Quarterly Review: Carlton Melton, Crown, Noêta, Polymerase, Lucid Sins, Hekate, Abel Blood, Suffer Yourself, Green Dragon, Age Total

Posted in Reviews on July 5th, 2021 by JJ Koczan

the-obelisk-fall-2016-quarterly-review

This will be a two-week Quarterly Review. That means this Monday to Friday and next Monday to Friday, 10 releases per day, totaling 100 by the time it’s done.

Me? I’m taking it one week, one day, one album at a time. It’s the only way to go and not have it seem completely insurmountable. But we’ll get through it all. I started out with the usual five days, and then I went to seven, then eight, and at that point I felt like I had a pretty good idea where things were headed. The last two days I filled up just at the end of last week. Some of it is I think a result of quarantine productivity, but there’s a glut of relevant stuff out now and some of it I’m catching up on, true, but some of it isn’t out yet either, so it’s a balance as ever. I keep telling myself I’m done with 2020 releases, but there’s one in here today. You know how it goes.

And since you do, I won’t delay further. Thanks in advance for reading if you do.

Quarterly Review #1-10:

Carlton Melton, Night Pillers

carlton melton night pillers

Rangey mellow psych collected together with the natural shimmer of a Phil Manley (Trans Am) recording and a John McBain master, the new mini-LP from Mendocino medicine makers Carlton Melton is a 31-minute, five-song meditative joy. To wit, “Safe Place?” Is. “Morning Warmth?” Is, even with the foreboding march of drums behind it. And “Striatum,” which closes with interplay of keys and fuzzy leads and effects, giving a culminating seven-minute wash that doesn’t feel like it’s pushing far out so much as already gone upon arrival, indeed seems like a reward for any head or brain that’s managed to make it so far. Opener “Resemblance” brings four minutes of gentle drone to set the mood ahead of “Morning Warmth” — it might be sunrise, if we’re thinking of it that way — and centerpiece “High Noon Thirty” bridges krauty electronic beats and organic ceremony that feels both familiar and like the band’s own. They may pill at night, but Carlton Melton have a hell of a day here.

Carlton Melton on Facebook

Agitated Records website

 

Crown, The End of All Things

Crown The End of All Things

Weaving in and around genres with fluidity that’s tied together through dark industrial foundations, Crown are as much black metal as they are post-heavy, cinematic or danceable. “Gallow” or the earlier “Neverland” call to mind mid-period, electronica-fascinated Katatonia, but “Extinction” pairs this with a more experimental feel, opening in its midsection to more unsettling spaces ahead of the dance-ready finish. There’s nothing cartoonish or vamp about The End of All Things, which is the French outfit’s fourth album in 10 years, and it’s as likely to embrace pop (closer “Utopia”) as extremity (“Firebearer” just before), grim atmospherics (“Nails”) or textured acoustics (“Fleuve”), feeling remarkably unconcerned with genre across its 45 entrancing minutes, and remarkably even in its approach for a sound that’s still so varied. It’s not an easy listen front to back, but the challenge feels intentional and is emotional as much as cerebral in the craft and performance.

Crown on Facebook

Pelagic Records on Bandcamp

 

Noêta, Elm

Noêta elm

Swedish duo Noêta offer their second record for Prophecy Productions in Elm, comprising a deceptively efficient eight songs and 38 minutes that work in atmospheres of darker but not grim or cultish folk. Vocalist Êlea is very much a focal point in terms of performance, with Andris‘ instrumentals forming a backdrop that’s mournful on “Above and Below” while shimmering enough to bring affirmation to “As We Are Gone” a short while later ahead of the electrified layering in “Elm” and the particularly haunted-feeling closer “Elm II.” “As I Fall Silent” is a singularly spacious moment, but not the only one, as “Fade” complements with strings and outward-sounding guitar, and some of Elm‘s most affecting moments are its quietest stretches, as “Dawn Falls” proves at the outset and the whispers of “Elm” reaffirm on side B. Subdued but not lacking complexity, Noêta‘s songs make an instrument of mood itself and are pointedly graceful in doing so.

Noêta on Facebook

Prophecy Productions website

 

Polymerase, Unostentatious

Polymerase Unostentatious

Unostentatious, which is presumably not to say “humble,” may or may not be Polymerase‘s debut release, but it follows on from several years of inactivity on the part of the Philippines-based mostly-instrumentalist heavy psych trio. The band present four duly engaging and somewhat raw feeling jams, with a jump in volume as “Lightbringer//Lightgiver” picks up from “A Night with a Succubus” and opener “The Traveler” and a final touch of thickened, fuzzy sludge in the rolling “Green is the Color of Evil,” which closes at a lurch that comes across at significant remove from the title-hinted brightness of the song just before it. Uneven? Maybe, but not egregiously so, and if Polymerase are looking to give listeners an impression of their having a multifaceted sound, they most assuredly do. My question is over what span of time these tracks were recorded and what the group will do in moving forward from them, but I take the fact that I’m curious to find out at all as a positive sign of having interest piqued. Will hope for more.

