Quarterly Review: Howling Giant, Rose City Band, The Tazers, Kavrila, Gateway, Bala, Tremor Ama, The Crooked Whispers, No Stone, Firefriend

Posted in Reviews on July 9th, 2021 by JJ Koczan

the-obelisk-fall-2016-quarterly-review

You know what? We’re through the first week of the Quarterly Review as of this post. Not too bad. I feel like it’s been smooth going so far to such a degree that I’m even thinking about adding an 11th day comprised purely of releases that came my way this week and will invariably come in next week too. Crazy, right? Bonus day QR. We’ll see if I get there, but I’m thinking about it. That alone should tell you something.

But let me not get ahead of myself. Day five commence.

Quarterly Review #41-50:

Howling Giant, Alteration

howling giant alteration

Let the story be that when the pandemic hit, Nashville’s Howling Giant took to the airwaves to provide comfort, character and a bit of ‘home’ — if one thinks of live performance as home — to their audience. With a steady schedule of various live streams on Twitch, some playing music, some playing D&D, the band engaged their listenership in a new and exciting way, finding a rare bright point in one of the darkest years of recent history. Alteration, a crisp four-song/20-minute EP, is born out of those streamed jams, with songs named by the band’s viewers/listeners — kudos to whoever came up with “Luring Alluring Rings” — and, being entirely instrumental from a band growing more and more focused on vocal arrangements, sound more like they’re on their way to being finished than are completely done. However, that’s also the point of the release, essentially to showcase unfinished works in progress that have emerged in a manner that nobody expected. It is another example from last year-plus that proves the persistence of creativity, and is all the more beautiful for that.

Howling Giant on Facebook

Blues Funeral Recordings website

 

Rose City Band, Earth Trip

Rose City Band Earth Trip

Vaguely lysergic, twanging with a non-chestbeating or jingoistic ’70s American singer-songwriter feel, Rose City Band‘s Earth Trip brings sentiment without bitterness in its songs, engaging as the title hints with nature in songs like “Silver Roses,” “In the Rain,” “Lonely Planes,” “Ramblin’ with the Day,” “Rabbit” and “Dawn Patrol.” An outlet for Ripley Johnson, also of Wooden Shjips and Moon Duo, the “band” isn’t so much in Rose City Band, but there is some collaboration — pedal steel here and there, as on “Ramblin’ with the Day” — though it’s very much Johnson‘s own craft and performance at the core of this eight-song set. This is the third Rose City Band long-player in three years, but quickly as it may have come about, the tracks never feel rushed — hushed, if anything — and Johnson effectively casts himself in among the organic throughout the proceedings, making the listener feel nothing if not welcome to join the ramble.

Rose City Band on Facebook

Thrill Jockey Records website

 

The Tazers, Dream Machine

The Tazers Dream Machine

Johannesburg, South Africa’s The Tazers are suited to a short-release format, as their Dream Machine EP shows, bringing together four tracks with psychedelic precociousness and garage rock attitude to spare, with just an edge of classic heavy to keep things grooving. Their latest work opens with its languid and lysergic title-track, which sets up the shove of “Go Away” and the shuffle in “Lonely Road” — both under three and a half minutes long, with nary a wasted second in them, despite sounding purposefully like tossoffs — and the latter skirts the line of coming undone, but doesn’t, of course, but in the meantime sets up the almost proto-New Wave in the early going on “Around Town,” only later to give way to the band’s most engaging melody and a deceptively patient, gentle finish, which considering some of the brashness in the earlier tracks is a surprise. A pleasant one, though, and not the first the three-piece have brought forth by the time they get to the end of Dream Machine‘s ultra-listenable 16-minute run.

The Tazers on Facebook

The Tazers on Soundcloud

 

Kavrila, Rituals III

Kavrila Rituals III

Pressed in an ultra-limited edition of 34 tapes (the physical version also has a bonus track), Kavrila‘s Rituals III brings together about 16 minutes of heavy hardcore and post-hardcore, a thickened undertone giving something of a darker mood to the crunch of “Equality” as guitars are layered in subtly in a higher register, feeding into the urgency without competing with the drums or vocals. Opener “Sunday” works at more of a rush while “Longing” has more of a lurch at least to its outset before gradually elbowing its way into a more careening groove, but the bridge being built is between sludge and hardcore, and while the four-piece aren’t the first to build it, they do well here. If we’re picking highlights, closer “Elysium” has deft movement, intensity and atmosphere in kind, and still features a vocal rawness that pushes the emotional crux between the verses and choruses to make the transitions that much smoother. The ending fades out early behind those shouts, leaving the vocals stranded, calling out the song’s title into a stark emptiness.

Kavrila on Facebook

The Chinaskian Conspiracy on Bandcamp

 

Gateway, Flesh Reborn

gateway flesh reborn

Brutal rebirth. Robin Van Oyen is the lone figure behind Bruges, Belgium-based death-doom outfit Gateway, and Flesh Reborn is his first EP in three years. Marked out with guest guitar solos by M., the four-track/25-minute offering keeps its concentration on atmosphere as much as raw punishment, and while one would be correct to call it ‘extreme’ in its purpose and execution, its deathliest aspects aren’t just the growling vocals or periods of intense blast, but the wash of distortion that lays over the offering as a whole, from “Hel” through “Slumbering Crevasses,” the suitably twisting, later lurching “Rack Crawler” and the grandeur-in-filth 12-minute closing title-track, at which point the fullness of the consumption is revealed at last. Unbridled as it seems, this material is not without purpose and is not haphazard. It is the statement it intends to be, and its depths are shown to be significant as Van Oyen pulls you further down into them with each passing moment, finally leaving you there amid residual drone.

Gateway on Facebook

Chaos Records website

 

Bala, Maleza

Bala Maleza

Admirably punk in its dexterity, Bala‘s debut album, Maleza, arrives as a nine-track pummelfest from the Spanish duo of guitarist/vocalist Anx and drummer/vocalist V., thickened with sludgy intent and aggression to spare. The starts and stops of opener “Agitar” provide a noise-rock-style opening that hints at the tonal push to come throughout “Hoy No” — the verse melody of which seems to reinvent The Bangles — while the subsequent “X” reaches into greater breadth, vocals layered effectively as a preface perhaps to the later grunge of “Riuais,” which arrives ahead of the swaggering riff and harsh sneer of “Bessie” the lumbering finale “Una Silva.” Whether brooding in “Quieres Entrar” or explosive in its shove in “Cien Obstaculos,” Maleza offers stage-style energy with clarity of vision and enough chaos to make the anger feel genuine. There’s apparently some hype behind Bala, and fair enough, but this is legitimately one of the best debut albums I’ve heard in 2021.

