Desertfest London 2022 Announces Lineup

Posted in Whathaveyou on April 30th, 2021 by JJ Koczan

desertfest london 2022 banner

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Note Slomosa. Note Wolftooth. I would expect both to be touring Europe around this time. Green Lung too, for that matter.

There’s no way this isn’t going to be one to remember and it is my sincere hope to be there for it. Maybe I’ll see you there. Maybe we can hug.

Kudos and thanks to the Desertscene crew — Sarika, Jake and Reece — on and for a job well done.

Here’s looking forward:

desertfest london 2022

DESERTFEST LONDON ANNOUNCE FULL LINE-UP FOR 2022 ·

A DECADE IN THE DESERT
CELEBRATING TEN YEARS WITH THE BIGGEST & MOST DIVERSE LINEUP YET

EXCLUSIVE UK PERFORMANCES FROM
WITCHCRAFT
(FIRST UK SHOW IN OVER A DECADE)
and
SHELLAC

As the home for all the things truly heavy, leading independent UK festival Desertfest have announced their full line up for 2022, which will take place in Camden, London from Friday 29th April – Sunday 1st May.

Celebrating their tenth year, next year’s festival promises to be their biggest and most diverse yet. Covering six venues across the heart of Camden and now including a full line up at The Roundhouse on both Saturday 30thApril and Sunday 1st May.

Founding owner of Desertfest Reece Tee comments, “Desertfest is 10 years old! I’m so proud that our independent festival has stood the test of time. What we have created is special, a decade of great bands, great friends and amazing memories. This year’s line up is a true reflection of how diverse Desertfest has become and with such a loyal audience, Desertfest can champion the underground for decades more to come.”

Headlining the Friday will be Swedish heavy rock masters Witchcraft, with a UK exclusive performance and their first UK show in over a decade.
Saturday’s headliners are none other than Chicago’s Shellac, who in another UK exclusive will be bringing their experimental post-hardcore sound to the Roundhouse. Fronted by the iconic Steve Albini, Shellac are one of those bands we all need to experience live, at least once. Whilst closing the festival on Sunday will be UK doom legends Electric Wizard, whose heavy sound encompasses the spirit of Desertfest.

Other acts confirmed include the likes of Corrosion Of Conformity, Orange Goblin and Truckfighters who all played the festival in its debut year in 2012 and there are further UK exclusive performances from hardcore-punks Integrity and the Ukrainian psych space rock trio Somali Yacht Club.

The festival will also see desert legends Brant Bjork and Nick Oliveri’s new band Stoner, who will be playing the Electric Ballroom and doomed heavy metallers Khemmis making their UK debut at The Underworld.

Please see below for the full Desertfest 2022 line up / stage splits.
Tickets are on sale now and are available at www.desertfest.co.uk

NEW TICKETS FOR 2022
Weekend Ticket (all venues) – £132 +fees
Friday Day Ticket (all venues) – £45 +fees
Saturday Day Ticket (all venues) – £50 +fees
Sunday Day Ticket (all venues) – £50 +fees
Saturday Roundhouse only – £35 +fees
Existing ticket holders from 2020’s postponed event have a number of options as the festival is now larger, with an added Roundhouse line-up on Saturday 30th April & Sunday 1st May.

EXISTING WEEKEND + DAY TICKET HOLDERS OPTIONS
Full refund
Weekend roll-over to 2022 without Roundhouse upgrade (access only to Electric Ballroom, Underworld, Black Heart & The Dev)
Weekend roll-over to 2022 with Roundhouse upgrade – £15 +fees
Day ticket holders can upgrade to a full weekend ticket – £92 + fees – or will be issued a refund. Upgrade options only available until May 7th ’21.
For any ticketing enquiries please contact sarika@desertscene.co.uk

Desertfest 2022’s artwork is hand drawn by legendary artist Arik Roper who has created illustrations for the likes of Sleep, Earth, Sunn O))), High on Fire, Kvelertak, Windhand and many more. As always, posters and other merch will be available to buy at the festival.

https://www.facebook.com/events/464163361105416/
http://www.desertscene.co.uk/support
https://www.facebook.com/DesertfestLondon
https://www.instagram.com/desertfest_london/
https://twitter.com/DesertFest
https://www.desertfest.co.uk/

Electric Wizard, Live at Desertfest London 2016

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Cvltfest 2021 Announces Two-Day Lineup for November

