Stoner Kings Sign to Sliptrick Records

Posted in Whathaveyou on August 12th, 2019 by JJ Koczan

Let’s go ahead and assume that maybe Kelsinki’s Stoner Kings, in deciding to name their new record Alpha Male, weren’t thinking of the whole internet-alt-right ‘beta male’ thing. They’re a pretty dudely band, either way. They’ve just signed to Sliptrick Records after issuing Alpha Male back in May — it includes a pretty groovy cover of Kyuss‘ “Green Machine,” which is a bold enough choice to speak alone for the level of testosterone with which the band is clearly working. Sliptrick will do a version of the album that’s listed as “coming soon” — fair enough — and Stoner Kings offer plenty of burl to justify the pickup.

And if you remember Stoner Kings from back in the early days of internet riffy proliferation, you’re correct. They were around then and took a break before coming back a couple years ago, as the PR wire explains:

stoner kings

Sliptrick Records Welcome Finnish Slackers STONER KINGS

Stoner Kings is the brainchild of band frontman, vocalist and songwriter, Michael ”StarBuck” Majalahti, who is the self-proclaimed, most accomplished professional wrestler in history from Northern Europe. The band was formed in 2000, after Michael came back from a disenfranchising experience of a disheartening UK wrestling tour, looking to focus his efforts elsewhere. Michael had moved from his homeland of Canada to Finland in the summer of 1996, when he started writing music and picked up playing guitar to pass the time. Many of the songs that ended up on Stoner Kings’ debut Brimstone Blues were created around this era, between 1996-2000.

The band strove forward and under an augmented line-up released a second album in early 2006 after finishing recordings in late 2005. This sophomore effort would come to be known as Fuck The World, which served as a backlash to all of the spite issued forth by the critics of the band, who just couldn’t get over their name. Between late 2006 and early 2007, Stoner Kings went through some tumultuous line-up changes. Everyone, save StarBuck, exited the band to be replaced by new players.

By the autumn of 2008 and after 3 singles, this latest line-up of Stoner Kings had dissolved and Michael decided to hang up the gloves indefinitely. It took eight years for the itch to make a comeback and became so undeniable that Michael contacted his old drummer J-J and talked to him about regrouping under a new line-up. Rude Rothsten from the 2007-2008 incarnation of Stoner Kings joined on bass once again and the new guitarist would be a young musician named Joonas Vepsä.

Stoner Kings’s comeback gig was in November 2016 in Helsinki at On The Rocks. From that moment forward, the band set out to both gig regularly and at the same time work on new songs. The group hit the studio one year later in the autumn of 2017 to compile a set of songs for their third album. This process would take one year, as they recorded the yet-to-be-released album that came to be called Alpha Male between the autumn of 2017 and the autumn of 2018, a process that was performed in three separate recording and mixing blocks. Now ready to see the light of day, Alpha Male will be released via Sliptrick Records soon!

Stoner Kings are:
Michael “StarBuck” Majalahti – Vocals
J-J Kontoniemi – Drums
Rude Rothstén – Bass
Joonas Vepsä – Guitar

https://www.facebook.com/stonerkingsband
https://www.instagram.com/stonerkingsband/
https://stonerkings.bandcamp.com/
https://sliptrickrecords.com/stoner-kings/

Stoner Kings, Alpha Male (2019)

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Quarterly Review: Pelican, Swan Valley Heights, Mark Deutrom, Greenbeard, Mount Soma, Nibiru, Cable, Reino Ermitaño, Cardinals Folly & Lucifer’s Fall, Temple of the Fuzz Witch

Posted in Reviews on July 8th, 2019 by JJ Koczan

quarterly-review

More computer bullshit this morning. I lost about 45 minutes because my graphics driver and Windows 10 apparently hate each other and before I could disable the former, the machine decided the best it could do for me was to load a blank screen. Hard to find the Pelican record on my desktop when I can’t see my desktop. The Patient Mrs. woke up while I was trying to fix it and suggested HDMIing it to the tv. When I did that, it didn’t project as was hoped, but the display came on — because go figure — and I was able to shut off the driver, the only real advantage of which is it lets me use the night light feature so it’s easier on my eyes. That’s nice, but I’d rather have the laptop function. Not really working on a level of “give me soft red light or give me death!” at this point. I may yet get there in my life.

Today’s the last day of this beast, wrapping up the last of the 60 reviews, and I’m already in the hole for the better part of an hour thanks to this technical issue, the second of the week. Been an adventure, this one. Let’s close it out.

Quarterly Review #51-60:

Pelican, Nighttime Stories

pelican nighttime stories

Split into two LPs each with its own three-minute mood-setter — those being “WST” and “It Stared at Me,” respectively — Pelican‘s Nighttime Stories (on Southern Lord) carries the foreboding sensibility of its title into an aggressive push throughout the album, which deals from the outset with the pain of loss. The lead single “Midnight and Mescaline” represents this well in directly following “WST,” with shades of more extreme sounds in the sharp-turning guitar interplay and tense drums, but it carries through the blastbeats of “Abyssal Plain” and the bombastic crashes of presumed side B closer “Cold Hope” as well, which flow via a last tonal wash toward the melancholy “It Stared at Me” and the even-more-aggro title-track, the consuming “Arteries of Blacktop” and the eight-minute “Full Moon, Black Water,” which offers a build of maddening chug — a Pelican hallmark — before resolving in melodic serenity, moving, perhaps, forward with and through its grief. It’s been six years since Pelican‘s last LP, Forever Becoming (review here), and they’ve responded to that time differential with the hardest-hitting record they’ve ever done.

Pelican on Thee Facebooks

Southern Lord Recordings website

 

Swan Valley Heights, The Heavy Seed

swan valley heights the heavy seed

Though the peaceful beginning of 13-minute opener and longest track (immediate points) “The Heavy Seed,” for which the five-song album is named, reminds of Swan Valley Heights‘ Munich compatriots in Colour Haze, the ultimate impression the band make on their Fuzzorama Records debut and second album overall behind a 2016 self-titled (review here) is more varied in its execution, with cuts like “Vaporizer Woman” and the centerpiece “Take a Swim in God’s Washing Machine” manifesting ebbs and flows and rolling out a fuzzy largesse to lead into dream-toned ethereality and layered vocals that immediately call to mind Elephant Tree. There’s a propensity for jamming, but they’re not a jam band, and seem always to have a direction in mind. That’s true even on the three-minute instrumental “My First Knife Fight,” which unfurls around a nod riff and simple drum progression to bridge into closer “Teeth and Waves,” a bookend to The Heavy Seed‘s title-track that revives that initial grace and uses it as a stepping stone for the crunch to come. It’s a balance that works and should be well received.