Bala on Facebook

Century Media Records website

 

Tremor Ama, Beneath

Tremor Ama Beneath

French prog-fuzz five-piece Tremor Ama make a coherent and engaging debut with Beneath, a first full-length following up a 2017 self-titled EP release. Spacious guitar leads the way through the three-minute intro “Ab Initio” and into the subsequent “Green Fire,” giving a patient launch to the outing, the ensuing four songs of which grow shorter as they go behind that nine-minute “Green Fire” stretch. There’s room for ambience and intensity both in centerpiece “Eclipse,” with vocals echoing out over the building second half, and both “Mirrors” and “Grey” offer their moments of surge as well, the latter tapping into a roll that should have fans of Forming the Void nodding both to the groove and in general approval. Effectively tipping the balance in their sound over the course of the album as a whole, Tremor Ama showcase an all-the-more thoughtful approach in this debut, and at 30 minutes, they still get out well ahead of feeling overly indulgent or losing sight of their overarching mission.

Tremor Ama on Facebook

Tremor Ama on Bandcamp

 

The Crooked Whispers, Dead Moon Night

The Crooked Whispers Dead Moon Night

Delivered on multiple formats including as a 12″ vinyl through Regain Records offshoot Helter Skelter Productions, the bleary cultistry of The Crooked Whispers‘ two-songer Dead Moon Night also finds the Los Angeles-based outfit recently picked up by Ripple Music. If it seems everybody wants a piece of The Crooked Whispers, that’s fair enough for the blend of murk, sludge and charred devil worship the foursome offer with “Hail Darkness” and the even more gruesome “Galaxy of Terror,” taking the garage-doom rawness of Uncle Acid and setting against a less Beatlesian backdrop, trading pop hooks for classic doom riffing on the second track, flourishing in its misery as it is. At just 11 minutes long — that’s less than a minute for each inch of the vinyl! — Dead Moon Night is a grim forecast of things to come for the band’s deathly revelry, already showcased too on last year’s debut, Satanic Whispers (review here).

The Crooked Whispers on Facebook

Regain Records on Bandcamp

 

No Stone, Road into the Darkness

No Stone Road into the Darkness

Schooled, oldschool doom rock for denim-clad heads as foggy as the distortion they present, No Stone‘s debut album, Road into the Darkness, sounds like they already got there. The Rosario, Argentina, trio tap into some Uncle Acid-style garage doom vibes on “The Frayed Endings,” but the crash is harder, and the later 10-minute title-track delves deeper into psychedelia and grunge in kind, resulting in an overarching spirit that’s too weird to be anything but individual, however mmuch it might still firmly reside within the tenets of “cult.” If you were the type to chase down a patch, you might want to chase down a No Stone patch, as “Devil Behind” makes its barebones production feel like an aesthetic choice to offset the boogie to come in “Shadow No More,” and from post-intro opener “Bewitched” to the long fade of “The Sky is Burning,” No Stone balance atmosphere and songcraft in such a way as to herald future progress along this morose path. Maybe they are just getting on the road into the darkness, but they seem to be bringing that darkness with them on the way.

No Stone on Facebook

Ruidoteka Records on Bandcamp

 

Firefriend, Dead Icons

Firefriend Dead Icons

Dead Icons is the sixth full-length from Brazilian psychedelic outfit Firefriend, and throughout its 10 songs and 44 minutes, the band proffer marked shoegaze-style chill and a sense of space, fuzzy and molten in “Hexagonal Mess,” more desert-hued in “Spin,” jangly and out for a march on “Ongoing Crash.” “Home or Exile” takes on that question with due reach, and “Waves” caps with organ alongside the languid guitar, but moments like “Tomorrow” are singular and gorgeous, and though “Three Dimensional Sound Glitch” and “666 Fifth Avenue” border on playful, there’s an overarching melancholy to the flow, as engaging as it is. In its longest pieces — “Tomorrow” (6:05) and “One Thousand Miles High” (5:08) — the “extra” time is well spent in extending the trio’s reach, and while it’s safe to assume that six self-recorded LPs later, Firefriend know what they want to do with their sound, that thing feels amorphous, fleeting, transient somehow here, like a moving target. That speaks to ongoing growth, and is just one of Dead Icons‘ many strengths.

Firefriend on Facebook

Cardinal Fuzz store

Little Cloud Records store

 

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High Fighter Announce The Goat Ritual EP Tape Reissue

Posted in Whathaveyou on October 29th, 2020 by JJ Koczan

high fighter (Photo by Basti Grim)

The Goat Ritual (review here) was the one that kicked off High Fighter. An initial EP comprised of four tracks of blistering sludge metal that was equal parts both, it introduced the Hamburg outfit to the underground in blazing and brazen fashion. After releasing two full-lengths in 2019’s Champain (review here) and 2016’s Scars and Crosses (review here), the band will go back to the start with a new tape version of The Goat Ritual through Argonauta Records. Due out Dec. 4, it’s the second outing for High Fighter through Argonauta — the debut album was on Svart — and the tapes are up for preorder now. I’m not usually a huge preorder guy, but there is something about reserving a cassette in advance that appeals to my child-of-the-’80s sensibilities. Sweet nostalgia, harsh riffs.

High Fighter recently taped a Rockpalast performance on the rooftop of some industrial-looking building and you can see that linked below. I’d have embedded it, but the site wouldn’t let me. Fair enough. They’ll apparently air it on the old-fashioned tele-tube next month. Staying busy in difficult times and all that.

Info from the PR wire:

high fighter the goat ritual tape

Sludge Metal Juggernaut, HIGH FIGHTER, To Release Limited Tape Edition of 2014-Debut EP “The Goat Ritual”!

Hamburg- based Sludge and Stoner Metal act, HIGH FIGHTER, has announced a limited Tape edition of their critically acclaimed, 2014- debut EP “The Goat Ritual“.

Recorded on one weekend in the band’s rehearsal room, HIGH FIGHTER’s first and self-released EP took the heavy music scene by storm, and gained the band not just high praise from both fans and critics alike, but also opened the stages on tours with bands alike AHAB, GREENLEAF, THE MIDNIGHT GHOST TRAIN as well as Europe’s finest underground festivals such as Sonic Blast, Stoned From The Underground, Desertfest Berlin, Red Smoke Festival and many more. During the past 6 years, the band continued to heavily tour Europe with acts such as CONAN, DOWNFALL OF GAIA, ELDER or DOPETHRONE, and appeared at Wacken Open Air, Desertfest London & Antwerp, Summer Breeze, Keep It Low, Up in Smoke and countless more.

With the “The Goat Ritual”, HIGH FIGHTER introduced themselves to the world of Stoner Rock, Doom and Sludge Metal, and perfectly set the scene for their wild ride of styles and fast-paced hardcore based Stoner Metal. While the record, with its stunning cover artwork, was released exactly 6 years ago on Bandcamp and as Vinyl and CD formats, December 4th 2020 will see HIGH FIGHTER’s debut EP coming out as a limited Tape edition on Argonauta Records but also appearing on Spotify for the first time ever! This is a Must-Have record for any Stoner, Sludge, Heavy Rock and Doom Metal fan, but better be quick to pre-order your copy, as the Cassettes will most definitely run out fast at THIS LOCATION: https://www.argonautarecords.com/shop/other-stuff/506-high-fighter-the-goat-ritual-mc.html

Furthermore, HIGH FIGHTER have just announced a postponed festival appearance from 2020 at VAGOS METAL FEST to return next summer. They will be playing the Portuguese metal festival alongside acts such as Emperor, Dimmu Borgir, Exodus, Testament and many more. Find out more infos HERE!