Posted in Whathaveyou on April 20th, 2021 by JJ Koczan

cvltfest 2021 art banner

This is going to be a very heavy couple of days. Put together by the reignited Lizard King Promotions and Riffolution Promotions, the upcoming 2021 edition of Cvltfest will follow on from September’s previously announced Riffolution Festival (lineup here) in Manchester. Booked at Cafe Indie in Scunthorpe — also in the relative north of England, east of Manchester and Sheffield, bit south from Leeds, etc. — on Nov. 13 and 14, there is some spillover between the two events, as Desert Storm, Pijn, Ritual King, Ohhms and Ten Foot Wizard will play both, but hell’s bells, can you imagine complaining about that? These are festivals. Happening on Earth! Wonder of wonders!

It’s been three years since Cvltfest was last held, but part of bringing back Lizard King Promotions from out of whatever cavern was trapping it is indeed breathing new life into the event, and you can see in the lineup below, they’re not half-assing it whatsoever. This and Riffolution together are complementary beasts emphasizing just how slammed and slamming the UK heavy underground is.

Fucking a:

cvltfest 2021 poster

Cvltfest 2021 – Nov. 13-14 – Cafe Indie, Scunthorpe, UK

This is the 3rd rendition of Cvltfest having seen both Elephant Tree and Witchsorrow Headliner respectively in 2017 and 2018, 3 years have passed since including the year of the Rona.

Now after a long break break away Lizard King Promotions which turns 10 years old this May, makes a return with its most ambitious line up of riff worshiping titans ever.

Working alongside Riffolution Promotions who’ve who’ve collectively seen Riffolution Festival now fully sold out 5 months ahead of the event we now bring you Cvltfest 2021.

Event page: https://www.facebook.com/events/1155620918226438/

We’re so happy to have been working with Riffolution Promotions on such a heavy festival. Tickets are live now, so get them while they’re hot.

Tickets: lizardkingpromotions.bigcartel.com

Beautifully crafted poster artwork by Dominic Sohor Design and a line up consisting of:

SATURDAY – Black Tongue / Palm Reader / Ohhms / Pijn / Hundred Year Old Man / Gurt / Mastiff / King Witch / Ritual King / Mountain Caller / Barbarian Hermit / Blind Monarch

SUNDAY – Raging Speedhorn / Slabdragger / Ungraven / Ten Foot Wizard/ Desert Storm / Corrupt Moral Altar / Old Man Lizard / Battalions / Goblinsmoker / Voidlurker

https://www.facebook.com/LizardKingPromotions
https://lizardkingpromotions.bigcartel.com
http://instagram.com/lizardkingpromotions
https://twitter.com/LizardKingPromo
https://www.facebook.com/Riffolution/
https://riffolutionpromotions.bigcartel.com/

Raging Speedhorn, Hard to Kill (2020)

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Desertfest London 2020: I Mean, Seriously. God Damn.

Posted in Whathaveyou on January 20th, 2020 by JJ Koczan

desertfest london 2020 header

Even apart from how it relates to the other festivals under the Desertfest banner — Berlin, Belgium, New York — Desertfest London set an extremely high standard for itself last year, and it was obvious coming into Desertfest London 2020 that they’d have their work cut out for them in reaching those same heights. Their lineup isn’t finished yet, and of course we’ll see how it all looks when the day-schedule is fully unveiled, but bringing Lowrider on board to support their first release in 20 years, Refractions, is nothing if not significant — they played there in 2013 and were fantastic — but they’ll also be the the UK debut for Khemmis from the US and at least the first time at Desertfest for MaidaVale from Sweden. They’ve pretty much lost their minds and added 20 bands in a single shot here, so there’s plenty to dig into, but you’ll note King Witch, who are frickin’ awesome, as well as The Hazytones, Alunah and the slew of others taking part. They’re building a desert empire in Camden Town.

Has it been nine years already? I may have to start planning my return for year 10 if they’ll have me.

From thee social medias:

desertfest london 2020 poster

DESERTFEST ADDS 20 NAMES TO LONDON LINE-UP, INCLUDING GRAVEYARD AS NEXT HEADLINER

Tickets – https://dice.fm/festival/desertfest20

Desertfest is thrilled to be kicking off the new year in style with the apt number of 20 names added for our 9th edition this May. Sweden’s most beloved export of hard rock, the impeccable Graveyard will bring their unique bluesy tones to London as headliners of Desertfest London 2020. The Swedish family reunion continues as we welcome back one of the most synonymous desert rock (and Desertfest) bands, the iconic Lowrider return with not only a rare live performance, but their first record in almost two decades. A masterclass in the melting pot of genre fluidity comes from two-man powerhouse Big Business, whilst psychedelic stoner rock trio Somali Yacht Club will make the trip from Ukraine to play Desertfest for the first time.

