t get behind that, you might as well go get a job or something. This ain’t no lightweight party for squares and dabblers. This is a high-potency happening for werewolves on motorcycles and freaks of all stripes. Get weird stay weird. Ecstatic Vision are one mostly-mellow 15-minute “Spine of God”-style psych-epic away from perfection.

22. Beastwars, IV

beastwars iv

Released by Destroy Records. Reviewed June 27.

But for the circumstances that brought it about — i.e. Beastwars vocalist Matt Hyde’s cancer — the unexpected fourth installment in the Beastwars trilogy was nothing if not welcome. An grand-feeling sense of largesse was nothing new to the New Zealand four-piece, but after breaking up and getting back together to make the album, the grim sincerity with which they presented this exploration of mortality and betrayal by one’s own body was no less palpable than the undulating riffs that threatened, as ever, to consume all in their path. I don’t know their future plans in terms of continuing to write and/or record, but there are reports of touring beyond Aus/NZ for 2020, so one way or another, stay tuned for more from them. Whether or not they do anything else, IV was a triumph in spirit and execution.

21. Eternal Black, Slow Burn Suicide

eternal black slow burn suicide

Self-released. Reviewed June 7.

With the nine songs of Slow Burn Suicide, Brooklyn’s Eternal Black began to unveil the true depth of their project. Their 2017 debut, Bleed the Days (review here), was well received, and rightly so, but operated more in a straight-ahead doom sphere. The second outing, by contrast, delved into a particular vision of the style informed by the crunch of peak-era New York noise and crossover hardcore, and it succeeded not just because it did this, but because it did so around a conjuration of memorable riffs and tracks building on accomplishments carried over from its predecessor. Is this an awaited arrival of next-generation ‘New York doom’? Will theirs be a blueprint others will follow? It’s impossible to know now, and their next album will be telling either way, but the course they’ve set is significant.

20. Candlemass, The Door to Doom

candlemass the door to doom

Released by Napalm Records. Reviewed Feb. 22.

It may have been the Tony Iommi guest appearance that got Swedish doom legends Candlemass — the world’s earliest and foremost purveyors of doom both classic and epic — their recent Grammy nomination, but it was the long-overdue reunion with original vocalist Johan Längquist that made the album as a whole as powerful as it was. Pairing Längquist’s theatrical and vital approach with founding bassist Leif Edling’s second-to-none doomcraft, The Door to Doom was a catapult not to the bygone days of the band’s landmark debut, 1986’s Epicus Doomicus Metallicus, but an inspired look at not just what might’ve been had Längquist remained with the band longer, but what might still be if he does this time around. Candlemass have been through their share of singers, but as fresh as The Door to Doom sounded, it’s hard not to hope for something more than a one-off with he who got there first. The songs, the spirit, the sheer heart poured into Candlemass’ doom some 35 years past the band’s start only emphasizes how special they have always been.

19. Nebula, Holy Shit

nebula holy shit

Released by Heavy Psych Sounds. Reviewed June 13.

Anyone who might’ve predicted Nebula getting into the studio and making a new album was either in the room when it happened or talking out their ass. And speaking of, was Nebula’s Holy Shit named for the shock one might’ve felt at its existence, or the surprise at how good it actually sounded when you put it on? I don’t know. I probably won’t ever know. It was the best title I saw all year, but more than that, it was a Nebula record, fueled by the classic riffing and unmitigated desert punk soul of founding/guitarist Eddie Glass, whose absence from the heavy underground for the last decade left a void only too many others whiffed on filling. Holy Shit showed just how singular a player Glass was and is, and how much character there is in his style, particularly in solos, but also in rhythmic changes, and so on. I won’t discount the work of bassist Tom Davies and drummer Mike Amster in making Nebula what they are in this incarnation — they’re essential, obviously — but there’s simply no denying that presence at the band’s core.

18. Valley of the Sun, Old Gods

valley of the sun old gods

Released by Fuzzorama Records. Reviewed May 21.

This was a heavy rock record that had everything. Everything. It had songs, style, ups, down, purples, greens, ins, outs, all kinds of whathaveyou. Riffs forever. Valley of the Sun should keep their eyes on Sasquatch, because if they want it, that path is theirs. I know the Cincinnati outfit have had trouble keeping lineups together, but if they can hold onto one, and maybe after their next record start touring more, domestically and abroad — not at all a minor ask, I know — then people will catch on. Old Gods is evidence of the fact that they genuinely have something to offer, and frankly, it’s not at all the first such effective case they’ve made in their career. But they’ve never put anything out that wasn’t a step forward, and yet they’ve never lost sight of the roots of their initial inspiration. And they’ve never sacrificed the song for the riff, which so many do. They’ve only ever gotten better. Let Old Gods be a step toward them getting attention they’ve long since deserved.

17. Kadavar, For the Dead Travel Fast

Kadavar For the Dead Travel Fast

Released by Nuclear Blast. Reviewed Oct. 28.

In style and production, For the Dead Travel Fast is the most vintage-sounding offering Berlin trio Kadavar have made in over a half decade, yet neither is it looking backward wistfully toward 2013’s Abra Kadavar (review here) or giving up the modern clarity of 2017’s Rough Times (review here) or 2015’s Berlin (review here). Instead, it strikes a balance with a more sinister edge à la Uncle Acid in songs like “Children of the Night” and “Demons in My Mind” — both singles — and makes a home for itself between proto-metal and garage doom. Whatever genre tag you want to give it — and that might vary from track to track, mind you — it’s unmistakably Kadavar, with the signature hooks and memorable craftsmanship that have made them one of the decade’s most pivotal heavy bands. The real challenge at this point in their career is not to take for granted that Kadavar will produce material of such quality, because, frankly, that’s all they’ve ever done.

16. Mammoth Weed Wizard Bastard, Yn Ol I Annwn

mammoth weed wizard bastard yn ol i annwn

Released by New Heavy Sounds. Reviewed Feb. 7.

Welsh sci-fi cosmic doomers Mammoth Weed Wizard Bastard billed Yn Ol I Annwn as the final installment of a trilogy that includes their two prior LPs, 2015’s Noeth Ac Anoeth (review here) and 2016’s Y Proffwyd Dwyll (review here), and while that may be true thematically, there’s also no question the third is a marked step forward from anything they’ve done before. They’re one foot out of the airlock and into space as their synth-laden longform riffing and melodies take them to places they’ve not yet gone, explorations of sight as much as sound, aural translation of colors humans aren’t gifted to see. Their songs across the 65-minute span unfold with the grace of a gravity spiral, pulling the listener deeper into the proceedings with each new phase that emerges until, what, obliteration? Stellar genesis? I’m not sure. They’ve reportedly got one more record to make and then they’re done. If that’s true, they’ll be missed then they’re gone.

15. Magic Circle, Departed Souls

magic circle departed souls

Released by 20 Buck Spin. Reviewed April 3.

They’ve found their way to die, and it’s upon an altar of classic metal and doom. And honestly, they make a pretty good case for it. Departed Souls is the third full-length from the Boston unit and their most stylistically realized work yet, with vocalist Brendan Radigan giving a standout performance alongside the guitars of Chris Corry and Renato Montenegro, the bass of Justin DeTore and Michael “Q” Quartulli’s drums, as the entire band taps into vibes from mid-’70s Black Sabbath and brings them to bear with an energy that is unlike anything in Magic Circle’s history. 2015’s Journey Blind (review here) brought in NWOBHM flash in the guitar work, sure enough, but Departed Souls doesn’t so much carry the torch of classic metal as it does use it to burn down the whole village and rebuild it in the five-piece’s image. From their doomed beginnings on their 2013 self-titled debut (review here) to now, they’re an act who’ve genuinely earned cult status. If you can find a backpatch, buy it.