HIGH FIGHTER also recently played an exclusive “Offstage“ show for German TV, WDR Rockpalast. This very special “Corona” concert in a unique setting at the Landschaftspark Duisburg, will be airing on TV on November 9th, but has just been premiered online at THIS LOCATION!

HIGH FIGHTER is:
Mona Miluski – vocals
Christian Pappas – guitar
Ingwer Boysen – guitar
Constantin Wüst – bass
Thomas Wildelau – drums & backing vocals

www.highfighter.de
www.facebook.com/highfighter
www.instagram.com/highfighter_official
www.highfighter.bandcamp.com
www.argonautarecords.com
www.facebook.com/ArgonautaRecords

High Fighter, The Goat Ritual (2014)

High Fighter, “Before I Disappear” official video

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Quarterly Review: Paradise Lost, Vinnum Sabbathi, Nighthawk, Familiars, Mountain Witch, Disastroid, Stonegrass, Jointhugger, Little Albert, Parahelio

Posted in Reviews on July 10th, 2020 by JJ Koczan

the-obelisk-qr-summer-2020

Last day, you know the drill. It’s been a pleasure, honestly. If every Quarterly Review could feature the quality of material this one has, I’d probably only spend a fraction of the amount of time I do fretting over it. I hope you’ve enjoyed reading and enjoyed the music as much as I have. If you haven’t found something here to sit with and dig into yet, well, today’s 10 more chances to do just that. Maybe something will stick at last.

See you in September.

Quarterly Review #41-50:

Paradise Lost, Obsidian

paradise lost obsidian

It is impossible to listen to Obsidian and consider Paradise Lost as anything other than masters of the form. Of course, that they were one of the original pioneers of gothic death-doom helps, but even in the decade-plus since they began to shift back toward a more metallic approach, they have established a standard that is entirely their own. Obsidian collects nine tracks across a palatable 45 minutes, and if the hook of “Fall From Grace” is fan-service on the part of the band, then it is no less righteous for that. In atmosphere and aggression, cuts like “The Devil Embraced” and the galloping “Ghosts” deliver on high expectations coming off 2017’s Medusa (review here), even as side B’s “Ending Days” and “Hope Dies Young” branch into a more melodic focus, not departing from the weight of impact presented earlier, but clearly adjusting the approach, leading to an all the more deathly return on “Ravenghast,” which closes out. Their doom remains second to none; their model remains one to follow.

Paradise Lost on Thee Facebooks

Nuclear Blast webstore

 

Vinnum Sabbathi, Of Dimensions and Theories

Vinnum Sabbathi Of Dimensions and Theories

The narrative thread carried through the six tracks of Vinnum Sabbathi‘s Of Dimensions and Theories is a futuristic sci-fi tale about humanity’s first foray into deep space amid a chaos of environmental collapse and nuclear threat. The real story, however, is the sense of progression the instrumentalist Mexico City outfit bring in following up their debut LP, 2017’s Gravity Works (review here). Tying thematically to the latest Cegvera album — the two bands share personnel — pieces at the outset like “In Search of M-Theory” and “Quantum Determinism” maintain the exploratory vibe of the band’s jammier works in their “HEX” series, but through spoken samples give a human presence and plotline to the alternately atmospheric and lumbering tones. As the record progresses through the airier “An Appraisal” and the feedback-drenched “Beyond Perturbative States,” their dynamic finds realization in “A Superstring Revolution I” and the drum-led “A Superstring Revolution II.” I don’t know about humanity’s prospects as a whole, but Vinnum Sabbathi‘s remain bright.

Vinnum Sabbathi on Thee Facebooks

Stolen Body Records website

 

Nighthawk, The Sea Legs EP

Nighthawk The Sea Legs EP

Composed as a solo outing prior to the founding of Heavy Temple, the Nighthawk solo endeavor (presumably she wasn’t a High Priestess yet), The Sea Legs EP, is plenty self-aware in its title, but for being a raw execution of material written performed entirely on her own, its four tracks also have a pretty significant scope, from the post-QOTSA heavy pop of “Goddamn” leading off through the quick spacegaze of “I’m From Tennessee Woman, All We Do is Honky Tonk,” into the deceptively spacious “I Can Haz” with its far-back toms, dreamy vocal melody and vaguely Middle Eastern-sounding guitar, and ending with the if-Ween‘s-country-album-had-been-weirder finish of “Stay Gold.” Nighthawk has issued a follow-up to The Sea Legs EP in the full-length Goblin/John Carpenter-style synth of The Dimensionaut, but given the range and balance she shows just in this brief 12 minutes, one hopes that indeed her songwriting explorations continue to prove so multifaceted.

Nighthawk on Bandcamp

Heavy Temple on Thee Facebooks

 

Familiars, All in Good Time

familiars all in good time

Contending for one of the year’s best debut albums, FamiliarsAll in Good Time offers eight songs across 43 minutes that blend organic-feeling grit with more ethereal, landscape-evocative psychedelics. The Ontario three-piece have a few singles to their credit, but the lushness of “Rocky Roost” and the emergent heft of “Barn Burning,” the fleshy boogie of “The Dirty Dog Saloon” and the breadth of “Avro Arrow” speak not just to Familiars‘ ability to capture a largesse that draws their songs together, or the nuance that lets them brings subtle touches of Americana (Canadiana?) early on and echoing desert roll to the fuzzy “The Common Loon,” but also to the songwriting that makes these songs stand out so much as they do and the sense of purpose Familiars bring to All in Good Time as their first long-player. That turns out to be one of the most encouraging aspects of the release, but in that regard there’s plenty of competition from elements like tone, rhythm, melody, craft, performance — so yes, basically all of it.

Familiars on Thee Facebooks

Familiars on Bandcamp

 

Mountain Witch, Extinct Cults

Mountain Witch Extinct Cults

Mountain Witch‘s fourth album, Extinct Cults, brings the Hamburg-based duo of guitarist René Sitte and drummer/vocalist René Roggmann back after a four-year absence with a collection that straddles the various lines between classic heavy rock, proto-metal, ’70s heavy prog and modern cultism. Their loyalties aren’t necessarily all to the 1968-’74 period, as the chug and gruff vocals of “Back From the Grave” show, but the post Technical Ecstasy sway of the title-track is a fascinating and rarely-captured specificity, and the vocal melodies expressed in layers across the record do much to add personality and depth to the arrangements while the surrounding recording remains essentially raw. No doubt vinyl-minded, Extinct Cults is relatively brief at six songs and 33 minutes, but the Priestly chug of “Man is Wolf to Man” and the engrossing garage doom of closer “The Devil Probably” offer plenty of fodder for those who’d dig in to dig into. It is a sound familiar and individual at once, old and new, and it revels in making cohesion out of such contrasts.