Swan Valley Heights on Thee Facebooks

Fuzzorama Records on Bandcamp

 

Mark Deutrom, The Blue Bird

Mark Deutrom The Blue Bird

Released in the wee hours of 2019, Mark Deutrom‘s The Blue Bird marks the first new solo release from the prolific Austin-based songwriter/producer/multi-instrumentalist through Season of Mist, and it’s a 50-minute run of genre-spanning outsider art, bringing ’70s folk vibes to the weepy guitar echoes of “Radiant Gravity” right before “O Ye of Little Faith” dooms out for six of its seven minutes and “Our Revels Now Are Ended” basks in 77 seconds of experimentalist winding guitar. It goes like that. Vocals are intermittent enough to not necessarily be expected, but not entirely absent through the midsection of “Hell is a City,” “Somnambulist” and “Maximum Hemingway,” and if there’s traditionalism at play anywhere, it might be in “They Have Won” and “The Happiness Machine,” which, toward the back end of the album, bring a sax-laden melancholy vibe and a straightforward heavy rock feel, respectively, ahead of the closer “Nothing out There,” which ties them together, somehow accounting for the 1:34 “On Fathers Day” as well in its sweetness. Don’t go into The Blue Bird asking it to make sense on any level other than its own and you should be fine. It’s not a minor undertaking at 50 minutes, and not without its indulgences, but even the briefest of pieces helps develop the character of the whole, which of course is essential to any good story.

Mark Deutrom website

Season of Mist website

 

Greenbeard, Onward, Pillager

greenbeard onward pillager

Austin bringers of hard-boogie Greenbeard reportedly issued the three-song Onward, Pillager as a precursor to their next full-length — even the name hints toward it being something of a stopgap — but its tracks stand well on their own, whether it’s the keyboard-laced “Contact High II,” which is presumably a sequel to another track on the forthcoming record, or the chunkier roll of “WCCQ” and the catchy finisher “Kill to Love Yourself,” with its overlaid guitar solo adding to a dramatic ending. It hasn’t been that long since 2017’s Lödarödböl (review here), but clearly these guys are committed to moving forward in neo-stoner rock fashion, and their emergence as songwriters is highlighted particularly throughout “WCCQ” and “Kill to Love Yourself,” while “Contact High II” is more of an intro or a would-be interlude on the full-length. It may only be pieces of a larger, to-be-revealed picture, but Onward, Pillager shows three different sides of what Greenbeard have on offer, and the promise of more to come is one that will hopefully be kept sooner rather than later.

Greenbeard on Thee Facebooks

Sailor Records on Bandcamp

 

Mount Soma, Nirodha

mount_soma_nirodha

Each of the three songs on Mount Soma‘s densely-weighted, live-recorded self-released Nirodha EP makes some mention of suffering in its lyrics, and indeed, that seems to be the theme drawing together “Dark Sun Destroyer” (7:40), “Emerge the Wolf” (5:50) and “Resurfacing” (9:14): a quest for transcendence perhaps in part due to the volume of the music and the act itself of creating it. Whatever gets them there, the trajectory of Nirodha is such that by the time they hit into the YOB-style galloping toward the end of “Resurfacing,” the gruff shouts of “rebirth!” feel more celebratory than ambitious. Based in Dublin, the four-piece bring a fair sense of space to their otherwise crush-minded approach, and though the EP is rough — it is their second short release following 2016’s Origins — they seem to have found a way to tie together outer and inner cosmos with an earthbound sense of gravity and heft, and with the more intense shove of “Emerge the Wolf” between the two longer tracks, they prove themselves capable of bringing a noisy charge amid all that roar and crash. They did the first EP live as well. I wonder if they’d do the same for a full-length.

Mount Soma on Thee Facebooks

Mount Soma on Bandcamp

 

Nibiru, Salbrox

nibiru salbrox

One might get lost in the unmanageable 64-minute wash of Nibiru‘s fifth full-length (first for Ritual Productions), Salbrox, but the opaque nature of the proceedings is part of the point. The Italian ritualists bring forth a chaotic depth of noise and harsh semi-spoken rasps of vocals reportedly in the Enochian language, and from 14-minute opener “EHNB” — also the longest track (immediate points) — through the morass that follows in “Exarp,” “Hcoma,” “Nanta” and so on, the album is a willful slog that challenges the listener on nearly every level. This is par for the course for Nibiru, whose last outing was 2017’s Qaal Babalon (review here), and they seem to revel in the slow-churning gruel of their distortion, turning from it only to break to minimalism in the second half of the album with “Abalpt” and “Bitom” before 13-minute closer “Rziorn” storms in like a tsunami of spiritually desolate plunge. It is vicious and difficult to hear, and again, that is exactly what it’s intended to be.

Nibiru on Thee Facebooks

Ritual Productions website

 

Cable, Take the Stairs to Hell

Cable Take the Stairs to Hell

The gift of Cable was to take typically raw Northeastern disaffection and channel it into a noise rock that wasn’t quite as post-this-or-that as Isis, but still had a cerebral edge that more primitive fare lacked. They were methodical, and 10 years after their last record, the Hartford, Connecticut, outfit return with the nine-song/30-minute Take the Stairs to Hell (on Translation Loss), which brings them back into the modern sphere with a sound that is no less relevant than it was bouncing between This Dark Reign, Hydra Head and Translation Loss between 2001 and 2004. They were underrated then and may continue to be now, but the combination of melody and bite in “Black Medicine” and the gutty crunch of “Eyes Rolled Back,” the post-Southern heavy of the title-track and the lumbering pummel of “Rivers of Old” before it remind of how much of a standout Cable was in the past, reinforcing that not only were they ahead of their time then, but that they still have plenty to offer going forward. They may continue to be underrated as they always were, but their return is significant and welcome.