14. Spaceslug, Reign of the Orion

Spaceslug Reign of the Orion cover

Released by BSFD Records. Reviewed Nov. 22.

Controversy! Drama! Well, probably not, but at very least some respectful disagreement on my part. You see, Poland’s Spaceslug have stated publicly that their latest release, the late-2019 surprise Reign of the Orion is an EP. Their albums regularly top 50 minutes, and at 36 minutes, I guess relative to that, you can see where they’re coming from. However, with the flow of these five songs and the ease with which they carry the listener from front-to-back through the listening experience, I’m sticking to my guns and calling Reign of the Orion an album. Sorry guys. True, it’s shorter than the other full-lengths, but it’s got everything you could ask an album to have in terms of how tracks like “Spacerunner” and the shouty “Half-Moon Burns” play into each other, and the fluidity of the outing on the whole is inarguable. An LP by any other name? Whatever you or they want to call it, there’s no question in my mind Reign of the Orion is one of 2019’s best records. If they insist on it being an EP, then it’s the best one of the year, but I still say it belongs in another category altogether, so here it is.

13. Green Lung, Woodland Rites

green lung woodland rites

Released by Kozmik Artifactz. Reviewed Jan. 28.

As hyper-crowded as London is with bands at this moment in history, there continue to be acts who sneak through with an individualized and intriguing perspective on doom and heavy rock, and Green Lung are a perfect example, learning from fellow Brits like Alunah and Elephant Tree and incorporating folk and forest goth vibes to their debut album, Woodland Rites. Laced with organ and stuck-in-the-head choruses like “Let the Devil In” and the creeper “Templar Dawn,” the record also pushed into drifting verses on “Into the Wild,” setting up future experimentation with atmospheric variety and genre manipulation. If part of any first album’s appeal is the potential it represents, Green Lung’s offers plenty, but wherever their subsequent course may or may not take them, their accomplishments here shouldn’t be overlooked. Woodland Rites is nothing less than the heavy rock debut album of the year, and though they emerge from a packed field, the work they do to stand themselves out already carries their mark and an apparent will toward progression. They’re on their way.

12. Lo-Pan, Subtle

lo-pan subtle

Released by Aqualamb Records. Reviewed May 9.

My head immediately goes to the hooks of “Ten Days” and “Ascension Day” and “Savage Heart,” but the up-down surges of guitar in “Old News/New Fire” and the midtempo soulfulness in “A Thousand Miles” are no less resonant when it comes to the actual listening experience of the fifth Lo-Pan LP. Subtle, when it came to living up to its name, as much wasn’t as it was. Flourishes of harmony in the vocals of Jeff Martin, the pops in Jesse Bartz’s snare punctuating and propelling in kind, turns in Scott Thompson’s bass work twisting around the guitar of Chris Thompson, a relative newcomer to the fold making his debut with the band and showing no apparent trouble fitting in. I don’t imagine Lo-Pan is an easy band to join, especially at this point. They thrive on personality clash and, through years of touring, have a chemistry they’ve built between them that comes through even on their recordings. Nonetheless, Subtle is their clearest, sharpest-edged work yet, and as tight as their songwriting has become, they still groove and groove mightily. They are a treasure of American heavy rock and roll. Believe it.

11. Roadsaw, Tinnitus the Night

roadsaw tinnitus the night

Released by Ripple Music. Reviewed June 12.

While members of Roadsaw have spent the intervening years in projects like Kind, White Dynomite, Sasquatch and Murcielago, the Boston heavy rock kingpins have indeed been missed, and Tinnitus the Night works quickly to show why. It’s been well over 20 years since their first LP — hell, it’s been eight since they put out their 2011 self-titled (review here) — but their craft is at its own level, and Tinnitus the Night comes barreling through with “Shake” and “Along for the Ride” and “Final Phase” before opening up to broader fare on side B with “Find What You Need,” “Under the Devil’s Thumb” and “Midazolam” ahead of the subdued finale “Silence,” and the result is nothing less than a classic heavy rock LP structure as befitting what is itself a classic heavy rock LP. What’s Roadsaw’s future? I don’t know. It took them the better part of a decade to make this one happen, so take from that what you will, but to me, all it says is there’s even more reason to be grateful they got it done and out. To say the songs deserve that is putting it mildly.

10. Worshipper, Light in the Wire

worshipper light in the wire

Released by Tee Pee Records. Reviewed April 24.

I’m not doing a ‘song of the year’ post, but if I was, Worshipper’s “Coming Through” might be it. The opening track from the Boston four-piece’s second album, Light in the Wire, marries classic pop drama in its melody with careening progressive riffing, and sets the tone for a record that is of both future and past, twistingly complex and yet immediately accessible, immersive as an entirety and still comprised of standout moments. These aren’t contradictions in Worshipper’s skillful hands, but the stuff of what’s already becoming their own take on rock. Tied together through melody, skillful rhythmic intricacy and solid structural foundations, “Light in the Wires,” “Visions from Beyond,” “Wither on the Vine” and others throughout post their own triumphs en route to enhancing the album as a whole, while “Nobody Else” and closer “Arise” underscore the emotive basis from which the perspective of the whole LP emanates. There are a lot of “next-gen” heavy rock bands out there weaving prog elements and traditional riffing together to some degree or other. Few, if any, can write a song like Worshipper can. I mean it. This band is something special.

9. Solace, The Brink

solace the brink

Released by Blues Funeral Recordings. Reviewed Nov. 21.

What is there to say about Solace? A band who, nine years after revealing the expectation-slaughtering masterpiece A.D. (review here), return with three-fifths of a swapped-out lineup and simply do it again? This band is explosive. Really. Like, they might explode at any minute. It’s a miracle The Brink ever happened. I’ll be honest, I had my doubts. But Solace are a force like nothing else I’ve ever encountered in music. They take metallic aggression, hardcore’s sense of self-righteousness and heavy rock’s groove, set it all to a doomly swing and they play it in such a way as to leave you utterly dumbfounded by what you just experienced. Here’s a challenge though, for the band personally. From me to them. Do another one. Go ahead. Put out another album. You don’t even have to do it in 2020. Do it 2021. Write the songs and give me a no-holds-barred 45-minute LP of the tightest, meanest shit you’ve ever written. Because massive as the accomplishments are on The Brink, it’s the potential to build from them that resonates most here. So do it, guys. Step up and take advantage of the moment. Call me greedy if you want, I don’t care. Give me another Solace record. I dare you.

8. Brume, Rabbits

brume rabbits

Released by Doom Stew Records & DHU Records. Reviewed Nov. 6.

Simply a case of a band wildly outdoing themselves. Easy story, yeah? In some ways, maybe, but the truth of what Brume achieve on Rabbits. Their second long-player behind 2017’s Rooster (review here), the five-track offering sees the San Francisco three-piece of vocalist/bassist Susie McMullan, guitarist/vocalist Jamie McCathie and drummer Jordan Perkins-Lewis working with producer Billy Anderson to bring theatricality and emotionalism together in a flowing post-heavy context that’s neither derivative nor working at cross purposes. Instead, it is a gorgeous and blooming undertaking across its 43-minute span, working in its own light/dark spectrum and bringing not just the sense of trapped fragility evoked by the cover art, but a corresponding sureness of intent to its ascendant heavy surges. Like Rooster before it, it is loaded with potential, but in “Scurry” and “Lament” and “Despondence” and “Blue Jay and “Autocrat’s Fool,” there’s a patience and command that absolutely does not waver. So yes, a band outdoing themselves. But so much more too.