Speaking of debuts we’ll play host to the first UK show for Denver melancholic doom outfit Khemmis and Sweden delivers once again with rock’n’roll four-piece MaidaVale. Elsewhere on the bill we are thrilled to welcome Your Highness, Hexis, FIREBREATHER, The Hazytones, Opium Lord, King Witch, GURT, Alunah, 1782, Tides Of Sulfur, Doomicidal, Under, A Gazillion Angry Mexicans and Dunes.

As you may have noticed, The Picturebooks have unfortunately had to cancel their performance at Desertfest due to a schedule conflict out of our control. However with more acts still to be unveiled, plus day tickets on sale soon there’s much more to come for our 9th edition.

Weekend tickets are on sale now via this link – https://link.dice.fm/desertfest20

Artwork by Piotr w. Osburne

https://www.facebook.com/events/464163361105416/
http://www.desertfest.co.uk/
https://www.facebook.com/DesertfestLondon
https://www.instagram.com/desertfest_london/

Lowrider, Ode to Io Deluxe Edition (2017)

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GURT Premiere “Weed it and Weep” from Bongs of Praise

Posted in audiObelisk on July 31st, 2019 by JJ Koczan

gurt live shot

I’ve said it more times than I can count over the 75 years I’ve been running this site (because you’re only as old as you feel), but charm goes a long way in my book. UK sludgehoisters GURT have it down, and their third full-length, Bongs of Praise, will see release Sept. 6 as an offering that manages to be both wildly heavy and brazenly fun, a debauched party record that takes neither itself nor you too seriously and ends up a good-time blister-raising 45 minutes of pummel and shove, seeming to capture just that very moment where you’re drunk enough that everything is awesome but the room hasn’t started to spin yet. You might also be high. Scratch that. You’re definitely high.

GURT have been raising hell for the better part of a decade at this point, which puts them ahead of many in London’s ultra-packed underground scene, and they’ve never lacked for a distinguishing factor in the raw fuckall of their approach, with screamer Gareth Kelly bringing forth a seemingly endless supply of weed puns — and even though I don’t really smoke, I fucking love weed puns; see “The Joint of No Return,” “Rolling Stoned,” and indeed the title of the album itself — over chugging, uptempo riffs that sacrifice no weight for movement, the band’s experience coming through in the it’s-a-given chemistry between guitarist Rich Williams, bassist David Blakemore and drummer Bill Jacobs both in the speedy cacophony of “Jazz Cabbage” (video posted here) and the more rolling pace of “Gauze and Effect.” gurt bongs of praiseThere’s no pretense to be had anywhere that GURT are shooting for anything more than having fun, and for as heavy, brash and downright nasty as Bongs of Praise is pretty much from intro “Dr. Strangeleaf” onward, they make the invitation to the listener to come along and, you know, also get high, plain to hear in their energetic rush.

Credit for that has to go in no small part to Jacobs, of course, but the riffs to which he’s playing are also straightforward enough to catch attention without wavering. “Weed it and Weep” — premiering below — launches the album after “Dr. Strangeleaf” and is willfully obnoxious like it’s about to get kicked out of the venue it’s playing, and though GURT will dig into various styles of bludgeonry throughout cuts like the gotta-be-an-inside-joke “Squidgy Black Slide” and the later, probably-als0-an-inside-joke “Marijuanarmchair” before rounding out with the title-track’s play off the tenets of epic metal, the unifying factor, screams aside, is the obvious glee with which GURT execute Bongs of Praise. This is a band having a blast doing what they do, and refusing to pretend otherwise. Why the hell would they?

Even if you’re the stand-in-the-back-of-the-room type, as I am, GURT make it easy to appreciate their hash-oil-drenched party vibe and stonerly worship. In its riffs, barks, weight and groove, Bongs of Praise is admirably conscious of who the band are in making it, and though they probably wouldn’t take this as a compliment, I mean it as one when I say they sound like they know what they’re doing, because for all its shenanigans, there’s a core of confidence and songwriting underneath that can be neither completely hidden nor faked when it isn’t there. I’m not saying GURT have matured — and I think “One Hit Wonder” backs me up on that — but just that their particular approach to stoner sludge has developed to a point where it is decidedly their own, whatever familiar elements might persist in it. In the end, that ends up just being part of the fun.

