Onhou Stream Endling LP in Full; Album out Nov. 30 on Lay Bare Recordings & Tartarus Records

Posted in audiObelisk on November 13th, 2019 by JJ Koczan

onhou

Tucked away up north in the Netherlands is the churning, grueling four-piece unit Onhou, whose tenet of bringing atmosludge to a shining-black level of extremity results in an ambience as punishing as their sheer tonal crush. Their debut album is titled Endling — which sounds harmless enough as a title until you attempt to define the word; is it ‘child of the end,’ as in what comes after, or the nascent ending itself? — and is seeing release Nov. 30 through Lay Bare Recordings and Tartarus Records on LP and tape, respectively, and it collects three extended pieces for a vinyl-ready 38-minute run that, to its credit, feels longer. As Onhou follow their 2018 self-titled EP, which was comprised of two 10-minute tracks, they plunge deep into brutalist lurch, conjuring a trench of tone seemingly in order the cast the listener into it. At 17 minutes, “Dire” is the opener and longest track (immediate points), and while its most skull-cavingly heavy moments are offset with minimalist droning — plenty of time for such things, certainly — it still seems to push Onhou further into cavernous reaches, setting up not just the dynamic of the subsequent “March/Retreat” (10:50), but the cavernous and blackened aspects of “Silence” (10:44) as well.

I suppose if one wanted to work hard enough, Onhou might be shoehorned into being considered a post-metal band, but that’s hardly the entirety of what’s happening across Endling on aesthetic terms. onhou endlingThere’s doom, sludge, black metal, post-metal, drone and a cold, harsh delivery to it all that seems only to highlight the cruelty behind its purposes. It’s not a stretch to imagine the “end” they’re depicting in these songs is the age through which we’re living, and while humanity has struggled and survived before — World War I was the end of the world in Europe and that was 100 years ago, so really we’re just all in the aftermath of that — it’s hard to see a way forward from things like the accelerating death of the planet on which we live and the greed of our corporate and political overlords that seems to rape the way fish swim. One could go on in making a case for Endling as a news report from the Netherlands bureau, but Onhou don’t seem overtly sociopolitical in the sense of making a commentary. Lyrics are delivered in guttural shouts or screams across the three songs, when they’re there at all, so it’s hard to say for sure, but their argument seems more impressionist than statistical, and their presentation is well suited to making it, underscoring the idea that it doesn’t matter if we go out fighting, we’re still going out. Like a candle goes out.

This, coupled with a volume-as-ritual sensibility and a nod that offers little route for escape from its hypnotic undulation, makes Endling a deceptively multifaceted affair. I don’t actually know the themes with which Onhou are working. I could be way off in my interpretation — everything is politics to me these days — but even if I am, it doesn’t really matter, since the point stands all the more that Endling is open to and stands up to various readings from the listener. That in itself is a strength of the work and while I won’t discount the importance of clarity when clarity is warranted, the murk in which these songs dwell feels very much like a natural habitat for their consuming and devastating/devastated sonic manifestation.

You can stream the album in its entirety below. I wish you luck on your journey.

Enjoy:

Releasing their first full-length ENDLING, ONHOU is expanding on the hopelessness of their arduous sound, fighting against the inevitable. ONHOU is a Dutch sludge/doom metal band formed in Groningen, consisting of (ex)members from Ortega, Grinding Halt and Wolvon. The four piece scrutinizes dark territories, devising an immense sound utilizing two vocalists, down-tuned guitars and pulsating electronic elements. These bleak atmospheres serve to shape a dismal and forsaken uneasiness.

After a well received EP released by Tartarus Records in 2018, ONHOU returned to the studio to record their first full-length titled ENDLING. Endling will find you dragged into discomfort with ONHOU’s bulking riffs, dark electronics and thundering rhythms. One can try to find reason or refuge, waging a war with all of your might while it burns the heart out of you. But one will only find loss, without a trace of existence.

There is no legacy. There will be no judgment.

This is ENDLING.

LBR 026
Release date 30 November
Pre-order open 15 November
150 copies on black – 100 copies on white vinyl

TAR145
Release date tba
Edition of 100 cassettes housed in a diecut cardstock case.