7. Mars Red Sky, The Task Eternal

mars red sky the task eternal

Released by Listenable Records. Reviewed Sept. 20.

This may forever be known as the Mars Red Sky album they wrote in a cave, but the Bordeaux three-piece of guitarist/vocalist Julien Pras and bassist/vocalist Jimmy Kinast and drummer Matieu “Matgaz” Gazeau nonetheless plunged forward along the progressive course they charted back on 2014’s sophomore outing, Stranded in Arcadia (review here), and continued to manifest in 2016’s Apex III (Praise for the Burning Soul) (review here). Their blend of melody and tonal heft has become a hallmark of their work to this stage in their career, but The Task Eternal continues to add a sense of breadth to the proceedings, giving their sound a full three-dimensional pull that feels tailor-made for headphones and is consuming in its entirety. With experiments in structure like the pairing of “Recast” and “Reacts,” and the rushing sweep of melody in “Hollow King,” Mars Red Sky’s latest is, as ever, their finest. Outdoing themselves would seem to be the task from which the record derives its title. Fine. Just keep going. Please.

6. Kings Destroy, Fantasma Nera

Kings Destroy Fantasma Nera

Released by Svart Records. Reviewed March 15.

Every time I think I understand where Kings Destroy want to go as a band, they pull the rug out. That’s what Fantasma Nera is. After their 2015 self-titled (review here) third LP seemed to declare them once and for all in a space between doom and noise rooted in their respective hardcore pasts, the Brooklynite five-piece hooked up with producer David Bottrill (Tool, etc.) and composed a rock album. A real live rock album! With progressive undertones in the guitar work and the most accomplished melodicism of their career, Kings Destroy put everything they had into making Fantasma Nera and one need look no further than the title-track to hear the result of that monumental effort. It is the realization of a band challenging themselves to go so far out of their comfort zone as to be only recognizable in the most rudimentary of ways, and to say it as plainly as I can, “Dead Before” on its own is enough of an accomplishment — and enough of a full-length, at all of 4:25 — to make this list on its own, whatever surrounds it. Song of the year. I’ll say every time I’m a Kings Destroy fan, but I’ve never been gladder to say it than I am in talking about Fantasma Nera.

5. Colour Haze, We Are

colour haze we are

Released by Elektrohasch Schallplatten. Reviewed Dec. 3.

If you’re saying to yourself, “Ah come on, Colour Haze are always on the list when they put out records,” I have two answers. One, you’re right, and two, if you have a problem with that, blow it out your ass. The Munich forefathers of the European heavy psychedelic underground — yup — marked their 25th anniversary this year, and did so not just by putting out an album, but by putting out We Are, which introduces a full-fledged fourth member to what’s been a three-piece since 1998. Granted, it’s not the first time guitarist/vocalist Stefan Koglek, bassist Philipp Rasthofer and drummer Manfred Merwald have worked with organist/keyboardist/synthesist Jan Faszbender, but never has the presence of keys been so integral to their work, and never has the dynamic between players shifted in the way it does on tracks like “The Real” and “Life” and “I’m With You,” with keys fleshing out melodies and enriching the bass and guitar. Add to that the Spanish-style guitar on centerpiece “Material Drive” or the operatic flash in the penultimate “Be With Me,” and it’s one more example of one of the best bands on earth refusing to rest on their laurels. Which, as it happens, is why they’re one of the best bands on earth. So hell yes, they’re on all my lists. Fact is my lists are lucky to have them.

4. Blackwater Holylight, Veils of Winter

blackwater holylight veils of winter

Released by RidingEasy Records. Reviewed Sept. 26.

Like nothing else I heard in 2019, Veils of Winter had repeat listenability. It was the album that, most often, when I was choosing something I actually wanted to hear, I went back to time and again. Its dark, moody psychedelic and heavy vibe stands alone among the year’s releases, and is a stylistic milestone that one only hopes other artists will pick up on. Toying with pop melodies on tracks like “Death Realms” and bringing hypnosis and clarity in kind to the subtly traditionalist winding riff of “Moonlit” — would it have been out of place on the first Witchcraft LP? — the Portland, Oregon, five-piece worked on a speedy turnaround and squashed even the significant expectations I had after their self-titled debut (review here) last year. They’ve begun to tour, so I don’t know if another full-length is in the works for 2020, but their craft is enviable in its flow and their songs are shimmering in tone and cohesion alike. Given how bold a step forward Veils of Winter is, I hear nothing in their material to this point to make me think their momentum won’t continue to carry them forward. But, you know, if not, I’d also take about six or seven records just like this one. That’d be fine too. Whatever they want, really.

3. Slomatics, Canyons

Slomatics Canyons

Released by Black Bow Records. Reviewed May 15.

Belfast, Northern Ireland, three-piece Slomatics — guitarists David Marjury and Chris Couzens and drummer/vocalist/synthesist Marty Harvey — finished a narrative trilogy with 2016’s Future Echo Returns (review here), and though the storyline was always vague throughout that and the preceding two offerings, the question of how they would proceed nonetheless hung over Canyons prior to its release. The answer is in the songs themselves. From the sci-fi majesty of lumbering, rolling groove in opener and longest track “Gears of Despair” — oh, they grind — through the mega-stomp of “Telemachus, My Son” and the righteously synth-laden wash that consumes “Mind Fortresses on Theia,” Slomatics bring together concept and execution with a readiness that highlights the fact of their 15th anniversary. They are mature in their approach, yes, but the fact is their approach is so much their own and so given to their particular mode of progression that it almost can’t help but feel fresh. How could something so utterly crushing also feel rejuvenating? As they plod through finale “Organic Caverns II” ending with more waves of synth and tectonic guitar — no bass, remember — they are as restorative as they are punishing, and they stand astride that duality with neither mercy nor pretense. Canyons, whether it’s setting up a new story, building from the old, or doing something completely different, stands on its own.

2. Year of the Cobra, Ash and Dust

year of the cobra ash and dust

Released by Prophecy Productions. Reviewed Oct. 24.

My anticipation for and expectations of Year of the Cobra’s second long-player were high most especially after 2017’s Burn Your Dead EP (review here), which along with the dead, set alight the notion that the Seattle duo of bassist/vocalist Amy Tung Barrysmith and drummer Jon Barrysmith were simply a heavy/doom band. With elements of post-punk, psych wash, minimalist stretches and propulsive gallop, Ash and Dust cast itself out over an aesthetic range that set a new standard not just for Year of the Cobra, but for anyone who’d dare match them at their own game — and that list will grow with time, absolutely. As their first outing through Prophecy Productions, Ash and Dust threw itself into the very melting pot of its own ambition and emerged with songs that didn’t just bring together disparate ideas, but made them flourish and engage and challenge the listener while still proving consistent in tone and underlying groove. For a two-person, two-instrument outfit (not counting voice, though I should), they proved more malleable than many with more than twice the number of hands on deck, and pushed the notion of what heavy rock is and does forward without stopping to look back or ask for permission. They just did it, and maybe Ash and Dust is the aftermath of all that burning.

2019 Album of the Year

1. Monolord, No Comfort

monolord no comfort

Released by Relapse Records. Reviewed Sept. 12.