Polymerase on Facebook

Polymerase on Bandcamp

 

Lucid Sins, Cursed!

lucid sins cursed

Lucid indeed. The band’s self-applied genre tag of “adult AOR” is more efficient a descriptor of their sound than anything I might come up with. Glasgow’s Lucid Sins released their acclaimed debut, Occultation, in 2014, and Cursed! is the exclamatory seven-years-later follow-up, bringing together classic progressive rock and modern cult heavy sensibilities with a focus on songwriting that’s the undercurrent from “Joker’s Dance” onward and which, as deep as “The Serpentine Path” or the title-track or “The Forest” might go, is never forgotten. To wit, the penultimate “By Your Hand” is a proto-everything highlight, stomping compared to the organ-prog “Sun and the Moon” earlier, but ultimately just as melodic and of enviable tonal warmth. Seven years is a long time between records, and maybe this material just took that long to put together, I don’t know, but I had no idea “cult xylophone” was a possibility until “The Devil’s Sign” came along, and now I’m not sure how I ever lived without it.

Lucid Sins on Facebook

Totem Cat Records store

 

Hekate, Sermons to the Black Owl

Hekate Sermons to the Black Owl

Australia’s history in heavy rock and roll is as long as that of heavy rock and roll itself and need not be recounted here, except to say that Hekate, from Canberra and Sydney, draw from multiple eras of it with their debut long-player, Sermons to the Black Owl, pushing ’70s boogie over the top with solos on “Carpathian Eagle” only after “Winter Void” and “Child of Black Magick” have seen the double-guitar-and-let’s-use-both four-piece update nascent doom vibes and “Burning Mask” has brought a more severe chug to the increasingly intense procession. A full production sound refuses to let the quick eight-tracker be anything other than modern, and though it’s only 28 minutes long, the aptly-titled “Acoustic Outro” feels earned atmospherically, even down to the early-feeling cold finish of “Cassowary Dreaming.” The balance may be then, then, then, and now, but the sense of shove that Hekate foster in their songs gives fresh urgency to the tenets of genre they seem to have adopted at will.

Hekate on Facebook

Black Farm Records store

 

Abel Blood, Keeping Pace with the Elephants

Abel Blood Keeping Pace with the Elephants

One does not evoke elephantine images on a heavy record, even on a debut release, if aural largesse isn’t a factor. New Hampshire trio Abel Blood — guitarist/vocalist Adam Joslyn, bassist Ben Cook, drummer Jim DeLuca — are raw in sound on their first EP, Keeping Pace with the Elephants, but the impact with which they land “The Day that Moby Died” at the outset is only encouraging, and to be sure, it’s not the thickest of their wares either. “Enemies” already pushes further, and as centerpiece “UnKnown Variant” would seem to date the effort in advance, it also serves the vital function of moving the EP in a different, more jangly, grungier direction, which is a valuable move with the title cut following behind, its massive cymbals and distorted wash building to a head in time for the nine-minute finale “Fire on the Hillside” to draw together both sides of the approach shown throughout into a parabolically structured jam the middle-placed surge of which passes quickly enough to leave the listener unsure whether it ever happened. They’re messing with you. Dig that.

Abel Blood on Facebook

Abel Blood on Bandcamp

 

Suffer Yourself, Rip Tide

Suffer Yourself Rip Tide

Begun in 2011 by guitarist/vocalist Stanislav Govorukha and based in Sweden by way of Poland and the Ukraine, death-doom lurchbringers Suffer Yourself are not strangers to longer-form material, but to my knowledge, “Spit in the Chasm” — the opening and longest track (immediate points) on their third record, Rip Tide — is the first time they’ve crossed the 20-minute mark. Time well spent, and by that I mean “brutally spent,” whether its the speedier chug that emerges from the willful slog of the extended piece’s first half or the viciously progressive lead work that tops the precise, cold end of the song that brings final ambience. Side B offers two shorter pieces in “Désir de Trépas Maritime (Au Bord de la Mer Je Veux Mourir),” laced with suitably mournful strings and a fair enough maritime sense of gothic drama emphasized by later spoken word and piano, and the brief, mostly-drone “Submerging,” which one assumes is the end of that plotline playing out. The main consumption though is in “Spit in the Chasm,” and the dimensions of that fissure are significant, figuratively and literally.

Suffer Yourself on Facebook

Aesthetic Death website

 

Green Dragon, Dead of the Night

Green Dragon Dead of the Night

High order Sabbathian doom rock from my own beloved Garden State, there’s very little chance I’m not going to dig Green Dragon‘s Dead of the Night, and true to type, I do. Presented by the band on limited vinyl after digital release late in 2020, the four-song, 24-minute outing brings guitarist/vocalists Zach Kurland and Ryan Lipynsky (the latter also adding keys and known for his work in Unearthly Trance, etc.), bassist Jennifer Klein and drummer Herbert Wiley to a place so dug into its groove it almost feels inappropriate to think of it as a peak in terms of their work to-date. They go high by going low, then. Fair enough. “Altered States” opens with a rollout of fuzz that miraculously avoids the trap sounding like Electric Wizard, while “Burning Bridges” murks out, “The Sad King” pushes speed a bit will still holding firm to nod and echo alike, and “Book of Shadows” plunges into effects-drenched noise like it was one of the two waterslides at the Maplewood community pool in summertime.