Tracklist:
1. Dire
2. March/Retreat
3. Silence

Onhou is:
Henk Wobbes – Bass
Alex Loots – Guitar/vocals
Arnold Havinga – Drums
Florian Studdel – Keys/vocals

Onhou on Thee Facebooks

Onhou on Bandcamp

Lay Bare Recordings on Thee Facebooks

Lay Bare Recordings on Instagram

Lay Bare Recordings website

Tartarus Records on Thee Facebooks

Tartarus Records on Instagram

Tartarus Records on Bandcamp

Tags: , , , , , ,

Menhir Change Name to Farer; Debut Album Coming in 2020

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

Seems like maybe it’s the best case scenario imaginable when the work you’re doing changes who you are so much that you need to find a new collective identity to present it. Thus it is that Groningen, the Netherlands, trio Menhir have become Farer. The band formed in 2012 had two EPs to their credit under the now-former moniker, and the story goes that during the writing process for their first full-length they felt that the direction the material was taking warranted a shift in name. Sounds simple enough, right? I have to wonder though what that will actually translate to in terms of sound. You might recall Tartarus Records released their 2014 Uberlith II tape (discussed here) in an actual plaster brick, and its follow-up, 2016’s Hiding in Light, in a block of solid rubber. Good fun all around.

And more to come next year, it would seem, as Farer make their debut. Details are scant on that beyond the existence of such a thing, but here’s the announcement of the name change anyhow as per the PR wire, and a snippet posted on Farer‘s Bandcamp that proffers plenty of foreboding atmosphere:

farer (Photo by Niels Verwijk)

Doom/noise trio MENHIR finishes recording new record; changes name into Farer

The past two and a half years the Dutch doom/noise trio MENHIR spent most of their time writing new songs for the band’s debut full-length. The record, which is set to be released next year, is recorded, mixed and at the time of writing being mastered.

The band has chosen to go further using a new moniker: Farer. “Our new material is such a far cry from the stoner/sludge we started out with as MENHIR. It is a different beast now,” explains Frank, one of the bass players of the band. “We are still making heavy and compelling music, but doing it from a very different approach. The band has evolved into a different entity and needed a new banner. In a way, it marks the beginning of a new chapter”.

At the moment, the band can’t give away too many details. “However, what you can expect are drawn-out, oppressive and compelling songs. Like we mentioned before, as far as style, atmosphere, and composition one can talk of a definite style change. We went so much further.

We worked together with photographer/artist Niels Verwijk again as well, who made beautiful original work for the album”, says Frank. The band has worked with Verwijk before on the video for Hiding in Light, of the sophomore EP, and he has produced work for acts such as Monnik, BARST and Ortega. Frank continues; “Niels has an extraordinary relationship with the dark. His material is cutting and grating. A perfect match”

The release is planned for 2020. In the meantime Farer will play new material in a couple of venues across The Netherlands. The first show will be in club for the international underground, Vera on December the 21st. Also on the bill that night are conceptual black metal band Grey Aura.

https://www.facebook.com/farer.band/
https://www.instagram.com/farer_band/
https://farer.bandcamp.com/

Tags: , , ,

Ortega Announce Sacred States Release; Stream New Track “Maelstrom”

Posted in Whathaveyou on August 5th, 2016 by JJ Koczan

“Maelstrom” sets a raw post-metal vibe for Ortega‘s impending second album, Sacred States, and as the first audio made public from the Netherlands-based outfit for the follow-up to their 2013 debut, The Serpent Stirs (review here) — they also released the 18-minute single “Crows” (review here) in 2014 — it shows progression in its rougher edges and less cerebral take overall — as though the Groningen four-piece decided to cut ties with their preconceptions and just go for being as expressive as possible. That’s a hard vibe not to dig, and guest appearances from Gnaw Their Tongues and Primitive Man‘s Ethan Lee McCarthy only add intrigue for the rest of the album.

Release date is Oct. 5, but preorders for the vinyl are available now from Narshardaa Records, and Sacred States will also be out on CD through Consouling Sounds and tape through Tartarus Records.

Details go like this:

ortega sacred states art

Ortega – Sacred States

New track ‘Maelstrom’ + vinyl pre-orders

It has been quiet for a long time.

We are thrilled we can finally announce the release of our second full length ‘Sacred States’.

Since 2007, Ortega have been exploring the murky depths of humanity’s longing for the horizon. Perilous courses which drag carcasses ashore, sojourns that tell of the bells that chime on the sands below, collisions of doom, sludge and noise that tell tales of abyssal mankind.

Now, Sacred States is the first glance upwards. But whereas the depths below are finite, the chasms above ridicule every human attempt to realise itself. Whether he looks above or inside, the void remains. The tentative grasps into the great unknown will never hold anything but pain, and Ortega recount every step into the understanding of this fate that we turn away from more often than not. The hollow is here:

Recorded by John Bart van der Wal and mastered by James Plotkin.