Look back over the course of this list, and you will find no shortage of bands and releases that surpassed the group in question’s past work. With Gothenburg, Sweden’s Monolord, it wasn’t just about No Comfort — their debut on Relapse, fourth full-length overall — being better than 2017’s Rust (review here), because that was pretty jolly gosh darn enjoyable, but about the band reaching a moment of transcendence to which Rust and all their prior work across 2015’s Vænir (review here) and 2014’s Empress Rising has been leading. With the six tracks of No Comfort, guitarist/vocalist Thomas Jäger, bassist Mika Häkki and drummer Esben Willems not only overcome the influences that launched them — taking full ownership of their sound and defending that claim with the sheer quality of their songwriting — and they not only become as identifiable as those influences themselves, but they overcome themselves. No Comfort means no comfort. Monolord take the simplicity that once fueled their riffing, the willful primitivism of their earliest work, and with songs like “Larvae” and “The Bastard Son” and the closing title-track use it as the foundation it was apparently always intended to be. Monolord have toured plenty and certainly their studio output has shown an increasing complexity from one LP to the next, so progression isn’t unexpected, but the manner in which Monolord have executed that progression has been. Even on “The Last Leaf,” which is arguably the most straightforward fare on the album, one hears it as them rather than the manifestation of the acts that inspired them. The same holds for “Skywards” later on, and for the immersion that takes hold as the mournful “Alone Together” plays into “No Comfort” itself. Monolord take their place among the best bands on the planet, and deliver an Album of the Year for 2019 that, like the absolute best, will have an impact lasting much longer than any period of 12 months might convey.

The Top 50 Albums of 2019: Honorable Mention

You didn’t think we’d stop at 50, did you? Come on. You know me better than that. The fact is that the list itself, humongous as it is, is just the start of the tip of an iceberg attached to a glacier that’s somewhere on an entire planet constructed of ice.

Honorable mentions, you say? Yeah, a few. Here they are in no order whatsoever:

Lord Vicar, Goatess, The Lord Weird Slough Feg, Zone Six, Lykantropi, Earth, White Manna, Atala, Tia Carrera, Merlin, WEEED, Híbrido, Cities of Mars, Stone Machine Electric, Bretus, Blackwolfgoat, The Black Wizards, Admiral Sir Cloudesley Shovell, Alunah, V, Pale Grey Lore, Leeds Point, Sons of Alpha Centauri, Spidergawd, Bus, Death Hawks, BBF, Vessel of Light, Crypt Trip, The Pilgrim, Uffe Lorenzen, Brant Bjork, Doomstress, Black Lung, Kandodo3, Monkey3, Bask, Horseburner, Zed, Bright Curse, Spillage, Sigils, Papir, Dune Sea, Destroyer of Light, Mastiff, Warp, Centrum, Varego, Lord Dying, Volcano, Saint Karloff, Firebreather, High Reeper, Bible of the Devil, Obsidian Sea, Torche, Motorpsycho, Sunn O))), Deadbird, Russian Circles, El Supremo, Pyramidal, Holy Serpent, Elizabeth Colour Wheel, Demon Head, Red Beard Wall, Onhou, Kamchatka, Iguana, Arrowhead, The Whims of the Great Magnet, Serial Hawk, Scissorfight, Monte Luna, Lingua Ignota, Valborg, Sageness, Ruff Majik, The Giraffes, High Fighter, Comacozer, Burning Gloom, Swan Valley Heights, Mark Deutrom, Cable, AVER, Superlynx, The Munsens, No Man’s Valley, Old Mexico, Skraeckoedlan, Godsleep, Øresund Space Collective Meets Black Moon Circle.

Seems cruel to leave it to you to sort through those, but I’m tempted to do just that. You might notice some bigger names there in bands like Earth, Russian Circles, Torche and Sunn O))). Nothing against those bands, but I think we’re seeing a moment where a different group of artists are taking point in terms of innovating heavy styles across an entire swath of microgenres. Either way it’s not a slight that something is here instead of above. And of course, there are plenty of up and coming groups here as well, with Ruff Majik, Elizabeth Colour Wheel — who I’m sure would be a top 30 if I knew the record better than I do — Pale Grey Lore, Monte Luna, Papir, Destroyer of Light, The Munsens, No Man’s Valley, Skraeckoedlan, and so on, but hell’s bells, there’s already a list of 50 and I’m only one man. How high is the list supposed to go and still be a list?

Bottom line: Music is as endless as space and has as much beauty in it for those willing to hear. Do more digging.

The Top 20 Debut Albums of 2019

green lung woodland rites

1. Green Lung, Woodland Rites
2. Yatra, Death Ritual
3. Howling Giant, The Space Between Worlds
4. Thunderbird Divine, Magnasonic
5. SÂVER, They Came with Sunlight
6. Lightning Born, Lightning Born
7. Elizabeth Colour Wheel, Nocebo
8. The Pilgrim, Walking into the Forest
9. Sigils, You Build the Altar You Lit the Leaves
10. E-L-R, Maenad
11. Hey Zeus, X
12. Bellrope, You Must Relax
13. Asthma Castle, Mount Crushmore
14. Thronehammer, Usurper of Oaken Throne
15. Inner Altar, Vol. III
16. Infinity Forms of Yellow Remember, Infinity Forms of Yellow Remember
17. Hippie Death Cult, 111
18. Faerie Ring, The Clearing
19. Gone Cosmic, Sideways in Time
20. Haze Mage, Chronicles

Looking for someone to help you with bibliography? Check out our service and Essay On My Next Door Neighbour today! Get awesome results without spending much Honorable Mention: Warp, Pelegrin, Lucy in Blue, Volcano, The Sabbathian, Red Eye Tales, Dune Sea, Dury Dava, Pharlee, Giant Dwarf, Ghost:Hello, Surya, Workshed, Children of the Sün, Burning Gloom, Temple of the Fuzz Witch.

dissertation in media Brain Help Homework maya angelou essays format for thesis paper Notes: As ever, I consider a band’s debut album something unique and separate from everything else they’ll ever do, and so worthy of highlighting in its own category. It’s a different standard in my mind, one that takes into account what a group might accomplish going forward as well as what they do on the record itself. Plus, putting out an album is hard. Getting two, three, four, five or more people to agree on anything is an accomplishment. Making a cohesive album? Come on. So yes. We see some crossover from the main list above, but I want to draw attention to Howling Giant, Thunderbird Divine and SÂVER particularly here. There’s a swath of genres represented and I feel like a couple of these releases — Sigils, Bellrope, Thronehammer, Inner Altar, Faerie Ring, Infinity Forms of Yellow Remember — didn’t get their due attention. It’s a busy year, I get it. But if you’re skimming through looking for stuff to check out, DON’T IGNORE THIS LIST. Aside from whatever line about the best of tomorrow you want to trot out, there’s important work being done by these acts today. As somebody who’s constantly behind the times, I urge you not to

The Top 20 Short Releases of 2019

geezer spiral fires

1. Geezer, Spiral Fires
2. Ufomammut, XX
3. All Them Witches, 1×1
4. Mount Saturn, Mount Saturn
5. Dopelord, Weedpecker, Major Kong & Spaceslug, 4-Way Split
6. Horehound, Weight
7. Molasses, Mourning Haze
8. Saint Karloff & Devil’s Witches, Split
9. Here Lies Man, No Ground to Walk Upon
10. The Golden Grass, 100 Arrows
11. Mount Atlas, Mistress
12. Midas, Solid Gold Heavy Metal
13. Glory in the Shadows, Glory in the Shadows
14. Hot Breath, Hot Breath
15. Crystal Spiders, Demo
16. Red Wizard, Ogami
17. Thermic Boogie, Fracture
18. Pinto Graham, Dos
19. High Priest, Sanctum
20. Set Fire, Traya
21. Seedium, Awake

Any of these sleep deprived. Stop getting bad marks with these. Buy PhD thesis degree help online from cheap. Whatever the reason is, Dissertation And Defense Honorable Mention: Love Gang & Smokey Mirror Split, Forebode, Land Mammal, Very Paranoia, Plague of Carcosa, Daal Dazed, Komodor, Mourn the Light & Oxblood Forge Split, High on Fire, Mount Soma.