Green Dragon on Facebook

Green Dragon on Bandcamp

 

ÂGE TOTAL, ÂGE TOTAL

ÂGE ? TOTAL

The kind of record that probably won’t be heard by enough people but will inspire visceral loyalty in many of those who encounter it, the self-titled debut from French collaborative outfit Age Total — bringing together members from Endless Floods out of Bordeaux and Rouen’s Greyfell — is a grand and engrossing work that pushes the outer limits of doom and post-metal. Bookending opener “Amure” (14:28) and closer “The Songbird” (16:45) around the experimentalist “Carré” (4:06) and rumbling melodic death-doom of “Metal,” the album harnesses grandiosity and nuance to spare, with each piece feeling independently conceived and enlightening to musician and audience alike. It sounds like the kind of material they didn’t know they were going to come up with until they actually got together — whatever the circumstances of “together” might’ve looked like at the time — and the bridges they build between progressive metal and sheer weight of intention are staggering. However much hype it does or doesn’t have behind it, Age Total‘s Age Total is one of 2021’s best debut albums.

Endless Floods on Facebook

Greyfell on Facebook

Soza Label on Bandcamp

 

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Headless Kross Releasing Krozmik Artefact: Live at Kozfest 2019 This Friday

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

headless kross

This is pretty god damned nasty. The new live album from Glasgow’s Headless Kross, given the tongue-in-cheek title Krozmik Artefact: Live at Kozfest 2019 — get it? — will be released this Friday. What’s that like two days from now? What day is it? What day is this post going up? I don’t know. Whatever. By the time it’s Saturday, this shit’ll be out and about, issued by the band, and as noted, it’s a ripper. Of throat. I don’t generally think of the Scottish three-piece as being this raw, but either they were having an especially need-some-catharsis wee when they played Kozfest 2019 or this is just how it goes. I don’t know, but it’s five tracks long and I haven’t heard one of them yet that’s not shooting one way or the other for scorched-earth. Fuggin’ harsh, it is.

And whatever day it is now — man, I hope I post this before it comes out — it’ll be out Friday, so get your Bandcamping ready. I know it’s not Bandcamp Friday anymore or whatever, but you can still buy music. It’ll be okay.

Dig:

headless kross krozmik artefact live at kozfest 2019

Veteran Scottish psych-doomsters HEADLESS KROSS will release their new live album

“Krozmik Artefact: Live at Kozfest 2019” on Friday the 4th of June 2021 via their bandcamp page. As well as the digital release there will be a very limited run of 39 cassettes with screen-printed covers. 25 copies will be available on the band’s bandcamp page on the day of release.

Kozfest 2019 was held in Devon, England on the 27th -29th of July and also featured The Heads, Electric Moon, Crazyhead and Wild Rocket amongst many others. The album includes the band’s full 55 minute set from the Saturday as well as their introduction from legendary Kozfest compere Kozmik Ken, who sadly passed away last year.

On the subject of the album the band’s guitarist and recording engineer Tommy Duffin said, “I found the multitrack of this recording last month while looking for something else. I had completely forgot about it but when I listened, I realised it was a great live document of the band, so I started mixing. I think this is the best recorded example so far of the Headless Kross live experience so far.”

Derek – Bass & voice,
Jonny – Drums,
Tommy – Guitar

https://www.facebook.com/headlesskross/
https://instagram.com/headlesskross
https://headlesskross.bandcamp.com/

Headless Kross, Krozmik Artefact: Live at Kozfest 2019 trailer

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Lucid Sins Announce Cursed LP out May 3; Stream “Joker’s Dance”

Posted in Whathaveyou on March 24th, 2021 by JJ Koczan

lucid sins

An awaited and exclamatory sophomore release from Glasgow two-piece Lucid Sins arrives May 3 in the form of Cursed! with the not-insignificant backing of Totem Cat Records. The label’s reputation for taste has earned it trust as far as I’m concerned, and if that’s what it takes to get you to click play on “Joker’s Dance,” which is the opening track and lead single from the album, then fine. Or maybe you just get excited about punctuated album titles. Really, whatever does the trick. The band released their first LP, Occultation, in late 2014, and they’re joined by a range of guests throughout the new one, which tells me that the classic ’70s proggy leanings of “Joker’s Dance” are perhaps just the beginning of what unfolds throughout the rest of what follows.

I remain a sucker for well executed retro heavy. Don’t care if you think it’s played out, don’t care if you think it sounds like Ghost. Whatever. Life is short. Take cool songs as they come.

From the PR wire:

lucid sins cursed

LUCID SINS to release new album ‘Cursed!’ this May 3rd on Totem Cat Records; first track streaming now

Seven years after their masterful debut album ‘Occultation’, Scottish 70s psychedelic and progressive rockers LUCID SINS are finally ready to deliver their new studio full-length ‘Cursed!’, due out May 3rd on Totem Cat Records. Stream their stomping first single “Joker’s Dance” now on Bandcamp!