Check out “Weed it and Weep” on the player below, followed by a quick quote from the band and more from the PR wire.

And enjoy:

GURT, “Weed it and Weep”

GURT on “Weed it and Weep”:

We are proud to release the third track from ‘Bongs of Praise’ in new track ‘Weed it and Weep’. We have being playing it live for a year now since our Euro tour with Brume last summer, so some of our well-versed fans may already know it well, but finally we have the album version out in the world and sounding like an absolute rager!

They take the blues and groove of 70s rock and drag it backwards through the swamps of Louisiana. The drums are thunderous, the vocals demonic and the guitars down-tuned, down-tempo and down right sexy. This is not doom, this is not sludge: this is GURT.

In 2014, they unleashed their debut album ‘Horrendosaurus’ through independent label When Planets Collide, and which they promoted through a three week European tour with Dopethrone, as well returning home to a packed out audience to open Bloodstock’s second stage.

Released in 2017, their sophomore album ‘Skullossus’ explored darker and more menacing shades of sludge doom. Through a theatrical performance, their sound swelled in size as they toyed with their repertoire; adding rip-roaring, guttural vocals, psychedelic rhythms and classic rock’n’roll-worshipping riffs. On top of their two full-lengths and seven EPs, GURT have been relentlessly touring the UK and Europe, sharing the stage with the likes of Weedeater, Red Fang, Eyehategod, Black Tusk, Valient Thorr, Cough. In their own right way, they have cast their hypnotic savagery to the crowds of Bloodstock, Desertfest, Riffolution (UK) as well as Stonerhead (Salzburg) and 2019’s Monospace Fest (Paris)

GURT live:
08.29 – UK – COVENTRY, The Phoenix
08.30 – UK – FALMOUTH, The Fish Factory
08.31 – UK – MANCHESTER, Riff Fest
09.01 – UK – TBA
09.02 – UK – TBA
09.03 – UK – BRISTOL, The Old England
09.04 – UK – LONDON, MacBeth

GURT are:
Gareth Kelly – Vocals
Bill Jacobs – Drums
David Blakemore – Bass
Rich Williams – Guitar

GURT on Thee Facebooks

GURT on Bandcamp

GURT on Instagram

GURT Tumblr

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Gurt Post “Jazz Cabbage” Video; Bongs of Praise Coming Soon

Posted in Whathaveyou on May 28th, 2019 by JJ Koczan

I don’t think I knew it before, but Gurt‘s isn’t the first one I’ve seen and I think I might be a sucker for Lego-style animated videos. There’s always something new to discover about yourself. While I venture into solipsist meditations, you might check out the video in question which is for a short screamer called “Jazz Cabbage.” It’s probably about weed. It comes from Gurt‘s impending new full-length, Bongs of Praise, which likely also is about weed. Nothing wrong with working on a theme.

The shenanigans sludgers will release Bongs of Praise sometime in the coming months, which I assume means whenever the hell it’s done and they feel like it. Somehow a lack of specificity suits their aesthetic.

Info from the PR wire:

gurt

UK sludge purveyors GURT to release new album ‘Bongs Of Praise’ ; watch blistering first video now!

London party doom purveyors GURT announce the release of their third album ‘Bongs Of Praise’ and share a thundering first excerpt with the animated video for ‘Jazz Cabbage’!

They take the blues and groove of 70s rock and drag it backwards through the swamps of Louisiana. The drums are thunderous, the vocals demonic and the guitars down-tuned, down-tempo and down right sexy. This is not doom, this is not sludge: this is GURT.

The UK foursome’s wicked sense of humour bubbles at the surface of their latest release ‘Bongs of Praise’. Without any sense of irony, the band deliver sleaze in the best possible way, and first excerpt ‘Jazz Cabbage’ makes no exception and delivers a blistering, crushing minute-long sludge onslaught, enhanced by this fun animated video crafted by Dead Walk Designs.

GURT’s new album ‘Bongs Of Praise’ will see a release in the coming months, while the band are still on a hunt for a label to host their new sludgy adventures. Stay tuned as more details will be unveiled soon!

Since their genesis in 2010, the band have laced up their boots and stomped over everything you thought you might have known about them and the beloved conventions of metal. GURT collide their barbaric sound with lines of funk and tongue in cheek lyricism to mould what has been hailed as “party doom”. In 2014, they unleashed their debut album ‘Horrendosaurus’ through independent label When Planets Collide, and which they promoted through a three week European tour with Dopethrone, as well returning home to a packed out audience to open Bloodstock’s second stage.