Cable on Instagram

Translation Loss Records webstore

 

Reino Ermitaño, Reino Ermitaño

Reino Ermitano Reino Ermitano

Originally released in 2003, the self-titled debut from Lima, Peru’s Reino Ermitaño was a beacon and landmark in Latin American doom, with a sound derived from the genre’s traditions — Sabbath, Trouble, etc. — and melded with not only Spanish-language lyrics, but elements of South American folk and stylizations. Reissued on vinyl some 16 years later, it maintains its power through the outside-time level of its craft, sliding into that unplaceable realm of doom that could be from any point from about 1985 onward, while the melodies in the guitar of Henry Guevara and the vocals of Tania Duarte hold sway over the central groove of bassist Marcos Coifman and drummer Julio “Ñaka” Almeida. Those who were turned onto the band at the time will likely know they’ve released five LPs to-date, with the latest one from 2014, but the Necio Records version marks the first time the debut has been pressed to vinyl, and so is of extra interest apart from the standard putting-it-out-there-again reissue. Collectors and a new generation of doomers alike would be well advised on an educational level, and of course the appeal of the album itself far exceeds that.

Reino Ermitaño on Thee Facebooks

Necio Records on Bandcamp

 

Cardinals Folly & Lucifer’s Fall, Split

cardinals folly lucifers fall split

Though one hails from Helsinki, Finland, and the other from Adelaide, Australia, Cardinals Folly and Lucifer’s Fall could hardly be better suited to share the six-song Cruz Del Sur split LP that they do, which checks in at 35 minutes of trad doom riffing and dirtier fare. The former is provided by Cardinals Folly, who bring a Reverend Bizarre-style stateliness to “Spiritual North” and “Walvater Proclaimed!” before betraying their extreme metal roots on “Sworn Through Odin’s and Satan’s Blood,” while the Oz contingent throw down Saint Vitus-esque punk-born fuckall through “Die Witch Die,” the crawling “Call of the Wild” and the particularly brash and speedier “The Gates of Hell.” The uniting thread of course is homage to doom itself, but each band brings enough of their own take to complement each other without either contradicting or making one or the other of them feel redundant, and rather, the split works out to be a rampaging, deeply-drunk, pagan-feeling celebration of what doom is and how it has been internalized by each of these groups. Doom over the world? Yeah, something like that.

Cardinals Folly on Thee Facebooks

Lucifer’s Fall on Thee Facebooks

Cruz Del Sur Music website

 

Temple of the Fuzz Witch, Temple of the Fuzz Witch

Temple of the Fuzz Witch Temple of the Fuzz Witch

A strong current of Electric Wizard runs through the self-titled debut full-length from Detroit’s Temple of the Fuzz Witch (on Seeing Red Records), but even to that, the outfit led by guitarist/vocalist Noah Bruner bring a nascent measure of individuality, droning into and through “Death Hails” after opening with “Bathsheba” and ahead of unveiling a harmonized vocal on “The Glowing of Satan” that suits the low end distortion surprisingly well. They continue to offer surprises throughout, whether it’s the spaciousness of centerpiece “329” and “Infidel,” which follows, or the offsetting of minimalism and crush on “The Fuzz Witch” and the creeper noise in the ending of “Servants of the Sun,” and though there are certainly familiar elements at play, Temple of the Fuzz Witch come across with an intent to take what’s been done before and make it theirs. In that regard, they would seem to be on the right track, and in their 41 minutes, they find footing in a murky aesthetic and are able to convey a sense of songwriting without sounding heavy-handed. There’s nothing else I’d ask of their first album.

Temple of the Fuzz Witch on Thee Facebooks

Seeing Red Records on Bandcamp

 

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Kaleidobolt Premiere “Deadpan Blues” from Bitter out May 31

Posted in audiObelisk, Reviews on May 16th, 2019 by JJ Koczan

kaleidobolt

Finnish boogie-made-prog heavy rockers Kaleidobolt will issue their third album, Bitter, on May 31 as their debut release for Svart Records, and though the track premiering below from it is called “Deadpan Blues,” make no mistake, there’s just about nothing deadpan about the entire outing. Instead, the returning Helsinki trio of guitarist/vocalist Sampo Kääriäinen, bassist/vocalist Marco Menestrina and drummer Valtteri Lindholm bask in the experience gleaned from touring to support their second album, 2016’s The Zenith Cracks (review here), and use the recording process itself like another instrument in exciting and engaging ways. “Deadpan Blues” on the album follows directly after the previously unveiled “I am the Seer” (posted here, but also way down at the bottom of this post), a song that in answering the organ-laced righteousness and jangle of opener “Another Toothpick” and the cavernous rock-formation spaces of “Big Sky Land” (lead guitar there reminding just a bit of Elder‘s vivid tonality) melds frenetic boogie with surf rock guitar ping, consuming megafuzz undulations and a bluesy, boozy repeated lyric about being torn apart by memory. The roll that ends it devolves into static amp noise as Menestrina‘s bassline begins “Deadpan Blues” with an immediate sense of tension and the guitar (slide?) and snare march smoothly enter. It’s about a minute before the rush-o’-riff ensues, but man, what a blast when it does. It’s a track that takes the best of what the ’70s-worship set has brought to bear and pushes it into the now-future not only with tonal presence, but with a sharp delivery that speaks to the consciousness at work all the while. Kaleidobolt have been plenty diggable since their 2015 self-titled (review here) came out on Pink Tank, but Bitter feels like a different level of achievement.