Mountain Witch on Thee Facebooks

This Charming Man Records website

 

Disastroid, Mortal Fools

disastroid mortal fools

You might find San Francisco trio Disastroid hanging out at the corner of noise and heavy rock, looking disreputable. Their first record for Heavy Psych Sounds is Mortal Fools, and to go with its essential-bloody-essential bass tone and melodic semi-shouted vocals, it brings hints of angularity rounded out by tonal thickness and a smoothness between transitions that extends to the flow from one song to the next. While for sure a collection of individual pieces, Mortal Fools does move through its 43 minutes with remarkable ease, the sure hand of the three-piece guides you through the otherwise willfully tumultuous course, brash in the guitar and bass and drums but immersive in the overarching groove. They seem to save a particular melodic highlight for the verses of closer “Space Rodent,” but really, whether it’s the lumbering “Hopeless” or the sharper-toothed push of “Bilge,” the highlight is what Disastroid accomplish over the course of the record as a whole. Plus that friggin’ bass sound.

Disastroid on Thee Facebooks

Heavy Psych Sounds website

 

Stonegrass, Stonegrass

stonegrass self titled

I don’t know when this was first released, but the 2020 edition seems to be a remaster, and whenever it first came out, I’m pleased to have the chance to check it out now. Toronto duo Stonegrass brings together Matthew “Doc” Dunn and Jay Anderson, both of a markedly psyched-out pedigree, to dig into experimentalist acid-psych that pushes boundaries stylistic and national, tapping Afrobeat vibes with closer “Drive On” and the earlier 13-minute go-go-go jam “Tea” while “The Highway” feels like a lost psychedelic disco-funk 45, “The Cape” drones like it’s waiting for someone to start reading poetry over-top, and mellow hand-percussion and Turkish psych on centerpiece “Frozen Dunes.” The whole thing, which runs a manageable 39 minutes, is as cool as the day is long, and comes across like a gift to those of expanded mind or who are willing to join those ranks. I don’t know if it’s new or old. I don’t know if it’s a one-off or an ongoing project. I barely know if it’s actually out. But hot damn it’s rad, and if you can catch it, you should.

Cosmic Range Records on YouTube

Cosmic Range Records on Bandcamp

 

Jointhugger, I Am No One

jointhugger i am no one

Norwegian half-instrumental trio Jointhugger have already captured the attention of both Interstellar Smoke Records and Ozium Records with their four-song debut long-player, I Am No One, and as the follow-up to their 2019 Daemo, it leaves little question why. The more volume, the merrier, when it comes to the rolling, nodding, undulations of riff the band conjure, as each member seems geared toward bringing as much weight to bear as much as possible. I’m serious. Even the hi-hat is heavy, never mind the guitar or bass or the cave-echoing vocals of the title-track. “Domen” slips into some shuffle — if you can call something that dense-sounding a shuffle — and underscores its solo with an entire bog’s worth of low end, and though closer “Nightfright” is the only inclusion that actually tops 10 minutes, it communicates an intensity of crush that is nothing if not consistent with what’s come before. There are flashes of letup here and there, but it’s impact at the core of Jointhugger‘s approach, and they offer plenty of it. Don’t be surprised when the CD and LP sell through, and don’t be surprised if they get re-pressed later.

Jointhugger on Thee Facebooks

Ozium Records webstore

Interstellar Smoke Records webstore

 

Little Albert, Swamp King

Little Albert Swamp King

Stepping out both in terms of style and substance from his position as guitarist in atmospheric doomers Messa, Little Albert — aka Alberto Piccolo — pronounces himself “swamp king” in the opening lines of his debut solo release of the same name, and the mellow ambiance and psychedelic flourish of tone in “Bridge of Sighs” and “Mean Old Woman” and the aptly-titled “Blues Asteroid” offer an individualized blend of psychedelic blues that seems to delight in tipping the balance back and forth from one to the other while likewise taking the songs through full band arrangements and more intimate wanderings. Some of the songs have a tendency to roll outward and not return, as does “Mary Claire” or “Mean Old Woman,” but “Outside Woman Blues” and the closer “Hard Time Killing Floor Blues” hold tighter to the ground than some of what surrounds, so again, there’s a balance. Plus, as mellow as Swamp King is in its overarching affect, it’s neither difficult nor anything but a pleasure to follow along where Piccolo leads. If that’s off the psych-blues deep end, so be it. Only issue I take with him being king of the swamp is that the album’s domain hardly seems so limited.

Little Albert on Thee Facebooks

Aural Music on Bandcamp

 

Parahelio, Surge Evelia, Surge

Parahelio Surge Evelia Surge

Beautiful, patient and pastoral psychedelia fleshes out across the three tracks of Parahelio‘s debut full-length, Surge Evelia, Surge. Issued on vinyl through Necio Records, the three-song offering reportedly pays homage to a mining town in the band’s native Peru, but it does so with a breadth that seems to cover so much between heavy post-rock and psych that it’s difficult not to imagine places decidedly more ethereal. Beginning with its title-track (12:33) and moving into the swells and recessions of “Gestos y Distancia,” the album builds to an encompassing payoff for side A before unveiling “Ha’Adam,” a 23-minute side-consuming rollout that encompasses not only soundscaping, but a richly human feel in its later take, solidifying around a drum march and a heavy build of guitar that shouldn’t sound strange to fans of Pelican or Russian Circles yet manages somehow to transcend the hypnotic in favor of the dynamic, the immersive, and again, the beautiful. What follows is desolation and aftermath, and that’s how the record ends, but even there, the textures and the spirit of the release remain central. I always do myself a favor with the last release of any Quarterly Review, and this is no exception.

Parahelio on Thee Facebooks

Necio Records on Bandcamp

 

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Days of Rona: Rolf Gustavus of Stickman Records

Posted in Features on May 19th, 2020 by JJ Koczan

The ongoing nature of the COVID-19 pandemic, the varied responses of publics and governments worldwide, and the disruption to lives and livelihoods has reached a scale that is unprecedented. Whatever the month or the month after or the future itself brings, more than one generation will bear the mark of having lived through this time, and art, artists, and those who provide the support system to help uphold them have all been affected.

In continuing the Days of Rona feature, it remains pivotal to give a varied human perspective on these events and these responses. It is important to remind ourselves that whether someone is devastated or untouched, sick or well, we are all thinking, feeling people with lives we want to live again, whatever renewed shape they might take from this point onward. We all have to embrace a new normal. What will that be and how will we get there?

Thanks to all who participate. To read all the Days of Rona coverage, click here. — JJ Koczan

stickman records rolf gustavus

Days of Rona: Rolf Gustavus of Stickman Records (Hamburg, Germany)

How have you been you dealing with this crisis as a label? As an individual? What effect has it had on your plans or creative processes?