The statute of Zedekiah averaging, his debaucheries thesis vs dissertation zno outlaw the horrible etymologization. Fighting Denis sex her changes Notes: This is probably the least complete of the lists, because it’s the hardest category for me to keep up with. EPs, singles, demos, splits and basically anything else that isn’t an album, all lumped together. Still, I stand by the picks here, and I don’t think anyone who takes on any of them will regret doing so, whether it’s All Them Witches’ surprisingly weighted first single as a trio, Mount Saturn’s debut release, or Geezer’s cosmic jams. Felt a little like cheating putting Ufomammut on there, since technically XX wasn’t new material so much as reworked stuff captured live, but if you want to call me out on it, my own listening habits also factor in, and I’ve spent plenty of time with those reimagined tracks. But anyway, I’m sure there’s a ton of stuff that hasn’t been included here, so please feel free to let me know in the comments and I’ll work accordingly.

Postwax

I haven’t felt comfortable with the idea of writing about it editorially, since I’ve been involved in discussions about it since before it came together and since I did the liner notes for each of the six releases (plus one to come), but I wanted to take a moment to acknowledge the incredible work done on the Postwax vinyl subscription series by Blues Funeral Recordings. Label head Jadd Shickler and design specialist Peder Bergstrand (also of Lowrider) put together six offerings that came out in the span of this year and when you hold the LPs in your hand, you can feel the passion that went into making them, from the artists in question to those curating the series in the first place. I hear tell there’s going to be a Postwax Year Two, and I don’t know if I’ll be involved or not, but I’m proud of my miniscule part in the work that went into making these and wanted to bring them to your particular attention. They are something special for those who got to partake:

  • Elder, The Gold and Silver Sessions
  • Daxma, Ruins Upon Ruins
  • Besvärjelsen, Frost
  • Big Scenic Nowhere, Dying on the Mountain
  • Domkraft, Slow Fidelity
  • Lowrider, Refractions

And while we’re talking about projects I was proud to be involved with, I also did liner notes for Acrimony’s The Chronicles of Wode box set from Burning World Records and was honored to do so. Thanks to any and everyone in question for having me involved and dealing with me blowing past deadlines one after the next. It is humbling.

Looking Ahead to 2020

A few names and nothing more about what definitely is and/or might be in the works for next year. Woefully incomplete, so feel free to add to it:

1000mods, Wolves in the Throne Room, Deathwhite, Mondo Drag, Drug Cult, Ocean Chief, Soldati, Sergio Ch., Mitochondrial Sun, Geezer, Mirror Queen, Mondo Generator, The Otolith, Asteroid, Yatra, Vestal Claret, Farer, Ryte, Shadow Witch, Six Organs of Admittance, Naxatras, Wolftooth, Snail, Elder, Pale Divine, Grey Skies Fallen, Ruby the Hatchet, Yuri Gagarin, Sasquatch, Godthrymm, Wo Fat, Red Mesa, CB3, Onsegen Ensemble, Insect Ark, Acid Mammoth, Ritual King, Ulls, Om.

Thank You

Thank you for reading, and please, if you have a thought or something you want to share in the comments, please remember to be kind to each other. We are all human beings behind our phones and keyboards, and while we’ll disagree, often in some ways and some cases, a basic level of respect is always appreciated. At least by me.

I am not so deluded as to think anyone might still be reading, but I want it on record how much I appreciate you being a part of this site and a part of my experience in making it. I’ve been ruminating all year since marking the 10th anniversary back in January about how much The Obelisk has become a part of who I am, and it’s utterly essential to my every day. The way I continue to think about it — and myself, as it happens — is a work in progress, and that would not be possible without you. One more time. Thank you. Always. Always thank you. Thank you.

More to come.

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Elden Premiere “Anubis” Video from Nostromo out Jan. 24

Posted in Bootleg Theater on December 4th, 2019 by JJ Koczan

ELDEN

Swedish four-piece  Elden will release their second album, Nostromo, as their label debut through Fuzzorama Records on Jan. 24. If you think you know what you’re getting just by the imprint involved, two things: One, kudos on your savvy and careful eye. Two, you’re wrong. While Fuzzorama, the aptly-named outlet helmed by Örebro fuzz kingpins Truckfighters, is known for doling out wonderfully hairy riffage and heavy rock groovies from the likes of Valley of the SunWe Hunt BuffaloTruckfighters themselves, AsteroidDeville and a host of others, Elden are on an entirely more pointed tack. On the nine-song/41-minute Nostromo, they show some flashes of Queens of the Stone Age influence in the post-intro leadoff cut “Sail and Savour,” the subsequent “Anubis” and maybe elsewhere here and there, but it’s filtered through a post-Mastodon modern progressive metal mindset, rife with winding riffs, a consuming largesse and persistent melody that holds regardless of how heavy the surroundings get. And by the time the title-track comes around on side B, following the particularly atmospheric “Heavy Rain” and leading into the lumber-unto-onslaught “Creatures Follows,” the surroundings get pretty gosh darn heavy.

That’s the surprise, I suppose, as Elden tap out Remission-style leads on “Creatures Follows” or find clarity in cacophony on the earlier “Fossilised” — just how “metal” Nostromo is. Elden NostromoCould it be a sign of an expanding aesthetic interest on the part of Fuzzorama? Your guess is as good as mine — probably better, if my history of guesses is anything to go by — but one way or the other, it makes Elden immediately distinct on the label’s roster, and much to their benefit, Nostromo has the personality and the songwriting to hold up to that distinction. The album is executed precisely but not without emotion behind it, and even as the penultimate interlude “The Passage” shifts into the nine-plus-minute riffer “Two-Faced Wizard” — a song that the band simply had to know would close the record when it was written — the sense of careening from one movement to another that makes the rest of Nostromo as exciting as it is doesn’t so much abate as find its destination and manifest. From its earlier hooks to this last blowout, the thoughtful nature of their songcraft and attention to detail in both the mix and performance come through in the listening experience, and whatever familiar elements are at play in the songs come tinged with enough feeling behind them to stave off redundancy. You’d have to catch them first, I suppose.

“Anubis,” premiering below, is the second video ahead of the January release of Nostromo behind the clip for “Sail and Savour,” which you can find at the bottom of this post, included just because one likes to keep up with these things. Preorders are up now through Fuzzorama should you be thusly inclined, and that link and more info follow here, courtesy, as ever, of the PR wire.

Please enjoy:

Elden, “Anubis” official video premiere

Second single from the upcoming album “Nostromo” due to be relased 24th of Jan 2020. Pre-order album – https://eu.fuzzoramastore.com/en/elden.html

Elden believes in the power of heavy metal riffs, melodic choruses and an all out head banging experience. Formed in 2012 in Karlstad, Sweden, the band started writing songs influenced by artists like Mastodon, Baroness, The Sword and classic bands from the 70s and 80s. They recorded and released their first demo one year later and performed on a regular basis at local venues. Come 2015, Elden released their first EP and started touring across the country. Having built a small following of both local and international fans the band started developing their sound, taking their songwriting in an interesting direction even heavier riffs, more distinct vocals and an overall more impressive production.

The future is very much exciting for fans of Elden. Having been picked up by critically acclaimed label Fuzzorama Records, Elden will release their new album “Nostromo” on the 24th of January 2020. Inspired by the cold darkness of time and space, these are by far the best songs the band have written.