And yeah, it should. The second album was a step forward from the first and their sound was immediately nuanced enough to make one think they were a band interested kaleidobolt bitterin growing creatively. Bitter not only builds on The Zenith Cracks in terms of its form — or in the case of the absolute diversion into noisy fuckall at the end of “Deadpan Blues,” its anti-form; fortunately the subsequent prog guitar lullaby “Interlude” gives the listener a moment to recover — but affirms Kaleidobolt‘s intent toward individualism and developing something deeper than the standard execution of genre. Even as the penultimate “Coyote” dives into Thin Lizzyism, it does so with its own take. And a mellotron! But part of what gives Bitter that sonic nuance is the recording itself, which lends particular space to Kääriäinen‘s guitar and has a consistent thread of reverb/echo that draws the ear toward the Spaghetti West without ever really going full-Morricone. A place in-between seems only too comfortable for Kaleidobolt, and with the whole-album-highlight drum performance of Lindholm as the grounding factor and Menestrina‘s winding basslines as the supporting structure, the guitar is free to construct as it will, an aesthetic focal point in a way that feels like a given for heavy rock, but is still make a conscious choice here thanks to variety in tone — that fuzz on “I am the Seer” returns on closer “Hydra” before it gets kicked in the psychedelic dirt for about nine minutes or so — and the ability of the band as a whole to affect varying degrees of mood and, from the outset on, maddening vitality, in their material. The underground universe is not short on bands updating classic forms. One would have a difficult time thinking of another doing so with as much character as Kaleidobolt bring to Bitter.

Again, the production, which was helmed by Niko Lehdontie, who’s worked with a number of experimental outfits like Oranssi Pazuzu and so is no stranger to thoughtful chaos, is part of that, but even Kaleidobolt‘s decision to push outside of the “norm” on the general sound of Bitter is emblematic of the consciousness at work behind what they’re doing here. On first listen, it can be a tough record to keep up with — because it moves, moves, moves, and requires your attention to do likewise — but if you need to, dig into “Deadpan Blues” twice in a row and already the second time you’ll hear it differently. It takes a minute to adjust to the scope of what Kaleidobolt manifest, but doing so makes the listening experience all the more satisfying, and not just for the kinetic nature of their ur-groove. Bitter is as much about aesthetic purpose as it is boogie-down, and for all its accomplishments, I’d offer zero guarantees the band are done growing. As much as their course throughout these seven tracks twists and turns, it is inextricably forward. Get down, and know why.

Kaleidobolt have tour dates upcoming this summer that will take them to Stoned from the Underground and that include shows with Yawning Man. You’ll find those and more info on the record included under the track below.

Please enjoy:

Kaleidobolt, “Deadpan Blues” official track premiere

With one foot in classic heavy power-trio rock ‘n’ roll and the other knee-deep in psychedelic frenzy, Finland’s Kaleidobolt blast off into inner space with their third album, Bitter. Having perfected their craft on the road all across Europe, with two previous albums under their collective belt, Kaleidobolt have become a fierce live experience, guaranteed to blow minds and ears.

Kaleidobolt, however, are far from your usual deafening stoner rock experience. Their music is all about texture and depth, and beneath the lysergically frenzied riffs hide worlds of exquisite soundscapes. For the new album, the band decided to take an even greater leap into worlds beyond and hired Niko Lehdontie (Kairon; IRSE! and Oranssi Pazuzu) to produce the album and Lauri Eloranta (the current go-to guy in Finland for indie pop and rock bands) to mix it.

Bitter is rock music frenzy that intermittently disintegrates into sonic cotton candy and the occasional western theme. Bitter is also Kaleidobolt’s debut for Svart Records, and we are proud to release it on May 31st on CD, vinyl LP, and digital formats.

Kaleidobolt live:
5.7 Gothenburg / Truckstop Alaska (SWE)
6.7 Malmö / @PlanB – malmö (SWE)
7.7 Kiel / Die Kieler Schaubude (GER)
8.7 Berlin / Toast Hawaii (GER)*
9.7 Wiesbaden / Schlachthof Wiesbaden (GER)*
10.7 Cottbus / Zum Faulen August, Cottbus (GER)*
11.7 Wien / ARENA WIEN (AUT)*
12.7 Salzburg / Rockhouse Salzburg (AUT)*
13.7 Erfurt / Stoned from the Underground – Festival
*with Yawning Man

Kaleidobolt is:
Sampo Kääriäinen – guitar, vocals
Marco Menestrina – bass, vocals
Valtteri Lindholm – drums

Kaleidobolt, “I am the Seer” official video

Kaleidobolt on Thee Facebooks

Kaleidobolt on Bandcamp

Svart Records website

Svart Records on Thee Facebooks

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Kaleidobolt Sign to Svart Records for Bitter out May 31; New Video Posted

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

kaleidobolt

It’s a marriage made in Finnish weirdness. Helsinki-based progressive heavy rockers Kaleidobolt are a natural fit for Svart Records given their blend of old and new, prog and and heavy, this and that, up and down, side to side, space and earth, all good things and so on. Granted that’s a pretty wide standard, but the jazzy elements of what they’ve done over the course of their two LPs to date — 2016’s ultra-righteous The Zenith Cracks (review here) and the prior no-slouch-either 2015 self-titled (review here) — only make the alliance more reasonable, as Svart has readily shown an affinity for such things in past offerings. Everybody wins, is what I’m saying, and all the more those who take a few minutes out of their hectic day to dig into the new video “I Am the Seer” — at the bottom of the post, duh — and thereby get an early sampling of Kaleidobolt‘s wares on their impending third album, Bitter, which will mark their debut on the label upon its release May 31.

These guys have been on their own wavelength of heavy since they started out, and one is glad to see them continue the thread. Looking forward to the record.

Info came down the PR wire:

kaleidobolt bitter

KALEIDOBOLT set release date for SVART debut, reveal first video

Svart Records sets May 31st as the international release date for Kaleidobolt’s highly anticipated third album, Bitter. The album, which will be the band’s debut for the label, will be released on CD and vinyl LP formats.

With one foot in classic heavy power-trio rock ‘n’ roll and the other knee-deep in psychedelic frenzy, Finland’s Kaleidobolt blast off into inner space with their third album, Bitter. Having perfected their craft on the road all across Europe, with two previous albums under their collective belt, Kaleidobolt have become a fierce live experience, guaranteed to blow minds and ears.

Kaleidobolt, however, are far from your usual deafening stoner rock experience. Their music is all about texture and depth, and beneath the lysergically frenzied riffs hide worlds of exquisite soundscapes. For the new album, the band decided to take an even greater leap into worlds beyond and hired Niko Lehdontie (Kairon; IRSE! and Oranssi Pazuzu) to produce the album and Lauri Eloranta (the current go-to guy in Finland for indie pop and rock bands) to mix it.