From the riff-centric and silky 70s occult and psychedelic hymns of their impressive 2015 debut full-length ‘Occultation’, the Glasgow-based duo has morphed into a bigger and more ambitious beast to craft their sophomore album ‘Cursed!’. Inviting various musicians from their entourage to hop on the LUCID SINS train, the group delivers an organic and intrinsically more progressive 8-track, fueled by an intoxicating dose of keys and violins, liquid-fingered and at time jazz-tinged riffage and Andreas Jonsson’s overdubbed vocals, harking back to the likes of Wishbone Ash, Blue Öyster Cult or even The Doors in their more entrancing meanderings. With a surrealistic artwork from Britain’s early 20th century illustrator Alan Odle, ‘Cursed!’ makes for a must-have piece of 70s progressive rock.

‘Cursed!’ will be issued on May 3rd worldwide on vinyl, CD and digital through Totem Cat Records, with preorder starting on April 5th.

LUCID SINS New album ‘Cursed!’
Out May 3rd on Totem Cat Records
Preorder from April 5th at this location: https://totemcatrecords.bigcartel.com/

TRACK LISTING:
1. Joker’s Dance
2. The Serpentine Path
3. Sun and the Moon
4. The Devil’s Sign
5. Cursed
6. Snake Eyes
7. By Your Hand
8. The Forest

LUCID SINS ‘Cursed!’ Lineup
Andreas Jonsson — Vocals & Guitar
Joe Gallagher — Guitar
Martin « Eggy Beard » McKenna — Violin
Ruaraidh Sanachan — Guitar, Bass, Keys and Percussion
Sondre Berge Endegal — Bass
Stuart Coleman — Keys
Additional recording by Clark Neville

LUCID SINS is
Andreas Jonsson & Ruaraidh Sanachan

https://www.facebook.com/Lucid-Sins-101576834992445
https://www.instagram.com/lucid.sins/
https://lucidsins.bandcamp.com/
https://www.facebook.com/totemcatrecords/
https://www.instagram.com/totemcatrecords/
http://totemcatrecords.bigcartel.com/

Lucid Sins, Cursed! (2021)

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Quarterly Review: Total Fucking Destruction, Hippie Death Cult, The Cosmic Dead, Greenthumb, Elepharmers, Nothing is Real, Warish, Mourn the Light & Oxblood Forge, Those Furious Flames, Mantra Machine

Posted in Reviews on October 3rd, 2019 by JJ Koczan

quarterly review

I’d like to find the jerk who decided that the week I fly to Norway was a good time for the Quarterly Review. That, obviously, was a tactical error on my part. Nonetheless, we press on with day four, which I post from Oslo on CET. Whatever time zone you may find yourself in this Thursday, I hope you have managed to find something so far in this onslaught of whatnot to sink your chompers into. That’s ultimately, why we’re here. Also because there are so many folders with albums in them on my desktop that I can’t stand it anymore. Happens about every three months.

But anyhoozle, we press on with Day Four of the Fall 2019 Quarterly Review, dutiful and diligent and a couple other words that start with ‘d.’ Mixed bag stylistically this time — trying to throw myself off a bit — so should be fun. Let’s dive in.

Quarterly Review #31-40:

Total Fucking Destruction, #USA4TFD

Total Fucking Destruction USA4TFD

Who the hell am I to be writing about a band like Total Fucking Destruction? I don’t know. Who the hell am I to be writing about anything. Fuck you. As the Rich Hoak (Brutal Truth)-led Philly natives grind their way through 23 tracks in a 27-minute barrage of deceptively thoughtful sonic extremity, they efficiently chronicle the confusion, tumult and disaffection of our age both in their maddening energy and in the poetry — yeah, I said it — of their lyrics. To it, from “Is Your Love a Rainbow”: “Are you growing? Is everything okay? Are you growing in the garden of I don’t know?” Lines like this are hardly decipherable without a lyric sheet, of course, but still, they’re there for those ready to look beyond the surface assault of the material, though, frankly, that assault alone would be enough to carry the band — Hoak on drums/vocals, Dan O’Hare on guitar/vocals and Ryan Moll on bass/vocals — along their willfully destructive course. For their fourth LP in 20 years — most of that time given to splits and shorter releases, as one might expect — Total Fucking Destruction make their case for an end of the world that, frankly, can’t get here fast enough.

Total Fucking Destruction on Thee Facebooks

Give Praise Records website

 

Hippie Death Cult, 111

Hippie-Death-Cult-111

Issued first by the band digitally and on CD and then by Cursed Tongue Records on vinyl, 111 is the impressively toned debut full-length from Portland, Oregon’s Hippie Death Cult, who cull together heavy rock and post-grunge riffing with flourish of organ and a densely-weighted groove that serves as an overarching and uniting factor throughout. With the bluesy, classic feeling vocals of Ben Jackson cutting through the wall of fuzz from Eddie Brnabic‘s guitar and Laura Phillips‘ bass set to roll by Ryan Moore‘s drumming, there’s never any doubt as to where Hippie Death Cult are coming from throughout the seven-track/42-minute offering, but longer, side-ending pieces “Unborn” (8:24) and “Black Snake” (9:06) touch respectively on psychedelia and heavy blues in a way that emphasizes the subtle turns that have been happening all along, not just in shifts like the acoustic “Mrtyu,” but in the pastoral bridge and ensuing sweep of “Pigs” as well. “Sanctimonious” and “Breeder’s Curse” provide even ground at the outset, and from there, Hippie Death Cult only grow richer in sound along their way.