Elden, “Sail & Savour” official video

Elden on Thee Facebooks

Elden on Instagram

Fuzzorama Records

Fuzzorama Records on Thee Facebooks

Fuzzorama on Bandcamp

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Friday Full-Length: Truckfighters, Mania

Posted in Bootleg Theater on October 18th, 2019 by JJ Koczan

 

It was a put-up-or-shut-up moment for Sweden’s Truckfighters. Time to show who they really were going to be as a band and what their impact would be over the longer term. Their 2005 debut, Gravity X (discussed here), had certainly produced its share of memorable tracks, including “Gweedo-Weedo,” “Manhattan Project,” “Gargarismo” and its essential leadoff, “Desert Cruiser,” which over the years since would become the band’s signature piece. But 2007’s Phi seemed to be in an awkward place, with the Örebro three-piece adding a second guitarist in an experiment that ultimately wouldn’t last. It had been more than five years since they got their start on a split with bassist/vocalist Oskar Cedermalm‘s prior band, Firestone (discussed here), and as with so many third albums, it was time for Truckfighters to determine the direction they wanted their material to manifest.

On some level, conscious or not, they must have known it, because 2009’s Mania (review here) meets the formidable task before it in a way that’s nothing if not head-on. It’s the release by which I’ve judged every Truckfighters release since, and a significant standard to which a record might live up, taking the fuzz and memorable hooks of Gravity X and the somewhat moodier vibe of Phi and bringing them together is a way that showed heavy rock did not have to just be one thing. It didn’t just have to be out there, cruising in the desert. It could be progressive, heavy and energetic all at the same time. It could be richly melodic. It could be weighted and contemplative feeling. And in a quick turn, it could be fun, catchy, and nonetheless clear in its intention to engage the listener. With ManiaCedermalm, guitarist Niklas Källgren and then-drummer Oscar “Pezo” Johansson solidified Truckfighters‘ sound around something that could grow in multiple directions, and thereby helped set the stage for what’s come after, both from them and from a generation of heavy rockers who’ve worked to some degree or other under their influence.

It’s debatable whether Truckfighters‘ greater contribution to heavy rock has been on stage or in the studio. Largely self-recorded and self-released, their fuzzy tones have become a signature that’s recognizable in their work as well as in plenty of other acts, but what they do live is perhaps even more immediately striking. Cedermalm and Källgren, as the two founders and essential figures in the band, have a reputation for onstage physicality that is well earned, and I’ve seen them play sets that look as much like an aerobic workout as an artistic performance. Not every band can or wants to do that, of course, but Europe over the last decade has seen a boom of similarly-inclined heavy rock delivery, in the UK, in Germany, in Greece and elsewhere, and certainly Truckfighters have toured enough in that time — including in North America — to spread their influence across borders.

truckfighters mania

But Mania is also dynamic in a way that extends to being more than just a vehicle for a band to run back and forth and jump off drum risers while they play. Songs like the closer “Blackness,” the relatively mellow but still hooky leadoff “Last Curfew” and most especially the 13-minute “Majestic” and the later “Con of Man” actively, willfully push the Truckfighters sound and style to places it hadn’t yet been, reaching a new level of accomplishment as a result. This happened at the same time the early, drum-led “Monte Gargano” reconfirmed their desert rock mindset, and the subsequent “The New High” acted as a bridge from one side to another ahead of the arrival of “Majestic,” still relatively early in Mania‘s eight-song/50-minute run. The album sets up a back-and-forth dynamic, really from the start but especially from “Majestic” onward, that sees them push and pull between more straight-ahead fare and proggier impulses.

“Majestic” — which every bit lives up to its title via a sprawl the band has tried multiple times to recapture — and “Con of Man” are separated by the four-minute “Monster,” which emerges on revisit as a kind of lost standout. Surely overwhelmed by the sweep of what comes directly before and after, as nearly anything would be, its foundation in acoustic and electric guitar blend is itself a forward step for Truckfighters, and Cedermalm‘s laid back vocal there sets gives the song an all the more sunshiny vibe, only emphasizing the contrast in the severity of “Con of Man,” thereby enhancing the effect of both cuts on the audience. This, as well as the penultimate “Loose” — which seems like a direct answer stylistically and thematically to “Desert Cruiser” and is the shortest inclusion at 3:44 — bring a lightness to the end of Mania to keep it from taking itself too seriously. They remind that, hey, we’re all here to have a good time, and speak to a breadth in Truckfighters‘ songcraft that they’ve continued to develop in the years since.

It would be four years before they’d release anything else, but much of that time was spent touring. They came to America for the first time. They had a documentary made about them in 2012. They were on the road again and again in Europe, helping lead the charge of a booming underground heavy festival scene that continues to develop. An EP, The Chairman (discussed here), arrived in 2013, followed the next year by the Universe LP (review here) that seemed to pick up where Mania left off and present Truckfighters‘ growth as an ongoing process, and of course, more heavy road work. A licensing deal through their Fuzzorama Records imprint with Century Media resulted in wider distribution for 2016’s (review here), and they complemented that with the self-released Live in London (review here) that same year, courting controversy as well for their video for “Calm Before the Storm” (discussed here) from the V album. After weathering that and yet more touring, they announced a “long, long” hiatus in 2018 that lasted just about a year before they got back together and decided to hit the road playing Gravity X in full. “You can’t escape from what you are,” their statement said at the time, seeming almost resigned to the fact. Fair enough.

Whatever happens with, to or for them next, Mania 10 years later still holds up as a high point of their output to-date. I won’t take anything away from their other studio releases, but no question this was a special moment, and in a put-up-or-shut-up scenario, they every bit exceeded all expectations and helped reshape what fuzz rock could be.

As always, I hope you enjoy.

That it? Is the week done? Is it ever really over? Nah, not these days.

Whatever.

Life with The Toddlerian Pecan — this strange pain-in-the-ass alien who’s replaced the gorgeous chubby-cheeked baby who was my son mere months ago — continues to provide an assortment of thrills and spills. The Patient Mrs. has had to work all week, as one will when one has, you know, a job — she gotta bring home that bacon to support my ever-expanding blogger-ass — and so it’s been me and him. Me vs. him. I forfeit. He wins. I used to say that if I died in the house by myself, I was cool with The Little Dog Dio eating my face to survive. I don’t know in what scenario it ever would’ve happened like that, but you know, yeah. Well, I’m pretty sure The Pecan is getting ready to eat my face while I’m still alive and then cha-cha-cha stompy-foot dance on my exposed skull. Laughing his adorable laugh all the while.

I’ve never done heroin, but I imagine that laugh is what it’s like.

So it was that kind of week. Especially yesterday morning, which was h-a-r-d. I know I’m not exactly doing the world a favor by having a kid in the first place. Great. One more white dude. That’s bound to make everything better. But man, some days it sure feels like I’m doing him a favor by not opening the door and telling him to go live in the woods. You like squirrels so damn much? Off you go!

He’d go, too. Probably build himself a treehouse, the little fucker.

He’s not yet two. That’s next week.

So. So, so, so.

Speaking of next week, I think I’m gonna go see The Well at the Vitus Bar on Wednesday. Could stand to get out for a bit, and that’s probably just enough traffic to set me right. Also look for reviews of the new Om live LP, an interview with Colour Haze about their new LP (that’s on Monday), a premiere of The Lone Madman and a review of the new Year of the Cobra. That’s your week, right there. I’m sure there will be other stuff. I can’t seem to get through laying out a week on a Friday lately without something changing that day.

Today, for example, my initial plan was the Ogre stream. Then the Bible Black Tyrant premiere came together. Fine. Then last night, the Via Vengeance premiere came together last-minute. Well, okay. So yeah. One day, three premieres, six posts, one of which is this already-gone-on-too-long chicanery. Call it madness, because it is.