Released in 2017, their sophomore album ‘Skullossus’ explores darker and more menacing shades of sludge doom. Through a theatrical performance, their sound swelled in size as they toyed with their repertoire; adding rip-roaring, guttural vocals, psychedelic rhythms and classic rock’n’roll-worshipping riffs. On top of their two full-lengths and seven EPs, GURT have been relentlessly touring the UK and Europe, sharing the stage with the likes of Weedeater, Red Fang, Eyehategod, Black Tusk, Valient Thorr, Cough. In their own right way, they have cast their hypnotic savagery to the crowds of Bloodstock, Desertfest, Riffolution (UK) as well as Stonerhead (Salzburg) and 2019’s Monospace Fest (Paris)

GURT are:
Gareth Kelly – Vocals
Bill Jacobs – Drums
David Blakemore – Bass
Rich Williams – Guitar

https://www.facebook.com/GURTsludge/
https://gurt.bandcamp.com/
https://www.instagram.com/gurtsludge/
https://gurtsludge.tumblr.com/

Gurt, “Jazz Cabbage” official video

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End of the World Festival 2018 Set for July 7 with Gurt, Chubby Thunderous, Trevor’s Head & More

Posted in Whathaveyou on June 4th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

The ultra-populated UK heavy underground celebrates its own next month with the second installment of the End of the World Festival. An all-dayer-type event set for July 7, it boasts a lineup featuring the likes of Gurt, Monolithian and Sergeant Thunderhoof, as well as Chubby Thunderous Bad Kush Masters, whose debut album should be along any minute now and thereby not nearly soon enough. Even apart from its most noteworthy names, the bill is pretty massive, so if you happen to be sailing into Plymouth early next month, maybe you drop anchor for a bit and spend an afternoon and an evening getting tore up listening to riffl

You could do much, much worse. Dig what the PR wire:

end of the world festival 2018

End of the World 2018

15 BANDS, TWO VENUES, ONE DAY, 10 HOURS OF BACK TO BACK RIFF

End of the World festival is back in 2018; a small stoner/doom/psych/metal festival in the South West of the UK. Run by bands for a passion and love of Doom. Two venues, and some of the best underground doom (and subgenres) that the UK has to offer!!! This is as grassroots as possible, being our second event and building on the success of 2017!

End Of The World is a celebration of the best of the UK’s stoner and doom underground, focussing especially on the South-West but showcasing talent from all over the country. The first installment in 2017 saw big players like Elephant Tree, Morass of Molasses and Grifter take the stage, and this year the lineup is completed by heavyweights such as Gurt, Monolithian and Sergeant Thunderhoof.

First Band at 2pm
Music until Midnight
Two venues on Mutley Plain, Plymouth, numerous food shops on the street, carparking nearby.

The event takes place between The Underground and The Junction in Plymouth on 07.07.18.

The bands playing are:

Gurt
Monolithian
Sergeant Thunderhoof
Chubby Thunderous Bad Kush Masters
Cybernetic Witch Cult
Morass Of Molasses
Voodoo blood
Thuum
Gévaudan
Trevor’s Head
Silverchild
Witch Tripper
Sail
Six Sins till Sunday
Battle Ready Bear

Tickets can be found on the site here: www.endoftheworldfestival.com

https://www.facebook.com/events/1973611246245218/
https://www.facebook.com/endoftheworldfestivalUK/

Chubby Thunderous Bad Kush Masters, “Mother Chub” official video

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Snuff’est 2016 Announces Final Lineup… Mostly

Posted in Whathaveyou on September 1st, 2016 by JJ Koczan

Snuff’est 2016 is keeping secrets. As in, the Bristol-based all-dayer festival has finalized its lineup, adding Belzebong, Asteroid and Radar Men from the Moon alongside the formidable likes of Gnod, Hang the Bastard, Bong, Sigiriya, Beehoover and others. However, there’s one band who has yet to be announced and Snuff Lane, which is putting on the show Sept. 17 as well as the newly-announced pre-party the night before with Deville, Gurt, Trippy Wicked and Wiht, aren’t telling.

Sometimes in cases like that, it happens that the band is contractually obligated because of a show elsewhere not to announce other gigs, so if you happen to be familiar with who will be around Bristol or elsewhere in the UK on the nights before or after, you could maybe make a guess, but for me, I haven’t a damn clue. Will be fun to find out though.