Hippie Death Cult on Thee Facebooks

Cursed Tongue Records BigCartel store

 

The Cosmic Dead, Scottish Space Race

The Cosmic Dead Scottish Space Race

Heavyweight Glaswegian space jammers The Cosmic Dead present four massive slabs of lysergic intensity with their eighth long-player, Scottish Space Race (on Riot Season Records), working quickly to pull the listener into their gravity well and holding them there for the 2LP’s 75-minute duration. As hypnotic as it is challenging, the initial churn that emerges in the aptly-named 20-minute opener “Portal” clenches the stomach brutally, and it’s not until after about 12 minutes that the band finally lets it loose. “Ursa Major,” somewhat thankfully, is more serene, but still carries a sense of movement and build in its second half, while the 12-minute title-track is noisier and has the surprising inclusion of vocals from the generally instrumental outfit. They cap with the 24-minute kosmiche throb of “The Grizzard,” and there are vocals there too, but they’re too obscured to be really discernible in any meaningful way, and of course the end of the record itself is a huge wash of fuckall noise. Eight records deep, The Cosmic Dead know what they’re doing in this regard, and they do it among the best of anyone out there.

The Cosmic Dead on Thee Facebooks

Riot Season Records website

 

Greenthumb, There are More Things

greenthumb there are more things

With just three tracks across a 20-minute span, There are More Things (on Acid Cosmonaut) feels like not much more than a sampler of things to come from Italian post-sludgers Greenthumb, who take their name from a Bongzilla track they also covered on their 2018 debut EP, West. The three-songer feels like a decided step forward from that offering, and though they maintain their screamier side well enough, they might be on the verge of needing a new name, as the rawness conveyed by the current moniker hardly does justice to the echoing atmospherics the band in their current incarnation bring. Launching with the two seven-minute cuts “The Field” and “Ogigia’s Tree,” they unfurl a breadth of roll so as to ensnare the listener, and though “The Black Court” is shorter at 5:37 and a bit more straight-ahead in its structure, it still holds to the ambient sensibility of its surroundings well, the band obviously doing likewise in transposing a natural feel into their sound born of landscape real or imagined.

Greenthumb on Thee Facebooks

Acid Cosmonaut Records on Bandcamp

 

Elepharmers, Lords of Galaxia

Elepharmers Lords Of Galaxia Artwork

Riffy Sardinians Elepharmers set themselves to roll with “Ancient Astronauts” and do not stop from there on Lords of Galaxia, their third LP and debut through Electric Valley Records. There are some details of arrangement between the guitars of El Chino (also bass, vocals and harmonica) and Andrea “Fox” Cadeddu and the drums of Maurizio Mura, but as Marduk heralds his age on second cut “Ziqqurat,” the central uniting factor is g-r-o-o-v-e, and Elepharmers have it down through “The Flood” and into side B’s classic stoner rocking “Foundation” and the driving “The Mule,” which shifts into laser-effects ahead of the fade that brings in closer “Stars Like Dust” for the last 10 minutes of the 47-minute offering. And yes, there’s some psychedelia there, but Elepharmers stay pretty clearheaded on the whole in such a way as to highlight the sci-fi theme that seems to draw the songs together as much as the riffage. More focus on narrative can only help bring that out more, but I’m not sure I’d want that at the expense of the basic songwriting, which isn’t at all broken and thus requires no fixing.

Elepharmers on Thee Facebooks

Electric Valley Records website

 

Nothing is Real, Only the Wicked are Pure

nothing is real only the wicked are pure

How do you recognize true misanthropy when you come across it? It doesn’t wear a special kind of facepaint, though it can. It doesn’t announce itself as such. It is a frame. Something genuinely antisocial and perhaps even hateful is a worldview. It’s not raise-a-claw-in-the-woods. It’s he-was-a-quiet-loner. And so, coming across the debut album from Los Angeles experimentalist doom outfit, one gets that lurking, creeping feeling of danger even though the music itself isn’t overly abrasive. But across the 2CD debut album, a sprawl of darkened, viciously un-produced fare that seems to be built around programmed drums at the behest of Craig Osbourne — who may or may not be the only person in the band and isn’t willing to say otherwise — plays out over the course of more than two hours like a manifesto found after the fact. Imagine chapters called “Hope is Weakness,” “Fingered by the Hand of God,” and “Uplift the Worthy (Destroy the Weak).” The last of those appears on both discs — as do several of the songs in different incarnations — as the track marries acoustic and eventual harder-edged guitar around murderous themes, sounding something like Godflesh might have if they’d pursued a darker path. Scary.