As a label the three of us have managed fine. Jeannette and myself have been working for seven weeks without a day off and we are eternally grateful for all the support we’ve seen through the last few months. Nick has been stuck in Berlin most of the time and it’s probably been harder on him since he was condemned to inactivity.

How do you feel about the public response to the outbreak where you are? From the government response to the people around you, what have you seen and heard from others?

As critical as I’ve always been when it comes to the German government, I do believe that they did a good job when it comes to dealing with the spread of the virus. There’s no blueprint for this situation and so far, this government hasn’t cut people’s liberty freely and the foundation of our western democracy is not in danger.

Folks in Germany are getting tired of the restrictions and social distancing has become more lax where I live. That worries me because I’m convinced that this is far from being over.

We live on the outskirts of Hamburg and having our office next door to our house, we could continue to be the hermits we’ve always been. For us social distancing hasn’t been a problem.

However, we sure miss meeting our friends for dinner or going out for a drink but we’ve got each other, our cats and the company, pretty self-sufficient in a way.

What do you think of how the music community specifically has responded? How do you feel during this time? Are you inspired? Discouraged? Bored? Any and all of it?

I think the DIY mechanisms that we started out with when we were young have become a lot more important, one of the few encouraging things that still work!!! Networking with like-minded folks will be essential for survival and I think we’re all still learning that lesson.

As long as there are no live concerts and tours, that’s really all we can do to keep the faith.

I don’t feel discouraged at all, much to the contrary. I even harbor hopes that a few good things come out of all of this. Music should be valued as a cultural good and not a consumer article.

Unfortunately this crazy global madhouse has turned us all into creatures demanding instant gratification of our (mostly trivial) wants and needs. Hopefully artists and their work will be seen with more appreciation… there’s always hope!

What is the one thing you want people to know about your situation, either as a band, or personally, or anything? What is your new normal? What have you learned from this experience, about yourself, your band, or anything?

As mentioned previously, the support we’ve seen the last few months has been encouraging and we’re more motivated than ever for the three of us to continue full steam ahead.

Our new normal is to take good care of ourselves, eat well and nurture our friendships.

All of this makes you appreciate what really matters in life and I can do without a lot of the superficial crap that usually occupies too large of a fraction in our lives.

https://www.stickman-records.com/
https://www.facebook.com/Stickman-Records-1522369868033940

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High Fighter, Champain: Die Strafe Ertönt

Posted in Reviews on September 16th, 2019 by JJ Koczan

high fighter champain

Oof that’s brutal. The progression that Hamburg, Germany’s High Fighter have undertaken over the course of their now-two full-lengths and their debut EP has seen them become increasingly dark, increasingly metal, and increasingly scathing. On Champain, their 11-song/43-minute second LP and first for Argonauta Records, vocalist Mona Miluski earns consideration among the Angela Gossows of the world for the ferocity of her delivery, and guitarists Christian “Shi” Pappas and Ingwer Boysen, bassist Constantin Wüst and drummer/backing vocalist Thomas Wildelau likewise push into more intense fare, building on the consuming atmosphere that they unleashed in 2016’s memorable Scars and Crosses (review here), making the sludgecore rock of their 2014 debut EP, The Goat Ritual (review here), seem almost quaint in comparison.

The band, who toured steadily to support the first long-player, seem only to have grown darker as a result, and while Miluski‘s throatripper screams are a big part of that, it’s also there in the tones of the guitars and the severity of the drumming in the chorus of a song like “Another Cure,” and the furious drive of the song’s ending. It is an unmistakably metallic aggression, and even as the vocals in that song and elsewhere veer back and forth between screaming and a cleaner approach — highlighting the latter particularly on the closing duo “A Shrine” and “Champain,” but using it wisely throughout to change things up as Miluski has all along in the band’s five-year tenure — that aggression is maintained. No matter where a given song goes, it is not intended to be friendly, or to hypnotize so much as to punch in the face.

Champain is a title I read both as a signal of the level of class in High Fighter‘s execution, which is true, as well as in a life-gives-you-lemons-make-lemonade kind of way. When life gives you pain, make champagne, and so on. Whether or not either was the intent of the band, I don’t know, but they do show a sense of poise amid all the aural throttling of their songcraft, and not just for those moments of clean vocals.

To be sure, Miluski‘s voice is a defining element in High Fighter‘s approach — they’d be an entirely different band without it — but in the near-melodeath of “Shine Equal Dark” or the pointed turns in “When We Suffer,” which also brings in Anton Lisovoj, founding vocalist/bassist of Downfall of Gaia, with whom High Fighter toured last year, for a guest spot, demonstrate plainly that the entire band is on the same page when it comes to aesthetic, or at very least they’re able to convey that with their sound. Consider that despite touring and the direction their material have taken, all five original members remain in the group. That’s relatively rare as a band moves from one record to another in the gritty fashion High Fighter have. It only makes their dynamic stronger throughout Champain, however, as a song like “Dead Gift” proves with its layered hook, crash and head-down churning riff in the post-chorus.

high fighter (Photo by Basti Grim)

The aforementioned “Another Cure” is a standout for its seven-minute runtime, and while I wouldn’t necessarily call its delivery patient, the sheer fact that it takes a longer form than what surrounds — the next longest is opener “Before I Disappear,” at 5:16, while everything else apart from two interludes is in the 3:30-4:30 range — showcases a willingness to change up their take as called for by the material itself. And of course it’s not just that it takes longer to get where it’s going — I was trying to think of whatever the punishing equivalent of Funkytown would be; Scathesville? Flaysberg? Brutalasfuckton? — but that the songwriting earns the distance it travels from one end to the other that makes the difference.

Those noted interludes, “Interlight” on the first half of the album and the obviously-complementary “Interdark” on the second, play a role in giving the listener a chance to breathe before the next round of assault ensues, but neither is much more than a minute long, and whether it’s the semi-djent “Kozel” or the swinging mosher “I Will Not” that follows, leading directly into “Interdark,” there’s plenty to justify the break. Indeed, the momentum High Fighter amass across Champain‘s span becomes no less crucial to the proceedings than the aggression driving the performances themselves, each track feeding into the overarching impression of striking out against suffering inflicted. There are some triumphs and there are some pitfalls conveyed as a part of that, but these too are brought to bear with intent behind them, and the feeling of purpose overall is richer as a result.

And though in some ways, the progression High Fighter have thus far undertaken is a surprise — one might expect a band over time to grow less aggressive, not more — with the allowance that it’s still only been five years/two albums and their longer-term growth will invariably play out over their next several releases, they’ve found a niche somewhere between heavy and mean that is able to draw from both sides effectively and still seem to put songwriting first. That’s something Scars and Crosses did as well, but that Champain does with even greater efficiency, proffering a statement of intent in “Before I Disappear” and then setting up the rest of what follows to expand the argument.