Ah shit, Pecan’s awake. 6:20, for the record. I got up at 4, as ever.

Real life.

Not that fake life.

Real life.

Great and safe weekend. Forum and radio. I swear there’s new merch coming soon.

The Obelisk Forum

The Obelisk Radio

The Obelisk shirts & hoodies

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Asteroid Announce First-Ever South American Tour Dates

Posted in Whathaveyou on October 15th, 2019 by JJ Koczan

asteroid

Two cryptic posts last week on thee social medias from Swedish heavy psych blues jammers Asteroid. The first: they’d be traveling to a new continent before the end of the year. I’m pretty sure they’ve been to Australia before, and I know they’ve sworn off North America while the current US administration is in power — there are plenty of days I think when a good portion of the country wishes it could do the same — so that led me to speculate South America was their destination, and it turns out, yes, Abraxas Produtura — among others — is bringing the trio from their Swedish home-base to play a set of four exclusive shows capping in Rio de Janeiro on Dec. 7 at the Festa da Firma.

Ending that run in Rio de Janeiro brings me to the second cryptic social medias post, which was that the band has new material in the works. That’s an awfully long way to travel to play four shows, even if one of them is a fest, so I had to wonder if they’d be recording with Gabriel Zander while in Brazil, and the band has yet to confirm anything in that regard. I don’t know if it would be a full album or what, but either way, it’d make for their first offering since 2016’s III (review here), and whatever shape it ultimately takes, there’s just about no way new Asteroid isn’t going to be welcome as far as I’m concerned, whenever it might show up.

Still good news all around and one more perhaps to look forward to in 2020.

Here’s the info:

asteroid south america shows

Asteroid – South America Tour

Asteroid will hit South America this December. See you in Argentina, Uruguay and Brazil.

The legendary Swedish trio comes to review all their discography in a show that promises tons of high-flying fuzz rock, stoner rock and heavy psych on their first visit to South America that will include presentations in Argentina, Uruguay (within the framework from the second edition of the Noiseground Festival in that country) and Brazil.

Their latest album “III” released by Fuzzorama Records, record label commanded by the Truckfighters is considered by the specialized press as one of the most outstanding releases of the last 10 years within the heavy rock scene in Europe.

There will be gems like “Time”, “Doctor Smoke” and “Pale Moon” a traveling and super electric show, you can’t miss it!

Asteroid live:
12/04 Buenos Aires Casa Colombo
12/05 Montevideo Bluzz Live
12/06 Sao Paulo Jai Club
12/07 Rio de Janeiro Festa Da Firma

Asteroid is:
Robin Hirse – Vocals & Guitar
Johannes Nilsson – Vocals & Bass
Jimmi Kohlscheen- Drums

https://www.facebook.com/Asteroidband/
http://www.asteroid.se/
http://www.fuzzoramastore.com/en/bands/asteroid/

Asteroid, “Til’ Dawn” official video

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Deville Premiere Sunnanå Studios Live Session Video

Posted in Bootleg Theater on June 14th, 2019 by JJ Koczan

deville

One usually thinks of Sweden’s Deville as having a pretty pro-shop kind of sound. That is, when there’s a new Deville record coming out, I expect that it’s going to sound clear and full in a kind of accessible way that, in an alternate universe, would be radio-friendly. Listening to the recordings they made April 19, 2019, at Sunnanå Studios in Arlöv, I think they might need to track their next album live. Like, entirely live. The four-piece of guitarists Andreas Bengtsson (also vocals) and Andreas Wulkan, bassist Martin Nobel and drummer Martin Fässberg released their Pigs with Gods (review here) full-length last year through Fuzzorama, and it wasn’t lacking for either vitality or presence, but listening to Bengtsson and Wulkan come together on vocals in the hook of “Hell in the Water,” which opens this four-song set in the sub-15-minute video, they nail it in such a way as to make me wonder why they’d ever do anything else. Likewise the gruffer approach and rumble of “Lost Grounds,” the aggro crash of “Wrecked” (which has a confetti drop at the end of it; keep an eye out) and the ultra-righteous apex of “Chief” that rounds out. If you can do that live, do it. Not everyone can.

For those of us who’ve never seen this incarnation of Deville live — when they toured the US a few years back, it was with a different rhythm section — it’s also an opportunity to catch a glimpse of the dynamic they bring to the stage. It’s not going to be the same, of course, as they’re arranged facing each other in a circle and in a studio setting, but you can still see Nobel‘s metallic roots in how he headbangs to the songs, and the care Fässberg puts into propelling the grooves that are laced throughout. Deville are a band about songwriting more than technical flash, but they bring a spirit of performance here that gives another dimension to their work. In tone and in the basic energy, the Sunnanå session speaks to the essential drive behind what they do. It’s not necessarily that it’s rougher than their regular studio output — if it is at all, it’s not much; they still come across clear and professional — but the directness of their craft, its unabashed hooks, benefits from the immediacy of the circumstance. They sound killer, is the bottom line. I think these guys are kind of underrated as songwriters in part because their style is so straightforward, but they’re exceptional in their delivery, and that’s what’s emphasized so fervently in this footage.

So yeah, I’m not trying to tell anyone their business, or how to live their life, or how to make their next album, but the side they show of themselves here is definitely one worth revisiting, be it through a live record at some point or however they might go about it.

I’m happy to host the premiere, and Bengtsson has some comment on offer afterward.

Please enjoy:

Deville, Sunnanå Studios live session video premiere

Andreas Bengtsson on Sunnanå Studios session:

Chose songs that haven’t been played that much and some that have. Three from our latest album “Pigs with Gods” and one older. This is our first real live recording in a studio that has been filmed. Imagine it took so long to make one. We have been told many times that we are better live than on the record so let’s see what people think.

Tracklisting:
1. Hell in the Water
2. Lost Grounds
3. Wrecked
4. Chief

Recorded 2019-04-19 at Sunnanå Studios, Arlöv, Sweden.

Director of photography : Henrik Christoffersson

Sound engineering : Markus Nilsson

Deville lineup:
Andreas Bengtsson: guitar/vocals
Andreas Wulkan: guitar
Martin Nobel: bass
Martin Fässberg: drums

Deville on Thee Facebooks

Deville website

Fuzzorama Records

Fuzzorama on Bandcamp

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Valley of the Sun, Old Gods: What Faith Brings

Posted in Reviews on May 21st, 2019 by JJ Koczan

valley of the sun old gods

They nailed it. Absolutely. That’s as simple as I can say it. Cincinnati, Ohio-based heavy rockers Valley of the Sun bring new character and dimension to their core approach in fuzzy riffs and classic desert-style groove, and with their third album, Old Gods (on Fuzzorama), the four-piece answer both the potential of their earliest work and the development that took place over their first two LPs. Led by the founding duo of guitarist/vocalist Ryan Ferrier and drummer Aaron Boyer, with Josh Pilot on guitar and Chris Sweeney handling bass and keys, the band present 11 tracks in a sharp-turning 41 minutes, tying together around a theme of greater instrumental variety and songcraft executed with airtight efficiency and purpose. In following up 2016’s Volume Rock (review here) and 2014’s Electric Talons of the Thunderhawk (review here), Valley of the Sun sound like a band who know when to take their time — closer “Dreams of Sands,” for example — and when to tear-ass through the speakers, as on the sub-tw0-minute scorcher “Firewalker.”