Featuring contributions by Gnaw Their Tongues and Ethan Lee McCarthy of Primitive Man fame.

Sacred States is a collaborative effort between Consouling Sounds (CD), Narshardaa Records (Vinyl) and Tartarus Records (Cassette).

Vinyl pressing info:
100 multicolored splatter vinyl
100 clear vinyl
300 black vinyl

Pre-orders for Sacred States vinyl have started at Narshardaa Records: http://narshardaa.bigcartel.com/product/ortega-sacred-states-2xlp-pre-order

Release date: October 5th

https://www.facebook.com/ortegadoom
https://ortegaband.bandcamp.com/
https://www.instagram.com/ortegadoom/
http://consouling.be/
http://narshardaa.bigcartel.com/
http://tartarusrecords.com/

Tags: , , , , , , ,

Menhir’s Uberlith II Tape Available to Preorder

Posted in Whathaveyou on July 4th, 2014 by JJ Koczan

I’m not even sure how the logistics on this one work. There are to be 50 copies of Dutch trio Menhir‘s Uberlith II EP released by Tartarus Tapes on Aug. 5, and they’re available now for preorder. That part is pretty straightforward. I guess what I’m getting hung up on is the fact that said cassette will arrive encased in a plaster brick, which the buyer will then have to break open — gently, presumably — in order to free the tape itself and make it available for listening. Practical? No. No it is not. Unique? Yes indeed.

The socially conscious — if their choices of samples are anything to go by, anyway — burl-rocking three-piece which features bassist/vocalist Arjan van Dalen, bassist/vocalist Frank de Boer and drummer Sven Jurgens (the latter two also of Ortega), self-recorded Uberlith II and released it late last year on handmade mini-CDs (which they sold out), so it would seem they have a thing for stylized packaging. If nothing else, a plaster brick certainly qualifies as that.

Menhir also released a video for the opener “Mt. Aloha” from the EP last year that can be seen here. Along with notes for preorders from O and Bitcho, Tartarus sent this info on Uberlith II down the PR wire:

TAR036 Menhir – Uberlith II

Around the corner of Queens Of The Stone Age and next to the village of Asterix live the three-piece that is Menhir. It’s a well-picked name for a band that is often described to be ‘as solid as a rock’. Adjectives like ‘heavy, big-ass and overwhelming’ are also often used, thanks to the use of two bass players and one drummer. Formed in 2012 they play a brutal mix of southern and stoner rock. (Feat. members of Ortega).

Edition of 50 tapes
Encased in a solid plaster brick.

NOTE: You will need to break the packaging to get the tape out! Breaking the case is at your own risk!!

http://tartarusrecords.com/album/uberlith-ii
https://www.facebook.com/Menhirband

Menhir, Uberlith II (2014)

Tags: , , , , , ,

Duuude, Tapes! Ortega, Crows

Posted in Duuude, Tapes! on April 22nd, 2014 by JJ Koczan

Seems odd to say it, but Crows isn’t the first 18-minute single that Netherlands-based post-metal four-piece Ortega have released in their time together. The last one was late-2012’s The Serpent Stirs (review here), and as the follow-up to that and reportedly the precursor to a new full-length album, Crows winds up making a lot of sense with its limited tape release through Tartarus Records, a black-ink-on-grey-box unfolding with a handmade feel to match the Groningen group’s intricate heavy/ambient tradeoffs throughout the song’s 18 minutes. The program repeats on both sides of the tape, which has crows and branches printed on it, and for what’s purported to be a demo track, the sound is awfully full and the band is awfully tight, leaving me to wonder what they might look to change going into the album — that is, how much more there is to build on from what they have here. It’s almost unfair to use the word “cassingle” for a song that’s en EP unto itself, but technically I suppose that’s what Crows is.

And taken on the level of a single, it’s a strikingly cohesive one, with guitarists Alex Loots and Richard Postma trading between thick waves of riffing and sparse atmospherics, ambient squigglies floating into the sonic space of a mix that, again, is done little justice by being designated as a demo. Bassist Frank de Boer distinguishes himself in the song’s midsection with a surprisingly warm tone, while drummer Sven Jurgens manages to keep the proceedings fluid for the most part without falling into the trap of the Isis drumbeat (you know the one!), which is one of the core challenges at this point of post-metal percussion styles — how to make it not sound like Panopticon. Postma handles vocals as well when they arise, his assured growl topping the later payoff of a fervent instrumental build playing out in a rising tide of start-stop chugging; a measured, restrained groove finally letting loose just in time for the growls to reemerge. For those familiar with the style, Ortega‘s take won’t be wholly strange, but Crows remains a solid execution of the progressive aspects of post-metal and even over its extended course doesn’t dull the attention more than it intends to do with hypnotic repetition of parts.