Final posters and (announced) lineup came down the PR wire:

Snuff’est – Doom/Stoner/Psych

Snuff Lane loudly brings you Snuff’est; Bristol’s newest intimate Doom, Stoner, Psych sonic-sounding rifforgy, due next month.

All Tier-1 and Tier-2 tickets already Sold-Out and we still have another act to announce, alongside a surprise performance from some extraordinary Special Guests.

Boasting a beautiful blend of national and international artists, with some unmissable special performances; starting with stage headliners:
Belzebong – UK EXCLUSIVE
Asteroid – 1 0f 2 UK appearances for 2016
Radar Men From The Moon
Also confirmed are:
Hang The Bastard (last South-West show ever) / Gnod / Sigirya / Bong / Enos / Beehover / ANTA / Hogslayer / Oak / Sugar Horse, as well as hidden ‘Surprise Special Guests’.

Both Tier-1 and Tier-2 Early-Bird tickets have completely SOLD-OUT, with a limited number of remaining tickets on sale now.

Snuff’est All-Dayer
1 Day / 2 Venues / 3 Headliners
Saturday 17th September
Exchange and The Stag and Hounds, Bristol
Doom/Stoner/Psych
RSVP/FB Event: https://www.facebook.com/events/265112073822604/
Ticket Link: Big Cartel / Bristol Ticket Shop

There is also a special Snuff’est Pre-Party taking place the day before, which also boasts a special UK Headline Debut performance from Deville, who have only ever grace the UK at Desertfest London 2014. They’ll be joined by Gurt, Trippy Wicked and the Cosmic Children of the Knight and Wiht.

Snuff’est Pre-Party
Friday 16th September
The Stag & Hounds, Bristol
Deville (SWE) / Gurt / Trippy Wicked and the Cosmic Children of the Knight / Wiht
RSVP/FB Event: https://www.facebook.com/events/601810993310243/
Ticket Link: Big Cartel

http://snufflane.bigcartel.com/
https://www.facebook.com/snuffylane
https://twitter.com/snuffylane

Belzebong, “Bong Thrower” live at Keep it Low 2015

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Quarterly Review: Atomikylä, Sunnata, White Dynomite, Horehound, Sulfur Giant, New Planet Trampoline, Hypnos, Honky, Cheap Wine, Gurt & Trippy Wicked

Posted in Reviews on June 24th, 2016 by JJ Koczan

the-obelisk-summer-2016-quarterly-review

This one’s for all the marbles. Or at very least tiddlywinks. The last day of The Obelisk’s Summer 2016 Quarterly Review begins. I’ll admit that when I was planning this out — started soon after the last Quarterly Review was finished in early April; that one ran late, this one has run early — I decided to take it easy on myself the last day. Still 10 reviews, so not that easy, but in terms of what’s included today, a lot of is stuff I feel pretty comfortable talking about, whether it’s bands I’ve covered before (which a lot of it is, now that I look at the list) or whatever. If you’ve been keeping up this week, thanks. I hope you found some cool music.

Quarterly Review #41-50:

Atomikylä, Keräily

atomikyla Keraily

From the Finnish hotbed of Tampere, Atomikylä made a striking impression with their 2014 Svart Records debut, Erkale (review here), giving a take on psychedelic black metal that was immediately and truly their own in its balance of elements. The band, featuring members of Dark Buddha Rising and Oranssi Pazuzu, return with doom-jazz fervor on sophomore full-length, Keräily, with three songs covering yet-unnamed stylistic reaches and offering a get-to-the-studio-and-see-what-happens experimentalism to go with their plotted course on 18-minute opener and longest track (bonus points) “Katkos,” which is followed by the building horn freakout “Risteily” (9:15), from which a space rock push takes hold on drums, resulting in maddening guitar swirl – because of course – and closer “Pakoputki” (6:55), which consumes with a darker thrust and more up-front blackened vibe that still holds onto some of the psychedelia in its layers of guitar. Keräily progresses effectively from Atomikylä’s debut and highlights just how individualized they are as a group. They continue to have the potential to do really special work, and the argument is easy to make they’re already doing it.