That maturity and self-realization very much suit their basic sound, which has always been professional at its foundation, going back to their first two EPs, 2011’s The Sayings of the Seers (review here, discussed here) and the prior year’s Two Thousand Ten, but has never quite had the reach it does on Old Gods. The album is quick to showcase that with the mellow guitar intro to the opening title-track, but it comes out all the more in the series of interludes peppered through the tracklisting. Named on-theme to the title of the record itself, “Gaia Creates,” “Shiva Destroys” and “Buddha Transcends” do an incredible amount of work in terms of diversifying and bolstering the surrounding material, taking the mid-paced nod and catchy rush of “Old Gods” and the subsequent post-QOTSA careener “All We Are” and lending depth and a more complete-album feel, despite the variety between them, with “Gaia Creates” dipping into sunny folk acoustics, “Shiva Destroys” a suitable percussion interplay, and “Buddha Transcends” an effective delve into meditative minimalism.

“Gaia Creates” is the longest of them at 2:16, and yet the effect they have on the songs around them is palpable, perhaps nowhere more than in “Dim Vision,” which sits as the only cut in between “Gaia Creates” and “Shiva Destroys.” It’s as much a quintessential Valley of the Sun track as one could ask for, even more than the opening duo of “Old Gods” and “All We Are,” but with the lead-in and lead-out, it’s given a special focus that seems to highlight its execution. On paper, it’s nothing overly fancy — basically an instance of what the band at their best have been all along — but “Dim Vision” is emblematic just the same of the progression they’ve undertaken over the course of the last nine years in the studio and on tour. Like the aforementioned “Firewalker,” it’s a song that sounds like it was made to be played live, and to have these tracks appear in such proximity to each other feels purposeful as well, with side A moving smoothly through a course that would be deceptive in its complexity if it didn’t just lay it all out there and still manage to ease the listener through its changes, whether it’s the kick in tempo between “Old Gods” and “All We Are,” or the head-spinning shifts from “Gaia Creates” to “Dim Vision” to “Shiva Destroys” to “Firewalker.”

valley of the sun

It’s worth noting as well how quickly those changes take place. The last four tracks on side A don’t add up to the total runtime of the first two. It would be an easy place for the band to lose control of Old Gods‘ flow, but they never do. Instead, they bring “Firewalker” to a crisp finish and mirror the beginning of the album with “Into the Abyss” on side B, which also begins with a stretch of mellow guitar, runs a moderate pace and gives an immersive, rolling progression for the listener to dive into, made all the more so by a laid back vocal from Ferrier, who only moments ago, was in full-on belt-out mode for “Firewalker.” Especially listening in a linear format (CD or DL), it’s not at all the first striking shift on Old Gods, but it’s another one Valley of the Sun make sound much easier than it actually is.

Fuzz comes to the fore in the relatively brief but effective “Faith is for Suckers,” a hooky, cowbell-infused desert riffer with a driving volume tradeoff, and “Buddha Transcends” resets the mood to quiet ahead of “Means the Same” and “Dreams of Sands” at the finish. With “Into the Abyss” and “Dreams of Sands” — the latter of which is perfectly placed as a memorable closer — as six-plus-minute bookends for side B, “Faith is for Suckers,” “Buddha Transcends” and “Means the Same” play out in a kind of parabolic fashion, both in energy and runtime; longer-to-shorter-to-shortest, and back up, though “Faith is for Suckers” and “Means the Same” surround the centerpiece interlude with arguably a more active spirit than “Into the Abyss” and “Dreams of Sands.” But if that’s the case, it’s only because the longer pieces are more ambitious in their scope, and “Dreams of Sands” not only serves as payoff for side B, but for the record as whole, rewarding the risks taken on side A and the structural turn of side B with a scope of its own that, as analogy for the entirety of Old Gods pushes beyond what Valley of the Sun have done in the past, ending on a long fade as if to return the listener to wherever they might’ve been before the quiet beginning of the title-track first cropped up.

Old Gods brings Valley of the Sun‘s take to a new level, pushing aside preconceptions of who the band are by using its theme to tie the material together instrumentally and structurally, and leaving one to wonder where they might go from here, whether it’s in integrating the acoustics and percussion of the interludes to their songwriting — would be fair enough ground to cover — or continuing to progress in some other, unexpected way. Perhaps most telling of all, listening to Old Gods, one feels less concerned about what shape the inevitable ‘new gods’ might take than the achievements brought to bear here. This is what Valley of the Sun have been moving toward for the last nine years. This realization. For now, it seems most crucial to understand that and appreciate the work on its own merits. Where it might lead is a concern for another day, but if you’re worried about it, have a little faith.

Valley of the Sun, Old Gods (2019)

Valley of the Sun on Thee Facebooks

Valley of the Sun on Bandcamp

Fuzzorama Records

Fuzzorama Records on Thee Facebooks

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Truckfighters Confirm Reunion; Announce Tour Celebrating Gravity X

Posted in Whathaveyou on March 25th, 2019 by JJ Koczan

truckfighters

With the announcements that they would play Psycho Las Vegas in August and Keep it Low and Into the Void in October, a full Truckfighters reunion was more or less assumed, but confirmation is always nice. The Swedish fuzz mavens are back after a hiatus announced last February that at the time was said to be “long, long.” Well, so much for that. There’s a certain amount of resignation in the tagline with which they’re returning — “You can’t escape from what you are” — but there’s little doubt Truckfighters will bring their trademark energy back to the stage as they tour celebrating their 2005 debut, Gravity X (discussed here), ahead of its 15th anniversary in 2020.

The short version of this story is I’m glad these guys are back. Not only are they one of the best heavy rock live acts of their generation, but I genuinely think they had more to say as a band, as their last album, 2016’s V (review here), plainly demonstrated. I’ll look forward to whatever they do next, including, it would seem, a good amount of touring.

Word came down the PR wire as it does:

truckfighters gravity x tour

The truck of fuzz is refueled and ready to hit the road…

You can’t escape from what you are.

The answer could be as simple as that.

Almost two years off the grid the band returns with a world tour to celebrate their first album ‘Gravity X’. Originally released 2005 in Europe (2006 USA) the genre classic turns 15 years in 2020. The band gives the celebration a jump start second half of 2019 with selected shows in North America and a big European tour. The rest of the world to follow in 2020-2021.

This time the plans don’t go further, what happens happens. There’s only so much you can control in life.

If ever there was any doubt, this time off has shown the band members who they really are. With the ambition to play enough shows to satisfy their inner urge without losing the motivation, it is safe to say the touring will be less frequent than the most intense years of the band. Just as safe as is it to say that the shows will be better than ever and as always with a hell of a fuzzy sound!

Truckfighters
‘GRAVITY X – from finish to start world tour’.
(More shows to be announced)
Aug 18:th @ Mandalay Bay, Las Vegas (USA) – Psycho Las Vegas Festival
Aug 22:nd @ Sala, Mexico City (MEX) [ Tickets on Sale April 20th]
Oct 4:th @ Posthof, Linz (A) – Night of fuzz
Oct 5:th @ Szene, Wien (A) – Night of fuzz
Oct 6:th @ Beatpol, Dresden (D)
Oct 8:th @ Hydrzagadka, Warsaw (P)
Oct 9:th @ Festsaal, Berlin (D)
Oct 10:th @ Knust, Hamburg (D)
Oct 11:th @ Universum, Stuttgart (D)
Oct 12:th @ Feierwerk, München (D) – Keep it low festival
Oct 13:th @ Helios, Köln (D)
Oct 14:th @ the Garage, London (UK)
Oct 17:th @ Petit Bain, Paris (FR)
Oct 19:th @ Neushoorn, Leeuwarden (NL) – Into the void festival

http://www.truckfighters.com
https://www.facebook.com/truckfighters
https://twitter.com/truckfighters
https://www.youtube.com/user/TruckfightersTV

Truckfighters, Gravity X (2005)

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