Nothing is Real on Thee Facebooks

Nothing is Real on Bandcamp

 

Warish, Down in Flames

warish down in flames

The fact that Warish are blasting hard punk through heavy blowout tones isn’t what everyone wants to talk about when it comes to the band. They want to talk about the fact that it’s Riley Hawk — of royal stock, as regards pro skateboarding — fronting the band. Well, that’s probably good for a built-in social media following — name recognition never hurts, and I don’t see a need to pretend otherwise — but it doesn’t do shit for the album itself. What matters about the album is that bit about the blasting blowout. With Down in Flames (on RidingEasy), the Oceanside three-piece follow-up their earlier-2019 debut EP with 11 tracks that touch on horror punk with “Bones” and imagine grunge-unhinged with “Fight” and “You’ll Abide,” but are essentially a display of tonal fuckall presented not to add to a brand, but to add the soundtrack to somebody’s blackout. It’s a good time and the drunkest, gnarliest, most-possibly-shirtless dude in the room is having it. Also he probably smells. And he just hugged you. Down in Flames gets high with that dude. That matters more than who anyone’s dad is.

Warish on Thee Facebooks

RidingEasy Records website

 

Mourn the Light & Oxblood Forge, Split

It’s a double-dose of New England doom as Connecticut’s Mourn the Light and Boston’s Oxblood Forge pair up for a split release. The former bring more material than the latter, particularly when one counts the digital-only bonus cover of Candlemass‘ “Bewitched,” but with both groups, it’s a case of what-you-see-is-what-you-get. Both groups share a clear affinity for classic metal — and yes, that absolutely extends to the piano-led drama of Mourn the Light‘s mournful “Carry the Flame” — but Oxblood Forge‘s take thereupon is rougher edged, harder in its tone and meaner in the output. Their “Screams From Silence” feels like something from a dubbed-and-mailed tape circa ’92. Mourn the Light’s “Drags Me Down” is cleaner-sounding, but no less weighted. I don’t think either band is out to change the world, or even to change doom, but they’re doing what they’re doing well and without even an ounce of pretense — well, maybe a little bit in that piano track; but it’s very metal pretense — and clearly from the heart. That might be the most classic-metal aspect of all.


Mourn the Light on Thee Facebooks

Oxblood Forge on Thee Facebooks

 

Those Furious Flames, HeartH

those furious flames hearth

Swiss heavy rockers Those Furious Flames push the boundaries of psychedelia, but ultimately remain coherent in their approach. Likewise, they very, very obviously are into some classic heavy rock and roll, but their take on it is nothing if not modern. And more, they thrive in these contradictions and don’t at all sound like their songs are in conflict with themselves. I guess that’s the kind of thing one can pull off after 15 years together on a fifth full-length, which HeartH (on Vincebus Eruptum) is for them. Perhaps it’s the fact that they let the energy of pieces like “VooDoo” and the boogie-laced “HPPD” carry them rather than try to carry it, but either way, it’s clearly about the songs first, and it works. With added flash of organ amid the full-sounding riffs, Those Furious Flames round out with the spacey “Visions” and earn every bit of the drift therein with a still-resonant vocal harmony. You might not get it all the first time, but listening twice won’t be at all painful.

Those Furious Flames on Thee Facebooks

Vincebus Eruptum Recordings BigCartel store

 

Mantra Machine, Heliosphere

mantra machine heliosphere

This is what it’s all about. Four longer-form instrumentalist heavy psych jams that are warm in tone and want nothing so much as to go out wandering and see what they can find. Through “Hydrogen,” “Atmos,” “Delta-V” and “Heliosphere,” Amsterdam-based three-piece Mantra Machine want nothing for gig-style vitality, but their purpose isn’t so much to electrify as to find that perfect moment of chill and let it go, see where it ends up, and they get there to be sure. Warm guitar and bass tones call to mind something that might’ve come out of the Netherlands at the start of this decade, when bands like Sungrazer and The Machine were unfolding such fluidity as seemed to herald a new generation of heavy psychedelia across Europe. That generation took a different shape — several different shapes, in the end — but Mantra Machine‘s Heliosphere makes it easy to remember what was so exciting about that in the first place. Total immersion. Total sense of welcoming. Totally human presence without speaking a word. So much vibe. So much right on.

Mantra Machine on Thee Facebooks

Mantra Machine on Bandcamp

 

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The Cosmic Dead to Release Scottish Space Race Sept. 20; Euro Tour Announced

Posted in Whathaveyou on August 21st, 2019 by JJ Koczan

Hey-ho, space muffins and dwellers of the reaches between planets! Gather round the ol’ meteorite and hear good tidings from Glasgow’s The Cosmic Dead, who’ll issue their new full-length, Scottish Space Race, on Sept. 20 through the subspace receiver array known terrestrially as Riot Season Records. Get groovy, my little symptoms of the universe, because the writing’s in your eyes, but so’s the sunshine, and it rarely sounds brighter than when The Cosmic Dead get their jam jammy.

They’ll do the Euro thing in celebration of the offering, hitting it from then until, you know, pretty much whenever, man.

Dudes be like:

The Cosmic Dead Scottish Space Race

THE COSMIC DEAD ? SCOTTISH SPACE RACE ? NEW ALBUM AND EU TOUR

Heavy psych experimentalists The Cosmic Dead’s eighth album – Scottish Space Race – is set to be released on September 20th via Riot Season Records on Gatefold 2xLP / CD and has been mastered by John Mcbain (Monster Magnet, Wellwater Conspiracy).