“We aim to make music that sounds dangerous, that is on its way to critical mass and could all fall apart at any moment,” comments bassist Marco Menestrina. “This time, we were thankful to have Niko the producer with us to ensure things were kept freaky and noisy enough.”

Bitter is rock music frenzy that intermittently disintegrates into sonic cotton candy and the occasional western theme. Bitter is also Kaleidobolt’s debut for Svart Records, and we are proud to release it on May 31st on CD, vinyl LP, and digital formats.

In the meantime, see & hear a special video for the new track “I am the Seer.”

Tracklisting for Kaleidobolt’s Bitter
1. Another Toothpick
2. Big Sky Land
3. I Am The Seer
4. Deadpan Blues
5. Interlude
6. Coyote
7. Hydra

https://www.facebook.com/kaleidobolt
https://kaleidobolt.bandcamp.com/
www.svartrecords.com
www.facebook.com/svartrecords
www.twitter.com/svartrecords

Kaleidobolt, “I am the Seer” official video

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Quarterly Review: Electric Octopus, Crypt Trip, Love Gang & Smokey Mirror, Heavy Feather, Faith in Jane, The Mound Builders, Terras Paralelas, The Black Heart Death Cult, Roadog & Orbiter, Hhoogg

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

quarterly-review-spring-2019

Day four of the six-dayer. Head’s a little reeling, but I’m not sure any more so than, say, last week at this time. I’d be more specific about that, but oddly enough, I don’t hook my brain up to medical scanners while doing reviews. Seems like an oversight on my part, now that I think about it. Ten years later and still learning something new! How about that internet, huh?

Since I don’t think I’ve said it in a couple days, I’ll remind you that the hope here is you find something you dig. There’s a lot of cool stuff in this batch, so that should at least make skimming through it fun if you go that route. Either way, thanks for reading if you do.

Quarterly Review #31-40:

Electric Octopus, Smile

Electric Octopus Smile

It’s been about two months since Electric Octopus posted Smile, so they’re about due for their next release. So, quick! Before this 82-minute collection of insta-chill jams is out of date, there’s still time to consider it their latest offering. Working as the four-piece of Tyrell Black and Dale Hughes — both of whom share bass and guitar duties — drummer Guy Hetherington and synthesist Stevie Lennox, the Belfast improv jammers rightfully commence with the 25-minute longest track (immediate points) “Abberation” (sic), which evolves and devolves along its course and winds up turning from a percussive jam to a guitar-led build up that still stays gloriously mellow even as it works its way out. You can almost hear the band moving from instrument to instrument, and that’s the point. The much shorter “Spiral,” “Dinner at Sea, for One” and closer “Mouseangelo” bring in a welcome bit of funk, “Moth Dust” explores minimalist reaches of guitar and ambient drumming, and “Hyperloop” digs into fuzz-soaked swirl before cleaning up its act in the last couple minutes. These cats j-a-m. May they do so into perpetuity.

Electric Octopus on Thee Facebooks

Electric Octopus on Bandcamp

 

Crypt Trip, Haze County

crypt trip haze county

Onto the best-albums-of-2019 list go San Marcos, Texas, trio Crypt Trip, who, sonically speaking, are way more Beto O’Rourke than Ted Cruz. The three-piece have way-way-upped the production value and general breadth from their 2018 Heavy Psych Sounds debut, Rootstock, and the clarity of purpose more than suits them as they touch on ’70s country jams and hard boogie and find a new melodic vocal confidence that speaks to guitarist Ryan Lee as a burgeoning frontman as well as the shredder panning channels in “To Be Whole.” Fortunately, he’s backed by bassist Sam Bryant and drummer Cameron Martin in the endeavor, and as ever, it’s the rhythm section that gives the “power trio” its power. Centerpiece “Free Rain” is a highlight, but so is the pedal steel of intro “Forward” and the later “Pastures” that precedes six-minute closer “Gotta Get Away,” which makes its transport by means of a hypnotic drum solo from Martin. Mark it a win and go to the show. That’s all you can do. Haze County is a blueprint for America’s answer to Europe’s classic heavy rock movement.

Crypt Trip on Thee Facebooks

Heavy Psych Sounds website

 

Love Gang & Smokey Mirror, Split Double EP

smokey mirror love gang split double ep

A bit of Tull as Love Gang‘s flute-inclusive opener “Can’t Seem to Win” skirts the line of the proggier end of ’70s worship. The Denver outfit and Dallas’ Smokey Mirror both present three tracks on Glory or Death RecordsSplit Double EP, and Love Gang back the leadoff with “Break Free” and “Lonely Man,” reveling in wall-o’-fuzz chicanery and organ-laced push between them, making their already unpredictable style less predictable, while Smokey Mirror kick off side B in particularly righteous fashion via the nine-minute “Sword and Scepter,” which steps forth to take ultra-Sabbathian ownership of the release even as the filthy tone of “Sucio y Desprolijo” and the loose-swinging Amplified Heat-style megashuffle of “A Thousand Days in the Desert” follow. Two bands in the process of finding their sound coming together to serve notice of ass-kickery present and future. If you can complain about that, you’re wrong.

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Glory or Death Records BigCartel store

 

Heavy Feather, Débris & Rubble

Heavy Feather Debris & Rubble

Very much a solid first album, Heavy Feather‘s 11-song Débris & Rubble lands at a run via The Sign Records and finds the Stockholm-based classic heavy blues rockers comporting with modern Euro retroism in grand fashion. At 41 minutes, it’s a little long for a classic-style LP if one measures by the eight-track/38-minute standard, but the four-piece fill that time with a varied take that basks in sing-along-ready hooks like those of post-intro opener “Where Did We Go,” the Rolling Stones-style strutter “Waited All My Life,” and the later “I Spend My Money Wrong,” which features not the first interplay of harmonica and lead guitar amid its insistent groove. Elsewhere, more mellow cuts like “Dreams,” or the slide-infused “Tell Me Your Tale” and the closing duo of the Zeppelinian “Please Don’t Leave” and the melancholy finisher “Whispering Things” assure Débris & Rubble never stays in one place too long, though one could say the same of the softshoe-ready boogie in “Hey There Mama” as well. On the one hand, they’re figuring it out. On the other, they’re figuring it out.