It’s easy to imagine “Crows” paired with another piece of similar length as opposing vinyl sides as Ortega‘s next long-player, but I guess we have some time yet before we get there. Fair enough. Maybe by then I’ll have it figured out what exactly makes Crows a demo.

Ortega, “Crows” from Crows (2014)

Ortega on Thee Facebooks

Ortega on Bandcamp

Tags: , , , , ,

Ortega Release New Demo “Crows”; New Album Coming Soon

Posted in Whathaveyou on April 1st, 2014 by JJ Koczan

After completely selling through their run of vinyl and tapes for their 2013 single-song EP outing, The Serpent Stirs (review here), Netherlands-based post-doom crushers Ortega have announced work in progress on a sophomore full-length that will serve as the follow-up to 2010’s 1634 — though with The Serpent Stirs and 2012’s A Flame Never Rises on its Own between, you could hardly call the four-piece inactive — set to release later this year. The new 18-minute demo track, “Crows,” is the first audio to surface related to the album.

Tartarus Records will handle the cassette release of the new record, while Black Bow Records takes on the vinyl. “Crows” will also be issued as a limited cassingle in time for the band’s appearance at Roadburn next weekend.

In the meantime, “Crows” can be streamed below. The PR wire has it like this:

ORTEGA – “Crows” demo streaming now.

A murder of crows, a blackened swarm of liberation, if not from death. This immortality you speak of, three-horned one, gauges out the spirit’s eye. I have been wandering the astral plains and found nothing but stalemates of shapes and impressions. The evolution which I have been taught from the stumbling age onward brought me nothing but fear. It is time to start looking inward. Stare down and rise.

The murky depths of Ortega’s sound drag a darker yet more poignant carcass ashore with Crows, their latest recording. A collision of doom, sludge and noise tells a story of man looking inward and onward.

Crows will be released as a very limited cassette by Tartarus Records on April 10th, coinciding with our show at Roadburn in Tilburg, The Netherlands.

Crows is a part of our yet unnamed album, to be released later this year by Black Bow Records on vinyl and Tartarus Records on cassette.

Thank you.

https://www.facebook.com/ortegadoom/
http://ortegaband.bandcamp.com/merch
https://twitter.com/ortega_band
http://tartarusrecords.com/
http://www.blackbowrecords.com/

Ortega, “Crows” Demo

Tags: , , , , , ,

The Obelisk Radio Add of the Week: Ortega, The Serpent Stirs

Posted in Radio on March 6th, 2013 by JJ Koczan

I guess on a basic stylistic level, Dutch post-metallers Ortega aren’t really hitting on anything groundbreaking, but aside from its title being the best euphemism I’ve heard yet this week for getting a boner, I chose to feature their 18-minute single-song EP, The Serpent Stirs, for the basic reason that it was just what I needed today, just when I needed it. This afternoon, in a swirl of office chaos and lacking indoor voices, I plugged in my headphones and it was like I had just boarded a plane. Off I went.

The Groningen outfit delve pretty deeply into Panopticon-era Isisisms, but are tonally thicker and their requisite ambient break in “The Serpent Stirs” — the sole track for which the EP is named — features a surprisingly effective bluesy solo and some righteously grooving bass work. Again, it ain’t saving the world, but the build in The Serpent Stirs was enough to remind me of what was so appealing about this kind of stuff when it first started appearing, and enough to make me want to check out Ortega‘s other releases, the 2012 A Flame Never Rises on its Own EP and 2010’s 1634 debut full-length.

And when it comes to The Obelisk Radio, a big part of the reason I got it going in the first place was for just those moments, when you feel like your brain is going to fucking collapse and you need to punch out immediately and head somewhere else, mentally if not physically, so as The Serpent Stirs filled that role for me today, it seems only appropriate to make it the Add of the Week.

The band is Richard Postma (vocals, guitar), Alex Loots (guitar), Frank de Boer (bass) and Sven Jurgens (drums), and they’ve got vinyl and CDs and such for sale on the Ortega Bandcamp, from whence the following player also comes:

Tags: , , , , ,