The album was recorded in their Glasgow HQ with cosmic sound guru Luigi Pasquini, four sprawling chunks of music recorded live amongst a run of momentous late night festival appearances in the summer of 2018. Scottish

Space Race is the first The Cosmic Dead release to feature the drumming of Tommy Duffin (Headless Kross) and the lap-steel synthesizer yowls of Russell Andrew Gray (Girl Sweat) alongside long-time cosmicians Omar Aborida and James T Mckay.

To accompany the release the band is set to embark on a run of dates across the UK and Europe this autumn.

SCOTTISH SPACE RACE TOUR DATES

SEPTEMBER
17 UK HUDDERSFIELD ? The Parish
18 UK LONDON ? The Lexington
19 BE BRUSSELS ? Magasin 4
20 NL UTRECHT ? DB’s
21 DE BAMBERG ? Pizzini
22 PL WROCLAW ? D.K. Luksus
24 DE BERLIN ? Urban Spree
26 SL LJUBLJANA ? Gromka
27 HK ZAGREB ? Mochvara
28 HU SZEGED ? Jazz Kocsma
30 RO BUCHAREST ? Q-Fest Quantic Club

OCTOBER
01 RO CLUJ-NAPOCA ? Subform
02 RO TIMISOARA ? Capcana
03 AT WIEN ? Viper Room
04 IT VERONA ? Stoner Mafia
05 IT BOLOGNA ? Krakatoa Festival
08 FR PARIS ? Supersonic
09 FR LILLE ? La Bulle Café / MFM
10 FR ROUEN ? Les 3 Pieces
11 UK BRISTOL ? The Lanes

NOVEMBER
14 UK BEDFORD ? Esquires
15 UK FALMOUTH ? The Fish Factory
16 UK BATH ? St James Wine Vaults
17 UK NEWCASTLE ? Brave Exhibitions Festival

More Dates TBA

https://www.facebook.com/thecosmicdead/
https://thecosmicdead.bandcamp.com/
http://cosmicdead.com/
http://www.riotseason.com
https://www.facebook.com/riotseasonrecords

The Cosmic Dead, Scottish Space Race album trailer

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Ommadon Announce Breakup

Posted in Whathaveyou on October 18th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

ommadon

I guess there’s something to be said for minimalism, and with a posted picture of a ship on the rocks and a statement that puts it definitively as ‘Ommadon is dead,’ one could hardly accuse Glaswegian megadrone two-piece Ommadon of not getting their point across. David Tobin and Ewan Mackenzie call it quits after a 10-year run that produced eight self-recorded full-length albums released through Dry Cough RecordsMedusa Crush RecordingsAt War with False Noise, and others, as well as splits with ColtsbloodLegion of Andromeda, and more.

Their latest offering, End Times, was issued in May, and while with that title one might wonder if there was some element of self-reflection on the band’s part, the harsh rumble and vicious crash they emitted through the two side-consuming pieces — titled “A” and “B” — was nothing if not outwardly brutal.

Ommadon‘s last show would seem to have been in August as part of the Break the Chains festival in Leeds, and though their own announcement of their breakup is pretty barebones, Dry Cough‘s is more emblematic of the response the band got and how deeply their music affected their listeners. You can stream End Times at the bottom of this post, and here’s that ship and the statements from band and label:

ommadon breakup

Ommadon is Dead

There is no place for magic in this fool’s paradise. Ommadon is dead.

Dry Cough Records on Ommadon:

Ommadon is dead. Long live Ommadon.

I consider myself very lucky to have worked with Tobin and Ewan on three of their records. They’re excellent people and a truly amazing band who have played a huge part in helping Dry Cough establish itself in the UK underground.
I’ll be forever grateful to them for taking a chance on allowing DC to help release ‘V’ back in 2014.

Ommadon and their music mean an awful lot to me. Today is a sad day.

End Times.

Ommadon was:
David Tobin (guitar)
Ewan Mackenzie (drums, keyboards)

https://www.facebook.com/ommadondoom/
https://twitter.com/ommadondoom
https://www.drycoughrecords.com/
http://facebook.com/DryCoughRecords

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The Cosmic Dead to Release Psych is Dead April 21

Posted in Whathaveyou on March 3rd, 2017 by JJ Koczan

the cosmic dead

Glaswegian heavy psych jammers The Cosmic Dead will release their new album, Psych is Dead, on April 21 through Riot Season Records. It’s a pretty bold declaration for a band to make, particularly a band who are so, you know, psych, but they’d probably know better than most as to the life-status. Dead or alive, one imagines the three extended tracks Psych is Dead will follow suit with the band’s past work in being soaked in lysergic vibes, and if there is indeed a radical turn to be found, it will be duly weird one way or another. You can see the limited CD and vinyl editions below, and it seems like a pretty safe bet they’ll go shortly after their release, if not before it.

Which I suppose would be an argument for psych being alive. Funny how that works.

Riot Season sent the following down the PR wire, tour dates included:

the-cosmic-dead-psych-is-dead

The Cosmic Dead New Album // 2017 Spring Euro Tour

‘Psych Is Dead’ is the sixth full length album from the band, the glowing embers of a a few days spent recording in a sweaty Sardinian kitchen overlooking the Mediterranean Sea. Soon to be available on LP and CD via Riot Season Records, ‘Psych Is Dead’ is an aural exploration of their tumultuous universe.