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The Sign Records on Bandcamp

 

Faith in Jane, Countryside

Faith in Jane Countryside

Five full-lengths deep into a tenure spanning a decade thus far, Faith in Jane have officially entered the running to be one of the best kept secrets of Maryland heavy. Their late-2018 live-recorded studio offering, Countryside, clocks in at just under an hour of organic tonality and performance, bringing a sharp presentation to the chemistry that’s taken hold among the three-piece of guitarist/vocalist Dan Mize, bassist Brendan Winston and drummer Alex Llewellyn, with Mize taking extended solos on the Wino model throughout early cuts “All is All” and “Mountain Lore” while the trio adds Appalachian grunge push to the Chesapeake’s flowing groove while building “Blues for Owsley” from acoustic strum to scorching cacophonous wash and rolling out the 9:48 “Hippy Nihilism” like the masters of the form they’re becoming. It’s not a minor undertaking in terms of runtime, but for those in on what these cats have been up to all the while, hard to imagine Countryside is seen as anything other than hospitable.

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The Mound Builders, The Mound Builders

The Mound Builders The Mound Builders

Lafayette, Indiana’s The Mound Builders last year offered a redux of their 2014 album, Wabash War Machine (review here), but that was their last proper full-length. Their self-titled arrives as eight bruiser slabs of weighted sludge/groove metal, launching with its longest track (immediate points) in the 7:30 “Torchbearer,” before shifting into the outright screams-forward pummel of “Hair of the Dogma” and the likewise dry-throated “Separated from Youth.” By the time they get to the hardcore-punk-via-sludge of “Acid Slugs,” it’s not a little heavy. It’s a lot heavy. And it stays that way through the thrashing “Star City Massacre” and “Regolith,” hitting the brakes on “Broken Pillars” only to slam headfirst into closer “Vanished Frontier.” Five years later and they’re still way pissed off. So be it. The four-formerly-five-piece were never really all that gone, but they still seem to have packed an extended absence’s worth of aggro into their self-titled LP.

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Failure Records and Tapes

 

Terras Paralelas, Entre Dois Mundos

TERRAS PARALELAS ENTRE DOIS MUNDOS

It’s a fluid balance between heavy rock and progressive metal Terras Paralelas make in the six inclusions on their debut full-length, Entre Dois Mundos. The Brazilian instrumentalist trio keep a foundation of metallic kickdrumming beneath “Do Abismo ao Triunfo,” and even the chugging in “Espirais e Labirintos” calls to mind some background in harder-hitting fare, but it’s set against a will toward semi-psychedelic exploration, making the giving the album a sense of refusing to play exclusively to one impulse. This proves a strength in the lengthier pieces that follow “Infinito Cósmico” and “Do Abismo ao Triunfo” at the outset, and as Terras Paralelas move from the mellower “Bom Presságio” and “Espirais e Labirintos” into the more spaciously post-rocking “Nossa Jornada Interior” and the nine-minute-plus prog-out title-track that closes by summarizing as much as pushing further outward, one is left wondering why such distinctions might matter in the first place. Kudos to the band for making them not.

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Terras Paralelas on Bandcamp

 

The Black Heart Death Cult, The Black Heart Death Cult

the black heart death cult the black heart death cult

Though one wouldn’t accuse The Black Heart Death Cult of being the first cumbersomely-named psych-rocking band in the current wave originating in Melbourne, Australia, their self-titled debut is nonetheless a gorgeous shimmer of classic psychedelia, given tonal presence through guitar and bass, but conjuring an ethereal sensibility through the keys and far-back vocals like “She’s a Believer,” tapping alt-reality 1967 vibes there while fostering what I hear is called neo-psych but is really just kinda psych throughout the nodding meander of “Black Rainbow,” giving even the more weighted fuzz of “Aloha From Hell” and the distortion flood of “Davidian Dream Beam” a happier context. They cap with the marshmallowtron hallucinations of “We Love You” and thereby depart even the ground stepped on earlier in the sitar-laced “The Magic Lamp,” finding and losing and losing themselves in the drifting ether probably not to return until, you know, the next record. When it shows up, it will be greeted as a liberator.

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Oak Island Records webstore

 

Orbiter & Roadog, Split

orbiter roadog split

I’m pretty sure the Sami who plays drums in Orbiter is the same dude playing bass in Roadog, but I could easily be wrong about that. Either way, the two Finnish cohort units make a fitting complement to each other on their two-songer 7″ single, which presents Orbiter‘s six-minute “Anthropocene” with the hard-driving title-track of Roadog‘s 2018 full-length, Reinventing the Wheels. The two tracks have a certain amount in common, mostly in the use of fuzz and some underlying desert influence, but it’s what they do with that that makes all the difference between them. Orbiter‘s track is spacier and echoing, where “Reinventing the Wheels” lands more straightforward in its three minutes, its motoring riff filled out by some effects but essentially manifest in dead-ahead push and lyrics about a motorcycle. They don’t reinvent the wheel, as it happens, and neither do Orbiter, but neither seems to want to do so either, and both bands are very clearly having a blast, so I’m not inclined to argue. Good fun and not a second of pretense on either side.


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Roadog on Thee Facebooks

 

Hhoogg, Earthling, Go Home!

hhoogg Earthling Go Home

Space is the place where you’ll find Boston improvisationalists Hhoogg, who extend their fun penchant for adding double letters to the leadoff “Ccoossmmooss” of their exclamatory second self-released full-length, Earthling, Go Home!, which brings forth seven tracks in a vinyl-ready 37 minutes and uses that opener also as its longest track (immediate points) to set a molten tone to the proceedings while subsequent vibes in “Rustic Alien Living” and the later, bass-heavy “Recalled to the Pyramids” range from the Hendrixian to the funkadelicness he helped inspire. With a centerpiece in “Star Wizard, Headless and Awake,” a relatively straightforward three-minute noodler, the four-piece choose to cap with “Infinitely Gone,” which feels as much like a statement of purpose and an aesthetic designation as a descriptor for what’s contained within. In truth, it’s a little under six minutes gone, but jams like these tend to beg for repeat listens anyway. There’s some growing to do, but the melding of their essential chemistry is in progress, and that’s what matters most. The rest is exploration, and they sound well up for it.