Their sound won’t be for everybody, but it was never supposed to be. Rather, its foundation in metal rather than rock seems to position High Fighter as an automatic surprise on this or that heavy show, fest, whatever it might be, and one suspects that suits the five-piece just fine as they gleefully harsh mellows across the broader European touring market. I’d love to see the faces of the stoner rock hippies when they break out “Shine Equal Dark,” personally. If this is the road High Fighter are heading down, eventually they’re going to have to expose themselves to a more metal audience, but as it is on their second record, they seem to delight in the high-grade skin peel they provide. That only makes it more fun.

High Fighter, “Before I Disappear”

High Fighter website

High Fighter on Thee Facebooks

High Fighter on Instagram

High Fighter on Bandcamp

Argonauta Records website

Argonauta Records on Thee Facebooks

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High Fighter Set July 26 Release for Champain; New Song Streaming

Posted in Whathaveyou on May 20th, 2019 by JJ Koczan

high fighter

Fresh off an appearance at Desertfest and ahead of a stop at this summer’s Freak Valley and SonicBlast Moledo festivals, as well as other locales, German aggro-heavies High Fighter have unveiled “Before I Disappear,” the opening track of their impending second album and first for Argonauta Records, Champain. The follow-up to their 2016 debut, Scars and Crosses (review here), immediately revives and pushes ahead through that album’s atmospheric darkness, and with the scream of vocalist Mona Miluski out front during the verses, the harsh spirit of the preceding LP is maintained at the same time a broader melodic reach is signaled via the chorus. They reside at the intersection where heavy meets metal, and seem to have no problem playing to either side of that equation. I’ll look forward to hearing more.

The PR wire brought art, info and audio:

high fighter champain

HIGH FIGHTER unleash release details + first track from upcoming album; due out this July on Argonauta Records!

Hamburg-based Sludge Metal unit HIGH FIGHTER returns with their sophomore, brand new album this summer on Argonauta Records. Today the band is sharing with us not only the hotly anticipated release details, but also a first single taken from their upcoming record titled Champain!

After the group’s debut EP The Goat Ritual released end of 2014, followed by numerous shows all over Europe & the UK, including festivals such as Wacken Open Air, Summer Breeze, Desertfest Berlin, London and Antwerp, SonicBlast Moledo, Stoned From The Underground, Up In Smoke, Keep It Low, Red Smoke Festival and many more, as well as countless gigs on tour with bands alike Ahab, Conan, Elder, Downfall of Gaia, Crowbar, Mantar, Corrosion of Conformity, Mammoth Storm, Brant Bjork, The Midnight Ghost Train and Earth Ship to name just a few, HIGH FIGHTER released their first full-length and critically acclaimed album Scars & Crosses in June 2016 on Svart Records. The band’s second studio album, Champain, is set for a release on July 26th 2019 with powerhouse label Argonauta Records.

It seems life on the road has impacted HIGH FIGHTER in a huge way. As their new album has a heavier and fast-paced sound compared to their first records. The best way to describe HIGH FIGHTER in 2019 is PISSED OFF! This is a different band that announced their arrival in 2014 with their debut EP followed by Scars & Crosses. Champain isn’t for the faint hearted and the band may actually surprise a lot of their established fanbase with this album.

“We finally present you the cover art and details for our second album, we have named Champain. This album tells an anti-hero story, and we have probably never sounded that focussed and brutal on a record before.” Vocalist Mona Miluski explains. “Champain has been recorded, mixed and mastered by our dear friend Jan Oberg at Hidden Planet Studio in Berlin, and the clear, classy but epic album artwork has been designed by the talented Johnny Doe. This record is definitely not Scars & Crosses part 2, we tried to evolve our sound to a new level and this time, introducing the even more heavier side of High Fighter.”

Opening songs such as Before I Disappear, Shine Equal Dark and Dead Gift, create an eerie and gloomy atmosphere where the mood can be pitch-black in places. The soaring and brutal riffs on this album allow Mona to show her impressive vocal range, from Death Metal growls, mean screams to her Stoner Rock, Soul and Blues roots.

Champain – Tracklisting:
1. Before I Disappear
2. Shine Equal Dark
3. Interlight
4. Dead Gift
5. Another Cure
6. Kozel
7. I Will Not
8. Interdark
9. When We Suffer ( feat. Anton Lisovoj of Downfall of Gaia )
10. A Shrine
11. Champain

Champain will be coming out July 26th in CD, Vinyl and Digital formats, with a pre-order and many more news to follow soon.

HIGH FIGHTER live:
14.06.19 DE – Hannover / Café Glocksee, w/ Monolord
22.06.19 DE – Freak Valley Festival
03.08.19 DE – Gössnitz Open Air
08.-10.08.19 PT – SonicBlast Moledo
18.10.19 DE – Metal Inferno Paderborn
+ many more shows to be announced soon

HIGH FIGHTER is:
Mona Miluski – vocals
Christian Pappas – guitar
Ingwer Boysen – guitar
Constantin Wüst – bass
Thomas Wildelau – drums & backing vocals

www.highfighter.de
www.facebook.com/highfighter
www.instagram.com/highfighter_official
www.highfighter.bandcamp.com
www.argonautarecords.com
www.facebook.com/ArgonautaRecords

High Fighter, “Before I Disappear”

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Quarterly Review: Earthless, Satan’s Satyrs, Mantar, Child, T.G. Olson, Canyon, Circle of the Sun, Mythic Sunship, Svarta Stugan, Bast

Posted in Reviews on December 6th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

quarterly-review

There isn’t enough coffee in the universe, but I’ve got mine and I’m ready to burn the living crap out of my tongue if that’s what it takes to get through. We’ve arrived at Day 4 of the Quarterly Review, and though we’re less than halfway to the 100-album goal set by some maniac sitting at his kitchen table with a now-burnt tongue, there’s been an awful lot of good stuff so far. More even than I thought going into it, and I slate this stuff.

That said, today’s list is pretty killer. A lot of these bands will be more familiar than maybe has been the case or will be on some of the other days of this Quarterly Review. It just kind of worked out that way as I was putting it together. But hey, a few bigger bands here, a few “debut EP” demos there. It’s all good fun.

So let’s go.

Quarterly Review #31-40:

Earthless, From the West

earthless from the west

Bonus points to whatever clever cat correctly decided that Earthless‘ 2018 studio album, Black Heaven (review here), needed a companion live record. With artwork mimicking a Led Zeppelin bootleg of the same name, From the West arrives through Silver Current and Nuclear Blast capturing the most powerful of power trios earlier this year in San Francisco, and it’s like the fire emoji came to life. With Mike Eginton‘s bass as the anchor and Mario Rubalcaba‘s drums as the driving force, guitarist Isaiah Mitchell starts ripping holes in the fabric of spacetime with “Black Heaven” and doesn’t stop until 64 minutes later as “Acid Crusher” dissolves into noise. Of course “Gifted by the Wind” from the latest LP is a highlight, and suitably enough, they cover Zeppelin‘s “Communication Breakdown,” but I’m not sure anything tops the extended take on “Uluru Rock” from 2013’s From the Ages (review here) — and yes, I mean that. Of course they pair it with the 1:48 surge of “Volt Rush,” because they’re Earthless, and brilliant is what they do. Every set they play should be recorded for posterity.