Formed in 2010, The Cosmic Dead are a quartet from Glasgow, Scotland who share their music through good vibes and better vibrations. Known for their improv, chaos strewn, Buckfast smashed against the wall take on space music, they have roamed from Roadburn to Las Vegas, Dundee to Bangalore with each album offering a meditative window into a certain time and space.

The album will be coming out on CD (Digipack 500 copies) and two vinyl editions. The main vinyl release will be a white vinyl edition limited to 700 copies for the world. Along with that will be a mail order only edition of 300 copies pressed on swanky silver vinyl via the webshop and bandcamp site. Full details on preorders and all that stuff will follow soon.

artist: THE COSMIC DEAD
title: ‘Psych Is Dead’
catalogue # REPOSELP420/REPOSECD420
format: Vinyl LP & CD
label: Riot Season
release date: April 21st 2017

Tracklisting
A. Nuraghe (21:54)
B1. Psych Is Dead (8:23)
B2. #FW (15: 28)

The band will be embarking on a selection of dates across Europe to celebrate the release

APRIL
22 UK – Liverpool – Wrong Fest
23 UK – Prestatyn – Safe As Milk
25 BE – Brussels – Magasin 4
27 DE – Dresden – Sabotage
28 PL – Warsaw – Klub Hydrozagadka
30 DE – Berlin – Deserfest

MAY
02 DK – Copenhagen – KB18
03 SE – Malmo – Plan B
04 SE – Stockholm – Obaren
05 SE – Gothenburg – Truckstop
06 DK – Aalborg – 1000FRYD
07 DE – Kiel – Die Kieler Schaubude
09 DE – Leipzig – AKKO
10 AT – Vienna – Das Bach
11 HR – Zagreb – Vintage Bar
12 SI – LlubLjana – Klub Gromka
13 AT – Innsbruck – PMK
14 AT – Salzburg – Rockhouse
16 IT – Zero Branco – Altroquando
17 IT – Parma – Titty Twister
18 IT – Torino – Blah Blah
19 IT – Ravenna – Bronson
20 IT – Milano – Bloom
23 FR – Paris – Gibus
24 BE – Ghent – Psych9000 Fest
25 UK – Brighton – Green Door Store
27 UK – London – Raw Power Festival
28 UK – Leeds – Karma Fest

More dates TBC

https://www.facebook.com/events/1809616272695568/
https://thecosmicdead.bandcamp.com/
http://www.facebook.com/thecosmicdead
http://thecosmicdead.com/
http://www.riotseason.com
https://www.facebook.com/riotseasonrecords
https://twitter.com/riotseasonrecs

The Cosmic Dead, Psych is Dead album trailer

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Dead Otter Release Debut EP Pathfinder

Posted in Whathaveyou on November 2nd, 2016 by JJ Koczan

First of all, it’s not like Dead Otter are advocating for otter murder. They make a point to mention their otter-friendliness, but they never called themselves Kill Otters or something like that. Maybe bassist Gav Riddell had a pet otter at one point and it died and he decided to name the band in its honor. Or maybe Omar Aborida, who also plays in The Cosmic Dead, journeyed into the woods outside Glasgow — note: find out if there are woods outside Glasgow; don’t there have to be? — and made a special otter friend. I’m just saying, the name Dead Otter calls to mind a pretty gruesome image, roadkill and all that, but could be worse.

The Scottish four-piece’s debut EP, Pathfinder, builds off jammy impulses toward heavy psychedelic rock that retains an open feel — see “The Whangy,” which feels as much indebted tonally to Ween as Hendrix — and is available now to stream in full. You can see its flat-out amazing cover art below, and while I hope it gets pressed to CD for that alone, I wouldn’t mind a copy of these tracks for the archive either. Take a listen on the player below and you’ll hear why. Some potential here:

dead-otter-pathfinder-700

Dead Otter – Pathfinder

Dead Otter are an exploratory rock outfit based in Glasgow, crafting jams since rock music was invented in 1995. Influences range from such pre-95 heavyweights as Hawkwind to Gong, Black Sabbath, Captain Beyond, Led Zeppelin and The Sensational Alex Harvey band.

Over time the band has evolved into the current line up of John Riddell on Guitar and Vocals, Gav Riddell on Bass, Scott Falconer (Skeleton Gong, Los Destructos) on drums and Omar Aborida (The Cosmic Dead) on Guitar. This line up has just released a selection of Otter classics (Pathfinder EP) and are looking to follow up with a full length LP in 2017.

PS. Also should be noted that we’re 100% Otter friendly

Dead Otter, Pathfinder tracklist:
1. Stoner Devil 06:24
2. Open my eyes.. seen enough now 06:49
3. The Whangy 03:07
4. Pathfinder 07:53

Band Members:
John Riddell – Guitar / Vocals
Gav Riddell – Bass
Scott Falconer – Drums
Omar Aborida – Guitar

https://www.facebook.com/deadotterband/
https://dead-otter.bandcamp.com/releases

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