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Svart Records

Sunnata, Zorya

sunnata zorya

As opener and longest track (bonus points) “Beasts of Prey” careens toward its apex finish near the 12-minute mark and the title-track begins is crashing, harmonized intro before moving into an Alice in Chains-via-stoner verse, the distance Poland’s Sunnata cover on their second full-length, Zorya, begins to really unveil itself. There doesn’t seem to be a genre within the heavy sphere that’s off limits. They never get into death metal, but heavy rock, doom, psychedelia, prog, sludge – it’s all in play at one point or another in Zorya’s five-track/50-minute run. The reason the album works and isn’t just a haphazard mash of styles is because Sunnata, who’ve been active in Warsaw since the last decade, make each one their own and thus bend genre to suit their purposes and not the other way around. They continue to impress through the rush of “Long Gone,” the airy expanse of “New Horizon” and the more brooding closer “Again and Against,” conjuring effective flow from what in less capable hands would be disparate components.

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Sunnata on Bandcamp

White Dynomite, Action O’Clock

white dynomite action oclock

I have kind of a hard time with White Dynomite. Not musically – the Boston five-piece’s new EP, Action O’Clock (on Ripple) typifies their accessible punk rock; a reminder of a time when the style used guitars – but conceptually. Their lineup features bassist Tim Catz and vocalist Craig Riggs (on drums) of Roadsaw, as well as guitarist Pete Knipfing (also Hey Zeus, Lamont), vocalist Dave Unger and guitarist John Darga, and while I can’t argue with the charm of a track like “Werewolf Underwear” or “Evil Ballerina” — the lyric “Tutu woman, too too much for me” alone makes Action O’Clock worth the price of admission, let alone “I got fangs in my pants” from “Werewolf Underwear” – but I haven’t yet been able to listen to the band in the context of it having been six years since the last time Roadsaw released an album, and thinking about years passing, priorities and whatnot. They sound they’re having a blast all the way through, and I won’t begrudge them exploring other influences, I guess I just miss that band.

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Ripple Music website

Horehound, Horehound

horehound horehound

Pittsburgh newcomers Horehound formed just last year, so one might go into their self-titled debut full-length thinking it’s an early arrival, but in an unpretentious seven-track/33-minute collection of straightforward but engaging doom rockers, the five-piece demonstrate a clear idea of what they want to do sonically. While it may not represent where they’ll ultimately end up as a band, its songs sound fleshed out in terms of direction and the resultant feel on the release is much more album than demo. So be it. A particular highlight is “The Waters of Lethe,” on which a sweeter melody emerges in the guitar and vocals, but neither will I discount the low-end crunch and vocal call-and-response in closer “Waking Time” or the more uptempo thrust of second cut “Sangreal.” Not that Horehound don’t have room to grow, but their initial offering preaches well to the converted and should give them a solid foundation to work from in that process.

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Horehound on Bandcamp

Sulfur Giant, Beyond the Hollow Mountain

sulfur giant beyond the hollow mountain

Beyond the Hollow Mountain is the first full-length from Portuguese mostly-instrumentalists Sulfur Giant, who bring together influences from classic progressive rock, psychedelia and heavy rock so that when they dip into Iommic riffing on “Vertigo,” it’s no stranger than the peaceful jamming of “Whisper at Dawn,” which follows. Friendly if not exactly innovative, Sulfur Giant’s debut makes its chief impression with the four-piece’s instrumental chemistry, which brings about an easy flow within and between the eight tracks, which having already been issued digitally will see vinyl release later this year on Pink Tank Records. It’s hard to ignore what organ adds to “Evermore,” but “Sea of Stone” sneaks in some vocals amid its thicker-riffing and Sungrazer-style exploration, and “Magnolia” and the galloping “Unleash Fears” follow suit, so Sulfur Giant have a few tricks up their collective sleeve they hold back from the initial roll and gallop of the opening title-track. All the better.

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Pink Tank Records

New Planet Trampoline, Dark Rides and Grim Visions

new planet trampoline dark rides and grim visions

Never say never in rock and roll. From Cleveland, Ohio, the psych-rocking four-piece New Planet Trampoline called it quits in 2008, leaving behind an unfinished album. After coming back together for 2014’s The Wisconsin Witch House EP, the ‘60s-stylized outfit set themselves to the task of finishing what became Dark Rides and Grim Visions, basking in the glow of early Floyd, Beatles and others of the ilk while keeping a harder edge to songs like “Grim Visions” and a healthy cynicism to “We’ll Get What We Deserve” and the tongue-in-cheek keyboard-laced closer “Haunted as Fuck.” Of the several more extended tracks, the nine-minute “Acts of Mania” is the longest, and provides suitable patience and atmospherics to stand up to its scope. All told, Dark Rides and Grim Visions is a formidable journey at 13 songs/68 minutes, but after more than half a decade away, it’s hard to hold New Planet Trampoline having their say against them, particularly when that say is as lush and dreamy as “This is the Morning.”