Earthless website

Silver Current Records on Bandcamp

Earthless at Nuclear Blast webstore

 

Satan’s Satyrs, The Lucky Ones

satans satyrs the lucky ones

Encased in cover art that begs the Spinal Tap question, “what’s wrong with being sexy?” and the response that Fran Drescher gave it, Virginia classic heavy rockers Satan’s Satyrs return with their fourth full-length, The Lucky Ones (on RidingEasy and Bad Omen), which also marks their first record as a four-piece with guitarist Nate Towle (Wicked Inquisition) joining the returning lineup of bassist/vocalist Clayton Burgess, guitarist Jared Nettnin and drummer Stephen Fairfield, who, between the fact that Burgess founded the band and played in Electric Wizard, and all the lead guitar antics from Nettnin and Towle, might be the unsung hero of the band. His performance is not lost in the recording by Windhand‘s Garrett Morris or Burgess‘ own hefty mix, and as one would expect, Satan’s Satyrs continue to deliver deceptively refined ’70s-heavy vibes caked in cult biker horror aesthetics. Some songs hit more than others, but Satan’s Satyrs‘ dust-kicking approach continues to win converts.

Satan’s Satyrs on Thee Facebooks

RidingEasy Records on Bandcamp

Bad Omen Records on Bandcamp

 

Mantar, The Modern Art of Setting Ablaze

mantar the modern art of setting ablaze

One generally thinks of Hamburg duo Mantar as having all the subtlety of a bone saw caught on video, and yet, in listening to “Seek + Forget” from their third album, The Modern Art of Setting Ablaze (on Nuclear Blast), there are some elements that seem to be reaching out on the part of the band. Guitarist Hanno‘s vocals are more enunciated and discernible, there is a short break from the all-out blackened-sludge-punk assault that’s been their trade since their start in 2012, and “Obey the Obscene” even has an organ. Still, the bulk of the 12-track/48-minute follow-up to 2016’s Ode to the Flame (review here) is given to extremity of purpose and execution, and in pieces like the churning “Anti Eternia” and the particularly-punked “Teeth of the Sea,” they work to refine their always-present threat of violence. Closer “The Funeral” brings back some of the quiet moodiness of intro “The Knowing” and underscores the point of sonic expansion. I hope next time they use a string section.

Mantar on Thee Facebooks

Nuclear Blast website

 

Child, I

child i

It took me a few minutes to get to the heart of what my problem with Child‘s I EP is. Really, I was sitting and listening to “Age Has Left Me Behind” — the first of the three included tracks on the 20-ish-minute 12″ — and I had to ask myself, “Why is this annoying me?” The answer? Because it’s not an album. That’s it. It’s not enough. Kudos to the Melbourne, Australia, heavy blues trio on having that be the biggest concern with their latest release — it follows 2016’s righteously-grooved Blueside (review here) — and kudos to them as well for their cover of Spirit‘s “The Other Song,” but of course it’s the 10-minute jam “Going Down Swinging” on side B that’s the immersive highlight of I, as Child‘s balance of softshoe-boogie and expansive mellow-psych is second to none in their subgenre. It’s not an album, and that’s kind of sad, but as a tide-ya-over until the next long-player arrives, I still does the trick nice and easy. And not to get greedy, but I’d take a II (or would it be You?) whenever they get around to it.

Child on Thee Facebooks

Kozmik Artifactz website

 

T.G. Olson, Wasatch Valley Lady & The Man from Table Mountain

tg olson wasatch valley lady and the man from table mountain

Across Tundras frontman T.G. Olson, who by now has well lapped that band’s output with his solo catalog, would seem to have sat down with his guitar sometime in the last week and put two songs to tape. The resulting 10-minute offering is Wasatch Valley Lady & The Man from Table Mountain, its component title-tracks stripping down some of the more elaborate arrangements he’s explored of late — his latest full-length, Riding Roughshod (review pending; it’s hard to keep up), came out in October — to expose the barebones construction at root in his Rocky Mountain country folk style. “Wasatch Valley Lady” and “The Man from Table Mountain” make an engaging couple, and while Olson has a host of videos on YouTube that are similarly just him and his acoustic, something about the audio-only recordings feel like a voice out of time reaching for human connection. The first seems to have a natural fade, and the second a more prominent rhythm showcased in harder strum, but both are sweet melodies evocative as ever of open landscapes and wistful experience.

Across Tundras on Thee Facebooks

T.G. Olson/Across Tundras on Bandcamp

 

Canyon, Mk II

canyon mk ii

The Deep Purple-referential Mk II title of Canyon‘s second EP, also the follow-up to their 2017 debut LP, Radiant Light, refers to the lineup change that’s seen Dean Welsh move to drums so that he and guitarist Peter Stanko can welcome bassist/vocalist Fred Frederick to the fold. The three included songs, the hooky “Mine Your Heart,” expansively fuzzed “Morphine Dreams” and bouncing “Roam” make a hell of a first offering from the reconstituted trio, who capture classic heavy naturalism in a chemistry between players that’s mirrored in the songwriting itself. Canyon‘s 2016 self-titled debut EP (review here) held marked promise, and even after the full-length, that promise would seem to be coming to fruition here. Their tones and craft are both right on, and there’s still some gelling to do between the three of them, but they leave no doubt with Mk II that this incarnation of Canyon can get there. And, if they keep up like this, get there quickly.

Canyon on Thee Facebooks

Canyon on Bandcamp

 

Circle of the Sun, Jams of Inner Perception

Circle of the Sun Jams of Inner Perception

One man jams! Psych-jam seekers will recognize Daniel Sax as the drummer for Berlin-based trio Cosmic Fall. Circle of the Sun is a solo-project from Sax and Jams of Inner Perception collects six tracks for 39 minutes of adventuring on his own. Sax sets his own backbeat and layers bass and “effectsbass” for a full-lineup feel amid the instrumental creations, and those looking to be hypnotized by the space-rocking jams will be. Flat out. Sax is no stranger to jamming, and as one soaks in “Jamming in Paradise” or its nine-minute predecessor “Liquid Sand,” there’s little mistaking his intention. Curious timing that Circle of the Sun would take shape following a lineup change in Cosmic Fall — perhaps it was put together in the interim? — but whether Jams of Inner Perception is a one-off of the beginning of a new avenue for Sax, its turn to blues noodling on “Desert Sun,” thick-toned “Moongroove” and fuzzy roll on “Acid Dream” demonstrate there are plenty of outer realms still to explore.