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Hhoogg on Bandcamp

 

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Blowup Vol. 5 Adds Cirith Ungol, Morne, Arktau Eos & Kælan Mikla to Lineup

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

blowup 5 banner

I post a lot of festival lineups around here, and a lot of European festival lineups besides. I can’t even pretend to keep it all straight in my head, but looking forward to next Fall’s season, consider that among everything else that will be taking place around this time — and there’s plenty; I’m already behind on announcements — Blowup Vol. 5 in Helsinki has revealed five bands for its three-day lineup and already exposed a genre-spanning mission that’s admirably progressive in its intent. Be it the bleak doom of Morne or the classic metal of Cirith UngolArktau Eos‘ ritualized drone or the convention-defiance of Iceland’s Kælan Mikla, this is the kind of assemblage that is intended to send an immediate message of what the fest is all about, and over its years, Blowup has very much been an event that has sought to move forward with each edition.

And while they keep that thread going, they’re also continuing to support visual artists as well with a gallery show included and Timo Ketola announced as the first artist featured.

Of course three-day tickets are already sold out after going on sale a week ago. Two-day tickets remain. Here’s the info:

blowup 5

Blowup is a front runner of Finnish festivals that showcases international and Finnish artists surpassing genres focusing on psychedelic, avant-garde, noise & doom metal.

One of the themes of the Blowup festival is to support emerging visual artists. Several Finnish artists will bring out their own vision of the artists performing at Blowup festival. All the works will be displayed at Korjaamo Aulagalleria 10th-14th October 2019.

Blowup Vol. 5 visual artists:
Timo Ketola (Helsinki 1975)
http://www.tentacula.org/

Confirmed artists:
Cirith Ungol (US)
Morne (US)
Arktau Eos (FIN)
Kælan Mikla (ISL)

3-day tickets available at Tiketti Monday, December 10th.
89€ plus Tiketti commission. https://www.tiketti.fi/blowup-vol-5-kulttuuritehdas-korjaamo-helsinki-tickets/58769 (SOLD OUT!)

2-day tickets available at Tiketti January 2019.

Blowup Vol. 5 will run for three days from Thursday, October 10 to Saturday, October 12 at the Korjaamo venue in Helsinki, Finland.

https://www.facebook.com/events/900757203645119/
https://www.facebook.com/blowupthatgramophone/
https://www.instagram.com/blowupthatgramophone/
https://twitter.com/blowupfi
https://blowupfestival.fi

Morne, To the Night Unknown (2018)

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Review & Track Premiere: Superfjord, All Will be Golden

Posted in audiObelisk, Reviews on August 23rd, 2018 by JJ Koczan

Superfjord all will be golden

[Click play above to stream ‘Master Architect’ from Superfjord’s All Will be Golden. Album is out Sept. 21 on Svart Records.]

A given listener will finds their own sonic touchpoints in the colorful melange that is Superfjord‘s second album and Svart Records debut, All Will be Golden. My ears turned immediately to the line from opener “Cut and Paste” that asks, “Don’t you know happiness is a gun?” in a winking nod to The Beatles, but certainly there’s plenty of Pink FloydHawkwind, and many others in there as well, including the Helsinki outfit’s likewise shimmer-minded labelmates in Death Hawks. Still, in their harmonies, in their blend of classic progressive rock and modern psychedelia, in the subcontinental Asian delve of “Parvati Valley” and the sax-laced fuzzy astrojazz of closer “Rainha da Floresta,” Superfjord‘s six-track/48-minute offering lacks nothing for personality of its own. Rather, it is a wash of sprawling coherence, engaging in its concept and execution alike and not so much blissed beyond consciousness as resolute in its joy.

As its future-looking title hints, it’s a hopeful sound conjured by guitarist/vocalists Jussi Ristikaarto and Mikko Kapanen (the former also electronics, the latter also percussion), bassist Teemu Soininen, drummer/percussionists Jussi Peevo and Ilari Kivelä and keyboardist Juho Ojala, sweet in its melodies and of consuming swirl. In what are so often seen and portrayed as dark times, it is brightly hued and hiding nothing in that. With a deep mix that finds enough space for all six players and the variety of elements they bring, songs like the 10-minute “Master Architect” are headphone-ready if not headphone-demanding, and make for the kind of listens in which one might continue to hear something new upon repeat visits.

They’re not blind. “Cut and Paste” seems in no small way to be a comment on the age in which we live, but both “Master Architect” and “Rainbow,” which follow in succession, underscore the notion of powers beyond our control, and in that, encourage not fearfulness or resignation, but taking the opportunity to rejoice at what might be, now and tomorrow. It’s no coincidence that as “Master Architect” winds down, the line “A dream” is repeated on a loop.

Come to think of it, “no coincidence” can basically apply to the whole record. All Will be Golden is meticulous. The harmonized repetitions of lines in “Rainbow” — “Bow down to the rainbow/Enter now the temple,” etc. — arrive with an easy flow in their rhythm preceded by the percussion in both “Cut and Paste” and “Master Architect” and the melodic range there as well, vocally and instrumentally. A fervent prog-boogie emerges near the midway point of the opener, with guitars scorching out a solo backed by basslines so fluid they’ll induce an eye roll and drums and percussion, and at just over five minutes long (the shortest inclusion here), “Rainbow” echoes some of that rhythmic urgency, but its push is more space-chorus than in-room-jam, and the voices of Ristikaarto and Kapenen — and potentially a host of others or other layers, going by the sound of it — give a decidedly celebratory vibe leading into more impressive lead guitar trading off with classically prog keyboard, also arriving in multiple layers.

The affect there, as with so much of All Will be Golden, is gorgeous and lush, but not void of humanity thanks again to the vocals, which return to the initial lines noted above to close out a side A that’s already shown Superfjord — who made their debut in 2014 with the also-gorgeous It is Dark, but I Have This Jewel, boasting a cover of John Coltrane‘s “A Love Supreme” in the process, and also covered Frank Zappa on a split with Sendelica last year — to be mindful of songwriting and atmosphere alike, and while there are certainly exploratory aspects to the briefest of cuts, that underlying consciousness gives their approach even more scope.

superfjord (Photo by Tero Vuorinen)

Again, it is no coincidence. I’d be willing to believe in “happy accidents” in the studio as happen in the process of making most records, but it’s so clear Superfjord know where they want their songs to go, and their sure-handed guidance only makes following along even more of a pleasure.