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New Planet Trampoline on Bandcamp

Hypnos, Cold Winds

hypnos cold winds

With their second LP, Cold Winds (on Crusher Records), Gothenburg’s Hypnos seem to be betting that the next step in the retro game is NWOBHM. They make a convincing argument; it’s kind of how it went the first time around, and their songwriting offers a top-notch look at the moment where Thin Lizzy bounce became Iron Maiden gallop, as on second cut “I’m on the Run,” just minutes after opener “Start the Hunt” featured a flute solo. Broken into two sides, each one works its way toward a longer finale – “Det Kommer en Dag” (7:23) on side A and “1800” (8:32) on side B – but sonic diversity and changes in song structure throughout do much to keep Cold Winds from feeling overly plotted, and like their countrymen in Horisont, Hypnos offer a seamless melding of classic heavy rock and metal, soaring and scorching on “Descending Sun (Unrootables White)” and swinging and swaggering immediately thereafter on “Cold September,” both accomplished with unwavering command.

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Hypnos at Crusher Records

Honky, Corduroy

honky corduroy

Texas boogie rockers Honky were last heard from with 2012’s 421 – which I’ll assume is the “going to 11” equivalent for getting high – and their eighth outing, Corduroy, finds bassist JD Pinkus (Butthole Surfers, Melvins) and guitarist Bobby Ed Landgraf (Down) hooked up with drummer Trinidad Leal of Dixie Witch and Housecore Records for the release. To call is business as usual for the underrated outfit in the classic swing and grit they hone would only be a compliment, songs like “Baby Don’t Slow Down,” “Bad Stones” and the harmonized “Double Fine” offering soul as much as push, ‘70s influences given a modern kick in the ass throughout as a swath of guests, including Melvins drummer Dale Crover, come and go, perhaps none making their presence felt as much as Rae Comeau, whose work on “Bad Stones” makes that song a highlight – not to take away from the a capella cover of Led Zeppelin’s “Moby Dick,” here retitled as “Mopey Dick,” that closes. Chicanery ensues, booze flows, good times are had for those who’ll have them.

Honky website

Housecore Records website

Cheap Wine, Sad Queen

cheap wine sad queen

Distinguished as on centerpiece “The Rambler” by their use of organ amid a semi-retro heavy boogie style, French five-piece Cheap Wine recorded Sad Queen – as the cover art says – live for Celebration Days Records. It’s somewhere between an EP and album, and strips away some of the individual track length of their 2013 debut, Mystic Crow, in favor of maximizing the energy put into each piece, the subdued “Intro” and “Opening” that start sides A and B, respectively, aside, though as “Opening” feeds cleanly into the quiet, airy and soulful beginning of the title-track, even that seems to have a tension that builds toward its eventual release, different from the shuffling raucousness of the post-“Intro” opener “Cyclothymic” maybe, but palpable nonetheless. They close somewhat melancholy on “Yesterday’s Dream,” but the complementary guitar of Valentin Constestin and keys of Ahn Tuan aren’t to be missed, nor how well work in concert with vocalist Mathieu Devillers, bassist Valentin Lallart and drummer Louis Morati.

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Celebration Days Records website

Gurt & Trippy Wicked and the Cosmic Children of the Knight, Guppy

gurt trippy wicked guppy

The UK heavy scene excels at not taking itself too seriously. To wit, Gurt and Trippy Wicked and the Cosmic Children of the Knight get together for a split (on When Planets Collide for CD and HeviSike cassette) and, they call it Guppy and the first two songs are “Owlmegeddon” and “Super Fun Happy Slide.” It kind of goes from there. Recorded together, sharing a drummer and collaborating on the centerpiece, “Revolting Child,” it’s basically two outfits who are close friends coming together to have a good time, but that doesn’t take away from Gurt’s sludgy intensity on “I Regret Nothing” or the nodding heavy rock Trippy Wicked hold forth on closer “Reign.” Taking its title from the two band names put together, one can only wonder if this will be the last conjoined offering Gurt and Trippy Wicked will make, or if there might be a whole school of guppies in the future. Frankly, this sounds like too good a party to only throw it once.

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Trippy Wicked on Thee Facebooks

When Planets Collide website

HeviSike Records

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