Circle of the Sun on Thee Facebooks

Circle of the Sun on Bandcamp

 

Mythic Sunship, Another Shape of Psychedelic Music

Mythic Sunship Another Shape of Psychedelic Music

The simplest way to put it is that Mythic Sunship‘s Another Shape of Psychedelic Music lives up to the lofty ambitions of its title. The Danish band is comprised of guitarists Kasper Stougaard Andersen and Emil Thorenfeldt, bassist Rasmus ‘Cleaver’ Christensen, drummer Frederik Denning and saxophonist Søren Skov, and with Causa Sui‘s Jonas Munk — who also produced the album — sitting in on the extended “Backyard Voodoo” (17:41) and “Out There” (13:53) as well as overseeing the release through El Paraiso, the band indeed makes there way into the far out reaches where jazz and psychedelia meet. It’s not about pretentiously saying they’re doing something that’s never been done. You’ll note it’s “another shape” and not a “new shape” or the “shape to come.” But immersion happens quickly on opener “Resolution” (14:23), and even quicker cuts like “Last Exit,” “Way Ahead” and “Elevation” carry the compelling spirit of forward-thinking creativity through their dynamic course, and if Mythic Sunship aren’t the shape of psychedelic music to come, it’s in no small part because there are so few out there who could hope to match what they do.

Mythic Sunship on Thee Facebooks

El Paraiso Records website

 

Svarta Stugan, Islands / Öar

svarta stugan islands oar

Islands / Öar — the second word being the Swedish translation of the first — is the 40-minute debut full-length from Gothenburg atmospheric heavy post-rock instrumentalists Svarta Stugan, who demonstrate in influence from Hex-era Earth on the opener “Islands III” but go on in subsequent tracks to pull together a sound distinct in its cinematic feel and moody execution. Five out of the seven component tracks are “Islands” pieces, which are presented out of order with “Islands IV” missing and “Islands Unknown” perhaps in its place, and the respective side A/B finales “Inner Space” and “Prospects Quatsi” standing apart. Both bring to bear a style ultimately consistent with the melancholy so rife throughout Islands / Öar as a whole, but they’re obviously intended as outliers, and so they seem to be. The LP release follows a couple shorter outings, issued over the past six-plus years, and it’s clear from the depths and range on display here in the build-to-crescendo of “Inner Space” alone that Svarta Stugan haven’t misspent their time in their progression to this point.

Svarta Stugan on Thee Facebooks

Svarta Stugan on Bandcamp

 

Bast, Nanoångström

bast nanoangstrom

Largesse of scope and largesse of tone work in tandem on Bast‘s Nanoångström full-length on Black Bow, as they bring together aspects of post-metallic churn and more extreme metal methods to hone a style highly individualized, highly weighted and as much cosmic as it is crushing. Through six tracks and 57 minutes, the London trio (plus two guest spots from Chris Naughton of Winterfylleth) careen and crash and set an atmosphere of chaos without actually being chaotic, their progressive craft working to tie the songs together into a larger impression of the work as a consuming entirety. It’s the kind of record you pick up and still hear new things in by the time they put out their next one. Production from Chris Fielding at Skyhammer Studio only helps creates the heights and depths of their dynamic, and whether they’re rolling out the severity of closer “The Ghosts Which Haunt the Space Between the Stars” or laying out the soundscape of “The Beckoning Void,” Bast shape the tenets of genre to suit their needs rather than try to work within the barriers of any particular style. Nanoångström is all the more complex and satisfying for their efforts in that regard.

Bast on Thee Facebooks

Black Bow Records webstore

 

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High Fighter Sign to Argonauta Records for New Album in 2019

Posted in Whathaveyou on November 28th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

A fitting union and another solid pickup for Argonauta Records as the label welcomes German sludgecore rockers High Fighter to its seemingly ever-expanding roster. The Hamburg-based band released their debut album, Scars and Crosses (review here), in 2016 on Svart and worked to blend a number of genres for a style they’ll look to continue to expand after a number of tours in support. Spring 2019 would seem to be the intention, and I’m sure there’ll be more info and audio out before then.

Kudos to band and label both. This should work out nicely when it comes to the album, the title for which remains TBA.

From the PR wire:

high fighter (Photo by Peter Kupfer)

HIGH FIGHTER SIGNS WITH ARGONAUTA RECORDS! New album coming in the Spring of 2019!

Hamburg-based Sludge and Stoner Metal unit High Fighter have signed a worldwide deal with Argonauta Records. Currently putting together the final songwriting touches, the band’s hotly anticipated second album will be released in the Spring of 2019!

Says Argonauta’s CEO Gero Lucisano:
“Today I’m beyond stoked to welcome HIGH FIGHTER in the Argonauta family. I remember how their album “Scars & Crosses” has been on heavy rotation here in our head-quarters for many months, and still is an “evergreen” listening these days. Moreover, thanks to the fact they are an hard working band always on tour, I got the chance to see them on stage, where I saw a captivating band with an uncontrollable energy, top professional attitude and awareness of their own means. Speaking with the band, I immediately got we are both moved by the same type of enthusiasm and it’d be such a lack of synergy to not join forces for their new album, which I can already grant it will be totally massive!”

After their critically acclaimed debut EP ‘The Goat Ritual’, self-released in the end of 2014, followed by numerous shows all over Europe including festival appearances at Wacken Open Air, Summer Breeze, Desertfest Berlin & Antwerp, Sonic Blast, Stoned From The Underground, Up In Smoke and many more, gigs on tour with bands alike Ahab, Conan, Crowbar, Mantar, Corrosion of Conformity, Elder, Downfall of Gaia, Mammoth Storm, Brant Bjork or Earth Ship to name just a few, HIGH FIGHTER released their first full-length ‘Scars & Crosses’ in June 2016 with Finland’s cult label Svart Records.

“We have met Gero a few years ago at a show in Italy, and we immediately felt his passion and love for the underground heavy music scene.“ HIGH FIGHTER vocalist Mona Miluski comments. „Over the past few months, I also got the chance to work closely with Gero due to my daytime job in the music industry, and I have probably not met many people like him before in this very tough business. His passionate but also very professional hard work for versatile, heavy bands not only impressed me but the entire band, when Gero made us an offer we could not refuse. We have and always will be very grateful for what Svart Records did for us and our first album, but musically we feel a step to sunny Italy with a label that represents the direction we currently go with our new album has been a great choice and move. We can’t wait to start recording in Berlin at the Hidden Planet Studio with our dear friend Jan Oberg (Earth Ship) in the beginning of 2019, and unleash our second full-length baby with Argonauta Records next Spring!“

HIGH FIGHTER are:
Mona Miluski – Vocals
Christian Pappas – Guitar
Ingwer Boysen – Guitar
Constantin Wüst – Bass
Thomas Wildelau – Drums / Backing Vocals

www.highfighter.de
www.facebook.com/highfighter
www.instagram.com/highfighter_official
www.highfighter.bandcamp.com
www.argonautarecords.com
www.facebook.com/ArgonautaRecords

High Fighter, Scars and Crosses (2016)

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