There’s a telling moment about 35 seconds into aptly-titled side B launcher “No Rest for the Wicked.” The band is grooving smoothly on a jazzy rhythm with the keys out front in a kind of jabbing semi-staccato vibe. They just seem to be settling into the song’s course, percussion is on fire and it looks like the verse is about to start, when all of a sudden there’s this quick entry of a dream-toned lead guitar that takes hold for a few measures before the first whispered lyrics of the title line. It’s a quick thing, but it’s the kind of subtlety that abounds throughout All Will be Golden; exactly what the song needed, exactly when it needed it.

To some it might sound like an indulgence, but I’d argue that in craft and aesthetic alike, Superfjord aren’t so much serving their own whims as the overarching purposes of their creation. “No Rest for the Wicked” dances into a harmonized, tom-backed, sax-inclusive fadeout, leading to the aforementioned closing pair of “Parvati Valley” and “Rainha da Floresta,” the Portuguese title of which translates to “Queen of the Forest.” “Parvati Valley” digs itself into a classically Western psychedelic fascination with Indian traditions, the lyrics becoming a mantra repeated for the first few minutes as instruments build up behind and an acoustic-centered midsection leads to the sharper keys and the introduction of the next movement’s chanting, more outward-directed and festive. Before a long fadeout, Superfjord seem to take “Parvati Valley” to a new echelon of psychedelia, which is fair enough leading into “Rainha da Floresta,” with its sampled birdsong and engrossing melodic peacefulness.

More choice bass work from Soininen anchors a winding progression of keys, cymbal taps and the rounding-up of guitars, and as it moves toward the 2:30 mark into its total 7:57, the finale enters its next stage, setting a bed of keys and bass for sax and heavier-weighted groove in the guitars and bass. They don’t paint any darker of a picture there than on anything preceding — miraculously — but there’s a feeling of reprise to “Rainha da Floresta” that lets the listener know it’s the ending. Shortly before five minutes in, they turn again to tense percussion, keys, chanting and, finally, a burst of spacious guitar and keyboard and drums and percussion and everything else that serves as a fitting apex for everything that’s come before it, and they close with waves as though they and their audience alike have come out of the forest and arrived at the ocean.

So be it. The journey from front to back of All Will be Golden is masterfully navigated, and whatever one’s feelings on the general state of the world in which we live — that is, however much hope you may or may not have — Superfjord portray a bright vision of things to come. As regards their sound, style, breadth and the focus they manage to keep where so many others would simply get lost, the future may indeed shine like gold. The present does as well.

Superfjord, “Rainbow”

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Superfjord Soundcloud

Svart Records website

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Superfjord Announce New LP All Will Be Golden on Svart; New Single Posted

Posted in Whathaveyou on June 21st, 2018 by JJ Koczan

superfjord

The hypnotic insistence of the new Superfjord single pretty much guarantees its imprint on the frontal lobe of your brain, and when you’re walking around singing ‘Bow down to the rainbow’ to yourself, there will be little wonder as to why. All Will Be Golden, which is the long-player from whence the aptly-titled “Rainbow” stems, has been confirmed for a Sept. 21 release through ultra-respected purveyor Svart Records. It’s their second album overall and the herald it receives bodes well for what’s to come, though I wouldn’t be surprised if the spaciness that shows up in “Rainbow” is more fleshed out elsewhere. We’ve got time before September hits — though apparently less than I think, as the calendar tells me it’s currently late June (the mind explodes) — so there will probably be more info to come in stuff like the cover art, tracklisting and so on, but you can stream “Rainbow” at the bottom of this post and there’s some preliminary data as regards the Svart signing that came down the PR wire:

It looked an awful lot like this:

superfjord rainbow

SUPERFJORD sign with SVART – release digital single, prepare new album for autumn

Svart Records announces the signing of Finnish prog-psych giants Superfjord. The band will be releasing a digital single titled “Rainbow” through the label, on all major digital platforms, in anticipation of their sophomore album (and first for Svart), All Will Be Golden, which is set for international release on September 21st. These will be Superfjord’s first brand-new releases since a limited 7″ single cover of John Coltrane’s “A Love Supreme,” released by cult psych label Fruits De Mer in the UK.

We shall all be redeemed, one way or another. Shall we pass through the golden gates towards the light, up to which myriad mysterious paths lead? Is the journey more important than the destination? Are we dreaming? Regardless of the questions asked, eventually All Will Be Golden.

Superfjord’s sophomore album is about it all: the journey, the destination, and the vehicles. All Will Be Golden is an ambitious musical trip formed of long arcs, mesmerizing mandalas, harmony vocals, and a multitude of aural colors. Have you heard the ayahuasca-inspired collaboration album from Pink Floyd, the Grateful Dead, and Spiritualized? Neither have we, but All Will Be Golden could possibly exist in such a parallel dimension. Whether you’re looking for a cure, a way of escape, a catalyst for spiritual expeditions, something to groove to, or just some chakra-opening psychedelic rock ’n’ roll with a 21st century cosmic twist, this might just be it.

“Rainbow,” the first single off the album, is a message from the end of the rainbow: surrender to the force, human. Superfjord’s psychedelic temple contains the whole cosmic color palette. Can you fit The Who, Frank Zappa, and, well, William Orbit into the same congregation? Well, apparently you can – with love.

Superfjord are:
Jussi Ristikaarto: guitars, electronics, vocals
Mikko Kapanen: guitar, vocals, percussion
Ilari Kivelä: drums, percussion
Teemu Soininen: bass
Juho Ojala: keyboards
Jussi Peevo: drums, percussion

www.facebook.com/superfjord
www.svartrecords.com
www.facebook.com/svartrecords
www.youtube.com/svartrecords
www.twitter.com/svartrecords

Superfjord, “Rainbow”

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